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.

Vitamin D3 Helps Treat Plaque Psoriasis

Vitamin D3 Supplements Effective in Treating Psoriasis

It has long been known among medical scientists that topical vitamin D therapy is a very effective treatment option for mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis. A quick search of reference materials and clinical trials reveals studies dating back as far as 1989¹ affirming the causal relationship between the application of topical vitamin D3 and a reduction of symptoms of plaque psoriasis in the patients studied.

PsoriasisA 1991 study² showed “significant improvement” in 68 of 83 patients exhibited of their psoriatic lesions with the topical application of vitamin D3.” 24 of 35 patients treated with oral vitamin D3 showed improvements, according to the same study.

More recently, a 2013 clinical review³ showed a correlation between low levels of serum vitamin D in this patient population associated with increased severity of disease involvement in psoriasis sufferers studied. The abstract of the review went on to say that “a review of the literature on oral vitamin D as a treatment for psoriasis reveals that this treatment is efficacious,” and “oral vitamin D improves psoriatic arthropathy.”

According to one scientific definition, psoriasis is “a common inflammatory and hyperproleferative skin disease characterized by infiltrated plaques of the skin and may involve nails, scalp and intertreginous areas.”

Plaque PsoriasisIn the editorial opinion of the Vitamin D3 Blog, sufficient evidence exists to justify the use of both topical and oral vitamin D3 supplements for the treatment of mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis. These are available in multiple forms, but it is the opinion of this blog that with regard to D3 supplements, it is worth spending a couple of extra dollars to ensure top quality as vitamin D is one of the nutrients for which the effectiveness can vary relative to the quality of the manufacturing process and supplement ingredients.

Dosage should be determined by a physician, nurse practitioner or licensed nutritionist or other qualified healthcare or medical professional based upon the individual’s levels relative to his or her needs. Vitamin D tests are relatively inexpensive and easy to obtain at most medical labs that service the public. Ask your doctor if unsure of where to obtain a vitamin D test, as many physicians now perform the tests in-office and send the test material to a lab for analysis.

References

1.) Psoriasis and vitamin D3. A review of our experience. Morimoto S, Yoshikawa K. – Department of Geriatric Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.

2.) Vitamin D therapy in psoriasis. | Araugo OE, Flowers FP, Brown K. | Department of Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville.

3.) Oral vitamin D, still a viable treatment option for psoriasis. | Kamangar F, Koo J, Heller M, Lee E, Bhutani T. | Department of Dermatology, University of California, Davis School of Medicine, San Francisco.

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

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

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, also known as SPD, is a common health condition that causes extreme pain in the hips, back, groin and legs of pregnant women. This painful pregnancy symptom is a result of the aptly named hormone Relaxin. Relaxin helps to naturally make ligaments relaxed and stretchy in order for the baby to ease its way into the world. Many times, relaxin does its job too well, causing the pelvic ligaments to become too loose too soon. As a result,the pelvic joint becomes unstable, causing moderate to severe pain and instability.

Symphysis Pubis DysfunctionAs many as 1 in 3 pregnant women may have this condition to some degree, and may not even recognize it as a condition all its own. More often than not, it is overlooked, as women do their best to endure it as another major discomfort of pregnancy.

Pelvic girdle pain can be anything from a minor ache to a searing sensation that wraps around the back and travels down below the belly. Most women will experience this at some point or another during their pregnancy. As the ever-expanding tummy puts ever-increasing stress on the  bones, joints, and muscles in the pelvis-the pain can hit at almost any point in the pregnancy, and the impact can range from minor aches and pains to debilitating and unbearable misery.

Apart from the lower abdomen and pubic pain and discomfort, SPD may also appear in the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain that tends to get worse when you lift your legs for getting into bed or car.
  • Difficulty to move the lower part of your body when you wake up in the morning.
  • Pain that gets worse when you lie on your back.
  • Reduced range of movement of the hip bones, causing difficulty walking.
  • Pain shooting down your buttocks and legs (sciatica).
  • A clicking sound near the pelvic area while in motion.
  • Urinary incontinence (rare cases).

If you think you may be suffering from this condition, do some research and talk to your Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction 2doctor. Never just endure the pain. Many things can be done to help lessen the symptoms of SPD. Acupuncture is an increasingly  popular way to alleviate all kinds of pregnancy ills, including pelvic girdle pain. Your doctor will almost always instruct you to purchase (and wear) a pelvic support girdle, aka a maternity belt with a special pelvic support built into it.

