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VDR agonists, Vitamin D, and the Marshall Protocol

by (787)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 7:18 PM
Created February 05, 2011 at 7:40 PM

So, I'm thoroughly confused now. I've been reading up on biofilms, auto-immune diseases, and the Marshall Protocol. The Marshall camp suggests that Vitamin D supplementation, while being extremely effective in the short term, will likely be detrimental in the long term because it impairs the function/activity of the vitamin D receptor. Like taking a conventional corticosteroid, it can dramatically reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system - but greatly increases the chance and severity of relapse in the long run.

They suggest low dose, pulsed antibiotics to destroy low-grade biofilm bacterial infections, and the vitamin D receptor agonist "olmesartan" to promote vitamin D activity while also remedying vitamin D metabolism (for serious "chronic inflammatory diseases", as they define them). The protocol seems to be supported by very little documented empirical evidence, but does have intriguing anecdotal and circumstantial support.

http://mpkb.org/home/pathogenesis#vitamin_d

http://mpkb.org/home/pathogenesis/th1spectrum

What concerns me most is their critique of vitamin D supplementation. Among other charges, they suggest that Vitamin D studies are flawed by their short term focus, that many populations with low vitamin D levels nonetheless show high vitamin D "activity" and are healthy in terms of chronic disease incidence, and that both observational and interventional studies on vitamin D have had wildly inconsistent results. On a more emotionally charged note, levels of vitamin D in breastmilk are very low, despite supplementation in pregnant women.

So what gives? I was hoping the community had already grappled with this, but I couldn't find anything terribly relevant when searching. Can some people smarter than me please explain?

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415 · January 18, 2013 at 7:41 PM

@j3wcy I know what the article said but in our modern age, low levels are more likely to be a result of inadequate of sun exposure. There have been prospective studies where low vitamin d levels in healthy people we associated with disease later in life suggesting that low levels came before the disease. There have also been controlled trials where d supplementation prevented disease.

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4703 · January 18, 2013 at 12:07 AM

"What matters ultimately is what happens in practice. People with higher 25(OH)D levels live longest." Yes, but there's a level at which mortality rates increase. I believe around 100. I think the unqualified statement is misleading.

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4703 · January 18, 2013 at 12:05 AM

@Lazza I agree, I'd go with sunshine if I had the option. I do supplement with FCLO, but I believe that ot be a food.

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4703 · January 18, 2013 at 12:03 AM

@RawNut you should probably read the article before you comment. He doesn't advocate having low vit d levels, just that having low vit d is likely a symptom not a cause, much the way many people on this site view blood lipid numbers. He also states there are situations in which he does believe you should supplement.

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2496 · January 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Very interesting article. My only thought wrt vitamin D: can supplementation achieve the same health benefit as getting vitamin D through natural means (certain foods, sunshine)? I fear taking daily high doses of vitamin D supplements might in some way not be so beneficial. I don't have so much concern if vitamin D is obtained through careful exposure to the sun.

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415 · January 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I don't think low vitamin d levels are natural considering wild apes and construction workers have blood levels of 40 - 60 ng/mL. If your levels are low because you're sick, or because you wear clothes and are indoors most of the time, they are still low and you'd be better off supplementing.

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19220 · February 05, 2011 at 9:18 PM

You can't go around letting facts get in the way of a good hypothesis :)

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19220 · February 05, 2011 at 9:08 PM

The long term low dose antibiotic treatment sounds like a great way to produce antibiotic resistant bacteria.

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787 · February 05, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Thanks for your thoughts... mine are pretty congruent. Though from what I understand, they low dose, pulsed antibiotics are a one time thing. Their protocol itself doesn't concern me as much as the general critique of vitamin D supplementation. Really, this just continues to drive home the point for me that supplementation of any kind is always inferior to getting nutrients straight from your diet.

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2544 · February 05, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Not to mention the fact that those with better D levels live longer than those who don't.... which pretty much throws alot about his theory out the window.

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5 Answers

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9
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2544 · February 05, 2011 at 8:52 PM

Found this on another forum... not my answer but someone elses

Mercola has done reasonable job of explaining why the Marshall Protocol doesn't work. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/03/14/Clearing-Up-Confusion-on-Vitamin-D--Why-I-Dont-Recommend-the-Marshall-Protocol.aspx)

Mark London's refutation of the Marshall protocol. (http://stuff.mit.edu/people/london/universe.htm) the study a 2009 study has shown just the opposite, that 25(OH)D has agonistic activities similar to that of 1,25(OH)2D: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19944755)

Marshall claims Vitamin D blocks the Vitamin D receptor, in fact the above paper shows calcidiol works in synergy with Calcitriol.

