Dietitian Recommends less Vitamin D and Calcium

We can cure the epidemic of ill health and obesity that has seized our nation and the world. The food supply is low on some important nutrients and has too much focus on calcium. Calcium is important but health is built on a variety of essential nutrients, and clean air and water of course.
We can have health if we seek to rebuild instead of hunt for a disease to name and for a magic bullet cure. There will always be a need for acute care but we are overloading the medical system with chronic degenerative disease. Chemotherapy kills and so do corticosteroids. They are powerful drugs that are aimed at the disease but our bodies get in the way. Food that nourishes with a full range of essential nutrients in forms that can be absorbed and used can help us heal ourselves from within.
We are designed to fight cancer and to rebuild organs using our own stem cells and white blood cells but we can only do that if they are working right. White blood cells protect us by patrolling for old, pre-cancerous or infected cells. The bad cells can be mercy-killed in a process called apoptosis. We grow new skin cells every day and new intestinal cells weekly. New cells of whatever type we need can be rebuilt from our own stem cells. Any organ can be ours for the making – if we have the essential nutrients in our food supply in a mixture that we can absorb.
Our food supply isn’t providing us with the variety of nutrients that we need, in ratios that we can absorb well. Our nutrient guidelines were developed in the 1940’s to help make K-rations that could keep our soldiers strong and healthy under conditions of war.  The original work has been reviewed and modified by the Institute of Medicine. The calcium guidelines were increased in 1997 and while they have been reviewed they haven’t been changed since. The increase was based on an estimation of how much calcium might be needed for better bone absorption.
Do we have stronger bones now as a nation then we did in 1996? That is a simple question with a simple answer – no.Our nation’s diet was changed in 1997 and since then chronic illness, obesity and osteoporosis rates have been expanding quicker than our budgets or belts.
We can’t grow strong bones out of excessive calcium and vitamin D supplements. Bones do require some vitamin D and calcium but we also need magnesium, strontium, vitamin K, and water to name a few essential nutrients.
Calcium is being consumed at levels that our bodies are not able to excrete. The kidneys actively save calcium and use magnesium to remove acidic wastes and some of the excess calcium. Diuretics and alcohol use also increase magnesium losses. Magnesium is lost in sweat but many brands of electrolyte beverages don’t contain it. Our food supply is low in magnesium and high in calcium from dairy products, fortified foods, and supplements.
The dairy products available in our U.S. food supply in the year 2007 provided 716 milligrams of calcium in just 351 calories of cheese and milk per day. Many people eat more than 351 calories of dairy products daily. On average we are consuming more cheese and less milk than we did prior to 1970. Cheese is a more concentrated source of fat and calcium than liquid milk.
Toddlers (n=925) usual intakes from food, beverages, and supplements as reported in FITS 2008 provided on average 892 mg/day of calcium and 160 mg/day of magnesium.
The abnormal vitamin D levels have been misunderstood. Low lab values are linked to ill health and obesity but more of the vitamin won’t fix the underlying problem. The mega-dose is a short term fix but not a long term cure for chronic illness and cancer. It is considered safe for everyone but it is only safe for those with healthy kidney control over the activation of vitamin D to hormone D. High levels of the active hormone D can cause health problems to worsen over time, adding to chronic degeneration.
Vitamin D has two forms and two lab tests of interest, and one test is more expensive. The cheap lab test for 25 hydroxy D (Dᴣ), is what most of the research is based on. It is the inactive form of the vitamin and is available as a supplement. It is considered safe at higher doses because it is assumed that all people, not just healthy people, have very good kidney control over the activation of the vitamin to the hormone. The enzyme needed for activation to 1,25 dihydroxy D is being produced uncontrollably by inflammatory white blood cells and it has been shown to be produced by some cancer cell strains as well.
We are not deficient in vitamin D and haven’t been since milk fortification was begun. The average American’s serum 25-D levels were normal, above 20 ng/ml and Canadian’s had average levels around 24 ng/ml, also normal, from a 2009 Institute of Medicine report. An increased risk of fractures has not been observed at these levels. [4]
Lack of sunlight is not a problem either, according to the research by Dr. James Norman. He has put together a database of over 10,000 patients with hyper-para-thyroidism from around the world who live under a wide range of sunlight conditions. Their vitamin 25-D levels average 19.4 ng/ml, but their active hormone, 1-25 D levels and calcium levels are very high no matter where they live. As soon as their para-thyroid tumor is removed their bodies’ 25-D and 1-25 D balance normalize, no matter where they live.
Dr. Norman, does not recommend supplementing with vitamin D. The supplements push the patient’s lab values for 1-25 D and calcium even higher. He has multiple case examples where stroke or sudden illness occurred after vitamin D supplementation was begun by the patient’s endocrinologist. His seminar about it is on Youtube, listed under ParaThyroid TV, and is posted on my webpage.
I recently started working at an assisted living facility and many of the residents were started on high doses of vitamin D by their individual doctors about a year ago when this research was first getting popular. I read charts cover to cover – and I saw their quality of life deteriorate, their pain levels increase, and worsening of their weakness, cardiac symptoms and dementia, and one death. High doses of vitamin D may not be safe for unhealthy people.
Our public health initiatives have been successful at preventing rickets in the majority; we already won the battle against vitamin D deficiency. Many foods are now fortified with vitamin D not just milk. I met about 4000 babies in fifteen years as a WIC dietitian and only one showed early symptoms of rickets. He was exclusively breast fed and he and his mother both had severe milk protein allergies. They both took to sardines which are an excellent natural source of vitamin D, and supplements were never even needed for the little boy.
We are not vitamin D deficient but we do have a sub-population of chronically ill and obese people with depressed levels of the inactive form of the vitamin. The inactive vitamin Dᴣ is being activated at an unlimited rate in some cancer cells and by white blood cells in wound and inflammatory conditions, resulting in elevated levels of the active hormone form.
Increased levels of the active hormone cause movement of calcium and magnesium out of the bone which eventually leads to osteoporosis of the bone and calcification of everything else. It increases intestinal absorption of calcium and it can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. [39] Too much cortisol can increase abdominal weight gain but it also acts like corticosteroid drugs on the immune system.
Activated hormone D leads to increased cortisol and a short term reduction in inflammatory symptoms because it kills off the overactive white blood cells. However it also kills off the healthy ones. Mega doses of vitamin D are being used in a way similar to corticosteroids. Ultimately the immune system is functioning even worse. The current increase in allergic sensitivities to foods like gluten and peanut butter is due to the over active white blood cells. If we kill off the white blood cells then we won’t get the allergic symptoms as bad but we may get more colds, skin infections, and other illnesses.
Mega-dosing with vitamin D is like paying for Prednisone, if we’re sick and for an expensive cholesterol supplement if we’re healthy. 
Vitamin D is actually a very powerful steroidal hormone based on cholesterol. The average American is making enough vitamin D from their stored cholesterol. Vitamin D is an expensive cholesterol supplement if you don’t need it.[1]  If you are worried about whether you need a supplement or currently are supplementing with vitamin D, then ask your medical provider for both lab tests, cheap and expensive, 25 hydroxy D and 1, 25 dihydroxy D.  The good news is that the combined test result comparison will serve as a biomarker to show who does have chronic inflammatory conditions – proving that fibromyalgia isn’t all in our heads.
Low levels of 25-D combined with high levels of 1,25 D is an abnormal balance that is not seen in the healthy person with good kidney control.It occurs due to the increased production of the activating enzyme in the cancer cells or infected cells. Autoimmune disease may be due to a variety of chronic infections that are not readily identifiable by today’s standard lab tests.
Excessive levels of the active vitamin D cause the bone to lose calcium and magnesium. Too much calcium can cause muscle cramps, increase pain, and can cause anxiety, irritability and headaches.
We need less calcium then we are getting on average and more magnesium. If we limit our intake to 800 mg calcium we should absorb magnesium better, but we still need about twice as much magnesium as we are currently getting. Nuts, beans, seeds and greens are all excellent sources of magnesium and so is chocolate. Just two and a half dairy servings per day, about what is recommended already, would provide adequate calcium for strong bones without overloading our intestines. Too much calcium is causing magnesium to be poorly absorbed in the intestines and to be wasted in urinary losses.
