Vitamin D3: Best...Supplement...Ever!

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:08 pm

The Vitamin D Solution

A press release by the publisher Penguin declares the release of Dr. Michael F. Holick’s latest book about the remarkable health benefits of vitamin D.

“What do obesity, heart disease, depression, diabetes, and fibromyalgia have in common?

The answer is vitamin D deficiency,” the press release states.

“More than 200 million Americans lack this essential vitamin. In the landmark book The Vitamin D Solution, Dr. Michael F. Holick identifies the causes of vitamin D deficiency, outlines why it is essential to your health, and provides a 3-step program to attain optimal levels of Vitamin D.

Increasing levels of vitamin D can treat, prevent, and even reverse a remarkable number of daily ailments, from high blood pressure to back pain. It can lessen the symptoms of chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis, and actually prevent infectious diseases, including H1N1 and cancer. Dr. Holick also credits vitamin D with improving infertility, weight control, memory and mood.”

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

Released on April 1, Dr. Michael Holick’s book, The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problem, may be one of the most important books out there right now.

His first book, The UV Advantage, was published in 2004, and the amount of research that has been conducted since then is nothing short of remarkable.

We now know more about vitamin D than ever before in history, and health professionals everywhere are quickly waking up to realize nearly all long-held recommendations on sun exposure and vitamin D intake are inaccurate and misguided, and have contributed to declining health world-wide.

How Many Health Benefits Can Optimal Vitamin D Levels Impart?

There seems to be no end in sight when searching for the answer to that question. There’s constantly new research being published, demonstrating the health benefits of vitamin D and the health risks associated with vitamin D deficiency.

Perhaps the most telling piece of information is the fact that higher vitamin D levels significantly reduce mortality rates from ALL causes!

And it’s no wonder, really, when you consider what vitamin D really is, because it’s far more than “just a vitamin.” Rather it’s the only known substrate for a potent, pleiotropic (meaning it produces multiple effects), repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body.

In fact, there’s compelling evidence that vitamin D is in fact KEY for proper gene expression.

How does it work?

Well, each cell in your body has its own ‘DNA library’ that contains information needed to deal with virtually every kind of stimulus it may encounter, and the master key to enter this library is activated vitamin D.

For example, memory ductile cells in a woman’s breast need vitamin D to access DNA that enables the response to estrogen.

So it stands to reason that without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, your cells cannot access their DNA libraries. As a result, their functions are impaired and all sorts of problems can ensue, depending on how well your cells are able to compensate for the lack of vitamin D.

This is why vitamin D functions in so many different tissues, and affects such a large number of different diseases and health conditions.

So far, scientists have found about 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin D, which is remarkable when you consider the human body only has about 30,000 genes total.

Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones, which explains why researchers keep finding health benefits from vitamin D in virtually every area they look, including:

Cancer Hypertension Heart disease
Autism Obesity Rheumatoid arthritis
Diabetes 1 and 2 Multiple Sclerosis Crohn’s Disease
Cold & Flu Inflammatory Bowel Disease Tuberculosis
High Blood Pressure MRSA Infections Dementia
Birth Defects Reduced C-section risk Infertility
Melanoma (skin cancer) Asthma Depression
Osteoporosis Alzheimer’s disease Schizophrenia

Researchers have calculated that simply increasing levels of vitamin D3 could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year!

For example, one recent study showed that the annual death rate in Canada could fall by 37,000 deaths -- more than 16 percent of total deaths in that country! -- if serum vitamin D levels were raised to adequate amounts. In addition, the economic burden of Canada would be reduced by $14.4 billion -- less the relatively minor cost of introducing a program to get the vitamin D levels of Canadians up into the healthy range.

Another fascinating area of vitamin D research is in the area of detoxification, which could have a significant impact on a number of disorders caused by mercury toxicity.

For example, one recent study found that vitamin D helps to safely remove mercury from your body by radically increasing the amount of intracellular glutathione.

Health Benefits are Dose Dependent

It’s important to note, however, that reaping the health benefits of vitamin D is dose dependent, meaning you need to make sure your levels are within therapeutic range.

And this range is far higher than previously thought.

For all the latest information on therapeutic vitamin D levels, and vital updates on testing, please review my article: Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.

It contains everything from recently updated vitamin D ranges and the latest dosing recommendations, to recommendations for safe sun exposure and important guidelines if you opt for oral vitamin D supplementation.

One thing is clear. If you maintain optimal vitamin D levels, your cells will function optimally, which in turn will help prevent all sorts of health ailments and chronic diseases.

For a great overview of the nearly unbelievable health benefits of this nutrient, I strongly recommend you watch my free one-hour vitamin D lecture.

Pregnant, or Planning a Pregnancy? Be Certain to Read This!
Pregnant women, in particular, should pay attention to their vitamin D levels.

Not only can it prevent a variety of birth defects, but it’s now also known that you can help prevent a number of chronic diseases in your child, such as asthma, type 1 diabetes, and perhaps even autism, simply by maintaining optimal vitamin D levels while pregnant!

To further prove the links between vitamin D levels and healthy babies, GrassrootsHealth is looking for pregnant women, lactating women, and infants to participate in their Grassrootshealth D*action study. ... 00600.html

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:19 pm

More doctors focus on vitamin D deficiencies

A basic medical exam produces some familiar numbers, clues to your overall health — blood pressure readings, cholesterol counts.

Now a new number is getting marquee treatment: a vitamin D level.

Do you know yours?

In the past year, a test that checks vitamin D levels in the blood has surged in popularity among doctors.

