Reversing Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D Deficiency (A Reader’s Experience)

By: Elena W. (Vitamin D3 Blog Reader)

Editor’s Note: The following story was submitted to the Vitamin D3 Blog as a comment. Due to its length and the dramatic nature of the claims made herein, the editorial decision was made to publish the comment as a standalone post/article. The Vitamin D3 Blog cannot vouch for the accuracy or legitimacy of the claims contained within this reader’s account of her experience with vitamin D deficiency. The following is her story, and does not reflect the views, opinions or beliefs of the Vitamin D3 Blog, its writers or editorial staff.

Liquid Vitamin D3 Supplements, Sunbathing Ended Years of Suffering

I developed severe unbearable pain in the back of my neck in June 2009. It took six months to receive a diagnosis, and after that I had to go through six months of medications that did not work. My condition got progressively worse.

In May of 2010 I underwent fundoplication surgery for Larynpharengeal Reflux. Over the next five months worsened even more.

Even though the PH studies showed the surgery reduced the reflux into the throat from 40 to 0.4. While that was quite an improvement in terms of PH, however my overall condition continued to worsen to the point that I began to lose approximately two pounds each day simply because I couldn’t swallow water.

After being sent to a mental health clinic in the region where I retired, my new doctors assumed my condition was stressed induced, and likely all in my head. It was at that point that I began to take over my own treatment regimen.Probiotic Supplements (Medical Grade)

I observed major improvement with medical-grade doses of probiotics. However, there was no other improvement to speak of. Still, that result was nonetheless better than what modern medicine was able to achieve.

In April of 2011, still burning severely in my whole throat/neck/head area, I developed two additional health problems: a progressively worsening incontinence and severe shoulder pain, respectively. The shoulder pain was severe and I was unable to even lift my arms.

In Aug 2011 I went to the head regional gastroenterologist to request that I be sent to an outside medical system for a second opinion and that the HMO pay for it. The head GI said three things to me, “We don’t know what you have but it’s not LPR; we are not going to pay for an outside opinion; and you have to learn to live with the pain.”

By now, I didn’t even bother to share with my doctors that I had developed incontinence and severe shoulder pain. I basically knew intuitively that my doctors were incompetent and failed to think outside of the box. All they were able to do was to go through their routine medical periodicals.

Fortunately for me, I never stopped researching my illness, and slowly pieced together that my illnesses was due to weak esophageal muscles. It was sort of like atrophy, because the fundoplication should have significantly helped me and it didn’t. I came home from that August 2011 meeting with the head regional GI doctor and wept. I knew I was doomed to a slow death, and my ability to cope with acid burn on the sensitive throat nerves was reaching a point of causing me to lose my ability to cope with the constant pain. I was sleeping no more than 5 minutes at a time at night, and I paced all day to walk off the nerve/throat pain.

However, my luck was about to change for the better. I had a moment of clarity and sat down at the computer and did a web search for “what strengthens muscles”, and up popped different articles, several  of which mentioned Vitamin D3.

Sunbathing as a Vitamin D3 Source

I sat up. I saw that athletes use it for muscle strength. When I read that it hit me — I had avoided the sun for 40 years! I was a textbook example of what can happen in cases of severe vitamin D deficiency.

I had mistakenly believed all the articles I had read stating that the sun was bad for the skin. I immediately sent a email to my primary care physician and without saying why, told her I wanted a vitamin D test (a Liquid Vitamin D3 Supplementsblood test to determine vitamin D levels relative to what is defined as “normal” ranges) as well as a vitamin B12 test.

I studied the types of vitamin D, and learned that D3 was definitely the best form to take as a supplement. I immediately ordered some 10,000 IU liquid vitamin D3 supplements.

I received my D3 drops three days later and within 24-48 hours the deep pain in my shoulder blades had vanished and the bladder incontinence disappeared. Even the LPR slowly began to lift.

