Unless you have been living on a desert island – in which case you may not be concerned about vitamin D deficiency anyway – you will have seen that vitamin D has hit the headlines again recently.
The research appears conclusive that there is an association between low levels of Vitamin D and a wide range a chronic health conditions including diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, autoimmunity, cancer, osteoporosis to name but a few of the ever-increasing list of diseases.
In practice am a great advocate of vitamin D (actually a hormone) but I have one major proviso. Rarely in practice do I recommend the use of one nutrient in isolation as it always seems to me to be a rather unnatural approach. The fat-soluble hormones, vitamin A, D, E and K are prime examples of why this is often the case. Each of these nutrients have their own unique properties but they also as importantly work synergistically. There are numerous examples of this but here are a few that influence bone density – a much touted benefit of increased vitamin D levels;
Vitamin D stimulates the production of vitamin K2 dependant proteins which increases the demand for K2. The more K2 (menaquinone) dependant proteins you make, the more calcium you can transport from the arteries (where you don’t want it), and into the bones and teeth where this important mineral is needed. Increasing your intake of vitamin D increases the requirement for vitamin K2.
Vitamin A (as retinol) works in partnership with vitamin D along to improve the production of osteocalcin (BGLAP) by the osteoblasts in bone and dentin, this is a marker that bone-building processes are taking place. Taking vitamin A alone can limit the production of another protein called matrix gla protein (MGP) which escorts calcium out of the soft tissues such as arteries and veins where it could prove harmful. When vitamin K2 levels are low MGP production is inhibited even further.
Finally, vitamin E which is regarded as one of the most important antioxidants is also shown to communicate with the same cell receptors as vitamin A and D.
To summarise I usually recommend a supplement that combines all the fat-soluble vitamins in the correct ratios.