Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Vitamin D and Melatonin from Sunshine: Stop the Epidemic of Skeletal and Sleep Disorders

I don't need to do research to know that I'm living in the middle of an epidemic of skeletal problems and sleep disorders among the over 50 crowd. Every gathering brings news from people I know about scheduling surgery to fix some kind of joint or skeletal problem and other people complaining about how they don't sleep well anymore. The unspoken assumption is that these problems can not be prevented or reversed. Medical pills and procedures are the only options. The major culprit is age - human beings weren't meant to live past 50. These statements are hypothesis, not natural law. If you asked me, I'd say many of our ancestors lived tough lives and put lots more stress on their skeletons in 30 years than we ever would today even in 300 years. For a long time, my hypothesis has been that something has changed about the environment we live in today that is responsible for these problems. Now I have an idea about what it might be. Sunshine has profound effects on our metabolism. I've recently been studying melatonin and vitamin D3, two hormones regulated by exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin by UVB radiation from the sun. The amplitude of the "melatonin wave" that underlies the circadian rhythm - the chemical signal that orchestrates the transition from awake to asleep to back awake again - varies depending on the difference in intensity between the brightest light we see during the daytime and the darkness of night time. Sunlight is also known to alleviate/eliminate allergies, to cause special cells in the skin to produce the alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (so sunshine has been proven by science to cause the produce of at least three hormones!), to cause the production of a couple of neuropeptides, and to cause the release of endorphins. So while you're in the sun getting vitamin D, you'll also be producing a variety of other regulatory chemicals essential for optimal health. I'm continuing to look for other hormones influenced by sunshine, and other effects of sun exposure, and I'm expecting to find some. What I like about this idea is that it is way outside the mainstream. I don't know anyone, who knows anyone, who is really worried that she/he is spending too much time indoors. In fact, just the opposite. I see more and more people avoiding the sun and more and more people wearing shaded glasses or glasses that automatically tint when you walk out into the bright light. Based on what I've read and how I feel, I'm going the other way. I'm spending more and more time outside (still, however, just a small fraction of the day) and intentionally staring into the bright sky to get a really strong signal into my pineal gland during the small fraction of the day that I can spend outside. Vitamin D and melatonin are powerful hormones. By largely moving indoors thanks to office work, the internet, the ipad, legitimate fear of skin cancer, and air conditioning, we are, like it or not, changing the amounts of vitamin D and melatonin that we produce. Vitamin D and melatonin both play central roles regulating sleep, and healthy sleep is needed for optimal healing (see you tube videos by sleep specialist gominak). If you've got a problem with your teeth or your joints, you've got much to gain and little to lose by spending more time outside in the sun during the middle of the day.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Prevent Sleep Disorders with Sunshine: A Few Words about the Pineal Gland

Your body oscillates between an awake state and a sleeping state. The oscillation coincides with day and night. Oscillations of this type are also known as circadian rhythms.

The pineal gland is a light sensitive gland in the brain. The most important hormone secreted by the pineal gland is melatonin. Melatonin secretions play a key role in the human circadian rhythm, which, among many other things, regulates sleep.

Modern life in industrialized nations is moving more and more indoors. There is less exposure to daylight, and much less exposure to the brightest daylight. An indoor life leaves the body unadapted to bright sunlight, and prone to sunburns. This leads to a further increase in sun avoidance.

Unintended consequences of these behavioral changes are large decreases in vitamin D produced from sunshine, and unusual signals from the pineal gland. Pineal gland secretions are known to be involved in signaling mammals to changes in the season. Pineal gland secretions are likely to respond to the size of the difference between maximum daytime light intensity and darkness. This difference is maximized in the summer and minimized in the winter. Even though it may be a bit painful, exposing the eyes to the full force of summer daylight by looking up at clouds in the middle of the day, might produce signals for the pineal gland that are important for healthy sleep. Looking into the sky was a natural, unavoidable behavior for most human beings up until modern times. Sunglasses and light sensitive lenses are very recent inventions.

Sleep disorders have reached epidemic proportions. Both melatonin and vitamin D are known to play important roles in the sleep cycle. If you are having trouble sleeping, there's much to gain and little to lose by dramatically increasing sun exposure.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Vitamins and Wound Healing: Accelerating Healing with Vitamin C and Niacin

There are five vitamins associated with pandemic deficiency diseases. These are vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin D.

Vitamin A is toxic at elevated doses. The RDA is 2000 to 3000 IU. More than 10,000 IU per day is associated with side effects. Vitamin B1 concentrations in the body are rigidly controlled by transport proteins. Taking large excesses of vitamin B1 is an ineffective means of raising cellular concentrations - and therefore of influencing metabolism. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin - it is a hormone. The body needs to maintain vitamin D concentrations within a fairly narrow range. Vitamin D supplements above 1000 IU/day are associated with side effects. For lifeguards and agricultural workers outside in the sun every day, maxing out on vitamin D is natural. This leaves vitamin C and niacin. One special property of these two vitamins is that they can be safely taken across a very wide dosage range. The RDA of vitamin C is 60 mg. Many people report taking, for short periods of time, daily doses of vitamin C up to 60,000 mg (1000 times the RDA). The RDA of niacin is 20 mg. Many people report taking up to 6000 mg (300 times the RDA) for extended periods of time. Is this meaningful or useful?

After many years of experience and experimentation, I am increasingly certain that very high doses of vitamin C and niacin for just a few days are a useful means of accelerating wound healing. Thousands of people swear that taking vitamin C is useful for fighting off colds and preventing secondary infections. The cold virus damages tissue in the respiratory system. I believe the extra vitamin C accelerates wound healing, more rapidly restoring a feeling of good health. Niacin is harder to use in high doses without causing temporary discomfort. But many people also report using niacin along with vitamin C to ward off colds. Again, I believe accelerated healing of the wounds caused by the cold virus is responsible for the observed benefit. What's good for healing wounds caused by cold viruses is good for healing most wounds. I've started taking extra vitamin C and niacin to recover from every type of wound. Sore muscles after over-exercising, sprained joints, burns, lacerations, infections. If you are being treated for cancer, the treatment causes wounds. Let the treatments kill the cancer. Use extra vitamin C and niacin to heal wounded healthy tissue and immune system cells. In old age, the healing systems of the body often slow down. This is a time of life when increasing daily doses of vitamin C and niacin can be useful.

If you're suffering from any kind of wound and interested in healing as quickly as possible, there's much to gain and little to lose by trying higher doses of vitamin C and niacin for a few days.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Vitamins A, B1, B3, C, and D Heal/Cure/Prevent Disabled Infants, Toddlers, and Children

This weekend I read about a child with fetal alcohol syndrome whose condition improved dramatically when he was paired up with a dog trained to help children with behavior disorders. The article stated that this child was irreversibly damaged in the womb and would never be normal.

How often do we have to hear this dogma from physicians who say things like this because they don't know how to help? Any literate physician/health reporter ought to be aware of the amazing capacity of the human body to heal. Especially children and the younger the better. Adults have been "cured" of almost everything. Children "grow out" of everything. The cases are well documented and can't just be shrugged off.

Millions of children diagnosed with behavioral disorders live in families that expect these kids to "grow out" of the problem. And millions of these kids, indeed, do heal and grow out of the problem. I believe millions more would grow out of these problems if parents would give vitamins and antibiotics a try. The problem with the vitamin approach for childhood behavioral problems, is that parents and extended family members expect the children to heal. So when vitamins are used, and the healing occurs, the vitamins often don't get credit. The credit usually goes to the hard work of the child, his parents and grandparents. Any why not? A hard working child, his parents and grandparents deserve the credit.

I don't care about who or what gets the credit. When a child is in trouble, there is much to gain and little to lose by giving vitamins and antibiotics a try. It's amazingly easy, and no one deserves much credit for taking such a straightforward step. Other steps need to be taken too. There is nothing as important to a family as raising strong and healthy children.