It’s been 2.5 years and I continue to improve with LPR. I now travel during vacation down the latitude of the planet toward the equator for sunshine. I live at the 38th latitude on the planet and have researched that the sun is best at 1 pm (due to daylight savings time) from mid-April to mid-September, and I get about 10-13 minutes of direct sunshine every day that I can.

My health has improved in ways I can not explain. However, these are very real, albeit somewhat subtle. For example, I’ve had severe weakness of the legs since I was 40 years old. I’m 62 right now and my legs climb stairs with no problem.

I feel so strong now that I finally have energy! I don’t drag through the day, and my sleeping patterns have seen a world of improvement. I used to frequently fall ill with a variety of ailments. Now I rarely get sick. My skin has improved, and in spite of everything mentioned herein, I can’t help but think I’m omitting something.

Man Sunbathing for Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 supplements have worked wonders for my health. While I cannot scientifically prove that the D3 is the sole reason for my dramatic improvement in terms of my overall health, I know without one iota of doubt that were it not for the vitamin D, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t even be alive today, much less in the best health I can recall being in for the vast majority of my adult life.

Elena W.

The Vitamin D3 Blog would like to thank Elena for contributing her experience with Vitamin D Deficiency!

Note: Images do not necessarily depict those of the reader or the brand of supplements she takes.

Vitamin D and Testosterone Levels

A new study appears to show a link between healthy vitamin D intake and healthy testosterone levels, and/or a link between low vitamin D levels and low testosterone. Which is it? More research is needed, say the scientists who conducted the study.

Vitamin D and Testosterone Levels

Vitamin D Deficiency has already been shown to lead to an increased propensity for developing dozens of different illnesses, diseases and other conditions. Conversely, healthy levels of vitamin D3 by way of sun exposure or supplementation have been shown to help strengthen the immune system and stave off numerous diseases. Well, theres more news on the vitamin D front, and this latest news involving the miracle sunshine vitamin appears to bode especially well for men particularly those whose age is at (or in excess of) the age at which testosterone levels typically begin to decline in males.

Testosterone and Vitamin D

Testosterone is the male sex hormone, and low levels can result in a decreased sex drive, metabolic slowing and decreased muscle mass, among other things.

The most recent news is that high serum levels of Vitamin D have been clinically shown to boost testosterone levels in men. This according to a new study conducted by Katharina Nimptsch and associates at the Harvard School of Public Health[1], and which was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology earlier this year.

In their report on the trial, Nimptsch and company suggested that vitamin D may increase the production of testosterone in men, and experimental animal studies and at least one cross-sectional study appear to show a positive link between plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D and testosterone production in men. The scientists determined that once vitamin D levels reached the point of 75 to 85 nmol per liter, the relationship with increased testosterone production appeared to taper off.

A similar association was also observed between levels of serum vitamin D and free testosterone.

At lower levels, the amount of the increase in testosterone production was proportionate to the increase in vitamin D levels, which in the study were ingested in the form of vitamin D3 supplements.

Vitamin D3 is the form of vitamin D obtained through sun exposure and a process of internal synthesis involving the bodys vitamin D receptors. D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is the most readily absorbed form of vitamin D available as a supplement, and is far more effective than the synthetic vitamin D2, the use of which as a supplement in humans has become controversial in recent years.

Testosterone Vitamin D

The scientists who conducted the trial stopped short of asserting a definitive causality between increased vitamin D3 intake and increased testosterone levels. The report made it a point of clarifying that more research is needed to determine whether the relationship between increased vitamin D intake (or synthesis if obtained from sunlight) results in increased testosterone, or if low testosterone is merely a byproduct of low vitamin D to begin with. While this may appear to be a tomato-tomahto argument for some, the scientists were careful to assert that more research was needed before any sort of causality between vitamin D levels and testosterone levels could be established.

In the scientists own words:

This study supports previously reported positive associations between vitamin D and testosterone although we did not observe parallel seasonal variation patterns. Possible causality and direction of the vitamin D-testosterone association deserve further scientific investigation.

