Skip to comments.Vitamin D Deficiency Study Raises New Questions About Disease And Supplements
Posted on 01/26/2008 10:56:49 PM PST by blam
Vitamin D Deficiency Study Raises New Questions About Disease And Supplements
ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2008) Low blood levels of vitamin D have long been associated with disease, and the assumption has been that vitamin D supplements may protect against disease. However, this new research demonstrates that ingested vitamin D is immunosuppressive and that low blood levels of vitamin D may be actually a result of the disease process. Supplementation may make the disease worse.
In a new report Trevor Marshall, Ph.D., professor at Australias Murdoch University School of Biological Medicine and Biotechnology, explains how increased vitamin D intake affects much more than just nutrition or bone health. The paper explains how the Vitamin D Nuclear Receptor (VDR) acts in the repression or transcription of hundreds of genes, including genes associated with diseases ranging from cancers to multiple sclerosis.
"The VDR is at the heart of innate immunity, being responsible for expression of most of the antimicrobial peptides, which are the bodys ultimate response to infection," Marshall said.
"Molecular biology is now forcing us to re-think the idea that a low measured value of vitamin D means we simply must add more to our diet. Supplemental vitamin D has been used for decades, and yet the epidemics of chronic disease, such as heart disease and obesity, are just getting worse."
"Our disease model has shown us why low levels of vitamin D are observed in association with major and chronic illness," Marshall added. "Vitamin D is a secosteroid hormone, and the body regulates the production of all it needs. In fact, the use of supplements can be harmful, because they suppress the immune system so that the body cannot fight disease and infection effectively."
Marshall's research has demonstrated how ingested vitamin D can actually block VDR activation, the opposite effect to that of Sunshine. Instead of a positive effect on gene expression, Marshall reported that his own work, as well as the work of others, shows that quite nominal doses of ingested vitamin D can suppress the proper operation of the immune system. It is a different metabolite, a secosteroid hormone called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, which activates the VDR to regulate the expression of the genes. Under conditions that exist in infection or inflammation, the body automatically regulates its production of all the vitamin D metabolites, including 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the metabolite which is usually measured to indicate vitamin D status.
Vitamin D deficiency, long interpreted as a cause of disease, is more likely the result of the disease process, and increasing intake of vitamin D often makes the disease worse. "Dysregulation of vitamin D has been observed in many chronic diseases, including many thought to be autoimmune," said J.C. Waterhouse, Ph.D., lead author of a book chapter on vitamin D and chronic disease.
"We have found that vitamin D supplementation, even at levels many consider desirable, interferes with recovery in these patients."
"We need to discard the notion that vitamin D affects a disease state in a simple way," Marshall said. "Vitamin D affects the expression of over 1,000 genes, so we should not expect a simplistic cause and effect between vitamin D supplementation and disease. The comprehensive studies are just not showing that supplementary vitamin D makes people healthier."
Journal reference: Marshall TG. Vitamin D discovery outpaces FDA decision making. Bioessays. 2008 Jan 15;30(2):173-182 [Epub ahead of print] Online ISSN: 1521-1878 Print ISSN: 0265-9247 PMID: 18200565
Adapted from materials provided by Autoimmunity Research Foundation, via AlphaGalileo.
Gosh, all this time I thought it was smoking, drinking, overeating and a sedentary lifestyle.
I am very skeptical of the theory propounded by this article. I take 2000 IU of vitamin D every day during the winter, and I haven’t missed a day’s work due to illness since November 1991. If my immune system is “suppressed”, it’s a surprise to me. Dr. J. J. Cannell reports that when an influenza epidemic swept through his mental hospital, only a ward of patients receiving daily 2000 IU vitamin D supplements were immune:
The weakness of the Dr. Marshall’s theory is that it is based on speculative reasoning rather than sound epidemiology.
Why do I get the feeling that this is “evidence” that the government would like in order to enact a new tax on vitamins?
Note there is a link on it to the actual text of this paper, where it says:
New paper: Vit D discovery outpaces FDA decision making.
FullText Preprint available here
Vitamin D discovery outpaces FDA decision making
Trevor G. Marshall * School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University, Western Australia
email: Trevor G. Marshall
*Correspondence to Trevor G. Marshall, Autoimmunity Research Foundation, California Foundation, 3423 Hill Canyon Ave. Thousand Oaks, California 91360.
The US FDA currently encourages the addition of vitamin D to milk and cereals, with the aim of reducing rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. However, vitamin D not only regulates the expression of genes associated with calcium homeostasis, but also genes associated with cancers, autoimmune disease, and infection. It does this by controlling the activation of the vitamin D receptor (VDR), a type 1 nuclear receptor and DNA transcription factor. Molecular biology is rapidly coming to an understanding of the multiplicity of roles played by the VDR, but clinical medicine is having difficulty keeping up with the pace of change. For example, the FDA recently proposed a rule change that will encourage high levels of vitamin D to be added to even more foods, so that the manufacturers can claim those foods reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The FDA docket does not review one single paper detailing the transcriptional activity of vitamin D, even though, on average, one new paper a day is being published on that topic. Nor do they review whether widespread supplementation with vitamin D, an immunomodulatory secosteroid, might predispose the population to immune dysfunction. This BioEssay explores how lifelong supplementation of the food chain with vitamin D might well be contributing to the current epidemics of obesity and chronic disease. BioEssays 30:173-182, 2008. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Prof. Marshall is currently a Director of the Autoimmunity Research Foundation, an Adjunct Professor of the School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Murdoch University (Western Australia), and a past Chair of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society of the Ventura IEEE. He is the Patron of the Australian Autoimmunity Foundation.
Based in the heart of Southern California's "Digital Coast", Dr. Marshall is involved in technologies ranging from Immunology, Biomedicine, Autoimmunity, WiFi Security and Internet Infrastructure through RF, Hardware, Software, Audio/Video and Prepress. Previous speaking engagements have included COMDEX, Microprocessor Forums, WLAN/WiFi conferences, and International presentations in a variety of Medical Specialties.
Pasteur once said "In science, chance favors the prepared mind," and Dr. Marshall's career has certainly taken advantage of the many twisty passages in the fields of both Medical Science and Engineering. The best way to find out what he is doing right now is to look at the list of current presentations (above) or browse his recently published scientific papers.
My take is two-fold:
As he points, Vitamin D is not your usual vitamin. It is not some simple substance that the body breaks down and uses to build the myriad of substances it needs. Rather Vitamin D is a secosteroid (like a steroid but with a broken ring). It directly interacts in complex ways with many reactions within the body.
The body makes its own Vitamin D, and as with any such non-essential nutrient of complex affect, one always has to ask whether supplementing it throws more body processes out of whack than it improves.
Any article that makes taking Vitamins useless, or even better harmful, gets the full support of Big Pharma, who can push popularizations of such articles on the willing (greedy and leftist) main stream media with great affect.
They have already mortally wounded the Vitamin industry in parts of Europe, and are trying to do so world wide, by some treaty we have signed that I don't recall the name of offhand.
Have you seen the research that ambulance drivers cause automobile accidents? There is an irrefutable statistical correlation between one and the other <grin>?
Thanks by the way for your link to:
In several ways, the paper raises doubts about Vitamin D supplements in our food supply.
It's another attack on Vitamins.
Milk is bad - milk is good (calcium) and helps in weight loss; cheese is bad - cheese is a good source of protein; red meat is bad - red meat is an excellent source of protein; all fats are bad, but now they contribute to a mans health, vitality, and testosterone levels.
Cholesteral is bad (even though its naturally produced in the liver); now it's about triglycerides; sticky blood palets cause clots, but too thin blood causes internal bleeding and ulcers.
The planet is cooling in the 1970's; the planet is warming in the 2000's; recent reports are the planet temps have levelled off in the last 10 years.
