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Vitamin D

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    Posted: February 07 2008 at 10:17am
Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2006 Sep;92(1):4-8. Epub 2006 Feb 28. Books, LinkOut
--------Vitamin D physiology.Lips P.----------
Department of Endocrinology, VU University Medical Center, P.O. Box 7057, 1007 MB Amsterdam, Netherlands. p.lips@vumc.nl

Vitamin D3 is synthesized in the skin during summer under the influence of ultraviolet light of the sun, or it is obtained from food, especially fatty fish. After hydroxylation in the liver into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and kidney into 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), the active metabolite can enter the cell, bind to the vitamin D-receptor and subsequently to a responsive gene such as that of calcium binding protein. After transcription and translation the protein is formed, e.g. osteocalcin or calcium binding protein. The calcium binding protein mediates calcium absorption from the gut. The production of 1,25(OH)2D is stimulated by parathyroid hormone (PTH) and decreased by calcium. Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency are premature birth, skin pigmentation, low sunshine exposure, obesity, malabsorption and advanced age. Risk groups are immigrants and the elderly. Vitamin D status is dependent upon sunshine exposure but within Europe, serum 25(OH)D levels are higher in Northern than in Southern European countries. Severe vitamin D deficiency causes rickets or osteomalacia, where the new bone, the osteoid, is not mineralized. Less severe vitamin D deficiency causes an increase of serum PTH leading to bone resorption, osteoporosis and fractures. A negative relationship exists between serum 25(OH)D and serum PTH. The threshold of serum 25(OH)D, where serum PTH starts to rise is about 75nmol/l according to most surveys. Vitamin D supplementation to vitamin D-deficient elderly suppresses serum PTH, increases bone mineral density and may decrease fracture incidence especially in nursing home residents. The effects of 1,25(OH)2D and the vitamin D receptor have been investigated in patients with genetic defects of vitamin D metabolism and in knock-out mouse models. These experiments have demonstrated that for active calcium absorption, longitudinal bone growth and the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts both 1,25(OH)2D and the vitamin D receptor are essential. On the other side, bone mineralization can occur by high ambient calcium concentration, so by high doses of oral calcium or calcium infusion. The active metabolite 1,25(OH)2D has its effects through the vitamin D receptor leading to gene expression, e.g. the calcium binding protein or osteocalcin or through a plasma membrane receptor and second messengers such as cyclic AMP. The latter responses are very rapid and include the effects on the pancreas, vascular smooth muscle and monocytes. Muscle cells contain vitamin D receptor and several studies have demonstrated that serum 25(OH)D is related to physical performance. The active metabolite 1,25(OH)2D has an antiproliferative effect and downregulates inflammatory markers. Extrarenal synthesis of 1,25(OH)2D occurs under the influence of cytokines and is important for the paracrine regulation of cell differentiation and function. This may explain that vitamin D deficiency can play a role in the pathogenesis of auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes type 1, and cancer. In conclusion, the active metabolite 1,25(OH)2D has pleiotropic effects through the vitamin D receptor and vitamin D responsive elements of many genes and on the other side rapid non-genomic effects through a membrane receptor and second messengers. Active calcium absorption from the gut depends on adequate formation of 1,25(OH)2D and an intact vitamin D receptor. Bone mineralization mainly depends on ambient calcium concentration. Vitamin D metabolites may play a role in the prevention of auto-immune disease and cancer.

PMID: 16563471 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evergreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2008 at 10:19am
I originally posted this in "Latest News" and now think we should have this in this here for reference in prepping. Vitamin D not only increases production of antimicrobial peptides, helping the body fight infection, it simultaneously acts to "damp down" the immune system, I also like that it mitigates osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis. Good stuff. D
   ________________________________________________

Science & Technology: Bottled Sunshine ; Why Does Flu Break Out As the Nights Draw in? Scientists Have Seen the Light - We Don't Get Enough of It.

The Independent - London

09-15-06

Every winter, as the nights draw in and the weather grows cold, people start to cough, sniffle and run a fever. Patients crowd doctors' surgeries and sales of painkillers, hot lemon drinks and cough syrup soar. Flu is back.

But why? What is it about flu that means outbreaks only occur in the winter? Isolated cases occur throughout the year, as reported to the Royal College of GPs' Flu Monitoring Unit in Birmingham, proving that the virus is in constant circulation year-round.

Now a group of researchers has come up with a novel answer to the conundrum. The "seasonal stimulus" behind the annual winter flu epidemics is a lack of vitamin D due to shorter days and lack of sunlight.

And they have even suggested that by taking a mega-dose of the vitamin at the first sign of the illness, its worst symptoms might be alleviated - which could prove to be a potential life-saver in the event of the threatened avian flu pandemic.

Flu kills 3,000 to 4,000 mainly elderly people in the UK in a mild year, 20,000 to 30,000 in an epidemic year, and could kill tens or even hundreds of thousands more in the case of a pandemic.

The traditional explanation for the winter flu epidemics is that we tend to crowd indoors in the winter months, which aids the spread of the virus. Fifty years ago, when millions of manual labourers earned their living working outdoors, that may have been true.

