Vitamin D, D2 & D3 - AnabolicMinds.com

Vitamin D, D2 & D3

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    Vitamin D, D2 & D3


    How to react to my test results, I am totally missing D2
    my multi contains Vit D3(as cholecalciferol) 800iu
    separately I take
    Vit D3 (no more details here)-1000iu
    Bone Restore -Vit D3(as cholecalciferol) 1000iu

    what about food I eat, nothing there?
    LEF had, but no more (wonder why they do not carry D2):
    Vitamin D2 2000 Iu Nutraceutical

    ---------------------------------------------
    My test results:
    Vitamin D, 25-OH, Total=72 (20-100) ng/mL
    Vitamin D, 25-OH, D3=72ng/mL
    Vitamin D, 25-OH, D2<4ng/mL
    -------------------------------------------
    I found this Quest/Nichols Institute web page
    http://www.nicholsinstitute.com/Endo...SSheet%20C.pdf

    Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy LC/MS/MS
    Independently identifies and reports Vitamin D2, 25-Hydroxy and Vitamin D3, 25-Hydroxy

    LIQUID CHROMATOGRAPHY TANDEM MASS SPECTROMETRY (LC/MS/MS)
    • Provides highly sensitive detection of vitamin D
    • Improved specificity due to direct measurement of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3
    • Reduced anxiety time for your patients: assay performed 5 days/week and reports next day
    • Consultation on complex cases available
    Ultra-Specific with Triple Selection
    Traditional enzyme immunoassays (EIA) and radioimmunoassays (RIA) are less sensitive than LC/MS/MS and provide a measurement of total vitamin D only. Moreover, immunoassays sometimes underestimate the level of vitamin D because they have diminished cross-reactivity with vitamin D2. This is especially important when monitoring patients being treated with vitamin D2 supplements. Since our LC/MS/MS method independently quantitates both vitamin D2 and D3, the test results can be correlated with the supplemental dosage of either vitamin D2 or D3. Quest Diagnostics’ LC/MS/MS also requires lower sample volume than other methods.
    HOW IS IT USED?
    • Measurement of circulating levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) is important in the diagnosis of intestinal malabsorption and vitamin D deficiency or intoxication.
    • Measurement of the 2 forms of vitamin D (vitamin D2 and vitamin D3) is important when monitoring vitamin D supplementation, since both forms are available in supplements.

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    Hmm. Odd.

    Perhaps you are converting all of your D2 very efficiently? In any case, perhaps use cod liver oil or just plain old sunlight thrown in the mix to even things out.

    But honestly, I don't even know how important D2 levels are since most of the talk and research is focused on D3 being the active form.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bioman View Post
    Hmm. Odd.

    Perhaps you are converting all of your D2 very efficiently? In any case, perhaps use cod liver oil or just plain old sunlight thrown in the mix to even things out.

    But honestly, I don't even know how important D2 levels are since most of the talk and research is focused on D3 being the active form.
    Bottom line--- am I missing D2 ????

    Possibly is not that bad, reading the words in red.
    Sunlight---->D3
    But I still cant get over that LEF discontinued D2 supplements.

    Le Magazine May 2007 - Report: Guarding Against The Dangers Of Vitamin D Deficiency


    Vitamin D Basics
    Vitamin D occurs in nature in two main forms: vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. While vitamin D2 is obtained from plant sources, vitamin D3 can be either obtained through animal sources, supplements, or synthesized in the skin when its precursor molecule absorbs light energy from ultraviolet B rays.83

    In the liver, both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are converted into 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, the primary circulating form of vitamin D. Conversion into its active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, occurs in the kidney. Pharmaceutical drug forms of activated vitamin D include calcitriol, doxercalciferol, and calcipotriene.83

    Supplemental vitamin D is available as vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) or vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D2 is only about 20-40% as effective as D3 in maintaining serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, since it is more rapidly broken down in the body. For this reason, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements are considered more beneficial than vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) supplements.7

    •   
       

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    Horses mouth:

    page 4
    http://www.nicholsinstitute.com/PDF/Interpret.pdf


    Levels of 25OHD3 reflect both endogenous production and
    supplementation, whereas levels of 25OHD2 reflect only exogenous
    sources such as diet or supplementation. 25OHD levels <20 ng/mL
    suggest vitamin D deficiency, while levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL
    suggest insufficiency. In both situations, there is need for intense to
    moderate supplementation. In patients using D2 (ergocalciferol)
    supplementation, 25OHD2 levels ≥4 ng/mL suggest compliance.

    Levels vary with exposure to sunlight, peaking in the summer months
    ============================== ==============
    My results
    Vitamin D, 25-OH, D2<4ng/mL

    so I am short of D2

    how to get D2 supplements?

    (ergocalciferol)

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    Green leafy veggies?

    Honestly, I am stumped.

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    JanSz,

    I tried posting some helpful links about vitamin D, the proper tests to measure your blood level, the correct supplements to take, etc, but since I am a new poster it didn't let me post anything with links in it.

    So I sent it to you as a PM.

    Neil

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    This interchange I paste below might be helpful re: your question about vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is worthless, D3 is what you are looking for. The proper test is the 25-hydrox-D. Neil

    harry -> Chat Lobby: my last vit D blood test, I asked for D3, and they gave me both a D2 and a D3 level. Is this standard, or will you get D2+D3 if you just ask for Vit D without specifying D3?
    2007-06-28 2144 [Message] Dr. Davis -> Chat Lobby: Many labs will include a D2 level along with your 25-OH-vitamin D3. This is a measure to assess compliance with prescription D2--are you taking it or not?
    Dr. Davis -> Chat Lobby: In the vast majority of people who take D3, the D2 level is negligible, often zero.
    harry -> Chat Lobby: no, I'm not taking D2, but my last test showed D3 of 22 and D2 of 7.
    Dr. Davis -> Chat Lobby: Harry--you are severely deficient. We often use doses of 6000-8000 when levels are this low, particularly in summer.
    2007-06-28 21:19:43 [Message] Dr. Davis -> Chat Lobby: You will find that doses of D are higher in winter, lower in summer, with variation dependent mostly on where you live (latitude), what you wear (surface area), and body size (bigger = higher dose).

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    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets View Post
    JanSz,

    I tried posting some helpful links about vitamin D, the proper tests to measure your blood level, the correct supplements to take, etc, but since I am a new poster it didn't let me post anything with links in it.

    So I sent it to you as a PM.

    Neil
    Thank you.
    My test was done at Quest Diagnostics,

    Vitamin D, 25-OH, LC/MS/MS

    But, if I really want to raise my (low) D2, what to do?

    onewaypockets, Neil, try LEF products when supplementing D3, possibly quality of supplements that you have been taking may have played role.

    So others can benefit, here is your post:
    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets
    JanSz,

    Sorry to PM you, I tried posting this to your thread, but I cannot post links since I am a new member...

    It is interesting that you have such high blood levels of D3. Typically men that work outside, like concrete finishers and lifeguards have those kind of levels. Your level of supplementation does not seem high enough to generate those levels. Was your test the proper one, that is the 25-hydrox-D? Be sure it wasn't the 1-25-hydrox-D, that is a test of kidney function.

    Mine was 19ng. I tried taking the recommended D3 (see first link below) of 4,000iu of an oil based supplement, and it went up to 34ng. I am now taking 6,000iu to reach a level of 53ng, and I do get some sun! Somewhere around 50-60 is the recommended range.

    Try these links...if you read/watch all three you will know everything in the world on Vitamin D! lol

    Neil

    The Heart Scan Blog: Oil-based vitamin D


    cool articles
    Vitamin D News

    and if you have a high speed link and an hour of time, Dr. Vieth is one of THE worlds authorities on Vitamin D.

    Prospects for Vitamin D Nutrition

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    Quote Originally Posted by JanSz View Post
    Thank you.
    My test was done at Quest Diagnostics,

    Vitamin D, 25-OH, LC/MS/MS

    But, if I really want to raise my (low) D2, what to do?

    onewaypockets, Neil, try LEF products when supplementing D3, possibly quality of supplements that you have been taking may have played role.

