Entries in Vitamin D (19)


Calcium Linked to Reduced Risk of Death in Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the benefits of taking calcium supplements are frequently debated, a new study shows that they may reduce the risk of death in women.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, analyzed data from over 9,000 patients and determined that calcium intake did not significantly impact the rate of death in men. However, women who used calcium supplements had a noticeably lower risk of death than women who did not.

The benefits of increased calcium intake were seen by women who received 1,000 milligrams per day of the common dietary supplement, regardless of whether the supplement contained vitamin D. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, vitamin D is often included in calcium supplements because of the role it plays in helping the body to absorb calcium.

According to research, 15.2 percent of women take calcium supplements alone, 3.7 percent take vitamin D supplements alone and 29 percent were taking the two in tandem. Comparatively, just 7.3 percent of men take just calcium supplements, 4.4 percent take only vitamin D supplements and 15.4 percent use both.

While researchers say that they do not know the full risks or benefits of the two supplements are not yet known, they continue to recommend that clinicians "assess dietary intake to meet calcium and vitamin D requirements for bone health and to consider supplementation as necessary to meet the requirements."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D and Calcium Not Recommended for Certain Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The government is telling healthy postmenopausal women to skip daily doses of vitamin D and calcium.

According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, these supplements taken in low doses to prevent bone fractures won't do older women any good if they're already in good health.

In fact, the task force says 400 international units or less of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams or less of calcium "could increase the likelihood of kidney stones," a painful condition affecting the urinary tract.

However, low doses of vitamin D and calcium are still okay for people with osteoporosis, a bone disease leading to increased risk of fracture, or vitamin D deficiencies.

The task force did not have any conclusive evidence of what benefits or disadvantages these supplements might have for men and premenopausal women.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D Deficiency May be Tied to Lower Birth Weight, Study Says

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study finds that a deficiency in vitamin D may be tied to lower birth weight, Health Day reports.

Researchers examined vitamin D levels in blood samples collected from over 2,000 women in the United States who gave birth to full-term babies. The samples were originally taken between 1959 and 1965, but were well preserved. The study found that women with vitamin D levels less than .015 parts per million during their first 26 weeks of pregnancy had babies who weighed an average of about 1.6 ounces less than normal, Health Day says.

Also, women who were deficient in vitamin D during their first 14 weeks of pregnancy were twice as likely to have babies whose weight was in the lowest 10 percent, which raises the risk of dying in the first month or developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes later in life. Study authors said a vitamin D deficiency could also cause a decrease in the hormones required to produce the glucose and fatty acids that provide the fetus with energy, according to Health Day.

The study was published in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Researchers Tell Kids to Drink Their Milk -- But How Much?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(TORONTO) -- Pediatricians often recommend milk to help kids grow strong bones. We tell our children to drink milk, but how much "moo" juice is too much of a good thing?
A Canadian study of more than 1,300 children helps with the answer.
Published in the journal Pediatrics, the research found that two cups of milk a day -- or 500 milliliters -- are enough to maintain healthy vitamin D and iron for most children. Children with darker skin pigmentation may need three to four cups of milk a day to maintain the same amount of vitamin D in the winter months unless they take a vitamin D supplement.
"We started to research the question because professional recommendations around milk intake were unclear and doctors and parents were seeking answers," said the study's lead author, Dr. Jonathon Maguire, according to the Toronto Sun.

The authors say about 70 percent of American children drink cow's milk every day.
The right balance is important because, while too little milk can mean not enough vitamin D, too much milk can lower a child's level of iron.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D and Calcium Taken Together Offer No Help for Dementia

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The latest research into one possible treatment for dementia in women proved to be somewhat disappointing, but experts think it still might hold some promise.
Past research has suggested that vitamin D might protect against memory loss and decline in the aging brain. A study in The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society looked at 2,000 women whose average age was 71. In all, they took 400 international units of vitamin D and 1,000 milligrams of calcium together every day for an average of eight years.
But the women developed cognitive impairments -- everything from memory trouble to serious dementia -- at the same rate as a comparison group given placebo pills.  They found that vitamin D and calcium supplements taken together in low doses offered no protection against dementia.
Still, the authors say they learned how calcium and vitamin D might have conflicting effects. That points researchers toward a more definitive study, testing higher levels of vitamin D alone, with higher hopes it will do some good.

"I think the definitive study will just look at the effects of vitamin D," said lead study author Rebecca Rossom, from HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research, a nonprofit arm of a health maintenance organization based in Minnesota.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Higher Doses of Vitamin D Reduce Hip Fracture Risk for Elderly Women

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(ZURICH) -- Not all studies have drawn positive conclusions about vitamin D. Now a new study published in a prestigious medical journal suggests it can have a powerful positive impact on the elderly, who account for about 75 percent of hip fractures.
Called the "sunshine vitamin" because it's manufactured in our bodies naturally with exposure to sunlight, vitamin D has been found to have a protective effect on women's bones. Swiss researchers found that women 65 and older who took at least eight international units (IU) of D per day, reduced their risk of hip fractures by 30 percent.

