More Vitamin D News
If there were not enough reasons already to monitor your Vitamin D levels and be sure you are getting enough Vitamin D there is a new paper that links Vitamin D and Calcium use with lowering cholesterol levels. A study published in the March 3rd issue of Menopause which is the Journal of the North American Menopause Society examined if a relationship exists between Vitamin D and Calcium and cholesterol levels. This is a high quality study that was double blinded, randomized, placebo controlled trial. Randomization means that patients were assigned to either the treatment group or placebo (control) group at random. Blinding means that any examiner, doctor, or administrator who had direct patient contact and the patient did not know who got the supplement or placebo. The patients consisted of 600 postmenopausal women who were given either a supplement of 400 IU of Vitamin D3 and 1000mg of Calcium daily or a placebo. After two years there was a 38% increase in blood levels of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 along with a mean 4.46 mg/dl decrease in LDL cholesterol in the group that took the supplement. The authors concluded that higher blood 25OHD3 levels, due to taking a Vitamin D supplement,are associated with lower LDL cholesterol levels.
This is a really great study because randomized, placebo controlled, double blinded studies are considered the gold standard for evaluating the effectiveness of healthcare procedures or medications. A review of this study that I read mentions that the decrease in LDL was modest or “small,” this does not mean the that study isn’t significant just not conclusive according to some. My biggest critique is that the amount of D3 the participants got was only 400 IU. My sources recommend taking at least 2500IU a day, I take 5000IU a day. If 400IU a day can lower LDL levels modestly, how much more would a healthier daily dose near 2500IU lower LDL? Would we see reviews saying that D3 supplementation is an equal or superior to cholesterol lowering medications?
According to the Medscape review I read, there is a Vitamin D3 and Omega-3 study going on by Brigham and Williams Hospital. This trial is a randomized clinical trial in 20,000 U.S. men and women investigating whether taking daily dietary supplements of vitamin D3 (2000 IU) or omega-3 fatty acids (Omacor® fish oil, 1 gram) reduces the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and stroke in people who do not have a prior history of these illnesses. This appears to be a kick but study due to the number of participants, quality, and the amount of supplementation is near the levels that the research is recommending. The biggest problem with this study is it’s use of a brand of fish oil made by the pharmaceutical industry. While big Pharma is regulated by .gov I have to question what they are doing to the fish oil before they sell it to us. Big Pharma doesn’t act in our best interests, they act in their best interest that includes making and pushing crap drugs on us.
If you are taking a Vitamin D supplement make sure it is in the form of D3 not D2. This should be listed on the label either as D3 or 25-hydrodxyvitmain D3 (25OHD3). I recommend taking somewhere around 2000IU to 25000IU a day and ideally you should be getting your blood checked to monitor your Vitamin D levels. Normal blood levels should be between 30 ng/ml and 74 ng/ml.