August 23, 2009
How Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Clogging In Diabetics

Diabetics especially should get enough vitamin D or run the risk of macrophage immune cells filling with cholesterol.

Aug. 21, 2009 -- Low levels of vitamin D are known to nearly double the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with diabetes, and researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis now think they know why.

They have found that diabetics deficient in vitamin D can't process cholesterol normally, so it builds up in their blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The new research has identified a mechanism linking low vitamin D levels to heart disease risk and may lead to ways to fix the problem, simply by increasing levels of vitamin D.

"Vitamin D inhibits the uptake of cholesterol by cells called macrophages," says principal investigator Carlos Bernal-Mizrachi, M.D., a Washington University endocrinologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "When people are deficient in vitamin D, the macrophage cells eat more cholesterol, and they can't get rid of it. The macrophages get clogged with cholesterol and become what scientists call foam cells, which are one of the earliest markers of atherosclerosis."

Inflammation combined with cholesterol-laden macrophages lead to stiffened clogged blood vessels

Macrophages are dispatched by the immune system in response to inflammation and often are activated by diseases such as diabetes. Bernal-Mizrachi and his colleagues believe that in diabetic patients with inadequate vitamin D, macrophages become loaded with cholesterol and eventually stiffen blood vessels and block blood flow.

So get sun light or take vitamin D.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 August 23 11:50 AM  Aging Diet Heart Studies

Brock said at August 24, 2009 12:04 PM:

Over the age of 40 sunlight doesn't work nearly as well. You need to get it from food or supplements.

Brock said at August 24, 2009 12:13 PM:

Oh, and make sure supplements are Vitamin D3, in oil-based softgels. Vitamin D2 is useless in any form and hard tablets of D3 do not get absorbed into the blood.

4000 IU/day is the normal "best dose" for women and 5000 IU/day for men, but it's the blood levels that really matter, not the dose. Some people only need 1000 IU/day, while others might need 12,000 IU. Take supplements for three months, then obtain a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Adjust your dosage so that blood levels are between 5080 ng/mL (or 125200 nM/L) year-round. That's the ideal.

Vitamin D

Seerak said at August 24, 2009 12:23 PM:

Brock: regarding tablets, if they are all you have, can you address this by taking the tablets together with oil or oil-based items? So far I've not found 5000 IU in any form but tablets at my local Whole Foods.

Bill Quick said at August 24, 2009 1:02 PM:

"hard tablets of D3 do not get absorbed into the blood. "

This seems pretty broad-based. Got a cite handy?

Crafty Hunter said at August 24, 2009 5:34 PM:

This caught my interest, so I poked around and found this possibly interesting thread:

Bill Quick said at August 24, 2009 7:47 PM:

Thanks. That was what I was looking for.

Dr. Hyde said at August 24, 2009 10:49 PM:

For over a year, I had been taking 2000-3000 IU per day of Vitamin D tablets (multiple different brands and sources, all mainstream) plus a daily vitamin with another 400 IU (also in tablet form; yet not drinking D-fortified milk (I'd switched to an Amish-sourced brand that's only processing was pasteurization)), when my physician ordered a blood test out of concern that I was over-doing it. The result: 19 ng/ml - deficient. Something was very, very wrong in attempting to get it from tablets.

In remedying that, I'd started trying out some liquid-form vitamin D capsules and then decided, 'enough of this pill BS - it's meant to come from sun exposure, there's a strong evolutionary link between skin color and latitude (i.e., if you're too dark and too far from the equator, there's some well-demonstrated pressure for you and your type to die off) - so I'm going to get it via my own machinery.'

After measuring the UVB spectrum put out by the beds in a local tanning salon (I'm at a high altitude and think that these are safer than the massive blasting of UVA one gets outdoors here), I now go twice a week and (after 6+ months of this) was recently tested at 67 ng/ml (still no fortified milk, but now no daily vitamins either - what's the point if they're not being absorbed?).

FWIW: I'm 46, Caucasian male, and while I don't look particularly tan, I'm not that obviously-wrong pale any more either.

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