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Periodontal disease is a common chronic inflammatory disease and a major risk factor for tooth loss.  A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has demonstrated a link between low blood levels of vitamin D and the incidence of gum disease.

The study group included over 11,000 adults over the age of twenty. Eighty percent of those studied had inadequate vitamin D levels, and the lower their vitamin D serum levels, the greater the risk of tooth loss. Among subject participants age 50 and older, those with the lowest vitamin D levels had 25 to 27 percent more tooth loss than those in the highest vitamin D range.

The researchers suspect that vitamin D may cut down on the inflammatory response that leads to periodontal disease. Given the high prevalence of periodontal disease and vitamin D deficiency, these findings suggest important oral health implications related to vitamin D intake.

Dietrich T, et al. Association between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and periodontal disease in the US population. Am J Clin Nutr 80(1):108-13.

AvocadoBone fractureRecent studies have indicated that oxidative stress may be a contributing factor in the development of osteoporosis and fractures. A new study investigated the potential association between serum alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E) concentrations and the risk of hip fractures.

The study, published online in the journal Osteoporosis International, included 21,774 Norwegian men and women aged 65-79 that were part of a community-based health study. Serum Vitamin E concentrations were measured at the beginning of the study and subjects were followed for 11 years.

During the course of the follow up, 1,168 hip fractures were reported in the men and women. After adjusting for smoking, month of blood sample, BMI, education, physical inactivity, self-rated health, and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), serum vitamin E levels showed a linear inverse association with hip fracture risk. Among subjects in the lowest quartile (25%) of serum Vitamin E, the risk of hip fracture was 51% higher than those whose levels were among the top 25%.

In this older population, low serum vitamin E concentrations were associated with an increased risk of hip fractures. These results confirm the findings of two recent cohort studies which also found an increased risk of bone fracture among older adults with low serum vitamin E concentrations. The researchers suggest that in addition to its antioxidant effect, vitamin E could have a direct role in bone remodeling. However, further research is needed to clarify the role of vitamin E in maintaining bone health.

Holvik K et al. Osteoporos Int. 2014 Nov; 25(11):2545-54. doi:10.1007/s00198-014-2802-6.

Michaëlsson K et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan; 99(1):107-14. doi:10.3945/ajcn.113.064691

Magnesium (Mg) is an essential mineral important in the structure and the function of the human body and also as a cofactor for hundreds of enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body. Unfortunately, dietary surveys in the US continue to show that older people are particularly susceptible to magnesium deficiency for various reasons, including an inadequate dietary intake, reduced absorption, and greater losses in stools and urine. A poor magnesium status has been associated with reduced physical performance, but to date no trials have established a link between magnesium supplementation and physical performance in the elderly.

In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, investigators sought to determine whether oral magnesium supplementation could improve physical performance in healthy older women. 124 healthy women (average age: 71.5 years) attending a mild fitness program were randomly assigned into two groups: 54 women in the treatment group were given 300 mg/day of magnesium oxide for 12 weeks, and 77 in the control group received no placebo or intervention. The primary outcome was a change in the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).

The scores for the SPPB did not differ between the two groups at baseline. After 12 weeks, the group taking magnesium had a significantly better total SPPB score than the controls. The treatment group also had a significantly better test score for chair stand times and 4 minute walking speeds. The improvements were more evident in women with dietary magnesium intakes below the RDA.

The findings of this study indicate that magnesium supplementation may play a role in delaying age-related decline in physical performance in healthy older women, especially if dietary intake is below recommended levels.

Nicola Veronese et al. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep;100(3):974-81. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.080168.

By Jackie Khor

With the winter chills behind us and with longer hours of sunshine, it’s time to shake off those winter blues and get active. Getting out and getting active is a fabulous thing you can do for yourself – to soak up the fresh air, shake off the winter pounds and to strengthen your bones, joints and muscles.

While for a few of us, this may be as easy as tying up those jogger laces and sprinting out the door, it may not be that simple for many!

With a large population of women and men who struggle with bone health issues, it is not as easy as it sounds.  Bone health issues are a key deterrent and therefore it is important to start looking after your bone health at an earlier age rather than later. Some of the foremost bone health issues faced are: decrease in bone mass, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Some of the primary causes for decrease in bone mass among younger women are smoking and excessive alcohol use. Pregnancy and breast feeding can lower bone mass as well. Women undergo rapid bone loss after menopause when levels of the bone strengthening hormone oestrogen drop dramatically.

Young women and girls should concentrate on building strong bones, to reduce their risk of bone health issues such as thinning of bones and osteoporosis later in life.

The situation is quite similar for men, whose bone mass peaks around the age of 20 years. From there on, it is vital that men ensure they have sufficient intake of calcium and vitamin D to keep their bone health from deteriorating.

Osteoporosis is responsible for almost all the hip fractures in older people. The statistics are alarming! Every 5-6 minutes, someone is admitted to an Australian hospital with an osteoporotic fracture. This is expected to rise to every 3 – 4 minutes by the year 2021, as the population ages and the number of osteoporotic fractures increase.

