Vitamin D health and illness.
Susan Mayor in the BMJ 12 JANUARY 2008 VOLUME 336 page 62
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with bone disease .
Two recent studies show that lack of the vitamin D also increases the risk of heart disease and is linked to poorer prognosis for some cancers.
A follow-up study of 1739 offspring of the original participants in the Framingham heart study, with no cardiovascular disease, showed that those with low concentrations of vitamin D (below [5 ng/ml) had twice the risk of a first cardiovascular event, such as a myocardial infarction, heart failure or stroke, over a five year period than those with higher concentrations Wang et al in Circulation. After adjusting for the usual cardiovascular risk factors, high cholesterol concentrations, diabetes, and hypertension, the risk of a cardiovascular problems remained 62% higher in people with low vitamin D concentrations
A second study by Moan et al in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America shows that warnings to avoid sunlight because of the risk of skin cancer from solar radiation may have to be balanced against the health benefits of exposure to sunlight, given that vitamin D improves outcomes in patients with major internal cancers, including prostate, breast, and colon cancers.
The study showed that vitamin D production generated by solar radiation was 3.4 times greater in countries south of the equator than in the United Kingdom and 4.8 times greater than in Scandinavia. Although the incidences of major internal cancers were higher in countries at lower latitudes, the survival prognosis improved significantly.
Wang et al Vitamin D Deficiency and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
Circulation. 2008 Jan 7;
Moan, et al 2008 Addressing the health benefits and risks, involving vitamin D or skin cancer of increased sun exposure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol 105: 668-673;
It would be an interesting thought that the absence of heart disease and cancer attributed to dietary fibre was in part a consequence of sun light and vitamin D production.
- Martin Eastwood