If you read nothing else about vitamin D just read this:

1. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption from the GI tract and puts it in the bones to prevent osteoporosis. Bone has been found to be denser on DEXA scans at levels of at least 40 nanograms.
2. A simple blood test can determine your level. It is covered by insurance just like any other blood test.
3. Vitamin D is produced from the action of sunlight in the skin. Lifeguards at the end of the summer have levels of 150 ng.
4. Although the normal level is 32 to 100 nanograms. there is substantial evidence that the ideal level is at least 50 to 70 ng. It may turn out with further research that the ideal level is even higher.
5. Because of the distance from the equator, the use of sun screen to protect our skins against damage, and clothes! 2/3rds of Americans (and therefore 2/3rds of people that you know) have Vitamin D Insufficiency or Deficiency (levels less than 32 ng.) The 2/3rds figure also applies to children. The 25-hydroxy vitamin D level goes up often from 5 to 10 ng. into the summer and for awhile in autumn.
6. Most of the “normals” are still in the 30’s, below the ideal range. In my 1200 tests, 2/3rds had levels of less than 32 ng.,and only 1% have had ideal levels over 50 ng. without treatment. 99% of 600 people I tested with osteopenia or osteoporosis have levels less than 32 ng.; I have heard from several rheumatologists in South Jersey who have found the same, and large studies have confirmed these results.
7. The treatment is very easy and inexpensive. (less than $1.50 per capsule). Prescription strength vitamin D 50,000 uni\ts is prescribed once a week for 12 weeks; then the dose is adjusted based on follow-up blood levels. Unless there is a major change in a person’s sun exposure, they will need to continue taking the Vitamin D for their lifetime, and yearly blood levels are a good idea. The 50,000 units are by prescription only because there would be some people who would take it every day by mistake.
8. To demonstrate how the knowledge of vitamin D is still evolving, The American Academy of Pediatrics just recommended this month that newborns take in at least 400 units of vitamin D a day. This dose of 40 units per pound per day is equivalent to 42,000 units a week for a 150 pound adult, or 56,000 units a week for a 200 pound adult. In comparison, most adults with a deficiency need from 50,000 units a month to 50,000 units a year to reach and maintain the ideal level.
9. Taking over the counter 400 unit vitamin D is worthless for an adult in treating a deficiency or preventing fractures. Studies have shown it doesn’t work and doesn’t result in normal levels above 32 ng.. It raises the vitamin D level about 5 nanograms. It has been shown repeatedly in long term studies that it doesn’t prevent fractures or illnesses. 800 units a day has been shown to raise the level about 10 nanograms.
10. Vitamin D also prevents hyperproliferation of cells in the body. There is a massive amount of research over 2 decades that deficiency is a substantial risk factor in colon, breast, prostate, and many other cancers. In November, 2008, a study was published that confirmed previous studies that showed that 400 units of vitamin D over 7 years in women didn’t prevent fractures or cancer because it is far too little. Much higher doses are needed to increase levels and prevent breast and other cancers.
11. Vitamin D is a powerful factor in preventing many autoimmune diseases. There are studies that show it stops or slows the progression of multiple sclerosis.
12. There are many other diseases that haven’t been well studied that appear to be associated with vitamin D deficiency.
13. No side effects occur with vitamin D unless the blood level reaches 200 ng. This level is impossible to reach unless an adult takes at least 75,000 units of vitamin D a week for an extended length of time – about 8 months. In spite of this, there is vitamin D hysteria about vitamin D toxicity.
14. Because Vitamin D is so inexpensive, spreading the word about vitamin D deficiency among both doctors and non-doctors has been limited.
15. Osteoporosis fractures cost this country a few billion dollars a year. Fractures are reduced by treating a deficiency at any age. Studies have even shown that treating deficiency in people over 80 years of age reduced the incidence of fractures within 6 months. It is never too late or too early to treat deficiency.
16. Because of the illnesses that can be prevented be correcting vitamin D deficiency, Vitamin D represents it’s own health care plan. Billions of dollars in health care costs could be saved if the Surgeon General of the United States launches a public health education program.
17. The evidence of the benefit with vitamin D is substantial, and more studies will take place in the next decade quantifying the specific risk with cancer and autoimmune diseases, and measuring the effectiveness in treating these conditions. .