Vitamin D in biological fathers

Attention, future parents! Do you want your baby to grow stronger? New hallmark research from University College Dublin (UCD) in Ireland suggests that biological fathers’ vitamin D status prior to conception plays an important role in determining the future height and weight of their children.

As the sun basked Porto, Portugal during the third weekend in May 2017, researchers gathered at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) to discuss, inter alia, vitamin D’s impact on the height and weight of children.

Led by Dr. Cilia Mejia Lancheros, the research team presented its study at the ECO. The researchers analyzed longitudinal data from the Lifeways Cross-Generation Cohort Study to determine paternal vitamin intake. The data were available for 213 and 148 father-child pairs when children were aged 5 and 9 years, respectively. The UCD team concluded, “Paternal vitamin D intake was positively and prospectively associated with off-spring’s height and weight at 5 years old, independent of maternal characteristics, meriting further investigation of familial dietary pathways.”

The researchers noted however that the statistical association was decreased and statistically significant when the children reached 9 years old. They further opined, “One reason this may occur is that father’s nutrition status may somehow influence the health, quality and function of their [sic] germ cells, which are involved in reproduction.”

Why risk the health of unborn children with a vitamin D deficiency? A simple blood test called 25(OH) D, available online and from healthcare practitioners, measures vitamin D levels. The test results pave the way to increase vitamin D intake by acquiring a safe amount of ultraviolet B exposure, and/or supplementing with vitamin D3 soft gel capsules.

For additional information on vitamin D and pre-conception, including vitamin D’s role in reproduction, please consider reading Improving Male and Female Fertility with Vitamin D.

Author’s Note: Find out more about vitamin D by joining the “Vitamin D Wellness” support group on Facebook. Read the award-winning Defend Your Life to discover how you can “Defend Your Life” against a vast array of medical conditions.

Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. The author of this article is not a medical practitioner. Please see Terms and Conditions of this website.

Copyright © 2017 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
ThreeLakesSunset 5 Sep 2014

No. Please, no more. Beloved celebrities Carrie Fisher, Florence Henderson, George Michael, Debbie Reynolds, and Alan Thicke have died over the past several weeks due to heart-related disease. Their untimely deaths prompt me to share information about a simple, non-invasive, and inexpensive test that may save your and your loved ones’ lives.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart failure, is the leading global cause of death, according to the American Heart Association. CVD accounts for more than 17.3 million deaths worldwide. And about one of every three deaths in the United States is attributable to CVD. Unfortunately, the CVD death rate is expected to grow significantly–to over 23.6 million–by the year 2030.

An Easy and Potentially Life-Saving Test

A little-known, non-invasive screening test may prevent some heart disease by alerting patients about their risk of a heart attack well before it happens. This test is called CT cardiac calcium scoring test that measures calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. But here’s the catch: many doctors never mention the test to patients, and most health insurance policies do not cover the test’s cost–usually $150 or less!

Fortunately, my cardiologist recommended the CT cardiac calcium scoring test to me, a patient in her early sixties with familial history of heart disease. He told me that my health insurance most likely would not cover the testing fee. Understanding the significance of the test, I gladly paid for it out-of-pocket.

The test, conducted in a CT scan machine, was super easy and only took ten minutes or so. Within a week, I learned that my CT cardiac calcium score was “zero,” a remarkable result for a sexagenarian. I rest assured that there is almost no likelihood of experiencing a heart attack in the next five years!

I have little calcium in my coronary arteries because I take vitamin K2 with my daily 10,000 IU of vitamin D3. Most Western diets do not include food rich in vitamins D3 and K2. For that reason, it usually requires daily supplementation to enjoy Vitamin D Wellness that includes less calcium in your coronary arteries.

Avoid Heart Failure

To assess the risk of a heart attack, consider a CT cardiac calcium scoring test. In addition, ensure you are enjoying Vitamin D Wellness that may minimize the risk of heart failure.

Author’s Note: Find out more about vitamins D3 and K2 by joining the “Vitamin D Wellness” group on Facebook. Read the award-winning book Defend Your Life to discover how you can “Defend Your Life” against a  vast array of medical conditions including CVD.

Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. The author of this article is not a medical practitioner. Please see Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2016 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest

Beloved TV icon mom Florence Henderson passed away unexpectedly on America’s Thanksgiving holiday on November 24, 2016.

Only three days before her death she enthusiastically cheered her “Brady Bunch” daughter, Maureen McCormick, as she competed in another iconic TV show, “Dancing With The Stars (DWTS).” As a member of the studio audience for the DWTS season finale, Florence–at today’s relatively young age of 82– appeared to be healthy, sporting an ivory turtleneck and flashing her famous smile to the cameras. Six years earlier, at the age of 76, Florence herself competed in Season 10 of DWTS.

Florence Henderson’s untimely death prompted me to write this article in her honor. She died of heart failure, a condition that can be detected prior to the blockage of coronary arteries. My hope is that the information in this post may help you and your loved ones detect heart failure well before it happens.

Staggering Death Statistics

Although I neither had the pleasure of meeting Florence Henderson nor am privy to her medical history, I wonder–through tears– if her death could have been prevented?

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart failure, is the leading global cause of death, according to the American Heart Association. CVD accounts for more than 17.3 million deaths worldwide. And about one of every three deaths in the United States is attributable to CVD. Unfortunately, the CVD death rate is expected to grow significantly–to over 23.6 million–by the year 2030.

An Easy and Potentially Life-Saving Test

A little-known, non-invasive screening test may prevent some heart disease by alerting patients about their risk of a heart attack well before it happens. This test is called CT cardiac calcium scoring test that measures calcified plaque in the coronary arteries. But here’s the catch: many doctors never mention the test to patients, and most health insurance policies do not cover the test’s cost–usually $150 or less!

Fortunately, my cardiologist recommended the CT cardiac calcium scoring test to me, a patient in her early sixties with familial history of heart disease. He told me that my health insurance probably will not cover the cost, and, at least in my home state of Nevada, I could order the test myself.  Considering the exorbinant costs of the usual battery of nuclear stress tests ordered by cardiologists, the test fee of $150 was a relative bargain. Moreover, taking the test was a breeze!

The test, conducted in a CT scan machine, was super easy and only took ten minutes or so. Within a week, I learned that my CT cardiac calcium score was “zero,” a remarkable result for a sexagenarian. I rest assured that there is almost no likelihood of experiencing a heart attack in the next five years!

I have little calcium in my coronary arteries because I take vitamin K2 with my daily 10,000 IU of vitamin D3. Most Western diets do not include food rich in vitamin D3 and K2. For that reason, it usually requires daily supplementation to enjoy Vitamin D Wellness that includes less calcium in your coronary arteries.

Avoid Heart Failure

To assess the risk of a heart attack, consider a CT cardiac calcium scoring test. In addition, ensure you are enjoying Vitamin D Wellness that may minimize the risk of heart failure.

Author’s Note: Find out more about vitamins D3 and K2 by joining the “Vitamin D Wellness” group on Facebook. Read the award-winning book Defend Your Life to discover how you can “Defend Your Life” against a  vast array of medical conditions including CVD.

Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. The author of this article is not a medical practitioner. Please see Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2016 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC

 

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
vitamin D

 

Let’s take a brief look at genetic traits. We inherit about 23,000 genes – both “good” and “bad” – from our biological parents. The great news is we no longer need to acquiesce to being stuck with with “bad” genes.  In fact, we can — at least in some cases — influence the behavior of “bad” genes so that they become “good” genes. By identifying and treating our vitamin D-related gene variants, we can simply reverse this inheritance to enjoy improved health.

By now, you probably have heard that vitamin D offers some pretty awesome health benefits. Yet vitamin D deficiency is rampant around the globe. Modern lifestyles and decades-long admonitions from the medical community often deny us the most natural source of vitamin D: the sun.

In addition, we may be born with a genetic predisposition to poorly metabolize vitamin D!  Until recently, the usual response would be, “Oh, well. I inherited a vitamin D gene defect so I can’t do anything about it.”

Well, folks, those days are over. Thanks to scientific advancements, we can identify our DNA variants and, in many instances, discover how to overcome them – for better health and quality of life.

Let’s take a brief look at genetic traits. We inherit about 23,000 genes – both “good” and “bad” – from our biological parents. The great news is we no longer need to acquiesce to being stuck with all the “bad” genes.

Vitamin D and Genetic Testing

Scientific advancements have brought us the capability to understand our DNA at a relatively affordable cost and positively influence our inherited traits so we can enjoy better quality of health and life.

A hereditary vitamin D deficiency is easy to identify from basic DNA testing and quite doable to rectify. In fact, I inherited two fairly common vitamin D-related genetic variants. So, I explored what this means to me and what significance my findings may have for you.

Why is Vitamin D Important?

Adequate vitamin D is essential to our health and quality of life. Do you know that every cell in our body contains a vitamin D receptor (VDR)? When a VDR is activated by a sufficient intake of vitamin D, a number of good things happen. Vitamin D’s mechanisms of action include:  anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory. In other words, scientific research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is connected to a wide array of serious medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, mental health disorders as well as multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.

Due to our modern lifestyles and conventional medical practices, we tend to get little vitamin D from its natural source, the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays of the sun. From living, commuting, and working indoors to fretfully slapping sunscreen all over our skin, we appear intent on denying ourselves this essential nutrient. As most diets are severely lacking in vitamin D, the most practical way of getting adequate vitamin D is by taking an inexpensive daily, oral D3 supplement.

Common Vitamin D Genetic Variants

Two common vitamin D-related gene variants are VDR taq and VDR bsm. More than one-fourth of the world’s people have inherited at least one of these common two gene variants (called SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms), that are related to vitamin D metabolism.

One SNP named VDR taq (1) affects about 27 percent of the global population, according to the Livewello.com genetic reporting website. Approximately 26 percent of the world’s population has inherited another similar mutation called VDR bsm. (2)

The VDR taq and VDR bsm polymorphisms may adversely influence DNA expression during the the methylation cycle (3). These VDR genetic variants also may affect depression because they mediate the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.

When I recently received the results of my genetic tests, I discovered that I inherited the VDR taq (+/-) from one parent, and VDR bsm (+/-) (4) SNPs from one parent. Anyone who has inherited these homozygous (+/+) VDR gene polymorphisms from BOTH biological parents may experience not only a vitamin D deficiency but medical conditions associated with low vitamin D.

As someone who is impassioned with the health benefits of vitamin D, my vitamin D level has been optimal for years, despite my inherited VDR SNPs. What this means is anyone who has a VDR gene mutation can overcome this defect by raising one’s levels to at least 100 ng/mL (250 nmol/L). In fact, by following my three-nutrient Protocol, you most likely will overcome any vitamin D-related genetic disposition within weeks or months.

Genetic Testing May Be Easier Than You Think  

As of 2016, genetic testing is readily accessible and relatively affordable. In fact, you may already have access to some of your key genetic mutations including vitamin D, and it won’t cost you a penny to find out!

If you are one of the two million members of Ancestry.com, you may have already taken its saliva test to ascertain your ethnic heritage. If so, you can run the raw Ancestry.com data through an online database called GeneticGenie.org that is free of charge (donations are gratefully accepted). If you have not done Ancestry.com’s DNA test, you can order one for US$99.

Another popular saliva genetic test is called 23andme. You can order this more expensive test (US$199) to obtain information on many more SNPs.  The choice is yours to make. Nonetheless, both companies provide raw data on VDR taq and VDR bsm.

Both Ancestry.com and 23andme.com provide saliva tests that can be done in the privacy of your home. If you are interested in a genetic test, I encourage you to check out the websites.

What is Your Vitamin D Level?

If you think your vitamin D level is sufficient without the need for a simple blood test, please think again. It is rare to see individuals with an optimal vitamin D level of 100 ng/mL (250 nmol/L).

The vitamin D test of your blood serum is called 25 (OH) vitamin D. You can get this test at your heathcare practitioner’s office or by ordering an at-home test kit. Most insurance plans cover all, or most, of the cost of a vitamin D test.

Once you know your vitamin D level, you may want to raise your level to optimal, assuming it is less than 100 ng/ml (250 nmol/L). The three-nutrient Vitamin D Wellness Protocol may help you raise and maintain your vitamin D level to enjoy improved health.

The Bottom Line

The time to acquiesce to genetic predispositions at the risk of your health and well-being is over. We now have a capability to understand our bodies’ vitamin D genetic composition, as well as the knowledge of how to overcome VDR gene mutations to enjoy Vitamin D Wellness.

