To D or Not to D? That is the Question…

Britain has issued a couple of recommendations regarding vitamin D that unfortunately contradict each other.

Vitamin D is critical for human health.  The “sunshine vitamin” helps regulate calcium, phosphorous and the immune system.  It prevents brittleness in bones and teeth, including osteoporosis in older adults.  It may affect as many as 2,000 genes.

Aside from fish, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D.  Fortunately, the best source is right outside your window.  Your body produces vitamin D when you are exposed to sunlight.

Unfortunately, pollution, tall buildings, sunscreen and indoor activities have reduced sunlight exposure and increased cases of vitamin D deficiency.  What to do?

In July, Public Health England recommended an average intake of 10 μgs of vitamin D per day.  When there is less sunlight, “people should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D in autumn and winter,” PHE said.

Shockingly, last week the British Medical Journal came out and said the exact opposite.  “Vitamin D supplementation alone does not improve musculoskeletal outcomes,” “BMJ wrote.  “There is no high quality evidence to suggest that it is beneficial for these outcomes.”

In other words, current evidence does not support the use of vitamin D supplements to prevent disease.  Instead, the researchers recommend getting vitamin D through natural means.  Time to get back out in the sun!

Agilent technologies are used to study vitamin D and its health effects.

U.S. researchers using an Agilent LC column found that wild salmon contains four times as much vitamin D as farmed salmon.

Belgian researchers using Agilent microarrays found that vitamin D deficiency shows increased sensitivity to autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel disease and type 1 diabetes.

Swedish researchers used an Agilent HPLC and MS to study the effects of vitamin D mortality in older men.  They found that both high and low concentrations of vitamin D are associated with elevated risks of cardiovascular mortality, compared with intermediate concentrations.


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