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 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

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), BPA, Leptin Resistance and Other Unknown Health Risks

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), BPA, Leptin Resistance & Low Vitamin D Represent New, Relatively Unknown Health Risks

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

What Some of the More Surprising and Unknown Health Risks Facing Humanity in the 21st Century?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Some of the newer research is showing that plastics are major hormone disruptors. Plastics are being blamed for conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is an insulin-resistant state. There is a growing body of evidence that technological advancements, particularly as it relates to food packaging, may be having grave and unintended consequences on humans’ hormonal function.

BPA (Bisphenol A) and Dioxins Disrupt Hormone Function

Polycystic Ovarian SyndromeEvery time you microwave a lean cusisine or TV dinner, the heat from the microwave radiates the plastic, releasing BPA (Bisphenol A, an ingredient found in Polycarbonate plastics as well as epoxy resins) and dioxins, both of which disrupt hormone function.

Ask yourself when was the last time you were in the grocery store and observed grape juice being sold in a glass bottle. Everything is packaged in plastic these days! Baked chickens bask in plastic containers under heaters in the grocery stores. Restaurants cover hot casseroles with plastic wrap. Milk sits in plastic under grocery store lights in coolers until someone buys it. Cases of plastic water bottles sit out in the sun all day gas stations and thrift stores, not to mention your car! Some people bake chickens inside of a plastic bag! Many microwavable junk food treats RECOMMEND in the directions that the person about to EAT the food contained within the plastic leave it wrapped in plastic while microwaving it!

PCOS

This author isn’t going to name names, but if you’ve ever been to the grocery or eaten prepared foods you should be well familiar with those products and brands being mentioned herein.

Electromagnetic Radiation

In addition to plastics, pesticides, electromagnetic radiation from computers, cell phones, tablets, electronic notebooks (trying not to use brand-names), et al are also major hormone disruptors.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin Reistance is also fairly new, and a significant health threat that far too many women remain unaware of. Leptin is a hormone that acts in the regulation of energy intake and metabolism. Leptin levels can be easily checked via a simply blood test that can be performed at virtually any diagnostic lab (ask your doctor or nurse practitioner) to indentify whether or not one has leptin resistance.

Vitamin D Deficiency

ViVitamin D3 from Sunlighttamin D3 is a hot topic since the majority of Americans are vitamin D3 deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is also a major factor in obesity, insulin resistance, the development of Type 2 Diabetes and about 50 or so other major diseases and illnesses, albeit in many cases science has declined to issue a definitive statement of causality despite overwhelming evidence of a causal relationship between low levels of vitamin D and an increased likelihood of developing any one (or combination) or the four dozen-plus illnesses, diseases and conditions for which indisputable evidence exists linking an increased rate-of-diagnosis with insufficient levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood of diagnosed individuals.

Vitamin D deficiency can be identified by way of a simple blood test, and those suffering from inadequate levels of the nutrient can correct the deficiency through safe sunbathing, or even better, a high-quality and high-potency vitamin D3 supplement.

The reason most scientists believe such a vast majority of the entire population is so dangerously low in vitamin D has to do with the fact that human civilization has evolved to the point of spending the vast majority of time indoors, where the sun cannot make contact with skin, initiating the process through which vitamin D is produced.

On a side-note, anyone seeking to prevent or reverse vitamin D deficiency through the use of supplements should make sure the supplements contain vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol as opposed to ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. The reason is that the former is far better absorbed and processed for use by the body than is the latter, the usefulness of which as a human nutritional supplement is the subject of much heated debate.

Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

Egan Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic + Egan Skin Care Spa
1116 W. 21st Ave.
Covington, LA 70433
985-892-3031

Areas Serviced: Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, Abita Springs, Slidell, Goodbee, Lacombe, Folsom, Franklinton, Bogalusa, Pearl River

Research Shows Those Who Take Vitamin, Nutritional Supplements Are Healthier

Vitamin, Mineral and Nutritional Supplements May Boost Health, According to Study

By: Pamela Egan, NP, ABAAHP Diplomat, CDE

Research indicates that taking a single, daily multivitamin is not adequate to ensure optimal health. What’s more, not taking taking nutritional supplements at all may actually be harmful to your health. This according to a new study consisting of hundreds of individuals that was conducted by a team of scientists from the University of California, Berkley, Out Lady of Mercy Medical Center in New York and the Shaklee Corporation of California.

