We discuss in this interview:
– The role of vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis and its correlation with disease activity
– Exercising and sun exposure to boost vitamin D
– The many benefits of an optimal daily dose of vitamin D
– Vitamin D supplements
– Effects on the immune system
– UV and infrared rays
– Can it be toxic?
– Effects on sleep
Introduction to Dr. Judson Somerville
Clint – Well, I’ve got a very special guest today, I’ve been really looking forward to this interview. This man is a doctor, his name is Dr. Judson Somerville. And the first time that I heard about him was through a member of Rheumatoid Support called Erin. And Erin is a much loved member, and she shared about how she read a book called The Optimal Dose. And she was telling other members inside the platform, our discussion platform about it. And so I went and checked it out and I thought, this is really interesting. So I bought the audible audio version of Dr. Somerville’s book called The Optimal Dose, and have read it and found it absolutely fascinating. There is a recent study which was published in 2018, and this study in 2018 talks about it’s called “Assessment of Vitamin D in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Its Correlation with Disease Activity”. The main author of this was Dr. Meena. And it says in the study results that 84 percent of RA patients were vitamin D deficient, and that vitamin D deficiency is more common in rheumatoid patients and maybe one of the causes leading to the development and the worsening of the disease. And so who better to come onto the podcast and to talk about vitamin D and to rock your world about ways in which we should be approaching vitamin D? Than Dr. Judson Somerville. So thank you, Dr. Somerville.
Dr. Somerville – Sure Clint, I appreciate the opportunity. I mean, I really want to get the word out.
Clint – Now, I’m going to just read out your bio here, because I want people to get an understanding of your professional background, and then we’re going to get into your personal story as to how you become quite possibly one of the world’s leading experts on vitamin D. You’ve been treating people with high dose vitamin D, which we’ll talk about in a second. And we’re going to hear about your, gosh, very humbling personal journey with your own health and also your incredible results that you’ve achieved with high dose vitamin D with your patients and yourself.
Clint – But first of all, let me just bring everyone up to speed with your background. You’re a seventh generation Texan, and after graduating with a chemical engineering degree from the University of Texas, you completed your doctorate at McGovern Medical School in 1988, and began residency training at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in general surgery. And after two years switched to and the anesthesiology. In 1994, you began a private practice of anesthesiology in Texas with an emphasis on pain management and opened up the Pain Management Clinic in 1995. And then soon published in numerous publications and became an expert in that field, spending the next 23 years helping people cope with chronic pain. And whilst in your anesthesiology residency training in 1990, you were involved in a severe bicycle accident that resulted in becoming paraplegic and wheelchair bound, and you’re the first person to suffer such an injury and still complete the rigorous training of medical residency. You have encountered many challenges since then, and those trials have led to becoming into a unique capability as both a physician and a patient and with emphasis on patients under your care to understand their encounters on both professional and personal level and to be able to offer sound advice. And now you have recently published a book called The Optimal Dose, which is educating people around vitamin D and deficiency. So thank you again for joining us. Let’s now get stuck into it. Tell us, how did this all begin for you? I mean, we heard your background there, but how did the vitamin D exploration all eventuate?
Dr. Somerville – Well, my mom had always been into vitamins and such, so I grew up with them all my life. And I mean numerous stories, like when they operated on me for my spine surgery, they said they’ve never seen such amazing bones. And I attribute that to the probably cod liver oil my mother stuffed down my throat. Anyway, fast forward. I was after being paralyzed, I was bitten by a (inaudible) spider and dying. OK, lots of hospital admissions, all kinds of necrotizing fasciitis, just a mess. I also, after my bicycle accident, as I mentioned earlier, developed an autoimmune disease which I didn’t realize until recently was connected. And so I was dying, I needed something. I came across an article about vitamin D and I started experimenting with it.
Dr. Somerville’s personal challenges
Clint – Now, hang on. You just said some major stuff in a short few sentences that you said you actually died.
Dr. Somerville – I almost died, probably multiple times.
Clint – Wow. OK. And so was that related to the spider? Was it related to the awful bike accident that left you in a wheelchair? I mean, which part they had contributed the greatest?
Dr. Somerville – I think I was probably severely vitamin D deficient, because I used to exercise a lot and get in the sun. And so I wasn’t exercising which boost your vitamin D receptors tremendously. That’s why a lot of people exercise, get a lot of the same benefits. Just stop the immune response that people who take high dose vitamin D. And so I was low in vitamin D, my immune system was low and just the spider bite caused me to be septic, I ended up with necrotizing fasciitis. I think the autoimmune disease also suppressed me and caused me issues. So I was just really in for having really good genes, I was in horrible condition. It was just perfect storm.
Clint – In your book, which I found tremendously fascinating, you were talking about the impact of that spider bite, which for you in your unique circumstances was very, very detrimental because of the lack of feeling in your leg. And therefore you weren’t able to identify until there was more development, I guess, that the bite had occurred and what had caused a lot of problems until a little bit further along than what maybe another person would have. And then the treatment of that, it was grotesque, you were talking about how, trying to have that wound cleaned on a regular basis. And it required a lot of time, and I mean, it really was hard to listen to at times. I mean, you went through extreme personal challenge for many years with that impact of that spider bite.
Dr. Somerville – I mean, I don’t know if you have children or not, but, yes, you know, as a parent, it’s interesting. I realized until recently I really hadn’t had time to focus on me my whole life because, you know, you do what you have to do to take care of your family. And my family is super critical, and I just knew I had things I needed to do and wanted to do. And I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way, the same as like getting through residency and everything that happened before. You know, life is tough and you just have to deal with it, you know.
How Vitamin D helped Dr. Somerville?
Clint – Yeah. Extraordinary, extraordinary. Let’s just fast forward your story then. You were beginning to experiment and you did high doses of vitamin D. With relentless determination, eventually overcame that particular aspect of life’s challenge for you. And this was one of the big revelations for you about high doses of vitamin D. Is that accurate?
