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New and effective treatment discovered for vitamin D deficiency

Helps patients with problems with fat malabsorption, including gastric bypass surgery, obese adults.

Worldwide, there are millions of people with various fat absorption syndromes, including those who have had gastric bypass surgery and those who are obese.

These patients often have difficulty absorbing vitamin D and both groups of patients have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and thus a higher risk of osteoporosis and osteomalacia (softening of the bones).

Obese patients are also prone to vitamin D deficiency, as vitamin D from intestinal absorption and skin synthesis is diluted in a larger fat pool of the body. Now a new study shows that 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 is an effective treatment for vitamin D deficiency for these specific patients.According to the researchers, about a third of adults are obese and require much larger doses of vitamin D to meet their needs.

“This vitamin D metabolite is better absorbed by patients with fat malabsorption syndromes and because it is not as fat soluble, it is not diluted in body fat and is effective in increasing and maintaining the blood levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in obese people. , ”Explained corresponding author Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and molecular medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

Healthy adults, adults with fat malabsorption syndrome, and obese adults were compared to evaluate whether a more water-soluble form of vitamin D3, known as 25-hydroxy vitamin D3, was more effective than the same dose of vitamin D3 in improving their vitamin D status. 

The researchers noted that compared to healthy adults, only about 36 percent of the orally taken vitamin D3 was found in the blood of patients with fat malabsorption syndromes, including those who had gastric bypass surgery. When the same adults took 25-hydroxy vitamin D3, the patients with fat malabsorption syndromes were able to absorb it just as well as the healthy adults, increasing their vitamin D status to the same extent. A similar observation was made in the obese subjects compared to the healthy controls. 

“Therefore, the use of 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 could be a new approach to the treatment of vitamin D deficiency in patients with fat malabsorption syndromes and obese adults,” adds Holick.

Vitamin D deficiency not only leads to bone loss, which increases the risk of fractures, but also causes the painful bone disease osteomalacia.

Vitamin D deficient patients with osteomalacia have persistent pain in their bones and muscles. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of many chronic diseases, including multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, neurocognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as infectious diseases, including Covid.