The Great D-bate
There has been much ado about Vitamin D over the last few years. Indisputably, Vitamin D is essential for absorption of calcium from the intestines. But how much is enough? Why do some of us need to take Vitamin D supplements when we already make it in our own bodies? How much is too much? What can happen if we consume too much Vitamin D? There in the debate continues.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, made in the skin from the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol by ultraviolet light. It travels to the liver through the blood stream where it is converted to 25-hydroxy-vitamin D, and then to the kidneys where it is converted to 1, 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (with the help of parathyroid hormone, but more on that later.) It is now works on the intestines and kidneys to increase the absorption of calcium and phosphate. Calcium is important for the normal functioning of muscles (such as the heart) and nerves. If your body isn’t getting enough calcium, it will shift it away from new bone formation. This can lead to Ricketts in children and Osteoporosis in adults.
Vitamin D has become somewhat controversial over the last few years. A sometimes lively debate has ensued over associations with certain diseases, and even what constitutes a “normal” level. The dust appears to be settling around a “normal” range of 30 to 100 nanograms per milliliter. Researchers have identified a number of medical issues associated with low Vitamin D levels. In fact, it almost seems to be that there is a new study published on Vitamin D every week! Low Vitamin D may be associated with Excess Weight, Diabetes, Cardiac Artery Disease, Depression, Colon Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and Multiple Sclerosis. Now it is important to point out that “associated with” does not mean the same as “causes.” It does however give one food for thought – umm, so to speak.