Health and Nutrition

September 6, 2017


Filed under: Diet,General Health,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 12:29 pm

October 25, 2014

Finally: Missing link between vitamin D, prostate cancer

Filed under: Cancer,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 2:30 am

Featured Research

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Finally: Missing link between vitamin D, prostate cancer

October 22, 2014
University of Colorado Denver
A new study offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between vitamin D and prostate cancer. Specifically, the study shows that the gene GDF-15, known to be upregulated by vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation.
A University of Colorado Cancer Center study recently published in the journal Prostate offers compelling evidence that inflammation may be the link between Vitamin D and prostate cancer. Specifically, the study shows that the gene GDF-15, known to be upregulated by Vitamin D, is notably absent in samples of human prostate cancer driven by inflammation.

“When you take Vitamin D and put it on prostate cancer cells, it inhibits their growth. But it hasn’t been proven as an anti-cancer agent. We wanted to understand what genes Vitamin D is turning on or off in prostate cancer to offer new targets,” says James R. Lambert, PhD, investigator at the CU Cancer Center and associate research professor in the CU School of Medicine Department of Pathology.

Since demonstrating that Vitamin D upregulates the expression of GDF-15, Lambert and colleagues, including Scott Lucia, MD, wondered if this gene might be a mechanism through which Vitamin D works in prostate cancer. Initially it seemed as if the answer was no.

“We thought there might be high levels of GDF-15 in normal tissue and low levels in prostate cancer, but we found that in a large cohort of human prostate tissue samples, expression of GDF-15 did not track with either normal or cancerous prostate tissue,” Lambert says.

But then the team noticed an interesting pattern: GDF-15 was uniformly low in samples of prostate tissue that contained inflammation.

“Inflammation is thought to drive many cancers including prostate, gastric and colon. Therefore, GDF-15 may be a good thing in keeping prostate tissue healthy — it suppresses inflammation, which is a bad actor potentially driving prostate cancer,” Lambert says.

The study used a sophisticated computer algorithm to analyze immunohistochemical (IHC) data, a task that in previous studies had been done somewhat subjectively by pathologists. With this new technique, Lambert, Lucia and colleagues were able to quantify the expression of the GDF-15 protein and inflammatory cells by IHC staining on slides taken from these human prostate samples.

Additionally encouraging is that the gene GDF-15 was shown to suppress inflammation by inhibiting another target, NFkB. This target, NFkB, has been the focus of many previous studies in which it has been shown to promote inflammation and contribute to tumor formation and growth; however, researchers have previously been unable to drug NFkB to decrease its tumor-promoting behavior.

“There’s been a lot of work on inhibiting NFkB,” says Lambert. “Now from this starting point of Vitamin D in prostate cancer, we’ve come a long way toward understanding how we might use GDF-15 to target NFkB, which may have implications in cancer types far beyond prostate.”

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. The original article was written by Garth Sundem. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. James R. Lambert, Ramon J. Whitson, Kenneth A. Iczkowski, Francisco G. La Rosa, Maxwell L. Smith, R. Storey Wilson, Elizabeth E. Smith, Kathleen C. Torkko, Hamid H. Gari, M. Scott Lucia. Reduced expression of GDF-15 is associated with atrophic inflammatory lesions of the prostate. The Prostate, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/pros.22911

January 31, 2013

Vitamin D as possible breast cancer treatment

Filed under: Cancer,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 4:08 pm

24 January 2013

A study published this last week in the Journal of Cell Biology reports that researchers have uncovered a molecular pathway that contributes to triple-negative breast cancer, a deadly and treatment resistant form of cancer that often occurs in young women. And more yet, vitamin D might be involved in this molecular pathway. A molecular pathway is a series of actions among molecules in a cell that lead to a change in that cell.

Lead author Susan Gonzalo, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Saint Louis University and colleagues also identified vitamin D as a possible new cancer therapy, in addition to discovering three biomarkers that will help identify patients who may benefit from the new treatment.

Read the rest of the article

January 23, 2013

Vitamin D and Type 2 Diabetes

Filed under: Diet,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 4:29 pm

Journal of Diabetes, 01/23/2013  Clinical Article

Xuan Y et al. – Observational studies have revealed an inverse association between vitamin D deficiency and incident type 2 diabetes (T2D). More double–blind randomized control studies that investigate the effects of vitamin D supplementation on insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion and the occurrence of T2D are needed.

  • Based on increasing evidence from animal and human studies, vitamin D deficiency is now regarded as a potential risk factor for T2D.
  • Vitamin D is involved in the pathogenesis of pancreatic ?–cell dysfunction, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, conditions that contribute to the development of T2D.
  • Vitamin D can affect the progress of this disease directly through the activation of its own receptor and indirectly via the regulation of calcium (Ca) homeostasis

July 28, 2012

Magnesium Deficiency Reduces Vitamin D Effectiveness

Filed under: Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 1:54 pm

Extensive research has shown that Vitamin D deficiencies play a role in the development of dozens of diseases – everything from a variety of cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, psoriasis and mental illness.

While many people are beginning to experience the tremendous health benefits that Vitamin D has to offer in the prevention of disease, according to the non-profit Vitamin D Council, along with many other prominent doctors and research experts, people may not be getting the optimal level of benefits that are possible from Vitamin D without also supplementing their diets with magnesium.

Dr. John Cannell, Executive Director of the non-profit Vitamin D Council discusses the nutrients required for proper vitamin D metabolism, citing the importance of magnesium along with several studies that illustrate this point.

“Magnesium… is essential for the normal function of the parathyroid glands (parathyroid glands and the parathyroid hormone it secretes control the amount of calcium in the blood and within the bones), metabolism of vitamin D and adequate sensitivity of target tissues to [parathyroid hormone] and active vitamin D metabolites.” 1.

Additional studies reveal: “Magnesium has been found to influence the body’s utilization of vitamin D in the following ways: Magnesium activates cellular enzymatic activity. In fact, all the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require it.” 2,3

“Low magnesium has been shown to alter, by way of decreasing, production of vitamin D’s active form …” 4

“Magnesium is needed to exert positive influence over the human genome (a genome is the entirety of an organism’s hereditary information encoded into DNA/RNA) and may be involved in the genetic actions of vitamin D. Magnesium possibly has a role in vitamin D’s effect on the immune system.” 5

“Animal studies have shown magnesium is also necessary for vitamin D’s beneficial actions on bone.” 6,7

Magnesium supports calcium absorption by activating vitamin D into a form that enables it to interact with calcium. While most osteoporosis treatment and prevention research has zeroed-in on increased calcium and vitamin D intake, a 2005 study published in the “Journal of the American Geriatrics Society” discovered that out of 2,038 women and men between the ages of 70 to 79, the Caucasian individuals who consumed the most magnesium had the greatest bone density and the lowest risk of developing osteoporosis. The researchers conclude that increasing magnesium intake may be an even more effective preventative measure against bone-thinning than vitamin D treatment in Caucasians.

In another study entitled “Vitamin D resistance in magnesium deficiency”, researchers conclude, “All these data would suggest that adequate amounts of magnesium are required for the optimal expression of pharmacological vitamin D action and parathormone on bone mineral release.” 8

According to Marc Sorenson, author of Solar Power For Optimal Health, “Osteoporosis is closely correlated to heart disease. Vitamin D deficiency could certainly be a factor in both, because there is a strong inverse relationship between vitamin D levels and artery calcification; the more D in the blood, the less the calcification. Artery cells have vitamin D receptors (VDR), which when stimulated by vitamin D, inhibit the incursion of calcium.”

These research results correlate with the findings of Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of The Magnesium Miracle, and Medical Director of the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association.

According to Dr. Dean, “Adequate levels of magnesium are essential for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and Vitamin D. Magnesium converts vitamin D into its active form so that it can help calcium absorption.”

“Magnesium stimulates a particular hormone, calcitonin, which helps to preserve bone structure and draws calcium out of the blood and soft tissues back into the bones, preventing some forms of arthritis and kidney stones.”

Dr. Scott Whitaker, in his book MediSin, tells us how modern day farming methods including the use of artificial fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides have depleted our soils and foods of magnesium and other vital nutrients. “The end result of our domestic food production has been ‘quantity’ rather than ‘quality’. The human body can thrive on fruits and vegetables that are grown on vital rich soil but not on soil that is artificially pumped up with chemicals.” Thus today our soils and foods are demineralized and do not allow us to get enough minerals from diet alone leaving us the alternative of supplementation.

With regards to magnesium supplementation, not all forms of magnesium are equally absorbed by the body and according to research; magnesium oxide is only 4% absorbed by the body. One of the most absorbable forms of magnesium that is safe is magnesium citrate in powder form.

Medical Disclaimer:

The ideas, procedures and suggestions contained in this article are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion in this article. The opinions expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and not the publisher.


1. Zofková I, , Kancheva RL. The relationship between magnesium and calciotropic hormones. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar; 8 (1): 77-84.
2.Zofková I, , Kancheva RL. The relationship between magnesium and calciotropic hormones. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar; 8 (1): 77-84.
3. Carpenter, T. O. Disturbances of vitamin D metabolism and action during clinical and experimental magnesium deficiency. Magnes Res. 1988 Dec; 1 (3-4): 131-9.
4. Saggese, G. Bertelloni, S. Baroncelli, G. I. Federico, G. Calisti, L. Fusaro, C. Bone demineralization and impaired mineral metabolism in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. A possible role of magnesium deficiency. Helv Paediatr Acta. 1989 Jun; 43 (5-6): 405-14.
5.McCoy, H. Kenney, M. A. Interactions between magnesium and vitamin D: possible implications in the immune system. Magnes Res. 1996 Oct; 9 (3): 185-203.
6.Risco, F. Traba, M. L. Bone specific binding sites for 1,25(OH)2D3 in magnesium deficiency. J Physiol Biochem. 2004 Sep; 60 (3): 199-203.
7.Risco, F. Traba, M. L. de la Piedra, C. Possible alterations of the in vivo 1,25(OH)2D3 synthesis and its tissue distribution in magnesium-deficient rats. Magnes Res. 1995 Mar; 8 (1): 27-35.
8. Ramon Medalle, MD, Christine Waterhouse, MD and Theodore J. Hahn, MD Am, J. Clin Nutr. 29:854-858, 1976

November 28, 2011

Low Serum Vitamin D Levels and Recurrent Inflammatory Spinal Cord Disease

Filed under: Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 3:29 pm

Maureen A. Mealy, RN, BSN; Scott Newsome, DO; Benjamin M. Greenberg, MD, MHS; Dean Wingerchuk, MD, MSc; Peter Calabresi, MD; Michael Levy, MD, PhD

Arch Neurol. Published online November 14, 2011. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2011.1974

Background  Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels have been associated with a higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis and increased relapse rates in patients with multiple sclerosis. As a sterol hormone involved in multiple immunologic pathways, vitamin D may play a role in preventing monophasic immune-mediated central nervous system attacks from developing into recurrent disease.

Objective  To investigate the association between low serum vitamin D levels and recurrent spinal cord disease.

Design, Setting, and Patients  We performed a retrospective analysis at Johns Hopkins Transverse Myelitis Center, Baltimore, Maryland, evaluating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in 77 patients with monophasic and recurrent inflammatory diseases of the spinal cord.

Main Outcome Measure  Levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Results  Vitamin D levels are significantly lower in patients who developed recurrent spinal cord disease, adjusting for season, age, sex, and race.

Conclusions  This study provides a basis for a prospective trial of measuring 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in these patient populations and assessing the influence of vitamin D supplementation on the frequency of relapses in those with recurrent inflammatory spinal cord disease.

November 18, 2011

Low Vitamin D Common in Spine Surgery Patients

Filed under: General Health,Nutrition,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 5:28 pm

November 2011

A new study indicates that many patients undergoing spine surgery have low levels of vitamin D, which may delay their recovery.

In a study of 313 patients undergoing spinal fusion surgery, orthopedic surgeons at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that more than half had inadequate levels of vitamin D, including one-fourth who were more severely deficient.

The researchers reported their findings at the 26th Annual Meeting of the North American Spine Society.

“Our findings suggest it may be worthwhile to screen surgery patients for vitamin D,” says Jacob M. Buchowski, MD, the study’s principle investigator. “We think those with insufficient levels of vitamin D may benefit from taking 50,000 international units of the vitamin once a week for eight weeks before surgery as this may help the recovery after spinal fusion surgery.”

Vitamin D helps with calcium absorption and patients with a deficiency can have difficulty producing new bone. They are at risk for a condition called osteomalacia. Unlike osteoporosis or osteopenia, which result from low bone mineral density, osteomalacia interferes with new bone formation.

All the patients in the study had spinal fusion surgery. In that procedure, surgeons remove discs between two or more vertebrae. The bones in the spine are then attached with hardware and treated with growth factors. As the spine heals, new bone begins to form and the vertebrae fuse together.

Dr. Buchowski became aware of the vitamin D problem when a patient in her 40s experienced a slow recovery after spinal fusion surgery.

“I was examining her and trying to figure out why the vertebrae didn’t fuse,” he said. “She mentioned that she had recently been diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency, and it was like a ‘light bulb’ went off.”

As a result, Dr. Buchowski, an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Neurological Surgery, and his Washington University colleagues at Barnes-Jewish Hospital started routinely screening spinal fusion surgery patients for vitamin D deficiency.

Low vitamin D levels are known to be common in elderly patients. Surprisingly, in this study, the patients most likely to have inadequate levels of the bone-building vitamin were younger.

Those in the study averaged 55 years of age, 56% were female, 41% were obese and 95% were white. Although an earlier study had shown inadequate vitamin D levels in 43% of patients undergoing orthopedic procedures, this is the first look solely at spine surgery patients.

As a follow-up, Dr. Buchowski and his colleagues are planning a study to see whether there is a link between low vitamin D and poor outcomes following spinal fusion. In the meantime, he’s recommending that patients having orthopedic surgery ensure they’re getting enough vitamin D.

Presented at the 26th Annual Meeting of the North American Spine Society in Chicago, IL.

November 16, 2011

Prescription vitamin D (D2) less effective than over-the-counter vitamin D (D3) according to a meta-analysis.

Filed under: General Health,Nutrition,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 4:38 pm

Meta-analysis looks at efficacy of D2 vs D3
Prescription vitamin D (D2) less effective than over-the-counter vitamin D (D3) according to a meta-analysis.

Written by John J. Cannell, M.D.
November 16, 2011
Permission to reprint

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA — Many people write me and ask, “My doctor prescribed Drisdol, is that OK?” Drisdol is D2 and the form of vitamin D that doctors write prescriptions for. The body doesn’t produce vitamin D2 in response to sun exposure. It is made by irradiating fungus and plant matter. When you take it, a number of metabolic forms of D2 are found in the body, and some studies show D3 (produced by the skin) is more potent, meaning it is more effective at raising blood levels than D2, while some show they are equal. However, there are few studies comparing the efficacy of D2 vs. D3. Or in other words, which form has better health outcomes, better mortality rates?

Recently, a review and meta-analysis address this question. The meta-analysis study was led by Professor Dr. Goran Bjelakovic.

Bjelakovic G, Gluud LL, Nikolova D, Whitfield K, Wetterslev J, Simonetti RG, Bjelakovic M, Gluud C. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Jul 6;(7):CD007470.

He analyzed 50 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with a total of 94,000 participants that used some form of vitamin D and reported mortality rates as either primary or secondary outcomes. Within these RCTs, 32 of the studies used D3 (74,000 subjects) and 12 of them used D2 (18,000 subjects). He found there was a 6% relative risk reduction when supplementing with vitamin D3, as opposed to a 2% relative risk increase when supplementing with vitamin D2

Amazingly, this study somehow slipped under the radar and neither the press nor I picked up this study in July. Luckily, Professor Dr. Harvey Murff of Vanderbilt University reviewed this study yesterday in the Annals of Internal Medicine recently, allowing the general public to examine the study once again.

Murff HJ. Review: Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) reduces mortality in adults; other forms of vitamin D do not. Ann Intern Med. 2011; 155:JC5-04.

