The Vitamin D Debate

March 11, 2013

Vitamin D has become quite an emotionally charged topic as evidenced from the outpouring of pro and con opinions to my post of March 10, 2013, Too Much Vitamin D. I’ll answer everyone in this blog instead of individually.

When I blog about Vitamin D I’m sharing my concerns about a blanket recommendation for taking incredibly high doses like 50,000 IU of synthetic Vitamin D a day when the body can’t possibly process that amount. Even some people on 5,000 IU find that too much for them. How can taking 50,000 IU of Vitamin D be normal, even if it is made from lamb’s wool.

When you take that much Vitamin D, the strain on magnesium is dramatic. The accumulation of calcium is dramatic. And there are probably many other consequences that we don’t even know about. Even so, some people seem to improve dramatically on 50,000 IU. Is that true improvement or are the receptor sites for Vitamin D so battered that they react and respond. How long can such a response be maintained without deleterious effects on magnesium and calcium balance?

These are questions that aren’t being asked. Since I’ve been studying and practicing medicine for about 45 years, I’ve seen the trends and shifts and the fads. So, from a detached position, I’m just asking the hard questions.

When we measure Vitamin D we are measuring the storage form and not even the active form. So, how do we really know what’s going on? And since Vitamin D is a hormone with a feedback loop for calcium, when the D levels are low, does that mean it has enough calcium and doesn’t want to make more Vitamin D to pull in more calcium? We don’t even know the answer to that question. Yet we keep recommending more Vitamin D.

I’m hearing about people taking high doses of Vitamin D developing hypercalcemia. I wrote about the need for magnesium in processing Vitamin D from its storage form to its active form back in my 2003 edition of The Magnesium Miracle. My first questions about the safety of high dose Vitamin D came when I heard about people taking high doses and developing magnesium deficiency symptoms, including seizures.

At this point, I think the 40 ng/mL range of 25-OH D is probably quite sufficient and only take Vitamin D if you are also taking magnesium.

Then there is the Vitamin K2 part of the puzzle that you have to address. I’ve blogged about this also and recommend this book, Vitamin K2: The Calcium Paradox (although the author doesn’t write enough about magnesium). The Weston A Price website has a lot to say about Vitamin K2 because Price discovered the X Factor, which turned out to be Vitamin K2.

In my practice, I recommend Green Pastures, Blue Ice (fermented Vit D and butter oil for the Vit A, Vit K2 and Vit D) as the perfect combination of all three fat soluble vitamins.

But let me be clear. I don’t know all the answers and you don’t have to listen to me, but neither do you have to listen to anyone else. You have to listen to yourself and what makes sense to you and your body. Medicine is about taking big guns and shooting them off indiscriminately. For them, Vitamin D is the new calcium and they will promote it very widely and wait a few decades for the fall out. As I said in my March 10, 2013 blog, I don’t want to wake up in 10-20 years and find out we made a huge mistake in overdosing people with Vitamin D, just like we did with calcium.

Carolyn Dean MD ND

The Doctor of the Future®

RESOURCES: Along the borders and in the links of my web site you can find my books, writings, and my call-in radio show. Email your questions to:

Want more health info like this?

Subscribe to receive FREE health tips from Dr. Carolyn Dean. We won't spam you or sell your information.