The health care field is abuzz about organic vitamin D — but why is it important?
Organic vitamin D is a super supplement – but it’s really not a vitamin at all.
“It is actually a hormone-precursor or pro-hormone used in the metabolism of minerals and bone growth,” says Jason Nardi, DC, the clinical director at Valley Chiropractic in Juneau, Alaska, as well as a diplomate of the American Board of Chiropractic Internists, a diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition, and the director of research for the ACA’s Council on Nutrition.
“Mainly the function of vitamin D is to increase intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate as the active form calcitriol. Not enough of this vitamin can lead to bone disorders like osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children, as well as osteoporosis in older adults. Besides the effect it has on mineral absorption, vitamin D is important for supporting the immune system, nervous system, and brain, helps regulates insulin, supports cardiopulmonary health, and has an epigenetic effect on cancer.”
Organic vitamin D and supplementation
Nardi uses vitamin D as a supplement with all his patients who have auto-immune diseases, and he says that it’s especially beneficial for those patients with multiple sclerosis.
But what, in his view, makes vitamin D a super supplement?
Here are Nardi’s top three reasons:
- To ensure healthy bone production.
The ability it has to increase hydroxyapatite used to make healthy bone and teeth is well-demonstrated in the research [i] [ii]. It may also be more important than calcium alone for patients with osteoporosis to reduce the risk of fractures [iii].
- Vitamin D has an amazing effect on inflammation and the immune system’s ability to handle it.
Deficiency can lead to a very common problem all of us see in chiropractic: low-back pain [iv]. One well-researched area is its effect on rheumatoid arthritis. This is due to the action that vitamin D has on T and B lymphocytes, [v] both of which are involved with the pathogenesis in RA. [vi]
- Another powerful effect vitamin D has is on depression, especially Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
A 2013 meta-analysis from The British Journal of Psychiatry showed that “lower vitamin D levels were found in people with depression compared with controls.” [vii] Another meta-analysis hypothesizes the reason for this may be again due to vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties on cytokine activities in the brain [viii].
The U.S. deficiency
“Unfortunately, vitamin D intake is widely insufficient throughout the United States,” write Sydney Greene at VeryWellFit. “Low vitamin D intake can be caused by poor diet, lack of sun exposure and/or malabsorption issues. It is important to note that in order to maximize the use of the following supplements, these products should be taken with meals to support adequate absorption.”
Approximately 41% of Americans are vitamin D deficient according to AlgaeCal.com. Organic vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and helps create other proteins important to calcium’s uptake. Vitamin D is also a safeguard for your immune system and may offer enhancement of the system. Without it patients have a higher risk of infection.
“Like anything you put in your body, it’s always best if you can get your calcium and vitamin D from an organic source,” says AlgaeCal.com. “Your body wasn’t designed to naturally handle artificial ingredients, chemicals, and other additives found in our food source these days. [Search for] true vitamin D in the form of vitamin D3 — not synthetic vitamin D2 like some supplements use…Finally, look for a supplement that’s backed by clinical trials and proven effective.”
[i] Epstein O, Kato Y, Dick R, Sherlock S. Vitamin D, hydroxyapatite, and calcium gluconate in treatment of cortical bone thinning in postmenopausal women with primary biliary cirrhosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Sep; 36(3): 426-30
[ii] Laird E, Ward M, McSorley E, Strain JJ, Wallace J. Vitamin D and bone health: potential mechanisms. Nutrients. 2010;2(7):693–724.
[iii] Sunyecz JA. The use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008;4(4):827–836. doi:10.2147/tcrm.s3552
[iv] Erratum: Assessment of Relationship between Vitamin D Deficiency and Pain Severity in Patients with Low Back Pain: A Retrospective, Observational Study. Anesth Essays Res. 2018;12(4):970.
[v] Kostoglou-Athanassiou I, Athanassiou P, Lyraki A, Raftakis I, Antoniadis C. Vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2012;3(6):181–187.
[vi] S. Bartlett, U. Haque. Relationships among vitamin D, disease activity, pain and disability in rheumatoid arthritis. Clin Exp Rhuem. 2010 Vol.28, N°0 – PI 0745, PF 0747
[vii] Anglin RES, Samaan Z, Walter SD, McDonald SD. Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Psychiatry. 2013;202(2):100-107.
[viii] Cuoma A, Giordana N, Goracci A, Fagiolini A. Depression and Vitamin D Deficiency: Causality, Assessment, and Clinical Practice Implications. Neuropsychiatry (2017) Volume 7, Issue 5.