Why Is Vitamin D Vital To Our Health?

November 20, 2016



I am sure you've heard about the multiple benefits of Vitamin D.


Multiple recent studies highlight the positive effects of Vitamin D :

  • Improves bone health, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. (1)

  • Boosts long-term survival and decreases the recurrence of tumors in patients with breast cancer. (2)

  • Eases depression and fatigue, improves mood. (3)

  • Decreases disease activity and progression in patients with multiple sclerosis. (4)

  • Diminishes the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. (5)

  • Maternal Vitamin D supplementation in early pregnancy is associated with a decreased risk of behavioral issues and symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in preschool children. (6)

  • Controls response to treatment of different cancers, including melanoma/non-melanoma skin cancers and colorectal cancer; increases overall survival. (7, 8)

  • Improves insulin secretion in patients with Type 2 diabetes and may also directly reduce vascular endothelial growth factors and prevent diabetic retinopathy (vision loss). (9)

  • Significantly decreases the symptoms of painful diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). (10)

  • Slows down the progression of diabetic nephropathy (kidney damage) and other complications of diabetes. (11)

  • Improves survival and decreases severity of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, like Crohn's disease and Ulcerative colitis. (12)

  • Increases left ventricular ejection fraction (heart function) and reversed cardiac remodeling in patients with heart failure. (13)

I can continue to list the countless favorable effects of Vitamin D, regardless of the season.  However, I would like to highlight why we especially need to increase its use now, in the cold Fall/Winter months of the year.  Unfortunately it is time once again for the cold, flu and infection season.


Health officials in England and Wales insist that everyone should now consider taking Vitamin D supplements in Autumn and Winter. (14)


The newest published study showed that a high dose of Vitamin D can prevent acute respiratory infections (ARI) in older adults, living in long-term care facilities.  The researchers compared high dose 100,000 IU/m vs. standard 400-1000 IU/d, and found that only "high-dose Vitamin D3 supplementation reduced the incidence of ARI in older long-term care residents. (15)


Vitamin D bolsters our immune system, helping to prevent and fight infections.


The body's main natural source of Vitamin D is safe exposure to the Summer sun.  Safe sun exposure means a short time in the sun without sunscreen - but before burning.  The time needed varies from person to person, but a balance is needed because too much sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer, while not enough sunshine increases Vitamin D deficiency.  Sunbeds are not recommended, but ultraviolet lamps could be helpful.


Vitamin D also comes from eating/drinking certain foods, including oily fish, liver, egg yolks, mushrooms, fortified milk, and orange juice.


To achieve a high enough therapeutic dose, you might need to take supplements. 



                          The level has to be monitored by a healthcare provider!


For more information on a healthy lifestyle and benefits of various supplements, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Koganski at 215-750-7000, www.newtowninternalmedicine.com



1) Brooks M. Endocrine society issues practice guideline on vitamin D. Medscape Medical News. June 7, 2011.

2) Vitamin D Levels Tied to Breast Cancer Survival. Medscape. Nov 11, 2016.

3) Vitamin D Eases Depression, Fatigue in Spinal Cord Patients. Medscape. Oct 26, 2016.

4) SOLAR trial. Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS) 2016. Abstract 166. Presented September 16, 2016.

5) European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress 2016: Abstract PA4112. Presented September 6, 2016.

6) Daraki V, et al. Vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy associates with increased emotional and behavioral problems at preschool age: the Rhea pregnancy cohort, Crete, Greece.Endocrine Abstracts (2016) 41 EP136.

7) Skaaby T, et al. Prospective population-based study of the association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin-D levels and the incidence of specific types of cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014;23:1220-1229.

8) Zgaga L, et al. Plasma vitamin D concentration influences survival outcome after a diagnosis of colorectal cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2014;32:2430-2439.

9) Sanguankeo A, et al. Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Diabetic Retinopathy. Pract. 2016;22 (Supp 2); Abstract 309.

10) Basit A, et al.Vitamin D for the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy.BMJ Open Diab Res Care 2016;4:e000148 doi:10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000148.

11) Celil Alper Usluogullari, et al.  The Relationship Between Microvascular Complications and Vitamin D Deficiency in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.BMC Endocr Disord. 2015;15(33).

12) Toufic A Kabbani, et al.Association of Vitamin D Level With Clinical Status in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. A 5-Year Longitudinal Study.Am J Gastroenterol. 2016;111(5):712-719.

13) Witte KK, et al. Effects of vitamin D on cardiac function in patients with chronic HF: The VINDICATE Study.J Am Coll Cardiol 2016; DOI: 10.1016/J.JACC.2016.03.508.

14) Tim Locke. Why Should Everyone Take Vitamin D Supplements?. WebMD Health News.July 21, 2016.

15) Ginde AA, et al. High-dose monthly vitamin D for prevention of acute respiratory infection in older long-term care residents: a randomized clinical trial . Published online November 16, 2016. J Am Geriatr Soc. 

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