Vitamin D3-5

The Vitamin D Newsletter
More Vitamin D Studies of Interest
March 14, 2010

The mainstream American press is ignoring much of the recent Vitamin D
scientific literature. I suspect newspaper editors have decided that too
many favorable Vitamin D stories run the risk of repeating the folic acid,
beta-carotene and vitamin E affairs, when early epidemiological research was
not routinely substantiated by later randomized controlled trials. If the
press has made that decision, then this newsletter is your best source of
information on new Vitamin D science.

*Genetics, as well as dose, determine response to vitamin D supplements.*

Your vitamin D blood level depends entirely on how much you take or how
often you sunbathe, right? Wrong. Prior studies of identical twins show that
about 25 -50% of the variation of Vitamin D levels depends on genetics. In
July, researchers at the University of Toronto discovered the heritability
of 25(OH)D is probably mediated through the Vitamin D binding protein
(VDBP).

Fu L, Yun F, Oczak M, Wong BY, Vieth R, Cole DE. Common genetic variants of
the vitamin D binding protein (DBP) predict differences in response of serum
25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] to vitamin D supplementation. Clin Biochem.
2009 Jul;42(10-11):1174-7.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126139/0/>

One of the common emails I get (and I’m sorry I can’t answer individual
emails) is “I am taking 5,000 IU per day but my blood level is only 35
ng/ml.” What should I do? This study helps answer such questions. You
probably inherited a tendency to not respond to higher doses of Vitamin D.
Simply take a little more and get your blood tested again in 3-4 months.

Also, don’t forget your weight. Does it make sense that if you weigh 300
pounds, you need more vitamin D than a 3 pound baby? If that makes sense to
you, congratulations, it has not made sense to any of the five Food and
Nutrition Boards (FNB) that have convened and issued recommendations to
Americans over the last 60 years; they have all recommended the same 200
IU/day dose for infants and young adults, no matter how much the adults
weigh.

*More researchers actually recommend that people take Vitamin D and not just
give more money to scientists.*

Researchers from Austria concluded their review paper on vitamin D and high
blood pressure by stating: “In view of the multiple health benefits of
vitamin D and the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency, as well as the
easy, safe, and inexpensive ways in which vitamin D can be supplemented, we
believe that the implementation of public health strategies for maintaining
a sufficient vitamin D status of the general population is warranted.”

Pilz S, Tomaschitz A, Ritz E, Pieber TR; Medscape. Vitamin D status and
arterial hypertension: a systematic review. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2009
Oct;6(10):621-30.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126140/0/>

Good for Austria! By the way, while vitamin D may improve hypertension, it
is not the be all and end all of hypertensive disease. If your doctor can
stop your high blood pressure medication after you start taking vitamin D,
great, but I doubt that will happen. Most people will have to continue
taking their antihypertensive medication even after adequate vitamin D
supplementation, albeit sometimes at a lower dose.

While I am on the subject, remember, that vitamin D will not prevent all
cancer or heart disease or respiratory infections. True, evidence is
accumulating that it will help, but you can still develop cancer, heart
disease and respiratory infections with adequate blood levels of vitamin D.
That’s why I believe in complimentary, not alternative, medicine.

*Professor Michael Holick keeps increasing the amount of vitamin D he
recommends.*

As readers know, Professor Holick is one of the world’s foremost authorities
on vitamin D. However, after being on the 1997 Food and Nutrition Board
(FNB), he stuck with the FNB’s 200 IU/day recommendation well into the next
century. Then he slowly went to 400 IU, then 800 IU, then 1,000 IU and now
he is at 2,000 IU/day. Professor Holick is going in the right direction and
is almost there.

Cynthia K. Buccini Sunny Dispositions vitamin D deficiency may be the most
common medical problem in the world. BU Today, March 8,
2010<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126141/0/>

*Professor Robert Heaney of Creighton University just discovered that if you
take 2,200 IU of vitamin D every day, you only have about 12 days supply of
vitamin D in your body.*

I love Robert Heaney’s papers. In a previous paper, Dr. Heaney discovered
that at blood levels of 35 ng/ml, 50% of people are using up their vitamin D
as quickly as they take it, that is, they are not storing any for future use
and suffer from chronic substrate starvation. Obviously, one wants to take
enough so the body has all it can use, which is why I recommend 25(OH)D
levels of at least 50 ng/ml. At that level, no one should have chronic
substrate starvation.

In the paper below, Dr. Heaney collaborated with two other Creighton
scientists, Dr. Diane Cullen and Dr. Laura Armas, as well as one of the
premier experts in measuring vitamin D in the world, Dr. Ron Horst of
Heartland Assays. Ron runs tens of thousands of vitamin D samples a year as
Heartland Assays performs vitamin D testing for most of the big studies and
Dr. Horst is one of the few people in the world who can accurately measure
cholecalciferol, and not just 25(OH)D.

