Does Vitamin D Toxicity Exist?

Does Vitamin D Toxicity Exist? | vitamin-d | General Health Sleuth Journal Special Interests

Vitamin D is one of the most important and most misunderstood vitamin of our time, and many people simply aren’t receiving enough. Most people are deficient in vitamin D due to lack of sunlight exposure. We’re modern-day cavemen, trapped in our offices and homes, rarely ever exposing our skin to the life-giving energy of the sun. Vitamin D supplementation is perhaps the most viable alternative, but many people are concerned over taking too much, fearing that excess vitamin D can lead to toxicity. While it’s true you should have your vitamin D levels checked to ensure optimal supplementation levels, the truth is that vitamin D toxicity may hold no clinical relevance in current scientific research.Does Vitamin D Toxicity Exist? | ir?source=bk&t=thesleuthjour-20&bm-id=default&l=ktl&linkId=cc9d73e534a9dd16d3d948e5aa0dbf8e&_cb=1431988984179 | General Health Sleuth Journal Special Interests

 The Myth of Vitamin D Toxicity

A common concern regarding vitamin supplementation is toxicity. Taking too much of a good thing is never a good thing, and this holds true for most nutrients. The good thing about vitamin D, however, is that no evidence has conclusively shown vitamin D toxicity exists. What’s more, a recent study has concluded that there is probably no risk to taking vitamin D over 10,000 IUs. [1] This study echoes previous research that has revealed similar findings.

According to the Vitamin D Council, 5,000 IU/day of vitamin D supplementation can be helpful for getting your vitamin D to its optimal level. [1] Keep in mind that this amount is for individuals who know their current vitamin D status. Without knowing your actual blood levels of vitamin D, you’re more or less grasping at straws and could be supplementing with far less than you need. Consult with your doctor to determine your level and supplementation needs.

Do you get enough vitamin D? What type of supplementation do you implement, if any? Please let us know your thoughts about vitamin D in the comments!

References:

  1. Rachael Rettner. Can Too Much Vitamin D Be Toxic? Live Science.
  2. Vitamin D Council. How do I get the vitamin D my body needs? Vitamin D Council.


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Can Vitamin D Levels Predict Depression?

Can Vitamin D Levels Predict Depression? | depression | General Health Special Interests

You probably know that vitamin D plays an important role in the human body, helping to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. It’s also possible that you have heard that Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health problems, including rickets, breast cancer, heart disease, and weight gain. But what you most likely haven’t heard is that in addition to these serious issues, certain experts believe that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to clinical depression.

Vitamin D and Depression

A recent study may confirm the link between low serum levels of vitamin D and depressive symptoms. [1] The study assessed 185 healthy young women over four weeks, measuring their vitamin D levels and symptoms of depression. Researchers found that nearly half of the participants had vitamin D deficiency, and over a third had symptoms of clinically significant depressive symptoms.

When examining data from the study, investigators took factors such as season, body mass index, diet, exercise, and race into account. They found that lower vitamin D levels across the month-long period predicted symptoms of depression, and the only other factor that could predict such symptoms was the use of antidepressants.

Vitamin D: A Potent Fighter for Depression?

Though more research is needed to establish and understand the relationship between vitamin D and depression, the recent study certainly strengthens widespread suspicions that the two are linked. But what does this really mean?

No one is saying that vitamin D should be used to replace antidepressants or other types of depression treatments, but there is certainly no harm in using it as a supplement to such treatments as it is relatively inexpensive and low-risk. Whatever role vitamin D plays in depression, it’s highly advisable to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D regardless to promote bone growth and reduce the risk of other health problems.

References:

  1. David C. R. Kerr, et al. Association between vitamin D levels and depressive symptoms in young healthy adult women. Psychiatry Research. February 25, 2015. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2015.02.016.


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Research From 100+ Countries Proves Sunlight Prevents Cancer

Research From 100+ Countries Proves Sunlight Prevents Cancer | sunshine | Natural Medicine Sleuth Journal Special Interests

For the same reason that the conventional energy industry has not harnessed the full potential of solar energy (its free!), sunlight and its indispensable byproduct in our skin: vitamin D, represents a serious threat to the medical establishment, whose questionable and aggressive promotion of vaccination and drug-based strategies in place of inexpensive, safe and effective vitamin D supplementation (or better, carefully meted out recreation and sunlight exposure) for immunity, has many questioning their motives.

Vitamin D, after all, has a vital preventive role to play in hundreds of conditions, due to the fact that 1 in every 10 genes in the human body depends on adequate quantities of this gene-regulatory hormone to function optimally.  In other words, the very genetic/epigenetic infrastructure of our health would fall apart without adequate levels.

Even the risk for developing cancer, one of the most feared health conditions of our time — and the one the medical establishment has had the least success preventing and treating — is intimately connected to your vitamin D status.

Indeed, a groundbreaking new meta-analysis on the sunlight – vitamin D connection, published in the journal Anticancer Research and based on data from over 100 countries, found that “a strong inverse correlations with solar UVB for 15 types of cancer,” with weaker, though still significant evidence for the protective role of sunlight in 9 other cancers.

The relevant cancers were

“Bladder, breast, cervical, colon, endometrial, esophageal, gastric, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, rectal, renal, and vulvar cancer; and Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Weaker evidence exists for nine other types of cancer: brain, gallbladder, laryngeal, oral/pharyngeal, prostate, and thyroid cancer; leukemia; melanoma; and multiple myeloma.”

Sunlight exposure, after all, is essential for health from the moment we are born. Without it, for instance, infants are prone to developing neonatal jaundice.  The very variation in human skin color from African, melanin-saturated dark skin, to the relatively melanin de-pigmented, Caucasian lighter-skin, is a byproduct of the offspring of our last common ancestor from Africa (as determined by mitochondrial DNA) migrating towards sunlight-impoverished higher latitudes, which began approximately 60,000 years ago.

In order to compensate for the lower availability of sunlight, the body rapidly adjusted, essentially requiring the removal of the natural “sunscreen” melanin from the skin, which interferes with vitamin D production.  While a life-saving adaptation, the loss of melanin likely has adverse health effects, which include losing the ability to convert sunlight into metabolic energy, increased prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (which involves de-melanization of the substantia nigra), and others effects which we will discuss in detail in a future article.

For now, it is important to point out that within the span of only 60,000 years (a nanosecond in biological time), many of the skin “color” differences among the world’s human inhabitants reflect how heavily genetically-conserved was the ability of the human body to produce vitamin D.

It should also be pointed out that vitamin D is to sunlight, what ascorbic acid is to the vitamin C activity in food. In other words, sunlight likely provides a greater spectrum of therapeutic activity (when carefully meted out, preferably during solar noon) than supplemental vitamin D3, which is almost exclusively derived from UVB irradiated sheep’s lanolin.

For further research, the following link reveals 50 therapeutic effects of sunlight exposure, as culled from research housed on the National Library of Medicine.

© April 23, 2017 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.


Article Contributed by Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com.

