Will You Live Longer If You Take Vitamin D Supplements?

Will You Live Longer If You Take Vitamin D Supplements?
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What do 56 randomized clinical trials involving nearly 100,000 people between the ages of 18 and 107 show vitamin D can do to our lifespan?

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In 1822, a Polish physician was the first to publish that sunlight could cure the vitamin D deficiency disease rickets. His work was ignored by mainstream medicine for a century, not coming into widespread use until the 20th century, when wire cages were affixed to tenement buildings so babies could benefit from the sun. Are we in a similar situation now, where the medical profession has just not caught up with the science?

Researchers have documented correlations between all sorts of good things and higher vitamin D levels—even to the point of seeing whether vitamin D supplementation might reduce the adverse effects of earthquakes. Seems to help with everything else, so why not? It’s actually not as silly as it sounds. Traumatic events like natural disasters can have a significant psychological impact, which may be affected by vitamin D status.

But when researchers put supplements to the test, the purported links often didn’t pan out. This lack of effect may exist, in part, because low vitamin D levels may just be a marker for things like aging, obesity, smoking, and inactivity. Or maybe low vitamin D didn’t lead to disease, but maybe disease led to low vitamin D. Inflammation can drop D levels within the body. So, just because low D levels and disease seem to be correlated doesn’t mean that vitamin D deficiency is the cause.

While the majority of observational studies may show a link, where you just measure vitamin D levels and disease rates, in only a handful of conditions have interventional studies proven vitamin D to be effective—where you give people D supplements or placebos, and see what happens. 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. Note this effect appeared limited to vitamin D3, though, the type derived from plants and animals—not vitamin D2, the type derived from yeast and mushrooms.

How large an effect was it? It would take 150 people taking vitamin D supplements for five years to save one life, and so if we were talking about a drug, you’d have to weigh that against the cost and side effects of dosing so many people. But when we’re talking about something as safe and cheap as vitamin D supplements, it seems like a bargain to me. 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. Though no, it does not seem to reduce the adverse effects of earthquakes.

The only concern that was raised is that it may give people license to, like, order an extra doughnut or something. We still have to eat healthy—any longevity benefit from vitamin D would just be a small adjunct to a healthy lifestyle. But for those of us who want all the help they can get, the question then becomes okay, how much should we take? The question I’ll address next.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

In 1822, a Polish physician was the first to publish that sunlight could cure the vitamin D deficiency disease rickets. His work was ignored by mainstream medicine for a century, not coming into widespread use until the 20th century, when wire cages were affixed to tenement buildings so babies could benefit from the sun. Are we in a similar situation now, where the medical profession has just not caught up with the science?

Researchers have documented correlations between all sorts of good things and higher vitamin D levels—even to the point of seeing whether vitamin D supplementation might reduce the adverse effects of earthquakes. Seems to help with everything else, so why not? It’s actually not as silly as it sounds. Traumatic events like natural disasters can have a significant psychological impact, which may be affected by vitamin D status.

But when researchers put supplements to the test, the purported links often didn’t pan out. This lack of effect may exist, in part, because low vitamin D levels may just be a marker for things like aging, obesity, smoking, and inactivity. Or maybe low vitamin D didn’t lead to disease, but maybe disease led to low vitamin D. Inflammation can drop D levels within the body. So, just because low D levels and disease seem to be correlated doesn’t mean that vitamin D deficiency is the cause.

While the majority of observational studies may show a link, where you just measure vitamin D levels and disease rates, in only a handful of conditions have interventional studies proven vitamin D to be effective—where you give people D supplements or placebos, and see what happens. 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. Note this effect appeared limited to vitamin D3, though, the type derived from plants and animals—not vitamin D2, the type derived from yeast and mushrooms.

How large an effect was it? It would take 150 people taking vitamin D supplements for five years to save one life, and so if we were talking about a drug, you’d have to weigh that against the cost and side effects of dosing so many people. But when we’re talking about something as safe and cheap as vitamin D supplements, it seems like a bargain to me. 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. Though no, it does not seem to reduce the adverse effects of earthquakes.

The only concern that was raised is that it may give people license to, like, order an extra doughnut or something. We still have to eat healthy—any longevity benefit from vitamin D would just be a small adjunct to a healthy lifestyle. But for those of us who want all the help they can get, the question then becomes okay, how much should we take? The question I’ll address next.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Katie Schloer.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Vitaliy Gladkiy.

198 responses to “Will You Live Longer If You Take Vitamin D Supplements?

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  1. I heard so many times now that it could be potentially dangrous because vitamin D gets stored in the body fat of people and we wouldn’t know if there were any side effects of that. Any opinion on that?

    1. So maybe someone (let’s not say who) is 20 lbs overweight, and has low vitamin D blood levels. The doctor puts her on supplements for a few years (it’s takes quite a lot of supplements to bring the levels up). Then when she loses weight, all that vitamin D gets dumped back into the blood stream, maybe too much, then acts like an overdose of vitamin D? I’ve often thought these kinds of processes might be why losing weight feels uncomfortable.

      1. my last post in reply to vici233, I stated that there is not enough Vit D in fat to be dangerous………I would be in error if I didn’t point out that there is a lot of Vit D in fat….but studies on bariatric patients ( surgical weight loss ) who lose 100+ lbs a year indeed have a lot of stored Vit D but it does not translate to serum ( blood) concentrations. When they lost the weight their levels do not go up……also I should have pointed out that obese individuals can’t make Vit D as efficiantly as others and are usually deficient as a result. Point being that losing fat would never be a bad thing if you are obese and release of Vit D is not a concern.

    2. I was vit D deficient taking 2500 units/day…… My physician was clueless, great PCP but had no background in nutrition….zip….found Vit D council website and became part of a study for 5 years with blood tests 2x/yr, found I needed to take over 10000 units a day to raise and keep my blood level in the 30s, normal is 30- 80, council recommends 40 or better as it indicates storage. I have met many nutritional “experts” who follow their levels as closely, and are happy with significantly higher numbers often in the 50-90 range. Research has shown that no adverse effects are found with levels below 100. The point that is missed with most studies is that the amount one takes is not as relavent as your blood level…….one person could take 2000-5000 iu/day and achieve the same levels as one taking 10000/day. There are also many other factors which could influence your level such as missing other nutrients, age ,skin color, obesity, kidney function to name a few. Get tested and visit Vit D council site….. Hope this helps.

      1. I live your advice to get tested. I thought I was in the normal level range because I took vitamin D, but I was low. The brand matters because the fda found half of all supplements don’t even have dinner or all of what they claim. Also, researchers found that for your body to uptake D3 you have to have a little fat and a big meal. I eat a walnut with it and eat a big bowl of oatmeal. My numbers are now always at 40.

      2. My 2 years old nephew was prescribed
        2000 iu d3 daily I’d be more worried about the fluoridated water you are forced to buy

      3. Doesn’t high added D cause Magnesium loss?
        This is quite detrimental to health as discussed in the MAG F/B group.
        D of the right kind- Retinol is available in good type Cod Liver Oil [like Rositas], with natural D right ratiod- & not the commonly added post processing synthetic D, which is not good to take.
        Also storage levels of D do not indicate the impotrtant active D- which is rarely measured by medics.
        Not so simple after all!
        Sunlight is the best source- midday in moderate amounts & will produce loads via skin Cholesterol.
        There’s been a lot of bad press over the years about both these natural essentials which combine to keep us healthy.

        1. Retinol is vit A, animal source. If you eat adequate and diverse vegetables I wouldn’t worry about deficiencies. For more details especially about augmenting nutrients for Vit D visit vitamindcouncil.org ……get tested…..

    3. My wife’s naturopath tests for Vitamin D level. Hers is fine. Get yours tested and supplement with D3 if needed, or wild caught salmon, etc.