Dr. Somerville – Yes. I mean, it saved my life because when I about two years before I started, I figured I had three to five years to live. I mean, I was just I was 100 pounds overweight, sleep apnea. I had gastric reflux, I was getting urinary tract infections, wound infections. You know, my nutrition was horrible. I knew it only would take one big hit and I was a goner. And, you know, I stumbled on vitamin D, one for my mom. So I look for natural solutions to I saw an article in the newspaper about the benefits other than bone health, because in medical school, they don’t teach you anything really about vitamins other than to be afraid of fat-soluble ones, which is wrong. And besides, vitamin D is even a vitamin it’s a hormone. And so anyway, I started experimenting on myself and then my patients, and finally found that thirty thousand units, international units a day was the optimal dose. I tried higher doses later on myself, and I really, you know, just for as a regular daily dose, I didn’t see any additional benefits.
Clint – Mm hmm. Okay. So, yes, you’ve given away the magic number that you talk about in your book, which is this optimal dose of thirty thousand international units a day, and this is a huge number. Now, when we look at the guidelines both in Australia and the US, which are probably typical around the world, correct me, is that around about the seven hundred international unit mark?
Dr. Somerville – In the US, it’s six hundred depending upon their age, I don’t remember all the specifics, but I think maybe if you’re pregnant more and as a child. Yes.
Clint – Okay, so you’ve found that there is a number that is way higher than what we typically told to supplement with say to reach each day. And so for the rest of our conversation, let’s get into why and let’s explore why is this the case and why did you come up with this number and why have you found that that is the optimal dose and we’ll get into that before we do. You mentioned it’s not a vitamin. What exactly is vitamin D?
Dr. Somerville – It’s what’s called a second hormone. It’s actually a hormone because vitamins, by definition, you can’t produce in your body. OK, now a lot of the vitamins the gut microbiota produces or you can take them, but there’s no it’s not like you can get exposed to sun and produce them. With vitamin D, sun exposure produces vitamin D and so it’s the same form as you buy in a supplement. Then it’s converted in your liver to the blood storage form and then in your kidneys or inside the cells. And that’s the kicker into the active form.
Clint – Ok, so can we eliminate, first of all, one particular sort of limiting belief, which would be does vitamin D through supplement have an equivalent effectiveness as vitamin D from the sun? Can we tick that box and say we can supplement happily?
Dr. Somerville – Yes, they’re equal
Clint – Beautiful. And we’ve established that it’s a hormone. Now, how did they make a mistake to call the vitamin A hormone? Is this something that happens with any other vitamin or is it just this one?
Dr. Somerville – Just this one is really kind of interesting, you know? And actually, I had I went to a party store one time and this guy behind the counter and I was telling him about vitamin D because I tell everybody, he goes, Oh yeah, well, what’s vitamin D1? I didn’t know what turns out there isn’t one, it’s nothing, it was a mistake, it was a combination of D2 and D3. And then when they finally realized that they did D 2, which is, you know, the mushroom, ergo cholicalciferol, and then D3 is Coli Calciferols, so there is no D1.
Clint – It’s interesting you give the background of the evolution of the development of the international unit recommendation in your book, you talk about how it came about. And what you point out is that they basically set the amount that’s needed first each day to avoid rickets and nothing more. Can you talk about this a little more?
Dr. Somerville – Yeah. I mean, I have referenced in my book the article where, because really blood levels are what you want to get to in one hundred to one hundred and forty nanograms per ml, and in most labs above 100 is considered possibly toxic. Well, the people that did that knew it wasn’t and, you know, on my blog, I explain how there’s a genetic defect that some people is extremely rare and usually diagnosed at birth can develop hypocalcemia of note, no one has ever died from vitamin D induced hypocalcemia. At the time they didn’t understand all the different things that could do. And I don’t know why they never readjusted it, because over years, more and more research and from what I learned recently, just in the last week or so, is that, in fact, that they had used vitamin D to treat cancer back in the 30’s or 40’s. Now, I can’t find any articles, I have a hard time finding articles sometimes anyway, which is kind of interesting. But yeah, they didn’t really understand it was good for anything other than rickets, so they dosed it just to treat that and they missed everything else. And really, I mean, I don’t want to say the pharmaceutical industry is trying to block this, but I will say the pharmaceutical industry is trying to block this because basically and it sounds crazy, if you look at my hair, you made me think I am almost every disease we get is a function of vitamin D deficiency.
Almost every disease we get is a function of vitamin D deficiency
Clint – Yeah. OK, great. Can you elaborate on that a little bit more?
Dr. Somerville – I know bold statements. Well, you know, you’re into autoimmune diseases and the thymic, let me see if I get this right. The Thymic Stromal Lymphopoietin is a critical substance that causes inflammation or not in the gut lining and epithelial lining, vitamin D modulates it. So if you’re deficient in it wammo you have an issue. The other thing is vitamin D is super critical because the thing I found most consistent was its effect on the immune system because no one ever got the flu again after I took it. Well, your gut is controlled by your immune system is controlled by vitamin D because depending on certain bacteria promote and certain bacteria depress the activity of other bacteria and other substances or other organisms produce more or less of the substances needed serotonin gabbin whatever it is. And so if you don’t have enough vitamin D, you basically have a gut that is really sick and you end up with gaps instead of buttons. And so basically poop leaks into your arteries.
Clint – Mm hmm. This concept of intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
Dr. Somerville – And what also happens is so the when you have a low vitamin D, this is really the most important thing I’ve learned as far as the immune system. Your immune system is blinded when you don’t have enough vitamin D because there’s things called dendritic cells and the cells differentiate cell from (inaudible). But they need vitamin D in order to function. And if you don’t have vitamin D, the system is blinded, I think that’s one of the causes for autism, for Cytochrome storm, for these diseases where you just get a massive your body throws everything can at it, know something’s wrong. It knows it needs to do something to help protect itself. And all it has is you just throw everything at it. And unfortunately, it kills people or destroys their brains.
