Ref: CHB/HB/041/15                                                                      

CHB HEALTH BULLETIN

VITAMIN D3

Vitamin D3 is one of the most useful nutritional tools we have at our disposal for improving overall health. This vitamin is unique because (Vitamin D3) is a vitamin that acquires hormone-like actions when it is converted to Calcitriol by the liver and kidneys. As a hormone, Calcitriol controls phosphorus, calcium, and bone metabolism and neuromuscular function. Vitamin D3 is the only vitamin the body can manufacture from sunlight (UVB). Yet, with today’s indoor living and the extensive use of sunscreens due to concern about skin cancer, we are now a society with millions of individuals deficient in life-sustaining bone building and immune modulating Vitamin D3.


Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.



Sources of Vitamin D

Food
 
Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources. Small amounts of vitamin D are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.

Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals often contain added vitamin D, as do some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine and other food products.
 
Sun exposure
 
Most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs through exposure to sunlight.
 
Decreased Vitamin D
 
When examining the medical literature, it becomes clear that Vitamin D3 affects human health in an astonishing number of ways and that not obtaining enough of this important nutrient can leave the door open to developing a number of health conditions like :-
 
Depression
 
Vitamin D3 deficiency is common in older adults and has been implicated in psychiatric and neurologic disorders. For example, in one study of 80 older adults (40 with mild Alzheimer’s disease and 40 nondemented persons), Vitamin D3 deficiency was associated with low mood and with impairment on two of four measures of cognitive performance.
 
Back Pain
 
Musculoskeletal disorders have been linked to Vitamin D3 deficiency in a number of studies. One of the newest studies explored the role that low Vitamin D3 levels play in the development of chronic low back pain in women. Sixty female patients in Egypt complaining of low back pain lasting more than three months were studied. Researchers measured levels of Vitamin D3 in the women with low back pain and compared those levels to those of 20 matched healthy controls.

The study revealed that patients with low back pain had significantly lower Vitamin D3 levels than controls. Low Vitamin D3 levels (25 OHD < 40 ng/ml) were found in 49/60 patients (81 percent) and 12/20 (60 percent) of controls.

Bone Health
 
One of the best known and long-established benefits of Vitamin D3 is its ability to improve bone health and the health of the musculoskeletal system. It is well documented that Vitamin D3 deficiency causes osteopenia, precipitates and exacerbates osteoporosis, causes a painful bone disease known as osteomalacia, and exacerbates muscle weakness, which increases the risk of falls and fractures. Vitamin D3 insufficiency may alter the regulatory mechanisms of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and cause a secondary hyperparathyroidism that increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

Cognitive Enhancement
 
Scientists are developing a greater appreciation for Vitamin D3’s ability to improve cognition. In a recent study, Vitamin D3 deficient subjects scored worse on mental function tests compared to individuals who had higher levels of the Vitamin. The researchers wrote, “In conclusion, the positive, significant correlation between serum 25(OH)D concentration and MMSE [mental state examination scores] in these patients suggests a potential role for Vitamin D in cognitive function of older adults.”
 
Mu-Talented Nutrient

Vitamin D3 deficiency has been linked to a host of other conditions such as high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and an increased risk of pre-eclampsia and insulin resistance during pregnancy. Most recently, low Vitamin D3 levels have been linked to an increased prevalence of early age-related macular degeneration.
 
Prevention

Majority of middle age adults are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency due to decrease sun exposure and increase use of sun screens. Therefore, studies show that in order to reach a serum level of 25 (OH) D above 30 ng/ml a minimum of 1000 IU or probably 1500-2000 IU/day is necessary.

The main reason for vitamin D deficiency is insufficient consumption of vitamin D in combination to inadequate sun exposure. Individuals with fat malabsorption have higher rate of vitamin D deficiency since the vitamin D absorption from diet and supplementation is incomplete in these people.
 
Conclusion
 
A growing number of researchers who have widely studied Vitamin D3 are almost begging the general public to consume more of this important nutrient. Due to Vitamin D3’s high safety profile in doses up to 10,000 IU per day and because of the wide role it plays in our health, consuming 2,000 to 4,000 IU per day of this nutrient at times of the year when sunlight is scarce is a prudent way to improve overall health.
 
 
http://www.vrp.com/bone-and-joint/vitamin-d3-higher-doses-reduce-risk-of-common-health-concerns
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3483003/
 

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