    4. In my practice I have never seen or heard of anyone losing weight quick enough to experience a rebound of Vit D…….the amount you would store would not be released in levels remotely toxic unless you could burn several pounds a day, and then only if you were overdosing for months prior before losing unrealistic amounts of fat . A pound of fat would not contain a toxic amount of the molecule. Vit D is stored and used by most if not all cells and organs in your body. Although there would be storage in fat it would not approach that of let’s say your liver or kidneys. (Polar bear liver contains potentially toxic amount of Vit D , millions of units and could be toxic if too much is eaten) …Again visit the Vit D council website……My personal experience with Vit D is atypical ( I can’t seem to take enough!) but I have seen patients with levels in the hundreds with no ill effects, just stop taking and stay out of sun….within days or weeks they “normalize” again. If you read the articles posted by the NF moderators, they detail that it takes a lot of Vit D to create a crisis…40000/day for months to become toxic for most …..per the article. The point that I make is that we need to be tested regularly if you are found to be deficient and are working to correct that. The human body with all things optimal, will/can produce Vit D3, from the sun, ( maximal skin exposed ) from 10,000 to 30,000 units in less than a half hour at noon time ( if your body requires such) You cannot be overdosed by your own body….. And properly taken supplements are rarely dangerous. The Vit D2 that is provided pharmaceutically is done so only because its patented, Vit D 3 is available in same doses (50,000iu) but can’t be by prescription ( buracratic capitalistic politics) but is superior as it is the same molecule that your body produces. Even at this level it could take weeks or months for someone to correct their deficiency……get tested and do so at least yearly if you ever experience a deficiency!!!!!

    5. Hi Vici233. I’m an endocrinologist and test patients regularly for vitamin D and B12 deficiencies. I also follow their levels to make sure they stay within therapeutic range with intervention. Of the several thousand patients I’ve treated with vitamin D (some very high dose), including those who have lost weight surgery or diet, I have seen only one case of vitamin D toxicity. It was an elderly woman who was prescribed 50,000 IU weekly for very low vitamin D as part of her osteoporosis treatment. The pharmacy gave her 50,000 IU DAILY which she took for three months. I was alarmed to find her D level was well over 100 and serum calcium level was slightly elevated. She had no symptoms. After six weeks of no supplement all was back to normal.

      I do recommend testing, mainly to insure that you are getting enough. I personally take 10,000 IU daily to maintain a level of around 40. I’d like it to be higher so I’m thinking about light therapy for myself. Most of my patients achieve normal serum D levels on between 2,000 and 5,000 IU D3 daily. If you are nervous about toxicity (which would manifest as an elevated calcium level) have your levels checked after three to four months of supplement.

      Best wishes.

  2. What are the best plant sources of D3? I’ve been eating Mushrooms a lot, thinking I had “Vitamin D” covered but am I missing D3?

    1. I found a vegan vitamin D3 product at Super Supplements. It is Garden of Life mykind Organics Vegan D3. The source of D3 is lichen. I hope that helps.

      1. Yes, lichen appears to be one of the few plant sources of D3, though even that as ‘vegan’ is controversial!

    2. We are not designed to aquire Vit D from plants…….we are designed to get it from the sun, mid day with less than a half hour of exposure if you are fair skinned with maximal skin exposed you can produce 10,000- 30,000 , darker skinned individuals can take hours to produce the same. Mushrooms can contain Vit D2 but they too must be sun exposed for the conversion to ergo calciferol and then it’s still an inferior type compare to D 3. Lichen may have Vit D3 but it’s not really a common food for humans……reindeer maybe so that may be a consideration…..

    3. Not trying to be a jerk, (it comes naturally:) but how did we survive to a ripe old age before supplements? Yeah infection, ignorance, and poor sanitation took a lot of young ones out, but there is plenty of evidence life expectancy could be equal to ours and has only increased because of decreased infant mortality along with improvements to the above, not so much our “advanced” knowledge of micro and macro nutrients. What does “adequate” vitamins even mean when our genes are so varied?

      1. It was simple my little Vege tater!! People went outside and got sunshine that gave the plenty of D3 they ate grass-fed butter and other Dairy products back in the day cows ate what God intended them to eat which was grass!! That helped the body produce something no one on here has even mentioned including the Dr’s?? Thats Vitamin K2 mk-7 which is produced in the gut by bacteria! That K2 activated the proteins necessary to keep calcium in Bones and teeth and out of the arteries! Remember back then our soils werent depleted and grandma and grandpa got plenty of calcium and magnesium in the leafy greens they consumed daily. See the vitamin D3 overdose that everyone is so frightened about mainly because it causes hypercalcemia the bodys calcium is not managed properly and arteries begin to calcify! Wanna know why this is frequently seen today?? and gets viewed improperly as a vitamin d3 overdose?? I’ll tell you why grandma and grandpa didn’t feed their cows GMO Grains! Like they do today! If you remember my explanation of grass fed Dairy you’ll remember a diet of grass helped the gut make Vitamin K2 The GMO Grains that cows are fed today DON’T!! Albert Einstein himself would quickly agree that the problem isnt Vitamin d3 overdose its a vitamin k2 mk-7 deficiency!! God made cows to eat grass not corn!! Some greedy slob changed the balance of nature by deciding that GMO Grains fatten em up better cost less or both!! Anyone that took the time to read this should immediately Google ( why we should we be supplementing vitamin k2 mk-7 Magnesium vitamin D3 and Calcium citrate not carbonate!! Then come back and ask some of the highly educated allopaths why they weren’t aware of this? Now my little miss Vege tater next time you to the supermarket you pay a little extra money and buy one of the healthiest fats a human could eat! That’s Grass fed butter!! or simply purchase the supplement vitamin k2 mk7. Don’t let my profile picture fool you just cause I flunked out of high school don’t mean I ain’t smart ;) feedback is welcomed

        1. Perfectly agree on everything except the grass fed butter. It is saturated fat and it damages the endothelial lining of the arteries. It has been proved by many scientists and heart specialists. I have been using 10.000 iu daily of vit D3 and a daily K complex with K1, K2 and K7 for over 12 years with not side effects of calcium build up. This was the amount of D3 to keep my blood at 60 ng/ml. Also I use Calcium and Magnesium Citrate and Potassium Gluconate as Gerson Recommend. I also recommend to eat the Asian Natto which is a really good source of Vitamin K2. I eat 100 gr of it most days together with turmeric and black pepper. It can perfectly replace the cheese taste for a vegan. I am 39 and an arterial ultrasound function test done last month showed that my arteries are of a 22 years old for elasticity. Plant Based diet low fat low protein no oil, exercise (bicycle and running), Vitamin D, B12 5000 mcg weekly, K complex and some calcium, magnesium and potassium is all I use. Cholesterol was at 116 mg/dl and the doctor told me could be too low but I do not listen to conventional doctors any longer. Dr. Greger and a handful of others are on a class of their own. Thank God for them around!!

        2. Perfectly agree on everything except the grass fed butter. It is saturated fat and it damages the endothelial lining of the arteries. It has been proved by many scientists and heart specialists. I have been using 10.000 iu daily of vit D3 and a daily K complex with K1, K2 and K7 for over 12 years with not side effects of calcium build up. This was the amount of D3 to keep my blood at 60 ng/ml. Also I use Calcium and Magnesium Citrate and Potassium Gluconate as Gerson Recommend. I also recommend to eat the Asian Natto which is a really good source of Vitamin K2. I eat 100 gr of it most days together with turmeric and black pepper. It can perfectly replace the cheese taste for a vegan. I am 39 and an arterial ultrasound function test done last month showed that my arteries are of a 22 years old for elasticity. Plant Based diet low fat low protein no oil, exercise (bicycle and running), Vitamin D, B12 5000 mcg weekly, K complex and some calcium, magnesium and potassium is all I use. Total Cholesterol is at 116 mg/dl, LDL 42 mg/dl, HDL 36 mg/dl and the doctor told me could be too low but I do not listen to conventional doctors any longer. Dr. Greger and a handful of others are on a class of their own. Thank God for them around!!

