Vitamin D Supplements Give Negligible Benefits to Those over 70, Says Study
Deficiency of vitamin-D is common in older people and may lead to increased bone resorption, bone loss and impairment of muscle function. Older people are, often, encouraged to take supplements of vitamin-D to keep their bones, teeth and muscles healthy. However, contrary to this popular belief, new research has revealed that there is very little benefit in taking higher dose vitamin supplements for those over 70 years of age.
 
We know that older people are at increased risk of falls and fractures, which are debilitating and erode people’s self-confidence, depriving them of their independence. Vitamin-D is essential for building and maintaining strong bones and muscles. It, therefore, stands to reason that people deficient in vitamin-D are increased risk of slow recovery from falls and fractures. 
 
This study led by Newcastle University, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, backs previous research that has shown there is no gain for older people taking vitamin-D supplements. The study was funded by the organisation Versus Arthritis and aimed to measure the effect of vitamin-D supplementation on the change in bone mineral density (BMD). BMD is a recognised indicator of bone strength and changers in markers of bone metabolism. 
 
For the study, 400 people over the age of 70 years were randomly allocated to one of three doses of vitamin-D given once a month for a year. The yearly doses varied from 300µg (microgram), 600µg and 1,200µg, which is equivalent to a daily dose of 10µg, 20µg and 40µg, respectively. The researchers were surprised to find that there was no change in BMD over 12 months between the three doses. However, the study did show that doses equivalent to 40µg are safe in an older population and there was a beneficial effect on bone metabolism up to the highest dose. 
 
The study was led by Dr Terry Aspray, a honorary clinical senior lecturer at Newcastle University’s Institute of Cellular Medicine, UK. He says, “The results from previous studies assessing the effect of vitamin-D on bone mineral density have yielded conflicting results, and our study is a significant contribution to the current debate. While our findings do not support evidence of the benefit of high dose vitamin-D supplements, at least on bone mineral density, we do, however, identify that higher doses of the vitamin may have beneficial effects on bone metabolism and that they are safe for older people.”
 
Dr Aspray suggests that older people should rather focus on maintaining a healthy, balanced diet with adequate sun exposure and take regular exercise to keep their bones as strong as possible. He adds “While some may need to take vitamin D supplements, there is little benefit to taking more than 10µg a day.”
 
Further analysis is already underway, including research by a Newcastle University PhD student, on the effects sun exposure on vitamin-D levels in older people and the impact of vitamin-D supplements on muscle strength. There are also experts looking at the impact of genes and kidney function on vitamin-D levels and their function in the blood. 
 
Senior clinical policy adviser at Versus Arthritis, Benjamin Ellis, says, “Over the one year of this study, higher doses of vitamin-D neither improved measures of bone strength nor reduced falls among older people. The current guidance is still that people at risk of low vitamin D should consider taking a daily vitamin-D supplement, as should everyone during the winter months. Work is needed to implement effective strategies to prevent falls and fractures among older people, and to understand the role of medications and dietary supplements in this.”
 
Although this study does not conclusively rest the debate over the benefits of vitamin-D supplements in older people, it does provide some clarity on the fact that there is hardly any benefit received from ingesting such supplements. It is important to remember that one can just as easily get vitamin-D from sunlight and some natural foods like fish, few dairy products and orange juice. 
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    COMMENTS

    B. Yerram Raju

    7 months ago

    It was just a week back that I was asked to take a few drops of Vit D for a month and 77 I am, this article is a wake up call to stop the course. thanks.

    Marcus Sorenson

    7 months ago

    The key is sunshine, as you have mentioned. Though vitamin D supplements did not show a positive result in the mentioned research, sun exposure certainly does show positive results. For example, a Spanish study showed that women who are sun seekers have 1/11 the risk of hip fracture as those who women who avoid the sun. Sun exposure causes the body to produce many photoproducts besides vitamin D, and if full-body sun exposure is used at midday, it can produce up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D. Other health-producing photoproducts of sun exposure are endorphin, serotonin, dopamine, nitric oxide and brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). Here is a list of the numerous health benefits of sun exposure both with vitamin D and apart from vitamin D:
    •Seventy-five percent of melanoma occurs on areas of the body that are seldom or never exposed to sun.
    •Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
    •Multiple sclerosis (MS) is highest in areas of little sunlight, and virtually disappears in areas of year-round direct sunlight.
    13
    •A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip-fracture risk as sun avoiders.
    •Men who work outdoors have half the risk of melanoma as those who work indoors.
    • An Iranian study showed that Women who avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
    •Sun exposure increases nitric oxide, which leads to a decrease in heart disease risk.
    •Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through production of serotonin and endorphin.
    •Sun exposure increases the production of BDNF, essential to nerve function.
    •Sun exposure can produce as much as 20,000 IU of vitamin D in 20 minutes of full-body sun exposure.
    •In the U.S. vitamin D deficiency in children increased by 83 times during a 14 year period. That is probably due to indoor living and sunscreen use. More information and references: Sunlightinstitute.org. And, read Dr. Marc Sorenson’s new book, Embrace the Sun, available at Amazon.

