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

Vitamin D3 Usage in the US

How much supplementation and by how many people is a difficult number to determine. There have been several articles recently on how many people understand vitamin D3 importance, how the body makes vitamin D3 from the sun, and how much supplementation is required.  Everyone in the US has some form of supplementation because of the number of different products that are now having vitamin D added.  Of course, our natural connection to the sun and the production of vitamin D3 in the skin has forever been changed because of sunscreen products, mainstream medicine constant warnings about staying out of the sun for the last fifty years, and the lack of sun exposure because of air conditioning and electronic devices that trap us inside.

The question becomes – When our understanding of vitamin D3 finds its way through the bulwarks of the insurancemedicalfoodindustrial complex that is in opposition to a healthy population?  The answer to this question will be found when the population has enough vitamin D3 and other nutrients in which we are deficient that the occurrence of chronic disease starts to diminish.  As I have stated in earlier post, it is my belief that the first realization will be in a reduction of infectious disease like the common cold and the flu.  The second realization will come with the reduction in cancer incidence and death from cancer.  We will then see a reduction of heart disease by fivefold to the levels of Japan and Greece when it becomes common knowledge that the major cause of heart disease is the combination of vitamin D3 and sulfur deficiency.

So where are we now in assurance we are getting enough vitamin D3?  There is so much confusion on vitamin D testing (what type of test, the mixing of data between D3 and D2, and not including all forms of epi-D) and how much sun exposure the population is getting leads only to more confusion.  I believe the best way is simply to determine how much supplementation is occurring.  We know that food additives are targeted to give us about 100 to 400 IU of additional vitamin D per day or equivalent to about five minutes or less in the midday summer sun.  To reach a level where infectious disease (colds and the flu) remain at summertime levels will require at least two thousand IU per person per day of supplementation during the winter months.

According to a recent article in AARP, sales for vitamin D have jump from forty million dollars in 2001 to over six hundred million in 2011.  I have found the cost of vitamin D3 supplementation to range from less than a half cent per one thousand IU all the way up to around five cents.  We can determine the amount of supplement per person by using the following conditions.  1 – Most people will not supplement during the summer because they feel good and don’t see the need.  We will then say that vitamin D3 is supplemented October through February or for one hundred twenty days.  2 – We will use the cost of vitamin D3 supplementation at two cents per one thousand as a first approximation.  3 – The stated vitamin D sales are vitamin D3.  Without boring you with the math, this allows enough for 125 million people under the above conditions or about forty percent of the population.  Whether there are 125 million people getting two thousand IU per day or 250 million people getting an additional one thousand IU per day, this is enough to have a significant effect on colds and the flu.  I also believe that people are more significantly increasing their vitamin D3 levels by exposure to the sun because of the reduction in the fear of sun exposure by the media.

So when will vitamin D3 sales reach a level for cancer reduction?  I suspect the population would need to have enough additional vitamin D3 so that the year round supplementation is two thousand IU per person per day.  If we use one cent per thousand IU because of competitive price reduction at this level of supplementation, we would need to reach sales of 2.2 billion dollars per year for vitamin D3.  Okay vitamin D3 marketers, there is your first goal.  You cannot claim that it cures, prevents, heals, treats, or diagnosis disease in your marketing.  You, however, can state that it will promote WELLNESS as any other nutrient or food.

You may think there are too many assumptions for this article to make sense.  However, someone has to speculate for the wellness of the population.  From your speculator-and-chief promoter – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D, the Common Cold, and Rhinitis

I really had to chuckle when I read the news article from Family Practice News.  Headline: “Vitamin D Boost Fluticasone’s Allergic Rhinitis Effect”  First sentence reads: “ORLANDO – Daily oral treatment with a vitamin D supplement significantly improved the ability of fluticasone nasal spray to relieve the total, daytime symptoms of seasonal rhinitis in a pilot, placebo-controlled study of 35 patients.”  It is hard to describe how many levels of wrong that is made with this statement.  It would seem that just pure reasoning would get you to the point that rhinitis and colds are less in the summer than in the winter.  Warmth has been shown to not be the issue so really the only thing that is left is vitamin D.  Why such a surprise?  I guess that I am hedging somewhat here because pollen count that drives allergic rhinitis is higher in the spring and other allergens are higher in the fall.  But the thing that is even more wrong is to assume that the vitamin D is improving the performance of a drug when the vitamin D is doing all the ‘heavy lifting’ by itself.

