Tag Archives: calcium

Good news: Baths can be less exhausting than showers

Yes, autoimmune disease can be exhausting and it can be confusing for other people to understand because autoimmune disease may not have obvious symptoms. A person with an autoimmune disorder may suffer from severe pain or other symptoms throughout their body but not have lab tests that show obvious problems to a physician. Autoimmune antibodies are known for a few types of disorders and those can be screened for if the lab test is ordered but not all autoimmune antigens have been identified.

Magnesium deficiency may be an underlying issue though for many/most autoimmune disorders, so taking an Epsom salt bath can provide improved magnesium absorption through the skin and allow a person to sit down to wash their hair and shave their legs (if desired). No promises though, that a nap might not still be desired after the exertion of bathing while sitting, or before the exertion of blow-drying long hair.

Fibromyalgia and chronic pain problems may have autoimmune origins [3] and/or may have to do with our cell’s energy workhouses, the mitochondria, running out of their preferred energy source — magnesium. They use calcium but it can overwork them to the point of cell death. In normal physiology membrane transport systems, also called ion channels, carefully control how much calcium is allowed into the interior of mitochondria. Something called ruthenium-red (RuRed) and magnesium ions are involved in controlling the entry of calcium ions through the transport channels. [1, 2]

A deficiency of magnesium may allow excess calcium to enter the mitochondria and cause overexcitation and even lead to death of the mitochondria.

Mitochondria are actually similar to bacteria and have their own DNA that in nature always matches the mother’s mitochondria’s DNA but that is a different story.

(RuRed) – not a nutrient I didn’t know about – it’s a dye used in labs that selectively binds with some things but not others so it is used for identification purposes with unknown samples — roughly.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. http://ajpcell.physiology.org/content/287/4/C817
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/20680823_Ruthenium_red_and_magnesium_ion_partially_inhibit_silver_ion-induced_release_of_calcium_from_sarcoplasmic_reticulum_of_frog_skeletal_muscles
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24435355

As many as 80% of dogs with Parvo virus die from it, but mine survived

When my dog was a puppy she was very sick from Parvo virus. It causes severe vomiting and dehydration can be deadly. Intravenous fluids were given by a vet and she slowly recovered but had no appetite. Home cooked meats were accepted though but then she would relapse as I tried to ease her back onto regular dog food.

After months she was more stable and able to ease back onto the commercial dog food but prior to that it seemed that any fortified foods would make her sick again. Phosphorus and calcium from milk-bone type dog biscuits also made her sick. I had already been reading about the nutrient’s role in human infectious disease and so I stuck with the months of chopping home cooked meats for her.

I wrote about the story and included photos in this post:

I hoped that sharing the story would help other canines to survive parvo virus — just withhold extra vitamin D and excess phophorus and calcium while fighting the sickness. The virus must be/ may be one of the type of pathogens that have learned how to modify the vitamin D receptor metabolism. It is involved closely with the immune system and protecting against infection.

From a different old post: “Canada is farther north than most of the United States and yet their population’s average vitamin D level is normal (50 nmol/L). [5, 6] The number of Americans with vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/L increased between a study performed from 1988-1994 (45% > 30nmol/L, n=18,883) and one performed in 2004 (23% > 30nmol/L, n= 13,369) but there is some controversy over whether differences in how the lab test was processed might have skewed the results. [8]”

— I had been concerned in the past that this odd difference in population averages might be due to increased infection with pathogens that affect vitamin D in the US population compared to the Canadian population but after learning about the inhibition of CYP enzymes by glyphosate that makes more sense as an explanation for a populationwide difference. Some people have infections that affect vitamin D metabolism (see next paragraph for more info), but many many many more people eat food every day, and glyphosate is used on crops that are used as ingredients in most prepared foods.

From a different old post: Tuberculosis, I learned recently, is also a type of infection that interferes with normal vitamin/hormone D metabolic pathways. The vitamin D receptor (VDR) plays a role in the ability of white blood cells to kill infected cells and cancerous cells. Some pathogens have developed ways to suppress the Vitamin D Receptor’s activity so white blood cells aren’t able to effectively resist the infection process. Other pathogens that have been shown to reduce the activity of the Vitamin D Receptor, in addition to the pathogen that causes Tuberculosis, include the mold Aspergillus, the viruses that cause Epstein-Barr chronic fatigue syndrome and HIV/AIDS, and the autoimmune diseases sarcoidosis, Crohn’s Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Elevated levels of 1, 25(OH)2D are seen with the bacterial infections: “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” [page 19, 1]

I’m glad my puppy survived Parvo virus. It would be nice if more could survive deadly diseases, especially when it is as easy as not fortifying food – not adding something. All we would need is some dog food that isn’t fortified – but you can’t buy it because it doesn’t meet the dog food regulations.

Benicar and curcumin, an extract of turmeric, are both analogues – similar shaped – to hormone D. They can activate the vitamin D receptor and might help patients fight some of the diseases that affect the vitamin D receptor – depending on the type of infection. Receptors and hormones or their analogues act like puzzle pieces or a lock and key that fit together. The analogues might be similar to a master key/skeleton key that can fit in the lock and bump out any ligand/blocking chemical that the infection produced to inhibit the body’s immune system. The vitamin D receptor when activated can then activate aspects of the immune system.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Mitochondria, P53, cancer and magnesium deficiency

Addition, 7/21/16, there is more information about mitochondria and chronic illness at this link: https://www.sott.net/article/321987-Thanks-Big-Pharma-for-the-Mitochondrial-collateral-damage, the site also has a few other articles on the topic which I haven’t read yet and the topic of magnesium doesn’t come up until you reach the comment that I added. I will have to read more about this topic. Medications that cause an imbalance in calcium and magnesium could be causing stress to the mitochondria and lead to their death and to chronic illness.

  • This article is short introducing a long video. A quote from the short text does mention nutrient deficiencies can be involved, “Nutrient deficiencies are a contributing factor to mitochondrial dysfunction. ” https://www.sott.net/article/308212-Mitochondrial-dysfunction-GMOs-Glyphosate Glyphosate  Inhibition of vitamin D metabolism could lead to magnesium and  calcium imbalance which could be stressing mitochhondria and lead to chronic illness.
  • An abstract with a link to the full text: https://www.sott.net/article/264786-Oxidative-stress-mitochondrial-damage-and-neurodegenerative-diseases
  • https://www.sott.net/article/294075-Fibromyalgia-as-a-mitochondrial-disorder
  • I haven’t watched the video or read all of the articles yet but fibromyalgia is what I had symptoms of that were bad enough to lead to my giving up wheat and gluten products initially. It simply hurt too much when I ate them. And I got better without gluten. Maybe it was the gluten or maybe my genetics with errors in the vitamin D metabolism. I will have to get back to this topic but I share the information now because pain hurts and if even one person is helped then I would be glad. *And I was a professional gourmet baker, I know how to make from scratch croissant, and French baguettes and loaf breads of many types as well as cookies and quick breads. I love wheat products but they didn’t love my body.

A comment of mine that is awaiting moderation posted on another site:

Mitochondria need lots of magnesium (and magnesium is also necessary for white blood cells to be able to perform apoptosis.) “Additionally, exposure to low Mg upregulated plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) [24]. PAI-1 is considered not merely a marker of senescence, since it is both necessary and sufficient for the induction of replicative senescence downstream of p53 [27].” by D. Killilea and J. Maier, “A connection between magnesium deficiency and aging: new insights from cellular studies” Magnes Res. 2008 Jun; 21(2): 77–82. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790427/ Please U. of Penn. researchers, look into preventing cancer by providing mitochondria with a healthy diet instead of by providing them with some sort of pharmaceutical designed to manipulate P53 — just prevent P53 from being induced by providing adequate magnesium to the cells. Thanks.

The comment is in response to this article which is about recent animal based research that suggests that a cell’s mitochondria when under stress may produce a chemical (P53) that may lead to cancer: http://scienmag.com/penn-team-finds-mitochondrial-stress-induces-cancer-related-metabolic-shifts/#comment-7188

Now I know mitochondria need a lot of magnesium so one search led to the link in the comment and ~391,000 other links, https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=mitochondrial+stress+P53+calcium+magnesium, including this one:

by Giorgi C., et. al., “p53 at the endoplasmic reticulum regulates apoptosis in a Ca2+-dependent manner” PNAS, Feb. 10, 2015, vol. 112, no. 6, pp 1779–1784. http://www.pnas.org/content/112/6/1779.full.pdf

Apoptosis is the method by which white blood cells are able to kill infected or malfunctioning or old cells. Calcium and magnesium are both electrically active and can both act as signals to promote different types of cellular actions. Magnesium is most active within cellular fluid and calcium entry into cells is limited in part by ion channels that are powered by magnesium. So a magnesium deficient cell can allow too much calcium to enter the cell and within the cell calcium can cause a variety of actions and can even over activate the cell to the point of cell death. (155,000 search results for “excess calcium overworks mitochondria” :   https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=excess%20calcium%20overworks%20mitochondria  and which includes a link about the nerve degeneration disease ALS: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2933290/  so it looks like if I want to protect myself from cancer or ALS I should not stress out my mitochondria by maintaining a good intake and internal balance of both magnesium and calcium.)

Another addition to look into more at some point – P53 and apoptosis has been found to be affeected by treatment with a homeopathic preparation (which would be a completely non-toxic energy based treatment. http://www.jcimjournal.com/articles/publishArticles/pdf/S2095-4964(16)60230-3.pdf

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Prenatal Vitamin D deficiency may be associated with the infant’s risk for developing Multiple sclerosis later in life

Vitamin D deficiency at levels equal to or below 12 ng/dL in prenatal women was associated with the baby’s later risk for developing Multiple sclerosis as an adult. No potential reasons for the association were discussed in the article. Read more: [http://neurosciencenews.com/vitamin-d-ms-3809/]

Two to three servings of dairy products fortified with vitamin D provide an adequate amount of vitamin D for the average person. A pregnant person may be recommended to have one additional serving per day for both the vitamin D content and the calcium. Mushrooms and egg yolk are natural sources of vitamin D. Canned salmon and sardines provide vitamin D and are a good source of calcium due to the tenderized bones that remain in the prepared fish. Sesame seeds, almonds and other nuts, beans, seeds, and deep green vegetables are also non-dairy sources of calcium.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Calcium and vitamin D supplements and prostate cancer; IOM and NIH reports

Use of calcium supplements has been already been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer for men for many years in a National Institute of Health (NIH) an Institute of Medicine (IOM)report, (see page 6 and see excerpt later in this post)(and prostate cancer is also mentioned in a 1997 report on page 144, and from page 142 a summary statement about some groups of people who may be more at risk from excessive calcium intake:

Subpopulations known to be particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of calcium include individuals with renal failure, those using thiazide diuretics (Whiting and Wood, 1997), and those with low intakes of minerals that interact with calcium (for example, iron, magnesium, zinc).”)

from: Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride, Jan 1, 1997 [http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/1997/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Calcium-Phosphorus-Magnesium-Vitamin-D-and-Fluoride.aspx]

If you are a person who is already seeing health professionals about prostate cancer risks and you haven’t been told that excess calcium has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer then maybe it’s time to ask why not? The following webpage does suggest men may be better to use calcium rich foods instead of supplements, however prostate cancer risk is not mentioned: MayoClinic.

