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The Vitamin That Is Not Really a Vitamin: Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin. It is required by the body to absorb calcium from the gut (small intestine) into the bloodstream. Vitamin D is mostly produced in the skin in response from sunlight and also absorbed from the food eaten. (About 10 % of Vitamin D absorption is from food). The liver and kidney convert Vitamin D into the active form which is called calcitriol. Active Vitamin D helps to increase the amount of calcium the gut can absorb from the food eaten into the bloodstream and also prevents calcium loss from the kidneys. Vitamin D modifies the activity of bone cells and is important in new bone growth in children and adults. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to an inability to fight infection, muscle weakness, the development of diabetes, certain cancers (colon), multiple sclerosis, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes. Mayo clinic research looked at the Vitamin D levels of patients who had complained of wide spread musculoskeletal pain for a long time. They found 93 % had Vitamin D deficiency. Some of the people found taking Vitamin D and calcium caused a dramatic resolution of pain, fatigue, and muscle cramps. Vitamin D also can beneficial in treatment of Eczema, psoriasis, skin damage, fractures, osteoporosis, osteopenia, and arthritis.


1. Sunshine: Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin from ultraviolet light. It is estimated that the RDA for Vitamin D can be achieved by 30 % of the body’s skin surface exposed to the sun for 30 minutes in moderate latitudes.

2. Food: primarily foods of animal origin but also from some plants. Examples are: Fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon, trout, halibut, swordfish, tuna steak, cod liver oil, caviar), fortified milk, yogurt, cheese (such as goat and ricotta), eggs and egg yolk, liver, mushrooms (shiitake), pork, especially ham.

Vitamin D2 vs Vitamin D3: Vitamin D can be two biological precursors: D3 which is cholecalciferol and natural, and D2 which is ergocalciferol(from irradiated fungus). Both can be transferred by the liver and kidneys into 25-hydroxy vitamin D and can be used to fight rickets and osteomalacia. Research has shown D3 has some advantages: D3 converts to the active form of Vitamin D 500% faster than D2, 87 % better at raising and maintaining Vit D levels, and produces 2-3 times greater storage than vitamin D 2.

Drugs which can interact: Prednisone , Phenobarbital, Dilantin, Questran, Xenical, Alli

Dosage: I personally believe a safe dosage for most people is 1,000 units a day, but this should be decided by your physician. A vitamin D blood level should be obtained to see where you are. A dose of 5,000 Units daily is not that unusual to reach a vit D level of 30-50 ng/ml. Also to note, if you have no gallbladder, I suggest a digestive enzyme with bile to aid in absorbing Vitamin D.

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