Archive for the ‘Vitamin D’ Category
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
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
Once again we have been treated to statisticians mushing together multiple disparate previous studies to “prove” that calcium alone, or vitamin D alone, or both together in one of many different combinations will not prevent fractures. All mushed together in a carefully selected meta-analysis, you can prove anything depending on which studies are included.
More important, asking if adding a specific dose of calcium, or vitamin D, or both, will prevent fractures, misses the entire point. Most studies did not properly account for the nutrients in each day’s diet in individual test subjects – or in individual control subjects, many of whom also consumed the nutrients being studied.
And how can you ethically ask a patient to limit their diet in a way you believe will put them at risk for fractures? You have to settle for encouraging patients who are inadvertently short on some nutrients to improve their diet. But then they do not fracture and you cannot prove that they would have if only you had withheld the information!
We help individuals improve their bone health. One size does not fit all. We do a Complete Bone Health Evaluation. Then we adjust nutrition and lifestyle as needed for that individual. In about half of women and three-quarters of men, this is enough.
Jay Ginther, MD
Spring! The Sun is back for more than 12 hours daily! The sun crossed the equator at 0529 CDT. Vitamin D? Not so fast. This is Iowa and we are still too far north.
Your skin can make Vitamin D when exposed to strong enough sunlight. Strong enough sunlight happens when the sun is high enough in the sky that its UV rays are not blocked by the atmosphere. This happens at mid-day all year round in the tropics.
Iowa needs to wait another couple of weeks for our first moments of Vitamin D from the sun. Mid-day is around 1:10 to 1:25 pm CDT, depending on location. Southern Iowa will get enough sunlight several days before northern Iowa. Late June we will have 4-5 hours of opportunity.
Unfortunately, Vitamin D, Sunburn and Skin Cancer are often a package deal. You can encourage them all, or block them all with Sun-block.
Your safest move is to protect yourself from sunburn and skin cancer, and take your vitamin D3 tablets or gel-caps. A 25-hydroxy Vitamin D blood test will show if you have achieved the ideal range of 40-80 ng/ml.
You need to take control, but this is one area where naturally can have a significant downside.
Jay Ginther, MD