Tag Archives: Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D for Coronavirus … and Much More

Results from a recent data review by English scientists link COVID-19 incidence and deaths across Europe to Vitamin D deficiency. A good blood serum level of Vitamin D is needed for healthy immune functioning – including fighting off Coronavirus-19. Unfortunately, most of us are severely Vitamin D deficient.

“When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.” So you might want to rethink using sunscreen. “…Some studies estimate that sunscreen of SPF 30 or more reduces vitamin D production in the body by about 95–98%.” (Raman, 2018)

There are also dietary sources of Vitamin D: Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolks, cheeses, butter, shiitake and button mushrooms, sunflower seeds and sprouts, and high quality supplements.

MOST OF US ARE VITAMIN D DEFICIENT

An adequate blood serum level Vitamin D is vitally important for healthy immune functioning. Unfortunately, most of us are severely Vitamin D deficient.

Unlike other vitamins the body needs, Vitamin D functions like a hormone, “and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it.” (Spritzler, 2018)

Having a sufficient Vitamin D blood level is essential for maintaining good health and preventing a wide range of autoimmune and neurological diseases: Type 1 and 2 diabetes, asthma, allergies, cancer, Alzheimer’s, MS, susceptibility to infection (including viral respiratory infections) among them. (Hardin, 8/28/2015)

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. It’s estimated that about 1 billion people worldwide have low levels of the vitamin in their blood. According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans. (Spritzler, 2018)

This widespread Vitamin D deficiency is likely contributing to the incidence of Coronavirus-19 and the number of deaths from COVID-19.

COMMON RISK FACTORS FOR VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

  • Having dark skin
  • Being elderly
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Not eating enough fish or dairy
  • Living far from the equator where there is little sun year-round
  • Always using sunscreen when going out
  • Staying indoors

– Spritzler, 2018


SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

  1. Often becoming ill, especially with colds or flu: A prime role for Vitamin D is keeping your immune system strong so you’re able to fight off viruses and bacteria that cause illness. Vitamin D interacts directly with the cells responsible for fighting infection.
  2. Excessive fatigue or tiredness: Low Vitamin D blood levels can cause fatigue. “A large observational study looked at the relationship between vitamin D and fatigue in young women. The study found that women with blood levels lower than 20 ng/ml or 21–29 ng/ml were more likely to complain of fatigue than those with blood levels over 30 ng/ml.”
  3. Bone and back pain: A study found a relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and chronic back pain in 9,000 older women. Another controlled study found that people deficient in D were nearly twice as likely to have bone pain in their legs, joints or ribs compared to people with normal range blood levels.
  4. Depression: Controlled studies have shown that giving Vitamin D to people who are deficient helps improve depressed mood, including Seasonal Affective Depression.
  5. Impaired wound healing: Vitamin D plays a role in controlling inflammation and fighting infections, both important for proper wound healing. A test tube study suggested that Vitamin D increases the production of compounds crucial for forming new skin during the wound healing process. In an analysis of patients with diabetic foot infections, those with severe D deficiency were more likely to have higher levels of inflammatory markers.
  6. Bone loss: Low bone mineral density may be a sign of Vitamin D deficiency. Getting adequate D is important for preserving bone mass as you age.
  7. Hair loss: Hair loss is often attributed to stress but D deficiency may also be a cause. Alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss from the head and other parts of the body, is associated with rickets, a disease that causes soft bones in children due to Vitamin D deficiency.
  8. Muscle pain: Muscle pain can have many causes. There is evidence that D deficiency may be a potential cause of muscle pain in children and adults. In a study of 120 children with Vitamin D deficiency who had growing pains, a single dose of Vitamin D reduced pain scores an average of 57%.

– Spritzler, 2018

COVID-19 INFECTION & DEATHS LINKED TO VITAMIN D3 DEFICIENCY

A few weeks ago, three medical researchers in East Anglia, England pre-published their data review testing the hypothesis that Vitamin D3 plays a protective role for SARS-Cov2 infections. They note that “previous studies identified associations between higher levels of ACE2 and better coronavirus disease health outcomes. In the lung, ACE2 protects against acute lung injury…. Vitamin D3 … pronouncedly (creates) enhanced expression of ACE2.”

Source: VitaminDWiki

“The primary aims of this study are to assess if there is any association between the mean levels of vitamin D in various countries and the mortality caused by COVID–19. The secondary aim was to identify if there is any association between the mean vitamin D levels in various countries and the number of cases of COVID–19.”

