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Vitamin D: Not the Average Vitamin

Posted Jan 14 2009 6:00pm
By Dr. Christine Gonzalez (PharmD, CHC)

Don’t let the name fool you. Even though it is called a vitamin, vitamin D actually functions more as a hormone in the body. I have become more intrigued with this “nutrient” lately after observing an obvious increase in the number of prescriptions we receive for the prescription strength version at my pharmacy. I have also noticed that many dietary supplement lines now carry higher strength products (800-1,000 IU) in addition to the traditional 400 IU strength. The word is out on vitamin D and people are certainly talking more about it.

Vitamin D has been nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” because the body can produce it after exposure to the sun’s rays. There has been a lot of attention in the press lately about vitamin D deficiency, with some even referring to it as a silent epidemic. According to the Vitamin D Council, “research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.”

While the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is between 200-600 IU for most adults, many experts are suggesting this may not be enough and calling for this recommendation to be raised. If you think you may be vitamin D deficient, it is important to discuss your concerns with your preferred health care provider. Now that getting safe sun exposure is more difficult due to all the concerns of skin cancer, supplementing with vitamin D has become more common. Vitamin D will probably continue to be a hot topic for the rest of 2009. If you are interested in learning more about vitamin D and proper supplementation, stay tuned for our upcoming article for more details...
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