Why Vitamin D Supplementation Gets An "A"!

Why Vitamin D Supplementation Gets An “A”!

By Scott Rosenthal, DC

First there was Adam, and then Eve. Soon afterward, a conversation with a serpent resulted in a forbidden feast. Suddenly the couple felt ashamed of their nakedness. They used fig leaves to cover themselves. That led to the covering of the body with garments. The skin was no longer openly bathed in the warm rays of the sun. The ultraviolet B light in the wavelength from 290 to 315 nanometers was unable to penetrate their epidermis and convert the 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin to vitamin D. If lab work were to be done, it would reveal low blood levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D. This deficiency contributes to conditions such as depression, increased cancer risk, diabetes and muscle aches. The Garden of Eden would no longer be the same.

Chiropractic focus is on the underlying imbalances that lead to the symptoms of disease. We recognize that the inherent nature of every person is to be healthy and vibrant. When it comes to sickness and disease, the real question is what is blocking the normal expression of health through the person? Finding and removing the core imbalances return a person to his or her natural state. The disease will cease to exist along with its accompanying symptoms. As the adage states, “Treat the person, not the disease.”

The central concern of doctors of chiropractic is interferences of nerve control that are created when spinal segments lose their proper position and function. This may occur as a result of poor postural or sleeping habits, injury, stress, or damaging work activities. We also look at other factors, such as: a person’s diet, levels of rest, degree of stress, and amount of exercise performed. The broad category of diet is broken down into subcategories, such as: detoxification, vitamin deficiency, and the eating environment. It is important to ask, “What is PREVENTING this person from being healthy?” In many cases, Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is one of the heavy hitters!

According to Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, the director of physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, “It’s certainly the most common nutritional deficiency and likely the most common medical problem in the world, affecting 1.5 to 2 billion people.” Lack of proper and safe sun exposure, living far from the equator and darker skin tones (a factor leading to a decreased synthesis of vitamin D when exposure to sunlight) are common reasons why you may have a vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in repair and maintenance of a large variety of tissues within your body. Its receptors are in the brain, prostate, breast, and colon tissues, and all of the immune system cells.  Vitamin D is involved in cellular growth. It is also necessary to help young cells become specialized to perform specific functions. Vitamin D plays a role in when cells are programmed to die (a normal function) and with the formation and development of blood vessels.

Deficiencies of vitamin D are associated with the following diseases or conditions:

  • 16 different cancers. The most common being breast, prostate, colorectal and pancreatic cancer
  • Coronary artery disease, heart disease and high blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • The pre-diabetic state and Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Type 1 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Behcet’s disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and Hashimoto’s disease
  • Psychiatric conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, autism, depression, and schizophrenia
  • Increased risk of upper respiratory diseases such as the cold, flu, and periodontal disease
  • Poor bone health issues such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia
  • Muscle weakness or increased muscle tone
  • Elevation of parathyroid hormone, thyroid function suppression

With just 15-20 minutes of sun exposure while sporting your swimming trunks during the summer months, the skin can produce up to the equivalent of taking 20,000 IU orally. Think of this amount in light of the American Academy of Pediatrics daily supplementation recommendation for infants, children, and adolescents of 400 IU (a number that many feel is still too low). Chances are you are not getting the needed amounts naturally. Supplementation with the correct amount and form of vitamin D is just what this doctor orders.

Be cautious when supplementing and discuss it first with your health care professional. Although harm may be produced when too much vitamin D is taken, research has found that it is unlikely in nearly all individuals with a prolonged intake as high as 10,000 IU daily. It is my concern that without blood tests, you may continue to under-supplement.

Vitamin D is not for everybody and is contraindicated for those who have the following conditions: vitamin D hypersensitivity, sarcodosis, oat cell carcinoma of the lung, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (or other granulomatous illness), or primary hyperparathyroidism.

If Adam and Eve had access to this article, perhaps they would have thrown away those fig leaves – at least for part of the day! And, of course, you never want to rely on a serpent for dietary advice. In chiropractic, it is stated that to be healthy: “The body needs no help, just no interference.”  Are you interfering with a key source of vitamin D? By restoring and assuring an optimum level of vitamin D, you will remove one huge obstacle to your own power to heal and thrive!

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References:

Holick MF. Vitamin D and sunlight: Strategies for cancer prevention and other health benefits. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol 2008;3:1548-1554.

What We Have Learned About Vitamin D Dosing? Integrative Medicine Vol. 9, No. 1, Feb/Mar 2010

Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency.  NEJM 2007;357(3):266-81.

Turner MK, Hooten M, Schmidt JE, Kerkvliet Jl, Townsend CO, Bruce BK.  Prevalence and clinical correlates of vitamin D inadequacy among patients with chronic pain. Pain Med. 2008 Nov;9(8):979-984.

Holick MF. Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;79(3):362-371.

Kumar V. The Pathological Basis of Disease, 7th ed. Robbins and Cotran, 2005.

Chapter 9, p. 452.

Turner MK, Hooten WM, Schmidt JE, Kerkvliet JL, Townsend CO, Bruce BK.

Evatt ML, DeLong MR, et al. Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol. 2008;65(10):1348-1352.

Cannell JJ, Hollis BW. Use of vitamin D in clinical practice. Alternative Medicine Review. 2008 Mar;13(1):6-20.

Holick MF. High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2006 Mar;81(3):353-73.

Vieth R. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and safety. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):842-856.

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Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal is a second-generation Doctor of Chiropractic and a past president of the Delaware Chiropractic Society. He graduated with honors from Life University in 1993. Dr. Rosenthal has an undergraduate degree in nutrition and he is a Registered Yoga Teacher. Dr. Rosenthal is an expert in the field of health and wellness and he writes a monthly column for Living Well Magazine. He practices state-of-the-art care with modern forms of chiropractic and is the first to offer the Koren Specific Technique and Biotensegrity Restoration Technique in Delaware. Also offered are chiropractic pediatric and prenatal techniques (including Webster Technique certification). Dr. Rosenthal practices in Wilmington, Delaware where he took over his father’s practice which was founded in 1965.