Vitamin D May Boost Urinary Tract Health
Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm may have recently found yet another benefit of vitamin D: it may protect against urinary tract infections. The researchers published their findings in the December 2010 issue of PLoS ONE.
For the study, the researchers recruited 28 women with an average age of 62. The women were given a daily supplement containing 2000 units per day of vitamin D for 12 weeks.
The researchers found that the vitamin D supplementation increased the production of an anti-microbial peptide called cathelicidin in the urinary tract. This increase gives the bladder a stronger immune response when bacteria enter the bladder.
This research shows that vitamin D could potentially be an effective alternative to antibiotics, which become less effective at treating urinary infections when taken repeatedly. Another well known treatment for urinary tract infections is cranberry juice.
Although further studies need to be conducted to verify the association between vitamin D and urinary tract health, there is a large body of research backing other health benefits of vitamin D.
These benefits include boosting bone health, lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of mental decline and protecting against falls.
Unfortunately, many people are still vitamin D deficient, especially mature adults. This is due to the fact that our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing the vitamin from the sun as we age. For this reason, taking a supplement or eating more foods fortified with vitamin D is a good idea. Some foods that are often fortified with vitamin D are yogurt, milk, orange juice, cereals and margarine.