Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with many diseases, however hormone D levels were not measured in most of the studies. The vitamin can be converted to the active hormone by an enzyme that is typically well controlled by the kidneys but is also made by some types of cancer cells, white blood cells and in some autoimmune conditions. Elevated hormone D levels can cause excessive loss of calcium from bone tissue and calcification of soft tissue.
Supplements of vitamin D frequently need to be taken in amounts far greater than the standard recommendation in order to raise vitamin D levels. An association with disease does not prove whether the depressed vitamin D levels are a cause or a side effect of chronic disease. Measuring both the vitamin 25(OH)D and the hormone 1, 25(2OH)D levels would be more likely to reveal whether excessive enzyme activity was causing a decrease in vitamin D levels and an increase in hormone D levels rather than there being an actual deficit of vitamin D. Chronically elevated hormone D is associated with osteoporosis and other health issues.
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- Canadian Medical Association Journal (2012, November 5). Low vitamin D levels linked to longevity, surprising study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 11, 2012, from [http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2012/11/121105130355.htm]
- van Heemst D., Leiden Longevity Study, Longevity Research Background, in Dutch, [http://www.langleven.net/index.cfm?p=1B8B2369-3048-9110-624DBCCA13F65FE9]
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