Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If You Have Fibromyalgia or CFS-Avoid NutraSweet

The Health Dangers of NutraSweet-Fibromyalgia and Aspartame

Aspartame can be found in most diet sodas and in other artificially sweetened food products. Commonly known as NutraSweet or Equal, it is broken down by the body into methanol and formaldehyde. 
Toxic levels of methanol are linked to systemic lupus and now Alzheimer’s disease. 

Methanol toxicity can cause depression, brain fog, mood changes, insomnia, seizures, and similar symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis. 

As for formaldehyde, it is grouped into the same class of drugs as cyanide and arsenic.

An EPA assessment of methanol states that methanol "is considered a cumulative poison due to the low rate of excretion once it is absorbed. In the body, methanol is oxidized to formaldehyde and formic acid; both of these metabolites are toxic." They recommend a limit of consumption of 7.8 mg/day. A one-liter (approx. 1 quart) aspartame-sweetened beverage contains about 56 mg of methanol. Heavy users of aspartame-containing products consume as much as 250 mg of methanol daily or 32 times the EPA limit.

When the temperature of aspartame exceeds 86 degrees F, the wood alcohol in the product is turned into formaldehyde and then into formic acid. Formic acid is the poison contained in the sting of a fire ant.
There are over 92 documented symptoms from the use of aspartame.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death. A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

Could Aspartame be contributing to your fibromyalgia or CFS symptoms?

One common complaint of persons suffering from the effect of aspartame is memory loss. Ironically, in 1987, G.D. Searle, the manufacturer of aspartame, undertook a search for a drug to combat memory loss caused by excitatory amino acid damage.

One expert, Dr. Olney, a professor in the department of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Washington University, a neuroscientist and researcher, and one of the world's foremost authorities on excitotoxins. (He informed Searle in 1971 that aspartic acid caused holes in the brains of mice.)

For more information about the dangers ofAspartame see Aspartame Sweetpoison, written by author Dr. Janet Starr Hull.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia
The diffuse muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia can be debilitating. Unless you’ve experienced the achy all over pain that accompanies fibromyalgia you can’t imagine the amount of discomfort, stress, and fatigue it creates. For those people who don’t know what fibromyalgia is like, I ask them to imagine waking up everyday with the flu from hell. 
The pain can become worse when the individual gets under more stress (depleting serotonin), the weather changes, and after being on certain prescription medications for extended periods of time (Ambien).

Pain may arise from wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis), scar tissue, lactic acid (trigger points), allergic reactions, leaky gut, intestinal dysbiosis (yeast overgrowth), nightshade sensitivity, autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis), low serotonin levels or poor detoxification processes. Finding and successfully treating the source of chronic pain can be difficult. 

Pain is initiated from inflammatory chemicals that are released in response to injury. Pain acts as an alarm to warn us of potential danger. If you’ve ever placed your hand on a hot stove, you know pain acts as a potent deterrent to not make this mistake twice. Wherever there is pain, there is inflammation. Inflammation is a normal and important, bodily reaction. Inflammation allows the body to attack unwanted invading microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, etc.), remove damaged cells (from injury), eliminate toxins, and is part of the body’s repair process.

How the inflammatory system works

Trauma, infection, ischemia (reduced blood flow), toxins, poisons, and normal wear and tear cause damage and destruction to cells. This damage then triggers an orderly inflammatory response by the body’s self-regulating mechanisms. When cells become damaged, they release special enzymes. These enzymes digest the parts of the cell that have been damaged. If the damage is minor, the cell can repair itself. If the damage is severe, the entire cell is digested (autolysis) and a new cell is made. If a lot of cells (tissue) are damaged, either by trauma (sprained ankle, back joint, etc.) or autolysis (cell death from toxic exposure, radiation, etc.), certain chemicals are released into the surrounding tissues, producing inflammation and more pain.
Inflammatory chemicals
The first group of chemicals, histamine, leukotriens, and pro-inflammatory hormones (prostaglandins), cause the blood vessels to dilate or expand. The dilation of the blood vessels causes the area to become hot, red and swollen. The dilated vessels (capillaries) allow needed nutrients and white blood cells to get to the damaged (swollen) area. 

