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Effect of Vitamin D on Depression
Wrongly termed a vitamin, vitamin D is actually what is known as a precursor hormone. The metabolic product of vitamin D, the hormone calcitriol, affects the key biological functions of over 2000...
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Effect of Vitamin D on Hypertension
Vitamin D plays a number of roles in the body, some of which are just now being discovered and confirmed. Its exact role in preventing or treating hypertension is not immediately clear. One...
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Without question, if you are concerned about osteoporosis , you should take calcium and vitamin D. The combination appears to help prevent bone loss. 1 This is true even if you are taking other treatments for osteoporosis; after all, you can't build bone without calcium, and you can't properly absorb and utilize calcium without adequate intake of vitamin D. Interestingly, vitamin D may also help prevent the falls that lead to osteoporotic fractures .
Other uses of vitamin D are less well documented.
Some evidence suggests that getting adequate vitamin D may help prevent cancer of the breast, colon, pancreas, prostate, and skin, but the research on this question has yielded mixed results. 2 One study suggests that combined use of calcium plus vitamin D, but not either supplement separately, can help reduce risk of colon cancer. 3 However, an extremely large study involving over 36,000 post-menopausal women found that supplementing the diet with 1,000 mg of calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D daily did not lower the risk of breast cancer over a period of 7 years. 4 Based on the results of this placebo-controlled study, there does not appear to be a connection between vitamin D and breast cancer risk.
Weak evidence hints that adequate vitamin D intake might reduce the risk of hypertension 5 and diabetes . 6 7 A very large randomized, placebo-controlled trial of over 36,000 postmenopausal women found daily supplementation with 1,000 mg of calcium plus 400 IU of vitamin D did not reduce or prevent hypertension during 7 years of follow-up. These results are possibly limited by non-study calcium use. 8 One preliminary study suggests that supplementation with vitamin D and calcium may be helpful for women with polycystic ovary syndrome. 9 A meta-analysis (formal statistical review) of published studies found some evidence that use of vitamin D at recommended levels may reduce overall mortality. 10 This article suggested, but did not attempt to establish, just how vitamin D might accomplish this.
Vitamin D is sometimes mentioned as a treatment for psoriasis . However, this recommendation is based on Danish studies using calcipotriol, a variation of vitamin D 3 that is used externally (applied to the skin). 11 Calcipotriol does not affect your body's absorption of calcium, so it is a very different substance from the vitamin D you can purchase at a store.
It has been suggested that since vitamin D levels in the body drop in the wintertime, vitamin D supplements might be helpful for seasonal affective disorder ("winter blues"). A small double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted during winter on 44 people found that vitamin D supplements produced improvements in various measures of mood. 12 However, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 2,217 women over 70 failed to find benefit. 13 It has been hypothesized that light therapy (used successfully for SAD) works by raising vitamin D levels, but there is some evidence that this is not the case. 14 Vitamin D supplements also do notappear to help enhance growth in healthy children. 15
- Dawson-Hughes B, Harris SS, Krall EA, et al. Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on bone density in men and women 65 years of age or older. N Engl J Med. 1997;337:670-676.
- Garland FC, Garland CF, Gorham ED, Young JF. Geographic variation in breast cancer mortality in the United States: a hypothesis involving exposure to solar radiation. Prev Med. 19(6):614-22.
- Grau MV, Baron JA, Sandler RS, Haile RW, Beach ML, Church TR, Heber D. Vitamin D, calcium supplementation, and colorectal adenomas: results of a randomized trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 95(23):1765-71.
- Chlebowski RT, Johnson KC, Kooperberg C, Pettinger M, Wactawski-Wende J, Rohan T, Rossouw J, Lane D, O'Sullivan MJ, Yasmeen S, Hiatt RA, Shikany JM, Vitolins M, Khandekar J, Hubbell FA, Women's Health Initiative Investigators. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of breast cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 100(22):1581-91.
- Rostand SG. Ultraviolet light may contribute to geographic and racial blood pressure differences. Hypertension. 30(2 Pt 1):150-6.
- Hyppönen E, Läärä E, Reunanen A, Järvelin MR, Virtanen SM. Intake of vitamin D and risk of type 1 diabetes: a birth-cohort study. Lancet. 358(9292):1500-3.
- The EURODIAB Substudy 2 Study Group. Vitamin D supplement in early childhood and risk for Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus. Diabetologia. 1999;42:51-54.
- Margolis KL, Ray RM, Van Horn L, Manson JE, Allison MA, Black HR, Beresford SA, Connelly SA, Curb JD, Grimm RH Jr, Kotchen TA, Kuller LH, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Thomson CA, Torner JC, Women's Health Initiative Investigators. Effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on blood pressure: the Women's Health Initiative Randomized Trial. Hypertension. 52(5):847-55.
- Thys-Jacobs S, Donovan D, Papadopoulos A, Sarrel P, Bilezikian JP. Vitamin D and calcium dysregulation in the polycystic ovarian syndrome. Steroids. 64(6):430-5.
- Autier P, Gandini S. Vitamin D supplementation and total mortality: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med. 167(16):1730-7.
- Kragballe K. Vitamin D3 analogues in psoriasis. Dermatologica. 180(2):110-1.
- Lansdowne AT, Provost SC. Vitamin D3 enhances mood in healthy subjects during winter. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 135(4):319-23.
- Dumville JC, Miles JN, Porthouse J, et al. Can vitamin D supplementation prevent winter-time blues? A randomised trial among older women. J Nutr Health Aging. 2006;10:151-153.
- Partonen T, Vakkuri O, Lamberg-Allardt C, Lonnqvist J. Effects of bright light on sleepiness, melatonin, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D(3) in winter seasonal affective disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 39(10):865-72.
- Schou AJ, Heuck C, Wolthers OD. A randomized, controlled lower leg growth study of vitamin D supplementation to healthy children during the winter season. Ann Hum Biol. 30(2):214-9.