We always knew that Vitamin D was important. We also learned as recently as a couple of years ago that the majority of the population was Vitamin D deficient. According to a study published in the May issues of the journal of Epidemiology as well as appearing in the NY Times — low levels of Vitamin D may increase your risk for uterine fibroids.
Lack of Vitamin D has been linked to such things as Osteoporosis and Osteopenia, Infertility and PMS, Chronic fatigue syndrome, 17 varieties of Cancer (including breast, prostate and colon), Heart disease, Obesity, Autoimmune diseases, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia – just to name a few.
What we have learned is that adequate levels of Vitamin D have been associated with reduced risk for various diseases, but this is the first time Vitamin D levels that are not adequate are linked to benign tumors of the uterus that can cause both pain and bleeding.
The study targeted 620 African American women and 410 Caucasian women, ages 35-39. Their Vitamin D levels were determined by bloods tests. They also completed a health questionnaire. In this study 2/3 of the women had fibroid tumors. What was interesting about this study, was that within the entire group only 10% of the African American women and 50% of the Caucasian women had Vitamin D levels above 20 nonograms per milliliter, which is considered a normal Vitamin D level.
The study also went on to say that “After adjusting for age, physical activity, sun exposure and other variables, they found that having a vitamin D level above 20 decreased the risk for fibroids by 32 percent, and that each increase of 10 nanograms per milliliter in vitamin D was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of having a fibroid tumor.”
Now before we all run out and begin stocking up on Vitamin D Donna Day Baird who was the lead author on this study cautions that this is only one study and that more studies need to be conducted. Still, she said, “sufficient levels of vitamin D are probably good for several health outcomes, and fibroids may be one of them.”
REI’s all over the globe attempt to achieve levels of 30 nanograms per milliliter and generally recommend supplements to women who do not have this level on their initial screening.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:
The best way to discover vitamin D deficiency is to take a blood test that will measure the level of the vitamin in your blood – just ask your care provider it’s a simple blood test.
The frustration with being Vitamin D deficient is that there’s no clear pattern of symptoms. In fact many people remain asymptomatic despite low levels. But here are the more common symptoms.
• General muscle pain and weakness
• Muscle cramps
• Joint pain
• Chronic pain
• Weight gain
• High blood pressure
• Restless sleep
• Poor concentration
• Bladder problems
• Constipation or diarrhea
Some great explanations about how Vitamin D can be beneficial to our bodies.
The flu – In a study published in the Cambridge Journals, it was discovered that vitamin D deficiency predisposes children to respiratory diseases. An intervention study conducted showed that vitamin D reduces the incidence of respiratory infections in children.
Muscle weakness – According to Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert, muscle weakness is usually caused by vitamin D deficiency because for skeletal muscles to function properly, their vitamin D receptors must be sustained by vitamin D.
Psoriasis – In a study published by the UK PubMed central, it was discovered that synthetic vitamin D analogues were found useful in the treatment of psoriasis.
Chronic kidney disease – According to Holick, patients with advanced chronic kidney diseases (especially those requiring dialysis) are unable to make the active form of vitamin D. These individuals need to take 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 or one of its calcemic analogues to support calcium metabolism, decrease the risk of renal bone disease and regulate parathyroid hormone levels.
Diabetes – A study conducted in Finland was featured in Lancet.com in which 10,366 children were given 2000 international units (IU)/day of vitamin D3 per day during their first day of life. The children were monitored for 31 years and in all of them, the risk of type 1 diabetes was reduced by 80 percent.
Asthma – Vitamin D may reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Research conducted in Japan revealed that asthma attacks in school children were significantly lowered in those subjects taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 1200 IU a day.
Periodontal disease – Those suffering from this chronic gum disease that causes swelling and bleeding gums should consider raising their vitamin D levels to produce defensins and cathelicidin, compounds that contain microbial properties and lower the number of bacteria in the mouth.
Cardiovascular disease – Congestive heart failure is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Research conducted at Harvard University among nurses found that women with low vitamin levels (17 ng/m [42 nmol/L]) had a 67 percent increased risk of developing hypertension.
Schizophrenia and Depression – These disorders have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. In a study, it was discovered that maintaining sufficient vitamin D among pregnant women and during childhood was necessary to satisfy the vitamin D receptor in the brain integral for brain development and mental function maintenance in later life.
Cancer – Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington DC discovered a connection between high vitamin D intake and reduced risk of breast cancer. These findings, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research, revealed that increased doses of the sunshine vitamin were linked to a 75 percent reduction in overall cancer growth and 50 percent reduction in tumor cases among those already having the disease. Of interest was the capacity of vitamin supplementation to help control the development and growth of breast cancer especially estrogen-sensitive breast cancer.