Archive for the ‘Vitamin D’ Category

Goodbye to “Totally Natural” Vitamin D

September 14, 2014 @ 8:18 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

I was out at high noon (about 1:12 CDT) today, and may have made some Vitamin D in my exposed skin.  We had beautifully clear skies with cool, dry air and lots of sunshine.  I did not use sun-block for the few minutes of skin cancer risk.  Unfortunately, it was also only a few minutes of Vitamin D opportunity. 

Ultraviolet light is attenuated and eventually blocked by the atmosphere.  The lower the sun is on the horizon, the less UV light gets through.  In Waterloo, IA we are entering the 7 months of the year when the sun is too low on the horizon.  We do not get enough UV to produce any Vitamin D.

Less than half of Iowans, who do not take substantial Vitamin D3 supplements, have sufficient Vitamin D levels in September.  By early April, that is less than 15%.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today.  Six more weeks of winter.  But NINE more weeks before we can get ANY Vitamin D from the sun in Iowa.  Here the sun is high enough off the horizon only 5 months of the year.  Even in the summer very few Iowans make enough of their own Vitamin D.

In all of 2013 I saw fewer than ten patients with good vitamin D levels from only:  Multiple Vitamins & Minerals, Calcium Plus D Supplements, “Vitamin D Enriched” Milk, and Sunshine combined.  Every other patient needed an additional 1000 IU to over 5000 IU Vitamin D3 supplements daily.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

January 27, 2014 @ 7:05 am
posted by Dr Ginther

Mark Twain and others have said:  “There are Lies, there are Damn Lies, and then there are Statistics”.  That is the danger when we use Statistics (Meta-Analyses) as a basis for “Evidence-Based” Medicine.  A recent meta-analysis looking at Vitamin D has reached a gaggle of questionable conclusions.  The news media have swallowed it hook, line and sinker, and want you to do so as well.

This meta-analysis re-analyzed 40 old studies which were not designed to track actual 25-hydroxy Vitamin D levels, and used doses of Vitamin D that we now know are too low to be effective.  They looked for diseases which were not specifically tracked, but might be mentioned as incidental findings.  None of these studies individually showed a “statistically significant” finding.  But if you combine enough different studies, the numbers become large enough that “statistical significance” can happen.

Low Vitamin D Levels and Cancer

January 10, 2014 @ 8:16 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Several years ago researchers discovered that women with breast cancer had much lower blood levels of Vitamin D than women without breast cancer.  Another study showed that, among women being treated for breast cancer, those with low Vitamin D levels were only half as likely to survive.  Patients with other cancers show similar patterns.

Now we have a study which points out that this does not prove that low Vitamin D causes cancer.  True.  The new theory is that cancer causes low Vitamin D levels.  However, there is no proof of that either, and I find it hard to believe.  What does this all mean?