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

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Post by kenobewan » Sat May 08, 2010 11:18 am

Vitamin D's role more important than thought, so get enough

Calcium and vitamin D are important for healthy bones and prevention of the bone disease called osteoporosis.

New studies about the way vitamin D is used in the body suggest many other important roles. Scientists are exploring the link between vitamin D levels, the immune system and protection from certain types of cancer.

In the Women's Health Initiative Study, those with low levels of vitamin D in the blood stream were two and a half times more likely to develop colon cancer. A study involving 19,000 men found low vitamin D levels increased the risk of prostate cancer by 70 percent.

Another study including nearly 1,200 women with an average age of 66, found that supplementation with calcium and vitamin D reduced the risk of developing cancer by 66 percent over a placebo or "sugar pill." Additionally, women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer showed better survival rates when vitamin D levels were adequate.

Vitamin D is added to all milk, but is only added to some cheeses, yogurts, breakfast cereals and orange juices. You must read the nutrition facts label and compare these products to be sure you are getting one fortified with vitamin D. A small amount of vitamin D occurs naturally in beef liver, egg yolk and some oily fishes. Wild caught salmon contains more vitamin D than farm- raised salmon or canned tuna.

When human skin is exposed to sunlight and ultraviolet B rays, the body produces vitamin D. Studies show 30 minutes, three times a week out in the July sun, can raise blood levels of vitamin D, but skin cancer concerns have discouraged excess exposure to the sun's burning rays, and we are more likely to use sunscreen. Sunscreen with an sun protection factor of 15 will eliminate 99 percent of the UV-B rays. As we age, the skin produces less vitamin D.

The current recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is 400 IU or international units. Americans get about 100 to 200 IU from their average daily diet. Researchers are now suggesting that 400 IU of vitamin D may not be adequate for optimum health and cancer prevention.

Look for a supplement that contains 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D3 as cholecalciferol for best absorption. Ask your health care provider to check your blood levels of vitamin D on your next check up. ... get-enough

[comment - as stated previously I personally take 2000IU daily through a D3 supplement and sit out in the sun for 10 mins at least 3 times a week - when its fine :)]

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Post by kenobewan » Tue May 11, 2010 3:35 pm

Older adults need twice the recommended amount of vitamin D per day, group says

Older adults need up to twice the amount of vitamin D than is typically recommended, according to guidelines released Monday by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

Concluding a meeting in Switzerland, the group urged adults, defined by this group as 65 and older, to aim for a 25-OHD blood level -- the primary marker for vitamin D in the blood -- of 75 nanomoles per liter. To reach that level, one would need an intake of 20 to 25 micrograms per day (or 800 to 1,000 international units) of vitamin D.

That is significantly greater than the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance of 10 micrograms (400 IU) for people ages 51 to 70 and 15 micrograms (600 IU) for people 71 and older. Moreover, the international group cautioned that intakes of up to 50 micrograms or 2,000 IU may be necessary for people who are obese, have osteoporosis, have limited sun exposure or who have problems absorbing vitamin D.

The guidelines also recommended vitamin D blood tests for people who may be deficient. The lead author of the statement, Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes of Tufts University, noted that many people worldwide do not get enough vitamin D.

"This high prevalence of suboptimal levels raises the possibility that many falls and fractures can be prevented with vitamin D supplementation," she said in the statement. "This is a relatively easy public health measure that could have significant positive effects on the incidence of osteoporotic fractures." ... tions.html

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Post by kenobewan » Wed May 12, 2010 3:58 pm

Many Pregnant Women Not Getting Enough Vitamin D: Prenatal Vitamins Help, but Are Not Enough for Everyone

ScienceDaily (May 11, 2010) — Seven out of every ten pregnant women in the United States are not getting enough Vitamin D according to a study published in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While prenatal vitamins do raise Vitamin D levels during pregnancy, the study shows that higher doses may be needed for many women.

Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, from University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, lead author of the study said, "We already know Vitamin D is important for bone health of the mother and infant, but we are just starting to scratch the surface about the many potential health benefits of Vitamin D during pregnancy."

The latest study shows that many pregnant women in the United States have insufficient vitamin D levels. For those women, prenatal vitamins do not provide enough vitamin D, and higher doses are needed to raise levels. Women with darker skin, those who cover their skin for religious or cultural reasons and those living further north during winter months are at particularly high risk for lower Vitamin D levels.

"Prenatal vitamins do help raise vitamin D levels, but many women start taking them after becoming pregnant. Although research is ongoing, I think it's best for women to start a few months before becoming pregnant to maximize the likely health benefits," said Ginde.

There is a growing body of evidence that Vitamin D levels have fallen below what's considered healthy in the overall population -- likely from decreased outdoor activity. And vitamin D has reemerged as an important nutritional factor in maternal and infant health. Vitamin D deficiency early in life has been linked to increased risk of respiratory infections and childhood wheezing. Lower levels in adults have been linked to cardiovascular disease and specific types of cancer.

The study did find that some women have enough Vitamin D. Study co-author Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH, from Massachusetts General Hospital cautioned that there may be risks from excessive Vitamin D intake. "We need more data from clinical trials of Vitamin D supplementation in pregnant women. If the ongoing trials continue to show benefit, the best strategy will likely be measuring Vitamin D levels through a simple blood test and choosing supplementation doses according to those levels."

Ginde added, "This tailored approach is common in preventive care for people with high cholesterol, and safer and more effective than a one-size-fits-all solution."

The study team from University of Colorado School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Children's Hospital Boston analyzed nationally representative data from 928 pregnant and 5,173 non-pregnant women of childbearing age collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health. ... 173821.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Wed May 12, 2010 4:04 pm

Vitamin D Protects Health 12 Ways

Vitamin D, the "sunshine" vitamin, does a lot more than help keep bones strong — scientists are finding that it impacts all aspects of our health.

Vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to sunlight, vitamin supplements (vitamin D-3 is recommended by many experts), and foods such as salmon and tuna.

Recent studies show that having high levels of vitamin D in our blood can help protect against many diseases, while low levels are linked with several disorders.

Here are 12 critically important ways vitamin D can help protect your health:

1. Colon cancer. A study by cancer prevention specialists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California found that high amounts of vitamin D could slash colorectal cancer rates by two-thirds. A European study found that high levels of vitamin D cut the odds of colon cancer by almost 40 percent.

2. Breast cancer. Research using data from two earlier studies found that women with the highest amounts of vitamin D in their blood lowered their risk of breast cancer by 50 percent when compared to women with the lowest levels. A Canadian study found that women who took a vitamin D pill of least 400 international units every day lowered their risk of developing breast cancer by 24 percent.

3. Heart disease. A British study has found that middle-aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin D reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 33 percent. Utah scientists found that patients who raised their blood levels of vitamin D after being diagnosed as deficient lowered their risk of having a heart attack by 33 percent, their risk of heart failure by 20 percent, and their risk of dying from any cause by 30 percent.

4. Brain health. A European study of men between the ages of 40 and 79 found that high levels of vitamin D were associated with high scores on memory tests.

5. Diabetes. Researchers at Warwick Medical School found that adults with the highest blood levels of vitamin D lowered their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 55 percent.

6. Asthma. Asthmatics who have high levels of vitamin D have better lung function and respond to treatment better than those who have low levels, according to researchers at National Jewish Health in Denver.

7. Bone health. Vitamin D and calcium reduce the risk of hip fractures in the elderly. Studies show that people who are deficient in vitamin D absorb 65 percent less calcium than those with normal levels. One recent study from the United Kingdom found that 95 percent of patients with hip fractures were deficient in vitamin D, and having adequate levels could reduce hip fractures by up to 50 percent.

8. Depression. University of Toronto researchers found that people who suffer from depression, especially those with seasonal affective disorder, improved as the levels of vitamin D in the blood rose. Researchers in Norway found that high doses of vitamin D helped relieve the symptoms of depression.

9. Multiple sclerosis. Australian scientists discovered that people who live in the state furthest from the equator — and get less sunlight — are seven times more likely to develop multiple sclerosis than those who live in the sunniest state.

10. Colds and flu. Scientists at the University of Colorado found that people with the lowest amounts of vitamin D in their blood had the highest incidence of colds and flu.

11. Rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, found that women with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood lowered their chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis by 30 percent.

12. Crohn's Disease. Vitamin D switches on genes responsible for fighting Crohn's disease (a chronic inflammatory disease primarily affecting the small and large intestine), according to Canadian researchers. "Our data suggests that vitamin D deficiency can contribute to Crohn's disease," Dr. John White, endocrinologist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Center in Montreal, Canada, said in a statement.

The National Institute of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements recommends 200 IU of vitamin D each day for adults under the age of 50. Adults 50-70 should get 400 IU daily and adults ages 71 and above should have an intake of 600 IU each day. ... 15173.html

[comment - I take 2000IU per day]

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Post by kenobewan » Thu May 13, 2010 9:52 pm

Lacking in vitamin D? It's time to see the light

Arthritis. Obesity. Diabetes. Heart disease. Depression. Cancer.

Vitamin D could help prevent all these and more, some experts say. And it's free. Most people can get it just by spending a little more time in the sun.

Known as the sunshine vitamin, it's long been known that vitamin D can help build strong bones and teeth. But in recent years, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a growing number of health concerns.

"The benefits of vitamin D are varied and profound," says Michael F. Holick, a leading vitamin D expert and author of "The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems" (Hudson Street Press, $25.95).

"(Vitamin D) may be as vital to your heart and brain health as it is to bone health," Holick says. "Increasing levels of vitamin D can treat, prevent, and even reverse a remarkable number of daily ailments."

Holick cites a study that found women who took more than 400 IU (international units) of vitamin D reduced the risk of developing multiple sclerosis by 42 percent. A Canadian study found women with breast cancer were nearly twice as likely to see their cancer spread, and far more likely to die, if they were vitamin D deficient.

And a 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that post-menopausal women who improved their calcium and vitamin D levels substantially reduced all cancer risk.

"Vitamin D is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, but its effects manifest in so many other conditions that people often focus on treating the symptoms instead of looking deeper in the cause," Holick says.

Most people don't get nearly enough D, which is produced through the skin by exposure to sunlight. With more people spending less time outdoors — and using sunscreen when they are outside — vitamin D deficiency is on the rise.

Three out of four Americans are deficient in vitamin D, up from one out of two 20 years ago, Holick says. About 40 percent to 60 percent of black adults are vitamin D deficient, he says.

In the black community, some experts are calling vitamin D deficiency a "hidden epidemic."

"Black women who develop breast cancer are more likely to die from the disease than white women," says Nagi B. Kumar, professor at the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida and Moffitt Cancer Center. "Survival rates are also worse among blacks for colon, prostate and ovarian cancers. Why do blacks have a worse prognosis? One of the things could be their (vitamin D) blood levels are lower than others."

Kumar said several factors may explain why so many blacks are vitamin D deficient.

