As you probably know by now, vitamin D primarily comes from the action of the sun on the skin. Just about everyone agrees that human life began near the equator. So vitamin D levels of early humans were very high. Modern studies show that 50 to 100 nanogram (ng) levels were common, and have been shown to have substantial benefit on human health. It is impossible to get enough vitamin D from diet. 4 glasses of cow’s milk contain 400 units, and most of it was added by the milk manufacturer. A
human being going with insufficient vitamin D is like an automobile being driven without oil. This comparison helps explain why vitamin D has a beneficial effect on so many conditions found in humans.

What has been known for over a century is the connection between vitamin D and bone strength. Vitamin D greatly increases the absorption of calcium from our diet, and that calcium helps maintain bone strength. Osteoporosis has been a household word for over 25 years, but the emphasis was put on calcium supplements, and vitamin D levels were not obtained. It was not appreciated that vitamin D insufficiency in Americans is widespread (80% are insufficient). Once the vitamin D level reaches at least 40 ng., calcium absorption from simple foods such as fruits and vegetables increases up to 90%. Studies have shown at this level the parathyroid glands in the neck stop producing excess parathyroid hormone. This hormone is the basic cause of the osteoporosis that is so prevalent and is the primary cause of broken bones as we age. The big medical mistake of 1985 to 2005 was the recommendation that humans need only 600 units of vitamin D daily, an amount far too little, and an amount that will not raise blood levels of vitamin D more than 4 ng. The effect on bones is by far the easiest beneficial effect to demonstrate. I have seen a number of people who have improved their DEXA scan by 15% within 2 years with 5000 units of vitamin D alone. Numerous studies show the same thing.

My update of 2011 lists 4 broad categories of diseases that benefit
from vitamin D. For each category, hundreds of studies prove the benefit. In the year 2012, each month has seen at least 5 major studies published in medical publications proving a beneficial effect on various illnesses. I have not seen even one newspaper article reporting these many studies. There was however one study that made the news. Someone studied the effect of 600 units of vitamin D on various illnesses and found no effect. The bizarre conclusion was that it’s not worth it to take vitamin D. The truth is that many studies had already shown the lack of beneficial effect from such a small dose.

You have also probably heard of the November 2010 study published by the impressive sounding Institute of Medicine that concluded we should take 600 units of vitamin D. They ignored most of the vitamin D studies that had been done over the past few decades and then claimed insufficient proof. They didn’t fool the scientists and physicians at the Harvard School of Public Health, who quickly published a complete refutation of their report. The original report made the front page of virtually every major newspaper; the response didn’t make any newspapers.