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Thread: Vegans, vitamin D and the sun

  1. #1

    Default Vegans, vitamin D and the sun

    I would really like to start taking vitamin D after everything I have read. Even in the summer I don't tend to go in the sun as I burn really easily. I have tried to find some D2 (Ergocalciferol) the vegan source of vitamin D but I have had no luck. Even when I have asked at the Pharmacy they didn't have a clue what I was going on about. I e-mailed Holland & Barrett about their Vitamin D supliments which were suitable for veggies but found that it is derived from sheeps wool! Does anyone know where I can get some vegan vitamin D

  2. #2

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    I forget where you're from. Here is a vegan multivitamin w/ Vitamin D in it: http://www.veganstore.com/index-stor...temsperpage=12

    I haven't seen a stand-alone Vitamin D supplement labeled as vegan.

    Here is another multivitamin: http://www.veganunlimited.com/20009.html#

  3. #3

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    Hi thanks for that! I'm from Birmingham England

  4. #4
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    i don't take a vitamin D supplement, but i use Pure soya margarine which is approved by the Vegan Society and therefore contains vitamin D2. you can also buy plant milks which are fortified with vitamins including D2. i used to burn very easily in the sun, but i've found since i went vegan i can be out in the sun more without getting burnt - don't know why!

  5. #5

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    I recently read Plant Based Nutrition & Health by Stephen Walsh PhD ISBN 0-907337-26-0 and listened to the lectures at ttp://www.veganmd.org/talks/#nutrition

    I donít think that you can get enough vitamin D from vegan spread and milk. After looking at these resources it has made me think. According to them vegans have less heart disease, cancer etc but we still only live as long as meat eaters. We die because of other courses which are attributed to not getting some vital nutrition we need. I recommend that everyone should read this book and listen to the lectures, they are well researched by vegan Doctors and they have looked into real scientific research into the diets of vegans.

    I am sorry if I sound a bit of a nut but after looking at the research I have just mentioned it has got me in a real tiz. I used to think that you should be able to get all our nutrients from a natural vegan diet and we would if we lived like our early human ancestors. However we live in an unnatural world we donít live in the parts of the world that we are designed for, we live too far away from the equator, we donít eat wild plants anymore, we donít eat our own faeces or eat soil, we donít eat enough food which is grown in the right soil and what we do eat and drink is sanitized.

    I want to live forever! Only joking, but I am a little worried about not living to my full vegan potential.

  6. #6
    Kevster
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    Plamil soya milk has vitamin D and B12,

    K

  7. #7
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    i've been reading Plant Based Nutrition too, and from what i can tell from the book just about all vegans, no matter what they eat, have some sort of deficiency to worry about. the book is very complex IMHO and makes it sound impossible to make sure you get exactly the right amount of every single nutrient unless you get really obsessed about it, which i could do (and i am an obsessive person!) - but life's too short!

    i've heard that other people found the same thing with this book. i'm sure it's very useful to some people but it'd just make me paranoid if i tried to follow it to the letter. i can understand you being worried about your health because it's obviously important, but there are loads of other things in the book that'll scare you if you pay too much attention to them. have you looked at the Vegan Society's website about nutrition? although it's basically the same info, i find it much easier to understand and make informed choices about what to eat: www.vegansociety.com/html/food/nutrition/

    i don't mean to sound derogatory, please don't take offence - i just know from personal experience that if you get too worried about this sort of thing you'll go crazy
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

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    Have any of you ever heard of an omni with no deficiencies? I haven't. I remember there was a study recently on what's missing in our diets done in the US, which showed that veg*ns were generally low on 7 vitamins and minerals. Omnis were low on 12 - which included all of the ones that the veg*ns were low on.
    No Gods, No Masters.

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  10. #10

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    ^^^ I am happy with the VegLife multivitamin that I take. Its called Vegan One Multiple, and it includes the daily 400 IU of vitamin D as well as the vegan version of just about every other vitamin/mineral you could ever possibly need.

    One word of advice: I would definitely seek out a vegetarian or health-food market as opposed to a traditional pharmacy or drug store. I've found that the chain drug stores are about 0% veg-friendly, while my local veggie grocery has a wide array of wonderful selections.

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    I called Vega Nutritionals ( who have 89 products registered with The Vegan Society trademark according to the society website ) asking about a vitamin D supplement, the 3rd time today they had received a similar query. They say they should have a vegan suitable supplement available in January. Their website which is not up and running at the mo is www.vegavitamins.com

  12. #12
    wuggy
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    I agree with Gorilla about vitamins, etc.
    I have also read 'Plant based Nutrition' recently, and found it helpful but a bit complex.
    I'm sure it's fair to say that through veganism, most of us get far more interested in our health than most meat eaters, who may be running low on many important nutrients, but are unaware, or maybe just aren't too interested.
    Personally I take a vegan multivitamin, flaxseed oil, and St. John's Wort (for slight but persistent depression), make sure I go out in the fresh air for an hour every day whenever possible, try to improve on my eating habits - and not worry too much!

  13. #13

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    Yeah! I know, at the end of the day we shouldnít worry too much but I know that I could be doing more. I eat pretty healthy but never deprive myself of the treats if I want them. I am trying to get more exercise, eat more fruit and vegetables, as well as getting out the house more. I have read that lack of vitamin D can result in Depression and I am wondering if there could be a link with my own reoccurring depression. I feel quite good at the moment but want to do everything I can to make sure I donít go back there. I heard that using a light box can help but they are very expensive and I donít know much about them. I canít take St.Johns Wart because I take the contraceptive pill and it makes the pill none effective.

    Also I read that vitamin D can help to build strong bones. I broke my big toe about a year and a half ago, it was a bad break and took many more months than the doctors said it would take to heal. I hope that this had nothing to do with a poor diet, either years of drinking up to four pints a day of cows milk or because I had become a vegan about 6months before I broke my toe.

    I also burse very easily and they take a long time to go away. I am a lot more healthy than I was when I was veggie but when I look at my boyfriend who is also vegan, he seems to be full of energy and Iím not.

  14. #14
    wuggy
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    Trendygirl - Depression can be very debilitating and energy-sapping, and I have found that, left unchecked, mine depresses my whole immune system.
    I make certain that I don't read too many yukky things now, or look at icky pictures or videos (I got to saturation point long ago). Also, Yoga, Meditation and walking really help me with my depression, which, incidentally, was heightened by the Pill.

  15. #15

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    That might be yet another reason why I should find alternatives to using the pill. You are right though, all the pictures of animal in pain does upset me and drains me terribly. I have started to get involved in promoting veganism in a friendly way which I think helps me to feel less helpless. I think that just simply getting out in the world and doing things helps depression, whether its going to yoga or meeting new people.

    I just want to be healthy and start living life!

  16. #16
    wuggy
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    If you know you suffer with depression you have GOT to look after yourself, and maybe be a little 'selfish' now and again.
    You know what you know, don't torture yourself with horrible images, I know you feel you need to know what those animals are going through, but making yourself ill will only weaken your spirit and make you less able to help in the long-term.
    I speak from experience, I gave myself a nervous breakdown with it all!

  17. #17
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    i don't want to take this thread too much further off topic, but you've mentioned depression which i've experienced too. there are lots of nutrients that can apparently cause depression if you're deficient, for example calcium, B vitamins, iron etc. as well as vitamin D and i've been trying different things to see if any of them help rather than resorting to anti-depressants again, now i'm trying herbal medicine.

    i was taking the pill and noticed an improvement in my depression after i stopped taking it. i took St John's Wort for a while but it didn't seem to do much for me. if you find your depression is worse during the winter a light box may help, but they are expensive and i don't think they're a substitute for sunlight as far as vitamin D production is concerned - they supposedly don't have the same ultra-violet spectrum that causes the body to produce vitamin D. i have energy-saving light bulbs which are supposed to simulate daylight that can help in the long winter months and they're much cheaper (about £20 each and they'll last for years).

    getting out and about can help, i'm not really up to that a lot of the time but things like this forum can make a big difference. it seems a lot of people who are veg*n also suffer from depression, which is a terrible shame. i hope you find a natural remedy that helps you
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

  18. #18
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    BTW I was in a health food shop today and looking at the vitamin supplements just out of interest, and saw a vitamin D tablet that had D2 in it. when i checked the ingredients though, i realised it was in a gelatine capsule!

    what is the point of going to the trouble of putting D2 in the tablets if you're just going to make them with gelatine?!!! i was under the impression that D3 is easier and cheaper to produce, which is why nearly all supplements and fortified foods contain it!!!
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

  19. #19

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    I know itís crazy! I was looking for flax seed oil which is few and far between in Birmingham. I found some capsules but they were made out of galantine as well, sometimes I think that manufactures are trying to lose custom. Like when they put a small amount of egg in the veggie burgers. I donít get it, why do they want to miss out on getting hold of our money?

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    When I was first looking for B12 supplements, almost all of them were non-veggie. Weird.
    No Gods, No Masters.

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    I take a daily multivitamin made by seven seas and approved by the vegan society. If its good enough for the vegan society its good enough for me! And its available in Tescos.

  22. #22
    1vegan
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    Quote Trendygirl
    I know itís crazy! I was looking for flax seed oil which is few and far between in Birmingham.
    Have you been to a "health food store" ?

    I can get flax seed oil by the bottle in my hfs

    edited : maybe this is usefull for you http://www.organicfood.co.uk/shopping/birmingham.html

  23. #23

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    I just saw this, D2 is present in dark green leafy plants (it's produced during photosynthesis) and of course, sun exposure. You can get D2 in pill form too.

    From what I've read sun exposure will not do it alone for many people because humans have at sometime in their recent evolutionary past consumed large amounts of green leafy vegetables during the day... Surprise!

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    Default Vitamin D3: I'm worried now

    After reading up on how D vitamins could be animal derived...would that also include the D vitamins in multivitamins?

    I take a multivitamin by Webber Naturals. I contains Vitamin D3 Palmi...(I can't remember the whole word, I don't have the bottle with me). I know Vitamin D3 in margarines are animal derived, so is it the same with multivitamins?

    I'm almost done of my multivitamin bottle so I need to buy more. Any good recommendations? I don't have a credit card, so I can't shop online though.

  25. #25
    John's Avatar
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    Avoid D3. I believe that it is made from ground-up fishes. Try to find D2.

    You can get D2 from fortified soymilk. And of course sunlight is the natural source.

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    Solgar makes a multivitamin with D2. You should be able to get that in Canada.

    John, I read that D3 can not only be made from ground up fishies but also, cattle brain.

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    Yes, I read about the cattle brains too, but I didn't want to bring it up.

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    Quote John
    Yes, I read about the cattle brains too, but I didn't want to bring it up.
    OK, I have a big mouth, again .

  29. #29
    gorillagorilla Gorilla's Avatar
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    vitamin D3 can be made from all sorts of animal sources, including wool or ground up bones as well, but it's never vegan (unless you believe there's such a thing as synthetic D3 but i've yet to find a trustworthy source to confirm this).

    basically avoid anything that says D3 and if it only says vitamin D, check with the manufacturers but it'll probably still be D3, as i think it's much cheaper to use.
    'The word gorilla was derived from the Greek word Gorillai (a "tribe of hairy women")'

  30. #30
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    Yes, I think that wool might be one of the most common sources.

  31. #31
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    Quote feline01
    Solgar makes a multivitamin with D2. You should be able to get that in Canada.

    John, I read that D3 can not only be made from ground up fishies but also, cattle brain.
    They do ?

    What's the name of it ? (besides Solgar)

    I can't get a vegan multi from solgar in europe

    ETA: maybe the VM 2000 ? that contains "Vitamine D (ergocalciferol) (200 IE) (100%)"
    (the VM 75 contains (cholecalciferol) (400 IE))

  32. #32
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    Veglife brand makes a vegan D2. Search on the forum for the D2 supplement thread. There are links.

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    Quote 1vegan
    They do ?

    What's the name of it ? (besides Solgar)

    I can't get a vegan multi from solgar in europe

    ETA: maybe the VM 2000 ? that contains "Vitamine D (ergocalciferol) (200 IE) (100%)"
    (the VM 75 contains (cholecalciferol) (400 IE))
    I'll check when I"m home later. Solgar's headquarters are located in my state so maybe we have availability to products that aren't available everywhere.

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    vitamin d is vitamin day. just go outside!
    please could you stop the noise? i'm trying to get some rest from all the unborn chicken voices in my head.

  35. #35
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    Quote 1vegan
    They do ?

    What's the name of it ? (besides Solgar)

    I can't get a vegan multi from solgar in europe

    ETA: maybe the VM 2000 ? that contains "Vitamine D (ergocalciferol) (200 IE) (100%)"
    (the VM 75 contains (cholecalciferol) (400 IE))
    Formula V-75 is what we take, it contains 400 IU of ergocalciferol.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: I'm worried now.

    Thanks! Sorry for the late reply.

    I'm still looking at my stores in town. Thanks for the help.

    PS: Would a health store order special brands of vitamins for a customer? It's a locally own shop, and the owner seems friendly...

  37. #37

    Default Re: Vitamin D3: I'm worried now

    b
    Quote Tigerlily
    After reading up on how D vitamins could be animal derived...would that also include the D vitamins in multivitamins?

    I take a multivitamin by Webber Naturals. I contains Vitamin D3 Palmi...(I can't remember the whole word, I don't have the bottle with me). I know Vitamin D3 in margarines are animal derived, so is it the same with multivitamins?

    I'm almost done of my multivitamin bottle so I need to buy more. Any good recommendations? I don't have a credit card, so I can't shop online though.
    D2 and D3 are actually different chemicals, not just source.

    D2 is ergocalciferol, and D3 is cholecalciferol.

    D2 is the majority of D supplement added to dairy and other supplemented foods. It has a lower toxicity level than D3, but too much of any Vitamin D (like 1000% RDA) will cause undesirable and quite painful calcium deposits where they do not belong.

    D3 is derived from animals always, it's the kind that your skin produces while exposed to the sun (using cholesterol). Humans are capable of producing quite a lot of vitamin D when they are in the sun for hours. Although it has a much higher toxicity level than D2, your body will not overproduce it. You can only suffer toxicity from D3 by supplementing with dead animal bits, wool, or dairy. From what I've read wool is the most common source. Yes some multivitamins use D3 claiming it's 'more healthful' or better becouse it's supposedly more absorbable.


    I get D2 from the local health-food-shop. It comes in 150% RDA pills, and is as cheap as dirt. I take it whenever I'm not in the sun enough. If you take it with meals containing fat it is more efficiently absorbed.


    Lastly, some studies show that VitaminD deficiency can also manifest as cancer, including skin cancer. No surprise I suppose. It's a vitamin that should always be present in fair amounts in humans, but people are afraid of that big sun and airy outside world so far away from their TV and microwave...


    Oh, Look on some online vegan stores like veganessentials, they always carry vegan Vitamin D and B12.

    http://www.veganessentials.com/catal...-by-freeda.htm

  38. #38
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    According to http://www.newstarget.com/003069.html ...:
    32% of doctors and med school students are vitamin D deficient.
    40% of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.
    42% of African American women of childbearing age are deficient in vitamin D.
    48% of young girls (9-11 years old) are vitamin D deficient.
    Up to 60% of all hospital patients are vitamin D deficient.
    76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient, causing widespread vitamin D deficiencies in their unborn children, which predisposes them to type 1 diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia later in life. 81% of the children born to these mothers were deficient.
    Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient.

    More from the same article:

    Vitamin D prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and even effects diabetes and obesity. Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition (see related ebook on nutrition). That's probably because it's free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin. Drug companies can't sell you sunlight, so there's no promotion of its health benefits. Truth is, most people don't know the real story on vitamin D and health. So here's an overview taken from an interview between Mike Adams and Dr. Michael Holick.
    1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight.
    2. The healing rays of natural sunlight (that generate vitamin D in your skin) cannot penetrate glass. So you don't generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
    3. It is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate vitamin D in your own body.
    4. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get minimum levels of vitamin D into their diet.
    5. The further you live from the equator, the longer exposure you need to the sun in order to generate vitamin D. Canada, the UK and most U.S. states are far from the equator.
    6. People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 - 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D. That's why prostate cancer is epidemic among black men -- it's a simple, but widespread, sunlight deficiency.
    7. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are crucial for calcium absorption in your intestines. Without sufficient vitamin D, your body cannot absorb calcium, rendering calcium supplements useless.
    8. Chronic vitamin D deficiency cannot be reversed overnight: it takes months of vitamin D supplementation and sunlight exposure to rebuild the body's bones and nervous system.
    9. Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block your body's ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. This is how sunscreen products actually cause disease -- by creating a critical vitamin deficiency in the body.
    10. It is impossible to generate too much vitamin D in your body from sunlight exposure: your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs.
    11. If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic vitamin D deficiency right now.
    12. Vitamin D is "activated" in your body by your kidneys and liver before it can be used.
    13. Having kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body's ability to activate circulating vitamin D.
    14. The sunscreen industry doesn't want you to know that your body actually needs sunlight exposure because that realization would mean lower sales of sunscreen products.
    15. Even though vitamin D is one of the most powerful healing chemicals in your body, your body makes it absolutely free. No prescription required.
    There is more interesting stuff there too - read the whole article!
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  39. #39
    Geoff
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    I saw an item about about Vit D just the other day and it's been found that 90% of residents in nursing / retirement homes in the Sydney area are Vitamin D deficient.
    Apparently D is protective against breast cancer so maybe the girls need to get their tits out in the sun, thereby improving the health of themselves and any grumpy old men in the vicinity. (Earlier research found that 'staring at womens breasts' improved men's health)

  40. #40
    Stu
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Haha, nice one Geoff. There must be a significant level of Vitamin D-deficiency among young females at rock festivals... Roll on Glastonbury!

    Anyway... Although I found that article to be very interesting and eye-opening, I always take statistics like this with a pinch of salt. Saying that a certain element of the populace is 'deficient' in something or other, is subjective; we don't all have the same opinion with regard to what constitutes 'deficiency'.

    Also, we must bear in mind the fact that exposure to the sun, can and does cause skin cancer. Although the more cynical among us might argue that the sunscreen industry is responsible for making us think that. Who knows?

    Anyway, with regard to the above article, I can't see why the writer(s) would have any reason to mislead us about this, and it's actually prompted me to get out into the lovely sunshine we're having at the moment.

  41. #41
    Geoff
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Sunshine? In England? I'd like to see that!
    One of the doctors talking about Vit D thought that we might have taken the skin cancer warnings to such an extent that we are now not getting enough sun. He said that we need about 25% of the exposure that would cause slight burning but how one works that out without actually doing a test run and suffering burns is beyond me. I'm making a point of working shirtless for a while every day. (Yeah, I know - not a pretty sight)

  42. #42
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Posted by Geoff:
    Apparently D is protective against breast cancer so maybe the girls need to get their tits out in the sun, thereby improving the health of themselves and any grumpy old men in the vicinity.
    Naughty Geoff! Go to the chalkboard and write:

    Apparently D is protective against breast cancer so maybe the girls need to get their BREASTS out in the sun, thereby improving the health of themselves and any grumpy old men in the vicinity.

    100 times, and then go stand in the corner til class is dismissed!

  43. #43
    Geoff
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Quote Seaside
    Posted by Geoff:


    Naughty Geoff! Go to the chalkboard and write:

    Apparently D is protective against breast cancer so maybe the girls need to get their BREASTS out in the sun, thereby improving the health of themselves and any grumpy old men in the vicinity.

    100 times, and then go stand in the corner til class is dismissed!
    I agree. I'm VERY naughty and MUST be punished.

  44. #44
    Seaside
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'



    By the way, is it legal in Australia for women to go topless? It sure isn't here!

  45. #45
    Geoff
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Quote Seaside


    By the way, is it legal in Australia for women to go topless? It sure isn't here!
    It's not just legal - it's COMPULSORY in some areas, like my yard.

  46. #46
    Seaside
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Posted by Geoff:
    grumpy old men in the vicinity.
    Not just grumpy, but dirty too, eh?

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Vegan Vitamin D

    Quote bulletproof
    vitamin d is vitamin day. just go outside!
    I live in oregon...our sunlight is limited. I personally take Veglife VitD, but I just started so we'll see if I feel any results.
    "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle"
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  48. #48
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    Default Re: 'Vitamin D myths, facts and statistics'

    Scientists Say Sunshine May Prevent Cancer
    May 21, 2005 12:15 PM EDT
    Scientists are excited about a vitamin again. But unlike fads that sizzled and fizzled, the evidence this time is strong and keeps growing. If it bears out, it will challenge one of medicine's most fundamental beliefs: that people need to coat themselves with sunscreen whenever they're in the sun. Doing that may actually contribute to far more cancer deaths than it prevents, some researchers think.

    The vitamin is D, nicknamed the "sunshine vitamin" because the skin makes it from ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen blocks its production, but dermatologists and health agencies have long preached that such lotions are needed to prevent skin cancer. Now some scientists are questioning that advice. The reason is that vitamin D increasingly seems important for preventing and even treating many types of cancer.

    In the last three months alone, four separate studies found it helped protect against lymphoma and cancers of the prostate, lung and, ironically, the skin. The strongest evidence is for colon cancer.

    Many people aren't getting enough vitamin D. It's hard to do from food and fortified milk alone, and supplements are problematic.

    So the thinking is this: Even if too much sun leads to skin cancer, which is rarely deadly, too little sun may be worse.

    No one is suggesting that people fry on a beach. But many scientists believe that "safe sun" - 15 minutes or so a few times a week without sunscreen - is not only possible but helpful to health.

    One is Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a Harvard University professor of medicine and nutrition who laid out his case in a keynote lecture at a recent American Association for Cancer Research meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

    His research suggests that vitamin D might help prevent 30 deaths for each one caused by skin cancer.

    "I would challenge anyone to find an area or nutrient or any factor that has such consistent anti-cancer benefits as vitamin D," Giovannucci told the cancer scientists. "The data are really quite remarkable."

    The talk so impressed the American Cancer Society's chief epidemiologist, Dr. Michael Thun, that the society is reviewing its sun protection guidelines. "There is now intriguing evidence that vitamin D may have a role in the prevention as well as treatment of certain cancers," Thun said.

    Even some dermatologists may be coming around. "I find the evidence to be mounting and increasingly compelling," said Dr. Allan Halpern, dermatology chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who advises several cancer groups.

    The dilemma, he said, is a lack of consensus on how much vitamin D is needed or the best way to get it.

    No source is ideal. Even if sunshine were to be recommended, the amount needed would depend on the season, time of day, where a person lives, skin color and other factors. Thun and others worry that folks might overdo it.

    "People tend to go overboard with even a hint of encouragement to get more sun exposure," Thun said, adding that he'd prefer people get more of the nutrient from food or pills.

    But this is difficult. Vitamin D occurs naturally in salmon, tuna and other oily fish, and is routinely added to milk. However, diet accounts for very little of the vitamin D circulating in blood, Giovannucci said.

    Supplements contain the nutrient, but most use an old form - D-2 - that is far less potent than the more desirable D-3. Multivitamins typically contain only small amounts of D-2 and include vitamin A, which offsets many of D's benefits.

    As a result, pills might not raise vitamin D levels much at all.

    Government advisers can't even agree on an RDA, or recommended daily allowance for vitamin D. Instead, they say "adequate intake" is 200 international units a day up to age 50, 400 IUs for ages 50 to 70, and 600 IUs for people over 70.

    Many scientists think adults need 1,000 IUs a day. Giovannucci's research suggests 1,500 IUs might be needed to significantly curb cancer.

    How vitamin D may do this is still under study, but there are lots of reasons to think it can:

    -Several studies observing large groups of people found that those with higher vitamin D levels also had lower rates of cancer. For some of these studies, doctors had blood samples to measure vitamin D, making the findings particularly strong. Even so, these studies aren't the gold standard of medical research - a comparison over many years of a large group of people who were given the vitamin with a large group who didn't take it. In the past, the best research has deflated health claims involving other nutrients, including vitamin E and beta carotene.

    -Lab and animal studies show that vitamin D stifles abnormal cell growth, helps cells die when they are supposed to, and curbs formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.

    -Cancer is more common in the elderly, and the skin makes less vitamin D as people age.

    -Blacks have higher rates of cancer than whites and more pigment in their skin, which prevents them from making much vitamin D.

    -Vitamin D gets trapped in fat, so obese people have lower blood levels of D. They also have higher rates of cancer.

    -Diabetics, too, are prone to cancer, and their damaged kidneys have trouble converting vitamin D into a form the body can use.

    -People in the northeastern United States and northerly regions of the globe like Scandinavia have higher cancer rates than those who get more sunshine year-round.

    During short winter days, the sun's rays come in at too oblique an angle to spur the skin

    to make vitamin D. That is why nutrition experts think vitamin D-3 supplements may be especially helpful during winter, and for dark-skinned people all the time.

    But too much of the pill variety can cause a dangerous buildup of calcium in the body. The government says 2,000 IUs is the upper daily limit for anyone over a year old.

    On the other hand, D from sunshine has no such limit. It's almost impossible to overdose when getting it this way. However, it is possible to get skin cancer. And this is where the dermatology establishment and Dr. Michael Holick part company.

