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January 1, 2018
By Ariadne Weinberg,  Featured Columnist

[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of
Doctors, Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other
members of our Editorial Board.]





There are conflicting views on immortality: Some like the idea,
some think the idea of a long or forever life would be
something like hell.

Regardless, I think we can all agree that living a little bit
longer, as long as your body is in optimal conditions, is a pretty
good thing.

And if you can do that with something as simple as a little more
vitamin D intake, why not?

Vitamin D is contained in sunshine and probably your favorite
kinds of fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, etc). The vitamin is even
in milk and mushrooms. Delicious.

A recent meta study claims that vitamin D3, but not other
kinds, lowers mortality in elderly folks.

Why Believe Meta Studies?

As a researcher, I love running into meta studies. They simplify
and consolidate a lot of information at once.

What are meta studies? The Merriam Webster Dictionary
defines them as a quantitative statistical analysis of several
separate but similar experiments or studies in order to test the
pooled data for statistical significance.

These kind of reports may include a more precise estimate of
the risk factor for the disease than any individual study
contributing to the pooled analysis.

According to a 2010 study from A.B. Haidich from the Aristotle
University of Thessaloniki School of Medicine in Thessaloniki,
Greece, the examination of the variability or heterogeneity in
study results is also critical to outcomes. Meta studies take into
account the differences in each related study.

Sometimes, as a researcher, you run into lots of conflicting
evidence that makes you wonder whether something is positive
or negative for your health.

Finding meta studies is great because they include a
consolidated and quantitative review of large and often
complex and sometimes conflicting body of literature.
Let’s look at one meta review that takes into account many
pooled studies of vitamin D use.


Vitamin D Is a Protective Supernutrient































In 2014, G. Bjelakovic and researchers from the University of
Nis in Zorana Djindjica, Serbia, wanted to find the beneficial
and harmful effects of vitamin D supplementation for the
prevention of mortality in healthy adults as well as adults in a
stable phase of disease.  

Included in the analysis were randomized trials that compared
any type of vitamin D in any dose versus placebo or no
intervention.

The scientists searched The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE,
EMBASE, LILACS, the Science Citation Index-Expanded and
Conference Proceedings Citation Index-Science (all up to
February 2012).

The participants were recruited from the general population or
from patients diagnosed with a disease in the stable phase.

The nutrient was administered as supplemental vitamin D
(vitamin D3), Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), or an active form of
vitamin D.



Six review authors extracted data independently. Then random
effects and fixed effects meta-analyses were conducted.

Assessed risk bias was included in the trials.

Out of 159 randomized clinical trials, 56 randomized trials with
95, 286 participants provided usable data on mortality.

The age of most participants was between 18 and 107 years
old, but the majority were women older than 70 years old.

Vitamin D was administered for an average of 4.4 years.

More than half of the trials had a low risk of bias and all trials
were conducted in high income countries.

Final conclusions --- Vitamin D Protects You From Cancer and
All Other Causes of Death

After analyzing all the relevant studies, researchers found that
vitamin D3 statistically significantly decreased cancer mortality.

More importantly, vitamin D3 seemed to decrease mortality in
general in elderly people living independently or in institutional
care.  

How Much Vitamin D Is Absorbed by Your Body? --- A
Question of Bioavailability


While various types of vitamin D have been shown to be
effective for protecting against disease and death, vitamin D3 is
probably always your best bet.

In a 2013 study, Jutta Dierkes and researchers from the
Department of Clinical Medicine in Bergen, Norway, analyzed
the bioavailability of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3
(cholecalciferol).

The scientists studied the effects of supplementation with 50
milligrams per day doses of vitamin D2 or D3 or placebo over a
period of eight weeks. Healthy volunteers were recruited for
the double-blind randomized test.

The study was conducted during winter of 2012 in Halle,
Germany, where UVB (sunlight) is virtually absent.

Data for vitamin D status and parathyroid hormone were
collected at the baseline and after 4 to 8 weeks of
supplementation.

Vitamin D3 had a more concentrated bioavailable uptake than
vitamin D2.

This would explain the powerful protective effect vitamin D has
against many diseases.


Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic

We should definitely protect the elderly with vitamin D, as they
are a more vulnerable group.

But all of us need vitamin D, no matter how old we are. Vitamin
D deficiency has been shown to be an issue across different
age groups, sexes, and even nations.

One European study analyzed childhood/teenage and
adult/older European populations.

In 2015, K.D. Cashman and scientists from the Cork Centre for
Vitamin D and Nutrition Research in Ireland tested 14
population studies by using certified liquid chromatography
tandem spectrometry on biobanked sera.

The results showed that 13.0% of 558,444 European
individuals had vitamin D deficiency. White populations were
the most susceptible to the problem.

Vitamin D Deficiency in at Higher Latitudes  

Given that just being outside in the sunlight will help you
absorb some vitamin D, the elderly who live at higher latitudes
are in a much more vulnerable position. There are some times
of the year, in Northern Europe, where the world is dark
almost all day.

For example, in a 2014 study conducted by M. Samefors and
scientists from the Department of Medical and Health Sciences
from Linkoping University in Linkoping, Sweden, they found
that vitamin D deficiency was highly prevalent and associated
with increased mortality among the elderly in Swedish nursing
homes.

Osteoporosis was a notable issue, as were several medical
conditions conferring increased mortality risk.

Samefors and researchers performed a prospective cohort
study amongst the elderly (people over 65 years old) in 11
nursing homes in Sweden.

They analyzed the level of D3 at baseline, as well as the vital
status and hazard rates.

333 of the study participants were looked at after an average
of 3 years. 147 (or 44%) had died within that period.

Vitamin D Is as Important as Your Medication    

As we age, most of us remember to take our medications. But
perhaps as important as our medications is our vitamin D
intake, as the lack of the nutrient could be fatal.

Those in darker environments, such as Norway or Sweden (or
even Seattle, Washington, Minnesota or Canada), should pay
even closer attention to getting their daily dose.

Even those younger than their 60s need to be conscious of
their vitamin D intake.

Here are some ideas of what you could consume enough
vitamin D (besides supplements) to get your fix:

Cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, mackerel, egg yolks, mushrooms,
and vitamin-D fortified foods, such as milk, soy milk, and
orange juice all are rich in vitamin D.

Don’t forget to absorb some vitamin D and happiness through
sunshine, too.

[Editor's note:
Exposing your skin to 15 to 20 minutes of direct sun in the
summer gives you the equivalent vitamin D dosage of drinking
100 glasses of milk. Moreover, your body "banks" vitamin D, so
what you soak up in the summer can help to see you through
the winter.

Worried about facial wrinkles? Just expose your back to the
sun in the summer and save your face by applying a strong sun
protection.]














































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Index of Articles on This
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Snoring Linked to Stroke

How to Stop Bad Breath

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Getting some sun can help to extend your life. Just
limit the number of minutes of exposure or expose
just your back
.