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What You Can Do About The Vitamin D Epidemic

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There are two serious vitamin D health epidemics in America today; one is the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency and the other is the epidemic of ignorance about vitamin D deficiency.

As a board certified internist, I have chosen, for the last 30 years, to take a personalized approach in my practice of integrative medicine. I have worked with literally hundreds of herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements, to help my patients, often when drugs did not work. In all this time, I have not seen one nutritional supplement that has the power to affect human health as much as vitamin D. This is because Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin - it is a hormone that has the ability to interact and affect more than 2,000 genes in the body.

It is for this reason that vitamin D deficiency has been linked with many of the diseases of modern society. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with 17 types of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disease, chronic pain, osteoporosis, asthma, and most recently with autism.

Over my 30 years of practicing medicine, countless times I have had to deliver or discuss with a patient their sad and possibly terminal diagnosis. Diseases like cancer and heart disease are at best life altering, and most times life threatening. When I have this kind of difficult conversation with a patient, I often reflect that if their vitamin D level had been normal for the previous many years, maybe they would never have developed this disease.

This understanding has fueled my passion about vitamin D and inspired me to write my book, The Vitamin D Revolution. In the hope of preventing unnecessary suffering and loss of life, I want to spread the word about the importance of taking this supplement every day. I recommend that all otherwise healthy adults take 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Worldwide, it is estimated that the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency affects one billion people. In America, medical journal articles estimate that 30-50% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. I question whether this number is really too low, as in my practice in sunny Southern California, 90% of my new patients have a vitamin D deficiency when they start with me.

As part of my campaign to correct vitamin D deficiency, and in collaboration with Hay House publishing, I have released an easily affordable and attainable at-home vitamin D testing kit package.

Ideally, your health care provider is your partner in exploring your vitamin D status, but patients usually do not want to visit their doctor just to ask for a vitamin D level, and many doctors are not yet up to date on the importance of vitamin D. If you use the at-home test kit and your blood level of vitamin D is low, I would encourage you to discuss this information with your physician. I have provided a special section in my book showing how I treat the various vitamin D levels that can help facilitate the discussion that you have with your doctor.

Although the majority of the health food store vitamin D supplements are very reputable, there are still some companies out there that are not so reliable. A consumer often cannot tell the difference between the two, and for that reason I have worked closely with a supplement manufacturer that normally makes products only for physicians' offices. Through our partnership, we have been able to make pharmaceutical quality vitamin D, with guaranteed potency, available at supermarket prices.

Over the weeks ahead, I plan to blog on the Huffington Post about the many aspects of vitamin D and its association with the chronic diseases of modern society. I invite your comments and your questions either here or on my vitamin D blog. There you can also watch my interview with Joel Roberts about my vitamin D project.