Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vitamin D May Prevent Flu and Asthma

The AJCN just published a new controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of vitamin D supplements on flu and asthma (1). Dr. Hiroyuki Ida's group gave Japanese schoolchildren (10 years average age) 1,200 IU of vitamin D3 or placebo per day from December through March. They found that children taking vitamin D had a significantly lower incidence of influenza A but not influenza B. These are two strains of flu that each accounted for roughly half the flu incidence in this population. Sadly, if you add the total flu incidence for A and B together (which the authors don't do in their tables), vitamin D supplementation didn't reduce total flu incidence significantly.

They also found that in the subset of children not already taking vitamin D supplements, the effect was greater, with unsupplemented children contracting nearly three times as many influenza A infections as children receiving vitamin D. They didn't analyze the influenza B or total influenza incidence in that way, so we don't know if prior supplementation makes a difference there.

The most striking finding of the paper is that the vitamin D group suffered from 6 times fewer asthma attacks than the placebo group. This needs to be repeated but it's consistent with other data and I find it very encouraging.

The paper did have some limitations. They didn't measure vitamin D status so they have no way to know exactly how effective their pill-based supplements were.

Another problem is that they began collecting data immediately after beginning supplementation. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can take 3 months to reach maximum concentration in the body following supplementation. By the time the children were reaching their maximum serum concentration of vitamin D, the trial was over. It would be nice to see the next trial begin supplementation in the fall and look at flu incidence in the winter.

This paper comes on the heels of another showing that vitamin D is necessary for the activation of an immune cell called the killer T cell (2). These are important for resistance to infections and cancer. Overall, these papers add to the accumulating evidence that vitamin D is important for the proper functioning of the human immune system. However, mice may not be the best model for use in studying vitamin D biology. From the first paper:
The evolution of different mechanisms for the regulation of PLC-γ1 activity in human and mouse T cells parallels the development of divergent VDR-dependent and VDR-independent antimicrobial pathways in human and mouse macrophages31, respectively, and may reflect the fact that mice are nocturnal animals with fur and humans are daytime creatures that synthesize vitamin D in the skin after exposure to ultraviolet light.
In other words, mice don't use vitamin D in the same way as humans because they have a different evolutionary relationship to it.

59 comments:

Helen said...

That's really interesting. I'm a bit confused about Vitamin D. I give it to my toddlers for a variety of reasons, but a few weeks ago read on another blog about evidence that it seems to increase the development of allergies. Have you read about this? But since asthma is often triggered by allergies, this seems to argue against that theory, at least in part.

It often seems to keep the immune system reacting to what it's supposed to and not what it's not supposed to (like in MS and diabetes), and this seems more consistent with those observations.

LynneC said...

No flu in our house this year (so far anyway)
Since beginning Vit 'D' supplementation about 6 months ago, I have not suffered a cold or other illness, and my second grader has missed only 1 day of school.

antispirit said...

As a rat-loving freak, I've always wondered about the role of Vitamin D in rodents. The few "RDA's" I can find for rodents do have it listed as an essential nutrient (20 IU per kg). Perhaps they gained what little they needed from food? They do eat lots of animal sources of D (eggs, fish, frogs, etc.). At least according to what little I can find.

re: humans

Is it possible that the children had previous exposure to A but not B? Maybe what the scientists were measuring with regards to "A" was a "proper" immune response. It's a shame that they didn't test for immunity beforehand. Or did they and did I just miss that?

antispirit said...

LynneC: I started taking vitamin D at about the same time as I started getting flu vaccines. I haven't been getting sick since I've started both, but I have been robbed of my all important testimonial. What a buzzkill! How am I supposed to get pumped up about this nutrition stuff if I can't *Testifahh*?

Swede said...

I have found excellent immunity to colds and flu by combining my Vit D supplementation with coconut oil.

Coconut fat is high in lauric and capric acid, both which supposedly make potent ant-microbial compounds in the body.

No illness for 20 months now!

Scott

Venkat said...

Thanks Stephan for 3 posts in a week.

A Quick question - Feb 2010 Vitamin D council newsletter (http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsletter/vitamin-d-vitamin-a-and-cancer.shtml) states that Vitamin A interferes with Vitamin D absorption and advises people not to take cod liver oil at all (since it contains A). People who take A and D doubles the risk of some forms of cancer. (that is what the newsletter claims).

Whereas you and Chris Masterjohn advocate A and D counter balance each other and absorb well. Did you had a chance to check Vitamin D council news letter and see the studies he has referenced there?

I was consuming greenpastures FCLO+BO and now have stopped it till I get clarified in this one.

Please clarify for folks like us.

Thanks

Venkat

rosenfeltc said...

Stephan, is there a vitamin D brand that you would recommend?

Venkat said...

Rosenfeltc,

I have been taking D3 - from Carlsons. http://www.iherb.com/Carlson-Labs-Vitamin-D3-2000-IU-360-Soft-Gels/8743?at=0

from the same online site.

I consume 1000 IU for every 25 lbs of body weight. After supplementing for 5 months, when i rechecked the D3 levels - it was 77 ng/ml. It was 30 before supplementing.

Hope this is helpful.

Stephan said...

Hi Helen,

What's the evidence for that? Was that based on the paper that correlated vitamin D fortification with the rise of allergies? Because that was one of the most unconvincing papers I've read in a long time.

Hi Venkat,

My feeling is that Dr. Cannell is overinterpreting those observational studies he cites. I think he's grinding an axe with the WAPF. His arguments are extremely speculative in my opinion. I have a very hard time believing that an evolutionarily appropriate amount of vitamin A is harmful. If you take large doses of high-vitamin CLO, I would entertain the argument that it could be harmful. But doses of 1/2 teaspoon per day totally blocking the benefits of vitamin D? Why would our bodies be set up like that? It makes no sense.

That being said, I don't think there's any need to get more vitamin A than is found in organ meats and green vegetables.

Rosenfeltc,

I take Carlson's Ddrops 2,000 IU, two drops per day during the rainy season. I highly recommend them. They're cheap per dose, dissolved in a stable saturated oil (MCT) rather than corn oil, naturally sourced (sheep lanolin), easily absorbed, flavorless and easy to take. I think a bottle costs around $15 and lasts me all winter. And no I don't work for Carlson's.

Stephan said...

To all,

By the way, I'm not convinced vitamin D supplementation is an adequate substitute for sun exposure. Ingesting large amounts of D isn't very natural for humans and there is a risk of adverse effects, as with any supplement. I would much prefer to be getting D from sunlight if I could here. For about 6 months of the year, I stop taking D supplements and get as much sun as I can.

Ellen said...

I agree with you Stephan. I intend to do the same.

Jon Thoroddsen said...

re: VitD and allergies.
@Helen, Stephen

Assuming there is some correlation between increased Vit D and rise in allergies, is it possible that it is not Vit D per se but the medium?

The most common medium for Vit D for babies used to be peanut oil, peanuts being a well known allergen.

Currently there is a plethora of oils being used, sunflower oil, soy oil, olive oil being common.

Helen said...

I agree about the sun. I'll look for that article - it didn't sound very convincing to me, either.

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KENNY10021 said...

Stephen....your comment about getting Vit D from sun is interesting to me being a 46 year old....at some point do we stop converting Vit D we receive from the sun thus making supplementation imperative?

TedHutchinson said...

Country Life, Vitamin D3, 5,000 IU, 200 Softgels
these use Medium Chain Triglyceride oil as the carrier.
Very stable much less likely to go rancid in storage.
Easily absorbed and metabolized. It's also possible to pierce the capsule and massage the contents into the skin or chew the capsule in mouth and allow time before swallowing to enable some vitamin D3 to be absorbed in oral cavity or sub lingually.(If you had Crohn's or otherwise damaged digestive system these alternative strategies may be helpful)
This free full text paper shows how living in town increases exposure to UV radiation but UVB (the part that creates vitamin D3) is low. So although older women gardeners in towns get more UV exposure, they have far lower VITAMIN D levels. UVA degrades vitamin D3.
If you are going to rely on sun exposure you must ensure you expose plenty of skin but for a short time and never burn, and get your 25(OH)D checked to be certain this is working for you.
Remember that vitamin D3 is made from cholesterol in the skin, if you have prematurely aging skin by taking statins or other cholesterol lowering strategy (or naturally from getting older) that also will restrict the amount of vitamin D3 you make.
Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels in Fully Breastfed Infants on Oral Vitamin D Supplementation shows 58.8nmol/l is the level at which human breast milk is replete with D3. Dr Davis (Heartscanblog) finds keeping his patients above 60ng/ml generally takes about 6000iu/d.