 The white blood cells are charged with digesting and removing damaged cells (phagocytosis). These white blood cells gobble up everything in sight. Foreign invaders or pathogens (viruses, allergens, free radicals, etc) release their own chemicals, many of which are toxic. The healthy tissue surrounding the damaged area releases anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (PG1 and PG3) to combat the inflammatory prostaglandins (PG2). Certain chemicals (proteolytic enzymes) are responsible for telling the white blood cells that their job is done. These chemicals sound the alarm for the white blood cells to stop attacking and digesting cells and tissues.

Proteolytic enzymes are manufactured to squelch the white blood cells from continuing to eat up cellular debris. As the damaged cells and tissues are removed, less of the pro-inflammatory chemicals and more of the anti-inflammatory chemicals are released. Once the inflammation process is finished, the body begins to repair itself.
The balance between inflammation, destruction, and repair is an ongoing process. Normally, this process is kept in check. When the process becomes unbalanced, chronic inflammation takes over. 

Inflammation is largely regulated by the prostaglandin hormones mentioned above.


Prostaglandins are a group of regulatory hormones produced in the body from fatty acids. There are several different groups of prostaglandins, but inflammation is largely controlled by Prostaglandin 1 (PG-1), Prostaglandin 2 (PG-2), and Prostaglandin 3 (PG-3).

PG-1, PG-2, and PG-3 are produced from essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids are essential for our existence. They can’t be manufactured by the body but must be obtained from the foods we eat. Essential fatty acids are made-up of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).

PUFAs are divided into two families of essential fatty acids (EFA).
PUFAs are further broken down into Omega 3 (fish oils) and Omega 6 (vegetable oils).

Anti-inflammatory hormones
PG-1 and PG-3 come mainly from Omega 3 oils (fish oils) and are anti-inflammatory hormones. They help reduce and eliminate inflammation and pain. 
Arachidonic Acid (AA) PG-2 Causes Pain and Inflammation
AA is an essential fatty acid (EFA) in the Omega 6 family. AA is found in corn and corn oil products. Corn products are used as the prominent foodstuff in westernized livestock. Red meat, dairy, and pork products have a high AA content. 
The pro-inflammatory series PG-2 are made from arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is derived from the consumption of land animal foods (meats, cheese, eggs, etc.). Arachidonic acid stimulates the production of inflammatory chemicals including leukotriens (notorious in causing allergic reactions), thromboxanes, and prostacylins. Several research articles have demonstrated that the more animal fats a human eats, the more arachidonic acid they have in their blood and cell membranes and the more likely to have inflammation.
Conversely, a diet high in fish or supplemented with fish oil (EPA) helps reduce inflammation.
A. Omega 3 Linolenic Acid

Omega 3 oils include are found in flax seed, soybean, walnut, and chestnut oils, as well as some dark green leafy vegetables.  Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) are Omega 3 derivatives and are only found in cold water fish. These fish include salmon, tuna, and mackerel

The average AA (PG-2 from vegetable oils and animal products) to EPA (PG-1 and PG-3 from fish oils) of Americans is approximately 11:1. For patients with inflammatory conditions and neurological disorders, the AA/EPA ratio is 20:1 or more.

This means that Americans are eating and storing 11-20 times the amount of inflammation causing hormones (from vegetable oils and land animals) in comparison to the inflammation reducing hormones (from fish oils). 

An AA/EPA ratio of 1.5:1 is considered ideal. This is the ratio found in Japanese populations which by the way have the highest life expectancy and the lowest rate of cardiovascular disease.

 Our inflammatory reactions and their chemicals are therefore largely determined by what foods (fatty acids) we eat. Since most Americans are carrying around at least 10-20 pounds of excess fat, it is no wonder that arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are out of control in our country. 
   The average adult weighs 150 pounds, 30% of this is fat. This means that on average a person is carrying around 45 pounds of inflammatory fatty acid hormones!
Fish Oil Reduces Pain and Inflammation

The supplementing your diet with fish oils along with reducing the intake of arachidonic acid foods (land animals) can yield significant results. 

