Vitamin D: Is the sunshine vitamin as beneficial as they say?

Whether it’s because you’re rushing from event to event, stressing about shopping or just not getting outside enough..winter is a time which seems to take a toll on our bodies.   In these times, I’ve always stressed to both my students and family to stock up on vitamins: in particular vitamin D and the Omega’s.  However, recently there has been some controversy (again) on the value of vitamins. Which of course, got me thinking…are vitamins enough?

The controversy, for those of you who are not aware is mainly about Vitamin D.  Previously, vitamin D has been praised for helping prevent/reduce the risk of several ailments including MS, arthritis, althizmer, and even cancer.  However, this new study seems to indicate something dramatically different.   Reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study found that low levels of Vitamin D were found in the offspring of a healthy elderly population.  In addition, they found in both mice and human studies that lower levels of vitamin D seemed to slow the aging process. This of course generated the question, is the fact that vitamin D can reduce illnesses a myth?

Here’s the challenge: although the research reported lower levels of Vitamin D in the healthy elderly population, they don’t know the reason why.    Perhaps this population metabolized the vitamin a bit better, perhaps the offspring studied had a different vitamin make up than their elderly parents/grand parents.  The study was by no means stating that taking vitamin D was not beneficial.  It simply stated, that vitamin D may not be the answer to reduce the impact of aging.   However, this is not how a lot of individuals have been interpreting it . Instead there has been several news stories stating that Vitamin D doesn’t work, and some that went as far to say that vitamin supplements are not effective at all.   Now it’s true that the pure sources, in the case of Vitamin D, the sun, is probably the best way to both get and absorb the vitamins. But is taking vitamin D a bad thing? In my opinion, not at all.

As reported in the Toronto Star, there were several possible explanations for the evidence that the journal has stated. So what should the public do? My personal opinion, is trust your instinct, read more than one study and try to live as healthy as possible. Am I going to stop taking vitamin D?  No, in fact since the winter season is approaching I’ve just increased my intake to compensate for the lack of sun.

Of course, I have to admit, I’m biased.  One of my good friends, Dr. Samantha Kimball, has been researching the benefits of taking Vitamin D in the MS and the arthritic populations for years.  For years, she has been encouraging me to give both myself and my children, Vitamin D.

However, I’m not proposing that you continue to take the vitamin if you feel it is no longer right for you.  All, I’m asking is that you read the information, think about it and don’t make a judgment (good or bad) simply based on one study.


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