Monday, October 30, 2006

Test Your Vitamin D Knowledge
By Dr.Joseph Mercola

Vitamin D is the most common nutritional deficiency in theUnited States, and most physicians are clueless about itsimportance. If you can answer the majority of these questionscorrectly you are doing better than the majority of physicians.
Please remember that without question the best way to optimizeyour vitamin D level is with regular exposure of large portionsof your skin to the sun. However, with Labor Day behind us it istime for most of us to consider switching our source of omega-3fats from fish oil to cod liver oil, as that will supply themissing vitamin D that many of us will start lacking due todiminishing sun exposure.
This test was developed by Dr. John Cannell. He is one of theleaders in the vitamin D education movement and has a verycomprehensive Web site dedicated to vitamin D. You can alsosubscribe to his free newsletter there.
1.Vitamin D reversesinflammatory changes associated withage-related memory impairment.
a) True b) False
True.Researchers from Ireland were the first to demonstratethat vitamin D3 acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and turnsold brains into young brains--at least as far as inflammatorycytokines are concerned.This research suggests vitamin D mayprevent, or even treat, age-related cognitive decline!
Biochem Soc Trans. 2005 Aug;33(Pt 4):573-7.
2. Your blood sugar is closely associated with your vitamin Dlevel.
a) True b) False
True.Researchers in Australia added to the growing evidencethat sun avoidance may have caused the epidemic of type 2diabetes.The Australians' findings were straightforward andpowerful. The higher yourvitamin D level, the lower your bloodglucose.
Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2005 Jun;62(6):738-41.
3. In July, a group from Minnesota found that 100 percentofelderly patients admitted for fragility fractures werevitamin-D deficient despite the fact that half of them were taking vitamin D supplements.
a) True b) False
True.The authors found that women taking supplemental vitamin Dhad average levels of 16.4 ng/ml while women not takingsupplements had levels of, both dangerously low.None of the 82 women got enough sun or took enough vitamin D toobtain a level of 40 ng/ml. These were fragility fractures, notfractures caused by unusual trauma.That is, their bones justsort of fell apart.
Curr Med Res Opin. 2005 Jul;21(7):1069-74.
4. Women with the lowest vitamin D levels had five times higherrisk for breast cancer.
a) True b) False
True.Women with 25(OH)-vitamin D blood levels less than 20ng/ml were more than five times more likely to be diagnosedwith breast cancer than were women with levels above 60 ng/ml.That is five, repeat five, timesmore likely!
Eur J Cancer. 2005 May;41(8):1164-9. Epub 2005 Apr 14.
5. Avoiding the sun doubles the risk of prostate cancer.
a) True b) False
True.Again, the risk of avoiding the sun is clear, this time inanother study with prostate cancer.However, the authors pointedout that sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer andbelieved that proper vitamin D supplementation "may be thesafest solution to achieve an adequate vitamin D status."
Cancer Res. 2005 Jun 15;65(12):5470-9.
I also believe supplementation is the only way to go for manypeople.African Americans are simply unable to spendan adequatetime in the sun.In addition, the sun ages the skin and thatfact alone will keep many Americans out of the sun.That said, Igo into the sun whenever I can. The reason is simple: it is themost conservative thing to do. Until we know everything the sundoes--and itdoes morethan just make vitamin D--the conservativeapproach is to mimic our ancestors and the environment in whichhumans evolved, whenever we can.Therefore, it makes sense tosunbathe sensibly in the late spring, summer and early fall andtake supplements or use UVB lamps the rest of the time.
6. South Korean researchers associated vitamin D deficiencywith Parkinson's disease.
a) True b) False
True.Actually, they showed that certain genetic malformations(VDR polymorphisms) are more likely in patients withParkinson's disease, implying an association with vitamin D andParkinsonism.
J Korean Med Sci. 2005 Jun;20(3):495-8.
