LAM Extra for General Practicioners



APRIL 20, 2010

LAM Extra for General Practicioners - 2010;2(02)

[The effects of vitamin D in bone health have been known since the 1920s. Recently, it has been proven that its role in the body is much more complex. Activated vitamin D is a steroid hormone that regulates transcription of more than 200 human genes through its receptor that is detectable in almost all types of cells. In contrast to the former conceptions, it can be activated not only in the kidneys; moreover, local 1-α-hydroxylation plays a greater role in its extraskeletal effects. Vitamin D deficiency, currently defined as serum levels of <30 ng/ml, is caused by the lack of ‘effective’ sunlight exposition. Thus, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most frequent deficiencies in the developed world that plays a role not only in the development of skeletal conditions but many other diseases, as well. A low vitamin D level causes a reduced calcium absorption, a higher bone remodelling rate and increased bone loss. It also reduces muscle strength and increases the risk of falling. Normal vitamin D status is required for the effectiveness of drugs for osteoporosis treatment; however vitamin D treatment in itself is not effective in osteoporosis. An increasing number of studies show the benefits of vitamin D supplementation and treatment in extraskeletal conditions. Vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of several auto-immune diseases, infections, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers. Therefore, all UV-B radiation-deprived adults require an intake of vitamin D to maintain a level of >30 ng/ml. Vitamin D3 treatment is safe. The necessary dose can be reliably approximated by the calculation that an incremental consumption of 100 IU/day raises serum vitamin levels by 1,0 ng/ml. Clinical trials suggest that for the vast majority of individuals, a prolonged intake of 10,000 IU/day does not pose any risk.]



Further articles in this publication

LAM Extra for General Practicioners


VARRÓ András

[Sudden cardiac death of athletes is very rare (1/50 000 to 1/100 000 annually) but it is still 2 to 4 times more frequent than that of the agematched normal population. In addition, it attracts peculiar media attention. Sudden cardiac death in athletes is supposed to not primarily have an ischemic origin but most likely relates to repolarization abnormalities. These may be caused by several independent and/or dependent factors such as benign cardiac hypertrophy developing normally in athletes (athlete’s heart), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, increased sympathetic activity, genetic defects, seemingly harmless drugs, doping agents, food, and dietary supplements. These factors together can increase inhomogeneities in myocardial repolarization (“substrate”). In this case, an otherwise harmless extrasystole (“trigger”) occurring with unlucky timing may - although very seldomly - elicit fatal arrhythmias. Thus, effective prevention of sudden cardiac death may include new types of cost-effective cardiac electrophysiological screening methods (ECG or echocardiography) and, in case of a high level of suspicion, more costly genetic tests can be considered.]

LAM Extra for General Practicioners



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Related contents

Lege Artis Medicinae


BORS Katalin

[An increasing number of studies suggests that the effects of vitamin D is not limited to the regulation of calcium homeostasis, but it is also involved in several other physiologic processes. Vitamin D receptors are present on the surface and in the nucleus of most cells. Vitamin D as a steroid hormone has genomic and non-genomic effects. Vitamin D deficiency is an important problem worldwide, and so is in Hungary. Vitamin D promotes bone formation and mineralization and decreases the rate of bone absorption. Its extraskeletal effects include antitumour, muscle strength increasing, antiinflammatory, blood pressure lowering and insulin secretion increasing activites.]


[The impact of vitamin D in infertility and the role in pregnancy and in nursing period]


[Various medical associations issue different recommendations for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency. These significant differences are partly explained by the different definition of normal vitamin D level and the use of completely different mathematical models to predict the increase in vitamin D level as a response to therapy. According to the Institute of Medicine, the target vitamin D level is 20 ng/ml, whereas the Endocrine Society recommends 30 ng/m as the minimum target value. These differences show that the two Society have different views on the risk of adverse effects. Screening, however, is not recommended by either society. In this review I summarize the role of the vitamin D supplementation in the prevention of infertility. Also, I suggest the protective effect of the vitamin D during the pregnancy. In my opinion screening program against D hypovitaminosis should be performed in case of infertility and in pregnancy, because data show a protective role of vitamin D against many disease of newborn. ]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Roma cancer patients’ illness cognition and their attitudes toward medical treatment]


[INTRODUCTION - In this qualitative pilot study, our goal was to investigate the illness representation of gipsy cancer patients and to examine their attitudes toward medical treatment. SAMPLE AND METHODS - Deep interviews were made with 20 persons (60% female; Mage=39.2±15.1 years). The included participants approximately represented the group composition of the Hungarian Roma population. RESULTS - For most of our respondents, cancer is a frightening disease meaning some kind of punishment and the end of life. The potential causes of the disease usually remain completely incomprehensible. The participants proved to be very under-informed in relation to their treatment - even when compared to the low level of information among Hungarian cancer patients in general. In the face of the supporting presence of family members, our respondents often stated that there was nobody to share their deeper emotional problems with. About half of the patients reported on impolite and inefficient treatment attributed to prejudice against their Gipsy identity. However, deeper analyses revealed, that in most of these cases, mistreatment was a consequence of the general shortcomings of the health care system (e.g. lack of time) - being labelled as discrimination by our respondents. Almost every participant sees his/her only role in recovery merely in the participation in medical treatment - not attributing enough significance to life style changes and even less to alternative / complementary medicine. CONCLUSION - Special training to improve communication skills with gipsy patients is needed - especially for general practitioners. We also suggest preparing handouts to Roma cancer patients that provide easy-to-understand information on the medical treatments and health behaviours that serve the coping with cancer and their prevention.]

Lege Artis Medicinae

[Vitamin D treatment: hormone therapy for patients who need it or simply a supplementation for everyone?]


[Various medical associations issue different recommendations for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency. These significant differences are partly explained by the different definition of normal vitamin D level and the use of completely different mathematical models to predict the increase in vitamin D level as a response to therapy. According to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the target vitamin D level is 20 ng/ml, whereas the Endocrine Society (ES) recommends 30 ng/m as the miminum target value. According to the ES, a 1 ng/ml increase of vitamin D level can be reached by a daily intake of 100 NE, while the IOM recommends 3.6 ng/ml. Moreover, the IOM states that the effect of therapy on serum level is nonlinear. These differences show that the ES and IOM have different views on the risk of adverse effects. The IOM recommends 400 IU vitamin D daily for children younger than 1 year, 800 IU for those above 70 years and 600 IU/per day for everyone else. The ES recommend 400-1000 IU daily for all infants and 1500- 2000 IU for adults. Screening, however, is not recommended by either society. To decrease uncertainty concerning the side effects of higher-dose vitamin D treatment, it is important to understand, use and support the function of the pharmacovigilance system of the pharmaceutical industry that manufactures and markets various (prescription, over-the-counter) preparations. This is what the author aims to highlight in the second part of this article. Using this system, both the doctor and the patient can help support and accept the justification of higher-dose vitamin D therapy.]


[Vitamin D deficiency and infections]

LUDWIG Endre, KRIVÁN Gergely

[Studies performed in the past few years have confirmed that vitamin D is essential for maintaining the optimal immune defense, and its immunomodulatory effect has a role in the defense against infections as well. A lot of data suggest that low serum 25-(OH)-D concentration is associated with an increased frequency of certain infections and it adversely influences pathological processes. Data on this adverse effect are available mostly in case of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, respiratory viral infections in general, HIV, hepatitis C and sepsis. The outcomes of severe infections are usually influenced by a number of factors and it seems that vitamin D deficiency is one of those factors that shift the process towards an unfavourable outcome. Further studies should evaluate the significance of this role and the influence of vitamin D supplementation on pathological processes.]