A Vitamin D Adventure
Mark A. Pegram
Welcome to my website. My intent is to keep you informed of all the vitamins and minerals in which we are deficient. You cannot get enough vitamins and minerals in the foods that you eat to stay healthy. The only way to get an adequate amount for health is to supplement. Vitamin D brought me to this understanding. I typically take about sixteen tablets and capsules per day. This is including the A, B, C, D, and E of vitamins and a multimineral. The cost is about the price of a Starbucks tall coffee per day. I stay away from herbs as I consider these as drugs.
Nutrients that are of particular concern: folic acid instead of methyl folate, inadequate amounts of all the vitamins. Halides that mimic iodine (and low iodine/iodide intake) in our bodies include fluorine, bromine, and excess chlorine. Inadequate amount of the proteins from bone and skin as we now eat primarily muscle meat. Sulfate as our soils are poor in this important nutrient (there is not even a government recommendation). Fear of the sun and how it brings us health. This is on both ends of the nonvisible spectrum, both UV and near infrared.
The government recommendations are just enough to keep from getting sick from a defined disease. It does not account for the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy. As an example, the vitamin D recommendations are to prevent you from getting rickets. It does not consider the thousands of research papers written for other diseases. My blog has turned into a large site as I have been writing since June of 2009 (Please forgive the writing errors in my early works. I believe that content is more important than style.). As you read, you will see that I have changed my mind on many supplements. Vitamins and minerals have low toxicity and can be taken in larger amounts. However as with anything, too much can be a problem. Even water has a true upper limit. Since early twentieth century, there has been a huge amount of research into nutrients that has not been presented to us for health. Doctors have not been trained for many reasons, but most reasons are about sustaining our healthcare economy that now accounts for almost twenty percent of gross domestic production.
I have been taking large amounts of vitamins and minerals since 2004. My health has improved in many ways. I have not had a cold or the flu since 2004. I have recovered from degenerative disc disease (DDD). I have recovered from three decades of chronic pain that resulted from the DDD. I had two back surgeries and avoided several more that were recommended. I recovered from severe sleep apnea in 2006. I was diagnosed with a shortened right leg in 2003. In 2017, my right leg has now grown out to the same length as my left leg as verified with x-ray by the surgeon that did the original diagnosis (wow! This was a real surprise). There have been no side effects except for excellent health. At sixty-six years old, I take no meds. Life is good when you have excellent health.
Use the categories to find whatever you are looking for or use the search available on the home page.
Faith in God allowed my discovery of how sun avoidance had created disease in my body. It was through being lead to an understanding of vitamin D and all the nutrients that I am now fully recovered from a multiple of diseases.
I am a mechanical engineer (BSME, MS Engineering) with an earnest appetite for solving extremely complex problems. My favorite pursuit is in energy and thus the reason for a MS degree that specialized in heat transfer and fluid flow. But you know, in the pursuit of the quality of life and not career rewards, I have reinvented myself several times and now I am retired and do home inspections (an extremely physical task) to support my writing. Below is a short story of my discovery of how I was deficient in vitamin D that was originally written in 2005. I was excited when I wrote it because I was recovering my health. Thanks for reading. –Mark, October 2017
For years I have followed the advice of the medical industry in staying out of the sun. This advice was enforced as law from my mother because I grew up on a farm in North Carolina and had two heat strokes, one at 4 and another at 15. She was absolutely adamant about the fact that I should wear long sleeve shirts and a pith helmet to keep the heat down and the sun away as I worked in the fields. I married in 1975 and my wife, a medical technologist, insisted that I wear sunscreen anytime that I went into the sun, as I am an avid golfer.
The low back problems started in the spring (a particularly important season for low serum vitamin D) of 1979 when I was 28. My primary care physician told me that he thought I just had a muscle strain and had me take ibuprofen to relieve the pain. I went through many cycles (always in the spring) of back pain that was treated with ibuprofen until 1986 when he could no longer stand the grimace on my face and sent me in for x ray. I knew that I was in trouble when the x ray technician asked after the first take, “are you sure that you have not had back surgery?” The physician was kind and sent me a letter of apology for all the years that he thought that I was just complaining.
The first real failure of my spine came in 1992 when I had a bulge of a disc in my cervical vertebrae that caused severe pain and numbness in my back and arm. My neurosurgeon was very conservative in his approach and had me wear a soft collar for months and do traction at night. This worked well enough to avoid surgery. It is interesting to note that the neurosurgeon remarked, “your spine looks like that of a seventy-year-old man.” I was forty-one at the time.
