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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin D3’

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

Improve Bone First – Preserve Bone Second

December 8, 2019 @ 8:19 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

National Bone Health treatment goals are changing for those patients with high fracture risk.  Simply preserving bones already at a too high fracture risk never made much sense to this former orthopedic surgeon.  Now the national leadership is stressing the need to lower fracture risk first, then preserve bones at a lower level of fracture risk.

We now have 3 anabolic medications which substantially lower fracture risk by increasing the thickness and strength of bone structure: Teriparatide (Forteo), Abaloparitide (Tymlos), and Romosozumab (Evenity).  They all decrease fracture risk substantially more than the antiresorptive (preserving) medications alone.  The difference in fracture risk grows for up to 5 years.  After that the difference in fracture risk between anabolic meds followed by preserving meds vs. preserving meds alone remains the same.

Calcium can take up to 3 additional years to collect in newly formed bone matrix.  DXA shows calcium in bone (Bone Mineral Density).   Much of the increased BMD can only be seen on DXA after the anabolic med is completed and the antiresorptive med is started.

All of the anabolic medications must be followed by antiresorptive medication to preserve the gains made by the anabolic.  No medication to grow or preserve bone can work without adequate nutrition in the form of absorbable calcium, vitamin D3, protein and other vitamins and minerals.

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

Treat to Target # 2 – Fragility Fracture

January 31, 2018 @ 8:23 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Treat to Target means aiming for NO NEW FRACTURES.  As discussed last time, the original target was to maintain Bone Mineral Density (BMD) at the level first tested.  25 years ago that was amended to be a T-score of -2.4 or higher, since “osteoporosis the test result” was set at -2.5.

But what if you already have fractured?  Clinical Osteoporosis the diagnosis is a T-score of -1.5 plus a “Fragility Fracture” acquired in any fall from standing height, even on ice.  That is because for the first year after a fracture your risk is 5 times normal. Your risk decreases to 2 times normal after 5 years, but always is higher after a fragility fracture.

If your Fragility Fracture was a Hip Fracture, you have Clinical Osteoporosis regardless of DXA BMD and T-score.  You are at high risk of future fracture, especially of the other hip.  You should start treatment to prevent a new fracture.  At the very least you need to optimize calcium, vitamin D3, protein, and multiple vitamins & minerals intake.

If you also need a pharmaceutical, it should be one which can raise your T-score above -2.5 if you have no fractures, and above -1.5 if you already have a fracture.  That usually means considering an anabolic.  Your goal is NO NEW FRACTURES.

FRAX next time.

Jay Ginther, MD