Sayer Ji is an author, researcher, lecturer, and advisory board member of the National Health Federation. He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is internationally recognized as the largest and most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

 


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Sunlight Holds Key To Killing Breast Cancer

Sunlight Holds Key To Killing Breast Cancer | sunlight | Natural Medicine

A new study finds vitamin D — the ‘sunlight vitamin’ — strikes to the very heart of breast cancer malignancy.

Breast cancer is not what most people think. Beneath the intimidating statistics that make it seem like a juggernaut of inevitability or a time bomb of genetic determinism ready to go off in the asymptomatic breasts of millions of women, a far more complex conversation is occurring among clinicians and researchers concerning the true nature and causes of cancer, and why conventional therapies fail to turn the tide against the second highest cause of death in the Western world.  To fully appreciate this, one must go to the first hand research itself.

For instance, a new study published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology identifies an overlooked root cause of breast cancer (cancer stem cells), as well as a natural intervention that has yet to be incorporated into the conventional standard of cancer care.

Titled, “Vitamin D compounds reduce mammosphere formation and decrease expression of putative stem cell markers in breast cancer,” the new study brings to the forefront the role of breast cancer stem cells (BSCs) in breast tumor formation and their progression towards malignancy and treatment resistance. For many decades it was assumed that cancer results from DNA-damaged cells succumbing to fundamentally chaotic processes, ‘going rogue’ and reproducing clonally (making identical copies of one another), without an acknowledgment of the different types of cells that comprise tumors. The most salient difference is between the cancer stem cells (sometimes referred to as ‘mother’ cells) which are capable of theoretically infinite self-renewal and produce all the differentiated ‘daughter’ cells in a tumor colony, which themselves are not capable of living indefinitely. It is actually the existence of the much smaller number of cancer stem cells which causes cancer recurrence, as they are not only resistant to conventional chemotherapy and radiation, but their numbers can actually be increased (enriched) by these two ‘therapies.’ Therefore, any cancer therapy that ignores the cancer stem cell subpopulation in favor of killing the non-tumorigenic daughter cells in order to ‘debulk’ the tumor (i.e. shrink it), will not result in destroying the root of the cancer. To the contrary, it can generate the illusion of ‘remission’ while in fact making the remaining tumor colony far more malignant, setting up the conditions for aggressive recurrence years later.

The new study focused on a type of breast tissue abnormality known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which for decades was considered cancer (constituting about 20% of all breast cancer diagnoses), but recently has been identified as a benign lesion of epithelial origin. There are cases where DCIS progresses towards another breast abnormality known as invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC), which is considered a more serious risk. But even IDC cases may never progress to cause symptoms, nor ever cause harm to those within which it occurs. Nonetheless, the conventional medical system still considers a diagnosis of either DCIS or IDC justification for aggressive interventions, e.g. lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, indicating that if there is a natural intervention to decelerate the trajectory from DCIS to IDC, especially if it focuses on targeting and/or reducing the expression and growth of breast cancer stem cells, it is of great clinical relevance.

The new study sought to determine whether vitamin D3 and an analog known as BXL0124 are capable of inhibiting the progression of DCIS to IDC, and whether this effect is mediated through an influence on breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs). The study used a mammosphere cell culture system, which is a clump of mammary gland cells that includes breast cancer stem cells along with non-stem cell breast cells.

The researchers found that when the Vitamin D compounds were administered to the mammosphere culture it was observed to undergo a transition from a state of disorganization and irregularity in shape to a more organized and symmetrical shape similar to spheres formed by a non-malignant, normal mammary epithelial cell line. This cancer-defying effect of the vitamin D compounds was described in terms of a reduction in the so-called ‘mammosphere forming efficiency (MFE).” Moreover, treatment with vitamin D compounds was found to repress cell markers associated with stem cell-like phenotype (e.g. CD44, CD49f,c-Notch1, andpNFkB), as well as pluripotency markers (e.g. OCT4 and KLF-4), another property found within cancer stem cells.

The study concluded:

“Cancer progression, metastasis, and recurrence are significant problems in managing breast cancer. A significant body of evidence indicates that breast cancer stem cells drive these processes, complicating treatment strategies. A better understanding of how BCSCs drive breast cancer progression will aid in developing targeted therapies toward BCSCs. Our present study suggests a potential treatment strategy to reduce the putative BCSC population, and therefore enhance the effectiveness of breast cancer prevention and treatment through the use of vitamin D compounds.” [emphasis added]

Regardless of whether DCIS or ICS really do represent a mortal threat to the health and lives of women, this study indicates that vitamin D targets the most malignant cell type found within breast cancer — the cancer stem cells — which is infinitely more selective an intervention than radiation and chemotherapy; nor does vitamin D have the profoundly damaging side effects of conventional cancer treatment.

Vitamin D, of course, is designed to be manufactured through the ultraviolet B-stimulated conversion of the cholesterol metabolite 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin. The fact that in the modern era the breasts are never exposed to sunlight and that generally speaking adequate sunlight exposure (especially considering the over-use of vitamin-D blocking and carcinogenic petroleum-based sunscreens) is rare, it is likely that many of the variations in breast morphology increasingly being diagnosed through technologies like mammography as being ‘abnormal’ or ‘precancerous,’ directly reflect a deficiency of sunlight and Vitamin D.  While the U.S. Preventive Task Force does not believe there is enough evidence supporting the benefit of vitamin D screening in routine practice, there is no harm in getting a blood test to determine one’s levels relative to the background population. And since vitamin D3 supplementation is affordable and extremely safe relative to commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals like Tamoxifen (a known carcinogen), it may provide those at risk for breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence with a reasonable alternative to watchful waiting and/or preventive chemotherapy.

For additional research on risk factors for breast cancer stem cell enrichment, as well as natural substances found to kill them, take a look at our database page on the topic: Breast Cancer Stem Cells, as well as the larger database section on Cancer Stem Cells in general.

© March 20, 2017 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Codex Nutrition Committee Condemns 90% of World to Poor Health

Codex Nutrition Committee Condemns 90% of World to Poor Health | codex-nutrition-meeting | codex alimentarius General Health Medical & Health Special Interests World News

Codex Meeting location in Hamburg-Bergedorf, Germany

 

By Scott C. Tips, NHF President & General Counsel |

At the beginning of this week December 5-9, 2016, the Codex Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses (CCNFSDU) became the very thing that Codex Secretariat Tom Heilandt warned against in his opening speech there – “lazy monkeys.” For those unfamiliar with that term, it is loosely translated as “being lazy for no reason and not functioning properly.” On the debate over the daily Nutrient Reference Values (NRVs) for Vitamin D and Vitamin E, the bulk of the Committee weakly argued and agreed amongst themselves that the World’s population does not need adequate blood levels of either Vitamin D or Vitamin E. In particular, the CCNFSDU decided that 5-15 micrograms (200-600 IUs) /day of Vitamin D and 9 milligrams (13.5 IUs)/day of Vitamin E are all that humanity needs. Lazy monkeys.

As anyone with even a smidgen of nutritional knowledge knows, both Vitamin D and Vitamin E are critical for human health, and at far greater amounts than first thought. Long gone are the days when rational nutritionists and researchers thought that 400 IUs per day (10 mcg/day) of Vitamin D would sustain optimal health. And for those who live in that fairy-tale land where 13.5 IUs per day (9 mg/day) of Vitamin E will support normal fertility and childbirth, or health at any level, a very special place in Hell is reserved. Or else on a delegation at a Codex committee.

