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Vitamins fail another test

The supposed benefits of vitamins have suffered another blow. In this case it's B vitamins, which do not appear to protect stroke patients from subsequent heart attacks or strokes, according to the biggest, best study to examine the issue.

Previous research has suggested that people with elevated levels of an amino acid in their blood known as homocysteine are at increased risk for heart attacks and strokes. B vitamins can reduce homocysteine levels.

To test this hypothesis, researchers in Australia launched the new study, which involved giving 8,164 patients who had suffered a stroke in the previous seven months either a placebo or a combination of the B vitamins folic acid, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.

In the September issue of the British journal The Lancet Neurology, the researchers report that those who took the B vitamins had lower homocysteine levels. But those taking the B vitamins were not significantly less likely to suffer a stroke, heart attack or to die from any cause during the 3.4-year study.

Despite the findings, however, Peter Sandercock of the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, England, argues that more research is needed to continue to explore the hypothesis, especially given the previous findings and the fact that B vitamins appear to be very safe.

By Rob Stein  |  August 4, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Cardiovascular Health , Prevention , Strokes , Vitamins  
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The issue is un-vitamin D.

“Researchers found that patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were 77 percent more likely to die, 45 percent more likely to develop coronary artery disease, and 78 percent were more likely to have a stroke than patients with normal levels. Patients with very low levels of Vitamin D were also twice as likely to develop heart failure than those with normal Vitamin D levels.”

“The Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City suggests that Vitamin D contributes to a strong and healthy heart as well -- and that inadequate levels of the vitamin may significantly increase a person's risk of stroke, heart disease, and death, even among people who've never had heart disease".


The researchers found that heart disease symptoms BEGAN IMMEDIATELY at serum D levels below 43 ng/ml, 25 OH D.

The study was conducted with middle aged white people, almost exclusively Mormons.

In case you were unaware "vitamin" D is no such thing and was misnamed when discovered in 1922. It is in fact the body's most powerful steroid hormone. When metabolized by the liver and kidneys, it is approximately 1 trillion X more potent by molecular weight that testosterone or estrogen.

The experts in vitamin D research insist on a circulating level of at least 50 ng/ml, 25 OH D. You can determine your vitamin D level by having a 25 OH D aka "25 hydroxy vitamin D" vitamin D test taken twice a year. Accept no other test for your circulating level.

30 ng/ml, 25 OH D, is NOT a healthy or natural level. It will not provide the benefits of repletion at 50 ng/ml, 25 OH D.

Vitamin D toxicity is a myth repeated by naive or ignorant health professionals.

If you do not supplement or tan regularly in the months September- April you will be vitamin D deficient.

You cannot eat enough vitamin D rich food items to maintain a healthy level. Only regular supplementation or tanning in the low sun months will accomplish this.

If you have dark skin, avoid the sun, and do not take a vitamin D specific supplement daily you will be deficient.

People with high BMI are almost always vitamin D deficient, even in the summer months.

Your doctors will typically know almost nothing about the recent research findings. Educate yourself and then educate them and insist that they provide regular testing.

The human body easily tolerates up to 10,000 i.u. (1/4 of a milligram) per day without any signs of toxicity. For most people 5000 i.u. per day will raise serum levels approximately 30-40 ng/ml, 25 OH D.

Posted by: dokadow | August 4, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Um, I'm pretty sure Edinburgh is in Scotland, not England. They both are part of the United Kingdom, but they are separate countries.

Posted by: mwcgrad97 | August 4, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Read about killing your vitamins at

Posted by: chylton | August 4, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Read about killing your vitamins at

Posted by: chylton | August 4, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the problem is the researchers are administering the wrong test! Can we really expect a simple vitamin to undo years of unhealthy habits, or genetics, or bad luck--whatever caused the strokes and heart attacks in the first place--and all by itself prevent another CVD event? We don't look at this as a failure--we look at it as part of the scientific process. There are lots of questions still to be asked--for example, the study does not answer the question of whether a first stroke or heart attack could have been prevented with consistent use of vitamin B, as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. Nor does this study discount the previous positive studies. We represent the vitamin industry and we agree with the researchers that more research is needed. And as for your story's gleeful headline, science is not always black and white.

Posted by: CouncilForResponsibleNutrition | August 4, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about all the studies disproving the benefits of vitamins, but I know that vitamin supplements are about the only good thing I've ingested in my 59 years. My diet has been/is awful (I'm not bragging, just being truthful), consisting of just a short list of foods, mostly meats, potatoes, white bread, soda/diet soda, some water,and junk/fast food. Little to no vegetables. My junk food diet is mostly chocolate so I have avoided a lot of food dyes. But I've taken a multivitamin (Theragran-M mostly), and Z-BEC (zinc and vitamins B,E and C) every day for most of my life. I rarely have a cold, flu, or other "normal" illnesses. I don't see what else could be the cause of that except the vitamins and/or a strong constitution.

Posted by: tojo45 | August 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Vitamins do not fail in what they are meant to do. They are substances that need to be taken seriously. This can be seen in the recent discovery that "Vitamin D" deficiency is responsible not only for rickets but is also connected to a meriad of other ailments including cancer, heart diease, diabetis, muscle and bone pain, Alzheimer's, Parkinsons etc. The worst part is that many doctors are in the dark about these new developments. As to all the B Vitamin ailments, there is no need to say that any of them failed a test. B Vitamins are equally as necessary for life as all the other Vitamins including the non-vitamin D. People die from not taking their vitamins. That's what happened in China when soldiers in China were given only polished rice. They died from Beriberi (B1 deficiency)

Posted by: bcalhoun1 | August 4, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

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