While I was looking for the Institute of Medicine report I found a more recent National Institute of Health update on vitamin D levels and prostate cancer which shows on an apparent U-shaped trend for risk of prostate cancer and vitamin D levels.

Having low levels of vitamin D and having elevated levels of vitamin D was associated with risk of prostate cancer in men, however the trend was only apparent when patient’s data was grouped by quartiles rather than by the three currently accepted categories of vitamin D sufficiency. Quartiles divide the data into five groups. If the U-shaped trend was more apparent for the 20% of patients with the lowest levels of vitamin D and for the 20% with the most elevated levels of vitamin D then the lab values of those groups of patients must not have overlapped very closely with the range of lab values that are included in any of the three established categories of vitamin D sufficiency: “(concentrations less than 50 nmol/L being considered deficient, 50–75 nmol/L insufficient, and 75–125 nmol/L considered sufficient).” — which suggests to me that those currently accepted ranges of vitamin D sufficiency do not actually provide any information that is useful for assessing or counseling men about their risk of prostate cancer.

We would need to go to the original research study and see what the lab values were for the patients who fell in the lowest and highest quartiles — the 20% with the lowest values and the 20% with the highest lab values for vitamin D — in order to have some idea of how low or how elevated the lab values were for the men who had an increased risk of prostate cancer. The lowest 20% might have had values that were lower than 50 nmol/L (below 20-30 nmol/L is considered deficient) and the most elevated 20% may or may not have had values below or above 75 nmol/L — but we have no idea without going back to the original research article.

  • Excerpt from Vitamin D and Calcium: A Systematic Review of Health Outcomes (Update).:
  • Prostate Cancer

    “In the current report, four new nested case-control studies (two rated A, two rated B) and one new prospective cohort study (rated B) found no association between baseline serum 25(OH)D concentrations and risk for prostate cancer. Two new nested case-control studies (both rated B) observed a trend between higher serum vitamin D concentrations and increasing risk for prostate cancer. In one study this increase was seen only among men whose sera were sampled in summer or autumn; in the other study, this trend was observed only when participants were divided by quartiles of 25(OH)D concentration, but not when they were divided by categories of vitamin D sufficiency (concentrations less than 50 nmol/L being considered deficient, 50–75 nmol/L insufficient, and 75–125 nmol/L considered sufficient).”

    “In the original report, 12 nested case-control studies (3 rated B, 9 C) evaluated the association of baseline serum 25(OH)D concentrations and prostate cancer risk. No eligible RCTs were identified. Eight of the nested case-control studies found no statistically significant dose-response relationship between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and the risk of prostate cancer. One C-rated study found a significant association between lower baseline serum 25(OH)D concentrations (<30 compared with >55 nmol/L) and higher risk of prostate cancer. Another C-rated study suggested the possibility of a U-shaped association between baseline serum 25(OH)D concentrations and the risk of prostate cancer (i.e., lower and higher serum 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer compared with that of the in between reference level).”

  • Evidence Reports/Technology Assessments, No. 217.
    Newberry SJ, Chung M, Shekelle PG, et al.
    Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2014 Sep. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK253544/]
  • Dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D / Committee to Review Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium, Food and Nutrition Board ; A. Catharine Ross … [et al.], editors. Copyright 2011 by the National Academy of Sciences — ISBN 978-0-309-16395-8 (pdf) [http://www.nap.edu/read/13050/chapter/2#5] Excerpt, Box S-3: Potential Indicators of Adverse Outcomes for Excess Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D (page 6):

BOX S-3: Potential Indicators of Adverse Outcomes for Excess Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D (page 6)


Vitamin D

  • Intoxication and related hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria

  • Serum calcium

  • Measures in infants: retarded growth, hypercalcemia

  • Emerging evidence for all-cause mortality, cancer, cardiovascular risk, falls and fractures

So excess calcium and excess vitamin D are both officially associated with increased risk of prostate cancer or with “emerging evidence for cancer” in general.

From some old notes, [8]: 12. [ncbi.nlm.nih] Carcinogenesis. 2011 Jun;32(6):822-8. Epub 2011 Mar 10. Enhanced formation of 5-oxo-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid by cancer cells in response to oxidative stress, docosahexaenoic acid and neutrophil-derived 5-hydroxy-6,8,11,14-eicosatetraenoic acid. Grant GE, Rubino S, Gravel S, Wang X, Patel P, Rokach J, Powell WS.

“Stimulation of neutrophils with arachidonic acid and calcium ionophore in the presence of PC3 cells led to a large and selective increase in 5-oxo-ETE synthesis compared with controls in which PC3 cell 5-oxo-ETE synthesis was selectively blocked by pretreatment with NEM. The ability of prostate tumor cells to synthesize 5-oxo-ETE may contribute to tumor cell proliferation as well as the influx of inflammatory cells, which may further induce cell proliferation through the release of cytokines. 5-Oxo-ETE may be an attractive target in cancer therapy.”

***Did anyone besides me notice that they stimulated those cancer cells with calcium? Might simply not over stimulating cancer with excess calcium be an attractive target for cancer therapy? and cheap? – less calcium intake – more health output? /speculation/

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. Information is not a substitute for individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Magnesium deficiency can cause irritability, anxiety, and chronic degeneration

Inspirational quote: “Whenever I have a problem I sing, then I realize that my voice is a lot worse than my problem.” (and I feel better about my problem).

And then I take an Epsom salt bath to help treat irritability and the muscle cramps that can result from a magnesium deficiency. Some people may be more at risk for chronic magnesium deficiency due to intestinal malabsorption of the nutrient. Calcium may be preferentially absorbed within the intestines instead of magnesium.

Magnesium deficiency may affect levels of the brain neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, which may cause mood changes if it is not in balance with other more calming neurotransmitters. [Neurotransmitters and mood] The supplement choline is a precursor for acetylcholine and some users have noticed depressive affects with use of a high dose. [Acetylcholine and mood]

Taking the calcium supplements seemed to help reduce the elevated parathyroid hormone level but more recently they have seemed to cause a very rapid increase in muscle cramps and severe irritability. A magnesium bath every morning helped my mood change from rage to feeling like singing. It was kind of incredible to have my mood change so rapidly for reasons that were actually physical events — first I felt extremely angry shortly after swallowing a 100 mg calcium supplement and then I felt joyful after soaking in a bathtub for twenty minutes (soaking forty minutes or more can actually be dangerous because too elevated magnesium blood levels can cause an extreme slowing of the heart rate — don’t try that at home).

I haven’t had a psychiatrist tell me about the risks of magnesium deficiency to the mood or the benefits of an Epsom salt bath for the mood but I can hope, I can share information, and I can enjoy the benefits of Epsom salt baths while I wait. Eventually maybe psychiatry will recognize that the brain is connected to the body and that it is built out of nutrients, not out of pharmaceuticals.

Not surprising: People Reward Angry Men But Punish Angry Women, Study Suggests. Magnesium is effective and inexpensive and proton pump inhibitors are dangerous but patent protected. Get angry because the advice being sold as healthcare at an expensive profit may be causing harm over time. [PPIs and fracture risk, C difficile risk, FDA warning]

There may also be a gender bias regarding creativity, and provision of pain medication. There is also gender inequality in autoimmune disease — the majority of sufferers are female and the length of time between first onset of symptoms and diagnosis can be many years or even decades. Fifty million Americans are estimated to be suffering from some type of autoimmune disease (AD) and 75% of them are estimated to be female for reasons that are not clear at this time. [AARDA, Autoimmune disease in women]

“AARDA-conducted studies reveal a lack of trust in prescribing physicians, very likely fostered by the fact that the average AD patient may see more than four doctors in as many years before receiving a correct diagnosis. Also, more than 40 percent of AD patient report they have been told they were “too concerned about their health” or that they were hypochondriacs.”   –AARDA Launches “3-Second Adherence” Public Service Campaign.

I have been told that my physical symptoms are all psychosomatic so often that I really have no desire to go back  to anyone claiming to provide evidence based medicine. The evidence suggests to me that fifty million people are at risk from a system that doesn’t know what causes their condition or how to help them but who at the same time are willing to make random expensive guesses because after all they are just gambling with the patient’s time, money and long term health not their own.

Maybe eventually more health professionals will succumb to autoimmune illness themselves and then they will be more motivated to find more effective treatments that actually work on the underlying problems of nutrient deficiencies and metabolic imbalances. The body needs to be well nourished in order to make sialic acid for white blood cells to be able to properly identify damaged or improperly labeled cells such as the improperly labeled autoimmune antibodies and then to destroy the defective cells with a magnesium fueled enzymatic death (apoptosis).

I can hope, and I can share, and I can continue to try to take care of my own health.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


Elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) and 1-25-D, calcium deficiency and calciphylaxis

I’m feeling so much better after only two days of calcium supplements that I feel like throwing a party. Fatigue is tiring. Replenishing supplies of a trace nutrient deficiency can help resolve symptoms so quickly that it feels like a miracle. I’ve experienced rapid resolution of symptoms in the past when I had a problem with low B1 intake [2] that was due to a low intake of everything – I had an anorexic appetite at the time which I later found may have been due to an underlying zinc deficiency.

The anorexic appetite symptom resolved when I added zinc and B6 supplements after reading about pyroluria. Pyroluria is not yet treated or accepted by most main stream health practitioners but it is believed to be due to a genetic defect affecting an enzyme that helps break down old hemoglobin for reuse and recycling. Molecules of B6 and zinc are involved in the process and in normal health would be recycled but if the person has the genetic modification than the B6 and zinc is released in urine rather than being retained for reuse. [1]

Calciphylaxis is a symptom that is not well understood but is associated with severe hyperparathyroidism. It is a rare symptom in the general population but is seen more frequently in people with end stage renal disease. When the kidneys are no longer able to make normal amounts of 1, 25 dihydroxy D the plasma calcium levels can drop. And to try to maintain normal calcium levels the body responds by having the parathyroid glands increase production of parathyroid hormone which in normal health would tell the kidneys to activate more 1, 25 dihydroxy D which would then tell the intestines to absorb more calcium and would tell the bones to release more calcium from storage. [3] But in end stage renal disease there aren’t functional kidneys and the elevated levels of parathyroid hormone can cause other symptoms like irregular or rapid heart rate or in severe cases calciphylaxis may occur.

Calciphylaxis “is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome of vascular calcification and skin necrosis.” [4] The word calciphylaxis may refer to the syndrome or to the patches of necrotic (decaying) tissue which may occur internally on the surface of bones or externally in patches on the surface of the skin. The decaying areas occur more commonly on the lower legs. The areas can first appear as reddish or purplish bruised areas that may feel like they have small hardened nodules under the skin. The skin surface may be itchy and eventually may break down to be an open wound that doesn’t heal easily. There is a risk of skin infections developing in the open wound which can become severe enough to cause sepsis and death as the patches of decaying skin or bone areas do not heal well.

