A Few Facts About Vitamin D
Vitamin D comes naturally from two sources. It is produced naturally in your body by exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. You also get vitamin D from the food and supplements in your diet.
Vitamin D is necessary for the body, and for the proper formation of your skeleton. It is important for bone growth and renewal as it helps your body absorb and retain phosphorus and calcium. Vitamin D is also necessary for nerve and muscle activity.
Vitamin D deficiency or low levels of vitamin D can lead to a variety of health problems. Low vitamin D levels can cause bones to mineralize improperly. In children, this can lead to rickets, which is characterized by bowed legs, swollen joints, and malformed skeletons. In adults, vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia, which is the softening of the bones due to inadequate bone mineralization. Decreased calcium absorption may also result in osteoporosis.
Vitamin D and Hyperparathyroidism
Patients with hyperparathyroidism often have low levels of vitamin D in their blood. Vitamin D deficiency is a common condition and a low level of vitamin D is not necessarily indicative of parathyroid disease.
Vitamin D facilitates the intestinal absorption of calcium. With lower levels of vitamin D, dietary calcium is not absorbed efficiently, making your high calcium problem even worse.
When the body does not have sufficient Vitamin D to maintain a normal calcium level, there can also be an elevation in the PTH level. This is usually a small elevation in the PTH level. However this comes about because the calcium level is low for a prolonged period and the parathyroid glands respond by producing PTH to a level above normal. This is different than primary hyperparathyroidism because the calcium level is below normal or in the low normal range. It is never normal to have a normal or high normal calcium and elevated PTH at the same time and this is not caused by Vitamin D deficiency.
Low Vitamin D levels in patients with a high calcium and a high parathyroid hormone level occurs as a protective mechanism for the body. Because the blood serum doesn’t require any additional calcium the production and conversion of vitamin D is down-regulated as a protective mechanism for the body. This is why over 60% of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism have a lower than normal vitamin D level. In this case the parathyroid tumor actually causes the decrease of vitamin D in your body.
If it is determined that you suffer from hyperparathyroid disease and you have parathyroid surgery, it is important that you take calcium and vitamin D supplements to help replenish your calcium stores in your bones.