If you are a man, you need to be concerned about prostate cancer because it's the most likely cancer that you are going to get. The exception is if you are smoker, in which case lung cancer would be the most likely cancer in your future. But, if you're reading this blog, you probably don't smoke, which makes prostate cancer the highest cancer risk you face. What follows is a short treatise on prostate cancer by Dr. John Cannel, the head of the Vitamin D Council. Should you be taking Vitamin D for prostate cancer prevetion? Yes! You definitely should. Just make sure it's Vitamin D3 and not Vitamin D2. I take 5000 IUs daily of Vitamin D3 in capsule form.

Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of fifty and, although it is one of the most prevalent types of cancer in men, many men never have symptoms and die of other causes. On the other hand, more aggressive prostate cancers account for more cancer-related deaths than any cancer except lung cancer. About two-thirds of cases are slow growing, the other third are more aggressive and fast growing.

The decision to treat a tumor contained within the prostate is a trade-off between the risk and expected benefits, especially quality of life. More and more often physicians and patients are electing to do nothing but wait (and hopefully enjoy life) for slow growing tumors.

The decision to wait is a calculated risk. Urologists look at a number of factors in prostate cancer to decide how to treat (if at all) prostate cancer. These factors include:
  • Gleason Score: score given to prostate cancer based upon its microscopic appearance. Cancers with a higher Gleason score are more aggressive and have a worse prognosis. The Gleason scores range from 2 to 10, with 10 having the worst prognosis.
  • Core biopsies positive:  usually urologists take 6-12 total biopsies at a time, called cores. The percentage of positive cores varies and often changes over time.
  • PSA: a tumor marker that, taken with the other two factors above, may indicate prostate cancer. The higher the score, and the more rapidly it climbs, the worse the prognosis. It usually slowly increases over time in men with low-grade prostate cancer.
All of these factors, along with the presence or absence of cancer spread, change over time and influence whether or not an urologist and patient decide to treat the prostate cancer.

To give you an idea about how this works, if you took 20 men with low risk prostate cancer and do nothing but biopsy them again in a year, about 10% of the men will no longer have any cores positive. That’s right, about 10% of men will no longer have demonstrable cancer. However, most men will have either more cores positive or a higher Gleason score or higher PSA or all three.

This week, Drs. David Marshall, Sebastiano Gattoni-Celli and their colleagues from the Medical University at South Carolina published a study that reported administering vitamin D for a year, measuring cancer markers before and after. The results were astounding.

This study administered 4,000 IU/day of vitamin D for one year to 44 men. The scientists chose 44 men with low risk prostate cancer, so they chose 44 men with  identical Gleason scores of 6, anywhere from 1-6 cores positive (out of 12 possible), and a PSA < 10.

Of the 44 men they followed, 60% showed a decrease in the number of positive cores or a decrease in their Gleason scores, or both. Only 34% showed an increase in the number of positive cores or an increase in their Gleason scores. 6% were unchanged over the year. PSA levels did not go up over the year. The authors classified 60% of the men as “responders” to vitamin D and 40% as “non-responders.”

Fifteen of the 44 men (34%) no longer had any cores positive. However, PSA did not go down so they may or may not still have prostate cancer. It also appeared that baseline vitamin D levels were important because men with higher baseline vitamin D levels had fewer cores positive for cancer and lower Gleason scores.

The authors report that the main problem with the study was the lack of a control group, other than historical groups of men treated conservatively. However, with 60% of the men responding to vitamin D, I wonder if an ethics committee would allow a randomized controlled trial, knowing some men in the control group would be vitamin D deficient.

An article published online on April 26, 2012 in the Annals of Neurology reports a protective effect for diets containing high amounts of blueberries and strawberries against cognitive decline in older women. Berries are high in compounds known as flavonoids, which may help reduce the negative impact of inflammation and stress on cognitive function.

Lead researcher Elizabeth Devore of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School said that "Our study examined whether greater intake of berries could slow rates of cognitive decline."

Dr. Devore and her associates evaluated data from women who were between the ages of 30 and 55 upon enrollment in the Nurses' Health Study in 1976. Dietary questionnaires completed every four years since 1980 were analyzed for the frequency of berry intake as well as the intake of 31 individual flavonoids representing six major flavonoid subclasses commonly found in US diets. Cognitive function was tested every two years in 16,010 participants who were over the age of 70 between 1995 and 2001.

Consuming a relatively high amount of blueberries or strawberries was associated with a slower decline in cognitive function test scores over the follow-up period compared to women whose intake was lower, resulting in a delay in cognitive aging of up to 2.5 years. Greater intake of the anthocyanidin class of flavonoids and total flavonoids was also associated with a reduced rate of decline.

"Substantial biologic evidence supports our finding that berry and flavonoid intake are related to cognition," the authors write. "Berry-derived anthocyanidins are uniquely and specifically capable of both crossing the blood–brain barrier and localizing in brain regions involved in learning and memory. In multiple studies of rats, blueberry or strawberry supplementation significantly reduced age-related declines in neuronal signaling and cognitive behavior, and supplementation at older ages reversed neuronal and cognitive decline."

"We provide the first epidemiologic evidence that berries can slow progression of cognitive decline in elderly women," Dr Devore announced. "Our findings have significant public health implications as increasing berry intake is a fairly simple dietary modification to effect cognition protection in older adults."

I don’t’ know about you, but this time of year, I eat berries just about every day. Domestic strawberries are available year-round now, even blueberries are available year-round due to importation from the southern hemisphere during our winter. But, domestic blueberries from Florida are in now, and the Texas blueberries will start very soon, and I’ll be eating those. And after that the northern blueberries will abound all summer.

Unfortunately, my attempt to grow berries at home failed. They started out good, and I even got a small harvest the first year. But then they developed a fungus which ravaged the plants. I tried it twice, with both blackberries and blueberries. Perhaps if I had used a chemical fungicide it would have saved them, but I didn’t want to do that.

But, I’m grateful for the blueberries I can buy, and I do make the most of them.        

 

Dr. Uffe Ravnskov is probably the world’s leading cholesterol skeptic, and he is surely the most highly credentialed one, being a medical internist, a board-certified nephrologist (kidney specialist) , a professor of Medicine, and  widely published medical researcher.  Here are the highlights from his April newsletter.

 

It mostly concerns statin drug treatment, and statins are still the most widely prescribed medicines in the world. He starts by referring to Dr. Duane Graveline's book ”Lipitor: Thief of Memory.” Dr. Graveline suffered terribly and almost died from statin treatment, and ever since, he has become a leading voice against statins. Impaired memory is one of the many serious side effects of statin treatment.  Thousands have reported cognitive problems from statin use, and for many of them, the problems disappeared after discontinuation of statins, which was also the case for Dr. Graveline. Dr. Ravskov reports that, finally, a few months ago, the  FDA officially admitted in a new "safety alert" that such problems exist. It’s about time! Fortunately, many newspapers reported it, including the New York Times and the Boston Globe.

 

Reports to the FDA of memory problems from statins began over ten years. So, why did it take them so long to act?  Dr. Ravsnkov cites Dr. Marcia Angell from her book, ”The Truth About the Drug Companies. How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It”. Dr. Angell is the former editor in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine. Here is what she said:

 

”Congress also put the FDA on the pharmaceutical industry´s payroll . . . Fees . . . soon accounted  for about half the budget of the agency´s drug evaluation center. That makes the FDA dependent on an industry it regulates.” (page 208)

 

”The FDA is subject to industry pressures through its eighteen standing advisory committees on drug approvals. These committees, which consist of outside experts in various subspecialities, are charged with reviewing new drug applications and making recommendations to the agency about approval. The FDA almost always takes their advice. Many members of these committees have financial connections to interested companies . . . Members of FDA advisory committees are said to command unusually high consulting fees from drug companies.” (pages 210-211).

 

This issue has touched me close to home. I had an uncle who died recently, and officially, he died of Alzheimer’s disease. His mental deterioration was very gradual. It started  over 12 ago, soon after he began statin treatment for high cholesterol. By the end, he was in full-blown dementia. But, for most of his adult life, he was a very brilliant man, an engineer by profession, and a mechanical genius; he could fix anything. So, it was very sad to see him decline the way he did. But, did he really have Alzheimer’s? I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. There is no blood test for it, and a definitive diagnosis requires a brain autopsy. Is it possible that his statin use contributed to his dementia? It is very possible. Even probable, I'd say.  He lived to the same age as his father, 91, and his father (my grandfather) never had Alzheimer’s. My grandfather was lucid until the very end. And he never took statins.