The Vitamin-D NRV

In point of which, on the Vitamin-D NRV, there were only three choices presented to the Committee: 5 mcg (200 IUs)/day, 10 mcg (400 IUs)/day, and 15 mcg (600 IUs)/day – parsimonious by any reasonable health standard. To their credit, the United States, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, Switzerland, Panama, and Malaysia all spoke up for the higher Vitamin-D level. Curiously, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) did not speak up; but it did conduct an excellent pre-meeting seminar for Codex delegates as well as submit a very powerful and well-crafted document supporting much higher daily levels for Vitamin D. Chile, I must say, was amazing, firmly stating that “the 15-microgram-a-day level is not even enough to start dealing with our nutritional needs.”

The National Health Federation (NHF),[1] of course, argued both in writing and at the meeting for significantly higher Vitamin-D levels, stating in particular that the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) had badly miscalculated the RDA for Vitamin D. It turns out that Canadian scientists had discovered that the IOM made significant mistakes in calculating the daily value for Vitamin D. Their analyses showed that rather than 600 IUs (15 mcg) per day, it would take 8,895 IUs per day to achieve 25(OH)D above 50 nmol/L in 97.5% of the population using data from 8 of the 10 studies that the IOM considered (the other two studies did not report all necessary information).[2] In short, the NRV should be 8,895 IUs (or 222.37 micrograms) per day. NHF suspects that this statistical mistake has been replicated in one form or another by the other Recognized Authoritative Scientific Bodies (RASBs) that Codex relies upon. On behalf of NHF, we heavily lobbied the delegations during every meeting break to support the highest NRVs.

The usual anti-health suspects – Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and Brazil, surprisingly supported by China, India, and the EU – agitated in favor of the sub-optimal levels (400 IUs/day) of Vitamin D, while a couple of African countries thought that 5 mcg/day would be sufficient because, as the Senegal delegate (a doctor no less) put it, “In 40 years, I have never seen a case of rickets in Senegal.” Of course not, since Senegal is only 14.5 degrees north of the Equator. Try Detroit, Michigan at 42 degrees north of the Equator, where almost 100% of African-American babies delivered in the wintertime are born with rickets! And I said exactly that to the Committee when NHF spoke out on this issue.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) had just come out in November with its opinion that the daily level for Vitamin D should be set at 15 mcg (600 IUs) per day.  A normal person would think that the EU delegation would accordingly argue strenuously for this higher level.  A normal person, though, would be completely wrong. Without blinking an eye, the EU delegation – led by spokeswoman Stephanie Bodenbach – caved like a cheap drunk on a Saturday-night binge and threw away the critical 15-member voting block that could have held tough for higher Vitamin-D levels by meekly submitting to the lower 10 mcg/day NRV.

After a brief break, the CCNFSDU Chairwoman, Dr. Pia Noble, tried to save the situation by announcing that it appeared that most delegates were in favor of the 15 mcg/day level, but Australia and New Zealand swooped in on her like hawks, disagreeing strenuously. Had the EU simply stood on the EFSA position of a 15 mcg/day NRV, then the Chairwoman could have prevailed; but with the EU having deserted the field, Dr. Noble had little choice but to stretch for the best deal possible – a range of all three possibilities so as to include the higher range. In the end, the CCNFSDU set the Vitamin-D NRV at a range of 5 mcg to 15 mcg per day.

The Vitamin-E NRV

The first battle over the Vitamin-E NRV was not actually about a number value but rather was about what form, or isomer, of Vitamin E should be the “measuring stick” for the Vitamin-E NRV. Unsurprisingly, most Codex delegates are extremely one-dimensional when it comes to Vitamin E.  For them, there exists only the alpha-tocopherol form of Vitamin E, which current research shows actually reduces the gamma and delta forms when used alone as Codex proposes; all of the others – the beta, delta, and gamma tocopherols as well as the four tocotrienols – have no value, serve no purpose, and are nutritionally worthless. NHF has strongly disagreed with Codex over the years, siding instead with science. But lazy monkeys clearly don’t have time for current science.

Fortunately, Malaysia is a Codex exception and has put substantial thought and time into its own pro-multi-tocopherol and multi-tocotrienol position. Its written submission to the Committee was a concise and very-well-supported research document, while Malaysia’s oral arguments at the meeting in favor of a multi-tocopherol and multi-tocotrienol approach to the Vitamin-E complex reflected cutting-edge nutritional science. Indonesia, the Philippines, and NHF strongly supported Malaysia’s arguments. However, Australia’s and the EU’s “flat earth” arguments prevailed and alpha-tocopherol was declared to be the sole and only nutritionally worthwhile isomer of the Vitamin-E complex. Nature, evidently, is not as wise as these lofty Codex delegates.

The discussion then shifted to setting an actual daily value (NRV) for Vitamin E. Incredibly, the only choices presented to the Committee were an NRV at 9 mg/day, 12 mg/day, or 15 mg/day. In American and Canadian terms that means 13.5 IUs/day, 18 IUs/day, or 22.5 IUs/day; all negligible amounts. I myself take 400 IUs per day and have for decades. The pitiful daily levels proposed at this meeting guarantee nothing but suboptimal health and reduced fertility.

But of course that did not stop Australia from once again pushing for the lowest daily level possible, 9 mg.  As I have said for a long time now, if one day you accidentally stumble into a Codex meeting and know absolutely nothing about what is going on, then just listen for Australia’s position on any given issue. By taking the exact opposite position, you will know that you are supporting optimal health. It really is that easy.

It was also very easy for the EU, which once again tripped over its feet while rushing to accommodate Australia and bad nutrition, all while once again ignoring its own scientific body’s opinion.  “The EU supports 12 mg but could agree to 9 mg because of the overwhelming support,” the feckless Bodenbach intoned once again while creating out of thin air the myth of “overwhelming support.” Thank you Ms. Bodenbach for throwing good nutrition – and your fellow citizens – under the bus and stepping on the accelerator as you did so.

Both China and the Russian Federation disagreed with Australia and the EU, with China arguing strongly for a 14 mg/day NRV and the Russians for 12 mg/day.  FoodDrinkEurope, a Codex INGO, stated its support for a 12 mg or higher NRV, while NHF argued for a level far higher than any other delegation.

In effect, NHF told the Codex Committee – comprised of some 360 participants – in no uncertain terms that it would be madness to accept less than 15 mg per day as the Vitamin-E NRV in light of recent studies showing that most of the population would be left deficient in Vitamin E if the 9-mg-per-day NRV were adopted.[3] NHF also submitted written comments, as did the Council for Responsible Nutrition, on this and the Vitamin-D NRV issue.[4]

The United States finally spoke up but, ignoring its own government’s recommended daily allowance of 15 mg per day for Vitamin E,[5] supported the lowest level of 9 mg per day.  The U.S. delegate, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bureaucrat, simply proved once again that the FDA is a rogue agency that does whatever it wants and the American consumer can be damned.

But for the EU’s and U.S.’ betrayal of their own respective scientific bodies and citizens, the Codex Committee would have provided for a higher NRV for Vitamin E.  Instead, we can thank both for their deliberate stab in the back that surprised us and others who had expected a higher and healthier NRV for Vitamin E to be set in place of the pathetic 9 mg per day NRV ultimately announced by the Chairwoman.

Codex Nutrition Committee Condemns 90% of World to Poor Health | codex-meeting | codex alimentarius General Health Medical & Health Special Interests World News

NHF Delegation at 2016 CCNFSDU Hamburg, Germany Meeting

 

Follow-Up Formula for Infants

Yet another long and contentious issue debated at this CCNFSDU meeting was the Committee’s review of the standard for Follow-Up Formula (FUF). FUF is a relatively new market segment created to sell formula to those infants and young children six to thirty-six months of age.

Various baby-formula consumer groups were buzzing all over this topic like flies on cow patties, while Nestle and other business-interest groups defended a follow-up formula that many others claim is nothing more than a marketing ploy to sell more formula to a largely untapped, older-infant market segment that would normally have transitioned to their culture’s indigenous diet. Part of the battle is over the placement of this product on store shelves near infant formula, using similar packaging and colors, which would imply that it is next in the progression; marketing deception at its most subtle.

The Infant Baby Formula Action Network (IBFAN), one of the consumer groups at this meeting which, like NHF, favor natural breast milk over formula, highlights the greed factor here. In a recent press release, IBFAN stated, “[t]hese processed, expensive, sweetened and flavored milks targeting 6-36 month old children account for 50% of absolute growth in a formula market that is set to rise by 55% from US$45 billion to US$70 billion by 2019.”[6]

When the dust settled at the end of this agenda item’s discussion, both sides seemed content – the formula manufacturers because the FUF standard was still progressing, which when adopted will give international legitimacy to this product, and the infant-formula consumer groups because CCNFSDU agreed to include a reference to WHO’s recommendations for strict controls on the marketing and labeling of formulas for babies over six months.

Biofortification

As at last year’s CCNFSDU meeting, an electronic Working Group (eWG), headed by South Africa and Zimbabwe, once again put forth suggested definitions of “Biofortification” to the Committee. But, the key question was whether the definition should be broad enough to include genetically modified (GM) (recombinant-DNA) technology within it.

Those pushing a standard for Biofortification, particularly the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) led at Codex by the diplomatic Dr. Anne Mackenzie of Canada, claim that Biofortification itself as a concept is neutral and that it would be up to each country to decide for itself whether Biofortification would include recombinant-DNA technology or not. To them, Biofortification is simply the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through plant breeding with the aim of making the nutrients bioavailable after digestion. To most of us, that means “conventional” plant breeding. However, some would like to convert Biofortification into a Trojan Horse that will allow GM foods to slip into those countries that currently ban such foods.

The Chairwoman (who is married to a Bayer pharmaceutical executive) started off the discussion by giving her incorrect personal opinion that the definition should be as broad as possible and that recombinant technology should be included. Her statement, though, directly contradicted Australia’s admission last year that if the Committee were to refer to the original 2012 document on the scope of Biofortification, we would see that Biofortification only refers to conventional breeding and so we should clearly exclude GM techniques. This year Australia was silent on the issue.

The EU raised a new but valid objection that the very name “Biofortification” would cause confusion in many European countries due to the widespread use of the word “bio” as synonymous with “organic.” Belgium was very vocal and supported the EU’s position here as well as arguing that the definition needs to be restrictive, not broad. Sudan supported Belgium; while Ireland warned the Committee against the risks of monoculture, stating that what was needed here was biodiversity. Both the FAO and the WHO let the delegates know that they were looking into Biofortification and that the WHO’s full systematic review of it would not be available until January 2017.

India proposed its own restrictive definition that excludes GM techniques. NHF strongly supported India’s definition and challenged the Chairwoman’s statement that the definition must be as broad as possible. NHF specifically warned the delegates that allowing GM techniques within the definition of Biofortification would create a Trojan Horse for the introduction of GM foods into markets previously excluding them.  The United States, Mexico, Canada, and New Zealand of course wanted the broad definition that would allow biotechnology. In the end, nothing was resolved and the Chairwoman re-authorized the eWG so that it could work further on the definition.

Overview

Although other issues were discussed at this meeting, the four that elicited the most interest and emotion were the ones discussed above. And of those four, the most disappointment lay in the thrown-away opportunities to raise the Nutrient Reference Values for Vitamin D and Vitamin E to healthier levels. Had the European Union stood its ground and followed the European Food Safety Authority’s own findings on both vitamins, then we would now be looking at a higher daily value for both.  On the Vitamin-D NRV, the Chairwoman practically laid down a carpet to make it so easy for the EU to ask for the higher level called for by EFSA. But in its eagerness to please, the EU compromised away its moral high ground, so much so that the words “the EU compromised” appeared so many times in the Final Report of the meeting that Thailand called the phrase into question and it was removed!

NHF even raised the ugly specter of racism in Codex’s blatant disregard of the effect of low Vitamin-D levels on the health of darker-skinned people living in higher latitudes. Apparently, Codex turns a blind eye to this demographic, condemning them to a greater incidence of ill health and early death than the fairer-skinned populace, which absorbs sunlight more readily.

General George Patton said that “it is better to fight for something than to live for nothing.” Those at Codex who compromise downwards from scientific truths do a great disservice to themselves, their own families, and all of those countless millions who depend upon them. They are not fighting for something, they are living for nothing. Codex lazy monkeys.

© 2016 Scott C. Tips

REFERENCES:

[1] The NHF delegation consisted of Scott Tips (NHF President and head of NHF Codex delegation), Katherine Carroll (NHF Executive Director), and David Noakes (NHF Board member). NHF’s written submission was prepared by Scott Tips and Katherine Carroll with the Vitamin-E research provided by Bill Sardi.

[2] Paul Veugelers & JP Ekwaru, “A statistical error in the estimation of the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin D,” Nutrients, 6(10):4472-5 (Oct 20, 2014); doi: 10.3390/nu6104472, at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25333201.

[3] See video recording of NHF’s Codex argument at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqbRkWCHaZI. See also NHF’s argument on the isomer issue at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n41Q1w7YyKc.

[4] For NHF’s written comments, see Conference Room Document 6 (CRD 6) soon to be posted at www.thenhf.com. CRN’s written comments were excellent and were submitted to the Electronic Working Group chaired by Australia.

[5] See, e.g., U.S. Dept of Health & Human Services, National Institutes of Health “Vitamin E Fact Sheet for Health Professionals,” Table 1, at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/.

[6] IBFAN Press Release, “Global standard-setting committee puts child health before trade,” December 7, 2016, citing ICDC Focus: aggressive Promotion: Growing Up Milks www.babymilkaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/GUMs-NEW.2016.pdf.

 

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5 Amazing Properties of Sunlight You’ve Never Heard About

5 Amazing Properties of Sunlight You've Never Heard About | heart-sunset-sunlight | General Health Science & Technology Sleuth Journal Special Interests

Sunlight is well-known to provide us vitamin D, but did you know that it kills pain, keeps us alert at night, burns fat and more…

Our biological connection and dependence to the sun is so profound, that the very variation in human skin color from African, melanin-saturated dark skin, to the relatively melanin de-pigmented, Caucasian lighter-skin, is a byproduct of the offspring of our last common ancestor from Africa (as determined by mitochondrial DNA) migrating towards sunlight-impoverished higher latitudes, which began approximately 60,000 years ago. In order to compensate for the lower availability of sunlight, the body rapidly adjusted, essentially requiring the removal of the natural “sunscreen” melanin from the skin, which interferes with vitamin D production; vitamin D, of course, is involved in the regulation of over 2,000 genes, and therefore is more like a hormone, without which our entire genetic infrastructure becomes destabilized.

While the health benefits of vitamin D are well-documented (GreenMedInfo.com has identified over 200 health conditions that may benefit from optimizing vitamin D levels: Vitamin D Health Benefits page, and Henry Lahore’s Vitamin D Wiki has far more), the therapeutic properties of sunlight are only now being explored in greater depth by the research community.

Below are detailed five noteworthy properties of sunlight exposure:

1) Sunlight Has Pain-Killing (Analgesic) Properties: A 2005 study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine titled, “The effect of sunlight on postoperative analgesic medication use: a prospective study of patients undergoing spinal surgery,” analyzed patients staying on the bright side of the hospital unit who were exposed to 46% higher-intensity sunlight on average. The patients exposed to an increased intensity of sunlight experienced less perceived stress, marginally less, took 22% less analgesic medication per hour, and had 21% less pain medication costs. [i]

2) Sunlight Burns Fat: A 2011 study published in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology revealed a remarkable fact of metabolism: The exposure of human skin to UV light results in increased subcutaneous fat metabolism. While subcutaneous fat, unlike visceral fat, is not considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, it is known that a deficiency of one of sunlight’s best known beneficial byproducts, vitamin D, is associated with greater visceral fat.[ii] Also, there is a solid body of research showing that vitamin D deficiency is linked to obesity, with 9 such studies on our obesity research page.

One of them, titled “Association of plasma vitamin D levels with adiposity in Hispanic and African Americans,” and which was published in the journal Anticancer Research in 2005, found that vitamin D levels were inversely associated with adiposity in Hispanics and African-Americans, including abdominal obesity.[iii] The point? Exposure to UVB radiation, which is most abundant two hours on either side of solar noon and responsible for producing vitamin D, may be an essential strategy in burning fat, the natural way.

3) Sunlight via Solar Cycles May Directly Regulate Human Lifespan: Published in 2010 in the journal Medical Hypotheses and titled, “The effect of solar cycles on human lifespan in the 50 United states: variation in light affects the human genome,” researchers review the possibility that solar cycles directly affect the human genome.  According to the researchers:

In the current study we report that those persons conceived and likely born during the peaks (MAX approximately 3 years) of approximately 11-year solar cycles lived an average 1.7 years less than those conceived and likely born during non-peaks (MIN approximately 8 years). Increased energy at solar MAX, albeit relatively a small 0.1% increase from MIN, apparently modifies the human genome/epigenome and engenders changes that predispose to various diseases, thereby shortening lifespan. It is likely that same energy increases beneficial variety in the genome which may enhance adaptability in a changing environment.

Sunlight exposure, therefore, may directly affect the length of our life, and may even accelerate genetic changes that may confer a survival advantage.[iv]

4) Daytime Sunlight Exposure Improves Evening Alertness: A 2012 study published in the journal Behavioral Neuroscience titled, “Effects of prior light exposure on early evening performance, subjective sleepiness, and hormonal secretion,” found that subjects felt significantly more alert at the beginning of the evening after being exposed to 6 hours of mainly daylight exposure, whereas they became sleepier at the end of the evening after artificial light exposure.[v]

5) Sunlight May Convert To Metabolic Energy:

If a novel hypothesis published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine is correct,[vi] a longstanding assumption that animals are incapable of utilizing light energy directly is now called into question.  In other words, our skin may contain the equivalent of melanin “solar-panels,” and it may be possible to “ingest” energy, as plants do, directly from the Sun.

Melanin has a diverse set of roles in various organisms. From the ink of the octopus, to the melanin-based protective colorings of bacteria and fungi, melanin offers protection against a variety of threats: from predators and similar biochemical threats (host defenses against invading organisms), UV light, and other chemical stresses (i.e. heavy metals and oxidizing agents). Commonly overlooked, however, is melanin’s ability to convert gamma and ultraviolet radiation into metabolic energy within living systems.

Single-celled fungi, for instance, have been observed thriving within the collapsed nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, Ukraine, using gamma radiation as a source of energy. Albino fungi, without melanin, were studied to be incapable of using gamma radiation in this way, proving that gamma rays initiate a yet-unknown process of energy production within exposed melanin.

Vertebrate animals may also convert light directly into metabolic energy through the help of melanin. In a review  titled, “Melanin directly converts light for vertebrate metabolic use: heuristic thoughts on birds, Icarus and dark human skin,” Geoffrey Goodman and Dani Bercovich offer a thought-provoking reflection on the topic, the abstract of which is well worth reading in its entirety:

Pigments serve many visually obvious animal functions (e.g. hair, skin, eyes, feathers, scales). One is ‘melanin’, unusual in an absorption across the UV-visual spectrum which is controversial. Any polymer or macro-structure of melanin monomers is ‘melanin’. Its roles derive from complex structural and physical-chemical properties e.g. semiconductor, stable radical, conductor, free radical scavenger, charge-transfer.

Clinicians and researchers are well acquainted with melanin in skin and ocular pathologies and now increasingly are with internal, melanized, pathology-associated sites not obviously subject to light radiation (e.g. brain, cochlea). At both types of sites some findings puzzle: positive and negative neuromelanin effects in Parkinsons; unexpected melanocyte action in the cochlea, in deafness; melanin reduces DNA damage, but can promote melanoma; in melanotic cells, mitochondrial number was 83% less, respiration down 30%, but development similar to normal amelanotic cells.

A little known, avian anatomical conundrum may help resolve melanin paradoxes. One of many unique adaptations to flight, the pecten, strange intra-ocular organ with unresolved function(s), is much enlarged and heavily melanized in birds fighting gravity, hypoxia, thirst and hunger during long-distance, frequently sub-zero, non-stop migration. The pecten may help cope with energy and nutrient needs under extreme conditions, by a marginal but critical, melanin-initiated conversion of light to metabolic energy, coupled to local metabolite recycling.

Similarly in Central Africa, reduction in body hair and melanin increase may also have lead to ‘photomelanometabolism’ which, though small scale/ unit body area, in total may have enabled a sharply increased development of the energy-hungry cortex and enhanced human survival generally. Animal inability to utilize light energy directly has been traditionally assumed. Melanin and the pecten may have unexpected lessons also for human physiology and medicine.


Resources

  • [ii] Association Between Visceral Obesity and Sarcopenia and Vitamin D Deficiency in Older Koreans: The Ansan Geriatric Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Feb 8. Epub 2012 Feb 8. PMID: 22316299
  • [iii] Association of plasma vitamin D levels with adiposity in Hispanic and African Americans. Anticancer Res. 2005 Mar-Apr;25(2A):971-9. PMID: 19549738
  • [iv] Walter E Lowell, George E Davis. The effect of solar cycles on human lifespan in the 50 United states: variation in light affects the human genome. Med Hypotheses. 2010 Jul;75(1):17-25. Epub 2010 May 7. PMID: 20452128
  • [v] Mirjam Münch, Friedrich Linhart, Apiparn Borisuit, Susanne M Jaeggi, Jean-Louis Scartezzini. Effects of prior light exposure on early evening performance, subjective sleepiness, and hormonal secretion. Behav Neurosci. 2012 Feb ;126(1):196-203. Epub 2011 Dec 26. PMID: 22201280
  • [vi] Geoffrey Goodman, Dani Bercovich. Melanin directly converts light for vertebrate metabolic use: heuristic thoughts on birds, Icarus and dark human skin. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jan-Feb;14(1):17-25. PMID: 18479839

© December 8, 2016 GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here http://www.greenmedinfo.com/greenmed/newsletter.

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Vitamin D Deficiency Puts IBD Patients at Greater Risk of Osteoporosis -Study

Vitamin D Deficiency Puts IBD Patients at Greater Risk of Osteoporosis -Study | human-skeleton-Vitamin-D-Deficiency-IBD-Patients-Greater-Risk-Osteoporosis | General Health

Malnutrition is a common side effect of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The damage Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and other bowel diseases inflict upon the intestinal tract makes it nearly impossible for proper absorption of essential vitamins and minerals the human body requires to thrive.

More than a million people are believed to suffer from IBD in the United States alone, yet it is still not well understood and treatment options are limited. This, combined with the prevalence and severity of the disease, has led it to be the subject of a great deal of advanced clinical research.

The Connection Between IBD and Bone Loss

One study, “Vitamin D Deficiency and Abnormal DEXA scans in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients,” was presented at the 75th Annual Scientific meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology [1]. The study expands upon previous investigations which have shown vitamin D deficiency to be common among IBD patients. This knowledge led researchers to analyze the connection between bowel disease and other conditions, such as osteoporosis and osteopenia, which typically stem from poor vitamin D uptake.

Over a period of two years, the research team measured the bone density of 161 documented IBD patients, ranging from ages 10 to 70 years old. They found that almost a quarter of all patients showed sufficient enough loss of bone density to qualify for a diagnosis of either osteoporosis or osteopenia. Nearly one-half of those patients with signs of bone loss were less than 50 years old.

Vitamin D deficiency was found to be four times more common in patients who suffered from Crohn’s disease than other forms of IBD. This is likely due to the especially harsh way in which Crohn’s disease impacts the small intestines, where the bulk of dietary nutrients (including vitamin D) are normally absorbed. Colitis, while equally painful and difficult to treat, targets only the colon or large intestine, which has a less significant role in vitamin D uptake.

Researchers found that widespread vitamin D deficiency and bone loss were equally common among IBD patients regardless of factors such as age, gender, or the use of corticosteroid medications, which were previously thought to be key contributors. This strongly suggests that the particular type of bowel disease a given patient suffers from is the single greatest indicator of potential risk.

The Importance of Getting Enough Vitamin D

While additional investigation is still needed to fully understand the connection between IBD, vitamin deficiency, and osteoporosis, these findings give reason to consider the use of dietary supplementation to ensure adequate levels of essential nutrients are available, especially in cases where intestinal damage may make it difficult to extract and absorb sufficient amounts of vitamin D from food sources.

References:

  1. American College of Gastroenterology. Vitamin D deficiency puts inflammatory bowel disease patients at greater risk of osteoporosis, study finds. ScienceDaily. 18 Oct. 2010.

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Sunscreen Won’t Prevent Skin Cancer But Some Could Actually Cause It

sunscreen

Does wearing sunscreen prevent skin cancer? If you listen to public health officials that urge every man, woman and child to slather on sunscreen every day, you would think the answer is an unequivocal yes.

Aside from those who use sunscreen for the purpose of preventing wrinkles, it’s a safe assumption that many people use it with the intent of preventing skin cancer. But here’s the rub: wearing sunscreen may not actually protect you from cancer and, in some cases, may actually increase your risk.

Daily Sunscreen Use Versus Occasional Use: No Difference in Skin Cancer Rates

A Cochrane Review attempted to determine whether the use of topical sunscreen and physical sun-protective methods (such as wearing protective clothing, hats, and seeking shade) prevented the development of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) compared to taking no precautionary measures.1

There wasn’t much data on the topic to be found, so the review includes the results of just one study, which compared the daily application of sunscreen with the occasional use of sunscreen over a period of 4.5 years.

Among the more than 1,600 Australian participants, there was no difference between the numbers of people who developed BCC or cSCC (the most common types of skin cancer) in the two groups during the trial period.

As noted in the Cochrane Review, “So, there did not seem to be a difference in applying sunscreen daily compared with using it occasionally.”2

While I certainly don’t recommend spending so much time in the sun that your skin gets burned, the one-size-fits-all recommendation from public health officials to apply sunscreen daily may be causing more harm than good.

The fact is, sunlight offers many benefits to your health, the majority of which are only beginning to be understood. Meanwhile, most sunscreens contain harmful chemicals and may not protect your skin from overexposure the way you think they do. Some may even increase your risk of cancer.

Certain Sunscreens May Speed the Development of Skin Cancer

Close to 16 percent of U.S. sunscreens contain vitamin A, which sounds like a natural addition that might be beneficial for your skin, acting as an antioxidant.

However, retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A, has been found to promote the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied topically and exposed to sunlight.3

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) National Center for Toxicological Research (NTP) has been studying the ability of vitamin A ingredients to trigger skin cancer when exposed to the sun for more than a decade.

One study on hairless mice revealed that the development of skin tumors was accelerated when a vitamin-A-laced cream was applied to the mice and then exposed to ultraviolet light daily for one year.4

Despite the known risks, these ingredients are still found in sunscreens with no warnings to consumers. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported:5

“Six years after EWG sounded the alarm about retinyl palmitate, the FDA still hasn’t completed follow-up studies that will allow the agency to take a position on the safety of vitamin A and related chemicals in cosmetics and sunscreens.

Most cosmetics companies have not removed these ingredients from sunscreens and other skin and lip products … EWG calls for sunscreen makers to voluntarily stop adding this ingredient to sunscreens until there is proof that it can be safely used on sun-exposed skin. …

EWG recommends that consumers avoid sunscreens and other skin and lip products containing vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate and retinoic acid.”

The SPF Myth: Is Higher SPF Really Better?

Dermatologists at Northwestern University in Chicago conducted a survey to assess people’s understanding of sunscreen labels.6 Many people consider SPF (sun protection factor) as a leading factor in their decision of which sunscreen to buy, despite the fact that, in the study, fewer than half knew what SPF meant.

Meanwhile, most of the people surveyed believed that SPF 30 offered double the sun protection of SPF 15. It’s an understandable assumption, but one that’s blatantly false. In fact, the difference between the two is much smaller — about 4 percent.

While an SPF 15 sunscreen should filter out about 93 percent of UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, SPF 30 filters out about 97 percent. Higher SPFs offer only minute benefits beyond this, with SPF 50 blocking 98 percent, and SPF 100 blocking 99 percent, of UVB rays.7

While SPF works by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on your skin, its protective ability is not linear and does not offer a great deal more protection at higher levels.

SPF Refers Only to Protection Against UVB Rays, Not UVA

In regard to SPF, another important factor to remember is that an SPF rating refers only to protection against UVB rays, which are the rays within the ultraviolet spectrum that allows your body to produce vitamin D in your skin.

But the most dangerous rays, in terms of causing skin damage and cancer are UVA rays. According to EWG:8

“A sunscreen lotion’s SPF rating has little to do with the product’s ability to shield the skin from UVA rays. As a result of the FDA’s restrictions on ingredients and concentrations, U.S. sunscreens offer far less protection against UVA than UVB, particularly those products with the highest SPF.

Because UVA and UVB protection do not harmonize, high-SPF products suppress sunburn much more effectively than other types of sun damage.”

Not to mention, studies show that high-SPF products may not offer the SPF they claim. One study found that even small differences in testing conditions of an SPF 100 sunscreen yielded results between SPF 37 and 75.9

The amount of sunscreen applied, sunlight intensity, sweat, swimming and more can all affect how much sun protection you actually receive. There’s also evidence that people tend to stay in the sun longer when wearing high-SPF sunscreens, putting them at risk of overexposure.10

No Evidence in Support of Full-Body Screening for Skin Cancer?

The nervousness people experience over threats of skin cancer such as melanoma is augmented by U.S. government intervention that equates sun exposure with skin cancer.11

Yet, at the same time, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) says there’s not enough evidence that screening for skin cancer can lower skin cancer cases or deaths.

Still, European studies suggest that after public awareness campaigns to inform people about whole body visual screening for skin cancer, the rates of melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, and non-melanoma skin cancers went down, Time reported.12 According to The Washington Post:13

“An editorial accompanying the task force’s statement said the ‘I’ rating [insufficient evidence] does not mean there is not a benefit from screening but that more research is needed to determine if it should be recommended — and, if so, for whom.

… [T]he statement doesn’t apply to people who have skin lesions or any other kind of suspicious growths or to those with an increased risk of cancer or a family history of the disease.”

Optimal Vitamin D Levels Linked to 65 Percent Lower Risk of Cancer

Another way that wearing sunscreen daily has the potential to increase your cancer risk rather than decrease it is by blocking your body’s ability to produce vitamin D.

If you do not get regular sun exposure on your bare skin (or consume a vitamin D3 supplement), there’s a good chance you may be vitamin D deficient, which is a risk factor for cancer. One recent study published in PLOS One found vitamin D levels above 40 ng/mL are associated with a more than 65 percent lower risk of cancer. According to the researchers:14

“We found a clear association between 25(OH)D [vitamin D] serum concentration and cancer risk, according to multiple types of analyses. These results suggest the importance of vitamin D for the prevention of cancer. Women with 25(OH)D concentrations ≥40 ng/ml had a significantly lower risk of cancer (~70 [percent]) compared to women with concentrations <20 ng/ml.”

Optimizing your vitamin D levels may reduce your risk of as many as 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, breast, prostate and skin cancers.

Higher Vitamin D Levels at Melanoma Diagnosis May Improve Prognosis

Studies show melanoma mortality actually decreases after UV exposure. Additionally, melanoma lesions do not tend to appear primarily on sun-exposed skin, which is why sunscreens have proven ineffective in preventing it. Exposure to sunlight, particularly UVB, is protective against melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) — or rather, the vitamin D your body produces in response to UVB radiation is protective. The following passage comes from The Lancet:15

“Paradoxically, outdoor workers have a decreased risk of melanoma compared with indoor workers, suggesting that chronic sunlight exposure can have a protective effect.”

In another recent study, it was found that vitamin D deficiency at the time of melanoma diagnosis is associated with thicker tumors that likely have a poorer prognosis.16

The researchers believe increasing vitamin D levels to 20 ng/ml or higher (which is actually still a deficiency state) could result in 18 percent of melanoma patients having thinner tumors and therefore improved prognosis. If their levels were increased to optimal levels (50 to 70 ng/ml), it’s likely this rate would improve even more.

Oxybenzone: Another Reason Why Many Sunscreens Are Dangerous

Oxybenzone, a popular sunscreen ingredient that has been detected in nearly every American, is believed to cause hormone disruptions and cell damage that may provoke cancer.

This endocrine-disrupting chemical acts like estrogen in your body, alters sperm production in animals and is also associated with endometriosis in women. It has relatively high rates of skin allergy and is a highly skin-penetrating chemical.17 According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG):18

“… [T]he chemical oxybenzone penetrates the skin, gets into the bloodstream and acts like estrogen in the body. It can trigger allergic reactions. Data are preliminary, but studies have found a link between higher concentrations of oxybenzone and health harms.

One study has linked oxybenzone to endometriosis in older women; another found that women with higher levels of oxybenzone during pregnancy had lower birth weight daughters.”

There’s really no reason to risk exposure to this chemical, as safer alternatives exist. In lieu of the skin-penetrating hormone-disrupting chemicals like oxybenzone, safer sunscreens tend to use non-nanoparticle sized zinc- and titanium-based mineral ingredients, which block the sun’s rays without penetrating your skin.

Four Steps to Safely Enjoying the Sun

Applying chemical sunscreens every time you step outdoors may do little to prevent your risk of skin cancer while raising other risks. In addition, you’re blocking your body’s production of vitamin D and possibly some of sunlight’s other health benefits, like its pain-relieving properties. That being said, you don’t want to overexpose your skin to the sun and end up with a sunburn, either. To continuously enjoy the positive effects of sun exposure without getting burned, I recommend following these simple safety tips:

1. Protect your face and eyes by wearing a wide-brimmed hat or a cap. The skin around these areas is much thinner than other areas of your body and is more at risk for cosmetic photo damage and premature wrinkling. If it’s too hot to protect your skin by covering with light clothing, and you’ll be outside for extended periods, be sure to use a natural mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen on your skin — these products often contain zinc.

2. Limit your initial sun exposure and slowly work your way up. If you are a fairly light-skinned individual who tends to burn easily, limit your initial exposure to just a few minutes, especially if it is in the middle of summer. The more tanned your skin gets, the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. If it is early or late in the season and/or you are a dark-skinned individual, you could likely safely have 30 minutes on your initial exposure.

3. Build an internal sunscreen with beneficial antioxidants. Astaxanthin, a potent antioxidant, can be used both internally and topically to protect your skin from the sun. You can make your own lotion by adding astaxanthin to organic coconut oil, but be careful of staining your clothing, as astaxanthin is dark red.

Other helpful antioxidants include proanthocyanidins, resveratrol and lycopene. Eating healthy is also important. Fresh, raw, unprocessed foods deliver the nutrients your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 oils in your skin, which is your first line of defense against sunburn.

Fresh, raw vegetables also provide your body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants that will help you fight the free radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to burns and cancer.

4. Moisturize your skin naturally. Before sunbathing, apply organic coconut oil on the exposed areas of your skin (as noted above, you could add some astaxanthin to the oil for an added measure of protection). This will not only moisturize your skin to prevent dryness but will also give you additional metabolic benefits.

The post Sunscreen Won’t Prevent Skin Cancer But Some Could Actually Cause It appeared first on The Sleuth Journal.


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Vitamin D And Obesity In Children

Closeup view of scales on a floor and kids feet

The University of Michigan School of Public Health published research that suggests inadequate levels of vitamin D could be a key factor in increased fat accumulation in children, and could be an important weapon in the fight against childhood obesity.

According to their findings, there is a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and the rapid build-up of abdominal body fat. This specific type of fat is often associated with an increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, as well as numerous other serious medical concerns.

In order to better understand the link between these two factors, researchers first measured the vitamin D blood serum levels of 479 children, ages 5 to 12, living in Bogota, Columbia, and then monitored their weight gain for a 30-month period. Due to the inherent shortcomings with relying solely on the body mass index standard of gauging body fat, the researchers opted to use a three-prong approach which took into consideration not only BMI, but also waist circumference and a more advanced technique know as the subscapular-to-tricep skinfold ratio.

They found that those children with the lowest levels of vitamin D at the beginning of the study gained weight more quickly, and more body fat overall as compared to their less deficient peers. The researchers also noted lower than average increases in height among girls with low levels of vitamin D. This latter observation was not however found in members of the male sub-population.

Global obesity rates have climbed steadily in recent decades — particularly among young people. Less obvious, but of equal concern to many medical professionals, is a similar increase in vitamin D deficiency in children.

Epidemiologist Eduardo Villamor, senior author of the study:

“We found that the kids with the lowest vitamin D levels at the beginning tended to gain weight faster than the kids with higher levels.. Our findings suggest that low vitamin D status may put children at risk of obesity. This is significant because vitamin D insufficiency is highly prevalent across the globe and childhood obesity rates are dramatically increasing worldwide.” [1]

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is naturally produced by the human body in response to sun exposure. Traditionally, it has been believed that people living in sunnier climates would naturally maintain healthy levels of vitamin D as a byproduct of their surroundings. Closer investigation, however, has repeatedly shown this theory to be flawed. And the substantial lack of vitamin D documented among children living in sunny Bogota serves to only further underscore the need to better understand the depths of this misconception.

There is an increasing push within the greater medical community to revise the official intake recommendation for vitamin D in response to this and other health concerns to which low blood levels of vitamin D have been linked. The current recommendation was increased to 200 IU per day for healthy adults in 1997. On November 30, 2010, the Institute of Medicine increased that recommendation to 600 IU per day [2], but many people still support drastically raising that recommendation, including the Vitamin D Council [3].

Because food-based sources of vitamin D are limited, and regular exposure to sunshine appears to be insufficient, the use of dietary supplements to ensure proper intake has become increasingly popular. And if low levels of vitamin D are in fact contributing to the worldwide childhood and possibly adult obesity problem, then something as simple as an over-the-counter vitamin could potentially save millions of lives in the long run. I personally use and recommend Suntrex D3.

References:

  1. Gilbert-Diamond D, Baylin A, Mora-Plazas M, Marin C, Arsenault JE, Hughes MD, Willett WC, Villamor E. Vitamin D deficiency and anthropometric indicators of adiposity in school-age children: a prospective study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Dec;92(6):1446-51. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29746. Epub 2010 Oct 6.
  2. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. DRI’s for calcium and vitamin d. National Academy of Sciences. 2010 November 30.
  3. Vitamin D Council. Newsletter: today, the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board has failed millions. Vitamin D Council Institute of Medicine. 2010 November 30.

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Research: Children Born With Low Vitamin D Levels May Develop More Respiratory Infections

baby

Any parent can tell you that respiratory infections are all too common in caring for a very small child. Bronchial infections are, in fact, one of the leading cause of hospitalization in American newborns.

Can Vitamin D Prevent Respiratory Infections?

Building upon earlier studies which indicate a strong connection between high blood serum concentrations of vitamin D and healthy immune function in adults, a Massachusetts General Hospital-based research team has recently published new findings which suggest a similar relationship for vitamin D in newborns and infants [1].

The team reexamined data sets previously collected as part of the New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Cohort Study — an often cited standard among pediatric researchers — to determine if there was a connection between vitamin D, asthma, and other forms of respiratory infection common in very young children [2].

The original New Zealand study followed over 1,000 local area children from birth through their first five years of life. Individual newborn vitamin D levels where initially measured using samples of umbilical cord blood. Three months following birth, and then annually thereafter, infant health was documented via a series of questionnaires. Emphasis was placed on signs of respiratory aliment (such as wheezing), asthma, and other forms of infectious disease in children.

While cord blood samples showed signs of low vitamin D levels in nearly all of the infants studied, upwards of 20% qualified as severely deficient. Children in this latter percentage were twice as likely to have suffered respiratory infection by their 3-month checkup.

Data collected over the next several years further supported these preliminary findings. The lower a given child’s vitamin D levels at birth, the more likely they were to have fallen ill due to respiratory infection.

However, much to the surprise of the followup researchers, a similar trend was not observed in instances of asthma.

While children with asthma whom had low vitamin D levels at birth were prone to attacks and other related complications, they did not appear statistically more likely than their less deficient peers to develop the condition itself. This suggests that the causes and triggers of asthma may well be wholly independent of one another.

Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH & Lead Researcher for the study said, “Our data suggest that the association between vitamin D and wheezing, which can be a symptom of many respiratory diseases and not just asthma, is largely due to respiratory infections. Acute respiratory infections are a major health problem in children.” [1]

Tips on Decreasing Risk of Childhood Respiratory Infection

For all the remedies and preventatives directed at keeping young children healthy, modern medicine appears to have grossly underestimated vitamin D’s power when it comes to bolstering the human immune system. Evidence supporting this theory continues to mount — and this most recent study is only another drop in the bucket. In fact, other Vitamin D studies indicate it may help prevent the flu, prevent arterial stiffness and fight Crohn’s Disease… just to name a few.

A growing number of experts now recommend significantly increasing (perhaps even doubling) the current recommended daily intake of vitamin D, specifically because of it’s immune enhancing potential. No official changes have yet been made, but in the meantime, it may still be worth incorporating a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement into your family’s diet, as well as getting plenty of sun. This is the D3 supplement that I personally use and would recommend to everyone else.

References:

  1. Camargo CA Jr, Ingham T, Wickens K, Thadhani R, Silvers KM, Epton MJ, Town GI, Pattemore PK, Espinola JA, Crane J; New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Cohort Study Group. Cord-blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and risk of respiratory infection, wheezing, and asthma. Pediatrics. 2011 Jan;127(1):e180-7. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-0442. Epub 2010 Dec 27.
  2. Epton MJ, Town GI, Ingham T, Wickens K, Fishwick D, Crane J; New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Cohort Study Group (NZA2CS). The New Zealand Asthma and Allergy Cohort Study (NZA2CS): assembly, demographics and investigations. BMC Public Health. 2007 Feb 28;7:26.

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