The second failure came in 1998 when driving back from Richmond; I knew that I could not mentally avoid the pain and still function. After a quick trip to an orthopedic surgeon, referred by my primary care physician, I was sent for an MRI two days later and received a call that afternoon. The radiologist that had read the MRI said that it was the worst rupture of the L4-L5 Lumbar disc that he had seen, and the patient could still walk. The surgeon suggested that I could sever my spinal cord by just getting into a car. I had surgery two days later. I had a second surgery in 2003 as the same disc ruptured again. The pain continued, and I was looking at lumbar fusions and cervical surgery.
I then began my quest for spine health after the first surgery. I consumed large amounts of minerals and anything else that would help my spine as ‘the nutrient of the day’ was marketed. However, my real finding came very serendipitously.
A friend of mine asked me to help him determine the percent of American households that had central air conditioning. I quickly delivered for him the percent of households with air conditioning from 1980 until 2001. With my normal inquisitive mind, I noticed that the rate of increase in air conditioning looked very familiar to me. It was about two months later that I read an article on the increase of obesity in America and there was that same rate of increase. Thinking that perhaps it was just coincidence, I went for several months until a day that I was trying to relieve pain without taking any more pain meds. To focus my attention away from pain, I did a correlation analysis between the two sets of data.
To my surprise there was better than a 99% correlation. Thinking that I had made a mistake, I manipulated the data in lots of different ways and the worst case was a 96% correlation. Upon telling my medical daughters, I was immediately informed that just because there was a correlation did not mean there was a cause and effect. A graph of the findings can be viewed at this post; Back Pain and the Beginning of Hope.
I would like to stop here and tell all of you ‘fatties’ to turn up your thermostats. My thought was that the fatter you are the more air conditioning you need.
I am not a doctor and do not suggest that you do any of the following without consulting your primary care physician and have a serum vitamin D, 25(OH)D, test. Most of the vitamin D researchers agree that a level below 40 ng/ml is deficient. The normal range for 25(OH)D is 40 to 100 ng/ml.
It was several months later, fall of 2004 that I read an article about rickets for inner city children and the ‘sunlight’ came through. Spend more time in ac, the less exposure to sunshine. I begin to research vitamin D and sunshine. The internet was full of all kinds of articles on Vitamin D. I did not know what to believe. Willing to try anything because of the constant pain, I begin to take 2000 IU per day on November 4, 2004. This was an amount that the FDA said was a safe upper limit. However, I had read on one of the multiple sclerosis websites that they thought that 4000 IU per day was okay because people on the equator consistently get about 10,000 IU per day from sun exposure.
There was an immediate response in my system as the next day I did not get chilled from exposure to cold air. This was unusual for me. I continued to increase the amount that I took each day until at above 4000 IU per day, I did not see any more improvement in joint or muscle pain. At that level the entire joint and muscle pain that had plagued me for years was gone except for lumbar region pain. I had regained my original height of 6 feet from a height of 5 feet 11 inches; a general indication of improved spine health. I continued this level until the spring of 2005 when during my annual physical I convinced my doctor that I had been deficient in vitamin D. We found my serum 25(OH)D was at 54 ng/ml or normal after six months of supplementation.
As my spine got healthier it led to more pain as all the nerve roots tried to find new homes. This took about six months as my pain level reduced to the point in September 2005 to where I was off all pain meds. I had avoided more back surgeries. I varied in height between 6’ and 6’-1”.
In February 2005 I discovered a website sponsored by the vitamin D Council with Dr. John Cannell as its Director. This website allowed me to look at the chronic diseases that were correlated to vitamin D deficiency and then link directly to the medical research abstracts. I was absolutely amazed. I will repeat my daughters’ statement, “a correlation does not mean causation.” I took enough of the abstracts to my doctor to convince him that there was a problem in the general population with vitamin D deficiency.
So where are we now? There is a lot of excitement in all the areas of chronic disease and cancer and their correlation to vitamin D. Please take the time to help guide your doctor in the new research on vitamin D. As there is not much of a profit advantage in treating disease with sunshine, it will take a long time for this to become general knowledge. Please become proactive in helping the medical community to become educated and promote more research through contact with your local US Representative.
How long have we been ignoring the facts? Dr. Niels Finsen was awarded the Nobel Prize for treating patients with arc light and sunshine (UVB) in 1903.
Author’s Note: I originally wrote this article in the fall of 2005. Since that time my health has continued to improve with no more medical procedures and no meds. My height has stabilized at about 6’-2”. I have also gotten off a CPAP for sleep apnea. My PCP tells me I now have the health of a 25-year-old and that is not bad for a 56-year-old man. There has been much new research in vitamin D3 and you should spend time at the Vitamin D Council website to see what is new. If you decide to supplement, please do so with your doctor’s care and direct him to the CME (continued medical education) at the Vitamin D Council website under publications. Health is wonderful! -January 29, 2007