Latest Stories

Get lots of sun, docs advise always-tired Senator Santiago


Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago needs to get out in the sun more to cure her Vitamin D deficiency that according to her doctors could be the cause of her chronic fatigue syndrome.

Santiago will miss the opening of the 16th Congress on Monday because of the syndrome, a condition that causes debilitating tiredness and which has kept her at home for most of the last six months.

In a statement, Santiago said she expected to be back to normal soon after her team of doctors—both at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and her medical team in Manila—suggested she undergo a blood test for Vitamin D.

The test taken at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City showed that while the normal level for Vitamin D is 30 to 80 units, Santiago only has 17 units.

The early morning sunshine is known to be a rich source of Vitamin D that makes a person’s bones strong.

The senator, however, is expected to take a “megadose”— some 2,000 units daily—of Vitamin D to remedy her deficiency and, hopefully, her chronic fatigue syndrome as well.

“I want to share this information with the millions of Filipinos suffering from chronic fatigue because in our country, Vitamin D deficiency is often overlooked,” Santiago said.

She said the deficiency could also have triggered her hypertension, as shown at the 2012 annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics.

The European study examined the causal relationship between Vitamin D status and high cholesterol, from which Santiago also suffers.

Santiago said the link between Vitamin D deficiency on the one hand, and chronic fatigue and hypertension on the other, was first broached in 2009 by research doctors such as Dr. Anna Dorothea Hock of Cologne, Germany.

“Vitamin D deficiency is a hidden disorder of high frequency,” Santiago quoted the German doctor as saying.

Following the paper published by Hock, a medical team led by a Dr. Berkovitz of University College London published a study in the 2012 International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research recommending that “all patients with moderate to severe chronic fatigue syndrome should be encouraged to have sufficient sun exposure and take foods high in Vitamin D.”

Santiago, over the years, has gone on medical leave from her jobs as immigration commissioner and as a senator because of chronic fatigue.

When Congress adjourned for the campaign break in January, Santiago consulted, among others, Dr. Bojan Cercek, director of the cardiac intensive care unit, Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

According to Santiago’s staff, Cercek said her blood deficiency was not sufficient to account for her chronic fatigue. The American doctor suggested she consult a neurologist and a rheumatologist in the Philippines.

Santiago’s doctors in Manila suggested a test for Vitamin D, which has been increasingly linked in recent medical studies to chronic fatigue, hypertension and high cholesterol.

The laboratory results showed that Santiago’s Vitamin D level was very low and she is expected to take a megadose of Vitamin D for several weeks. A megadose will consist of 2,000 units daily.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: 16th Congress , chronic fatigue syndrome , Mirian Defensor-Santiago , Senator Santiago , St. Lukes Medical Center , Vitamin D deficiency

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • Quezon City cops carry crosses to atone for their sins
  • Tens of thousands travel by sea this Holy Week
  • Police: Dad smothered toddler to play video game
  • 7 killed in shooting in China-Vietnam border
  • Chinese trade group to mediate shoe factory strike
  • Sports

  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Can Spurs get back at Heat? Can they survive West?
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Marketplace