By Robert Cohen Executive Director Text Only


In first grade, I learned:

To stand in line and not cut in.
To raise my hand if I had something to say.
To not interrupt when a teacher was talking.
To print the letters of the alphabet.
The names of the 50 United States.
Vitamin D is the "sunshine vitamin."

Most people learn most of their lessons well,
but the final and most important lesson is
forgotten by most.

Today I take you back to school with a series
of questions and authoritative answers. Test
your Vitamin D knowledge:


Most humans get Vitamin D From:

A)Exposure to sunlight.
B)Drinking body fluids from diseased animals.
D)Pills made in factories.


A: Exposure to sunlight.

"Exposure to sunlight provides most humans
with their vitamin D requirement."

Journal of Nutrition 1996;126(4 Suppl)


How much sunlight must an adult be exposed
to in order to satisfy his/her Vitamin D needs?:

A) 10-15 hours per day in tropical sun.
B) 10-15 seconds per day while wearing #32 block lotion.
C) 10-15 minutes per day, two or three times each week.
D) 10-15 days of continuous solar radiation.


C: 10-15 minutes per day, two or three times each week.

"Adults need 10-15 minutes of sunlight, two or
three times a week to ensure proper Vitamin D levels."

Journal of Pediatrics, 1985; 107 (3)


Can too much vitamin D be dangerous?:

A) No. Kids eat 1000 micrograms per day of Vitamin D.
B) No. Vitamin D added to milk helps build strong bones.
C) No. Vitamin D is added to milk because FDA requires it.
D) Yes. Too much Vitamin D can be hazardous to one's health.


D: Too much Vitamin D can be dangerous.

"Consuming as little as 45 micrograms of Vitamin D-3
in young children has resulted in signs of overdose."
(one quart of milk contains 400 IU, or 10 micrograms).

Pediatrics, 1963; 31


Can you believe everything you see on a carton of milk?

A) One quart of milk contains 400 IU of Vitamin D.
B) Dairymen have little clue as to how much D they add to milk.
C) Milk prevents osteoporosis.
D) Cows eat grass.


B: Dairymen are clueless.

"Testing of 42 milk samples found only 12% within the
expected range of Vitamin D content. Testing of 10
samples of infant formula revealed seven with more
that twice the Vitamin D content reported on the label,
one of which had more than four times the label amount.
Vitamin D is toxic in overdose."

New England Journal of Medicine, 1992, 326


Can too much Vitamin D cause Alzheimer's disease?

A) Nah.
B) Yep.


B: Yep.

"Vitamin D increases aluminum absorption, and
high aluminum levels in the body may cause an
Alzheimer's-like disease."

Canadian Medical Association Journal 1992 147(9)


What have scientific studies proven in infants?

A) Children fed breast milk do not need vitamin D.
B) Children fed breast milk must have supplemental D.
C) Infants fed cow's milk have stronger bones.
D) Infant's fed elephant's milk have the strongest bones.


A: The dairy industry and USDA have a LOT to
learn about bone formation and Vitamin D

"Eighteen breast milk and 17 formula-fed infants,
ages 2 to 5 months were studied. The serum 25-hydroxy
vitamin D (Vitamin D) level was significantly lower
in breast-milk than formula-fed infants but bone
mineral content was not different. This demonstrates
adequate mineral absorption occurs from a predominantly
vitamin D-free transport mechanism."

Journal of Pediatrics, 1998 Apr, 132:4


Does the Vitamin D added to milk work?

A) Of course it works, stupid!
B) That's what the dairy industry wants us to believe.
C) It cannot possibly work; it's just a clever marketing ploy.


C: It not only doesn't work, but by consuming too much
artificial Vitamin D in milk, one can develop

"It has since been discovered that the Vitamin D
necessary to absorb the calcium moving down the
intestine must already have been in the bloodstream
for a while; what is present with that calcium (in
milk) is useless at that stage. Vitamin D is part
of the mechanism to break bone down so that it can
then stretch and grow. Thus an overdose of D can
eventually lead to osteoporosis."

Vegetarian and Vegan Nutrition,
by George Eisman, M.A., M.Sc., R.D.

Robert Cohen author of:   MILK A-Z
Executive Director (
Dairy Education Board

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