Accessibility View Close toolbar

The Sunshine Vitamin

We all know that Vitamin D is a critically important component in building strong bones and strong teeth. It turns out that Vitamin D has a vast number of additional functions.

For example, recent research shows that low Vitamin D levels is related to increased risk for diabetes as well as cardiovascular disease.1 Insufficient Vitamin D during pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes as well as pre-eclampsia2 (pregnancy-induced hypertension), which may be life-threatening. Links between low Vitamin D levels and development of cancer have been studied for many years.3

Vitamin D insufficiency has been associated with mild depression, Alzheimer's disease, and stroke, as well as with peripheral neuropathy, lupus, and fibromyalgia. It seems that Vitamin D has a huge impact on almost every aspect of our physical health. It makes sense for everyone to ensure they are getting enough Vitamin D on a daily basis.

How to get enough Vitamin D? The best source of this powerful vitamin is sunlight. The sun's rays stimulate skin cells to produce the activated form of Vitamin D, cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3). Activated Vitamin D helps regulate levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood stream, helps maintain normal bone mineralization, and helps regulate nerve function, the immune response, and genes responsible for cell growth, differentation, and cell death. These genetic regulatory functions are associated with Vitamin D's role in cancer prevention.

Back in the day, people were outdoors much more than they are in the 21st century. There were no text messages, no multiplayer games, no social networking sites (people actually "networked" by meeting each other in physical space), and definitely no computers that occupied less than entire room's worth of square feet.

Our modern lifestyle causes us to stay indoors, far away from the healthful rays of the sun. Oh wait - the sun's rays aren't that healthful anymore because of pollution and radical degradation of the ozone layer by excessive accumulations of free radicals in the atmosphere. The resulting increased exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer in those who are susceptible and do not protect themselves with sunscreens.

To balance the daily requirement for Vitamin D with the opposing need to avoid undue exposure, most studies recommend getting 15 to 30 minutes of unprotected sunlight several times per week (two to four such expeditions each week are sufficient). Importantly, studies demonstrate that three out of four Americans have Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency affects more than one billion people worldwide.

Vitamin D supplementation may also be recommended, particularly for those who live in sun-deprived climates and for most people in winter. Two thousand IU of Vitamin D3 is typical daily dose.

1Swales HH, Wang TJ: Vitamin D and cardiovascular disease risk: emerging evidence. Curr Opin Cardiol July 7, 2010 (Epub ahead of print)
2Lapillonne A: Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may impair maternal and fetal outcomes. Med Hypotheses 74(1):71-75, 2010
3Edlich R, et al: Scientific documentation of the relationship of vitamin D deficiency and the development of cancer. J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol 28(2):133-141, 2009

New patients receive a free consultation!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Tuesday:

2pm - 6pm

Wednesday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Thursday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

  • "Dr. Blair and his staff are wonderful, caring individuals who have always given my family the best care. You guys are amazing!"
  • Ice Capades

    In the depths of winter, adults, as well as children, exert themselves to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities that will keep them warm and provide both excitement and entertainment. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating all have their enthusiasts. Many ...

    Read More
  • Being a Change Agent

    Being a Change Agent For most of us, change happens slowly, if at all. But as the recent holiday season fades into the distance, many of us wish to be increasingly proactive this year and take real action on the numerous New Year's resolutions that we made in regard to our health and well-being. Back ...

    Read More
  • Holiday Cheer

    In early winter, whether we're celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas, both or nothing at all, families and friends gather to share food and drink and give thanks for a year successfully completed. We send up a rousing holiday cheer and share delicious holiday cheer in celebration of our accomplishments and ...

    Read More
  • A User's Guide to Healthy Knees

    Healthy knees require continuous motion. However, our generally sedentary lifestyles are at odds with the maintenance of robust knee joint architecture. Left motionless throughout large portions of the day, over time knee cartilage will break down and knee ligaments will become lax. These chronic changes ...

    Read More
  • Detective Story

    When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes applied himself to a difficult case, he famously utilized his powers of deduction. Holmes assembled and examined the facts before him and employed a scientific method of analysis to arrive at a solution that took into account of all the elements of the ...

    Read More
  • Learning From History

    Whether we're driving a car, riding a bike, or trying to record a spare at our local bowling alley, our musculoskeletal system bases its decision-making on past history, that is, what it has learned before. Drawing on years of experience, recorded deep within our muscle memory, we're able to avoid an ...

    Read More
  • A Center for Health

    Mindfulness programs and practices frequently describe a process of locating your "center." One's center may be conceived as a focus of energy, both spiritual and physical, by which all activities may be grounded and from which all activities flow. Similarly, ballet teachers and gymnastics instructors ...

    Read More
  • Wildfire Inside of You

    Comparisons between the inner world and the outer world have been frequently drawn by philosophers, nature writers, and visual artists. For example, "seeing the universe in a grain of sand" is a well-known aphorism. The number of neurons in your brain has been compared to the number of stars in the Milky ...

    Read More
  • Hitting for the Cycle

    In baseball, hitting for the cycle means that a batter hits a single, a double, a triple, and a home run during the same game. Hitting for the cycle is a rare baseball event, occurring about as often as a no-hitter by a pitcher. Certainly, a great deal of skill is involved in accomplishing such a feat. ...

    Read More
  • Find Inspiration in Walden

    In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup