|Life Extension Update Exclusive |
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 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.
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.
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