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PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 10:54 am 
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Stop the sunscreen, your skin needs sunlight

Studies show how inadequate contact between the sun and the skin portends danger, writes ABIMBOLA ADELAKUN.

The sun isn‘t just a big hot ball in the sky that dries up wet clothes and makes us sweat. It is a highly valuable source of production of Vitamin D; the vitamin that has been identified with a whole lot of benefits: from reducing obesity to reducing chances of getting cancer. However, to get Vitamin D to work for one, the skin needs to be exposed to the sun.

Yet, many people would rather not have the sun on their bodies because of sunburn, skin darkening and other discomforts associated with exposure.

“Vitamin D is made principally in the skin,” says Dr. Biodun Osinubi, a dermatologist with many years experience. “The vitamin is good in the body for so many different things, especially for the control of calcium. Calcium is useful for so many defences.”

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids produced in the skin of vertebrates after exposure to ultraviolet B light, and is found in a small range of foods such as oily fish and dairy products. It is also available as a supplement in pill form.

According to Ms. Joy Ayodele, an Ibadan-based writer, the effect of sunlight on her skin is the reason she chooses cream with sunscreen.

“I am told that it protects the skin from rays of the sun that can cause cancer. I am not aware I am depriving my body of Vitamin D.”

Other people who spoke to our correspondents say they are not even aware whether the cosmetics they buy contain sunscreen or not.

Mr. Osita Nwanna says he merely chooses what suits him and has never been bothered about sunscreen.

By avoiding the sun, the body, however, is deprived of Vitamin D because its production by the skin is in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight. Yet, sunscreen is needed to protect the skin from sunburn and ultraviolet rays that can lead to cancer.

Osinubi says using sunscreen means cutting off ultra violet rays of sunlight which might be damaging to the skin and at the same time, it hinders the body from getting enough vitamin D.

“In most cases, there is a relationship between skin cancer and sun exposure. You need sunscreen to cut off the dangerous part of the sun that can give you skin cancer,” Osinubi points out.

By trying to prevent cancer of the skin with sunscreen, susceptibility to different kinds of cancer occurs.

Studies indicate that vitamin D is capable of preventing osteoporosis, rickets, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even affects diabetes and obesity. Vitamin D in the body also reduces the risk of developing serious diseases like diabetes and cancer by 50 - 80 per cent, derived through simple, sensible exposure to natural sunlight 2-3 times each week.

Even weak sunscreens with Sun Protection Factor can block the body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95 per cent. This explains how sunscreen products actually cause disease — by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.

“If a cream does not have either sunscreen or SPF of at least 15, I don’t touch it,” says Miss Bukola Adeyemi, a writer. “I know that sunscreens are good and protect the body from ultraviolet rays of the sun. I am not aware of the Vitamin D and cancer thing.”

Research shows that vitamin D‘s main purpose is to help keep normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the bloodstream. Calcium needs vitamin D to help transport it from digested food in the stomach and small intestines to the bloodstream. In the body, calcium keeps bones strong. There are two forms of vitamin D that are important in humans: Vitamin D2: Ergocalciferol, which comes from plants and Vitamin D3: Cholecalciferol, which comes from exposure to UV radiation and certain foods.

The American Cancer Society, for instance, recommends the use of sunscreen because it prevents the squamous cell carcinoma (a form of cancer) and the basal cell carcinoma (a malignant form of skin cancer). However, the use of sunscreens does not necessarily guarantee the blockage of UVA radiation (long wave rays), which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma, another kind of skin cancer. People using sunscreens may actually be getting too much UVA without realising it. At the same time, the sunscreen blocks UVB (short wave rays), and if used consistently this can cause a deficiency of vitamin D.

Both UVA and UVB have been identified in studies as responsible for conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancers. They also suppress the immune system, reducing your ability to fight off these and other maladies.

Cosmetics company however are unlikely to talk about the damaging effects of sunscreen, a kind of cream that comes in form of lotion, spray, gel or other tropical product. Instead, skin lightening products usually has sunscreen to protect toned and bleached skin.

“Bleaching wears away melanin and exposes the skin to the sun but that is not the only reason for skin cancer anyway. The melanin is a form of sunscreen. It limits the amount of sun that can damage the skin. Vitamin D helps in the maturation of cells and reduces the body‘s chances of being prone to some cancer.”

The melanin is a skin pigmentation that is formed as part of the process of metabolising an amino acid called tyrosine. In the skin, melanin is formed by cells called melanocytes. Certain medical conditions, such as albinism, are associated with the lack of melanin. Blacks have more melanin in their system and that suggests reason for the colour of their skin.

One of the most recognised benefits of melanin in the body involves a natural protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. However, it does not provide complete protection from the sun, and individuals with darker skin tones are not exempt from the risk of the sun‘s damaging rays.

Black skinned individual are thus generally able to tolerate exposure to the sun for hours without getting sunburn.

“If you look at two groups of people living around the equator, the white of Australia and the black of Africa, the rate of skin cancer are more in the white people than in West Africa probably because of melanin. Nature provides a kind of balance for those of us here. We are exposed to the sun and melanin protects us from the sun rays.”

Osinubi states that in some instances, if the effect on the skin causes darkening, sunscreen might be recommended.

Scientific studies also advises that people who sit in air-conditioned offices, cars and homes all day are doing themselves a lot of disfavour because vitamin D cannot penetrate the glass screen erected around them. They cannot adequately make up for the sunshine by diet and drugs either. Staple diet, other studies suggest, still does not make up for the shortfall of vitamin D in the body because a person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their system. Lack of vitamin D in the body also prevents absorption of calcium such that it renders calcium supplements useless.

The good thing about vitamin D through sunlight exposure is that there is no overdose of it: the body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs. Osinubi says that there is no measuring how much sunshine the skin needs but the exposure should be done in moderation.

Good news for those in the tropics: the sun is free and ever shining in our skies but even then, moderation is the word.

“Even if you are exposed to the sun, there is a level to which your body can take it. The rest is frittered away. If the sun gets too much, use an umbrella,” advises Osinubi.

http://www.punchng.com/Articl.aspx?thea ... 0525055178


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 9:14 am 
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Rheumatoid arthritis 'on the rise in women'

One of the most common forms of arthritis is on the rise among women in the US, according to a study.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota say rheumatoid arthritis cases rose 2.5% between 1995 and 2007, after 40 years of decline, but fell among men in the same 12-year period,

Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 350,000 people in the UK.

The condition is a form of arthritis which happens when the body's immune system attacks joints.

This causes pain and swelling, which can lead to problems with mobility.

It often starts between 40 and 50 years of age and women are three times more likely to be affected by the condition than men.

The study looked at cases of rheumatoid arthritis in Minnesota between 1995 and 2007.

They examined the medical records of 1,761 residents in Olmsted County.

They found cases of rheumatoid arthritis increased by 2.5% per year from 1995 to 2007, while it fell in men by 0.5%.

Study leader Dr Sherine Gabriel said: "We observed a modest increase of rheumatoid arthritis incidence in women during the study period, which followed a sharp decline in incidence during the previous four decades."

Previous studies have found a link between cigarette smoking and rheumatoid arthritis.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with the development of the condition.

Commenting on the work, published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, Ailsa Bosworth, Chief Executive of UK charity the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, said the findings were a concern.

She said: "I would like to assure people living with rheumatoid arthritis that in the last 10 years due in part to the use of biological therapies and tighter control of the disease at an earlier stage that more and more people with this long-term condition are managing to stay working and live very full productive lives.

"However more definitely needs to be done to raise public awareness of rheumatoid arthritis and that people raise their risk of developing the disease if they smoke."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/10166727.stm


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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Studies Find Increasing Health Benefits From Vitamin D

The U.S. Institute of Medicine is involved in a study that will likely result in an increase in the recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Research shows vitamin D affects nearly every area of the body and low levels of vitamin D can have serious consequences.

It's the vitamin associated with the sun that we absorb through our skin, and increasingly block out when we use sunblock, to avoid getting skin cancer.

Vitamin D is also available in some foods, but as the world gets fatter, Vitamin D gets trapped in body fat.

What doctors are now discovering is that many people don't have enough vitamin D.

That's why Dr. Michael Irwig gives lectures on Vitamin D to the staff at the George Washington University Hospital.

"Vitamin D has become a very hot topic in medicine now as we are discovering very high levels of vitamin D deficiency in our population, not only in the U.S., but worldwide," said Dr. Irwig.

Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and helps form and maintain strong bones. Extreme vitamin D deficiency causes deformities in children and weak bones in adults.

Doctors rarely see these conditions. But studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, several types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and some autoimmune disorders.

Low levels of vitamin D are even associated with high blood pressure.

"What's very interesting about vitamin D is that it's involved all throughout the body, and it's involved on a local level, so you can have vitamin D active in the breasts, in the prostate, in the colon, and it's thought that the locally-acting vitamin D is helping to protect the body against these cancers, regulating how cells grow and how cells die," added Dr. Irwig.

Doctors are also finding connections between vitamin D and pregnancy.

"There have been some studies showing that if you give pregnant women 4,000 units of vitamin D a day, their rates of complications in pregnancy are much decreased," noted Dr. Irwig. "If you look at things like infection, pre-term delivery, even gestational diabetes mellitus, they are all reduced with givng pregnant women higher doses of vitamin D."

The Institute of Medicine, which advises the U.S. government on health, is expected to update its recommended amount of vitamin D by September. It currently recommends 200 to 600 units of vitamin D daily. But many experts, including Dr. Irwig, recommend adults take 1,000 to 2,000 units a day, an amount only possible to get though supplements.

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/he ... 16054.html


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 Post subject: get some vit d3
PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:39 am 
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I started taking Vitamin D3 & Magnesium 2 weeks ago, and to my suprise I feel great, I mean REAL great, Ive been out splitting fire wood which usually I leave to Hubby, Walking up to the road mail box instead of driving and find myself being a supersonic ball of enery.
Stacy


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 6:11 pm 
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Great stuff Stacy!

Vitamin D3 is not a one stop cure - but I had no idea the array of health benefits it can bring. It being winter now and after reading the sports benefits, I have doubled my dose.

The sooner we make the connection between chronic disease and factors like low vitamin D the better.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 10:12 am 
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The 'it' vitamin?

Everybody, it seems, is looking for hope in a pill.

Like vitamins E, C, and others before it, vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin — has come under the spotlight as a possible weapon against some of the most common dreaded illnesses.

One by one, various supplements that were once proposed as holding the key failed to live up to expectations in carefully controlled studies. But a growing body of evidence suggests that substantially boosting a person’s intake of vitamin D, which is not naturally present in many foods and is thought to be deficient in many people, may offer protection against heart attacks, high blood pressure, various cancers, falls and fractures in elders, and even depression.

Among the studies, Nebraska researchers found that healthy postmenopausal woman given 1,000 International Units daily of vitamin D plus calcium appeared to have a substantially lower risk of getting breast cancer, compared with women who did not get the supplements. A small study of men and women found that those with high D levels were less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. Other studies have suggested vitamin D may help keep blood sugar levels in check, potentially lowering a person’s risk of developing diabetes.

But just as scientists are finding things to like in what some see as the new “it’’ vitamin, a new study suggests that too much vitamin D may be too much of a good thing. And the study focused on the area in which many trials had indicated vitamin D held great promise: reducing falls and fractures in elders.

Australian researchers found that a large, single annual dose of vitamin D, given in roughly 1 1/2 times the amount an adult would typically take during an entire year, actually increased the number of falls and fractures among older women, especially in the first three months after the dosing.

“We cannot be certain whether the adverse effect was due to the total yearly dose or the fact that it was given once a year,’’ said lead researcher Kerrie Sanders, of the University of Melbourne, in an e-mail.

Sanders’s team tracked 2,200 women over age 70 for up to five years. Once a year, the women were each given 10 tablets, with half the women randomly chosen to get a placebo that contained no vitamin D, and the other half receiving tablets that contained a total of 500,000 IU. (By comparison, an adult ingesting the typically recommended 800-1,000 IU daily, would consume up to 365,000 IU over the course of a year.)

The researchers theorized that a single annual dose, if found to be beneficial, would be an easier way to get the bone-building vitamin into elders, who can have trouble sticking to a confusing cocktail of medications for other chronic illnesses.

Earlier studies found that somewhat smaller doses of vitamin D did reduce the risk of falls and fractures, including a small study by British researchers that found that 300,000 IU of vitamin D reduced the risk of fractures in adults over 65. In that study, the 300,000 IU were split into three doses, with 100,000 given every four months.

The latest study from the Australian team, published in the May 12 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, has renewed the debate among the country’s top vitamin D gurus about how much of it people should be ingesting, leaving consumers with a dilemma.

“Many people are leaping ahead of the science and taking high doses of vitamin D, very much believing that it will confer major health benefits, even in the absence of strong evidence,’’ said Dr. JoAnn Manson, professor at Harvard Medical School and chief of preventative medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Hoping to provide clear answers for consumers, Manson is launching the largest nationwide study of its kind — 20,000 participants in a five-year trial — to test whether vitamin D can reduce the risk of cancer, heart attacks, and strokes. The study will also measure the effects of fish oil, known as omega-3s, on these chronic diseases.

“I do think vitamin D is one of the most promising nutrients for prevention of cardiac disease and cancer, and I believe in it strongly,’’ Manson said. “But the evidence is far from conclusive.’’

How much D does Manson take?

“I try to take whatever I am testing to see if there [are] side effects and to see if it’s well tolerated,’’ said Manson. Her new study is testing a level of 2,000 IU daily.

Many studies suggest vitamin D deficiency is widespread. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital earlier this month found that 7 out of 10 pregnant women in the United States are not getting enough D, even though many are taking prenatal vitamins. Deficiency in vitamin D early in life has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory infection.

Part of the confusion for consumers about how much is enough is that the daily recommended amount of vitamin D from the federal government has not been updated since 1997, and most specialists agree that those levels are far too low: 200 IU for adults under age 50; 400 IU between ages 51 and 70; and 600 IU for those over 70.

An Institute of Medicine panel that advises the government is expected to release updated recommendations later this year, and Manson serves on that panel.

But even that long-awaited report is unlikely to quell the clamor about optimal levels. Our bodies manufacture vitamin D after being exposed, without sunscreen, to sunlight. Some guidelines suggest that 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine three times weekly is enough to produce the body’s requirement of vitamin D, though calculating that timeframe can be tricky.

“It depends on the time of day, the latitude, the season, and your skin pigment,’’ said Dr. Michael F. Holick, Director of the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University Medical Center.

