Vitamin D deficiency is very common and many people do not realize they have a deficiency. Deficiency can exist for months because in the beginning, that are no symptoms, and most symptoms may not be recognized until levels are very low.
One reason for vitamin D deficiency is the interactions of vitamin D, from dietary sources or from vitamin supplements, with the use of medications.
Every day millions of Americans take prescription and over the counter medications to treat or prevent diseases. Thousands of these medications can lead to significant depletions in one or more essential macro and micro nutrients in the body. With many individuals taking more than one medication, the potential for a deficiency only magnifies. This makes it very difficult for healthcare providers to be fully knowledgeable in all the potential interactions and resulting nutrient deficiencies.
Corticosteroid medications such as prednisone, often prescribed to reduce inflammation, can reduce calcium absorption according to a series of articles published in the Arch Intern Med, and N Engl J Med and again in Arch Internal Med, and thus impair vitamin D metabolism which leads to lower calcium absorption and loss of bone over time . These articles noted that the “effects can further contribute to the loss of bone and the development of osteoporosis associated with their long-term use”.
Women who are taking certain medications to lose weight may be at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. According to information released by Roche Pharmaceuticals, found on FDA access data site, “Xenical”, the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and other fat-soluble nutrients is inhibited by the use of orlistat. The information releases also recommended A multivitamin tablet containing vitamins A, and other fat soluble vitamins D, E, K, and beta-carotene “should be taken once a day, at bedtime, when using orlistat.”
According to a research conducted and reported in Gastroenterology, the cholesterol-lowering drug cholestyramine (brand names Questran®, LoCholest®, and Prevalite®) can also reduce the absorption of vitamin D and other fat-soluble vitamins. The findings in a case study suggested that cholestyramine, reduced vitamin D absorption, and this precipitated the rapid development of osteomalacia. This case report also emphasizes “the importance of routine vitamin D supplementation in all patients on long term cholestyramine therapy.”
According to research published in Pharmacotherap, both phenobarbital and phenytoin (brand name Dilantin®), “used to prevent and control epileptic seizures, increase the hepatic metabolism of vitamin D to inactive compounds and reduce calcium absorption.”
Some medications have been found to increase vitamin D levels in the blood. The findings of one study showed that statins increase vitamin D levels. There are over 32 million Americans, aged 45 and older, that currently are taking cholesterol lowering drugs, statins, according to reported Government health survey statistics. Approximately 16% of women, ages 45-64; 36% ages 45-74, and 39% are women ages 75 plus are prescribed statin drugs.
Testing and Supplements of vitamin D
The federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes that “nutrients should come primarily from foods,” but that dietary supplements…may be advantageous in specific situations to increase intake of a specific vitamin or mineral.” Individuals taking medications routinely that can interfere with the absorption or utilization with vitamin D or other macro or micro nutrients should discuss vitamin D intakes and the need for supplementation with their healthcare providers.
It is very important to know and control your vitamin D level. Before taking supplements, have your blood tested for deficiencies. The traditional diagnostic test for vitamin D deficiency is a simple static test of the red blood cells for levels of vitamin D in blood serum. However, these static serum levels are not always good representative indicators for assessing cell metabolism and utilization of vitamin D in the body. A more effective test to discover your Vitamin D levels is through micro nutrient testing of white blood cells. We know the function of specific nutrients in the body, and knowing specific deficiencies and how a deficiency of one nutrient impact another, makes micro nutrient testing a valuable diagnostic tool to help you reduce the risk of illness and disease related to such deficiencies. Click here to learn more about micro nutrient testing.
The information provided in this article should not take the place of medical advice. Talk to your health care providers if you have questions about dietary deficiencies or supplementation.
More information: Micro Nutrient Testing, The U.S. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s food guidance system, MyPlate, Spectracell Testing,
Resources: PR Newswire, GreenFacts, Archives of Internal Medicine, Spectracell WebMD, http://www.mayoclinic.com/, http://www.drugs.com/, http://en.wikipedia.org/ http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/, Roche Pharmaceuticals , “Xenical”. Roche; retrieved 07-30-2012, National Institute of Health