Great Article About Vitamin D.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by petemora, Sep 20, 2008.

  1. petemora

    petemora Member

    I read this in the Minneapolis Star Tribune this morning. Lots of great information:

    Minnesota's own evangelist is using the nutrient to teach a different approach to medicine.


    Last update: September 20, 2008 - 11:47 PM

    The young man was back in the hospital again. Flare-ups from his sickle-cell disease have put him there repeatedly over the years, and he’s only 25.

    This time, though, something was different. Sunlight streamed across his bed as Dr. Greg Plotnikoff held his hand and gently asked if the new pills were working.
    “I’m feeling stronger,” the patient said, nodding eagerly.

    It wasn’t the newest pharmaceutical that brightened the young African immigrant’s eyes with hope. It was what Plotnikoff heralds as the single most cost-effective medical intervention in America today: Good old-fashioned vitamin D.

    There is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, especially among the obese, the elderly and dark-skinned people living in the sun-deprived north. In fact, most Minnesotans are likely deficient in winter, unless they take supplements, because they live too far north to get enough vitamin D from the sun.

    Deficiencies have been linked to 17 kinds of cancer, autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, heart disease, depression and ADHD. In fact, there is almost nothing that vitamin D can’t help, and that’s Plotnikoff’s point. It reduces death. It reduces pain. It reduces illness. And it’s free from the sun.

    If vitamin D is the nutrient of the decade, Plotnikoff is one of its most passionate evangelists. He is the new medical director of the Institute for Health and Healing, the integrative medical clinic at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.

    Plotnikoff says he is obsessed with vitamin D. But his passion is really about something much more profound for doctors, patients and a public overwhelmed by the cost of illness and a dysfunctional health care system. Sometimes it’s the little things like vitamin D, he says, that can make a huge difference in the nation’s health.

    “He’s not selling something,” said his friend and colleague, Dr. Paul Goering, a psychiatrist at United Hospital in St. Paul. “He’s trying to inspire how you make change. And that’s much more exciting than this hopeless thing of health care is too costly and we can’t afford it.”

    A new approach

    Plotnikoff, 47, is an unassuming evangelist for public health. Usually wearing a dark blue suit and striped tie, he sometimes puts his palms together and bows slightly, a gracious habit learned during four years of studying herbal medicine in Japan.

    He admits he sees every patient through the prism of vitamin D. In August, for example, he met with Kari Helling and her doctors. She was in the hospital for an inflammatory bowel disease — also linked to vitamin D deficiency. He suggested they test her level. When it came back low, he advised prescribing 4,000 International Units per day.

    “It was very interesting to be in a room with very pragmatic surgeons who think a colon is a colon,” Helling said. “When he raised the issue of vitamin D, it kind of fell flat.”

    In the end, her doctor gave her far less than Plotnikoff recommended, she said. But she’s been taking 2,000 units a day on her own — far more than the 400 units that has been the standard for decades.

    A note of caution: It is extremely difficult, but not impossible, to take too much vitamin D, experts say. Adults would have to consume 2,000 units or more a day for a long time. But too much could trigger too much calcium absorption, causing kidney stones.

    Far more likely is the possibility of deficiency.
    “The majority of physicians still believe that in the 21st century, Americans could not possibly be vitamin D deficient,” Plotnikoff said. “We are an advanced society. No one could be deficient.”

    Plotnikoff looks for every opportunity to spread his message. He gives talks about vitamin D at community meetings, medical conferences, on TV and the radio.
    His own eureka moment with vitamin D occurred in the late 1990s when he was a primary care doctor at the University of Minnesota’s community clinic. His patients were mostly poor, many immigrants with darker skin from countries where the sun shines a lot more than it does in Minnesota.

    “I was frustrated by their chronic pain, goofy chronic pain that was disabling people,” he said. He would prescribe treatments that didn’t work very well or that his patients couldn’t afford.

    “To be a good doctor you have to go beyond medical training and find the answer,” said Plotnikoff, who went to divinity school before he went to medical school at the U.

    He came across an article that said that immigrant women were frequently vitamin D deficient. He measured it in 150 of his own patients who complained of pain.

    “I was shocked,” Plotnikoff said. “Ninety-three percent were vitamin D deficient. Five people had unmeasurable levels. One woman came to him with six pages of complaints — everything from “squishy” headaches to throbbing gums. Six months after he prescribed supplements “they had all cleared,” he said. “She had her life back.”

    He wrote up his findings for a small medical journal and left for Japan. His article, published in 2003 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, caused a bit of a stir in medical circles. It was the first in the United States to connect vitamin D deficiency to chronic pain in a wide range of patients. In the four years he spent in Japan, he received e-mails about it from around the world every week.

    By the time he returned last year, vitamin D had become the “it” vitamin. Study after study connected deficiencies to everything from multiple sclerosis and diabetes to cancer and heart disease. Last month, the American Medical Association urged the Food and Drug Administration to up its dietary recommendation of 400 International Units per day.

    Nutrient from the sun

    For decades, Vitamin D was valued primarily for its ability to help the body absorb calcium for strong bones — hence its addition to milk. But it’s now understood that its job is much bigger.

    It regulates hundreds of genes, especially those associated with cell growth. That’s why, researchers believe, it reduces cancer, slows cell death and regulates immune cells. Almost every living thing on Earth depends on it.

    But unlike other vitamins that come from food, vitamin D comes primarily from the sun. UVB rays are absorbed by melanin in the skin. People with darker skin are less able to absorb vitamin D, so when Africans move north, for example, they are at far greater risk of deficiency. Plotnikoff’s patient with sickle-cell had almost no measurable levels of vitamin D in his blood.

