Total body fat inversely related to vitamin D levels
A study published in the July 2005 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (http://jcem.endojournals.org/) revealed the findings of researchers at Vrije University in Amsterdam of an inverse relationship between total body fat and serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. They also discovered a positive correlation between body fat and parathyroid hormone levels.
The team used data collected by the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, an ongoing study of aging men and women in the Netherlands. The current study utilized information from 453 participants aged 65 and older from whom blood samples were obtained and whole body dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans were conducted in 1995-1996. The blood samples were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, and total body fat percentage calculated from the scan results.
Eight percent of the men and 14.4 percent of the women were determined to have serum vitamin D levels lower than 10 nanograms per milliliter, which are deficient levels. In addition, 44.7 percent of the men and 56.1 of the women had levels that, while not deficient, were considered insufficient (lower than 20 nanograms per milliliter). Total body fat percentage was significantly inversely associated with serum vitamin D levels and positively associated with serum parathyroid hormone levels. Serum vitamin D levels were also inversely associated and parathyroid levels positively correlated with anthropometric measures (body mass index, skinfold thickness, waist circumference), but the associations were not as strong as with adiposity.
Low vitamin D could be a cause of increased adiposity due to the associated increase in parathyroid hormone, which has been correlated with weight gain. Calcium supplementation, which lowers parathyroid hormone levels, has been found to result in greater weight loss compared to a placebo in several studies. The authors recommend additional studies to further explore these concepts.
The primary function of the parathyroid glands is to regulate calcium within the blood. The parathyroid glands also control how much calcium is in the bones, and therefore how strong and dense the bones are. Calcium is the primary element which causes muscles to contract. Calcium levels are also very important to the normal conduction of electrical currents along nerves.
Since the mid-1920s, the standard treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism has been to surgically remove the gland (or glands) overproducing hormones. Although primary hyperparathyroidism normally mandates surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands that have developed benign tumors, secondary hyperparathyroidism can be caused by a dietary calcium or vitamin D deficiency. To rule out secondary hyperparathyroidism, a good first step is to supplement with 1000 IU of vitamin D3 every day, along with 2000 mg of elemental calcium. This much calcium and vitamin D3 will act as a signal to your parathyroid glands to stop producing so much parathyroid hormone. When your bloodstream contains abundant calcium, your parathyroid glands will no longer have to pull it from your bones to guarantee proper calcium metabolism. Many people undergo surgery to remove one or more parathyroid glands when, in fact, all they may need to do is take calcium and vitamin D3. This amount of daily vitamin D3 supplementation was confirmed to be safe in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in May 1999 (Vieth 1999).
Numerous studies demonstrate and report that glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis is associated with the development of secondary hyperparathyroidism. Supplementation of calcium and vitamin D has been shown to be an effective method for prevention and treatment.
Calcium is an essential mineral that is often inadequately supplied, inefficiently absorbed, or excreted faster than it is being assimilated. The citrate salt of calcium has been documented to be well absorbed and utilized by the body.
The Life Extension Revolution, by Philip Lee Miller MD and the Life Extension Foundation
The Life Extension Revolution's step-by-step guide to building a customized dietary supplementation program begins with a "comprehensive regimen of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids." The vast majority of daily multi-vitamin/mineral formulas conforms to nutritional guidelines propagated by the federal government and thus fails to offer adequate nutritional support. "Instead of trying to determine what amount of nutrients will maximize health, the government instead has determined the minimal level of nutrition required to prevent overt disease," says Dr. Miller. Moreover, most one-per-day formulas use cheaper, synthetic vitamins and poorly absorbed mineral salts. Therefore, a true high-potency, pharmaceutical-grade multi-vitamin/mineral formula that promotes health and fights disease may supply nutrients in amounts that are 10-50 times those in the government"s inadequate recommendations.
There is evidence to suggest that healthy calcium metabolism may actually reduce the risk of heart disease, though the mechanism of action remains unknown. A UCLA team of investigators has documented that the higher your vitamin D blood level (a major determinant of calcium metabolism), the less coronary plaque as measured by CT heart scanning. A fascinating analysis conducted by a British research team demonstrated that the farther away from the equator you live (and thus are exposed to less sunlight that activates vitamin D in the skin), the more likely you are to suffer a heart attack.