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.



Vitamin D3 Helps Women Build Muscle After Menopause

Significant increases in muscle strength and reductions in body muscle mass losses in women, even 12 years after menopause, were seen in a recent study.

A double blind, placebo controlled study lasting over 9 months found a deficiency in Vitamin D was very common in postmenopausal women throughout the world.  These Vitamin D deficiencies created muscle weakness and a greater tendency for falls that could cause harm. Researchers estimated muscle mass using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and by using handgrip strength tests and chair rising tests.

Women who received the Vitamin D supplements showed a 25.3% increase in muscle strength.  Women who received the placebo lost an average of 6.8% of muscle mass and also were 2 times more likely to fall.

Researchers concluded Vitamin D supplementation alone provided “significant protection against the occurrence of sarcopenia, which is a degenerative loss of skeletal muscle”.


Vitamin D Supplementation Or The Sun, Which Is More Effective At Raising Vitamin D Levels?

Vitamin D vs the SunA new study has found that daily supplementation with Vitamin D is more effective than sun exposure on a daily basis for raising pregnant women’s Vitamin D levels.

87 pregnant women with Vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml participated in this study.  The study lasted 10 weeks.  Half of the participants received 4,000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily.  The rest of the participants were told to expose at least 30% of their skin to the sun for 30 minutes, between the 10 AM and 4 PM hours, using no sunscreen. All of the participants were 14-18 weeks into their pregnancies, had 2 or 3 different skin types and worked indoors.

Researchers found that there were no significant differences in the participant’s baseline Vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D levels increased significantly in both groups.  At the end of the 10 week trial period the group of women who had supplemented the Vitamin D had a significantly higher Vitamin D level when compared to the sun exposed group of women.  Researchers concluded that Vitamin D supplementation was the preferred means of increasing Vitamin D levels in pregnant women with a Vitamin D deficiency.


Could Vitamin D Help Women Undergoing Fertility Treatment?

Vitamin D and FertilityA new meta-analysis and review appearing in Human Reproduction found higher Vitamin D levels were associated with better birth rates in women receiving fertility treatment.

11 studies with over 2,700 women undergoing fertility treatment, frozen embryo transfer, in vitro fertilization (IVF), and/or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were reviewed.  Participants Vitamin D status was measured by means of blood tests.  75 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) was considered to be a sufficient Vitamin D status while 50 nmol/L was considered to be deficient. Vitamin D status between those 2 defined limits was considered as insufficient.

Results showed a high amount of Vitamin D deficiency among the study participants with only 26% of women participating in these studies having sufficient serum Vitamin D levels. Additionally 35% of participants had deficient levels of Vitamin D and 45% had insufficient Vitamin D levels.  Researchers also found that women with adequate Vitamin D levels had a 33% higher likelihood of having a live birth when compared with participants whose Vitamin D status was either insufficient or deficient.  Additionally other conception related outcomes were improved in participants with sufficient Vitamin D levels. Women achieving a positive pregnancy test two weeks after an embryo transfer were 34% higher in women with sufficient Vitamin D status when compared with participants with either insufficient or deficient Vitamin D levels.  In studies measuring the presence of a fetal heart beat at 5 weeks after an embryo transfer (“Clinical Pregnancy”), a 46% improvement in outcome was seen in participants considered to have sufficient Vitamin D levels.

Researchers stressed that although no causal connection could be attributed to Vitamin D and pregnancy outcomes, treating Vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency could be essential to women undergoing fertility treatment.  Additionally researchers believe a randomized controlled trial is needed to investigate the benefits of Vitamin D deficiency and fertility treatment outcomes.



Lack of Vitamin D Linked to Diabetes-Related Autoimmunity

Vitamin D and DiabetesNew research has found that making sure children have adequate Vitamin D levels throughout childhood could be important in lowering the risk of islet autoimmunity (IA) in children with a genetic risk for Type 1 Diabetes.  IA is implicated in the progression and development of Type 1 Diabetes.

Data from over 350 children who developed islet autoimmunity was compared with data from over 1,000 children who did not have this disorder.  Researchers found that in “children with a genetic variant in the Vitamin D receptor gene”, children who developed islet autoimmunity had lower Vitamin D levels in both childhood and infancy when compared to children that did not develop IA.  These findings were part of The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) study.  This multi national study searched for protective factors and triggers of Type 1 Diabetes.  Over 8,600 children with elevated Type 1 Diabetes risks participated in the full TEDDY study.  Every 3 – 6 months the study participants gave a blood sample.  The study began in infancy.

Type 1 Diabetes is considered to be a chronic autoimmune disease and is now the most common metabolic disorder in children under 10 years of age.  The incidence of Type 1 Diabetes is increasing by 3% – 5% annually.

Researchers are looking at future studies to establish a cause and effect between Vitamin D supplementation and its ability to aid in preventing Type 1 Diabetes.



Recent RCT Discovers Vitamin D Deficiency May Double the Risk of Preeclampsia in Pregnant Women

Vitamin D and Pre-EclampsiaA new study finds that gestational hypertension/preeclampsia could be reduced with Vitamin D supplementation therapy.

Over 140 women with a history of preeclampsia participated in this study.  Women with hypertension before their pregnancy, a history of pulmonary, renal or cardiac disease and Vitamin D levels above 25 ng/ml (optimal Vitamin D levels are considered to be between 40 – 60 ng/ml) were excluded from the trial.    Vitamin D levels were taken at baseline.  70 of the participants (the intervention group) received a 50,000 IU Vitamin D supplement every two weeks.  The remaining participants (the control group) received a placebo.  The study lasted until the 36th week of pregnancy.  The control group experienced a 1.94 times increase in the risk of developing preeclampsia when compared to the intervention group.

Preeclampsia is a form of high blood pressure (hypertension) related to pregnancy and is characterized by excess protein in the urine and high blood pressure.  This condition is fairly easy to treat but can be very harmful to both the child and the mother and accounts for approximately 25% of all maternal deaths.  Preeclampsia also increases the risk the baby will be born prematurely or small for their gestational age with increases the risk of infant mortality.


Vitamin D Deficiency Link with Multiple Sclerosis: More Evidence

Vitamin D and MSA new study found further evidence of the association between a higher risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and a Vitamin D deficiency.  A 43% higher risk of developing MS was seen in women with Vitamin D deficiencies compared to those women with adequate levels of Vitamin D.  Additionally a 27% increase in the risk of developing MS was seen in women with a Vitamin D insufficiency.  A deficiency of Vitamin D was defined as having serum Vitamin D levels of less than 30 nanomoles/litre (nmol/l).  A Vitamin D insufficiency was defined as having a serum Vitamin D level of between 30 to 49 nmol/l.

The findings of this prospective case-control study are in conformity with past observational research.  However without evidence from randomized controlled trials, public health experts are not willing to adopt a policy of recommending Vitamin D supplementation for MS risk reductions.  It may be difficult to design a randomized controlled trial because the timing of the Vitamin D supplementation is unclear.  Additionally the idea of giving a placebo to an individual with a Vitamin D deficiency raises ethical questions.

Researchers believe maintaining Vitamin D status over the long-term is the key to seeing the benefits of Vitamin D.  Striving to maintain a healthy Vitamin D level over the course of one’s life is going to provide the maximum health benefits. Given the low cost of Vitamin D supplementation, researchers stress there is not much to lose from suggesting Vitamin D supplementation be adopted.