Vitamin D and Bone Health

  • There is widespread emerging concern about the frequency of low vitamin D status in the North American population (Am Fam Physician 2005;71:241-2).
  • Vitamin D is the precursor of 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol, an extremely potent hormone that promotes the intestinal absorption of calcium.
  • Vitamin D supplementation can augment the favorable effect of calcium supplementation on bone health in postmenopausal women (Am J Clin Nut 1995;61:1140-45).
  • Optimal results from medical treatments for supporting adequate bone density requires a total vitamin D intake of 600 IU/day (J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19:83S-99S).
  • Recent research has identified a role for vitamin D in supporting optimal neuromuscular function to stabilize balance and gait in elderly persons; total vitamin D intake must be above 400 IU for maximum effectiveness (Arch Intern Med 2006;166:424-30; J Am Geriatr Soc 2005;53:1881-8; Cerebrovasc Dis 2005;20:187-92; JAMA 2004;291:1999-2006).
  • A recent meta-analysis of twelve trials concluded that vitamin D supplements totaling at least 700 IU/day help bones maintain their integrity during minor traumas (JAMA 2005;293:2257-64).
  • Natural vitamin D3 is more bioavailable than synthetic vitamin D2 (Am J Clin Nutr 1998;68:854-8; Bone Miner 1986;1:407-413).