Monthly Archives: August 2010

How Much Vitamin D is Enough? – Not a Question for the Packers

How Much Vitamin D is Enough?

Reference: Time Magazine, August 20, 2010

How much is enough?  The American Institute of Medicine, in 1997, decreed that up to 2000 IU a day is safe, but that any more could be toxic.  With that warning, the whole world of organized medicine has been very cautious to go any higher.  Yet, we know from McMurdo Sound research that 2000 IU  a day to an audience that can’t get away, and doesn’t get any sun, results in a blood level of 29 ng.  Not enough.

Time Magazine quoted three of the studies this column has reviewed in the past.  How 1100 IU a day to women combined with a gram of calcium results in a 76% reduction in cancer within a couple of years.  It vaguely referenced that D will reduce risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.  It didn’t mention specifically the Intermountain Study released this spring that showed that D will reduce your mortality from heart attacks within a year or two, with additional benefit continuing up to a blood level of 46 ng.  Nor did they specifically mention that women taking D in South Carolina with Drs Hollis and Wagner demonstrated a marked reduction in risk for premature delivery, eclampsia and diabetes of pregnancy.

What’s changed and what Time Magazine didn’t get was that Vit D is really Hormone D.  Hormones affect your DNA and are the critical connection to maintaining your personal genetic code.  As important to your health and well being as thyroid, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone is a safe and healthy optimal level of D.  Hormones require a blood level to be at their optimum.  It’s time to start talking about what is your optimal blood level and how you achieve it.

My belief is as follows.  The data shows that you continue to get optimizing improvement in blood pressure until your Hormone D level is at 80 ng.  Humans exposed to sunlight year around with most of their skin will develop a blood level around 60-80 ng.  There has not been any toxicity demonstrated in folks with D below 150 ng (except in very rare illnesses in which high calciums happen naturally and dysfunctionally – and which you can treat by lowering the D level).   Our basement level then needs to be 46 ng, as that is what the largest recent research study shows is optimally beneficial.  Our target should be 60-80 ng.

How do you get there?  Easy.  If you are young (under 40), Caucasian (German, English, Polish, Danish, French), work outdoors every day, are skinny, wear few clothes, have no trouble with sun-burning, are not on any conflicting medications, you don’t need to take D during the summer and you can get away with 6 months a year of 4000 IU a day.  If you have skin pigment, work indoors, weigh a bit more than your wedding pictures, are older than 40, wear clothes, you need to take Hormone D year around.  And the right dose is likely 4,000-8,000 IU a day.  On 4,000 IU a day, most people will be around 40-50 ng.  On 8,000 IU a day, most folks will be around 70 ng.  Heavy folks store a ton of D in fat tissue and need a much bigger loading dose to get to full.  Hence, in Wisconsin, we all need a lot!  We wear clothes, work indoors, are overweight, older than 40, have all sorts of lovely olive and brown and black skin colors.  Just get used to it.

WWW. What will work for me.  I’m taking 10,000 IU a day.  My level is 82 ng.  I avoid sun if I can because of my skin cancers.  My blood pressure went down 32 points in the last three years.  D was part of it.  Holly getting me out walking is part of it too.  Meet you at the park, wearing a hat.

Cancer Cells LOVE Fructose – The “ReTox Diet”

Cancer Cells LOVE Fructose

Source  Cancer Therapy, August 1, 2010  Heaney et al

We know that cancer cells can use glucose for energy.  That’s common knowledge.  But table sugar is made of two compounds bonded together.  One is glucose, the other is fructose.  High fructose corn syrup (HCFS) is actually very similar to table sugar in that it is 55% fructose and 45% glucose.  So, really not much different.  We always assumed that fructose was a sugar because it tasted sweet, just like glucose.  In fact, it is sweeter, more stable, comes in a liquid form and cheaper, which is why food manufacturers like it.  In the last 30 years, our consumption of HFCS has gone up 1000% (ten fold).  Fructose is actually not in the same chemical class as glucose.  Glucose and most other sugars are actually alcohols in chemical structure.  They have an –OH group on the end.  Fructose is an aldehyde and has a –O- at the end.  Very different.  We do know humans have never seen fructose in their diets in human evolution except in fruit until the advent of table sugar, 300 – 400 years ago.  Now, in the last 100 years, we have increased our sugar consumption 10 fold.  We also know that fructose is metabolized only in our livers and nowhere else.  In the liver, it is changed into fat.  What that is happening, it also turns on the activity of a protein called JNK-1 that raises our inflammation.  We know these problems with fructose.  In essence, fructose turns on the production of bad fats and inflammation.  It may taste like a sugar, but it eats like a nasty high fat food.  Is that enough for you?