For instance, Holick said, people in northern climates, such as New England, have trouble getting the needed sunshine during most of the year because they typically spend a lot of time bundled up or indoors.

Holick, who has been at the forefront of vitamin D research for more than three decades, has drawn the ire of dermatologists for advocating that people get sunshine in short measured doses on their arms, legs, and backs before applying their sunscreen. Holick also has raised eyebrows in science circles for his advocacy of big doses of vitamin D. For years, he has treated patients who are vitamin D deficient with large doses: 50,000 IU once a week for eight weeks, and then 50,000 IU every two weeks indefinitely.

Some specialists worry that patients taking too much vitamin D may end up with kidney stones, a painful build-up usually made of calcium in the kidneys.

“I have treated hundreds of patients for more than a decade and have not had one kidney stone,’’ said Holick, who details his sunshine, supplement, and food strategy to combat important health problems in a new book, “The Vitamin D Solution.’’

“Your body uses 3,000 to 5,000 units of vitamin D a day,’’ said Holick, who takes 3,000 IU a day, through his diet and supplementation. “For whatever reasons, and we don’t understand this, you don’t build it up over time.’’

http://www.boston.com/news/health/artic ... l_unclear/


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:34 pm 
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We're not getting enough vitamin D

Amen to reporter Nathan Sheets, Dr. Burt and Ms. Puckett for pointing out some of the goofiness that passes for nutrition information in America. It is doubtless worth preaching that kids (and adults) who get even one or two fruits/veggies a day likely have most of their vitamin needs met and the body will convert their vitamin pills -- be they plain or fancy -- into "expensive urine."

In my own practice, we try hard to give sound advice to patients. So when I read some of the studies about vitamin D deficiency, I figured it was like the lead exposure scare studies.

Years ago I stopped doing lead blood levels when, after checking lots of those levels, it became apparent that virtually no one, at least in my practice, had any problem with it. So recently, we checked out the vitamin D scare the same way by checking a bunch of blood levels. Whoa! Everybody had low or very low levels.

In hindsight this makes perfect sense. The good Lord put basically all the vitamins we need in the kinds of food you would find in the Garden of Eden ... and in any grocery. Those fruits and veggies will quickly get your vitamin needs met and a lot more good stuff science is still discovering. Of course, the occupants of that garden, at least under the originally intended conditions, were naked and living outside 24/7. That's how they got all the vitamin D they needed. That's why it's called the "sunshine vitamin."

Unfortunately, modern Americans, including almost all the kids, too, get precious little of those "original conditions." Sunscreen on the one hand (likely a good thing) and TV
/cable, computer/video obsession on the other hand (a good thing probably not so much) have mostly eliminated the natural source. That goes double for those of us not of northern European ancestry (darker skin means even less sunshine effects).

Our food has barely enough "supplement" to prevent rickets (the disease from not getting basically any vitamin D). Science seems to be finding out lots of things go better in our chemistry if we have "good" levels of vitamin D, and it seems most all of us are not going to get those levels without drinking at least a quart of milk every day or taking the stupid vitamin D pill.

So I would humbly beg to differ with The Star Press article's statement criticizing "parents giving their children vitamin D tablets and other unnecessary supplements." It seems to me that while taking multivitamin pills can be an expensive waste, not taking vitamin D pills can be expensive in a much more important way. Of course, you should "follow your doctor's advice" about how much to take.

http://www.thestarpress.com/article/201 ... ON/6030342


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:37 pm 
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Several Studies Suggest Vitamin D May Have The Best Results In Preventing Illnesses

Vitamin D, a powerful antioxidant, may have the strongest results when it comes to preventing diseases, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For example, a study found that men and women who had a high intake of vitamin D were less likely to suffer from high blood pressure, according to the Boston Globe. Another trial showed that high levels of vitamin D could help balance blood sugar levels, and lessen the risk of developing diabetes.

In another study, a total of 1,000 post-menopausal women were asked to take natural supplements that contained vitamin D and calcium. The researchers found that the participants had a much lower risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, the news source reports.

While researchers across the country have found many benefits from a high intake of vitamin D, investigators conclude that further studies are necessary to rule out potential negative effects of the nutrient.

JoAnn Manson, a professor at Harvard Medical School, stated that "I do think vitamin D is one of the most promising nutrients for prevention of cardiac disease and cancer, and I believe in it strongly." She added that "[however], the evidence is far from conclusive."

In addition to being a potent antioxidant, vitamin D can also prevent bone density loss, osteoporosis, altered bone marrow cells and low bone mass.

http://www.betterhealthresearch.com/new ... -19817518/


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 09, 2010 9:39 pm 
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Low Sunlight Linked to MS Onset Age

SAN ANTONIO -- Age of onset of multiple sclerosis was more than two years earlier in patients who lived in northern latitudes -- with reduced exposure to the sun in fall and winter -- during childhood, researchers found.

Low intake of vitamin D supplements was also associated with earlier onset, according to Joel Culpepper, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues.

