Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Get into the sun as avoidance may shorten your life and be as bad as smoking.

Get into the sun as avoidance may shorten your life and be as bad as smoking.
Russell Setright

We have removed the balconies from hospitals that were used in the past to give patients the benefits of sensible sun exposure and improve vitamin D status although this may have helped reduce the incidence of nurses back problems and a reduction in the need for wards persons it may have also reduced the chances of recovery in hospital for some.

A recent all-cause mortality study of 29,518 Swedish women in a prospective 20-year follow-up study found that avoidance of sun exposure increases the risk of death and women who have regular sun exposure compared to those who don’t live longer. The authors also reported that lack of sun exposure had a similar effect on length of life as smoking(1).

If these results are replicated, then we need to get our act together. However, smoking has NO health benefits and quitting is a must.

The need for increased sun exposure may also help cancer sufferers. Higher levels of vitamin D obtained from the sun or supplements are linked to better outcomes in several types of cancer. Study results found higher vitamin D blood levels may improve the prognosis and outcome for people with some cancers including breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoma (2,3)

A moderate amount of unblocked sunlight may be beneficial to most people, and could reduce the risk of many other diseases – including, paradoxically, melanoma itself.

Those who experience continual exposure to lower levels even if the total dose of UV (sun) radiation is the same, have the lowest incidence of melanoma. That is, non-burning regular sun exposure such as obtained in the early morning and later in the afternoon seems to have a protective effect against some skin cancer(4)

Another example of this paradox is research from the University of California School of Medicine. This study found that higher incidence of melanoma occurred among Navy indoor desk workers than among sailors who worked outdoors (5)

Also, a study from the Department of Dermatology, The Saarland University Hospital, Hamburg, Germany that examined the progression of malignant melanoma reported. Starting vitamin D levels were lower in melanoma patients as compared to the control group. And progression of malignant melanoma was associated with significantly reduced blood vitamin D levels. Their findings add to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D serum levels may be of importance for pathogenesis and progression of malignant melanoma (6)

Sunlight not only allows us to make vitamin D, which is credited with many health benefits and healthier living, but a surprise research finding could reveal another powerful benefit of getting some sun.
Georgetown University Medical Centre researchers have found that sunlight, through a mechanism separate than vitamin D production, energizes T cells that play a central role in human immunity(7)

The idea of a need for correct and sensible sun exposure is not new. The Hydro Majestic Hotel, in the Blue Mountains NSW was originally Australia's first health retreat and Naturopathic Hospital (around 1903) that under direction of Dr George Baur as the chief medical doctor, formerly of the "Shoeneck" health spa on Lake Lucerne in Switzerland developed a program of diets and some weird and wonderful treatments that included regular safe sun exposure, good eating and regular bathing which was not a common occurrence.

This good lifestyle and sun exposure approach is not fully supported by our peak bodies who encourage DON'T go into the sun unless you cover up, apply a sun block and stay in the shade. It is no wonder that there is an increase in diseases associated with reduced immune function and low vitamin D status are on the increase.

What is urgently needed is graph type sun exposure program that covers skin types ethnic background and latitude. An example being a person from Scotland with a fair completion and red hair would have a completely different safe sun exposure time at any latitude compared to someone with olive skin type and someone living in Cairns would need a different table to the same skin type living in Hobart.

The bottom line is daily unprotected safe sun non-burning exposure could be an important factor in disease prevention and adjunctive management.

It is also important if you think you have cancer or any disease that you see your doctor for a correct diagnosis and treatment program.

Journal References:
1.Lindqvist PG1, Epstein E2, et al. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. J Intern Med. 2016 Oct;280(4):375-87
2. Mian Li, Peizhan Chen,et al. Review:The Impacts of Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Levels on Cancer Patient Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2014
3. Setright R. Is There A Vitamin D Deficiency Epidemic In Australia, And If So, Is This A Major Contributing Factor To Disease? Journal of the Australia Traditional Medicine Society date2011
4. Article, Prevention & Early Detection, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre 2008.
5. Garland FC. et al. Occupational sunlight exposure and melanoma in the U.S. Navy. Arch Environ Health. 1990 Sep-Oct;45(5):261-7).
6. Nürnberg B, et al. Progression of malignant melanoma is associated with reduced 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum levels.Exp Dermatol. 2008 Jul;17(7):627).
7. Thieu X. Phan, Barbara Jaruga, et al. Intrinsic Photosensitivity Enhances Motility of T Lymphocytes. Scientific Reports, 2016

Friday, 21 October 2016



Russell Setright 
The word migraine is French (mígrân), however, it is derived from the Greek word, "hêmikrania ", which means half the head. Migraine headaches usually only affect one side of the head at a time. The migraine usually starts with interference to vision in one eye, seeing zig-zag patterns, shooting lights, or having blind-spots. It then can progress too pain, accompanied by nausea, blurred vision, tingling and numbness in the limbs, and these symptoms may last up to 18 hours.

 Research suggests that migraines may be due to changes in your brain's blood vessels, caused by disturbances in the chemical serotonin, produced by nerve cells. Sufferers have abnormal levels of serotonin, causing dilation and contraction of blood vessels. Migraines can be hereditary, with women suffering more frequently than men, with attacks usually occurring just before their menstrual period.

Allergies and hormone imbalances are major triggers of migraine headaches and may be caused by liver malfunction. Reduce the dietary intake of salt and acid-producing food such as meat and whole wheat. Fried and greasy foods should also be avoided as well as hot dogs, luncheon meats, foods high in monosodium glutamate, oranges, hard cheese, chocolate and red wine. These have all been attributed to precipitating migraine attacks.

 The diet should consist of unprocessed foods as these will reduce your exposure to potentially allergy-causing additives. Vitamins B1, B6, B3 folic acid may also help reduce migraines by balancing serotonin levels. Up to 2,000 mg of vitamin C taken daily, will lower blood histamine levels and reduce allergy response. Also, low intakes of the mineral magnesium have been associated with an increase in migraine headaches.

Vitamin supplementation significantly has been show to reduced homocysteine, a protein in the blood that when elevated increases the incidence of migraine headaches and heart disease. Supplementing with B vitamins was found to reduce the severity of headache in migraine sufferers and reduce migraine disability compared with the placebo effect.

 Migraine attack has been associated with magnesium deficiency. Published studies investigating the effect of intravenous and oral magnesium on acute migraine attacks and the prevention of migraine were evaluated in a Meta-Analysis of 21 trails and the results found that oral magnesium alleviates the frequency and intensity of migraines.

 Once a migraine strikes, it is very difficult to alleviate the pain. The answer lies in prevention. Modern medical studies show that the ancient herb feverfew could be the answer. Feverfew has a long history of treating various aches and pains, arthritis, high blood pressure, skin conditions, fevers, inflammation and headaches. These studies have confirmed that feverfew is effective in the prevention of migraine headaches. This was convincingly demonstrated by a definitive double-blind trial reported in the Lancet, 1985, using capsules of freeze-dried feverfew powder at a dosage level of 50 mg per day. Results indicated a significant protection against migraine attacks in those patients taking the herb. Other clinical studies have confirmed this finding, even with patients who had failed to respond to modern medical treatment. There is only one variety of feverfew, which produces this result. This is Tanacetum parthenium (the synonym is Chrysanthemum parthenium). Only this species ensures the highest concentration of active herbal constituents. Feverfew quality depends on optimum harvest time and the part of the plant used. The herbal extract should be derived from leaf before budding to retain maximum potency. The leaf has an extremely bitter taste, which is overcome by taking the herb in a guaranteed potency feverfew capsule. The efficacy of feverfew is now proven, and this, in conjunction with dietary modifications, may be one of the best measures against migraine headache. Feverfew however, is not a pain-relieving herb, and will not help you once your headache has begun. 

