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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Vitamin D: If "all" persons tested are way below the optmum level how the heck was that level established?

"Season's greetings Gary

Although I'm a 'believer' in vitamin D I do have a question:If "all" persons tested are way below the optmum level how the heck was that level established?Regards."


Gary responds:
Peter, I think it is timely that I do a recap:

All persons I have had tested are/were below "Optimum" and over half clinically deficient. I am convinced that this is the result of sun avoidance policies that have no basis in science.

How are "optimum" and "deficiency" levels established and why are these important?
I am referring to the Vitamin D Council's guidelines and advice. about what is optimum and deficiency levels. Basically, anayses are constantly being made of research into population illness and mortality rates. What is found is that various diseases are more prevalent as vitamin D levels decrease. Cut-off levels can be established, based on these population studies, for levels at which there is little extra benefit for increasing vitamin D. Levels can therefore be set for deficiency and for optimum for individuals.

Of course, these levels are not arbitrary; they are constantly being reviewed. The trend has been consistently upwards. Official guidelines have not kept up and have, instead, fallen further and further out of line with the main body of authoritative research. I can only assume that this huge discrepancy is due, in part, to the multi-million dollar health industry that has built up around keeping us out of the sun while treating the consequent ailments with patented drugs.

having optimum levels of vitamin D year round over one's lifetime is most important if a person has, say a family history of depression, osteoporosis, breast cancer or bowel disease, to name just a few diseases that have a strong association with vitamin D deficiency. If there are risk factors such as a genetic predisposition to a disease, then it is most important for that person to have optimum levels of vitamin D. To not do so is palying Russian Roulette with one's health.

Why are levels of vitamin D so low nowadays?
The answers to this question are quite straight forward: We get much less sun nowadays and our foods are depleted of vitamin D.
  • Fifty years ago, most New Zealanders worked in rural environs, getting seasonal sun exposure.
  • Most schools during the 1940-50's were designed as "sunshine schools". You can see these all around New Zealand, sporting large bay windows and sunny courtyards that face North. This sort of sunny designed would be out of the question nowadays.
  • Traditional foods vary in vitamin D in accordance with sun exposure: Equatorial diets tended to be low in fatty foods that are high in vitamin D. The higher or lower the latitude, the higher the consumption of fatty foods and organ meat - The traditional Eskimo diet for example. Industrialisation and globalisation of food production has stripped diets, including ours, of vitamin D and many other protective nutrients.
  • Single issue dermatology experts, the cancer and the sunscreen industries have captured us with their slick (slop and slap) marketing campaigns to have all of us, regardless of skin type to avoid the Demon Sun.
  • There is no money in vitamin D. There are no patents. It is dirt cheap to produce. The only way a pharmaceutical company can make money out of vitamin D is to combine it with a patented drug, like Fosamax to form Fosamax-Plus and then charge even more exorbitantly. Incidentally, there are now over 900 law suits pending in the USA against Fosamax for alleged harm caused to users. Drs in New Zealand are still dishing this stuff out like lollies. Read more about this horrible drug here.
Leading us into Darkness
Agencies like the Cancer Society are supposed to be our impartial advocates on how to avoid cancer. However; they have no credibility on this issue because of their substantial financial interests in commercial products designed to protect us from sunlight, principally sunscreens. Vitamin D prevents cancers and helps prevent its spread in those with cancer.

If we were to optimise population vitamin D levels, we could reduce all cancers, including mortality rates by as much as 60%. We would see similar reductions in diseases like osteoporosis and depression. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is also a factor in autism which now affects as many as 1/10 children in some countries.

Modern Medicine is BIG Business
Sadly, vitamin D from sunlight is free. As I said earlier in this article: Vitamin D supplements are not patented and they are really cheap. There is no money to be made from vitamin D. There are billions of dollars to made, on the other hand, by commercial health interests from the raft of diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency.

The advice currently given to us by the Cancer Society and others, including Sun Smart, is confusing to say the least, misleading at the worst. Please have a view of the TV3 item by clicking on the image above left. At last, a NZ Dr who is more or less on the right track; but even she ends up confusing us with her advice about UVB, UVA and cancer. But good on her for making a go of it!

The Vitamin D Council - your best source of advice
The best source of advice about vitamin D is the Vitamin D Council. This is a non-profit organisation made up of leading scientists and doctors that has been working for years behind the scenes to counter the commercially driven push to demonise the sun. It is interesting that the Founder is Dr John Cannell who was a leading medical campaigner against tobacco and smoking during the 1970's and 80's. His stance was not popular with many of his medical colleagues at the time. Doctors and scientists were actively recruited by the tobacco companies during the 1950's to endorse and encourage smoking, while lobbying as expert witnesses against attempts to introduce legislative restrictions. This support of smoking, including deliberate confusing of the science, continued right through to about 1990. It is no surprise that one of the leading campaigners against tobacco is now head of the Vitamin D Council.

What is the difference between UVa and UVb?
UVA is the higher energy UV light that causes most burning and therefore skin cancer. UVB is not as harsh and is principal in the conversion of cholesterol under the skin into cholecalciferol (vitamin D)

What time of day is safest to sunbathe?
The Medical experts who advise getting UVb before 11am or after 3pm are showing a gross ignorance of basic physics: UV rays are at the blue end of the spectrum - the other end to red. If you sunbathe at either end of the day, then most of the UV light is filtered out by refraction (This is why the you get red sunsets and blue midday sky). UVb is filtered out more than the burning UVa when the sun is low and you want proportionately more UVb relative to UVa. The more UVb you can get relative to UVa, the greater the production of vitamin D with the least risk of skin damage. If you sunbathe at the ends of the day, you get virtually no beneficial UVb while still exposing your body to harmful UVa. The best trade off is to get a short and sharp dose of UVa and UVb midday and then cover up.

So, the best time to sunbathe is between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Expose large areas to the sun while protecting any areas like the back of the neck which have had too much sun in the past. Depending on skin type, 5-10 minutes of midday sun is plenty. Protect the skin for about three days and then repeat. There is no need to tan - a light tan is all you need.

If you go dark quickly like my Samoan relatives do, then you may only need to take care not to burn during the first few days and then not worry at all. Skin cancer among Pacific Islanders is as good as nil, although the health authorities will not tell you this (They can't be seen to be issuing race-based policy guidelines).

Should I take a vitamin D supplement?
If you are a redhead it would be better to supply your vitamin D needs with a quality vitamin D supplement. If taking a vitamin D supplement year round it is advisable that you have your levels tested about every six months to ensure you are getting the right amounts.

If you are getting sun on your body at least weekly, then there is probably no need to supplement. You can get a blood test to confirm this. Once winter comes round for those living in colder climes, then a vitamin D supplement is advised. Most of us can take 2-4,000iu of natural vitamin D daily during winter. I can supply you with vitamin D drops which are suitable for infants and small children, by the way. Please refer to the Vitamin D Council's website for in depth advice about dosages, cancer and related issues.

Here is an informative video that explains about vitamin D

Please bear in mind that Dr Lipski is using measures that differ to those used in New Zealand. To convert her recommended vitamin D levels to those measures used in New Zealand, go here.
For my earlier articles (over 50 of them) about vitamin D and health please go here.

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Thanks for the honest down to earth advice.
I stated taking cod liver oil just before the start of winter, i did get a cold last month but symptoms were only minor and no way as bad as what people around me went through.

Gary Moller said...

Thanks for the comments Rick.

A word of caution: The cod liver oil of today is not the same as Granny's Original. Cod liver oil of today has very high concentrations of vit A and much less vit D. I understand this is the result of the way cod liver oil is extracted and processed nowadays.

Vit A can be toxic in the amounts found in cod liver oil if taken daily over a long time.

I am not sure if there is a cod liver oil out there that is better balanced between these vitamins.

A safer approach may be to take a natural vitamin D supplement on sunless days and to take a supplement like Algotene (Both can be found on this website) which supplies generous amounts of carotenoids which the body uses to manufacture vit A as required.

This approach is safer and probably more effective.