Disease Proof

Can Your Bones Last a Lifetime: Benefits of Vitamin D

From the March 2005 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:

Because vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and stimulates osteoblastic (bone-building cells) activity, vitamin D has been generating lots of interest lately in the medical literature. Borderline low levels of vitamin D have been found to be very common in the United States and Canada.

Medical studies show taking vitamin D is more effective than taking extra calcium for osteoporosis. In a recent 3-year prospective multi-center study, 622 women with osteoporosis, 50 to 79 years of age, who had one or more compression fractures of their spine, were randomly assigned to receive 25 mcg of calcitriol (900 IU vitamin D) or 1000 mg calcium for three years. In the third year, the vitamin D-supplemented group had 9 fractures per 100 women, and the calcium-treated group had 31.5.The difference in effect also was evident after two years.

The take-home message here is that curtailing habits that cause calcium wasting in the urine and monitoring vitamin D for adequate intake are more important than taking extra calcium. Attention to vitamin D status is most critical in those not getting regular sunshine. The most effective prescription for preventing and reversing osteoporosis involves diet-style modifications, extra vitamin D intake, and an effective exercise program.

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Kirsten - April 18, 2007 8:55 AM

Getting outside more seems like an important factor. From an evolutionary perspective, I think we were all designed to spend large amounts of time outside, at least in dappled shade, working and just living.

I realize that we're seeing huge rates of melanoma, but I've read that part of that has to do with the lack of the right protective oils in our bodies (tied to poor Omega 6/3 ratios?) as well as the (improper) use of sunscreen AND too much washing--we rob our bodies of what oils on our skin we may have to process excess UV radiation.

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