80% of Adolescents in Europe Are Found to be Vitamin D Deficient

Vitamin D is so important during childhood and adolescence because of its important role in cell growth,as well as skeletal structure and development. In addition, as I have  discussed  in my book, adequacy of vitamin D helps prevent conditions such as coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, infections, and autoimmune disease. My recent podcast #2, discusses some new findings in regards to these conditions.

A new study was just published looking at vitamin D status of adolescents in Europe. This was part of the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence study (HELANA). This study is analogous to then the NHANES studies in the United States.

In this study, they looked at a sample of 1006 adolescence of which 470 were males. The age range of the adolescents was 12 to 15 years old. This was done in 10 cities in nine European countries.

They looked at the results of the vitamin D levels of the adolescence in the study. The level of sufficiency that they were using in this study was 30 ng/mL. We now know from science that we all need at least a blood level of 34 ng/mL in order to optimize absorption of calcium from our diet.

The shocking results of the study were that 80% of the adolescents had sub optimal level of vitamin D. Specifically 39% had levels between 20 and 30 ng/ml, which the authors called insufficient. Another 27% had levels between 11 and 20ng/ml which they called merely deficient. An additional 15% of the young people had levels less than 11 ng/ml and they were called severely deficient.

They also found  the levels in the adolescents decreased  the more the patient weighed.

With all of these types of data, including the data that shows 70% of American youths are deficient in vitamin D, it would be wonderful if our government could mandate everybody taking a pill containing at least 1000 IU and preferably 2000 IU of vitamin D every day.

Please check your own children and ask your friends and relatives to check their children especially teenagers to ensure that they have adequate levels of vitamin D. You can watch my video HERE for a short quick way to know what to do with you Vitamin D levels.


Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency-Again!

vitamin D and heart attacks As you probably know, I feel strongly about educating others on the important role that vitamin D plays in supporting health. That is why I wrote The Vitamin D Revolution: How the Power of This Amazing Vitamin Can Change Your Life.

A few years ago, the typical person didn’t know much about vitamin D, so, in the book, I explained how the sunshine vitamin worked as both a vitamin and a hormone. I also wrote about the many studies showing vitamin D’s connection to bone health, cancer, the immune system, chronic pain, and other conditions.

When I was writing The Vitamin D Revolution, I suspected that the cardiovascular system also benefited greatly from the proper levels of vitamin D. At the time there were only a few studies that supported my hunch.

New data is in, though, which undeniably establishes a link!

Findings of a prospective study on cardiovascular disease (CV), done with approximately 41,500 people, were published recently in the American Journal of Cardiology. Researchers concluded that there is an overwhelming connection between low vitamin D blood levels,  less than30 ng/ml, and a significantly higher risk of all cardiovascular incidents. These include heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease (narrowing and stiffness due to arterial plaque), and even death.

Because these are risk factors for CV, researchers also looked for the prevalence of diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), and peripheral vascular disease (narrowing and constriction of arteries and veins, especially to the legs and feet). Researchers found that those individuals with vitamin D deficiency were significantly more likely to both have or develop these conditions.

In The Vitamin D Revolution, I stated there was a widespread deficiency of low vitamin D throughout the world. Although I would have been happy if I had been proven wrong about this, the study supported my theory. When they reviewed the patient records, 63.6% were found to be deficient. This was true regardless of age and gender.

Optimal levels of vitamin D are so critical to long-term health. Yet vitamin D deficiency is rampant in the world today. I encourage you to support your cardiovascular system—and all of your body’s systems and its musculoskeletal structure. You can do this by keeping your blood levels of vitamin D in the optimal range: between 40–70 ng/ml. Research indicates there is little to no risk, but lots of benefits.

Please ask your doctor for a vitamin D blood test or you can order an at home kit from my store.  Keep your vitamin D levels up for good health !

Anderson JL, et al., Relation of vitamin D deficiency to cardiovascular risk factors, disease status, and incident events in a general healthcare population, Am J Cardiol., 2010 Oct 1;106(7):963-8. Epub 2010 Aug 11. (Intermountain Heart Collaborative (IHC) Study Group.)


Sunlight Affects Medicine Absorption

A new study shows that your vitamin D level may affect what dosage your doctor will prescribe for certain medications. This study, published in Drug Metabolism & Disposition, was the first of its kind to show that the body’s vitamin D level can affect the liver’s ability to break down and metabolize medication. This may give physicians and researchers insight into a puzzling question: Why do patients with otherwise similar medical histories respond differently to the same dosage of medicines?

The study was conducted at the Karolinska Institutet, a medical university in Sweden. Researchers evaluated data on 70,000 patients who were taking immune-suppressant drugs, including tacrolimus and sirolimus, to prevent transplant rejection.

