D4 – a fat-soluble substance from the pharmacological group of vitamins D. 22-dihydroerrgocalciferol, dihydrotachysterol – all these are synonyms for the more famous name – vitamin D4.
Vitamins D-groups: general information
Despite the fact that in the scientific literature, D-groups continue to be called vitamins, yet by their properties they are more like hormones. Getting into the body with food or under the influence of the sun, being transported from the blood to the liver, the D-substance turns into prohormone calcidol, and only after that – into the active form of vitamin. In short, in the body it plays a role resembling the function of growth hormone – affects the development of bone tissue, the formation of the skeleton. Deficiency of a substance is always bone fragility, the development of rickets, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia.
There are several forms of calciferol. The most famous are D2 and D3, opened in the 1930’s. All forms of D-matter are chemically close to each other, and in the body they play an almost identical role. D3 form enters the body with food or is produced by the body after exposure to the sun (under ultraviolet radiation). It is also possible to replenish vitamin reserves with the help of bioactive additives. D2 and D3 are part of many foods. D3 along with D5 is used in medicine as anti-cancer drugs. And vitamin D4 is an active metabolite of D2.
If D3 man is able to synthesize in the skin from 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is produced by most vertebrates, then the sources of D2 and D4 are mainly plants and fungi. But the best and safest method of enrichment with calciferol is the sun. Doctors recommend daily for 10-15 minutes to expose hands and face under direct rays. Half-hour sunbathing helps synthesize almost 10000 IU of vitamin D in the body. To get a similar dose of this substance with food, you need to drink 25 glasses of milk.
However, we should not forget that the main thing in any procedure is moderation, and this rule also applies to sunbathing.
Meanwhile, the ability to synthesize vitamin D depends on various factors:
- age of the person;
- genetic background;
- latitudes of residence;
- working conditions;
- weight and height;
- skin color.
For this reason, in some cases, doctors prescribe the additional use of calciferol. Usually used for this purpose pharmaceutical analogues of natural vitamin.
During the winter months there is a risk of a decrease in the synthesis of calciferol as a result of a decrease in solar activity. Therefore, it is so important to find the right food sources rich in vitamin D during the cold season.
Among the most useful and rich in vitamins D2 and D4 are some types of mushrooms, especially those grown under conditions of additional UV treatment. In particular, this applies to different types of champignons, cherries, mushrooms, chanterelles. There are also impressive stocks of D4 in yeast and oysters.
Vitamin D4, like other forms of calciferol, is used in medicine to increase the level of calcium in the blood and to stimulate protein processes in the body.
The reasons for the use of vitamin D in the pharmaceutical form are different. Most often, pharmacological agents are used:
- for the growth of healthy bones;
- to strengthen the teeth;
- as prevention of osteoporosis, rickets;
- as a means to prevent cancer.
Recent studies suggest that drugs containing D4 and other forms of the D-substance in their composition can treat hypertension, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin D4 is often used to treat postoperative tetany in its chronic, hidden and acute form. Tetany is a condition accompanied by involuntary muscle contraction due to complications caused by the body’s inability to absorb calcium.
Dihydrotachysterol is also used to treat diseases such as idiopathic tetany and hypoparathyroidism, accompanied by abnormally low levels of calcium in blood formulas. The symptoms of these ailments are: convulsions, fatigue, general weakness, mood swings, worsening of hair and skin.
Application in oncology
Recent studies have proven the ability of vitamin D to fight cancer cells. But this property is inherent only to active metabolites (for example, D4), which can stimulate the growth of white blood cells and building blocks of the immune system. Back in the 2006 year, scientists first proved the correlation between cancer and the level of vitamin D (in the form of D4) in the patient’s body. The conclusion of scientific experience: if you increase the daily norm of D-substance in the body by 1000 ME, the risk of cancer is significantly reduced. In particular, we are talking about cancer problems in the mammary gland, intestines, and ovaries. But scientific testing continues. It is possible that in the near future humanity is aware of the new, as yet unknown, properties of calciferol.
Biological role in the body
Vitamin D4, or dihydrotachysterol, is effectively synthesized in the kidneys. This is a more active metabolite of vitamin D. Due to the increased metabolic activity of D4, due to its ability to stimulate the absorption of calcium from the intestines, it is an effective drug to increase the level of this chemical element in the body. D4 can also help mobilize calcium in the bones, improve the functioning of the kidney tissue, especially with a lack of parathyroid hormone.
For this reason, D4 in the form of dihydrotachysterol (a synthetic analogue of vitamin D) is used to treat hypocalcemia (a condition in which blood lacks calcium) and hypoparathyroidism (is the result of a deficiency in the body of parahormone).
The active metabolite (25-hydroxydihydrotachysterol) D4 is transformed in the liver. By the way, as recent studies have shown, many cells of the human body are “equipped” with D-receptors.
Vitamin D4 Treatment
D4, like other forms of vitamin D, belongs to fat-soluble substances, which means that its excess is not excreted from the body along with urine (as is the case with water soluble). Therefore, using tablets or drops containing an increased dose of D4, it is important not to bring the body to the state of hypervitaminosis, and as a result – to hypercalcimia. The latter is fraught with the formation of kidney stones, diseases of the heart and soft tissues, increased bone calcification.
Supplements containing vitamin D are easy to find at any pharmacy. But before you start taking it is important to consult a doctor. Each drug is accompanied by instructions for use, which is also definitely worth reading before starting a course of treatment. This will help you choose the right dosage and type of drug that best meets your body’s needs.
Active metabolites to which vitamin D4 belongs may be needed by people with kidney or liver problems. These more active derivatives of vitamin D are much easier absorbed by the body and more quickly bring the desired effect. The dosage of D4 is from 750 mg to 2,5 mg per day. More accurate doses are determined by the doctor individually.
People with a diagnosis of tetany or hypoparathyroidism should be especially attentive to the signals of their own organism. For the treatment of these diseases, vitamin D4 is usually prescribed in higher dosages. If side effects appear (weakness, headaches, bone loss, stomach upset, renal dysfunction), the treatment program should be reviewed.
But the best thing is not to forget that prevention is more pleasant than treatment. And in order not to look for drugs from hypovitaminosis in pharmacies tomorrow, today we should take care of healthy nutrition, walks and sports.