What do you think of all this vitamin D hype? I mean, promotions for it seem to be all over the place. Is it a real thing?
I’ve read a lot about it on the internet, and those articles say it can save you from COVID, cancer, and a bunch of other stuff. But what’s the real deal?
My grandmother takes Vitamin D because she went to her doc who did a blood test and said she didn’t have enough of it. He put her on a pill. She seems fine now, so I don’t know.
I remember something you wrote a long while back about this, and you weren’t too high on it. You said people could get sick from taking too much Vitamin D, but now there’s a lot of talk about taking a lot of it for a whole load of things. Do you think differently about it now?
“Frankly, I think this whole issue is a waste of time and money. The deficiency states of vitamin D are well defined, and your typical patient walking through the door isn’t suffering from it. Give me a fact-based rationale why we are doing this, because it makes no sense at all”
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– Your Humble Servant, Geriatric staff meeting 2008
My opinion has not varied since I first expressed that view. I would dare say that this topic has caused more harm than good, sowed unnecessary confusion during a confused response to the COVID crisis, and wasted time and resources tracking down empty promises.
Allow me to add that the disinformation surrounding this topic continues to drown out the data, as those with an agenda continue to seek a pulpit to preach from.
Besides all this, I have no problem with it! Of course, I jest, but this debate has gone on for years since we first explored in this space the issues of vitamin D blood levels and inaccurate lab testing in osteoporosis management.
At least that discussion led to positive change in a more accurate approach to the disease and disproving some of the claims for vitamin D. But that hasn’t stopped some true believers from continuing to pound the table as they sell the snake-oil.
Here’s the bottom line:
Vitamin D, like all vitamins, plays a role in maintaining health. If you have a deficiency, your body will not work efficiently, and that deficiency must be corrected. That will maintain your health.
If you do not have a deficiency, taking more vitamin D will not improve our health and will likely damage it. Moreover, taking more vitamin D to treat the list of diseases that it’s claimed to be effective for is a fool’s errand. But the drum roll of support continues in spite of the data.
Having enough vitamin D is essential for health, and that’s why it’s labeled a vitamin. It’s so important to your health that vitamin D receptor sites are found on cells throughout the body. So, this vitamin is an essential baseline for the foundation of our well-being. Vitamin D is not a cure for anything except having a deficient state of it.
Now here is where the smoke begins to rise in front of the mirror: people have observed that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a higher death rate from a range of diseases from cancer to COVID-19.
But no study to date has proven that the vitamin deficiency caused the diseases. Will your body work less effectively if you do not have enough vitamin D in dealing with disease? Yes.
Might the body’s response to the disease state in question consume more of the vitamin as we fight the disease? Possibly so.
So, low vitamin D levels need to be corrected so we can be at our best. The randomized controlled trials, of which there are a plethora, support this.
The next issue that comes up is that vitamin D can prevent diseases from occurring. The data shows that vitamin D can only prevent a disease of itself, that is, its own deficiency state.
Now what happens to those who, over time, take too much vitamin D and slip into a toxic state (and frankly, you have to work at it)? Here, you see symptoms shared with many other diseases.
People show signs of fatigue, constipation, dizziness, confusion, thirst, nausea, hypertension, depression, muscle weakness, and on and on.When the levels of vitamin D go back to normal, these complaints improve. One can see where it’s easy to confuse cause and effect.
Conversely if we turn our attention to the signs of not having enough vitamin D, we see similar complaints of fatigue, depression, constipation, hypertension, high blood sugar and other concerns.
This underlies the importance of having the right amount of this key nutrient. Eating a proper diet and living a healthy lifestyle will give you the balance you need to achieve this state without going to extremes.
So just work with your doctor and tell him or her all the items you are taking, and take a common sense approach to an issue that calls for more common sense and less hysteria.