Foods, Uncategorized, Vitamins and Supplements

Foods to Get More Vitamin D in your Diet

vitaminDfoods

Foods to Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet

 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s essential for proper absorption of calcium in your digestive tract, and it helps maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphate. So, getting enough vitamin D is necessary for bone health throughout your life — vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in kids and osteoporosis in adults.

 

The thing is, people don’t get much vitamin D from the diet. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun. It only takes a few minutes of sun exposure every day to get your vitamin D, but if you live in a place where it gets colder in the winter, there’s a good chance you won’t get enough sun exposure for several months out of each year.

 

Most experts recommend a daily intake of 600 International Units. You won’t find many foods that are high in vitamin D, but there are some. Flip through this slideshow to learn more about these foods.

 

Maitake mushrooms, or “hen in the woods” mushrooms, are a delicious and low-calorie source of vitamin D, as well as potassium and several B-complex vitamins. One cup of diced maitake mushrooms has more than 700 International Units of vitamin D. Maitake mushrooms might also have health benefits beyond being nutritious.

 

Halibut is a good source of vitamin D, with about 200 International Units in a 3-ounce serving of fish. Halibut is also a good source of protein, B-complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Eating halibut also provides you with essential omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Regular portabella mushrooms have a small amount of vitamin D, but portabellas grown with extra exposure to ultraviolet light have much more. One whole UV-exposed portabella mushroom has about 375 International Units of vitamin D. Portabellas are also an excellent source of selenium, potassium, and several B-complex vitamins.

 

Fish oils contain vitamin D so it makes sense that fatty fish like salmon are good for getting vitamin D. Three ounces of fresh pink salmon have 370 International Units and three ounces of canned sockeye salmon has almost 800 International Units of vitamin D. Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and an antioxidant called astaxanthin. And don’t let the idea that salmon is a ‘fatty fish’ scare you off — a six-ounce piece of salmon only has about 200 calories.

Trout is another good source of vitamin D, and since it’s a white fish, it has a milder flavor than oilier fish like salmon and tuna. Three ounces of rainbow trout has about 650 International Units of vitamin D. Trout is also an excellent source of protein, B-complex vitamins, and minerals.

 

Vitamin D is found in the yolks, so eating whole eggs is a good way to get some vitamin D in your diet. Each egg yolk has about 40 International Units of vitamin D so eating two eggs contributes 80 International Units to your daily intake. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein and lutein. One egg has about 70 calories.

 

Chanterelle mushrooms are another good plant-based source of vitamin D. One cup of chanterelles has more than 100 International Units of vitamin D. These mushrooms are also an excellent source of potassium and low in calories — that one cup of chanterelles has only 20 calories.

 

Canned tuna has about 40 International Units of vitamin D in a three-ounce serving so each can has about 80 International Units). Canned tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc. It’s convenient too — keep canned tuna on hand for sandwiches, salads and for using in recipes.

 

Vitamin D is also available as a dietary supplement, either alone or combined with other nutrients. Calcium supplements usually contain vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are generally safe but follow label directions and keep them away from young kids — vitamin D in large amounts can become toxic over time. And you should also speak with your healthcare provider before taking vitamin D supplements if you have any health conditions.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Dr P Carrothers

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Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Sunlight and Vitamin D are Essential for Your Health

sunshine

Sunlight and Vitamin D are essential for Your Health

 

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone produced in your body with the help of cholesterol molecules when you expose significant amounts of skin to the sun. It is an essential vitamin that interacts with a number of different systems in your body.

 

One of the best ways to optimize your vitamin D blood levels is to get sensible sun exposure, taking great care never to get burned.

 

Deficiency is very common in the U.S. but many Americans mistakenly believe they are not at risk simply because they eat foods fortified with vitamin D, such as milk. Before 2000, many physicians had not considered the possibility you could be deficient in vitamin D.

 

With advancing technology and research, it has become clear that vitamin D deficiency in the U.S. is rampant and this deficiency significantly impacts the development of many different health conditions.

 

Researchers estimate 85 percent of children in industrial cities and well over half of adults and elderly suffer from deficiency.1

 

The elderly may be at greater risk as they not only spend less time outside, but also produce approximately 30 percent less vitamin D than a younger person with the same sun exposure. Limiting your outdoor exposure and consistently wearing sun screen may also increase your risk of vitamin D deficiency.

 

A recent paper in Dermato-Endocrinology reviewed the current science for the risks and benefits of sun exposure and found insufficient exposure in the U.S. has become a major public health problem.

 

Insufficient Sun Exposure Has Become a Public Health Risk

 

In the late 1950s Coppertone began marketing their product, designed to help you get a suntan without the burn.2 Over the subsequent years researchers have theorized exposure to the sun would increase your risk of skin cancers and have recommended sun protection anytime you’re outside.3

 

However, this has overlooked the health benefits of sun exposure without burning. In response to public health recommendations to limit sun exposure, lead researcher Dr. David Hoel writes:4

 

“The body of science concerning the benefits of moderate sun exposure is growing rapidly, and is causing a different perception of sun/UV as it relates to human health.

 

Melanoma and its relationship to sun exposure and sunburn is not adequately addressed in most of the scientific literature.”

 

Historically, research identified benefits of sun exposure, linking it with prevention of rickets and production of vitamin D. In further scientific inquiry researchers began to focus on health risks, specifically the development of skin cancers.

 

Research has also determined outdoor workers have a lower incidence of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, than do indoor workers.5 In the past 15 years, thousands of studies have been published linking the production of vitamin D with protective health benefits.

 

However, there is still considerable controversy over the optimum level of vitamin D for health, and not just prevention of disease. In their paper, Hoel’s team identified several effects that a deficiency in vitamin D may have on your health, half of which account for the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S.6

 

With adequate sun exposure and vitamin D levels, public health officials may make a significant impact on the number of deaths attributed to these diseases. According to the authors:7

 

“Insufficient sun exposure has become a major public health problem, demanding an immediate change in the current sun-avoidance public health advice. The degree of change needed is small but critically important.”

 

Deficiency Increases Your Risk of Some Cancers and Neurological Conditions

 

In a 2010 cost benefit analysis of the necessity for vitamin D optimization, researchers found a link between vitamin D deficiency and 19 of the 30 leading causes of death.8

 

They estimated a 16 percent reduction in deaths from those diseases with an increase of vitamin D to 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) and a direct health cost reduction estimated at $130 billion per year.

