September 10, 2014

Letter from the Director


This newsletter is the second in a three-part series about GrassrootsHealth and the results of our crowdfunded D*action project. Crowdfunding isn't just for high-tech companies or inventors - it has successfully funded GrassrootsHealth's one-of-a-kind public health initiative. Our D*action cohort is the only data population of healthy, vitamin D sufficient people. We can compare this data, and have, against one of the standard cohorts in the country, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is a cohort of healthy, but largely vitamin D deficient people.


Read on to find out some of the findings we have been able to publish from your data. Please continue to test your vitamin D levels - for your health - but also to help with our fight for vitamin D sufficiency. Some days I am bursting at the seams when I realize how many millions of dollars, and more important how many hours of pain and suffering, could be saved if our nation was vitamin D sufficient.



Carole Baggerly

Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization

Moving Research into Practice NOW!

The Do-it-Yourself Model for Health

The Standard of Care is not Enough


What do you do when you find that the "standard of care" is simply not enough? You are not happy taking prescription medications the rest of your life to calm a disease. You know there is research that supports a different, more desirable path. 


You choose your own path - the do-it-yourself model. Instead of waiting for your doctor to agree to test your vitamin D levels so that you could safely take 4000-10000 IU/day, you enrolled in D*action through GrassrootsHealth. By testing your vitamin D serum levels regularly, you are funding both the data and the research for vitamin D.


How Big is D*action?


We have 7,809 participants in our database to date. By partnering with our scientists we can write up findings in credible medical journals and get the mainstream world to sit up and listen.


Of the 7,809 members, 972 have completed five or more tests (over the span of 2 - 3 years). The cohort is 64% female and 36% male. It is mostly Caucasian (92%). The average age is 51 at the time of their first test. 51 countries are represented, although 90% of the members are from Canada or the US. Since inception in 2008, we have published 5 journal articles and are finishing our 6th. We have presented at countless seminars and public heath forums. This data is allowing people to see the benefits of a vitamin D replete population.  


Serum Levels vs. Intake - First Key Finding from Our Data


One of the first published findings from D*action addressed daily intake. Standard of care has a very low recommended daily allowance (600 IU/day) and also tells doctors NEVER to allow patients to take more than 2000 IU/day - they believe it would lead to toxicity and kidney stones.[Note: toxicity is considered 200 ng/ml]



Your data proved that not only was up to 10000 IU/day safe, but that testing was necessary. Taking 2000 IU/day, one person could reach 110 ng/ml vitamin D serum level (25(OH)D) and another would reach only 20 ng/ml.


Vitamin D and Kidney Stones


In October 2013, GrassrootsHealth scientists published a paper in the American Journal of Public Health concluding that that a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 20 to100 ng/ml has no significant association with kidney stone incidence.  


This conclusion was formed after studying 2012 members of D*action who had completed at least two tests and questionnaires. The average 25(OH)D level was 45 ng/ml, which is higher than most other cohorts. Thirteen individuals reported having kidney stones during the study time; occurrences were confirmed by medical records or interview. The study found no statistically significant association between 25(OH)D serum levels and kidney stone risk. In fact, the researchers found a non-significant trend towards lower incidence of kidney stones for those with higher 25(OH)D serum levels.




Supplements vs. Sunshine


The average serum level for the GrassrootsHealth cohort is currently around 44 ng/ml. This means we have a group of people who are concerned about vitamin D and trying to keep their serum levels within the recommended preventative range. But, how do you do it?

While we still believe in testing, as individual results will vary, an average of 4000 - 5000 IU/day is what most of our cohort uses to maintain a 50 ng/ml 25(OH)D serum level.




Some of our cohort believes in getting all of their vitamin D from the sun. It seems very hard to keep your vitamin D serum levels in the recommended range, but as you can see, over 30 minutes seemed to provide as much benefit as up to four hours. Note that this group did not supplement, most people use a hybrid approach of sunlight and supplementation.