Magnesium blocks calcium channels in cell membranes and would protect the brain cells from being over-flooded with calcium and being overworked to the point of cell death. The over-excitation of the brain cells causes anxiety and irritability and may be underlying the increase in rates of bullying and violence. PMS is another name for magnesium deficiency that is associated with excessive irritiability and chocolate cravings (a good source of magnesium).
Magnesium provides power inside of the cell – fatigue is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. Anemia and edema are early symptoms of magnesium deficiency. It is essential for the growth of mature red and white blood cells in bone marrow. It is used by over 300 enzymes and it is essential for apoptosis – the mercy killing of infected and precancerous cells. Hypertension and increased serum cholesterol and insulin are also symptoms. If I were writing the books, then Metabolic Syndrome would be called magnesium deficiency and so would pre-eclampsia.
We can heal ourselves, if we learn how to feed ourselves better and repair the food supply and nutrient guidelines.I recommend stopping the push to supplement with vitamin D and calcium and instead I would encourage trying the DASH diet plan. It was a primary education tool that I used successfully to prevent pre-eclampsia reoccurrence in high risk women. The DASH diet provides a good supply of magnesium from the Bean, Nut and Seed food group. The plan has been found helpful for weight loss as well as reducing hypertension.
I propose ten steps for turning around our epidemic of chronic illness and obesity
  1.  Look for health in Food First, treating symptoms does not restore function.
  2. Increase Magnesium in water and other electrolyte beverages. Softened water adds salt to our daily intake and sucks magnesium from our bones.
  3.  Increase magnesium rich foods. They also give us fiber that builds a healthy glycocalyx lining and stronger immune system. Beans, nuts, seeds, greens, whole grains and chocolate are good sources and there is a little in everything else.
  4. Sub-populations need to be identified and informed about their individual nutrient needs, whether increased or decreased from the average person’s to promote optimal health and quality of life.
  5. Poor intestinal absorption of magnesium is part of the problem. We can deliver nutrients from other directions. Skin lotions and Epsom salt (MgSO4) baths are low budget, low risk and very effective methods. [35, 36, 37]
  6.  Nutrients can be delivered by inhalation in an aerosolized  form that would be safer than intravenous magnesium use. [30, 31]
  7.  Limit calcium intake – more is not better. We will retain more when we consume less. The research on strong bones and calcium supplements were for people whose native diet averaged 300 mg calcium per day – not our current RDA of 1000 mg.
  8. Don’t worry about D deficiency and if you are worried then ask for both tests, the inactive and active form of the most powerful hormone in our body.
  9. Ask your government representatives to support food labeling reform. Neotame and free amino acids may be causing migraines, seizures and lead to dementia.
  10. We need our Nutrient Guidelines – the math – checked by a multi-disciplinary team of scientists who use the numbers – food scientists, dietitians, and biochemists should be involved. The math makes our infant formulas and cafeteria menus and when it is wrong then we all suffer.
All nutrients are equally essential. Currently our food supply and health care messages are over-loaded with calcium and vitamin D and it is hurting us. Draining the magnesium from our bones is draining the energy and fluid from our cells and leaves us puffy and pale from anemia. Without magnesium we can’t grow proper blood cells and without healthy white blood cells we can’t protect ourselves from infections and we can’t breakdown decaying, pre-cancerous cells for normal recycling.
Cancer occurs from old cells mutating. Healthy white blood cells can kill the active cancer too. The Linus Pauling Institute successfully treats tumors with high doses of vitamin C. The Gerson Clinic successfully uses a raw foods approach and detoxification with coffee enemas Not too pretty sounding but chemotherapy isn’t pretty either. Why do we continue to hurt people with harsh chemicals when nature gave us what we need in whole foods and the potent herbs and spices. Cinnamon, oregano and rosemary have shown promise in chronic illness. Spice up your lives and enjoy.
Our bodies can do it, we just have to feed ourselves an absorbable balance of a wide variety of essential nutrients.

