Fish Oils Reduce Inflammation and Treat Diabetes

November 11, 2010

Finally, a study has identified the mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids appear to effectively fight chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and diabetes. The study found that there is a key receptor in obese body fat and that omega-3 oils – specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – activate this receptor, which results in broad anti-inflammatory effects and improved systemic insulin sensitivity. (There is a strong connection between obesity and diabetes.) The effect of fish oil was powerful, according to the researchers, and, “The omega-3 fatty acids switch on the receptor, killing the inflammatory response.” The study team warned that more study is required to determine how much fish oil constitutes a safe and effective dose. Researchers suggested that the study could eventually lead to a natural dietary remedy for the more than 23 million Americans who suffer from diabetes. This study was published in the journal, Cell. The full-text version is now available online by clicking here.

In health,

-Dr. G


Heavy Metals Increase Risk of Depression and Panic Disorder

June 10, 2010

Even at low levels generally considered to pose little or no risk, exposure to environmental lead might increase – by as much as 2.3 times – the risk of depression and panic disorder but not of generalized anxiety disorder. That was the suggestion of a Canadian study appearing in the December, 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry. Gender and ethnicity were also factors and the researchers stressed that lead exposure cannot be determined to be a cause of these psychological problems.

One of the main, and often overlooked, sources of heavy metals, including lead, is our water supply-both drinking water and shower water.   I recommend investing in a quality water filtration and ionization system to all of our patients.  The link between heavy metal exposure and mental illness suggested in this study and proven in many others (including practical, real life studies completed with patients at LTP Medical) is one of the reasons why we always test patients with mental health challenges for exposure to environmental toxins including heavy metals and treat them using the LTP Medical Custom Purification Program to remove the toxins from their systems.  This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to see immediate benefit in patients suffering needlessly with these challenges. Other treatments include custom amino acid therapy, fatty acid therapy, orthomolecular therapy, hormone therapy and food allergy testing and treatment.

In health,

Dr. G


Do Vitamins Cause Cancer?

November 30, 2009

Weighing the benefits of nutritional supplements

I am reprinting a press release from the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service that discusses a newly published study, sure to get press, that implies that a simple folate supplement increases cancer rates in patients who are diagnosed with heart disease.  This press release does an excellent job of helping readers read between the lines when articles are released that are biased against natural health products.  I encourage you to read and listen to all health related discussions and advertisements through a similar, more well-informed lens.

Yours in health,

-Dr. G

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, November 29, 2009
 

Does Everything Cause Cancer, Even Vitamins?
Folate, B-12 and Cigarettes: Guess Who the Real Culprit Is

(OMNS, November 29, 2009) A newly released study suggests that folate supplements can increase cancer rates in patients who have heart disease [1]. But the data for the study was not collected to test the effect of supplemental folate on cancer, and appears to be biased by the high fraction of smokers and by the low levels of supplements given. All of the groups in the study had high rates of cancer, whether or not they took a folate supplement. The suggested increase in cancer risk is very small, only 1.6%. Because of these problems, the report appears to be biased by uncontrolled factors in the data collection and analysis.

The study combined the data from two recent trials performed in Norway that tested the effect of folate and vitamin B-12, two closely related B vitamins, on the homocysteine levels in the blood and on overall mortality [2,3]. The rationale for these trials was that high levels of homocysteine are known to be a risk factor associated with atherosclerosis, and are sometimes associated with low folate levels [4,5]. Folate and vitamin B-12 are important for growth because they involved in the synthesis of DNA. Folate is crucial for the prevention of spina bifida and other developmental defects in babies. Folate is also known to prevent the occurrence of cancer, and to reduce atherosclerosis and related heart problems [6,7].

Another reason to be cautious about the conclusion of the study is that most of the cancers detected were slow-progressing and would not be expected to be initiated by a relatively low dose of an essential vitamin, such as folate, over the 3-year period of the study. It would appear much more likely that the vitamin supplements actually reduced new cancer incidence as shown in previous studies [7], but that any cancers that showed up later were already initiated but undetected at the start of the study [8]. The real cause of cancer may be connected to the heart disease in these subjects because of their long history of smoking and ill health.

In these two trials, the subjects were selected for having heart disease and were therefore quite ill. The vitamin amounts were small: 0.8 milligrams/day of folic acid; 0.4 mg/day of vitamin B-12, and 40 mg/day vitamin B-6. These amounts are low by comparison with other studies, where commonly much larger amounts of folate and vitamin B12 are given (40 mg/day folic acid, 2 mg/day of vitamin B12) [9]. Orthomolecular (nutritional) physicians maintain that larger nutrient doses are more effective in preventing illness than are small doses.

Indeed, the data from the two trials showed a cancer increase that was non-significant. That’s right, it could be merely random variation. This is important. One reason this is likely is that the point where a subject stopped being considered as part of the statistical significance was either any cause of death, or a heart-related event, or a stroke [2,3]. Thus subjects who died of unrelated causes were tallied in the statistics, which would tend to obscure any effects of the treatment. Other uncontrolled factors, for example the general ill health of the subjects, or behavioral factors like the amount of smoking, very likely contributed to the variability. In an attempt to give more statistical significance the study combined the data from both trials to double the number of subjects. A claimed increase in cancer due to increased folate levels is not borne out by statistics for the population of the US where folate levels have increased recently , because the cancer rates have significantly dropped [7].

Interestingly, health was actually improved in the subjects that received folate plus vitamin B-12, because for them the rates of acute hospitalization for angina and the incidence of stroke were lower by about 4% than for the placebo group.

In conclusion, any apparent increase in cancer risk is close to the expected random variability in the cancer rate, implying that much or all of any alleged “vitamin problem” is purely due to chance.

Findings due to chance are not scientific findings. Isn’t it interesting that a major journal (Journal of the American Medical Association) would publish this research? Perhaps nonsignificant data are acceptable if you have an anti-vitamin orientation. Researchers previously found that in major medical journals, more pharmaceutical company advertising resulted in the journal having more articles with “negative conclusions about dietary supplement safety.” [10] JAMA carries a large number of pharmaceutical ads.

Bottom line: vitamins do not cause cancer. Smoking does.

References:

[1] Ebbing M, Bonaa KH, Nygard O, Arnesen E, Ueland PM, Nordrehaug JE, Rasmussen K, Njolstad I, Refsum H, Nilsen DW, Tverdal A, Meyer K, Vollset SE (2009) Cancer incidence and mortality after treatment with folic acid and vitamin B12. JAMA 301: 2119-2126.

[2] Bonaa KH, Njolstad I, Ueland PM, Schirmer H, Tverdal A, Steigen T, Wang H, Nordrehaug JE, Arnesen E, Rasmussen K; NORVIT Trial (2006) Homocysteine lowering and cardiovascular events after acute myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 354:1578-88.

[3] Ebbing M, Bleie O, Ueland PM, Nordrehaug JE, Nilsen DW, Vollset SE, Refsum H, Pedersen EK, Nygard O.(2008) Mortality and cardiovascular events in patients treated with homocysteine-lowering B vitamins after coronary angiography: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 300:795-804.

[4] McCully KS. (2009) Chemical pathology of homocysteine. IV. Excitotoxicity, oxidative stress, endothelial dysfunction, and inflammation. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 39:219-232.

[5] Terwecoren A, Steen E, Benoit D, Boon P, Hemelsoet D. (2009) Ischemic stroke and hyperhomocysteinemia: truth or myth? Acta Neurol Belg. 109:181-188.

[6] Imamura A, Murakami R, Takahashi R, Cheng XW, Numaguchi Y, Murohara T, Okumura K. (2009) Low folate levels may be an atherogenic factor regardless of homocysteine levels in young healthy nonsmokers. Metabolism. 2009 Nov 13. [Epub ahead of print]

[7] Drake BF, Colditz GA (2009) Assessing cancer prevention studies: a matter of time. JAMA 302:2152-2153.

[8] Kim YI. (2008) Folic acid supplementation and cancer risk: point. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 17:2220-2225.

[9] Jamison RL, Hartigan P, Kaufman JS, Goldfarb DS, Warren SR, Guarino PD, Gaziano JM; Veterans Affairs Site Investigators. (2007) Effect of homocysteine lowering on mortality and vascular disease in advanced chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 298:1163-1170.

[10] Pharmaceutical advertising biases journals against vitamin supplements. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 5, 2009. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v05n02.shtml

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

The peer-reviewed Orthomolecular Medicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D.
Damien Downing, M.D.
Michael Gonzalez, D.Sc., Ph.D.
Steve Hickey, Ph.D.
James A. Jackson, PhD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, Pharm.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., Editor and contact person. Email: omns@orthomolecular.org

OMNS free subscription link http://orthomolecular.org/subscribe.html OMNS archive link http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/index.shtml


Vitamin D Deficiency and Tooth Decay

March 24, 2009

dental check upHere is yet another reason to consider getting tested for, and supplementing with Vitamin D3…I am re-printing a report released by the Orthomolecular Medical Society that discusses the connection between how much vitamin D3 you have in your body, and tooth decay, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other ailments.  This is one of many essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly.   And it happens to be an inexpensive therapy that helps to prevent and  treat some of the most expensive diseases of our time like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Vitamin D3 works synergistically with vitamin K and calcium to increase bone mineral density in women with osteoporosis. Some whole food sources include organic egg yolks, raw, organic butter (preferably from goat rather then cow), and cod liver oil.

-Dr. G

Vitamin Deficiency Underlies Tooth Decay
Malnutrition Causes Much More than Dental Disease

Cavities and gum diseases are not often regarded as serious diseases, yet they are epidemic throughout our society, from the youngest of children to the oldest of senior citizens. Research more than suggests that the same good nutrition that prevents cavities and gum diseases may also prevent other illnesses.

Dental caries and gum pathology are frequently associated with serious chronic health problems. Multiple independent studies published after 1990 document this. Cavities are associated with poor mental health [1-4]. Elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease had an average of 7.8 teeth with fillings vs. an average of only 2.7 fillings for elderly individuals without dementia [1]. It is likely that the toxic heavy metal mercury, which makes up half of every amalgam filling, is a contributing factor.

A recent authoritative review showed a clear association between cavities and heart diseases [5]. More importantly, this same study showed that people with poor oral health, on average, lead shorter lives. The association between cavities and diabetes is also a subject of active, ongoing research [6-8]. Connections between heart disease, diabetes, and dental decay have been suspected for decades. Many of the scientists who called attention to this have proposed that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates were the common cause of these diseases [9-15].

Dental diseases, mental diseases, heart disease, infectious respiratory diseases, and heart disease are all at least partially caused by common failures in metabolism. Such failures are inevitable when there is a deficiency of essential nutrients, particularly vitamins D, C, and niacin.

There is especially strong evidence for a relationship between vitamin D deficiency and cavities. Dozens of studies were conducted in the 1930’s and 1940’s [16-27]. More than 90% of the studies concluded that supplementing children with vitamin D prevents cavities. Particularly impressive was a study published in 1941 demonstrated the preventative affect of “massive” doses of vitamin D [28]. And yet no subsequent studies in the scientific literature suggested a need to follow up and repeat this work.

Vitamin D deficiency is linked to respiratory infections, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other ailments [29]. The evidence for vitamin C was reviewed by Linus Pauling [15], and the evidence for niacin was reviewed by Abram Hoffer [30].

Obtaining vitamins in sufficient doses to help prevent dental disease is safe and easily accomplished. Between 5,000 and 15,000 IU of vitamin D may be obtained from modest exposure to sunshine in the middle of the day. Recommending that people regularly use the capacity of their skin to make vitamin D is common sense. Certainly 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D in supplemental form is safe. 2,000 milligrams per day of vitamin C, and hundreds of milligrams per day of niacin, help prevent tooth and mouth troubles. Sick individuals, and those who are prone to cavities, will typically benefit by starting with higher doses of vitamin D, vitamin C, and niacin under the supervision of an orthomolecular physician.

We believe that individuals taking these nutrients, along with good dental care, will have dramatically fewer cavities and gum operations than individuals just getting good dental care. This idea is easily tested, and the time has come to do so.

References:

[1] B Ellefsen; P Holm-Pedersen; D E Morse; M. Schroll; B. Andersen; G. Waldemar. Caries Prevalence in Older Persons with and without Dementia. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Volume 56, Number 1, January 2008, 59-67(9).
[2] J M Chalmers, K D Carter, A J Spencer. Caries incidence and increments in community-living older adults with and without dementia. Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health, Dental School, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia. Gerodontology Volume 19 Issue 2, 80 – 94.
[3] Friedlander, A.H.; Mahler, M.E. Major depressive disorder psychopathology, medical management and dental implications. Graduate Medical Education, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (14), Los Angeles, CA, USA. Journal of the American Dental Association (2001), 132(5), 629-638.
[4] Stewart, R.; et. al. Oral Health and Cognitive Function in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), Psychosomatic Medicine 70:936-941 (2008).
[5] Meurman, J.H.; Sanz, M.;Janket, S. Oral infection and vascular disease. Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, Finland. Vascular Disease Prevention (2007), 4(4), 260-267.
[6] Touger-Decker R, Sirois D A, Vernillo A T. Diabetes mellitus: Nutrition and oral health relationships. Department of Primary Care, School of Health-Related Professions, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA. Editor(s): Touger-Decker, Riva. Nutrition and Oral Medicine (2005), 185-204.
[7] Diaz-Romero, R.; Casanova-Roman, R.; Beltran-Zuniga, M; Belmont-Padilla, J.; Mendez, J.; Avila-Rosas, H.. Oral Infections and Glycemic Control in Pregnant Type 2 Diabetics. Instituto Nacional de Perinatologia, Mexico City, Mex. Archives of Medical Research (2005), 36(1), 42-48.
[8] Twetman, S.; Johansson, I.; Birkhed, D.; Nederfors, T. Caries incidence in young type 1 diabetes mellitus patients in relation to metabolic control and caries-associated risk factors. Caries Research (2002), 36(1), 31-35.
[9] Bommer, S. Diseases of civilization and nutrition. Ernaehrungsforschung (1963), 7 598-612.
[10] Miler-Sosnkowska, M. Role of dietary carbohydrates in relation to their metabolism. Inst. Zywienia Czlowieka, Akad. Roln., Warsaw, Pol. Postepy Higieny i Medycyny Doswiadczalnej (1975), 29(4), 537-55.
[11] Cremer, H.D.; Eyer, H. Carbohydrates. Inst. Ernaehrungswiss. I, Univ. Giessen, Giessen, Fed. Rep. Ger. Ernaehrungs-Umschau (1975), 22(10), 291-3.
[12] Newberne, P.M.. Nutrition: summary of evidence. Sweeteners: Issues, uncertainties. Acad. Forum, 4th (1975), 76-85, 252-3.
[13] Heraud, G. Sucrose and nutritional pathology. Sucrerie Francaise (1979), 120(24), 21-6.
[14] Nuttall, F.Q.; Gannon, M.C.. Sucrose and disease. Diabetes Care (1981), 4(2), 305-10.
[15] Pauling, L. “How to Live Longer and Feel Better.” W.H. Freeman and Company, 1986. Revised 2006, Oregon State University Press. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/press/g-h/LiveLonger.html
[16] Tisdall, F.F. The effect of nutrition on the primary teeth. Child Development (1937) 8(1), 102-4.
[17] McBeath, E.C. Nutrition and diet in relation to preventive dentistry. NY J. Dentistry (1938) 8; 17-21.
[17] McBeath, E.C.; Zucker, T.F. Role of vitamin D in the control of dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition (1938) 15; 547-64.
[19] East, B. R. Nutrition and dental caries. American Journal of Public Health 1938. 28; 72-6.
[20] Mellanby, M. The role of nutrition as a factor in resistance to dental caries. British Dental Journal (1937), 62; 241-52.
[21] His Majesty’s Stationery Office, London. The influence of diet on caries in children’s teeth. Report of the Committee for the Investigation of Dental Disease (1936).
[22] McBeath, F.C. Vitamin D studies, 1933-1934. American Journal of Public Health (1934), 24 1028-30.
[23] Anderson, P. G.; Williams, C. H. M.; Halderson, H.; Summerfeldt, C.; Agnew, R. Influence of vitamin D in the prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association (1934) 21; 1349-66.
[24] Day, C. D.; Sedwick, H. J. Fat-soluble vitamins and dental caries in children. Journal of Nutrition (1934) 8; 309-28.
[25] Agnew, M. C.; Agnew, R. G.; Tisdall, F. F. The production and prevention of dental caries. Journal of the American Dental Association, JADA (1933) 20; 193-212.
[26] Bennett, N. G.; et al. The influence of diet on caries in children’s teeth. Special Report Series – Medical Research Council, UK (1931) No. 159, 19.
[27] Mellanby, M.; Pattison, C. L. The influence of a cereal-free diet rich in vitamin D and calcium on dental caries in children. British Medical Journal (1932) I 507-10.
[28] Brodsky, R. H.; Schick, B.; Vollmer, H.. Prevention of dental caries by massive doses of vitamin D. American Journal of Diseases of Children (1941) 62; 1183-7.
[29] http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/
[30] Hoffer A, Saul AW. Orthomolecular Medicine for Everyone. Laguna Beach, California, Basic Health Pub, 2008. http://www.doctoryourself.com/orthomolecular.html


Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Teen Health Challenges

March 16, 2009

A new study done at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals even more data on the association between Vitamin D deficiency and health. In this case, researchers studied approximately 3,600 boys and girls ages 12 to 19 who took part in a government health survey from 2001 to 2004.

