With more than a decade-long head start, one would have thought vitamin D would have cured cancer by now, if not Covid-19. There are over 10,000 reports about vitamin D supplementation published in the past 10 years, posted at the National Library of Medicine.
But all is not rosy in vitamin-D Land. Speaking out of two sides of their mouths, researchers say vitamin D does/doesn’t work; say over a billion people on earth are vitamin D deficient, but also say they the public is wasting money on sunshine pills.
Which is it? A wonder cure, or the biggest disappoint in nutritional medicine?
The answer is, it will be what modern medicine chooses it to be, because the delivery of medicine today is on the medical industry’s terms, not determined by public needs or demands.
Like mafia, the medical industry has to get a cut of the pie, or it will malign and disqualify whatever threatens its income. As a dietary supplement, the public’s direct access to vitamin D without doctoring is a problem for modern medicine because of vitamin D’s broad ability to quell many diseases. The biggest confounding factor in vitamin D science is the medical profession itself.
Called the “nutrient of the decade” in 2010 by Ronald Hoffman MD, former president of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, this vitamin/hormone came out of the research closet to offer far more health benefits than its widely advertised ability to utilize calcium for bone growth and prevent rickets in growing children. Vitamin D’s greatest promise is its central role in the immune system and should be front and center in infectious disease and cancer prevention.
Living in the dark
How could such a widespread deficiency plague modern man when it is free, not confined to dietary or supplemental sources, and all that is required to be vitamin D sufficient is to walk outside in midday sun, at least in southern latitudes.
It is inconceivable that a 4000-unit vitamin D pill (the so-called safe upper intake limit) could be problematic beyond that point. 4000 international units (IU) is just 1/10th of a milligram (100 micrograms). This preposterous safety limit point exposes the sun/vitamin D phobia that now prevails in modern medicine. (More about this below.)
Vitamin D inadequacy costs ~$40-50 billion a year (2004 data) whereas sun-related diseases (skin cancer) costs ~$6-7 billion a year in the US. Modern medicine knows, if vitamin D adequacy could be achieved by the entire population, $40-50 billion in insurance reimbursements to doctors and hospitals would be taken out of its pockets. The medical industry recognizes the vitamin D revolution can’t be stopped, but it can stall for time.
How much supplemental vitamin D are Americans taking?
WebMD provides usage data: In 1999-2000, 0.3 percent of U.S. adults took 1,000 IUs or more of vitamin D daily. By 2013-2014, slightly more than 18 percent of adults were taking that much vitamin D daily.
In 2007-2008, 0.2 percent of Americans took 4,000 IUs or more daily. By 2013-2014, that number was 3.2 percent.
$770 billion divided by a population of 328 million Americans amounts to just $2.34 per year per capita. The tab for 200 million Americans taking a $10/month vitamin D pill would amount to $2.4 billion, showing the market potential for this supplement.
For reference, there are two ways to measure blood levels of vitamin D: nanograms per milliliter and nanomoles per liter.
1000 IU: 12.4 nanograms/milliliter/ nanomole per liter
Vitamin D-deficiency is defined as below 20 nanograms/milliliter or 50 nanomoles/liter blood sample
5000 IU: 27.8 nanograms/milliliter/ 69 nanomoles per liter
10,000 IU: 48.1 nanograms/milliliter/ 24,960 nanomole per liter
That makes 1000-4000 mg vitamin D pills almost worthless, save for sunshine that prevents abject deficiency.
Canadian researcher Reinhold Vieth showed a 400 IU/day dose for several months achieves little or no detectable effect on the circulating concentration of vitamin D. Embarrassingly, that is the amount of vitamin D in fortified milk for many years – a useless dose.
In winter, every American living above the 37th parallel except vitamin D-supplement users is probably vitamin D-deficient.
Why not food fortification?
What about fortifying foods? The World Health Organization (WHO) says food fortification is supposed to kick in “to provide most (97.5%) of the individuals in the population group(s) at greatest risk of deficiency with an adequate intake of specific micronutrients, without causing a risk of excessive intakes in this or other groups.”
Therefore, when 2.5% of the population has blood levels below 10-12 nanograms per milliliter/ 25-30 nanomole/liter blood sample, food fortification should be implemented. Milk is fortified with 400 units of vitamin D for growing children who need vitamin D. Obviously, food fortification isn’t working.
Provision of vitamin D from the diet is insignificant
Public health authorities recommend a miniscule 400-800 IU (10-20 micrograms) of vitamin D to achieve blood levels in the range of 25-50 nanomole/liter or 10-20 nanograms/milliliter blood sample. If every American achieved this blood level, they would all be on the border of deficiency, especially if living in northern climates where the effects of the tilting of the earth away from the sun during winter months reduces solar radiation and natural production of vitamin D.
The circulating half-life of the intermediate form of vitamin D (calcidiol) is many weeks; for vitamin D3 it is 1 day; and for activated vitamin D (calcitriol) it is a few hours. Vitamin D is eventually excreted in bile, feces and urine. Therefore, the only known way to maintain constant vitamin D blood levels is daily supplementation or skin/sun exposure to solar UV rays.
Even a 100,000-unit dose of vitamin D is cleared from the blood circulation within a week, making vitamin D basically undetectable (though some is stored in the liver). Thus, the only known way to sustain constant circulating vitamin D concentrations is by daily supplementation and/or chronic UV exposure.
A 400 IU/day dose for several months will achieve little or no detectable effect on the circulating concentration of vitamin. D However, if one supplements for extended periods with 2000–6000 IU/d vitamin D3, stable circulating concentrations of vitamin D are maintained in the range of 10–40 nanograms/milliliter. Dosing of 400, 1000, 2000, or 4000 IU/day; 28 000 IU/week; 120 000 IU/month; 360,000 IU every 3–4 months will maintain vitamin E levels without over-calcification.
Daily doses of vitamin D result in stable circulating concentrations of both D3 and intermediate calcidiol, whereas weekly or longer interval dosing will result in large fluctuations in circulating vitamin D but stable concentrations of calcidiol in the liver, the intermediate form of vitamin D. Nursing mothers need 6000 IU/day of vitamin D3.
Plethora of vitamin D studies with declaration of pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic produced a plethora of vitamin studies in a short time. With no vaccines in place, the Covid-19 pandemic took second-tier treatments like vitamins and thrust them to the front of the battle to save human lives from a mutated virus that no human had immunity from. Vitamin D/Covid-19 studies were initially positive:
· Even when a single high-dose of vitamin D3 was administered (200,000 IU) there was no effect on days of hospitalization. However, other studies came to a different conclusion and recommended vitamin D supplementation for Covid-19. Why?
Investigation into vitamin D as a nutrient to prevent, treat and even cure Covid-19 reveals voluminous evidence a deficiency of the active form of this sunshine hormone/vitamin (calcitriol) is responsible for an estimated 87% of Covid-19 deaths.
Don’t blame failed studies on vitamin D
There are known reasons why vitamin D doesn’t work.
There is lot more to vitamin D than meets the eye. Excessive vitamin D could result in over-calcification, so the body makes vitamin D in the skin upon exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation, stores it in the liver that keeps a few months supply to get through winter, then converts it to its active form (calcitriol). Vitamin D in the blood is predominantly the bound form, with only ~1% being unbound and bioavailable.
The crux of vitamin D metabolism is it must be metabolized in the kidneys to its active form, calcitriol.