So, why didn’t I intervene for my uncle? I tried to. I spoke to my aunt about it, his sister. And she took what I said very seriously. She spoke to his adult children about it, and she even called his doctor and balled him out. But, I don’t believe the statin was ever stopped. And of course, as he deteriorated, they started giving him lots of other drugs as well. As with so many people, Modern Medicine had a ruinous effect on my uncle's health and on his life. And he was previously, a very vigorous man- until he started with all that medical stuff.

I had my annual blood work done this month, and the results were good. My total cholesterol was 170, and I am happy with that. It’s not as low as the cholesterol haters strive for, but cholesterol is a very vital substance that is used constructively in many, many ways, including to make hormones, bile acids, cellular membranes, intracellular membranes, Vitamin D, and even for the immune system and the brain. Cholesterol is so important to the brain that it makes its own cholesterol, and I mean a lot of it.

 

My HDL was 60, and my LDL was 110, which is 10 points higher than the upper limit of what is now considered normal, which is 100. What I plan to do about it is absolutely nothing.  As it is, I eat largely a plant-based diet, and the only animal food that enters my diet occasionally is an organic egg. I could cut it out, but I don’t think I will. And that’s because I feel good, and I am not the least bit worried about it. I don’t take statin drugs, and I am not interested in taking anything to lower my cholesterol. That's one boat I ain't rockin'.     

The article that follows attests that even getting just the bitewing x-rays increases the risk of brain tumors slightly. If you get the full-mouth x-rays, it increases the risk much more. This really does not surprise me because 30 years ago, Dr. Jon Gofman, a leading physician/scientist with vast knowledge of the biological effects of radiation, said that dental x-rays would do this.However, I am going to keep getting the bite-wing x-rays because it is the only way for the dentist to see between the teeth. I don't do them every year, but I do them  and will continue to do them every other year. I think it's worth it because the health of the teeth and gums has great effect on your general health and your resistance to disease. And it's also a matter of peace of mind. Howeer, I never do the full-mouth x-rays. I only do the 4 bite-wing x-rays, where you bite down on the tab. And that is what I recommend to you.

People who received frequent dental X-rays a generation ago, before stricter radiation dosages were put in place, are at greater risk for developing a type of non-cancerous brain tumor, according to Yale University researchers.

The findings are being published today in the American Cancer Society's online journal, Cancer.

"We know people will be very concerned, but we are not telling people they should stop going to see their dentist," said the study's lead author, Dr. Elizabeth Claus, a professor at Yale's School of Public Health and an attending neurosurgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

The Yale study looked at more than 1,400 people from Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California and Texas who were diagnosed with a meningioma, a non-cancerous tumor that can cause a range of medical problems with vision, speech and motor control, as well as causing headaches. The study also looked at a similar group of people who did not have a meningioma.

The average age of the patients was 57, according to Claus.

Researchers found that patients with meningioma were twice as likely to have had dental X-ray exams since childhood in which they bit down on a tab of X-ray film at least once a year. That type of test is known as a bitewing exam.

There was an even stronger link between meningioma and the panorex dental exam, in which a single X-ray picture of teeth is taken outside of the mouth. Patients who had this exam when they were younger than 10 years old had a nearly five times greater risk for meningioma.

Claus pointed out that today's dental X-ray technology and practices use significantly lower radiation dosages than in the past. She estimated there has been at least a 50 percent reduction in dosage since the 1980s.

Meningioma occurs in eight out of every 100,000 people, according to the National Institutes of Health. This makes it a rare disease, even though it is the most commonly diagnosed brain tumor.

In a statement released to the media, the Chicago-based American Dental Association says it has a long-standing position that "dentists should order dental X-rays for patients only when necessary for diagnosis and treatment," but called certain aspects of the Yale study into question.

The association faulted the study for relying on "individuals' memories of having dental X-rays taken years earlier," and that "results of studies that use this design can be unreliable because they are affected by what scientists call 'recall bias.'"

The ADA stresses it encourages use of protective aprons and thyroid collars on all patients to minimize radiation exposure. It also says X-rays are needed to detect oral diseases that can't be found through visual and physical examination.

Claus says the Yale study looked into a connection between meningioma and dental X-rays because ionizing radiation is the "most consistent environmental factor" known to be a risk factor for the tumor.

