ASK DR FRANZ
Q: What is the purpose of vitamin D and the consequences of being chronically vitamin D deficient. Thanks!
Ans: Great question. First -Vitamin D is not a vitamin . It is a hormone. It is manufactured in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Its precursor is Cholesterol and the cholesterol is transformed in the liver and kidney to its active form- vit D3.
Vit D has numerous functions.
It has been shown to protect against respiratory illnesses and the flu. So it is important to have adequate levels in the winter months and cold and flu season.
It has been shown to prevent 16 forms of cancer including melanoma, colon, prostate and breast cancer.
It has been shown that it helps asthmatics (studies say when vit D is adequate the meds work better)
It works with calcium to help build bones.
It helps build muscle and the immune system.
It may also be protective in diabetes and heart disease.
It is an amazing source of healthy function.
Its production can be decreased by liver and kidney disease, obesity, gastric bypass surgery, cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease and celiac disease. Steroids, weight loss med orlistat, some seizure meds , cholesterol lowering meds (cholestyramine and colestipol), laxatives and rifampin (for treating tuberculosis) can all lower vit D levels.
Nausea, vomiting, constipation, weakness, itching, weight loss, and confusion can be signs of too much vit D. levels are recommended to be between 50-100. Dosing for maintenance is 1000 iu / 25 pounds. Getting levels checked every year (more if you were deficient and had to take large doses to bring it up). Most adults do well with 5000 iu a day.
This is just a sampling of the wonders of Vit D.
Thank you for asking!.
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