Nutrition First and Correct Medical Insurance!

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial medical insurance complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”  –Dwight D. Eisenhower

Spending on Security: US Military Spending 3.5% of GDP, US Health Insurance Spending 7.9% GDP (with approximately 11% of Americans still uninsured), Medical Providers and Pharmacy 9.6% GDP

There are thirty countries in the world that have a longer life expectancy than the US.  Most of these countries practice nutrition first.  Our food pyramid is upside down. Here and here.  Medical practice uses drugs and surgery as the first line of defense against disease.  This works very well for acute maladies, but for chronic disease, it is a terrible practice.  Symptoms of chronic disease are treated without the root cause being remedied.

How have we come to an understanding that is not science, but government policy?  “It’s the economy, stupid,” says James Carville.  This desire for a healthy economy has driven us to a population that is ill with chronic disease and obesity.  This is great for the medical economy and health insurance economy, but very bad for the health of the individual.  Government has made policies that support the economy and not the health of the individual.

Who is the primary driver at fault in this car wreck that is crushing our health and economy?  It is the medical insurance industry.  Now, that sounds like a jump, but this institution is wrecking us and government is going along so as not to crash the economy.  The medical economy has led us to a huge national debt and the insurance companies are the primary driver. Why the insurance companies?

In 1928 my mother and father were having their first child.  The doctor rushed to our home as is typical in a country environment; babies were birth at home.  There was no insurance.  My father paid the doctor directly for his services.  He gave the doctor two hams, a twenty-five-pound bag of flour, and twenty dollars.  This translates into about five hundred and forty dollars in today’s currency.  Now we pay the insurance companies and the insurance company pays the bill.  Of course, minus deductibles and co-pays which we still have to pay directly. We do have better healthcare for birthing with prenatal care, postpartum care, and neonatal care.  Adding up all the medical cost surrounding a new baby gives us a cost of about $8,800 today.

Medical Cost 2

My research has found that up to half of medical expenses are administrative fees.  Most of that belongs to the insurance companies. Best approximation is that of every dollar you give to the insurance companies only fifty-five cents comes back to medical providers and pharmacy.  Without the insurance companies’ involvement, the cost of a new baby should be about $5,000 or about ten times the cost of 1928. This is approximately what medical providers actually get. The rest of the money goes to insurance for “health security.” The operation of medical insurance agrees with most business’ theory, that a company has forty percent internal cost, forty percent external cost, and twenty percent gross margin.  After general, selling, and administrative, there is about a five to seven percent profit margin with the government getting as large portion that in taxes.

As with any company, the growth of market size is critical to the health of the company.  As the disease state of Americans goes up, the medical spending increases and the cost of insurance increases proportionately.  Now hospitals are struggling as insurance companies drive up the cost of insurance to employees and play games with reimbursements for managed care. As the prices of pharmaceuticals and managed care increase, so does the cost of insurance.  This never ending loop of increases is rushing us forward into economic doom where we will no longer be able to support our national debt.  Hospitals have merged so as to have better leverage on the insurance companies, and this has only led to less competition in the market place.  This is to say nothing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which does not fully kick in until 2017.  Now we see many insurance companies already opting out of the ACA. It is not our fault scream the medical insurance companies.  In effect, it truly is the problem of government policy corruption. 

I remember well March 2010 when President Obama was in the process of signing the ACA.   I had gone home for lunch and flipped on the TV not knowing that it would cause me indigestion.  There on CSPAN was a reporter that stuck the microphone into the face of the new Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  Charles Rangel had just stepped down after being charged with corruption and Sander Levin was the acting chair.

“Has the committee consider single payer healthcare insurance?” the reporter asked.  There wasn’t even a pause.

“I don’t think the country could stand the loss of five million jobs in the present economy,” Levin responded.  He snapped around in a military square and marched off before any follow-up questions could be asked. This began my research into medical cost that arrived at the above conclusions. I quickly imagined the median salary for medical insurance employees at about $70.000/yr.   The annual loss of $350 billion dollars in jobs to the economy would be hard road to follow.  If you used the same method as was used in accounting for the ACA, that would be a ten-year loss of 3.5 trillion to the economy.  After all, the industrial segment of the economy had been decimated, the housing market was a disaster, and we had just bailed out the banks. We certainly would not want to damage the economy with a change in medical insurance.

