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Longevity has become big business, with investors ploughing vast sums into this space in the hope of big returns. Amid all this excitement, it’s easy to feel that the task is bigger than you. However, research shows there is much you can do to boost longevity.
You could do a lot worse than upping your vitamin D intake, research suggests.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Doctor Sarah Brewer, Medical Director of Healthspan, extolled the benefits of the “sunshine” vitamin.
The doc cited a seminal study into the relationship between vitamin D levels and mortality.
Researchers carried out a meta-analysis of eight prospective cohort studies conducted within Europe and the US.
A meta-analysis compares the findings of multiple studies to arrive at a more definitive conclusion on any given inquiry.
Results were adjusted for age, sex, season of blood draw, education, BMI, smoking and physical activity.
One model also adjusted for comorbid diseases (where more than one disease or condition is present) that could affect mortality such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
What did the researchers find out?
Doctor Brewer broke down the key findings: “This is very exciting research and in addition, other studies carried out in eight countries and involving over 26,000 adults aged 50 plus, found that those with the highest vitamin D levels were 57 percent less likely to die from any medical cause during the study durations than those with the lowest levels.
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“Despite vitamin D3 levels varying with country, sex, and season, the association between those with the lowest and those with the highest vitamin D level within each country was remarkably consistent.”
The study is not an outlier. A growing body of evidence points to the benefits of maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.
A new study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggests vitamin D helps to bolster the brain against decline.
The study, involving over 295,000 genetic profiles in the UK Biobank, suggests that low vitamin D levels is associated with reduced brain volumes and that correcting vitamin D deficiency could prevent as many as 17 percent of cases of dementia.
Lack of vitamin D was also associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Topping up your levels
Last summer, Public Health England (PHE) advised that everyone in the UK should take a vitamin D supplement during autumn and winter months, when UV exposure is too low to allow the natural synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin.
And, while you can make vitamin D in your skin through exposure to sunlight, this is usually insufficient to meet your needs – otherwise it wouldn’t be classed as a vitamin.
In fact, you can only make vitamin D when the UV index is greater than three.
Even when the sun is shining, many people also fail to make enough vitamin D because they avoid the sun, cover up or use high SPF sunscreens.
With this in mind, Doctor Sarah Brewer advised: “The minimum suggested intake of 10mcg vitamin D3 per day is needed to prevent vitamin D deficiency conditions such as muscle and bone aches and pains, osteomalacia or rickets.
“For optimum health, there is increasing evidence that higher doses of 25mcg to 50mcg vitamin D are needed, especially for older people as the ability to synthesise vitamin D declines in later life.
“Your ability to absorb and use vitamin D decreases with age and I recommend a daily intake of 25mcg for adults aged up to 50 years, and 50mcg per day thereafter.”
Healthspan’s new Vitamin D3 50 Plus (180 capsules £14.95 www.healthspan.co.uk) has been specifically formulated with a cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil capsule following recent studies from Tufts University, Boston, which found that monounsaturated fats – especially olive oil – are associated with better absorption. Healthspan’s advanced formula provides the optimum 50ug level of natural source vitamin D3 – as recommended by medical professionals for those over the age of 50.
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