Geek post; cholesterol & vitamin D

My visit to the doctor went well the other day. My cholesterol is down to acceptable levels, but I am still having an issue with a few things. My serum calcium is low and so is my vitamin D levels.  My LDL is marginally high (104) but Dr F said that considering how high my HDL is (and how very low my triglicerides are) she isn’t worried at all about it.

I know that cholesterol is what the body uses to form vitamin D, and I know that vitamin D is necessary for proper calcium absorption, so I figure all of this is one problem. All I have to do is figure out how to make my LDL convert into Vitamin D, and I’m golden.

With this in mind, I started a google search on the building blocks of Vitamin D… found an eBook, Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology 9th edition published by Elsevier. It has a picture of the molecular structure of cholesterol and the related glucocorticoids which can be formed from it… or at least are formed from the same base as it is.

It all forms on a sterol nucleus! That’s the base for cortisol, cortisone and hydrocortisone as well as prednisone and predisolone!! (Also, vitamin D and the sex hormones are formed on the same nucleus, but they didn’t have diagrams of them… more research is needed there.) So, with my asthma, needing to have prednisone so many times, apparently this is a problem I’ve had all my life.  I wonder what the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol is, chemically.  Is one better for turning into Vitamin D?  Do they both work equally well?  So many questions.  I may have to go back to school before I find out answers to these questions.

However, since I believe that my mind creates my reality, I figure all I really have to do is visualize the cholesterol morphing into one of these other forms, but before I do that, I want to make sure I’m not leaving any unattached bits to mess me up. Like in the game Rummicub, one must effectively use all the parts or it’s no good.

It’s a tricky business, taking responsibility for making your body work correctly, and I take it seriously.  Like any machine, the human body’s parts work as a whole.  Some parts work independently of other parts, but generally, anything that affects one part will affect other parts too, and not always in ways one would expect.  Best to work slowly and methodically.  In addition to the cholesterol/vitamin D connection, I’ve found some interesting things about Vitamin D during the past few days of internet searching.

Wikipedia says Vitamin D refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D₃ and vitamin D₂.  I read on one site that you absorb D₃ better, it is the more bioavailable of the 2, and is commonly called cholecalciferol.  The liver changes it to another form and then the kidneys change it to the form that is most bioactive.

Vitamin D levels affect mood, how your body uses insulin, it affects the makeup of your cell walls,  and may even play a part in some cancers.  If you think about all the things Vitamin D helps us absorb, Vitamin D may play a much bigger part in our overall health than anyone could possibly imagine.

Usually vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when one is exposed to UVB rays.  It doesn’t take a lot of sun to give you your minimum (15 minutes of midday sun twice a week is plenty, according to a few sites I looked at), but those who live at latitudes above 35-40º are likely to have difficulty in making enough Vitamin D during the winter months when the sun is not as strong.  Also, as you age, your skin is unable to keep producing Vitamin D at optimum levels.  Tanning beds won’t help, sadly, as they are usually focused UVA rays with very little UVB.  The amount of vitamin D you get from fortified milk or orange juice helps but usually isn’t enough if you’re D deficient.  Better than nothing, but not enough to fill the deficiency.  Perhaps it’s time to find some vitamin D capsules to take…

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