Thursday, February 26, 2009

Can vitamin D prevent the common cold in asthmatics?

New research shows that people with the lowest vitamin D blood levels are about one-third more likely to catch an upper respiratory tract infection (cold) than those with the highest levels[1] (the “high” vitamin D group, however was nowhere near optimal levels). This study is no surprise, considering the research that I posted earlier on this blog regarding colds and flu.[2] There is something that makes this research different, however. Among asthmatics, the risk of catching cold was 5.7 times higher in the people with the lowest levels of vitamin D.

One of my previous posts already discussed the profound correlation of low vitamin D levels to asthma.[3] With all of the suffering asthmatics must go through, an upper respiratory tract infection is not something that needs to be added to it. The evidence indicates that the risk of both asthma and colds can be reduced substantially by maintaining high levels of vitamin D. Act accordingly!

[1] Ginde, A. et al. Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey ARCH INTERN MED;169:4:384-90.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

KILLER VIRUS GRIPS BRITAIN and so does vitamin D deficiency.

The Headline in Britain’s Daily Express read, “KILLER VIRUS GRIPS BRITAIN.”[1]
For several years, Britain has experienced outbreaks of norovirus, which causes severe vomiting. Here is the way this winter’s outbreak was described prior to Christmas:

“MILLIONS face being struck down by a deadly winter vomiting bug sweeping the country. Scores of hospitals have been forced to close wards to new patients as they struggle to cope with the influx of norovirus sufferers. One of London’s leading hospitals has even had to turn away 999 emergency patients after being overwhelmed with cases of the virus, while another hospital has drafted in GPs to cover for staff hit by the bug. As the crisis deepens, health campaigners are warning that hospitals face going into “complete meltdown” over Christmas and New Year.”
“At its height last year the virus, which causes projectile vomiting, diarrhoea, mild fever and headaches, was striking down more than 200,000 a week. The illness can prove deadly for the vulnerable—children and the elderly.”

In my book, and in previous posts on this blog [], I have documented the antiviral and anti-flu effects of vitamin D. Cathelicidin, an antimicrobial peptide that is extremely effective in breaking down the walls of viruses and bacteria, is dependent on vitamin D to stimulate its production in the immune system. Without cathelicidin, immune function is compromised. It would therefore be expected that in the winter, when vitamin D levels are lowest due to lack of sunlight, viral diseases would be prevalent. In addition to my previous post on the subject of flu, there is an excellent paper by Dr. John Cannell that thoroughly discusses it.[2]

Britain’s northern climate, cloudy weather and “sunscare program” during summer ensure that vitamin D levels in that country are critically low, especially in winter, when no vitamin D can be produced by the sun at that latitude.

A few dollars worth of vitamin D or a couple of weekly (non-burning) sessions at a tanning salon could, in my opinion, quickly put a stop to the norovirus and the misery it causes.

[1] Brown, M and Dawar, A. Killer Virus Grips Britain. Daily Express, December 15, 2008.
[2] Cannell, J. et al. Epidemic Influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect 2006;134:1129-40.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Television viewing in teens is linked to adult depression. Lack of sunlight and vitamin D may be the reason.

Television viewing in teens is linked to adult depression. Lack of sunlight and vitamin D may be the reason.

An interesting study from the University of Pittsburgh has found that the more TV teenagers watch, the more likely they are to be depressed as adults.[1] The study author theorized that because there is so much depressing news and programming on TV, the more exposure, the more the internalizing or the depressing programming. For each hour of TV watched, the rate of depression increased significantly.

The researchers may be correct, or it could be that hours of sedentary life in front of the TV, watching commercials for junk food, leads to obesity and poor health as the teenager’s age. I have another theory that may supplant, or at least add to those theories. In an earlier post, I discussed the dramatically increased rate of depression among people who were vitamin D deficient.[2] Vitamin D is absolutely critical for the central nervous system (CNS) to function at optimal levels; it is possible that years of unnatural indoor habits create vitamin D deficiency, which damages the CNS, and—combined with the previously mentioned deleterious influences of excessive TV watching, result in depression. Sunlight and vitamin D are absolutely necessary for human health and happiness. An indoor lifestyle is unnatural and damaging to the human body and psyche.

Get away from the TV, video game and other sedentary, sunless activity and get outdoors. And, stop eating toxic foods. You will be glad you did!