Why most of us are Vitamin D deficient?
Clint – Yeah, that’s fascinating. I’ve never heard that before that the possibility of all the fact that the vitamin D influences that differentiation mechanism and the ability to discern self from pathogen. And that’s fascinating. So, OK, we’re getting excited about this. Now, why are most of us deficient? Why do you think what happened? How did everyone become so low?
Dr. Somerville – Well, it’s we like close, we don’t like being in the sun and we like (inaudible) they sold us to I mean, they told us two things. One is to avoid salt, which is what I have done which, is a whole other subject which is going to kill us. But they also told us to avoid the sun and wear sunscreen. Well, sunscreens are not good and I blogged about that and the substance they contain and how dangerous many of them are. So we wear sunscreen, makeup has sunscreen, especially if you have darker pigmentation. And we were taught in medical school that the reason Hispanics and blacks, or people of color have more high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and all these other diseases are genetic defects and that is racist garbage it is because they lack vitamin D. Because with dark pigmentation, they require a lot more sun and most people of color don’t go out in the sun and so that’s cause they’re issues. People with lighter skin wear clothes and we stay inside. We’ve given up on loincloths, OK? Yeah. And also, the further you move from the equator, the more the UV index, which is ultraviolet light the B fracture, is critical to producing vitamin D in the skin. Well, the further you move, the more likely that I mean, some areas up north, there’s zero UV index. So even if you went and sunbathe for what little sun there is, you would get zero Vitamin D. It is soluble, but I think that’s kind of, you know, it’s like, oh, it’s fat-soluble little store it cause some kind of issue. What issue? And I think most people are probably I’m getting off on OK. I mean it’s I’m so excited about there’s so much to talk about. I could go on forever but your question. That’s it.
Clint – Let me hold you there because we’re going to talk about the concepts of toxicity and I want to spend a lot of time on that. In a moment, I’m going to really pick your brain on that. I really want us to feel educated and confident if we go ahead and follow some of your recommendations or even try and bridge the gap between where people are now and where you recommend. So we’re going to go into that in just a second. I just was fascinated by the concept of people with darker skin and how they’re more likely to be vitamin D deficient because they don’t go in the sun as much and also that they don’t absorb or convert as much into vitamin D. Because I guess no, I learned from your book that if you got darker skin that isn’t it kind of almost like a biological evolution of having spent a lot of time outdoors and your body develops an ability to be protective of itself. Because it assumes with dark skin that you are going to be out in the sun a lot. Have I understood that correctly?
Dr. Somerville – With really intense ultraviolet light, the equator, you know what I call the Golden Band between the Tropic of Capricorn and Tropic of Cancer. Basically, it’s a high UV All year round, OK? And so melanin absorbs forget like 99.8% Of ultraviolet light that ultraviolet light doesn’t produce vitamin D. So the more you have, the more you need to get on the off chance to produce vitamin D.
Clint – Ok, now let me understand that to place. So what happens then is we’ve got the UVA and UVB coming down from the from radiation, from the sun. And if we spend time outdoors, we’re not just getting that visible sunlight, but we’re getting the UV rays and we’re also getting the infrared rays. And is it UVB that activates the increase of this hormone, the vitamin D?
Dr. Somerville – It converts, I think it’s 7-dehydrocholesterol into vitamin D.
Clint – Ok. And so for lighter skinned folks like myself, we are going to convert a little quicker because our body is just light skin, is that correct?
Dr. Somerville – Right. We’re not or we don’t have melanin absorbing it. And the reason we get a tan is to try to compensate because our bodies say, hey, we’re getting a lot of this, let’s cut it down a little bit. Because, I’ve heard different theories and I almost wrote a chapter on it, but trying to figure out for every different skin shade and how much exposure and what UV, it’s impossible. But basically, if your light skin has been half an hour, 25 minutes, or 20 minutes in the sun during high UV 10, you produce 25,000 units.
Clint – And that is crucial and I want us just to dwell on that for a moment. You’re saying that less than half an hour in the sun for most people during the middle of the day in, say, a warm, warm summer day or warm spring day, they’re going to get around about 25,000 international units of vitamin D from that in a natural way, correct?
Dr. Somerville – Correct.
Clint – OK, so if we wind back a little bit and say that your recommended dose of 30,000 international units per day for human beings. And it makes complete sense because it’s kind of what you would get if we weren’t sitting indoors all day typing on our computer or, you know, putting sunscreen all over at the moment we put our face out in the sun, correct?
Dr. Somerville – Exactly, and so once I learned that, it gave me a lot of confidence, like, hey, it’s not that different, you know? And I mean, if somebody in light skin was spending a lot of time, the sun probably spent more than 30 minutes.
Clint – Most definitely, and if we won back the human existence before the Industrial Revolution, you spoke about this in your book. What we would have done, we would have been outdoors much more.
Dr. Somerville – With much less clothing and no sunscreen.
Clint – Yeah, right. And so it’s not possible to overdose on vitamin D derived naturally, is it?
Dr. Somerville – You know what? There’s no and that’s a great point. There’s not a single case documented that I know of where somebody overdosed from sun exposure to, you know, from vitamin D3.
Clint – Is it like it never happened?
Dr. Somerville – I mean, it’s possible if somebody has a genetic defect and all those things, but the regular person, no, absolutely zero.
Can high doses of Vitamin D be toxic?
Clint – Ok, all right. So we’ve learned all this now about, you know, the sort of mechanisms behind this and what vitamin D is. And we’ve talked about some health benefits. And there’s one huge big one that I want us to touch upon in just a second, which is sleep and get on that in a second. But why is everyone so concerned about the toxicity. And when I say everyone, let me be a little bit more specific here. Doctors that I highly respect, who I send people to for consultations when they need help with medications and, you know, just guidelines that you’ll read online about, you know, vitamin D levels. There’s always this almost like you got to be careful, like don’t get it too high. And just having listened to your book from start to finish it now makes me actually a little bit annoyed with these recommendations. And is it justified to have such concern about these levels?
