It's not a vitamin, it's a hormone - and we lack it

Dr. Stasha Gominak makes a solid case in this presentation for the following:
  • In her experience with migraine patients, she discovered that 90% have a sleep disorder. Headaches in patients she tried to treat with medicines for years improved in a matter of months if she sent them to a sleep study, which got them a CPAP device to help them sleep.
  • But CPAP devices are awkward and intrusive. After experiencing success by improving sleep, Dr. Gominak discovered her patients have something else in common - a vitamin D deficiency.
  • She began researching vitamin D, and found that:
    • It's not a vitamin, it's a hormone. A vitamin is something we must get from food; a hormone is something our body produces to regulate its processes. We produce D-3 through our skin, and it deeply affects the entire body. We can't get it in sufficient quantity from food, except from pills.
    • We produce D-3 (cholecalciferol) only when exposed to sun during the summer. D-3 is synthesized from exposure to UVB rays, which are absent in the winter.
    • Vitamin D-2 (ergocalciferol) is not something humans produce, it's something that was discovered in rats. Rats are nocturnal animals, they get their version of this hormone by eating a fungus.
    • D-3 regulates a bunch of things in the body, from metabolism to sleep. D-3 is what enabled our ancestors to sleep 6 hours in the summer, eat 10,000 calories in a sitting, and work all day. Then in winter, dropping levels of D-3 caused their metabolism to slow down, depression to set in, and sleep to be longer, improving survival.
    • Most of us now spend our time indoors, with little sun exposure. We are operating on a permanent winter metabolism, with all its symptoms: fat accumulation, depression, sleep.
  • After applying this to her practice, Dr. Gominak's experience suggests:
    • Fixing D-3 deficiency fixes sleep. Sleep, in turn, fixes symptoms exhibited by patients, including: migraines, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, memory problems, depression, autoimmune disease, balance difficulties, pain, infertility, endometriosis.
    • Dosage is an issue. Too much D-3 causes the same types of symptoms as too little. The blood level to aim for is 60 - 80 ng/ml of D25OH. 50 causes problems; so does 95.
    • Reliability of pills is an issue. D-3 is over-the-counter, and is not subject to requirements for prescription drugs. A pill does not have to contain the amount listed on the label, and frequently doesn't.
    • 1,000 IU per day is probably too little, while 10,000 IU is probably too much. The right dose depends on the person - where you live, how much time you spend in the sun, what skin color you have. People with dark skin create D-3 much slower.
    • Prenatal vitamins don't have nearly enough D-3 for the mom and the baby (only 400 IU).
    • D-2 (ergocalciferol) is for rats. It probably does not help humans, and might even hurt by competing with D-3.
I highly recommend this video of Dr. Gominak's presentation; I found it concentrated and engaging. She also maintains a website with this information.

My subsequent posts on this topic:

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