TedHutchinson said...

@ KENNY10021
Re Concerns about older skin and Vitamin D synthesis. Although it's true older skin make less vitamin D than cholesterol rich young skin, it can still make sufficient given exposure to UVB.
See this paper
Urban Tropospheric Ozone Increases the Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency These older rural country women gardeners were able to raise 25(OH)D even though they didn't get as much UV exposure (plants absorb UV radiation while hard surfaces reflect it). However none of these women raised status such that they would ever have a stored reserve of D3. To have a significant reserve of D3, stored in tissue requires levels above 125nmo/l 50ng/ml.
This paper points out the benefit of always have a reserve of D3 to ensure there is always an effective amount in circulation to prime the immune system.
Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells

taipilsons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
taipilsons said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Jeffrey of Troy said...

Ted Hutchinson: "Remember that vitamin D3 is made from cholesterol in the skin, if you have prematurely aging skin by taking statins or other cholesterol lowering strategy (or naturally from getting older) that also will restrict the amount of vitamin D3 you make."

Looking at it from the other direction, I wonder if the advice to avoid the sun is partially responsible for the "high cholesterol" they lower with drugs, because people aren't using their cholesterol to make "vit D"?

Bill Millan said...

Vitamin D. Like duct tape. "Is there anything it can't do?

First off, realize that the older you get, the less efficient your body is at manufacturing vitamin D from the Sun. A 15-year-old white surfer here in Waikiki has a 25OH D-3 blood serum reading of about 95. At age 75, his body will only be 30% as efficient at making D.

The "range" the Docs work with is "30 to 100." Your body doesn't start storing D until you get a reading of "over 50." The therapeutic level that Dr Davis uses for heart disease is 60 to 70. I get my testing done by Quest, and their readings are 30% higher than Lab corp. They both claim they are right. To be safe, I keep my blood level over 80 with a dosage of 6000IU a day of softgels of D-3. I find that people are very individualistic in the amount it takes to achieve an "over 60" level. Some can do it on 4000IU a day. Others have to go as high as 15000 or 20,000 a day to achieve that level. It's perfectly safe to take that much and to get your level as high as 100. Doctors have been scared in Med School about vitamin D and dosages and levels are still too low.

The tablet form most have run into is the inferior way to get D, IMO. Soft Gel D-3 is much superior, IMO. And very cheap. I buy 2000IU softgels at Costco, 600 to a bottle, for $13. That's two and one half cents a capsule, or seven and one half cents a day for a 6000IU dosage.

Miki said...

I take D3-50 by Bio-Tech which has 50,000 iu. Once a week in the winter, once every two weeks in the summer. I works out at 7000 iu winter 3500 iu summer. At $24 a 100 capsules it is the cheapest source. Works like a charm at keeping my level around 60-70 ng/ml

Adolfo David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adolfo David said...

Regarding your magnesium article, it is essential for correct functions of vitamin D in the body.

Problem is that sun exposure is needed with no sunscreen for this purpose and all sun taken with no UVA UVB sunscreen produces skin aging from first minute. For me it would be nice or better little some sun exposure in areas different from face :S

And about vitamin D a problem with one Weston Price Foundation recommendation: many cod liver oils have too retinol/vitamina A, which 'destroys' vitamin D. Much better: EPA DHA concentrates.

Andy said...

Asking just for clarification, the reason vitamin D didn't reduce total flu incidence significantly, wasn't because it increased influenza B incidence, but because it didn't have the statistical power to do so?

I also found this interesting paper:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16497887

From the full text the way I understood it, is that they measured the levels of an AMP (antimicrobial peptide) in african-americans, who had low levels of 25-OHD compared to the levels of whites, who had higher 25-OHD. The levels of this AMP in african-americans was half of that in whites. They then added 25-OHD to the sera and the levels of the AMP returned to normal levels. This does show pretty clearly that low 25-OHD levels decrease immune system strength and increasing 25-OHD from deficient to normal increases the peptides that fight illnesses.

Regarding vitamin A, I have read some evidence that it does increase the need for vitamin D, but that for health the optimal is high intake of both.
Read Stephan's post on the synergy of them: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/04/nutrition-and-infectious-disease.html
If you have a high intake of vitamin A and worry it is increasing the use of vitamin D, why not check your 25-OHD levels and adjust the dose of vitamin D if necessary?

