Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Top Myths About Vitamin D

By: Dr. Jared M. Skowron

1. Myth: Normal activity provides us enough vitamin D from sun exposure.
Truth: Most people do not get enough sunshine to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. Today's indoor culture results in much lower vitamin D production than is required for good health. Sunscree, aging, and obesity also significantly reduce natural absorption of vitamin D.

2. Myth: Supplemented vitamin D in foods is adequate.
Truth: Foods are usually enriched with vitamin D-2, a form that is one-third as effective in the body as D-3. Additionally, studies show that many enriched foods contain much lower levels of vitamin D than stated on the label.

3. Myth: 1,25 (OH) D3 is the best analysis for vitamin D levels.
Truth: 25(OH) D3 has a long half-life and is best analysis of vitamin D levels. It converts to bi-hydroxy forms such as 1,25(OH)D3 which have a short half-life and are not a good measurement.

4. Myth: The reference range for vitamin D levels is accurate.
Truth: The reference range for 25(OH) D3 of 20-100 is sadly inadequate and is resulting in a rise in vitamin D deficiency in this country. Levels less than 25 are disease level. Levels between 25 and 75 are suboptimal. Levels between 75 and 200 are optimal.

5. Myth: Vitamin D supplementation is non-toxic.
Truth: The major consequence of vitamin D toxicity is hypercalcemia, which should be monitored periodically while under therapy. Changes in cardiac rhythms or lithiasis are also common concerns. Vitamin D toxicity normally occurs at >40,000 IU per day. Serum calcium should be monitored monthly. Currently 10,000 IU per day is accepted as a safe upper limit by the NIH.

6. Myth: The recommended Daily Allowance(RDA) for vitamin D is accurate.
Truth: Taking 400 IU, the RDA of vitamin D, will actually lower 25(OH)D3 by approximately 50 nmol/L, and 10,000 IU per day for three months should elevate 25(OH)D3 by 100 nmol/L. People on 1,000 IU per day will elevate their levels by only 10 nmol/L.

7. Myth: Different forms of vitamin D are all the same.
Truth: Vitamin D-3 is the preferred form. D-2 is derived from plant sources and is one-third as effective as D-3.

8. Myth: Vitamin D only treats osteoporosis and rickets.
Truth: In addition to bone density, benefits have been noted in relation to heart problems, immune diseases, blood sugar issues and neurological problems.


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