Vitamin D and the immune system

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Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:21 pm

Natural News wrote:(NaturalNews) People still don't get it: Vitamin D is the "miracle nutrient" that activates your immune system to defend you against invading microorganisms -- including seasonal flu and swine flu. Two months ago, an important study was published by researchers at Oregon State University. This study reveals something startling: Vitamin D is so crucial to the functioning of your immune system that the ability of vitamin D to boost immune function and destroy invading microorganisms has been conserved in the genome for over 60 million years of evolution.

As this press release from Oregon State University (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 081809.php) explains:

The fact that this vitamin-D mediated immune response has been retained through millions of years of evolutionary selection, and is still found in species ranging from squirrel monkeys to baboons and humans, suggests that it must be critical to their survival, researchers say.

"The existence and importance of this part of our immune response makes it clear that humans and other primates need to maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D," said Adrian Gombart, an associate professor of biochemistry and a principal investigator with the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University.

The announcement goes on to explain:

In primates, this action of "turning on" an optimal response to microbial attack only works properly in the presence of adequate vitamin D, which is actually a type of hormone that circulates in the blood and signals to cells through a receptor. Vitamin D is produced in large amounts as a result of sun exposure, and is available in much smaller amounts from dietary sources.

Vitamin D prevents the "adaptive" immune response from over-reacting and reduces inflammation, and appears to suppress the immune response. However, the function of the new genetic element this research explored allows vitamin D to boost the innate immune response by turning on an antimicrobial protein. The overall effect may help to prevent the immune system from overreacting.

Without vitamin D, you're a sitting duck
What this study reveals is that without sufficient levels of vitamin D circulating in your blood, you're a ripe, juicy target for influenza (H1N1 or otherwise). If you lack vitamin D, your immune system can't "activate" to do its job. That's why people who are deficient in vitamin D so frequently get winter colds.

But people who are high in vitamin D have the nutritional power to activate their immune system so that it can respond to invading pathogens. Crucially, vitamin D also manages to balance immune response and prevent inflammation -- the leading cause of death in the 1918 influenza pandemic.

So not only does vitamin D protect you from the initial infection; it also prevents your body from over-reacting and killing you with inflammation (which typically gets expressed as bacterial pneumonia, an infection of the lungs).
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby cleaver on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:25 pm

There is a fearsome amount of support for Vitamin D at the moment. A lot of the research is suggesting 5000 IUs per day.

Is this a sensible amount?
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Rab on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:28 pm

Ive been taking a tub of calcium & vit d that i picked up cheap.

ANy reason why calcuim would be paired with it while on the vit d subject?
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:31 pm

For about a year I've been taking 2000IUs of Vit D3 (must be D3). The past 2 months I've now been on 5000IU-7000IUs. I've got a good 5000IU product and another 1000IU one. It is all very subjective but haven't had any negatives. No colds or swine flu despite me working with the public so to speak; people I know that have had it and other flus and colds.

I think 5000IU in Europe from Sept-April is a sensible thing for sure.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Resurrected on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:37 pm

Below is an article from the LEF. they have been supporting vit d use for several years.

For those who do not subscribe to the magazine you can subscribe and receive it for free. The only problem I have is that they often publish an article followed by an advert for the particular neutruceatical (sp?) they are recommending. So whilst there is some very good information in there do treat it with some caution.

Otherwise an excellent free read.

Vitamin D’s Crucial Role in Cardiovascular Protection
By William Davis, MD

Health-conscious adults regularly monitor their cardiovascular risk factors—such as cholesterol, glucose, and homocysteine—in order to reduce their risk of debilitating cardiovascular disease. Now, intriguing new research suggests that vitamin D may play an essential yet overlooked role in staving off heart disease. Vitamin D deficiency may eventually be added to the list of causative factors that contribute to cardiovascular disorders.

A growing body of research indicates that vitamin D deficiency contributes to a broad spectrum of conditions such as high blood pressure, poor insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and other fundamental processes that underlie heart disease.

Alarmingly, vitamin D deficiency is extremely common throughout the population—affecting more than half of adults and the majority of the elderly.1

In this article, we’ll explore the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, its detrimental effects on cardiovascular and whole-body health, and how you can protect yourself by maintaining healthy blood levels of vitamin D.

If you look up “coronary risk factor” in any standard medical textbook, you’ll find a list that includes high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and hypertension. However, vitamin D status is not listed. Perhaps you’ll find vitamin D in the list of risks for childhood rickets and osteoporosis in females. But a coronary risk factor? You’ll not see it.

New data, however, are suggesting a whole new panel of health effects previously unsuspected for this underappreciated vitamin. It may, in fact, be a crucial nutrient that plays a central role in coronary heart disease prevention.

“Vitamin D deficiency and its consequences are extremely subtle, but have enormous implicationsfor human health and disease. It is for this reason that vitamin D deficiency continues to go unrecognized by a majority of health care professionals.”

