Lack of Sunny Holidays in Northern Latitudes Linked to Low Vitamin D

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ms Emily Weiss PhD student
Centre for Population Health Sciences
The University of Edinburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Vitamin D deficiency, a marker of low ultraviolet (UV) exposure, is common in Scotland; both have been shown to work independently as risk factors for multiple sclerosis (MS). Orkney, situated to the north of mainland Scotland has a very high prevalence of MS. We therefore wanted to understand how vitamin D in Orkney compares to mainland Scotland’s vitamin D, and also what may be determining vitamin D levels in Orkney.
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Muscle Enhanced, Fat Reduced When Infants Have Normal Vitamin D Stores

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hope Weiler, RD (CDO), PhD Associate Professor Canada Research Chair tier I, Nutrition and Health Across the Lifespan, Director, Mary Emily Clinical Nutrition Research Unit School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition McGill University Macdonald Campus Ste Anne de Bellevue, QC

Dr. Hope Weiler

Hope Weiler, RD (CDO), PhD
Associate Professor
Canada Research Chair tier I, Nutrition and Health Across the Lifespan,
Director, Mary Emily Clinical Nutrition Research Unit
School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition
McGill University Macdonald Campus
Ste Anne de Bellevue, QC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Weiler: Vitamin D is a fat soluble with important functions in growth during infancy and childhood, especially for the skeleton. It is for this reason that many policy recommendations for infants stipulate that newborn infants receive a supplemental form of vitamin D. In Canada, it is recommended by Health Canada (www.hc-sc.gc.ca) that newborn infants receive 400 international units of vitamin D from birth to a year of age or until that amount can be obtained from diet. In Canada, older children and adults can make vitamin D when their skin is exposed to direct sunlight between April and October; however, parents are advised to avoid placing their infants in direct sunlight. Thus supplemental vitamin D is particularly important in infancy.

Often newborn infants begin life with low body stores of vitamin D (Weiler and colleagues, CMAJ 2005). This prompted Dr. Weiler’s research group at McGill University to test how much vitamin D is needed by newborn infants in Canada. They learned that 400 to 1200 international units of vitamin D given daily to healthy term born infants is enough to support healthy bone growth and mineral deposition (Gallo and colleagues, JAMA 2013). In conducting tests of bone health, they also learned that the amount of muscle was enhanced and fat reduced when infants had very good vitamin D stores. Vitamin D stores are reflected in the blood. Blood concentrations of a vitamin D form called 25-hydroxyvitamin D are used to establish if stores are in a healthy range. In the recent study published in Pediatric Obesity by Hazell et al, values above 75 nanomoles per litre of blood plasma were linked to lower amounts of body fat (~450 g) at 3 years of age. The 450 g difference is almost a pound of fat. This is a meaningful amount to young children where typical amounts of body fat are 10-times that equating to 4.5 kg (almost 10 pounds). Thus the lower fat is still in a healthy range.

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Majority of Black Teens are Vitamin D Deficient Which May Have Epigenetic Consequences

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Haidong Zhu, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Pediatrics Georgia Prevention Institute Medical College of Georgia Augusta University

Dr. Haidong Zhu

Haidong Zhu, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Georgia Prevention Institute
Medical College of Georgia
Augusta University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zhu: Vitamin D plays an important role in a wide range of body functions beyond bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency is common among darker skin individuals, particularly African-Americans, which could contribute to health disparity. We want to understand underlying molecular mechanism (i.e. global DNA methylation) for how vitamin D deficiency causes cancer, cardiovascular disease and impaired immune function. DNA methylation, a chemical modification to our genome, is one of the ways that our body adapts to the environment. Low rate of global DNA methylation is a common event in cancer, which may lead to disturbances in the genome, make the genome more vulnerable to environmental damage and increase disease risk.

Our study shows that majority of black teens are vitamin D deficient and have a lower rate of global DNA methylation than white teens. We further demonstrate that vitamin D3 supplementation for 16 weeks increases global DNA methylation in black teens and young adults. Our study provides an important piece of evidence that vitamin D plays a role in epigenetic regulation in humans, which could be an underlying mechanism for vitamin D-deficiency related disease risk and health disparity.

