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4 X fewer visits to Dr. after getting high level of vitamin D (Interview with transcript) - Jan 3, 2022

Dr. Dave McCarthy: D for Deficiencies, D for Diseases

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0:00:23.5 Speaker 1: Welcome back to Growing Older, Living Younger, the podcast that will help you discover your personal road map to staying healthy, happy and vibrant as you age, with your host international speaker, author and dance and doc extraordinaire Dr. Gillian Lockitch.

0:00:24.2 Dr. Gillian Lockitch: Welcome back to Growing Older, Living Younger, the podcast to help you stay youthful and vibrant as you grow older, extending your health-span, not just your lifespan. I'm your host, Dr. Gillian Lockitch. For today's quote, I couldn't resist a quip from American actor and comedian, Steve Martin, who said, "A day without sunshine is like night." [chuckle] Sadly, both literally and metaphorically, too many people get too little sunshine in their lives to make a difference. And today, we are gonna talk about how the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D, changed the way today's guest, long-time family physician, Dr. Dave McCarthy, thought about disease.

0:01:18.5 Lockitch: Dr. Dave got his MD from the University of Connecticut, and then did specialty training in Family Medicine with the US Air Force, and additional training in Pharmacology, Aerospace Medicine, and Global Infection Disease Management. Wow, quite a combination. Dr. Dave was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at Creighton University, and trained and certified as a National Medical Incident Commander in the USA. He had a 24-year career in the US Air Force Medical Corps and a 13-year civilian career as a family physician. He retired from clinical practice to focus on providing clinical insight to scientists on documenting and investigating the impact that micronutrient deficiency states had on outcomes in healthcare. So welcome, Dr. Dave, to Growing Older, Living Younger.

0:02:23.8 Dr. Dave McCarthy: Well, thanks very much, Gilli. I'm very pleased to be asked.

0:02:28.7 Lockitch: Well, so maybe we could start by you telling the story of what happened that made you systematically start looking for deficiency states in patients.

first became aware of Vitamin D at 2006 national meeting

0:02:41.0 McCarthy: Well, I was at a national meeting in the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2006, and the speaker that day was early in the conference drifted off-topic, and she made a side comment that, "You know, most muscle pain that we see is found in people who have Vitamin D deficiency." And the room had about 6000, 7000 family physicians in it, it was one of the big plenary sessions. And the room just got so loud after hearing that. She couldn't continue her speech. And everybody was turning to everyone else and saying, "Did she say Vitamin D deficiency?" And they were also saying, "Do you check for Vitamin D deficiency? I bet no." And for the rest of the week, whether you had breakfast with someone, lunch, or you were sitting with them before meeting, everybody was talking about that. And that wasn't lost on me. I said, "If these many family physicians find themselves in the same position I am, we're all missing something pretty important."

While studing for his medical boards, he decided to also investigate each topic and vitamin D

0:03:44.1 McCarthy: So I spent the next several years studying Vitamin D. I got into it because my family practice boards were coming up again, we have to take them every... Back then it was every seven years, now it's every 10 years. And I'd done that so many times before. I've been board-certified for decades. I found it boring, and I wanted to figure out a way I could make it more entertaining. So I decided that when I was reviewing questions from a topic, I'd spend just as much time looking at those same topics with Vitamin D deficiency, and I was just stunned, stunned at how much data was out there, and a little disappointed that this hadn't been brought up years earlier because of the thousands and thousands of studies that were out there.

Vitamin D has a "panacea paradox" - something this good cannot be true

0:04:32.6 McCarthy: I wound up getting in touch with researchers, my first through email and then we'd actually always get to the point where they say, "Let's talk," and we get on the phone and speak together. I attended a Vitamin D conference for a day and a half in San Diego and met most of the people who do most of the writing in Vitamin D in the US. And it's just one of those things you can't believe how big something can be. I've coined a term for this, I call it the "panacea paradox". If you spend all your life thinking that if something is too good to be true, it can't be true, but something is too good to be true, then you won't see it coming. I think that's what happened to all of us. The D does so many different things in the body that it affects most disease processes, and...

0:05:25.1 Lockitch: Can I just ask you? I remember learning sort of about vitamins, and basically when people talked about how much Vitamin D you needed, they were looking at how much you need to prevent rickets, or vitamin C, how much you need to prevent scurvy, instead of looking at what do you need for optimal health for all the metabolic functions that go on all the time in your body. Would you agree?