We see the same effect with curcumin Curcumin: a novel nutritionally derived ligand of the vitamin D receptor with implications for colon cancer chemoprevention. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20153625) there's other research I can list that supports similar action in other conditions. (cancer Alzheimer's)

What matters ultimately is what happens in practice. People with higher 25(OH)D levels live longest. If Marshall was right all the evidence would prove that those with lowest D3 levels were the healthiest. As they aren't it's not worth wasting time on his theory. Ron_Mocci

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4703 · January 18, 2013 at 12:07 AM

"What matters ultimately is what happens in practice. People with higher 25(OH)D levels live longest." Yes, but there's a level at which mortality rates increase. I believe around 100. I think the unqualified statement is misleading.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · February 05, 2011 at 9:18 PM

You can't go around letting facts get in the way of a good hypothesis :)

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2544 · February 05, 2011 at 8:38 PM

I was intrigued by the Marhshall protocol once too, but the more I looked into it the more they seemed like a cult. Like the the fact that Vitamin D studies have been short term, they equally have no evidence to support the long term assumptions of there theories. Likewise, I am sorry but I have huge skepticism for anyone that prescribes a long term prescription for antibiotics .. and then not even acknowledge the damage that such a use would do to the body and the immune system via destruction of commensal flora.

I have read success and some people who have had absolutely no success with it. Moreover, I just really don't understand how basically denying your body a key nutrient it needs to function gets you any better.

The only thing that I think is worth really considering with the Marshall Protocol is the idea that supplementing with Vitamin D could weaken our own Vitamin D receptors, much in the way that supplementing with hormones weakens our own bodies production of it.

But again.. what about those tribes that ate Vitamin D rich fish? Does getting D from a dietary source weaken your own bodies receptors?

I think his research brings up alot of important questions but the problem is that he throws them into a patened protocol and calls it good, and anyone who is a naysayer is pretty much attacked and cast out.

I thought Charles Washington was a nut over at ZIOH but damn then I saw Amy Proal and Trevor Marshall and they really give those guys at ZIOH a run for their money.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb
19220 · February 05, 2011 at 9:08 PM

The long term low dose antibiotic treatment sounds like a great way to produce antibiotic resistant bacteria.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7
787 · February 05, 2011 at 8:56 PM

Thanks for your thoughts... mine are pretty congruent. Though from what I understand, they low dose, pulsed antibiotics are a one time thing. Their protocol itself doesn't concern me as much as the general critique of vitamin D supplementation. Really, this just continues to drive home the point for me that supplementation of any kind is always inferior to getting nutrients straight from your diet.

Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9
2544 · February 05, 2011 at 8:45 PM

Not to mention the fact that those with better D levels live longer than those who don't.... which pretty much throws alot about his theory out the window.

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10 · January 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Interresting article.

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10 · July 29, 2011 at 4:18 PM

I think you also need to consider evolutionary history. We evolved to receive a full daily complement of Vitamin D with about 30 minutes of full sun exposure and this in a time when we were outside most if not all day. The point being, anything less than at least 30 minutes of full body sun exposure is likely to put you at a selective disadvantage. That works out to around 10,000IU / day. The idea that we don't need Vitamin D completely denies evolution.

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4703 · January 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Not that I'm supporting the Marshall Protocol, but I believe this is a thought provoking read on why supplementing vit d may not be advantageous in certain cases: http://gettingstronger.org/2012/11/why-i-dont-take-vitamin-d-supplements/

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3
415 · January 18, 2013 at 7:41 PM

@j3wcy I know what the article said but in our modern age, low levels are more likely to be a result of inadequate of sun exposure. There have been prospective studies where low vitamin d levels in healthy people we associated with disease later in life suggesting that low levels came before the disease. There have also been controlled trials where d supplementation prevented disease.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · January 18, 2013 at 12:05 AM

@Lazza I agree, I'd go with sunshine if I had the option. I do supplement with FCLO, but I believe that ot be a food.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a
4703 · January 18, 2013 at 12:03 AM

@RawNut you should probably read the article before you comment. He doesn't advocate having low vit d levels, just that having low vit d is likely a symptom not a cause, much the way many people on this site view blood lipid numbers. He also states there are situations in which he does believe you should supplement.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac
2496 · January 17, 2013 at 6:17 PM

Very interesting article. My only thought wrt vitamin D: can supplementation achieve the same health benefit as getting vitamin D through natural means (certain foods, sunshine)? I fear taking daily high doses of vitamin D supplements might in some way not be so beneficial. I don't have so much concern if vitamin D is obtained through careful exposure to the sun.

141171c0810650168d82601d85cfa5a3
415 · January 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I don't think low vitamin d levels are natural considering wild apes and construction workers have blood levels of 40 - 60 ng/mL. If your levels are low because you're sick, or because you wear clothes and are indoors most of the time, they are still low and you'd be better off supplementing.

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