Study: Vitamin D2 Is Much Less Effective than Vitamin D3

A study published by the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that Vitamin D2 is much less effective than Vitamin D3 in humans.

“Vitamin D2 potency is less than one third that of vitamin D3. Physicians resorting to use of vitamin D2 should be aware of its markedly lower potency and shorter duration of action relative to vitamin D3.”

To read the full report and study, visit:
http://jcem.endojournals.org/

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New Recommendations About Vitamin D – A Baby Step in the Right Direction

Vitamin D has been spotlighted in the news with the release of a report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM). This report confirms what many scientists have been saying for some time: the current recommended daily intake (RDI) for vitamin D is outdated and should be raised. The IOM has responded positively but cautiously, which is not surprising, as this non-government organization is known–and sometimes criticized–for its conservative approach to estimating nutritional needs in the general population. Nonetheless, the IOM increased the RDI to 600 IU daily for children and adults up to age 70. For those 71 and older, the new RDI is 800 IU. While encouraging, these marginal increases are a baby step.

What’s important to understand about this report is this: the new RDI is limited to what the IOM thinks we need for bone health and bone health only. Vitamin D plays a key role in keeping bones strong by regulating the absorption of calcium and its deposition into bone. This is old news and vitamin D’s best known function, about which there is no debate.

But there is clearly a lot more to vitamin D than bone health. A growing mountain of scientific evidence now indicates that vitamin D is important for many other things, including heart and cardiovascular health, immunity, brain function, the prostate, breast health, just to name a few.

The IOM did not discount this research; unfortunately however, some of the media reports make it sound as though they did. What the IOM said is that, in their judgment, the research is not conclusive enough to be factored into their new recommendations. In the eyes of conservative scientists, “conclusive evidence” would need to be rock-solid proof, a standard that could take many more years to achieve; science simply doesn’t move that fast.

Meanwhile, a growing number of experts are looking at the research that’s been done to date and concluding that, for things vitamin D does beyond keeping bones properly calcified, we almost certainly need much more than 600 to 800 IU per day. Leading experts on Vitamin D point out that we actually may need as much as 5,000 IU in order to achieve the ideal blood level of vitamin D; especially when we spend little time in the sun; in this case “we” means everybody living in the temperate zone who spends the winter indoors. Obviously a big chunk of the population.

Creighton University professor of medicine Robert Heaney, MD, who has studied the benefits of vitamin D, told the USA Today that the recommended 600 IUs of vitamin D is “way too low.” Heaney recommends people should consider taking up to 4,000 IUs a day. He added, “For me, it’s a no-brainer. There is a large body of evidence for benefit at intakes above the IOM recommendations. There is no risk, and very little cost, so why not take a chance of a benefit if there’s any possibility?”

But is it safe to take that much vitamin D? Again the media would lead you to think the IOM concluded otherwise. Not so, they merely declined to vouch for the safety of doses that exceed 10,000 IU daily and in fact acknowledged that there are no proven health risks from taking that amount. In fact, a number of studies have looked at people taking 10,000 IU and more and found no harmful effects. What’s more, the IOM doubled the “acceptable” upper daily intake limit from 2,000 to 4,000 IU, a dramatic increase.

The point is, the latest, cutting edge research strongly suggests that a lot of us need much more D than we’re getting. Secondly, taking more may do many important things to keep you healthy. And, daily consumption of as much as 5,000 units is completely safe. The problem with recommendations from ultra cautious organizations such as the IOM is they are rarely based on the cutting-edge. If we wait for them to catch up, we may miss out on the benefits of vitamin D in the meantime; indeed for some of us, by the time the final answer is in and the debate is over, it may be too late.

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Purity Products Vitamin D

Just thought we’d post a quick note on several of the ways to order our increasingly popular Dr. Cannell’s Advanced D.

First, we have a list of all Dr. Cannell’s Advanced D products on our website at:
Purity Products Vitamin D

Second, if you wish to “try before you buy,” we have several ways to do so:

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Kid’s Omega-3 Fish Oil and Perfect Multivitamin Kit

We put together this kit, which combines our I.Q. Essentials Kid’s Omega 3 Fish Oil with Vitamin D and our I.Q. Essentials Kid’s Perfect Multi–for one low price!

Find it here:
http://www.purityproducts.com/kids-vitamins-and-omega-3-fish-oils/kids-omega-3-fish-oil-and-perfect-multivitamin-kit

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Vitamins, Minerals and Dental Health

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Vitamins, Minerals and Dental Health

Vitamin C
The need for vitamin C to allow the tough fibers of the gums to link together is the most famous example of the way an essential component of the diet is irreplaceable in the maintenance of human health. The recognition of this role founded the science of vitaminology. By promoting strong and healthy gums, vitamin C contributes to dental health.