Government policy in the healthcare market segment has driven us to disastrous results. Don’t get me wrong.  I am a capitalist and don’t believe in the government taking over general business. However, when you combine giving the medical insurance companies state monopolies, when government practices poor policy for food, when you guarantee increased market size with the ACA, and when the HHS practices markets before mandates (your health suffers so that the economy can be sustained), you end up with a large ill-health market that the general population cannot afford.   Now that the Supreme Court has declared penalties for not having insurance as a tax, it is not too great a leap to declare all medical insurance as a tax.  That would make our taxes-well-just stupidly high.

I now believe that the ACA was a mechanism to ward off the insurance companies lobby in the hopes that medical insurance would collapse into single payer like the rest of economically similar countries.  We currently have one of the highest tax rates in the world.  If we look at Canada where healthcare is taken from their taxes, why is our healthcare cost almost double that of Canada.  When you add in health insurance as a tax, it truly is an unappealing number with a tax rate that is about double the rest of the world.  Whatever happened to common sense?

And then there is the suffering of chronic disease that is extremely high in the US.  Consider heart disease in Japan and Greece that is five times less than the rest of the world.  You know our scientist are smart enough to figure out why (sulfur deficiency and vitamin D).  Japan, Greece, and Iceland all have very low heart disease rates believed to be from the abundance of sulfur in the soil as each sits on volcanic riffs.

Markets before mandates is killing us both physically and from an economic perspective.  If we don’t start practicing nutrition first and correct medical insurance, the US is doomed. What happened to the days when you paid the doctor directly with a couple of hams, a bag of flour, and a few bucks?  Bring on medical insurance that is national and not a state monopoly, and give the population medical bank accounts that pass through from generation to generation without taxes.  Expand Medicaid for the less fortunate as it already has under the ACA. Medicare should not be handled by a third party (more government corruption), the insurance companies.  Of most importance is to get the science right for chronic disease in the practice of medicine.  It might be a short term correction for the medical industry, but let the markets decide without government interference. Certainly I would not have suffered for three decades with pain from chronic disease. Decades of pain brought on by bad government policy and greedy insurers that require me to give up health freedom for security or else. Collectively, we have arrived at Ben Franklin and Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings.  –Pandemic Survivor

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  –Benjamin Franklin

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Vitamin D–Conspiracy Theory or True Conspiracy

In the current political campaigns, there is much rhetoric about the far left and the far right and how each is promoting conspiracy theories about the actions of government.  This is all to shame each candidate’s position and all about winning the election.  How do we separate truth from fiction?  I have been personally attacked purposely with ridicule, told to stop talking about vitamin D at my major source of social activity, and scorned with humor in my declaring that the practice of medicine has been taken over for the sake of the economy.

Conspiracy

In the words of James Carville to President Clinton, “It’s the economy, stupid.”  The history of vitamin D has been filled with cover-up for the benefits of vitamin D for profit. There were seventeen multinationals named in a lawsuit by the US Government for conspiracy for vitamin D at the height of WWII: Charles Bowman for General Mills Corporation, E. I. du Pont de Nemours, Quaker Oats, Standard Brands, Gelatin Products Corp., Borden Co., Carnation Co., Nestle Milk Products, Inc., Vitamins Inc., Abbott Laboratories, Meade Johnson & Co., William S. Merrill Co., Parke-Davis Co., R. Squibb & Sons, Winthrop Chemical Co.  “General Mills Corp. was named as a co-conspirator, but will not be a defendant in the action.”  This of course is when the government still had a conscious for individuals.  I am sure that you recognize many of these companies.

The medical profession corrected many of the errors by recommending the use of cod liver oil, CLO, to prevent and cure rickets and improve general health.  The use of CLO continued until a well-known pediatrician made the statement that Vitamin D could cause birth defects. The use of CLO was abandoned over this fear.  This was in the middle of the 60s when the thalidomide scare for birth defects was at its height. Then in the 70s, a well-known pharmaceutical took over a sun screen company and heavily promoted “sun fear” for the sake of profits of their chronic disease drugs, which accounted for over eighty percent of their sales.  The dermatologists were captured and used as agents to continue to promote sun fear because of skin cancer.  (45-minute video Skin Cancer/Sunscreen the Dilemma) This video was made in 2009 and there have been advances in sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB.

