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Health Issues Add to Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency, Study Says
Date:11/1/2012

THURSDAY, Nov. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Vitamin D levels are known to decrease during the winter months, but for women with certain health problems, the drop may be even more significant, a new study finds.

For these women, extra measures may be required to maintain their levels of vitamin D, which is linked to a variety of health benefits, including strong bones, blood pressure regulation and cardiovascular health.

For the study, researchers from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., assessed the winter and summer vitamin D levels of nearly 250 women with health conditions including osteoporosis, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer and hypothyroidism.

Vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) are considered deficient, and levels of 20 to 29 ng/mL are deemed insufficient. Based on these parameters, 28 percent of the women had deficient levels of vitamin D in the winter and 33 percent had insufficient levels, compared with 5 percent and 38 percent, respectively, during the summer.

The study was scheduled for presentation Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pathology in Boston.

"We found that these women have a severe drop off in vitamin D levels in the winter, which is a real concern for women who already are coping with significant health conditions," Samir Aleryani, study senior author and assistant professor of pathology at Vanderbilt, said in a society news release.

"Women with these health conditions need to be much more proactive, and should talk to their doctors regarding the best supplements to take to ensure adequate levels of vitamin D," Aleryani advised.

Sunlight triggers vitamin D production by the body and it is normal for vitamin D levels to drop during the winter, especially among people who live in northern areas. Other sources of vitamin D include foods and supplements.

Dr. Matthew Krasowski, director of clinical
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