Anyone remember alcore (sp) that almost decimated the apple industry back in the '70's? Turned out wrong.
Population growth will cause mass starvation world-wide. Didn't happen.
Remember themaldihide (sp) that was the dain of all of creation? Now they are using it for chem-therapy.
Pluto is one of the nine planets in our Solar Sytem; Pluto is no longer considered a planet.
The 2006 and 2007 hurricane seasons would be the worst on record due to global warming; the 2006 and 2007 hurricane seasons were relatively mild, again, due to global warming; the artic is melting - Greenland's ice sheet is building.
My all time favorite: Boys and Girls are born with the same blank slate and are a product of their upbringing and environment according to socialogists in the late "60's and early '70's. Flash forward a decade and Newsweek announces boys and girls have different mental make up. As if any parent can't see the obvious difference in their childrens' gender differences.
Here's some more from our oh-so-wise sages of early men of learning: Apollo rides sun-chariots around the World; the dead have to cross the river Styx; little civilization exists beyond Rome's empire; the Sun revolves around the Earth; go far enough to the West and you will fall off the planet; the Plaque was a god's revenge; earthquakes, volcanice eruptions, tornadoes, hurricanes were also god's revenge.
Lest I forget: Some ancient primitive persons wrote some books that was coalesced into what we know as the Bible. These were unknowlegable people of the time who thought a meteor in the sky was an Angel. They were the original flat-earth believers and had no understanding of the physics of the universe beyond their own simplistic viewpoints.
Almost every day our knowledge grows and finds our prior beliefs have been wrong. Even Einstein has been proven wrong according to some modern day physics. We are children in our understanding of the Universe and even our own Earthly history.
Bottom line: Scientific truth is ever changing. It is not absolute because we just don't know all. Vitamin D may be good...haha!. Then again, it may cause whales to uprise against mankind.
But it was clearly intended as a specific concern with Vitamin D, which closely interacts with complex ways with the human immune system. He raises important questions as to whether we should be including Vitamin D in our common food supply as much as we do.
The work that Marshall is doing on the causes of autoimmune diseases, as visible on his blog at http://www.marshallprotocol.com/forum39/ is very impressive, for his energy, his attitude, his talent and his understanding. I wish Mr. Marshall well in his endeavors.
From the Wiki page for Trevor Marshall:
Trevor G. Marshall, PhD (b. 1948, Adelaide, South Australia), is a biomedical researcher. Over the last few years, he has developed a medical treatment, called the 'Marshall Protocol', which uses low-dose antibiotics, an angiotensin II receptor antagonist (being used as a VDR agonist, and avoidance of Vitamin D, to treat a class of chronic diseases, which he argues are caused by L-form or cell wall deficient bacteria. His protocol is being used by physicians worldwide to treat a variety of chronic diseases. Waterhouse reported these include include Sarcoidosis, Fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis.Marshall first began to suspect Vitamin D when he noticed that his condition got worse with more sunlight. Notice that his Marshall Protocol includes Vitamin D avoidance.
One of the finest friends of my life, a woman named Linda, died of Lupus, another autoimmune disease. She too reacted negatively to sunlight, as is typical with Lupus victims.
There's one MAJOR flaw in this argument---"the body makes its own Vitamin D" AS LONG AS YOU GET SUFFICIENT SUNLIGHT. The problem is, most people do NOT get sufficient sunlight for the body to do the synthesis.
Granted, it is by far the generally accepted explanation. One of many papers explaining this, in agreement with this widely accepted position is: Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis, by Michael F. Holick
Marshall is presenting an alternative hypothesis, which explains the same epidemiological evidence, and (in his view) better fits the biomechanical models.
It will take a careful understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms and the epidemiology, in concert, to unravel these puzzles.
“I take 2000 IU of vitamin D every day during the winter”
So do I - and ditto - since I started.
Obesity is not a disease. Heart disease is but it is not getting worse.
