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The sunshine vitamin: changes in our environment and the pandemic shined a light on Vitamin D!

Vitamin D = the sunshine vitamin!

I could not think of a better EARTH DAY story to share than what I witnessed in my clinical practice during and after the shut down as it was nothing less than miraculous!

For years I have understood that it was no longer enough, especially in the United States, to rely solely on the sunlight for our much-needed Vitamin D. I routinely checked Vitamin D levels of every patient who walked through my door before the pandemic regularly prescribed five times the amount of Vitamin D to most of my patients to get serum levels to the therapeutic range of 80 to 100 ng/dl. Why you may ask?

Back in 2012 I typically advised my patients to take between 1000iu - 3000iu of Vitamin D every day and make an effort to get at least 10 minutes of warm sun a few times a week. By 2020 I was typically recommending my patients take in much more, between 10,000iu - 15,0000iu of Vitamin D per day, and, sadly, sun exposure did not seem to matter any more. Pollution had clogged our air enough so that the sun was no longer offering the benefits it had in the past. In theory and in practice for centuries, when skin is exposed to sunlight, 7-dehydrocholesterol, a hormone in the skin, absorbs UVB radiation and converts it into D3. And, of course, Vitamin D3 has many diverse properties and important unique biological processes to help us maintain a healthy lifestyle. For years, however, and at least from 2012-2020, even sun worshipers that spent winters down south and summers at the beach were not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun alone.

The reasons are not totally environmental. Stress, for example, can pull a lot of Vitamin D from busy New Yorkers. I have said the Vitamin D is like gas in your car, the faster you are going the more Vitamin D you are going to burn, and that remains true today.

The analogy i use to explain the stress link : vitamin D is like gas in your car: Like fuel in the car if your are going 100 miles per hour you burn through the fuel quicker, so you need more.

But stress alone does not explain why there has been an increase over the past decade, as New York stress is not a new phenomenon.😩 So why are was I seeing this increased need for more vitamin D supplementation, even in patients that manage their stress or live in sunny areas like Florida?

My pollution theory:

Well, I thought I had the answer. One day a patient came for a breast thermography, and she had an envious tan in New York in January. I jealously asked where she had vacationed, and to my surprise, she said her tanning bed, two times per week religiously for years. I asked if I could check her vitamin D? Boom!! 🤯 💥

Her level was PERFECT- Vitamin D 25OH = 70 ng/dl. This was all the more surprising to me because this patient was under a tremendous amount of stress, and did not take any Vitamin D. Conventional wisdom, and even my own experiences, had taught me that a tanning bed was never the answer in health. But in this case it worked, but why did it work better than the sun? I was puzzled!

I discussed this conundrum with an environmental engineer from John Hopkins University, and she explained that they were studying the effect pollution was having on UVB rays no longer making it from the sun to our skin—they are filtered out, so to speak, from the toxins and pollution in our sky. The result for New Yorkers (and for others in highly polluted environments) was troubling because it meant that it was increasingly difficult for the body to get enough Vitamin D without taking significant amounts as part of a regular supplement regimen. The other option, I suppose, is going to a tanning bed twice a week. But as alluring as that may be for some of us, it is not a practical fix.

So, my pollution theory was how I explained low Vitamin D levels for the past several years. Patients would visit me after a month in Europe in the summer with healthy Vitamin D levels and, for me, this served as antidotal proof of my theory. Then, the pandemic hit and for four months our air got a break from the cars, trucks and factories blowing out toxins 24/7. NOW MY THEORY BECAME PROOF POSITIVE: by the Fall 2020 the labs started flowing in and the results were stunning.

For four months no planes, trains, automobiles, factories or trains were spewing harmful toxins into our air: the atmosphere had breathe again and visibility increased and mountains obscured for decades were now visible for miles around.

Patients who had been taking 10,000 i/u of Vitamin D daily now showed high Vitamin D serum levels, and my team, for the first time in years, had to call patients and ask them to lower the Vitamin D dosage because, well, THE SUN WAS WORKING AGAIN!

Air quality at India Gate in Delhi:

Images: Reuters

I happily found a silver lining in the pandemic: the earth had a moment to heal and breathe again. Sadly, as life "returns to normal," the effect is already starting to wain. While I am still seeing positive effects from the sun, especially in the warmer months, the levels are nowhere as high as they were in the summer of 2020.

What will healthy Vitamin D levels do for your loved ones? Lots of things, but to name a few:

  • Cancer prevention (colon, breast, and prostate)

  • Boosting the immune system function

  • Manufacturing hormones, like DHEA, progesterone and testosterone

  • Lowering the risk for autoimmune disease

  • Preventing the flu, cold, and virus

  • Healing leaky gut

  • Preventing/treating depression and seasonal affective disorder

  • Pregnant mothers protecting their unborn children

You need to be very careful with Vitamin D and consult your physician or healthcare professional because there are dangers associated with elevated levels of Vitamin D because it is a fat soluble vitamin. Home kits are now available to test your levels (see below).

My recommended treatment is to check blood levels, Vitamin D 25-OH and Vitamin D-125 levels twice a year—once in the fall to help calculate your winter dose, and again in the spring to calculate your summer dosage. Vitamin D is crucial to your health every one needs to supplement! So what can you do to make sure your body has enough Vitamin D?

  • Check your vitamin D 25OH levels.

  • Keep your Vitamin D 25OH level between 80 to 100 ng/dl.

  • Actively work to decrease your stress.

  • Get 10 min of sun before 10am and after 3pm with out sun screen.

  • Be sure you take a quality brand Vitamin D!


This EARTH DAY I hope we all think about the effect our modern world is having on our health, our children’s health, and future generations health. I hope this small example of what a difference some clean air can make in our health brightens your day and gives you a sense of hope as we appreciate mother earth on this special day!

Share this information with everyone you love (and those you like, and even those you tolerate!).

Buy a Vitamin D serum test kit here:

Buy trusted clean source of Vitamin D here:

If you like this information inquire with the team re: The wellness Warrior Program weekly 10 week program starting next session in June 2022.

Dr. Blanche video sneak peak into her detox program:

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