(Natural News) Magnesium is more than an essential mineral: It’s responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions needed by the body to function well. According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this essential mineral can even regulate vitamin D levels in the body, increasing it in people with deficient levels and reducing it for people with elevated levels. This study is the first to provide evidence of magnesium’s crucial role in optimizing vitamin D levels and preventing adverse conditions from having too much or too little of it.
“Magnesium deficiency shuts down the vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway,” explained Qi Dai, the lead author of the study and a professor at Ingram.
In conducting the study, the researchers recruited 250 participants who were between 45 and 85 years old. The participants were considered at risk for developing colorectal cancer based on their risk factors or had precancerous polyps removed in the past. The researchers then gave them either magnesium doses or placebo based on baseline dietary intake. The doses of magnesium used in the study were in line with the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) guidelines.
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The results of the study indicate that optimal magnesium status may be essential for optimizing vitamin D status. These findings are important because unlike vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency is an under-recognized health problem.
“Up to 80 percent of people do not consume enough magnesium in a day to meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) based on those national estimates,” said Martha Shrubsole, one of the researchers of the study.
This study is part of an ongoing effort to determine the link between vitamin D and colorectal cancer, as well as other chronic diseases.
Eat foods rich in magnesium: The best food sources of magnesium include kelp, almonds, cashews, molasses, buckwheat, Brazil nuts, dulse, hazelnuts, millet, and pecans. Make sure to soak nuts for 12 hours, then rinse them before eating. Soaking nuts will trigger them to release enzyme inhibitors called phytic acids. Not soaking nuts will still increase magnesium levels, but will decrease levels of zinc, which is also an essential mineral.
Avoid magnesium-depleting foods: To keep your magnesium levels high, avoid eating foods with gluten, refined products, non-organic farmed foods, cheap common table salt, as well as drinking alcohol, regular and decaffeinated coffee or black tea, and tap water laced with poisonous sodium fluoride.
Get enough of these other nutrients: You need to have sufficient levels of vitamins D3, B1, B6, E, and selenium. These nutrients will help utilize, absorb, and keep magnesium in the body.
Try high-quality magnesium supplements: You can also take a high-quality magnesium supplement, such as magnesium amino acid chelate and magnesium citrate, twice a day with your meals. Avoid taking magnesium oxide because it creates a caustic magnesium hydroxide in the body, which is very poorly absorbed and can burn the intestine walls.
Apply magnesium oil topically: Applying magnesium oil on your feet before going to bed can also help restore magnesium levels.
Experts recommend getting about 2,000 milligrams (mg) of magnesium every day for people leading an active life.
There is a lot of conflicting advice out there about vitamin use, and the insistence by a few vocal “experts” that multivitamins are a waste of money has led many people to falsely believe that not getting enough vitamins is not such a big deal. However, when it comes to vitamin D, maintaining optimal levels could mean the difference between developing cancer or not.
Our bodies need vitamin D to maintain proper calcium levels for bone health, along with muscle functioning and neuronal communication. It is also needed to help our immune system function properly.
Scientists have known for many years that higher serum levels of vitamin D are associated with a significantly lower incidence of breast, pancreatic, colon, renal, aggressive prostate, ovarian, and other cancers, and studies continue to show how useful it can be in this regard.
A study published in the Annals of Epidemiology concluded that raising the minimum serum levels of vitamin D to 40 to 60 ng/mL could prevent as many as 58,000 new breast cancer cases and 49,000 new colorectal cancer cases in the U.S. and Canada each year, in addition to preventing three fourths of the deaths caused by these cancers. They also say such an intake could decrease the case-fatality rates of those with prostate, breast and colorectal cancer by half.
The study’s authors emphasize that there aren’t any “unreasonable risks” from taking as much as 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 per day or achieving the levels recommended, and they called for a national effort to raise people’s intake of vitamin D as well as calcium.
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In another study that involved more than 33,000 Japanese participants aged 40 to 69 and a follow-up period of 16 years on average, researchers discovered that the participants with the higher vitamin D levels enjoyed a 20 percent lower risk of all types of cancer when compared to those who recorded the lowest levels of vitamin D. The finding held true even after accounting for factors like body mass index, smoking and alcohol intake, physical activity, and age. In particular, they found an association between higher vitamin D levels and a 30 to 50 percent reduced risk of liver cancer, and the effect was particularly pronounced in men.
Driving the point home is a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that found higher levels of serum vitamin D was associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer. This finding was based on data from 17 prospective studies involving more than 12,000 people. The researchers found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were 31 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who had vitamin D levels that were higher than recommended.
Getting enough vitamin D is easier than you think
Given vitamin D’s ability to prevent cancer, should you run out and buy supplements right away? The truth is that many people can get all the vitamin D they need simply by heading outdoors while the sun is shining with some of their skin exposed – and without sunscreen. Lots of factors influence how long it takes, including your skin tone and location, but online calculators can help give you a rough idea of what is right for you.
If this isn’t an option for you for some reason, supplements may indeed prove useful as it can be very difficult to get the amount you need from food alone. While you can find vitamin D in fatty fish like tuna, salmon, and trout, as well as mushrooms and eggs, you’d need to eat a lot of these foods to reach the levels mentioned in the study. Keep in mind, however, that experts advise against getting too much vitamin D. Blood tests can help guide your decision.
A large U.S. study designed to gauge the health benefits of vitamin D and fish oil supplements concludes that the omega-3 oil can dramatically reduce the odds of a heart attack while vitamin D’s benefits seem to come from lowering the risk of death from cancer.
New VITAL study is the first large test of both supplements in the general population
Vitamin D tablets are displayed in New York on Nov. 9, 2016. The results of the latest U.S. study were published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Mark Lennihan/Associated Press)
A large U.S. study designed to gauge the health benefits of vitamin D and fish oil supplements concludes that the omega-3 oil can dramatically reduce the odds of a heart attack while vitamin D’s benefits seem to come from lowering the risk of death from cancer.
Neither vitamin D nor fish oil lowered the odds of stroke or of getting cancer in the first place in the trial, whose participants did not know whether they were taking the real supplements or a dummy pill.
The heart attack rate in fish oil recipients was 28 per cent lower than among those who got the dummy pill, or placebo, and it was 77 per cent lower among African-American participants — although the lead author of the study told Reuters that this dramatic drop in risk among black participants needs to be confirmed.
These findings may help people decide if the benefits are likely to outweigh the risks for them.
– Dr. JoAnn Manson, study’s lead author
For people taking vitamin D who developed cancer, the death rate from cancer was 25 per cent lower, possibly because the vitamin “may affect the biology of the tumour so it’s less likely to spread and become metastatic,” said lead author Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“Therefore, you may see a reduction in cancer death but not see a reduction in the first diagnosis, which might take a much longer trial,” she said in a telephone interview. “If you’re talking about prevention of cancer, that may take treatment for well over a decade.”
Both supplements have a reputation for being beneficial based on animal tests and observational studies involving large diverse populations or ethnic groups. But large studies that directly test the benefits of vitamin D and fish oil in supplement form have given inconsistent results.
The new study, known as VITAL, is the first large test of both in the general population. Most previous research has focused on volunteers with an elevated risk of heart attack, stroke and/or cancer.
The researchers gave 2,000 international units of vitamin D per day, 1 gram of marine omega-3 fatty acids, or placebo supplements to 25,871 volunteers aged 50 or older. None had a history of cancer, heart attack or stroke. At least half stayed in the study for more than five years.
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London
We are still in love with vitamins a century after they were discovered, with half the US and UK population taking a supplement. Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is the favourite and is believed to have the most proven benefits. Governments, including the UK government, have said that the evidence for vitamin D’s health benefits is so overwhelming that every adult should take it as a supplement for at least six months of the year.
It was first used to cure rickets in Victorian children living in urban poverty and is now routinely given to prevent and treat brittle bone disease (osteoporosis) and fractures. It has been associated with a reduced risk of over a hundred common diseases in observational studies, ranging from depression to cancer.
The largest ever clinical study on the benefits of vitamin D in preventing fractures is now reported in the BMJ, with over 500,000 people and around 188,000 fractures from 23 cohorts from many countries. As vitamin D levels are strongly influenced by genes, the researchers used genetic markers for vitamin D blood levels (called Mendelian randomisation or MR) to avoid the normal biases of observational studies, such as confusing cause and consequence of disease and the effects of other related health behaviours (so-called “confounders”).
The results showed no association between vitamin D levels over a lifetime and the risk of fracture. This latest study contradicts the UK government’s recent view, but not a host of earlier clinical trials.
In 2014, a review and meta-analysis of 31 vitamin D supplement trials found no effect on all fractures. Much of our strong belief in the benefits of vitamin D came from studies of supplements in care homes in the 1980s, which were never replicated and were probably flawed.
In a more recent meta-analysis of 33 randomised trials of over 50,000 older adults, supplementation with calcium or vitamin D had no effect on the incidence of fractures. There were also no clear benefits on muscle strength or mobility.
So, if all the data points to vitamin D failing to prevent fractures, why worry about all the people with low blood levels of the vitamin? Vitamin D deficiency has become a modern epidemic with a fifth of the UK and US populations reported to have low levels. Will they be more susceptible to other diseases and cancer?
No consensus on deficiency
There is little agreement on what vitamin D deficiency is. Deficiency levels are arbitrary with no international consensus and confusion caused by different units in the US. A “normal” level can vary from 50 to 80 nanomole per litre of blood, but recent studies suggest 30nmol is quite enough.