Heaney RP, Horst RL, Cullen DM, Armas LA. Vitamin D3 distribution and status
in the body. J Am Coll Nutr. 2009
Jun;28(3):252-6.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126142/0/>

Anyway, in his latest paper, Dr. Heaney found that if you regularly take
2,200 IU per day, you have about 12 days supply of vitamin D in your body.
He explained, “What this indicates is that fat reserves of the vitamin are
essentially running on empty and that . . . additional vitamin D inputs are
[converted to 25(OH)D] almost immediately.” . . “The currently recommended
intake of vitamin D needs to be revised upward by at least an order of
magnitude.”

What is not known, at least by me, is what happens when cholecalciferol
intake far exceeds the body’s requirement. We know it is stored in the body,
mainly in fat and muscle, but what does the body do to control excess
cholecalciferol from building up in the body? Professor Reinhold Vieth has
written that much of it will simply be excreted unchanged in the bile, but
how does that system work exactly, to get rid of excess cholecalciferol? We
know it works because the few patients with vitamin D toxicity reported in
the literature – almost always due to industrial errors – reduce their
vitamin D levels rather quickly by simply stopping the vitamin D and staying
out of the sun.

*Zocor has no effect on vitamin D levels.*

I know several studies have found statins raise vitamin D levels but
different scientists report different findings. This paper found Zocor had
no effect of vitamin D levels while a previous paper found Crestor almost
tripled vitamin D levels. What’s the truth? I don’t know. The above study
did find that higher vitamin D levels were strongly associated with better
triglycerides and weakly associated with higher HDL (the good cholesterol)
levels.

Rejnmark L, Vestergaard P, Heickendorff L, Mosekilde L. Simvastatin does not
affect vitamin d status, but low vitamin d levels are associated with
dyslipidemia: results from a randomised, controlled trial. Int J Endocrinol.
2010;2010:957174.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126143/0/>

*Vitamin D lowers statin blood levels*

This study makes the point that things are often more complex than they
first appear. Almost nothing is known of vitamin D’s drug-drug interactions.
That is, how does vitamin D affect the blood level of other drugs? The below
study measured the effects of vitamin D on Lipitor levels and cholesterol
levels hours after Lipitor was given to patients taking vitamin D. The
authors were looking for drug-drug interactions and found them.

Schwartz JB. Effects of vitamin D supplementation in atorvastatin-treated
patients: a new drug interaction with an unexpected consequence. Clin
Pharmacol Ther. 2009
Feb;85(2):198-203.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126144/0/>

The above study found vitamin D not only lowered Lipitor levels, but vitamin
D lowered bad cholesterol levels as well. That is, the lowest bad
cholesterol levels were found in patients on vitamin D with the lowest
Lipitor levels, just the opposite of what one would think. I mean, wouldn’t
higher Lipitor levels result in lower cholesterol levels? Not when vitamin D
was taken into account. If you think my explanation of this study is
confusing, you should read the study.

*Intensive treatment with vitamin D, statins, and omega-3 fish oil reverses
coronary calcium scores.*

The below open study by Dr. William Davis and colleagues studied 45 adults
with evidence of calcified coronary arteries, treating them with high dose
statins, niacin, fish oil (not cod liver oil) capsules, and enough vitamin D
(average of about 4,000 IU/day) to obtain 25(OH)D levels of 50 ng/ml. They
found that regimen reduced coronary calcium scores in 20 patients and slowed
progression in 22 additional patients. That is, it reversed the coronary
calcification process in about half of patients and slowed its progression
in most of the rest.

Davis W, Rockway S, Kwasny M. Effect of a combined therapeutic approach of
intensive lipid management, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, and
increased serum 25 (OH) vitamin D on coronary calcium scores in asymptomatic
adults. Am J Ther. 2009
Jul-Aug;16(4):326-32.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126145/0/>

Most studies have shown high dose statins on their own do not reverse
coronary arthrosclerosis, so we know it was not the statins alone. What
would vitamin D levels of 70 ng/ml do? So, if you have coronary artery
disease: ask your cardiologist about statins and niacin, take 5-10 fish oil
capsules per day, and at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day.

A word about fish oil is in order. Fish oil means fish body oil, not fish
liver oil. And, four or five capsules of omega-3 fish oil a day will do very
little if you do not limit your intake of omega-6 oils. Your ratio of
omega-6 to omega-3 is the crucial number, your want that ratio at 2 or
below, which means no chips, no French fries and no processed foods, a
difficult diet. Omega-6 oils are vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower
oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and cottonseed oil. Read the packages to see
what is in them and if they contain the above oils do not eat them. In
additions to taking fish oil capsules, try to eat wild-caught salmon three
times a week.

*Our group’s second paper on influenza is now the most accessed paper in the
history of Virology Journal.*

I was asked to write the paper by the editor of another journal, who then
refused it! I almost decided to scrap the paper but, in the end, submitted
it to Virology Journal. I’m glad I did.