 

The link between vitamin D and specific cancers has been demonstrated in more than 200 epidemiological studies.9 Optimizing your vitamin D levels could help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, breast, prostate and skin cancers.

 

Vitamin D appears to increase the self-destruction of mutated cells that, when left to replicate, may lead to cancer. It also helps reduce the spread of cancer cells and improves differentiation in cells, as cancer cells often lack differentiation.10

 

A recent study demonstrated a strong link between vitamin D and breast cancer prevention and found in a study of over 1,500 women, those with the highest levels had superior breast cancer survival rates.11

 

Neurological conditions are also affected by levels of vitamin D in the body. An Egyptian research team evaluated the addition of vitamin D supplementation to the treatment plan for children with autism and found the children’s symptoms were positively affected by the increased levels of vitamin D, and not by placebo.12

 

In their review of the literature, Hoel’s team found research demonstrating links between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive decline in adults.13

 

The development of multiple sclerosis (MS) also appears to be impacted by low levels of vitamin D.14 In one study, women with low levels had twice the risk of developing MS in the following 10 years.

 

Vitamin D Protects Your Bones, Skin, Heart and Metabolism

 

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S., responsible for killing 787,000 people in 2011 and claiming more lives than the combination of all forms of cancer.15 Every 34 seconds someone in the U.S. has a heart attack, and every 60 seconds, someone in the U.S. dies from heart related disease.

 

Research has recently demonstrated the role vitamin D plays in improving heart function in patients suffering from heart failure.16 Many patients suffering with heart disease were deficient in vitamin D and low levels were connected to worse outcomes and more severe disease. Experimental studies have also demonstrated a role in reducing inflammation, thrombosis and calcification.17

 

A review of the research demonstrates a link between people with levels of vitamin D below 20 ng/mL and the development of psoriasis.18 Vitamin D is also essential to the absorption and modeling of your bones, preventing osteoporosis as you age.19 The presence of vitamin D, MK-7 K2, calcium and phosphorus increase the likelihood of proper bone modeling and reduced risk of fracture.

 

Low levels of vitamin D are linked to metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.20 Obesity, also linked to metabolic syndrome, increases your risk of vitamin D deficiency as the vitamin is sequestered in adipose tissue. According to recent research, vitamin D deficiency affects your glucose metabolism and may actually be more closely linked to diabetes than obesity.21

 

In a study of 118 people, those with low vitamin D levels were more likely to have type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome, regardless of their weight. Another study22 published in 2013 found that type 2 diabetics given 50,000 IUs of oral vitamin D3 per week for eight weeks experienced “a meaningful reduction” in fasting plasma glucose and insulin.

 

Signs You Might Be Vitamin D-Deficient

 

Vitamin D is used in neuromuscular and immune functioning, reducing inflammation in your body, absorbing calcium, modulation of cell growth and assisting your muscles and nervous system to function properly. Many of the clinical signs you may be deficient are linked to these functions.

 

Darker Skin

 

African-Americans are at greater risk of deficiency as darker skin requires as much as 10 times more sun exposure to product the same amount of vitamin D as skin that is paler.

Feeling “Blue”

 

Serotonin, a brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises and falls in association with sun exposure. In 2006, scientists evaluated the effects of vitamin D on mental health of 80 elderly patients and found those with the lowest level were 11 times more prone to be depressed than those with healthy doses.23

You Are 50 or Older

 

As you age your skin doesn’t make as much vitamin D and your kidneys become less efficient converting vitamin D into a form your body uses.

You Are Obese or Have Higher Muscle Mass

 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble, hormone-like vitamin, which means body fat acts as a “sink” by collecting it. If you’re overweight or obese, you’re therefore likely going to need more vitamin D than a slimmer person. The same also holds true for people with higher body weights due to muscle mass.

Your Bones Ache

 

People suffering from aches and pains, especially in combination with fatigue, frequently end up being misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome when in fact they may be vitamin D deficient.

Head Sweating

 

One of the first, classic signs of vitamin D deficiency is a sweaty head. In fact, in years past physicians used to ask new mothers about head sweating in their newborns for this very reason. Excessive sweating in newborns due to neuromuscular irritability is still described as a common, early symptom of vitamin D deficiency.24

Gut Problems and Bowel Diseases

 

Remember, vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means if you have a gastrointestinal condition that affects your ability to absorb fat, you may have lower absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D as well. This includes gut conditions like Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity and inflammatory bowel disease.

 

As with many supplements, depending on your conditions, symptoms, age, family history, will determine the amount of Vitamin D you should be taking, along with what other supplements you need to take with vitamin D.

 

Vitamin D can not be taken alone!

 

We are always here to help you with just this type of problem.  Call us, leave a message if needed, and we will call you back,

 

Health and Wellness Associates

Carole Baggrely

Archived

312-972-WELL

Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

How Statins Degenerate Your Brain Health

statins

 

How Statins Degenerate Your Brain Health

 

Tens of millions of people are taking drugs to lower their cholesterol levels. Most of those medications are in a drug class known as statins. Some doctors are even starting to recommend children use statin drugs to control their cholesterol levels.1 I couldn’t disagree more.

 

The challenge with statin drugs is that they address surface issues with cholesterol in a simplistic manner. But your body is a complex organism that uses cholesterol every day to build new cell walls, in the formation of vitamin D and in the production of hormones.

 

Statin drugs are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. They function by blocking the enzyme in your liver that naturally produces cholesterol for your bodily functions.

 

The drug essentially reduces your total cholesterol number, without addressing your high-density lipoproteins (HDL), low-density lipoproteins (LDL), very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) or triglyceride levels.

 

While your total cholesterol number gives you a general overview, it isn’t the information needed to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead, you’ll need to compare your HDL, LDL, VLDL and triglyceride numbers against your total cholesterol.

 

Statins May Trigger Neuromuscular Disease

 

Statin drugs are notorious for causing side effects like muscle damage and weakness. What has been less publicized is a potential link between statins and a progression of muscle wasting that may lead to a diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring receives safety reports associated with statin medications and has noted a disproportionately high number of patients with upper motor neuron lesions among those taking statin medications.2

 

The lead researcher, Ivor Ralph Edwards, is an expert in toxicology, acute and chronic poisoning and adverse drug reactions.3 He also is the senior adviser at the WHO Uppsala Monitoring Centre in Sweden, and he says:4

 

“We do advocate that trial discontinuation of a statin should be considered in patients with serious neuromuscular disease such as the ALS-like syndrome, given the poor prognosis and a possibility that progression of the disease may be halted or even reversed.”

 

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medical School cautioned patients that although they discovered a link between taking statins and the development of a rare neuromuscular autoimmune disease, this condition could be treated with steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs.5

 

The researchers stated there was no need to fear this popular “fantastic medication.”6

 

Dr. Andrew L. Mammen, a neurologist who treats patients with statin-associated myopathies at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is quoted in a Johns Hopkins press release saying, “Statins save a huge number of lives. They dramatically reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks.”

 

The implication is you need statins in order to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes, and you should take them despite the risk for developing a degenerative neurological disease for which you will require medication to suppress your immune system.

 

This despite the knowledge that total cholesterol numbers are not indicative of your overall risk for cardiovascular disease. I would advise you to seriously evaluate the risks and benefits and consider your alternatives before you start taking a statin drug.

 

More Adverse Effects of Statins

 

 

 

In 2012 Golomb was recognized for a study she led on muscle and tendon adverse events linked to statins, which showed that muscle problems were related to the strength of the statin being taken.8

 

Other studies concur that side effects from statin drugs may be different for different patients depending upon your past medical history, the particular statin and the dose used.9

 

Research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggests that research results have been “cherry-picked” so the results presented the best possible light for the drug company.10 According to Pacific Standard:11

 

“Sometimes the negative side effects of statins are downplayed, and conclusions can be skewed by the limited parameters of the trials. As a 2007 Scripps Mercy Hospital study noted:

 

‘The incidence of statin-induced rhabdomyolysis (acute breakdown of skeletal muscles) is higher in practice than in controlled trials because of the exclusion of potentially susceptible subjects.'”

 

Another study found 17 percent of patients suffered side effects that included muscle pain, nervous system problems and nausea.12 Two-thirds who reported side effects stopped taking the drugs and approximately half stopped at least temporarily.

 

A review of the literature, published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, evaluated 900 previous studies looking at the adverse effects of statin drugs.13

 

Adverse effects are dose-dependent, and your health risks can be amplified by a number of factors, such as taking other drugs (which may increase statin potency), metabolic syndrome or thyroid disease. Some of the consequences of taking statin drugs in strong doses or for a lengthy amount of time include:14,15,16

 

Headache

Difficulty sleeping

Drowsiness

Bloating

Gas

Constipation

Rash

High blood sugar (type 2 diabetes)

Vision changes

Bladder pain

Difficulty breathing

Dry mouth

Lower back or side pain

Loss of consciousness

Swollen joints

Blistering or peeling skin

Weight changes

Cognitive loss

Neuropathy

Anemia

Acidosis

Frequent fevers

Cataracts

Sexual dysfunction

Pancreatic dysfunction

Immune system suppression

Polyneuropathy (nerve damage in hands and feet)

Liver dysfunction

Increased risk of cancer

Degenerative muscle tissue (rhabdomyolysis)

 

 

If You Feel You Must Take Statins You Need to Take Ubiquinol or CoQ10

 

Statins work by inhibiting the enzyme your liver uses to produce cholesterol. However, the same pathway may promote the suppression of the precursor to coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), an antioxidant your mitochondria uses to produce energy. In theory, when your body is deficient in CoQ10, mitochondrial energy production is depressed, which may trigger or accelerate neuropathies like ALS.17

 

If you take statin drugs without taking CoQ10 or the reduced form, ubiquinol, your health may be at serious risk. Unfortunately, this describes the majority of people who take statins in the United States. The loss of energy at the cellular level can damage your mitochondrial DNA and set into motion a vicious cycle of rising free radicals and mitochondrial damage.

 

CoQ10 is an effective adjunct treatment for heart failure, an important piece of information as statins may decrease the function of your heart muscle.18 In this study researchers found the control group, those who were not taking statin drugs to protect their cardiovascular health, fared better.19 They concluded, “Statin therapy is associated with decreased myocardial function as evaluated with SI (strain imaging).”

 

The importance of your mitochondrial energy function can’t be overstated. Statin Study Group, led by Golomb, concluded the malfunction of mitochondrial energy production due to the interference of statin medications was the underlying causative factor in all of the adverse effects associated with the medication.

 

After reviewing the evidence, if you choose to take a CoQ10 supplement it’s important to take the form your body can easily assimilate.20 CoQ10 can typically be used by people 30 and younger. However, if you are over 30 you’ll want to consider ubiquinol, the reduced version of CoQ10, as it is far more effective.

 

LDL Particle Number More Important Than Total Cholesterol

 

It is likely the focus on lowering cholesterol has missed the boat completely, as high total cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, unless it’s over 300. Other risk factors are much more powerful. One of the more important tests you may consider to determine your real risk of heart disease is the NMR LipoProfile, which measures your LDL particle number.

 

This particular test also includes markers to determine if you are insulin resistant, a primary cause of an elevated LDL particle number. When your insulin secretion rises, so does your cholesterol production. Elevated insulin levels, or a decrease in insulin sensitivity, is related to the foods you eat and your exercise. Two other blood test ratios that will tell you more about your cardiovascular disease risk are:

 

HDL to total cholesterol ratio. This is a fasting test and should be higher than 25 percent. It measures the amount of HDL you have against your total cholesterol number.

Triglyceride to HDL ratio, which should be below 2.

Health officials in the United States urge everyone over the age of 20 to have their cholesterol tested once every five years. Part of this test is your total cholesterol, or the sum of your blood’s cholesterol content, including HDL, LDLs and VLDLs.

 

Keep in mind these are still simply guidelines, and there’s a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one number can tell you. It was only after researchers found total cholesterol was a poor predictor of heart disease that HDL and LDL cholesterol were measured. They give you a closer idea of what’s going on, but they still do not show you everything.

