New Vitamin D News


I receive a newsfeed from Google on the latest publication related to vitamin D, something I subscribe to given my ongoing writings on vitamin D. I write so much on this subject due to my belief that vitamin D is the single most important nutrient that we must  supplement with, and my further belief that 99% of us in the modern world do not get enough vitamin D from the sun and food sources. As I often point out, to get vitamin D from the sun one must be “half-naked and dirty”. Which is to say, 50% of the body must be exposed and we mustn’t have bathed or showered either before or after sun exposure. Furthermore, in order to activate that vitamin D in the winter, we must not consume tropical fruits (bananas, oranges, etc). 


In the last week or so, many publications have come out with the story of a man in the U.K. who actually died from a vitamin D overdose. This of course is of concern to people who supplement with D, but I found the vast majority of these alarming articles made no mention of exactly how much vitamin D this man was taking.


Man Dies from Vitamin D Overdose


Published in the journal BMJ Case Reports, this case is described as “a cautionary tale for people who are considering adding supplements to their lives”. But is it really, or is it just unnecessary fear mongering?


The man in question had a visit with a “private nutritionist” and started a regimen of nutritional supplements, including vitamin D. Within a month he began to suffer symptoms which included abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramping in the legs, nausea, ringing in the ears, and vomiting. The man stopped his supplements after these severe symptoms manifested, but by the time he went to the hospital, two months later, he had lost 28 pounds and his kidneys were malfunctioning. He had “hypervitaminosis D”.


Of course, vitamin D is fat-soluble and unlike water-soluble vitamins (vitamin C, B-vitamins) cannot be easily excreted from the body if we have too much of it. Rather, vitamin D will be stored in the liver and the fat cells of the body. Thus, as the article pointed out, “consuming well over the daily recommended dose can build up to toxic levels”. But what is “well over the daily recommended dose”?


In the U.S., 600 IU of vitamin D daily is the recommended dose for adults up to the age of 69. After that age the RDA rises to 800 IU daily. Infants, children and adolescents are recommended 400 IU per day. (For more details on how these numbers were arrived at, follow the link below in the section on Orthomolecular News Release.)


A U.S. study released in 2017 found that about 18% of adults took more than 1,000 IU daily, and only 3% took more than the acceptable upper limit of 4,000 IU per day.


That being said, the article I’ve taken the material above from, one warning us about going over the government-approved recommended daily levels ends with this tidbit about how the body can make adequate vitamin D from sun exposure: According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, being outside in a bathing suit in the summer, for 10 to 15 minutes “will generate 10,000 to 20,000 IU of vitamin D3 in adults with light skin pigmentation”. My question is then: how is 600 IU of vitamin D daily, possibly sufficient vitamin D to ensure good health? Just asking.


How Much Vitamin D is Lethal?


In our unfortunate case study, the subject was taking 50,000 IU of vitamin D three times daily, for a total of 150,000 IU per day. That is an insane amount, even I would agree, and I find it hard to believe his nutritional consultant even actually recommended that much to him.


That being said, in my newsletter on Megadosing Vitamin D, I did discuss a clinic in the U.S. where the doctor will use up to 100,000 IU of D daily to treat certain autoimmune conditions. But this sort of therapy must be done with the help of a professional who regularly monitors one’s vitamin D blood levels. And cofactors are required when taking high levels of an isolated nutrient. For example, in this case the leg cramps would have been caused by vitamin D using up magnesium, one of its cofactors. Other important cofactors are vitamins A and K2. 


Too much vitamin D in the blood will cause hypercalcaemia, as it draws excessive levels of calcium into the bloodstream (here is where vitamin K2 is necessary as it channels calcium back into the bones). Hypercalcaemia is ultimately what killed the subject of this case, which, aside from weakening the bones and causing kidney stones, will interfere with how the brain and heart function.


Symptoms of vitamin D overdose to be aware of include: confusion, depression, drowsiness, and lethargy. At its extreme, vitamin D overdose causes stupor and coma, hypertension, irregular heart beat, kidney failure, and can affect hearing and vision.   (Source)


Lots of Sun Does Not Mean You Have Enough Vitamin D


Released in March of this year (2024), comes a study from India based on records from “Vitamin-D testing camps conducted by Apollo clinic in collaboration with Horlicks Women’s Plus”. (We would have vitamin-D testing camps, if our medical system was serious about reducing illness and disease. Instead, in most cases, we have to pay out of pocket for a vitamin D test in Canada.)


The medical profession in India maintains that levels of vitamin D below 30ng/ml (75nmol/L) indicate deficiency, whereas in Canada, “blood levels below 30 nmol/L (12ng/ml) indicate a deficiency”. Clearly, far different standards. 


The Vitamin-D testing camps “revealed that approximately 80% of urban women in India have low Vitamin D levels”.


Vitamin D deficiency causes poor bone health, ultimately causing symptoms of severe bone pain, and easy fractures. Another Indian study, from 2023, found that “87% of women who suffer from body aches remain unaware of the link between body aches and poor bone health and turn to temporary pain relief”.


