February 28, 2020   12:09pm

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Vitamin D — Now a Wonder Drug?

Vitamin D — now a cure-all wonder drug?
At dinner the other night a girlfriend who is not taken to nutsy health claims gave me a short lecture on how I needed to take more Vitamin D then what was included with my calcium tabs – and, she said specifically, “It needs to be D3.” Since then, I keep noticing these articles on Vitamin D. Here’s what you need to know …

In the Wall Street Journal, Melinda Beck writes how Vitamin D helps bones AND defends against disease.*..

Did you know: “A person sitting outside in a bathing suit in NYC gets more vitamin D in 20 minutes than from drinking 200 glasses of milk” … ?

Many people aren’t getting enough Vitamin D — particularly if you’re someone who is indoors a lot and slather on sunscreen when you’re outside. For a long time it’s been know that this vitamin is good for strong bone, but now there’s new research from a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine that shows how vitamin D can help protect you for a wide range of diseases — for men against heart attacks and for all of us with “cancer of the breast, ovary, prostate, stomach, bladder, esophagus, kidney and lung. Low levels also have been associated with high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, peridontal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, mental illness and chronic pain.”

“It sounds crazy — until you realize that vitamin D turns into a steroid hormone that’s involved in the maintenance of over 200 human genes“…

“It’s difficult to get much D through diet. Few foods contain it naturally — mainly fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna, as well as liver and egg yolks…most milk has been fortified with D to prevent rickets, a bone softening disease.

“It’s widely accepted that most people need some supplemental D — the question is how much?” Current U.S. guidelines from 1997 say:

  • 200 IUs from birth to 50
  • 400 IUs from 51-70
  • 600 IUs from 71 on

“But many experts and the American Medical Association are urging the government to revisit those numbers in light of the latest research…”and some groups aren’t waiting like The American Academy of Prediatrics [breast-fed infants should get 400 IU’s supplemental] and The National Osteoporosis Foundation [urging adults over 50 to get 800-1000 and use D3].

You can get a blood test for around $100 which will tell you what your vitamin D level is. “It should measure 25-hydroxyvitamin D, not 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. A concentration of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter is considered deficient. ”

“It’s not possible to overdose on vitamin D from the sun; it degrades in the skin at high levels. For supplements, the Institute of Medicine set an upper limit of 2,000 IUs per day, but some experts think that’s too low. vitamin D toxicity can involve kidney stones and heart arrhythmias, but cases are rare…”

and in another publication, The Week, I saw this related story from the same study …

Men can lessen heart-attack risk.
Findings reported in the June 9 Archives of Internal Medicine state:

“A 10-year study of more than 10,000 shows that vitamin D can lessen heart-attack risk. Men with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack as men with the highest… As a risk factor vitamin D is ‘right up there with high blood pressure and smoking.’ “

Looks like my friend was right — Thanks Arline!


*The Wall Street Journal, Health Journal, “It’s D-Lightful: Vitamin D Gets Its Moment in the Sun” by Melinda Beck, Tuesday, July 15, 2008, pg D1

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