Vitamin D supplements

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Where Vitamin D Supplements Fail

The Benefits of Vitamin D

As I discuss in my video Do Vitamin Supplements Help with Diabetes, Weight Loss, and Blood Pressure?, review articles continue to be published touting vitamin D as a veritable cure-all. The vitamin D receptor is found in most tissues in the body, including the brain, and upwards of 2,000 genes may be regulated by vitamin D. Within 24 hours of vitamin D exposure, we can change the expression of hundreds of genes.

The term vitamin is a misnomer, though, because vitamins by definition cannot be synthesized within our body, but we can make all the D we need with sufficient sun exposure. So, rather than a vitamin, D is actually a hormone that’s produced by our skin in response to sunlight exposure. D is not just a hormone of calcium regulation and bone health; it’s also a hormone of fertility, immunity, and brain function. But is it a panacea or a false prophet?

Are Vitamin D Supplements Effective?

Remember when vitamin E was the vitamin du jour, touted as a “curative for many clinical disorders”? Supplement sales of vitamin E, the “radical protector,” created a billion-dollar business that capitalized on the public’s fears. After all, those with low levels of vitamin E in their blood had a 50 percent higher cancer risk. Similar attention was directed towards vitamin A or beta-carotene. People who eat lots of greens, sweet potatoes, and other beta-carotene-rich foods have lower risk of cancer, so maybe we should give people beta-carotene pills? When they were put to the test, however, beta-carotene pills actually increased cancer rates. In fact, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E supplements all may increase mortality, so when we buy these supplements, we’re potentially paying to shorten our lifespans. As such, I imagine you can understand the skepticism in the medical community regarding claims about vitamin D, which is now enjoying its moment in the sun.

Supplements vs. Lifestyle

Having a half-billion-dollar vitamin D supplement industry doesn’t help matters in terms of getting at the truth. And there’s also a highly lucrative vitamin D testing industry that loves to talk about the studies suggesting that having higher vitamin D levels may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and infections. Most of this research, however, stems from observational studies, meaning studies that correlate higher D levels in the blood with lower disease risk, but that doesn’t mean vitamin D is the cause. It’s like the early beta-carotene data: Higher levels in the blood may have just been a marker of healthy eating. Who has high beta-carotene levels? Those who eat lots of greens and sweet potatoes. Similarly, higher levels of vitamin D may just be a marker of healthy behaviors. Who has high vitamin D levels? Those who run around outside, and those who run around outside, run around outside. Indeed, higher vitamin D levels may just be a sign of higher physical activity.

So, for instance, when you see studies showing significantly lower diabetes rates among those with higher vitamin D levels, it doesn’t mean giving people vitamin D will necessarily help. You have to put it to the test.  And, when you do, vitamin D supplements fall flat on their face, showing no benefit for preventing or treating type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin D and Obesity

So, when supplement companies wave around studies suggesting vitamin D deficiency plays a role in obesity, because most population studies show that obese individuals have lower vitamin D levels in their blood, is that simply because they’re exercising less or because it’s a fat-soluble vitamin so it’s just lodged in all that fat? We might expect obese sunbathers to make more vitamin D, since they have more skin surface area, but the same exposure level for them leads to less than half the D bioavailability, because it gets socked away in the fat. This is why obese people may require a dose of vitamin D that’s two to three times higher than normal weight individuals, although they may get it back if they lose weight and release it back into their circulation. This would explain the population data. Indeed, when you put vitamin D to the test as a treatment for obesity, it doesn’t work at all.

Vitamin D and Heart Health

It’s a similar story with artery health. Those with low vitamin D levels have worse coronary blood flow, more atherosclerosis, and worse artery function, but if you actually put it to the test in randomized controlled trials, the results are disappointing. Vitamin D is also ineffective in bringing down blood pressures.

This all adds to the growing body of science “casting doubt on the ability of vitamin D supplementation to influence health outcomes beyond falls, fractures, and possibly respiratory tract infection and all-cause mortality.” Wait. What? Vitamin D supplements may make you live longer? That’s kind of important, don’t you think? I talk about that in my video Will You Live Longer If You Take Vitamin D Supplements?.

