December 13, 2012

Vitamin D is not a vitamin, it is a hormone. Vitamin D (D3) is produced in the lower layers of skin only when sun exposure is adequate. Sun exposure in the tropical areas of the world are best and exposure within the Arctic Circle is at a level incompatible with human life. Surfers in Hawaii have very good Vitamin D levels, upwards to 70. Most of my patients that live in Arizona come in with a level of 8-25, below the 32-100 optimal range. This is due to increased use of sunscreen to minimize skin cancer and premature aging that the strong sun in the southwest may cause. Studies show retirees in sunny states like Arizona, Texas, Florida and California live longer. The highest natural Vitamin D level that I’ve seen from a patient that did not take any Vitamin D supplements was just below 40; she sunbathed regularly and ate salmon or eggs daily. Catfish, salmon, sardines and tuna contain the most Vitamin D as well as the beneficial Omega 3 fats.

Many years ago parents gave their children a tablespoon of cod-liver oil (which contains over 1200 IU of Vitamin D) to prevent illness in the winter. Now scientists know that was a wise thing to do because Vitamin D directly optimizes many components of our immune system; macrophages, lymphocytes, and monocytes, thereby preventing infectious disease and cancer.

Vitamin D also works in the kidney maintaining the body’s calcium level to prevent osteoporosis. Patients on dialysis, kidney machine treatments three days a week, must take 50,000 IUs of Vitamin D a week to prevent spontaneous fractures from severe osteoporosis.

The best vitamin D available at the Dreambody is comes as white tasteless drops and each drop contains 2,000 IUs. I usually recommend taking 4,000- 6,000 IUs a day depending on the vitamin D level we obtain at the clinic.
I give my young sons 2,000 IUs a day especially when they go back to school and need a strong immune system. To replicate the old fashion cod liver oil, I also give my kids Omega 3, DHA in the form of fruit flavored gel caps that the child bites.

My advice is to have your vitamin D level checked along with the other hormones; testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, DHEA, cortisol, and progesterone in order to ensure that you are feeling your best and as healthy as you can be.

This blog post was written by Dr. Paul Budnick, founder and medical director at DreamBody Medical Centers.