7. Researchers in England discovered that patients with chronicpain have phenomenally low vitamin D levels.
a) True b) False
True.The authors added to the evidence that severe vitamin Ddeficiency is associated with chronic pain.They found that 88percentof their patients with chronic pain had levels less than10 ng/ml.If they treated their patients, they did not report it.However, Swiss researchers recently treated chronic painpatients with vitamin D and reported the pain "disappeared"within one to three months in most of their patients. This isthe second open study that showed adequate doses of vitamin Ddramatically improved chronic pain.
Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 Aug;64(8):1217-9.
BMJ. 2004 Jul 17;329(7458):156-7.
Spine. 2003 Jan 15;28(2):177-9.
8. Severe vitamin D deficiency is common in TB patients.
Some English doctors don't know the difference between idealand "normal" levels.
Most American doctors don't know the difference either.
a) All are true b) All are false c) Some are true and some are false
All are true.First, the authors reviewed the impressive animalevidence that vitamin D can help treat TB.Then they reportedthat most of their immigrant TB patients had undetectablevitamin D levels.Then they reported the normal range for theirlab was between 5 to 47 ng/ml but "normal" was any levelgreater than 9 ng/ml. Finally, the researchers reported theytreated their patients with "normal daily doses" of vitamin D,without reporting how much they gave. Apparently, they gavejust enough to get patients above 9 ng/ml.
J Infect. 2005 Jun;50(5):432-7.
Keep in mind that different laboratory techniques result indifferent ranges for 25(OH)-vitamin D levels. No matter whattechnique is used, ideal levels can roughly be defined as anylevel above the median. In this case, as you will see below inDr. Heaney's article, the doctors should have treated theirpatients with 4,000 units a day.They should also have watchedfor evidence of vitamin D hypersensitivity, which can occurwhen treating tuberculosis patients for vitamin D deficiency.
We can only mourn for the poor immigrants who have to sufferfrom both TB and vitamin D deficiency.Of course, few physiciansin theUnited Statesknow the difference between the Gaussiandefinition of "normal" (average ranges for the populationtested) and the ideal definition of "normal" (levels above 32ng/ml).Getting commercial reference labs to report ideal25(OH)-vitamin D levels should be a priority of everyoneinvolved in trying to end the epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.
9. Virtually all nephrologists give renal failure patients avitamin D-like drug.
Virtually all renal failure patients are severely vitamin Ddeficient.
Some nephrologists know the difference between vitamin D andcalcitriol.
a) All are true b) All are false c) Some are true and some are false.
All are true.Finally, the truth about renal failure patients:most of them are vitamin D deficient despite taking vitamin Danalogs!Most nephrologists prescribe activated vitamin D(calcitriol) or vitamin D analogs but not vitamin D.Calcitrioland vitamin D analogs do nothing to prevent vitamin Ddeficiency. Renal failure patients need both vitamin D and acalcitriol-like drug. Moreover, 400 units a day of vitamin Dwill not correct their deficiencies.As you will see below, theyneed up to 4,000 units.
Am J Kidney Dis. 2005 Jun;45(6):1026-33.
P.S.If you think nephrologists know the difference betweenvitamin D and calcitriol, read this month's paper from somenephrologists at the University of Texas.They discuss theimportance of vitamin D in preventing and treating heartdisease.(I think adequate vitamin D nutrition may prevent morecardiovascular deaths than cancer deaths.)However, I read theTexas paper three times and still don't know if the authorsknow the difference between vitamin D and calcitriol.I hopethey know the difference between cholesterol andtestosterone.(Some cholesterol is metabolized into steroidhormones, vitamin D is a prehormone; testosterone is a steroidhormone, calcitriol is the most potent steroid hormone in thehuman body).
Kidney Int Suppl. 2005 Jun;(95):S37-42.
10. Professor Robert Heaney proved, again, that he is agentleman and a scholar.
a) True b) False
True.In the most important clinical paper published this month,Heaney gave the three best reasons why we should all maintainminimum levels of at least 32 ng/ml, the level that:
(a) Effectively suppresses PTH (b) Maximizes calcium absorptio, (c) Maximally improves glucose tolerance
Then he goes on to show that some of us, especially AfricanAmericans, will need to take 3,000 to 4,000 units every day tomaintain healthy 25(OH)-vitamin D blood levels.
