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6 November 2006

The Vitamin D Newsletter

I want to alert readers to this month's groundbreaking study about atherosclerosis and vitamin D. Atherosclerosis is the disease process that leads to heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Targher and his group in Italy measured the amount of atherosclerotic plaque (carotid artery intimal thickness) and the vitamin D levels of 390 diabetic patients. The authors found low vitamin D blood levels were an independent and strong predicator of atherosclerosis. Professor Robert Scragg of the University of Auckland was right 16 years ago, when he discovered that low vitamin D levels are associated with heart attacks.
Targher G, et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 concentrations and carotid artery intima-media thickness among type 2 diabetic patients. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2006 Nov;65(5):593-597.
Scragg R, et al. Myocardial infarction is inversely associated with plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels: a community-based study. Int J Epidemiol. 1990 Sep;19(3):559-63.

Nature printed an article this week about our paper, Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D. (You can obtain a free complete copy of our paper half way down the home page of the Vitamin D Council website.) I recommend that you take enough vitamin D this winter to keep your vitamin D level [25(OH)D] between 50 - 70 ngs/ml. For many people that means 5,000 IU per day in the winter. If you do, our hypothesis predicts that you will not be as likely to get viral respiratory infections, and if you do get sick, it will not be as severe. The vitamin D theory of influenza has two important strengths. It is parsimonious, that is, it explains many observations with a single mechanism. Most importantly, if our theory is false, it can easily be disproved.
Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40.

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