Vitamin D3 – Size Matters

When we see the bottles of supplements we are used to looking at milligrams.  But have you ever stopped for a minute to understand how much this weight represents.  This can be difficult when you are dealing with extremely small amounts.

The best way to get an idea of how much we are talking about is to take an object that we are familiar with and divide it up.  When we think about a standard aspirin, it is typically 325 milligrams.  But how big is a gram?  At 325 milligrams an aspirin represents about one third of a gram.  So, three standard aspirins is about a gram.  You can take three aspirins and hold them in your hand to get a feel for how much this weighs.

With vitamin D we talk about IU amounts.  Forty IU is equal to one microgram, so how much is that.  That would be a weight that is equivalent to taking those three aspirin and dividing them into 1 million pieces.  That is really hard to imagine.

Let’s take a mid-size car as something that you are familiar and do this division.  A car will typically weight about 2,200 lbs.  This is a convenient weight as there is 2.2 lbs per kilogram so there are 1000 Kilograms in 2,200 lbs.  That would be 1 million grams or 1000 x 1000.  Kilo is the term used when describing 1000 grams.  If you take that car and divide it into 1 million pieces you would have the weight of about three standard aspirin.  That is really not very much of that car.  It would represent maybe one of the buttons on the dash.

When we say milligrams we are taking one gram and dividing it by 1,000.  When we say micrograms we take one gram and divide it into 1 million pieces.  Compare this to taking that car and dividing it into a million pieces and you start to get an idea of how small an amount we are describing.

However, vitamin D3 typically does not say milligrams it is measured in IU or International Units.  The NIH is trying to change this designation to micrograms for vitamin D so that it makes more sense in understanding how much you are taking.  Some products are presently in micrograms like some of the B vitamins.  However, I see in press articles how this is confused.  That is milligrams are confused for micrograms and in vitamin D I have even seen IU confused with milligrams because that is what we are use to describing.

An International Unit is a measure of the bioactivity or biological activity of a substance.  For vitamin D, one IU would be equivalent to 0.025 micrograms of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol.  One IU of vitamin A is equivalent to 0.3 micrograms of retinol bioactivity.  IU’s are not the same equivalent weights for all substances but relates to the bioactivity of that substance.  Once this bioactivity has been established we can change the units to mass or weight.

For vitamin D we have 40 IU equal to 1 microgram by doing the math from above.  So when the government says that you only need 400 IU of vitamin D they are talking about 10 micrograms.  Continuing the math that means that 4,000 IU is 100 micrograms and to get to that familiar unit of milligram we would have to go all the way to 40,000 IU.  To get to a value that is equivalent to a gram we take 40,000 IU and multiply it by 1,000 or 40 million IU.  WOW!  We really are describing very tiny amounts.  Vitamin D is extremely biological active in very small amounts.

One researcher, Dr. Halcyon Skinner of Northwestern University, described a 43% reduction in pancreatic cancer by participants that were getting about 400 IU of vitamin D as compared to participants that were getting less than 150 IU.  Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive killer and if you know people that have had this disease you understand how significant the intake of vitamin D can be.  I will blog more about this, but you may read that news from the Life Extension Newsletter for September, 2006.

So now researchers are saying that many more cancers and many, many more chronic disease can be prevented by higher amounts of vitamin D and are suggestion that the total intake per day should be changed to 4,000 to 10,000 IU or 100 micrograms to 250 micrograms from all sources.

Part of the problem has been in measuring and understanding such minute amounts.  Part of the problem has been the medical institutions ignoring the facts for profit.  If you, your family and your friends have been suffering from any of these diseases, you should really question our agencies that are to protect us from such misadventures.

– Pandemic Survivor

Brigham and Woman’s Study on Vitamin D

Well it looks like the NIH is finally taking this vitamin D thing seriously.  Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Woman’s Hospital are to enroll 20,000 people in a study taking vitamin D3 at 2,000 IU per day and fish oil for omega three fats.  Twenty five percent of the people in the study are to be black.  You can read the AP article here.

I believe the level of supplementation is less than half of where it should be, but this is enough to start to see the effect on chronic disease.  The real issue is that it will take several years into the study to start to see that the nation as a whole should be supplementing.  The question for you is that if it does no harm why wait until the study is complete to get your serum level high enough to where it will do some good.

The serum level should definitely be above 40 ng/ml of 25(OH)D and to get the best effect in the body it should be above 70 ng/ml.  The NIH fact sheet (Table 1) says that harm does not start to occur until it is above 200 ng/ml and animal studies show that below 400 ng/ml is safe.  This gives you a safety factor of at least 3 which is much better than most any prescription drug.

The thing that is really troubling to me is that many of the participants will be given placebos with no vitamin D.  I will pray for these people that they do no die from this continued deficiency of this vital steroid.  Hopefully as positive results are shown that the placebo group will also be given vitamin D.