In addition to vitamin D, DNA saliva tests provide myriad information about your genetic traits (including methylation and detoxification) and how you can influence them for better quality of life.

Footnotes

(1): taq = Thermus aquaticus; rs731236, risk allele: T>C.

(2): bsm = rs1544410, risk allele: G>A.

(3): Methylation is a vital biochemical process that facilitates both physical and mental health.

(4): Nomenclature for a heterozygous SNP is +/- (inherited from one biological parent); homozygous SNP is +/+ (inherited from both biological parents). If the test states -/-, you have not inherited a particular gene variant.

Author’s Note: Find out more about vitamin D by joining the “Vitamin D Wellness” group on Facebook. Read the award-winning Defend Your Life to discover how you can “Defend Your Life” against a  vast array of medical conditions.

Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. The author of this article is not a medical practitioner. Please see Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2016 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC

All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Cheese Vitamin K2

A little-known nutrient called vitamin K2 may inhibit the growth of two deadly forms of breast cancer.

In a recent ground-breaking study, Irish researchers discovered that the most common form of vitamin K2, menaquinone-4 (MK-4), demonstrated a dramatic reduction in invasive breast cancer cell growth.

A Nutrient Called Vitamin K2 MK-4

Vitamin K2 MK-4, a fat-soluble nutrient, is abundant in grass-fed animal proteins such as meat, cheese, egg yolk, and butter. Its known health benefits include potential prevention of osteoporosis, arterial plaque, and dental cavities. By partnering with vitamin D3, vitamin K2 moves calcium to the bones and teeth, as well as sweeps calcium from soft tissues.

Low vitamin K2 levels are common across the globe. The vitamin’s natural sources are lacking in most diets. Owing to the preponderance of industrial farming in many parts of the world and varying nutritional regimens, many people do not consume grass-fed animal products.

Could a widespread vitamin K2 MK-4 deficiency be related to the growth of breast cancer cells?

TNBC and HER2+ Breast Cancers  

The research team used vitamin K2 MK-4 concentrations of varying  doses on two forms of breast cancer cell types: triple-negative (MDA-MB-231) and HER2+ (MDA-MB-453). Both types of breast cancer cells in this study present difficult treatment challenges.

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the more deadly form of these breast cancer subtypes, has no targeted treatment. About 20 per cent of women who develop breast cancer are diagnosed with TNBC.

Women who are diagnosed with HER2+ (human epidermal growth factor receptor) breast cancer have tumors with too much HER2 protein or extra copies of the HER2 gene. About 1 in 5 breast cancer patients have been diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer. These patients are usually treated with an antibody drug that may cause serious or life-threatening heart issues.

Vitamin K2 MK-4’s Effect on TNBC and HER2+ Cellular Growth

The treatment of vitamin K2 MK-4 produced a remarkable decrease in the growth of TNBC and HER2+ cells.  Their respective cell types, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-453, responded to “a significant dose-dependent, growth inhibitory effect” of vitamin K2 MK-4. (The anti-proliferative properties of vitamin K2 MK-4 have been previously reported on human glioblastoma, a highly aggressive and infiltrative form of brain cancer.)

Monitoring the treatment of vitamin K2 MK-4 derivatives on live breast cancer cells in a laboratory, the researchers observed in real-time the anti-adhesion and anti-proliferative effects of vitamin K2 MK-4 on both cell types. The findings of this landmark research were published in the August 2015 issue of the journal Nutritional Research.

Vitamin K2 MK-4 Intake

Vitamin K2 MK-4’s reported, albeit limited, success against aggressive select breast and brain cancer cells may have you wondering if you and your loved ones are getting enough of this nutrient?

The human body requires relatively small but regular doses of vitamin K2 MK-4 to be effective. Unfortunately, routine clinical testing is limited, at best, as little of this nutrient is stored in the body. (1)

Fortunately, grass-fed animal products are making a comeback to the dining table. Some hard cheeses such as Gouda, Brie, and Edam are reliable sources of vitamin K2 MK-4. For example, approximately one ounce of Gouda cheese from the Netherlands contains a whopping 75 mcg of vitamin K2 MK-4. Aim for a daily intake of about 100 mcg of foods containing vitamin K2 MK-4.  (2)

The Bottom Line

Scientific research indicates that the application of vitamin K2 MK-4 to aggressive TNBC and HER2+ cancer cells inhibits their growth. A similar effect was reported against glioblastoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Patients diagnosed with these types of cancer may wish to consider, in concert with their heathcare professional, adding vitamin K2-MK-4-rich foods to their daily diet.

***Important Note: Anticoagulant medications (blood thinners such as warfarin) block the action of vitamin K2 MK-4. If you are taking blood-thinning medication, please check with your healthcare professional before taking any form of vitamin K.***

Footnote 1:  A blood test called “serum undercarboxylated osteocalcin (ucOC)” is available from some clinical laboratories. High amounts of the ucOC protein typically indicate a low vitamin K2 level.  This test however focuses on evaluating ucOC as a biomarker for bone health.

Footnote 2: If foods rich in vitamin K2 MK-4 are not in your diet, over-the-counter K2 MK-4 supplements are available. However, they are synthetic; some reportedly contain tobacco. In addition, their short half –life requires the supplements (450 mg dosage) be taken three times a day. As vitamin K2 is fat-soluble, a soft gel capsule or liquid supplement taken with a meal that includes healthy fat is the best means for absorption. (Personally, I am not a fan of these supplements for the reasons stated; I prefer to get my vitamin K2 MK-4 from foods replete with this nutrient.)

Author’s Note: I first became acquainted with vitamin K2 during my scientific literature research of vitamin D. If you are interested in avoiding cardiovascular disease, I encourage you to visit my blog at smilinsuepubs.com for easy-to-read articles about how vitamins D3 and K2 work together to move calcium from soft tissue to the bones and teeth: where they belong!

Publisher’s Note: Susan Rex Ryan is the author of the award-winning book “Defend Your Life” about vitamin D’s health benefits and includes an overview of vitamin K.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions .

Copyright © 2015 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC

All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Sunny Field

Calendars may serve little purpose to mark the month of October. We are simply inundated with the color pink. Countless objects in the public’s eye sport various shades of pink to remind us that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Why, after over 30 years of honoring annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pouring billions of dollars into conventional medical research, does breast cancer remain the most common cancer among women in the world?

Let’s rise above the ubiquitous pink when we think about diagnosing and treating breast cancer. And let’s nudge aside obscenely expensive diagnostic equipment and debilitating cancer drugs to consider a simple anti-cancer nutrient that many people have ignored for decades: vitamin D.

How about preventing breast cancer by reducing its risk with adequate vitamin D intake?  And how about increasing survival rates by treating breast cancer with safe, inexpensive, and non-invasive vitamin D supplementation?

By attaining and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in our bodies, we can potentially defend our lives against breast cancer.

Vitamin D’s Anti-Cancer Actions

Research over the past three decades indicates that vitamin D plays an essential role in regulating cellular activity. Adequate vitamin D in our bodies may protect us from the development of at least several types of cancer including breast, colon, and prostate.

Trillions of our cells contain vitamin D receptors (VDRs). These receptors receive, store, and, in many cases, produce vitamin D that activates anti-cancer functions such as cell regulation and gene expression.

If our body has sufficient amounts of activated vitamin D stored in its receptors, the vitamin D will incite natural cell death, preventing malignant growth. When cells do not behave normally, they can proliferate and become “rogue” cells that offer an inviting home for cancer development.

How Vitamin D May Prevent Breast Cancer

Breast (mammary gland) cells are replete with VDRs that receive, store, and produce activated vitamin D. If these VDRs are sufficiently active, they exude anti-cancer effects by: regulating cellular differentiation, proliferation, and natural death (apoptosis) in breast tissue, as well as gene expression. If the VDRs in breast tissue are not working at their optimal level, breast cancer may develop.

Extensive research including epidemiologic studies has suggested that inadequate levels of vitamin D may significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer.  Recent examples include scientific studies that examined the role of vitamin D in breast cancer prevention:

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk. Researchers conducted a case-control study of 3,634 Korean women diagnosed with breast cancer and 17,133 healthy controls to ascertain the relationship between vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk.  The women deficient in vitamin D had a 27 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer than females who were considered vitamin-D-sufficient. The findings of the study were published in the July 2015 issue of the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

Higher Vitamin D Associated with Lower Breast Cancer Risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France conducted a large population-based, case-control study of Mexican women aged 35-69 years to understand better the association between vitamin D levels and risk of breast cancer among pre- and post-menopausal Mexican females. Published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Cancer Causes & Control, the study results indicate “an inverse association between circulating vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk among pre- and post-menopausal Mexican women.”

How Vitamin D May Treat Breast Cancer

Scientific evidence has proven that vitamin D receptors in breast tissue cells receive, store, and produce activated vitamin D.  This fact alone suggests that vitamin D has the potential to treat breast cancer patients.

Mounting medical research indicates vitamin D plays a role in treating breast cancer.  In addition, recent scientific studies that examined the role of vitamin D in breast cancer treatment show promising results:

Higher Vitamin D Levels Increase Breast Cancer Survival.

Researchers at the Catholic University of Korea investigated the vitamin D levels in 469 breast cancer patients over a four-year period.  The conclusions of this study, reported in a 2015 edition of the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, suggest that maintaining an optimal vitamin D status at the time of diagnosis and at the one-year follow-up “is significantly associated with the survival of breast cancer patients. These findings may provide the grounds to justify clinical efforts to maintain and improve a patient’s [vitamin D] status through vitamin D supplementation…not only before diagnosis but also after surgery, to enhance breast cancer patients’ survival.”

A 2014 study, led by the University of California San Diego (USCD), offered a highly promising conclusion about the link between vitamin D and breast cancer mortality. After analyzing data from 4,443 breast cancer patients, the research team concluded that breast cancer patients who had an average vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) were about  twice as likely to survive the disease than women with levels averaging 17 ng/mL (42.5 nmol/L).

The researchers also noted that the average vitamin D level in breast cancer patients in the United States is a paltry 17 ng/mL.  Dr. Cedric Garland, a professor in UCSD’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine who participated in the study, suggested medical professionals consider adding vitamin D to breast cancer patients’ standard care regimens. The study, published in the March 2014 edition of the journal Anticancer Research, concluded that “all patients with breast cancer” should have vitamin D levels in the range of 30 to 80 ng/mL (75 to 200 nmol/L).

Vitamin D: A Less Toxic and Invasive Treatment.

In June 2015, the National Institute of Health awarded a $1.76 million grant to Dr. JoEllen Welsh and her research team at the University at Albany in New York to further their study on treating triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) with activated vitamin D.  Dr. Welsh and her team discovered that activated vitamin D suppresses the expression of the hyaluronan synthase-2 (HAS-2) gene which overexpresses in specific TNBC tumors. The researchers are focused on targeting the HAS-2 gene and its actions with activated vitamin D to treat this deadly form of breast cancer.

A landmark study, published in a January 2013 edition of the Journal of Cell Biology, offered encouraging news about less toxic and invasive treatment therapies.  Susan Gonzalo, Ph.D. at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and her associates successfully identified specific genes that ultimately protect against or promote the development of breast cancer cells.

The research team discovered a molecular pathway that contributes to TNBC and mutations in a tumor suppressor gene called BRCA1.  When the BRCA1 gene in the molecular pathway degrades, tumor cells can proliferate. However, Dr. Gonzalo and her colleagues found that vitamin D can reduce cell proliferation by restoring high levels of 53BP1, a DNA repair function that can be impaired by BRCA1 degradation.

In addition, further research of tissue samples from breast cancer patients with BRCA1-mutated tumors or TNBC revealed a new set of three biomarkers (high levels of nuclear cathepsin L, decreased levels of 53BP1, and low vitamin D). This recently discovered triple-biomarker signature will help doctors identify patients who might benefit from customized treatment including vitamin D therapy.

Adequate vitamin D supplementation in concert with alternative and integrative treatments may overcome breast cancer. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to consider vitamin D therapy by consulting your health care practitioner.

Avoid Becoming a Breast Cancer Statistic with Vitamin D

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Why acquiesce to this projected statistic?

Vitamin D’s amazing capability to affect natural cell death and gene expression negates the opportunity for breast cancer cells to proliferate, develop into a tumor, and spread to other parts of the body. This fact alone should encourage everyone to ensure their vitamin D levels are adequate!

Compelling medical evidence supports the connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of developing breast cancer. High levels of vitamin D in the body directly correlate with a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Further, recent scientific studies suggest treating breast cancer with vitamin D. Vitamin D therapy is non-invasive, safe, and inexpensive.

