We are a sunburnt country; however our population is presenting with suboptimal Vitamin D levels. In Australia, an estimated 74 to 97% of adults have a vitamin D status below 80 nmol/L. People are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency during the winter and spring months and following menopause. Vitamin D is most widely known for its role in calcium homeostasis and maintenance of skeletal health, however, almost all body systems rely on vitamin D in varying ways for optimal function. Numerous conditions are associated with low vitamin D levels, including osteoporosis and osteomalacia, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions; multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and autoimmune arthritis; as well as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and cancer.
When people think of bone health and minerals, they will most always think of calcium as being the hero here, which in saying that it is but often the vital role of Vitamin D is over looked.
Vitamin D and Calcium have an interdependent relationship when it comes to maintaining and improving bone health. Active vitamin D regulates calcium homeostasis by increasing the absorption of both calcium and phosphorus. The use of vitamin D for musculoskeletal conditions is heavily supported by scientific research. Improving vitamin D status can reduce the risks of fracture and falls in the elderly due to poor muscle strength and when associated with osteoporosis. In fact, vitamin D deficiency has been found in up to 97% of hip-fracture patients and current data suggests that vitamin D may be more important than calcium for fracture prevention.
Ultimately for optimal Vitamin D status, levels between are 100 – 120 nmol/L are required. Depending on your current levels, supplementation doses will vary between 2000IU or higher as a daily recommendation. Best to seek advice from your health professional on the best dose for you.