Vitamin D3 may also help a meta analisys of 8 studies with over 3,000 people foind that A significantly greater mean decrease in pain score was observed with vitamin D3 supplementation compared with placebo in people with chronic pain. These results suggest that vitamin D3 supplementation could have a role in the management of chronic pain and migraines. 

Blackmores REME-D for Migraine-Headache may assist in reducing the frequency of migraine-headache attacks with regular use.
Fish oil 1000 one capsule three times daily.
Bio Magnesium one tablet twice daily (Magnesium 400mg)
Vitamin B plus C complex one twice daily
Vitamin D3 1000 as required References
 Menon, Sarasa; Lea, Rod A. et al Genotypes of the MTHFR C677T and MTRR A66G genes act independently to reduce migraine disability in response to vitamin supplementation Pharmacogenetics and Genomics: October 2012 - Volume 22 - Issue 10 - p 741–749

 Effects of Dietary Folate Intake on Migraine Disability and Frequency. Headache, Volume 55, Issue 2 February 2015 Pages 301–309

 Effects of Intravenous and Oral Magnesium on Reducing Migraine: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, Pain Physician 2016; 19:E97-E112 • ISSN 2150-1149

 Effect of Vitamin D Supplementation on Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, Pain Physician 2016; 19:415-427 • ISSN 1533-3159

 Copyright Russell Setright 2016

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Multivitamins Nutritional insurance, Are multivitamins beneficial or of no use?

The Setright Letter

Multivitamins Nutritional insurance, Are multivitamins
beneficial or of no use?
An Independent review of Complementary Medicine Evidence
By Russell Setright


Taking multivitamins is said to help the immune system, improve memory, enhance wellbeing, reduced risk of Autistic Spectrum disorder, and reduce cancer risk, birth defects, cataracts and Macular Degeneration. Some have stated that taking vitamins in any form is a waste of money and there is no evidence that they are beneficial to health.

These are big statements but is there any evidence to support the use of multivitamins? A literature search was undertaken on the use of vitamin/mineral combinations (multivitamin formulas) and there effect on health.

Following are few examples of clinical trials and studies that have reported the positive effects of multivitamin supplem


Immune function
Basically there are two types of immune-functions; our adaptive immune system, which is activated when we mount a defense against a new invader and then retain antibodies and memory for immunity in the future. And our innate immune system, the almost immediate reaction your body has, for instance, when you get a cut or a skin infection.
In primates, this action of "turning on" an optimal response to microbial attack only works properly in the presence of adequate vitamin D.

The benefits of improved nutrition by the use of multivitamin and mineral supplementation on immune function and general well-being have been demonstrated.

A study found supplementation with a multivitamin containing the B group of vitamins, vitamins C and E + selenium slowed the progression of the HIV virus by half in the first two years(1)

Previous studies have also found that HIV progression is slowed in those taking multivitamin mineral formula compared to placebo (2) However, this is the first trial to look at early intervention that is before HIV infection has progressed to AIDS. The authors of the study stated that immune system support given by multivitamin + selenium combination could explain the statistically significant benefit in the reduction of HIV progression to AIDS.

There are many types of cancer. The most common causes are thought to be due to immune suppression, free radical disease, poor diet, or toxic substances. However, most cancers have one thing in common. Cancer cells form tumours that destroy or compress other normal tissues. These malignant tumours are characterised by unrestrained cell growth and can spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). Up to 25% of Australians may develop some type of cancer, however, it is important to remember that cancer is a word not a death sentence. Early detection and prompt treatment combined with a good diet and improved lifestyle can make the difference between health and disease

An 11 year plus study, Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) II) of 14,641 male health professionals who were randomly assigned to receive a daily multivitamin or placebo has again found that vitamin supplement users receive a number of important health benefits; the study found that a daily multivitamin use may reduce the risk of developing cancer by 8% and although no significant reductions were observed for major cardiovascular events including heart attack and stroke, the study did find among a smaller number of multivitamin users who already had cardiovascular disease at the start, there was a significant reduction in the risk of dying from a heart attack by 44 per cent (3)

