~Thoughts for Thinking People~


Tis the season for sadness and sickness. As the sun declines in the sky and the days get shorter we are at high risk. In fact, anyone living above the latitude of the Florida panhandle can pretty much count on vitamin D deficiency during these months. Being inside, cloudy days, dark skin, and clothing shield us from the sun's life giving rays. The vitamin D created when the sun strikes the skin is like a master hormone regulating and modulating a wide range of physical and mental functions. So we have devoted this whole issue to some of our recent findings in this regard. It is more proof positive that we are intimately linked to the natural world and if we pay heed our health will prosper.

Vitamin D Therapy Can Treat Life-Threatening Illness
Vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic by increasing the production of anti-microbial peptides. These proteins destroy cell walls of bacteria and viruses. Photoluminescense therapy, also known as blood irradiation, has been used in recent years to treat life-threatening infections. During the procedure, blood is withdrawn from the patient and irradiated with ultraviolet light (like from the sun). This creates pharmacological amounts of vitamin D that act as a safe and natural anti-biotic. The blood is then returned to the patient. In one case series, nearly all 400 patients with moderate infections were cured and those with highly advanced infections had a 45% success rate.
The Vitamin D Newsletter June/July 2006

Vitamin D Helps Cut Pancreatic Cancer Risks
A recent long-term study was conducted on over 120,000 men and women ages 38-75. The study has shown that taking the U.S. Recommend Daily Allowance, RDA, of vitamin D, 400 IU per day, can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer by up to 43%. Those who took 150 IU per day only reduced their risk of pancreatic cancer by 22%. The effectiveness of vitamin D is very much dose dependent and even this RDA level is way too low for maximum benefit.
Science Daily September 12, 2006

Vitamin D Combats The Flu
Recent findings by Dr. John Canell at a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane noted that vitamin D may play a big role in the natural defense of illness, including influenza. In spring of 2005, a flu epidemic swept through the hospital, but none of the patients on Dr. Canell’s ward became ill. These patients had been receiving high doses, 2,000 units daily, of vitamin D for several months. This finding may also explain why the flu season usually occurs during winter months when sunlight is minimal. Additionally, elderly individuals who live in countries that have high vitamin D consumption rates, such as Norway, are less likely to die in the winter months.
Epidemiology and Infection September 7, 2006
Medical News Today September 15, 2006

You Can Naturally Relieve Pain With Simple Sunlight
Researchers have found that exposure to sunlight may be the newest method of easing pain. Nearly 90 patients who had undergone spinal surgery were randomly assigned either sunny or dim hospital rooms upon their return from surgery. With the aid of light meter measurements, researchers found:
· Patients assigned to bright rooms received an average of 46% more natural sunlight a day, compared to patients in dim rooms. This translated to a 21% average reduction in the cost of painkiller medication for patients in bright rooms
· Bright-room patients had considerably lower stress scores and slightly lower pain scores when they left the hospital, compared to patients in dimmer rooms.
This study may result in hospital administrators relocating patients with high painkiller requirements to rooms with higher intensity sunlight.
Jeffrey M. Walch, Bruce S. Rabin, Richard Day, Jessica N. Williams, Krissy Choi, and James D. Kang. Psychosomatic Medicine. The Effect of Sunlight on Postoperative Analgesic Medication Use: A Prospective Study of Patients Undergoing Spinal Surgery January/February 2005;67(1):156-163.

Sunshine and Calcium Knock Out PMS for Good
It is shown that 8%-20% of women have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) with symptoms including:
· Anxiety
· Loneliness
· Irritability
· Tearfulness
· Tension
High levels of vitamin D and calcium have been discovered to reduce these symptoms. A PMS study was done on a diet comparison of women between 27 - 44 years old. Over ten years, 1,050 women with PMS symptoms were compared with 2,000 women without symptoms. Those with higher consumption levels had reduced symptoms. Since it is virtually impossible to overdose on vitamin D, it is the safest way to reduce PMS.
Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson; Susan E. Hankinson; Adrianne Bendich; Susan R. Johnson; Walter C. Willett; JoAnn E. Manson. Archives of Internal Medicine Calcium and Vitamin D Intake and Risk of Incident Premenstrual Syndrome June 13, 2005;165 (11):1246-1252.

Sunshine Works for Congestive Heart Failure
While the exact cause of Congestive Heart Failure, (CHF), is not well understood, new evidence suggests increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is a key player. Trials were conducted involving 123 CHF patients using a 2000 IU dose of vitamin D per day versus a placebo. The result was a 43% increase in their interleukin-10 levels, a natural anti-inflammatory produced by the body, while maintaining the same levels of TNF-alpha. However, those subjected to the placebo only experienced a 12% rise in levels of TNF-alpha. Additionally, the interleukin-10 levels of those taking the placebo remained unchanged while the inactive storage form of vitamin D decreased.
Stefanie S. Schleithoff, Armin Zittermann, Gero Tenderich, Heiner K. Berthold, Peter Stehle and Reiner Koerfer. Vitamin D supplementation improves cytokine profiles in patients with congestive heart failure: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Am J. Clin Nutr, Vol. 83, No. 4, 754-759, April 2006.

