Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sun Exposure Recommendations And Responsibility To Tell The Whole Story Including The Role Of Vitamin D Deficiency


We are seeing a lot of information lately about the perils of sun exposure, including a report from The CDC. Many of these reports and articles do not even mention the risk of Vitamin D Deficiency caused from lack of sun exposure. If you are going to report, post, and advise the public against sun exposure, then you ought to be responsible enough to at least advise people, young and old, to get their Vitamin D level checked and monitored.

Too much sun exposure can be dangerous. Too much exposure is enough to cause our skin to redden and burn. Too little sun exposure can cause our Vitamin D levels to drop to dangerous levels opening up all avenues for too many diseases to list.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the only way to know your level is to have your blood drawn and tested. Of course it's a good idea to have a blood screen at regular intervals anyway. The results will give you a chance to fix anything that's wrong like high cholesterol, infection or any imbalance that can be corrected. In many cases, Vitamin D levels are not routinely included in these screenings so you have to ask for it. When your provider tells you a blood screen is being ordered for you, ask that they include a 25-hydroxyvitaminD test.

Sadly, there are still providers out there that are not educated on or even aware of the prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency and how it can affect our immune system and health. We have to step up and advocate for our own well being in regard to our health care. We owe so much to all the Medical Professionals who continue to educate themselves and work with patients on this issue.

I want to include the story here, of my latest deficiency diagnosis. Yes, I like to take some credit when anyone is diagnosed that has had to endure my many discussions on the issue. Since I retired from my job of 30 years, I often think of many of the people I worked with. All week long, I had been thinking of one person and couldn't shake it. I finally picked up the phone and called her.

She was very excited to tell me her story and said, "Remember how you were always telling me to get my Vitamin D checked and how we thought I was probably okay since I am outside at work so much and we are in the southwest where the sunlight is strong?" She went on to tell me she finally had the test and it showed she was low! She was low enough that  her doctor ordered 50,000IU twice a week. Then she told me "If I am deficient then EVERYONE is."

That last statement struck a chord in me and supports my belief that if we keep spreading the word, many more can have better health with less cost. Vitamin D3 supplements are inexpensive and easy to get. Know your level first and work with your Health Care Professional to figure out how much to take.

It cannot go unsaid, that Vitamin D Deficiency can affect all of us. We are at risk because so many variables can prevent our ability to properly make, absorb and use Vitamin D in our bodies. Some of these include our age, weight, skin pigmentation, how close we live to the equator and what medications we are taking. Many of us will not be able to get enough simply because of our circumstances. Diet alone is not enough as I mentioned in a previous post about Vitamin D in foods. Vitamin D found naturally in some foods as well as foods that are fortified with it, may only be just enough to prevent Rickets. Most of us are not able to eat enough of these foods to have healthy levels of Vitamin D.  I am amazed that so many believe that we can get enough from diet alone.

The fact that we are seeing the reemergence of Rickets which we all thought was a thing of the past, tells us that there is something wrong with some of the information and advisories that are being given.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oral Steroids, Asthma and Vitamin D Deficiency

There is a lot of information coming out on the internet about this subject. Researchers in the U.S. found that those taking Oral Steroids were likely to suffer severe Vitamin D Deficiency. As much as twice as likely than others. Children under 18 were found to be at highest risk. They went further and said that the steroids actually cause Vitamin D Deficiency. They believe oral steroids may do this by increasing the level of an enzyme that inactivates Vitamin D. I knew that some medications could block Vitamin D absorption in our bodies so this is exciting to hear that in this case, an enzyme can inactivate Vitamin D.

There are different types of steroids and this research found oral steroids to be the culprit as opposed to inhaled steroids. Although inhaled steroids are used to treat asthma, they mostly only affect the lungs. Oral steroids are often used to treat an asthma attack and can spread through and affect the whole body.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Over 30,000 adults and children were involved in the study and had participated from 2001 through 2006 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. NHANES is a unique program of studies that investigates the health and nutrition of people living in the U.S. through both physical exams and interviews.

Dr. Amy Skversky, assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City is the lead author of the study. She advised that doctors should make sure to monitor patients who are on steroids for Vitamin D levels.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Vitamin D Deficiency And Efficiency

It has been some time since I was diagnosed with Vitamin D Deficiency and I have since been able to retire after almost 30 years from my job. Now I have more free time so I should be able to get regular mid-day sun exposure. Unfortunately, that isn't the case yet since I have a lot of neglected work to do at home. A lot of it is indoors.

