Vitamin D Health Benefits

| Modified on Sep 09, 2023
Vitamin D Health Benefits

A somewhat unique vitamin, vitamin D is different in that it is a nutrient that the body can manufacture. Nevertheless, vitamin D is just as important a nutrient as any other. Vitamin D functions in regulating absorption of other nutrients and can be used to support health in numerous ways.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that is found in several foods and that can also be produced by the body with appropriate sun exposure. The nutrient functions primarily in supporting the maintenance and development of strong bones, doing so by regulating the body’s absorption of calcium and other nutrients.

The nutrient also functions in the body in a variety of other ways. The muscles use vitamin D in neural communication, carrying messages between the brain and the body. The immune system also relies on vitamin D to combat bacteria and viruses.

Vitamin D is found in cells throughout the body; however, it typically needs supplemented with food sources and nutritional supplements. Fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms, and milk are good sources of the vitamin. Individuals can also supplement vitamin D levels by exposing skin to sun outdoors; however, care must be taken to avoid risks of skin cancer.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important health component in a variety of ways. While it is often considered a “preventative” supplement, it is also important for treating a variety of conditions.

The nutrient can be used to treat and prevent such conditions as rickets, osteoporosis, bone pain, brittle bones, heart and blood vessel conditions, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, muscle weakness, and multiple sclerosis. The nutrient is also effective for treating arthritis, asthma and other lung conditions, bronchitis, symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle, and tooth and gum disease. The nutrient also helps treat and prevent skin conditions, autoimmune disorders and cancer.

Vitamin D’s main function is to regulate the body’s utilization of calcium and phosphorus; however, even though it is a “supporting” nutrient, it is no less important to health. Vitamin D is vital to treating and preventing a wide range of health conditions.

Vitamin D Toxicity

As important as Vitamin D is to your health, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If you take vitamin D supplements on a regular basis, you should have your blood tested to make sure your vitamin D levels are within the proper range. You can learn more about vitamin D toxicity on this page.

Do you use a vitamin D supplement? We would love to hear about how it has helped you!

Ankylosing Spondylitis

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Posted by Kerrie (Sydney, Nsw Australia) on 09/19/2012

I have AS, diagnosed nearly 8 years ago. I have tried everything and stumbled upon something that has made a remarkable difference to my pain. I have been taking a supplement with vitamin d3 1000iu per tablet, boran(from borax)1mg, selenium 50mcg, and natural vitamin E 33 mg. I have been taking this supplement two mid morning and one in the afternoon. At the same time I am taking red algea (lithothamnion calcareum) 500mg, twice a day (taken at same time as red algea). Before trying this, talk to your Dr, not everyone is vitamin D difficient. I avoid the sun as I am fair skinned and burn easily.


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Posted by Bonita (Rochester, MN, USA) on 01/03/2009

Found this website looking for flea remedies and found so much more! I too am always looking for remedies other than what are mainstream, just because it seems to me there has got to be more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak!

Read about Vitamin D deficincy in The Star Tribune by a doctor at the U of MN who discovered how many people suffer from a lack of it. Of course, I am a blue eyed blond who frys like a lobster in the sun and can't remember when the last time was that I went outdoors without sunscreen and and hat so I began taking a D supplement right away. I take 2000 IU of vitamin D daily. I have to say that I feel pretty darn good considering I have arthritis in all the major joints of my body.

I also have been using lysine to take care of my Herpes simplex outbreaks for years and would not be without it. I find that if I take 4-6 500 mg tablets at the first sign of the itch/tingle on my lip, and then 2 tablets every couple of hours after that, I can most times, stop it in its tracks and completely skip and signs of the break out. If I am nowhere near my supply of lysine and I get those symptoms, taking it at first opportunity causes the leisons to heal very rapidly. In any case, it works for me.

Am going to try the apple cider vinegar thing as well, for arthritis and for the flea problem. Weird that it will be for 2 such unrelated problems but If it works, who cares. It is certainly safe enough. Thanks for being here as a sounding board and gathering of natural remedies.


I take 500 mg lysine every day and never have any breakouts on my lips. It is dramatically effective

Chronic Exhaustion, Asthma, Migraines

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Posted by Tiffany (St. Louis, MO) on 01/21/2009

For me, Vitamin D is a MIRACLE. I have been on and off of the 50,000 iu/prescription-only doses and they did NOTHING for me until I stumbled upon an article about how unhealthy the prescription-grade is because it is lab-made and is actually vitamin D2. I did tons of research online and I can say that after ONE day of taking 2000 I.U. of vitamin D3, I felt AMAZING.