Ensuring you consume enough calcium and Vitamin D commencing earlier in life, along with adequate exercise can reduce the incidence of bone health issues at a later age.



Vitamin D is necessary for optimal health.  However, nearly one-third of Australian adults over the age of 25 have Vitamin D deficiency which raises a serious public health concern.

Vitamin D deficiency is recognized as a global public health problem, but the population-based prevalence of deficiency and its determinants in Australian adults has not previously been properly examined.

A recent study evaluated the vitamin D status of Australian adults aged ≥25 years and risk factors associated with vitamin D deficiency in this population group. A national sample of 11247 Australian adults enrolled in the AusDiab was drawn from 42 randomly selected districts throughout Australia from Darwin to Hobart.  Serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D were measured by immunoassay. Vitamin D deficiency was defined as a concentration <50 nmol/L.

The overall prevalence of vitamin D deficiency (<50 nmol/L) was 31% with women being more commonly affected (39% in women vs 23% in men).

When evaluated by season and latitude, deficiency was more common during winter and in people residing in southern Australia (latitude >35°S); 42% of women and 27% of men in southern Australia during summer/autumn had deficient levels, which increased to 58% and 35% in women and men, respectively, during winter/spring.

The prevalence of vitamin D deficiency also increased significantly with age, in women, in those of non-European origin, in the obese and those who were physically inactive and with a higher level of education.

Low levels of vitamin D has been found to be associated with a number of medical conditions such as softened bones; diseases that cause progressive muscle weakness leading to an increased risk of falls, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Results from this latest study confirmed that vitamin D deficiency is common in Australia affecting nearly one-third of adults aged 25 years and older.  The study authors further commented that national strategies are urgently needed to develop an awareness campaign for balancing safe sun exposure and adequate vitamin D intake, and to tackle the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in Australia before the problem worsens.

Daly RM et al. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2012 Jul; 77(1):26-35.



By Jackie Khor

20 September 2011

Whatever condition and disease you study, Vitamin D keeps coming up as a major factor. Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays multiple roles in human health.

Vitamin D in calcium metabolism and bone health is well recognized but more recently, its role in cardiovascular health, immune function, glucose metabolism, and cell differentiation and proliferation have been defined.

It is well established that vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in developing children but more current research has also linked vitamin D deficiency with osteoporosis, osteomalacia, impaired muscle function, infection, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and some cancers in adults. Thus, achieving optimal vitamin D status throughout life is essential to maintaining overall health.

Vitamin D is unique among other vitamins, in that very little is obtained through a normal diet. The principal source of circulating vitamin D is endogenous production in the skin following exposure to sunlight. Thus, factors that limit sun exposure and/or endogenous vitamin D synthesis greatly reduce circulating vitamin D concentrations. Some of these factors include geographic latitude, season of the year, melanin content of the skin, use of sunblock, lack of outdoor activity, age, and more. Any of these factors, among others, can lead to chronic vitamin D deficiency.

Deficiencies of vitamin D are common. It is currently estimated that more than 1 billion people worldwide and 30-to-40% of the population between 15 and 49 years of age in the United States suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Consensus is building that adequate circulating vitamin D concentrations should be greater than 30 ng/mL and optimally above 50 ng/mL (7-10). Because relatively small amounts of vitamin D are obtained through the diet and so many lifestyle factors reduce endogenous vitamin D synthesis, supplementation becomes an important avenue for achieving and maintaining optimal vitamin D status. It has been shown that 100 IU of vitamin D per day increases circulating concentrations of vitamin D by ~1 ng/mL (7-10). Thus, supplementation with advanced doses of vitamin D (2000-4000 IU/day) depending on lifestyle, are required to reverse vitamin D deficiency, boost vitamin D levels into the optimal range, and maintain them thereafter.

There are several forms of vitamin D including D1, D2 and D3. You want to take D3 (calciferol). Vitamin D3 is converted in our bodies to the active form which is dihydroxy vitamin D. Doctors and pharmaceutical corporations keep promoting dangerous, synthetic, expensive, prescription only analogs of vitamin D. These can be patented and not sold over the counter. It is important not to take too much D3 as it is oil soluble, toxic in excess, and can result in side effects. Since you can’t get any meaningful amounts in common foods, this is not a problem at all.

Remember how popular cod liver oil has been for decades now? This is really because of the vitamin D content. People often really do get dramatic results from simply taking a spoonful of cod liver oil. This is because they are getting the vitamin D they need so badly. Of course, taking a multivitamin of inexpensive 400 IU vitamin D supplement is a much more practical and tasty way to do this.

There are many reasons we suffer from so many diseases and conditions in the richest country in the world with the highest standard of living. One important and proven reason is lack of vitamin D in most people. Study after study shows people of all ages in most countries are deficient in vitamin D by blood analysis. This is especially true of the poor and the elderly. Along with your multiple vitamin just take an extra 400 IU capsule of inexpensive vitamin D when you’re not getting out in the sun regularly. No matter how well you eat you aren’t going to get any significant amount in your diet.

The science behind this is just overwhelming. People of all ages should take it. The international published science here is endless and growing. Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide epidemic.

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