          1. Hi Lt sounds like we could be great friends we have almost identical beliefs except for the grass fed butter and low fat diet but that’s okay we’re both smart enough to step out of the sheep line to take care of our own health and wellbeing, I feel sorry for the average American destined to enslavement by big Pharmas lackies the phsyopathic American Allopath their own family Dr

          2. Don’t listening to conventional doctor, they are completely brain washed by drug company, Cholesterols both form High density and low density are all needed for human body function. We don’t have to to eat fat to have cholesterol, because our body can synthesize the cholesterol it needed. If you felling well , go for it…there is no one standrad for everybody. Plant base diet is good for the Earth.

          3. Hi, I know this was over a year ago but I’m interested in your diet. How do you maintain your weight with a low fat low protein no oil diet? I would love that but I believe it would be hard to keep weight on with that diet. And also with no oil, how do you roast veggies or sauté garlic and onions? Thank you so much!

            1. Some people eat a lot and some people don’t, so a lot of this depends on how much you like to eat. If you have trouble gaining weight, you can eat plenty of healthy calorie dense foods such as dates, dried fruit, dry roasted or raw nuts, sweet potatoes, grains, legumes etc. You can make super yummy Indian food by toasting the whole spices in an iron skillet and then grinding them. Onions, mushrooms, veggies are easy to “saute” in an iron skillet at lower temperature given some time. For those of us who have trouble losing weight, eating low calorie density whole vegan foods is the way to go. Most fruit and many veggies fall in this category such as berries, watermelon, cruciferous veggies, tomatoes, honeydew, apples, etc.

              Dr. Ben

        3. You are right? Vito Goldfarb, I’m a fan of vitamin D and cure myself with mega dose vitamin D, but I also believe that people can be over dose vitamin D if they eat junk food, lack of minerals and vitamin K2, and live a hefty life style with stress, hunger for fame and money…You are smart!

  3. So, if I understand this correctly, taking Vit D along with a standard American diet improves mortality very slightly, mostly in women, on average. But what does Vit D add to a whole foods, low fat, plant-only diet, and for men? Are these results in any way useful for an individual? Thanks

    1. If only there were cohort populations of WFPB people right?!

      I believe the next video addresses this question though!

  4. If inflammation can drop d levels in the body, then rather than tackling low D, shouldn’t we tackle the inflammation? How would we go about that? Just go through this site for anti-inflammatory foods? Any particular things that stand out? Or could it just be low because your body isn’t producing it as well as it can be?

    1. I didn’t have inflammation (I was tasted for that at the same time as I was tasted for D) and my D was very low. So I think you’d need to treat both.

    2. As with all medicine, treating the cause is vital rather than a band-aid approach for sure :) However there are other influences than inflammation, so good to assess Vit D status alone too :)

  5. Great video as always. But I think the way the medical community talks about mortality is unhealthy and unhelpful. Nothing reduces the mortality rate of humans. It’s 100%. If it’s the 5 year mortality rate, let’s hear that. If it extended life by an average of 19.3 months, let’s hear that.

    1. The burden is on those wishing to read or participate in science to learn the language of it rather than the other way around. This is true for everyone…from students to medical doctors to scientists. Studies aren’t written for the lay public. They’re written for scientists, and necessarily so. Rather than taking one phrase or sentence or paragraph out of context, perhaps read the study and see if you can figure out why things are said the way they’re said. When you do you may find that data becomes more accessible and meaningful rather than less.

  6. Has there been any recent research into the effect of vitamin D on seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? I initially started taking it because a nutritionist told me adults don’t get enough of it. However, living in the UK where sunlight is at a premium and SAD is a concern, I’m also taking it on days when I don’t get outdoors due to weather.

    1. As a follow-up, I did find an older article claiming that it does help, but the trial only involved a small number of patients (Gloth et al. “Vitamin D vs Broad Spectrum Phototherapy in the Treatment of Seasonal Afective Disorder.” J. Nutrition Health and Aging, 1999). It appears this article is cited as reason for further study, but I cannot find evidence that it’s been done in the ensuing 17 years.

  7. It would be helpful to know the pre-supplement levels of D in the people studied. For someone with already healthy levels of D (from food and spending time in the sun), is supplementation still a necessary or even good idea?

    1. If one is healthy and gets vitamin D from sun and food source and does not have inflammation due to diseases which reduces vitamin D levels as indicated in Dr G. video, it seems that from Dr McDougall and Dr G. there is no need for supplementation in that case. One more point I like to add skin color as well since the darker the skin which has higher Melatonin secretion that could be negatively correlated with alterations in serum 25-OH-D.

    2. Although the testing levels aren’t always the most accurate, from what I have read it seems levels between 40-100 seem best, with over 150 being toxic, and under 20 being particularly troublesome… I’d titrate sun exposure and supplementation to those ranges…

  8. Dr Greger, what do you think about the following articles (they talk about vitamin D supplementation and not from just the sun):

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470481/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2912737/

    There are a lot more but these are just some samples.

    Also I find what you said somewhat contradictory that vitamin D supplements do not help cure diseases but help extend life. How is that?

    1. What specifically did you want to know? Most systematic reviews, such as BMJ/cochrane suggest unfortunately many of these trials are poorly done for accuracy so results as limited…

      This video does address decreases in cancer mortality specifically…

      If you look at your question from a pure research point-
      1. They give vitamin D supplements or placebo to diseased people and compare disease markers (does the disease improve)
      2. They observe free living people and check their vit D status and monitor death ages (who lives longest)

      It’s often a numbers game more than logical reasoning… The two may be a cause or maybe just correlated…. which is the million dollar question :)

      1. Renea, if giving Vitamin D to:

        – diseased people and it does decrease mortality
        – or to healthy people and it prolongs longevity

        Does it imply some correlation between causes and effects?

        It’s no different than saying eating certain foods such as whole grain, bean, cruciferous vegetables, turmeric, etc. reduce disease mortality and prolong longevity because we observe so…

        I am at a loss to know when cause and effect is just a coincidence and not a real thing.

        1. Yes. Whether there is a credible mechanism of action that can explain the association is something that needs to be considered. If there is none, then we should be more cautious about assuming causality.

        2. That’s the issue- they are comparing a supplement VS vitamin D levels in a population that may/may not be supplementing.

          You cannot compare vitamin D supplement blood levels with an intrinsic vit D level without confounding factors.

          The example given- running about in the sun- is it the sun and vitamin D alone, or the running outside, that correlates another benefit, associated with higher vit D, with the vit D not having a role… if that makes sense.

          For example, a cyclist is more likely to wear lycra. If I give you lycra and you have no clothes, you are more likely to wear lycra. Does that mean you get the exercise advantages of a cyclist?

          Compare to- people running outside are more likely to have vitamin D to an elderly lady in a nursing home. I give her vitamin D supplement. Can the two be compared now even though they both have a vit D level over the 50 level?

          It’s too reductionistically simple to compare the two on one thing.

          Correlation provides a good place to start for cause and effect, but isn’t always true.

          The problem with humans are they are difficult to ‘control’ and hence infer exact answers, hence the preference to drug trials where that is the only difference…

          As for food, that’s were studies like the Adventist study help, as they control for adverse life factors, such as alcohol and smoking, with the main variable being diet. Still not foolproof, but better!

      2. I found the following two paragraphs contradictory or I just misunderstood it:

        But when researchers put supplements to the test, the purported links often didn’t pan out. This lack of effect may exist, in part, because low vitamin D levels may just be a marker for things like aging, obesity, smoking, and inactivity. Or maybe low vitamin D didn’t lead to disease, but maybe disease led to low vitamin D. Inflammation can drop D levels within the body. So, just because low D levels and disease seem to be correlated doesn’t mean that vitamin D deficiency is the cause.

        and:

        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. Note this effect appeared limited to vitamin D3, though, the type derived from plants and animals—not vitamin D2, the type derived from yeast and mushrooms.