The teenage boys and girls with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were twice as likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood sugar.  Even more alarming, the teens with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were four times as likely to develop metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a triad of conditions, namely high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol, that are associated with diabetes and heart disease.  Metabolic syndrome patients also tend to store fat around their midsection.  This condition is closely related to stress and Sickness Syndrome.   Most of the patients that I treat for Sickness Syndrome Depression and stress-related illness inevitably have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.  This makes sense given that a key source for vitamin D is exposure to the sun, and lack of exposure to the sun will, in many people, lead to depression and inflammation.

In our office, we test the blood for Vitamin D3, which is the active form of the vitamin.  And oftentimes if a patient has inflammation, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or Sickness Syndrome, then Vitamin D3 testing and treatment becomes part of their path to optimal health.

If this is a topic of interest to you, please read previous posts on vitamin D3.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Vitamin D Therapy Halts Cancer Growth and Supports Immune Function

November 21, 2008

An excellent summary of the research supporting the use of Vitamin D3 therapy as a treatment for specific cancers and for compromised immune function was recently released by the Orthomolecular Medicine Society. I am including the report in full below.  Take note of the historical use of this simple, inexpensive nutrient and of the recent research also supporting its use.  Sometimes the simple treatments are the most profound. I test the blood for Vitamin D3 levels and almost always find low levels associated with cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome.  In general I recommend 3,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per day to support optimal immune function. Exposure to sunshine every day is one of the best ways to keep your vitamin D levels in a healthyistock_000006439150small1 range however, practicing in Laguna Beach, CA where there are more sunny days than not, I still find that the majority of my patients are deficient in this nutrient/hormone, even those that are outside for at least 30 minutes per day.

In health,

-Dr. G

Vitamin D Stops Cancer; Cuts Risk In Half American Cancer Society Drags its Feet

(OMNS, October 2, 2008) A new study of 3,299 persons has shown that those with higher levels of vitamin D cut their risk of dying from cancer in half. (1) Another recent study shows that ample intake of vitamin D, about 2,000 IU per day, can cut breast cancer incidence by half. (2) Still more research found that inadequate Vitamin D is “associated with high incidence rates of colorectal cancer” and specifically urges that “prompt public health action is needed to increase intake of Vitamin D-3 to 1000 IU/day.” (3)

Vitamin D’s anticancer properties are so evident, and so important, that the Canadian Cancer Society now recommends supplementation with 1,000 IU of Vitamin D per day for all adults in winter, and year-round for persons at risk. (4)

The American Cancer Society, however, is dragging its feet, still maintaining that “More research is needed to define the best levels of intake and blood levels of vitamin D for cancer risk reduction.” (5)

What is taking them so long?

Researchers in 2006 noted that “The evidence suggests that efforts to improve vitamin D status, for example by vitamin D supplementation, could reduce cancer incidence and mortality at low cost, with few or no adverse effects.” (6)

If you search the US National Institutes of Health’s Medline online database for “cancer vitamin D,” you will find over five thousand papers. . . some dating back nearly 60 years.

It’s true: physician reports on vitamin D stopping cancer have been ignored for decades. In 1951, T. Desmonts reported that vitamin D treatment was effective against Hodgkin’s disease (a cancer of the lymphatic system). (7) That same year, 57 years ago, massive doses of vitamin D were also observed to improve epithelioma. (8) In 1955, skin cancer was again reported as cured with vitamin D treatment. (9) In 1963, there was a promising investigation done on vitamin D and breast cancer. (10) Then, in 1964, vitamin D was found to be effective against lymph nodal reticulosarcoma, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphatic cancer. (11)

The American Cancer Society has been obsessed with finding a drug cure for cancer. Pharmaceutical researchers are not looking for a vitamin cure. And when one is presented, as independent investigators and physicians have continuously been doing since 1951, it is ignored.

No longer. Michael Holick, MD, Boston University Professor of Medicine, has come right out and said it: “We can reduce cancer risk by 30 to 50% by increasing vitamin D. We gave mice colon cancer, and followed them for 20 days. Tumor growth was markedly reduced simply by having vitamin D in the diet. There was a 40% reduction in tumor size. And, casual sun exposure actually decreases your risk of melanoma. Everyone needs 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 each day.” (12)

What about safety? Yes, it is possible to get too much vitamin D, but it is not easy. “One man took one million IU of vitamin D per day, orally, for six months, “says Dr Holick. “Of course, he had the symptoms of severe vitamin D intoxication. His treatment was hydration (lots of water), and no more vitamin D or sunshine for a while. He’s perfectly happy and healthy. This was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.(13) I have no experience of anyone dying from vitamin exposure. In thirty years, I’ve never seen it.”

There are, of course, some reasonable cautions with its use. Persons with hyperparathyroidism, lymphoma, lupus erythematosus, tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, kidney disease, or those taking digitalis, calcium channel-blockers, or thiazide diuretics, should have physician supervision before and while taking extra vitamin D. And when employing large doses of vitamin D, periodic testing is advisable.

But 1,000 IU per day of vitamin D is simple and safe. Some authorities recommend much more. (14, 15) The American Cancer Society recommends less.

What a shame.

References:

(1) Pilz S, Dobnig H, Winklhofer-Roob B et al. Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D predict fatal cancer in patients referred to coronary angiography. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 May;17(5):1228-33. Epub 2008 May 7.

(2) Garland CF, Gorham ED, Mohr SB et al. Vitamin D and prevention of breast cancer: pooled analysis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol, 2007. Mar;103(3-5):708-11.

(3) Gorham ED, Garland CF, Garland FC, Grant WB, Mohr SB, Lipkin M, Newmark HL, Giovannucci E, Wei M, Holick MF. Vitamin D and prevention of colorectal cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Oct;97(1-2):179-94.

(4) http://www.cancer.ca/Canada-wide/About%20us/Media%20centre/CW-Media%20releases/CW-2007/Canadian%20Cancer%20Society%20Announces%20Vitamin%20D%20Recommendation.aspx?sc_lang=en

(5) http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_3_2X_Diet_and_Activity_Factors_That_Affect_Risks.asp Accessed Aug 29, 2008.

(6) Garland CF, Garland FC, Gorham ED, Lipkin M, Newmark H, Mohr SB, Holick MF. The role of vitamin D in cancer prevention. Am J Public Health. 2006 Feb;96(2):252-61.

(7) Desmonts T, Duclos M, Dalmau. [Favorable effect of vitamin D on the evolution of a case of Hodgkin's disease.] Sang. 1951;22(1):74-5. And: DESMONTS T. [Favorable action of vitamin D in leukemic erythroderma and Hodgkin's disease.] Pathol Gen. 1951 Mar;51(326):161-4. Also: VACCARI R. [Vitamin D2 and experimental carcinogenesis.] Boll Soc Ital Biol Sper. 1952 Aug-Oct;28(8-10):1567-9.

(8) Sainz de Aja Ea. [Case of an epithelioma in a patient treated with massive doses of vitamin D.] Actas Dermosifiliogr. 1951 Nov;43(2):169-70.

(9) Linser P. [Spontaneous cure of skin carcinoma by vitamin D treatment.] Dermatol Wochenschr. 1955;132(40):1072-3. German.

(10) Gordan GS, Schachter D. Vitamin D activity of normal and neoplastic human breast tissue. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1963 Jul;113:760-1.

(11) Desmonts T, Blin J. [Action of Vitamin D3 on the course of a lymph nodal reticulosarcoma.] Rev Pathol Gen Physiol Clin. 1964 Mar;64:137. French.

(12) Andrew W. Saul Interviews Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD. http://www.doctoryourself.com/holick.html

(13) Koutkia P, Chen TC, Holick MF. Vitamin D intoxication associated with an over-the-counter supplement. N Engl J Med. 2001 Jul 5;345(1):66-7.

(14) Vitamin D Boosts Health, Cuts Cancer Risk in Half. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 3, 2007. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v03n06.shtml

(15) Doctors Say, Raise the RDAs Now. Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, October 30, 2007. http://orthomolecular.org/resources/omns/v03n10.shtml

For more information:

Saul AW. Vitamin D: Deficiency, diversity and dosage. J Orthomolecular Med, 2003. Vol 18, No 3 and 4, p 194-204. http://www.doctoryourself.com/dvitamin.htm

Online access to free archive of nutritionalmedicine journal papers: http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/

A free, non-commercial vitamin D newsletter is available from John Cannell, M.D., and the Vitamin D Council: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org

Sunlight, Nutrition And Health Research Center: http://www.sunarc.org

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

The peer-reviewed OrthomolecularMedicine News Service is a non-profit and non-commercial informational resource.

