Dr. Cannell discusses a recent review that high vitamin D status helped prevent complications among surgical patients.
For a minute I thought I was reading something I wrote when I read,
“[there is] sufficient evidence to shift the burden of proof to those who believe that performing elective surgery on vitamin D deficient patients comports with the highest standards of patient safety and public health. Until such data is available, and in consideration of the low cost, safety and efficacy of supplementation of a nutrient (i.e., not a drug, foreign chemical, or blood product), we further propose that evidence is sufficient at present to support testing and supplementation to target levels as a practical default. We contend that learning whether it is safe to deviate far from ancestral levels of vitamin D in patients facing the trauma of surgery, and the demands of healing, is an overarching question, and that until this answer is in hand measurement and supplementation as indicated is preferred to the no-action approach of the status quo.”
That quote comes from a masterful review of studies of vitamin D levels and surgical outcomes by Drs. Igler and Hogan of University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
The authors found 31 studies that met their criteria and only 5 studies showed no effect of 25(OH)D on surgical outcomes. Twenty-six studies showed that higher 25(OH)D levels helped prevent every surgical outcome from infection (lung transplants) to cancer (kidney transplants) to death (cardiac surgery) to pain (knee surgery).
As quoted above, the authors believe that the time to act is now, and unless convincing evidence proves otherwise, natural vitamin D levels (>40 ng/ml) should be the target levels for surgical patients.