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Expat Health Insurance News: Vitamin D 'is less beneficial than assumed'

Older expatriates may be taking Vitamin D to avoid having to make a claim on international health insurance policies, but a new study has found it appears to have fewer benefits than people think.

The research, which was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and led by physician at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and professor of family medicine and of epidemiology in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University Charles Eaton, revealed consuming this compound has no impact on the mortality rates of post-menopausal women.

Many individuals believe taking Vitamin D can prevent ailments such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, but the investigators found it merely benefits bone health.

Data from 2,429 women aged 50 to 79 was analysed, with blood levels of this substance and mortality rates tracked over a ten year period.

A total of 225 of the participants died, with 62 per cent of these due to cancer and 79 the result of cardiovascular disease.

Professor Eaton said at first glance Vitamin D appeared to have benefits to wellbeing when the only controls were age and ethnicity, but when other factors such as medical history, alcohol consumption, waist circumference and smoking habits were taken into account, the statistical significance was eroded until no protective effects could be determined.

"The best we can tell is that there isn't an association" between intake of this product and health, he declared.

However, among females with waistlines smaller than 35 inches and with particularly low Vitamin D levels, a higher risk of mortality was found among all causes of death.

This difference was described as "on the borderline of statistical significance" and professor Eaton said: "If you are thin, this data [could] suggest that maybe low vitamin D levels are potentially harmful and you should talk to your doctor about what to do about them."

"Vitamin D levels in the body may come from not only Vitamin D in the diet but also from synthesis in the skin through sunlight exposure," the Institute of Medicine recently noted.

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