Claus also says the study should serve as a starting point to examine how often dental X-rays are necessary even with today's practices and technology. She says the American Dental Association suggests that children have one dental X-ray every one to two years, that teens have one every one and a half to three years, and that adults have one every two to three years.

"It is worthwhile to have a discussion as to whether they are needed in every instance," Claus says. "That is probably our biggest message."

 

A recent study, reported in the medical journal The Lancet, found that taking a daily dose of aspirin can reduce the risk of cancer. The new study, led by Dr. Peter Rothwell of Britain's Oxford University, found that low-dose aspirin can reduce the risk of some cancers by as much as 50 percent. That, of course, is huge.

For a long time, it has been suspected that aspirin may be a cancer-preventive. However, clinical studies have been mixed, and these results are the best yet to be reported. According to Dr. Harold Kaufman, head of cancer treatment center at Rush University Hospital in Chicago, the new study was “well designed and very compelling.”

The greatest effect was seen in colorectal cancer, but an impressive effect was also seen in many other types of cancer, including lung, breast and prostate cancers. These are about the most common kinds of cancer that there are.

No one knows for sure how aspirin works, but in regard to colo-rectal cancer, we know that aspirin increases the shedding of the cells that line the digestive tract, and as these cells shed, the early manifestations of intestinal polyps may get sloughed off in the process, nixing their further development. The general anti-inflammatory effect of aspirin may also be a factor.

Of course, there is risk to taking aspirin. It is a powerful irritant, and it’s been said that every time you take an aspirin, it makes a hole in the lining of your stomach. The way to minimize that risk is to:

keep the dose of aspirin small, such as a baby aspirin (81 mg),

take it after your largest meal of the day so that when it hits your stomach it lands on food and not on membrane,

and finally, take a buffered form of aspirin.

I have taken a look at this study, and I must admit that it looks impresive. Indeed, there may be something to it. However, I have NOT started to take aspirin. I am holding on to the idea as a possibility for myself in the future, but I am going to pass on it for now. And here’s why:

I have a fear of aspirin. I have known, and known of, people who have died from taking high doses of aspirin, and that includes one suicide, and it was a very painful death for this person. He actually regretted it after swallowing a whole lot of aspirin, and he called 9-1-1 for help, but it was too late; they could not save him even though they got to him.

I think about what Dr. Herbert Shelton used to say, that if something is toxic and deadly in a high dose, that it’s effect in a smaller dose is in the same direction. It is just a lesser degree of the same effect and not a different effect. And with that thought in mind, it does seem that we are poisoning ourselves whenever we take aspirin.

However, this concept of Shelton’s, although generally true and often worth respecting, may be overly simplistic. We know for instance that there is a big difference between chewing on a coca leaf and taking cocaine. Coca leaves contain “coca alkaloids” in the amount of .4%, and the stimulating effect has been compared to drinking coffee. However, when these leaves are processed into pure cocaine powder, it becomes infinitely more potent and dangerous.

Well, we can make an analogy with aspirin because “natural salicylates” occur in a wide variety of plants, including common fruits and vegetables. But, in the context of the whole plant food, there is zero chance of incurring the potential harm from aspirin. In other words, you can’t develop stomach bleeding, ulcers, or have a hemorrhagic stroke from eating fruits and vegetables, but people could die and do die from taking aspirin.

So, there is definitely risk involved with taking aspirin. However, we should keep it in perspective. By taking it conservatively- in the manner I described above- the risk can be minimized, and the risk/reward ratio may indeed be quite positive, not for everyone, but for a large percentage of people. It’s often said that one should always consult with a trusted doctor before beginning an aspirin regimen- whether it’s for cancer prevention or heart disease prevention or both- and I’m sure that’s good advice.

But for me, at this time, I am not going to begin an aspirin regimen. I simply do not feel that my personal cancer risk is great enough to warrant assuming the risk that aspirin therapy poses, no matter how small. Besides, I am doing other things for cancer prevention. For instance, I take melatonin at night, and if you read Dr. Pierpaoli, he says that melatonin is like a “smart bomb” that gets into every nook and cranny with its anti-cancer effect. I also take optimized turmeric, which has effects that are directly comparable to aspirin (blood-thinning, anti-inflammatory) but without any risk of bleeding.