0:05:53.6 McCarthy: Yes. At least in the US, the term "vitamin" isn't a positive connotation for folks. Vitamins are considered by both clinicians and patients as optional. Most people seem to believe that if they eat a balanced diet and have a good lifestyle, that that's all they need to do. But as soon you start studying the deficiencies states, you realize you can't eat your way to a normal Vitamin D level. And for the vast majority of people, you're not gonna be able to get it throughout the year, trying to get it from the sun. And so, it's a bit of a steep hill to climb, but fortunately, I was coming into this knowledge about the same time that the fact that there were thousands of family physicians at that one meeting made an instantaneous change in family practice in America, 'cause we all went back, we were all looking up on laptops that night to see how much we could find out to talk with our colleagues about the next day at the meeting, and we did the same thing when we got back. Of course, once I started checking D levels, it was appalling how low they were, even in people who had no symptoms and appeared to be in good health.

0:07:11.2 Lockitch: So, could you talk about some of the specific examples of patients or cases that you have dealt with that responded to Vitamin D?

Patient with sickle cell

0:07:24.6 McCarthy: Sure. And I've got, I think, five cases in particular that bring up different elements that give you a really big, big picture. The first one's about sickle cell. I had a young man, 21 years old, come in to see me, very dark skinned, picture of health, he looked great. Huge smile. And I looked at his medical chart in front of me, and here were all these narcotics. And I looked at him and I said, "Are you a Sickler?" And he said, "Yes." "How much trouble are you having?" "I've been having trouble all my life." Every year, he had multiple crises, and he's been managed by the sickle cell specialists in St. Louis. St. Louis is the 20th largest city in the US, and we have several universities, medical schools, and he'd seen the best, and they were looking at him and trying to figure out what they could do for him, and they were even trying some agents under experimental licenses to see what they could do to help him and nothing really helped, he was having a lot of trouble. Smart kid, but he was missing school, he'd miss work, and then he didn't have the money to continue school, so this was really having a huge impact on his life, as well as his health.

0:08:41.6 McCarthy: What shook me was when he told me that his 14-year-old sister also has sickle cell, she's SS. She had never had a single crisis. I didn't know that was even possible. And so I wounded up having the whole family come into my practice, and when I talked to the mom, she really filled me in on all the details of the early childhood and the likes. She never had a crisis, the 14-year-old. The 21-year-old had trouble from the start, but it turns out... And so I knew at that moment, I said, "I'm gonna learn something really important here about sickle cell anemia because this is amazing." And this just shook my understanding of sickle cell. I thought if you had it, you had it. I didn't realize you could be totally asymptomatic with it.

0:09:31.6 McCarthy: The big difference between them was the 14-year-old loved to drink milk and have milk products, cheese, ice cream, etcetera. The 21-year-old was lactose intolerant, he had trouble with milk products early on. So, that's a very, very big difference, just there alone. They both had very dark skin, of course, they're brother and sister, they share a lot of genes. So, the milk and milk products meant that she was getting Vitamin D that he wasn't getting. He also was an IT specialist, information technology, so he worked indoors. He also said he didn't like hot weather. I said, "St. Louis isn't a good place to live if you don't like hot weather."


Aim for >80 ng ("Oh, I wish I could feel like August all year))"

0:10:12.7 McCarthy: So, he didn't really go out, he wasn't one to seek the sun. And I said, "You know, your D level is not gonna be very good." The other key question I asked him was, "How do you feel in August?" And he said, "Oh, I wish I could feel like August all year. I feel great in August. I have the least trouble in August with my sickling." And then I said, "He's gonna have a terrible D." It turns out he was one of 13 patients I found in the first year who had an undetectable level of D. There wasn't any. It came back less than four nanograms per mil. Hers was 12, which is not a good level at all, but obviously enough to make a big difference. So, when I saw that, we got him on Vitamin D, the levels that I like to shoot for are 80 nanograms per mil, and let me get my... Let's see. We're the only ones in the world that use nanograms per mil. I think it's called the English system, but even the English abandoned that way back when...

