Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category
A patient recently insisted on Vitamin D2 instead of D3. She told me that she always uses plant sources because they are “more natural”. Indeed Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol) is more natural if you are a cabbage or other plant. But all humans naturally make and use Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol). Why not D2? Did God make a mistake designing humans to make and use D3?
Activated Vitamin D3 is a hormone used by our bodies in well over a hundred different functions including absorption of calcium from food, nerve functioning, and our immune system. Vitamin D2 is similar enough to D3 that we can also use it. However, we need much higher doses, and the waste products of D2 build up in our bodies.
We have “known” for years that 25-hydroxy Vitamin D levels over 50ng/ml are “too high” (hypervitaminosis D) and often cause high Calcium levels (hypercalcemia). The Mayo Clinic designed a 10 year study to confirm that causal relationship. It was presented at ASBMR.
NOF and others have called for higher Vitamin D supplementation and higher blood levels. Mayo researchers expected to find many more cases of hypercalcemia related to many more cases of hypervitaminosis D. The numbers of Vitamin D levels above 50ng/ml have doubled during the 10 years. Levels above 80 and 100ng/ml have not increased. The numbers of high calcium levels have not increased. Those patients with the highest Vitamin D levels were not the patients with the highest Calcium levels.
The question whether calcium supplements are good or bad for you, and how much you should take, is very controversial. That is because it is the wrong question. The answer is “it depends”. We spent an hour at ASBMR going over many studies and analyses.
Total calcium intake is what matters. That means that how much calcium supplement you need today depends on how much calcium is in your diet. Unless you eat the same thing every day (boring!), your need for calcium supplement at each meal will vary. And it is more tricky than that.
PTH is ParaThyroid Hormone. This is not Thyroid. The Parathyroid glands live next to the thyroid gland. They are like 4 spots on the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland’s wings. But their function is totally different
High PTH warns us that not enough Calcium is being absorbed from diet and/or supplements. When not enough calcium is being absorbed, the blood calcium level drops. If the blood calcium drops too low, you will die. The Parathyroid glands prevent that. The Parathyroid glands’ job is to steal calcium from your bones.