Vitamin D3 Significantly Reduces Asthma Flare-Ups

In recent news headlines, there is the story of a published research paper for vitamin D3 and a steroid inhaler.  The headlines read like this one from MedNews: “Vitamin D3 flops as asthma therapy booster.”  I was amazed at the conclusion of the writer for the paper: “Effect of Vitamin D3 on Asthma Treatment Failures in Adults with Symptomatic Asthma and Lower Vitamin D Levels” Castro, et. Al. JAMA May 18, 2014, Conclusion: “Vitamin D3 did not reduce the rate of first treatment failure or exacerbation in adults with persistent asthma and vitamin D insufficiency. These findings do not support a strategy of therapeutic vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with symptomatic asthma.”

I am not sure why he decided to use the rate to the first flare-up or exacerbation.  I suppose the aim of the steroid inhaler is to eliminate flare-ups.  The test was run by dividing the test participants into two groups.  One group was given vitamin D3 and the steroid.  The other group was given a placebo and the steroid.  The vitamin D group had serum levels above 40 ng/ml while the placebo group was 20 ng/ml or less.

It is interesting to look at the design of the experiment.  It was obviously about using the steroid as a treatment for asthma with vitamin D3 as an aid.   I do believe that the title of the trial should have been the same as the title of this post.  If you look at figure 3 in the paper, it shows that there was a significant reduction in the total number of exacerbations in the vitamin D3 group.   The paper states: “The adjusted hazard ratio for cumulative number of exacerbations that occurred over the course of the trial was 0.63 (95% CI, 0.39-1.01; P = .05).”  This represents a 37 percent reduction in total accumulated exacerbations in the vitamin D group.  To me, this is really exciting news, but then, the writer is working for the pharmaceutical industry.

It should also be noted how the delivery of the vitamin D3 was made.  I agree with the initial dose of 100,000 IU.  However, I do not believe the 4000 IU of D3 was adequate for treatment of asthma.  The mean BMI of the test subjects was 32 or borderline obese.  It would have been better if the participants were given 10,000 IU of D3 per day to try to get the serum levels of vitamin D > 60 ng/ml.  This is the level that most doctors agree is necessary for treating disease and within the clinical standards of 30-100 ng/ml.

Also, I would not have given the steroid inhaler to the vitamin D group.  I would have used a placebo inhaler.  The purpose of not using the steroid in the vitamin D group is the reduction of vitamin D receptors from steroid use.  Treatment of an overdose of vitamin D is to use steroids to reduce the effect of vitamin D.  I would also be sure the participants were given at least 5000 IU of vitamin A as fish liver oil with the control group getting placebo fish oil.  It is well known that vitamin D/vitamin A dimers are very significant in the expression pathways for DNA and immune system boosting. Don’t do this without talking to your doctor first.

To further assure the use of the best available vitamins, I would not allow any synthetics to be consumed during the trials.  That is in particular synthetic beta carotene or synthetic vitamin E, both known to have negative effects in the lungs.  I would also not allow any vitamin or the steroid for that matter to be processed using blue-green algae or cyanobacteria.  This is to assure that there is no contamination by microcytins or protein mimics.  I will write more about this cyanotoxin later.

I do believe the result of this trial would show significant reduction in exacerbations, if not elimination after many weeks.  Why the rate to first exacerbation was used should be self-evident after looking at the disclosure for conflicts of interest.  But then the press has no clue and would not want to lose pharmaceutical advertising.   – Pandemic Survivor.

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Asthma Worsened by Vitamin D Deficiency

News in now finally starting to inform the population in general that vitamin D can have a significant impact of the course of the disease.  Here are a couple of articles from Web MD

01/28/10  ‘Low Vitamin D Levels Associated With Worse Asthma and Lung Function, Study Finds’

4/23/09  Low Vitamin D Linked to Severe Asthma

4/19/10 from UPI “Low Vitamin D Found in Kids with Asthma”

Survivor Story

My niece, a young four year old girl at the time, 2006, had very severe asthma.  She was going to the emergency room one to two times per month.  The mother found out about a study that was done in the UK about how steroids worked significantly better if the asthma sufferer had a higher level of vitamin D.  The mother decided to supplement at 1500 IU of vitamin D3 per day which is within the guidelines of the NIH.  In the four years since the child has only been to the emergency room one time during the first winter of supplementation.

This level of supplementation should have put the child’s serum 25(OH)D level above 50 ng/ml.  As a rule of thumb the amount necessary for a child is about 35-40 IU’s of D3 per lb of body weight per day.  At 40 lbs that would mean that she was getting 1500/40 = 37.5.  The serum 25(OH)D levels in a sunny country are between 54 to 90 ng/ml.   Since then the mother has increased the amount that she gives the child to try to maintain that range as the child grows.  In general she seems to be much happier and healthier.

If your child has asthma, it is important to have the serum 25(OH)D level tested to be sure that is adequate to reduce inflammation.  Get your doctor tuned into this if he is not already on board and you can make life for yourself and your child much more pleasant.

Vitamin D is significant in how it reduces inflammation in all parts of the body and in particular the organs.

Here are a couple of articles if you want to read the science at Pub Med or if you need them to convince your doctor:  ‘The vitamin D connection to pediatric infections and immune function.’ Walker and Modlin – May 2009

‘Vitamin D, respiratory infections, and asthma’  Ginde, et. Al. January 2010

Breathing easy – 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.