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If you are skeptical, google them.  Google Scholar is usually best. When I have time, I will add references.  The lithium and the vitamin D are probably more important than the multivitamin. 

VERY LOW DOSE LITHIUM ALMOST CERTAINLY REDUCES THE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S– and prevents cognitive decline. Even 5 mg once a week is probably of benefit, though I would advocate 5 mg per day or 150 mg once a week. I tend to give my own patients more: 150mg once a day–since many of them suffer from depression and 150mg/day surprisingly often helps depression. Both my physicians, as well as many others, are taking lithium as Alzheimer’s prophylaxis.   My cautious, careful internist did a lot of investigating before starting it.

VITAMIN D [NOT A VITAMIN] IS A STEROID HORMONE THAT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO HEALTH: BONES, IMMUNITY, AND CANCER. Like all hormones, we make it. We are all low in it.   One step of making it is to expose skin to UV light from the sun.  Everyone is low in it b/o our lifestyle.  Adequate vitamin D is involved in many systems:  it reduces many cancers over 50%, including colon and breast.  The immune system uses it to reduce infections in the winter.  Virtually everyone who has osteoporois has it because of years of low D. Except for the first 6 months of life, vitamin D is essential to absorb sufficient calcium from food.  After that, if the baby is not provided with sufficient vitamin D he/she can develop rickets [deformed legs], which is why the government puts vitamin D in milk.   The first thing vitamin D is used for is to absorb calcium in the intestine—for which one needs a level of 30-32 ng/ml for maximum absorption and good bone density.   Only at higher levels does the body begin to use vitamin D for many other things –mostly preventative, such infections and cancers.  Levels of 50 to 80 ng/ml seem optimal for the other benefits.  The official maximum is 100 ng/ml, but it is safe to 200 ng/ml if someone is accidentally on too much.  Most adults should take at least 5000 I.U.’s (international units) per day (0.125 mg or 125mcg per day).  Someone over 75 y.o., because of slower liver metabolism, might need only 1000 or 2000 I.U. per day—so OBTAIN A LEVEL.  Go to Youtube and watch an entertaining lecture by Michael Holick, MD, PhD [who found the structure of D in ~1972], and you will never thereafter forget the significance of this steroid hormone.

Years ago a Chassidic Rabbi [Hershel Meisels] told me the daily dose should be approximately 1000 I.U. for every 25 lbs.  Later on, I found in the literature that he was right.   A 10 lb baby needs 400 I.U./day [or ~2800 I.U. once a week], 25 lbs child needs 1000 I.U./day , 50 lbs child needs 2000 I.U. and 100 lbs needs 4000  The half-life is so long—6 weeks—that the whole dose can be taken once a week or once a month.  An adult weighing 125 lbs can take 3 pills of 50K I.U. once a month—for an average of 5K I.U. /day.      Someone who weighs 175 to 200 lbs would be better off on 4 pills of 50K I.U.’s once a month –for an average of 7000 I.U. /day.      50,000 I.U. sounds like a lot, but it is only 1.25mg.    They made up the units in ~1922 before they isolated the molecule.  If unsure, obtain a level.   Repeat the level 3 to 6 months after an increase or decrease in dose.    When in doubt, obtain a level.  After changing dose, repeat it in 3 and 6 months.

DON’T TAKE A MULTIVITAMIN—It raises the risk of cancers slightly.  More important, A MULTIVITAMIN MAKES CANCERS MORE AGGRESSIVE.  The combination of folic acid and B-12 is incendiary, as the cancer needs these to grow rapidly.   A varied diet provides all the vitamins and minerals we need. The only two vitamins that we need be concerned about are vitamin B12 and vitamin D [a steroid hormone we make].  These should be measured periodically.   #1: B12 is frequently low, and is easy to replace. Much of it is obtained from meat, eggs, etc, but sometimes it is not absorbed well.   #2: vitamin D: We make an insufficient amount of this steroid hormone because we are scarcely exposed to the sun.  Everyone in the developed world should be taking replacement vitamin D.      Women who are menstruating may need an iron pill once a week, or even every day.  The lose iron in the blood every month.    Men recycle the iron from old red blood cells.  Women should periodically check their iron level (ferritin) as well as the vitamin D and B-12 level.


—Robert D. McMullen, MD

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