The Nation's Health + [vitamin D]

vitamin D: Can vitamin D be a SOLE risk factor?

Here's a crazy question. It occurred to me as I was talking to Drew, a slender, active 54-year old dentist with no bad habits including no smoking.

Drew's heart scan score was 222 . His lipoprotein analysis mostly revealed a lot of nothing, which is unusual. The only pattern that showed up was a modestly high LDL of 122 mg/dl with a very slight excess of small LDL. That's it. I would not be satisfied that these were sufficient cause for Drew's level of coronary plaque.

Drew's 25-OH-vitamin D3 level: 15 ng/ml--severe deficiency--despite the fact that his doctor had suggested that he take a vitamin D2 preparation. In other words, Drew had been profoundly deficient, probably for years.

Given the unimpressive cholesterol and lipoprotein values, could vitamin D serve as a trigger for coronary plaque all by itself?

I don't have an answer and know of nobody else who does. However, my opinion is that vitamin D is indeed a potent risk that can cause heart disease as a sole risk factor.

Perhaps it's another piece of circumstantial evidence suggesting that vitamin D has an enormous influence on health, including coronary plaque. Interestingly, the only other health problem Drew has had is prostate cancer, treated a few years ago with prostate removal and radiation. Good evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency escalates risk of prostate cancer substantially.

By the way, I've seen people taking vitamin D2 preparations, called "ergocalciferol," who are every bit as deficient as those who take no vitamin D at all. Avoid D2 or ergocalciferol preparations : they're worthless.