Sun fear continued well into the 2000s, even when thousands of peer reviewed papers were published about the benefits of vitamin D.  The FDA even tried to sue the sunscreen companies for inappropriate labels but were defeated in court, thus ignoring the science–there is no science that sunscreen prevents melanoma.  The court action was defeated by lawyers of the sunscreen industry led by John Roberts, now Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  I guess he was just doing his job as a great attorney.

I had thought that the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board would get it right based on the scienceTheir findings were published in December of 2010.  The finding was that only 600 IU of vitamin D was required from all sources whether you were a ten-pound baby or a three-hundred-pound person.  They tried to cover themselves by stating that the study was only about bone health.  There were many problems with this board for ethics.  The studies they chose were provided by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality a division of US Health and Human Resources and not independently selected.  They treated studies with vitamin D2 as equal to vitamin D3. There were many conflicts of interest on the board; a direct violation of ethics policy for the National Academy of Science of which the IOM is a division.

But the real issue of the IOM’s finding came when a professor at the University of Alberta took the same data that the IOM used and found a statistical error.  The real finding should have been 10 plus times the recommended amount by the IOM.  This error was later confirmed by the scientist at Grassroots Health and two universities, Creighton University and the University of California San Diego.  The real amount of vitamin D from all sources should have been at least 7000 IU per day to achieve the goal of 99.5% of the population with a serum level at or above 20 ng/ml of 25(OH)D.

It has now been almost two years and no action has been taken by the US Government to correct the error.   Why has our Government ignored the error?  “It’s about the economy, stupid.”  There is much evidence to show that low vitamin D levels cause disease.  Think of the many deaths and more importantly the pain caused by this error in the general population.  By raising the serum level of vitamin D in the general population to over 45 ng/ml 25(OH)D, the medical economy could shrink by as much as fifty percent–ouch!  Watch this short video (at 4:30, Does Less Sun Mean More Disease) about vitamin D and the doctor’s practice that reduced office visits from four per patient per year to one visit per patient per year.  This was great for the patients, but what about the financial health of the doctor’s practice?

If we translate this effort of one practice to the general population, what would happen to a medical economy that represents almost twenty percent of GDP.   This practice not only used vitamin D; in addition, they gave their patients additional magnesium, vitamin C, B12, and zinc.  The correction of one vitamin is not all that is required to bring the population to a greater health.  If you were a Congressman or the President, which decision would you make–the health of the individuals in the population or the financial health of our institutions?  Which would cause more harm?  The government has chosen the general principle for Health and Human Services as “markets before mandates.”  (Secretary Michael Leavitt–Principles lower right) A general conspiracy or a policy that protects national economic security?

You just cannot make this stuff up out of whole cloth.  As an individual, you should follow the science as described by Grassroots Health.  I know it will take some time to read through this article and the links, but your health or your money? Beliefs change regularly as we have new experiences.  That happened to me when I discovered I was deficient in vitamin D (not D2), vitamin C, magnesium (in an absorbable form), zinc, correct proteins, iodine, vitamin A (not beta carotene), B12, and folate (not folic acid). I avoided more back surgery and healed from chronic pain and sleep apnea.  I arrived at my conclusions through faith in a being greater than us and by applying engineering principles to my health with an MS in engineering, forty years of engineering practice, and more than 9,000 hours of reading about vitamins and minerals.  –Pandemic Survivor

©2016 Mark Pegram

Fish Swimming in a School – The Vitamin D Revolution

What do fish swimming in a school and the vitamin D revolution have in common? Through signaling a direction (quorum sensing), the school swims together as one group.  It is very difficult for one fish to cause a change in direction of the school.  So imagine a school made up of the medical industry, medical insurance industry, and government all swimming together. To be more accurate, fish swimming together for social reasons are defined as shoaling.  The social reason that the stated institutions swim together is about the health of the medical economy and not about the health of the population.  From Wikipedia, “The oddity effect posits that any shoal member that stands out in appearance will be preferentially targeted by predators. This may explain why fish prefer to shoal with individuals that resemble themselves. The oddity effect would thus tend to homogenize shoals.” Schools are usually fish of the same species while shoals are made up of fish with similar goals. I will simply use schools for this discussion.

Fish Schoolr2

Does the invisible hand act as a predator to the oddity effect?

 

I once asked a scientist in the Vitamin D revolution how change in the medical industry could be brought about to improve the health of the world’s population.  His answer was simple, “It will take leadership.” Leadership is one of those words that is hard to define in social groups.  We often mistake management for leadership.  This brings to mind a business consultant’s description of the difference in leadership versus management.  A group was asked to build a road across an island to the other side.  The bush clearers did their job extremely well.  The road builders followed in a coordinated manner. The guards spent their time keeping the predatory alligators away.  At some point the manager climbed a tree and told the group what a great job they were doing and that they were about half way across the island.  The leader climbed up a tree next to the manager and looked about.  “Wrong island,” he stated simply.

This is the state of the present medical industry.  The medical professionals are doing a great job with allopathic medicine.  This island is the wrong island.  Gradually we are approaching an island of holistic health, but no leader in government has stepped up to take on the responsibility of making the course change happen.  The fear is that the health of the population would decimate the medical economy and could even cause a worldwide recession.  The school of allopathic medicine for economic reasons has been the dominant school since the intervention of funding for this purpose that started in the early 20th Century. The reason the US is the leader in allopathic medicine is for the economy which commands more than eighteen percent of GDP.  That is, groups not working together in a great conspiracy of keeping a sick population that uses large amounts of money for everyone involved, but action as a group for economic purposes for each institution.

At some point the realization must come that the economy would be better with a healthy population.  If holistic instead of allopathic medicine is practiced, the population would be able to produce more than a population that is ill.  Dollars spent on healthcare could be directed to more beneficial efforts for the population like building the infrastructure. This of course would take a great deal of training as the jobs lost in the medical industry in the US could exceed eight million.

Our leaders in government are focused on elections and the money needed to stay in power.  Their empathy for the illness of the population is amoral. This is defined as evil in M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie.”  When an institution acts for the purpose of maintaining the institution instead of concern for the individuals that it serves, the institution’s acts are evil.

It has now been sixteen months since the IOM’s error in the average amount of vitamin D required for bone health.  The IOM (renamed the National Academy of Medicine–most likely for fear of liability, since it is not a government agency it can be sued) stated that individuals only need 600 IU of vitamin D3 per day.  The error was discovered by the University of Alberta and later confirmed by UCSD and Creighton University.  The correct amount should have been over 7,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.  The number of deaths because of this error since 2010 is in the millions.  Victims of the medical economy have suffered pain and died simply to maintain the medical economy.  Governments and the medical industry continue to ignore the science.

In a recent article, I wrote about pain in the population.  This great amount of pain is being treated as a symptom with pain meds. The cause is a lack of nutrients.  This lack of nutrients and the associated diseases could be treated using holistic medicine.  That is “food has caused our illness, it is food that will heal us.”  Dr. P. R. Raghavan.  I take a significantly larger amount of vitamins and minerals than is recommended by our institutions.  Through this higher intake, I have recovered from degenerative disc disease, severe sleep apnea, high blood pressure, three decades of pain, and a heart that was failing.  Doctors were telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about.  This included the eleven members of the medical profession in my own family.  After my cartilage healed and my metabolic processes reached homeostasis, I was free of pain and happy.

Presently, the school of allopathic-medicine fishes are swimming in the strong currents of the Niagara River.  As a group, we are headed toward the falls.  As leaders try to announce to the group of the danger, they are picked off one-by-one.  If the group tries to change direction, the strong currents of the economy works against their efforts.  Will we plunge down the falls into the abyss, or will we be strong enough to overcome the strong currents of the economy.  Truly, a strong leader is needed.  One of position and power that can overcome the “quorum sensing” of the economy and who can avoid the oddity effect.  Swimming against the currant and pointing to holistic healing –Pandemic Survivor

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Does intelligence displace morality?