With little effort and expense, you can increase your vitamin D levels to protect from developing breast cancer.  Now is the time to Defend Your Life with vitamin D!

Editor’s Note: Susan Rex Ryan is dedicated to public awareness of vitamin D’s amazing health benefits. Find out more about vitamin D supplementation by joining her “Vitamin D Wellness” group on Facebook. Read her award-winning Defend Your Life to learn about the vast array of vitamin D benefits.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2015 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC

All rights reserved.

 

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
10289066_s

Welcome to the Vitamin D Wellness Protocol designed for members of this Facebook group. You can “Defend Your Life” against a long list of diseases by having adequate amounts of vitamin D (suggesting a goal of 100ng/mL (250 nmol/L)). To enjoy the best vitamin D and its partners have to offer, we suggest following these simple 3 steps. We did, and our health and quality of life have improved tremendously!

Vitamin D3:  Most diets do not contain adequate vitamin D3. Start by taking 5,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 oil-based, softgel supplements with or right after your breakfast that includes a healthy fat such as eggs, nuts, yogurt. After one week, increase your D3 intake to 10,000 IU a day. Enjoy direct noon sun exposure for up to 15-20 minutes a day, when possible. If you have liver or kidney issues, please consult your healthcare practitioner prior to supplementing with vitamin D3. 

Vitamin K2: A vitamin K2 diet includes lots of grass-fed meat and dairy products. Since most of us are lacking a daily abundant intake of grass-fed goods, consume about 100 mcg of vitamin K2 (MK-7). The better quality K2 (MK-7) supplements contain natto, a fermented soybean, daily or several times a week. Take your K2 softgel with your D3 softgel with or right after your breakfast. (If you cannot take soy products or are taking thyroid hormone medication, we provide a link to soy-free vitamin K2 (MK-7)). Please do not take any form of vitamin K if you are on blood-thinning medication without the approval of your healthcare practitioner. 

Magnesium: Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. A daily supplement of magnesium glycinate of at least 400 -600 mg should boost your levels of this essential mineral. Take your magnesium glycinate before bedtime. (The glycine in this supplement has a calming effect that should foster sleep.) Members taking thyroid medication should wait at least four hours before taking any minerals such as magnesium.

What about calcium? Rich sources of dietary calcium include leafy green vegetables, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Many of us have adequate calcium without any supplementation. Calcium supplements may add unwanted calcium that can linger in body tissues that could cause cardiovascular disease and other serious medical conditions. Do not take a calcium supplement unless your blood serum calcium level is below normal.

Recommended Reading: 

Before we address specific supplement products, the Vitamin D Wellness Group recommends reading a book titled Defend Your Life about the amazing health benefits of vitamin D3. Many members who have read Defend Your Life characterize it as “life changing” and often reference this inexpensive (as low as $2.99) and easy-to-read book.  Defend Your Life also won a prestigious Mom’s Choice Award® for its creativity and family friendliness.

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/dylsale

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/1BN4s9s

Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Defend-Your-Life-Susan-Ryan/dp/0984572007

Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Defend-Your-Life-Inexpensive-Improving-ebook/dp/B00JDYCWIC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446056354&sr=8-1&keywords=susan+rex+ryan

Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/Defend-Your-Life-Inexpensive-Improving-ebook/dp/B00JDYCWIC?ie=UTF8&redirect=true&ref_=s9_simh_gw_p351_d3_i1

(Defend Your Life is available via all Amazon country sites and online book retailers worldwide.)

Recommended Supplements:

Believe it or not, most dietary supplements contain ingredients that do not provide any health benefits. In some cases, dietary , “name-brand” supplements include substances that may be harmful (for example, carcinogenic) to you.  Please remember that you ultimately are responsible for your own health.  Therefore, it is each individual’s responsibility to ensure  that supplements suggested in this Protocol are appropriate in accordance with one’s medical history (in other words, when in doubt, review the list of supplements with your healthcare practitioner).

Countless hours sifting through scores of supplements available online have been expended to examine their contents. Our recommendations are focused on quality, as well as price, when a variety of quality supplements are available. (Please note that we do not receive any remuneration for these supplements.)

D3 Supplements (US):   

Doctor’s Best Vitamin D3 5,000 iu, 360 softgels – 180-day supply: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0050MYHBQ/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_8DeXub0R30TYZ

Now Foods Vitamin D3 5,000 iu, 240 softgels – 120-day supply: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0032BH76O/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_0BeXub0K15TG5

Nutrigold D3 5,000 iu, 360 sofgels – 180-day supply:  http://www.herbalprovider.com/Vitamin-D-3.html

Doctor’s Best Vitamin D3 5,000 iu, 720 softgels – 360-day supply:  http://www.iherb.com/Doctor-s-Best-Best-Vitamin-D3-5000-IU-720-Softgels/56653

Now Foods Vitamin D3 10,000 iu, 120 softgels – 120-day  supply: https://www.pureformulas.com/vitamin-d-3-10000-iu-120-soft-gels-by-now.html

Now Foods Vitamin D3 10,000 iu, 120 softgels – 120-day supply:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F45EQ4W/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_jrStvb1BV72T4

Children’s Drops (US): 

MaxX Labs D3 2000 units K2 15 MCG’s Olive oil base

2000 iu PER DROP!!!

Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops with Vitamin K2 (MK-7) – Full 2,000 iu Per Drop – 900 Doses – all Natural, Effective and Safe Vitamin D3 Liquid Drops – 1 Oz Dropper Bottle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VF8DPZI/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_BX5WvbZZ3Y0HQ

Soy-free K2 (good for thyroid patients) Supplements (US): http://www.herbalprovider.com/Vitamin-K2-MK-7

https://www.amazon.com/Sports-Research-Vitamin-Organic-Softgels/dp/B00JGCPAYY/ref=sr_1_9_s_it?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1495734972&sr=1-9&keywords=sports+research+supplements

K2 Supplements (US): 

Jarrow K2 MK-7 90 mcg softgels – 60-day supply: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0013OVVFA/ref=gp_aw_ybh_l_1?pi=SR280%2C500&refRID=1Y3WK6T7SREC93E5CYQM#immersive-view_1417285672591

Magnesium Glycinate Supplements (US):

Natural Doctor Magnesium Glycinate – Call 253-565-2444 Pacific Standard Time
M-F 9 AM to 4:30 PM; Saturday 9 AM to 1 PM.
$14.95 for a one-month supply. $20.90 for a six-plus weeks (45 days) supply. $26.80 for a two-month supply. $38.39 for a three-month supply. $48.90 for four-month supply.

Solaray Magnesium Glycinate 400 Mg – 120 Veg Capsules – 24-day supply: http://www.naturalhealthyconcepts.com/magnesium-glycinate-400mg-S120.html

Solaray Magnesium Glycinate 400 Mg – 120 Veg Capsules (2 Pack) – 48-day supply: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NEVM2KS/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_TFdbwbP6ZG2E4

Pure Encapsulations -Magnesium Glycinate – 180 Veg Capsules – 45-day supply: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0058HWV9S/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_EZTTub0CBVRZD

D3 Supplements (UK):

NOW Foods D3 5000 iu, 240 Softgels – 120-day supply: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NGU15XM?ref_=cm_sw_r_awd_b5eXub0M4PKFF

Doctor’s Best 5000 iu, 180 Softgels – 90-day supply: http://www.bobbyshealthyshop.co.uk/show-product-details.php?ID=475

Doctor’s Best Vitamin D3 5000iu, 720 Softgels – 360-day supply: http://www.bodykind.com/product/browse/20/0/0/0/0/0/0/0/12/0/7643_101-Doctors-Best-Vitamin-D3-5000iu-720-Softgels.aspx

Healthy Origins D3 10000 iu, 360 Softgels – 360-day supply: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00PLPXTH0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_BEPjxb08WRZVV

Children’s Drops (UK):

Epigenar Vitamin D3 and K2 Drops 10 mL: http://www.health4youonline.com/Mobile/MBSCProduct.asp?pdtid=14436712

Epigenar Vitamin D3 and K2 Drops 10 mL: http://www.superfooduk.com/epigenar-vitamin-d3–k2-10ml-19120-p.asp

Epigenar Vitamin D3 & K2 10 mL: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00N8RPBK6/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_-igsvb0YA905X

Epigenar Vitamin D3 & K2 10 mL:  http://www.riohealth.co.uk/Joint-Support/Epigenar-Vitamin-D3-K2.aspx

Epigenar Vitamin D3 & K2 10 mL: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Epigenar-Vitamin-D3-K2-10ml/dp/B00N8RPBK6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1430322024&sr=8-3&keywords=k2+drops

Non-Soy K2 Supplements (UK):

Sports Research Vitamin K2 MK-7  100mcg – 60-day supply:  https://uk.iherb.com/pr/Sports-Research-Vitamin-K2-100-mcg-60-Veggie-Softgels/72733

Magnesium Glycinate Supplements (UK):

Your Supplements Magnesium Glycinate 100mg Capsules, 120 Capsules £2.99 Shipping! Delivery 1-3 days Take 5 capsules per day: 

http://www.jgsupplements.com/products/magnesium-glycinate-100mg-capsules-60-120-or-240-pack.html?gclid=CjwKEAjw7svABRCi_KPzoPr53QoSJAABSvxfQ2rPfrdpRacO8bcPv7ZruCIqIHtDZzxQWw44bbHjaBoC0jLw_wcB

Solaray Magnesium Glycinate 100 mg, 120 vcaps – 24-day supply: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B000Z1GLJI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awd_JLJixbD693J72Medical

Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2017 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC

All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Sri Lanka Bawa Estate Vase

During the month of October, the color pink adorns almost every publicly-viewed surface imaginable from newspapers to football towels. Yes, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Yet, after 30 years of honoring annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month and billions of dollars poured into conventional research, breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in the world.

Let’s go beyond pink when thinking about breast cancer awareness. How about preventing breast cancer by reducing its risk with vitamin D? And how about increasing survival rates by treating breast cancer with safe, inexpensive, and non-invasive vitamin D supplementation?

By attaining and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in our bodies, we can potentially defend our lives against breast cancer.

Vitamin D’s Anti-Cancer Actions
Research over the past three decades indicates that vitamin D plays an essential role in regulating cellular activity. Adequate vitamin D in our bodies can protect us from the development of at least several types of cancer including breast, colon, and prostate.

Trillions of our cells contain vitamin D receptors (VDRs). These receptors receive, store, and, in many cases, produce vitamin D that activates anti-cancer functions such as cell regulation and gene expression. If our body has sufficient amounts of activated vitamin D stored in its receptors, the vitamin D will incite natural cell death, preventing malignant growth. When cells do not behave normally, they can proliferate and become “rogue” cells that offer an inviting home for cancer development.

How Vitamin D May Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast (mammary gland) cells are replete with VDRs that receive, store, and produce activated vitamin D. If these VDRs are sufficiently active, they exude anti-cancer effects by: regulating cellular differentiation, proliferation, and natural death (apoptosis) in breast tissue, as well as gene expression. If the VDRs in breast tissue are not working at their optimal level, breast cancer may develop.

Extensive research including epidemiological studies has suggested that inadequate levels of vitamin D may significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Recent examples include scientific studies that examined the role of vitamin D in breast cancer prevention:

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk. Researchers associated with the University of Arizona conducted a case-control study of 120 Saudi Arabian women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 120 healthy controls to ascertain the relationship between vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk. More than 60 percent of the women with invasive breast cancer had vitamin D levels less than 10 ng/mL (25 nmol/L), an amount far less than required to activate vitamin D that can protect breast cells from malignancy. The authors of the study, published in the July 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, concluded that an increased risk of breast cancer is associated with low vitamin D levels in Saudi Arabian women.

Higher Vitamin D Associated with Lower Breast Cancer Risk. The International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France conducted a large population-based, case-control study of Mexican women aged 35-69 years to understand better the association between vitamin D levels and risk of breast cancer among pre- and post-menopausal Mexican females. Published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Cancer Causes & Control, the study results indicate “an inverse association between circulating vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk among pre- and post-menopausal Mexican women.”

How Vitamin D May Treat Breast Cancer
Scientific evidence has proven that vitamin D receptors in breast tissue cells receive, store, and produce activated vitamin D. This fact alone suggests that vitamin D has the potential to treat breast cancer patients.

