Vitamin D Newsletter


Vitamin D levels

How do statins work? They dramatically raise vitamin D levels

Several studies have shown that statins raise 25(OH)D levels but last month this study showed that Crestor nearly tripled vitamin D levels, from 14 to 36 ng/mL, in just 8 weeks. I loved what the author concluded, "We have no idea of the mechanism involved." Nor do I, as statins should lower, not increase, vitamin D levels because statins reduce vitamin D's precursor, cholesterol. As Dr. Yavuz said, "This is clearly an opportunity for further research."

These results are simply amazing, from 14 to 36 ng/mL in 8 weeks and the study was conducted in the winter, when levels should fall, not rise. Just think, if the pleiotropic (many effects) statin drugs work by simply raising vitamin D levels (and statins' pleitropic effects are certainly not mediated through lowering cholesterol levels), then that is one expensive way to raise vitamin D levels. However, it is the perfect commentary on the American health care system; that is, in America we use statins to treat vitamin D deficiency, not vitamin D.

Widely-fluctuating vitamin D levels may be harmful

Professor Reinhold Vieth of the University of Toronto, has produced evidence that widely fluctuating levels of vitamin D in patients with low baseline 25(OH)D levels may increase the risk of prostate and pancreatic cancer. At least two prostate cancer studies and two pancreatic cancer studies show that higher baseline 25(OH)D levels at latitudes far from the equator increase, not decrease, the risk of these two malignancies. Vieth produces evidence that this increased risk is related to widely fluctuating levels 25(OH)D in those who rely on summer sun exposure for their vitamin D.

The latency of the intracellular enzymes that activate and destroy vitamin D explains why vitamin D should be obtained on a regular basis and not in periodic high doses. When 25(OH)D levels fall abruptly, like in the autumn in countries far from the equator, the enzyme that makes activated vitamin D inside the cell is still set on low and the enzyme that destroys activated vitamin D is still set on high and it takes several weeks or even months to fully reset. Vieth believes any supplementation strategy that uses large doses at longer than two month intervals should be avoided. However, high or "Stoss" doses, such as 50,000 IU of D3 every week or two should pose no problem. vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol (Drisdol) should be avoided as it causes wider 25(OH)D fluctuations than D3 does.

Page last edited: 23 July 2011