Explore the other videos in my series on vitamin D, including:

And check out these other videos on vitamin D’s potential benefits:

For additional videos on supplements, see:

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

105 responses to “Where Vitamin D Supplements Fail

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  1. Unfortunately the vitiamin E causing cancer study was a study done where they took sick people literally on their death bed and gave them vitamin E….then when 50% died they said seeee! Vitamin E bad….fortunately we have watch dog leaders in the industry that know Rx companies have an agenda to condemn the natural supplement industry….a similar situation occured with Beta carotene…it revolved around people who smoke or smoked getting cancer while on beta carotene.
    Finally why the inconsistency with vitamin D results…? In order for vitamin D to be utilized, activated and absorbed it requires magnesium, vitamin K2 (Mk7), vitamin A and a fair amount of good fat. It’s not hard to look this all up for your self or request research from “Carlson Vitamin” company who has archived research on E. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW IS RX DRUG COMPANIES AND THEIR MINIONS (M.D.s) WANT YOU DEPENDENT ON THEM AND THEIR DRUGS!!!!

    1. Living in the PNW, we don’t get much sunshine. I am outside a lot (dog and big yard do that to me, lol) but I found after taking 3000 IU a day of Vit. D my lichen planus and my psoriasis are way better. Lichen planus is hardly noticeable anymore.
      Do you have any explanation for it?

    2. Jeff… many many vitamin and supplement companies are owned by pharmaceutical companies.

      The supplement side of their businesses cater to those who prefer ‘natural’ panaceas to ‘synthetic’ or ‘petroleum-based’ cures. Their vitamin and supplement subsidiaries also get them business from people who are still too healthy to need prescription drugs so these people get multivitamins as ‘insurance’ against their poor diets.

      Heck, the vitamin and supplement industry (little pharma) services all of the people too poor to have health insurance as well. In the end, it’s all companies working together to sell you pills. Get your vitamins and minerals from FOOD. You’ll be healthier for it.

    3. Oh my god Jeff, when did you receive the holy light? I’m so glad that you received such great info from the company that markets and sells such supplements, it must be much more accurate than that from these evil life-saving drones who claim to have sworn a vow to always “help”, pfft, this cult called the doctors right? They always storm nice 100% natural bleach detox pages with their warnings, their so called science backed articles, all that complicated stuff right? Aint it great when it’s just simpler? By the way, i saw a nice article on about a new black earth infused tea detox, seemed promising! Apparently the earth got all these minerals into it that our body needs and big science don’t want you to know about it! They’re off to a rocky start! Don’t throw gravel at it just yet, they have solid evidence, just pave the way, one chip at a time. Stand your ground, free the minerals!

    4. Jeff

      ‘Unfortunately the vitiamin E causing cancer study was a study done where they took sick people literally on their death bed and gave them vitamin E….then when 50% died they said seeee!

      Aren’t you leaving out the bit where they randomised half to take vitamin E and half to take a placebo? More in the vitamin E group died. And in fact it was in more than just one study where this happened if I remember correctly.

  2. I was wondering about supplementation in general. Seeing that the produce we get on store shelves these days do not contain the same nutritional values as those from days gone by, does it not make sense that one take a multi-vitamin?

    I mean, it is probably better if you buy everything organic, non-GMO, pesticide-free and all that. Not everyone has access to that though, or if they do, they cannot afford the much higher price for these. Would love to hear people’s thoughts.

    Should we just eat more plants? ;)

      1. From the source cited, it looks like they tested heirloom varieties vs mass production varieties. And the difference was pretty small. Eat 7 pieces of broccoli instead of 6. No big deal. Heirloom always taste better than the high yield varieties, that’s why people grow them.

        A low fat, WFPB diet is by definition nutrient dense. Vitamins weren’t even known 200 years ago. Deficiencies didn’t come along until the processed food industry started refining perfect whole plant foods like rice into polished rice and potatoes into instant mashed potatoes and fries.

        1. Please read again what you wrote: “Deficiencies didn’t come along until the processed food industry started refining perfect whole plant foods”

          Hopefully you can see the absurdity, the food industry may have made things worse but there were cerainly diseases due to deficiencies long before. Think scurvy.

  3. So how do you explain that the Canadian goverment insisted since the early 1930’s to add vitamin D supplement to milk and milk product to reduce the terrible deficiency that inflicted the canadian population. IT’s easy to say just go for a walk, but for most canadians this is not feasible for at least 5 months per year in our nother country.

    1. I agree, even when I do go for a walk, I have shaded paths and when I am able to walk tends to be before or after sunlight exposure. That is pretty much all year round.

      I don’t get almost any exposure from the sun.

      I tried to find the LED Vitamin D bulb, which is supposed to be safer than being out in the sunshine, but nothing ever came up when I clicked on the link of where to buy.

      There are a few Vitamin D boxes which cost closer to $500.

