Posts Tagged ‘ vitamin D ’

New Study: Only 10 Percent of Kids at Risk for Low Vitamin D Levels

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

A new Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine study reveals that the estimated number of children who are thought to have low levels of vitamin D is significantly fewer than what previous studies indicated. New Institute of Medicine guidelines state that people get enough vitamin D if their blood levels are at or above 20 nanograms per milliliter, whereas previously it was thought to be 30 nanograms per milliliter. With these new guidelines, Loyola researchers found the percentage of kids at risk for vitamin D deficiencies to be 10 percent. More from

Loyola researchers studied vitamin D data from a nationally representative sample of 2,877 U.S. children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The study found that under the Institute of Medicine guidelines, 10.3 percent of children ages 6 to 18 are at risk of inadequate or deficient vitamin D levels. (This translates to an estimated 5.5 million children.)

By comparison, a 2009 study in the journal Pediatrics, which defined sufficient vitamin D levels as greater than 30 ng/mL, found that an estimated 70 percent of people ages 1 to 21 had deficient or insufficient vitamin D levels.

Under previous guidelines, millions of children who had vitamin D levels between 20 and 30 ng/mL would have needed supplementation. Under the Institute of Medicine guidelines, children in this range no longer need to take vitamin D supplements.

The Institute of Medicine’s new vitamin D guidelines are based on nearly 1,000 published studies and testimony from scientists and other experts. The IOM found that vitamin D is essential to avoid poor bone health, such as rickets. But there have been conflicting and mixed results in studies on whether vitamin D can also protect against cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and diabetes. Moreover, excessive vitamin D can damage the kidneys and heart, the IOM found.

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How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids
How to Eat Healthy: Raising Nutrition-Smart Kids

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Low Vitamin D Levels, Uterine Fibroids Connected

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Low levels of vitamin D may raise the risk that women will develop uterine fibroids, which are benign tumors that can cause discomfort and bleeding.  The New York Times reports on the new study, published in the journal Epidemiology, that makes the connection:

Researchers randomly selected 620 black and 410 white women, ages 35 to 49, and determined their vitamin D levels with blood tests and their health status with questionnaires. Their analysis appears in the May issue of Epidemiology.

About two-thirds of the women had fibroid tumors. In the entire group, only 10 percent of the black women and 50 percent of white women had vitamin D levels above 20 nanograms per milliliter, generally considered an adequate level.

After adjusting for age, physical activity, sun exposure and other variables, they found that having a vitamin D level above 20 decreased the risk for fibroids by 32 percent, and that each increase of 10 nanograms per milliliter in vitamin D was associated with a 20 percent lower risk of having a fibroid tumor.

Image: Vitamin D supplements, via Shutterstock

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Low Vitamin D In Pregnancy Linked to Language Problems

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D in their second trimester may set their child up for language impairments, according to a new study in the online edition of Pediatrics.

Researchers found that women with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood when they were 18 weeks pregnant were almost twice as likely to have a child with language problems as women with the highest vitamin D levels.

The researchers looked at vitamin D levels in 743 pregnant women in Australia. After the women gave birth, researchers measured their child’s behavior at ages 2, 5, 8, 10, 14 and 17, and their language development at ages 5 and 10.

The study found that vitamin D levels during pregnancy weren’t linked to behavioral or emotional problems in the children. But researchers did find significant language difficulties among children whose mothers had low vitamin D.

The scientists say this doesn’t prove that low levels of the vitamin caused the difficulties, but it points to a “plausible association” that needs further study, Reuters reports.

Lead researcher Andrew Whitehouse of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research at the University of Western Australia says that vitamin D levels in pregnant women have dropped over the last 20 years, probably because they spend less time in the sun, HealthDay News reports. The body makes vitamin D in the skin when it’s exposed to sunlight.

The researchers say vitamin D supplements could help. Vitamin D is also found in foods such as milk, fish, and eggs.

Image: Pregnant belly via Shutterstock.


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Study: Obese Teens Suffer Greater Vitamin D Deficiency

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Teenagers who are overweight or obese require more vitamin D in the form of supplements, sun exposure, or foods like milk, sardines, and fortified orange juice, a new study has found.  Relaxnews reports on the University of Missouri-Columbia study, which found that obese teens absorb vitamin D into their fat stores rather than their bloodstream, which makes it more difficult for them to metabolize.

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies among Americans, although there is ongoing debate over what the best levels are for children and adults alike.  The Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, recommends a standard supplement of 600 IUs of vitamin D for most Americans, especially those who live in northern or chronically cloudy areas.

From Relaxnews:

“If obese adolescents only consumed the recommended 600 IUs, they would be in trouble,” said study author Catherine Peterson in a statement. “It takes 4,000 IUs to raise their vitamin D status within a sufficient range…This indicates that physicians need to carefully evaluate the vitamin D status in their overweight and obese patients.”

Vitamin D helps the body absorb both calcium and phosphorous, which is crucial to maintain healthy bones in both growing children and aging adults.  Those with severe vitamin D deficiencies may also report chronic fatigue, cognitive impairment, and asthma in children.

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