In any case, testosterone-boosting medications and supplements have become a booming industry over the past couple of years, and it is possible that men across the country and world may be unnecessarily paying excessive prices for doctors visits, testosterone-enhancing medicines and high-end supplements which may have adverse side-effects. If all that is needed to achieve healthy testosterone levels is increased sun exposure and/or a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement, then hundreds of thousands if not millions of men could be saving hundreds of dollars while safely and naturally achieving the same ends (increased levels of testosterone, the male sex hormone) without all the risks, negative side-effects and foreign chemicals found in some of these other testosterone boosting medicines and supplements.

Vitamin D and Low Testosterone

[1] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2265.2012.04332.x/abstract

Schizophrenia Linked to Vitamin D Insufficiency

Schizophrenia Linked to Vitamin D Insufficiency

By: Pamela Egan

A new study out of Iran has determined that individuals suffering from inadequate serum levels of vitamin D have more than double the chances of becoming schizophrenic than do people who obtain healthy amounts of the letter vitamin/hormone.

Low Vitamin D Serum Levels Doubles Chances of Becoming Schizophrenic

Vitamin D-3 Drops (Supplement)Unlike a traditional study, the research published July 22 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism constitutes what is known as a “meta analysis”. In a meta analysis, unlike a traditional experiment, study or clinical trial, instead of conducting original research using volunteers (test subjects), a control group and different variables to determine how the different variables react (or don’t react) to the volunteers under various circumstances; the researchers instead review previously conducted research. The objective is to review numerous studies which are similar in nature in an attempt to discern any patterns or other data that may surface in the presence of macro-data that may not be as obvious within the context of a single study.

In this particular instance, the researchers reviewed 19 different studies encompassing a combined total of over 2,800 people studied. The purpose of the research was to determine if any discernible link could be established between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia.

The scientists were surprised to discover that not only does vitamin D deficiency predispose an individual to developing schizophrenia, a grouping of psychiatric disorders characterized by among other things hallucinations, difficulty speaking, delusions and disoriented thoughts, but did so by a substantial margin. As it turns out, those who suffer from insufficient levels of vitamin D (which is actually a hormone – not a vitamin), a condition known as “vitamin D deficiency” or “vitamin D deficiency syndrome”, are more than two times as likely to become schizophrenic than are people who maintain normal/healthy levels of the hormone/nutrient. The exact figure is 2.16 times more likely for those whose levels are inadequate relative to those whose are.

While co-author Dr. Ahmad Esmaillzadeh expressed hope that his team’s findings “might help psychiatrists in the healing process of patients with schizophrenia,” he cautioned against jumping to any conclusions with regard to the role (if any) vitamin D supplements will play in the prevention and treatment of this mentally trying condition.

“Controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm the effects of vitamin D supplementation,” Esmaillzadeh added.

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Schizophrenia – Video

Vitamin D3 Can Help Combat Inflammation

Vitamin D3 May Help Reduce Inflammation

By: Pamela Egan, MN, FNP

At the root of many, many chronic diseases and illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, etc., is inflammation. If one can keep inflammation at bay, that person has successfully won half of the aging battle.

Vitamin D SunlightResearch shows you can drastically reduce your risk of cancer and countless other chronic diseases by getting safe sun exposure, or taking a high quality Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplement. Vitamin D3 deficiency has been associated with Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diabetes, Colon Cancer, Obesity, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Auto-Immune Disease, Neuro-degenerative Diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Osteoporosis, Depression, and also Breast Cancer.

Personally, I can always tell when my D3 levels falls lower than 60 because my feet get achy. However, this occurrence is rare as I make a point of regularly obtaining the nutrient through a variety of Vitamin D3 Sources.

Sun, Vitamin D and Inflammation

New data on nutrition and heart disease presented at a recent symposium and published in the July issue of the American Journal of the Medical Sciences shows that low vitamin D levels are a common problem affecting numerous health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart failure and ischemic heart disease.

I have many patients with auto-immune disease including Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus who are off of their medications including steroids and methotrexate with vitamin D3 10,000iu/day plus a course of prescription strength probiotics such as VSL-3VSL #3.  Many patients with hypertension are managed with Vitamin D3 5000 iu twice a day + Magnesium Glycinate 100mg twice a day.

