Vitamin D and the Doctor III

“Hope and Elation – Frustration and Anger – Fear and Loathing: The contrasting emotional responses to the Revolutionary Discoveries in MS made by Dr Zamboni”. – Dr Ashton Embry, Ph. D gives us this quote:  “Hell hath no fury like a researcher proven wrong or disenfranchised.”   www.direct-ms.org; when discussing the resistance to implementing the new treatment for MS that is a true break through. 

Can we get a better grip on the understanding of what doctors are like when facing a completely new radical understanding of health, there is this huge resistance to change.  This could very well be a good thing when the possibility of side effects can cause more harm than do good.  However, what is wrong with keeping the patient’s serum level of vitamin D to that of a sunny country or at a ‘summer level’ all year.  We tend to feel so much better in the summer than in the winter.

Dr. Embry’s frustration above is being described as that of a researcher that has been ‘barking up the wrong tree’ for thirty years or longer.  We find a similar episode in vitamin D where one of the super heroes of the vitamin D movement is fired from his job by a dermatologist no less after writing a book for retail. (His book is a great read – http://www.uvadvantage.org/ ) I am referring to Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University.  The University had the good sense to keep him on in another capacity.  Here is the detail of that battle from Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council in the February 2006 newsletter.  http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsletter/2006-feb.shtml

These researchers are putting their careers on the line for your health.  There is no money to be made from trying to get the medical profession to change.  Their only reward is your health.

Your doctor can only follow the guidelines and if your insurance does not cover the cost of a serum 25(OH)D test your doctor will most likely not follow through.   “There is no medical evidence that getting your vitamin D to a summer level will help your illness”, he will tell you.  What he means is that the treatment guideline for your illness does not have normalizing the serum vitamin D level as part of the treatment protocol.  This means until our heroes of the vitamin D movement get those changes made, you are responsible for being replete.

I have been really tough on doctors and maybe I should not have been.  I really am still upset with the researchers that have let the benefits of vitamin D go unpublished in the hopes of making and selling an analog for profit.  So why have we gone for so long when there is not just a magic bullet for one disease but there is a ‘magic shotgun’ (Oliver Gillie in Sunlight Robbery http://www.healthresearchforum.org.uk/sunlight.html ) for most chronic disease.

So let’s just list the things that have made this understanding of vitamin D so difficult for doctors:

  1. First, doctors have been trained in med school that vitamin D is highly toxic and to not even consider supplementation because just a small amount of sunshine is enough for strong bones.
  2. Efficacy issues comes from claims that D2 and D3 are equal and maybe this is true if you are only taking D for bone health at 400 IU per day.  Part of the issue with D2 is that you radiate fungus to make it, and over-radiation will cause isomers of vitamin D that are highly toxic.  D3 is concentrated from lambs wool and fat is less likely to form toxic sterols because there is no radiation involved in the process.  Only D2 is available as a prescription med.
  3. The amount of D3 is so small that errors in dosage could easily be made.  The suggested upper limit by the researchers is just 0.25 mg or 10,000 IU.  The upper limit now is 2000 IU or 0.05 mg or 50 micrograms.
  4. The really confusing thing is that there have been only a hand full of toxicity cases in the last fifty years with vitamin D3 and most of these were manufacturing errors by a factor of 1000 or more.   For example instead of 2000 IU; 2,000,000 IU was given.  Details on toxicity by Dr. John Cannell from 2003 http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/PDFs/toxicity-of-vitamin-d.pdf
  5. There have been many serious toxicity cases with D2 and in trials when using the steroid form of vitamin D, 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D, thus causing the fear of toxicity
  6. Vitamin D is not a disease specific nutrient and has an impact on all metabolic diseases or diseases that can be related to the endocrine system.  This is really difficult for doctors to believe.

Your local doctor is in general a conscientious professional and will help you though the understanding of vitamin D if you ask nicely.  But then again he may not, because his belief that one vitamin has more than a single response in the body, namely bone health is absurd because that is what he learned in medical school.  If this is the case, for your health, the responsibility is yours.

I know that this may fly in the face of what you have always believed about your relationship with your doctor, but the truth is modern allopathic medicine has reached a ‘cookie cutter’ state that does not fit individual needs.  You have spent years of bad nutrition that has created disease, even if you followed the guidelines for nutrition to the best of your understanding.  The doctor tries to bring you back to health using drugs and surgery.  Your responsibility is to be sure that your levels of essential nutrients are where they should be.

There are institutional issues with what is the best available nutrition and what is the best available technology for treating disease.  I heard one doctor in a talk about 25 years ago say that all chronic disease is the result of poor nutrition.  I now believe that he is correct.  Institutions have ignored what is the best available understanding of medicine and nutrition for profit.  This has happened through specialization.  Each member of a research team or a medical institution is assigned a specific task and he does his best to complete the task.  The moral obligation for the people that the institution serves falls to the head of the institution?  However, the CEO or Director or Administrator believes that their job is the survival and economic health of the institution.  Who holds the moral obligation?  This type of failure in systems holds true whether it is a three man squad in battle or the NIH.  Who holds the moral compass for the NIH?  Is it the Secretary of Health or the President?  I am sure in the mind of each it is passed on to someone else.  Based on that meeting of ‘white coat’ doctors on the White House lawn to discuss health care, I think the feeling is that the moral obligation ends up in the doctor’s hands.  I am sure the doctors do not feel this same obligation as long they are following the practice guidelines.  The truth is that you hold the responsibility for your own health and can take the advice of professionals for what it is worth.

I remember in 1985 what my doctor said to me when I was using ‘his language’ to talk about my back pain as I had accepted the responsibility.  “You are using all of the right words, but do you know what you are talking about.”  In other words, he was telling me to just ‘shut the h— up and to take what he was saying at face value.’  I was effective enough for him to send me in for x-ray of my back after seven years of just telling me I had muscle strain.  After the x-rays he sent me a letter of apology to keep me from suing him.  That was nice.  Unfortunately he had not bothered to read the science and did not ask to check my vitamin D level even though Dr. Michael Holick had discovered the mechanisms of how vitamin D worked in the body and published 10 years earlier.  It is not too much to expect the best available from our doctors but it is never wrong to verify to the best of your ability.  This may include your own review of the current literature regarding your illness to see if the suggested treatment protocols agree with current research.  Most doctors will hate you for this.

Living in a world without back pain is wonderful.     Take responsibility for your health.  – Pandemic Survivor

Note: There was an episode of House where the suggested illness was vitamin D deficiency.   My wife, the director of a large clinical lab is telling me that doctors are ordering serum vitamin D test on almost everything.  Maybe we are getting there.  There is hope and you will not have to suffer pain for 30 years like I did.

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One thought on “Vitamin D and the Doctor III

  1. Pingback: The Issue of Tiny « Vitamin D Deficiency Survivor

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