Vitamin D Reduces Mortality from Heart Disease and Cancer – New Study

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Vitamin D Reduces Mortality from Heart Disease and Cancer

 

Doggy Bag Message FirstVitD2

Two recent large studies reported that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of dying from cancer by 17% and heart disease by 35%. There is no benefit with Vitamin D2  but plenty of benefit with the consumption of Vitamin D3.

Study Details #1

  • Over 200 research papers were studied and over 5000 subjects
  • High vitamin D levels were correlated with: low risk of colorectal cancer, non-vertebral fractures, cardiovascular disease, prevalence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, ischaemic stroke, stroke, cognition, depression, high body mass index, prevalence of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and other pregnancy related benefits
  • On the other hand, high vitamin D concentrations were a problem among chronic kidney disease patients not requiring dialysis.

(Theodoratou et al. 2014.  Study Link HERE)

Dr. Theodoratou suggest’  to hold off on taking vitamin D supplements for now. Another researcher,  Dr. Franco found them to be beneficial, but he said that more research was needed to show what levels are best. “Instead of taking pills, people could improve their vitamin D levels with an adequate diet and 30 minutes of sunlight twice a week,” he said.

Now this is some hogwash. There is no way to get enough vitamin D from food and sunbathing carries its own health risk. Researchers need to stop being so afraid of supplements as supplements  have NEVER shown to kill anyone. (That’s right, I said it)

Summary of study Details #2

  • Also a meta-analysis
  • A moderate, but significant, positive association exists between vitamin D concentration in the body and the risk of all cause mortality.
  • Supplementation of vitamin D3 reduced all cause mortality significantly by 11%. By contrast, supplementation with vitamin D2 alone had no overall effect on mortality.

( Kudos et al. 2014. Study link HERE )

My Take On This

Oh Oh! Two back-to-back studies indicating that supplements maybe beneficial. One posted a few days ago suggesting that fish oils lowers blood pressure and now this one exalting the benefits of vitamin D. I almost feel like this is a trick, a booby trap of sorts. Proceed with caution.
In all seriousness, vitamin D3 and Omega-3 fatty acids should be consumed by everyone – with very few exceptions:

  • One, vitamin D should be avoided in those with kidney disease
  • Two, fish oils should be used under medical supervision in patients taking blood thinning medications, i.e. Plavix or Heparin and discontinued if undergoing surgery one week prior to the procedure.

Many of my patients take (and I do too) Omega Avail Ultra with D3, K1 and K2 
(Disclosure)

I love the convenience, absorbability and synergism of this formula which is found in ONE bottle combining quality Omega 3’s with vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 is often taken separately from fish oils. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin meaning that is best taken with a fat l- ike the Omega’s fats for example.

I take 3 pills two times a day, which provides me 3600mg of Omega 3- fatty acids and 3000 units of vitamin D3. Last time I checked my vitamin D levels were 46ng/ml. (normal range between 30 to 100 ng/ml). In the winter I take an additional 2000 units of vitamin D3 since I’m naturally less exposed to solar rays.

My patients typically take 2 pills two times a day of Omega Avail Ultra which comes up to 2400mg of Omega-3 fatty acids and 2000 units of vitamin D3. With the blood test 25-HydroxyVitaminD we then determine if their levels are optimal and adjust accordingly.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the person the more vitamin D they need. So those with higher BMI I typically start them at 5000units a day of Vitamin D3. It’s always best to take these supplements by a nutritional oriented physician or naturopathic doctor, of course.

I weigh 215 pounds , all muscle of course ( I wish),  so that’s why I take between 3000  to 5000 units a day.

It’s important to ask your physician to take a blood test that measures vitamin D  so you can adjust accordingly. The proper blood test is 25-HydroxyVitaminD NOT 1-25 HydroxyVitaminD.

Why the extra Vitamin K1 and K2 on the Omega Avail Ultra you take?
Vitamin K2, also known as Menaquinone, seems to be protective against heart disease (Gast el al. 2009)

Vitamin K1 deficiency is prevalent and seems to have numerous anti-aging benefits including reducing cardiovascular risk (McCann et al. 2009)

Also, it’s important to supplement vitamin D with vitamin K, which will then complement the cardiovascular and bone health benefits provided by omega 3 fatty acids. Considering that deficiencies in vitamins D and K may be more prevalent than expected adding vitamin D and K in fish oil would ensure that the health benefits from fish oil are optimized.

Lastly, here is the answer to a very common question? Can we get these nutrients from food?

No, you simple can’t.

Although the idea of getting all nutrients from food sounds good and perhaps more ‘natural’  some nutrients like vitamin D are not found in abundance in food. Your body makes Vitamin D from sun exposure.  Vitamin D fortified milk is not good enough and generally not good for you. You’d need to be almost naked under the sun for over 30 minutes a day to make healthy levels of vitamin D. And if  you are from a  darker complexion, you’d have to be baking under the sun for over 2 hours as the melanin in darker skin people reduces the absorption of solar rays thereby vitamin D production.

Consuming oily ocean fish  (not farmed raised)  4 to 6 times a week  may work in getting high amounts of Omega 3’s in your body.  But let’s be honest, do you always consume  quality fish that often? I don’t, although I’d like to.

Reference:

The results of this study was also mentioned on the New York Times, April 1, 2014

Gast GC1, de Roos NM, Sluijs I, Bots ML, Beulens JW, Geleijnse JM, Witteman JC, Grobbee DE, Peeters PH, van der Schouw YT. A high menaquinone intake reduces the incidence of coronary heart disease. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2009 Sep;19(7):504-10.

McCann JC1, Ames BN. Vitamin K, an example of triage theory: is micronutrient inadequacy linked to diseases of aging? Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Oct;90(4):889-907

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by Dr. Geo

8 comments… add one
  • Susan ,

    Excellent Blog so totally agree with both the fish oil and Vit D3. All my family’s levels are now in the high 40s for Vit D and we are looking to get to 60. So much research being done especially for breast, prostate, colon cancer and melanoma protection and treatment.Studies were done 10 years ago and recommendations made at that time. Then it became a big secret for some reason until recently. I was not aware that larger people need more supplement of Vit D3, makes sense. Thank you again for informative ,truthful facts. Susan

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment Susan and for sharing your story with Vitamin D. Stay well. – Dr. Geo

      Reply
  • Carolyn Reid ,

    My Dr. checks my Vitamin D levels with a blood test each year at a physical. I was advised to take 4000 units of Vit. D3 and I do take that daily. The Dr. re-checks my blood levels every 4 months.
    Taking Vit D is a GOOD THING!

    Reply
    • Awesome! Thanks for sharing Carolyn. All the best. – Dr. Geo

      Reply
  • Hmmm… Based on what I’ve read, “almost naked under the sun for over 30 minutes a day to make healthy levels of vitamin D” seems like a bit of an exaggeration. Most of the scientific studies I’ve read say that being outside in the midday sun in shorts and a tank top for 15 minutes will give a really good, healthy dose. There is a lot that is still being figured out about vitamin D and its role in optimal health. I’ve been tracking vitamin D research and opinion and writing articles about it for a new website devoted to the topic. It’s called Vitamin D Explained, it’s non-commercial, and may be visited at http://www.dexplained.com.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Sherman.

      You maybe right, maybe I exaggerated a little, but only a little. This is from the Vitamin D Council which is arguably the main source of quality information on Vitamin D.

      “Large amounts of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) are made in your skin when you expose all of your body to summer sun. This happens very quickly; around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn. This could be just 15 minutes for a very fair skinned person, yet a couple of hours or more for a dark skinned person.”

      LINK: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/

      So we would have to expose ‘all of your body to summer sun’ and ‘this could just be 15 minutes for very fair skinned person.’
      Most very fair skinned person’s I know (and I don’t know many) would spend zero time under the sun as they typically fear skin cancer. Regular fair skin people and darker require more sun exposure of virtually a fully naked body. Lastly, I wonder what kind of winter you experienced this year? Ours was brutal here in the North East – almost no sun exposure – even fully clothed. 🙂

      I also am not sure that there is much ‘more to figure out’ as it relates to vitamin D and health. Of course, there can be 100 additional studies on this topic and there will still be more ‘to figure out’ as this is the conclusion in almost every study published. There is enough evidence to support the consumption of vitamin D supplements which is a small pill in size and inexpensive. I am looking forward to reading your findings on vitamin D on the website you highlighted. All the best – Dr. Geo

      Reply
  • David Sander ,

    There was interesting research at Tuffs University where they showed that adding Retinol, vitamin A, prevented kidney stone formation with patients on Vitamin D. It did this by boosting carboxylation (likely by making more MK4 vitamin K2) and reducing levels of MGP, which is boosted by vitamin D supplements. Is this the kidney damage patients were warned about? Dr Chris Masterjohn wrote about this.

    Also advise taking a good MK4 vitamin K2 supplement to scavenge calcium and build good bone micro structure as found in Japanese research, about 1 mg to 5 mg daily fixes any calcium handling problems in arteries or bones over several months.

    Cheers! Isn’t an 11% improvement eleven times better than that from statins? (Grin)

    Reply
    • Hi David, thanks so much for our comment. And thank you for informing me about the research done at Tuffs – I was not aware of it. I am aware of your good point on vitamin K2 and its effects on calcium. To reiterate for our readers, Vitamin K2 inhibits the over accumulation of calcium in the arteries – a good thing and critical for keeping healthy bones.

      Reply

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