Trends in Vitamin D

Occasionally, I will get a wild hair and decide to just see what I can find that is different.  So I asked the question, “How much has interest in vitamin D changed over the several years?”  Of the course the question now is where do we go to find this info.

The easy answer is google trends.  If you have never visited this google website then you have missed out on a wealth of information.  If you want to look at one thing then just enter into the search.  If you want to compare, you can enter both things in the search and separate them with a comma.

Okay, let’s look at searches for ‘vitamin d’: Vitamin D google searches 2004 – 2010. Now that was fun.  We see that there appears to be a doubling of interest every two years.  This means that interest is growing at the rate of about 35% per year.

Since google only gives us relative values without a quantitative number, let’s compare vitamin D searches to the ‘big three disease killers’, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Vitamin D, Heart Disease Wow now that is really cool as we see that searches for vitamin d went above the volume of searches for heart disease in 2007.

Vitamin D, Cancer The fear of cancer as shown by the volume of searches is huge compared to searches for something that is the primary prevention of cancer, vitamin D.

Vitamin D, Breast Cancer and Vitamin D, Colon Cancer The individual cancer searches are similar to heart disease in volume.  Vitamin D is showing more interest than any one disease and this is great!

Vitamin D, Diabetes Same as cancer, there is a long way to go in the understanding of vitamin d and diabetes.

Let’s have some fun and see if the searches for President Obama are more or less than vitamin D.

Vitamin D, President Obama Sorry Mr. President,  although you have had some spikes of interest, the searches on google show there is more interest in vitamin D than in you.  Maybe you should go spend some time in the sun. (I am sure I could have manipulated the name and made the trends look significantly different)

Now that we have a base line of volume of searches on vitamin D, it will be interesting to see what happens when the new report comes out from the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.  We await patiently.

My personal trend – spend more time in the sun!  – Pandemic Survivor

Osteoporosis and the Battle Begins

Paradigm change means that someone will ultimately be damaged economically.  It does not matter if you are the manufacturer of the slide rule when calculators were invented or if you are the manufacturer of an osteoporosis drug when it was found that regular amounts of vitamin D would eliminate this problem.

To combat this issue, the best course of action is misinformation.  So determine a way to say that vitamin D does not work.  Here is the latest attempt.

LA Times Blog: Annual Mega-dose of Vitamin D doesn’t reduce fractures, study fines

USA Today:  Women fall more, not less, after a large dose of Vitamin D

Here is the actual journal paper from JAMA: Annual High-Dose Oral Vitamin D and Falls and Fractures in Older Women

I have noticed of late that all the commercials for osteoporosis meds say to take vitamin D and calcium daily.  Is it the drug or the vitamin D that is helping the course of the disease?  I suspect that if you get your serum vitamin D above 50 ng/ml and keep it there that your osteoporosis problems will disappear.  You will also be blessed with improved health in many other areas.  An important part of maintaining healthy bones is to have an adequate amount of magnesium as well.  This turns out to be about 3.5 to 4.5 mg of magnesium per lb of body weight.  Check out what Krispin, a nutritionist, says about magnesium.

The body was designed to have regular, daily doses of vitamin D.  Spiking the serum vitamin D level may be effective in treating disease, in particular infectious disease, but should not be used as a means to affect bone health.

Please beware of the news headlines that tend to mislead the reader to the agenda of the media.  That is to maintain large medical industry advertizing accounts.  Please note that he intent of the study was to determine if a single dose could be used because compliance in the elderly for daily doses is difficult.

If you can, go into the sun everyday for at least 15 minutes  – Pandemic Survivor

Pregnancy and Lactating Mothers

My daughter and mother of my new grandbaby took vitamin D during her pregnancy and also now that she is breast feeding.  She read the research and followed the suggestions of Dr. Bruce Hollis of the Medical University of South Carolina.  The full term natural birth was without incidence and the baby is doing great!  Not that there is any bias on my part.  My daughter is a practicing pharmacist at a local university hospital.  When she asked her doctor to check her serum level of vitamin D when she was pregnant the doctor told her that it was not an important nutrient and refused to give her the test.  She changed doctors.

