By Michael A. Smith, MDThe explosive scientific interest in the broad-spectrum benefits of vitamin D has produced numerous published studies within the past few years. The result of all of that research is clear: Vitamin D is critical to your health.
The lead organization creating awareness about vitamin D research says this, “Vitamin D is critically important for the development, growth, and maintenance of a healthy body, beginning with gestation in the womb and continuing throughout our lives.”1
Below we’ll take a look at three impressive associations recently made between vitamin D and common health issues.
Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Arterial DiseaseVitamin D status was assessed in patients with occlusive arterial disease — more commonly known as “narrowed” arteries or plaques.
Researchers from Erasmus University in the Netherlands recruited 490 people for their study. The study participants were categorized into one of four groups:2
- Severe vitamin D deficiency
- Moderate vitamin D deficiency
- Vitamin D insufficient (or mild deficiency)
- Vitamin D sufficient
The researchers uncovered an association between moderate and severe deficiency and known consequences of occluded arterial diseases — like congestive heart failure and cerebral vascular disease.2
Vitamin D Reduces Fracture RiskA meta-analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine reports that higher doses of vitamin D do in fact decrease the risk of fracture in older adults.3
This is extremely important. Fractures in older adults, especially involving the femur and hip, have high mortality rates. This means that preventing fractures ultimately prevents deaths.
Test subjects with the highest vitamin D intake (between 800 and 2,000 IU) had a 30% decrease in the risk of hip fractures and a 14% drop in the risk of other fractures, like of the femur.
The authors concluded that vitamin D may be an effective fracture-prevention strategy.3
Vitamin D Helps Kids with AsthmaWatching an asthmatic child struggle to breathe is scary. And unfortunately, asthma is affecting more and more kids today than ever before. But vitamin D offers simple, affordable support.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, over 1,000 kids with persistent asthma who were using a steroid inhaler were tested for vitamin D blood levels.
After organizing the kids into three groups (sufficient, insufficient, and deficient vitamin D levels), the researchers then tested lung function by measuring lung volume while exhaling — a standard test for asthma patients.
They found that kids with vitamin D deficiency were more likely to have worse lung function than kids in the other two groups.
The lead author of the study concluded, “Our study is the first to suggest that vitamin D sufficiency in asthmatic children treated with inhaled corticosteroids is associated with improved lung function.”
Vitamin D: Test it and Take itYes, your body can make vitamin D from sun exposure. But even here in sunny South Florida, as we get older, we still don’t produce enough. This is why it’s so important to test your vitamin D blood level and then supplement your diet with an appropriate dose.
The optimal blood level is between 50 and 80 ng/ml. Many people can achieve and maintain this range by taking between 2,000 and 7,000 IU of vitamin D a day.
Our suggestion? Demand that your doctor include a vitamin D test with your normal yearly work-up or order one yourself.
Once you get your results, speak with one of our health advisors who can help you pinpoint the right daily dose for you. They can be reached directly (and free of charge) at 1-800-226-2370!
- Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2012 Jul 25. 9
- N Engl J Med. 2012 Jul 5;367(1):40-9.
- Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2012 Jul 12. PMID:22798322
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