A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Health - Vitamin D

I'm not really in favor of vitamin supplements. I've always believed that if we eat a healthy diet - 55-65% fresh vegetables, 15% fresh (and dried) fruit, 15% whole grains and beans/legumes and vegetable proteins, and the remainder meat, fish, chicken, nuts, oils, and seeds, we'll get enough of everything our bodies need.

However, I've been hearing for many years now that Vitamin D has all kinds of benefits, from combating depression to fighting cancer. Today's Daily Mail carries such a story. According to the article, low blood levels of vitamin D have been linked to diabetes and heart disease. Hmmm. The article goes on to say:
In the latest research, published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine, results from 57,000 people in 18 separate trials of vitamin D supplements were analysed.

They received varying doses, with an average 528 International Units - about the level in commercial supplements.

Over almost six years, 4,777 participants died, while those who took vitamin D had a 7 per cent lower risk of death than those who did not.

The latest study was carried out by the International Agency for Research on Cancer at Lyon and the European Institute of Oncology in Milan.

They reported: "The intake of ordinary doses of vitamin D supplements seems to be associated with decreases in total mortality rates. Interventions effectively strengthening vitamin D status should result in reduced total mortality."

The vitamin's function is only partly understood but it is known to slow the rate of growth of cancer cells and help the immune system.
I'd like to see the actual studies. Perhaps I'll go dig 'em up.

One big plus: Vitamin D is manufactured by the body, given exposure to sunshine. It's also found in oily fish like salmon and tuna (and sardines and mackerel too, I'll bet). In fact, perhaps I'll post a recipe for pasta with sardines soon. Need to go get some fresh sardines from the fishmonger, first. Test the recipe and all, y'know.

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