    So others can benefit, here is your post:
    If I understand your question correctly, don't bother supplementing D2 (ergocalciferol). D2 is a labratory invention, a vegan form of vitamin D created for patent purposes (now off patent) and is actually grown from yeast. The natural form of Vitamin D (D3) cannot be patented so there was no money for big pharma to work their "magic" with, but it is this form of the Vitamin, D3 (cholecalciferol), that is the same type that is made in your skin when you get proper exposure to the sun (the sun is not always bad as we were led to believe!). Most commercial D3 oil based supplements are obtained from the lanolin from sheep wool, not something that can be patented. It is also critical that D3 be taken in the form of a soft gel that is oil based, the brands NOW and Healthy Origins, as well as Swanson and Vitamin Shoppe all have the proper types. Unfortunately from what I can see, the Life Extention preparations are all the dry form that Dr. Davis and others say do not work. Dr. Davis is a preventive cardiologist and author of a book titled "Track Your Plaque", and has a very large patient base in Milwaukee. He does vitamin D testing and supplemention on EVERY client of his. He says oil based gels are the only ones that work at all. Some of his patients need only around 2,000iu of an oil based product to restore their blood level to 50ng, others take as much as 8,000-12,000iu. Men and heavy people typically take more, the slender and women generally take less. Blood levels typically are lowest at the end of February due to the lack of sun exposure.

    I view this Dr. Davis of TrackYourPlaque.com, Dr. Cannell of the VitaminDCouncil.com, and Dr. Vieth as the worlds authorities on Vitamin D.

    I cannot post links here until I get to 20 posts, but I can paste a bit on this subject. Most of these quotes are from the doctors I named above.

    "If you take ergocalciferol, or "vegetarian" vitamin D, be warned. Ergocalciferol is not vitamin D, but a vitamin D-like patent drug whose patent has expired. It does not normally occur in the human body and is probably a weak agonist at the receptor site, meaning it may actually partially block vitamin D actions. Ergocalciferol is the villain in most of the reported cases of toxicity in the world's literature. All bets are off in terms of measuring blood levels if you take ergocalciferol. Some of the labs can pick it up, and some can't. Don't take ergocalciferol; it is not vitamin D."

    "By the way, I've seen people taking vitamin D2 preparations, called "ergocalciferol," who are every bit as deficient as those who take no vitamin D at all. Avoid D2 or ergocalciferol preparations: they're worthless."

    "An abundance of current research confirms that breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancer have a strong association with low levels of D and a lack of sunlight. A study reported that adults with higher levels of vitamin D had 50% less risk of colon cancer. Women with low blood levels of vitamin D have been found to be five times more likely to develop breast cancer. In another study, almost half of a group men with advanced prostate cancer had decreased blood levels of vitamin D. "

    "A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking vitamin D3 had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn't take it, a drop so large – twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking – it almost looks like a typographical error.And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day."

    Two new vitamin D studies using a sophisticated form of analysis called meta-analysis, in which data from multiple reports is combined, have revealed new prescriptions for possibly preventing up to half of the cases of breast cancer and two-thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer in the United States. The work was conducted by a core team of cancer prevention specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and colleagues from both coasts.

    The breast cancer study, published online in the current issue of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, pooled dose-response data from two earlier studies - the Harvard Nurses Health Study and the St. George's Hospital Study - and found that individuals with the highest blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, had the lowest risk of breast cancer.

    The researchers divided the 1,760 records of individuals in the two studies into five equal groups, from the lowest blood levels of 25(OH)D (less than 13 nanograms per milliliter, or 13 ng/ml) to the highest (approximately 52 ng/ml). The data also included whether or not the individual had developed cancer.

    "The data were very clear, showing that individuals in the group with the lowest blood levels had the highest rates of breast cancer, and the breast cancer rates dropped as the blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased," said study co-author Cedric Garland, Dr.P.H. "The serum level associated with a 50 percent reduction in risk could be maintained by taking 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily plus, when the weather permits, spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun."

    The colorectal cancer study, published online February 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is a meta-analysis of five studies that explored the association of blood levels of 25(OH)D with risk of colon cancer. All of the studies involved blood collected and tested for 25 (OH)D levels from healthy volunteer donors who were then followed for up to 25 years for development of colorectal cancer.

    As with the breast cancer study, the dose-response data on a total of 1,448 individuals were put into order by serum 25(OH)D level and then divided into five equal groups, from the lowest blood levels to the highest.

    "Through this meta-analysis we found that raising the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 34 ng/ml would reduce the incidence rates of colorectal cancer by half," said co-author Edward D. Gorham, Ph.D. "We project a two-thirds reduction in incidence with serum levels of 46ng/ml, which corresponds to a daily intake of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3. This would be best achieved with a combination of diet, supplements and 10 to 15 minutes per day in the sun."

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    I should add the massive disclaimer that when taking vitamin D3 at the sort of levels we are talking about, blood testing is mandatory. Vitamin D3 can be toxic at doses like these. One person might only "need" a couple of thousand IU daily, another might need much more than that. You can't really tell just by looking at someones weight or gender either, so guess work in dosing would be a mistake.

    Excessive D3 supplementation can lead to inappropriate calcification of your arteries, aorta, etc. Not a pleasant way to go. This is something we are trying to prevent! Interestingly, too little D3 has the same problems, calcification in arteries, etc. So it seems that D3 is one of the principal regulators that keeps calcium rightly in your bones (like your spine and jaw, think tooth loss, and hip fracture when you are an old man) and regulates immune function...so a balance is necessary. And IMO the promises of D3, all the cancer benefits, heart, immune protection even against cold and flu, MS, Alzheimer's, and much more make it worthwhile to pursue even with the hassle of blood testing.

    And of course keep in mind we are only trying to get our blood levels of vitamin D to around 50-60 ng/ml. This is the same level as someone that is trim and gets regular sun exposure outside in a sunny southern climate and has healthy normal levels. Imagine the vitamin D blood level of an overweight (unfavorable skin D3 converting surface area vrs. BMI) cubicle worker with darker skin (does not convert sun well into D3) that lives in Toronto (not much sun most of the year), at the end of February (!!!), and favors heavy clothes....and we wonder why people get cancer???

    Blood testing!

    Neil

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    Indeed, nice work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets View Post
    If I understand your question correctly, don't bother supplementing D2 (ergocalciferol). D2 is a labratory invention, a vegan form of vitamin D created for patent purposes (now off patent) and is actually grown from yeast. The natural form of Vitamin D (D3) cannot be patented so there was no money for big pharma to work their "magic" with, but it is this form of the Vitamin, D3 (cholecalciferol), that is the same type that is made in your skin when you get proper exposure to the sun (the sun is not always bad as we were led to believe!). Most commercial D3 oil based supplements are obtained from the lanolin from sheep wool, not something that can be patented. It is also critical that D3 be taken in the form of a soft gel that is oil based, the brands NOW and Healthy Origins, as well as Swanson and Vitamin Shoppe all have the proper types. Unfortunately from what I can see, the Life Extention preparations are all the dry form that Dr. Davis and others say do not work. Dr. Davis is a preventive cardiologist and author of a book titled "Track Your Plaque", and has a very large patient base in Milwaukee. He does vitamin D testing and supplemention on EVERY client of his. He says oil based gels are the only ones that work at all. Some of his patients need only around 2,000iu of an oil based product to restore their blood level to 50ng, others take as much as 8,000-12,000iu. Men and heavy people typically take more, the slender and women generally take less. Blood levels typically are lowest at the end of February due to the lack of sun exposure.

    I view this Dr. Davis of TrackYourPlaque.com, Dr. Cannell of the VitaminDCouncil.com, and Dr. Vieth as the worlds authorities on Vitamin D.

    I cannot post links here until I get to 20 posts, but I can paste a bit on this subject. Most of these quotes are from the doctors I named above.

    "If you take ergocalciferol, or "vegetarian" vitamin D, be warned. Ergocalciferol is not vitamin D, but a vitamin D-like patent drug whose patent has expired. It does not normally occur in the human body and is probably a weak agonist at the receptor site, meaning it may actually partially block vitamin D actions. Ergocalciferol is the villain in most of the reported cases of toxicity in the world's literature. All bets are off in terms of measuring blood levels if you take ergocalciferol. Some of the labs can pick it up, and some can't. Don't take ergocalciferol; it is not vitamin D."

    "By the way, I've seen people taking vitamin D2 preparations, called "ergocalciferol," who are every bit as deficient as those who take no vitamin D at all. Avoid D2 or ergocalciferol preparations: they're worthless."

    "An abundance of current research confirms that breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancer have a strong association with low levels of D and a lack of sunlight. A study reported that adults with higher levels of vitamin D had 50% less risk of colon cancer. Women with low blood levels of vitamin D have been found to be five times more likely to develop breast cancer. In another study, almost half of a group men with advanced prostate cancer had decreased blood levels of vitamin D. "

    "A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking vitamin D3 had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn't take it, a drop so large – twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking – it almost looks like a typographical error.And in an era of pricey medical advances, the reduction seems even more remarkable because it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement costing pennies a day."

    Two new vitamin D studies using a sophisticated form of analysis called meta-analysis, in which data from multiple reports is combined, have revealed new prescriptions for possibly preventing up to half of the cases of breast cancer and two-thirds of the cases of colorectal cancer in the United States. The work was conducted by a core team of cancer prevention specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and colleagues from both coasts.

