Could vitamin D, a key milk nutrient, affect how you age?

November 8, 2007

There is a new reason for the 76 million baby boomers to grab a glass of milk. Vitamin D, a key nutrient in milk, could have aging benefits linked to reduced inflammation, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

In a genetic study of more than 2,100 female twin pairs ages 19-79, British and American researchers found that higher vitamin D levels were linked to improved genetic measures of lifelong aging and chronic stress. Using a genetic marker called leukocyte telomere length (LTL), they found those with the highest vitamin D levels had longer LTL, indicating lower levels of inflammation and body stress. The telomere difference between those with the highest and lowest vitamin D levels was equivalent to 5 years of aging.

Previous research has found that shortened LTL is linked to risk for heart disease and could be an indication of chronic inflammation – a key determinant in the biology of aging. While there are several lifestyle factors that affect telomere length (obesity, smoking and lack of physical activity), the researchers noted that boosting vitamin D levels is a simple change to affect this important marker.

Studies continue to link vitamin D to an array of health benefits, securing vitamin D’s “super nutrient” status and providing even more reasons to get adequate amounts of this essential vitamin. Recent research suggests that beyond its well-established role in bone health, vitamin D also may help reduce the risk of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Milk is a primary source of calcium and vitamin D in the American diet. In fact, government reports indicate that more than 70 percent of the calcium in our nation’s food supply comes from milk and milk products. Additionally, milk is one of the few food sources of vitamin D, which is fast emerging as a “super nutrient.”

The recommended three servings of low fat or fat-free milk provides 900 mg of calcium, 300 IU of vitamin D and 80 mg of magnesium daily.

Source: Weber Shandwick Worldwide

Explore further: Research highlights 7 essential ingredients for healthy adolescents

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tedhutchinson
not rated yet Nov 09, 2007
It is misleading to regard milk as a reliable source of Vitamin D.
Vitamin d is fat soluble therefore skimmed and semi-skimmed milk have proportionately less if indeed any vitamin D content can be measured at all. The standardisation of Vitamin D content is erratic and generally the amounts present are a mere fraction of the amount stated on the label.
Where milk is fortified D2 Ergocalciferol is mostly used. The Case Against Ergocaciferol(vitamin d2) as a Vitamin Supplement details the science showing 100iu of D2 is equivalent to 25-33iu of D3 so even if the full amount were present it is such a trivial percentage of our 4000iu daily requirement,( see Human serum 25-hydroxycholecalciferol response to extended oral dosing with cholecalciferol) that it is misleading to suggest drinking milk is making a valuable contribution.
Elderly people in particular don't absorb D2 well and there are studies showing no improvement in Vitamin d3 (the form our body actually uses) however much D2 is consumed.
Regular short exposures to sunshine will enable those below latitude 35 to obtain sufficient Vitamin D3 throughout the year. For those above latitude 35,regular short sunbathing sessions when your shadow is shorter than your height (signifying the presence of Vitamin d producing UVB) will provide sufficient however in the Winter months Effective levels of D3 supplement will have to make up the difference. As each 400iu/daily of D3 raises status by 9nmol/L and average winter status is about 40nmol/l and the ideal for calcium uptake is 80nmol/l at least 2000iu/daily of D3 will be needed.

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