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Programmers Must Take Vitamin D – Sept 2012

a few items from informed forum discussion: HackerNews

Devilboy 15 days ago |

Every day at about lunch time I go lie on the roof in the sun for 10 minutes - doctor's orders. I also take D supplements but that alone was not enough to get my levels back to the normal range so I have to get some actual sun as often as I can too.

It's a bit of a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation here in Australia: Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70, while approximately one out of three Australians have vitamin D deficiency...

steffenfrost 15 days ago |

You need to lay out during solar noon in the summer. In your 20s you can produce about 1k IU per minute for full body exposure, however, that goes down with age.
The sun's zenith has to be 45 degrees or higher in the sky for you to produce Vitamin D. A small spectrum of UVB (285 to 315 nm) is responsible for the subcutaneous photochemical synthesis of cholecalciferol, an important hormone of the endocrine system that we know as Vitamin D. Thus you want to avoid morning sun and late afternoon sun, and forget about it during the winter. So if your shadow is great than you are tall, avoid the sun.

You can google the time for solar noon in your local area. For example, in San Francisco, solar noon in for September 15th is 1:05 pm at which time the sun's zenith will only be 55 degrees. My runs in shorts and no shirt is soon coming to end for this season. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=224

Regarding the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation, don't worry about it. Melanoma is an office worker's disease, people who vocationally work outside have a higher risk of melanoma. Huh? Lower Vitamin D levels increases your risk of melanoma. Go figure, and sun screen block UVB, not UVA. So the rise in skin cancer might be due to increase in the use of sun screen, not sun exposure per se. More people get skin cancer, the more shrill the dermatologist become about using sun screen, and so the cat bites itself in the tail.

More on that here:
Skin Cancer/Sunscreen - the Dilemma http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeXtGHSt-5o&feature=share...
My youtube playlist on Vitamin D: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL997D20130A1069B8

beagle3 15 days ago |

How much supplements do you take? RDAs are in the range of 400-1000 IU, but apparently everyone I know who was actually tested and found deficient was asked to do 100mg/kg of body weight (meaning 7000-9000 IU), so it seems the RDA is off by an order of magnitude - perhaps established for a baseline of people who live in a sunny place and hang out a lot.

dhughes 15 days ago |

If you have dark skin you need more vitamin D, if you're obese you need more, if you're elderly you need more and if you are covered up in the sun you need more vitamin D.
7000 to 9000 IU sounds high but 1000 IU sounds way too low.

awolf 15 days ago |

There are many different types of vitamin D synthesized in our bodies which require sunlight to form. The many varieties of D are used in an enormous amount of different chemical processes in our bodies- many of which are quite complex and not fully understood.

Vitamin D supplements consist of (mostly) one type of Vitamin D. People are typically deficient in that specific type so mild supplementation is a reasonable option. Just don't kid yourself into thinking that taking Vitamin D is a replacement for spending adequate time outdoors. Compared to the first 100 million years of our species existence, hiding indoors all day is a relatively new invention. It will be a while before science produces a silver bullet in gelcap form.

001sky 15 days ago |

{5 forms (vitamers) of vitamin D exist (see table). The two major forms are vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol, vitamin D without a subscript refers to either D2 or D3 or both. These are known collectively as calciferol....Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced by ultraviolet irradiation (UV) of its precursor 7-dehydrocholesterol. This molecule occurs naturally in the skin of animals and in milk. Vitamin D3 can be made by exposure of the skin to UV, or by exposing milk directly to UV (one commercial method).
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is produced industrially by exposing 7-dehydrocholesterol to UVB light, followed by purification.143 The 7-dehydrocholesterol is a natural substance in wool grease (lanolin) from sheep or other woolly animals. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is produced in a similar way using ergosterol from yeast or mushrooms as a starting material.143
Tl;dr of 5 types & only D2 and D3 are commercial avail
--Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D

graeme 15 days ago |

I would amend that to no proven benefits. The body is a complex system. D3 generated by the body via natural pathways may be more effective than ingested D3 in some way we don't understand yet.
Leaving aside any other ill-understood benefits of sun exposure.

hcarvalhoalves 15 days ago |

Also, Vitamin D is just one particular aspect our bodies depend on the sun. You also need sun exposition to improve the immune system, avoid depression and insomnia. Not to mention all the other biochemical processes and health benefits we still might not know.
The obvious fact is that we evolved to live under at least some sun exposition (depending on your genetic background), trying to replace that entirely with pills is backwards.

steffenfrost 15 days ago |

I always wondered why the dogs always like to lay out in the sun and furred animals get their Vitamin D. Wikipedia: "In some animals, the presence of fur or feathers blocks the UV rays from reaching the skin. In birds and fur-bearing mammals, vitamin D is generated from the oily secretions of the skin deposited onto the feathers or fur and is obtained orally during grooming.97" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D

sofa420 15 days ago |

I think most of us work at least partly during the day, and if you're at home. Sit near a window, works like sunscreen to keep your skin safe but still allows UV light below 350 nanometers which is all that's needed to produce vitamin D.
{VitaminDWiki comment: Wrong – windows allow NO UVB}

bane 15 days ago |
I actually have to avoid Vitamin D. I have a disorder (Hypercalcaemia) that causes me to build up calcium in my blood. Vitamin D can rapidly improve the body's ability to absorb calcium (hence Vitamin D enriched milk). Too much calcium in your blood can lead to various physical nervous disorders (I get facial ticks in the muscles around my eyes) but can also result in various psychologically similar problems like depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue and various other problems. In severe cases can lead to coma and death as it can interfere with heart rhythms and other central nervous functions.
It's a real pain in the tail as the number of food products fortified with calcium and vitamin D is remarkably high.
m1chael 15 days ago |
Have you read much about vitamins K2 and A with reference to your condition? Supplementation or otherwise insuring adequate intake of K2/A might be of benefit for you in reducing vit D toxicity among other things.
These papers are good references:

danielharan 16 days ago |

It's really, really hard to overdose on Vitamin D, and most researchers working on this have been taking much bigger doses than what's officially recommended. IIRC, some researchers were taking 10,000 IUs/day. Overdosing requires doses orders of magnitude bigger.
Those official levels were set to prevent people from getting rickets, NOT to prevent degenerative diseases or maintain optimum health.
In fact those official recommendations have been creeping upwards in a lot of places. Best would be to get a doctor to check your blood levels and supplement appropriately.
This will be a lot more accurate than assessing daily intake, since dose mainly correlates to time in the sun, which varies by location and time of day.

patorjk 16 days ago |

This problem actually happened to me. A few years ago I started feeling incredibly lethargic. I would wake up with no energy. It was like sleep had done nothing for me. I didn't know what was wrong, but I felt horrible.
After around two weeks I went to the doctor. A blood test was done and it showed I had low vitamin D (26 ng/mL). After about a week of supplementation I felt normal again. It's easy to forget to go outside, and if you're a programmer and feel low energy, vitamin D is definitely something to look into.

Erwin 15 days ago |

Personally I was so low down in D I also had neuropathic symptoms — like your hand or parts of face falling asleep, light-headedness and muscle twitches and tremors. That all went even after some D vitamin injections.

quicksilver03 15 days ago |

26 ng/mL is not that bad actually... I once was tested at 12 ng/mL, and that was only after I asked for it when I fractured my left wrist for the second time in one year.

ChuckMcM 15 days ago |

As a person of Scottish descent I joke that I can get a sun burn by holding a picture of the Sun near my skin :-)

Imagenuity 15 days ago |

I started taking D3 last fall, and it has made a big difference in how I feel. I started with 3600IU for a few months and when I started feeling more energetic and cheerful dropped down to 2600 (2x 1000IU + 600IU & calcium). I get outside quite a bit, but in Vancouver WA the skies are overcast a lot and the low sun angle means you can't get enough for vitamin D needs. I also take a probiotic, an anti-oxidant, a fish oil and a green tea supplement. My diet is mostly paleo. My ancestry is northern European.
For reference, you need to take 50,000IU for several months to develop toxicity (ref: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d-toxicity/AN02008). If you are pale skinned and don't spend a lot of time in the sun, you are much more likely to be deficient.
If you really want to see where you're at, have your doctor do a blood test, or go get a micro-nutrient test http://www.spectracell.com/mnt/

jokull 15 days ago |

A high quality source of vitamin D is liver. Cod liver oil is a great way to supplement your diet. In Iceland you can get it in small sardine type cans and spread the liver on crackers.

carbocation 15 days ago |

It does contain some vitamin D, but it also contains about 10x as much vitamin A. Hypervitaminosis A is a real problem. I would not think it particularly safe to use cod liver oil for vitamin D supplementation because of this risk, especially when other supplements exist.

cat67 3 days ago |

I took 10,000 ui a day for over a year to build my vit d level up to 176. I have multiple sclerosis. My goal is 200, have done a tone of research on the topic, toxicity levels, etc... For 12 years in a row, have had a relapse every winter, past winter didn't have one. One could say this is a coincedence, I say no. In the summer I am always out in the sun alday, mostly every day, shorts, t-shirt, etc... For some reason, my body doesn't absorb the vit d good. I have fair skin, that tans very well. Anyways, I just wanted to share my knowledge to help others.

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