Too Much Vitamin D3?

The amount of vitamin D from all sources has long been at issue. The amount required for health as well as to treat disease has plagued us since the 1920s. Yes, that is right; for about 100 years now, we have been struggling on the amount of vitamin D that is needed for health. The main struggle was the toxicity discovered when vitamin D­­2 ­entered the picture. Large amounts were given to test subjects, as high as a 1,000,000 IU per day. This sounds like a lot, but is actually only 25 mg. Twenty-five milligrams is a small amount when comparing to other things that we consume (like aspirin at 325 mg). However, when comparing to steroids in the body, it is a huge amount. So why is it that we can’t seem to balance the benefit with the risk of supplementing or spending time in the sun? It is about the money involved in the largest segment of the US economy – healthcare.

It is amazing to me how many people still think that the normal amount of D3 that you make in the summer sun is too much. With most of your skin exposed, you will typically make about 10,000 IU (only 0.25 mg or 250 micrograms) of vitamin D3 in about twenty minutes in the mid-day summer sun. Of course this varies with skin type, body size, and the lack of production of cholesterol in the skin (if you are taking statins, you may be seriously affecting your health). We owe this misinformation directly to our medical industry. The last blow to health for our God-given source of natural vitamin D3 can be attributed to a mathematical error by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). They only got it wrong by more than a factor of ten. They stated that 600 IU per day was adequate intake for a ten pound baby as well as a three hundred pound man. Two different groups have now published papers saying that to get the population to a healthy level (20 ng/ml as described by the IOM) should be more like an average of 7,000 to 8,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 from all sources.

We typically get about 2,000 to 4,000 IU equivalent per day of vitamin D3 from the sun, natural diets, and food fortification. This means to achieve a level above 20 ng/ml of 25(OH)D, you would have to supplement (on average) with about 4,000 IU of D3. Again, this depends on body weight and personal absorption of supplemented vitamin D3. But the bad news is that the IOM stated they were only concerned about bone health which they believed that 20 ng/ml was adequate because this prevents rickets. So, what about heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and a host of autoimmune diseases? Most doctors and scientist now believe that a healthy level of 25(OH)D is 50 to 70 ng/ml.

  • Bone Health to prevent rickets – Above 20 ng/ml.
  • Healthy level to prevent disease – 50 to 70 ng/ml.
  • To treat disease – 70 to 90 ng/ml.
  • Above the normal range is exceeding 100 ng/ml.
  • Toxicity starts at about 200 ng/ml – that is a huge safety factor! Typically you would have to supplement with 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day for months without missing a day to reach this level.

How do we know that 70 to 90 ng/ml will treat disease? There was a medical practice that decided to take all of their patients to 70 to 90 ng/ml. The office visits went from an average of four per patient per year to one visit per patient per year. Here is the video by Vitamin D Wiki that describes this as well as the need for vitamin D3. Take the time to watch it as it is very informative – “Vitamin D in Five Minutes”

Can you just imagine what that would do to the medical economy in America if all people were at an average of 60 ng/ml (at this level, we should be able to reduce our health insurance and health visits by huge amounts – Oh, sorry, medical-industrial complex)? Can you imagine how healthy everyone would be? The key to being healthy is not how much you take; it is a healthy level of vitamin D3 as 25(OH)D.

Please note that if you are using the typical prescription form of vitamin D as vitamin D2, do not exceed a 25(OH)D level of 50 ng/ml (test for 25(OH)D include a sum of D2 and D3). If you do, then your health will decline. This has been the conundrum since the medical profession declared that vitamin D3 was equal to vitamin D2 in the 1930s. If your doctor prescribes vitamin D2, then request a change to vitamin D3.   Fifty thousand IU capsules are readily available from BioTech Pharmacal. Believe it or not, a 100 count bottle is only $30. This would be a two year supply if you take one per week for an average of 7,140 IU per day.

How much should you supplement? It depends on your time in the sun, how much grass fed meat you eat (sun exposed animals have significantly higher levels of vitamin D as 25(OH)D, particularly in the summer months and lower latitudes – give me Texas and Florida beef), and how much you are getting from fortified food. As a rule of thumb, you may want to start supplementing at about 40 IU/lb. body weight/d. If you weigh 100 lb. then about 4,000 IU per day, 150 lb. about 6,000 IU per day, and 200 lb. about 8,000 IU per day. You can go to Grassroots Health and use their chart to adjust to reach your 25(OH)D goal. Of course this means serum testing. It is a small price to pay for health. I should add that the practice that adjusted their patients to 70-90 ng/ml of 25(OH)D, also suggested their patients get about three grams of vitamin C and about four mg of absorbable magnesium (not magnesium oxide) per pound body weight per day. Here is Krispin’s take on magnesium to help you understand. We are also significantly deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is the positive ion that is responsible for over 300 enzymes in the body. If you do not get enough magnesium, then you can expect diseases states as described by Krispin even with an adequate amount of vitamin D3. Heart arrhythmias with magnesium deficiency are of particular concern.

An adequate amount of all natural vitamins and minerals are necessary for health. It looks like we cannot depend on the IOM to get this right. You will have to explore on your own to determine, what an adequate intake of all vitamins and minerals is. Natural vitamins A, B, C, D, and E are all important. Minerals include: magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, zinc, selenium, iodine, sulfate, iron, and many other minor minerals like boron, chromium, and manganese – and many others. Our health authorities have gotten this wrong on so many levels. The folic acid debacle is an example of a man-made molecule that has now become the standard of supplementation for folate (eat your greens). There is about one third of the population that cannot convert folic acid into a bioactive form.   I personally have to be careful with foods (primarily grains) that are fortified with folic acid to keep my intake below 600 mcg/d. Otherwise, I just feel miserable.

Spend a reasonable amount of time in the sun this summer. The goal is to not get burned. If you start your sunning experience with a small amount of time and then increase, you will allow your skin’s melanin to adequately develop (tanning) so as to shield you from burns. When you have spent a responsible amount of time in the sun then cover yourself with clothing and hats that will stop the UV rays. If that is not possible, then sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will block and reflect the rays (similar to a mirror).

The dangers of standard sunscreens are enormous. They are better than they used to be as now sunscreen has to block both UVA and UVB or state otherwise on the label (before, they typically only blocked UVB which was reradiated in the UVA range). But what happens to the incident energy of both UVB and UVA? It typically is absorbed at other wavelengths that may not be beneficial to health. The greatest danger of sunscreen is to put it on before any sun exposure, thus blocking the formation of vitamin D3. Why is there not a warning label on all sunscreen products stating this hazard? First sun, after an adequate amount of time before burning, then apply sun reflecting products, put on clothing, or get out of the sun.  – Pandemic Survivor


Assault on the Nervous Systems by Anti-Cognitive Chemicals

What do chloramines, fluoridation, lead corrosion, vitamin D deficiency, bromine, mineral sulfate removal, and iodine deficiency have in common?  They should all be classified as anti-cognitive biological chemical processes. We can be our own worst enemy.  We have been highly successful in our use of chemicals for technological advancement.  We try to protect ourselves from toxic substances and pathogens, while creating health problems through unintended consequences.  This has been the case for increases in Alzheimer’s, ADD, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other general cognitive impairment.  Halogen (iodine, bromine, fluorine, etc.) physiology along with mineral deficiencies needs to be significantly reviewed in the US and the use of halogens in our food supplies and water sources need to be adjusted accordingly.

Consider in the late 1990’s that the EPA decided it would be a really great thing to reduce the amount of chloromethane created from the chlorination of water.  They did this by forcing the use of ammonia added to water at the treatment plants creating chemicals in the water called chloramines.  Chloramines formed in water are so toxic that fish cannot live in it.  However, it is a longer lasting water disinfectant and it does not seem to generate as much chloromethane, a carcinogen.  However, the other toxic disinfectant byproducts (DBP’s) that are created and unregulated are of concern.  One of these may be halogen acetic acids.  HAA’s have a stated standard with standards for chloro-acetic acid and iodo-acetic acid, but no standard for fluoro-acetic acid.

Chloraminated water is much more corrosive, most likely from the created HAA’s.  This causes the leaching of lead from water pipes in supply and distribution systems (my city has thousands of miles of iron pipe held together at the joints with lead like must municipalities) and home potable water systems that are joined with solder lead joints.  There have been several studies showing an increase in lead content in water after the start of chloramination or the use of chloramines.

Fluoride has been shown to aid the build-up of the concentration of lead in the human body.  So by fluoridation of water to supposedly improve our dental health along with the use of chloramines, we have inadvertently created higher amounts of lead.  This is of major concern for the developing brains of our children and the aging brains of elderly.

The US is the only country in the world that allows the use of bromine in baking and in cloudy citrus drinks.  This iodine mimic causes significantly physiological malfunction in the thyroid as well as other functional biological iodine processes.  Consider that children have a ten to fifteen times higher uptake of iodine versus adults and consider the damage.  Bromine is not used in other countries because it is a carcinogen.

Add to this vitamin and mineral deficiency.  Vitamin D is responsible for mineral balance in the body, in particular the sodium-sulfate co-transporter.  Adequate sulfate is necessary for the formation of cerebroside sulfate that is necessary for proper neuron development.  Also consider that iodine deficiency is considered by the World Health Organization as the number one cause of mental illness in the world.  Sulfate also is the body’s best defense against toxins as it removes them through water soluble sulfate esters. Cities remove the sulfate minerals from the water because it is stinky and plugs the pipes.  Iodine, D3, and sulfate deficiencies combine as a disaster for mental function.