        1. Jimmy whats going on bud i personally take 15000iu vitamin d3 daily my wife who is cancer free today takes 20,000 iu daily are levels are optimal and there is no chance of toxcity. Because we alsio take vitamin k2 mk7 you really should google vitamin k2 mk7

          1. Vito, I personally take 5000 IU of vitamin D3 supplement plus vitamin K2. If you take vitamin D supplement but don’t take vitamin K2 along, you may end up with calcium going to the wrong place such as kidney (stone) or arteries (plaque) instead of going to the bone.

            I am just questioning why Dr Greger said that Vitamin D supplement is of no good, in particular in the following video:

            http://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-vit-d-supplements-help-diabetes-weight-loss-blood-pressure/

            Using the same type of argument, we can say that people who take supplement tend to rely too much on supplement and do not eat well and exercise and therefore have shorter life, but it is not due to taking supplement.

            I eat well, exercise and take supplements whenever it’s needed.

            1. To be quite honestly Jimmy this guys opinion means as much to me or mine as,the knat that hit my windshield earlier any MD that doesn’t have surgical skill is a zero this wack job included I’d sooner try to revive the knot that hit my windshield today and use his opinion. This prescription wriiting donkey is nobody!!

          2. Also to get into toxicity with vitamin D, you have to take enormous amount, like 50,000 IU per day. I used an organic brand from Garden of Life and it’s like eating foods and so there is zero toxicity no matter how much I take. Because Mother Nature will cause the extra Vitamin D go out in form of waste f there is too much, if the source of vitamin D is from foods and sun. For instance nobody has too much Vitamin D from being out in the sun too much.

    1. Exactly. See my comment below. He has written many articles about this. Go to his website, drmcdougall.com and search “supplements”.

        1. I think Dr McDougall is a very reputable source and that he and Dr Gregor are alligned in much of their thoughts regarding nutrition.

          1. Unfortunately it seems (like with many things) all the plant-based doctors agree on the big things (whole food, plant based) but it’s the small details where disagreement emerges!

        2. So who is the contrarian? The person who eats a healthy diet and gets some sunshine, or the person who says — nope, that’s not enough. One has to go buy some supplements of vitamin D in order to be a normal human being?

          1. As a general rule, always get the necessary nutrients from natural sources (foods, sunshine) and get it from supplements if one cannot get enough through lack of absorption, not be able to eat enough of certain foods, not being outdoor enough, living in an area where there is not enough sunshine, etc.

            Supplement stands for supplementation :)

          2. I think the contrarian is the one using a mere 3 studies, where mega doses were used, to back up his claim when there are 56 randomized, controlled trials saying the exact opposite. We didn’t evolve to live the lifestyles we do today.

      1. I like Dr McDougall and it worried me when I first read that he said that year’s ago. I looked more closely and saw that he ese taking in extreme cases about taking too much D and if you have an over active parathyroid and other points. I talked to my endocrinologist and he recommended against the midday sun exposure because the risk of skin cancer was greater than the risk of side affects from Vit D3 at levels that keep your blood levels in the normal range. I chose to go with taking D3 and remaining sun shy.

    2. As a last resort he still says this though-

      “However, many people are unable or unwilling to get outdoors. Lack of information on the importance of sunlight and the unwillingness to leave their offices and homes will cause many otherwise healthy people to get inadequate sunlight. The elderly and infirm confined to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and homes are at high risk of developing deficiencies. Living above latitudes of 35 degrees—New York, London, Moscow, as well as living under sunlight-blocking air pollution increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter months and for darker-skinned people.

      In the above instances, daily supplementation with 50 to 100 µg of over-the-counter vitamin D will correct the vitamin D blood level; which is good, but will not solve the real problem of sunlight deficiency.”

      https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/sep/vd.htm

      But yes, unfortunately all the doctors agree on the big things (whole food, plant based) but its the small details where disagreement emerges!

      1. Renae, I agree with you and Dr Greger completely, always get the nutrients from natural sources as much as possible. I am just confused at Dr Greger video which said that vitamin D supplementation has no benefit. Or I just misunderstand it completely…

        1. I think the main issue is there is too much individual variation! But keep an eye out for the rest of the series and hopefully it helps a bit!

    1. I have checked my levels in a long time but in the past my D levels were incredibly low. I took lost of D2 and my levels did not change at all. I am vegan so I had no alternatives at the time but later came across a vegan D3 and that did raise my levels somewhat significantly. They were still low but much better. The supplement I used was Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3. I am going to check my levels again and then when I see likely that they are still low I am going to get back on it.

    2. I would recommend testing your blood levels, though taking in mind there are lab inaccuracies unfortunately…

      The consensus seems to still be despite this, aim for a level over about 50-60 and test at the end of summer and end of winter :)

    1. Hi, I am going to list some foods that are plant based and have vitaminD in them either as supplementation or naturally grown under ultra violet light for example portable mushrooms.

      Dole’s Portobello Mushrooms. Dole’s portobellos will give you 400 IUs of vitamin D per 3-ounce serving (about 1 cup of diced mushrooms).

      8-ounce glass of milk contains at least 100 IUs of vitamin D, and a 6-ounce serving of yogurt contains 80 IUs, but the amount can be higher (or lower) depending on how much is added.

      Some alternative to cows milk such as soy and rice milks are fortified with about the same amount, but check the label since not all contain vitamin D.
      Also some orange juices have added calcium and vitamin D.
      As well as whole grain cereals have added vitamins and minerals in them.

      1. If Sean can’t tolerate supplements in pills then why would he be able to tolerate them when they’re added to food? I see no difference except that the dose can’t be verified in the food.

    1. I haven’t finished checking it all out. But I did watch the 3 minute video on the second link and got the part in the first video where he says that Vit D supplementation increases risk to both prostate and pancreatic cancers. So I searched google for “prostate OR pancreatic cancer vitamin D” [the capped ‘OR’ means that it will return either reference so it doesn’t have to have both to be included]. I haven’t yet found any that say supplementation is a risk, I’m still looking. But I did find this PubMed published study posted on a cancer site [link below] that concludes that Vit D, including from supplementation, reduces the risk of pancreatic cancer.

      I first found I was low when I went in for extreme fatigue that was lasting for weeks on end. I live in California in the bay area, and was standing in the sun daily with only my walking shorts, no shirt and I was taking Vit D, which turned out to be a bad brand with nothing in it but oil. I talked to my endocrinologist about Dr McDougall’s concerns with supplementation. He replied that he’s more worried about the effects of low Vit D and from his research he believes that supplementation was less of a risk than skin cancer from trying to get enough sunshine. Plus, my levels were at 25, which Dr McDougall says is fine because it’s above 20, but there too, my doctor said it’s too low, so I switched to a different brand. And as soon as I started taking the new brand of Vit D my levels started going up and each day I felt better and better. A few weeks later my levels were back to 40 and I felt great, and back to my old self. Doctor McDougall says in his video that doctors prescribe D because it sells more drugs and it gets you back for more treatment. But I belong to Kaiser, which is non-profit, and not only that, but I don’t pay for the tests. It’s part of my monthly premium. And I don’t buy the vit D from Kaiser. So at least in my case, there is actually a disincentive for my doctor to have me back to check my levels. I like much of what Dr McDougall has to say, but in this instance, I don’t agree.

      http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/15/9/1688.full

      1. So far everything I’ve found for prostate says that supplementation with vit D helps reduce the risk, and even helps reduce PSA scores and is sometimes used in long term treatment for low risk prostate cancer. Here’s one such citation from the “Nurse Oncology Advisor” site: http://www.oncologynurseadvisor.com/issues-in-cancer-survivorship/vitamin-d-and-prostate-cancer-higher-intake-improves-active-surveillance-outcomes/article/409401/

        On the “Consumer Lab” web site they answer the specific question about whether or not vit D is correlated to higher prostate risk. Their answer:
        It is true that a recently published study concluded “that men with higher vitamin D blood levels are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer.” HOWEVER, a closer look at the data in this study showed that it only applied to men with very high calcium intake. Most other studies have not found this link. https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/Is+it+true+that+vitamin+D+can+increase+the+risk+of+prostate+cancer+in+men%3F/vitamin-D_prostate/

        I had high calcium levels which were caused because one of my four parathyroids was bad. During that time my endocrinologist told me not to take vit D until I had my operation to remove it. As soon as the bad PT was removed, my endocrinologist had me resume my vit D, which I still take.

