free from influenza and many diseases
by David W. Allan
Recent findings have revealed that most
Americans are deficient in vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) with consequences
more serious than most of us have thought. Dr.
John J. Cannell found that his patients did not get influenza, while all the
wards around those of his patients, were "involved
in fighting the influenza epidemic in our hospital."
He noted that "All
of the patients on my ward had been taking 2,000 units of vitamin D every day".
(See Appendix A)
Dr. T. Colin Campbell in his monumental
book, The China Study, considered to be the most significant study ever
performed on the relationship between diet to disease, has Appendix
C documenting how Vitamin D works and what the mechanism is for helping the
body ward off diseases. It lines up
perfectly with Dr. Cannell's
findings regarding influenza.
The correlation of diseases with vitamin
D deficiency is, indeed, far reaching and include, besides influenza,
according to Dr. Campbell, "Type
1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, breast
cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer in addition to other diseases."
Dr. Campbell further points out that a whole-food, plant based diet has
great significance as well toward maintaining optimum health and toward warding
Vitamin D is generated in the body when
ultraviolet B-band (UVB) radiates the skin.
Twenty minutes of direct summer sun bathing yields about 20,000 IU of
vitamin D, as Dr. Julian Whitaker points out in his October 2007 newsletter.
However, he goes on to say, "You
could sunbathe on the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago in a sunny winter day
and produce virtually none, thanks to the angle of the sun, which filters out
Hence many of the above diseases have a high correlation both with high
latitude countries and as well as with the seasons.
a result, Americans are woefully deficient in vitamin D, especially during the
winter months. A research team from
Philadelphia recently tested the vitamin D blood levels of 382 healthy children
and adolescents who lived in the Northeast.
They found that 68 percent of the kids had inadequate levels during the
winter, as did an alarming 44 percent year-round.
Levels are even lower in older people, who produce much less vitamin D
with similar sun exposure,"
says Dr. Whitaker.
As a general guideline, Dr. Campbell
optimal conditions, sunshine exposure alone can supply all the vitamin D that we
need." Even the elderly, who
are not able to produce as much vitamin D from sunshine, have nothing to worry
about if there is enough sunshine. How
much is "enough"?
"If you know how much sunshine causes a slight redness of your skin,
then one-fourth of this amount, provided two to three times per week, is more
than adequate to meet our vitamin D needs, and to store some in our liver and
When and if we don't
get enough UVB from the sunshine, then we can get it from a lamp containing the
UVB spectrum, or we can consume vitamin D in our diets.
Almost all of the vitamin D found in our diets has been artificially
added. UVB on our skin generates
vitamin D3, which is stored in the fat and the liver. The body can store about a
20 day supply, and one of the best sources of vitamin D, other than the
sunshine, is cod liver oil. The
vitamin D supplementation in foods is often vitamin D2, which come from plants,
and has been found to not be processed by the body nearly as well as D3.
As a result, North Americans are woefully low in the critically needed
vitamin D. (See Appendix
B for food sources of vitamin D, and see Appendix C
Upper Intake Levels for vitamin D")
While the vitamin D added to foods commercially available is usually D2, which is difficult for the body to assimilate, vitamin D3 is available in tablet or capsule form in most health food stores.
There is one unit that one can buy in the USA for vitamin D: