Monday, November 02, 2009

Gluten Sensitivity & Vitamin D, an Update on Supplementation

As I’ve said before, if you don’t like change then the field of clinical nutrition will not be a happy place for you. Fortunately I love the evolution that my field goes through and I am happy to share the changes with you.

So here’s the latest update on vitamin D supplementation.

A deficiency of vitamin D is a serious condition that affects not only those with gluten sensitivity but as well the general population. Bone density and increased cancer risk are just two of the dangers posed by a deficiency of this important nutrient.

Due to the damage suffered by the small intestine in those sensitive to gluten, absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as D is inhibited.

The “normal” that we should strive for in the blood has consistently risen as the importance of vitamin D has been revealed. Currently it is thought that a level of 60 ng/mL is optimal. Just several months ago I believe we were citing that a value of 40 was adequate with 50 being the target when there was a prior history of cancer.

The treatment options have similarly been refined with the publishing of an article in a French medical journal specializing in internal medicine. While it was previously thought that severely deficient levels of vitamin D would respond beneficially to high doses of vitamin D2 (50,000 IU) taken once per week for about 3 months, that protocol was dismissed with this research. The scientists revealed that D2 is much less effective than D3 due to its shorter half-life and lowered affinity for the vitamin D receptor, making vitamin D3 the recommended form for supplementation.

Here at the clinic we use a liquid form of D3 that’s more bio-available for enhanced absorption. Typically a dose of 5,000 IU in a deficient patient will improve their profile over the course of several months.

Needless to say adherence to a gluten-free (and likely dairy-free) diet is also needed to ensure absorption occurs.

I heartily recommend a blood test to discover your serum vitamin D levels. It’s simple but extremely important.

Please let me know if I can answer any questions in this area.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

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