Dr. Weil recalls how vitamin D impacts women's health.
Vitamin D is absolutely essential for optimum health. You know, we used to think it was mainly necessary for absorption of calcium and bone health, which is of course very important to women, especially as they approach menopause, and if there’s a family history of osteoporosis.
I think we’ve made, we’ve told women to take high doses of calcium. It may be that vitamin D is much more important. I think if you have got adequate vitamin D, you can get all the calcium you want out of your diet, assuming you are eating a balanced diet.
You may not need that much supplemental calcium if you have got adequate D, but we are now finding that D is also very key component of body’s defenses against cancer. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with greatly increased risks of many forms of cancer including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, cancer of the pancreas, lung cancer.
So, this is, vitamin D is very key to our defenses. It also may protect us against the autoimmune diseases. It may protect brain health, looks like it does everything, and it’s alarming that if you test blood levels of vitamin D, which I recommend that everybody get done, how many people are deficient. Even people living in Arizona where I live, where there’s plenty of sun, but dermatologists have made us so scared of the sun that we all use sunscreen and that blocks vitamin D synthesis.
So I think, you know, everyone and I would say that all women should take a 1000 IU a day of supplemental vitamin D3. You want to take it with a fat-containing meal to make sure it’s absorbed.
About Dr. Weil, M.D.:
Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., was born in Philadelphia in 1942, received an A.B. degree in biology (botany) from Harvard in 1964 and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968. After completing a medical internship at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, he worked a year with the National Institute of Mental Health before writing his first book, The Natural Mind. From 1971-75, as a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, Dr. Weil traveled widely in North and South America and Africa collecting information on drug use in other cultures, medicinal plants, and alternative methods of treating disease. From 1971-84 he was on the research staff of the Harvard Botanical Museum and conducted investigations of medicinal and psychoactive plants.