So, if there are children in your family with behavioral problems, in addition to whatever you're doing about it, here's the easy steps to put antibiotics and vitamins to work:

a tetracycline type antibiotic as prescribed by a pediatrician
regular full-body sunshine as close as possible to noon
2000 mg of vitamin C twice per day
10,000 IU vitamin A pills, once per week
250 mg time release niacin twice per week
Twice per week 50 mg tablet of enteric coated TTFD (a special thiamine supplement)
One B-50 B-complex tablet twice per week

Sunshine is the biggest pain in the neck. I lie about one minute face down, face up, and on each side (4 minutes total) at the summer solstice (UV index 9 at latitude 40) and 4 minutes on each side at winter solstice (UV index 3). This is not a child-friendly instruction. Parents should get kids outside with minimal clothing and no sunblock as often as possible. You need to watch out and keep them from burning - not such an easy task but not so difficult either.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vitamins A, B1, B3, C, and D Prevent Joint and Tendon Pain, Hip Replacements, Cavities, Sleep Disorders, Osteoporosis and Accelerate Wound Healing

Epidemics of vitamin deficiency have been regularly occurring events in human history. In the 20th century, the 5 vitamins underlying the majority of epidemics were identified, intensively studied, and manufactured. These five vitamins are vitamin A (the cause of epidemic night blindness, poor immunity, and death from diarhea), vitamin B1 (beri-beri), vitamin B3 (the cause of pellegra), vitamin C (scurvy), and vitamin D (rickets). The low hanging fruit was picked. Death from extreme deficiency was eliminated.

In this light, the fact that America today is in the midst of an epidemic of vitamin deficiency is not shocking, but inevitable. Experts studied the problem, eliminated beri-beri, pellegra, scurvy, and rickets, and declared the problem solved. The focus of the scientific community moved on to new areas.

I started my education about vitamins by reading Linus Pauling's "How to Live Longer and Feel Better" in 1994. To learn more, I searched scientific databases for research papers and review articles to stay up to date. This is a difficult way to have to learn about such and important topic. With this as background, I went and reread my college biochemistry textbook specifically to get a better understanding of how vitamins might influence human metabolism. Unbeknownst to me, in 2003 a textbook - "The Nutritional Biochemistry of the Vitamins" was published. I stumbled across a reference to the book in 2006, bought it, and studied it. To the best of my knowledge, no professional healthcare provider is required to study this textbook to get their degree. This is one obvious root cause of the current poor care being provided by our healthcare system. It's hard to see things that you're not looking for.

During the past couple of decades the incidence of sleep disorders, learning disabilities, diabetes, and heart disease amongst American youth have increased alarmingly. Many investigators have turned their attention to vitamin D and spotlighted the role of chronic deficiency of this hormone in these diseases. Vitamin D is a hot topic in the healthcare industry. Just type vitamin D into an internet search engine to see the flood of data linking low vitamin D hormone levels to the diseases in the title of this post. The best "executive summary" of the importance of vitamin D hormone for health can be found by typing "vitamin D hormone" into google and reading the top hits. A terrific lecture can be found at You-Tube by typing "Stasha Gominak" into the search box.

The great tragedy is that the physicians talking about vitamin D haven't studied "The Nutritional Biochemistry of the Vitamins" and are therefor probably ignorant of the most basic biochemistry of vitamin D. Most are even more ignorant about the other vitamins in the title of the post.

Vitamin D has put me at odds with almost everyone. The "consensus" position of mainstream medicine (if there is such a thing) is that >2000 IU per day by mouth is known to frequently cause toxicity. The unspoken logic is that it is impossible for the optimal dose of a substance to be above the toxicity threshold so therefore the optimal dose of vitamin D has to be below 2000 IU/day. The pro vitamin D healthcare professionals - outside the mainstream - have unleashed a flood of data proving that short term use of 4000-10,000 IU/day of vitamin D by mouth often results in amazing benefits. This group is generally dismissive of the toxicity of vitamin D in this dose range.

I am part of just a handful of folks acknowledging that 4000-10,000 IU/day of vitamin D as a supplement is typically both amazingly beneficial and toxic at the same time. I also believe that 10,000 to 50,000 IU/day of vitamin D obtained by sun exposure (or exposure to artificial sunshine) does not cause vitamin D toxicity. Possible skin damage and skin cancer is different issue. I have happily traded a higher risk of skin cancer to prevent the long list of problems in the title of this post.

The toxicity of vitamin D supplements is solidly based in known biochemistry and clinical data. The East German government mandated supplementation of infants by pediatricians. The practice was discontinued after two decades. Incredibly, vitamin D boosters point to this experience as evidence of the lack of toxicity of supplements. So then - why was the practice stopped? Vitamin D supplements in the form of cod liver oil have been used for hundreds of years. In place after place, the typically dosage recommendation averaged between 500 and 2000 IU/day. Calcium with vitamin D is a ubiquitous supplement. Following the directions on a typical supplement lands the user in the range of 500-2000 IU/day. The British government spiked milk at 200 IU/cup and later cut back to 100 IU/cup because of toxicity. A 1 gm pill of pure vitamin D will send every human being to the emergency room within hours. Vitamin D is on the list of "particularly hazardous chemicals" in my lab because it is an "acute toxic". Vitamin D is the active ingredient in a common rat poison that continues to be used today because it's safe for most other animals at a dose that's lethal to rats.

I believe that elevated levels of vitamins are particularly useful for healing wounds. I have a very broad definition of wounds. The type of wound that is epidemic are wounds caused by bacteria, viruses, and other difficult to detect pathogens. Microbes are believed to aggravate at least a minority of cases of almost every chronic disease. Working together, antibiotics taken with extra vitamins A, B1, B3, C, and sunshine (vitamin D) are often showing obvious effectiveness before mainstream doctors have finished testing for causes. When I'm getting over a bad cold, I will take 20,000 to 50,000 g of vitamin C (20 to 50 1 g pills a day) and 400 to 2000 mg of niacin (4 to 20 100 mg pills per day) for just a couple of days. Then I return to my normal dose of none on some days and 2000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of niacin on other days. I've posted previously on vitamins and wound healing. Of all the things I've said, I'll repeat that the Orlando Medical Center now uses 100 g/day of vitamin C by IV as it's best practice for severely burned patients. Some day they will add extra niacin, vitamin A, thiamin, and sunshine - it's just a matter of time.

Aging comes to everyone. Today, it's often tough. I'm turning 50 this year, and look around my family with dismay. Everyone else in my family my age or older has serious health problems. What is this myth about living healthier lives? Yes we are living longer. To me, this is not good. We're living longer and longer in poorer and poorer health addicted to pills that, by not addressing the root cause of vitamin deficiency, inevitably lead to more pills, and then more pills. Then lots of pain killers for the last few years.

Until there is a consensus that vitamin deficiency contributes in a major way to the modern epidemic of pill dependence in the >50 population, this is the future for most of our children. A small minority will utilize the full power of vitamins and modern medicine, and will break records for health and wellness in extreme old age. This is a shame, because sunshine and vitamins A, B1, B3, and C are safe and readily available. You don't need help from a medical professional. The data is everywhere you look. There's much to gain and little to lose by giving vitamins and sunshine a try.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sunshine via Sunlamp, Niacin, Vitamin C: A Personal Story of a Fight with a Cold

I fear that the healthcare complex - from medical experts to parents - are mishandling vitamin D. I'll be the first to state that I don't know no how to help anyone - forget knowing how to help everyone. Vitamin D is an important hormone - like estrogen and testosterone. It's biochemistry is complex and only dimly understood. My first objective is to help myself. Here's what I did when I felt like I was coming down with a cold last fall.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in early November. I had to fly to Houston for business, and was afraid that I would catch a cold on the plane because I frequently come down with a cold after traveling on an airplane - especially in the wintertime. I have come to believe that vitamin D is boosting my immunity to colds, and that supplements and sunshine have reduced the frequency and severity of colds. I can't prove it, but I believe it. So I wanted to get on the plane brimming with vitamin D. On Sunday morning I got under a UVB sunlamp when I woke up at 6:30 am, again at 8:30 am, and then again at 10:30 am. I do this by undressing to my underwear and lying prone 3 feet under a 160 watt broadband UVB lamp. I lie on one side and count 80 heartbeats. Then I roll on my face, count another 80 heartbeats. Then onto my other side for 80 heartbeats and finally onto my back for 80 heartbeats. I do my best to evenly distribute the light across my body from head to toe. It was a beautiful day. At 1 pm I sunbathed on my porch - 5 minutes on each side. I have found this to be approaching the limits of what I'm willing to do. At this point, any additional sunshine or time under the lamp makes my skin start to feel like it is beginning to burn.

At 2 pm my limo picked me up. I went to the airport feeling fine. Before boarding the plane, I took 4000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of straight release niacin. I took another dose of the same size on the plane flight. I recall a pleasant flight to Houston.