I have been telling EVERYONE about it and each person who has started taking it has had significant health changes.

For me...the chronic exhaustion is gone, I feel HAPPY, I feel like I can make it through the day! I wake up feeling renewed and my attitude is 10000% better. My asthma is MUCH better! A friend of mine suffered from chronic migraines all of her life and after two days of taking the D3, she feels amazing! Another friend had muscle spasming issues/constant aching and during the first day, she felt spectacular!

I'm not sure what else it will do for me but my skin is amazingly beautiful and clear! Also, I bent over to pick something up and to my surprise I felt NO pulling in my muscles! I used to be a dancer and was very limber, and this has returned despite the only change being Vitamin D3!!!!!! I could bend down to where my forehead touched my knees and I could touch the floor with my wrists!

I'm SOOOOO VERY BLESSED by stumbling upon the information I discovered and I am sharing it with the world!!!!

Ted posted his statement in 2006 and since then, so much more evidence has been released in great favor of Vitamin D. The TRICK is, stick with D3...NOT with D2!!!! ONLY cholecalciferol, NOTTTT ergocalciferol.

Once I get my next blood tests and determine whether my levels have returned to normal, I will then change my intake from 2000 I.U. of D3 to 1000 I.U. of D3.

I feel the best I've felt in ALL of my life and Vitamin D3 is ABSOLUTELY A HUGE PART OF THIS!

Chronic Sore Throat

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Posted by Ladyliza (Los Angeles, Ca) on 09/11/2011 32 posts

If your son is getting a lot of sore throats and colds, chances are he is deficient in vitamin D3. Next time you take him to the doctor, ask the dr to test for deficiency. (simple blood test) I don't know how old he is but an adult can start on 2000 units/day and work up to 5000. Since I have been on 5000, I haven't gotten so much as a sniffle. (4 yrs ago)

Cod Liver Oil

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Posted by Maureen (Chevy Chase, Md) on 05/13/2010

Doesn't the Vit A in cod liver oil prevent absorption of Vit D?

EC: Hi Maureen,

According to a recent newsletter from Dr. Cannell, yes, it does:

Cod Liver Oil
Posted by Mohi (Kuwait) on 06/28/2009

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for healthy skin and mucous membranes, for differentiation of cells particularly for the developing embryo, it helps maintain the immune system and is essential for the function of the eyes (the visual process). Vitamin A is called retinol and we can make it from the beta-carotene (and a few other carotenoids) found in highly coloured fruits and vegetables. However, fruit and vegetable consumption in many countries is very low and, therefore, the intake of beta-carotene is low, too. Retinol occurs naturally in liver and liver products, dairy products, some fish and in cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is one of nature's richer sources of retinol as well as vitamin D. We are unable to comment on the amounts of A and D in cod liver oils marketed in the United States which is where the authors of the paper reside.

What happened to cod liver oil in the USA or how it is marketed may be different from the practice in other countries. In the UK cod liver oil the oil has for many decades contained A and D in an approximate ratio of 10:1 based on the amounts in International Units (I.U.). There is a British pharmacopoeial standard for the oil which has specified for many years no less than 600 I.U A and no less than 85 I.U. D per gram. The European Pharmacopoeia specifies, per gram of oil, no less than 600 I.U. and no more than 2500 I.U. of A and no less than 60 I.U. but no more than 250 I.U. vitamin D. Both reflect the ratio of A:D in natural cod liver oil of around 10:1('as nature designed it').

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium from food and, consequently, it is required for development and maintenance of healthy, strong bones and teeth. Recent research is suggesting that the vitamin may have more and important actions. Very few natural foods contain vitamin D and most of the body's vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the skin. The vitamin is fat-soluble (as is A) and it can, therefore, be stored. This is important because the excess made beyond our immediate requirement could be stored for use at a later date. However, the fact that we rely on sunlight has a downside in that the sunlight needs to be of useful strength in order for us to make vitamin D. At higher latitudes, the time and the amount of useful sunlight are short and low, respectively, during late autumn, winter and early spring. This means that body vitamin D status may be compromised and it is the authors' personal view that this is a public health problem that should be addressed urgently.

We also feel and agree that vitamin D nutrition and, therefore, status should be improved. However, we cannot comment on the view of the authors on how they see that this should be achieved. It is possible that A may interfere with D at the level of the cell but this needs to be investigated meticulously before conclusions can be drawn and recommendations can be made by Government departments or agencies. Retinol has been around in nature for a very, very long time and cod liver oil was given to many people in several countries as the first supplement of vitamins D and A. In the UK, in the early days of the second World War, cod liver oil was given away in clinics to pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under the age of five years because of food restrictions and the fact that many women would need to work in factories and other places and would, therefore, be less exposed to sunlight. This continued until the late 1950s/early 1960s.

Cod liver oil has been taken for decades by many generations of people and without apparent adverse effects. Before suggesting that cod liver oil is anything but beneficial, more quality research needs to be done to find out what any interaction between these vitamins means. Only with sound scientific evidence on the actual interaction and the levels of each vitamin that may cause this interaction can authorities make (dietary) recommendations with reference to the intakes of these vitamins and to any maximum level of A (and D) in supplements and foods.

Replied by Kristina
(Wvc, Utah)



I have had a young woman living with me for several months. She was very pleased to find I had a wide variety of supplements available and started taking daily doses of most every thing as she was feeling run down and was in a great deal of stress in her life.

For a while she was feeling much better and we were both pleased. But for the last couple of days she started feeling much much worse which started to scare me.

Today she was in great pain throughout her body and was in terrible shape.

I kept wondering what was the matter, and on a hunch I looked up the side effect of excessive Vitamin D.

Her symptoms almost perfectly mimic the information I found on excess Vitamin D. and from your site I learned there might be a link to cod liver oil which is in the D3 from Costco.

This is scary because she is very sick.

Of course, I will halt all the Vit. D immediately but I do not know what else to do as she has no money to see a doctor.

From other sites I learned that a fair skinned person, which she is, can get enough Vit. D in 45 minutes in the sun in a week. She spend a great deal of time in the sun walking her dog daily etc. so I can believe she is way over dosed as she has been taking this vitamin in three sources as well as getting plenty of sunshine.

It would be good to list the problems here. The ones I have are:

"Ordinary doses can build up in the body over time and cause serious illness. Not surprisingly, the Mayo Clinic (are they defending themselves against Linus Pauling's accusations?) is the best source I've found on-line for vitamin D side effects. Here is their list:

Late symptoms of severe overdose (emerge after months or years of starting supplements)

High blood pressure
High fever
Irregular heartbeat
Stomach pain (severe)

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Early symptoms of overdose (emerge within days or weeks of starting vitamin D supplements)

Bone pain
Constipation (especially in children or adolescents)
Dryness of mouth
Headache (continuing)
Increased thirst
Increase in frequency of urination, especially at night, or in amount of urine
Irregular heartbeat
Itching skin
Loss of appetite
Metallic taste
Muscle pain
Nausea or vomiting (especially in children or adolescents)
Unusual tiredness or weakness

Late symptoms of overdose (emerge within weeks or months of starting supplements)

Bone pain
Calcium deposits (hard lumps) in tissues outside of the bone
Cloudy urine
Increased sensitivity of eyes to light or irritation of eyes
Itching of skin
Loss of appetite
Loss of sex drive
Mood or mental changes
Muscle pain
Nausea or vomiting
Protein in the urine
Redness or discharge of the eye, eyelid, or lining of the eyelid
Runny nose
Weight loss

I did read that Vit.A counteracts the absorption of Vit. D. Does any one have any other suggestions? Please be quick as this is serious!

Thanks so much,

EC: Hi Kristina,

Would you please tell us exactly what supplements your friend was taking? Thanks.

To all:

A few links for further research:

Replied by Kristina
(West Valley City , Utah)

Thank you for replying so quickly.

She has been taking Costco:
One A Day for women
Fish oil
Vitamin D with Calcium and Magisium
Vit B12

Wellness Booster
Lung complex

Milk Thistle
Memory Complex
Memory Complex
5-HTP Mood Enhancer
Vit C
Grape Seed

She has not taken all of these every day but has done the One A Day and "2" Vitamin D3 and others everyday.