    The breast cancer study, published online in the current issue of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, pooled dose-response data from two earlier studies - the Harvard Nurses Health Study and the St. George's Hospital Study - and found that individuals with the highest blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D, had the lowest risk of breast cancer.

    The researchers divided the 1,760 records of individuals in the two studies into five equal groups, from the lowest blood levels of 25(OH)D (less than 13 nanograms per milliliter, or 13 ng/ml) to the highest (approximately 52 ng/ml). The data also included whether or not the individual had developed cancer.

    "The data were very clear, showing that individuals in the group with the lowest blood levels had the highest rates of breast cancer, and the breast cancer rates dropped as the blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D increased," said study co-author Cedric Garland, Dr.P.H. "The serum level associated with a 50 percent reduction in risk could be maintained by taking 2,000 international units of vitamin D3 daily plus, when the weather permits, spending 10 to 15 minutes a day in the sun."

    The colorectal cancer study, published online February 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is a meta-analysis of five studies that explored the association of blood levels of 25(OH)D with risk of colon cancer. All of the studies involved blood collected and tested for 25 (OH)D levels from healthy volunteer donors who were then followed for up to 25 years for development of colorectal cancer.

    As with the breast cancer study, the dose-response data on a total of 1,448 individuals were put into order by serum 25(OH)D level and then divided into five equal groups, from the lowest blood levels to the highest.

    "Through this meta-analysis we found that raising the serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 34 ng/ml would reduce the incidence rates of colorectal cancer by half," said co-author Edward D. Gorham, Ph.D. "We project a two-thirds reduction in incidence with serum levels of 46ng/ml, which corresponds to a daily intake of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3. This would be best achieved with a combination of diet, supplements and 10 to 15 minutes per day in the sun."
    Thank you.
    You have answered my question on D2.
    Possibly that is also reason why LEF discontinued D2 supplement.

    Having in mind my rather good levels of D3 from my last test in April/07 and fact that I have not used for years other than LEF supplement it suggest that LEF supplementation system work.

    Possibly it works rather good since you have said that my supplementation lewel is not overly excessive.

    I spend little time outside.

    OTOH, I am statistics of one.

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    was just wandering through an article linked thorough the VitaminDCouncil.com. The following caught my eye...

    docguide.com/news/content.nsf/news/852571020057CCF6852572F100646E 22
    "Decreased vitamin D levels are linked to shorter telomeres, the end pieces of DNA, according to a study presented here at the 89th annual meeting of the Endocrine Society...Investigators measured leukocyte terminal restriction fragment length (TRFL), a measure of the length of telomeres, using the Southern blot method....Investigators found the difference in TRFL between the highest and lowest tertiles of vitamin D was 92.6 base pairs (P =.006). That result was equivalent to 4.2 years of telomeric aging. They also examined the relationship between TRFL and vitamin D, when stratified by a CRP level of 2.0 mg/l. Moreover, researchers found twins discordant for vitamin D levels were discordant as well for TRFL."

    So I Googled up this Telomeres thing and get this...

    kfshrc.edu.sa/annals/186/98-246ed.html
    "Experimental proof directly implicating telomeres in the aging mechanism came from the works of Bodner et al.8 and Vaziri and Benchimol.9 Bodner et al. showed that by transfecting normal human somatic cells with a subunit of telomerase enzyme (which is absent in normal somatic cells), the length of the telomeres were increased. As a result, the replicative life span of these cells were dramatically extended beyond their usual limit of 50 population doublings. Similarly, Vaziri and Benchimol independently confirmed the role of telomeres in replicative senescence of cells. Both of these studies showed that telomeres become shortened as the cells age. Furthermore, it was also shown that relengthening the telomeres reverses the aging process, activates gene expression, and changes the morphology of cells to young-looking cells. These unique features of telomeres undoubtedly establishes them as the biological clock of aging."

    And here....

    gslc.genetics.utah.edu/features/telomeres/
    "At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres, which protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide and hold some secrets to how we age and get cancer...Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces because they prevent chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other, which would scramble an organism's genetic information to cause cancer, other diseases or death...Yet, each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell no longer can divide and becomes inactive or "senescent" or dies. This process is associated with aging, cancer and a higher risk of death. So telomeres also have been compared with a bomb fuse"

    It's just so mind blowing, that this inexpensive bottle of oil based vitamin D3 makes my bones stronger, lessens my risk of just about any cancer 50-80%, stops inappropriate calcification of my arteries, MS and SAD, practically eliminates the common cold and flu (haven't had one for way over a year), and now can make me live longer and look younger?

    Neil

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    I hear ya. I'm constantly amazed by simple things like Vitamin D, folic acid, fish oil, B12...

    It appears we have a lot of tools in our box..we just need to learn how to use them properly..ie ignore the FDA on just about everything. lol

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    Lots of things we all read about are just BS...but the article below describes taking Vitamin D3 and how it helps with the common cold and flu. I normally have two, maybe three colds a year. My wife about the same. But since we both have been taking oil based Vitamin D3, neither one of us has had one...not a sore throat, no runny nose, just nothing. And as usual we end up being around tons of sick people while at work. One of the few things in life that lives up to it's billing!...Neil

    The Antibiotic Vitamin
    Deficiency in vitamin D may predispose people to infection

    Janet Raloff

    In April 2005, a virulent strain of influenza hit a maximum-security forensic psychiatric hospital for men that's midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. John J. Cannell, a psychiatrist there, observed with increasing curiosity as one infected ward after another was quarantined to limit the outbreak. Although 10 percent of the facility's 1,200 patients ultimately developed the flu's fever and debilitating muscle aches, none did in the ward that he supervised.

    WINTER WOES. Cold-weather wear and the sun's angle in the winter sky limit how much ultraviolet light reaches the skin. This can add up to a deficiency in production of vitamin D, which might explain why respiratory infections are common and severe in winter.

    "First, the ward below mine was quarantined, then the wards on my right, left, and across the hall," Cannell recalls. However, although the 32 men on his ward at Atascadero (Calif.) State Hospital had mingled with patients from infected wards before their quarantine, none developed the illness.

    Cannell's ward was the only heavily exposed ward left unaffected. Was it by mere chance, Cannell wondered, that his patients dodged the sickness?

    A few months later, Cannell ran across a possible answer in the scientific literature. In the July 2005 FASEB Journal, Adrian F. Gombart of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and his colleagues reported that vitamin D boosts production in white blood cells of one of the antimicrobial compounds that defends the body against germs.

    Immediately, Cannell says, the proverbial lightbulb went on in his head: Maybe the high doses of vitamin D that he had been prescribing to virtually all the men on his ward had boosted their natural arsenal of the antimicrobial, called cathelicidin, and protected them from flu. Cannell had been administering the vitamin D because his patients, like many other people in the industrial world, had shown a deficiency.

    The FASEB Journal article also triggered Cannell's recollection that children with rickets, a hallmark of vitamin D deficiency, tend to experience more infections than do kids without the bone disease. He shared his flu data with some well-known vitamin D researchers, and they urged him to investigate further.

    On the basis of more than 100 articles that he collected, Cannell and seven other researchers now propose that vitamin D deficiency may underlie a vulnerability to infections by the microbes that cathelicidin targets. These include bacteria, viruses, and fungi, the group notes in a report available online for the December Epidemiology and Infection.

    This is only a hypothesis, "but a very credible one" that deserves testing, says immunologist Michael Zasloff of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

    Behind the hypothesis are recent studies that link vitamin D intake to revved-up cathelicidin production. These investigations point to an infection-fighting role for vitamin D, which is produced in skin exposed to sunlight but is present in few foods.

    A study published earlier this year that investigated the relationship between vitamin D and susceptibility to tuberculosis also bolsters the idea proposed by Cannell's team. Scientists have already planned a handful of clinical trials to evaluate the antimicrobial benefits of vitamin D supplementation.

    Zasloff argues that if studies support the hypothesis, "we can imagine one day treating infections not by giving somebody a drug, but by giving them safe and simple substances—like a vitamin."

    Innate protection

    Legions of germs come into contact with our bodies every day. Each microbe seeks a host in which it can multiply. Most would-be invaders, however, don't succeed; if not barred entry outright, they're destroyed by cellular recruits called up to participate in local immune militias.

    Scientists hadn't been sure what serves as the call to arms for these immune cells and what triggers the production of their antibiotic arsenal, which includes several chemical weapons.

    Over the past 5 years, a spate of studies began to shed light on the rollout of one of those munitions—cathelicidin. Dermatologist and immunologist Richard L. Gallo of the University of California, San Diego, a coauthor of many of these studies, explains that cathelicidin "targets the bad guys." It kills invaders by punching holes in the external membrane of a microbe, permitting its innards to leak out.

