Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Macular Degeneration Risk

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Vitamin D has gotten more attention in recent years, as a result of extensive research which has explored the impact of a deficiency in this important substance. A meta-analysis on vitamin D deficiency which was published earlier this year in Maturitas revealed a possible correlation between low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the body and increased risk for development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Furthermore, scientists surmise that if a vitamin D deficiency is corrected well before any signs of AMD are present, the disease’s prognosis is much improved.

The meta-analysis revealed that individuals with macular degeneration had vitamin D levels which were an average of 15% lower than levels in individuals without the disease. Another analysis revealed that subjects with highest circulating levels of vitamin had 50-80% lower odds of developing AMD compared with those who had the lowest circulating vitamin D levels.

However, despite all of these findings, it is not yet clear whether vitamin D supplementation would have a protective effect against AMD. In addition, the lower vitamin D levels found in some subjects may have resulted from the pathophysiology of AMD itself.

Rather than take a chance, I would prefer to promote vitamin D supplementation under the assumption that low vitamin D levels are a causative factor in the development of AMD. I also lean strongly towards a brief amount of exposure to sunlight daily in order to boost vitamin D levels naturally. In order for such exposure to be effective, sunscreen cannot be used around the clock. My recommendation is to sit in the sun for 3 minutes daily.

A Bit Of Sun Exposure Is Vital For Optimal Health

I am copying and pasting a portion of a fascinating article I stumbled upon which echoes my sentiments regarding sun exposure. I will preface this by stating that I am NOT advocating tobacco usage, nor am I advocating excessive sun exposure. However, I strongly believe that a few short minutes of sunlight, perhaps while drinking your morning coffee, can be a great way to ensure that you get vitamin D exposure. Once you have finished your coffee, you can slather on sunscreen and go about your day.

You can see the original full post by clicking on the link below.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/860805?src=WNL_trdalrt_160331_MSCPEDIT&uac=97344MN&jobid=1044157&faf=1

Avoiding Sun as Dangerous as Smoking
Marcia Frellick
March 23, 2016

Nonsmokers who stayed out of the sun had a life expectancy similar to smokers who soaked up the most rays, according to researchers who studied nearly 30,000 Swedish women over 20 years.

This indicates that avoiding the sun “is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking,” write the authors of the article, published March 21 in the Journal of Internal Medicine. Compared with those with the highest sun exposure, life expectancy for those who avoided sun dropped by 0.6 to 2.1 years.

Pelle Lindqvist, MD, of Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, Sweden, and colleagues found that women who seek out the sun were generally at lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and noncancer/non-CVD diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pulmonary diseases, than those who avoided sun exposure.


Age and Smoking Habits

The researchers studied sun exposure as a risk factor for all-cause mortality for 29,518 women with no history of malignancy in a prospective 20-year follow-up of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort.

The women were recruited from 1990 to 1992 when they were 25 to 64 years old. Detailed information was available at baseline on sun-exposure habits and potential confounders such as marital status, education level, smoking, alcohol consumption, and number of births.

When smoking was factored in, even smokers at approximately 60 years of age with the most active sun-exposure habits had a 2-year longer life expectancy during the study period compared with smokers who avoided sun exposure, the researchers note.

The authors do, however, acknowledge some major limitations. Among them, it was impossible to differentiate between active sun-exposure habits and a healthy lifestyle, and they did not have access to exercise data.


Role of Vitamin D Still in Question

The results add to the longstanding debate on the role of vitamin D in health and the amount of it people need, but this study doesn’t resolve the question. Whether the positive effect of sun exposure demonstrated in this observational study is mediated by vitamin D, another mechanism related to ultraviolet radiation, or by unmeasured bias cannot be determined. Therefore, additional research is warranted. From Irish studies we know that vitamin D deficiency makes melanomas more malignant," Dr Lindqvist said.

Melanomas of [those not exposed] to the sun had a worse prognosis.

J Intern Med. Published online March 16, 2016. Article