Vitamin D

Vitamin D


by Krispin Sullivan, CN

For all vitamin D enthusiasts- Please do not take D in amounts larger than 800 IU daily from all sources (including sun exposure) without clinical testing, physician guidance, and continuing support. If you believe you need more D and can’t wait for the book please order the Preliminary Report, see below, to make sure you are using D safely. 

If you suffer from any disease associated with an alteration of the vitamin D endocrine system, such as sarcoidosis, do not take any D from any source and avoid sunlight.  Persons with any type of liver or kidney disease should consider vitamin D supplementation only if working with a knowledgeable physician. If you have been diagnosed with hypo or hyperparathyroidism vitamin D may play a role in your condition but you must work with a physician.

Harm can occur from excess D as well as insufficiency. Taking D when it is not needed is potentially dangerous no matter what form of D you may be taking.  Do not self treat.

On the Weston A Price website there is an article stating high doses of A and D are safe. To be fair this statement is being made at various websites and by various ‘experts’. The information on which this suggestion (not fact, not science) is based is faulty information (including the references and links to a particular vitamin D ‘foundation’ where you will find more faulty information). 

The information being presented as fact is actually uninformed opinion based on illogically conceived and executed research published with flawed conclusions.  I can say this because a primary focus of my book is a review of research  which shows  that the research studies being cited as the basis for claiming high doses of vitamin D are safe were wrong when they were first published. The conclusions drawn by the ‘safe vitamin D’ research proponents (including the researchers themselves) overlook major flaws in the studies. One of the flaws (there are many) is that no study has been done using high dose vitamin D for longer than 6 months. D toxicity (or for that matter vitamin A toxicity) may take a year or longer to develop putting the trusting user (victim) at great risk. 

Enthusiastic promoters of ‘natural’ vitamin D or cod liver oil suggest that, as it is natural, it is safe in high amounts. Some ‘experts’ use references to ‘prove’ their claims. These references are outdated, not verifiable, or are from studies using supplementation for short periods of time, less than a year. Most vitamin D studies are less than 6 months due to the high cost of such studies and do not reflect safety or toxicity over time. 

Clinical data strongly and definitively contradicts any belief that high doses of vitamin D, whatever the form, are safe. This issue is exhaustively addressed in the book. There have been a number of cases reported to me of severe vitamin D excess with serious and debilitating results, including significant bone loss. Wait for the book or order the Preliminary Report. 

For the past number of years clinicians, physicians, national media, and the National Institute of Health have been warning Americans to stay out of the sun. The purpose of this warning is intended to prevent melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. In spite of the ever-increasing use of sunscreens and intentional reduction of sun exposure, incidence of this cancer continues to rise. 

There is evidence that the advice to avoid sunlight may be contributing to the increased incidence of melanoma. One possible reason for this may be issues relating to genetics and extended exposure to UV-A light. When sunscreen is used sun burning is reduced or eliminated and the sunscreen user’s time in the sun is extended. While UV-A is not as strong as UV-B it does cause damage over time and most sunscreens either do not block or poorly block UV-A no matter what the SPF may be. Whatever the cause, the expected reduction in skin cancer with sunscreen use has not occurred. 

One of the known protectors of skin cells from pre-cancerous changes is vitamin D and your skin actually contains the enzyme that converts sunlight D into active 1,25(OH)2D, calcitriol. For most Americans the primary source of vitamin D is sunlight. UV-B, the only band of light producing vitamin D, is significantly present only midday during summer months in most of the U.S., the exact time we are advised to avoid sunlight. UV-B is blocked by sunscreen. We have an international disaster in progress due to a misunderstanding of the nature of and need for UV-B and vitamin D.

A blood test for 25(OH)D, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, is the only way to tell if you have or are taking the correct amount of vitamin D. Too little vitamin D contributes to many degenerative diseases but excess vitamin D is equally undesirable. Because of the varied ethnicities, latitudes and lifestyles in the United States (and most of Europe too) the only way to safely use vitamin D is test, test and retest. 

Low D needs to be corrected, carefully. Moderately high levels of 25(OH)D, greater than 70 ng/ml, 175 nmol/l, are associated with  bone loss, heart disease, and other soft tissue calcification. When chronic intake of excessive amounts of vitamin D raise serum 25(OH)D further irreversible damage may occur. 

Do not supplement in amounts greater than 800 IU (total from all sources) unless you are being tested and treated by a healthcare professional who understands clearly both the benefits and dangers of vitamin D. Minimum testing should not be less than every four months the first two years and every six months the third and fourth years. Excess intake of vitamin D may not show up in elevated 25(OH)D until as long as 2-3 years after starting a dose seemingly safe initially.

Sunlight is a safe source for most persons in the US with the exception of light skinned persons in Hawaii, Florida or other locations with elevated levels of UV-B. Combining sunlight and supplements can rapidly overload the D endocrine system in summer months. For dark skins only Hawaii may provide adequate sunlight and supplements may be a requirement for long term health. The Preliminary Report below and the book explain how to determine your need and how to use supplements and sunlight safely.

Vitamin D, the kind you make on your skin, get in fortified milk, or take in a vitamin supplement, is not a vitamin. It is more appropriately classified as a pro-hormone. Not only is it a pro-hormone it is a sunlight derived pro-hormone. The active hormone D, calcitriol, controls calcium in vertebrates and invertebrates. Calcium controls innumerable processes in the human body including responses in muscles, bones and glands. Calcitriol is a major player in genomic actions determining how our cells express themselves and regulating production of numerous substances including enzymes, hormones and neurotransmitters

We all need sunlight and/or vitamin D. Clinical studies demonstrate the need for sunlight and vitamin D is genetically variable. At the present time many persons world-wide suffer from D deficiency or insufficiency. Testing is the only way to know how much D you have and testing is the only way to monitor D supplementation. As actions of a pro-hormone are essential to health and life,  ‘guessing’ or ‘assuming’ is not a wise way to determine optimal levels.

In northern California 80% of clients tested during winter months demonstrate vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. This problem increases dramatically in persons living at latitudes more distant from the equator and in persons living in all US latitudes with darker skins. In Texas there has been an increase in the number of children with black and Hispanic parents suffering from rickets. Even in sunny southern California vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is prevalent in part due to avoidance of midday sunlight and the use of sunscreens which block vitamin D production.

Getting enough vitamin D, from sunlight or supplements, is important to health and longevity but too much supplemental D or sunlight can be disease producing. Too much, too little- the only way to know how much D you have and how much sunlight or D you need to maintain D sufficiency is to test.

Every body needs sunlight and vitamin D. Deficiency or insufficiency has been associated with: 

  • Alzheimer’s
  • adrenal insufficiency
  • allergies
  • autoimmune disorders including multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • cancers of the colon, breast, skin and prostate
  • depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • diabetes, Type 1 and 2
  • gluten intolerance, lectin intolerance 
  • heart disease, hypertension, Syndrome X 
  • infertility, sexual dysfunction
  • learning and behavior disorders 
  • misaligned teeth and cavities
  • myopia
  • obesity
  • osteopenia, osteoporosis, osteomalacia (adult rickets)
  • Parkinson’s
  • PMS
  • psoriasis
  • rickets
  • use of corticosteroids and more…
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