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Free Radical Therapy Blog » 2008» July

Archive for July, 2008

Excess Vitamin D: The Risk Won’t Go Away

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008

Everyone seems to be getting all excited about vitamin D.  If a little does some good then a whole bunch must be better.  The problem with all this excitement has surfaced about every 10-12 years over the past 40 years, each time bringing the fad to a screeching halt as the reality of increased calcification and risk of arterial stenosis raises its ugly head.  Bare in mind, what we call vitamin D is not truly a vitamin, and what we measure in the name of vitamin D is not vitamin D, but a key metabolite.  So, how do you make your decisions as to whether to give vitamin D?  Lots to be considered.

Interestingly, the same questions were being asked back in the early 1970’s by a group of very distinguished scientists.  As the questions mounted a gathering of 100 or so of the leading experts met in Chicago to reach some consensus.  Included in the group was Fred Kummerow, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois, who argued against supplementing beyond 5,000 IU’s.  In pig studies, for instance, which serves as the best animal model of our human disease, Dr. Kummerow had shown that higher levels tended to result in changes that were consistent with what is seen in various stages of arterial disease.  Now, studies that again support his findings are beginning to resurface. [Ngo, D.T., et al., Vitamin D2 supplementation induces the development of aortic stenosis in rabbits: Interactions with endothelial function and thioredoxin-interacting protein; Eur J Pharmacol, June 12, 2008.]

So, for those of you who are as interested as I, an interview with Dr. Kummerow has been scheduled for about mid August to get his latest findings on this topic.  Yes, I know, he’s nearly 94, but he’s still kicking, still going to his research lab every day, and has just published his latest book on the trans fats….a health risk that he first reported in the early 1950’s but which took 40 years to catch on.

One interesting note on the forthcoming interview:  Dr. Kummerow was one of the 106 scientists that met that fateful day in Chicago to discuss this issue back in the early 70’s.  Several attendees were Nobel Laureates. Interestingly, of all those who attended, most of which were advocating high levels of vitamin D, he is the only one who dissented and the only one who’s still living.  Tune in later in August and I’ll report my findings.  Should prove to be interesting.

Sam