Magnesium, Calcium and Vitamin D
Strong teeth require more than just strong gums – they also need strong underlying bone through which they attach to the gums and the jawbone. Of course, sound calcium and vitamin D nutrition will allow those stalwarts of bone health to foster dental longevity. In addition, it is becoming clear that there is another, underappreciated member of the dental health team – magnesium. As shown in one survey of adults, the greater the daily intake of magnesium, the better the health of the periodontal tissue.41

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Vitamins, Minerals and Healthy Aging Go Hand-In-Hand

References:
41. Meisel P, Schwahn C, Luedemann J, John U, Kroemer HK, Kocher T. Magnesium deficiency is associated with periodontal disease. J Dent Res 2005;84:937-941.

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Vitamins, Minerals and the Immune System

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Vitamins, Minerals and the Immune System

Vitamin D
The many roles for vitamin D that have been discovered in the last decade include contributions to the strength and robustness of the immune system. For example, vitamin D has been shown in research published recently in the Journal of Clinical Investigation to enhance the immune system’s production of small protein molecules that support the body’s defenses against external immune insults.36 Vitamin D appears to interact in a coordinated manner with cells near a new wound, strengthening the ability of the body to protect its integrity while a wound heals.

Vitamin C
One of the major functions of vitamin C is to work with the cells of the immune system to enhance their ability to maintain our immune defenses. The day-to-day importance of this function was endorsed by the Cochrane Collaboration (an independent therapeutic assessment service whose conclusions are relied upon by many health professionals, including the American Academy of Family Physicians).37 After a thorough statistical re-analysis of the scientific literature, this group concluded that vitamin C supports the human immune system.

Zinc
The intriguing role of zinc as an essential trace element for immune function is well established. Zinc facilitates crosstalk and coordination of effort between the various cells of the immune system and is absolutely required in order for immune cells to rapidly replicate and multiply during an immune response. If zinc is not available in sufficient amounts, immune cell functions are compromised; for example, zinc ensures the accuracy of cellular immune marker recognition by some types of lymphocytes. In addition, the effective response of the white blood cells known as “natural killer cells” is dependent on zinc supplies. Clearly, maintaining strong zinc status promotes healthy immune system functioning. Because the ability of the human immune system to adapt to new challenges has been shown to decline with increasing age, the importance of healthy zinc nutrition to healthy immune system function can have a tremendous beneficial impact on healthy aging.38

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
B-Vitamins and Energy Levels

References:
36. Schauber J, Dorschner RA, Coda AB, Buchau AS, Liu PT, Kiken D, Helfrich YR, Kang S, Elalieh HZ, Steinmeyer A, Zugel U, Bikle DD, Modlin RL, Gallo RL. Injury enhances TLR2 function and antimicrobial peptide expression through a vitamin D-dependent mechanism. J Clin Invest 2007;117:803-811.
37. Simasek M, Blandino DA Treatment of the common cold. Am Fam Physician 2007;75:515-520.
38. Stromberg SP, Carlson J. Robustness and fragility in immunosenescence. PLoS Comput Biol 2006;2:e160 (doi:10.1371/ journal.pcbi.0020160).

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Vitamins, Minerals and the Skeleton

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Vitamins, Minerals and the Skeleton

Calcium
Of course, calcium is the major structural component supporting skeletal health. Increasing calcium intake (through foods or dietary supplements) increases bone integrity and provides a structure that is much less likely to fail (that is, break). This biological truism has been confirmed over and over by the results of “gold standard” randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials. As discussed in a detailed review published recently in the Brazilian Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism, dietary supplementation with calcium prevents bone fractures – even in adults who already had suffered osteoporotic fractures (and therefore had very weak bones) before adding sufficient calcium to their diets.17

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recognized the relationship between good calcium nutrition and bone health by stating that “Adequate calcium throughout life, as part of a well-balanced diet, may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.”

Vitamin D
Although other nutrients are vital components of a strong skeletal structure, it is increasingly clear that vitamin D is the manager that orchestrates skeletal health. A deluge of new information emphasizes the importance of vitamin D – a degree of importance even greater than has been thought before. In fact, the results of the Women’s Health Initiative published recently in the New England Journal of Medicine proved that the need for vitamin D is much greater than previously believed.18 Fortunately, daily supplementation with enough vitamin D can be quite effective in promoting a strong long-lived skeleton.19 The question arises as to how much is enough? The independent Vitamin D Council suggests that otherwise healthy adults who get some sunshine every day should consume 1000 IU of vitamin D daily – if moderate sun exposure is not possible, 2000 IU would be preferable. These levels are very safe, despite the fact that they are much higher than was believed to be adequate just a few years ago. However, these levels may not be high enough for everyone. Individuals should check with their doctors about being tested for blood levels of vitamin D (a relatively easy test to conduct). If levels are low, an appropriate regimen should be instituted to raise vitamin D levels.