Mounting medical research indicates vitamin D may play a role in treating breast cancer. In addition, recent scientific studies that examined the role of vitamin D in breast cancer treatment show promising results:

Higher Vitamin D Levels Increase Breast Cancer Survival. A 2014 study, led by the University of California San Diego (USCD), offered a highly promising conclusion about the link between vitamin D and breast cancer mortality. After analyzing data from 4,443 breast cancer patients, the research team concluded that breast cancer patients who had an average vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) were about twice as likely to survive the disease than women with levels averaging 17 ng/mL (42.5 nmol/L).

The researchers also noted that the average vitamin D level in breast cancer patients in the United States is a paltry 17 ng/mL. Dr. Cedric Garland, a professor in UCSD’s Department of Family and Preventive Medicine who participated in the study, suggested medical professionals consider adding vitamin D to breast cancer patients’ standard care regimens. The study, published in a March 2014 edition of the journal Anticancer Research, concluded that “all patients with breast cancer” should have vitamin D levels in the range of 30 to 80 ng/mL (75 to 200 nmol/L).

Vitamin D: A Less Toxic and Invasive Treatment. A landmark study, published in a January 2013 edition of the Journal of Cell Biology , offered encouraging news about less toxic and invasive treatment therapies. Susan Gonzalo, Ph.D. at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and her associates successfully identified specific genes that ultimately protect or promote the development of breast cancer cells.

The research team discovered a molecular pathway that contributes to triple-negative breast cancers and mutations in a tumor suppressor gene called BRCA1. When the BRCA1 gene in the molecular pathway degrades, tumor cells can proliferate. However, Dr. Gonzalo and her colleagues found that vitamin D can reduce cell proliferation by restoring high levels of 53BP1, a DNA repair function that can be impaired by BRCA1 degradation.

In addition, further research of tissue samples from breast cancer patients with BRCA1-mutated tumors or TNBC revealed a new set of three biomarkers (high levels of nuclear cathepsin, decreased levels of 53BP1, and low vitamin D). This recently discovered triple-biomarker signature will help doctors identify patients who might benefit from customized treatment including vitamin D therapy.

Adequate vitamin D supplementation in concert with alternative and integrative treatments may overcome breast cancer. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to consider vitamin D therapy by consulting your health care practitioner.

Avoid Becoming a Breast Cancer Statistic with Vitamin D
The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Why acquiesce to this projected statistic?

Vitamin D’s capability to affect natural cell death and gene expression negates the opportunity for breast cancer cells to proliferate, develop into a tumor, and spread to other parts of the body. This fact alone should encourage everyone to ensure their vitamin D levels are adequate!

Compelling medical evidence supports the connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of developing breast cancer. High levels of vitamin D in the body directly correlate with a decreased risk of breast cancer.

Further, recent scientific studies suggest treating breast cancer with vitamin D supplementation. Vitamin D therapy is non-invasive, safe, and inexpensive.

With little effort and expense, you can increase your vitamin D levels to protect from developing breast cancer. Now is the time to Defend Your Life with vitamin D!

Author’s Note: Find out more about vitamin D. Check out my tidbits for vitamin D supplementation. Read the award-winning Defend Your Life to learn about the vast array of vitamin D benefits.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2014 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Monkeys in Sri Lanka tested my vitamin D bone strength!

Our knowledge of vitamin D’s beneficial role in health has greatly expanded over the past couple decades. Thanks to lots of credible scientific research, we have learned about vitamin D’s expanded link to a wide array of medical conditions, ranging from cancer to autoimmune diseases.

Burgeoning studies supporting vitamin D’s amazing health advantages have tended to overshadow one of the most basic benefits of vitamin D: healthy bones. Vitamin D partners with minerals and vitamin K2 to ensure that our bones receive adequate calcium to maintain their strength. Before I explain the easy steps to bolster your bone strength, I would like to share a brief, vitamin D success story that may help you to take care of your bones.

An Accidental Monkey Wrench
Since discovering vitamin D’s benefits, I have enjoyed renewed health which has enabled me to pursue my passion of traveling. An unusual mishap on an exotic island, however, poignantly reminded me how important vitamin D is to our bone health.

During a recent ambitious trip to Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, my exuberance over observing wild monkeys in an ancient city inadvertently tested my bone health. When I saw a troop of adorable wild monkeys nursing their young around a watering hole in a long, reddish brown earthen pit at least the size of a football field, I eagerly snapped a photo (see image) of them.

Overwhelmed by my excitement about seeing these creatures, I had to take a closer, “better” picture of them. So I carefully approached the edge of the pit to frame my shot. Suddenly, my feet were sliding on loose gravel. Before I knew it, I jettisoned into the air toward those “adorable” monkeys that probably would go maternally crazy if I landed near them. Sprawled flat on my back along the slippery slope of the pit, I felt a harrowing pain in my dominant hand, suggesting a fracture or sprain.

Accidents rarely happen at a good time. Mine happened during the second full day of our nine-day itinerary of exploring Sri Lanka. My demise also occurred during a major religious festival (the Esala Perahera) so the narrow roads were jammed. Western-like healthcare was many hours away in the capital of Colombo.

I could have felt helpless but I didn’t. The assistance and compassion of my traveling companions notwithstanding, I was confident that I would be fine because my vitamin D and calcium status was optimal. After resting, icing, compressing, and elevating my right hand for a few days, the swelling and pain subsided. So, I grinned and bared the inconvenience of an injured wrist during the remainder of a fascinating journey.

Don’t Monkey Around With Your Bone Health
Soon after I returned home, an X-ray confirmed my suspicion: the bones in my hand were not fractured. My wrist was only sprained. Although a sprain can be highly inconvenient and slow healing, I felt fortunate (yet not surprised; see below) at 60 years young to escape a wrist fracture.

Bones maintain their strength by having the right balance of magnesium, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin K2. Magnesium is essential to convert vitamin D to its activated form to regulate calcium absorption in the intestines. After calcium enters the blood stream, vitamin D transfers the control of calcium’s destination to vitamin K2. Then vitamin K2 moves the calcium from the arteries into the bones. Without this balanced synergy, bones are likely to weaken, and calcium tends to linger in arterial pathways, potentially causing heart disease.

Simple Steps to Keep Bones Strong
Bone fractures can be an indication of osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating disease in which the bones become fragile and more likely to break. Osteoporosis primarily affects both men and women over 50 years of age, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation.

— One in three (1 in 3) women over the age of 50 will endure an osteoporosis-related fracture.

— In men, the likelihood of enduring an osteoporosis-related fracture is one in five (1 in 5) over age 50, a risk that is more probable than developing prostate cancer!

To prevent bone fractures, acquire and maintain a nutritional balance of vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin K2. I follow these simple steps:

1. Vitamin D: Take 5,000 to 10,000 IU daily of vitamin D3 oil-based (soft gels or liquid) supplements. Enjoy direct sun exposure for up to 15-20 minutes a day, if possible. Most diets do not contain adequate vitamin D3.

2. Magnesium: Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. A daily supplement of magnesium citrate of at least 200 mg may boost your levels of this essential mineral.

3. Calcium: Rich sources of dietary calcium include leafy green vegetables, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Only take a calcium supplement (not more than 800 mg a day) if your diet lacks this mineral.

4. Vitamin K2: Consume about 100 mcg of vitamin K2 (MK-7) that contains natto, a fermented soybean, several times a week. A vitamin K2 diet includes lots of grass-fed meat and dairy products.

Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle (or aunt in my case), these steps work well for me. And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t include daily exercise in this regimen. Best of luck!

For additional information about vitamin D, check out my blog on smilinsuepubs.com, visit my collection of articles on hormonesmatter.com, or read my award-winning book Defend Your Life about vitamin D’s amazing health benefits.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2014 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Jane Fonda II 20140628

The mere mention of “Jane Fonda” evokes a potpourri of perceptions including legendary actress, fitness guru, political activist, feminist, and author. Having recently met Jane Fonda, I noted a couple additional characterizations that surprised me: library geek and advocate of adolescent health. I also discovered that she was unfamiliar with vitamin D3’s beneficial role in teen health.

Jane Fonda loves libraries. On a recent Saturday morning in Las Vegas, she endeared herself to hundreds of enthusiastic attendees at the American Library Association Annual Conference. A featured speaker at the 2014 event, Fonda emphatically admitted, “All my life I’ve taken refuge in libraries.” Reminiscing about her teenage years in upstate New York, she divulged that when she was an adolescent in the 1950s, libraries provided her “sanctuary and solace.” At the girls’ school Fonda attended, she “always” volunteered in the library, gluing book binders!

During her talk the iconic septuagenarian (believe it or not, Fonda turns 77 in December) segued her fondness for libraries to her passionate commitment to adolescent health. Citing her mother’s death when Fonda was 12 and her famous father’s demanding career, she personally endured–with little parental guidance–the overwhelming challenges of “the gateway to adulthood,” including a paucity of “straight talk” information about the body, relationships, and identity empowerment.

Several decades later, Fonda began focusing on helping teenagers understand themselves as well as their relationships, sexuality, and health. In the early 1990s, Fonda founded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential. In 2001, she established the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Heath at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Fonda’s insights from working with adolescents culminated in her new paperback book called Being a Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health, Identity & More. Accentuating the challenges of transitioning from childhood to adult life, Fonda encouraged parents to “keep talking” because teens eventually “do listen.”

After speaking for about 30 minutes, Fonda graciously opened the floor to questions from the audience. I admired her patience and willingness to listen to anyone who was brave enough to stand in that capacious auditorium, with only a microphone between one’s self and Jane Fonda.

My intellectual curiosity as well as passion for vitamin D3’s health benefits inspired me to stand in line behind the center microphone. When it was my turn, I introduced myself and briefly described the importance of adequate vitamin D3 in biological parents prior to conception and in a child’s early years. I asked Fonda’s thoughts about the role of vitamin D3 in adolescent health. She replied that she “takes vitamin D” but did not know about D3. And she did not know about vitamin D3 and teen health. But she readily indicated the willingness to be enlightened about vitamin D3. So I stated that I would give her a copy of my vitamin D3 book called Defend Your Life.

Upon Fonda’s closing remarks and her audience’s thunderous applause, I quickly walked up to the stage and handed her a signed copy of Defend Your Life. As if on cue, Fonda acknowledged my gesture with a nod, turned around, and headed backstage with Defend Her Life in her hand. An indelible image etched in my mind.

Later I stood in a long line to have Fonda sign HER book, engage in a photo op, and chat a bit more about vitamin D3. Her intrigue about this particular nutrient was palpable, so I am confident she followed up on vitamin D3. I also hope she reads at least part of Defend Your Life. I may never know. But what I do know is that vitamin D3 is essential to adolescent health, just as it is for human health from conception to all stages of life.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2014 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Pets Also Need Vitamin D

The importance of vitamin D to our health cannot be understated. Vitamin D is not only essential to our bone and dental health but to our overall well-being. Adequate vitamin D in our bodies protects us from a wide range of medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, infections, and rickets.

For many of us, our pets are family members, and their health is important. But how often have we thought of essential vitamins for our pets? For example, do our precious pets need vitamin D? Absolutely. In fact, all land vertebrates (animals with a backbone) require vitamin D for their health. Without adequate vitamin D, pets may suffer from a variety of serious medical conditions including cancer, heart disease, infections, and rickets. (Do you see a pattern?)

The most natural source of vitamin D for all animals is ultraviolet B (UVB) light from the sun. Mammals, birds, and reptiles are designed to acquire the majority of their vitamin D intake from casual exposure to UVB solar light.

Cats and Dogs
Cats and dogs naturally acquire vitamin D nutrient from UVB sunlight. Unlike humans and reptiles, cats and dogs do not make vitamin D in their skin. When UVB rays strike an animal’s fur, oils in the fur are activated to produce vitamin D. Cats and dogs consume vitamin D when they lick or groom their coats.

Vitamin D’s health value to humans continues to be widely researched. However, fewer scientific studies have been conducted on cats and dogs. Recent examples include:

Researchers at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh in Scotland concluded that domesticated cats with mycobacteriosis (bacterial infections that can cause often-fatal lesions, abscesses, ulcers) had significantly lower vitamin D blood serum levels than healthy cats. The study was published in the June 2012 edition of Transboundary and Emerging Diseases.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University published a landmark study of vitamin D and canine congestive heart failure in the January/February 2014 issue of the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. The Cornell research team concluded that vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for congestive heart failure in dogs. Lead author Dr. Marc Kraus stated, “…supplementing with vitamin D [in dogs with congestive heart failure] in addition to conventional therapy may increase survival time [in these patients]. This should be determined with future studies.”

