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Vitamin D may extend lifespan

Vitamin D may extend lifespan

Monday, October 10th 2011

Vitamin D may extend lifespan

Having enough vitamin D on board is essential for preventing disease and maintaining health, but these benefits remains controversial. Preliminary research published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition estimates that by doubling current recommended vitamin D levels across the globe, more people would avoid disease and an early death, and people might extend their lifespans.

Higher blood levels of Vitamin D may lower risk of death

Certain experts have questioned whether the current recommended blood levels and daily amounts of vitamin D are enough to best prevent disease and support health. This study looked at vitamin D levels across many countries and reviewed studies on the topic to explore whether higher blood levels of vitamin D, specifically 25-hydroxyvitamin D, were associated with a decreased incidence of death from common diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and respiratory infections.

Specifically, in this study, researchers reviewed the current scientific data on vitamin D to estimate whether higher blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (doubled from 54 nmol/L to 110 nmol/L) would reduce the death rate in the six global regions where vitamin D-sensitive diseases are prevalent.

Results showed:

  • If recommended 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were raised from 54 nmol/L to 110 nmol/L, the study authors estimate that death rates from any cause would be reduced, ranging from 7.6% for African women to 17.3% for European women, and they estimate reductions for men would be 0.6% lower than for women. The study authors speculate that such an increase in blood levels might increase life expectancy by as much as two years.
  • The researchers conclude that the case for higher vitamin D levels is strongest for the prevention of heart disease, cancer, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, falls and fractures, and multiple sclerosis. The evidence is moderate for prevention of type 2 diabetes, sepsis (severe infections) and pre-eclampsia (when a woman develops high blood pressure during her pregnancy).

The study authors comment, “increasing vitamin D levels is the most cost-effective way to reduce global mortality rates, as the cost of vitamin D is very low and there are few adverse effects from oral intake and/or frequent moderate UVB (ultraviolet-B) irradiance with sufficient body surface area exposed.”

As the conclusions from this study are based primarily on preliminary research (that is, observational studies rather than randomized controlled trials), further research is needed to support these findings.
(Eur J Clin Nutr 2011; 1-11, doi:10.1038/ejc.2011.68)

Things to know about Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a popular topic in the media today as studies emerge showing that a lack of the vitamin may increase the risk of chronic disease such as heart disease or cancer. A recent study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggests that a number of factors, such as blood levels of vitamin D and total cholesterol levels, may influence a person’s ability to make vitamin D after ultraviolet radiation.

Multiple factors influence vitamin D levels

Vitamin D is produced in the body via sunlight. It is also obtained from foods such as oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines), fortified milk, cereals, and from supplements. Low vitamin D levels may be caused by a lack of sun exposure, lack of dietary vitamin d, malabsorption, side effects from medications or supplements, chronic diseases such as kidney or liver disease, and other causes.

In addition, older people, infants and toddlers, dark-skinned people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women may be particularly at risk for low vitamin D levels.

The 2010 study explored the importance of skin pigmentation, total cholesterol, and baseline blood levels of vitamin D (measured as 25-hydroxyvitamin D) on vitamin D production after ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure. Participants in this study had four UVB exposures a few days apart to the chest and back, and each exposure was equivalent to about 30 minutes of sun exposure in the middle of a clear summer day in Denmark.

Vitamin D test results showed:

  • Of the 182 participants screened for baseline vitamin D, 67% were considered vitamin D insufficient and 18% were vitamin D deficient.
  • Baseline levels of vitamin D were higher in people who ate fish at least once a week.
  • Among a group of 50 participants, researchers found significantly higher vitamin D production after UVB exposure in participants with a low baseline vitamin D level compared with those with a higher baseline level.
  • Fair-skinned and dark-skinned people had similar increases in vitamin D levels after UVB exposure
  • There is an association between total cholesterol and vitamin D production, and a low cholesterol level might hinder vitamin D production.

(J Unvest Dermatol 2010;130:546-53)

Reproduced unabridged from Integria Healthcare News October 2011

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Vitamin D deficiencies :

Arctic D Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil - Cold Pressed
Cod Liver Oil Capsules
Ethical Bone Builder Vitamin D Powder
Norwegian Cod Liver Oil
Ultimate Omega® -D3 Sport
Sublingual Vitamin D3
V-Omega 3
Vitamin D3 Tabs
Vitamin D 1000iu - Dry

Related health information can be found here:

Depression Support
Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
Natural Sun Care

Related articles can be found here:

Calcium Cure Boosts Risk of Heart Attach - Research
The sun is your friend
Studies find links to depression
Vitamin D slows booze-related bones loss

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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