Vitamin D testing and treatment is a subject of controversial scientific discussions, and it is challenging to navigate through the expanding vitamin D literature with heterogeneous and partially opposed opinions and recommendations. In this narrative review, we aim to provide an update on vitamin D guidelines and the current evidence on the role of vitamin D for human health with its subsequent implications for patient care and public health issues. Vitamin D is critical for bone and mineral metabolism, and it is established that vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets and osteomalacia. While many guidelines recommend target serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations of ≥50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL), the minimum consensus in the scientific community is that serum 25(OH)D concentrations below 25–30 nmol/L (10–12 ng/mL) must be prevented and treated. Using this latter threshold of serum 25(OH)D concentrations, it has been documented that there is a high worldwide prevalence of vitamin D deficiency that may require public health actions such as vitamin D food fortification. On the other hand, there is also reason for concern that an exploding rate of vitamin D testing and supplementation increases costs and might potentially be harmful. In the scientific debate on vitamin D, we should consider that nutrient trials differ from drug trials and that apart from the opposed positions regarding indications for vitamin D treatment we still have to better characterize the precise role of vitamin D for human health.
Stefan Pilz, Armin Zittermann, Christian Trummer, Verena Theiler-Schwetz, Elisabeth Lerchbaum, Martin H Keppel, Martin R Grübler, Winfried März, and Marlene Pandis
Natércia Neves Marques de Queiroz, Franciane Trindade Cunha de Melo, Fabrício de Souza Resende, Luísa Corrêa Janaú, Norberto Jorge Kzan de Souza Neto, Manuela Nascimento de Lemos, Ana Carolina Lobato Virgolino, Maria Clara Neres Iunes de Oliveira, Angélica Leite de Alcântara, Lorena Vilhena de Moraes, Tiago Franco David, Wanderson Maia da Silva, Scarlatt Souza Reis, Márcia Costa dos Santos, Ana Carolina Contente Braga de Souza, Pedro Paulo Freire Piani, Neyla Arroyo Lara Mourão, Karem Mileo Felício, João Felício Abrahão Neto, and João Soares Felício
Investigate the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in an equatorial population through a large-sample study.
Cross-sectional study with 30,224 healthy individuals from the North Region, in Brazil (Amazônia – state of Pará), who had 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25(OH)D) and intact parathyroid hormone (PTH) serum levels measured by immunoassay method. Those with history of acute or chronic diseases were excluded. Abnormal levels of calcium, creatinine, glycemia and albumin were also exclusion criteria.
25(OH)D levels were 29.1 ± 8.2 ng/mL and values <12.7 ng/mL were equal to < −2 s.d. below average. Hypovitaminosis D was present in 10% of subjects according to the Institute of Medicine (values <20 ng/mL) and in 59%, in consonance with Endocrine Society (values 20–30 ng/mL as insufficiency and <20 ng/mL as deficiency) criteria. Individuals were divided according to four age brackets: children, adolescents, adults and elderly, and their 25(OH)D levels were: 33 ± 9; 28.5 ± 7.4; 28.3 ± 7.7; 29.3 ± 8.5 ng/mL, respectively. All groups differed in 25(OH)D, except adolescents vs adults. Regression model showed BMI, sex, living zone (urban or rural) and age as independent variables to 25(OH)D levels. Comparing subjects with vitamin D deficiency (<20 ng/mL) to those with vitamin D insufficiency (20–30 ng/mL), a difference between PTH levels in these two groups was observed (95.9 ± 24.7 pg/mL vs 44.2 ± 64.5 pg/mL; P < 0.01). Additionally, the most accurate predictive vitamin D level for subclinical hyperparathyroidism in ROC curve was 26 ng/mL.
Our equatorial population showed low prevalence of vitamin D hypovitaminosis ranging with age bracket. The insufficient category by Endocrine Society was corroborated by our PTH data.
Ranganathan R Rao, Harpal S Randeva, Sailesh Sankaranarayanan, Murthy Narashima, Matthias Möhlig, Hisham Mehanna, and Martin O Weickert
Vitamin D deficiency further increases circulating parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (pHPT), with potential detrimental effects on bone mass.
