Vitamin D and Me

Vitamins - Credit MSN UKAlthough selling drugs has been the family business [Your father and sister are pharmacists, bozo! – ed] I’ve avoided taking medications over the years, especially over the counter meds. With the exception of sinus tablets (which work, but knock me out), they just never seem to have much effect on me.

Then this happened. I went to my doctor for a regular checkup and mentioned in an off-the-cuff manner that I have wondered for years if I don’t suffer from SADS. I was thinking in terms of feeling sluggish, like I just don’t want to work out (or do anything but “veg-out”). A week later, I get in the mail a lab report (from my blood test) that says I’m deficient in vitamin D, and he prescribes a huge dose for three weeks, followed by a 1000 mg. IU (thanks for the correction, Ted) dose daily. The latter is an OTC medication, found at your nearest grocery store, most likely.

Vitamin D is what your body manufactures from sunlight. Considering that I spend most days in the winter driving to work in the dark, working in a windowless office and then returning home in the dark, I’ve gone days without seeing any sun at all (and thank God for the weekends). So, yeah, I was probably deficient.

I think my doctor prescribed it for me because of articles like this.

Why do we care? Vitamin D is essential for regulating blood calcium levels and for promoting calcium absorption to maintain strong bones. It also regulates certain immune functions and can decrease the proliferation of normal and cancerous cells.

…and like this

Vitamin D is more than more important than thought and it can prevent a range of diseases including cancers. But a new study cautions that just because you live in a Southern state like Arizona does not mean you would get enough vitamin D through exposure to the sun.

The emphasis is mine. It didn’t take much effort to find linkages like this:

Dreary Northern winters are infamous for inducing depression. But being starved for sunlight can do more than kick you into a psychic hole. A growing body of evidence suggests it can raise your risk of cancer, increase susceptibility to heart attack, diabetes and other disorders, and at least partly account for the region’s sky-high rates of multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin D is taking on the aura of a miracle drug – good for what ails ya. That’s never a good sign. It’s a sign that something is being over-hyped.

Much to my surprise, it’s having a positive effect in the one area where an observable difference could be noticed. That winter blah feeling has been really non-existent for me this year. Oh, I think I got that flu that was going around (or at least a very bad cold), but the mood stuff, slight as it was, and the sluggishness were just not a factor.

I’m not one to go around espousing the virtues of OTC meds. For me, vitamin and mineral supplements were just so much advertising baloney that most people convinced themselves they needed. Their effects were minimal and, much like the description of the Earth in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, mostly harmless. Maybe I was hasty. Maybe this one actually does something beneficial, at least, for me.

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5 Comments on “Vitamin D and Me”

  1. Ted Hutchinson Says:

    First may I correct the units you are taking Vitamin D3.
    IU are international units.
    I hope and expect you are taking 1000iu/daily of Cholecalciferol not mg.
    1,000 IU of D3 =0.025 mg
    10,000iu= 0.25mg
    100,000iu= 2.5mg
    1,000,000iu= 25mg
    10,000,000iu=250mg
    40,000.000iu=1000mg

    Depending on how low you were and how sunny is the place where you live each 400iu should raise your status by about 7nmol/l

    This artilce for Canadian Doctors
    Not enough vitamin D Health consequences for Canadians http://www.cfp.ca/cgi/content/full/53/5/841?searchid=1 explains the oral dose of vitamin D3 to attain and maintain 25(OH)D levels >80 nmol/L is 2200 IU/d if baseline levels are 20 to 40 nmol/L.

    If you with to obtain optimal status rather than the basic minimum you will require roughly twice as much.

    I like to keep my status at the natural level our bodies would acquire if we lived as we evolved over 2 million years so I take 5000iu/daily and keep my status around 150nmol/l

    Divide nmol/l numbers by 2.5 to change into ng/ml
    To change from ng/ml to nmol/l divide by 0 .4
    So 80nmol/l / 2.5=32ng/ml
    and 32ng/ml / .4=80nmol/l

  2. Deb Ray Says:

    Vitamin D is not a vitamin. It’s a pre-hormone. You really need to do more research on this. Why would someone who sells drugs for aliving want something as simple as this to work?

  3. joebuckley Says:

    Ted, thank you for the correction. The dosage is indeed 1000 IU.

    Deb, I was never interested in becoming a pharmacist. I saw my dad working war too hard!
    As for the gist of your comment about “someone who sells drugs for a living”, well, that’s an interesting take…

    Thanks for reading.

  4. Deb Ray Says:

    Joe,
    Sorry, you’re right. I over react. I have several biologist friends and we’ve been following the vitamin D news for months. One of my friends said “I’ve always felt the increase in deseases had to be something simple.” One of the “odd” statistics is the increase in autoimmune diseases since we were told to “STAY OUT OF THE SUN.”

    My apologies and I hope you’re feeling better. I began supplements in Nov of 1000 IU’s then went to 2000 IU’s and then to 5000 iu’s. I am currently at 10,000 per day to ride out the flu season. I am a former smoker with moderate copd and it has helped me tremendously with stamina, improved mood and a better attitude about being able to get better and many other areas. I just can’t say enough about it. If you want some good links about vitamin D go to http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

    I am not a vitamin salesman or anything. I just want people to get better.m

  5. joebuckley Says:

    Deb,
    Quite alright. And you know, we’re in agreement on this topic. I “blogged” about it because, sceptic though I am, my experience with Vit-D has been positive. I’m not talking just having a vague feeling about maybe feeling a bit better here, but something much more positive-definite.
    It’s surprising.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll go look.
    Joe


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