Vitamin D – a shining star of modern nutritional science

An insufficient intake of vitamin D in teen age increases the risk of heart diseases and diabetes

Until recently we have only spoken of vitamin D as a nutrient needed to better absorb calcium. We have often called it “the sun vitamin” but we have never really un¬derstood how important it was. Today, this vitamin plays a key role in modern nutrition. Why?

It has been proven that adults, who do not have a sufficient vitamin D intake, are more prone to diabetes and cardiac diseases. The latest research coming from The Johns Hopkins University (Jared P. Reis and associates) indicates that low values of vitamin D in teens increase the risk of type 1 diabetes and cardiac diseases.

This research was carried out in the period be¬tween 2001 and 2004 and it involved 3577 adolescents between 12 and 19 years of age. The adolescents who had lower blood levels of vitamin D were three times more prone to the risk of metabolic syndrome, higher blood pressure and higher blood sugar level. Many of you will now think that it is necessary to take vitamin D supple¬ments at this stage of life, but we should yet wait for more studies to be conducted in this field; many leading scientists of the American Heart Association agree that it is much better to take vitamin D through food than through preparations! The mentioned research has also confirmed that vitamin D plays a vital role in the prevention of heart conditions and in the overall health of blood system!

Teens who are overweight often have vitamin D deficiency – the reason for this is that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so it is lost in presence of excess fats. A healthy weight is not only important for teenagers’ physical appearance but also for their long-term health! The latest research suggests that the lack of vitamin D, which is quite frequent in teenagers, is also the culprit for excess weight. Vitamin D-rich foods are rarely young men’s favourite foods. Besides the advice that is often given to teens to spend more time in the open (as today they tend to spend more time at home playing computer games!), because of the mentioned reason one should be more attentive to the intake of vitamin D-rich foods such as eggs (yolk in particular!), fish oil, vitamin D-enriched cow and soy milk and the best source is oily fish such as anchovies, tuna, mackerel, wild salmon and wild trout.

From the book ‘Nutrition for the 21st century for Man’ written by Dr. Leyla K.Kreho

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