Vitamin D and an Epidemic
“Do Epidemiologists Cause Epidemics” was a nice editorial in The Lancet, some years ago. The essence of that article was that when society is frightened by any medical scare system—that there is a new epidemic coming to eat you up—even the doctors seem to label every conceivable disease as that epidemic disease. They quoted an epidemic of pneumonia some years ago. When the scare got over, a second review of all pneumonia diagnoses showed that even malaria and Flu-like illnesses were labelled as pneumonia without any evidence. Almost all febrile illnesses were labelled as pneumonia, to be on the safer side! That was the basis of that epidemic and not true pneumonia. 
I have been watching a new epidemic lately all over India. Most of the people, who are obsessed about their health, undergo preventive regular screening to avoid any illness and end up with Vitamin D deficiency. Let us think about this Vitamin D epidemic before it gets out of hand and makes people really anxious. You must be in touch with people to know how dangerous that intense fear of any lack of vitamin in the body could cause. Some of them need the help of a clinical psychologist to ease the tension! 
How can Indians, especially the poor in India, have vitamin D deficiency when the best source of vitamin D is the sun that is very generous to Indians? The medical business people were keen to see that Indians also get Vitamin D deficiency by telling them that exposure to direct sun can cause cancer. If that were so, all our poor farmers, who work the whole day in hot sun with hardly any clothes on their bodies except the loincloth, should have dropped dead from skin cancer long ago. 
All our four-legged animals, whose wide back is exposed to the sun whole day, should have vanished of skin cancer. There is plenty of data to show that skin cancer is more related to the chemicals in the sun-screen lotion rather than the sun! I get confused when people blame the sun for cancer while sun is what keeps us alive on this planet with its electromagnetic energy.
Reductionist chemicals-based Vitamin D is not as good as sunlight and is not very safe either, if one exceeds the dosage. We shall come back to that later. Some of us are afraid that our beautiful complexion will worsen if we go out in the sun. True, you do become darker when you go in the sun but that is only temporary. Human body cells change so fast that almost in three months we are new again. So if a girl gets darker, she only has to avoid the sun for three months before she gets back her original skin colour. Sun makes the skin healthier and prevents wrinkling also. As long as we hold on to our slavish thought that ‘white is beautiful’, we will do everything to keep ourselves white—use whitening creams and what have you. But when we realise that ‘black is beautiful’, this craze, and the associated dangerous whitening chemicals, will no longer be needed.
A New York-based ethnic Indian pharmaceutical PhD has been able to extract from rice bran and even bagasse a new compound called metadichol in its nano form which has been patented. This has been shown to help stimulate all the Vitamin D receptors in the body thereby boosting the human immune system. Immune boosting has now been shown even to avoid infectious diseases and even heart attacks in people who are prone to it. Details of metadichol are published in the recent issue of The Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and its overdoses might be very dangerous. One of the leading symptoms of hypervitaminosis D is intense headache due to increased intra-cranial tension. This is very difficult to treat and might even result in death. Do not easily fall a prey to this new man-made epidemic scare and overdose yourselves with chemical vitamin D. Let me recapitulate for easy remembrance.  
Future prediction of diseases and death by regular screening is one of the biggest myths in medicine. So you need not go for Vitamin D screening without any indications.  Even when you ARE vitamin D-deficient, avoid chemical vitamin D but go for sunlight instead. Metadichol can be used as a food supplement. 
sundararaman gopalakrishnan
5 years ago
As usual, excellent article by Dr Hegde.Though moneylife is a financial magazine, i look forward to Dr Hegde's down to earth analysis that always makes sense!!
Ramesh Poapt
5 years ago
Excellent! Dr.Hegde. Pl let we have more such health articles,at least once
a week! Sir, want to know about edible oil-refined,filtered,physically refined like
rice bran. Is olive oil that good as it is acclaimed?Kindly advise.
Narendra Doshi
5 years ago
Dear Prof. Hegde,
How much of direct sunlight exposure is recommended, in say summer months, for a senior citizen? At what time & for what duration, you recommend? Will it change if the patient is diabetic?
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