Sunday Musing

Well there you have it, the CDC claiming that increased vaccination was the reason for so few seasonal flu deaths this year.  But how do they explain that influenza like illness is as low now as it normally is at week 35 of the flu season and we are only at week 15?  Keep taking your vitamin D folks because the wellness is just beginning.

Here is the story from the Baltimore Sun  Overall flu deaths down during H1N1 pandemic

From the article:  “Overall flu deaths are down this year because H1N1 flu crowded seasonal flu out,” said Jeff Dimond of the CDC.       Please Mr. Dimond, give me a small personal break!  – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D is having its time in the sun The Vancouver Sun   Now I just wonder why the The Vancouver Sun decided to name their newspaper ‘the sun’?

Let the confusion truly begin in earnest.  We have talked about the three stages of paradigm change in the past.  Ridicule, violent opposition, and accepting as if it has always been.  Here you have two newspapers in Canada releasing opposing stories about whether Canadians are replete in vitamin D.  This is how the battle will be fought as stories by ‘experts’ try to maintain you at some level that is not adequate so the disease state can prevail which means that sales in the medical/pharma/medical insurance industries are maintained.  It will be interesting to see how much confusion revolves (as in major spin) around the FNB on vitamin D and calcium findings are published this year.

Do I sound a little perturbed or less than happy about what is being said about vitamin D then you are wrong.  I am extremely grateful for how far the medical profession has come in such a short amount of time.  I just wish it had happened before I suffered 25 years of pain, ten of them severe pain, loss of income and loss of friends because no one could stand to see me in pain.

I do get perturbed when I hear doctors make statements like: “And Mark, you may think I’m a skeptic, but with all the supplementation that is now being done for those on (list any med for many of the chronic diseases), wouldn’t you think if Vit D were of great benefit that we’d know by now?”

My answer to this question is of course NO!  I first thought that I was just being bated by this person and then I realized she was being serious.  Modern medicine is so great how could  you think that we are not giving you the best there is to offer in other words.  Here is a doctor that has totally forgotten that the institutions of medicine practice for profit and not always for customer satisfaction.  If they can keep the spin going that they are ‘giving the best that there is to offer’ then perhaps their customers will be happy.  Even if they just die along the way.

Be prepared for the continued spin and how you are going to deal with it.  With a replete population we are talking about a 25 to 50% reduction in disease and then what will happen to the medical economy and social security?      – Pandemic Survivor


Asthma Worsened by Vitamin D Deficiency

News in now finally starting to inform the population in general that vitamin D can have a significant impact of the course of the disease.  Here are a couple of articles from Web MD

01/28/10  ‘Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With Worse Asthma and Lung Function, Study Finds’

4/23/09  Low Vitamin D Linked to Severe Asthma

4/19/10 from UPI “Low Vitamin D Found in Kids with Asthma”

Survivor Story

My niece, a young four year old girl at the time, 2006, had very severe asthma.  She was going to the emergency room one to two times per month.  The mother found out about a study that was done in the UK about how steroids worked significantly better if the asthma sufferer had a higher level of vitamin D.  The mother decided to supplement at 1500 IU of vitamin D3 per day which is within the guidelines of the NIH.  In the four years since the child has only been to the emergency room one time during the first winter of supplementation.

This level of supplementation should have put the child’s serum 25(OH)D level above 50 ng/ml.  As a rule of thumb the amount necessary for a child is about 35-40 IU’s of D3 per lb of body weight per day.  At 40 lbs that would mean that she was getting 1500/40 = 37.5.  The serum 25(OH)D levels in a sunny country are between 54 to 90 ng/ml.   Since then the mother has increased the amount that she gives the child to try to maintain that range as the child grows.  In general she seems to be much happier and healthier.

If your child has asthma, it is important to have the serum 25(OH)D level tested to be sure that is adequate to reduce inflammation.  Get your doctor tuned into this if he is not already on board and you can make life for yourself and your child much more pleasant.

Vitamin D is significant in how it reduces inflammation in all parts of the body and in particular the organs.

