by Marina Zhang
vitamins D and E
essential to skin health,
especially if fish or other suggested foods
Vitamin D supplements are currently
recommended at a dose of 600 international units (IU) per day
by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), alongside a
warning about potential toxicities if people take more.
But for some people, supplementing with what would be seen as a very
high dose of vitamin D every day may reap health benefits rather
than toxicities, experts suggest.
board-certified internist Dr. Patrick McCullough published
a report on the experiences of three patients who were taking
high doses of 20,000 to 60,000 IUs of vitamin D daily for many
years, all three of whom have since seen significant health
One patient started
supplementing with vitamin D3 eight years before the publication of
the report and saw his asthma attacks decline from five or six
severe exacerbations per year to only one serious exacerbation from
2011 to 2019.
started at 10,000 IUs per day, and by the time of publication, he
had stopped most of his asthma medication and was taking 30,000 IUs
ulcerated hand lesion, which was presumed to be a form of skin
cancer, shrank after taking high doses.
One patient had
extensive psoriasis plaques across his scalp, forehead, and ears, as
well as smaller plaques on his chest, abdomen, elbows, and thighs.
He was given
50,000 IUs of vitamin D2 and soon saw a dramatic improvement in
cleared after a few months of treatment and he was able to stop
using steroid creams and medicated shampoos.
While the clinical
improvements are impressive, the dosages these patients received -
which would be considered potentially toxic - are particularly
The current NIH
stem from a 2010 dietary reference by the Institute of Medicine
suggests a daily intake of 600 IU to reach a serum level of 20 ng/ml
vitamin D in the blood - an adequate amount.
It set an upper
tolerable limit of 4,000 IUs per day; therefore, any dosage higher
than that would be considered a high dose.
Yet some experts
believe that the current recommendations are not sufficient for
"the current doses recommended by the IOM are sub-physiologic",
...meaning that they are below the natural needs of the body.
McCullough proposed that 10,000 IUs a day would be the adequate
His arguments have
been echoed by other health care professionals.
Prior to the IOM's
recommendations, experts from the
Council for Responsible Nutrition suggested increasing the
maximum daily limit be set to 10,000 IUs a day, after finding no
toxicities in vitamin D clinical trials where a person was given
10,000 IUs or even higher dosages.
In 2011, the
Endocrine Society similarly said that up to 10,000 IUs per day
was safe for adults.
The disparities in
the dosage limits are caused by the different considerations in the
potential health benefits of vitamin D.
The IOM's lower
dosage recommendations were based mainly on the role of vitamin D in
promoting bone health by enhancing calcium absorption.
Endocrine Society and
other experts argue that vitamin D may also play important roles
in other systems and organs, suggesting that the dosage be adjusted
Vitamin D Is More Than a Vitamin
Multiple papers in
the literature show that vitamin D has a host of roles across
multiple processes and organs.
Most cells have a
specific receptor for vitamin D, and when the vitamin D molecule
binds to its receptor, it can activate
around 2,000 genes in the body.
Vitamin D expert
William Grant, who has published over 300 papers on vitamin D,
told The Epoch Times that vitamin D should be viewed as a
hormone rather than a vitamin.
Vitamins are micronutrients; the body
uses them in
small amounts for their assisting role in establishing
Vitamin D, however,
acts on many genetic pathways as a direct contributor rather than an
assistant, regulating calcium levels and parathyroid hormones, and
interacting with immune cells, neurons, pancreatic cells, and many
while all the other vitamins have to be obtained through the diet,
the body naturally produces vitamin D from sunlight.
studies have also shown that without sun exposure, it is quite
difficult to obtain sufficient vitamin D through a natural diet
vitamin D are associated with poor cardiovascular health, diabetes,
hypertension, cancer mortalities, cognitive decline, infections,
autoimmune disease, and allergies.
600 IUs May Not
Be Enough for Overall Health
reason, some experts suggest that vitamin D is needed in a much
higher dose than what is being recommended to maintain general
internist and integrative physician Dr.
Ana Mihalcea said
that most of her patients need 10,000 IUs a day to reach optimal
function with their cognition and energy levels.
Many of her
patients came to her with fatigue, muscle weakness, and poor
cognitive abilities, all of which may be linked to vitamin D
deficiencies despite these patients being at an "adequate" level
of 20 ng/ml.
boosted their serum levels to 70 ng/ml or more using
supplements, some of them saw great improvements.
indicates that vitamin D deficiencies may have been the culprit
for their symptoms.
Differs Among Patients
A surgeon and
physician for more than 20 years, Dr. Joseph Bosiljevac
likewise reports great variability in optimal vitamin D serum
levels among different patients.
He told The
Epoch Times that some patients see great improvements once
their levels hit 60 ng/ml, and he would deem them sufficient,
but other patients may need 120 ng/ml or more.
Studies have shown that
vitamin D toxicities may develop when serum vitamin D levels hit
above 150 ng/ml, though McCullough said he has seen some
patients operate fine at more than 200 ng/ml.
High-Dose Vitamin D as
Doctors say people
with certain pathologies may need more vitamin D than healthy
with incurable diseases have made a great recovery after being
prescribed high-dose vitamin D.