Calciphylaxis is more of a risk with end stage renal disease but it has also been found in people who had normal vitamin D levels and normal kidney health. And “high dose vitamin D administration is capable of inducing STC (soft tissue calcification) and calciphylaxis in murine models. [56, 57] In an attempt to reestablish normal calcium-phosphate homeostasis, ESRD patients receive vitamin D analogs that could theoretically increase their risk of calciphylaxis if hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia ensued. [58, 59]” [3]

“Experimental sensitizing events and agents included nephrectomy and exposure to parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D. Substances used as challengers included egg albumin and metallic salts. Calciphylaxis was the end result.4  – from a 1962 study, abstract is free. [4.5]

Eczema is something I’ve had to cope with since infancy along with severe congestion problems. The images of calciphylaxis do not look quite like the itchy patches that I’ve been dealing with for a few months but they resemble the images of calciphylaxis more than they look like the patches of eczema that I’ve had off and on since infancy.

The fun thing about autoimmune disease is all the nifty weird symptoms that you get to experience – and which are so rare that many physicians don’t want to see you or the symptoms in their office –  because those unusual symptoms must be covered by some other specialist’s field. This quote said it well:  Calciphylaxis “is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome”. [4]  Maybe I wouldn’t want that syndrome to be my professional responsibility either, and maybe it is just too bad for me that it might be my personal responsibility whether I like it or not. However maybe I’m lucky that my professional and personal experiences have left me more informed about odd symptoms than other health professionals, and therefore I may possibly be better equipped to cope with the odd symptoms.

Thankfully just two days of calcium supplements (while continuing to avoid excess vitamin D and sunshine) have left me feeling less itchy and my open wound areas are beginning to form scabs instead of remaining open wounds with seeping plasma.

In normal physiology the activated hormone form, 1, 25 dihydroxy D, is typically found in elevated amounts only in areas of rapid growth or membrane breakdown, such as in scab formation by white blood cells, [6], and within the placenta during pregnancy. [5] – Maybe elevated 1, 25 dihydroxy D can also be an underlying problem causing calciphylaxis rather than it being due only to deficiency of the inactive vitamin 25-D or the active hormone 1, 25-D.

Yes, my vitamin 25-D level was low at 10.9 ng/mL and anything below 20-30 is considered deficient and I was recommended by my endocrinologist to take vitamin D and calcium. However my hormone 1, 25-D level was 55 pg/mL which is considered within the normal range by mainstream medicine (range: 18-72 pg/mL). Specialists in vitamin D/hormone D metabolism would consider levels of 1, 25-D above 42 pg/mL to be elevated enough to be an osteoporosis risk because above that level the bone cells start releasing calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium into the blood supply instead of absorbing the minerals from circulating plasma and storing them for increased bone strength or for later use. [7]

Calcium and magnesium are so important as electrically active ions that the body has a variety of ways to maintain the blood levels of the two minerals within a narrow range. Blood tests for calcium and magnesium levels may be normal even though there is inadequate dietary intake because the bones can act like a savings account at the bank. In normal health if the blood plasma dips a little low for calcium or magnesium, more minerals are released from the bone, and if levels are getting too elevated than more would be excreted by the kidneys, less would be absorbed by the intestines, and more would be absorbed into the bones for long term storage.

However if 1, 25-D levels are elevated above 42 pg/mL than even if calcium levels were elevated in the blood the abnormally elevated 1, 25-D level would still be telling the bones to release more calcium and for the intestines to absorb more calcium which would lead to way too much calcium for the kidneys to be able to excrete during good health let alone during renal disease (elevated blood calcium would normally signal the body to make more of the enzyme that de-activates 1, 25-D but some microbial pathogens seem to bypass our immune system by disabling our body’s ability to make that enzyme). Adequate magnesium is necessary for the kidneys to be able to excrete calcium and elevated 1, 25-D causes the intestines to preferentially absorb calcium rather than magnesium.

And it turns out that eczema is an autoimmune disease so I may have been trying to figure out how to feel healthier since I was a baby. [8]

My mother gave up trying to spoon feed me. She said I would spit food into my hand, look at it, then put it back into my mouth before swallowing. She put cookie sheets around my highchair to block the mess (and possibly the view) and left me to feed myself from a fairly early age. I still don’t like to be fed by others, whether it’s just a taste of something on a spoon, or whether it is a dietary supplement that might cause my underlying autoimmune condition to worsen.

I’m feeling less itchy and the open wound areas are beginning to heal. The tachycardia problem is better, (having a rapid heart rate with little exercise), and an internal jittery feeling is less. The problem with trying to medicate a nutrient deficiency with psychiatric drugs is that the psychiatric drug can’t take the place of a nutrient in metabolic pathways. For years now physicians, family members and friends have been encouraging me to just take the psychiatric medication as prescribed and stop complaining about psychosomatic symptoms and imaginary problems. But the psychiatric medications that were offered all had bad side effects and while some helped slow down whirling thoughts they didn’t make the thoughts less sad or negative and they didn’t take away the internal feeling of tension.

I felt like a coiled spring internally, very jittery all the time and unable to concentrate as well as normal. I knew something was wrong and I knew feeling like a coiled spring all the time wasn’t an imaginary delusion and the feeling didn’t go away with the three different anti-psychotic medications that physicians or psychiatrists had me try.

We can’t afford ineffective health care as individuals or as a global community. Harsh medications that cause side effects in humans are probably also causing side effects in the health of the environment once the chemicals become waste products. Expensive pharmaceuticals that cause side effects in patients without addressing the person’s underlying condition are primarily helping the pharmaceutical company and may be causing the person’s condition to worsen over the long term.