      Nothing was the right wavelength per the study I was looking at.

      That is a bummer because I really might invest in that.

      1. Hey Deb, I know that at least in the US, you can’t normally buy lights that cause vitamin D production without a prescription because they’re considered medical apparatuses. I ended up getting mine shipped to me from Israel. They’re nice because they have more of the wavelength that causes vitamin D formation and less if the wavelengths that cause burns. I actually don’t need mine anymore because my job is mostly outdoors. Maybe I can get it out to you somehow?

    1. Lung function would be another one where professionals who have patients with impaired lung function seem to believe that Vitamin D helps.

      Are they doing these studies in places like California where both groups could well get sun exposure even if they are in the supplementation group? Wondering how they control for that.

  4. I’m a little confused. First it sounded like like vitamin D supplements are actively unhealthy for you, but then the video seemed to support that taking a supplement was recommended…? What do you recommend for people that live in places too cold to allow for year round sun exposure?

    1. I’m also living in a cold environment and a video two years ago suggested taking D3. Has this all changed? Am I wasting money on D3 supplements and better spending the money going to a tanning bed once a week?

      1. Dr Greger has a tanning bed video where the use of a tanning bed is linked with cancer.

        There is a UV LED study where you can generate Vitamin D faster with those bulbs, but I have had trouble finding where to buy them. Not Amazon. Bummer. Digikey sells something, but I don’t recognize it as something ready to use as a bulb or lamp.

        Mushrooms can be irradiated, but not enough.

    2. To get a clear picture of Dr.Greger’s views and recommendations, you have to actively search the website (also, keep in mind that the recommendations can change over time so you have to pay attention to the date).

      Dr. Greger, in fact, recommends vitamin D supplementation for those not getting sufficient sun (which with the skin cancer scare industry) is a lot of people.

      You are right that the video linked to is pro vitamin D supplementation, if your al is longevity: “But one of those conditions for which vitamin D supplements appear to genuinely work is helping to prevent mortality.

      56 randomized clinical trials, involving nearly 100,000 people between the ages of 18 and 107, mostly women, randomized to four years of vitamin D supplements or sugar pills. Put all the studies together, and those given vitamin D supplements lived longer, also specifically lowering the risk of dying from cancer.” …

      “A similar analysis pegged the benefit at 11% in terms of reduction of total mortality—which is pretty substantial, potentially offering a life extension benefit on par with exercise.”

      So despite the negative message in this blog, Dr. Greger clearly comes down on the side of supplementation.

      1. @ gengo-gakusha Yes, NF staff should consider taking a week to go through all videos and blogposts to note which contain info or conclusions which are out of date and those which have been updated. That would be a very good use of resources.

  5. I take D, not for any of the reasons cited, but because my shrink says low D is bad for depressives. So I take it for my depression. The only other two supplements I take are B12 (duh!) and biotin, the latter for a side effect of my chronic kidney disease (which, by the way, has improved markedly since I sent WFPB!).

  6. Sorry Dr Greger but have you noticed that the amount of chemtrailing they do in the US to block the sun makes people CHRONICALLY IN NEED OF VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS!

    1. Miriam, in my area (upstate NY), although I haven’t seen any lately, I’d spot 7or 8 chemtrails mucking up the sky all at the same time –usually on a Sunday morning. I’m always out and about every day, so they’re easy to spot.

      They’d look like those in one of these photos.

            1. Uh-huh…you realize there’s an awful lot of disinfo out there too, don’t you? Even your Holy Mother Science doesn’t always get it right.

              “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

              When you see 7-8 wide smoke-things joy-riding all over the skies….swooping up and down, hither and yon….you gotta wonder if they are legitimate aircraft, Some were very close to each other. Don’t think regular airplanes are allowed to do that.

              1. YR, >>>Even your Holy Mother Science doesn’t always get it right.
                Yeah but it sure beats the h*ll out of whatever might be in (a very distant) 2nd place. :-)

  7. Please make your nutrition facts available via the written word besides your videos. Some of us dont have the data available for video.

  8. People, don’t overthink this. Go get your levels checked. If you are D defieicent or low (under 30 ng/mL) like most folks, take a darn Supplement. It’s not a big deal and it’s the one Vitamin you’ll need to supplement along with B12 (if you’re 100% Plant-Based).

    Don’t try to get it through sun. It’s too difficult and you’ll be damaging DNA in your quest for boosting the level.

