You can be low in Vitamin D even if you have plenty of sun exposure

July 04, 2007

Well known for its' bone building activity, Vitamin D is gaining prominence for its' many other benefits; it may be critical in helping prevent diabetes, a range of cancers, autoimmune disease, and even the flu. Generally we make our Vitamin D through a reaction between the suns radiation and the cholesterol in our skin. This was thought to create enough Vitamin D to keep us healthy. Yet research showes that people with darker skin, anyone during the winter, sunscreen wearers, the sick, the elderly, and others may have dramatically inadequate stores of this essential vitamin.

In this new study, scientists with the University of Wisconsin Osteoporosis Clinical Research Program enrolled 93 adults living in Honolulu, Hawaii and compared their level of sun exposure with their Vitamin D level. Their average sun exposure was 28.9 hours per week yet their average level of active Vitamin D was close to being low. Low Vitamin D status was defined as having a blood level of active Vitamin D below 30 ng/ml; the average in this study was 31.6 ng/ml, being far below what new research is indicating as a cancer preventive level.This research indicates that the variable resposnes from persom-to-person to sun exposure even with adequate ultraviolet radiation activity causes some to have low Vitamin D status. The study is published in the June 2007 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinolgy and Metabolism.

Having a low level of Vitamin D increases your risk of developing diabetes, and supplementing with Calcium and Vitamin D may decrease your risk

Scientists at the US Department of Agriculture Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts and the Harvard School of Public Health performed a meta-analysis on existing studies including this year evaluating a connection between Vitamin D and Calcium levels and the risk of diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Observational studies showed a relatively consistent association between low Vitamin D status and prevalent diabetes with a 64% increased risk of developing diabetes for those with the highest vs. the lowest blood levels of active Vitamin D. In those with the lowest intake of Calcium or dairy there is a 29% increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome with the highest vs. the highest intake.

In clinical trials where subjects were supplemented with Calcium and Vitamin D, the combination may decrease the risk of developing diabetes in high risk populations. In short a lack of Calcium and Vitamin D increase the risk of developing diabetes and supplementing with these nutrients may improve glucose metabolism and decrease the risk of diabetes. The study is publsihed in the June 2007 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinolgy and Metabolism.