Type 2 Diabetics Need More Sunshine
An astounding three out of five people with adult-onset diabetes show signs of vitamin D deficiency. Researchers have discovered that a lack of vitamin D in Type 2 diabetics is not only linked to cardiovascular disease, but overall bone deterioration and an increased likelihood of amputation as well. One study using 450 Type 2 diabetics found that not only are women at greater risk, but over 30% of those studied already showed signs of cardiovascular disease, which vitamin D is well known to reduce the risk of. The solution is simple: Exposing one’s skin to more natural sunlight and proper supplementation.
Massimo Cigolini, Maria Pina Iagulli, Valentino Miconi, Micaela Galiotto, Simonetta Lombardi, and Giovanni Targher. American Diabetes Association.
Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3 Concentrations and Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease Among Type 2 Diabetic Patients. March 2006; 29(3): 722-724. UVB

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D
Scientific data and research from around the world support the hypothesis that exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) and vitamin D, as manufactured in the skin from sunlight exposure, are linked to the reduction of several types of cancer and other diseases. A recent report was published from Norway showing a seasonal connection between vitamin D from sunlight and colon, breast, and prostate cancers. The author of the paper also included how vitamin D can help fight cancer after it is already detected and established in the body. According to research conducted by Cedric and Frank Garland in 1980 [Garland and Garland, 1980], there is less risk for colon cancer in sunnier geographic areas. In 1985, they dove deeper into this study by actually measuring stored vitamin D serum in donors. They documented a significant correlation between stored vitamin D and a reduced number of colorectal cancer rates.

Insufficient Vitamin D
The closer we live to the equator and the more exposure to UVB, the higher chance for adequate vitamin D absorption. To learn more about how sun exposure affects the rate of cancer, visit Dr. William Grant’s website Look for "Cancer Mortality Maps" on the home page. These maps highlight geographic areas in the United States with the highest cancer rates in red. The areas with the highest number of red marks indicated are the northern and northeastern parts of the U.S, farther away from the equator. It is estimated that over 40,000 cancer-stricken Americans die each year due to insufficient vitamin D levels. Half of this figure is based on the geographic location and half are based on living in an urban setting, without enough UVB exposure.

UVB Exposure Protects Against Various Diseases
Ultraviolet B exposure helps reduce the risk of several types of cancers as well as numerous diseases. The cancers recorded in connection with UVB and vitamin D are: breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, ovarian, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder, gallbladder, gastric, pancreatic, prostate, rectal and renal. Autoimmune diseases, hypertension, and musculoskeletal diseases, to name a few, are also connected with a lack of UVB exposure.

How to Protect Yourself
Protect yourself from too much sun exposure, radiation, and sunburn. Research indicates that it is important to get some sun exposure every day. 600-1000 IU of vitamin D is required to reduce risk of vitamin D sensitive cancers. Serum levels of vitamin D in the body should be between 30 and 40 ng/ml, measured through blood tests. It is important to spend 20 to 30 minutes per day in the sun with hands and face exposed. UVB exposure is highest in the middle of the day. When solar UVB is not accessible, vitamin D can be obtained through supplements (see resource below), fortified foods, and several types of fish. The normal daily intake of vitamin D a person gets through diet, 200-400 IU, is insufficient. Research on the connection between UVB and vitamin D and cancer is "new in the making." Therefore, the medical system has not yet started recommending people increase their sun exposure for this purpose. This idea might be difficult for some people to grasp because of numerous recommendations to avoid ultraviolet radiation. But according to the study named above and many others, there is a definite connection between UVB exposure, vitamin D, and reducing the risk of cancer and other diseases. If all the latest data is true, cancer prevention could be right in our own hands, well, at least in our own backyards. A little sun lightens the spirit, feels good, and helps us relax. Soaking in the sun’s rays in a balanced manner is a good idea for improving health in addition to reducing risks for cancer and diseases.
Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol. 1980;9:227-231.
Grant WB. A brief introduction to the role of Vitamin D in reducing the risk of chronic disease. Website accessed 10/23/06.
Grant WB. An estimate of premature cancer mortality in the United States due to inadequate doses of solar ultraviolet-B radiation, Cancer, 2002b;94:1867-75.
Grant WB. A multicountry ecologic study of risk and risk reduction factors for prostate cancer mortality. Eur Urol. 2004;45:371-9.
Grant WB. The role of ultra-violet-B (UVB) radiation (290-315 nm) and vitamin D in reducing the risk of cancer. Website accessed 10/23/06.
Robsham TE, Tretli S, Dahlback A, Moan J. Vitamin D(3) from sunlight may improve the prognosis of breast-, colon- and prostate cancer (Norway).
Cancer causes control. 2004;15:149-158.

Low Vitamin D Increases Your Chances of Being Admitted to a Nursing Home
Elderly people deficient in vitamin D have an increased risk of being admitted to a nursing home. Up to 90% of seniors may suffer from vitamin D deficiency, possibly due to decreased exposure to sunshine or poor nutrition. Increases in nursing home admissions can be linked to increased risk of osteoporosis, falls and fractures related to lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency could be a main cause of poorer health and higher health care costs among the elderly.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition September 2006; 84(3): 616-622.

How Vitamin D Protects Your Heart
Lack of sunshine can be linked to cardiovascular disease. Factors that affect sunlight exposure include time of year, altitude and geographical location. There are a number of physiological mechanisms triggered by vitamin D production through sunlight exposure that act to fight heart disease. The study found:
· An increase in the body’s natural anti-inflammatory cytokines
· The suppression of vascular calcification
· The inhibition of vascular smooth muscle growth
British Journal of Nutrition. October 2005; 94(4): 483-492.

Vitamin D and High Blood Pressure
Angiotension II is a biochemical that causes blood vessels to constrict and raise blood pressure. It is normally produced after angiotensinogen is converted to angiotension I by the action of renin. Angiotension converting enzyme (ACE) changes angiontension I to II. Drugs with the ending "prils" are ACE inhibitors and are used to decrease blood pressure. They are fraught with side effects. Vitamin D also down-regulates the conversion of angiotension I to II with none of the side effects.

More reading on this critically important vitamin/hormone: f