I know this blog is supposed to be closed…but it’s okay to backtrack isn’t it? If I urgently need to spit something out, however infrequently, this is my spittoon. Now let’s get to the topic!:
We’re lead to believe that cholesterol is an enemy, particularly to cardiovascular health. But think about it, why does your liver naturally produce something that’s detriment to your health? It doesn’t.
Through tapes on the raft, the lipid hypothesis reigns supreme. It dictates that in order to stay healthy you should reduce your cholesterol (to an ever receding value) by consuming a low fat diet and exercise (no prob with latter though!). And If that fails you should try controversial medicines called statins.
They are notable for alarming side effects.
Sounds nice and simple? In England 2003, the average cholesterol value was 6.1, in France it was 6.2. The recommended cholesterol level is < 5mmol. This means a lot of people ‘suffer’ from a symptomless disease. But here’s the best bit: our local French neighbours don’t suffer from heart disease much, definitely not as much as us. In Japan (2005), the level of cholesterol went up as their rate of heart disease dropped, perhaps because their general lifestyle is better than the Brits to avoid inflammation of the heart in the first place despite possible low vit D. Populations with the least level of cholesterol saw higher rates of heart disease. But furthermore, high cholesterol for women the world over is not a risk factor. Are they really that different?
Cholesterol sceptics like Uffe Ravnskov (who dubbed an email I sent as having ‘interesting ideas’ and a ‘sound hypothesis’ – for some areas, not all) are dismissed as quacks, simply as they are the minority – “science is a voting process, not facts. There’s proof that the statins work, so everyone else better shut up!” Yet, statins are indicated not just for high cholesterol but for individuals with risk of CVD who may have low or normal levels. If your levels are away from the danger zone, how can this help you? Would you take pain killers if you had no pain? Sceptics believe this is due to statins being more complex than just reducing cholesterol; they’re anti-inflammatories (either intentionally or as a side-effect, possibly because inflammation control is required when beating the liver to inhibit cholesterol production), and a process of heart disease is inflammation. So, what could be the factor for CVD? Cholesterol sceptics agree on what it isn’t, but what it is varies (some recommend the Atkins diet, and the only defence I can muster for that at mo. is that dairy is weird; us and our cats are the only animals that drink other animals secretions, we’re sold it when it naturally occurs in human breast milk and only for a limited period of time – couple that with all the rubbish in processed food. But calcium is an issue.).
My hypothesis focusses on vitamin D (actually a hormone). I’m not saying that I have concrete evidence, I’m saying I have questions I’d like answered. These answers just aren’t out there from what I’ve researched. Did you know that vitamin D is created from cholesterol? Provide your skin with adequate sunlight and excess cholesterol is turned into vitamin D, a hormone with responsibilities including calcium metabolisation, blood sugar regulation, blood pressure regulation, mental health function, diabetes prevention…and the list grows as our genome is unscrolled. Now, what if you live in a country with little sun? What if you’re non-white and your skin is equal to pale skin with liberal amounts of sun cream. What if you like wearing clothes, use transport and hang under roofs and walls….Hang on, that’s all of us these days?…The chances of becoming a D deficient rise. And if your excess cholesterol isn’t turned into D, it accumulates doesn’t it?…I can find no answers, at least online that refutes or proves this. Therefore could high cholesterol just be a signifier of low vitamin D, a hormone that is said to have anti-inflammatory properties?… You follow? When you go for a GP MOT, they are interested in your blood pressure and cholesterol, at least if you’re old enough. But you’ll be damned if ‘vitamin D’ is uttered. Perhaps it should be thought of as a hormone to be taken seriously. And lack of vitamin D could be at least one cause of essential hypertension, i.e. high blood pressure that’s not linked to anything they can find. And then, how high is high blood pressure?…One step at a time I guess. And because vitamin D isn’t uttered, without much argument, out pops a printout for a statin and/or diuretic. What I would like to know is does Vit D supplementation tell the liver to hold back on it’s cholesterol production? i.e. the builders are hired from abroad so the brick building school limits it’s pupils, or can it remain high? And if it does, does it matter that there’s an excess of trainee builders showing their cracks? And then ‘normal’ cholesterol is obviously up to debate. Is high or low normal and what value sets each? Well, a big flaw is that if low as possible is optimal – 0.00 to 5.00 is one range I’ve seen – how can you naturally make vitamin D with 0 cholesterol? Then you definitely need vitamin D with your statins! At least if your levels are high you could make some D with minimal sun exposure. Meaning low cholesterol guarantees low vitamin D, below those with high cholesterol in absence of light and upping the risk of other diseases.
This agrees with UK sceptic GP Malcolm Kendrick that you won’t live to old age when heart disease typically strikes as you’d die younger of something else! So, while statins have an anti-inflammatory benefit, they don’t have the rest of vitamin D’s bag of tricks. Only side effects. Let’s just say cholesterol is bad and you have to curb it in your body. Then why not create drugs/appliances that synthesise cholesterol to non-toxic amounts of vitamin D (in absence of enough sunlight), if deficiency is indicated too (if possible?) and if cholesterol is just benign, surely D3 supplementation is safer than a statin – at least for those not suffering from CVD, to be truly safe? Who knows, maybe statins are better than D at inflammation control, at least if they stopped poking with cholesterol….Or D could still be better. But would you use a synthetic alternative to your immune system?
Statins are big business…
Is it just co-incidence that blacks are most likely to suffer high blood pressure and Asians CVD due to their natural sunscreen? And did you know that sun cream inhibits the making of vit D? What matters more is what type of rays you lay under and for how long, not the sun per se. Taking a bit of vit D with your sun cream might be a better bet in preventing burning that could cause skin cancer while stocking up on a natural fighter for it. Evolution isn’t racist. When our early black African ancestors spread out from the equator, they first did so by foot which takes a much longer time than boat/aircraft! Therefore in journeying, according to climate their skin lightened as to much protection they need from the sun. If you just zoom across, you don’t change. This doesn’t indicate race superiority, it just means the paler you are the easier you can get burnt/get skin cancer, the darker you are the harder is it is to make vit D. If we journeyed back to the equator we may get darker if not already (dependent on climate change!). Therefore the only difference between native and immigrant is that native walked/swam to new land from Africa and then elsewhere, while immigrant sailed/flew! We are all one race in the end, a race that based divisions on colour and regional variations.
And top this off with local transport, buildings and clothes and we’ve created layers to vitamin D deficiency for everyone. We’ve evolved, but just like plants we still need dosing from the great pharmacist in the sky – or alternatives with our modernity; after all, mod cons are nice. Who knows, if I’m right we may get windows that let UVB in and mens shirts with bare backs! And so I end with no answers. I’m Asian, and my brother and I (both young) are on vitamin D. My father has raised cholesterol and both my parents have high blood pressure – in England. Only my brother and I have had our vitamin D checked… I fear checking my cholesterol, not for the value, but for what would be advised.
27 Aug ’07 update: I have added to and tidied up this post a bit, and in search for evidence to contradict me (I would rather be proved wrong quickly so I can stop thinking about this), I found that one other theory is that calcium plaque build-up in the arteries can cause CVD. This build-up can happen in those with less calcium in their bones/less calcium metabolisation…an effect of low calcium, but more importantly low vitamin D.
28 Aug ’07 update: Another minor tidy up and a note to say that I have prepared a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and and an endocrinologist. I will send these off when I’m happy with them.
30 Aug ’07 update: Scary thought: with parents scared of paedophiles and shootings, our kids will be kept away from not only playing outside with their friends to build social skills but they’ll also be kept away from the sun which plays a part on both mental and physical health. Also, sun beds ain’t all bad. Remember that you should love UVB for something other than getting a tan. Also, is it possible that ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol is the portion of cholesterol that is turned into D; meaning HDL/LDL have different uses?. Is it bad because it’s doing some other than it’s defined role? This might explain why statins have no effect on trigylcerides or raising (good) HDL. And then, is the fuss over MMR jabs and autism just co-incidental because vit D deficiency is increasing regardless? I don’t want to slam the door on the arguments of autstic children’s parents, they may still have a valid case.
3 Sep ’07 update: There are articles that link lack of vitamin C to cardiovascular risk. But to be wary on my end of this, lack of vitamin C can result in poor iron in the body amongst other ‘noticable’ things. I have good iron in the body and haven eaten a couple of oranges daily for a few years. It may have an effect, but lack of vit C is not as big a problem as low D in my honest opinion.
6 Sep ’07 update: “… there is a striking similarity between the benefits of vitamin D and the benefits of statin therapy. I believe that the unexpected and unexplained beneficial effects of statin therapy might be mediated by activation of vitamin D receptors by this group of drugs.”—Dr. David S. Grimes Blackburn Royal Infirmary, Lancashire, UK (from Le Magazine, September 2007) Now all I need someone to tell me is if (apart from the respected opinion of Edward Hutchison in the comments section) cholesterol blood levels are related to vit D levels in some way. I also think that British (and perhaps European?) over-the-counter IU’s for Vitamin D need revising. 400IU is probably okay as a ‘sampler’ part of a multi-vitamin, but if we’re talking about D3 that shows any sign of therapeutic activity, we need minimum 1,000 to 4,000 IU. I’m on 400IU and think that is as only as potent as vit D from foods. I don’t notice anything on it. Approx. 15600IU a week rid my brother of seizures and returned muscle strength in his legs, and he’s shown no signs of toxicity.
7 Sep ’07 update: As cholesterol is also a building block for testosterone, less cholesterol, I presume also inhibits natural optimal testosterone production. Testosterone is an additional factor in men for bone and heart health. But I remain with the idea that low D is the primary factor – for both men and women. In a 9 Aug 2003 article from New Scientist (“Why Sunshine Is Good For You”) the building block for vitamin D is simply referred to as a ‘precursor chemical’ and not cholesterol outright. The same article doesn’t discuss D’s other discovered health benefits, which perhaps says that only a few years ago we didn’t know cholesterol was the building block, as well as the other benefits of D. Another thing to back up love for the sun is that our parents (or their parents) never shunned the sun until government advice exclamation marked ‘sun = cancer’. Importantly, back then the effects on the ozone layer weren’t known, and in infancy weren’t so bad. It’s true overexposure can cause skin cancer – no argument – but this is down to the poor filtration by a declining ozone layer. Again, this may be a fault of our industrial modernisation. Also, vitamin supplements aren’t really ‘unnatural'; furred animals use their tongues to lick off D from their coats. And the elderly would need these as their skin is less likely to make adequate D from sunlight. This explains why certain diseases accelerate in appearance due to old age.
9 Sep ’07 update: Since cholesterol is also the precursor chemical for testosterone, is it possible that autistic children (who are shown to have the ability to develop other conditions alongside that are associated with D deficiency) have higher testosterone levels because their body in some way is trying to offset at least some of the excess cholesterol in another way? This would explain the overly male trait behaviour of autistics, and also testosterone shares some of vit D’s benefits such as bone health – therefore the body may try and create too much testosterone as a gasp for lack of ability to create D…This update I admit is a wild guess, but there is some logic. There is also pockets of information, that just like many unique features of ours, that there is no definitive cholesterol value at all (except low is bad!). Our body makes as much as we need in accordance to other factors, such as genes. Sorry for today’s woolly update, but I felt like sharing it anyway.
10 Sep ’07 update: Vitamin D deficiency linked to preeclampsia. High blood pressure is one symptom…To me it’s possible that insuffciency maybe just as bad as clinical deficiency, meaning that any value below optimal can result in possible health problems. I don’t believe deficiency of D causes heart problems entirely – though it’s long term absence from the body may contribute – I believe various factors such as stress, poor physical activity and to some extent, genes, play a part, but the presence of D could blanket such things; getting vit D from the sun itself is usually a happy activity that leads you outside, whether or not you run about. I’m starting to wonder if I should have a blog entirely dedicated to vitamin D…
11 Sep ’07 update: I declare jihad on statins! Two interesting articles. The first says that D supplements can reduce cholesterol…with this knowledge why do statins exist?! Again though, cholesterol to me is not the core factor of heart disease (and other diseases), but it is the element that can reduce your chances or manage it well if it’s related to low D, just like white blood cells in general. Second…there’s an apparent risk of death from switching from a branded statin to a generic one. Does this risk apply to switching to non-proprietary vit D too? The only risk my head can surmise is to the money being made by the big companies over-protective of their big selling products. It is GP policy (at least in England) to give prescriptions named by feature rather than brand to not be seen as toadying. Only when a patient expresses a preference for a certain brand due to small differences in tolerance can a certain brand be prescribed. This is a matter between GP and patient – not drug co. and GP. It’s hard to swallow (pun intended if you wish) that one pill of a supposedly safe drug (to quote some sources) would be that hazardous if it had small differences or came in a packet by an unknown brand name than previously used. Last gasp: D2 is criticised compared to D3. This might be because D2 is slightly more a drug that can be profited from than D3…My brother takes D2 at the mo, hmm. There will be words at his appt. in Nov! – although he is doing good. :)
13 Sep ’07 update: An interesting article by Bill Sardi suggests that statins are profitable strange clones of D, because as well as being protective against the same things as D, they have been shown to raise D levels. This means you don’t need vitamin D with your statin…you just don’t need your statin… Bill has written another interesting article here. I thank him for responding to emails which completely agree with my theory on arterial calcification being a major cause. If UK residents are looking for safe high-dose D3, look here. I will consider this myself after I get an update on D blood levels which I doubt will have raised from a measly 400IU per day (equivalent to one fish). 400IU is protective against a few things, but at least 4,000 can can arm you up like a PC security package. Up to 10,000IU is seen as safe, but I’d rather remain a bit conservative. By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to add that despite my growing conviction on this topic, I take NO RESPONSIBILITY for people acting on it. My core aim is to create debate and promote self-education. I am not promoting any specific product or regimen. All I’m saying is “look, what do you think?”
15 Sep ’07 update: “Cocaine keeps cholesterol at bay.” is the lyric from a song. Which is interesting as cocaine users/abusers up their heart attack risk. 17
Sep ’07 update: If I’m still adding to this post next month it’s wise I start a dedicated blog to make this easier to swallow. By the end of this month I hope to have a blood test and see what level my cholesterol is (for the first time), find out what my vitamin D was last year (all I was told was that it was better if it was a bit higher) and what it is this year after a year on 400IU D2. And if I see a pattern that relates to the topic of this blog, I plan to experiment with D3 dosage as recommended by the Vitamin D Council. – And thank you to them for feeling my blog noteworthy for their news page. Bill Sardi told me that countries at a higher latitude (above 40deg) like Britain are further likely to have a deficient population because a) When it rains…It rains! And b) Up to 6-8 months per year may give insufficient UVB even at the peak time of midday. This is not good. Couple this with the fact that London is pretty polluted, and pollution along with fog blocks UVB. Windows also only let 6% of UVB in…That’s something, I suppose. It’s also interesting to note that Pfizer, who sell a statin called Atorvastatin (i.e. Lipitor, the biggest selling drug in the world, albeit according to Wikipedia.) also created erectile dysfunction drug Viagra…If I’m not mistaken, Viagra was first developed as a heart drug but marketed as an ED drug because of the potential of this exciting, focal, side effect. Now, I’m not saying Pfizer always market side effects, but in some cases do they know why their drugs work or is it just “well, this ingredient worked and it seems okay, so let’s go with it…”?
18 Sep ’07 update: Okay, I should get a life already…I’m a blog addict, but only on one post! First of all, Brits (and non Brits) please visit this petition at the 10 Downing St. site. Next up, if you’d like to contact me, it’s mo79uk…to the email service provide by Google. I deliberately left out a direct link because I already get enough spam there as is. I got a fairly swift reply from the Department of Health’s customer service. It is not worth posting here as a) it’s a bit long, and b) doesn’t need to be posted. It basically reconfirmed the status of cholesterol guidelines (actually 4.00mmol/L is desired in the UK, but they allow 5 , just about!), how they are decided upon, and that I should contact the Medical Research Council who would be most receptive to what I have to say…I hope. I would likely need a doctor on my side. It was a pretty satisfactory reply at least. I don’t expect one from my MP. Today’s revelation, is that, Lipitor contains calcium carbonate (a calcium supplement). In fact, go to the web site and the logo has ‘atorvastatin calcium’ written on it. I don’t get this addition…I do understand why it’s addition can make statins good for bones though; this isn’t actually genius knowledge. And this further leads me to believe that if calcium is best taken with D, then statins, or at least Lipitor (the #1!) are molecular lookalikes of D, or a component of it is. This agrees with Dr. David S. Grimes’ quote further up this post. It seems Lipitor is good for many things D is indeed. What a surprise eh?!
