Shilling for Big Vitamin!

Hey! Attention, consumers! I need to give you Important Informations!

I used to be like you, tired, worn out, full of aches and pains. It used to be a regular feature of my life that one joint or the other would flare up and start misbehaving. I’d injure myself rolling over in bed. I’d plan my summers around my annual knee eruption, which I could do nothing about but suffer. I’d think, well, this is just life, this is what getting old feels like, it’s just going to get worse and worse until one day I shatter my spine by breathing, and then it’ll be over.

Last spring, though, I had a routine check up with my doctor, and he mentioned casually that, you know, a lot of Minnesotans, we of the Northern climes, have vitamin D deficiencies — the vitamin you can synthesize with sunlight — because while we do have plenty of sunshine, we tend to huddle indoors all winter long to avoid freezing to death, and some of us have jobs that are performed under fluorescent lights even in the summer. I think he may have noticed my pasty-pale complexion and had reason to suspect I was one of those subterranean creatures who shun the light and live like mushrooms.

So I’ve been taking vitamin D supplements every day, and I just want to say…I think it worked. This has been my most pain-free summer in years, and I haven’t had a single knee or ankle or other random joint explode on me even once! It’s a miracle!

Anyway, just drop my name or use promo code…oh, wait, I don’t have a promotional deal with Big Vitamin, so never mind. These things are fairly cheap and seem to have made a big difference for me*.

It’s also given me exuberant hair growth and a minor derangement of some sort, but that’s a small price to pay.

*Possible confounding variable: I did a lot of summer research outdoors, so a fair bit of walking and far more sun than usual. That might have helped.

OK, also, major dietary change. My wife and I have thoroughly embraced the Mediterranean diet, so a bit of keto (but not over the top), lots of fish and olive oil and green vegetables and eggs. Possible slight contribution there.

Yeah, and I’ve lost 25 pounds or so since March. No way that could have done anything, right?

Oh, and I’ve been avoiding filthy, disease-ridden humans for half a year. Nah, that couldn’t possibly have any health effects.

It’s the little bottle of vitamins, yeah, that’s the ticket! But seriously, it wouldn’t surprise me if I’d been running a vitamin D deficiency for several years, so it’s probably a good idea to have corrected that.


  1. billseymour says

    I take a 2000 IU pill every morning on the advice of my doctor, and I feel fine.

    So now we have two anecdotes. Is that data? 8-)

  2. drew says

    As a Seattle-ite, I can testify to the healing powers of the D. Once I was a broken-legged cripple down on my luck with no hope in sight. Now with a steady regimen of these little beauties I can jump (not high) and dance (badly) as much as I want. And trust me, I want.

  3. numerobis says

    That reminds me it’s after equinox so I should stock up and start taking them again.

  4. wzrd1 says

    I’m fortunate, in that I do get plenty of sunlight in winter and summer, but I am strangely prone to magnesium deficiency at times. I’m also notorious for picking up a bag of mussels, which seems to track with an occasional zinc deficiency.
    I’m sure that my proton pump inhibitor has nothing to do with that… Yeah, it’s a known issue.
    Now, if only I could find a food craving to auto-correct for the magnesium deficiency that pops up on labs from time to time… Oh well, I’ll just stick with extra nuts, beans and leafy greens.

  5. fredbrehm says

    Years ago, my doctor ordered a Vitamin D test as part of my yearly blood work. It showed I had a deficiency so I have been taking Vitamin D ever since. He used to test everyone over 50 for deficiency but gave up because everyone was deficient. He now recommends everyone over 50 take a supplement.

    He says that the lack of sunlight in NJ compared to his native Dominican Republic is the cause. I have also read that older people make less of the vitamin than younger people.

    I have also read that Dr. Fauci takes 6000 IU a day, so whatever is good enough for him is good enough for me!

  6. yjw11374 says

    Classic supplements testimonial!

    That said, I bet all the Sicilian genes you inherited from you Viking forebears appreciate the Mediterranean salads.

  7. yjw11374 says

    Classic supplements testimonial!

    That said, I bet all the Sicilian genes you inherited from your Viking forebears appreciate the Mediterranean salads.

  8. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was prescribed vitamin-D for a a kidney problem several years. It worked, and my kidney function has improved since as I still take it.

  9. hemidactylus says

    I’ve been taking one D pill (actually calcium supplement) a day which is maybe 70-80% RDA as I bought into the correlational stuff with COVID. Figured not megadosing couldn’t hurt, though I live in the sunshine state.

  10. mastmaker says

    I am on Vitamin D 5000IU (on Doctor’s recommendation) for more than a decade now. We accidentally discovered my extreme D defeciency during some routine blood work. We tried 1000IU and 2000IU but they didn’t boost my levels sufficiently, so 5000IU it is.

    Side effect: Stopped my hair loss dead in the tracks. So, I lost about 40% of my hair between 2004 and 2007, but am maintaining the remaining 60% with no further loss for 13 years or so! YMMV.