While clinical deficiency (<10nmol) is often clear cut, wrongly labelling millions of people as vitamin D deficient causes stress and over-medicalisation. Most people assume calcium and vitamin D are safe, and the more you take the better. My clinical practice changed when studies showed calcium supplements, as well as being ineffective against fractures, may cause heart disease. Prescriptions are now dropping.
Vitamin D is fat soluble, so high levels can build up in the body. While recommendations for supplements are usually with modest doses (10 micrograms or 400 international units (IU)), these will inevitably be overdone by some people taking other sources in cod liver oil tablets or in fortified milk, orange juice or bread. More worrying, people increasingly buy high-dose supplements of 4,000-20,000IU on the internet.
Patients with very high vitamin D blood levels (over 100nmol) are becoming routine in my clinic and elsewhere, and toxic overdoses are increasingly being reported. Several randomised trials have shown that patients with high blood levels or taking large doses of vitamin D (above 800IU) had an unexpected increased risk of falls and fractures. Vitamin D is far from safe.
It can no longer be recommended for use in other conditions; the vast majority of the positive published studies in 137 diseases were reviewed as spurious. It was widely believed that vitamin D supplements prevented cardiovascular disease, but meta-analyses and large-scale genetic MR studies have ruled this out.
We have created another pseudo-disease that is encouraged by vitamin companies, patient groups, food manufacturers public health departments and charities. Everyone likes to believe in a miracle vitamin pill and feels “they are doing something”.
Vitamin D, despite its star status, would not be called a vitamin today, as the doses needed are too large, the body can synthesise it from skin, and it is a steroid precursor. Instead of relying on this impostor, healthy people should get vitamin D from small doses of sunshine every day as well as from food, such as fish, oil, mushrooms and dairy products.
We should also trust that thousands of years of evolution would cope with a natural drop in vitamin D levels in winter without us snapping our limbs. About half the population take vitamins daily, despite zero benefits, with increasing evidence of harm. The worldwide trend of adding unregulated vitamins to processed food has now to be seriously questioned.
While vitamin D treatment still has a rare medical role in severe deficiency, or those bed bound, the rest of us should avoid being “treated” with this steroid for this pseudo-disease and focus on having a healthy lifestyle, sunshine and importantly save your money and energy on eating a rich diversity of real food.
Differences in lifestyle patterns rather than mortality or health outcomes appear to have immense research potential in gauging life expectancy. How do patterns in thought, actions, supplements, and diet interact, synergize, or interfere with one another? Here’s a look at 10 powerful things that influence our aging processes.
By examining how chronological age lines up with biological age across the population, researchers are starting to pin down how these two measures should sync up — and what it means for how long we have left when they don’t.
1. Love: Theories about love’s purpose range from the biologically practical to the biologically complicated. In one study, men who are married or in close relationships have 7% lower mortality than singles. The number is 4% for women. These numbers correspond to less than a year of life expectancy. A different study finds loneliness increases mortality by 50%, corresponding to almost 5 years of life. Choosing a life partner may be one of the most important decisions we can make. Love also increases joy and happiness which can make our hearts healthier, our immune systems stronger, and our lives longer through enhancements of our cellular structure. With more love between couples often comes more sex which too promotes heart health, and balances hormone levels.
2. Empowerment: Staying employed is worth up to 14 years, and it’s often more about being needed than making money. Trumping general intelligence, previous academic achievement and personality, hope “uniquely predicts objective academic achievement,” showed a three-year longitudinal study out of the University of Manchester. A study in elementary schools in Hawaii has found that a focused program to build social, emotional and character skills resulted in significantly improved overall quality of education, as evaluated by teachers, parents and students. Specific methods of internal shifting can lead to incredible self empowerment which changes the way we experience every event in our lives.
3. Natural Anti-inflammatories: Daily supplements of curcumin combined with diet and exercise strategies have been found to be associated with more than a 60% reduction in triglyceride levels. It inhibits inflammatory reactions, has anti-diabetic effects, reduces cholesterol among other powerful health effects. Curcumin exerts anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative effects. Omega-3s are another powerful anti-inflammatory. They convert into hormone-like substances that decrease inflammation and pain. According to Dr. Alfred D. Steinberg, an arthritis expert at the National Institute of Health, fish oil is an anti-inflammatory agent which acts directly on the immune system by suppressing 40 to 55 percent of the release of cytokines, compounds known to destroy joints. Many other studies also demonstrate that eating moderate amounts of fish or taking fish oil reduces pain and inflammation.
4. High Fiber and Fermented Foods: Our bowel movements are key predictors to our well-being and fiber is truly a proxy for healthy gut flora. Health care of the future may include personalized diagnosis of an individual’s “microbiome” to determine what prebiotics or probiotics are needed to provide balance.Your gut bacteria can reveal whether you suffer from many different diseases such as diabetes and many others. Increased intakes of fermented foods are associated with significantly reduced risks of skin conditions, digestive problems and even autoimmune disease. The potential health benefits of fermented foods like doenjang, chungkookjang, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh, pickles, fermented seafood, makgeolli, and beer may be linked directly to the ingestion of live microorganisms which all have tremendous benefits on the overall functioning of the human body as we age.
5. Meditation: Almost every disease in the body is initiated or aggravated by high cortisol levels which are elevated in people who lack the ability to calm their thoughts and minds. Regular meditation effectively supports mental, emotional and physical health in numerous tangible ways. In building upon this strong body of evidence, researchers are continuing to deepen our understanding of the profound and inspirational benefits of regular meditation practice in everyday life. The data itself is encouraging. Some studies link meditation to enhanced telomerase activity. Most of scientific studies on meditation have shown it benefits our cardiovascular and mental health and wellness. More than 350 peer-reviewed research studies on the Transcendental Meditation technique have been published in over 160 scientific journals.
6. Intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of sugar and there are many benefits. Extends lifespan and lowers mortality. According to MIT biologists, age-related loss of stem cell function can be reversed by a 24-hour fast. Some studies show that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood. Intermittent fasting improves the immune system because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.
7. Interval Training: One of the most efficient paths towards cardiovascular fitness is interval training. There is now enough documentation to suggest that it does benefit all-cause mortality. By recruiting new muscle fibers and increasing the body’s ability to use fuel, interval training potentially lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome. This type of vigorous exercise cuts deep belly fat and fat around the waist. After interval training, the amount of fat burned in an hour of continuous moderate cycling increased by 36 percent, said Jason L. Talanian, the lead author of the study and an exercise scientist at the University of Guelph in Ontario. Cardiovascular fitness — the ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen to working muscles — improved by 13 percent. Results were independent from any type of special dieting or food plans.
8. NAC and Glutathione: N-acetylcysteine is converted by the body into an amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine also helps synthesize glutathione, one of the body’s most important natural antioxidants and detoxifiers of chemicals into less harmful compounds. Glutathione is known to aid in the transport of nutrients to lymphocytes and phagocytes, two major classes of immune cells, and to protect cell membranes. Researchers found that mushrooms have high amounts of glutathione known for immune system boosting propertiesand anti-cancer capabilities. NAC can protect against a wide range of health problems and the science backs up the claim. In one studythere was a 30% increase in lifespan of mice. This powerful metabolite is also used against environmental pollutants including carbon monoxide, chloroform, urethanes, herbicides, pesticides, reducing toxicity of cancer drugs, hangover remedy, damage due to certain X-ray dyes; and for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
9. Decreasing Calories: Calorie restriction leads scientists to molecular pathways that slow aging, improve health. Organisms from yeast to rodents to humans all benefit from cutting calories. Restricting calories can double or even triple lifespan. About 30 percent of the animals on calorie restriction diets die at an advanced age without any diseases normally related to aging. The less you eat the longer you will live. Studies have shown how the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets. One of the primary effects of aging is a slower metabolism, the younger your body is, the faster and more efficient your metabolism. The less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system. Aware of the profound influence of calorie restriction on animals, some people are cutting their calorie intake by 25 percent or more in hopes of lengthening lifespan.
10. Vitamin D: In the absence of vitamin D from sunlight, disease increases more than 1000 percent. Vitamin D is lacking in some 70 percent of American children. Data from a systematic review of almost 200 population-based studies shows that more than a third of populations worldwide may suffer from low levels of vitamin D. Researchers have discovered that it’s active in many tissues and cells besides bone and controls an enormous number of genes, including some associated with cancers, autoimmune disease, and infection. It’s been known that vitamin D can prevent that genetic damage. The best way to get vitamin D is getting out in the sun and stop lathering on sunscreen. Researchers at the University of Leeds suggest that people with very pale skin may be unable to spend enough time in the sun to make the amount of vitamin D the body needs — while also avoiding sunburn. So it’s important to have your vitamin D levels assessed by a qualified health practitioner who can order the appropriate tests.
If you are an alcoholic who consciously wants to stop drinking but can’t; a heavy drinker who never gives any thought to whether or not you are drinking too much, or a social drinker who believes that drinking is important, compelling you to continue with the addiction – these 8 reasons will convince you to …
If you are an alcoholic who consciously wants to stop drinking but can’t; a heavy drinker who never gives any thought to whether or not you are drinking too much, or a social drinker who believes that drinking is important, compelling you to continue with the addiction – these 8 reasons will convince you to quit drinking the poison right away, come what may.
