Vitamin D has appeared in news items recently, prompting me to take a peek into just what the Edgar Cayce readings had to say about this “sunshine” vitamin’s role in good health. As with other vitamins, the readings emphasize obtaining the food value of the vitamin principally from what one eats rather than from supplements or tablets.
A fat-soluble vitamin, D is naturally present in very few foods, according to the fact sheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements. Thorsons Complete Guide to Vitamins and Minerals lists the best food sources of vitamin D as cod liver oil, kippers, mackerel, canned salmon, sardines, tuna, eggs, and milk (in descending order, from greatest amount to least).
Substantial amounts of this vitamin are also produced in the skin by the action of sunlight. One reading states: “…keep the body in the sunshine; not so that there is injury to the body, but sufficient that all of the respiratory system and the capillary circulation is affected by the rays of the sun… These will keep an even balance of the vitamins through the system.” (299-2) According to some doctors, just ten to fifteen minutes daily in the sun minus sunscreen is safe and adequate to ensure absorption of vitamin D.
The primary function of vitamin D is to help form and maintain bones and teeth; it also aids in the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus. One reading concerning a dream a woman had about vitamin D made several references to this characteristic:
“The natural development in children is growth, particularly in their developing years of the structural portions of the body…then it is necessary that they retain or have more of this vitamin at this particular period of their development.” (658-11)
Earlier in the reading she asked: “(Q) How does sunshine vitamin D help insure better teeth, stronger bones…?
“(A) Adding those necessary elements for the building, especially, of those structural portions of the body.” (658-11)
According to a research study reported in Archives of Internal Medicine (June 23, 2008; Vol. 168, No. 12, pp. 1340-1349), low levels of vitamin D is linked with high incidence of death from heart disease and other causes. Led by Austrian researchers, the study involved 3,258 men and women from southwest Germany and covered nearly eight years of follow-up. In that time period 737 died, 463 from heart-related problems. Those participants with the lowest levels of vitamin D were about two times more likely to die from any cause than those with the highest levels, even taking into account age, physical activity, and other factors. Vitamin D levels were checked in weekly blood tests.
From this type of study, though, it cannot be determined whether low vitamin D levels caused the deaths or whether increasing its intake would make any difference. So there is no reason to spend more time in the sun or pop megadoses of the vitamin. Such increases could even be harmful. Substantial numbers of people worldwide are believed to have decreased levels of vitamin D, due perhaps to decreased outdoor activity, air pollution, or overuse of sunscreen.
Dr. Harald Dobnig of the Medical University of Graz, Austria, the study’s lead author, explained that the results don’t prove the harmful effects of low levels of vitamin D “but the evidence is just becoming overwhelming at this point.”
Current daily recommended amounts for vitamin D are 200 units for children and adults up to age fifty; 400 to 600 units for older adults.[First published in True Health Magazine, October/November 2008 issue]