Giving Thanks

Good morning and welcome back. I hope everyone's long Thanksgiving weekend helped as much as mine did. I needed a little break to gas the engine back up for finals. The weekend was full of good food, good people and good times.

Thursday could not have been better. I have to give thanks for my family. They've always been there to support me in any way I needed, as well being excellent cooks and putting on a heck of a Thanksgiving feast.

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The Florida State Seminoles also deserve some praise after getting a big win against the Florida Gators on their home field, Saturday. It's the second straight season the Noles beat the Gators, and the first time since 2003, that we've gone undefeated to all the teams in the state of Florida--not too shabby!

We may celebrate the holidays a little differently down here in Florida than in Illinois. The weather is beautiful this time of year, and we tend to be outside as much as we can. If you're a dork like me, then you would realize more sun = more vitamin D! Yes, my brother and cousins made fun of me on Thursday after spitting off some facts about vitamin D and its numerous health benefits. Being that I didn't get to finish my rant then, I'll take the time now to give shed some light (pun intended) on this unsung hero.

Vitamin D

There is almost no population of people studied thus far that maintains an average vitamin D level above 36ng/mL, with the normal physiological range being 32-100ng/mL. I believe these levels are as low as they are because people aren't given the proper education on D's benefits and dosing. Vitamin D is unique because it functions as a hormone rather than a vitamin. Vitamin D has as many mechanisms of actions in the body as the 1,000 human genes it regulates.

Research has shown that doses as low as 2,000 IU per day of D may produce enough of the naturally occurring antibiotic cathelicidin to cure common viral respiratory infections such as influenza and the common cold. So maybe taking some more vitamin D, may be an option rather than taking a flu shot each year (just a thought)? The common cold and the flu aren't the only things vitamin D is good for.

Research has proven that Vitamin D supplementation can be beneficial in managing conditions such as hypertension, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, MS, depression, type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal pain, and it can even prevent insulin-dependent diabetes. In a recent study, a total of 341 out of 360 subjects suffering from chronic lower back pain were completely relieved from supplementing with vitamin D for 3 months.

The current upper limit of Vitamin D supplementation set by the Institute of Medicine is 4000 IU a day. This is simply not enough; research has shown that 4,000 IU/day of D has no effect on calcium levels in the serum or urine. Our optimum serum D levels should be in the range of 32-100 ng/mL. We could achieve this by supplementation of 4,000-10,000 IU/day.

How vitamin D is absorbed and utilized by each person is different, and dosing is therefore no different. A good rule of thumb for vitamin D dosing is: If you are under 110 lbs., you may want to supplement with 5,000 IU/day; if over 110 lbs., 10,000 IU/day. I know 10,000 IU sounds like a ton of supplement, but in reality 10,000 IU only equals 0.25mg.

Feels good to get that off my chest finally. I hope everyone has a killer week, and start studying, if you haven't already, for finals start next week.

Take care,
Dex