Study: High Level of Vitamin D For Optimum Bone Health

Updated: April 26, 2022

Your Guide to Idiopathic Osteoporosis

Vitamin D is a prohormone of the secosteroid type. It acts as a precursor to what makes a hormone or is a hormone prototype, if you will. Usually exposure to sunlight helps our body (skin in particular) to synthesize Vitamin D. The epidermal layers of Stratum basale and Stratum Spinosum produce maximum amount of a particular type of a pre-vitamin D3. It is fat-soluble in nature. So how is Vitamin D and bone health related?

Vitamin D is metabolised by the liver and the kidneys and is converted to a hormone called Calcitonin. Calcitrol ensures that there is enough calcium in the blood to help form bones, teeth and maintain bone density. When ultra-violet rays shine on our skin, a cholesterol-like substance gets converted to Vitamin D and absorbed into the blood. Vitamin D is required for the metabolisation of calcium.

Several studies are now pointing that mere increase of one’s calcium intake late in life does not offer the same level of protection for bone health you get when vitamin D is added, as well.

A recent study whose results were presented in Boston at the Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society (June 4-7, 2011) suggested that a bone-density increasing chemical group called bio-phosphates, often recommended to those suffering from osteoporosis and other conditions of bone thinning,  in fact showed a remarkable seven times better performance if an individual has at least 33 nanograms (ng) of the nutrient per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). Richard Bockman, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Endocrine Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, who directed the study said, “If you want to see a particular outcome from this treatment, then maybe 20 to 30 is not appropriate.” (1)

Currently, The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that 20 ng/mL is sufficient for most healthy adults. With the new study, that value does not seem nearly enough for people taking certain anti-resorptive bone drugs for accelerated bone loss, said study co-author Richard Bockman.

The best indicator of vitamin D status is thought to be 25(OH)D levels in serum. To ensure adequate 25(OH)D levels, an adult over the age of 50 should consume at least 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Taking a daily dietary supplement is a simple way to do so. (2)


Sources:

1. Study Finds High Levels of Vitamin D Needed for Bone Density Drugs to Work, Hospital For Special Surgery.
http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_high-vitamin-bone-drugs-work.asp
2. Vitamin D and bone health: Epidemiologic studies.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4015454/ 

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  1. Robert Thompson, M.D.

    September 12, 2011 , 6:13 pm

    One cannot correct mineral loss or deficiency with calcium. One has to know do I have high or low calcium, do I have adequate viatmin D levels to support bone formation (and not too much in the presence of increased calcium), and am I consuming adequate levels of trace minerals to improve bone MINERAL density and reduce fracture risk. Everyone has to know.

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Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,
Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Dr. Carole McArthur
MD, PhD - Professor of Immunology, Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City; Director of Residency Research in Pathology, Truman Medical Center.,