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Originally published June 28 2006

Vitamin D deficiency more widespread than previously thought; 64 percent of U.S. women likely deficient

by NaturalNews

(NaturalNews) A new study funded by Merck, Sharp & Dohme shows that as many as 64 percent of postmenopausal women worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. The study was presented at the 33rd European Symposium on Calcified Tissues held in Prague.

Researchers surveyed around 2,600 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis living in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific Rim. They found that in non-equatorial countries, rates of osteoporosis reached as high as 90 percent in some areas. Since low levels of vitamin D are known to contribute to osteoporosis, the new findings are particularly worrisome.

“This demonstrates that we must do more to educate our patients about the critical role of vitamin D in maintaining bone health, and find better ways to ensure that women with osteoporosis receive adequate vitamin D,” said Dr. Maire O’Connor, a specialist in public health attending the symposium. Both lack of information and inadequate intake of vitamin D are strong predictors of deficiency, according to the study.

In addition to its impact on osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, diabetes and obesity. The body produces vitamin D in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. While supplementation can improve vitamin D levels, the most effective method is simply enjoying a little time in the sun.

Even though vitamin D is freely available through sensible sunlight exposure, osteoporosis, breast cancer and prostate cancer continue to be almost universally treated with prescription drugs rather than through safer and less expensive vitamin D restoration efforts. Conventional medicine does not promote vitamin D because it cannot be patented and, therefore, cannot be profitably promoted and sold to patients.


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