J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Jul 15.
He then defends the Institute of Medicine's (IOM)recommendation that we only take one-tenth that amount, as thebest science that was available in 1997.I admire Dr. Heaney fortrying to cover for the IOM.The truth is that both Dr. Heaneyand Dr. Holick told the IOM that 2,000 units a day was nottoxic and would prevent both adequate treatment and meaningfulresearch.The IOM then proceeded to ignore the only two vitaminD experts on the panel.
Writing two years later, Professor Reinhold Vieth came up withdozens of studies the IOM overlooked.These studies conclusivelyshowed 2,000 units a day could not be toxic. Furthermore, Viethfound the literature published before 1997 clearly showed10,000 units a day was unlikely to be toxic.Vitamin D toxicityprobably starts around 20,000 units a day, and then only iftaken for months or even years.
Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 May;69(5):842-56.
Related Articles: Vitamin D Deficiency is Major Health RiskTheSecret Benefits of Vitamin D Vitamin D Lowers Inflammation
About the Author: Dr. Mercola is the founder of,one of the world's most visited and trusted health websites,and publisher of the free e-newsletter -- the #1dietary health and wellness newsletter on the Web with over500,000 subscribers. Dr. Mercola, a physician for over twodecades, is also a New York Times bestselling author whoselatest book, "Dr. Mercola's Total Health Program," presents hisentire renowned dietary health program and has sold over 150,000copies. He is routinely interviewed by the media for his expertinsights, including CNN and ABC World News Tonight. His passionis to change the fatally flawed conventional medical system toone focused on real prevention and cure.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Are Vitamin Supplements Beneficial For Your Health?
By Willim Wilson

When it comes to all the hype about vitamins, you have probably wondered "Are vitamin supplements beneficial?" Despite the numerous nutritional studies conducted over the past few years, there is still much controversy surrounding the issue of daily vitamin supplements.
The question is not whether taking a daily multivitamin is safe - a daily regimen including a multivitamin has been proven both safe and effective. The question really boils down to whether an individual can get all of the required vitamins and minerals from their diet.
As you probably know well, today's hectic lifestyle makes it very difficult to plan, prepare, and serve a nutritionally well-balanced diet. With people spending more time at work, or shuttling the kids to their extracurricular activities, eating out has become a standard practice for most individuals and families. Therein lies a major dietary problem!
Eating fast foods, or over-sized portions from the local diner, leaves a lot to be desired from a nutritional standpoint. These foods are often prepared with artery clogging oils, saturated fats, and nutritionally deficient ingredients.
When was the last time that you felt you ate a well-balanced meal at your local fast food restaurant?
Worse yet, many people skimp on meals, or miss them altogether, as their busy schedules take precedent over supplying their bodies with needed nutrition, including vitamins and minerals.
Another common "symptom" of today's fast-paced lifestyle, stress is known to have a debilitating effect on an individual's body and reduces its ability to process food efficiently. Unfortunately, stress has become a way of life for all of us. Our busy lives, and the methods we employ to cope with the resulting stress, almost ensures us of experiencing deficiencies in many essential vitamins and minerals.
If the above example even remotely resembles the way you live, it is very likely that you would benefit from a recommended daily vitamin supplement. On the other hand, experiencing a vitamin deficiency can result in serious physical issues. Symptoms can range from fatigue and listlessness to circulatory problems and nervous system damage. So, in answer to the question "Are vitamin supplements beneficial?", the answer is a definite YES. Both children and adults can benefit from taking vitamin and mineral supplements on a regular basis. A high quality multivitamin supplement taken daily can be viewed as a nutritional "insurance" policy.
So tell me, are you willing to take the risk of being nutritionally "un-insured"? The decision is yours!