        I hope this helps.
        Mark G

        1. Mark I just ordered the Bluebonnet drops you have been using. I can’t believe I was told by my endocrinologist I was low over a year ago and for whatever reason (because I run outside) I poo-pooed her recommendation to start supplementing. Such a goof. Because —I just developed Vitiligo on my face! I went onto the Vit d council website you recommend and sure enough there might be a connection. I found some great research articles. I just hope I caught it in time. One article I read had the subjects on 20,000 per day and 2.5 quarts of water and no calcium supplementation of any kind to ensure no negative calcium issues. Anyhow I’ll start with 10,000 and get tested in a couple of months.

          1. I’m glad you found my info helpful. I just have a couple of comments to your post.
            1) Keep the Bluebonnet in the fridge because it makes the drops come out slower so you can control them easier.

            2) Vit D is not really a vitamin, it’s a hormone (or para-hormone as it’s also sometimes described). Because of this it can affect many things in your body besides calcium, like your sleep, and it can affect other hormone levels. If I were you I would talk to my endocrinologist to see what risk taking 10K for a couple months might do. She might want to monitor you more frequently.

            Here’s my example of how quickly I responded to an increase. In my post I describe being low and what I did to get back up. But that was actually the second time I was low. That second happened because I had bought a different brand of vit D and it turned out that that new brand was just a gel cap with oil inside, with little or no vit D.

            The first time I was low was when I was taking 800 units/day of some brand which I can’t remember. And a routine test showed my blood level was around 20. My doctor said to just bump it up a little. So I took 10K for a few days, then dropped to 6K for a couple weeks and was retested. That was enough to put me in the normal range, I cut back to 3K for a week and then to the 2K/day, that I’m at now. Also, the second time I was again in the low 20s and it only took me a month total to get back to 40, but I didn’t do megadoses. If I remember right I only needed to take 4K/day for a week and then I went back to 2K/day.

            Now, what keeps ME on target is 2K/day for 6 days, and 4K for one day. In the winter I increase this just a little to 2K for 5 days, and 4K for 2 days. I get checked every 2 to 4 months.

            3) I gave up using calcium a few years ago, after taking a little off and on for years, because I read about too many findings that the body doesn’t absorb it much or that what it does absorb seems to end up in people’s organs and calcifies them. (Not good.) I read somewhere (might have been Dr Fuhrman or McDougall, can’t remember where) that the body gets enough calcium from a daily cup of chopped bok choy or kale. I also take a vitamin K2 supplement, which is ‘believed’ to help fix the calcium in the bone and not in the blood or organs.

            4) I never heard of Vitiligo before. I just looked it up. Sounds worrisome. It looks like there are a lot of vitamin deficiencies that are believed to play a role in it’s development, including D and B12. I hope you’re able to find some relief and cure. Also, I just wanted to be clear about those websites. I wasn’t actually recommending them, I just cited them because they had information on Vit D. But I’m glad it gave you some helpful info for your condition.

            Best Regards,
            Mark

            1. Hi Mark,
              Thanks for all the info. I have been reading research articles most of the day on auto-immune issues and D. Very interesting and promising.

              Just finished sunbathing! (Hat and sun cream on face) Who would have thought but I just haven’t been exposing my skin to the sun. White patches on my face not cool! I am hoping I caught it early enough. I will definitely get my level checked. Interestingly the articles I have found are actually testing much higher levels for auto-immune diseases. I am not that worried about getting too much for a short period of time. Side affect of taking D. Sleeping wonderfully.

              Have a great 4th
              Gale

        1. You’re right, that is interest. Creepy, but interesting. I should mention that the levels I cited for myself were in the higher, nmol/L, unit of measurement, that cites 40-50 as optimal, which is why my doctor is always happy when I come in at 40. I assume the same lab is used and usually gets me pegged accurately. But, who knows.

          1. Ah yes… the confusion of unit variation! As Australian trained and recently working in USA I was definitely caught out a few times!

            Yes it would definitely help to use the same lab, but I feel more comfortable saying aim for over 60 to patients, as then they are roughly at least over 20 if these figures are correct…

      2. Vitamin D supplements are very cheap and available over-the-counter, so it makes no sense that McDougall would claim that vitamin D prescriptions are profitable to docs. Most people I know get their vitamin D levels retested during their annual exams, so docs are not making a fortune off of return visits. The Vitamin D Council vitamindcouncil.org reviews most if not all emerging vitamin D studies. Their M.D. team critiques the articles well, it seems to me. In fact, the organization seems to function similarly to NF.org. There are many many studies on the site that show benefits of increasing vitamin D levels to the optimum range (50+ is what I believe they recommend). I’m a little confused by what Dr. G is presenting and what the Vitamin D Council is presenting–they seem to conflict.

        1. I agree with you. There is too much conspiracy theory out there…

          Same thing goes with statement that Vitamin D testing is useless. So how does one know if he/she is deficient in Vitamin D and vitamin D is very essential for us no matter what its source is?

        2. I’ve talked to my endocrinologist about trying to get to 50 as my target level instead of 40. He feels that in my case the difference isn’t worth the risk that I’ll start to have problems with it increasing my calcium level too high. I am currently at the high end of normal and he doesn’t want me over. When one of my 4 parathyroids was bad they found and removed the bad one, plus one that looked bad, but upon autopsy proved to be ok. But they couldn’t find the other two, so they’re uncertain if one is in the early stages of going bad (when they go bad they can never get better, only worse, as the problem is that they develop tumors (95% are benign). So, they must be removed. So for me, 40 is my sweet spot.

        1. I now only use BlueBonnet liquid drops. There are different dose amounts you can get. I buy the 2,000 units per drop. So one drop a day is all I need. It’s a tiny bottle, but contains 970 servings. I like it because it doesn’t have extra filler junk or gelatin caps with cancerous carrageenan and caramel coloring. But the main reason I take it is because I had my levels tested before and after use and it does work. Plus, I have to have my levels checked every few months and so I know it continues to work. The reason I first tried this brand is because Amazon reviews mentioned that they did before and after blood tests and found it moved their levels up. Hope that helps.
          Mark

          1. thank you for the recommendation, as i wanted to go with 1 that had proven results. i am using nordic naturals liquid but it gives me a scratchy throat. do you know of an effective b12 liquid that is vegan?

            1. I don’t. I used Garden of Life spray but stopped because it was a bit messy and it was a methylcobalamin. I had been using methylcobalamin for a few years and my B12 levels were nice and high, but then I read in Dr Greger’s book that no research has been done on the methyl form, only on the cyano form and so he recommended using that to be safe. What I take now is a Solgar sublingual “nugget”. It is very tiny and so doesn’t have as much filler junk as other brands. The odd thing is that the one I get from them is 1,000 units and is cyanocobalamin. But if you get a different dose size from the same company it’s likely to be the methyl form.

              Dr Greger recommends 2500 units a week until you turn 65, and to then take 2500 a day. Well, to me, I don’t think a switch flips when you turn 65 and since I am now 60, I take 1000 a day. I figure as I get closer to 65 I’ll add a little more. For now my levels remain high and I like that the pills are very very small.

              Good luck!

    2. He still says this though-

      “However, many people are unable or unwilling to get outdoors. Lack of information on the importance of sunlight and the unwillingness to leave their offices and homes will cause many otherwise healthy people to get inadequate sunlight. The elderly and infirm confined to nursing homes, long-term care facilities, and homes are at high risk of developing deficiencies. Living above latitudes of 35 degrees—New York, London, Moscow, as well as living under sunlight-blocking air pollution increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter months and for darker-skinned people.

