Landmark Studies Reveal the Importance of Vitamin D
in the Prevention of Osteoporosis
Charlie Skeen, C.N.C
Continues to Grow
Statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report
that osteoporosis affects 44 million Americans, 80% comprised
of women. Since osteoporosis is a loss of bone tissue, people
who have it are far more prone to suffer from hip, spine, and
wrist fractures. Hip fractures are especially problematic since
they can require a hospital stay where the patient must remain
immobile for a time. Oftentimes this results in infections and
blood clots. This in turn increases the risk of death due to
Amounts of Calcium Is Not Helping
For many years the medical community has been telling the public
to eat and drink lots of dairy products and take calcium supplements.
What has been the result? Osteoporosis is still on the increase.
In fact, it’s interesting to note that many people, especially
women, have told me that they followed the guidelines of getting
lots of calcium most of their lives and yet they still could
not prevent osteoporosis.
Studies in America and England Reveal That Vitamin D Is Effective
for Building Bone and Preventing Hip Fractures.
In a study recently completed study in the U.S. and published
in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was discovered
that vitamin D is instrumental in maintaining healthy bone tissue,
reducing the number of hip fractures of women who are postmenopausal.
This study also revealed that dairy and supplemental calcium
intake proved ineffective at preventing hip fractures.
The researchers based
their findings on a study called, The Nurses Health Study. In
this 18 year study, 72,337 postmenopausal registered nurses
between the ages of 34 and 77 had their personal diet and supplement
the 18 Year Nurses Study
It was found that the nurses who consumed larger amounts of
vitamin D, 500 IUs a day or more, from a combination of food
and supplements, were 37% less likely to suffer a hip fracture
than other nurses who acquired less than 140 IUs of vitamin
This study also found
that the amount of calcium in the nurses diet didn’t have
any appreciable benefits in reducing hip fractures.
This study done in England and then written up in the British
Medical Journal listed the results of a 5 year investigation
of a combination of 2,686 men and women over the age of 65 who
were given vitamin D. It consisted of giving each participant
every four months either a placebo, or 850 IUs of vitamin D.
the Five Year England Study
Individuals who received the vitamin D were found to have a
22 percent reduced risk of fractures anywhere in the bone. As
a group they were 33% less likely to experience a fracture at
any of the areas that are noted for people who have osteoporosis
such as the hips, forearms, wrists, and vertebrae.
Deficiency Contributes to Low Back Pain
While there is abundant sunlight available in the middle east
near the earth’s equator to assist the body in making
vitamin D, it’s interesting to note that the people in
Saudi Arabia suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. The women in
particular suffer from this because their skin are veiled from
the sun due to their cultural garb. 360 patients in one study
between the ages of 15 and 52 had experienced low back for a
period of at least 6 months and were seeking treatment. An examination
produced no real cause for the back pain. After doctors had
measured the amount of vitamin D in their system they found
that 83% of them were low in vitamin D.
Results After Administration of Vitamin D in Low Back
After the low back pain sufferers received a vitamin D supplement
the ones who were deficient in vitamin D showed clinical improvement.
Also, as a group 95% of the 360 patients improved.
and Other Health Conditions
Continuing research has discovered that vitamin D has other
areas of importance in human health.
- People are more at risk for various cancers including
prostate, breast, colon, and skin cancer when their levels of
vitamin D are low.
- The occurrence of Multiple Sclerosis rises in the populations
that are the furthest from the equator where exposure of the
sunlight is reduced to the skin for the production of vitamin
D. And, for the those populations that live the closest to the
equator where there is more sunlight available the occurrence
of Multiple Sclerosis is almost non-existent.
Type I Diabetes
- Researchers have discovered that when babies and young children
receive adequate levels of vitamin D type 1 diabetes may be
decreased. Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease like
Multiple Sclerosis researchers have found that vitamin D acts
as an immunosuppresive agent by reducing cytokine and lymphocyte
production which are strongly implicated in the destruction
of insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Also, vitamin D
given to animals has been shown to prevent the development of
type 1 diabetes.
Vitamin D Was the Deciding Factor In Stronger Bones- Not the
Amount of Calcium
This latest information on vitamin D and osteoporosis helps
us to appreciate that taking large amounts of calcium to prevent
osteoporosis, or even reverse it, has met with dismal results.
In a previous newsletter about Coral
Calcium - What Are the Facts - Buyer Beware! there was information
presented from studies around the world that showed that countries
that had the lowest amount of calcium, 400 to 500 milligrams
a day, and healthy levels of vitamin D from the sunlight and
diet, such as Okinawa and Japan, had the least amount of osteoporosis
and other related bone problems, cancers, and enjoyed the longest
Remember, these two
studies that were just completed demonstrated that the level
of calcium in the diet had little or no effect on preventing
osteoporosis. The major factor that contributed to stronger
healthier bones was the amount of vitamin D. And, if we take
a lesson from the Okinawans and Japanese by eating more like
them then our level and quality of nutrition will increase.