This summer the Institute of Medicine is expected to revise its recommendation for daily vitamin D intake. Experts agree the current guidelines are far too low.

If you have symptoms that include fatigue and muscle aches and pains, don’t be surprised if your doctor suggests a vitamin D blood test at your next visit. Because of widespread deficiencies, some won’t need any symptoms to suggest it.

Vitamin D is important to bone and muscle health for certain, but vitamin D experts worry that D deficiency is implicated in cancers, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, infections and depression, to name but a few ailments.

Carla Aamodt, an internal medicine doctor with St. Luke’s Health System, said about half the patients she was testing were vitamin D deficient, with many more “borderline.”

Michael Kennedy, a family physician at the University of Kansas Hospital, said a third to a half of the patients he tested in the past year were deficient.

Cardiologist James O’Keefe said general population statistics were worse. Lack of sun exposure, the natural way the body makes vitamin D, helps explain the deficiencies.

“Upwards of 70 percent of American adults are vitamin D deficient or insufficient,” said O’Keefe, director of the preventive cardiology program at St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute. “In the last year, awareness of vitamin D deficiency has really exploded.”

Doctors want to see a level of at least 30. That’s nanograms per milliliter. Some prefer a minimum of 40. Levels in the low to mid-20s aren’t unusual, and both Aamodt and Kennedy have had patients with levels under 5 ng/mL.

Billie Howard Barnes of Kansas City knows how that feels. The fourth-grade teacher at Pembroke Hill School had her vitamin D checked two months ago –– doctor-recommended and nothing she had considered before –– and was surprised by the call she got.

“The nurse says: ‘I believe this is the lowest level we’ve ever had. Yours is 5.’ ”

Barnes is African-American, and people with darker skin, she learned, are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.

“I’m 43, and getting up in the morning, my feet would hit the floor and every joint in my body was sore,” she said. “I didn’t realize how bad it had gotten. It just kind of crept up on me.”

After several weeks of a high prescription dose of a vitamin D supplement, Barnes said she could tell a difference.

“It wasn’t an instant thing, but I just feel much better. I’m not as stiff. Colleagues say there’s more pep in my step,” said Barnes, mother of 10-year-old twins. “And I’ll tell you, my children are taking 1,000 IU (international units) a day now.”

Of course, the potential wonders of other vitamins have been heralded before, only to be debunked or downplayed later.

But O’Keefe and others point out that D is unlike other vitamins and should be recognized for what it is: a hormone.

“Vitamin D is misnamed,” he said.

Although there are food sources of vitamin D, its natural production takes place inside the body after the skin is exposed to sunlight. As a hormone, vitamin D helps regulate gene function throughout the body, so its implication in various body functions and disease processes makes sense. Its strong roles in bone and muscle health and in aiding calcium absorption have long been known.

The process nature intended –– ultraviolet rays on exposed skin equals vitamin D production –– would be the most likely method to remedy deficiencies except for two matters. People aren’t out in the sun enough. And if they were, they would increase their risk of skin cancer.

“We’re doing such a good job putting on sunscreen and being cautious because of skin cancer that we kind of left vitamin D out of the equation,” Kennedy said.

That was then. Responding to an array of vitamin D research in the medical literature, Kennedy said he now regularly informed patients about the possibility of D deficiencies, and he often suggests ordering the blood test.

The test is called “25-hydroxy vitamin D,” costs about $100 and may or may not be covered by insurance. O’Keefe said in the past year it had become the most popular “a la carte” blood test doctors were ordering.

If a patient is deficient, levels usually can be increased with vitamin D supplements, typically in pill form. Food sources of vitamin D, such as ocean fish and fortified milk, typically can’t be consumed in enough quantities to do the trick.

For borderline and slight deficiencies, doctors often recommend an over-the-counter supplement containing 1,000 IU or more of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), taken daily. Many multivitamins contain 400 IU of vitamin D.

Up to 2,000 IU in a daily vitamin D supplement is considered safe for most people without worry of toxicity. Severe deficiencies may require a prescription.

Some doctors recommend both supplements and short amounts of sun exposure, with the caveat not to burn the skin. O’Keefe said a safe approach for many patients was to take a supplement plus get a maximum 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure. But many doctors aren’t comfortable suggesting sun exposure to patients.

“I’m a big advocate for sunscreen, but I’m simultaneously a big advocate for vitamin D supplements,” Aamodt said.

With help from the noonday sun, the body can make a lot of vitamin D.

It’s estimated that a light-skinned person in “optimal” conditions –– 60 percent skin exposure, sitting in the sun for 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in warm months –– would make 10,000 IU of vitamin D.

People with darker skin have to be in the sun longer to make the same amount and thus are more likely to be deficient.

A year and a half ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommendation for daily vitamin D supplements for infants through adolescents, from 200 to 400 IU.

Anecdotally, Aamodt said, patients she has treated who have vitamin D levels below 10 ng/mL said they “feel better overall, have more energy with less muscle aches and pains.”

Vitamin D and calcium improve bone density and reduce falls and fractures. And although many other correlations with health and disease prevention are suspected with improved vitamin D levels, the jury is still out.

“I think the data will only get better,” Aamodt said. “Stay tuned.” ... tamin.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:32 pm

Vitamin D Lowers Cancer Risk

There’s an old adage in medicine: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I couldn’t agree more. The problem with a lot of truly preventive medicine is that there’s not much money in it.

The real money (for drug companies) is in treatment. To an extent, there also is money in diagnosis, for example, mammography and blood tests for prostate cancer.

It is a sad fact that the medical approaches that get the most attention tend to be those that are the most lucrative. When things are cheap, there often is not the commercial will and push that can be instrumental in their popularization.

One approach, which shows considerable promise as a disease-preventer, is optimization of vitamin D levels. Higher levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced risk of a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and several forms of cancer.

Recently we saw the publication of a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that links vitamin D supplementation (at a dose of 400 IU or more a day) with a 26 percent reduced risk of breast cancer.

This study is epidemiological in nature, and therefore cannot be used to conclude that vitamin D supplementation reduces breast cancer. All we know from this study is that vitamin D supplementation is associated with lower breast cancer risk.

However, this is not the only research linking vitamin D with reduced breast cancer risk. In one 2005 meta-analysis (grouping of relevant studies), published in the American Journal of Public Health, 9 of 13 studies found higher levels of vitamin D to be associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer incidence or death due to breast cancer.

This meta-analysis also found evidence for higher levels of vitamin D and reduced risk of prostate and colon cancer. This review also details a range of mechanisms through which vitamin D might reduce cancer risk.

We appear to have a significant volume of research that links vitamin D with a reduced risk of cancer and a number of plausible mechanisms, which could explain this association.

However, what we require to confirm the notion that vitamin D protects against cancer are controlled clinical trials. One study that is relevant was published in 2007 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In it, post-menopausal women were treated with either vitamin D (1,100 IU per day) and calcium (1,400–1,500 milligrams per day), or calcium alone, or placebo.

The trial lasted for four years. Supplementation would not be expected to reduce cancer incidence very quickly, so the authors of this study separately analyzed data from one year into the study and beyond.

This analysis revealed that compared to placebo, calcium supplementation alone did not reduce risk of cancer. However, calcium coupled with vitamin D did. Risk of cancer was reduced by 77 percent.

Ideally, it would be nice to have the results of randomized controlled studies that used vitamin D alone (compared to placebo). However, even in the absence of such studies, it seems clear that we have a considerable and mounting body of evidence that suggests that vitamin D has considerable potential to prevent cancer. I am also pleased to see that there is growing recognition of this despite the fact that vitamin D has relatively limited potential from a commercial perspective.

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:49 pm

Vitamin D is having its time in the sun

If you're a little confused about how much vitamin D you need, and how best to get it, you're not the only one. A couple of recent newspaper headlines neatly express this confusion: Referring to a recent Statistics Canada report on vitamin D, The Vancouver Sun said Most Canadians get enough vitamin D: Report, while the Globe and Mail went with StatsCan finds widespread vitamin D deficiency in Canadians.

The Statistics Canada report was based on the Canadian Health Measures Survey, which tested the vitamin D in blood samples from 5,300 Canadians between six and 79. According to the report, about 10 per cent of the population, or three million Canadians, have blood concentrations below that recommended by Health Canada, and about four per cent, or about 1.1 million, are considered vitamin D-deficient.

It would seem, then, that The Sun had it right: Most Canadians do seem to be getting adequate vitamin D. However, this all depends on what qualifies as adequate, and that's something on which the experts don't agree.

Vitamin D has long been associated with bone health because it helps the body to absorb calcium. Consequently, the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Medicine set recommended levels of the vitamin based on what is necessary for bone health. Health Canada follows these guidelines, which suggest that a concentration of less than 37.5 nanomoles per litre (nmol/L) is considered inadequate for bone health, and a concentration less than 27.5 nmol/L constitutes vitamin D-deficiency.

However, more recent studies have suggested that vitamin D may have many other salutary effects. As Statistics Canada notes, "lower levels of vitamin D have been associated with a greater risk of fractures, falls, breast and colorectal cancers, poor immunity and cardiovascular and other diseases such as multiple sclerosis."

While this doesn't mean vitamin D deficiency causes these disorders, the research does suggest that vitamin D does a lot more than simply promote bone health. And what's more, the level of the vitamin necessary for optimal health (75 nmol/L, according to Statistics Canada) is far higher than that necessary for bone health.

When we consider this higher level, we find that nearly two thirds of the population has inadequate levels of vitamin D, which explains the Globe headline. Furthermore, non-Caucasians had lower levels of the vitamin than whites (52 nmol/L compared to 71 nmol/L, on average), because their skins have more pigmentation and they therefore don't develop as much vitamin D in response to sunlight.

Needless to say, these wildly different standards do cause confusion. For that reason, the Institute of Medicine and Health Canada recommendations are under review, and we should have some clarity on the matter by the summer.

That still leaves confusion about the best way to get vitamin D. One of the most effective ways is through sunlight, which is why vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. But given that people in Vancouver spend about six months of the year under cloudy skies, it's not always possible to get sufficient sunlight.

Concerns about melanoma also lead many people to resist spending time in the sun, and some are indeed at significant risk if they increase their time by even a few minutes a day.

This means that food is perhaps a better source of vitamin D, but very few foods are natural sources -- primarily fatty fish and egg yolks. Fortunately, though, other foods, such as milk and margarine, are fortified with the vitamin. And vitamin D supplements are available should your diet not provide adequate amounts of the nutrient.

There are, therefore, ways to get sufficient vitamin D without risking your health. Now it's up to Health Canada to provide some guidance on exactly what "sufficient" means. ... story.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:34 am

Get out in the sun to boost vitamin D and help prevent depression

ABU DHABI // Scientists at Zayed University have found strong evidence that further establishes the link between vitamin D deficiency and depression.

