About 20 years ago vitamin D came on the scene with studies showing its benefits in preventing and treating specific diseases. More recent research continues to shed light on this important vitamin which in reality is actually a hormone.
Palliative Cancer Care – Not only is vitamin D important in most cancer care it has also been found to have a palliative effect in advanced cancer. Research published in 2021 showed that this vitamin can help with fatigue and decrease the need for opioids.
Supplementation During Pregnancy Improves Children’s Tooth Development – Vitamin D plays a vital role in enamel development. Today 38% of school children have defective enamel development. This most recent study found that 2,800 IU supplementation of vitamin D promoted satisfactory tooth development in the offspring of Danish women. As an added benefit it decreased the incidence of troublesome lung symptoms.
Low Levels Vitamin D Despite Adequate Supplementation – Occasionally, I will come across a patient that despite taking a therapeutic dose of vitamin D their blood levels show them to have low levels. There is an increasing number of researchers and doctors that suggest the cause of these low levels may not actually indicate a vitamin D deficiency but rather low-grade inflammation. This inflammation is best detected as a minor elevation of C-reactive protein that is found in a laboratory blood test. There are a variety of illness that have an inflammatory component including autoimmune disorders, infectious diseases cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, neurological disorders, and acute pancreatitis.
Our main natural source of vitamin D is sunshine. In Las Vegas 20-30 minutes of sun exposure (without sunscreen) from mid Spring to early Fall will typically generate the vitamin D that our bodies need. In the other times surrounding winter supplementation with 5,000 IU of D3/K2 will usually be sufficient. Although vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium vitamin K2 is needed to get the calcium into our bones.
Terry Pfau DO, HMD