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.

Sunbathing Vitamin D3

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.”

Sunbathing = Vitamin D > Psoriasis

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

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

Hip Fractures in the Elderly Can Be Prevented

By: Pamela Egan, NP

A broken hip or a hip fracture is a very common injury, especially in older adults and in the elderly. Broken hips are the most common bone fracture that requires hospitalization. Hospitalizations for broken hips are rising each year to the tune of about 300,000.

Falls are the most common cause of hip fractures in the elderly. High-force injuries such as motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of hip fractures in younger patients who typically have stronger bones. Pathologic fractures such as weakened bones from infection or cancer can also be a cause of hip fractures.

Usually, osteoporosis is the cause of hip fractures in the elderly. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes loss of bone mass. The bones are thinner and weaker than normal. Adults with osteoporosis are at much higher risk of developing a hip fracture than someone without osteoporosis. The risk of osteoporosis is on the rise possibly due to an overall decrease in hormone replacement therapy and low vitamin D levels. Other risk factors associated with hip fracture are females, Caucasians, and sedentary lifestyle.

There are two types of hip fractures. A femoral neck fracture occurs when the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint is fractured off the femur. Treatment of a femoral neck fracture depends on the age of the patient and the amount of displacement of the fracture.

Interotrochanteric hip fracture occurs just below the femoral neck. These fractures are easier to repair more often than femoral neck fractures. The usual surgical treatment involves placement of a plate and screws to stabilize the fracture.

Treatment of a hip fracture almost always requires surgery. Some surgeons are using a newer implant that uses a rod inserted down the center of the bone rather than a plate along the outside of the bone. Both types of fracture fixation (the plate and the rod) have shown good healing and have had excellent results.

Physical therapy is usually started immediately and patients can usually walk with their full weight on the implant. Patients are usually encouraged to begin walking immediately following surgery. Most commonly, patients will get up with the physical therapist the next day following surgery. It usually takes a year for full recovery.

Complications often occur in patients who suffer broken hips. By getting patient up and out of bed as soon as possible, the risk of complications is reduced. Mortality rates in the first year following a broken hip are around 25%, and the rates are highest in older populations. The cause of death following a hip fracture is often due to blood clots, pneumonia, or infection. Furthermore, only about 25% of patients who sustain a broken hip return to their pre-injury level of activity. About one year after a patient sustains a broken hip, mortality rates return to normal, but a patient who previously sustained a hip fracture is at higher risk of breaking their hip again.

Treatments for osteoporosis are available, and will help elderly individuals avoid serious complications of this disease such as a broken hip.

An assortment of products are available through medical equipment stores that can help to reduce the risk of the slips and falls that lead to hip fractures. Mobility devices such as medical walkers, rollators, canes and power scooters can help to provide ambulatory assistance to elderly individuals, as well as to those with limited strength or mobility.

Bathroom safety devices can also help to reduce the risk of injury in one of the most dangerous areas of the home for susceptible individuals. Among the most effective of these items are grab bars. Grab bars (also known as safety rails) can be mounted against a wall, inside the shower and on the wall of the bathtub. They provide a gripping surface to help individuals maintain balance and avoid falling down (and ostensibly breaking a hip). Shower chairs provide a seating surface for inside the tub, thereby eliminating the need to stand. This in turn dramatically reduces the risk of slipping while in the shower. Raised toilet seats reduce the amount of bending over necessary for one to assume a seat on the toilet. Finally, non-slip bath mats add traction to the floor of the tub or shower, making it less slippery and subsequently less dangerous.

Lastly, nutrition plays an important role in preventing both osteoporosis and hip fractures. By making a point of getting good nutrition, the risk of osteoporosis and weak bones in general is reduced significantly. The elderly should almost without exception see to it that they are ingesting sufficient amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3, either through diet or supplements. Since estimating the amount of these nutrients in one’s diet can be so difficult, I receommed going the supplement route just to be sure.

It is important when buying supplements to insist on vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) as opposed to supplements containing ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). D3 is more readily absorbed by the body, and is a far more effective form of the nutrient in terms of boosting the immune system, preventing disease and improving bone density.

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.