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Higher Vitamin D Levels Associated With Lower Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sharon L. McDonnell MPH
GrassrootsHealth
Encinitas, California

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Higher vitamin D levels in the blood have been associated with a lower risk of multiple cancer types including colorectal and breast. Using data from two study cohorts of women aged 55 years and older (N=2,304), we investigated the association between serum 25(OH)D concentration, the marker of vitamin D in the blood, and risk of all non-skin cancers combined across a broad range of 25(OH)D concentrations. We found that women with 25(OH)D concentrations ≥40 ng/ml had a 67% lower risk of cancer compared to women with concentrations <20 ng/ml. We also found that the greatest decrease in risk occurred between ~10-40 ng/ml. These findings suggest that increasing 25(OH)D concentrations to a minimum of 40 ng/ml could substantially reduce  cancer incidence and associated mortality in the population.

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High-dose vitamin D May Improve Heart Function in Some CHF Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Klaus Witte MD, FRCP, FESC, FACC Associate Professor and Consultant Cardiologist Lead Clinician for Cardiology University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Dr. Klaus Witte

Dr Klaus Witte MD, FRCP, FESC, FACC
Associate Professor and Consultant Cardiologist
Lead Clinician for Cardiology
University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Witte: Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a condition of heart muscle weakness that despite optimal treatment often leaves patients with ongoing symptoms of breathlessness and fatigue.

Vitamin D has a large number of effects in the body beyond its known effects on the skeleton.

Patients with  Chronic heart failure are frequently deficient in vitamin D, but until now there were no data demonstrating a benefit from supplements.

We conducted a randomised, placebo-controlled study of a non-calcium-based vitamin D supplement providing 4000IU or 100mcg per day of vitamin D3 (VINDICATE).

Endpoints included 6-minute walk distance and cardiac function. We saw no improvement in 6 minute walk distance but a large and significant improvement in heart function (left ventricular ejection fraction) and heart size (left ventricular dimensions and volumes) after on year. We saw no significant adverse effects and the tablets were well tolerated.

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Deeply Tanned Skin May Prevent Optimal Vitamin D Formation

MedicalResearch.com-Interview with:

Francisco Bandeira,M.D.,PhD.,F.A.C.E. Professor of Medicine and Chairman, Division of Endocrinology, Agamenon Magalhães Hospital, University of Pernambuco Medical School

Dr. Francisco Bandeira

Francisco Bandeira,M.D.,PhD.,F.A.C.E.
Professor of Medicine and Chairman, Division of Endocrinology, Agamenon Magalhães Hospital,
University of Pernambuco Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bandeira: We had the opportunity to evaluate a population with very high rates of sun exposure in daily life at a tropical region with abundant sunlight (UV index of 5 at 7 am and more than 10 at midday). We found that more exposure to the sun, less vitamin D deficiency, so nature “works”. But more sun exposure led to more tanned skins and despite these very high rates of sun exposure, most people were not able to achieve optimal blood levels of 25OHD (> 30 ng/ml).

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Vitamin D Supplements Did Not Slow Knee Cartilage Loss in Osteoarthritis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Changhai Ding, MBBS, MMED, MD Australian Research Council Future Fellow Associate Director (International), Menzies Institute for Medical Research Professor, University of Tasmania, Australia Honorary Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

Dr. Changhai Ding

Changhai Ding, MBBS, MMED, MD
Australian Research Council Future Fellow
Associate Director (International), Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Professor,  University of Tasmania, Australia
Honorary Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Ding: Vitamin D can reduce bone turnover and cartilage degradation, thus potentially preventing the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis. Observational studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation is associated with benefits for knee osteoarthritis, but current evidence from clinical trials is contradictory.

We  conducted a randomised clinical trial in Hobart, Tasmania and Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. We randomly assigned 413 patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis and low 25-hydroxyvitamin D to receive monthly treatment with oral vitamin D3 (50,000 IU; n = 209) or an identical placebo (n = 204) for 2 years.