The writer then goes on to explain that he would like to get the funding to do a larger study to show what is causing the primary effect.  He then explains that he most likely cannot get funding if the effect is just from the vitamin D.  He plans to solicit the NIH, but they would have no more interest in improving the health of the nation than pharma.  The truth of it is I personally know more than fifty people who have discovered that vitamin D has a significant impact on the symptoms of the common cold. What is even more interesting is that I suspect that total cold remedy sales are significantly down this year because more people are supplementing with vitamin D and spending more time in the sun.  This small shift in the total amount of vitamin D in the serum of the population affects the frequency of the common cold as a first result.

What the researcher should focus on is the combination of vitamin D and vitamin C to stop the rhinitis.  I have found that 500 mg of vitamin C every hour that I have a runny nose gives me relief in most cases.  However, the combination of vitamin C and vitamin D (about 20,000 IU for a couple of days) just makes all of the symptoms go away and the issue is totally resolved.  If the runny nose is from an allergy, add sulfur (as MSM) and magnesium and the results may surprise you.  Of course, this does nothing to boost sales of the pharmaceutical market or provided care to make a drug recommendation.  People would lose jobs and Obama would be blamed, so why would the NIH want to fund the study for people to lose jobs? I continue to chuckle as the merry-go-round plays its magic tunes.  – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D Best Benefit – Infection Fighter

Vitamin D has now been revealed as a significant hormone in the function of animals.  This includes everything from fighting infection to preventing a host of chronic diseases.  It has also been shown to have pathways on over 2700 genes or more than ten percent of our genome.  With so many benefits, there is a huge disconnect in the medical profession that any one thing can be this significant to life.  But if we pause and think about it, this hormone is produced in our skin after exposure to the sun.  This is our connection to the sun or the energy source for the biomass of the earth.

With this understood the question becomes, what is our best benefit.  I think that the best benefit is definitely as an infection fighter.  Just small amounts have a significant impact on colds and the flu or any infection that is a result of viruses.  Forget about all of the science studies and think how much healthier the population is in the summer as opposed to the winter.  This can be directly linked to the amount of exposure to the sun.  If you think about the last time you had a cold in the summer, it was most likely because you had not been exposed to the sun or it was not a viral infection.  Do not get me wrong.  Vitamin D fights other pathogens as well, but typically it requires higher levels of the hormone to effective.

Linus Pauling in his book, “How to Live Longer and Feel Better” argued that taking supplements was necessary to fight many diseases including the big three killers, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  His thought was the need in particular for vitamin C to help fight off these diseases and colds and the flu.  He states that the less infections that you have during your life time, the probably for a longer healthier life exists.  It is interesting how the medical community shunned him and his ideas on vitamins.  How could this be for the only man that had two unshared Nobel Prizes?  The science community eats its own when a member interferes with the opportunity to make money.  The general comment of the medical community is ‘it is only vitamins’.

Think about your children for a minute.  If you are sure that they are getting an adequate amount of vitamin D and vitamin C how unlikely they are to have colds, the flu, and yes asthma attacks.  If you are a parent trying to get through these early years of exposure to a highly contagious environment then supplements are your best friend.  Think about yourself.  I have not had a cold since 2004 because of this combination of supplementation.  Now in the winter, I have to be creative to come up with an excuse to not be at work.  Sometimes I miss my colds for this reason and then I think of all the misery.  You really do not need an excuse to take off from work for your ‘mental’ health.

Here is the best summary of the benefits of vitamin D and what levels to take to prevent colds and the flu.  It is provided by Dr. Mercola.  If you do not already receive his newsletter, then I encourage you to sign up as he provides a wealth of information.  “The Vitamin That Can Cut Your Flu Risk in Half”  Vitamin C and Vitamin D and its summer all year – Pandemic Survivor

Two Eyes, Ten Fingers, and Ten Toes

November 4, 2011 was an anniversary for me.  The date represents seven years since I started taking vitamin D3.  I remember well what my doctor said when I told him I was going to start taking 10,000 IU per day of vitamin D3.  “Your organs will turn to stone, or at least that is what they taught me in med school.”  His practice now is the leading practice in the area for helping resolve issues around vitamin D and disease.   Thank you Dr. Perini.  I have not grown any new fingers, eyes, or toes.  My organs have not turned to stones.  My body continues to heal confirming a report from the UK from the 1930’s that said: “If you take 5,000 to 10,000 IU of D3 per day, it will take four to eight years for your body to heal.”

