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Two Landmark Studies Reveal the Importance of Vitamin D
in the Prevention of Osteoporosis

Charlie Skeen, C.N.C

Osteoporosis 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 complications.

Taking Large 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.

Recently Completed Studies in America and England Reveal That Vitamin D Is Effective for Building Bone and Preventing Hip Fractures.

American Study
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 program examined.

Results of 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 D daily.

This study also found that the amount of calcium in the nurses diet didn’t have any appreciable benefits in reducing hip fractures.

England Study
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.

Results of 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.

Vitamin D 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 Pain Sufferers
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.

Vitamin D and Other Health Conditions
Continuing research has discovered that vitamin D has other areas of importance in human health.
Such as;

Cancer - People are more at risk for various cancers including prostate, breast, colon, and skin cancer when their levels of vitamin D are low.

Immune Function - 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.

In Conclusion 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 life spans.

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.

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