19 Sep ’07 update: A Pfizer supported Spanish study shows that atorvastatin does increase vitamin D and says: “This increase could explain some of the beneficial effects of atorvastatin at the cardiovascular level that are unrelated to cholesterol levels.” Why hasn’t this April ’07 dated news caused shock horror? Oh…okay, they want to suggest that raising vitamin D gives some benefits, not all. Right. And raising vitamin D is unrelated to cholesterol levels they say….Otherwise who would buy Lipitor? And yet vitamin D does the expected sole job; reduce cholesterol to decrease risk. What the hell is going on? Is this is a cover up…or do Pfizer not really know how Lipitor works? If this wasn’t Pfizer supported this would probably be a more clear and damning article.
25 Sep ’07 update: I found out that my vit D level last year was 10nmol/L. That’s quite far away from the desired 50nmol/L+ and is classed as deficient. The good news though is I will be soon reporting the (relevant, and maybe not so) results of a series of MOT blood tests which will include looking at my cholesterol, vitamin D and calcium, and maybe a few other things. If I find no hint of a correlation, I will terminate my research here for now. That still doesn’t mean I’m wrong, but for another reason I might not the perfect person to assess. But I do think I am, and hope so. Fingers x’d! If all goes to plan I’m going to port my analyses to a new blog with a fetchy name. And of course, you’ll be the first to know. I have a steady readership of this post. And by the way, to clarify, when I refer to being Asian I refer to this as being Asian in the British sense. i.e. South Asian (Pakistani/Indian/Bangladeshi). Not Chinese or Japanese. Of course it’s obvious there can’t be many East Asians called Mo, but I just want to be clear for non-UK readers! But then it makes no difference as vit D is a global problem and South/East Asians are fairly tied in pigment. I also want to add that the addition of a calcium supplement in Lipitor appears to be because it interferes with your body’s calcium, so needs this supplement to replace it. So, it could be that Lipitor is only similar to vitamin D in the way it’s components work together, rather than having one or a few core ingredients. Also, going back to South Asians (sorry non-South Asians, discrimination will cease shortly ;) ) at least in the UK, if you factor stress as a huge factor in CVD alongside D deficiency, things do make sense on generalisations: There can be significant societal stress posed by friends, family and expectations, and in regards to stereotypes, common jobs (even just perceived) of South Asians include running a newsagent or being a doctor – and these are quite heavy roles, not to say that others aren’t – and everyone has different stress tolerances. These are just some factors, it’s not a definitive thing. Anyway, I’m 28 in a few days, it’s best I enjoy that day instead of foaming over vit D!
30 Sep ’07 update: Today I’m 28! What’s that good to do with post? Nothing! :) Anyway, tomorrow I will get most of my blood results, my vitamin D might take a little longer, but if we assume that at 10nmol/L last year, treated with 400IU D2 rarely makes a dent on blood levels I’m probably still deficient. Bare in mind my brother is on 3000IU D2 to maintain about 50nmol/L so far. Today’s news is that simple changes to women’s lifestyles could prevent at least 1 in 10 cases of breast cancer. While an adoption of a better lifestyle is common sense and can impact your health overall, let’s assess this news: female HRT reduces cholesterol, but does it raise vitamin D in doing so? If not, this can explain why HRT is at least of no help to this area if not a hindrance. Secondly exercise can influence obesity, and with an acceptable body weight, UVB can ‘handshake’ the cholesterol within your skin more easily for vitamin D conversion. Also bare in mind that exercise may lead you outside more often which is further beneficial. As for drinking in moderation and breast feeding, well, we know that alcohol is bad for the liver which may interfere with cholesterol production and vitamin D processing, and milk…I’m not sure, but the function of the breast is to provide milk for the young and if this process is not being fulfilled, it may have negative impact on the breast. It could be one x factor on top of D deficiency. 01
Oct ’07 update: Good news! Or is it bad news…Good bad news, yeah, that sounds about right. First of all I haven’t got this year’s vitamin D level yet so hold on for about a fortnight, but assume that I’m less than 20nmol/L (that’s a fairly liberal estimate). Anyway, I found out my potassium was a bit low at 3.3 (recommended range 3.5 to 5.0) and as this isn’t so grave and I do eat a good amount of potassium anyway (just not enough eh?) it’s either trying a supplement or perhaps a banana regularly. I like bananas. Cholesterol. Oh yeah? Here’s the figures. Figures in square brackets indicate the optimal level on my GP’s computer. Serum cholesterol: 5.62 mmol/L [0.00-5.00] LDL “bad” cholesterol: 4.51 mmol/L [0.00-4.00] HDL “good” cholesterol: 1.11 mmol/L [more than 1.00] Triglycerides: 2.03 mmol/L [less than 1.7 if fasting, which I was] Serum cholesterol/HDL ratio: 5.06 [0.00-5.00] What this works out at is a somewhat mildly high cholesterol level (still in sync with the UK average cholesterol of 5.7) according to mainstream research. But note that serum cholesterol for the UK is actually now 4 mmol/L (GP PC needs update?), meaning 5 is so last year, darlings. My doctor recommended the usual about diet – gave me a nice BHF leaflet – and an invitation to perhaps try statins later on. Nice, but no thanks. Also, my diet is already fine. It can’t be modified much! My BMI is optimum too. If I’m about 20nmol/L in D (or so I say) then I’m 30 below minimal optimal which may explain why I’m just mildly high in total cholesterol. So what would happen if my D status rose?… Well, first I have to truly confirm that because pursuing the water of higher strength D, and even then I will have discussions with my brother’s endocrinologist. How ludicrous is it that in a lot of the above values 0.00 is normal when we know some cholesterol is good for you and indicates you’re alive? It’s most likely that we only have figures that indicate what you should be less than. But what should you be more than? Answers on a postcard please! Since the rest of my blood test appeared well (I was told my calcium was “good and high” verbally with a smile, and I don’t suffer symptoms associated with hypercalcemia), my theory retains it’s weight. I have mildly high cholesterol (albeit with a good wad of “baddie boogieman”) and know that I had low D last year and probably still do. 2 notable things uncovered in 2 years. Coincidence? Don’t think so. And my potassium is very likely unrelated or possibly only plays a small cameo role. Keep tuned because once I get my D level there will be a new blog! Bye for now.
04 Oct ’07 update: Need to bide some more time? Have a look at this UK geared article.
05 Oct ’07 update: Just a thought – if “bad” HDL cholesterol can be reduced a tad by weight loss and smoking can increase HDL, then does this mean that with the risk posed by excess weight, smoking and other poor lifestyle factors, the body makes more HDL for vitamin D conversion? i.e. more body mass/body damage = more vit D needed? This is why cholesterol can be seen as being a high risk factor in some groups. Cholesterol is the messenger – don’t shoot it! Here’s some preaching to the converted: “Since vitamin D precursors require cholesterol for conversion into the hormone-like vitamin, without adequate sun exposure vitamin D precursors can turn into cholesterol instead of the vitamin.” http://www.vitaminsinamerica.com/news/vitamin_d.htm 2. Vitamin D3 deficiency. Cholesterol is the raw material, which through the action of sunshine on the skin, is converted into vitamin D. If the body perceives a deficiency in D3 and this is almost universal in our sunless climate, then the liver pushes out more cholesterol so that when ultraviolet radiation does land upon the skin, there is plenty of substrate for vitamin D3 to be made. Vitamin D3 deficiency itself is a major risk factor for arterial disease. http://www.drmyhill.co.uk/article.cfm?id=363 Diabetes Research shows that supplementing infants and children with doses of 2000 IU per day of vitamin D and higher may protect against the development of type 1 diabetes. A study conducted in northern Finland (where the annual exposure to sunlight is very limited) found that infants given at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day (generally from cod liver oil) for the first year of life were significantly less likely to develop type 1 diabetes over a 30-year time course than infants who were fed lower amounts of vitamin D. Interestingly, the recommended daily amount of vitamin D in Finland was as high as 4,000 to 5,000 IU in the early 1960s. In 1964, it was reduced to 2,000 IU per day, in 1975 to 1,000 IU, and 400 IU in 1992. At the same time, incidence of type 1 diabetes has been on the rise in Finland, particularly throughout the 1980s. – http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-d-000340.htm One mid 90’s report from Finland speaks negatively of D3, stating that D3 increases LDL and shows no corellation with cholesterol. But what we don’t know is what dosages of D3 were tried, were they high enough? If not, then it’s obvious why the synthetic hormones ‘worked’ (cholesterol is also responsible for hormones, so sensing foreign hormones your body reduces cholesterol as it doesn’t need to make it itself). Interestingly, they don’t note if the placebo group faired similarly to the D3 group…in fact the placebo group is not mentioned after introduction. This might be just another ‘report’ to favour of a synthetic drug. So far, this has been the only report to challenge my idea but it is very weak. And just in case LDL isn’t decreased by D, it likely wouldn’t matter as long as your deficiency was addressed – meaning your body says “okay, you’re taking pills but if you ever want me to work with the sun, I’m ready!”
