Vitamin D is the “sunshine vitamin” your body produces after sufficient exposure to sunlight. Every day we learn more about its role in disease prevention among old and young alike. Now, a new study has found yet another reason why ensuring you’re getting enough of this crucial vitamin should be at the top of your to-do list, especially if you’re in your 60s and beyond.
Specifically, older adults with insufficient levels of vitamin D are more likely to die from heart disease and other causes than those without. Those with low vitamin D levels were three times more likely to die from heart disease — and 2.5 times more likely to die from any cause — than those with plenty of vitamin D.
Why is Vitamin D Essential for Your Good Health?
Vitamin D, which is actually not a vitamin but a secosteroid hormone, targets over 2,000 genes in your body; this is about 10 percent of the entire human genome. Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.
When you go out in the sun in your bathing suit, your body produces between 10,000 and 50,000 units of cholecalciferol in your skin by the time it begins to turn a light pink. However, because many people no longer spend much time in the sun without sunblock, vitamin D deficiency is thought to be very widespread. The elderly are especially at risk of deficiency because of limited time spent in the sun, and their reduced ability to make vitamin D as they age.
Have You Heard of Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome?
The Vitamin D Council has proposed that Vitamin D Deficiency Syndrome (VDDS) exists when 25(OH)D [vitamin D] levels of less than 25 ng/mL are found in people with two or more of the following conditions: osteoporosis, heart disease, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, certain cancers, depression, chronic fatigue, or chronic pain. These are all illnesses that are associated with vitamin D deficiency.
VDDS is more common among dark skinned races, the elderly, and those who avoid the sun.
How Much Vitamin D is Optimal?
The Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin D is 200 IU a day for adults up to 50, 400 IU for those 51-70, and 600 IU for those 71 and over.
However, many health experts say that amount is far too low. “The skin produces approximately 10,000 IU vitamin D in response 20–30 minutes summer sun exposure — 50 times more than the US government’s recommendation of 200 IU per day [for adults]!” states the Vitamin D Council. A blood test from your doctor, called the 25-hydroxyvitamin D, can determine whether your vitamin D levels are high enough.
If You Take a Vitamin D Supplement, Make Sure It’s Being Absorbed
Sun exposure is the best form of vitamin D, but if you cannot get out in the sun regularly, experts recommend supplementing with a vitamin D3 supplement, which is the same natural vitamin D your body makes when exposed to the sun. Avoid vitamin D2, which is synthetic and may be less safe and less effective.
Along with regularly testing your blood levels for vitamin D to make sure you’re in the optimal range, you should make sure your body has the best chances of absorbing the vitamin D. Sometimes supplementing therapeutic amounts of vitamin D can create a greater need for the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
As fall and winter approach in the United States, now is an important time to look into the status of your vitamin D levels, whether you’re 25, 55, or 85.
Cutting back on salty foods may reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer, according to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF).
Too much salt is bad for blood pressure and can lead to heart disease and stroke, but it can also cause cancer.
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How much protein DO I need everyday?
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How is exercise essential to brain health?
What is the BEST “artificial” sweetener and why?
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How does the food industry keep us addicted to foods that are full of fat, sugar and salt?
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“Genetically, human beings haven’t changed, but our environment, our access to cheap food has,” says Professor Jimmy Bell, obesity specialist at Imperial College, London.
“We’re being bombarded every day by the food industry to consume more and more food. “It’s a war between our bodies and the demands our body makes, and the accessibility that modern society gives us with food. And as a scientist I feel really depressed, because we are losing the war against obesity.”
Turmeric has been used for centuries as part of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, and many laboratory studies suggest one of its components, curcumin, might have many beneficial properties.
The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti- inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:
1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
6. It is a natural liver detoxifier.
7. It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloid plaque buildup in the brain.
8. It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
10. It has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
11. It is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
12. It may aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. It has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
15. It boosts the effects of some chemo-therapy drugs and reduces side effects.
16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
17. Studies are ongoing on the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
18. It has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. It speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
20. It may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.
It has also been found useful in post-stroke treatments, with some clot busting qualities. However, curcumin cannot naturally pass through the “blood brain barrier” which protects the brain from potentially toxic molecules. U.S. researchers have now found a way to modified curcumin and came up with a new version, CNB-001, which can pass through the blood brain barrier. Laboratory tests on rabbits suggest it might be effective up to three hours after a stroke in humans – about the same time window available for current “clot-busting” drugs.
In 2005, 32.5 million cattle were slaughtered to provide beef for U.S. consumers. Scientists believe about two-thirds of American cattle raised for slaughter today are injected with hormones to make them grow faster. America’s dairy cows are also often given a genetically-engineered hormone called rBGH to increase milk production. These measures mean higher profits for the beef and dairy industries, but what does it mean for those of us consuming these products? The USDA and FDA claim these hormone additives are safe, but there is growing concern that hormone residues in meat and milk might be harmful to human health and the environment.
European standards do not allow hormones in beef cattle production because the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Veterinary Measures Relating to Public Health believe they pose a potential risk to human health. The use of six growth hormones in beef production: Oestradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone, Zeranol, Trenbolone, and Melengestrol are not allowed in European beef products. The Committee questions whether hormone residues in the meat of “growth enhanced” animals can disrupt human hormone balance, causing developmental problems, interfering with the reproductive system, and even leading to the development of breast, prostate or colon cancer.
Of most concern are children, pregnant women and the unborn, those most susceptible to negative health effects. Hormone residues in beef have been implicated in the early onset of puberty in girls, which could put them at greater risk of developing breast and other forms of cancer later. The European Union’s Committee reported that as of 1999, no comprehensive studies had been conducted to determine whether hormone residues in meat can be cancer-causing.
Despite international concern, the United States and Canada continue to allow growth promoting hormones in their cattle, while The European Union does not allow the use of hormones in cattle production. They have prohibited the import of hormone-treated beef since 1988.
Where do you stand on the hormone question? Do you insist on “natural” products or are the Europeans over reacting?
In just one year, Americans drank nearly 9 billion gallons of bottled water, which is second only to soft drinks as the largest beverage type in the U.S. market, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.
What are You Really Drinking When You Drink Bottled Water?
Plastic water bottles have come under scrutiny in recent years for both their environmental and health effects, including those surrounding the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA). BPA can leach out of plastic during everyday use, causing health problems. It’s now widely known that BPA mimics the female hormone estrogen and may affect fertility and promote cancer. And just last year it came out that BPA may also lead to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems.
Studies have shown that detectable levels of BPA exist in more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, but exposure has been blamed on not only drinking water and food, but also on dental sealants, dermal exposure and inhalation of household dusts.
How much BPA are we exposed to when drinking from a plastic bottle?
A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) found out. Researchers recruited Harvard College students for a study in April 2008, and all 77 participants then began a seven-day “washout” during which they drank all cold beverages from stainless steel bottles in order to minimize BPA exposure. For the next week, participants were given two polycarbonate bottles and asked to drink all cold beverages from them.
Urine samples were taken at the end of each week-long period, and the results that came back were shocking! Levels of BPA rose 69 percent after just one week of drinking out of plastic bottles.
“We found that drinking cold liquids from polycarbonate bottles for just one week increased urinary BPA levels by more than two-thirds. If you heat those bottles, as is the case with baby bottles, we would expect the levels to be considerably higher. This would be of concern since infants may be particularly susceptible to BPA’s endocrine-disrupting potential,” said Karin B. Michels, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH and Harvard Medical School and senior author of the study.
While previous studies have found that BPA could leach from polycarbonate bottles into their contents, this study is the first to show the corresponding increase in BPA levels in humans.
The end result is this, if you drink out of plastic water bottles, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re increasing your levels of BPA, which is very risky for your health.
Chronic exposure to very low levels of BPA, such as might occur when drinking bottled water, is potentially very harmful.
“An expert panel of scientists has concluded that exposure to extremely low doses of bisphenol A is strongly linked to diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and diabetes, and to reproductive and neurological development,” the Sierra Club reported. And single-serve bottles are not the only ones to be concerned about. Consumer Reports found in 2000 that eight of 10 5-gallon water jugs they tested contained residues of BPA.
While the use of BPA in polycarbonate baby bottles was banned in Canada in 2008, and some manufacturers have voluntarily eliminated the chemical from their bottles, this is not yet widespread in the United States nor have recent U.S. regulatory laws been passed. In fact, BPA is so widely used that it may be nearly impossible to avoid exposure entirely, however you can greatly reduce your exposure by avoiding BPA-containing products as much as possible, including one of the biggest BPA predators: plastic water bottles.
Plastic containing BPA may be called: Polycarbonate, Lexan, and Polysulfone.
From my own experiences in the past few years and what I have learned after suffering from a terrible case of Candida Albicans back in 2008, sugar is one of the worst toxins we consume everyday.
A handful of scientists have recently suggested that sugar is actually the worst thing in the American diet, on some levels even worse than trans fats. Sugar can be blamed for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even some form of cancers. According to research led by Robert Lustig of the University of California, sugar is toxic. He will appear on CBS 60 Minutes this evening to explain his findings.
According to research, the average American person consumes roughly 130 pounds of added sugars, which includes sugar as well as high fructose corn syrup, every year. While high fructose corn syrup is often vilified more often than sugar, Lustig says that, metabolically, there is no difference.
Taking the idea of the toxicity of sugar even further, Lustig, in an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CBS 60 Minutes tonight, goes so far as to say that sugar should be treated no differently than alcohol or tobacco.
Ironic isn’t it, we try to limit alcohol and tobacco consumption to adults, but push sugar at our children every chance we get. EASTER candy anyone?
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I had no idea research had found “the pill” is actually effective in preventing uterine, ovarian and colon cancer!
I remember back when I was young, I would avoid taking “the pill” as much as possible, because I worried about it’s long-term negative effects.
Come to find out, if you have taken it at least 5 years of your life, you have helped to prevent the eventual development of a number of cancers! Who knew???
Thousands of people in the UK are dying unnecessarily because they are too scared to mention early symptoms of cancer to their doctor, say experts.