    Molecular geneticist John H. White of McGill University in Montreal and his colleagues were the first to observe that cathelicidin production is ramped up by vitamin D—or, more specifically, by the hormone 1,25-D, the vitamin's active form (SN: 10/9/04, p. 232: Science News Online Search. Through a cascade of events, vitamin D transforms into a compound, called a prehormone, that circulates in blood and then is converted locally, as needed, into 1,25-D.

    In the nucleus of cells, 1,25-D binds to short sequences of DNA. Known as response elements, these sequences switch on the activity of adjacent genes. "We wanted to find out what genes were next to the vitamin D response elements," White recalls.

    Two of these response elements proved to be neighbors of genes that make antimicrobial peptides, cathelicidin and beta-defensin 2, the researchers reported in 2004. When the researchers administered 1,25-D to a variety of cells, production of beta-defensin 2 increased "modestly," White told Science News. In contrast, he says, the gene for making cathelicidin "went boom! Its induction was very, very strong."

    Almost a year later, while hunting for triggers for cathelicidin production, Gombart confirmed the McGill finding. His group had been administering various natural signaling agents to white blood cells, which the immune system sends out to vanquish germs.

    In these cells, "nothing turned on the cathelicidin gene to any degree except vitamin D. And it really turned that gene on—just cranked it up," Gombart says. "I was completely surprised."

    Independently, dermatologist Mona Ståhle of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reached a similar conclusion when she realized that both vitamin D and several antimicrobials, including cathelicidin, are produced in the skin. She says, "It just came to me—an intuitive thought—that maybe the sun, through vitamin D production, might help regulate the skin's antimicrobial response."

    So, her team administered an ointment containing a drug mimic of 1,25-D to the skin of four healthy people. The salve hit "the jackpot, right away," Ståhle says. In the May 2005 Journal of Investigative Dermatology, her team reported that where the ointment had been applied, cathelicidin-gene activity skyrocketed as much as 100-fold. The team also found evidence of a localized increase in the concentration of cathelicidin.

    Tackling TB and more

    Those studies, though suggestive, didn't reveal whether vitamin D directly reduced infection risk in people. Together with Gallo, microbial immunologist Robert Modlin of UCLA and his colleagues moved closer to that goal: They evaluated the vitamin's role in fending off the tuberculosis (TB) germ Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    This group, working independently of Gombart's team, had been focusing on macrophages, a type of white blood cell deployed by the immune system to gobble up and destroy germs. These defense cells have features, called toll-like receptors, that identify biochemical patterns characteristic of invading microbes. If the receptors sense an invader, they can trigger cathelicidin production.

    Modlin's team showed that before making that antibiotic, those cells briefly boosted their production of vitamin D receptors and of an enzyme that converts the vitamin D prehormone into 1,25-D. However, the data suggested that significant concentrations of 1,25-D would develop only in the presence of the TB bacteria. This indicated that the microbe, and perhaps other germs, must be present for the enzyme to maximize its production of 1,25-D, Modlin says.

    His group then tested whether people's blood concentrations of the prehormone are high enough to drive the production of germ-killing concentrations of cathelicidin. Black people, because of the sun-filtering effect of dark pigments in their skin, are far more likely than whites to be vitamin D deficient (SN: 10/16/04, p. 248: Science News Online Search. Furthermore, blacks tend to be more susceptible to TB than whites and to develop a more severe illness when infected.

    The team collected blood serum from white people and from blacks. When the researchers added TB bacteria, macrophages in the serum from black participants produced 63 percent less cathelicidin—and were less likely to kill the germs—than were macrophages incubated in serum from whites.

    The scientists then added vitamin D to the serum from blacks until concentrations of the prehormone matched those in the serum from whites. This boosted the macrophages' cathelicidin production and rates of TB-microbe killing to those seen when such cells were incubated in serum from whites. Modlin's group reported its findings in the March 24 Science.

    The new data may explain the difference between blacks and whites in TB susceptibility. Modlin says, "We showed that serum from African American individuals did not support the production of the antibiotic by immune cells, until the serum received supplemental vitamin D."

    "We're now planning to do a clinical trial and treat African Americans who are deficient with vitamin D to correct their serum levels [of the prehormone] and see if this will change their antimicrobial response," Modlin says.

    Gallo is also planning a new trial. His group will compare the effectiveness of supplemental vitamin D in elevating cathelicidin concentrations when administered as oral supplements or as a skin treatment.

    The team expects to see the biggest benefit in skin wounds. However, Gallo predicts that even healthy skin will exhibit somewhat elevated antimicrobial concentrations, signaling an improved resistance to infection.

    Sun exposure—in moderation—might also prove therapeutic, Ståhle's team suggested in the November 2005 Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The scientists showed that in eight fair-skinned people, a single dose of ultraviolet-B radiation—just enough to evoke some skin reddening the next day—activated the vitamin D receptor and the cathelicidin gene in the exposed skin.

    Ståhle is now beginning a trial of people with skin infections. A drug analog of 1,25-D will be applied to see whether it speeds wound healing.

    Flu too?

    Many other findings also suggested to Cannell's team that flu vulnerability might be tempered by adequate vitamin D intake. The researchers have marshaled data, gleaned from 120 or so reports over the past 70 years, suggesting a link between vitamin D and resistance to infections.

    For instance, the researchers point to studies showing that in winter, colds, flu, and other respiratory diseases are more common and more likely to be deadly than they are in summer. During winter, ultraviolet-light exposure tends to be low because people spend more time indoors and the atmosphere filters out more of the sun's rays, especially at mid and high latitudes.

    Cannell's group cites a 1997 study showing that the rate of pneumonia in Ethiopian children with rickets, and therefore a likely vitamin D deficiency, was 13 times as high as in children without that disease. The researchers also point to five studies since the 1930s that have linked reduced risks of infectious disease to dietary supplementation with cod liver oil, a rich source of vitamin D.

    Although the arguments in the paper by Cannell's group "are provocative," White says, "I find them believable."

    So does Gallo. "There are many microbes out there that rarely-to-never cause disease in immunocompetent individuals. It's not because the microbes don't choose to infect us," he notes. "It's because the body's immune defense against the microbes is sufficient to control their proliferation."

    It's possible, he says, that a shortfall in vitamin D might seriously compromise that defense.

    Gombart's group is developing rodents in which vitamin D modulates cathelicidin.

    Until such lab animals are available, vitamin D's impact—even on flu risk—"should be explored in clinical trials," Zasloff says, because the treatment poses little risk to people.

    Moreover, he argues, the payoff from any positive finding "would be amazing. Imagine being able to block the spread of epidemic flu with appropriate doses of this vitamin."

    Letters:

    This article reminds me that in preantibiotic days, tuberculosis patients were put on a fresh-air-and-sunshine regimen. Could the vitamin D so acquired account for the cures this system sometimes produced?

    Nancy Axford
    Sacramento, Calif.

    Researcher John J. Cannell points to TB sanitariums as anecdotal evidence that sunlight fights infections.—J. Raloff

    Does the vitamin D in milk help protect against infection?

    Graeme McRae
    Palmdale, Calif.

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    Hmm, so my level may be not good enough?
    (Vitamin D, 25-OH, D3)=72ng/mL(20-100)(Quest)
    LEF says (Feb 2007)
    Ideal blood (serum) levels of vitamin D are 75-125 nmol/L
    but their tests are by LabCorp, wonder if/how much difference that make.
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    And they sell this for corrective action
    Vitamin D3, 5,000 Iu 60 Capsules
    Vitamin D3
    5,000 IU, 60 capsules
    Item Catalog Number: 713

    and

    Vitamin D3, 1000 Iu 250 Capsules

    Vitamin D3
    1000 IU, 250 capsules
    Item Catalog Number: 251

    Wonder if I should increase my dose?

    ============================== =================
    Print Friendly
    Vitamin D
    This test is used to rule out vitamin D deficiency as a cause of bone disease. It can also be used to identify hypercalcemia.

    Reference Range:
    32–100 ng/mL
    ============================== ============================== =============
    LE Magazine February 2007
    Print Friendly

    Ideal blood (serum) levels of vitamin D are 75-125 nmol/L. A vitamin D blood test costs members $47. When having your blood tested for vitamin D, you may also consider obtaining a CBC/Chemistry Blood Test for only $35. This comprehensive panel provides measurements of kidney function and blood calcium levels, in addition to cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, glucose, and a host of other important factors that you should know about. The Vitamin D and CBC Chemistry blood tests can be ordered by calling 1-800-208-3444.

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    It shouldn't take much more supplementation to get you in the ideal range..maybe even just a few minutes of sun per day.