But, I will continue following the aspirin studies as they come out, and I will keep an open mind about this.  I won’t rule out taking aspirin at some point in the future if I feel my situation warrants it.

 

Dr. John Cannell is head of the Vitamin D Council, and he is undoubtedly one of the most knowledgeable physicians in the world on Vitamin D. In his most recent blog, he discussed a paper that concerned three infants and toddlers who had rickets who were given Vitamin D, and they wound up with slightly elevated blood calcium, above the normal range.

Before discussing the paper, Dr. Cannell pointed out that in East Germany, before the fall of Communism, every child in the country was given a pharmacological dose of Vitamin D3: 600,000 IUs. It was mandated for every child in the country, every 3 months for the first 18 months of life. It came to 3.6 million IUs of Vitamin D3 in the first year and a half of life.

That is way too much Vitamin D, but amazingly, only 1/3 developed high blood calcium, and none got clinically toxic. They surely would have if it had been Vitamin D2, so thank God they knew better than to do that. The highest calcium levels that resulted from it was 13 mg/dl, which is high but not life-threatening. Note that in East Germany at the time, normal blood calcium was considered to be between 9.4 and 11.2, the same as in Norway. In the US, normal is considered 9 to 10.5.

But, Dr. Cannell argues that the higher range is the correct one, and that our “normal” in the US is based on a population of Vitamin D-deficient people. Here is how he put it:

“How do we get these calcium ranges? We take several thousand vitamin D deficient children, measure their calcium and use a Gaussian distribution to calculate “normal.” How do I know the kids are vitamin D deficient? Because virtually all the kids in the USA are vitamin D deficient, thanks to video games, the sunscare, and sunblock. For the first time in human history, we are raising a generation of indoor children. Because calcium and vitamin D are connected, such children will have slightly lower calcium levels than would several thousand truly “normal” kids. Therefore, we use the abnormal to calculate the normal.”

Dr. Cannell then pointed out that the three children with rickets who had “hypercalcemia” were all below 11.2, which is to say that none of them really had high blood calcium. And that was in response to a dose of 150,000 IUs- which was a quarter of the dose routinely given to kids in East Germany.

And now Dr. Cannell is afraid that doctors here will refrain from giving children appropriate Vitamin D because of the misconception that these three children were harmed. It’s a pity.

I have been asked to list the five supplements that I would take if I were limited to five only.  Of course, I do, in fact, take more than five, which you can see on the Daily Program page, which are the supplements I take.  But, I realize that there are people who are unable or unwilling to take as many, and not just for financial reasons, but because they have an aversion to it.  And it’s the same for me: there is a limit to how much I can spend, and a limit to how much I can comfortably take without it getting arduous.

I realize that to some people it seems like I take a whole lot of supplements.  Yet, there are plenty of people who take a lot more than I do.  And, there is a specific, concrete purpose behind every supplement I take.

Yet, I think this is a good exercise, and I’m glad it was suggested. So, here are my top 5 supplements if I were limited to just 5.

Extend Core Multi- this is the multivitamin/mineral supplement that I take from VRP.  It is not ultra-high potency, but it is very broad, and very well formulated, and with the highest quality ingredients. For instance, it has the MTHF form of folic acid and the P5P form of Vitamin B6.  Of course, I am conscientious about eating a wholesome diet.  But, even though I am, I still value being covered by this comprehensive nutritional formula, and I’ll give you an example of a reason why: zinc.

Zinc is a marginal nutrient in many people’s diets, including those who try to eat healthfully. There are factors that can interfere with zinc absorption, such as plant fiber, oxalic acid, and phytic acid. Some people avoid grains and legumes because of phytic acid, but there are other foods that have it, such as nuts. The highest phytic acid food that I know of is the brazil nut. Similarly, some people avoid spinach due to oxalic acid, but the fact is that all fruits and vegetables contain oxalic acid- it’s ubiquitous.  Spinach just happens to be higher in it than most.  It’s interesting that vegetarians have been found to have a lower zinc status than omnivores. And they have been found to have lower taste acuity- which is a sign of zinc deficiency.  I eat a lot of plant food and am practically vegan.  So, I worry about getting enough zinc, and I am glad to get the 15 mgs of highly absorbable zinc in my Extend Core multi.  It’s the kind of nutritional insurance that I’m looking for.