0:11:21.3 McCarthy: So, that would be 200 nanomoles per liter, for those who are in the rest of the world. That's pretty stiff upper limit. What I found though was, from my graduate training in pharmacy before I became a physician, they said, "If the range of reference and the ranges of toxicity don't have any overlap whatsoever, in other words, you have an incredibly safe agent to use. Then you shouldn't be timid and shouldn't be afraid to exploit the full range of reference when it's making a difference." And this has been one of the biggest problems with Vitamin D, is because the amount of D needed to prevent rickets is really tiny. I call it inky dinky D. You only need a level of 20 nanograms, which would be 50 nanomoles per liter. Doesn't take much at all to completely prevent rickets, 100% prevention. At that level, 20 nanograms per mil, no other Vitamin D responsive condition improves. None of them. They all need levels of 50, 60, 70 or higher. The reason I selected 80 nanograms per mil is several other real key conditions like breast cancer in women, colon cancer, and auto-immunity, all seem to benefit from those levels that were up around 70 to 80. And that was still within...

0:12:54.4 Lockitch: So can you...

0:12:55.1 McCarthy: Mm-hmm.

0:12:56.0 Lockitch: Yeah, can you translate that into what kind of levels of Vitamin D supplement somebody would need to take to reach those higher levels?

125 lb person can typically get to 80 ng with just 5,000 IU daily

0:13:09.5 McCarthy: So Americans are relatively large. We have a high level of obesity, and since Vitamin D is stored in body fat, we have to use a lot more than Europeans or Canadians would require. For folks that are around 125 pounds, 5000 units a day over time are gonna get that person a level that's somewhere up around 70 or 80. But I'll tell you, the thing about levels that we have to keep in mind is that there's a tremendous amount of gene variation in the Vitamin D binding proteins genetics, and the Vitamin D receptor, there's hundreds of known variations that people have. So two people with the exact same level, one of them might have four or five Vitamin D responsive disorders, and the other might seemingly be totally healthy, without any problems at all.

0:14:11.6 McCarthy: So the thing that I teach, I talk to military in the US for years about Vitamin D at their national meeting, and I say, "What you really have to look at is get a baseline to know where that person is. You're not getting it to see if they're low or not, because if the person is in there and they're having difficulty, their D is not high enough." And so you take the basic approach of saying, "It's a safe agent, there's no toxicity anywhere in the reference range," and you just keep increasing the dosage until you get them up.

0:14:43.2 McCarthy: Now, most Americans haven't been taking any Vitamin D for prior 12 months. Recent studies are showing it's improved during the pandemic, it was running about 69%, hadn't had any in the prior year. Now it's down around 48%. So we picked up about 20% in there, but still, most people aren't taking any. And when they first start taking it, if you just use the maintenance dose, it'll take several months to get the level up to its steady state, and so a loading dose is used. And specifically, how much to use as a loading dose comes down to the familiarity of the clinician with using Vitamin D.

0:15:28.1 McCarthy: So when I first started with it, I think I know what most people did in the '90s, I started low and I went slow. And then over time as I got much, much more comfortable and larger dosing forms came out. Before the 5000 unit capsule came out, we were kind of stuck because people don't like to take a handful of pills, and before you take 5000, you had to take five 1000s. People didn't wanna do that, didn't wanna take five of anything. So when the 5000 came out, now we had a really easy... And they're really tiny, they're mini capsules. So we would use 5000 to 10,000, and I generally didn't go over 10,000. The one patient I remember where I had to was a woman who had an autoimmune disorder affecting her gastrointestinal tract. So her absorption of everything was reduced, and it took about 20,000 a day in her for months to get her up into a reasonably good level. And then her GI disease improved dramatically, and her level would start to scoot up by me and I'd have to back her off a little bit. So levels that I used were pretty much 5000 to 10,000 international units a day. And so 5000 would be 125 micrograms, to 10,000 is 250 micrograms.

0:16:52.0 Lockitch: I could never keep those numbers in my head. So you basically talked about a genetic disorder where symptoms can actually be altered by correcting a Vitamin D deficiency, and you had mentioned that there were a number of other different disorders. You've now mentioned GI disorders?