      In the above instances, daily supplementation with 50 to 100 µg of over-the-counter vitamin D will correct the vitamin D blood level; which is good, but will not solve the real problem of sunlight deficiency.”

      https://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/sep/vd.htm

      1. “…the real problem of sunlight deficiency.” I have no references but have heard from multiple sources that there is a lot more benefit from sunlight than just vitamin D. Sunlight like fresh air is necessary for good health.

  9. The cited Cochrane review is online. As the effect size was small and could have arisen through attrition and reporting biases, the review summary doesn’t recommend or refute the use of vitamin D. The analysis turned up some curious results: There was a significant benefit among trials with a dose less than 800 IU daily, but not among trials with higher dosing. While unsurprisingly, there was no significant effect of supplemention for those with adequate D status, in those with insufficiency D3 offered a benefit while D2 significantly increased mortality (with fewer participants, the later result might be random error).

    1. Yes unfortunately and similarly to this one- http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h321.long

      After looking at 107 systemic reviews and 74 meta-analyses on vitamin D, looking at 137 conditions or other outcomes it concludes- “Nearly all of the proposed benefits remain uncertain, primarily because of a lack of large, well-designed clinical trials”….. sighhhh

  10. Thanks so much Dr. Greger for revisiting vitamin D, as well as the broader picture of health effects from sun exposure. There seem to be some parallels between this issue, and the supplements versus whole foods issue. I look forward to the upcoming videos.

      1. I was being completely sarcastic. I hate ’em. I’d prefer “part 1, 2, …6” be in the title. I much PREFER one long video, but that’s not the “formula” here.

  11. Yeah (does sunlight not matter now?), I’m in the field or woods every working day, year around. Sure I’m clothed, but my exposed skin takes a beating from the sun. This time of year, I’m in short sleeves, but I always wear a broad brimmed hat, one for each season. I quit taking my D3 supplement a while back, as I only had them for Winter.

    1. Given enough sun, the body will produce and store Vit D. If you have a checkup twice a year, and your Vit D levels are normal, then you don’t need the supplement.

    2. One way to find out- as Summer ends, get a blood test and see where your levels are (ideally over 50-60 nmol/L). Test again just before the weather heats up again. If you have maintained over 50-60 nmol/L over winter, then you probably get enough sun and don’t need to supplement :)

      1. I see big confusion on unit of measurement in here. I am pretty sure the medical community refers to 50/60 been as optimal in ng/ml which for 60 ng/ml is equivalent to 150 nmol/L. So 60 nmol/L will be equal to merely 24 ng/ml (just barely enough). People should aim for 60 ng/ml or 150 nmol/L.

        In this very good Vitamin D site is very clear and also there is a conversion tool on the lower right.
        http://www.grassrootshealth.net

      2. I would love to get a blood test for various things, but they charge money for that and I’ve lots of other bills to pay already.

  12. So am a little confused? You referred to vitamin D3 and it coming from plants and animals yet also mention D2 coming from mushrooms and yeast. Now my ingredients on my “together wholevits” vitamin D3 tablets are stated as a yeast concentrate being used to provide D3.

    1. I looked up your supplement and it doesn’t really list the ingredients, so hard to say. The predominant information seems to be that vitamin D from yeast is D2, such as-

      “Vitamin D exists in two forms. Vitamin D2 is obtained from the UV irradiation of the yeast sterol ergosterol and is found naturally in sun-exposed mushrooms. UVB light from the sun strikes the skin, and humans synthesize vitamin D3, so it is the most “natural” form. Human beings do not make vitamin D2.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/

      OR

      “The active yeast is subjected to ultraviolet (UV) light under controlled conditions to catalyze the conversion of the natural occurring endogenous ergosterol in yeast to ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2). The yeast cream is then inactivated through pasteurization and roller dried.”
      http://www.bio-lallemand.com/knowledge-center/mineral-and-vitamin-yeasts/vitamin-d-yeast/

      HOWEVER! On further searching, it seems like there is a GMO yeast that leads to D3…. hmmm-
      http://www.vrg.org/blog/2010/03/29/garden-of-life-vitamin-d3-derived-from-lanolin/

      OR

      Perhaps they use this-
      http://vitashine-d3.com/vitashine.html

      As these products claim-
      https://www.amazon.com/Country-Life-Vegan-Capsules-Count/dp/B009MHS9RI?ie=UTF8&tag=vit-d-20

      https://www.amazon.com/Natures-Plus-Vitamin-Vegetarian-Capsules/dp/B0042DDP44?ie=UTF8&tag=vit-d-20

      http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Suppliers2/Lichen-based-vegan-vitamin-D3-gains-momentum-as-Nordic-Naturals-introduces-new-product

      https://sunwarrior.com/healthhub/vegan-vitamin-d3-benefits

      I’d ask your company! :)

      1. Thanks for the info Renae. I have had a deeper look into the products website and found out something quite interesting and technically unethical for an vegan, although my main reason the go vegan was at first for my own heath. It seems that the supplement in question is GM free and approved by the vegetarian society but it has been derived from sheep wool of all things? The full ingredients read as follows… Yeast concentrate (An inactive non-candida yeast) providing Vitamin D3. Vegecap (vegetable cellulose).

        For ethical reasons I am now on the hunt for a Vegan D3 that is vegan and available in my country of the UK.

        1. It seems to me that sheep would love getting rid of that winter coat, from whence comes the wool…so is that considered animal cruelty?

          Before I stopped eating meat I noticed that lamb didn’t have that typical lamb flavor any more. Later I discovered they are now raising sheep industrially like they do other meat animals, so no doubt that is the reason. THAT definitely is animal cruelty, but if lamb is pastured I wouldn’t think that using their wool is cruel.

    1. On a site like this, it’s probable best to back this up with a study to show what ‘they’ say if you can :)

        1. Ah Mercola….

          The study he cites here is- http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1586.full

          Which seems to conclude-

          “To quantify the size of the vitamin D effect, we used a simple logistic regression by using cancer as the outcome variable and baseline 25(OH)D concentration as the predictor variable. The RR of cancer per unit concentration of serum 25(OH)D was 0.983 (CI: 0.968, 0.997; P < 0.01). Because the unit for 25(OH)D is 1 nmol/L, this RR translates to a predicted 35% reduced risk of cancer for every 25 nmol/L (10 ng/mL) increase in serum 25(OH)D"

          35% not 77%… and that's risk reduction not prevention…

          1. 35 percent for each 10ng/Ml. So 20-25 ng/Ml would reduce it 77 percent or more. I disagree. Vitamins I think are the right thing to use with disease.

            1. That’s assuming they started with a level of 0…. unlikely….

              I’m not saying there isn’t a role for vit D in disease, I’m just cautious of people over inflating results…

              1. Did you know that doctors are considering trying to develop a pill to treat guilt? They don’t have a lot of options. Perhaps Potassium, never looked at for mental health can treat guilt. People need three grams a day, and no one gets that. Dr. Greger said this, that no one gets enough.

                1. I am not familiar with a ‘cure’… however at very least, a plant-based diet will optimise the rest of your health, so whilst you may still have autism, you reduce your risk of having autism AND cancer AND heart disease AND diabetes etc…

                    1. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, has been curing autism for over 20 years. She began researching the subject when her own son was diagnosed and she was told there was nothing to be done, and that he would only get worse. She does say that such people will always have to be very careful with their microbiome. She is the first person I ever heard say that babies get much of their microbiome as they travel through the birth canal. Her program isn’t a plant based diet, but it works at healing leaky gut and repopulating the gut with healthy bacteria while eating natural foods. She has some very specific diet plans for the gut healing. If I were autistic, or had a child with autism, I would definitely give her method a try, even though it isn’t plant based. I have met her and she is sincere and does not seem like an attention-seeking person, but rather one who genuinely wants to help people with this ever-increasing problem.

                    2. I am sure that she claims that she has been curing autism for 20 years. Believing the claims of medical entrepreneurs selling stuff, is risky. Especially when there is no independent scientific verification. Google her name and
                      sciencebasedmedicine.org for a realistic assessment of this lady and her claims.

                    3. I read much of what your link says about her, but those folks sound like they’re getting big bucks from Big Pharma to me.

  13. But Dr. Greger…If several hundred people have to take vitamin D for X years to save one life, how many lives will be lost if each of your hundreds of thousands of viewers (a million?) have to wait ANOTHER 3 DAYS (Fri-Mon) to find out the optimal vitamin D dose?

    Dr. G…stop killing us! ;)

    1. Thank you, UCBAlum for bring this up. I’m anxious for the last video too and you’re right, waiting is killing me. ;-)
      BTW, do we get videos on Sat? Monday’s a holiday. We might even have to wait until Tuesday.

      1. mbglife: Historically, videos have been released on-time whether there is a holiday or not. So, we don’t get anything on weekends no matter what, but if a video or blog falls on a holiday during the week, we still get the installment that day.

        But things are a-changing at NutritionFacts, so I can’t say whether this will be true going forward or not.

        1. Thanks, Thea. Even though it’s killing me to wait, the cure is built in because having to wait gives me something to live for. :-D BTW, speaking of changes, I’m so happy that NF is growing so well and helping people get their health back. Happy 4th!

          1. mbglife: re: “…lilling me to wait…” I know!

            I agree that the growth NutritionFacts is seeing is just awesome. I’m so proud to be part of this community.

            Happy 4th to you too!!

          2. I also meant to say: Great contributions to this conversation. I’ve really appreciated your posts today. It will be very interesting to see where this series ends up.

        1. It’s not for profit… it’s a start. I agree with what you are saying, I hate that health is often a wealthly privilege… My suggestion was more tongue in cheek for those with internet access, most can afford a DVD if three days is too much to wait! I found your comment witty, maybe I misinterpreted, sorry!

          1. I understood what you were saying….and also I couldn’t resist. And yes, my initial comment was almost entirely tongue-in-cheek. I say “almost” because there’s a kernel of truth to it, however theoretical.

  14. Skin makes Vitamin D3 from sunlight. The term “Vitamin D” usually means D2 which the body can convert some to D3 at a slow rate.
    We take two 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily since we live north in cloudy New Hampshire. For a big discussion on D3 benefits and dosage read “Overcoming MS” by Dr. George Jelinek. To fight MS vitamin D3 is crucial – the further from the equator the more MS. The plot is quite striking. For that matter, in Norway fisherman eating fish (with Vitamin D) have a distinctly lower rate of MS than the farmers there. For more detail on D3 in wild salmon see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2698592/

  15. If you’re interested in living longer, no short cuts like this magic pill or that. Do the whole magilla example Mediterranean Diet or better yet NutritionFacts.org diet. We do a wide variety of whole foods veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, garlic clove, a little kelp for iodine, and a couple pills – D3, glucosamine (helps my joints, results vary), no added salt my blood level of sodium is just fine with whole foods. Oh, exercise most days.

    1. Exactly as stated here- it’s only an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle :)

      I would not send people on that false myth of the Mediterranean diet. It’s a start but it’s the wholefood component that matters most!

      More here-
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-mediterranean-diet-or-a-whole-food-plant-based-diet/
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cktwDEXJjvs&feature=youtu.be
      http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2012/04/mediterranean-diet.html
      http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/happy_healthy_long_life/2013/03/mediterranean-diet-better-not-best-gayl-j-canfield-phd-rd-mar192013-e.html

      Your plan sounds great! Good on you! :)

  16. The king of cliffhangers strikes again! I find it so amusing that most people I know have medicine cabinets so stocked with pills of all kinds, especially supplements, that it looks like a drugstore, but (or maybe because) their pantry and fridges look like a disaster area! Try suggesting to one of them that they can’t compensate their SAD diet by downing a pill and they look at you like you are from another planet! (I just invented a new conspiracy theory… THEY are the ones from another planet since they can shoot laser beams from their eyes if you talk about anything health related! lol)

  17. Do we absorb more nutrients if we don’t drink while eating?

    Also, should we take vitamins with a small amount of water rather than a lot?

    Thank you!

    1. Considering how much water food contains, I find this idea very hard to find any credible reasoning behind how a glass of water will make a difference… Sure maybe not a litre, but sips as needed I cannot imagine causing an issue, at least to a practical level…

  18. As a pensioner who walks, climbs, gardens, climbs trees, copicing in winter, logging, chopping. sailing etc etc, I have never taken a supplement and never will. Unless they are food grade, despite a chemical reaction, the result will never be the same metabolically. As with iron supplements the resulting hemoglobin count is never as good as from food based iron.
    A National Institutes of Health-funded study comparing low dose iron supplementation to no supplementation in blood donors found that supplementation significantly reduced the time to recovery of post-donation lost iron and hemoglobin.
    Supplements are one of the biggest health cons going.

  19. It’s great to see the Dr’s that posted on this article recommend getting your d3 from the sun! I think you first need to unconvince them to leave the Cancer causing sunscreen off Remember not too long ago you all said getting in the sun without the Methylparaben loaded sunscreen was almost a death sentence! So it probably won’t happen overnight ! The only overnight change I remember was in the 70s with STOP USING BUTTER IMMEDIATELY! USE MARGARINE! you won’t believe it’s not butter! Was the message we know how that turned out! We all stopped eating a food consumed for 1000s of years and overnight started eating a fat found no where in nature and as lethal a 2 pack a day cigg habit it worked out in the end weeding out the weak stock…but here’s what’s really bothering me Why aren’t any of the physicians mentioning
    Vitamin K2 mk-7 How can Vitamin D3 overdose be mentioned without mentioning Vitamin k2 mk-7 deficiency?

  20. Hi Doctor, Could you please have a look at this Vitamin D3 site and share your opinion on it? It also provide a Disease/Incidence prevention chart that shows what disease is prevented for the corresponding amount in the blood of Vitamin D3 Serum. Many doctors and Specialists follow these Vitamin D3 panel of scientists. Based on that chart with 60ng/dl of Vit D3 in the blood: 77% reduction of risk for all combined cancers if also calcium is supplemented, 66% reduction on type 2 diabetes, 49% less risk of kidney cancer, 46-50% less risk of Multiple Sclerosis, 30% reduction in heart attacks on man. Is it real? Many specialists are recommending this site. Are they Biased?

    Site: http://www.grassrootshealth.net
    Chart: http://www.grassrootshealth.net/media/download/dip_with_numbers_8-24-12.pdf

    1. Hi Lt. Nimitz,
      I can’t speak for whether or not the specialists you are referring to are biased. I did however take a look at the site and the chart you supplied links for and the chart does provide literary references to support the claims made on the chart. One would need to take the time to read through all of the articles referenced to determine if the claims made in the chart are adequately substantiated. I did not take the time to do that, I did however take a look at the references to support combined cancers and the Multiple Sclerosis figures and the articles do look to be well written with reasonably good review and reference to additional supporting references. The only thing I would say is that most of the articles referenced on the chart are between 9-12 years old so there may be more current literature that supports different outcomes.
      Also as you noted, this chart was related specifically to supplementing with both Vitamin D and calcium which supports the argument that none of the substances found naturally in foods have the same effects when supplemented individually.

  21. Im convinced that sun exposure is the best way to get the vitamin D. Im confused though as to when is the best time to do the sun exposure. Is it early morning, ie 6-10am, late afternoon ie 4-6pm, or mid day ie 10am to 4pm

    1. Hi Nanette,
      According to this article the best time to get vitamin D from the sun is around noon. Unfortunately I didn’t have access to the full article but according to the abstract, “to get an optimal vitamin D supplement from the sun at a minimal risk of getting cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM), the best time of sun exposure is noon.”
      You might also check out the following video from Dr G. He also seems to indicate that midday sun is the best.
      http://nutritionfacts.org/video/vitamin-d-supplements-may-be-necessary/

      1. Thanks Payoung for sharing these info. I also read in one of Dr Mercolas articles that mid sun is the best. But everyone else is still saying early morning or late afternoon sun is still d way to go. Would you know if there is an official body of experts, that makes the official determination so we ordinary mortals are properly guided. Txs again

        1. Hi Nanette, I don’t know if there is an “official body of experts” but even if there is I would need to see the evidence they are basing their conclusions on before I would adopt what they say as truth. When you say “everyone else is still saying early morning or late afternoon sun is still the way to go” who are you talking about? Are they providing references to back up what they are saying? If not then I would not consider what they are saying as truth unless I know it to be true from other referenced sources.