Some studies have shown that supplementing with fish oils results in a dramatic reduction in a person’s leukotriens (one of the chemicals implicated in asthma) by 65%. This correlates with a 75% decrease in their clinical symptoms.

Another fish oil study, involving rheumatoid arthritis sufferers (often treated with incredibly toxic and life threatening prescription drugs) who took 1.8 grams of EPA fish oil and reduced their saturated fats (land animal foods), showed significant improvement over and above a placebo. 

Sleep deprivation and pain
One study showed that college students who were prevented from going into deep sleep (REM sleep) for a period of a week, developed the same symptoms associated with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): diffuse pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, stomach disturbances, and headaches. 

A study conducted by the University of Connecticut School of Medicine compared the sleep patterns and associated symptoms of fifty women with FMS. 
The study showed that a poor night’s sleep was followed by an increase in the subject’s symptoms including, increased pain.

Avoid instant coffee
Instant coffee contains substances which block the receptor sites for endorphins and may cause increased pain. 

In one study 70% of those with arthritis reported relief from chronic pain over a period of seven years after eliminating all white potatoes, tomatoes, peppers,(except black), eggplant, and tobacco.

Supplements That Help Reduce Pain
S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAMe) comes from the amino acid methionine and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and blocks pain without the side effects associated with NSAIDs. 
SAMe helps boost serotonin and epinephrine levels. It also helps increase the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the bodies natural pain blocking chemicals and are more powerful than morphine.

One double-blind study showed SAMe was superior to ibuprofen in the treatment of osteo-arthritis pain.

Several studies involving SAMe and fibromyalgia patients yielded substantial improvement in over all pain levels (as well as depression).

Dosage is up to 1,200 mg. taken on an empty stomach 30 minutes before breakfast each day.

Malic Acid is found in a variety of foods. It is a vital nutrient needed for the production of cellular energy (Krebs cycle). Malic acid helps boost cellular energy and reduce achy muscles. It removes unwanted waste material from muscle cells including lactic acid, a byproduct of oxygen deficiency. 

Lactic acid has been implicated as one reason for achy muscles. Lactic acid may accumulate in muscles after periods of anaerobic and aerobic exercise. It may also be involved in the trigger point pains associated with fibromyalgia. 
“Malic acid gave subjective improvement within 48 hours in one study.” 
Sherry Rodgers M.D., Pain Free in Six Weeks.     

Studies involving FMS patients who were taking magnesium and malic acid together showed dramatic reduction in pain levels that returned with in 24 hours of discontinuing the supplements.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gluten, Low Thyroid and Fibromyalgia

Gluten Intake May Trigger Low Thyroid Function and Lead to Fibromyalgia
I find that 40-50% of my fibromyalga and CFS patients are suffering with low thyroid function. Many of these patients are plagued with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.

Gluten sensitivity has been implicated in contributing to Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism.
Several studies now show the link between gluten sensitivity and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. 

Gluten sensitivity (also known as "gluten intolerance") (GS) belongs to a spectrum of disorders in which gluten has an adverse effect on the body. It can be defined as a non-allergic and non-autoimmune condition in which the consumption of gluten can lead to symptoms similar to those observed in celiac disease.
Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea; or it may present with a variety of symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, autism and schizophrenia, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is named after the first doctor who described this condition, Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, in 1912. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a condition caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body inappropriately attacks the thyroid gland--as if it was foreign tissue.
Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroididitis include anxiety, depression, fatigue, high cholesterol, weight gain, poor immune function, hair loss, cold hands and feet, and constipation.

According thyroid specialist, Dr. Datis Kharrazian, author of “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal?” it’s rare to find a person with Hashimoto’s who doesn’t have some degree of gluten sensitivity or full-blown celiac disease.