Thank you

Replied by Maggie
(Redondo Beach, Ca)

It sounds like a vitamin overdose, but I am not sure your friend is experiencing vitamin D toxicity. I also supplement with vitamin d3 (5,000 iu/day) and get at least half an hour of sun almost every day (South Bay, California - lots of sunshine). She should stop every supplement for at least 2 weeks and make sure to drink a lot of water to flush liver and kidneys. Add the supplements back in one by one. Let us know how she is in a few days.

Replied by Valerie
(New Zealand)

NOTE: Some people are unable to convert betacarotene to retinol efficiently so if they rely on this variety alone for Vitamin A can become deficient in it. I'd say those that are vegan and have this issue need to find an oil containing retinol to supplement with. The fish Oil or cod liver oil variety is great source for non vegans or non vegetarians and needs no conversion.

Cofactors Critical to Vitamin D

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Posted by Art (California ) on 04/21/2018 2142 posts

Vitamin D and Why it May Not Be Working For You as Well as it Should

Many people take vitamin D because it is noted for many health benefits in hundreds of studies, but for some reason, some people do not seem to be able to obtain benefit from vitamin D. Many people are aware that there are cofactors for vitamin D such as boron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin K-2 and calcium, but we often do not realize how important these cofactors can be in terms of helping vitamin D to be all it can be for our health.

On that note, here is a very brief and easy to read article that clearly and simply explains why magnesium is absolutely needed in order for vitamin D to completely do the job it was meant to do in our bodies.

On a related note, the following very short abstract describes how not enough vitamin D and / or not enough magnesium can potentially create health problems for us!


Colds, Chronic Bronchitis

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Posted by John (Nyc, Ny) on 01/15/2010

I have been in the healing profession (practitioner, researcher, advocate) for 30 years, nothing comes close to my experience with MSM, I am so sorry it took this long to try it. My chronic asthma gone in 3 days!! On albuterol for almost 40 years. I am in shock.

Some side effects which I consider to be cleansing symptoms: nausea, sleeplessness and skin breakouts, but I did start on a high dose of 20 grams a day. After three weeks no more 'side effects'.

My energy has greatly increased, I feel quite euphoric every day now. The only time I had that kind of euphoria was by drinking three glasses of organic green juices a day. I think people on heavy medications, mercury fillings, toxic diet are going to have more difficulties with it, so building up from a small dose with extra vitamin C and plenty of pure water will help.

The other supplement that really helps is Vitamin D3, I take 16,000iu liquid daily, no colds for two years now and my chronic bronchitis of 20 years has disappeared. Some years it was mild others, severe triggering serious asthma attacks. So the combination of Vitamin and MSM has been miraculous for me. This great website encouraged me to try MSM. Thanks so much.

p.s. Brushing my teeth with MSM has whitened them.

Contraindications - Sarcoidosis and Lyme

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Posted by beverly (Texas) on 02/05/2022


Health experts mention how beneficial Vitamin D is to a person's health. You have to be aware there are some conditions that do not benefit from vitamin D supplementations. Sarcoidosis is one and Lymes disease is another.

Explanation - Trevor Marshall was a biomedical engineer from Australia. It took him about 30 years to find out how cell wall deficient bacteria survive in the body for many years. He found out that they stimulate the cells to overproduce vitamin D. It becomes toxic and shuts the immune system down. Exposure to sun, vitamin D rich foods and supplements should be stopped completely for at least 12 months to clear the cell wall deficient form of borrelia. This helps tremendously the action of the antibiotics. Low doses of antibiotics become very effective. He advises Benicar (high blood pressure medicine) to decrease significantly the vitamin D in the body. Not all patients are able to take it. The majority of doctors and holistic practitioners advocate taking vitamin D without being aware of present microorganisms. Remember that fish oils and seaweed are high in vitamin D as well. They are taken by millions of people as supplements.

Most people have vitamin D deficiency that reflects in a blood test. Vitamin D could aggravate severely anybody with chronic Lyme disease and co–infections with CWD bacteria!!! Every person should be tested for these bacteria before administering vitamin D!!!


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Posted by Debbie (South Bend, IN) on 02/17/2009

In reference to the cough...I have a friend here at work, age 58 who had been suffering from a bacterial respiratory infection since April of 2008. We work of different floors and I hadn't seen her in a while until she stopped into my office in the middle of January (Tues 1/13) of this year. She was still very, very ill. Whenever she tried to talk she would cough. It was bad.

