12 December 2008

Yet more vitamin D deficiency diseases

Supports Chapter 11: Our irrational fear of sunlight

I really should have delayed Trick and Treat; there is so much more evidence coming out in support of its various chapters and subjects since it went to print in September.

Two studies just published show even more dangers of ill-health caused by the current ‘keep out of the sun’ advice. These concern low levels of vitamin and Parkinson’s disease, and the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Parkinson’s disease

A team of doctors at the Department of Neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, compared the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in mainly white patients with Parkinson’s disease, with the prevalence in age-matched healthy controls and patients with Alzheimer disease, between 1992 and 2007.

They found significantly lower levels of vitamin D levels at a mean of 31.9 nmol/l in the Parkinson’s patients compared to the other two groups.

(Alzheimer’s patients levels were also lower than the levels in the healthy cohort, although the study was not set up to measure the effects of this.)

Evatt ML, et al Prevalence of vitamin d insufficiency in patients with Parkinson disease and Alzheimer disease. Arch Neurol 2008; 65: 1348-52.

Inflammatory bowel disease

A causal connection between vitamin D deficiency and inflammatory bowel disease was reported at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology in Orlando, Florida, during October.

Lead researcher Dr Alex Ulitsky from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, USA, and his team found that Vitamin D deficiency was common among people with inflammatory bowel disease and is associated with increased disease activity and worse quality of life.

They found that nearly 50% of the patients were Vitamin D deficient at some point, with 11% being severely deficient. Vitamin D deficiency was also associated with reduced quality of life in patients with Crohn’s disease, but not in those with ulcerative colitis.

Although concerned mainly with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, Dr Ulitsky concluded: “All inflammatory bowel disease patients, irrespective of their disease, disease location or nature should have their Vitamin D levels checked regularly and corrected aggressively when insufficiency is found.”

Meeting website: http://www.acg.gi.org/acgmeetings/


There may be some excuse for people living at higher latitudes to have some vitamin D deficiency, particularly if they have darker skins, but for residents of Florida, with its almost year-long sunshine also to suffer must be a reflection on the appalling health advice they are given. We need to get out in the sun more, not less.

1 comment:

Barry Groves said...

Thank you, Katie.