It is a crisis of monumental proportions. But why has this happened? After all, it was known in the 1920s that vitamin D deficiency was the cause of rickets in children, the Nobel prize in chemistry was awarded in 1928 to the scientist who discovered the precursor to Vitamin D3, derived from cholesterol and converted to Vitamin D3 by the action of the uv in sunlight on the skin. The US, and many other countries, mandated the addition of Vitamin D3 to milk and other products in the 1930s, we knew we could get vitamin D3 from fish and generations of children grew up detesting that spoon of cod liver oil before going to school. Yet rickets are being sporadically reported around the US, particularly among infants exclusively breast fed, and experts tell us that Vitamin D3 deficiency is widespread in the population and doubles the incidence of many cancers and other diseases. What happened?
To a certain extent it was the result of overconfidence. Fortification of milk and exposure to sunshine was thought to be enough. Not enough attention was given to the fact that our Paleolithic genome evolved under the equatorial sun of Africa and migration of the human lineage away from the equator reduced the effect of exposure to uv in sunlight. It was not realized that Vitamin D3 produced in the skin reaches a maximum and then rapidly depletes from the circulating bloodstream. And of course that pesky habit of wearing clothing when we do go out under the sky. It was not until laboratory technology reached the stage where accurate measurements of circulating Vitamin D3 in blood could be inexpensively done in large numbers of people that troubling results emerged. It is now known that many people, including infants, children, and adolescents, have a level of circulating Vitamin D3 below an optimal, and in some cases very sub-optimal, level. Finnish researchers were among the first to sound the alarm. Other researchers, measuring the actual levels of circulating Vitamin D3 in their patients and following the incidence of disease in those patients were stunned by their findings. The levels of Vitamin D3 were found to be directly related to the incidence not only of bone diseases but of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and a range of other diseases. The lower the level of Vitamin D3, then the greater the risk. Experts have estimated that supplementation of 1,000 IU to 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 a day could reduce the national incidence of many of these diseases by fifty percent or more. Federal authorities are revising recommended guidelines, discussion is under way among medical experts on just how much supplementation should be advised, keeping in mind the fact that Vitamin D3 is not a typical vitamin and has many effects more typical of a hormone. It is a national health crisis and will continue to be so until supplementation becomes a routine part of health maintenance for all. We are fortunate that reliable sources of Vitamin D3 exist and are remarkably inexpensive. Those tiny capsules of Vitamin D3 can do so much to reduce your risk for many diseases. Do not neglect this simple health precaution. Help others. Inform them, make them aware.
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