In a study of more than 200 students, both male and female, Dr Justin Thomas said that “as one goes up, the other goes up”, showing a correlation.

Around 95 per cent of females and 50 to 60 per cent of males suffer from the vitamin deficiency, according to research carried out at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC).

“The aches and pains of vitamin D deficiency can lead to depression,” Dr Thomas said, “while depression can lead to withdrawal [from the outside world], hence the vitamin D deficiency. It’s what I call mutual exacerbation. If someone is depressed, it is likely they are deficient and vice versa.”

Dr Ammar Abbas, a specialist at the endocrinology centre at SKMC, said psychologists are increasingly aware that patients must be screened for vitamin D deficiency and depression.

“Patients going to the psychologists are screened for all kinds of conditions and a good psychologist will be aware that this must be a factor to consider,” he said.

Of the sample studied, between five and eight per cent of the students had severe depression and a further 20 per cent suffered from moderate depression.

“The students are very young to have depression,” said Dr Thomas, a psychologist from the department of Natural Science and Public Health.

He said that age 25 “is usually the minimum age of onset, but the average age was 19 in our study.”

The depression levels here are as high as in developing countries, he said. However, unusually, the research found no gender differences between the males and females at the university, who Dr Thomas says are “psychologically super-fit” and very aware of the concepts of depression and its symptoms although this may not be the case across the general population, he concedes.

The majority of the students were also vitamin-D deficient, as was expected, he said.

In Australia, a study at Melbourne University in 1997 suggested treatment of depression could be helped using vitamin D.

A questionnaire given to the Zayed University students posed a series of questions, such as how they viewed tanned skin, how often they spent recreational time outside, their dress code and beliefs about skin cancer.

“So far, everything relating to the sun and sun exposure has been linked to skin cancer, in a negative way, not from the positive angle of vitamin D,” Dr Thomas said.

Students saw even short periods of time in the sun as bad for their health and strongly endorsed reducing sun exposure.

Fatme Alanouti, who is also leading the research and is a faculty member at the university, said: “For the past 20 years we’ve been bombarded with the message to stay out of the sun.” However, she said, sensible exposure to the sun is beneficial.

Ninety per cent of a person’s daily requirement of vitamin D comes from sun exposure, but it can be supplemented with foods such as eggs, salmon and milk.

Patients suffering from the deficiency exhibit symptoms such as muscle aches, back pain, fatigue and susceptibility to fractures. Vitamin D synthesises in the skin after sun exposure to support bone strength.

Vitamin D helps the body to fight chronic illness such as cancer and diabetes and even respiratory illness in children.

A deficiency of vitamin D has been linked to colon cancer, liver or kidney disorders, low immunity and multiple sclerosis, and is also caused by poor diets with high fat levels.

“If the answer to reducing these illnesses is getting out in the sun, it could be that simple,” Dr Thomas said.

He hopes the study will fuel more research in the Gulf and Middle East, where D deficiency is rife. About 73 per cent of females studied in Saudi Arabia were deficient, and 40 per cent in Kuwait.

With funding from the Emirates Foundation and support from SKMC, the university is expanding the study in the coming months. ... 38/FOREIGN

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:29 pm

Vitamin D Deficiency Associated With Chronic Fatigue in Brain Injured Patients

ScienceDaily (Apr. 26, 2010) — New evidence presented at the European Congress of Endocrinology has shown that vitamin D deficiency is closely associated with the chronic fatigue that often follows post traumatic brain injury (TBI).

TBI is a major cause of death and disability worldwide. In the European Union the annual incidence of TBI hospitalizations and fatalities is estimated at 235 per 100,000 people. This means that on average a large European state such as the UK, France or Germany, will have around 140,000 new traumatic brain injuries every year (national figures vary). Around two-thirds of post TBI patients go on to suffer chronic fatigue. Now a group of researchers in the Netherlands have linked vitamin D deficiency to chronic fatigue in post-TBI sufferers.

The group, led by Dr Jessica Schnieders from Rijnstate Hospital in Arnham, The Netherlands, looked at vitamin D and hormone levels in 90 fatigued and non-fatigued subjects. They also systematically evaluated pituitary hormones and factors such as sleep, attention, emotional well-being, quality of life, coping style, and daily activity. They found that 51% of TBI patients were severely fatigued 10 years after the trauma. Vitamin D deficiency was present in 65% of post TBI patients and significantly related with fatigue (P<0.05), with patients who suffered from fatigue more likely to be vitamin D deficient. The group also found a higher incidence of growth hormone and sex hormone deficiency in the fatigued group, but they found no evidence that these deficiencies contributed to the fatigue.

This work opens the possibility that correcting the vitamin D deficiency might help to reduce some of the chronic fatigue in TBI patients. However, as vitamin D levels in the body are affected by diet and time spent in the sunshine, further studies are now needed to confirm whether low vitamin D levels are a cause of the fatigue or whether they are a consequence of altered lifestyle led due to suffering from fatigue.

Lead researcher, Dr Jessica Schnieders said: "In the Netherlands we have 30,000 people every year who suffer a traumatic brain injury and many of these go on to suffer from chronic fatigue. This is early work, so we need to confirm that vitamin D is the cause of this fatigue, and if so to see if taking vitamin D, perhaps coupled with improved sleep patterns, can alleviate some of the symptoms.

