Vitamin D for the Heart and Diabetes

David Mendosa Health Guide
  • Those of us who have diabetes and don't get enough vitamin D can't process cholesterol normally. It builds up in our blood vessels, increasing our risk of heart attack and stroke. Now, however, new research has identified how low vitamin D levels link to heart disease risk and a good way to fix the...

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Published On: August 29, 2009
10 Comments
  • Anonymous
    Ted Hutchinson
    Aug. 29, 2009

    May I remind readers that Grassrootshealth D Action offer postal 25(OH)D testing at cost price ($40) and this allows you to monitor your level to be sure the amount of Vitamin D3 your are taking is sufficient to achieve a sensible level. 

     

    40ng/ml (100nmol/l) is a good base level to have as that ensures you daily needs are being met. However,...

    RHMLucky777

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    May I remind readers that Grassrootshealth D Action offer postal 25(OH)D testing at cost price ($40) and this allows you to monitor your level to be sure the amount of Vitamin D3 your are taking is sufficient to achieve a sensible level. 

     

    40ng/ml (100nmol/l) is a good base level to have as that ensures you daily needs are being met. However, people with Diabetes (or any other chronic inflammatory condition) do have a heavier burden than others and it is sensible to have a store of Vitamin D3 on board to cope with any crisis should it occur. Generally stores of vitamin D3 are only significant when 25(OH)D is above 50ng/ml and as 55ng/ml is associated with least chronic illness that is a sensible level for people who simply want to reduce the potential risk of chronic illness.

    Now for reduction of risk of heart disease and for people with a known inflammatory condition or who are currently battling cancer it MAY be a good idea to maintain the natural maximum level a human living outdoors with plenty of skin exposed to sunshine would naturally achieve. Dr Davis of the Heartscanblog recommends all his patients to try to achieve levels around the 70ng/mL mark. 

    He finds in Wisconsin this usually take his female patients 5000iu/daily and his men patients 6000iu/daily/d3 however he finds a great variation hence the need for regular testing particularly initially so see how your body responds. 

    Anyone with the slightest concerns about the amounts suggested may like to read 

    Vitamin D and Cancer Mini-Symposium: The Risk of Additional Vitamin D Reinhold Vieth

    the full text is at the link but the take home message is. 

    Evidence from clinical trials shows, with a wide margin of conīŦdence, that a prolonged intake of 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 poses no risk of adverse effects for adults, even if this is added to a rather high physiologic background level of vitamin D

    May I also make the point that as well as being very safe Vitamin D3 is also very cheap. 

    Biotech do a 50,000iu dry powderfilled capsule for $30 x 100 and to get 10,000iu/daily you would need just ONE capsule every 5 days. To average 7000iu/daily just one x 50,000iu/week would do. 

    Healthy Origins, Vitamin D3, 5,000 IU, 360 Softgels from IHERB cost just $14.98 and if you haven't used Iherb before WAB666 saves you $5. 

    Even the delux version from The Vitamin D Council with Vitamin A, Magnesium, zinc, boron and Vitamin K2 is relatively cheap. Some people new to using Vitamin D may find that when they correct vitamin D deficiency their body absorbs more calcium from their diet and calcium has a ying/yang dance with magnesium. So if you absorb more calcium but haven't the matching reserves or dietary intake of magnesium (and many of us are deficient in magnesium) you could possibly have muscle aches cramps or other magnesium deficiency symptoms. These are NOT adverse side effects from vitamin d but simply the result of increased availability of calcium exposing magnesium deficiency. 

     

    • NoBox
      Sep. 01, 2009

      Excellent comments Ted! I live in south western Canada. Even though I sunbath between 10 AM and 2 PM at every opportunity I need to take 6-8,000 IUs of D3 per day to get reach and maintain a serum level of 60 ng/mL.

       

      Grassrootshealth is conducting a 5 year study of the effects of maintaining blood levels of vitamin D between 40 and 60 ng/mL. The study...

      RHMLucky777

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      Excellent comments Ted! I live in south western Canada. Even though I sunbath between 10 AM and 2 PM at every opportunity I need to take 6-8,000 IUs of D3 per day to get reach and maintain a serum level of 60 ng/mL.

       

      Grassrootshealth is conducting a 5 year study of the effects of maintaining blood levels of vitamin D between 40 and 60 ng/mL. The study currently has about 1000 participants of which I am one. At the time of my first 25-OH-D test it was reported that only about 40% of the participants had achieved 25-OH-D levels above 40 ng/mL. This is startling when you consider that the participants are actively trying to reach and maintain levels in the 40 to 60 ng/mL range. So until you have a 25-OH-D test it is best to assume you are deficient in vitamin D.

       

      Participants of the study have their vitamin D levels tested every 6 months at a cost of $40 US. They also fill out a health questionaire. You can sign up for the study at www.grassrootshealth.net

    • David Mendosa
      Health Guide
      Sep. 02, 2009

      Thanks for your excellent contribution. I too get my vitamin D level tested every six months by GrassrootsHealth. But what interests me the most among your comments is that you sunbath a lot and still need to take vitamin D. I understand that sun exposure doesn't help much as we get older. So I am wondering how old you are. Can you tell us please?

       

      Best...

      RHMLucky777

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      Thanks for your excellent contribution. I too get my vitamin D level tested every six months by GrassrootsHealth. But what interests me the most among your comments is that you sunbath a lot and still need to take vitamin D. I understand that sun exposure doesn't help much as we get older. So I am wondering how old you are. Can you tell us please?

       

      Best regards,

       

      David

    • NoBox
      Sep. 02, 2009

      I have just turned 65. I think age is an issue as is individuality with regards to our ability to synthesize vitamin D. I also think it probable that as one live's further north (or south) of the equator the sun angle is less favorable for the synthesis of vitamin D.

       

      Since I have become aware of the importance of vitamin D and have made an effort to...

      RHMLucky777

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      I have just turned 65. I think age is an issue as is individuality with regards to our ability to synthesize vitamin D. I also think it probable that as one live's further north (or south) of the equator the sun angle is less favorable for the synthesis of vitamin D.

       

      Since I have become aware of the importance of vitamin D and have made an effort to maintain serum levels in the range recommended by the Vitamin D Council and GrassrootsHealth my chronic longstanding sinusitis of more than 50 years duration has cleared completely. For the first time I can breath freely and easily through my nose. Totally amazing. Who would have thought?

       

      Looking back it seems likely that I have been severely deficient in vitamin D for most of my life. I always dreaded the winter months because I would had very little energy or enthusiasm for life. A week of sunny weather always did wonders for me.

       

      BTW I not only sun bath I sunbath without any clothes and only at the optimal times. So I am very diligent about trying to get my vitamin D from the sun. Recently I had an email exchange with a person who is a little further north of my location. This person told me that they only take 400 IU of D3 per day but have their own sun bed and tan frequently. This person's 25-OH-D level was considerablty less than mine.

    • NoBox
      Sep. 02, 2009

      It would be enlightening to do a 2nd vitamin D survey wherein you ask those who have had a 25-OH-D test done whether their serum levels were at least 40ng/ml.

    • Anonymous
      sjs
      Sep. 05, 2009

      Steve Gibson, who is the inventor of the Gibson Light Pen for the Apple II and the author of Spinrite, recently devoted nearly a complete episode of his "Security Now" podcast to Vitamin D. See http://www.grc.com/health/Vitamin-D.htm . There is also a transcript of the show (Episode 209) at http://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm

       

      Steve is age 54...

      RHMLucky777

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      Steve Gibson, who is the inventor of the Gibson Light Pen for the Apple II and the author of Spinrite, recently devoted nearly a complete episode of his "Security Now" podcast to Vitamin D. See http://www.grc.com/health/Vitamin-D.htm . There is also a transcript of the show (Episode 209) at http://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm

       

      Steve is age 54 and in good health (definitely not diabetic). He did an experiment to see if he could raise his Vitamin D level by sun bathing. He had his blood tested before he started this and again a week later.

       

      "Anyway, my first test showed me at 23.6 nanograms per milliliter. And a week later, after a week of sun, where I'm spending half an hour in noonday sun, completely exposed, I mean, 100 percent, baby, the way I was born, dropped to 21.3. I'm guessing that this is just, you know, it's just the tolerance of the lab test."

       

      He concluded that since he was tanning, raising his Vitamin D level by sunbathing was not going to work.

       

      ---

       

      Steve said he had his blood drawn in a vial, the way I have had blood drawn for the usual blood tests my Kaiser Permanente doctor orders and I think that is the way I would prefer to have my blood taken, but I don't know if I could get Kaiser to test my Vitamin D level or what it would cost.