  11. anat says

    wzrd1 @4:

    Now, if only I could find a food craving to auto-correct for the magnesium deficiency that pops up on labs from time to time

    Have you tried pumpkin seeds? My husband uses them to prevent cramps.

  12. says

    In the spring this year I visited a rheumatologist because of my aching hands and he made a test for vitamin D (among others) and has found deficiency, so I am taking suplements ever since (1000 IU daily). I can’t say it works, I can’t say it does not work either. But my hands did not hurt this year and I seem to cope with depression slightly better.

  13. robro says

    I get it. Vitamin D is your new plot to turn us into liberal–socialist–atheist–SJWs. Masks didn’t work. Vaccines didn’t work. Now you’re luring us with feel-good stories about Vitamin D(emoncrat). Well, it’s not going to work, I tell ya’…it’s just not going to work.

    On the other hand, I have a few joint aches. Perhaps I should try Vitamin D every day instead of sporadically like I’ve been doing for the past year.

  14. hillaryrettig says

    Thanks for the reminder. I’m pretty religious about taking my B12 and iodine (b/c I use fancy salt!) but tend to forget about the D. But I just took out the D bottle.

    My understanding is that vitamin absorption decreases past age 50, so many people have to supplement then even if they never needed to in the past.

    PZ and everyone – recommend you try green juicing! We recently started doing one juice a day, which is usually a big bunch of kale or spinach or collards, plus carrot, plus celery, plus apple (for sweetness). Plus misc herbs from our window. It really feels GREAT, and even my skeptical husband thinks his health has improved as a result. You just have to make sure you’re getting fiber from other sources, and those prone to kidney stones should check with their dr. Also, we use a cold press juicer, which is recommended for best vitamin preservation.

    We also got a rice cooker, which has helped us move away from white pasta and to brown rice and oatmeal.

  15. stuffin says

    2000u daily is what I take, Registered Nurse, and recommend to all I meet unless there is some underlying condition, then I tell them check with your doctor. On the other hand you don’t want to take too much –> Kidney Stones

  16. Kagehi says

    Hmm. I don’t have this problem much. Not only in Airheadzona, so.. avoiding sun on purpose is often the trend, due to the insane temperatures, but I work as a bagger, which includes spending some where between 3-4 hours outside dragging shopping carts back into the store (at what was 30 minute time frames, before Covid, and is now 15 minute segments, since some people, like me, don’t bother to take of the masks we are told to wear as employees, and they are scared we will all die of heat stroke if we are out longer than that. Personally, 30 minutes on a parking lot where its 130F+ is probably “beyond safe work time” to start with, imho). That said, its the UV that helps make the stuff, so.. maybe you could get lucky and some of those florescent bulbs “leak” a bit… lol

  17. blf says

    OK, also, major dietary change. My wife and I have thoroughly embraced the Mediterranean diet, […] lots of fish and olive oil and green vegetables and eggs. Possible slight contribution there.

    Yep. I live next to the Mediterranean Sea (literally, it’s perhaps one minute’s walk from my door), with the sea-side fishmonger’s at the end of the stroll, fresh veggies shops (and, on market days, also outdoor stalls) close by, and an endless supply of olive oil (from Spain, here in France, Italy, Greece, Tunisia, etc.), plus copious amounts of sunshine, there is indeed something going for it (and iscan be less expensive than one might think).

    (Yes, I do realise that in certain environs / locales, supplemental vitamins (e.g.) are possibly useful.)

  18. birgerjohansson says

    Making changes to the way we eat and exercise is very difficult, this is why I regained 33 pounds I had lost.
    I am taking vitamin supplements now, and hoping for some magic appetite reducing medicine to be approved. If I had been a smoker I may have been dead by now.
    And thank Odin for diabetes medicine.

  19. birgerjohansson says

    ….but having a mad movie villain staring out from behind a jar of vitamins may not be the best ad choice. It looks more like “with this new kind of brain steroids I will easily dominate the feeble humans, BWAHAHAHA!!!”

  20. hemidactylus says

    @22- birgerjohansson

    Crazy eyes could be a side effect of zealously taking too much.

  21. HappyHead says

    Vitamin D deficiency is no joke.
    A few years ago, I went to see my doctor because I was having blackouts – as in actual, face-down in my dinner “what?” with no warning ones. He sent me for blood tests to start of course, and then when I came in to see him about the results, he said to me: “You have the lowest vitamin D levels I’ve ever seen in a still living human being. How are you even moving?” and then he gave me a shot, and prescribed 10,000UI vitamin D pills for the following two weeks alongside “the fattiest foods you can find – chicken skin, a stick of butter, whatever, you need fat in your diet to absorb this much”. The blackouts stopped, and I’ve been taking vitamin D3 supplements ever since. (Not the 10,000UI ones, just regular store bought 2000UI ones.)

