Understanding Vitamin D Cholecalciferol
from Vitamin D Council
The high rate of natural production of vitamin D3 cholecalciferol (pronounced koh·luh·kal·sif·uh·rawl) in the skin is the single most important fact every person should know about vitamin D—a fact that has profound implications for the natural human condition.
Technically not a “vitamin,” vitamin D is in a class by itself. Its metabolic product, calcitriol, is actually a secosteroid hormone that targets over 2000 genes (about 10% of the human genome) in the human body. Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.
Vitamin D’s influence on key biological functions vital to one’s health and well-being mandates that vitamin D no longer be ignored by the health care industry nor by individuals striving to achieve and maintain a greater state of health.
Sunshine and Your Health
If well adults and adolescents regularly avoid sunlight exposure, research indicates a necessity to supplement with at least 5,000 units (IU) of vitamin D daily. To obtain this amount from milk one would need to consume 50 glasses. With a multivitamin more than 10 tablets would be necessary. Neither is advisable.
The skin produces approximately 10,000 IU vitamin D in response 20–30 minutes summer sun exposure—50 times more than the US government’s recommendation of 200 IU per day!
How To Get Enough Vitamin D
There are 3 ways for adults to insure adequate levels of vitamin D:
- regularly receive midday sun exposure in the late spring, summer, and early fall, exposing as much of the skin as possible.
- regularly use a sun bed (avoiding sunburn) during the colder months.
- take 5,000 IU per day for three months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 50–80 ng/mL (or 125–200 nM/L) year-round.
Flu and Vitamin D
Dr. Cannell receives crucial emails from two physicians who have evidence vitamin D is protective against Flu. Read the emails in our September 2009 “Special Report” edition of our Vitamin D Newsletter: Vitamin D and H1N1 Swine Flu.
Learn about the profound effects vitamin D has on the immune system and why it could potentially be a potent ally this coming swine flu season!
Watch this video of an interview with Vitamin D Council Executive Director Dr. John Cannell, where he explains vitamin D’s effect on innate and adaptive immunity and what that means in relation to viral infections, such as the flu or the common cold.