Vitamin D and Menopause Symptom Relief

Professor Rees, and whom it may concern:

I am respectfully submitting a hypothesis I have come to regarding the link between menopausal symptoms and the importance of Vitamin D.

I am a hobbyist health researcher and educator, an athletics coach at San Francisco State University, with an Environmental Chemical Engineering degree from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT, USA.

I began studying this topic after suffering through my mother’s and now a dear friend of mine’s menopausal symptoms. My mother suffered horrible bleeding for years, which was only stopped by a hysterectomy. My friend has had very strange symptoms for the past 3 years, including unbearable hot flashes and a collarbone popping out of place suddenly.

Putting their stories together, I found a common link: Both women spent nearly all their time indoors while their menopause was beginning. My mother, because her dog passed away, and then moved to the northwestern United States near Seattle, WA, which is known for over 300 days a year of no sunshine. She told me that she went on a walk one day, and was stalked by a truck driver from a nearby truck stop, and decided it was unsafe for her to walk during the day anymore while my father was at work.

My friend opened a business 6 years ago, and has been working 5-6 days/week indoors at her business. Living in San Francisco, CA, it is often overcast or foggy, and she hasn’t gotten much sunshine at all.

I understand the role Vitamin D plays in bone health. But I think it is important to consider Vitamin D’s effect on Iron (Fe) to understand how it can exacerbate menopause. I will start off with the statement that I believe it is not in our birthright to suffer unduly from processes that have been a natural part of life for hundreds of thousands of years, such as menopause.

Vitamin D is made useful in the body via contact with Iron. Therefore, it is plausible that without adequate Vitamin D, Iron levels may rise proportionally in the body. We know that menopausal women have high iron levels and low estrogen levels.

The body does not have a need for extra iron, so I believe its response to rid itself of the extra iron is to signal production of testosterone. Testosterone would cause a woman to want to exercise like crazy, or have sex, and she would feel anxious or moody, i.e., testier unless the testosterone’s demands are met. Why more testosterone? Because when the body expends energy anaerobically, it builds up an aerobic deficit and must take in large quantities of oxygen.

The body could use that oxygen to convert the extra Iron to hemoglobin, thus keeping body chemistry safe. However, women don’t always jump up and exercise like crazy when they feel extra levels of testosterone. They might just get more anxious. Extra testosterone causes very uncomfortable hot flashes. (I know this because I was an ovum donor six times and hot flashes was a side-effect of the testosterone they gave me for the treatments).

Too much testosterone can lead to other unpleasant effects associated with menopause, such as PCOS (Poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and the heavy bleeding and cramps which accompany it.

Unfortunately I am too busy to pursue research of my hypothesis on a large scale. I am going to have my friend supplement with Vitamin D or begin safe UVB exposure to see if we can reverse some of her worst symptoms. I am confident that she will improve.

She is currently supplementing with 1000 IU D3 as well as 1000 IU D3 in her multi-vitamin. I read online that approximately 1000 IU’s/minute are synthesized by the body when exposed to UVB rays, and that, for light-skinned people, 10-15 minutes of sun exposure/day is adequate. This means, due to the negligible sun she is getting on her skin, she is under-supplementing her D3 by at LEAST 8000 IUs/day, assuming the absorption rate of her supplements is 100% (a poor assumption I’m sure!).

I would appreciate any response you would have to my inquiry, and hope it can be helpful. Perhaps others have already reached the same conclusion for a hypothetical pathway back to health.

Thank you for your time,


Christina Margaret McKinstry

Adventures in Pakistan

I awoke this morning at 6am to the sound of a loudspeaker Muslim prayer call in the distance layered over a wild rooster crowing and other tropical birds chirping. The birds are the most active in the early morning, when it is cool enough to be active. It reminded me of my time in the Dubai airport on the way here. The airport prides itself on minimizing announcements over the loudspeaker to keep the airport experience pleasant. But out of nowhere around 6 am, a woman started singing/chanting a very beautiful song/prayer over the loudspeaker. It must have gone on for 5 minutes. I actually love the public chanting/singing, it is calming and unifying in some way.

