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The hottest topic in medicine isn’t the newest drug or the latest surgical device: It’s vitamin D.

What brought the simmering debate to a boil was a 2007 study showing that people taking normal vitamin D supplements were 7% less likely to die than those who didn’t take the daily supplements.

A year later, a major study found that when women with low vitamin D levels get breast cancer, they have a much higher chance of dying from their cancer than women with normal vitamin D levels.

That was surprising news. But just as surprising is the fact that many men, women, and children have insufficient blood levels of this important vitamin.

How many?… Data suggest many of us don’t get the vitamin D we need. For example, a 2007 study of childbearing women in the Northern U.S. found insufficient vitamin D levels in 54% of black women and in 42% of white women.

These findings led the American Academy of Pediatrics to double the recommended amount of vitamin D a child should take — and have led many doctors to advise their adult patients to up their vitamin D intake.

Why do I need vitamin D?

Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.

Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies. These studies show that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease, although they do not definitively prove that lack of vitamin D causes disease — or that vitamin D supplements would lower risk.

The Vitamin D Council — a scientist-led group promoting vitamin D deficiency awareness — suggests vitamin D treatment might be found helpful in treating or preventing autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, flu, neuromuscular diseases, and osteoporosis.

The best-known benefit of vitamin D is its role in helping calcium build strong bones. But that’s far from the whole story. Vitamin D helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system. Vitamin D also plays major roles in the life cycle of human cells.

Vitamin D is so important that your body makes it by itself — but only after skin exposure to sufficient sunlight. This is a problem for people in northern climates. In the U.S., only people who live south of a line drawn from Los Angeles to Columbia, S.C., get enough sunlight for vitamin D production throughout the year.

Dark skin absorbs less sunlight, so people with dark skin do not get as much vitamin D from sun exposure as do light-skinned people. This is a particular problem for African-Americans in the northern U.S.

How can I get enough vitamin D?

Thirty minutes of sun exposure to the face, legs, or back — without sunscreen — at least twice a week should give you plenty of vitamin D.

But this much direct sun exposure might also expose you to potentially dangerous levels of cancer-causing UV radiation. And unless you live in the South or Southwest, you probably won’t get enough sunlight during the winter months for your body to make enough vitamin D.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends against getting vitamin D from unprotected exposure to sunlight.

It’s a better idea to get vitamin D from foods or from supplements.

Will a vitamin D test tell me if I need more vitamin D?

Yes. As part of your regular blood test, your doctor should order a test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD).

Everyone agrees that anyone with a 25-OHD level of less than 15 ng/mL or 37.5 nmol/L (depending on the units reported by a lab) needs more vitamin D.  A 2002 study found that 42% of African-American women of childbearing age had vitamin D levels below 15 ng/mL.

Which foods contain vitamin D?

Surprisingly few foods contain vitamin D — unless it’s added to the food. That’s because your body is built to get vitamin D through your skin (from sunlight) rather than through your mouth (by food). But once your body has enough, it doesn’t matter whether you got it through your skin or through your stomach.

There are three vitamin D super foods:

  • Salmon (especially wild-caught)
  • Mackerel (especially wild-caught; eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury)
  • Mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light to increase vitamin D

Other food sources of vitamin D include:

  • Cod liver oil (warning: cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A; too much may be bad for you)
  • Tuna canned in water
  • Sardines canned in oil
  • Milk or yogurt — regardless of whether it’s whole, nonfat, or reduced fat — fortified with vitamin D
  • Beef or calf liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese

Nearly all milk in the U.S. is fortified with vitamin D. So are many brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

How much vitamin D do I need?

The current recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 200 IU for people up to age 50, 400 IU for people aged 51 to 70, and 600 IU for people over age 70.

That’s not enough, Boston University vitamin D expert , MD, PhD, tells WebMD. Holick recommends a dose of 1,000 IU a day of vitamin D for both infants and adults — unless they’re getting plenty of safe sun exposure.

In 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that breastfed infants receive 400 IU of vitamin D every day until they are weaned. This doubled the AAP’s previous recommendation.

The AAP also recommends 400 IU/day of vitamin D for children and teens who drink less than a quart of vitamin D-fortified milk per day.

The Vitamin D Council recommends that healthy adults take 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily — more if they get little or no sun exposure.

There’s evidence that people with a lot of body fat need more vitamin D than lean people.