To limit confounding biases (eg, latitude), they focused on 20 European countries hit by Coronavirus-19. The researchers searched the health literature for the mean levels of vitamin D among the citizens in each country. Then they compared those figures with the numbers of COVID-19 deaths in each country as of 20 March 2020.

The researchers defined severe Vitamin D deficiency as a serum blood level lower than 30 nmol/L. (30 nmol/L = 12 ng/mL – ie, a very serious deficiency. Charts I’ve seen show the deficiency cut off at somewhere between 30-50 ng/mL so 12 ng/mL is very serious.)

The data demonstrated very significant correlations between the mean Vitamin D levels and the number of cases of COVID–19 in each country – as well as between the mean Vitamin D levels and the number of deaths caused by COVID-19 in each country. People with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were significantly more likely to die from COVID-19 than people with adequate levels.

The scientists note that “Vitamin D levels are severely low in the aging population especially in Spain, Italy and Switzerland. This is also the most vulnerable group of population for COVID-19.”

Their conclusions: “We believe, that we can advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection.”

– Illie, Stefanescu & Smith, 4/202020

You can see a pre-print of the paper on Research Square.

This 4 March 2020 MedCram Lecture video by pulmonologist Roger D. Seheult, MD on Vitamin D3 for Coronavirus-19 prevention is for those of you who want more technical information

RECOMMENDED VITAMIN D INTAKE & BLOOD LEVELS HAVE BEEN TOO LOW

The major circulating form of Vitamin D is considered to be 25-hydroxyvitamin D, measured in ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter). This blood test is currently considered the best indicator of the body’s Vitamin D supply. The reference range for the 25 Hydroxy D Test (also known as 25 (OH)D) is 25-80 ng/mL. (Nguyen 11/20/2019)

There’s Evidence These Vitamin D Blood Level Interpretations Are Too Low for Maintaining Good Health

Many scientists have long argued that setting 30 ng/mL as the dividing line between Vitamin D deficiency and adequacy (as in the commonly used chart above) has been dangerously incorrect. And now the Coronavirus-19 pandemic is apparently proving them correct.

This Chart Reflects the Vitamin D Blood Levels Needed for Good Health

Source: Angel Mobile Health Services

From an article on Vitamin D and Health by Dairy Nutrition:

“The evidence to date, largely from systematic reviews, indicates that higher levels of serum 25(OH)D may significantly reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. 

“Research also indicates that increased levels of 25(OH)D are associated with higher bone mineral content in older children and adolescents (6 to 18 years) and higher bone mineral content and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women and elderly men. 

In some studies, higher vitamin D levels are also associated with beneficial immunologic outcomes, such as reduction in risk of acute lower respiratory tract infections. In addition, vitamin D appears to reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis and is likely beneficial in its treatment.” (Dairy Nutrition, undated)

Source: Afro-American Newspapers

From a publication of the Mayo Clinic in 2017:

“The Institute of Medicine has placed the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for vitamin D at 600 international units (IU) per day for young adults and 800 IU per day for adults older than 70. Other experts suggest that adults’ vitamin D needs are much higher.” (Torborg, 4/25/2017)

Source: Multiple Sclerosis Research Blog

A recent recap by Dr Joseph Mercola on the importance of Vitamin D and the dangers of a deficiency. (This particular article is about Vitamin D and sleep):

  • Vitamin D deficiency has become epidemic in many parts of the world as we’ve been taught to avoid the sun. Lower vitamin D levels have produced two unexpected consequences: poor sleep and a dangerous change in the intestinal microbiome.
  • Vitamin D is needed to produce acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps you get into the deeper, healing phases of sleep, and controls your normal paralysis during deep sleep
  • Certain B vitamins also play an important role in sleep. For example, B5 — pantothenic acid — makes coenzyme A, which you use to make acetylcholine.
  • If you’re healthy you have four types of gut bacteria living inside you. Those bacteria need your vitamin D to grow properly, and in return they make eight B vitamins that you need. Without enough vitamin D the healthy bacteria are replaced by others that don’t require vitamin D but are unable to make the B vitamins that you need to sleep normally.
  • Ideally, you need to normalize your gut microbiome so that your gut bacteria make all the B vitamins your body and brain need.
  • To normalize your gut microbiome, maintain a vitamin D level over 40 ng/mL and take B50 or B100 (all eight B’s at 100 mg each) for three months (Mercola, 3/1/2020).