  22. I would like to ask what dr. Greger means by saying “vit. D3 produced by animals and plants” and “vit. D2, produced by mushrooms”.
    As far as I know plants do not produce vit. D. All vegan vit. D3 supplements on the market are based on mushrooms and lichen.

    1. Hi Julia, I too always thought as you did that only Vit D2 was produced by animals. I did however find this article which says “Microalgae contain both vitamin D3 and provitamin D3, which suggests that vitamin D3 exist in the plant kingdom and vitamin D3 has also been identified in several plant species as a surprise to many. The term vitamin D also includes vitamin D2 that is produced in fungi and yeasts by UVB-exposure of provitamin D2. Small amounts can be found in plants contaminated with fungi and traditionally only vitamin D2 has been considered present in plants.”
      Hopefully that helps clear things up for you.

        1. For a brief review on the topic: Cholesterol in Plants, J. Chem. Ed. 82, 2005, 1791-93 (I have the paper, tried to upload but failed.)

      1. For those who have access to the article, it is very interesting. I never knew so many plants produced D3 or D3 like substances, but I don’t know how relevant it is to humans as the plants mentioned did not seem edible but it was suggested that some herbivores had high calcium absorption from consuming certain plants that produced D3

        Here is another reference from the article that mentions the plants containing D3 or D3 like compounds

        Boland R., Skliar M., Curino A., Milanesi L. (2003). Vitamin D compounds in plants. Plant Sci. 164, 357–369

  23. Secondly, I would like to talk about the real conclusion of this video, “So, just because low D levels and disease seem to be correlated doesn’t mean that vitamin D deficiency is the cause.”
    I will describe my case. A couple of years ago my doctor tested my vit. D and it turned out it was low. So ever since I’ve been supplementing it, first with vegan D2 and when the first vetam D3 supplements appeared on the market, I started taking one. My levels went up to normal and I kept supplementing.
    The reason why I’ve been visiting my doctor were low energy levels. The supplement did not seem to help at all.
    Long story short, in May 2016 I’ve been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease.
    An ILADS doctor (Brussels, Belgium) did lots of blood work and one of the test was a vit. D test.
    But it was different this time. He tested both inactive (storage) and active forms. Turned out, what came back as “normal” at my GP’s, was not normal at all.
    My inactive form is low and my active form is almost toxic due to supplementation.
    After seing the results and reading on this topic (one can google information about Marshall protocol) I cannot recommend to anyone supplementing vit. D before they do the blood work on both active and non active forms.
    It might be very bad for you to supplement and no one should go supplement something only because “it could do something good”.
    Vit. D is not just a vitamin but a hormone. You should not think light of this issue.

  24. All I know is that I have very consistently been sick frequently during years when not taking vit D, and not sick when taking D. In fact, I stumbled upon the correlation for myself without a previous cognitive bias, as I noticed the pattern only after decades.

  25. In this video and others, Dr. Greger suggests that the reason people who get Vitamin D naturally from sun end up with health benefits that people taking Vitamin D supplements don’t necessarily get, may be due to the fact that those people are running around outside (more active) and Vitamin D is just an indication of that, not the cause (similarly with obesity, etc.). In other videos about other vitamins, he has noted that supplements don’t work in those situations, but whole foods do. So I was wondering, how exactly is Vitamin D produced in the body, and could the actual act of naturally producing the Vitamin D be causing the benefits?

    Also, a separate question: if a person lives too far from the equator to get enough natural sunlight during winter months, is taking supplements then futile, since they won’t really help? have there been any studies showing, for example, cancer rates among people who live very far north versus those who live near the equator? (both among those who take supplements and those who do not)?

    One last question: what about people who exercise often, but do it indoors; or, conversely, people who are in the sun a lot but just sunbathe and never exercise? have there been studies on Vitamin D that take into account activity level?

    1. Hi Valerie: I believe the final conclusion of the Vit D series was Vit D does help without the risk of skin cancer. So he does recommend supplementing with Vit D. (As well as B12)

    2. Vit D is produced through your skin,the darker you are,the further away you’re from the equator, the less D you will produce.You should not bake under the sun as evidenced by a red skin. Gradual,moderation.

  26. Vitamin D Intake and Breast Cancer Risk in Postmenopausal Women
    Omer Dizdar, MD; Hakan Harputluoglu, MD; Kadri Altundag, MD
    Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(22):2532. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.22.2532-a
    December 10/24, 2007

    In the May 28 issue of the Archives, Lin and colleagues1 showed that higher intakes of total calcium and vitamin D were moderately associated with a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer. However, intakes of both nutrients unexpectedly were not inversely associated with the risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women. The authors stated that the protective effects of both nutrients occur only when intakes of calcium and vitamin D are substantially high, since inadequacy of both nutrients is very common in postmenopausal women. The importance of estrogen in the development and progression of breast cancer has been recognized for some time. The main source of estrogen in postmenopausal women is catalyzed by P450 aromatase, encoded by the CYP19 gene.2 Interestingly, it has been demonstrated that vitamin D is a potent stimulator of CYP19 (P450 aromatase gene) transcription.3 Therefore, vitamin D intake in postmenopuasal women may increase circulating estrogen levels by increasing aromatase expression. This action may attenuate the protective effect of vitamin D intake in postmenopausal women.

  27. I do know about the benefits, but I noticed when I consume Vit D (in a pill form) I tend to have an elevated heart rate, all day through that night. I’mnot sure why,maybe it has an interaction with blood calcium. Docs don’t know, so I had to stop and living at the Northern US it’s not fun to have your blood Vit D drop to low teens over winter. I do understand that you may not advice (and your feedback doesn’t substitute docs’ orders) on a “medical” condition (I don’t think that I have a condition), but through if someone would know?

    Thank you

  28. What would be the health benefit of taking a vegan supplement over a traditional Gelatin (Bovine) based vitamin D3 supplement. Is the amount of animal protein significant enough to create a health risk or is it only for the sake of the animals?

  29. I have watched recently a couple of the videos on vitamin D. Both of them ended with something like “that question I will address next”. However, getting to that “next” video is close to impossible. Could you put a link to it somewhere? You cannot assume that we watch your videos in order and in the order that they were produced. Thanks!

    1. Hey and thanks for your question,

      there isn’t known interaction (and I think there isn’t any reason it should be) between grapefruit and a vitamin D3. If you want to be sure, just take them separately (2 – 3 hours).

      Health Support Adam P.

  30. Dr McDougall has some videos on danger of vitamin D pills. Has the science changed dramatically since 2015? I don’t know what to do when two well respected doctors have differing opinions on this topic.

  31. Julie,

    There has been a substantial amount of new published work on vitamin d since 2015….. and your absolutely right when it comes to differing opinions.

    My take on the literature is that most of us need additional amounts of vitamin d due to a number of factors including less UV exposure (indoor living, sunscreens, etc.) aging where the conversion to vitamin d is reduced and the number of patients that have issues with their genetics (receptor expression) and did you take the <a href="vitamin d correctly to actually get it absorbed.

    Dr. Alan Kadish Health Support volunteer for Dr. Greger <a href="

    1. Thank you Dr. Kadish!

      If possible, may I have one more clarification, please? If I live in a place that receives a good dose of sunny days, is it detrimental if I limit vitamin D intake to colder months when I likely will not be out as much?

      Thanks again

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