Low blood serum  levels of vitamin D are often associated with  chronic issues as diverse as Multiple Sclerosis and Cardiovascular diseases. Is vitamin D supplementation helpful, and does it carry risks?

Let us look first at the role of vitamin D in Cardiovascular diseases:

My previous post on the dangers of food fortification focused on Calcium.

http://www.medinewsdigest.com/?p=4759

If you go to the live references, you will see that most current research points in problems of supplementing with calcium alone.

But adding  vitamin D to calcium   does not necessarily alleviate the calcium induced problems (Ref. 13 of my post).

The dangers or benefits of vitamin D supplementation are somewhat ambiguous, see the articles on “Vitamin D and vascular calcification.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17218831
“Protective and toxic effects of vitamin D on vascular calcification: clinical implications.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18538838

Vitamin D and vitamin K, all play a role in the way the body uses Calcium, it does seem that the synergies, or ways they interplay, are yet fully understood.
Furthermore, there is a published study documented the toxic effects of accidental excessive (50,000IU daily for three months !) supplementation of vitamin D. See “Hypervitaminosis D associated with a vitamin D dispensing error.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21917555

One interesting aspect of the above reference is that “…Hypervitaminosis D brought about hypercalcemia and acute kidney injury secondary to hypervitaminosis D. All vitamin D supplementation were discontinued and 5 months after discharge, the patient’s serum calcium and vitamin D concentrations returned to baseline…”

It is very possible that lesser doses than such megadoses of Vitamin D still might have serious long term issues. Many, including the Livestrong site, take as an upper limit 4000 IU/day.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/508535-safe-limit-of-vitamin-d-for-women/

The Integrative Practitioner blog writes that:  “… Even a modest increase in vitamin D3 intake (from 331 IU/kg of diet to 2,200 IU/kg of diet) exacerbated coronary atherosclerosis in swine consuming a diet high in saturated fat…[in a study on pigs]”

http://www.integrativepractitioner.com/article.aspx?id=17867

Cholecalciferol (D3) (Wikipedia Commons)

But what about the connection between Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and vitamin D?

Multiple Sclerosis of the Central Nervous System is a good example of a classical chicken-egg problem. Does the disease “burn” vitamin D” or is the deficiency in vitamin D causing the disease(s)?

Vitamin D deficiencies  have been observed in MS.   As far as Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS), there are some studies showing a moderate decrease in the occurrences of relapses with vitamin D supplementation.
See the two links :
“Relationship between 25-OH-D serum level and relapse rate in multiple sclerosis patients before and after vitamin D supplementation.”
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22783368
“Higher 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with lower relapse risk in multiple sclerosis”.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20695012

So is it all out supplementation with Vitamin D against RRMS?

Not so fast, read that articles from the Archives of Neurology:
“Severe hypercalcemia following vitamin D supplementation in a patient with multiple sclerosis: a note of caution.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22232355

Here again the article purports that “… Nevertheless, cholecalciferol may increase serum calcium, and there seems to be an additive effect when patients simultaneously use calcium supplements…”

Conclusions: The synergistic effect of Calcium and vitamin D still need clarifying studies, particularly at doses substantially higher than the Recommended Daily Allowance  (RDA). Note that the RDA is itself somewhat controversial and vary between 400 and 800 IU.

We encourage you to discuss this  to your health provider!

2 Comments for this entry

  • Barbara says:

    This may sound dumb but for some reason I assumed the reason my vitamin D levels were borderline low had to do with the fact that I don’t drink much milk and I avoid sunlight due to the hot temps in my region. Is my reasoning way off of the mark and is there evidence that suggests that MS burns vitamin D? I also assumed supplementing vitamin D neither results in a cure nor a significant improvement. My neurologist didn’t seem to think I needed to supplement with vitamins even though I was borderline and am the same with B-2 levels. Thank you.

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