Alcohol Causes Cancer
American Cancer Society says the amount of alcohol consumed over time, not the type of alcoholic beverage, is the most important factor in raising cancer risk. Alcohol is a known cause of cancers of the Mouth, Throat (pharynx), Voice box (larynx), Esophagus, Liver, Colon and Rectum, Breast, and Pancreas. For each of these cancers, the risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, alcoholism can lead to malnutrition [because alcohol suppresses the appetite], which leads to inadequate intake and absorption of food and nutrients. For this reason, even heavy drinkers who consume high levels of nutrient-rich food, fail to get the full benefit of those nutrients.
Alcohol Affects B-12 Absorption
Drinking alcohol, even in moderation, can have profound effects on the way your body absorbs vitamin B-12, the deficiency of which leads to heart attack and stroke, megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, shortness of breath, tingling and numbness in the extremities, headache, dementia, disorientation, loss of concentration and memory, and even death.
Alcohol Destroys Liver – Forever
Between 10 and 20% of heavy drinkers develop liver cirrhosis – severe scarring and disruption of the normal structure of the liver not reversible with abstinence. Alcohol abuse is one of the three most common causes of cirrhosis of the liver in the US; according to the National Institutes of Health, liver cirrhosis is the 12th leading cause of death by disease.
Alcohol Is A Depressant
Some people use alcohol to calm their nerves, to soothe their anxiety and to relieve stress. But alcohol is not a medication. Alcohol is a depressant, which actually worsens anxiety by changing the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain; that’s why some people feel more anxious after the alcohol wears off.
Alcohol can damage the inner lining of the stomach, the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder; alter the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract; and lead to abdominal discomfort, stomachaches, heartburn, and acid reflux.
Alcohol Affects Sleep Quality
While many drinkers would argue that alcohol helps them fall asleep a little faster, researchers at the University of Melbourne have found that alcohol just before sleep can lead to poorer quality slumber. You’re more likely to wake up during the night, and may not feel as rested following your sleep.
“People tend to feel that alcohol helps them fall asleep a little quicker, and therefore people associated that with helping them sleep. But when you actually go and look at what is happening while they sleep, the quality of that sleep isn’t good.”
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. But with alcohol, the line between “moderate use” and “dangerous use” can be a thin one.
Summary: A new study reports people living in areas with more sun light have lower rates of OCD.
Source: Binghamton University.
Living at higher latitudes, where there is also less sunlight, could result in a higher prevalence rate of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), according to new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York.
“The results of this project are exciting because they provide additional evidence for a new way of thinking about OCD,” said Meredith Coles, professor of psychology at Binghamton University. “Specifically, they show that living in areas with more sunlight is related to lower rates of OCD.”
To compile their data, Coles and her research team read through many papers that addressed OCD prevalence rates in certain places and then recorded the latitudes of each location.
Individuals with OCD commonly report not being able to fall asleep until later than desired. Often times, they will then sleep in very late in order to compensate for that lost sleep, thus adopting a delayed sleep-wake pattern that may have adverse effects on their symptoms.
Individuals with OCD commonly report not being able to fall asleep until later than desired. Often times, they will then sleep in very late in order to compensate for that lost sleep, thus adopting a delayed sleep-wake pattern that may have adverse effects on their symptoms. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
“This delayed sleep-wake pattern may reduce exposure to morning light, thereby potentially contributing to a misalignment between our internal biology and the external light-dark cycle,” said Coles. “People who live in areas with less sunlight may have less opportunities to synchronize their circadian clock, leading to increased OCD symptoms.”
This misalignment is more prevalent at higher latitudes – areas where there is reduced exposure to sunlight – which places people living in these locations at an increased risk for the development and worsening of OCD symptoms. These areas subsequently exhibit higher lifetime prevalence rates of the disorder than areas at lower latitudes.
While it is too soon to implement any specific treatment plans based on this new information, future studies are in the works to test a variety of treatment methods that address sleep and circadian rhythm disruptions.
“First, we are looking at relations between sleep timing and OCD symptoms repeatedly over time in order to begin to think about causal relationships,” said Coles. “Second, we are measuring circadian rhythms directly by measuring levels of melatonin and having people wear watches that track their activity and rest periods. Finally, we are conducting research to better understand how sleep timing and OCD are related.”
Additionally, the team of researchers hopes that further study exploring exposure to morning light could help develop new treatment recommendations that would benefit individuals with OCD.
In case you needed any more proof of how essential vitamin D is to good health, researchers have warned that placebo-controlled trials that involve limiting some people’s intake of the all-star nutrient could be considered unethical.
This presents a serious quandary for researchers. Demonstrating the efficacy of vitamin D in studies is essential for boosting awareness and acceptance of its treatment effects, but the very design of many studies could cause some patients to miss out on the vitamins they need.
Writing in the journal Nutrients, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Integrative Medicine Program Director Dr. Leigh Frame outlined just what could happen if a person known to be deficient in vitamin D was denied it. The potential problems include poor short-term or long-term bone health and a higher risk of chronic disease, cancer, autoimmunity, infection and mental illness.
The researchers involved in the review cited two types of trial design as having potentially conflicting objectives. The first is studies with an active control arm with no placebo group. In this case, they point out that the benefit of such a study could be dampened if the absence of a placebo causes them to get non-significant results. Having an active control could limit the possibility of detecting meaningful effects from the supplement.
In the case of placebo trials, valuable information is often gleaned but the ethical questions could be a deal-breaker. Because vitamin D deficiency is a “known harm” and vitamin D has known benefits, they believe that withholding adequate supplementation from some people in the study could cause them an undue health risk. They believe the potential benefits that can be gained by determining an ideal dose of vitamin D would not necessarily outweigh the harm that could be caused to those who are deprived of supplementation.
They’ve identified two possible solutions to these problems. First, they suggest designing trials that have placebo groups but without supplement restrictions. For example, a study called the Vitamin D and Omega 3 Trial allowed participants to take up to 400 IU per day, which is the recommended daily allowance. The researchers in that study then monitored the vitamin D levels of people in both groups; the control group was effective despite having slightly higher background levels of vitamin D.
Another solution they put forth entails having a placebo group but then giving them a rescue repletion program at the close of the study. Those in the placebo group might have a vitamin D deficiency during the study, but they’d be given doses afterward that could reduce their risk of harm. They say this would not only protect the methodology but would also stay in line with the ethical placebo group guidelines set out by the 2001 Declaration of Helsinki.
Vitamin D’s list of benefits continues to grow
Vitamin D continues to be the subject of trials and studies as more and more information comes to light regarding what a powerful tool it is for optimum health. For example, one recent study found that vitamin D has the potential to cut a person’s risk of cancer by 20 percent or even more.
In addition, it plays a vital role in bone health, helping your body absorb much-needed minerals like phosphorus and calcium and reducing your risk of fractures. It also helps reduce your risk of both types of diabetes, and those with sufficient vitamin D intake also have a lower risk of heart disease.
Daily exposure to natural sunlight without sunscreen is the best way to boost your vitamin D levels, but supplementation is a good route when this isn’t possible. Follow more news on Vitamin D at VitaminD.news.
Far too many people are suffering from depression in recent years leading to more people taking antidepressants than ever – with 13 million Americans taking such medications every day. At the same time, people’s diets have declined in quality significantly. While most people don’t tend to think that the two problems are related, some experts say that this is definitely not a coincidence.
It’s easy to see the connection between the poor modern Western diet and problems like obesity or diabetes because of the out-of-control sugar consumption, but depression is related more to what we’re not consuming than what we are.
For example, there is a lot of research showing the link between a Vitamin D deficiency and depression in people young and old. One study found that people whose vitamin D levels were considered deficient were twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms as those who were considered mildly deficient. That’s because the body uses vitamin D to regulate the enzymes needed for dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine production, hormones that are used to regulate your mood and stress as well as energy levels.
Depression is considered a sign of magnesium deficiency, and one Croatian study found that many people who had attempted suicide had dangerously low magnesium levels. A study from the University of Vermont, meanwhile, found that adults with mild to moderate depression noted significant improvements in their depression and anxiety after taking magnesium supplements for just two weeks. A reported 68 percent of Americans don’t get the recommended daily amount of magnesium, with 19 percent failing to even get half the necessary amount. This could well be playing a role in the rising depression numbers.
The nutrient connection explains why treating depression with drugs is so ineffective. It simply doesn’t address the underlying cause of many people’s depression. A new study from Zurich University of Applied Sciences concluded that “antidepressants are largely ineffective and potentially harmful,” and it’s one of many studies pointing to the unacceptable track record of these medications.
Making matters worse is the fact that using these drugs over the long term raises a person’s chances of having a relapse of depressive episodes. Then there’s the higher risk of suicide. It’s hard to imagine a worse side effect than that, until you realize just how many mass shooting perpetrators in recent years had been taking antidepressants.
A big part of the problem is that doctors are far too quick to prescribe these drugs, and many patients specifically request them in hopes of an easy fix. It’s understandable that those who are depressed are eager to find themselves in a better frame of mind, but correcting nutritional deficiencies is truly just as easy, and it doesn’t come with any side effects.
Better yet, ensuring you’re getting enough of the nutrients your body needs actually improves your overall health, not just depression, so it’s a win-win situation. While studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin D, zinc and magnesium can all effectively address depression, you can also get these nutrients through your diet. Oysters, cashews, crab, and beef are all considered good sources of zinc, while you can get a magnesium boost from foods like spinach, almonds, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds and dark chocolate.
