DAILY EVENT MEDICAL EDITOR Dr. Immer Kronkhite answers a reader's question:
Dear Dr. Kronkhite,
This morning as I was putting on my double layer hydrophobic Coolmax running socks my big toe fell off. On the advice of my holistic wellness consultant I have been taking 25,000 I.U.'s of Vitamin D a day to strengthen my immune system, prevent cancer and heart disease. Am I taking too much?
Originally touted as a miracle cure, Vitamin D went from hero to goat in the pharmacopeia, but bounced back to Number One in the panacea parade. It is now credited with helping to prevent cancer, heart disease, hypertension, TB, MS, chronic pain, anorexia, depression, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder and polyglattis of the blowhole. How long it will occupy this exalted position is anybody's guess?
HOW VITAMIN D GOT ITS NAME
This has long been a mystery in taxonomic circles because Vitamin D was discovered before Vitamin C and certain of the B Vitamins.
In 1919 British physician Dr. Edward Mallenby locked a group of dogs in a dark cellar and kept them there in near starvation conditions until their teeth fell out and they developed painful bone deformations. Mallenby determined that these poor animals were suffering from a vitamin deficiency caused by starvation and lack of sunlight. For his pioneering work in animal abuse he was knighted and his discovery became known as Vitamin D for Dogs...
VITAMIN D FOR DUMB
Every schoolchild is familiar with the photo of the Third World waif with hollow eyes and emaciated twisted limbs. This child was suffering from rickets, a disease of malnutrition and poverty caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D.
Fear of rickets led parents to serve what is now referred to as the "Babyboomer Breakfast," which was rich in Vitamin D. This consisted of a spoonful of rancid tasting cold liver oil, followed by a shot of sugary, acidulous canned orange juice chased by a glass of ice cold milk. No thought was given to those children who might be lactose intolerant or allergic. The bloated, nauseated tykes were given Pop Tarts and sent on their way to school.
Years later case studies showed that most of those suffering from learning disabilities associated school with the smell of vomit and feces caused by children sickened by the Boomer Breakfasts. Vitamin D thus can be linked to a strong aversion for learning.
VITAMIN D FOR DISQUALIFIED
Vitamin D has been deceptively branded. It is not a vitamin at all, but a prehormone that produces steroids in the human body. The naturally occurring component of Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, that is produced when sunlight hits the skin, breaks into calcidol, the strongest steroid in the body and calcitriol, another potent hormone that has been linked with possible cancer prevention. Overzealous drug testers (are there any other kind?) might confuse these with certain illegal performance enhancers. You might find yourself bounced from the sack race at the next company picnic with certain drastic consequences for your personal and professional life.
VITAMIN D FOR DANGER
Vitamins D and A are fat soluble vitamins, which means they are stored in the liver and can reach toxic levels.
Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D. A fifteen to twenty minute exposure to the morning sun is considered sufficient for the daily requirement. Use of sunblock is discouraged and this has led to fears of skin cancer in the fair-skinned, the genetically susceptible and the immuno-compromised. But recent studies have shown that even the strongest sunblock is ineffective so you can get skin cancer and a possible toxic dose of D in one short walk on the beach.
Egg yolks are a good source of D, but also of cholesterol, which is a major cause of heart disease.
Tuna is high in D but higher in mercury and is counter-indicated for the elderly the very young, pregnant women and hypochondriacs like you who take their temperature a lot.
Salmon is rich in D, but the farmed variety is contaminated with industrial chemicals that can cause neurological disease and reproductive anomalies.
Eels are bursting with D, but most eels are imported from China. Need I say more?
VITAMIN D FOR DISTRUST
After years in the doghouse Vitamin D has suddenly jumped to the fore as a miracle drug. This may be the result of honest research...Or clever marketing. You should know that the Vitamin D Benevolent Association is behind only Pfizer , AIPAC and the NRA in the amount of lobbyists it has on Capitol Hill.
Hope I've been of help.
Causes Heywood Gould Supports
Leukemia and Lymphomia Association
American Cancer Society
St. Jude's Children Research Hospital