Actually, Vitamin D taken in the wrong amounts and form can cause you some harm. Vitamins D and K are essential for optimal bone and arterial health and for maintaining the immune system in proper balance. The amount of vitamin D and K in the proper formulation may correct the deficiencies of a majority of patients that do not get adequate sun exposure and/or dietary sources of these vitamins.
We now know how important Vitamin K is for directing the transport of calcium into bone and teeth for optimal strength. Increasing the amount of vitamin D, via supplementation, in the presence of inadequate levels of vitamin K, can increase the risk of calcium deposition in arteries and soft tissue and have a very negative effect on artery elasticity. This is due to their interaction in the use of MGP, Matrix Gla Protein, which is a strong inhibitor of arterial calcification. The expression of MGP is vitamin D dependent and the gamma-carboxylation step, making it active, is vitamin K dependent. Together, D and K make a great team.
Research is pointing to more and more people suffering the consequences of vitamin D deficiency including susceptibility to serious illnesses like MS (Multiple Sclerosis).
Why is vitamin D deficiency on the rise?
Many people are avoiding sun exposure due to fear of ozone layer problems, or because of skin cancer or concern of skin wrinkling. Twenty minutes of sun exposure daily to 6% exposed skin is necessary for maintaining our body’s own production of vitamin D. Some drugs bind fats, including fat soluble Vitamin D and contribute to low vitamin D levels. These drugs include Cholestyramine, a bile acid sequestering medication, and laxatives. Intake of Olestra and soluble fiber can also potentially reduce vitamin D absorption from food. Statin drugs can cause cholesterol levels to fall lower than ideal which may contribute to vitamin D deficiency. Patients with fat malabsorption, problems with bile production or production of lipase for digesting fats are also susceptible to low vitamin D levels. Patients with dark skin pigmentation or a dark tan may require up to four times longer sun exposure to absorb the same amount of UVB as light or untanned skin, because melanin blocks UVB. African descent individuals have a much higher incidence of vitamin D deficiency, especially in northern states. Obese individuals can have 50% lower plasma levels of vit D than normal weight people, for the same supplementation levels or sun exposure. Women with low hormone levels are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency. Estrogen or progesterone deficiency (amenorrhea, surgical or age-onset menopause) impairs the formation of the active form of vit D. Aging skin has a reduced capacity of vitamin D synthesis. By age 75, vitamin D levels can be 25% lower than levels in younger individuals.
One thing I have to mention is I do not believe that the blood testing that we do now is entirely accurate, I believe it is in its infancy and it is the only measure we have right now. You body makes Vitamin D from the sunlight and stores what it does not need in the fat cells directly under the skin. There are triggers and receptors in the body that tell the fat cells to release the Vitamin D for use. Vitamin D is considered more of a hormone and its full effects in the body are not yet known. Until we learn more, a good quality Vitamin D supplement that contains Vitamin K is essential in the non-summer months, in the northeast that means from Halloween until spring. I myself take 5000iu of Vitamin D3 with K1 and K2 every other day. I do not believe in continuous successive supplementation.
Yours in health,
Dr. Kimberly Maziarz-Carlucci, DC
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