Vitamin D Information

Vitamin D helps prevent and treat colon and prostate cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus.

Millions of Americans may not get enough vitamin D, a nutrient important for strong bones. It is a problem made worse in the winter, when the sun’s rays are not intense enough in most of the country to help bodies make the sunshine vitamin.
Falls and fractures could be a thing of the past if everyone aged 65 and older were to take extra vitamin D, experts believe. Mounting evidence suggests the vitamin not only makes bones stronger, but also has a positive affect on the muscles. Studies have shown elderly people who take vitamin D supplements are more stable on their legs and less likely to fall and hurt themselves.

  • Falls are a major cause of disability and the leading cause of death due to injury in people aged 75 and older. More than one-third of adults ages 65 years and older fall each year (Hornbrook 1994; Hausdorff 2001).

  • Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths (Murphy 2000) and the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma (Alexander 1992).

  • In 2001, more than 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries and nearly 388,000 were hospitalized (CDC 2003). More than 11,600 people ages 65 and older died from fall-related injuries (CDC 2003). More than 60% of people who die from falls are 75 and older (Murphy 2000). Of those who fall, 20% to 30% suffer moderate to severe injuries such as hip fractures or head traumas that reduce mobility and independence, and increase the risk of premature death (Sterling 2001). Among people ages 75 years and older, those who fall are four to five times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer (Donald 1999). Falls are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (Jager 2000).

  • Intake of enough vitamin D may drastically lower the risk of developing certain cancers, suggests a study in the Feb. 2006 issue of The American Journal of Public Health.

Dr Heike Bischoff-Ferrari from Harvard University looked at the available trial data on vitamin D and falls spanning more than 30 years and involving more than 10,000 people. From this, she estimates that taking daily vitamin D supplements would reduce an elderly person's risk of falling by at least a fifth. If you realize that 30% of all people 65 years of age report at least one fall per year, that's a lot of falls.

"If you are 80, that rises to 50%. And if you are in a nursing home the rate is even higher…We know that 90% of all [hip] fractures are caused by a fall and of course falling itself causes other injuries and problems," she said. She said many elderly people who have fallen are afraid that they will fall again and can become housebound, for example.

25,000/1,000 ratio has shown the best results with vitamins A & D. Both work better when combined versus taken separately. Higher doses are not advised, as they are both fat-soluble, store in the body and could become toxic.

Some of the benefits these nutrients may provide are protecting the thin covering of mucous membranes. A & D Vitamins counteract night blindness and are important for all eye and vision problems. Promotes healing of broken bones. Aids in liver health. Helps build resistance to colds and infections, and works well with Golden Seal and Echinacea for these problems. Essential in cases of emphysema and hyperthyroidism.

Vitamin D, on its own helps build strong bones and teeth by strengthening blood plasma and building calcium in the bones. The main way the body gets Vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. As a result, deficiencies are much more common in winter. Unfortunately, the amount of sun reaching most of the US is only sufficient to generate a Vitamin D response for about 3 months of the year. One study at Massachusetts General Hospital revealed that 93% of the patients admitted to the hospital were deficient in Vitamin D.

Underlying Vitamin D deficiency in post menopausal women is associated with increased risk of hip fracture. In a group of women with osteoporosis hospitalized for hip fracture, 50% were found to have a previously undetected Vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D may help prevent and treat colon and prostate cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and lupus.

Today, as growing numbers of baby boomers celebrate their 50 + birthdays, concerns about the brittle bones and fractures associated with advanced age are focusing renewed attention on Vitamin D.

Can sunshine, now shunned by so many who fear skin cancer and wrinkles, save many more lives than it harms? Yes, says a leading expert in the field, Michael Holick, a professor of medicine, dermatology, physiology and biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Holick, who discovered the active form of Vitamin D, has pulled together an impressive body of evidence in support of his advice that no one should be, as he puts it, a "sunphobe" or, for that matter, a sun worshipper. He has concluded that relatively brief but unfettered exposure to sunshine or its equivalent several times a week can help ward off a host of debilitating and sometimes deadly diseases, including osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, and cancers of the colon, prostate and breast.

In other words, Holick says, sunshine is good medicine. But like all medicines, the right dosage is critical to reaping the rewards that sunlight has to offer without suffering unwanted consequences.

Holick's argument that controlled exposure to sunshine can have powerful health benefits stems from decades of research into the many roles played by Vitamin D in the body. The main source of this essential nutrient is neither food nor dietary supplement. It is sunshine.

Vitamin D is made in the skin when it is exposed to the ultraviolet B rays in sunshine, and those from tanning machines. But the amount of Vitamin D formed in a given period of sun exposure depends on the color of that skin - that is, how rich the skin is in melanin, which blocks UV rays. The darker a person's skin, the longer he or she has to be in sun to form a significant amount of Vitamin D.