—Dr. Michael Holick, University of Boston
Vitamin D Deficiency: A Modern Epidemic

Poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and stressful schedules have contributed to today’s epidemic of cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, dietary and lifestyle factors are also linked with another potentially dangerous and possibly related epidemic—that of vitamin D deficiency.

Human skin is rich with latent pre-vitamin D, which is activated by sunlight. Humans are meant to obtain vitamin D through sunlight exposure. Vitamin D is not contained to any significant degree in food, nor was it meant to be obtained through oral intake. But over the centuries, people have migrated to colder, sun-deprived climates, work indoors in offices or factories, travel by car, exercise in gyms rather than outdoors, and wear clothes that cover all but 5% of body surface area. In fact, even adults living in sunny Miami are likely to be deficient in vitamin D for at least part of the year.2 Oral intake of vitamin D has become necessary as humans developed lifestyles involving less and less sun exposure. Add to this the sun phobia fostered by dermatologists advising us that sun exposure causes skin cancer, and most of us are terribly sun-deprived and thereby unable to activate vitamin D.

There are few dietary sources of vitamin D. An eight ounce glass of milk contains 100 IU, although this is often inconsistent.3,4 Other dairy products, like cheese and yogurt, tend to have little or no vitamin D added. Oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines contain 200–360 IU vitamin D per 3.5 ounce serving. Many breakfast cereals contain 40–100 IU per serving.1 Despite this, many people fail to obtain even the modest “adequate” intake every day. Strict vegetarians and lactose intolerant individuals are especially likely to be substantially vitamin D deficient.5 Other people at high risk for vitamin D deficiency include: the elderly, who convert less vitamin D with sunlight exposure compared to younger people; the obese; and dark-skinned individuals, due to high melanin skin content.4,6
Vitamin D and Coronary Risk: What You Need to Know

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Noticing that people who live in northern climates experience more heart attacks, scientists began investigating the relationship between vitamin D and heart disease. Growing evidence now suggests that low levels of vitamin D may represent a significant but little-known contributor to heart disease.
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Vitamin D is produced in the skin in response to sunlight exposure. Modest amounts of vitamin D are available in foods such as dairy products, oily fish, and breakfast cereals.
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Many adults fail to consume the recommended adequate intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is particularly widespread in elderly adults and those who spend little time in the sun.
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Studies suggest that the recommended adequate intake of vitamin D is far too low. Many health experts now advise adults to supplement with 1,000 IU or more each day.
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Measuring blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is crucial to detect deficiency and monitor the effects of vitamin D supplementation. Scientists advise adults to achieve a minimum blood level of 30 ng/mL of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, and some studies suggest that even higher levels are advisable.
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Vitamin D deficiency contributes to high blood pressure, diabetes, and inflammation—all of which increase cardiovascular risk. Low levels of vitamin D have been noted in heart attack sufferers and those with atherosclerosis, and may contribute to the elevated cardiovascular risk that accompanies kidney disease.
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Optimal vitamin D levels may protect against conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, influenza, and bone fractures.
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Ensuring optimal blood levels of vitamin D may represent a key component of a strategy to prevent and treat coronary disease.

Vitamin D Recommendations Based on Fiction, Not Facts

In 1963, when the Institute of Medicine drafted the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D, there were literally no scientific data available to help determine requirements for optimal health. It was clear, however, that vitamin D was a necessary ingredient for health, since children who failed to receive at least 300–400 IU per day, usually supplemented as cod liver oil, developed “bow legs,” or rickets, due to abnormal bone maturation in the legs. But the vitamin D dose recommended for adults was purely—and admittedly—fabrication. It was based on a disease model—that is, the amount thought to prevent rickets, rather than the amount needed to promote optimal health, which may be far greater.

“The basis for adult vitamin D recommendations [was] arbitrary. Thirty-six years ago, an expert committee on vitamin D could provide only anecdotal support for what it referred to as ‘the hypothesis of a small requirement’ for vitamin D in adults and it recommended one-half the infant dose, just to ensure that adults obtain some from the diet.”

—Dr. Reinhold Vieth University of Toronto

In the 1960s, the only known consequence of vitamin D deficiency in adults was osteomalacia, a form of bone softening. Administration of 200 IU per day of vitamin D was just enough to prevent osteomalacia. More recent vitamin D research, however, has uncovered the fact that exposure to just 10–20 minutes of sunlight yielded the blood-level equivalent of 10,000 units of vitamin D taken orally.7 Why would the naturally-intended source of vitamin D yield levels far beyond that specified by the RDA?

Speculation grew that the true vitamin D requirement for health was far more than the RDA in the absence of substantial sunlight exposure. A study conducted during the winter months in Omaha, Nebraska, in healthy adult men showed that the participants utilized 3000–5000 international units of vitamin D per day to maintain a steady vitamin D blood level. The researchers concluded that the current RDA was inadequate to meet these requirements.8 Low government-issued vitamin D intake recommendations, along with deprivation of sunlight, has therefore resulted in a nation that is frightfully deficient in a crucial nutrient.

Further investigation using blood levels of vitamin D have uncovered the extraordinary prevalence of deficiency. A study of 1500 women receiving treatment for osteoporosis showed that 52% of participants were deficient (<30 ng/mL 25-hydroxyvitamin D); and 18% were severely deficient (<20 ng/mL 25-hydroxyvitamin D).9 The likelihood of vitamin D deficiency ranges from a low of 36% in healthy adults 18–29 years old, to 57% of a general adult population in the US, to as much as 100% in the elderly.1 North of 37 degrees latitude (approximately a line drawn horizontally connecting Norfolk, Virginia, to San Francisco, California), sunlight is insufficient to trigger vitamin D conversion in the winter months.10 Living in a southern climate is no guarantee that deficiency won’t occur. A study conducted in Miami, Florida showed that approximately 40% of 212 adults were deficient in winter, with a modest improvement in summer.2
Sunlight, Vitamin D, and Heart Attack

The farther north you live, the more likely you will suffer a heart attack.11 That curious observation led to the suspicion that vitamin D may somehow be related to the development of heart disease. It suggests that sunlight exposure may somehow provide a protective effect, perhaps through vitamin D. The notable exception to this pattern is the Eskimos, who eat large quantities of oily fish, a rich source of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

An early hint that deficiency of vitamin D might be behind heart disease came from a New Zealand study of 179 people presenting with heart attacks. Heart attack sufferers proved to have lower vitamin D blood levels (25-hydroxyvitamin D) compared to people without heart attacks.12

A corroborating observation emerged from analysis of the enormous database of 259,891 heart attacks maintained by the National Registry of Myocardial Infarction. In this nationwide tabulation, heart attacks surged by 53% during sun-deprived winter months compared to summer.13 Further corroboration came from observations in sub-tropical climates, where intense sun shines year-round and seasonal variation in heart attack rates doesn’t occur.14 Unlike the large ranges in cold or hot weather found in temperate regions, the warm climate of a subtropical region does not affect the frequency of heart attacks.

If vitamin D is indeed related to heart disease risk, then we would also expect to see fewer heart attacks in sunny climates and more heart attacks in cooler climates. Indeed, an exhaustive study performed by Dr. David Grimes and colleagues at the Blackburn Royal Infirmary in England demonstrated a consistent worldwide relationship between sunlight exposure and heart disease: the farther north in latitude, the more heart attacks occurred.11 Dr. Grimes and others have suggested that the vitamin D activated by sunlight is behind the reduced risk of heart disease.
Health-Promoting Effects of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has far-reaching implications that extend far beyond promoting bone health. Over the past 40 years, research has shed light on the intersecting pathways of vitamin D and many other aspects of health. Among vitamin D’s crucial functions in the body are:

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Normalizing blood pressure. People deficient in vitamin D are much more likely to have high blood pressure.15,16 Treatment with vitamin D and calcium significantly lowers systolic blood pressure.15 Vitamin D likely exerts this effect by suppressing the expression of the blood pressure hormone renin.32
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Anti-inflammatory effects. Vitamin D appears to have a potent effect on reducing inflammation, as measured by C-reactive protein (CRP). Dramatic reductions in CRP have been documented. In contrast, statin medications may only produce modest decreases in CRP levels.17
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Anti-diabetic effects. Diabetes is more prevalent in individuals with low serum vitamin D levels.22 Vitamin D administration reduces blood sugar and increases sensitivity to insulin. Improvement in insulin sensitivity is associated with a cascade of benefits, including a decreased risk of developing full-blown diabetes.18
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Chemoprevention. Vitamin D has demonstrated potent cancer-preventive effects in experimental and animal preparations and in humans.7 A recent study showed that supplementing with vitamin D and calcium reduced the incidence of all types of cancer in postmenopausal women.33
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Osteoporosis prevention. Vitamin D is sorely neglected in this area. Women are prescribed expensive prescription drugs costing hundreds of dollars per month, yet are deficient in vitamin D, a crucial factor in bone health. Replacement to healthy levels substantially increases bone density more effectively than calcium supplementation. Intestinal absorption of calcium is magnified considerably when sufficient vitamin D is present.34,35
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Prevention of stress fractures. Even young men with an average age of 19 were shown to experience more stress fractures when blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were low.36
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Prevention of multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased likelihood of developing this debilitating neurological disorder in lighter-skinned individuals; the correlation between poor vitamin D status and multiple sclerosis did not hold true in African American or Hispanic populations.37 Scientists believe that the active form of vitamin D helps avert multiple sclerosis—which is considered an autoimmune disease—by selectively regulating the immune system.
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Immune Enhancement. Noting that influenza epidemics are more common in the winter months, scientists have proposed that low levels of vitamin D may predispose individuals to succumbing to these potentially dangerous respiratory infections.38

My clinic also advises that patients consume fish oil at a minimum dose of 4000 mg/day (containing 1200 mg of eicosapentenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), along with L-arginine (3000–6000 mg twice per day) to support endothelial health.

