Too Little and Too Much Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be associated with like heart disease


Vitamin D.  You don’t want to be without it.  Vitamin D helps the body build bones.  A vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a once common skeletal disease.  It may even be associated with some other medical conditions — like heart disease. But right now, that’s a big “maybe”.

In fact, too much vitamin D could even be bad for your heart, according to new research published in the American Journal of Cardiology.  In this study, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine set out of assess the relationship between levels of Vitamin D and C-reactive protein (CRP), a measure of inflammation that may be an indicator of cardiovascular disease.

Reporting on the results, the New York Times wrote, “Too much vitamin D may be just as bad as too little … Vitamin D supplements reduce blood levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP, an indicator of inflammation that is linked to cardiovascular disease. But supplements help only up to a point … after blood levels exceeded 21 nanograms per milliliter — the lower end of what is usually considered normal — any additional vitamin D led to an increase in CRP.”

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If you read this story, you may have wondered, “So what does this mean?  Should I be taking vitamin D for my heart, or not?”

To find the answer, TBE consulted Preventive Cardiology expert, David Frid, MD, who said, “The study DOES NOT show that taking vitamin D supplements or changing ones vitamin level has any effect on CRP level or any type of clinical  harm. Patients should continue to discuss with their physician if they should take a vitamin D supplement and how much.”

The new book “Heart 411” by Cleveland Clinic cardiac surgeon A. Marc Gillinov, MD, and cardiologist Steven Nissen, MD, cites a review by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of thousands of studies on the health impact of vitamin D.  The IOM found that vitamin D had a role in bone health, “but not in other health conditions.”  Further, the IOM determined that most  people get adequate vitamin D in their diets, and don’t need to take  supplements.  “The bottom line,” write Dr. Gillinov and Dr. Nissen, is “don’t take vitamin D to try to protect your  heart.”

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  • Eva Rapisardi

    Thank you so much for all information I receive from CC . They have been so helpful . Keep them comming.

  • Laurel

    This article never mentions the effect vitamin D has on one’s immune system, which is significant. A few years ago, my doctor told me tests showed I was low in vitamin D and had me start taking supplements. I went from catching every bug that came along to one in the three years since, and it was a light case.

    Several recent studies have found the level of D once thought to be appropriate is far too low. That coupled with the fact that almost no one spends much time outdoors any more, and pollution has reduced the D we once get from the sun has changed the rules. The recommendation is now 2-4 times higher than it once was.

    This article is anything but thorough and has a number of things that just plain make no sense in it. We need sulight to absorb D, but that is never mentioned. The book was written by cardiologists, who read a single report and then put what they read in their book as gospel. REALLY? If there is one thing that impresses me about the cardiologiss and electrophysiologists I’ve seen, it is how blitheringly ignorant they are about nutrition, yet how quick they are to dismiss questions about things like magnesium and coQ10, that are known to have an effect on heart function. The very last doctor I’d trust on concerns of nutrition is a cardiologist. They are, as my first one smugly told me “mechanics” who don’t put much truck in anything BUT mechanics.


  • LuVan Englehoven

    How many units a day of Vit. D should a healthy 72 year old lady be taking?
    1,000 too much or okay?
    Your reply will be appreciated.