Twelve health risks from low Vitamin D levels
Researchers have discovered multiple health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin d deficiency is now believed to be a global health issue that can affect overall health and well-being and lead to a variety of health issues.
Investigators from the International Osteoporosis Foundation published findings that vitamin D deficiency has severe repercussions for increasing risk of fracture from poor bone health worldwide. The study, published in the scientific journal Osteoporosis International, suggested that vitamin D deficiency is a global problem, regardless of arguments about dosing guidelines. The highest rates of vitamin D deficiency were discovered in South Asia and the Middle East.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to inability to lose weight. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found a linear relationship between higher vitamin D levels and weight loss, combined with a low calorie diet. Shalamar Sibley, MD, MPH, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota concluded from the study, "Our results suggest the possibility that the addition of vitamin D to a reduced-calorie diet will lead to better weight loss.", though more studies were suggested. The findings were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. this year.
The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease (May 2009), linked Alzheimer’s disease to low levels of the vitamin. The article, "Does Vitamin D Reduce the Risk of Dementia?" by William B. Grant, PhD looked at previous studies showing that vitamin D can protect the brain from inflammation, an important contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is also linked to tooth loss from lack of bone density. The study suggested more studies are needed to define the link between vitamin D deficiency and dementia.
The Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego explored the link between low levels of vitamin D and cancer. The study, published online May 22, 2009 in the Annals of Epidemiology, reported the link between cancer and vitamin D had been proven in over 200 epidemiological studies, with the physiologic basis confirmed in over 25000 lab studies.
Asthma severity was also linked to low levels of vitamin D in a study published May 2009 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. It is difficult to know how much vitamin D to take. Graham Devereux, M.D., of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Aberdeen in the accompanying editorial in the same issue of the journal said, "Ultimately, it is only by investigating the effects of vitamin D in doses at, and above, those currently recommended that decisions can be made on the optimal intake of vitamin D and the possible prevention and treatment of asthma.” Research regarding optimal vitamin D levels is sorely needed.
In March, a study from the Mayo Clinic showed that chronic pain sufferers might benefit from higher levels of vitamin D. Michael Turner, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study wrote, "Vitamin D is known to promote both bone and muscle strength. Conversely, deficiency is an under-recognized source of diffuse pain and impaired neuromuscular functioning. By recognizing it, physicians can significantly improve their patients' pain, function and quality of life."