Vitamin D | ... Free Vitamin Encyclopedia.

Vitamin D

Critical For Optimal Health

The most obvious benefit for D is in relation to bone health – it’s absolutely critical for calcium absorption. But turns out deficiencies of vitamin D have been implicated in diseases from autism to cancer to heart disease and more.[1]

Why Most People Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D

Vitamin D is produced when our skin is exposed to sunlight. But for years now sunlight has been something to be avoided due to concerns about skin cancer.[2]

Yet vitamin D is one of the few nutrients you can’t enough of through diet alone. First of all, there just aren’t that many foods that contain vitamin D. Second, those foods that do contain D almost always have it in the form of D2 – a slightly different form than the D3 created by sun exposure that has been shown to be much less beneficial.[3]

No wonder vitamin D deficiency is now considered a worldwide pandemic.[4]

Why You Need Vitamin D

Bone Health

Vitamin D is as crucial to bone health as calcium. It helps maintain the correct concentration of calcium in the blood, thereby enabling normal bone mineralization.[5] It’s needed for bone growth and bone remodeling.[6] It’s been shown to decrease the risk of falls, fractures and bone loss in elderly patients,[7] to reduce the risk of hip fractures,[8] to improve bone density[9] and to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.[10]

Heart Health

It’s been documented that deaths from heart disease increase with distance from the equator.[11] Blood pressure has also been found to increase with distance from the equator[12] as well as during the winter months.[13] All of which has led to the conclusion by many researchers[14] that vitamin D plays an important role in cardiovascular health.[15] Higher levels of vitamin D have been associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease.[16] Supplementation with D has been shown to lower blood pressure.[17]

Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with Prehypertension.[18]


Vitamin D appears to play a role in regulation.[19] Deficiency has been associated with resistance,[20] Type I & Type II Diabetes[21]and metabolic syndrome.[22] It’s also linked to poor diabetes control.[23] Supplementation with vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes,[24] resistance,[25] and Type II Diabetes.[26] Another study found supplementation with D3 to have a positive effect on both First Phase Secretion as well as resistance, and the authors concluded D3 supplementation to be a valuable part of diabetes treatment.[27]

Diabetic patients with very low levels of vitamin D were found to be at much higher risk from dying of all causes and from cardiovascular disease.[28]

Healthy Weight Maintenance

With such an important role in regulation, it stands to reason Vitamin D would play a role in maintaining a healthy weight. Obese individuals consistently have significantly lower levels of vitamin d than those at a healthier weight.[29] And generally, the higher a person’s BMI (Body Mass Index) the more deficient in D they tend to be.[30] Some scientists have even hypothesized that vitamin D deficiency is the cause of common obesity.[31] Vitamin D supplements don’t affect weight loss automatically or without effort.[32] But a higher level of vitamin D going into a diet has been shown to predict greater success in a weight loss effort, especially in losing abdominal fat.[33] In one study women who took vitamin D along with calcium supplements were significantly less likely to gain weight, and indeed lost more weight than women on a placebo.[34]

 Overall Health

A 2007 analyses reviewed 18 different trials involving 57,000 people and found that those on vitamin D supplements had a 7% lower risk if death from any cause during the 6 years of the study.[35] In Canada, for example, it has been estimated that increasing the amount of vitamin D in everyone’s blood nationally would save 37,000 lives every year and reduce the economic burden by $14.4 Billion.[36]

 Vitamin D Cofactors

No nutrient is a vacuum. Vitamin D requires several other nutrients to operate optimally in the body. Calcium is probably the most obvious. But other nutrients include:

  • Magnesium is essential for vitamin D metabolism,[37] and that metabolism is impaired by magnesium deficiency.[38]
  • Zinc regulates vitamin D receptors in osteoblasts (so it plays a crucial role in vitamin D’s ability to help build stronger bones)[39]
  • Vitamin K2 enables carboxylation, which directs calcium deposits away from arteries and into bones.[40] It’s considered a cofactor of vitamin D as D can accelerate calcification.[41] Vitamin K ensures the proper organs are calcified.[42]
  • Boron enhances Vitamin D utilization in the body.[43]

Supplement Recommendation

An ideal Vitamin D supplement will consist of the following:

  • Be in the form of D3, also known as cholecalciferol, not D2
  • Contain magnesium
  • Contain Vitamin K2
  • Contain the trace elements Zinc and Boron

At this time, we do not have a specific Vitamin D product to recommend. The requirements for a Vitamin D supplement, however, do overlap somewhat with those for a Calcium Supplement.

Do you know of research that claims otherwise? …please share, that is what this WikiVites community is all about.

  1. ^ Holick, Michael F. “The vitamin D epidemic and its health consequences.” The Journal of nutrition 135.11 (2005): 2739S-2748S.
  2. ^ Holick, Michael F. “Sunlight, UV-radiation, vitamin D and skin cancer: how much sunlight do we need?.” Sunlight, Vitamin D and Skin Cancer. Springer New York, 2008. 1-15.
  3. ^
    Houghton, Lisa A., and Reinhold Vieth. “The case against ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as a vitamin supplement.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 84.4 (2006): 694-697.
  4. ^
    Holick, Michael F., and Tai C. Chen. “Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.4 (2008): 1080S-1086S.
  5. ^
    Bordier, Philippe, et al. “Vitamin D Metabolites and Bone Mineralization in Man*.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 46.2 (1978): 284-294.
  6. ^ National Institutes of Health. “Vitamin D fact sheet for health professionals.” Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health (2011).
  7. ^ Cranney, Ann, et al. “Effectiveness and safety of vitamin D in relation to bone health.” Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep) 158.1 (2007): 23-5.
  8. ^ Chapuy, Marie C., et al. “Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in elderly women.” New England journal of medicine 327.23 (1992): 1637-1642.
  9. ^ Gennari, C. “Calcium and vitamin D nutrition and bone disease of the elderly.” Public health nutrition 4.2b (2001): 547-559.
  10. ^ Klibanski, Anne, et al. “Osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, and therapy.” Journal of the American Medical Association 285.6 (2001): 785-795.
  11. ^
    Fleck, A. “Latitude and ischaemic heart disease.” The Lancet 333.8638 (1989): 613.
  12. ^ Rostand, Stephen G. “Ultraviolet light may contribute to geographic and racial blood pressure differences.” Hypertension 30.2 (1997): 150-156.
  13. ^ Douglas, A. S., et al. “Seasonal variation in coronary heart disease in Scotland.” Journal of epidemiology and community health 49.6 (1995): 575-582.
  14. ^ Judd, Suzanne E., and Vin Tangpricha. “Vitamin D deficiency and risk for cardiovascular disease.” The American journal of the medical sciences 338.1 (2009): 40.
  15. ^ Anderson, Jeffrey L., et al. “Relation of vitamin D deficiency to cardiovascular risk factors, disease status, and incident events in a general healthcare population.” The American journal of cardiology 106.7 (2010): 963-968.
  16. ^ Parker, Johanna, et al. “Levels of vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis.” Maturitas 65.3 (2010): 225-236.
  17. ^ Lind, L. A. R. S., et al. “Reduction of blood pressure by treatment with alphacalcidol.” Acta Medica Scandinavica 223.3 (1988): 211-217.
  18. ^
    Gupta, Alok K., Meghan M. Brashear, and William D. Johnson. “Prediabetes and prehypertension in healthy adults are associated with low vitamin D levels.” Diabetes Care 34.3 (2011): 658-660.
  19. ^
    Chowdhury, Tahseen A., Barbara J. Boucher, and Graham A. Hitman. “Vitamin D and type 2 diabetes: Is there a link?.” primary care diabetes 3.2 (2009): 115-116.
  20. ^ Chiu, Ken C., et al. “Hypovitaminosis D is associated with resistance and β cell dysfunction.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 79.5 (2004): 820-825.
  21. ^ Mathieu, Chantal, et al. “Vitamin D and diabetes.” Diabetologia 48.7 (2005): 1247-1257.
  22. ^ Ford, Earl S., et al. “Concentrations of serum vitamin D and the metabolic syndrome among US adults.” Diabetes care 28.5 (2005): 1228-1230.
  23. ^ Pittas, Anastassios G., et al. “The role of vitamin D and calcium in type 2 diabetes. A systematic review and meta-analysis.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 92.6 (2007): 2017-2029.
  24. ^ Hyppönen, Elina, et al. “Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study.” The Lancet 358.9292 (2001): 1500-1503.
  25. ^ von Hurst, Pamela R., Welma Stonehouse, and Jane Coad. “Vitamin D supplementation reduces resistance in South Asian women living in New Zealand who are resistant and vitamin D deficient–a randomised, placebo-controlled trial.” British Journal of Nutrition103.04 (2010): 549-555.
  26. ^ Pittas, Anastassios G., et al. “Vitamin D and calcium intake in relation to type 2 diabetes in women.” Diabetes care 29.3 (2006): 650-656.
  27. ^ Borissova, A. M., et al. “The effect of vitamin D3 on secretion and peripheral sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients.” International journal of clinical practice 57.4 (2003): 258-261.
  28. ^
    Joergensen, Christel, et al. “Vitamin D levels and mortality in type 2 diabetes.” Diabetes care 33.10 (2010): 2238-2243.
  29. ^
    Liel, Yair, et al. “Low circulating vitamin D in obesity.” Calcified tissue international 43.4 (1988): 199-201.
  30. ^ Snijder, Marieke B., et al. “Adiposity in relation to vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone levels: a population-based study in older men and women.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 90.7 (2005): 4119-4123.
  31. ^ Foss, Y. J. “Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of common obesity.” Medical hypotheses 72.3 (2009): 314-321.
  32. ^ Zittermann, Armin, et al. “Vitamin D supplementation enhances the beneficial effects of weight loss on cardiovascular disease risk markers.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 89.5 (2009): 1321-1327.
  33. ^ Shahar, Danit R., et al. “Dairy calcium intake, serum vitamin D, and successful weight loss.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 92.5 (2010): 1017-1022.
  34. ^ Caan B, Neuhouser M, Aragaki A, et al. Calcium Plus Vitamin D Supplementation and the Risk of Postmenopausal Weight Gain. Arch Intern Med. 2007;167(9):893-902. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.9.893.
  35. ^
    Autier P, Gandini S. Vitamin D Supplementation and Total Mortality: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.Arch Intern Med.2007;167(16):1730-1737. doi:10.1001/archinte.167.16.1730.
  36. ^ Grant, William B., et al. “An estimate of the economic burden and premature deaths due to vitamin D deficiency in Canada.” Molecular nutrition & food research 54.8 (2010): 1172-1181.
  37. ^ Zofková, I., and R. L. Kancheva. “The relationship between magnesium and calciotropic hormones.” Magnesium research: official organ of the International Society for the Development of Research on Magnesium 8.1 (1995): 77-84.
  38. ^ Carpenter, T. O. “Disturbances of vitamin D metabolism and action during clinical and experimental magnesium deficiency.” Magnesium research 1.3-4 (1988): 131-139.
  39. ^ Lutz, Ward, et al. “Zinc increases the activity of vitamin D-dependent promoters in osteoblasts.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications 271.1 (2000): 1-7.
  40. ^ Vermeer, C., K-SG Jie, and M. H. J. Knapen. “Role of vitamin K in bone metabolism.” Annual review of nutrition 15.1 (1995): 1-21
  41. ^ Price, Paul A., Samuel A. Faus, and Matthew K. Williamson. “Artery calcification is accelerated by growth and vitamin D.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 20.2 (2000): 317-327.
  42. ^ Berkner, K. L., and K. W. Runge. “The physiology of vitamin K nutriture and vitamin K‐dependent protein function in atherosclerosis.” Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2.12 (2004): 2118-2132.
  43. ^ Hunt, Curtiss D., Jo L. Herbel, and Joseph P. Idso. “Dietary boron modifies the effects of vitamin D3 nutrition on indices of energy substrate utilization and mineral metabolism in the chick.” Journal of bone and mineral research 9.2 (1994): 171-182.