Dr. Somerville – Well, you know, I mean, anything you want to be careful. You don’t want to be cavalier and dumb. I mean, you might have that genetic defect and not know it. I mean, I think there’s only a handful of cases of people that didn’t know they had it and were diagnosed as an adult. OK, so and yet you have people in Kashmir getting millions of units a day and there’s only a handful of cases of people getting hypocalcemia. So I think I’m kind of starting to work on this theory that if you have a normal CYP204A1 gene in both chromosomes, that it’s almost impossible to get hypocalcemia. OK. I don’t know that for a fact. But, you know, I think the people do get it are having some degraded function in that. And they can’t destroy the active forms that are active form go up and that’s the issue but anyway, it is annoying. In medical school, they only spent maybe five minutes on vitamins. They lump vitamin D and with fat-soluble vitamins and that they’re all dangerous and stay away from them. And they showed us pictures of people in the Third World people with their skin falling off as a result of too much fat-soluble vitamin. And so, you know, that was the image we were left with. And then if you go into society and everywhere else, it just constantly reinforces vitamin D, fat-soluble is bad. And it’s not a vitamin and it’s a myth is a total myth. And it’s kind of interesting when people try to argue with me about that because they really don’t have any ground to stand on because it’s a myth. And it’s really unfortunate because it keeps a lot of people and it made a lot harder to educate people because you have to overcome that preconceived conception and perception is reality. People will say, well, what do you know? How do you know? And then you have to go into a pretty complex explanation to try to beat down the arguments. Don’t like and say, well, it’s not that, you know.
Clint – And I think something that you pointed out in your book, which makes it very challenging, is that all the studies that have ever been done on vitamin D in their health benefits and so on, they’re all being done on what you consider to be extremely low dose. And so the fact that we considering people with RA vitamin D deficient when, you know. 84% of them are deficient by the standards that you describe as extremely low. Imagine how deficient they are in the scale in which you believe is appropriate. I mean, extremely deficient.
Dr. Somerville – And that’s why I mean, I don’t know how old you are. I’m 59 years old. But when I was a kid, people were a lot healthier. They didn’t have as many autoimmune diseases, there wasn’t as much obesity, you know, sleep apnea, all these issues that are directly linked to vitamin D deficiency. You know, people went to the beach, they got sun. And actually, you know, I just did a blog post, three of nine out that vitamin D is critical to curing cancer. So if you have enough vitamin D, you’re not going to get skin cancer unless you have a genetic defect that really predisposes that to actually behind lots of vitamin D will actually cure it.
Clint – And as you said, we don’t have the studies for that because no one’s ever run the studies at the levels that you consider optimal. And so we don’t know because the test has never been done at the level and appropriate scale that represents what would be the therapeutic dose.
Dr. Somerville – Exactly. Now, I have a really good friend of mine from India. He and his group just got a study approved to be funded by the Indian government to go with COVID in my doses 30,000 I use a day.
Clint – Awesome. Yeah, that’s exciting, isn’t it?
Dr. Somerville – Yes, very exciting. I mean, the thing is to get some literature out there, there is one study, a Japanese study that used 25,000 units, vitamin K too and on the substance, to treat osteoporosis and so a significant improvement in it. But that’s the only study I’ve ever found that uses a dose close to what I recommend.
Effects on patients who have done optimal dosing
Clint – Interesting. I’ve seen some on stepping outside of vitamin D for a second. I’ve noticed with some with a study with rheumatoid arthritis, they did some very high dosing of potassium, which is again I’ve had pushback when I’ve referenced people to that study and said, you know, check this with your doctor because potassium is clearly linked to rheumatoid arthritis activity. And then the doctors in some instances have said, no, I don’t want you to do that. I think that that’s unsafe or whatever. And yet, even in that instance, a group of humans was taken through that study with those high doses and so it’s not like this. Anyway, my point being is that conservatism definitely reigns and that’s what we are trying to address in this conversation and what you are constantly battling in your career with this recommendation. Speaking of that, tell us about the experience that your patients have had when shifting to this high dose of all. Let’s call it the optimal dose, I should say, of 30,000 international units per day.
Dr. Somerville – It’s interesting I did it for bone health and I did it for sleep, OK? And I started noticing some other things. I noticed that people started losing weight or not gaining more weight. I lost about eight to one hundred pounds because whereas before I could eat a huge meal and still be hungry, which drove me crazy. I didn’t understand how can I be fat and still be hungry. But knowing, you know and what kills diets, your appetite, and vitamin D, it also does it suppresses those and boosts your metabolism 20 or 30 percent and blocks fat absorption of the fat you don’t need. OK, the other thing I found in one lady, as I put it in my book, lost 200 pounds, you know, and I didn’t even notice it was so subtle. I had probably a dozen guys lose 75 pounds in three months. And none of these people changed their output. I mean, they just changed their diet or were trying to lose weight, it just happened. OK, the other thing that happened is, is like I say in my book when I first started, I went home, I went to sleep and there was light outside. I was really tired. And the next thing I know, I wake up and it’s still light outside. And I thought I’d slept for a minute, it was for 10 hours.
Clint – Wow.
Dr. Somerville – So and then the most amazing thing and the probably most consistent thing is that the immune effects, I mean, people’s wounds started healing faster. They had been healing at all and that nobody again ever got the flu ever, ever got the flu.
Clint – And is this all of your patients that now take the optimal dose?
Dr. Somerville – It was and it blew me away because until you start doing it, fortunately, I had thousands of people taking it. So I had a lot of, you know, different I mean, it’s Laredo, it’s mostly Hispanic, but the United States, the genetics are so dispersed. I mean, so many different genetic lines in the United States today that, you’re going to run across probably almost every possible genetic combination there is out there where you’re being kind of isolated was a little bit less so that way. But treating all those patients, I did get an I think a pretty good representation.