Lastly, we raise blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L) using vitamin D supplementation. Most people (in the northern Midwest) require 2000–4000 IU per day in winter, and half that dose in summer. Some require as much as 8000 IU per day, while a rare person requires only 1000 IU per day. Using this approach, we now have an impressive track record of reducing CT heart scan scores. Reductions of 20-30% in the first year are not uncommon.
Vitamin D: Essential for Heart Health

Abundant evidence now points to the numerous cardioprotective functions of vitamin D. Restoring vitamin D to normal levels has been found to help reduce inflammation, normalize blood pressure, and improve insulin sensitivity—all factors that reduce heart disease risk.15-18

Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to diminish contractile function of heart muscle cells, contribute to endothelial dysfunction, distort heart muscle structure (triggering hypertrophy, or abnormal heart muscle growth), and increase smooth muscle growth in the coronary artery wall—a process that leads to atherosclerotic plaque formation.19,20 Low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D have been linked with congestive heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to keep up with the body’s demands for blood and oxygen.21 A recent analysis showed that individuals with low serum levels of vitamin D had higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated triglycerides than those with higher vitamin D levels.22

Longstanding vitamin D deficiency is a major contributor to osteoporosis, and scientists have long known that women with osteoporosis are more likely to have coronary heart disease. The correlation between osteoporosis and heart disease may reflect common risk factors and mechanisms, such as estrogen and vitamin D.23 A study in 2,500 postmenopausal women showed a four-fold greater risk of heart attack in women with osteoporosis.24 A University of Illinois study showed that the computed tomography (CT) heart scan score (a measure of coronary atherosclerotic plaque) in women with osteoporosis averaged 222 (optimal is zero), while women with normal bone density had far lower average scores of 42.25 Similar findings have shown that higher levels of coronary calcification are found in those with lower levels of vitamin D.26,27

Vitamin D deficiency may extend to vascular disease beyond the coronary arteries. A recent Italian study determined that the greater the vitamin D deficiency, the more carotid atherosclerotic plaque was present, as assessed by carotid ultrasound. The authors concluded that low vitamin D blood levels were an independent and strong predictor of atherosclerosis. Diabetics were also twice as likely as non-diabetics to be severely vitamin D deficient.28

Some authorities have proposed that inadequate vitamin D is part of the reason for the extremely high incidence of cardiovascular disease in people with abnormal kidney function.29 People with little or no kidney function often have very low levels of vitamin D, since the kidney is required for its activation.30 A Japanese study in 240 people on dialysis for severe kidney disease suggested that treatment to correct vitamin D deficiency resulted in a dramatic reduction in heart attack and death from heart disease.31 Emerging science argues strongly in favor of vitamin D as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Optimizing vitamin D status holds tremendous potential to safely, inexpensively, and dramatically reduce cardiovascular risk.

“… there is a striking similarity between the benefits of vitamin D and the benefits of statin therapy. I believe that the unexpected and unexplained beneficial effects of statin therapy might be mediated by activation of vitamin D receptors by this group of drugs.”

—Dr. David S. Grimes Blackburn Royal Infirmary, Lancashire, UK

Vitamin D’s Crucial Role in Cardiovascular Protection
By William Davis, MD
Cholesterol is Not Everything

Judging from the constant onslaught of drug company advertising, you’d think that a cure for coronary heart disease has been discovered, and that the cure is cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Existing data show that this is clearly not the case. Risk for heart attack is certainly reduced, usually by about 25–30%, but not eliminated. Thus, statin drugs could only prevent about one in every three heart attacks.39

This is because there are many other causes for heart disease beyond LDL: low HDL, increased triglycerides, diabetes, inflammation, and hidden causes of heart disease like lipoprotein(a). But how about vitamin D? The scientific information so far is hugely promising.

“I foresee an increasing number of studies linking vitamin D deficiency to most of the diseases of modern civilization. Furthermore, I foresee a backlash by many in organized medicine who simply cannot accept the possibility that such a simple and cheap compound can have such health benefits. I foresee lawsuits against practicing physicians who don’t accept the importance of vitamin D. For example, researchers at Harvard just announced that the five year survival for patients with early stage, non-small cell carcinoma of the lung was almost three times better in those with evidence of the highest vitamin D levels compared to those with the lowest. Five-year survival for those with the highest levels approached 80%! I predict similar claims will be filed against cardiologists for letting heart disease patients die vitamin D-deficient as the evidence mounts that vitamin D prevents and treats heart disease.”