06 Oct ’07 update: Fresh news from Netdoctor that raised cholesterol levels in the brain could be a factor in Alzheimer’s. There are a number of articles that link vitamin D deficiency to Alzheimer’s. It’s interesting that leaves fall in Autumn/Winter, when heart attacks also happen. These are the seasons of death/clearance to make way for the new. But put your plants under a UVB lamp and take some D for yourself and you might be able to cheat death longer and die of something less horrible.
07 October ’07 update: In the drymhill.co.uk link a little up, hypothyroidism, B3 deficiency, copper deficiency and vanadium (and vit C) are discussed as other possible factors for high cholesterol. What sets most of these things apart (not hypothyroidism) from D is that they are either found in adequate doses in an average diet or they are self-regulated by the body. D’s main power supply is the sun. Why is this? Possibly, as said, natural population control come Winter – only the strongest survive. If D isn’t the only cause, I certainly believe it’s the most popular cause.
08 Oct’ 07 update: Guys and girls, you’ll have to wait a bit longer for my D report because I found out my results are coming by post from a hospital, not my GP. The issue is not that it’s coming by post, rather that there’s a Royal Mail strike going on. Bah. I’m quite certain my D is still insufficient/deficient, so the letter is just pausing me from the likely eventuality of trying higher dose. A nice hint of news is that I will be accompanying my brother to his annual endocrinologist appt. in mid November. Explaining my situation will help to ensure the steps I take are risk free. I know they are but I’d be happy to still get a doctor’s nod.
09 Oct ’07 update: I know this isn’t about vitamin C and cholesterol significance, but to entertain those who follow the Linus Pauling idea, vitamin C maybe a good natural clone for some aspects of D. Vitamin C plays a role in collagen production which among other things is a component of bones. By taking a certain dose of vitamin C you’re keeping your bones tightly bound from ‘falling apart’. In turn your cholesterol will withdraw a little because it’s not as hungry to create D to protect your bones. Again, by keeping calcium where it should be will keep it away from your arteries. However, unlike D, vitamin C is not hormone-like and neither is it manufactured in the body. Unlike most animals, apes, humans and guinea pigs ‘lost’ the ability to manufacture C. Did we ‘lose’ this ability because we evolved? Vitamin C isn’t dangerous and does have benefits (a few which mirror D, the most notable being a treatment for colds/flue), but is taking it like taking a second best drug that only covers some bases? We know we need D as we have the ability to make it, while C is a dietary concern. You also need to take in a lot of C regularly – more than the average diet contains – for a benefit to arise whereas D supplementation is designed to be equal to that from the sun.
11 Oct ’07 update: I got post today, but the letter which came was dated 18 September ’07 (another came that was dated 1 October, which is something) and wasn’t my D results. It was a letter from the House of Commons from my local MP Karen Buck, stating that my matter has been raised with the relevant Government Minister and that I’ll get another shortly. Maybe it’s already stuck in the jam? Regardless, I’ll be preparing a letter to the Medical Research Council tonight. This will likely be my final correspondence before seeking consultation and approval for high dose D and then assessing results. It’s a pain that things are slow at the moment.
12 Oct ’07 update: I sent a letter to the MRC today. I felt I should’ve written more but my full A4 piece seems succinct. I hope Royal Mail get a move on. Collecting my mum’s monthly prescriptions, I came across a middle aged, slim black man in the queue who was told his atorvastatin prescription was currently out of stock…Now if that’s not a culmination omen of what I’m raving on about, I don’t know what is. I think I’m coming down with the flue. For now, it’s best I obtain the verified power of vit C from oranges. ;)
15 Oct ’07 update: My flue is under control, thankfully. No useful post yet (our strike only recently added), but if you want to laugh, see how there is such a thing as bad good cholesterol. How can anyone take the cholesterol hypothesis seriously when it amounts to “my dog ate my homework Miss…no, I think it was my cat, no I think it has to be the cat and the mouse it was chasing.” Delving through old (1999) BBC News archives, I found ‘cholesterol drugs treat osteoporosis‘. This is not a new finding for me as I found earlier that those with lower bone densities have higher cholesterol, and more important than that is that heart disease is the thing most likely thing to affect/kill them. Now kids, what is vitamin D mostly associated with? “Calcium metabolism, sir.” And by keeping your calcium where it should be it’s not going to stray into your?… “Arteries! Yay!” Is it just co-incidence that men who usually have more bone mass are more likely to get a heart attack than osteoporosis? Is it co-incidence that women are more likely to succomb to breast cancer first? M’lord, I rest my case. But still I ramble.
18 Oct ’07 update: Many apologies to those of you who have been wondering about my vitamin D results. The letter I was waiting for finally came, but it was disappointing… Not the results. In fact it was the lack of results. The letter stated “I enclose a copy of the results”, but that copy doesn’t exist! At least not in my cc copy, the main copy was sent to my GP so maybe they have them. I’ll contact my GP tomorrow, but regardless I’m going to use a speedy communication route to contact the hospital in question to the missing results. Could you forgive me if I went conspiracy theorist? ;) This has to just be a genuine omission. But anyway, since post is back to normal and my blood was processed it’s only a matter of time before I have the data and the plan to act upon. Hopefully, everything will unravel by mid-late November. Please bare with me. Here’s an article on a new prostate drug: “…The result is elocalcitol, which is a vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol, VD3) analogue that exerts a three pronged attack on BPH. The idea is that it stops new prostate cells from growing, kills off some of the extra cells and also blocks the prostate inflammatory response.” (http://www.drugresearcher.com/news/ng.asp?n=80699-bioxell-roche-benign-prostatic -hyperplasia-bph-vitamin-d) Why an analogue, why not just D3 as is?…You know why by now. 23 Oct ’07
update: Hi…Remember me? Apologies again for no update. I was waiting on word from the hospital before I contacted my GP. Turns out they’ve got them, so hopefully if I can get through to my GP/nurse/reception tomorrow I’ll have my vit D results to post tomorrow or the day after (I say that because of other activities occupying me). But don’t be too joyous because even if I am still low, I then have to take my own initiative in buying high strength D3 online and then in about 2-3 months of taking them should my blood levels be affected. I’m not planning on stoss therapy (which is filling up my tank in one go) as I’m a little bit coward. I may even wait ’til mid November for additional possible advice. Regardless, if my levels are still low I’m going to open a new blog but will likely still keep this ever growing post (6750 words) going. What I can promise is that my I’m likely to be rolling on treatment before new year, and of course in between I’m going to assess new cholesterol and D news and share it with you. I’d also like to add that I’m no longer actively looking for info to disprove me. I’m fed up of that because I can’t find it. So tune out if you believe this biased direction isn’t what you want. I’m a vitamin D advocate / cholesterol skeptic, baby, yeah! 25
Oct ’07 update: The wait is over! I could tell you a little story about a hiccup in getting my results by a day, but that’s irrelevant now. Here’s the golden data: Vitamin D: 21nmol/L. So, after a year on 400IU D2 I pushed 10nmol/L by 11nmol/L. It’s possible some of that value is down to wearing a t-shirt (exposing arms) on some good Summer days, but that’s it. Even if D3 is better, at least D2 made some dent. What’s interesting here is that I’m a bit wary of taking 5000IU. But only because that seems to be 1000 or 1500IU more than I need. Maybe it’s a valid dose for a black person in colder climes, but then even the vit D council stress unless you know what you’re up to that a blood test is the only way to see how you’re measuring up. Is this exact form of vit D test the recommended one? I don’t know, but it probably is because the same test led to treatment that returned my brother’s health. Therefore, in my case, if 400IU added 11nmol/L, 8 x 400IU (3200IU) should give me 98nmol/L (88nmol/L additional to my 10nmol/L starting point), which is beneath the upper level of 120nmol/L and over the sufficiency needs of 50nmol/L. Infact add another 400IU and I could reach 109nmol/L via 3600IU. So for me one 2k and one 1k capsule is fine on top of the 400IU in a multivitamin. Even with 4000IU (10x 400IU – but beware of vit A overdose in combi capsules) I would reach the dead max +1 of 120nmol/L. This matches the vit D council’s cautious recommendation of 4,000IU. And maybe apt for the Winter as I got my blood test in a still sunny September (and my first D test was in September too). The extra 1000IU in 5000IU may not be harmful but I personally would like to remain under 120. Anyway, I’m not rushing to buy pills just yet. I’m going to wait ’til mid November for some advice before the plunge. But what I can be sure of is that I’m still insufficient if no longer deficient. And oh yeah, my blood calcium is slightly high at 2.59mmol/L (2.15-2.55 is normal range). Everything about me seems to be slightly, so at least there’s some sort of pattern. My parathyroid hormone and testosterone are within range. This is good because my bones aren’t being leeched dry and my testosterone is being made (ruling out low testosterone as a cholesterol raising factor). My brother is on 2628IU D2 (+ calcium though) and reached 48nmol/L. I wonder would 32-3600IU be a valid next step for him too? Regardless, I’m happy as every thing’s still making sense. And a new blog will open once I have something else to say on this matter. Have a good weekend. ;) Thank you for tuning in.
