Before I get into the review, let me mention I have read many articles from online medical journals and the popular press, and several books on Vitamin D. The Vitamin D Cure, when combined with some extremely authoritative online articles, will give anyone an excellent background on this somewhat complex, confusing, but important subject.
In the world of vitamin D there are laboratory researchers, epidemiologists, cell biologists, academicians, those who approach it from the dietary/nutritional angle, medical writers, and enthusiasts of alternative medicine. They all bring valuable insight into the fold, and I am sincerely grateful for the wisdom and contributions of all of them. But without question the most valuable information comes from clinicians with years of hands-on experience with real live patients presenting various sets of symptoms. Dr. Dowd's experience as a rheumatologist who has been treating patients with vitamin D for over 20 years gives him great insight.
Reading the book you will be introduced to case studies of actual patients where you can see their initial condition and track their progress. He uses a 5-point rating where a patients subjectively assess bodily functioning, level of pain, fatigue, perception of overall health, and quality of sleep. Looking at these along with standard test results gives him and the reader a snapshot of overall health and a handy way to track progress. He places his patients on a regimen consisting of 5 components, what he calls his 5-step plan:
Find out how much vitamin D you need
Use sunlight and take supplements to reach optimal levels
Alter your diet to reduce acid excess
Take other mineral supplements
Begin an appropriate exercise program
To me one the most useful part of the book appears on page 49 - a chart that relates your weight, starting vitamin D blood level, desired level, and daily dosage to bring you to the desired level. Warning: The chart is a little tricky to decipher but once you figure it out, it gives you absolutely critical information not found elsewhere. Once you know your current blood level and you learn how to decipher this chart, you will never be buffaloed by one-size-fits-all recommendations from well-meaning but misguided sources.
A chart appearing on page 34 shows typical seasonal variations of vitamin D blood levels. My only gripe with it is that what is stated as "normal" should be labeled "optimal". Normal (i.e., the most common) is the same as deficient for well over half the population, but I understand where the author is going with that.
The Q&A in the back has some great practical information. There are hundreds of academic references listed but they are not numbered so you can't tell where specific information came from. However, this is a minor drawback.
Overall, I am giving The Vitamin D Cure a solid 5 stars because it loaded with important information on a subject that everyone would be well-advised learn. It is easy to read, authoritative, the case studies give you good insight, and the advice on vitamin D and everything else is sound.
Like all things promoting health practices, the advice in this book seems overwhelming at first. Following every suggestion in the Vitamin D Cure will take a major commitment, but the good news is boosting your blood level of vitamin D to 50 nanograms per milliliter is easy, inexpensive (under 10 cents a day), has virtually no risk, and will provide some protection against the onset of chronic degenerative diseases that kill millions. The more of Dr. Dowd's 5-step plan you follow, the greater the protection. But even if you do nothing else, medical research strongly suggests that supplementing with vitamin D will give you a major step toward optimal health and a long, vibrant, disease-free life.
Star Trek's Mr. Spock is known to wish upon guests that they live long and prosper. An idle wish is not nearly as good as LEARNING to live long and prosper. Reading The Vitamin D Cure is a good way to start. After reading this highly recommended book, I hope you choose to expand your knowledge of vitamin D still further by reading: Sunshine and Vitamin D by Frank Murray, Vitamin D: Is It the Fountain of Youth? by Paul Stitt, The Healing Sun by Dr. Richard Hobday, The UV Advantage by Dr. Michael Holick, Solar Power for Optimal Health by Dr. Marc Sorenson, and Light: Medicine of the Future by Dr. Jacob Liberman.