Magnesium
The third member of the major bone-building trio is magnesium. While calcium deficiency predisposes both men and women to thin bones and spontaneous fractures, this mineral is just as important as it promotes healthy mineral retention by bone tissue. Much more importantly, as shown in research results published recently in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism the density and strength of every bone in the human body is proportional to the intake of magnesium.20,21

Vitamin C
While most emphasis is placed on the mineral components of bone tissue, without vitamin C to band together the collagen fibers that actually form bones, there would be no guide to the placement of minerals and bone tissue would be fragmented and without mechanical strength. As vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis, bone strength is dependent on vitamin C supply.22

Strong bones require healthy joints in order for the skeleton to do more than simply support your weight against the pull of gravity. Modern research has shown that adequate consumption of vitamin C helps sustain healthy joints and promote their continued function.23,24

Vitamin E
The connection between maintaining oxidant/antioxidant balance and continuing skeletal health is only now being appreciated. This connection is underscored by the recent discovery that antioxidant capacity, especially vitamin E status, can be severely compromised in adults with joint issues.25 Enhancing antioxidant defense systems may indeed be a key factor in sustaining healthy joint and skeletal function as antioxidants can prevent damage to join tissue from free radicals.

Boron
Although the trace mineral boron is found within bone, its function there is not yet entirely clear. However, it is known that rats fed a boron-free diet develop weak bones. In fact, boron supplementation in rats and chicks has been found to increase bone strength. Furthermore, boron influences the metabolism of several metabolic enzymes in various ways as well as the metabolism of steroid hormones and nutrients including vitamin D, calcium and magnesium.26

Vitamin K
Vitamin K is required for the production of the non-collagen proteins in bone. This means that, because vitamin K helps determine the amount of non-mineral bone tissue that is available to be mineralized, human bone mineral density is proportional to vitamin K intake. The findings of an extensive analysis of published research have determined that poor vitamin K status dramatically increases the chances of bone fractures.27 A new concept in human nutrition is that because humans rely on gut bacteria to produce vitamin K from dietary fiber, the typical low-vegetable, low-fiber diet may be causing a form of undiagnosed vitamin K deficiency, manifested as impaired bone health. Of course, vitamin K is essential for other systems as well, an important one being the cardiovascular system. The preferred form of vitamin K seems to be vitamin K2, menaquinone, which is free of toxicity and has been shown to have the best bone-supportive and cardiovascular benefits. The optimal form of vitamin K2 is known as MK-7 and is derived from a fermented Asian soy food known as natto.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Vitamins, Minerals and the Prostate Gland

References:
17. Heaney RP. Calcium intake and disease prevention. Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol 2006;50:685-693.
18. Jackson RD, LaCroix AZ, Gass M, Wallace RB, Robbins J, Lewis CE, Bassford T, Beresford SA, Black HR, Blanchette P, Bonds DE, Brunner RL, Brzyski RG, Caan B, Cauley JA, Chlebowski RT, Cummings SR, Granek I, Hays J, Heiss G, Hendrix SL, Howard BV, Hsia J, Hubbell FA, Johnson KC, Judd H, Kotchen JM, Kuller LH, Langer RD, Lasser NL, Limacher MC, Ludlam S, Manson JE, Margolis KL, McGowan J, Ockene JK, O’Sullivan MJ, Phillips L, Prentice RL, Sarto GE, Stefanick ML, Van Horn L, Wactawski-Wende J, Whitlock E, Anderson GL, Assaf AR, Barad D; Women’s Health Initiative Investigators. Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and the risk of fractures. N Engl J Med 2006;354:669-683.
19. Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Willett WC, Wong JB, Giovannucci E, Dietrich T, Dawson-Hughes B. Fracture prevention with vitamin D supplementation: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. JAMA 2005;293:2257-2264.
20. Ryder KM, Shorr RI, Bush AJ, Kritchevsky SB, Harris T, Stone K, Cauley J, Tylavsky FA. Magnesium intake from food and supplements is associated with bone mineral density in healthy older white subjects. J Am Geriatr Soc 2005;53:1875-1880.
21. Carpenter TO, DeLucia MC, Zhang JH, Bejnerowicz G, Tartamella L, Dziura J, Petersen KF, Befroy D, Cohen D. A randomized controlled study of effects of dietary magnesium oxide supplementation on bone mineral content in healthy girls. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2006;91:4866-4872.
22. Macdonald HM, New SA, Golden MH, Campbell MK, Reid DM. Nutritional associations with bone loss during the menopausal transition: Evidence of a beneficial effect of calcium, alcohol, and fruit and vegetable nutrients and of a detrimental effect of fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:155-165.
23. Cerhan JR, Saag KG, Merlino LA, Mikuls TR, Criswell LA. Antioxidant micronutrients and risk of rheumatoid arthritis in a cohort of older women. Am J Epidemiol 2003;157:345-354.
24. McAlindon TE, Jacques P, Zhang Y, Hannan MT, Aliabadi P, Weissman B, Rush D, Levy D, Felson DT. Do antioxidant micronutrients protect against the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis? Arthritis Rheum 1996;39:648-656.
25. Surapaneni KM, Venkataramana G. Status of lipid peroxidation, glutathione, ascorbic acid, vitamin E and antioxidant enzymes in patients with osteoarthritis. Indian J Med Sci 2007;61:9-14.
26. Devirian TA, Volpe SL. The physiological effects of dietary boron. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2003;43(2):219-31.
27. Cockayne S, Adamson J, Lanham-New S, Shearer MJ, Gilbody S, Torgerson DJ. Vitamin K and the prevention of fractures: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med 2006;166:1256-1261.

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