—Dr. John Cannell The Vitamin D Council http://www.vitamindcouncil.com
Optimizing Vitamin D Levels

Given the vast benefits of vitamin D for cardiovascular and whole-body health, ensuring optimal vitamin D status is an essential part of every wellness program. The best way to know your vitamin D status is to have your doctor measure the blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (not to be confused with 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D). The minimum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D required for health is controversial, and can also vary by the method used for measurement. However, most authorities have argued that a rock-bottom minimum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 30 ng/mL, or 75 nmol/L, is the point at which phenomena associated with deficiency begin to be corrected.40 Noted vitamin D authority Dr. Reinhold Vieth of the University of Toronto has argued that a blood level of 40 ng/mL (100 nmol/L) should be achieved.7 Dr. Michael Holick of the University of Boston proposes that serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D is in the range of 30-50 ng/mL (75-125 nmol/L).34 Another study showed that elderly men and women were at an increased risk of bone loss when their levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D fell below 45 ng/mL (110 nmol/L), suggesting that maintaining 25-hydroxyvitamin D above 45 ng/mL may be crucial for all aging adults.41 If vitamin D levels are low, consider supplementation to help reverse a vitamin D deficiency. Re-checking your vitamin D status after several months of supplementation is prudent to ensure that a deficiency has been averted.

New studies are showing that the dose required to achieve a healthy blood level of vitamin D is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000–4,000 IU per day in the absence of sun exposure.42 That’s more than five times the Institute of Medicine’s recommended adequate intake, though still less than obtained through several minutes of midday sun exposure. Vitamin D toxicity does not usually develop unless vitamin D intake exceeds 10,000 units per day or blood levels exceed 80 ng/mL (200 nmol/L).1,7 In fact, some scientists believe that the tolerable upper intake level of vitamin D intake should be revised from 2,000 IU/day to 10,000 IU/day.43
Does Vitamin D Reverse Coronary Disease?

While the scientific community is still debating whether vitamin D can help reverse coronary disease, my clinical experience indicates that vitamin D is a crucial part of a coronary plaque reversal program.
My clinic’s program of reversing heart disease involves a multi-faceted approach. First, we document the quantity of coronary atherosclerotic plaque through a CT heart scan. Then, we achieve the following goals:

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Low density lipoprotein (LDL): 60 mg/dL or less (but not less than 40 mg/dL)
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High-density lipoprotein (HDL): 60 mg/dL or greater
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Triglycerides: 60 mg/dL or less Normal blood pressure: (<130/80 mmHg)
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Normal blood sugar: (<100 mg/dL)

My clinic also advises that patients consume fish oil at a minimum dose of 4000 mg/day (containing 1200 mg of eicosapentenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), along with L-arginine (3000–6000 mg twice per day) to support endothelial health.

Lastly, we raise blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D to 50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L) using vitamin D supplementation. Most people (in the northern Midwest) require 2000–4000 IU per day in winter, and half that dose in summer. Some require as much as 8000 IU per day, while a rare person requires only 1000 IU per day. Using this approach, we now have an impressive track record of reducing CT heart scan scores. Reductions of 20-30% in the first year are not uncommon.

If you live in the northern US (states like Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, the Dakotas, etc.), Canada, or northern Europe, there’s a high likelihood that you’re deficient. If you’re like most Americans, you get sun sporadically during summer weekends, and virtually none from September to April. Dark-skinned individuals are at even greater risk of vitamin D deficiency, since melanin pigment in skin acts as a natural sunscreen. Dark-skinned individuals require around five times longer sun exposure to obtain the same amount of vitamin D as fair-skinned persons. African-Americans, for this reason, are among the most vitamin D deficient of all.

Ten minutes of sun exposure in midday, wearing shorts and t-shirt to expose skin surface area, will provide most Caucasians plentiful vitamin D during the summer. This limited time minimizes the risk of skin cancer. (If you are especially fair-skinned, you might do fine with somewhat less.) If you are in the sun any longer than this, you should apply a sunscreen (which blocks both sunlight as well as vitamin D activation in the skin).

However, if sun exposure is sporadic, supplementation is crucial to obtain the full benefit of vitamin D’s panel of biologic effects. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is preferable to vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), as it is absorbed 70% better than D2 and it more effectively increases blood levels.44 Many vitamin D supplements contain only 400 IU per capsule or tablet. More and more manufacturers are producing 1,000 and 5,000 IU capsules to suit the growing demand for higher dose vitamin D supplements. In northern climates or sun-deprived lifestyles, 1,000 IU per day is a reasonable starting dose. You may wish to consult your physician and check your blood level of vitamin D to determine if even higher doses of vitamin D are appropriate for you.

To obtain a dose of 1,000–2,000 IU or more per day, a specific vitamin D supplement will be required, rather than a combination supplement with calcium or other nutrients. Note the quantity of vitamin D (if any) included with your other supplements, such as calcium and multivitamins (usually 200–400 IU), and reduce the amount of specific vitamin D accordingly (to equal your total desired dose).

Supplementing with very high doses of vitamin D over an extended period of time can lead to elevated blood calcium levels, which can adversely affect nerve and muscle function, and can contribute to kidney stones.45-48 Individuals using large doses of vitamin D should be carefully monitored for signs and symptoms of vitamin D toxicity such as poor appetite, constipation, weakness, heart arrhythmias, and elevated blood levels of cholesterol, calcium, or liver enzymes.49 Individuals with hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels) should not take vitamin D.49 If you have kidney disease or if you use digoxin or other cardiac glycoside drugs, consult a physician before using supplemental vitamin D.4

“Personally, I take 5,000 units in the late fall, winter, and early spring, and then I vary doses the rest of the time depending on sun exposure. I also have my 25-hydroxyvitamin D level checked twice a year, once in the early spring and again in the early fall. My 10-year old daughter takes 2,000 units a day in the winter months, and my three year old takes 1,000 units a day in the winter.”