Here are a couple of articles if you want to read the science at Pub Med or if you need them to convince your doctor:  ‘The vitamin D connection to pediatric infections and immune function.’ Walker and Modlin – May 2009

‘Vitamin D, respiratory infections, and asthma’  Ginde, et. Al. January 2010

Breathing easy – Pandemic Survivor

Sun Tan, Melanoma, Sunscreen, and Science

I would have to assume that like me you are one of those people that thought there was a huge amount of science saying that if we used sunscreen that we are protecting ourselves from melanoma.  However, the science suggest otherwise.  The dermatologists have been used over the last fifty years to help develop this belief as they have believed this from their own education.  However, consider this statement made by Edward Gorham, PhD during a presentation on sunscreen and melanoma.  “Sunscreen has changed our ancient relationship between our skin and the sun.”  Unfortunately this change has not been for the better.

To date there has been no control study to show that sunscreen reduces the amount of melanoma in the population.  It has been just the opposite.  In the US as a whole melanoma has increased by a factor of four in the population since the 1960’s and in some northern European countries by a factor of ten.  So what is the deal?  Epidemiological studies show that melanoma is made worse by using sunscreen more than 2 to 1 and the studies that show a reduction in melanoma are usually close to the equator where the skin pigmentation is darker.

I had originally interpreted Gorham’s data on melanoma across the world as solely a use of sunscreen, but it is also predicted (by 30%) by the thickness of the ozone layers across various areas of the world.  I had thought that the lower levels of melanoma in Argentina which is approximately the same latitude as Australia was a result of solely the promotion of sunscreen in Australia.  However, in looking at the ozone thickness we can see that there is significantly reduced layer of ozone in Argentina.  Ozone it appears acts just like a sunscreen in blocking the UVB wavelength of light and letting the UVA through.  UVB is the beneficial wavelength that makes vitamin D in our bodies.  Also I had wrongly thought that the increase in melanoma in Australia was a result of a hole in the ozone layer.  However, the weakness of the ozone in the Antarctic seems to allow a thicker ozone layer over Australia according the ozone map that Gorham shows.

So what are you to do this summer when seeking to get that great tan and not develop melanoma?  It would seem that using sunscreen is an absolutely a no-no.  The sunscreen blocks UVB and lets the UVA through which science has shown to develop melanoma.  Have we unintentionally perpetrated this heinous act against the population because we have shown that sunscreen reduces squamous cell carcinoma which is not a killer?  Or worse we somehow correlated burns with melanoma?  It is odd that most melanoma occurs on parts of the body that are never exposed to the sun.

Please watch the video form Grass Roots Health by Dr. Gorham and decide for yourself: “Skin Cancer/Sunscreen – the Dilemma”

Here are his slides from the presentation if you would like to look closer at them: Skin Cancer/Sunscreen Slides

Of course the issue is that it is not just melanoma that we are experiencing an increase, it is a host of other chronic diseases that develop because of vitamin D deficiency and as we learn more the news will magnify our lack of responsibility in the matter.

At the end of the video presentation you will learn that the body stops vitamin D production when the skin reaches saturation of pre-vitamin D.  For a light skin person this occurs at about 20 minutes of tanning in the noon day sun.  The body makes about 20,000 IU during this short period.  As the melanin forms to protect your skin you can stay in the sun longer.  Before that if you have to stay in the sun longer then cover up with clothes and hats.  The only safe sun protection that we know is either zinc oxide or lithium dioxide.

When we stay in the sun much longer because the chemical protection is keeping us from burning, it exposes us to the opportunity for forming melanoma.

In the sun and not wearing sunscreen, and I hear the dermatologist saying just another child going look ‘mom no hands’ as he rides his bike.  To practice profit and not science seems to the art of medicine in the US.  – Pandemic Survivor

Is Vitamin D Toxic? II

Episode II in the epic journey of Is Vitamin D Toxic?

Well I made that trip to my doctor for my annual physical.  I was pleasantly surprised at his laid back attitude of my high serum 25(OH)D.  I thought that he would read me the ‘riot act’ instead his first question to me was how my healing with vitamin D.

Here is a doctor who has now been dealing with the benefits of vitamin D in his practice long enough to see how much effect that it is having on his patients.  He also knew that I know enough about vitamin D that I would not have a long term high level of vitamin D.  He could also see from my labs results that my serum calcium was perfectly normal.

So why was my vitamin D greater than 150 ng/ml?  My wife had contracted a serious bacterial lung infection after being compromised by an exposure to soot and ash from an Ash Wednesday service.  Yeah, I know.  Anyway she passed this infection along to me.  On the first Friday night in March my lung started to ‘gurgle’ and by Saturday morning I was coughing up blood.  This bug had some very serious drillers that were digging deep into the walls of my lungs.  I did not want to go the emergency room on the weekend or any other time for that matter so I decided to take a pharmaceutical amount of vitamin D3.  I took 250,000 IU of D3 Friday through Monday.  The break came on Sunday afternoon as I started to feel better.  Believe me if my fever had spiked or more evidence of fluid in my lungs with that much vitamin D I would have been right to the emergency room.

My wife went the route of conventional medicine and took antibiotics.  I went the route of the new understanding of vitamin D and went that route.  Do not do this without being under the care of a doctor.  It worked in my case, but if it had been a more serious infection like mrsa, I could have been in real trouble.

I did not take anymore vitamin D during March while waiting for my level to return to normal.  It just happened that my lab test were two weeks after taking 1,000,000 IU of D3.  Did that warrant a toxicity warning.  I do not believe so in particular since my serum calcium was not high.

My doctor’s comments to me five years ago when I suggested that I was going to start taking large amounts of vitamin D3 was that he had learn in med school that my ‘organs would turn to stone’.  Now they have their own Diasorin testing equipment and try to test everyone that they can.  My doctors comment now is that he will be telling his patients about the benefits of vitamin D for a very long time.  His concern now is the necessity for a change in the medical practice guidelines so that patients, doctors, and medical insurance can come together.

This doctor says that he has many patients that take vitamin D and has not seen a single high serum calcium level that could not be attributed to other causes.  In other words he has not seen any vitamin D toxicity in his practice.

Our doctors are truly starting to learn about vitamin D and that all of their previous practice in medicine was on a vitamin D deficient population.  This paradigm will truly change the face of medicine.

This doctor and his practice deserves a champion’s award in the Vitamin D Revolution.  YOU ARE CHAMPIONS!  -Vitamin D patient zero.

Survived another episode of illness with vitamin D.  The sun is shinning today and you know where I will be.   –  Pandemic Survivor

D3 Epigenetic Master Switch

A survivor of the vitamin D pandemic tried to comment to my July 14, 2009 post on Genetics, Epigenetics, and Vitamin D.  In my earlier post I had the comments turned off because I did not want to take the time to respond.  I now know that this was a mistake.  Sorry about that Rich.  I have now turned on the comments.  Here is what Rich Blumenthal had to say in an email:

Hi Mark –

I see you responded to my comment on your recent blog about the IOM. I wish I could be a fly on the wall while they deliberate.

I was reading your blog of July 14, 2009 on Genetics, Epigenetics, and Vitmain D. I was trying to respond. For some reason it didn’t allow me to do that. Here’s what I wanted to say.

You wrote: “I propose that vitamin D3 is the ‘master switch’ of epigenetics from nutrients. It acts like a shepherd in allowing the body’s various hormones to act for your health. Genes that need to be on get turned on and genes that need to be off get turned off.”

This statement is profound, life-altering, and so stunning that if people truly could grasp the message it would change the world. We have 23,000 genes and the active form of vitamin D is known to switch about 10% of them to a better, healthier state. In the world of steroid hormones, how many genes they affect determines how effective they are, and 1,25(OH)2D is believed to be the hormone with the most impact. This statement is supported by hundreds of cohort studies, ecological studies, and randomized clinical trials that provide irrefutable evidence of vitamin D’s therapeutic and strong preventive effects.

