WHAT IS THE COIMBRA HIGH DOSE VITAMIN D PROTOCOL?
The Coimbra high dose vitamin D protocol was first pioneered by Dr. Cicero Galli Coimbra. Dr. Coimbra is a Brazilian Neurologist and professor at the Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil. The protocol treats a variety of autoimmune diseases throughout the world. Included are Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chron’s Disease among others.
BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE PROTOCOL
The basic tenet of the treatment hinges on Dr. Coimbra’s theory that people who suffer from autoimmune diseases have one thing in common. They all suffer from a genetic predisposition that therefore prevents them from making or metabolizing Vitamin D efficiently. Vitamin D3 is unique among vitamins working more like a hormone at the level of our DNA. Considered to be a steroid hormone, it regulates m at least 229 genes. It also controls thousands of other functions within the cells of our bodies. The immune system is particularly reliant on it.
The Dr. Coimbra protocol claims to have successfully suppressed disease activity in about 95% of those MS cases treated. Individually tailored doses of vitamin D3 are prescribed by protocol Doctors who are trained in application of the protocol. Other supplements such as magnesium and riboflavin (vitamin B2)are also recommended as these affect the bodies ability to absorb the vitamin D3.
The active form of vitamin D is the main regulator of the immune system. It keeps everything in check and running smoothly. Vitamin D is essential for function because it regulates normal bone mineralization and growth. It is also responsible for the maintenance of muscle strength and coordination, cardiovascular health, and robust and balanced immune function.Vitamin D to regulates somewhere between 200-300 genes in the human body. This is why lack of vitamin D has been linked to so many adverse health outcomes. A good analogy would be a car running without oil. Because without oil a car would eventually break down!
WHY ARE SUCH LARGE DOSES OF VITAMIN D NECESSARY?
The majority of patients with autoimmune diseases have an increased resistance to the effects of vitamin D. This resistance is mostly due to genetic polymorphisms. However, other factors such as body weight, body mass index, and age may play a part in this resistance. As a result patients with autoimmune disorders require higher levels of vitamin D to overcome this resistance. Adding doses of vitamin D3 orally allows the cells and tissues of the body function optimally.
HOW DOES THE COIMBRA PROTOCOL WORK?
To combat the lack of Vitamin D and to compensate for the inability to metabolize it efficiently Dr. Coimbra prescribes very large doses of Vitamin D. These doses are calculated based upon body weight initially (1000IU per KG). The doses are monitored by taking blood at regular intervals and adjusted accordingly. The first lot of bloods are taken prior to beginning the protocol. The second lot of bloods is taken after the patient has been taking the large doses of Vitamin D for 2-3 months. This period varies among the different protocol Doctors for a variety of reasons.
The objective is to reduce the level of Parathyroid hormone in the blood which essentially reveals whether the Vitamin D protocol is actually working. If the higher dose of Vitamin D is being effectively metabolized the levels of Parathyroid hormone will be reduced in the blood tests.
THE PARATHYROID HORMONE
EXPLAINED BY DR. COIMBRA
To quote Dr. Coimbra: “Vitamin D inhibits the production of PTH. So if I measure PTH before the patient starts taking vitamin D and then measure it again after two months, I can use the variation of PTH as a parameter of the biological response to the effects of vitamin D. This is precisely the factor used to adjust the doses of vitamin D. Since vitamin D inhibits the production of PTH, I raise the vitamin D levels until PTH reaches its lowest normal level.I adjust the dose of vitamin D according to the biological resistance to vitamin D that a person inherited genetically.
In other words, an individual may require a dose of vitamin D, for example, of 30,000 IU so that their PTH reaches the lower normal limit. Another person may need 100,000 IU for their PTH to achieve the same lower limit. Therefore, measuring the level of PTH for us is a way to adjust the dose of vitamin D to the individual needs of the patient.”
WHY IS A PARATHYROID HORMONE KEY IN THE COIMBRA PROTOCOL
The Parathyroid hormone, or parathormone, is a hormone released by the parathyroid glands. Vitamin D suppresses the PTH; consequently, as vitamin D levels go up, PTH levels go down. If PTH were completely suppressed completely, this would mean that vitamin D would be working at its maximum biological potential. Since PTH cannot be completely suppressed as it has its own job to do within the body, PTH levels are kept at its lowest normal limit for each individual. This is why monitoring by a qualified Coimbra Protocol Doctor is important. When PTH levels are at a minimum, the optimal biological use of vitamin D Has been achieved for that individual. This is regardless of the reason why he has experienced resistance.
As well as the Vitamin D, Dr. Coimbra prescribes a regimen of Vitamins and minerals. It varies slightly from one patient to another but on the whole the list contains: vitamin B2, magnesium, boron, chromium picolate, Omega 3 DHA, Zinc, B12 , Choline, folic acid and more. The B2, for instance is instrumental in helping the body to absorb the Vitamin D.
Finally Dr. Coimbra advocates a stress free lifestyle and a positive attitude. Meditation and peace of mind are paramount in promoting healing.
DOES THE VITAMIN D PROTOCOL WORK FOR EVERYONE?
Dr. Coimbra claims success in stopping progression of the disease in 95% of patients with which is astounding! With Crohn’s disease he has had 100% success rate. Fatigue symptoms with MS start to decline after 1 month and continue to improve after that. It takes approximately 7 – 9 months of taking the vitamin D to to reach a dose optimal enough to stop progression.
LONG TERM RESULTS
For many people things continue to improve long term. Generally one can expect that 1 year of MS progression will revert to the mobility level prior to that. So whatever your mobility is 1 year prior to beginning the protocol, you can expect the clock to be turned back to that date. Some people have enjoyed even more phenomenal results. No one person with MS is ever exactly the same. Because every one has their very own specific version of the disease and consequently their improvements will vary. Therefore ultimately the goal is to stop progression and this happens for 95% of people who embark upon the protocol.
HOW THE TREATMENT CAME INTO BEING
Dr. Coimbra started his post doctorate program at the University of Lund, Sweden. This involved testing potential treatments for ischemic brain damage in rats. His Academic approach demanded that he be fully up to date with current and ongoing research in the area of clinical neuroscience.Consequently he realised that therapeutic progresses achieved in clinical and experimental research were very rarely applied to clinical practice. Despite solid data the these practices were not part of the curriculum in Medical Schools.
Inspired by a significant number of published papers extolling the effects of vitamin D on the immune system, Dr. Coimbra identified the important immuno-regulatory role of this powerful substance. He came to the conclusion that vitamin D could be a fundamental therapeutic application for the treatment of Autoimmune Diseases as it stimulates regenerative substances in the brain.
PHYSICAL DOSES WERE FIRST ADMINISTERED IN 2001
In 2001 Dr. Coimbra began by administering vitamin D in doses of 10,000IU to patients suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. This is the equivalent of about 20 minutes in the sun for a fair skinned person.
Dr. Coimbra observed that one particular patient who also suffered from Vitiligo (another autoimmune disease) on attending a 3-month follow up appointment had achieved unexpected healing. A big lesion on his face, prominent on his initial visit was now barely visible.
REMARKABLE CLINICAL IMPROVEMENTS IN HIS PATIENTS
Encouraged by this early success he began prescribing Vitamin D to MS patients (determining that MS is the most common Autoimmune Disease). To begin he began by using doses of 10,000IU’s of vitamin D3. Rewarded with astonishment at the remarkable clinical improvements in his patients, he continued to increase doses. He used laboratory tests to determine results and to ensure that his patients did not experience adverse side effects. The results showed that many of these patients found themselves completely released from the symptoms and manifestations of the disease.
For the next 10 years Dr. Coimbra experimented with doses and modifications until he had perfected the treatment that is know known as the Coimbra protocol. It has remained much the same since 2012.
MONITORING BY A COIMBRA PROTOCOL DOCTOR IS ESSENTIAL
It is highly recommended that a Coimbra trained doctor oversees your care while on this protocol. See a list of Worldwide Doctors here. This therapeutic approach relies on doses of vitamin D that range from 40,000 IU to 300,000 IU per day. Supervision of very high doses by a qualified doctor is paramount. Regular blood tests will ensure that you are responding to the treatment. Blood tests evaluate whether you are receiving the correct dose for your body and are adjusted accordingly. Monitoring bloods also ensures that your calcium levels are within a safe range.
DIET AND WATER CONSUMPTION
It is important to avoid foods containing dairy, because it is high in calcium. Nuts and seeds are restricted for the same reason.
Besides that the protocol requires drinking a minimum of 2.5 liters of water per day to flush your body and also to protect your kidneys. 2.5 liters [85 ounces] of fluids, preferably water should be consumed daily to avoid excessive concentration of calcium in the urine. To quote Dr. Coimbra “Ingest high amounts of liquids (at least 2 and a half liters of liquids daily, including water, juices, soft drinks, teas, etc.)” Higher volumes of liquids assures a urine volume around 2.000 ml. This avoids an excessive concentration of calcium in the urine because the extra Liquids dilute it. It also helps to preserve kidney function.
Alcohol must be kept to a minimum. One to two glasses a week is OK, but, alcohol in larger volumes, has been shown to inhibit the added vitamin D from working effectively.
ADVISED INFORMATION RESOURCES
An excellent book to read (which I myself read to acquaint myself with this protocol) is:
This is a quick and easy read and explains the protocol very succinctly as well as providing accounts of others who have experienced success with the protocol. Some of these peoples stories are astounding and very inspiring. I highly recommend this book.