No matter which osteoporosis drug your doctor chooses for you, it's helpful
to know as much as possible about how the disease has affected you. One way to
tell is to ask about your "markers."
When you're being treated for osteoporosis, your doctor orders a blood or
urine test. This reveals several markers -- levels of different enzymes,
proteins, and other substances circulating in the body -- that provide clues
about your disease and the progress of your treatment.
What kind of vitamin D is best?
The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight. Supplements are made from the fat of lambs' wool.
However, a clinical study reported in 2008 suggested that vitamin D2 works as well as vitamin D3.
Many supplements contain vitamin D as vitamin D2 or calciferol. It's derived from irradiated fungus. Because this is not the form of vitamin D naturally made by your body, WebMD...
Bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (Bone ALP or BALP).
This is an estimate of the rate of bone formation over your entire skeleton.
Bone formation may sound like a good thing, but depending on the circumstances,
too much can be bad. People with osteoporosis generally have BALP levels that
are up to three times normal.
Osteocalcin. This is another marker of bone
Urinary N-telopeptide of type I collagen, or uNTX. This is
a marker of bone resorption, or loss of bone.
Vitamin D levels. This measure assesses whether you have a
deficiency of vitamin D, which is essential for your body's absorption of
calcium. You can be taking plenty of calcium, but if you don't have enough
vitamin D, it won't be efficiently absorbed by your body.
SOURCES: Michael Holick, MD, PhD, professor of medicine,
physiology and biophysics, Boston University Medical Center. Robert Recker, MD,
MACP, professor of medicine and director, Osteoporosis Research Center,
Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Neb. National Osteoporosis