At this point I quit taking anything in this article seriously.
clearly you will never get a research grant
we cant fund common sense
He is considering a wide range of chronic illnesses, some of which, like obesity, are not normally considered diseases at all. He's finding evidence, with detailed molecular genomic models, that many chronic illnesses are due to a breakdown in the body's conversion of Vitamin D. Cell Wall Deficient (CWD - missing cell wall) bacteria seem able to turn our immune system on its head, using it to attack our own tissues and protect themselves, The mechanisms used by the CWD bacteria including producing the bioactive 1,25 form of Vitamin D at excessively high rates.
Diseases which this mechanism might explain, as mentioned on the above presentation, include inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), Chrohn's Disease, Ulcerative colitis, Arthritis, Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Chonic Fatigue Syndrom, Lyme Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
Or, if you prefer video, see the YouTube video of a talk by Marshall, at Prof Trevor Marshall's AAEM 2006 Presentation.
He's not claiming that Vitamin D should not be supplemented by most people. He is claiming it should not be supplemented by those with such chronic diseases, because for them, Vitamin D (and Folic Acid and sunlight) make the problem worse rather than better.
And since he's further lobbying the FDA to not expand Vitamin D supplementation, because of the considerable risks it poses to those with such chronic diseases. Due to the current difficulties in diagnosing such diseases, the portion of the population afflicted with them, or at borderline risk for them, is no doubt wider than we know.
Disagree. Marshall says that the body REGULATES the various species of Vitamin D and products derived from it that the body requires. It's difficult to regulate something if there isn't any (or not enough) there in the first place.
My wife had been pushing me to get my Vit. D level checked (her oncologist is requiring her to keep her blood level at around 90 pg/ml), so I had a blood test done. It showed a blood D level of 32 pg/ml. And this was WITH taking 1400 IU per day of Vitamn D3. So I added another 1000 IU.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in food and can also be made in your body after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Sunshine is a significant source of vitamin D because UV rays from sunlight trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin [1-2].
Vitamin D exists in several forms, each with a different level of activity. Calciferol is the most active form of vitamin D. Other forms are relatively inactive in the body. The liver and kidney help convert vitamin D to its active hormone form . Once vitamin D is produced in the skin or consumed in food, it requires chemical conversion in the liver and kidney to form 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D, the physiologically active form of vitamin D. Active vitamin D functions as a hormone because it sends a message to the intestines to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorus .
Note especially “Once vitamin D is produced in the skin, it requires chemical conversion in the liver and kidney to form 1,25 dihyrdoxyvitamin D, the physiologically active form of Vitamin D.”
You hit the nail on the head. I would be suspicious of anyone who makes an outlandish statement such as this, “Supplemental vitamin D has been used for decades, and yet the epidemics of chronic disease, such as heart disease and obesity, are just getting worse.”
get outside more folks!
LOL! I was thinking the same thing.
I’m tired of reading articles about the evils of being outdoors because of skin cancer and aging the skin.
We’re supposed to be afraid of fresh air and sunshine?
We’re supposed to coat ourselves with manmade chemicals (sunscreen) the instant we step foot outside?
That way, even when we do get outside, our skin will not absorb the necessary ingredients for vitamin D production.
None of that advise ever made sense to me.
I don’t burn easily, so I rarely put on sunscreen.
2 of children have fair skin, so I let them go 1/2 hr to 1 hr without sunscreen and then apply it so they don’t burn.
Everything in moderation - that goes for the sun too.
None of that advise ever made sense to me.
I dont burn easily, so I rarely put on sunscreen. 2 of children have fair skin, so I let them go 1/2 hr to 1 hr without sunscreen and then apply it so they dont burn.
Everything in moderation - that goes for the sun too.
Exactly! I'm out in the sun gardening during Spring, Summer and Fall. I don't usually use a sunscreen except when I go south of New England, where I will burn to a crisp within an hour. There may be a correlation between increased use of sunscreen and all of these autoimmune diseases.
“There may be a correlation between increased use of sunscreen and all of these autoimmune diseases.”
yes...there was a recent finding about MS that suggested that very thing.