But in the modern world, where most people work in offices and factories, travel on buses and trains, and share the same indoor spaces in summer and winter, the explanation rings hollow. Some of the people most vulnerable to flu - elderly people living in nursing homes - are there all year round yet are at greatest risk from the virus in winter, much like everybody else.

The seasonal nature of flu has puzzled scientists for decades. Twenty-five years ago, a British researcher called Edgar Hope- Simpson, who won fame after discovering the cause of shingles (he was the first person to link the painful condition to the chickenpox virus) proposed that an unknown seasonal factor lay behind the winter surfeit of flu.

He observed that countries lying on the same latitude, which have short winter days and long summer ones, tended to experience flu outbreaks at the same time. Epidemics that took place in Great Britain in the 17th and 18th centuries also occurred simultaneously across the country - long before modern transportation could explain its rapid dissemination.

Dr Hope-Simpson published his findings in a book which suggested that the missing link could be "solar radiation". Almost a quarter of a century later, in April 2005, an outbreak of influenza swept through Atascadero State Hospital in California, which is a maximum- security institution for the criminally insane similar to Broadmoor in England.

John Cannell, a psychiatrist at the hospital, watched as one ward after another ended up being quarantined at the hospital and more and more inmates fell ill with the chills, aches and fever that are typical of influenza. Then he noticed something unusual.

"First the ward below mine was infected, and then the ward on my right, left, and across the hall - but no patients on my ward became ill," he said. "My patients had intermingled with patients from infected wards before the quarantines. The nurses on my unit cross- covered on infected wards. How did my patients escape infection?"

While pondering this puzzle, Dr Cannell came across a paper published in Nature by a team of researchers from the University of California at Los Angeles showing that vitamin D stimulated the body's production of antimicrobial peptides which have been shown to attack bacteria, fungi and viruses, including the influenza virus, and which play a key role in keeping the lungs free from infection.

Dr Cannell had a long interest in vitamin D and had offered his patients large daily doses in the belief that they would ward off a range of illnesses from cancer to depression. He believes, along with a growing body of experts on the matter, that vitamin D deficiency is widespread and unrecognised because current recommended levels are too low for optimum health.

"A single, 20-minute, full-body exposure to summer sun will trigger the delivery of about 20,000 units of vitamin D into the circulation of most people within about 48 hours. Compare that to the 100 units you get from a glass of milk or the several hundred daily units the US government recommends as adequate intake," he said.

Throughout evolutionary history, humans obtained tens of thousands of units every day from the sun. Even after migrating to temperate latitudes, where skin colour rapidly lightened to allow for more rapid vitamin D production, humans worked outdoors. Only in recent decades as we have increasingly lived and worked indoors, travelled in cars and lathered on sunblock have levels of vitamin D sunk chronically low, according to Dr Cannell.

All the patients that were on Dr Cannell's ward were taking 2,000 units of vitamin D every day. Could that be why they avoided getting the flu? Although unknown to Dr Hope-Simpson,------ vitamin D not only increases production of antimicrobial peptides, helping the body fight infection, it simultaneously acts to "damp down" the immune system, ----- which prevents it from releasing too many inflammatory cells - the cytokine response - into infected lung tissue.

Scientists who were studying the victims of the 1918 flu pandemic, the worst in history in which an estimated 40 million people died around the world, were shocked to find that in some cases their lungs were destroyed. Inflammatory cytokines triggered the complete destruction of the normal epithelial cells which lined the respiratory tract. In effect, the flu virus triggered an overwhelming response from the body's defences that ended in death. Vitamin D has since been found to prevent this severe inflammatory reaction, Dr Cannell said.

"I subsequently did what physicians have done for centuries. I experimented, first on myself and then on my family, trying different doses of vitamin D to see if it had any effect on viral respiratory infections," Dr Cannell said. "Sev-eral of my medical colleagues experimented on themselves by taking three-day courses of pharmacological doses (2,000 units per kilogram of body-weight per day) of vitamin D at the first sign of flu. I also asked numerous colleagues and friends who were taking physiological doses (which was 5,000 units per day in winter and fewer or none in summer) if they ever got colds or flu and if so how severe the infections were."

The results of this personal research convinced Dr Cannell that vitamin D did indeed confer protection against the virus. "Physiological doses reduce the incidence of viral respiratory infections and pharmacological doses significantly ameliorate the symptoms if taken early in the course of the illness," he said.

However, he added that the observations were too personal and anecdotal to qualify as scientific evidence. Instead he contacted Professor Rhein-hold Vieth, from the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, and Ed Giovannucci from the Harvard School of Public Health and suggested his hypothesis that vitamin D could be the "seasonal stimulus" for winter flu that was first put forward 25 years ago by Dr Hope-Simpson.

Together with five other experts, who included Professor Michael Holick of Boston University and Professor Cedric Garland of the University of California, they drew up the paper that was published online last week in the journal titled Epidemiology and Infection, where Dr Hope-Simpson had published most of his work three decades previously.

"We propose that annual fluctuations in vitamin D levels explain the seasonality of influenza. Although our paper also discusses the possibility that [high] doses of vitamin might be useful in treating some of the one million people in the world who die of influenza every year, this is only a theory, like all theories it must betestedin well controlled scientific experiments.