29 Oct’ 07 update: As you’d expect, updates on this post are going to slow down until mid November. In researching online, I seem to have bumped into some of Ed Hutchinson’s (he commented here) footsteps and he’s found claims that 400IU raises D levels from 7-12nmol/L, and I reached 11 (was 10 last year). Yet 9 is the average level and it seems getting to 11 was because my body willingly absorbed so much of it, regardless of it being D2. So if I were to take 5000IU I would reach about 118nmol/L, and have a weighty version if D3 is used. I’d reach about 100 with 4000IU worth. Interesting. I see Holland and Barrett (UK) have a sale on ’til 8 Nov which includes D3 at 400 and 1000IU. The former I’d advise to everyone before a blood test as you’re understandably wary of higher dosage, while the latter multiplied by 3 or 4 capsules is best for those who know their level and how they can treat it. Or maybe I’ll be bold with 5k at a link further up?…Agh, I’ll decide in a few weeks.
30 Oct ’07 update: Ever heard of the Marshall Protocol? A lengthy, well written article asserts that vitamin D is the cause of our problems, not the cure for it. Despite explaining very interesting and plausible information about L-form bacteria (if you haven’t the patience to read, it asserts that D and L-forms clog/turn off D receptors and it’s the bacteria that must be killed [via MP] and all that D does is keep these bacteria slowed down within your system ’til they accumulate), I see holes in her argument. First off, it’s erroneous to compare female HRT with D. The former is an unnatural treatment for a natural state in older women, the latter is a natural treatment for an unnatural state in most persons. And since there are no effective MP approved antibiotics that can clearly help in associated diseases, if D is merely immunosuppressive (and let me paint it in the context that immunosuppressive is not comparative to immunodeficiency, rather that with the artillery of D the immune system can be calmer) and only halts the effects of illness as long as possible, surely that’s something? Regardless of when L-forms takeover, if you can treat things like diabetes/cancer now, then that’s great isn’t it? It is highly possible that treatment is simply negating the effects of certain bacteria rather than outright killing it (indicating immune overdrive in some cases). If anything the MP rule of being anti-D is unreasonable and unworkable because we naturally get it and are meant to. We all have some D (most anyway) that is acquired from some foods and some sun exposure but due to reasons I’ve banged on about we don’t get enough. Dr. Michael Holick is accused of having ties to the Tanning Association and this is mentioned in the article as bias. What’s not mentioned is the likelihood that as renegade, not toeing the party line he needed the financial support of a product that advocates his interest (not him advocating theirs first) so he can do his investigations and create reports. And yet the above person is just the same because of her conviction in MP. I am glad MP is working for her but her argument had parts that made me shake my head and say “yeah but”. I’m glad for the information of L-form bacteria but the effects of D outnumber any reports of MP benefits. Of course it’d be hypocritical to blast the mainstream and the another fringe thought, but the fringe thought has to be powerful to sway me from the one I’ve clung to. Besides I’d rather trust a real doctor than either a drug company statement or that of a non medical Dr., i.e. Trevor Marshall.
01 Nov ’07 update: 19 days ’til my brother (and I) see his endocrinologist and not too long after that ’til Xmas and New Year. Where has the time gone? A comment I made on Amy Proal’s blog has not yet passed moderation, despite her having made another blog entry recently. This is either because she feels no more comments are warranted on an old post or she’s not welcoming of another of a few comments that have pointed out inaccuracies. I am not alone in feeling no weight on the MP argument and will not entertain that any longer (for a start molecular modelling can give ‘correct’ data from even slightly ‘incorrect’ models), and for a start that treatment is more aimed at illnesses I’m not even talking about. Still, I must be truthful. A study has shown no connection between D and cancer deaths. It’s important to note that a number of studies already have shown a link exists, but even so it’s no blow to suggest it’s not. We do not fully understand the nature of cancer and the ways they can arise and the affects on certain sites, so it’s highly possible that D may be one component of cancer prevention, so D might still be important in accordance with other factors. And D is still crucial for much much more. Also bare in mind that what’s proven to work once can be disproven another time. Such is science. Such are variables. Recent news has suggested high dose D may cause brain lesions in the elderly. However even the researchers have advised that a large range study is need before saying “yes, this is case.” Basically, keep taking your pills. Unless you’ve have a blood test, stick to over-the-counter 400IU, otherwise don’t doubt your personal prescription. Anyway this is my last update for at least 3 weeks. Follow your head, and no one else’s. 20
Nov ’07 update: Hi. Remember me? You may have seen me in such supermarkets as Tesco & Sainsburys… Today was my brother’s endocrinology appointment. And let me get to the point…It was disappointing. Not because everything I’ve been raving about in this blog was dealt a blow, but because we didn’t have the opportunity to deliver my case to the ring (we were met with a registrar rather than the usual receptive Dr.). I had memorised clearly everything I wanted to say, and began after the standard check up talk to discuss D2 vs D3. The doctor didn’t seem to acknowledge my question. When we learnt that my brother was then going to be taken off high strength D2 due to believing (prior to pending blood results) it did did the trick in upping his levels (for good?!), that further disabled my plan for talking about physiological levels in the thousands, for life. And as D3. At least they’ll keep him on low dose D2 + calcium to maintain him at the minimal level needed to be merely ‘okay’. The next unknocked domino was talking about cholesterol…and then other related things. At this point, my mind waved a white flag. Fortunately, 1.5yrs is too short since his seizures and leg weakness to remove him from monitoring, so he goes back again in May. I suspect they’ll put him back on high dose D2 (again!) 6 months after another blood test when they see his levels plummet. But to change the roller coaster track, we’ll be writing a letter to the said doctor. We’ve written to him once before about something trivial and received a reply quick enough, so it seems a fruitful option. Even if the doctor swipes my idea, I’ll at least know why and assess it before I go on 4000IU D3 for at least 90 days, and then get a D and cholesterol blood test again. I plan to write and post a concise letter within the week, but this will add a few weeks delay to my high dose D3 order plans. However, I still remain with the promise that if I do decide do it (very likely will!) it will be before year end, and the first quarter of next year is when the data is made (I’m not modifying my fine diet and I walk an hour a day and have a perfect BMI) and the truth is out to share. Until then, I’ll be back on the case on reporting new findings. This post is getting a good amount of reads a day and no one has written to me disputing this, so I’m solaced in silent support for what I believe, as a mere non-Dr., is the solution to something erroneous within the medical world. Thank you. Stay tuned.
06 Dec ’07 update: The year’s coming to an end and I’m shortly expecting a green light-go letter, or a red light but still go letter! Today’s update is not yet announcing a new blog, just to say that your trusty bottle of tomato ketchup could save your life. A 1999 article has shown that L. esculentum (the tomato to you and me) has 25-OHD3 (vitamin D3), even it’s leaves. The reason why your squidgy bottle or soup maybe helpful with your cholesterol is due to the amount of tomato content; there’s almost certainly more than one tomato pulverised. Also, bare in mind that we’re again talking about D3, which is more affective than your common low dose D2 supplement. I don’t know how much D3 there is in a serving of soup or squidge of ketchup, but the next time someone tells you to watch your cholesterol because of fatty chips, say “it’s okay, I’m on medication. Ketchup!”
