Benefits of Vitamin D

Natural vitamin D is elusive. This necessary nutrient is naturally found in just a handful of foods, but it can be found as an additive in many processed and packaged foods. Vitamin D is also available in supplement form. Fortunately, the average healthy person gets enough vitamin D from sun exposure and food, so deficiencies among healthy adults is uncommon.

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (IOM), approximately 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Moderate use of commercial tanning beds that emit two to six percent UVB radiation is also effective. Individuals with limited sun exposure need to include good sources of vitamin D in their diet or take a supplement to achieve recommended levels of intake.

The best food sources of vitamin D are the flesh of fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil are also excellent sources. For example, one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1,360 IU (international units) of vitamin D. This is 340 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA). Salmon, mackerel and tuna have 39-112 percent of the RDA. Small amounts of vitamin D can be found naturally in mushrooms, beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese. They contain anywhere from 2-15 percent of the RDA.

Fortified foods contain vitamin D as well. Fortified milk, orange juice, yogurt, breakfast cereals, margarine, and soymilk contain anywhere from 10 to 31 percent of the RDA. For example, fortified cereal contains 10 percent of the RDA and soymilk contains 30 percent. Fortified milk averages 29 to 31 percent.

The RDA for vitamin D is 400 IU for adults and children age 4 and older. For seniors, the RDA is between 400-600 IU. However, research shows that higher daily doses of 700-800 IU may reduce the risk of fracture in adults aged 60 and older by 25 percent. A reduced risk of fracture is just one benefit of vitamin D. Other benefits include:

-Helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus (vitamin D’s major biological function)
-Aids in the absorption of calcium
-Protects against osteoporosis and osteomalacia (hardens bones and teeth)
-Protects against hypertension (high blood pressure)
-Protects against cancer
-Protects against several autoimmune diseases
-Protects against rickets in children

Sun exposure and consumption through major and fortified food sources should provide enough vitamin D, so supplements are not usually necessary for healthy adults. However, vitamin D deficiency is possible, especially in the elderly population, obese people, exclusively breastfed babies, individuals with fat malabsorption syndromes, individual’s with inflammatory bowel disease, and individuals who have limited sun exposure. In these cases, a supplement may be necessary.

A physician will determine the amount needed to correct vitamin D deficiency, but the tolerable upper intake levels (ULs) are:

-0 to 6 months: 1,000 IU (25 mcg)
-7 to 12 months: 1,500 IU (38 mcg)
-1 to 3 years: 2,500 IU (63 mcg)
-4 to 8 years: 3,000 IU (75 mcg)
-9 years and older: 4,000 IU (100 mcg)
-Pregnant or lactating: 4,000 IU (100 mcg)

When vitamin D deficiency occurs, symptoms may or may not be present until disease has developed. If symptoms are present, they may include:

-Bone pain
-Delayed tooth formation
-Dental deformities
-Loss of height
-Muscle cramps
-Poor growth in children
-Poor posture
-Spine and other bone deformities
-Tingling
-Weakness

While the consuming the right amount of vitamin D has many benefits, over consumption can be dangerous. Taking too much vitamin D can cause nausea, weight loss, and irritability. Severe side effects include mental and physical growth retardation, movement of calcium from bones into soft tissues, and kidney damage.

For more information about vitamin D, visit the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health at http://ods.od.nih.gov/.

  

Vegan diet kills 11 month old

Vegans Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou fed their 11-month-old daughter Louise only mother’s milk, and she died suffering from a vitamin deficiency. The two are currently on trial in northern France, charged with neglect.

The pair called the emergency services in March 2008 after becoming worried about their baby’s listlessness. When the ambulance arrived, the baby was already dead.

According to Yahoo Health:

“An autopsy showed that Louise was suffering from a vitamin A and B12 deficiency which experts say increases a child’s sensitivity to infection and can be due to an unbalanced diet … The couple did not follow the doctor’s advice to hospitalize the baby who was suffering from bronchitis and was losing weight when they went for the nine-month check-up.”

Breast milk is the best food hands-down you can give to your baby. But, it does have one downfall: its nutritional value is influenced by the mother’s diet. If the mother is consuming a diet that tends to be deficient in nutrients, such as a vegan diet, nutrients will be missing in her breast milk.

In the tragic case reported above, it appears 11-month-old Louise lost her life because her mom’s vegan diet created vitamin deficiencies in the breast milk she was exclusively fed on. Sadly, there were warning signs that the milk was not providing proper nutrition months before her death, as the baby was sickly and losing weight, but they were ignored.

People following a strict vegan diet are often convinced that it is the healthiest way of eating possible, which was most likely the case with Louise’s parents. But this tragedy can serve as a powerful warning for those who choose to avoid all animal foods.

