Monday, April 27, 2009

'Roid Rage: Vitamin D3 - DO IT (Part I)

Naturally, we are all mildly worried about the swine flu (the delayed 'flu' season). Taking Vitamin D will certainly provide several layers of protection for our family and hopefully avert potential complications. Studies show 36% of individuals who are Vitamin D deficient develop respiratory infections (Reader's Digest).

What Vitamin D3 dose is considered appropriate?

Interestingly Cannell has not been too incorrect in his broad dosing dictum:
~1000 IU per 25-lb body weight

Dr. Cannell in fact is perfectly right on for dosing for 80% of the people that I have personally dosed for this steroid precursor to serum concentrations [25-OH-D] = 60-80 ng/ml.

Adults (Source: courtesy of Dr. Cannell's non-profit
Require 4000 to 10,000 IU daily (or even MORE) in the AM enough to provide serum blood levels of 25(OH)D 60-80 ng/ml.

Infants and Children

Infants and children under the age of one, should obtain a total of 1,000 IU (25 mcg) per day from their formula, sun exposure, or supplements. As most breast milk contains little or no vitamin D, breast-fed babies should take 1,000 IU per day as a supplement unless they are exposed to sunlight. The only exception to this are lactating mothers who either get enough sun exposure or take enough vitamin D (usually 4,000–6,000 IU per day) to produce breast milk that is rich in vitamin D. Formula fed babies should take an extra 600 IU per day until they are weaned and then take 1,000 IU a day, as advised below.

Children over the age of 1 year, and less than 4 years of age, should take 1,500 IU vitamin D per day, depending on body weight, latitude or residence, skin pigmentation, and sun exposure.

Children over the age of 4, and less than 10 years of age, should take 2,000 IU per day, unless they get significant sun exposure. On the days they are outside in the sun, they do not need to take any; in the winter they will need to take 2,000 IU every day.

Children over the age of 10 years old should follow instructions for adults detailed above.

My children get 20,000 IU on average PER WEEK and they're about 75lbs (but we have not been compliant patients and failed to get blood testing yet). We're lazy and they get 2 caps of the NOW Brand 5000 IU caps twice weekly, more or less. I require approx 5000 to 8000 IU daily (I'm about 128# right now *booh*) to keep my blood 70+ ng/ml and the Doctor and asthma inhalers away. Admittedly, as an adult, I rarely stay outdoors despite being a natural sun-worshipper. I get sick quite easily (like...if... anyone sneezes in my direction... b/c I not a carrior of warrior Lp(a)).

Thank Goodness for Dr. Davis (who's been raging about Vitamin D for 5 yrs)!

And the cholesterol-derived...Vitamin D!

They've saved my lungs (+tob cessation *!I know!!...quit 18mos ago*).

My kids as well!

For intermittent asthma, they were on/off inhalers and oral prednisone tapers which would routinely stunt their growth for a few months at a time. They are completely OFF everything...unless I go on vacation...when Daddy forgets. *aha*

Vitamin D and Athletic Performance

Dr. Cannell has written about the benefits of Vitamin D and athletic performance on his non-profit Vitamin D Council website as well as a recently summarized review article. Vitamin D is pro-hormone and a potent steroid. Don't underestimate it's powers. Vitamin D actually increases testosterone, estrogen, thyroid hormone and is a steroidal precursor to other sex and cholesterol hormone derivatives. It has actions in every organ, tissue and cell from the bottom of your hair follicles to the tip of your toe nails.

He has taken the time to review older German and Russian scientific literature on observations and studies on the influence of sun exposure/UV box exposure, seasonality effects on athletic performance.

Here are some of his thoughts from his website:

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."

Is Vitamin D Supplementation PALEO?

Is... indoor-living... uhh... Paleo??

Um...hell-o . . . Supplementation provides what we cannot obtain in our daily living whether it is because we have to make a living INDOORS or we live above the 37th latitude in Northern Cal where UVB radiation is fairly negligible for nearly half the year. UVA (from tanning booths or sun, the wavelength which deeply penetrates glass and car windows and skin) does not unfortunately activate Vitamin D in the skin. My skin tone is dark in the summer therefore with sun exposure, for me, a high likelihood exists that the melanin pigmentation in fact blocks substantial UVB activation as a protective mechanism. It was not surprising to me in retrospective to find that the blood level was TOTALLY deficient at the end of Summer 2007 at 20 ng/ml, which was 400% away from the goal 80 ng/ml!


No wonder I felt like S H * T.

For... 2+ decades of my LIFE.

The first I was on Vitamin D, I had the best running and half-marathons I've ever had (less struggling, less shortness of breath, less fatigue, better times) and... no asthma. Easy wt loss. (Did I say... EASY weight loss?) No breathing difficulties. No metered-dose-inhalers (MDIs). No coughing. Annually for the prior 3 yrs, I suffered from annual bronchitis where coughing fits sorta debilitated me for 6 to 8 wks at a time. (I thought it was from getting 'old'). Turned out the synthetic contraceptive I was on likely triggered the lack of protective natural estrogen, and blah blah blah. Anyhow, the vitamin D cured my (poss iatrogenic) bronchitis. No more antibiotic courses (which didn't work anyway). No more coughing spells (which tended to... frighten patients). No more sleeping problems. No more nasty codeine.

