The report, in the journal PLOS Medicine, analysed genetic data from 21 studies – a total of 42,000 people.
It found every 10% rise in body mass index (BMI) – used as an indicator of body fat – led to a 4% drop of available vitamin D in the body.
As vitamin D is stored in fatty tissue, the authors suggest the larger storage capacity in obese people may prevent it from circulating in the bloodstream.
BMI it is calculated by taking weight (in kilograms) and dividing it by height (in metres) squared. Those with a BMI of 30 or above are considered obese.
Lead author Dr Elina Hypponen, from the University College London Institute of Child Health, said the study “highlights the importance of monitoring and treating vitamin D deficiency in people who are overweight or obese”. Continue reading Obesity can lower vitamin D levels in the body, a study suggests.
Greater access to cheap vitamin D supplements would improve the health of at-risk groups, experts say.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says up to 25% of UK children are vitamin D deficient, leading to a rise in rickets cases.
In the BBC’s Scrubbing Up column, the college’s Prof Mitch Blair called for concerted action to tackle the problem.
The government said those with the greatest need already received free supplements.
The RCPCH said other options to increase vitamin D levels, such as fortifying a wider range of foods, should be considered.
Half of the UK’s white population, and up to 90% of the black and Asian people in the country are thought to be affected by vitamin D deficiency.
The first signs of deficiency include muscle and bone pain as well as swelling around the wrists and ribs.
A lack of the nutrient is linked to a higher incidence of diabetes, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis as well as rickets – a disease that causes bones to become soft and deformed.
The number of cases of rickets has been rising, from 183 in 1996 to 762 in 2011. Continue reading Cheap vitamin D ‘would boost health’
Chronic muscle pain (myalgia) is a common problem throughout the world.
Seemingly simple, it is actually a difficult problem for the clinician interested in determining the aetiology of the pain, as well as in managing the pain.
The two common muscle pain conditions are Fibromyalgia and Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic, widespread muscle tenderness syndrome, associated with central sensitisation. It is often accompanied by chronic sleep disturbance and fatigue, visceral pain syndromes like irritable bowel syndrome and interstitial cystitis.
Myofascial pain syndrome is an overuse or muscle stress syndrome characterised by the presence of trigger points in muscle.
The problem these syndromes pose lies not in making the diagnosis of muscle pain. Rather, it is the need to identify the underlying causes of persistent or chronic muscle pain in order to develop a specific treatment plan.
Chronic myalgia may not improve until the underlying precipitating or perpetuating factors are themselves managed.
Precipitating or perpetuating causes of chronic myalgia include structural or mechanical causes like scoliosis, localised joint hypo-mobility, or generalised or local joint laxity; and metabolic factors like depleted tissue iron stores, hypothyroidism or Vitamin D deficiency.
Sometimes, correction of an underlying cause of myalgia is all that is needed to resolve the condition. Continue reading Treating Chronic Muscle Pain by Robert Gerwin
People who take calcium supplements could be increasing their risk of having a heart attack, according to researchers in Germany.
Calcium is often taken by older people to strengthen bones and prevent fractures.
But the study, published in the journal Heart, said the supplements “should be taken with caution”.
Experts say promoting a balanced diet including calcium would be a better strategy.
The researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre, in Heidelberg, followed 23,980 people for more than a decade.
They compared the number of heart attacks in people who were taking calcium supplements with those who did not.
There were 851 heart attacks among the 15,959 people who did not take any supplements at all. However, people taking calcium supplements were 86% more likely to have had a heart attack during the study. Continue reading Safety of Calcium Supplements questioned
Rickets – the cause of fractures in a young baby whose parents were wrongly accused of his murder – was once almost eradicated.
But factors including poor diet and a lack of exposure to sunlight mean there has been an increase in cases of rickets in UK children in recent years. It affects the bones, causing them to become weaker and softer than normal. It can lead to serious bone deformities, such as bowed legs or curvature of the spine.
A lack of vitamin D and calcium is the most common cause. Our bodies absorb vitamin D from the action of sunlight on our skin and from foods such as oily fish, breakfast cereals and eggs.
Vitamin D is essential for a child to form strong and healthy bones because it helps the body absorb calcium from food. Rare forms of rickets can also be passed on from a parent to a child and, occasionally, rickets develops in children with rare forms of kidney, liver and intestinal conditions. Continue reading Child Dies of undiagnosed Rickets
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become thin and weak, and break easily. It frequently goes undiagnosed until a fracture occurs, as there are no warning signs. The spine, wrist and hips are particularly vulnerable to fracture.
Occasionally a person develops a dowager hump or kyphosis at the top of their spine due to collapse of the vertebrae, and notices they have lost height. But mostly the thinning bones remain hidden away inside the body, with no symptoms or signs to alert someone to the fact that they have osteoporosis, until a minor bump or fall causes a bone fracture such as a broken hip or a crushed vertebrae. Continue reading Osteoprosis
Vitamin D is necessary for building bone. Older people often have low vitamin D levels through lack of exposure to sunlight and low dietary intake. Therefore, it has been suggested that taking additional vitamin D supplements may help to reduce the risk of hip and other fractures, which are very common in older people.
This Cochrane Review included 45 trials with 84,585 participants. The review found that taking vitamin D alone is unlikely to prevent fracture. Vitamin D taken with additional calcium supplements does appear to reduce risk of hip fractures in people living in institutional care. Although the risk of harmful effects from vitamin D and calcium is small, some people, particularly with kidney stones, kidney disease or high blood calcium, should seek medical advice before taking these supplements.
The UK is having a vitamin D crisis.
Rickets, a disease that we thought had vanished along with small boys being sent up chimneys, is re-emerging. A 2006 study of Paediatricians in the West Midlands found an overall incidence of rickets in approximately 8 children per 100,000, with a much higher prevalence in populations from South Asian, Africa and the Caribbean.
At the other end of the scale, with an ageing population, Osteoporosis is on the rise. The National Osteoporosis Society estimates that 50% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50 will suffer some kind of bone fracture due to Osteoporosis.
Many people are aware that vitamin D is implicated in bone health. Some people know that “You can get it from Sunshine”. A few people know what foods it is found in. Continue reading Vitamin D crisis in the UK