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board is currently updating its 1997 vitamin D recommendations. A report is expected later in 2010.

Can I get too much vitamin D?

Too much of any good thing is a bad thing. Too much vitamin D can cause an abnormally high blood calcium level, which could result in nausea, constipation, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm, and even kidney stones.

It’s nearly impossible to get too much vitamin D from sunlight or from foods (unless you take way too much cod liver oil). Nearly all vitamin D overdoses come from supplements.

The Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board’s 1997 recommendations — scheduled for a May 2010 update — suggest that 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D is safe for adults and that 1,000 IU per day is safe for infants up to 12 months of age.

However, the relatively small doses of vitamin D in daily vitamin pills are not enough to correct serious vitamin D deficiency. A 2009 study suggested that the best regimen for treating vitamin D insufficiency is 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 taken three times a week for six weeks. This time-limited regimen did not result in vitamin D toxicity.

How much vitamin D is too much?

That’s controversial. According to the National Institutes of Health, the maximum upper limit for vitamin D is 25 micrograms (1,000 IU) for children up to age 12 months and 50 micrograms (2,000 IU) for everyone else.

But some recent studies suggest that healthy adults can tolerate more than 10,000 IU of vitamin D per day. John Jacob Cannell, MD, executive director of The Vitamin D Council, notes that the skin makes 10,000 IU of vitamin D after 30 minutes of full-body sun exposure. He suggests that 10,000 IU of vitamin D is not toxic.

According to the National Institutes of Health, 25-OHD levels that are consistently over 200 ng/mL are “potentially toxic.”

What kind of vitamin D is best?

The recommended form of vitamin D is vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. This is the natural form of vitamin D that your body makes from sunlight.

Many supplements contain vitamin D as vitamin D2 or calciferol. It’s derived from irradiated fungus. Because this is not the form of vitamin D naturally made by your body, nutritionists and medical doctors recommend using the D3 form for those taking vitamin D supplements.

Does vitamin D interact with other medications?

Yes. Steroid medications such as prednisone can interfere with vitamin D metabolism. If you take steroid drugs regularly, discuss vitamin D with your doctor.

The weight loss drug orlistat — brand names include Xenical and Alli — may cut absorption of vitamin D. So does the cholesterol-lowering drug cholestyramine (sold as Questran, LoCholest, and Prevalite). People taking these drugs should discuss vitamin intake with their doctors.

The seizure drugs Phenobarbital and Dilantin (phenytoin), affect vitamin D metabolism and affect calcium absorption. So do anti-tuberculosis drugs.

On the other hand, cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and thiazide diuretics increase vitamin D levels.

BOTTOMLINE:

Unless you live beneath the “Sun Line” from Los Angeles, California to Columbia, South Carolina or want to increase your risk of skin cancer you need to supplement with Vitamin D

Life Force International’s liquid calcium supplement OsteoProCare provides you with 1200mg of Calcium, 600mg of Magnesium, 2000 IU of Vitamin D3, Boron, Zinc, Selenium and much, much more.

To order this supplement call John @ Healthy LifeStyle Marketing (805) 646-1999 or by Email: healthy_lifestyle@roadrunner.com

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Every day I come across health articles, some are informative, some are intriguing, and some are downright BS. However, the article I am sharing with you here is not only informative, but I believe vital to our health and wellbeing. Here in the U.S. pharmaceuticals are King. I was brought up the same way, you feel sick you go see the doctor, they write you a prescription, you take the prescription and you feel better. The problem is, what if the drug doesn’t work? We are seeing more and more resistant strains of bacteria that our current line of antibiotics have little if no effect on. What is the solution?

I believe the solution lies in nature. Our bodies are miraculous biological machines that are designed to be in good health. The problem is the fuel, i.e. food “we” have been putting into our bodies has been substandard for several years, if not decades and we are now reaping this low octane food intake with drastic increases in heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. What is the solution?

With the severe depletion of minerals in our farm soils, where does one find a whole food supplement that still contains these essential minerals and ultra-trace minerals that are VITAL for our body to run at peak health efficiency? Answer: the ocean.

The following article was written by Ginger Webb in “Vegetarian Times” back in April of 1997. This article was way ahead of its time and sadly too many people still are not aware of the health benefits mentioned in this article. Enjoy!