These patients had their blood monitored regularly, so it was easy for researchers to compare blood samples drawn in the winter (January – March) with those taken in late summer (July – September). The comparison showed that blood concentrations levels of tacrolimus and sirolimus were lower in the summer months and higher in the winter months. This means that these patients required more of the medicine in the summer to achieve the same amount of protection they could receive in the winter from a lower dosage.

Sweden has long winter nights and long summer days, so one’s exposure to sunlight—and its ability to produce vitamin D—is significantly different in winter and summer. Sunlight and vitamin D activate a liver enzyme called CYP3A4, which aids in the breaking down of certain medicines, including tacrolimus and sirolimus.

Researchers also took blood samples from patients taking cyclosporine, a drug used for the same purpose. No significant difference was seen in blood concentration levels between winter or summer, probably because the enzyme CYP3A4 is not required for metabolizing cyclosporine.

Although more research is necessary, this study suggests that the enzyme CYP3A4 may provide an important piece of information to doctors prescribing medications. Given that vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, and vitamin D levels increase with sun exposure, it’s likely that researchers will discover additional medications that can be lowered in the summer while still conferring the needed benefits. 

This may call for closer monitoring of certain drug blood levels depending on the season. In the case of these immunosuppressant transplant drugs correct dosage is critical to prevent organ transplants from being rejected. As more and more people realize the benefits of taking Vitamin D this also will require doctors to monitor blood levels of drugs.

Although more research is required, it seems that Vitamin D dosages of patients will probably affect the metabolism of some drugs. Prospective studies need to be done to prove a causal relationship.

Lindh, J.D., Seasonal variation in blood drug concentrations and a potential relationship to vitamin D, Drug Metab Dispos, 2011 May;39(5):933-7. Epub 2011 Feb 24.


Vitamin D on ABC Good Morning America with Dr Oz

I found this video from some time ago from Good Morning America with Dianne Sawyer and Dr Oz.

He does a good job of summarizing the important points about Vitamin D.

Remember take pills for your D and check your blood levels twice a year …November and March. My store sells a pharmaceutical quality Vitamin D which guarantees you get what is on the label !

Low Vitamin D Levels in Pregnant Women Affect Future Generations

pregnant yoga vitamin D In the last few years, vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions. Because every cell’s health is impacted by vitamin D, having insufficient levels has been linked to an increased risk all kinds of health conditions, including osteoporosis, certain 17 types of cancers, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and even diabetes along with of course osteoporosis. Now, research shows that a vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women and their babies is quite prevalent. This insufficiency is impacting these children’s health.

A healthy diet and the proper supplementation before and during pregnancy can positively affect a pregnant woman’s health and the health of her baby. For decades, studies have shown the benefits of folic acid for preventing birth defects; omega-3 fats, especially DHA, for brain health; and calcium for bone health. Many pregnant women take prenatal vitamins for this reason.

You may recall a study conducted by Lisa Bodnar, Ph.D., at the University of Pittsburg in 2007. Eighty percent of African American women and roughly half of Caucasian women were found to be vitamin D deficient, even though 90 percent were taking prenatal vitamins! (The typical prenatal vitamin containsed only 400 IUs of vitamin D at this time). This study also showed that low maternal levels of vitamin D increase a baby’s risk of skeletal problems, particularly rickets.

In January 2011, a large study done on mothers and children in Mysore, India gave us more proof that vitamin D deficiency is truly a worldwide epidemic. About 67 percent of the 568 women whose children were studied were vitamin D deficient.

In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers assessed children’s lean muscle mass, cardiovascular markers, and sensitivity to insulin. Children were studied twice; at 5 years old and 9.5 years old.

At ages 5 and 9.5, those children born to mothers with low vitamin D levels had smaller arm muscles (less lean muscle) than children whose mothers had healthy levels. Even more concerning, at 9.5 years of age those children whose mothers were deficient in vitamin D had higher insulin resistance. This is an indicator that one may will develop diabetes.

There were not differences in cardiovascular markers, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels, between the two groups.

These results were the same for boys and girls.

Maintaining adequate—or better yet, optimal—levels of vitamin D is one of the best preventative measures one can take. Now there is evidence that protecting our own health, by having optimal levels of vitamin D, provides an additional benefit to future generations.

I recommend if you plan to get pregnant, make sure to check your vitamin D levels before you conceive. During your pregnancy, monitor these levels every trimester so you’re sure to give your baby the best start he or she can have.

Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan 12


My Book is Now Available on Kindle!

Vitamin D Revolution on KindleMy book  The Vitamin D Revoution has been available for Kindle for a while. However my friends tell me they did not know it!

So if you have a Kindle, download a free sample and if you like the sample, you can download the whole book in a minute!

Post a comment on the Amazon page or here!

The Japanese Translation of My Book Has Been Published!