Virology Journal: Top 20 most accessed articles for all
time<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126146/0/>

I was glad to see that six other experts recently recommended that the
diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency be part of our national
preparedness for the H1N1 pandemic.

Edlich RF, Mason SS, Dahlstrom JJ, Swainston E, Long WB 3rd, Gubler
K. Pandemic preparedness for swine flu influenza in the United States. J
Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol.
2009;28(4):261-4.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126147/0/>

In addition, I hear through the grapevine that the CDC has discovered that,
of the 329 American children who have died so far from H1N1, vitamin D
levels in the dead children were lower than in children who survived the
swine flu. Maybe something can be done to save our children by next winter?
Not to mention the 16,000 adult Americans the CDC thinks died from H1N1.

Reuters. Up to 80-million Americans have been infected with H1N1.
1/15/2010<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126148/0/>

*Low vitamin D levels mean higher death rates in patients with kidney
disease.*

The below study is the first of its kind; Dr. Rajnish Mehrota and his eight
colleagues studied 3,000 of the 28 million U.S. adults who have chronic
kidney disease, finding those with vitamin D levels below 15 ng/ml had a 50%
increased risk of death compared to those with levels above 30 ng/ml over
the nine years of the study. These researchers from UCLA, Harvard, the Los
Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, and other institutions concluded:
“The broad public health implications of our findings cannot be
overemphasized given the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among
individuals with chronic kidney disease, and the ease, safety, and low cost
of maintaining replete vitamin D levels.”

Mehrotra R Mehrotra R, Kermah DA, Salusky IB, Wolf MS, Thadhani RI, Chiu YW,
Martins D, Adler SG, Norris KC.. Chronic kidney disease, hypovitaminosis D,
and mortality in the United States. Kidney Int. 2009
Nov;76(9):977-83.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126149/0/>

These words are music to my ears; these words are strong words, urgent
words, and, better yet, they are not my words. This is the first large study
looking at a representative group of Americans with kidney disease, before
dialysis, finding about 1/3 of them died over the 9 years of the study.
Those with low vitamin D levels were more likely to die; in fact, they were
more likely to have about every chronic disease you can think of before they
died. The average age of those with kidney disease was only 55. This is a
very important study, well written and well-conducted.

However, there is a scandal in medicine, a scandal not openly discussed in
scientific papers, one not yet reported by the mainstream press. The scandal
is this: if you are on dialysis, the chances are very high that your kidney
doctor thinks he is giving you vitamin D when he is doing no such thing and
some drug companies encourage such ignorance.

Drug companies market very lucrative activated vitamin D drugs to
nephrologists as “vitamin D.” The kidney doctors, in turn, think they are
giving vitamin D to their dialysis patients when they are doing no such
thing. If anything, the activated vitamin D analogs nephrologists use in
kidney disease will lower 25(OH)D levels by turning on the enzyme that gets
rid of vitamin D.

The ugly secret is that plain old dirt-cheap vitamin D would lower the
amount of activated vitamin D analogs needed to treat kidney disease. We
used to think it was all or none, the kidneys would either make activated
vitamin D to maintain blood calcium or the kidneys would not, as in renal
failure. However, it is not all or none; the more vitamin D building blocks
available to the diseased kidneys, the more activated vitamin D diseased
kidneys can make. And, tissues other than the kidney, such as the skin,
pancreas, adrenal medulla, and certain white blood cells, can contribute to
serum activated vitamin D levels, and probably would if they had enough of
the building block (plain old, dirt-cheap old, regular old, vitamin D).

*Just out: Vitamin D administration (plain old vitamin D) to renal dialysis
patients reduces the need for expensive vitamin D analogues, reduces
inflammation, reduces the need for medication that increases red blood
count, and improves cardiac function.*

As I was about to finish this tirade about vitamin D and kidney failure, the
below open study was published on March 4, 2010 and I ordered it. (By the
way, the Council has to pay $11.00 for every paper I get and only one paper
in ten is worth reporting on). The study below confirms what the above
authors predicted; plain old cheap vitamin D helps patients with kidney
disease.

Matias PJ, Jorge C, Ferreira C, Borges M, Aires I, Amaral T, Gil C, Cortez
J, Ferreira A. Cholecalciferol Supplementation in Hemodialysis Patients:
Effects on Mineral Metabolism, Inflammation, and Cardiac Dimension
Parameters. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010 Mar
4.<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/126150/0/>

Dr. Patricia Matias and colleagues in Portugal gave vitamin D3 to 158
patients on renal dialysis, using a sliding scale of vitamin D3
administration dependent on baseline 25(OH)D levels. Some patients got
50,000 IU per week, some got 10,000 IU per week, etc. Their dosing regimen
increased 25(OH)D levels from a mean of 22 ng/ml at the beginning of the
study to a mean of 42 ng/ml during treatment, indicating half of patients
still had levels lower than 42 ng/ml after treatment. Interestingly, most of
the patients who did not increase their 25(OH)D very much had diabetes,
suggesting the metabolic clearance (how quickly it is used up) of vitamin D
is increased in diabetes. By the way, we know the patients took the vitamin
D; the doctors gave it to them when they came in for dialysis.