Health is an ONOFF Issue

At one point in my career, I had responsibility for many engineers, forty mechanics, and associated support staff in a large industrial plant.  When a major maintenance issue would arrive and there was difficulty in trying to find a solution, I would try to release the tension by saying it was an ONOFF problem.  Of course I would spell out the letters very quickly.  There would be moments of silence as the mechanic raced through his mind trying figure out which control or mechanical part I was referring.  Then a slow smile would cross the face as the knowing became realization.  Every situation with equipment is whether the equipment or some component is on or off – ONOFF – especially true with computers.  This is the case with human biology as medicine turns to gene switches for disease cures.  This has become commonly referred to as epigenetic.

Foods that are available for consumption routinely turn off and on genetic switches.  This is because there are many “parallel” systems in the body for the major biological processes to occur depending on what the environment presents.  This type of robustness in our physiology has allowed us to survive in many different environmental conditions.  Stress, temperature, food, and even how you think, all act to turn on and off our genes.  Modern science is now using this understanding to make drugs to cure disease.  Unfortunately, the focus has been on drugs and not on optimizing nutrients for gene switching to prevent disease.  I guess the old saying, ‘you are what you eat,’ has now been given more significance.

Just in the last decade, the gene map was completed.  It was much smaller than originally thought with less than about 30,000 genes for the human body.  Interestingly enough the rest of the genetic material, about eighty percent, are switches that are use to either express the gene or make it go silent.  The largest question for health professionals at this point should be; what turns the switches on or off?

Methyl groups seem to be the primary players in this epigenetic switching maze.  How simple that a carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms grouped together can determine your health and well being.  Of course many methyl groups combined with other compounds is an organic molecule.  What controls the use and availability of the methyl groups is another matter.  We have long known that certain materials are essential to health.  These items have been reduced to the following: water, air, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.

First it was the major groups of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates we considered for health.  Think of the 1910 Antarctic expedition by Captain Scott where the food was too low in fat.  The members of the group started to get sick and starved to death because they did not have fat to consume.  The Inuit people know that whale blubber and seal fat are the staples of life in the cold for its energy and nutrients.  The recent emphasis on fats (omega-3 good, trans-fat bad) is critical to health.  I suspect we have made the similar errors in protein and carbohydrates (too many carbs –especially wheat, not enough protein) that are yet to be discovered.  Then throw in genetically modified foods – ouch!

We are now in the trial and error stage of understanding where to use micronutrients versus the use of drugs to heal disease.  The money of course is in the drugs and this is where the focus will continue to be for our large research organizations.  However, all government research funded projects for genetic switching should solve the problem of optimum nutrition (GMO foods, nutrient switching) before any money is spent on drugs for healing, curing, diagnosing, and preventing disease.  After all, it is our money.  Sustaining large organizations without empathy for the individuals it serves is just plain evil.  If the money is first spent on researching micronutrients for epigenetic healing, the need for research of drugs will be significantly diminished because of less disease.  Of course we are where we are; a nation ailing with large amounts of chronic disease.  How ironic that our economy is suffering from so much chronic disease when the major motto of Health and Human Services is ‘markets before mandates’ with the belief of a strong medical economy is more important that the health of the individual.

We know that the sun through the production of vitamin D3 is very significant.  Close to ten percent of the genome is controlled by vitamin D and its co-factors.  I don’t know how large the percentage of the genes is controlled by methyl groups, but I am sure that it is significant and most likely larger than the group for vitamin D.  Since all organic molecules are a combination of methyl groups, then all genes have some switches controlled by methyl groups in combination with cofactors (I never was much for logic, I am more of a links and connections kind of guy).  The complete control of genetic switching is made by all the proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, environment (light, temperature, air, and water), and yes your state of mind.  Could it be that methyl folate from spinach and betaine from beets is all we need for the methyl donors for health?  Life in all its complexities is really just a matter of ONOFF.

Don’t worry, be happy, eat your beets and spinach, and spend lots of time in the sun.  – Pandemic Survivor

All Chronic Disease is from Poor Nutrition

I was given several tape cassettes on this subject some years ago by a friend.  The fact that it was a cassette should tell you that it was in the eighties.  I listened to the speaker as I drove to displace the boredom.  He was all about the fact that all chronic disease was created by poor nutrition.  At the time I thought that he was just trying to sell supplements and he was. Now after several decades of dealing with the philosophy of medicine, it has become apparent that our medical industry is more interested in selling their product than they are with your healing.  Supplement seller or medical industry – who has your wellness in mind?

