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Posts Tagged ‘Vitamin D’

Vitamin D : Get Levels Checked Soon

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on September 24, 2012 at 8:00 am

WHY WORRY ABOUT LOW VITAMIN D LEVELS?

The normal range is 30.0 to 74.0 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D obtained from sun exposure, food, and supplements is biologically inert and must undergo two hydroxylations in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], also known as calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)2D], also known as calcitriol

Lower than normal levels suggest a vitamin D deficiency. This condition can result from:

  • Lack of exposure to sunlight
  • Lack of adequate vitamin D in the diet
  • Liver and kidney diseases
  • Malabsorption
  • Use of certain medicines, including phenytoin, phenobarbital, and rifampin
Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin D 
Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
0–12 months* 400 IU
(10 mcg)
400 IU
(10 mcg)
1–13 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
14–18 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
19–50 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
51–70 years 600 IU
(15 mcg)
600 IU
(15 mcg)
>70 years 800 IU
(20 mcg)
800 IU
(20 mcg)

* Adequate Intake (AI)

Immunity

Vitamin D appears to have effects on immune function. It has been postulated to play a role in influenza with lack of vitamin D synthesis during the winter as one explanation for high rates of influenza infection during the winter. For viral infections, other implicated factors include low relative humidities produced by indoor heating and cold temperatures that favor virus spread. Low levels of vitamin D appear to be a risk factor for tuberculosis, and historically it was used as a treatment. As of 2011, it is being investigated in controlled clinical trials. Vitamin D may also play a role in HIV. Although there are tentative data linking low levels of vitamin D to asthma, there is inconclusive evidence to support a beneficial effect from supplementation. Accordingly, supplementation is not currently recommended for treatment or prevention of asthma. Also, preliminary data is inconclusive for supplemental vitamin D in promotion of human hair growth.

Mortality

Low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with increased mortality, and giving supplementary vitamin D3 to elderly women in institutional care seems to decrease the risk of death. Vitamin D2, alfacalcidol, and calcitriol do not appear to be effective. However, both an excess and a deficiency in vitamin D appear to cause abnormal functioning and premature aging. The relationship between serum calcidiol level and all-cause mortality is U-shaped, Harm from vitamin D appears to occur at a lower vitamin D level in the black population than in the white population.

Bone health

Vitamin D deficiency causes osteomalacia (called rickets when it occurs in children). Beyond that, low serum vitamin D levels have been associated with falls, and low bone mineral density.

In 2012, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force issued a draft statement recommending that there is not enough evidence to indicate that healthy postmenopausal women should use supplemental doses of calcium or vitamin D to prevent fractures.

Some studies have shown that supplementation with vitamin D and calcium may improve bone mineral density slightly, as well as decreasing the risk of falls and fractures in certain groups of people, specifically those older than 65 years. This appears to apply more to people in institutions than those living independently. The quality of the evidence is, however, poor. And there does not appear to be a benefit to bone health from vitamin D without sufficient calcium.

Cardiovascular disease

Evidence for health effects from vitamin D supplementation for cardiovascular health is poor. Moderate to high doses may reduce cardiovascular disease risk but are of questionable clinical significance.

Multiple sclerosis

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with multiple sclerosis. Supplementation with vitamin D may have a protective effect but there are uncertainties and unanswered questions. “The reasons why vitamin D deficiency is thought to be a risk factor for MS are as follows: (1) MS frequency increases with increasing latitude, which is strongly inversely correlated with duration and intensity of UVB from sunlight and vitamin D concentrations; (2) prevalence of MS is lower than expected at high latitudes in populations with high consumption of vitamin-D-rich fatty fish; and (3) MS risk seems to decrease with migration from high to low latitudes.” A clinical trial sponsored by ChariteUniversity in Berlin, Germany was begun in 2011, with the goal of examining the efficacy, safety and tolerability of vitamin D3 in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis.

Cancer

Low vitamin D levels are associated with some cancers and with worse outcomes in other cancers, but taking supplements does not appear to help people with prostate cancer. Currently evidence is insufficient to support supplementation in those with cancer. Results for a protective or harmful effect of vitamin D supplementation in other types of cancer are inconclusive.

So, get your levels checked today. It is a simple test. Call your healthcare provider to get the test ordered. It will save you from a bad future of your health !!!

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Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths: Day 14

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on July 30, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Myth: “Going vegetarian” means you are sure to lose weight and be healthier.
Fact: Research shows that people who follow a vegetarian eating plan, on average, eat fewer calories and less fat than nonvegetarians. They also tend to have lower body weights relative to their heights than nonvegetarians. Choosing a vegetarian eating plan with a low fat content may be helpful for weight loss. But vegetarians—like nonvegetarians—can make food choices that contribute to weight gain, like eating large amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods or foods with little or no nutritional value.
Vegetarian diets should be as carefully planned as nonvegetarian diets to make sure they are balanced. Nutrients that nonvegetarians normally get from animal products, but that are not always found in a vegetarian eating plan, are iron, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, zinc, and protein.

Tip: Choose a vegetarian eating plan that is low in fat and that provides all of the nutrients your body needs. Food and beverage sources of nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet are listed below.
Iron: cashews, spinach, lentils, garbanzo beans, fortified bread or cereal
Calcium: dairy products, fortified soy-based beverages, tofu made with calcium sulfate, collard greens, kale, broccoli
Vitamin D: fortified foods and beverages including milk, soy-based beverages, or cereal
Vitamin B12: eggs, dairy products, fortified cereal or soy-based beverages, tempeh, miso (tempeh and miso are foods made from soybeans)
Zinc: whole grains (especially the germ and bran of the grain), nuts, tofu, leafy vegetables (spinach, cabbage, lettuce)
Protein: eggs, dairy products, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, tofu, tempeh, soy-based burgers

 

Weight-loss and Nutrition Myths: Day 13

In Health, Healthcare, Medicine on July 29, 2012 at 8:00 am

 

Myth: Dairy products are fattening and unhealthy.
Fact: Low-fat and fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese are just as nutritious as whole-milk dairy products, but they are lower in fat and calories. Dairy products have many nutrients your body needs. They offer protein to build muscles and help organs work properly, and calcium to strengthen bones. Most milk and some yogurt are fortified with vitamin D to help your body use calcium.

Tip: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommends consuming 3 cups per day of fat-free/low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. For more information on these guidelines, visit http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.
If you cannot digest lactose (the sugar found in dairy products), choose low-lactose or lactose-free dairy products, or other foods and beverages that offer calcium and vitamin D (listed below).
Calcium: soy-based beverage or tofu made with calcium sulfate; canned salmon; dark leafy greens like collards or kale
Vitamin D: soy-based beverage or cereal (getting some sunlight on your skin also gives you a small amount of vitamin D)

 

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