Vitamin D

By | October 16, 2011

“Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”

Vitamin D its effects on health and the causes of chronic pain have been the subject of much speculation and confusion.  Much of this is the result of trying to oversimplify a complex subject. Einstein is credited as having said, “Things should be made as simple as possible, but not any simpler.”

Vitamin D is a misnomer. Strictly speaking vitamin D is not really a vitamin since the body can synthesize it given adequate exposure to sunlight. Secondly it probably acts more as a prohormone, regulating a large number of body processes, than as a classical vitamin, catalyzing a small number of biochemical reactions. Thirdly as part of a large endocrine system, involving parathyroid hormone and calcitonin, it displays tremendous ethnic diversity and genetic polymorphism. Fourthly, the system is decidedly non-linear (i.e. a 20% increase in hormone level may produce an effect less than, equal to or greater than 20% depending on starting levels) and state dependent ( the same hormone level or the same change in hormone level may produce different results depending on the levels of other components in the system).

All of these factors make simple statements about vitamin D levels and dietary supplementation difficult and confusing. In the following series of blogs we will look at the system in more detail and try to elucidate the role of this fascinating compound in the maintenance of health.


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