Sorting fact from fiction on vitamin D
The clock is running out on 2011, but it looks like there's still time to squeeze in one last phony vitamin panic.
In this one, researchers claim high levels of vitamin D will boost your risk of serious heart problems -- despite what their own study REALLY found: that LOW levels of the sunshine vitamin will up your odds of heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney failure, and diabetes.
Of course, they didn't want to talk about any of that.
Instead, the presentation at a recent American Heart Association meeting focused on the most freakish conclusion of the entire study: Patients with the highest blood levels of vitamin D -- 100 ng/ml or higher -- had a bump in the risk of atrial fibrillation.
Why is it freakish? Because I've been called an extremist for recommending blood levels of HALF that -- 50 ng/ml -- and even people who live in the tropics and get constant sun exposure all day long generally hover at around 60 ng/ml.
In other words, these just aren't optimal or even realistic levels of vitamin D3 -- and I'd bet that very few of the 132,000 participants in the new study actually fell into this category.
We don't know for sure, because the researchers didn't actually break it down for us.
We also don't know how many patients fell into the next-highest category, between 80 and 100 ng/ml, but I'd bet this was the next-smallest group -- yet these patients actually had the LOWEST A-fib risk of anyone in the study.
That means we're supposed to believe that 100 ng/ml will prevent the condition -- but 101 ng/ml will cause it.
Ignore the panic and take your vitamin D3. Not only are "high" levels safe, but studies have repeatedly found that the sunshine vitamin will boost everything from your cardiovascular health to your immune system.
Winter is here, the sun is low -- and you need your D now more than ever.