[1] Primack, B. Association between media use in adolescence and depression in young adulthood: a longitudinal study. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2009 Feb;66(2):181-8

Living longer and better with Vitamin D and sunlight

Low vitamin D levels have once again proven to be a risk factor for earlier death. In a study of Asian women, low levels of vitamin D correlated to a doubling of the risk of death over 6.9 years.[1] Osteoporosis and cancer that existed when the study began were also predictive of early death, which would be expected. What intrigues me is that both osteoporosis and cancer are closely correlated to low vitamin D levels; it is therefore plausible that low levels of vitamin D were not only directly responsible for a higher death rate, but also at least partially responsible for the increased risk of the two deadly diseases that also predicted more deaths.

This is at least the third study to show that lower vitamin D levels correlate to shortened life spans. The evidence is incontrovertible: for a long life with fewer diseases, keep your vitamin D levels high.

[1] Kuroda, T et al. Contributions of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, co-morbidities and bone mass to mortality in Japanese postmenopausal women. Bone 2009;44:168–172

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Do you need pain relief? Have you considered a tanning bed?

As I previously posted, vitamin D deficiency correlates quite closely to chronic pain, and pain is usually reduced or eliminated by bringing blood levels of D to optimum. Another scientific paper on vitamin D and pain was recently brought to my attention; it discussed the case of a woman with Crohn’s disease, which tends to cause vitamin D deficiency.[1] She complained of bone pain and muscle weakness and had critically low vitamin D levels—only 7 ng/ml—which will do little more than sustain life. The woman was treated by putting her in a tanning bed three times weekly for ten minutes over a period of six months. She wore a one-piece bathing suit during these sessions. After the six months of treatments, she was “free of muscle weakness and bone and muscle pain.”

It is difficult to find anyone outside the tanning industry, other than vitamin D scientists, who has anything good to say about tanning beds. I am an exception, and use one in my home in winter when I cannot get any vitamin D from sunlight. I am careful not to burn in a tanning bed just as I am careful not to burn in the summer sunlight. It elevates my mood and gives me the vitamin D I need to lessen my risk of at least 105 diseases and disorders. However you decide to obtain your vitamin D3, make sure you get enough to produce a serum level of 50-60 ng/ml. If vitamin D supplementation is your only source, that will require about 4,000-5,000 IU per day, according to your size. Remember never to burn.

Here’s wishing you a pain-free future!

[1]Koutkia, P Treatment of vitamin D deficiency due to Crohn's disease with tanning bed ultraviolet B radiation. Gastroenterology. 2001;121:1485-8.Here’s to a pain-free future!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Losing your mind: Is Alzheimer’s disease in your future or your parents’ future? Can sunlight and vitamin D prevent it?

I have previously posted regarding the effect of vitamin D on cognitive disability, autism and other brain disorders. With all of these disorders, there is a clear correlation between sunlight and/or vitamin D deficiency and decreased brain function. Considering that most elderly people are severely vitamin D deficient and that there are vitamin D receptors throughout the brain, it would not be surprising to also find the same correlation with Alzheimer’s, which is a brain disease. An excellent paper by Dr Frederick Dyer[1] makes a case that Alzheimer’s is, at least in part, a vitamin D-deficiency disease.

Dr Dyer makes the point that many diseases or disorders—those that are well-established as correlating to vitamin D deficiency—are themselves risk factors for Alzheimer’s. These include depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, poor cognitive abilities, periodontal disease, dental caries, inflammation, tooth loss, low cognitive performance, poor strength, depression, congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease, hypertension and arterial plaque. In other words, Alzheimer’s shows a "co-morbidity” with these disorders, meaning that they may have the same underlying causes. Lack of sunlight/vitamin D is likely one of those causes.

Until we know for sure, it is certainly a great idea to maintain high levels of vitamin D in ourselves and in our aging parents; there is no downside, and it may prevent us from losing our minds.

Another excellent paper on vitamin D and Alzheimer’s will be published soon; I will keep you posted.

[1] Dyer, F. Deficient Vitamin D in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease. Unpublished manuscript furnished to author December 2008. Used by permission.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Mammograms correlate to a 22% increase in the risk of Breast Cancer: What does this have to do with vitamin D?