Porcupine said...

At 49 I have tried to avoid the sun for the last few years because I immediately get new freckles. I have liver spots on my arms and hands and pigmentation blotches on my face and I wonder if I am susceptable because of some kind of vitamin deficiency.
Is there some vitamin or mineral that helps you be able to sun yourself and get that vitamin D without your skin paying the price?

Helen said...

Porcupine,

Avoid omega-6 oils. They seem to make the skin more susceptible to burning, and, I suspect, aging. I never burned as a kid. In my 20s I started to burn. Last year was the first that I cut these oils out of my diet completely. I wore no sunscreen and deliberately built up a slight tan over the first few weeks of nice, sunny weather. I didn't burn. I'm 43.

In the beginning, adding some omega-3s might mitigate the effects of omega-6s still present in your tissues. As you progress, you will need less additional omega-3.

Helen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen said...

Here's the study on Vitamin D3 and allergies in children.

http://adv.medicaljournals.se/files/pdf/89/1/2906.pdf

Venkat said...

Thanks for your clarification Stephan.

Thanks

~ Venkat

Helen said...

Regarding, again, the question of Vitamin D's role in the development of allergy and asthma - I may have just answered my own question.

Looking back at the study I linked to, despite its weaknesses as a study, I find the observations referred to in the introduction compelling. It seems that Vitamin D3 has been seen in prior investigations to up-regulate Th2 immune responses. In an article I just saw on Science Daily today, it seems that those immune responses may have been originally developed to fight parasites. In the absence of parasites, they create cytokine production at mucosal sites, triggering allergic rhinitis and asthma. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311131758.htm

So, Vitamin D is trying to do the right thing here, but, in line with the "hygiene hypothesis" of allergy and asthma, without parasites to keep our immune system busy, it ends up helping the body overreact to otherwise harmless substances in our over-clean, modern environment.

The article on Vitamin D and children's allergies also states that Vitamin D seems to help tamp down autoimmune responses (Th1 immune responses), as in diabetes 1 and MS, as I noted earlier.

So, it does both.

Stephan, it may be that Vitamin D administered to 10-year-olds, as in the article you referenced, has a different effect from Vitamin D consumed by infants and toddlers, whose immune system is rapidly developing and encountering many substances for the first time.

One of my daughters already has a severe allergy to eggs, a moderate cat allergy, and asthma. The other has a dust allergy and hay fever. For now, I'm going to stop giving my toddlers Vitamin D supplements (one thing I'd felt good about giving them!) and rely on the sun, since warm weather is coming. Maybe by the fall there'll be clearer information... or not.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Thanks for another great post Stephan.

Ted
Thanks for the link on the effect of pollution. I had been looking for confirmation that pollution in cities did reduce Vit D production. Pollution does cut UVB so logically it would reduce Vit D production, and you have found a paper that makes that link. (-:

Helen

The Omega 3:6 balance also has a role in inflammatory related conditions including allergies involving the airways.

Trials suggest fish oil may improve asthma and related allergies.

My reading would suggest that reducing and balancing the Omega 3 and 6 plant fats (preferably towards 2% but pragmatically any reduction of western intake levels will help)as well as ensuring an adequate supply of the long chain fats will help.

A little GLA from borage may also help, particularly if the plant fat conversion pathways are functioning poorly. There are many factors that inhibit conversion, including the possibility that Celts, Innuit, and others of shoreline dwelling origins, are genetically prone less effective conversion.

healthtec said...

This is indeed going to be very helpful...so could you tell what are the sources of vitamin D naturally?

Medical Billing Software

Austin said...

Porcupine,
You may also want to decrease the amount of simple sugars and baked/fried carbohydrate in your diet. Advanced glycation end products have been shown to convert the more resilient type 3 collagen in the dermis to the rigid type 1 fibers thus causing other signsassociated with aging, most notably wrinkles. Not to mention down regulation of anti oxidant defense mechanisms...
http://www.john-libbey-eurotext.fr/en/revues/medecine/ejd/e-docs/00/04/2B/27/article.phtml

I have also read higher doses of the B vitamins and aminoguanidine have been shown to inhibit AGE formation.

Porcupine said...

