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The Vitamin D Quiz

"Major League Baseball has always recognized the influence that our stars can have on the youth of America. As such, we are concerned that recent revelations and allegations of steroid use have been sending a terrible message to young people." - Bud Selig

"Er, Bud? Vitamin D3 which is added to milk is a steroid hormone that has been scraped from the skin of freshly slaughtered farm animals." - Robert Cohen

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 adults.

Today we go 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. C)7-11. 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 the Iraqi desert. B) 10-15 seconds per day while wearing #32 block lotion. C) 10-15 minutes two or three times each week. D) 10-15 days of continuous solar radiation. ANSWER to QUESTION #2

C: 10-15 minutes, 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 should eat 11 million micrograms per day of Vitamin D. B) No. Vitamin D added to milk helps build strong boneheads. 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. ANSWER to QUESTION #3

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. C) I forget. D) Moo-grrrr.


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 added vitamin D. B) Children fed breast milk must have supplemental D. C) NJ Infants fed cow's milk have kneecaps able to endure brass knuckles.. 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 absorption:

"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, silly! 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 osteoporosis.

"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.

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Robert Cohen

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