The results showed that the more vitamins and nutritional supplements individual participants took, the healthier they were. Those who took the most nutritional supplements had better concentration of homocysteine, C-Reactive protein, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides, as well as lower risk of prevalent elevated blood pressure and diabetes. Supplement use showed that when a cell is nourished nutritionally by adequate levels in the blood serum, the optimal concentration reduced chronic disease that results from starvation of the cell.

It is significant to note that the supplement takers took more than just a daily multi-vitamin. They consumed a lot of tablets every day. More than half of them took, a B-Complex, vitamin C, carotenoids, vitamin E, calcium with vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, lecithin, alfalfa, co-enzyme Q10, reservatrol, glucosamine, and an herbal immune supplement. A majority of women consumed gamma linolenic acid, a probiotic, whereas men consumed additional saw palmetto, soy protein and zinc supplements.

According to the conclusion of the abstract:

This group of long-term multiple dietary supplement users consumed a broad array of vitamin/mineral,
herbal, and condition-specific dietary supplements on a daily basis. They were more likely to have optimal concentrations
of chronic disease-related biomarkers, and less likely to have suboptimal blood nutrient concentrations, elevated blood
pressure, and diabetes compared to non-users and multivitamin/mineral users.

The study was published in Nutrition Journal. The full text may be freely accessed at http://www.nutritionj.com/content/pdf/1475-2891-6-30.pdf.

Does Vitamin D Help Prevent MS?

With the release this month of a new study out of Australia (first appearing in Neurology), the evidence continues to mount in support of a potential (and at this point probable) link between high levels of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol – the “sunshine vitamin”) in the blood and a reduced risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS).

While the scientists responsible for the study were careful to point out that the research involving 611 people who had not been diagnosed with MS at the time of the study established a link only between increased sun exposure and a corresponding decrease in the probability of developing MS. The study did not definitively establish that increased levels of vitamin D in the blood were the cause of the reduction in MS risk, or for that matter whether that was merely a byproduct of sun exposure with no direct bearing on the prevention of multiple sclerosis.

In recent years it has been learned by way of scientific research that more than 20 different diseases, illnesses and adverse conditions are brought about (at least in part) by vitamin D deficiency. Granted, even if a conclusive link is determined to exist, more research would be needed to determine if high levels of the nutrient were the preventative mechanism or if the disease was brought on by vitamin D deficiency and/or the compromised immune system resulting from the nutritional shortcoming.

That said, back in 2006 a study by the Harvard School of Public Health was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association linking Vitamin D to a lowered risk of MS.

In 2009, it was established by a team of Canadian and British researchers that vitamin D deficiency by a mother during pregnancy and an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis in people with a genetic predisposition for the disease.

A study published in January of 2010 by researchers at the University of California found that insufficient vitamin D levels may be associated with a higher risk of relapse attacks in patients who developed multiple sclerosis during childhood.

Now in 2011 we have a study by Australian scientists confirming a link between sun exposure and a lower risk of developing MS. That means that almost every year for the past five years, studies either confirming or implying a link between the nutrient and the disease have been published for all to see.

In light of the many different studies by scientists from all around the world all arriving at the same or similar conclusions, it begs the quesiton of why are scientists from this most recent study so cautious about declaring vitamin D as a mechanism that can aide in the prevention of multiple sclerosis? Is the issue that these scientists fear ridicule from their peers if they were to tout a vitamin as a means of preventing an illness? Is the problem that the scientific community is not much of a community at all, with little-to-no communication between rival groups of researchers leading to a mass-ignorance within the community regarding research already completed by other scientists?

For those of you who don’t know, vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the form of vitamin D made within the body and is the product of direct exposure to sunlight. In the Australian study, the researchers determined that those who spent the most time in the sun had the lowest risk of developing MS or MS-related symptoms. They also found that those subjects displaying no signs of MS had substantially higher vitamin D levels than their less fortunate counterparts.

While perhaps more research is needed to formally establish what most of us already strongly suspect is true, based on the available information it definitely appears likely that within the next couple of years science will conclude that the nutrient/hormone vitamin D3 helps prevent multiple sclerosis.

