The vitamin D epidemic and its health consequences.
ABSTRACT Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as an epidemic in the United States. The major source of vitamin D for both children and adults is from sensible sun exposure. In the absence of sun exposure 1000 IU of cholecalciferol is required daily for both children and adults. Vitamin D deficiency causes poor mineralization of the collagen matrix in young children's bones leading to growth retardation and bone deformities known as rickets. In adults, vitamin D deficiency induces secondary hyperparathyroidism, which causes a loss of matrix and minerals, thus increasing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. In addition, the poor mineralization of newly laid down bone matrix in adult bone results in the painful bone disease of osteomalacia. Vitamin D deficiency causes muscle weakness, increasing the risk of falling and fractures. Vitamin D deficiency also has other serious consequences on overall health and well-being. There is mounting scientific evidence that implicates vitamin D deficiency with an increased risk of type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular heart disease, and many common deadly cancers. Vigilance of one's vitamin D status by the yearly measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be part of an annual physical examination.
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ABSTRACT: Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential for human cell and tissue development. In foetus, PUFAs are supplied via placental transfer from maternal circulation. After birth, PUFAs are supplied via the diet. Long chain PUFAs (LCPUFAs) may also be synthesized from precursor fatty acids present in the diet. LCPUFAs have modulatory effects on the immune system. As maturation of the immune system in the neonatal period appears to be crucial for protection against allergy development, a major aim of the study was to study the impact of fatty acid composition in infant blood at birth on allergy development. Secondly, we sought to elucidate the sources of infant LCPUFAs with focus on polymorphisms in genes responsible for production of LCPUFAs in the body from shorter dietary fatty acids. Third, we studied whether LCPUFA and vitamin D metabolism differed in allergic and non-allergic adolescents. High proportions of either n-6 or n-3 LCPUFAs, among cord serum phospholipids were positively associated with the risk of developing either respiratory allergy, or atopic eczema, diagnosed at 13 years of age. We hypothesized that LCPUFAs counteract activation of the infant’s immune system in response to microbial stimuli in early life, thereby hampering the proper immune maturation necessary for healthy immune development. Regarding determinants of cord serum LCPUFA composition, we found that single nucleotide polymorphisms in the FADS gene cluster affected the proportion of the main n-6 LCPUFA, arachidonic acid, in cord serum as well as in adolescent serum. FADS gene polymorphisms that were associated with decreased proportions of arachidonic acid were also associated with a low prevalence of atopic eczema. Increased proportions of the n-3 LCPUFAs DPA and DHA in cord serum phospholipids were instead related to increased length of pregnancy. Adolescents with established allergy did not differ from non-allergic controls regarding proportions of LCPUFAs in serum phospholipids. Nor did they differ in vitamin D status. Proportions of n-3 LCPUFA in serum reflected dietary intake of fish in non-allergic adolescents, but not in adolescents with atopic eczema. The results may suggest that subjects with atopic eczema have a different LCPUFA metabolism, maybe because of enhanced usage of LCPUFAs during the allergic inflammation. In conclusion, the results suggest that LCPUFA metabolism may affects the risk of allergy development and may also be altered as a result of the allergic state. The lack of relation between allergy and vitamin D status in adolescents does not exclude that neonatal vitamin D status may affect allergy development.04/2015, Degree: PhD, Supervisor: Ann-Sofie Sandberg, Agnes Wold, Anna Sansin
Experimental Biology, 2014 -FASEB Journal, 1029.7; 05/2014
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ABSTRACT: The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is rising unexpectedly in every age group. Apart from several risk factors, the lack of awareness is posing a serious threat for low vitamin D levels in children as well. The aim of our study was to compare the knowledge and status of vitamin D in Saudi school children. Saudi students, 1188 boys (15.1 ± 2.2 years) and 1038 girls (15.1 ± 2.0 years), were recruited and a pre-designed questionnaire with regards to knowledge about vitamin D was administered. Blood samples were collected and serum 25hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D was measured. A significantly higher percentage of boys answered correctly than girls regarding knowledge questions as sun exposure (p = 0.002, and 0.011), breastfeeding (p < 0.001) and diseases (p < 0.001). The percentage of girls was significantly higher who thought that fruits and vegetables are not rich sources of vitamin D (24.7% girls vs. 15.4% boys; p < 0.001and 29.6% girls vs. 20.9% boys p < 0.001), respectively. Boys had a higher prevalence and frequency of sun exposure than girls (p < 0.001 for both). Girls showed a significantly higher percentage of sunscreen use and full covering during sun exposure (p = 0.001 for both).Vitamin D deficiency was significantly higher in girls than boys (47.0% versus 19.4.0%; p < 0.001). Vitamin D status in boys was significantly higher than girls (p < 0.001). In girls, those who answered correctly about vitamin D related disease (p = 0.03) and sources (p = 0.015), demonstrated significantly higher vitamin D levels. The awareness of vitamin D and sunlight in children needs to be improved by provision of trained physicians and school teachers. Creating more areas where girls can uncover freely during routine works and outdoor activities will help increase their vitamin D levels.BMC Pediatrics 05/2015; 15(1):53. DOI:10.1186/s12887-015-0369-9 · 1.92 Impact Factor