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July 2008 Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource Highlights Vitamin D, Savvy Use of Sunscreen and Gastrointestinal Upset and Celiac Disease
Date:7/14/2008

ROCHESTER, Minn., July 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Here are highlights from the July issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource. You may cite this publication as often as you wish. Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource attribution is required. Reprinting is allowed for a fee. Include the following subscription information as your editorial policies permit: Visit http://www.bookstore.mayoclinic.com or call toll-free for subscription information, 800-876-8633, extension 9PK1.

Vitamin D -- Builds Bones and Much More

Researchers identifying new health benefits

Vitamin D is essential to strong bones. Inadequate vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis, a brittle bone disease.

Recently, researchers have found that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of other diseases. The July issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource reports some new findings and guidelines on how much vitamin D is enough.

Fall prevention: With age, decreasing muscle strength can increase the risk of falls and bone fractures. Several studies have found that vitamin D supplements may benefit muscle strength and balance, helping older adults stay steadier on their feet.

Cancer prevention: Observational research indicates that low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of some cancers -- including those of the breast, colon, rectum, ovary, kidney, lung and uterus. Although unclear why, vitamin D in adequate amounts appears to help regulate cellular growth, potentially preventing cells from becoming cancerous.

Chronic pain prevention: Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly recognized as an important cause of muscle pain and weakness.

Protection against autoimmune diseases: Evidence is mounting that vitamin D may offer protection from type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis by reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system. In one study, researchers found a 40 percen
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