You can see this same reaction by doctors from this recent article at CNN describing the presentation of a new paper on pregnancy and vitamin D that was presented in Vancouver, BC by Dr. Hollis.   Here is another article from the Vancouver Sun on the same topic.  You should read both as there is more information about how the vitamin was thought to be bad for pregnancy based on poor science.  Also they were most likely using D2 which is a ‘big don’t do it’.  In the CNN article you can see the contention among doctors as the battle on how much you take continues.  This quote from the article by Dr. Hollis: “The conventional wisdom about the dangers of too much vitamin D was “manufactured and based on flawed data,” he says. “There was never any real harm, just misconceptions.”

During the pregnancy she took 5,000 IU of D3 per day.  Now she is taking an average of 7,500 IU per day.  5,000 IU one and then 10,000 IU the next.  She recently had her serum 25(OH)D checked and it was 67 ng/ml or right where you would expect it to be for a person in a sunny country.  This assures that the breast feeding baby is getting about 400 IU of D3 per day.

The baby does not seem to have any intestinal issues and does not cry except when is hungry or needs a diaper change.  She started to sleep through the night after 10 weeks.  She is alert and just – well happy.

Another survivor story before the problem began.  – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D Toxicity and the Courts

I find it extremely interesting this past week when Gary Null, a health guru, filed suit over an extreme amount of vitamin D in one of his supplements.  It seems that what should have been 2,000 IU of D3 turn out to be 2,000,000 IU of D3.  It is interesting that the courts would even consider this lawsuit.  There is such a tiny amount of difference how could the manufacturer be held accountable.  The numbers look large and your body sees them as large but it is still a very small difference.  We are talking about the difference in 50 micrograms versus 50 milligrams.  Have you ever tried to measure 50 micrograms of material?  Here is the article in the LA Times.

Vitamin D has a long history in the courts going all the way back to the height of WWII when manufacturers of over-the-counter vitamin D to prevent rickets were putting such a small amount in the tablets that it would not prevent rickets.  The combined lawsuits were settled when the intellectual property rights of D3 became public domain.  Here the lawsuit was about not getting enough.

Lawsuits like this continued into the 21st century when the FTC and FDA tried to get the ‘shady’ marketing practices of sunscreen products changed in 2000.  It turns out that John Roberts, present Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, lead a group of lawyers that was hired by the sunscreen lobby.  This lobby group successfully defeated the lawsuit.  Today you can buy sunscreen with no warning label at all.  Where is the warning label that says: This product will block the production of one of the most important hormone precursors of the human body, vitamin D3.  Not only does the deficiency cause osteoporosis, it is also significant in the course of all chronic disease including the big three killers, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

If we consider the lawsuits, we see that they are not the same.  One is for two much of a substance that acts to create toxicity and the other is for a deficiency of the substance which causes a significant disease rates.  We have historically held institutions that were responsible for putting toxic substances into our bodies accountable like the tobacco or asbestos industries.  However, when institutions choose to ignore the benefits of a substance, they seem to skate by scot-free.  This ignorance of (ignoring of) vitamin D typically causes about 1,000,000 deaths in the US every year to say nothing about the suffering.  Now is the time and it will take government to act.

Let’s consider another institution that seems to be in the news for some apparent wrong doings.  That is Goldman Sachs.  It seems this market maker puts parties together that are on both sides of a financial vehicle. They know that one side is in significant risk of losing.  Does Goldman have a responsibility to inform the party of the significance of the risk?  The players at this level are considered to be ‘sophisticated’ investors which means that they fully understand the risk and are willing to play with the ‘big boys’.   Gary Null was also a sophisticated health professional.  How is that different?

So what are we supposed to do about institutions in the health care industry that are simply ‘market makers’?  That is they choose to ignore information that they know would be beneficial to society so as to protect their presumed market rights and the opportunity for intellectual property benefits.  This would include manufacturers of sunscreen and researchers that stand to benefit significantly by a large ‘sick market’.  That is everyone in the healthcare industry including and especially insurance providers.  This is such a large group and the lobby so powerful that the possibility of legal action in our lifetime is small.

The best thing that could happen at this point is for A. Cathrine Ross, Chairman of the FNB for Vitamin D and Calcium, make such a statement in the release of their forth coming report that the president of the US and prime minister of Canada will be forced to declare a national emergency.  The rest of the countries of the world will follow suit.  And you Chief Justice Roberts, what will you allowed to be heard in the Supreme Court?