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LE Magazine October 2007

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Should the President Declare a National Emergency?

By William Faloon

Bailing Out Medicare

If one adds up the diseases that vitamin D has been shown to prevent, it becomes clear that if all Americans supplemented with just 1,000 IU of vitamin D (plus calcium) each day, healthcare spending in the United States would plummet.

Medicare and some private insurance plans are facing insolvency based on projected healthcare costs that will affect the aging American population. Insolvency would turn into a surplus if vitamin D intake became mandatory.

One way of getting vitamin D into almost everyone’s body would be to deny Medicare and other medical insurance disbursements to those whose vitamin D blood levels were severely deficient. This may sound draconian to civil libertarians, but when one considers the dire economic consequences this country faces if healthcare costs are not brought down, mandating vitamin D supplementation would appear to benefit both the health of the citizenry and their pocketbooks.

I personally do not want to have to pay more Medicare taxes because some citizens are unwilling to swallow one tiny and inexpensive capsule each day that could dramatically cut their risk of contracting the most dreaded diseases of aging.

compelling research Supports Increased Vitamin D Intake

A review article in the July 19, 2007 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine makes a compelling argument for Americans to supplement with more vitamin D.98

The authors point out that between 40% and 100% of elderly people in the United States and Europe have insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D. They also highlight disturbing findings that even children and young adults who supplement with 400 IU/day of vitamin D and consume vitamin D-containing foods often suffer from a vitamin D insufficiency.

When addressing critics who argue that studies using 400 IU of vitamin D do not show much benefit, the authors provide meticulous data showing that far higher doses of vitamin D are needed and that it is the amount of vitamin D in one’s blood that determines disease risk reduction rather than how much is actually swallowed.

The authors have calculated the rates of various diseases affected by vitamin D status and have come up with the following startling numbers:

  • 78% reduction in Type 1 diabetes in children taking 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D in the first year of life
  • 200% increase in Type I diabetes in vitamin D-deficient children
  • 33% reduction in Type II diabetes in those taking 800 IU/day of vitamin D plus calcium
  • 72% reduction in number of falls in elderly people taking higher-dose vitamin D
  • 30-50% more cancers in vitamin D-deficient people
  • 42% reduction in multiple sclerosis in women taking more than 400 IU/day of vitamin D.98

The New England Journal of Medicine authors then document increased incidences of autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis, depression, hypertension, pulmonary disorders, schizophrenia, and cardiovascular diseases in those with less than optimal vitamin D status.

Furthermore, the authors of an editorial published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have been sharply critical of the media and the government for failing to urge Americans to consume more vitamin D.175 This editorial, titled “The urgent need to recommend an intake of vitamin D that is effective,” goes on to state:

  1. Human diets do not provide sufficient vitamin D.
  2. Minimum vitamin D blood levels needed to reduce disease risk are 30 ng/mL.

The writers pose the question: “If a concentration of 75 nmol/L [30 ng/mL] is the goal to be achieved by consumption of vitamin D, then why is it so rare for members of the population to accomplish this?”

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition editorial lashes out at the media for misleading the public about the amount of vitamin D they need to supplement with. As the authors point out, government-based recommendations of 200 IU/day for children, 400 IU/day for those aged 51-70 years, and 600 IU/day for those over 70 are horribly outdated. Yet fears of liability cause the media to continue regurgitating antiquated government vitamin D potencies that were long ago shown to be inadequate. The following quote is from the conclusion of this editorial:

“Because of convincing evidence of benefit and the strong evidence of safety, we urge those who have the ability to support public health—the media, vitamin manufacturers, and policy makers—to undertake new initiatives that will have a realistic chance of making a difference in terms of vitamin D nutrition.”175

Europeans Are Even Worse Off

If you think Americans have a problem, just imagine if the government forbade dietary supplements to contain in excess of 400 IU of vitamin D. In Europe, the upper limit potency is only 400 IU of vitamin D, making it difficult for people there to obtain adequate levels.

A German doctor authored a meticulous review showing significant reductions in cardiovascular disease and diabetes (in children and adults) in response to higher vitamin D status. As cardiovascular disease and diabetes account for up to 50% of all deaths in western countries, this doctor warned of significant health consequences if the pandemic of vitamin D deficiency was not corrected. The German doctor concluded his paper by stating:

“Given the high prevalence of insufficient and deficient vitamin D blood concentrations in the general population, an improvement in the population’s vitamin D status must be a major effort for public health service in the future. For that reason, in many countries, legislation has to be changed in order to allow a vitamin D amount in over-the-counter supplements and vitamin D fortified food, which is sufficient to increase serum measurements of vitamin D into the adequate range.”174

My Letter to President Bush

On the next page is my letter to our President urging him to take immediate action to ensure that as many Americans as possible know to supplement with at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day.

As I point out, the federal government would save vast amounts on healthcare and disability outlays if it would give lower-income Americans a free bottle containing 365 (1,000 IU) capsules of vitamin D3 each year.

I have acquired the knowledge that hundreds of thousands of American lives could be saved each year merely by taking a low-cost vitamin. Not taking affirmative action to eliminate this vitamin deficiency as a cause of disease would be morally reprehensible, ergo my plea to the President to use the resources at his disposal to eradicate today’s epidemic of vitamin D deficiency disease.

For longer life,
image
William Faloon

P.S. Please note that in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, each capsule was manufactured to provide 1,100 IU of vitamin D3 to make sure that each participant in the active group received at least 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D.

Continued on Page 3 of 3

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