Vitamin D Deficiency,
the Ignored Epidemic of the Developed World
by Jeffrey Dach MD
Is it a New Bio-Tech Drug, or is it Vitamin D?
if I told you I discovered a Bio-Tech company with a new drug that could
reduce the number of cancer deaths in the US by 43,000 annually, reduce
colon cancer by 50%, and breast and ovarian cancer by 30%. Would you be
impressed? What if I then told you this same drug could safely prevent
or alleviate the following medical conditions: Osteoporosis,
Hypertension, Cardiovascular disease, Cancer, Depression, Epilepsy, Type
One Diabetes, Insulin resistance, Autoimmune Diseases, Migraine
Headache, Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS), Musculoskeletal and bone
pain, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease
(Cohn’s), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)(15), as well as improve calcium absorption and reduce hip fractures.(5A)
Above Image: Girl in the Sunlight. Portrait of Maria Simonovich. 1888. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
you then be even more impressed, and rush out to buy the company stock
and get rich quick? Of course you would, but we don’t need a new
Bio-Tech drug to do this, because, all of the above benefits can be
obtained with Vitamin D, an inexpensive vitamin which is free with sun
Vitamin D Deficiency in Florida, Surely You must Be Joking:
all know it’s a fact: Everyone in Florida gets plenty of Vitamin D from
the Florida Sun. This would have been true except for the fact that as
Floridians, we are all told to avoid the sun to prevent solar skin
damage (brown wrinkling) and to avoid skin cancer.
question remains, do we get enough Vitamin D from sun exposure? To
answer this question, we actually measured blood Vitamin D levels, and
we were surprised to discover that the majority showed Vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml), or insufficiency (less than 40 ng/ml).
if you are not fortunate to live in sunny Florida and you live up north
above the Mason Dixon Line, in Boston, New York, Chicago, Canada or
Scandinavia? Northern latitudes have an even more serious vitamin D
deficiency because of the lack of UV sunlight during the winter months.
The angle of the sun through the atmosphere closes off the UltraViolet
Light from reaching the earth.
An Epidemic of Vitamin D Deficiency
D deficiency has been reported in 57% of 290 medical inpatients in
Massachusetts, 93% of 150 patients with overt musculoskeletal pain in
Minnesota, 48% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis, 50% of patients with
lupus and fibromyalgia, 42% of healthy adolescents, 40% of African
American Women, and 62 % of the morbidly obese, 83% of 360 patients with
low back pain in Saudi Arabia, 73% of Austrian patients with Ankylosing
Spondylitis, 58% of Japanese girls with Graves's Disease, 40% of
Chinese adolescent girls, 40-70% of all Finnish medical patients. (5A)
Vitamin D Toxicity
D excess and toxicity requires daily dosage in excess of 40,000 units
over a period of months, so 5,000 units a day is safe and far below the
level needed to develop vitamin D toxicity. Remember Vitamin D is a fat
soluble vitamin, so toxicity is possible with massive doses over long
periods of time. Vitamin D toxicity causes elevated calcium levels.
That’s why Vitamin D supplementation should done only under your
physician’s supervision with monitoring of serum 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D
Space Satellite Maps
Maps of UV Sunlight exposure correlate with incidence of Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis.
If you take NASA space satellite photos of North America and color code the UV sunlight exposure as Dr. Grant has done on his web site, Sunarc.org (3),
you will see a pattern remarkably similar to the incidence of cancer
and multiple sclerosis. This is thought to be due to differences in
Vitamin D levels. The farther north with less sun exposure and lower
Vitamin D levels, there is an increased incidence of cancer and multiple
Diseases Caused By, or Associated With Vitamin D Deficiency:
here is the list: Osteoporosis, Hypertension, Cardiovascular disease,
Cancer, Depression, Epilepsy, Type One Diabetes, Insulin resistance,
Autoimmune Diseases, Migraine Headache, PolyCystic Ovary Disease (PCOS),
Musculoskeletal and bone pain, Psoriasis, and chronic lymphocytic
current recommendation for Vitamin D deficiency in those people who
must avoid the sun is 5,000 IU of Vitamin D per day which costs 5 cents a
Vitamin D is not really a Vitamin, it is a Hormone.
Like all other steroidal hormones, vitamin D is made from a cholesterol
precursor, converted in the skin by sunlight. Like all other hormones,
Vitamin D enters the nucleus of the cell and binds to the DNA where it
gives a message to the DNA to manufacture proteins.