       

      David, you said that the Grass Roots Health test involved pricking a finger. I Googled around and found a video of someone demonstrating a method of "milking" a finger to get a drop of blood about the size of a rain drop and filling a circle on a special test card to be in. The was repeated until a dozen or so circles were filled. Is how you collect blood for the Grass Roots Health test? If so, how many circles did you have to fill?

    • David Mendosa
      Health Guide
      Sep. 05, 2009

      I forget how many circles! I remember that on one of the tests I did recently, it was a lot. Maybe this one.

       

      Best regards,

       

      David

    • Anonymous
      Ted Hutchinson
      Sep. 07, 2009

      It's just 2 drops of blood on the Grassrootshealth sample sheet.

       

      When UVB hits cholesterol in the skin it is first converted to a pre-vitamin D3. See the detailed explaination here.

      further heat converts this the VITAMIN D3 and then it is futher processed into substances the body doesn't use. See the second animated diagram. 

      So someone spending...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      It's just 2 drops of blood on the Grassrootshealth sample sheet.

       

      When UVB hits cholesterol in the skin it is first converted to a pre-vitamin D3. See the detailed explaination here.

      further heat converts this the VITAMIN D3 and then it is futher processed into substances the body doesn't use. See the second animated diagram. 

      So someone spending a long time in the sun MAY very well end up with less vitamin D3 than someone who just spends a short time in the sun. 

       

      This calculator  allows you to work out the time needed for 1000iu at your latitude/date/skin type etc. 

      First remember the human body has a daily need for around 5000iu so the time on the calculator will need multiplying by 5 or five times as much skin needs to be exposed. 

       

      The point you have to grasp is that extended sun exposure will be destroying the newly made vitamin D3 near the surface of the skin faster than it is being generated. Similarly regular swimming/showering/soaping towelling of the skin could remove vitamin D brought to the skin surface in sweat/body oils. 

      So swim first then shower/rubdown then lay in the sun but not for long (20mins at most) and certainly NEVER EVER BURN (you've totally wasted. you vitamin d by the time burning occurs) then cover up/go indoors without showering/towelling down or doing anything that may removed surface D3. It may take several hrs before the previtamin D is converted to D3 so don't be in any hurry to shower/wash. 

      A short full body sun exposure around midday when the UVB<>UVA ratio is optimum is far better than long daily exposure. 

  • Karen LaVine
    Aug. 29, 2009

    Thanks for the important article David. 

    Here are a few more key points from the NIH office of dietary supplements fact sheet about vitamin D http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp

     

    Vitamin D3 could be more than three times as effective as vitamin D2 in raising serum 25(OH)D concentrations and maintaining those levels for a...

    RHMLucky777

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    Thanks for the important article David. 

    Here are a few more key points from the NIH office of dietary supplements fact sheet about vitamin D http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/vitamind.asp

     

    Vitamin D3 could be more than three times as effective as vitamin D2 in raising serum 25(OH)D concentrations and maintaining those levels for a longer time, and its metabolites have superior affinity for vitamin D-binding proteins in plasma. 

     

    Symptoms of bone pain and muscle weakness can indicate inadequate vitamin D levels, but such symptoms can be subtle and go undetected in the initial stages.

     

    Americans aged 50 and older are at increased risk of developing vitamin D insufficiency. As people age, skin cannot synthesize vitamin D as efficiently and the kidney is less able to convert vitamin D to its active hormone form. As many as half of older adults in the United States with hip fractures could have serum 25(OH)D levels <12 ng/mL (<30 nmol/L).

     

    Individuals with a body mass index (BMI) ≥30 typically have a low plasma concentration of 25(OH)D; this level decreases as obesity and body fat increase. Obesity does not affect skin's capacity to synthesize vitamin D, but greater amounts of subcutaneous fat sequester more of the vitamin and alter its release into the circulation. Even with orally administered vitamin D, BMI is inversely correlated with peak serum concentrations, probably because some vitamin D is sequestered in the larger pools of body fat.

     

    What I tell people I talk to: A good place to start re: vitamin D management is to get a blood level drawn. It can be easily ordered by your PCP when you have other lab work drawn. It is crucial to have it evaluated if you have osteoporosis, osteopenia or symptoms of bone pain or muscle weakness (and based on the new research in David's article, atherosclerosis).

    Vitamin D has been found to help some people with chronic fatigue as well as decrease risk for breast and prostate cancers. 

    • David Mendosa
      Health Guide
      Aug. 31, 2009

      Dear Karen,

       

      Thanks for sharing that fact sheet. I hadn't seen it before.

       

      David