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Alert Number 206

Credible Information on Vitamin D3 — The Vitamin D Council

Date: November 28, 2006

After my recent Alert on the subject of Vitamin D3 supplementation for general health, prevention of infections, as well as a potent cancer fighter, many of you wrote asking for detailed information on the dosages recommended. As always, I am not qualified to give you medical guidance or prescribe dosages. That is the duty of doctors, and you pay them well for the privilege! But just in case you happen to have an uncooperative and stick-in-the-mud doctor that you have not gotten around to firing (yet), here is the next best thing. The Vitamin D Council is a blue-blood pedigreed council that has more degrees than you can shake a stick at, and their website is just beautiful! For a change, it is written in English, not Jargonese. Here is the link to the website, folks. I strongly urge you to visit, read and learn: Vitamin D Council

Scientists are drawing very significant conclusions between the way blacks and whites respond to infections such as TB, because of the way black folks (and “brown” folks like me and PC) utilize sunlight. Blacks have a much higher incidence of TB than whites, and much more likely to be deficient in their levels of vitamin D3. This is because of the high levels of melanin pigment in their skin, which blocks out much of the UV. Good thing when you are thinking about skin cancer, but a bad thing in terms of their ability to use sunlight and UV to manufacture vitamin D3 in their skin.

For all practical purposes, most of us modern suburban dwellers living in air-conditioned homes, driving to work fully dressed and in cars with tinted windows, wearing SPF protection when we do venture out of doors, work long hours and commute to and from work in the dark. There is precious little chance of getting enough sunshine in modern life styles. Throw in the fact that CLL patients have to be particularly careful about skin cancer and are therefore rightly warned to avoid UV exposure, I think we can all consider ourselves as “honorary blacks” for the purpose of this discussion.

I know of at least one wonderfully talented lady and CLL patient who had reactivation of her long dormant TB infection while she was being treated for her CLL. Her lymph nodes blew up so quickly they thought she had Richter’s syndrome. I was delighted that I was able to find her some references about the links between CLL, immune suppressive therapy and risk of TB reactivation, which proved to be spot on in her case. And I have heard several anecdotal stories of CLL patients whose disease takes a back seat when they do the snow-bird bit and go to Florida or Arizona for the winter, spend their time playing golf, sprucing up their vitamin D3 levels. The reverse happens for patients in the frozen tundra up north, holing up for the winter of cloudy skies and freezing cold.

Moral of the story: if you have CLL, if you are a middle aged woman and worried about osteoporosis, if you have had or are contemplating immune suppressive therapy, if you get frequent infections, if you are worried about annual flu infections, if you are scared silly of getting hospitalized with pneumonia, if you are worried about secondary cancers such as skin cancer, yada, yada, learn as much about vitamin D3 as you can! I wish I can get this message out in even stronger language, but I must not. I have to leave it up to you to read between the lines of my ever so gentle hints (ahem) in this Alert and our previously published articles which you can find in our directory page on the subject: Vitamin D3

Consider this Topics Alert as our Holiday present to all of you CLL patients out there.

Be well,

Chaya
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