"We looked at patients around 10 years after their trauma. Fatigued post traumatic brain injury patients are less active, and generally experience a reduced quality of life. They have difficulties in maintaining relationships and keeping jobs, and are less independent than people who have not had to cope with such trauma." ... 182609.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:21 pm

Vitamin D reduces diabetes risk by 43 percent - is there anything this vitamin can't do?

(NaturalNews) A team from Warwick Medical School in the U.K. has found that people who maintain healthy vitamin D levels are 43 percent less likely to get heart disease or diabetes. After evaluating 28 different studies conducted on nearly 100,000 people, researchers concluded that people who eat oily fish two or three times a week and five servings of fruits and vegetables a day are able to achieve healthy levels of vitamin D.

While the team evaluated only natural sources of vitamin D, including from sunlight exposure and consumption of oily fish like tuna, salmon, and mackerel, it is probable that supplementation with natural vitamin D3 would prove to have the same effect.

Published in the journal Maturitas, the study revealed that high levels of vitamin D reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 33 percent, metabolic syndrome by 51 percent, and type-2 diabetes by an astounding 55 percent.

According to Dr. Johanna Parker, one of the study authors, sunlight exposure is the best way to get vitamin D. "People should expose themselves for 30 minutes twice a week – this means exposing the face and arms with no sunscreen. This would provide the body with adequate vitamin D," she explained.

Some experts recommend getting sunlight exposure every single day, especially in the summer when the sun delivers the most ultraviolet (UV) rays which produce vitamin D in the skin. Twenty minutes of sunlight exposure on a summer day can produce a healthy 20,000 IU of vitamin D in the skin, delivering optimal protection from all kinds of diseases.

Last summer, a study published in Diabetes Educator also found that vitamin D helps to prevent diabetes and can even help those who already have the disease. "Vitamin D has widespread benefits for our health and certain chronic diseases in particular," said Sue Penckofer, Ph.D., R.N., and co-author of that study.

It appears that people who have diabetes are generally low in vitamin D, which is also the case with many other diseases. Since vitamin D-deficiency and serious illness are so closely related, many medical professionals are advising people to have their levels checked to be sure they fall within a healthy range. More often than not, people who are acutely ill are deficient in the necessary vitamin.

If one is deficient in the vitamin, it is best to get more sunlight exposure, eat foods with vitamin D, and supplement with vitamin D3 in order to achieve optimal levels. ... betes.html

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:26 pm

Vitamin D improves elderly mobility

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., April 27 (UPI) -- Elderly study participants with the highest levels of vitamin D had better physical function and mobility than others, U.S. researchers found.

Dr. Denise Houston of the Sticht Center on Aging at Wake Forest University and colleagues studied vitamin D status and physical function in a group of relatively healthy seniors, mean age 75, in Memphis and Pittsburgh.

The study tracked 2,788 seniors for four years and assessed vitamin D status by analyzing each person's blood for 25-hydroxyvitamin D -- a precursor activated vitamin D.

The researchers looked at how quickly each participant could walk a short distance about, six yards, and rise from a chair five times, as well as balance tests.

The study found physical function declined during the study period, but it remained significantly higher among those with the highest vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study.

However, Houston said it is possible those with better physical function had higher vitamin D because they were able to go outside more often and get the vitamin through exposure to sunshine.

The findings were presented at the American Society for Nutrition at the Experimental Biology meeting in Anaheim, Calif. ... 272349022/

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:04 pm

Vitamin D in pill form may cut breast cancer risk

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women's dietary intake of vitamin D and calcium doesn't seem to influence their risk of breast cancer, before or after menopause, new research from Canada shows. But the findings do suggest that taking vitamin D in supplement form may be protective against the disease.

Given these new findings on vitamin D supplements, "it looks promising for vitamin D," Laura N. Anderson, one of the study's authors and a doctoral student at Cancer Care Ontario in Toronto, told Reuters Health. "We certainly need more research done in this area," she said.

Some prior studies have suggested that vitamin D may reduce breast cancer risk. Breast cells have receptors for vitamin D, Anderson noted, raising the possibility that the nutrient could help regulate the division and proliferation of these cells; there's also growing evidence that vitamin D could help protect against other types of cancer.

When it comes to diet and supplements, vitamin D and calcium often go hand in hand, she added. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption, so women who want to keep their bones strong as they age are advised to take both; also, many calcium-rich foods, like milk, are enriched with vitamin D.

Anderson and her team sought to separate out the effects of vitamin D and calcium on breast cancer risk by surveying 3,101 breast cancer patients and 3,471 healthy controls about their intake of food and supplements.

The researchers found no relationship between overall vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk; nor was there any association between overall calcium intake and risk of the disease.

However, women who reported taking at least 400 international units of vitamin D every day were at 24 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer.

The findings are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Right now, Anderson noted, health authorities in Canada, the US and other countries are looking at revising the current recommendations on vitamin D intake upward, given that it looks like higher intakes of the vitamin D may be more beneficial.

Further research is needed, she and her colleagues conclude, to investigate the relationship between bigger doses of vitamin D and calcium and breast cancer risk.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online April 14, 2010.

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:08 pm

Low Vitamin D Levels Are Related to MS Brain Atrophy, Cognitive Function, Studies Show

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2010) — Low vitamin D levels may be associated with more advanced physical disability and cognitive impairment in persons with multiple sclerosis, studies conducted by neurologists at the University at Buffalo have shown.