07 Dec ’07 update: Margarine isn’t good for you. Those of you who have looked into the butter vs. marge debate will have been pleasantly surprised to see more favour for the reliable slab of butter. There are certain types of margarine that have plant sterols added to them in order to reduce bad LDL cholesterol, but while reduction/conversion of cholesterol is a good thing, there seems little point in taking it with a substance that on it’s own does the opposite. I’m hoping to get my letter before Xmas. It would be a good Xmas present. It would also signal me to give this topic it’s own blog as I’ve just reached over 9000 words for this post, making it an unmanageable read except for those really interested.
13 Dec ’07 update: Been fishing through Google News and found some interesting stuff; not entirely new to my post, but adding weight to it: “Epilepsy: Half of all victims are deficient in vitamin D”. My brother likely would’ve been diagnosed as an epileptic had he not been perversely fortunate to have accompanying general muscle weakness which allowed doctors to do further tests. Epilepsy is one of a few illnesses treated by medicines called calcium channel blockers… I’m not medically trained, but CCBs do what they say as per the name: they block calcium at the point designated. Another probable way of achieving the effect of a CCB is likely not to block calcium, but use vitamin D to prevent it straying where needed. This is why CCB’s are likely to contribute to other calcium/D deficiency problems because they don’t really address the overall problem, they just block calcium at the place that responds negatively to certain amounts. “People taking cholesterol-lowering drugs after a stroke are at greater risk of suffering a brain haemorrhage, according to new research.” My view on this is that although statins have data to show they work (but not universally) and there is evidence (earlier in this post) to suggest certain statins increase D and have a number of other curing/defensive effects (allegedly), we don’t know how much D is raised by. Furthermore, as per the goal of this post, if your body needs cholesterol to make D – your free anti-inflammatory – then high cholesterol is demand trying to reach for supply from UVB. If you kill the demand, there’s no one to receive the supply. Meaning the only chance of saviour from statins are the unknown, probably small amount of D they raise and whatever other actions they do that are supposed to prevent heart problems. Still, no letter from doc yet. Be patient. Although, I have been taking 2400IU (2000IU D3 and 400IU D2 [just as I still have the capsule bottle, don’t want to bin it full] for the past 2 weeks and I must say, hopefully not a placebo effect, but my Wednesday physical activities have seen me feel less exhausted by evening. It could just be tricking myself, but tiredness is usually hard to trick yourself about.
14 Dec ’07 update: “”You should put this drug [statin] in the drinking water,” said Dr. David Nash of Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson Medical College.” So, if they can’t sell it without prescription, a thought (even if jokey) is entertained to force it on everyone. Nice..
18 Dec ’07 update: I got an interesting comment from Jan yesterday which ponders about vitamin K. This isn’t something I’ve looked at before, but it’s certainly no harm to make it part of your vitamin regime if you don’t feel you’re getting it in your diet. I eat K containing foods fairly regularly so I’m uncertain if this is something I should personally address, but it’s noteworthy to others. Going back to D, this is on BBC News’ site today. A lot of D advocates know about this already, so it’s not really news, but it’s still good to see it well addressed. K seems to be a dietary concern, whereas D is solar concern. It’s fairly easy to change your diet, but in terms of supplementation or solar exposure, people need to be swayed more so.
19 Dec ’07 update: No letter yet…It’s due, but it could be caught up in the Xmas close down. It has to come, as results have to come. Is it wrong to rave about the same things over and over…Oh well, who cares. Firstly, skin colour has been linked to vitamin D deficiency (wow, really?) And now, there’s a 2 week cholesterol busting alternative to statins…Read the comments on the same link and you’ll find I’m not alone in tiring of the cholesterol myth.
Xmas Eve update: Belated Eid Mubarak and Happy Christmas/New Year to you all. How much all of you there is, I don’t know, but I know reader numbers have dropped a bit. Regardless of any letter I will be trying trying 4k of vitamin D3 from sometime in January, guaranteed. And then in between it’s merely reporting any possible health benefits I notice and whether it affects my cholesterol after 3-6 months. ’til then, this has to be the best online Xmas present.
03 Jan ’08 update: Hi, what can I say? No letter but I’m ordering high dose before the weekend. Today’s news is apparently that D2 is as effective as D3. This is interesting because a lot of sources advocate D3 over D2, and with D3 being what we naturally make and cheaper, it’s a no brainer option away from the patented D2. But I believe this could be right as 400IU D2 did raise me by 10nmol/L, and with a certain high dose my brother was able to achieve 49nmol/L. Of course these aren’t optimal levels, but it shows it works. I would still recommend D3 though, but if you can’t there’s no need for a wrist slap when going for D2.
Addendum (thanks to Ted Hutchinson): It’s likely that Hollick’s virtual thumbs up for D2 is so that the medical community endorses at least this money raking type of D2 than none at all. D2 is better than nothing but D3 is better than both! If D2 is more widely used it may domino on to understanding that D3 works better. Vitamin D articles on Dr Davis’ blog also frequently point out the shortcomings of D2 in that while it can look good on reports it doesn’t particularly benefit you much at all. I’ve now reached over 10,000 words on this blog so with me preparing for higher dosage (above 2400IU for the past 2 months), it’s high time I open a new blog for when I write next. And I promise that now.
05 Jan ’08: Last update. Alright, this is the penultimate post here, the next will be a link to a new long. I ordered my poison of choice (hehe!)…and I think the order’s going to go smoothly. I bought a 250 bottle of 5,000IU from Bio Tech. And my aim is to reach 98nmol/L within 3 months. Why 99nmol/L when up to 130nmol/L is allowable? I’m playing ball, kids. UK guidelines suggest 100/120nmol/L to be the safer upper level. Since my aim is to work with doctors I want to show some flexibility by being 1-21nmol/L under. My calculations are based on pure own fact. 400IU D2 raised me by 11nmol/L. So let’s say I continue with the 400IU D2 per day (2800IU a week) and add 5000IU D3 four times a week, at near alternate days (20000IU a week), I’ll be taking 2280o per week. That averages 3257IU per day (857IU more than the 2400IU I’ve taken for 8 weeks), and is roughly 8x 400IU pills. So at 11nmol/L x 8, I get 88, and if I add my last year no supplement score of 10, I get 98. Of course this as rough estimate and I may be a bit more or less, but this is the area I’ll be around. I’m quite aware I don’t get much from the sun. When I get my cholesterol re-measured, I’ll see if anything has changed in relation. Only after I’m done with this will I look at reaching 120/130nmol/L. I’m just happy I’m likely sufficient enough now and going for near optimal. But the story’s only begun…
17 Jan ’08 Really last update: Okay, I’m not meant to be posting here but it’s still about a week wait before I get my D. Just as well I ordered as no letter has come. I have 3 things to present. The first is that calcium pills raise heart risk. This article shows that the problem is likely due to having less vitamin D to metabolise it, resulting in calcium straying to the arteries. “…the New Zealand team did not report serum vitamin-D levels, except to say they excluded those with very severe vitamin-D deficiency, she notes. “While I still believe vitamin D is important and beneficial for cardiovascular health, supplementation with calcium alone (without vitamin D) may not be beneficial for CV (cardiovascular) health.” Secondly, black women get cancer significantly earlier than white counterparts. You would be a fool to think there are major differences beneath the skin. On a coroner’s table we’re all the same meat and bone. But if vitamin D is the key factor, it can explain why blacks are more susceptible, and particularly older women in this case because of reduced D synthesis than younger people. The article also states that the tumours in these black women are also likely to be more aggressive. Also, note that it’s said that white women get cancer more often. If this is Britain specific, this can only be attributed to the fact that whites are the largest community. Lastly, cholesterol scepticism is growing more and daily as seen in this NY Times report. I sincerely hope that my vitamin D arrives next week, and that will be the marker for a new blog next weekend.
