Health Tip #47

health-tip-47

What is vitamin D

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone.  Every tissue in our bodies need vitamin D.  It is needed for overall health including bone and muscle health, heart health, immunity, metabolism, brain development, cell communication, and more.

Vitamin D proves helpful in disease prevention and treatment

Studies have show that adequate vitamin D levels can cut our cancer risk by as much as 60%.  Adequate vitamin D levels have also shown promise  in the prevention and treatment of a number of disease conditions including:   eye and bowel diseases, chronic inflammation diseases, immune dysfunction, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), chronic inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.  Studies have also shown vitamin D is helpful in reducing HIV replication and in alleviating symptoms of depression.  Deficiency in pregnancy has been linked to childhood asthma, allergies, dental cavities, diabetes and more.

We just don’t get enough

Here in the rainy Pacific North West, we don’t get enough vitamin D from sun exposure in the Fall through the Spring.   But we’re not the only ones.  Modern people the world over, even in equatorial regions are not getting enough vitamin D.  Always being fully covered in clothes, spending the majority of our time indoors, skin cancer fears and sunscreen use, all play in to our collective vitamin D deficiency.

How to get what we need

We can get vitamin D from a number of sources including safe,sensible sun exposure, vitamin D3 supplementation, and  animal foods such as fatty fish like salmon and tuna, fish liver oil and eggs.  Some health experts even recommend using safe, UVB tanning beds (with electronic ballast).  We should try to reach a daily vitamin D dose, from all sources combined of between 5000-6000 IU.

Take care with the sun

When exposing our skin to the sun, we never want to overdue it and we never want to burn.  It is interesting however, that our ancestors, although spending most of their time out of doors in the sun, were not all suffering from melanoma.  In fact, it seems the more time we spend indoors, the higher the levels of cancer rise.   Clearly something other than exposure to the sun has changed to create the levels of skin cancer we are seeing today.

Supplementation

When supplementing with vitamin D, we should also balance the supplementation with vitamin K2 and magnesium.  Symptoms of vitamin D overdose are the very same as symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency as the two work together.  Vitamin K2 moves calcium where it needs to go (bones and teeth)and removes it from where it is not needed (arteries and soft tissue).

Test for vitamin D levels

Without  testing, it is impossible to know what our total vitamin D levels from all of these sources are .  We can ask our doctors to test our vitamin D levels with a 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitaminD) test.

 

 

Health Tip #20

health-tip-20

Allergies and autoimmune diseases are on the rise and according to a recent Harvard study, gluten might just be implicated.  The study followed four groups of test subjects from those with full blown celiac disease to those who felt they had no problem with gluten at all; every group showed inflammation and damage to the gut wall after eating gluten.  All subjects developed intestinal permeability (leaky gut).   Because the gut lining heals very rapidly, the cycle of damage and repair happens over and over again every time we consume gluten. Eventually this cycle can lead to permanent damage called a loss of oral tolerance, where the gut no longer repairs.

So what does this have to do with allergies and auto-immune disease?  As the gut becomes permeable, proteins from our foods, which have not been properly broken down yet, enter the blood stream.  The immune system sees these proteins as foreign invaders and sets up an immune response.  One explanation for the reason that gluten has become more of a problem in recent times is not because eliminating gluten is a fad, but because we as modern humans are in a state of toxic over-load being exposed to as many as 4,400 man made chemicals including BPA, Mercury, DDT, PCBs and thousands of other dangerous toxins.  Our immune systems are overtaxed and can’t adapt fast enough to keep up with the demand.  Gluten is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back.  No human has the enzymes to break down gluten proteins into amino acids.  Once the assembly line has been built to build antibodies to gluten, it can’t be un-built.  If we go off of gluten, we will stop producing antibodies but as soon as we are exposed to it again, the assembly line will start churning out antibodies again.  If we are sensitive to gluten, we have memory B cells that will never go away.

Another problem is called molecular mimicry.  Gluten contains a 33 amino acid peptide chain.  When an immune response is triggered to this chain the immune system goes on a seek and destroy mission.  If it finds a sequence that matches 8 of the same amino acids in the chain, it will attack that peptide chain.  It just so happens that we have other amino acid peptide chains in our body that match this sequence.  Our thyroid is one of these places.  As the antibodies mistakenly attack the thyroid cells, we call this autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s Disease.

Gut inflammation also leads to poor nutrient absorption that can lead to a whole host of health problems including osteoporosis.  Celiac disease and osteoporosis have been linked.

When we cut out gluten, and as we heal the gut, other allergies and sensitivities tend to abate as the foreign proteins are no longer prematurely entering the blood stream .