People get vitamin D primarily from the sun, through their diet and with over-the-counter supplements. The melanin in black skin acts as a natural sunscreen, which makes it difficult for the skin to make vitamin D. So the darker the skin, the less vitamin D you produce.

A black person requires three to five times more exposure to the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as a white person, Kumar says.

Blacks also have a higher incidence of lactose intolerance, so they don't use as much vitamin D fortified milk or other dairy products.

But with the risk of skin cancer, is it smart to get your D from more sun exposure?

Robert P. Heaney, professor of medicine at Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., says no one knows for sure, but for those who aren't at an increased risk for skin cancer, about 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure daily could help improve vitamin D deficiency.

"To put that into perspective, the human race didn't go away before the invention of sunscreen," Heaney says. Exposure to intense sunlight was mostly a year-round occurrence for our ancestors, he says.

Still, D isn't a cure for everything that ails the human race. "It's important. And our bodies need it to cope better," Heaney says. "But I don't want to promote it as a magic bullet."

On its website, the American Academy of Dermatology discourages people from getting vitamin D from sun exposure or indoor tanning because ultraviolet radiation can lead to skin cancer. The site suggests getting D from a healthy diet, which includes fortified foods, beverages and/or vitamin supplements.

Heaney recommends speaking to a physician to see whether it's necessary to take a supplement, and if it is, to determine the appropriate dose.

The only way to know whether you're vitamin D sufficient is by having a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25 (OH) D test.

Most people have never been tested and don't know they have a deficiency, Kumar says. But that's changing as more doctors jump on the vitamin D bandwagon.

Patients who suffer from aches and pains, which can be signs of Vitamin D deficiency, often feel better a few weeks after boosting their intake, Kumar says.

"It's very easy to raise low levels of vitamin D," he says. "If you have a deficiency, you can start to feel better in a matter of weeks." ... ight/life/

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Post by kenobewan » Fri May 14, 2010 5:04 pm

Study Shows Sunscreen Linked To Cancer

LAS VEGAS -- With Las Vegas’ hot sun, sunscreen has become ubiquitous during summer.

But the skin cancer preventive lotion or spray has an active ingredient in it that research showed could cause ovarian, prostate and breast cancer and cause problems with fertility.

The Centers for Disease Control in 2008 showed that 97 percent of Americans who have used sunscreen are absorbing the chemical ozybenzone -- an ingredient that, when exposed to the sun, could be toxic.

“When oxybenzone starts to get broken down, it could cause cellular damage,” said Dr. Daliah Wachs, a family practitioner.

Wachs said people still need sunlight for vitamin D, as well as sunscreen, but both in moderation. More research needs to be done on the sunscreen chemical’s connection to cancer.

“Don’t be a sun bunny, but don’t lather yourself up so (the sunscreen) is dripping,” she said.

[comment - if there is any truth to this, not sure how widespread this ingredient is, even more reason to avoid sunscreen while limiting sun exposure, unless you are dark skinned. Could be another reason to use supplements too]

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Post by kenobewan » Fri May 14, 2010 5:16 pm

Vitamin D deficiency finally being recognized as increasingly common

(NaturalNews) Doctors are becoming increasingly concerned about growing rates of vitamin D deficiency, leading many of them to recommend that people get more sun or even take supplements.

Vitamin D has long been known to play an important role in bone health. Deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults, and in children and some adults can lead to a bone-softening disease known as rickets.

Although the vitamin is synthesized by the body upon exposure to sunlight, people living far from the equator can have trouble producing enough of it in the winter time. For this reason, numerous governments began fortifying dairy products with vitamin D decades ago, leading directly to a near-elimination of rickets. The disease is starting to make a resurgence, however, even as researchers start to believe that humans may need higher levels of the vitamin than previously thought.

Although the U.S. government recommends a daily vitamin D intake of 200 to 600 IU per day, researchers are increasingly suggesting amounts of closer to 1,000 IU. These amounts are based on new studies finding that higher levels of vitamin D can help regulate the immune system and prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

"It helps boost your ability to fight infection, and it also reduces some destructive inflammation in your body, including inflammation with periodontal disease," said Mark Ryder of the University of California-San Francisco. "Every five or 10 years, a new vitamin becomes the vitamin of the moment. The hot one right now is probably vitamin D, and so far all of the evidence looks encouraging."

Yet even according to the lower government standards, at least one in three U.S. residents are not getting enough vitamin D.

"We've become a culture that shuns the sunshine and doesn't drink milk," said Dr. Donald Abrams of San Francisco General Hospital. ... iency.html

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Post by kenobewan » Thu May 20, 2010 6:47 pm

Low vitamin D tied to depression

Older men and women with lower levels of vitamin D in their blood are more prone to become depressed over time.

Vitamin D, produced by the body when skin is exposed to sunlight, is also found in certain foods such as oily fish. It helps cells absorb calcium and is important for bone health. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and more severe asthma. In older people, insufficient vitamin D is quite common, and has been linked to fractures, worse physical function, greater frailty, and a wide variety of chronic illness. Many studies have been published on the potential health benefits of vitamin D and the potential risks of deficiency. To explore the relation between low vitamin D and depression in older people, researchers from America followed 531 women and 423 men, aged 65 years and older for over six years.