End 22/01/08: I received my vitamin D3 5000IU yesterday (I’m going to be taking 5 a week to reach about 90-100nmol/L to be sufficiently okay but within NHS guides, just to be seen as playing ball (for now) and took a pill this morning. I feel fine, no need to ring for an ambulance. No hospital letter. Oh well. Now, this post is over but due to it’s established popularity I will add major findings in my self investigation, but that’s it. And even that will be sometime in April to allow a 90 day rise in my level. I’m going to open a new blog today today but I’m not going to link to it right now as I want it to find an audience by itself first, so if you’d really like to know the URL please email me. Otherwise, ’til then. Thank you to everyone for reading and making this post register high in search engines. Your work will mean other people can come and view this as well as my new blog. And please, please, please, don’t be lured by anybody who waves the anti-D flag. Mo
08 Feb ’08 update: Okay, so I have an inability to let this post go! :) I haven’t really started a new blog yet, but there are 2 things I’d like to share. The first is that the Immortality Institute had (or has) an interesting debate on D and the Trevor Marshall theory that it’s bad for us. I’ve taken part in this and wasn’t convinced by any presented arguments by 2 anti-D advocates, who clearly presented statements that were either incorrect or speculative. The other thing is that the (UK) Health Research Forum has a number of downloadable reports on sunshine and vitamin D. To my knowledge this is the first British, and perhaps generally European site, to address this issue from a local perspective, albeit in referencing the scientists who’ve made a dent in the US and Canada. I’ve been on 5000IU (5 a week) for coming up to 3 weeks and I don’t really feel anything more than how I felt on 2400IU a day. But then most benefits are known to be silent. It’s the fact it’s stopping things from happening that you can’t thank, but then according to the heart link I should see if makes any personal effect on cholesterol readings, at least in raising HDL and cutting trigylcerdies, which are most important. So all I can confirm for now is that taking a dosage 10/12x higher than your pharmacy gives won’t see you wake up in A&E soon!
12 Feb ’08 update: I’ve created a mailing list that you might like to subscribe to. No spam I promise you, and it’s unlikely I’ll bombard you – unless I have lots to say, in which case you could just unsubscribe.
Click here to subscribe to the mailing list (discontinued)
10 March ’08 update: Apologies I’ve not posted anything to the mailing list yet, but I fully intend to use it at some point. The first reason I’m posting is to pass on something from Dr. John Cannell MD of the Vitamin D Council. A recent newsletter from their camp has pointed out, amongst other things, a very interesting article on D. It has amassed plenty of comments and it could always do with some more! It may award the author a prize. Please read and comment. Tomorrow I’ll have been on approx. 3571IU D3 per day for 8 weeks. At this stage all I can say is that there’s nothing really significant to report. I don’t feel any noticeable detriment or improvement, but then 8 weeks is still a small window and as far as I know there’s not really anything ‘fixable’ to notice. So, for now all I can say is that doses above 2000IU are safe.
14 April ’08 update: Well, I’ve roughly achieved 12 weeks on D and haven’t visited A&E once, so I hope to arrange relevant tests soon but they won’t be on the dot. By fortune, I’ve found vitamin D testing can now be done at home for $129 (approx. £66), but I want more than just D tested, as well as saving money. How do I feel? I did catch the cold/flue some weeks back but it only lasted a few days, and funnily only activated on a day where I didn’t take D. Then again I’ve only just (probably) reached the optimal rung. Rest assured I haven’t abandoned this investigation, but for the time being updates and mailings will be sporadic.
21 May ’08 update: It’s been a while, but I still haven’t had my bloods done – but it’s happening soon. In the interim, I received verbal response to a letter written to a doctor a number of months back which resulted in favouring D3 as my brother’s treatment and entertaining my thoughts as interesting.
My brother had his blood taken today and I’m assuming at 1200IU he’ll be low-sufficient again. If right, this correctly assumes, at least in his case, that a few thousand IU is correct and safe long term treatment. Even this doctor conceded vitamin D toxicity is very hard to achieve. And my brother has been high and low in D according to dose in a clear pattern. The idea that a few months of stoss followed by permant 1kIU maintenance doesn’t seem to be correct.
The great thing is I seem to be just observing the change I wanted to see, albeit slowly. I’m swinging fists that have already been thrown. But best to follow up those right hooks eh? I may do a little bit on the mailing list about this soon.
13 June ’08 update: I know, I know – I’ve been lax. My only excuse for this is laziness and in feeling I’ve not really anything to prove. However, I will guarantee my blood readings before the year ends; this is my goal for the year. Not hard, but there you go.
However, I can report the results of my brother’s D test were as thought – a dip *down* to 32nmol/L from taking the lowered dose of 1200IU D2 per day (the belief was after 6mths of megadose, 1kIU can somehow sustain you…). Now, I’ve conversed with this Dr. and easily got him to prescribe D3 not D2. But what’s even better is that the total IU the Dr. wants to put him on to be roughly optimal is 3300IU (a mere 700IU off Vit D council recommendations), so it’s correctly assumed that 4000 is the magic number – from ALL sources.
In my brother’s case he’ll be in the ball park of 100nmol/L. He could safely take up to 5000IU to get to the peak final recommended level. His calcium remains fine and has been for some time now.
As for cholesterol and other gubbins? Well, that’s my mission. Keep groaning for now. :)
30 June ’08 update: Not an investigation exclusive sentence here. But just thought you should sign this petition (Europeans specifically) online now. Let me write out the flyer burb, verbatim:
“In accordance with the provisions of The Food Supplements Directive 2002/46/EC, the EUROPEAN UNION are now working to set maximum permitted levels for VITAMINS AND MINERALS in general food supplements and sports nutrition products….CITIZENS ACROSS EUROPE HAVE BEEN USING VITAMIN AND MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS IN HIGHER BENEFICIAL DOSES FOR ALMOST 50 YEARS – WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO DO SO!…You can secure the future for all EU citizens to have easy access to vitamin and mineral supplements at safe and beneficial dose levels. To do so we must all act now and gather a substantial number of PETITION signatures – otherwise, the EU could set these levels much lower than those currently available cross many Member States…Save Our Supplements Before It’s Too Late.”
This has an impact of vitamin D of course. Because even if latest scientific data becomes more mainstream, what could then impair you to sufficient treatment is having access to appropriate cheap doses without relying on imports (as I do). The average consumer will walk into a health shop, see 400IU D2 (perhaps coupled with vit A to prevent multi dosing) and think it’s fine. I want the uninformed customer to feel that way about at least 2-4000IU D3 with no vitamin A. Please sign it; takes seconds.
08 July ’08 update: I pondered whether to put this update on my mailing list, but it doesn’t seem that critical so I may include it in a later one.
Today I’m essentially astonished because in trying to add effective strength D3 to my brother’s prescription list at the GP – on the word of his hospital doctor – we found out that it’s classed as an ‘unlicensed medicine‘ which we can only get through the hospital pharmacy (bit of a journey from here) or need to arrange for a licensed alternative (presumably D2) with the hospital doctor. I’m sure we’ll sort this out quickly but it just goes to show that despite the good intentions of the doctor and GP, NHS guidelines treat high strength D3 as something foreign and scary…Yet they’ll roll out statins like there’s no tomorrow.
22 September ’08: I apologise to everyone for such a lengthy update gap. I deserve the decreased hits I’m getting. However news on vitamin D is not letting up.
Tomorrow I’m having my bloods taken (for at least D, but hopefully cholesterol, PTH and calcium), so after that there will be more wait of about 2 months – I’m not a private patient after all. But the results will prove once and for all if vitamin D treatment is the key, to at least personally, avoiding the time bomb that affects most of my family.
There is data (i.e. Dr. William Davis) that proves this within a regime, but I need to know personally. And then my aim will simply be trying to form and help make change in whatever capacity I can.
06 October ’08 update: I bring you news. Earlier than expected.
1yr of 5000IU D3 has raised my 25D level from 21nmol/L (10nmol/L before I was on 400IU D2 for a year) to 76nmol/L (approx. 30ng/ml). This is a slight shock as I calculated I would enter the 100s. This however does prove reports that dose response is variable and I’m responding pretty good but I’m going to be trying 10,000IU for at least 3 months now which will be more or less matching max. daily UVB exposure and I’ve seen reports of other people trying this dose but no more. I do believe 10k will get me optimal.
My PTH has gone down from 4.1 to 3.7 which is good news for my bones. However, my cholesterol was read *unfasted* unlike last time. Despite this my total serum cholesterol (I unfortunately received no report of ratio, HDL, LDL and triglycerides so a sharp appt. with my GP for such indepthness is due) has gone down from 5.61 to 5.4 – bare in mind the latter reading is unfasted so I probably am significantly lower. I’m unsure this is a statistically significant drop as is, but the thing is my level didn’t remain stagnant or rise and I believe cholesterol levels can remain the same for many years when nothing’s ‘done’ about it.
So while I haven’t found the ‘woah’, there’s nothing to indicate my idea is wrong. I need to get into the optimal range to see a further drop in PTH and perhaps more noteworthy associations with my cholesterol. I’ve no indication on particle sizes. For all I know I might be doing very well with no small particle LDL and an improved HDL with reduced triglycerides.
