Bare with me, I will get to the vitamin D, but first the story. In July, 2010, I fell when descending stairs in an unfamiliar house. It was really a sort of a stupid thing as I was talking to another person as I descended the stairs. The stair was wide enough so that we were almost side by side. I was totally engrossed in our converstation. Thinking that I was on the bottom step, I took a large step forward to find that I was two steps ups. This resulted in a forward lunge. Let me also say that I had been working hard for the three hours prior. I had lost a singificant amount of body fluid from perspiration, almost seven pounds of weight ( I had weighed before starting this job because I was interested in how much fluid loss would occur under severe heat and work conditions. During the three hours, I had drank three twenty ounce bottles of water). This combination of muscles on the verge of cramping and a clumsy fall resulted in a nasty muscle pull and perhaps an injured spine.
Of course I did not know which at the time. I thought that I had totlly destroyed my back again. After a few days of trying to resolve the pain, I went to my neurosurgeon. After an MRI, it was discovered that I had ‘no change in the appearance of my spine.’ The doc left me alone in the room prior to his arrival with the MRI on the computer screen. It so happened that the 2005 MRI was also on the screen. When comparing the two images, It was apparent that the thickness of my vertebral disc in the lumbar region was twice what it was in 2005. No change was a statement saying that my back had actually improved, but since we know that ‘you cannot grow cartilage,’ we will just not comment on the improvement. Let me be very specific here as the statement of no change was from the radiologist that had read the MRI and not my neurosurgeon. The neurosurgeon was in disblief and amazed.
The spacing between the L4-L5 had not improved and it was apparent that there had been more distortion of the vertibra (hammer shaped). The surgeon felt that the pain I was experiencing was a direct result of this issue. I felt that he was partially right, but what I was experiencing for pain was not like what I had felt before. The pain would initiate in my hip and then descend the leg. Now neural pathways are tricky and to try to pin point the origins of pain is difficult at best. I had decided that my pain was originating from a strained piriformis muscle. This muscle is under the glut muscle and the nerve bundle that recombines and descends the leg goes through the middle of this muscle. Muscle relaxants would make the pain completely go away.
The pain and numbness got much better six months later but was still going on which was not a good thing. I continued to deal with it through the spring until my physical the thrird week in April. I was shooked to see that my serum vitamin D level was 42 ng/ml. I had been taking 10,000 of D3 per day since June of 2005. How was it that my vitamin D level had dropped from an average of 85 ng/ml to 42 ng/ml. It was apparent that the vitamin D3 that I was now using was not the same as before.
I had switched to Pharmassure’s brand that I could purchase from the local drug store. It is apparent that this brand does not have the required 5.000 IU of D3 in the product as described on the label. I had been using the Bio-Tech Pharmacal brand for the 5 years prior with good results. It is obvious to me that the lack of qualily control on such a tiny amount of vitamin D is a very real issue. It could be that one bottle or lot was bad and the rest of Pharmassure’s product is fine. However, you can bet that I will never use this brand again. This is a similar story that was reported by Dr. Davis that writes the Heart Scan Blog. In that case his patients had switched from Vitamin Shoppe brand to Walgreen’s Nature Made brand and it was like the Nature Made product had no vitamin D. For you in trying to maintain an adequate vitamin D level, YOU MUST HAVE YOUR SERUM LEVEL TESTED!
I wonder now if the large range of vitamin D3 intake to achieve an adequate serum level that was reported by the study at Grass Roots Health may partially be due to the fact that all brands that claim 5,000 IU may not be 5,000 IU. I had been part of this test through the spring of 2010, but had not had my serum level tested for over a year. Anytime you change brands or habits, like how much you sun bath or change diet in like how much liver you eat ( more vitamin A an antagonist of vitamin D), you should have your serum level tested.
I took fifty thousand IU of D3 per day for two weeks to get my serum level back up and am now taking 10,000 IU of Bio-Tech Pharmacal’s vitamin D3 per day. Interestly enough, the pain in my leg has gone and my hip seems to be healed. I now have over six thousand hours of studying vitamin D, it is obvious that the single most important thing that you can do in this new medical paradigm is to have your serum level tested! – Pandemic Survivor