Friday, August 31, 2007

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?

Recent studies have proven that higher levels of Vitamin D are vitally required in many health areas, including muscular strength, particularly in the elderly.

2. In 2003 the Mayo Clinic Proceedings online Journal contained an article written by Michael Holic, M.D. entitled “Vitamin D Deficiency: What a Pain It Is”.

He concluded his article with these words: “Prevention of vitamin D deficiency not only preserves bone and muscle health but also may help prevent many chronic diseases and preserve overall health and well-being.”

3. More recently the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism stated that Vitamin D deficiency is common among older people and can cause mineralization defects, bone loss, and muscle weakness. They concluded that “ because almost 50% of the population had serum 25-OHD below 20 ng/ml, public health strategies should be aimed at this group.”

Source: Vitamin D status predicts physical performance and its decline in older persons, Wicherts IS, J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jun;92(6):2058-65.

3. Omega 3 fatty acids are also of benefit in maintaining muscle strength, even as we age. Aging cells can develop insulin resistance which has an effect on our ability to build muscle protein.

According to a brief article in FitnessRx for Men: "Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil improve insulin resistance, which helps older adults build muscle.”

Source: Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids regulate bovine whole-body protein metabolism by promoting muscle insulin signalling to the Akt–mTOR–S6K1 pathway and insulin sensitivity, AndrĂ©e-Anne Gingras et al, Journal of Physiology 579:269-284, 2007.

4. One recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition emphasized the urgent need for higher Levels of Vitamin D and that that “Supplemental intake of 400 IU vitamin D/d has only a modest effect on blood concentrations of 25(OH)D, raising them by 7–12 nmol/L, depending on the starting point. To raise 25(OH)D from 50 to 80 nmol/L requires an additional intake of 1,700 IU vitamin D/d”.

They advised that “Correction of low 25(OH)D concentrations can happen only if some or all of the following are implemented:
  • the encouragement of safe moderate exposure of skin to ultraviolet light;
  • appropriate increases in food fortification with vitamin D; and
  • the provision of higher doses of vitamin D in supplements for adults.
Source: The urgent need to recommend an intake of vitamin D that is effective, Vieth R et al, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, No. 3, 649-650, March 2007