The results of this study were amazing. After vitamin D administration,
parathyroid hormone, albumin, CRP (a measure of inflammation), brain
natriuretic peptide (a measure of heart failure), and left ventricular mass
index (a measure of heart function) all improved significantly. The dose of
activated vitamin D (Zemplar in this case) was reduced, and some patients
were able to stop it all together. Also, the dose of two other drugs used in
kidney failure, one to bind phosphorus and the other to raise hemoglobin,
was reduced.

It is a tragedy that drug companies sell more expensive vitamin D analogs by
having their drug salesman assure kidney doctors that the expensive vitamin
D analogues are vitamin D, even if it kills their clients. But, with the
brand new knowledge that kidney failure patients live much longer on vitamin
D, the drug companies might want to do some simple math. They might make
even more money if they kept their patients alive longer. True, they will
need less vitamin D analogues and other expensive kidney drugs every day,
but the patients may live many more days.

John Cannell, MD

This newsletter is now copyrighted but may be reproduced for non-economic
reasons as long as proper attribution to its source is clearly stated in the
reproduction. Please reproduce it, post it on Internet sites, and forward it
to your friends.

Remember, we are a non-profit and rely on your donations to publish our
newsletter, maintain our website, and pursue our objectives. Send your
tax-deductible contributions to:

The Vitamin D Council<http://list.netatlantic.com/t/51077657/90576270/104386/0/>
1241 Johnson Ave., #134
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Vitamin D editorial..

On December 20, 2009, in Fat Solubles, Vitamins, by Andrea

Millions of needless deaths

By William Faloon
It is hard to imagine, but it was not until 1867 that Joseph Lister published his findings about the critical need of using sterile procedures in the surgical setting. Back then, doctors seldom washed their hands prior to surgery, let alone sterilize the instruments they had used on the previous patient.

Before Dr. Lister’s sterile techniques were adopted, patients frequently died from infections introduced during surgery.

Joseph Lister had little interest in financial or social success. These traits enabled him to endure the criticisms hurled by the medical establishment about the extra steps he took to ensure his surgical environments were clean.

One of Dr. Lister’s greatest challenges was to persuade his colleagues that germs did in fact exist. Back then, most doctors still believed in the theory of spontaneous generation.1

Convincing today’s medical establishment about proven methods to save lives may be less daunting than what Dr. Lister encountered, but it is still nonetheless challenging.

Today’s Body Count

Back in 2007, I urged the federal government to declare a national emergency. My rationale was that millions of Americans were going to needlessly die if the epidemic of vitamin D insufficiency was not immediately corrected.2

My article was based on irrefutable scientific evidence documenting how vast numbers of lives could be spared if everyone took at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day.2

I went a step further and showed how mandatory vitamin D supplementation could resolve today’s health care cost crisis by slashing the need for expensive prescription drugs and hospitalizations.2

I took it two steps further and offered to donate 50,000 one-year-supply bottles of vitamin D3 so the government could give these away to those who could not afford this ultra-low cost supplement.2

It is now 16 months later. The federal government has done nothing to inform the public of the opportunity to radically reduce their risk of dying by taking a supplement that costs less than 6 cents a day!

Vitamin D More Effective Than Previously Known

A large number of new vitamin D studies have appeared in the scientific literature since I wrote my plea to the federal government. These studies don’t just confirm what we knew 16 months ago—they show that optimizing vitamin D intake will save even more lives than what we projected.

For instance, a study published in June 2008 showed that men with low vitamin D levels suffer 2.42 times more heart attacks. Now look what this means in actual body counts.3

Each year, about 157,000 Americans die from coronary artery disease-related heart attacks.4 Based on this most recent study, if every American optimized their vitamin D status, the number of deaths prevented from this kind of heart attack would be 92,500.

To put the number of lives saved in context, tens of millions of dollars are being spent to advertise that Lipitor® reduces heart attacks by 37%. This is certainly a decent number, but not when compared with how many lives could be saved by vitamin D. According to the latest study, men with the higher vitamin D levels had a 142% reduction in heart attacks.3

This does not mean that you should stop taking medications if you can’t get your cardiac risk factors under control by natural methods. It does mean that you should make certain you are not vitamin D-insufficient.

Please note that all forms of heart disease kill over 869,700 Americans each year.4 These lethal forms of heart disease include cardiomyopathy, valvular insufficiency, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, coronary thrombosis (blood clot in coronary artery), and coronary atherosclerosis (narrowing or blockage of coronary arteries). There is reason to believe that vitamin D could help protect against most of these forms of cardiac-induced death.5

Billions of Dollars in Health Care Savings

There are 920,000 heart attacks suffered in the United States every year.4 According to the American Heart Association, the annual cost of health care services, medications, and lost productivity related to these heart attacks is over $156 billion.4

The annual retail cost of all 300 million Americans (including children) supplementing with 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day is $6.6 billion.

So if vitamin D’s only benefit was to reduce coronary heart attack rates by 142%, the net savings (after deducting the cost of the vitamin D) if every American supplemented properly would be around $84 billion each year. That’s enough to put a major dent in the health care cost crisis that is forecast to bankrupt Medicare and many private insurance plans.

Sparing Countless Numbers From the Agonies of Cancer

The evidence supporting the role of vitamin D in preventing common forms of cancer is now overwhelming.2

Vitamin D-deficient women, for example, have a 253% increased risk of colon cancer.6 Colon cancer strikes 145,000 Americans each year and 53,580 die from it.7 Based on these studies, if everyone obtained enough vitamin D, 38,578 lives could be saved and medical costs would be reduced by $3.89 billion.8,9

A study published in January 2008 showed that women with the lowest level of vitamin D were at a 222% increased risk for developing breast cancer.10 Most studies show that higher levels of vitamin D can reduce breast cancer incidence by around 30-50%.11-14

Each year, approximately 186,800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,950 perish from it in the United States.15 This needless toll of suffering and death caused by insufficient intake of vitamin D is unconscionable.

Prostate cancer will be diagnosed in an estimated 189,000 American men this year. Almost 30,000 will die from it.16 Men with higher levels of vitamin D have a 52% reduced incidence of prostate cancer.17

The first-year costs of prostate cancer treatment are approximately $14,540.18 If all aging men achieved sufficient vitamin D status, about $1.4 billion could be saved each year.

So as you can see, there is no real health care cost crisis. What the population suffers from is frighteningly low blood levels of vitamin D. During winter months in Canada, for instance, an estimated 97% of the population is vitamin D-deficient.19

Vitamin D Protects Against Stroke

Stroke is the number three cause of death in the United States.20 It is also one of the most feared diseases because of its high incidence of permanent disability.

In a study published in September 2008, blood indicators of vitamin D status were measured in 3,316 patients with suspected coronary artery disease. The subjects were followed for 7.75 years. For every small decrease in blood indicators of vitamin D status, there was a startling 86% increase in the number of fatal strokes.21

The doctors who conducted this study concluded: “Low levels of 25(OH)D* and 1,25(OH)2D* are independently predictive for fatal strokes, suggesting that vitamin D supplementation is a promising approach in the prevention of strokes.”21

*Note: 25 [OH] D and 1,25[OH]2D are blood markers that measure vitamin D status in one’s body.

If all that vitamin D did was to reduce stroke risk, it would be critically important for every American to ensure optimal blood levels.

Low Vitamin D Doubles Death Rate

Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide problem. Yet no conventional medical organization or governmental body has declared a health emergency to warn the public about the urgent need of achieving sufficient vitamin D blood levels.

According to John Jacob Cannell, MD, founder of the non-profit Vitamin D Counsel: “Current research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, and periodontal disease.

This does not mean that vitamin D deficiency is the only cause of these diseases, or that you will not get them if you take vitamin D. What it does mean is that vitamin D, and the many ways in which it affects a person’s health, can no longer be overlooked by the health care industry nor by individuals striving to achieve and maintain a greater state of health.”22

Vitamin D seems to reduce the risk of almost every killer disease of aging. In fact, a recent study shows that humans with low vitamin D status are twice as likely to die over a seven-year time period!5

Each year, the federal government spends $1 billion in research aimed at finding ways to prevent or cure the killer diseases of aging.23 Yet the government is oblivious to the most medically effective and cost-effective way of preventing needless death. This is analogous to how the establishment ignored Joseph Lister’s pleas for a sterile environment in the surgical arena.

Difference Between “Deficiency” and “Insufficiency”

Doctors are not trained to recognize a vitamin D deficiency until rickets develop in children or osteomalacia (softening of the bones) develops in adults. Clinical vitamin D deficiency is diagnosed when blood levels of a vitamin D metabolite (25-hydroxyvitamin D) drop below 12 ng/mL.

According to the world’s foremost experts, however, optimal blood levels of vitamin D are between 30 and 50 ng/mL and higher.24,25 Those with blood levels below 30 ng/mL are considered to have insufficient vitamin D.

These widely varying numbers explain why mainstream medicine is at a loss to understand the widespread health problem created by less than optimal vitamin D levels. If physicians view a patient’s medical chart and see a vitamin D blood level of 18 ng/mL, they will think this person has adequate vitamin D. The reality is that a vitamin D blood level this low predisposes this patient to virtually every killer disease of aging and may in fact be the reason that individual has become a “patient” instead of remaining healthy.

There clearly is a need for a new consensus in the medical community to redefine vitamin D deficiency as a blood reading below 30 ng/mL. As we at Life Extension long ago learned, it can take decades for the establishment to change its reference ranges to reflect scientific reality.

What Can be Done?

Despite the startling number of needless deaths, the federal government has done nothing to warn the public of the lethal dangers associated with vitamin D insufficiency.

We will distribute my original 2007 article along with this editorial to every member of the new Congress and the President in January 2009. Hopefully someone will understand the urgency of declaring a health emergency and advise that every American maintain a vitamin D blood level of at least 30 ng/mL.

If the government continues to ignore our pleas, perhaps private insurance companies will consider sending free bottles of vitamin D supplements to all of their subscribers. The outlays for medical procedures and prescription drugs would be expected to plummet in groups who took their vitamin D supplement each day.

The media has done a good job in reporting on the numerous positive findings about vitamin D over the past two years. Sales of vitamin D supplements have been increasing, so at least some Americans are getting the message and taking steps to guard against vitamin D insufficiency.

In the meantime, Life Extension will continue to report on new findings about vitamin D. We have found that if we repeat a message long enough, much of the public will wake up to scientific reality and the desire for self-preservation.

Where to Purchase Vitamin D

Fortunately, the patent for synthesizing vitamin D expired long ago. It is an ultra-low-cost supplement available at any health food store, pharmacy, and most grocery stores. There is no economic impediment precluding immediate widespread supplementation.

I want to thank loyal Life Extension members for purchasing most of their supplements from our Buyers Club over the past 12 months. We use proceeds from these sales to fund critical research projects aimed at eliminating needless disease and death. We also support an ongoing campaign to reform incompetent government policies that deprive Americans of life-saving medical therapies.

Just once a year, we discount the price of every product we offer. During our annual Super Sale, members stock up on our most advanced formulations and enjoy considerable savings.

Please know we remain relentless in tearing down the walls of medical ignorance that are by far the leading causes of disability and death in the United States.

For longer life,

William Faloon

References
1. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis. Accessed September 4, 2008.

2. Faloon W. Should the president declare a national emergency? Life Extension. 2007 Oct;13(10):7-17.

3. Giovannucci E, Liu Y, Hollis BW, Rimm EB. 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of myocardial infarction in men:
a prospective study. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jun 9;168(11):1174-80.

4. Available at: www.americanheart.org/downloadable/heart/1200082005246HS_Stats%202008.final.pdf.
Accessed October 29, 2008.

5. Dobnig H, Pilz S, Scharnagl H, et al. Independent association of low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and 1,25-
dihydroxyvitamin d levels with all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. Arch Intern Med. 2008 Jun 23;168(12):1340-9.

6. Holick MF. Vitamin D and sunlight: strategies for cancer prevention and other health benefits.
Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008 Sep;3(5):1548-54.

7. Available at: www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/. Accessed September 4, 2008.

8. Lappe JM, Travers-Gustafson D, Davies KM, Recker RR, Heaney RP. Vitamin D and calcium
supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1586-91.

9. Brown ML, Lipscomb J, Snyder C. The burden of illness and cancer: economic cost and quality of life.
Annu Rev Public Health. 2001;22:91-113.

10. Abbas S, Linseisen J, Slanger T, et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of post-menopausal
breast cancer–results of a large case-control study. Carcinogenesis. 2008 Jan;29(1):93-9.

11. Rossi M, McLaughlin JK, Lagiou P, et al. Vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk:
a case-control study in Italy. Ann Oncol. 2008 Aug 18.

12. Giovannucci E. Vitamin D and cancer incidence in the Harvard Cohorts.Ann Epidemiol. 2008 Feb 19.

13. Abbas S, Linseisen J, Chang-Claude J. Dietary vitamin D and calcium intake and premenopausal breast cancer risk in a
German case-control study. Nutr Cancer. 2007;59(1):54-61.

14. Robien K, Cutler GJ, Lazovich D. Vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk in postmenopausal women:
the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Cancer Causes Control. 2007 Sep;18(7):775-82.

15. Available at: www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/statistics/. Accessed October 28, 2008.

16. Available at: www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/statistics/. Accessed October 28, 2008.

17. Li H, Stampfer MJ, Hollis JB, et al. A prospective study of plasma vitamin D metabolites,
vitamin D receptor polymorphisms, and prostate cancer. PLoS Med. 2007 Mar;4(3):e103.

18. Wilson LS, Tesoro R, Elkin EP, et al. Cumulative cost pattern comparison of prostate cancer treatments.
Cancer. 2007 Feb 1;109(3):518-27.

19. Available at: http://vitamins-minerals.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_sunshine_vitamin
http://www.vitamindsociety.org/. Accessed September 4, 2008.

20. Available at: www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm. Accessed September 4, 2008.

21. Pilz S, Dobnig H, Fischer JE, et al. Low vitamin D levels predict stroke in patients
referred to coronary angiography. Stroke. 2008 Sep;39(9):2611-3.

