Vitamin D Update: Four studies reveal new vitamin D benefits

Diabetic retinopathy

Poorly controlled glucose levels in diabetes can cause changes in the retina of the eye that may lead to blindness. Doctors in this study wanted to know what role, if any, vitamin D might play. Reviewing 11 publications covering 6,000 study participants, those diabetics who were deficient in vitamin D were 27 percent more likely to have diabetic retinopathy than diabetics who had sufficient levels of vitamin D. Explaining the findings, doctors said vitamin D may improve insulin secretion, and may also discourage abnormal blood vessel growth.


Avoid early menopause

About one in 10 women experiences menopause before the age of 45, raising chances for heart and circulatory events, osteoporosis, and other conditions. Analyzing vitamin D in the diets of participants in the large Nurses’ Health Study II, those who got the most vitamin D were 17 percent less likely to develop early menopause compared to women who got the least vitamin D.


Headache relief

In this study, doctors compared 100 adults over age 18 who complained of chronic tension-type or migraine headaches with 100 similar people without headaches. Those with headaches had an average of 14.7 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood compared to 27.4 nanograms for healthy participants.


Better sleep, less pain 

Doctors reviewed pain- and sleep-disorder studies and found those who took vitamin D supplements combined with good sleep patterns were able to increase the effect of pain-management treatments. The conditions that improved in the studies included fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, menstrual cramps, and arthritis. Doctors said vitamin D may help regulate immune and nervous system mechanisms to reduce pain.

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