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Vitamin D Deficiency

What does vitamin D do for your health? What are symptoms and signs of vitamin D deficiency? (Continued)

Cardiovascular disease: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased prevalence of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, peripheral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke. The anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D may be the reason for this. Research is being done to determine exactly how this works and why.

Infections: Do you tend to get more respiratory infections in the winter? Vitamin D deficiency could be the cause. Observational studies have shown an association between low vitamin D status and an increased risk of both upper and lower respiratory tract infections. The role of vitamin D in reducing the risk of hospital-acquired infections, such as pneumonia, bacteremias, urinary tract infections, and surgical site infections is also being investigated.

Depression: The association between lack of sunlight and depressive disorders was first noted 2,000 years ago. Vitamin D plays a role in regulating adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine production in the brain through vitamin D receptors in the adrenal cortex, as well as protecting against the depletion of serotonin and dopamine. This is the possible link with vitamin D's role in depression. The research is new in this area, and only the associations have been shown so far. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an 8%-14% increase in depression. Research is also finding a relationship with low vitamin D levels and increased risk of suicide. In a study done on the Department of Defense Serum Repository personnel, researchers compared the vitamin D levels of 495 verified suicide cases versus 495 controls. They found the lowest 25(OH)D level are associated with an increased risk for suicide. Another study compared vitamin D levels in 59 suicide attempters, 17 nonsuicidal depressed patients, and 14 healthy controls. The suicide attempters had significantly lower vitamin D than depressed nonsuicidal patients and healthy controls. Research is ongoing in this area to determine if you can prevent and treat depression by correcting vitamin D deficiencies.

Reviewed on 6/9/2016

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