The Essential App for Healthy Living

Low vitamin D can cause a number of health problems ranging from chronic fatigue to severe osteoporosis. It is estimated that 65% of people in North America, Europe, and Asia have low vitamin D, many of them not feeling well because of it. As discussed within the learning center of the Vitamin-D-Pro app, vitamin D deficiency is common because of our “indoor” lifestyles, increasing use of sunscreen, and the fact that over many years we have migrated to northern climates away from the equator where over-head sunlight is available year round. Getting older and gaining weight also plays a role in declining vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D should not be ignored.

Very severe vitamin D deficiency shows itself by low blood calcium and poor bone formation (Rickets) and is now very rare. However, adults can still have problems associated with vitamin D deficiency which can manifest with a number of more subtle symptoms which can make us feel poor. These symptoms include fatigue, memory loss, osteoporosis, decreases in the immune system, sleep problems, a number of problems with the cardiovascular system, and a number of “aches and pains” people associate with “not feeling well”. Because of the many “non-specific” but very significant symptoms of low vitamin D, it is important to recognize vitamin D deficiency and treat it appropriately.

Definition of Low Vitamin D:  Vitamin D Deficiency

There are three different forms of vitamin D within our bodies, but only one of these should be used to determine a person’s vitamin D health.  This can be confusing for patients when they look at their blood results because the laboratory may give numbers for several parts of vitamin D. The only number we are really concerned about is total 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (Total 25-OH-D). The “best” amount of 25-OH-D that adults should have is a little bit controversial but the Vitamin-D-Pro app will graph your levels to make it easy to understand and keep you (and your doctor) from making a serious mistake.  Some vitamin D experts prefer that their patients have blood 25-OH-D levels between 20 and 40 ng/mL (50 to 100 nmol/L), but other experts, including the experts behind the development of the Vitamin-D-Pro app, prefer that their patients have 25-OH-D levels between 30 and 50 ng/mL (75 to 125 nmol/L).  Thus, all experts can agree that levels between 30 and 40 ng/mL (75 to 100 nmol/L) are good, and we all agree that levels lower than 20 ng/mL are too low for good bone health, the prevention of osteoporosis and several other health problems.  Since vitamin D is absolutely critical for proper calcium metabolism, and because calcium runs the electrical system of our nerves and muscles, the many benefits of vitamin D can only be achieved when the calcium levels are normal. A major mistake made by many doctors (and patients) is to look at vitamin D levels without looking at blood calcium levels.  You must look at calcium and vitamin D together at the same time. The Vitamin-D-Pro app will make sure you do this properly, not allowing you to make assumptions about your vitamin D status without knowing the “whole picture” of your body’s calcium metabolism. Remember, the primary role of vitamin D is to transport calcium from our diet into our blood. Good vitamin D health is all about good calcium health!

There is not enough data to determine the safe upper limit of 25-OH-D. However, many experts believe that there may be some problems with 25-OH-D levels above 50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L), but again, this is controversial. There seems to be no benefit to having 25-OH-D levels above 50 ng/mL (125 nmol/L).  The Vitamin-D-Pro app will graph your vitamin D levels over time so that any dangerous trends can be easily recognized and harmful (or even toxic) levels of vitamin D can be avoided.

Be careful when looking at your lab reports because some laboratories will give numbers for 25-hydroxyvitamin D2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 values separately.  It is the total 25-OH-D concentration that is important and this is the only level that the Vitamin-D-Pro app will use. If you enter any level for vitamin D that is not TOTAL 25-OH-D, then the results of the app will be wrong—but it will tell you that you are making a mistake.

Prevalence of Low Vitamin D: How Common is Low Vitamin D?

How many people have low vitamin D depends on what levels your doctors and the experts feel is too low. As noted above, all the experts in Vitamin D can’t agree on what the lower number of vitamin D is, and whether it should be 20 or 30 ng/mL [50 or 75 nmol/L].  In a very large survey in 2006, (the NHANES study), 42 percent of adults had 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels (total 25-OH-D) below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). Remember, below 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) is the level that all experts agree is too low and is associated with poor health! This study also showed that low vitamin D was more common in people who are overweight, have low HDL cholesterol, and don’t drink milk daily (most milk is fortified with vitamin D). When this same survey was done a few years earlier, over 70 percent of adults had vitamin D levels  below 30 ng/mL, which is the level that many experts in vitamin D (including those that produced the Vitamin-D-Pro app) believe is required for optimum calcium metabolism and health.

Low vitamin D is becoming more common in all countries of the world. In a number of recent studies, including the largest study (published 4 years ago: Osteoporosis International Journal. 2009;20 (11):1807), researchers showed that low vitamin D levels was becoming more common worldwide. Repeated studies by the NHANES research group showed that Total 25-OH-D levels in American adults decreased every time the study was conducted over 16 years. Vitamin D deficiency is a major health problem worldwide and is causing countless health problems. Fortunately, correcting low vitamin D is easy with proper supplements. The vitamin-D-Pro app is designed to make sure you do this correctly, making sure you don’t miss a possible underlying calcium problem that must also be addressed.

Summary of Low Vitamin D

Low vitamin D levels are common, and becoming even more common as we spend more time indoors, wear protective clothing and sunscreen, and gain weight. The net result is poor calcium metabolism which leads to many health problems, ranging from osteoporosis to problems with our immune system, nervous system, muscular system, and cardiovascular system. It is absolutely important for patients concerned about low vitamin D to remember that the primary role of vitamin D in our bodies is to maintain good calcium metabolism, and therefore it is not correct to look at vitamin D levels without looking at calcium levels. Vitamin D and calcium are so closely related that we cannot look at one without the other.

The vitamin-D-Pro app was produced by experts in the field of calcium metabolism and vitamin D. The app will make sure you evaluate your vitamin D issues along side of you calcium so you and your doctors can make the best decisions about supplements and your overall health.

Learn more about low vitamin D at parathyroid.com, the leading calcium information source since 1995.

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