Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vitamin D: Our best protection against swine flu?

A headline reads, “Officials Race to Contain Swine Flu.” Another says, “CDC: Swine Flu Cases In NYC Rise To 45.” Still another screams, “Swine flu spreads to Middle East, Asia-Pacific.”

Strangely, there are no headlines that read, “Government delivers vitamin D3 to the masses to thwart flu pandemic.” It is worrisome that the least expensive, most effective therapy for flu prevention is hardly ever mentioned, probably because it sells no expensive drugs. For those who fear the flu and seek the best method of protection against it, I refer them to my earlier blogs on the subject in hopes that the information may ease apprehensions and save a few lives along the way. Here are four posts that explain the critical importance of high vitamin D levels to prevent flu.





I implore you to read the posts and the references that accompany them. The information could save your life!

Friday, April 17, 2009

NIF is back. The sunlight and vitamin D health resort will open in June!

Come learn about vitamin D, sunlight, and health while you lose weight, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and blood sugar and improve your vitality and wellbeing. Most people are severely vitamin D-deficient, and the education they receive may save their lives.

My wife, Vicki, and I previously owned one of the most popular destination health resorts (or “spas”) in the world, known as National Institute of Fitness (NIF). We are now opening another at our Nevada ranch, located next to Great Basin National Park. We will have one of the lowest prices in the industry and in addition to our work with nutrition and exercise, our education will also concentrate on the health benefits of vitamin D. We will still be known as NIF (Nevada Institute of Fitness).

Here are some of the results our guests experienced at our first resort:
During our 20+ years at NIF, our clients lost 110 tons of fat, two thirds of diabetic guests were free of all medication in less than two weeks, and many others recovered from high cholesterol, lupus, arthritis, migraines, hypertension, angina, arthritis and allergies. The institute was consistently ranked as one of the world’s best destination spas and was featured in major newspaper articles in the New York Times as well as other papers throughout the US and in Japan and Singapore.

You can learn more about our operation at http://nifathcr.com/

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Do you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Can vitamin D help?

Both dietary and supplemental vitamin D reduce the risk of RA, which is an autoimmune disease—a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue. In a study of 29,000 women, those who ranked in the top third of vitamin D consumption had one-third less risk of RA.[1] It is likely that a greater vitamin D intake would have produced much better results, since it is virtually impossible to ingest sufficient vitamin D from food and multivitamins.

In studies performed on mice, vitamin D was shown to inhibit the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and minimize or prevent symptoms.[2] The same is true in humans. In subjects diagnosed with a form of the disease known as inflammatory arthritis, the lower the vitamin D levels are, the higher is the disease activity.[3] Vitamin D's anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce the autoimmune response are likely responsible for the improvement in RA.[4]

Investigations also find that RA is more common in winter, consistent with the idea that vitamin D is a major factor in reducing the risk.[5] In a report from researchers in Ireland, it was shown that 70% of patients had low vitamin D levels and that 26% were severely deficient.[6] However, in that report, 21 ng/ml was considered as the deficiency level and 10 as the severe deficiency level. A level of 21 is dangerously deficient. The ideal level of vitamin D is 50-60 ng/ml. Using those numbers, it is likely that all of these patients ranged between deficient and severely deficient.

In our health institute/resort, we observed that guests with arthritis often regained full range of motion in their joints from a week to a month after beginning a program. I assumed that our anti-inflammatory vegetarian nutrition was responsible for the positive results. Now I realize that many of the benefits came from sunlight exposure during outdoor exercise.

RA prevention and relief are two more reasons to obtain regular, non-burning sunlight exposure. Remember that sunscreens can prevent 99% of vitamin D production by the skin.

[1] Merlino, L. et al. Vitamin D intake is inversely associated with rheumatoid arthritis: Results from the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2004;50:72-77.
[2] Cantorna, M. et al. 1,25-Dihydroxycholecalciferol inhibits the progression of arthritis in murine models of human arthritis. J Nutr1998;128:68-72.
[3] Patel, S. et al. Serum vitamin D metabolite levels may be inversely associated with current disease activity in patients with early inflammatory polyarthritis. Arthritis Rheum 2007;56;2143-49.
[4] Cutolo, M. et al. Vitamin D in rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune Rev 2007;7:59-64.
[5] Cutolo, M. et al. Circannual vitamin D serum levels and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis: Northern versus Southern Europe. Clin Exp Rheumatol 2006;24:702-4.
[6] Haroon, M. Report to European Union League Against Rheumatism , June 13, 2008.

Our medical advisory institutions need to wake up and smell the vitamin D!

