Genetic Influence of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has been found to influence over 200 genes is a news article in  “Vitamin D status is potentially one of the most powerful selective pressures on the genome in relatively recent times,” says Professor George Ebers, Action Medical Research Professor of Clinical Neurology and one of the senior authors of the paper.”

We have discussed before the importance of vitamin D and its influence on genetics.  The findings in this study show that are 2776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the genome.  This is a must read for those of you that like to assign the cause of disease to genetics.  This shows that even with a perfectly good gene map, if it is not being adequately activated by vitamin D, that many disease states can follow.

You may want to review a prior post on how vitamin D works with genetics.  D3 Epigenetic Master Switch.


Worldwide Policy Change for Vitamin D

Anthony Norman, distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Biomedical Science, Emeritus Presidential Chair of Biochemistry at the University of California Riverside, and leading international expert in Vitamin D, has proposed that a worldwide policy change is needed on the daily intake of vitamin D to prevent many diseases that vitamin D has been found to impact during the last 25 years.  These diseases include rickets, adult osteomalacia, cancer, autoimmune type-1 diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and muscle weakness.  Dr. Norman leads with this statement, “A reduction in the frequency of these diseases would increase the quality and longevity of life and significantly reduce the cost of medical care worldwide.”

Here is the link to the press release: Biochemist proposes worldwide policy change to step up the intake of vitamin D.

Here is the paper that was presented to the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Anthony Norman seems hesitant to state where the level of intake should actually be to meet the requirements of the body.  He says there is no science to substantiate the safety of long term higher levels of vitamin D and suggest four possible scenarios of policy change.  He does however state the observational data of populations at the various latitudes support safety for higher intake levels.  I believe that Anthony is just trying to appease the powers in control of national policy because of the huge change in medical economics that will occur.  The science for adequate amounts that the body needs, as stated by Dr. Heaney of Creighton University at 75 IU /kg/d, is found in all the people that live in the sunny latitudes where the serum 25(OH)D levels range between 54 ng/ml to 90 ng/ml.  This serum level range is adequate to take care of most of the chronic disease issues.

We indeed are at a crossroad and now it is a matter of political will to see if we go for health or if we will follow the principles of former HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt of ‘markets before mandates.’

A. Catherine Ross, chairman of the FNB on vitamin D and calcium, we patiently await your guidance in the report to be issued in November.

What you can do while we wait to see what the “powers” do to advise doctors and the population as a whole is to be sure that you follow Dr. Heaney’s discovered amount of vitamin D required by the body of 75 IU of D3 per kilogram per day.  If you need help with the math, that is about 35 IU of D3 per lb.  A hundred pound person would need 3500 IU per day and a 200 pound person would need 7000 IU per day.

The interesting thing about how much the population should be advised to take seems to hinge on past practice of stating a single amount per day as if the population is not capable of doing simple math.  What is wrong with telling everyone that they should get 800 to 1000 IU per 25 lbs of body weight per day from all sources to maintain and adequate amount of vitamin D.

Solving Obesity – Vitamin D

The resources on vitamin D and obesity are long and deep.  Getting your serum level to that of a sunny country will not magically make your weight fall off.  As we begin to review the obesity issues we listed many causes.  Vitamin D is just one of those.  If you turn off your air conditioning and allow yourself to feel the extremes of temperature during the summer you most likely will not desire as much food.  I have tried this and it works. However, I also enjoy being comfortable.  There are many papers on cows and pigs and how to fatten them by controlling the temperature of their environment.  I do believe that both temperature driving appetite and not being outside during the highest incidence of UVB radiation both lead to increased weight gain.  Think about as the temperature cools in the fall, Americans consume more calories in October than any other month of the year.  I have always written this off to a natural instinct to build food storage for the winter that is driven by temperature, but also may be driven by falling vitamin D levels.  Air conditioning gives you both of these environmental effects.

The storage form of vitamin D, calcidiol, 25(OH)D, stores in all tissue in your body.  As you become more obese the amount of vitamin D per weight decreases because you have not increased your production and\or intake of vitamin D.  The reduction of vitamin D levels because of obesity puts you at significant risk for all diseases.

