Thursday, February 4, 2010

The new miracle drug: Vitamin D

My sister-in-law is a very health-conscious individual. She watches her diet very carefully. She's into yoga and Pilates, and she's always looking for the next new thing to give her an edge.

Her latest new thing is a naturopathic doctor who has helped her to feel better than she ever has. I had an email from her recently touting her latest find via the new doctor. It is vitamin D. On the advice of her doctor, she takes large doses of vitamin D at every meal.

She doesn't have much faith in what she refers to as "conventional medicine." She says that most "conventional docs don't ever know these findings" about vitamin D. In this case, though, she is wrong. My doctor, who has been my doctor for more than twenty years, is a "conventional" doctor and she advised me to take extra vitamin D almost a year ago. I agree with my sister-in-law on one thing at least: I feel much, much better since I started taking it.

Of course, this is just anecdotal evidence of vitamin D's worth, but even the "conventional" medical profession is taking such reports very seriously. There is at least some evidence that this "miracle drug" can strengthen the immune system and lower risks of many illnesses including heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes.

A report in The New York Times earlier this week stated that Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, a Harvard professor who is chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, will be leading a major study over the next five years that, it is hoped, will answer some of the questions about vitamin D and provide a firmer scientific foundation for its use. The study will also include the use of fish oil by some of the participants. Fish oil is another substance that has long been considered by naturopaths and the "common wisdom" to have beneficial properties.

In the meantime, before the findings of the study are finalized and published, the attitude of my "conventional" doctor seems to be that vitamin D and fish oil in moderate quantities will not hurt me and may just possibly help me. So far, I think they have and I intend to keep taking them. I don't think I can wait five years for the study to give me the green light.

2 comments:

  1. I am currently only taking a multi-vitamin, but I'm always looking for something to give me an extra boost!

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  2. Then try vitamin D, Susan. It may be just the ticket for you! Make sure you get D3. That's the one that is most easily usable by the body.

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