Thanks Helen and Austin for the suggestions
Helen
I’ve never burned easily. In fact, I’ve rarely had a sunburn in my life, yet am blotchy nonetheless. I gave up my processed vegetable oil about 4 years ago, and never ate a lot of processed foods in the first place, nor fried foods. Since October I’ve made more dietary changes, so my Omega 6 must be way down. I’ve been supplementing with 1 tsp. cod liver oil since then. I figure my omega 3 to 6 ration must be fine.
Austin
I have never eaten a lot of simple sugars nor fried anything. Lately I’ve been keeping the overall level of carbs down and eating no gluten. I’ve been taking B12 since Oct, along with other dietary improvement Weston Price style.
The change is subtle but I think the pigmentation on my face has lessened since I made all these changes the last few months, but the liver spots on my arms are having a party, that’s why I thought there might be some factor I’m overlooking. On the bright side, if I get enough liver spots, they’ll start joining up and I’ll finally have a year-round tan!

I've never heard of aminoguanidine, Austin. I'll check it out.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Porcupine

On the fats issue, it is essential to balance the plant based Omega 3 and 6, so you may need to add a source of Omega 3 ALA like flaxseed.

For a number of reasons GLA may help with skin. You could also try applying a little borage oil topically.

Clearly you should also talk to your medical advisor.

Porcupine said...

Robert

I've been taking spirulina daily to chelate after the removal of a few amalgam cavities,so it seems I've had a good daily supply of gamma-linolenic acid for the last 2 - 3 months.

Jack Cameron said...

Venkat discussed a recent newsletter from Dr. Cannell of the Vitamin D Council which stated that excess vitamin A interferes with vitamin D.

Stephen responded that he thought Dr. Cannell was overinterpreting the observational studies and was "grinding an ax with WAPF.

WAPF (Chris Masterjohn) has recently (March 9, 2010) responded effectively to Dr. Cannell's "attack" on vitamin A.

http://www.westonaprice.org/blog/more-attacks-on-vitamin-a.html.html

Elsewhere on Dr. Cannell's website he notes that a number of nutrients are required for adequate utilization of vitamin D, including "a tiny amount of vitamin A" and adequate magnesium. Sunflower seeds are suggested as a good source of magnesium.

From a food database it is found that two ounces per day of "regular" sunflower seeds, dry roasted, provide 75 mg of magnesium and 19 grams of linoleic acid which equates to 8.5% of energy intake in a 2000 calory diet.

Fifi said...

I love reading your articles, and I learn so much from them. I have been avoiding the sun because I suffer from Rosacea (since a bad sunburn in 2001), and initially, when I read this I thought "well, I can't be in the sun..." when I realized that a vitamin d deficiency might be one of the reasons for my problem. I read this article that made a correlation between the two.

http://truthinaging.com/face/rosacea-research-points-to-vitamin-d/

I haven't looked into it much yet, but any thoughts on the subject?

Anna said...

Fifi,

Check out Dr. Art Ayers' Cooling Inflammation blog for his thoughts on rosacea and Vit D, etc.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Helen

I quickly skimmed the vitamin D paper you referred too suggesting vit D was responsible for greater occurrence of allergies, and it seems to me there are potential confounding factors.

They used sunflower oil, which is very high in Omega 6, as the solvent for the vit D.

There was mention that the breast fed group were in the low vit D group.

I have not had time to really look in depth but my gut feeling was the result may also represent other factors.

Helen said...

Robert Andrew Brown,

I agree. They also used a large dose of Vitamin A along with the D and had no control group. There definitely could have been confounding factors in a number of variables, including the types of Vitamin D food sources that were eaten by the subjects - they may not all have been equal and may have represented other nutritional inputs as well (like oily fish or pasteurized, homogenized, Vitamin D and A-enriched milk, etc.), which could have had their own contributions to the progression of asthma and allergies.

I don't think the study itself was very convincing, as I said, but other research they cited regarding the immunological pathways up-regulated and down-regulated by Vitamin D and their relationship to the "hygiene hypothesis" of allergy and asthma and how these diseases are potentiated is intriguing, and has an internal logic I find persuasive.

I don't really fault Vitamin D in all this. My guess is that it's doing what it's meant to do in our bodies, but the signals get messed up due to Westerners' lack of parasites compared to our ancestors and some of our contemporary brethren.

Jack Cameron said...

The decrease in vitamin D synthesis with age appears relatively modest in data from Pubmed 18579538, as follows:

Age 20-39 40-59 60+

Vit D3
nmol/l 79 73 68

The proportion that engaged in outdoor activity was 80% for the two younger groups and 71% for the older group.

Like most old guys (75)that spend a fair amount of time in the sun I have had many non-melanoma skin cancers. An article about iodine in a recent WAPF journal mentioned that iodine was effective in doing away with small skin cancers and pre-cancers. I have tried it and it seems to work well.

MangoManDan said...

I've read that showering after exposure to the sun can reduce the amount of vitamin D that is absorbed. I don't know if this was backed up by research. But it may be one reason that getting some sun doesn't always increase one's vitamin D level as much as we would like.

Swede said...

Porcupine

A guy I know went to a WAPF convention, and one the he mentioned was that a lot of people had age/liver spots, he didn't really think that any of the older folks there looked that good at all. Might be from too much CLO? Or something else in the diet, it is high in AA if eating a lot of organ meats, and high in PUFAs if eating chicken skin, soaked nuts and CLO.

Scott

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Jack

Thanks for that ref

The figures are in the 70-80s nmols/l approx 30ng/ml


Based on the data on theses videos this is at the low end of optimal intake.

http://www.grassrootshealth.net/media/download/disease_incidence_prev_chart_101608.pdf


Vitamin D Prevents Cancer: Is It True?
http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=16940


Skin Cancer/Sunscreen - the Dilemma
http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=15770


Dose-Response of Vitamin D and a Mechanism for Cancer Prevention
http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=15767


Vitamin D & Cardiovascular Disease- New Frontiers for Prevention
http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=15772

Fifi said...

Anna - Thanks, I'll read it, but he really uses a lot of big words! I'll have to wake up a little first :)

Dr.Gee said...

thanks for the article. i hope it works for me.
(will let you know next winter)

regards,

pam

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Hi Helen,

This is trial suggesting asthma is connected with low vitamin D levels.

http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/179/9/765

There are also trials suggesting that higher vit D in pregnancy may reduce asthma in the infant, and that vit D has a role in lung formation.

Why would something the child make for itself with moderate exposure to the sunshine increase allergies?

Helen said...

Robert Andrew Brown,

Believe me, I am pro-Vitamin D. I'm not trying to paint it in a bad light. If you go back to my original post in this string and read through, I think you'll see I'm just trying to make sense of some conflicting information.

If there's a problem with Vitamin D, I don't think it's the vitamin itself. I do think we evolved to have high levels, primarily from sun exposure, and also from eating some things (like liver) that people don't eat a lot of anymore.

If there is a problem, I think it's due to the lack of certain pathogens in our environment (like parasites), and the immunological systems that we evolved to defend ourselves from them, which are boosted, apparently, by Vitamin D. Without those pathogens to work against, parts of one's immune system (especially if you are an atopic type, genetically) over-reacts to other stimuli, causing allergies and asthma.

I feel like I'm repeating myself repeatedly at this point. I'm not arguing with you on the overwhelming benefits of Vitamin D, generally, but just trying to piece together why this might be true. I've heard that about prenatal Vitamin D and Vitamin D and asthma in children. Differences in outcomes may have to due with timing of exposure, dose, mode (sunlight or supplement), how genetically prone to allergies and asthma one is, how hygenic one's early environment is (for instance, C-section babies, lacking exposure to bacteria in the vaginal tract, have seven times the rate of allergy as those delivered vaginally; babies living with dogs or on farms have lower rates of allergy and asthma; children drinking milk obtained from a farm rather than a store have lower rates of asthma; and so on), breastfeeding, the omega 3/6 ratio in the diet, gluten sensitivity, and so on. Heck, I've read studies claiming that children eating broccoli sprouts, tomatoes, and fish, or pregnant women eating apples, prevent asthma.

I think Stephan's right that we should be cautious about supplements and try to get our Vitamin D from the sun when possible. I have not seen any study that shows that Vitamin D from sun exposure has the same effect as a supplement. For adults and older children, I haven't seen anything negative about Vitamin D, and a lot of positive, though I haven't picked through the research for negatives.

Robert Andrew Brown said...

Hi Helen

I equally am seeking answers: I was not trying to suggest you were anti D.