See Bibliography on the page with this title. I will continue to add to it as I get it organized .

Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. Please see an individual health care professional for individualized health care services. If you have questions or comments please contact me at: jenniferdepew@jenniferdepew.com

Hypothyroid or Iodine Deficient ?

Both is the answer or kind-of is the answer to the question in the title. I realize I never answered it directly in the post or may not have explained it clearly. We may have the RDA, the Recommended Daily Allowance, of iodine in a supplement or fortified products each day — but if the environment and diet are also providing the chemically similar minerals bromide, perchlorate (chloride), and fluoride then the body may be making thyroid hormone with the atoms of bromide, chloride and fluoride instead of with atoms of iodine and a lab test might show the presence of thyroid hormone but that lab test wouldn’t be testing specifically for the presence of iodine.
     Thyroid hormone might be present that contained bromide, chloride, or fluoride, or a combination, but it wouldn’t actually function within the energy pathways in the body and symptoms of tiredness and other symptoms of hypothyroidism.  A very large dose of iodine taken for one month can help the body replace the wrong atoms in the thyroid hormone with atoms of iodine. The presence of bromide, chloride and fluoride may be involved in risk for autoimmune thyroid disease and cancer of the thyroid or other endocrine glands. More is included on these topics later in this post. It can also help resolve the pain of fibrocystic breast disease, that topic isn’t included in this post but I did find it helpful for resolving that condition for me, and it hasn’t returned. I had symptoms of it for years and the standard answer is along the lines of “we don’t know,” – well I know that for me my condition resolved after taking a large dose of iodine for one month and then a smaller but still larger than RDA dose for several years — but I didn’t know about or forgot the selenium and ran into hyperthyroid problems, more on that –>
*This updated post is not about being fat or thin, or “body-shaming,” inner beauty has nothing to do with size, however good health can have to do with size.  Mood and skill in social settings can also be affected by size.  Information about cancer is included in this post because a problem with iodine deficiency can increase risk for cancer.
     The commonly used treatment for hypothyroidism within the current medical community is simply replacement of the thyroid hormone which is not addressing iodine deficiency for the thyroid gland or for the rest of the endocrine glands and the rest of the body. The thyroid organ can preferentially take up iodine when there is a limited supply, so a diagnosis of hypothyroidism suggests the rest of the body has even less iodine than the thyroid gland. Other side effects of hypothyroidism include depression, extreme tiredness, feeling cold, a tendency towards gaining weight and for constipation – everything slows down in the body when there is inadequate thyroid hormone or when it is present but not functioning correctly.
     It is more comfortable to not weigh an excessive amount and it is more comfortable to have energy and not feel depressed and cold.
     Showing the two pictures below is again, not about “body-shaming,” but was to give some idea of my past. Overweight women are somewhat invisible to men and to other women who care a lot about image. I have the social skills of an overweight woman, not those of a woman used to fending off unwanted attention from strangers or old acquaintances. I’ve never been to a fancy “cocktail party” if such a thing still occurs outside an episode of Mad Men (aka/the 1950’s). Or – more accurately – I have the social skills of someone with child trauma issues who may not have tried much in life and never gained experience and learned better skills.
     It takes a while to learn what you don’t know and further, to learn how many layers of not-knowing-what-you-didn’t-know and that you’ll have to learn about and work through before you will really get to the core issue or issues.
     A core issue revealed in the first picture is hyperthyroidism – I look thinner than typical for me. In the second picture I’m heavier but that was the weight that stubbornly stuck no matter how hard I tried to diet and exercise it off – until I took the large dose iodine supplement. My problem turned out to be the selenium. I didn’t learn about that until later after having developed hyperthyroid symptoms. Autoimmune thyroid problems can fluctuate between hypothyroid – low activity, and hyperthyroid – elevated activity. The first picture is me with hyperthyroidism and the second picture is hypothyroid.
     We all do need iodine though. I have to limit how much I eat now because I still have an overactive autoimmune thyroid condition. I do eat some iodine foods but not much iodized products or any supplements and I do try to eat selenium rich foods regularly, which is about two Brazil nuts per day.
     There aren’t many foods naturally rich in selenium. Coastal ocean microbes transform it from the form found in the ocean water into a form that can be carried in water droplets in the atmosphere where it is rained onto Brazil nut trees in the Amazon rain forest – isn’t our planet amazing?
We all need iodine.
This is how I spent most of my years as an adult, before I took iodine supplements.

The rate of infants born with congenital hypothyroidism has been escalating, baffling many, unless you consider an older diagnostic term – cretinism or iodine deficiency. Cretinism is somewhat reversible if the infant receives adequate iodine after diagnosis, the thyroid gland would grow and begin to produce hormone naturally. If the infant is treated only with synthetic thyroid hormone, then organ development would continue to suffer and the baby will probably need the drug for the rest of its life. Weight gain, fatigue, apathy and depression are common symptoms in adults and children born hypothyroid typically are petite and can have reduced IQ. Women can’t grow babies out of synthetic hormone, but that is what they usually are given if diagnosed with hypothyroidism instead of iodine deficiency.

