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03-03-2013, 10:16 AM   #1
robwilliams
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Tool for Tracking Vitamin D from the Sun

Hi everyone, great community. My long-time girlfriend just had a flare up of epic proportions that resulted in her being in the hospital for a week. The GI group there found out that her original IBD diagnosis 20 years ago (of UC) was wrong, she has Crohn's. I found this place, which is amazing, and David's thread about Vitamin D, so I sent him an email.

I am a software developer with an interest in health/nutrition that goes back to when I was in high school. After reading a lot about Vitamin D, I came up with the idea one day of making an app for tracking it on the phone. The idea behind the app is it guides you in getting safe sun exposure (no matter how pale your skin is), and then it shows you where it thinks your D level is at all times.

Here's the website: http://dminder.info.

There are 2 versions in the store. The free one is functionally complete but does not keep your history so you can see that it works. The paid one ($1.99) keeps unlimited history. Though I am charging for that one, I will never make back the money I spent developing the app, which is fine. I would offer it for free but I had people wanting to partner with me.

I have received hundreds of emails from people. But, today I received the best one yet:
On another note I have been trying to get my Vit D level up for a long time (years) with supplements....never with any success. I was actually starting to dose 20Mio iu / day and still only a very low level (33bg/ml). It seemed to negatively affect my cholesterol level. I tried split doses through the day, single large doses with my largest meal....etc. never budged my level. Now that Im in Vietnam its possible to get sun most days so on my recent holiday I used D-minder and tried to get 20,000iu each day for a week through only sunlight...no supplements. When I came back I had a blood test....level was 78ng/ml.....D minder said I would be 79ng/ml on the blood draw day. Coincidence or bloody amazing!

Cheers
So hopefully it helps some Crohns patients! I do believe that we are in a really exciting time where diseases that are very serious can be controlled through diet and things like sun exposure.

[BTW, I exchanged emails with David, he suggested I post this message.]
03-03-2013, 10:22 AM   #2
David
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Thanks Rob

If anyone tries his app, please post your feedback here!
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03-03-2013, 10:50 AM   #3
xmdmom
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Looks cool!
03-03-2013, 12:28 PM   #4
nogutsnoglory
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Thanks for making this and linking to the forum. It sounds really cool but do you account for seasonal change in sun exposure? During winter in the Northeast US you can see the sun but it doesn't really feel like the rays are hitting you.
03-03-2013, 12:30 PM   #5
Beach
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Neat! Thanks for making this. I'll have to give the app a try.

Hope your girlfriend feels better soon!
03-03-2013, 12:57 PM   #6
robwilliams
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@Beach thanks!

@xmdmom thank you!

@nogutsnoglory yes it does: you can only make D when the sun is 30 above the horizon. If you are farther than 35 from the equator, that's part of the year. The app will not only tell you when you can and can't make D (to the minute), it has an annual forecast view for your location that tells you how many D days you will have, and when the first and last ones are.

I have a new version that's awaiting release that can get the UV index from GPS coordinates so it will work anywhere on the planet.
03-03-2013, 02:39 PM   #7
***Lisa***
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Rob Williams - Thank you soooooo much for sharing this with us! This is freaking awesome! My daughter will upload the app today. We are in New England and she takes Vitamin D supplements plus Folic Acid and goes tanning this time of year because we know that is the key to controlling her Crohns symptoms.

I could not agree with you more as I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that many inflammatory diseases can be controlled naturally with the right amount of sun exposure and diet. So exciting!

Thanks again!

Lisa
03-03-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
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Rob:

We just uploaded it and noticed that it allows you to enter the average hours of natural sun exposure a week but what about the times we spend in a tanning booth? Do we just add the tanning booth hours to the natural sun exposure hours or do we enter the average tanning booth hours somewhere else?

Thanks!

Lisa
03-03-2013, 03:17 PM   #9
nogutsnoglory
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I can't seem to find the app on iPhone.
03-03-2013, 04:03 PM   #10
robwilliams
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@Lisa - thanks for your message! Glad you are excited about it.

I want to add support for the tanning booths, will get some more information about that. As I understand it, different beds have different amounts of UVB. I also want to add support for lamps/lights. Maybe you could give me some information about the place you are going to. You can send me emails at the contact address on the site.
03-03-2013, 04:19 PM   #11
xmdmom
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Tanning booths are associated with increased rates of skin cancer including melanoma and I would definitely advise people against using them. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22370316

And I just read that most tanning devices primarily emit ultraviolet A, which is relatively ineffective in stimulating vitamin D synthesis.
03-03-2013, 04:20 PM   #12
DustyKat
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Solariums are banned where I live...

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-02-0...ariums/3811454

I would also be wary if you are someone that is prescribed Imuran/6MP...

Dusty. xxx
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03-03-2013, 04:21 PM   #13
robwilliams
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This is hotly debated. Apparently some devices do emit B, many do not.

There is NO question the sun is the best choice. Best idea is get your levels as high as possible before winter. My girlfriend's flare came at the D low point of the year (that's been shown statistically).
03-03-2013, 04:26 PM   #14
robwilliams
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@nogutsnoglory: just click on the Available in the Store button at the bottom of the front page of the site:

http://dminder.info

(See the link back here at the bottom..)
03-03-2013, 04:29 PM   #15
robwilliams
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Here is the link to the paid version:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/d-mi...547102495?mt=8
03-03-2013, 05:09 PM   #16
JohnnyRottenAppleseed
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The paid app is amazing! I live the vitamin d calculator for location, skin exposure, uv index, and length of time outside. Thanks for making this!
03-03-2013, 05:26 PM   #17
***Lisa***
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Hi Rob:

Thanks so much! I will send you an email.

Lisa
03-03-2013, 05:53 PM   #18
JohnnyRottenAppleseed
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The only thing I don't like is that it stops at 20,000. I'm sure one can get more than 20,000 iu a day, no?
03-03-2013, 06:00 PM   #19
JohnnyRottenAppleseed
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I like the different calculators and the stopwatch is great. Pretty awesome app! The free one did not work for me but this one is great. It's def worth the $1.99. I'll give umyou a good review on iTunes.
03-03-2013, 06:27 PM   #20
robwilliams
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@JohnnyO No, 20K per day is the limit of what your body can make. (Wow, you made quick work of really checking it all out!) Thanks for the review! (and please send an email to the address on the site [[email protected]] with whatever went wrong with the free one.. ? Something strange there...).

Thanks.
03-03-2013, 06:38 PM   #21
JohnnyRottenAppleseed
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Oh ok. On free one I can't get passed setting up profile but I bought the paid one and love it so no worries!
03-03-2013, 10:43 PM   #22
***Lisa***
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Getting a small amount (10 to 20 minutes) of natural sunlight, without sunscreen, everyday does not increase your risk of getting cancer. If you don't live in an area that provides the sunshine we all need to be healthy, using a tanning bed or sunlight can also give you the amount of sunlight you need to to produce Vitamin D. The myth that all sunlight is bad and should be avoided at all times has been debunked. See:

http://graemethomasonline.com/blinded-by-the-light/
03-04-2013, 03:51 PM   #23
JohnnyRottenAppleseed
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So I just used this app laying out. I input my location and it automatically adjusted for current UV index and cloud cover. I input my info: 70% skin exposed wearing shorts, time of day, and then hit the timer. After 25 minutes I had received the days maximum amount of 20,000 iu. I like the graphs that chart your progress as well. I really like this app. It has a lot of features. I buy a lot of apps and download free ones and this one is amazing! Rob, do you write apps for your job or did you just make this for fun?
03-04-2013, 03:57 PM   #24
robwilliams
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Thanks, @JohnnyO!

Yes, I've been a programmer since a year out of college, and still love it. Nothing better than having someone appreciate it, and have it help them in some way.

I was just finishing laying out when I got this! Looked cloudy today, then boom: great opportunity!
03-04-2013, 04:03 PM   #25
JohnnyRottenAppleseed
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Sweet I know who to call if I need an app developer!
03-04-2013, 04:59 PM   #26
ctrl z
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This seems so cool! Are you developing android version?
03-04-2013, 05:27 PM   #27
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^^^ Yeah, I'm android user as well. This is a great idea and may explain why my hubby's CD has always been worse in the winter. I'm noticing a similar pattern with my son and have recently started them both on Vitamin D supplements.
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Mom to Jack (18) dx Crohn's 2/2010
Vitamin D -2000mg
Remicade - started 1/9/14; 7.5ml/kg every 6 weeks
Centrum for Him teen multivitamin
Past meds: Imuran/Azathioprine; allopurinol; methotrexate; LDN; Prednisone; Apriso; Pentasa; EEN

Husband dx Crohn's 3/1993
currently none due to liver issues
03-28-2015, 07:39 AM   #28
nogutsnoglory
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Been using this app now for over a year and it's fantastic. It reminds me to go out and get some sun
03-28-2015, 10:35 AM   #29
mf15
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Don't forget one important item.
It takes at least 24 hours after sun exposure to convert to the active form of vitamin d
in the skin. If you take a shower after sun exposure you will wash much of it off.
I have a thread on here somewhere, on the subject.
Old Mike
03-28-2015, 01:56 PM   #30
nogutsnoglory
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true but I think 24 hours for full conversion so if you wait a few hours after tanning id presume you get some.
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