However, as vitamin D deficiency has repeatedly been associated with many of the diseases of civilisation, it is not too early for physicians to aggressively diagnose and adequately treat it." Professor John Oxford, who is an expert on influenza and a professor of virology at Queen Mary College, London, welcomed this theory. "This is a reasonable hypothesis with some scientific underpinning but it needs putting to the test. Vitamin C has been discussed in relation to flu and had its ups and downs for years. It is interesting to put vitamin D in the frame for people to take a look at."

"However, I wouldn't advise anyone to rely on vitamin D to protect them-selves against flu. People should think about anti-flu vaccination first, followed by anti-viral drugs, good personal hygiene and then vitamin D," he said.

"We could test the theory by getting some young volunteers, whacking up their vitamin D levels in one group while holding it down in the other and then giving both groups a dose of flu. It could be carried out quite easily and it would not be a silly thing to do."

'A20-minute exposure to summer sun will trigger 20,000 units of vitamin D into the circulation within 48 hours'

Sunlight, skin and vitamin D: the facts

About 90 per cent of the body's supply of vitamin D comes from the action of sunlight on the skin, but grey skies and short days between October and March mean that 60 per cent of the UK population are deficient in the vitamin.

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and skin and protects against Jermain Lerwisets in children and osteoporosis in the elderly.

The vitamin cuts the risk of pancreatic cancer by almost half (43 per cent) when taken at the recommended daily dose of 400IU (international units), according to a study of 46,000 men and 75,000 women by researchers from the University of Wisconsin that was published this week.

A daily dose of Vitamin D could cut the risk of cancers of the breast, colon and ovary by up to half, a 40-year review of research concluded last year.

Doctors writing in the American Journal of Public Health proposed a daily dose of 1,000 international units, two and a half times the current recommended dose in the UK.

Countries around the world have begun to modify their warnings about the dangers of sunbathing, as a result of the growing research on vitamin D. The Cancer Council Australia said for the first time last year that some exposure to the sun was healthy.

Vitamin D lowers insulin resistance which is one of the major factors leading to heart disease.

The vitamin influences the growth of a variety of cell types and plays a role in the repair and remodelling of lung tissue.

It acts as an immunosuppressant and may help protect against the development of type 1 diabetes.

It influences production of a hormone that regulates calcium levels, in the body which in turn help to regulate blood pressure.

Lack of vitamin D in the months before birth may affect the developing foetus in the womb and increase the risk of schizophrenia.

Lack of the vitamin has been linked with the development of multiples clerosis


    
    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evergreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: March 06 2008 at 9:02am
Round-the-world News About Vitamin D

Work & Family Life

03-05-08

Originally Published:20080201.

Research reports keep rolling in on the importance of vitamin D in our diet-beyond its familiar role in helping us to build strong bones. Here are some of the findings:

Periodontal disease, in a dental study of 6,700 people from 13 to 90, the gums of patients with higher blood levels of vitamin D were 20 percent less likely to bleed. "The evidence on gingivitis and tooth loss suggests that vitamin D influences oral health by decreasing inflammation," said Bess Dawson-Hughes, director of the Bone Metabolism Lab at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University.

Cancer. Studies by Reinhold Vieth at the University of Toronto have reported a substantial reduction in the rates of colon cancer as blood levels of vitamin D went up. Dr. Vieth suggests that vitamin D inhibits a mechanism by which cancer cells spread or it may boost the function of blood vessels or the immune system.

Diabetes. A number of studies have found that people with higher blood levels of vitamin D had a lower risk of diabetes than people with lower levels. Researchers have suggested that vitamin D seems to influence responsiveness to insulin.

Fitness. A study at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine found that people with low blood levels of vitamin D scored from 5 to 10 percent lower on tests measuring grip strength, balance and walking speed than those who had higher levels. Apparently vitamin D helps build and repair muscles as well as bones.

Longevity. People who take vitamin D supplements may also live longer, according to Sara Gandini, Ph.D., of the European Institute of Oncology in Italy, and Philippe Autier, M.D., of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France. "The intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates," they reported.

"The results are remarkable," according to Edward Giovannucci, M.D., ScD., of the Harvard School of Public Health, in an editorial on vitamin D research in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

What to do. Adults should try to get 800 international units (IU) daily of vitamin D-or 1000 IUs a day if you are 70 or older. The average U.S. adult intake of vitamin D is 230 IUs daily, according to a study reported in the journal Nutrition Reviews. Vitamin D is available from sunlight, of course, and from foods such as fatty fish, eggs, fortified milk and fortified cereals as well as supplements.

-Sources: Bottom Line Health, CSPI Nutrition Action Letter, and Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FluMom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 01 2008 at 9:39pm
Evergreen, I have read a few of these articles and I am now going to add Vitamin D to my preps.

Thank you for providing all of this information in one area.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Evergreen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2008 at 2:51pm
Your welcome, flumom. I was wondering where the "vitamin D" thread was. We sure don't want to lose the research or information on this. Maybe Albert will find a place for it in the preps section. D
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