All of our glands need iodine not just the thyroid gland. The pineal gland, also known in more  ancient terms as our Inner Eye, [crystalinks], has the second largest uptake of iodine and it is crucial for melatonin and a good night’s sleep. [5, 6] The mammary and prostate glands need iodine as well. Prostate and breast cancer also may involve an underlying iodine deficiency [2, 3] and the substitution of bromide, perchlorate and/or fluoride.

Lab tests have become a primary diagnostic tool and if the science underlying their use was wrong then the diagnosis based on the tests may not be very reliable. Our bodies have learned how to fool the lab test’s expectations of goiter by producing thyroid hormone containing fluoride or bromide. The gland is functioning normally but the hormone it is producing won’t prevent the symptoms and malfunction of hypothyroidism.

I had all those symptoms, but my lab tests were normal and therefore I was normal, or so I was told. However, after attending a seminar by Dr. Brownstein, I started a high dose iodine supplement that is equivalent to the amount of iodine provided by the sea weed in the traditional Japanese diet. The supplement that I have taken daily for six years contains 83 times more iodine than our current RDA. Our national guideline for iodine has not been changed since it was created in the 1940’s. Salt doesn’t have that much added to it and we aren’t really using much iodized table salt anymore. Do we reach for the salt shaker when we think about any other vitamin

It is important to get adequate amounts of the trace mineral selenium when supplementing with iodine, especially when using a large dose of iodine. Selenium is essential for the enzyme that breaks down excessive amounts of the active thyroid hormone. Excessive thyroid hormone can cause hyperthyroidism which can be associated with extreme mood and physical symptoms. Selenium can be toxic when excessive amounts are consumed for months.

Approximately two Brazil nuts provide the recommended daily goal of 200 micrograms of selenium. A one-a-day or prenatal vitamin would likely include 200 mcg of selenium. “Selenium” [ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium/]

A peer reviewed article with seaweed nutrient content information suggests that there is a wide range in iodine levels between different types of seaweed and between different samples of the same type of seaweed. [10]

The case study does not mention selenium. Hyperthyroid problems induced by abrupt increased intake of iodine may be mitigated by increasing selenium intake at the same time.

Kelp supplements can contain an unreliable amount of iodine. Out of 17 supplements tested the iodine content ranged from 45 micrograms to 57,000 micrograms. [1]

The kelp supplements content as tested is unreliable and potentially dangerous due to the unknown amount that might be contained. Seaweed also may contains goiterogens that interfere with thyroid function and occasionally toxins or other contaminants can be present due to the variability in ocean waters. [healthlibrary.epnet.com/GetContent.aspx?token=af362d97-4f80-4453-a175-02cc6220a387&chunkiid=21786 ]

Excessive iodine chronically can lead to toxicity side effects that include acne, a metallic taste in the mouth, a persistent mild cough and nasal discharge. The metallic taste can be a short term side effect due to bromide stores being exchanged for iodine. The RDA has been 150 micrograms. The Iodoral supplement that I have been using for six years contains 1250 micrograms of iodine/iodide which is a mega dose but is consistent and known, breaking the tablets and using a portion for a smaller daily dose is possible.

Those at increased risk of developing hypothyroidism include: Postpartum women, Women with family history of autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITD), Those with previous head, neck, or thyroid surgery or irradiation, Those with other autoimmune endocrine disorders (e.g., type 1 diabetes mellitus, adrenal insufficiency, or ovarian failure), Those with nonendocrine autoimmune disorders (e.g., vitiligo, multiple sclerosis), Patients with primary pulmonary hypertension, Those with Down’s or Turner’s syndromes. 

The following biological activities are particularly impaired by hypothyroidism: Calorigenic modification, Oxygen consumption throughout most tissues, Protein, fat, and carbohydrate metabolism, Augmentation of calcium ATPase activity in cardiac muscle, Mitochondrial ATP production, G-protein-coupled membrane receptor activity, Organ-specific effects. 

