Dr. Cannell and the Curious Case of the Flu
Dr. John Cannell was a psychiatrist at the Atascadero State Hospital in California. In 2005, he was in charge of a maximum security facility for the criminally insane. Knowing that the patients got very little sun exposure, he prescribed high doses of vitamin D to all 32 of his patients. As the winter came the hospital broke-out with a terrible flu epidemic. Dr. Cannell noted that wards all around his got hit hard with the severe flu outbreak, but none of his 32 patients caught the flu – even after they mingled with infected inmates from other wards.
Ever notice people get sick in the winter?
Researchers discovered that vitamin D stimulates your white blood cells, creating a substance called cathelicidin. Studies report that it attacks a wide variety of pathogens including: fungi, viruses, bacteria, tuberculosis and even cancer.
Here’s how it works: T-cells are a type of white blood cell that circulate around our bodies, scanning for cellular abnormalities and infections. When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or 'antenna' known as a vitamin D receptor, that searches for vitamin D. This means that the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won't even begin to mobilize.
How much is too much vitamin D?
The research states the tolerable upper limit of 2000 IU's is a great daily dose of vitamin D for children. However, for adults, there is no scientific basis to define upper level dosage, since the levels required for symptoms of vitamin D overdose are at least 5 times that much for an extended period of time.
About 42% of U.S. adults are deficient in vitamin D, according to the journal of Nutrition Research, and the latest research is proving that the acceptable range should be higher than we previously thought. I always recommend including an OH25 vitamin D test when you get your regular blood work. A 5000mg Vitamin D3 is a prudent dose for the winter. But if your blood test shows a deficiency, you may need to take more until you build it up within in range.
While we’re at it -- according to recent findings, the benefits of vitamin D, in terms of bone strength and cardiovascular health, are greatly improved when combined with vitamin K (specifically K2). Vitamin D3 improves your bone health by helping you absorb calcium. However, it is vitamin K2 that directs calcium to your bone, preventing it from being deposited in the wrong areas.
Think of it like a rudder on a boat.
K2 steers the calcium to where it’s supposed to go, like your bone rather than your arteries, which can lead to atherosclerosis. Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, which is needed to bind calcium into the matrix of your bone. Vitamin D is dependent on vitamin K, and vitamin D toxicity (although very rare with the D3 form) is actually caused by vitamin K2 deficiency.
Oh and one more thing! Magnesium may help your body activate vitamin D into a form your body can use. I like Vitamin K2 with D3 by OrthoMolecular. It has 5000IU of D3 and 45mcg of K2. The perfect combo for immune and bone support.