Life Extension Update Exclusive
Vitamin D supplements reduce falls in older adults...
A report published in the February, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society concluded that supplementing with vitamin D can help prevent nursing home falls in older men and women. Falls occur in approximately half of the residents of nursing homes each year, and render the patients more susceptible to further injury.
Kerry Broe and Douglas Kiel of the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston and colleagues at Boston Medical Center and Harvard analyzed data from a randomized, controlled clinical trial of 124 nursing home residents with an average age of 89. Participants received 200, 400, 600, or 800 international units (IU) vitamin D per day or placebo for five months.
At the study’s conclusion, 44 percent of the patients in the placebo group had fallen, compared with 20 percent of the group that received 800 IU vitamin D. The adjusted-incidence rate ratio of falls of the subjects in this group was 72 percent lower than that of the placebo group. Lower doses of vitamin D than 800 IU were not associated with any significant effects compared to placebo.
Over half of the subjects who were using a multivitamin supplement at the beginning of the study had suboptimal serum vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter. When total vitamin D supplement intake was calculated to include multinutrient supplements, the group whose intake was in the lowest one-fifth of the participants had the greatest number of fallers, while the top fifth had the least.
“Past studies have shown that vitamin D could help prevent falls in seniors, and may be due to a possible strengthening effect the vitamin has on the musculoskeletal system,” the authors noted. “Until now, we didn’t know what dosage amount would be effective.”
They add that vitamin D supplementation should be considered in combination with other methods to help reduce falling, and recommend further research.
“Lowering the risk of falls with a simple vitamin D supplement could improve the quality of life for nursing home residents by reducing the incidence of falls," they conclude.
Life Extension Foundation
The Battle of the Bulge
Did you ever wonder why some people can eat all they want and not get fat, while others are constantly battling extra pounds? The answer may have to do with vitamin D and calcium status. Sunlight, UV-B, and vitamin D normalize food intake and normalize blood sugar. Weight normalization is associated with higher levels of vitamin D and adequate calcium.61 Obesity is associated with vitamin-D deficiency.62-64 In fact, obese persons have impaired production of UV-B-stimulated D and impaired absorption of food source and supplemental D.65
When the diet lacks calcium, whether from D or calcium deficiency, there is an increase in fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that converts calories into fat. Higher levels of calcium with adequate vitamin D inhibit fatty acid synthase while diets low in calcium increase fatty acid synthase by as much as five-fold. In one study, genetically obese rats lost 60 percent of their body fat in six weeks on a diet that had moderate calorie reduction but was high in calcium. All rats supplemented with calcium showed increased body temperature indicating a shift from calorie storage to calorie burning (thermogenesis).61
More on vitamin D...
During the last ten years, researchers have made a number of exciting discoveries about vitamin D. They have ascertained, for example, that vitamin D is an antioxidant that is a more effective antioxidant than vitamin E in reducing lipid peroxidation and increasing enzymes that protect against oxidation.19;20
Vitamin D deficiency decreases biosynthesis and release of insulin.21 Glucose intolerance has been inversely associated with the concentration of vitamin D in the blood. Thus, vitamin D may protect against both Type I and Type II diabetes.22
The risk of senile cataract is reduced in persons with optimal levels of D and carotenoids.23
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) has been corrected by supplementation of D and calcium.24
Vitamin D plays a role in regulation of both the "infectious" immune system and the "inflammatory" immune system.25
Low vitamin D is associated with several autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, Sjogren's Syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis and Crohn's disease.26;27
Osteoporosis is strongly associated with low vitamin D. Postmenopausal women with osteoporosis respond favorably (and rapidly) to higher levels of D plus calcium and magnesium.28
D deficiency has been mistaken for fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue or peripheral neuropathy.1;28-30
Infertility is associated with low vitamin D.31 Vitamin D supports production of estrogen in men and women.32 PMS has been completely reversed by addition of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.33 Menstrual migraine is associated with low levels of vitamin D and calcium.81
Breast, prostate, skin and colon cancer have a strong association with low levels of D and lack of sunlight.34-38
Activated vitamin D in the adrenal gland regulates tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate limiting enzyme necessary for the production of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Low D may contribute to chronic fatigue and depression.39
Seasonal Affective Disorder has been treated successfully with vitamin D. In a recent study covering 30 days of treatment comparing vitamin D supplementation with two-hour daily use of light boxes, depression completely resolved in the D group but not in the light box group.40
High stress may increase the need for vitamin D or UV-B sunlight and calcium.41
People with Parkinsons and Alzheimers have been found to have lower levels of vitamin D.42;43
Low levels of D, and perhaps calcium, in a pregnant mother and later in the child may be the contributing cause of "crooked teeth" and myopia. When these conditions are found in succeeding generations it means the genetics require higher levels of one or both nutrients to optimize health.44-47
Behavior and learning disorders respond well to D and/or calcium combined with an adequate diet and trace minerals.48;49
Weston Price Foundation
Christopher Wiechert, C.N.C.
Christopher Wiechert's Healthblogger is for educational or informational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or provide treatment for any condition. If you have any concerns about your own health, you should always consult with a healthcare professional. If you decide to use this information on your own, it's your constitutional right, but I assume no responsibility.
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