Their results, reported at the American Academy of Neurology meeting, held earlier this month, indicated that:

The majority of MS patients and healthy controls had insufficient vitamin D levels.
Clinical evaluation and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images show low blood levels of total vitamin D and certain active vitamin D byproducts are associated with increased disability, brain atrophy and brain lesion load in MS patients.
A potential association exists between cognitive impairment in MS patients and low vitamin D levels.
The MRI study involved 236 MS patients -- 208 diagnosed with the relapsing-remitting type and 28 with secondary progressive, a more destructive form of MS -- and 22 persons without MS.

All participants provided blood serum samples, which were analyzed for total vitamin D (D2 and D3) levels as well as levels of active vitamin D byproducts. MRI scans performed within three months of blood sampling were available for 163 of the MS patients.

Results showed that only seven percent of persons with secondary-progressive MS showed sufficient vitamin D, compared to 18.3 percent of patients with the less severe relapsing-remitting type.

Higher levels of vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 metabolism byproducts (analyzed as a ratio) also were associated with better scores on disability tests, results showed, and with less brain atrophy and fewer lesions on MRI scans.

Bianca Weinstock-Guttman, MD, UB associate professor of neurology/Jacobs Neurological Institute and director of the Baird Multiple Sclerosis Center, is first author on the study. Commenting on these results, Weinstock-Guttman said: "Clinical studies are necessary to assess vitamin D supplementation and the underlying mechanism that contributes to MS disease progression."

While lower-than-normal vitamin D status is known to be associated with a higher risk of developing MS, little is known about its relationship to cognitive impairment.

Sarah A. Morrow, MD, UB assistant research professor of neurology/Jacobs Neurological Institute and lead author on the cognitive-impairment study, compared vitamin D levels in blood samples of 136 MS patients with the results of their neuropsychological assessments that tested multiple types of cognition affected by MS.

"Results showed that MS patients who were impaired on tests of executive function -- critical reasoning and abstract thinking -- and the ability to plan and organize, were more likely to be deficient in vitamin D," said Morrow.

"This relationship held true when controlling for the season during which vitamin D was measured, as well as depression, which is known to be associated with lower vitamin D levels." Morrow noted there also was a suggestion that verbal fluency (word generation) and visual-spatial memory (learning and memory of shapes and figures) is more likely to be affected when vitamin D levels are not sufficient. ... 153955.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:10 pm

Low Levels Of Vitamin D Link To Cognitive Problems In Older People

ScienceDaily (Jan. 24, 2009) — Researchers from the Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan, have for the first time identified a relationship between Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin", and cognitive impairment in a large-scale study of older people. The importance of these findings lies in the connection between cognitive function and dementia: people who have impaired cognitive function are more likely to develop dementia.

The study was based on data on almost 2000 adults aged 65 and over who participated in the Health Survey for England in 2000 and whose levels of cognitive function were assessed. The study found that as levels of Vitamin D went down, levels of cognitive impairment went up. Compared to those with optimum levels of Vitamin D, those with the lowest levels were more than twice as likely to be cognitively impaired.

Vitamin D is important in maintaining bone health, in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and in helping our immune system. In humans, Vitamin D comes from three main sources – exposure to sunlight, foods such as oily fish, and foods that are fortified with vitamin D (such as milk, cereals, and soya drinks). One problem faced by older people is that the capacity of the skin to absorb Vitamin D from sunlight decreases as the body ages, so they are more reliant on obtaining Vitamin D from other sources.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, dementia affects 700,000 people in the UK and it is predicted that this figure will rise to over 1 million by 2025. Two-thirds of sufferers are women, and 60,000 deaths a year are attributable to the condition. It is believed that the financial cost of dementia to the UK is over £17 billion a year.

Dr. Iain Lang from the Peninsula Medical School, who worked on the study, commented: "This is the first large-scale study to identify a relationship between Vitamin D and cognitive impairment in later life. Dementia is a growing problem for health services everywhere, and people who have cognitive impairment are at higher risk of going on to develop dementia. That means identifying ways in which we can reduce levels of dementia is a key challenge for health services."

Dr Lang added: "For those of us who live in countries where there are dark winters without much sunlight, like the UK, getting enough Vitamin D can be a real problem – particularly for older people, who absorb less Vitamin D from sunlight. One way to address this might be to provide older adults with Vitamin D supplements. This has been proposed in the past as a way of improving bone health in older people, but our results suggest it might also have other benefits. We need to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation is a cost-effective and low-risk way of reducing older people's risks of developing cognitive impairment and dementia."

The paper will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Geriatric Psychology and Neurology. ... 093918.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Apr 30, 2010 12:40 pm

Scientists Clock Onto How Sunlight Puts a Spring in Our Step

ScienceDaily (Apr. 29, 2010) — Scientists have discovered two "body clock" genes that reveal how seasonal changes in hormones are controlled and could ultimately help find treatments for seasonal affective disorder.

Researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester also found that one of these genes (EYA3) has a similar role in both birds and mammals. showing a common link that has been conserved for more than 300 million years.

Scientists studied thousands of genes in Soay sheep. This breed, which dates back to the Bronze Age, is considered to be one of the most primitive with seasonal body clocks unaffected by cross breeding throughout the centuries.

For a long time, scientists had speculated that a key molecule -- termed tuberalin -- was produced in the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and sent signals to release hormones involved in driving seasonal changes.

However, until now scientists have had no idea about the nature of this molecule, how it works or how it is controlled.

The team focussed on a part of the brain that responds to melatonin -- a hormone known to be involved in seasonal timing in mammals.

The study revealed a candidate molecule for the elusive tuberalin, which communicates within the pituitary gland to signal the release of another hormone -- prolactin -- when days start getting longer. This helps animals adapt to seasonal changes in the environment.