Now that Autumn has arrived, the days are shorter and the sun is moving farther away each day. Then there is the strange adjustment period of retiring after so many years. There are naps to take and my body clock says I must take them mid-day. I have to also admit (GROAN!) that I am much older now (double GROAN!) so my ability to make Vitamin D the natural way through sun exposure has diminished. It seems like only yesterday, I was in my teens, hiking and running around outdoors almost every day! We weren't using sunscreen in the 1970s.

I get lazy and  I do not always take my Vitamin D3 supplements. I think my brain is on overload sometimes but that is no excuse. What I find so interesting is that my body retaliates pretty quickly. If I miss a few doses, the first thing that happens is, I get pain on the top of my feet which is a very strange sensation for me. When I go too long, I start in with lower back pain and I seem to catch a cold or some other crud. I immediately start on a 4 day regimen of 10,000 to 15,000 IUs per day and the symptoms subside.

I had read an article awhile back that mentioned Vitamin D Receptors in the body and that they can die off. It makes me wonder if that is the case for me. I know now, that I was deficient for at least 10 years and probably longer. It was 10 or 15 years before that, when I was diagnosed with Periodontal Disease. I was so surprised because I brushed and flossed every day and took special care with my teeth since I had had braces. I was very frustrated because all that work did not seem to matter. Now I realize, it may have actually been caused by Vitamin D Deficiency. That would have been about 5 years after I started working full time and away from sun exposure.

I need to see what I can find about receptors and how they work. For now, I am back among the living, adjusting to being retired. I have no excuses to forget taking my Vitamin D3. If it is true about these receptors, I want to keep the ones I have left.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vitamin D Research, Studies and Trials

Researching information on Vitamin D can be very time consuming. I am very intrigued by all of the current studies that have yet to be concluded. I decided to put together a list of some I found that we can watch and see what the findings are.

From what we have seen, we already know that Vitamin D levels and Vitamin D Deficiency have a profound effect on our health and on the efficiency of how our bodies function. It seems that for many, more proof is needed so thankfully, there are plenty of studies in the works.

Caution should be exercised  when researching Vitamin D studies on the internet. We don't always know who is behind a study or how it is being funded. Some studies are paid for in order to find a specific conclusion. A company may pay for a study so that it will find in their favor. In order to do this, the research may not include all parameters. For example, if you only give participants a very low amount of Vitamin D3, a study may conclude that Vitamin D3 is not helpful.





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vitamin D and Vision

The Archives of Opthamology has chronicled a study that shows a connection between Vitamin D levels and age-related macular degeneration or AMD. This disease causes vision loss in 9 percent of our country's citizens who are 40 years old and older.

The macula is located in the middle of the retina and it is what allows us to see fine detail. AMD is not painful but it can come on very slowly or advance rapidly. It can affect one or both eyes. Some see a hazy or blurry spot in the middle of what they are looking at. I have heard it described as if there is a ball in the center of your vision so that you only see what is on the edges.

The study looked at data from over 1300 women to see if Vitamin D levels in their blood were connected to the disorder. They specifically looked at serum 25(OH)D. They found that women who were younger than 75 years old who took in the most Vitamin D from food and supplements showed a 59 percent less chance of getting early-onset AMD than did those who took in the least amount! 

This is the second study I have found that shows Vitamin D may protect against AMD and I think 59 percent makes for good odds and another important reason to get our levels up and keep them there. Don't be Vitamin D deficient! You're never too old to get your blood tested and know your Vitamin D level. The test to ask for is 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vitamin D’s Importance for Overall Health

Thanks to guest blogger Mr. Westberg for sharing the following content about Vitamin D and about his own experience with nutrition and deficiencies.


Vitamin D’s Importance for Overall Health

I have always believed that passion and articulation are concepts inextricably connected to each other. If a person becomes passionate about any topic they tend to discover their voice. They want the world to understand what they now know to be true and constantly work on the delivery of that message. People with that passion feel the very fate of the world lies with them and their ability to convince others to heed their words.

When Sara first discovered her voice about Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome she offered advice, direction and support to literally anyone who would listen. Sara began to quiz people about their health and any adverse symptoms they may be suffering from. If


Sara felt that any of those symptoms could be the result of a Vitamin D deficiency she would prompt them to see their doctor and be tested. She and I spent a great deal of time talking about the disorder and how it had negatively affected her health for years. Sara had assigned her continuing health problems to various causes to include a bout of Valley Fever years earlier. It never occurred to her that a vitamin deficiency could actually be the culprit behind these issues until it was incidentally diagnosed by her doctor.

During our conversations I saw several connections between Sara’s story and that of my own family. Several years ago my wife, Tamara, and I discovered the benefits of nutritional cleansing and replenishing. Impurities enter our bodies through the air we breathe; the water that we drink; and the food that we eat. Nutritional cleansing and replenishing suggests that we should cleanse these harmful impurities from our body and replace them with high-grade nutrition through both the food we eat as well as with quality supplements.

Since that initial revelation my wife and I have worked hard to become well versed in the functioning of the body and the nutrition necessary to make it perform optimally. We reject no information source and always do our own research to determine whether the source has value. Much of our research gets documented on our blog at http://blog.cleansebenefits.com. Like Sara, my wife became an advocate for her own passion, nutritional cleansing and replenishing, and she is bent on spreading the “gospel” of this topic. Because of our common interest in nutrition I found great value in the things that Sara had to say about Vitamin D. I began to research the topic and found the following information.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, with its main role to help the body absorb calcium. As a result it is believed by the medical community to be one of the most important vitamins needed by your body every day.

Vitamin D is considered by a contingent of the medical community to represent the single most cost-effective medical intervention in the United States (Dr. Greg Plotnikoff, Director of the Penny George Institute for Health and healing, Abbot Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis).

• We have seen a steady decline in Vitamin D exposure since the mid-1900’s as we spend less and less time exposed to natural sunlight. You can understand why this is an issue as our primary source of Vitamin D comes from exposure to the UVB rays of the Sun.

• There are some alternative sources of Vitamin D such as fortified milk and dairy products, as well as some fish. However, these sources have proved to be insufficient in our efforts to achieve the level of Vitamin D required for a healthy body.

My wife and I feel we have achieved our personal solution to this problem and to positive health through nutritional cleansing and replenishing. We use a meal replacement and cleansing program called Isagenix which we would be happy to discuss with you. The supplements associated with the program go a long way towards replacing the Vitamin D our current lifestyles deny us. Regardless, it is important that we as Americans pay attention to this growing problem. In the end moderate exposure to the sun’s rays is an important aspect to anyone’s solution.

If you would like to discuss this topic further you can contact us at 1-866-982-3438. If you would like to do your own research on Isagenix and nutritional cleansing and replenishing you can visit http://www.cleansebenefits.com, or our blog at http://blog.cleansebenefits.com.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Vitamin D Deficiency and UVB Sunlight

We hear a lot of advice about getting regular, safe and reasonable exposure to sunlight to help prevent Vitamin D Deficiency. When our skin is exposed to Ultaviolet B (UVB) rays, our bodies manufacture vitamin D. Too much exposure and our skin will burn. Too little and we become deficient in vitamin d. We are supposed to get exposure with our face and arms uncovered for 10 to 20 minutes each day, making sure not to stay in the sun long enough for our skin to start to burn or redden.

UVB will not pass through glass. Your skin can't make Vitamin D if you sit inside next to a closed window even if the sun is shining through it. The same goes for driving or riding in a car with the windows rolled up.

In warmer climates like the Middle East, people cover most of their skin so they aren't getting enough UVB exposure. I can imagine that the heat in the deserts would be too dangerous. The risk of sunburn would be high.

Northern latitudes or places located farther from the equator, offer less UVB and there is less UVB available in the winter months, even in the southwestern deserts of the U.S. Let's face it, most of us are not willing to uncover our skin when it's cold outside. I prefer sitting inside, by the fire with a cup of coffee and wrapped in several blankets. Some of us have darker skin and would need to spend more exposure time than those with lighter skin because the darker your skin, the less efficient it is in making vitamin d. Older folks need more exposure time than younger ones because our ability to make vitamin d diminishes as we age.

It is apparent that a lot of us just don't have regular, optimal conditions or ideal schedules to get enough UVB exposure. I'm betting that most of us are Vitamin D Deficient. Lucky for all of us, Vitamin D3 supplements are easy to get. The tough part is getting a blood test to find out what your current level is. You might be surprised to find out you are deficient. Let us know what you find out. Leave a comment about your experience and check out the poll in the right column on this page.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Can Vitamin D Treat or Prevent Infections?

After reading several articles about the infection rate in hospitals, it is obvious that more research needs to be done to find out if Vitamin D can help to treat or prevent infections.

During my own geneology research, I found out that many of my ancestors died from Tuberculosis Infections or it was a contributing factor. Looking at the old photographs, I noticed that the clothing of the day, covered all of their skin except for their hands and face. Sufferers were sent to "Sanatoriums" where they spent a lot of time outdoors. Arizona was considered one of the best places for treatment. That probably had a lot to do with more sunlight which led to higher Vitamin D levels.

People with lower Vitamin D levels have a higher rate of respiratory infections as well as ear infections which often  follow respiratory infections like the flu. The flu or influenza is more active during the winter months when there is less sunlight available. Dr. John Cannell spoke about naturally occurring antibiotics called antimicrobial peptides which act on bacteria, fungal infection, TB and other infectious diseases. Production of antimicrobial peptides in our bodies is greatly increased by higher Vitamin D levels.

The infection rate in hospitals is a continuing problem. According to a representative of The HAI Watch from Kimberly Clark, while there have been some improvements, hospitals still have work to do to put an end to the ongoing - but solvable - problem of Health care-Associated Infections (HAIs). To help achieve this goal, Kimberly-Clark Health Care launched "Not on My Watch" (www.haiwatch.com), a website that provides tools and information to help facilities eliminate HAIs. I wonder if Vitamin D could play a role in these types of infections as well.

        Share what you know in the comments section below.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Diabetes Blood Sugar and Vitamin D Deficiency

In an earlier post, I discussed my father's experience with Diabetes and Vitamin D Deficiency. I have an incredible update to add!

For years, my brother has also struggled with Diabetes and his blood sugar levels. In the morning, before eating, his level was always above 200. He has been taking 8000IU of Vitamin D3 daily for the last 3 months. His morning blood sugar level is now consistently around 106! He is supposed to be between 65 and 115 so this is incredible news! After eating, he drops to the 80s so he is completely in the normal range. My father, who is also taking the same dose of Vitamin D3 daily, is also in the normal range.

I am even more outraged at the IOM, for the disgraceful recommendations for intake of Vitamin D. My brother and father have added even more proof to convince me that they are wrong. Diabetes numbers in this country alone (23.6 million in 2007) is enough to prove them wrong now that I have seen Vitamin D3 in action.

If you have Diabetes, get your blood tested to find out your Vitamin D level. Do it now, don't wait and don't forget to vote in the poll I have provided on this page.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Institute of Medicine and Vitamin D Deficiency

The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine has set new governmental nutrient levels for Vitamin D intake at 3 times what it was previously. The new recommendation is for daily intake of 600IU for adults but many researchers and experts are unhappy with the new report. They believe that the new guidelines are inadequate and will leave many people with Vitamin D Deficiency. The new guidelines were established upon the levels that we would need to maintain bone strength alone and says there is not enough evidence proving Vitamin D Deficiency is a cause of chronic diseases.

They report that most U.S. and Canadian citizens are getting enough Vitamin D already. This, in light of all the hard work and research already done and published by many respected scientists all over the world that shows otherwise. As a victim of Vitamin D Deficiency myself, I want to express my gratitude to all those researchers. The published studies have helped me to make informed decisions about my own health care and as a result, I am living a better quality of life, free from the pain of Vitamin D Deficiency.

I suppose it is better than nothing and a teeny tiny step in the right direction. At least it was increased but I will continue to monitor my own Vitamin D level by getting my blood tested so I can take the amounts that I need to maintain a healthy level. Much more than 600IU of course. Each of us is different. The proof is there. Darker skin, age, weight, amount of sun exposure, distance from the equator, latitude, medications and season, all need to be considered. Some people need more, some less. The point is, we need to see a health care provider and get tested and then monitored to find out what the right dose is for each of us. It will most likely be more in the winter.