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US Army learning about benefits of vitamin D to trauma – Dec 2013

Army generals visit Grady Hospital to learn about Vitamin D3 research

Written by Valerie J. Morgan, On Common Ground News

ATLANTA- -Dr. L. Ray Matthews, associate professor of surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine, is sharing his innovative research on the use of Vitamin D3 in trauma patients with the U.S. Army.

Matthews met this week with U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. C. David Turner, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Pacific Division and retired Brigadier Gen. Arnold N. Gordon-Bray to discuss how the Army might benefit from the Grady Memorial Hospital/Morehouse Department of Surgery research.

"Vitamin D3 would improve performance of soldiers by improving muscle strength, endurance, decreasing fatigue, and reducing injuries," said Matthews, who is surgical critical care director at Grady Memorial Hospital. "The military is spending 10 percent of its budget on health care costs which are expected to rise by 28% over the next 20 years. The military can also save a lot of money by investing in a very inexpensive vitamin/hormone called vitamin D."

Matthews has been studying Vitamin D for 11 years. He has seen the benefits in patients at Grady as well as in student athletes. At Martin Luther King Jr. High School in DeKalb County, he assisted a parent-led initiative with the school's football team in learning about the benefits of Vitamin D3 supplements as a means of preventing and reducing injuries on the field. As a result, MLK's football team has only had 2 concussions over the last three years.

Vitamin D3 is a steroid hormone that controls 3,000 out of 30,000 genes including the immune response system and the inflammatory response system. While 90 percent of vitamin D is produced by the sun, our skin, liver, and kidneys, only 10 percent of vitamin D3 comes from dietary foods.

At Grady, more than 1,000 trauma patients have benefited from Vitamin D, according to Matthews. Matthews and his research team pioneered the use of a medical cocktail that consists of

  • vitamin D,
  • glutamine,
  • omega 3-faty acids, and
  • progesterone

to treat patients with concussions and traumatic brain injuries. The team has gained recognition for its work, publishing a landmark paper in the American Journal of Surgery that discussed the benefits of vitamin D use in trauma and critically ill patients, such as increased wound healing, decreased hospital costs, decreased length of stays, and decreased mortality rates.

Matthews said his team's research shows that Vitamin D has been key in reducing Morehouse¹s mortality rates to 6.6% for all head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries and gunshot wounds to the head, Matthews said.

"Most of our traumatic brain injury patients are well adjusted, getting married, going back to school, and returning to work," Matthews said.

In 2014, Matthews will travel abroad to present his vitamin D research in the Middle East. He has also been invited to London, England, Spain, and China to present his vitamin D research.

Left to Right: Dr. L. Ray Matthews;
Brigadier Gen. C. David Turner;
Dr. Ed Childs, chairman of Morehouse Department of Surgery

See also VitaminDWiki

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US Army learning about benefits of vitamin D to trauma – Dec 2013        
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