The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal Current Biology, subsequently identified two genes -- TAC1 and EYA3 -- that were both activated early when natural hormone levels rise due to longer days.

Professor Dave Burt, of The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh, said: "For more than a decade scientists have known about the presence of this mysterious molecule tuberalin, but until now nobody has known quite how it worked. Identifying these genes not only sheds light on how our internal annual body clocks function but also shows a key link between birds and mammals that has been conserved over 300 million years."

The study suggests that the first gene TAC1 could only work when the second gene EYA3 -- which is also found in birds -- was present. The second gene may act to regulate TAC 1 so that it could be switched on in response to increasing day length.

Professor Andrew Loudon, of the University of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences, said: "A lot of our behaviour is controlled by seasons. This research sheds new light on how animals adapt to seasonal change, which impacts on factors including hibernation, fat deposition and reproduction as well as the ability to fight off diseases." ... 132747.htm

[comment - part of the modern lifestyle is spending too much time inside, affecting our sunlight exposure and contributing to chronic illnesses and depression; also a lack of exercise]

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Post by kenobewan » Thu May 06, 2010 6:53 pm

Higher daily doses of vitamin D lower risk of preterm births: Study

All pregnant women should take 4,000 international units of vitamin D daily — 10 to 20 times the dose the leaders of Canada's pregnancy specialists currently recommend — to lower their risk of preterm labour, preterm birth and infections concludes the first study to investigate the safety of high doses of vitamin D during pregnancy.

The study found that women in its 4,000-IU-a-day group had half the risk of premature delivery than women who took just 400 IU of vitamin D daily.

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn deaths in Canada.

And "not a single adverse event" related to vitamin D dosing was found during the study — as U.S. researchers will report Saturday at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver.

"We never imagined it would have as far-reaching effects as what we have seen," says lead author Dr. Carol Wagner, a pediatric researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina.

"The message is that all pregnant women should be supplementing with 4,000 IU per day of vitamin D."

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada currently recommends pregnant women consume 200 IU/day — and up to 400 IU in their last trimester.

But Dr. Robert Gagnon, chair of the group's maternal fetal medicine committee, says the new study alone is reason enough to support updating those guidelines.

"The concern of giving too much vitamin D in the past was based on wrong studies," says Gagnon, also director of maternal fetal medicine and obstetrics at McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal.

For decades, vitamin D was thought to be a teratogen — an agent that cause birth defects — after reports from the U.K. emerged in the 1960s of babies born with heart defects, mental disabilities and elf-like facial features. The babies were found to have high levels of calcium, which doctors attributed to too much vitamin D, since the vitamin helps the body absorb calcium.

What they discovered years later — through genetic technology — was the children had Williams syndrome, a rare disorder caused by deleted genes that affects how babies metabolize vitamin D, leading to higher levels. The conditions weren't a symptom of too much vitamin D but rather a genetic syndrome.

"For 30-plus years it was dogma that (vitamin D in pregnancy) was dangerous, that you didn't need very much and what you did need you could get from just casual sunlight exposure," Wagner said. "What we know now, from a decade of very intensive research, is that that's not the case."

Vitamin D — which in the body acts like a hormone — is important not just for fetal-skeletal health, but also for bone development in childhood, coming a decade later.

Severe deficiencies have been linked to seizures. Others have linked low vitamin D in pregnancy to a higher risk of preeclampsia — a sudden increase in blood pressure and protein in urine that can be life-threatening to mothers and babies.

For their study, Wagner and colleagues randomized 494 pregnant women at 12 to 16 weeks gestation into three treatment groups: one group received 400 IU of vitamin D3 a day until delivery; another received 2,000 IU, and the third, 4,000 IU. (Vitamin D3 is better absorbed than D2.)

The higher the dose, the more vitamin D was measured not just in the mother but also in the baby at birth, showing the supplement crosses the placenta to reach the child.

Higher circulating blood levels of vitamin D were associated with lower rates of preterm labour, preterm birth and infection — with the strongest effects were seen in the 4,000-IU-a-day group.

All the women taking part in the study were living in Charleston — in sunny South Carolina. Overall, 85 per cent were either insufficient, or "frankly deficient" in vitamin D when the study began.

"This is the best you can get with lots of sunshine," Wagner said.

"This is even more important for Canadians. You're at a much higher latitude. The best that you can have is probably six months of sunlight exposure, at your lowest latitude, where you can actually make vitamin D," he said. "So you're dependent on your stores."

Even then, when we do go outside, we tend to use sunscreen, which blocks our synthesis of vitamin D.

"If you are marginal during summer months, by the time you get to February and March, what you see is really just horrific deficiency," Wagner said. "What we're trying to do is just get women where they would be if they were out in the field (like) how we evolved, out in the sun-rich environments."

In 2007, the Canadian Paediatric Society began recommending that pregnant and breastfeeding women talk to their doctor about taking 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily, especially during winter.

Health Canada recommends pregnant and nursing mothers consume 200 IU each day, the amount found in two cups (500 mL) of milk or fortified soy beverages.

It remains unclear as to how vitamin D may lower the risk of premature birth. But Gagnon said the vitamin appears to increase the amount of blood flowing to the placenta, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the baby, and promoting healthier growth. ... story.html

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Post by kenobewan » Thu May 06, 2010 6:55 pm

Vitamin D Deficit Common Among Southern Teens

Although they live in a relatively sunny climate, adolescents in southern states often have low blood levels of vitamin D, particularly if they are black, overweight, or inactive, a new study found.

