Do You Have This Deficiency?

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Last resortMore and more evidence seems to arrive in medical journals telling us about the importance of vitamin D. While you likely know that you need to get enough vitamin D to ensure that your bones are healthy, there are an increasing number of other health benefits being associated with the vitamin as well.

New reports have suggested that vitamin D plays a significant role in protecting lung function. Not only can smokers benefit from more vitamin D but asthma sufferers can too. Researchers from the University of Nebraska analyzed data from almost 500 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They discovered that there was a definite link between lower levels of vitamin D and the severity of COPD symptoms.

As for asthma, researchers from McGill University in Montreal have determined that vitamin D helps to prevent asthma symptoms from worsening and that a deficiency of the vitamin could lead to the onset of severe asthma.

Vitamin D has also been implicated in three other important areas: the fight against cancer, helping to boost immune function, and in protecting your muscles from fatigue after a physical workout.

Now, in the latest news on vitamin D, researchers think that a deficiency of the vitamin ups the risk for mortality in those hospitalized with a serious health condition.

A study was performed at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where researchers looked at the relationship between pre-hospital vitamin D concentrations and mortality after hospitalization. The large scale study included 23,603 patients who had their vitamin D levels measured before hospitalization during the years 1993 to 2010. The research team checked to see how many of those patients died after 30 days of being released from hospital. They also looked for the presence of bloodstream infections acquired after the patients’ hospital stays.

Patients with lower blood levels of vitamin D (less than 15 ng/mL or between 15 and 30 ng/mL) had a greater risk of dying 30 days after their hospital admission than patients with serum levels of vitamin D higher than 30 ng/mL. The researchers noted one other health benefit of higher vitamin D levels—patients above the 30 ng/mL mark also had a lower risk for getting bloodstream infections once released from the hospital.

It’s not difficult to boost vitamin D levels in the summer. Sun exposure can help to keep vitamin D levels from dipping too low. However, there are some factors you should be aware of when it comes to vitamin D absorbed from the sun. The time of year can influence how much vitamin D is available in sunlight. For many in the U.S. and Canada, sun exposure isn’t strong enough for about half the year to meet your daily requirements for vitamin D. Cloud cover can also prevent vitamin D from being absorbed, as can the time of day (sunlight travels at a greater angle early in the morning and when setting at dusk).

Smog is yet one more factor that can partially block sunlight. Even applying sunscreen can affect how well you absorb the sun’s radiation.

It will most likely be necessary to supplement with vitamin D at certain times of the year depending on your geographical location.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Berg, I., et al., “Vitamin D, vitamin D binding protein, lung function and structure in COPD,” Respir Med. June 25, 2013.
Poon, A.H., et al., “Vitamin D deficiency and severe asthma,” Pharmacol Ther. June 18, 2013. pii: S0163-7258(13)00132-0.
Lange, N., et al., “Pre-hospital vitamin D concentration, mortality, and bloodstream infection in a hospitalized patient population,” Am J Med. July 2013; 126(7): 640.