More Vitamin D Could Prevent Deadly Diseases

Experts Say: Milk is Not Enough

Drinking milk and eating foods rich in Vitamin D will not get you enough of that important vitamin. That's the message from Carole Baggerly, an Encinitas woman who is working hard to end what she says is a wide-spread problem of Vitamin D deficiency.

Baggerly is a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed with osteoporosis, or thinning of the bones. When she started reading the medical literature, Baggerly realized that decades of scientific research revealed how higher levels of Vitamin D can help prevent heart disease, Type-1 diabetes, and breast and colon cancer.

"And there have been controlled trials done to show that by giving people adequate Vitamin D in the winter time, you reduce the incidents of flu by 80 or 90 percent," Baggerly said.

Her organization, called GrassrootsHealth,  sponsored a conference on the problem of Vitamin D deficiency. It was held Wednesday, on the campus of the UCSD School of Medicine. Several experts echoed Baggerly's concerns about the link between low levels of Vitamin D and serious disease.

Cedric Garland, a doctor of public health and adjunct professor at UCSD, said more than 2700 scientific studies have looked at the role of Vitamin D and disease prevention. "They all seem to suggest that high enough doses of Vitamin D in the blood are associated with a lower risk of cancer of the breast, colon and ovary," Garland said.

Garland says it's important to talk with your doctor about the role Vitamin D plays in good health. There is a simple blood test that measures the level of Vitamin D in your blood stream, and can help your doctor decide if you need supplements.

The current recommended daily intake of Vitamin D varies from 200 to 600 international units. But a group of University of California researchers has issued a "Call to Action" recommending that the daily intake of Vitamin D for adults be revised upward, to 2,000 units.

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