0:17:15.9 McCarthy: Well, on the sickle cell, too, I did a little extra homework for this presentation, and as it turns out, when you increase Vitamin D levels, that increases fetal hemoglobin. Fetal hemoglobin is usually only present shortly after birth, but fetal hemoglobin is known to be a modulator of the sickle cell process. And so by getting the fetal hemoglobin... And oftentimes you'll find a Sickler, when you measure the fetal hemoglobin is measurable, which usually isn't in adults. So the Vitamin D is working on the pro-inflammatory cytokine, which was causing pain and inflammation in a sickle cell crisis.

Vitamin D is part of a team – other members include Magnesium

0:17:58.6 McCarthy: The other thing that's important to know was... And it's a phrase, a basic phrase I use, and that is nutrition's a team sport, and there's nothing that fixes something all the time, all by itself. Almost always, you'll find other co-existing deficiencies. In a sickle cell, the other deficiency that's in magnesium. It's the loss of magnesium that causes the red cell to suddenly sickle. So by using magnesium and Vitamin D, in the case of this 21-year-old, he didn't have another sickle crisis. He had had it at it for 21 years, and then he went about six, seven months, started to have trouble, and I said, "Well, when did you stop your D and magnesium?" And so then he said, "Well, I ran out of it and I meant to buy some more, but I didn't 'cause I was feeling so well." So he was one of these on-and-off guys in terms of taking things.

High latitude health problems

0:18:52.0 McCarthy: Now, in terms of other conditions, if it said do it we had to... I was on an online service for physicians where we could learn a lot of things, that was one function. The other was you could ask for help with a patient. And there was a physician in one of our northern states, Montana, up on the Canadian border, very high latitude for us, low latitude for you all. [chuckle] And he had a 10-year-old who was seizing, and all the studies, the images, CT, MRI, laboratories, nothing gave them a clue as to what it was. And paradoxically, each time he got put on an anti-seizure medication, he'd have improvement for just a few days, and then his seizures would be worse than they were before he took the medication.

0:19:44.6 McCarthy: And this happened with one medication after another they used to control the seizures. And the neurologists were stumped, and the family physician was stumped. And he basically went on this service to say, "Anybody got any ideas that could help?" And so I privately emailed with him and said, "Is the child light-skinned or dark-skinned?" "Dark-skinned." "When did this all come to your attention?" "February," so it was in the dead of winter. And I said, "Is he taking any Vitamin D supplements?" And they said, "No." And I said Vitamin D regulates the seizure threshold in humans, so the lower the D the more readily you can seize. I t doesn't take a lot of electrical activity in the brain to have a seizure. And the problem with several of the medications that are used to treat seizures is that they interfere with the gastrointestinal absorption of Vitamin D. So you've got a dark-skinned kid in the middle of the winter in a high-latitude state in the US and he's got a history that's very suggestive that he's Vitamin D deficient, and I suggest checking his D level.

Magnesium again

0:20:50.9 McCarthy: And the other thing that helps with seizures, again, is magnesium, and such a high percentage of people have magnesium deficiency. It's a real problem. So a few weeks went by, I didn't hear anything. And then I got a note from a neurologist, and he apologized for being so long at getting back to me. He was one of the neurologists who was following trying to figure out this youngster. And he's, "First of all, good news, kid's seizure-free and he's off all medications. He's always on is D, 'cause he had a very, very, low D level." I think it was single digits if I remember correctly. And they said, "When we saw this... " The neurologist was one of a group of five in the practice.

0:21:37.1 McCarthy: They went ahead and they tested everyone of their seizure patient's D levels. They acted on the information, which is terrific because they found people had really low D levels. And he was writing to say, "Thanks, I wanted to give you some feedback on this. But also, we're not sure how high to push their levels." And I said, "Well, anywhere up to 80 nanograms per ml is gonna be find, and you're not gonna see toxicity. Measure the calcium level, you'll see it's fine, it's doesn't go up. Some people are gonna need more than others just because they're genetics." So this is one of these times where you really get to feel an impact as a physician. You're not... In this case, I didn't even take care of this one child. It was just helping a colleague out I'd never met.

0:22:21.9 Lockitch: This is so interesting, because I was just flashing back to when I was actually a pediatric neurology fellow. And one of the ways we taught, or we treated kids with certain forms of epilepsy was using a ketogenic diet with medium-chain triglycerides. And it occurs to me that maybe in some way the mechanism was also that by giving them a diet that was sort of oil-based, we were enhancing the absorption of Vitamin D, which is one of the fat-soluble vitamins. I'd never actually thought about that. It'd be interesting to go back and look at that. Yeah.

