Are you taking too much vitamin D?

frank shallenberger md

“Vitamin D is dangerous.” “You have to be very careful with vitamin D.” “Vitamin D can easily become toxic and lead to many problems.” “It is risky to take more than 1,000 units of vitamin D per day.” Have you ever heard statements like these? I have. Probably a month doesn’t go by before I find out that some doctor said as much when he found out I had prescribed a “dangerously high dose of vitamin D.” So imagine how happy I was to find a review article on the incredible safety of vitamin D in one of the most respected medical journals in the U.S.

In the May 2015 edition of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers reported on a study that looked at over 20,000 vitamin D blood tests done between 2002 and 2011. They found that the number of people testing with vitamin D levels over 50 ng/ml increased more than 25 times. No doubt this was because of the fact that vitamin D supplementation has been shown to be one of the most important things we can do for our health. And more and more doctors are prescribing it. But what about safety? If the levels of vitamin D increased so dramatically over that period of time, surely the number of toxicity cases went up as well? Not so fast, Pardner.

Out of more than 20,000 cases, they found only one case of toxicity. And that patient had a vitamin D blood level of 364 ng/ml! This is more than five times higher than the recommended optimum blood level of 70 ng/ml. The other concern that doctors have is the chance of harmful elevated calcium levels. This happened only in four patients. And when their vitamin D intake was reduced, the calcium levels quickly returned to normal. All those concerns of kidney stones, cardiovascular calcifications, and death did not occur in one person – even in the patient with the 364 ng/ml level. And this isn’t the only study verifying the incredible safety of vitamin D even in high doses. Another study reported just last year on more than 17,000 healthy adult volunteers who were taking doses of vitamin D up to 20,000 units a day. Not one of them had any toxicity.  

Michael L. Holick, MD is an endocrinologist and is probably the world’s leading expert on vitamin D supplementation. Here’s what he had to say about vitamin D in the same Mayo Clinic Journal issue.

“There is no credible scientific literature suggesting that vitamin D intake increases the risk for kidney stones. Similarly, data are weak regarding the association between vitamin D intake and cardiovascular calcifications. To the contrary, current evidence suggests that improvement in vitamin D status reduces the risk for hypertension, stroke, and myocardial infarction. The evidence is clear that vitamin D toxicity is one of the rarest medical conditions and is typically due to intentional or inadvertent intake of extremely high doses of vitamin D, usually in the range of more than 50,000-100,000 units a day for months to years.”

So there you have it. I hope this puts the vitamin D toxicity crisis in its proper place. It’s always amazing to me when a doctor who spends 80% of his life writing prescriptions for patent drugs with serious documented toxicity gets his dander up over a patient taking a vitamin. So if your doctor ever gets excited over your vitamin D intake, be sure to help him out and give him these references so he can sleep better.

In the meantime be sure to take enough vitamin D to get your blood levels between 50-70 ng/ml. This is the level that offers maximum protection. I usually recommend 5,000 IU daily of vitamin D to get to that level. And once you get to that level, check your blood calcium just to make sure that you aren’t that exceedingly rare person whose levels go up from taking the vitamin.

REF: Dudenkov DV, Yawn BP, et al. Changing Incidence of Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Values Above 50 ng/mL: A 10-Year Population-Based Study. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 May;90(5):577-86.
Holick MF.  Vitamin D Is Not as Toxic as Was Once Thought: A Historical and an Up-to-Date Perspective. Mayo Clin Proc. 2015 May;90(5):561-4.

Yours for better health,

By Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

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Back Pain Gone — Permanently With Prolotherapy!

frank shallenberger mdIf you suffer from back pain … any back pain … even the chronic kind … even the kind that persists after surgery … even the kind that causes you to wince in pain when you get out of a chair … even the kind that chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage can’t cure … even the kind associated with spinal stenosis … I have great news for you. It’s possible to get rid of this pain … permanently. And it works for all kinds of back pain.

In fact, I see about 70% of my back pain patients completely cured. And the other 30% see substantial improvement.

If you’ve been around alternative medicine very long, you might be thinking the only thing that can work like this is prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is a simple treatment where the doctor injects sugar water or saline into the affected area. While the treatment works really well, it doesn’t have a 70% cure rate. And it’s a fairly painful treatment.

But, prolotherapy did lead the way to this treatment. About 15 years ago, I was using prolotherapy to treat a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. She had really bad knees and prolotherapy wasn’t curing the problem. So I injected ozone into her knees and they got better.

This might sound pretty strange because most people think of ozone as something that is in air pollution. But, as I’ve told you in previous issues, medical grade ozone is something very different from pollution.

Medical grade ozone is a gas. It’s a naturally occurring molecule that consists of three atoms of oxygen (O3). Because oxygen atoms usually combine in pairs (O2), the third atom of oxygen present in ozone makes it highly reactive. It’s much more reactive than even pure oxygen. And this enhanced reactivity is what causes it to dramatically stimulate the healing process.

Once injected into the affected area, ozone causes a mild inflammatory reaction. It’s a lot like the saline or sugar water in prolotherapy, only better. In the body, inflammation attracts cells called fibroblasts to the area that’s inflamed. Fibroblasts are specialized cells that repair injuries, such as tears and degeneration. They do this by producing collagen, which can then form new ligament, tendon, and muscle tissue. In this way, ozone stimulates the body’s own natural healing processes. The result is a rapid healing of even the worst injuries.

One difference between ozone and prolotherapy is like the difference between a rifle shot and a shotgun blast. Prolotherapy is like a rifle shot — you have to be pretty precise. Doctors who use prolotherapy know where to shoot it. But if you miss, it doesn’t work well. Ozone is a gas, so it spreads out through the tissues and covers a greater area. If you miss, it still works.

This is important for back pain because there can be a lot of damage in the area — not just one problem. This is especially true for patients who have had back surgery.

I see people that come in and have had surgery and continue to have back pain. The surgery may correct the original problem, but it often creates a host of other problems. That’s because you have to cut ligaments to get in! The surgery to take out the disc problem actually causes ligament problems.

I see a lot of people who are on disability for back pain. Take John for instance. He was in the middle of litigation for a workman’s comp case. He fell down at work and hurt his back. They had done surgery on him. He was on disability. In the process of doing all that, he came to see me to see if I could help him. After a couple of injections, he never came back to my office. He said “My lawyer told me if I continued to see you, I’d get so much better that I’d lose my case.”

To see this kind of result with prolotherapy, it could take 10-20 treatments. I usually see results within three to six injections.

Since prolotherapy hurts so bad, 10-20 treatments can be torture. In fact, the way I got introduced to prolo is when I hurt my own back and the doctor gave me a shot of prolo. It hurt me so much that I couldn’t go to work the next day. A lot of patients who get prolo tell you that.

Don’t get me wrong — prolotherapy is a wonderful treatment. But my treatment, which combines prolotherapy with ozone, virtually never hurts. I back off on the prolo part of the treatment and don’t do it as strong as the prolo guys do. I don’t do it full strength because my main treatment is the ozone.

Also, I put novocaine in there before I start the injections. When you first inject ozone, it can hurt pretty badly too. I invented this combination of novocaine, prolotherapy, and ozone and trademarked the name Prolozone®.

I’ve told you about Prolozone in the past. I use it to treat all types of pain, including shoulder pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and back and neck pain.

By Dr. Frank Shallenberger, MD

For more information about the Dr. Frank Shallenberger MD and the Second Opinion Newsletter Click Here!