Just "D" Facts about Vitamin D

Benefits of Moderate UV Sunshine Exposure

Round-the-World News About Vitamin D

Posted by D3forU on March 6, 2008

Research reports keep rolling in on the importance of vitamin D in our diet-beyond its familiar role in helping us to build strong bones. Here are some of the findings: Periodontal disease, in a dental study of 6,700 people from 13 to 90, the gums of patients with higher blood levels of vitamin D were 20 percent less likely to bleed.

“The evidence on gingivitis and tooth loss suggests that vitamin D influences oral health by decreasing inflammation,” said Bess Dawson-Hughes, director of the Bone Metabolism Lab at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.Cancer.

Studies by Reinhold Vieth at the University of Toronto have reported a substantial reduction in the rates of colon cancer as blood levels of vitamin D went up. Dr. Vieth suggests that vitamin D inhibits a mechanism by which cancer cells spread or it may boost the function of blood vessels or the immune system.

Diabetes. A number of studies have found that people with higher blood levels of vitamin D had a lower risk of diabetes than people with lower levels. Researchers have suggested that vitamin D seems to influence responsiveness to insulin.

Fitness. A study at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that people with low blood levels of vitamin D scored from 5 to 10 percent lower on tests measuring grip strength, balance and walking speed than those who had higher levels. Apparently vitamin D helps build and repair muscles as well as bones.

Longevity. People who take vitamin D supplements may also live longer, according to Sara Gandini, Ph.D., of the European Institute of Oncology in Italy, and Philippe Autier, M.D., of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France. “The intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates,” they reported.

“The results are remarkable,” according to Edward Giovannucci, M.D., ScD., of the Harvard School of Public Health, in an editorial on vitamin D research in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

What to do. Adults should try to get 800 international units (IU) daily of vitamin D-or 1000 IUs a day if you are 70 or older. The average U.S. adult intake of vitamin D is 230 IUs daily, according to a study reported in the journal Nutrition Reviews.

Vitamin D is available from sunlight, of course, and from foods such as fatty fish, eggs, fortified milk and fortified cereals as well as supplements.

-Sources: Bottom Line Health, CSPI Nutrition Action Letter, and Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter

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