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Influenza and Vitamin D

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Influenza kill around 35,000 Americans every year and similar viruses cause additional mortality and untold morbidity.

Dr. John Cannell, who heads the nearly broke non-profit educational organization, the Vitamin D Council, now says most of those deaths could be prevented if Americans, and their doctors, understood some simple facts:

· Vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a steroid hormone precursor, which has profound effects on innate immunity.
· The amount of vitamin D in most food and nearly all multivitamins is literally inconsequential.

· The correct daily dose of vitamin D for adults is approximately 5,000 IU/day, not the 200-600 IU recommended by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Medicine and the FDA.
· The only blood test to determine vitamin D adequacy is a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, not the 1,25-di-hydroxy-vitamin D test many physicians now order.
· Healthy vitamin D blood levels are between 50-80 ng/ml, levels obtained by fewer than 5% of Americans.
· Medicare’s new proposed rule change, which forbids Medicare carriers from paying for virtually vitamin D blood tests (Draft LCD for Vitamin D Assay Testing (DL29510), will kill tens of thousands of Americans yearly.
· The mechanism of action of vitamin D in infection, dramatically increasing the body’s production of broad-spectrum natural antibiotics (anti-microbial peptides) suggests pharmaceutical doses of vitamin D will effectively treat not only influenza and the common cold, but a host of other seasonal infections, including meningitis, septicemia, and pneumonia, in both children and adults.
· In 1997, when the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) set the current guidelines for vitamin D intake, they forgot to correct for the widespread sun avoidance that began in the late 1980’s when the AMA’s Council of Scientific Affairs warned against sun-exposure, and recommended that all Americans should make every effort to never let a photon of sunlight strike their skin. This failure of the 1997 FNB has led to millions of deaths around the world.

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EmpowHER Guest

Dear Dr. Cannell:

RE the emerging spring-2009 swine flu pandemic: Despite the Vitamin D Council's current financial woes, you have a moral responsibility here.

My bet is the CDC may "go out on a limb", any day now, and start recommending that all adults (and most children), begin taking vitamin D supplements (at or above the levels you have been recommending for a while).

If I'm right, and vitamin D supplements suddenly disappear from grocery & drug store shelves, almost overnight, it will be especially critical for the Vitamin D Council to post information about "sun-bathing" for vitamin D.

My best,


April 26, 2009 - 6:34pm
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