Celiac disease is defined generally as an autoimmune response to intestinal tissues upon gluten exposure, as well as overall activation of the immune system.

The list of inflammation-induced symptoms brought on by a gluten sensitivity goes on and depends upon the person’s genetic makeup. Needless to say such systemic inflammation also flares up an autoimmune condition.

Experience shows a gluten-free diet is a must
Dr. Kharrazian writes that “Hashimoto’s patients fall somewhere between gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.  Nevertheless, almost all patients with Hashimoto’s improve on a strict gluten-free diet, even if they do not fit the established criteria of celiac disease. By strict I mean you are 100 percent gluten-free.”

Regular Gluten Testing is Often Inaccurate
Part of the problem with negative gluten antibody tests is improper testing. The general gluten antibody test conducted by most labs today is only testing a small portion of the gluten protein, alpha-gliadin.

In reality, an individual can have an immune response to various parts of the gluten protein, including omega-gliadin, gamma-gliadin, wheat germ agglutinin, and deamidated gliadin.

Both the scientific and clinical evidence linking gluten with Hashimoto’s and autoimmune disease in general is too powerful and abundant to ignore. A strict gluten-free diet is the first and most important step to managing your Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fish Oil for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) for Fibromyalgia and CFS

Essential fatty acids are, as their name implies, essential for our existence.
Essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from food.They make up the outer membranes of each cell. These membranes determine which nutrients get into and out of the cells. The membranes of healthy cells can resist entry by viruses and other pathogenic agents and, at the same time, facilitate the entry of nutrients-the “happy hormones” serotonin.

When EFAs are deficient, cell membranes are weakened in their abilities, and the wrong substances are allowed into the cell. A deficiency in EFAs can cause some of the very symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and CFS: fatigue, anxiety, depression, GI disorders, muscle pain, insomnia, poor mental function, and lowered immunity. It’s estimated that at least 40% of the population suffers from some amount of EFA deficiency.

There are several interesting interrelationships between EFA metabolism and viral infections (commonly chronic in those with CFS).  EFA’s have direct antiviral effects and are lethal at surprising low concentrations to many viruses. The antiviral activity of human mother’s milk seems to be largely attributable to its EFA content. 
Interferon is dependant on EFA’s and in their absence will be compromised.
Viral infections lower the blood levels EFA’s.  This has been confirmed in the case of the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV).  Of particular interest was the observation that at 8 and 12 months, those who have recovered from EBV showed normal or near normal EFA blood levels.  In contrast, those who were still clinically ill from Epstein-Barr show persistently low EFA levels. 

In a Scottish trial, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome were given EFA supplements with great success.  Placebo controlled trials were held for 70 patients with persistent CFS giving them linolenic acid (flax seed oil) and eicosapentaenoic acid (fish oil).  After 6 months, 84% of the patients in the group receiving EFA supplements, and only 22% of those in the placebo group rated themselves as better or much better. 

In another successful study, 63 adults with CFS were enrolled in a double blind placebo controlled study with essential fatty acid therapy.  The patient’s were ill for an average of 1-3 years after a viral infection. They all suffered from severe fatigue, myalgia (muscle pain), and a variety of psychological symptoms.  After one month, 74% of the patients taking EFA supplements, and 23% of those on placebo, assessed themselves as improved.

A deficiency of Omega-3 fat is one of the main causes of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders.  Omega-3 fats work to keep us mentally and emotionally strong in three ways: 
1) Omega-3 fats act as precursors for the body’s production of pre-prostaglandins and neurotransmitters (specific hormones). 
2) Omega-3 fats provide the substrate for B vitamins and coenzymes to produce compounds that regulate many vital functions, including neurotransmitters.
Omega-3 fats provide energy and nourishment to our nerve and brain cells. 