Low protein intake may be involved as hypoalbuminemia is a risk factor for calciphylaxis. [9 -includes images of calciphylaxis wounds.] I don’t know for sure that my weird skin patches are early stage calciphylaxis wounds but I hadn’t been eating much protein in the weeks before my bruise like symptoms became more like open painful sores and I have probably had a low calcium intake ever since I started limiting my use of dairy products. I did take calcium supplements in the past but my chronic muscle cramps became a problem and the calcium seemed to make it worse. More recently not eating much for a couple weeks would have further reduced my intake of calcium from the sources such as sesame seeds and tree nuts that I normally do eat. Just two days of calcium supplements have helped me feel calm internally instead of jittery (I’m using about 500 mg spread out through the day in low doses). I’m also eating a more adequate amount of protein and other foods and the odd skin patches have less of a burning itchy painful feeling and the areas are starting to heal rather than remain open seeping wounds.

Twenty three and a half to fifty million Americans may have one or more types of autoimmune diseases. [10] So I don’t think that I am the only one who has been regularly told that her symptoms must all be imaginary and to go see a talk therapist or to go get stronger and stronger psychiatric medications. We can’t afford ineffective health care because it doesn’t help the patient and the medications may be bad for the environment once they become waste products. Calcium is a natural mineral that is not harmful to the environment and it is inexpensive.

6/15/15 lab values:

  • Parathyroid hormone level – PTH Intact – 154.1 pg/mL — normal range: [15.0-75.0]
  • Calcium – 8.8 mg/dL — normal range: [8.4-10.2]
  • Phosphorus was not ordered but would probably be good to check.
  • Vitamin D, 25 – 10.9 ng/mL — normal is considered: [30.0-100.0]
  • Vitamin D 1, 25 – 55 pg/mL — normal is considered: [18-72]

I did schedule an appointment with a physician but it will be a few weeks and the tachycardia was not pleasant, the internal coiled spring feeling made it hard to concentrate and hard to not over react to outside events, and the open seeping sores were painful.

I don’t see why I should not try to take care of myself rather than having to follow the orders/recommendations of physicians or psychiatrists when they are working from the premise that “we don’t know what is causing your symptoms or how to cure them but we would really like you to take these harsh medications anyway because we guess that they might reduce some of your symptoms – and please just ignore the negative side effects that the medication is actually adding to your problems because we guess that the medication might help reduce some of the symptoms that you originally came to see us about.” That is an example of circular logic based on guesses and I’m not buying it anymore now than I did when I was sitting in a highchair covered with eczema, milk based formula, and baby food.

Medications can be life saving and certainly are a modern miracle but nutrients will always be our body’s building blocks. Providing medicines to reduce symptoms of nutrient deficiency will only prolong the time the body is left without adequate nutrients and some deficiencies can cause long term damage that is not reversible once the nutrient is added back to the diet. A long term deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause irreversible nerve damage, [11], and it turns out that calcium or vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis if the deficiency is chronic enough to lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


  1. Pyroluria: anxiety and deficiency of B6 and zinc
  2. Thiamin: people with anorexia or alcoholism are more at risk for vitamin B1 deficiency
  3. Julia R Nunley, MD, “Calciphylaxis,” Medscape, July 21, 2014, [4-Overview,  4.5-Pathophysiology]
  4. Liu NQ et al., “Vitamin D and the regulation of placental inflammation.” J Immunol. 2011 May 15;186(10):5968-74. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003332. Epub 2011 Apr 11, [5]
  5. Eleftheriadis T., et al., “Vitamin D receptor activators and response to injury in kidney disease.” JNephrol 2010: 23(05): 514-524 [6]
  6. Meg Mangin, Rebecca Sinha, and Kelly Fincher, “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” Inflamm Res. 2014; 63(10): 803–819., 2014 Jul 22. [7]
  7. by Charlotte LoBuono, “For the First Time, Study Proves Eczema Is an Autoimmune Disease.” Jan. 5, 2015, [8]
  8. Dermnet NZ, “Calciphylaxis,” [9]
  9. AARDA, “Autoimmune Statistics,” [10]
  10. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause long term nerve degeneration.” August 21, 2013, [11]

Additional references about risk factors for calciphylaxis in dialysis patients:                   These articles are not mentioned in the text above and the research studies are not about secondary hyperparathyroidism but they do suggest that adequate protein intake may help reduce risk for calciphylaxis and that having elevated phosphorus or alkaline phosphatase levels may increase the risk.

  • Zacharias JM, Calcium use increases risk of calciphylaxis: a case-control study. Perit Dial Int. 1999 May-Jun;19(3):248-52.  [link] *This small research study is about calciphylaxis occurring in patients on kidney dialysis – calcium supplements were found to increase risk of calciphylaxis, while iron intake may have been protective, vitamin D intake made no difference between groups, (n=8 women). The study group’s parathyroid hormone and albumin levels were not found to be significantly different then the lab values of the control group of dialysis patients who did not have calciphylaxis. The conclusion includes the suggestion that “use of calcium salts as a phosphate binder” during dialysis might have something to do with the increased rate of calciphylaxis that was being seen at dialysis centers at the time.
  • A Rauf Mazhar, et. al., Risk factors and mortality associated with calciphylaxis in end-stage renal disease.  Kidney International (2001) 60, 324–332; doi:10.1046/j.1523-1755.2001.00803.x [link] *This study (n=19) found an increased risk for calciphylaxis in dialysis patients who were female, and when the patient had elevated phosphorus and/or alkaline phosphatase levels and/or low serum albumin levels. “Calciphylaxis independently increased the risk of death by eightfold.”
  • Doweiko JP, Nompleggi DJ. The role of albumin in human physiology and pathophysiology, Part III: Albumin and disease states. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1991 Jul-Aug;15(4):476-83. [link] *Albumin is the main protein found in blood plasma and having low albumin levels is also associated with poor wound healing and an increased risk of death.
  • Albumin levels can be low even when there is adequate protein intake in the presence of edema. Fluid imbalance can make the albumin values seem lower due to the change in concentration of the blood serum rather than due to changes in diet. However edema and low protein intake may both be problems. A low protein intake can increase the risk for edema.
  • Pickwell K, Predictors of lower-extremity amputation in patients with an infected diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetes Care. 2015 May;38(5):852-7. doi: 10.2337/dc14-1598. Epub 2015 Feb 9. [link] *Severe edema is also a sign of ill health. the presence of edema increased the risk of poor wound healing and the need for amputation for patients with a diabetic foot ulcer.


