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HOMEMEDICINEGeneral

Vitamin D, Ebola and Infectious Disease Processes

Published on October 10, 2014

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For most people today the answer is no, you are not getting enough vitamin D. If you are worried about this year’s influenza pandemic predicted by the CDC or are in fear for your family’s safety because of the Ebola virus then calculate in vitamin D supplementation  as well as Vitamin C, magnesium, iodine, selenium, bicarbonate and other important nutrients.

The majority of people today are nutritionally deficient in many elements but when it comes to Vitamin D doctors are in great part to blame because they have been warning us to shun the sun, when they should have been warning us to shun the junk food and mountains of sugar and all the white processed foods that provide little nutrition.

A new study has found that the number of people being diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency has tripled from 2008 to 2010 in the United States. Some researchers believe that up to 75% of the United States population may not be getting enough vitamin D (levels below 30 ng/ml).[1]

Reduced exposure to solar radiation, leading to a deficiency of vitamin D and hence impaired innate immunity, has been suggested as a trigger for influenza viral replication and as an explanation of seasonal influenza.

A study entitled Epidemic Influenza and vitamin D, documents the evidence that epidemic influenza, and even some of the viruses that cause the common cold, may be prevented by adequate doses of vitamin D.[2] The Vitamin D Council says, “Taking adequate amounts of vitamin D (5,000 IU) in the winter – may help prevent colds or the flu by stimulating innate immunity. Preventing some of the one million deaths in the world every year from flu related illnesses is exciting enough; an equally exciting possibility is that large doses of vitamin D may be useful in treating the flu – as well as other infections.”

An exhaustive epidemiological study of vitamin D and the flu published in Norway, suggests vitamin D may be the major controlling factor in influenza epidemics and even most pandemics. Dr. Asta Juzeniene and Dr. Johan Moan used data from all over the world, from the last 110 years, to show that influenza death rates go up as vitamin D producing UV light goes down. Furthermore the differences were staggering, with influenza death rates 20 to 600 times higher during months when vitamin D cannot be made in the skin.[3]

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In the winter, the sun in Britain is barely strong enough to make the
vitamin, and by spring, say scientists, 60% of the population
is deficient (defined as a blood level below 30 ng per millilitre).

“It seems clear that light is the most important environmental input, after food, in controlling bodily function,” reported Richard J. Wurtman, a nutritionist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Harvard Medical writes, “Vitamin D deficiencies were rare when most men rolled up their sleeves to work in sunny fields. But as work shifted from farms to offices, that changed. Because pigmentation can reduce vitamin D production in the skin by over 90%, nonwhite populations are at particular risk. Deficiencies are also common in patients with intestinal disorders that limit absorption of fat and those with kidney or liver diseases that reduce the conversion of vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol (1,25(OH)2D). In addition, certain medications reduce the availability or activity of vitamin D. And even in healthy people, advancing age is linked to an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6QlVt2c5Ow

“A number of factors can play a role. Limited exposure to sunlight heads the list. Except during the short summer months, people who live at latitudes above 37 degrees north or below 37 degrees south of the equator don’t get enough UVB energy from the sun to make all the vitamin D they need. The same is true for people who spend most of their time indoors and for those of us who avoid sunshine and use sunscreens to protect our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation,” conclude doctors at Harvard.

How the body makes vitamin D

When thinking about the sun and ones vitamin D levels it’s good to remember that the abilities of 20-year-olds and 80-year-olds to synthesize vitamin D from the sun found that the 80-year-olds have fourfold less ability to make vitamin D in the skin.  So, if you are not 20 anymore to be careful to get enough sun, without burning and/or if you are very ill, especially with cancer, then one will need to supplement with vitamin D. This decline mirrors declining liver and kidney function.

A study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests vitamin D plays an important role in immune function. Vitamin D protecting us from autoimmune diseases, infections, and tumor growth. The study found that generally vitamin D levels decreased with age, they also found toll-like receptors (TLRs), which regulate immune response against viruses, were significantly affected by vitamin D deficiency.[4] Antimicrobial peptides (which attack pathogens) are increased by Vitamin D.[5]

Research published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that milk fortified with vitamin D decreased winter colds among vitamin D deficient children. The researchers found there was a significantly lower incidence of acute respiratory infections among the children who were drinking the vitamin D fortified milk (p=.047). After adjusting for age, gender, and history of wheezing, the children in the treatment group had 50% fewer colds. Previous research suggests an inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and acute respiratory infections.[6]

Research published in Chest reports that vitamin D deficiency in combination with increased serum vitamin B12 increases risk of mortality in critically ill patients.[7] This is very pertinent for Ebola victims as well as those who contract serious cases of influenza. Meaning Vitamin D can join the list of natural emergency room and intensive care medicines. That doctors, medical and health officials do not pay attention to research like this sustains the general feeling that we cannot trust them to save our lives from viral infections.

