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The Importance of Vitamin D

The Importance of Vitamin D

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When I was in medical school and during residency training in the 1970s and early 1980s, we were taught that osteomalacia and rickets were bone diseases caused by defective bone mineralization due to a lack of vitamin D.1 Today, vitamin D deficiency is recognized as a pandemic. It is estimated that there are more than 1 billion people worldwide with vitamin D deficiency.2 More recently, vitamin D has been shown to be of great importance in the prevention of diseases. There is strong evidence in the current medical literature that a number of significant medical problems affecting patients, such as cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, immunology, and neurology are all affected by vitamin D. There are more diseases and disorders that are linked to low vitamin D levels, including possibly autism spectrum disorder, but I am limited in discussing these by the amount of space for this editorial.
Vitamin D2, known as ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol, are both produced when ultraviolet B irradiation from sunlight reaches the epidermis, with vitamin D3 being made in the skin and consisting of approximately 90% of all vitamin D.3 We also get vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from food, especially egg yolk, fatty fish, and enriched dairy products. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from plants. Of the two, vitamin D3 is more efficiently metabolized.4,5 When measuring vitamin D in patients, we look at levels in the serum of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH] D), which shows the overall vitamin D level from diet and sunlight exposure. It is stable in the blood and is a good indication of vitamin D stores.6
When I was in medical school and during residency training in the 1970s and early 1980s, we were taught that osteomalacia and rickets were bone diseases caused by defective bone mineralization due to a lack of vitamin D.1 Today, vitamin D deficiency is recognized as a pandemic. It is estimated that there are more than 1 billion people worldwide with vitamin D deficiency.2 More recently, vitamin D has been shown to be of great importance in the prevention of diseases. There is strong evidence in the current medical literature that a number of significant medical problems affecting patients, such as cancer, respiratory diseases, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, immunology, and neurology are all affected by vitamin D. There are more diseases and disorders that are linked to low vitamin D levels, including possibly autism spectrum disorder, but I am limited in discussing these by the amount of space for this editorial.
Vitamin D2, known as ergocalciferol, and vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol, are both produced when ultraviolet B irradiation from sunlight reaches the epidermis, with vitamin D3 being made in the skin and consisting of approximately 90% of all vitamin D.3 We also get vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) from food, especially egg yolk, fatty fish, and enriched dairy products. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) comes from plants. Of the two, vitamin D3 is more efficiently metabolized.4,5 When measuring vitamin D in patients, we look at levels in the serum of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH] D), which shows the overall vitamin D level from diet and sunlight exposure. It is stable in the blood and is a good indication of vitamin D stores.6

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: InnoVision Health Media on Jun 20, 2013
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08/03/2013

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