Friday, December 17, 2010

Golf on a Cruise Ship for More Vitamin D and Decrease Your Risk of Heart Disease

Playing golf on a cruise ship could increase your level of vitamin D and decrease your risk of heart disease.

Well, that's how I see it, according to a recent study.  My husband Dave justified his game of miniature golf on a recent cruise, as a health maintenance activity. Fun and laughter added to the therapy.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin on exposure to UVB radiation (sunlight) and obtained in the diet from foods like oily fish, egg yolk, and liver.

Recent studies have shown, however, that sunshine levels in some northern countries are so weak during the winter months that the human body makes little to no vitamin D, leading to widespread deficiencies.  In addition, increased skin pegmentation also reduces the effect of UVB radiation, meaning darker skinned people are at greater risk.

(You can see why we, being from a northern climate like Canada, thoroughly enjoyed soaking up the sun recently on a cruise ship.  We golfed, climbed a rock wall, swam in the pools and toured the various islands.)

A study published in the journal Circulation showed that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, heart failure, or stroke.  Individuals with both hypertension and low vitamin D levels had nearly double the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Interest in vitamin D has been increasing in recent months with a growing number of studies linking the vitamin to protection against osteoporosis and certain cancers.

There is also evidence that a higher intake of vitamin D may be helpful with regard to high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. 

 In a population-based study, researchers used data from 1739 participants in the Framingham Offspring Study, to study the relationship between vitamin D levels and cardiovascular health risk.  Although vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL are considered optimal for bone metabolism, only 10 percent of the participants had levels in this range.  In fact, 28 percent had blood levels lower than 15 ng/mL.

Participants with levels below 15 ng/mL had a 62 percent greater chance to develop cardiovascular events than those with higher levels.  People with low vitamin D levels and high blood pressure (>140/90 mmHg), were found to have double the risk of cardiovascular problems compared to people with normal blood pressure and vitamin D levels. 

The results from this study raise the possibility that treating vitamin D deficiency, by supplementation and/or lifestyle measures, could reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

Wang TJ, et al. Vitamin D Deficiency and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease. 2008. Circulation  117(4)-11

So, I calculate that it did my heart good on that cruise, as I took in some vitamin D from the sunshine, enjoyed good exercise, relaxed, and took my Usana supplements.

For information on Vitamin D and the products produced at Usana Health Sciences, please contact me:   Deanna Waters   1-888-320-8250 

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