Higher Vitamin D Levels Linked to Lower Breast Cancer Incidence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E. Adjunct Professor Division of Epidemiology Department of Family Medicine and Public Health University of California San Diego La Jolla, California 92093-0620

Dr. Garland

Cedric F. Garland, Dr.P.H., F.A.C.E.
Adjunct Professor
Division of Epidemiology
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health
University of California San Diego
La Jolla, California 92093-0620

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

Response: Studies mapping death rates from female breast cancer in the US, the former USSR and Canada by Drs. Edward Gorham, and Frank and Cedric Garland revealed for the first time in history that death rates from breast cancer tracked latitude where people lived.

The rates were highest in the least sunny northern tier of states, lowest in the sunny southwest. This led these scientists to be the first to theorize that vitamin D prevents breast cancer” said study first author Sharon McDonnell. Continue reading

Severely Malnourished Children May Benefit From Vitamin D Supplement

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Javeria Saleem PhD

Department of Public Health, Institute of Social and Cultural Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary University of London
London, United Kingdom

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

Response: Severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition. Affected children have very low weight for their height and severe muscle wasting; they may also have swollen feet, face and limbs. Around 20 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition worldwide of whom an estimated 1.4 million live in Pakistan. The condition is a major cause of death in children under 5 in Asia and Africa. The standard treatment is to give a high-energy, micronutrient enhanced paste called ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).

Vitamin D deficiency has been reported to be a risk factor for severe wasting in children with severe acute malnutrition Ready-to-use therapeutic food contains relatively modest amounts of vitamin D. However, the effects of adding high-dose vitamin D to this standard treatment have not previously been evaluated.

We therefore did a clinical trial to assess whether high-dose vitamin D hastened recovery in 185 children aged 6-58 months who were receiving standard treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Southern Punjab, Pakistan. The 93 children in the active arm of the study received two doses of 5 mg vitamin D by mouth, while the 92 children in the control arm received placebo (a dummy medicine containing no vitamin D).

Our findings were very striking: after 2 months of treatment, the children who received high-dose vitamin D in addition to standard therapy had significantly better weight gain, and significantly better motor and language development, than those who received standard treatment alone.

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How To Prevent the Elderly From Falling?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alex Krist

Dr. Krist

Dr. Alex Krist, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Krist is is a professor of family medicine and population health at Virginia Commonwealth University and active clinician and teacher at the Fairfax Family Practice residency.

What is the background for these recommendation statements? What are the main findings?

Response: Falls are the leading cause of injuries in adults age 65 and older and can lead to serious disability and even death. Bone fractures—which may result from a fall—can also cause serious disability and death in older adults.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked into the most recent evidence on the best ways to prevent falls and fractures in older adults. We found that clinicians should recommend exercise or physical therapy to help prevent falls by older adults who live at home and are at higher risk for falling.

Additionally, we concluded that taking a low dose of vitamin D and calcium does not help prevent fractures due to osteoporosis, but we don’t know if taking a higher dose is effective or not, so we are calling for more research.

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Vitamin D and Calcium Supplements Did Not Lower Fracture Risk In Community-Dwelling Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“ZMA och D-vitamin. Intages med dubbelsidig C-brus. #placebomannen” by Robin Danehav is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Jia-Guo Zhao

Tianjin Hospital
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery
Tianjin, China

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

Response: The increased social and economic burdens for osteoporotic-related fractures worldwide make its prevention a major public health goal.

Calcium and vitamin D supplements have long been considered a basic intervention for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Survey analysis showed that 30–50% of older people take calcium or vitamin D supplements in some developed countries. Many previously published meta-analyses, from the high-ranking medical journals, concluded that calcium and vitamin D supplements reduce the incidence of fracture in older adults. And many guidelines regarding osteoporosis recommend calcium and vitamin D supplements for older people. The final aim for these supplements is to prevent the incidence of osteoporotic-related fracture in osteoporosis management.

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Vitamin D May Have a Role In Reducing Risk of Severe Asthma Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Jolliffe, PhD Centre for Primary Care and Public Health Blizard Institute Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry London

Dr. Jolliffe

David Jolliffe, PhD
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health
Blizard Institute
Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry
London

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

Response: Asthma affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is estimated to cause almost 400,000 deaths annually. Asthma deaths arise primarily during episodes of acute worsening of symptoms, known as attacks or ‘exacerbations’, which are commonly triggered by viral upper respiratory infections. Vitamin D is thought to protect against such attacks by boosting immune responses to respiratory viruses and dampening down harmful airway inflammation.

Several clinical trials have tested whether vitamin D supplementation might protect against asthma attacks, but individually their results are inconclusive. In the current study, we pooled raw data from 955 asthma patients who took part in 7 separate trials, which allowed us to answer two questions:

1, Does vitamin D protects against asthma attacks overall, when data from all trials are pooled?

2, Do people who have lower vitamin D levels to start with particularly benefit from supplementation?

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High Dose Vitamin D No Advantage In Preventing Pediatric Viral Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

Dr. Maguire

Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC
Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
Staff Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, St. Michael’s Hospital

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

Response: Vitamin D has been hypothesized as being protective of seasonal viral upper respiratory tract infections.  In this randomized clinical trial, high dose wintertime vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU/day) was compared with standard-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU/day) among 703 children.  The number of laboratory confirmed viral upper respiratory tract infections was not statistically different between groups.

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Vitamin D Supplements Will Probably Not Help Asthma or Atopic Dermatitis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brent Richards, MD, MSc</strong> Associate Professor of Medicine William Dawson Scholar / FRQS Clinical Research Scholar Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University Senior Lecturer, King's College London (Honorary)

Dr. Brent Richards

Brent Richards, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Medicine
William Dawson Scholar / FRQS Clinical Research Scholar
Departments of Medicine, Human Genetics, Epidemiology and Biostatistics McGill University
Senior Lecturer, King’s College London (Honorary)

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

Response: Some previous epidemiological studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased rates of asthma, atopic dermatitis—an itchy inflammation of the skin—and elevated levels of IgE, an immune molecule linked to atopic disease (allergies). In our study, we looked at genetic and health data on more than 100,000 individuals from previous large studies to determine whether genetic alterations that are associated with vitamin D levels predispose people to the aforementioned conditions.

We found no statistically significant difference between rates of asthma (including childhood-onset asthma), atopic dermatitis, or IgE levels in people with and without any of the four genetic changes associated with lower levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the form of vitamin D routinely measured in the blood.

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Monthly Doses of Vitamin D Do Not Prevent Cardiovascular Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Robert Scragg, MBBS, PhD
School of Population Health
The University of Auckland
Auckland New Zealand

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

Response: Interest in a possible role for vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease was stimulated by studies showing a seasonal variation in cardiovascular disease, which is much higher in winter, when body levels of vitamin D are low, than in summer.

Main findings are that bolus monthly doses of vitamin D supplementation do not prevent against cardiovascular disease, even in people with low levels of vitamin D.

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Effect of Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation on Cancer Incidence in Older Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joan M. Lappe, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N. Associate Dean for Research, College of Nursing Criss/Beirne Professor of Nursing Professor of Medicine Creighton University Omaha NE 68131

Dr. Lappe

Joan M. Lappe, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N.
Associate Dean for Research, College of Nursing
Criss/Beirne Professor of Nursing
Professor of Medicine
Creighton University
Omaha NE 68131

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

  • Numerous observational studies show that higher vitamin D intake and serum 25, hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], the functional indicator of vitamin D status, are associated with lower incidence of cancer.
  • However, the scientific fields consider randomized clinical trials (RCT) as a gold standard for testing new interventions for prevention and treatment of disease. In the only RCT of cancer and vitamin D to date with cancer as a primary outcome, the Women’s Health Initiative, postmenopausal women randomly assigned to vitamin D3400 IU/day and calcium 1000 mg/day showed no difference from those assigned to placebo in colorectal cancer incidence. One criticism of that study was that the vitamin D intervention was low, only 400 international units (IU) per day.
  • In our study we found that, in healthy women ages 55 and older with a mean baseline serum 25(OH)D of 33 ng/mL, supplementation with 2000 IU/day of vitamin D3and 1500 mg/day of calcium for four years, compared with placebo, decreased all-type cancer incidence by about 30%, but this did not reach statistical significance. (p value =0.057 and for statistical significance, the p value would need to be less than 0.05.)
  • In a secondary analysis, we re-analyzed the data excluding cancers that developed during the first year of study and were likely present but not diagnosed upon study enrollment. The findings here were that vitamin D and calcium did significantly decrease cancer risk by about 35%.
  • In another secondary analyses, we combined all of the serum 25(OH)D values to determine if higher levels were associated with lower cancer incidence. Here, higher serum 25(OH)D was significantly associated with lower cancer incidence. Persons with serum 25(OH)D of 55 ng/mL had a 35% lower risk of cancer than persons with serum 25(OH)D of 30 ng/mL.  This is especially interesting since current recommendations for sufficient serum 25(OH)D levels are 20 ng/mL (the National Academy of Medicine) and 30 ng/mL (the Endocrine Society).
  • Note that serum 25(OH)D is a better predictor of cancer development than assigning persons to supplement groups. Serum 25(OH)D takes into account poor compliance of the active supplement group with taking supplements, personal use of supplements by the placebo group, dietary vitamin D intake, sunlight exposure, and the variation among persons in absorption and metabolism of the vitamin D supplement.

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Despite Guidelines, Low Proportion of Elderly Hip Fracture Patients Are Consistently Taking Vitamin D

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sheila Sprague, PhD Assistant Professor, Research Methodologist McMaster University

Dr. Sheila Sprague

Dr. Sheila Sprague, PhD
Assistant Professor, Research Methodologist
McMaster University

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

Response: Previous research has found that daily administration of vitamin D is important for maintaining bone homeostasis. There has been an increased interest among the orthopaedic community regarding vitamin D supplementation and patient outcomes following fractures. Using data from the FAITH trial (NCT01908751), a multicenter randomized controlled trial that compared cancellous screws versus sliding hip screws in patients over the age of 50 with femoral neck fractures, we:

1) determined the proportion of patients consistently taking vitamin D following hip fracture surgery and
2) determined if supplementation was associated with improved health related quality of life and reduced re-operation.

Patients enrolled in the FAITH trial were recruited from 81 clinical sites in 8 countries over a 6-year span. We asked a subset of them about vitamin D supplementation and categorized them as consistent users, inconsistent users, or non-users.

The final analysis included 573 patients and we found that a surprisingly low proportion of elderly hip fracture patients are consistently taking vitamin D (18.7% of patients reported never taking vitamin D, 35.6% reported inconsistent use, and 45.7% reported consistent use). We also found that vitamin D was associated with a statistically (p=0.033), but not clinically, significant improvement in health-related quality of life following a hip fracture. Lastly, supplementation was discovered to not be associated with reduced re-operation (p=0.386).

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Vitamin D During Fetal Life and Bone Health in Children at Age 6

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Audry H. Garcia PhD

Scientist Department of Epidemiology
Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam
Rotterdam, the Netherlands 

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

Response: Fetal bone mineralisation requires an adequate transfer of calcium to the fetus by the end of the pregnancy. Considering that vitamin D is required to maintain normal blood concentrations of calcium, adequate 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations in pregnant women seem to be crucial for bone development of the offspring. Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with abnormal early skeletal growth in offspring and might be a risk factor for decreased bone mass in later life. Several studies have linked vitamin D deficiency in fetal life to congenital rickets, craniotabes, wide skull sutures and osteomalacia. However, the evidence of long-lasting effects of maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy on offspring’s skeletal development is scarce and inconsistent, and has led to contradictory recommendations on vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy.

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Vitamin D May Have Protective Role Against Respiratory Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Adrian R Martineau
B Med Sci DTM&H MRCP PhD
Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health.
Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary, University of London

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

Response: In addition to its well-known effects on bone, Vitamin D has also been shown to boost immune responses to viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections in lab experiments.