22. Available at: http://74.125.45.104/search?q=cache:fgZo6Q5-SO8J:www.vitamindcouncil.org
/+Current+research+indicates+vitamin+D+deficiency+plays+a+role+in+causing+seventeen&hl=en&ct=
clnk&cd=1&gl=us. Accessed September 4, 2008.

23. Available at: www.nia.nih.gov/AboutNIA/NACA/MeetingInformation/DirStatusReportMay2007.htm.
Accessed September 4, 2008.

24. Vieth R. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations, and safety.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):842-56.

25. Holick MF. The role of vitamin D for bone health and fracture prevention. Curr Osteoporos Rep.
2006 Sep;4(3):96-102.

column header
Sign Up for Life Extension's FREE email newsletter Health Concerns

Featured Blood Tests

Products

Abstracts



The Vitamin D Newsletter

More Vitamin D Studies of Interest

December 3, 2009.


This is a periodic newsletter from the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit trying to end the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. If you want to unsubscribe, go to the end of this newsletter. If you are not subscribed, you can do so on the Vitamin D Council’s website.

This newsletter may be reproduced as long as you properly and prominently attribute it source. Please reproduce it, post it on Internet sites, and forward it to your friends.


Five million dollar randomized controlled trial sponsored by Thrasher Research Fund and NIH

Scientists around the world presented their work at the recent Vitamin D conference in Brugge, Belgium. Many, but not all, of the scientists opined that we have to wait for randomized controlled trials (RCT) before recommending Vitamin D. In a future newsletter, I will review many of these presentations.
However, one was extraordinary. Professor Bruce Hollis presented findings from his and Carol Wagner’s five million dollar Thrasher Research Fund and NIH sponsored randomized controlled trials of about 500 pregnant women. Bruce and Carol’s discoveries are vital for every pregnant woman. Their studies had three arms: 400, 2,000, and 4,000 IU/day.
1. 4,000 IU/day during pregnancy was safe (not a single adverse event) but only resulted in a mean Vitamin D blood level of 27 ng/ml in the newborn infants, indicating to me that 4,000 IU per day during pregnancy is not enough.
2. During pregnancy, 25(OH)D (Vitamin D) levels had a direct influence on activated Vitamin D levels in the mother’s blood, with a minimum Vitamin D level of 40 ng/ml needed for mothers to obtain maximum activated vitamin D levels. (As most pregnant women have Vitamin D levels less than 40 ng/ml, this implies most pregnant women suffer from chronic substrate starvation and cannot make as much activated Vitamin D as their placenta wants to make.)
3. Complications of pregnancy, such as preterm labor, preterm birth, and infection were lowest in women taking 4,000 IU/day, Women taking 2,000 IU per day had more infections than women taking 4,000 IU/day. Women taking 400 IU/day, as exists in prenatal vitamins, had double the pregnancy complications of the women taking 4,000 IU/day.
What does this huge randomized controlled trial mean?
We have long known that blood levels of activated Vitamin D usually rise during very early pregnancy, and some of it crosses the placenta to bathe the fetus, especially the developing fetal brain, in activated vitamin D, before the fetus can make its own. However, we have never known why some pregnant women have much higher activated Vitamin D levels than other women. Now we know; many, in fact most, pregnant women just don’t have enough substrate, the 25(OH)D building block, to make all the activated Vitamin D that their placenta wants to make.
Of course fetal tissues, at some time in their development, acquire the ability to make and regulate their own activated Vitamin D. However, mom’s activated Vitamin D goes up very quickly after conception and supplies it to baby, during that critical window when fetal development is occurring but the baby has yet to acquire the metabolic machinery needed to make its own activated Vitamin D.
The other possibility, that this is too much activated Vitamin D for pregnancy, cannot stand careful scrutiny. First, the amount of activated vitamin D made during pregnancy does not rise after the mother’s 25(OH)D reaches a mean of 40 ng/ml, so the metabolism is controlled. Second, levels above 40 ng/ml are natural, routinely obtained by mothers only a few short decades ago, such as President Barack Obama’s mom probably did, before the sun scare. (President Obama was born in Hawaii in late August before the sun-scare to a mother with little melanin in her skin) Third, higher blood levels of Vitamin D during pregnancy reduce risk of infection and other pregnancy complications, the opposite may be expected if 25(OH)D levels above 40 ng/ml constituted harm.
It is heartening to see the Thrasher Research Fund and NIH support such a large randomized controlled trial. In fact the Thrasher Research Fund has already funded a three year follow up and the NIH request for a follow up grant is pending. Nevertheless, a large number of medical scientists keep saying, “We need even more science before recommending Vitamin D.” What are they really saying?
First they said we need randomized controlled trials (RCT) before we do anything. Well here is a big one. Then they say, as they did in Brugge, “We don’t believe this RCT, we need more money for more RCTs.” If you think about it, they are saying pregnant women should remain Vitamin D deficient until scientists get all the money for all the RCTs they want, which may take another ten years. How many children will be forever damaged in that ten years?

