Vitamin D Cofactors

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A Healthy diet is important for receiving vitamin D’s cofactors.

Nutrients act in a synergetic way in the body. Absorption and metabolism of a particular nutrient will be affected, to a greater or lesser degree, by the other nutrients available to the body. This is also true with vitamin D.

In order to receive the most health benefit from increased levels of vitamin D, the proper cofactors must be present in the body. Vitamin D has many cofactors, but the ones listed below are the most important. Magnesium should be considered the most important one of all.

Magnesium
Vitamin K
•Vitamin A (coming soon)
Zinc
Boron

Source:
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/16/vitamin-k2.aspx?e_cid=20121216_SNL_Art_1

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Vitamin D Levels Lower in African-Americans, Research Finds

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ScienceDaily (Jan. 19, 2011) — African-American women had lower vitamin D levels than white women, and vitamin D deficiency was associated with a greater likelihood for aggressive breast cancer, according to data presented at the Third AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

“We know that darker skin pigmentation acts somewhat as a block to producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which is the primary source of vitamin D in most people,” said Susan Steck, Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Carolina.

Steck and colleagues observed 107 women who were all diagnosed with breast cancer in the previous five years. Sixty of these women were African-American, while the remaining 47 were white.

All women donated a blood sample, and vitamin D status was determined using circulating 25 hydroxyvitamin D levels as a marker. The mean serum concentration of vitamin D was 29.8 ng/ml in white women and 19.3 ng/ml in African-American women.

Researchers defined vitamin D deficiency as a serum concentration less than 20 ng/ml, and found this to be the case in 60 percent of African-American women compared with 15 percent of white women. Serum levels were lowest among patients with triple-negative breast cancer, and aggressive disease was eight times more likely among patients with vitamin D deficiency.

Steck said the findings of this study provide a foundation for a possible prevention strategy, but further research would be required.

Recourses:
American Association for Cancer Research (2011, January 19). Vitamin D levels lower in African-Americans, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 3, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/10/101003081631.htm

Anti-Inflammatory Fruits and Vegetables

Exposure to potentially toxic substances in our food and water, or in the air we breathe both indoors and outdoors, exposure to allergy-triggering substances, poor general health, dietary deficiencies, use of prescription and over-the-counter medications, and other lifestyle practices can result in a level of danger to our bodies that prompts our inflammatory system to work in overdrive on a 24/7 basis. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle are critical for full recovery from diseases.

Anti-inflammatory foods help to modulate the immune system and give it a more accurate pair of eyes so as to not over-inflame when stimulated. To effectively de-inflame it is key to completely avoid man-made foods, sugars, and food allergens as listed above. The long chain omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA powerfully de-inflame the body by restoring natural balance to the lipid wall of the cell membrane.

Beware of high-protein diets, sugary foods, white rice, white potatoes, white bread, over-processed cereals, cooking foods on high heat (especially meats), and foods containing omega-6 fats such as corn and soybean oils. They all provoke inflammation, according to Carper. She also says that the high-glycemic foods listed such as sugar, white bread, white potatoes and white rice “spike blood sugar” which in turn “spur inflammation.”

Anti-inflammatory foods are often found among produce, where more color means a higher vitamin content.

Vegetables:
These vegetables below contain great amounts of anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidant nutrients, detox-support nutrients, and anti-cancer nutrients. Which is needed to repair and decompose inflammation in our bodies.

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Purple peppers, purple cabbages, eggplant and radicchio are packed with anti-inflammatory properties.

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Broccoli, brussels sprout, radishes, red peppers, and rhubarb are extremely high in anti-inflmmatory properties.

Fruits:
Anthocyanin’s which is the colorful antioxidant pigments that give many foods their wonderful shades of blue, purple, and red – are usually the first phytonutrients to be mentioned in descriptions of these fruits below. They are rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C, E, A and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against diseases.

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Purple grapes, pineapple, cranberries, blood oranges, and red pears have more color which, means the vitamins are higher.

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Blueberries, cherries, purple plums, strawberries and papaya are packed with anti-inflammatory agents.

Resources:
http://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/naturalantiinflammatories.aspx

When’s the Last Time You Spent Time in the Sun?

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This is an important question to answer, because vitamin D from sun exposure is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels and thereby reduce your risk of a wide range of diseases. 

