Saturday, May 9, 2009


"Hello Paul's wife. This is your (and Paul's) doctor. I got some more test results and it looks like you are bit light on your vitamin D. Take supplements and let's retest in 3 months. By the way, how is Paul?"

This is the message (more or less) that I got on our answering machine when I returned home from SF yesterday. Apparently I am in the very low normal range for vitamin D in my blood and need to address. So, hypochondriac that I am, I go to the internet to see what I possibly could have in the way of disease that would cause this condition. First, the internet instructs, as I have also read in articles, that supplements are not the best way to get vitamin D. One scientific article even said that supplements were counterproductive if the cause of deficiency is disease rather than lack of exposure to sunshine or other sources of vitamin D. Getting more sunshine seemed to be the recommended course to boost low levels of D. So I thought to myself whether I have been out in the sun less than I had been in past years and concluded that possibly I am a bit more house and office bound these days than I have been. On the other hand, I walk at the beach about 5 days a week so I would have thought that would balance out my eating in my office most days and relaxing at home on the weekends. In any event, melanoma be damned. I am going to get out more and get some rays.

Next I started looking at some of the diseases that might cause the deficiencies and symptoms. Celiac disease seemed likely except for the weight loss part. Kidney disease was another interesting possibility except all my other blood levels are normal. Perhaps it is medication I am taking. Well, the list of meds that supposedly lowers vitamin D levels did not include the 2 meds I take so on to another possibility. How about age? Older people according to the internet sites I visited have lower levels of D. But when they say older they do not mean AARP eligible. The studies said 65 and older which of course excludes me.

So I am at a loss. Of a cause as well as vitamin D in my blood. I guess I will follow the doctor's advice and take a supplement and try to get a bit more sun. Not the worst course of treatment to have to follow.

ADDENDUM I did a bit more research on the internet and found a website by a group that claims 501(c) status and champions the increase of vitamin D for health. According to this website, I may have Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome (!!!!) and need a combo of sunlight, supplements and food with vitamin D. It recommends 1000 IUs a day. My doctor said 800 IUs. At first I thought this website was a shill for vitamin manufacturers but upon closer inspection I am less sure.
I also found an article about the treatment of fatigue and pain with Vitamin D. Did you know vitamin D is more accurately called a prohormone and may affect the function of up to 1000 different genes.

Finally, according to another article I am in the prime age group to begin experiencing vitamin D deficiency and with dire consequences:

Lack of adequate vitamin D in older adults has been linked to osteoporosis, depression, some cancers (including those of the breast, colon, rectum, ovary, kidney, lung and uterus), multiple sclerosis, type I diabetes and, most recently, heart disease. Recent studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D double the chances of someone having a heart attack or stroke. An inadequate supply of vitamin D has also been shown to be responsible as a cause of generalized muscle pain and weakness.

There you have it. Much more vitamin D is in the cards for me.

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