The last couple days have been very relaxing, as I’ve mostly stayed at the home while the city is consumed with protests over the recent sectarian suicide bombing of Shia Hazaras in Quetta. Sit-ins have been staged all over the country in protest to the violence. Most businesses and schools were closed in Karachi as people did not feel safe to leave their homes and travel through the protests during the day. We have, however, gone out each night for dinner quite safely. The newspaper said the protesters are mostly Shias, who want the government to step-up and help stop the genocide killings of their people.

In talking with one of the relatives, they have encouraged their children not to get involved in the political protests. They expressed uncertainty about the future of their country, and fear for their children’s safety should they try to make a stand. It seemed somewhat defeatist, like the country’s problems are bigger than they feel they can affect. They are in survival mode. We have it so nice in the US, we might get tear-gassed during a protest gone badly, but rarely do we fear for our lives. I can understand a parent’s concern, while it concerns me that they are releasing their control of their country’s future in exchange.

Gas stations have been overwhelmed because cars and commercial trucks did not fill up for a couple days then needed to all at once. There have been a couple small bomb blasts in Karachi, but thankfully with no injuries. The paper said they are probably meant to frighten the protesters. According to the paper, the Shias in Quetta are refusing to bury the dead. The coffins line the streets, 89 so far with more to come. The paper showed one woman holding up a homemade sign: “If being Hazara is a crime, I feel great to be criminal!”

Because of the vast class differences, there is no more safety/security in everyday life. The US should take note of this, as they are headed toward greater class disparities. For example, here in Karachi, those with any money have their homes built like a mini-compound. There is an armed guard, very cheap, uneducated servants and drivers, multiple locks on the gates and doors (interior and exterior), and even the bedrooms in the house are locked when you leave so that the servants are not tempted to steal anything. If you are carrying any kind of valuables on you, you make sure your driver drives very fast to your destination so that you are not followed/hijacked. In general, it is safer not to stop your car, especially in more remote parts of the city.

At the last wedding party we attended, most of the guests had left and our smaller wedding party was eating catered food and having a lovely time chatting. We were kind of lost in discussion, when one of the men noticed that the laborers and caterers were starting to fill up the wedding tent toward us, staring and lingering for no good reason. He advised us to leave in a hurry, together, making sure not to leave a single car behind the group. And we sped home.

The upper class loves living here, because you can live like kings and queens, having 5-star dinners at country clubs, servants to take care of all the daily chores, leaving you free to have a very easy life. But that luxury comes at a steep price. Pray for the Pakistanis that they might realize a state of greater equality, freedom, and safety. And pray for the US that they might see where class inequality could lead them.

Illusions and Guides

A taste of forever
The golden ship which sails generation to generation
And the disappearing island I keep throwing my anchor upon
And each time
A new palm tree
A whiter beach
A more mild breeze
Clearer water
More exotic fruits and animals
A more forceful typhoon
And you
The one who stays near
Two steps ahead
My guide
Collecting me in your arms between voyages
Rocking me in your gentle waters
Showering me with love
Reminding me that the flame evermore dances within
Perfecting me
As we sail toward our dreams


Just as the painting is an enriched product of a living relationship between the painter and the object, so enriched becomes the product purchased through the interaction between buyer and shopkeeper in Pakistan. When I first visited the country years ago, I was irritated by the custom of bargaining for the price of ordinary objects in the markets. I wanted/craved the more familiar, quicker, sterile process of paying a set purchase price. But this time around, I noticed just how much buyer and seller got to learn about each other through these interactions. I observed that the depth of the exchange is often deeper than many people will attempt to communicate in familiar business or personal relationships in my country. Both parties walk away from the 10-15 minute bargaining with a deeper understanding of their buyers/sellers, of the quality of their products, the state of the local economy, and of the buyer/seller wants and needs. It is not as unsophisticated as I first imagined, in fact, quite the opposite. It’s real. It’s not the point and click photo-taking, it’s a dance between two souls, and it is a wonder to behold.

