The infographic above from the Vitamin D Council provides information and insights regarding the Vitamin D deficiency pandemic. Click the image above for a larger view.

Below is a commentary on Vitamin D by Dr. Jason Burke of North Liberty Acupuncture.

Recently I spent a week end in beautiful Asheville, NC for a conference on integrative healthcare. In addition to a few alt. med. superstars like Andrew Weil and Larry Dossey, there were hundreds of doctors and nurses talking about how to bring services like acupuncture and herbal medicine to their patients.

One of the stand-out speakers was Alan Gaby, MD, author of a 15 lb. tome called Nutritional Medicine. Dr. Gaby has been using nutritional treatments since before terms like alternative medicine were well-known. A research bug grounded in clinical practice, he had some interesting thoughts on Vitamin D Supplementation.

Most people are familiar with Vitamin D as a winter-time supplement for keeping the blues away, bolstering immunity, and strengthening bones during times of diminished sunlight. In recent years, medical testing for Vitamin D levels has become more common, and the minimum level considered healthy has doubled. Dr. Gaby finds this worrisome. In his view, the normal range is arbitrary, and based on only one of hundreds of metabolites of Vitamin D.

Optimal levels may vary widely by race. Higher levels are associated with lowered risk of bone fractures for some races, and higher risk for others (J Bone Miner Res 2011;26:2378-2388). In pigs, supplementation of high-dose Vitamin D greatly increased the risk of heart disease, although observational studies show a protective effect in humans.

Based on his research, and many studies – none of which are conclusive – Dr. Gaby recommends daily supplementation of 800-1200IU per day, and no more than 2000IU. This is very conservative compared to increasingly common prescriptions for well over 10,000IU.

Moreover, Vitamins cannot replace the benefits of sunshine. In addition to photosynthesis of Vitamin D, sun exposure stimulates the retinal/pituitary/hypothalamic system. That means the sun balances your hormones through your eyeballs.