    The vitamin D epidemic has evolved largely because we now spend far more time inside than outside. When we do go outside, we often cover up or use sunscreen. It is, sadly, “an indictment of our way of life,” Plotnikoff said. But this epidemic has a cheap and breathtakingly simple solution — awareness, for starters.

    Plotnikoff urges “safe sunning,” which means no burning. In winter, when no one who lives in Minnesota can get enough from the sun, most everyone should take supplements. To be sure you’re getting enough, he said, ask your doctor to do a blood test.

    The payoff, he believes, is much bigger than ending an epidemic. It’s a bridge to a different medical philosophy altogether, one that embraces health, not disease, and the patient, not the treatment.

    “This is what gets me going,” he said. “It does not require physician expertise. True primary care is self care.”
  2. JoaneWing

    JoaneWing New Member

    I just found out I am deficient in vitamins B12 and D.
    My DR. wants to give me 50,000 units of vitamin D and I think that is entirely too much. Especially since I am allergic to practically everything. I am looking for a new Dr!
    Good luck to all of you,
  3. Beadlady

    Beadlady Member

    too. The test said I was at 26 and my dr says the goal is to get me up to 60-70.

    My dr has prescribed Vit D 50,000 IU weekly for 8 weeks and then 1 pill every other week

    Wants me to be re-tested in 3 months

    I haven't been able to get to Walmart to pick up my scripts but I did buy a bottle of 400 IU D 3 and have been taking 2 a day to at least get it started in my system.

    I certainly hope this helps me to feel better.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/21/2008]
  4. petemora

    petemora Member

    I take 1000 units of Vitamin D3 and 1000 units of Energy Plus B-12.

    Both purchased from this site. Runs me about $5/month.

    Everything else I take (Lyrica, Lexapro, Ambien, melatonin) basically help me to cope. The Cymbalta I recently started and Vitamin D3 and B12 actually help to make me feel BETTER....
  5. tansy

    tansy New Member

    01 Nov 2008

    It's no wonder many people feel achy and sore, and sometimes tired and depressed, during winter months they're often not getting enough vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from the sun's ultraviolet rays, so it's known as the sunshine vitamin, but this source is in short supply throughout late fall and winter.

    According to an extensive review of clinical research in a report from Pain Treatment Topics (, inadequate vitamin D has been linked to a long list of painful maladies, including bone and joint pain, muscle aches, fibromyalgia syndrome, rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis, and other complaints. Lack of vitamin D also has been implicated in the mood disturbances of chronic fatigue syndrome and seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, which are more common during winter.

    Author of the report and editor of Pain Treatment Topics, Stewart B. Leavitt, MA, PhD, notes that for many people sunshine is not an ample source of vitamin D during most of the year and the few foods containing the vitamin do not provide enough of it. "In our review of 22 clinical research studies persons with various pain and fatigue syndromes almost always lacked vitamin D, especially during winter months. When sufficient vitamin D supplementation was provided, the aches, pains, weakness, and related problems in most sufferers either vanished or were at least helped to a significant degree."

    The report mentions the following important points:

    -- Vitamin D is a complex nutrient that actually functions as a hormone to benefit numerous body tissues and organs, including bones, muscles, and nerves.

    -- A surprising majority of persons in many parts of the world, including the United States, do not get enough vitamin D from sunshine or foods.

    -- The currently recommended adequate intake of vitamin D up to 400 IU per day in children and 600 IU per day in adults is outdated and too low. According to the research, most children and adults need at least 1000 IU per day, and persons with bone or muscle aches and pains could benefit from 2000 IU or more per day of supplemental vitamin D3 (also called cholecalciferol), especially during winter months.

    -- Vitamin D supplements are generally safe if taken as directed. They interact with very few drugs or other agents, and are usually not harmful unless very high daily doses such as, 50,000 IU or more are taken for an extended period of time.

    -- Vitamin D supplements are easy to take, usually have no side effects, and typically cost as little as 7 to 10 cents per day.

    Besides the comprehensive Research Report (50-pages, 170 references) -- titled "Vitamin D A Neglected 'Analgesic' for Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain" -- there is available a shorter Practitioner Briefing (7-pages) that summarizes the report and provides guidance for healthcare providers. Additionally, a special Patient Brochure (6-pages) explains what vitamin D is, how it works, and how it can help in relieving aches and pains.

    All 3 documents are available for free access at:

    In conclusion, Leavitt stresses that vitamin D should not be viewed as a cure for all pain conditions, and it is not necessarily a replacement for other pain-relief treatments. "While further research would be helpful," he says, "extra vitamin D should be considered for all persons in late fall or early winter, and especially for those who have developed aches and pains, or fatigue and mood disorders."

    The website, a project of Pain Treatment Topics, provides open and free access to noncommercial, evidence-based clinical news, information, research, and education on the causes and effective treatment of the many types of pain conditions. It is independently produced and currently supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Covidien/Mallinckrodt Inc., St. Louis, MO, a leading manufacturer of generic opioid analgesic products.

    NOTE: Neither the author nor the sponsor has any financial interests in vitamin D products or the nutritional supplement field.

    Article URL:
  6. hensue

    hensue New Member

    How has it helped you? can you tell i have to much b12 is that possible? I am going to start d3 after i talk to rheumy i live in south ga right on ga fla line. so who knows right?
    thanks for your input

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