My body continues to heal.  I have overcome a failed back surgery and avoided three additional back surgeries that would have been required.  I have maintained a low blood pressure even though it has spiked many times in the past.  I have not had any more trouble with heart arrhythmias.  My vision has improved.  My skin tone has improved.  I have no more “brain fog.” (which I am sure was from the sleep apnea and oxygen deprivation)  The most important thing is that I have not died from severe sleep apnea.  By the way, I also have not had a cold or the flu in the last seven years.  Typical for me was three to four colds per year and the flu every two years.

Even though I grew three inches taller in one year as the spacing in my vertebral disc increased from healing, this is not the most amazing healing that happened to me.  The most amazing thing is that I was able to rid myself of my CPAP for sleep apnea.  For those that do not know, a CPAP is an air flow device that holds your airways open while you sleep.  During my sleep test (nocturnal polysomnagraphy), I would breath for thirty seconds and then stop for thirty seconds.  Of course the tech stopped the test after an hour because my blood oxygen saturation had dropped below seventy percent.  I was close to death.  The neurologist described my condition as severe obstructive sleep apnea.  He was wrong; it was severe central sleep apnea from the nerves in my neck being compressed between C3-C4 from vitamin D deficiency.  I was even finding myself not breathing during the day when I was wide awake.  All of those issues have been resolved.  I did not die from oxygen deprivation.

I like to answer the question; ‘Have there been any side effects or toxicity from taking that much vitamin D for seven years?’  Yes – Health!  I also like to answer the question; ’Who was the physician that guided you through the healing process?’ – God!

I declare November 4 a vitamin D holiday.  November 4, 2004 will forever be remembered as a glad day.  – Pandemic Survivor

Eliminate the Common Cold!

The common cold has long been one of the ailments of man that is most times more of a nuisance than anything else.  Of course the remedy manufacturers love it because ‘modern medicine’ has convinced us that there is no cure.  I am sure that many billions of dollars are spent every year in trying to obtain relief from the aches and stuffed-up noses and general lack of the feeling of well being.  It is also responsible for many lost days of work and in general can stop the person from performing normal task for days.  We take aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen for aches and pains and any of many different remedies to help clear the nasal passages.  And yet when winter comes we get a cold and most times two to four colds per year and children as many as six or more.

I would like to stop here with a note of warning for those of you that like to take acetaminophen for your aches.  It is generally recognized that over use of acetaminophen and in particular with alcohol is now responsible for about one third of liver failures.

Have you stopped to think about the name that we have given to the ‘cold’?  I would suppose we have given it this name because we get the ‘cold’ when it is cold.  We just believe that when cold weather comes we will get a cold.  What if this were not true?  How would it be if we could go for many decades without getting a cold?

It is generally reported in medical discussions of colds that there is really no correlation between cold temperatures in causing us to get colds.  It is more about us crowding together in the winter time to pass the viruses to each other.  I say that this is completely upside down thinking.  With modern air conditioning we crowd together just as much in the summer as we do in the winter.  There are two things that happen in the winter time that is different than summer.  First it gets cold and second we do not have as much exposure to the sun’s UVB.

First on the cold:  Airways temperatures do drop during the inhalation of cold air.  For ambient air temperature of 73 F (23 C) we find that the pharynx temperature to be about 96 .8 (35.8 C).  When we inhale cold air at 0 F (-17.5 C) we find the pharynx temperature to be about 93 F (33.5 C).  In general the lower bronchi temperatures stay in the 98.7 F (37 C) to 99.8 F (37.7 C) temperature range.  It is shown that the common cold replicates best at temperatures of 33 C (91.4 F) to 35 C (95 F).  So when the air is room temperature then our upper airway passage temperatures are above the best temperature for replication.  When we inhale cold air our upper airway passages fall to the range of temperature that is best for the cold virus to grow.  It only makes sense that colds will most likely happen when it gets cold outside and hence its name.  It is interesting that the lower airway passages typically stay above 98.6 which is a good thing as it is above the temperature that colds like.