Source: The Endocrine Society

Given the current Coronavirus-19 pandemic and also the very high incidence of other diseases influenced by a Vitamin D deficiency, it would be wise to get a 25-hydroxyvitamin to learn your actual blood serum level. If your score is below 50 ng/mL – or you have warning signs of a Vitamin D deficiency, you might want to take a high quality, bio-available Vitamin D3 supplement daily.

SUPPLEMENTAL VITAMIN D3 DOSAGE RECOMMENDATIONS

“Vitamin D3 ensures that calcium is absorbed easily and K2 (MK-7) activates the protein, osteocalcin, which integrates calcium into bone. Without D3 and K2, calcium cannot do its job effectively. Vitamin K2 (MK-7) activates matrix GLA protein (MGP) to bind excess calcium and promote arterial flow and flexibility.” (Better You, 2020)

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium, regulates bone growth and is important for immune function. It exists in two main forms: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol – from plants) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol – from animals). The skin produces D3 when exposed to sunlight but it’s hard for those of us living farther from the equator to get adequate sun exposure – especially when we use sun screen and cover our skin with clothing.

Ask your doctor to do a 25-hydroxyvitamin test to learn your actual blood serum level. Based on the studies and recommendations above, if your score is below 50 ng/mL – or you have warning signs of a Vitamin D deficiency, you’d be wise to take a high quality, bio-available Vitamin D3 supplement daily for a few months then do a retest. If your repeat test level is 50 ng/mL or higher, you’re probably getting enough D3.

Dr. Joan Lappe and her colleagues looked prospectively at more than 400 postmenopausal women over a four-year period of time. Women in the study group were given 1100 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium daily. The control group did not receive this. Results: Women who took the vitamin D and calcium reduced their rate of cancer by 60%. The authors found that for every 10 ng/ml increase in a woman’s vitamin D blood level, the relative risk of cancer dropped by 35%.”

THE VITAMIN D3 SUPPLEMENT I TAKE

On the recommendation of my Functional Medicine health care providers, and consistent with research I’ve read, I’ve taken a softgel cap containing 5,000 iu of bioavailable Vitamin D3 (Metagenics) every day after breakfast for many years. I also take a capsule containing 150 mcg of K2 MK-7 (Health As It Ought To Be) at the same time. And I frequently eat fatty fish, eggs, butter and mushrooms so am also getting some D3 and D2 from my diet. Spending a lot of time inside an apartment in New York City, I’m pretty sure the amount of D3 I get from sunshine is negligible.

My Vitamin D,25-OH blood level in mid-March was 65 ng/mL. (Reference Range: 30-100 ng/mL) This made me and my doctor very happy. When a virus is going around, I sometimes feel my body fighting it off if I’m also feeling stressed but it hardly ever turns into a full blown case.

If you’re looking for a high quality, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free supplement that contains both 5,000 iu Vitamin D3, a balanced amount of K2 MK-7 and some calcium in a single capsule, there’s Dr Mercola’s Vitamin D3 & K2.

“Researchers from UC San Diego discovered that vitamin D levels of 48 ng/mL or higher were linked to a 67 percent reduction in cancer risk when compared to those whose levels were 20 ng/mL or less. Studies have shown that higher sun exposure throughout a women’s lifetime is linked to a 70 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer. In 2018 The British Medical Journal revealed that high vitamin D levels were associated with a reduction in cancer risk of 20 percent when it came to liver cancer. It is also known that ovarian cancer cases were more than three times more likely to have low 25[OH]D levels.” (Sircus, 2019)

For additional information on Vitamin D & how to choose a supplement, see:

ALZHEIMER’S AND VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

WHOLE FOOD SUPPLEMENTS (BIO-AVAILABLE) VS OTC (SYNTHETIC VITAMINS)

“Mayo Clinic: Vitamin D toxicity is rare in people who take supplements, researchers report.” The evidence is clear that vitamin D toxicity is one of the rarest medical conditions and is typically due to intentional or inadvertent intake of extremely high doses,” writes Dr. Hollick, a professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine.” (Sircus, 2019)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your Vitamin D serum level should be monitored with periodic blood tests to make sure it’s high enough to protect your health.

