If you recall I have mentioned (Vitamin D and the Doctor III) a number of reasons why we have not moved quicker into this understanding of vitamin D and the benefits that it has to offer for health. One of the issues is how small the amount of vitamin D that is needed in the body to produce a significant effect. This also causes great angst among physicians because it was so easy to give patients too much. Micrograms are a very difficult thing to measure quantitatively. When I was in college the best analytical balance only went to 1/10,000 and you had to shield this from any air movement so as not to tip the scale. Now just imagine instrumentation that measures in nanograms per milliliter. Compare 1 gram per liter at 1/1,000 to 1 ng/ml or 1/1,000,000,000,000. Very tiny. I may even have the number of zeros wrong but close. Nano is 1 x 10 to minus 9 and milliliter is 1 x 10 to the minus 3. Did I do my math right. See the issue. Quality control of testing is significant as well as accuracy and precision of instrumentation and procedures.
Read in this March Vitamin D Council Newsletter how this issue continues to plague us in possibly causing researchers to reach false outcomes. It seems that the issue is over two different types of analytically testing of blood samples for very tiny amounts of vitamin D.
You know it wasn’t that long ago that NASA crashed a mission to Mars because there was a misinterpretation between kilometers and miles or really big numbers. I kilometer is approximately 0.60 miles. Now imagine taking several hundred micrograms (100 micrograms equals 4,000 IU’s) of vitamin D and processing in a body of about 80 kilograms and trying to find a component in the blood at nanograms/milliliter. Thank you science for getting us this far.
If you are not confused yet you may want to review my article on Vitamin D Size Matters.
Let’s hope this same disaster does not continue with human health.