At the study's outset, 42 percent of the women and 18 percent of the men were depressed, while three-quarters of the women and half of the men had levels of vitamin D below 50 nanomoles per liter, which is generally considered insufficient.
It was found that 72 percent of the depressed people and 60 percent of the non-depressed people had vitamin D insufficiency - the level above deficiency. Women with vitamin D insufficiency showed a worse decline in mood at three and six years of follow-up; their scores on a standardised test measuring depressive symptoms increased more at three and six years compared to the scores for women who had adequate vitamin D.

Women with low vitamin D who weren't depressed at the beginning of the study were also twice as likely to become depressed over the following six years as the women who had sufficient levels of the nutrient. While similar patterns were seen for men, the association wasn't as strong, and in some cases could have been due to chance.

It was concluded that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for the development of depressive symptoms in older persons. The strength of the prospective association is higher in women than in men. Further research is required to understand the potential cause between vitamin D deficiency and depression. ... ssion.html

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Post by kenobewan » Fri May 21, 2010 7:13 pm

Vitamin D deficiencies at epidemic levels, says new study

(NaturalNews) Vitamin D is an amazing nutrient that protect the body from all sorts of diseases and problems. Researchers continually uncover new links between lack of vitamin D and disease, illustrating the fact that it is vital to good health. However recent studies have also found that most people are deficient in vitamin D.

A team of doctors from the McGill University Health Centre in Canada was surprised to find that about 59 percent of people evaluated were deficient in vitamin D and about 25 percent were severely deficient. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the study is allegedly the first to illustrate a definitive link between vitamin D deficiency and an accumulation of fat in muscle tissue.

"Because it [vitamin D deficiency] is linked to increased body fat, it may affect many different parts of the body. Abnormal levels of vitamin D are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders," explained Dr. Richard Kremer, lead investigator of the study.

The main reason why people are generally lacking in vitamin D is because people spend much more time indoors than they used to. Especially with computers, people often spend their entire days inside cubicles where they are exposed to little or no sunlight.

Vitamin D is not produced in the body on its own. It is created when skin is exposed to sunlight. Some foods contain vitamin D, but in minimal amounts compared to what can be achieved from sun exposure. Most people also do not consume enough vitamin D-rich food to obtain adequate amounts of it.

The McGill study highlights an important link between vitamin D and obesity that, until now, has been largely ignored. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to decreased muscle and increased fat, which is a condition that is increasingly common in industrialized nations. Though diet also plays a role in obesity, it is striking to see vitamin D playing a role in the condition as well.

Perhaps the reason why vitamin D deficiency is linked to all sorts of serious diseases has more to do with the increase in visceral fat that it causes, which in turn leads to such health problems. This study seems to confirm that notion.

The best way to address vitamin D deficiency is to get more sunlight. But when this is not possible, particularly throughout the winter months when the sun is at a lower angle and the ultraviolet (UV) rays are at a minimum, supplementation with vitamin D is the next best option.

The study itself did not confirm one way or another the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in reducing fat and increasing muscle, however tests have shown that supplementation does increase blood levels of vitamin D. Many people take vitamin D supplements to alleviate their deficiency and have experience good results.

Currently, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is between 200 and 400 international units (IU) per day, depending on age. Recent studies are showing that these recommendations are too low to maintain optimal health. Some are suggesting that these guidelines be updated to amounts upwards of 1,000 IU per day, including the Canadian Cancer Society.

On a typical summer day, 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight exposure will result in the skin producing about 40,000 IU of vitamin D. At this point, the mechanism that produces it shuts off in order to prevent the body from making too much.

With these levels in mind, many naturopathic doctors recommend supplementing with up to 10,000 IU a day or more. Many believe it is difficult to take too much vitamin D because the safe upper limits are much higher than previously thought.

Currently, the best form of vitamin D is D3, or cholecalciferol, because it is the precursor to the type created by the body from sunlight exposure. Vitamin D3 can be safely taken at amounts much higher than the RDA guidelines.

Safe tanning beds are another option for achieving optimal vitamin D levels without taking a supplement. Despite recent reports that they are unsafe and cause skin cancer, some tanning beds can be used properly and safely to obtain UV rays when regular sunlight is not an option. These beds use electronic ballasts instead of magnetic ballasts that emit electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs), which can cause cancer and other health issues.

Dr. Mercola, another trusted source of natural health information, has a helpful directory of healthy tanning locations across the country. There are also companies that sell these tanning beds for home use.

If you are unsure about your vitamin D levels and wish to consult with your physician, a simple blood test will determine your levels. Whichever route you choose to take, just be sure to get enough vitamin D. Your body will thank you. ... ncies.html

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Post by kenobewan » Fri May 21, 2010 7:31 pm

Is Vitamin D the Answer to Health Care Reform?

Health care reform continues to be one of the most pressing issues for a majority of Americans. As politicians move forward with sweeping changes to the current defunct health care system, many people are left with non-existent or poor coverage, and a plan which is far from ideal and not likely to improve any time soon.

Now is the time for personal action to prevent heart disease, cancer and stroke which claims the lives of 1.4 million people in the US annually. Vitamin D supplementation is the key to preventing many of the most lethal diseases which plague Western populations today.

Studies confirm that heart disease can be reduced by as much as 53%, and cancer incidence slashed by up to 77% in those people with the highest levels of Vitamin D in their blood. For mere pennies a day, we could be taking advantage of this powerful weapon which could yield billions in health care cost savings each year.

Vitamin D Reduces Risk From a Fatal Heart Attack

Heart attacks related to coronary artery disease kill nearly 157,000 people each year. Those with the lowest levels of Vitamin D are 2.5 times more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack, which would result in 93,000 fewer deaths each year by supplementing to optimal Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D works at many levels by helping the body to properly regulate blood pressure, blood glucose and insulin, as it helps prevent excess calcium in the blood which leads to coronary plaque.