Clint – Yeah. And I just want to echo that because in case someone’s on their treadmill or they’re in their car and they had someone tooted the horn. Let me just repeat that you have given this optimal dose to thousands of people who have taken 30,000 international units per day. And what you’ve seen consistently is in your book, you describe a reaching more of a suitable bodyweight for that person. So people find that they can lose weight steadily, naturally, without it being sort of one of these like crazy shit diets. And also the sleep side of thing has been tremendous for yourself and also your patients. Some people are going to be scratching their head about how the body can lose weight naturally. And you talked about the appetite, sort of normalisation of appetite and a concept in your book that explains this is the winter syndrome. Would you mind please giving us a taste of what the winter syndrome is? Because it’s a fascinating concept and I found myself thinking that phrase several times.
Dr. Somerville – Well, I got to thinking about what do animals do in particular, let’s say, grizzly bears up in Alaska. And they need to make it through the whole winter because they hibernate well before they hibernate, they pig out, they eat and eat and eat and eat and why? Because their vitamin D level drops as the sun drops, because they produce their vitamin D on their fur. And, you know, animals are always cleaning themselves because, of course, the animals want to be clean. No, it’s because there’s vitamin D there and vitamin D gives off endorphins when you ingest it. And they actually made rats addicted to sunlight. OK, and so you get a dopamine hit when you get more vitamin D. And so what happens is as their body and levels drop, their appetite goes up, their metabolism slows down and their fat absorption goes up. So basically, as I put it, you want to eat that rolled in sugar, the most calorically dense thing you can and as much of it as you can. Then when spring comes around, you start getting vitamin D again. You know, you have to gain some weight because you’ve lost muscle and stuff. But then they get the ideal body weight and they stay that way because they need to be fast and quick in the summer to go catch things and eat it and stuff like that and defend themselves in the winter. They just need to be able to go survive it.
Clint – Yes, and so just to close that out with how you see humans that are perpetually in winter syndrome.
Dr. Somerville – Exactly. Because we don’t ever get the spring, because we never boost their vitamin D levels up. And your body wasn’t meant to do that. And that’s why you end up with all these health issues. I mean, it’s not healthy to hibernate, but it’s what you have to do to survive, OK? And for a human to basically be in a semi-hibernation period, a winter syndrome for decades just ends up, you know, destroying their health, their guy gets altered. And because their immune system is critical to keeping the barrier to protect and get the right combination of organisms in your gut.
Clint – Yes. Yeah, I love it. So with the winter syndrome, folks thinking because they are vitamin D deficient because we’re another animal. I mean, we look different and we don’t have as much fur as the bear, or we have a different sort of hair on our skin. But biologically the body thinks, oh, you know, it is cold because there’s no vitamin D being produced. We therefore must be in it let’s eat and sort of get ready for cold time’s vibe of situation rather than a feeling of this ample vitamin D. I’m therefore going to be active. Food is going to be abundant in fruits and vegetables, and natural things that are I can source easily. And I don’t need to hold on to all of these extra calories that I’m consuming.
Dr. Somerville – Exactly, very well said,
Clint – It’s a great concept and one thing that I’ve noticed, just to wind back just a fraction onto the slate, and we are really covering a lot of content here and certainly not doing the book justice. We’re just touching on sort of the surface on a lot of these topics. But what I’ve noticed and I’ve started to incrementally increase my vitamin D dosage since reading your book limited partly. Because a lot of the supplement companies only sell like a thousand international units in this supplement and you get sick of popping like 20 of them. But, I’ve been incrementally increasing it and I have noticed quite dramatically the improvement in my sleep. That has been the single thing that I’ve said to my wife, you know what, my sleep is much better. And this is something, again, that you really, really pursued in your own journey, wasn’t it? Your lack of sleep?
Dr. Somerville – Yeah, it was killing me I mean, because I’m the kind of person I guess I’m just always thinking, and I kind of shut that off and if I can’t sleep, it just exhausts me. I don’t know how other people feel, but for me, it’s just so draining and I don’t like doing without my sleep.
Clint – And would you give us the explanation that you did in the book about the way that the vitamin D allows the body to get into more of a or shuts down some of those movement responses.
Dr. Somerville – And I love this because I recently discovered what’s called the lymphatic drainage system, and it’s and it’s amazing. I discovered something new that’s anatomical in the 21st century. I mean, it really is as much as many dissections and stuff, but it basically it’s a small set of drainage pipes, kind of like the lymphatic drainage system in your body is kind of like veins, but the lymphatics for fats. But in your brain, it’s for them to try to offload clean out all the garbage in your brain, the larger particles, and such. Well, your brain needs to be contracted 30 to 40 percent to do that. And so when you’re deep asleep, you need to be totally paralyzed except for your breathing, and Vitamin D3 controls that. So if you don’t have it, it goes wacko and you start becoming more paralyzed (Inaudible) and more paralyzed sleep apnea or less and less paralyzed restless leg syndrome. So you’re constantly waking up to go pee. OK, and I ask people that, well, yeah, I wake up five times at night because I have to pee and I go, well, do you have swollen legs or heart condition? And they go, no. They say, do you pee every two hours during the day? And they go, No. I said, so why would you do it during the night? OK, and so anyway, when your brain contracts, it opens up the system and it can pump out the garbage. And my thought is dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. A lot of these diseases are because they never get that deep sleep. Their brain never contracts and they never can pump out the junk. OK, also, it allows your body, the stem cells, and the hormones through damaged tissue. Now, athletes, you know how these athletes get these head injuries and stuff and then end up with a lot of problems at a younger age. I think they damage the lymphatic drainage system. So even if they get deep sleep, they can’t drain the garbage out, and it accumulates faster on them. And so they end up with issues earlier in age.
Clint – Ok, and you mentioned that vitamin D helps us to get into our deepest sleep the more restorative sleep that you describe because it allows our body to get into more of a paralyzed, self paralyzed state of stillness.
