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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Go out in the sun, get milk, eat oily fish

My wife has been telling me for some time about the benefits of Vitamin D. She has been keeping up to date with evidence that Vit D is beneficial to young children (important since we have 3 of them) -- turns out that the American Pediatric Association recommends at least 200-400IU of Vit D daily for children. The Flinstones vitamins we give our kids contains just that.

This got me interested in the data that exists with Vit D and heart disease.

There is a growing body of evidence that patients with Vit D deficiency have higher rates of heart disease. 

Vit D defiency is common and appears to affect as many as one-third to one-half of otherwise-healthy middle-aged to elderly adult world-wide. Increasing age, female gender, nonwhite race/ethnicity, diabetes, current smoking, and higher body-mass index (BMI) have all been shown to have higher rates of Vit D deficiency. 

It is NOT known yet if Vit D defiency causes heart disease or does the heart disease cause Vit D deficiency. There do appear to be biological reasons for why Vit D defiency may cause heart disease, including anti-inflammatory properties.

It is NOT yet known if patients with low levels of Vit D can dreduce their risk by taking viVit D supplementation.

The ARE some possible dangers in getting TOO MUCH Vit D.

The only way to know for sure if you are Vit D deficient is to test your blood levels. 

In the mean time, it appears that the best way to ensure that you have enough Vit D is to get at least 10-15 minutes of sun every day and consume vitamin D rich foods like drinking fortified milk and eating oily fish (salmon, mackeral, herring, sardines).

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