Vitamin D: A double-edged sword in the fight against osteoporosis?

April 23, 2012

Vitamin D is renowned for its role in creating strong bones and is a key regulator of serum calcium levels. Calcium is primarily obtained through diet and absorbed through the intestine and into the blood stream. In addition to building bone, calcium is required for a variety of important physiological processes. Vitamin D, which is detected by receptors in bone and intestinal cells, regulates the level of calcium in the blood stream and determines how much should be stored in the skeleton. Several recent clinical trials have examined the effects of vitamin D supplements on the prevention of bone fractures in the elderly; however, the results of these trials have not offered a consensus on the efficacy of these supplements.

In this month's issue of JCI, Dr. Geert Carmeliet and colleagues at the University of Leuven in Leuven, Belgium, investigated how vitamin D affects the skeleton when serum calcium levels are depleted. Using mice that lack the intestinal vitamin D receptor, the researchers showed that the mice still had normal serum calcium levels even when given a low-calcium diet. Additional experiments demonstrated that vitamin D stimulated to produce factors that removed calcium from bone in a process known as in order to maintain normal serum calcium levels. Thus, while vitamin D is important for maintaining serum calcium levels, it can also promote .

In an accompanying article, Dr. Cathleen Colón-Emeric and Dr. Kenneth Lyles of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, discuss the clinical implications of this investigation as well as how these findings may explain clinical trial results where vitamin D supplements failed to prevent fractures in elderly patients and, in some cases, were correlated with increased fracture rates.

Explore further: Vitamin D deficiency high among trauma patients

More information: Normocalcemia is maintained in mice under conditions of calcium malabsorption by vitamin D–induced inhibition of bone mineralization, Journal of Clinical Investigation (2012).

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spiritosl
4 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2012
The headline "Vitamin D: A double-edged sword in the fight against osteoporosis?" is definitely wrong.
If you deplete calcium in the food then the only source of Ca is the bones and the vitamin D3 at higher concentrations improves the stability of Ca+ level in the blood. The only source of Ca to maintain Ca level in blood is the Ca in the skeleton. Then you get osteoporosis in the poor malnutried animal (and humans)
Seems to be an odd experiment that doesn't prove anything IRL.
Don't forget that vitamin D3 is essential and at the high latitude where I live (61ºN) sun is a good but insufficiennt source of vitamin D3 but in a short summer. Thus I have 50 000 IU vitamin D3 per week to stay healthy. There are reports showing 100 000 IU of vitamin D per day for a year is nontoxic. So have enough (at least 5 000 IU/day) vitamin D3!
dutchman
not rated yet Apr 25, 2012
According to recent research at various medical universities, vitamin D3 plays a crucial role in the prevention of various types of CANCER. This was broadcast in a series of presentation on the University of California TV (UCTV.edu) The recommendation was 10,000 IU per day, and NO level of toxicity has been found. 10,000 IU per day for life may wipe out cancer altogether!

I think this is at least as important (if not more so) than osteoporosis.

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