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vitamin d and disease When the body receives vitamin D, it converts it into calcitriol, which is the active form of the vitamin. Calcidiol is the precursor to calcitriol. Researchers look at levels of calcidiol as the easiest way to measure vitamin D levels, as calcidiol is the most abundant metabolite in circulation. As more researchers investigate the role of vitamin D in animal health, studies have found an interesting correlation between low vitamin D levels and different disease processes. Some research has suggested an inverse relationship between calcidiol levels and cancer risk; lower calcidiol levels seemed to correlate to a higher incidence of cancer. While Dr. Young says supplementation is not recommended for most dogs, there may be times when supplementation can play a beneficial role, like during cancer treatment. This possibility is what Dr. Young is trying to tease out in her research work. In looking at the how and the why of vitamin D supplementation, she hopes to discover an effective but safe dosage to use in supplementation of cancer patients. Through her new study funded by Morris Animal Foundation, Dr. Young hopes to determine: The vitamin D3 content in vitamin-enriched dog foods, as well as the effect of heat during manufacturing on those levels. The effectiveness of calcidiol relative to vitamin D3 for achieving and maintaining adequate vitamin D status in dogs. The activity of vitamin D and vitamin D receptor abundance in tumor tissue samples from canine patients. 1. 2. 3. “The work we are undertaking will help us better understand optimum vitamin D levels and supplementation strategies, and what vitamin D means in the prevention and treatment of disease,” says Dr. Young. “The potential for use in treating animal diseases is exciting. Medically supervised supplementation could improve treatment outcomes for cancer and other diseases, and that would be a wonderful step forward in health for our pets.”


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