I suggested she do the Vitamin D3 treatment....50,000 ius on the first day followed by 10,000 ius each day for a week and then 50,000 more for the following 2 weeks plus the daily 10,000. Guess what. She is cured. She had been on antibiotics and everything imaginable to get rid of this. She was sick for over 8 months.

Not only is her respiratory infection gone but she told me that she is no longer depressed and she has a great outlook on life again. Mind you, when I saw Cindy in January her skin was gray and she couldn't talk without coughing. Today looks completely healthy. I just went upstairs on a errand and I saw her in the classroom with students and the teacher she assists and she was laughing and healthy for the first time in almost a year. Vitamin D is an amazing thing.

Cough, Psoriasis

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Posted by Tess (Palm Beach, FL) on 02/12/2009

I came down with the flu last week and a friend mentioned taking Vitamin D three days in a row and also putting hydrogen peroxide in the ear. I went a few days later when I was feeling better to Whole Foods and the only kind I could find was Vitamin D3. Most of the brands were made from liver sources, which I thought might be high in mercury, so I settled for vitamin D3 from Lanolin - also cholecalciferol. Anyway, I have been taking 1-2 softgels (2500 IU) a day with food. Immediately the raspy cough that I can't quite kick disappears. The amazing thing is that my psoriasis around my nose disappeared after taking the first dose. But both the cough and the psoriasis came back when I stopped a few days later. My thought is that I am not taking enough D3.

Question to those who know about Vitamin D3 -- How much is a good daily dosage? If it takes 30 minutes to get 10,000 IU from sitting out in the sun, I imagine you can take at least that amount. I am seeing that some people take up to 50,000 IU a day, but that seems a little high to me!

D3 Overdose Detox Remedies

Posted by Hesham (Kuwait) on 03/16/2013

Dear Ted, my mother toke overdose off d3 by mistake and now she is sufering from the toxity of d3 "870 nmol". She is in the hospital now given the treatment for lowering the calcium. How can we detox d3? Kindly help ASAP

Replied by Anon

Hi, Magnesium salt baths would help (epsom salts). Excess d3 causes kidney stones so watch out for this.

Dr. Cannell's Vitamin D Newsletter

Posted by Earth Clinic (USA) on 02/27/2010

Latest newsletter from the Dr. Cannell and the Vitamin D Council. Please pay particular attention to the paragraph about the harmful effects of Vitamin A and why people should avoid cod liver oil like the plague!

..."However, hidden on page eight is one sentence and a small table, which shows that the benefits of vitamin D are almost entirely negated in those with the highest vitamin A intake."


The Vitamin D Newsletter

Remarkable Paper in British Medical Journal

February 28, 2010

This is a periodic newsletter from the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit trying to end the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. If you want to unsubscribe, go to the end of this newsletter. If you are not subscribed, you can do so on the Vitamin D Council's website.

This newsletter may be reproduced as long as you properly and prominently attribute its source. Please reproduce it, post it on Internet sites, and forward it to your friends.

A few weeks ago, the British Medical Journal published a remarkable paper, remarkable that it studied more than 500,000 subjects, remarkable that it had 56 (fifty-six) authors, remarkable that it confirmed low vitamin D levels obtained in the past are a risk factor for developing colon cancer in the future. However, the most remarkable part of the paper is that the 46 scientists minimized the true significance of their own research. They found that vitamin A, even in relatively low amounts, appears to thwart vitamin D's association with reduced rates of colon cancer.

Jenab M et al. Association between pre-diagnostic circulating vitamin D concentration and risk of colorectal cancer in European populations: a nested case-control study. BMJ 2010;340:b5500

This is a prospective nested case-controlled study, which means it uses subject's vitamin D blood samples obtained and frozen in the past and then reviews their medical records into the future to see who gets colon cancer, comparing the study subjects to similar members of the group that did not get the illness. Dr. Mazda Jenab and his 45 colleagues from the International Agency for Research on Cancer confirmed that low vitamin D levels are a risk for colon cancer in a dose response manner; those with the highest levels were about twice as less likely to develop colon cancer compared to those with the highest levels.

However, hidden on page eight is one sentence and a small table, which shows that the benefits of vitamin D are almost entirely negated in those with the highest vitamin A intake. And the retinol intake did not have to be that high in these older adults to begin to negate vitamin D's effects, about 3,000 IU/day. Remember, young autistic children often take 3,500 IU of retinol a day in their powdered multivitamins, which doesn't count any additional vitamin A given in high single doses.

