Greenlake Walking

Vitamin D

At one point, the idea came to me to learn more about Vitamin D, because it is the vitamin we get from sun exposure and many persons in Seattle do not get a lot of sun. I think the idea came to me after I read that nudity when done for an expressive purpose has been found to be constitutionally protected in Oregon! Ha! Here is the decision finding that nudity for expressive or symbolic purposes is constitutionally protected, at least by courts in Oregon. The decision has led to dismissing charges against a fellow who did his own little naked bike ride against cars, a few weeks after the regular, large and more recognized naked bike of Portland!

So, since at times there are people who expressed irritation with me while I was walking, and since someone could conceivably make a case out of that irritation, I wondered what "expressive purpose" I might have while walking, if any, in addition to creating my originally intended art appreciation!

As I wondered about that, the idea came to me to learn more about Vitamin D. I learned more about vitamin D and how many persons in the Seattle area, especially if they did not take supplements, are deficient in vitamin D. I read the study of heart patients by Dr. Donald Miller finding that 3/4 of those patients were insufficient in vitamin D. I had my vitamin D levels in my blood tested and I was at only 29 ng/ml!

Wow! I was considered "insufficient" and that is by the criteria of some the doctors, those who are not using the a higher recommended threshhold for good health! Moreover, when I took the test, I had been regularly walking at Greenlake! Wow!

Doctors do not agree about what constitutes adequate vitamin D levels in the blood. Some doctors say that the range of 30 to 50 ng/ml is the proper and sufficient level for good health. Other doctors say that the actual good level is 50 to 75 or 50 to 100 ng/ml. By the way, ng/ml means nanograms per milliliter. There are two measures which tell us our vitamin D levels. One is ng/ml and the other is nmol/L.

If you read a study about vitamin D or if you learn your own levels, be sure to recognize which measure is being used. nmol/L is about half the amount of ng/ml. 50 nmol/L is about 20 ng/ml. Do not get confused by intermingling the measures which have a similar relationship as do kilometers and miles! Kilometers and miles both measure distance but km is only .62 miles . . .

Although some doctors say that 30-50 ng/ml is the normal and healthy range, that is disputed by others who believe that more research is showing that the best levels are 50-75 or 50-99 ng/ml.

A study was recently published which found that vitamin D levels lower than 50nmol/L (remember, 50nmol/L is 20 ng/ml!) are associated with a strongly increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and all types of dementia. Because I have a relative who is losing her memory and because nutrition may have played a role, that is of interest to me.

A UW physician named Donald Miller decided to study his Seattle heart attack patients. He found that 66% were deficient in vitamin D and 78% were "insufficient" which is a broader category than "deficient." I believed that Donald Miller used the criteria explained below for his definition of deficient and insufficient.

Miller writes, "A level >34 ng/ml is required to ensure peak intestinal calcium absorption. Finally, neuromuscular performance steadily improves in elderly people as vitamin D levels rise up to 50 ng/ml. Accordingly, a vitamin D blood level <8 ng/ml is regarded as severely deficient; 8–19, deficient; and 20–29, insufficient, i.e., too low for good health. A level >30 ng/ml is sufficient, but experts now consider 50–99 ng/ml to be the optimal level of vitamin D."

Miller writes that people in Seattle will not be able to get vitamin D from sunlight from October to April, although the months in which it is impossible for a person living in Seattle to get vitamin D are specified differently in different sources. Fred Hutchinson says, "Adequate sun exposure is hard to come by for about 6 months out of the year in the Seattle area . . ."

One person who lived in Seattle had been taking a supplement with 1000 IU of vitamin D and that person was still found to be severely deficient with a level of 7 ng/ml in the blood! That person has now increased the supplement to 2000 IU per day.

Here is Dr. James Dowd telling how he learned he was vitamin D deficient after living several years in Michigan. He says that some African American patients who came to him and who lived in Michigan had no detected level of vitamin D in their blood!