If you decide not to wait because you already have one of the many chronic diseases from vitamin D deficiency then do what it says on the Vitamin D Council home page.  The volume of research is already HUGE and why we need another study is beyond me.  We have already done this the first part of the 20th Century when everyone was taking 2 tablespoons of cod liver oil, about 2600 IU of D3, per day without harm.  The only issue was that the vitamin A level may have been too high in the cod liver oil.  Look at the volume of research by disease at this Vitamin D Council Research Page.

I have been reading extensively on roles of vitamin A and how it interacts with vitamin D.  How these two act in synergy is still not complete science, but I do feel much better when I eat liver or take about 4000 IU of vitamin A from fish liver oil.  I will blog about this in the near future.

Here are the many diseases:  17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.

Why wait!?  It is your health and your life – be healthy!   The encouraging thing about this pandemic is that the news of vitamin D is moving very fast through word of mouth and blogs like this one.  We should start to see things like the overall rate of cancer start to reduce significantly as more people take it on themselves to supplement.

Go into the sun!!!  The best time is between 11AM and 2PM when the UVB radiation is at it highest.  Wear the least amount of clothes possible so that you do not get locked up and if you start to turn pink it is time to get out of the sun and wait until the next day.  As you start to tan it will take longer and only about 15 to 20 minutes to start depending on skin color will be long enough.  – Pandemic Survivor

The Balance of Getting Sun

You know as I have read the literature about the amount of disease that could be prevented by getting enough sunshine, I have wondered about the balance of decision making in the medical industry.  I know that the argument about treatment versus prevention has gone on for a long time, especially since the medical insurance industry has arisen to be such a giant in the economy.

It seems like the warnings were coming on two fronts:

  • That is if we spent too much time in the sun we would get skin cancer and die.
  • The other front was less understandable by the average person that was that if we got too much vitamin D that we would die because of absorbing too much calcium.  Let’s see that warning that I got when I told my physician that I was going to take 5,000 IU of D3 a day:  “I learned in medical school that if you get too much vitamin D that your organs will turn into calcium rocks and you will die”.

What was this fear and where was it coming from.  Certainly skin cancer rates had gone up significantly since the 1960’s.  Let us see what else happened in the ‘60’s, oh yes that is when sun screen started to be promoted with extreme vigor. Maybe we can make some sense of this decision making by drawing a sketch of the weight of disease.

balance

Wow that does not seem to make too much sense does it.  Where is the balance?  What could be going on to make some sense of the decision making.  What about the medical economy that is generated from the treatment of all those chronic diseases so that there will be lots of jobs and extra cars and houses for people in the medical insurance industry:

balance1There now that seems to be a better balance.  But what do we do with this box?

balance2 – Pandemic Survivor

Imagine Freedom

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of dreams
Brings images of delight for life
As we follow our happiness
Not like a sea lion trapped in a desolate barren

Endless stretches of sun bleached sand
Getting stuck in every crevice available
Make you itch for the life that you are destined
As you long to be with ones of like mind

And you think of the lives given
So that the sand becomes endless
Delightful forest of refreshing green
All there for you to enjoy at this sacrifice

Now it is ours to maintain for a community
That believes freedom is a Divine gift
For our own decisions of what is happiness
Are we willing to make this same sacrifice?

Held up like a snake on a stick or a cross
We know that this gift has been given
For our enjoyment of life today and forever
And we pause in celebration of this joy

Original verse for the 4th, 2009 by M. Pegram – Please share if you desire

-Pandemic Survivor


Blast Your Concerns about Cancer Away with Dynamite (DINOMIT)

Dr. Cedric Garland has been researching cancer and vitamin D for over thirty years.  Through Grass Roots Health and University of California San Diego, he has released a video talking about the stages of cancer and how vitamin D and calcium acts at many stages.

Until now typical treatment and prevention only considers Initiation, Overgrowth, and Metastasis.  He describes the additional stages as follows:

D – Disjunction

I – Initiation (genetic variation)

N – Natural selection

O – Overgrowth

M – Metastasis

I – Involution (cancer stops or slows)

T – Cancer becomes chronic condition)

A must watch video for doctors, researchers, oncologist, those concerned about cancer and cancer patients.  This University of California San Diego – TV video:  How Vitamin D Reduces the Incidence of Cancer: The DINOMIT Model by Dr. Cedric Garland.  For best results Dr. Garland says that you should get your serum 25(OH)D above 60 ng/ml.  Everyones serum level responds differently depending on disease state and body mass.  You most likely will need between 4000 IU to 10,000 IU per day of D3 from all sources.  The only way that you know for sure that your serum level is maintained is to have a blood test.

I would not suggest that you use D2 because it does seem to act the same as D3.  D2 and D3 has always been thought by the medical profession to be equivalent but new research shows this is not the case.  D2 also seems to be more toxic.  The Vitamin D Council on Treatment with D3. and  D2 versus D3 in this paper by Armas, Hollis, Heaney.

For doctors with your concerns about toxicity:  The NIH data shows serum 25(OH)D to be safe at levels consistently below 200 ng/ml.  Animal studies have shown that levels below 400 ng/ml do not cause toxicity.  See Table 1 at the NIH Fact Sheet on Vitamin D.

Also be sure your diet has enough calcium or about 4.5 mg per pound of body weight per day as discussed in this fact sheet on calcium from the NIH.

