Benefits of Vitamin D: ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?
Vitamin D offers several health advantages. Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency increases the risk of musculoskeletal disorders. This includes osteoporosis, a higher risk of fractures, a higher chance of falling, and a reduction in muscular function.
A substantial number of nursing home patients suffer from osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by reduced bone mass and a high risk of fracture. Osteoporosis affects ten million people in the United States, whereas osteopenia affects 34 million. In a nursing home, it is believed that 70 to 85 percent of residents have osteoporosis.
Inadequate calcium consumption is linked to osteoporosis, although vitamin D aids calcium absorption. Vitamin D insufficiency for a long time raises the risk of osteoporosis2. Vitamin D may help prevent osteoporosis in non-ambulatory elderly persons, those using chronic steroids, and postmenopausal women.
Supplementing with vitamin D has the potential to improve bone density. Vitamin D supplementation of 50,000 international units twice a week for five weeks increased the density of the lumbar spine and femoral neck bone in individuals who were vitamin D deficient, according to one research.
In institutionalized older persons, vitamin D and calcium combined minimize fractures, whereas vitamin D alone is ineffective in lowering the incidence of falls and fractures. Low vitamin D levels in those over 65 put them at risk for hip fractures and a loss of muscular mass and strength.
Vitamin D may help to lower the risk of falling. It may be able to do this through enhancing muscular function. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated to the worst muscle function, whereas greater levels have been connected to improved muscular performance. Those with a low baseline level of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration (between 10–20 ng/ml) are most likely to benefit from vitamin D supplementation in terms of muscle strength.
The risk of falling is lowered when vitamin D supplementation is taken at levels of 700 to 1000 international units per day. The risk of falls was substantially enhanced when 500,000 units of cholecalciferol were administered once a year.
It has been shown that there is a relationship between vitamin D and cancer. Vitamin D may aid in the prevention of cancers of the colon, breast, and prostate. In animals, a deficit of the vitamin D receptor is connected to precancerous lesions of the gut and breast.
Vitamin D deficiency has been related to a variety of malignancies. Those with low vitamin D levels have a higher risk of colorectal cancer. According to one study, persons who eat 1000 international units of vitamin D per day had a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Another study found a link between vitamin D intake and the risk of colorectal cancer. Despite the favorable findings on vitamin D, research is mixed, and the National Cancer Institute makes no recommendations for or against using vitamin D supplements to reduce the risk of colorectal or other cancers.
Some studies demonstrate a link between blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration and a lower risk of breast cancer, but the results aren’t statistically significant. To identify the function of vitamin D in breast cancer risk, further study is required.
Some data suggests that vitamin D may be hazardous. Vitamin D does not seem to reduce the incidence of prostate cancer, according to one large prospective research, and greater circulating vitamin D levels may be linked to a higher risk of aggressive illness. According to other study, persons with the greatest levels of vitamin D may have a higher risk of pancreatic cancer.
Despite some indications that vitamin D may lower the incidence of some cancers, current data does not support the use of high doses of vitamin D in cancer prevention. According to a big study including over 16,000 participants, overall cancer mortality is unrelated to vitamin D level at the outset. Overall, data does not support vitamin D’s involvement in cancer prevention. To identify the specific relationship between cancer and vitamin D, further study is required.
Immune system (Immune system)
The immune system is influenced by vitamin D. In animals, vitamin D may lessen the risk of autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to diabetes mellitus type 1, multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Vitamin D supplementation throughout childhood lowers the chance of developing type 1 diabetes. According to one research, persons with a blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration of less than 20 ng/mL had a twofold greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis in the future. Only animal, in vitro, and epidemiological research have shown a relationship between diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Randomized controlled trials must be conducted before a clear conclusion may be made.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a decreased risk of Crohn’s disease. In animals, poor vitamin D regulation is linked to the development of autoimmune processes (including inflammatory bowel disease). Vitamin D supplementation may help to alleviate these symptoms.
Vitamin D may be beneficial in the fight against bacterial and viral illnesses. Tuberculosis is connected to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D insufficiency may be more likely among TB patients. Vitamin D may have a role in TB therapy, but additional study is required before this conclusion can be made.
Vitamin D levels may have a protective impact against viral infections of the respiratory system, although the link isn’t well established. Vitamin D level has not been linked to the prevention of viral respiratory infections in many investigations. Vitamin D supplementation may lower the incidence of viral upper respiratory tract infections and TB, according to a more recent study.
The Heart and Vitamin D
Vitamin D regulates several genes in the cardiovascular system. Heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, and heart failure have all been related to vitamin D insufficiency. There are few investigations on the relationship between vitamin D and cardiovascular disease. According to observational studies, there is a relationship between vitamin D level and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D supplementation’s function in cardiovascular disease has to be investigated further.
Vitamin D has a role in regulating the renin-angiotensin system. The serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and incident hypertension have an inverse association. To establish a causal association between vitamin D levels and blood pressure, further study is required.
Five out of seven studies found an inverse link between blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and cardiovascular disease in a review analysis. Coronary heart disease is more common in those with low blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels than in people with greater levels. Vitamin D supplementation had no impact on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and no benefit was seen when blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations were increased from 23 ng/mL to above 40 ng/mL.
Other Diseases and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is associated to diabetes. The relationship between vitamin D and type 1 diabetes was previously examined. Type 2 diabetes is linked to low vitamin D levels. Vitamin D supplementation has been linked to a decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes. Despite these associations, interventional trials on vitamin D supplementation have not shown that it lowers the risk of diabetes.
Because vitamin D is necessary for brain growth, it might be connected to mental illness. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels have been shown to be low in people with Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Low vitamin D levels are not the cause of these illnesses, according to these research.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of mortality. Even though there is a link between vitamin D insufficiency and all-cause mortality, it is unclear if this higher risk of death is due to vitamin D deficiency or just poor health. Some research imply that having a higher vitamin D level reduces the risk of death in cancer patients, whereas others found no link between cancer death rates and blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration.
Higher vitamin D levels have been linked to lower all-cause mortality in a recent study, although no link has been found between vitamin D levels and stroke or ischemic heart disease. Low levels of blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration increase the risk of mortality in those with severe chronic renal failure, and vitamin D therapy increases survival.