I have long suspected a deficiency of Vit D has caused problems for me personally. Like 99% of Americans, I had never had my serum D level checked (it's fast & easy). I took multivitamins with 400 IU or 100 IU or whatever of Vit D and paid no attention. Today, I have two artificial hips from total osteoarthritic degeneration, was facing work on my chronic left knee problem, and my Ortho told me to also get ready for some back surgery based upon X-rays he took when I told him I had back pain. Sometime early in that timespan, I was also diagnosed with FSGS (~5 years ago or so). Why am I telling you all this? It is all about Vitamin D.
If you look at the emergence of so many autoimmune diseases, cancers, and other illnesses and degenerations over the past century & a half, where are the common socio-cultural connections? Well, notice that a couple of centuries back, most Americans were in the fields, farming or ranching. SPF had not been invented yet. Sun poured down all day long. Today, most people are indoors, on a computer, particularly in the middle & Eastern portions of the country where cold winters force them inside. When they do go outside, many women (like my daughters) use SPF 50 sunblock to may sure they don't get the alligator skin of the summer sunworshippers of my generation. So, guess what? NO VITAMIN D!!!
Now for the good part. Based upon studies I found from clinical trials of high dosage (10,000 IU) vs. placebo in Australia & New Zealand, some 40% improvement in cartilage degeneration occurred with the Vit D group. This is remarkably high. So I started taking 5,000 IU a day (say 2-3,000 for a girl who weighs 100 lbs, or 1,000 for a 50 lb child). Within a week or two I no longer had back pain and no longer had the knee pain to the extent I had. I began testing my serum D level. I came up quite low (low 20's) despite the supplements, likely because of absorption difficulties common to FSGS. I upped the dosage to 7,000 IU, next month another test. Higher (29) but still low. I have now upped it to 10,000 IU and make certain I walk 30 min a day with enough skin exposure to get natural Vit D. Waiting on tests, but expect to be close to norm. In the mean time, I feel great, have to joint of back issues, and my FSGS issues seem better as well! Tests will show.
There is a Vit D post on this website (under the research/trials column) which documents the link between Vit D and FSGS. I STRONGLY encourage you to read it. This is a case of HUGE upside with no downside. Be careful not to overdose on Vit D. Like Vit A, too much of a good thing can be toxic or cause more kidney problems that they solve. But the toxicity limit is high (~85,000 IU for an adult, so maybe 10,000 - 40,000 for a child depending upon size/weight). Main point: Have your child (and you) tested for Vit D level. I would bet that 90% of you are low. If so, start taking Vit D.
One interesting sidebar: My daughter has also had chronic knee problems from jogging. At first she resisted taking D saying she was taking Glucosamine (like I do). But she started on 2,000, and results were relatively immediate and very positive, so she went to 4,000 and toady had no knee pain. She uses SPF 50.
Edited March 4, 2010 at 12:42 pm