Friday, January 18, 2008

Take this vitamin, you may live longer

You might want to talk to your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements. People who do take them appear to have a lower risk of death from any cause, according to a new European study that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Previous research has suggested that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with a higher risk of death from cancer, heart disease and diabetes--illnesses that account for 60 percent to 70 percent of deaths in high-income nations. "If the associations made between vitamin D and these conditions were consistent, then interventions effectively strengthening vitamin D status should result in reduced total mortality," write the authors, Philippe Autier, M.D., of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France and Sara Gandini, Ph.D., of the European Institute of Oncology in Milano, Italy.

The study: Autier and Gandini analyzed 18 separate randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplements involving 57,311 participants. They evaluated doses of vitamin D ranging from 300 to 2,000 international units, with an average dose of 528 international units. Most commercially available supplements contain between 400 and 600 international units. Over an average follow-up period of almost six years, 4,777 of the participants died.

The results: Individuals who took vitamin D had a 7 percent lower risk of death than those who did not. In the nine trials that collected blood samples, those who took supplements had an average 1.4- to 5.2-fold higher blood level of vitamin D than those who did not.

Why does vitamin D lower the risk of death? The authors admit it's not known, but suspect the vitamin may inhibit some mechanisms by which cancer cells proliferate, or it may boost the function of blood vessels or the immune system. "This is the first study that shows that taking one vitamin has an impact on mortality," Autier told HealthDay News. "If you want to increase your vitamin D intake by taking supplements, it looks like a great idea."

----from the editors at Netscape

Start today!

Nature's Bounty Vitamin D-1000 IU Tablets
Vitamin D helps promote healthy bones and teeth and plays a role in the maintenance of calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood. This high-potency Vitamin D supplement also assists in maintaining a healthy immune system.
Directions:
For adults, take one (1) tablet daily, preferably with a meal. As a reminder, discuss the supplements and medications you take with your health care providers.