Vitamin D Deficiency and Schizophrenia Risk

Vitamin D Deficiency Doubles Risk of Developing Schizophrenia

A new meta-analysis of observational studies focused on the possible relationship between vitamin D serum levels and the odds of developing schizophrenia has concluded that a strong association exists between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia.vitamin d deficiency and schizophrenia risk

The research was conducted and authored by Doctors Ghazaleh Valipour, Parvane Saneei, and Ahmad Esmaillzadeh of the Food Security Research Center and Department of Community Nutrition, School of Nutrition and Food
Science, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Isfahan, Iran, respectively. The analysis involved a comprehensive review of 19 previous studies involving in excess of 2,800 total participants. The original article outlining the research debuted recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The researchers defined schizophrenia as a group set of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, confused thinking and disorganized speech.

vitamin d schizophrenia

Upon careful review of 19 previously conducted studies from around the world, the researchers concluded that individuals who suffer from vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D serum levels deemed lower than is considered healthy by accepted medical science) are more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia than their vitamin D sufficient (healthy levels of vitamin D serum) counterparts. Specifically, the scientists found that inadequate levels of vitamin D increased the risk of developing schizophrenia by 2.16 times that associated with an individual whose vitamin D levels are within a healthy range.

Of those who had already been diagnosed with the mentally debilitating psychiatric condition, 65% were found to have insufficient levels of vitamin D.

The researchers stopped short of declaring that vitamin D supplementation may help to reduce the risk of developing the condition. Rather, they cautioned that more research would be necessary to observe the effects of supplementation on schizophrenia and its manifestation in previously healthy individuals. They also stopped short of declaring supplementation a means of treating existing schizophrenia, again alluding to the need for further study.

The abstract of the study can be viewed here: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/jc.2014-1887.

Quality of Vitamins, Supplements Matters

Are You Taking the Right Supplements?

By: Peter Egan Jr

I had a discussion with an acquaintance recently who was questioning the legitimacy of vitamins and mineral supplements.

She described how she had been taking vitamins and nutritional supplements and had experienced no noticeable impact.

Vitamins are for real. However, like any other product, not all vitamins are manufactured to the same level of quality.

Comparative Guide to Nutritional SupplementsThere is a comparative guide that serves as a non-official clinical nutrition industry standard as a reference for the relative quality of several hundred of the world’s largest supplement manufacturers. The book is called Comparative Guide to Nutritional Supplements, and it reports on objective scientific research involving the bioavailability and/or absorption rate of each known product from several hundred of the most widely distributed manufacturers of vitamins and nutritional supplements.

A low-quality supplement is poorly absorbed (if at all), and is a complete and total waste of money. According to the CGtNS Fourth Edition, this accounts for the overwhelming majority of products found in places such as grocery stores, pharmacies and even specialty nutrition shops. In the 4th Edition, there were only a handful of manufacturers of the hundreds evaluated whose products scored a 3-star (out of a possible 5) for the majority of their products. Very few had more than 1-in-5 or so meet the 3/5 mark, while the few that scored remarkably better than the rest were nearly 4, 4/5 and 5-star rated across-the-board, with their lowest scoring products almost always better-rated than the overwhelming majority of companies’ best-scoring product.

If you’re serious about optimal nutrition for preservation of good health, disease prevention or whatever other reason, it’s a book you should at least have a look at if not buy (I don’t know the author and have no financial interest in the book’s sales). The reason I’m suggesting it is because I find it to be a remarkably good resource for a topic about which I am passionate and about which I believe that the consequences for poor decision-making are significant enough to merit learning as much as possible.

I didn’t buy it. My mother, a nurse practitioner and clinical nutrition expert, gave it to me as a gift. I have read it more than any other book – fiction or non-fiction – in the time since she passed it along to me.

Point being, and the reason I mention all of this, is that the absence of noticeable results described by the acquaintance could very well be the byproduct of poorly produced supplements or supplements which were improperly stored post-manufacture, decreasing the effectiveness and potency of the products themselves.

The question everyone should be asking mightn’t be “are supplements for real?” Rather, the better question may well be: “am I taking the right supplements?”

My advice is that if you care enough about the bottom line, get the book or ask someone who has it how your brand stacks up against the rest.

I’m not going to plug any particular brand of supplements in this post, but I welcome anyone curious enough to pursue an answer to either get the book or email me and ask me how your brand compares. I’ll be happy to answer in good faith. However I want to be perfectly clear that the reason I am offering is so that nobody mistakes the intention of this post to be the promotion of a book I didn’t write, buy or in any way benefit from its success. On a similar token, I don’t benefit from the promotion of any supplement brand except for my mother’s, which did not exist at the time the book was published.