At dinner that evening - 8 pm time at my local airport - I felt minor pain in my sinus and jittery - symptoms I associate (without any convincing data) with being exposed to a cold virus. I took another 4000 mg of vitamin C, 100 mg of niacin, and an ibuprofen tablet. I slept very poorly with steadily worsening sinus pain. I had no other symptoms. I took vitamin C and niacin throughout my Monday meeting in Houston, and kept the sinus pain under control with ibuprofen. At 1 pm during my meeting, I got out into the sun for 30 minutes - which made me feel obviously better. Monday evening I was back on a plane traveling home, taking 2000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of niacin every 2 hours. I was in alot of pain by the end of the flight - and very happy to be home. As soon as I arrived - 11 pm Monday night - I got under the lamp. Again, I felt like the lamp made me feel immediately better. I had a second restless night and awoke Tuesday morning exhausted and still with sinus pain - but no other symptoms. I got under the lamp as soon as I awoke, and took more vitamin C, niacin, and ibuprofen. I went off to a 7:30 am meeting with no symptoms other than sinus pain and fatigue. At 9:30 am I came home for another session under the lamp. After this light session, I felt obviously better - the sinus pain was subsiding. At 1 pm I got another session of light, and yet another at 5 pm. I felt well enough to join my colleagues at our team dinner at a local restaurant. I came home, got another session of light, and went to bed. I woke up on Wednesday morning, and felt basically normal. Starting Wednesday morning I reverted to my regular habits when I am feeling well - 2000 mg of vitamin C and 100 mg of niacin in the morning and two sessions of light - 1 in the morning and one between 11 and 1 pm.

I know some readers will look at this post and say, "All that effort and you still got sick on the airplane? It's probably the vitamins making you sick and not a cold at all." What can I say? My teeth and skeletal health are my source of comfort. I have had bad teeth my entire life. Now my dental health is excellent. I wasn't able to run 2 miles at a stretch because my arms would hurt. Now that has stopped. Something is making me generally healthier.

Until recently I have avoided discussing my personal stories because stories are just stories - they are not good science. I hope I'm not making a mistake by being more personal.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Vitamin D is Necessary for Quality Sleep

I highly recommend going to You-Tube and Typing "Stasha Gominak" and watching the lecture which was posted in 5 15-minute segments.

Dr. Gominak's specialty is sleep. The lecture overviews her recent discovery that vitamin D plays a vital role in quality sleep. Alot of her lecture overviews why quality sleep is necessary to maintain optimal health.

During the lecture, Dr. Gominak claims that we are in the midst of a vitamin D deficiency epidemic - and that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of many of today's common afflictions. She claims that today's diseases are not the fault of drug companies. She asks, "Why would drug companies develop drugs for non-existent diseases?"

Vitamin D influences sleep by binding to vitamin D receptors in a part of the brain important for sleep. Most of the rest of the brain does not have vitamin D receptors. What she does not mention is that there are vitamin D receptors in many other tissues including kidneys, bone, parathyroid gland, pancreas, pituitary, plecenta, uterus, mammary glands, skine, thymus, monocytes, macrophages, and lymphocytes. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone.

The test for vitamin D measures the blood levels of a vitamin D derivative that is not the active hormone. The blood test measures the blood levels of a molecule called a diol. The active hormone is a triol. The triol is converted to a tetra-ol which transforms into an acid and is excreted in the urine. This metabolism is - to say the least - complex.

For most of human history, most humans depended upon the sun for vitamin D. There is good evidence that today's healthiest societies still get ample amounts of sunshine. Many of us, however, have been getting less and less sunshine. Food and/or supplements have never been a dependable source of vitamin D for most human societies.

I'm stunned to be arguing with most of the medical profession about vitamin D safety. I'll say it again that I can't believe that I am in a very small minority because I believe both that we are in the midst of a vitamin D deficiency epidemic and also believe that vitamin D must be used with caution. The facts are the facts. Vitamin D is labeled in my lab at work as a "Particularly Hazardous Substance" because it is an acute toxin. A small tablet of pure vitamin D will put anyone into the emergency room within hours of ingestion. It is a steroid hormone. What other steroid hormone can be used without caution? Who would recommend a non-natural method of taking another steroid over natural production? Who doesn't think that oral estrogen is more dangerous than estrogen synthesized naturally inside the body?

The stakes are incredibly high. I found Dr. Gominak's lecture electrifying. We really are in the midst of a vitamin D deficiency epidemic. Many cases of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, impotence, depression, back pain, migraines, and on and on are caused by vitamin D deficiency. The medical community is waking up to this fact and prescribing vitamin D supplements. Many people who might otherwise be helped are going to quit the vitamin D supplements due to side effects and rule out vitamin D as the cause of their problem. Stopping the epidemic requires the right prescription. I hope I'm wrong and maybe there isn't such a big difference between supplements and sunshine. Maybe most people can be helped with either. But if most people develop vitamin d side effects from supplements at well below the optimal dose of vitamin D, then the epidemic will continue until sunshine (or UV lamps) are recommended instead of supplements.

Time will tell.

In the meantime - whatever you think - read more about vitamin D. If side effects from vitamin D supplements have been giving you trouble, give vitamin D another try using sunshine. There's much to gain and little to lose.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Vitamin D: More Observations on Sunlight vs. Supplements

There is solid scientific evidence that vitamin D improves immunity to respiratory infections and prevents cavities. Despite excellent dental care, I got a new cavity at least once every 3 years. At my worst after my kids started daycare, I caught cold after cold and was unwell for a whole year with either a cold or a secondary bacterial infection caused by a cold. In 2007 I learned that vitamin D might help me. I started with vitamin D supplements, 4000 IU/day, and soon began feeling better. Unfortunately, I soon experienced vitamin D side effects. Over the course of a year, I gradually switched from supplements to sunshine. Over the next two years I steadily increased my sun exposure in an effort to maximize vitamin D production. Starting about a year ago, to further increase vitamin D production, I started using a UVB lamp in addition to sun bathing.

Using the lamp made me nervous. It is an unnatural behavior. So I started reading up on using UVB lamps to produce vitamin D. To my surprise, despite spending hours looking for information and reading, I still don't know how much vitamin D I can make using UVB light from the lamp and the sun. Here's the best data I found, not surprisingly from John Cannell (The Vitamin D Council):


"Despite robust skin production, vitamin D toxicity
cannot occur from skin production. Once maximum
cutaneous production occurs, additional sun exposure will
not result in additional net input to the system. The same
UVB that produces vitamin D in the skin also degrades it,
causing a steady-state that generally limits cutaneous
production to a maximum of ∼ 20,000 IU/day. For this
reason, in spite of such robust cutaneous production, no
one has ever reported vitamin D toxicity from either sun
exposure or from exposure to artificial UVB light."

Cannell did not show any data to support his 20,000 IU/day number. I'm certain this number is based on a limited amount of data from a small number of racial groups. I was disappointed to read the "light therapy" page at Wikipedia and find no mention of vitamin D. I had to narrow my "light therapy" search at Google to "light therapy and vitamin D" to find much of anything at all. Medical science had the tools required to answer basic questions about vitamin D by at least the 1950's. Today's tools are fantastically superior and still the data has yet to be collected to answer basic questions about vitamin D. Even worse, some of the basic data we do have is being ignored.

Vitamin D supplements, even in low doses, cause side effects. Vitamin D made by skin exposure to sunlight does not cause side effects. I do not know why these facts are both true. Neither does anyone else. We are unlikely to get an answer until someone besides me recognizes these facts as facts. I could come up with at least a dozen plausible reasons. I can wait for the answer to emerge. Finding the answer is pretty far down my list of important questions about vitamin D waiting to be answered.

It really is difficult for me to understand why every physician and scientist isn't nervous about the safety of vitamin D supplements. Let's start with a quote from what I regard as the most authoritative study of vitamin safety. The book is called, "The Right Dose - How to Take Vitamins and Minerals Safely".

"You might say that an intake of 1,000 IU of vitamin D can be considered relatively untainted by current knowledge. The critical level for increased risk of heart attack, for instance, seemed to be 1,200 IU. In the study of kidney stones, the average intake was 1254 IU among those with no condition predisposing to stones. So an intake of up to 1,000 might seem like a safe bet. In fact, supplements containing 1,000 IU can be found easily. Count me out as one who will endorse this level of supplementation as a general measure. it lacks something that i spoke of only a chapter ago - a margin of safety."

Next consider the fact that pure vitamin D is acutely toxic. It is on the "particularly hazardous substances" list in the laboratory where I work. I can not purchase vitamin D or use it in the lab without special safety training. Extreme doses (the equivalent of a person taking millions of IU per day) are used as rat poison.