People, who are trying to lose weight, typically, do not ‘plateau’ if they are vitamin D replete.  Vitamin D directly combats metabolic syndrome so if you have been suffering from this there is hope.  I personally know four people that were type II diabetic that after taking enough vitamin D to get their serum level above 60 ng/ml found that they did not suffer the munches.  They have all lost more than 30 lbs.  Only one fines that it is still necessary to take the diabetic med.  If you have type II diabetes and want to try this then be sure to work with your doctor.

I would suggest that you have your doctor read this paper by Dr. Heaney – Vitamin D requirements in health and disease This paper shows how calcium absorption flattens and blood sugar is blunted at serum 25(OH) D levels above 32 ng/ml.  If you are extremely obese, it may take a significant amount of vitamin D to get you to a healthy level.

Here is a link to Pub Med for the medical research from the Vitamin D Council:

On the lighter side, you may enjoy this group of graduate students as they perform the dance of Vitamin D and Beta cells.  I really like this because I know this group of future vitamin D researchers gets it!

Henry LaHore in a recent email, offered this info on vitamin D and obesity:

Studies so far disagree about losing weight by taking vitamin D without low calorie diet, etc.

Obese have decreased bioavalability of vitamin D – 2000 PDF

Clinical Trials of Obesity and Vitamin D

Clinical Trials for Weight Loss and Vitamin D

Henry Lahore has 2000+ Vitamin D files – subscribe to news in some/all categories, get latest vitamin D news from web, etc.

Well there you have more than you would ever want to read about vitamin D and obesity.  Turn off your air conditioning and spend some time outside this summer.  You may find you sweat more than you want but it will make you less hungry.  – Pandemic Survivor

Vitamin D as a Megatrend

In 1982 John Nesbitt wrote a book named “Megatrends.”  John’s idea was to track change based on what is going on in the present by tracking newspaper articles.  This process was originally developed during World War II as a means to find out what was happening in countries that were at war and information about socioeconomic conditions were kept secret.  There were several principles that built confidence in the process.

“The news-reporting process is forced choice in a closed system.”

“Societies, like individuals, can handle only so many concerns at one time.”

The first principle above really no longer exists as we do not have a closed system on the news.  Now news can be obtained by the internet and not just from the major media outlets.  With the internet, each individual if they choose, can be become a source of news.

The second principle however is still very sound.  The health and wellness movement that started as a vitamin movement in California in the late sixties and early seventies continues to pick up steam.  This continued trend in personal wellness is developing because of the failure of institutional medicine to fully define proper nutrition and the lust for profits driving allopathic medicine’s directions.

Fast forward to the year 2000 and we find Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point”.  Tipping point is the level of interest in any given topic which builds enough momentum to become unstoppable.  Has enough interest in vitamin D been built so that the understanding of health from sunshine has become unstoppable?  This is an extremely difficult question to answer.

I believe a simple answer to the question is yes.  We are starting to see new news articles every day now where only five years ago, news on vitamin D was limited to several articles per week.  This is exactly how John Nesbitt’s method for determining the level of activity on any given topic worked.  To use a sports example, they typically looked at ‘box scores’ instead of analyst comments to determine level of interest. They would simply look at the final score of the game instead of a commentator’s statement that the failure of a good throw to first by the third baseman caused the loss of the game.

Tracking healthy outcomes and death from vitamin D would be great way to determine if the trend was increasing.  Healthy outcomes are virtually impossible to track because who knows how much everyone is taking.  Deaths from overdose should be an easy number to find.  In 2008, there were no deaths reported from vitamin overdose which has been the case for the last 17 out of 25 years according to Wikipedia if that is reliable.  In 2003 there were 59 deaths from aspirin poisoning and 147 deaths from acetaminophen products.

