The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Low vitamin D levels lower the response to treatment of hepatitis C

    Liver-DamageResearchers from Italy report that low vitamin D is linked to severe fibrosis and a poor response to interferon treatment.

    First, the details.

    • 197 patients with biopsy-proven hepatitis C and 49 healthy individuals were studied.
    • 167 patients received treatment with pegylated interferon (Peg-Intron) + ribavirin (Copegus), the cornerstone of therapy for chronic hepatitis C.
    • Vitamin D (25[OH]D) blood levels were measured.
    • Liver enzymes (CYP27A1 and CYP2R1) were measured in 34 patients and 8 healthy individuals.

    And, the results.

    • Vitamin D levels were significantly lower in women and in the presence of necroinflammation — evidence of cell death.
    • Higher CYP27A1 levels, but not CYP2R1, were associated with higher levels of vitamin D, while lower levels of CYP27A1 were related to greater necroinflammation.
    • Low vitamin D levels, low cholesterol levels, older age, high ferritin (iron-containing protein), and necroinflammation were all independent predictors of severe fibrosis, which can lead to cirrhosis.
    • Hepatic steatosis (fatty tissue changes) and lower levels of vitamin D and cholesterol predicted that patients would not achieve a sustained response.

    The bottom line?

    After sifting through all the details, the authors concluded that low vitamin D is linked to severe fibrosis and low sustained response to interferon-based therapy.

    An earlier laboratory study reported that “vitamin D(2) possessed anti-hepatitis C virus activity in a cell culture system.” Those authors concluded that vitamin D should be considered to enhance the effects of interferon therapy. And this latest study supports that conclusion.

    12/26/09 21:26 JR

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