The Importance of Vitamin D for Alaskans in SE - P.O.W. Report

Friday, November 16, 2018

The Importance of Vitamin D for Alaskans in SE

  • 89% of people in Ketchikan are Vitamin D deficient
  • We need a minimum of 600 IU's of Vitamin D a day
  • 15 Minutes of Sunlight is needed to absorb 600 IU's of Vitamin D
  • There are on average 100 sunny days in Ketchikan every year

"I hate the winter!"

People are often shocked when I say that. Perhaps I was traumatized by the winter weather having lived in Fairbanks for over four years and experiencing -40 degree weather. Yes, Fairbanks has a "dry cold," yet, cold is COLD! 

Perhaps it was having to plow and shovel my driveway everyday for years that finally dispelled the "magic of winter" that I experienced as a child.

 What I do know is that the winter makes me depressed and it's primarily due to the lack of sun and by February I can definitely feel it's dark effects weighing me down--I know i'm not the only one! In the past 10 years I often heard "take your Vitamin D, Take Your Vitamin D, TAKE YOUR VITAMIN D!" from my friends, my parents, my friends parents and I always discounted their advice in my youthful arrogance and perceived immortality. 

My youth is unfortunately quickly disappearing...wisdom is slowly appearing and I was forced to finally swallow my pride and do something i've never done:

The Wisdom to Listen

Audrey Mclaughlin once commented, "When you listen, it's amazing what you can learn. When you act on what you've learned, it's amazing what you can change."

A few winters ago, I happened to stumble upon a radio show and the topic was on nutrition and it's impacts on the human body--especially--if we don't have enough of the right things. In particular there was a focus on the miracle that is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is NOT a Vitamin

It's actually a hormone:

Vitamin D is a hormone the kidneys produce that controls blood calcium concentration and impacts the immune system. It is also known as calcitriol, ergocalciferol, calcidiol and cholecalciferol. Of those, calcidiol is the form doctors most commonly focus on when measuring vitamin D levels in the blood.

The body makes vitamin D in a chemical reaction that occurs when sunlight hits the skin. This reaction produces cholecalciferol, and the liver converts it to calcidiol. The kidneys then convert the substance to calcitriol, which is the active form of the hormone in the body.

Vitamin D has its effects by binding to a protein (called the vitamin D receptor). This receptor is present in nearly every cell and affects many different body processes.

A lesser known fact is that only 10% of the Vitamin D that our body actually needs comes from food. The other 90% is absorbed and created by us in a pretty neat process:

The "Miracle" that is Vitamin D

There are actual books with that title by very smart people that have gone into detailed length on why this one vitamin hormone is so miraculous:

Vitamin D has been called the “miracle vitamin” by many health experts due to mounting discoveries of its significance in promoting health and fighting numerous diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. It may also be therapeutic for neurodegenerative diseases, which may be relevant to Huntington’s disease (HD) [...]

For instance, there is compelling evidence that low levels of vitamin D3 are a risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system and causes demyelination and axon degeneration. The prevalence of MS is linked with decreasing exposure to solar UV radiation, and a study by Munger et al. suggests that high circulating levels of vitamin D3 correspond to a lower risk of MS.

There is also evidence that vitamin D3 deficiency is relevant for Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. The greatest number of VDRs are found in the substantia nigra, the portion of the brain that primarily degenerates in Parkinson’s disease and can also be affected in HD. Treating substantia nigra neurons with vitamin D3 protects them from Parkinson-like insults (Shinpo et al., 2000).

That said, the "miracles" only work if you have enough Vitamin D and if you have any of the following symptoms you may be deficient;

  • Frequent Sickness
  • Fatigue and Tiredness
  • Orthopedic Pain
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle Pain
  • Depression

For a more detailed list and explanation [click here]

How Much Vitamin D do we need? 

There is a debate among the medical community on the amount that you need
Any discussion of vitamin D must begin with the discoveries of the Canadian-born dentist Weston A. Price. In his masterpiece Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Price noted that the diet of isolated, so-called "primitive" peoples contained "at least ten times" the amount of "fat-soluble vitamins" as the standard American diet of his day.(2) Dr. Price determined that it was the presence of plentiful amounts of fat-soluble vitamins A and D in the diet, along with calcium, phosphorus and other minerals, that conferred such high immunity to tooth decay and resistance to disease in non-industrialized population groups.

Today another Canadian researcher, Dr. Reinhold Vieth, argues convincingly that current vitamin D recommendations are woefully inadequate. The recommended dose of 200-400 international units (IU) will prevent rickets in children but does not come close to the optimum amount necessary for vibrant health.(3) According to Dr. Vieth, the minimal daily requirement of vitamin D should be in the range of 4,000 IU from all sources, rather than the 200-400 currently suggested, or ten times the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). Dr. Vieth's research perfectly matches Dr. Price's observations of sixty years ago!


One of the best things I ever did was finally listening to my elders and taking additional supplements throughout the year and especially in the winter! I also did further independent research and concluded that going to the store and getting a bottle of "Vitamin D" is simply not good enough. 

While you should do your own research, I recommend finding a powdered brand of the "90 Essential Vitamins and Minerals" that your body needs and take that daily. The powdered version and taking ALL the 90 essential vitamins and mineral ensures that you have everything your body needs and is properly absorbed.

While i'm still not a big fan of winter, due to my daily intake of Vitamins and Minerals I now have an ability to find the positives:

This editorial was inspired by the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition

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