This was an observational clinical study in consecutive conservatively treated postmenopausal women (n=40) with pHPT and coexistent 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency (25OHD ≤50 nmol/l (≤20 ng/ml)). Patients who showed an increase in serum 25OHD above the threshold of vitamin D deficiency (>50 nmol/l; n=28) using treatment with various commonly prescribed vitamin D preparations were, for the purposes of statistical analyses, allocated to the treatment group. Patients who were retrospectively identified as having received no treatment with vitamin D and/or remained vitamin D deficient were considered as non-responders/controls (n=12). Adjusted calcium (adjCa), PTH and 25OHD concentrations were monitored in all subjects up to 54 months (mean observation period of 18±2 months).
Prolonged increased vitamin D intake, regardless of the source (serum 25OHD, increase from 32.2±1.7 nmol/l at baseline to 136.4±11.6 nmol/l, P<0.0001), significantly reduced serum PTH (13.3±1.1 vs 10.5±1.0 pmol/l, P=0.0001), with no adverse effects on adjCa levels (2.60±0.03 vs 2.60±0.02 mmol/l, P=0.77) and renal function tests (P>0.73). In contrast, serum PTH remained unchanged (15.8±2.6 vs 16.3±1.9 pmol/l, P=0.64) in patients who remained vitamin D deficient, with a significant difference between groups in changes of PTH (P=0.0003). Intrapartial correlation analyses showed an independent negative correlation of changes in 25OHD with PTH levels (r ic=−0.41, P=0.014).
Prolonged treatment with vitamin D in various commonly prescribed preparations appeared to be safe and significantly reduced PTH levels by 21%.
Sharon A Huish, Carl Jenkinson, Janet A Dunn, David J Meredith, Rosemary Bland, and Martin Hewison
Low serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is considered a consequence of elevated fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) and concomitant reduced activity of renal 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1). Current ESRD treatment strategies to increase serum calcium and suppress secondary hyperparathyroidism involve supplementation with vitamin D analogues that circumvent 1α-hydroxylase. This overlooks the potential importance of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) deficiency as a contributor to low serum 1,25(OH)2D. We investigated the effects of vitamin D (cholecalciferol) supplementation (40,000 IU for 12 weeks and maintenance dose of 20,000 IU fortnightly), on multiple serum vitamin D metabolites (25(OH)D, 1,25(OH)2D3 and 24,25(OH)2D3) in 55 haemodialysis patients. Baseline and 12 month data were compared using related-samples Wilcoxon signed rank test. All patients remained on active vitamin D analogues as part of routine ESRD care. 1,25(OH)2D3 levels were low at baseline (normal range: 60–120 pmol/L). Cholecalciferol supplementation normalised both serum 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D3. Median serum 25(OH)D increased from 35.1 nmol/L (IQR: 23.0–47.5 nmol/L) to 119.9 nmol/L (IQR: 99.5–143.3 nmol/L) (P < 0.001). Median serum 1,25(OH)2D3 and 24,25(OH)2D3 increased from 48.3 pmol/L (IQR: 35.9–57.9 pmol/L) and 3.8 nmol/L (IQR: 2.3–6.0 nmol/L) to 96.2 pmol/L (IQR: 77.1–130.6 pmol/L) and 12.3 nmol/L (IQR: 9–16.4 nmol/L), respectively (P < 0.001). A non-significant reduction in daily active vitamin D analogue dose occurred, 0.94 µmcg at baseline to 0.77 µmcg at 12 months (P = 0.73). The ability to synthesise 1,25(OH)2D3 in ESRD is maintained but is substrate dependent, and serum 25(OH)D was a limiting factor at baseline. Therefore, 1,25(OH)2D3 deficiency in ESRD is partly a consequence of 25(OH)D deficiency, rather than solely due to reduced 1α-hydroxylase activity as suggested by current treatment strategies.
Haojie Zhang, Yuke Cui, Ruihua Dong, Wen Zhang, Shihan Chen, Heng Wan, Chi Chen, Yi Chen, Yuying Wang, Chunfang Zhu, Bo Chen, Ningjian Wang, and Yingli Lu
Bone is thought to be the reservoir of the human lead burden, and vitamin D is associated with bone turnover. We aimed to explore whether exposure to lower 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) levels was associated with higher blood lead levels (BLLs) by increasing the bone turnover rate in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
A total of 4103 type 2 diabetic men and postmenopausal women in Shanghai, China, were enrolled in 2018. Their 25(OH)D, β-C-terminal telopeptide (β-CTX), N-MID osteocalcin and procollagen type 1 N-peptide (P1NP) levels were detected. Their BLLs were determined by atomic absorption spectrometry. Mediation analyses were performed to identify the possible role that bone turnover played in the underlying mechanisms.