Of 413 enrolled participants (average age, 63 years; 50 percent women), 340 (82 percent) completed the study. Vitamin D supplementation significantly increased blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels over 2 years compared with placebo treatment; however, vitamin D supplementation, compared with placebo, did not result in significant differences in change in MRI-measured tibial cartilage volume or a measure of knee pain over 2 years. There were also no significant differences in change of tibiofemoral cartilage defects or change in tibiofemoral bone marrow lesions.

Post-hoc analyses indicated that vitamin D supplementation might improve knee physical function and reduce another measure of knee pain and increases in bone marrow lesion.

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Vitamin D Deficiency in Pregnancy May Raise Risk of Multiple Sclerosis In Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kassandra Munger, Sc.D.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Munger: Previous work has shown that adequate vitamin D nutrition is associated with a lower risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).  Results from studies examining whether adequate vitamin D exposure during early-life are also associated with a lower risk of MS have been mixed.  One study reported that daughters of mothers with high dietary vitamin D intake during their pregnancy had a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, while two studies measuring 25-hydroxy vitamin D either in a blood sample from the pregnant mother or from a sample taken from the neonate, were not associated with future multiple sclerosis risk in the child.

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Trial Tests Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation During Pregnancy On Wheezing in Children

More on Asthma on MedicalResearch.com

Professor of Pediatrics Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Prof. Bisgaard

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hans Bisgaard, MD, DMSc
Professor of Pediatrics
The Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Copenhagen
Head of the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood
University  of Copenhagen and Naestved Hospital

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bisgaard: Vitamin D deficiency has become a common health problem in westernized societies, possibly caused by a more sedentary indoor lifestyle and decreased intake of vitamin D containing foods. Vitamin D possesses a range of immune regulatory properties, and it has been speculated that vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy may affect fetal immune programming and contribute to asthma pathogenesis. Asthma often begins in early childhood and is the most common chronic childhood disorder. Observational studies have suggested that increased dietary vitamin D intake during pregnancy may protect against wheezing in the offspring, but the preventive effect of vitamin D supplementation to pregnant women is unknown. In our double-blind, single-center, randomized clinical trial conducted within the Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood 2010 cohort we supplemented 2800 IU/d of vitamin D3 during the third trimester of pregnancy compared with 400 IU/d in the control group. Although the maternal supplementation did not result in a statistically significant reduction of risk of persistent wheeze in the offspring through age 3 years, the interpretation of the study is limited by a wide confidence interval that includes a clinically important protective effect.

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Does Prenatal Supplementation With Vitamin D Affect Childhood Asthma?

Augusto A. Litonjua, MD, MPH Associate Professor Channing Division of Network Medicine and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115 USA

Dr. Augusto Litonjua

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Augusto A. Litonjua, MD, MPH
Associate Professor
Channing Division of Network Medicine
and Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115 USA 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Vitamin D deficiency has been hypothesized to contribute to the asthma and allergy epidemic.  Vitamin D has been shown to affect lung development in utero. However, observational studies have shown mixed results when studying asthma development in young children. Since most asthma cases start out as wheezing illnesses in very young children, we hypothesized that vitamin D supplementation in pregnant mothers might prevent the development of asthma and wheezing illnesses in their offspring.  We randomly assigned 881 pregnant women at 10 to 18 weeks’ gestation and at high risk of having children with asthma to receive daily 4,000 IU vitamin D plus a prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU vitamin D (n = 440), or a placebo plus a prenatal vitamin containing 400 IU vitamin D (n = 436). Eight hundred ten infants were born during the study period, and 806 were included in the analyses for the 3-year outcomes. The children born to mothers in the 4,400 IU group had a 20% reduction in the development of asthma or recurrent wheeze compared to the children born to mothers in the 400 IU group (24% vs 30%, respectively; an absolute reduction of 6%).  However, this reduction did not reach statistical significance (p=0.051).

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Vitamin D Status May Influence Bariatric Surgery Outcomes

Leigh A. Peterson, PhD, MHS Post-doctoral fellow Department of Surgery - Bayview Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Leigh Peterson

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leigh A. Peterson, PhD, MHS

Post-doctoral fellow
Department of Surgery – Bayview
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Peterson: From our previous study published in Obesity Surgery earlier this year, we knew that vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency was very common in our bariatric surgery candidates (71.4% < 20 ng/ml and 92.9% < 30 ng/ml). We wanted to explore the effect of this deficiency on adverse outcomes after bariatric surgery such as wound healing, infection, and extended hospital stay.