“It may well be taken as another attack on Vitamins, in the popular press (thanks to Big Pharma money and influence.)”
Here is Dr. Marshall’s agenda, in his own words:
“Tang et. al, suggested that ‘if Vitamin D is to be used as an adjunct supplement to calcium, its dose should be 800 IU or more.’ It would seem that, if supplementation with Vitamin D is to be effective in the reduction of osteoporosis, it should be administered by a physician, and not via the food chain. Both risks, and benefits, should be evaluated thoroughly.”
You got that? He thinks Vitamin D is a drug that should be controlled by the medical monopoly. I guess you’ll also need a prescription from your doctor to be admitted to the beach during the summer, since 20 minutes of intense summer sunlight causes your body to make 10,000 IU of Vitamin D. Maybe soon the nanny state will require a prescription from the doctor just to cross the street.
I’m sorry that Dr. Marshall has an uncommon condition that causes him to react badly to Vitamin D supplementation ( and presumably sunlight also ). Even the most harmless substance known to man, co-enzyme Q10, has a contra-indication, yeast infection. But I don’t think he has made a rational case that Vitamin D supplementation is anything but helpful for a large majority of the population.
Big Pharma wants control of selling suppliments, big $$$ to be made.
Just checked, and the blood test I took "was" for the 1,25D active form, and not the precursor. Kudos to the lab for using the "right" test.
To add to the data, although I "love" milk, I have developed a sensitivity to it, so no longer drink it other than very sparingly (so no intake of D there). I also don't eat cereals (too much carbohydrate in the AM gives me a hypoglycemic condition later)--so no intake there either. Finally, I live in "the Great Northwest"--and you can imagine what opportunities there are for "solar synthesis" of D during the winter months.
So I think I'm pretty safe with the supplementation.
Depends on where you live. Winter sunlight at relatively high latitudes (Boston, Toronto) isn't strong enough to induce vitamin D synthesis---and that is WITHOUT cloud cover. I live in Washington state, so you can gather that the opportunities for winter "sunlight synthesis" of Vitamin D are nil.
Some benefit from Vitamin D supplements in our food chain, some are harmed, and some get by either way just fine.
Moreover the benefit may be great (life saving) or minor (fewer cases of sniffles), and the harm may be great (life threatening) or minor.
He makes a case of less Vitamin D for those who would be harmed (duh), and he makes a case that public policy (the FDA) should not be changed at this time to encourage more Vitamin D supplementation. First we should better understand how many people are in these various groups.
I don't see, yet anywhere, where he directly advocates reducing the current supplementation of Vitamin D, though he does present suggesting evidence that such might be the case.
He is advocating that the FDA not extend Vitamin D supplementation at the present time, and he is encouraging funding (surprise, surprise) of more studies.
Thanks for the ping.
The risk-reward tradeoffs for Vitamin D supplements, as they vary by diverse populations, may be less uniformly rewarding than we have thought.
Perhaps the fact that food supplementation (in milk) vitamin D2 rather than the good D3 is what should be considered.
Not sure therefore what about this . . . Am suspicious that some powers that be don’t want Vit D helpfulness to be widely accepted.
Seems to me that the doc at the hospital that kept his wing free of influenza etc. with 2000 units daily of Vit D has it right.
Yes, he did. and yet the epidemics of chronic disease, such as heart disease and obesity, are just getting worse.
His own words.
You may worship at his altar. I prefer to engage in critical thought.
I objected, stating he didn't do that.
You quoted him, "chronic disease, such as heart disease and obesity"
You're right and I was wrong - he did assert that obesity was a chronic disease.
You labeled my comments "worship." That's bull.
You said you prefer to engage in "critical thought," as if I wasn't. That's a plain old insult without basis.
Furthermore, dismissing my comments as "worship", and Marshall's entire work, out of hand, because he said obesity was a chronic disease, don't sound like critical though to me.
I won't waste other readers time with the list, but do a Google search for: