Well, it’s always a good time to think about vitamin D, but since we’re heading into November fast, its now that those great vitamin D levels of the summer (that is, if you actually got out into the sun this summer) start waning. Vitamin D is used in a myriad of mechanisms throughout the body. Since you’re been paying attention to this blog, you know how important it is.

The ‘new’ things in this post aren’t all that different than what you’ve been hearing me harp on for months now, but I did come across a few things I hadn’t seen:

Keep that 25 (OH) Vitamin D level above 40ng/ml. You can thank me later.

Sean Croxton at Underground Wellness has done it again. Careful readers of my blog will know I refer to him frequently and read him often. He recently interviewed Julie Matthews. Ms. Matthews is the author of Nourishing Hope for Autism.

Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition Intervention for Healing Our Children

As friends of parents of children who are living with autism, I have a very tenuous, tangential view of the challenges families raising children with autism have.

Ms. Matthews offers a refreshing view on the genesis of autism and approaches that can ameliorate the condition. Given the explosion of autism diagnoses in recent years, this is a topic that will likely touch us all.

Take a listen to the interview and my hope it this will at least educate you and at best provide some help.

See more about Ms. Matthews work at http://nurishinghope.com.

Fish oil–goood!

July 20, 2010

Now some welcome news for a change. this one comes from the good ‘ol mainstream press:

Fish Oil Supplements Linked to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer

Seems researchers found a strong correlation between reduced breast cancer risk and regular supplementation with fish oil. The study was conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center a short drive from my house in Seattle (was that too much self-disclosure?).

Here’s the salient finding:

When the researchers looked at the women who took the fish oil supplements, they found they had a 32 percent reduced risk of breast cancer, which appeared to be restricted to invasive ductal breast cancer, the most common type.

It would be disingenuous of me not to point out the shortcomings of this finding (since I’m so quick to point out shortcomings of announcements with which I disagree). This does not appear to have been a controlled study -  these same women who take the fish oil may also practice more healthy behavior overall than those who didn’t take the fish oil. It should also be noted this correlation does not, in and of itself, establish causation (i.e. one can’t infer that taking fish oil causes the reduce incidence of breast cancer).

All that said, I think it’s certainly a worthwhile thing to consider. You know, talk to your doctor and all that.

Here’s the link to the study abstract for good measure. The full text appears to be behind a pay wall, so if you want to see the whole study, you’ll have to bum a copy off of your local neighborhood oncologist.

mmmm mintyp.s. I’m posting this while 36,000 ft over southern Oregon via the extra minty fresh GoGo In-Flight wi-fi service on my flight from San Diego. Will wonders ever cease?

An article on the NPR blog caught my eye today:

Americans Exercise More, But Still Get Fatter

Well, the headline got it right, but when you read the post, you get the same yadda, yadda about ‘lowering caloric input,’ ‘avoiding fat,’ and ‘exercising more.’

Just another reminder to look the other way when you hear the conventional wisdom. There is a new wave coming. Stick with me and I’ll keep you right out front on the leading edge.

Interestingly, the article does not appear with the link above any more. Here’s the article I coped from my

Our workouts aren’t keeping up with our pig-outs.

That fitness routine is soooo not working. More Americans are spending some of their leisure time exercising, yet folks just keeps piling on the pounds.

Here are the cold, hard facts. About 35 percent of adults engage regularly in physical activity when they’re not working, according to estimates based on a 2009 nationwide survey. That’s up from 32 percent in 2008.

Now, what’s the scale tell us? Not good. More people in the U.S. are obese than ever. In 2009, about 28 percent of people in the U.S. were obese, up a fraction of a percent from 2008.

But hop in the Wayback Machine and check the weights in 1997. Nineteen percent of people in the U.S. were considered obese then.

There’s not a moment to lose in doing something to reverse the weight trend. A recent study found that a substantial decline in the rate of heart attacks could be fleeting as obesity and diabetes become more prevalent.

Exercise can only burn so many calories. Eating better is crucial. Recommendations for new nutritional guidelines would cut saturated fats even more than in the past and promote healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables.

But maybe you want to try some more reps of that time-honored weight-loss exercise move — pushing back from the dinner table.

What you *really* need to do to be healthy (which, by the way, will lead to healthy weight) is drastically reduce carbohydrate consumption (eliminate sweets and processed carbs), get your inflammation down (principally by upping your Omega-3 and reducing your Omega-6), getting your Vitamin D in a good range (50ng/ml, remember?) and lifting heavy things on a regular basis (see my BBS posts).

None of this aerobics and calorie restriction, OK?

Well, they hockey team I grew up rooting for growing up in Chicago (I was joking that I was a fan so long ago, it was before the Espositos went to the Bruins) has won the Stanley Cup for the first time in almost 50 years.

Fitting now that I post about their being the first ‘Vitamin D’ team to win a championship.