Secondary Hyperparathyroidism, calcium deficiency and irritability

Not eating regularly is bad for mental health. Avoiding food groups is also not good for health in general because trace nutrient deficiencies can impact many areas of the body.

It turns out that some of my mystery symptoms may be due to secondary hyperparathyroidism – and irritability is one of the symptoms. Other symptoms can include fatigue, heart arrhythmia (heart palpitations), Atrial Fibrillation (rapid heart rate), hair loss, and itching. The list seemed eerily familiar.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism can be due to deficiency of calcium and/or vitamin D. To skip to the point – I started taking calcium supplements yesterday and today and I am already feeling somewhat better. Potentially my hair may start growing back within six months of improved calcium intake.  And maybe my early stage bone loss, osteopenia, will improve too.

And I made an appointment with my family physician too, and will eventually call the endocrinology office but it is a little unsettling to be told you have an elevated lab value several months after the blood work was done. I had been informed about some of the labs and didn’t think to ask if there were any other results. My hyperparathyroid hormone level was two to ten times higher than the normal range — June 15 — grouchy, yes, but soon I hope to start feeling better and less grouchy. My heart symptoms are more rapid than irregular, and I have to stop or slow down to get the heart rate to slow down, and it was less of a problem today than yesterday. So sometimes old news is still good news – or at least useful news.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./


Low vitamin D levels associated with increased LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio and triglyceride levels

In a previous post I had mentioned that I had received a few responses from colleagues who had read my vitamin D article. When I checked an older account, I found that I had saved a copy of two of the emails. I posted a copy with names and contact information removed as evidence of my attempt to seek help. I have made the post private and added a link to it within the post where I had mentioned the topic. The emails had been intended as private correspondence and I hadn’t asked the writers for permission to post a copy. My send virtual apologies to them in advance.

One of the emails included this link with the suggestion that it contradicted my article. But it actually supports the premise that healthy levels of vitamin D are healthy and abnormal levels may be abnormal rather than deficient in a normal sense of the term nutrient deficiency. Vitamin D is unique in that it can be formed by the body from cholesterol. Other vitamins and minerals that are considered essential can not be produced by the body. A deficiency of one of them would suggest a true lack of the nutrient but a low level of vitamin D can occur with an elevated level of the active hormone form of the nutrient.

Continued below the link:



High Serum 25(OH)D Concentrations Linked to Favorable Lipid Profile

***This is just an abstract, on rereading it I see that it doesn’t include that much information about the results and I misread the data about types of cholesterol. All the types of cholesterol levels were higher in the participants with normal or higher levels of vitamin D not just the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. However the total ratio of good/HDL to bad/LDL cholesterol was better and the triglyceride level was lower in the participants with normal levels of vitamin D than participants with low levels of vitamin D.

I had written this earlier today:

*The study included in this email actually does not conflict with my research findings – Many studies have shown that health is associated with having normal vitamin D levels. Obesity and chronic illness is associated with having depressed vitamin D levels. The controversy arose when some research physicians decided that therefore simply providing megadoses of vitamin D should/would correct the depressed vitamin D levels and correct the individual’s underlying chronic illness problem — but correcting the depressed levels hasn’t proven to be that simple.

Studies on the effectiveness of providing vitamin D supplements have not shown that health improves even when the person’s vitamin D level was able to be brought back up to the normal range by providing megadoses of the supplement or megadose injections of the supplement. Much of the research that showed depressed levels of vitamin D did not also include laboratory assessments of the participant’s hormone D levels – which likely were actually elevated in the individuals who had obesity or chronic illness problems.

Megadoses of the supplement that are given to individuals whose bodies have too much of the activating enzyme and not enough of the deactivating enzyme will simply by converted into hormone D and lab tests for vitamin D will continue to be low. This lack of change in the vitamin D lab values even with the provision of larger and larger supplements was baffling the research physicians. They continue to seem to think that most or all of the supplemental vitamin D that is given to patients will remain in the vitamin D form within their bodies — the problem in chronically ill and obese people is that the supplements of vitamin D may be rapidly being converted into hormone D. And my concern based on my on experience with elevated hormone D levels is that it is very biologically active in many systems of the body and it can cause muscle cramps and mood changes and actually cause osteoporosis over time rather than help prevent it. Hormone D is not just for strong bones.

I then started adding this but realized the abstract really doesn’t provide enough information about the cholesterol levels in the participants with low levels of vitamin D to speculate about possible causes.

