Critical illness, acute stress, and vitamin D: Part 1 puts into focus a follow up story a woman told me last week. Her aging father had been admitted to the ICU with generalized kidney and liver failure along with a number of chronic illnesses. The doctors had told her that they did not expect him to live.She had called me after he was admitted and asked me what I would do with vitamin D as her father’s doctors refused to test his level or give him any vitamin D.
I told her that if he were my father, I would immediately start giving him 50,000 IU per day of vitamin D every day he was in the ICU and, if he got out, 10,000 IU per day until further notice. She told me that she did exactly that and within several days, her father began improving, much to the surprise of his doctors. In fact, he was eventually discharged back home and is now up and about, walking further than he has in ten years and feeling fine. After 6 days of 50,000 IU per day and 22 days of 10,000 IU/day, I had her get a vitamin D level at home through ZRT; it was 32 ng/ml. Can you imagine where it was when he was first admitted?
Professor Robert Heaney has shown that if you have natural 25(OH)D blood levels, around 50 ng/ml, your body has stored vitamin D3 in muscle and fat tissue for emergencies as reflected by significant D3 (cholecalciferol) levels in your blood. If your 25(OH)D level is <35 ng/ml, you have very little D3 storage, at least you have very low D3 (cholecalciferol) levels in your blood.
Heaney RP, Armas LA, Shary JR, Bell NH, Binkley N, Hollis BW. 25-Hydroxylation of vitamin D3: relation to circulating vitamin D3 under various input conditions. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Jun;87(6):1738-42.
As I inferred from Dr Quraishi’s paper, an unexpected ICU stay is yet another reason to have natural 25(OH)D levels.