I want readers to know that I'm really struggling with the disconnect between the many published studies using 4,000 IU or higher doses of vitamin D that report no side effects and my own personal experience. I'm looking at a very small number of individuals, but every single person I know who took 4,000 IU or more of vitamin D per day stopped because of side effects. This information is supplemented by the outpouring of testimonials at my blog item titled "Overdosing on Vitamin D: Side Effects, Toxicity, Symptoms, Poisoning."

So here are the uncomfortable facts. Vitamin D is essential for good health. Supplement doses of >4000 IU/day are needed to elevate blood levels of vitamin D and to achieve obvious benefits. Supplement doses as low as 1000 IU/day are associated with serious health risks, and uncomfortable side effects are commonplace at daily doses at or above 4,000 IU.

Vitamin D supplements are amongst the oldest known supplements. The healing powers of fish oils, and cod liver oil in particular, have been exploited for centuries. Unlike the "Blue Zone" cultures, fish oil taking cultures are not known for exceptional health and longevity. These cultures did not land on vitamin D daily doses of 4,000 IU/day or higher - the amount now proven to be the minimum required for maximum benefit. A typical dose was closer to 1,000 IU. Vitamin D has been used for decades to treat osteoporosis. The calcium plus vitamin D supplements typically have 400 to 800 IU/day - not higher and not lower. Again, it is simply a fact that doses >4000 IU/day are required for optimum benefits. So why the much lower typical doses in the supplements used starting centuries ago and right up through the end of the 20th century? Side effects sure look to me like a logical explanation.

Unlike supplements, there is no evidence that vitamin D produced in the skin by exposure to sunlight or man-made UV light causes side effects or toxicity. Cultures of the world known for health and longevity all spend lots of time outdoors in the sun. Some of these cultures were recently reviewed in a book called "The Blue Zones". Responding to these facts, I stopped taking vitamin D supplements and started sun bathing and using a UVB lamp. I don't know how much vitamin D I can make this way, and if I did, I wouldn't know what it meant. I don't think it is safe to assume that vitamin D produced in the skin and taken as a supplement have the same potency.

I assumed that as I increased the amount of time I spent in the sun every day, that I would get more tan and therefore require more time to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D. For me, this assumption was wrong. Where I live, the UV index at noon varies from 3 at winter solstice to 10 at summer solstice. In the summer I found I could only stay out in the sun for 2 minutes on each side before I started to burn. So - I assumed that 4 minutes on a side at a UV index of 5 would initiate burning. It doesn't. I can stay out in the sun all day when the UV index is 5 without burning. When I figured this out, I started sun bathing multiple times on sunny days. Just a few minutes. Then I'd wait an hour or so and get another few minutes. I sometimes do this as many as 5 times. I don't get any side effects that I associate with sunburn. But I do feel like the increased sun exposure is changing me. I'm hesitant to characterize my sensations as side effects from sun and UV lamp exposure because they aren't severe and don't get worse and aren't entirely consistent. But I feel very different. That's why I was hoping to find information about the benefits and side effects of sunbathing and UV light exposure.

The UV light I use is sold as a "lizard lamp". The manual that came with the light instructs lizard owners to watch the behavior of their lizards. If they starting acting sick, then removing the lamp is recommended. The manual further instructs owners to make sure that the lizard always has access to shade so that the lizard can self dose on the light. If a lizard can "feel" the effects of UV light, why shouldn't I. Again, how can it be 2011 and I can't find any solid information to use to intelligently select a dosage of UV light to optimize the amount of vitamin D made in my skin?

The stakes are high. Since I started supplementing with vitamin D, my teeth have healed along with some serious joint pains. There is every reason to believe that vitamin D is responsible for these benefits. Almost a third of American adults suffer from osteoporosis, osteopenia, or hypertension. What if lack of UV exposure is the cause?

For me, the choice is an easy one. My teeth were in ruins and I was afraid to travel on an airplane because I would always hurt my ears and usually get a bad cold. Since I started with UV light, I've been getting steadily better. For those in good health, there is no easy decision. There are obvious risks from both UV light and vitamin D supplements. Cannell passionately believes that high doses of vitamin D will prevent a majority of cancer cases. If he's right, my risk of cancer is now much lower - a huge extra benefit on top of my improved immunity to colds and improved dental health. If I didn't have the bad teeth and poor immunity to colds, would I risk vitamin D side effects to prevent a cancer that I might not get in the first place? I don't know.

Any comments from readers? Can anyone point me to data about how the maximum amount of vitamin D that can be made by sun and UV light exposure? Please help if you can.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Vitamin Diet: Recipes for Health

Nutrition is becoming an increasingly popular topic. I wind up in conversation about nutrition all the time - and I'm increasingly silent. I'm increasingly isolated by my point of view.

I'm turning 50 in March, and so many of my friends and family members take prescription drugs and/or supplements. This is what I want to talk about. They all want to talk about herbs and fruits and vegetables - about whether food is acidic or basic - sugary or salty - high or low in fiber - good or bad for intestinal bacteria - toxic or non-toxic. I want to talk about the pills.

I spend alot of time every day deciding what, how many, and when to take pills. I'm spending all this time worrying mostly about niacin, vitamin C, and ibuprofen. If I was taking other pills, I'd be worrying about them too. All the data says that the pills have a much bigger impact on my health than my choice of diet. I get plenty of side effects - especially from vitamin C and niacin - and I'd like to talk about them. But there is no one to listen. I'm expecting that as I grow older, I'll be taking more of more kinds of pills - pills that friends and family are already taking. I'm really interested in knowing what to expect - but no one is talking.

I'll do a little talking here. I'm in pretty good health now and most days I don't take any niacin pills. Instead I drink alot of dark roast coffee. I have never had a niacin side effect from drinking too much coffee. However, at least once a week I feel weak, or feel afraid of getting a cold, or just feel like I should be taking niacin because it will make me feel better. I take out a 500 mg time release niacin and chew off the end - probably around 40 mgs. With luck I get distracted and before I know it the work day is over and I never gave the niacin another thought. Other days I'll chew on the end three or four times until I've taken half the pill - 250 mgs.

More times than not, I suddenly become aware that I've taken the niacin. I find myself walking and talking faster, and with less inhibition - a little bit "wired". Sometimes, on top of feeling wired, I feel anxious. It's definitely a bad feeling - unlike the "wired" feeling which is sort of a good feeling. When I feel the anxious feeling, I regret having taken the niacin. That said, when I get up the next day feeling find and without a cold, I think to myself that if the niacin helped with that, it was worth the anxiousness.

I wonder how many other people deal with the anxiety. I wonder if it makes a difference whether or not I'm taking time-release or straight-release niacin. Just writing this makes me realize that I've sort of decided that chewing a time release tablet to get a "slightly" time-release effect is better for me than the other options. Well maybe... I generally take the niacin on a completely empty stomach. Maybe I should be taking it after a meal? There really are alot of options...

Factors A, B, and C formed the basis of modern nutrition. For the first time in human history, these super-important food concentrates are available to almost everyone, anytime, anywhere in America. You are empowered to find the optimal micronutrient recipe for your own health without worrying about calories. The best information you can get will be from friends and family with similar genetic backgrounds, so talking about your experiences and strategies - like you talk about food - is a worthwhile exercise.

If you want to increase the odds of living in the best possible health, there's much to gain and little to lose by using antibiotics and vitamins supplements and talking about it with friends and family.

Monday, September 12, 2011

100,000 mg/day IV Vitamin C In Use at Orlando Medical Center to Treat Burns

The new standard of care for patients with burns over >30% of their body is intravenous injection of vitamin C. The dose is an incredible 100,000 mg/day. Type "vitamin C burns Orlando" into Google to see the document for yourself.

It's taken the medical profession well over a decade to complete conclusive trials decisively proving the effectiveness of high dose intravenous vitamin C for burn patients. The Orlando Medical Center is among the first to act on the results to the great benefit of patients.

Regional medical facilities specializing in burns are distributed throughout the country. Odds are that the facility near you still has not updated their procedures. Please talk to physicians that you know and ask them to pass the word on to their colleagues working in regional burn centers that they need to learn about what's going on in Orlando.

IV vitamin C at 100,000 mg/day is a drastic treatment, in this case used for an extreme emergency - severe burn injury. Isn't it common sense to take 10,000 to 30,000 mg/day of vitamin C by mouth for less severe burns? There is no need for help from a physician. If you are a loved one suffers from a burn, just go ahead and take as much vitamin C by mouth as you can tolerate for a few days. I strongly recommend 250 to 1000 mg/day of niacin at the same time based on arguments and data I've presented in earlier posts justifying a special role for high dose niacin and vitamin C to accelerate wound healing.