REFERENCES

Better You. (2020). Vitamin D and Vitamin K. See: https://betteryou.com/vitamin-d-vitamin-k

Dairy Nutrition (undated). Vitamin D and Health. See: https://www.dairynutrition.ca/nutrients-in-milk-products/vitamin-d/vitamin-d-and-health

Nguyen, H.C.T. (11/20/2019). Vitamin D3 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. MedScape. See: https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2088694-overview

Hardin, J.R. (1/25/2015). Whole Food Supplements (Bio-available) vs OTC (Synthetic) Vitamins. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/01/25/whole-food-supplements-bio-available-vs-otc-synthetic-vitamins/

Hardin, J.R. (11/30/2014). ALZHEIMER’S AND VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2014/11/30/alzheimers-gut-bacteria-music/

Hardin, J.R. (8/28/2015). Prediabetics Have Fewer Gut Bacteria. See: https://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/08/28/prediabetics-have-fewer-gut-bacteria/

HealthLine. (2020). Vitamin D2 vs. D3: What’s the Difference?. See: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d2-vs-d3

Illie, P.C., Stefanescu, S., & Smith, L. (4/20/2020). The role of Vitamin D in the prevention of Coronavirus Disease 2019 infection and mortality. See: https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-21211/v1

McRae, M. (5/1/2020). COVID-19 Deaths Are Being Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency. Here’s What That Means. See: https://www.sciencealert.com/covid-deaths-are-being-linked-with-vitamin-d-deficiency-here-s-what-that-means

Mercola, J. (3/1/2020). The Importance of Vitamin D and B5 for Optimal Sleep. See: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/03/01/gominak-vitamin-d.aspx

Raman, R. (4/28/2018). How to Safely Get Vitamin D From Sunlight. HealthLine. See: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun

Sircus, M. (8/2/2019). Vitamin D Deficiency as a Cause of Diseases & Safe High Dose Vitamin D Treatments. See: https://drsircus.com/cancer/vitamin-d-deficiency-as-a-cause-of-diseases-safe-high-dose-vitamin-d-treatments/#_edn6

Spritzler, F. (7/23/2018). 8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency. HealthLine. See: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms

Torborg, L. (4/25/2017). Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic Q and A: How much vitamin D do I need? See: https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-how-much-vitamin-d-do-i-need/

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

FOR BONE HEALTH

 

6a00d8341d01b553ef016761015fb1970b-320wi

 

Humans in the US today can expect to live well into our 70’s or 80’s so maintaining healthy bones that support us throughout our life span is essential if we’re going to stay active and keep our independence.
Although they seem rock-like, our bones are alive. They contain blood vessels, nerves, and cells – and serve many functions:
    • Enable support and mobility for the body
    • Store important trace minerals needed for bodily functions
    • Produce red and white blood cells
    • Protect the body’s organs from injury

 

 

Source: slideplayer.com
Source: slideplayer.com

 

 

Two types of cells regulate the bone’s structure:
  • Osteoblasts – cells that build bones
  • Osteoclasts – cells that break down old or damaged bone to make room for healthy new bone

 

Bone Remodeling: Osteoclasts & Osteoblasts

Source: www.endocrineweb.com
Source: www.endocrineweb.com

 

Bones remain healthy and strong as long as bone-building activity exceeds bone breakdown. Our most intense bone growth stage runs from birth until about age 30-35. After that, our bones gradually lose minerals.
“If not given the right kind of care, bones can begin to weaken early in life. It’s a quiet, symptom-less process that steals away your bones. You can’t feel it happening, at least not in the early stages – hence the name ‘silent thief’.
“And here’s something that every woman needs to know: Your normal bone loss accelerates during and after menopause for about five to seven years before returning to the slightly slower rate that men experience.
“You can lose as much as 35 percent of your bone density during those few, short years!” (Mercola, 2016)

 

Source: juicing-for-health.com
Source: juicing-for-health.com

 

 

 

 

PHARMACEUTICALS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS?

 

Source: www.pinterest.com
Source: www.pinterest.com

 

The common belief that osteoporosis drugs are a good way to restore bone health is actually incorrect. Dr Robert Mercola points out that most of these drugs “actually weaken your bones. Bisphosphonate bone drugs impact your normal bone repair process by killing off your osteoclasts, and do make your bones denser, but because the osteoclasts are killed the bone is actually weaker as it is not remodeled properly.
“Before starting any type of prescription drug for your bone health, I strongly recommend you consider less risky, more natural approaches first, such as diet, exercise, and safe bone health supplements!” (Mercola, 2016)

 

 

 

 

A BETTER WAY TO KEEP YOUR BONES HEALTHY

In addition to the right kinds of physical activity, proper bone building requires balancing four major nutrients: CALCIUM, VITAMIN D, VITAMIN K2, AND MAGNESIUM.
“The functions of these four nutrients are entwined and depend on each other for strength– much like a twisting grapevine.
“Just as you can’t untangle a grapevine without wrecking its strength, you can’t separate out one nutrient without affecting the actions of the others.
  • Vitamin D maintains skeletal calcium balance by promoting calcium absorption in your intestines.
  • Calcium and phosphate depend upon Vitamin D for bone formation.
  • Vitamin K2 helps to cement the calcium you absorb into the bone matrix rather than depositing it on the inside of your blood vessels leading to atherosclerosis.
  • Magnesium is an important mineral that your body needs to build a strong bone matrix.
“Imagine the effects on your bones if one of these nutrients is missing – or not present in the right amount!” (Mercola, 2016)

 

 

 

CALCIUM

 

Seven Health Benefits of Calcium

Source: www.nutritional-supplements-solutions.com
Source: www.nutritional-supplements-solutions.com

Both Dr Mercola and Chris Kresser agree that getting your calcium from healthy food sources is preferable to taking a calcium supplement. (Kresser, 2013) & Mercola, 2016)
“If you’re concerned about maintaining healthy bones, you’re better off ensuring adequate calcium intake from foods like dairy products, sardines, salmon, dark leafy greens and bone broth. 600 milligrams per day from food (approximately two servings of dairy products or bone-in fish) is plenty to maintain adequate levels of calcium in the body. Healthy bone formation also depends on vitamin D and vitamin K2, both of which regulate calcium metabolism. There are also other minerals besides calcium involved in supporting bone health, such as silica and magnesium. If you have adequate levels of these nutrients, and regularly perform weight-bearing exercise, there is no need for calcium supplementation, which will likely do more harm than good.” (Kresser, 2013)

 

 

Source: thevegantruth.blogspot.com
Source: thevegantruth.blogspot.com

 

Some high calcium foods – such as fermented cheeses and butter from pastured cows – also have the benefit of containing naturally high amounts of vitamin K2.
                                                                                                                   
Sesame seeds (1/4 cup)                                                      351 mg
Sardines, canned in oil with bones (3 ounces)       324 mg
Yogurt (unsweetened) (1 cup)                                        300 mg
Goat’s milk (1 cup)                                                               326 mg
Swiss cheese (1 ounce)                                                       270 mg
Spinach (1 cup cooked)                                                      260 mg
Collard greens (1 cup cooked)                                        226 mg
Canned salmon with bones (3 ounces)                       181 mg
Almonds (2 ounces)                                                             150 mg
Navy beans, cooked (1 cup)                                              130 mg
Broccoli, raw (1 cup)                                                              90 mg

Source: Mercola.com   

 

 

VITAMIN D3

 

Source: www.orchardpharmacyrx.com
Source: www.orchardpharmacyrx.com

 

Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to allow normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany (a disease caused by an abnormally low level of calcium in the blood). It is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling. Without sufficient Vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia (softening of the bones, resulting from impaired mineralization) in adults. Together with calcium, Vitamin D also helps protect against osteoporosis. (NIH, 2016)
Without adequate Vitamin D, the body is unable to form the hormone calcitriol which is needed for calcium absorption. In this situation, the body takes calcium out of the skeleton, weakening existing bones and preventing the formation of strong, new bones. (NIH, 2015)

 

 

Vitamin D provides many other benefits throughout our lives. Here are some of them:

Source: www.vitamindcouncil.org
Source: www.vitamindcouncil.org

 

 

Vitamin D, which is actually a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone rather than an actual vitamin, is a key player in overall health. It influences nearly 3,000 of our 25,000 genes – literally turning on and off genes that can exacerbate – or prevent many diseases. It has been show to influence many conditions and diseases, including:
  • Alzheimer’s disease  
  • Asthma
  • Autism 
  • Cancer     
  • Cavities  
  • Cold & Flu 
  • Crohn’s Disease   
  • Cystic Fibrosis   
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Diabetes, Types 1 and 2
  • Eczema & Psoriasis
  • Hearing Loss
  • Heart Disease
  • Hypertension    
  • Infertility
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease 
  • Insomnia
  • Macular Degeneration    
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis  
  • Muscle Pain  
  • Obesity    
  • Osteoporosis  
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Pre Eclampsia    
  • Reduced C-section Risk
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seizures  
  • Septicemia    
  • Signs of Aging  
  • Tuberculosis
– Mercola (3/26/2011)

 

Note that many pharmaceuticals deplete the body’s Vitamin D:

Source: devel.naturecity.com
Source: devel.naturecity.com

 

It is estimated that the vast majority of Americans – 85% of us – have insufficient levels of Vitamin D. (Mercola, 3/26/2011)
“Today’s vitamin D recommendations may be enough to help provide rickets, but it does nothing to give protection from cancer, heart disease, and infections. Most adults need about 8,000 units of vitamin D, while there are others who may need over that required amount to optimize their vitamin D levels.
“Vitamin D requirements are highly individual, and the amount that your body needs may depend on numerous factors, including the color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re exposed to on a regular basis. It is important to have your levels tested regularly using a 25(OH)D or 25-hydroxyvitamin D test. Vitamin D levels should never go below 32 ng/ml. Instead, you should aim to have your levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml.
“The best way to reach optimal vitamin D levels is through safe sun exposure. If this is not possible, you may use a safe tanning bed. Vitamin D supplementation is another option, provided that it is in the form of vitamin D3.” (Mercola, 10/10/2009)

 

For more information on the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency, see Dr Frank Lipman’s article Symptoms & Diseases Associated With Vitamin D Deficiency and the Vitamin D Council’s archive of articles on the relationship between Vitamin D and autoimmune diseases.

Source: draxe.com
Source: draxe.com

 

 

 

 

VITAMIN K2

 

Source: positiveandhealthymindsd.com
Source: positiveandhealthymindsd.com

 

Most people taking calcium supplements – and their physicians – don’t realize that optimizing bone integrity and maintaining cardiovascular health also require Vitamin K2.
Inadequate Vitamin K2 disrupts calcium regulation and is also associated with an increased risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.  People who have a lack of calcium in their bones are more likely to have an excess of calcium in their arteries, and vice versa.
Lack of calcium in the bones leads to osteoporosis while deposits of calcium in the arterial walls leads to coronary heart disease and other manifestations of cardiovascular, renal, and neuro-degenerative disease.
Vitamin K2 helps regulate calcium and helps prevent heart disease and osteoporosis – as well as certain types of cancers, such as liver cancer, myeloma, and lymphoma. It may also help inhibit cancer growth. (Davis, 2008)

 

Source: www.consumerhealthdigest.com
Source: www.consumerhealthdigest.com

 

Vitamin K2 activates a protein hormone called osteocalcin, produced by the osteoblasts in the bones, which is needed to bind calcium into the bone matrix. Osteocalcin also appears to help prevent calcium from depositing into the arteries.
Evidence shows that Vitamin D is dependent on Vitamin K and that Vitamin D toxicity is actually caused by Vitamin K2 deficiency.
Also, taking calcium in isolation without complimentary nutrients like magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K can have adverse effects, including the buildup of plaque in coronary arteries and heart attacks. Calcium intake should be balanced out with Vitamins D and K and other minerals crucial to bone health. (Mercola, 3/26/2011)

 

 

Source: peakmodernliving.com
Source: peakmodernliving.com

 

“What dose of vitamin K2 is best? Scientists are still debating this question. Supplements generally contain between 50 mcg and 1,000 mcg of vitamin K2. Even the low end of the supplement dose of 50 mcg a day may help to support healthy bone density and protect the arterial wall from calcification. Life Extension has long recommended about 1,000 mcg a day of vitamin K2, along with 9,000 mcg vitamin K1 for most people.” (Davis, 2008)

 

 

 

MAGNESIUM

“Overall, magnesium assures the strength and firmness of bones and makes teeth harder. Since magnesium participates in an astonishing array of biochemical reactions, it’s no surprise that it’s essential for healthy bones and teeth. Most notably, adequate magnesium is essential for absorption and metabolism of calcium.
“Magnesium also has a role to play, together with the thyroid and parathyroid glands, in supporting bone health: stimulating the thyroid’s production of calcitonin, which acts as a bone-preserving hormone, and regulating parathyroid hormone, a function of which is to regulate bone breakdown in a number of ways.”
Magnesium is also needed for the conversion of Vitamin D into its active form. A magnesium deficiency can lead to a syndrome known as Vitamin D resistance. Alkaline phosphatase, the enzyme required for forming new calcium crystals,  also requires magnesium for activation, and, if levels are low, abnormal bone crystal formation can result. Even mild magnesium deficiency has been found to be a leading risk factor for osteoporosis.
“As with calcium, the majority of the body’s reserves of magnesium are held in the bone (60%), and the bones act as a storage reservoir, transferring magnesium into the blood stream in times of need. Adequate daily intake of magnesium is important throughout life to keep the magnesium that is stored in the bones from being lost. Low magnesium intake, as well as low blood and bone magnesium levels, has been widely associated with osteoporosis in women.
“It’s often overlooked that magnesium and calcium function together, so deficiency of one markedly affects the metabolism of the other. In fact, increasing calcium supplementation without increasing magnesium supplementation can actually increase magnesium loss. Similarly, the use of calcium supplements in the face of a magnesium deficiency can lead to calcium deposition in the soft tissues, such as the joints, where it can promote arthritis, or in the kidney, contributing to kidney stones.
There has been conflicting opinion about the adequacy of our magnesium intake. Despite its recognized importance, most Americans consume less than the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for magnesium. “
– Brown, 2014

 

It is estimated that 80% of Americans are magnesium deficient, leading to significant health consequences which, in turn, can be aggravated by many, if not most pharmaceutical treatments.
“An ideal ratio between calcium and magnesium is thought to be 1:1. The recommended daily dose is around 700 milligrams of each.
“Anytime you’re taking any of the following: magnesium, calcium, vitamin D3, or vitamin K2, you need to take all the others into consideration as well, as these nutrients work synergistically with one another.” (Mercola, 2013)

 

 

Source: preventdisease.com
Source: preventdisease.com

 

 

 

 

IF YOU GO THE NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS ROUTE

While it’s generally preferable when possible to look after your bones via diet and sun exposure, here are some things to be aware of if you decide to take nutritional supplements instead.

CALCIUM

This is what Vivian Goldschmidt’s says about calcium in her Save Our Bones article,   These Two Supplements Can Hurt More Than Help Your Bones :
“Typically, doctors will tell those with low bone density to “take calcium” or “drink milk.” But they make no distinction between the organic forms of this mineral and the inorganic. And chances are, prescribed calcium is inorganic. Now, don’t get me wrong. The body can effectively utilize small doses of inorganic calcium, but when doctors prescribe or recommend calcium, the dosage is typically around 1,000 mg a day.
“The most common calcium supplements are made of carbonate, citrate (which is easier to digest than carbonate), dolomite, di-calcium phosphate, tri-calcium phosphate, coral, oyster shell or bone meal, and all variations of amino-acid chelated calcium (which are the most bioavailable of all the above forms of calcium). While they may have different names, they all have one thing in common: they are all inorganic.
“This kind of calcium is not easily bioavailable, especially in large quantities, which most likely explains it’s association with increased risk of heart attack.” (Goldschmidt, 2016)
If you prefer a calcium supplement, you might consider this high quality, bio-active nutritional supplement called Doctor’s Best Calcium Bone Maker Complex. It  contains calcium, D3, K2 MK-7, and Magnesium – along with Vitamin C and a variety of minerals that support optimal bone health. (It unfortunately isn’t suitable for vegetarians.)
This information about the supplement is provided by the manufacturer, Waitaki Biosciences:

This bone health supplement is balanced and synergistic, a product of extensive research into the current medical and scientific understanding of bone. Among this product’s unique benefits:

• Diverse nutrient spectrum for comprehensive bone maintenance.

• Supports bone matrix formation, a requisite for calcium utilization.

• Provides a generous 1800 IU of vitamin D3 for healthy bone calcification.

• Its vitamin K2 (as MK-7) surpasses other K vitamin forms in supporting bone formation.

• Provides optimized allowances of calcium, magnesium, and other essential bone minerals.

• Avoids technical shortcuts that use magnesium oxide or other poorly absorbed ingredients.

• Offers potential benefits that extend beyond bone to promote overall health and wellbeing.

Calcium Is Not Sufficient to Build Bone.

Clinical studies have established that high-calcium dietary supplements by themselves do not reliably increase bone density or reduce fracture risk. Many other nutrients are required.

The formation of new bone is really a complex process that involves first, building a scaffolding—the bone matrix—then adding in calcium and other minerals to produce hardness and strength. This bone matrix is roughly comparable to the “rebar” that is set in place prior to pouring concrete. The bone’s “concrete” is formed at the end as hard mineral crystals that naturally include not just calcium but magnesium, strontium and other minerals. The bone matrix is a molecular network primarily of large collagen molecules, interspersed with smaller amounts of other proteins and with large protein-carbohydrate molecules (“glycosaminoglycans”).

The ascorbic acid (vitamin C) this formula provides is a necessary factor for the enzymes that make collagen.

The formula’s complement of other nutrients is designed to enable the bone cells to build healthy bone matrix and achieve full bone mineralization.

 

 

VITAMIN D2 vs D3

If a blood test shows you’re Vitamin D deficient, your doctor is likely to recommend a Vitamin D2 supplement, also called ergocalciferol. D2 is also the form of Vitamin D often added to foods (eg, to milk) to ‘fortify’ them. But the body is not able to absorb D2 well. A study published in 2006 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is quite clear in its conclusion about the inferiority of Vitamin D2 over D3:
“Despite an emerging body of evidence suggesting several plausible explanations for the greater bioefficacy of vitamin D3, the form of vitamin D used in major preparations of prescriptions in North America is vitamin D2. … Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, should not be regarded as a nutrient suitable for supplementation or fortification.” (Houghton & Vieth, 2006)
So, even if your doctor isn’t aware of the important difference between the D3 and D2 forms of Vitamin D, be sure YOU are and go with the D3.
I like Metagenics, D3 5000. It’s high quality, both high potency and bio-available.
And don’t forget to have your Vitamin D blood level checked at least two times a year to make sure it’s neither too low nor too high.
See Dr Josh Axe’s Are You Vitamin D Deficient? for more information, including a list of the many Chronic Diseases Fueled by Vitamin D Deficiency and a chart of Vitamin D Dose Recommendations.
You might also want to look at Dr Mercola’s article How to Get Your Vitamin D To Within Healthy Ranges. Here’s an excerpt from that article:
The Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention
“A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.
“According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.”

 

 

VITAMIN K2

The Vitamin K2 supplement I like is Vitamin K2 MK-7 150 mcg (Health As It Ought To Be). I figure I get an adequate amount of K1 from my daily diet.

 

 MAGNESIUM

I like these high quality, bio-available magnesium supplements:

 

 

NOTE ON BIO-AVAILABLE SUPPLEMENTS VS SYNTHETIC VITAMINS

If you’re unclear about why nutritional supplements need to be bio-available to be effective, see my earlier post on Whole Food Supplements (Bio-available) vs OTC (Synthetic) Vitamins.

 

 

 

Source: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006Q5SYC4/ref=sr_ph_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1474944826&sr=sr-1&keywords=neuromag
Source: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B006Q5SYC4/ref=sr_ph_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1474944826&sr=sr-1&keywords=neuromag

 

 

 

REFERENCES

Axe, J. (2016). Are You Vitamin D Deficient? See: https://draxe.com/vitamin-d-deficiency/

Brown, S.E. (2014). Key minerals for bone health — magnesium. See: http://www.betterbones.com/bonenutrition/magnesium.aspx

Davis, W. (2008). Protecting Bone and Arterial health with Vitami K2. Life Extension Magazine. See: http://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2008/3/protecting-bone-and-arterial-health-with-vitamin-k2/Page-01

Goldschmidt, V. (2016). Beware! These Two Supplements Can Hurt More Than Help Your Bones. See: http://saveourbones.com/beware-these-two-supplements-can-hurt-more-than-help-your-bones/

Hardin, J.R. (2015). Whole Food Supplements (Bio-available) vs OTC (Synthetic) Vitamins. See: http://allergiesandyourgut.com/2015/01/25/whole-food-supplements-bio-available-vs-otc-synthetic-vitamins

Houghton, L.A. & Vieth, R.(2006). The case against ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,  84:4, 694-697. See: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/694.full

Kresser, C. (3/8/2013). Calcium Supplements: Why You Should Think Twice. See: https://chriskresser.com/calcium-supplements-why-you-should-think-twice/

Lipman, F. (2016). Symptoms & Diseases Associated With Vitamin D Deficiency. See: http://www.drfranklipman.com/symptoms-diseases-associated-with-vitamin-d-deficiency/

Mercola, R. (3/26/2011). Vitamin K: The Missing Nutrient to Blame for Heart Attacks and Osteoporosis (Nope – NOT Calcium or Vitamin D). See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/03/26/the-delicate-dance-between-vitamins-d-and-k.aspx

Mercola, R. (11/21/2011). How to Get Your Vitamin D To Within Healthy Ranges. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/11/21/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d-to-healthy-ranges.aspx

Mercola, R. (12/8/2013). Magnesium—The Missing Link to Better Health. See: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/12/08/magnesium-health-benefits.aspx

Mercola, R. (2016). This Silent Thief Can Steal Away Your Independence in a Flash. See: http://products.mercola.com/calcium-supplement/?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20160414Z1&et_cid=DM102804&et_rid=1442193832

NIH – Osteoporosis & Related Bone Diseases, National Resource Center. (2015). Calcium and Vitamin D: Important at Every Age. See: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Nutrition/

NIH. (2016). Vitamin D. See: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

Vitamin D Council. (undated). Autoimmune Disease. See: https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/tag/autoimmune-disease/

 

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.