Posts Tagged vitamin D

Vitamin D. What now!!!!

Posted by on Wednesday, 1 December, 2010



Not that long ago, the well respected journal, Science Ain’t So Bad, wrote an article about vitamin D (IF YOU ONLY TOOK ONE PILL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?) It was a fine article. Thoughtful, carefully researched, and well balanced. It weighed the available information which boiled down to it’s being a pretty good idea for most people to take some vitamin D. Especially if they don’t get  much sun.  SASB’s article quoted  Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health who felt that 1000 IU might be a decent dose.

Today’s paper had a new report from a panel of  the Institute of Medicine which dismissed all that unscientific crapola about how D’s good fer this ‘n good fer that. Let’s stay focused, the panel said, on what we really know. Most people do get enough of the stuff for their bones. Let’s not get crazy, said the panel.

Now what?

What you’re watching is the Ballet de Science. In Act I you saw the advocates on stage. They were all excited about the results of numerous studies, many of them preliminary, that seemed to show a) that many people are kinda deficient in the “sunshine” vitamin and b) vitamin D offers protection against lots of bad stuff.


Now we’re watching Act II. In this act, some fancy panel reviews all the data, gets  huffy about the some of the more outlandish claims, and sounds alarmed about the ever increasing minimum requirements which were up to 5000 IU according to some authorities.

Here’s the thing. Some elements in the “scientific community” are conservative, others are bold.  The pendulum swings.

What now?

Was all that stuff about stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, depression, pain, and – was it acne? – nonsense? Probably not. But, as the public got more interested in vitamin D, so did food producers. It’s showing up in a lot of the things we’re eating. If you’re getting it in your cereal AND swallowing pills, it really could be too much. And, while there’s no great evidence that high doses of D are bad, there are hints. Besides, there IS such a thing as too much of anything. Yer not gonna take a WHOLE bottle of aspirin for a headache, are you?

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad‘s not sure either, but the suggested guidelines from the panel aren’t all that far from what readers of this blog have believed were reasonable anyway (showing how smart you are to stay tuned to this channel). Maybe a little common sense and moderation works here as it does in most things. If you’re a senior citizen or live up north (or live down south but work nights or are a vampire – let’s not forget vampires) take some D but don’t be a nut case. A few hundred IUs are probably enough in most cases. Just be reasonable. OK?

Attribution for above image (as modified by Science Ain’t So Bad) : By U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Happiness Pill

Posted by on Monday, 8 March, 2010

Take Your D

If You Only Took One Pill, What Would It Be?

Posted by on Monday, 1 February, 2010

Take THAT!

Nutrition: The Everything Pill!


For the elderly, it helps sharpen memory and reduces falls.

It’s effective against  chron’s disease and cancer and PMS and gum disease.

It  helps with insomnia and prevents  skeletal defects.

And, by the way, it also works against stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, depression, pain, ,  cardiac disease and can defend against multiple sclerosis.

Let’s see. What else?

Oh.  You know about telomeres, the little twisty ties at the end of chromosomes which keep them from falling apart? This thing I’m describing protects the twisty ties and  slows down the aging process. Pretty good, huh?

I’ll skip the rest of the benefits (there  are more). You get my point.

Just got a telegram from a reader who  says: “You’re full of CRAP! And, even if such a thing DID exist, I couldn’t afford it and the side effects would  melt me”.

Dear Reader

Just hold yer water there, Dear Reader.

Let’s start with price.

You can buy it over-the-counter for less than 2 cents a pill and it’s FDA approved.

As far as side effects are concerned, none I can find unless you stuff so many down your gullet that you choke. Or overdose. And I’m not even sure you CAN overdose. There’s some controversy as to whether there  is a toxic level. If there is, it takes a systematic effort over a long time to build it up in your body fat.  In other words, you really gotta try.

Enough with the long run up. I guess you’ll be surprised to learn that “it”  is vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.”

The Clues

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad tries to stay on top of relevant news.

Keeps him busy.

While skimming through the blizzard of buzz about science and technology, I  began to  notice studies about vitamin D which were related to all KINDS of things like stroke, chron’s, multiple sclerosis, and on and on, and on..

This is a LITTLE blog.  A one- guy-when-he-has-a-chance-to-write blog.  I can’t comment on everything so I look for things that’re the most useful or relevant or interesting or amusing.

Nobody wants to hear about vitamins and minerals. I’m not yer mother.

But the articles and studies kept coming  until, FINALLY, I started to get the picture. This isn’t just a pill. This is a PILL!


The “crept up on us” factor

“D” was “discovered” in 1905 ( William Fletcher). Before that, remedies for rickets and scurvy (deficiency diseases) were recognized, consisting of  certain foods that we now know were D – rich.

By the modern era, sailors were smart enough to avoid scurvy by keeping a few oranges around (after there was a way to keep them cool). Course the issue became kinda moot when steam engines made  ocean crossings shorter.

We were conquering D deficiency.

Then we got REALLY smart.

We discovered that the sun can cause skin cancer and we started wearing big hats. And sun block. And watching flat screen TV’s.


And now, one in seven teens is deficient in vitamin D (even by traditional measures).  And it’s starting to sound like much of the population needs a D tune up (in part because of the recognition that the prior minimum daily dose was insufficient for all its possible uses).

How much?

Many of the benefits of D that are discussed here are pretty new and the entire question of how much is enough is under review. Walter Willett’s a smart guy as well as the chairman of the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department Of Nutrition. He says 1000 IU might be about right.

An extra orange or a tangerine in the morning couldn’t do you any harm either.

– – – – – – — –  A PostScript – – – – – – – –

An article by Tara Parker-Pope in the New York Times this morning, observing the claimed wide ranging benefits for vitamin D, throws (possible) scientific cold water at it. Where are the randomized clinical trials? These are mere correlations. Correlations aren’t NECESSARILY cause and effect. Maybe staying healthy RAISES levels of vitamin D.

Science can be SUCH  a BUMMER!

Take your D.