In both the men and postmenopausal women, all three bone turnover markers were inversely associated with 25(OH)D and positively associated with the BLL (all P < 0.01) after adjusting for age, current smoking habits, metabolic parameters, duration of diabetes, vitamin D intake, and use of anti-osteoporosis medication. In the mediation analyses, none of the direct associations between 25(OH)D and BLL was significant for the three bone turnover markers, but all three bone turnover markers were found to be significant mediators of the indirect associations between 25(OH)D and BLL.
The association between vitamin D and BLL was fully mediated by bone turnover markers in type 2 diabetic patients (mediation effect). This finding suggested that vitamin D may protect against blood lead exposure from the bone reservoir by decreasing bone turnover in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Laura P B Elbers, Marije Wijnberge, Joost C M Meijers, Dennis C W Poland, Dees P M Brandjes, Eric Fliers, and Victor E A Gerdes
Abnormal coagulation tests have been observed in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) suggesting a prothrombotic effect of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Vitamin D deficiency (VIDD) is the most frequent cause of secondary HPT. Aim of our study was to investigate the influence of HPT secondary to moderate-to-severe VIDD and vitamin D replacement on the coagulation and fibrinolysis system.
Subjects and methods
Prospective cohort study of patients with vitamin D <25 nmol/L with and without HPT, and a control group of patients on vitamin D suppletion. At baseline and after 2 months of vitamin D suppletion (900,000 IU in 2 months), endocrine and coagulation markers were measured.
59 patients with VIDD of which 34 had secondary HPT and 36 controls were included. After 2 months of suppletion, vitamin D increased by 399% (VIDD with HPT), 442% (all patients with VIDD) and 6% (controls). PTH decreased by 34% (VIDD with HPT, P < 0.01 for decrease), 32% (all VIDD, P < 0.01) and increased by 8% in the controls (P-values: <0.01 for relative changes between VIDD with HPT or all VIDD patients vs controls). Relative changes in PT, aPTT, fibrinogen, Von Willebrand factor, factors VII, VIII and X, thrombin generation, TAFI, clot-lysis time and d-dimer were not different between patients with VIDD with HPT or all VIDD vs controls.
Secondary HPT due to VIDD does not have a prothrombotic effect. In contrast with previous reports, PTH does not seem to influence coagulation or fibrinolysis, which is relevant because of the high prevalence of VIDD.
Karoline Winckler, Lise Tarnow, Louise Lundby-Christensen, Thomas P Almdal, Niels Wiinberg, Pia Eiken, Trine W Boesgaard, and the CIMT trial group
Despite aggressive treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D) still have increased risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The primary aim of this study was to examine the cross-sectional association between total (25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D)) and risk of CVD in patients with T2D. Secondary objective was to examine the association between 25(OH)D and bone health. A Danish cohort of patients with T2D participating in a randomised clinical trial were analysed. In total 415 patients (68% men, age 60±9 years (mean±s.d.), duration of diabetes 12±6 years), including 294 patients (71%) treated with insulin. Carotid intima–media thickness (IMT) and arterial stiffness (carotid artery distensibility coefficient (DC) and Young's elastic modulus (YEM)) were measured by ultrasound scan as indicators of CVD. Bone health was assessed by bone mineral density and trabecular bone score measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. In this cohort, 214 patients (52%) were vitamin D deficient (25(OH)D <50 nmol/l). Carotid IMT was 0.793±0.137 mm, DC was 0.0030±0.001 mmHg, YEM was 2354±1038 mmHg and 13 (3%) of the patients were diagnosed with osteoporosis. A 25(OH)D level was not associated with carotid IMT or arterial stiffness (P>0.3) or bone health (P>0.6) after adjustment for CVD risk factors. In conclusion, 25(OH)D status was not associated with carotid IMT, arterial stiffness or bone health in this cohort of patients with T2D. To explore these associations and the association with other biomarkers further, multicentre studies with large numbers of patients are required.
Christian Trummer, Stefan Pilz, Verena Schwetz, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, and Elisabeth Lerchbaum
Accumulating evidence from animal and human studies suggests that vitamin D is involved in many functions of the reproductive system in both genders.
The aim of this review was to provide an overview on the effects of vitamin D on polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women and androgen metabolism in men.
We performed a systematic literature search in PubMed for relevant English language publications published from January 2012 until September 2017.
Results and discussion
The vitamin D receptor and vitamin D-metabolizing enzymes are found in reproductive tissues of women and men. In women, vitamin D status has been associated with several features of PCOS. In detail, cross-sectional data suggest a regulatory role of vitamin D in PCOS-related aspects such as ovulatory dysfunction, insulin resistance as well as hyperandrogenism. Moreover, results from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) suggest that vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for metabolic, endocrine and fertility aspects in PCOS. In men, vitamin D status has been associated with androgen levels and hypogonadism. Further, there is some evidence for a favorable effect of vitamin D supplementation on testosterone concentrations, although others failed to show a significant effect on testosterone levels.
In summary, vitamin D deficiency is associated with adverse fertility outcomes including PCOS and hypogonadism, but the evidence is insufficient to establish causality. High-quality RCTs are needed to further evaluate the effects of vitamin D supplementation in PCOS women as well as on androgen levels in men.
Agnès Linglart, Martin Biosse-Duplan, Karine Briot, Catherine Chaussain, Laure Esterle, Séverine Guillaume-Czitrom, Peter Kamenicky, Jerome Nevoux, Dominique Prié, Anya Rothenbuhler, Philippe Wicart, and Pol Harvengt
In children, hypophosphatemic rickets (HR) is revealed by delayed walking, waddling gait, leg bowing, enlarged cartilages, bone pain, craniostenosis, spontaneous dental abscesses, and growth failure. If undiagnosed during childhood, patients with hypophosphatemia present with bone and/or joint pain, fractures, mineralization defects such as osteomalacia, entesopathy, severe dental anomalies, hearing loss, and fatigue. Healing rickets is the initial endpoint of treatment in children. Therapy aims at counteracting consequences of FGF23 excess, i.e. oral phosphorus supplementation with multiple daily intakes to compensate for renal phosphate wasting and active vitamin D analogs (alfacalcidol or calcitriol) to counter the 1,25-diOH-vitamin D deficiency. Corrective surgeries for residual leg bowing at the end of growth are occasionally performed. In absence of consensus regarding indications of the treatment in adults, it is generally accepted that medical treatment should be reinitiated (or maintained) in symptomatic patients to reduce pain, which may be due to bone microfractures and/or osteomalacia. In addition to the conventional treatment, optimal care of symptomatic patients requires pharmacological and non-pharmacological management of pain and joint stiffness, through appropriated rehabilitation. Much attention should be given to the dental and periodontal manifestations of HR. Besides vitamin D analogs and phosphate supplements that improve tooth mineralization, rigorous oral hygiene, active endodontic treatment of root abscesses and preventive protection of teeth surfaces are recommended. Current outcomes of this therapy are still not optimal, and therapies targeting the pathophysiology of the disease, i.e. FGF23 excess, are desirable. In this review, medical, dental, surgical, and contributions of various expertises to the treatment of HR are described, with an effort to highlight the importance of coordinated care.
A Chinoy, M Skae, A Babiker, D Kendall, M Z Mughal, and R Padidela
Hypoparathyroidism is characterised by hypocalcaemia, and standard management is with an active vitamin D analogue and adequate oral calcium intake (dietary and/or supplements). Little is described in the literature about the impact of intercurrent illnesses on calcium homeostasis in children with hypoparathyroidism.
We describe three children with hypoparathyroidism in whom intercurrent illnesses led to hypocalcaemia and escalation of treatment with alfacalcidol (1-hydroxycholecalciferol) and calcium supplements.
Three infants managed with standard treatment for hypoparathyroidism (two with homozygous mutations in GCMB2 gene and one with Sanjad-Sakati syndrome) developed symptomatic hypocalcaemia (two infants developed seizures) following respiratory or gastrointestinal illnesses. Substantial increases in alfacalcidol doses (up to three times their pre-illness doses) and calcium supplementation were required to achieve acceptable serum calcium concentrations. However, following resolution of illness, these children developed an increase in serum calcium and hypercalciuria, necessitating rapid reduction to pre-illness dosages of alfacalcidol and oral calcium supplementation.
Intercurrent illness may precipitate symptomatic hypocalcaemia in children with hypoparathyroidism, necessitating increase in dosages of alfacalcidol and calcium supplements. Close monitoring is required on resolution of the intercurrent illness, with timely reduction of dosages of active analogues of vitamin D and calcium supplements to prevent hypercalcaemia, hypercalciuria and nephrocalcinosis.