Take away iodine, vitamin D3, sulfate and add neuro-toxins and iodine mimics and you have the perfect conditions necessary for cognitive impairment.  Well the cause is idiopathic the experts claim.  Is Dr. M. Scott Peck accurate in his description of group evil through specialization?  One thing is certain, idiots and unintended consequences always seem to find each other.  In the case of water disinfection and vitamin and mineral deficiencies, you might say that this meeting of idiots and unintended consequences has created epicentric waves of causation for cognitive impairment.  For now, your cognizant commenter – Pandemic Survivor

Further Reading:

WHO on Nutrition for the CNS
Medscape Cognitive Deficits
“Limit Fluoride to Prevent Lead Poisoning” PRNews
Dr. Mercola on Chloramines
Wiki Autism Causes
VCE collection of Chloramine Science
Science Daily – Ames’ Study: Vitamin D causal link Autism


The Danger of Vitamin D!

I have read estimates that range from one hundred fifty thousand deaths per year to over one million in the US alone from being vitamin D deficient.  The lack of vitamin D is a serious killer. There are over two hundred diseases that have been associated with vitamin D deficiency, but the ‘big three killers’ are mostly responsible, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  Of course the numbers that are in pain from vitamin D deficiency and the resulting diseases are huge.  The question occurs to me how does this compare to other things that you can get over the counter.

The number of deaths that are caused each year by non-steroidal NSAID’s is alarming.  I am including here aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.  It is estimated there are over one hundred thousand hospitalizations and seventeen thousand deaths each year from these over-the-counter analgesics.  The number of deaths that are caused each year from cirrhosis of the liver is typically around thirty thousand.  Now only four hundred fifty deaths per year have been attributed directly to acetaminophen (the deaths that are paid out in the courts – about one third of liver failures are the result of acetaminophen use).  If you combine alcohol and acetaminophen, you are playing a deadly game with the liver.  The new habit of college students that eat low calorie during the day so they can drink at night and then pop a couple of acetaminophens for the headache is a sure ticket to a slow painful death.

There is concern taking too much vitamin D will cause you problems.  The numbers of deaths that have been caused by taking too much vitamin D typically range year to year at zero.  Since the amount of iron has been reduced in vitamin supplements, this is true for all supplements year to year death rate of zero.  So what about the news articles of the possibility of causing harm from too much vitamin D?  Too much is more than 30,000 IUs per day and there is no toxicity in the medical record for less than 40,000 IUs per day.  So the 5,000 to 10,000 IUs per day to keep you healthy has a safety factor of four.

The danger of vitamin D is not getting enough!    – 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?

Is Vitamin D Toxic? II

Episode II in the epic journey of Is Vitamin D Toxic?

Well I made that trip to my doctor for my annual physical.  I was pleasantly surprised at his laid back attitude of my high serum 25(OH)D.  I thought that he would read me the ‘riot act’ instead his first question to me was how my healing with vitamin D.

Here is a doctor who has now been dealing with the benefits of vitamin D in his practice long enough to see how much effect that it is having on his patients.  He also knew that I know enough about vitamin D that I would not have a long term high level of vitamin D.  He could also see from my labs results that my serum calcium was perfectly normal.

So why was my vitamin D greater than 150 ng/ml?  My wife had contracted a serious bacterial lung infection after being compromised by an exposure to soot and ash from an Ash Wednesday service.  Yeah, I know.  Anyway she passed this infection along to me.  On the first Friday night in March my lung started to ‘gurgle’ and by Saturday morning I was coughing up blood.  This bug had some very serious drillers that were digging deep into the walls of my lungs.  I did not want to go the emergency room on the weekend or any other time for that matter so I decided to take a pharmaceutical amount of vitamin D3.  I took 250,000 IU of D3 Friday through Monday.  The break came on Sunday afternoon as I started to feel better.  Believe me if my fever had spiked or more evidence of fluid in my lungs with that much vitamin D I would have been right to the emergency room.

My wife went the route of conventional medicine and took antibiotics.  I went the route of the new understanding of vitamin D and went that route.  Do not do this without being under the care of a doctor.  It worked in my case, but if it had been a more serious infection like mrsa, I could have been in real trouble.

I did not take anymore vitamin D during March while waiting for my level to return to normal.  It just happened that my lab test were two weeks after taking 1,000,000 IU of D3.  Did that warrant a toxicity warning.  I do not believe so in particular since my serum calcium was not high.

