Vitamin D has shown to be vital to our overall health. With the latest research, Vitamin D is fast becoming the number one vitamin especially in the North East corner of the United States.

Ironically, Vitamin D is not a vitamin at all. It is a prohormone that is manufactured by the human body. The best way for the human body to get vitamin D is from natural sunlight. The UV rays from the sun penetrate the skin to activate the production of vitamin D naturally in the liver and kidneys.

Vitamin D deficiencies are fast becoming an epidemic within the United States. "Many Americans, particularly African Americans, may be suffering from unrecognized deficiencies...that increase the risks of bone problems and perhaps a host of other diseases, a growing number of scientists say". (1) For more than a century, it has been know the role Vitamin D plays with bone health. Latest research shows the many other intricate roles Vitamin D has in the body with over 300 functions in the human body.

Currently, "The Institute of Medicine is discussing the possibility of raising the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D, in response to a barrage of evidence that the vitamin has a major role in preventing cancer, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions." (2)

Vitamin D deficiency is rarely initially diagnosed which is a growing concern within the medical community. Many healthcare professionals are not considering Vitamin D deficiencies as part of their diagnostic tools. Many times this occurs because symptoms sometimes can be mild or mask other conditions such as fibromyalgia. However, early diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency will usually lead to a good prognosis.

Proper diagnosis of any condition first starts with listening to the patient and obtaining a thorough history and physical regarding their primary complaints considering all of the possible differential diagnosis. Then and only then tests are obtained to confirm the diagnosis or diagnoses.


* 25% of Americans are severely deficient.
* 40% of men and 50% of women have levels of vitamin D that are less than optimal.
* Those of darker complexions carry a higher risk and may need as much as 20-30 times more exposure.
* Young girls ages 9-11 carry a 48% risk of deficiency.
* As much as 60% of patients who are hospitalized are also deficient.
* 6% of pregnant women are deficient leading to increase risks to unborn babies.
* 80% of nursing home patients are deficient.
* 70% of America's children do not get enough Vitamin D and more susceptible to obesity, rickets, and diabetes as well as other issues later in adulthood. (3)
* Additional 32% could be deficient by the end winter months.

Vitamin D Function:
Vitamin D has over 300 functions within the human body and is the principle regulator of calcium homeostasis in the body. Vitamin D is essential for skeletal development and bone mineralization and acts as a prohormone. It is then converted to a molecule that has biological activity. The active form of the vitamin is 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, usually referred to as vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the only active form and the preferred version for supplementation. It is synthesized in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol via photochemical reactions requiring UV light (sunlight).

Increasing evidence is accumulating that vitamin D may also contribute to antioxidant function by inhibiting lipid peroxidation. However, the mechanism of the antioxidant effect is unknown at this point in time. Vitamin D is also needed for adequate blood levels of insulin. Furthermore, Vitamin D receptors have been identified in the pancreas. Vitamin D3 also has been found to have anticarcinogenic activity, inducing apoptosis in many types of cancer cells. Vitamin D also appears to demonstrate both immune-enhancing and immunosuppressive effects. Hence, can aid in prevention of if illnesses such as catching the flu.

Deficiency Symptoms:
Often symptoms are overlooked and misdiagnosed as other conditions or are too mild. A prime example is Osteoporosis which results from an imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation. This results from a compensatory increase in the production of parathyroid hormone resulting in bone resorption. Decreased vitamin D levels result in decreased production of the active vitamin form, vitamin D3. Vitamin D enhances the efficiency of calcium absorption. Chronic Vitamin D deficiency results in decreased calcium absorption and secondary hyperparathyroidism. It is even more complicated if you take too much calcium and deplete your Vitamin D and Magnesium. Therefore, you need more Vitamin D and Magnesium to get the Calcium into the bone.

It has also been useful in the treatment of psoriasis when applied topically. There is also plenty of scientific evidence that shows Vitamin D deficiency could be associated with other serious health related conditions.

