Tuesday, August 12, 2008

OMG! Vitamin D Lowers Death Risk? No Kidding!

Heh, slowly but surely the traditional medical community is beginning to realize what Track Your Plaque observed almost two years ago, low Vitamin D levels increase mortality risk. Now, I must admit, even I was slow to come around but when the overwhelming evidence of plaque reduction and Vitamin D poured in to Dr. Davis' practice I had to believe the data.

Now, years later, another study has found that that low levels of Vitamin D lead to an increased risk of death. The big difference here is that it was a rather large (13,331 persons) study that followed participants and average of 8 years (see Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(15):1629-1637).

There was one interesting fluke to this study for the numbers geeks like me. The study population statistics were striking. If you were in the lowest quartile (25%) of Vitamin D levels your morality risk was 1.26 (26% higher) within a 95% confidence interval (CI) where the CI was 1.08 - 1.46. Stats geeks realize that what this means is that if you ran this same test 100 times you would find the calculated mortality risk somewhere between 1.08 and 1.46 in 95 of the tests (but always higher than 1). The other 5 times the risk would be less than or greater than the CI range meaning you might actually find the risk to be LOWER (>1). This is enough to statistically link Vitamin D to reduced all-cause death but the similar analysis for CVD and cancer mortality only, while higher, did not meet this stringent statistical standard. I am just going to hedge my bets and keep taking Vitamin D armed with just the all-cause mortality results which this study proves and the overwhelming clinical practice experience of Dr. Davis. Melamed also offered sound advice when suggesting people should know their Vitamin D levels before pounding down supplements.

Of course, Dr. Melamed had to go and ruin everything by going off the deep end with the opinion that the most sensible advice for those wanting to ensure their levels remain optimal is to "spend 10 to 15 minutes per day in the sun and to eat vitamin-D-fortified foods, such as milk and oily fish." DOH! That, my friends, is down right malpractice in my opinion. Let me count the ways!

1. Sunlight to vitamin D conversion varies from person to person.
2. Sunlight to vitamin D conversion decreases with age.
3. Sunlight to vitamin D conversion varies with clothing, sunscreens, etc.
4. Sunlight to vitamin D conversion varies by latitude and season.
5. Sunlight to vitamin D conversion varies by race.
6. Most milk is fortified with D2 not D3 which is the more active form and what the good doctor ACTUALLY STUDIED! DOH! 25(OH)D (the study variable) is produced in the liver from the metabolism of vitamin D3.
7. Dietary sources of any kind generally will not provide enough D3 to signficanly raise blood levels.

Here is my personal regimen. Get my blood tested and take an oil-based D3 supplement. Repeat the cycle until I achieve 60ng/mL! I am now at 62ng/mL but it took a dose of 10,000IU a day. That's a lot of milk and oily fish, LOL!

It is so darn easy. What do they make it so hard?!




Anonymous said...

Great article but unfortunately nobody has shown that taking vitamin D supplements to raise your levels does anything, I hope that is the next study we read and "D" doesn't turn out to be the next "Folic Acid" homocysteine folly.

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