Last week my work took me into seven pharmaceutical plants.  Some of the plants made prescription meds, some made over the counter meds, and others made supplements.  The purpose of meds versus supplements was stark when considering chronic disease.  I have no problem with the meds made to heal infections, pain, or other quick onset diseases.  However, when treating chronic disease, supplements are far superior for resolving the illness.

One of the most disquieting statistics that I have come across in my research is the number of prescription meds used by people on Medicare and Medicaid.  People over sixty-five on the government plans average over seventeen prescription meds.  The thought of the side effects that are generated is frightening.  Several of the meds are to treat symptoms of chronic disease, but the rest of the meds are to treat the side effects caused by the meds.

The use of supplements to make up for poor nutritional value in our food is a necessity.  Processed and genetically modified foods are most of what we consume.  With the new approach to creating large agricultural yields and drugs that are genetic switches, I suspect we don’t have a clue to what we are doing to our health.  But, you say that our life expectancy has increased and that is true.

It is my belief that the thought of making money instead of wellness, otherwise known as having a strong medical economy by our government, has moved from snake oil salesmen into the medical industry.  Science is available to show proper nutrition is far superior to using drugs for treating chronic disease.  However, no one is willing to pay for the studies that are necessary to overcome the laws created to sustain the FDA and other agencies of Health and Human Services.  This is the responsibility of HHS, but that does not get politicians elected.

If you are suffering from chronic disease, it is time for you to do your own research.  There are a few excellent practitioners out there with your wellness in mind and know how to treat, cure, heal, and diagnose disease by being sure that you are getting proper nutrition.  How do you determine if that person has your wellness in mind?   – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D and the Doctor III

“Hope and Elation – Frustration and Anger – Fear and Loathing: The contrasting emotional responses to the Revolutionary Discoveries in MS made by Dr Zamboni”. – Dr Ashton Embry, Ph. D gives us this quote:  “Hell hath no fury like a researcher proven wrong or disenfranchised.”   www.direct-ms.org; when discussing the resistance to implementing the new treatment for MS that is a true break through. 

Can we get a better grip on the understanding of what doctors are like when facing a completely new radical understanding of health, there is this huge resistance to change.  This could very well be a good thing when the possibility of side effects can cause more harm than do good.  However, what is wrong with keeping the patient’s serum level of vitamin D to that of a sunny country or at a ‘summer level’ all year.  We tend to feel so much better in the summer than in the winter.

Dr. Embry’s frustration above is being described as that of a researcher that has been ‘barking up the wrong tree’ for thirty years or longer.  We find a similar episode in vitamin D where one of the super heroes of the vitamin D movement is fired from his job by a dermatologist no less after writing a book for retail. (His book is a great read – http://www.uvadvantage.org/ ) I am referring to Dr. Michael Holick of Boston University.  The University had the good sense to keep him on in another capacity.  Here is the detail of that battle from Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council in the February 2006 newsletter.  http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsletter/2006-feb.shtml

These researchers are putting their careers on the line for your health.  There is no money to be made from trying to get the medical profession to change.  Their only reward is your health.

Your doctor can only follow the guidelines and if your insurance does not cover the cost of a serum 25(OH)D test your doctor will most likely not follow through.   “There is no medical evidence that getting your vitamin D to a summer level will help your illness”, he will tell you.  What he means is that the treatment guideline for your illness does not have normalizing the serum vitamin D level as part of the treatment protocol.  This means until our heroes of the vitamin D movement get those changes made, you are responsible for being replete.

I have been really tough on doctors and maybe I should not have been.  I really am still upset with the researchers that have let the benefits of vitamin D go unpublished in the hopes of making and selling an analog for profit.  So why have we gone for so long when there is not just a magic bullet for one disease but there is a ‘magic shotgun’ (Oliver Gillie in Sunlight Robbery http://www.healthresearchforum.org.uk/sunlight.html ) for most chronic disease.

