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.”
The founding director of GrassrootsHealth, Carole Baggerly is here to increase awareness about vitamin D and the important part it plays in many aspects of the nation’s health.
Carole is one of the leading researchers in the study of vitamin D, and her reason behind it? As a breast cancer survivor, she attributes a big part in her survival to vitamin D.
Increasing your vitamin D levels may also help prevent more than 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers.
There has been many theories linking vitamin D deficiency to cancer, and they have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and the understanding of its physiological basis has come from over 2,500 clinical studies.
One study completed by Joan Lappe and Robert Heaney in 2007 involved a group of menopausal women who were given enough vitamin D to raise their serum levels to 40 ng/ml.
The amazing results were that these women experienced a 77 percent reduction in the incidence of all cancers across the board after only four years.
40 ng/ml is only really a modest level, what could even more vitamin D do in the fight against cancer? Latest findings suggests the serum level ideal for vitamin D is 50 to 70 ng/ml.
Breast Cancer Could Be 90% Preventable Using JUST Vitamin D
Breast cancer is so highly linked to vitamin D that hes been called “vitamin D deficiency syndrome.” Other factors may also play a part in the onset of cancer such as lifestyle and genetics, but with every emerging study, the link between breast cancer and vitamin D becomes clearer.
Carole Baggerly believes that 90 percent of ordinary breast cancer is related to vitamin D deficiency.
Given that vitamin D deficiency can be 100% prevented, this has huge implications of women’s health in terms of preventing cancer.
Carole is referring only to more common types of breast cancer, not inflammatory breast cancer and other unique forms of breast cancer.
Vitamin D Can Destroy Cancer Cells
The link between vitamin D deficiency and breast cancer was also noticed by Dr. Cedric F. Garland of the University of California’s San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
Garland noted that in nearly all forms of breast cancer, vitamin D works by affecting the structure of your epithelial cells.
These cells are held together by a glue-like substance called E-cadherin, which provides structure to the cell. E-cadherin is made up of mostly vitamin D and calcium.
If you have a shortage of vitamin D, the structure falls apart and the cells do what they are programmed to do, that is multiply. Cancer can occur when this cell growth process, called cell proliferation gets out of hand.
If breast cancer is already in progress the addition of vitamin D can help kill cancer cells by replenishing E-cadherin.
As the cancer growth slows down, your immune system then starts to get ahead of the cancer cells, as there are less of them to deal with.
This theory is Dr. Garland’s DINOMIT theory and it has been corroborated by other studies done by different researchers which reached the same conclusion.
How Best To Incorporate Vitamin D
One of the best ways of ensuring your body gets it’s daily dose of vitamin D is by taking in natural sunlight, for no more than 20 minutes between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, as a general rule. There doesn’t appear to be a risk of vitamin D toxicity from ultraviolet B exposure.
With an oral supplement, studies suggest you need about 8,000 IU’s of oral vitamin D3 per day in order to get serum levels above 40 ng/ml.
Remember that if you take oral vitamin D, you also need to boost your vitamin K2, with either food choices or a supplement, as vitamin K2 deficiency is what can produce the symptoms of vitamin D toxicity, that is inappropriate calcification which may lead to hardening of your arteries.
The Institute of Medicine however has said that taking vitamin D3 daily is very safe, saying that taking up to 10,000 IU per day poses no real risk for negative effects.
I can honestly say I have ignored the warnings all along. Of course, moderation is the key; You don’t want to burn. 10-15 minutes per side per day works for me. And no supplements!
Reminds me of pharaoh Akhenaten, ca. 1349–1336 B.C., who had had enough of us silly humans worshiping all kinds of Gods and deities. In his 17-year reign he abolished all other religions and made the Sun the primary God for all. If you must worship something or someone, worship the Sun.
More than three-fourths of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers.
Aug 11, 2016 A causative link between the sun and cancer does not exist and never has. The cancer and sunscreen industries have made it their mission to convince the world that sunlight is a primary cause of skin cancer, when in fact it has been shown to prevent it and many other forms of cancer.
Not Pussy Riot, it’s Pussy Eejit
Fearful beachgoers in China are trading their suncreen and hats for facekinis.
