Published on July 2, 2021

Video Friday: Dr. Renu Mahtani explains part of the Coimbra Protocol for the treatment and management of autoimmune disorders with vitamin D

It’s Video Friday! Today’s video is presented by Dr. Renu Mahtani, MD, FMNM, founder of the Autoimmunity Treatment Centre.

In this video she covers key points of using vitamin D therapy as a treatment for autoimmune disorders, a major part of the Coimbra Protocol. Please take a moment to watch and share the video along with the detailed information below.

NOTE: Using high dose vitamin D as a treatment for disease is an option that can be considered and monitored along with the help of a qualified health care provider.

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After watching the video, be sure to make note of our added details below. A transcript of this video has been posted here.

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Vitamin D: THE Immunomodulator

Here is a quick summary of what this video discusses, along with additional information and details about vitamin D and its important co-factors:

Vitamin D Regulates the Immune System

  • The immune system relies on vitamin D in many ways. It is an “intelligent” molecule, and as Dr. Mahtani explains, it knows what to do and where in order to address the root cause of disease

Autoimmunity = Misdirected Immune Response

  • Autoimmune disease happen when our own immune system begins attacking our own cells. Examples of autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis (affecting the myelin, a substance that protects nerve cells), type 1 diabetes (which affects cells of the pancreas), celiac disease (affecting the small intestine), and granuloma annulare (an autoimmune disease affecting the skin)
  • The mechanism of autoimmune diseases is the same no matter what organ or organ system is involved
  • Conventional therapies and drugs suppress manifestations but do not correct root cause, which is a misdirected immune response
  • Immune cells involved in autoimmunity are mainly T regulatory cells and Th17 cells. Vitamin D helps by increasing T reg cells (which are anti-inflammatory) and decreasing Th17 cells (which are pro-inflammatory).
  • Correcting vitamin D deficiency or overcoming vitamin D resistance is KEY in addressing autoimmune disorders

The Coimbra Protocol, by Dr. Coimbra, a Neurologist in Brazil

  • Based on the idea that higher levels of vitamin D are needed on a daily basis for these conditions in order to compensate for the resistance to the effects of vitamin D
  • The individual requirements for vitamin D vary based on the degree of vitamin D resistance; this can be assessed by measuring levels of vitamin D, parathyroid hormone (PTH), and ionized calcium (the amount of calcium that is available in the body)
  • Vitamin D and PTH work in balance to regulate calcium in the blood; here, vitamin D therapy is used to bring PTH down to its lower limit to show that the effects of vitamin D are working

Is Vitamin D Toxicity a Concern?

  • According to a Mayo Clinic publication – “There is enough evidence that vitamin D toxicity is one of the rarest medical conditions and is typically due to intentional or inadvertent intake of extremely high doses of vitamin D (usually in the range of >50,000 – 100,000 IU/day for months to years) without monitoring for hypercalcemia”
  • Toxicity can occur when calcium levels are too high; ionized calcium can be measured to make sure calcium levels do not go above the upper limit
  • The Coimbra Protocol is very strict about the management of dietary calcium to help minimize chances of toxicity
  • A study by Hathcock et al. showed that elevated levels of 25(OH)D do not correlate with clinical vitamin D toxicity; blood levels above 100 or 150 ng/ml alone do not mean vitamin D toxicity
  • To help avoid toxicity, the Coimbra Protocol includes the following: monitor levels of PTH and ionized calcium, balance vitamin D with magnesium and vitamin K2 intake, drink lots of water to maintain hydration, limit dietary calcium intake, and exercise to help keep bones strong
  • Magnesium is a crucial cofactor of vitamin D, and is involved in the synthesis of PTH and in the conversion of vitamin D to 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D. Ensuring adequate intake of magnesium is essential, especially when supplementing with vitamin D. Studies have shown that poor magnesium status potentially impairs vitamin D metabolism enough to limit the parathyroid hormone (PTH) response, and an existing magnesium deficiency may result in a vitamin D level that does not increase as much as expected in response to vitamin D supplementation.
  • Vitamin K2 acts like traffic police for calcium, prevents calcium deposits in blood vessels and tissues and puts it into the bones

Successful Treatment of Autoimmune Disorders with the Coimbra Protocol

  • Permanent remission of autoimmune diseases with vitamin D is seen in about 60-70% patients, while the rest get partial relief and/or control of progression and reoccurrences (due to factors including stress)
  • The use of vitamin D as a treatment should be monitored. Visit the Coimbra website for more information or to find a qualified healthcare provider.

Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Vitamin D and Other Important Nutrients

Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Choose which to measure, such as your vitamin D, omega-3s, and essential minerals including magnesium and zinc, by creating your custom home test kit today. Take steps to improve the status of each of these measurements to benefit your overall health. You can also track your own intakes, symptoms and results to see what works best for YOU.

Enroll and test your levels today, learn what steps to take to improve your status of vitamin D (see below) and other nutrients and blood markers, and take action! By enrolling in the GrassrootsHealth projects, you are not only contributing valuable information to everyone, you are also gaining knowledge about how you could improve your own health through measuring and tracking your nutrient status, and educating yourself on how to improve it.

Help everyone Move Research into Practice with vitamin D and other nutrients! As a special birthday gift to everyone, in honor of the science, we have created a special scholarship fund for anyone to donate to that will go towards helping others participate. Your donation will allow anyone to get help with funding their participation when they need it.

Text-to-give: Text Daction to 44321 to add to our Scholarship Fund.

What Does it Take YOU to Get Your D to 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)?

Did you know your health could be greatly affected by making sure you have a vitamin D level of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L)? Help us help you.

STEP 1 - Do you know what your vitamin D level is? If not, be sure to test today to find out.

STEP 2 – Determine your target level. Are you at your target level? Experts recommend a level of at least 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L).

STEP 3 – Need to boost your level? Use the D*calculator to see how much vitamin D it may take to reach your target. Opt for the Loading Dose for a quicker boost.

STEP 4 – Optimize how your body absorbs and utilizes vitamin D with co-nutrients and these simple steps.

STEP 5 – Re-Test! This is an important step to make sure you have reached your target level, and to ensure you are not taking too much! Re-testing after 3-4 months is recommended.

STEP 6 – Adjust, Repeat…

Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases, especially COVID-19.


The first Randomized Controlled Trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown a 96% lower risk of ICU admission for those receiving vitamin D (as 25(OH)D to quickly boost vitamin D blood levels) along with the standard treatment, compared to those receiving standard treatment alone.

These results support many previous observational studies showing a relationship between vitamin D levels and intake and COVID-19 severity.

Review the Latest Nutrient Research for COVID-19

GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute has launched the new Immune Boost project with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that nearly 15,000 people are already using for their health. Specific markers that influence immune health are suggested for testing as part of this project including:

  • Vitamin D
  • Omega-3 Index
  • Essential elements magnesium, selenium, and zinc
  • hsCRP

Our goal is to demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to show the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction for all ethnicities in the population. Status and intake of other nutrients will also be analyzed for any type of relationship to immune status and symptom severity. Join the project today!

Please let us know if you're interested in helping sponsor this project.

CLICK HERE for updates and new information about the project.

Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.

Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!

Click Here to Access the Test Page

How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?

To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called

For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details.  This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!