Vitamin D and Erectile Dysfunction
Approximately 40 percent of men over the age of 40 have erectile dysfunction and, coincidently, about 40 percent of Americans have vitamin D deficiency as well (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Now a recent study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, suggests that the two may be linked.
Scientists analyzed data on 3,400 American men over the age of 20 and found a vitamin D deficiency to exist in 35 percent of the men who also had erectile dysfunction, versus only 29 percent vitamin D deficiency in those without erectile dysfunction.
After allowing for other risk factors for erectile dysfunction, the conclusion was that men with low vitamin D levels have a 32 percent higher risk of developing erectile dysfunction compared to men who have adequate vitamin D levels. (Study)
Vitamin D and Longevity
Telomeres are a critical component of human cells that affect how we age, and in fact, they are now considered one of the most important biomarkers of ageing. Telomeres are a sort of “cap” that exists at the end of each strand of DNA, designed to protect our chromosomes, and often described as being akin to the plastic tips at the end of shoelaces. As we age the telomeres fray and get shorter, and as a result our DNA makes poor copies when replicating, leading to age-related decline and diseases. (Source)
A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people with lower levels of vitamin D also had shorter white blood cell (leukocyte) telomere length. Here is yet another example of how vitamin D is critical to maintain good health and longevity. (Richards JB et al. “Higher serum vitamin D concentrations are associated with longer leukocyte telomere length in women.” Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 86: 1420-5) (Study)
Vitamin D and Rheumatoid Arthritis
A new study on the relationship between vitamin D and rheumatoid arthritis, published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases, indicates that taking high doses of vitamin D can significantly reduce symptoms in people with rheumatism.
This randomized study followed 150 adults who have had rheumatoid arthritis for more than 6 years, and had been taking drugs to treat it for more than 3 years. They discovered that 49% of the individuals had a deficiency of vitamin D (less than 20ng/ml). Subjects were given 60,000 IU of vitamin D per week for 6 weeks, after which they then received 60,000 IU per month for another 3 months.
Aside from observing a marked improvement in serum vitamin D levels, there was also a dramatic improvement in reduction of the painful symptoms of the rheumatoid arthritis, leading the author of the study to conclude that “use of vitamin D supplements in people with persistent rheumatoid arthritis and a vitamin D deficiency can result in significant improvement in disease symptoms.” (Chandrashekara S and Patted A. “Role of vitamin D supplementation in improving disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis: an exploratory study.” International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases. Published online 20 Oct 2015) (Study)
This study found support in another released in the same month (Oct, 2015) by Nature Review Rheumatology, which confirmed an association between vitamin D deficiency and a variety of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis. Here the researchers noted that “the association of vitamin D deficiency with RA severity supports the hypothesis of a role for vitamin D in the initiation or progression of the disease, or possibly both.” (Jeffery LE et al. Vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis—towards clinical application.” Nature Reviews Rheumatology2015; online 13 Oct) (Study)