Monday, June 25, 2007
Hypovitaminosis D is a medical phrase that we should all begin to get use to hearing, as it relates to our health. It is the medical description for the numerous and varied maladies stemming from vitamin D deficiency.
While the medical community scrambles, some would say haplessly, to get the word out on the critical importance of vitamin D, the leading edge of that same community continues to unearth data pointing to its widespread health impacts in whites, people-of-color, and particularly in blacks.
In this latest installment, the implications of inadequate D levels are linked to autism, analyzed by factors of race and latitude – the determinant of intensity of sunlight. Autism, a psychiatric disorder of childhood characterized by marked deficits in cognitive and intellectual development, represents the tip-of-the-iceberg analysis of vitamin D effects on women of childbearing age, pregnancies, and fetal and early childhood development through adulthood.
If autism is, in any part, the worse possible result of epidemic-levels of vitamin D deficiency, showing itself in 6 of each 1000 children (US), how might millions of children and adults manifest lesser symptoms in ways that correlate to D levels from the melanin in their skin and the amount of sunlight they are getting each day? Black children in the US score an average of 15 points lower than white children on the same controlled intelligence tests, for reasons that continue to elude the best psychological and educational research.
So not only are we coming to understand that the higher rates of internal cancers, diabetes, hypertension, et al, in black adults has correlated origin in vitamin D deficiencies, but that black children are likely at the front of the line of getting short-changed in their neurodevelopment, beginning nine months before taking their first breath.
New York City Schools will shortly begin a highly-publicized cash incentive program for coaxing improvement out of under performing black kids, and this may be well and good, but paying kids money to learn when their essential vitamin D levels are slowing them down, like a drag-shoot, makes little sense. The vitamin D levels of most of these kids, like their parents, are so low that they fail to register at all in health screening.
Innovate sure. But, while we are at it, how about wrapping some free vitamin D around a promotional campaign? It's just a cheap pill and our future, regardless of race.
Take D and live! (and get some for your kids, too!)
For more information, check out www.vitamindcouncil.com.
James C. Collier
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