Five Ways Vitamin D Benefits Female Health

Maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D is important to all people at all ages, but there are some very specific vitamin D benefits for women. Click here for more information Helps prevent hip and other bone fractures One of D vitamin’s primary functions is to regulate the body’s absorption of calcium, making it a key player in the prevention of bone softening diseases such as osteoporosis and osteomalasia. A 2009 study by the University of Pittsburgh determined that low levels of the vitamin can increase post-menopausal women’s risk of hip fracture by as much as 70%.

May help protect against many forms of cancer, including breast cancer A 2008 study by the German Cancer Research Center, which monitored almost 2,800 post-menopausal women, concluded that women with very low blood levels of the vitamin had a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than those with adequate levels.

In addition, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports that a four-year clinical trial involving 1,179 healthy post-menopausal women showed that improving calcium and vitamin D nutritional status substantially reduced all-cancer risk in postmenopausal women.

Deficiencies linked to bacterial infections in pregnant women Another University of Pittsburgh study indicated that there was a strong correlation between low levels of the vitamin and the incidence of bacterial vaginosis in the more than 460 pregnant women participating in the research. Bacterial vaginosis is one of the primary causes of premature delivery and fetal death.

A total of 41 percent of the study participants were diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis, and 93 percent of the women with the infection had insufficient levels of the vitamin. It was further observed that as blood levels of the vitamin rose, the incidence of infection decreased.

May help prevent and treat depression It is known that the vitamin plays a key role in a number of neurological and hormonal processes, and feelings of depression are identified as one of the symptoms of D vitamin deficiency. This connection may be of increasing importance to older women, because the body’s ability to manufacture D vitamin decreases as we age.

The importance of the vitamin to mood was established in a 2008 study by the University of Amsterdam, which showed that older people with low levels of the vitamin were more likely to be depressed. The researchers said that while additional study is warranted to determine whether low levels of the vitamin were the cause of depression or a side effect of it, they observed that the correlation between low D vitamin levels and depression were unmistakable.

Boosts energy and improves physical performance Feelings of fatigue are among the symptoms of D vitamin deficiency, and recent research by the Wake Forest University School of Medicine pinpoints the importance of sufficient levels of the vitamin for improving performance among older people.

The study analyzed data from 976 people aged 65 and older. The study found that physical performance, which included factors such as walking speed, grip strength, and ability to rise from a sitting position to standing, was 10 percent lower among participants with deficient blood levels of the vitamin.

Reduce Drug Abuse

Drug and alcohol abuse are significantly linked to social and health problems. NHS Heroes Alcohol is a major contributing factor in approximately half of all homicides, suicides, and motor vehicle crashes, which are the leading causes of death and disability among young people. Alcohol-related traffic accidents cause serious injury and permanent disability and rank as the leading cause of spinal cord injury among adolescents and young adults. Heavy drinking among youth has been linked to physical fights, destruction of property, academic and job problems, and trouble with law enforcement authorities.

Tobacco is considered the chief preventable cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than one of every five deaths. Smoking causes heart disease; cancers of the lung, larynx, mouth, esophagus, and bladder; stroke; and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Smoking is also related to poor academic performance and the use of alcohol and other drugs. The fact that more than one million youth start smoking regularly each year costs the health care system millions (and perhaps billions) of dollars in preventable medical expenditures during their lifetimes.

These indicators provide some sense of when young people are beginning to drink/smoke and how many are currently drinking/smoking.

Additionally, the teen drinking and smoking data from the Hawai`i Youth Risk Behavior Survey (HYRBS) are statistically weigh table, thus making it possible for valid statewide comparisons among the results from the past three HYRBS studies (1993, 1995, 1997).

Extending the indicator to measure respondents in 6th-8th grades in public and private middle and high schools would provide a more complete profile of youth behavior.

Data are contained and updated in “Hawai`i’s Adolescent Wellness Plan–Laulima In Action.” The Maternal and Child Health Services Title V Block Grant has selected teen drinking and smoking as indicators for this annual application. Data on teen drinking and smoking are also obtained through the Hawai`i Student Alcohol and Drug Survey (non-weighted data). A 1997 middle school HYRBS (weighted) survey provides baseline data on youth population. The Adolescent Survey Committee has taken efforts to support the continued (1997 and 1999) collection of middle school data (using stratified random sampling) of 6th-8th grade public school students. Another suggested data source is the Hawai`i Student Alcohol and Drug Survey (even-numbered years). Data on smokers 18 or older are available from the Department of Health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System on alcohol use are only available through 1995.