Vitamin D is perhaps the easiest deficiency to correct; you just need to spend some time outdoors without sunscreen to get your body to start producing more of it. The amount of time needed varies depending on your skin tone, the time of day, and your geographic location, but it could be as little as 10 minutes a day a few times per week.
For people with serious depression, it might be hard to believe that something as simple as getting more nutrients could make a difference, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying it.
There are now thousands of references in medical literature that show vitamin D’s effectiveness–both for the prevention and treatment of cancer. Another large study shows that Vitamin D levels could have a direct influence in your risk of developing cancer, according to the results of a Japanese cohort study.
“Almost every disease decreases in frequency and duration as we move towards equatorial populations, and the data shows that there is a minimum of a 1000 percent increase for many diseases in countries furthest from the equator, however we have obtained the same results based on data through populations and vitamin D supplementation,” said Dr. Anthony Petaku who studies the effects of Vitamin D2 and D3 on mutating cells.
Blood levels of vitamin D were inversely associated with risk of total cancer and liver cancer, found the multi-institute Japan-based research team writing in the BMJ.
Individuals in the three highest quartiles of serum vitamin D levels showed a risk reduction of between 20-25% for all cancers. For liver cancer, the risk reduction levels ranged from 30% (second quartile) to 55% (highest quartile). In liver cancer cases, the association was stronger in men than in women.
The researchers used data from the Japan Public Health Centre-based Prospective (JPHC) Study of 33,736 adults aged 40-69. Participants were monitored for 16 years, during which time 3,301 new cases of cancer were recorded. The study also included 4,044 randomly selected sub-cohort participants.
The scientists also found a significant inverse trend between vitamin D levels and pre-menopausal breast cancer, but not for prostate cancer and lung cancer.
A ceiling effect was observed for total cancer risk, suggesting that further risk reductions would not arise beyond a certain vitamin D blood concentration. The mean vitamin D level in the highest quartile was 76 nanomoles/litre (nmol/l). However, the researchers were not able to determine the optimal vitamin D concentration to minimise cancer risk.
“We observed that a higher circulating concentration of vitamin D was associated with a lower risk of subsequent cancer in a large Japanese population. Our findings support the hypothesis that vitamin D may confer protection against the risk of cancer,” commented first author Sanjeev Budhathoki, Centre for Public Health Sciences, National Cancer Centre, Chuo-ku, Tokyo.
“Nevertheless, the lower risk associated with higher circulating vitamin D concentration seemed to show a ceiling effect, which may suggest that although maintaining an optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration is important for prevention of cancer, having a concentration beyond this optimal level may provide no further benefit.
“Future studies are needed to clarify the dose-response pattern and the optimal concentrations for cancer prevention,” Budhathoki concluded.
Previous work has shown that higher vitamin D levels are associated lower incidence of colorectal and lung cancers. However, findings regarding total cancer risk reduction have been inconsistent. Additionally, previous studies have mainly examined European or American populations, while those in Asian populations are limited, said the researchers.
The importance of vitamin D is well known. As far back as the 1930s, doctors first recognized the link between a vitamin D deficiency and the skeletal disease called rickets. Rickets causes a softening of the bones and teeth. Even if someone’s diet has adequate levels of calcium, without enough vitamin D to properly control calcium and phosphate levels in the blood stream, demineralization of the bones can take place. The symptoms of rickets include bowed legs, bone pain, dental problems, a widening of the wrists, frequent bone fractures and skull deformities.
Because rickets is seldom seen in first-world countries, it’s easy to think that vitamin D deficiencies are a thing of the past. However, new research has recently shed light on other, more subtle, symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency. Many illnesses which, at first glance, seem totally unrelated to something as physically obvious as rickets actually may have their roots in a lack of vitamin D.
Just what is vitamin D?
The term vitamin D, according to the Mayo Clinic’s Drugs and Supplements site (1), actually refers to several different forms of the vitamin, including D2, which comes from our diet, and D3, which is manufactured by our skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D’s main purpose in the body is to regulate blood levels of calcium and phosphorous.
The sunshine vitamin?
It’s actually hard to get enough vitamin D from a normal diet. It’s found at the highest concentration in fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon. Some mushrooms are also high in D, and their level of the vitamin actually increases when exposed to ultraviolet light.
While our skin does manufacture some of the vitamin D that we need daily, sun exposure alone is usually not enough. Factors such as the time of year, the angle of the sun, cloud cover, pollution levels and even the use of sunscreen can greatly limit the amount of D made by our skin.
Some people who have a vitamin D deficiency have no immediate symptoms. Those who do have symptoms may experience restless sleep, muscle cramps, general fatigue, joint pain, muscle pain or weakness, inability to concentrate, headaches, constipation or diarrhea, and bladder problems. Here are nine other serious medical conditions that have been linked to a vitamin D deficiency.
Asthma – Vitamin D supplementation of 1,200 IU daily has been shown to lessen asthma attacks and reduce their severity.
Depression – Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to depression and other psychiatric illnesses. Even a woman getting enough D during pregnancy has been shown to lessen the chances that her unborn child will develop mental illness later in life.
Heart disease – An article published in Molecular Nutrition & Food Research (2) reports that cardiovascular disease is much more common in people deficient in vitamin D. Some children, according to the article, with severe heart failure have also responded well to vitamin D treatment.
High blood pressure – High blood pressure has been associated with deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D.
Rheumatoid Arthritis – RA is a devastating disease that causes systemic inflammation, severe pain and joint damage. Studies have shown that vitamin D can ease the pain and stiffness associated with RA.
Multiple sclerosis – Studies have shown that geography matters when it comes to the odds of getting MS. The farther from the equator you live — and the less sun exposure you get — the more likely you are to develop the disease. This suggests a strong link between MS and vitamin D.
Cancer – Several different kinds of cancer have been linked to D deficiencies, including breast cancer, prostate cancer and colon cancer. The causal link is so strong, in fact, that the Mayo Clinic (3) lists separate recommended dosing levels of the vitamin for both cancer prevention and prostate cancer treatment.
Periodontal disease – This inflammation of the gums can cause pain, bleeding and tooth loss. Vitamin D helps in the formation of defensins and cathelicidins which, in turn, can lower the number of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Diabetes – An article from World’s Healthiest Foods (4) lists poor blood-sugar control as a symptom of vitamin D deficiency. This, in turn, can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
(Natural News) Combining vitamin D-fortified foods with supplements may help ensure safe and adequate levels of the essential vitamin, a study published in the European Journal of Nutrition revealed. A team of scientists at the Technical University of Denmark pooled data from the Danish National Survey of Dietary Habits and Physical Activity (DANSDA) to carry out the study.
The research team examined the individual habitual dietary vitamin D intake of up to 855 women. The experts also conducted graded intake modelling to predict how habitual diet including fish, fortified foods — such as plain yogurt, cheese, eggs and crispbread — and supplements would help increase vitamin D levels in participants. The fortified foods provided 20 micrograms of vitamin D daily, the researchers said.
The results revealed that eating fortified foods and taking vitamin D supplements that provided up to 40 µg/day would enable the participants to attain at least 60 µg/day, which is still below the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) of 100 µg/day. However, consuming fish, fortified foods, and a vitamin D supplement of 80 µg/day put the women at risk of exceeding the tolerable intake levels.
“The consumption of vitamin D supplements has proven to be effective in increasing vitamin D status, although this strategy is naturally only effective in those who consume the supplements. Low-dose fortification may be a strategy to increase the intake of those individuals in the lower end of the intake distribution range without increasing the risk of the upper end reaching toxic intake levels,” the researchers said.
U.S. sees increase in high-dose vitamin D supplement intake
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) revealed that the number of American adults taking vitamin D supplements increased significantly between 1999 and 2014, up to three percent of whom even exceeded the daily upper limit. Researchers pooled data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with a total cohort population of more than 39,000 participants. (Related: 5 Easy-to-miss signs of vitamin D deficiency: Are YOU getting enough?)
The researchers found that the daily supplemental vitamin D use of 1,000 IU or more grew from 0.3 percent in the 1999-2000 period to 18.2 percent in the 2013- 2014 period. Likewise, the daily supplemental vitamin D use of 4,000 IU or more increased from less than 0.1 percent before the 2005-2006 period to 3.2 percent in the 2013- 2014 period. Women, non-Hispanic whites, and people aged 70 years and older had the highest intake of vitamin D supplements, the experts added.
“Characterizing trends in vitamin D supplementation, particularly at doses above the tolerable upper limit, has important and complex public health and clinical implications,” the experts wrote in a Science Daily article.
Choose your vitamin D well, study suggests
Despite vitamin D’s efficacy in promoting the body’s overall health, British researchers cautioned that not all types of vitamin D may produce equal benefits. The researchers explained that vitamin D was categorized into two types: vitamin D2 and D3. According to the experts, vitamin D2 can be obtained from plant sources such as fungi, while vitamin D3 can be found in animal sources.
The scientists examined their efficacy by measuring the vitamin D levels of 335 South Asian and white European women over the course of two winters. The women were divided into five groups. Two groups received vitamin D2 in the form of either a biscuit or a juice drink, while another two received vitamin D3 in the same forms. One group served as the study’s placebo control.
