Low Vitamin D May Be Linked To Fertility And Miscarriage Risk-Especially After Prior Pregnancy Loss

Vitamin D and Miscarriages-FertilityResearchers have found that women who have sufficient levels of Vitamin D may be more likely to become pregnant and have a live birth when compared to women whose Vitamin D levels are considered to be insufficient.

Data collected as part of the Effects of Aspirin in Gestation and Reproduction (EAGer) study was analyzed.  This study looked at women who had a history of pregnancy loss to find if an 81 mg dose of aspirin (low-dose) taken daily could prevent a miscarriage. Over 1200 women participated in this study.  Blood levels of Vitamin D were tested both before pregnancy and at the eighth week of pregnancy.  Vitamin D levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter were considered to be insufficient for research.

Women whose preconception Vitamin D concentrations were considered to be sufficient were 10% more likely to achieve pregnancy and 15% more likely to have a live birth when compared with the women’s whose preconception Vitamin D concentrations were considered to be insufficient.  In the women who become pregnant researchers determined that for each 10 nanogram per milliliter increase in Vitamin D concentrations prior to conception there was a 12% reduction in the risk of pregnancy loss.

Because the result of these findings were determined in a secondary analysis, proving any cause and effect between insufficient Vitamin D levels and Miscarriage risks solely based on these results are impossible, however further studies are now necessary according to the researchers.

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Fighting Malnutrition:High-Dose Vitamin D Aids Weight Gain and Brain Development

Vitamin D and MalnutritionAccording to a new study supplementing with a high-dose of Vitamin D may improve language and motor skills development as well as improve weight gain in malnourished children.

185 severely malnourished children between the ages of 6 and 58 months provided the data for this trial.  All the participants were given high energy food sachets and were randomized to either receive a Vitamin D supplement or a placebo.  The study lasted 8 weeks.

The group who were receiving the supplement of Vitamin D experienced a significant improvement in weight (.26 kg compared to the control group).  Additionally Vitamin D seemed to considerably reduce the proportion of children experiencing delayed global development, delayed language development and delayed motor development, which were defined by reaching milestones like learning to talk or walk.

Throughout the world may children live with severe malnutrition which increases their risks of suffering from both physical and mental health conditions.  Currently only modest amounts of Vitamin D are included in the high energy food sachets, which are the typical protocol for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition.

Further studies are planned.

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Nutrient Deficiencies Linked to Mental Ill Health

Nutrient Deficiencies and Mental Health IssuesAccording to a new review, patients with Schizophrenia, a long-term mental disorder, have low levels of Vitamins C, E, D, B12 and Folate.  The studies looked at did not determine a definitive cause and effect relationship between Schizophrenia and nutritional deficiencies.

28 study articles were reviewed for this meta-analysis which involved over 2600 participants, 1221 with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and 1,391 controls.  Significant reduction in Vitamin C, Vitamin D and folate were seen in the participants who had experienced FEP when compared to the control group.  These nutrient deficiencies existed in participants with long-standing psychosis as well as at the onset of first-episode psychosis.  Researchers also found that the difference in Vitamin D levels between the control group and the participants experiencing FEP was the most pronounced of all the nutrients.  In one study researchers found the differences in participant’s folate levels were caused from genetic differences in metabolizing folate and not from dietary influences.  Additionally large deficits of Vitamin C in FEP were noted in 2 studies both with small sample sizes.  It was noted that this Vitamin C deficit may have been due to low vegetable and fruit intake in the group with the Vitamin C deficit.  One RCT (randomized control trial) in participants undergoing their first antipsychotic treatment who supplemented with 500 mg of Vitamin C daily showed reductions in psychiatric symptoms.

The review showed that nutritional deficiencies caused from insufficient absorption or intake of nutrients is seen as potential risk factors for psychiatric conditions.  Vitamin B supplementation may reduce symptoms of schizophrenia significantly and reverse some neurological deficits associated with the disorder.  Additionally the antioxidants, Vitamin C and E are lower in long-term schizophrenia which might contribute to the increased levels of oxidative stress seen in this group of people.

Future research is warranted.

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Could Low Vitamin D Put Postmenopausal Women At a Higher Risk of Metabolic Syndrome?

According to new data the onset of Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) in postmenopausal women may be closely linked to Vitamin D deficiency.  Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) was seen in 58% of postmenopausal women with either deficient or insufficient levels of Vitamin D when compared with a 40% occurrence in women with adequate Vitamin D levels.

Over 450 women participated in this study.  Participants ages were between 45 and 75 years and all participants had stopped menstruating for at the minimum of 1 year prior to the beginning of the study.  Additionally none of the participants had experienced any type of Cardiovascular Disease at the baseline.  35% of the participants were Vitamin D deficient and 33% of the participants had insufficient levels of Vitamin D.  A Vitamin D deficiency is usually defined as blood levels below 50 nanomoles/liter (nmol/L) and an insufficient Vitamin D level is defined as a blood level between 50 – 75 nmol/L.

Blood levels of the participants Vitamin D levels were measured and compared to the analyzed Metabolic Syndrome parameters of the participants.  Researchers found the lower the blood level of Vitamin D the greater the occurrence of Metabolic Syndrome.  Additionally researchers found an inverse relationship between blood triglycerides and HDL levels, 2 individual components of Metabolic Syndrome and Vitamin D levels.

