Thursday, September 6, 2007

Vitamin D Deficiency

Dr. Larry Norton, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Institute, spoke out this morning on the CBS Early Show about the pandemic deficiency of Vitamin D and its consequences. He pointed out that most people away from equatorial areas are deficient because of more clothing, work indoors, less daylight time especially in the winter months, and the use of sun screen in excess.Vitamin D deficiency has received attention recently because of its link to cancers of the breast and colon.

Dr. Norton pointed out that despite the fortification of some foods with vitamin D, there was still a deficiency. He recommended supplementation with multivitamins high in Vitamin D3. He pointed out that recommended amounts generally were too low and recommended at least 2000 International Units daily (the current RDA is only 400 IUs. ). Toxicity, he pointed out, only occurs when intake exceeded twice that amount. He went on to say that he recommended vitamin supplements as the best way of assuring that adults received the necessary amounts for needed effect.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the maintenance of organ systems, and a deficiency may be manifested in forms such as rickets in childhood, and several types of cancer in adults. It regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood by promoting their absorption from food in the intestines and by promoting re-absorption of calcium in the kidneys. It promotes bone formation and mineralization and is essential in the development of an intact and strong skeleton. It affects the immune system by promoting immuno-suppression, phagocytosis, and anti-tumor activity.

So much emphasis has been placed on the harmful effects of sunlight and the need for sun-block that the public has become brainwashed.

Fortified foods represent the major dietary sources of vitamin D, as very few foods naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D. In some countries, foods such as milk, yogurt, margarine, oil spreads, breakfast cereals, pastries and bread are fortified with vitamin to minimize the risk of vitamin D deficiency. In the United States and Canada, for example, fortified milk typically provides 100 IU per glass, or one quarter of the estimated adequate intake for adults over the age of 50. This amount has been shown to be inadequate.

The bottom line: Your multivitamin should contain more Vitamin D3 to compensate for the lack of its production in the skin due to inadequate exposure.

30 comments:

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Great Post Dr. Thornton, particularly considering you are flying to Stockholm, Sweden this morning to lecture at the 2007 European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons meeting.

The outcome of our fear of sun exposure has been a dramatic increase in a number of cancers, as well as an increase in bone disorders.

Despite vitamin D fortification, when childhood rickets reared it ugly head again we knew there was a vitamin D deficiency problem in the land of plenty.

A recent conversation with members of the Vitamin D committee at The Academy of Medicine assured me that they will be increasing the RDA for Vitamin D within the next 24 months, hopefully sooner.

The good news is that the solution to the problem is affordable and easy.

Many vitamin researchers and doctors are now recommending daily vitamin D supplementation and 10-15 minutes a day of early morning glorious sun exposure, sans sunscreen and hats.

Hopefully, the public will understand that any more sun exposure than that increases the risk of skin cancer development, not to mention wrinkles.

Mrs. Green said...

How much Vitamin D does your company currently recommend taking??

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Hi Mrs. Green,

We recently reformulated our multiples and we now include 1200 IUs of Vitamin D3 in Macula Complete and 800 IUs in Oculair.

The Office of Dietary supplements at the National Institutes of Health is holding a conference in Bethesda, Maryland that started yesterday called Vitamin D and Health in the 21st Century: An Update.

The conference preregistration reached capacity for the Masur Auditorium within a couple of days after the announcement.

Anonymous said...

So how much sunscreen should we use? What is worse for you Vitamin D deficiency or sun exposure? Its getting really confusing because one minute you hear the sun is bad for you while the next you hear its good for you. What about children? Should we let them play in the sun each day with a low SPF sunscreen?

Shirley

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Hi Shirley,

Moderation is the key word here.

A small amount of unprotected sun (10-15 minutes a day of early morning or late afternoon sun) is good for all of us, including our children. Not only does it keep us from becoming Vitamin D deficient, it lifts our moods.

Throughout the centuries, poets have described a sense of sadness, loss and lethargy during the fall and winter months. The medical term for this is Seasonal Affect Disorder. SAD now affects people year round who do not go out in the sun, and that includes all of us who stay in our offices all day, five or more days a week, as well as a large percentage of the elderly who rarely go outside.

It has been hypothesized by many that 15 minutes of sun every day could eliminate the need for antidepressents for a number of people.

Of course, we do want you to continue wearing your shades during your 15 minutes of sun-or fame.

Barbara Chernowski said...

What is the difference between Vitamin D2 and D3?

Ellen Troyer, MT MA said...

Vitamin D2 is ergocalciferol and vitamin D3 is cholecalciferol.

Reputable supplement manufacturers have not included D2 (ergocalciferol from yeast),in supplements in the past 10 years becasue it is not fully active and requires conversion by the liver and kidneys to become active. New studies suggest it is one tenth as potent as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol, a precursor of the active form of Vitamin D3) which is the form you will find in every quality supplement.

Most food fortification in today's world is also Vitamin D3.

Blogger said...

This is an interesting subject. Here's an article from DailyCents.com that posts the questions I have in my mind also: http://blogs.dailycents.com/?p=788

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