The research team observed that participants who ate the vitamin D2 biscuit increased their vitamin D levels by only 33 percent, while those who drank the juice attained a 34 percent increase. In contrast, those who ate the vitamin D3 biscuit saw a 74 percent increase, while those who drank the juice had a 75 percent increase. The placebo group saw a 25 percent decline during the study period.
“Those who consume D3 through fish, eggs, or vitamin D3-containing supplements are twice as likely to raise their vitamin D status than when consuming vitamin D2-rich foods, such as mushrooms, vitamin D2-fortified bread, or vitamin D2-containing supplements, helping to improve their long-term health,” lead author Dr. Laura Tripkovic told Medical News Today online.
Researchers from the University of Alberta have announced that the according to the results of their study, the fat cells under our skin shrink once exposed to the “blue light” emitted by the sun.
Peter Light, the senior author of the study, said, “When the sun’s blue light wavelengths — the light we can see with our eye — penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat.”
Light, who is a professor of pharmacology and the director of UAlberta’s Alberta Diabetes Institute, explains that the fact that individuals who live in a northern climate are not exposed to enough sunlight eight months in a year could be the reason for winter weight gain.
The professor cautions that the results are an initial observation and that exposing one’s self to sunlight can have a negative effect on one’s health instead of being a guaranteed way to lose weight. Light comments that he and his team have yet to determine the “intensity and duration of light” required to activate this particular pathway.
Light believes that their discovery holds potential and that future studies could be built on the results of their study. It might even result in “pharmacological or light-based treatments” for health concerns such as obesity and diabetes. Light also posits that this mechanism could be one reason why the number of fat cells produced in childhood often “stay with us into adulthood.”
The researchers chanced upon the discovery while they were looking into how they can bioengineer fat cells that can produce insulin when exposed to light. The team is studying this procedure in the hopes of discovering a way to make life easier for type 1 diabetes patients.
The study results revealed that the fat cells stored near our skin could be “a peripheral biological clock.” While Light says that it’s too early to tell, it’s possible that the light we receive through our eyes which regulates our circadian rhythm (that directs sleep-wake patterns), could similarly impact “the fat cells that can be found near our skin.” The molecular pathway the researchers discovered was initially identified as “being activated by the eye” following exposure to the blue wavelengths in sunlight.
The pathway could act “in a sensory manner” and that it sets the amount of fat that we burn as the seasons change. People gain weight in winter and it is burned off during summer. This could be an “evolutionary process,” and there is data that supports this. Unlike other mammals, human fat can be found all over the body, just beneath the skin.
(Natural News) A new study that was published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism focused on the effects that both exercise and adequate vitamin D intake – when present in a person’s life at the same time – have on heart health.The study showed that the two factors working together contributes to heart health a lot more than if either factor was alone.
“In our study, both failure to meet the recommended physical activity levels and having vitamin D deficiency were very common. The bottomline is we need to encourage people to move more in the name of heart health,” said Dr. Ellen Michos, associate director of medicine at the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Johns Hopkins researchers utilized previously gathered information from the federally-funded Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study that started in 1987. The data came from 10,342 study participants who initially didn’t have any type of heart or vascular disease. These people’s information were updated until the year 2013.
The study participants had an average age of 54 at the start of the study. Women comprised 57 percent of the participants, while 21 percent of them were African-Americans, and the rest identified as white. They came from different parts of the country such as Minneapolis, Minnesota; Forsyth County, North Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi; and Washington County, Maryland.
Between the years 1987 and 1989, study participants self-reported their exercise levels, which were matched against the American Heart Association (AHA) recommendations of over 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes per week of strenuous intensity.
Each participant’s exercise level was classified as adequate, intermediate, or poor; people with adequate exercise levels met AHA standards, those with intermediate levels exercised intensely for up to 74 minutes per week or exercised moderately for less than 149 minutes a week, and those who were tagged as having poor exercise levels didn’t exercise at all.
The researchers found that around 60 percent of the participants belonged in the poor or intermediate categories.
The researchers then converted the exercise to metabolic equivalent tasks (METs), an exercise intensity scale that is used by cardiologists to gauge fitness. They then measured for physical activity levels by multiplying METs by minutes per week of exercise.
When the study participants were observed for the second time between the years 1990 and 1992, the researchers measured vitamin D levels in the blood by identifying the amount of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Levels above 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) of 25-hyrdroxyvitamin D were considered adequate vitamin D levels. Thirty percent of the participants had proper vitamin D levels.
The Johns Hopkins researchers showed that exercise levels are positively connected to vitamin D levels in a direct relationship – meaning, the more one exercised, the higher the vitamin D levels became. For instance, individuals with adequate exercise had an average 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 26.6 ng/ml, those with intermediate exercise had 24.4 ng/ml, and those with poor exercise had 22.7 ng/ml.
The researchers also found out that the people who met the recommended levels of exercise had a 31 percent lower risk of being vitamin D deficient. However, the researchers said that the positive relationship between exercise and vitamin D was only evident in whites, and not in African-Americans.
Within the 19 years that spanned the study, the researchers reported 1,800 occurrences of cardiac events, including heart attack, stroke, or death due to heart disease or stroke. After adjusting for factors such as sex, education, age, alcohol use, blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure medication, race, smoking, and statin use, the researchers discovered that people who met the recommended exercise levels and had adequate vitamin D levels had a 23 percent less chance of having an adverse cardiovascular event as compared with people with poor fitness regimens and inadequate levels of vitamin D.
However, people who had adequate exercise but were vitamin D-deficient, and vice versa, didn’t reduce their risk of suffering from a cardiovascular event.
Fat tissues are responsible for securely storing fat. Recent research postulated that if a person’s fat tissue is somewhat leaky, thereby enabling fatty acids to seep into the bloodstream, the fat blobs can accumulate in other tissues, particularly the muscles and the liver. They then up the risk of developing insulin resistance, which often leads to diabetes.
And diabetes, as we all know, is not good for cardiovascular health.
In a new study that was published in November in the Journal of Applied Physiology, scientists surmised that exercise affects the amount of fat we store, since muscles use fatty acids as fuel. They observed 20 men and women who were overweight but did not have insulin resistance – some of them exercised regularly, some did not engage in any fitness regimen.
The researchers found that in almost all of the volunteers, the fat tissue even after just a single session of exercise showed more amounts of a protein that contributes to the development of more blood vessels.
“More blood vessels in tissue means greater blood flow. There is no doubt that the best thing for metabolic health is to lose weight,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, a professor of movement science at the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology.
To discover more news stories about positive developments about health and fitness, visit Healing.news.
Dairy products, specifically milk is one of the beverages still aggressively pushed as a health promoting food, especially relating to strong bones. However, Bone Mineral Density (BMD) and rates of bone loss showed no association with dietary calcium intake in men, according to a recent study in British Journal of Nutrition.
The dairy industy has been hard at work the last 50 years convincing people that pasteurized dairy products such as milk or cheese increases bioavailable calcium levels. Many studies have exposed this claim as being totally false. The pasteurization process only creates calcium carbonate, which has absolutely no way of entering the cells without a chelating agent. So what the body does is pull the calcium from the bones and other tissues in order to buffer the calcium carbonate in the blood. This process actually causes osteoporosis.
Pasteurized dairy contains too little magnesium needed at the proper ratio to absorb the calcium. Most would agree that a minimum amount of Cal. to Mag Ratio is 2 to 1 and preferably 1 to 1. So milk, at a Cal/Mag ratio of 10 to 1, has a problem. You may put 1200 mg of dairy calcium in your mouth, but you will be lucky to actually absorb a third of it into your system.
Over 99% of the body’s calcium is in the skeleton, where it provides mechanical rigidity. Pasteurized dairy forces a calcium intake lower than normal and the skeleton is used as a reserve to meet needs. Long-term use of skeletal calcium to meet these needs leads to osteoporosis.
For years, US guidelines have advised men and women to take anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium per day to help prevent fractures and improve bone density. This likely lasted for so long due to an overreliance on studies from the 1970s and 1980s.
Does Not Reduce Bone Loss
Increased dietary calcium intake did not significantly reduce bone loss in the hip, spine or total body in a group of men aged 39-88, reported the research team from University of Auckland.
No correlation was observed between calcium intake and BMD either at baseline, or at the end of the study period. Although dietary calcium intake was inversely related to parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels at baseline, indicators of bone turnover were uncorrelated with calcium intake.
“Bone loss over 2 years was not related to Ca intake at any site, before or after adjustment [forconfounding variables],” wrote first author, Dr. Sarah Bristow.
“Dietary calcium intake was inversely correlated with PTH at baseline, but was not associated with the markers of bone turnover.”
The findings may have important implications for osteoporosis prevention strategies, where increased dietary or supplemental calcium intake has previously been recommended.
“This suggests that efforts to increase calcium intake are unlikely to have an impact on the prevalence of and morbidity from male osteoporosis,” the researchers propose.
“Many of the messages being promulgated at the present time are based on the findings of calcium-balance studies and the short-term effects of high-dose calcium interventions, which do not reflect those of long-term dietary intake.
“Messages to increase dietary calcium could be directing at-risk individuals away from considering interventions and strategies proven to influence long-term fracture risk.”
The study used data from a previous Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) which examined the effect on BMD in 323 males given either 1200 milligrams/day (mg/d), 650 mg/d or placebo of calcium over two years. Data from the placebo group (n=99) were used in longitudinal analysis.
Although the earlier RCT found that the 1200 mg/d dose improved BMD by around 1%, this effect was achieved in the first 6 months, with no further subsequent improvement in the remaining 18 months.
These results prompted the researchers to hypothesise that short-term calcium intakes from high-dose calcium interventions are unrepresentative of longer-term dietary intake. The findings of the recent longitudinal study support this hypothesis.
They are also consistent with previous research indicating a similar lack of association between calcium intake and bone loss in women. Contradictory results?
The researchers suggested the lack of association between calcium intake and BMD might be because the body is able to maintain calcium homeostasis over (long-term) typical dietary ranges (415-1740 mg/d).
Observational study findings appear to contradict supplementation RCTs, which have shown small increases in BMD, coupled with reductions in PTH and bone turnover. However, BMD improvements identified in RCTs have only occurred in the first year with no further cumulative effect.
This may be because short-term high doses of calcium induce a temporary reduction in bone turnover, which does not persist once steady-state calcium homeostasis is restored, suggested the researchers.
“Collectively, evidence from intervention and observational studies suggests long-term calcium intake doesn’t influence the rate of bone loss, but large increases in calcium intake induce a transient change,” they wrote.
The scientists emphasised that the study was conducted in Caucasian males with adequate vitamin D status. Therefore, results may not be applicable to other ethnic groups or those with vitamin D deficiency.
“The present demonstration of an absence of an effect of dietary calcium intake on current bone mass or on bone loss in normal men, together with the absence of an effect of calcium intake on bone turnover, contributes to the body of evidence suggesting that calcium intake, within the range studied here, is not a critical factor in the maintenance of bone health in older adults” the authors concluded.
6 WAYS TO BUILD STRONG BONES
1. Eat calcium rich foods
Eat foods high in calcium. The best food sources are non-pasteurized raw dairy sources such as raw milk/yogurt, as well as bony fish, such as sardines. Leafy green veg such as kale, broccoli and spinach are also rich in calcium. Dried herbs and dried fruits such as figs and currants are also good choices. Seeds such as sesame, chia and flax are also rich sources of calcium. Also, enjoy foods that contain sulfur such as garlic and onions.
2. Food selections/combinations are critical Try not to eat whole grains and calcium-rich foods at the same time. Whole grains contain a substance that binds with calcium and prevents proper absorption. Some foods that contain compounds such as oxalic or phytic acids, such as sweet potatoes, beans, rhubarb, celery and beets, can also decrease the amount of calcium that’s absorbed when eaten at the same time as calcium-rich foods.
3. Avoid the causes of mineral excretion Pass on phosphate-containing foods such as soft drinks. Phosphorus causes the body to excrete calcium. Limit or avoid high-protein animal foods. A diet high in protein causes calcium to be excreted from your body. Decrease caffeine consumption. People who smoke have significantly lower bone density, while drinking alcohol can also prevent your bones from absorbing the maximum nutrients from your food.
4. Get more Sunlight and Vitamin D Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Although some is found in oily fish, our main source comes from the effect of sunlight on your skin. It’s estimated that half of us have a deficiency because we don’t get outside enough or because we always use sunblock. It is especially important to maximize sun exposure between May and September to keep vitamin D levels topped up. Just 10 minutes of sunlight a day on bare arms and your face can cut your risk of bone fractures by a third. A half hour exposing your torso is equivalent to roughly 10,000 units of Vitamin D.
5. The right exercise
Another vital way to boost your bones is weight-bearing exercise –basically anything that has you upright and using your body weight. Good choices include squatting, rope skipping, aerobics, plyometrics, dancing or brisk walking. “Research shows that if you don’t exercise you end up weeing out all the calcium you take in instead of storing it in your bones,” warns Professor Dawn Skelton, an aging and health specialist at Glasgow Caledonian University. “Ideally we should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. “Put simply, the more hours we spend on our feet, the fewer bone breakages we should have in later life.”
6. Avoid Medications and Medical Therapies Acid-blocking medications used for heartburn and other gastrointestinal conditions can block the absorption of calcium through the stomach walls. Stomach acids break down food during the digestive process, allowing the nutrients to become absorbed into your body. Medications designed to stop acid production or decrease the amount of acids present in your stomach can have a negative effect on calcium.
(Natural News) What makes you happy? The answer to this question could be different for every one because happiness is relative. But one thing’s certain: Increasing your serotonin levels can boost your mood and keep you from sulking and wallowing because of a bad day. Most commonly known as the “happy hormone” serotonin does more than boost your mood. It also has other health benefits, which is why having more of this will make you happy and healthy at the same time. Here are ways to boost your serotonin levels:
Eat some animal protein – Feelings of sadness oftentimes feel like they’re just in our heads. Sometimes when you feel bad, you think that your brain (or heart) is responsible but know that thoughts and feelings are more than that. These are results of physiological reactions that happen inside your body. An amino acid called tryptophan help produce serotonin so you can start feeling happy. Animal protein is an excellent source of tryptophan so include more chicken, fish, eggs, beef, dairy, even lamb in your diet. Whey and egg protein are scientifically-proven to increase this amino acid in the brain.
Get out and enjoy the sun – Natural light have a positive effect on your mood. Sunlight triggers serotonin synthesis. The brighter sunlight you are exposed to, the more serotonin the body produces. This is a possible explanation why people feel gloomy on rainy weather.
Get enough vitamin D – Vitamin D helps in converting tryptophan into serotonin. You can get this from sun exposure or taking supplements.
Add more seafood to your diet – Cod liver oil and marine fat contain vitamin D and long-chain omega-3s that are helpful in boosting the serotonin production in the brain. Ample amounts will also help transport it to the neurons efficiently.
Try some more curry – Curry has turmeric, which is considered as a potent anti-depressant. This natural mood-lifter helps increase serotonin in the brain.
Perk up – There’s a reason why most people need coffee to jolt them out of lethargy. Caffeine, according to some research, has a positive effect on the levels of serotonin in the brain.
Break some sweat – Exercise is known to be effective in increasing serotonin levels because motor neurons activated during physical activity boost the release of serotonin. Furthermore, regular exercise will spike tryptophan levels in the brain, which means more serotonin for you.
Munch on more nuts – Nuts contain tryptophan, so the more of these you eat, the happier you should be. Also, nuts can help prevent cancer, heart disease and respiratory ailments.
Drink green tea – Drinking green tea is relaxing, no doubt. But it’s also good for the mood. It contains 1-theanine, an amino acid that boosts serotonin levels. It also has a powerful antioxidant that prevents brain damage.
Now that you know that there’s more to feeling happy, you can easily find ways to pull yourself out of a rut and start smiling.
(Natural News) Excessive sunscreen use might be playing a major role in the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and related adverse health conditions, an analysis published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association revealed. According to researchers from the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Touro University, California, vitamin D prevalence in the U.S. showed a significant increase from 45 percent to 75 percent over the last 25 years. The research team also noted that 95 percent of African Americans have inadequate vitamin D levels.
The research team noted that using thick, highly-protective sunscreen may be behind the reason in the prevalent vitamin D deficiency, as the chemicals block the beneficial sunlight from reaching the skin and stimulating vitamin D production. The health experts stressed that sunscreens containing SPF 15 or higher diminished vitamin D production by 99 percent. According to the research team, the vitamin provided anti-inflammatory effects and is essential in the body’s immune function. The health experts cautioned that this lack in vitamin D could lead to the onset of a host of adverse medical conditions. However, the researchers noted that simple brisk walking and eating foods high in vitamin D are enough to make up for vitamin deficiency.
“People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they’re typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting vitamin D,” said study co-author Dr. Kim Pfotenhauer in MedicalNewsToday.com.
Low vitamin D may lead to a plethora of diseases
Inadequate vitamin D levels may trigger the onset of various adverse health conditions such as diabetes and certain types of cancer. An analysis conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Warwick, University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire Coventry in the U.K. revealed that vitamin D deficiency was associated with increased odds of bladder cancer. As part of the review, the research team analyzed data from seven clinical studies with cohort populations between 112 to 1125 participants. According to the experts, five out of seven studies found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and higher bladder cancer risk. “More clinical studies are required to test this association, but our work suggests that low levels of vitamin D in the blood may prevent the cells within the bladder from stimulating an adequate response to abnormal cells. As vitamin D is cheap and safe, its potential use in cancer prevention is exciting and could potentially impact on the lives of many people,” said lead author Dr. Rosemary Bland. The findings were presented at the annual conference of the Society for Endocrinology.
German researchers also found that inadequate vitamin D levels may increase the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from the German Cancer Research Center examined participants aged 50 to 70 years old and found that the risk of all-cause mortality was significantly higher in those who had vitamin D deficiency. Another German study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention revealed that low vitamin D levels were associated with increased odds of prostate, lung, colorectal and other types of cancer in middle-aged and senior patients. (Discover more science news on nutrients and disease prevention at Prevention.news.)
Vitamin D deficiency was also found to exacerbate disease-related complications in patients with type-2 diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Diabetes Research. As part of the study, researchers examined 139 type-2 diabetes patients and compared them with 144 otherwise healthy patients. The research team found that the prevalence and severity of diabetic retinopathy was more pronounced in patients with low vitamin D levels.
(Natural News) Vitamin D intake may help keep common colds and flu at bay, British researchers found. Various studies have previously established that vitamin D may help reduce the risk of respiratory infections, and the recent analysis further emphasizes the vitamin’s role in boosting the immune system. To test this, researchers at the Queen Mary University of London pooled data from 25 separate trials with a total cohort population of 11,321 participants.