We turned to the Nationwide Inpatient Sample to answer this question, as it would contain enough surgeries to detect changes in even less frequent outcomes such as wound infection. But blood concentration of vitamin D is not available, so we used a traditional method to estimate group vitamin D status with season and geography. Vitamin D comes from the sun, so people have the most vitamin D in summer and in sunnier places.

In 932,091 records of bariatric surgeries from 2001 to 2010, we saw that more adverse outcomes occurred during winter—January to March, the time of lowest vitamin D status—compared to summer or even spring or fall. Additionally, most adverse outcomes occurred in northern latitudes (≥ 37°N) compared to sunnier southern latitudes.

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Vitamin D Level Likely Has No Impact on Sleep Apnea

Ken M. Kunisaki , MD Associate Professor of Medicine Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine University of Minnesota

Dr. Kunisaki

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ken M. Kunisaki , MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
University of Minnesota 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kunisaki : Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a very common condition that is the result of recurrent complete or partial closure of the upper airway during sleep.  OSA leads to poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness.

A previous study suggested that OSA is more common in the winter, but there were no vitamin D measurements in that study, which seemed potentially relevant since many people have lower vitamin D levels in the winter, due to less sunlight exposure in the winter.  Several studies have also shown that people with low vitamin D levels have worse muscle function.  Since muscles are partially responsible for keeping the upper airway open during sleep, we wondered whether people with low vitamin D levels might have weaker upper airway muscles and therefore be more prone to having OSA.

In our study, we found that indeed, persons with OSA had lower vitamin D levels than those without OSA, but this was explained by obesity.  In other words, the low vitamin D levels seen in OSA patients is likely just a marker of obesity and not likely related to the presence or absence of OSA.
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Vitamin D and May Improve Exercise Performance

Dr Emad Al-Dujaili Reader in Biochemistry and Nutrition, Queen Margaret University Department of Health Science Queen Margaret UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Emad Al-Dujaili
Reader in Biochemistry and Nutrition,
Queen Margaret University
Department of Health Science
Queen Margaret University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Al-Dujaili: Recent studies have implicated vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for Cardiovascular disease and its deficiency is a potential biological predictor of increased rates of CVD. We have done 2 earlier studies investigating the effects of Vitamin D intake on Blood pressure and the stress hormone level cortisol and found that people taking the supplement of Vitamin D had reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure compared to those who took the placebo. Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with hypertension, obesity, diabetes mellitus and oxidative stress and reduced exercise performance. For instance, the Framingham offspring study proved that low levels of vitamin D are independently related to Cardiovascular disease incidence. In this placebo-controlled study, We have observed that people given 50ug of Vitamin D daily for 2 weeks showed a significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure, reduced urinary free cortisol (the hormone that produces stress and high blood pressure if its levels are high. Moreover, the distance cycled in 20 minutes significantly increased by 30% with slightly less efforts compared with that before Vitamin D supplement.

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Calcium Supplements Linked To Increased Risk of Kidney Stones

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christopher Loftus M.D. candidate
Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Most kidney stones are made, at least partially, of calcium composite. In a prospective study of nurses in the post-menopausal age, it was found that diets that contained high amounts of calcium were beneficial in preventing kidney stones in this population. In the gut, calcium can bind to oxalate which prevents it from being absorbed into the body and decreases the concentration of calcium in the urine. However there has been debate as to whether supplemental calcium (calcium pills) has the same beneficial effects as calcium in the diet. Supplemental calcium enters the gut in large quantities all at once so it may enter the blood stream in higher concentrations over smaller amounts of time. By the same token, vitamin D plays a role in the management and balance of calcium in the body and could potentially have an effect on stone formation as well.  It has also been debated whether vitamin D supplementation has major effect on patients who are known to be stone formers.  So we reviewed CT scans of patients and 24 hour urine collections (both male and female of adult age) who were known to have kidney stones and measured the growth of stones over a period of time.

