"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Calcium and VItamin D

If you have looked at any news this week (paper, Internet, TV) I'm sure you have heard that the US Preventative Task Force has come out saying that calcium and Vitamin D, taken at levels of 1000 mg of calcium daily and 400 IUs Vitamin D daily do not strengthen bones.  This article from USAToday is one of many covering the subject.

I have NEVER taken calcium for bone health, even after I was diagnosed with osteopenia in 2004.  Dr. Carr (who was my physician at that time too, he was still living in NC) told me that calcium was not what strengthened bones, and in fact, could cause kidney problems (kidney stones) and cardiac problems.  He put me on Vitamin D3, along with Vitamin K (helps with absorption), and he encouraged me to start weight training (resistance exercise). Working out in the pool is good cardio but does not stress the bones enough.  Ditto for fitness walking.

The study in the media this week is, in my opinion, a joke. Calcium does not build bone. Testosterone does.   400 IUs of Vitamin D is nowhere near enough for most (if not all) people, right now I am taking 15,000 IUs of Vitamin D, and once spring really gets here and I am outdoors more, I will probably back down to 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D.  Dr. Carr likes his patients to be at levels somewhere between 70-100 ng/ml (I believe the preventative task force considers 30 ng/ml to be "adequate"), and my blood work two weeks ago showed my Vitamin D to be at 78!  I've detailed in other posts on this blog that my last DEXA scan in 2009 showed a total reversal of my osteopenia, which of course thrilled me and my doctors.  I asked Dr. Carr and Dr. Hines (my pain management doctor) about repeating the DEXA (bone density) scan, and both said that given how many radiologic studies I have had after the accident, that it's not worth subjecting me to any more radiation unnecessarily.  Even if the DEXA showed some backsliding in my bone density, they wouldn't change the treatment (resistance training, testosterone and Vitamin D).  I will never, ever take the osteoporosis drugs, and I know Dr. Carr will never prescribe them for me.  Or for anyone.

My back and hip, as I have detailed before, are still quite problematic from a long ago car accident.  I fall every couple of months, sometimes my hip just doesn't hold me up when I put weight down on it.  If I am in the middle of a stride, I go down hard on all fours.  I haven't broken anything in all those falls, usually all I have is skinned knees and/or hands, and I'm usually pretty sore for a couple days afterward.

Please check with your practitioner before making any changes to your medications/hormones/supplements, and if you have not had a Vitamin D level checked lately, insist on it at your next visit.

Cold here in NC, I'm ready for spring! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.