Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Vitamin D3

I'm jazzed about any non toxic and inexpensive way to boost my family's immune system. Vitamin D3 supplements (cholecalciferol) is something I'm researching heavily into as we head into this cold and flu season. Vitamin use is controversial and they are not regulated by the FDA. Bottles notify users that they are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I had long conversations today with my kids' pediatrician, our breastfeeding clinic, and a pharmacist, in addition to a really smart group of momologists. Apparently, not only are most people seriously deficient in vitamin D, but it allegedly has some incredible health boosting and preventative effects. Some doctors and researchers are alleging that it can help prevent and fight off cold and flu viruses and also prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Taken properly, it's not supposed to be toxic. click HERE

The caution I've been told and have read is that "large doses (1400-2000 IU/day) may cause hypercalcemia, a decrease in renal function, and nephrocalcinosis. Monthly blood tests to monitor serum calcium and parathyroid hormone levels should be done to protect against these health issues. Those with underlying kidney disease should avoid high doses of vitamin D3. Although some research indicates that dosages up to 10,000 IU/day are safe, staying below 2000 IU/day may be prudent."

I bought it today and am going to keep researching. Before too much time passes I wanted to put up what I've seen so far. Do your own research, and come to your own conclusions. I am not a doctor or pharmacist. Don't take my research as science or doctor's orders.

However, as I won't be getting much sunlight (which is how we best make vitamin D) me and mine will be taking supplements. Dosages vary by age, weight, and other factors. I've read that 2,000-9,000 IUs for an adult woman is appropriate. I've read 9,000 IUs is ok for pregnant women. The breastfeeding clinic said under 10,000 wouldn't be toxic for me as a nursing mom. I've read 35 IUs of D3 per pound of body weight is appropriate. A 40 pound child would then need 1,400 IUs a day. A 180 pound adult would need 6,300 IUs per day. So, dosing advice obviously varies.

Here are a few other tips on preventing the flu that I've read today:

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).
2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat or bathe).
3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/ nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.
4. Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population. Sinus rinse kits are available at the drug store and relatively inexpensive.
5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption.
6. Drink as much warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

Here are a few videos. I have my own opinion about this first doctor's message (especially suggesting tanning beds), but he has some interesting points about Vitamin D.

In a new study, researchers at the UCSD School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center used a complex computer prediction model to determine that intake of vitamin D3 and calcium would prevent 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer annually in the US and Canada. The researchers' model also predicted that 75% of deaths from these cancers could be prevented with adequate intake of vitamin D3 and calcium.
Vitamin D Prevents Cancer: Is it True? -UCTV- University of California Television, click HERE


amy flege said...

i have been wondering how much to take of the vitamin D as well! thanks for the info jen!

RK said...

You're so freakin' smart...great research! Thanks!

We rely heavily on the salt water element, gargling often (salt water and Listerine) and I use saline drops in the girls' noses every day at least once a day. I'm better with them than with me, which is probably why they haven't been sick and I have!

Beverly said...

ive just been thinking of taking this as well. Thanks for the post!