Our main findings were that supplementary calcium increased the rate of stone formation in these patients. We also found that vitamin D had a protective effect and patients taking only vitamin D had a slower rate of stone progression.

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Low Vitamin D Associated With Accelerated Cognitive Decline

Joshua W. Miller, PhD Professor and Chair Dept. of Nutritional Sciences Rutgers The State University of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08901

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joshua W. Miller, PhD

Professor and Chair Dept. of Nutritional Sciences Rutgers
The State University of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08901 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, there has been a growing scientific literature on the associations between low vitamin D status in older adults and risk of Alzheimer’s disease/dementia, cognitive impairment and decline, and brain atrophy.  The vast majority of these studies have been conducted in predominantly white populations.  The relatively unique aspect of our study was that over half of the cohort consisted of African Americans and Hispanics.  What we found in our cohort (mean age ~75y, n=382 at baseline) was that participants with vitamin D deficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D <12 ng/ml) or vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D between 12 ng/ml and <20 ng/ml) on average experienced faster rates of cognitive decline in episodic memory and executive function than participants with adequate vitamin D status.  Importantly, the association between vitamin D status and the rate of decline in cognitive function was independent of race/ethnicity.  However, the prevalence of low vitamin D status in the study participants was significantly higher in the African American and Hispanic participants compared with the White participants.  This is most likely due to the fact that darker skin pigmentation reduces the ability of sunlight to induce vitamin D synthesis in the skin.  It may also reflect differences in dietary intake of vitamin D and supplement use between the different race/ethnicity groups, though we did not assess this in our study.  Thus, though the rate of cognitive decline in African Americans and Hispanics does not seem to be more or less affected by low vitamin D status than in Whites, because African Americans and Hispanics have a higher prevalence of low vitamin D status, as subpopulations they may be more prone to rapid cognitive decline in old age.  Further studies addressing this possibility are needed.

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Vitamin D Did Not Improve Bone or Muscle Health in Post-Menopausal Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Karen E. Hansen, M.D., M.S.
Associate Professor of Medicine
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Madison, WI 53705-2281

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Hansen: The USPTF says to older community dwelling adults, “don’t bother taking vitamin D”, the Endocrine Society says “take 2,000-4,000 IU daily” and the Institute of Medicine gave an RDA of 600-800 IU daily. The Endocrine Society argues that optimal vitamin D levels are 30 ng/mL and higher, while the Institute of Medicine concludes that 20 ng/mL and higher indicates optimal vitamin D status. The disagreement between experts prompted my study.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Hansen: Among postmenopausal women whose vitamin D level was ~21 ng/mL at baseline, there was no benefit of high-dose or low-dose vitamin D, compared to placebo, on spine/hip/total body bone mineral density, muscle fitness by 5 sit to stand test or Timed Up and Go, or falls. We did see a small 1% increase in calcium absorption in the high-dose vitamin arm, but this small increase did not translate into clinically meaningful changes in bone density or muscle tests.

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Many US Infants Found To Be Vitamin D Deficient

Katherine Ahrens Ph.D. MPH National Center for Health Statistics Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Hyattsville, MDMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Katherine Ahrens Ph.D. MPH

National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Hyattsville, MD

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Ahrens: In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised their recommended minimum daily intake of vitamin D for infants and children to 400 IU.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Ahrens: Approximately one quarter of US infants aged 0 to 11 months met the 2008 AAP vitamin D recommendations on a given day in 2009 to 2012. Fewer than 1 in 5 breastfed infants met the vitamin D recommendations compared to nearly 1 in 3 non-breastfed infants. Continue reading

Exercise May Be More Effective Than Vitamin D In Reducing Falls

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kirsti Uusi-Rasi, PhD, Adjunct Professor
Senior Researcher
UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research
Tampere Finland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kirsti Uusi-Rasi: Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in
older adults, head injuries and fractures being the most severe
consequences. Therefore, falls prevention is important when trying to
prevent injuries. There is strong high-quality evidence from previous
studies that exercise that includes strength and balance training can
reduce the risk of falling in older adults. However, there are also
studies that have reported no benefit in reducing the actual incidence
of falls. Effects of vitamin D have also been studied widely, and
vitamin D is known to be vital for bone metabolism and health.
However, results regarding effects on falls and fractures are
inconsistent. Furthermore, persons with low vitamin D levels (serum
25OHD) have been associated with lower physical performance and
greater decline in physical functioning, but clinical trials exploring
the role of vitamin D in reducing falls and fractures and in improving
physical functioning are inconclusive. Because there is hardly any
evidence about exercise and vitamin D together, we investigated the
separate and combined effects of multimodal exercise training and
vitamin D supplementation in reducing falls and injurious falls among
older women at risk for falling.