While intravenous vitamin C has become the standard of care at Orlando Medical Center for severe burn patients, the same treatment remains heresy for treating viral and bacterial pneumonia. To me, it seems like common sense to point to the similarities between thermal burns, and the chemical "burns" caused by viruses and bacteria in the human lung. Like thermal burns, pneumonia is characterized by extensive tissue damage spread over a wide area of the lungs. In both types of injury, their is a common job to be done. Wound healing.

With pneumonia, the good news is that physician assistance is rarely needed. Direct action by family caretakers is sufficient. Pneumonia is a serious conditions. It seems to me a no-brainer to take as much vitamin C (10,000 to 30,000 mg/day) as one can, along with 250 to 1000 mg/day of time-release niacin for a few days and suffer whatever side effects there are in order to prevent hospitalization with pneumonia.

To me, this publication from the Orlando Medical Center is a watershed moment. To me, it signals the end of controversy about the usefulness of high doses of vitamin C, and gives credibility to the multiple physicians and researchers who proved in the lab and in clinical practice that high dose vitamin C is useful for treating a multitude of conditions. Readers can study the benefits of vitamin C for themselves and self treat, or they can find physicians to help them. High dose vitamin C is now part of the mainstream.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vitamins and Antibiotics Against Disease: Please Help Get the Word Out

I can only point to my personal experience, which only involves a handful of cases. The science behind this handful of cases is powerful. The approach, in fact, is common sense.

Antibiotics and vitamins work together.

I first understood the possible synergy of antibiotics and vitamins when I worked with the OMNS and helped write a press release titled "Antibiotics and Vitamins Work Together." At the time, I still didn't completely get it. I completely "got it" when my dog got really sick a year ago. I did more research and realized that a class of bacteria, known as mycobacteria, cause alot more illness than is generally recognized. These are the critters causing Lyme disease and ulcers. They are also known to cause a variety of dog diseases because ticks are a particularly active vector for this type of disease and dogs off a leash are highly susceptible to tick bites.

After only a year, I've learned and seen enough cases to know that vitamins and antibiotics, working together, can go a long way towards preventing and curing the epidemic of prescription drug reliance that is a fact of modern life.

By myself, as a single voice on the internet, I'm not going to be as effective as I could be as part of team of professionals with a common vision. If you know of anyone who might be interested in turning this story into a more interesting story, please have them get in touch with me. I'm not hard to find. Just leave a comment at my blog - or contact Rusty at cforyourself.com and he'll help contact me.

Help me turn back the tide of rising prescription drug dependence.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Vitamin C, Niacin, Antibiotics, and Terrible Colds that Go Into the Lungs

I've been studying and writing about vitamins since 1994. I've been blogging since September, 2006. All these years, I've mostly avoided discussing why I spend so much time studying vitamins, and why I feel compelled to share my expertise on the internet.

I feel more compelled than ever to continue to share my expertise, but am running out of insights backed by scientific literature. I've been feeling recently like I'm just repeating myself. So - I'm going to change my approach and start telling personal stories.

The scientific literature supporting the safety of vitamin C and niacin is fantastic. Both vitamins cause terrible side effects in overdose, but rapid recovery results from stopping supplements. There is a consensus that vitamin C and niacin do not cause long term harm or reduce life expectancy. Both vitamins have earned the term "generally recognized as safe" and are sold without child-proof caps.

For me, these are more than just words. I'm living proof of the safety of vitamin C and niacin. For the past 15 years, I've contracted a horrible cold about once per year. For me, a horrible cold is one that spreads throughout my entire respiratory tract, and gets into my lungs. I get bronchitis, and end up with painful coughing that expels unmentionable fluids. My family and physicians will all readily attest to the serious of my illness. When I feel like this, and only when I feel like this, I take astonishing quantities of vitamin C and niacin, and I am able to function pretty well despite the severity of my illness. I've never missed more than 2 days of work in a row due to one of these colds. During the worst one or two days of these colds, I take at least 50,000 mg of vitamin C per day, and have taken as much as 150,000 mg of vitamin C in a single day. I get to these astonishing doses by taking at least 5000 mg of vitamin C every hour that I'm awake (16 hrs times 5000 mg/hr results in a 24 dose of 90,000 mg). I take 250 mg of time release niacin every couple of hours taking as much as 2500 mg of niacin in a 24 hour period.

I hope no one reading this blog ever feels compelled, like I have, to take these enormous doses of vitamin C and niacin. I only take these doses because I feel my life is threatened by these colds, and I believe the vitamin C and niacin help accelerate the wounds inflicted upon me by some brew of viruses and bacteria ravaging my respiratory tract. The reason I'm sharing the story today, is to let readers know why I care so much about the science of the safety of vitamin C and niacin, and why I'm confident that the science is correct. If the science wasn't correct, by this time I'd be in trouble due to my arguably reckless abuse of vitamin C and niacin. My doctors and my family can't understand why I risk taking these doses. I don't even understand why I take the risk. After all this blogging and studying, I believe that 500 mg of niacin and 10,000 mg of vitamin C will deliver at least 90% of any benefit available by increasing dosage. My behavior isn't rational. When I'm sick like that I just keep washing down the vitamin C and niacin. I'm afraid of the niacin, keep track of it, and have placed a limit of 3000 mg for a single day. I don't even keep track of the vitamin C. I just wash it down and don't pay any attention to the total dose.

I'm afraid of the niacin, because niacin overdose has caused me, on three occasions, to lose a day to intense nausea and severe vomiting that I wish to never experience again. Each time I believed I had learned the lesson and took precautions to never overdose again. My first two sets of precautions were insufficiently cautious. It's been almost 8 years since the last event, so I just may have devised sufficient precautions. But I'm not sure - and remain afraid.

Back to the big picture. At least once per year for the last 15 years I've taken these incredible doses of vitamin C and niacin. Despite being 15 years older, I'm in obviously better health today than I was 15 years ago. I have great numbers at my physicals, and I don't take any prescription drugs. There isn't any data to make any kind of case that my abuse of vitamin C and niacin is causing me any harm. That's why I feel compelled to be the one to advise people that it is safe to take 100 mg/day of niacin and 2000 to 4000 mg/day of vitamin C. If I don't advocate for the safety of vitamin C and niacin, who will? Not only do I have the science on my side, I'm living proof.

I believe I've made a strong scientific case that extra vitamin C and niacin accelerate wound healing. I'm not a casual theoretician. I aggressively practice what I believe. Despite my knowledge and experience, I'm still nervous when I tell people they have much to gain, and little to lose by giving vitamin C and niacin a try. But if I don't speak up, who will?

One final note. I've always taken antibiotics when I get these terrible illnesses. This was before my recent epiphany about the synergy between vitamins and antibiotics. It's highly likely that my fast recoveries from these horrible colds require both vitamins and antibiotics.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Vitamins, Antibiotics, Medical Care and Life Expectancy

Life expectancy continues to slowly improve in the United States. This is generally attributed to improved healthcare. I learned only this week that there is no data to support a link between improved life expectancy and healthcare. In fact, shockingly, there is solid data to the contrary. A majority of Americans spend alot more healthcare dollars after turning 65 than in their early 60's. Apparently there is no hard evidence to show that the extra healthcare spending is actually improving longevity.

Lots of the medicare and medicaid dollars go to nursing homes. When I last looked it up, I was disappointed to read that close to two thirds of nursing home patients survive less than 2 years. I really don't know if this is true. I have, however, visited nursing homes and the experience isn't pleasant. It's obvious that many of the people living in nursing homes are in very poor health. I also know, not from any statistics, just from asking around, that it is unusual to move out of a nursing home and live independently again.

Until I reflected on this issue again this week, it hadn't occurred to me that it is, in fact, highly likely that there is a negative correlation between health insurance and longevity. The more expensive insurance plans facilitate prescription drug use. The lower the copay, the more likely people are to take higher doses of more medications.

So what is causing increased life expectancy? There are growing holistic and alternative health movements in America. Plenty of Americans have seen what happens to family members taking multiple drugs, and are working hard on basic preventative measures - reduced stress, high quality food, exercise, sunshine, and vitamins. I have no data except the people I know. Yet I think even the tiny numbers of my own friends and family are telling a story. Just as the economic middle class is disappearing, so is the healthy middle. Senior citizens are dividing into examples of shockingly healthy 80 and 90 year olds, and miserably unhealthy 80 and 90 year olds. The "ordinary" good health for 80 and 90 year olds is in decline. I do have data for this. 36% of American seniors are taking 4 or more prescription drugs, while 20% are taking none. So - more than 50% are seniors are at the extremes (>4 or none). As time passes, more and more people are going to understand the relationship between drugs and misery in old age, and work harder and harder to get to their old age in excellent health. Getting in shape means using less health insurance, not more.