It is a common sight these days to come across girls riding their two-wheelers and scooties, all covered up to avoid the sun’s rays on their person. They even wrap a stole around their faces, such that not an inch of their face is seen, and wear gloves to keep the sun away from their skin. Experts say that despite living in a tropical climate, it is unfortunate that many don’t expose themselves to the sun to get the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamin D.
According to nutritionist Dharini Krishnan we don’t expose ourselves enough to the sun. “We sleep in air-conditioned bedrooms, commute in air-conditioned cars and work in air-conditioned offices. Even those who travel by bikes cover themselves from head to toe. We don’t want to expose ourselves to sunlight even for a few minutes. This results in vitamin D deficiency as sunlight is the only major source of vitamin D. All we need to do is stand under the sun for 15 minutes at least three times a week. Our lifestyle is lethargic and we depend a lot on air-conditioners. It is good to get exposed to the sun from 10am to 4pm to get the needed vitamin D for our body.”
Sunlight DOES NOT Cause Skin Cancer, It’s Your Best Defense Against Cancer
Exposure to ultraviolet B radiation in sunlight provides the mechanism for more than 90% of the vitamin D production in most individuals. The widespread use of sunscreens, particularly those with high sun protection factors (SPF), may lead to a significant decrease in solar-induced previtamin D3 in the skin, resulting in a vitamin D level which is insufficient for protection against a wide range of diseases.
The results, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, showed that women who had at least 21 hours a week exposure to the sun’s UV rays in their teens were 29 percent less likely to get cancer than those getting under an hour a day.
For women who spent the most time out side in their forties and fifties, the risk fell by 26 percent and for those above 60, sunshine halved their chances of a tumour.
For melanoma, it is only latitudinal variation that favours the hypothesis of sun exposure causation. It is postulated that skin temperature by itself may suffice to account for the observed variation of melanoma with latitude. The higher incidence of melanoma in the higher social classes and its increasing incidence with age may be readily explained by the hypothesis that melanoma incidence increases with increase in skin temperature which scientists have incorrectly linked to the sun as the primary causative factor.
No scientific literature has ever proven that sunlight causes cancer in human beings. Most studies that have attempted to find a cause have only found correlations and many scientists have established the the toxicity level of the human body which reacts with the UV spectrum is what causes cancer, not the sunlight itself.
It’s been known that vitamin D can prevent the genetic damage the leads to cancer. When vitamin D binds to specific receptors, it sets off a chain of events by which many toxic agents including cancer cells are rendered harmless. However, if there is not enough vitamin D the system can become overwhelmed and cancer can develop. “This is one of the reasons that people living closest to the equator have a much lower incidence (or absence) of specific cancers which consequently increase in locations further from the equator,” said McGill professor Dr. John White.
Dr. Anthony Petaku who studies the effects of Vitamin D2 and D3 on mutating cells, says the incidence of disease increases the further away we are from the equator. “The millions of people who live near the equator are not susceptible to the same level of disease or even the same diseases as those who live further from the equator,” he stated. Dr. Petaku has found that latitude studies which are observational on vitamin D and disease show a clear correlation between solar UV radiation, latitude and vitamin D status. “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…” he concluded.
Although vitamin D can be obtained from limited dietary sources and directly from exposure to the sun during the spring and summer months, the combination of poor dietary intake and sun avoidance has created vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency in large proportions of many populations worldwide. It is known that vitamin D has a wide range of physiological effects and that correlations exist between insufficient amounts of vitamin D and an increased incidence of a number of cancers. These correlations are particularly strong for cancers of the digestive tract, including colon cancer, and certain forms of leukemia.
Both UVA and UVB can cause tanning and burning, although UVB does so far more rapidly. UVA, however, penetrates your skin more deeply than UVB.
UVB appears to be protective against melanoma — or rather, the vitamin D your body produces in response to UVB radiation is protective.
“Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect.”
More than three-fourths of people with a variety of cancers have low levels of vitamin D, and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancers.
People with levels below 24 ng/mL were nearly three times more likely to have stage III cancer than those with higher vitamin D levels.
Criteria for different stages differ by type of cancer. But in general, stage III indicates more extensive disease than lower stages: larger tumor size and/or spread of the cancer beyond the organ in which it first developed to nearby lymph nodes and/or adjacent organs.
The Best Source of Vitamin D
Researchers have also discovered specific molecular signaling events by which vitamin D prevents inflammation. In their experiments, they showed that low levels of Vitamin D, comparable to levels found in millions of people, failed to inhibit the inflammatory cascade–a series of rapid biochemical events which propagates and matures the inflammatory response. However, levels considered adequate did inhibit inflammatory signaling. They reported their results in the March 1, 2011, issue of The Journal of Immunology.
In the absence of Vitamin D from sunlight, disease increases more than 1000 percent. Experts suggest that the chances of getting vitamin D from your diet are very low. And if you are a vegetarian, it is all the more difficult to gain vitamin D. What they repeatedly suggest is exposure to sunlight is the best source of vitamin D. “Besides milk products and mushrooms, a vegetarian diet does not contain much of vitamin D. Make sure to include ghee, butter and paneer,” says Dr Tusna Park, author of A New Way To Eat. She adds, “Nothing can be better than the sunlight. So make sure to spend 20 minutes in the sun every day, any time between 8am and 4pm, without the application of sunscreen lotion. We can apply some coconut oil (which is mixed with water) to the exposed body parts. Keep windows open so that sunlight enters your house; walk in the sun every day, if possible; sit in an open balcony or on the terrace for 20 minutes every day so that you can receive adequate sunlight.”
Lack of vitamin D may cause some serious bone-related health issues. Nutritionist Divya Sathyaraj says, “Prolonged deficiency of vitamin D may cause rickets. The growth and maintenance of bones depend on the intake of vitamin D. Lack of vitamin D may lead to tooth decay, brittle bones, retarded growth and poor bone formation in children, muscular weakness and premature ageing. Severe deficiency could also cause improper activity of the parathyroid gland and result in convulsions. Unfortunately, food cannot replace the sun and doesn’t give us enough vitamin D. However, vitamin D is present in small amounts in fish oils, ghee, eggs and butter. As vitamin D is produced from a substance beneath the skin, when sunlight falls on the surface of the body we must expose ourselves to sunlight every day.”
Van der Rhee H, Coebergh JW, de Vries E. Sunlight, vitamin D and the prevention of cancer: a systematic review of epidemiological studies. Eur J Cancer Prev. 2009 Nov;18(6):458-75 concluded that while vitamin D levels/supplementation was only consistently associated with a decrease in colon cancer, sun exposure was consistently associated with a decrease in all four cancer types including four cancer types: breast, colon, prostate and lymphoma.
Sunlight and latitude studies: 77.1% show significant correlation Vitamin D level studies: 63.4% show significant correlation Diet or supplementation studies: 47.4% show significant correlation
Vitamin D supplementation will clearly never match natural sunlight and it’s time researchers and scientists started taking a more serious approach to large populations studies on UV exposure and vitamin D status so the world can better ascertain the true effect of the sun versus supplementation.
Researchers at McMaster University have found a rich new record of vitamin D deficiency, one that resides in the teeth of every person and remains viable for hundreds of years or more.
The team of anthropologists has determined that looking into the microscopic structure of teeth opens a window into the lives and challenges of people who lived hundreds of years ago, and whose only record is their skeletal remains.
Their paper, published online today in the Journal of Archaeological Science, establishes that when the body is deprived of vitamin D, permanent microscopic abnormalities form in the layers of dentin, the tooth structure under the enamel, creating an ongoing record that can later be read like the rings of a tree.
“The layers store what happens as teeth grow,” says author Lori D’Ortenzio, a PhD candidate in Anthropology at McMaster. “We all know the importance of vitamin D, but until now we did not have such a clear way of measuring exactly what happened to people, and when.”
The discovery is significant, since it can yield valuable information about vitamin D deficiency – also known as rickets – which continues to be a serious public health issue, affecting some 1 billion people worldwide. Most cases of rickets are caused by a lack of sun exposure, with effects that can include pain, bone deformities and failure to achieve or maintain adequate bone levels.
“If we can properly understand past changes in deficiency levels, we can evaluate where we currently are and move forward,” says author Megan Brickley, a professor of Anthropology at McMaster who holds the Canada Research Chair in the Bioarchaeology of Human Disease.