Well, no!  It now gets worse.  What Dr. Heaney and his paper report this week is that pancreatic cells just love fructose.  They clearly recognize it as something different than glucose and use it differently.  We have always assumed that fructose and glucose were both sweet, both sugars, and both used interchangeably by cellular metabolism.  Simply not so!  Our cells are much more sophisticated than that.  A tiny little chemical bond changes the whole story and the whole pathway.  It stimulates the cancer cells to turn on the transketolase-driven non-oxidative pentose phosphate pathway to generate nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of RNA and DNA, which the cancer cells need to multiply and divide.  Put that in plain English.  Cancer cells use fructose to fuel their proliferation.  They divide faster!  Fructose turns on the pathway that makes more DNA and RNA for the cancer cell.  Ouch, ouch and ouch!

This should be a clarion call.  This research was in a petri dish in a lab.  It was only with pancreatic cancer.  You could argue that “it hasn’t been proven yet”.  All true.  My hunch is that this type of basic metabolism will apply to all cancers.  Certainly it opens the door to a lot of research.  And there is already enough reason to not use sugar for fructose’s effect on inflammation and your heart.  Any organs left that it doesn’t damage?

WWW. What will work for me?  This is really bad news.  I like sugar.  In fact, when I’m tired, and stressed and someone puts sugar in front of me, I’m a goner.  I slurp it up, just like those cancer cells.  I’m clearly going to have to do some intentional mind games to make me motivated to stop eating the stuff.  I’m off sugared sodas and teas. I don’t do much ice cream any more.  But brownies.  Oh….. brownies…..   I’m going to have to visually imagine nasty little cancer cells greedily chomping away at me with the same enthusiasm I have for the brownie.

Hidden Names for MSG

Give me a List!  Hidden Names of MSG

Competency: Brain Health

Ok, ok already!  I’ve gotten dozens of requests from folks to have a simple list for MSG for your wallet or fridge.  MSG is such a dangerous food additive, we all simply need to find ways to get it out of our food supply.  MSG and aspartame (the blue stuff – and the sweetener in most diet sodas) are neuroexcitotoxins that damage your brain, slowly and inexorably.  Without direct proof, there are strong associations between MSG and the rise of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and ALS in the last 50 years.  MSG makes food taste so good, you just can’t resist it.  That’s why manufacturers put it in so many of our foods.   Our food manufacturers also know very well that it damages brains, which is why they are not brave enough to put it in food under the name MSG.  Instead, they place it under the title of the food it was extracted from.   Note, glutamate and aspartate are two amino acids found commonly in food as part of proteins.  When you eat a whole protein it takes hours to get into your blood, and much of it is digested and altered in your large bowel by bacteria that change it.  In its purified form, it gets into your blood faster, and because we have so much of it in our diets, it raises the blood level of glutamate to levels that gradually sneak into your brain and damage you.   Just ask around a bit and see if you can find someone you know who lights up and agrees with you that they get headaches whenever they drink a diet soda with aspartame, or eat foods with MSG in it.  They are out there!

Manufacturers can extract MSG from many sources.  Waste vegetable, such as carrot pieces from all those shaped carrots, can be boiled down and put in hydrochloric acid to break down the proteins.  They “hydrolyzes” the protein.  It’s not hard to then concentrate the glutatate and aspartate.  Any name with “Hydrolyzed….. protein” in it, is MSG by another name.  Same goes for “Extract”.  Same goes “spices”.


Containing up to 80% MSG


Autolyzed Yeast

Calcium Caseinate

Monosodium Glutamate

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein

Textured Protein

Monopotassium Glutamate

Hydrolyzed Plant Protein

Yeast Exract

Glutamic Acid

Sodium Caseinate

Autolyzed Yeast

Less MSG but Can Add up Because there are many of these

Soy sauce or extract



Malt Extract

Natural Flavors

Modified Food Starch

Natural chicken flavoring




Guar Gum

Fermented proteins

There are many web sites that give more information.  Try Googling Hidden Names for MSG.

WWW: What will work for me.  We are gradually figuring this out.  When I have a question, I look it up.  Cut this table out, put it on your fridge or in your wallet when you go shopping.  Get in the habit of choosing non-MSG containing foods.