Home' Nova West : October 2009 Contents linked with a range of problems with
the musculoskeletal system including
low bone and muscle problems, as well
as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and
metabolic syndrome, cancer and impacts
on the immune system, Parkinson's
Disease, asthma, pain, and pre eclampsia.
Low levels of vitamin D can reduce
the amount of calcium uptake in the
bones which, over time, can lead to a loss
in bone density. Pregnant women with
vitamin D deficiency have been found to
give birth to children who are at greater
risk of being unable to store calcium in
their bones, reducing their bone density
and increasing the risk of bone fractures.
In addition, these children experience
higher level of dental caries. Low vitamin
D in children will prevent them from
reaching their bone mineral density
and therefore increase their risk of
osteoporosis and fracture later in life. In a
study of 206 pregnant women during their
second trimester, researchers reported
that only 10.5 per cent of the women had
adequate levels of vitamin D.
In a study of 23,423 would-be first time
mothers, the risk of pre-eclampsia was 27
per cent lower in women who consumed
vitamin D supplements with daily doses
of 10 to 15 micrograms, compared to
women who did not take supplements.
Pre-eclampsia, affecting two to three per
cent of all pregnancies, is estimated to
be responsible for about 60,000 deaths
each year worldwide.
Vitamin D deficiency is inversely
related to a range of diseases, including
respiratory infections such as influenza.
In support of these findings, clinical
trials have shown that vitamin D
supplementation can reduce the risk of
reactivation of latent tuberculosis infection.
Vitamin D (in particular, D3) stimulates
neutrophils, monocytes (natural killer
cells) and the epithelial cells lining the
lungs, protecting them from infection. So
come wintertime and flu season, get out
and get a bit more sun, along with some
cod liver oil.
Studies have indicated that vitamin
D supplementation may reduce the risk
and difficulties associated with
autoimmune disorders. In particular, there
is strong evidence that vitamin D reduces
the risk of multiple sclerosis and type 1
diabetes mellitus, and weaker evidence
for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis,
systematic lupus and erythematosusstar.
There is no doubt about the link between
vitamin D shortage and multiple sclerosis.
There is a 41 per cent decrease in MS risk
for every 50 nanomoles per litre increase
in 1,25-hydroxyvitamin in the blood.
Vitamin D deficiency also predisposes
to insulin resistance and pancreatic beta
cell dysfunction. In a study of 10,366
Finnish children, those given 2,000 IU of
vitamin D3 per day throughout the first
year of life experienced a 78 per cent
reduced risk of type 1 diabetes.
Over time, vitamin D deficiency leads
to osteopenia, precipitates and exacerbates
osteoporosis, which causes the painful
bone disease osteomalacia and leads to
increased muscle weakness. Notably,
vitamin D deficiency is also associated
with an increased risk of falling and
fractures. Frail older people confined
to institutions may sustain fewer hip
fractures if given vitamin D. A study of
302 women (average age 77.2) living in
Perth, Australia found after 12 months of
supplementation significantly more falls
in the placebo group than in the vitamin
D2 group (62.9 per cent versus 53 per
cent, respectively). A study of 124 nursing
home residents taking a daily vitamin
D supplement of 800IU for five months
reduced the number of falls among
nursing home-dwelling elderly people by
70 per cent. Lower blood concentrations
of vitamin D increase the likelihood of
hip fracture among menopausal women by
up to 70 per cent.
Numerous studies have shown
that vitamin D deficiency is strongly
associated with an increased risk in
developing cardiovascular disease.
Epidemiological studies report that the
rates of coronary heart disease, higher
rates of diabetes, hypertension and
elevated LDL cholesterol, are strongly
correlated with decreased vitamin D
status. Vitamin D appears to be necessary
to maintain adequate apolipoprotein
A-I concentrations, the main component
of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk
of "all-cause mortality" and is associated
with a 122 per cent increase in the risk
of "cardiovascular mortality" compared to
the highest average Vitamin D levels.
'Vitamin D is the only nutrient that can actually
be synthesised by the human body, which
technically means it is not a vitamin.'
Continued on page 30
© NOVA OCTOBER 2009 19
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