Progress on the pain front?

My doctor says I’m incredibly low on vitamin D, probably because of Rochester’s perpetual gloom and my own vampire-like avoidance of direct sunshine. (In spite of the lack of direct evidence, I *am* a red-head and I get sunburn way too easily). He says that anything between 40 and 100 is normal, and anything below 30 is seriously deficient, and I’m at 17. I’ve got a prescription for mega-dose vitamin D tablets. I’m supposed to take one a week for 4 weeks, then one a month, and start taking fish oil as well.

He recommends this lemon flavoured Norwegian cod liver oil that he says tastes nothing like the cod liver oil of my youth. I don’t believe him – instead of tasting like vomit, it will taste like lemon-tinged vomit, I’m sure.

14 thoughts on “Progress on the pain front?”

  1. Hmmm…I wonder if some alert to doctors has been distributed. My doctor was also eager to test my vitamin D; I should get the results in a few days (I finally had the blood draw on Tuesday).

  2. In spite of the lack of direct evidence, I *am* a red-head and I get sunburn way too easily

    I hear that. I’m either ghostly pale or bright red (and usually sick). I use a lot of sunscreen.

    Good luck with the cod liver oil!

  3. You need to buy an old open-cockpit biplane, and fix both needs in one shot.

    Before modern lubricants, radial engines were lubricated with cod liver oil. They sprayed it all over everything, including into the pilot’s face. This was one of the reasons for flying goggles.

    Anyway, cod liver oil can be absorbed through the skin. It apparently has, um, laxative effects in large doses. This was quite the problem for mail pilots.

  4. The story I heard was that the engines were lubricated with castor oil (the oil that Castrol takes its name from), and the laxative effects were one reason for the custom of cutting off shirt tails of solo-ing pilots – because by the time they’d solo’ed, their shirt tails were ruined. It makes me shudder just to think of it.

  5. From WebMD: “Dec. 10, 2003 — There is new evidence that small amounts of unprotected sun exposure could be good for you. Earlier studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk for several cancers. Now comes word that it may also be a major cause of unexplained muscle and bone pain.

    In a study involving 150 children and adults with unexplained muscle and bone pain, almost all were found to be vitamin D deficient; many were severely deficient with extremely low levels of vitamin D in their bodies.”

  6. Within the past month, I saw commentary on a recent study that linked vitamin D to cancer — the conclusion was that present recommendations for vitamin D are actually way too low, and that increasing vitamin D levels to well over the present recommendations resulted in a truly spectacular reduction in cancer frequency — 60% reduction, the kind of reduction where the commentary includes notes that “this is not a typo for 6%”. However, I can’t turn up the primary study right now. Still, that may have got doctors reviewing their vitamin D literature anew.

    … perhaps I can’t find it because it’s not yet out. See .

  7. … annoyingly, that article, which was full-view when I was looking at it at first, has now turned pay-per-view some time in the last few minutes. Anyway, it says there’s a report due out in June.

  8. A few years ago, I spent some time at a Christmas party chatting with a guy who works for an alternative supplements company. His job involves negotiating with the FDA about what health claims his company can make in their ads and on their packages. He had a bee in his bonnet about the unintended consequences of what seem to be healthy recommendations. Apparently in some parts of the US, an uptick in cases of rickets has been observed, due to vitamin D deficiency. The apparent cause? The notion that you must cover any exposed bit of skin with sunblock, to protect against skin cancer. It’s a good idea, but it has consequences. He was pleasantly surprised when several of us in the conversation told him that our doctors were quite specific that we take calcium with vitamin D. I saw an article like the one that Ian was referring to a few months ago, and started taking extra vitamin D. Even with that, my GP wants to test levels.

  9. My brother-in-law is a urologist and an MD; his published research is on prostate cancer and Vitamin-D. Basically: it’s good idea to increase vitamin D intake,

    (Aside: in the UK you don’t normally get a MD, it’s a research degree rather than an occupational requirement.)

  10. The lemon-flavored cod-liver oil that I’ve used, I’ve put in smoothies (I’ve got a VitaMix, so that’s real easy for me to say), and I really don’t notice it. By itself, it’s really not too bad, from what I recall.

  11. Hi there everyone,

    Also am used to ingesting the oil myself. It has an — oily — flavor (no surprise), and only slightly fishy (if fresh — it only gets very fishy as it loses freshness). Another trick of dealing with the slick, oily, slightly-fishy flavor of that stuff is to swallow it first, and then reward yourself with a food or beverage that tastes noticeably better.

    (Also, Adelle Davis had recommended in one of her better-known books that the vitamins A and D in cod liver oil need to balanced with generous amounts of vitamins E and C. She also mentioned the use of fresh lecithin in the very same meal that has the oil, for better absorption. Some websites seem to repeat her wisdom, including the detail about fresh lecithin. I use granular.)

    (Found this site when doing a web-search about the pros and cons of using Cod Liver Oil as an ointment to soothe an existing sunburn. Was having the stuff in my breakfast, as usual, and got it on my hands, then wiped it on my sunburn; the oil did not hurt my sunburn, so I got curious.)

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