High-quality vitamin d3 supplements are available at EGAN Wellness Clinic, the clinic’s online supplement shop and other providers of high-end nutritional supplements. It is important to actually purchase a high-quality supplement as opposed to grocery store and pharmacy brands, which are not anywhere near equal to the vitamin D3 made by companies like Douglas Laboratories, EGAN Wellness / EGAN Nutrition or a BioTech. The Vitamin D3 Blog provides this information for those who may be better off taking such a supplement (as opposed to receiving a flu vaccine) but don’t know where to obtain one that will achieve the desired results.

Pamela Egan, NP, ABAAHP Diplomat (American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners), CDE is a board certified Adult & Family Nurse Practitioner, Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging & Functional Medicine, and Certified Diabetes Educator. She is a health columnist from Covington, LA.

Vitamin D3 Supplements: When Are They Necessary?

Who Should Take Vitamin D Supplements, How Much and Why?

Vitamin D supplements, particularly those providing the more bio-available form known as Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, can be of life-saving importance to a larger percentage of the population than most would probably assume. Of all the vitamin and mineral supplements out on the market, Vitamin D3 supplements may be the most under-consumed and most important among them.

According to a number of recent studies, between 50-80% of the American population isn’t getting enough Vitamin D. This number is believed to be even higher among African Americans. Part of the problem is that a disturbingly high number of people either aren’t aware of the importance of healthy levels of the nutrient or make the mistake of assuming they get enough by way of diet and/or sunlight.

Remedial Information about Vitamin D is Misleading

Vitamin D3 Supplements

While most of us learned in school about the ever-important D vitamin is technically true (that Vitamin D is obtained via sunlight naturally), it is woefully incomplete information that has contributed to the crisis many health experts describe as a Vitamin D deficiency epidemic. We get Vitamin D from the sunshine. It is a “nonessential” vitamin (although that term is very misleading). What this effectively means is that our bodies can make it. Specifically, human skin manufactures it from sunshine, the liver breaks it down, and finally the kidney activates it into a form that is thousands of times more potent. This job provided by the kidney is lost very in the early stages of chronic kidney disease, and diminishes substantially often simply as a result of the aging process. What’s more, older people’s skin is not able to optimally manufacture the nutrient from sunlight.

So what does this all mean to the average American who likely had never so much as considered whether or not he or she was obtaining sufficient amounts of the nutrient?

Most of us also learned in school that inadequate Vitamin D levels can lead to rickets. But how many adults actually know someone with rickets? This is precisely the dilemma — rickets is not a disease people are used to seeing and thus, intricately familiar with.

Think You’re Getting Enough Vitamin D?  Think Again

Vitamin D3 Deficiency Sunlight

Far too many Americans are of the mistaken belief that they are getting enough sunshine, and what they’re not getting in terms of sun is compensated for by diet. This is a big mistake, at least if the studies indicating that more than half the American population is deficient are correct. Paying a (probably already overdue) visit to the doctor and having one’s Vitamin D levels checked takes very little time and is a relatively inexpensive test. This test is the only way to know for sure if one is low in the nutrient and thus susceptible to the assortment of health ailments and illnesses associated with the condition.

More Milk isn’t the Answer

Milk is fortified with Vitamin D, and many who are cognizant of the importance of the vitamin assume that drinking milk will help stave off deficiency. Technically this isn’t completely inaccurate. There’s just one problem with that line of thinking though: it would take approximately 16 glasses of milk a day to provide the necessary amount of Vitamin D needed to stave of deficiency and deficiency-related illness. What’s more, the Vitamin D found in milk breaks down when exposed to light? Most major grocery chains store milk under fluorescent lights 24-7 until it sells. Even if the milk is stored in such a way as to protect the nutrients inside it, sixteen glasses is a lot of milk — even if you like milk.