My doctor’s comments to me five years ago when I suggested that I was going to start taking large amounts of vitamin D3 was that he had learn in med school that my ‘organs would turn to stone’.  Now they have their own Diasorin testing equipment and try to test everyone that they can.  My doctors comment now is that he will be telling his patients about the benefits of vitamin D for a very long time.  His concern now is the necessity for a change in the medical practice guidelines so that patients, doctors, and medical insurance can come together.

This doctor says that he has many patients that take vitamin D and has not seen a single high serum calcium level that could not be attributed to other causes.  In other words he has not seen any vitamin D toxicity in his practice.

Our doctors are truly starting to learn about vitamin D and that all of their previous practice in medicine was on a vitamin D deficient population.  This paradigm will truly change the face of medicine.

This doctor and his practice deserves a champion’s award in the Vitamin D Revolution.  YOU ARE CHAMPIONS!  -Vitamin D patient zero.

Survived another episode of illness with vitamin D.  The sun is shinning today and you know where I will be.   –  Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D is Toxic?

Toxic – Having a chemical substance that is harmful to health or lethal if consumed.   – Wiktionary

I went for my lab test this past Monday in preparation for my physical this coming Monday.  On late Tuesday afternoon there was a message from my doctor’s office that I should call and ask for ‘Buffy’.   (believe me the real name was even better but we most protect the innocent).

Buffy said, “Mr. Pegram your serum vitamin D level is over 100 ng/ml and you most stop taking vitamin D immediately!”  “Okay, I will to talk to the doctor when I come in Monday,”  I said.  “Does that you mean that you are not going to stop taking vitamin D?” inquired Buffy.  “I will talk the doctor when I come in on Monday”, I repeated.  “You most stop taking vitamin D NOW,”  Buffy demanded.  “What is this,” I asked, “has the doctor insisted that you have to get me to say that I am going to stop taking vitamin D”  “Yes”, curt and to the point.  “What was the actual reading and do you use Quest or Labcorp to do your testing,”  I inquired.  “I do not know the exact reading but it is over 100 and we do our own testing in house,” Buffy replied.  I then asked, “what was my serum calcium”.  “They did not run a calcium”, Buffy responded and I knew this was not so because they drew three vials of blood for my annual physical exam.

At this point I realized the conversation was going no where so I again repeated, “Okay, I will just talk to the doctor on Monday”.  Buffy, “Vitamin D is toxic and you most stop now.  It is TOXIC!”

Now from the definition from the start of this post you know and your normal response to toxic is that you have taken something that is about to kill you immediately.  I decided not to have fun with Buffy because my wife, director of a clinical lab of a major hospital, was yelling at me to stop.  “Don’t yell at her she is just the messenger,” my wife scowled.  I guess she could see the ‘evil’ gleam in my eye.  I was indeed angered.

The thoughts that were running through mind was if I stop could you tell me when to start taking vitamin D again.  How long before my hypertension, back pain from degenerative disc disease, sleep apnea, and heart issues come back to kill me?  I knew that she nor the doctor would know how to respond.  This medical practice in particular has benefited financially from vitamin D because they have their own testing equipment.  The patients in this practice have benefited because everyone that walks through the door gets a vitamin D test which is the desire of Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council.  I feel significantly responsible for this as I am vitamin D patient zero at this practice.

However, testing without knowledge of what vitamin D does to the human body is not acceptable clinical practice that leads to successful outcomes of patient health.  A little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

The thought of an emergency call to a patient telling them that they are taking a toxic substance is outrageous when it involves vitamin D.  It could certainly wait until the doctor was face to face with the patient.  I would bet that there are no emergency calls to patients when they find their serum triglycerides over 1000 to tell them to stop eating sugar and all high starchy foods until it comes down that they are a walking heart attack.

I usually like to think of something that is toxic as having about a 50 percent chance of killing you.  From the Vitamin D Council’s page on toxicity, we find a loading dose that has a 50 percent chance of killing you as 88 mg/kg.  That would mean to have a 50 percent chance of death that I would have to take 7,520 of the 50,000 IU capsules to achieve this level of toxicity at 235 lbs of body weight.  I most likely would gag to death before I consumed that much vitamin D.

I new that my serum vitamin D was not high as I had gotten my test results back from just a couple of weeks before and it was 87 ng/ml or just at the top end of what you would find in a sunny country.  I also know of the issues when testing vitamin D and the necessary processes for quality control to get accurate values.  It will be interesting to find out if that office uses mass spec or Diasorin’s Liaison to do their testing.  Mass spec is so operator dependent according to my wife that accuracy is always a question.

Imagine the average person hearing that they are taking a toxic substance.  Monday’s visit should be interesting.

Meanwhile it is to be 85 here today so you will know where I will be with no clothes on just after noon.  No pain and no health issues and forgiveness will be on my mind as I bask in the sublime sun.  –  Pandemic Survivor