Dr John Wade, MD, FRCP, Rheumatologist, discusses the importance of vitamin D.
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Featuring Dr. Wade, MD, FRCP
Rheumatologist What is The Importance of Vitamin D
Duration: 3 minutes, 51 seconds
So, vitamin D is an essential vitamin.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin, so you get it in your diet primarily or through absorption through the skin. Vitamin D has important functions for our body.
We recognize that it is important for good health in terms of bone health, good teeth health, and also important for muscle function. So, vitamin D has a lot of important functions in terms of the muscle cell system, particularly teeth, bones, and muscles.
We recognize that in some kiddies that have vitamin D deficiency, a condition called osteomalacia, that they have very weak bones and they also have very weak muscles. So, we recognize that vitamin D in the state where it’s really not present, that there are significant medical concerns.
As we have sort of recognized the importance of vitamin D, we looked at it more closely in adult and particularly in older people. There are a number of interesting studies now that we have observed that show the importance of vitamin D in terms of both bone and muscle.
And NHANES, a three study, which is a study that the U.S. Government does on the aging men and women in the United States. They take healthy women after the age of 55 and they look at a whole number of things in their health.
They assess them, do a lot of blood tests and the recognition was that people that were over 65 that had low vitamin D levels walk slower. So, the observation was if you give more vitamin D, and you have high levels of vitamin D, you walk faster. So, we recognized it was important in that.
There was also a study done a number of years ago in France where they give men and women over the age 80, they gave them calcium, vitamin D and they follow these men and women for two years.
All the difference was is that men and women that were otherwise healthy got calcium versus placebo. At the end of two years, the observation was that the instance of hip fractures in the men and women that got calcium and vitamin D was half of what it was in the placebo group. Again, we at the time didn’t think a lot about that and didn’t really believe it, it was just a one sort of smaller study, although a very well designed trial.
Since then there have been numerous studies looking at the importance of vitamin D in falls and fractures. We recognize that if we give vitamin D to people, that the likelihood of them falling, in clinical trials anyway, is reduced by 20 to 30 percent.
So, if you are given the vitamin D supplementation you can – it will make you walk faster and people may fall less. This doesn’t have anything to do with actually making the bone stronger, it is just talking about making muscles stronger, people are walking faster and falling less.
Then as important or more importantly is the effect of vitamin D on the bone. We recognize that vitamin D is important for absorption of calcium from the GI tract, so you need to get your calcium and vitamin D to absorb it.
Vitamin D is important in holding it on so you don’t lose it in the kidney and then vitamin D is important in incorporating calcium into the bone matrix, making the bone material, making the bone strong. So, it mineralizes your bone.
So, vitamin D has a number of functions and we recognize that giving vitamin D makes bones stronger. The bone SD will go up with it and they are less likely to have a fracture if given vitamin D.
So, vitamin D really is a very important essential vitamin that we strongly recommend that people if they are not getting enough vitamin D naturally then would get it through supplement.
Presenter: Dr. John Wade, Rheumatologist, Vancouver, BC
Local Practitioners: Rheumatologist
This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.