Vitamin D supplements work better when taken with large meal

You’re likely to derive most benefit from vitamin D supplements if you take them with your main meal of the day. Endocrinologists at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation drew this conclusion after doing a small study of 17 patients.
You’re likely to derive most benefit from vitamin D supplements if you take them with your main meal of the day. Endocrinologists at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation drew this conclusion after doing a small study of 17 patients.

Over half of the inhabitants of developed countries have less than optimal levels of vitamin D in their bodies. It’s also becoming increasingly clear that their health is compromised as a result. In theory supplements containing vitamin D can help, but many studies show that these hardly raise the vitamin D level at all.

The doctors Guy Mulligan and Angelo Licata published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research the results of a study in which they got a diverse group of 17 patients to take a supplement containing ergocaliciferol [vitamin D2] or cholecalciferol [vitamin D3] for 2-3 months. The dose varied, but all patients took their supplements during the main meal of the day. The researchers’ reasoning was that this might help the vitamin uptake.

The soleus is the deeper calf muscle; above it you find the gastrocnemius. The gastrocnemius is attached to the thighbone, the soleus isn’t. If you train your calves with bent knees the gastrocnemius can’t contract, so you can’t train it properly. If you train the calves doing seated exercises it’s the soleus that you use mainly.

They were right, as the figure below shows.

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“Admittedly, there are several limits to our study, including the small sample size, lack of a control group, and an inability to know exactly how the patients took their supplements”, the researchers concede. But that doesn’t make their results any less worthwhile.

“Despite these limitations, the results are striking and consistent across a rather heterogeneous group of patients (different disease states and different preparations and doses of vitamin D). It therefore seems reasonable to ask patients to take vitamin D supplements with their largest meal because it may be a cost-effective strategy that could very well help patients to achieve optimal serum levels of 25(OH)D.”

Taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in higher serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

Mulligan GB, Licata A.

Source

Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.

Abstract

Many patients treated for vitamin D deficiency fail to achieve an adequate serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] despite high doses of ergo- or cholecalciferol. The objective of this study was to determine whether administration of vitamin D supplement with the largest meal of the day would improve absorption and increase serum levels of 25(OH)D. This was a prospective cohort study in an ambulatory tertiary-care referral center. Patients seen at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Bone Clinic for the treatment of vitamin D deficiency who were not responding to treatment make up the study group. Subjects were instructed to take their usual vitamin D supplement with the largest meal of the day. The main outcome measure was the serum 259(OH)D level after 2 to 3 months. Seventeen patients were analyzed. The mean age (+/-SD) and sex (F/M) ratio were 64.5 +/- 11.0 years and 13 females and 4 males, respectively. The dose of 25(OH)D ranged from 1000 to 50,000 IU daily. The mean baseline serum 25(OH)D level (+/-SD) was 30.5 +/- 4.7 ng/mL (range 21.6 to 38.8 ng/mL). The mean serum 25(OH)D level after diet modification (+/-SD) was 47.2 +/- 10.9 ng/mL (range 34.7 to 74.0 ng/mL, p < .01). Overall, the average serum 25(OH)D level increased by 56.7% +/- 36.7%. A subgroup analysis based on the weekly dose of vitamin D was performed, and a similar trend was observed.Thus it is concluded that taking vitamin D with the largest meal improves absorption and results in about a 50% increase in serum levels of 25(OH)D levels achieved. Similar increases were observed in a wide range of vitamin D doses taken for a variety of medical conditions. Copyright 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research. Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20200983

RESEARCH CHEMS!

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