BOOK REVIEW: 'The Vitamin D Cure': Sunshine Deprived People Need to Correct Vitamin D Deficiency to Alleviate Host of Medical Conditions from Arthritis to Obesity

Reviewed by David M. Kinchen
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Vitamin D Cure': Sunshine Deprived People Need to Correct Vitamin D Deficiency to Alleviate Host of Medical Conditions from Arthritis to Obesity

After I read "The Vitamin D Cure" (John Wiley & Sons, 272 pages, $15.95, by James E. Dowd, M.D. and Diane Stafford) I marveled at how much conflicting medical/dietary advice we get. Sunshine used to be bad for you; in this revised edition of a book first published in 2009, Dr. Dowd says we cubicle dwellers don't get enough of Sol's rays.


All this reminds me of one of my favorite Woody Allen films, "Sleeper," dating back to his early, funny movie period. Written by Allen and Marshall Brickman and co-starring Diane Keaton, the 1973 sci-fi parody deals with the misadventures of a health food store owner (Allen) who is cryogenically frozen in 1973 and defrosted 200 years later in an inept totalitarian country -- a nanny state that reminds me of a U.S.A. where the Department of Agriculture recommends eating cheese and other dairy products to prop up the heavy-spending agriculture lobby. In "Sleeper" everything that Allen had been told was bad for you is revealed to be good for you -- and vice versa!


In "The Vitamin D Cure" Michigan-based rheumatologist and researcher Dowd reveals the causes of vitamin D deficiency and offers a simple easy-to-follow five-step program that can eliminate or alleviate a host of seemingly incurable conditions such as arthritis in as little as six weeks. You'll find out how much vitamin D you need and how to sun and supplement your way to the right D level. By staying on the program, you can enjoy robust health and improved fitness for the rest of your life.


James E. Dowd, M.D.
James E. Dowd, M.D.

It may sound too good to be true, but Dowd tells us it's actually solid medicine based on real science: groundbreaking new research has traced the source of a wide array of disorders that afflict up to 200 million Americans to a single common factor -— vitamin D deficiency. Increasing the amount of vitamin D in your body can cure or help treat a remarkable number of ailments — from obesity to arthritis, from high blood pressure to back pain, from diabetes to muscle cramps. If you suffer from these or many other chronic health problems, you may wonder whether you are getting enough vitamin D and what to do about it.

Dowd reveals the causes of vitamin D deficiency and explains why North Americans are particularly vulnerable to it. He then offers a simple, easy-to-follow five-step program that can eliminate or alleviate a host of seemingly incurable conditions, such as arthritis, in as little as six weeks.
Better yet, by staying on the program, you can enjoy robust health and improved fitness for the rest of your life.

Citing numerous scientific studies, a wealth of clinical data, and case stories from his practice, Dowd shows how lifestyle and diet have combined to reduce the vitamin D intake of most of us who live north of the equator. Eating the wrong foods -- like cereals, milk, cheese -- not getting enough exercise, and spending too much time indoors have produced a major health crisis, including an obesity epidemic, Dowd says.

The good news is that you can greatly improve your health with the five easy steps in this life-changing guide. You'll learn how to:

> Find out how much vitamin D you need

> Sun and supplement your way to great D levels

> Calculate your acid excess and tweak your diet

> Cover your bases with total supplementation

> Add a little exercise to the mix

More than you ever realized, the future of your health is in your hands. You can harness the power of the "sunshine vitamin" to transform your life, end your pain, and return to active, vigorous well-being now and for decades to come. Read The Vitamin D Cure and start lettingthe sun shine on your health and your life.


Here is Dowd in his own words explaining how he developed the ideas behind his book, and how he wants readers of this review to communicate with him:

I was born in Berkeley, California to a first generation American Chinese mother and multi-generation American Irish-Swedish father. I grew up in very sunny, hot, and humid, Houston, Texas. After a challenging education at Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, I attended Texas A&M University. I was accepted to The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston Texas after three years of undergraduate study. Summers in Houston were spent in research programs at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

My first adult experience of cold and dark weather was a combined adult and pediatric residency program at the State University of New York in Buffalo. As a third year resident I contracted viral meningitis and was hospitalized for a week in the late spring. Looking back I think perhaps this may have been vitamin D deficiency related. I recovered from this to become chief resident in internal medicine at Erie County Medical Center in my final year in Buffalo.

I was determined to return to the sunny south after four years in Buffalo. I accepted a fellowship in combined adult and pediatric rheumatology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. There I received a Physician Scientist Development Award from the American College of Rheumatology to do research on superantigens. Bench research however did not satisfy me as much as patient care.

As love would have it I followed a woman to Michigan and began my private practice. It was in Michigan that I stumbled over several patients with severe vitamin D deficiency and began linking their symptoms to my own. Fatigue, joint pain, muscle cramps, poor sleep, neck pain, and weight gain all developed about three to five years after I had moved from Texas to Michigan. Perhaps 80 percent of my patients reported these same symptoms. Could vitamin D deficiency be that common? What other symptoms or diseases was it linked to?

I furiously read the scientific literature on vitamin D, diet, and exercise. I began to understand how vitamin D, our diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices affected biochemistry, physiology, development of disease, and even expression of our genome, which fascinated me beyond anything I had learned in previous medical training.

The Vitamin D Cure is the practical manifestation of my newly discovered passion for medicine. It looks at our health through the lens of vitamin D deficiency. It answers basic questions about how and why we became deficient. What symptoms and diseases is it tied to? And, most importantly what choices we can make to change the course of our health. The stories in the book are actual patients from my busy practice.

Your story is just as powerful, and your can offer it through a review here on Amazon or share it with us at where you will also find a monthly blog with updated news, recipes, and other success stories. I hope The Vitamin D Cure changes your life as much as it has changed mine.


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OK, Dr. Dowd...I'm going to try the Vitamin D cure and see if it works. I love cheese, what you call the "King of Junk Foods", but I'm going to cut back as much as I can. I've already done so, in fact, and have even tried goat cheese -- reputedly healthier than cheese made from cow's milk. I already eat plenty of vegetables and fruit and very little red meat. I grew up on a Michigan dairy farm and ate all the food deemed healthy by the experts of the day -- and today. We were basically an organic operation before there was a word for it, using our cow and chicken manure to fertilize our truck garden crops, including corn, potatoes and strawberries. And yes, we had a goat, whose milking was my assigned chore, among many others. Child labor is the norm on family farms.


My advice is to read "The Vitamin D Cure" from the beginning, but if you are impatient -- and who isn't? -- jump to Appendix A -- beginning on Page 205 and running to Page 227 -- and let Dowd answer your questions about Vitamin D deficiency and its effects on your health. Absorb those pages, which are written in easy-to-understand language, and then go back and read the rest of the book. Dowd and his co-author even provide recipes that follow the precepts of his Vitamin D cure. There's an index and a short list of recommended books.


Dowd's blog:

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