But, reports HealthDay, the higher the dosage -- the better, according to study author Dr. Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from the Center on Aging and Mobility at the University of Zurich.

"[D]ose matters, as we saw this benefit only at the highest intake level of greater than 800 IU per day, and no dose below 792 IU per day reduced fracture risk," she said.

The authors concluded their study, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, that if everyone took the recommended daily dose, the impact would be enormous since hip fractures are the most severe and frequent fractures among the elderly and often lead to disability and death.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Could Vitamin D Be Linked with Lower Stress Fracture Risk in Girls?

FogStock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- We hear a lot about the benefits of vitamin D -- the so-called "sunshine vitamin." Now research has found that vitamin D appears to increase bone strength in teenage girls.
A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine followed more than 6,700 girls aged 9 to 15 from 1996 to 2001.
After reporting on their dietary intake, including dairy, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin supplements, researchers at the Children's Hospital Boston found that stress fractures developed in 3.9 percent of the girls studied, with 90 percent of them among those who participated in high-impact activities such as organized sports.
The girls who had recorded the highest intake of vitamin D from food and supplements had a 50-percent lower risk of stress fractures than those getting the lowest amount.
The study authors say their findings support the recent move by the Institute of Medicine to increase the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D for adolescents.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Vitamin D May Ward Off Menstrual Pains, Study Suggests

PhotoAlto/Alix Minde(NEW YORK) -- There may be some relief from the monthly period cramps that afflict almost half of all reproductive-aged women, a small trial out of Italy suggests.

Looking at 40 women -- aged 18 to 40 -- who had experienced painful menses at least four months in a row over the past six months, researchers gave half of them high-dose vitamin D, and the other half a placebo, and followed them for two months.  The vitamin D group experienced a significant decrease in their monthly period pains – quantified as 41 percent down from initially reported levels, most notable over the first month, with levels then holding steady for the second month; the latter group did not show any overall improvement.  

Also of note, none of those given vitamin D used additional pain medication, whereas 40 percent of the other group relied on Motrin-like drugs.

While this study was small and further investigation is needed, it offers some potential hope for women suffering from debilitating cramps.

Their research was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Low Vitamin D Ups Fracture Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Vitamin D is the key to having healthy bones, yet many Americans don't get as much as they need.

The consequence? Broken bones, even among the young and healthy, according to two new studies presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In one study, researchers from South Korea studied 104 postmenopausal women with wrist fractures and found that 44 percent of the women had insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels. Only 13 percent of 107 female soft tissue injuries were found to have low vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D deficiency can be devastating among younger women and men also, according to another study presented at the AAOS meeting.

Researchers at the University of Missouri studied the medical records of nearly 900 adults, some as young as 18 years old, who were admitted to a trauma center for orthopedic injuries. Researchers found that 77 percent of them had insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D. Nearly 40 percent were vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium from food, strengthening the bones. The nutrient is found naturally in fatty fish like salmon and tuna, and in small amounts in mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks. The other natural source for vitamin D is sunshine, which causes the body to make vitamin D.

Vitamin D is also added to nearly all milk sold in the U.S.

In 2010, the Institute of Medicine recommended that children and adults up to age 70 get 600 IU of vitamin D each day, and that adults over 70 should get 800 IU per day.

Getting enough of the nutrient naturally is next to impossible, according to some experts. A cup of milk only has 100 IU of vitamin D. Drink 4 a day and you still won't meet the IOMs daily requirements.

Sunlight is also insufficient for most, said Dr. Loren Wissner Green, an associate professor at New York University School of Medicine.

Experts say taking a vitamin D supplement is a good idea, especially for older women who are at greater risk for bone fractures.

Additionally, older people, those with previous bone fractures, and others who are at an increased risk of fractures, may want to consider having a doctor check their vitamin D levels.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Studies Shed More Light on Benefits of Vitamin D

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two recent studies in the Annals of Internal Medicine look at the benefits of Vitamin D supplements.
While researchers found that Vitamin D and calcium reduced the risk of fractures in older persons, Vitamin D alone was not effective.
The authors found less evidence to support taking Vitamin D supplements for cancer prevention. And though some data suggest high doses of Vitamin D can reduce the risk for total cancer, more research is needed to be sure.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many ailments, including hypertension, stroke, diabetes and heart failure. A second study reviewed research on the effects of supplemental Vitamin D on cardiovascular problems.
In that study, the results have been inconclusive or contradictory -- again calling for more study on the topic.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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