"This is the first evidence that low sun exposure may be related to early onset of of MS symptoms," Culpepper told attendees at the meeting of the Joint Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers and America's Committee on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis.

Low sun exposure has long been linked to the risk of MS, based on geographic and ethnic patterns in differential MS incidence. To determine if the same was true for age of onset, Culpepper and colleagues recruited 1,167 men and women drawn from the Veterans Administration's Multiple Sclerosis Surveillance Registry for an extensive interview to determine how much time they spent out in the sun during the fall and winter between the ages of 6 and 15.

Combined with their ZIP code and altitude, this information allowed the researchers to determine the total UV-B exposure during those months.

Vitamin D supplement intake was determined by participants' recollection of milk, fish, and cod liver oil consumption.

The group of participants was about half women, and included 948 patients with relapsing-remitting MS and 219 with primary progressive form of the disease.

No effect of sun exposure or vitamin D intake was seen in those with primary progressive disease, and no effect was seen in patients with either form who lived in areas of the country that got a lot of sunlight in the winter months. "If you live in a high solar radiation area, such as the deep South, you are probably getting enough exposure even in the deep winter," Culpepper said.

But in those with relapsing-remitting MS who lived in more northern areas, those in the lowest quartile of exposure, with less than 16 weeks of cool-season exposure, had an age of onset 2.3 years before those in the highest three quartiles (P=0.01).

Age at onset was delayed by three years for regular users of cod liver oil (P=0.01), a potent source of readily available vitamin D. In a multiple regression model, that effect was more pronounced in low-solar radiation areas.

"The link between age of onset and sun exposure is likely through the effect of sun on vitamin D," Culpepper said.

Childhood through puberty is a critical period of MS risk, he noted. "We believe there is a window of susceptibility" up to the early or mid-teens.

"We need to be able to identify the at-risk individuals, and then intervene in childhood," he said, but noted that risk is likely to be a combination of genetic, in utero, and childhood effects.

"This is a big challenge for epidemiologists to work out."

Intervention would be another challenge, he pointed out, since increasing sun exposure without protecting against sun burn increases risk of melanoma. Vitamin D supplementation would be an alternative, Culpepper suggested.

http://www.medpagetoday.com/MeetingCove ... RIMS/20479


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:10 pm 
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Vitamin D deficiency unquestionably linked to bone fractures

(NaturalNews) Recent research from Scotland reinforces the longstanding medical opinion that vitamin D deficiency leads to a significantly increased risk of bone fractures.

Among people with hip fractures referred to the Scottish fracture liaison service, 98 percent test positive for serious deficiencies in vitamin D. Supplementation with the vitamin, on the other hand, significantly reduces the risk of repeat fractures.

"Taking a supplement can make a difference quite quickly," said Stephen Gallacher, head of the liaison service. "Bone density can increase by 20 percent in a few months with enough vitamin D."

"We have found we can reduce fractures by something like 30 to 50 percent. It is our belief that we can significantly reduce the risk of fractures in the population by giving people anti-osteoporosis therapy and vitamin D supplements."

The fracture liaison service is a comprehensive attempt to uncover the cause of broken bones and prevent repeat occurrences. Anyone over the age of 50 who breaks a bone in Scotland is referred to the service for a bone density and vitamin D assessment, and treatment is suggested for those who are deficient.

Data collected by the fracture liaison service shows that vitamin D deficiency is nearly universal among hip fracture patients in Scotland. This could explain the relatively high rate of fractures in comparison with countries such as Iceland, which has more comprehensive dietary education, he said.

The data suggest that "vitamin D inadequacy represents a significant correctable risk factor for fragility fracture in our elderly population, and that the observed prevalence of inadequacy is substantially higher than in many other parts of the world," he said.

"In the United States, milk which is fortified with vitamin D can be purchased alongside ordinary milk and I think there's an argument that it would be quite useful to do the same here," he said. "It makes logical sense to give people the choice."

http://www.naturalnews.com/028965_vitam ... tures.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:15 pm 
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More Bad News About Sunscreens: Nanoparticles

(June 2) -- As millions of us who play and work under the bright sun dutifully slather our bare skin with creams, oils and sprays, consumer safety activists continue to blast the government for failing to ensure the safety of these sunscreens.

The latest target of concern is the use by sunscreen manufacturers of nanosized particles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. A new report based on several preliminary studies says these atom-sized additives have the potential to cause serious harm.

That follows last week's report that the Food and Drug Administration has known for a decade that almost half of the most popular sunscreens contain an ingredient that may actually accelerate the growth of skin cancer cells.

France, Germany, the U.K. and the European Parliament have moved rapidly to require everything from safety testing and mandatory labeling of nanoparticles to even the outright ban of these engineered chemical creations in many sunscreen and cosmetic products. Nothing of the kind is happening in the United States, Friends of the Earth says in a report issued today. .

