D for Death-defying! Vitamin D!

A recent trial showed that low blood levels of  of Vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of subsequent mortality among African Americans and non-African Americans.

To date, there are no published data from controlled trials designed specifically to assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation on total mortality. Autier and Gandini conducted meta-analysis of 18 trials involving frail, elderly individuals of European descent taking ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements often with the addition of calcium  and they reported a significant 7% reduction in total mortality risk among vitamin D supplement users with a mean daily dose of 528 IU and a mean follow-up time of 5.7 years.

In this Trial, the Authors observed a significant trend  of increasing risk of all-cause mortality with decreasing levels of serum 25(OH)D (Vitamin D).

Those with the lowest levels of Vit D had an 80% increased mortality risk compared with those with the highest levels. The results were same even in patients with heart attacks, bypass surgery, diabetes and high blood pressure. It was found that normal Vitamin D levels in the blood reduced mortality in each of the groups. The trial advises individuals to maintain their Vit D levels in the normal range.

I would suggest to get a Vitamin D level done and see if its low. Vitamin D supplement can be then taken to increase these levels to normal range.

In the hospital where I work, 80% of the hospital employees were found to have low Vitamin D levels. The main reasons for this is inadequate exposure to sunlight and indoor working!

So it would be advisable to increase your exposure to the sun or take Vit D supplements if the are blood levels are low!

via Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels and Mortality: Discussion.

Are Calcium supplements harmful?

Too much of a good thing may be just that: too much. That is the conclusion of yet another study, this time a prospective, longitudinal, population-based cohort of Swedish women, looking at calcium intake and cardiovascular mortality. Around 60000 women studied over 19 years.

In this study, high rates of calcium intake were associated with higher all-cause and cardiovascular death rates but not with deaths from stroke, reports an article published online February 13 in British Medical Journal.

Earlier this month, a National Institutes of Health–sponsored study suggested that a high intake of supplemental calcium increased the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) death in men, but not women.

The highest intakes of calcium (>1400 mg/day) were associated with higher all-cause risk for death  as compared with intakes of 600 to 1000 mg/day.

The association of calcium intake and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality “was especially strong if a high dietary intake of calcium was combined with calcium supplements.”

Women with the highest intake of calcium (>1400 mg/day) and who used supplement tablets had an all-cause risk for death 2.5 times higher than women who had similar total intakes but were not taking a supplement.

The authors suggested that one should not consume Calcium supplements if the food intake of calcium is good to make up for your daily requirement. The study results suggest that supplements, rather than the intake level, are the problem. So, it time to get rid of your supplements if your daily food intake of calcium is good!

via Mortality Doubles With High Calcium Intake Plus Supplements.

Vitamin C for Colds?

C for Common cold!

C for Vitamin C!

It is common practice by laymen and medical professionals to ingest and prescribe Vitamin C respectively to prevent and treat common cold, also called coryza in medical lingo. But does it really prevent or treat the irritating common cold?

A new meta-analysis of 72 trials examining the benefits of regular vitamin C supplementation concludes that although vitamin C may have a modest yet consistent effect on the duration of colds, it has no effect on the incidence of colds, except in people exposed to short periods of extreme physical stress.The review was published online January 31, 2013 in Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews.


The number of people taking vitamin C supplements rose dramatically in the 1970s, after Nobel laureate Linus Pauling,  concluded that vitamin C could help prevent colds as well as reduce cold symptoms after onset.


In an effort to shed more light on that issue, these authors reviewed results from 72  trials carried out since 1966.

They concluded that in studies focusing on community populations, the benefits of taking Vit C were not significant. Regular intake of Vit C in communities did not prevent common cold!  

However, regular supplementation on people involved in extreme physical activities marathon runners, skiers, and soldiers on subarctic exercises would statistically reduce the risk of cold by 52%!

It is time to stop the regular supplements of Vit C! Try some natural lemon / sweet lime juice instead. Citrus fruits are rich sources of Vit C and and also act as appetizers before meals!

via Vitamin C for Colds Shows Limited Benefit: Meta-Analysis.