Vitamin D: Sunshine or Pills - What's the Difference?
There are very few reliable sources of vitamin D in the diet. Typical diets - even many rich in fresh, whole foods including fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats - contain less than 100 IU of vitamin D. Most vitamin D is made by exposure of the skin to the sun.
In today's world, many people are living with minimal exposure of naked skin to the mid day sun. It's wonderful that vitamin D supplements are an option for these people. Supplements, however, might have different effects on the body than sunshine. What if, for instance, high levels of vitamin D in the skin activate genes that signal other organs in the body to make more or less vitamin D receptors? In other words, what if excellent health requires significantly higher levels of vitamin D in the skin than in other organs? What if pills preferentially build vitamin D levels in organs other than the skin?
Not nearly enough is known about the details of vitamin D metabolism. Mainstream medicine has overseen the deterioration of the health of the nation. More and more Americans are taking prescription drugs at younger and younger ages. Poor health in middle age is common. Don't believe for a second that the epidemic of chronic health conditions in middle aged people is due to poor genes. Just look at any identical twin studies - there are huge differences in health outcomes based on behavior and the environment. The single most important behaviorial and environmental factors are ample micronutrients, sunshine, clean air, and clean water - the fundamentals of nutrition. Yet doctors more often are experts in drugs, not nutrition. The most important nutrients are vitamins A, B, C, and D - the extracts discovered in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to contain constituents vital for health. I recommend that everyone study what is known about vitamins A, B, C, and D, and then make sure to get plenty of each of them. I recommend regular supplements of vitamins B1, B3, and C. Vitamin D is best obtained by getting plenty of sunshine.
Many readers will have some responsibility for the care of children. Thanks to computers and organized activities, kids are spending more and more time inside. With the best of intentions, children are behaving in ways that produce less and less vitamin D from sun exposure. It's time for adults to really think this through. Children have played near naked in the sun for millions of years. Today's children have plenty of health problems. More and more are taking prescription drugs. Are you sure that lack of vitamin D isn't a partial cause? Are you sure that vitamin D supplements in milk and multivitamins provide all the health benefits of sunshine? I'm not - so I'm making sure that the kids in my care know to get plenty of sun.