Health and Nutrition

October 24, 2008

Avoid Flu Shots, Take Vitamin D Instead

Filed under: General Health,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 6:28 pm

Another influenza season is beginning, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will strongly urge Americans to get a flu shot. In fact, the CDC mounts a well-orchestrated campaign each season to generate interest and demand for flu shots.

But a Group Health study found that flu shots do not protect elderly people against developing pneumonia — the primary cause of death resulting as a complication of the flu. Others have questioned whether there is any mortality benefit with influenza vaccination. Vaccination coverage among the elderly increased from 15 percent in 1980 to 65 percent now, but there has been no decrease in deaths from influenza or pneumonia. A systematic review of 51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months found no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo.

There is some evidence that flu shots cause Alzheimer’s disease, most likely as a result of combining mercury with aluminum and formaldehyde. Mercury in vaccines has also been implicated as a cause of autism. Three other serious adverse reactions to the flu vaccine are joint inflammation and arthritis, anaphylactic shock (and other life-threatening allergic reactions), and Guillain-Barré syndrome, a paralytic autoimmune disease.

One credible hypothesis that explains the seasonal nature of flu is that influenza is a vitamin D deficiency disease. Vitamin D levels in your blood fall to their lowest point during flu seasons. Unable to be protected by the body’s own antibiotics (antimicrobial peptides) that are released by vitamin D, a person with a low vitamin D blood level is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.

Studies show that children with rickets, a vitamin D-deficient skeletal disorder, suffer from frequent respiratory infections, and children exposed to sunlight are less likely to get a cold. The increased number of deaths that occur in winter, largely from pneumonia and cardiovascular diseases, are most likely due to vitamin D deficiency.

Sources: October 3, 2008 More…

October 18, 2008

Vitamin-D Deficiency Now Associated With Increased Mortality

Filed under: General Health,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 6:32 pm

June 25, 2008 — Another study suggesting a link between low levels of vitamin D and cardiac risk has been published, this time showing that vitamin-D deficiency is associated with both cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality [1].

The study, published in the June 23, 2008 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, was conducted by a group led by Dr Harald Dobnig (Medical University of Graz, Austria).

They note that it has been estimated that 50% to 60% of people do not have satisfactory vitamin-D status, and this is probably related to factors such as urbanization, demographic shifts, decreased outdoor activity, air pollution and global dimming, and decreases in the cutaneous production of vitamin D with age.


October 12, 2008

Guidelines Address Physical Activity for Individuals 6 Years and Older

Filed under: General Health — Doc Joe @ 6:34 pm


October 9, 2008 — The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued guidelines regarding the types and amounts of physical activity that provide substantial health benefits for physical activity for individuals 6 years and older. These 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are posted online at the HHS Web site. Although primarily targeting policymakers and health professionals, the information in these guidelines may also be useful to interested members of the lay public.

“Along with President Bush, I believe that physical activity should be an essential component of any comprehensive disease prevention and health promotion strategy for Americans,” HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt writes in a letter introducing the guidelines. “We know that sedentary behavior contributes to a host of chronic diseases, and regular physical activity is an important component of an overall healthy lifestyle. There is strong evidence that physically active people have better health-related physical fitness and are at lower risk of developing many disabling medical conditions than inactive people.”

Regular physical activity each week, sustained for months and years, can produce long-term health benefits. Strong evidence links regular physical activity with a lower risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, metabolic syndrome, colon and breast cancers, and depression. Regular physical activity also promotes prevention of weight gain, weight loss when combined with diet, better cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, fall prevention, and better cognitive function in older adults.


October 3, 2008

Further Evidence Supports Vitamin-D-Deficiency Link to CHD

Filed under: General Health,Supplements,Vitamin D — Doc Joe @ 6:36 pm

June 11, 2008 — Further evidence that vitamin-D deficiency may increase the risk of heart disease has come from a new case-control study [1].

The study, published in the June 9, 2008 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that low levels of 25-dihydroxyvitamin-D (25[OH]D) were associated with a higher risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in a graded manner, even after researchers controlled for factors known to be associated with coronary artery disease.

The authors, led by Dr Edward Giovannucci (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA), note that in most populations studied, the rate of cardiovascular death is elevated at higher latitudes, increases during the winter months, and is lower at high altitudes, a pattern consistent with an adverse effect of low levels of vitamin D, which are more prevalent at higher latitudes, during the winter, and at lower altitudes.

While alternative explanations for these observations are possible, they point out that a variety of plausible biological mechanisms support a role for vitamin D in heart disease. For example, the vitamin-D axis affects vascular smooth-muscle-cell proliferation, inflammation, vascular calcification, the renin-angiotensin system, and blood pressure.


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