The research team found that vitamin D supplementation provided a modest protective effect against respiratory infections. Lead researcher Dr. Adrian Martineau said vitamin D supplements helped reduce the risk of developing respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu by 10 percent. Participants suffering vitamin D deficiency were shown to benefit more from supplementation.
According to researchers, vitamin D supplementation may help prevent respiratory infection in one out of 33 individuals. In contrast, flu vaccination may prevent infection in one out of 40 individuals. This suggests that vitamin D supplementation could be a more ideal preventive against respiratory conditions. The findings were published in the British Medical Journal.
Vitamin D’s protective effects seen in more studies
Vitamin D supplementation helped reduce respiratory infections in elderly population, according to a 2016 study. As part of the study, researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus examined 107 patients with an average age of 84 years old. The patients were given either higher monthly vitamin D doses or lower daily vitamin D doses. The study revealed that patients who had higher doses exhibited a 40 percent reduction in acute respiratory diseases after a year. However, researchers stressed that the findings warrant further research.
“This finding requires a confirmatory trial…This is a potentially life-saving discovery. There is very little in a doctor’s arsenal to battle ARI, especially since most are viral infections where antibiotics don’t work. But vitamin D seems able to potentially prevent these infections. If our results are confirmed by a larger trial, high dose vitamin D, ideally using daily dosing to minimize fall risk, has the potential for substantial public health benefit through ARI prevention for the large and growing population of long term care residents,” wrote lead author Dr. Adit Ginde in ScienceDaily.com. The finding were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
Another study revealed that higher vitamin D intake may cut the risk of respiratory tract infections. To carry out the study, researchers examined 140 volunteers who were given either vitamin D supplements or placebo. The researchers found that patients in the vitamin D group had a 25 percent decrease in respiratory tract infections at the end of the study period compared with those in the placebo group. The research team also found that patients who took vitamin D supplements reduced their antibiotic use by nearly 50 percent.
“Our research can have important implications for patients with recurrent infections or a compromised immune defense, such as a lack of antibodies, and can also help to prevent the emerging resistance to antibiotics that come from overuse. On the other hand, there doesn’t seem to be anything to support the idea that vitamin D would help otherwise healthy people with normal, temporary respiratory tract infections,” said researcher Dr. Peter Bergman in MedicalNewsToday.com. The results appeared in the journal BMJ Open.
A small study published in 2010 also revealed that vitamin D supplementation helped reduce the incidence of influenza A in children. To assess this, Japanese researchers examined more than 3oo children and found that the incidence of influenza-A infection was only 10.8 percent in those who took vitamin D supplements, compared with 18.6 percent in the control group. The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
You can take better care of your health by reading the articles found in Cures.news.
Depression is real, however the treatment approach offered by the medical/pharmaceutical establishment is most often a prescription for a lifetime of dependence on expensive, mind-altering pills which make life bearable but numb the joy of living as well as the pain. Still, people are suffering, and an understanding of the root causes of depression and anxiety can go a long way in helping people to truly overcome them.
Mental health is greatly affected by the quality of foods we eat, and more research is leading us to understand that the digestive system in the human body functions as a type of second brain, where emotional information is stored and processed. If the digestive system is constantly bombarded by inflammatory foods and the myriad chemicals in our environment, the system is incapable of performing properly and efficiently.
Under the umbrella of diet, a major factor in mental health is gut health, specifically the health of the microbiome of healthy bacteria which exists inside each of us, functioning as a both a system of detoxification or a system of toxification, depending on its health.
Consumption of probiotic foods and supplements greatly enhance the health of the microbiota, while consumption of chemical laden processed foods, GMO foods, exposure to chemicals such as glyphosate, and especially sugary foods serves to feed and increase the production of negative bacteria within the body, leading to poor mental health. A healthy is critical to a healthy mind.
Lack of Sunlight
Vitamin D deficiency is increasingly understood to be highly detrimental to mental health, as is highlighted in areas of the world with lower exposure to sunlight, such as the Pacific Northwest of the United States, where millions of people can expect to suffer from what is now known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a fact of life in many areas, and is effectively treated medically with high dose supplementation of vitamin D.
“Research has shown having a vitamin D level below 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) can raise your risk for depression by as much as 85 percent, compared to having a vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL. A number of studies have also confirmed that adequate levels of vitamin D can help alleviate symptoms of depression. One of the mechanisms is thought to be vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties, which again hints at inflammation being a root cause of depression.” [Source]
Exposure to sunlight is crucial to sound mental health, for the body naturally produces vitamin D when it receives ample sunlight, however there are many other benefits to receiving abundant natural light.
“According to a paper published in the journal Dermato Endocrinology, a large number of light-absorbing molecules (chromophores) found in the different layers of your skin absorb and interact with ultraviolet rays, producing a number of complex and synergistic effects.”[Source]
Perhaps the most important, yet most misunderstood factor in mental health arises from a sort of spiritual anemia, which is in part, a cultural malaise arising from a lack of interpersonal and cosmic connection in our technologically advanced modern world.
Evidence is mounting that profound spiritual experiences can turn depression and anxiety around in no time at all, and many forward-thinking researchers are exploring the effectiveness of psychedelic experiences which can be a surefire way to experience a direct connection to the infinite and cosmic nature of being alive and human.
Psilocybin mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, are the most talked about psychedelic for quickly achieving stable mental health, although many other natural and synthetic substances are known to trigger the kind of spiritual experiences which can directly and positively impact one’s worldview, leading to a healthier sense of self and purpose in this world.
Ayahuasca, the Amazonian shamanic medicine, is revered for it’s ability to release past trauma and achieve a deeper understanding of the self. Iboga, a natural entheogen from Western Africa, is incredibly affective at treating depression and anxiety through a journey which allows one to meet and make peace with their own soul and their past. Additionally, chemicals like ketamine and ecstasy (MDMA) are also known to create an experience of connection and spiritual peace. All of these medicines are illegal in the United States.
It is estimated that some 15 million American adults are affected by depression, and that some 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety. These outstanding statistics are shadowed by the disturbing fact that one in six Americans are on antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs, and when drugs are prescribed to a patient, doctors commonly ignore contributing factors and causes of poor mental health, advising their patients to take pills as the main way to cope with poor mental health.
If doctors focused instead on the causes of poor mental health, offering sound advice on diet, advising people to get more sunlight, and most importantly, steered patients in the direction of spiritual wellness, our society as a whole would greatly benefit.
Conventional health authorities claim getting a flu shot each year is the best way to ward off influenza. But where’s the actual science backing up that claim?
If you’ve repeatedly fallen for this annual propaganda campaign, you may be surprised to find the medical literature suggests vitamin D may actually be a FAR more effective strategy, and the evidence for this goes back at least a decade.
Dr. John Cannell, founder of the Vitamin D Council, was one of the first to introduce the idea that vitamin D deficiency may actually be an underlying CAUSE of influenza.
His hypothesis1 was initially published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection in 2006.2 It was subsequently followed up with another study published in the Virology Journal in 2008.3
The following year, the largest nationally representative study4 of its kind to date discovered that people with the lowest vitamin D levels indeed reported having significantly more colds or cases of the flu. In conclusion, lead author Dr. Adit Ginde stated:
“The findings of our study support an important role for vitamin D in prevention of common respiratory infections, such as colds and the flu. Individuals with common lung diseases, such as asthma or emphysema, may be particularly susceptible to respiratory infections from vitamin D deficiency.”
Vitamin D Works Better Than Flu Vaccine If Your Levels Are Low
Since then, a number of studies have come to similar conclusions. Most recently, a scientific review5,6 of 25 randomized controlled trials confirmed that vitamin D supplementation boosts immunity and cuts rates of cold and flu.
Overall, the studies included nearly 11,000 individuals from more than a dozen countries. As reported by Time Magazine:7
“… [P]eople who took daily or weekly vitamin D supplements were less likely to report acute respiratory infections, like influenza or the common cold, than those who did not …
For people with the most significant vitamin D deficiencies (blood levels below 10 [ng/mL]), taking a supplement cut their risk of respiratory infection in half.
People with higher vitamin D levels also saw a small reduction in risk: about 10 percent, which is about equal to the protective effect of the injectable flu vaccine, the researchers say.”
Like Cannell before them, the researchers believe vitamin D offers protection by increasing antimicrobial peptides in your lungs, and that “[t]his may be one reason why colds and flus are most common in the winter, when sunlight exposure (and therefore the body’s natural vitamin D production) is at its lowest …”8
According to this international research team, vitamin D supplementation could prevent more than 3.25 million cases of cold and flu each year in the U.K. alone.9Another statistic showing vitamin D is a more effective strategy than flu vaccine is the “number needed to treat” (NNT).
Overall, one person would be spared from influenza for every 33 people taking a vitamin D supplement (NNT = 33), whereas 40 people have to receive the flu vaccine in order to prevent one case of the flu (NNT = 40).
Among those with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, the NNT was 4. In other words, if you’re vitamin D deficient to begin with, vitamin D supplementation is 10 times more effective than the flu vaccine.
Optimizing Vitamin D May Be Your Best Defense Against Influenza
In my view, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best flu-prevention and optimal health strategies available. Your diet also plays a significant role of course, as it lays the foundation for good immune function.
A high-sugar diet is a sure-fire way to diminish your body’s innate ability to fight off infections of all kinds by radically impairing the functioning of your immune system.
However, I do not agree that fortifying more processed foods with vitamin D is the best solution, although I realize it could potentially have a more widespread impact among people who remain unaware of the beneficial health effects of sunlight in general.
I believe sensible sun exposure is the ideal way to optimize your vitamin D. Taking a vitamin D3 supplement is only recommended in cases when you simply cannot obtain sufficient amounts of sensible sun exposure.
It’s also important to point out that, contrary to what’s reported by most mainstream media, including NPR report above, most people cannot optimize their vitamin D levels by getting the recommended 600 IUs of vitamin D from fortified foods. The dose you need really depends on your current blood level of vitamin D.
If it’s very low, you may need 8,000 to 10,000 IUs of vitamin D3 per day in order to reach and maintain a clinically relevant level of 45 to 60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). The only way to know how much you need is to get tested at least once or twice each year.
If you’ve been supplementing for some time and your levels are still below 45 ng/mL, you then know you have to increase your dose further. If using an oral supplement, also make sure to boost your vitamin K2 and magnesium intake, as these nutrients help optimize vitamin D levels.
Other Studies Supporting Link Between Vitamin D Deficiency and Influenza
In a study published in 2010,10 researchers investigated the effect of vitamin D on the incidence of seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. The randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study included 430 children, half of which were given 1,200 IUs of vitamin D3 per day while the other half received a placebo.
Overall, children in the treatment group were 42 percent less likely to come down with the flu. According to the authors: “This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.”
Another study11 published that same year concluded that infection-fighting T-cells need help from vitamin D in order to activate. This is yet another mechanism that helps explain why vitamin D is so effective against infections.
When a T cell recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses, it sends activating signals to the vitamin D receptor (VDR) gene.
The VDR gene then starts producing a protein that binds vitamin D in the T cell. A downstream effect of this is PLC-gamma1 protein production, which subsequently enables the T cell to fight the infection. At the time, lead researcher Carsten Geisler told Food Consumer:12
“When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device or “antenna” known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it searches for vitamin D. This means the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilize.”
With that understanding, it’s no wonder flu shots don’t work. Flu vaccines do absolutely nothing to address the underlying problem of vitamin D deficiency, which is effectively hindering your immune system from working properly.
In fact, flu vaccines tend to deteriorate your immune function, and their side effects can be significant.
‘Gold Standard’ Studies Ignored by Mainstream Media
The gold standard of scientific analysis, the so-called Cochrane Database Review, has also issued several reports between 2006 and 2012, all of which decimate the claim that flu vaccinations are the most effective prevention method available. In 2010, Cochrane published the following bombshell conclusion, which was completely ignored by mainstream media:13
“Influenza vaccines have a modest effect in reducing influenza symptoms and working days lost. There is no evidence that they affect complications, such as pneumonia, or transmission. WARNING: This review includes 15 out of 36 trials funded by industry (four had no funding declaration).
An earlier systematic review of 274 influenza vaccine studies published up to 2007 found industry funded studies were published in more prestigious journals and cited more than other studies independently from methodological quality and size. Studies funded from public sources were significantly less likely to report conclusions favorable to the vaccines …”
So, despite the fact that 15 of the 36 studies included were biased by industry interests, they still couldn’t come up with evidence supporting the conventional claim that flu vaccines are the best and most effective prevention available against influenza!
Scientific Reviews Show Vaccinating Children and Elderly Is Ineffective
Cochrane has issued several reports addressing the effectiveness of flu vaccines on infants and the elderly — two groups that tend to be the most targeted by flu vaccine advertising — and all have had negative findings. For children:
1.A large-scale, systematic review14 of 51 studies, published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2006, found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo in children under two. The studies involved 260,000 children, age 6 to 23 months.
2.In 2008, another Cochrane review15 again concluded that “little evidence is available” that the flu vaccine is effective for children under the age of two. Even more disturbingly, the authors stated that:
“It was surprising to find only one study of inactivated vaccine in children under two years, given current recommendations to vaccinate healthy children from six months old in the USA and Canada. If immunization in children is to be recommended as a public health policy, large-scale studies assessing important outcomes and directly comparing vaccine types are urgently required.”
3.In a 2012 review,16 Cochrane concluded that “in children aged from two years, nasal spray vaccines made from weakened influenza viruses were better at preventing illness caused by the influenza virus than injected vaccines made from the killed virus. Neither type was particularly good at preventing “flu-like illness” caused by other types of viruses. In children under the age of two, the efficacy of inactivated vaccine was similar to placebo.”
The available evidence with regards to protecting the elderly is equally abysmal.
4.In 2010, Cochrane concluded that:17 “The available evidence is of poor quality and provides no guidance regarding the safety, efficacy or effectiveness of influenza vaccines for people aged 65 years or older.”
5.Cochrane also reviewed whether or not vaccinating health care workers can help protect the elderly patients with whom they work. In conclusion, the authors stated that:18 “[T]here is no evidence that vaccinating health care workers prevents influenza in elderly residents in long-term care facilities.”
Annual Flu Vaccinations May Raise Risk of More Serious Infections
Other recent studies have shown that with each successive annual flu vaccination, the protection afforded by the vaccine appears to diminish.19, 20 Research published in 2014 concluded that vaccine-induced protection against influenza was greatest among those who had NOT received a flu shot in the previous five years.21 The flu vaccine may also increase your risk of contracting other, more serious influenza infections.
Compared to children who do not get an annual flu vaccine, those who receive influenza vaccinations have a three times higher risk of hospitalization due to influenza.23
Research also shows that statin drugs — taken by 1 in 4 Americans over the age of 45 — may undermine your immune system’s ability to respond to the flu vaccine.24,25,26 When you consider the low efficacy rate of the flu vaccine in any given year, getting vaccinated if you’re on a statin may well be a moot point.
Independent science reviews have also concluded that influenza vaccine does not appear to prevent influenza-like illness associated with other types of viruses responsible for about 80 percent of all respiratory or gastrointestinal infections during any given flu season.27,28,29,30
Other Foods and Supplements That Send Pathogens Packin’
Besides vitamin D, there are a number of other foods and supplements that can be beneficial for colds and influenza, including the following:
Vitamin D Is Important for Optimal Health and Disease Prevention Year-Round
In related news, researchers are also homing in on how vitamin D may help protect against age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The video above discusses research33 showing vitamin D extends lifespan in nematode worms by 30 percent and helps slow or even reverse accumulation of beta amyloid protein, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, autoimmune disease and many other chronic diseases. As noted in a recent issue of Orthomolecular Medicine News:34 “Research on the health benefits of vitamin D continues at a rapid pace. There were 4,356 papers published in 2015 with vitamin D in the title or abstract and 4,388 in 2016 …” Among some of the most impactful studies are ones demonstrating:
•Health benefits from sun exposure unrelated to vitamin D production. One recent review concluded benefits of sun exposure includes lower rates of cancer, heart disease, dementia, myopia, macular degeneration, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. My belief is that the majority of these benefits are due to the near-, mid- and far-infrared wavelengths.
According to the author: “The message of sun avoidance must be changed to acceptance of non-burning sun exposure sufficient to achieve [vitamin D] concentrations of 30 ng/mL or higher … and the general benefits of UV exposure beyond those of vitamin D.” Also, while intermittent sun exposure is associated with higher rates of skin cancer, “the risks of these cancers is dwarfed by the reduced risk of internal cancers from sun exposure,” William Grant, Ph.D. writes.
•Benefits of higher vitamin D levels during pregnancy. Research demonstrates preterm births steadily decrease as vitamin D levels increase among pregnant women. In one study, raising vitamin D blood concentrations from 20 to 40 ng/mL decreased preterm births by 59 percent.
•Reduction in cancer risk from vitamin D supplementation. One pooled analysis showed that women with higher levels of vitamin D had much lower incidence rates of cancer — from a 2 percent per year cancer incidence rate at 18 ng/mL to 0.4 percent at 63 ng/mL.
Overall, maintaining a vitamin D serum level of 45 to 60 ng/mL year-round may be one of the simplest and most efficient ways to safeguard yourself against chronic disease and acute infections. When it comes to seasonal colds and influenza, the rate of protection you get from vitamin D is actually greater than what you’d get from a flu vaccination, and you don’t have to worry about potential side effects either — which in the case of the flu vaccine can be far worse than the original complaint.
While death and complete disability from a flu vaccine may be rare, so is dying from the flu itself. I strongly recommend weighing the risk of suffering a debilitating side effect of the flu vaccine relative to the more likely potential of spending a week in bed with the flu. Remember, most deaths attributed to influenza are actually due to bacterial pneumonia, and these days, bacterial pneumonia can be effectively treated with advanced medical care and therapies like respirators and parenteral antibiotics.
The Role of Vitamin D in Disease Prevention
A growing body of evidence shows that vitamin D plays a crucial role in disease prevention and maintaining optimal health. There are about 30,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D affects nearly 3,000 of them, as well as vitamin D receptors located throughout your body.
According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.
How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health
Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Robert Heaney is the research director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings.
GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.
In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)
As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you “it’s time for your next test and health survey.”
“Our citizens should know the urgent facts…but they don’t because our media serves imperial, not popular interests. They lie, deceive, connive and suppress what everyone needs to know, substituting managed news misinformation and rubbish for hard truths…”—Oliver Stone