A new research report has just been released; it is only the latest of several to suggest that mammograms are not effective or actually counterproductive.[1] Among women who were screened regularly for breast cancer by mammogram, the risk of the cancer was 22% higher than among those who were not screened for the cancer.

This is another example where the only people who benefit from some types of medicine are the physicians, the hospitals and the companies that build the technology; certainly mammograms are of no value to the most important people; women who are attempting to prevent breast cancer. It is possible that the radiation from the machines does a great deak of harm. Sunlight and vitamin D have both been proven to dramatically reduce the risk of cancers, including breast cancer, in women. Proper nutrition and exercise are also profoundly effective. See my previous posts: ( ( (

Remember, when it comes to cancer, an ounce of prevention is worth TONS of cure!

[1] Zahl, P. The Natural History of Invasive Breast Cancers Detected by Screening Mammography. Arch Intern Med;168:21:2311-16

Still more for expectant moms: Sunlight/vitamin D during pregnancy increases the strength of bone in children and leads to greater height.

Another new research paper provides one more reason for pregnant women to get out in the sunlight during the season when UVB light is available (UVB light is the wavelength that produces vitamin D); that habit by expectant mothers predicts that their children will have heavier bones that are less susceptible to osteoporosis, and in addition, they will be taller at the age of 9.[1] Greater lean muscle mass in the boys and girls studied was also related to higher UVB exposure during their fetal stage, meaning that both muscle and bone were enhanced-quite an advantage for youngsters considering athletics, and a boon in later stages of life for reducing the risk of osteoporosis and muscle wasting.

Moderate, consistent sunlight exposure to a large area of skin is vital to the health of the pregnant mother and her children. In winter, when no UVB is available in sunlight, and when sunlight itself is far less available, tanning beds are very effective in producing vitamin D (be careful not to burn). For those who prefer not to use tanning beds, vitamin D3 supplementation of 3,000-5,000 IU per day is critical.

[1] Sayers, A. et al. Estimated maternal ultraviolet B exposure levels in pregnancy influence skeletal development of the child. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Dec 30. [Epub ahead of print]

More for expectant mothers: Will your vitamin D deficiency lead to Multiple Sclerosis in your children?

A new multiple sclerosis (MS) study has shown that vitamin D has the ability to reduce a genetic susceptibility to the disease by reducing the force of genes that lead to MS.[1] In other words, vitamin D reduces the action of genes that trigger the autoimmune response leading to the disease. The researchers indicated that vitamin D supplements during pregnancy and early in life might act to prevent the disease.

In MS, the body’s own immune system attacks the myelin sheath—insulation that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. When nerve tissue loses its myelin sheath, it is analogous to electric wiring that has lost its rubber insulation; it fails to carry the body’s electrical impulses properly and becomes “short circuited.” Those who suffer from MS experience numbness, poor coordination and balance, weakness, stiffness and poor vision.

This study simply gives one more reason to believe that vitamin D is a major player in reducing the risk of MS. The skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight during spring, summer and early fall; the more sunlight available, the more vitamin D is produced. It has been known for about 70 years that MS is much less prevalent in sunny, warm areas. More recent research has also shown that in Australia, there is a seven-fold increase in MS incidence between tropical Northern Queensland and Southern Hobart, located in the less sunny part of the country.[2] And when we observe the rates of MS worldwide, the geographical distribution of MS confirms the direct correlation between latitude and MS; the further from the equator, where there is less sunlight, the greater the incidence of MS.[3] [4] [5] There is more than 100 times the rate of MS in far northern areas as in equatorial areas, where sunlight is intense and the rate of MS approaches zero!

For a complete discussion of MS, see my chapter on the subject in my book. Meanwhile, If behooves all parents to be sure that they, their spouses and their children have high levels of vitamin D. The optimal levels are 50-60 ng/ml. Moderate, non-burning sunlight exposure is the most natural way to obtain vitamin D.

[1] Ramagopalan, S. et al. Expression of the multiple sclerosis-associated MHC class II Allele HLA-DRB1*1501 is regulated by vitamin D. PLoS Genet. 2009 Feb;5(2):e1000369. Epub 2009 Feb 6.
[2] McLeod, J. et al. Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis in Australia. With NSW and SA survey results. Med J Aust 1994;160:117-22.
[3] Alter, M. et al. Multiple sclerosis and nutrition. Arch Neurol l974;31:267-72.
[4] Kurtkze, J. et al. Geography in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol 1977;215:1-26.
[5] Hayes, C. et al. Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 1997;216:21-27.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Expectant mothers: will your newborn die of heart failure due to your vitamin D deficiency?

Tragically, newborns sometimes suffer heart failure, and until lately physicians had not considered vitamin D deficiency as a possible cause. However, in a study conducted in southeast England, sixteen infants were identified that had suffered heart failure and low blood calcium between 2000 and 2006[1]. Six were of Indian and ten of African ethnicity (dark skinned people do not make vitamin D efficiently).

Six of these unfortunate children suffered cardiac arrest, three died, eight were placed on lung machines, and two were referred for heart transplants. Can you imagine an innocent baby needing a heart transplant because his/her mother was severely deficient and passed that deficiency to the child? The average serum vitamin D level was only 7.4 ng/ml (50-60 is optimal), and some of the infants had undetectable levels.

Hypocalcaemia is usually caused by insufficient vitamin D in the blood and often results in convulsions and death. But the care givers had not even tried to assure that vitamin D levels were adequate. The researchers concluded with this statement: “Vitamin D deficiency and consequent hypocalcaemia are seen in association with severe and life-threatening infant heart failure. That no infant or mother was receiving the recommended vitamin supplementation highlights the need for adequate provision of vitamin D to ethnic minority populations."

Obviously, a few dollars worth of vitamin D or a lot of summer sunshine or tanning bed use could have prevented this catastrophe. At least the word is getting out.

[1][1] Maiya, S. et al. Hypocalcaemia and vitamin D deficiency: an important, but preventable cause of life-threatening heart failure. Heart 2008;94:581-84

Are you looking for help for anemia? Vitamin D may be your answer.

Anemia is a disorder caused by a reduction of the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. It causes pallor, weakness, breathlessness and fatigue. It has been shown that in patients with kidney disuse, each 10 ng/mL increase in serum levels of 25 (OH) D is associated with a 29% reduced risk of anemia, whereas each increase of 10 mg/dl of c-reactive protein (CRP) were associated with dramatically increased risk.[1] There is every reason to believe that those without kidney disease would have the same benefit from higher levels of vitamin D. In my book, I discussed the profound association of higher vitamin D levels with lowered levels of CRP, an inflammatory chemical that is a strong promoter of heart disease. Vitamin D's ability to control CRP may also be the reason for the impressive, positive influence of vitamin D on anemia.

Let's get back in the sunlight (without burning, of course).

[1] Kendrick, J. et al. Report to the conference of the National Kidney Foundation, Spring Clinical Meetings. May 16, 2008

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The most popular flu drug is now 99% ineffective. Another reason to keep vitamin D levels high!

The headline in the International Herald Tribune reads, “Flu in U.S. found resistant to main antiviral drug.” The article then goes on to say, “Virtually all the flu in the United States this season is resistant to the leading antiviral drug Tamiflu, and scientists and health officials are trying to figure out why.”[1]

According to this article, flu is now 99% resistant to Tamiflu, the most popular flu drug.
My earlier posts presented evidence that vitamin D is exceptionally effective against flu, in fact, nearly 100% effective in winter. []

Wake up world, and wake up drug companies; the answer to flu prevention is already here!


More for expectant mothers: will your baby be born with a soft skull due to your vitamin D deficiency?

Craniotabes is a skull condition characterized by thin, soft areas, and it has recently been defined as the earliest sign of vitamin D deficiency in newborns.[1] It may signal impending rickets, but until recently, it was considered a physiological anomaly needing no treatment. Obviously, any newborn diagnosed with craniotabes should be immediately checked for vitamin D deficiency to avert full-blown rickets.

Remember that it is virtually impossible for a newborn to be vitamin D deficient if the mother’s blood is replete with vitamin D. And as we have already discussed in a previous post, it is imperative that a woman who is breastfeeding take in 6,400 IU of vitamin D3 daily in order to maintain optimal levels in both herself and her infant.[2]

Moms, you are responsible for the health of your infant; you need sunlight or supplements. Act now!

[1] Yorifuji J. et al. Craniotabes in normal newborns: the earliest sign of subclinical vitamin D deficiency. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2008 [Epub]
[2] Wagner C. et al. High-dose vitamin D3 supplementation in a cohort of breastfeeding mothers and their infants: a 6-month follow-up pilot study. Breastfeed Med. 2006;1:59-70.

Another method by which vitamin D prevents breast cancer.

In view of my just-completed post on breast cancer, I felt it appropriate to follow up with another piece of research that relates to the subject. Vitamin D has now been found to stimulate a protein that suppresses the growth of breast cancer tumors.[1] This is important research, because it indicates that breast cancer tumors that are already developed can be inhibited in their growth by vitamin D.

Let’s return to the sun and keep our vitamin D levels high!

[1] Dhawan, P. et al. CCAAT Enhancer-binding Protein {alpha} Is a Molecular Target of 1,25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 in MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells.

Should you remove your breasts to prevent breast cancer? Would sunlight/vitamin D and exercise be a better choice?

I just read—with horror—a discussion among cancer “experts” about one of the worst atrocities being committed by medicine: the removal of a woman’s breasts as a procedure to prevent breast cancer in women who are genetically susceptible to that disease. One of them stated that the procedure was “95% effective.” [1]

In other words, a woman who has no cancer, but who had close relatives who had cancer, might have both breasts removed as a prophylactic measure.

This idea makes me ill. Genetics do not doom a woman to breast cancer; rather, they determine whether the woman can handle a lifestyle that leads her to cancer. In other words, “good genes” help one to resist the toxic lifestyle they have chosen to live. “Bad genes” cannot resist the damage done by that lifestyle, and cancer results. If what I just said is true, then the best option is to remove the toxic lifestyle. Sedentary living, for instance, is toxic to the female breast. That can be overcome. For example, women who exercise four hours per week reduce risk by 37%; those who exercise and also maintain the leanest bodies reduce risk by an impressive 72%![2]

And what about sunlight and vitamin D? Women who supplemented vitamin D and calcium for four years had a reduced risk of all cancers of 60-77%.[3] It is also known that women who live in sunny areas and spend the most time in the sunlight reduce their risk of breast cancer by 65%.[4] Other research shows that women who have the highest blood levels of vitamin D reduce the risk by 69% compared with those who have the lowest levels.[5]

For more on breast cancer and vitamin D, see my previous post:

It has also recently been shown that an eating pattern high in meat, butter and margarine—“a food pattern characterized by high-fat food choices” doubled the risk of breast cancer when compared with those who ate low fat choices,[6] and other research has shown that the highest consumption of grapes, soy foods, green peppers and tomatoes all predict a 40% reduction in the risk of breast cancer.[7] It behooves all of us to eat our veggies and fruits. Alcohol consumption also increases breast cancer risk, so don’t get your grape consumption from wine!

When you are considering prophylactic measures against breast cancer, it might be a better choice to change lifestyle than to remove your non-cancerous breasts. Sunlight, exercise and avoiding junk food are kinder alternatives. Think about it!

[2] McTiernan, A. Exercise and breast cancer - time to get moving? Editorial NEJM 1997;336, 1311-12.
[3] Lappe, J. et al. Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: results of a randomized trial. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1586–91.
[4] John, E. et al. Vitamin D and breast cancer risk: The HANES 1 epidemiologic follow-up study, 1971-1975 to 1992. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention 1999;8:399-406.
[5] Abbas, S. et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and risk of post-menopausal breast cancer—results of a large case-control study. Carcinogenesis. 2008;29:93-9.
[6] Schulz, M. Identification of a dietary pattern characterized by high-fat food choices associated with increased risk of breast cancer: the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-Potsdam Study. Br J Nutr. 2008 Nov;100(5):942-6.
[7] Do, M. et al. Fruits, vegetables, soy foods and breast cancer in pre- and postmenopausal Korean women: a case-control study. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2007 Mar;77(2):130-41.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

High blood pressure? Head for the sun!

A recent medical-journal article reported research showing that there was a direct correlation between higher temperatures and lower blood pressure.[1] We should expect this to be the case, since it is very-well established that higher vitamin D levels lead to a dramatically reduced risk of hypertension (high blood pressure). (See my previous post for more information on the relationship of blood pressure to vitamin D levels.

