Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Vitamin D Newsletter

Vitamin D Newsletter
April 24, 2012
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Vitamin D Council

April 24th , 2012

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Correction of vitamin D deficiency improves seizure control in epilepsy
April 18, 2012 -- Brant Cebulla
Correction of vitamin D deficiency could help control seizures in epilepsy, according to a recently published study by a group of researchers in Hungary.

Holló A, Clemens Z, Kamondi A, Lakatos P, Szűcs A. Correction of vitamin D deficiency improves seizure control in epilepsy: A pilot study. Epilepsy and Behavior. 2012 Apr 11.

Lead investigator András Holló and company measured baseline levels of vitamin D in 13 subjects. Ten of the subjects had localization-related epilepsy, two had Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and one subject was diagnosed with idiopathic generalized epilepsy. The subjects’ ages ranged between 19-60 years and had epilepsy from 10 to 42 years. Median serum levels at baseline were 11.8 ng/ml, ranging from less than 4 ng/ml to 34.2 ng/ml. Eight of the patients had levels less than 12 ng/ml.

The investigators corrected deficiency in all 13 subjects by administering a one-time 40,000-200,000 IU dose of vitamin D3 to treat deficiency, and then administering a 2,000-2,600 IU daily dose of vitamin D3 for 3 months. The aim of treatment was to raise levels above 30 ng/ml. After a three month follow-up, the median 25(OH)D level was 38 ng/ml, ranging from 23.3-45 ng/ml.

They compared the number of seizures in this 3 month period with the 3 month period beforehand. The results were as follows:

  •     10 of the 13 subjects exhibited a decrease in number of seizures
  •     2 of the 13 subjects exhibited an increase in number of seizures
  •     One of the subjects had exactly the same number of seizures
  •     Overall, there was a median seizure number reduction of 40%, and this was statistically significant (p=.04)
  •     A seizure reduction of greater than 50% was experienced in five patients
  •     In the subject who started with a level less than 4 ng/ml and raised their level to 43.1 ng/ml, they experienced a reduction in number of seizures from 450 to 30 over three month intervals
The authors offered no mechanistic explanation for the results. They did point out that vitamin D receptors and enzyme activators are present in the brain. In the patient who had a level lower than 4 ng/ml and 450 seizures in three months, you can’t help but speculate that low serum calcium may have played a role in that subject’s seizure frequency.

Study limitations include small number of patients and lack of a placebo to compare to. This study certainly warrants a randomized controlled trial, and it also highlights the importance of correcting vitamin D deficiency in epilepsy patients. There is no harm in treating vitamin D deficiency, and this pilot study shows that epilepsy patients could be much better off with a simple maintenance dose of vitamin D.

The Vitamin D Council recommends a maintenance dose of 5,000 IU/day for adults and 1,000 IU/day for every 25lbs of body weight in children to sustain vitamin D sufficiency.

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Study shows link between vitamin D levels and risk of developing pre-eclampsia
April 17, 2012 -- John Cannell, MD

Dr Cannell reviews new research conducted by Dr. Shu Qin Wei and colleagues which shows a relationship between vitamin D levels in the third trimester of pregnancy and risk of developing pre-eclampsia, an inflammatory disorder responsible for 25% of all deaths of pregnant women. Continue reading (membership required)

Vitamin D for infants
April 20, 2012 -- John Cannell, MD

Dr. Cannell reviews a study from a Polish group that examine if the 400 IU daily vitamin D recommendation for infants is adequate. Continue reading (membership required)

Dietary vitamin D intake and sun exposure linked to lower risk of Alzhiemer's in France
April 23, 2012 -- Dr William Grant

Dr Grant reviews a recent study showing an association between vitamin D status and risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading (open access)

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