Is uninterrupted breathing important for athletic performance?

For living?

Are albuterol, salmeterol (Serevent, Advair) and other asthma beta-adrenergic agonist treatments banned by the IOC (Int'l Olympic Committee)?

Now you know why I roar and RAGE about the D's... Davis and the steroid 'D'.

Do the . . . right 'ROID. . . V I T A M I N - D3


Dr. William Davis said...

Dr. BG--

Can't wait for Part II!

It's inevitable that the athletes eventually pick up on the physical advantages of vitamin D. I believe that's when we'll see it go fully mainstream.

Anonymous said...


Dr. Cannell provides some very interesting information doesn't he?

Interesting about the athletic performance.

Glad to hear that your children are off the inhalers.


Dr. B G said...

Dr. Davis,

And the IOC hasn't banned it yet!


Dr. B G said...


Cannell is quite amazing. But the hesitancy regarding vitamin A...??? Mmm...


-Brandon said...

This athlete loves your posts. They are too funny...but true. Maybe I should up my 4,000 IU a couple grand to the recommended dose!

Why in the AM? I need to get the wife to change when she takes hers.

Great blog.

Dr. B G said...

Hi Brandon,

Love your blog! I can't believe people PAY you to work out.

Vitamin D is a solar-related hormone with diurnal rhythms of activity (which kinda makes sense). When I take it in the evenings or right before bed, I tend to wake up at 3am 'bright and bushy-tailed'.... which is sometimes good... sometimes BAD.

Guess it DEPENDS.

You guys are in Canada? Where UVB is pretty scarce. I couldn't tell how big/tall you are but generally the minimum dose I've found people require for the winter is 5000 IU daily in Calif. Obviously in the summer with full body exposure, less or NO supplementation is required.

Let me know if you notice results! Or place better! WOW... your D could translate to $$$.


-Brandon said...

We are in TX, but I'm a 9-5er and train indoors a lot. So, I'll go 5,000 IU and get tested in a few months!

Dr. B G said...

That's great! Like any other hormone (T, E, DHEA etc) requires about 4-6 wks for serum saturation and receptor/protein transcription.

Gio said...

Great post, I have emailed the link to my clients and it's incredible. Thank you. I can't wait for Part II.

Taking your advice in upping the intake of Vit. D via orange juice, milk (goat) and oranges be the better or equal to the intake of a prescription intake of Vit D Rx?

Dr. B G said...

Hey Gio,

I use ( NOW brand 5000 IU capsules which costs $8.80 per bottle of #100.

To get enough from milk (goat or otherwise) or OJ, you'd require quite a number of classes to meet daily requirements for vitamin D. Supplementation is the easiest in my opinion. Obviously getting real sunlight on skin is even better. However, if you are like me, darker-toned skin prevents vitamin D activation as a 'protective mechanism'. I still supplement in the summertime but a much lower dose.

I was diagnosed with a blood level 20 ng/ml (goal 70 ng/ml) at the end of a summer where I was by the pool in my two-piece 'kini 3-4 days per week with my kids (wearing sunscreen).

Hey -- like ur BLOG -- thanks for ur the tips on pullups!


Gio said...

Dr. G,

Thanks for the prop on the blog. It's been a while since I've updated it. On the list of things to do. Presently I am at :

On the supplementation, I am going to get those supplements. I will keep you posted.

Gio said...

Ok, I've been taking the Vit. D supplement 1:3 5k iu for two weeks. I'll post in a Month to let you know how Orange I've become.


Dr. B G said...

*ahhhaa* Gio,

Don't forget to tell me how studly you become and how girls want to touch u all over and parades of clients pound down your door...!!! j/k

Gio said...

LOL, you made my day.

Studly-not. Hard gainer, but hopefully gonna grow up. :)

Update 1 - Taking 5k. iu, 1:2 for - improved recovery time.
no orange skin :P
endurance in some CF WOD's increased

Working out the dosage for 1:3 to 1:1 and compare the findings.

I'll keep updating as usual.


p.s. Love the pic. Great job.

Dr. B G said...

LOL! You made MY day...

Hey I'm going to your Xfit this wk coz I'll be in Chicago. Depends if I have time... I'll look for the STUDly orange dude *haa*

I'm into coveting...I want Byer's abs!!


Gio said...

Well, a week late and I just found no Orange tint anywhere on my body. One month in, healing well.

Performance -CrossFit: although not stellar by any means it does have a little umph to it when others had not.

Now, I just need to have a cup of Joe and not be disturbed (*since I have class at that time) and enjoy it once!


I was so looking forward to meeting up with you. Any time you are back here again, you drop me a line. PM me and I'll send you my Cell.


Dr. B G said...


I am sorry that I missed you. Loved Chicago!!! Next time I will have more time...