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We hope this blog brings insight to the world of health and it's relationship to fungus. Comments are encouraged. Better health is a must.

Monday, February 21, 2011

D for deficiency

Who would have thought vitamin D would become anything more than calcium's friend in absorption and be so diverse in human physiology? Recently, vitamin D has been popping up everywhere in the news. The news ranges from the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency to the abundance of it's positive effects. Here are some examples:

Three highly respected medical journals (see below), among many others, have stated there are approximately 1 billion people worldwide who are vitamin D deficient. One billion? The world's population is 6,900,372,014 as of February 16, 2011 in the afternoon. So, approximately 1/7th of the world does not receive enough vitamin D.

The current role of this humble vitamin in daily nutrition has increased dramatically. Research has uncovered its necessity in flu protection, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline, depression, muscle weakness, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid disease and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). This is only the beginning.

So, how does this research affect vitamin D recommendations? According to the February 2011 issue of Better Nutrition (and they aren't the only ones), people should be taking far more than the amount suggested by the National Institute of Medicine - 600 IU's daily. Better Nutrition says, "The committee's recommendation to take 600 IU of vitamin D daily is probably sufficient to maintain strong bones; however, if you want to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, pain, and colds and flus, you would most likely do better taking at least 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D each day, maybe more."

When it comes down to brass tacks, it's up to you to decide who is right about how much to take and if you want to believe the vast research that's appeared everywhere, from credible to not-so-credible sources alike, over the past few years. Remember, it's a vitamin that has quickly raised the conservative upper intake levels by the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, to 4000 IU's for anyone over the age of 9. There must be something to all this buzz.

Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007;357:266–281.

Gordon CM, DePeter KC, Feldman HA, et al. Prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among healthy adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:531–537.

Lips P, Hosking D, Lippuner K, et al. The prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy amongst women with osteoporosis: an international epidemiological investigation. J Intern Med. 2006;260:245–254.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dietary Guidelines

Didja' Know the USDA is required by law to review and, if necessary, update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every 5 years? The nutrition industry has been trying to bring good health to Americans for decades, and the government-based health organizations are finally seeing that "eating and physical activity patterns that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active can help people attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health?" Well, this is not a news flash to many of us, however, we can be thankful it has come to fruition. We could use a little help spreading the word on good health.

The Dietary Guidelines are meant for persons aged 2 and older, for America's multifaceted groups, and account for food preferences, customs and cultural traditions. Consideration has also been made for the 15% of American households unable to acquire the proper foods to sustain adequate levels of nutrition to maintain good health. The arms of the USDA are trying to extend their reach to include all Americans, however, realistically there are people who are indifferent to good health and making it a priority.

There are key recommendations set up in the Dietary Guidelines that should be in the forefront of improving public health, regardless of age, culture or economics. The recommendations include:
  • Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
  • Foods and Food Components to Reduce
  • Foods and Nutrients to Increase
  • Building Healthy Eating Patterns
Our favorite recommendation is listed under 'Foods and Nutrients to Increase:'
  • Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.
Overall, the Dietary Guidelines put forth by the USDA are a great checklist for anyone looking to improve their health and the health of their family. Improving the health of vast numbers is daunting, as the supplement industry has found out, but with increased acceptance of higher health standards and the ability to widely promote these standards, in time we can all help make America a healthier nation. Let's do it!