We assigned 409 participants randomly to one of four groups with:
1)vitamin D 800 IU/day and exercise
2) placebo and exercise
3) vitamin D 800 IU/day without exercise
4) placebo without exercise.

Exercise consisted of strength, balance, mobility and agility group training.

At the end of two years, exercise seemed to be more effective in
reducing injurious falls in this age group, with or without vitamin D.
Exercise also improved physical functioning (strength, balance and
mobility). In general, the training program was well tolerated with no
severe adverse effects or injuries. Vitamin D helped maintain femoral
neck BMD and increased trabecular bone density at the tibia. Our study
also suggests that the current vitamin D recommendation (800 IU/d for
older people) is adequate.

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Women With Low Vitamin D More Likely To Report Depression

David C.R. Kerr Ph.D. Sch of Psychological Science Associate Professor College of Liberal Arts Oregon State UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David C.R. Kerr Ph.D.
Sch of Psychological Science Associate Professor
College of Liberal Arts Oregon State University

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kerr: Many people assume we already know that low levels of vitamin D contribute to depression, especially in winter. However, studies have not found consistent evidence for this, and most studies have focused on people in late life or with serious medical conditions. We focused on apparently healthy young women living in the Pacific Northwest. We found that women with low blood levels of vitamin D were more likely to report clinically significant depressive symptoms. This link existed even when we considered other factors that might explain both problems, such as diet, obesity, and time of year. Continue reading

Genetic Vitamin D Metabolism Linked To Fatal Prostate Cancer

Irene Shui ScD MPH Staff Scientist Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, WA 98109MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Irene Shui ScD MPH
Staff Scientist
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, WA 98109

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Shui: Given the high prevalence of prostate cancer and the wide international variation in vitamin D status, identifying causal links between the two could have a large public health impact. Evidence from experimental animal and cell line studies support anti-cancer properties of vitamin D. However, the results from human epidemiologic studies for prostate cancer risk have been equivocal. Few studies have addressed risk of fatal prostate cancer prostate cancer. One recent study reported a 57% reduction in the risk of fatal prostate cancer in men with the highest vs. lowest vitamin D levels.  The purpose of this study was to follow-up on these findings in a large cohort consortium with over 500 cases of fatal prostate cancer.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Shui: We did not find consistent evidence among 5 cohort studies to support an increased or decreased risk of dying from prostate cancer based on a man’s levels of circulating vitamin D. However, we observed some evidence that common genetic variation in genes involved in vitamin D metabolism and signaling may modify this association. Patients should discuss their vitamin D status with their health care provider as it is important for bone health, immune function, and may prevent other diseases.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Shui: Studies of Vitamin D should consider if variation in genes involved in vitamin D metabolism and signaling could modify disease associations.

Citation:

Shui, I. M., Mondul, A. M., Lindström, S., Tsilidis, K. K., Travis, R. C., Gerke, T., Albanes, D., Mucci, L. A., Giovannucci, E., Kraft, P. and for the Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium Group (2015), Circulating vitamin D, vitamin D–related genetic variation, and risk of fatal prostate cancer in the National Cancer Institute Breast and Prostate Cancer Cohort Consortium. Cancer. doi: 10.1002/cncr.29320

MedicalResearch.com Interview with, Irene Shui ScD MPH (2015). Genetic Vitamin D Metabolism Linked To Fatal Prostate Cancer 

Low Vitamin D in Childhood Linked To Early Atherosclerosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Markus Juonala, MD, PhD
University of Turku Finland

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Earlier studies suggest that low vitamin D levels may be associated with cardiovascular disease. We wanted to study whether low childhood vitamin levels predict carotid intima-media thickness, a marker of early atherosclerosis, in adulthood. We observed that those children with vitamin D in lowest quartile had increased risk for high carotid intima-media thickness.

