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.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency and Vitamin D3

I have talked with many people about Vitamin D Deficiency and Vitamin D3. One of the subjects that keeps repeating is how tough it is to get people to take this seriously. The consensus seems to be that it is because it is called a vitamin and we tend to think of it as something we get from food. I have heard many people refer to Vitamin D3 as a hormone and while that isn't exactly true, the body essentially converts Vitamin D3 to a hormone that regulates the amount of calcium in the body. Beyond that, if you are getting the right amount of Vitamin D3 then you get an additional benefit of disease prevention.

Cholecalciferol is Vitamin D3 which is made naturally when skin is exposed to the sun and  uses cholesterol in the process. You can also get Vitamin D3 from some foods and by taking Vitamin D3 supplements.

Cholecalciferol is converted in the liver to Calcidiol which is what is measured with a blood test. The 25-hydroxyvitamin D test results show what the blood serum level is for Calcidiol. 

Calcidiol is converted in the kidneys to Calcitriol which is a steroid hormone. The Calcitriol(hormone) regulates the amount of calcium in your blood and when there is enough to do that, the rest of the Calcidiol will go to the cells of tissues to make more Calcitriol(hormone) for fighting cancer and other diseases.

To make it work, we need the right amount of Calcidiol available in our blood. The blood test will give you and your health care provider a level to work with so you can start figuring out if you need to take vitamin D supplements. If you have Vitamin D Deficiency, it will take some time and several blood tests to determine how much you need, to get to and maintain the right level.

Visit Vitamin D Council for more information.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

In this study, researchers were surprised to find that Vitamin D Deficiency does not appear to be tied to increased risk of stroke in blacks. Findings did show, however a doubled increase in risk of death from stroke for whites who were deficient in Vitamin D. Further research might show whether blacks have a natural resistance to this effect of Vitamin D Deficiency and why.

Interview with the lead researcher, Dr. Erin Michos, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. Study findings were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2010.

Courtesy of Global Medical News Network.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

I have put together a list of the top symptoms reported to me from all of the people I know who have been diagnosed with Vitamin D Deficiency. Many of these same symptoms are also being reported to me by those that I suspect are Vitamin D Deficient but have not been tested. Some are symptoms that I have even experienced myself. I included actual comments made by sufferers after each Vitamin D Deficiency Symptom and would be interested to hear of any other experiences as well. Anything you could share would be appreciated by me and others who might be seeking more information. Be sure to use the comment section located just below this post to add your knowledge.
Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms:

1. Fatigue - "I feel tired all the time" and "I am having trouble sleeping" and "I have trouble waking up in the morning"
2. Pain in the joint area - "I sprained my ankle walking up a flight of stairs" and "I sprained my wrist just getting up from the chair"
3. Pain in the feet - "The bottoms of my feet hurt when I walk" and "My heels hurt"
4. Pain in the hips - "I have pain in my hips and it feels like it's deep inside the bone"
5. General pain - "I hurt all over" and "I can't quite pinpoint where the actual pain is. It's like it's deep inside" and "I take Ibuprofen all the time"
6. Muscle weakness - "I can't lift as much as I used to" and "I don't have any energy anymore"
7. General Malaise - "I don't feel like myself" and "I feel like I am always coming down with something or like I am about to get sick"
8. Feeling old - "I feel like my body is done, I am just old now" and "I think I have arthritis"
9. Illness - " I get sick more than I used to" and "I never used to get the flu"
10. Cramps - " I have cramps in my legs and I never did before" and I get cramps all the time in my back like, when I roll over in bed"
11. Cholesterol - "I have high colesterol and can't seem to keep it in check even with meds" and "My triglycerides are all out of whack"
12. Weight gain - "My metabolism has slowed down from what it used to be" and "I excersise and eat right but I can't lose weight"
13. Arthritis - " My doctor told me I have Rheumatoid Arthritis" and "My vitamin D level is 30 and my doctor says that is a good level"
14. Depression - "I feel sad all the time because of the pain" and "I can't enjoy life the way I used to"
15. Osteoporosis - "I had a bone scan and they said it showed Osteopenic" and "My doctor told me I need more calcium"
16. Rickets - "My child was diagnosed with Rickets even though she drinks milk. We are giving her vitamin D supplements now"
17. Periodontal Disease - "I floss my teeth but my gums are always inflamed" and "I had to have two of my teeth pulled because the bone around them was deteriorating."

As you can see, most of these symptoms, on their own, seem to be "just part of the process of aging" or something requiring medication of some kind. Since there is a chance that they are actually Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms, ask your health care provider to check your Vitamin D level. Learn about Vitamin D, how it works, what affects the absorption rates of it, etc. If you are deficient, and with the knowledge, you can take control for yourself and work to get your Vitamin D up to a healthy level and keep it there.

Share what you know in the comments section below.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder which causes inflammation in the lining of the joints. The immune system has antibodies that normally attack invaders to the body and in RA, they mistakenly attack the lining of the joints. It is very painful and leads to damage of the cartilage between bones. The cause of this disease is still unknown and it can cause permanent disability. Patients with RA can experience other problems including fevers, feeling tired and problems with the lungs and heart.

Did you know that Rheumatoid Arthritis is two to three times more likely to afflict women than men? Women living in the northern latitudes are more prone to getting it than women living closer to the equator. Women living in the north are also more likely to have Vitamin D Deficiency and research is pointing to a link between this deficiency and RA.

One of the studies I found was published in the Environmental Health Perspectives and clearly showed the risk is higher in northern latitudes. Researchers believe it might be connected to Vitamin D Deficiency because of less exposure to sunlight in northern latitudes such as Oregon or Washington in the U.S. Vitamin D can affect immune system function. There are also studies and research that have found a connection between higher latitudes and other autoimmune diseases including Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn's Disease.

If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, find out what your Vitamin D level is since you are likely to be deficient. Know your level even if you are healthy and keep your level up since Vitamin D has been shown as a preventive of a host of diseases.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Much Vitamin D Is In Foods

The current Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin D is only 200 International Units (IU) for people up to age 50. Ages 51-70 is 400IU and ages 71 and over is 600IU.

Experts are telling us about their research which has shown that we need a lot more than the current RDA to prevent Vitamin D Deficiency, perhaps 10 times that or even more. They say intake should be higher in the winter and for those living at higher latitudes. I live in the southwest and I am currently taking 4000IU daily as a maintenance dose. I may need to take more this winter. Some medical conditions, additional body fat and some medications may inhibit the ability to absorb and convert Vitamin D.

Lots of foods have some Vitamin D in them but it is tough to get enough from diet alone. We also need safe sun exposure when we can get it but most of us are going to need to take Vitamin D3 supplements to prevent Vitamin D Deficiency. Looking at the table below, you can see how difficult it would be to get enough every day without taking supplements.

Food                   Serving Size             Vitamin D Content     

                                                                 IUs in each serving

Cod Liver Oil       1 Tablespoon              1360 
Some researchers caution that Vitamin A content may be too high and could lead to Vitamin A toxicity.

Sockey Salmon   3 ounces cooked          794 

Mushrooms         3 ounces, UV-B             400 
Only when grown/exposed to UV-B light to increase Vitamin D

Mackerel              3 ounces cooked           388

Tuna                    3 ounces canned           154
                             in water and drained              

Milk                      1 cup, vitamin D             115-124

Yogurt                  6 ounces, vitamin             80 and higher with
                             D fortified                         additional fortification  

Margarine            1 tablespoon
                             vitamin D fortified             60   

Egg                      1 whole egg with               25

Cheese, swiss     1 ounce                              6     


Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Vitamin D Deficiency Diagnosis

I have been telling all of my friends and family and anyone else who would listen, about my story and trying to convince them to get tested for Vitamin D Deficiency. I got another call a couple of days ago from a good friend who told me to "add another one to your list." When I get a call like that, I am always torn between a feeling of joy, knowing they have been diagnosed and feeling angry because they went this long without a diagnosis.

This particular friend is a survivor of cancer. I watched her come through a horrifying fight for her very life, some 25 or 30 years ago. With all that is known about Vitamin D Deficiency, you would think someone would have thought to test her Vitamin D Level. Even though it is not routine, someone should have done that for her. Someone who is trained and paid to know. I think I will always be angry about that.

I wonder why, in some circles, it seems to be, that they would rather see people sick and suffering. Vitamin D3 is pretty cheap compared to the costs of drugs and treatments for illness.

Get tested now, don't wait. I have seen this change lives, including my own. There is even the possibility that it has and will prevent many illnesses or even deaths. Getting tested and treated for Vitamin D Deficiency may just be the most important thing you will ever do for yourself and your family and friends. If you have a story like mine, share it. Tell everyone who will listen and even those who won't. This is one very simple thing, that gives us all, the potential to make a difference.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dr. John Cannell Video

Dr. John Cannell talks about Vitamin D Deficiency, Immune System and Disease including colds, flu, tuberculosis, etc. One of the leading experts on Vitamin D, Dr. Cannell is the Executive Director of  the Vitamin D Council.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency and Osteoarthritis Study

The purpose of the study was to find out if Vitamin D supplements would have an effect on osteoarthritis. 146 people with Osteoarthritis of the knee were studied for 2 years by a team led by Dr. Timothy McAlindon, an associate professor of medicine in the rheumatology division at Tufts New England Medical Center.

They found that Vitamin D supplements did not help the participants in the study and the findings were presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta. Web MD reports that the study should be considered preliminary and has not been reviewed by outside experts before it is published in a medical journal. I could not find any information about where the funding for the study came from.

During the study,  participants were only brought up to above 30 ng/ml so it appears that the study was based on below optimal levels. Web MD, however,  reports "There's no consensus on what level is optimal, but 15 to 80 nanograms per milliliter of blood is generally considered normal," according to McAlindon.

I was diagnosed with severe Vitamin D Deficiency with a level of 18 and I know over 30 people diagnosed with Vitamin D Deficiency at levels of 35 and below. I wonder what the findings would have been if the participants were brought to a higher level?

For anyone interested in learning about Vitamin D Deficiency,  Michael Holick, John Cannell, Cedric Garland, The Vitamin D Council and Grassroots Health are excellent resources.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vitamin D Deficiency and Cancer

FACT: Cancer patients are very likely to have Vitamin D Deficiency.
FACT: Vitamin D is involved in regulating cell growth.
FACT: Vitamin D Levels are not included in routine blood screens.

If Vitamin D facilitates regulation of cell growth, I'm guessing that it would play a role in reducing the overgrowth of cells associated with cancers.

If Vitamin D Deficiency can have an effect on bone formation, muscle strength and the immune system, then I think it's important for all of us to make sure we have adequate vitamin D levels and even more important for those with illness such as cancer.

Both of my grandmothers and one of my parents have had cancer. I would be next if genetic statistics bear out. With all I have read, learned, seen and experienced for myself, I believe Vitamin D3 is going to be my best chance.

So many people I have talked with have never even seen a printout of their own blood test results. These are your results. Ask to see them or better yet, ask for a copy. It is very interesting to compare successive results and see how the increased Vitamin D level compares to changes in other blood levels like cholesterol.

If you are interested in reading about Vitamin D and bone cancer, Visit The Bone and Cancer Foundation website.