    Thirty years ago, Holick helped make the landmark discovery of how vitamin D works. Until last year, he was chief of endocrinology, nutrition and diabetes and a professor of dermatology at Boston University. Then he published a book, "The UV Advantage," urging people to get enough sunlight to make vitamin D.

    "I am advocating common sense," not prolonged sunbathing or tanning salons, Holick said.

    Skin cancer is rarely fatal, he notes. The most deadly form, melanoma, accounts for only 7,770 of the 570,280 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States this year.

    More than 1 million milder forms of skin cancer will occur, and these are the ones tied to chronic or prolonged suntanning.

    Repeated sunburns - especially in childhood and among redheads and very fair-skinned people - have been linked to melanoma, but there is no credible scientific evidence that moderate sun exposure causes it, Holick contends.

    "The problem has been that the American Academy of Dermatology has been unchallenged for 20 years," he says. "They have brainwashed the public at every level."

    The head of Holick's department, Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, called his book an embarrassment and stripped him of his dermatology professorship, although he kept his other posts.

    She also faulted his industry ties. Holick said the school has received $150,000 in grants from the Indoor Tanning Association for his research, far less than the consulting deals and grants that other scientists routinely take from drug companies.

    In fact, industry has spent money attacking him. One such statement from the Sun Safety Alliance, funded in part by Coppertone and drug store chains, declared that "sunning to prevent vitamin D deficiency is like smoking to combat anxiety."

    Earlier this month, the dermatology academy launched a "Don't Seek the Sun" campaign calling any advice to get sun "irresponsible." It quoted Dr. Vincent DeLeo, a Columbia University dermatologist, as saying: "Under no circumstances should anyone be misled into thinking that natural sunlight or tanning beds are better sources of vitamin D than foods or nutritional supplements."

    That opinion is hardly unanimous, though, even among dermatologists.

    "The statement that 'no sun exposure is good' I don't think is correct anymore," said Dr. Henry Lim, chairman of dermatology at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and an academy vice president.

    Some wonder if vitamin D may turn out to be like another vitamin, folate. High intake of it was once thought to be important mostly for pregnant women, to prevent birth defects. However, since food makers began adding extra folate to flour in 1998, heart disease, stroke, blood pressure, colon cancer and osteoporosis have all fallen, suggesting the general public may have been folate-deficient after all.

    With vitamin D, "some people believe that it is a partial deficiency that increases the cancer risk," said Hector DeLuca, a University of Wisconsin-Madison biochemist who did landmark studies on the nutrient.

    About a dozen major studies are under way to test vitamin D's ability to ward off cancer, said Dr. Peter Greenwald, chief of cancer prevention for the National Cancer Institute. Several others are testing its potential to treat the disease. Two recent studies reported encouraging signs in prostate and lung cancer.

    As for sunshine, experts recommend moderation until more evidence is in hand.

    "The skin can handle it, just like the liver can handle alcohol," said Dr. James Leyden,

    professor emeritus of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, who has consulted for sunscreen makers.

    "I like to have wine with dinner, but I don't think I should drink four bottles a day."

  49. #49

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    Default Re: Vegan Vitamin D

    Avocado (Palta/Ahuacate in spanish), seems to contain the recommended amount of vitamin d for every 100 grams (160 kcalories). Plus many other nutrients in very interesting amounts. Not to mention how tasty it is.

  50. #50
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Vegans and vitamin D

    Yet another reason to make sure you're not getting enough vit. D/ time outdoors:
    http://www.healthday.com/view.cfm?id=526297

    Here is an excerpt:
    Sunlight Lowers Prostate Cancer Risk
    But it raises skin cancer odds, so experts don't advise sunbathing






    WEDNESDAY, June 15 (HealthDay News) -- Spending lots of time in the sun seems to increase a man's vitamin D levels and lower his risk for prostate cancer, a new study finds.


    But because tanning and burning actually raise skin cancer risks, researchers suggest vitamin D in supplement form may be a safer option.


    The findings appear in the June 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research.


    Researchers from three cancer centers compared 450 men with advanced prostate cancer with a control group of 455 men without the disease. They found that the men with high sun exposure were at half the prostate cancer risk of men with low sun exposure.


    The risk of prostate cancer was as much as 65 percent lower in men with certain gene variants plus high sun exposure.


    "We believe that sunlight helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer because the body manufactures the active form of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight," research team leader Esther John, of the Northern California Cancer Center, said in a prepared statement.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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