Word of mouth and healthy outcomes is the most likely way that the momentum of vitamin D will increase.  This falls into the model presented by Malcolm Gladwell.  He suggests that changes in populations spread like viruses with three primary rules.  The ‘law of the few’ states ‘connectors’ or information hubs, ‘mavens’ or information specialist, and ‘salesmen’ or persuaders are necessary parts of the information network.  The specific content of the message that makes it memorable is called the ‘law of the stickiness factor’.  The final law of the ‘power of context’ is in agreement with Nesbitt’s principle that societies can only handle a limited number of concerns at one time or the general impact of environmental conditions.

Economic conditions and health appear to be the major concerns of the time (‘power of context’).  With special emphasis placed on flu like infections and cancer.  I believe that tracking flu and cancer changes are going to be a great way to track what is happening with vitamin D.  Vitamin D has a significant impact on both the flu and cancer.  Of course the emphasis on the flu and cancer is being driven by economic forces.  However, it locks up nicely with personal emphasis of health as distrust of our medical institutions increase.  In other words when people hear of significant outcomes with vitamin D they will start to take it regardless of what institutions are saying (‘stickiness factor’).  So a friend tells you that they have not had a cold since starting to take vitamin D two years ago, most likely you will start to supplement with vitamin D as well.  As we move into the flu season we will continue to monitor the CDC statistics on the flu and look for anomalies.  Also there is the beginning of a trend in the reduction of cancer rates.  When we move from 180 neoplasm (tumors) per 10,000 to Mexico’s rate of 90 neoplasm per 10,000 we will know that we have reached the cancer rate for a sunny country.   Think what a reduction of fifty percent in the cancer rate would do the medical economy in the US.

The other thing about the course of the Vitamin D Revolution is that it started in California which according to Nesbitt is one of the key states for lasting trends to start. (‘law of the few’) I contribute this to the work of Garlands (much later Grass Roots Health) at University of California SD, the work of the University of California Riverside for vitamin D research and organizing meetings every several years, and because of John Cannell’s exposure to these two institutions his development of the Vitamin D Council which has grown like wild fire as the internet source of information.  Thanks, guys.

The sun is shining and the path is lit and vitamin D’s time is now.  – Pandemic Survivor

NCI is up to no good on vitamin D

When I first saw the headline, I thought well that is great news.  Then as I read the article I became increasingly alarmed at how once again our tax dollars are being used not to promote science, but to further misinformation about vitamin D.  Here is the headline:

“Roswell Park Team Receives Grant from the National Cancer Institute to Study the Anticancer Effects of Vitamin D”

That sounds really great and noble until you start to read how the trials are being run.  They are not using just plain D3 in the trials but giving directly the active steroid, calcitriol, 1a,25(OH)2D3.  What about the other 35 plus metabolites that are produced from the parent, D3?  Another mater of confusion that comes to mind is the calcitriol going to be made from D3 or D2.  You think that I may be picking at something that is not of importance.  However, when there have been over two thousand genes identified that vitamin D impacts; the difference of a methyl group between vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 can be HUGE!  If you do not believe that then go read Dr. Randy Jirtle’s work at Duke University about how metylation affects genetic expression.

From what I have read of the science of vitamin D the metabolites appear to work synergistically for the full benefit of sunshine.  Why would you fund a project that is not part of the normal process of the human body when many studies have already been done to show the necessity of all the derivatives of sunshine?  To help you understand my concern read this statement from vitamin D researchers at the University of California Riverside:

“Over the past 25 years, research efforts have largely focused upon understanding how 1a,25(OH)2D3 generates biological responses; an enormous scientific literature of over 5,000 scientific papers exists on this subject. By comparison, the biological actions of 24R,25(OH)2D3 have been relatively less studied. However, evidence has been presented to support the view that the combined presence of both 1a,25(OH)2D3 and 24R,25(OH)2D3 are required to generate the complete spectrum of biological responses attributable to the parent vitamin D.” and

The statement above is amazing but even more amazing when you consider that the dimmers that are formed with other nutrients like vitamin A are necessary for complete genetic expression.

In the words of the TV actor Dr. House these guys may be idiots.  I really feel empathy for the ones participating in the study that could be healed with just plain D3.  DO THE TRIAL WITH LARGE DOSES OF VITAMIN D3!  -Pandemic Survivor