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Vitamin D and autoimmune disorders: The latest research

Posted on: March 2, 2013   by  John Cannell, MD


Dr. Nancy Agmon-Levin and colleagues of the Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel recently reviewed the evidence that vitamin D is involved in autoimmune disorders.

Agmon-Levin N, Theodor E, Segal RM, Shoenfeld Y. Vitamin D in Systemic and Organ-Specific Autoimmune Diseases. Clin Rev Allergy Immunol. 2012 Dec 14.

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16 Responses to Vitamin D and autoimmune disorders: The latest research

  1. Rita and Misty


    As quoted from above: “Primary biliary cirrhosis is an autoimmune disorder with a female to male ratio of 9:1 in which antibodies attack the small bile ducts in the liver. Such patients have low levels of vitamin D and disease severity is correlated with the lowest levels.”

    I wonder if this condition might possibly cause scarring which would be detected on an ultrasound.

    I wonder if once an individual had achieved and maintained optimal 25(OH)D levels the liver might then heal.

  2. Ashtatara

    This Dr. and his team treats autoimmune diseases with very high doses of Vitamin D3. The doses are individual and based on tests. The patients take from 20.000 IU to 200.000 IU each day. I have MS and I am following the protocol. It is about time that the medical community makes this treatment available all over the world. We cannot wait for more research. People are getting their lives back.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erAgu1XcY-U VITAMIN D3 IS THE ANSWER TO PREVENT AND TREAT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES!!! To the Medical Doctors who reads this: Go to Brazil and learn the protocol from Dr. Cicero Galli Coimbra 🙂 PLEASE

  3. Rita and Misty

    Dear Ashatara,

    If you have ever read my prior posts on the members’ blog and the VDC FB page, you know that I am very much pro-vitamin d (actually this is an understatement).

    I have many, many times expressed my upset regarding how slowly change moves in the medical community, and how I believe it will take the public to move (push) the medical community on vitamin d.

    I am a bit of a Pollyanna. And, I should know better, as I am employed by a research institution. A BIG ONE.

    So let me explain to you how the research system works here in the good ‘ole USA:

    Studies must be approved by an institutional review board (IRB), also known as an independent ethics committee or ethical review board. This is a committee that has been formally designated to approve, monitor, and review biomedical and behavioral research involving humans.

    The IRB conducts some form of risk-benefit analysis in an attempt to determine whether or not research should be done.

    In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (specifically Office for Human Research Protections) regulations have empowered the IRB to approve, or require modifications in planned research prior to approval. Or to disapprove research in its entirety.

    No research can be initiated with review and consent by IRB.
    IRB approval is the controlling force.
    It has power.

    And, as the number one priority of the IRB is to protect human subjects from physical or psychological harm, the entire process is very stringent.

    And slow.

    Slow…like molasses.

    What you are talking about is at best 50 years in the future; and perhaps at worst, 100 years in the future–imo.

    Now, with that ugly truth being stated, I still believe (yes, I am Pollyanna) that the public can move (push) the medical community on this issue.

    Apathy is the enemy.

    And at times all of us are prone to apathy.

  4. Rita and Misty

    Correction to one of my above paragraphs:
    “No research can be initiated with review and consent by IRB.”

    SHOULD READ: “No research can be initiated withOUT review and consent by IRB.”

    Little Freudian slip there…

  5. [email protected]

    @Rita and Misty

    You forgot to mention the conflict of interest , the marriage between Big Pharma, Big Food and what you call the medical community. Research is often done, just to maintain the status, the power, the fond money for more research, not to the benefits of sick people/patients.

  6. Rita and Misty

    Dear [email protected],

    I thank you for the information on NAFLD. The more information I have, the better off I will be-imo. I’m grateful for your help. My energy level and endurance continue to be awesome, so I am (slowly) regaining my composure…My HMO is known as the “death plan” here where I live and work, so I tend to take what it says with two or three grains of salt. My plan is to live at least another 50 years. 🙂

    Regarding “conflict of interest, the marriage of between Big Pharma, Big Food and the medical/research community,” yes…I know first hand that research is (mostly) done to maintain status, power and to fund money for further research.

    But, how much can I (one person) say? I too am prone to exhaustion at times… I can’t do this alone. So, thank you for your help! 🙂 And, I look forward to your future posts. After all, we are all in this together. And we exist because we choose to belong.

