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Low vitamin D levels linked to chronic inflammation

When you sprain your ankle or have an infection inflammation helps to heal tissues. But when inflammation is chronic, or long term, it can contribute to conditions such as heart disease and autoimmune diseases. Researchers have found a link between chronic inflammation and low levels of vitamin D. Viv Williams has details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion."

Vitamin D supplements spill out onto a table
Study shows connection between low levels of vitamin D and chronic inflammation
Oleg Dudko / Dreamstime / TNS
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ROCHESTER — Here's a good reason to make sure you're getting enough vitamin D. Researchers from the University of South Australia have found a link between low levels of vitamin D and chronic inflammation.

Inflammation is your body's way of healing tissues after injury of infection. But when inflammation persists, it ends up not being a good thing. Chronic inflammation plays a role in many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and autoimmune diseases.

If you have high levels of inflammation, you'll also have high levels of a substance called C-reactive protein.

“High levels of C-reactive protein are generated by the liver in response to inflammation," says Dr. Ang Zhou, a research associate in Clinical and Health Services at the University of South Australia. "So when your body is experiencing chronic inflammation, it also shows higher levels of C-reactive protein."

Zhou says that boosting vitamin D in people with deficiencies may reduce chronic inflammation, helping them avoid a number of related diseases.

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The study is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

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The aftermath of reports of active shooters at several Minnesota schools has increased anxiety levels for some students and parents. Even though the situation was a hoax, people worry about the real thing. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams talks to the director of clinical services at Zumbro Valley Health Center about how parents can help their kids cope.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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