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Genetically Low Vitamin D Levels Linked To Increased Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Børge G Nordestgaard, MD, DMSc

Professor, University of Copenhagen
Chief Physician, Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen University Hospital
Dept. Clinical Biochemistry Herlev Ringvej Herlev, Denmark

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Nordestgaard: Many people take vitamin D supplements with the hope of reducing morbidity and mortality. However, it is unclear whether low vitamin D per se is a direct cause of increased mortality or whether it is simply a marker of poor lifestyle in general and/or underlying hidden disease. Our study involved 95,766 white participants of Danish descent from three cohorts in Copenhagen, who had genetic variants known to affect vitamin D levels. We found that genetically low vitamin D levels were associated with increased all-cause mortality, cancer mortality, and other mortality, but not with cardiovascular mortality. This is important as such genetics studies cannot be explained by poor lifestyle or hidden disease, as neither can change your genes.

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Modified-Release Calcifediol Corrects Vitamin D Deficiency, Secondary Hyperparathyroidism in Chronic Kidney Disease

Stuart M. Sprague, DO, FACP, FASN, FNKF Chairperson, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension NorthShore University HealthSystem Evanston, Illinois 60201MedicalResearch.com Interview with:with
Stuart M. Sprague, DO, FACP, FASN, FNKF
Chairperson, Division of Nephrology and Hypertension
NorthShore University HealthSystem
Evanston, Illinois 60201

Medical Research: Congratulations, Dr. Sprague, on your presentation of another successful phase 3 clinical trial program at the recently concluded Annual Meeting of the American Society of Nephrology. Your presentation unveiled a new vitamin D repletion therapy that effectively controls secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease. Can you give us a little background for the presented studies?

Dr. Sprague: Thanks! Vitamin D insufficiency is a big problem in chronic kidney decease (or CKD): it afflicts more than 20 million adults in the United States who have stages 1 through 4 CKD. Its prevalence increases with CKD severity and it drives secondary hyperparathyroidism. The studies which I presented evaluated a novel therapy to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) arising from vitamin D insufficiency in patients diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 CKD. This new therapy is a modified-release formulation of calcifediol.

Medical Research: Can you tell us more about vitamin D insufficiency?

Dr. Sprague: Vitamin D insufficiency is a condition in which the body has low vitamin D stores. It is characterized by inadequate blood levels of the vitamin D, known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D. An estimated 70-90% of CKD patients have vitamin D insufficiency, which can lead to SHPT and resultant debilitating bone diseases. Vitamin D insufficiency has also been associated with increased mortality in CKD.
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Vitamin D Levels Lower In Children Who Drink Non-Cow’s Milk

Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC Pediatrician and Scientist  Department of Pediatrics Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St. Michael’s Hospital University of TorontoMedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC
Pediatrician and Scientist  Department of Pediatrics
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital University of Toronto

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Maguire: One of the main health benefits of cow’s milk is vitamin D.  We were interested to know if non-cow’s milk supports children’s vitamin D blood levels as well as cow’s milk.
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Effect of High-Dose Vitamin D Supplementation In Critically Ill Patients

Karin Amrein, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Medical University of Graz 8036 Graz, AustriaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Karin Amrein, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor Department of Internal Medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Medical University of Graz
8036 Graz, Austria

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Amrein: This is the first large clinical trial on vitamin D in critical care. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, a population of mixed adult ICU patients with vitamin D deficiency (defined as 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] level ≤ 20ng/ml) was assigned to receive either vitamin D3 or placebo. We used a high loading dose of vitamin D3 followed by monthly maintenance doses of 90,000 IU for a total of 5 months. Because of a substantially increased risk for skeletal complications below 12ng/ml of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, we used this threshold for a predefined subgroup analysis.

Overall, high-dose vitamin D3 compared with placebo did not reduce hospital length of stay (primary endpoint), intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay, hospital mortality, or 6 month-mortality

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