vitaminsThere has been some recent discussion in the news questioning how beneficial vitamin D supplements are.  Here at WeightWise, a majority of our patients take a prescription level of vitamin D and then a smaller dose to maintain.  So why are we aggressive when it comes to vitamin D?  The answer is simple…bone health!  While the verdict is still out on the true effects of vitamin D supplements on cardiovascular health, mental health & immune function, the benefits for bone health are known and very important in what we do here at WeightWise!  

WHAT IS VITAMIN D & WHAT DOES IT DO?

  • Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in food and can be made in the skin after sun exposure

  • It helps to absorb dietary calcium and phosphorus from the intestines

  • It suppresses the release of parathyroid hormone, a hormone that causes bone loss

  • It promotes bone health by taking calcium from our diet & putting into our bones

WHY DO WE GET VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?

Vitamin D deficiency is very common in people with obesity and in those who have had bariatric surgery:  

  • Recent theory suggests that vitamin D gets locked in fat cells & is unavailable for use, so individuals with a BMI > 30 are at increased risk of deficiency

  • Surgery that removes or bypasses portions of the stomach or intestines can also lead to low vitamin D levels (such as gastric bypass)

Other factors that contribute to low levels of vitamin D are:

  • Lack of vitamin D in the diet, often in conjunction with inadequate sun exposure

  • Inability to absorb vitamin D from the intestines

  • Inability to process vitamin D due to kidney or liver disease

POTENTIAL COMPLICATIONS OF VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY

  • Low blood calcium (hypocalcemia)

  • Low blood phosphate (hypophosphatemia)

  • Osteomalacia (softening of the bones)

  • Reduced bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)

Although the verdict is still out on other functions of vitamin D, our treatment for low or low normal levels of vitamin D remains aggressive because our patients are at increased risk of bone loss!

Melisa Weaver, APRN-CNP

Family Nurse Practitioner