Medicine has a tendency to promote something whole hog and then deny it just as
vehemently The latest victim of the swinging pendulum is vitamin D. Remember when
50,000IU of synthetic Vit D per week was the norm? Now American Family
Physician advises: “Vitamin D Screening and Supplementation in Primary Care: Time to
Curb Our Enthusiasm.” Without a balanced viewpoint on vitamin D, it’s no wonder the
public is so confused about this dietary supplement.
I wanted to title this blog “The Vitamin D Honeymoon is Definitely Over”, however,
that’s an insult to people who have truly benefited from the introduction of vitamin D
into their dietary supplement regimen. But I contend that these people for whom
vitamin D is beneficial probably have enough magnesium on board to make it work
properly. Click on this important link from VitaminDWiki for a chart showing
that Magnesium is Vital to Vit D in 8 Places.
The preamble to the study observed that “From 2000 to 2010, the volume of serum 25-
hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH- D) tests reimbursed by Medicare increased 83-fold. In 2000, four
out of 1,000 U.S. adults 70 years or older reported taking a daily vitamin D supplement of at
least 1,000 IU, compared with four out of 10 in 2014—a 100-fold increase.”
Drug companies call the years after release of a new drug “post market surveillance” because
they really don’t know how a drug is going to perform in the general population. After all,
most studies are done on healthy people who are not on any other medications. Then those
drugs, or in this case, high dose vitamin D, are given to a population subject to polypharmacy
and magnesium deficiency and the results never quite match the studies.
The American Family Physician study determined that screening for vitamin D has virtually
no established health benefits. The hard facts are that “The American Society for Clinical
Pathology recommends against screening for vitamin D deficiency in the general
population.” As for disease prevention “The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found
insufficient evidence that vitamin D supplementation prevents cardiovascular disease, cancer,
or fractures in community-dwelling adults.” Extensive meta-analysis “found only a handful
of ‘probable’ relationships between serum vitamin D concentrations and clinical
What are some of the facts about vitamin D?
1. This study says vitamin D is a vitamin but it’s really a hormone so supplemental vitamin D
doesn’t behave like a vitamin and doesn’t produce results like they think it should.
2. Vitamin D is actually a family of 7 different forms of D, much like vitamin C complex and
the 8 tocopherols and tocotrienols of vitamin E.
3. 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OH- D), the standard test for vitamin D, is not even the active
form, so how can that give us an accurate reading of active vitamin D in the body?
4. The original wildly speculative observations were not born out in later clinical trials.
5. Physicians misinterpret serum 25-OH- D concentrations of 20 to 30 ng per mL (50 to 75
nmol per L) as representing a deficiency that requires correction, whereas the National
Academy of Medicine considers 97.5% of individuals with levels greater than 20 ng per mL
to have adequate vitamin D for bone health.
6. Screening for vitamin D deficiency leads to hundreds of millions of dollars wasted in
unnecessary testing costs annually.
7. Low-level daily supplementation with calcium and vitamin D can increase the risk of
kidney stones. Magnesium deficiency plays a large and unrecognized role in these results.
8. High monthly doses of vitamin D increased the risk of falls in a randomized controlled
trial of older adults with vitamin D deficiency.
9. The National Academy of Medicine says vitamin D intakes above 4,000 IU per day may
cause renal impairment, hypercalcemia, or vascular calcification. Some of this damage may
be due to the synthetic nature of high dose vitamin D, which creates toxic metabolites.
Instead of high dose vitamin D, I recommend a well-absorbed food-based fermented cod
liver oil/butter oil called Blue Ice Royal. Otherwise, take vitamin D 3, but never more than
1,000-2,000IU daily. Always make sure you have adequate pico-ionic magnesium when you
take vitamin D.
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: email@example.com.