V2 Supporter

While there are alternatives (albeit none that really measure up in terms of effectiveness, appearance or even cost), the increasingly popular choice for dealing with moderate-to-severe pain of this nature is a product known as a V2 Supporter, or a variation thereof. The V2 Supporter is sold as a standalone compressive therapeutic undergarment, and can also be purchased as a 2-in-1 combo support undergarment such as the Prenatal Cradle Plus V2 Support and the Hip Brace Plus V2 Supporter.

V2 SupporterThis undergarment will  provide much needed support for your belly (and relief for your pelvis). These same products are also used to treat a very common condition during pregnancy called vulvar varicosities, which is effectively vulvar or vaginal varicose veins. While more common among women who are pregnant, many women who are not pregnant and some who’ve never even been pregnant occasionally come down with this most unfortunate condition characterized by painful swelling of the vulvar region.

Back to Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, heating pads and ice have been known to offer significant relief. Choose the right sleeping  position — lie on your side with a pillow between your knees to keep hips aligned. Do what works  best for you and your body. Try doing KEGEL Exercises. Yes, our old friend can do wonders in this  situation. These handy little workouts strengthen the entire pelvic floor, the muscle that stretches  like a hammock across our abdomens and essentially holds all our organs up. The stronger it is, the  better it holds up the growing baby and uterus and the less everything presses on those already  weakened bones. If the pain is severe, ask your practitioner about pregnancy-safe pain relievers (never take any medications unless specifically okayed by your practitioner). Remember, do what  makes you comfortable and what makes you feel better. Work together along with your doctor and  family to make this special experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. More tactics to try: Sit  down to get dressed, and avoid heavy lifting and pushing (which you should be doing anyway). Do your best to stay off your feet and try to be patient until the baby comes. For most moms, once the baby is born and relaxin production ceases, your ligaments (and your dance moves) will return to normal in no time.

 

Video: Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

 

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.

Zinc Supplements Help Curb Infant Diarrhea in Developing Countries

Mothers in Developing Nations Should Take Zinc Supplements Throughout Pregnancy

By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP
July 17, 2011

In the developing world, childhood diarrhea is a serious problem with often fatal consequences. Many throughout the western world would be surprised to learn that in 2009, the World Health Organization estimated that childhood and infant diarrhea kills over 1.5 infants and toddlers each year worldwide.

The good news is that there is hope on the horizon. A recent study has shown that of all things the mineral zinc can help to reduce and prevent instances of infant diarrhea in the developing world. The occurrence of diarrhea in newborn babies and infants may be dramatically reduced when mothers take zinc supplements throughout the course of their pregnancy, according to a new study spearheaded by Dr. Laura E. Caulfield, of the Center for Human Nutrition, Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

The study took place in Lima, Peru, and involved 421 pregnant women, 214 of whom took sinc supplements during pregnancy and 207 of whom took a placebo. The former group took supplements consisting of 15 mg of zinc, as well as folic acid and iron supplements. The 207 women in the control group took only folic acid and iron supplents, to go along with a similar-looking placebo in place of the zinc supplement.

Infant and childhood diarrhea is a severe and often fatal problem throughout much of the developing world, including countries such as Peru, which is where the study’s efforts were concentrated. A lack of readily available clean water is often a leading cause of the bacterial infections that cause severe diarrhea.

Zinc Deficiency Rampant Throughout the Developing World

Zinc deficiency is also a common health problem throughout the developing world. This often compounds the problem as it related to childhood and infant diarrhea.

The mineral zinc is widely renowned for bolstering human immunodefence systems, and consequently helping to stave off disease and illness. Zinc deficiency dramatically increases the risk of death from diarrhea-related illnesses, as well as a number of other health maladies plaguing the developing world, including pneumonia, malaria and a myriad of other diseases of various natures.

The World Health Organization has now issued a doctrine recommending zinc supplementation in conjunction with rehydration therapy as a means of treating acute diarrhea, as past studies have indicated that zinc therapy can help one get over severe bouts of acute diarrhea more quickly when supplementing with zinc.

It is recommended by this author that those taking zinc supplements do so after eating, as taking zinc on an empty stomach can quickly lead to an upset stomach and ptentially even vomiting.

The study was initially published in the The Journal of Pediatrics in March of 2010.