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Overdoses of Vitamin D Pills can Damage Your Heart

People who develop atrial fibrillation should be asked if they are taking huge doses of vitamin D. If you have an irregular heart beat and are taking massive doses of vitamin D pills, check with your doctor immediately. This cause of irregular heartbeats can be cured by stopping the pills.

Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association on November 16, 2011 showed that having high blood levels of vitamin D triples your risk for atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the upper part of the heart to flutter, which increases risk for forming clots that can cause strokes and can block blood flow.

I think that the optimal range for blood levels of vitamin D3 is 30 to 40 ng/dl (equal to 75 to 100 nmol/L). In this study, those who had blood levels above 100 ng/dl (250 nmol/L) were at markedly increased risk for atrial fibrillation.

YOU CAN BE POISONED BY PILLS: You get vitamin D only from sunlight, food and pills. It is impossible to get vitamin D3 levels too high from sunlight or unfortified foods. Only pills can cause vitamin D overdoses.

WHY YOU CANNOT BE POISONED BY SUNLIGHT OR FOODS: Only a small part of the ultraviolet rays from the sun, called UVB, convert 7-dehydrocholesterol in your skin to vitamin D. Then vitamin D passes from your skin into your bloodstream. However, UVB also destroys vitamin D in the skin. This effect is so powerful that a person can never get high blood levels of vitamin D from sunlight, no matter how much sun shines on his skin.

The only foods that supply significant amounts of vitamin D are liver, fish, eggs and cod liver oil. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is 600 international units a day, and it is almost impossible to reach that amount with unfortified foods. Vitamin D is added to milk, but only a terrible mistake in overdosing would cause vitamin D poisoning.

HOW OVERDOSES OF VITAMIN D CAUSE IRREGULAR HEART BEATS: When you take massive overdoses of vitamin D pills, blood calcium levels rise too high. Your heart beat is controlled by electricity generated by the difference between minerals inside and outside your heart cella. Raising blood calcium levels too high changes the electrical currents in your heart nerves which can cause irregular heartbeats.

HOW MUCH IS SAFE? To raise your blood levels of calcium above normal, you have to take enough vitamin D to raise your blood levels of vitamin D above 200 nmol/l (80 ng/ml). No documented cases of high blood calcium were reported following vitamin D doses less than 40,000 IU/day for up to 12 consecutive weeks (Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69: 842-856). Therefore, there should be little concern about using the much lower dose often recommended for treatment of vitamin D deficiency (5000 IU/day). However we do not know how much vitamin D a person can safely take in pill form. It is my opinion that all people who take more than 3000 IU of vitamin D should have blood tests done to make sure that blood levels of vitamin D3 do not rise above 60 ng/dl (150 nmol/L).

VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY REMAINS A MAJOR CONCERN: For the past several years I have reported on the many diseases and conditions that can be caused by low vitamin D: heart disease, cancer, hypertension, arthritis, chronic pain, depression, inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, premenstrual syndrome, diabetes, muscular weakness and pain, autism, fibromyalgia, crohns disease, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases and many more. See:
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CAUSES OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY: DECREASED SKIN SYNTHESIS: Limited sun exposure is the main cause of vitamin D deficiency. Sunscreens and pigmentation block ultraviolet rays that stimulate your skin to make vitamin D. MALABSORPTION: Diseases in which you cannot absorb fat, such as sprue, cystic fibrosis or irritable bowel syndrome, prevent you from absorbing vitamin D. MEDICATIONS such as anticonvulsants lower vitamin D levels. OBESITY increases risk for Vitamin D deficiency as vitamin D is stored in fat to prevent it from circulating. AGING: As you age, your skin is less able to make vitamin D.

THE ONLY BLOOD TEST TO DIAGNOSE VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY IS VITAMIN D3. Do not get calcitriol (1,25 dihydroxy) blood tests to diagnose low Vitamin D. Severe vitamin D deficiency causes an overactive parathyroid gland that raises the active vitamin D called calcitriol to normal.

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The More Sexual Partners You Have, the More HPV You Acquire

Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) are sexually-acquired viruses that can cause genital warts and cancers of the vagina, cervix, penis, mouth, tongue, throat, skin, head and neck. More than 150 different HPVs exist and every sexual exposure with a different person can introduce a new virus.

The majority of infected people clear HPV from their bodies in 6 to 12 months. Continued exposure to new partners brings new infections with new viruses. The more contacts you have, the more viruses you acquire.

HOW COMMON IS HPV? HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. Your risk for acquiring HPV can be as high as 15 percent per sexual contact. More than 90 percent of sexually- active people have been infected with HPV, and more than 50 percent of people infected with HPV have more than one HPV virus (The Journal of Infectious Diseases, published online November 4, 2011). Being infected with one HPV does not protect you from being infected with any other HPV. Recent data show that having more than one HPV virus increases risk for cancer, and the more HPV viruses you have, the greater your chances of developing certain cancers. Furthermore, having had a chlamydia infection in addition to HPV markedly increases a woman's chance of developing cervical cancer (Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers, published online October 12, 2011).

NOT ALL HPV VIRUSES CAUSE CANCERS. Genital HPV are classified as low-risk and high-risk for causing cancers. Low- risk HPV types (6, 11, 42, 43, 44, 54, 61, 70, 72, and 81) are virtually never found in cancers. High-risk HPV types (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68, 73, and 82) have been found in cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, and penis. More than 80% of cervical cancers are caused by types 16, 18, 31, and 45. The two vaccines against human papillomavirus available today together protect a person from infection with the four types of HPV that cause the most cervical and anal cancers, but they do not protect a person from infection with 150 other HPV viruses.

HOW IS HPV TRANSMITTED? HPV is primarily transmitted through skin-to-skin sexual contact and exchange of secretions. Condoms can reduce, but do not prevent, infections. A person can develop oral, anal and genital HPV infections without having oral or anal intercourse. Two thirds of the sexual partners of women with HPV in their cervices will have the same type(s) of HPV on their penises.

CAN YOU GET HPV NON-SEXUALLY? Possibly, but no studies show transmission of HPV from towels, toilet seats, doorknobs, swimming pools or hot tubs.

WILL I ALWAYS BE CONTAGIOUS? Probably not. Most infected people clear HPV in six to 12 months. However, some continue to be infected. Most people who acquire HPV will never be harmed by these viruses. Most people who get HPV do not develop visible lesions. Some develop warts, bumps, nodules, ulcers, and cancers. Treatments include creams that enhance a person's immunity (imiquimod, brand name Aldara) that can destroy the cells infected with HPV. Destructive chemicals and surgery usually take a very long time to get rid of warts.

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Recipe of the Week:

Catfish Gumbo

You'll find lots of recipes and helpful tips in The Good Food Book - it's FREE

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November 20th, 2011
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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