Sublingual Vitamin B-12- you need only read the previous blog to know why I am including this supplement on my short list. It’s been found that older people have very little ability to absorb Vitamin B12- from food or from swallowed supplements. The older stomach does not produce enough Intrinsic Factor- a compound which facilitates the absorption of Vitamin B12 through the gut. We know now that sub-optimal Vitamin B12 status is affecting millions of Americans, particularly older ones.  Sublingual Vitamin B-12 bypasses the stomach and goes directly from mouth to blood.  I am not going to repeat the previous blog again here, but please read it if you haven’t, and I hope you will take it very seriously.  This supplement is quite inexpensive, and I know from experience that it can be, not just beneficial, but life-saving.

Coenzyme Q10-H2- this is essentially a vitamin, but it is not officially listed as a vitamin because the body can make it to some extent.  However, with aging, the body makes much less of it, and blood levels often decline markedly with age. What is worsening the situation in the present day is that millions of people take statin drugs, which besides interfering with cholesterol production (which is their intended purpose) also put the brakes on CoQ10 production.  I don’t take statin drugs, but I still take CoQ10, and the H2 form is the best form of it. CoQ10 is an energy supplement; it facilitates mitochondrial energy production in the cells, including the muscle cells, and where it factors in mightily is the heart.  I don’t know if you realize that your heart runs on the burning of fatty acids- not glucose.  And the direct oxidation of fatty acids by the heart hinges on CoQ10.  And remember that your heart is the muscle that never gets to rest- except to the extent that it rests between beats.   I see CoQ10 as a very good supplement choice for those middle-aged and older.  The one we offer is the highest quality one, which is made by a Japanese firm- Kaneka- although it’s actually manufactured here in Texas now, where I live.  It is the only all-natural, yeast fermented CoQ10 in the world, and it is state -of-the-art.  Coenzyme Q10 is considered an anti-aging nutrient, and the research about that is very impressive. Rats age a whole lot better and a whole lot slower when they are given Kaneka CoQ10.

Fish Oil- I don’t have any interest in eating fish. It is not my thing. But, I do take my Pro Omega fish oil from Nordic Naturals every day. This Norwegian company goes way high up in the Arctic and harvests very small fish- the likes of sardines and anchovies- which are quite pure to begin with, but then they purify the oil from these fish down to one part per trillion to make sure it’s contaminant-free.  It’s an amazing and highly advanced technical process, and the resulting oil hardly seems fishy at all, and it doesn’t repeat on you. There are very few fish oils as good as this- if any.

Of course, the purpose of taking fish oil is to obtain the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which do not occur in plants. What occurs in plants is a shorter-chain fatty acid, ALA, which can, to a limited extent, be converted into EPA and DHA. However, the older you get, the less able you are to do this. And for some strange reason, older men, which includes me, have practically no ability to do it.  It’s odd that such a gender difference should exist- but it does.  Therefore, taking flax seed or flax oil in the hope your body will convert it, is not a good bet, especially if you are an older man.  The only alternative is to take an algae-derived supplement of DHA. However, it’s not very practical because the potency is low, with only 100 mgs DHA per capsule, and it is completely lacking in EPA. On a unit basis, it’s very expensive.  If a person adamantly refuses to take a fish oil supplement because they are unwilling to consume anything from fish, then the DHA from algae should be taken instead.  But, I personally take the fish oil, and that is what I recommend.

I realize that the ProOmega fish oil from Norway is expensive, and there are cheaper ones. And I don’t say that you can’t find a cheaper one that is still good. But, don’t just buy the cheapest fish oil you can find. That’s fine for something like Vitamin C. But when it comes to fish oil, there is the worry about mercury and other contaminants, and there is also the worry about rancidity. Rancid fish oil is definitely not good for you. I have 100% confidence in the ProOmega that I take. If you don’t take that one, make sure you are getting a good one. Otherwise, you are defeating the whole purpose of taking it, and you may do yourself more harm than good.

Vitamin D3- 5000 IUs- the research on Vitamin D has been growing, and it is absolutely astounding. This pro-hormone not only protects our bones, but it is invaluable to the heart, the immune systems, for the prevention of cancer, and much, much more.  And we know now that the amount needed is much greater than previously believed. Most people need at least 5000 IUs daily to reach optimal blood saturation.  So, even though there is a small amount of Vitamin D3 in my Extend Core multi, I also take an additional 5000 IUs every day.

