Team McCallum

R&D for Lifetime of Life

US epidemic re vitamin D?

According to a current news release by McGill University Health Centre that is hitting the headlines “There’s an epidemic in progress, and it has nothing to do with the flu. A ground-breaking study published in the March 2010 Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found an astonishing 59% of study subjects had too little vitamin D in their blood.”

The journal report is by Dr Richard Kremer, of McGill University, and Dr Vicente Gilsanz, of the University of Southern California.

Our research on vitamin D effects and levels turned up alarming stories of vitamin D deficiency, with a jump from 55% deficient around 1990 to 77% deficient a decade later. And figures solely for non-white Americans are much, much worse.

Major vitamin D sources are sunlight, oily fish, fish oil and fortified milk and dairy.

What the March 2010 journal article by Kremer and Gilsanz actually looked at and found was that young adults with vitamin D deficiency have more fat content inside their muscle. The article states that it has not found any cause-and-effect explanation. Other studies have found vitamin D deficiency is associated with excess fat stored in ‘standard’ fat locations.

Kremer and Gilsanz did another article in January 2009 looking at the same young adults. Again the 59% deficient figure is noted, but the study aim was to find if the link between excess weight and vitamin D deficiency existed in young people, as it does in older people. It confirmed that it did.

It also found that the young adults were shorter than controls with sufficient vitamin D. But it found vitamin D deficiency was not affecting bone density in the young, as it does in older people.

This epidemic of vitamin D deficient US citizens seems odd, given that the original vitamin D deficiency problems was rickets – soft, weak and thin bones, solved in the main by fortifying milk with vitamin D. Why don’t those young adults have rickets?

Different health organisations have different ideas about what the ‘correct’ level of vitamin D should be. On Institute of Health levels, the number of US citizens deficient in vitamin D drops to 10%, with the Institute expected to revise its guidelines in May 2010.

And there is considerable debate about whether the ‘correct’ level for the white population is actually too high and health harming in the non-white population. And more debate over whether different measuring methods mean that increase in vitamin D deficiency is actually smaller than it looks.

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March 6, 2010 - Posted by | Child Health, Health, Richard Kremer, Rickets, Vicente Gilsanz, Vitamin D

2 Comments »

  1. There is much evidence to suggest that the “insufficiency” found in these young women — and other groups receiving plenty of daily sunlight exposure — may be caused by the unneeded vitamins A and D added to their milk, taken as supplements, or both. The non-fat forms of A and D are not the same as the vitamins obtained from natural foods, or the vitamin D from sun exposure. They can actually cause the problems that these vitamins are supposed to prevent. The researchers need to go much deeper into these matters before drawing any conclusions or issuing any recommendations.

    Comment by Thomas Anderson | March 7, 2010 | Reply

  2. Vitamin D deficiencies are very common among adults in comparison to children. Why does your Vitamin D level decrease in the first place? This happens as a result of many circumstances come up with. One major reason is because adolescents neglect the intake of diet that is full of Vitamin D. When their levels drop down, the absorption of the Vitamin D by the intestines can also be decreased. The other problems accompanied in addition to this are the reduction in the capability from the kidney to activate the pro-vitamin and secondly, the power of your skin to produce vitamin d is reduced by 4 times. These symptoms are multiplied once the person’s contact with sunlight is low.

    Comment by vitamin d | December 6, 2010 | Reply


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