The following is part six of an eight-part interview with Dr. Michael Holick, author of "The UV advantage" and one of the world's most respected authorities on vitamin D and the health benefits of natural sunlight. His work can be found at www.UVadvantage.com. Be sure to print out the vitamin D myths, facts and statistics page summarizing the key points of this interview.
Dr. Holick: A study was done in Mass General Hospital. They found over 50% of inpatients - these are young adults, and middle aged, and older adults - were vitamin D deficient. Typically, on average, probably 50-80% of nursing home residents, 50-60% of inpatient hospital patients, and on average I would estimate, 40% of the population in the United States at large, if they're not getting some sensible sun exposure, are probably deficient in vitamin D.
Adams: And let me bring you back to the mental effects of this. What's the correlation - beyond depression, are there other areas?
Dr. Holick: Well, there's a fellow in Australia that's done a very interesting study. And what he's concluded is the possibility that if you're born during the wintertime, you're at higher risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. And during the wintertime you're more prone to vitamin D deficiency. And he's done studies in mice to show that vitamin D seems to be critically important for the development of the brain. So there is some suggestive evidence that maybe indeed vitamin D deficiency, especially in utero as well as in infancy could potentially increase that individual's risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.
Adams: Fascinating. So here's another question then. If sunlight could be bottled up and put in capsules and patented by pharmaceutical companies, how much would they charge for it?
Dr. Holick: Well, vitamin D is available pharmaceutically. And it's shocking but true that they're charging about $10 per pill for my patients.
Adams: $10 per pill?
Dr. Holick: Yes.
Adams: And that's for 1000 units?
Dr. Holick: No, that's for 50,000 units. I typically treat my patients with 50,000 units of vitamin D once a week for 8 weeks, followed by 50,000 units of vitamin D every other week. And that's a great way to fill up the vitamin D tank if it's empty, and to maintain it in its full state for the patient for the rest of his or her life.
Adams: Do you think part of the reason the health benefits of natural sunlight aren't getting a lot of attention is because there's no money in it? I mean, sunshine's free.
Dr. Holick: It certainly is a part of it. And like I said, the problem is that vitamin D deficiency has such subtle but incredibly important health implications. It's the subtlety that's the problem. I mean, when you mention the word cancer, everybody's aware of that, and everybody's aware of how serious cancer is. And so people will immediately help fund that kind of research, and promote that kind of research.
But to suggest that sensible sun exposure, making vitamin D, vitamin D probably evolved early in evolution to modulate cell growth, decrease risk of cancer, modulate your kidney to produce the blood pressure hormone renin, which regulates your blood pressure ... I mean all of those things are very subtle, you can't feel your blood pressure, and you can't feel your cells growing, but you certainly know if you have cancer. By then it's too late, what you really want to do is take preventative measures, and one of those is to make sure you're getting an adequate source of vitamin D, both from vitamin supplements and from sensible sun exposure.
About the author: Mike Adams is a consumer health advocate and award-winning journalist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, and he has authored and published several downloadable personal preparedness courses including a downloadable course focused on safety and self defense. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams launched TV.NaturalNews.com, a natural health video site featuring videos on holistic health and green living. He's also the founder and CEO of a well known email mail merge software developer whose software, 'Email Marketing Director,' currently runs the NaturalNews email subscriptions. Adams volunteers his time to serve as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and pursues hobbies such as martial arts, Capoeira, nature macrophotography and organic gardening. He's also author of numerous health books published by Truth Publishing and is the creator of several consumer-oriented grassroots campaigns, including the Spam. Don't Buy It! campaign, and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. He also created the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the ending of corporate control over medicines, genes and seeds. Known by his callsign, the 'Health Ranger,' Adams posts his missions statements, health statistics and health photos at www.HealthRanger.org
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