Menopause Supplements: Vitamin D

Expert’s Name: Dr. Ellie Campbell, DO

  • Vitamin D is probably the most under utilized treatment in modern medicine!
  • There is OVERWHELMING medical evidence on Vitamin D deficiency states, yet very few doctors know about it or utilize it as a therapy.
  • There are two ways to get Vitamin D- to eat it in the diet, or to make it in the skin. The skin reaction will not occur without exposure to UV-B light- which is blocked by sunscreen use.
  • Vitamin D is made from cholesterol, like other sex steroid hormones. Chemically, it very closely resembles estrogen and testosterone, and it is probably better called a pro-hormone than a vitamin!
  • Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can be very subtle: muscle cramps or weakness, poor balance, inability to get up from a chair without pushing on theĀ armrests, fragile nails, depression and bone fracture.

Vitamin D Replacement

  • Before embarking on Vitamin D replacement, you must know your Vitamin D level.
  • The best test is a 25-(OH) Vitamin D level. Optimal levels are 55-80 ng/ml., and close to 100 for mental health issues like autism. 32-50 is low normal. 20-32 is deficient, and < 20 is severely deficient. A 1,25-(OH) Vitamin D test is also available, but does not correlate to most disease states because of its short half-life.
  • Be careful when using supplemental Vitamin D. It will also increase the uptake of toxic metals like lead, cadmium, and aluminum if calcium, magnesium and phosphorus are not present in adequate amounts.
  • Vitamin D supplementation should never be undertaken without a target in mind, and with the knowledge that calcium and magnesium intake is sufficient and/or supplemented at the same time.

Disorders Associated with Vitamin D Deficiency

  • Pregnant women deficient in Vitamin D often deliver low birth weight babies.
  • Inadequate Vitamin D levels in children increase for diabetes later in life, stunt growth and lead to bone deformities including rickets.
  • In seniors, higher Vitamin D levels correlate to improved balance and reaction time, as well as functional performance.
  • Low Vitamin D increases glucose intolerance. Some evidence suggests Vitamin D may protect against both Type I and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Adequate Vitamin D reduces the risk of senile cataracts.
  • Some cases of PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) have been corrected by supplementation of D, magnesium and calcium.
  • Low Vitamin D is associated with higher rates of pancreatitis, Crohn’s, autism, schizophrenia and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Vitamin D plays a HUGE role in regulation of both the “infectious” immune system and the “inflammatory” immune system. Deficiencies are associated with increased infection rates, and increased auto-immune disease states including MS, SLE, RA, thyroiditis, and Sjogren’s.
  • New evidence suggests that Vitamin D is one of the only triggers to aggressively turn on the production of cathelicidin, a chemical substance known to have lethal activity against viruses (including flu), bacteria (including TB), and fungi.
  • Osteoporosis is probably the best know disease state associated with low vitamin D. But, Fosamax and drugs like it CAN NOT work if Vitamin D levels are too low. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis respond favorably (and rapidly) to higher levels of D plus calcium and magnesium. Do not take Fosamax if you don’t know your D level.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is easily mistaken for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or peripheral neuropathy.
  • Female infertility is associated with low vitamin D.
  • Vitamin D supports production of estrogen in men and women.
  • PMS may be completely reversed in some cases by addition of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.
  • Menstrual migraine is associated with low levels of vitamin D and calcium.
  • High blood pressure, Metabolic Syndrome and MI been shown to correlate to low Vitamin D levels
  • A VERY STRONG correlation exists between the presence of aorticatherosclerosis and osteoporosis. Any patient with one of these should probably be screened for the other.

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