Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Setting the Optimal Dose for Vitamin D

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) created much confusion. So I would prefer mentioning this situation as little as possible.

Determining how much Vitamin D anyone should or should not take in supplemental form is almost impossible. The IOM is, in its narrow interpretation of limiting Vitamin D (up to 600 IU per day and the maximum limit allowable 4000 IU), not keeping up with recent science. It is by now well understood that Vitamin D has receptors in virtually every part of the body. That means that Vitamin D is not just a vitamin for bone health.

Leaving that fact aside, it should be understood by any self-respecting scientist that, when it comes to vitamins and minerals, the optimum level cannot be determined by the type of controlled study the IOM seems to need in order to find the optimum level of a nutrient. The type of study could not possibly be done unless there were a standardized person at a specific weight or size or whatever.

But we all know that there are small people and large people; there are people who tend to be obese. There are people who are light-skinned who cannot tolerate the sun but can make Vitamin D very easily; those who are dark-skinned cannot make Vitamin D as easily. There are people who have absorption problems, and there are people who have kidney disease, and there are people with all kinds of genetic variations. Exposure or non-exposure to sun changes the variables enough to make a study the IOM seems to need worthless. And who says that the size and weight of that standardized person is optimal.

Granted taking large amounts of Vitamin D has its risks. But to be categorical about Vitamin D levels or any other kind of nutrient flies in the face of science.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The good die young

He was never able to speak, and he died peacefully. His bones did not hold him up any longer, but he had no bad bone in his body. His mystery is taken to the grave with him. My wish is to find the answers that lie behind the image of his pale lifeless body, and he was a good man. He was so quiet in death. He was so sad and he was so glad to have been released from his suffering. In death I hope to discover the mystery of the 40 years of his life.

When he was young his proudest moment was when he learned how to walk, and he ran around the dining room table giggling the whole time round and round. He also bumped into it a number of times. He couldn't express his feelings except by laughing and crying. He never said a word. But he knew his saddest moment when a doctor took his ability to walk. He knew it and he screamed in anger and he cried in pain when he couldn't get up to walk. The wheelchair was an insult to him. But now he is safe from insult. He has no worries and he will live forever in our hearts.

I wished he could have said what he thought just once. Instead he left his imprint on all of us in his silence.