“Seaweed is a healing food for the modern era,”observes John Lewallen, an herbalist, from his kitchen in Mendocino, Calif., where he is packaging seaweed at the kitchen table. John and Eleanor Lewallen are owners of the Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company, a small, direct mail company that specializes in “wildcrafted” seaweeds, which means seaweed responsibly gathered from the wild.

“Seaweed contains a wide spectrum of organic material including trace elements that are lacking from Western diets,” says Lewallen while sipping a cup of wakame tea prepared by soaking the seaweed in boiled water.

Scientists at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Md., agree with Lewallen that sea plants contain a remarkable spectrum of components valuable for human health. David Newman, Ph.D., a chemist with NCI’s Natural Products Branch says his research team is currently testing 15,000 compounds from about 6,000 marine species including algae, fungi, coral and seaweed for their biological activity. Many appear to have powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, anticancer and immuno-suppressive (useful in treating autoimmune
diseases) properties.

Newman is particularly intrigued by the powerful anticancer properties of an algae found off the coast of Curacao, named Curacin-A, that appears to be more potent than taxol, a substance isolated from the bark of yew trees that is used to treat breast and prostate cancer. To date, the algae has not been developed as a pharmaceutical agent because the highly insoluble substance can’t be extracted from the algae to “deliver” it in drug form. Newman hopes that, eventually, scientists will find a way to extract Curacin-A (a process requiring the help of an as-yet undiscovered solvent), noting that it took almost 10 years for scientists to find the right solvent to extract taxol. Once the material can be extracted, Newman adds, it can be “packaged” in a suitable, standardized pharmaceutical form for clinical evaluation.

Fortunately, the pharmaceutical industry’s difficulties don’t have to be yours. Even though drug manufacturers cannot patent an entire plant and therefore cannot make a dime on them, you can still receive amazing health dividends by consuming this and other natural products from the sea. And you don’t have to wait.

They’re available now at natural food stores and by mail.

The Other Seafood

To people whose cultures have evolved by the sea, where seaweed has been a dietary staple for hundreds, if not thousands of years, the benefits of , sea plants are well-known. In the West, seaweed is best known as an exotic ingredient in Japanese and macrobiotic cuisine.

To coastal people everywhere, however, it’s a dietary staple, enjoyed in iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Hawaii and other Pacific Islands and coastal regions of the
United States. A treasure chest of good nutrition, seaweed absorbs nutritive elements directly from the ocean water in which it lives.

By eating seaweed, we tap into the ancestral source of all life, the ocean, and replenish our bodies from this vast reservoir with essential and sometimes hard-to get nutrients.

Most varieties of seaweed contain between 10 and 20 percent protein and are rich in fiber and vitamins, including A, C, E, B complex and [B.sub.12], and minerals, including calcium, iodine, potassium, iron and trace minerals.

“People are like walking oceans. Our bodily fluids have the same composition as sea water,” says Ara Der Marderosian, Ph.D, professor of Pharmacognosy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science.

“Sea water has been shown to contain organic acids, sterols, carotenoids, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, peptides, amino acids, free enzymes and many other materials, including essential trace minerals.”

An Ocean Of Promise
Among Herbalists, seaweed is treasured for its ability to nourish and strengthen the body. Bladderwrack (Fucus spp.), for instance, has been used in steam baths by Native Americans for rheumatism and illness. Dulse (Palmaria palmata) is used by people in Japan to treat colds.

Because of its high iron content, seaweed is often given to anemic people by herbalists, as well as to menstruating and lactating women whose iron requirements are high. Adding seaweed, particularly wakame (Alaria spp) to the diet is believed to increase hair growth and luster and improve skin tone.

In Japanese folk medicine, the seaweed Digenea simplex has been used traditionally to rid the body of intestinal worms. Today, kainic acid, derived from this seaweed, is sold commercially for this purpose.

Laminaria , another seaweed native to the Japanese coasts and valued as a folk medicine, has been shown to be capable of lowering blood pressure.

Several studies on the usefulness of seaweed derivatives, other than Curacin-A, for protecting against cancer and heart disease are currently underway.

Despite these scientific studies, most of our knowledge about the benefits of seaweed still derive from folklore and the herbalist tradition. Western doctors
may be catching on, however.

A Manhattan plastic surgeon, Michael Joseph Pober, M.D., uses seaweed topically with post-surgical patients to restore skin texture and reduce swelling in surgical incisions.

