The May 2012 issue of Annals of Internal Medicinereported a study on the relationship of vitamin D to adverse health events. In a Cohort Study, researchers followed 1,621 older white adults over an average of 11 years and found subjects with levels of vitamin D below normal suffered hip fracture, heart attack, cancer or death more frequently. These results translate into major concern if your age exceeds 65 years and you possess risk factors for these conditions.
The National Institute of Healthdescribes Vitamin D as a fat-soluble vitamin. Very few foods contain vitamin D, but some manufacturers add the vitamin to such foods as milk, yogurt, cereal and orange juice. Vitamin D exists also as a supplement in gel, tablet, capsule or liquid form. Sun exposure represents another source of vitamin D. Most people know the role of vitamin D in calcium and bone metabolism, but vitamin D affects other biological processes in the body. It suppresses action of the adrenal gland, interacts with the immune system and stops abnormal cell growth. These functions indicate the vital role vitamin D plays in our health. It makes sense that vitamin D participates in key processes to reduce fractures, heart attacks and cancer.
The Vitamin D Cohort Study
The Cohort Study on vitamin D transpired in four communities across the nation so subjects came from many different walks in life. The researchers measured blood levels of Vitamin D by ascertaining the level of 25-hydrocxyvitamin D in the body. If you are at risk for fractures, heart attack or cancer, ask your provider about having a blood test for 25-hydrocxyvitamin D. The study followed subjects for over 10 years and recorded the number of health outcomes. Results showed that subjects with below normal vitamin D levels encountered 137 hip fractures, 186 heart attacks, 335 incidences of cancer and 360 deaths.
Vitamin D Levels
The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State Universityelucidates the current debate about what constitutes a normal serum level of vitamin D. Recent research advises s a blood level over 30 ng/mL as optimum for health with levels between 20-30 ng/mL suggesting insufficiency and levels below 20 ng/mL describes severe deficiency. One can compare their laboratory results with these projected abnormal to normal ranges.
Sources of Vitamin D
The Institute of Medicine(IOM) explains that the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D depends on age. Note the requirement increases markedly for the oldest age group. The recommended RDA by age for vitamin D is:
*children from birth to one year – 400 IU
*age 1 year to 70 years – 600 IU
*over age 70 years – 800 IU
Few food products contain vitamin D, but the items below show available food sources, according to WebMD. I find drinking milk or orange juice the most convenient source of vitamin D next to vitamin D supplements in tablet form.
*1 Tablespoon cod liver oil – 1,360 IU
*3 ounces salmon – 800 IU
*8 ounces fortified milk -100 IU
*8 ounces fortified orange juice -100 IU
*3 ounces irradiated mushrooms – 400 IU
Take Care of Your Health
The debate on the role of vitamin D in health and illness continues. Individuals with diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure show more instances of vitamin D deficiency and obtaining blood levels may identify abnormalities. I advise a discussion with a health care provider for all adults to talk about vitamin D and to determine if blood tests or supplementation is necessary.