Dr. Somerville – Right, REM sleep and just able to you know, because you need to get that in order to reorganize all the information to learn that day. And your brain will function better if it’s better organized. But if you don’t get that deep sleep, you can’t. If it keeps on getting interrupted, it can’t download and condense it and so your brain ends up functioning not as well. You can even have picked up with brain fog.
Clint – Oh, yeah, no doubt. And when you have an autoimmune disease and you are in physical pain, it certainly also interrupts your sleep throughout the night. And you have this morning stiffness that begins through the night. It’s not like suddenly at 7 a.m. that’s when it begins. It’s just a slow more but a build-up of stiffening throughout the night. So these discomforts and these concerns and worries and it all contributes to poor sleep. And then on top of that, knowing from the studies that everyone’s vitamin D deficient by the most conservative standard. o wonder folks with autoimmune conditions are feeling exhausted all the time on top of the medications and on top of the overactive immune system. So we got to do something about it, so let’s talk about an action plan here can work something.
Dr. Somerville – I was, I treat chronic pain and I was the largest prescriber of antidepressants in the five-state region. And after I started the vitamin D and I added krill oil to it for a day I really never would have been depressed again. And I wrote them for sleep and to help with the depressive symptoms for pain. So it’s basically the body’s natural anti depressant.
Clint – It’s incredible, it’s incredible heard that also of vitamin C, I’ve heard of a high dose of vitamin C being ant depressive as well. Have you come across that too?
Dr. Somerville – I’m not familiar with that no.
Clint – OK, well, that is fantastic. So what do you prescribe to your patients when you say, OK, we’re going to do 30,000 international units per day? Do you ramped them up? Do you go straight on to that? Which product specifically do you recommend and so forth.
Dr. Somerville – You know, I’ve been approached by companies to you know, whatever, I just I think you need to find a good brand and find one that said olive oil or avocado oil. You don’t want to use seed oil as far as that goes. And if you get that, that’ll be sufficient. And I just start them flat out on the dose. I mean, every now and then somebody will get some constipation. But what I do is I on vitamin D 30,000 and I start them on magnesium 400 milligrams and have them ramp it up as much as they could tolerate before they get like loose stools. But you know, at a regular pace because magnesium is the body’s volume. Also, critical bone, a ton of other things, we could talk another hour about it and then vitamin K too. Now, this is the thing that people attacked me about. Well, you don’t talk about Vitamin K too and we needed da da da da da da. And maybe but it’s just way oversold and it could be dangerous, actually, because it could stiffen the arteries. A colleague and I well, he’s been doing the studies and educated me on it. Doses above 100 micrograms can be detrimental. So you really don’t want to take a lot in your gut. Actually produces vitamin K too, if it’s healthy. The other thing is boron, which is super important for bone health and it helps prevent joint pain and such. And then selenium is good, zinc is good again you want to be careful doses. And what else the cruel oil and that’s pretty much it.
Clint – So you’ve listed a lot of things there that I haven’t looked into at all and haven’t learned from you about because the most of your books about the vitamin D. So if we were to say one step at a time and then refer back to what you’ve just said at a later time and just wanted to get started on the most sort of fundamental, which would be that vitamin D. You’re suggesting a product of the consumer’s choice, not one in particular. And you would suggest that it’s suspended in all avocado oil inside a capsule and that they should also take magnesium alongside it, starting with 400 milligrams.
Dr. Somerville – With those two I try not to overload people because they start blasting over and I’ve already blown their mind with the vitamin D and they’re barely able to breathe. And so, you know, and I could be kind of intense, and since I’ve been so into it, it’s like, you know, I’ve always felt this way or people have to listen to me. But I’ve learned to kind of shut up sometimes. But the magnesium and vitamin D are the two critical things to start with.
Clint – With the magnesium, should that be ramped up as well, depending on the stool?
Dr. Somerville – Yes, that should be ramped up and magnesium glycine is probably one of the better ones. DNA is supposed to be better for the brain there are several different types. Oxalate is better for constipation and for somebody that maybe takes Vitamin D and has constipation might want to use the magnesium oxalate to kind of keep things. Because what I think happens in those rare people is their gut microbiota is so unhealthy, vitamin E kills everything so, nothing really moves anymore.
Clint – In a sense that the vitamin D then establishes the correct order of proceedings with the microbes, meaning that if everything’s all bad, then all the bad stuff goes and you’re left with none that not much bacteria at all because there’s not much good stuff. And so no fermentation, no metabolizing of the fiber goes ahead and you’ve got nothing to move the stools through.
Dr. Somerville – So it’s funny, you should contact me because right now I’m starting to work on, you know, just finish cancer one. And my next one was a gut because and the second is the brain and how the vitamin E. Because I’ve been percolating my brain for years, but it’s starting to become clearer and clearer to me what’s going on there.
What to expect when dosing with Vitamin D?
Clint – Yeah, that is fascinating. OK, brilliant. And what should people expect over the first, say, three full weeks of doing this?
Dr. Somerville – Sleep is probably the first thing they’ll notice. OK, and they’ll also notice that they eat a lot less. OK, and I mean, if they have really bad allergies or such, they’re going to notice they’re going away, they’re not as bad. I don’t have them anymore and as time goes on, I’d be doing now almost 10 years. I used to have really bad acne scars on my face and they’re mostly gone. Same with my arms from the sun they’re much, much better so, I think and this is, like I say, forever. And the reason I wrote the book and the blog has a lot of the other supplements and other information that I just couldn’t put in the book. Because I wanted to be on vitamin D instead of stuff I’ve learned since I did the book because nobody knew about it until now. Yeah, I think it works on your telomeres, the end of your chromosomes. I think it slows down. You know, it might even reverse aging.