I’d like to recommend all your readers take two hours of their busy lives to watch a Nova episide that will help them understand how “switches” can turn on or off sections of DNA. The name of the episode is “What Darwin Never Knew” and it can be seen in its entirety for free here:

“What Darwin Never Knew”

The video basically shows how altered DNA becomes the underlying cause for visible evolutionary changes. They don’t mention vitamin D specifically but they do imply that the switches are more significant than the genes themselves, and that steroid hormones are the agents that flip those switches. I really do believe that epigenetics needs to be included with a serious study of vitamin D to understand its profound impact on health and longevity. Nova has made it relatively easy to understand, but be forewarned: If you are often stumped on the science questions in the TV show “Are you smarter than a fifth grader?” some of the chemistry and biology will be a little intimidating. But even if you don’t grasp everything, you will still get a good overview of how the switches work. Add the knowledge contained in your excellent July 14, 2009 blog, along with some of John Cannell’s writing on the subject, and I think you will experience the same “aha moment” that I did.

Let me make this claim: Anyone watching the Nova segment in its entirety along with reading many articles on vitamin D, thinks about it, truly learns it and understands the subtleties, details and nuances, will become privy to one of the greatest secrets of all time. Your life will never be the same. In making this discovery you are bringing the world one step closer to enlightenment. I know this is a big claim but I strongly feel that the world desperately needs to move in the direction where people know how to prevent serious disease.

Thank You Rich      – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D Quality Alert

As with all consumer products there are sure to be issues that need to resolved.  Dr. Davis who writes the Heart Scan Blog has warned us before that all vitamin D is not created equal.  That is some of the vitamin D will not give you the expected result of serum 25(OH)D.

His earlier warnings was that dry vitamin D in tablet form was not as potent as vitamin D in capsules.  This time he has found through five of his patients that Vitamin D of the Nature Made brand has not given the expected serum 25(OH)D.  Here is the article: Is it or isn’t it Vitamin D

The importance of this warning is that TESTING IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to assure that you have an adequate amount of vitamin D in your body.

Food and Nutrition Board Delay

During a recent visit to the Food and Nutrition Board website for vitamin D and calcium I was alarmed to find that the report had been delayed from May of this year until the end of the summer.

Most likely this will continue until the boards deadline of 24 months has ended.  That would put the report to sometime in the fall of 2010.  I would not be so concerned except for the 100,000 or so deaths each month that we delay because of vitamin D deficiency to say nothing of the suffering.

A. Catherine Ross, a vitamin A researcher, as chair most certainly is having a very difficult time in resolving the issues of a board that ultimately could have a huge effect on health as well as more of an impact on the medical economy than the recently passed health care bill.  Don’t you find it strange that a board for the Institute of Medicine that was seated to set standards and guidelines for vitamin D is chaired by a person who’s life’s research has been vitamin A?

I hope this is science and not politics at work.  It is for your health that I am concerned.  The scientist are saying that an upper limit of 10,000 IU per day needs to be set and I say that this may not be enough for an obese person.  However, anything less than this and we know that is more concerned with the medical economy than your health.  It would seem that the best DRI or daily required intake should be set for IU’s/per body weight.  It is the only thing that makes sense.

Doctor’s should also be instructed that long term levels of less than 200 ng/ml is safe for 25(OH)D.  This information already exist in the NIH Fact Sheet on Vitamin D in Table 1. It is also stated that no toxicity has been found in levels of less than 400 ng/ml.  Even though these numbers sound large they are still very small numbers.

Typically an intake from all sources of about 35 IU’s per pound of body weight should get your 25(OH)D above 50 ng/ml.  However, there is no way of knowing for sure without testing and because of the serious health consequences of vitamin D deficiency, testing should become a standard and doctors required to take enough CME’s to understand the complexities.

The longer we delay in not having a national intervention for vitamin D deficiency the suffering will continue.  Number one in this issue is that doctors need to be educated.