Two New Benefits of Vitamin D Identified
Two separate studies recently added to the already impressive list of health benefits offered by vitamin D.
The first study looked into the effect vitamin D has on our muscles. It was conducted by researchers from McGill University in Canada, and their findings were published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.
The study included 90 young women from the University of Southern California between 16 and 22 years of age.
The researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D and found that 60% of these women were vitamin D deficient.
They also measured levels of fat, muscle mass and percent muscle mass, and found that the women who were deficient in vitamin D had weaker muscles and more accumulation of fat in their muscle tissue.
The researchers plan to further investigate whether vitamin D supplementation can lead to less accumulation of fat in the muscles or increase muscle strength.
The second study was conducted by scientists from the University of Copenhagen and found that low levels of vitamin D may reduce our immune system's ability to fight infection.
The results of the study were published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Nature Immunology.
Vitamin D is necessary to trigger T cells into action. T cells are the immune system's killer cells that go into action when the body is fighting an infection. If there is not enough vitamin D present, the T cells won't be activated.
Beyond boosting muscle health and the immune system, vitamin D has also been shown to improve bone health, reduce blood pressure and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.
95% of mature adults have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency, prompting researchers to urge policy makers and doctors to increase daily recommendations for the vitamin and start encouraging supplementation among mature adults.
If you need to increase your vitamin D intake, consider getting more exposure to sunlight. Alternatively, you can take a vitamin D supplement and eat more foods fortified with vitamin D such as orange juice, yogurt, cereals and margarine.