    I recommend Premier Research Labs (Liquid) 1000 IU. About 6 years ago my D was at 16 ng/mL. I took 2-3000 IU (2-3 drops) a day for a few months. It boosted my level to about 50 ng/mL that quickly. Now I maintain with 1 drop a day (1K).

  9. I don’t take vitamin D supplements, but in the winter I use a vitamin D lamp. Considering the live of the lamp it is actually cheaper than taking vegan vitamin D supplements. Did you know that most vitamin D supplements are made from sheep lanolin?

    Anyway, when the body makes vitamin D from the sun in our skin, it also creates similar molecules to vitamin D, but their use by our body is not known. While I don’t get any tan from using the lamp, I do appreciate the benefits.

    1. Ok but that lamp is also delivering UV, else you’d get no D. Hope you protect your eyes.

      Three is vegan D3 e.g. in Fuhrman’s multis.

      On the other hand, I also get out in the sun, but try not to burn and protect my face. I’m 72 and still kicking, so I don’t sweat it, so to speak.

    2. Which Vitamin D lamp do you use? Sperti? Dermfix?
      One of the psoriasis set-ups?

      Or are you self-hacking with a reptile or bird bulb?

      Or did you know what to do with the Digi-key things?

    1. Remember that many Vitamins are loaded with extra BS that could be contributing to health issues. That’s why it’s very important when supplementing to stick with trusted sources.

      1. For the same reason Carageenan was removed from Silk Soy milks…. once thought of as harmless, now considered probably harmful in large amounts.

  10. For those confused about this writing…. it’s all in the last paragraph…

    This all adds to the growing body of science “casting doubt on the ability of vitamin D supplementation to influence health outcomes BEYOND falls, fractures, and possibly respiratory tract infection and all-cause mortality.” Wait. What? Vitamin D supplements may make you live longer?

    If you go back and read the examples of so-called “cures” or other benefits of Vitamin D, he’s saying they all fall short.

    So “Beyond” falls, fractures, and possibly respiratory tract infection and all-cause mortality… don’t expect VIT D to help improve or revserse your other issues.

  11. I jumped on the vitamin D bandwagon because I was getting sun damage from sunbathing for my psoriasis so I thought supplements might be a good substitute. On taking less than the RDA I developed Hypervitaminosis D with calcium deposits in my spine so bad I could not stand up straight. It felt like my spine was out of place all the time. After quitting the D it went away but it came right back when I tried taking D only once a week.

    1. That is considered a rare condition, which is more likely to happen if people have disease factors or use excessive Vitamin D.

      Do you have any of the following:

      kidney disease
      liver disease

      Are you using any prescription medications to treat high blood pressure such as thiazide diuretics or digoxin for heart diseases? Those can cause an increase in vitamin D in the blood.

      Estrogen therapy, taking antacids for a long time, and antituberculosis medication, can also cause elevated levels of vitamin D.

      Antacids taken for a long time is probably one, which a lot of people have done.

      My sweet carpenter is side-lined with calcium deposits, not from vitamin D supplementation though.

      His is from not having a good calcium/magnesium ratio.

      1. I didn’t say: Do you ever use tanning beds? Because that can cause it, too.

        Just asking because once per week on less than the RDA seems like a really low amount to have that type of reaction, which is rare in the population at large.

  12. Hi readers/moderators
    I’m wondering if this is an error but the Optimum Nutrition recommendations (linked at the bottom of the NF website) were last updated in 2016 (Updated 2/4/16)
    Is there a more recent article that talks about vitamin D sun exposure & skin cancer,B12,omega 3,iodine & selenium recommendations?

    How is one to decide if one should completely avoid sun exposure due to genetics (skin cancer in the family) when one is white or have some small sun exposure for its benefits which do not occur when one takes vitamin D pills?

    1. Hello Wondering, and thank you for your question; thanks also to Jonathan (above), and Paul (below) for similar questions,

      I am a family physician and a volunteer for Dr. Greger, for helping respond to comments and questions. I have a small private practice in lifestyle medicine, which focuses on plant-based nutrition.

      I agree that Dr. Greger expressing all these reservations about taking Vitamin D supplements is confusing, given his previous endorsement of taking them in his Optimum Nutrition Recommendations — since he recommends supplementation for quite a broad range of people. The way I interpret this current article is that Dr. G is expressing caution about the feeling some people have that Vitamin D is a “cure-all” for whatever ails you.

      Bottom line is that Dr. Greger has not changed his recommendations on what supplements to take, at least not yet. Another bottom line is that observational studies (which are just about all we have in the nutrition field), are notoriously subject to confounding, and also problems like “reverse causation”.

      If an observational study finds that “A” is correlated with “B”, you might conclude than A causes B; but if instead B causes A, that’s reverse causation. (And of course, something completely different — “C” — could cause both A and B; this is known as confounding).

      In my mind, the jury is still out as to whether or not everyone with inadequate exposure to sunlight (most of us) should supplement with Vitamin D. Personally, I take it, mainly because the evidence is pretty clear that it helps prevent osteoporosis, and fractures, and I have a strong family history of osteoporosis, plus I don’t get adequate sunlight.

      There was a study published in the April 9 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, referenced by PJK (see comment, above) which suggested that taking Vitamin D supplements might be associated with a higher risk of death from all causes.

      After reading the abstract of that article, I am not at all convinced. But I’ll bet that lots of people are taking Vitamin D supplements who don’t really need to take them.

      I hope this has shed some light on the issue, rather than confused you further. I will suggest to Dr. Greger that he clarify his recommendations on supplements.

      Health Support Volunteer for

  13. Dr. Greger’s Optimum Nutrition Recommendations recommends 2,000 IU supplemental vitamin D3 for most people who do not get a lot of mid day sun. Is that recommendation still current given today’s blog?

  14. I have been subscribing to Dr. Gregor for years, and generally really like what he says, but in this case he is wrong
    DIABETES and Vitamin D 396 studies
    which include 20+ meta-analyses, with titles such as
    – Prediabetes treated by Vitamin D (34 ng, 3500 IU per day) – meta-analysis
    -Diabetes treated and prevented by more than 2,000 IU of vitamin D – meta-analyses 2018
    – Diabetes helped by daily 4,000 IU of Vitamin D – meta-analysis Sept 2017
    OBESITY and Vitamin D 309 studies
    which includes titles such as
    – Lost more weight on diet if added 50,000 IU of vitamin D weekly – RCT Sept 2018
    – Weight loss of 26 lbs if diet, walk and 100,000 IU of vitamin D bi-weekly– July 2018
    -Overweight and obese lost 12 lbs with vitamin D in 6 months– RCT May 2015
    -Waist circumference dropped from 105 cm to 98 cm with just 18 Vitamin D pills – RCT Dec 2018
    CARDIOVASCULAR and Vitamin D 397 studies
    which includes titles such as
    -50,000 IU of vitamin D weekly following cardiac failure helps – RCT 2014
    -Chronic Heart Failure improved with 4,000 IU daily for a year – RCT April 2016
    There are >10,000+ studies of vitamin D in 100+ health categories which can be read in 100+ languages @ VITAMINDWIKI.COM

  15. i agree w/jeff on how they sabotage the supplement “studies”. they also use low quality supplements, containing junk that may worsen the conditions they’re “treating”, & lots of times they’ll use small amounts, not enough to make a difference.

  16. I have eliminated most of my supplements since going WFPB a few years ago. However, I do still take my Vitamin D3. I guess I’m afraid to quit taking it, since it helps me so much.

  17. No, I am NOT Paid for posting here.

    I first heard Dr. Greger on PBS. Since then:

    – I stopped eating chicken because Dr. Greger reported that a fatty
    acid particularly high in chicken was most responsible for arterial
    – I increased the amount of nuts I eat because Dr. Greger reported that
    nuts can reverse arterial plaque;
    – I stopped eating eggs because Dr. Greger reported that a metabolite
    of cholesterol causes cancer;
    – I increased the amount of blueberries I eat because Dr. Greger
    reported that blueberries increase the number of killer cells;
    – I started using black pepper because Dr. Greger reported they
    increase the activity of killer cells;
    – I started using red/orange sweet potatoes because Dr. Greger
    reported that they fight cancer.

    I was struck yesterday that nobody commented about the fact that when I switched to eating 100% grass fed beef my total cholesterol DROPPED to 140. Everybody just wanted to beat up on me for suggesting that vegetarians who have not been able to lower their LDL to optimal levels might wish to consider trying a small amout per day of 100% grass fed cooked on low heat beef/lamb for one month and “Put it to the Test.”

    I think people here need to decide if this is strictly a website for vegetarians, or if this is a website for all people who want to find the healthiest foods to eat.

    Oh yes, All the studies that claim regions highest in beef consumption have the highest cancer levels are ALL INVALID because they did not take into account cooking methods. (Remember: the WHO did NOT say red meat is carcinogenic, what they said was that red meat cooked on high heat was carcinogenic.

    1. Sydney,

      We don’t care if you enjoy eating some animal flesh. That’s currently your human right.

      However, don’t ignore the fact that red meat is highest in Carnitine (think TMAO and atherosclerosis) and highest in Methionine (think IGF-1 and cancer), especially Lamb.

      You can’t escape it…. grass-fed, grain-fed, etc.

      1. Casper Gomez:

        I’ve started reading up on Methionine, which seems to be very important in many biochemical reactions. I recall there was a report about Carnitine and TMAO which got a lot of play in public media and was subsequently criticized by different people from the same institution which put out the report.

        1. Check out Greger’s vids. TMAO, Harvard, 2013. Not much to criticize. There are also tons of Methionine studies linked to lifespan.

    2. Sydney,

      That is cool that you have made some changes for your health.

      I am not wanting to bash you for your choices at all.

      I just know that WFPB tests lower in cholesterol in studies, so people who are already over there won’t likely benefit by adding in animal products.

      But you moving to grass-fed beef from what you were eating is a little better. Though Hal was right that there still are the carnitine and choline gut microbiome issues and there still are things like IGF-1.

      Most of my friends dabble in Keto and I love them dearly and a few of them bought farms to raise grass-fed beef because of how much they believe in it.

      I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to. I threw up for 7 weeks on animal products and now the thought of eating animals at all makes me queasy. Yes, it could have been the chemicals or hormones or the feed the animals were eating, but now, I look in the eyes of animals and see my dog’s eyes or the eyes of any of my loved ones. I can’t go back and don’t feel that eating meat is superior.

      I did look at the Adventist study and the female vegans lived a ridiculously long time, but they died after the women who ate a little bit of fish, but when I looked at the diet information I could find, the vegan women were eating a lot of faux meats and that means that they had a lot of processed foods. Plus, nut intake was an area where the Adventists lived or died. Those who ate nuts lived longer.

      It could be the fish, but the ocean continues to get more toxic and I am not going to be eating fish either. I will take the vegan omega 3.

      Anyway, I think it is because you are proselytizing versus just sharing your results.

      Atkins, the people used to have their cholesterol drop while they were losing weight, and then, it went back up again – in fact, it skyrocketed. So I don’t always know how to process the information about cholesterol. My friend’s step-father died abruptly right after losing 20 pounds on Atkins.

      To be honest, I don’t know how to judge any of the cholesterol information because of diseases throwing it off and because people get elderly and stop eating and that lowers it and those things throw off the studies.

      I just trust WFPB better than I trust anything else.

      This is a WFPB site, and most of the people here aren’t vegan, but I know that Dr. Greger genuinely loves his vegan community and he loves that people are going WFPB and I am eating a vegan diet, but I reach out my hand of peace to you.

      1. Deb:

        You will probably disagree with this…

        99.9% of everything that is alive lives on the death of other life.

        Predators of course, but also animal eating plants. But less obviously, 99.9% of all plants require “fertile soil” which means soil fertilized by the death of other plants and animals.

        On one hand it is horrible that things die so that other things might live. But that’s the way it is. My own definition of life is a constant rearrangement of atoms and molecules, both within a creature and between creatures when one is eaten by another.

        Except where plants grow food for animals to eat and spread the seeds, plants do not want to be eaten any more than do animals, evidenced by thorns, poisonous chemicals etc.

        I hope you don’t mind hearing my personal opinion, but when you say:

        “…I threw up for 7 weeks on animal products and now the thought of eating animals at all makes me queasy … I look in the eyes of animals and see my dog’s eyes or the eyes of any of my loved ones….”

        This is a (probably deeply painful) emotional/psychological reaction. The only advice I can think of is: walk up to a cow, look into its eyes and pet it and thank it for turning grass into such a wonderful bunch of chemicals for us to eat.

        Of course when we die, we fertilize the soil for more grass to grow.

        May the circle be unbroken….

        1. I live in a state where I can most certainly pet some cute cows.

          I don’t believe that it was emotional, though now it would be.

          At the time, I was eating meat 3 meals per day, and it was anything. I was eating beef, pot roast, roast beef, pastrami, corned beef, chicken, tuna, ham, sausage, hamburgers, steak, turkey, venison, salmon, pork chops, eggs. All of it.

          I was out in California at the time. In love and involved in creative pursuits and nature and I was not thinking at all about the emotions of my food.

          The man who would steal more than a few bites of everything I ate had stolen my heart and he and I went out to eat just about every night. Though he also liked to grill and won a grill on a game show.

          It is amazing that I didn’t transfer that depth of emotion and that I didn’t end up over in the Keto camp.

          I am so highly chemically sensitive and hormonally sensitive and my throwing up also had happened with salad bars and non-organic fruits and vegetables and Chinese food. Anything with MSG caused violent sickness.

          Up until California, meat and dairy and junk food and pasta and pizza were things which never made me sick. I suspect that animals started to be treated differently.

          After getting sick for that length of time, since then, I think I was free to just be my emotional self about animals. I have seen shows with predators and prey and the animals which are killed are afraid and genuinely suffer.

          I watch my dog and he genuinely is dependent upon me emotionally. He is so sweet-hearted. He just wants me to come home and have contact with him. I think I saw enough animals being abused on television and I just am aware now.

          I also tend to be a person who hates injustice and hates anyone being oppressed or in pain. Right now, it is more like I came out of the symbolic cave and can’t go back into denial about it.

          I can think back to one moment from when I was young when I did feel guilty about eating fish. We were at a camp where we were being tested to fend for ourselves food-wise for one 24-hour period and up until then, we were kids at camp and had been feeding the fish near the dock. Can I tell you that they were easy to catch on the day that we had to fend for ourselves? We had tried whittling sticks into spears to try to get frogs legs. I can’t remember what else we had tried, but the fish, who we had been feeding are what we finally ate. Boy, it would have been easier to have been a vegan at that camp.

          1. If I remember right, the frog hopped away and there were too many of us and too few frogs.

            The funniest part was that when the adults got involved after, they showed us plants and had us eat poisonous plants and we had to each drink a gallon of milk.

            Now that I am thinking about it, the adults must have been twenty year olds.

        2. Sydney,
          1. Please read “The China Study” and think about that “grass-fed beef” idea.
          2. If feeding plants to cows makes their meat healthy, why not just eat the plants?

    3. Sydney

      I wish you would stop misreprsenting the WHO’s position on the carcinogenity of red meat.

      Your claim is fctually incorrect. This has been pointed out to you multiple times both this year and last year Yet you continue to repeat it. I can only conclude that you are now choosing to deliberately make false claims about about the WHO’s position on this point The WHO’s position is:

      ‘After thoroughly reviewing the accumulated scientific literature, a Working Group of 22 experts from 10 countries convened by the IARC Monographs Programme classified the consumption of red meat as probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A), based on limited evidence that the consumption of red meat causes cancer in humans and strong mechanistic evidence supporting a carcinogenic effect.
      This association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but associations were also seen for
      pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.’


      ‘there were not enough data for the IARC Working Group to reach a conclusion about whether the way meat is cooked affects the risk of cancer.’

      By the way did you see this report below earlier today? ‘Eating red meat just once a day increases your risk of bowel cancer by a fifth, a study by Oxford University suggests.’

      As for lowering cholesterol, there are good ways and bad ways Experiencing a heart attack, getting an infection or sufferng an injury will reduce cholesterol levels Given the links between red meat consumption and cancer and heart disease risk, and premature mortality, eating red meat probably is a bad way to lower cholesterol. If indeed it does It probably depends on which foods in the diet were replaced by red eat

      It might howvere be wise to get yourself checked out given that you eat red meat twice daily …..

  18. What is the view on high vit d supplementation for autoimmune diseases as administered by Dr Coimbra… seems to have a high success rate for controlling MS

    1. Marc,

      Scroll down and that has some of the MS results and there are some in some of the studies.

      Of course, lowering saturated fats and salt are other approaches to MS, which might have even better results, but there are some studies backing up what he said.

      Though there are risks at very high levels.

      My friend has a disability and her naturopath has been giving her very high doses of Vitamin D3 for years and she swears by them.

      I wouldn’t do the high doses long-term. Maybe if I was trying to recover from a deficiency which was affecting my health.

    2. Hi I’m a health support volunteer. That is a great question. Vitamin D and autoimmune disease are a hot topic right now. It is thought that Vitamin D deficiency can disrupt the natural immune response.
      Dr. Greger does mention in this blog post that the “Endocrine Society just released guidelines suggesting 1,500-2,000 IU a day is better” and many autoimmune disease fall under endocrinology.
      There does seem to be evidence that vitamin D may help prevent and possibly treat autoimmune diseases. I found one such review:

      But I think we will continue to hear more about it as further research is done.

      Dr. Greger does have some videos about Vitamin D and some specific autoimmune diseases such as asthma, diabetes, and Crohn’s you might like to watch.