Note that this is not a vegetarian product. It is derived from the lanolin of sheep, usually.  There is a so-called vegetarian Vitamin D called Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol.  But, it is not natural Vitamin D; it is rather a Vitamin D drug-analog.  In other words, it is a Vitamin D-like drug.

Like Dr. John Cannell, who heads the Vitamin D Institute and is considered a leading authority in the world on Vitamin D, I am totally opposed to the use of Vitamin D2. It is not as effective as natural Vitamin D3. It is not as safe as natural Vitamin D3. And it has actually been shown to have some anti-Vitamin D effects.  There is no safe alternative to Vitamin D3. It is simply the only way to go.

As for sun exposure, studies have shown that very few people can reach optimal Vitamin D levels through sun exposure alone. In Hawaii, it was found that among people getting 11 or more hours of sun exposure per week, that over half of them still had a sub-optimal blood level.  If that's true of Hawaii, what does it say about other places? Furthermore, with aging, we lose the ability to make the active form of Vitamin D through sunning.  We may continue to make cholecalciferol from exposing our skin, but that is not the active form. of Vitamin D. That is the dormant form, or you might say the storage form. That compound has to be tweaked by the liver and the kidneys to make it potent- a process that declines a lot with aging.

Note that I consider it a very good idea to check your blood level of Vitamin D once a year to make sure that you are staying withn the optimal range which is between 50 and 100. I do that every year without fail. In fact, I’ll be doing it soon because I do it every year in April. And I recommend that you do it as well.

But, just as low Vitamin B-12 status is needlessly hurting millions of people, the same is true of Vitamin D deficiency.  Don’t let it happen to you.

So, these are my top 5 supplements for optimal health, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Dr.Jeffrey Stuart M.D. and nurse Sally Pacholok R.N. have released the second edition of their book: Could It Be B-12? An Epidemic of Misdiagnosis. In it, they claim that a substantial amount of physical and mental disability in the elderly is being written off as general age-related decline when it is actually the manifestation of a Vitamin B-12 deficiency. They claim that millions of people are needlessly suffering and dying from this common vitamin deficiency, and often their symptoms are misdiagnosed as MS, Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, depression, chronic fatigue and other conditions that are mimicked by Vitamin B-12 deficiency.  

"The shame is that the problem is easy to spot, easy to treat, easy to cure, and costs very little money," say Stuart and Pacholok, co-authors of the only book on the subject. "But that's only if your doctor diagnoses you before it's too late. Unfortunately, that rarely happens."

Their message is catching on. Dr. Oz just did an entire show on Vitamin B-12 just last month (January 2012).

Stuart and Pacholok say the entire national health crisis (and the related financial burden from expensive treatments for misdiagnosed disease as well as malpractice lawsuits) could be greatly relieved with a simple change in the standard of medical care that would encourage health care professionals to test for B-12 deficiency in all elderly people, and especially those who show symptoms of the diseases that a deficiency of Vitamin B-12 mimics.

"If insurance companies and our government knew how much money they were needlessly spending they would get on board immediately," Pacholok says. "Standardized testing and treatment of people found to be deficient, as well as those who are asymptomatic but in the gray zone (B-12 levels between 200-450pg/ml, considered normal by many doctors), would save them billions of dollars each year."

Pacholok, a leading authority on Vitamin B-12 deficiency, warns that if you are B-12 deficient, standard multivitamin pills will NOT help. The reason? Most people are deficient because their digestive systems do not effectively absorb the vitamin. When you swallow Vitamin B-12 it must combine with a carrier substance known as Intrinsic Factor in order to be absorbed. Elderly people usually stop producing this stomach secretion. The result is that you absorb little or none of the Vitamin B-12 that you swallow.

"If you're deficient, swallowing a multivitamin is like adding a teaspoon of water to an empty swimming pool," Pacholok says.

The preferred way to take an oral vitamin B-12 supplement, Pacholok says, is by sublingual or micro-lingual absorption, where the vitamin dissolves under the tongue and directly enters the bloodstream. Some patients, however, may still require B-12 injections.

Stuart and Pacholok have done dozens of TV, radio and print interviews including CNN Headline News and Redbook. The first edition of their book, Could It Be B-12? An Epidemic of Misdiagnoses, was released in 2005, and is now available in an updated second edition from Quill Driver Books.

 

  

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