November 10, 2011

Vitamin D, week 1 & 2

Articles by Dr. Erdman are for informational purposes, and are not to be taken as specific medical advice.

Week 1
One of the subjects I try to engage most patients in is that of nutrition and nutritional supplementation.  Coming into the winter months, a few words about vitamin D3 seem appropriate.

Did you know vitamin D is not really a vitamin at all?  It is a steroidal hormone precursor necessary to every cell in the body, yet not found in the natural food supply; except in eggs, liver and fatty fish.  Essentially, it affects your entire health condition.  Heart heath, skin health, the aging process, athletic performance, vascular system, immune system, bone health, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and pregnant women all need optimal vitamin D levels.  If you are eating a low fat to no fat diet, you need even more vitamin D.  Dark skinned people need more than normal due to melatonin blocking UVB rays entering the skin.  Vitamin D regulates over 2000 genes in the body!

There are essentially three ways to get vitamin D.  The first is by natural exposure to the sun.  In summer months, May to August, this is the preferred method.  You only need about 15 minutes of midday sun to make 20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D.  (You must expose most of your skin, not just your face, hands and feet!)  The body will self-regulate, and stop producing D when you reach your maximum dose.  Don’t burn!
Secondly, especially in climates above 30° latitude and between September and April, supplementation of vitamin D3 is necessary.  How much?  Well, that’s where blood work comes into play.  You need to know where your levels are, before you can say exactly how much you need to take.  The correct test needed is the 25(OH) D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D.  It is measured in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl). Here is a simple chart:

Treating cancer & heart disease
Overdose with side affects

Here are some general dosages as recommended by Dr. Mercola:

Under 5 years old
35 IU per pound per day
5 – 10 years old
2500 IU/day
Adults & pregnant women
5,000 -10,000 IU/day
Only way to know for sure is blood test!

Third, you can use tanning beds with UVB bulbs.  These are NOT the ones found in most tanning beds, they are UVA, and only serve to brown your skin, not give you vitamin D conversion.

I know, I know…the medical profession says stay out of the sun and especially the tanning beds.  Well, for your good health, you will need to overcome your fear of the sun!  Don’t let them scare you.  The medical and cancer society’s say to stay out of the sun because it causes skin cancer.  Do you believe it?  In my next article, we’ll look at recent research that proves they are wrong, and how ignoring vitamin D from the sun is actually more harmful to you than the dreaded sun exposure.

Week 2
Last week, we talked about vitamin D and its effects on your health.  This week we will explore the effects vitamin D has on cancer and other illnesses.

We know from scientific research that UVB from the sun is not constant wherever you are located.  It is influenced negatively by your latitude, the further north above 30° you are, the less there is available.  The time of year is a huge factor.  In the continental US there is virtually none available from the sun between September and April.  Clouds, pollution and altitude all decrease UVB availability.

Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, hypothesizes that influenza (flu) is merely a symptom of D deficiency.  A study of 19,000 Americans, by Dr. Adit Ginde, finds that “our study supports an important role for vitamin D in the prevention of common respiratory infections such as colds and flu.  Individuals with common lung diseases, such as emphysema or asthma, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency.”

Knowing this information, why do you think we have a “flu season”, as named by vaccine manufacturers?  That’s right, less sun, no supplementation, and low blood levels allow your body to be susceptible to those diseases.  Keep your levels up and decrease your chances of these respiratory infections, simple.  No need for worthless flu shots and pneumonia shots!  By the way, researchers have found that if you take 50,000 IU (yes 50,000) of vitamin D per day for 3 days, at the first signs of a cold, you can expect to get over the cold much more quickly!  It works.

Now, every summer you are scolded by the cancer societies to use your sunscreen and stay out of the sun to avoid the dreaded melanoma and other skin cancers.  Always remember, our Creator didn’t make a foolish system.  Dermatologists will frighten you about the sun, but we are designed to use it for our good health.  As long as you avoid constantly burning your skin, the sun is good for you.

Research from Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, in New York, shows most sunscreens do prevent simple skin cancers that are easily taken care of, but do NOT protect against the deadly melanomas.

Based on the evidence, researchers concluded that sun burn likely does not cause melanoma.  Sunburn is a sign of excessive sun exposure that can cause melanoma in genetically susceptible people, due to their skin type (fair).  Sunscreen, in those people, may actually increase their cancer risk by causing them to spend excessive time in the sun.  That’s not what they tell you, is it?

Vitamin D protects against cancer in several ways.  One is by increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells, reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells.  Another is by reducing the growth of new blood vessels from preexisting ones, called angiogenesis. Vitamin D inhibits this step that causes dormant tumors to transition to cancerous tumors.

Studies show that 600,000 deaths from colorectal cancer and breast cancer could be avoided worldwide by simply increasing vitamin D levels, and that’s just 2 types of cancer.  The Canadian Cancer Society has taken these studies to heart, (unlike in the US where the cancer societies are simply fingers of the drug companies and big business).  They have begun touting vitamin D as a cancer preventive therapy.  Drug companies can’t make money on actual preventive therapies such as this, so simple cancer prevention is never touted by them.  In fact, they are behind the studies trying to prove that you don’t need vitamins, and they don’t cure anything.  Go figure!

Remember, your health is easier to maintain, then to get back once it’s lost.