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More Than One Third of World Found to be Vitamin D Deficient

Low vitamin D levels have been associated with a wide variety of ailments, ranging from poor bone health, higher risk of cardiovascular disease and higher risk of certain types of cancer. However, patterns of worldwide vitamin D status have not been reported on until now.

A group of researchers with Mannheim Institute of Public Health at Heidelberg University conducted a comprehensive analysis of available studies and found that more than third of the world’s population is vitamin D deficient.

These findings were based on the worldwide consensus that blood levels of vitamin D below 50 nmol/l are considered deficient.

The researchers for this study analyzed data from 195 population-based studies that included 168,000 participants in 44 countries. They discovered that 37.3% of all of the studies reported mean vitamin D blood levels that were below the 50 nmol/l threshold.

The researchers pointed out that this is especially alarming due to the fact that hip fractures have increased “fourfold” since 1990 as a result of osteoporosis, a condition that is often associated with low vitamin D levels.

The researchers also found that:

• vitamin D levels are higher in North America than in Europe or the Middle East

• more research needs to be conducted in Latin America

• only the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions had age-related differences

• no sex-related differences were observed in any country.

The study was published online ahead of print on August 9, 2013, in British Journal of Nutrition.

Previous studies have shown vitamin D to be associated with improved kidney health, reductions in the risk of skin cancer, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, combating diabetes, and improving age related eye degeneration.

Vitamin D can be found in milk, fortified cereals, fish, and eggs. Your body also processes vitamin D from the sun but it becomes harder for our bodies to process it as we age. A high quality vitamin D supplement is always a good option if you feel that you’re not getting enough through diet and sun.

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