Lincoln, Anna Karenina, Argo

What a perfect trio of movies
A lot of crying going on
A lot of letting go
Like giving someone food
When they’ve been a starving beggar for years
Wealth is a greedy beggar
Until your heart is right
Love is a greedy beggar
Until you learn to love
Grant that I not so much seek to be consumed
As to consume

So then am I giving my body
Or a promise?
And don’t confuse the two,
As if your nakedness were sacred.
That’s not my world.
No longer defined by the structure
I navigate freely through structure
I’m a free spirit
There were clues, you know
The six food Asian redhead
Mother Nature showing up at Cobleigh Hall
The poetry
The boy fresh from England
With the pierced lip
And blue and purple hair
God, I wanted the Other
Anything must be better than home
Out there are riches
Happiness, abundance
Non-judgmental people
People who could interrupt impulse
And laugh at dinner parties

If his love left, then it’s gone
No use pining for it
You can’t raise the dead
It was a week’s affair
That became three years
Because I needed it to
I needed to know I could be loved
And not settle for
The first man who wouldn’t leave me
Why this grabbing hearts?
Fist-fulls of love
As if the supply was limited
It’s the way we have motivated
We made it love-less
When it’s about the metrics
You lose the humanity
Find all your “shoulds”
Throw them in a big pile
“Shoulds” give you fear of death
Playing with our basest nature
Of course the dark sides will come out to play
Forget your marriage
Forget your conventions – We have to write our own rules

Love and Money
Are the same
And we are confused about both
Money is the currency of Love
Love is Appreciation
The perfect reciprocation
That meets everyone’s needs
We are so one-sided
We can’t afford families
While the rich save – for what?
Why not show others some
Everyone’s too scared to be appreciated
What if I helped you?
Really helped you?
What is that worth?
I want to be the most helpful person on the planet
Everyone I contact
Will be helped by me
I can do it right now with my love
With my good intentions
A non-judgmental smile that reads,
“I love you, and I don’t even know you.”
I can love you with my peaceful energy
With my calmness and beauty
I can never say no
Unless it keeps me from helping
Directly or indirectly
Sometimes helpful means quiet
Sometimes it means speaking up
Just have a heart for service
And you will be appreciated
No one dearly loved
Ever died of hunger

Last Night

One more night in my bed
California dreamin
With my kitten on my heart
And my heart full of love
I’ve already come so far
Lived so many possibilities
Rested and rallied
It’s a new year
Full of new days
And you’re pulling me into tomorrow

New Art!

Thought I would post my “Graphic Art” projects, if I may be so bold as to call it that! These are things I made to communicate something. More Art here.

This one has been up on my wall for over a year to remind me to chill out amidst chaos and remember what kind of life I really want!


This one I had to make to communicate my dislike for toe socks/shoes. I’m sorry, but certain parts of the body just look better naked or totally clothed-over.


The value of persistence! (I believe it demonstrates total commitment, which is the strongest force in the universe!)


A visual I got one time when I was meditating:


What I painted on my lower stomach this year for an Easter Party, just to be festive ;-)


A provocative statement. Just got done dating someone who wanted to force a commitment on me. Ug. Hate that. Insecurity is not sexy.

Posted in Art

I Loved You

I loved you when you ran away from home
I loved you when you got married
I loved you when I met you
I loved you when you were too fat and you smelled like cigarettes
I loved you when you called me princess and made sweet love to me
I loved you when you lit sparkler fireworks off in my bedroom
Dancing and singing naked
I loved you when you called me a bitch and stormed out
I loved you when his cock was in my mouth
I loved you when you spit on me in the subway station and called me a whore
I loved you after you stopped listening
I loved you after you refused to acknowledge or accept my love

Pen to Paper

At the end of the day
A few scribbles
A bunch of big, noble plans
A chicken or the egg
Game of who trusts who first
Can I put what is in my head
On the paper?
When making any bets
One must stand strongly behind their art
So that troubleshooting can happen down the road
When the heart sends such strong signals
The brain feels pain in the work it takes
To translate vision into material
But I keep writing
Knowing that even a poorly captured interpretation of the heart
Gurantees half the success of the creation
I must have the patience now
To measure twice
And cut once
I won’t get these years back