A study proclaiming Vitamin D is useless and you should just stop taking it was published in the Lancet recently and “went viral”. The news story was picked up and amplified by the media.
Here it is:
“The take-away message is that there is little justification currently for prescribing vitamin D to prevent heart attack, stroke, cancer, or fractures in otherwise-healthy people living in the community,” says lead study author Dr. Mark Bolland, a researcher at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Randomized Controlled Trials vs Other types of studies
A common gimmick used by Drug Company sponsored studies is to claim that only RCT (randomized trials) are to be included as “evidence”. The Bolland report selected forty RCT studies to conclude Vitamin D is useless. Dr Bolland conveniently excluded all the other basic science and observational studies. There are thousands of observational studies that show health benefits for Vitamin D. A search for Vitamin D in Google Scholar yields 2.2 million published articles. Mark Bolland has excluded 99.9% of the available information on vitamin D to arrive at his conclusion that Vitamin D has no health benefits.
Dr. Michael F Holick, a vitamin D expert and author of the Vitamin D Solution book, says this is just “silly”. He points out that many of the studies in Bolland’s Lancet paper used doses of vitamin D that were too low to be effective.
What Are The Health Benefits of Vitamin D?
What if I told you I discovered a new drug that could reduce the number of cancer deaths in the US by 43,000 annually, reduce colon cancer by 50%, and breast and ovarian cancer by 30%. Would you be impressed?
What if I then told you this same drug could safely prevent or alleviate the following medical conditions:
Osteoporosis, Improve calcium absorption, Reduce hip fractures,
Hypertension, Cardiovascular disease,
Cancer, Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Type One Diabetes, Insulin resistance,
Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOS),
Rheumatoid Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and bone pain,
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s)
All of these health benefits can be obtained with Vitamin D3, an inexpensive vitamin, also obtained with sun exposure.
An Epidemic of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency has been reported in 57% of 290 medical inpatients in Massachusetts, 93% of 150 patients with overt musculoskeletal pain in Minnesota, 48% of patients with Multiple Sclerosis, 50% of patients with lupus and fibromyalgia, 42% of healthy adolescents, 40% of African American Women, and 62 % of the morbidly obese, 83% of 360 patients with low back pain in Saudi Arabia, 73% of Austrian patients with Ankylosing Spondylitis, 58% of Japanese girls with Graves’s Disease, 40% of Chinese adolescent girls, 40-70% of all Finnish medical patients. (5a)
Vitamin D And Multiple Sclerosis.
A review by Dr. Brown reported that Vitamin D supplementation prevented the development and progression of experimental autoimmune encephalitis, an animal model of MS, in mice. A large, prospective, cohort study found that vitamin D supplementation was associated with a 40% reduction in the risk of developing MS. Four small, noncontrolled studies suggested that vitamin D supplementation may decrease exacerbation of MS symptoms. MRI studies of multiple sclerosis lesions show improvement during summer months and worsening during winter months suggesting a Vitamin D link.
Vitamin D and Cancer
A four-year clinical trial, involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn’t take it, a drop so large — twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking — it almost looks like a typographical error. The study was done by professor of medicine Robert Heaney of Creighton University in Nebraska and was published in June 2007.
Vitamin D and Total Mortality
A 2007 meta-analysis review by Dr. Philippe Autier reviewed 18 studies showed a reduction in all cause mortality of about 10% in people supplementing with commonly used doses of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D and Osteoporosis
Bone health requires a combined programme to support bone health with essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin D as it helps the body to utilise calcium and is best in combination with boron, silica and magnesium. When bioidentical natural progesterone is added to this then you have the best conditions to ensure strong healthy bone growth and to minimise the risk of osteoporosis.
Vitamin D Supplementation for Adults
The RDA in America is only 400 IU per day, yet current research suggests that our daily Vitamin D requirement is closer to 4,000 to 5,000 IU. Twenty minutes of Sun exposure will give us ten to twenty thousand IU of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D excess and toxicity requires daily dosage in excess of 40,000 units over a period of months, so 5,000 units a day is safe and far below the level needed to develop vitamin D toxicity. Remember Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so toxicity is possible with massive doses over long periods of time. Vitamin D toxicity causes elevated calcium levels. That’s why Vitamin D supplementation should done only under your physician’s supervision with monitoring of serum 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D levels.The current recommendation for Vitamin D deficiency in those people who must avoid the sun is 5,000 IU of Vitamin D per day which costs 5 cents a day..
Our health care system is in crisis. We are spending billions on expensive procedures like coronary artery bypass and organ transplantation, yet measurements of health are lower than other countries that spend less. In terms of getting more bang for your health care buck, Vitamin D testing and supplementation for the population is one solution which is guaranteed to improve overall health of the population at a ridiculously low cost. The cost saving in reduced cancer rates, and lower osteoporotic fracture rates would be enormous, and we would all enjoy improved health. My goal as a physician in our community is to improve the health of of our community, and Vitamin D testing and supplementation is one way to achieve that goal with no adverse side effects and enormous cost savings.
Further reading on osteoporosis: