​Donald K. Liebell, D.C., B.C.A.O.

477 Viking Drive Suite 170

Virginia Beach VA 23452 
8:30AM - 6:30PM M,W,F 

(and by Special Appointment) 


The Liebell Clinic: Chronic Pain & Wellness Solutions

Natural & holistic, whole-person, wellness-based Healthcare - Drug-Free & Non-Surgical Pain Relief


The Vitamin D Deficiency Dilemma

By Dr. Donald Liebell

(adapted from the book, Biting Back)

   Scientific discovery has always teetered between ignorance and knowledge.  What we humans think is one hundred percent certainly true today can be disproven in a heartbeat tomorrow.  Before microscopes enabled us to see the hidden world of living things, we concocted all kinds of mystical explanations for diseases.  The farther we move away from nature—the more we must rely on human intellect.  This can be either good or bad.  It is a sad state of affairs that we need costly scientific studies to remind us to get sunshine, to sleep enough, to drink water, to eat lots of unprocessed whole foods, and stop sitting all day!  Mainstream medicine has scared us away from various natural and healthful practices that are essential to human health. 

The Light at the End of the Tunnel is Right Outside Your Door!

   The sun has been given a bad reputation—considering it is responsible for sustaining life on earth!  If you use its rays wisely, you will improve your health.  It is probably a safe assumption that you need more sunshine.  Everybody needs to produce vitamin D in the skin via sensible sunlight exposure.  Forget about tanning, and make sure you do not get sunburned, but by all means get regular sun exposure! 
   Vitamin D is more accurately classified as a hormone rather than a nutrient. 
Technically vitamins are carbon-based compounds that your body needs for normal function, but cannot manufacture on its own.  Hormones, on the other hand are more complex compounds that are produced by the body itself for various functions. 

   There are only a few dietary sources of vitamin D.  If your level is low, it would be very difficult, inconvenient, and expensive to restore it to normal through diet.  Every day, you would have to eat ridiculously large quantities of salmon, sardines, and egg yolks than would be healthy, desirable or feasible. 

   When ultraviolet B rays of sunlight (UVB) hit your skin, it triggers your body to produce a substance called cholecalciferol.  This gets converted by your liver into calcidiol.  The through addition of an enzyme, the kidneys convert it to calcitriol, which is the active form of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D is critical for the function of muscles, joints, sleep cycle, your moods, and numerous other aspects of a healthy body.  Supplementation can be quite helpful, but natural sunshine is better.  

   The vitamin D you produce in your own skin from sensible sun exposure lasts twice as long in your bloodstream as that consumed through pills or food.  Sunshine is free.  Use it well. 

   I have light skin, and I barely tan at all.  I also have not used sun block or sun screen in over 20 years.  It stops vitamin D production dead in its tracks!  Once I realized the danger of blocking the sun’s healthful rays, I knew that sensible exposure was good.  You are not going to get skin cancer from sensible sun exposure. 

   We need ultraviolet-B (UVB) light.  Sunscreens are a problem because they block it out.  It is actually the ultraviolet A rays that are thought to cause melanoma skin cancer.  Plus, sunscreens are also full of toxic chemicals

   Sunshine is bio-energetic medicine in its purest form! 
Frequencies and wavelengths are the name of the game.  How delightfully simple it is.  No knowledge of physics, chemistry, or biology has ever been required for our bodies to carry out important life functions—all triggered by the life-supporting rays of the sun. 

   Sunlight is important for more biological functions than science may ever discover.  There are many other important substances our bodies produce through sunlight exposure.  Sunlight may even help you heal infections and detoxify.  There are numerous excellent articles and books available on the subject.  But do we really need to know all the details?  I say just get your regular sunshine and relax!

Did you know that only one sunbath between 10am and 3pm can trigger enough vitamin D to last a week or more?

   If you are low in vitamin D, your body doesn’t use calcium properly, or absorb it from your diet. 
Muscle aches can be due to low vitamin D production.

    No worries... you will NOT produce too much vitamin D from sunlight. 
Your body will regulate the right amount—even if you are taking supplements and/or getting a lot from your diet.

  • It takes longer sun exposure for your body to make vitamin D as you age.  

  • The darker one’s skin, the longer sun exposure needed to produce vitamin D.

  • I like blood tests for vitamin D.  The test called 25(OH)D is the best indicator of vitamin D status.

  • I am in favor of vitamin D supplementation.   During the warm months, it is best to get out into the sunshine.  The price is right and the bio-energetic health effect is superior!

  • Do not bake yourself.  Just get consistent and frequent short exposures to sunshine daily, if possible.  As little as 15 minutes may be required for you to produce adequate vitamin D.

  • Take advantage of the spring and early summer midday sun.  You want to build up a storage tank of vitamin D that will last.  Avoid the midday sun during July and August when the rays of the sun are too powerful.  Cover any sensitive areas like your face and neck.  The more skin surface exposed—the faster your body produces its D.

  • The book, “The Vitamin D Solution” by Michael Holick, M.D. is an outstanding resource.  He is the world-renowned authority on the subject.  I have learned tremendous information from his lectures and writing.  I implement Dr. Holick’s recommendation of 50,000 international units (IU) per week of vitamin D supplementation.  If you are really interested in the science of vitamin D, I've posted three videos of Dr. Holick's lectures for you.  

   Vitamin D supplementation is an important health consideration for all human beings.  My patients, my family and I supplement during the cold months.  The Liebell Clinic provides a liquid form, which is easy, convenient, safe, and inexpensive.  

 Dr. Donald Liebell