Image left: Vitamin D Chemical Structure Courtesy Wikipedia
Vitamin D And Multiple Sclerosis.
review by Dr. Brown reported that Vitamin D supplementation prevented
the development and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalitis,
an animal model of MS, in mice. A large, prospective, cohort study
found that vitamin D supplementation was associated with a 40% reduction
in the risk of developing MS. Four small, noncontrolled studies
suggested that vitamin D supplementation may decrease exacerbation of MS
studies of multiple sclerosis lesions show improvement during summer
months and worsening during winter months suggesting a Vitamin D link. (36)
Vitamin D and Cancer
A four-year clinical trial,
involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a
60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who
didn't take it, a drop so large — twice the impact on cancer attributed
to smoking — it almost looks like a typographical error. The study was
done by professor of medicine Robert Heaney of Creighton University in
Nebraska and was published in June 2007. (36A)(36)
Vitamin D and Total Mortality
2007 meta-analysis review of 18 studies showed a reduction in all cause
mortality of about 10% in people supplementing with commonly used doses
of Vitamin D.(39)
Vitamin D Supplementation for Adults
RDA in America is only 400 IU per day, yet current research suggests
that our daily Vitamin D requirement is closer to 4,000 to 5,000 IU.
Twenty minutes of Sun exposure will give us ten to twenty thousand IU of
Adult Supplementation with Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil
can provide Vitamin D along with Vitamin A . However, for an intake of
5,000 IU vitamin D per day, inexpensive Vitamin D3 capsules are widely
available for about 5 cents a day. We provide these as a convenience to
our office patients.
Vitamin D Testing at the Lab
serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D values are 45-50 ng/ml. Below 40 ng/ml is
called Vitamin D insufficiency, and below 20 ng/ml is deficiency.
health care system is in crisis. We are spending billions on expensive
procedures like coronary artery bypass and organ transplantation, yet
measurements of health are lower than other countries that spend less.
In terms of getting more bang for your health care buck, Vitamin D
testing and supplementation for the population is one solution which is
guaranteed to improve overall health of the population at a ridiculously
The cost saving in reduced cancer rates, and lower
osteoporotic fracture rates would be enormous, and we would all enjoy
improved health. My goal as a physician in our community is to improve
the health of of our community, and Vitamin D testing and
supplementation is one way to achieve that goal with no adverse side
effects and enormous cost savings.
Articles with Related Interest:
Vitamin D Prevents Common Cold, Flu
Vitamin D Prevents Hip Fracture and Breast Cancer
Vitamin D Now Mainstream
Jeffrey Dach MD
4700 Sheridan Suite T
954 983 1443
for Vitamin D Nutrition. Vitamin D and Human Evolution Clinical
relevance of higher vitamin D intakes, Toxicology of Vitamin D Reinhold
Vieth, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital, and
Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto Calgary AB,
Oct 13 2005. Highly recommended Web Cast video presentation on Vitamin D
by Dr. Vieth
another link to this same video presentation on Vitamin D by Dr. Vieth
Valuable Insights Into the Importance of Vitamin D and Sun on Mercola.com, Interview with William B. Grant, Ph.D.
Maps, Cancer mortality rates and multiple sclerosis prevalence rates
for U.S. states compared to UVB doses for July, William B. Grant, Ph.D.
D Supplementation in the Fight Against Multiple Sclerosis, Ashton F.
Embry, Ph.D. 2004, Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, v.19, p. 27-38.
Vitamin D Council, John Cannell MD Web Site: Understanding Cholecalciferol Vitamin D
review article on Vitamin D by John Cannell MD full PDF File Clinical
Importance of Vitamin D: A Paradigm Shift. ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES,
sept/oct 2004, VOL. 10, NO. 5
Listing of the best Vitamin D articles on the internet posted by John Cannell Vitamin D Council.
Cancer Defeated: Vitamin D Pill For All. Economical Pill Would Cut Cancer Rates In Half.
Bill Sardi Knowledge of Health Blog
Just One Pill Away, by Bill Sardi, review of Vitamin D on Lew Rockwell.
Medical News Today. Healthcare Professionals Ignore Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic by John Cannell MD
Beware of prescription Vitamin D supplements, info from Mercola
Vitamin D Lowers inlfammation by John Cannell MD on Mercola.com
Linus Paulng Institute on Vitamin D
Linus Pauling Institute Vit D References with Links.
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Web Site: CLL topics: vitamin D is quite cytotoxic to CLL cells?
Reinhold. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D
concentrations, and safety. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol.
69, No. 5, 842-856, May 1999
Reinhold, Vitamin D and Reduced Risk of Breast Cancer: A
Population-Based Case-Control Study. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers
& Prevention 16, 422-429, March 1, 2007.
R, Chan P-C R, MacFarlane G D. “Efficacy and safety of vitamin D3
intake exceeding the lowest adverse effect level.” Am J Clin Nutr 2001;
Levin,. Hollis, PhD Howard, Ascherio, Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels
and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis JAMA. 2006;296:2832-2838 Epidemiological
and experimental evidence suggests that high levels of vitamin D, a
potent immunomodulator, may decrease the risk of multiple sclerosis.
Sherrill J, The Role of Vitamin D in Multiple Sclerosis , DRUG
INFORMATION ROUNDS, The Annals of Pharmacotherapy: Vol. 40, No. 6, pp.
1158-1161. DOI 10.1345/aph.1G513
Michael F Holick, Editorial: Too little vitamin D in premenopausal women: why should we care? Am J Clin Nutr 2002;76:3–4.
F Holick, Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1
diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition, Vol. 79, No. 3, 362-371, March 2004
, Michael F VITAMIN D AND HEALTH IN THE 21ST CENTURY: BONE AND BEYOND,
Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune
diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disease American Journal of
Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 6, 1678S-1688S, December 2004.
Excellent full text article review.
D Analogs in Cancer Prevention and Therapy By Jorg Reichrath, M.
Friedrich,Chapter by Michael Holick Vitamin D in Book Online:
Prevents and Ameliorates Symptoms of Experimental Murine Inflammatory
Bowel Disease. Journal of Nutrition. 2000;130:2648-2652.
Margherita T. Cantorna, Carey Munsick, Candace Bemiss and Brett D. Mahon
Michael F, The Influence of Vitamin D on Bone Health Across the Life
Cycle, The Vitamin D Epidemic and its Health Consequences J. Nutr.
135:2739S-2748S, November 2005
The Miracle of Vitamin D by By Krispin Sullivan, CN on Weston Price Web Site.
: Contemporary Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitamin D-Related Disorders,
American Society for Bone and Mineral Disorders.
CF, Comstock GW, et al. “Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and colon cancer:
eight-year prospective study,” Lancet 1989; 2(8,673: 1,176-1,178
Regulation of renin expression and blood pressure by vitamin D3 Curt D. Sigmund, J Clin Invest. 2002 July 15; 110(2): 155–156.
of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study. Lancet
2001; 358(9,292): 1,500-1,5003. Hypponen E, Laara E, Reunanen A,
Jarvelin MR, Virtanen SM.
effect of vitamin D3 on insulin secretion and peripheral insulin
sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Clin Pract 2003; 57(4):
258-61. Borissova AM, Tankova T, Kirilov G, Dakovska L, Kovacheva R.
M et al. “Effects of a short-term vitamin D3 and calcium
supplementation on blood pressure and parathyroid hormone levels in
elderly women.” J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2001; 86: 1,633-1,637
L et al. “Reduction of blood pressure during long-term treatment with
active vitamin D (alphacalcidol) is dependent on plasma renin activity
and calcium status. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Am J
Hypertens 1989; 2: 20-25
L et al. “Vitamin D is related to blood pressure and other
cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged men.” Am J Hypertens 1995; 2:
AF, Snowdon LR, Vieth R.Ann Neurol. 2000 Aug;48(2):271-2. Vitamin D and
seasonal fluctuations of gadolinium-enhancing magnetic resonance
imaging lesions in multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D casts cancer prevention in new light by MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT, From Saturday's Globe and Mail, April 28, 2007
Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 6, 1586-1591, June 2007
Joan M Lappe, Dianne Travers-Gustafson, K Michael Davies, Robert R
Recker and Robert P Heaney.
Wikipedia Vitamin D Page with Links
D Supplementation and Total Mortality A Meta-analysis of Randomized
Controlled Trials Philippe Autier, MD; Sara Gandini, PhD Arch Intern
Med. 2007;167:1730-1737. Conclusions Intake of ordinary doses of
vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total
D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a
randomized trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No.
6, 1586-1591, June 2007 Joan M Lappe, Dianne Travers-Gustafson, K
Michael Davies, Robert R Recker and Robert P Heaney.
information contained here written by Jeffrey Dach MD is NOT intended
to diagnose or treat any existing disease or ailment, or to replace in
any way the patient /physican relationship with your own personal
physician. Note that all contents of this message, including any advice,
suggestions, and/or recommendations has NOT been generated as part of
any professional evaluation. No patient has been examined prior to
making these comments; no professional fee has been charged by or paid
to myself. Regarding the nutritional supplements which may be
mentioned: These have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended
to treat disease. Any comments made about nutritional supplements are
of a general nature and not intended to provide personal advice. The
reader should seek the advice of a trusted health care professional
regarding the use, risks, benefits, indications, and contra-indications
of the various nutritional supplements which may be mentioned. Regarding
FDA approved pharmaceutical drugs mentioned: Any comments made about
drugs are of a general nature and not intended to provide personal
advice. The reader should seek the advice of a trusted health care
professional regarding the use, risks, benefits, indications, and
contra-indications of drugs. The reader is advised to discuss the
comments on these pages with his/her personal physicians and to only act
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