"Nanosunscreens have the potential to cause serious human and environmental harm, but there is nothing stopping companies from selling them," says the report by the international environmental and public health advocates.

And consumers are pretty much on their own when it comes to determining what's safe to slather on their skin. Labeling is often inadequate or inaccurate. And not even the Consumer Safety Protection Commission, which ensures the safety of the items that Americans buy, is stepping up for sunscreen shoppers.

"It's not our responsibility. Sunscreen safety is FDA's job," says Alexander Filip, deputy director of public affairs for the commission. But, he added: "Our chairman has publicly addressed industry groups warning them about use of nanomaterials without notifying us or their customers."

Studies Still Preliminary

Today's report calls the use of nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide a "risk without benefit." It examines six studies on the health implications of manufactured nanomaterials used in sunscreens.

The studies, which raised some concerns in the public health community, are all peer-reviewed and have been published in international scientific journals. But the authors of almost all the work stress that their studies are preliminary and that more research is needed.

Friends of the Earth says the studies indicate that:

- Zinc oxide nanoparticles can kill important brain stem cells in mice and that nano-titanium dioxide injected into pregnant mice produced gene changes.
- Nanosized zinc oxide is toxic to colon cells even in small amounts.
Autistic disorders, epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease have been linked to nano-titanium dioxide.
- The zinc used in nano-sunscreens can penetrate healthy human skin and potentially reach the blood stream and urine of humans.
- Nanoparticles also can cross into human placentas from mothers to unborn fetuses.

"Consumers need to know that manufactured nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides are not the only choice and are not necessarily the most effective or safest choice for sun protection," the report cautions.

A nanometer is roughly 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, and scientists assemble them by rearranging atoms. When it comes to sunscreen, manufacturers add nanomaterials ostensibly to make sun-blocking ingredients rub on "cosmetically clear" instead of white, the report says.

"These nanomaterials are being added without appropriate labeling or reliable safety information, so the public has no way of making informed purchasing choices," said Ian Illuminato, a senior health researcher for the group.

He said the group has written to all the major manufacturers of sunscreen to "voice concerns" about these potentially dangerous sunscreen ingredients. The group urged those using the nanoparticles to "refrain from doing so and consider our health, the health of workers at your firm, and the environment, all of which could be harmed by this risky practice."

Not Much From FDA Yet

There are few reliable U.S. government studies of the health effects of nanoparticles. As AOL News reported in March in an eight-part investigation of nanomaterials, health and government regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health lead the way in government research, especially with nanosized titanium dioxide.

NIOSH, the worker research arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chose titanium dioxide as the first nanoparticles on which it issued safety recommendations because of the large number of workers potentially exposed to it.

Yet the FDA, which has regulatory responsibility for the sunscreen products, still hasn't weighed in on nanochemicals in those heavily used products.

FDA told AOL News that "FDA components are conducting research that focuses on nanomaterials such as titanium dioxide in the nanoscale."

To determine the risk, the agency said it uses information from its own research, peer-reviewed published literature and other sources such as adverse event reports to identify safety concerns with products they regulate.

And then the FDA added this confusing statement that frustrates many public health experts: "If information were to indicate that additional safety evaluation or other regulatory action is warranted, we would work with all parties to take the steps appropriate to ensure the safety of marketed products."

FDA Still Awaiting Final Review

The agency was criticized in another sunscreen study issued last week by Environmental Working Group. It said that FDA scientists had conducted a study a decade ago which showed that a component in 41 percent of all sunscreens did far more harm than good.

The study, done at the FDA's major toxicology research laboratory, had determined that retinyl palmitate, a vitamin A derivative and common ingredient in sunscreen products, not only failed to protect the users from skin cancer, but actually increased the speed and growth in which cancer occurred, the Environmental Working Group said.

The FDA said it is awaiting a final review of the 10-year-old findings.

"It is premature to draw conclusions from the study at this time," Shelly L. Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman, told AOL News, adding, "FDA will always take the necessary action to ensure consumers have access only to safe and effective sun protection products."

In a subsequent letter to the government agencies involved in the studies, Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook urged haste in telling the public what the report found.

"The dramatically accelerated development of tumors and lesions in retinyl palmitate-treated animals, compared to untreated animals, has potentially significant implications for public health," he said, and he urged both the FDA and the National Toxicology Program to release and act upon the final version of the study.

Lack of Labeling

The nonprofit Consumers Union, which publishes Consumers Report, has been studying the sunscreen issue for years and worries about the lack of labeling and appropriate action by FDA.

The group said that its testing showed that 80 percent of the sunscreens that claimed not to contain nanoparticles actually did. This is just one of the reasons that it wants the FDA to become more involved.

"Three summers ago, a law was passed requiring the FDA to develop new sunscreen guidelines for safety and labeling. Here we are at the start of another summer season and still no word from the FDA, leaving consumers in the dark about the safety and efficacy of the sunscreens they use," said Michael Hansen, senior scientist for Consumers Union.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth says it's time to change the culture of "tanning is sexy."