Mercola.com
Yahoo Health

  

Vitamin D anticancer research project

Vitamin D3, which is technically a prehormone, has a whole host of benefits. This invaluable substance has a role in preventing or treating many diseases including cancer. Below you’ll find a letter I received as being a participant in a Vitamin D study, the results of which were published in the International Journal of Cancer Research and Treatment

GrassrootsHealth New Research Publication in the Anticancer Research Journal, 2/21/2011
Dear Michael,

Congratulations and thanks to absolutely everyone who has participated in and supported this project! According to one of our panel members, Dr. Anthony Norman:

“This paper provides a long awaited insight into a dose-response relationship between orally administered vitamin D3 and the resulting levels of serum 25(OH)D in over 3600 citizens. The results will allow a new definition of high vitamin D dose safety and reduce concerns about toxicity. This is a landmark contribution in the vitamin D nutrition field!”
Anthony Norman
Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, Emeritus
University of California Riverside

Key findings:

There were 3667 people’s first test data reported on

No suggestions of toxicity were reported even up to intakes as high as 40,000 IU/day (not a recommended amount, however)

It’s going to take about 9600 IU/day to get 97.5% (almost everyone) to the 40 ng/ml level. Individual variations however range from 0 to over 50,000 IU/day!

Testing is necessary to determine what the starting serum level is and how to adjust intake

It took 3 tests (1 year) to determine the optimal dose for each individual

The NEW rule of thumb for dosing will be changed. We’ll publish a chart for all very shortly. Currently, it is stated that you can increase the serum level by 10 ng/ml with 1000 IU/day. Per our research, this is true only when starting at about 10 ng/ml. If you want to go from 50 to 60 ng/ml, it will take an additional 2000 IU/day (i.e., the rise is only 5 ng/ml for each 1000 IU/day).

Please visit our website, GrassrootsHealth and listen to the interviews with the study’s authors, Dr. Cedric Garland and Dr. Robert Heaney. They both speak to the significance to public health of this study.

Another key item that I am very aware of is the public’s readiness to ‘take charge’ of their own health. With this view and the information to make it happen, we are bound to see some very exciting things with own health!

The research article is ‘open access’ so that everyone can download and read it! Please do so here: GrassrootsHealth Research Article

Again, very, very many thanks to all of you for your participation and support. You are helping change the face of public health! We CAN move to a much more ‘preventive’ model of healthcare. Please let me know at any time how we can best help.

We do need your ongoing financial support as well, to keep ‘spreading the word’. Please consider a donation to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency for our future health.

Onwards!

Carole Baggerly

Director, GrassrootsHealth
carole@grassrootshealth.org

  

How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Supplements

When a woman decides that she would like to have a baby, she should consider taking pregnancy supplements. Pregnancy supplements or “prenatal vitamins” may be taken before, during, and after pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins are recommended by doctors because a pregnant woman, or a woman that may be planning to become pregnant, needs additional vitamins such as folic acid, iron, zinc, and calcium.

Folic acid is one of the B-group vitamins. B vitamins help with the development of the baby’s nervous system. It also helps prevent neural defects and congenital malformation. Folic acid can be found in beans, rice, orange juice, fruit, green vegetables, lentils, and rice. Doctors recommend a minimum of 400 additional micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day in addition to obtaining folic acid from foods. Many pregnancy supplements contain 800 mcg.

Iron is essential during pregnancy because it’s needed to produce the right amount of blood necessary to supply nutrition to the placenta. Iron can be found in broccoli, spinach, whole meal bread, muesli, and strawberries, but getting enough through food sources may be difficult. Some doctors recommend 28 milligrams of iron daily for pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women. When taken with vitamin C, as a supplement, in fruit, or fruit juice, iron is absorbed more easily.

Zinc and Calcium are necessary for the healthy development of the developing embryo. If you pay close attention to your diet, it’s possible to get enough calcium and zinc from food sources, but because this is not always realistic, some doctors recommend an additional 25 milligrams (mg) of zinc and 200 milligrams of calcium from supplements. Zinc is found in oysters, wheat germ, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, peanuts, and dark chocolate. Calcium can be found in spinach, fortified orange juice, soymilk, sardines, tofu, turnip greens, navy beans, brown rice, oats, shrimp, almonds, and oysters.

There are literally hundreds of brands of prenatal vitamins on the market. Brand is not as important as the right combination and amount per pill. The best pregnancy supplements typically have a minimum of:

Vitamin A: 4,000 IU
Vitamin C: 120 mg
Vitamin D: 400 IU
Vitamin E: 30 IU
Thiamin: 1.8 mg
Riboflavin: 1.7 mg
Niacin: 20 mg
Vitamin B-6: 2.6 mg
Folic Acid: 800 mcg
Vitamin B-12: 8 mcg
Calcium: 200 mg
Iron: 28 mg
Zinc: 25 mg

Many pregnancy supplements are also made with allergies and food sensitivities in mind. Many are made without yeast, gluten, milk, lactose sugar, preservatives, salt, artificial flavors or soy.

It is important to note that doctors recommendations may vary based on the woman’s physical condition, diet, and other factors, so it’s always best to consult with your physician before taking pregnancy supplements.

  

Veggies vs animals

A study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease, 28 February, 2009, found vitamin K consumption to strongly reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. This finding surfaced with an analysis of a cohort study, Prospect-EPIC, consisting of 16,057 women aged between 49 and 70, none of whom had cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. To the surprise of many, those who got their vitamin K from plant forms by eating lots of leafy vegetables did not fare better than the normal population. However, those women who got their vitamin K from animal sources like whole eggs, cheese, goose liver, and animal fats had substantially reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Enig, Mary., and Sally Fallon. ?Caustic commentary? Wise Traditions, 2009;(10)2:11

Unfortunately, the researchers are calling for vitamin K2 supplementation not a healthy diet consisting of animal products, which would yield a whole host of other health benefits.

  

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