Men with low levels of vitamin D may have a heightened risk of developing urinary incontinence, according to new research published in a medical journal.
Vitamin D is an important vitamin, playing several important functions within the body.
It is required for healthy bones and teeth and deficiency has been linked with several diseases, such as multiple sclerosis.
We get most of our vitamin D when our skin comes into contact with sunlight, prompting the vitamin to form inside the body.
However, many people do not make enough of the vitamin or obtain enough from foods, such as oily fish, eggs and fortified products.
Now, scientists have discovered that this may increase the risk of male incontinence, as well as fractures and poor dental health.
A research team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, US, analysed data contained in the 2005-06 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in order to assess the links between vitamin D levels and lower urinary tract symptoms (Luts) among US men.
They looked at a total of 2,387 men and recorded whether they had any Luts symptoms, such as nocturia, hesitancy and urinary incontinence.
They found that 89 per cent of the men had insufficient levels of vitamin D, with more than half of these individuals deemed to be deficient.
Further analysis revealed that men with vitamin D deficiency tended to have at least one symptom of Luts and had a high risk of moderate to severe male incontinence.
Publishing their findings in Urology journal, the study authors concluded: “Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are highly prevalent among adult men in the US, and vitamin D deficiency is associated with moderate to severe urinary incontinence and the presence of at least 1 Luts.”
The scientists added that further studies are needed to investigate the role of vitamin D in Luts and urinary incontinence, and that their research supports the diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency in adult men.