Vitamin D and Bone Health

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is converted into its active hormone form in our body.  We can obtain vitamin D from food or dietary supplements and our body can produce it when skin is exposed to UVB rays from the sun. 

When thinking of bone health, calcium comes to mind.  However, vitamin D helps promote calcium absorption and helps our body maintain adequate blood concentrations of calcium and phosphate. 

Why is this important?  Blood concentrations of both calcium and phosphate are used to mineralize bone.  And serum calcium levels must be maintained within a narrow range for normal nervous system functioning.

Though hard and seemingly static, bone tissue is actually very dynamic.  Bone remodeling, the process of removing old bone tissue and replacing it with new bone tissue, takes approximately 6 months and helps keep bones strong.

Vitamin D for Bone Health
Vitamin D (in addition to calcium and other minerals) plays an important role in bone health.  In fact, insufficient vitamin D levels can lead to bones that are thin and brittle which could result in rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults.  Both diseases are characterized by softening of the bones and skeletal deformities.

Taking calcium supplements with vitamin D and additional vitamin D supplements if needed, may help support bone strength.  Check with your doctor to find out what dose you should be taking. 

Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board.  Dietary Reference Intakes: Calcium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. Washington, DC:  National Academy Press, 1997.