Winter 2008

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Winter 2008

Your latest Newsletter, prepared specially for you Visitor

Welcome to my first newsletter since launching the website! The purpose of this newsletter is to keep you informed of the latest news, good and not so good, in the world of health today.
  • Since the buzzword in health circles lately appears to be vitamin D, I have chosen to focus on this nutrient, especially since the best source of this nutrient is absolutely free!
  • Secondly, although we’re still in the throws of winter in SA, perhaps you are already wondering how you’re going to fit into last year’s bikini, come spring time. So I’ve brought you news that may surprise you: There is a fat that can make you thin!
  • Finally what’s the not so good news? Well for me it’s the profit-mongering amongst the “drug lords” on Big Pharma’s payroll, so they’re the one’s coming under fire in this newsletter and with good reason. This one really makes my cholesterol curdle!

I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter and remember if you would like to subscribe and have the news delivered directly to your mailbox it’s easy on this site.

Shedding light on Vitamin D

The main reasons why vitamin D has been in the news so much lately is two-fold: 1. Every day researchers are discovering more amazing health benefits of vitamin D 2. Scary statistics are emerging showing how Vitamin D deficiency and its related diseases are on the increase. Health benefits of vitamin D Vitamin D is responsible for getting the important bone builders, calcium and phosphorus, to the places in the body that they need to go to help bone grow in children and remineralize in adults. A deficiency can result in rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

But vitamin D also exerts many anti-cancer properties as it regulates cell growth and keeps it in check and recent news-breaking research shows how it can prevent common cancers such as prostate, breast and colon cancer.

In addition to this vitamin D regulates insulin secretion by your pancreas and as such may prevent or treat Type 2 diabetes.

Where to find it Some food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, cold water fish, butter and egg yolks.

However the best source of vitamin D comes to us absolutely FREE of charge and it can never be patented or sold for profit! We’re talking about natural, healthy sunshine, which enables your body to make its own lifesaving vitamin D. In fact most of the vitamin D in our bodies is synthesized in the skin by the action of ultraviolet light on the skin. From here it goes into the bloodstream which takes it into the liver and the kidneys to get activated, before it can exert its biological effect on bones.

Deficiency signs and symptoms Vitamin D is best known for its ability to stimulate the absorption of calcium, so a deficiency will result in lack of bone density and strength causing rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Rickets can lead to skeletal deformities such as softening of the skull bones, bowing of legs and spinal curvature.

By the 1950s rickets was regarded as nearly eliminated in the UK due to improved nutrition and yet recently the United Kingdom’s Health Department has warned that rickets is making a comeback due to widespread deficiency among the British population. This is amazing news but does it really surprise you? It shouldn’t if you consider that for the past three decades we have been warned to avoid, at all costs, the very best source of vitamin D, as it causes skin cancer.

Who is at risk? It is commonly known that 40% to 60% of elderly people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency. This would be mostly those living in nursing homes.

Also well known is that people who live in higher latitudes are more prone to vitamin D deficiency due to insufficient exposure to sunlight and as a result they are also more prone to developing cancer of the colon, prostate and breast. For the same reason osteoporosis tends to be prevalent amongst the Eskimos.

Furthermore people with darker skin are more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency, because the vitamin is typically synthesized by the body upon exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight. But the same melanin that makes skin dark and protects against sunburn also decreases the body's ability to synthesize vitamin D.

People who cover most of their skin for cultural or other reasons are also more susceptible to vitamin D deficiency.

But what is really a reason for concern is that vitamin D deficiency is becoming more and more prevalent amongst younger adults and children. Alarming statistics from the Department of Health in the UK warn that as many as one in 100 children of Afro-Caribbean, Asian or Middle Eastern descent in the United Kingdom may now have rickets.

One of the main reasons given is that so many young people work in offices where they never see the light of day. Another very real cause would be the excessive use of sunscreens which effectively knock out the skins ability to absorb vitamin D. Just to give you an example of how powerful sunscreens are: a sunscreen with an SPF of 8 can reduce your ability to make vitamin D in your skin by more than 95%.

Vitamin D deficiency is a particular concern among pregnant women. In a study of African-American, Latino, and Caucasian women who had just given birth, 76% were deficient in vitamin D and 81% of the infants were deficient. If a pregnant or breastfeeding woman is lacking in vitamin D, the baby will also have low vitamin D and calcium levels and this can lead babies to develop seizures in the first months of life. Pregnant and breastfeeding women who are not able to get enough exposure to sunlight must take vitamin D supplements.

There is also a link to vitamin D deficiency and diabetes risk. A study in Finland showed that infants who were deficient in vitamin D had an 80% increased risk of developing Type-2 diabetes as an adult. It is also thought that vitamin D deficiency may exacerbate type 2 diabetes. So although you’re not likely to hear this from your doctor or dermatologist, not getting enough sunlight is extremely dangerous to your health because it causes vitamin D deficiencies that promote chronic disease. Seeking out sunlight in safe, reasonable doses, on the other hand, does wonders for your health.

How much sun? In South Africa we have sunny skies all year round and every one of us should be spending about 10 minutes a day in the sunlight with arms and legs exposed. In the summer do this before 11 am or after 3 pm. Dark skinned people with deep pigmentation need to spend longer and obese people too since fat traps vitamin D and it cannot be easily released into the body. And remember that sitting indoors next to a sun-filled glass window does not count: the glass filters out the rays that you need. Vitamin D is self-regulating so no matter how much sun you’re exposed to, you can never become intoxicated with vitamin D. Mother Nature has programmed us to get our vitamin D requirements from sensible sun exposure. So sun-worshippers and lifeguards you’re in luck. But having said that, there is no question that chronic, excessive exposure to sunlight may increase risk of basal or squamous cell skin cancers. Let common sense prevail and once you have spent 10 or so minutes in the sun put on your sunscreen with a proper SPF. Its also good to know that vitamin D can be stored in the body for a fairly long time. During the summer you can probably store enough in your fat cells to last you most of the winter. Need to know more? Download this interview with, Dr. Michael Holick, one of the world's leading experts on vitamin D and sunlight.

