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Vitamin D and Me

I am a fan of Steve Gibson, author of the SpinRite hard drive maintenance tool and the discoverer of "spyware". His web site at contains many valuable computer security articles and other freeware goodies. He also has a weekly podcast with Leo Laporte, hosted at and available free.

In August of 2009, Steve's "Security Now" podcast had one episode dedicated entirely to a very non-computer related topic, Vitamin D. I was interested by what was presented, and followed up with some more of my own research. I didn't follow through on any of it until later that winter... After my usual predictable second winter cold.

I usually can knock down a cold with Zicam in just a few days. But sadly my preferred mode of application (a nasal gel) was removed from the market mid-winter 2009, leaving me with inferior options. In late January 2010, I decided to make myself a guinea pig for my own flu and cold vaccine... vitamin D.

Considering the likely suspects for vitamin D deficiency, I fit the profile: technology worker who rarely goes outdoors, paranoia about sunburn with SPF 30+ as the norm when I do go outside, drink very little milk, and like most Americans don't eat enough fish. In direct sunlight, the human body can produce 10000 IU or more of vitamin D within an hour. I have been taking 5000 IU of vitamin D3 for the past 9 months, under the assumption that i was likely vitamin D deficient. This works out to the equivalent vitamin D I would get from daily sun exposure of an amount "halfway to a sunburn", or 4 tablespoons of cod liver oil.

I will be having a physical exam from my primary care physician shortly and plan to request a test for 25-hydroxy-vitamin D levels, to see if I am within the recommended range. But the real telling result will be the very typical colds I get every winter. I get at least one cold, and I have had the flu every three years or so. I am not a fan of flu vaccines, and consider this vitamin D experiment my own self-vaccination experiment.

I urge you to review the materials compiled at and see for yourself. This is no quackery, but contains some of the usual suspects in the so-called real medical community stating that vitamin D might actually have benefits far beyond the prevention of rickets. I'll keep you posted with my own experimentation.

For what it's worth: I have not been Ill a single day since starting vitamin D in January 2010, and this included a February trip to Israel. If I get through the entire winter untouched by cold or flu, I will certainly be convinced there's something to this...