Editorial Review Board:

Damien Downing, M.D.
Harold D. Foster, Ph.D.
Steve Hickey, Ph.D.
Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D.
James A. Jackson, PhD
Bo H. Jonsson, MD, Ph.D
Thomas Levy, M.D., J.D.
Erik Paterson, M.D.
Gert E. Shuitemaker, Ph.D.

Andrew W. Saul, Ph.D., Editor and contact person. Email: omns@orthomolecular.org


Vitamin B12 Protects Against Dementia- Even in the Absence of a B12 Deficiency

September 13, 2008

A new research study published in the Journal Neurology found that people aged between 61 and 87, with higher blood levels of vitamin B12, were six times less likely to experience brain shrinkage (which is associated with dementia) then people with lower levels of B12 in their blood.

Prior studies on the link between B12 and dementia focused on how increased levels of B12 and other B vitamins were linked to low levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that increases risk of dementia and cognitive impairment.

This study, which followed 107 volunteers, found another connection between B12 and the brain- the prevention of brain shrinkage.

The best sources of B12 are meat, fish, milk and eggs. Unfortunately these foods are problematic for people with health challenges as they are foods of animal origin that tend to be more difficult to digest.  Furthermore, such foods are often tainted with pesticides (stored in animal fat), heavy metals, and hormones.

Interestingly enough, people studied in this trial were NOT shown to be deficient in vitamin B12 using standard blood tests.  In my practice, I will test for B12 just to make sure a patient does not show elevated levels, before prescribing subcutaneous vitamin B12 shots, or vitamin B12 supplementation (often in the form of a complete multivitamin formula).  However, a patient certainly does not need to show a B12 deficiency to derive benefit from this vitamin. B12 therapy is effective for weight loss, mental function, energy and depression.

In health,

-Dr. G

Study details

Vogiatzoglou and co-workers recruited the community-dwelling volunteers and collected blood samples to measure levels of vitamin B12, holotranscobalamin (holoTC), methylmalonic acid, total homocysteine, and folate. Brain volume loss per year was calculated using MRI scans.

Over five years of study, the researchers noted a greater decrease in brain volume among people with lower vitamin B12 and holoTC levels.

Indeed, people with lower levels of B12, defined as blood levels below 308 picomoles per litre, were six times more likely to experience brain shrinkage, said the researchers. On the other hand, high levels of methylmalonic acid or homocysteine, or low folate levels were not linked to brain volume loss.

“Low vitamin B12 status should be further investigated as a modifiable cause of brain atrophy and of likely subsequent cognitive impairment in the elderly,” stated the researchers.

It is important to note that none of the volunteers were (known to be) vitamin B12 deficient.

“Previous research on the vitamin has had mixed results and few studies have been done specifically with brain scans in elderly populations. We tested for vitamin B12 levels in a unique, more accurate way by looking at two certain markers for it in the blood,” said Vogiatzoglou.

The potential of supplements

Commenting independently on the results, Dr Susanne Sorensen from the Alzheimer’s Society said: “Shrinkage is usually associated with the development of dementia.

“As vitamin B may be given as a food supplement, it may be useful to include tests of vitamin B levels in the general assessment of health of older individuals.

“This is another example of why it is crucial for people to lead a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet rich in B vitamins and antioxidants.”

B12 for brain

A University of Oxford study reported in 2007 that increased vitamin B12 levels may reduce the rate of age-related cognitive decline and dementia by 30%.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, followed 1648 participants for 10 years and also found that increased levels of the amino acid homocysteine doubled the risk of dementia or cognitive impairment.

Previously, epidemiological studies have reported that high levels of the amino acid homocysteine are associated with suspected or confirmed dementia. Indeed, the Framinghamstudy reported that people with homocysteine levels above 14 micromoles per litre of serum had twice the risk of dementia.

Source: Neurology

9 September 2008, Volume 71, Pages 826-832

“Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly”

Authors: A. Vogiatzoglou, H. Refsum, C. Johnston, S. M. Smith, K. M. Bradley, C. de Jager, M. M. Budge, A. D. Smith


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