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Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Could Vitamin D Help Against COVID-19?

March 23, 2020 @ 6:49 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Today I ran across mention of an old observational study of seasonal colds and flu in northern (temperate zone) and southern (tropics) India.  Colds and flu had no seasonality in southern India where vitamin D from sunshine is equally available all year.

Colds and flu were seasonal in northern India closely following the months when vitamin D is not readily available from the sun which is too low on the horizon to produce vitamin D.  There is not direct evidence that  lower vitamin D levels allow more colds and flu, but it seems reasonable.

We have long known that vitamin D is involved in human immune system function as well as bone health.  e.g. A National Institute of Health study found that persons with monohydroxy-vitamin D levels over 33ng/ml have half the risk of colorectal cancer as those with less than 12 ng/ml.

Vitamin D toxicity is possible but very rare according to the Mayo Clinic, requiring doses of 50,000 IU (1250 mcg) daily for months.

My experience in Iowa is that most persons not taking at least 1000-2000 IU (25-50 mcg) daily have vitamin D levels below 20ng/ml  December through April.  That is also cold and flu season.

I take 5000 IU (125 mcg) daily to keep my level at 50-60 ng/ml.  That can’t hurt and it might help prevent viral infections.  Over age 65, I have started working from home and am setting up TeleMedicine capabilities because of COVID-19 guidelines.

Follow your state’s health department guidelines.  And extra vitamin D could help.  If you have not taken any in the past, up to 5000 IU (125 mcg) daily should be safe until you have a chance to check your level.

Jay Ginther, MD

Calcium in Foods 2020

January 26, 2020 @ 6:25 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Take Control Naturally. 

Get your calcium in foods!

Chart of common foods high in Calcium in mg (adapted from the USDA website):

Bone Mineral Density is Calcium in Bone

January 11, 2020 @ 11:20 am
posted by Dr Ginther

Why do some patients, who are already on good osteoporosis preventing or treating medications, still have a falling Bone Mineral Density?  Are the medications not working?  Not as well as they should!  Why?  Even the best medications cannot work without enough CALCIUM intake and absorption.

If you want to improve your bones you must ABSORB enough calcium.  This can be a bit tricky.  You need the right kind of calcium, taken in food or with food, and spread out over 3 meals or snacks.  “Calcium” is Calcium Carbonate which requires lots of acid to dissolve.  This often is a problem if you take antacids, have heartburn or GERD, have digestive issues like lactose sensitivity, celiac or IBS, or are just “too old”, which begins at 50.

Calcium in foods is easy to absorb.  Calcium Citrate tablets or Tricalcium Phosphate Gummies require 2 tablets or gummies to total the 400 or 500 or 600 mg on the label.  Adora Chocolates are 500 mg each.  We recommend taking in 1200-1500 mg calcium daily.  That means 400-500mg at each of 3 meals.

DXA does not show bones.  DXA shows calcium.  Calcium stiffens and strengthens bones.  You cannot have good BMD or good bones without enough calcium!  Take control of your bone health with adequate calcium in diet and supplements.

Next time a listing of Calcium in Foods

Jay Ginther, MD

Treating Fibromyalgia with Nutrition

March 31, 2018 @ 8:09 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

I was asked about treatments for Fibromyalgia.  Pain clinics have injections and pharmaceuticals that often help, but not always enough.  I approach from a different angle.

Fibromyalgia is a collection of many different maladies that are  magnifying each other.  They are very difficult to untangle.  Treating all aspects of the pain is the key to success.

I have actually “cured” fibromyalgia only 4 times, but usually I can decrease the pain enough that other measures will work better than before. 

The key is understanding that pain often is nerves misbehaving, magnifying the intensity of unpleasant stimuli.  This is neuropathy or neuralgia.  These conditions are made much worse by nutritional deficits.

B1, B6, B12 and Folate are key nutrients for nerve function.  Controlling diabetes is also important.  Low calcium, potassium or magnesium cause cramping and pain.  These should ALL be checked.

Vitamin D is often overlooked as essential for nerve function.  Low vitamin D will cause depression, malaise, nerve malfunction and increased pain.  I aim for a vitamin D level of 70 ng/ml – higher than needed for bone health, but completely safe.  If your level is very low you may need megadoses, well above 5000 IU daily.

Take Control Naturally with Vitamin D3, as well as B1, B6, B12, Folate, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium.

Jay Ginther, MD