DNC NEWS: Vitamin D update, June 21, 2005


Subject: Links to recent news articles and research studies on vitamin D



This month's highlight was Harvard Professor Ed Giovannucci's interview with National Public Radio: Debate over the Benefits of Sun Exposure .  Professor Cheryl Rosen, the dermatologist who was supposed to debate him, didn't show up.  Professor Giovannucci was also quoted by the Los Angles Times which ran a story on the issue.


The month more coverage in the press about new vitamin D research.  A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found women with the highest vitamin D and calcium intake had about half the chance of developing premenstrual syndrome.  The findings triggered hundreds of press articles, from FoxNews  to CBS  to Forbes  to the Baltimore Sun.


Another study documented dangerously low 25(OH)D levels in American children .  Stories on PMS must sell more papers as no news outlet picked up on the vitamin D deficient children research.  Nor did the press pick up on a literature review that concluded vitamin D supplementation may be crucial in pregnancy .  Australian researchers, led by Professor John McGrath, are finding that even transient vitamin D deficiencies during gestation cause permanent and irreversible brain damage.  Other research shows this damage is similar to the changes seen in patients with  schizophrenia.


Cardiovascular disease is beginning to get some vitamin D attention.  This month, a Finnish group reported that low intakes of vitamin D were associated with both heart attack and stroke .  A group in Texas discussed evidence on the role of vitamin D in left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac function .  


A paper in Cancer Research showed that sunshine reduces the risk of prostate cancer.  Professor Gary Schwartz is finally getting some attention for the theory he first proposed twenty years ago: FoxNews  and CBS .


Another study added to the evidence that vitamin D deficiency plays a causative role in Type 2 diabetes.  In Clinical Endocrinology , a group from Australia demonstrated that blood sugars go up as 25(OH)D levels go down.  At least six studies now support Professor Boucher's 1998 theory in the British Journal of Nutrition that vitamin D deficiency is a major cause of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome.


Research this month even suggested that  Parkinson's Disease may be related to vitamin D deficiency. 



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