Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Many Diseases
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – According to a recent study, 75% of 5,000 sample individuals residing in Metro Manila, or three out of five Filipinos, suffer from deficiency in vitamin D which makes them vulnerable to bone ailments such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, rickets, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.
Recent studies have also shown that…
“…vitamin D is not only responsible for muscular and skeletal health but is also important in maintaining a good immune system besides upholding mental health and cellular growth.”
…vitamin D is not only responsible for muscular and skeletal health but is also important in maintaining a good immune system besides upholding mental health and cellular growth.
Dr. Alejandro ‘Bimbo’ Diaz, an expert physician from the Philippine Neurological Society, said as much at a recent sit-down interview arranged by Stratworks Marketing Communications for members of the media covering medical and health issues. He stressed that vitamin D is not only an essential nutrient needed to promote bone strength but is vital for “almost all, or much of our organs.”
Dr. Alejandro ‘Bimbo’ Diaz, expert physician from the Philippine Neurological Society
Otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, Dr. Diaz said that the most natural way of getting the nutrient is through exposure to the sun. The sun’s rays provide ultraviolet B (UVB) energy which is converted to vitamin D by skin ‘receptors’.
And contrary to popular belief, Dr. Diaz emphasized that the best time to get vitamin D through the sun is during the middle of the day, usually from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and not in the early morning hours or late afternoon. “If your shadow is longer than you in the early morning, you cannot make enough vitamin D,” he explains.
Doctors, in general, recommend 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure on hands, face, arms and legs two or three times a week to generate sufficient amounts of the vitamin.
How much vitamin D does the body actually need? “The recommended vitamin D level in the blood should be at least 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL),” Dr. Diaz said. “In the past, we used to believe that 20 ng/mL is normal. But now, it is considered deficient. You have to have at least 30, but if you want to be optimum, the level should be within the range of 40 to 80.
We would even recommend between 40 to 100 or 50 to 100. Anyway, the toxic levels are above 150 ng/mL but you cannot reach that because our body has auto regulatory mechanisms. When you reach 50 ng/mL, the body seems to stop producing vitamin D. But potentially, if you take bottles and bottles of vitamin D, you can reach toxic levels.”
The doctor goes on to say that vitamin D stays in the body for around 10 weeks. “It is stored in the fats, in certain parts of our body, but they don’t get activated right away. You have to put them in the bloodstream so they will go to their destination,” he intimated. “Ten percent of the vitamin D which is metabolized in the liver will go to the kidney where they get activated and will make your bones and muscles strong.
But the rest don’t go to the kidney, as shown in recent discoveries. They go to the brain, breast, colon, pancreas, the nervous system, immune cells, etc., where they will make proteins to modulate so many genes in our body. In other words, it’s probably one of the most important vitamins that helps maintain a person’s well-being and being deficient in this could put one at risk of developing chronic illnesses.”
Dr. Diaz also advances the thought that vitamin D is anti-ageing to a certain extent. “Ageing is associated with chronic illness, so if you prevent or delay the development of these chronic diseases, you stay healthy. And if you maintain a healthy vitamin D status, you maintain a better musculo-skeletal system.”
Studies have also shown that during winter or rainy season when there is no sun, vitamin D status goes down. According to Dr. Diaz, vitamin D can be acquired in small portions from food such as eggs, fortified milk and breakfast cereals, canned tuna and sardines, and wild salmon. For supplements, the general recommendation is at least 800 to 1000 IU per day.
In parting, Dr. Diaz advised his audience to “embrace the sun for five to 10 minutes without trying to get sunburn. When you are at home, don’t put sunblock. You can sunblock your face, but expose your arms and legs. That’s ok, for five to 10 minutes.”
Sit-down interview with Dr. Alejandro ‘Bimbo’ Diaz arranged by Stratworks Marketing Communications
– Denn Meneses, Medical Observe