In order to see whether these effects translate into a health benefit, a total of 25 clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation to prevent various respiratory infections have been carried out in around 11,000 people living in 14 different countries over the last decade.

These trials have yielded conflicting results: in some, vitamin D reduced the risk of infections, but in others it did not.

The reason why vitamin D ‘worked’ in some trials, but not in others, has been the subject of much debate.

In order to answer this question, we assembled an international consortium of investigators and compiled the raw data from every trial into a single database containing information from 10,933 people in total. This allowed us to run sub-group analyses to determine whether particular groups of people benefit more from vitamin D supplementation than others.

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Low Vitamin D Linked To Increased Risk of Chronic Headache

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Jyrki-Virtanen.jpg

Dr. Jyrki Virtanen

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

Response: Formation of vitamin D in the skin with UVB light from the sun is a main source of vitamin D during summer months, but in the winter months the UVB light is too weak for vitamin D production. Headache prevalence has been suggested to be related to increasing latitude (less UVB light throughout the year) and possibly to be less prevalent during summer (more UVB light), which suggests a possible role for vitamin D exposure.

Some previous small studies have suggested that low serum vitamin D levels might be associated with more frequent headache or migraine. Our study included 2601 men from the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD) from eastern Finland, aged 42-60 years in 1984-1989, which makes it one of the largest studies so far regarding vitamin D and headache.

In our study chronic headache (occurring weakly or daily) was reported by 250 men, and men reporting chronic headache had lower serum vitamin D levels than others.

When we divided the study population into four groups based on their serum vitamin D levels, the group with the lowest levels had over a twofold risk of chronic headache in comparison to the group with the highest levels. Chronic headache was also more frequently reported by men who were examined outside the summer months of June through September.

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Variable Effects of Dairy, Calcium, Vitamin D on Ovarian Cancer Risk in African–American Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bo (Bonnie) Qin, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Scholar Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08903

Dr. Bo Qin

Bo (Bonnie) Qin, Ph.D.
Post-Doctoral Associate
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
New Brunswick, NJ 08903

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the US. African-American patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer tend to have a worse 5-year survival rate compared to their European-American patients. Therefore, identifying preventive factors in African-Americans women is particularly important.

African Americans tend to consume less calcium and vitamin D from dietary sources, due to a higher prevalence of lactose intolerance, and supplemental intake. Meanwhile, darker color of the skin reduces the synthesis of vitamin D upon sun exposure. They together place African-American women at risk for calcium and vitamin D deficiency. It remains unknown whether calcium, vitamin D, lactose and dairy products are associated with ovarian cancer risk in African-American women and our study aimed to answer this question.

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Can Vitamin D Reduce Insulin Resistance in Muscles of Type 2 Diabetics?

Elisa Benetti, PhD

Elisa Benetti, PhD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Elisa Benetti PhD
Department of Drug Science and Technology
University of Turin
Turin, Italy

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

Response: The idea for this study comes from the debate on the role of vitamin D supplementation in the prevention or progression of type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Epidemiological data point at a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and T2DM prevalence, however a causal relationship is still lacking.

Here we wanted to explore the effect of vitamin D administration on insulin-sensitivity, particularly focusing on skeletal muscle, which is a crucial tissue in the maintenance of glucose homeostasis and which was suggested to be a tissue target of vitamin D.

Using a murine model of insulin-resistance induced by a High Fat-High Sugar Diet (HFHS), we demonstrated that a vitamin D supplementation (7 μg•kg-1, i.p. three times/week) was able to revert the deleterious effects evoked by the diet, including the increase in body weight and in the HOMA-IR (a parameter of insulin resistance) and the glucose tolerance impairment. Consistently, at the muscle level, vitamin D increased the insulin sensitivity by reducing tissue inflammation and fat accumulation (myosteatosis).
These effects are due, at least in part, to the inhibition exerted by vitamin D on carboxymethyl-lysine (CML) production, one of the main Advanced Glucose End-products (AGEs), and on its receptor RAGE.

Collectively, our data indicate the ability of vitamin D to reduce the development of muscle insulin resistance, the primary defect in T2DM patients.
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