"Healthy skin, even if less tan, is far sexier than fatal skin cancer," the report says.

http://www.aolnews.com/nanotech/article ... s/19500193


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Cancer Charity Continues Fear Mongering against Sun Exposure

(NaturalNews) A further attempt at suppressing the Vitamin D levels of the UK population was recently instigated by one of the country's largest cancer charities. The results of a recent Cancer Research epidemiological study, which looked into the rate of specific skin cancer in men, were pounced upon by the organisation who made further blanket recommendations to avoid the sun, contrary to all independent evidence.

The study showed remarkable increases in the rate of malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, among men. In men over the age of 65, the rate of death from this problem has risen in the last 30 years from 4.5 per 100,000 to 15.2 per 100,000, more than a threefold increase. This increase in cancer mirrors the increase in sunscreen use and avoiding sun exposure, both of which reduce the vitamin D3 levels in the body. Vitamin D3 has been repeatedly shown to be a powerful inhibitor of cancerous development, capable of preventing 80 per cent of cancers.

Preventing cancer could prove very costly for some charities, who depend on a sympathetic public sentiment and a profitable cancer industry for survival. Cancer Research, which achieved an income of 498 million pounds (around $700m) last year and has been criticised for providing their executives with limousines, appeared keen to use the study to encourage further vitamin D deficiency. Caroline Cerny, Cancer Research's SunSmart manager, said: "These figures show that a worryingly high number of men are dying unnecessarily from malignant melanoma because of the rapidly rising numbers diagnosed with the disease."

However, what Cancer Research seemed keen to avoid talking about was that the rise in malignant melanoma had occurred at a time that use of sunscreen had also soared. The UK's Office for National Statistics showed that sunscreen use (relative to sun exposure) among men had increased to 37 percent by 1998, a marked improvement on previous years. They also failed to discuss exactly why older men, the very group least likely to be regularly exposed to the sun, had suffered a disproportionately high increase in their likelihood of developing the disease. There was no recognition whatsoever of the recent study from the Environmental Working Group, which showed in no uncertain terms that more than half of commercial sunscreens actually accelerate cancer.

In fact, spokespeople seemed far more interested in trotting out the same tired lines about using poisonous sunscreens and avoiding direct sunshine. Cerny continued: "Too often men leave it up to their partners or mothers to remind them to use sunscreen or cover up with a shirt and hat, and even to visit the doctor about a worrying mole,"

While no-one disputes that getting sunburn is harmful and should always be avoided, the hype over avoiding the sun remains both unsupported and a direct contravention of common sense. As the evidence supporting the anti-carcinogenic effects of vitamin D continues to mount on a monthly basis, starving ourselves of this protective nutrient seems to be the most efficient way of developing cancer. Maintaining a sensible level of sun exposure (as humans have done for the last 400,000 years) appears to be our best bet.

http://www.naturalnews.com/028962_cancer_sunlight.html


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:19 pm 
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Clear Association Between Obesity and Vitamin D Deficiency

A study conducted at Uppsala University has demonstrated that obese people often suffer from serious vitamin D deficiency and poor calcium metabolism. The findings have been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. According to the researchers, the problem is underappreciated by the health care establishment.
Although several previous studies support a connection between obesity, poor calcium metabolism and vitamin D deficiency, the new study makes the point with much greater clarity. The study comprised a total of 108 obese subjects (76 women, 32 men), 70.4 per cent of whom suffered from vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to osteoporosis, among other conditions. A conclusion is that obese people ought to take vitamin supplements.

“Vitamin D deficiency is not corrected by and may in fact become exacerbated following treatment of obesity by means of gastric by-pass surgery,” says Per Hellman, Professor of Surgery at Uppsala University and a senior physician at Uppsala University Hospital, who, together with Hella Hultin, a physician and doctoral student, carried out the study. “Unfortunately, this fact is underappreciated. Vitamin D supplements are important even in the aftermath of such surgery.”

The scope of the study extended beyond the issue of vitamin deficiency to encompass the body’s entire calcium regulation system. The findings support earlier assumptions that obese people are frequently characterised by poor calcium metabolism, and that this impacts parathyroid function in a way that was not previously known. The specific mechanism that results in vitamin D deficiency has not been determined, but the researchers hold it to be probable that obesity causes the vitamin deficiency and not vice versa. A number of hypotheses have been proposed. Vitamin-D, which is fat-soluble, may be taken up by fat tissue and thereby rendered unavailable for bodily processes. There may even be a link to inadequate exposure to sunlight, given that obese people tend to spend less time outdoors. The researchers assert the importance of adequate follow-up in connection with treatment of obese patients, especially in view of the osteoporosis risk.

“Patients at the Uppsala University Hospital obesity unit now receive significant Vitamin-D supplementation,” says Per Hellman. “Increased awareness of the issues involved is necessary at the primary-care level. Today, many patients receive too little post-surgical follow-up care.”

The study is the first in a series that will be published in a variety of journals.

http://insciences.org/article.php?article_id=9133


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:27 pm 
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What Is Vitamin D Deficiency? Mixed Messages About Sun Exposure

Vitamin D deficiency is when your body, more specifically your blood, does not have enough vitamin D. This can be caused by the following factors:

- Inadequate exposure to the right kind of sunlight
- Inadequate intake from foods and supplements
- Disorders in the gastrointestinal tract that limit absorption
- Liver disorders
- Kidney disorders
- Some hereditary disorders (very rare)

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to the following conditions and illnesses:

Rickets - a disease of children and infants that interferes with normal bone formation - a failure to mineralize bone. Bones become distorted and bend wrongly because they are soft. During the first three decades of the 20th century rickets was mainly caused by lack of direct exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet rays necessary for vitamin D synthesis do not pass through ordinary window glass.

Osteomalacia - softening of the bone caused by demineralization (loss of mineral), mainly loss of calcium from bone. This disorder only affects adults and can cause severe musculoskeletal pain.

Osteoporosis - reduced bone mineral density and increased bone fragility.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to the following diseases:

- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart failure, according to US researchers.
- Ischemic heart disease
- TB (tuberculosis)
- Cancer
- Periodontal disease
- MS (multiple sclerosis)
- Chronic pain
- SAD (seasonal affective disorder)
- Peripheral artery disease
- Cognitive impairment
- Cardiovascular disease among patients with diabetes
- Parkinson's disease (possibly: we are not sure whether Parkinson's causes low vitamin D levels, or whether low vitamin D causes Parkinson's)
- Alzheimer's disease, suspected by researchers from the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center.
- Immune system problems - a University of Missouri nutritional sciences researcher found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with inflammation, a negative response of the immune system, in healthy women.
- Bacterial vaginosis - a common vaginal infection that increases a pregnant woman's risk of preterm delivery, according to scientists at the University of Pittsburgh.

Mixed messages regarding sun exposure

For decades we have been told to stay out of the sun, to wear hats and cover ourselves with sun block to protect against skin cancer - and also significantly reducing our levels of vitamin D. Add to that a growingly sedentary lifestyle where we and our children spend more time indoors either watching TV or in front of a computer monitor, and it is not surprising that millions of people have excessively low levels of vitamin D in our system.

Then we are told that sunlight can rapidly make up for any vitamin D shortfall, while at the same time the American Academy of Dermatology continues to recommend that the public obtain vitamin D from nutritional sources and dietary supplements, and not from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet radiation because of the skin cancer risk (article), and we despair.

Telling people to get their vitamin D from just food and supplements obviously does not work. People have been told that for the last twenty years and vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency has increased significantly. It is estimated that 50% of American elderly women consume far less vitamin D in their diet than recommended. Consequently, vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem among the elderly in the USA.

It is understandable why a dermatologist, who is in direct contact with skin cancer patients, advises people to stay out of the sun. However, millions of people are and will develop other very serious diseases because their vitamin D levels are too low. Skin cancer is one factor, but there are many other factors.

Large studies are required that can clearly tell us:

1. Why is the current policy of telling people to get just their vitamin D from nutritional sources not working?
2. Is the current vitamin D problem greater than the skin cancer problem?
3. Is it possible to estimate what the impact of recommending 15 minutes twice a week of sun exposure would be on skin cancer numbers, and the health benefits from a resulting lower incidence of vitamin D deficiency in the population?

Some health authorities are starting to change their recommendations. Here is a quote from the Cancer Council, Australia (2009):

"Sun exposure is the cause of around 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanomas in Australia. However, exposure to small amounts of sunlight is also essential to good health. A balance is required between avoiding an increase in the risk of skin cancer by excessive sun exposure and achieving enough exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels."

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/191407.php


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:02 pm 
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Breast cancer survivors should take vitamin D - report

Researchers state in an article published in the March 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition that vitamin d should be recommended for breast cancer survivors because evidence is evident that this vitamin can provide a myriad health benefits.

For one thing, Hines S. L. and colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida say there is evidence suggesting that vitamin D plays a role in breast cancer prevention and survival.

Previous studies have already reported that vitamin D intake is inversely associated with the risk of breast cancer, high levels of the vitamin improve survival after a diagnosis of breast cancer and vitamin D insufficiency is found in up to 75 percent of breast cancer patients.

Laboratory studies, according to the authors, have found that vitamin D affects up to 200 genes that affect cellular proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, terminal differentiation of normal and cancer cells, and macrophase function.

Vitamin D affects the survival outcomes through different vitamin D receptor polymorphisms.

In addition to the anti-cancer properties, vitamin D may also improve bone mineral density, life quality and mood in breast cancer survivors.

The authors write "maintaining adequate vitamin D stores is recommended for breast cancer survivors throughout their lifetime."

Canadian Cancer Society recommends men and women take 1000 IU vitamin D daily to prevent cancer.

http://www.foodconsumer.org/newsite/2/C ... 00757.html


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