Vitamin D: Nature’s Wonder Drug Under Attack

Just around the holidays, the New York Times ran an article regarding vitamin D and the fact that a recent finding of a panel of “experts” hand-picked by the U.S. and Canadian governments, determined that North Americans on the whole were taking too much calcium and vitamin D and were putting themselves at risk for future health problems.

The difficulty I have is that this was a panel assembled by the Obama Administration that looked at no scientific data and was formed for the express purpose of determining that the scientific evidence compiled by the National Institute of Health, under the watchful eyes of the two previous administrations was, in fact, incorrect.

Our publication, HerbalMD is filled with articles from prominent scientific studies showing empirical evidence that vitamin D is essential in bone health, cancer prevention, cardiovascular health and the list goes on.

Of the thousands of studies compiled in PubMed, the U.S. Government’s data base for medical studies, we couldn’t find one shred of evidence that backs up the Committee’s findings. And why is that, we ask?

Sunshine is the #1 source of vitamin D. During the course of the day you’ll find your pets moving around the house to take naps where the sun shines through a window. They instinctively know that they need this sunshine in order to maintain good health. The medical profession tells us to stay out of the sun due to the potential threat of skin cancers. If, God forbid, you must go outside, they tell us, be sure to cover yourself in plenty of sun block.

Ten years ago you could wear a 4-8 SPF but now, it had better be no less than 50! A new study just came out regarding high SPF and the relationship to bone disease which we will cover at another time.

In the month of April, 2011 alone, there have been dozens of studies that have concluded that vitamin D reduces the risk of Age-related Macular Degeneration in older women, reduces the risk of Parkinson Disease, increase bone health and improves the body’s ability to combat Type 2 Diabetes. That’s just this month.

Conclusive evidence shows that vitamin D3 combats cancer and is now used at every major cancer treatment in levels that would make the “Committee of Experts” heads spin. The NIH has countless articles on vitamin D as it relates to bone health, asthma, cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetes. See for yourself at NIH.org. In fact the FDA warns that not getting enough vitamin D will cause those suffering from asthma to develop osteoporosis.

Let’s look at supplementation fact. The Mayo Clinic states the following:

“Vitamin D is included in most multivitamins, usually in strengths from 50 IU to 1,000 IU as softgels, capsules, tablets, and liquids. The Adequate Intake (AI) levels have been established by the U.S. Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Recommendations are: 5 micrograms (200 IU or International Units) daily for all individuals (males, female, pregnant/lactating women) under the age of 50 years-old. For all individuals from 50-70 years-old, 10 micrograms daily (400 IU) is recommended. For those who are over 70 years-old, 15 micrograms daily (600 IU) is suggested. Some authors have questioned whether the current recommended adequate levels are sufficient to meet physiological needs, particularly for individuals deprived of regular sun exposure. The upper limit (UL) for vitamin D has been recommended as 2,000 IU daily due to toxicities that can occur when taken in higher doses.”

If you read the labels of vitamin D supplements, you’ll find that almost no manufacturer recommends more than 1,000 IU daily and in only 17% of those studied, taking more than 2,000 IU for a period of more than 6 months caused kidney stones. It also reduced the risk of cancer by 23%! But who wants kidney stones?

If the scientific community is gung-ho on vitamin D, what could be the motivation of the governments of the United States and Canada to tell us to back off? Many will blame the pharmaceutical companies and lobbyists who fuel presidential and congressional campaigns and I for one will never disagree with that.

Having spoken to politicians and listened to recent presidential speeches, I will chalk it up to a lack of knowledge. Committees are formed to reach foregone conclusions while science, on the other hand, has the responsibility to uncover facts. I’ll take facts over politics any day.