Outlive your neighbor; take Vitamin D

September 18, 2007

This is a very large analysis of 18 existing studies on Vitamin D that included over 57,000 adults in the USA, Europe, and the U.K. that had to include mortality rates. Most of these adults were frail, older, and low in Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is too common and the current recommended intake of Vitamin D is too low according to many top experts. The participants were typically assigned to take Vitamin D supplements or inactive placebo. The dosage ranged from 300 to 2000 IU daily and the participants were followed for 5.7 years on average. Even in these frail-older adults there was a 7% decrease risk of dying. The study is published in the September 10th, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.; in some of these studies Vitamin D2 was used, and Vitamin D2 does not convert to active vitamin D as well as Vitamin D3 does. Research is indicating that for ultimate protection Vitamin D intake may need to be as high as 2000 IU of D3 daily. Ecological and observational studies suggest that low vitamin D status is associated with higher mortality from life threatening conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes; conditions that account for 60% to 70% of total deaths in high-income countries. In the last several decades many studies have documented nontraditional roles for vitamin D besides its well recognized role in bone strength. These studies show a role for Vitamin D in preventing cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance, infection, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, pregnancy complications and stillbirths, and gum disease. Additionally Vitamin D is consistently tied to a decreased risk of falling in the elderly, improved muscle strength and leg strength.