0:23:09.4 McCarthy: Yeah, the... In the absence of seeing structural disease in the brain, I think that just about everything that happens that effects brain activity, including behavior, is linked to deficiency states. And the most common ones are gonna be D and Magnesium. And then Thiamine's another one that we totally underestimated people's Thiamine status.

0:23:34.4 Lockitch: Do you wanna talk a little bit more about that and a little bit more about Mag... There's so much to talk about from a point of view of somebody who's actually practically managing patients, which I certainly don't do having retired a long time ago.

0:23:52.9 McCarthy: Well, I'm not... So now I'm in the point where I'm working with the researchers. And then after I work with the researchers, I pass that information along to nurses and physicians when I'm asked to go speak at a conference or the like. The other thing is, is I'm pretty fearless on the internet when it comes to telling somebody, "Hey, here's what you might check," because I give them the links. I give them the links, and then I... Typically, I don't get an answer right away. I send up something off, I don't hear, and after a couple weeks I feel like, "Oh well, I tried." And then I get a note, "I'm sorry it took a while to get back to you, but after I read the links that you did, I read some more, and then I started testing some of my other patients."


0:24:36.2 McCarthy: So again, folks are doing this. Thiamine's interesting because it's a deficiency state where you can have plenty of it and yet you manifest symptoms and signs of conditions that are known to be caused to Thiamine deficiency. And the reason for that is there are three really common drinks that people ingest: Coffee, tea, and beer, and these contain anti-Thiamine factors. And these anti-Thiamine factors are competitive inhibitors of the receptor. So when you drink several cups of coffee and then maybe iced tea for lunch and then have a beer in the evening, you've got these anti-Thiamine factors all day long.

0:25:22.4 McCarthy: They sit on the receptors, so even if your Thiamine level's fine... And that's what confuses clinicians. They'll think about Thiamine deficiency in people with recurring heart failure or people with one of the cognitive-neurologically declining disorders like Alzheimers or Parkinson's. They'll think of Thiamine...

0:25:41.5 Lockitch: Right, and alcoholism, right?

0:25:42.3 McCarthy: And alcoholism, sure. And in alcoholism, the alcohol itself causes a diuresis effect with... And so that'll lower Vitamin C and Thiamine, both. When you go to measure Thiamine and hydrochloride level, the pyrophosphate form is the blood we measure, you find that it might be within the range of reference, and that'll kind of pull doctors away from thinking this is Thiamine. So to really confirm whether or not someone is having a problem that may be Thiamine related, you actually have to do a diet elimination, you have to say, "I need to have you off the coffee, tea and beer for 30 or 60 days."

0:26:22.7 McCarthy: And then you wanna give them a very highly absorbed form of Thiamine, it's called Benfotiamine, and it's over the counter without a prescription in the US, very inexpensive, and it to gets your blood levels quickly four or five times that Thiamine hydrochloride itself is poorly absorbed and you wait forever for people to get better. But if you put them on this and they get better very, very quickly if they're Thiamine deficient. So this is one of these times where you have to really have a high index of suspicion by history, and then you find out by giving a person an empiric trial, and when they improve, you say, "Okay, Thiamine was a part of this." And you go from there.

0:27:08.4 McCarthy: Here in the US, the most expensive in-patient diagnosis in our Medicare program for those 65 and over, is recurring heart failure. It's about 15 or 20 billion US dollars a year to manage that condition, and that was one of the conditions when I was practicing that, I said, "I'm gonna keep working on people with research on this, till we figured this out." But as I came to understand deficiency states, I said, "That's why nobody is getting it." It's, they keep trying to treat it with medications, and what we have to ask is, "What changed?" And that's a basic theme of the way I've approached deficiency states. People were healthy until a certain age, and then they became unhealthy, what changed?

Thiamine, Vit C, Vit D, magnesium and CoQ10 – all important, most drop with heart medications

0:27:57.9 McCarthy: And when you ask it that way to people, they think about it, and then oftentimes, they'll come back to the next visit and they'll say, "You know, three things changed. I changed jobs and I changed my diet and I got married. And I'm eating different foods now than I'm used eating." And you say, "Okay, well, let's take a look and let's check and see what things you might have wrong." So there are five different deficiency states that play a big role in recurring heart failure, and any one of the five will cause you to have recurrences. And so this is one of these situations where you gotta get them all right, you gotta get all five right, if anyone's left, you can still have recurrences and you'll think you failed. Those five are, Thiamine, C, D, magnesium and CoQ10 is the final one.

