Vitamin D conspiracy leads straight to Big Pharma
You've probably heard about the bad rap vitamin D has been getting lately. The argument goes something like this...the vitamin D crisis isn't as bad as we thought. You probably don't need as much of it as we thought. But it's a free country. So go ahead and take 400 IU of it per day, if you want. That's more than enough. Just don't go over 4,000 IU per day. "High doses" like that can increase your risk for "harm"
These new guidelines come from the U.S. Institute of Medicine (or IOM), a powerful non-profit agency that advises the nation of matters of health. But here's the problem: Their report is pure propaganda.
In fact, I believe these low doses of vitamin D are a deliberate attempt to keep the American public needing more drugs until the day they die. (I'll admit, that sounds a tad paranoid. But I'll explain why my paranoia is well-founded a moment.)
First, let's look at the three major problems with the IOM research.
Leave it to the IOM to redefine "majority"
First off, the IOM report states that the "majority" of adults living in the U.S. get enough vitamin D...and that's just nonsense.
As you'll recall, last week I told you about a major CDC study that found almost 80 percent of Americans don't get enough vitamin D. Plus, another major study published late last year by researchers from the University of Tennessee came up with similar results. In fact, this time researchers found that 87 percent of the general population is mildly to severely deficient in vitamin D. Even the most conservative estimates put vitamin D deficiencies at about 50 percent of the population.
So how the IOM can confidently claim the "majority" of Americans get enough vitamin D, I have no idea!
Spend a minute in the sun each day
The IOM report also states that "North Americans need on average 400 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D per day. People age 71 and older may require as much as 800 IUs per day because of potential changes in people's bodies as they age."
Again, this is pure nonsense. But before I go any further, here's a quick biochemistry primer...
The IOM says you only need 400 IU of vitamin D. But they actually mean 400 IU of vitamin D3 (or cholecalciferol). Your skin makes this natural form of vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. In fact, spending just 30 minutes in the sun without sunscreen, your skin will produce anywhere from 10,000 IU to 50,000 IU of D3! Plus, you can also take D3 as a supplement.
Vitamin D3 passes through your liver and it turns into a pre-hormone called 25-hydroxycholecalciferol. This is abbreviated as 25(OH)D.
When you get a vitamin D blood test, we really want to see how much 25(OH)D is in your blood. We measure 25(OH)D in nanomoles per liter or nmol/l.
Now, stick with me, because here's where it gets interesting...
According to the IOM report, taking just 400 IU of vitamin D3 per day will give 97 percent of us a blood serum level of 50 nmol/l. And that level will protect us from fractures. Sounds okay, I guess. But let me put this another way to show you just how silly the IOM recommendation really is...
Let's assume that your body makes 10,000 IU of D3 for every 30 minutes spent in the sun without sunscreen. (Most experts say you make at least twice that much...but let's not get picky.) So, how long does it take for your body to make 400 IU of D3?
Hurray! Just 1.2 minutes in the sun! That's all you need to keep your bones strong.
Is it me, or does that just sound wrong?
Well, here's the good news. It isn't just me. It is wrong. And there's some solid scientific proof to back me up...
IOM gets their numbers wrong
Two major meta-analysis' from 2009 found that 50 nmol/l of 25(OH)D in your blood isn't enough to protect you from a fracture or a fall. In fact, 28 separate studies found that 50 nmol/l isn't enough!
Plus, the International Osteoporosis Foundation recommends men and women have 75 nmol/l of 25(OH)D. This is what it takes to protect you from accidental falls and fractures. Lastly, numerous studies over the years show that the more 25(0H)D in your blood, the greater your bone density. But to get up to those higher levels of 25(OH)D, you need more D3.
Plus, here's another interesting twist. The authors of the IOM report most likely knew about all this research...they just chose to ignore it.
You see, before publishing the new vitamin D guidelines, the IOM board consulted with Dr. Walter Willet. The board even thanked Dr. Willet at the end of their report.
So who's Dr. Willet?
He's a vitamin D expert and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard. He also co-wrote one of the 2009 reports on vitamin D I mentioned earlier. The IOM, however, ignored his findings.
But don't feel bad, Dr. Willet. Yours isn't the only research the IOM ignored...
IOM report ignores research on vitamin D and disease
Remember how I told you the IOM said 400 IU of D3 is enough to protect you against osteoporosis? Well, what about everything else...like cancer and heart disease?
In a press conference, IOM chair Dr. Catherine Ross said "We could not find solid evidence that consuming more [vitamin D] would protect the public from chronic disease ranging from cancer to diabetes to improved immune function." And with that simple statement, Dr. Ross lost all credibility.
Here are some of the best studies linking vitamin D and major diseases:
Breast cancer: Women with vitamin D blood serum levels less than 50 nmol/mL are eight times more likely to develop an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Colon cancer: Men and women with the highest vitamin D levels cut their colon cancer risk by 40 percent.
Heart Disease & Stroke: Men and women with low vitamin D double their heart attack or stroke risk.
Cognitive decline: Older women with low vitamin D are twice as likely to suffer cognitive impairment.
Diabetes: A whopping 91 percent of diabetics have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Plus, the less vitamin D in their blood, the greater their blood sugar problems.
And I'm just scratching the surface here! If you want to look at all the scientific data on vitamin D, the Vitamin D Council is a good place to start. They list the studies by disease, so you can see all the scientific data Dr. Catherine Ross and her colleagues missed.
In closing, there's one last reason why the IOM report has the pungent smell of propaganda...
There's a rat in the house
Glenville Jones, PhD is one of the authors of the IOM report. He's a scientist and also the co-inventor of drug made by a company called Cytochroma. This drug is still in development...but what condition will they treat with their top-secret drug?
You got it.
Vitamin D deficiencies!
(I'm not making this stuff up. You can see the patent for yourself at the U.S. Patent Office website.)
Dr. Jones also sits on the scientific advisory board of a drug company called Receptor Therapeutics. These guys also made a synthetic vitamin D treatment for cancer...in fact THREE synthetic vitamin D treatments for cancer. (Drug companies use synthetic vitamin D because they can patent it and make a huge profit. You can't patent natural vitamin D.)
Well, isn't that so thoughtful...
You don't need to take vitamin D. But if you do happen to get cancer...guess who plans to have a vitamin D drug you can take?
Here's the bottom line for you: Ignore anything published by the IOM. Take up to 5,000 IU of natural vitamin D3 each day. And avoid anything made by Cytochroma and Receptor Therapeutics.
About the author
Nationally acclaimed as America’s “Nutrition Physician,” Dr. Spreen has been helping people stay healthy and disease-free as a private doctor, published author, and noted researcher.
In addition to his role as a Senior Member of the prestigious Health Sciences Institute Advisory Panel in Baltimore, MD, Dr. Spreen also coaches diving at the international and Olympic levels. NorthStar Nutritionals is proud to have Dr. Spreen as our Chief Research Advisor.
Dr. Spreen also writes the Guide to Good Health.