The Great Vitamin D Versus Cold Immune System Experiment

When there are just you, statistical significance relates only to you.  This is an odd kind of statement, but when you are considering whether to take a measure against something that may happen to you, the only thing that concerns you is whether it happens to you.  Of course you can always commit a type 1 error, or believe that something is present when it is not.  When given multiple possibilities, the one that makes the least assumptions is the correct one – you may know this as Occam’s razor.  My simple hypothesis is that we seldom get colds or the flu in the summer because of exposure to the sun which gives us more vitamin D.

Since I started regularly taking vitamin D in November of 2004, I had only one incidence of the sniffles that could be considered a cold.  Last year, I had the sniffles that lasted approximately thirty six hours and may have been related to my allergy to wheat and not a viral infection.  So had the vitamin D along with the several grams of vitamin C and the 25 mg of zinc that I take per day prevented me from having a cold for over eight years?  The only way to tell was to test.  I stopped taking my normal 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

It was the first of November and a great time to test as my children and my grandchildren seem to all have colds.  I stopped taking the vitamin D one week before Thanksgiving.  On Thanksgiving Day, my nose started to run.  By the next morning, I was completely stopped up and felt terrible.  It only took seven days without vitamin D3 to get my first real cold in eight years.  As far as I am concerned that was proof enough.  In not having a cold for so long, you forget how miserable you can feel with a viral infection that drags out.  I returned to taking vitamin D, but it was not getting better after three days.  I then decided to ‘take a trip to the beach.’

In the winter time, my escape to the Caribbean Islands is to take fifty thousand IU’s of vitamin D3.  I believe this is the amount that I would make in about two days at the beach with a significant amount of skin surface exposed.  The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I took the fifty thousand IU’s.  I did this until Wednesday or for four days.  Finally the symptoms went away and I could breathe again by Thursday.  I will not repeat this experiment again!

To give consideration to the amount of vitamin D that I missed versus the amount of increase to feel better, review this balance.  I went for seven days without D3.  That was a reduction of 70,000 IU that I would normally have taken.  I then started again at 10,000IU per day but my cold was not getting better.  I then went to 50,000IU per day for four days before I got better.  This represents a ‘make-up’ of 160,000 IU (4 days x 50,000 – 4 x10,000  “my normal intake”) to get my immune system to respond.  So in the fourteen day period, I had 90,000 IU (160,000 – 70,000) more than I would normally have taken.  Once your immune system has gone down, it takes more than normal vitamin D to get it to respond quickly.  This should be a lesson in the design of experiments when trying to give a large dose and then measure whether it is effective over a long period.  Vitamin D works best when received every day with an adequate amount.  CNN – “Vitamin D supplements no help for colds, flu”

Ah, eight days at the beach in the Caribbean and my cold went away.  Since I could not afford to take the time to go to the Caribbean, the one dollar worth of vitamin D that I took was a very easy and cost effective solution.  The formula to prevent colds and the flu:  Per day, 40 IU of vitamin D3 per pound of body weight every day without missing.  If you weigh 150 pounds then 6,000 IU per day.  If you miss a day then make it up by taking twice as much the next day.  Take one gram (1000 mg) of vitamin C per fifty pounds of body weight per day.  If you weigh 150 pounds then three grams per day.  Take 5 mg of zinc per day for every fifty pounds of body weight.  If you weigh 150 pounds then 15 mg per day.

Sounds simple, it is simple.  You may say that taking all those supplements really bothers and you don’t want to do it.  I say fine, go ahead and have colds and the flu and feel miserable.  Meanwhile, I will spend my winters in the Caribbean in the sun.   – Pandemic Survivor


I’m Back! Apology to My Readership

I apologize to my readership for having taken a three and a half month leave from writing.  I have had six deaths in my extended family since last March and the grief has been burdensome.  Add to this tragedy the joy of two new grandchildren and an emotional rollercoaster has presented itself like no other.   I come from a large family – eight siblings.  We have had three mother-in-law deaths including my own this past week, my sister, and a nephew and his wife (they are my age).   The joy is two grandsons that finally make the men in my immediate family outnumber the women.  Two son-in-laws, two grandsons, and myself makes the men outnumber the women by five to four – an end to estrogen hell! – Just kidding girls!

I had to make a decision about what is more important in my life.  There is no explanation for the logic.  The good thing for you is that these tragedies and joys have help me to understand that the most important thing in my life is to help educate the general population to the understanding that nutrition is more important than the way we are currently practicing modern medicine.  This has been made clear to me through my survival of very serious disease.  As stated by the founded of Apple, Steve Jobs, our purpose is defined by death and renewal.  Stanford, June, 2005 commencement speech:

Where does that leave me with established medical practice?  I am scared.  The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disease) was just recently changed to include depression from grief to only have an exclusion of two months.  I have exceeded that exclusion by one and half months.  Does this make me clinically depressed?  No I made choices about what to do with my time as responsibilities to my family changed significantly.  Could I have gotten drugs for my crisis?  I am sure that I could have, but that would have been ridiculous because the side effects from the drugs would have been worse than the grief that I have suffered.  This is to say nothing about being put on a new electronic list as part of medical records that seemingly all institutions now have access to.  Article from Wired: Psychiatry’s New Rules Threatens to Turn Grieving into a Sickness

Only in God and love can resolution be found as His desire for us is spiritual joy, peace, and love.  I leave you with the words of Jim Valvano’s Espy Speech when he was only two months from death with cancer:  “To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

Thanks for continuing to read! – Pandemic Survivor