So let’s just list the things that have made this understanding of vitamin D so difficult for doctors:

  1. First, doctors have been trained in med school that vitamin D is highly toxic and to not even consider supplementation because just a small amount of sunshine is enough for strong bones.
  2. Efficacy issues comes from claims that D2 and D3 are equal and maybe this is true if you are only taking D for bone health at 400 IU per day.  Part of the issue with D2 is that you radiate fungus to make it, and over-radiation will cause isomers of vitamin D that are highly toxic.  D3 is concentrated from lambs wool and fat is less likely to form toxic sterols because there is no radiation involved in the process.  Only D2 is available as a prescription med.
  3. The amount of D3 is so small that errors in dosage could easily be made.  The suggested upper limit by the researchers is just 0.25 mg or 10,000 IU.  The upper limit now is 2000 IU or 0.05 mg or 50 micrograms.
  4. The really confusing thing is that there have been only a hand full of toxicity cases in the last fifty years with vitamin D3 and most of these were manufacturing errors by a factor of 1000 or more.   For example instead of 2000 IU; 2,000,000 IU was given.  Details on toxicity by Dr. John Cannell from 2003 http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/PDFs/toxicity-of-vitamin-d.pdf
  5. There have been many serious toxicity cases with D2 and in trials when using the steroid form of vitamin D, 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D, thus causing the fear of toxicity
  6. Vitamin D is not a disease specific nutrient and has an impact on all metabolic diseases or diseases that can be related to the endocrine system.  This is really difficult for doctors to believe.

Your local doctor is in general a conscientious professional and will help you though the understanding of vitamin D if you ask nicely.  But then again he may not, because his belief that one vitamin has more than a single response in the body, namely bone health is absurd because that is what he learned in medical school.  If this is the case, for your health, the responsibility is yours.

I know that this may fly in the face of what you have always believed about your relationship with your doctor, but the truth is modern allopathic medicine has reached a ‘cookie cutter’ state that does not fit individual needs.  You have spent years of bad nutrition that has created disease, even if you followed the guidelines for nutrition to the best of your understanding.  The doctor tries to bring you back to health using drugs and surgery.  Your responsibility is to be sure that your levels of essential nutrients are where they should be.

There are institutional issues with what is the best available nutrition and what is the best available technology for treating disease.  I heard one doctor in a talk about 25 years ago say that all chronic disease is the result of poor nutrition.  I now believe that he is correct.  Institutions have ignored what is the best available understanding of medicine and nutrition for profit.  This has happened through specialization.  Each member of a research team or a medical institution is assigned a specific task and he does his best to complete the task.  The moral obligation for the people that the institution serves falls to the head of the institution?  However, the CEO or Director or Administrator believes that their job is the survival and economic health of the institution.  Who holds the moral obligation?  This type of failure in systems holds true whether it is a three man squad in battle or the NIH.  Who holds the moral compass for the NIH?  Is it the Secretary of Health or the President?  I am sure in the mind of each it is passed on to someone else.  Based on that meeting of ‘white coat’ doctors on the White House lawn to discuss health care, I think the feeling is that the moral obligation ends up in the doctor’s hands.  I am sure the doctors do not feel this same obligation as long they are following the practice guidelines.  The truth is that you hold the responsibility for your own health and can take the advice of professionals for what it is worth.

I remember in 1985 what my doctor said to me when I was using ‘his language’ to talk about my back pain as I had accepted the responsibility.  “You are using all of the right words, but do you know what you are talking about.”  In other words, he was telling me to just ‘shut the h— up and to take what he was saying at face value.’  I was effective enough for him to send me in for x-ray of my back after seven years of just telling me I had muscle strain.  After the x-rays he sent me a letter of apology to keep me from suing him.  That was nice.  Unfortunately he had not bothered to read the science and did not ask to check my vitamin D level even though Dr. Michael Holick had discovered the mechanisms of how vitamin D worked in the body and published 10 years earlier.  It is not too much to expect the best available from our doctors but it is never wrong to verify to the best of your ability.  This may include your own review of the current literature regarding your illness to see if the suggested treatment protocols agree with current research.  Most doctors will hate you for this.

Living in a world without back pain is wonderful.     Take responsibility for your health.  – Pandemic Survivor

Note: There was an episode of House where the suggested illness was vitamin D deficiency.   My wife, the director of a large clinical lab is telling me that doctors are ordering serum vitamin D test on almost everything.  Maybe we are getting there.  There is hope and you will not have to suffer pain for 30 years like I did.