It’s estimated that the cost savings of a nation with optimized Vitamin D blood levels would be $84 billion each year. That dollar figure doesn’t take into account the suffering and lost productivity of the millions of Americans who suffer from some form of heart disease. We could take that savings to the health care bank today, relieving pressure on a system which is at the brink of failure.

Vitamin D Slashes Cancer Deaths

Overwhelming evidence exists that the risk of 17 different types of cancer can be cut by as much as 77%. This could conservatively prevent the unnecessary demise of 350,000 people in the US each year. We have evolved with high levels of Vitamin D over the course of generations, and we know that it functions at the genetic level by supporting the development and replication of new cells.

Vitamin D is required by every cell in our body and represents a powerful ally toward a healthy lifestyle. Vitamin D helps activate the immune system, permitting our body to detect and snuff out potential invaders, including single cancer cells which will multiply if left unchecked.

The federal government spends $1 billion each year to prevent or develop cures for many lethal diseases and yet Vitamin D is not on their radar. It’s estimated that mandatory supplementation to optimal Vitamin D levels would save the US nearly $400 billion annually, which would effectively put an end to concerns over skyrocketing health care costs.

With the countless studies confirming that Vitamin D can have a major impact in reducing the risk of disease, it’s clear we must make the decision to protect ourselves and provide for our own health care reform. ... answer-to/

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Post by kenobewan » Sun May 23, 2010 2:13 pm

Vitamin D: Why You Are Probably NOT Getting Enough and How That Makes You Sick

What vitamin may we need in amounts up to 25 times higher than the government recommends for us to be healthy?

What vitamin deficiency affects 70-80 percent of the population, is almost never diagnosed and has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression,(i) fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain, bone loss and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis?(ii)

What vitamin is almost totally absent from our food supply?

What vitamin is the hidden cause of much suffering that is easy to treat?

The answer to all of these questions is vitamin D.

Over the last 15 years of my practice, my focus has been to discover what the body needs to function optimally. Vitamin D, a nutrient (more of a hormone and gene modulator) is a critical, essential ingredient for health and optimal function. The problem is that most of us don't have enough of it because we work and live indoors, use sun block and can't get enough from our diet--even in fortified foods.

Two recent studies in the journal Pediatrics found that 70 percent of American kids aren't getting enough vitamin D, and this puts them at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and lower levels of good cholesterol. (iii) Low vitamin D levels also may increase a child's risk of developing heart disease later in life.

Overall, 7.6 million, or nine percent, of US children were vitamin-D deficient, and another 50.8 million, or 61 percent, had insufficient levels of this important vitamin in their blood.

The average blood level of vitamin D was 25 ng/dl for Caucasians and 16 ng/dl for African Americans. The optimal level is 45 ng/dl and requires about 3000-4000 IU a day of vitamin D3 -- 10 times current recommendations. If our whole population achieved a minimum level of 45 ng/dl, we would have 400,000 fewer premature deaths per year. There would be a reduction of cancer by 35 percent, type 2 diabetes by 33 percent and all causes of mortality by seven percent. (iv)

The economic burden due to vitamin D insufficiency in the United States is $40-$53 billion per year. This can be corrected for pennies a person per day.

Over the last five years, I have tested almost every patient in my practice for vitamin D deficiency, and I have been shocked by the results. What's even more amazing is what happens when my patients' vitamin D status reaches optimal levels. Having witnessed these changes, there's no doubt in my mind: vitamin D is an incredible asset to your health.

That is why in today's blog I want to explain the importance of this essential vitamin and give you six tips on how to get optimize your vitamin D levels.

Let's start by looking at the massive impact vitamin D has on the health and function of every cell and gene in your body.

How Vitamin D Regulates Your Cells and Genes

Vitamin D has a dramatic impact on the health and function of your cells. It reduces cellular growth (which promotes cancer) and improves cell differentiation (which puts cells into an anti-cancer state). That makes vitamin D one of the most potent cancer inhibitors--and explains why vitamin D deficiency has been linked to colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer.

But what's even more fascinating is how vitamin D regulates and controls genes.

It acts on a cellular docking station called a receptor that then sends messages to our genes. That's how vitamin D controls so many different functions--like preventing cancer, reducing inflammation, boosting mood, easing muscle aches and fibromyalgia and building bones.

Vitamin D also helps prevent the flu and colds and infections. In an observational study of Finnish soldiers, those with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels higher than 16 ng/mL (40 nmol/L) had fewer respiratory infections than those with lower levels.(v) More recently, in a double-blind randomized controlled trial involving school girls, supplementation with 1200 IU/d of vitamin D3 during the wintertime significantly reduced influenza A infections.(vi)

These are just a few examples of the power of vitamin D. When we don't get enough it impacts every area of our biology, because it affects the way our cells and genes function. And many of us are deficient for one simple reason ...

Your body makes vitamin D when it's exposed to sunlight. In fact, 80 to 100 percent of the vitamin D we need comes from the sun. The sun exposure that makes our skin a bit red (called 1 minimum erythemal dose) produces the equivalent of 10,000 to 25,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D in our bodies.

The problem is that most of us aren't exposed to enough sunlight.

Overuse of sunscreen is one reason. While these product help protect against skin cancer--they also block a whopping 97 percent of your body's vitamin D production.

