Vitamin D Levels Help Predict Survival of Sick Cats – Bioscience Technology

Vitamin D could give your sickly feline friend its 10th life, according to a recent study. New research from the University of Edinburgh found that higher levels of vitamin D were linked to increased survival changes for hospitalized cats. 

Blood samples were taken from 99 cats that were admitted to the University’s Small Animal Hospital with life-threatening conditions, and those with higher levels of Vitamin D were more likely to be alive 30 days after admission.

It is yet to be seen if upping the amount of Vitamin D in hospitalized cats’ diets would increase chances for survival, but it could help inform clinical trials of supplements in humans.

Cats could be useful for studying the complex link between vitamin D and a range of health problems that also affect people, the researchers said.

In a press release, Dr. Richard Mellanby, head of small animal medicine at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland said: “At the moment, it is difficult for veterinarians to offer accurate prognostic information to the owners of sick cats. Our study demonstrates that measuring a key Vitamin D metabolite in the blood predicts disease outcome with a much greater degree of accuracy than many other many widely used measures of disease severity.”

He noted that too much vitamin D can be poisonous to cats and that there is no need for owners to add supplements.

As for humans, The Institute of Medicine recommends 600 daily IU for people up to age 70 and 800 daily IU for those aged 71 years and older.  The recommended upper limit for vitamin D supplementation is 4,000 daily IU.

Fox News reported that despite concern of potential toxic effects from too much vitamin D consumption, a study analyzing more than 20,000 blood tests performed on people living in Rochester, Minn., over a 10-year period found people rarely experienced hypercalcemia (high blood calcium levels) that can occur as a result of high intake.  The study was published in the May issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

According to the study, about 8.4 percent of the people had vitamin D levels over 50 nanograms per milliliter (considered “high” vitamin D levels), 0.6 percent had levels of over 80 ng/mL, and 0.2 percent had levels over 100 ng/mL.  Four people were identified to have hypercalcemia, three of which were mild cases in which people showed no symptoms. There was one instance of clinical toxicity that was observed in a person with the highest level of 364 ng/mL.

Vitamin D is found in foods including fish, eggs, fortified milk and cod liver.  People can also get vitamin D through as little as 10 minutes of sun exposure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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