Statins are prescription medications used to safely lower cholesterol levels. Some research has shown a connection between statins and vitamin D levels in the body because cholesterol is essential for many functions in the body, including the synthesis of the essential nutrient vitamin D. Although it has been suggested that lowering cholesterol levels in the body through the use of statins can lower this nutrient, it is not apparent how low these levels can actually go. Most doctors recommend that individuals who are taking statin drug medications seek safe sources of vitamin D to ensure proper intake.
When patients are prescribed statins, it is usually because their cholesterol levels are at an uncontrollable level and must be brought down through medical intervention. Cholesterol is an essential component of cell walls and in the making of vitamin D but it can be harmful to the body at elevated levels. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient obtained through sunlight as well as some foods, and is important for immune system health and the regulation of calcium which helps build stronger bones. Statins and vitamin D have been linked in some research studies suggesting that vitamin D levels can become very low when cholesterol levels decrease.
As soon as sunlight hits the skin, it comes into contact with cholesterol which helps synthesize vitamin D within the body. This is the main reason why both statins and vitamin D deficiency have been studied, as cholesterol is an important component in the production of vitamin D. Sunlight is the richest source of natural vitamin D, though diet can provide some sources of vitamin D in very low amounts. Most dietary sources of vitamin D may not be enough to satisfy the requirements the body needs for everyday health and proper function of the immune system and communication between cells.
Many doctors suggest that statins and vitamin D concerns can become a challenge for some patients, leading to depressed immune function due to a vitamin D deficiency. This can lead a doctor to advise a patient to take the appropriate precautions to prevent a vitamin D deficiency by taking a vitamin D supplement along with statin medications. It is important for patients to test their vitamin D levels while taking statins and vitamin D supplements to determine the proper supplemental intake. Doctors will often continue a patient on his or her cholesterol-lowering regimen, such as taking statins, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet.