What is D3?

In short, it’s a hormone.  It is made in the human body through the conversion of sunshine onto the skin.  Otherwise, it can be ingested.  It used to be called,  “vitamin D” the “sunshine vitamin”.  But, by the  definition of the word, vitamin, as a substance that is necessary for health, but cannot be manufactured in the body, D3 cannot be a vitamin.

Vitamin C and vitamin B12 are necessary for human health, but cannot be made in the human body.  Thus, they are vitamins.

D3 is a hormone.   What is a hormone?  A hormone is a substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs distant from the source of production.

Why do we call it D3?  Why don’t we just call it, “D”?  You know about thyroid hormone and testosterone, two of many hormones.  Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies have marketed drugs that attach themselves to hormone receptor sites in the body  and then refer to these synthetic substances as “hormones.”  The drug Provera®, not found naturally anywhere in nature, is an example of a drug, improperly referred to as a hormone.  Many doctors continue this fraud by referring to Provera® as a hormone, and worse, by calling it by the name of the real hormone, Progesterone, even though the two substances vary considerably in their effects upon the body.  

This confusing state of affairs continues when the cheap, synthetic substance, Ergocalciferol, has been referred to as “vitamin D” as if it were equivalent to the real, human made product, Cholecalciferol.  Ergocalciferol cannot be made in the human body, but is produced naturally only in fungus.  Until about 8 years ago, manufacturers routinely added Ergocalciferol, to multivitamins, referring to it as vitamin “D2”.  But awareness of this fraud is growing, and we see less and less of “vitamin D2.”

Since D3 is a hormone, I drop the “vitamin” moniker and refer to it as Cholecalciferol or simply, D3.

What does D3 do to create health benefit?  Those benefits are numerous, but I will mention only a few  in this paragraph.  So important currently is the ability of D3 to prevent viral illness.  People with low levels of D3 and co-morbid conditions, like diabetes and obesity are sitting ducks for Covid-19.  D3 has been shown to have a cancer preventive effect.  D3 prevents   wintertime depression.  D3 helps to prevent heart attack and stroke.   These are just a few health benefits of D3.

Who have low levels of D3?  People who wear clothes when outside.  Yes, that’s what I just said, our modern habits deter us from receiving the benefits of D3.  If your skin is light enough, just exposing your head, neck, and arms to sunshine during normal daily activities may be enough to prevent corona virus attack if you live in sunny climes.  If you live farther north, or your skin is darker, you need to supplement D3 to obtain is benefits.

So, who are the other sitting ducks for Covid-19?  “Shut ins” like nursing home patients or African Americans are more likely to get sick with this current corona virus if they are not supplementing D3.  “Viral load” or dose of virus combined with low levels of D3 is important as well.  Let’s say that you are an African American working as a sheriff’s deputy in a jailhouse, and you are not supplementing D3, you are much more likely to get sick with Covid-19.

All over the world, skin tone goes from light to dark as you travel from the far north toward the equator.  It’s the necessary compromise between the protection that melanin provides versus the need for D3.  But in modern times, people are not necessarily living in their ancestral climes. 

So, if you have white skin and live in Africa, you better wear clothes to cover yourself, or you are going to burn up.  And, if you are a black African living in North America, to stay healthy, you better be supplementing D3, and lots of it.  And if you don’t, then expect high blood pressure, stroke, and other common chronic maladies.

How much D3 should you take?

In my opinion, you should take enough to raise your blood level to the neighborhood of 100 ng/ml.  For the average adult, that means taking 10,000 IU or 250 mcg daily.  For children, 1,000  IU (25 mcg) per 25 lbs body weight.

What about toxicity from too much D3?

I haven’t seen it.  I don’t recommend it, but I have had patients who chronically and consistently  take 50,000 IU daily and have suffered zero ill effects.

What is the nature of “vitamin D toxicity”?  One patient of mine had taken 100,000 IU of D3 daily for 3 months, then quit because he noted feeling tired in general and not able to do as many  pushups as usual.  So he cut back and noted that these symptoms were relieved.  Compare that to dire shortness of breath in the ICU from Covid-19.

There has got to be a happy medium.  But, conventional medicine generally has not acknowledged the profound benefit of supplementing D3.  The “happy medium” is a lot higher than current medical recommendation.

Remember, the important thing is not catching the virus, as everyone will get the virus eventually, as it is highly contagious.  The important thing is not to get sick with the virus.