However, I care about my own health, and I myself take a plethora of vitamins, minerals and supplements. I only buy from those manufacturers whose products are rated 4-stars on-average at the very minimum (according to the CPNS 4th Edition), and I have noticed a monumental difference in terms of my own personal health and productivity in the time since I began regularly taking high-quality vitamins and supplements.

Vitamin D3 and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

Vitamin D3 Supplements May Help Slow ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease)

According to one of several studies unveiled at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, mixed in between a pair of studies further confirming how Vitamin D helps delay the process of neurological decline associated with Alzheimer’s Disease was a potentially groundbreaking bit of research, the cognitive treasure of Chafic Karam, a fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Vitamin D3 and ALSKaram and associates authored a study entitled “Can Vitamin D Delay the Progression of ALS?” The study was conducted throughout the 2011 calendar year.

The study involved 37 patients, all of whom suffer from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). All 37 were examined for a nine month period leading up to the point at which the testing of the hypothesis began. Twenty of the ALS patients were administered 2,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day, while the other 17 were administered no vitamin D.

The patients were reexamined every three months. During the nine months leading up to the administration of what I can only presume were relatively well-made, top-shelf vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) supplements, both groups showed similar progression in the ALS Functional Rating Scale (ALSFRS-R). However, upon the administration of the vitamin D supplements that began to change.ALS

At the three, six and nine month reexamination intervals, the group being administered the supplements showed slower rate of decline than the test group, which was being given no supplementation.

This suggests a possible relationship between down-the-road ALS treatment regimens and a possible role for vitamin D supplementation therein.

With the seemingly endless list of diseases and conditions which can be prevented or the symptoms of which lessened with regular sun exposure and/or vitamin D supplementation, it wouldn’t come as a major surprise if ALS is just the latest debilitating condition the name of which can be added to the aforementioned list. Or so we hope…

Source:  Karam C, Scelsa SN. Can Vitamin D Delay the Progression of ALS? Med Hypothesis. 2011;76(5):643-645

EGAN Wellness Center Supplements Now Available Online

Supplements Now Available Online

All of the high-quality dietary and nutritional supplements available at the EGAN Wellness Center and Med Spa can now be purchased conveniently online and delivered right to your home no matter where in the world that may be!

For years Nurse Practitioner Egan has identified the very best nutritional supplement manufacturers across the globe and offered a superior collection of the very best of the best at her clinic in Covington. Now, customers and patients no longer need to visit the clinic in person or even place an order by phone in order to purchase these supplements, many of which are available only through a physician.

Customers and patients can browse from the full catalog of health-enhancing supplements from the world’s premiere supplement manufacturers directly from Mrs. Egan’s website. Just visit PamelaEgan.com and click on the link entitled “Supplements” from the main navigation menu (see below).

EGAN Wellness Supplements

Pamela Egan Supplements

From the Supplements menu, simply choose your manufacturer from one of the world’s premiere supplement manufacturers. Just click the link for your preferred manufacturer, select your supplement(s), complete the simple and convenient online checkout and within 2-3 days your supplements will arrive right at your door.

Due to the large selection of products available, Designs for Health and Metagenics each have their own supplement shopping portal specific to their brand of supplements. All other supplement manufacturers’ products will be available through the EGAN Wellness Center & Med Spa’s Bonanza shopping booth. This includes but is not necessarily limited to Douglas Laboratories, Xymogen, Ortho Molecular Products, Newtropin, GHW Supplements, NuLiv Lifestyle and any others not listed here.

If you have a particular request or if the supplement you wish to purchase isn’t yet available through the EGAN Wellness shopping portal, please let us know and we’ll add it to the booth just for you.

Schizophrenia Linked to Vitamin D Insufficiency

Schizophrenia Linked to Vitamin D Insufficiency

By: Pamela Egan

A new study out of Iran has determined that individuals suffering from inadequate serum levels of vitamin D have more than double the chances of becoming schizophrenic than do people who obtain healthy amounts of the letter vitamin/hormone.

Low Vitamin D Serum Levels Doubles Chances of Becoming Schizophrenic

Vitamin D-3 Drops (Supplement)Unlike a traditional study, the research published July 22 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism constitutes what is known as a “meta analysis”. In a meta analysis, unlike a traditional experiment, study or clinical trial, instead of conducting original research using volunteers (test subjects), a control group and different variables to determine how the different variables react (or don’t react) to the volunteers under various circumstances; the researchers instead review previously conducted research. The objective is to review numerous studies which are similar in nature in an attempt to discern any patterns or other data that may surface in the presence of macro-data that may not be as obvious within the context of a single study.

In this particular instance, the researchers reviewed 19 different studies encompassing a combined total of over 2,800 people studied. The purpose of the research was to determine if any discernible link could be established between vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia.

The scientists were surprised to discover that not only does vitamin D deficiency predispose an individual to developing schizophrenia, a grouping of psychiatric disorders characterized by among other things hallucinations, difficulty speaking, delusions and disoriented thoughts, but did so by a substantial margin. As it turns out, those who suffer from insufficient levels of vitamin D (which is actually a hormone – not a vitamin), a condition known as “vitamin D deficiency” or “vitamin D deficiency syndrome”, are more than two times as likely to become schizophrenic than are people who maintain normal/healthy levels of the hormone/nutrient. The exact figure is 2.16 times more likely for those whose levels are inadequate relative to those whose are.

While co-author Dr. Ahmad Esmaillzadeh expressed hope that his team’s findings “might help psychiatrists in the healing process of patients with schizophrenia,” he cautioned against jumping to any conclusions with regard to the role (if any) vitamin D supplements will play in the prevention and treatment of this mentally trying condition.

“Controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm the effects of vitamin D supplementation,” Esmaillzadeh added.

 

Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Schizophrenia – Video

The Probiotic Prescription

The Probiotic Prescription

Probiotics: Listen To Your Gut

November 08, 2013

Let’s start with the facts behind what probiotics are. The root of the word probiotic comes from the Greek word pro, meaning “promoting” and biotic, meaning “life.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines probiotics as “live microorganisms, which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host.” Yes, they are actually alive, and most of these microorganisms are bacteria. Most people think of antibiotics and antibacterial products when you mention bacteria. Both of those kill bacteria so why would you want to consume anything that has live bacteria in it? It’s all about balance.

Increasing the number of good bacteria in the GI tract by taking probiotics supplements Probiotics Supplementsand eating foods that contain the “good bacteria” may help combat a number of health problems, a growing number of scientists say. New research indicates that specialized strains of these good bacteria could also help alleviate some mood and anxiety disorders.

When University of Toronto researchers gave chronic fatigue syndrome sufferers three daily doses of a Lactobacillus strain for two months, it boosted their levels of good bacteria. “At the same time, we reduced their anxiety,” says lead researcher A. Venket Rao, PhD. When the patients stopped taking the probiotic, their symptoms reverted as well, he says.

Probiotics from YogurtOur stressed-out lifestyle may be our stomach’s biggest enemy. According to María Gloria Domínguez Bello, PhD, a professor of microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, society’s hectic pace, which leads to our reliance on junk food and overuse of anti­biotics, is throwing our internal ecosystem out of whack; she believes that there’s a link between our gut bacteria and the rise of food allergies and autoimmune diseasesCrohn’s Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis among many others — in the industrialized world. “When there is a loss of balance in the different types of intestinal bacteria, they send signals to our immune system to overreact and become inflamed, leading to disease,” Domínguez Bello says.

See, when it comes to mood, it’s not all in your head — it’s in your gut, too. “The brain influences the digestive tract and vice versa,” says Rebekah Gross, MD, a clinical gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Medical Center. In fact, new research has found that our esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and colon have a big say in how our minds and bodies function and how happy we feel. “The gut is a critical group of organs that we need to start paying more attention to,” says Steven Lamm, MD, the author of No Guts, No Glory. “Doing so may be the secret to improving our overall wellness.”

ProbioticsIf it seems as if your stomach sometimes has a mind of its own, that’s because it does. The gut’s lining houses an independent network of hundreds of millions of neurons — more than the spinal cord has — called the enteric nervous system. It’s so complex and influential that scientists refer to it as “the second brain.” In addition to being in charge of the digestive process, your gut lining is the core of your body’s immune system and defends you against such foreign invaders as viruses and bacteria.

Cells in the gut lining also produce 95 percent of the serotonin in our bodies. (The rest occurs in the brain, where the hormone regulates happiness and mood.) In the gut, serotonin has a range of functions, including stimulating nerve-cell growth and alerting the immune system to germs.

Thanks to serotonin, the gut and the brain are in constant contact with each other. Chemical messages race back and forth between the brain’s central nervous system and the gut’s enteric nervous system. When we’re stressed, scared, or nervous, our brain notifies our gut, and our stomach starts to churn in response. When our digestive system is upset, our gut alerts our brain that there’s a problem even before we begin to feel the symptoms. Scientists suspect that our moods are negatively affected as a result. “The gut is sending messages that can make the brain anxious,” Dr. Gershon explains.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products.

Although more research is needed, there’s encouraging evidence that probiotics may help:

  • Treat diarrhea, especially following treatment with certain antibiotics
  • Prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections
  • Treat irritable bowel syndrome
  • Reduce bladder cancer recurrence
  • Speed treatment of certain intestinal infections
  • Prevent and treat eczema in children
  • Prevent or reduce the severity of colds and flu

Side effects are rare, and most healthy adults can safely add foods that contain probiotics to their diet.

Nutrition and Disease Prevention: Poor Nutrition linked to Chronic Disease

Nutrition and Disease Prevention

By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP, MN

Prioritizing life and health maintenance is essential to achieving health and longevity. Diet, exercise, stress reduction and the avoidance of toxins are all key elements of health.

