A year or so ago I posted about my BCR-Abl levels and my view that it had something to do with Vitamin D. In summary, I was stuck on 0.03% for a very long time (over a year) before taking a sabbatical of six months, during which I visited China and Vietnam, did a great deal of hiking and spent around 6 hours per day in the sun.
In this time, my BCR-Abl levels plummeted to 0.006% (November 2019) and even further to 0.005% (February 2020).
Then, of course, Covid and lockdown happened. I was back at work and spent most of the time indoors since my job as a teacher involved doing my lessons online via platforms like Zoom. Exercising was banned in South Africa and I never went outside, not even to walk the dogs. I was not taking any Vitamin D supplements at the time. The next test in June 2020 showed a doubling of my levels to 0.011% (now above MR4). Then came the winter months in South Africa and I still didn't go outside much. My test in October showed a further increase of 0.018% and I became worried that I was slowly losing response and becoming resistant to imatinib. The doctor also increased the frequency of my tests to three-monthly instead of four-monthly.
I had taken the excellent advice of scuba (and others) seriously, and I recall him saying that it takes approximately two months to build up Vitamin D levels again through sunlight (though I could be wrong and can't find that post). So I decided to take advantage of our excellent climate here in Johannesburg and spent 25 minutes per day outside in the noontime sun, every day in December 2020 and January 2021. I also started taking Vitamin D supplements (1 000 UDI twice a day) as well as curcumin (2 000 mg a day). I know that it is advisable to take more, but I was a little concerned about possible overdosing.
My latest PCR test taken last week showed a reduction in BCR-Abl levels well below MR4 to 0.004%.
I know that there is a large margin of variability in the PCR tests, especially at low levels, and I also know that, statistically, 0.004% is not much different from 0.018%. I also know that this might just be coincidence. However, since the timing checks out, I really wonder whether or not there is something in this. I haven't had my levels tested, so I'm not sure how they stack up, but I am definitely feeling a lot better and have more mental energy since going on these supplements and taking my daily sun bath. I will certainly be asking my doctor about this!
Best wishes from South Africa