Unfortunately, it’s been suggested that only about 30 percent of Americans’ circulating vitamin D is the product of sunlight exposure, which is an unfortunate byproduct of public health agencies’ misguided advice to stay out of the sun to avoid cancer (when in fact vitamin D from sun exposure will prevent cancer). Another obvious reason is the majority of us work indoors, and when not working, do not spend enough time enjoying outdoor recreation.

Occasional sunlight exposure to your face and hands is insufficient for vitamin D nutrition for most people. To optimize your levels, you need to expose large portions of your skin to the sun, and you may need to do it for more than a few minutes. And, contrary to popular belief, the best time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is actually as near to solar noon as possible. Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two main wavelengths — UVA and UVB. It’s important for you to understand the difference between them, and your risk factors from each.

First there is UVB, the healthy wavelengths that help your skin produce vitamin D. Then there is UVA, which is generally considered the unhealthy wavelengths because they penetrate your skin more deeply and cause more free radical damage. Not only that, but UVA rays are quite constant during ALL hours of daylight, throughout the entire year — unlike UVB, which are low in morning and evening, and high at midday.

So to use the sun to maximize your vitamin D production and minimize your risk of skin damage, the middle of the day (roughly between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.) is the best and safest time. During this UVB-intense period you will need the shortest sun exposure time to produce the most vitamin D.

As far as the optimal length of exposure, you only need enough to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink. This may only be a few minutes for those who have very pale skin.

Once you have reached this point your body will not make any additional vitamin D and any further exposure will only result in damage to your skin. Most people with fair skin will max out their vitamin D production in just 10-20 minutes, or, again, when their skin starts turning the lightest shade of pink. Some will need less, others more. The darker your skin, the longer exposure you will need to optimize your vitamin D production.  If sun exposure is not an option a vitamin D3 supplement can be taken orally.

Research published by Grassroots Health from the D*Action study shows the average adult needs to take 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day in order to elevate their levels above 40 ng/ml, which they believe is the absolute minimum for disease prevention.

Important: Your Serum Level is what Really Matters

While 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D3 per day is a general recommendation that appears to be beneficial for most people, vitamin D experts from around the world are in agreement that the most important factor is your vitamin D serum level. There’s no specific dosage level at which “magic” happens. So the take-home message is that you need to take whatever dosage required to obtain a therapeutic level of vitamin D in your blood.

At the time (in 2007) the recommended level was 40-60 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Since then, the optimal vitamin D level has been raised to 50-70 ng/ml, and when treating cancer or heart disease, as high as 70-100 ng/ml.

 

 

References:

 

Daily Dose: Vitamin D

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You’ve probably heard all about the immunity benefits of vitamin C – but today it’s time to move one letter down the alphabet. It turns out that vitamin D may actually be the more critical vitamin when it comes to fighting off colds. An important member of Dr. Oz’s anti-aging checklist, vitamin D plays a number of roles in our bodies, including:

  • Promoting absorption of calcium and bone health
  • Boosting immune function
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Healthy neuro-muscular function
  • Protecting against some forms of cancer

For such an amazing nutrient, vitamin D doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, perhaps because very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The best sources are salmon, tuna and mackerel (especially the flesh) and fish liver oils. Beef liver, cheese and egg yolks also contain small amounts. If these foods don’t sound very appealing to you, there is good news: you don’t have to eat vitamin D to make sure you’re getting your daily dose! Vitamin D is actually produced in your body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike your skin. The UV rays trigger synthesis of vitamin D, which then gets converted in your liver into its active form. 

This means one of the best ways to get vitamin D is to spend about 10-15 minutes a day outside in the sun. Keep in mind that wearing sunscreen will prevent you from getting adequate vitamin D outdoors. In the summertime, an easy solution is skipping sunscreen on your legs for the first 15 minutes in the sun. Just make sure you apply in time to prevent any burns or damage.

 So exactly how much Vitamin D should you aim for each day? For all ages, Dr. Oz recommends a daily dose of 400 IU (and perhaps even as high as 1000 IU).

So if preventing colon, prostate and breast cancers, building strong bones, fighting off colds, and slowing aging sounds like a good deal to you – look for in all in one simple package: vitamin D.