A little pill, a little sunshine, a longer life. It all sounds quite reasonable. But, is it too much to ask a single vitamin to fight cancer, prevent multiple sclerosis, ward off winter depression, boost the immune system, maximize calcium utilization, and lower blood pressure? Well, maybe not.
Vitamin D is the new star in the galaxy of simple medical miracles.
Dr. Louise Parker, of Dalhousie University, says Vitamin D is most certainly up to the task. She is an epidemiologist specializing in environmental causes of cancer. Her interest in Vitamin D was partially sparked by the lack of winter sunshine she and fellow Canadians receive.
Exposure to sunshine causes the skin to produce Vitamin D. But, what happens when the sun goes away? Well, not only do people suffer from conditions like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), they're also more likely to develop cancer and other diseases. Studies have indicated people with lung and colon cancer are deficient in Vitamin D. It's also been shown to be a factor in osteoporosis.
Dr. Parker recommends a daily supplement of 1,000 units of the powerhouse vitamin. Though there are food sources, including fatty fish and egg yolks, it's not feasible to obtain that level through the diet alone. The sun won't get you there either.
"If you were to lie naked on a beach in the Bahamas, and I don't recommend that because of skin cancer, you cannot get up to the equivalent of 1,000 units of Vitamin D a day," says Dr. Parker.
Ah, a tough choice. Laying on the beach naked or a tiny little pill once each day. Well, to each his own.To read more about the research, see this from ScienceDaily. For a thorough discussion of Vitamin D, see this from the Mayo Clinic.