In another study, Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine examined the association between vitamin D blood serum levels and cutaneous mast cell tumors (MCT) in Labrador retrievers. (Mastocytoma, or MCT, is a disorder caused by excess mast blood cells produced in the bone marrow. MCT may lead to the development of certain cancers. The researchers selected Labrador retrievers because this particular canine breed is predisposed to MCT development.) Published in the October 2011 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition, the research findings suggested that low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for MCT in Labrador retrievers.

Birds
Birds indulge in sunning themselves to maintain their body temperature and to consume vitamin D. Our feathered friends sunbathe in a variety of positions including facing the sun with their feathers spread out for maximum exposure to UVB rays. Birds methodically apply preening oil from the uropygial gland—located near the base of their tail—over their plumes to make vitamin D.

Another way birds absorb vitamin D is through their eyes. Birds enjoy better vision than humans because they can see five spectra (red, blue, green, UVA, and UVB), as opposed to the spectra that we see (red, green, and blue). An additional gland around the bird’s retina (Harderian gland) aids absorption of UV light to help regulate breathing, molting, and circadian cycles as well as migration patterns.

Reptiles
Snakes, turtles, lizards, alligators, and other reptiles inherently sun themselves to warm their cold-blooded bodies and absorb UVB light to acquire their vitamin D fix. However, reptiles in captivity often suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Young pet reptiles frequently develop rickets, and older ones often endure osteoporosis.

What Can We Do to Ensure Our Indoor Pets Get Enough Vitamin D?

Modern lifestyles dictate that our pets live primarily indoors. So how can we ensure that they get enough vitamin D for good health?

UVB Light

The most natural source of vitamin D for all animals is UVB light from the sun. Outdoor mammals, reptiles, and birds acquire the majority of their vitamin D intake from casual exposure to UVB sunlight.

Allow your pets outdoors in direct sunlight, ideally between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, for about 15 to 20 minutes a few times a week. (If you walk your dog, you also benefit from the sun’s healthy rays.)

While we see pets frequently basking in the moving “sun spot” in our homes, they are only enjoying the warmth of the sun. Since UVB rays cannot sufficiently penetrate glass, animals will not make vitamin D from indirect sunlight.

For domesticated reptiles and birds that are limited to indoors, UVB lamps are available for vitamin D sunning. Only consider UVB bulbs designed for birds or reptiles, and please get your veterinarian’s approval prior to use.

Diet

Most commercial pet food is fortified with vitamin D. Read the ingredients labels carefully to ensure that the food contains vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the most effective form of vitamin D. Think twice about feeding your pet food that simply states, “Vitamin D” because the vitamin may be an analog of vitamin D that is not as effective as vitamin D3.

Wild-caught fatty fish, liver, egg yolks, and some dairy products may also supply your pet with vitamin D3.

Supplements

Some people give over-the-counter vitamin D3 supplements to their pets. However, these supplements are designed for human consumption. Too much vitamin D can be harmful to your pet. Please check with your veterinarian before providing vitamin D3 supplements to your pets.

Testing

The next time your pet has a check-up with your veterinarian, inquire about getting a vitamin D test for your pet. The simple test called 25(OH)D involves blood serum collection that can be performed as part of a routine blood test. Be sure to understand your pet’s test results and inquire if vitamin D3 supplementation is recommended.

Nature dictates the paramount importance of vitamin D to living creatures–including our pets. I wish great vitamin D health for you and your entire family.

Have general questions about vitamin D? Search the web, peruse vitamin D books, and visit my blog.

Author’s Note: Susan Rex Ryan loves animals. She authored Defend Your life, a book about vitamin D’s amazing health benefits. Defend Your Life recently was selected for a Mom’s Choice Award in recognition of providing “the best in family-friendly media, products and services.”

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical or veterinary advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2014 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Six Palms 2014

The month of April coincidentally brings us Autism Awareness Month and the beginning of “vitamin D” season. You may ask, “Coincidentally? How are autism and vitamin D related?” The answer may surprise you.

Autism on the Rise
Over the past couple decades, an alarming number of children—in the United States and other industrialized countries—have been diagnosed with autism, a group of complex brain disorders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently estimated that an astounding 1 in 68 American children has an autism spectrum disorder (1). (The March 28, 2014 CDC report is based on 2010 data when the sampled children were 8 years old. In 2008, the autism estimate was 1 in 88 children. In 2006, 1 in 110. You get the picture.)

The medical community’s views on why autism is increasing remain varied. Increased awareness in identifying and diagnosing children may contribute to the mounting prevalence of autism. Many believe genetics and environmental pollutants may serve as risk factors. Some think vitamin D deficiency may be linked to mounting cases of autism.

Is there a connection between the escalating incidences of autism and vitamin D deficiency? The link between autism and vitamin D is far from new to me and other vitamin D experts. But the association tends to be distant in the bureaucracy of conventional health care. Hence, I share my candid thoughts with you.

Diagnose and Treat Autism Sooner than Later
With 2014’s Autism Awareness Month clearly in mind, a major U.S. television network recently aired a news segment about the need for early diagnosis and treatment of autism in children. Children typically develop signs of autism by the time they are two years old. However, many children are diagnosed later, at age four years or older. The message was “diagnose and treat autism sooner than later.” The earlier children are diagnosed with autism, the better their odds of overcoming behavioral difficulties associated with the condition. While this general protocol has merit, it does not address how to prevent autism.

During the television broadcast I thought to myself, “Stop the disease before it can begin! If the biological parents had enough vitamin D in them prior to conception, there might not be autism!”

Several days later, the topic of the recent CDC report on autism cases was raised on Leslie Carol Botha’s weekly “Holy Hormones Honey! The Greatest Story Never Told” radio broadcast on the VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel. As one of Ms. Botha’s guests, I took the opportunity to reiterate my thoughts about vitamin D’s role in stopping autism before it begins.

Real-World Challenges of Autism
The diagnosis of autism presents a long list of social, economic, and health challenges. A toddler diagnosed with autism means that the quality of life for the child and his (or her) family will be affected by the disease every single day of their lives.

Real-world challenges often include special education, social support, self-sufficiency, and employability. Healthcare affordability also is a huge concern. Medical treatment primarily comprises decades of taking expensive prescription drugs. According to the Autism Society,the lifetime cost of caring for an autistic person ranges from a staggering $3.5 to $5 million.

My heart breaks when I think of the myriad daily challenges faced by millions of autistic persons and their families around the globe. There must be a way to thwart autism, and I believe vitamin D plays a part in the prevention.

Vitamin D’s Importance to Maternal Health
Autism probably is caused –at least in part—by genetic damage to a child’s developing brain. Every cell in the brain includes vitamin D receptors (VDR). The VDR control genes that influence brain development. In order to regulate gene expression, the VDR in the brain cells must be turned on by receiving adequate amounts of activated vitamin D. Without sufficient vitamin D to activate its receptors, the brain cannot properly develop. According to John J. Cannell, M.D., founder of the Vitamin D Council, the brain levels of activated vitamin D, “directly depend on the amount of vitamin D the mother makes in her skin or puts in her mouth.”

The Vitamin D Season and Environmental Factors
Epidemiological studies indicate that children born in winter and early spring are more likely to develop autism. The “vitamin D season” in the Northern Hemisphere occurs from April through September (2), the months when the earth is closest to the sun, affording us the opportunity to enjoy vitamin-D-producing sunlight.

Research also indicates that environmental factors likely affect the risk of developing autism. For example, the geographical location where a child is born may affect his risk of autism: a) the closer to the equator a child is born, the less likely his risk of autism, b) babies born in cities are twice as likely to develop autism than those born in rural areas, and c) children born in areas that endure heavy precipitation and frequent cloud cover are more likely to become autistic. A coincidence? Probably not.

Does Sunscreen Use Contribute to Autism?
The burgeoning prevalence of autism over recent decades also coincides with the advent of the “sun scare.” In 1989, the American Medical Association issued a warning to the public about the dangers of sunlight. The admonition caused millions of consumers to purchase and apply sunscreen products. The use of sunscreen denies the human body, including the brain, nature’s true source of vitamin D: ultraviolet B rays of the sun. Once again, a coincidence?

Decreasing the Odds of Autism
The correlation between the timing and location of a child’s birth and the risk of autism culminates in understanding the mother’s, and ideally the father’s, vitamin D health prior to conception and during pregnancy. No parent wants his/her child to develop autism. Biological parents can reduce their odds of having an autistic child by ensuring that their vitamin D levels are adequate prior to conception.

How do you know your vitamin D levels? Take a simple blood test (called 25-hydroxyvitamin D) that can be ordered from your healthcare professional or online testing services. Many healthcare plans cover all or most of the testing costs.

The blood test results serve as a starting point for vitamin D3 supplementation, ideally in concert with your healthcare practitioner. The “healthy” range of vitamin D levels remains a topic of debate in the global medical community. However, most vitamin D experts believe a healthy range is at least 50-80 ng/mL (125 – 200 nmol/L).

The majority of pregnant women reportedly have vitamin D levels less than 50 ng/mL. This statistic is not surprising as most prenatal vitamins only contain 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D3, a woefully inadequate daily dose. Women, who are of child-bearing age, pregnant, or lactating, and their male partners, should take at least 6,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily. By doing so, vitamin D can improve pregnancy outcomes and provide infants with vitamin D during nursing.

The bottom line: I believe that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for the development of autism. A coincidence? No. Can this risk be reduced by adequate vitamin D intake? Yes.

Footnote 1: The terms “autism spectrum disorder” and “autism” may be used interchangeably to describe a group of complex disorders of the brain, according to the May 2013 publication of the DSM-5 diagnostic manual. For sake of brevity in this article, the author chose the word “autism.”

Footnote 2: In the Southern Hemisphere the “vitamin D season” takes place from October through March.

Author’s Notes: The association between vitamin D and the treatment of autism is addressed in my award-winning vitamin D book Defend Your Life. Moreover, vitamin D’s health benefits stretch well beyond autism. I encourage you to explore this amazing nutrient’s benefits by empowering yourself with knowledge: search the web and visit my blog and hormonesmatter.com for rich vitamin D content.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2014 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Sue in Naarden

People interested in improving their health often ask, “How much vitamin D should I take?” A common response is “Get your blood tested, and supplement according to the results.” The suggestion is logical. However, many folks do not know that the global medical community has yet to agree to standardization of vitamin D testing. In other words, test results can vary from laboratory to laboratory due to different testing equipment and protocols. Furthermore, the optimal reference range for vitamin D levels continues to be a subject of debate.

As a passionate vitamin D advocate, I attended the 2013 Vitamin D Standardization Program (VDSP) Symposium hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. The symposium featured scientific presentations and discussions by vitamin D testing experts from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Standardization of the laboratory measurement of vitamin D status is crucial to improve the detection, evaluation, and treatment of vitamin D deficiency. The agenda included presentations of the initial results from VDSP inter-laboratory comparison and commutability studies. The symposium participants highlighted the need for accuracy and consistency in vitamin D laboratory measurements around the globe to improve clinical research and public health programs.

Although the 2013 VDSP Symposium continued the conversation about the need for international standardization of measuring vitamin D status, much work still needs to be accomplished before international standardization of vitamin D measurement can be established.

Moreover, attaining global (or regional) consensus on the optimal reference range for vitamin D levels would greatly facilitate treatment for vitamin D deficiency. And conquering the pervasive vitamin D deficiency epidemic would greatly enhance the health and quality of life of millions of people.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest

A recent Associated Press article by Asif Shahzad grabbed my attention. Women in Pakistan not only suffer the highest rate of breast cancer in Asia, but the majority is completely ignorant of the disease!

Breast cancer is the leading cancer killer among adult Pakistani females, according to World Health Organization official Shahzad Aalam. About 40,000 women succumb to the breast cancer each year. Aalam stated that the disease is rampant.

Numerous challenges contribute to the disturbing rate of breast cancer incidences in a developing country such as Pakistan.

Cultural Taboos

Taboos in a conservative, Islamic culture significantly hinder the awareness and understanding of the mere existence of the disease called breast cancer. For example, a breast cancer awareness group called Pink Ribbon Pakistan found that they were forbidden to say the word “breast” during a presentation to a Pakistani university. In lieu of the words “breast cancer,” the Pink Ribbon group was reportedly required to use the neutral (and misleading) term “cancer of women” when discussing self-examinations and mammograms.

Sadly, when Pakistani women are diagnosed with breast cancer, they often refrain from sharing the information from their families, even their husbands. The word “breast” is associated with sexuality, not health. Furthermore, many consider undergoing a medical screening to be immoral.

Deplorable Healthcare

The poor state of Pakistan’s healthcare sector also contributes to the detection of breast cancer. The lack of adequate funding, current technology, and medicine only adds to the hindrance of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. According to oncologist Saira Hasan at the Shifa International Hospital in Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad, most major hospitals lack a mammogram facility. Consequently, many women are diagnosed with breast cancer in its later, harder-to-treat, stages, leading to higher mortality rates.

Alarming Vitamin D Deficiency

The landscape of medical literature is awash with studies linking vitamin D deficiency to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. I therefore was not surprised to identify research that revealed high incidences of vitamin D deficiency among Pakistani women:

Researchers at Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan studied 305 premenopausal females living in the Karachi area to determine, inter alia, the prevalence of low vitamin D. Over 90 per cent of the participants were vitamin D deficient with trace amounts equivalent to about 1 ng/mL. This study was published in the December 2012 issue of the journal Archives of Osteoporosis.

–Issued in the March 2011 publication of the International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, another Karachi study examined full term, pregnant women and their newborns to understand the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. About 89 per cent of the Pakistani moms and their newborns were deficient in vitamin D.

Bright Lights in the Dark

Strict cultural taboos, poor healthcare, and high incidences of vitamin D deficiency contribute to the rising increase of breast cancer in Pakistani women.

The encouraging news is that breast cancer awareness and detection are increasing in Pakistan, with a number of active supportive groups. For example, Pink Ribbon Pakistan not only launched a mobile mammogram clinic but runs free national breast screening programs in 12 cities.

Perhaps the brightest light of hope belongs to breast cancer survivor and prominent Pakistani politician Fehmida Mirza. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, she emphatically stated, “There’s nothing to be shy about it. No woman, no woman should die of ignorance and negligence.” Mirza uses her position in Parliament to advocate women’s health issues. She intends to propose a legislative bill to require Pakistani women to undergo annual breast cancer screenings and mammograms as well as to teach young women about self-examination.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions .

Copyright ©2014 Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
20131215_155448

It seemed only fitting that I found myself, a health and vitamin D advocate, meandering through a “medicine market” during a mesmerizing visit to the People’s Republic of China. Tucked along a highway outside the ancient walled city of Xi’an, several structures housed a maze of stalls replete with raw medicinal goods that supply local hospitals, clinics, and health care practices.

As I sauntered along a narrow muddy path through the market, I was dazzled, yet humbled, by the sight of large sacks of unidentified herbs, jars of dried sea horses, flattened lizards on a stick, and elixirs promising to cure “what ails you.” Save for ginseng and ginger, the names of herbal medicines were lost in translation. The message however was loud and clear: China, one of the world’s oldest continuous civilizations, benefits from its long history of lessons learned. Twenty-first-century China continues to respect, and to a certain extent, rely on natural remedies for diseases of modern civilization.

Since the opportunity presented itself, I took a casual look at two popular health topics, vitamin D and diet, to offer thoughts and observations from my glimpse into today’s China.

Vitamin D

Reflecting upon the importance of vitamin D in preventing and treating a wide array of medical conditions, I wondered about the role vitamin D plays in Chinese health care.

Similar to other ancient civilizations, the significance of the sun in Chinese life is apparent. The Chinese character for “sun” 日 enjoys linguistic prominence in the Mandarin language, as well as its predecessor Sinitic tongues. The sun also is integral to the ancient practice of feng shui involving the balance of energies to assure, inter alia, good health.

However, geographical, cultural, and environmental factors affect the vitamin D intake of Chinese people including:

— The latitudinal positions of China range between about 18 and 53 degrees north, amassing footprints of widely varying sun exposures. People who live in northern China benefit less from ultraviolet B (UVB) sun exposure. Those residing in the southern regions enjoy a greater availability of sunlight.

— High levels of pollution plague the air of some major Chinese cities including the sprawling capital of Beijing. Air pollution blocks the sun’s UVB rays, obviating the natural production of vitamin D in the skin.

— Chinese females usually avoid direct sun exposure to prevent tanning because maintaining a fair complexion is a cultural preference.

— The shift from tending farmlands to working in factories lends itself to less UVB sunlight exposure.

— Nutritional supplements are not widely used in China. In addition, food fortification with vitamin D is rare. Although prenatal vitamins are sometimes administered to pregnant women, they contain woefully low amounts of vitamin D.

It also is interesting to note that a significant study about vitamin D status in pregnant Chinese women was published in the December 2013 issue of PLOS ONE. Researchers from The 306 Hospital of PLA in Beijing assessed the vitamin D levels of 125 healthy pregnant women who resided in the Beijing urban area during winter. They found that a stunning 96.8 per cent of the expectant mothers had vitamin D levels of less than 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL), indicating vitamin D deficiency.

The conclusion of the “winter study” coupled with the results of a recent study of maternal vitamin D status during the Beijing spring indicate that pregnant women in Beijing are at a very high risk of vitamin D deficiency in either season. Of course, given the prevalence of factors influencing vitamin D intake, some of which are described above, I am not at all surprised by the Beijing researchers’ findings. I am however encouraged that vitamin D studies are being conducted in China with the hope that public awareness of vitamin D’s amazing health benefits will increase sooner than later.

Diet

Traveling in China also afforded me a glimpse into daily nutrition. Having enjoyed local cuisine in four provinces, I noticed a clear dietary pattern: lots of fresh vegetables, some animal protein (meat and eggs) and fish, no dairy products, and no processed foods. Whole wheat noodles were common in northern China, and rice in the south. Fresh fruit typically was served as dessert. No sugar apparently was added to foods and beverages. I felt great in China!

Since returning home to the United States, I have altered my diet by focusing on eating more whole fruits and vegetables. I also am concentrating on cutting out added sugars. While I have known about these dietary tips, living them in China has inspired me to improve my nutritional intake.

The China Study

While touring China, I recalled the landmark nutritional study called The China Study, one of the first books recommended to me when I began my journey in 2007 for better health. After returning home, I dusted off my copy of The China Study, published in 2006 and written by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., and his son Thomas M. Campbell II, M.D. The comprehensive research described in the book is generally based on the China-Cornell-Oxford Project, a 20-year study that examined dietary and lifestyle factors associated with disease mortality in 65 rural counties in China.

The China Study primarily compared the health consequences of animal product consumption to diets rich in plant-based foods among people who were genetically similar. The authors of The China Study concluded, inter alia, that maintaining a whole-food, plant-based diet without any animal products and with a reduction in processed foods and refined carbohydrates will prevent, or reduce the risk of, the development of diseases including several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and both types of diabetes.

Examining the role of vitamin D with regard to autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, the authors surmised that people living at higher latitudes or consuming a diet rich in animal protein, particularly cow’s milk, are at a greater risk to develop autoimmune disease. They argued not only that vitamin D production is compromised by lack of adequate UVB sun, but excessive calcium derived from dairy products such as cow’s milk suppresses the manufacturing of vitamin D.

The China Study authors did not advocate nutritional supplementation except for vitamin D when adequate UVB light is unavailable, and vitamin B12 for people who completely avoid animal protein in their diet.
Suffice to say that The China Study underscores “how the effects of food—both good and bad—operate through a symphony of coordinated reactions to prevent diseases…” Food for thought indeed.

Think Beyond “Outside the Box” to Improve Your Health

A few “take home” points from my brief, yet enlightening, experience in China:

— Respect and learn from other cultures. Garner the lessons learned from ancient civilizations that have survived for thousands of years.

— Don’t reinvent the wheel. Nature has been here forever. Embrace its benefits.

— Empower yourself with the wealth of information available to you. I learn every day. And each day I strive to enjoy improved health.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014!

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Vitamin D in biological fathers

Do you want your baby to grow stronger? New research from the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom suggests that young children are likely to develop stronger muscles when their mums enjoyed a higher level of vitamin D during pregnancy.

The connection between vitamin D levels and muscle strength has been well-established by the scientific community. However, the Southampton study, published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, marks the first time that the relationship between maternal vitamin D status during pregnancy and the muscle development and strength in offspring was examined.

Led by Nicholas Harvey, Ph.D., the researchers measured the vitamin D levels in 678 mothers from the Southampton Women’s Survey in their later stages of pregnancy. Four years after the babies were born, the Southampton team measured their hand-grip strength and muscle mass. The researchers found that the higher the levels of vitamin D in the mother, the higher the grip strength of her child. A secondary finding addressed a lesser connection between maternal vitamin D and the child’s muscle mass.

The Southampton study’s outcome suggests more far-reaching health benefits. Dr. Harvey commented, “These associations between maternal vitamin D and offspring muscle strength may well have consequences for later health; muscle strength peaks in young adulthood before declining in older age and low grip strength in adulthood has been associated with poor health outcomes including diabetes, falls, and fractures. It is likely that the greater muscle strength observed at four years of age in children born to mothers with higher vitamin D levels will track into adulthood, and so potentially help to reduce the burden of illness associated with loss of muscle mass in old age.”

Medical research indicates at least some seeds for disease are sown before birth. Low vitamin D during pregnancy may be one of those seeds. Many pregnant women suffer a vitamin D deficiency that cannot be resolved by taking a prenatal vitamin, most of which only contain 400 IU of vitamin D3—-a woefully inadequate daily dose for anyone of any age ! The conservative National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine 2010 report stated that a safe upper limit for pregnant women is a daily dose of 4,000 IU of vitamin D3, an amount 10 times more than contained in prenatal supplements.

Why risk the health of unborn children? A simple blood test called 25(OH) D, available online and from healthcare practitioners, measures vitamin D levels. The test results pave the way to increase vitamin D intake by acquiring a safe amount of ultraviolet B exposure, or supplementing with vitamin D3 soft gels or liquid drops.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest

The seasonal menu offers a dazzling variety of options. Choices for everyone including young children. Unfortunately, this menu is not from a high-end restaurant but from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I am referring to the CDC’s seasonal flu shot menu.

The Seasonal Selection
For the 2013-2014 influenza season, the CDC offers Americans an unprecedented number of vaccine options from which to choose:

1) The standard flu shot is designed to protect against two common A-strain viruses (H1N1 and H3N1) and a B-strain virus from the B/Yamagata lineage. The vaccine is recommended for ages 6 months and older.

2) The mega (quadrivalent) flu shot comprises a vaccine designed to protect against the three strains listed above plus another B strain lineage: B/Victoria. This vaccine is also available for ages 6 months and older.

3) The egg-free vaccine called FluBlok® is designed for people who are allergic to eggs and previously had no option for a flu shot. This vaccine, containing the three “standard” strains, is recommended for ages 18 to 49 years.

4) The Fluzone® Intradermal vaccine is administered by a tiny micro-needle under the skin, rather than deeper in the muscle. This flu shot for the squeamish contains the three “standard” vaccines, and is recommended for ages 18 to 64 years.

5) The Fluzone® high-dose vaccine comprises a flu protection cocktail designed for ages 65 and older. This flu shot contains four times the amount of antigen, the part of the vaccine that triggers the body to produce antibodies, than the standard shot. However, the Fluzone® high-dose vaccine includes only the three “standard” viral strains.

6) The FluMist® nasal spray vaccine is designed to protect against the same four strains contained in the mega (quadrivalent) dose. The nasal vaccine is only recommended for people ages 2 to 49.

Supplies of flu vaccines appear to be plentiful. Manufacturers of influenza vaccines project a production of about 138 – 145 million doses this season. As of November 15, 2013, 126.3 million doses had already been distributed within the United States.

By the way, the CDC is promoting the seasonal flu menu by declaring 8-14 December 2013 as the National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). The NIVW is a “national observance that was established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination.”

Huh?
My reactions to the seasonal menu include: Seven days of “national observance” dedicated to promoting the importance of flu shots? Flu shots are recommended for 6-month-old infants? What about the mercury contained in some of this season’s vaccines? (Several types of flu vaccines are distributed in 5.0-mL multi-dose vials that contain about 25µg (Hg/0.5 mL) of the neurotoxin mercury. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers 25µg of mercury unsafe for any human who weighs less than 550 pounds.) And, of course, I thought about the lucrative business of flu vaccines.

Natural Choices
Rather than addressing the plethora of concerns with flu vaccines, let’s focus on some nutritional and common-sense alternatives that may protect us from the flu as well as other viral illnesses. Attaining and maintaining a strong immune system is the key to preventing the highly contagious influenza.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D ranks as one of the top “flu fighters.” If you are familiar with my work, you know that I have written a lot about vitamin D’s anti-viral and anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action. Suffice to say, activated vitamin D strengthens the immune system by producing peptides that combat viruses.

As the days in the Northern Hemisphere grow shorter, we enjoy less sunlight and vitamin D exposure. These dark days of the “vitamin D winter” pose a risk to our health. Taking a daily vitamin D3 supplement (soft gel or liquid) of at least 5,000 international units may bolster the immune system. In lieu of optimal sun exposure, using a safe tanning bed (one with electronic ballasts to generate UV light) in moderation is another vitamin D source.

Probiotics
Beneficial bacteria called probiotics not only directly affect gut health; they also play a significant anti-viral role by stimulating the immune system and attacking invader cells. Probiotics are widely available as supplements (including Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium animalis/lactis). Foods that may contain probiotics include yogurt, cottage cheese, and fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut.

Other Dietary Anti-Viral Sources*
Foods that may boost the immune system include:

Legumes (including black-eyed peas, peanuts, pinto beans, roasted pumpkin seeds, and wheat germ) are rich in anti-viral zinc.

Mushrooms (Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake) are replete with selenium, an element that produces antioxidant effects to prevent viral replication, as well as beta glucans.

Tomatoes and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C.

Fish such as salmon, bluefin and albacore tuna, and caviar are packed with DHA omega-3 oils that can boost the immune cell system.

Propolis is a bee product that is not only antimicrobial but one of the richest sources of compounds that can bolster immunity.

*Also available as dietary supplements.

Common Sense Approaches

— Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
— Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
— Avoid hospitals and medical offices.
— Get plenty of high-quality sleep.
— Avoid sugar in your diet.
— Exercise regularly.

Please remember that every individual is biochemically different. There is no single optimal dose of specific nutrients to prevent viral infections in everyone. Consult your healthcare professional prior to making nutritional supplementation choices or significant lifestyle changes.

Happy health!

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2013 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
iStock_000021022342Medium

Are you standing on the cliff of heart disease? If you enjoy adequate vitamin D in your body, your risk of heart disease may be reduced. But are you aware of the benefits of vitamin D’s essential partner, vitamin K2? This little-known nutrient may play a role in whether or not you develop heart disease.

Vitamins D and K2 partner to build and maintain strong bones and teeth as well as fight heart-related diseases. Vitamin D regulates calcium absorption in the intestines to maintain strong bones and dental health. However, once calcium enters the blood stream, vitamin D transfers the control of calcium’s destination to vitamin K2. Then vitamin K2 moves calcium out of the arteries and into the bones and teeth—where this mineral belongs!

Vitamin K1 is Vital for Blood Clotting
Before discussing vitamin K2, I would be remiss if I did not mention the first form of vitamin K. Vitamin K1 is literally a vital nutrient. Without vitamin K1 our blood would not clot, and we could bleed to death. The good news is that vitamin K1 (or phylloquinone) is present in all green plants that acquire energy from sunlight. Green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale, collards, broccoli, and brussel sprouts abound with vitamin K1. Better news: vitamin K1 constantly recycles in our bodies so deficiency is rare.

Vitamin K2 Sweeps Calcium to the Bones and Teeth
Vitamin K2 (or menaquinone) however differs greatly from K1. There are two forms of vitamin K2: menaquinone-4 (MK-4) found in grass-fed animal protein including meat, egg yolk, butter, some cheeses, and calf’s liver. A fermented soybean called natto, generally consumed in Japan, is abundant in a more potent form of vitamin K2 called menaquinone-7 (MK-7).

Health benefits of adequate vitamin K2 levels include potential prevention of osteoporosis, arterial plaque, and dental cavities. Vitamin K2 moves calcium to the bones and teeth, as well as sweeps calcium from soft tissue lining such as arteries. Specifically, vitamin K2 activates proteins (osteocalcin and matrix gla protein) produced by vitamin D that facilitate moving calcium to where it belongs: the bones and teeth.

Low vitamin K2 levels, however, are common. First, vitamin K2 is not recycled in the body. Second, the vitamin’s natural sources are lacking in most diets. Owing to the preponderance of industrial farming in many parts of the world, many people are low in vitamin K2. When insufficient vitamin K2 is in the blood stream, calcium can linger along arterial pathways potentially causing calcification, the process whereby calcium deposits form plaque accumulating in the cardiovascular system. These calcium deposits can cause heart disease.

Vitamin K2 Supplementation
Supplementing with adequate amounts of vitamins D and K2 balances calcium metabolism. The word “balance” is important: one can enjoy optimal vitamin D levels but unknowingly have a vitamin K2 deficiency, a potential recipe for development of heart disease. Unless you consume grass-fed animal products or natto on a regular basis, consider taking a daily K2 supplement. Some experts recommend a daily dose between 100 and 120 mcg. (I take a daily 90-mcg vitamin K2 (MK-7) soft gel containing natto.) As vitamin K2 is fat-soluble, a soft gel taken after a fatty meal is probably the best means for absorption. Vitamin K2 supplements are widely available in health food stores and at online retailers.

However, please be aware that anticoagulant medications (blood thinners such as warfarin) block the action of both forms of vitamin K. If you are taking blood-thinning medication, please check with your healthcare professional before adding any form of vitamin K to your body.

The Bottom Line
The reason I wrote this article is to increase awareness of the essential role vitamin K2 plays by moving calcium out of the cardiovascular system. Many of us do not acquire adequate vitamin K2 from our diets, and do not take adequate vitamin K2 supplements. No wonder calcified cardiovascular tissue is so common! I encourage you to consult with your healthcare professional about the essential benefit of vitamin K2. And please don’t forget K2’s partner: vitamin D!

**If you enjoyed this post, please consider “liking” the Defend Your Life page on Facebook.**

Further Reading

Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleue, ND, 2012.

Defend Your Life by Susan Rex Ryan, 2013.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2013 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Banner_115h_04

For Immediate Release: October 28, 2013
For additional information, contact: info@smilinsuepubs.com

The Mom’s Choice Awards® Names Defend Your Life Among Best in Family-Friendly Products!

Media Release – October 28, 2013 – Las Vegas, NV The Mom’s Choice Awards® has named the vitamin D health book Defend Your Life among the best in family-friendly media, products and services. Defend Your Life encourages readers to discover how vitamin D supplementation provides a safe, easy, and inexpensive approach to improve health and quality of life.

The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is an international awards program that recognizes authors and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media, products and services. Acknowledging the author of Defend Your Life, Susan Rex Ryan, MCA Executive Director Dawn Matheson stated, “As a Distinguished Honoree, you are an important contributor to our mission of helping families grow emotionally, spiritually and physically. It’s our joy to acknowledge those who are fueled only by their passion to make a better world by writing an inspiring book…”

Around the world parents, educators, librarians and retailers look for the Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence seal of approval when selecting quality materials for families and children.

An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling author; Patricia Rossi, host of NBC’s Manners Minute; and Dr. Letitia S. Wright, D.C., host of the Wright Place™ TV Show.

MCA judges are bound by a strict code of ethics which ensures expert and objective analysis free from any manufacturer association. The evaluation process uses a propriety methodology in which entries are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost. The end result is a list of the best in family-friendly media, products and services that parents and educators can feel confident in using.

Defend Your Life author Susan Rex Ryan commented, “I am thrilled and honored to win a Mom’s Choice Award®. My hope is this prestigious accolade will help highlight the importance of vitamin D in everyone’s health.” Ms. Ryan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Science degree from the U.S. military’s National War College. In addition, she has earned scores of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits from accredited U.S. medical programs approved by, inter alia, The American Academy of Family Physicians. Her professional memberships include the Vitamin D Council, the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, and the Independent Book Publishers Association.

For more information on the awards program and the honorees, visit MomsChoiceAwards.com.
For more information on Defend Your Life and Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC, visit smilinsuepubs.com.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Baby and Pumpkin

The month of October typically evokes pleasant thoughts about seasonal changes, upcoming holidays, and family gatherings…about enjoying quality of life.

October also is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of a disease that adversely affects the quality of lives of millions of women, their families, and friends around the world.* Many women truly fear breast cancer. Unfortunately, their trepidation is well justified. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. This devastating disease annually steals the lives of hundreds of thousands of women, according to the World Health Organization.

When hearing the words “breast cancer awareness,” we probably think of early detection as well as improved treatment options. How about preventing breast cancer? Let’s try to stop breast cancer before it begins–-by reducing the risk of developing breast cancer with vitamin D. By attaining and maintaining adequate vitamin D levels in your body, you can potentially Defend Your Life against breast cancer. Vitamin D supplementation is safe, easy, and inexpensive.

Vitamin D’s Anti-Cancer Functions
Vitamin D plays an essential role in regulating cellular activity. Adequate vitamin D in our bodies can protect us from the development of at least several types of cancer (including breast, colon, and prostate) because trillions of our cells contain vitamin D receptors (VDRs). These receptors receive, store, and, in many cases, produce vitamin D that activates anti-cancer functions such as cell regulation and gene expression. If our body has sufficient amounts of activated vitamin D stored in its receptors, the vitamin D will incite natural cell death, preventing malignant growth. When cells do not behave normally, they can proliferate and become “rogue” cells that offer an inviting home for cancer development.

How Vitamin D May Prevent Breast Cancer
Breast (mammary gland) cells are well-equipped with a high level of VDRs that receive, store, and produce activated vitamin D. If these VDRs are sufficiently active, they exude anti-cancer effects by: regulating cellular differentiation, proliferation, and natural death (apoptosis) in breast tissue, as well as gene expression. If the VDRs in breast tissue are not working at their optimal level, breast cancer may develop.

Extensive research including epidemiological studies has suggested that inadequate levels of vitamin D may significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Recent examples include scientific studies that examined the role of vitamin D in breast cancer prevention:

Researchers associated with the University of Arizona conducted a case-control study of 120 Saudi Arabian women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and 120 healthy controls to ascertain the relationship between vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk. More than 60 percent of the women with invasive breast cancer had vitamin D levels less than 10 ng/mL, an amount far less than required to activate vitamin D that can protect breast cells from malignancy. The authors of the study published in the July 2013 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that an increased risk of breast cancer is associated with low vitamin D levels in Saudi Arabian women.

**********************************************

The International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France conducted a large population-based, case-control study of Mexican women aged 35-69 years to understand better the association between vitamin D levels and risk of breast cancer among pre- and post-menopausal Mexican females. Published in the July 2012 issue of the journal Cancer Causes & Control, the study results indicate “an inverse association between circulating vitamin D levels and breast cancer risk among pre- and post-menopausal Mexican women.”

How Vitamin D May Treat Breast Cancer
Scientific evidence has proven that vitamin D receptors in breast tissue cells receive, store, and produce activated vitamin D. This fact alone suggests that vitamin D has the potential to treat breast cancer patients.
Mounting medical research indicates vitamin D may play a role in treating breast cancer. In addition, recent scientific studies that examined the role of vitamin D in breast cancer treatment show promising results:

A landmark study, published in a January 2013 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, offered encouraging news about less toxic and invasive treatment therapies. Susan Gonzalo, Ph.D. at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and her associates successfully identified specific genes that ultimately protect or promote the development of breast cancer cells. The research team discovered a molecular pathway that contributes to triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) and mutations in a tumor suppressor gene called BRCA1.** When the BRCA1 gene in the molecular pathway degrades, tumor cells can proliferate. However, Dr. Gonzalo and her colleagues found that vitamin D can reduce cell proliferation by restoring high levels of 53BP1, a DNA repair function that can be impaired by BRCA1 degradation.

In addition, further research of tissue samples from breast cancer patients with BRCA1-mutated tumors or TNBC revealed a new set of three biomarkers (high levels of an enzyme called nuclear cathepsin L, decreased levels of 53BP1, and low vitamin D). This recently discovered triple-biomarker signature will help doctors identify patients who might benefit from customized treatment including vitamin D therapy.

********************************************

An October 2013 report published in an issue of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment explored the association between vitamin D and early-stage breast cancer. Canadian researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of medical literature from the several decades to better understand the connection between vitamin D levels and early stage breast cancer prognosis. The research team concluded that higher vitamin D levels correlated with improved breast cancer prognosis.

If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to consider vitamin D therapy by consulting with your healthcare practitioner. Adequate vitamin D supplementation in concert with alternative and integrative treatments may overcome some types of breast cancer.***

Avoid Becoming a Breast Cancer Statistic with Vitamin D
Vitamin D’s capability to affect natural cell death and gene expression negates the opportunity for breast cancer cells to proliferate, develop into a tumor, and spread to other parts of the body. This fact alone should encourage everyone to ensure their vitamin D levels are adequate!

The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. Why acquiesce to this projected statistic? Compelling medical evidence supports the connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of developing breast cancer. High levels of vitamin D in the body directly correlate with a decreased risk of breast cancer. With little effort, you can increase your vitamin D levels to protect from developing breast cancer. Now is the time to Defend Your Life with vitamin D!

*Although the development of breast cancer men is rare, about 2,190 American men, for example, are diagnosed annually with the disease.

**Often occurring in younger women, TNBC is the most difficult breast cancer to treat. Women who carry the BRCA1 gene are at increased risk of developing TNBC.

***Renowned author, speaker, and coach Judi Moreo discusses how vitamin D3 supplementation helped her to overcome breast cancer.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2013 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Sue in Naarden

As a health advocate and author of the vitamin D book Defend Your Life, I field a lot of questions about vitamin D supplementation. I find that many people are specifically unaware of the importance of vitamin D3 to their health. Moreover, they need guidance about how to best supplement with vitamin D3.

With these observations in mind, I offer five (5) thoughts about how to select and take vitamin D3 supplements.

Vitamin D3 is the Only “Real” Vitamin D
First and foremost, there is only one truly effective vitamin D form. It is called vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. Vitamin D3 is the bioidentical substance that our bodies recognize to perform essential health functions that include strengthening bones to preventing types of cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and other serious medical conditions.

For decades, a less effective form called vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, has been used in supplements as well as food and beverage fortification. Vitamin D2 contains synthetic compounds that are chemically altered and not well recognized by the body. Despite these facts, vitamin D2 can still be found in enriched foods and beverages as well as multi-vitamins and other supplements.

Burgeoning medical research strongly suggests that vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2. For example, the results of a randomized placebo-controlled trial, published in a September 2013 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, demonstrated that vitamin D3 supplementation increased vitamin D levels in healthy adults more than vitamin D2 supplementation. Furthermore, the researchers concluded that vitamin D2 supplementation in healthy adults was associated with a decrease in vitamin D levels! No wonder I often learn of people who have had no success with prescribed vitamin D, which is usually vitamin D2.

Bottom line: read carefully ingredient labels on vitamin supplements and enriched food and beverages to ensure you are buying D3 – the only “real” vitamin D!

Beware of Prescription Vitamin D
Misperceptions about treating vitamin D deficiency abound among medical practitioners and their patients. When treating patients for almost any medical condition, many conventional medical professionals “automatically” write prescriptions – the perceived “holy grail” for effective treatment. In turn, patients usually salute smartly by taking the prescription. However, in the case of treating vitamin D deficiency, beware of prescriptions.

At least in the United States, vitamin D deficiency is often treated with a prescription for “vitamin D.” Guess what? The prescribed vitamin D contains the less effective form of vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) that I addressed above. Patients are typically advised to take one prescribed 50,000 international units (IU) capsule a week, for about 8 to 12 weeks.

Most patients however are completely unaware that prescribed vitamin D2 comprises synthetic compounds that are chemically altered and not well recognized by the body. In my opinion taking a vitamin D prescription is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; the square peg simply does not fit! Prescribed vitamin D2 most likely will not improve your levels. In other words, your vitamin D deficiency will not be effectively treated. You most likely will not feel better and will be wasting your time and money.

Bottom line: empower yourself with knowledge about vitamin D. Why take an ineffective vitamin D2 prescription, when quality vitamin D3 supplements are widely available at online and retail stores?

Vitamin D3 Soft Gels and Liquids Are Better Absorbed
Vitamin D is dissolved in fat. Therefore, vitamin D3 supplements in soft gel or liquid form are absorbed better than chalky tablets or chewable, fructose-laden supplements.

Bottom line: select an oil-based, vitamin D3 supplement such as soft gels or liquid drops.

How Much Daily Vitamin D3 Should I Take?
Your daily dose of vitamin D3 depends on the amount of vitamin D3 circulating in your body. Taking a simple blood test called 25(OH) D provides a starting point for vitamin D3 supplementation. Vitamin D testing may be conducted by your healthcare practitioner. Home test kits also are available online.

After learning your vitamin D3 levels, adjust, ideally in concert with your medical professional, your daily dose of an oil-based, vitamin D3 supplement according to your test results. Consider monitoring your levels every six months.

If you wish to skip the blood test (at least for now), you can consider taking 2,000 to 5,000 IU a day, unless you have developed sarcoidosis or specific granulomatous diseases.

Bottom line: a simple blood test called 25(OH) D serves as a guide as to your daily dose of a vitamin D3 supplement.

When is the Best Time to Take a Vitamin D3 Supplement?
Now that you have a bottle of vitamin D3 oil-based supplements containing at least 2,000 IU in strength, when is the best time of day to take them? As vitamin D is fat soluble, the best time to take your vitamin D3 supplement is right after your fattiest meal of the day. Good fats such as olive oil, egg yolks, olive and fish will facilitate the absorption of vitamin D3 in your body so you can Defend Your Life [hyperlink].

Bottom line: the best time to take your vitamin D3 supplement is immediately after your fattiest meal of the day.

Totally bottom line: Vitamin D3 supplementation is easy, effective, and relatively inexpensive. Please be patient while attaining adequate vitamin D3 levels. The health benefits are worth the wait.

Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. See Terms and Conditions.

Copyright © 2013 by Smilin Sue Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest

Choices host, Judi Moreo, interviews Susan Rex Ryan, author of Defend Your Life, about the amazing benefits of vitamin D3. Challenged by declining health and quality of life in her early 50s, Sue chose to embark upon an educational journey to understand the benefits of natural medical choices such as vitamin D3. She discovered that adequate vitamin D3 supplementation can provide a simple, natural, and inexpensive approach to improve health and quality of life. Impassioned with sharing the wonders of vitamin D3, Sue discusses vitamin D3’s awesome benefits as well as her thoughts about how vitamin D3 can empower your life!

Please join Judi Moreo and Susan Rex Ryan as they talk about vitamin D3 on BlogTalkRadio.com. The radio interview was originally broadcast live on September 24, 2013. You can listen at any time to the 30-minute talk about vitamin D3 by clicking on the beginning of the first sentence of this blog post.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
A partly sunny afternoon in August attracts sunbathers along Oslo's shores.

The Scandinavian country of Norway sports the nickname “The Land of the Midnight Sun.” The appellation is appropriate because Norway—one of a handful of countries transcending the Arctic Circle–enjoys more than 20 hours of sunlight between late May and late July. During most of year, however, Norway’s denizens endure lengthy “vitamin D winters” – a season marked by the absence of sufficient ultraviolet B (UVB) rays to induce vitamin D production in the skin.

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of visiting the Land of the Midnight Sun. My trip commenced in Norway’s cultural capital city of Oslo and ended in Bergen, a charming town on a western fjord. Defying Norway’s frequent torrential rains and heavy cloud cover, the sun shone daily during my seven-day visit, facilitating outdoor exploration and affording me the opportunity to casually observe Norwegians’ reaction to the summer sun – nature’s gift of vitamin D.

Norwegians’ enthusiasm for the sun was palpable. After a cloudy morning in Oslo conceded to afternoon sunshine, people literally rushed to rooftop venues and open spaces to glean as much UVB as possible. The above photograph depicts sunbathers enjoying an August afternoon along the shore of Oslo Fjord.

As you know from reading my blog or my vitamin D book Defend Your Life, geographical location and weather conditions play important roles in the sunlight’s effectiveness to make vitamin D in the skin. Norway’s ultra-high-latitudes and inclement weather do not lend themselves to enriching its populous with vitamin D.

Norwegians nonetheless understand the importance of the sun’s health benefits and will go to great lengths to acquire sunlight. The small industrial town of Rjukan, nestled deep in a narrow valley in southern Norway, has never received direct sunlight between the months of September and March. Weary of long winter months filled with perpetual darkness, the sun-starved townspeople recently installed three huge mirrors (heliostats) to reflect direct winter sunlight into Rjukan’s main square. The computer-controlled mirrors are designed to automatically track the sun’s movements with the intent of casting a 2,000-square-foot “circle of light” on the town square. As Norway’s “vitamin D winter” soon approaches, we can think of Rjukan’s people in the heart of their town delighting in UVB rays kissing their skin.

Other Vitamin D Sources Read more →

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
LonePalmPhoto

World-renowned speaker, author, and coach Judi Moreo recently published the inaugural Summer Issue of her online magazine Choices. The current issue focuses on health and beauty topics, and includes my article “Vitamin D3: A Healthy Choice.”  If you are interested in finding out how easily you can add vitamin D3 as one of your healthy choices in life, this brief article is for you.  Enjoy!  http://bit.ly/13tpHfq

Photo: Courtesy of SMG

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest
Sun-at-beach

The warmest season of the year has arrived.  Many of us are looking forward to school holidays, work vacations, and relaxing.  And shopping often accompanies our summer fun. So take advantage of the best bargain of the season: better health—for free!  That’s right, I am talking about sunshine: the light emitting from the fiery heart of our solar system.  Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun provide us with an essential nutrient called vitamin D. Yes, this is the vitamin that not only strengthens our bones and muscles but may significantly protect us from a wide range of serious diseases including autoimmune disorders, cancer, contagious illnesses, diabetes, and heart disease, according to a plethora of credible medical studies from around the world.

Many people—across generations and geographical locations—suffer from low vitamin D levels from lifestyles that do not include unprotected sunbathing. Since the late 1980’s, the medical community has emphasized the need to “shun the sun” to avoid skin cancer. Consumers have embraced this advice by spending billions of dollars so they can slather chemical-laden lotions with exponentially increasing sun protection factors all over their bodies. This behavior has resulted in a vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

Moderate sun exposure is healthy for most individuals. Our bodies possess an inherent mechanism to process only the necessary intake of sun rays, about 20,000 international units of vitamin D. After our skin is exposed to direct sunlight under optimal conditions for about 20 minutes, its safety mechanism turns off the initial production of vitamin D. For many folks, it is then time to move to the shade or don additional protection to reduce the risk of sunburn.

Optimal conditions to enjoy summer’s vitamin D depend on a number of factors that we can, and in some cases, cannot control. These factors include:

  • Geographic location. The closer you are to the equator and the higher your altitude the better your opportunity to acquire vitamin D-rich sunlight.
  • Time of day.  The window of sunlight between 10:00 in the morning and 2:00 in the afternoon is optimal. If your shadow is shorter than your height, you are in the potential vitamin D-producing time frame.
  • Sky clarity. An azure sky is highly preferable to cloud cover. UVB light is decreased by about 50 percent when penetrating clouds. Ozone pollution absorbs UVB rays before they reach your skin.
  • Skin. The less clothing, makeup, and sunscreen you wear, the better the odds that your skin can produce vitamin D. It also is important to understand that melanin, the pigment in your skin, absorbs UVB rays.  The lighter your skin, the better chance you can make vitamin D more efficiently.
  • Age. Youth trumps older ages because the concentration of the vitamin D precursor in our skin, called 7-dehydrocholesterol, decreases with age.
  • Weight. Less weight means typically more vitamin D production from the sun. As vitamin D is fat-soluble, the body’s fat cells more rapidly absorb vitamin D, decreasing its availability to organs, tissues, and cells.

You may be thinking, “I live near sea level, far from the equator, in mostly cloudy conditions with cool summer temperatures; work full-time during the day; and am dark-skinned and overweight. How on earth (literally) can I get any measurable vitamin D from the sun?” Take advantage of sunny weather by enjoying an outdoor lunch break. Remove that hat, roll up your sleeves, and soak in the sun. Ten minutes of sun exposure is better than none.

Each individual’s options for absorbing nature’s gift of vitamin D may differ.* Fortunately, widely available sources of vitamin D including vitamin D3 supplements may be highly effective in raising your body’s D levels to protect you from an extensive array of medical conditions. The information about, and benefits of, vitamin D could fill a book. In fact, I am so impressed with vitamin D’s health benefits that I recently published a book called Defend Your Life to encourage people to improve their health by taking vitamin D.

Happy summer, and happy health!

*Persons who have developed sarcoidosis, specific granulomatous diseases, and rare cancers may experience hypersensitivity to sunlight exposure.

Note: A similar version of this article was posted on Lucine Biotechnology, Inc.’s website on May 31, 2013.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Susan Rex Ryan. All rights reserved.

SHARE ONShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare on GooglePlusShare on FacebookShare on Pinterest