If you're afraid of spending your old age caught between a rock and a hard place of multiple pills vs. misery (and then multiple pills and misery vs. death), you've got much to gain and little to lose by giving vitamins and antibiotics a try.

My Vitamin D Story: A Long Road to Preventing Colds

I suffer from frequent colds. Just a few years ago, the frequency of my colds was threatening to become disabling. That's what motivated me to use vitamin d aggressively.

I started 4 years ago by taking vitamin D supplements at 4000 IU/day. I immediately felt that it helped reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of my colds. That said, in February of 2011, I came down with a killer cold. It went into my lungs. I ran a 102 fever, and I was worried that I might need to go to the emergency room.

If you go to the vitamin D council, vitamin D advocates make claims like, "people who take 5000 IU/day of vitamin D just never get sick." So much for that.

I'm devoted to vitamin D because of what's happened to my teeth. My teeth have been sensitive my whole life, and I've dreaded teeth cleaning for as long as I can remember. My teeth were in dreadful shape, despite premium care. Today my teeth are in excellent health. I enjoy getting them cleaned. I haven't had any new cavities. They actually feel healthy. My experience is backed by hard science from the 1930's and 40's demonstrating that vitamin D prevents cavities. My teeth are the only impact on my health that I know is caused by vitamin D. It took four full years to restore my teeth to good health. If you keep reading, you'll see that I had to endure constant vitamin D related pain to get my teeth healthy. Had I been scared off by the side effects, I would have quit vitamin D long before my teeth were convincingly better.

I know that the truth is that I'm much healthier today than I was when I started my vitamin D campaign. In fact, I'm so much better that I remain hopeful that in a few years I will, indeed, be a healthy person who rarely gets sick. I also know that if vitamin D is turning me into a healthy person, it is doing it slowly. At the rate I'm going, it will be at least another 4 years before I can declare myself a healthy person.

For me, it is also the truth that I rightfully associate vitamin D with almost constant pain. For a couple of years, my hip would hurt and my eyes would burn right after I got into the sun. I would get scared and avoid the sun for a couple of days. At some point, I associated avoiding the sun for even one day with getting a cold. Eventually I came to the conclusion that when I'm healthy my hip and eyes don't hurt when I get into the sun. What makes my hip and eyes hurt is getting into the sun while I'm getting a cold. Today, when my hip and eyes hurt from the sun, I go out and get even more sun. I can say for sure that the extra sun doesn't make my hip and eyes hurt more, and that the pain goes away without avoiding the sun. I can also say for sure that if I stay out of the sun, my hip and eyes never hurt. So - exposure to sunshine is required for the pain. I really have no data to say whether or not cold viruses play a role as I have hypothesized.

I started by talking about the almost miraculous recovery of my teeth. I've had some other obvious, remarkable improvements. I haven't been able to fly in an airplane without hurting my ears for as long as I can remember. The cabin compression/decompression process always plugged up at least one of my ears for at least a couple of days. Often, my ears would take several weeks to fully recover from flying. Today, I usually fly without discomfort.

Ten years ago I started having trouble with my sleep. At it's worst, four years ago, I was nearly disabled by poor quality sleep. Today, I'm sleeping again like I when I was a teenager - maybe even better. I made two changes four years ago in my vitamin regimen. I added TTFD (a special thiamine supplement) and vitamin D. The TTFD has clinical support for curing sleep disorders. The hard evidence for vitamin D is, in my opinion, weak.

Four years ago I was having alot of trouble with my wrists. In addition, I had to stop running because bouncing my arms up and down caused tremendous pain. I started doing alot of things with both arms. If I used either arm too long, I would experience tremendous pain. I had to stop working long days at manual labor. Today, these problems are mostly gone despite the fact that I'm four years older.

Four years ago my posture was terrible and getting worse. Today, not only have I stopped the decline, but I'm actually straighter.

Four years ago my night vision got bad enough that I started to avoid driving at night whenever possible. Today, my night vision is fine.

I really don't expect anyone to attribute my improved health to the supplements I use based on these stories. I wouldn't expect anyone to calmly endure the pain I've associated with vitamin D in the hopes of achieving the benefits I've described. I completely understand why most people avoid the sun and think it is bad for them. I'm really not very optimistic about making progress.

There is a small group of people out there who would like to get more sun, and are frightened off by today's culture of sun avoidance. I am optimistic that the internet can help me get the word out to them that they have much to gain, and little to lose, by following their desire to get into the sun.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Preventing Cancer with Vitamins A, Thiamine (TTFD), Niacin, Vitamin C and Sunshine (Vitamin D): A Rant

Vitamins are pretty ineffective against cancer. So are drugs. So is surgery. Cancer is generally the beginning of a slow and painful death. The ability of cancer to inspire dread is easy to understand.

I've had health problems my entire life. For decades, I thought having health problems was part of being human. I don't remember anyone telling me any differently. I had to become a parent before I wised up. I remember the day I was talking to one of my daughter's friends about health. I said "have you had this?", and "have you had that?" The revelation came when I thought to ask, "have you ever been sick?" and she said no.

Wow! Why didn't anyone ever tell me that the healthiest 10% of children are almost never sick? And why wasn't my relatively poor health a cause for alarm?

Poor health is an ordinary problem that often can be fixed. It's just a matter of clean air and water (and avoiding other toxins), nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. Radical intervention clinics for the rich have proven beyond any doubt that heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension can be reversed in months. The most effective programs are located in a sunny environment. Rich folks with diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc. show up. They switch to a radical, vegetarian diet, exercise intensively, and spend lots of time outdoors. The relocation removes them from toxins in their former lives.

These extreme clinics have settled the debate about the genetic causes of these diseases. Genes surely contribute, but placed in the appropriate environment, most people will thrive with the genes they have.

I've know about these clinics since I started my own efforts to improve my health and the health of my children. For me, attending the clinics is an impossible dream. That said, I didn't see anything going on in those clinics that I couldn't find some way of controlling in my own life. In the end, a path to health emerged that is almost too good to be true. Antibiotics, vitamins, and sunshine are often sufficient.

I had my epiphany about health years ago. My epiphany about cancer is very recent. I was just staggered to realize that adults in excellent health are at least 10 times less likely to get cancer than adults in poor health. High blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, frequent colds, cavities, diabetes, poor mental health, arthritis, sleep disorders, and other common chronic health problems are all risk factors for cancer. All of these conditions are also now known to be reversible with sufficiently drastic changes in lifestyle. Treating with drugs instead of insisting on the lifestyle changes is causing cancer. To me, this means taking multiple drugs is often a prescription for a slow and painful death. And something like a third of senior citizens in America are taking three or more prescription medications!

If you or a loved one is taking one or more prescription medications, there is much to gain, and nothing to lose by giving my advice a try.

Here's my common sense strategy:

1) Kill nasty, sneaky, deceptive bacteria that are tough to kill by going after them with tetracycline type antibiotics prescribed by your physician. Just tell your physician you your joints hurt and you think you may have Lyme disease.

2) Boost your immune system and healing powers with vitamins.
Vitamin A - 10,000 IU per week (per week)
Enteric Coated TTFD (a special form of vitamin B1), 50 mg pills twice per week
1000 to 4000 mg of vitamin C every day
250 mg time release niacin pills, one or two per week (per week)
Regular sunshine in a bathing suit at noon to get ample vitamin D

Millions of Americans are dying a slow and painful death. This death starts with ordinary health problems. These health problems are treated with drugs, instead of by finding and fixing the root cause. As the years go by, the health problems and the number of drugs multiply. Then, surprise surprise, the dreaded day comes. The diagnosis is cancer. Now comes an avalanche of aggressive drugs and surgeries. Sometimes it works, more often the result is a slow and painful death.

Go ahead. Search for the cure to cancer. Fund more cancer research instead of basic public health and disease prevention. Find more drugs and surgeries instead of cleaning the air and ridding the soils of heavy metals pollutants (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.). Then give more money to fund cancer research. Do anything except generally improve public health using antibiotics, sunshine, and readily available vitamin supplements.

