ObesityWomen with low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy, have a higher likelihood of having children more prone to excess body fat at age 6 years. Furthermore, children ages 6 to 18 years who are overweight are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. Adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with less weight gain among women age 65 and older.
Links to DiabetesLow levels of vitamin D have been linked to several types of diabetes. A study conducted in Australia found that children with type1 diabetes are more likely to also have low levels of vitamin D. They also found active-duty military personnel in the United States, with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to develop insulin-requiring diabetes within 1 year. Women who have low vitamin D levels during their first trimester of pregnancy were more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
Vitamin D and BoneVitamin D has long been known to play an important role in bone health, and several recent studies provided additional confirmation. One study suggested that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk for forearm fracture in children, and another showed that girls who consumed the most vitamin D had the lowest risk for stress fractures. It’s not just children who are at risk: 44% of postmenopausal women treated for distal radius fracture were vitamin D deficient.
Neurologic FunctionVitamin D has been tied to several higher neurologic functions. Studies have linked autism to low vitamin D during pregnancy, a connection that was strengthened by a map showing that autism rates were highest among children living in states with the lowest levels of vit. D. People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have low levels of vit. D, and better cognitive test results were linked to higher levels of vit. D. Low vitamin D levels in pregnant women have been associated with poor language development in their offspring.
Stroke and Multiple SclerosisData from the Honolulu Heart Program show that people with low dietary vitamin D were about 25% more likely to sustain thromboembolic stroke, but not hemorrhagic stroke, during the next 34 years. In the last year, there’s been a flurry of studies linking vitamin D to multiple sclerosis (MS), and all of them tie low levels of vitamin D to the disease. Another study linked low levels of vitamin D plus exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus to the development of MS.
PainAbout half of women prescribed aromatase inhibitors for metastatic breast cancer suffer intense musculoskeletal pain, but using high-dose vitamin D2, appear to help. A single oral dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D appears to help with dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
Gastrointestinal DisordersWomen with sufficient vitamin D are 62% less likely to develop Crohn’s disease over 22 years than those with vitamin D insufficiency.
But Wait, There’s MoreWithin the past year, studies have shown that healthier levels of vitamin D may reduce risk for dental caries. Low vitamin D may contribute, or even be a factor in depression. Vitamin D deficiency increases risk for perforated eardrums, and food allergies.
So don’t forget to take your vitamin D each and every day, and have your levels checked 1-2 times a year!