In today's show I review some of the latest findings on the relationship of vitamin D to many increasing problems in our country and the world. As you know the Vitamin D winter has begun for the northern two thirds of the United States and for all of Canada and northern Europe.
I am delighted that Fraser health care home residents will now be getting vitamin D on a regular basis. This is a “ nursing home" in British Columbia, Canada. At least 200,000 falls are recorded in seniors each year in British Columbia and they expect that number to double as baby boomers age. Vitamin D is associated with an increased incidence of falls and the resultant consequences which can often include death for the senior that breaks their hip.
They will be giving the residents 20,000 IU weekly of vitamin D and then following them over time to see if the incidence of fractures is reduced. I am very excited about this project as I think it is necessary that all seniors be given an adequate dose of vitamin D not only to protect against osteoporosis but also to reduce the incidence of falls and fractures. As many of you know I've written about this in my book and in my blog posts.
Alzheimer's disease is an increasingly common problem in our country and early studies in the medical literature clearly showed relationship between vitamin D and cognitive dysfunction and dementia in older adults.
This article reviews that connection
as does this one
and I am delighted that David Llewellyn at the University of Exeter (UK) has been given a grant from the Alzheimer's Association for the study of vitamin D as a potential biomarker as well as therapy for dementia, brain shrinkage, and other neuroimaging abnormalities.
The article which you can read here
notes that over 800,000 people in the United Kingdom have dementia now and that costs the UK economy 23 billion pounds per year which is more than cancer and heart disease costs combined. They note that the average cost for each person with dementia is greater than the average UK salary. And of course they are concerned about the baby boomers that will be multiplying these expenses.
Spinal surgery and Vitamin D
Spine related disability is higher in patients with low levels of vitamin D. The study found that 65% of patients who were undergoing spinal fusion had vitamin D deficiency. The authors note that vitamin D deficiency predisposes to fracture and sub optimal surgical outcome. As I've mentioned in previous articles and in my book, back pain can sometimes be resolved with proper dosage and of vitamin D.
Lupus and Vitamin D
Lupus is a disease close to my heart, because I see so many patients with lupus, who come to me for integrative medicine support. Lupus is now being looked at as a possible vitamin D related disease. About 1.5 million Americans have lupus.
In this study they gave patients 100,000 IU of injectable vitamin D once a week for four weeks and then continued monthly. The study confirmed the safety of this dose of vitamin D and importantly noted that vitamin D boosted the number and activity of protective immune cells. It also reduced some abnormal immune cells, which calm down the immune system. The authors will be doing a larger study that is prospective to see if vitamin D should be recommended as a treatment for systemic lupus erythematous.
You can read about this study here
NFL Football and Vitamin D
The American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine recently had a presentation at their convention, of the relationship between vitamin D and 89 NFL players aged 21 to 32 years. They noted that 80% of the football team they studied had vitamin D insufficiency. They also noted that African-American players and players who suffered muscle injuries had significantly lower levels of vitamin D.
You can read about this study here
In the last part of this podcast I answer some of my reader’s questions. We talk about the source of vitamin D in my brand of vitamin D as well as why a young child who was out in the sun during the summer did not raise his level of vitamin D.
You can get a vitamin D home test kit and my name-branded Vitamin D here.
Please remember to send me your questions which I'm happy to answer in a generic way on my podcast. Please remember I'm not able to give you individual specific advice by e-mail as you are not my patient.
Also please leave your comments below where we can dialogue these issues.