Monday, April 02, 2012

Can Vitamin D Help You Live Longer? A New Study Suggests It Might!

Carlson drops contain 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 per drop.
Put a drop in your morning smoothie!

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Let's Recap
Over 2 years ago I wrote about the importance of vitamin D when the Institute of Medicine made an attempt to increase the recommended adequate intake of this critical vitamin. Unfortunately, they missed an opportunity to increase it enough.

Vitamin D is one of the things I continually harp on whether I'm writing in my blog or having a discussion on nutrition. Why? Because it is associated with bone health, cardiovascular disease, depression, arthritis, cancer, asthma in children, dementia, and the list goes on and on. Ramagopalan, et al shows that vitamin D receptors are involved in the expression of 3,000 human genes and has far reaching importance well beyond bone and calcium metabolism.  What's most disturbing is that MOST people are deficient in this vitamin! In fact, if our health care providers just spent a few penny's a day handing out vitamin D to all of its deficient patients, we would have a much healthier population.

Recent Study 
Research at the University of Kansas Hospital published in The American Journal of Cardiology  studied 10,899 patients with regard to serum vitamin D levels and their cardiovascular health. The mean age of the patients was 58 +/- 15 years and 71% of them were women. They found that:

* Only 29.7% had normal serum levels of vitamin D and 70.3% were deficient. (Let me point out here that their definition of deficient was less than 30 nano grams per milliliter (ng/ml). Many doctors today use a higher number like 50 ng/ml which would significantly increase the number of those regarded as "deficient"). 

* In the study population, vitamin D deficiency was associated with hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy and diabetes

* In fact, the risk of all-cause mortality was 164% higher for those in the study with vitamin D deficiency.

* For those who were deficient, supplementation with vitamin D significantly improved survival.

The researchers note that "these findings could have clinical implications for the usual recommended daily allowance for vitamin D". They point out that many previous studies have not shown consistent benefit but that those studies were done with doses of 400 to 800 IU per day which "might not be adequate to ensure optimal serum levels, with more appropriate daily supplement doses suggested as 1,000 to 2,000 IU." I can only hope that studies such as these will influence the Institute of Medicine to increase the recommended adequate intake of vitamin D to levels that will actually prevent disease and guide people to achieve optimum health.

What to do
As always, I recommend you ask your doctor to test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Normal range is between 30 to 74 ng/mL. I now aim for 50 ng/mL. Many naturopaths recommend Carlson vitamin D3 drops (they come as high as 4,000 IU per drop) as they are very effective in raising vitamin D serum levels. (Note vitamin D3 is derived from lanolin and not considered vegan - vitamin D2 is from vegan sources). 

For an optimum vegan diet I continue to encourage supplementation for vitamin D, vitamin B12 and EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. 


Sandy said...

Global Health Trax (GHT) sells a vegan D3 spray.

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Interesting product Sandy! Thanks for sharing.