Vitamin D is the forgotten vitamin
Dr. Dowd says vitamin D is the forgotten vitamin and vitamin D deficiency is rampant in the United States today.
“Our activity level, our sun exposure and our diet have dramatically changed over the years,” says Dr. Dowd. “That really explains why our vitamin D levels are so low.”
Dr. Dowd says research shows that a deficiency in vitamin D is a major culprit in disease development. It is most common in women, people of color, obese people, and breast-fed infants. It is also more common as we get older. Almost 60% of the country is deficient, 55% of kids, 75% Latinos, and 90% of African Americans.
Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin. Vitamins are organic substances obtained from dietary sources. Vitamin D is produced by the body. When your skin is exposed to ultra-violet B (UVB) radiation from the sun, vitamin D is synthesized. Next, this fat-soluble vitamin is transported to the liver and kidneys where it is converted into the forms your tissues need. It becomes activated vitamin D and turns into an active participant in your body workings.
Pre-vitamin D is made in the liver and UVB plus heat twist the pre-vitamin D into a reaction that forms vitamin D3 in the skin. When it’s further activated in the liver, kidney and other tissues, it turns into a unique, potent hormone that belongs to a group called the steroid hormone family. All the hormones in this family are made from cholesterol and include cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
Many people mistakenly think they get enough vitamin D from casual sun exposure or diet. This is not true. People in today’s urban society rarely get enough sun exposure to fill their vitamin D requirement.
ABOUT DR. DOWD
Dr. Dowd is board-certified in internal medicine, adult rheumatology, and pediatric rheumatology. He completed his undergraduate studies at Texas A&M University in 1983 and received his medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston in 1987.
Dr. Dowd also completed a residency in combined internal medicine and pediatrics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he served as chief medical resident at Erie County Medical Center in 1991.
Additionally, Dr. Dowd completed a four-year fellowship in combined adult and pediatric rheumatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas in 1995.
Dr. Dowd founded the Arthritis Institute of Michigan in 1997.