While science may be paranoid about implying a relationship between vitamin D and the prevention of multiple sclerosis, this author sees the writing on the wall and will be upping the dose on his vitamin D3 supplements.

Vitamin D3 and Probiotics Can Help Fight Acne

Vitamin D3, Probiotics are Powerful, Natural Acne Remedies

Acne can result from such factors as hormonal disharmony, bacterial overgrowth, improper eating habits, chronic constipation, heredity and excess oil in the body. Although often overlooked, a direct link exists between Vitamin D and the skin.

Who would have ever thought that Acne was related to an imbalance of flora in the gut or a low Vitamin D level?

If you don’t know me by now, I try to find the cause of symptoms and disease rather than prescribing synthetic medications to cover up symptoms, especially complex acne medications like antibiotics, steroids, and accutane.

Accutane has been linked to Chron’s Disease. Not only does this drug dry up the face, it dries up the whole body. Many times once antibiotics are stopped, acne comes back raging. Sometimes, we just need to take a step back and look at natural remedies that worked in the past.

Vitamin D3 Helps Prevent Acne

Let’s review some simple facts regarding Acne:

Why are more and more adolescents suffering from severe acne? Is it something we’re eating, something we’re taking?

Over the years, our children have received more and more antibiotics for minor ailments. I myself am guilty of demanding antibiotics for my four children when they were younger. My youngest son lived on antibiotics prior to receiving ear tubes. Interestingly, he is the one who has suffered the most with acne.

Many adolescents are treated with antibiotics such as Doxycycline or Minocycline for their acne. The trouble with antibiotics is that while they will indeed kill off the bacteria that may be causing infection, they are non-discriminatory and so will attack the friendly flora in the digestive tract that actually work to keep us healthy. My patients act surprised when I tell them that many elements of the immune system are based the gut.

In a healthy gut, the good bifidobacteria that make up about a third of the gut flora naturally produce antimicrobial agents, which kill off or inhibit the more harmful micro-organisms. When this balance is disrupted and the harmful bacteria are allowed to thrive, they can bind to the gut wall where the damage they cause includes intestinal permeability problems. We fail to absorb the good nutrients, vitamins & minerals and allow the wrong toxins through our intestines. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, allergies, acne, and auto-immune disease.

The over-prescribing of antibiotics is one of the most common causes of this imbalance. However, supplementing the diet with a good quality probiotic will help re-balance the intestinal system and put those good bacteria back in control. Whenever you are prescribed antibiotics you need to take a probiotic with at least nine strains to counter the negative effects on your digestive system. It is important to note that not all probiotics are created equal. I often prescribe a pharmaceutical strength probiotic with Vitamin D3 for my acne patients.Probiotics Supplements

Even if you suffer from a serious skin condition such as acne, you will likely notice a dramatic improvement to your skin if you take a probiotic supplement. This is because acne has been linked in some studies to intestinal health with researchers reporting increased blood levels of toxins absorbed from the gut in acne sufferers. These toxins come from those pathogens or bad bacteria that take over our intestinal tract. It has been shown that in about 50% of cases of acne, the natural balance of the gut bacteria has been disrupted and the bad bacteria are multiplying faster than the good bacteria. This is referred to as dysbiosis- the disturbance of the natural balance, which is an underlying cause of acne. Probiotics really can make a dramatic and positive difference on your skin.

Although a Vitamin D deficiency does not directly result in acne, obtaining sufficient Vitamin D can help resolve acne by making the skin and body healthier as a whole. Because the sun provides the most potent source of the nutrient, make sure you get enough exposure to the sun to improve your chances of having well-nourished skin. Of course, too much exposure to sun can also cause its own problems, so use your discretion. If your Vitamin D3 levels are low, synthetic forms of the nutrient used in supplements can help with the treatment of several common skin conditions, including acne.

Many clinics are now offering LED Light Therapy which also diminishes inflammation within the sebaceous gland to prevent propions-bacterium (P-acne) from reproducing.

Pamela Egan, NP, ABAAHP Diplomat, CDE is a board certified Adult & Family Nurse Practitioner, American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator, Clinical Specialist in Mental Health can be reached at 985-892-3031.