Vitamin D – Calcium’s best friend

Author -  Jamie Jones, Naturopath

Scientists have known for some time that Calcium by itself is not enough for bone health. Your body needs several “co-nutrients” to absorb and use Calcium properly, including Magnesium, Copper, Zinc and Vitamin K. But perhaps the most important of all of these nutrients may be Vitamin D3.

What does Vitamin D do?

Michael Holick, Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine is a leading investigator into Vitamin D and its functions. His research suggest that good Vitamin D levels can help:

  • ensure children reach their peak bone mass
  • protect adults from osteoporosis (and keep it from getting worse)
  • prevent other bone conditions such as osteomalacia

And Vitamin D is not just a bone health vitamin. Rather, he says, Vitamin D is essential for proper muscle function, and may help maintain healthy blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

How common are low Vitamin D levels?

Professor Holick reports that low Vitamin D levels affect around 36% of otherwise healthy young adults; up to 57% of general hospital patients in the United States; and even more people in Europe. Recent information also shows that several elderly patients and those with osteoporosis had low Vitamin D levels.

Professor Holick suggests that factors such as lack of exposure to sunlight and diets that are low in Vitamin D contribute to this situation. His conclusion is that Vitamin D supplements and sensible sun exposure could prevent deficiency in most of the general population.

Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Mar;81(3):353-73. Holick MF. High prevalence of Vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health.