In summer, when temperatures are higher, the sun stimulates the production of vitamin D very efficiently; in winter, there is little or no production of vitamin D by sunlight, because the ultraviolet B light (UVB) is filtered out. It is also true that people like to go outside more in summer than winter, and that they use less clothing, thereby exposing more skin to the sunlight and making more vitamin D.

Therefore, if you suffer from hypertension, get outdoors in the summer (never sunburn). In winter, use a tanning bed (never burn), which is exceptionally efficient at stimulating vitamin D production, or take supplements of 3,000-5,000 IU daily.

One of the biggest lies in medicine is that a person must stay on hypertensive drugs for a lifetime if he/she is hypertensive. It is simply not true. In most people, sunlight and a plant-based nutrition program can easily bring blood pressure levels to normal. Ask your physician before changing any prescribed medication, of course.

[1] Alpérovitch, A. et al. Relationship between blood pressure and outdoor temperature in a large sample of elderly individuals: the Three-City study. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jan 12;169(1):75-80.

Obesity in mothers leads to higher death rate in their children. Does vitamin D play a part?

On Friday, January 30, Yahoo News posted a Reuters article with the title, “Mom's obesity tied to higher infant mortality.”[1] This is not surprising. Obesity is closely correlated to many health problems, and one is the tendency of obese people, both children and adults, to be at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency.[2] [3] We have already discussed in previous posts that children born to vitamin D-deficient mothers have greater risks of diabetes, autism, weak bones and other maladies.

Although it is not known if it is vitamin D deficiency in the obese mother that causes a greater death rate in the children, the greater number of health problems among children of vitamin D-deficient mothers certainly makes the theory tenable. Expectant mothers who are obese would be well-advised to keep their vitamin D levels high for their benefit and the benefit of their developing babies.

[2] Parikh, S. et al. The Relationship between Obesity and Serum 1,25-Dihydroxy Vitamin D Concentrations in Healthy Adults. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2004;89(3):1196-99.
[3] Smotkin-Tangora, M. er al. Prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in obese children and adolescents. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab 2007;20:817-23.ttp://;_ylt=Arm4zrlZzzAv3NBv7PMRLKrVJRIF

Is your child’s health important? Be sure to provide meaningful quantities of sunlight exposure and/or vitamin D.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently doubled the recommended daily vitamin D intake for children from 200 to 400 IU per day—A nice step in the right direction, but terribly inadequate. Children who play outside in summer sunlight will make that much vitamin D in a few minutes, provided their parents do not slather them with sunscreen, which prevents 99% of all vitamin D production by skin.

In winter in northern latitudes, no vitamin D is produced by the skin. In that case, either food sources or supplementation are necessary to produce adequate levels of vitamin D. Food contains very little vitamin D. If supplementation is the only source of vitamin D, then recommending a change from 200 IU to 400 IU is akin to going from ridiculously low to just really bad; it is not going to do the job.

Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council recommends a minimum of 1,000 IU daily for children in the absence of sunlight exposure.[1] He and other scientists also recommend 1,000 IU per 25 pounds of bodyweight in order to bring blood vitamin D to the optimal levels of 50 ng/ml.[2]

It is unfortunate that government organizations usually recommend vitamin D intake that ranges from about 10-25% of the amount needed for optimal health. Those recommendations, coupled with the “sunscare movement” that has frightened the people away from natural, non-burning sunlight exposure, has been a disaster for children and adults alike and has led to an epidemic of autism, type one diabetes and weak bones in children. Hopefully, sanity will soon be restored and our children’s mental and physical health recovered.

[2] Cannell, J. et al. Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin A Toxicity, Frequent Respiratory Infections, and the Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 2008;117:864-870.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Is low birth weight in babies due to vitamin D deficiency during fetal development?

Here is one more reason for mothers to get back in the sunlight: the potential for low birth weight in their babies.

Low birth weight is associated with poor mood, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and other problems during childhood and afterward. Recent research shows that low birth weight is related to exposure by pregnant women to winter temperatures during a critical developmental time for the fetus.[1] [2] This could indicate vitamin D deficiency of the pregnant mother during “vitamin D winter,” the time of year in northern latitudes when the sun is too low in the sky to produce vitamin D. The answer, of course, is to use a tanning bed or take vitamin D3 supplements (3,000-5,000 IU) during the winter. Remember never to burn!

The child needs every possible advantage prior to birth, and one of the advantages is a mom with high vitamin D levels. The only source of vitamin D for the fetus is the mother’s body.

