Vitamin D: Is This The Miracle Vitamin? by Ian Wishart


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 13 Sep 2012

My first degree was in Human Biology, and now as an Associate Professor I teach courses on evidence and research methodology. Therefore, I was at first both attracted and sceptical about this book. The title put me off. I would have preferred: Vitamin D: reassessing the evidence.I came to the book familiar with Wishart’s science books. I knew he would be readable, courteous, firm, and well referenced. Wishart is well acquainted both with the science and the politics of medicine. He presents the science so that non-technical people can see the point, and technical people can have precision and detail. Wishart is NOT jumping on a bandwagon: he has been researching and writing about the importance of Vitamin D for over seven years. His basic approach, as always, is to follow the evidence wherever it leads, even if the conclusions are contentious and uncomfortable.The first chapter introduces his argument. Chapters 2-12 cover the role of Vitamin D in (2) Alzheimer’s, (3) Autism, (4) Asthma and Allergies, (5) Breast Cancer, (6)Colon and Prostate Cancer, (7) Heart disease, (8) Flu and colds, (9)Pregnancy and childhood, (10)Mental Illness, (11) Multiple Sclerosis (12) Chrohn’s Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. His basic thesis is that Vitamin D is needed, in large quantities. It is vitally important in a wide range of biological systems and diseases. For instance, Wishart presents loads of evidence in chapter 2 that high blood levels of Vit D are strongly associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. The natural level of Vitamin D in people who work outside is 50ng/ml(125nmol/L) This should be the pre-winter target.So, what is the problem? Surely a balanced diet provides all we need?Wishart shows that diet is not sufficient. The main source of Vitamin D is through the influence of sunlight on skin. Everyone is agreed that sunburn is to be avoided, so the exposure needs to be limited and frequent. Dietary supplements are possible, but they work best for those who already have reasonably high body reserves. Wishart is careful to warn that large supplements can be dangerous, unless taken intravenously.So the problem is that we have a generation educated to believe that skin cancer must be avoided by regular use of sunscreen, which blocks the sun and as a consequence prevents the production of Vitamin D. Chapters 13&14 cover this. He explains that sunscreens do help to protect against the less dangerous “squamous cell carcinoma” but provide no protection at all for the dangerous kind: “basal cell carcinoma”. In addition, those with the most exposure to sun are more likely to survive the dangerous cancer, and are less likely to get it!

I wish Wishart had gone into more detail on what to do. I immediately stopped using suncream, but will continue to wear a hat and sunglasses. Sunlight is afterall associated with glaucoma and cataracts is it not? I live in Tunisia and walk to work. Before I started using sunscreen two years ago I had become skilled in avoiding prolonged exposure to sun, while tolerating a little reddening.

Both sides of the debate agree that burning is bad. Suitable clothing is the best way to avoid that, in unavoidable circumstances such as driving. But how can I avoid burning and blistering on my face? Is there a case for limited sunscreen use? I would also have liked a systematic evaluation of ALL the major components of sunscreens – not just Vitamin E, Titanium derivatives, Nanotechnology, and Oxybenzone. I hope that in the second edition he will answer these questions.

Buy this book. Send your doctor a Kindle copy, and catch as much Autumn sunlight as you can. If Wishart is wrong, then he will have only saved you some money. If he is right, then high levels of naturally produced Vitamin D will reduce cancers and boost the immune system. – Amazon UK

“This book is the latest popular book on vitamin D. It covers topics of current interest including autism, cancer, erectile dysfunction, hospital-acquired infections, pregnancy, heart disease, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases. The research journal literature on vitamin D is growing at the rate of about 4000 papers per year yet the health system in the U.S. accepts the evidence only for falls and fractures. This book makes the case well that there are many, many beneficial effects of vitamin D. I strongly recommend this book. ” – Dr William Grant, vitamin D researcher, San Francisco

“I am a pharmacist with a particular interest in nutrition and how it affects our health. I have read most of your Vitamin D book, and although I am aware of much of what you have put in the book, there is no way I could have put it as clearly and eloquently as you have done. Congratulations. As I pharmacist I was amazed that when research showing VitD was so beneficial started to gain traction, pharmacies were stopped from selling 5000iu Vit D and now we are only allowed to sell 1000iu VitD capsules/tablets !!” – A B, pharmacist, NZ