Prevent Hip Replacements with Vitamins D, A, Thiamine, Niacin, and C

Here's the text from the top Google hit from the search "hip replacement statistics".

"Between 200,000 and 300,000 hip replacement operations are performed in the United States each year, most of them in patients over the age of 60. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), only 5–10% of total hip replacements as of 2002 were in patients younger than 50. There are two reasons for this concentration in older adults. Arthritis and other degenerative joint disorders are the most common health problems requiring hip replacement, and they become more severe as people grow older. The second reason is the limited life expectancy of the prostheses used in hip replacements. Because total hip replacement is a complex procedure and requires a long period of recovery after surgery, doctors generally advise patients to put off the operation as long as possible so that they will not need to undergo a second operation later to insert a new prosthesis. This demographic picture is changing rapidly, however, because of advances in designing hip prostheses, as well as changes in older Americans' rising expectations of quality of life. Many people are less willing to tolerate years of pain or limited activity in order to postpone surgery. In addition, hip prostheses are lasting longer than those used in the 1960s; one study found that 65% of the prostheses in patients who had had THR before the age of 50 were still intact and functioning well 25 years after the surgery. A larger number of hip replacements are now being done in younger patients, and the operation itself is being performed more often. One expert estimates that the annual number of hip replacements in the United States will rise to 600,000 by 2015."

Wow! At 600,000 per year, after 20 years 12 million folks over the age of 50 would have an artificial hip. That would be something close to one quarter of all Americans over 50 having an artificial hip!

What is going on? Frankly, I think most people - even physicians - just aren't looking at these numbers and thinking them through. I can make the argument that a typical human hip only lasts 50 to 90 years, and that medical science has found a way to fix this problem. I don't see any evidence to support that argument. Alternatively, I can argue that we are in the midst of an epidemic of skeletal degeneration diseases. I happen to believe that this argument is supported by data.

The older I get, the less interested I am in theory and argument, and the more interested I am in facts, common sense, and personal responsibility. It is an uncontroversial fact that number of total hip replacement surgeries rises every year. It is a fact that it takes a long time to recover from hip replacement surgery. It is a fact that vitamins are needed to maintain the health of bones, including the hip. It is a fact that pain precedes hip replacement surgery by many years. If you are experiencing the early symptoms of hip deterioration, there's lots to gain and nothing to lose by giving vitamins a try. Here's all you need to do:

1) Get into a bathing suit and lie in the sun at noontime for just five minutes on most sunny days (2.5 minutes on each side)
2) Taking a 10,000 IU vitamin A supplement once per week
3) Take one or two thiamine supplements (preferably enteric coated TTFD) per week
4) Take one or two 250 mg time release niacin supplements per week
5) Take 1000 to 4000 mg/day of vitamin C

Again, if you are experiencing early symptoms of hip deterioration, you've much to gain and little to lose by giving the vitamins a try.

Sadly, it's easy to ask people to get into a bathing suit and lie in the sun for five minutes, and difficult to accomplish. Undressing at noon to lie in the sun simply isn't done. I'm no optimistic about solving this problem, and expect to see continuing increases in hip replacement surgery.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vitamins and Antibiotic Treatment for Chronic Disease

In my experience, mainstream medicine acts inside the following paradigms:

1) Chronic, non-infectious diseases do not involve bacteria
2) Vitamins beyond 1 RDA can not prevent or cure disease

Both paradigms are currently unsupportable. By definition, following a paradigm is not malpractice. If you're inside a paradigm, you can't know. I'm confident that if physicians were trained to use vitamins, they would find them to be invaluable tools. The best example I have found supporting my view is Abbott Labs baby formulas. Abbott has recently introduced a special formula for pre-term infants called NeoSure. The new formula almost doubles vitamin doses vs. the other formulas. A controlled trial showed that pre-term babies gained more weight on NeoSure vs. ordinary formula.

Lyme disease, ulcers, arthritis, and specific rare cancers are all examples of diseases that mainstream medicine treats with antibiotics.

Vitamins and antibiotics are safe. If you're not feeling well, in addition to going to the doctor, there's much to gain and almost nothing to lose by giving antibiotics and vitamins a try. If the treatment restores your health, then you have no more reason to visit the doctor and undergo testing to justify the use of relatively dangerous prescription drugs. If the treatment doesn't restore your health, nothing has been lost, and you can proceed with testing, prescription drugs, and/or surgery knowing that inexpensive, safe, and effective antibiotics and vitamins will not solve your health problems. Very often it will be the case that the vitamins and antibiotics improve, but do not completely restore health. In many cases, the antibiotics, vitamins, prescription drugs, and surgery all working together will provide a full cure.

If you're not feeling well, here's a strategy:

1) Attack any difficult to detect bacterium with an antibiotic like tetracycline meant to attack mycobacteria
2) Boost the immune system with extra vitamins
3) Accelerate wound healing with extra vitamin C and niacin
4) Start the tests necessary to diagnosis the cause of your problem and to justify the use of drugs and/or surgery

There's much to gain and little to lose by giving this strategy a try.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Overdosing on Vitamin A: Side Effects, Toxicity, Symptoms, Poisoning

We are living amidst an epidemic of chronic diseases: hypertension, osteoporosis, cavities, heart disease, and cancer. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that vitamin deficiency and hard-to-detect bacterial infections (think Lyme disease)play an important, if not predominant, role.

When I go to see my doctors with an emerging problem, I almost never like their treatment plan. My plan is to treat first with safe antibiotics and vitamins - even before testing. Why should I put up with inconvenient, and often actually risky, medical testing when safe treatment with vitamins and antibiotics first is an option. If the emerging problem doesn't respond to vitamins and antibiotics, then I'm all for moving on to high technology testing and drugs.

My plan depends upon the safety of vitamins and antibiotics. This is why I'm somewhat obsessed by information on the subject. Due to the dangers, vitamin A is the last megavitamin that I've used personally to shore up my poor immunity to viral respiratory infections.

Used carefully, vitamin A, like all the vitamins, is incredibly safe. There is no evidence to suggest that use of vitamin A supplements or vitamin A rich foods can reduce life expectancy. The dangerous problems caused by massive overdoses typically cause no long term harm. Reducing vitamin A dose to 1 RDA results in a complete recovery in most cases.

It was only last year that I went shopping on the internet for vitamin A supplements. Of the hundreds of supplements I found for sale, the overwhelming majority contained 10,000 IU or less. 10,000 IU is just twice the RDA for vitamin A. For me, a super experienced vitamin side effect analyst, this was strong evidence that even 10,000 IU supplements were sure to cause most people side effects with chronic use.

I have not found myself to be particularly sensitive to vitamins. I've generally been able to take many times the RDA without side effects. It's a good thing I was expecting side effects from vitamin A.

The best reference I know of concerning vitamin side effects is Hausman's "The Right Dose - How to Take Vitamins and Minerals Safely". Here's what she says," The 25,000 IU limit cited by the American Academy of Pediatrics is the simplest of these guidelines. Most nutritionists, I believe, would endorse it as sound. Of course, teenaged James, mentioned earlier, could not tolerate even this dose. He was an exception rather than the rule, and experience does show that many adults can tolerate substantially more than the 25,000 IU limit that nutritionists offer as a rough rule of thumb."

Hausman's book is awesome, and her analysis is flawless. It's just probably wrong. I don't enjoy telling all the experts that they are wrong. I hope they are right and I am wrong. But in this case I really really doubt I'm wrong. If problems from 10,000 IU tablets weren't common, why on earth wouldn't their be consumer demand for higher doses? Vitamin A is incredibly important, yet few people take pure vitamin A supplements, and of those few who do, very very very few of them take >10,000 IU/day. I'm not used to making such an unscientific case, but I'm sticking with this one. Once again the establishment is wrong. When the data is in, it will show that most people will refuse to take 10,000 IU/day vitamin A supplements because of the resulting discomforts.

For me, side effects emerged almost immediately. I never made it up to 10,000 IU/day. I don't think I took more than four 10,000 IU gelcaps in one week before I suspected that vitamin A was causing problems. The troubles were nervous system symptoms and bad feelings. To be specific, the quality of my sleep started to deteriorate - I just didn't feel good when I woke up. When I got up at night, I felt a bit off balance. The psychiatric symptoms included irritability and an increased tendency towards frustration.

This is not at all what I had expected from reading Hausman. But when I went back, I found this sentence, "The patient arrived complaining that, for about six months, he had felt as if some unknown force was pushing him forward. He reported some trouble in keeping his balance..."