 

Naturally Improve Your Cholesterol Levels

 

The only time there is a real reason to take medications to control your cholesterol level may be if you suffer from familial hypercholesterolemia. This is a genetic condition, passed down through your family. It begins at birth and affects your LDL levels, sometimes causing heart attacks at an early age.21

 

In other instances, your cholesterol can be controlled by making different lifestyle and nutritional choices. The fact is that 75 percent of your cholesterol is produced by your liver, which is influenced by your insulin levels.22,23 This means if you optimize your insulin levels you will also be optimizing your cholesterol levels. In order to safely regulate your blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels it is important to modify your diet and lifestyle choices.

 

Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

 

Sensible sun exposure will help normalize your cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.24

Don’t take Vitamin D without talking to a healthcare professional about the type and amount you need to take for YOU.  If they don’t know, they will tell you to take anything you want. Also, ask is there anything you need to take with Vitamin D, because Vitamin can never be taken alone.

 

Normalize Your Weight and Reduce Carbohydrates, Especially Fructose

 

Normalize your weight using a plan of eliminating grains and sugars in your diet. Take special care to get no more than 25 grams of fructose each day. These products spike your insulin level and trigger the development of cholesterol. Ideally, you’ll also want to consume a good portion of your food raw.

Include Heart Healthy Foods

 

Make sure you are getting plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats. Other heart-healthy foods include olive oil, coconut and coconut oil, organic raw dairy products and eggs, avocados, raw nuts and seeds, and organic grass-fed meats.

Increase Your Daily Movement and Exercise Regularly

 

While I strongly recommend incorporating Peak Fitness exercises, which also optimize your human growth hormone (HGH) production, non-exercise movement may be even more important. Ideally, stay active as much as you can each day. I recommend standing up at work, and try to get as much walking in as possible. Then, in addition to that, aim for a comprehensive fitness program that includes strength training and high intensity exercises.

Reduce Your Stress Levels

 

Each of us experience stress in a fast-paced life. You may consider addressing your emotional challenges using my favorite technique for stress management, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). You can easily learn to use these techniques at home and incorporate them even when you’re out and about.

Improve Your Sleep Quality

 

High quality sleep helps reduce your stress levels, normalize your insulin levels and function optimally through the day. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep you may want to try some of the strategies in my previous article titled, “Want a Good Night’s Sleep? Then Never Do These Things Before Bed.”

Avoid Excessive Alcohol or Tobacco

 

Alcohol is high in net carbohydrates, which affect your insulin levels. Tobacco has an effect on your arterial system, temporarily raising your blood pressure.

Replace Vegetable Oils

 

Replace harmful vegetable oils and synthetic trans fats with healthy fats, such as olive oil, butter and coconut oil (remember olive oil should be used cold only; use coconut oil for cooking and baking).

Include Fermented Foods

 

Include fermented foods in your daily diet. These will not only optimize your intestinal microflora, which will boost your overall immunity, but will also introduce beneficial bacteria into your mouth. Poor oral health is another powerful indicator of increased heart disease risk.

 

Don’t Quess, ASK!

 

If you have any questions or need a healthcare plan just for you, then call us, set up an appointment and let us work together on this.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived : JM

  1. Carrothers

312-972-WELL

Health and Disease, Lifestyle, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Kaiser Permanente Calls Out Sun Avoidance as “Misguided”

sunexpoosure

 

Kaiser Permanente Calls Out Sun Avoidance as “Misguided”

 

Over the past 40+ years, dermatologists have promoted the idea that you should never be exposed to direct sunlight because it will damage your skin and cause skin cancer.

 

You might wonder, well what about vitamin D?  No problem, as according to the American Academy of Dermatology, vitamin D deficiency can easily be addressed with vitamin D supplements.1

 

What they fail to acknowledge and appreciate is that when you’re exposed to sunlight, many important biological processes occur in your skin, not just vitamin D production.

 

This is separate from swallowing oral vitamin D, which is an important but, according to many experts, clearly inferior alternative. While it will improve your vitamin D status, you forgo the many benefits sunlight offers aside from vitamin D production.

 

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure

 

Unfortunately, the entire focus of most dermatologists is preventing skin damage, which means ignoring the other side—the benefits—of the sun exposure equation.

 

This includes heightened protection against a number of internal cancers and other chronic diseases, including heart disease, which kills far more people than melanoma does.

 

Ironically, recent research shows that vitamin D also improves survival outcomes for melanoma patients.2,3 It’s also important for cognitive health, immune function, healthy pregnancy and infant development, and strong, healthy bones, just to name a few.4

 

As noted in a recent news report:5

 

“Fifteen to 20 minutes in sunlight a day helps your body produce the vitamin D it needs to absorb calcium and promote bone growth and keep the heart healthy. But sunscreen – important to protect against skin cancer — reduces the body’s ability to manufacture the vitamin.

 

Doctors can be torn on recommending time in the sun when too much and too little both have consequences.”

 

Sun Avoidance Decreases Melanoma Risk But Increases All-Cause Mortality

 

A recent study6,7 driving home these benefits was completed in Sweden. More than 25,500 Swedish women between the ages of 25 and 64 were followed for 20 years. Detailed information about sun exposure habits and confounding factors were obtained and analyzed in a “competing risk” scenario.

 

Overall, women who got regular sun exposure had a lower all-cause mortality risk—likely due to their increased vitamin D levels.

 

Women with active sun exposure habits ended up having a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and non-cancer death compared to those who avoided the sun. Of particular note:

 

“Nonsmokers who avoided sun exposure had a life expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking.

 

Compared to the highest sun exposure group, life expectancy of avoiders of sun exposure was reduced by 0.6–2.1 years.” [Emphasis mine]

 

Other Research That Puts Melanoma Risk Into Perspective

 

Previous research has shown that when sunlight strikes your skin, nitric oxide is released into your bloodstream8 and nitric oxide is a powerful blood pressure lowering compound.

 

This has led researchers to conclude that sun exposure may prolong your life by significantly cutting your heart attack/stroke risk. One 2013 study9 mentions an absolutely stunning statistic.

 

For every one skin cancer death in northern Europe, between 60 and 100 people die from stroke or heart disease, related to hypertension. Knowing your risk of dying from heart disease or stroke is 80 times greater on average than from skin cancer really puts it in perspective.10

 

While higher vitamin D levels correlate with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, oral vitamin D supplements do not appear to benefit blood pressure, and the fact that supplements do not increase nitric oxide may be the reason for this.

 

According to researcher Richard Weller:

 

“We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer. The work we have done provides a mechanism that might account for this, and also explains why dietary vitamin D supplements alone will not be able to compensate for lack of sunlight.”

