Who is lacking Vitamin D? Thousands of elderly people are shut up in houses or nursing homes where they get very little sunshine. And unless they are drinking quantities of D-enriched milk or taking fish-liver oils, they are prime candidates for broken hips and other casualties. It's not just calcium they may 1ack, but the vitamin D, which makes the calcium available to the bones.Who else? The children of today! They are inside the majority of the time in front of electronically tuned devices. Instead of giving our children drops and vitamin pills, we would be better off if we allowed them to eat plenty of eggs, drink calcium fortified milk, and play outdoors as much as we did, in unpolluted sunshine. Physicians have been astonished to find rickets among hospitalized children today, often from affluent homes, and even when there is not actual deformity, the deficiency shows up in other ways such as bad skin, bad eyes, bad teeth and weak bones. The rest of us don't come off so well either. Look at how many people work, play, and go to school in windowless, air- conditioned buildings, locked away from natural light. We now sit in sealed-up houses, and when we do get outdoors buildings often block the sun from us, or the air so choked with smog its rays can't penetrate. To compound the problem, at least half the population wears glasses, and practically everybody slaps on a pair of dark ones the minute the sun is spied. Some people even wear them indoors. Americans are tortured by arthritis, and uncounted millions more break hips and other bones every year. We are a nation woefully crippled by too little vitamin D. Adding vitamin D to whole milk is one commendable case of fortifying food, but remember, the form is the synthetic or vitamin DJ, which is less potent, yet at the same time more toxic, than the natural form found in fish-liver oil. Another problem? Vitamin D2 in whole milk is easily destroyed by light; and there is no vitamin D at all in skimmed milk, used by so many people who are worried about both weight and cholesterol. The vitamin D in fish-liver oils is preferable to any other, because it is the very same Vitamin D substance manufactured by the sun. It is also less toxic.
Studies link Vitamin D deficiency to nonskeletal disorders. To date, deficiency is difficult to assess. UVB therapy might benefit certain individuals.Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide epidemic. In the United States, close to 36% of young adults without apparent health conditions and 57% of adult, hospitalized patients are vitamin D deficient, according to Mayo Clinic Proceedings and Nutrition Journal. In the United Kingdom, an estimated 60% of middle-aged adults suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation could benefit medical conditions other than diseases of the bone. Researchers face the problem that measurements of vitamin D levels do not reliably correlate with the risk of deficiency-related medical conditions. In addition, treatment involving the use of an artificial source of ultraviolet B light could potentially benefit certain vitamin D deficient individuals.