Research published at the end of 2012 in BMJ Open suggests that daily supplementation with vitamin D results in less severe respiratory infections and less antibiotic use in a susceptible population.[8] Low vitamin D levels are linked to high levels of hepatitis B virus concentration, according to research published in the Journal of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. The researchers postulate that seasonal fluctuations in vitamin D and hepatitis B virus (HBV) levels suggest a link between the two.

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A 50,000 IU capsule costs as little as 21 cents, ($21 for a bottle of 100 capsules Amazon US )

This mega dose formula may be what your family needs to protect themselves from the ravages of viral infections. It is also what one wants to use if one has cancer, diabetes, MS and just about any other disease one can think of. Normally D3 is sold in 5,000 IU units but this product from Biotech has 50,000 IU units. Vitamin D lowers inflammations of the body, which are what Alzheimer’s, M.S., cancer and Parkinson’s patients are suffering from. 70% of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are estimated to have low levels of vitamin D.

Sunlight dominates the chemistry of the blood. People who do not get
sunlight do not have the same richness and redness of blood as do
those who secure plenty of sunlight. There is not a tissue or a function
in the body that is not benefited by regular and judicious sun-bathing.

Herbert M. Shelton
Fasting and Sun Bathing

Taking one 50,000 IU capsule of Vitamin D3 every two weeks will result in 80% of adults bringing their blood levels to above 40 nanograms/ millliliter, an optimal level for good health. A 50,000 IU capsule is the equivalent of amount of vitamin D from sunbathing for 3 days in a sunny climate. You can take more 50,000 IU pills initially to feel the benefits more quickly.

50,000 IU

To feel benefits in a week

To Maintain 40 ng/ml

Adult

2 per day for 4 days

1 every 2 weeks

Adult – high risk*

4 per day for 4 days

1 every week

*About 20% of adults are at high risk for Vitamin D deficiency: especially those who are obese, pregnant, shut-in, avoid the sun, have dark skin, are senior, live far from the equator, or need to deal with an illness, injury, or surgery. They need at least 2 times more Vitamin D.

About 20% of adults are at high risk for Vitamin D deficiency: especially those who are obese, pregnant, shut-in, avoid the sun, have dark skin, are senior, live far from the equator, or need to deal with an illness, injury, or surgery. They need at least 2 times more Vitamin D. For more on dosages visit this site. Also for more on Vitamin D and influenza visit here.

A Word of Caution

The skin produces approximately 10,000 IU vitamin D in response to 20–30 minutes of full body  summer sun exposure—50 times more than the US government’s recommendation of 200 IU per day! It’s nearly impossible to get too much vitamin D from sunlight or from foods (unless you take way too much cod liver oil). Nearly all vitamin D overdoses come from supplements.

Too much Vitamin D can cause high calcium levels that can lead to kidney failure, constipation kidney stones, heart dysfunction and mental status changes. Knowledgeable Health care practitioners wisely recommend that when supplementing a diet with D3 and K2 you should never take calcium supplements; just eat a normal healthy diet. Don’t use this high dose vitamin D product on a daily basis. For people who have brought up their vitamin D levels  5000 IU per day should suffice.

Vitamin D and TB

TB is also a major global problem: Nine million people a year develop the active disease worldwide, which kills two million each year. Scientists have shown that a single 2.5mg dose of vitamin D may be enough to boost the immune system to fight against tuberculosis (TB) and similar bacteria for at least 6 weeks. Their findings came from a study that identified an extraordinarily high incidence of vitamin D deficiency amongst those communities in London most at risk from the disease, which kills around two million people each year.

The research, funded by the Department of Environmental Health and Newham University Hospital. Dr Adrian Martineau from the Imperial College London, who co-ordinated the study said, “Our work adds to the growing evidence that vitamin D may have a wide range of important health benefits, including preventing falls and fractures and reducing risk of cancer and diabetes, as well as boosting the immune system against infection. Population-wide supplementation needs to be considered by public health planners."

Vitamin D3

Cost: $20.95

1 capsule contains 5,000 IU of Vitamin D derived from highly purified and molecularly distilled fish liver oils. In addition, the product contains 1,000 IU of Vitamin A also derived from highly purified and molecularly distilled fish liver oils and 10 mcg of Vitamin K-2 from menaquinone-7. Vitamin D3 PLUS is emulsified by the addition of a non-GMO soy lecithin that ensures excellent uptake by the body.