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    An interesting article...builds a case that vitamin D, which is actually a "pleomorphic steroid hormone" might have been behind the incredible Russian Olympic victories of the 60's and 70's...their secret weapon. Sounds incredible, but read on.

    http://www.vitamindcouncil.com/newsl...2007-mar.shtml
    "The Vitamin D Newsletter March 2007
    Peak Athletic Performance and Vitamin D
    "No thanks doc, I'm fine."

    "No way doc." I had just finished informing my vitamin D deficient patient about the benefits of vitamin D, telling him he needed to take 4,000 IU per day. I used all the techniques I have learned in 30 years of medical practice to convince someone when proper treatment is needed. However, he knew that the U.S. government said young people need only 200 IU/day, not 4,000. He also knew the official Upper Limit was 2,000 IU/day. "What are you trying to do doc, kill me?"

    I told him his 25‑OH vitamin D blood test was low, only 13 ng/mL. He had read about that too, in a medical textbook, where it said normal levels are between 10–40 ng/mL. "I'm fine doc...Are you in the vitamin business?" I explained I was not; that the government and textbooks used outdated values; that recent studies indicate ideal 25OHD levels are about 50 ng/mL and that recent studies indicated that he needed about 4,000 IU/day to get his level up to this amount. "No thanks doc, I'm fine."

    So I tried a different tact—I brought copies of recent press articles and asked him to take a look at them. Science News called vitamin D the "Antibiotic Vitamin." Janet RaloffThe Antibiotic Vitamin.Science News, Vol. 170, No. 20, p. 312, 2006.11.11. The Independent in England says vitamin D explains why people die from influenza in the winter, and not the summer. Jeremy LauranceBottled sunshine: The value of vitamin D.The Independent, 2006.09.13. U.S. News and World Report says almost everyone needs more. Deborah KotzThe ABCs of D.U.S. News and World Report, 2006.12.10. Newsweek says it prevents cancer and helps fight infection. Meir J. Stampfer MD DrPHVitamin D in the Spotlight.2006 Newsweek, Inc. United Press International says that it reduces falls in the elderly, Vitamin D may reduce falls in elderly.United Press International, 2007.02.22. reduces stress fractures, Calcium, vitamin D reduce stress fractures.United Press International, 2007.02.12. helps heal wounds, Vitamin D needed to heal skin wound.United Press International, 2007.02.09. and that many pregnant women are deficient in the vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy.United Press International, 2007.02.27.
    The Important Things

    He glanced at the articles, showing a little interest in the one about stress fractures. Then he told me what he was really thinking. "Look doc, all this stuff may be important to old guys like you. I'm twenty‑two. All I care about are girls and sports. When I get older, maybe I'll think about it. I'm too young to worry about it. I'm in great condition." I couldn't argue. He was in good health and a very good basketball player, playing several hours every day, though always on indoor courts.

    What could I do to open his eyes? As an African American, his risk of early death from cardiovascular disease or cancer was high, although the risk for blacks doesn't start to dramatically increase until their '40s and '50s. Like all young people, he saw himself as forever young. The U.S. government was no help, relying on a ten‑year‑old report from the Institute of Medicine that is full of outdated studies and misinformation.

    I tired to tell him that the 200 IU per day the U.S. government recommends for 20‑year‑olds is to prevent bone disease, not to treat low vitamin D levels like his. I pointed out the U.S. government's official current Upper Limit of 2,000 IU/day is the same for a 300‑pound adult as it is for a 25‑pound toddler. That is, the government says that it's safe for a one‑year‑old, 25‑pound child to take 2,000 IU/day but not safe for a 30‑year old, 300 pound adult to take 2,001 IU/day and that whoever thought up these Upper Limits must have left their thinking caps at home—nothing worked. My vitamin D‑deficient patient was not interested in taking any vitamin D.

    So i thought, "what are young men interested in?" I remembered what he told me: "Sex and sports." Two years ago, I researched the medical literature looking for any evidence that vitamin D enhanced sexual performance. Absolutely nothing. That would have been nice. Can you imagine the interest?
    Improving Athletic Performance

    Then I remembered that several readers had written to ask me if vitamin D could possibly improve their athletic performance. They told me that after taking 2,000–5,000 IU/day for several months they seemed somewhat faster, a little stronger, with maybe better balance and timing. A pianist had written to tell me she even played a better piano, her fingers moved over the keys more effortlessly! Was vitamin D responsible for these subtle changes or was it a placebo effect? That is, did readers just think their athletic performance improved because they knew vitamin D was a steroid hormone precursor?

    The active form of vitamin D is a steroid (actually a secosteroid) in the same way that testosterone is a steroid. It is also a hormone (hormone: Greek, meaning "to set in motion") in the same way that growth hormone is a hormone. Steroid hormones are substances made from cholesterol that circulate in the body and work at distant sites by setting in motion genetic protein transcription. That is, both vitamin D and testosterone set in motion your genome, the stuff of life. While testosterone is a sex steroid hormone, vitamin D is a pleomorphic steroid hormone.

    All of a sudden, it didn't seem so silly. Certainly steroids can improve athletic performance—although they can be quite dangerous. In addition, few people are deficient in growth hormone or testosterone, so athletes who take sex steroids or growth hormone are cheating, or doping. The case with vitamin D is quite different because natural vitamin D levels are about 50 ng/mL and since almost no one has such levels, extra vitamin D is not doping, it's just good treatment. I decided to exhaustively research the medical literature on vitamin D and athletic performance. It took me over a year.

    To my surprise, I discovered that there are five totally independent bodies of research that all converge on an inescapable conclusion: vitamin D will improve athletic performance in vitamin D deficient people (and that includes most people). Even more interesting is who published the most direct literature, and when. Are you old enough to remember when the Germans and Russians won every Olympics in the '60s and '70s? Well, it turns out that the most convincing evidence that vitamin D improves athletic performance was published in old German and Russian medical literature.

    With the help of my wife and mother‑in‑law, both of whom are Russian, and with the help of Marc Sorenson (whose book Solar Power for Optimal Health is a must‑read) I was able to look at translations of the old Russian and German literature. Combining that old literature with the abundant, modern, English‑language literature on vitamin D and neuromuscular performance, the conclusion was inescapable: the readers who wrote me were right!

    If you are vitamin D deficient, the medical literature indicates that the right amount of vitamin D will make you faster, stronger, improve your balance and timing, etc. How much it will improve your athletic ability depends on how deficient you are to begin with. How good an athlete you will be depends on your innate ability, training, and dedication.

    However, peak athletic performance also depends upon the neuromuscular cells in your body and brain having unfettered access to the steroid hormone, activated vitamin D. How much activated vitamin D is available to your brain, muscle, and nerves depends on the amount of 25‑hydroxyvitamin D in your blood. In turn, how much 25‑hydroxyvitamin D is in your blood depends on how much vitamin D you put in your mouth or how often you expose your skin to UVB light.

    One might ask why I would write about such a frivolous topic like peak athletic performance when cancer patients all across this land are dying vitamin D deficient. The reason is that, like many vitamin D advocates, I have been disappointed with the medical profession's and the public's lack of enthusiasm over vitamin D. Maybe people like my young basketball player will take an interest in vitamin D if they know of its potential benefit to their athletic performance? Let's see... Hey jocks! Want to improve your game? Take vitamin D. Listen up—I'm talking speed, balance, choice reaction time, muscle mass, muscle strength, squats, reps—important stuff! Want to learn more?

    In Summary

    Five converging—but totally separate—lines of scientific evidence leave little doubt that vitamin D improves athletic performance. There is actually a sixth line of evidence that i left out due to its complexity: the two studies I found on muscle strength and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms (genetic variations), both were positive. Anyway, the scientific evidence that UVB radiation, either from the sun or a sunbed, will improve athletic performance is overwhelming and the mechanism is almost certainly vitamin D production. Peak athletic performance will probably occur with 25OHD levels of about 50 ng/mL, a level that can be obtained through the use of supplements as well.

    All that is missing is a big time professional or college team identifying, and then treating, their elite athletes who are vitamin D deficient. Can you imagine what such performance‑enhancing effects would do for basketball players, the majority of which are black and practice and play indoors all winter? Or gymnasts? Weight lifters? Can you imagine what it might do for those chronic neuromuscular injuries which are so common in sports medicine?

    A word of caution, though. The above studies suggest that taking too much vitamin D (more than 5,000 IU/day) may actually worsen athletic performance. So take the right amount, not all you can swallow. Take enough to keep your 25‑hydroxyvitamin D levels around 50 ng/mL, year‑round. Easier yet, regularly use the sun in the summer and a sunbed (once a week should be about right) in the winter—with care not to burn.