Stay with me though. I didn’t plan on this post running for 2yrs. It certainly won’t be running for 3. It will end this year.
27 January 2009 update: Happy New Year!
I’ve noticed this post has maintained a steady trickle of daily hits. I can only apologise (as I have done repeatedly, so you probably don’t give my update promises much credence) for not finalising the conclusion – yet.
Realistically I’ll get ’round to it soon enough. Though as I’ve said recently there is a lot of evidence for me to not really bother (but I will, of course).
I will share one piece of good news though: Blackburn will be getting free vitamin D supplements to curb rickets (which is apparently more prevalent among South Asian children).
How much will they be getting? Most likely the insignificant RDA (400IU, and D2 at that), but a start is a start.
06 February 2009 update: First of all, sorry for not maintaining the mailing list. I don’t plan to close it but I haven’t used it as often as I should.
I just wanted to share a couple of things –
First, I was pleasantly surprised to find local British news covering a story on the link between vitamin D deficiency and multiple sclerosis. Granted it wasn’t too in depth, but in the few years I’ve had an interest in this subject I have never seen vitamin D mentioned on TV, so that I commend.
I’d like to thank Jan Dujardin (I hope it’s okay to mention your name if you see this) for providing links (1, 2) that dispute the common theory that a ‘by chance gene mutation’ caused the development of paler (and often inferred as directly white in one step) skin in early Africans who then went looking for colder climes. So it’s rather that descendants of pre-modern migrants developed their colour and became locally ‘indigenous’, which seems far more logical.
This proves that perhaps the only reason for skin colour is adaptive UV filtration for D control which has been disordered by migration via high speed transport. But of course universal vitamin D deficiency’s other core factor is indoor living and clothing.
Compared to just two years ago, vitamin D is finally getting a lot more visible mainstream press outside of digging around PubMed. Things are getting interesting.
30 March 2009: I’ve been on hiatus from this topic for a while but I haven’t left it. I plan to get my D and cholesterol tested around about the end of Summer. I apologise if this is disappointing for some. But please understand there is a wealth of evidence to support the topic hypothesis which makes my little investigation only icing on the cake. And as I reported previously my last total cholesterol (not that this alone means much) had dropped after D even though the latter measurement wasn’t even on fasting compared to the former.
Here’s 2 new links for you about blood clotting, vitamin D and statins:
I am also now on Twitter which I plan to part utilise as quick linkage to articles of worthiness.
26 July 2009 update: It has been a few months since I’ve added to this blog. Congratulations and thanks to long-time followers for following this thread.
This update isn’t to report about myself but share some interesting bits of news.
The first one relates to this link in which calcium *alone* is found to cause 64% more fractures. Traditonally in the combined treatment of vitamin D + calcium, calcium is seen as the important part and given in a higher dose. Though this is one study about it, it may help to shift the perception of what is more crucial.
Another article talks about the potential harm of swine flue vaccination and suggests, as does the vitamin D council, that your bottle of sunshine pills may be as affective and safer. May I also point out, I’ve not had the flue in 2 years.
I believe H1N1 is slightly overhyped, but it is a strain of flue in general, and for some people any type of flue is bad.
The last thing I want to add is pure conjecture.
I was reading an article about a film where an apparent ‘genetic quirk’ gave white Afrikaner parents a black girl.
Here in England, and perhaps in Europe I’ve seen at least a dozen cases of black and white parents giving birth to children who look white and not at all half cast (the footballer Ryan Giggs for example whose father is black, but his only visible black feature is his generic black hair colour). So, is it possible that this genetic quirk is environment dependent?
I would like to hear (discounting albinism) if there are cases of white parents having black children in colder climes and black parents having paler children in hotter climes. I think these are perhaps not possible, but it would zip my mouth if so.
As I said before however, this is nothing to do with superiority, rather than natural adaption as would have been achieved prior to high speed transport.
20 August 2009 update: Next week I *and* my brother are having our cholesterol measured. Earlier than I expected just out of local GP routines. Vitamin D will come later next month, but I hope to report my cholesterol (in detail) within a fortnight.
There isn’t a lot that’s fresh in vitamin D news, but the information is being rolled out which is good enough.
I’m also hoping to finally start a dedicated blog on vitamin D. Any suggestions for a blog name appreciated (e.g. something fresh unlike ‘seeing the light’ etc.).
09 September 2009 update: I’ve given this update its own entire post. Read it here. A cause for celebration or premature? You decide.
19 November 2009 update: In the previous update’s link I’ve finally concluded everything, so this post and that one will no longer be updated. I’m now in the mental planning stages of starting a dedicated blog on the topic which aims to bring digestible clarity to what I’ve written here as well as engaging in promotion which I think is the most important thing now given my own experiences of vitamin D and what’s appeared in a wealth of vitamin D studies. Thank you for following.
I shall make the dedicated blog link available in due course here, on the sequel to this post, the mailing list (which will close soon after, so you’ll have to subscribe to an RSS feed on the new blog – it’s easier to manage for me) or by personal email to the few who I converse with.
This post was more for myself. The blog will be of universal appeal and I’ll be encouraging contributions and discussion.
13 December 2009 update: Until such a time where I do create a dedicated blog, there is now a vitamin D forum.
09 October 2010 update: I know, it’s been a *very* long time. But I’ve been (and am) busy working on a vitamin D book which I almost certainly aim to finish by year end, or the early months of 2011.
Anyway, I got this year’s results (though my vitamin D is still pending). Bear in mind that I’ve taken 3000IU *less* this year, and also added 90mcg daily of K2 in order to reduce my slightly high blood calcium of last year (2.7)
Calcium: 2.47mmol/L (which is now in perfect range between 2.15 and 2.55 for the first time before and after high dose supplements, and I think this must be thanks to adding just 90mcg of K2 to my regimen).
PTH: (last measured in 2008 at 3.7pmol/L [range 1.6-6.9] 0n 5000IU of D3) is now 2.3. (7000IU of D3) An expected good reduction.
Cholesterol (an unfasted test – last year’s was fasted; if that does make a difference, though probably not) has shot up, **as expected.** Though a little more than expected. Remember, I was taking 10,000IU last year and 7000IU this year.
Total: 6.1 (4.95mmol/L in 2009)
Triglycerides: 3.1 (1.34mmol/L in 2009)
HDL: 1.2 (1.27mmol/L in 2009) [remember higher is better here]
LDL: 3.5 (3.0mmol/L in 2009)
Ratio: 5.1 (3.90 in 2009)
I will add in my vitamin D level as soon as I get it (might be a few weeks), though I predict it to be around 100nmol/L.
Next year I aim to take 12500IU (the maximum I will ever take) and see what that does for the 5th and possibly last blood tests to share in this experiment. So far though, for four years I’m getting the results I predicted.
28 October 2010: An unexpected result. My vitamin D is 147nmol/L this year. That’s 6nmol/L *more* than last year despite taking 3000IU less. I’m figuring that this is because my body is no longer ‘ultra-thirsty’ for it, and so I can take 7000IU as maintenance, and perhaps even lower in future.
What this shows is, that this year my (unfasted) cholesterol is less favourable than my (fasted) cholesterol last year while on a similar level of D. Does fasting make a difference still? I’ve heard it doesn’t, but triglycerides may still be affected and it was that alone that was the only significant contributor to my unfavourable profile; otherwise the changes would’ve been not that dramatic.
Am I disappointed? Not really. Next year I’m taking 12500IU and definitely getting a fasted cholesterol test. This final one will prove – to myself at least – if there is a simplistic connection between D levels and cholesterol. And regardless of triglycerides again, my other measurements still remain a vast improvement compared to when I was 10nmol/L four years ago. It is quite possible that even if I get closer to 170nmol/L next year, there are limits to how much my profile can change, limits that are entirely natural to my body. Let’s also not forget that Lipitor raises vitamin D levels and this may not be simply the secondary benefit.
30 October 2011: This really is my very last update to this post as maintaining it for a span of 4yrs is quite enough, even though it continues to attract many hits daily.
Last week I had my blood tested again and all I will say is that I got the results I was hoping for. I hope it is not rude to ask interested people to signup for updates at prescsun.com as I plan to share this result as part of a book I’m finishing off, scheduled for release in 2012. The book will include a drastically rewritten and expanded version of this post, amongst other content that you are unlikely to find in any current vitamin D book. It will not cost very much. Thank you for reading.