Vitamin D benefits and sources. Useful infographic with lots of elements - molecular structure, banners, medical icons. Vector illustration in bright colours isolated on a light beige background.

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

Adding to the importance of maintaining high blood levels of vitamin D, a new meta-analysis of 18 human random control trials for controlling inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) was published November of 2018.

The researchers in China focused on Crohn’s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), both categorized under the heading of IBD. According to the background data of their report, there are at least 3 million sufferers in Europe and half that many in the USA. 

Evidently, the researchers’ concern was that Asian nations are experiencing a rise with IBD now. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is much more common with some of the same chronic symptoms as IBD, though less serious. Therefore the results of this meta-analysis apply to IBS sufferers as well.

The fact that IBD tends to be chronic and incurable by mainstream medicine led to their undertaking this review. They wanted to determine if supplementing vitamin D could prevent inflammatory gastrointestinal tract diseases, create remissions, and maintain them.

Meta-Analysis Highlights

The meta-analysis results article was published November 2018 by the journal Medicine as Efficacy of vitamin D in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease; A meta-analysis.

The researchers explained in their background and purpose explanation that it has been noticed in the medical literature that vitamin D deficiency is common among IBD sufferers. 

Additionally, there have been studies showing that supplementing vitamin D reduces gastrointestinal (GI) tract inflammation, bacterial infection, and repairs eroded intestinal mucosal barriers. 

The most reliable blood sample measurement for determining one’s vitamin D levels is from the 25(OH)D3 or 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test. You can specify it as a test to be included in any blood panel testing or by itself. This measurement will be explained more later in this article.

The meta-analysis stated purpose: 

Lots of clinical trials have been conducted to verify the efficacy of VitD in treatment of IBD. However, these studies provided controversial conclusions of VitD’s efficacy and safety. In view of the feasibility and prospect of adjuvant treatment of vitamin D in IBD, this meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy and safety by analyzing eligible studies and statistics, relevant indices to provide guidelines for clinical decisions and further researches.

The researchers computer searched through a mountain of vitamin D study papers from several platforms published from 1978 to 2018.  They chose only human random controlled trials (RCT) on supplementing vitamin D compared to control groups given placebos or low-dose vitamin D for IBD treatments. 

They included only studies that used gastroenterologist diagnosed IBD (Crohn’s and colitis) and eliminated many that contained conflicting and confusing elements. They also excluded studies that contained pregnant women, several medical conditions, and subjects concurrently treated with some pharmaceutical medications. 

Ultimately, the research team and came up with 18 studies involving 908 people to focus on. The control groups among their selected study reports were given either placebos or low dose vitamin D while the study groups were given vitamin D accompanied by blood level 25(OH)D3 measurements. 

Usually, relapse rates, adverse events, and inflammation markers were recorded among the selected study reports. The vitamin D dosages among the 18 studies varied from as low 800 iu (international units) to 7000 iu when compared to placebos.  But up to 10,000 iu doses were used when contrasted to low dose vitamin D in some studies.

Some of the study reports this meta-analysis reviewed showed the highest rate of resisting IBD diseases (Crohn’s disease – CD, and ulcerative colitis – UC) or maintaining remission from them were those with 25(OH)D3 levels at or higher than 75 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter). 

Health Impact Comments: The vitamin D nmol/L measurement of 75 is actually barely sufficient by current vitamin D standards in the United States where measured in nanograms per milliliter or ng/ml. Converted to ng/ml, the 75 nmol/L is sufficient for bone health but not so great for disease prevention. 

At 30 mg/ml after conversion, it is considered the bare minimum for overall health used with older standards, according to this graphic from a reliable source. Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 8.43.06 AM

After advising individual age and weight factors, along with other health considerations such as blood pressure, etc., the Chinese meta-analysis team concluded:

The treatment of VitD in patients with IBD can improve the level of 25(OH)D3 and control the relapse rate of the disease, whose clinical curative effect is more accurate. Thus VitD should be recommended for the treatment of IBD, at least as an adjunct. 