—Dr. John Cannell The Vitamin D Council http://www.vitamindcouncil.com
Conclusion

The understanding of vitamin D is rapidly evolving. Compelling and substantial evidence suggests that most people—particularly those living in northern climates or with limited sun exposure—are substantially deficient. Replenishing vitamin D can help normalize blood pressure, support healthy blood sugar, improve insulin resistance, and dampen inflammation—all processes that contribute to heart disease. Growing evidence is adding support to the idea that vitamin D deficiency contributes to coronary risk, and that replacement of vitamin D can reduce risk. The vitamin D in dairy products and foods fails to provide sufficient quantities for the majority of Americans. In the absence of substantial sun exposure every day, vitamin D replacement is required in order to achieve adequate blood levels of this essential nutrient.

Dr. William Davis is an author and cardiologist practicing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is author of the book, Track your Plaque:

The only heart disease prevention program that shows you how touse the new heart scans to detect, track, and control coronary plaque. He can be contacted through http://www.trackyourplaque.com.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss any aspect of this article, please call one of our Health Advisors at 1-800 226-2370.
References

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2. Levis S, Gomez A, Jimenez C, et al. Vitamin d deficiency and seasonal variation in an adult South Florida population. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Mar;90(3):1557-62.

3. Available at: http://dietary-supplements.info.nih.gov ... tamind.asp. Accessed June 20, 2007.

4. Holick MF, Shao Q, Liu WW, Chen TC. The vitamin D content of fortified milk and infant formula. N Engl J Med. 1992 Apr 30;326(18):1178-81.

5. Zadshir A, Tareen N, Pan D, Norris K, Martins D. The prevalence of hypovitaminosis D among US adults: data from the NHANES III. Ethn Dis. 2005;15(4 Suppl 5):S5-101.

6. Wortsman J, Matsuoka LY, Chen TC, Lu Z, Holick MF. Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Sep;72(3):690-3.

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

8. Heaney RP, Davies KM, Chen TC, Holick MF, Barger-Lux MJ. Human serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol response to extended oral dosing with cholecalciferol. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Jan;77(1):204-10.

9. Holick MF, Siris ES, Binkley N, et al. Prevalence of Vitamin D inadequacy among postmenopausal North American women receiving osteoporosis therapy. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jun;90(6):3215-24.

10. Webb AR, Kline L, Holick MF. Influence of season and latitude on the cutaneous synthesis of vitamin D3: exposure to winter sunlight in Boston and Edmonton will not promote vitamin D3 synthesis in human skin. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1988 Aug;67(2):373-8.

11. Grimes DS, Hindle E, Dyer T. Sunlight, cholesterol and coronary heart disease. QJM. 1996 Aug;89(8):579-89.

12. Scragg R, Jackson R, Holdaway IM, Lim T, Beaglehole R. Myocardial infarction is inversely associated with plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels: a community-based study. Int J Epidemiol. 1990 Sep;19(3):559-63.

13. Spencer FA, Goldberg RJ, Becker RC, Gore JM. Seasonal distribution of acute myocardial infarction in the second National Registry of Myocardial Infarction. J Am Coll Cardiol. 1998 May;31(6):1226-33.

14. Ku CS, Yang CY, Lee WJ, et al. Absence of a seasonal variation in myocardial infarction onset in a region without temperature extremes. Cardiology. 1998 May;89(4):277-82.

15. Pfeifer M, Begerow B, Minne HW, Nachtigall D, Hansen C. Effects of a short-term vitamin D(3) and calcium supplementation on blood pressure and parathyroid hormone levels in elderly women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Apr;86(4):1633-7.

16. Lind L, Hanni A, Lithell H, et al. Vitamin D is related to blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged men. Am J Hypertens. 1995 Sep;8(9):894-901.

17. Timms PM, Mannan N, Hitman GA, et al. Circulating MMP9, vitamin D and variation in the TIMP-1 response with VDR genotype: mechanisms for inflammatory damage in chronic disorders? QJM. 2002 Dec;95(12):787-96.

18. Zittermann A. Vitamin D and disease prevention with special reference to cardiovascular disease. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006 Sep;92(1):39-48.

19. Achinger SG, Ayus JC. The role of vitamin D in left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac function. Kidney Int Suppl. 2005 Jun;(95):S37-S42.

20. London GM, Guerin AP, Verbeke FH, et al. Mineral metabolism and arterial functions in end-stage renal disease: potential role of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2007 Feb;18(2):613-20.

21. Zittermann A, Schleithoff SS, Tenderich G, Berthold HK, Korfer R, Stehle P. Low vitamin D status: a contributing factor in the pathogenesis of congestive heart failure? J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Jan 1;41(1):105–12.