 

Lack of Sun Exposure May Be Driving Tuberculosis Epidemic

 

Cardiovascular disease is not the only disease influenced by sun exposure that kills far more people than melanoma. Did you know that some 4,100 people die from tuberculosis (TB) EVERY day around the globe?11

 

In 2014, there were 1.5 million TB-relblated deaths worldwide. Compare that to the 438,000 who died from malaria—a well-known global infectious disease—and the 55,100 who die from melanoma each year (worldwide).

 

Tellingly, TB rates are particularly high among miners and prisoners, two populations exposed to far less sunlight than the average person. African miners have the highest incidence of TB in the world.12

 

One of the reasons why TB isn’t on everyone’s radar is because it’s been around for hundreds of years, and the disease (spread by airborne bacteria that settle in the lungs and result in long-term infections) doesn’t evoke the same drama as HIV or Ebola.

 

The reason it should be on everyone’s radar is because it’s now the No. 1 infectious disease out there.

 

No one is safe from it, and with rising antibiotic-resistance, it may just be a matter of time before TB can no longer be treated with antibiotics, in which case the death toll is likely to skyrocket even further—especially if sun avoidance continues to be aggressively promoted.

 

Tuberculosis—A Global Health Threat That Could Be Counteracted With Sun Exposure

 

What people seem to have forgotten is that, traditionally, TB was treated with sunlight, and it’s a well-established fact that UV light is anti-infective. For example, a 2009 study13,14 found that UV light could reduce the spread of tuberculosis in hospital wards and waiting rooms by 70 percent.

 

Other studies have similarly concluded that UV light and blue light has potent antibiotic activity. It can even be used to disinfect water15 in lieu of harsher disinfection chemicals like chlorine. In 2012, researchers announced UV light helps kill 90 percent of drug-resistant bacteria in hospital rooms.16

 

Vitamin D from sun exposure also increases your body’s production of naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides that destroy the cell walls of viruses and bacteria. Sun exposure also increases blood levels of germ-destroying lymphocytes (white blood cells).

 

Auguste Rollier began using sunlight therapy to treat TB in Switzerland in 1903. The treatment was so successful that over the course of the next 40 years, his methods were adopted by hospitals worldwide, including in the United States.

 

Of the 2,167 patients who were under his care for tuberculosis following World War II, 1,746 completely recovered their health, an astonishing number for the time, with the only failures being those who were already in the most advanced stage of the disease.

 

Vitamin D Supplements May Also Help Combat Drug Resistant TB

 

Studies have shown that metabolizing vitamin D can restrict the growth of tuberculosis within cells.17 In one study, Indonesian scientists found that treating tuberculosis patients with 10,000 units of vitamin D daily (instead of the much smaller amount usually advocated by conventional medicine) led to a cure rate of 100 percent — everyone in the study.18 Quite impressive indeed!

 

Other recent research19 suggests vitamin D may enhance your body’s ability to kill drug-resistant TB—an effect thought to be related to the fact that vitamin D helps decrease inflammation in your body. Tuberculosis is not the only disease documented to be influenced by vitamin D and UV radiation. Sunlight has also been shown to be effective against anthrax, cholera, E. coli, dysentery, influenza, staphylococcus, streptococcus, and other infectious illnesses.

 

The time honored tradition of hanging your clothes outside to dry even works as a natural germicidal to kill off potential pathogens. This is especially important for your bed clothes, and if you have the ability, I highly recommend hanging your laundry out to dry when the weather permits.

 

Breaking News—Kaiser Permanente Calls Out Sun Avoidance as ‘Misguided’

 

While the American Academy of Dermatology, the Skin Cancer Foundation, and the U.S. Surgeon General20,21 have all declared UV radiation harmful and said sun exposure should be avoided altogether, Kaiser Permanente is now bucking the status quo by recommending sun exposure. In their March 10, 2016 “Positive Choice” newsletter covering cancer prevention and general wellness, Kaiser Permanente states, in no unequivocal terms:22

 

“It is true that too much sun exposure, and especially sun burns, contribute to skin cancer. But the message to avoid the sun altogether may be misguided. Our increasing knowledge about vitamin D, the sun, and how they affect our immune system has us re-thinking the recommendation to avoid the sun completely.

 

Our ancestors were outdoors far more often than indoors. How could we have evolved and survived as a species if we were that vulnerable to something humans have been constantly exposed to for their entire existence? Like all living things, we need sunshine.

 

Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis, our bodies use the UVB radiation in sunshine to stimulate increased production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to build bones, quell inflammation, bolster the immune system, and protect against disease.”

 

Sun Exposure is ‘Vital,’ Kaiser Permanente Says

 

Kaiser goes on to note that vitamin D deficiency is widespread—as many as 70 percent of American children may have insufficient levels—and lists a number of adverse health effects thereof, including the following. Kaiser also notes that “infants that are born from vitamin D deficient mothers and remain vitamin D deficient for the first several months after birth have a greater risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases later in life.”

 

 

Heart disease  High blood pressure    Type 1 diabetes

Multiple sclerosis       Depression      Asthma

Osteoporosis   Cancer Autoimmune disease

As if taken straight out of my own newsletter, Kaiser notes: “Most people have heard of the studies that connect sun exposure to skin cancer. But there are many studies that suggest sun exposure (and maximizing vitamin D levels) plays a role in decreasing risks of at least 16 different types of cancer including lung, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers.

 

Without question sun exposure and the vitamin D we make when in the sun is vital to health. But how much do we need? … Some experts recommend blood serum levels as high as 75 ng/ml … The Institute of Health recommends blood serum levels at 40 ng/ml, the amount that meets the needs of most people. Using either value, many Americans are deficient in vitamin D …

 

For healthy people, moderate sun exposure (2 to 4 times a week for 15 to 30 minutes) is not a problem. Just as important as not avoiding the sun all together, it is important to not just bake away. Rather follow healthy sunbathing tips…

 

The benefits we receive from the sun have focused primarily on its ability to stimulate vitamin D production, but there may be other benefits we get from the sun that are not yet well understood. Even if you supplement with vitamin D, it’s still a good idea to get some sunshine as well.”

 

Kaiser Permanente Issues Healthy Sunbathing Tips

 

Kaiser’s “healthy sunbathing tips” also follows the same guidelines I’ve promoted for many years, including:23

 

Only get sensible sun exposure and always avoid sunburn.

Build up your tolerance by starting early in the spring, and gradually increase the time you spend in the sun to avoid getting burned. Once your tolerance has been built up, aim for 15 to 30 minutes of unprotected exposure two to four times per week, around mid-day, to maximize vitamin D production

Expose as much skin as you can, not just your arms and face

Avoid burning

Boost your “internal sunscreen” by eating antioxidant rich foods and healthy fats. As noted by Kaiser: “These foods strengthen skin cells, helping to protect them from sun damage. On a regular basis eating several servings of vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries … and supplementing with green powdered mixes (wheat grass, barley grass, seaweed powders, etc.) and fish oils are great options when going into the sun.”

As a general rule, the best time to get sun exposure to optimize your vitamin D levels is close to solar noon, which is 1 p.m. in those states that foolishly use Daylight Saving Time. So, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. from March through October. November through February, you will not be making vitamin D if you live north of Atlanta, Georgia, and even at southern latitudes, you’ll only be making 10 to 20 percent of your summertime norm.

 

During winter months, your alternatives are to use a tanning bed, or take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. If you opt for a supplement, remember that you also need to increase your vitamin K2 intake. I strongly recommend getting your vitamin D level tested at least once or twice a year, say during the winter and summer, to make sure your chosen strategy is providing you with enough vitamin D. Ideally, you’ll want your level to be between 40 and 60 ng/ml year-round.

 

Sun Exposure for Vitamin D and Beyond

 

If you look at the spectrum of sunlight that reaches the Earth’s surface, UVB radiation is responsible for making vitamin D. But UVA, while being responsible for most of the skin damage also helps modulate your immune system, and UVA and UVB in combination improves beta-endorphin production in your skin, which makes you feel good.

 

Sun exposure on bare skin also produces nitric oxide and carbon monoxide that cause vascular relaxation, improves wound healing, and helps fight infections among other biologic processes. The carbon monoxide your hemoglobin molecules release in response to UV radiation also acts as a neurotransmitter, and has beneficial effects on your nervous system. Like nitric oxide, it causes relaxation, and has anti-inflammatory activity.

 

The blue wavelength of sunlight is particularly important for regulating your circadian rhythm and suppressing melatonin levels; it helps improve your mood, and reduces depressive symptoms. Light therapy has been shown to be effective not only against seasonal affective disorder (SAD) but also non-seasonal major depression. So all in all, sun exposure provides a wealth of health benefits over and beyond mere vitamin D production, although that’s certainly a big part of it.

 

Clearly, when you weigh the risks and benefits, sensible sun exposure does more good than harm, and I’m quite pleased to see Kaiser Permanente push against the misguided advice to stay out of the sun, just to lower your risk of melanoma. At the end of the day, your risk of dying from melanoma is FAR lower than your risk of dying from other diseases associated with sun avoidance, such as TB and heart disease for example.

 

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.

 

Please share with family and loved ones.  If you have any questions please contact us.

 

Health and Wellness Associates

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Foods, Lifestyle

Turmeric: Spice of the Gods

tumeric

Turmeric: The Spice That Can Potentially Help Your Health in 150 Different Ways

Most spices have powerful medicinal properties, which is precisely why they’ve been used to promote healing for thousands of years prior to the advent of modern, synthetic drug-based medicine.

One such spice is turmeric, the yellow-pigmented “curry spice” often used in Indian cuisine. Turmeric contains curcumin, the polyphenol identified as its primary active component and which exhibits over 150 potentially therapeutic activities, which include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.1

Curcumin is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, which is one reason why it holds promise as a neuroprotective agent in a wide range of neurological disorders. Researchers have investigated curcumin for its potential role in improving Parkinson’s disease.

Preliminary results indicate that it may hold even more promise than the drugs currently used for this disorder, many of which (ironically) have serious neurotoxic side effects, including dyskinesia – a movement disorder identical to the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Natural Curcumin Extract Outshines Parkinson’s Drugs

This is important if anyone, any relative in your family has had Parkinsons Disease.

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a steady depletion of dopamine-producing nerve cells, particularly in the area of your brain referred to as the substantia nigra. Most of the current drug treatments for Parkinson’s disease, known as dopamine agonists, focus on replenishing dopamine.

Although such treatments provide symptomatic relief during early Parkinson’s disease, they are ineffective in the long term where they may actually increase symptoms such as tremor, postural instability and cognitive deficits that are common with this disease. They are also associated with motor complications and a laundry list of other strange and disturbing side effects, including:

Euphoria Nausea
Hallucinations Insomnia
Causing or worsening psychosis Unusual tiredness or weakness
Orthostatic hypotension (a dizzy spell caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure) Dizziness, drowsiness, lightheadedness, or fainting
Increased orgasmic intensity Twitching, twisting, or other unusual body movements
Weight loss Pathological addiction (gambling, shopping, internet pornography, hypersexuality)

As researchers noted in the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design:2

“Most of the current pharmacotherapeutic approaches in PD [Parkinson’s disease] are aimed at replenishing the striatal dopamine. Although these drugs provide symptomatic relief during early PD, many patients develop motor complications with long-term treatment. Further, PD medications do not effectively tackle tremor, postural instability and cognitive deficits. 

Most importantly, most of these drugs do not exhibit neuroprotective effects in patients. Consequently, novel therapies involving natural antioxidants and plant products/molecules with neuroprotective properties are being exploited for adjunctive therapy.”

Unlike Parkinson’s drugs, curcumin is neuroprotective and several studies strongly support its use for the treatment of Parkinson’s. For example:

  • Curcumin showed neuroprotective properties in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease; the beneficial effect was thought to be related, in part, to its antioxidant capabilities and its ability to penetrate the brain.3
  • Curcumin alleviated the effects of glutathione depletion, which causes oxidative stress, mitochondria dysfunction and cell death – and is a feature of early Parkinson’s disease.4
  • The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway is involved in dopaminergic neuronal degeneration, which is in turn associated with Parkinson’s. Curcumin prevents dopaminergic neuronal death through inhibition of the JNK pathway, and thereby offers a neuroprotective effect that may be beneficial for Parkinson’s.5
  • Slow-wriggling alpha-synuclein proteins can cause clumping, which is the first step for diseases such as Parkinson’s. Curcumin helps prevent the proteins from clumping.6

Curcumin Is a Powerful Ally for Your Brain Health

For years now turmeric, and its active ingredient curcumin, have shown powerful benefits to your brain health. One of the ways that it works, similar to vitamin D, is modulating large numbers of your genes; in fact, curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes.

The potential healing power of this spice, which is an important part of Eastern cultural traditions including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, perhaps first came about when it was noticed that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease among older adults in India is more than four times lower than the rate in the United States.

Why such a significant difference?

Some researchers believe the answer for this drastic disparity in Alzheimer’s disease prevalence is a direct result of curcumin. Research has shown that curcumin may help inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as break up existing plaques. People with Alzheimer’s tend to have higher levels of inflammation in their brains, and curcumin is perhaps most known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. The compound can inhibit both the activity and the inflammatory metabolic byproducts of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX) enzymes, as well as other enzymes and hormones that modulate inflammation.

And that’s not all. The growing interest in curcumin over the past 50 years is understandable when you consider the many health benefits researchers have found when studying this spice. According to an ever-expanding clinical body of studies, curcumin may help:

Support healthy cholesterol levels Prevent low-density lipoprotein oxidation Inhibit platelet aggregation
Suppress thrombosis and myocardial infarction Suppress symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes Suppress symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Suppress symptoms of multiple sclerosis Suppress symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease Inhibit HIV replication
Suppress tumor formation Enhance wound healing Protect against liver damage
Increase bile secretion Protect against cataracts Protect against pulmonary toxicity and fibrosis

Two More Important Tools for Parkinson’s: Vitamin D and Omega-3

There is a correlation between insufficient levels of vitamin D and the development of early Parkinson’s disease, and research has suggested that long-term deficiency may play a role in the pathogenesis of the disease. There are three major points you want to remember about vitamin D:

  1. Your best source for this vitamin is exposure to the sun, without sunblock on your skin, until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink. While this isn’t always possible due to the change of the seasons and your geographic location (and your skin color), this is the ideal to aim for. A safe tanning bed is the next best option, followed by oral vitamin D3 supplementation.
  2. If you do supplement with vitamin D, you’ll only want to supplement with natural vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Do NOT use the synthetic and highly inferior vitamin D2, which is the one most doctors will give you in a prescription most of the time unless you ask specifically for D3.
  3. Get your vitamin D blood levels checked! The only way to determine the correct dose is to have your blood tested since there are so many variables that influence your vitamin D status. I recommend using Lab Corp in the U.S. Getting the correct test is the first step in this process, as there are TWO vitamin D tests currently being offered: 1,25(OH)D and 25(OH)D.

From my perspective, the preferred test your doctor needs to order is 25(OH)D, also called 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the better marker of overall D status. This is the marker that is most strongly associated with overall health. You’ll want tooptimize your levels according to the chart below. If you currently have Parkinson’s disease you will want to keep your vitamin D level in the higher 70-100 ng/ml range to help fight the disease.

Animal-based omega-3 fats are also a powerful defense against Parkinson’s, as they contain two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. Most of the neurological benefits of omega-3 oils are derived from the DHA component rather than the EPA component.

In fact, DHA is one of the major building blocks of your brain. About half of your brain and eyes are made up of fat, much of which is DHA — making it an essential nutrient for optimal brain and eye function. Your brain activity actually depends greatly upon the functions provided by its outer, fatty waxy membrane to act as an electrical nerve-conduction cable. In your brain alone, DHA may help to ward off Parkinson’s by:

  • Reducing brain inflammation
  • Stimulating neuron growth, and development and repair of synapses. (Your brain is a vast complex system of nerve cells sending and receiving electrical impulses across junctions called synapses. The small space between the two cells is where the action occurs. One neuron may synapse with as many as 1,000 other neurons.)
  • DHA protects your brain’s function by supporting optimal glutamate function. Glutamate and GABA are considered your brain’s ‘workhorse’ neurotransmitters. They work together to control your brain’s overall level of excitability, which controls many body processes.

I believe krill oil is your best option for getting animal-based omega-3 fats because of the fact that the omega-3 is attached to phospholipids that dramatically increase its absorption, especially into brain tissue.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Prevent Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is related to lifestyle factors, including the following:

Environmental toxins and pesticides Aspartame consumption
Petroleum-based hydrocarbon solvents, like paint and glue Deficiencies in vitamin D and vitamin B folate
Excess iron in your body Pasteurized milk

In addition to avoiding these toxic exposures, I recommend lifestyle adjustments including:

  • Exercise regularly, including high-intensity exercise like Peak Fitness. It’s one of the best ways to protect against the onset of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
  • Get plenty of sunshine to optimize your vitamin D levels
  • Avoid pesticide and insecticide exposure (as well as exposure to other environmental toxins like solvents)
  • Eat more organic vegetables, which are high in folate, the natural form of folic acid (folate after all comes fromfoliage)
  • Make sure your body has healthy levels of iron and manganese (neither too much nor too little of either)
  • Consider supplementing coenzyme Q10, which may help to fight the disease. But remember, the oxidized form of coenzyme Q10 called ubiquinone or plain CoQ10 is actually found in elevated levels in neurodegenerative conditions involving enhanced oxidative stress, as it is a residual marker of lipid peroxidation (brain rancidity). This is why ubiquinol, the reduced form that is capable of donating electrons to quench brain-damaging free radicals, while at the same time providing a boost to brain mitochondrial function, is the only logical choice in Parkinson’s disease and related neurodegenerative conditions.

As for getting the full benefits that curcumin has to offer, look for a turmeric extract that contains 100 percent certified organic ingredients, with at least 95 percent curcuminoids. The formula should be free of fillers, additives and excipients (a substance added to the supplement as a processing or stability aid), and the manufacturer should use safe production practices at all stages: planting, cultivation, selective harvesting, and then producing and packaging the final product.

Unfortunately, at the present time there really are no formulations available for the use against cancer. This is because relatively high doses are required and curcumin is not absorbed that well. There is much work being done to provide a bioavailable formulation in the near future.

In the event you need higher doses (such as in the case of treating cancer), use the curcumin powder and make a microemulsion of it by combining a tablespoon of the powder and mixing it into 1-2 egg yolks and a teaspoon or two of melted coconut oil. Then use a high-speed hand blender to emulsify the powder (be careful when doing so as curcumin is a very potent yellow pigment and can permanently discolor surfaces if you aren’t careful).

