Dr. Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D.
Dr. Michael F. Holick

Osteoporosis and Vitamin D

Posted by admin on November 27, 2008 under Osteoporosis, Vitamin D | 5 Comments to Read

Vitamin D deficiency will cause removal of both the calcium and matrix from the bone, and as a result, will cause osteopenia and can precipitate and exacerbate osteoporosis.  Unlike osteomalacia which causes bone pain, osteoporosis, which is porotic bone, i.e., holes in the bones and loss of bone does not cause bone pain unless there is an acute fracture.  Typically this pain resolves as the fracture heals and can be easily distinguished from osteomalacia.  


Bischoff-Ferrari, HA, Giovannucci, E., Willett, W.C., Dietrich, T., and Dawson-Hughes, B.  Estimation of optimal serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D for multiple health outcomes.  Am J Clin Nutr  2006; 84:18-28.  

Boonen S, Bischoff-Ferrari A, Cooper C, Lips P, Ljunggren O, Meunier PJ, Reginster JY.  Addressing the musculoskeletal components of fracture risk with calcium and vitamin D:  a review of the evidence.  Calcif Tissue Int  2006; 78(5):257-70.

Chapuy MC, Arlot ME, Duboeuf F, Brun J, Crouzet B, Arnaud S, Delmas PD, Meunier PJ.  Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in elderly women.  N Engl J Med 1992; 327(23):1637-1642.

  • karen turok said,

    I’m 58 and bone density scans have been indicating osteoporosis for 4 years. My doctor prescribed Evista but I’m reluctant to take because of side effects reported for problems I already have (constipation, memory loss, leg cramps). Are there any alternatives?

    (I’m taking 600 iu of D3 and 1200 calcium. Since taking a product called Bone Up, my scan has remained stable in wrist. )

  • AllenB said,

    I’m a male on fosamax for osteopenia with slight D deficiency. Doc has me on 50k IU of D, once a month. Would Is there any advantage to a monthly dose, or should I ask doc about changing to a daily does of 2k?

  • admin said,

    Dear Cynthia,
    The proton pump inhibitor will have no effect on Vitamin D absorption. It can however affect calcium absorption from calcium supplements which is why I recommend that the calcium supplement be taken with a meal.

  • Laila said,

    Dear Dr. Holick.

    How important do you think magnesium is for bone density? Does magnesium prevent the body from stealing calcium from your bones?

  • admin said,

    Dear Laila,
    Magnesium is important for overall health. If you have a diet rich in leafy green vegetables this is a good source of magnesium. Magnesium however does not prevent the body from stealing calcium from the skeleton.

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