The recent change in weather from warm, sunshiny days to very cool rainy one may have also marked a change of health for you. In the past, this time of year has been noted for the increase in viruses, colds and flu. If you have bronchial problems or allergies, the barometer change may also have created breathing difficulties for you. The good news is that the extra financial burden that usually accompanies ill health can be averted and you can make it through the cooler season easily.
Everyone knows that we need vitamin D, but how much do we know about it? In this article we’re taking an in-depth look at some vitamin D facts.
Vitamin D, or calciferol as it is also known, is a fat-soluble vitamin and pro-hormone. This means that is a precursor to a hormone that is used by the body. The name calciferol refers to its primary function of boosting the deposit of calcium in the bones. There are different forms of the vitamin, of which D2 and D3 are the most important in the human body.
Vitamin D is being hailed as the new natural remedy for colds & flu. Vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is made in our bodies after exposure to the sun, is more commonly known for its role in building strong bones. But researchers have found that Vitamin D can help balance the immune system helping to prevent a whole host of health problems as well as colds and flu.
It is known that flu predictably occurs in the winter months when Vitamin D is low. Much of the population living in Britain and countries that have similar seasons become deficient in Vitamin D during the winter and spring when exposure to sunlight is lacking.
While the natural remedy cod liver oil which contains Vitamins A and D is often taken by people to ease joint problems it was noted that it helped to prevent respiratory infections such as colds and flu. It is a fact that children exposed to sunlight get fewer colds and that children who were constantly sick from colds and flu were suddenly free from infection when they were given high doses of Vitamin D.
Researchers studying the effects of Vitamin D on the immune system have shown that it increases production of certain peptides that quickly destroy the influenza virus. They have only recently learned how Vitamin D increases production of antimicrobial peptides while simultaneously preventing the immune system from releasing too many inflammatory cells.
Although the main source of Vitamin D is exposure of the skin to sunlight you can get some Vitamin D from food. The main source from food is the flesh of oily fish and small amounts are found in cheese, egg yolks and beef liver. It is quite difficult to get adequate amounts from food and as it is so important for strong bones some foods like cereals, milk, yogurt and margarine have been fortified with it. In spite of this it is thought that people only get about a third of what they need from food.
Getting enough Vitamin D was not considered to be a problem until recently but some experts believe we are in the middle of an unrecognized pandemic of Vitamin D deficiency. According to one study an amazing nine out of ten people are deficient in Vitamin D during winter and spring.
So how do you know if you are deficient in Vitamin D?
There is no way of knowing whether you are getting enough without doing a blood test. Be sure to get a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D also known as a 25(OH)D test. Some doctors order a 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D but this goes up and down with calcium intake and is not a good indicator for Vitamin D deficiency.
How to boost your levels for good immunity and other health benefits.
Experts do not agree on how much you need but Dr Micheal Holick one of the world’s leading authorities on Vitamin D says that exposing arms and legs or hands face and arms to the sun without sunscreen for up to 15 minutes a day between 10 am and 3 pm in spring, summer and autumn is enough to keep levels up for most of us.
People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 – 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
Secondly eat vitamin D rich foods. Its difficult to say how much you need because it depends on how much you get from the sun. Some experts say we need about 800iu a day and others recommend 1000iu or more. One 100g (3.5oz) salmon contains about 360 iu of the vitamin and an egg around 20 iu.
If you think you may be at risk of a Vitamin D deficiency consider taking a supplement to keep free of winter colds and flu.
There are various forms of Vitamin D but the best form to take is Vitamin D3. This is the form that is made in your skin when exposed to ultra violet light.
Ideally find a doctor who is conversant with the current scientific evidence regarding the importance of Vitamin D to your health and monitor your blood levels for an immune system boost against colds and flu.
Recent Worldwide Newspaper headlines claimed that a study showing high doses of Vitamin C given intravenously could destroy cancer cells was a “breakthrough discovery”. This infuriated many doctors who have been using IV Vitamin C since the 1970’s as part of natural health remedy treatments for cancer. Dr Robert Cathcart has been using IV Vitamin C for many diverse conditions including cancer for over 30 years.
Other sensational media headlines in 1998 claimed that Vitamin C causes cancer. Journalists reported on a study that showed 500mg Vitamin C daily (a dose taken as a natural health remedy by many people) caused damage to DNA which sometimes leads to cancer.
But all of the headlines could just as well have stated that Vitamin C supplements prevented DNA damage. That’s because the same study also found that Vitamin C did that as well. Even the lead author of the study said that the results were being over-interpreted. One eminent scientist dismissed it bluntly as “bad science.”
Bruce N. Ames, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, has often pointed out that about half of all chemicals, natural and synthetic, cause DNA damage. He says that naturally occurring compounds in alfalfa sprouts (canavanine), broccoli (isothiocyanate), potato (solanine), celery (psoralen), and onion (quercetin), and most fruits and vegetables cause DNA damage. (Jack Challem, The Nutrition Reporter ©1998.)
So is Vitamin C good or bad?
There is a wealth of scientific evidence that supports the view that relatively high levels of Vitamin C are good for health and relatively low levels are bad for health. Practitioners of Natural Medicine have known since the 1960’s that Vitamin C is an anti-cancer agent.
The late Dr Linus Pauling, known as the “Father of Vitamin C” said that large intakes of up to 10 grams of Vitamin C each day aids anti-cancer activity within the body. He regularly took high oral doses of the vitamin himself and pioneered research into it’s power to treat heart disease.
Dr Mark Levine one of the authors of the study claimed that intravenous Vitamin C is the only form that is effective in fighting cancer due to the body tightly controlling the levels in the blood. But two doctors of the Alliance of Natural Health’s Scientific Expert committee stated that this is not true. Doses of Vitamin C taken by mouth are effective in attaining consistently high blood levels.
The researchers found that intravenous Vitamin C produced hydrogen peroxide, which was able to reduce cancerous tumors of ovaries, pancreas and brain in mice by 43 percent to 51 percent. Normal cells are not harmed.
How much should you take?
Dr Pauling recommended taking vitamin C to bowel tolerance if you want the best of health. This means that you take Vitamin C in 2 or 3 doses over the day and gradually increase the dose until you get a significant looseness of the bowels.
Vitamin C functions as an antioxidant and is needed for many enzyme reactions in the body. It is needed for the formation of collagen to hold the cells together and for healthy teeth, gums and blood vessels. It improves iron absorption and resistance to infection.
It is found in fresh vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, green and red peppers, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, lemon, cabbage, pineapples, strawberries, citrus fruits. Eating 5 – 9 portions of fruit and vegetables a day have been shown in many studies to prevent cancer.
Natural Health Remedies for Cancer that Work
There are a wide range of natural health remedies that have been used for cancer. If you are looking for information about natural health remedies for cancer Karon Beattie describes 350 existing natural and alternative cancer treatments in her ebook Natural Cancer Treatments That Work. People have used these gentle and non-toxic treatments instead of or alongside conventional treatment, or after conventional treatment has failed to aid their recovery.