22. Martins D, Wolf M, Pan D, et al. Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and the serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin d in the United States: data from the third national health and nutrition examination survey. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Jun 11;167(11):1159-65.

23. Kuller LH, Matthews KA, Meilahn EN. Estrogens and women’s health: interrelation of coronary heart disease, breast cancer and osteoporosis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2000 Nov 30;74(5):297-309.

24. Tankó LB, Christiansen C, Cox DA, Geiger MJ, McNabb MA, Cummings SR. Relationship between osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease in postmenopausal women. J Bone Miner Res. 2005 Nov;20(11):1912-20.

25 Barengolts EI, Berman M, Kukreja SC, et al. Osteoporosis and coronary atherosclerosis in asymptomatic postmenopausal women. Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Mar;62(3):209-13.

26. Watson KE, Abrolat ML, Malone LL, et al. Active serum vitamin D levels are inversely correlated with coronary calcification. Circulation. 1997 Sep 16;96(6):1755-60.

27. Zittermann A, Schleithoff SS, Koerfer R. Vitamin D and vascular calcification. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2007 Feb;18(1):41-6.

28. Targher G, Bertolini L, Padovani R, et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations and carotid artery intima-media thickness among type 2 diabetic patients. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2006 Nov;65(5):593-7.

29. Levin A, Li YC. Vitamin D and its analogues: do they protect against cardiovascular disease in patients with kidney disease? Kidney Int. 2005 Nov;68(5):1973-81.

30. Taskapan H, Ersoy FF, Passadakis PS, et al. Severe vitamin D deficiency in chronic renal failure patients on peritoneal dialysis. Clin Nephrol. 2006 Oct;66(4):247-55.

31. Shoji T, Shinohara K, Kimoto E, et al. Lower risk for cardiovascular mortality in oral 1alpha-hydroxy vitamin D3 users in a haemodialysis population. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2004 Jan;19(1):179-84.

32. Li YC. Vitamin D regulation of the renin-angiotensin system. J Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb 1;88(2):327-31.

33. 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.

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

35. Bischoff-Ferrari HA. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D threshold for better health. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2007 Mar;103(3-5):614-9.

36. Ruohola JP, Laaksi I, Ylikomi T, et al. Association between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and bone stress fractures in Finnish young men. J Bone Miner Res. 2006 Sep;21(9):1483-8.

37. Hayes CE, Cantorna MT, DeLuca HF. Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1997 Oct;216(1):21-7.

38. Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, et al. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40.

39. Davidson MH. Reducing residual risk for patients on statin therapy: the potential role of combination therapy. Am J Cardiol. 2005 Nov 7;96(9A):3K-13K.

40. Zittermann A. Vitamin D in preventive medicine: are we ignoring the evidence? Br J Nutr. 2003 May;89(5):552-72.

41. Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Dallal GE. Plasma calcidiol, season, and serum parathyroid hormone concentrations in healthy elderly men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Jan;65(1):67-71.

42. Vieth R, Chan PC, MacFarlane GD. Efficacy and safety of vitamin D3 intake exceeding the lowest observed adverse effect level. Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Feb;73(2):288-94.

43. Hathcock JN, Shao A, Vieth R, Heaney R. Risk assessment for vitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jan;85(1):6-18.

44. Trang HM, Cole DE, Rubin LA, et al. Evidence that vitamin D3 increases serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D more efficiently than does vitamin D2. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Oct;68(4):854-8.

45. Adams JS, Fernandez M, Gacad MA, et al. Vitamin D metabolite-mediated hypercalcemia and hypercalciuria patients with AIDS- and non-AIDS-associated lymphoma. Blood. 1989 Jan;73(1):235-9.

46. Beer TM, Myrthue A. Calcitriol in the treatment of prostate cancer. Anticancer Res. 2006 Jul;26(4A):2647-51.

47. Tonner DR, Schlechte JA. Neurologic complications of thyroid and parathyroid disease. Med Clin North Am. 1993 Jan;77(1):251-63.

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49. Available at: http://www.pdrhealth.com/drug_info/nmdr ... 0265.shtml. Accessed June 19, 2007.

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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby cleaver on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:42 pm

Rab wrote:Ive been taking a tub of calcium & vit d that i picked up cheap.

ANy reason why calcuim would be paired with it while on the vit d subject?


calcium is better absorbed when vitamin D is present.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby RoB on Tue Oct 13, 2009 9:57 pm

health4ni wrote:For about a year I've been taking 2000IUs of Vit D3 (must be D3). The past 2 months I've now been on 5000IU-7000IUs. I've got a good 5000IU product and another 1000IU one. It is all very subjective but haven't had any negatives. No colds or swine flu despite me working with the public so to speak; people I know that have had it and other flus and colds.

I think 5000IU in Europe from Sept-April is a sensible thing for sure.


