Vitamin D and Immunity. Or, Why You Should Have Your Level Tested.

Topics: Drug Food Safety, Vitamins and Supplements, Wellness and Health

A Penn State/NIH vitamin D research trial on rheumatoid arthritis is testing whether taking 1000IU of vitamin D3 reduces symptoms. A Chicago woman with 8 years of chronic pain turned out to be deficient, and then much better. 57% of people admitted to a Boston hospital…deficient.

Depressed immunity, muscle aches, mood swings, falls, colon, breast and prostate cancer, osteoporosis, osteomalacia and more…but sadly, the major class of drugs to treat osteoporosis and osteomalacia, biphosphonates, can make it worse- i.e., alendronate (Fosamax), etidronate (Didrocal) and risedronate (Actonel).

Location, location, location: Glazed windows? Anti-wrinkle warrior? Housebound? Institutionalized? Northern latitude lover? If you live above a line drawn between San Jose and Alexandria Virginia, the sun isn’t strong enough from October through April.

15 minutes of sun on your arms 2-3x per week needed to convert the vitamin D in your skin to 1,25-(OH)2 vitamin D3, the active form, has dermatologists blanching.

Food sources of vitamin D don’t help very much–that’s a lot of fatty fish, fortified cereals, and milks. And the vitamin D supplemented is usually vitamin D2, which doesn’t turn into the active form.

Tanning beds don’t do it, because they zap you with primarily UVA light. UVB waves are short, to the point and crispy, and so, tanning salons tone them down.

Some people with kidney or GI diseases, such as celiac, irritable bowel and Crohn’s can’t absorb vitamin D.

The scientific solution? Ask for a serum 25-OH vitamin D3 level.