Clint – Well, I was going to actually say that if it were to come up, but your skin looks really, really smooth, clear and very free of wrinkles and so forth, you’ve, you know, definitely looking well. Especially if I don’t mean to this to come across the wrong way. But if you don’t have the ability with your lower legs to do conventional exercise, then that is even a greater testimonial to your lifestyle choices.
Dr. Somerville – I mean, because I had someone for the first time in my life say, oh, you have such great skin. And I was like, all my life it was all acne pocked and horrible. And I’m like, wow and in my hair, I mean, genetics. But I think a lot of it is starting to turn black again.
Clint – Wow. The only time I’ve ever achieved that one time is when on a completely raw vegan diet and my entire intake were raw rich foods of fruits and vegetables, and I didn’t cook anything right. And so even my nuts were activated, soaked and activated seeds. And I actually recorded a video at the time of myself, which I’ve never shared publicly. But it’ll be interesting that they will say I saw some return of blackness into some of the early greying that I had gone on about maybe seven or eight years ago. And so, yeah, I’m definitely into anything that will reverse the trends on that for me as well.
Dr. Somerville – And it prevents hair loss because your hair is on a six year cycle and vitamin D is intermittently involved in that six year cycle. And, you know, they say your cells turn over every six years but, it’s not really true. But you do get a lot of turnover in cells. And the healthier your cells could be, the less, you know, infections are less viral problems, the less damage they get, the more good cells you have and the more you go to making you your optimal self instead of trying to fight off disease.
Clint – Hmm. Yeah, fascinating. OK, well, you’ve motivated us to a ten out of ten to go and get started on this. Let’s just put ourselves in the position of someone who’s listened or watched this interview. They now go and they find the appropriate supplements that you’ve discussed. They start doing it and then they see their doctor and they run a blood test because they’re on methotrexate and they need to get their blood done every month. And it shows up that their vitamin D is now quite high. And the doctor says, what are you doing with the vitamin D? It looks high and you better stop doing that. What happens in that moment so that we can forward think this situation and manage it?
Dr. Somerville – Well, Reagan, President Reagan, I mean, did good and bad things. But one thing he said to say the worst first and I think first time not giving medical advice. I’m just this is my personal experience we’re talking about today. And the second is, ideally, you work with a doctor that gets it and if they don’t, you educate them. Because, look when I tell some of the doctors that are like, you know, a little bit skeptical and go, eventually, this is going to be the way everything is done. And so do you want to be the first to does it or not in later, like thinking, well, if I get well, I won’t have any business. And I found that my business tripled because if you do the right thing for people, they still have medical issues. You can’t get rid of everything and you can’t cure everything. I mean, vitamin D, even if you take all you can, you’re going to have genetic defects or this or that or it’s trying to do is make the most of what you have. OK, and so if you can work with your doctor and educate them, maybe give them a copy of my book. You know, go to my blog because it has a lot of the same information my book does because I didn’t want to keep it’s not as well written and it doesn’t have all the great stories, but it has a lot of the information. And even more like I say because I didn’t totally know it all at that time I wrote it with the newer stuff. But the point is to educate them and get them on board because it will help their business. Because patients will say, look, this guy gets it because everybody is talking about vitamin D now everybody because of covid. And they realize there’s something there as much as they tried to suppress it. And if the doctor is saying, oh, no, it’s nothing or whatever, they’re going to look really, really bad and they’re going to lose a lot of patients like that because they’re going to lose their confidence because it is the real deal. Do you know what I’m saying? Even if it’s half as effective as I say it is, what do you have to lose?
Clint – Absolutely. And if someone is very, very prudent and very cautious and they wanted to check their levels to see if they were becoming high hypoglycemic, how do they do that? And how do they, I mean again, you’ve said it’s so rare, but let’s just play devil’s advocate. Someone wants to check it and be sure.
Dr. Somerville – I think they should check it. OK, I think they should check the levels initially and check their levels as they progressed. I mean, I think that is the wise thing to do, even though it’s super rare, you still don’t want to be the person that has an issue. And so like in my book and on my blog and, you know, anybody I talked to is, you know, I make it clear I’m not giving medical advice and still work with your doctor. But if you can’t or you won’t check your levels and there’s a site, Vitamin D wiki, and it’s guided by Dr. Lahor and he’s got like 10 different companies that offer vitamin D testing. What you want to check is the ionized calcium, vitamin D, and parathyroid.
Clint – And looking for abnormalities in all three.
Dr. Somerville – And what you’re going to find is and what I found is Robiie Jolli, the Indian scientist that told you about, and I kind of came up with this is, it seems like hypocalcemia if you have normal functioning genes, is much more likely, hypocalcemia. Because, you know, everybody says stay away from calcium-rich foods and that’s why it’s more complex. And that’s what makes it difficult to explain because I think if you’re, quote-unquote normal, you’re going to be more prone to hypocalcemia. And yes, some people with a genetic defect or some great Asian of that defect could be more prone to hypocalcemia. The vast majority of people are going to be more prone to hypo or low normal calcium. And ideally, you keep your level about 1.25 and I checked mine and it says 1.15, it is because I avoid calcium. I mean, this is brand new stuff,
Clint – Right, I think I just hung on by my fingertips on that what you were saying. But if we check out, just keep an eye on the calcium levels and that should do it for most people. Sorry, I know that’s a very oversimplification, but I don’t think anyone’s going to check out this guy you were talking about and looking to, you know, the other three and get different tests. Is it fair and safe to say that if people on a periodic basis, say, two or three times a year, measured their vitamin D levels and they were between your recommendations of 100 to 140 nanograms per milliliter and they’ve got normal calcium levels that they are in pretty good shape and if they feel okay?
Dr. Somerville – They’re perfect now if they have some kind of disease and stuff, they may need higher doses. There’s a Dr. Coimbra I don’t know if you’re familiar with them, a Brazilian doctor. And he treats a lot of autoimmune diseases with a very high dose of vitamin D, maybe somebody to talk to. I think he’s I don’t know if he’s interested in you or not, but I have read his stuff because. I mean, I kind of have an idea, but I didn’t want to be overly influenced by anybody else’s thinking. So because in school, at times you get so brainwashed into other people’s you don’t even know that one little fact is preventing you from understanding. And so that’s why I kind of you know, it’s not perfect, but I found it works for me.