If you live in a northern climate, you're not getting enough sun (and therefore vitamin D), especially during winter. And you're probably not eating enough of the few natural dietary sources of vitamin D: fatty wild fish like mackerel, herring and cod liver oil or porcini mushrooms.

In addition, aging skin produces less vitamin D--the average 70-year-old person creates only 25 percent of the vitamin D that a 20 year-old does. Skin color makes a difference, too. People with dark skin also produce less vitamin D. And I've seen very severe deficiencies in Orthodox Jews and Muslims who keep themselves covered all the time.

With all these causes of vitamin D deficiency, you can see why supplementing with enough of this vitamin is so important. Unfortunately, you aren't really being told the right amount of vitamin D to take.

The government recommends 200 to 600 IU of vitamin a day. This is the amount you need to prevent rickets, a disease caused by vitamin D deficiency. But the real question is: How much vitamin D do we need for OPTIMAL health? How much do we need to prevent autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain,(vii) depression, osteoporosis and even cancer?

The answer is: Much more than you think.

Recent research by vitamin D pioneer Dr. Michael Holick, Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, recommends intakes of up to 2,000 IU a day -- or enough to keep blood levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D at between 75 to 125 nmol/L (nanomoles per liter).(viii) That may sound high, but it's still safe: Lifeguards have levels of 250 nmol/L without toxicity.

Our government currently recommends 2,000 IU as the upper limit for vitamin D -- but even that may not be high enough for our sun-deprived population! In countries where sun exposure provides the equivalent of 10,000 IU a day and people have vitamin D blood levels of 105 to 163 nmol/L, autoimmune diseases (like multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus) are uncommon.

Don't be scared that amounts that high are toxic: One study of healthy young men receiving 10,000 IU of vitamin D for 20 weeks showed no toxicity.(ix)

You might have seen a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that shows that a single high dose of 500,000 Units of vitamin D3 (one year's worth of vitamin D) increased the risk of falls and fractures in elderly woman.(x) Does this mean that vitamin D doesn't prevent fractures or falls? Absolutely not!

The design and logic of the study were completely wrong. As a friend once said, "The well meaning are often ill doing."

Imagine a study that gave people a year's worth of vitamin A, or iron (both are nutrients that are stored in the body like vitamin D) in one dose. The vitamin A would cause immediate liver failure and death. In fact, the way the Inuit used to kill explorers in the Arctic was to feed them polar bear liver, which gave them toxic doses of vitamin A. A year's worth of iron in one dose would cause severe intestinal problems and iron poisoning.

Biologically we understand why a single high dose of vitamin D may cause problems. A single high dose induces protective mechanisms that reduce the available vitamin D by increasing the activity of enzymes that cause the vitamin D to be broken down by the body. (xi) The body requires a balance of the right nutrients at the right dose at the right time. No one would eat a year's worth of anything in one day and expect it to be healthy.

The question that remains is: How can you get the right amounts of vitamin D for you?

6 Tips for Getting the Right Amount of Vitamin D

Unless you're spending all your time at the beach, eating 30 ounces of wild salmon a day, or downing 10 tablespoons of cod liver oil a day, supplementing with vitamin D is essential. The exact amount needed to get your blood levels to the optimal range (100 to160 nmol/L) will vary depending on your age, how far north you live, how much time you spend in the sun and even the time of the year. But once you reach optimal levels, you'll be amazed at the results.

For example, one study found that vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of getting type 1 diabetes by 80 percent.(xii) In the Nurses' Health Study (a study of more than 130,000 nurses over 3 decades), vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of multiple sclerosis by 40 percent.(xiii),(xiv)

I've seen many patients with chronic muscle aches and pains and fibromyalgia who are vitamin D deficient--a phenomenon that's been documented in studies. Their symptoms improve when they are treated with vitamin D. A Danish study of Arabic women with fibromyalgia found significant vitamin D deficiency and recovery with replacement of vitamin D.(xv)

Finally, vitamin D has been shown to help prevent and treat osteoporosis. In fact, it's even more important than calcium. That's because your body needs vitamin D to be able to properly absorb calcium. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the intestine absorbs only 10 to 15 percent of dietary calcium. Research shows that the bone-protective benefits of vitamin D keep increasing with the dose.

So here is my advice for getting optimal levels of vitamin D:

1. Get tested for 25 OH vitamin D. The current ranges for "normal" are 25 to 137 nmol/L or 10 to 55 ng/ml. These are fine if you want to prevent rickets -- but NOT for optimal health. In that case, the range should be 100 to 160 nmol/L or 40 to 65 ng/ml. In the future, we may raise this "optimal" level even higher.

2. Take the right type of vitamin D. The only active form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Look for this type. Many vitamins and prescriptions of vitamin D have vitamin D2 -- which is not biologically active.

3. Take the right amount of vitamin D. If you have a deficiency, you should correct it with 5,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for three months--but only under a doctor's supervision. For maintenance, take 2,000 to 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D3. Some people may need higher doses over the long run to maintain optimal levels because of differences in vitamin D receptors, living in northern latitudes, indoor living, or skin color.

4. Monitor your vitamin D status until you are in the optimal range. If you are taking high doses (10,000 IU a day) your doctor must also check your calcium, phosphorous and parathyroid hormone levels every three months.

5. Remember that it takes up to 6 to 10 months to "fill up the tank" for vitamin D if you're deficient. Once this occurs, you can lower the dose to the maintenance dose of 2,000 to 4,000 Units a day.