    When you think about it, none of this should surprise anyone. Every bodybuilder knows that steroid hormones can improve athletic performance and they certainly increase muscle mass. Barry Bonds knows they increase timing and power. Activated vitamin D is as potent a steroid hormone as exists in the human body. However, unlike other steroids, levels of activated vitamin D in muscle and nerve tissue are primarily regulated by sun exposure. That's right, the rate‑limiting step for the autocrine function of activated vitamin D is under your control and depends on how much daily vitamin D you receive. It's ironic that many athletes now avoid the sun. Organized baseball is even promoting sun avoidance and sunblocks. The ancient Greeks knew better; they had their elite athletes train on the beach and in the nude.

    So the level of vitamin D (50 ng/mL) associated with peak athletic performance is the very same level that recent studies show also helps to prevent cancer, diabetes, hypertension, influenza, multiple sclerosis, major depression, cognitive decline, etc. But who cares about all that disease stuff old people get! We're talking about important stuff here: speed, balance, reaction time, muscle mass and strength, squats, reps. As for my young basketball player, guess who's now taking 4,000 IU vitamin D a day? That's right! And his 25‑hydroxyvitamin D level is now 54 ng/mL. Has this improved his game? Well...he said to me he feels his timing is better, can jump a little higher, run faster and...oh yeah! and that the ball feels "sweeter"—whatever that means.

    John Jacob Cannell MD Executive Director

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    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets View Post
    An interesting article...builds a case that vitamin D, which is actually a "pleomorphic steroid hormone" might have been behind the incredible Russian Olympic victories of the 60's and 70's...their secret weapon. Sounds incredible, but read on.

    http://www.vitamindcouncil.com/newsl...2007-mar.shtml
    "The Vitamin D Newsletter March 2007
    Peak Athletic Performance and Vitamin D
    "No thanks doc, I'm fine."

    "No way doc." I had just finished informing my vitamin D deficient patient about the benefits of vitamin D, telling him he needed to take 4,000 IU per day. I used all the techniques I have learned in 30 years of medical practice to convince someone when proper treatment is needed. However, he knew that the U.S. government said young people need only 200 IU/day, not 4,000. He also knew the official Upper Limit was 2,000 IU/day. "What are you trying to do doc, kill me?"

    I told him his 25‑OH vitamin D blood test was low, only 13 ng/mL. He had read about that too, in a medical textbook, where it said normal levels are between 10–40 ng/mL. "I'm fine doc...Are you in the vitamin business?" I explained I was not; that the government and textbooks used outdated values; that recent studies indicate ideal 25OHD levels are about 50 ng/mL and that recent studies indicated that he needed about 4,000 IU/day to get his level up to this amount. "No thanks doc, I'm fine."

    So I tried a different tact—I brought copies of recent press articles and asked him to take a look at them. Science News called vitamin D the "Antibiotic Vitamin." Janet RaloffThe Antibiotic Vitamin.Science News, Vol. 170, No. 20, p. 312, 2006.11.11. The Independent in England says vitamin D explains why people die from influenza in the winter, and not the summer. Jeremy LauranceBottled sunshine: The value of vitamin D.The Independent, 2006.09.13. U.S. News and World Report says almost everyone needs more. Deborah KotzThe ABCs of D.U.S. News and World Report, 2006.12.10. Newsweek says it prevents cancer and helps fight infection. Meir J. Stampfer MD DrPHVitamin D in the Spotlight.2006 Newsweek, Inc. United Press International says that it reduces falls in the elderly, Vitamin D may reduce falls in elderly.United Press International, 2007.02.22. reduces stress fractures, Calcium, vitamin D reduce stress fractures.United Press International, 2007.02.12. helps heal wounds, Vitamin D needed to heal skin wound.United Press International, 2007.02.09. and that many pregnant women are deficient in the vitamin. Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy.United Press International, 2007.02.27.
    The Important Things

    He glanced at the articles, showing a little interest in the one about stress fractures. Then he told me what he was really thinking. "Look doc, all this stuff may be important to old guys like you. I'm twenty‑two. All I care about are girls and sports. When I get older, maybe I'll think about it. I'm too young to worry about it. I'm in great condition." I couldn't argue. He was in good health and a very good basketball player, playing several hours every day, though always on indoor courts.

    What could I do to open his eyes? As an African American, his risk of early death from cardiovascular disease or cancer was high, although the risk for blacks doesn't start to dramatically increase until their '40s and '50s. Like all young people, he saw himself as forever young. The U.S. government was no help, relying on a ten‑year‑old report from the Institute of Medicine that is full of outdated studies and misinformation.

    I tired to tell him that the 200 IU per day the U.S. government recommends for 20‑year‑olds is to prevent bone disease, not to treat low vitamin D levels like his. I pointed out the U.S. government's official current Upper Limit of 2,000 IU/day is the same for a 300‑pound adult as it is for a 25‑pound toddler. That is, the government says that it's safe for a one‑year‑old, 25‑pound child to take 2,000 IU/day but not safe for a 30‑year old, 300 pound adult to take 2,001 IU/day and that whoever thought up these Upper Limits must have left their thinking caps at home—nothing worked. My vitamin D‑deficient patient was not interested in taking any vitamin D.

    So i thought, "what are young men interested in?" I remembered what he told me: "Sex and sports." Two years ago, I researched the medical literature looking for any evidence that vitamin D enhanced sexual performance. Absolutely nothing. That would have been nice. Can you imagine the interest?
    Improving Athletic Performance

    Then I remembered that several readers had written to ask me if vitamin D could possibly improve their athletic performance. They told me that after taking 2,000–5,000 IU/day for several months they seemed somewhat faster, a little stronger, with maybe better balance and timing. A pianist had written to tell me she even played a better piano, her fingers moved over the keys more effortlessly! Was vitamin D responsible for these subtle changes or was it a placebo effect? That is, did readers just think their athletic performance improved because they knew vitamin D was a steroid hormone precursor?

    The active form of vitamin D is a steroid (actually a secosteroid) in the same way that testosterone is a steroid. It is also a hormone (hormone: Greek, meaning "to set in motion") in the same way that growth hormone is a hormone. Steroid hormones are substances made from cholesterol that circulate in the body and work at distant sites by setting in motion genetic protein transcription. That is, both vitamin D and testosterone set in motion your genome, the stuff of life. While testosterone is a sex steroid hormone, vitamin D is a pleomorphic steroid hormone.

    All of a sudden, it didn't seem so silly. Certainly steroids can improve athletic performance—although they can be quite dangerous. In addition, few people are deficient in growth hormone or testosterone, so athletes who take sex steroids or growth hormone are cheating, or doping. The case with vitamin D is quite different because natural vitamin D levels are about 50 ng/mL and since almost no one has such levels, extra vitamin D is not doping, it's just good treatment. I decided to exhaustively research the medical literature on vitamin D and athletic performance. It took me over a year.

    To my surprise, I discovered that there are five totally independent bodies of research that all converge on an inescapable conclusion: vitamin D will improve athletic performance in vitamin D deficient people (and that includes most people). Even more interesting is who published the most direct literature, and when. Are you old enough to remember when the Germans and Russians won every Olympics in the '60s and '70s? Well, it turns out that the most convincing evidence that vitamin D improves athletic performance was published in old German and Russian medical literature.

    With the help of my wife and mother‑in‑law, both of whom are Russian, and with the help of Marc Sorenson (whose book Solar Power for Optimal Health is a must‑read) I was able to look at translations of the old Russian and German literature. Combining that old literature with the abundant, modern, English‑language literature on vitamin D and neuromuscular performance, the conclusion was inescapable: the readers who wrote me were right!

    If you are vitamin D deficient, the medical literature indicates that the right amount of vitamin D will make you faster, stronger, improve your balance and timing, etc. How much it will improve your athletic ability depends on how deficient you are to begin with. How good an athlete you will be depends on your innate ability, training, and dedication.

    However, peak athletic performance also depends upon the neuromuscular cells in your body and brain having unfettered access to the steroid hormone, activated vitamin D. How much activated vitamin D is available to your brain, muscle, and nerves depends on the amount of 25‑hydroxyvitamin D in your blood. In turn, how much 25‑hydroxyvitamin D is in your blood depends on how much vitamin D you put in your mouth or how often you expose your skin to UVB light.

    One might ask why I would write about such a frivolous topic like peak athletic performance when cancer patients all across this land are dying vitamin D deficient. The reason is that, like many vitamin D advocates, I have been disappointed with the medical profession's and the public's lack of enthusiasm over vitamin D. Maybe people like my young basketball player will take an interest in vitamin D if they know of its potential benefit to their athletic performance? Let's see... Hey jocks! Want to improve your game? Take vitamin D. Listen up—I'm talking speed, balance, choice reaction time, muscle mass, muscle strength, squats, reps—important stuff! Want to learn more?

