Friday, 4 September 2009


Osteoporosis has been in the news recently both here in the UK and in America, and the warnings are dire.

In a Daily Mail article we read:
Jeremy Miller is the last person you might expect to suffer from the bone disease osteoporosis. He is a sporty, youthful-looking 46-year-old male, so he hardly fits the stereotype for the condition.

Also known as brittle-bone disease, it is characterised by fragile bones prone to breakages and is widely perceived to primarily affect post-menopausal women, most famously the Duchess of Cornwall.

"Also known as brittle-bone disease ..." Really?? Since when?

Brittle-bone disease is osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a rare genetic disorder usually resulting from abnormalities of the genes that control the production of a protein called collagen; which is the main protein in bone and essential for its strength.

Osteoporosis can develop throughout life, and while all sufferers of OI can have osteoporosis, those who develop osteoporosis cannot develop OI.

However, the Daily Mail article does conclude with some half-heartedly good advice:
According to Sarah Leyland, senior nurse for the National Osteoporosis Society, preventative measures include 'regular weight-bearing exercise, a reasonable amount of calcium in the diet and reasonable exposure to Vitamin D through sunlight.'

But in our northern climes - and especially in our dreadful summers - we cannot get enough Vitamin D from sunlight.

Meanwhile, in the States, lies, damned lies and statistics have been utilised to blame a claimed increase in osteoporosis on the sufferers themselves. This is covered in an excellent blog from Sandy Szwarc, over at Junk Food Science

So here in the UK how much Vitamin D do we need, and does it matter what type it is? Yes, it certainly matters, and Dr John Briffa has written several blog entries on that very topic. His latest details evidence showing that even ten times the current recommended dose of Vitamin D3 is still too low.

For the last few months I have been taking 6,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day. It's difficult to know whether I'm healthier for doing so, but the proof will come when my family start bringing colds into the house. Normally I catch them within days, and they last for many weeks, turning to bronchitis.

If I manage to get through the coming autumn and winter without succombing, or with only minor sniffles, I will have a better idea of the efficacy of Vitamin D3.


  1. There is a great video that explains how vitamin D works and not just for bones (as the title says)

    There are also some great videos available from UCSD school of medicine (

    ie Vitamin D and prevention of chronic diseases.

    I have found anything by Michael Holick to be superb.

  2. I'm hoping that my Summer in Italy has replenished my Vitamin D stores to get me through a UK Winter! I like to think that I lie on the terrace in the sun with a G&T for medicinal reasons!

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  4. Have you been to They can sort your Vitamin D levels if you pay them $40 and its really easy I really have benefited from being able to check my levels


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