Expert Urges Elderly To Get More Sun
As reported in ScienceDaily (5/09) - Spending more time in the sunshine could help older people to reduce
their risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. Exposure to sunlight
stimulates vitamin D in the skin and older people are more likely to have a
vitamin D deficiency due to the natural aging process and changes in lifestyle.
Researchers at the University of Warwick have shown vitamin D deficiency is
significantly associated with metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical and
metabolic disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
and diabetes. The research team, led by Dr Oscar Franco at Warwick Medical
School, investigated the association between vitamin D levels in the blood and
the prevalence of metabolic syndrome in 3,262 people aged 50-70 years old in
China. His team found a high correlation between low vitamin D levels and the
prevalence of metabolic syndrome. They found 94% of people in the study had a
vitamin D (25-hydroxyvitamin D) deficiency or insufficiency. The results showed
42.3% of these people also had metabolic syndrome.
The results of the study, published in Diabetes Care journal, are consistent
with the findings of other studies in Western populations and Dr Franco
suggests vitamin D deficiency could become a global health problem. He said:
"Vitamin D deficiency is becoming a condition that is causing a large burden of
disease across the globe with particular deleterious impact among the elderly.
Our results are consistent with those found in British and American
populations. We found that low vitamin D levels were associated with an
increased risk of having metabolic syndrome, and was also significantly
associated with increased insulin resistance."
Dr Franco said there were many factors which could explain why older people had
less vitamin D in their blood, including changes in lifestyle factors such as
clothing and outdoor activity. He added: "As we get older our skin is less
efficient at forming vitamin D and our diet may also become less varied, with a
lower natural vitamin D content. Most importantly, however, the dermal
production of vitamin D following a standard exposure to UVB light decreases
with age because of atrophic skin changes. When we are older we may need to
spend more time outdoors to stimulate the same levels of vitamin D we had when
we were younger."
Vitamin D deficiency exists when the concentration of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D
(25-OH-D) in the blood serum occurs at 12ng/ml (nanograms/millilitre) or less.
The normal concentration of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D in the blood serum is
25-50ng/ml. This study was carried out in collaboration with colleagues from
the Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences in China. The team recruited
3,262 community residents aged 50-70 from Beijing and Shanghai in China as part
of the Nutrition and Health of Aging Population in China (NHAPC) project. Dr
Franco added: "Vitamin D deficiency is now recognised as a worldwide concern
and metabolic syndrome has become a global epidemic. More research is needed to
find out why older people are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D and
how this is linked to the development of metabolic syndrome and related
Low Vitamin D Linked To Mobility Problems
from Daily Dose - Seniors Need More Sunshine by W.C. Douglas,M.D.
Stay out of the sun... use sunscreen... cover up... wear a hat... nag, nag, nag.
I'm sick of it! This bad advice has led directly to the vitamin D crisis and
skin cancer explosion -- and now, a new study shows how it's destroying
senior's lives, too.
Researchers say older Americans with the lowest levels of vitamin D have the
highest risk for mobility problems... while those with the highest levels of
the sunshine vitamin had the lowest risk. Which category are you in? If you
answered "highest," you're probably wrong. Most Americans are badly deficient,
and it's getting worse every year. Just look at this new study: The researchers
tested 2,641 golden oldies with an average age of 75, and found two-thirds of
them had insufficient D levels.
All of these seniors were asked to perform basic mobility tasks, such as walking
400 meters quickly, rising from a chair without using their arms, and some
balance tests similar to what a cop might ask a DWI suspect to do. The seniors
were given the tests again two years later, and two years after that... and
those with the highest D levels from the start did the best all the way
through, according to the study presented at the Experimental Biology 2010
meeting. The researchers say now they want to study whether D supplements can
keep you out of the wheelchair, but let's call that what it is: An easy play
for another research grant. I can tell you right now what they'll find if they
use high levels of genuine, natural vitamin D3: Healthy, active seniors.
Vitamin D won't just boost your mobility, it will also lower your risk for
diabetes, heart disease, bone breaks, cancer, colds, flu and more.
You can get your own quality supplement easily enough, but the best way to take
in the D is to soak up the sun. Just use a little common sense, don't get
burned... and ignore the nags.