References for the above info:  http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/full/174/12/1284 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine – 2006  ‘Rhinovirus Infections More Than a Common Cold’,  Marc B. Hershenson, M.D. , University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Sebastian L. Johnston, M.D., Ph.D. , National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

November 1988 Farley and Patel  Journal Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing http://www.springerlink.com/content/014gn23616354312/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10223554 ‘Rhinoviruses replicate effectively at lower airway temperatures.’  Papadopolous, et. Al. J. Med. Virol. May 1999

So from the above discussion you can see that one of our main defenses against the cold is body temperature or more important temperature of the airways.  You know when I was growing up one of my brothers used to call it ‘sweating out a cold’ when he would put on about four quilts and spend enough time there until his cold left.  I do not suggest this but it does seem to help the common cold when I spend time in a dry sauna which is at a temperature of about 120 F.  It is also apparent that when we start to ‘run a fever’ this is our body trying to fight off the infection.  It really makes you wonder about the wisdom of trying so hard to keep the body temperature down using aspirin or acetaminophen. We certainly do not want it to get above 105 F as our brains start to ‘fry’ but there is nothing wrong with 101 F as our body is just trying to fight off the infection and is certainly a signal that we are infected.

So from this discussion it is best to stay warm during the winter to help fight off the common cold.  Of course in the summer we are not exposed to cold air temperatures that are conducive for the cold virus to flourish.  Also do not be so quick with remedies to reduce body temperature when you have a cold.  Of course if it starts to get too high then act quickly to get it down.

Now here is the exciting part the SUN!  This is the second method of our body’s natural response to fight off the common cold.  First the temperatures that prevent the cold from forming and second our innate immunity that is significantly improved when we have enough vitamin D3 in our bodies are our body’s major defenses.  Isn’t it interesting how over the last fifty years we have gotten so good about getting our body’s temperature down and scared out of the sun so that we do not get enough vitamin D.  These things are just wrong for good health.

When I first started taking vitamin D for my back pain I had no idea that there were all of these other benefits.  My thought was that since I had degenerative disc disease and that was so close to rickets then maybe the vitamin D would help to heal my back.  Boy did I hit the jackpot in health.  My back healed but so did the rest of my body.  I have not had a viral infection since 2004 when I started to take vitamin D3.  Before I started taking vitamin C on a regular basis I typically had two to five colds per year.  After vitamin C I would have one to two colds a year and really dreaded it as these colds would be really hard to shake.  And since I have added vitamin D at 10,000 IU per day I have not had a cold or any other viral infection including the flu.

Another ‘survivor story’ is that of a 20 year old college student that had a severe cold that had hung around from Thanksgiving until the week of Christmas.  After being advised that she might be able to help the cold with vitamin D she decided to supplement.  She took a 50,000 IU D3 for three days in a row and the cold just simply went away.  She has not had a cold since and that was three years ago as she has kept her vitamin D level up by supplementing.

I had another friend whose twenty something son had a cold that had been around for three months.  After reading about the vitamin D he decided to supplement and his cold just went away.  My friend also started to supplement and now she tells me it is the first time that she has gone for more than a year without a cold.

Is there science to support this understanding that vitamin D3 formed in our bodies from the sun is a super viral infection fighter.  Yes consider this story released last year in February about how vitamin D reduced the common cold CNN.  Also this article from Dr. Mercola – ‘Can Vitamin D Cure the Common Cold’.

Also these items from Dr. John Cannell at the Vitamin D Council:

Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D Newsletter.

Research on Vitamin D and Influenza

Research on Tuberculosis and Vitamin D

You know we try so hard to show how vitamin D helps to rid our bodies of the real killers like tuberculosis and the flu that sometimes we just forget about a nuisance like the common cold.  However, when you add things like asthma and COPD in combination with a cold then it becomes a killer also.

Can the common cold be eliminated?  Based on the ‘survivor stories’ from myself and people that I know then absolutely yes.  It appears that vitamin D3’s major gift to us is its ability fight virus infections in addition to other pathogens.  However, it particularly seems to really destroy viruses in the human body.  In fact a near future post will be about how vitamin D can fight the virus hepatitis C from a new study that was just released.

Eliminate the common cold by:

  1. Keeping your serum 25(OH)D3 above 60 ng/ml by UVB exposure or by supplementing.
  2. Stay warm!

Don’t you know the cold remedy manufacturers really hate to hear this!

Ah, warm and in the sun what could better!!!!     – Pandemic Survivor

You may want to check out this comment by John at a recent post.