Three recent studies highlight growing recognition of the importance of vitamin D. First, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that pregnant women with low levels of vitamin D are more likely than those with normal D levels to give birth to low-birthweight babies. That’s especially important because, babies born at less-than-optimal birth weights are more likely to die in their first 30 days and as they get older, they’re more likely than normal-birthweght babies to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease (heart problems and stroke risk) and other chronic conditions. In addition, babies of women with low D levels have smaller head circumference than those with normal D levels. The study was conducted by Alison Gernand, PhD, MPH, RD of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health, and just published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The second study discussed the potential role of vitamin D in combating obesity. Most discussions on that topic involve cutting calories and getting more exercise. And those are definitely important. However, in a study conducted by researchers in China, taking vitamin D and calcium supplements was effective in reducing body fat in overweight men and women 18-25.
In the third, just published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, a team of Australian researchers confirmed previous studies that found a strong connection between low levels of vitamin D and “significantly higher risk” of developing breast cancer.