0:28:52.9 McCarthy: And the interesting thing is that one of the basic therapies for heart failure is to put people on a diuretic like Lasix, Furosemide and when you do that, you'll actually create four of those five deficiencies. People C levels will drop, their magnesium will drop, so the CoQ10 will drop. And so you actually... We noticed that when people get their first bout of a heart failure, about a third of them are back within a month, with their second bout hospitalized, that sick, 50% of them are back within six months, 12% are dead at the end of year one.

0:29:33.1 McCarthy: And when you look at this information, you go through it, you say, now... And so I interviewed several cardiologists, I went to a couple of hospitals and say, "Do you have protocols for heart failure?" "Yeah." "Can I take a look at them?" And you look at them and none of these are being checked, nobody's checking the C, nobody's checking the D. The magnesium was being checked, but magnesium is not a very good blood test, it misses more than half the cases, and nobody's checking CoQ10.

0:30:02.4 McCarthy: My ability to convince cardiologists to change was less successful than others. Some of them, I learned only after the fact had, we had patients that were really hard and they were stuck and they said, "Why not try that stuff that Doc was talking about." And so they'd go ahead and order these tests and find out, "Oh yeah." Now, I learned that from the nurses in the ICU. The nurses, I talked to the nurses about it, and they were really gung-ho, and I said, "Well, you know how docs are, we're gonna be slow to change." So help them along, maybe encourage them to check these things.

0:30:43.6 Lockitch: You had sort of talked about being sort of like a team sport, and I kind of use the analogy of an orchestra. The way I look at it is, in order for our bodies to function optimally and for the thousands of enzyme reactions to work smoothly and for us to create the healthy tissues, there are not one or two of these micronutrients, they all play a role. And while, for example, when we're sort of looking at immune function in more recent times, there's been a lot of emphasis on increasing your Vitamin D, your zinc, your selenium.

0:31:26.4 Lockitch: My philosophy is that, all these things are happening all the time, and there are so many micronutrients that play a role in our normal metabolism. So my approach is basically that you really need to have a good overall multivitamin mineral trace element supplement. And then on top of that, you can sort of patch up the additional holes, and you know this is... For years, we've been told that it's... Taking supplements is a waste of time, it's a waste of money, all you're doing is creating an expensive urine 'cause you'll pee it all out. And unfortunately, I think that this attitude is quite prevalent still among nutritionist, among physicians, etcetera. Do you wanna comment on that at all?

0:32:28.6 McCarthy: Yes. So when I made the change, I've been practicing for 25 years, practicing what I felt was a good standard of family medical care. And then my nurses, everybody else just saw these overnight changes, I started ordering D levels left right and center, and they're all coming back terrible. And the lab person in the laboratory that we used was just down the hall in our medical building, came over and said, "Dr. Mack, you're ordering a lot of D levels." "Yeah." "And they're almost all terrible." And I said, "Yeah." And he said "They've been out there all along. These folks have been out there with trouble." And I said, "Here's where I'm gonna be going with that."

0:33:16.2 McCarthy: So over the course of four years and three months, my seven colleagues and I measured the Vitamin D level on 7800 people in our practice. That was about 40% of the folks who were in our practice at that time. So we had kind of a internal study in the sense that we had people who were on D and people where the D hadn't been addressed yet, or the patients themselves weren't interested in getting tested for it. What happens to docs is they start to see the difference. The laboratory at the hospital saw this huge increase. I told 'em ahead of time, I said, "I'll be ordering a lot of D levels and they're gonna be awful, and keep your eyes out for that." And then I had a cardiologist that I enjoyed working with, and I said, "Your patients who have low ejection fractions and heart failure cardiomyopathies, baseline their D level and then go ahead and use 5 or 10,000 a day to get them up to 80 nanograms per mil, and then redo their echoes."

0:34:22.3 McCarthy: And they'd have people who had terrible heart failure, very poor ejection fraction, the amount they could pump out, the Ds were checked, they were terrible. They got the Ds ramped up and D affects muscle power in a big way. And you can increase 50% if you're really low. And so these folks were getting to where they had normal cardiac function, they were back to being able to go up and down stairs and exercise and do things they couldn't do before, because their D levels were corrected. And so again, what he did was he checked it in all his cardiac patients, and he said, "David, everybody's low." And I said, "Well, I know." He said, "Why is everybody low?" And I said, "We're the only mammal that wears clothes, and that's our big liability. We cover up the organ that would produce it. And then on top of that, we don't like to be outside when it's cold and we don't like to be outside when it's hot. We have heating and air conditioning. People stay indoors, and so they just don't have it."

0:35:30.2 McCarthy: I came to the point where I realized you just have to go with supplements. There isn't a reasonable way to go without supplements. So I began writing articles for newspapers and putting them in as editorials, and what happened is the pharmacist in the area said, "Wow. The amount of D that we're using is staggeringly different." The pharmacist in one of the busiest pharmacies, a Walmart pharmacy, said that they went from having... They would order a case a week of Vitamin D for sale at the 5000 unit, and now they were up to six cases a day. It was just...

0:36:16.5 Lockitch: Woah!

0:36:17.0 McCarthy: Oh, yeah, stunning. The pharmacist told me the story. She saw someone with a list walk over into the pharmacy and then start counting out and just taking a huge number of the Vitamin D bottles and so she came over and said, "Can I give you a hand?" And the woman identified herself, "I'm a nurse at the hospital, and we've all been talking. We're all in the obstetrical ward and we were talking because... " One of the nurses that worked in my office also worked part time as an OB nurse, and she had said, "Here's what Dr. Mack's doing and finding." And so all the nurses decided they wanted to get on D and so one of them said, "I'm going to the store," so they just... She had the names of all these people on the list and she took 31 bottles of Vitamin D. [chuckle]

0:37:04.7 Lockitch: Wow. It sounds to me like editorials in newspapers are sort of interesting, but it sounds to me like you've got enough material for a really interesting peer-reviewed kind of paper where you actually can demonstrate before and after, correlated with effect. So have you actually thought about putting all this data into an official journal?

0:37:35.7 McCarthy: Well...

0:37:36.3 Lockitch: It's a lot of work, right?

0:37:38.6 McCarthy: A, it's a lot of work and, B, I don't have access to a lot of it because when I retired, the healthcare system assumed the records, and I don't have access to a lot of that information. Before I left, I looked up basic things. How many Vitamin D levels had we ordered since February? We had ordered 24,000 levels, and it was on 7800 separately identified people, and I said, "Well, that works out the way I expected." We'd get a baseline to see where people were, we'd put them on D, and then about three months later, we checked to make sure we'd attained the level we wanted, and then a year later, we'd check them for compliance. So we expected three tests per person, and that's about how it worked out.

0:38:23.4 McCarthy: The issue that I found... Your comment to me has made me... Just about everybody I speak with, "Why haven't I read about this?" And I said, what I was doing was clinical. There were already thousands. Vitamin D and Vitamin C are two of the most studied compounds in history, and I looked up about maybe six months ago to see how many articles are being done. There's over 4000 articles a year being published on D in the peer-reviewed literature worldwide, and of course, everything now is available in English, so it's all available.

0:39:01.3 Lockitch: Yeah. I guess, the I forget the...

0:39:05.3 McCarthy: But the idea behind it, I've been able to connect several times, I mentioned the nurses here, but I spoke first time at the Uniformed Services Academy of Family Physicians. These are folks from the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and public health service. We had about 600 family physicians at the meeting. And I gave a presentation on Vitamin D in 2009. So that was really early for everybody else.

0:39:33.1 Lockitch: Right.

0:39:34.3 McCarthy: After doing that, a year later, I was back... They said, "Would you come back and talk about D again?" And I said it, "How about I talk about something else? It's also a deficiency still, let me talk about magnesium and iodine this time." And they said, "Sure." Three...

0:39:47.7 Lockitch: The interest is getting out... Sorry. Interest is obviously getting out there. We are just kind of running out of time.

0:39:55.5 McCarthy: Okay.