[1] Surge in US Outpatient Vitamin D Deficiency Diagnoses: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey Analysis
Karen E. Huang, MS, Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, Scott A. Davis, MA, Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD

[2] Epidemiol Infect. Dec 2006; 134(6): 1129–1140. PMCID: PMC2870528Epidemic influenza and vitamin D

J. J. CANNELL,1,* R. VIETH,2 J. C. UMHAU,3 M. F. HOLICK,4 W. B. GRANT,5 S. MADRONICH,6 C. F. GARLAND,7 and E. GIOVANNUCCI8

[3] The seasonality of pandemic and non-pandemic influenzas: the roles of solar radiation and vitamin D.

Juzeniene A et al; Int J Infect Dis;  2010 Dec;14(12):e1099-105. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Oct 29; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21036090

[4] Age and low levels of circulating vitamin D are associated with impaired innate immune function. Alvarez-Rodriguez L et al; J Leukoc Biol; 2012 May; 91(5):829-38. doi: 10.1189/jlb.1011523. Epub 2012 Feb 17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22345707

[5] Pharmaceuticals (Basel). May 2014; 7(5): 545–594. doi: 10.3390/ph7050545 Guangshun Wang

[7] Vitamin D Deficiency and Increased Serum Vitamin B12 Are Associated With Mortality in Critically Ill Patients

Puneet Khanna*, MD; Vikas Maurya, MD; Rajesh Pande, MD Chest. 2012;142(4_MeetingAbstracts):934A. doi:10.1378/chest.1386401

[8] Rorbecker S. Vitamin D braked respiratory infections. Dagens Medicin. November 29, 2012. (Swedish)

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comments

For questions pertaining to your own personal health issues or for specific dosing of Dr. Sircus's protocol items please seek a consultation or visit our knowledge base to see if your question may have been answered previously.
  • HammerDoc

    I am an Anti Aging and Integrative Medicine physician. One of the many nutrients I routinely spend a lot of time counselling people about is Vitamin D. The American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine recommends much higher levels than the mainstream does, of Vitamin D, 25-OH, from 60-80 or even 70-100, or than the paltry 30 at the lower end of the dreaded “reference range.” There are studies of peoples in high sun exposure occupations (i.e., lifeguards), and living near the equator, that document them routinely living with levels in the 120’s and 160’s with absolutely no toxic effects whatsoever.

    In our clinic, we have not noticed any increase in side effects or adverse outcomes, including high calcium levels, and so far, have had not had any complaining of kidney stones–not even in patients with a past history of them. We also have noted a BROAD tendency of our patients to stop getting colds and flu’s once their D-25OH level rises above about 65. (Though we admit that anecdotal “evidence” does not constitute a valid study.) We counsel a level of 70-100 (or close) and our latitude, we typically use 5000-12,000 IU daily to get there. We have also never had a case of toxicity in our clinic, from supplements or otherwise.

    What is your experience with Calcium toxicity and the higher (but non-toxic) D-25OH levels? I have only seen benefit.

    • HammerDoc

      While you do have to be careful with doses of D3 that high (Doses of 45,000 IU daily have been shown to cause toxicity after several months.) you make an EXCELLENT point of coupling it with K2. Not only does it prevent arterial and soft tissue calcification, but it also helps the Vitamin D work more effectively.

    • John

      How much K2 and A were you taking along with the 40,000 D3?

      • John Brailsford

        4 off K2 tablets ( total 400 mcg Menaquione) and 1000 µg vitamin A

  • HammerDoc

    I am an Anti Aging and Integrative Medicine physician. One of the many nutrients I routinely spend a lot of time counselling people on is Vitamin D. The American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine recommends much higher levels of Vitamin D, 25-OH, from 60-80 or even 70-100, than the paltry 30 at the lower end of the dreaded “reference range.” There are studies of peoples in high sun exposure occupations (i.e., lifeguards) and living near the equator that document them routinely living with levels in the 120’s and 160’s with absolutely no toxic effects whatsoever.
    In our clinic, we have not noticed any increase in side effects or adverse outcomes, including high calcium levels, and so far, have had not had any complaining of kidney stones–even patient with a past history of them. We also have noted a BROAD tendency of our patients to stop getting colds and flu’s once their D-25OH level rises above about 65. (Though we admit that anecdotal “evidence” does not constitute a valid study.) We counsel a level of 70-100 (or close) and our latitude, we typically use 5000-12,000 IU daily to get there. We have also never had a case of toxicity in our clinic, from supplements or otherwise.
    What is your experience with Calcium toxicity and the higher (but non-toxic) D-25OH levels? I have only seen benefit.

  • David Barnes

    I deeply appreciate receiving all your articles, Dr. Sircus, and appreciative of the time you put in writing and posting everything. This is a wonderful service; and I am certain that what you receive in return, at all levels, is akin to what you so freely give. Freely ye have received, freely give. And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.