Given how prevalent osteoporosis is among modern people, understanding this information about the widespread deficiency of vitamin D, even in sunny India, should be a wakeup call to physicians in the West.


Dr Suma Raghuram, from the Apollo clinic (Apollo is the god of the Sun), discussed how working women in India, especially those who work indoors, are very prone to vitamin D deficiency. However, when they suffer back or knee pain, or vague bone pain, they simply resort to painkillers, which does nothing to address the underlying cause of these problems.


We have observed that 80% of the pain that occurs due to poor bone health among women goes away after regular intake of nutritional supplements containing Vitamin D and calcium. A good diet, physical exercise along with nutritional supplements with Vitamin D will save them from the risk of Vitamin D deficiency and weak and brittle bones.”   (Source )


Anemia and Vitamin D Deficiency 


Most of us know that iron is required for making hemoglobin, the protein found in red blood cells which carries oxygen throughout the body. However, most of us are unaware that  iron is carefully managed by the body through a system involving a hormone called hepcidin and a protein called ferroportin. Hepcidin is produced by the liver and regulates the release of iron from cells, particularly from macrophages that recycle iron from old red blood cells”.


Now, when we have inflammation in the body, which can occur simply due to a deficiency in vitamin D, inflammatory molecules called cytokines are released. This increase in cytokines stimulates the production of hepcidin, “which leads to more iron being trapped within cells like macrophages, and less being absorbed from the gut. This situation makes less iron available for making new red blood cells, leading to anaemia.”


Recently, a study confirmed that lower levels of vitamin D are linked to higher levels of hepcidin, confirming that vitamin D deficiency can be a direct cause of difficult to diagnose forms of anemia.   (Source)


Helicobacter Pylori and Vitamin D


Helicobacter pylori (HP) is a bacteria linked to causing peptic ulcers and gastritis, and though it mostly occurs in children, it is becoming more and more common among adults.


Symptoms include: “dull or burning pain in your stomach (more often a few hours after eating and at night); bloating; indigestion; loss of appetite; dark stools (from blood in the stool); and unplanned weight loss”.


In certain cases, when it goes untreated, the condition can become life-threatening, in fact, “infection with H. pylori is the strongest known risk factor for gastric cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide”.


HP, whether treating ulcers or other symptoms, is commonly approached with a combination of strong antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors (stomach acid blockers).  (Source)


However, in the natural medicine field HP is primarily treated with zinc carnosine, mastic gum, and the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii. 


I found it surprising that approximately one-third of children around the world carry this bacterial infection. (My sister got it from well water, so perhaps I should not be so  surprised, since when we look at the whole world, many people do drink from wells.) In China the incidence ranges from 30 to 60% of children.


The occurrence of HP among children is concerning because aside from the damage it can do the the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, it “can negatively affect their growth and development, hematology, respiratory and hepatobiliary system, skin, nutritional metabolism, and autoimmune system”.


Unfortunately, the approach of using antibiotics for treatment has resulted in drug-resistant strains of HP, and the issue is further complicated by the limited amount and strength of the antibiotics that young people can safely tolerate.


Fortunately, some intrepid researchers have started looking at how vitamin D might help the situation. As I am forever going on about, vitamin D is essential for maintaining the integrity of mucous membranes including the gut lining which is damaged by HP. (The other primary nutrients essential for maintaining mucous membranes are vitamin A and iodine.)


Vitamin D also reduces “inflammation in the stomach mucosa induced by HP and can alleviate and eradicate HP through a variety of pathways and mechanisms, including immune regulation and the stimulation of antimicrobial peptide (AMP) secretion… thus, these results provide new strategies and ideas for the eradication of drug-resistant HP strains”.  (Source)


Orthomolecular Medicine News Service


One of my best sources for news and reviews on the use of nutritional supplements for disease prevention and healing, is the Orthomolecular News Website. 


In March, 2024, they put out their “Annual Collection of Top Vitamin D Publications”, by


William B. Grant, PhD. Since I already cover the subject of vitamin D so extensively, I will just give you the link to see the new studies released on the positive effects of vitamin D, should that be of interest. 


Subjects covered in these studies are as follows: Autoimmune diseases; Cancer; Cardiovascular disease; Cerebrovascular disorder; Circulatory system; Dementia; Depression & Anxiety; Diabetes mellitus type 2; Foot Ulcers; Microvascular Complications; Respiratory Tract Infections; and Wound Healing.


Within this article you will also find an analysis of who set the guidelines for the recommended vitamin D intakes referred to at the beginning of this newsletter, and why they arrived at those low recommendations. After which the article points out that: “About the same time, the Endocrine Society recommended higher vitamin D doses for people with vitamin D deficiency in order to achieve > 30 ng/mL, which has over 12,000 Google Scholar citations.” (Source)




Quick D: Say no more.

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