I have no doubt that if I went to see the Doctor, I'd get as many tests as I would tolerate and all would come back negative. I might be wrong, but I have no doubt. These circumstances drive scientists crazy. They have to base their conclusions based on patient reports, and patient reports are notoriously unreliable.

So - here's my view of what to look out for:

1) poor sleep, night sweating, just feeling warmer than usual in bed
2) anxiety, irritability
3) imbalance, disorientation
4) loss of appetite
5) ringing ears
6) uneasiness, insecurity

Given my list, it's small wonder that vitamin A is not a wildly popular supplement.

I'm unsettled by my conclusions. Lots of multivitamins are formulated with >2000 IU of vitamin A. Taken every day, that's >14,000 IU/week. I had trouble after just a few weeks at no more than 30,000 IU/week. I never imagined that I'd be concerned that a harmless multivitamin could cause psychiatric problems.

The older I get, the less comfortable I am with multivitamins. I don't take them anymore because I get lots of sunshine which has made me sensitive to the vitamin D in the multivitamins. Now I know that the vitamin A in a multivitamin can also cause me problems. TTFD, a fat-soluble form of vitamin B1, is a superior form of vitamin B1 that is not used yet by multivitamin companies. So I have to buy that and take it separately. I also don't think that vitamins are something that are best taken in a regularly daily dose. When I'm sick, I need more. When I'm healthy, I need less. When I'm busy, I don't want to bother. When I make the effort to take a supplement, I'd like it to have the maximum positive effect for the maximum length of time.

I'll end repeating the good news. Nothing particularly bad happened to me. I stopped taking the vitamin A and the minor troubles I was having faded away in just a few days. My psychiatric symptoms were plenty unpleasant to persuade me to stop taking vitamin A well before any real toxicity emerges. In really high doses (like a single dose of 300,000 to 1,000,000 IU's), vitamin A causes severe headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and peeling of the skin. Reactions like that are almost unheard of because lesser problems motivate stopping the supplements long before acute doses are reached. So, nothing really bad can happen from taking a standard vitamin A supplement. You just want to know that if you're not feeling like yourself and are taking vitamin A, it's a good idea to stop and see if the vitamin is the problem. I know from readers that it's maddening to take a vitamin supplement for months or years that are causing these kinds of problems before figuring out it is the vitamin. Physicians are no help. They can't detect any problems and won't blame vitamin A. They'll say it's in your head and prescribe medications!

Actually I'll end extolling the virtues of vitamin A. Vitamin A is incredibly powerful. It plays an important role in almost everything! It has outstanding warning properties (that's what this column is about). If it's not hurting you, trust me it's helping you. Take it. Learn what the side effects feel like. Then when a chronic health problem pops up, take some more and see if it helps.

Here's to your health.

Steve

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Vitamins and Wound Healing: Conventional Wisdom is Just Plain Dumb!

When you or someone in your care gets hurt badly enough to cause temporary disability, actions alone can not be the optimum treatment. My daughter recently sprained her wrist badly. She was prescribed RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Not a word on nutrition. I don't know the answer. Really - I don't have any data indicating what is the best treatment for wound healing, and I'm sure it varies alot depending on the wound. There are lots of ways of getting hurt. I'm certain, however, that nutrition can help. For years I've recommended vitamin C and niacin for wound healing. But when I took on the task of helping my daughter, I came back from the grocery store with lots of supplements: calcium/magnesium/zinc, chondroitin/glucosamine, vitamin C, B-50 B-complex, and niacin. There were many others that indicated they might be helpful for healing. Many of these products were developed to support wounded joints, and have staffs of physician researchers standing behind them. The idea that nothing - just RICE - is optimal and that none of these supplements are helpful is one that no thinking scientist would stand behind. At the turn of the 20th century, most colleges still did not accept the atomic theory. Once trained, many adults will never change their minds. They simply have to die. Many of today's physicians will never change their ways - no matter the evidence. They'll just have to retire. Until they do, you'll get the treatment they learned years ago and you will not benefit from recent research.

This situation makes me crazy. No one really stands behind today's standard of care, but no one is acting to develop a new standard of care. So - if you want to treat a wound with supplements, you're on your own. This situation is not stable. It will change. But too late for those suffering now.

Steve

Prevent Cancer with Vitamins and Antibiotics: Vitamins A, B1, B3, C, and Sunshine

I rarely write about cancer because the relationship between cancer and vitamins is obscure at best. My impression is that cancer patients are more willing to experiment with vitamins than patients with other conditions. Over all, it seems to me that there is strong support for the idea that vitamins increase the survival time between the onset of cancer and death. But that's cold comfort if you have cancer. There are many reports of vitamins causing spectacular cancer cures, but the effect is not general. You have to be extremely lucky for vitamins to cure your cancer.

I hope I'm not the first person to write my next words. That said, despite extensive reading and networking, I came to this realization on my own - not through reading.

I believe the dominant causes of cancer are common chronic diseases. Carcinogens, of course, also cause cancer. The good thing about known carcinogens is that you can know if you've been exposed to them or not. It's the link between chronic disease and cancer that I've heard little about. Turns out, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, cavities, osteoporosis, and sleep disorders are all known to be linked to higher cancer risk. Cancer caused by cavities and osteoporosis is particularly unappreciated. Few people take teeth cavities seriously. Most consider cavities to be a normal part of aging. In fact, before the advent of modern antibiotics, cavities were a life threatening condition. Dentists do not cure cavities - they remove cavities. Most people with osteoporosis don't even know they have it. Advanced x-ray techniques that are still not regularly used indicate that osteoporosis (or osteopenia) is astonishingly common. The sad truth is that few adults over the age of 40 (and at much much higher risk of cancer than individuals <30) are in outstandingly good health. Way more than half of adults over 40 are taking one or more prescription medications for a chronic condition. A large fraction of the remainder have cavities or osteopenia, are obese, have trouble sleeping, have troulbe with hormones, or have some other health problem not typically treated with a drug. How many of the lucky few in excellent health are diagnosed with cancer as their very first health problem? I'm sure there are a few - but I'm certain a much lower percentage of this population contracts cancer.

Vitamins clearly prevent and reverse a number of the common chronic conditions associated with increased cancer risk. The most prevalent of these conditions that vitamins and antibiotics not only prevent, but reverse, are osteoporosis and heart disease. So - if you're in excellent health, this column is great news. You have less reason to fear cancer. Everyone else has more reason to be afraid, and even more incentive to give vitamins and antibiotics a try.

Here's the simple antibiotic/vitamin protocol:

an antibiotic like tetracycline continued for at least one month
regular full-body sunshine as close as possible to noon
2000 mg of vitamin C two, three, or four times per day (more so long as you remain comfortable)
10,000 IU vitamin A pills, twice per week
250 mg time release niacin once per day
One per day 50 mg tablet of enteric coated TTFD (a special thiamine supplement)
One B-50 B-complex tablet twice per week

The antibiotic needs to be obtained from a physician. Sunshine is the biggest pain in the neck. I lie about one minute face down, face up, and on each side (4 minutes total) at the summer solstice (UV index 9 at latitude 40) and 4 minutes on each side at winter solstice (UV index 3). If you refuse to get in the sun, it is possible to use sunlamps. You should be able to get help at a tanning salon. Some salons can tune their lamps to get you maximum vitamin D in a minimal amount of time with minimal tanning (not the usual request, but they can do it). You can also take vitamin D supplements - but these are un natural and frequently cause uncomfortable side effects. If you choose the supplements, I recommend 4000 IU/day for effectiveness. Any more runs a really high risk of bad side effects. Any less runs a really high risk of being ineffective. I don't like the supplements because even 4000 IU/day runs a really high risk of side effects as the weeks and months go by.

If this treatment isn't obviously working after one month, it will not work and should be discontinued. If it is obviously working, you need a strategy to finish the treatment. I believe it will be rare to need the antibiotics for more than 3 months. The following doses of vitamins are typically more than sufficient to maintain good health in the absence of environmental insults (which occur far more frequently than we would like in the form of viruses, bacteria, and injuries).

the sunbathing I recommend but just once a week is enough
2000 mg vitamin C every day
250 mg time release niacin once per week
10,000 IU vitamin A once per week
50 mg enteric coated TTFD once per week
One half of a B-50 B complex tablet twice per week

If you among the majority of adults over 40 suffering from osteoporosis, osteopenia, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, poor mental health, and/or a sleep disorder, you have much to gain and little to lose by giving vitamins and antibiotics a try. Each day you live with conditions, the odds go up that you'll be diagnosed with cancer.

Steve