Death Panels in US Health Care

During the present conversation on Health Care Reform legislation, there has been a lot of discussion about death panels.  It seems that proponents of the present legislation have claimed that these panels are just scare tactics by those that do not want the legislation to pass.  Here is an article from the New York Times discussing this issue. False ‘Death Panel’ has some Familiar Roots. Could it be that the real death panels are those groups that are appointed specifically as ‘non-biased’ for reporting to HHS, NIH, FDA, Department of Defense, and other government sponsoring bodies?  The NY Times article claims “There is nothing in any of the legislative proposals that would call for the creation of death panels or any other governmental body that would cut off care for the critically ill as a cost-cutting measure.”

A committee or Food and Nutrition Board was appointed in September, 2008 to discuss and report on Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium.  This committee is an arm of the Institute of Medicine and a sub-division of the National Academy of Sciences.  The NAS was formed specifically to keep political views from entering into scientific decisions.  From the Project Information for this FNB:  “The project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (National Institutes of Health, Food and Drug Administration, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion), U.S. Department of Agriculture (Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Agricultural Research Service), U.S. Department of Defense (Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center), and Health Canada.”

Dr. John Cannell, Vitamin D Council, was upset at the appointment of the members of this committee because he felt that the committee was biased because there was no one on the committee that been a leader in the ‘Vitamin D Revolution’.  That was reported in his January 21, 2009 newsletter.  Here is a feel for his upset from that newsletter:  “Are these statements the reason the IOM excluded these vitamin D experts?  Perhaps the IOM dislikes criticism more than it loves candor? When the new FNB vitamin D recommendations come out next summer, will those recommendations continue to “offend the most basic principles of pharmacology and toxicology?”  If any member of the new board disagrees with the consensus of the board, will that scientist be allowed to produce a minority opinion without risking the loss of research grants in the future? “  I agree somewhat with John’s statements but it is also necessary not to have biased viewpoints on the committee which will make their report stronger evidence of the effects of vitamin D on the human body.  This from their Conflicts of Interest Policy: “Finally, it is essential that the work of committees that are used by the institution in the development of reports not be compromised by issues of bias and lack of objectivity.”

They certainly would not want me on the committee having been pulled from the ‘jaws of death’ by vitamin D.  I am exceptionally and without shame biased!!  Dr. Cannell’s point is that there is no money to be made in the sale of vitamin D because it is one of the least expensive nutritional supplements on the market and it is free from sun exposure. Why not have some of the scientists on the committee that are the closest to the research?  After all, these researchers have already demonstrated their character and their lack of bias by risking their careers in objecting to current practices.  There are people in this esteemed list of doctors and scientist appointed to the committee that have done research on vitamin D so there is a body of knowledge that is inherent in this committee.  So the question – is there any bias on this committee?  List of committee members and a brief bio of their work.

When you look at bias you are always concerned about a scientist taking a strong viewpoint that could undermine his objectivity to the decision making process.  Also you do not want a scientist that will gain materially from the decision that is being made.  This last statement excludes everyone on the board.  Not only does everyone on the board stand to not profit from their decision, the decision could reduce funding to their research projects by as much as half of everything they do.  When it becomes knowledge that vitamin D is an essential hormone necessary to sustain life the amount of death from illness by chronic disease will be reduced by half and the medical industry including medical research will shrink accordingly.

This Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine on Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, is by definition a death panel.  Through their decisions they stand to significantly impact the centers of commerce and the flow of money throughout the world by improving the health of the world or holding to status quo.  Financial Times has already discussed the fact that the reason the vitamin D science has not come forward is because of the money. Read this article:  Why Governments are Selling Vitamin D Short – Sam Apple – published October 23, 2009 Financial Times:  and my comments from my post ‘A Major Newspaper Gets It”

Dr. Cannell you are absolutely correct about the possibility of bias and so the question is will the members of this committee recuse themselves?  Every member of this committee stands to lose. It is now a matter of character if the correct decisions are made.  Dr. A. Catherine Ross, Chairman of this FNB, has the lives of millions of people in the world in her hands as well as the weight of the economic future of the world.  The decisions of this committee will be the most powerful influence on health and economics that have been made in the history of the world since the death camps and declaration of war during World War II.  I do not envy this appointment.  My prayers are for you Dr. Ross and the committee.

Life, sometimes, is not easy in the sun.   – Pandemic Survivor