Pain vs. Serum Levels


Nearly 3/5's D*action participants have reported some type of pain. The average pain rating for participants with a serum level below 20 ng/ml is 5.2. It is 4.6 for participants with a serum level greater than 80 ng/ml.

Even though we still recommend a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml, this is a 12% reduction. We also receive a lot of comments about pain reduction when our members first start to get their serum levels into the optimal range.  




Diabetes Prevention


In studying the D*action database, GrassrootsHealth has preliminary information finding an 80-90% reduction in diabetes incidence (type II) with higher vitamin D serum levels (40-60ng/ml).


We used the NHANES study as the control group. This is the national sample of people that represent the health status of Americans. The NHANES cohort has an average vitamin D serum level of 22 ng/ml and an average incidence of diabetes is 9.3/1000 person-years.  


The GrassrootsHealth cohort has an average vitamin D serum level of 41 ng/ml and recorded a diabetes incidence rate of 3.7/1000 person-years. Both cohorts had a similar BMI average.



If vitamin D supplementation was initiated NOW to the total population, we could eradicate 60% of future diabetes cases within a year! This is such a savings in quality of life and health expenses.  


GrassrootsHealth would like to further study this data and publish a paper to get this out to the public and in the scientific community. Help us get the word out by donating to our diabetes research campaign (link on right).  

Editor's Note


When I read all these numbers it makes me want to go out in the sun; go take my vitamins; or go online to double check my current D*action serum level. It is amazing the research that is out there on the preventative measures of having a serum level of 40-60 ng/ml.  


I still have young children and one of my favorite hooks for mothers is...."What if you could reduce the chance of your child getting cancer by 77%?" I then go on to explain GrassrootsHealth, vitamin D research, and tell them that this is important NOW - not when they are grown. I vividly remember sitting in a GrassrootsHealth seminar in Toronto during a scientist panel discussion. Someone from the audience asked, "How young should we start testing and supplementing for the prevention of disease?" The first scientist answered, "at birth." A second scientist corrected the statement, "in utero." All agreed.  


I am proud to have my family be a part of D*action. It not only helps me keep my family healthy, but provides much needed data for vitamin D prevention.


Susan Siljander 

Marketing Director, GrassrootsHealth

A Public Health Promotion & Research Organization 

Moving Research into Practice NOW!



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Order Your Home Vitamin D Test TODAY!
Your participation in this project funds all the GrassrootsHealth research and promotion.


Why Test Vitamin D?
with Robert P. Heaney, MD, Professor, Creighton University, Department of Medicine and Research Director of GrassrootsHealth

March 2013

Watch Video 


Vitamin D and Kidney Stones
with Dr. Cedric Garland, Dr. P.H., Professor, University of California San Diego Department of Preventive Medicine.
October 2013
Watch Video

Your Data, Your Answers
Part 1
with Sharon McDonnell, Epidemiologist / Biostatistician at GrassrootsHealth
July 2013
Watch Video

Your Data, Your Answers
Part 2 - Diabetes
with Sharon McDonnell, Epidemiologist / Biostatistician at GrassrootsHealth
August 2013
Watch Video

How Could Vitamin D Prevent Type 1 Diabetes?
with Dr. Cedric Garland, Dr. P.H., Professor, University of California San Diego Department of Preventive Medicine.
January 2013
Watch Video


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You can prevent disease if just one more person finds out about the preventative properties of vitamin D and starts moving their blood serum levels to 40-60 ng/ml. 

Dr. Bruce Hollis  

The Role of the Parent Compound Vitamin D with Respect to Metabolism and Function: Why Clinical Dose Intervals Can Affect Clinical Outcomes

Bruce W. Hollis

J Clin Endocrinol Metab, 2013

Full Publication 

Dr. Cedric Garland

Meta-analysis of Vitamin D Sufficiency for Improving Survival of Patients with Breast Cancer

Cedric F. Garland

Anticancer Research, 2014

Full Publication  



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