Vitamin D has been associated with the following conditions including:
Fibromyalgia, Heart Disease, Cancer, Pancreatic Conditions, Back Pain, Depression, High Blood Pressure, Multiple Sclerosis, rheumatoid Arthritis, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, Overall Mortality, Heart Attacks, CHD, CAD, prostate cancer, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Psoriasis, Ovarian Cancer, Schizophrenia, Obesity, Rickets, Life-Threatening Fractures, Alzheimer’s, & Parkinson's.

What is the right amount of Vitamin D for optimal health?
The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) is 200-600 IU daily. However, this amount may not be enough for optimal health and was originally recommended for prevention of Ricket's. According to the study by Dr. Michael Holick in the New England Journal of Medicine, the recommended dose of Vitamin D is 2,000 IU daily. (4) An analysis of the medical literature found that at least 1,000 to 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day is necessary to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and that lower doses of Vitamin D3 did not have the same protective effect (5) That has been backed by many in the medical community to urge the US Government to increase the RDI as reported in the March 2007 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.(6) Therapeutic doses can be as high as 10,000 IU daily, but is not recommended without the supervision of a physician. Excessive Vitamin D can be as detrimental as too little Vitamin D.

Other ways to get Vitamin D is through your diet such as Cod Liver Oil, certain fishes, dairy, and eggs. Although, diet consists of very minimal ways to acquire Vitamin D and should not be sole means to acquire optimal levels. For instance, one study suggests proper supplementation can reduce diabetes type 1 by 80%. (7)

So how much Vitamin D is good for your optimal health?

What to do:
To determine if you may be Vitamin D and mineral deficient contact us at 781-422-2294. Remember you may have multiple vague symptoms or be symptom free and still be deficient. Call today to see if you are getting enough Vitamin D for your optimal health, and ask to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daniel Bonetzky, DO at 781-422-2294 today.

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(1) Vitamin D Deficiency Called Major Health Risk By Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, May 21, 2004
(2) Vitamin D deficiency misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, says researcher, by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, Editor of Sunday, February 20, 2005
(3) Kumar, J., Muntner, P., Kaskel, F., et al. (2009). Prevalence and associations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in US children: NHANES 2001-2004. Pediatrics. 124(3):e362-e370.
(4) Holick, M. (2004). Sunlight and vitamin D for bone health and prevention of autoimmune diseases, cancers and cardiovascular disease [published online]. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (80)suppl:1678S-88S.
(5) Vitamin D3; Higher Doses Reduce Risk of Common Health Concerns; By Chris D. Meletis, ND
(6) Vieth R, Bischoff-Ferrari H, Boucher BJ, Dawson-Hughes B, Garland CF, Heaney RP, Holick MF, Hollis BW, Lamberg-Allardt C, McGrath JJ, Norman AW, Scragg R, Whiting SJ, Willett WC, Zittermann A. The urgent need to recommend an intake of Vitamin D that is effective. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. March 2007;85(3):649-650.
(7) Hyppönen, E., Läärä, E., Reunanen, A., et al. (2001). Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes. A birth-cohort study. Lancet. 358(9292)1500-1503.

© 2010 Laura Bonetzky-Joseph. All RIghts Reserved. This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns. This article does not share the opinions of MedSpa New England. Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

Author's Bio: 

Laura is certified in PPx Therapies, and practices alternative therapies to modern medicine working in conjunction with other medical professionals. She is also a Certified Medical Assistant, an Usui Reiki Master Teacher and practitioner as well as the facilitator for various workshops, groups, events & classes.

Laura believes that no matter what you are seeking, balance is key - mind, body or spirit. If any of those three areas are out of balance, your whole system will be out of balance. She has found this to be true in all aspects of the services provided at MedSpa New England.

Fortunately, Laura was raised in a medical family where she learned hands on about various alternative holistic therapies & general health for the past 20 years.

She's the moderator for various online health & wellness groups including Myspace & LinkedIn & volunteers her time helping those healing from abuse.

Laura's mission is to find the best of both worlds in the traditional and holistic world. Having overcome health challenges herself as well as her family, Laura implements she has learned, studied, experienced and found to help her own family's health and wellness.