The Vitamin D Revolution in JapaneseI am delighted to announce that my book,.The Vitamin D Revolution has been published in Japanese.I love the cover!

There has been great interest in my book in Japan.  If you have friends there let them know they should be taking their vitamin D everyday.

Versions in other languages are being worked on as well and I will keep you posted!


Vitamin D and the Institute of Medicine

Vitamin D and IOM Recently the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) came out with its updated recommendation for vitamin D dosages for all Americans. The last time they had released Vitamin D recommendations had been 1997.

They increased the basic recommendation for all adults from 400 IU to 600 IU per day. Also, very importantly, they increased what they consider to be the maximum safe dose from 2000 IU to 4000 IU per day.

Many of us involved in vitamin D work were very disappointed in this tiny increase in recommendations. We were hoping that they would recommend a minimum of at least 1000 IU per day.

There's been much discussion on the Internet about the basis for the recommendations from the IOM. None of the people on the committee were well-known vitamin D researchers or considered experts in the field of vitamin D.

 In addition, they had 15 vitamin D experts review their report before they released it. However, the members of the committee have refused to let anybody look at the vitamin D experts’ opinions about the report. It is thought that many of the world’s leading experts would have expressed disagreement with the report. One organization has petitioned to get these opinions through the Freedom of Information Act.

The Institute of Medicine in their report, which is linked here, only looked at vitamin D and bone health. In my opinion, and the opinion of many vitamin D experts, they made the wrong conclusion that a blood level of 20 ng/mL was sufficient to maintain bone health.
[Read more…]

Childhood Obesity and Vitamin D

A new University of Michigan study has shown that children who are deficient in vitamin D gained weight around their waist and gain weight more quickly than children who got enough vitamin D. The study was done by E Villamor and colleagues in Columbia.

Accumulation of fat around the abdomen can lead to what is called an "Apple body shape". This shape is linked to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes type 2, and other chronic degenerative diseases.

In this study the researchers followed over 470 schoolchildren from age 5 to 12, starting in 2006. The children were followed for about 30 months. The study looked at the vitamin D levels in the blood of children at the beginning of the study and then looked at the link between vitamin D and changes in three different indicators of body fat over the course of the study. Specifically they looked at body mass index, waist circumference, and scapular – to- triceps skinfold ratio.

Dr Villamor summarized his study by saying "We found that the kids with the lowest vitamin D levels at the beginning tended to gain weight faster than the kids with higher levels" He went on to say  that  children with the lowest vitamin D levels had more drastic increases in central body fat measures.

Diane Gilbert-Diamond, M.D., another of the authors said "Our findings suggest that low vitamin D status may put children at risk of obesity. This is significant because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent across the globe and childhood obesity rates are dramatically increasing worldwide".

Dr Villamor went on to say "Interestingly, Bogota, Colombia, is in a subtropical zone where one may not expect to find a lot of vitamin D deficiency since the assumption is that sunlight is abundant there, but there could be many reasons people in subtropical climates may not get enough sun exposure."

My reply to this statement would be that Columbia is the same as the United States. Specifically parents rub sunblock on their children before they let them go out to play. The sunblock, as my readers know, also blocks the vitamin D rays of the sun. In addition, children spend much more time indoors than they did 50 years ago because of television and computer games.

Dr Villamor points out that "These findings should motivate some discussion on ways to enhance vitamin D status of children there, although it will be necessary to confirm in intervention studies whether improvements in vitamin D status decrease the risk of childhood obesity and early development of chronic diseases."

This means that we need prospective studies to prove that giving children vitamin D will help prevent overweight and obesity. Until the studies are done, as I frequently say, there is absolutely no harm in normalizing children's vitamin D blood levels by supplementation.

If the prospective studies were to show that there was NO benefit from vitamin D on obesity prevention, there would still be many other  benefits from the children taking the vitamin D.

Are you giving your children vitamin D? If they were overweight and you gave them vitamin D have you seen any benefit for their weight?

Children from birth should be getting supplementary vitamin D, as I discuss in my book.


Orthopedic Surgery and Vitamin D

Vitamin D and orthopedic surgery I am delighted to see that orthopedic surgeons are finally realizing the importance of having normal vitamin D levels in order to heal the bones that they operate on. I chose a photo of a child with a broken let for this article because 70% of American children have insufficient vitamin D.

Just this month in the prestigious Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery,Joseph Lane, MD, and colleagues published an article looking at over 700 patients they had operated on retrospectively between January 2007 and March 2008.

The results were that 43% of all patients had insufficient levels of vitamin D and 40% had completely deficient levels.

Of note the highest rates of vitamin D deficiency were seen in the trauma and sports services. In this subgroup 66% of the patients were vitamin D's insufficient and 52% were absolutely deficient.
[Read more…]