Amazing study just presented at American Heart Association meeting
Dr. Tami Bair and Dr. Heidi May, of the Intermountain Medical Center in Utah, report yet another study showing that your risk of heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure and death are dramatically increased by Vitamin D deficiency. In a presentation at the American heart Association meeting, they found that people with low levels (< 15 ng/ml) had a 45% increased risk for cardiovascular disease, 78% greater risk of stroke and double the risk for congestive heart failure, not to mention a 77% increased risk of death, compared to people with Vitamin D levels > 30 ng/ml. All that disease and death occurred in only 13 months of follow up for the 27,000 people in the study.
So how many Americans died this last year from Vitamin D deficiency? Ten thousand? A hundred thousand? More? How many will die next year? Someone is responsible. Medical scientists who want more money before recommending that Vitamin D deficiency be treated have to assume responsibility. I am all for more studies but we have to act now, like we did with cigarettes. Remember, no human randomized controlled trials exist showing cigarettes are dangerous, so we have much more and better science than we did when we warned about smoking. If we fail to act on the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency, someone will end up with blood on their hands.

The Great Disappearing Act
We are currently witnessing one of the great mysteries of the natural world. The H1N1 outbreak is rapidly disappearing, despite a wealth of potential victims without antibodies to the virus, and yes, in spite of plummeting Vitamin D levels. In several weeks, the CDC will announce that perhaps one-third of Americans were infected in the last nine months and now have Swine flu antibodies, leaving the majority of the population still susceptible.
But this H1N1 virus is rapidly refusing the invitation to infect the two-third of Americans who are mostly immunological virgins and will soon recede until the next widespread outbreak, which may come this spring or next fall and winter. When H1N1 returns again, I predict it will cause more illness and death than it did this fall despite the fact it will attack a population with more H1N1 specific antibodies. Measles, another virus thought to transmit via respiratory secretions, would never forego the opportunity to infect so many virgins.
Influenzologists have no idea why this Disappearing Act happens. Dr. Edgar Hope-Simpson believed the reason lay in the mode of transmission; the current outbreak is ending despite a wealth of potential victims because the people transmitting the flu are suddenly no longer contagious. I recommend Hope-Simpson’s book:
I also believe that only a small population was transmitting, not all those infected. If these good transmitters – and not all the sick – usually spread the virus, and their transmission period is limited, the epidemic would end shortly after the good transmitters lose their infectivity. Why they lose their infectivity is yet another mystery, but a mystery that fits the epidemiology of influenza.
Another incredible Disappearing Act, one that usually follows the introduction of a pandemic virus, is the rapid and usually complete replacement of seasonal flu with the pandemic one. It is as if the pandemic virus murders the seasonal flu. We will have to wait to see if that happens worldwide with this pandemic, but in the USA it has already happened. Last week the CDC reported that more than 99% of all influenza viruses identified in the USA were Swine flu. Only 1 of 1,874 influenza A viruses identified last week was seasonal flu. Where did the seasonal flu virus go?

Thanks to those who volunteered!
If your email address begins with A through E, you may have gotten my email asking for volunteers to help give feedback on our new website. We were overwhelmed with the response, ten times more than we needed. Thank you.
The reason for the request is that the Vitamin D Council has contracted with Minervation Ltd for $40,000 to build a new website over the next several years. We can only afford $1,000 per month so it take three and a half years to pay them, however; the first version of the new site is scheduled to go up in the late fall of 2010.
We decided to make our site more accessible, so if you only want to know about Vitamin D and pregnancy, you will be able to pull up the information quickly. Our new website will also update Vitamin D articles in the press and scientific studies from the National Library of Medicine automatically every day.
We also want to clearly separate fact from opinion, so readers can easily see what the science is and what our opinion is. Finally, as you know, the Vitamin D Council unfortunately has to market products, like the in-home Vitamin D blood test, to stay in business. The new website will prominently display all of our potential conflicts so readers will know them up front.
If you want our new website up and running sooner than 12 months, consider making a dedicated donation, either by using the snail mail address below or via PayPal on our website. We are now going on our seventh year of operation and plan on 20 more years, in spite of the fact that all 15 of our requests for grants were recently turned down.
Did you know that when you Google “Vitamin D,” you will get more than 12 million hits? Our current website is usually ranked either number 1 or 2 of those 12 million, beating out the NIH, Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia on most days? This is almost entirely due to our webmaster Dana Clark. However, we believe we can dramatically improve our website, with your help.

John Cannell, MD
This newsletter may be reproduced as long as you properly and prominently attribute it source. Please reproduce it, post it on Internet sites, and forward it to your friends.
Remember, we are a non-profit and rely on your donations to publish our newsletter, maintain our website, and pursue our objectives. Send your tax-deductible contributions to:
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422