  7. AmyAllen

    Dr. Cannell,
    What is the difference between prescription Vitamin D and Vitamin D3? Which do you recoomend for D deficiency?

    • Brant Cebulla

      Amy, usually they’re the same thing. Vitamin D is a broad term to describe both vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Often times when a supplement bottle says “vitamin D,” it’s usually vitamin D3.

      We recommend the use of D3 rather than D2, so be sure to check somewhere on the bottle that it is indeed D3.

  8. [email protected]

    I just got my Vit D level result back…it is >92. I am a night shift nurse and have been having issues since 2011, including pneumonia, pleurisy, pleural effusion resulting in 4 thoracenteses this past year. My previous Vit D level a couple of years back was 109, so I have always been a bit higher than the “normal” range. I am beginning to suspect RA as the culprit in my pulmonary issues. Had a transesophageal cardiac echo this a.m., heart is cleared. Last chest xray 3 weeks ago, no further pleural effusion. Still having worsening chest pressure & SOB, lots of fatigue. Any ideas? Just read some emerging research on helminth (parasite) therapy. Also, pregnenolone supplementation. Interestingly, most of this trouble seemed to start within a week of getting a betamethasone injection for tendinitis in my R elbow. Thanks for any suggestions.

  9. Mark Haymond

    AmyAllen asked “What is the difference between prescription Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 and which do you recommend?” She was answered that usually prescription Vitamin D and Vitamin D3 are the same thing. However, Dr Cannell explained in the newsletter dated November 11, 2011 that there is usually a difference. The newsletter article is entitled, “Meta-Analysis Looks At Efficacy of D2 vs D3.” http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/blog/meta-analysis-looks-at-efficacy-of-d2-vs-d3/

    Dr Cannell explained that “Driscol is D2 and the form of vitamin D that doctors write prescriptions for….The body doesn’t produce D2 in response to sun exposure.” The body produces D3. The article said the Meta Analysis indicated that D3 is more effective than D2. I have read in other places that D2 is only one third as effective as D3. So as Brant said, the Vitamin D Council recommends D3 rather than D2 and we should always check to see that the bottle says D3 when we purchase it over the counter.

  10. Rita and Misty

    Vitamin D2 Is Much Less Effective than Vitamin D3 in Humans

    Laura A. G. Armas,
    Bruce W. Hollis and
    Robert P. Heaney


    If it doesn’t open properly, please feel free to email me at [email protected], and I will send you the full-text article.

    Be well !

  11. Ian

    Yet Michael Holick thinks they have the same efficacy:

    Holick, M. F.; Binkley, N. C.; Bischoff-Ferrari, H. A.; Gordon, C. M.; Hanley, D. A.; Heaney, R. P.; Murad, M. H.; Weaver, C. M. (2011). “Evaluation, Treatment, and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline”. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 96 (7): 1911.


    Much confusion still as well as defense and manipulation by the companies that produce the D2 for prescription.

  12. Rita and Misty

    @Ian~~To continue the discussion….

    Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jun;95(6):1357-64. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.031070. Epub 2012 May 2.

    Comparison of vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 supplementation in raising serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    Tripkovic L, Lambert H, Hart K, Smith CP, Bucca G, Penson S, Chope G, Hyppönen E, Berry J, Vieth R, Lanham-New S.

    Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK. [email protected]

    “This meta-analysis indicates that vitamin D3 is more efficacious at raising serum 25(OH)D concentrations than is vitamin D2, and thus vitamin D3) could potentially become the preferred choice for supplementation. However, additional research is required to examine the metabolic pathways involved in oral and intramuscular administration of vitamin D and the effects across age, sex, and ethnicity, which this review was unable to verify.”


  13. [email protected]

    My son has just been diagnosed with antiphospholipid syndrome. He has been taking vitamin D3 for several years however, what would be the recommended dose he should take. He is 43, weighs about 250 and is 5’10”. A year or so ago his level tested at 49 but about six months ago his level tested at 26. Thank you in advance for reading this. Barbara Haplea

  14. Brant Cebulla


    We recommend 5,000 IU/day in general. 250 lbs is a little above the average weight, so he may need more. We would recommend trying 5,000 IU/day, testing again in 3-6 months, and see where his level is from 26 ng/ml.


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