There has been much concern recently by the champions of vitamin D because of the cautionary peer reviewed publications about the dangers of vitamin D. Described have been J shaped curves and U shaped curves that say the effect of vitamin D improves health and then as the level gets higher causes worse conditions of disease. I believe that this is solely because of not distinguishing between the effects of vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.
The publication listed that has been of most concern is a study that was done in Norway. Norway has long used only D2 as a supplement. I am not fully sure of the reason, but have found that to be the case in my thousands of hours of reading. As an example, please find below a study (1) that was done on children to determine if supplementation of vitamin D would improve the serum level in children. This study was done in Norway in 2008. As you read through the paper, you will find the reason that they used vitamin D2 and not vitamin D3 for supplementation was vitamin D3 was not available in Norway. At least this paper distinguished between D2 and D3 in serum testing.
The huge mistake that has been made in medicine is that vitamin D2 is equal to vitamin D3. This was okay as long as you’re simply trying to prevent rickets of serum 25(OH)D at 20ng/ml or lower. I have written about this many times. Vitamin D2 at the levels within serum normal is significantly more toxic to the human body than vitamin D3. The problem was brought to light by Moon and Reich in their 1975 paper “The Vitamin D Problem.” I wrote about this many times and you can find a link below to describe this concern. The Vitamin D Debacle. (5)
I do believe that the concerned expressed by the IOM in their 2010 publication is correct when considering D2. They stated that serums levels should not go above 50 ng/ml 25(OH)D. I do believe that this is because they did not separate data and published papers that they used for vitamin D3 versus vitamin D2. Many times the published papers do not show the difference between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. They simply state the serum level is 25(OH)D. This study was exceptionally muddled as they seem to have gotten the amount of vitamin D required to bring the population above 20 ng/ml 25(OH)D wrong according to Canadian researchers (9).
All of this confusion has been about slowing down the use of vitamin D as a supplement. The stated concern is about toxicity. This is founded in the way science has been practiced. Not as science, but as an economic advantage to keeping you using vitamin D3 in an amount less than beneficial to health. Please note that the recent publication (4) describing a concern for health at higher levels of vitamin D was done in Norway and is a republication of a study that was originally published (3, 2) in 2012. Add to this the weight that the American press has not published any articles about the findings of Dr. Paul Veugelers (9), Canadian researcher, that the IOM was wrong. This has been hotly debated in the Canadian press (6, 7) in addition to advertisements discussing the issue placed by a wealthy Canadian, Allan Markin (8). We were cosponsors of the IOM study with Canada. What is going on with the American press? Could it be about at least twenty percent of their advertising revenue comes from the healthcare industry? And a better question, where is our Department of HHS on this issue. Are they caught up in their principle of “markets before mandates” or the economy is more important to your health?
Your take away from all of this confusion should be simple. Get an adequate amount of vitamin D from all sources so that you achieve a serum level above 50 ng/ml 25(OH)D. If you are sick, then try to maintain your serum level above 80 ng/ml. All of these serum levels are within the normal expected ranges of 30 to 100 ng/ml. Minimize the amount of vitamin D2 that you are getting. Sources may be in your multiple vitamin/mineral and may be through the amount of sun (UV light) exposed fungus like mushrooms. As you know, mushrooms are grown in the dark or low light. Also if you are taking the prescription form of vitamin D, it is most likely D2 in 50.000 IU dose taken once per week. Talk to your doctor about this. Vitamin D3 is readily available as a prescription form and over the counter as 50,000 IU capsules produced by BioTech Pharmacol. Live long and be healthy. – Pandemic Survivor
- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) 63, 478–484; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602982 http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v63/n4/full/1602982a.html
- Perpetuating the myth. http://pandemicsurvivor.com/2012/05/30/too-much-too-little-negative-studies-for-vitamin-d-keep-coming/
- Original Publication J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Aug;97(8):2644-52. doi: 10.1210/jc.2012-1176. Epub 2012 May 9 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22573406
- Republication doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-4551 J Clin Endocrinol Metab http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/jc.2014-4551?utm_source=No+U+Shaped+Curve&utm_campaign=March+18+2015+Newsletter&utm_medium=email
- Glove and Mail March 29 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/the-vitamin-d-dilemma-how-much-should-we-be-taking/article23672033/
- Globe and Mail March 12 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/vitamin-d-supplements-arent-all-sunshine-and-lollipops/article23482364/
- Advocacy Letter Allen Markin, http://www.purenorth.ca/?page_id=1356
- IOM Recommendations Wrong http://pandemicsurvivor.com/2015/01/22/vitamin-d-recommendations-by-the-institute-of-medicine-are-wrong/