The Chicago Blackhawks are the First Vitamin D Team in Modern Professional Sports Historyfrom the Vitamin D council ont he subject.

Wonder if Dr. Joseph Mercola had anything to do with this (having his practice in Chicago, and all).

No doubt will inspire others.

By the way, if you want to see the clinical evidence, take a look:

Athletic performance and vitamin D
CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D may improve athletic performance in vitamin D-deficient athletes. Peak athletic performance may occur when 25(OH)D levels approach those obtained by natural, full-body, summer sun exposure, which is *at least* 40ng/mL

Scary, huh?Seems every major media outlet has to have an obligatory ‘be afraid of vitamins’  article/editorial periodically. It’s almost as if the folks a PhRMA have a database to keep track of this stuff:

PhRMA Rep Dude: Hello newspaper/TV/radio Publisher Guy. We noticed that, even though our members have booked an obscene amount of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical ads with your company, we notice you have not recently scared the electrolytes out of your readers/viewers by telling them the will die if they take vitamin C.

Publisher Guy: Oh, my apologies, PhRMA Rep Dude, we’ll get right on it. In fact, we have a set of stock editorials from which we pull this content to publish periodically. What with all the terror scares, economic re-meltdown, deadly earthquakes/aftermaths, mortgage crisis, undersea oil gushers and Jon & Kate news, it must have slipped off the queue momentarily. Rest, assured, we’ll get that one up right away.

PhRMA rep dude: You would do well to make good on this, Publisher Guy. You know we’re subsidizing the last two ‘real news’ reporters on staff. Hop to it.

So what’s got me spinning out on a random association tangent today? This ‘editorial’ in USA today:

Our view on pills and potions: Do you really know what’s in that dietary supplement?

Here’s a fun little tidbit:

Researchers at an accredited lab working for Congress’ non-partisan Government Accountability Office recently found traces of potentially hazardous contaminants in almost all of the 40 supplement products tested.

“Mommy, Mommy, please protect me from that scary Vitamin E.”

It did not escape my notice that in this very same issue (6/8/2010), there were several ‘news’ articles extolling the virtues of the latest pharmaceutical drug that may extend life about four months if you (well, we mostly) spend about $30,000/month for the drug.

Let’s have a few numbers for perspective. Way back in 1999, the Institute of Medicine published a landmark book called To Err is Human. In it, among other things, it cited 98,000 deaths in the US caused by medical care. To be clear, this was not the total number of deaths from all causes, these were deaths directly attributable to contact with the medical care system. While the book did not tease out how many of these deaths were specifically related to adverse drug reactions (ADRs), it is well understood that ADRs are a significant contributor.

More recently (in 2008), in a study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (note: not published in the US) It is estimated 3% of all deaths in the general population of industrialized countries are as a result of adverse drug reactions. In the US, the conservative estimate puts us at about 70,000 deaths per year directly related to legal pharmaceutical drugs (total of 2.4 mm deaths/year in US). Contrast this with the number of deaths from vitamins/supplements (namely, –0- in the typical year) and it’s not hard to see that we have our scary headlines misplaced.

What I find even more remarkable is how little information there is out there that probes the issue of the safety of pharmaceuticals in aggregate. You’d think that if the Institute of Medicine estimates some large number of people are killed by sanctioned, ‘on-label’ use of pharmaceuticals, we would have studied it more, here eleven years on. The silence is deafening, to borrow a shop worn cliché.

Here is your takeaway: the next time you see the “What about the health risks of vitamins” headline (and, make no mistake, you will see them popping up like clockwork), remember two numbers: *70,000* and *0*.

At the risk of changing my ‘Health Man’ blog into the ‘Vitamin D’ blog, I come to you – once again – with more vital information about Vitamin D.

In a previous post, I make reference to mindboggling degree of Vitamin D deficiency among African-Americans – 97% are deficient. While we focus on African-Americans due to the relatively large population of Americans of African descent, these issues should be of concern for all people living in temperate climates with melanin-rich skin pigment.

Little did I know that in February of 2005, the Vitamin D council offered a publication titled: Racial differences in vitamin D status. In a very brief six pages, it wallops you with fact after fact, study after study that strongly correlates the much higher incidence of mortality and morbidity among African-Americans with their relatively poor Vitamin D status.

In the hopes of piquing your interest in reading this, here area a few stunners:

  • Blacks are about ten times (not 10%) more likely to be vitamin D deficient than are whites.
  • Vitamin D deficiency in African American mothers may explain the fact that black babies are more than twice as likely as whites to have low-birth-weights.
  • Breast milk of black women often has undetectable levels of vitamin D.
  • Fourteen diseases/conditions that have a higher incidence among African-Americans (eg, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity) also correlate with Vitamin D deficiency

This will take so little of your time to read. I hope it leads you to take ACTION.

Vitamin D Council Newsletter, February 12, 2005, “Racial Opportunities”


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