Omega-3 fish oil for weight-loss

I am passionate about fish oil and its many health benefits to body, brain and heart so I was particularly happy to read the results of these studies which I can honestly say I have verified on a number of occasions in my own practice where 2 - 3g of omega-3 fish oil is key in my weight-loss regime. According to a study conducted by researchers from the Kao Corporation in Tochigi, Japan, and published in the Journal of Nutrition,a diet that contains fish oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help the body metabolize fat better and thereby gain less weight.

Researchers took mice that had been bred with a predisposition to obesity and fed them a high-fat diet (containing 30 percent of its calories from fat) for five months. Half of the animals had this diet supplemented with 8 percent fish oil. The mice whose diet had been supplemented with fish oil showed greater activity of several genes related to the metabolism of fats. The results follow a study conducted by researchers from the University of South Australia at Adelaide in May, which found that overweight adults between the ages of 25 and 65 who exercised and received a fish oil supplement each day reduced their fat mass by approximately 1.5 kilograms. In the Australian study, participants were given 260 milligrams of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 60 mg or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) each day.

This reinforces the results of a third study, conducted by researchers from the University of Georgia in 2006, that found that DHA appeared to decrease fat accumulation and positively influence the programmed death of fat cells. This is great news indeed especially since the best quality pharmaceutical grade fish oil that you will find in South Africa is available from us online.

Cholesterol lowering drugs for children? Believe it!

During this month of July, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee has announced that infants as young as two years old need to be screened for high cholesterol, and children as young as eight years old should be put on prescription statin drugs. Even more outrageous is that approval of these absurd guidelines has been granted by the FDA even though statin drugs have never been tested on young children. In other words our own 8 year old children will be the guinea pigs for this drug-pushing campaign! The following extracts have been taken from AAP Revises Cholesterol Screening Guidelines for Children "A number of studies have identified potential risk factors for adult cardiovascular disease," write Stephen R. Daniels, MD, PhD, and Frank R. Greer, MD, on behalf of the AAP's Committee on Nutrition in the July issue of Pediatrics. "Research in children and adolescents has demonstrated that some of these risk factors may be present at a young age, and pediatricians must initiate the lifelong approach to prevention of cardiovascular disease in their patients."

"For patients 8 years and older with [a low-density lipoprotein (LDL)] concentration of ?190 mg/dL (or ?60 mg/dL with a family history of early heart disease or ?2 additional risk factors present or ?130 mg/dL if diabetes mellitus is present), pharmacologic intervention should be considered," the guidelines recommend. The guidelines further state that although the initial goal of pharmacologic intervention should be to lower LDL concentrations to less than 160 g/dL, it may be appropriate to treat patients with a strong family history of cardiovascular disease and other risk factors such as diabetes or obesity to targets as low as 110 mg/dL.

Some physicians warn that the AAP is being hasty in its recommendations, given the paucity of data on the long-term effects of statins in children and adolescents and uncertainties about the ultimate benefits for younger statin starters"

To be frank, I'm embarrassed for the AAP today," Lawrence Rosen, MD, from Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, told the New York Times. "Treatment with medications in the absence of any clear data? I hope they're ready for the public backlash." Well, frankly I’m too outraged to be embarrassed. The so-called specialists on this committee say: Kids are getting fatter, laying the groundwork for a future of cardiovascular disease unless something is done to stop the cascade. YES OF COURSE, SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE! But I ask with tears in my eyes, does it have to be a drug intervention? What about a simple nutritional and weight management intervention? But of course that wouldn’t sell more high-profit prescription drugs and keep shareholders happy. And what better way to grow their profits than to expand the customer base by targeting our children for untested, medically unjustifiable pharmaceutical medications. The 2008 AAP cholesterol recommendations are a crass example of how financial conflicts of interest can influence treatment recommendations by professional medical associations. Is the conventional medical profession likely to follow this absurd advice and place children as young as eight years old on statin drugs, even without a single safety test having ever been conducted with children taking these powerful chemicals? And given the potential risks of harm from statins such as severe disruption of hormone production, including sex hormones, extreme loss of cellular energy, devastating loss of muscle function (rhabdomyolysis), kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, mental confusion, homicidal impulses, amnesia, and many more, is this what we want to see in our 8 yr old boys and girls?

But what if these children really have high cholesterol? A nutritional therapists approach would firstly look at the underlying health problem in this case. Chances are that a child diagnosed with high cholesterol at the age of eight has been a victim of dietary abuse. To imbalance a child's cholesterol at such an early age would usually require the consumption of large quantities of junk food, processed foods, fried foods and trans fatty acids with a dangerous lack of plant-based nutrients. A diet high in fresh raw vegetables and fruit, sufficient fibre and the right proteins and fats, including omega-3 fish oil known to reduce cholesterol levels, will achieve good results in a matter of weeks. Fresh foods, non-processed, living foods is what is needed here to reverse heart disease and normalize cholesterol. Change the diet and cholesterol problems will disappear. The full text of the AAP policy statement and guidelines is available on the organization's Web site at

My final word.... for now

Thanks for taking the time to plough through an unusually long newsletter. I shall try to be more brief next time but no promises! Once I get going there’s not much that can stop me! Till my next newsletter in the Spring, keep well and warm this winter and remember to go natural and each day find your little spot in the sun. Try to stay drug-free and keep your children drug-free and safe using nutrition and natural medicine.


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