Rickets we rarely encounter, sunshine we have aplenty, and we’ve survived this long without nutrient-rich milk, so what does it matter? The human body requires Vitamin D for many internal processes. It is a co-factor in myriad activities within the body. Most of us did not learn this in school as scientists only recently discovered just how critically important this nutrient is.

Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic

What you don’t know, can hurt you. Without enough Vitamin D, not only are we vulnerable to rickets, but more importantly processes begin in which the body essentially turns itself into bone. Genes get *up-regulated(1) in the absence of needed levels of Vitamin D, which lead to the building of bone matrix in soft tissue. That tissue includes blood vessels, the heart, liver, pancreas, the list goes on. Upon that matrix, minerals like calcium are laid down and turn it into bone. This obviously is not good for one’s health. As a matter of fact, this directly correlates with mortality rates — especially via heart disease.

Vitamin D3 DeficiencyThe lower the Vitamin D levels, the higher the mortality rate! Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to colon cancer, diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, proximal muscle weakness, and many, many others. While the death certificate doesn’t typically list Vitamin D deficiency as the cause-of-death, an alarmingly high number of debilitating and potentially even fatal diseases and illnesses have been associated with deficiencies in Vitamin D levels. So which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Vitamin D deficiency is indeed an epidemic. In numerous studies, 50-80% of the American populations studied are deficient in this Vitamin. These numbers are believed to be even higher among African Americans. While rickets is not regarded as a serious health concern, more and more people are diagnosed with heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes everyday in every family. Can anything help to prevent this?

More Sunlight Not Necessarily the Answer

The sun has gotten a bad rap. We know it causes aging of our skin and skin cancer. This is true, and in the case of skin cancer potentially deadly, so getting more sunlight is not necessarily the answer. Worth noting is the fact that the darker one’s skin, the less Vitamin D that person is able to manufacture all other things being equal. This likely explains why African Americans are suffering and dying more than any other group from these very same diseases now linked with Vitamin D deficiency.

When one spends considerable time in the sun, what happens? Assuming the person used sunblock, that person will become tan. The darker the skin the less Vitamin D one is able to manufacture, so more sun exposure is not the answer due to it’s catch-22 nature. This is especially true for African Americans and other people with dark skin.

vitamin D deficiency

Time in the sun is not a good predictor of one’s Vitamin D level for the reasons stated above. The only way to know if a person is deficient (and about 80% of us are) is to have that person’s Vitamin D levels tested and evaluated. Drinking milk is not going to bring the levels up unless perhaps one maybe owns a cow or has a very large refrigerator to go along with an insatiable appetite. The bottom line is that for most adults, Vitamin D3 supplements are usually necessary to ensure healthy levels and promote good health. According to esteemed Nurse Practitioner and Health Columnist Pamela Egan, “the few patients I see who are not deficient usually have been taking vitamin supplements for years.”

How Much Should I take?

The recommended dosages for Vitamin D are 400 units a day if you are under 50 years old, 600 units a day for those 51-70, and 800 units a day for those over 71. When one is deficient, it is very difficult to replete levels with over the counter doses of Vitamin D. A prescription-strength dose is often required, and can be beneficial with a weekly dose.

Nurse Practitioner Egan offered the following piece of advice for readers of this blog: “Talk to your doctor, get a level measured, and supplement your deficiency with enough D to maintain adequate levels. Let’s all live a long and happy life!”

High-Quality Vitamin D3 Supplements

* 1. Up-Regulation – the process where postsynaptic receptors increase in number or become more sensitive when presynaptic neurons are not releasing enough neurotransmitter to carry the impulse (mcgraw-hill.com).

* Alternate Definition of Up-Regulation – an increase in the number and density of a particular neuronal receptor, generally in response to an altered amount of neurotransmitters present in the surrounding environment (macalester.edu).

Pamela Egan, FNP-C, CDE, is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner, certified diabetes educator, health columnist and anti-aging diplomat. She is an expert on vitamin d3 and illnesses associated with deficiencies of this vital nutrient. Her website is www.pamelaegan.com.