I was two years into my efforts to control Graves’ Disease (hyper-thyroid) via reductions in caffeine and alcohol,* and seemed to be having some success, when I read in (of all places) Parade Magazine** that a lack of vitamin D causes all sorts of health problems, including Graves’ Disease.
Now that made a lot of sense!
That explains why the hyper-thyroid was worse in late winter and better in late summer. (I was diagnosed in February and much better by July.)
That explains why Graves’ Disease spontaneously remits in 30% of cases, as the diagnosing physician told me. (He didn’t say why and I assume he doesn’t know.)
I’d had almost no vitamin D since 2000.
I had been avoiding the sun religiously since February 2001 when I had a basal-cell-carcinoma removed from my face—so my body was not getting a chance to generate the vitamin from the sun.
I was getting Vitamin D only from the salmon I’d eat once or twice a month.
I thought I was getting vitamin D from yogurt and cheese but was shocked to learn that vitamin D is added only to milk, which I was not drinking regularly. (A quick review of nutrition labels confirms this travesty of the FDA.)
I ran right out and bought vitamin pills.
I began taking one multi-vitamin (100 IUs D), one D3 cholecalcifero (400 IUs D), and one cod liver oil gel-tab (135 IUs D) every time I remembered, which might be once a day for three or four days and then not at all for a week or two.
I started drinking milk and allowing myself some sun.
On any given day, I might have 1,000 IUs D and then I may have none for a week. (When I haven’t been in the sun and I forget to take the pills, I get twitchy and my heart beats too fast.)
The article in Parade recommends 2,000 IUs a day in supplements and says that our ancestors, running around in the sun, were getting 10,000 IUs a day.
My supplement of 1000 IUs clearly is not enough.
So now it’s April 2007 and I’m a year into my vitamin D therapy: How am I doing?
Well, that is until a few weeks ago when winter finally caught up with me.
Living in a coastal town in Northern California,
a person doesn’t get much sun, even in the summer.
I supplemented my summer with four trips to sunnier latitudes, where the sun is more potent: Hawaii in October, San Diego in November, Baja in December, and San Diego again in February. All that wore off by the end of March.
Cod liver oil rules.
Also, about a month ago, I ran out of the cod liver oil gel-tabs and I didn’t buy any more. Thus I conclude that the 135 IUs I was getting from cod liver oil are more effective than the 900 IUs I get from the D3 cholecalcifero.
My new prescription: Cod liver oil and more trips to the sun!
*In addition, I stopped eating mercury-laden fish. I had been eating a lot more than the FDA’s approved limit and, although I could find no reference to that as a cause of Graves’ Disease, I figured eliminating sources of mercury was worth a try.
**March 19, 2006 page 11. I didn’t keep the name of the article or, unfortunately, the author.