Of adolescents tested, 56.4% had vitamin D insufficiency (<75 nmol/L) and 28.8% had deficiency (≤50 nmol/L), according to an online report in the May 3 Pediatrics.

Compared to white youths, black youths had significantly lower blood plasma levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, regardless of the season:

- Summer, 50.7 ± 4.0 vs 104.3 ± 4.0 nmol/L
- Fall, 54.4 ± 4.0 vs 96.8 ± 2.7 nmol/L).
- Winter, 35.9 ± 2.5 vs 77.4 ± 2.7 nmol/L
- Spring, 46.4 ± 3.5 vs 101.3 ± 3.5 nmol/L

"Our data demonstrate that low vitamin D status is common among adolescents residing in the southeastern region and is related to various adiposity and lifestyle factors," Yanbin Dong, MD, PhD, of the Medical College of Georgia, and colleagues wrote.

"Taken together, these findings suggest that low vitamin D status is a growing national problem for adolescents in the United States, regardless of latitude."

Several studies have documented low vitamin D levels in children and adolescents living at northern latitudes, including communities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Massachusetts and Maine.

Although exposure to sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has suggested that children living in southern states might also suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

To determine if that was the case, Dong and colleagues measured blood serum vitamin D levels in 559 adolescents from 14 to 18 years old, who were recruited from high schools in and around Augusta, Ga. (latitude 33.44°N) from January 2001 to June 2005. The researchers also measured the youths' fat tissue, physical activity and cardiovascular fitness.

Of the subjects, 45% were black and 49% were female.

After adjusting for age, gender, race, season, height and sexual maturation, the researchers found that all fat measurements, including BMI percentile (P=0.02), waist circumference (P<0.01), total fat mass (P<0.01), percentage of body fat (P<0.01), visceral adipose tissue (P=0.015) and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (P=0.039), were associated with low vitamin D levels.

Participants who engaged in more vigorous physical activity (P<0.01) and had better cardiovascular fitness (P=0.025) were more likely to have higher levels of vitamin D.

"As an easy, inexpensive, adiposity measure, BMI percentiles could potentially be used alone for study of the relationship between adiposity and vitamin D levels in future studies," Dong and colleagues wrote. "Our data suggest that the relationship between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and adiposity in adolescents is independent of the site of fat content and fat distribution."

They noted that some scientists attribute low vitamin D levels observed among blacks to reduced skin synthesis caused by greater skin pigmentation, but Dong and colleagues proposed that the difference also could be related to relatively high rates of obesity in black populations.

The authors cautioned their analysis lacked information on the adolescents' sun exposure and dietary consumption of vitamin D and calcium.

They also noted that they did not measure individuals' plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels in every season, which might have caused them to overlook seasonal variations of vitamin D levels. ... Care/19891

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Post by kenobewan » Sat May 08, 2010 11:13 am

C. diff May Be Worse With Low Vitamin D

May 5, 2010 -- Patients with low vitamin D levels who catch the nasty superbug Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, are more likely to have persistent diarrhea than those with normal levels, preliminary research suggests.

C. diff infections resolved in 15 of 28 (53%) hospitalized patients with normal vitamin D levels, and the patients remained free of diarrhea after 30 days.

In contrast, only nine of 34 (26%) patients with low vitamin D levels cleared their infection and were diarrhea-free a month later, says Moshe Rubin, MD, director of gastroenterology at New York Hospital Queens-Weill Cornell Medical College.

The small study doesn't prove that low vitamin D levels cause worse infections. Even if the findings are confirmed, low levels of vitamin D may just be a marker for some other damaging factor, he tells WebMD.

But the findings are consistent with studies suggesting vitamin D may have immune-boosting and antibacterial functions, says Kelly A. Tappenden, PhD, RD, of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

She moderated a news briefing where the findings were presented at Digestive Disease Week 2010 in New Orleans.

Studies also suggest that low vitamin D levels are associated with higher death rates, Rubin says.

C. Diff on the Rise

The potentially dangerous diarrhea bug causes several hundred thousand human infections and several thousand deaths each year in the U.S., according to the CDC.

In recent years, the number and severity of these infections has been on the rise. Once rarely seen outside the hospital, C. diff has spread into the community as well, Rubin says.

Most cases of C. diff occur in people taking so-called broad spectrum antibiotics, including clindamycin, fluoroquinolones, and penicillin, that kill many different types of pathogens.

Spores enter the body through the mouth, which is the entryway for the gastrointestinal tract. The broad spectrum antibiotics kill "good" bacteria in the gut that keep C. diff at bay.

The resulting overgrowth of the C. diff bacteria in the colon, or large intestine, can cause diarrhea, which is often severe and accompanied by intestinal inflammation known as colitis.

Tracking Vitamin D Levels

The new study involved 83 hospitalized patients with documented C. diff infections. The researchers measured vitamin D levels in all of the patients and then followed their hospital course over the next 30 days.

Of the 62 patients who completed the study, 55% had low vitamin D levels, defined as less than 21 nanograms per deciliter of blood. The other 45% had normal vitamin D levels.

Overall, 40% of the patients died during the month. A total of 67% of patients with low vitamin D levels died, compared with 44% of those with normal vitamin D levels, but the difference in mortality rates could have been due to chance.

The next steps, Rubin says, are studies to confirm the association between low vitamin D and worse C. diff infections and to determine whether supplements of vitamin D can help to improve symptoms in patients with C. diff and low vitamin D blood levels. ... -vitamin-d

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