Eat to reduce inflammation.
The pro-inflammatory hormone PG-2 is made from arachidonic acid (AA).
AA increases bodily inflammation. Since AA is found in corn, and corn products are used as the prominent foodstuff for westernized livestock, red meat, cheese, eggs, and pork products have a high AA content in the United States.
Several research articles have demonstrated that the more animal fats a human eats, the more AA is in his blood and cell membranes and the more likely he is to have inflammation. So reduce your intake of grains and corn-fed livestock.
If your inflammation is severe, reduce or avoid red meat and dairy as well. Cook with olive oil or canola oil. (Avoid instant coffee, as well. It contains substances that block the receptor sites for endorphins.) Vegetables are fine and are encouraged-avoid vegetable oils not vegetables.
The functional opposite of PG-2, PG-1 and PG-3 are anti-inflammatory hormones. They help reduce and eliminate inflammation and pain. You should increase your intake of these hormones. The best sources of PG-1 and PG-3 are fish oil supplements or a diet high in deep cold-water fish.

I recommend taking 2,000 to 4,000mg of fish oil a day.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome VS. Fibromyalgia

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome VS. Fibromyalgia
Some of the immune disorders associated with CFS are:
• elevated levels of antibodies to various viruses.
• altered helper/suppressor T-cell ratio.
• decreased NK cells or activity.
• decreased levels of circulating immune complexes.
• low or elevated antibody levels.
• increased cytokine levels.
• increased or decreased interferon levels.
• fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities.5
Chronic Viral Infections and CFS
Individuals who we suspect have chronic fatigue syndrome will have an Epstein Barr Virus EBV and or Cytomegalovirus CMV blood panels drawn. This is to see if there is a virus lingering in the body that is weakening the immune system. These blood tests measure the antibodies immunoglobulin M (IgM) and immunoglobulin G (IgG). A test for IgM antibodies measures the acute (recent infection) phase of the virus. A test for IgG antibodies measures the dormant (inactive) phase of the virus. Our tests also measure Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA) antibodies.

  You don’t have to have a blood test to diagnose CFS. If you’re patient has chronic fatigue (hard to get out of bed each day), achy diffuse pain, and a lowered immune function (chronic infections,) then they either have CFS or they are at high risk of developing the illness.

Due to weakened immunity, individuals with chronic fatigue have terrible problems with energy as well as reoccurring bouts with the flu, colds, sinusitis, and other immune problems.

 As with so many complex chronic illnesses, CFS may be aggravated by a wide variety of environmental and physiological challenges. Food allergies, environmental sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, yeast overgrowth, intestinal dysbiosis, parasites, and vitamin/mineral deficiencies can all contribute to CFS.
The syndrome’s principal causes are a weakened immune system and a reactivated virus.

All of us have been exposed to mono or the Epstein-Barr virus at one time or another (usually as teenagers), but our bodies are usually strong enough to overcome it. Individuals with CFS have been exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus or mono from some other source, and it has now returned. Its return has either caused the immune system to be compromised or has taken advantage of already compromised immune system.
How to quickly distinguish between FMS and CFS patients.
  A quick way to distinguish between the two syndrome. 
A positive EBV panel showing elevated antibodies, especially IgM is clear indicator that someone has CFS.

ŸThe CFS patient usually has chronic infections (sinusitis, upper respiratory, UTI’s, colds, flu, etc.) and is sick several times a year. They get at least 2 or more (bad) infections a year. They will usually have chronic or intermittent sore throats, swollen lymph nodes, and periodic fevers. They usually ache all over. 
FMS patients may ache all over as well but usually have specific areas (neck, low back, etc.) that are the most troublesome. 

ŸCFS patients may not have a low serotonin state (“S” on Brain Function Questionnaire, see my book) and will have no problems falling and staying asleep each night.
ŸNote-some of these individuals have a low body temperature (suggestive of low thyroid). They may have a fever when their temperature is at or below 98.6.

Many of these individuals will have a sluggish liver (higher incidence than those with FMS). Clues that would lead you to suspect someone has a sluggish liver include, funny or negative reactions to medications (take something to put them to sleep and it wakes them up or a little goes a long ways), intolerance to caffeine, alcohol, or odors (longer they’ve had illness more sensitive they become to odors, perfumes, gasoline, smoke, cleaners, etc.), and a history of elevated liver enzymes on past blood work. Of course anyone with hepatitis or fatty liver has a sluggish liver. Long term prescription medication therapies can also create a sluggish liver.