I do think an excess Omega 6 and lack of 3, with fat conversion imbalances which can lead to a lack of GLA, combined with a lack of D, minerals etc is a significant factor in atopic sensitisation.


I can see the allergen/ bacterial exposure argument but it seems to me it is a difficult to get good data.

Could there not be a greater risk of c/sections where there were subtle dietary deficiencies?

Is farm family milk unpasteurised? Farming families are probably more active and probably eat better.

Fish and broccoli are both highly nutritious food. Broccoli in plant terms are a good source of Omega 3 ALA, and other nutrients.Tomatoes are high in lycopene.

On supplementing with D, I think on a pragmatic basis we will come to find that the western indoor lifestyle leaves many with no option but to supplement vitamin D if they are to have a hope of reasonable vit D levels.

The chances of nations making major life style changes in the short term is remote(-:

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Andy said...

On a second thought, perhaps I oversimplified it and just measuring vitamin D levels isn't gonna cut it. Dr. Cannell in one of his newsletters cites some observational study which found that in those consuming a lot of vitamin a increased vitamin D levels weren't associated with a significantly decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

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trinkwasser said...

I used to catch every cold going and suffer from trivial but annoying skin infections etc.

Most of this improved once I stopped my blood glucose from going high, and added Vitamin D3 has been the icing on the cake.

Here in the UK I use Higher Nature 500iu caps which are comparatively cheap,

I can now take mother to the doctor's or the hospital with impunity (and immunity) and though I may get symptoms like I'm going to catch a cold soon I seem to be much more able to defeat the bugs at this stage rather than developing full scale illnesses - I missed out on the numerous diseases plagueing most in the town this winter

BUT

I've been hacking up pieces of lung while the rape (Canola) in the back field has been in flower. I don't know if it's the pollen or the sulphurous honk emanating from its leaves but it's been a particularly noxious crop unlike the previous times it was grown here - several neighbours have also been suffering, also my friends the other side of the field, but people further down the road have been unaffected.

Whatever the cause, the D3 hasn't worked on this one.

I also used to be prone to burning in the sun but in recent years I brown much more efficiently instead. In fact my skin has improved noticeably, I blame the D3 and K2 from the Real Butter and cheese.

TedHutchinson said...

@ trinkwasser
In previous year I too would be hacking up pieces of lung while the rape (Canola) in the back field has been in flower. In fact it's been so bad in previous years I've been unable to drive past fields of rape as it affected my eyes and breathing so badly I was a danger to myself and other road users.

The change happened when I raised my 25(OH)D level to 64ng/ml with Country Life, Vitamin D3, 5,000 IU/daily + regular UVB exposure from 40ng/ml = 100nmol/l that I previously maintained with 4000iu/daily but no UVB in winter.

Having a higher 25(OH)D at the start of the rape season has made a huge difference to my QOL.
It great not having to rely on antihistamines.

I also find I don't burn in sunshine. I think that is in part due to the D3 but also partly due to improved omega 3 status.

Dr.Gee said...

Hi, Trinkwasser,

i also used to get colds/flu few times/year. each time it would take at least ONE MONTH to be completely symptom free (i kid you not!) btw, Vitamin C & other supplements did nothing for me.

I don't get that kind of cold/flu anymore on this paleolithic diet.

but on the other hand, the diet is also not a panacea.

for example, it does nothing to my allergy (pollen). this spring is about the same as all previous years.

it also does nothing to help my DSPS (delayed sleep phase syndrome).

regards,

pam

trinkwasser said...

Those colds which went on for ages and never got worse but never went away either were a killer.

I used to have a bad reaction to rape many years ago, which largely went away. I read that low erucic acid varieties had been developed and the timescale fitted my reduced reactivity. It's in the rotation about every three years here and this was the first crop in ages to hit me hard. If I can find a farmer I'd ask if it's a different variety. Otherwise it may be the weather. Do you notice differences in your response from year to year?

Mother suffers from COPD and her breathing was bad while it was in flower, and she had a worse attack when I vacuumed up all the pollen. Getting her to the coast, or even out of the house, significantly improved her breathing. Damn stuff, it looks pretty and works well in diesel engines but I wouldn't trust it as a food source!

Always interesting to see so many similar responses to the same things, enough anecdotes start to look more like data.