The Nation's Health + vitamin D

Vitamin D and inflammation

We already know that vitamin D reduces inflammatory processes, since several markers, including c-reactive protein and IL-6 have previously been shown to drop substantially with vitamin D. Inflammation underlies coronary atherosclerotic plaque growth, as well as plaque rupture that triggers heart attack.

A German group has now shown that the important inflammatory marker, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), is also reduced by vitamin D supplementation. Many studies have implicated increased TNF levels in promoting cancer.

In this study, a modest vitamin D dose of 3320 units (83 micrograms) was given vs. placebo. The 25-hydroxy D level reached in the treated group was 34.2 ng/ml (85.5 nmol/L), which resulted in a 26.5% reduction in TNF compared with 18.7% reduction (?) in the placebo group.

Vitamin D supplementation enhances the beneficial effects of weight loss on cardiovascular disease risk markers.

Zitterman A, Frisch S et al.

BACKGROUND: High blood concentrations of parathyroid hormone and low concentrations of the vitamin D metabolites 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and calcitriol are considered new cardiovascular disease risk markers. However, there is also evidence that calcitriol increases lipogenesis and decreases lipolysis.
OBJECTIVE: We investigated the effect of vitamin D on weight loss and traditional and nontraditional cardiovascular disease risk markers in overweight subjects.
DESIGN: Healthy overweight subjects (n = 200) with mean 25(OH)D concentrations of 30 nmol/L (12 ng/mL) received vitamin D (83 microg/d) or placebo in a double-blind manner for 12 mo while participating in a weight-reduction program.
RESULTS: Weight loss was not affected significantly by vitamin D supplementation (-5.7 +/- 5.8 kg) or placebo (-6.4 +/- 5.6 kg). However, mean 25(OH)D and calcitriol concentrations increased by 55.5 nmol/L and 40.0 pmol/L, respectively, in the vitamin D group but by only 11.8 nmol/L and 9.3 pmol/L, respectively, in the placebo group.

(Calcitriol = 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D.)

Knowing your vitamin D blood level is crucial, as individual need for vitamin D varies widely from one person to the next. You can get your vitamin D tested at home by going to Grassroots Health or the Track Your Plaque Marketplace.

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