Vitamin D From The Sun

December 21, 2014 @ 3:17 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Today we are just over 100 days away from the next Natural Vitamin D from the sun in Iowa.

Today, Sunday the 21st of December is the Winter Solstace of 2014 in North America.  The sun is the lowest on the horizon.  That means sunlight today has to travel through the greatest amount of earth’s atmosphere to get to us.

Today, the earth’s atmosphere completely protects us from Sunburn and Skin Cancer by blocking the sun’s UV rays.  This is good.

Today, the earth’s atmosphere completely protects us from Vitamin D by blocking the sun’s UV rays.  This is not so good.

Our next Natural Vitamin D opportunity will come at mid-day (a little after 1 PM in Waterloo, Iowa) in early April.  Until then you need to get your Vitamin D from foods or supplements.  Vitamin D3 tablets, capsules, gel caps or drops all can work.  So can tablespoons of Cod Liver Oil or several pounds of Mushrooms daily.

Test for your 25-hydroxy Vitamin D level to determine if you are getting enough.  Almost everyone is too low at 20 ng/ml and almost everyone has enough above 40 ng/ml.  I aim for between 40 and 80 for optimal bone health for myself and for my patients.

It is Winter.  Do you know where your Vitamin D is coming from?

Take Control of your health by finding out.

Jay Ginther, MD

Birthday Disease

December 16, 2014 @ 10:44 pm
posted by Dr. Ginther

“Why did I Fracture?” and “Why do I have Osteoporosis?” are common questions I hear from older women and men.  They are taking Calcium and Vitamin D3, eating a diet with Protein, Fruits and Vegetables, and Exercising regularly.  They are “doing everything right”, and still they have deteriorating bones.  What is wrong?

The simple answer is “Birthday Disease” – too many birthdays.  Increased Fracture Risk (Clinical Osteoporosis) is totally natural as we age.  Women after Menopause, and men after age 70, lose 1-2% of their Bone Mineral Density (BMD), and more of their Bone Strength, every year.

When I was in Medical School, 40 years ago, that was the end of the story.  Many older women (and some older men) became kyphotic (stooped over), fractured and fell, and either died or went to a nursing home for the rest of their lives.  Then, there was nothing we could do to stop it.  Today we can often prevent osteoporosis, fractures and misery.

Protein!!!!!

December 12, 2014 @ 10:31 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Two weeks after Turkey Coma at Thanksgiving dinner, we think we get plenty of protein.  We do occasionally.  Most of us do not get enough protein on a daily basis.  The latest recommendation is one gram of protein daily for every kilogram of body weight.  That works out to a lot more than I thought.  See our Protein Chart.

Vegans have a real challenge eating enough protein in nuts, beans, garbanzos, lentils, and soy.  Most traditional Vegetarians add yogurt, cheese, and milk, which are all good sources of protein.  Some add shellfish and crustaceans.

Protein is the main component of much of our body, including Muscle and Bone.  Over 90% of Muscle.  Over 80% of Bone.  Therefore, enough Protein is necessary for Fracture Prevention.

You Don’t Have To Fall To Break A Hip

December 4, 2014 @ 7:29 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Sometimes a person breaks a hip first, then they fall.  This happens a lot more often than we realize.  When the break is just below the ball of the hip, the fracture may have come before the fall.  Moreover, that Fragility Fracture may have gradually developed over days or weeks.

How is it possible that a person does not realize that the hip is gradually crumbling?  We call it a Stress Fracture when a crack gradually developes.  Small cracks gradually getting bigger are usually not recognized until they are completely across the bone and it breaks, causing the patient to fall.  Why?

The aching pain of a stress fracture is often too gradual to distinguish from arthritis pain until the break is complete and the whole bone collapses.  The best way to see this process is to watch a video of the I-35W bridge collapsing in Minneapolis on 1st August 2007.  http://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=aaplw&p=i35w+collapse   Tiny cracks slowly developed in the steel until one day……..THUD!

How can you detect who is at high Hip Fracture Risk?  A very low DXA T-score, especially in the spine, is a good indication.  But DXA often fails if the spine is already crumbling or has arthritis.  A better indication is Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA).  Looking at the spine from the side, Vertebral Compression Deformities can indicate crumbling spongy bone in the spine before the spongy bone in the hip also crumbles.

Know where you stand.  Get a Complete Bone Health Evaluation.  Take Control of your future.

Jay Ginther, MD