Other presentations from Grass Roots Health and UCSD-tv.  Vitamin D Presentations

If you have cancer be sure that your oncologist sees this information and do it conjunction with whatever protocols that he recommends.

You may also want to consider watching this one hour free video from Dr. Mercola on Vitamin D to help clear up the confusion of this strategic prehormone for health.

Cancer is not necessarily a death sentance.  Take control and be healthy.

GET HEALTHY!  and my  prayers are with you. – Pandemic Survivor

Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, the Sun

I speculate here and believe that the obituary of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett should read:

“After years of compliance with the institutional norm of avoiding the sun for a beautiful complexion, Michael and Farrah succumbed to  chronic disease from vitamin D deficiency.  May they always be remembered for their art and artistry.”

If they had followed the instructions of Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council’s home page, I would imagine that they would have lived a much longer productive life.

Thank you John for helping me understand and not falling to this end.  This has allowed me to begin a life of poetry and art.  The poem below would not have been possible without life.  How much art have we been denied from Michael and Farrah?               – Pandemic Survivor

Bondage

Somehow bound up in this world,
We find ourselves trying to make a life
And not just live another existence.

But where do we find the boundaries
For this to allow peace of mind as we
Try to create our worlds?

Boundaries, what are those things that can
Take life away as well as bring life
In abundance to each being that understands?

Boundaries improperly defined
As shackles bind us in a darkness
That can only be compared to slavery.

Oh God, raise up this wretched bound soul
Swirled in desperation of time not spent
In defining bounds of my purpose in life.

Copyright ©2009  Mark Pegram

Black People, White People, the Sun

So once again we have found that black people have been discriminated against because of their skin tone.  It has been known since we started keeping statistics on disease and skin color that people with dark skin have more chronic disease and shorter life expectancy.  I have asked black people why they thought this was and the response was because they believe the stress of discrimination and an overall lower standard of living because of their suppression which lead to reduced medical care.  When I have asked white people what they thought I would get the response that black people just did not take care of themselves.  It seems that none of us are free of bigotry.  Neither answer is even close to correct.

The true reason for much higher disease states is the physical fact that skin color has evolved over time so that we can more easily live with the amount of sun that we would typically get at that latitude.  You can see what this looks like from the skin color map of indigenous people.

As you move away from the equator skin color of indigenous people gets lighter so that they can make an adequate amount of vitamin D.  As you go toward the equator, the skin tone gets darker to protect the skin from the damage of UV.  It then follows that if you have light skin and move closer to the equator that you take a higher risk of skin damage from the sun.  If you have dark skin and move further away from the equator you take the risk of not making enough vitamin D for a healthy long life.

So let’s take melanoma for an example.  Should we expect to find the melanoma rate higher at the equator or at the higher latitudes?  If it was totally from exposure to the sun then you would expect to find higher rates along the equator.  With our very mobile world people with light skin at the equator would have an extremely difficult time with this disease.  However, this was not the case with the data from Edward Gorham, PhD et al in the presentation Skin Cancer\Sunscreen – the Dilemma.   What we see on page five is that as you go away from the equator melanoma gets worse.  So what is going on?  What is even more of a dilemma is that we see that the rates for Argentina are much lower than they are for Australia even though we found that the skin color of the indigenous people were about the same at the same latitude.  Could it be that the cause of a higher melanoma rate is because of an intense program for sunscreen use in Australia?  It is complex and complicated because you also have to consider ozone.  Watch the video: Skin Cancer/Sunscreen, the Dilemma.

It seems that as skin tone gets darker that it takes more time in the sun or a more intense sun for the body to produce the same amount of vitamin D.   For example a person with a light skin tone may take only 15 minutes to produce 10,000 IU of D3 and a person with dark skin at the same latitude and sun intensity it could take 3 to 10 times longer to produce the same 10,000 IU of D3.

With this being the case and low supplementation then it stands to reason that lower vitamin D levels will lead to more disease.  Low levels of vitamin D have been correlated with the ‘big three’ killer chronic diseases: diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  Dark skin people have a higher incidence of chronic disease.

Our response to this understanding as a society has been alarmingly slow because of our bigotry.  Consider this article Racial Opportunities – about race from Dr. John Cannell at the Vitamin D Council and this civil rights complaint that was filed with the DOJ against the FDA and was refused to be heard by the NIH in 2005.  What are we to think?

In 2005 and 2006 I went to see my local congressman and wrote to the NAACP twice to try to get some help in having the complaint heard.  My congressman told me that there was nothing that he could do about it and the NAACP did not respond to either of my letters.

The research on chronic disease and skin color is being published at an every increasing rate.  Consider this paper just published earlier June.

Differences in Vitamin D Levels Likely Explain Ethnic Differences in Incidence of Congestive Heart Failure

William B. Grant, PhD ; Archives of Internal Medicine Vol. 169, No. 11, June 9, 2009

Let’s get healthier, give up the agendas, and embrace the light.

Boundaries improperly defined
As shackles bind us in a darkness
That can only be compared to slavery     – Pandemic Survivor