Vitamin D3 Benefits and Disadvantages

Is there a more popular vitamin these days than D3? It is being prescribed by functional doctors (doctors who use nutrition) like no other vitamin ever in the history of medicine and it is being prescribed by orthodox pharmaceutical prescribers as well. It is mildly encouraging, as a chiropractic nutritionist myself (DC – doctor of chiropractic), to see regular MDs prescribing a vitamin….it’s almost as if they have cautiously sneaked a foot into the door of the proverbial ‘nutrition’ chamber….but only for D3! Well, to see them prescribing a vitamin, even if not prescribing all the other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids and herbs we need as being ignored….is a start in the right direction. I believe that in 50 years 95% of medicine will be solely nutritional and pharmaceuticals will take their rightful place in Emergency Rooms where they belong.

D3 should be taken orally in the form of Calcifediaol (also called calcidiol, hydroxycholecalciferol, 25-hydroxyvitamin D3) Recommendations are: 15 μg/d (600 IU per day) for all individuals (males, female, pregnant/lactating women) under the age of 70 years-old. For all individuals older than 70 years, 20 μg/d (800 IU per day) is recommended. There is much argument in the medical nutritional world over correct optimal dosages. A 2008 study published in Cancer Research has shown the addition of vitamin D3 (along with calcium) to the diet of some mice fed a regimen similar in nutritional content to a new Western diet with 1000 IU cholecaliferol per day prevented colon cancer development. In humans, with 400 IU daily, there was no effect. The upper limit (UL) for vitamin D has been recommended as 4,000 IU daily. The 4,000 IU cut-off was determined by the Institute of Medicine in 2010.

When a vitamin comes to the forefront in popularity like D3 has recently we run the risk of becoming complacent, thinking that as long as we have added extra D3 to our multivitamin, “we’re good”,” taken care of” and being a smart, aware, health-conscious individual. This is the syndrome I call the nutritional shotgun approach to health. And it is deadly. Often people do a fabulous job on-line researching a plethora of substances, all cancer preventing and treating…they buy them all, take them daily and feel good that they have done their research professionally and are on the road to good health.

But you know, for a physician like myself who has done blood, hair, stool and urine analysis on many, the proof is in the pudding! In other words, if you feel you are doing so well with your on-line approach to nutritional self-doctoring, let’s do some testing and see just how healthy you really are and how well you’ve done. My experience is that on-line self-help nutritionists miss the big picture. It is not easy to paint the picture for you of what this ‘big picture’ is. It’s an amalgam of 33 years of examining, testing, talking to and treating patients and includes a philosophy that makes an effort to NOT get too excited by the year’s new miracle substance or plant. I’ve worked with too many doctors who, every six months or so get excited about a new healing agent. They then over prescribe it to patients…then six months later they are off to the next silver bullet. In this rollercoaster of nutritional cures there is no firm system of care. Testing blood, hair and urine, as well as the stool for parasites or blood, looking at cancer markers in the blood and putting all this information together into a comprehensive view of a person’s health is essential to knowing what really needs to be done. In a wholistic medical approach you have to be truly wholistic and walk the walk…experimenting with shotgun prescribing of the month’s latest wonder nutrient will only lead to disappointment. But, more on Vit D3 now…

Because vitamin D added to foods undergoes irradiaton to extract it from lanolin from sheep’s wool or from the fungal sterol ergosterol it would be safer to obtain 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 separately from your doctor or the health food store.

Symptoms of D3 deficiency can result from: inadequate nutritional intake of vitamin D coupled with inadequate sunlight exposure (in particular sunlight with adequate ultra violet B rays), disorders that limit vitamin D absorption, and conditions that impair the conversion of vitamin D into active forms of the vitamin, certain liver, kidney, and hereditary disorders.

Deficiency of D3 can result in impaired bone mineralization and leads to bone softening diseases including rickets in children and osteomalacia and osteoporosis in adults.

The 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test is the one used to determine how much vitamin D is in the body. The normal range of calcifediol is 30.0 to 74.0 ng/mL.

Vitamin D3 toxicity can result from regular excess intake of this vitamin. It may lead to hypercalcemia and excess bone loss but as long as one remains within reasonable intake amounts there should be nothing to worry about.

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