True chronic fatigue syndrome patients are a real challenge. Their biochemistry is usually totally shot by the time they get to the right doctor. They can feel better but it requires hard work and requires a lot of patience by the doctor and the patient. 

Fibromyalgia patients aren't easy either but FMS patients respond rather quickly to restoring serotonin levels. Once FMS patients start going into deep restorative sleep, they usually feel better in a matter of days. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Recommended Disease Allowance

RDA Is 50 Years Out Of Date - Could This Be Why America Is So Unhealthy?

The Recommended Daily Allowance is some fifty years out of date.
Many so-called experts will tell you not to worry about taking vitamins if you are eating a balanced diet. Unfortunately, dieting alone can’t provide enough essential vitamins and minerals to promote optimal health.

For instance, you would need to consume 5,000 calories per day (mostly fat) in order to get the recommend minimum (400 IU) of vitamin E, and 12,000 calories per day to get the minimum amount of chromium. Most of our foods are now processed and, therefore, the nutrients have been leeched out of them.  Could this be why pre-senile dementia  and Alzheimer’s is on the rise?
Taking the minimum amount of a nutrient to prevent gross deficiency diseases doesn’t help those people who want to be truly healthy and not just be free of symptoms. 

Almost as unacceptable as not recommending vitamin and mineral supplements is the recommendation of them based on the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA).  The RDA is the measured amount or dosage of nutrient per vitamin and minerals recommend. The RDA or as it is sometimes called the Recommended Disease Allowance, may keep us from getting Scurvy, but it certainly won’t stand- up to the many chronic diseases that continue to plague modern man.

The RDA is inadequate if the goal is for prevention and or treatment of heart disease, cancer, cataracts, depression, senility, diabetes, arthritis and other age related disorders. For optimal health and wellbeing, many health practitioners are recommending many times higher than the RDA on certain nutrients. It’s no secret, for the majority of the U.S. population the diet is poorly lacking in essential nutrients. 

Additionally, nearly all Americans are deficient even in the minimal RDA requirements, and are therefore exposed to premature death.

Take a look at how just one vitamin/mineral deficiency can lead to poor health-

Vitamin D to the Rescue!

Vitamin D is one of the oldest hormones, having been produced by life forms for over 750 million years. Phytoplankton, zooplankton, and most plants and animals that are exposed to sunlight have the capacity to make vitamin D. In humans, vitamin D is critically important for the development, growth, and maintenance of a healthy body, from birth until death.

The Institute of Medicine brought experts together recently to explore the question of whether the RDA or recommended daily allowance, of vitamin D has been set too low. The impetus for the occasion was the mounting evidence for this vitamin's role in preventing common cancers, autoimmune diseases, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, and osteoporosis.

Studies show that vitamin D deficiency is common in the U.S.

According to Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, of the Boston University School of Medicine
the typical symptoms are aching bones and muscle discomfort, vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Vitamin D has also been implicated in the cause of various other health disorders including influenza, psoriasis, gout, otosclerosis, interstitial cystitis, decreased pulmonary function, thrombosis, chronic kidney disease, pancreatitis, rheumatology, hepatitis B infections, hemochromatosis, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Research at a Glance
Autoimmune Illnesses
Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Reiter’s Syndrome. lupus, asthma, and ulcerative colitis. Researchers are discovering an increasing number of links between the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems. Hormones of the endocrine system, such as vitamin D, help the immune and nervous systems defend the body, with defects in this intricate system leading to autoimmune disorders.

Research has shown that low maternal vitamin D3 has important ramifications for the developing brain. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone with many important functions in the brain, mediated through the nuclear vitamin D receptor (VDR). Dysfunctional VDR demonstrate altered emotional behavior and specific motor deficits.


