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Healthy Eating

Entries in vitamin D deficiency (3)


More Vitamin D In Your Diet Shown To Alleviate Asthma Symptoms, Say Multiple Studies

National Jewish Health, a nonprofit hospital specializing in respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, has now completed several studies showing patients with low vitamin D as predisposed to developing asthma during infancy and childhood, and low vitamin D contributing to increased severity of asthma attacks.

In one study, NJH found that low vitamin D levels are associated with worse asthma symptoms and the requirement for more medication. Among the findings were that low levels of vitamin D were “associated with reduced lung function and less response to steroid medications.”

The researchers evaluated 54 adults with persistent asthma and “found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with better lung function. In cells taken from the patients, higher levels of vitamin D were also associated with increased responsiveness to the steroid dexamethasone.”

In another NJH study, researchers found similar results for the effectiveness of corticosteroids. The researchers performed a series of laboratory experiments which “indicated vitamin D enhances the actions of corticosteroids.

“They cultured some immune cells with the corticosteroid dexamethasone alone and others with vitamin D first, then dexamethasone. The vitamin D significantly increased the effectiveness of dexamethasone. In one experiment vitamin D and dexamethasone together were more effective than 10 times as much dexamethasone alone.”

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Vitamin D Deficiency Linked With Growth of Uterine Fibroids, Cancers, and Neural Diseases

We all know that vitamin D is added to milk because it helps the body absorb and metabolize calcium for strong healthy bones, but a new study published this year from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also found some important information specifically for women.

NIH researchers found that, “Women who had sufficient amounts of vitamin D were 32 percent less likely to develop fibroids than women with insufficient vitamin D.”

Fibroids are non-cancerous tumors of the uterus. Fibroids often result in pain and bleeding in premenopausal women and are the leading cause of hysterectomy in the United States, according to the NIH.

Donna Baird, a researcher with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (part of NIH), led the study of 1,036 women, ages 35-49, living in the Washington, D.C. area from 1996 to 1999, which completed questionnaires on sun exposure, as well as received ultrasounds to check for fibroids, and gave blood samples to check vitamin D levels.

The body can make vitamin D when skin is exposed to the sun or get it from food and supplements. The study found that, “Those who reported spending more than one hour outside per day also had a decreased risk of fibroids.”

Baird said that, “It would be wonderful if something as simple and inexpensive as getting some natural sunshine on their skin each day could help women reduce their chances of getting fibroids, but though the findings are consistent with laboratory studies, more studies in women are needed.”

Baird is currently conducting a study in Detroit to see if the findings from the Washington, D.C. study can be replicated.

Besides sunlight, among the best sources of vitamin D come from foods. The NIH finds that:

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.
  • Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks provide small amounts.
  • Mushrooms provide some vitamin D. In some mushrooms that are newly available in stores, the vitamin D content is being boosted by exposing these mushrooms to ultraviolet light.
  • Almost all of the U.S. milk supply is fortified with 400 IU vitamin D per quart, but foods made from milk like cheese and ice cream are usually not fortified.
  • Vitamin D is also added to many breakfast cereals and to some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, soy beverages. Check the labels.

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Increasing Evidence That Adding More Vitamin D To Your Diet Reduces Heart Disease

We’ve known for a long time that vitamin D aides in the development of strong bones, but increasing research is now also showing that it’s also a vital factor in lowing heart disease and high blood pressure.

Image courtesy of healthmango.com.

Some of the best natural sources of vitamin D are found in fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Smaller amounts of natural vitamin D are found in foods like beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. It’s a little less known that mushrooms also contain some natural vitamin D.

Vitamin D is so important that other foods are fortified with it. These include some breakfast cereals, orange juices, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

People also naturally make vitamin D when their skin is exposed to the sun, but today’s largely indoor lifestyles are making it harder and harder for people to get the necessary benefits of sun exposure, especially during the wintertime, according to research from the Medical College of Georgia (MCG).

We use to only associate vitamin D deficiency with rickets (a softening and weakening of the bones) and osteoporosis (the thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time).

New research is now also showing a correlation between low levels of vitamin D in a body and the presence of heart disease and high blood pressure.

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