Bill Wilson is a writer and advocate of vitamins for health and well-being. He focuses on vitamins and minerals facts and the effects of vitamin deficiencies. For more information visit:
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Sunday, October 08, 2006

Valuable Informatoin About Mineral Vitamin Supplements
By:Michael Robert

Today common mineral vitamin supplements are not made naturally, they are made entirely from chemicals. However,
there has become a solid demand for natural rather than chemical mineral vitamin supplements. The reason for this is because of arguments over whether or not chemical vitamins actually help or if they are just harmful since they aren’t made naturally.
Compared to natural vitamins and minerals found in food, chemically produced vitamins and minerals are not as easily consumed by the body. However, research and experiments are continuously being conducted by chemical mineral vitamin companies in an effort to find chemical vitamins that can be easily absorbed by the body providing a more effective and helpful method.
Continuously there are new developments in the vitamin and mineral industry. Other elements have been added to vitamins and minerals in an effort to make them easily absorbed by the body and more useful. When taking supplements the quantity should be higher than what you would normally get in your food. The reason for this is because chemical vitamins and minerals aren’t easily absorbed by the body. However, taking higher amounts of vitamins and minerals has the risk of overdosing which can cause an imbalance of the vitamins in your body.
Recently a new way has been found by researcher to make vitamin and minerals four times easier to absorb by the body. This is a process known as “food state” in which raw materials are cultured with yeast cells. The reason for this is because yeast can be completely digested by the body.
It is always best to look for the newest and best combinations of vitamins and minerals on the market. The vitamins and minerals industry is always making new developments. Check for advice through doctors or other professionals before buying and taking vitamins, never just buy the vitamins that are advertised on television.
Depending on the individual the amount of needed vitamin and mineral consumption will vary. Most people still prefer to get their vitamins and minerals the natural way through their foods so not everyone is going to need supplements. However, supplements are still needed by those who are on strict diets so that they can stay healthy. For long term intakes there are some vitamin supplements that are not recommended.
Michael Robert is the writer for vitamin diary. He also writes on health care information and Ayurvedic Medicines.
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Vitamin K: One More Reason To Eat A Good Breakfast
By Linda Polansky
Everyone from dieticians to Tony the Tiger to our moms have told us that eating a good breakfast is the best way to ensure a positive start to the day. Turns out, one of the nutrients your body needs, vitamin K, is found in two items that are usually a little lower on the list of nutritious breakfast foods: bacon and coffee. If you prefer tea with your morning meal, vitamin K can be found in green tea as well. It’s also in cheese and liver. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat your vegetables, too, it’s also found in leafy vegetables, broccoli, and asparagus. Vitamin K is also produced in the intestines.
Vitamin K is a fat soluble vitamin, which means that toxicity may be an issue if you take it in high doses. This is unlikely through food sources, but can occur if you take a supplement with K3, a synthetic form of vitamin K known as menadione. Short term symptoms of vitamin K toxicity are sweating and flushing. Over time, jaundice or anemia can occur. Even though vitamin K is fat soluble though, the body does not store as much of it as it does other vitamins, and you have to make sure that you take enough in consistently. While the body doesn’t store much vitamin K, it does use it quite efficiently, recycling it and using it for the same process more than once.
Vitamin K plays a large role in blood clotting, in fact blood cannot clot without it, and symptoms of vitamin K deficiency include frequent nosebleeds and bruises that heal slowly. If you are taking large doses of vitamin A or vitamin E, these can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb vitamin K. Because vitamin K facilitates clotting, people who have had problems with blood clots, such as heart attacks or strokes, need to be careful about how much vitamin K they get in their diet, especially if they are on the blood thinning medication coumadin (the generic name for this medication is warfarin). They should still make sure they get the recommended daily allowance (RDA) to avoid other bleeding problems, but should watch consumption levels of foods high in vitamin K, as it can reduce the effectiveness of their medication. Some research has indicated that vitamin K also helps maintain bone strength, especially in older people.
Linda Polansky writes about Vitamin T,Best health vitamins.
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