This is the largest study to date showing vitamin A blocks vitamin D's effect and explains some of the anomalies in other papers on vitamin D and cancer. For example, Dr. Rachael Stolzenberg-Solomon of the NIH conducted two similar studies on pancreatic cancer, with startling different results. Her first paper showed high vitamin D levels tripled the subsequent risk of pancreatic cancer, her second paper showed no effect. The difference, the first was conducted in a cod liver oil country, Finland, the second in the USA.

Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ et al. A prospective nested case-control study of vitamin D status and pancreatic cancer risk in male smokers. Cancer Res. 2006 Oct 15;66(20):10213-9.

Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, et al. Serum vitamin D and risk of pancreatic cancer in the prostate, lung, colorectal, and ovarian screening trial. Cancer Res. 2009 Feb 15;69(4):1439-47.

Prostate cancer is another good example; ten similar studies have been conducted on vitamin D blood levels and the risk of subsequent prostate cancer. Dr. Lu Yin of the German Cancer Research Center reviewed them in detail. Eight of the studies found no relationship but two studies found a U shaped curve, that is, an increased risk of prostate cancer at both lower and higher vitamin D levels. You guessed it; both of these studies were from Nordic countries where cod liver oil consumption is rampant.

Yin L et al. Meta-analysis of longitudinal studies: Serum vitamin D and prostate cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol. 2009 Dec;33(6):435-45.

So why is there no relationship between vitamin D levels and the future risk of prostate cancer? All the subjects had their vitamin D levels checked in the late 1980s or 1990s, well into the sun-scare but before the vitamin D revolution. So how did these older people get high levels of vitamin D back then? Multivitamins? No, they only contained a meaningless 400 IU. Vitamin D supplements? No, they were not widely available back then and only contained a meaningless 200 to 400 IU of vitamin D if available. Sunshine? Maybe, but I doubt it. Studies have shown that the elderly were the first to abide by sun-avoidance advice; anyway, the elderly lose the ability to make vitamin D from sunshine; it takes the elderly up to ten times more time in the sun that the young to make an equivalent amount of vitamin D.

However, the elderly of many countries, not just Nordic countries, were raised on cod liver oil and I suspect that a sizable number of Americans continue to take cod liver oil as they age. While cod liver oil from the 1980s and 90s had higher amounts of vitamin D than does modern cod liver oil, it still had toxic amounts of A. I suspect if authors of the above ten studies had controlled for cod liver oil intake, they would have found that high retinol intake was blocking the cancer-preventing effects of vitamin D.

I say this because one author has controlled for retinol intake and the pre-cancerous condition, colon adenomas. Dr. Kyungwon Oh, of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with Harvard epidemiologists, found that high retinol intake completely thwarted the beneficial effects of vitamin D, stating, "a higher retinol intake, approximately > 4,800 IU/day, appears to counter the beneficial effect of vitamin D . . ." In other words, exactly what the British Medical Journal paper found with colon cancer.

Oh K et al. Calcium and vitamin D intakes in relation to risk of distal colorectal adenoma in women. Am J Epidemiol. 2007 May 15;165(10):1178-86.

Let"s look at Dr. Pamela Goodwin"s study from the University of Toronto that studied breast cancer survival. This a very different study as it looked at vitamin D levels obtained after the diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent survival in 535 Toronto women between 1989 and 1996. Vitamin D levels ranged from 3 ng/ml to 70 ng/ml. The women with the lowest levels were about twice as likely to die and to suffer distant cancer recurrence compared those with the highest levels. Ten year survival was 85% for those in the upper one-third of vitamin D levels compared to 74% in the lower one-third. However, the data suggested a U shaped curve for the women with levels above 40 ng/ml, that is, a higher risk of dying, but it was not statistically significant.

Goodwin PJ et al. Prognostic effects of 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in early breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2009 Aug 10;27(23):3757-63.

Again, let"s ask where women would get levels above 40 ng/ml in Toronto between 1989 and 1996? Sunshine? We know the answer is no as the authors found no seasonal variation in 25(OH)D levels in the 535 women, even in the women with the highest levels. So where did blood levels of 40-70 ng/ml come from in the early 1990s? Vitamin D supplements were not widely available in the early 1990s, and only contained meaningless doses when available. As sunshine was ruled out, they could only have gotten it from cod liver oil. I have emailed Dr. Pamela Goodwin, lead author, asking how hard it would be to see if cod liver oil use was asked about in the dietary questionnaire and if she could control for cod liver oil intake. She did find retinol intake was associated with higher vitamin D levels but I am particularly interested in cod liver oil intake in women with vitamin D levels above 40 ng/ml.

It's not just in breast cancer that vitamin D levels appear to have a treatment effect; it's in lung, prostate and colon cancer as well. Again, these are studies of people diagnosed with cancer to see if high vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis are associated with improved survival.; that is, do high vitamin D levels have a treatment effect? On average, those with the highest vitamin D levels at time of diagnosis lived 2 or 3 times longer. One has to ask how high vitamin D levels are associated with greatly improved survival once you get cancer but a higher risk of getting cancer in the first place. That requires some gymnastic thinking and acrobatic basic science.

Zhou W et al. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels predict survival in early-stage non-small-cell lung cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 2007 Feb 10;25(5):479-85.

Ng K et al. Clin Oncol. 2008 Jun 20;26(18):2984-91. Circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and survival in patients with colorectal cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2008 Jun 20;26(18):2984-91.

Tretli S et al. Association between serum 25(OH)D and death from prostate cancer. Br J Cancer. 2009 Feb 10;100(3):450-4.

Remember, studies of vitamin D levels and subsequent risk of cancer are only one type of epidemiological study. Studies of latitude and cancer are quite clear, the less sunshine the higher the cancer risk. Studies of dietary vitamin D intake and cancer are also mostly supportive but such studies are limited by the tiny doses people get in their diets.

So it is not just autistic children that are being harmed by vitamin A. Avoid cod liver oil like the poison it is and check your multivitamins. Life Extension Foundation just reformulated their multivitamin to contain only 500 IU of preformed retinol. And, I am happy to report that Purity Products, which markets my vitamin D, has no preformed retinol at all in any of their multivitamins, only beta carotene. Purity has also stopped selling cod liver oil. Now, if only Carlson, Solgar, Nature's Way, and other companies would stop selling cod liver oil and stop selling their concentrated vitamin A supplements to a country whose problem is widespread sub-clinical vitamin A toxicity, I'd be a happier agitator.
John Cannell, MD
Executive Director
Vitamin D Council

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Erectile Dysfunction, Migraines

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Posted by Deirdre (Atlanta, GA) on 02/15/2010

I had the good fortune a couple of weeks ago when I was visiting Los Angeles to speak with an osteopathic doctor from Colorado who has treated and cured many of his patients with D3. The gist of what he told me (sorry, I didn't have any writing instruments with me at the time of the conversation so this is in my memory bank) was that many ailments are healed with vitamin D3 after 2-3 months on the hormone (he refers to it as a hormone, not a supplement). He suggested that I first get my D levels checked at a doctor's office. Once I know the baseline, I can start taking 8,000 iu of vitamin D3 a day. After 3 months, I should get the levels checked again. In summertime some people would be able to drop this daily dose to about 4,000 iu/day or less, but you won't know unless you get your levels checked. He told me people will be very surprised to see how deficient they are in D. Even those that live in sunny climates like Los Angeles are surprisingly deficient in D3.

One of his patients with erectile dysfunction was cured after a two months on D3. Unfortunately, the patient was so thrilled with the results that he started taking a lot more than what was recommended! A blood test showed his D levels soared too high and he had to come off it for about two months. After two months he was deficient again.

The good doctor also told me that 90% of his patients suffering from migraines were cured after being 2-3 months on D3. The key is to give it 3 months at 8,000/day dosage. He recommended the vitamin d council website for further research:


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5 star (1) 

Posted by Selena (Chula, Ga, Usa) on 02/16/2010

I read the information on your site about fibromyalgia and flouride poisoning but I didn't find any on the link between Vit. D deficiency and fibro. I just want to be sure that those suffering from this illness are aware of the belief that fibro. is considered by some to be an adult form of rickets. It manifests itself with signs of so many symptoms because if the body is deficient in Vit. D then it will become deficient in all of the minerals the body needs because without the vit. D in the colon minerals cannot be utilized and absorbed by the body. There is no substitute for the natural vit. D produced by the body by being exposed to natural sunlight....especially women are deficient because all of their makeup and body lotions block the UV rays of the sun. If you are suffering from fibromyalgia, please research the link between fibro. and vit. D deficiency.

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