The extra vitamin D
can be used,
"as a medicine,
not just a preventative vitamin," said Mihalcea.
indicated that sufficient vitamin D levels may reduce the risk of
many conditions, from cardiovascular disease to allergies.
diseases occur when the body's immune system starts attacking
associated with inflammation.
Vitamin D regulates immune cells,
reduces inflammation, and activates immune cells that counteract
have vitamin D resistance; the person becomes less
responsive to vitamin D supplementation and sun exposure.
need higher doses of vitamin D to raise their serum vitamin D
levels to a suitable range.
specialist Dr. Cicero Coimbra, who authored the famous
Coimbra Protocol, has found many of his patients with multiple
sclerosis reach remission after taking massive doses of vitamin
D, along with other supplements.
protocol can start as low as 150 IU per kilogram of body
weight and can potentially increase to doses as high as
1,000 IUs per kilogram of body weight daily, provided that
patients are routinely tested to ensure their parathyroid
hormones, calcium, and other micronutrient levels are in
In an interview
with The Epoch Times, Coimbra said that his clinic has
treated over 15,000 patients with autoimmune diseases; among
multiple sclerosis patients, around 85 percent reach remission.
has also been used in rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, inflammatory
bowel disease, psoriasis, and Crohn's disease around the world,
with the majority of patients following these protocols
reporting significant improvements.
who do not respond well to vitamin D treatment, Coimbra has
observed that most tend to experience a high level of stress,
and only by changing the way they respond to stress do they
start to see improvements.
Higher doses of
vitamin D are associated with lower risks of
been linked with increased cancer risks.
observational studies on cancer patients have found vitamin
D deficiency to also be a risk factor.
A 2016 report found that
women whose vitamin D levels were raised above 40 ng/ml had a
more than 65 percent lower risk of cancer incidence.
Another 2019 study that followed end-term colon cancer
patients found that those who increased their vitamin D levels
experienced a slower worsening of their symptoms.
research shows that vitamin D reduces the risk of cancer
incidence by affecting differentiation, proliferation, and
apoptosis (disintegration) of cells, prevents mortality by
reducing the formation of new blood vessels to sustain tumor
growth, and reduces metastasis.
Since vitamin D
acts by blocking pathways that promote further cancer growth and
metastasis, it is better at preventing cancer mortalities than
cancer incidence, Grant said.
It is worth
noting that cancer can be triggered by a multitude of factors
including environmental toxins, smoking, radiation, genetics,
and inflammation, many of which cannot be controlled by vitamin
D intake alone.
is still uncertain if vitamin D will be effective for all
cancers, and the reason for cancer patients' ailments vary from
one to another.
there have been
case reports of cancer remission after taking high doses of
vitamin D, though other factors may play into patients'
Anesthesiologist Dr. Judson Sommerville said his
patient's wife was told by highly renowned cancer center MD
Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, that she only had six
months to live due to advanced ovarian cancer.
She figured she
had nothing to lose so she started taking high doses of vitamin
D3 together with magnesium.
wife started feeling better, and after a few months, she went to
the doctor for a check-up.
examined her and to their surprise, found her cancer-free," Sommerville
It has been
almost 12 years and the cancer still hasn't recurred.
Low vitamin D
levels have been associated with higher risks of,
regulates chemicals in the brain that help neurons in the
cortex and the hippocampus grow and
These two areas
are involved in memory and cognitive functions, processing
emotions, and complex motor functions.
that the brain fog her patients experience as part of their
deficiency would alleviate once she raised their vitamin D
Dr. John J. Cannell has said in an
interview with ZME Science that in treating children with
autism, he has found that giving them a higher dose of 5,000 IUs
a day helped nearly 80 percent of these children with their
experience, having treated about 100 children with autism,
is that 25 percent respond dramatically to high dose vitamin
D, 50 percent respond significantly, and 25 percent do not
respond at all," he said.
How Much Vitamin D Is
internist Dr. Syed Haider recommends a certain amount of sun
exposure as the best option to get vitamin D, since it is impossible
to develop toxicities from sun exposure, as the body has a mechanism
to prevent further production.
Yet with most
people living in urban areas and being indoors for most of the
daytime, taking supplements is probably the most convenient option.
A person can
supplement with either the plant-based vitamin D2, known as
ergocalciferol, or the animal-based vitamin D3, also known as
vitamins are not synonymous with each other; when ingested, the
produces different metabolites.
Between the two,
doctors tend to prescribe D2 as it is more available on the
market, but the more recommended version is D3.
absorbs it better, and it also lasts longer in the body...
Moreover, D3 may
be less associated with toxicities, as the body is more tolerant
It is advisable to
take vitamin D with K2 and magnesium when supplementing, as this
will prevent vitamin D toxicity.
Both K2 and
magnesium help deposit calcium in the bones rather than the
arteries, and therefore prevents hypercalcemia, which can occur as a
result of vitamin D toxicity.
the importance of testing serum vitamin D levels as an indication
for dosage, since the following conditions may all impair the
absorption of vitamin D:
vitamin D expert Dr.
Michael Holick has shown obese people
tend to be deficient since the extra fat in their bodies sequesters
more vitamin D in their cells rather than allowing it to free-float
in serum, which is why,
people tend to need several times more than the
See 'The Vitamin D Solution - A 3-Step Strategy
to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems'