A recent interview with Dr. Stephen Honig, Bone health, innovations in imaging, explained Vitamin D’s role in determining and maintaining our bone health.
But Vitamin D can play a pivotal role with other health conditions too.
A recent study out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital identified that “people who took Vitamin D, or Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, had a significantly lower rate of autoimmune diseases.”* This can include: autoimmune thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and psoriasis.
“Autoimmune diseases are common in older adults and negatively affect health and life expectancy.”*
Karen Costenbader of Brigham’s Division of Rheumatology, Inflammation and Immunity, stated in an interview she would recommend “patients, colleagues, or friends… Vitamin D 2000 IU a day and marine omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), 1000 mg a day…for women age 55 years and older and men 50 years and older.”*
What’s your knowledge of Vitamin D? Do you take it? If you’re open to learn more, below is some research I find most eye-opening.
“It is now generally accepted that Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health problem that affects not only musculoskeletal health, but also a wide range of acute and chronic diseases.”**
“Vitamin D deficiency has been recognized as a pandemic…”** Deficiency has been associated with the following health issues:
- Cognitive decline
- Pregnancy complications
- Type 1 diabetes mellitus
As Vitamin D is commonly referred to as “the sunshine vitamin,”*** it is important to stay cognizant of the fact that where you live (weather conditions/sun exposure) and your lifestyle (if primarily inside vs. outside) play a role on how much Vitamin D your body is able to absorb.
Harvard provides a snapshot of the correlation between lower Vitamin D levels and certain health conditions:
- Cognitive decline – In an analysis of about 427,000 participants, a “54% higher risk of dementia was seen among participants with low Vitamin D blood levels…compared with those having adequate levels.”***
- Immune function – “A person’s genetic background plus environmental factors including inadequate Vitamin D and UVB exposure have been identified to increase risk”*** of multiple sclerosis.
- Heart disease – “The heart is basically a large muscle, and like skeletal muscle, it has receptors of Vitamin D. Immune and inflammatory cells that play a role in cardiovascular disease conditions like atherosclerosis (i.e. buildup of fats, cholesterol, more on artery walls – known as “plaque”) are regulated by Vitamin D.” Therefore, Vitamin D “helps to keep arteries flexible and relaxed, which in turn helps to control high blood pressure.”***
My attention was brought to Vitamin D levels around the time I was diagnosed with meningitis. Some family members of mine swear by taking Vitamin D supplements to keep their immune health strong.
As always, if you think Vitamin D could benefit your health, first and foremost it is important to discuss the pros/cons of it (or any new supplement or medication) with your healthcare provider. An easy lab test can determine if your Vitamin D level is healthy or not.
Coming next: Trauma is a multi-layered experience