Which 5000IU product do you use health? I'm taking 10,000IU a day at the moment and taking 10 x 1000IU pills is pretty tedious!
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:25 pm

^^ http://www.aoreurope.co.uk/product/view/3017

I'm thinking that I could do a bulk buy from AOR and post to people. There's a few things people might like. Their Vit D being one. Would you and others be interested?
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:26 pm

Thanks for the post Res. It's a good read.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Gothic_Muscle on Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:44 pm

RoB wrote:
health4ni wrote:For about a year I've been taking 2000IUs of Vit D3 (must be D3). The past 2 months I've now been on 5000IU-7000IUs. I've got a good 5000IU product and another 1000IU one. It is all very subjective but haven't had any negatives. No colds or swine flu despite me working with the public so to speak; people I know that have had it and other flus and colds.

I think 5000IU in Europe from Sept-April is a sensible thing for sure.


Which 5000IU product do you use health? I'm taking 10,000IU a day at the moment and taking 10 x 1000IU pills is pretty tedious!



I get mine from iherb.com, NOW foods 120gels x 5000iu for about $8, factor in economy shipping @ $4 and you get the product delivered for less than 10 gold sovereigns - bargain ^_^
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Wed Oct 14, 2009 1:50 pm

^^ lol bloody iherb! Yeah, if people buy from them then there's no point me doing any group buy.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Spit on Wed Oct 14, 2009 2:11 pm

health4ni wrote:^^ lol bloody iherb! Yeah, if people buy from them then there's no point me doing any group buy.



If you are doing a group buy then definitely count me in, I'd be keen to stock up on a decent product.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby RoB on Wed Oct 14, 2009 4:30 pm

Ha. I was going to say I'd be up for it health, but at that price from iHerb there isn't any point.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Alex on Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:56 pm

I'd be interested as there are some other bits I'd like from there.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Gothic_Muscle on Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:02 pm

health4ni wrote:^^ lol bloody iherb! Yeah, if people buy from them then there's no point me doing any group buy.


Lol!! Sorry dude but times are tough ;)

All my micros are now brand from iherb, including my fish oil and epo, top class stuff :D
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:14 pm

No probs. I use them now & again too.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Dtlv74 on Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:14 pm

Bollocks - i know sod all about Vit D but there is now so much info and so many claims about its benefits that am gonna have to do some research to keep up!

Super dosing does look on the face of it to be of significant benefit.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:44 pm

Yep. I think that every adult should take at least 5000IU (some exceptions depending on climate etc, but for us European ones it's vital all year I think). I also think that this is totally safe. Not seen anything to ay otherwise. I also think that 10,000IU would be required for those that are deficient; a test is needed. But I think most are.

I'd go with say 5000IU in summer, then 5000-10,000IU in winter months (some days just 5000IU and some days 10,000IU). That way you don't risk potential issues of 70,000IU per week.

btw Dr Yong says something like 40,000IU a day! But it would seem that for ill people (esp cancer) that looks like a wise thing to do.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby julesm on Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:08 pm

guys over at avant have been discussing vit d for moons- some good reading and studies posted
the solar gems are supposed to be a sh*t hot vit d supp
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Alex on Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:04 pm

How are those getting on with Vit D3 supplementing?
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:11 pm

The trouble with many supps is that you often can't tell if anything is working without having tests done for levels of xyz vitamin/mineral/chemical etc in your blood. Effects can certainly be felt/seen with some supps (magnesium often improves sleep for example), and more when you are not as healthy.

I've been taking 5000IU per day. Then once a week I take 50,000.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby Alex on Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:53 pm

So you're not feeling anything from it as such?
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby health4ni on Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:25 pm

Nope. But that's just me. Maybe others do/will?? Also, I've been taking at least 2000IU for about 2 years now, so going up to 5000 over the past 6 months may not result in much noticeable changes.

Really, we should get Vit D levels tested before starting supplementing and then after x months to see how our levels are. But it's not easy to do in the UK.

For me though, good quality Vit D3 is as important for health as is taking Omega3s. Of course, we'd ideally get it from the sun but in northern Europe that's just not gonna happen until it's our so called summer.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby cleaver on Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:35 pm

I've been on 5000iu a day for about 4 months and have not had so much as a sniffle. Everyone around me has had something or another.

Might not be the only factor involved obv.
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Re: Vitamin D and the immune system

Postby RoB on Sun Feb 07, 2010 10:42 pm

health4ni wrote:Nope. But that's just me. Maybe others do/will?? Also, I've been taking at least 2000IU for about 2 years now, so going up to 5000 over the past 6 months may not result in much noticeable changes.

Really, we should get Vit D levels tested before starting supplementing and then after x months to see how our levels are. But it's not easy to do in the UK.

For me though, good quality Vit D3 is as important for health as is taking Omega3s. Of course, we'd ideally get it from the sun but in northern Europe that's just not gonna happen until it's our so called summer.


I think this is a good point, i've been taking 10,000iu a day without even knowing if i need it. Vitamin D levels are actually pretty tightly regulated by the body, and i don't think it's as simple a case of more is better,
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