/Speculation/ Thinking more about this research link suggested to me that the higher ratio of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol in the participants with lower vitamin D levels may actually be showing evidence of the soft tissue calcification that can occur with elevated levels of hormone D. Excess calcium is stored along the walls of arteries and veins within placques formed by cholesterol depostis. The cholesterol helps enclose the electrically active calcium ions which can cause damage if allowed to enter into the interior of cells. Magnesium is the electrically active ion that is found in greater quantity within the interior of cells. It is necessary to help block openings within cell membranes that can allow calcium or other chemicals into the interior of the cell in amounts that might be unsafe (for more information look up excitotoxins, aspartic acid, or glutamates).

From a previous post regarding having elevated hormone D levels: ” It causes increased loss of calcium from the bones and can lead to osteoporosis over time, and excess free calcium in soft tissue can cause muscle cramps and headaches in the short run and lead to calcification of soft tissue over time, such as atherosclerosis, a type of hardening of the arteries.” [post]

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Actually we do know quite a bit about ALS

The Life Extension Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on research into preventative health strategies. The company does sell supplements, books, and a few other products but it also helps fund research in preventative health care. The foundation publishes an academic type journal and an article from the journal is available on their website which provides a review of the current theories and research available regarding Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). [1]

The article ends with a quote or two about the limited effectiveness and negative side effects associated with the medication that is currently prescribed for ALS patients. The sad point is that at least then the doctor can feel like they provided a service by writing a prescription but if it doesn’t really help slow progress of the disease and adds negative side effects then is that prescribing doctor really “Doing no harm.”?

The article doesn’t provide vitamin or supplement recommendations or provide other preventative guidance. It is a review of current research which did provide enough information to suggest to me several strategies that might help me reduce my risk of developing ALS. I’m motivated because I fall into one of the ‘you may be at more risk for ALS if you also have this condition’ categories.

Studies suggest that ALS is more associated with some autoimmune and chronic infectious diseases and with some nutrient deficiencies or imbalances and with exposure to some environmental toxins.

A few points gleaned from the article that might help me reduce my risk of developing ALS:

  1. Avoid mercury, lead, aluminum, manganese and other heavy metal toxins.
  2. Be careful if working with herbicides and pesticides to reduce exposure.
  3. Have adequate intake of calcium and magnesium – in balance. Excess calcium and too little magnesium may increase degenerative calcification of the central nervous system.
  4. Avoid excess intake of free glutamates. There are many sources of free glutamates in the diet as they are used as flavoring agents. MSG is one better known example. *The article doesn’t recommend avoiding glutamates, it mentions that ALS is associated with glutamate toxicity. One study found plasma levels of glutamate to be significantly elevated in ALS patients compared to controls (Plaitakis et al, 1993). One theory suggests that there may be a glutamate transport problem that allows the elevated levels to accumulate. [1] *Having adequate zinc and magnesium levels helps the cells control intracellular glutamate levels. [3], magnesium also helps control transmembrane movement of the other electrolytes: calcium, sodium and potassium. [4]
    ALS is highly linked with glutamate. One proposed mechanism is a defective glutamate transport system that permits neurotoxic levels to build up (Onion 1998). A study showed significant elevations (by about 70%) of plasma levels of glutamate in ALS patients as compared to controls (Plaitakis et al. 1993). – See more at: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/amlatscleral.html#sthash.ErWUopES.d
    ALS is highly linked with glutamate. One proposed mechanism is a defective glutamate transport system that permits neurotoxic levels to build up (Onion 1998). A study showed significant elevations (by about 70%) of plasma levels of glutamate in ALS patients as compared to controls (Plaitakis et al. 1993). – See more at: http://www.lifeextensionvitamins.com/amlatscleral.html#sthash.ErWUopES.dpuf
  5. Have adequate but not excessive intake of selenium as it helps the body remove mercury. Two Brazil nuts per day provide about 200 micrograms of selenium which is the recommended daily goal. Excess selenium can cause toxicity symptoms so be careful not to take supplemental one-a-day or other mixtures that contain selenium in addition to taking selenium as an individual supplement or in addition to eating Brazil nuts regularly. Toxicity wouldn’t occur in a few days but might develop if multiple sources were eaten over a longer time period.
  6. Growth factor deficiency may be involved in development of ALS. Touch is important for stimulating human growth factor. Therapy pets and massage may also help stimulate internal production of human growth factor. *The article doesn’t mention the therapeutic benefits of touch. It only mentions that reduced growth factors are an underlying problem associated with ALS and pharmaceutical sources have been found helpful for slowing progress of the disease in some (but not all) studies. However touch can also help stimulate innate production of growth factors without needing a pharmaceutical company. [2]
  7. Spinal compression may increase risks of a similar nerve degeneration problem that can resemble ALS so /speculative/ regular exercise such as swimming might help or regular use of an inversion board at a gentle 10 degree slope might help relieve spinal pressure. /Disclosure, I do use an inversion board and find it helpful for headache and back problems but they can be dangerous so please seek individual guidance regarding their use./
  8. Some infections with long term chronic phases are associated with ALS type symptoms including Lyme’s disease, poliomyelitis, HIV/AIDs, and tertiary syphilis.
  9. Some endocrine and autoimmune diseases such as the hyperthyroid condition Grave’s disease and  Diabetic Amyotrophy are associated with ALS risk. Maintaining lower thyroid levels and avoiding thyrotoxicosis may help reduce risk of developing ALS.
  10. Some other conditions associated with ALS like problems include the neurological diseases: Pick’s Disease and Kennedy’s Syndrome; and the genetic enzyme disorders: Superoxide Dismutase, Hexosaminidase A, and Alpha-Glucosidase.
  11. /Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see an health professional for individual health care purposes./
  1. Lyme disease and poliomyelitis
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Amyotrophic Lateral Scleros