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There are many known benefits to Vitamin D supplementation:
Vitamin D’s is principally used in preventing and
treating Osteoporosis. Patients who have severe osteoporosis often have
low levels of vitamin D. It is widely known in the medical community that
Vitamin D induces calcium absorption and is good for bone health however
Calcium and Vitamin D use must be uninterrupted. Improvements in bone
density rapidly disappear once the supplements are stopped.. In a 2-year,
double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 65 individuals with rheumatoid
arthritis taking low-dose corticosteroids, daily supplementation with
1,000 mg of calcium and 500 IU of vitamin D reversed steroid-induced bone
loss, causing a net bone gain. Vitamin D supplementation offers an important
advantage to patients suffering from osteoporosis: research has found
that when older individuals take Vitamin D supplements, they have less
tendency to sway while standing or walking and this may reduce their chances
of falling. Since the most common adverse consequence of osteoporosis
is a fracture due to a fall, this is a significant benefit.
Those concerned about osteoporosis should take Vitamin D-Calcium supplementation
as it definitely helps prevent bone loss, even if you are taking other
treatments for osteoporosis. It is relatively simple to understand that
you cannot build bone mass without Calcium and Calcium cannot be absorbed
and used without adequate concentration of Vitamin D. Supplementing with
vitamin D alone may or may not be helpful, but the combination of calcium
and vitamin D has been found to slow down or even reverse the progression
A one year long, double-blind study of 249 postmenopausal women with
an average age of 61, none of whom were taking estrogen or other medications
for bone loss was conducted in Boston, a city that gets little sunshine
during winter months. Half of the women received a Calcium Citrate malate
supplement (400 mg daily) plus a Vitamin D supplement (400 IU daily),
and the other half received placebo. The women who took the Vitamin D-Calcium
combination experienced a 0.85% net increase in spinal bone mass, whilst
the placebo group showed no net change. Another double-blind, placebo-controlled
study of 3,270 women found higher dosages of vitamin D produced even better
bone density increase results. For a period of 1.5 years, participants
received either placebo or 1,200 mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D.
The scientists found that the bone density in the hips of women who had
taken Vitamin D-Calcium combination supplement had increased by 2.7%,
while the hip bone density of the women who had taken placebo decreased
by 4.6%. The Vitamin D-Calcium supplement taking group also experienced
43% fewer hip fractures.
||Recent research has found that Vitamin D helps maintain a healthy immune
|| Vitamin D has also been proposed for use in: Cancer Prevention. There
is some evidence to support the theory that adequate intake of vitamin D
may help prevent breast cancer, colon cancer, cancer of the pancreas, prostate
cancer, and skin cancer.
||Vitamin D has also been proposed for use in prevention and reducing the
risks of developing Diabetes and Hypertension.
||Vitamin D may fight inflammation and prevent gum disease. The American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 2005 issue, reported that people
with higher blood concentrations of vitamin D are less likely to develop
gum disease and that the higher is your Vitamin D concentration, the lower
the risk of gingivitis, a milder form of gum disease in which the gums become
swollen and bleed easily after bacteria build up between the teeth and gums.
The anti-inflammatory benefit of Vitamin D may explain vitamin D's link
to healthier gums.
|| Vitamin D is used in treatment of Psoriasis. Danish studies use calcipotriol,
a variation of vitamin D3 applied externally to the skin to treat Psoriasis.
It must be noted that Calcipotriol does not affect the body's absorption
of calcium, and it is a very different substance from the Vitamin D supplements
you find in drug stores and pharmacies.
|| Some healthcare providers use Vitamin D for treatment of Seasonal Affective
Disorder ("the winter blues"). There is weak evidence to support
||A study suggests that Vitamin D-Calcium supplementation may be helpful
for women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
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Dosages of vitamin D are usually expressed by the number of international units
(IU) rather than in milligrams. U.S. and Canadian health authorities recommend
different daily intake dosages of vitamin D for different age groups, as follows:
|Infants 0–12 months
||200 IU (or 5 mcg)
|Males and females 1–50 years
||200 IU (or 5 mcg)
|Males & Females 51–70 years
||400 IU (or 10 mcg)
|Males & Females 71+ years
||600 IU (or 15 mcg)
||200 IU (5 mcg)
||200 IU (5 mcg)
There is growing evidence that these dosage guidelines are too low, particularly
if you are sun-deprived. Those who live in cities with little sunshine are at
increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency. For example, in a study conducted in
Denmark, it was found that in veiled Muslim women, a daily intake of 600 IU
of vitamin D was insufficient to raise vitamin D levels in the blood to normal
levels and some have suggested that sun-deprived individuals receive 1,000 IU
of vitamin D per day.
For therapeutic purposes, higher dosages of Vitamin D can be taken, but only
under the care of a qualified physician or knowledgeable health care provider.
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The foods we eat everyday contain very little Vitamin D. Exposure to the sunlight
provides the highest levels of Vitamin D but most dermatologists recommend that
you limit direct sun exposure to no more than 10-20 minutes a day or otherwise
use sun-block to prevent skin disease and certain types of cancer. These lifestyle
changes and sun-blocks may be increasing the frequency of vitamin D deficiency.
Cold water fish are the best food sources of Vitamin D. In many countries, manufacturers
add Vitamin D to dairy products, cereals and milk and margarine. Severe vitamin
D deficiency was common amongst sailors who spent most of their days under deck
rowing or amongst miners. Cod liver oil, which is high in vitamin D, became
a popular supplement to help prevent rickets in children. Those who had rickets
were deficient in Vitamin D and presented symptoms of soft bones that curved
in day to day normal use simply because they could not absorb adequate calcium.
In modern times, Vitamin D deficiency often occurs amongst the elderly who
receive less sun exposure.
Also people who live in the northern latitudes and don't take adequate vitamin
D supplements are more likely to suffer from diseases linked to deficiency of
Vitamin D. They display increased risks of osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer
and brittle bones.
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There is evidence to suggest that Vitamin D-Calcium supplementation can help
protect against bone loss caused by corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone.
A recent review of five studies showed that Vitamin D-Calcium supplementation
can significantly prevent bone loss in corticosteroid-treated patients.
Do not take high-dose vitamin D (with calcium) unless you have been advised
to by your physician. If you take Thiazide diuretics, do not take calcium and
vitamin D supplements unless under doctor's supervision.
There are many medications on the market which may interfere with vitamin D
absorption or activity. These include the blood-thinning drug heparin; corticosteroids;
primidone (Mysoline), valproic acid (Depakene); phenytoin (Dilantin), Phenobarbital
for seizures; Cimetidine (Tagamet) for ulcers and the anti-tuberculosis drugs
Isoniazid (INH) and Rifampin. Ask your doctor whether you should take extra
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