Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a substantially increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease in older people, according to the most robust study of its kind ever conducted. An international team found that study participants who were severely vitamin D deficient were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's 

In addition, low levels of Vitamin D are linked to a wide range of diseases including asthma, osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, hypoglycemia, rheumatoid arthritis, depression,  and more.  Seasonal illnesses like cold and flu also correlate to low levels of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D ups bowel cancer survival odds, study finds  Bowel cancer patients with high levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to survive the disease, a study shows. Patients with the highest levels of vitamin D have half the risk of dying compared with those with the lowest levels, the findings reveal. The study is the first to correlate total blood levels of vitamin D in bowel cancer patients after their diagnosis -- which includes that produced after exposure to sunlight and that obtained from dietary sources -- with their long term survival prospects.

Vitamin D deficiency has no short-term symptoms, but it does increase your longer term risk for health problems Women—and men—should ask their doctor for a blood test to determine whether their Vitamin D levels put them at risk.

The National Institute for Health recommends that adults between the ages of 50 and 70 should get 400 IUs of Vitamin D daily, while those over the age of 70 should get 600. However, many doctors, including those affiliated with th eVitamin D Council, a non-profit organization, recommend that adults get 2000 IUs of Vitamin D daily, a level the Institute of Medicine considers safe. 

Vitamin D comes from three main sources -- exposure of skin to sunlight, foods such as oily fish, and supplements. Older people's skin can be less efficient at converting sunlight into Vitamin D, making them more likely to be deficient and reliant on other sources. In many countries the amount of UVB radiation in winter is too low to allow vitamin D production.

You should talk to your doctor, who will know your individual risk factors, to find out what’s right for you. Once you know your daily target, there are three ways to reach it:

Sun Exposure - Vitamin D is nicknamed the Sunshine Vitamin because your body can produce it when it’s exposed to sunlight.  You shouldn't toss your sunscreen, but you should be aware that most experts agree the most effective way to get Vitamin D, especially during the summer months, is through sun exposure.  How much exposure? Twenty minutes a day is considered adequate for most people but if you’re fair-skinned, that may be too much time, and if you’re dark-skinned, it may be too little.

You might have fun using this converter [Euopeon Cities only)from the Norwegian Institute for Air research, which allows for a wide range of variables, but your dermatologist probably is best equipped to advise you about what’s safe for you.

Diet – As we’ll explain, it’s difficult to get the Vitamin D you need from diet alone, but you should be aware of the dietary sources available to you. 

It’s not easy to get the Vitamin D your body needs through diet alone. Some kinds of seafood, especially fatty fish like salmon, contain Vitamin D.  Parents who gave their children cod liver oil in the winter months were on the right track, since it is another way to get Vitamin D. Egg yolks and mushrooms are other sources.  But, again, it’s not easy to get through diet alone, which is why so many foods, like milk, are fortified with it.  

Supplements – Since Vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is possible to overdose. We spoke to experts to find out when and how to supplement effectively. 

Too little Vitamin D is bad, but too much can be toxic. Vitamin D toxicity can cause a condition known as hypercalcemia, which can result in nausea, muscle weakness, mental confusion, or even seizures.

Talk to your doctor about how much Vitamin D is right for you. If your doctor does think you need a Vitamin D supplement, you’ll get the most benefit from it if you take it with a meal that contains fats and oils. Also, be aware that the most recent studies suggest that taking several smaller doses is more effective than one large dose.

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