The benefits of Vitamin D

What if there was one pill you could take that could possibly help reduce your risk for 17 types of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and childhood asthma - and it wasn't a prescription drug? It's a pill that some recent studies indicate could lower the incidence of breast cancer by as much as 50 percent and reduce our national cost of cancer treatment by $25 billion annually, while costing consumers only pennies a day.That pill exists, according to Dr. Soram Khalsa a member of the medical staff at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. It's Vitamin D, a nutrient that has been in common use since the 1920s, and new data suggests it could help stem the tide of many chronic conditions at a cost of under 10 cents a day. Khalsa - a board-certified internist, 30-year practitioner and pioneer of integrative medicine and author of the book "The Vitamin D Revolution" from Hay House (vitamindrevolution.com) - knows that the lack of Vitamin D in Americans has been cited as a factor in just about every major ailment suffered by Americans, and he is on a crusade to stop the trend before millions more suffer. Khalsa believes that the U.S. recommended daily allowance (RDA) of Vitamin D is outdated and too low, based on the long standing premise that Vitamin D only helps fight rickets. "In the past ten years, medical science has discovered that Vitamin D in higher doses can help prevent numerous other illnesses, yet the RDA does not reflect that new understanding. Simply put, the government is behind the curve." "The world's best Vitamin D researchers are convinced that as many as one billion people worldwide are deficient in Vitamin D," Khalsa said. "Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in conditions including cancer, coronary artery disease and even chronic pain. Estimates indicate that the economic burden of Vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. alone could cost between $40 -$56 billion annually. The bottom line is that dozens of scientific studies have proclaimed resoundingly that the incidence of these illnesses is lower in people with higher levels of Vitamin D in their systems, and is higher in those who lack it. It's just that simple." "By increasing one's Vitamin D levels from the currently accepted range of 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) in their blood to a range of about 40 ng/ml - 70 ng/ml, the risk of cancer and other Vitamin D long-latency deficiency diseases can be reduced. It is now known that most organs, in the body have Vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D, which is really a hormone and not really a vitamin at all, circulates throughout the body and interacts with cells, tissue and organs. Researchers are now finding that Vitamin D interacts with more than 2,000 genes - Vitamin D is the only substance of its kind in the body." Khalsa added that the best way to find out if you are Vitamin D deficient is through a simple blood test you can request from your physician or even perform with a home test kit. Some of the symptoms of very low Vitamin D levels can include: • Muscular weakness • Feeling of heaviness in the legs • Chronic musculoskeletal pain • Fatigue • Frequent infections • Depression In 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association urged adults to take a daily multivitamin. With the same urgency, Khalsa would like to see every adult taking 1000 IU - 2000 IU per day of Vitamin D as part of their wellness regimen. "Although most of the evidence that vitamin D helps protect against cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis is retrospective and epidemiological, there is no harm in taking a higher dose now while the prospective studies are being carried out. At most, the extra vitamin D will do no harm. At best, it will probably bring us great benefit." "Because of the vast lack of access to basic healthcare, we have a massive population of people who walk around like ticking time bombs," he said. "They don't feel good, and don't know why, but because their health issues aren't debilitating or pressing, they don't seek out medical care that is either too expensive or just plain not available. As a result, their risk for an immense array of illnesses skyrockets while they find it easy to ignore their own need for care. By adopting an integrative model of health care that incorporates safe and accepted self-care and complementary medicine strategies like adding Vitamin D, consumers can actively participate in managing their health - proactively mitigating certain risks and improving the quality of their daily lives." Dr. Soram Khalsa is a board-certified internist on the medical staff at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and a 30-year veteran in the practice of integrative medicine.

********** Published: January 8, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 38