Thursday, December 14, 2006

Vitamin D's 15 minutes

…Is there some sort of roving spotlight that suddenly lands on a certain spice, vitamin or nutrient? Ready for your closeup!

…Newsweek and US News & World Report now “like” the old D-ster.

…Meir J. Stampfer, MD, writes in the December 1, 2006, issue of Newsweek. Yes, he says, Vitamin D used to be boring, even to doctors (presumably those seated next to this vitamin at dinner parties).

…Vitamin A, the B’s, a E were overachievers and multitaskers and glommed all the press.

…Sure, Vitamin D had cured rickets, but hey, that was a while back. The dose to prevent rickets was the dose to take, end of story.

…Ooops, now it looks like the anti-rickets amount is not enough to help prevent diabetes, multiple schlerosis, TB, colon cancer and even the flu.

…Above the rickets level can also prevent osteoporosis.

…People above the Equator are lacking in this. It isn’t in many foods—you need to be out in the sun to make some in your own bod.

…In fact, the rickets thing might have started up when industrial pollution became so great sunlight could not get through.

…Now, we spend time indoors, wear more clothes, and use sunscreen.

…Good old sunscreen can cut Vit D production by 95%.

…Plus the sun has to be overhead to make a good amt of Vit D. In Maine, in winter, white girls were found to have 48% of the Vit D they needed. At the end of summer, only 17% were deficient.

…Darker skin, with more melanin, acts like a sunscreen and darker-skinned people need five times as much sun to get their Vit D.

…Skin cancer rules out the idea of sunbathing more, so what are we to do?

…The only foods with high levels of Vit D are fatty fish and certain mushrooms.

…Fortified foods like milk and orange juice also have it.

…The 400 iu in a vit pill may be too little. Some docs, including this one, think 1000 iu might be better.

…Others think an upper limit of 2000 iu is prudent (this stuff can be toxic). Other say naw, let’s make the upper limit 4000.

…See? Not boring!

…In fact, so interesting, they continue to study it.

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