0:39:57.0 Lockitch: Yeah. So interest is obviously getting out there in the community. And we've got a lot more to talk about and I would love the opportunity to chat to you further about things like iodine and Thiamine in more detail, but in the meanwhile, I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the interesting information that you've provided, but thank you for also being open to looking at something from such a totally different perspective to the way as traditional physicians, we've been taught to look at it. So again, thank you for your time. And I'd love to chat further.

0:40:45.4 McCarthy: I'd be glad to. And thanks very much for doing podcast. You are the folks who should be doing this stuff. But I think of myself as a scout. I go out there and see what's there, and I act on my own to see what I can find and what I can do, based on what's already known. And then I come back and tell people what I found. But it's up to them to decide to do it. And I wanna thank you very much for this opportunity to get out to your audience and I hope your listeners are fine as well. Just keep in mind, when people get a catastrophic diagnosis, they're told they've I've got something that it usually doesn't turn out particularly well, whether it's an autoimmune condition or a malignancy or a serious infection. And you mentioned here the recent issues with the pandemic.

0:41:40.9 McCarthy: Vitamin D and vitamin C, absolutely. I'm convinced the people that are dying, if they would just throw a plasma Vitamin C when they're sick enough to be on the ventilator, they'd see, they're all out. And so, this is one of these deals where you say, make a difference, people will know people who have had everything done and nothing's worked, but when all else fails, consider deficiency states. 'Cause that's where you're gonna find what you can do to help almost anybody.

0:42:12.3 Lockitch: I totally and absolutely love that message, because as I talk about my seven pillars for aging well, aging in health. One of them obviously is, You are what you eat and what you put in your body is absolutely critical. But so many people, as I mentioned, have been basically brainwashed that they'll get enough from a healthy diet if they eat lots of fruits and vegetables. So I really appreciate the opportunity to share your insights with my audience. Thank you again.

0:42:47.8 McCarthy: Oh you're welcome. Thanks very much for asking me.

0:42:50.5 Lockitch: So to learn how you can decelerate your aging trajectory, stay vibrant and vigorous, or start your own online business in wellness and anti-aging, you can email me at podcast at askdrgill.com. Or book a discovery call with me at the link that you will find in the show note. You'll also find the link to audio personal copy, of Growing Older, Living Younger: The Science of Aging Gracefully And the Art of Retiring Comfortably at a special price at www.gillianlockitch.com. It'll also be in the show notes. So thank you for listening, if you enjoyed this and other episodes, tell your friends. If you are new to this podcast, you'll find the earlier episodes on the Growing Older, Living Younger website at www.askdrgill.com. I look forward to joining me again for our next conversation on Growing Older, Living Younger.

0:44:00.3 S1: Thanks for tuning into Growing Older, Living Younger. Be sure to subscribe so that you don't miss a single episode and while you're at it, leave a rating and review and share it with your friends. Tune in every week to learn how you can change your aging at the cellular level to stay healthy, happy and vibrant. Remember that in this podcast, we share information for educational purposes only, and the content does not provide medical advice. As you contemplate your own road map for healthy aging, be sure to discuss your intentions with your medical or other qualified, certified health practitioner. And until next week, dance everyday.

End of Transcript


Vitamin D previous page on the Dr. who got patients to vitamin D level of 80 ng

VitaminDWiki - 5 minute video (problems when his Vitamin D patients become TOO healthy)

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VitaminDWiki - 50 ng or Optimum

The RDA is barely enough for the bones to survive.
   Need an optimal level for the body to thrive

99 items in Optimum Vitamin D category

Example pages


VitaminDWiki - 1 pill every two weeks fights all of the following

Diabetes + Heart Failure + Chronic Pain + Depression + Autism + Breast Cancer + Colon Cancer + Prostate Cancer + BPH (prostate) + Preeclampsia + Premature Birth + Falls + Cognitive Decline + Respiratory Tract Infection + Influenza + Tuberculosis + Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease + Lupus + Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome + Urinary Tract Infection + Poor Sleep + Growing Pain + Multiple Sclerosis + PMS + Schizophrenia + Endometriosis + Smoking    27 problems
   Note: Once a week also fights: COVID, Headaches, Colds, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Hives, Colitis etc.

93 health problems as of Jan 2021 Proof that Vitamin D Works

VitaminDWiki - Vitamin D levels have been crashing

Drop in Vitamin D levels VDW#10189

    • Click on chart for details

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