Michael Tierra, an herbalist, licensed acupuncturist and author of The Way of Herbs (Pocket Books, 1990), explains that in traditional Chinese medicine, seaweed is considered a yin tonic, that is, it has “warming” characteristics. It is good for conditions characterized as “cold” such as poor circulation, anemia and chronic diseases of the thyroid or pancreas.

Seaweed’s antioxidant properties make it specific for prevention and treatment of cancer, supporting the immune system in eliminating the proliferation of cancer cells, says Tierra.

Seaweed is considered a medicinal substance with wet, softening properties, which, according to traditional Chinese medicine, Tierra explains, enables it to dissolve hard nodules and tumors and to reduce swelling of the thyroid and lymph glands.

Efram Korngold, a doctor of Oriental medicine and a licensed acupuncturist, adds that because seaweed helps decongest swollen or inflamed lymph nodes, it can be consumed as a treatment for autoimmune illnesses, including chronic fatigue, HIV,
arthritis and chronic allergies.

In US scientific studies in the 1970s, an entire family of red marine algae was found to possess antiviral properties. One species, Cryptosiphonia woodii, a microalgae found in inner-tidal areas along the Pacific coast, was found by Scripps Institute researchers based in La Jolla, Calif., to suppress the herpes virus and clear out Candida (Candida albicans), a systematic yeastlike fungal infection. Both Korngold and Tierra offer a supplement made of dried whole plants to clients in their clinical practices with these problems and claim exciting results.

Detoxification Duty
Seaweed may be especially important for people in the modern age because of its ability to protect us from damage caused by toxic elements in the environment, including heavy metals and some types of radiation byproducts.

Rosalie Bertell, M.D., president of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health in Toronto, believes that seaweed can help pull dangerous heavy metals out of the body.

Research at McGill University in Montreal has shown that sodium alginate, a derivative of wakame, binds with radioactive strontium 90 in the body, allowing it to be excreted. Strontium 90 is considered the most dangerous component of atomic fallout.

Ernest J. Sternglass, Ph.D., professor emeritus in Radiation Physics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, explains how strontium adversely
affects health: “When radioactivity, spread from nuclear waste dumps or fallout from other nuclear facilities, gets into the drinking water, gets into the milk and gets into the vegetables, it lodges in our bone. It goes through the food chain and concentrates.

As a result, materials like strontium [produce] an internal radiation throughout our body, [irradiating] the whole bone marrow where the cells of the immune system originate.” These internal doses of radiation can weaken the immune defenses of the body needed for fighting disease. In fact, many herbalists recommend adding some seaweed to the diet for a period of time if you plan on having X-rays taken, to encourage the excretion of any radiation products left by the treatment.

(my added note:  X-rays are a form of invisible, high-frequency electromagnetic radiation and DO NOT deposit radioactive particulate into your body. Internally taken/injected radioisotopes have very short “half-lives” and decay away into non radioactive elements)

Mindy Green, an herbalist at the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, Colo., believes everyone can benefit from seaweed in the diet. “It’s highly nutritious and is a good source of minerals that are often short in the diets of women, especially vegetarian and vegan women, such as iron, calcium, iodine and magnesium,” said Green.

Her personal preference is for a kelp wildcrafted off the northern coast of Washington state. She either toasts the kelp or nibbles on chunky chips of it as a snack. Green also favors a thick seaweed called kombu in vegetable soups and stews along with astragalus in the winter\and uses hijiki and wakame in salads.

*One caution about seaweed from herbalist C.J. Puotenon, a columnist for the Northeast Herbalist Association Journal published in New York. She points to a commonly overlooked cause of acne flareups: iodine, which explains why herbal treatments that emphasize kelp can sometimes make the problem worse in individuals who are iodine-sensitive. So if you avoid iodine-containing salts and seafoods or iodine-based therapies because they trigger acne problems, add seaweed to the “to be avoided” list.

Ginger Webb is an herbalist and a staff writer for HerbalGram, the quarterly publication of the American Botanical Council. She resides in Austin, Texas.

BODY BALANCE is a liquid whole food and is a blend of 9 wild harvested sea vegetables in organic Aloe Vera juice.

Body Balance has been used and recommended by over 6000 medical doctors and other health care professionals for over 25 years.

* I have 2 grown boys and one teenage daughter. All of them were taking Body Balance during their teenage years and we observed no acne flare-ups. In fact we observed just the opposite, clearer  and healthier skin.

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