6. Try to eat dietary sources of vitamin D. These include:

• Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil. 1 TBSP (15 ml) = 1,360 IU of vitamin D
• Cooked wild salmon. 3.5 oz = 360 IU of vitamin D
• Cooked mackerel. 3.5 oz = 345 IU of vitamin D
• Sardines, canned in oil, drained. 1.75 oz = 250 IU of vitamin D
• One whole egg = 20 IU of vitamin D
• Porcini mushrooms 4 ounces = 400 IU of vitamin D

You can see now why I feel so passionately about vitamin D. This vitamin is critical for good health. So start aiming for optimal levels--and watch how your health improves.

Now I'd like to hear from you ...

Have you experienced any symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Do you think you are not getting enough sun?

Have you experienced any health benefits from getting more sun or correcting a vitamin D deficiency you may have had? ... 85311.html

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Post by kenobewan » Mon May 24, 2010 7:15 pm

Most babies need a vitamin D supplement

Parents, get ready for another change.

New research suggests that almost all babies need a vitamin D supplement. According to a study in March published online in Pediatrics, only 5% to 37% of U.S. infants under age 1 meet the standard for vitamin D set by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2008: 400 international units a day. Only 1% to 13% of infants under age 1 get a vitamin D supplement today, the study says.

Because breast milk is naturally low in vitamin D, the academy suggested in 2008 that babies fed only breast milk get a daily supplement, which is available over the counter in inexpensive drops.

But many formula-fed babies also fail to get enough vitamin D, says study author Cria Perrine of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Babies have to consume about 32 ounces of vitamin D-fortified formula to get the recommended dose; those under 6 months old are unlikely to consume that much.

Vitamin D not only strengthens bone, it may boost the immune system and help reduce the future risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, research shows. ... 01/5230302

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Post by kenobewan » Tue May 25, 2010 12:00 pm

Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer

WASHINGTON (May 24) -- Almost half of the 500 most popular sunscreen products may actually increase the speed at which malignant cells develop and spread skin cancer because they contain vitamin A or its derivatives, according to an evaluation of those products released today.

AOL News also has learned through documents and interviews that the Food and Drug Administration has known of the potential danger for as long as a decade without alerting the public, which the FDA denies.

The study was released with Memorial Day weekend approaching. Store shelves throughout the country are already crammed with tubes, jars, bottles and spray cans of sunscreen.

The white goop, creams and ointments might prevent sunburn. But don't count on them to keep the ultraviolet light from destroying your skin cells and causing tumors and lesions, according to researchers at Environmental Working Group.

In their annual report to consumers on sunscreen, they say that only 39 of the 500 products they examined were considered safe and effective to use.

The report cites these problems with bogus sun protection factor (SPF) numbers:

- The use of the hormone-disrupting chemical oxybenzone, which penetrates the skin and enters the bloodstream.
- Overstated claims about performance.
- The lack of needed regulations and oversight by the Food and Drug Administration.

But the most alarming disclosure in this year's report is the finding that vitamin A and its derivatives, retinol and retinyl palmitate, may speed up the cancer that sunscreen is used to prevent.

A dangerous additive

The industry includes vitamin A in its sunscreen formulations because it is an anti-oxidant that slows skin aging.

But the EWG researchers found the initial findings of an FDA study of vitamin A's photocarcinogenic properties, meaning the possibility that it results in cancerous tumors when used on skin exposed to sunlight.

"In that yearlong study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent faster in lab animals coated in a vitamin A-laced cream than animals treated with a vitamin-free cream," the report said.

The conclusion came from EWG's analysis of initial findings released last fall by the FDA and the National Toxicology Program, the federal government's principle evaluator of substances that raise public health concerns.

EWG's conclusions were subsequently scrutinized by outside toxicologists.

Based on the strength of the findings by FDA's own scientists, many in the public health community say they can't believe nor understand why the agency hasn't already notified the public of the possible danger.

"There was enough evidence 10 years ago for FDA to caution consumers against the use of vitamin A in sunscreens," Jane Houlihan, EWG's senior vice president for research, told AOL News.

"FDA launched this one-year study, completed their research and now 10 years later, they say nothing about it, just silence."

On Friday, the FDA said the allegations are not true.

"We have thoroughly checked and are not aware of any studies," an FDA spokesperson told AOL News. She said she checked with bosses throughout the agency and found no one who knew of the vitamin A sunscreen research being done by or on behalf of the agency.

But documents from the FDA and the National Toxicology Program showed that the agency had done the research.

"Retinyl palmitate was selected by (FDA's) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for photo-toxicity and photocarcinogenicity testing based on the increasingly widespread use of this compound in cosmetic retail products for use on sun-exposed skin," said an October 2000 report by the National Toxicology Program.

FDA's own website said the animal studies were done at its National Center for Toxicological Research in Jefferson, Ark. And it was scientists from the FDA center and National Toxicology Program who posted the study data last fall.

In a perfect world

The ideal sunscreen would completely block the UV rays that cause sunburn, immune suppression and damaging free radicals. It would remain effective on the skin for several hours and not form harmful ingredients when degraded by UV light, the report said.

But in the U.S., there is currently no sunscreen that meets all of these criteria. European countries have more chemical combinations to offer, but in the U.S. the major choice is between the "chemical" sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body's hormone systems, and "mineral" sunscreens zinc and titanium dioxide.

Increasingly, as AOL News reported in March, the industry is using titanium dioxide that is made nanosized, which a growing number of researchers believe have serious health implications.

The sunscreen industry cringes when EWG releases its yearly report -- this is its fourth. The industry charges that the advocacy group wants to do away with all sunscreen products, a claim that is not accurate.

The report's researchers clearly say that an effective sunscreen prevents more damage than it causes, but it wants consumers to have accurate information on the limitations of what they buy and on the potentially harmful chemicals in some of those products.

EWG does warn consumers not to depend on any sunscreen for primary protection from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Hats, clothing and shade are still the most reliable sun protection available, they say.

Don't count on the numbers

Some of us are old enough to remember when the idea of having a tan was good, a sign of health, when billboards and magazine ads featured the Coppertone girl showing off her tan when a puppy pulls down her bathing suit bottom.

Going for that tan, we coated our kids and ourselves with sun blockers with sun protection factors of 1 or 2. Some overly cautious parents might have smeared on a 4 during the hottest part of a day.

But we've learned of the dangers that come from exposure to the sun's rays, especially ultraviolet A and B. So today, drugstore shelves are crammed with sunscreens boasting SPFs of 30, 45, 80 or even higher.

However, the new report says those numbers are often meaningless and dangerous because products with high SPF ratings sell a false sense of security, encouraging people using them to stay out in the sun longer.

"People don't get the high SPF they pay for," the report says. "People apply about a quarter of the recommended amount. So in everyday practice, a product labeled SPF 100 really performs like SPF 3.2, an SPF 30 rating equates to a 2.3 and an SPF 15 translates to 2."

In 2007, the report says, the FDA published proposed regulations that would prohibit manufacturers from labeling sunscreens with an SPF higher than "SPF 50." The agency wrote that higher values would be "inherently misleading," given that "there is no assurance that the specific values themselves are in fact truthful."

This is being widely ignored by the sunscreen makers who are heavily advertising their 80, 90 and 100 SPF products.

"Flouting FDA's proposed regulation," companies substantially increased their high-SPF offerings in 2010 with one in six brands now listing SPF values higher than 50. "Neutrogena and Banana Boat stand out among the offenders, with six and four products labeled as 'SPF 100,' respectively," the new report says.

The full list of the best and worst sunscreens can be found on the EWG's searchable database. (Update: The database has been loading slowly today. You may want to try it again later.) ... r/19488158

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Post by kenobewan » Tue May 25, 2010 12:03 pm

Push to lift vitamin D intake

A MAJOR campaign to boost Tasmanians' vitamin D intake could save the health sector billions of dollars, experts say.

Menzies Research Centre epidemiologist Ingrid van der Mei is working on an education campaign to get more people taking vitamin D supplements and increasing their safe sun exposure.

"The message is not going to be as easy as Slip Slop Slap because of the tensions between the two messages," she said. "This is the first information that will be produced for the public to try and tease out those balances."

Vitamin D has traditionally been linked to bone health, but research also suggests the lack of sunlight during winter in Tasmania could contribute to other illnesses.

"There is more and more research coming out that also links it with other diseases, multiple sclerosis, type one diabetes, colon cancer, tuberculosis, infections, influenza," Dr van der Mei said.

Health policy analyst Martin Goddard said the potential financial and human savings of increasing vitamin D intake across the population were "huge".

"If by simply getting out in the sun a bit more or by taking a cheap pill, people are less likely to get one or more of these diseases, surely it's worth giving it a go," Mr Goddard said.

Dr van der Mei said UV levels were so low during winter in Tasmania that it was likely even those who spent hours outside had inadequate vitamin D levels.

"Traditionally we were saying as long as you don't get below 25 [nmol/L] you're okay but now most of the scientists are saying we think we need to be 75," Dr van der Mei said.

"If we have to get the whole population up to 75 then we've got a big problem on our hands ... about 90 per cent would be vitamin D deficient."

She said vitamin D supplements and adding vitamin D to foods were two solutions. ... style.html

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Post by kenobewan » Thu May 27, 2010 10:39 am

Doctor beats swine flu with vitamin D and elderberries

(NaturalNews) A former family practitioner in Canada says she cured herself of the H1N1 swine flu by taking supplements of vitamin D and elderberries.

Dr. Gillian Arsenault, now a public health employee, said that she had a prescription for antiviral drugs on hand when she became infected with swine flu, but never ended up having to fill it. Writing in the Medical Post, Arsenault recounts how the flu "hit like a truck," but was reduced to only a lingering cough within four days.

Arsenault has researched complementary health care extensively and began taking 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily in 2007. This is the amount recommended by the Canadian Cancer Society to help produce strong bones and reduce the risk of infection, cancer and other chronic diseases. Over the course of 2009, she experimented with doses between 3,000 and 5,000 IU.

"Medicine is my job and my hobby. I spend a lot of time after work looking things up," she said.

Researchers remain divided on the maximum safe daily dose of vitamin D, with estimates ranging between 2,000 and 10,000 IU. High doses can interfere with the effects of some drugs, and may produce mild or severe toxicity, with symptoms as severe as kidney failure, seizures or psychosis.

Because research has suggested that vitamin D can help prevent infection, Arsenault set out to see if it could help her recover faster. She adjusted her daily dose and paid to have her blood levels tested to make sure she remained within a safe and healthy range. She added an elderberry extract as well, based on research showing that the plant can reduce the severity of flu and speed recovery.

Many cases of swine flu are mild or moderate even without vitamin D supplementation, and Arsenault admits that her case study is not proof that the treatment works. But it is suggestive enough to merit further research into whether vitamin D can "abort the development of severe illness or enhance the benefit of antiviral treatment for those already seriously ill," she said. ... min_D.html

[comment - she admits that her case is not proof but very interesting nonetheless after all that we have been learning of the merits of vitamin D]

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