Obviously, this is a case where more is better. More is easily available. How is explained a little later.

Opinion: Researchers usually recommend natural remedies as adjuncts for pharmaceutical drugs and “standard of care” medical treatments. These recommendations can be ignored by those of us who know better, especially when dosing to maintain higher serum levels of vitamin D3.

Both dietary changes and cannabis oils create IBD remissions or relief of symptoms effectively without adverse side-effects. Increasing vitamin D levels through sun exposure and/or supplementation could be utilized both as an IBD preventive or as an adjunct to dietary changes and cannabis treatments. See:

Study: Medical Cannabis Cures Inflammation in Gut – Hope for IBS, Crohn’s, Celiac Sufferers

A Summary of Vitamin D Sources, Dosages, and Serum Levels for Optimum Health Protection

There has been controversy over whether vitamin D is actually a vitamin or hormone or pro-hormone.

Dr. Reinhold Vieth, Ph.D., University of Toronto professor and researcher at Mt. Sinai Hospital’s  Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in Toronto, Ontario, settles the controversy this way: 

Vitamin D is a vitamin in the truest sense of the word, because “insufficient amounts in the diet may cause deficiency diseases”. The term, prohormone, is not relevant to the Vitamin D system, but 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D (calcidiol) is appropriately described as a prehormone, i.e. a glandular secretory product, having little or no inherent biologic potency, that is converted peripherally to an active hormone. (Source)

Notice the graphic shows that the skin contains a specific type of cholesterol – 7 dehydrocholesterol, the first phase of converting sunlight’s UV (ultraviolet) B rays into cholesterol. Yet, we are told that sunshine exposure is dangerous and dietary cholesterol causes heart disease. 

Since vitamin D enhances immunity against many of the autoimmune diseases of our modern era, as well as cancer, these dogmatic concepts encourage poor health, suffering from chronic diseases, increased infectious diseases, and cancer. 

But they do create more revenue for the pharmaceutical and sunscreen industries. Many conventional doctors warn against taking vitamin D3 supplements because of toxicity dangers, probably because they mistakenly think D3 is a hormone, which Dr. Vieth adamantly denies. See:

The War Against Vitamin D – A Threat to Big Pharma

Screen Shot 2018-12-10 at 8.43.48 AM

Although the above graphic shows two forms of supplements, vitamins D2 and D3. Most knowledgeable health professionals agree that vitamin D2, a synthetic pharmaceutical, is weaker than D3 and can be toxic in large doses. 

The most common form of vitamin D3 is from natural sources. Cholecalciferol vitamin D3 liquid or gel capsules are sourced from fish liver oils, cod liver oil, and more commonly from the wool fat in sheep fleece. 

Animals have a similar type of fat or cholesterol in their skin that humans have to convert UVB rays to vitamin D3, which eventually creates and influences regulatory hormones throughout the body. But sheep’s wool is accessible from animals that are out in the sun a lot.

So cholecalciferol capsules substitute sun exposure to bring D3 into the liver and kidneys for the rest of the process involved with hormonal production and distribution throughout the body. 

It’s wise to add some fermented food sources of vitamin K2 or simply supplement the vitamin to ensure D3 supplements are optimally absorbed.

Lacking sun exposure, daily dosing of 4,000 to 8,000 iu (international units) is recommended to maintain serum vitamin D levels above 50 ng/ml as illustrated in the first graphic to reduce cancer risk. (Source) 

If you’re a true-blue vegan, do some serious sunbathing at peak sunshine times. A few minutes on each side is enough. See:

The Sun is Not Your Enemy! Vitamin D is Necessary for Optimal Health

Ironically, darker skinned people whose indigenous roots are in sunnier regions need more sun exposure than white folks to maintain optimum vitamin D levels. Supplementing is advised.