Vitamin D inhibits inappropriate cell division and metastasis, reduces blood vessel formation around tumors, and regulates proteins that affect tumor growth. It also enhances anti-cancer actions of immune system chemicals and chemotherapy drugs.
A four-year study of 1,179 healthy, postmenopausal women showed that taking calcium, along with nearly three times the U.S. government's recommendation of vitamin D3, showed a dramatic 60 percent or greater reduction in all forms of cancer.

It’s estimated that if vitamin D levels were increased worldwide, a minimum of 600,000 cases of breast and other cancers could be prevented each year. Nearly 150,000 cases of cancer could be prevented in the United States alone.

  Studies show that by taking vitamin D (about 2,000 IU/day) females can cut breast cancer incidence by half!

Chronic Pain
In a study involving 150 children and adults with unexplained muscle and bone pain, almost all were found to be vitamin D deficient; many were severely deficient with extremely low levels of vitamin D in their bodies.
Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness and pain in children and adults. Muscle pain and weakness was a prominent symptom of vitamin D deficiency in a study of Arab and Danish Moslem women living in Denmark (20).

In a cross-sectional study of 150 consecutive patients referred to a clinic in Minnesota for the evaluation of persistent, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, 93% had serum 25(OH)D levels indicative of vitamin D deficiency.


Maintenance of serum calcium levels within a narrow range is vital for normal functioning of the nervous system, as well as for bone growth, and maintenance of bone density. Vitamin D is essential for the efficient utilization of calcium by the body.
A recent study found that supplementation of elderly women with 800 IU/day of vitamin D and 1,200 mg/day of calcium for three months increased muscle strength and decreased the risk of falling by almost 50% compared to supplementation with calcium alone.

Mental Function and Moods
Recent research indicates vitamin D deficiency is associated with low mood and cognitive impairment in the elderly. Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in various psychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression.

Vitamin D helps maintain adequate insulin levels. Preliminary evidence suggests supplementation can increase insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Prolonged supplementation may help reduce blood sugar levels.

Immune Function
There is considerable scientific evidence that 1,25(OH)2D has a variety of positive effects on boosting the immune system.
Additionally, there is growing evidence that maintaining vitamin D levels in the body during the winter prevent the flu and other viral infections by strengthening the immune system.

Heart Disease
Activated vitamin D has been shown to increase survival in patients with cardiovascular disease.

Low plasma vitamin D3 has been found to be a major risk factor for hyperparathyroidism.

High Blood Pressure
Clinical and experimental data support the view that vitamin D metabolism is involved in blood pressure regulation and other metabolic processes.

An inability to tan is the number one risk factor for melanoma. Those who tan easily or who have darker skin are far less likely to develop the disease. A new theory is that melanoma is actually caused by sunlight (vitamin D) deficiency and that safe sun exposure actually helps prevent the deadly disease.

Multiple Sclerosis
Vitamin D supplementation may help prevent the development of MS as well as provide for additional treatment.

Low intake and low serum levels of vitamin D appear to be associated with an increased risk for progression of osteoarthritis.

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely prevalent in the elderly. Most often the first symptoms are muscle pain, fatigue, muscular weakness, and gait disturbances. More severe deficiency causes osteomalacia (bone weakening and loss) with deep bone pain, reduced mineralization of bone matrix, and bone fractures.

How much vitamin D does the average person need?

In the summer, those with at least 15 minutes of sun exposure on their skin most days should take around 1,000 mg of vitamin D3 each day. In the winter, those with dark skin, or those who have little sun exposure on their skin, should take up to 4,000 mg each day. Those who have darker skin, are older, avoid sun exposure or live in the northern US should take the higher amounts, around 2,000mg a day.

Vitamin D is remarkably safe; there have been no deaths caused by the vitamin.
People consuming only government-recommended levels of 200-400 IU/day
often have blood levels considerably below 50 ng/ml. This means the government’s recommendations are too low, and should be raised for optimal health function.

High Dose Vitamin D can be purchased at a number of health food or big name drug stores. However, please be advised that not all vitamin D is equal. I recommend using only pharmaceutical grade, naturally-occurring Vitamin D3.