A U.S. study showed that 42 percent of black women ages 15 to 49 were deficient in Vitamin D by the end of winter. A very dark-skinned person may need to spend up to 50 times as much time in the sun to make the same amount of Vitamin D as someone of Scandinavian descent. For the average black person, five to 10 times as much time in the sun will be needed.

Another factor is where a person lives in relation to the equator. The farther away, the less intense one's exposure to UVB rays. This is undoubtedly why people in northern latitudes evolved with light skin, to enhance their ability to absorb UVB rays, and those near the equator evolved with dark skin, to limit that absorption to a desirable amount.

For Vitamin D to perform its myriad biochemical roles in body cells, it must first be converted into an activated form, Vitamin D hormone. For years it was thought that this process took place only in the kidneys, which then sent tiny amounts of the hormone to the circulatory system for delivery to other tissues.

But studies by Holick and others have shown that the cells in many different organs do not have to rely on the meager supply of Vitamin D hormone from the kidneys. Rather, cells in other tissues, including the prostate, breast, colon and immune system, are also able to convert Vitamin D into the active hormone.

Vitamin D is critical to the formation and maintenance of normal bones. Even if people consume enough calcium, they cannot build and maintain bone mass if they are deficient in Vitamin D. One symptom of Vitamin D deficiency is pain and weakness in the muscles and bones. Based on that symptom, Holick has suggested that some disorders diagnosed as fibromyalgia may in fact be Vitamin D deficiency.

Holick noted a recent resurgence of rickets in the United States, the combined result of exclusive breast-feeding (breast milk has almost no Vitamin D) and keeping babies out of the sun or slathered with sunscreen. A sunscreen with an SPF of 8 blocks 95 percent of the skin's ability to make Vitamin D, and an SPF of 15 blocks 99 percent. In the prostate, the Vitamin D hormone has been shown to be an inhibitor of abnormal cell growth, and cells in the colon and breast have similar mechanisms for using this hormone.

A Scandinavian study linked low levels of Vitamin D in the blood to a risk of developing prostate cancer that is about 50 percent higher than it is for those with normal and high levels. And in eight years of research conducted in a Baltimore study of aging, experts found that those with low levels of circulating Vitamin D had a 50 percent greater risk of developing colon cancer than those with normal to high levels.

William Grant of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration reported that people who worked outdoors or lived in sunny climates had lower death rates from cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovary, bladder, uterus, esophagus, rectum and stomach.

The same applies to such autoimmune diseases as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in children and young adults.

How much Vitamin D is enough? Although the official recommended amount ranges from 200 international units for infants to 600 for the elderly, Holick and other experts say 1,000 units a day are needed, an amount that few people consume through foods or supplements. Sunshine must fill in the gap.

Increasingly, researchers are learning that Vitamin D is essential in maintaining health and preventing disease, not just during the crucial growing years of childhood, but throughout life. Recent studies show that Vitamin D insufficiency may even be, in one researcher's words, "an unrecognized epidemic" among both women and men who are middle aged and older. It is therefore wise to take a Vitamin D supplement from September through May each year in order to stay healthy and avoid disease and fractures.

Vitamin A is required for night vision, and for a healthy skin. It assists the immune system, and because of its antioxidant properties is great to protect against pollution and cancer formation and other diseases. It also assists your sense of taste as well as helping the digestive and urinary tract and many believe that it helps slow aging.

It is required for development and maintenance of the epithelial cells, in the mucus membranes, and your skin, and is important in the formation of bone and teeth, storage of fat and the synthesis of protein and glycogen.

A deficiency of vitamin A may lead to eye problems with dryness of the conjunctiva and cornea, dry skin and hair, night blindness as well as poor growth. Dry itchy eyes that tire easily are normally a warning of too little vitamin A. If the deficiency become severe, the cornea can ulcerate and permanent blindness can follow.

Abscesses forming in the ear, sinusitis, frequent cold and respiratory infections as well as skin disorders, such as acne, boils and a bumpy skin, as well as weight loss might be indicative of the vitamin being in short supply. Insomnia, fatigue and reproductive difficulties may also be indicative of the vitamin in short supply. Your hair and scalp can also become dry with a deficiency, especially if protein is also lacking.

Ingredients: Vitamin A, Vitamin D. The vitamin content is entirely derived from natural fish liver oil with no chemicals or additives.

FH-87-8 A & D Vitamins 1000IU 120 gel caps $11.95

We have organized Femhealth products into 18 easy to find categories: Adaptogens, Anti-Aging, Aromatherapy Blends, Brain Boosters, Chinese Formulas, Cleansing, For Women, Green Food, Herbal Formulas, Natural Medicine, Liquid Extracts, Minerals, Pain Relief, Sexual Health, Single Herbs, Sports Nutrition, Vitamins, and Weight Loss.

Next...Product>> Privacy Statement

Copyright © 1997-2006, Femhealth. All rights reserved.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Consult a health professional if you have any questions.