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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Did you know: Statins raise vitamin D levels

Statins are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Their use has expanded into many areas such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is cholesterol that drives the statin market. The US market for statins nearly tripled when the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) revised its guidelines to recommend statins as primary prevention. Although the NCEP panel cited randomized trials to support statin therapy for primary prevention of occlusive cardiovascular disease, a report in Lancet questioned the conclusion.

Abramson J, Wright J (2007). “Are lipid-lowering guidelines evidence-based?” Lancet 369 (9557): 168–9.

Journalists have also questioned the interests of the doctors who made the NCEP recommendations, as 8 of the 9 doctors on the NCEP panel were discovered to have been paid by statin manufacturers. Pfizer’s Lipitor was the world’s top-selling medicine last year, with sales of $13.3 billion. AstraZeneca’s Crestor, which made $5.38 billion in sales during 2009, is one of the company’s bestselling medicines.

The Telegraph. Statins: the drug firms’ goldmine.

How do statins work? We know they inhibit an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol. However, if that is their mechanism of action, why didn’t the five previous classes of lipid lowering drugs work? Maybe the stains work in another way, one shown repeatedly in scientific trials. That is, perhaps statins raise vitamin D levels. I count eight studies that looked at the issue:

Lovastatin (Mevacor, Altocor, Altoprev):

Simvastatin (Zocor, Lipex):

Rosuvastatin (Crestor)

Atorvastatin (Lipitor)

All but one of the eight studies shows the same thing: statins raise vitamin D levels. Is that there true mechanism of action?

  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.