If you are concerned about vitamin D deficiency, you will want to watch this great free video presentation by Dr. Michael Holick, PhD, MD – “The Vitamin D Pandemic and Its Health Consequences”. Dr. Holick is the author of the book, The UV Advantage: The Medical Breakthrough that Shows How to Harness the Power of the Sun for Your Health. He also the directs Boston University’s General Clinical Research Center. He is a Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Biophysics.
In this video, Dr. Holick discusses the little known facts about vitamin D deficiency and all of the health problems it causes and its role in several chronic illnesses. Dr. Holick also offers advice on how to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
After watching this video you will probably find that you want to forward the link to others, but here are some references from the presentation:
Who is at risk for Vitamin D deficiency?
According to Dr. Holick, everyone is.
How do we get Vitamin D?
From the sun, artificial light sources, foods and supplements. It is hard to get enough vitamin D strictly through diet alone.
How is Vitamin D deficiency defined?
The level of 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) measured in blood (serum) should be at least 50nmol/L, and Dr. Holick advocates 60 to 75. Insufficient/deficient is under 50, and to be conservative, toxic upper levels might start at about 150 to 200nmol/L.
Is Vitamin D deficiency common?
Yes – approximately 50% of all Americans and even higher numbers of darker skinned people and older age groups fall below the normal levels.
Why is Vitamin D deficiency a big deal?
In children, vitamin D deficiency can cause a condition known as rickets. This causes bowed, soft bones, muscle weakness, stunted growth, and high risk of low bone density later in life.
In adults, this condition is osteomalacia (a defect in the bone building process, by contrast with osteoporosis, which is breakdown of existing bone structures). Osteoporosis is silent, but osteomalacia involves aches and pains in the bones & joints, and muscle aches/weakness that can be generalized or isolated. As Dr. Holick explains it, the defective bone matrix absorbs water and expands, causing pain in the bones fibrous outer membrane (the periosteum), which contains the blood vessels and nerves providing nourishment and sensation in the bones. He diagnoses this condition by pressing to test for pain in certain places such as the breastbone and shin.
Dr. Holicksays that patients withthese symptoms are often diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. In Dr. Holick’s practice, 40% to 60% of patients presenting with these symptoms are vitamin D deficient, and of 150 patients presenting with these symptoms in a Mayo Clinic study, 139 were deficient.
What is even scarier are all of the other chronic illnesses and diseases linked to vitamin D deficiency: common cancers, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, TB, psoriasis, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and even infections.
How much does sun block reduce the body’s ability to make D from sunshine?
SPF 15 reduces it by 99%.
What is the recommended amount of sun exposure one should get?
Except in winter in areas above the 35th latitude (only a bit north of even such southern cities as Atlanta, Georgia, which is at 33 north), Dr. Holickadvocates at least 10 minutes on 10% of the body surface (e.g., arms or legs) followed by good sun protection, two to three times a week. This balances the need for vitamin D with need to minimize skin cancer risk. Click on this link to check the latitude where you live.
Are obese people more likely to be deficient than normal weight people?
Vitamin D levels averaged 55% lower in a study group of obese people who had the same amount of UV exposure as normal weight participants.
Can you make any vitamin D in winter?
Little or none, even in sunny areas, if it’s above the 35th latitude north or south of the equator.
Does taking supplemental calcium and vitamin D work to counter osteoporosis and osteomalacia?