    In Summary

    Five converging—but totally separate—lines of scientific evidence leave little doubt that vitamin D improves athletic performance. There is actually a sixth line of evidence that i left out due to its complexity: the two studies I found on muscle strength and vitamin D receptor polymorphisms (genetic variations), both were positive. Anyway, the scientific evidence that UVB radiation, either from the sun or a sunbed, will improve athletic performance is overwhelming and the mechanism is almost certainly vitamin D production. Peak athletic performance will probably occur with 25OHD levels of about 50 ng/mL, a level that can be obtained through the use of supplements as well.

    All that is missing is a big time professional or college team identifying, and then treating, their elite athletes who are vitamin D deficient. Can you imagine what such performance‑enhancing effects would do for basketball players, the majority of which are black and practice and play indoors all winter? Or gymnasts? Weight lifters? Can you imagine what it might do for those chronic neuromuscular injuries which are so common in sports medicine?

    A word of caution, though. The above studies suggest that taking too much vitamin D (more than 5,000 IU/day) may actually worsen athletic performance. So take the right amount, not all you can swallow. Take enough to keep your 25‑hydroxyvitamin D levels around 50 ng/mL, year‑round. Easier yet, regularly use the sun in the summer and a sunbed (once a week should be about right) in the winter—with care not to burn.

    When you think about it, none of this should surprise anyone. Every bodybuilder knows that steroid hormones can improve athletic performance and they certainly increase muscle mass. Barry Bonds knows they increase timing and power. Activated vitamin D is as potent a steroid hormone as exists in the human body. However, unlike other steroids, levels of activated vitamin D in muscle and nerve tissue are primarily regulated by sun exposure. That's right, the rate‑limiting step for the autocrine function of activated vitamin D is under your control and depends on how much daily vitamin D you receive. It's ironic that many athletes now avoid the sun. Organized baseball is even promoting sun avoidance and sunblocks. The ancient Greeks knew better; they had their elite athletes train on the beach and in the nude.

    So the level of vitamin D (50 ng/mL) associated with peak athletic performance is the very same level that recent studies show also helps to prevent cancer, diabetes, hypertension, influenza, multiple sclerosis, major depression, cognitive decline, etc. But who cares about all that disease stuff old people get! We're talking about important stuff here: speed, balance, reaction time, muscle mass and strength, squats, reps. As for my young basketball player, guess who's now taking 4,000 IU vitamin D a day? That's right! And his 25‑hydroxyvitamin D level is now 54 ng/mL. Has this improved his game? Well...he said to me he feels his timing is better, can jump a little higher, run faster and...oh yeah! and that the ball feels "sweeter"—whatever that means.

    John Jacob Cannell MD Executive Director
    IT took me from 50,000 ius for 3 months to get from 25ng/dl to 66 !! Fat malabsorption also plays a huge part as well. I took 50000 ius for 3 months and it did not budge !! I used an emulsifed form and it finally raised and it also lowered my blood calcium levels from high normal to midrange where they are suppose to be..

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    Nice article, thank you.
    Author recomends 25‑hydroxyvitamin D level =54 ng/mL
    54 ng/mL=135 nmol/L
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    LEF says (Feb 2007)(30-50)ng/mL=(75-125) nmol/L
    Quest(20-100) ng/mL=(50-250) nmol/L
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    My test results:
    Vitamin D, 25-OH, D3=72ng/mL=180 nmol/L
    ------------------------------------------------------------
    [Note: to
    convert nmol/L to ng/mL, multiply nmol/L by 0.4; to
    convert ng/mL to nmol/L, multiply ng/mL by 2.5.]

    http://www.clinchem.org/cgi/reprint/50/8/1415.pdf
    ----------------------------------------------------------
    54 135
    20 50
    100 250
    72 180

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    Quote Originally Posted by hardasnails1973 View Post
    IT took me from 50,000 ius for 3 months to get from 25ng/dl to 66 !! Fat malabsorption also plays a huge part as well. I took 50000 ius for 3 months and it did not budge !! I used an emulsifed form and it finally raised and it also lowered my blood calcium levels from high normal to midrange where they are suppose to be..
    Hi Hardasnails,

    To be honest 50,000iu makes me a little nervous. Nervous because in my two years of following Dr. Davis, Dr. Cannell, and Dr. Vieth (the first two doctors see thousands of patients between them, including very sick people (one is a cardiologist and the other a psychiatrist and they test every one of their patients for vitamin D, the third doctor is the director at the University of Toronto, Bone and Mineral Laboratory) they NEVER have talked about dosages in that range.

    Was/Is this vitamin D product D3 or D2? Was it a dry white tablet or capsule, or an oil based gel?

    If I can quote a bit from them to make my point....

    "Vieth reports human toxicity probably begins to occur after chronic daily consumption of approximately 40,000 IU a day (100 of the 400 IU capsules)."

    "Heaney's recent research indicates that healthy humans utilize about 4,000 units of vitamin D a day (from all sources). Heaney R, Davies K, Chen T, Holick M, Barger-Lux MJ.Human serum 25 hydroxycholecalciferol response to extended oral dosing with cholecalciferol.Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:204-10 However, 40,000 units a day will hurt them (over several years)"

    "Humans make at least 10,000 units of vitamin D within 30 minutes of full body exposure to the sun (minimal erythemal dose). Holick MF.Environmental factors that influence the cutaneous production of vitamin D.Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Mar;61(3 Suppl):638S–645S Vitamin D production in the skin occurs within minutes and is already maximized before your skin turns pink."

    "Current studies indicate one needs about 4,000 units of cholecalciferol a day to meet the body's need for vitamin D. 4,000 units of cholecalciferol is equal to 100 micrograms, or 0.1 milligrams. So the 1,000 milligrams of Tylenol needed to help your headache is 10,000 times the 0.1 milligrams of cholecalciferol needed to help your body. Therefore, cholecalciferol is 10,000 times more potent than Tylenol. This potency is one of the reason vitamin D has a reputation as being toxic. Very few other vitamins and supplements, or even medications, are effective in microgram quantities."

    "Physiological doses are 3,000–5,000 IU per day, from all sources (sun, diet and supplements). Should hypercalcemia occur with such doses, it is due to vitamin D hypersensitivity syndrome, not vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D hypersensitivity syndromes include conditions such as primary hyperparathyroidism, occult cancers (especially lymphoma) or granulomatous disease (especially sarcoidosis). In such cases, treatment of vitamin D deficiency should be done under the care of a knowledgeable physician. A serum 25(OH)D, serum 1,25(OH)2D3, PTH, and SMA will lead the clinician in the right direction."


    "Effects of Higher Doses

    If humans make 20,000 units of vitamin D after sunbathing for 20 minutes in the summer, why shouldn't I take 20,000 units every day? Because of what we don't know we don't know. Someone once said all knowledge comes in three categories: (1) what you know you know, (2) what you know you don't know, and (3), the largest category, what you don't know you don't know. I know I know how to speak English; I know I don't know how to speak French; I don't know that I don't know how to speak a language that I don't know exists.

    We simply don't know the effects of taking 10,000 or 20,000 units a day for year after year. Although light‑skinned humans make about 50,000 of units of vitamin D after getting a sunburn (3 times the minimal erythemal dose), we also know they make progressively less and less vitamin D as their skin produces more and more melanin, thereby tanning. My 16‑year‑old daughter has noticed that she tans much faster when she has been taking oral vitamin D. That is, high blood levels may tell the skin to make more sunblock (melanin). Undoubtedly, other natural mechanisms exist to prevent toxicity, we just don't know. We do know that when healthy young men took 50,000 units of vitamin D every day for six weeks, average serum blood levels increased by 257 ngs/ml. One young man achieved an increase of 400 ngs/ml after only six weeks. Although the authors found no evidence of toxicity after this six‑week experiment (serum calcium remained normal), 50,000 units a day will eventually turn your internal organs into limestone."

    "But vitamin D can be overdone, too. Too much of a good thing .
    Despite being labeled a "vitamin", cholecalciferol is actually a hormone. Vitamins are obtained from food and you can thereby develop deficiencies because of poor intake. Deficiency of vitamin C, for instance, arises from a lack of vegetables and fruits. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is nearly absent from food. The only naturally-occuring source is oily fish like salmon and sardines. Milk usually has a little (100 units per 8 oz) because milk producers have been required by law to put it there to reduce the incidence of childhood rickets. A woman came to me with a heart scan score of nearly 3800, the highest score I've every seen in a woman. (Record for a male >8,000!) She was taking vitamin D by prescription from her family doctor but at a dose of 150,000 units per week, or approximately 21,000 units per day. This had gone on for about 3-4 years. This may explain her excessive coronary calcium score. Interestingly, she had virtually no lipoprotein abnormalities identified, which by itself is curious, since most people have some degree of abnormality like small LDL. Obviously, I asked her to stop the vitamin D. Should you be afraid of vitamin D? Of course not. If your neighbor is an alcoholic and has advanced cirrhosis, does that mean you shouldn't have a glass or two of Merlot for health and enjoyment? It's a matter of quantity. Too little vitamin D and you encourage coronary plaque growth. Too much vitamin D and you trigger "pathologic calcification", or the deposition of calcium in inappropriate places and sometimes to extreme degrees, as in this unfortunate woman. Ideally, you should have your doctor check your 25-OH-vitamin D3 blood levels twice a year in summar and in winter. We aim for a level of 50 ng/ml, the level at which the phenemena of deficiency dissipate."

    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets View Post
    Hi Hardasnails,

    To be honest 50,000iu makes me a little nervous. Nervous because in my two years of following Dr. Davis, Dr. Cannell, and Dr. Vieth (the first two doctors see thousands of patients between them, including very sick people (one is a cardiologist and the other a psychiatrist and they test every one of their patients for vitamin D, the third doctor is the director at the University of Toronto, Bone and Mineral Laboratory) they NEVER have talked about dosages in that range.

    Was/Is this vitamin D product D3 or D2? Was it a dry white tablet or capsule, or an oil based gel?

    If I can quote a bit from them to make my point....

    "Vieth reports human toxicity probably begins to occur after chronic daily consumption of approximately 40,000 IU a day (100 of the 400 IU capsules)."

    "Heaney's recent research indicates that healthy humans utilize about 4,000 units of vitamin D a day (from all sources). Heaney R, Davies K, Chen T, Holick M, Barger-Lux MJ.Human serum 25 hydroxycholecalciferol response to extended oral dosing with cholecalciferol.Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77:204-10 However, 40,000 units a day will hurt them (over several years)"

    "Humans make at least 10,000 units of vitamin D within 30 minutes of full body exposure to the sun (minimal erythemal dose). Holick MF.Environmental factors that influence the cutaneous production of vitamin D.Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Mar;61(3 Suppl):638S–645S Vitamin D production in the skin occurs within minutes and is already maximized before your skin turns pink."

    "Current studies indicate one needs about 4,000 units of cholecalciferol a day to meet the body's need for vitamin D. 4,000 units of cholecalciferol is equal to 100 micrograms, or 0.1 milligrams. So the 1,000 milligrams of Tylenol needed to help your headache is 10,000 times the 0.1 milligrams of cholecalciferol needed to help your body. Therefore, cholecalciferol is 10,000 times more potent than Tylenol. This potency is one of the reason vitamin D has a reputation as being toxic. Very few other vitamins and supplements, or even medications, are effective in microgram quantities."

    "Physiological doses are 3,000–5,000 IU per day, from all sources (sun, diet and supplements). Should hypercalcemia occur with such doses, it is due to vitamin D hypersensitivity syndrome, not vitamin D toxicity. Vitamin D hypersensitivity syndromes include conditions such as primary hyperparathyroidism, occult cancers (especially lymphoma) or granulomatous disease (especially sarcoidosis). In such cases, treatment of vitamin D deficiency should be done under the care of a knowledgeable physician. A serum 25(OH)D, serum 1,25(OH)2D3, PTH, and SMA will lead the clinician in the right direction."


    "Effects of Higher Doses

    If humans make 20,000 units of vitamin D after sunbathing for 20 minutes in the summer, why shouldn't I take 20,000 units every day? Because of what we don't know we don't know. Someone once said all knowledge comes in three categories: (1) what you know you know, (2) what you know you don't know, and (3), the largest category, what you don't know you don't know. I know I know how to speak English; I know I don't know how to speak French; I don't know that I don't know how to speak a language that I don't know exists.

    We simply don't know the effects of taking 10,000 or 20,000 units a day for year after year. Although light‑skinned humans make about 50,000 of units of vitamin D after getting a sunburn (3 times the minimal erythemal dose), we also know they make progressively less and less vitamin D as their skin produces more and more melanin, thereby tanning. My 16‑year‑old daughter has noticed that she tans much faster when she has been taking oral vitamin D. That is, high blood levels may tell the skin to make more sunblock (melanin). Undoubtedly, other natural mechanisms exist to prevent toxicity, we just don't know. We do know that when healthy young men took 50,000 units of vitamin D every day for six weeks, average serum blood levels increased by 257 ngs/ml. One young man achieved an increase of 400 ngs/ml after only six weeks. Although the authors found no evidence of toxicity after this six‑week experiment (serum calcium remained normal), 50,000 units a day will eventually turn your internal organs into limestone."

    "But vitamin D can be overdone, too. Too much of a good thing .
    Despite being labeled a "vitamin", cholecalciferol is actually a hormone. Vitamins are obtained from food and you can thereby develop deficiencies because of poor intake. Deficiency of vitamin C, for instance, arises from a lack of vegetables and fruits. Vitamin D, on the other hand, is nearly absent from food. The only naturally-occuring source is oily fish like salmon and sardines. Milk usually has a little (100 units per 8 oz) because milk producers have been required by law to put it there to reduce the incidence of childhood rickets. A woman came to me with a heart scan score of nearly 3800, the highest score I've every seen in a woman. (Record for a male >8,000!) She was taking vitamin D by prescription from her family doctor but at a dose of 150,000 units per week, or approximately 21,000 units per day. This had gone on for about 3-4 years. This may explain her excessive coronary calcium score. Interestingly, she had virtually no lipoprotein abnormalities identified, which by itself is curious, since most people have some degree of abnormality like small LDL. Obviously, I asked her to stop the vitamin D. Should you be afraid of vitamin D? Of course not. If your neighbor is an alcoholic and has advanced cirrhosis, does that mean you shouldn't have a glass or two of Merlot for health and enjoyment? It's a matter of quantity. Too little vitamin D and you encourage coronary plaque growth. Too much vitamin D and you trigger "pathologic calcification", or the deposition of calcium in inappropriate places and sometimes to extreme degrees, as in this unfortunate woman. Ideally, you should have your doctor check your 25-OH-vitamin D3 blood levels twice a year in summar and in winter. We aim for a level of 50 ng/ml, the level at which the phenemena of deficiency dissipate."

    Neil
    Having low cholesterol makes it harder for body to produce vitamin D as long as my blood levels are in check thats all that matters to me. Actually correcting vitamin D defiency brought my calcium serum back into balance for first time in 3 years. I was under a drs supervision doing this as well. Check out the great vitamin D expereiment thread on the web site and you will find some pretty amazing information and will cringe at the dosages they are doing 150000 ius a day !! Also you have to take in body fat as well heavier people need hell of alot more...

    http://forum.lowcarber.org/showthrea...9&page=1&pp=15

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    I just scanned that web site....and I think a few of those people are really playing with fire (and that is being extremely kind). I didn't see any of them talk about 25-hydroxy-D testing...they are dosing with extreme amounts by how they feel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No diff from shooting huge amounts of testosterone and going by how you feel! Oh wait...lots of people do that too.

    You on the other hand are doing testing...cool enough.

    Neil

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    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets View Post
    I just scanned that web site....and I think a few of those people are really playing with fire (and that is being extremely kind). I didn't see any of them talk about 25-hydroxy-D testing...they are dosing with extreme amounts by how they feel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No diff from shooting huge amounts of testosterone and going by how you feel! Oh wait...lots of people do that too.

    You on the other hand are doing testing...cool enough.

    Neil
    SOme of them do get tested and the moderator does emphasis that it is a must. Also to remember hes like 450 lbs so they require alot more vitmain D then aeverage person. As for me once saturation is hit then I cut back to maintence of 2000-4000 ius a day to hold it plus i get blood tested to make sure where my levels are. One thing I learned is that drs screwed me up on with trying to treat me is they set you on a protocol and leave me hanging what the next step to do. Its not rocket science. Identifiy problem run protocol follow up with further testing to see if was effected.

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    Vitamin D3
    5,000 IU, 60 capsules
    Item Catalog Number: 713

    units Non-members Members
    1 $11.00 each $8.25 each
    4 $9.90 each $7.43 each

    Vitamin D3, 5,000 Iu 60 Capsules

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    I believe a far better value is here...the LEF product is three times more expensive and not the recommended oil base.

    http://www.iherb.com/ProductDetails....&pid=7763&at=0

    360 oil based (olive oil) Vitamin D3 gels

    2,400iu per gel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onewaypockets View Post
    I believe a far better value is here...the LEF product is three times more expensive and not the recommended oil base.

    http://www.iherb.com/ProductDetails....&pid=7763&at=0

    360 oil based (olive oil) Vitamin D3 gels

    2,400iu per gel.
    I use biotics vitamin D forte emulsion . It sthe only thing that raised my levels due to fat malabsoprtion (estrogen imbalances)

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