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Vitamin D Update

What prevents 80% of cancers, Type I & II Diabetes, Stops the common cold, builds bone, and fights depression? You guessed it, Vitamin D.

January 5, 2009


Well since my last newsletter (one month ago) there have been at least 5 more substantial articles and studies released on Vitamin D so I figured another update was in order.

The scientific world is catching on that Vitamin D deficiency is epidemic and since it is so easy to correct we would be fools to not take action.

Many patients have asked me about the sun and why they are not able to get their vitamin D from the sun. Well, you can get it from the sun unfortunately most of us don't due to a variety of factors. First off the latitude that someone lives at dictates in a large degree the amount of exposure that is available. And unless you live at the equator every winter the rest of us simply do not have the availability to access the necessary UVB rays to convert vitamin D.

Essentially the further north you live the less available UVB exposure you have access to. For example if you live in a latitude North of Los Angeles then you have about 7 months out of the year where you can access sufficient UVB to convert vitamin D. This availability diminishes precipitously the further North you move. However there is another caveat. You must be out between 10AM and 2 PM and you must have sufficient skin exposure. If you happen to wear glasses or a hat or makeup or facial hair or are in a car or indoors you can forget about having a chance at adequate exposure.

This explains why for the past 100 local patients I have blood tested I have not found one in a range that would be considered healthy in terms of vitamin D levels.

Another interesting point is that many of us wear sunscreen which has been recommended heavily since 1972. The problem with sunscreen over that period of time is that it has blocked UVB (the wavelength needed for conversion of vitamin D which in turn protects us from 80% of cancer) almost completely and it has only partially blocked UVA (the wavelength responsible for most skin cancers). As a result we have eliminated the healthy wavelength while increasing the bad and the incidence of skin cancer has tripled in the past 30 years.

This negative result of sunscreen does not even touch on the topic of toxicity associated with the ingredients in the products. This is reserved for another newsletter. But for now use the rule of thumb which is if you can't eat it don't slather it on your skin.

Here are some points on vitamin D and sun exposure:

  • 60% of your D receptors are in your face, make use of them.
  • SPF 8 Sunscreen blocks 98% of Vitamin D production.
  • The darker the skin the more time required in the sun to convert D.
  • If your shadow is shorter than you then there is sufficient sun to make D.
  • The heavier you are the more D you need (it is fat soluble).
  • The older you are the more D you require.
  • In adequate sun with proper exposure your body can produce 20,000 IU of D a day.

Now for some finer points of supplementing D. There is sufficient research coming out that the ratio of vitamin D to A is of equal importance for optimal health benefits. In a nutshell you want close to a 1:1 ratio for ideal metabolism of the nutrients.

Vitamin A, which has been known for its benefits in healthy skin repair and as an essential component for your immune system now shows to be largely dependent on vitamin D for proper absorption and metabolism. Interestingly, just like vitamin D, vitamin A also acts as a precursor to activate hormones that regulate the expression of your genes. These nutrients are involved in over 3000 hormone interactions.

There is evidence that with insufficient levels of vitamin D, vitamin A may be ineffective or possibly toxic. Conversely if you are low in vitamin A, vitamin D will not function properly either. An adequate balance of both of these vitamins is necessary. I recommend using a mixed carotenoid blend to acquire vitamin A as this is what is found in our foods. Also you should regularly measure your vitamin D and serum calcium levels until you know the needs of your body.

Best of Health,

Dr. Dave Marquis
860 Oak Park Blvd. #202
Arroyo Grande, Ca 93420

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