Readers of Real Answers may remember a post from exactly one year ago about Vitamin D or even calcium supplementation failing to have any benefit on bone density or bone strength, in some ways actually causing harm rather than good- https://www.advancedped.com/new-study-vitamin-d-extra-high-doses-not-appear-help/
Now comes another report, testing yet another claim for the powers of Vitamin D. The team is from Pittsburgh, and they looked at about 200 kids with severe asthma, with severity sufficient for all studied to begin from requiring a dose of at least daily inhaled steroid.
The study published on August 25, 2020, planned to study the impact of 4,000 Units of Vitamin D on preventing severe asthma exacerbations in children with low Vitamin levels, by observing it impact on 400 children with severe asthma. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2769724
Well, halfway through the study, the effect of Vitamin D, even at a very high dose of 4,000 Units a day was such a failure, they ethically had to stop the study, and report that Vitamin D simply has no effect on the time of the next asthma attack, or the time it took asthma to hit when a cold or flu hit.
Vitamin D has now conclusively been proven to fail to meet these hoped for benefits:
- Prevent stroke
- Prevent heart attacks
- Prevent cancer
- Prevent asthma attacks, or at least make them less frequent
- Prevent loss of bone density or improve bone density or even bone strength.
It should be repeated at this point that D joins many other vitamins that many folks had put their faith into being curative, preventative, or helpful, as drugs: the list of Vitamins B, C, E, must now include D.
Do Vitamins Do Any Good?
Yes as food, not as drugs, with one exception.
Every vitamin serves a vital function in the body’s chemistry, so important that if you don’t get enough in your food you will suffer a disease specific to that vitamin’s deficiency. Those conditions are very well known and include- For Vitamn B1 (thiamine)- Beri-beri; Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)- Pellagra; Vitamin C- scruvy, Vitamin D- rickets.
We don’t see these problems so much any more because most diets supply plenty of vitamin to prevent a deficiency, and that includes all the vitamins loaded into cereals, breads, even pretzels.
But what about taking 100 times, 1000 times, 100,000 times the amount necessary to meet the usual needs of the body, can’t vitamins taken in huge amounts work wonders to prevent disease? With one known exception, the answer remains a resounding NO. We have just seen how Vitamin D is failing every test of benefit.
So what is the one vitamin that if taken in large quantities, beyond the usual amount taken in food, something good happens?
Hint- it is a B vitamin.
Another hint- the person taking it is not the person whose health improves.
Last hint- it is the 9th vitamin in this vitamin family
That last hint tells you the answer, because all the vitamins that can be dissolved in water are called B vitamins. The others are A, D, E, and K- which are oily and can only be dissolved in fat. One exception here too, Vitamin C is water soluble, but it was named well before the B custom got set, so it stays C.
And, if it is a B vitamin, the ninth is vitamin B9, which everyone calls folate.
So the answer is folate, and if you take 800 mcg of folate prior to conception and throughout pregnancy you will nearly eliminate the chance of your baby having a spinal cord anomaly called spina bifida, and you will drop the chance of your baby developing autism substantially!
The Dangers of Pretending
Our last COVID-19 post outlined the deadly dangers of pretending when it comes to medicine and treatments. Taking Vitamin D may be harmless if you are healthy, but maybe not. It certainly is a waste of time.
But we need to get out of the habit of wishful thinking. Of the idea that if a lot of people on TV, or in our family, or on the Internet say taking 10 grams of Substance X will make sure we never get a cold, or will not get sick with COVID, or ever develop cancer, that it might be true.
Believe me, if anyone actually found a cure for cancer, or something that stops COVID-19 from hurting anyone, or stops humanity from getting colds, we will all know.
How? Because colds and cancer will disappear, and no one will die of COVID-19 anymore. Just like we saw happen when someone actually did the hard work to find out how to stop polio. That idea worked, and how do we know, because no one has polio around here anymore, no one.
Pretending is fun for Halloween, but it really puts us all into so much danger for real problems, because it stops us from figuring out what will work, and doing it!
- Vitamins are essential nutrients, without which specific deficiency states occur. The fact that most of us, even doctors, have not seen anyone here with scurvy proves most of us get plenty of vitamins to meet these needs.
- Taking huge quantities of any vitamin, with one exception, to treat or prevent various conditions has been a total bust. Vitamin D continues to fail one claim after another. At some point we will have to let it go the way of vitamins B, C, and E, and stop thinking about them as medications.
- The one exception is folate. Every female from first period to last period should take 800 mcg a day, to really stamp out spina bifida, and substantially reduce autism, benefits that cannot be experienced if you wait til you know you are pregnant to begin.
- The Vitamin D story reveals how very deeply all of us in America love to pretend when it comes to health. That might be OK for vitamins, maybe, but the habit is dangerous, we have lost over 100,000 good lives to pretending about COVID for example, with more to follow.
Facts are great. The take a lot of work to find out, but oh my do they deliver!
To your health,
Dr. Arthur Lavin