  22. magistramarla says

    I have an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome. A few years ago, my rheumatologist found that I was quite deficient in vitamin D. I had to take 50,000 UI pills for a few weeks, and I’ve been taking 5000 UI pills daily ever since.
    Vitamin D deficiencies seem to be very common with autoimmune issues.
    It doesn’t seem to be a wonder drug for me, but it is a supplement that I take faithfully.

  23. M Smith says

    It’s so annoying when these things work… my M-in-law has rheumatoid arthritis, and was suffering for years, to the point where she was on heavy steroids, the DMDs weren’t working, her body was slowly folding in on itself… she was recommended a book by a GP friend of hers about a diet plan that supposedly helped. The book had recommendations from the likes of Dr Oz, and other people trying to shill their own diets to “cure dementia” and other far-fetched stuff like that, so I was, shall we say, skeptical, and the premise seemed to focus on avoiding a chemical found in vegetable skins (Lectins I think? I didn’t read the book and know very little chemistry).

    I shrugged, because I figured that it couldn’t do harm, it’s not like it was recommending anything too extreme/expensive (apart from Baobab fruit!), and it wasn’t shilling pills. She really went for it (apart from the Baobab fruit!), and within a few months she was no longer in pain, she dropped the steroids and the DMDs, she could move about, and even some of the physiological stuff improved a bit.

    This year with Rona and lockdowns affecting access to shops, she lapsed on her diet, and the pain returned. She has gotten back on it and things are improving again.

    Now, I’m so glad it had such a profound effect on her, and with my sister-in-law showing signs that she might be developing it, I’m glad there’s something she can do to help with it if she turns out to have it, but the rest of the family kind of took the wrong message, and went diet-crazy, all trying to adopt this approach and others, despite not having RA themselves. It’s so much pointless effort for no benefit, and of course it’s easy to come away more prone to accepting the advice of shills and con-men, because this has a feel of “what the doctors aren’t telling you” about it.

    Anyway, I’m glad the D is helping you; as a fellow cave-dweller I occasionally dabble in it, but have never had severe enough health problems to motivate the commitment required to really see benefits.

  24. says

    I haven’t had any severe problems, but just chronic aches and pains, which I assumed were just natural consequences of aging (when they don’t have to be), and got the vitamin D recommended to me by a cardiologist.

  25. birgerjohansson says

    Totally off topic…..NOBEL PRIZE!!!!!! My home town “won” the Nobel Prize!
    Umeå is where Charpentier sorted out how CRISPR-Cas9 works, so I feel sort of a honorary co-prizewinner (goes off to do evil things with genetic engineering. -I am open for suggestions. Penguins?).

  26. davidc1 says

    A few years ago my twin brother and myself both had a Vitamin D deficiency ,his more serious ,the Dr gave me some Vitamin D in liquid form .You snap the top off ,I used to get a tiny drop in my eyes ,then put it in a spoon for him .
    I bought some Vit D from the chemist ,i suffer from a bad back from a motorbike accident ,and sometimes if i am lying in bed reading and sneeze ,i can throw my back out ,sometimes all it takes is just shifting position .

    Bloody Human bodies ,i blame Darwin and Wallace for inventing evilution .

  27. leerudolph says

    anat@11: “Have you tried pumpkin seeds?”

    I have a batch, harvested as a side effect of the latest couple of pumpkin pies, roasting in a low oven at this very moment!

  28. warriorpoet says

    No definitive data yet, but there is new information that seems to indicate a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and increased likelihood of catching Covid-19 and/or developing more serious symptoms.

    While this might have some truth to it, my thinking is that people who spend large amounts of time outdoors are more likely to have sufficient D in their systems, but they are also less likely to be in close proximity to other people. Outdoorsy types also tend to be healthier in general than couch potatoes. I’m more than a little skeptical that the vitamin itself has much of an effect on whether you catch/die from Covid.

  29. stroppy says

    pumkin seeds…
    a.k.a pepitas, just the kernels, no fussing and spitting with hulls.
    Some good ones at the local grocery here. Some not so good ones elsewhere.

  30. wzrd1 says

    @blf, I greatly envy you. Lived for five years in a similar location, albeit, a GCC state, so Indian Ocean was the primary source and grouper, incredibly common.
    Which is good, as I love grouper, cod, even the tiny US version of tilapia. Love swai, which is essentially catfish, which I also love. Not as fond of “oily fish”, such as salmon and tuna, but I tolerate them well, just dry to my taste.

    As for the suggested pumpkin seeds, they’re rather seasonal here and while wonderful, a touch expensive at times. Otherwise, I’d eat them alongside my favorite Lupini beans all day and night long.
    I also love artichokes, thorns cut off, stem split for pith, which goes stuffed between petals, with small chunks of garlic, gently drizzled with olive oil, then steamed until the petals pulll off effortlessly. Red pepper, to taste.
    Scrape the inner surface of the petals, then remove the choke and go to town on what remains. I also eat the seed base – carefully. :)