Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Vitamin D Solution, by Michael Holick

I recently saw this review of The Vitamin D Solution, at Michael Eades blog.  Our library had it, so I checked it out.

It was a pretty quick read, esp since I disagreed with so much of it and just glossed over those parts.

I won't say it was a waste of my time, since it didn't take much time.  But it was a frustrating book to read.  The man is undoubtedly a scientist, and quite proud of that fact.

He relies way too heavily on studies and percentages, that in the long run, prove nothing.

And his ideas on food and nutrition are dismal at best.

But, on a positive note, I am amazed at the importance of sun to a person's over-all well being.  I had already decided that this current sun-phobia was absurd and needed some reigning in, and he did that. Sort of.

He starts out by telling about 2 hypothetical 10 year old girls.  One lives near the equator and without the luxuries most of us enjoy daily.  She plays outside and helps her parents farm.  She will endure periods of poverty and 'poor' nutrition, she will never learn to read or write and will never wear sunblock.  The other girl, form the US or Europe, will be tech savvy, stay inside most of her life, have the 'best' nutrition and education money can buy, will graduate from high school and college and will be well versed in what SPF means.  However, the first girl will have a 50% less likely chance of getting cancer, and an 80% reduced rick of diabetes.  In fact, barring any freak accidents, she will live longer then the one from the US/Europe. The northern girl will be likely to suffer from all kinds of cancer, depression, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cavities, flu, gum disease, asthma, allergies, etc.  She is likely to lose in a jumping contest with the 1st girl, she will be terrified of falling and fracturing a bone when she is older.  Her fertility and ability to deliver naturally will be considerably less then the first also.

Holick described a lot of the bio-chemical processes that happen when a body is short on vitamin-D.  He also described in great detail how a body processed vitamin D from sunshine that shines directly on the skin.  

He also described what can and does happen when a body is deficient.  How it can affect everything from cell growth (cancer) to bone formation to asthma to obesity.  He gave a dizzying amount of scientific experiments and case studies. 

His plan is for a person to spend 5-30 minutes in the sun with arms and legs exposed, at least 3 times a week.  And that is supposed to be enough for the body to make the vitamin D that it needs to remain healthy.  He dismisses cod liver oil, as it has a lot of vitamin A and one can overdose on vitamin A.  He considers food of little value as well, when it comes to vitamin D.  He is BIG on supplements, of course.

My opinion, after reading the book, is that vitamin D is important to one's health.  And there is nothing like prime-time sun to be sure of adequate amounts of it.  But I also believe that diet greatly affects overall vitamin D levels and that CLO is an important and good source of it also.

So, although there was a lot of info that I found useless or frustrating, I'm glad I read the book to help me be aware of the necessity of adequate amounts of sun in our lives.

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