Another strategy that can help increase absorption is to put one tablespoon of the curcumin powder into a quart of boiling water. It must be boiling when you add the powder; it will not work as well if you put it in room temperature water and heat the water and curcumin. After boiling it for 10 minutes you will have created a 12 percent solution that you can drink once it has cooled down. It will have a woody taste. The curcumin will gradually fall out of the solution, however. In about six hours it will be a 6 percent solution, so it’s best to drink the water within four hours.

Hints:  When you make rice add the turmeric to the boiling water, it will be absorbed in the rice.  For the best effect, do not drain the water.

Keep a shaker of turmeric on the stove.  Add it to eggs , any kind, sauces, gravies, soups, even sloppy joes, just about anything, and it will not change the taste of your dish.

Don’t forget your puppies; just sprinkle some on their food.

Health and Wellness Associates

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312-972-WELL

Rx to Wellness

Vitamin D can prevent MS

vitamin

Supplementation with vitamin D might decrease the severity and slow the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Bayer HealthCare, and published in the journal JAMA Neurology. The study was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. MS is a degenerative central nervous system disorder, believed to result from malfunction of the immune system. There is no cure for the disease, which can lead to problems with everything from muscle strength and control to balance, vision and even cognitive function. Approximately 2.5 million people worldwide suffer from MS. Previous studies have linked the risk of developing autoimmune disorders generally and MS specifically with low levels of vitamin D. In addition, studies of long-term MS patients have shown a correlation between lower vitamin D levels and more severe disease symptoms. Such studies have been unable to determine, however, whether low vitamin D levels cause more severe disease symptoms, or vice versa.

A miracle treatment?

For the new study, researchers examined data from 465 MS patients who had enrolled in the BENEFIT (Betaseron in Newly Emerging Multiple Sclerosis for Initial Treatment) trial between 2002 and 2003, and who lived in Canada, Israel or one of 18 European countries. The BENEFIT trial was designed to examine how the effectiveness of interferon beta-1b treatment for MS changed depending on when the drug was administered, but researchers also collected data on vitamin D levels at the beginning of the study and every two years thereafter. The researchers found that, over the course of five years, early-stage MS patients with adequate vitamin D levels at the time of diagnosis had a 57 percent lower rate of new brain lesions, a 57 percent lower relapse rate and a 25 percent lower annual increase in lesion volume than patients with lower vitamin D levels. Such patients also had significantly less brain volume loss, a major predictor of disability. The findings suggest that vitamin D actively protects the brain from the symptoms and progression of MS, and that it also makes the particular drug studied even more effective. “The benefits of vitamin D appeared to be additive to those of interferon beta-1b, a drug that is very effective in reducing MS activity,” lead author Alberto Ascherio said. “The findings of our study indicate that identifying and correcting vitamin D insufficiency should become part of the standard of care for newly diagnosed MS patients.”

Mounting evidence

The study is only the latest to strengthen the links between vitamin D and improved MS outcomes. For example, a 2012 study found that that, among people with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), “always” wearing sunscreen was associated with a 1.8 times higher disability rate than “sometimes” or “never” wearing sunscreen. Lifetime sun sensitivity (defined as an inability to spend more than 30 minutes in the sun without burning) was also associated with a 1.8 times higher disability rates, while spending at least as much time in the sun each day as the average non-MS patient was associated with a 30 percent lower disability rate. Another study, published in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica in 2013, found that increased exposure to sunlight decreased rates of depression and fatigue among MS patients. Vitamin D deficiency remains widespread, particularly in regions farther from the equator. However, your body can make all the vitamin D you need from a short amount of unprotected sun exposure to the face and hands each day — just 15 to 30 minutes for light-skinned people, and more for those with darker skin. Sources for this article include: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu
Do you know anyone who has MS, or does it run in your family?  Share this article with them, or have them contact us for a consultation.

Health and Wellness Associates

312-972-WELL   9355

Archived Article

Lifestyle, Vitamins and Supplements

Reverse Aging

antiaging

 Seven Super Supplements to reverse Aging

A brain-healthy, Alzheimer’s-fighting diet has properties that extend far beyond just decreasing your daily carb load. To truly provide your body with brain-boosting nutrients and vitamins that help stave off brain disease and other illnesses, you should consider a regular regimen of supplements. These seven supplements will go a long way towards helping you with prevention:

  1. DHA: An omega-3 fatty acid that represents more than 50% of the omega-3 fatty acids in the brain. Numerous studies link high levels of DHA with a decreased risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases . Look to take in about 1,000mg/day.
  2. Resveratrol:  you can thank this natural compound which slows down the aging process, boosts blood flow to the brain, and promotes heart health. In addition to the role it plays in stimulating brain function, resveratrol is also a key ally of our body’s immune system. Target 100mg twice daily.
  3. Turmeric:  Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We can thank turmeric for protecting our mitochondria (thanks to its role in stimulating antioxidant properties), and it also improves glucose metabolism — both of which are essential for reducing one’s risk for brain disease. Try to get 350 mg twice daily.
  4. Probiotics: Research conducted in just the last few years has started to conclude that eating food rich in probiotics can influence brain behavior, and may modulate the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression.  Ideally, get your probiotics through a supplement that contains at least 10 billion active cultures from at least ten different strains, including lactobaccilus acidophilus and bifidobacterium.
  5. Coconut Oil: If you follow this blog, you know I am a big fan of coconut oil and probably know why it’s an important part of our diet. Go for at least 1-2 tablespoons of an organic variety daily.
  6. Alpha-lipoic Acid: Alpha-lipoic acid is a powerful antioxidant that works to protect brain and nerve tissue. Look to get 600 mg/day.
  7. Vitamin D: I can’t say enough about the importance of Vitamin D, and that’s why I devote five pages to it in Grain Brain. It’s ideal to start with 5,000 units of Vitamin D3 daily, get tested after three months, and adjust accordingly.

As with any dietary/health changes, these are suggested guidelines only, and you should consult with your physician before making any changes to, or beginning, a supplement plan.

Health and Wellness Associates

Archived Article:  Dr. Perlmutter

Let the medical staff at Health and Wellness Associates help you with your vitamin and supplement routine.