Vitamin D has long been known for it role in bone health. With optimal vitamin D your body can absorb and use calcium to keep bones and teeth strong and avoid becoming thin, brittle, and misshapen. Rickets, or bowed legs, is the result of too little vitamin D. Before milk was fortified with vitamin D many children developed rickets. Now that vitamin D is added to milk fewer children get rickets. We never stop needing vitamin D and adults, just like kids, who do not get enough will develop “soft bones” called osteomalacia. Kyphosis, or the bent back sometimes called “humpback” is the result of too little vitamin D and calcium. Sufficient vitamin D and calcium prevent osteoporosis and all of the complications that come with it.
In addition to bone health we are learning that vitamin D plays many other roles in health, including supporting immune function and preventing inflammation (infection). Researchers are looking into the role of vitamin D in lung health for persons with CF and with asthma.
The Sun Shine Vitamin
Over the years you may have heard vitamin D being called the “sunshine vitamin.” Vitamin D got that nickname because it can be formed in our bodies when the sun shines on our skin. But it is not as simple as it seems, there are some situations that may limit the amount of vitamin D formed in our skin. First of all sun screen will stop the all formation of vitamin D by the sun. Additionally, the season and where you live will determine the amount of vitamin D that is formed. For example if you live in Maine the number of vitamin D producing sun shine weeks are far fewer than if you live in Texas. The further north you live the fewer weeks of vitamin D producing sunshine are available. The closer you live to the equator the more weeks are available for the sun to provide a source of vitamin D through the skin, that is if sun screen is not been used.
Skin pigment, or the color of your skin, will affect the amount of time needed to make vitamin D. The darker the skin pigment, the longer it takes to make vitamin D through the skin. A light-skinned person may need 20 minutes of sun exposure while someone darker may need much longer.
Sunshine is a great source of vitamin D but with the concern for skin cancer, geographical location, season, and the demands of daily life it may not be possible to use the sun as a source of vitamin D. When that is the case we need to get vitamin D from our food and from supplements.
What are food sources of vitamin D?
Fish, such as mackerel or canned sardines
Fish liver oils, like cod-liver oil. But there also contain vitamin A so best to talk with your center registered dietitian before using fish-liver oils.
Vitamin D fortified milk. Most milks are fortified with vitamin D. Milks purchased directly from the farmer may not be fortified with vitamin D. Food products made from milk such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream usually are not fortified with vitamin D.
Vitamin D and CF
People who have CF do not absorb fat, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, perfectly even when taking enzymes. As a result they need more of the fat-soluble vitamins including vitamin D to maintain normal blood levels.
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) recommends yearly blood tests for all of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. Your physician and registered dietitian will review the results of the blood test and let you know if your vitamin pills need to be adjusted. If the vitamin D level in your blood is low more vitamin D will be recommended. In the past another pill with vitamin D only, called a single nutrient supplement, would be recommended. MVW has a new multivitamin with more vitamin D. MVW Complete Formulation multivitamin with D3000 may be prescribed by your CF Center. Each softgel contains all of the vitamins that are in the regular MVWComplete Formulation Softgel but each D3000 softgel also contains 3000IU of vitamin D. Two MVW Complete Formulation Softgels contain 6000IU of vitamin D in addition to all of the other vitamins fat and water-soluble vitamins plus zinc and cost the same as the original MVWComplete Formulation multivitamin. The CFF recommends increasing vitamin D supplements up to 6000IU daily for persons greater than 10 years of age who have low blood levels of vitamin D.
After taking the increased vitamin D for three months your physician may recommend you get another blood test to be sure your blood level increased to normal range. The CFF recommends the blood level be at least 30 ng/ml. Some centers make the goal closer to 40 ng/ml.
Vitamin D in the MVWComplete Formulation Vitamins
|Vitamin||Vitamin D3 Content|
|MVW Complete Formulation||1500 IU/softgel|
|MVW Complete Formulation with D3000||3000 IU/softgel|
Before taking MVW Complete Formulation with D3000 talk with your physician or registered dietitian about stopping or adjusting your supplemental vitamin D pills. As with all CF Specific Multivitamins please take the MVW Complete Formulation Softgel and the MVW Complete Formulation Softgel with D3000 with a fat-containing food or drink, such as milk, AND your enzymes.
Please let us know if you have any questions about MVWComplete Formulation with D3000 or any of our other vitamin products.