The following is an approximate copy of a letter I sent to the Institute of Medicine, regarding their forthcoming vitamin D recommendations.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my opinions regarding the forthcoming determination by the Institute of Medicine as to whether the current recommended daily allowance of vitamin D should be revised to a higher level. In my opinion, the decision will be one of the most important in the annals of medicine, as it could positively or negatively affect the health of millions in the US. We have, as a society, ceased to spend as much time in the sunlight as we once did. This is due to our habits of working indoors and scrupulously avoiding sunlight when we venture outdoors. In consequence, we have become critically deficient in vitamin D, a potent steroid hormone whose chemical receptors are found throughout the body. Vitamin D levels are declining in the US population,[1] and that does not bode well for the health US citizens. It has been estimated that maintaining serum levels 25(OH)D of 55 ng/ml could prevent 85,000 cases of breast cancer and 60,000 cases of colon cancer.[2] If there were no other source of vitamin D, achieving that serum level would require the ingestion of about 5,500 IU of vitamin D3 daily for men and slightly less for women. It is obvious that the current recommendations of 400 IU are woefully inadequate.

In addition, sudden death from heart attack is about 2.4 times higher in men with the lowest levels of vitamin D compared to those with the highest levels.[3] It would be possible to go through a long list of diseases that correlate closely to vitamin D deficiency, such as MS, osteoporosis, twenty major cancers, hypertension, arthritis, Lupus, etc., but that would be laborious for both of us. My book, Vitamin D3 and Solar Power, has 800 references to the medical/scientific literature and discusses the influence of vitamin D on more than 100 diseases and conditions.

One double-blind, placebo controlled, interventional study has already determined that four years of vitamin D and calcium supplementation correlated to a 60-77% reduced risk of all cancers in women.[4] The researchers have just received a $4,000,000 grant to continue that research with higher dosages of vitamin D. Science often demands that such studies be conducted before any changes in recommendations are made. However, this may cause delays in action that could cost millions of lives. No such study could ever be attempted among smokers. Such a study would require that half of a group of non-smokers was given cigarettes, taught to smoke and then compared with the other half for death rates. Such a study was never done to furnish conclusive proof that smoking increased the risk of lung cancer. The reasons: (1) it would not have been ethical, and (2) the evidence from observation made the conclusion obvious and compelling. In my opinion, the evidence for higher vitamin D recommendations, either as supplementation or as sunlight exposure, is just as compelling. The researchers in the aforementioned cancer study for instance, stated that the reduction in cancer produced by vitamin D supplementation was about twice that which would be expected if all women stopped smoking.[4]

We cannot afford to wait for more studies to find conclusive proof of the need for higher supplemental recommendations while millions more people die. There is not one whit of evidence that vitamin D supplementation of 10,000 IU per day for an adult is toxic.[5]
I also suggest that you recommend regular, non-burning sunlight exposure as the most natural way to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D.

Marc Sorenson, EdD

[1] Looker, A. et al. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D status of the US population: 1988-1994 compared with 2000-2004. Am J Clin Nutr December 2008; vol 88: pp 1519-1527.
[2]Garland, C et al. What is the dose-response relationship between vitamin D and cancer risk? Nutrition Reviews 2007;65:S91-5.
[3]Giovannucci, E. et al. 25-hydroxy-vitamin D and risk of myocardial infarction in men. Ann Intern Med 2008;168:1174-80.
[4]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.
[5]Vieth, R. Vitamin D supplementation, 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations and safety. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;69:842-56.

Vitamin D deficiency is costing Europe a fortune in lives and money!

Dr. William B Grant and his colleagues have just released a paper that analyzes the terrible financial burden that Europe is bearing due to lack of sunlight and vitamin D.[1] The diseases they mention that are related to vitamin D deficiency and have severe economic effects are “several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, several bacterial and viral infections, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.”

The reasons offered for the deficiency are high latitudes, indoor living (lack of sunlight exposure), lack of sufficient dietary vitamin D and lack of vitamin D fortification in most European countries. The cost is estimated at a staggering 187,000 million Euros per year.

These researchers estimate that the cost to educate and test the population and furnish the supplementation that would eliminate the deficiency—and thereby eliminate the diseases caused by it—would be about 10,000 million Euros yearly. What a great return on investment that would be! For every Euro spent on the program 18.7 would be saved.

Let’s hope that the heads of state listen to Dr Grant and his colleagues, and let’s pray that the U.S. and Canada do the same. We cannot allow vitamin D deficiency to take the lives of millions of people while we wait for more research to be sure. The research on the marvelous benefits of optimal vitamin D levels piles up weekly; the time to act is now.

Dr. Grant, by the way wrote the foreword for my book, and there is a tribute to his work therein. His dedication to informing the public and saving lives is second to none.

[1] Grant, W.B., et al., Estimated benefit of increased vitamin D status in reducing the economic burden of disease
in western Europe, Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology (2009), doi:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2009.02.003