Dear Jeff and Sabrina:
I think you have some bad information going out in the article that you link. Please see a very well-researched article by Dr. McDougall on the subject. :)
Just to clarify some of the points in both my post and Dr. McDougall's---the studies that Dr. McDougall cites that show little to no improvement in bone fractures with vitamin D were using supplementing with doses that are now considered far too low to effect a change in bone strength.
Supplementation of 400-1000 IUs will barely improve one's blood levels of vitamin D above 4-10 points---and it's not just the dose of vitamin D one is taking as much as what one's starting blood level of D is, and what that level is raised to that's important.
We know from the work of Dr. Robert Heaney, that one's blood level of vitamin D must be at minimum 32 ng/mL before one can absorb calcium, and improve bone strength. Holick recommends a level of 50 ng/mL to prevent osteoporosis.
As for expecting people to get all their vitamin D from the sun (or sunlamps), it's just not possible.
For anyone living in the northern part of the U.S. (above Richmond, VA, St. Louis, & Sacramento) by the time Feb. comes, they've depleted all the vitamin D they've stored up from the sun. They haven't made a drop since October. The average American's blood level in the winter is 15-18 ng/mL.
With this level of deficiency, if one took 400 IUs of vitamin D the level would rise to 19-22ng/mL--which is still deficient. If the person were African-American, or overweight, the level of change would be 1/2 of that at best.
Normal levels are 31-80.
The point Dr. Holick strongly makes which doesn't differ from McDougall's (and I mention in my post) is that the best way to make vitamin D is through the sun. It stays in the body longer than supplements do, it's self-regulating, you can't ever "overdose", and you only need to be out in the sun for 10-15 minutes with arms & legs exposed from 10am-3pm. And it's free! Holick advocates sensible sun exposure--he's not hawking vitamin D supplements.
But, for many of us, for 6 months of the year we can't get enough D from the sun.
As for making money on vitamin D capsules---these are non-prescription, and their cost is very low.
The research on how high doses of vitamin D prevent premature birth, cut infections in pregnancy, and benefit the fetus and infants has recently been completed and is compelling evidence for the value of vitamin D.
I urge you to read this post: http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2009/12/hollis.html
Again, the benefits of vitamin D continue to appear in the research. I would urge you to get your levels tested--especially in the middle of winter before coming to a conclusion about vitamin D.
And it's important to remember that increasing one's levels of vitamin D are affected by how much one weighs, one's age, and skin color.
And like everything---this is not a "miracle cure", it's just one more part of the picture that includes a healthy diet with 6+ servings of fruits & vegetables & exercise.
"Since the Human Genome Project, we now know that Vitamin D is responsible for regulating over 10% of our genes. It's not just responsible for skeletal health--but cells throughout the entire body are dependent on Vitamin D in order to work properly--which means brain function, nerve function, immune function, inflammatory processes, and endocrine function."
Hope this helps!
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As this article was through a link at Veg Source, I was surprised it didn't address the "D3 issue" - that it is an animal-based vitamin, that it is in virtually all supermarket organic milk and most organic milk products . . . so I was happy to see the first comment (green3r) mention Vitamin D2 which is vegetarian.
This is BIG for me, as I've had melanoma, and basal- AND squamous-cell carcinomas, and two major operations, one on my face. (All is well, skin-grafts all but invisible, but still.)
So can you please put together some information on the level of this article, addressing this for us?
Especially because of the milk issue, it is extremely important to ethically based vegetarians.
Though I only use it for coffee, and research the dairy-farm sources of the milk, etc., milk is the last hold-out before going all vegan. But many people use full dairy regularly, and support on the vitamin D issue could have major effects on change.
Yes, you are right. Vitamin D3 is made usually from lanolin, an animal product.
Until recently, physicians were recommending that D3 was superior, which is problematic for vegetarians.
In my post I mentioned that Dr. Holick had completed recent research that showed that D2 was able to raise the blood levels of vitamin D to a level equivalent to that of D3. There was no difference. It didn't matter--which should be good news for you.
Here's the link to his article:
"Vitamin D2 is as effective as vitamin D3 in maintaining circulating concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D."
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Mar;93(3):677-81. Epub 2007 Dec 18.
Here's an explanation of the differences between D2 & D3:
Explain the difference between D2 and D3. Is D3 superior?
D2 was commonly used in the U.S. because it was approved as a pharmaceutical in 1911. But Dr. Bruce Hollis doesn't like to use it. It's unnatural. It comes from yeast. It's functional, but D3 is preferable, and it's very easy to get these days. If you have the option--Hollis says, "Use D3".
So there you have it. If you want to avoid D3, D2 will work just fine!
Thanks to The Healthy Librarian for a very interesting and useful post about current research on Vitamin D.
Regarding comments on dairy, the article mentions a top Vitamin D expert's own regime for getting adequate D, and because the guy isn't vegan he uses non-vegan sources like milk (from which he dervies a very small portion of the Vitamin D he needs, in other words milk isn't much of a source for Vitamin D).
I do not see reporting this expert's habits which include supplementation to be any kind of milk endorsement. One can have soymilk, rice milk or nut milk which can also be fortified w/Vitamin D, just as dairy is.
The takeaway message I get from this article is that Vitamin D is a big deal, most people don't get enough, trying to get enough Vitamin D from any enriched food source (like milk or soymilk) won't do much, and we should pay attention to our Vitamin D levels.
Drs. McDougall, Fuhrman and others also have perspectives on Vitamin D. I think it's important to get all the info you can from a variety of sources so you can make informed decisions.
First thing this article does not belong here.All it is is a endorsement of animal based diet.Don't you find it interesting that all of sudden there are studies everywhere confirming the need for vitamin and now by an expert in very high doses.Isn't it kind of peculiar that you only get it from one source.Ask your self this question.
Who benefits from info like this?
One of the best things anyone can do for their health is eliminate ALL DAIRY from their diet "immediately".I speak from personal experience.
You've made a very excellent comment and made an astute observation. Good job and please continue to expose health advice fraud!
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