To operate optimally, the body needs a number of different vitamins, minerals and nutrients. The 13 essential vitamins are divided into two groups, fat soluble and water soluble. Vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble and can be stored by the body. B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble – with the exception of vitamin B12 and they cannot be stored.

Medical foods represent an entirely different scientific and medical approach to managing health conditions. They are formulated with macro-and micro-nutrients that are recognized by scientific principles to support the dietary management of a disease or condition, and are to be administered under the supervision of a physician or license healthcare practitioner. Furthermore, they must be specially formulated and processed to provide nutritional support as part of an ongoing doctor-supervised dietary management program to treat a specific therapeutic or nutritional need. Medical foods contain nutrients in therapeutic amounts that typically cannot be acquired through normal dietary measures.

High quality nutrients are different that low quality nutrients such as those that you find inHigh-Quality Multivitamin, Mineral Supplement the drug store or over the counter.

Many of the negative vitamin studies reported throughout the course of the past decade were conducted using extremely low quality, drugstore and supermarket brand vitamins and nutritional supplements. Medical foods that are manufactured and packaged under GMP-certified conditions assure the highest quality and clinical reliability. Nutrisearch by Lyle MacWilliams is a good comparative guide to nutritional supplements or the lack thereof. The effectiveness of medical food programs have been evaluated in numerous clinical intervention and observational studies and published in well-known healthcare journals.

Medical whole food nutrients have been designed to support the management of a variety of chronic conditions including those associated with:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Atopic disorders

For questions or more information relating to this article, Ms. Egan can be reached at 985-892-3031 or www.pamelaegan.com.

Probiotics and Weight Loss

Probiotics and Weight Loss: How Digestive Baceria Can Actually Help People Lose Weight
By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

When supplement marketers attempt to explain to the public the value of probiotics, the discussion typically centers around the fact that probiotics can help to establish a regular pattern of bowel movements, helping to relieve diarrhea, curb constipation and establish a happy medium that constitutes something of a middle-ground – that point when bowel movements occur neither too frequently nor too infrequently, with the consistency being neither too hard nor too soft, minimizing the amount of discomfort one experiences in using the facilities.

Another benefit of probiotics, the good bacterial flora long associated with natural, unprocessed yogurt, with which the public is well familiar is the strengthened immune system that typically accompanies a healthy gut. However, a less noted side-effect of one’s digestive system functioning at peak performance is that a healthy gut can actually help one lose weight and keep off the pounds.

Antibiotics wipe out the good bacterial flora in the gut (intestinal tract) which slows down the metabolism, resulting in fewer calories burned relative to the amount of calories ingested. This results in unnatural weight gain.

In addition, the animals are fed estrogen supplements, which causes them to develop a condition known as estrogen dominance, which also brings about a hefty degree of unnatural weight gain. Hence, hormone balance is essential for weight loss, as is metabolic efficiency.

With regard to the latter, there is actually a quite simple solution for humans who have either been on antibiotics, ingested them indirectly via other food sources (such as beef) or for whatever other reason have an imbalance of intestinal flora inside the digestive tract. High-quality probiotics can actually help to restore the balance of what are often referred to as “good bacteria”. This helps aide digestion, which when combined with routine exercise and at least a somewhat healthy diet results in an enhanced rate-of-metabolism.

This enhanced metabolism typically helps bring about weight loss in overweight individuals provided the average amount of caloric intake were to remain constant from the time period prior to the balancing of intestinal flora to the point at which optimal bacterial flora levels are reached.

The math is really pretty simple: Calories, excess amounts of which are stored as fat, are ingested as food and calorie-containing beverages. Calories also power the human body (as well as all other animal life). The amount of calories stored as fat depends upon a couple of factors: 1) The amount of calories ingested; 2) The rate at which the calories are being burned as fuel; and 3) The amount of time unburned calories remain inside the body prior to being expelled in the form of waste (feces). By reducing the amount of time calories remain in the body from the time they are consumed to the time they are expelled, there is less time for them to be absorbed and stored in the form of fat.

The bottom line is that while probiotics are far from a miracle dietary supplement that will make you lose weight just by taking a little capsule, in conjunction with exercise, diet and hormonal balance, these healthy, all-natural bacteria can indeed help accelerate weight loss by regularing the digestive system, preventing constipation and helping one expel waste in a timely manner relative to the time-of-consumption.

The result is this: probiotics are not magic weight loss solution, but when implemented as part of a complete weight loss regimen that addresses all aspects of the metabolic cycle (caloric intake, rate-of-metabolism, hormonal balance and proper digestive function), can indeed help an overweight individual with poor digestive health lose weight and keep it off.

Related: Health Benefits of Probiotics