Novel and important benefits of vitamin D and the problems associated with vitamin D deficiency

Novel and important benefits of vitamin D and the problems associated with vitamin D deficiency will be discussed at the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Fifteenth Annual Meeting and Clinical Congress, April 26-30, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Originally known as a vitamin that aids the body's absorption of calcium, current studies have drawn attention to the role it plays in maintaining good health and preventing disease. Some evidence suggests that a deficiency of vitamin D may be associated with many chronic diseases, including common cancers, autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis as well as cardiovascular heart disease.

Michael Holick, MD, Professor of Medicine, Physiology and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine and author of The UV Advantage will present his findings to the nations' endocrinologists at their yearly meeting. Dr. Holick, a leading investigator of the functions of vitamin D, will provide members of the audience with an in-depth discussion on the signs of vitamin D deficiency; a condition which often goes unrecognized in some patients.

Topics include:

  • The important role of sunlight and diet in receiving adequate amounts of vitamin D.
  • The definition of vitamin D deficiency and how to provide an approach for the prevention and treatment of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Information about the various assays for vitamin D metabolites and how they should be used for the clinical assessment of vitamin D status.
  • The definition of vitamin D intoxication and how to treat it.

According to the AACE Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice of the Prevention and Treatment of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis: 2001 Edition, with Selected Updates for 2003, general principles for all individuals, particularly children and adolescents, include a diet with adequate calcium content, good general nutrition, adequate vitamin D intake (at least 400 IU/day; as much as 800 IU/day in the elderly, regular weight-bearing exercise and no tobacco use. Vitamin D is not widely available in natural food sources. It is primarily found in fish oils (including cod liver oil), some vegetables, and fortified milk, cereals, and breads. If appropriate, vitamin D supplements may be prescribed.

Vitamin D deficiency is one of the many endocrine disorders that will be addressed during the Clinical Congress. New research involving diabetes, thyroid cancer, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, androgen use, and performance enhancing drugs will be presented during three days of plenary lectures and interactive workshops.

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