Each month we publish a blog highlighting a member, putting them in the spotlight. We discuss their background and why they’re interested in vitamin D. To see all member spotlight articles, click here.
This month we’re featuring member Dr. Adelle Sperling. Dr. Sperling is a retired ophthalmologist. As an ophthalmologist she specialized in medical and surgical eye treatment.
Dr. Sperling owned a small private practice, operated by herself and her mother. She was forced into early retirement in 1987 at the age of 55 due to the high cost of malpractice insurance.
This did not curb her passion for public health. She continued to attend medical conferences to further educate herself on the current public health issues and newly-proposed solutions.
In 2007, Dr. Sperling heard about vitamin D when attending a health conference in Birmingham, Alabama. The presentation included the potential benefits of vitamin D in the human body.
It was after this conference that she ran across a study on vitamin D and cancer in women. The study found that women who received a daily vitamin D supplement of 1,100 IU and a daily 1,400 to 1,500 mg calcium supplement were nearly 77% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer within a year compared to those who only received a calcium supplement.
The information that Dr. Sperling gathered from the conference and the study inspired her to start taking vitamin D supplements and to increase her sun exposure.
Dr. Sperling stated that the vitamin D supplementation had rewarded her in a way that she did not expect. She has a mild form of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a condition in which the bile ducts in the liver are damaged.
A common biomarker of PBC is elevated gamma glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT). Once Dr. Sperling began supplementing with vitamin D, her GGT levels became normal for the first time.
She commented, “The probable cause: taking vitamin D. My vitamin D levels are in the optimum range.”
Dr. Sperling believes that while some doctors have started becoming aware of vitamin D deficiency, many doctors are still unaware of the optimum range of vitamin D for overall health.
She went on to add,
“We have always known that sunshine had many benefits. What we did not have was the ability to obtain vitamin D safely. Not knowing anything regarding how much was safe and how much was toxic led to the fact that when I was in medical school all I ever heard about vitamin D was how toxic it was. This explains why many doctors are still afraid to recommend enough vitamin D.”
She hopes to help change this by providing doctors with resources from GrassrootsHealth and the Vitamin D Council. Once a week, Dr. Sperling shares these resources when she attends a board meeting alongside many other physicians.
Dr. Sperling enjoys her membership with the Vitamin D Council because she can read full summaries of studies, reviews, and meta-analyses and therefore keep up to date with the latest research.
“If I feel that the articles are important I can relay them to my physician friends,” Dr. Sperling added.
She has been following the Vitamin D Council since memberships were first offered. She became a lifetime member of the Vitamin D Council in 2014.
We would like to thank Dr. Adelle Sperling for participating in our member spotlight blog series, her work as an ophthalmologist, and her dedication to public health.