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Are those who disagree with us from the “Dark Side”?

Posted on: August 3, 2018   by  John Cannell, MD


Dear Dr. Cannell:

I see the Dark Side is at it again. In their latest assault on vitamin D, the Mayo Clinic authors, Gailor et al, promote fear of a simple, safe, effective and OTC vitamin D3. Why? Oh yes, PROFITS not HEALTH! They are responsible for the decades of burying research, denying the benefits and instilling fear of its toxicity.

Now, they write, “vitamin D deficiency is a hype,” “research shows vitamin D is dangerous and can intoxicate,” “should be prescription only,” its “benefits are unproven,” and “physicians should avoid its use.”

The Bible will remind them to beg for mercy at their judgement from the victims their vitamin D ignorance has hurt or killed, when they face God’s judgement.

Thanks for fighting,


Galior K, Grebe S, Singh R. Development of Vitamin D Toxicity from Overcorrection of Vitamin D Deficiency: A Review of Case Reports.

Nutrients. 2018 Jul 24;10(8). Review.

Dear David:

Are you a young man, as Caesar asked, “in your salad days, green in judgment, cold in blood?” Maybe, your anger is leading you towards vengeance? If so, bring two coffins.

Your opinion, shared by others in our community, is that a widespread, multinational, pharmaceutical-company-driven and medically-approved organized conspiracy is actively suppressing vitamin D knowledge for their own ends, their evil ends rival Hitler’s and your hope this “Dark Side” will soon face God’s vengeance, as your Bible promises?

David, why can’t I find, after due diligence, anywhere where Galior et al wrote anything remotely like that? Instead, I read that these “Dark Siders” wrote, “vitamin D intoxication is rare,” “has a “wide therapeutic index,” “overdose is uncommon,” “the clinical features of overdose are lethargy, vomiting, polyuria, polydipsia, altered sensorium, renal dysfunction, weight loss, nausea, and weakness,” “when using high-dose therapy, physicians should instruct patients about its proper use, avoid additional over-the-counter supplements, limit the number of high prescriptions and have 25(OH)D levels checked regularly,” and declaring “vitamin D exhibits multiple non-skeletal effects, particularly in cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and autoimmune diseases.”

I found these comments both accurate and useful. Yes, they could have better detailed vitamin D’s safety metrics, such therapeutic index, side-effects (which may be lower than placebo), LD-50 [unknown for humans (30 mg/kg for mice or 60,000,000 IU for a 50 kg human)], US Poison Control data, animal toxicity in dogs (couldn’t calculate lowest lethal dose) etc. show it is, arguably, the safest “drug” physicians have.

David, the graph below shows the progress we’re making against your Dark Siders. In 2003, the few physicians who ordered vitamin D tests, often ordered the wrong test and some called me up to argue about it: “No doctor, a 1,25(OH)D test may actually mislead you, it’s often high when the vitamin D is low.” Look below, your Dark Siders are processing 9,000 times more 25(OH)D tests than 15 years ago. That means, 14,000 more Mayo patients are taking vitamin D, because their results probably showed vitamin D deficiency. More importantly, hundreds of Mayo physicians now better understand how to use vitamin D.

On one thing David, you’re right and Mayo’s wrong, the now non-existent U.S. Food and Nutrition Board’s Upper Limit was 100 mcg/day, not 50 mcg/day. Perhaps a simpler theory, like human error, not a “dark side” conspiracy best explains it.

I fear your opinions – no matter what I write – will not change. If so, ask yourself how you formed them? Did you first read the evidence and then form your opinions? Opinions are everywhere on everything, some of my past favorites are: fluoridated water causes cancer, vitamin C cures it, children never lie about abuse, OJ Simpson was innocent, Clarence Thomas was not, Barak Obama was born in Africa and Ronald Reagan caused homelessness.

I rarely met anyone who’s opinions changed after, for example, studying cancer’s incidence before and after fluoridation, vitamin C’s mechanisms, the Salem Witch Trial child abuse accusations of Elizabeth Parris (age 9) and Abigail Williams’ (age 11), watching OJ’s trial, Clarence Thomas’s and Anita Hill’s testimony, Barak Obama’s birth certificate, or reading the three 1970s Supreme Court decisions ordering states to empty mental hospitals. If they did so, did they change their opinions? Not in my experience.

I once loved my opinions and had lots to love. To do what, I finally asked? To prove myself right and someone else wrong. If challenged, I would just search for evidence proving I was right and others wrong, ignoring all contrary evidence. I can’t remember anyone who cares to, or wants to, or ever intends to, change their minds? I fear the desire, practice or skill to change minds, ours or others, as rare as facts are to the wise. Bernard Shaw knew it is key, “All progress requires change,” he wrote, “those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

David, do your opinions help us?  When you enlighten government officials, scientists, reporters, pharmaceutical executives, etc., do they change their minds, or more convinced we’re the lunatic fringe? Have you ever convinced anyone, for example, to help Carol Baggerly and Grassrootshealth prevent birth complications, help Henry Lahore and VitaminDWiki to catalog vitamin D knowledge, help Bill Grant’s efforts at SUNARC to educate or Perry Holman at the Vitamin D Society?  I don’t know about your God David, but mine has little use for judgement, but she’s hot on helping.

Passionate opinions, the accompanying judgements, and those who harbor them, can be dangerous, especially when God is on their side. They color our history books red. Was it not holy men, David, consecrated men, with their opinions judgements and God in hand, who burnt to death 500,000 “Dark Side” women – virtually poor and powerless – during the two centuries of the European Witch Craze?

David, your God is dipositive: “Judge not, lest ye be judged, for in the same way you judge others, I will judge you, and with the measure you use, I will also use.”


John Cannell

1 Response to Are those who disagree with us from the “Dark Side”?

  1. [email protected]

    Great reply Dr. Cannell. I deal with conspiracy theories constantly and when nutrition is concerned they do not help the cause. Medicine is far from perfect but there are many people who are very dedicated and trying to do the best they can. This is true in the nutrition industry as well. The problem is biases, not conspiracies. Many beliefs even in medicine are built on common sense rather than real science and science is not perfect. Poorly designed research can lead people in the wrong directions, sometimes taking decades to find its fallacies. I certainly understand David’s frustration but I agree, the published report did not say anything I didn’t find accurate. No one is going to want a blood level of a 150 ng/ml and I certainly would worry about toxicity. There will be a serious change in vitamin D’s acceptance within the next 5 years. The research and now protocol at the Medical University of South Carolina reducing preterm births by over 50% will be hard to ignore for very long. Eventually, longitudinal studies with the women participating in the MUSC program will build credibility as to vit. Ds importance in preventing cancer, Autism, Type 1 diabetes, congenital heart disease, and other diseases. Much of the older published vitamin D research will have to be reproduced but with higher blood levels of vitamin D. There also needs to be more research studying calcitriol’s interaction with other hormones. I believe this is necessary to understand vitamin D’s full value.

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