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Personal Stories of getting lots of Vitamin D

Ted – 20,000 IU daily, benefits after 10 months, 104 ng

(Ted had written to Dr. William Grant who has just published Top 20 vitamin D papers for 2013 )

I would like to share my recent experience with an unexpected physiological response to high-dose Vitamin D3.

I am 63, a Minnesota resident, of Scandinavian ancestry. I am an anthropologist by training, specializing in archaeology, with a lifelong interest in epidemiology and physical anthropology, but no formal medical training. 10 years ago I became interested in the possibility that aging was in part a nutritional deficiency, caused by poor absorption, etc, which could be treated with supplements. In December 2010, on the advice of a doctor at the Park Nicollet clinic here in Minneapolis, I read Dr. John Cannell's blog (and subsequently subscribed) and started taking 5000 IU per day, and also managed to convince the rest of my family, including my now 94-year-old mother, to do likewise. The main effect we noticed was that none of us has contracted influenza or a cold since. This is unusual in that a cold or two a year was typical for all of us.

I also suffer from severe recurrent depression for which I am under physician's care and which was well controlled by pharmaceuticals but caused side effects that were eventually unacceptable. Based on some research I saw in the Vitamin D Council blog I decided to try a big dose of Vitamin D and took 50,000 units on October 9, 2012. It completely eliminated the symptoms of depression within a few hours. I concluded that the quantity was too much for continued use so I tapered to 25,000 IU and then 20,000 IU per day which provided an adequate level of control of depressive symptoms.

What is interesting is what happened next.

In December 2012 my hairdresser told me that my hair, which was largely white, was turning darker at the roots. Since then I have developed several dark patches, not very attractive, but pronounced, and hair on the rest of my body is also turning dark. Also, the bald spot at the whorl has gradually filled in with hair, now quite thick.

It gets more interesting:

I have recovered some of my high-pitched hearing. Last spring I thought the wireless router at our house was failing because it started to make noise and got distinctly noisier. In September I finally mentioned it to my wife but she said she couldn't hear anything, even when I held it up to her ear. On the other hand, my son, age 30, said "it's always made that noise." What has happened is that I have recovered some of my hearing. I have since noticed that I can hear other high-pitched noises associated with electronic devices, like the transformer on the power cord of my computer.

And here is the most remarkable thing of all. I am recovering eyesight I lost 25 years ago. In 1988 I suffered a bout of idiopathic optic neuritis (Wikipedia) (initially diagnosed as clinically isolated syndrome) which cost me about half the vision in my right eye, essentially everything above my line of sight. The deficit was not noticeable when I looked through both eyes, but evident when I shut my left eye. Last August I noticed that I had some sight in a very large part of the area formerly obscured. Not as clear as the left eye, but I can now see colors and shapes unlike before, and it continues to improve. I can only conclude that the nerve damage has been reversed after 25 years. The optic neuritis damaged the myelin sheaths in the optic nerve, so this suggests that the myelin has been repaired. I believe this is very noteworthy.

I have shared this with another researcher whose only response was to warn me of the dangers of Vitamin D. I am quite aware of the potential problem - a year ago my serum level was 104 ng/ml, high but not toxic. I weigh 190 pounds, and am 6 feet tall.

I believe that my experience is an interesting case study for research such as yours. Admittedly my response could be idiosyncratic, but nevertheless it suggests a level of dosage and a duration of treatment necessary to achieve a perceptible improvement. In my case remyelinization had very obvious effects - I could see again. And my case says you need around 20,000 IU a day, or a level somewhere around 100 ng/ml, to achieve these results. It is noteworthy in my case that taking 5,000 IU per day for two years produced none of these effects. And it took 10 months at a high dose before I noticed improvements in my vision. Also it is rather fortuitous that I identified the improvement in hearing. But if one wanted to run a trial with remyelination as an outcome my experience might tell you to also monitor hair color and thickness and hearing to assess progress. I don't know how difficult it would be to recruit a group with optic neuritis but the outcome would be easily measurable.

The other effects are probably independent of the remyelinization but still dependent on a high dose. I don't consider white hair and hair loss at age 63 to be a health condition, but the changes suggest reinvigoration of the hair follicles. What does this suggest for other organs? In this regard the reversal of age-related hearing loss is interesting. I think my case is valuable because I doubt there are many other 63-year-old white haired guys with partial blindness experimenting with high doses of vitamin D for year long durations. I hope you find this helpful. Let me know if I can provide more information.

Kind regards, Ted, Jan 2014

See also VitaminDWiki

Graph of dose vs week