Metabolic Syndrome involves a group of conditions that increase a person’s risk for stroke, heart disease and diabetes.    For the purposes of the study, participants meeting 3 of more of the criteria listed below were considered to have Metabolic Syndrome:

Waist circumference above 88 cm

High Blood Pressure (above 130/85 mmHG)

High Blood Sugar (fasting glucose levels over 100 mg/dl)

Abnormal triglycerides (above 150 mg/dl)

HDL below 50 mg/dl

Further studies are needed.

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Study Links Vitamin D Status to Cancer Risk

Vitamin D and CancerA new cohort study finds Vitamin D levels may have an effect on a person’s risk of developing cancer.  An inverse association between blood levels of Vitamin D and the risk of developing liver cancer and total cancer.

Data from over 33,500 adults between the ages of 40 and 69 who participated in the Japan Public Health Centre-based Prospective (JPHC) study was used for this study.  Participants were observed over a period of 16 years.  During this study period over 3,300 new cases of cancer were reported.  A sub grouping of over 4,000 participants was also studied.

Participants who were in the 3 highest groups of serum blood levels of Vitamin D showed a reduction of between 20% – 25% in the risk for developing all types of cancers and a reduction of between 30% and 55% in the risk for developing liver cancer.   It was observed that after having reached a certain level of serum Vitamin D further risk reductions were not seen in the total cancer risk reductions; this is called a ceiling effect.

A significant inverse association between serum Vitamin D levels and pre-menopausal breast cancer were also seen, however the same association was not seen for prostate or lung cancers.

Further studies are needed to clarify the optimal amounts of serum Vitamin D levels needed for cancer prevention and to clarify the dose-response pattern.

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Keep Up Your Magnesium Intake to Make Vitamin D Effective

Magnesium and Vitamin DNew research shows people with insufficient Magnesium intake may not be able to use the Vitamin D they are supplementing.  A study recently published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, showed that without enough Magnesium, Vitamin D could remain inactive and store in the body.  Individuals who have low Magnesium levels may be more at risk for developing conditions like bone disorders and cardiovascular disease which could be related to low Vitamin D levels.

Researchers explained Magnesium is the important element needed to allow the transformation of Vitamin D into a form usable by the body.  In a two stage process which occurs in the kidneys and liver Vitamin D in converted into its biologically active form 1,25[OH]2 D

(1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D).  This stage of the two stage process is dependent on Magnesium.  Also the Vitamin D binding protein activity which is responsible for transporting Vitamin D into the blood (the second stage of the two stage process) is dependent on Magnesium.  Researchers concluded that there is a synergy between Vitamin D and Magnesium.  In the study participants with optimum Magnesium levels required less supplemental Vitamin D to achieve acceptable Vitamin D levels.  Additionally adequate Vitamin D levels promoted effective Magnesium absorption.

Magnesium is involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body.  In the US around 75% of the population is believed to have insufficient intakes of Magnesium.  Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral found in the body after Calcium, Potassium and Sodium.  60% of the Magnesium in the body is found in bones and teeth.  Magnesium deficiency often is not detected because serum Magnesium may be a poor indicator of Magnesium status since the body maintains an internal equilibrium of serum Magnesium at the expense of bone and tissue levels.  In other words circulating levels of Magnesium could remain in the normal range even though the Magnesium levels in soft tissue, bone and teeth are depleted.

Even foods know to be high in Magnesium like almonds, beans, broccoli, brown rice, oatmeal, etc, have shown decreases in Magnesium levels of between 25% – 80%. Magnesium levels have decreased in our food sources due to increased usage of fertilizers, pesticides and even the refining processes used to process oils and grains.

Further studies are needed to determine appropriate doses of Magnesium supplementation needed to reduce Vitamin D associated disorders.

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Vitamin D Plus Olive Oil Could Aid Muscle Repair

Vitamin D and Muscle RepairA new study using rats has found Vitamin D supplementation improved the muscle fiber thickness in rats who were sedentary and were being fed either a high fat extra-virgin olive oil (HFEVO) diet or a regular diet.

28 rats participated in this 10 week trial.  The rats were feed either a regular diet, a high fat extra-virgin olive oil diet (HFEVO) or a high-fat butter diet (HFB) and either received 4000 IU/kg of Vitamin D or no Vitamin D supplement.  Skeletal muscle fiber thickness was assessed at the end of the study period.  Additionally biomarkers of inflammation and muscle synthesis were also assessed.

Improvements in muscle fiber thickness were greater in the group on the HFEVO diet compared to the group being fed a regular diet.  However, rats given Vitamin D supplementation saw significantly more increases in the thickness of their muscle fibers than rats not given any Vitamin D.  Additionally researchers found rats fed a high-fat butter (HFB) diet who did not receive a Vitamin D supplement actually had a reduction in muscle fiber thickness and significantly higher amounts of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1B), an inflammatory molecule.  These rats also showed a dramatic reduction in their insulin growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which has been a factor in reductions in muscle protein.  Vitamin D however, seemed to prevent this muscle damage in the rats fed a HFB diet.

The loss of skeletal muscle mass, Sarcopenia, is commonly found in individuals as they age.  Prior studies show Sarcopenia could be associated with obesity and a deficiency in Vitamin D has been linked to Sarcopenia.

Further studies should be done based on the results of these findings.

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