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|Evan Watson, NatureCity author & contributor|
A study from China published in the April 2009 issue of Diabetes Care found that a majority of older adults are lacking in vitamin D, which could increase their risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.
As you grow older, your skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D from the sun. This is why approximately 9 out of 10 older adults have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency.
Researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences in China recruited 3,262 residents aged 50-70 from Beijing and Shanghai in order to analyze the relationship between vitamin D levels and the prevalence of metabolic syndrome.
The researchers found that 94% of the people in the study had vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency. In addition, 42% had metabolic syndrome.
These results are consistent with similar studies performed in Western populations.
According to the American Heart Association, metabolic syndrome is defined as having three or more of the following:
1. A waistline greater than 40 for men or 35 for women
2. Good (HDL) cholesterol under 40mg/dL for men or 50mg/dL for women
3. Triglyceride levels over 150mg/dL
4. Blood pressure over 130/85mm Hg or the use of blood pressure medicine
5. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein
6. Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance or the use of hyperglycemia (high blood
Having metabolic syndrome puts you at higher risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, heart attack, type 2 diabetes and even certain cancers.
Metabolic syndrome is becoming a global epidemic. Although further research is being conducted regarding the link between vitamin D and metabolic syndrome, many physicians recommend taking a supplement containing vitamin D as you age.
Vitamin D has also been linked to bone health, lower blood pressure, increased calcium absorption, stimulation of the immune system, and even protection against certain cancers.
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