The clinical manifestations of hypothyroidism (see Symptoms) are the result of effects occurring at the molecular level because of the impact of thyroid hormone insufficiency.” Read more: [medicinalplants.us/hypothyroidism ]

December 15, 2011 addition:

  • “Asian countries, such as Japan, have low rates of breast cancer, while Western countries have cancer rates that are many times higher. 25,26 However, when Japanese girls are raised on westernized diets, their rate of breast cancer increases dramatically.”  [cancerproject.org/survival/cancer_facts/breast.php]
  • Some statistics about prostate and breast cancer rates compared to iodine levels. [drdavidbrownstein.blogspot.com/2009/05/rapid-increase-in-thyroid-cancer.html]
  • www.faostat.fao.org – world food supply statistics. ***The world three year average consumption of Aquatic Plants ( aka seaweed) for 2007-2005 is zero if you remove the three out-lying values out of the 154 countries with data. The countries with Aquatic Plant consumption are China – 20.39 grams/capita/day, Japan- 4.02 gr/cap/day, and the Republic of Korea – 35.28 gr/capita/day. [faostat.fao.org/site/610/DesktopDefault.aspx?PageID=610#ancor]
  • The Japanese intake of 4.02 grams Aquatic Plants may provide a safe amount of iodine without an excess of goiterogens that may be provided in the Chinese 20.39 average intake or the Republic of Korea’s 35.28 grams/capita/day of Aquatic Plants.
  • The World’s Healthiest Foods website,”Sea Vegetables, What’s New and Beneficial about Sea Vegetables?” – recipes and health information for a variety of sea vegetables. [whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=135 ]
  • Nutrient information for Kelp lists iodine content as 415 micrograms per 20 gram serving. The U.S. Nutrient Data Base # 11445, Seaweed, Kelp Raw did not have a line for Iodine content. Based on the wide range in content found by the research team in citation #1 it would be hard to estimate how much iodine the Japanese, Chinese, and Republic of Korea citizens might be consuming on average – but it is clearly an excellent source. [whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrientprofile&dbid=51]

For more on hypothyroidism and pickle’s value as a side dish, see my post:  [Vitiligo, hypothyroidism and melanin]

Plastics, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals may be a major cause of the feminizing of our young men [13] but the lack of iodine is also at fault. The prostate and testicles need iodine in addition to the thyroid, mammary and pineal glands. Switch to stainless steel drinking bottles and filtered water if you are worried about chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system; avoid soda (metal cans are lined with plastic) it is so acidic that it is leaching magnesium from you anyway; and take a high dose iodine or tested seaweed supplement. Boys will only continue to be boys if we provide their pregnant mothers and their growing bodies with nutritious building blocks. We still can’t build a functioning body out of pharmaceuticals or synthetic hormones.

/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. Norman JA, Pickford CJ, Sanders TW, et al. Human intake of arsenic and iodine from seaweed-based food supplements and health foods available in the UK. Food Addit Contam. 1988;5:103-109. www.drbrownstein.com/homePage.php
    [drdavidbrownstein.blogspot.com/2009/05/rapid-increase-in-thyroid-cancer.html]
  2. Most Asian Men Have Better Prostate Cancer Survival Rates, Finding could help to govern treatment approaches, study suggests. By Steven Reinberg, HealthDay Reporter,  [abcnews.go.com/Health/Healthday/story?id=4508275&page=1]
  3. Race Plays A Key Role In Prostate Cancer Survival Rates, sciencedaily.com,  [sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060613072943.htm]
  4. Watanabe R, Hanmori K, Kadoya H, Nishimuta M, Miyazaki H, Nutritional Intakes in community-swelling older Japanese adults: high intakes of energy and protein based on high consumption of fish, vegetable and fruits provide sufficient micronutrients, J Nutri Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 204 Jun: 50(3): 184-95, [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15386931]
  5. On Pineal calcification and its relation to subjective sleep perception: a hypothesis-driven pilot study, Volume 82, Issue 3, Pages 187-191 (30 June 1998)  [psyn-journal.com/article/S0925-4927%2898%2900013-4/abstract]
  6. Richard Mahlberg, Thorsten Kienast, Degree of pineal calcification (DOC) is associated with polysomnographic sleep measures in primary insomnia patients, [sleep-journal.com/article/S1389-9457%2808%2900154-8/abstract
  7.  “Selenium” [ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/selenium/]
  8. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1924637/table/tbl3/]
  9. [ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1924637/]
  10. Müssig, K., Thamer, C., Bares, R., Lipp, HP., Häring, HU., Gallwitz, B., Iodine-Induced Thyrotoxicosis After Ingestion of Kelp-Containing Tea, J Gen Intern Med. 2006 June; 21(6): C11–C14. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00416.x. PMCID: PMC1924637
  11. Leung, A.M., Pearce, E.N., Braverman, L.E., Iodine Content of Prenatal Multivitamins in the United States, N Engl J Med 2009; 360:939-940, [nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc0807851]
  12. Jian-Ying Zhan, Yu-Feng Qin and Zheng-Yan Zhao, Neonatal screening for congenital hypothyroidism and phenylketonuria in China, World Journal of Pediatrics Vol. 5, Number 2, 136-139,  [springerlink.com/content/w7054w4550233404/]
  13. Why so many teen-age boys are wimpy, irresponsible, unmotivated and bored: one of the reasons, gatesofhorn.com,  [gatesofhorn.com/blog/why_so_many_teen_age_boys_are_wimpy_irresponsible_unmotivated_and_bored_one_of_the_reasons]

I need to talk about iodine a bit before I get to the vitamin D and calcium story. I don’t think I would have kicked my migraine and autoimmune problems if I hadn’t conquered my undiagnosed hypothyroidism first. The body can’t do anything without energy and the thyroid hormone is our energizer. Hypothyroid bodies become super efficient at not wasting energy and people can gain weight on 600 calories a day – you can’t live on that. Extreme fatigue, depression, apathy, hair loss, infertility and miscarriages are also common symptoms.

Glyco-compounds – essential sugar building blocks

Glyco- refers to glycogen which is sugar in a bigger starch form. Sugars are the building blocks of starches in the way that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. The amino acids join together in straight chains like a string of beads or like letters in a word, a sentence, or a book. The straight protein chain can then fold into intricate shapes and form many chemicals.

However the sugars can actually connect to each other at each or most of the carbons in their structure – not just in one to one connections like beads on a necklace or letters in a sentence. Instead the sugars can connect at different ways and form many shapes like a Tinker Toy or Kinex building sets or like the words that can be built off of each other’s letters in the game Scrabble or Bananagrams.

Glucose and fructose are molecules that contain 6 carbons each but they are slightly different in shape – like mirror images – and our bodies need the glucose for building materials not the fructose. Fructose is an energy source (in other words it may be fattening if eaten in excess of the physical number of calories that are used up each day). Fructose is less useable as a building block – glucose is the form that is essential for our health. A molecule of table sugar is made from one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose.

Fucose, (6 C), mannose, (6 C), N-acetylglucosamine, (8 C), N-acetylneuraminic acid (11 C)  and galactose are also essential types of sugars with slightly different chemical forms. Some can be converted from one to another type but eating food sources may be better insurance (in case there are enzyme defects or other trace mineral deficiencies that may be reducing one’s ability to make enzymes).

The starches can code very complicated chemicals because the branching chain of sugar molecules can link together at more then one place – usually a bond can be formed at each of the carbon molecules in the molecule of sugar. So while there are fewer types of sugars than amino acids, each one can link together in several places and can create a more complex language in their branching shapes than is possible with the one to one connections of amino acids that from proteins.

The glyco-compounds form part of the jelly-like matrix of the glycocalyx layer. Proteins and lipids might be part of a glyco-compound. White blood cells can read and understand this glyco-language on the surfaces of other cells and allergens. Antigens and antibodies may not be effective if the diet doesn’t supply enough of the more unusual essential sugars.

Glyco-compounds dissolve in water better than the proteins or lipids (fats) would on their own. Glycolipids and glycoprotiens are nature’s way to help keep them suspended in water better. The sugar containing end of the compound dissolves in the watery fluid and helps keep the lipid or protein end moving along. The protein or fat by itself might separate from the fluid and stick to vessel walls or clot together into ungainly rafts of debris, which could lead to strokes or cardiovascular disease.

A life preserver keeps us suspended above water. The air trapped in the life preserver is keeping us mixed in the air environment and above the water while the body tries to sink. The floating masses of garbage in the oceans are suspended in a similar way.

Picture from: [thegoldenspiral.org/tag/environmental-terrorism/]

/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./