      All the best,

    1. Barbara,

      Yes, what most of the studies so far aren’t doing is kicking all of the Vitamin D sufficient people out of the studies and just testing whether it is better to supplement or not supplement for people who are deficient.

      Giving it to people who already spend enough time in the sun and then using those results and saying that it doesn’t work doesn’t make sense to me.

      I don’t want people who get enough D from the sun in any of the studies.

      It just confuses things.

  19. I am wondering about phosphatidylserine.

    I know that the phosphatidylcholine and lecithin are out because of TMAO.

    NT Factor had really worked for me back before I showed up here and went vegan WFPB.

    But it has both of those.

    I am trying to work on my brain and I have to say that I am tempted to do NT Factor for 12 weeks. I wonder how much I would mess up my stupid TMAO. Thinking that I took phosphatidylserine before NT Factor. I also drank smoothies with lecithin for a few weeks. Not wanting to do that anymore. I just am tempted toward adding PS.

    1. I have been using the brain gauge and I can see now that. I definitely do have brain damage of some sort. It is six or seven years later, but I still am getting such low scores in some areas.

      I am developing compassion for myself with things which happened. The tests narrow it down to 6 or 7 conditions which could have caused it. They don’t sell lay people the cause with a diagnosis function and I don’t think I can find a doctor to buy one for me.

      I am just going to go study by study and see what I learn.

      1. In the traumatic brain injury study, the people started off low, but almost everybody was high in a matter of weeks.

        One week into this, my overall score was 47%.

        They were talking about how their studies are based on PubMed studies such as which conditions slows reaction time and which conditions cause people to not have a perception of times, etc.

        I am going to be working on the plasticity, but so far, this isn’t like Luminosity, where I could learn the games and strategize and see immediate improvement.

        It will happen, but right now it is just forcing me to understand that when I joke that I am trying to learn with 50% of my brain tied behind my back, it may be more than 50%.

  20. Totally agree with all the reservations about supplements. But, what can we who are older do to counter the diminution of the ability to generate vitamin D as we age? Is it not essential, in combination with adequate calcium, to stave off decline in bone density? Am I correct to infer from this blog article that the real solution is to concentrate on wringing out every last bit of excess fat molecules that might have been amassed over the years?

    1. Get tested. You’re only going to have difficulty making vitamin D if you’re dark skinned and or you have kidney disease. If you’re deficient, then supplement. Getting D from the sun seems to confer additional benefit that supplements don’t appear to provide. By the time we’re in our later years, it appears to be too late to increase bone density as far as I can tell from available evidence.

  21. W live in Florida, work out side in the sun. Our skin is tan. Tested for vitamin D and our levels are low! None of this makes since…

      1. Barb,
        Newer tests are more reliable. Just make sure your doctor gets the right ind of test done.
        “20-50 ng/mL (optimum levels)***
        ***Optimum levels in the healthy population; patients with bone disease may benefit from higher levels within this range

        ****Sustained levels >50 ng/mL 25OH-VitD along with prolonged calcium supplementation may lead to hypercalciuria and decreased renal function

        *****80 ng/mL is the lowest reported level associated with toxicity in patients without primary hyperparathyroidism who have normal renal function. Most patients with toxicity have levels >150 ng/mL. Patients with renal failure can have very high 25-OH-VitD levels without any signs of toxicity, as renal conversion to the active hormone 1,25-OH-VitD is impaired or absent.”

        As I recall Dr. Greger think 30-45 ng/mL is the best target (consistent with Dr. Fuhrman), because there’s some evidence higher than ~50 is associated with undesirable outcomes but the topic is fraught with controvery.

      2. Mine is measured annually around the same time (mid summer) and it is very consistent (7-53 over more than a decade) but then so is my behavior (time outside in sun) and supplementation (2000 IU vegan D3 per day). Same for my wife’s measured levels. I suspect much of the variation reported includes either incompetent labs or not using the latest testing methods.
        I liked having correlated the amount I take with my levels.

  22. I am still very confused about what to do with this vitamin. Should I supplement, if so which specific brand? How much light exposure would allow me to get it naturally?

  23. The fantastic benefits of consuming 2,000 IU to 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily come from epidemiological studies, not interventional studies. The healthiest people are getting their vitamin D3 from fish. The people with the highest 25(OH)D levels are lifesavers at the beach and they are NOT any healthier than people who have low 25(OH)D. However, interventional studies (involving D supplements) show that at least some, but less than one-third, of the fantastic improved health benefit is from the vitamin D itself and not from the other beneficial nutrients in fish.

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