The Alpha and Omega of Vitamin D

This is a very interesting article  written by my good friend Professor Steve Chaney, and that I am sharing with you with his authorization.

“This week my topic is “The Alpha and Omega of Vitamin D”. As you might expect I will be talking about the benefits of vitamin D in both young and old.
Let me start with the alpha (the young).
This was a study called “Growing Up Today” that looks the various effects of nutrition on health outcomes in 6,712 pre-adolescent and adolescent girls (aged 9 -15 at the beginning of the study). In this particular portion of the study the investigators looked at the effect of vitamin D intake on the occurrence of stress fractures during a 7 year follow-up period (K.R. Sonneville et al, Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.5, 2012).

Girls in the lowest quartile of vitamin D intake (107 IU/day) were 50% less likely to suffer from stress fractures than girls in the highest quartile (663 IU/day) – and this difference was most significant for girls who were participating in at least 1 hour/day of high impact sports.

So what’s the bottom line for you?

The role of vitamin D in supporting bone health is well established, but many people think of this primarily in terms of preventing osteoporosis in the elderly.
This study just reminds us that vitamin D is important for bone health at any age.

Now for the omega of vitamin D (the old).

This study was an observational, retrospective study of 10,889 patients from a cardiovascular practice at the University of Kansas Hospital (Vacek et al, American Journal of Cardiology, 109: 359-363, 2012).

Serum vitamin D levels obtained from patients seen in the clinic over a 5 year period were matched with patient disease variables and survival.

Serum vitamin D levels of > 30 ng/ml were considered optimal, while serum vitamin D levels of < 30 ng/ml were considered deficient. By these criteria, 70 % of the patients in this study were vitamin D deficient, while 30% were vitamin D sufficient.

Some of the patients were prescribed vitamin D supplements in the range of 1,000 – 2,000 IU/day
following their first clinic visit. Vitamin D supplements were recommended to 31.6% of the vitamin D deficient patients and 21.3% of the vitamin D sufficient patients.

The results were quite striking.

Vitamin D deficiency was associated with a significantly higher incidence of heart disease,
diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiomyopathy. Even more impressive was the effect of vitamin D deficiency and supplementation on survival.

Vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of all cause mortality by 164%.

In contrast, vitamin D supplementation increased survival by 61% and almost all of this increased survival was due to an approximately 2-fold increase in survival in the vitamin D deficient group who were subsequently given vitamin D supplements.

The authors went on to note that the reason previous studies have not consistently shown benefits of vitamin D supplementation may be because they weren’t using adequate doses. They said: “Many previous studies of vitamin D supplementation used doses of 400 to 800
IU/day, which may not be adequate to insure optimal serum levels, with more appropriate daily supplement doses suggested as 1,000 to 2,000 IU.”

So what does this study mean for you?

1) This study is consistent with many previous studies showing that when we look at actual blood levels of vitamin D, 50-70% of the population is deficient.

2) The authors concluded: “Because vitamin D deficiency is widespread, strategies directed at population-based supplement programs could prove beneficial.” I concur.

3) While the vitamin D RDA for adults is only 600-800 IU/day, the authors are recommending 1,000-2,000 IU/day. Based on this and other recent studies I agree with that recommendation. I would not recommend higher doses than that unless your doctor suggests it.

4) We’ve known for some time that supplementation with vitamin D can make you healthier. This study suggests that vitamin D supplementation can actually help you live longer.

5) However, as many recent studies have shown, supplementation is most important for high risk and/or deficient groups.

In the first study the effect of optimal vitamin D intake on stress fractures in girls was most
significant for the girls involved in high impact exercise.

In the second study the effect of vitamin D supplementation on longevity was most pronounced in the 70% of the population that was vitamin D deficient prior to supplementation.”

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Pr. S. Chaney

Dr. Chaney has a BS in Chemistry from Duke University and a PhD in Biochemistry from UCLA. He is Professor Emeritus from
the University of North Carolina where he taught biochemistry and nutrition to medical and dental students for 39 years. Dr. Chaney
won numerous teaching awards at UNC, including the Academy of Educators “Excellence in Teaching Lifetime Achievement Award”. Dr Chaney also ran an active cancer research program at UNC and published over 100 scientific articles and reviews in peer-reviewed scientific journals. In addition, he authored two chapters on nutrition in one of the leading biochemistry text books
for medical students.


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SwissChiropractic Clinique

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Dr Dubois, DC, CCSP Dr. Dubois, a Swiss physician, and a Triangle Certified Sport Chiropractor has over 20 years of experience in the treatment and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Amongst his patients, two world champions in martial arts (gold medalists in 2005 WMJA), one carrier of the Olympic flame in 2004, and numerous soccer players, swimmers and athletes of all levels who benefited from his chiropractic care.

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