Toxicity of Vitamin D

This is my own opinion about toxicity and how we got to such a state as the doctors were trained to fear vitamin D.  It seems there are multiple areas where mistakes were made about the issue of toxicity.

I think that one of the issues that everything that resembled vitamin D was called vitamin D.

There is D2 or ergocalciferol which is made from fungus when it is irradiated with UV light. This version has a higher molecular weight, an additional double bond, and one additional methyl group if that means anything to you.  The medical professionals still considers this as equivalent to D3 even though there have been many papers saying that it does not act the same in our body.   Rodents seem to thrive on vitamin D2 as they are noctournal animals and eating fungus that has been exposed to sunlight seems to be a reasonable way for them to get vitamin D and their bodies have adapted.  I observed a squirrel just really munching down on what I assumed was a morel mushroom this past weekend when I was camping.

Hey researchers! – beware when using rodents for vitamin D test as they most likely do not react the same as humans.  The case against using ergocalciferol  (vitamin D2) as a supplement – Houghton and Vieth American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 84, No. 4, 694-697, October 2006th

There is D3, cholecalciferol, which our body produces from the sun with cholesterol in our skin. Our bodies love this particular version of D and it is the substance in our bodies that allows the sun to give us energy and health.

There is the storage form prehormone of vitamin D which has been found to correlate with lots of chronic diseases.  It is called twenty-five hydroxy vitamin D and you usually see it written 25(OH)D.  It can be either 25(OH)D2 or 25(OH)D3.  This adds to the confusion when running test in the lab.  Let’s say that a hospital runs only the test for 25(OH)D2 becuase that is what is being prescribed by their doctors and yet ignores the 25(OH)D3 that you are getting naturally.  The better lab test will give you total and I will write another blog on testing.

Certainly if you take the activated steroid form of vitamin D or one twenty-five di-hydroxy vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) then you will have problems if the dose is too high or administered over a period of time.  This is yet one more form of vitamin D that the body uses as a steroid to do all the good stuff.   This form in the blood stream allows our body to absorb more calicium and will ultimately drive your serum calcium too high.

The really cool thing about the understanding of the new research is that each organ cell seems to make the steroid version inside and outside the cell as it is needed.  This means that it does not go through your blood and affect your calcium yet it gives you healthy functions.  This is one of the things that has always confounded the research as researchers were going right for the best benefit or so they thought by using the steroid form of D instead of given just plain old D3 and letting the body make the steroid as it was needed.

The old paradigm was that the D3 was converted in the liver to the storage form, 25(OH)/D3, and then the kidney converted the 25(OH)D3 into the steroid form, 1,25(OH)2D3 and is still a valid path.  However, when every cell that has vitamin D receptors converts its own steroid form as needed most excellant health is achieved.  You have to have enough of the D3 in your body to fill up the stores.

Well let me stop here and say that this is most likely very confusing to you and has confused the medical field also.  You should go read at the Pharmacology of vitamin D at the Vitamin D Council to get a better description.  You can also read at the University of California Riverside as well about Vitamin D.

The amount of vitamin D is also a really large issue because it is active in extremely small amounts.  Now lets see, the serum test for 25(OH)D is measured in ng/ml.  We take D3 is in units of IU where 40 IU equals 1 microgram – that’s mircogram not milligram.  I suspect you are just conformtable using milligrams and do not have a clue about a microgram much less nanograms per milliliter. So to get 1 milligram of vitamin D you would need to take 40,000 IU.

Are you confused yet.  To formulate and to test at these extremely small quantaties is extremely difficult and one major lab has alreadly had a recall this year because of this difficulty.  So that brings us to the one major case of toxicity with vitamin D3.  It was a formulation problem and a mistake on how much should be taken by the person doing the supplementation.  Evidently the person was taking over a million IU per day for over a year. It is my understanding that he recovered and was just fine.

To get more of an understanding on toxicity of D3 please visit the Vitamin D Council’s page on toxicity.

So what is the deal and why were doctors told to be extemely concerned about toxicity with vitamin D?  It seems that D2 drives toxicity much quicker at lower levels in humans than D3.  I found a paper by Moon and Reich at the Orthomolecular library entitled “The Vitamin D Problem An Important Lesson in Orthomolecular Medicine.” This paper was written in 1975.  These writers researched the issue of toxicity and found that reports started p0uring in after vitamin D2 began to be used.  This particular section in the paper is well titled: ‘Origin of the Vitamin D-Problem:  Irradiated Ergosterol is Not Vitamin D’

Irradiated Ergosterol was origianllly used as the fortification of milk.  However, in the 50’s and early 60’s most dairies changed to D3 because of the toxicity issues.  During my early reading I was finding compounds that were in equilibrium with D3 as tachysterol and ichysterol but D2 seemed to have one called toxicysterol.  This should have been a clue.

If all of this was known at least by the mid 70’s why all of the fear of D3.  Because D2 and D3 were considered to be equivalent by the medical profession.  I would say that this is terrible science or chosen to be ignored by the medical profession because there was no money to be made. Interestingly enough, D2 is what is found in vitamin D prescriptions because it can be protected because it is not a natuarlly occurring substance in the body.  You could not obtain D3 in beneficial amounts until a few years ago.  To get equivalent to one day in the sun where your body could make as much as 40,000 IU as a supplement you would have to take 100 of those 400 IU tablets.

I was curious as to a statement made by Hector DeLuca in his presentation to the Wisconsin Alumini Research Foundation on Vitamin D: The New Old Wonder Drug.  This you tube video gives you the understanding of how vitamin D analogs have been very sucessful in helping to fund the programs at Wisconsin University.  The statement that some of the beneficial findings over the years were not published is frightening.  This of course was to protect intellectual property rights or dollars.

So does ignoring the facts for profit make the medical profession seem somewhat callous?    It happens all of the time and you acting as the government protect these profits to the loss of your health and life.  Consider former Secreatary Leavitt of Health and Human Services.  On his bio page he listed his priorities.  Number four was ‘markets before mandates’ and you had to go to his last to find ‘value life’.  Now this is really troubling since I was tortured with pain for 25 years when there was a simple solution.

So is it going to far to say that by scaring people out of the sun and causing a significant increase in chronic disease that we were benefiting the well being of America because of an increased medical economy?  Creating disease by selling sunscreen and profiting from the meds to treat the diseases is for another post.

Go into the Sun until you start to turn pink.  Being in the pink is a good thing!

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