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Low Vitamin D

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Victorian Government recently published a report – “Low Vitamin D in Victoria: Key Health Messages for Doctors, Nurses and Allied Health”.

The publishers of this report linked Vitamin D deficiency to multiple sclerosis, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), various types of cancers (particularly colon cancer), heart disease and mental health conditions. Very low Vitamin D levels cause muscle and bone pain and poor bone mineralization which results in Ricketts in children and osteomalacia in adults.

The report recommends Vitamin D supplementation in order to prevent Vitamin D insufficiency.

Currently the Australian Government is spending $100,000,000 a year in testing for Vitamin D deficiency. More than 40% of tests of patients are found to be lacking in Vitamin D.

Recently, Vitamin D specialists have suggested that screening is unnecessary. Given the wide spread prevalence of Vitamin D insufficiency it has been suggested that all adults can supplement with Vitamin D between 1000 and 2000 international units a day without any ill effects.

Vitamin D is known to assist in calcium absorption and is important for the maintenance of a healthy immune system. It contributes to the immune defense against respiratory tract infections and assists in the maintenance of healthy skeletal and cardiac muscle.

In view of the above findings, given the high incidence of Vitamin D insufficiency in Victoria, there are many benefits to be derived for routine Vitamin D supplementation. Testing should only be performed for those individuals at high risk of Vitamin D toxicity.

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