Clint – Well, yes, that’s fascinating and all of this has been really, really fascinating. And anyone who’s interested in this should definitely go and buy your book. I found it really, really interesting. Every time I jumped in my car, I would Press play I was listening to it at the gym between workouts. I mean, I found it for someone who has a science background like myself I found it really, really fascinating. And it just makes sense that our recommended daily requirement is just so low based on common sense of how you described earlier in our chat that, just spending 20 minutes out in the sun in the middle of the day, you’re going to get roughly 25,000 international units. And you’re recommending that everyone should get thirty thousand by supplement just to make sure that we’re doing something sensible. There’s a lot of common sense in this.
Dr. Somerville – Exactly. But they know they’d have to be so afraid that, you know, I mean, it’s the politics of hobgoblins. They have us so afraid of everything. You know, we’re going to end up all on every pharmaceutical under the sun. You know, personally, I don’t want to have to do that. You know, I want to try to maintain as much help as I can, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Clint – I’m really glad you mentioned that, because one person who I have recently recommended you and your work, two of which there’s already been a lot. He said that he went to his pharmacist who said there was a contraindication with vitamin D dosing and his high blood pressure pills. So I’m really glad that you mentioned pharmaceuticals. There are some contraindications that we really need to be careful of or is this something that’s a little bit heavy-handed again from pharmaceutical companies or from the medical community?
Dr. Somerville – Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting. I was overheard somebody conversing and they were saying, well, you know, a toxic dose of vitamin D, 150 nanograms per mL. And it’s not it’s 300 is what they thought it might be, but probably closer to 400 and that’s the people that have issues I think. But yeah, I think people make up stuff all the time, even pharmacists. And I’m not aware, you know, I don’t know everything, but I’m not aware of any medical contraindication to vitamin D3. Vitamin K with bleeding, you know, if you’re on a blood thinner, that could be an issue but vitamin D, no.
Clint – Ok. All right. Absolutely fascinating. And again, as you said, none of this is medical advice and this is just your personal opinion. But I’m and but it’s these kind of discussions that we need to have when we’re facing a challenging disease and we’re really, really looking for ways in which we can reduce the severity and how to live a better life. And you’re making a lot of sense around some really sort of simple fundamentals, which is, you know, we’re not getting enough sunshine. Let’s help our body achieve the body’s performance that it would have should it be getting more sunshine. And, you know, that’s why I like it that’s why I really wanted to chat with you today. And we might get the odd person a little bit critical of this, but we’re going to get thousands to say thank you so much. This is fantastic and they are the people that I’m thinking of, not the one or two people who a little bit stuck in their ways or just don’t want to consider this and that’s fine.
Dr. Somerville – Well, I mean, I have a lot of respect for you. You went out and you found a way to get yourself better. And what I tell people is you need to listen to me, listen to you, listen to other people. You’ve got to form what’s best for you because only you know what’s best for yourself. Get the best advice you can and go from there because some of the stuff I say, you may not get that same response or you may get more of a response and it may take some specific combination for you of multiple different things to get the best results. But if you don’t educate yourself, you’re then dependent on the medical-industrial complex, which for sure will make sure you take lots of pharmaceuticals.
Clint – Correct, Thank you. Can you tell us three things where your clinic is so that people who are in Texas or in a nearby state can come to see you personally how to get your book in a preferential way? And also tell us about your blog.
Dr. Somerville – Well, I’m retired, so I’m not practicing anymore. And so, some people said I should set up courses and stuff like that. Right now, I’m not interested in doing that maybe at some point in the future. But I think pretty much most of the stuff is out there. And I’m trying to educate doctors and everybody else to be able to do it. OK, as far as my book, they could get on Amazon, they can also get it on Ingram Spark that’s like Barnes and Noble. Any bookstores carries it, every bookstore carries that so you can get it that way. And you had a 3rd question?
Clint – It was with regarding your blog.
Dr. Somerville – www.Vitamindblog.com and it’s really my landing page, go to the menu, come down here blog, and as I say right now, it’s doing the one on cancer. I’m working on the one on good health and stuff. The thing is, some of these more complex things take longer to really, you know, I start digging into it. The next thing I know, I go, oh, my God, this is going to take a while to get it done. So, it’ll probably be a while after all the ones that cancer one but I’m working on it.
Clint – And the one you say you’re working on is about the autoimmunity, isn’t it?
Dr. Somerville – And gut health, and basically your second brain and how critical vitamin D is to modulating that it basically controls your gut.
Clint – Could be worthy of another interview maybe in six or 12 months from now when you’ve got all that more solidified, that’ll be fascinating to folks as well.
Dr. Somerville – So I’m working on my second book and that’s going to be part of it.
Clint – Brilliant. Okay, that ties in perfectly well as far as today goes. I’m very, very grateful for everything that we’ve covered. You’ve given us so much to think about. And, you know, again, for people who are more interested in this, go and buy the book. I bought the Audible and I listened to it and it made it basically educated me without me setting aside any additional time. It’s beautiful, beautiful listening to these audible books. And that’s how I consume the information it was great and I want to thank you for all the work that you’ve done in this area. And I can’t wait to get feedback from people who have consumed this conversation and going get into these supplements or to get more sunshine and measure their vitamin D levels regularly. And hopefully, as community folks who are a part of my community can let me know and get feedback and we can share that with you and we’ll see what happens when this starts to roll out.
Dr. Somerville – I would love to see that and I really, really appreciate you inviting me to be here. I really enjoyed talking to you. You’ve got some great questions and hopefully it can help some people.
Clint – Yeah, absolutely. All right, Judson, thank you so much.
Dr. Somerville – All right Clint. Thank you. Take care.