    Pranita Deshpande

    7 months ago

    Very nnice article for good health.

    Ramesh Poapt

    7 months ago

    good one!

    An Egg a Day May Keep Type-2 Diabetes Away, Says Study
    Eggs remain one of the most contentious of foods. Traditionally, high intakes are not advised primarily because of the high content of cholesterol in eggs. However, eggs are also a bountiful resource of many bioactive ingredients that are known to have positive effects on human health. Hence, it becomes difficult to discount the health benefits of eating eggs just because of their cholesterol content.
     
    New research has found that the daily intake of one egg is linked to a blood metabolites pattern that entails lower risk of type-2 diabetes. The study, conducted in the University of Eastern Finland, has been published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Previously, the investigators had shown that eating one egg per day was associated with a lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes among middle-aged men participating in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study in eastern Finland.
     
     “The purpose of the current study was to explore potential compounds that could explain this association using non-targeted metabolomics, a technique that enables a broad profiling of chemicals in a sample,” says Stefania Noerman, early-stage researcher and lead author of the study.
     
    The researchers found that blood samples, taken from men who had eaten more eggs, contained a number of lipid molecules that positively correlated to the blood profile of men who are not predisposed to type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, they were also able to pinpoint various biochemical compounds in the blood that predicted a higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes, including the amino acid tyrosine. 
     
    It should be noted that the study does not provide conclusive proof of its claims, but does suggest some plausible mechanisms which could, at least partly, explain the inverse association between egg intake and the previously observed lower risk of developing type-2 diabetes. “Although it is too early to draw any causal conclusions, we now have some hints about certain egg-related compounds that may have a role in type-2 diabetes development. Further detailed investigations with both, cell models and intervention studies in humans that use modern techniques, such as metabolomics, are needed to understand the mechanism behind physiological effects of egg intake,” says Ms Noerman.
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    k.mohanarangam k.mohanarangam

    7 months ago

    The findings of research contradict s
    Earlier belief that cholesterol
    Content in eggs is harmful this has
    To be confirmed in reality.

    The Healthiest Way To Eat Your Spinach
    Spinach is a superfood, known to contain loads of nutrients in a low-calorie package. These dark, leafy greens are important for skin, hair and bone health, while also providing essentials like protein, iron, vitamins and minerals. However, taking advantage of all these nutrients is not possible, as much of these get lost in the cooking process. Recently, researchers from the Linköping University (Sweden) undertook the challenge of finding the best way to harness the antioxidant lutein from spinach and found that a smoothie or a juice is the best way to do so.  
     
    Lutein is a natural fat-soluble pigment found in plants, particularly in dark green vegetables. In an earlier study, these researchers had studied the role of lutein and discovered that it dampens inflammation in immune cells from patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). They also showed that lutein can be stored in immune cells; this means that it is possible to build up a reserve of lutein within your body. This led the researchers to wonder whether it is possible to influence the level of lutein in the blood by increasing its dietary intake. 
     
    In the latest study, the researchers have investigated which method of ingestion is the best way of obtaining lutein. Spinach was chosen for the fact that it contains comparatively high levels of lutein and is commonly eaten by many people. In the process of cooking, nutrients are lost; also, lutein degrades with the application of heat. “What is unique about this study is that we have used preparation methods that are often used when cooking food at home, and we have compared several temperatures and heating times. We have also investigated methods of preparation in which the spinach is eaten cold, such as in salads and smoothies.” says Prof Lena Jonasson, from the department of medical and health sciences at Linköping University who is also a consultant in cardiology.
     
    The research team purchased baby spinach at a supermarket, to simulate methods of preparation that are often used in everyday life. They then subjected this spinach to methods such as frying, steaming or boiling for up to 90 minutes and measured the lutein content at different times. The team decided to compare different heating times in the lab as the spinach may be heated to varying temperatures depending on the type of meal being prepared. 
     
    The results indicated that heating time is critical when spinach is boiled; the longer it is boiled, the lesser lutein it retains. Similarly, the cooking method is also important - spinach fried at high temperatures loses a large fraction of the lutein after only two minutes. A very common practice in modern life is to reheat lunch boxes in a microwave oven. Researchers found that this reheating in a microwave explains, to some extent, the loss of lutein in cooked food. They explain that more lutein is released from the spinach as the plant structure is broken down further by the microwave. 
     
    “Best is not to heat the spinach at all. And even better is to make a smoothie and add fat from dairy products, such as cream, milk or yoghurt. When the spinach is chopped into small pieces, more lutein is released from the leaves, and the fat increases the solubility of the lutein in the fluid,” says Dr Rosanna Chung the lead author of the study. 
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    Pinaki gupta

    8 months ago

    Thanks for the nice article, however how to get rid of the pesticides that are used in growing these green leafy vegetables ? Not heating the spinach at all - will it be safe to adopt this practice in India ?

    REPLY

    D

    In Reply to Pinaki gupta 8 months ago

    To detoxify baking soda treatment may be useful.
    Regards

    Nirmala Athalye

    8 months ago

    .

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