You would think a paper that took a look at tens of thousands of subjects and analyzed the efficacy of prescription vitamin D (D2) and over-the-counter vitamin D (D3) would warrant a news story or two. To my knowledge, these papers are the first to paint such a clear picture about the efficacy between D3 and D2. While there may be explanations for D3’s superiority other than improved efficacy, for the time being, these papers send doctors a message: use D3, not D2.


Vitamin D Council:

Professor Harvey Murff, Vanderbilt University:

Professor Dr Goran Bjelakovic G, University of Nis, Serbia: or

August 1, 2011

Low Vitamin D Linked to Atherosclerosis, Study Finds

Filed under: Nutrition,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 2:27 pm

Allison Gandey

July 28, 2011 — Investigators have identified new evidence from the Northern Manhattan Study connecting low vitamin D levels to atherosclerosis. They found that low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were associated with increased intima-media and maximal carotid thickness in those with plaque.

“Our report demonstrates an independent effect of low vitamin D on subclinical indices of carotid atherosclerosis,” senior investigator Shonni Silverberg, MD, from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, told Medscape Medical News. “It is, however, important to note that our observations do not provide insight into the nature of the interaction of low vitamin D with the atherosclerotic process.”

The work will be published in the August issue of Stroke but was released early online.

The investigators studied 203 adults from the Northern Manhattan Study who had serum measurements and carotid ultrasonography. They looked at 25-hydroxyvitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and parathyroid hormone.

After adjusting for cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that plaque number was associated with phosphorus levels (beta, 0.39 per 1-mg/dL increase; = .02) and calcium-phosphorus product (beta, 0.36 per 10-U increase; P = .03).

The majority of those studied — 57% — had plaque, and investigators found the association of plaque number with phosphorus and calcium-phosphorus product persisted.

Vitamin D and Carotid Thickness

They found that 25-hydroxyvitamin D was inversely associated with both intima-media thickness (beta, -0.01 per 10-ng/mL increase; = .05) and maximal carotid plaque thickness (beta, -0.10 per 10-ng/mL increase;P = .03).

In a model containing traditional cardiac risk factors and indices of mineral metabolism, 25-hydroxyvitamin D accounted for 13% of the variance in both intima-media thickness and maximal carotid plaque thickness. Calcium, parathyroid hormone, and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels were not associated with carotid measures.

“We confirmed prior data showing a relationship of carotid measures with calcium-phosphorus product,” Dr. Silverberg said. “More importantly, we found a robust association of vitamin D levels with subclinical markers of carotid atherosclerosis.”

Dr. Silverberg pointed out that some of the prior literature in this area did not adequately control for cardiovascular risk factors and renal function, and most of the available data did not account for the interaction of vitamin D with other indices of mineral metabolism.

Asked by Medscape Medical News to comment, Michal Melamed, MD, from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, said she was glad the authors looked at multiple bone minerals and not just vitamin D. “The sample size was small, but it is encouraging they still found an association.”


Dr. Melamed complimented the study but acknowledged that more work is needed. “This is a nice study, but it is still cross-sectional. We cannot establish a causal relationship and many questions remain regarding optimum vitamin D levels.”

Dr. Melamed says she hopes some of these questions will be answered by the VITAL study. Also known as the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial, the research study is designed to include 20,000 men and women across the United States.

Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, are studying whether daily dietary supplements of vitamin D3 or omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk for developing heart disease, stroke, and cancer in people who do not have a history of these illnesses. Recruitment began in January 2010 and is continuing through 2011.

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Coauthor Dr. Tatjana Rundek reports receiving speaking fees from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The other authors have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Stroke. 2011;42:2240-2245. Abstract

Medscape Medical News © 2011 WebMD, LLC
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September 21, 2010

Vitamin D, Blood Pressure, and African Americans: Toward a Unifying

Filed under: General Health,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 2:28 pm

Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 09/20/2010
Rostand SG – Vitamin D deficiency has increasingly been recognized in the
general population and especially in African Americans whose deep skin
pigmentation makes vitamin D photosynthesis inefficient. Over the last
decade there has been increasing interest in the role that vitamin D
deficiency may play in BP modulation because many epidemiologic studies have shown an inverse association between serum vitamin D concentration and BP.
There is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in African Americans who
also have an increased susceptibility to develop hypertension and its

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