[1] Elter K, et al. Exposure to low outdoor temperature in the midtrimester is associated with low birth weight. Aust N Z J Obstet Gynecol 2004;44:553-7
[2] Murray, L. et al. Links of Season and outdoor ambient temperature: effects on birth weight. Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Nov;96(5 Pt 1):689-95

Is depression ruining your marriage? Light, love and vitamin D may save it!

WebMD’s alert for today was titled, “Is depression rocking your marriage?”

What followed were three pages of reasons why depression causes indifference and lack of interest in sex, thus creating divorces and otherwise tearing apart good relationships.[1]

Nowhere did the article mention that lack of sunlight and/or high blood vitamin D blood levels were major causes of depression. Dealing with depression, as suggested by WebMD, is one way of coping, I suppose; preventing it is quite another, and it is a far better choice. Fortunately, sunlight and vitamin D can often do both.

Sunlight that enters the eye dramatically relieves depression by increasing production of one of the body’s natural antidepressants, serotonin. Most antidepressant drugs also try to relieve depression by maintaining circulating blood-serotonin at high levels. Interestingly, research has proven that sunlight does a better job at raising serotonin levels that do drugs. A study reported in the Lancet in 2002 found that brain serotonin levels were greater during the summer, and higher on sunny days than cloudy ones—the brighter the sunlight, the greater the production of serotonin. The researchers also found that the number of daily hours of bright sunlight was directly related to the production of serotonin by the brain[2] (remember never to stare directly into the sun; indirect sunlight is sufficient). Anyone who has ventured outside on a sunny spring day after enduring a long, sunless winter immediately feels an increase in wellbeing and a decrease in depression. Here are more reasons to save your marriage with light and vitamin D as opposed to the noxious, antidepressant drugs:

1. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), indicates that antidepressant medications known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) may increase depression in some cases and lead to suicidal thoughts.[3] Some of the brands involved are Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac, Effexor, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Luvox, Celexa and Serzone, although the FDA listed 34 drugs. The entire list is at

2. SSRI’s don’t work very well![8] A meta-analysis of data on SSRI’s submitted to the FDA indicates that placebos (sugar pills) are as effective as SSRI’s in reducing depression; in other words, only drug companies benefit from SSRI’s—not depression sufferers.

3. Two research papers in the journal, Archives of Internal Medicine, show that taking antidepressants called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s)—the most popular antidepressant drugs—dramatically reduces bone mass in users compared to non-users.[4] [5] The first study demonstrated that elderly women who take SSRI’s lost nearly 43% more bone per year than those who did not. The second established that bone mineral density (BMD) among elderly male SSRI users was about 4% lower at the hip bone and about 6% lower at the spine compared to those reporting no SSRI use. Another investigation reported that SSRI-using adults over the age of 50 were twice as likely to fracture a bone and twice as likely to fall as those who did not use the drugs.[6] These risks were dose-dependent, meaning that as the dosage of the drug increased, there was an accompanying increase in fractures and falling.

4. The use of antidepressant drugs may lead to a doubling of the risk of diabetes![7]

5. Vitamin D itself dramatically reduces the risk of depression. See my previous blog:

Considering the downside of these awful drugs and the upside of sunlight/vitamin D therapy, it makes sense to improve your marriage the way God intended, with love, sunlight and vitamin D!

[2] Lambert, G. et al. Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain.  Lancet 2002;360:1840-42.
[3] USA Food and Drug Administration web site, updated July 12, 2005.
[4] Diem, S. et al. Use of antidepressants and rates of hip bone loss in older women: the study of osteoporotic fractures. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:1240.
[5] Haney, E. et al. Association of low bone mineral density with selective serotonin uptake inhibitor use by older men. Arch Intern Med 2007167:1246-51.
[6] Richards, J. et al. Effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the risk of fracture. Arch Intern Med 2007;167:188-94.
[7] University of Alberta (2008, March 26). Antidepressants Linked To Type 2 Diabetes, Study Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 2, 2009, from­ /releases/2008/03/080325122804.htm
[8] Kirsch, I. et al. Initial severity and antidepressant benefits: a meta-analysis of data submitted to the Food and Drug Administration. PLoS Medicine 2008;5:e45. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0050045 Accessed March 11, 2008.