Multivitamin supplementation may also help protect women from certain cancers. A study of  7,728 women who developed invasive breast cancer was undertaken and a comparison of mortality rates revealed that women with invasive breast cancer who took multivitamin/mineral supplements were 30 percent less likely to die from their cancers than women with invasive breast cancer who hadn't taken the supplements(4)

Another study of 1,100 current and former smokers found that those supplementing with multivitamins had a 43 per cent reduction in gene suppression/damage (gene methylation) in the airway epithelium of smokers. Suppression of this process, such as caused by smoking, is associated with the development of cancer.

The authors stated the study is further evidence that nature-identical, synthetic micronutrients in multivitamins can be effective in disease risk reduction as micronutrients from vegetables and fruits(5)

In an animal study The authors concluded that "multivitamin and mineral supplements synergistically contribute to the cancer chemopreventative potential, and hence, regular supplements of multivitamins and minerals could reduce the risk of colon cancer(6)

Vitamin B3 and skin cancer
Results of a new study found, there were a total of 463 nonmelanoma cancers diagnosed in the placebo group and 336 in the intervention group over the 12-month intervention period. During this time, the mean number of cancers per person was significantly lower for the intervention group versus the placebo group (1.8 and 2.4, respectively). This represents a rate that was lower by an estimated 23% with the use of nicotinamide after adjustment for study center and nonmelanoma skin cancer history, and a reduction of 27% without adjustment (P = .02). The rate of new nonmelanoma skin cancers was lower in the nicotinamide group at each 3-month visit during the 12 months that the drug was administered; however, the effect dissipated at the 6-month follow-up after nicotinamide was discontinued.

The reduction in the rate of new basal cell carcinomas specifically was an estimated 20% after adjustment (P =.12), and the reduction was 30% for the development of new squamous cell carcinomas (P =.05). At the 6-month follow-up after treatment with nicotinamide was stopped, there were no significant differences noted with regard to either rate.

The number of actinic keratoses specifically also was found to be significantly reduced, with an average of 3 to 5 fewer actinic keratoses observed from the baseline count in the nicotinamide group compared with the placebo group. Despite the fact that study participants were a high-risk population, only approximately one-half used sunscreen within the week before the study and the rate of sunscreen use in the nicotinamide group was lower throughout the study period compared with the placebo group. No differences in the number or type of adverse events were noted between groups. 
(Andrew C. Chen, M.B., B.S., et al. A Phase 3 Randomized Trial of Nicotinamide for Skin-Cancer Chemoprevention N Engl J Med. 2015;373:1618-1626)

Memory and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for around 50 per cent of all senile dementia sufferers and without doubt, as we grow older, this form of dementia is the most dreadful. This disease is distinguished by a steady and progressive loss of memory due to the deterioration of brain function and wasting. This deterioration is also associated with the presence of tangles of fibres and plaques within the brain nerve cells.

Alzheimer’s disease may begin at any age after forty but is most likely to affect individuals over fifty years of age. Over the years there has been a better understanding of this disease, but with all our modern technology and knowledge, modern medicine still has no answer to its treatment and/or cause.
There are many theories regarding the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, ranging from genetic deficiencies to slow acting viruses and although these may indeed have merit. Nutritional deficiencies and toxic mineral accumulation over the years may be the key to the cause of both Alzheimer’s disease memory loss and other types of senile dementia.

Studies have found that multivitamins supplementation may also improve memory, mood and general wellbeing.  A systematic review of randomized controlled trials was performed and a meta-analysis of 10 studies was undertaken. The results found that supplementation with multivitamins were found to enhance immediate free recall memory (7)

In an older Cross-sectional and prospective study of dementia among 65 years or older people were assessed in 1995 to 1997 for prevalent dementia and AD, and again in 1998 to 2000 for incident illness and supplement use was ascertained at the first contact.

The authors concluded that the use of vitamin E and multivitamin containing vitamin C supplements in combination is associated with reduced prevalence and incidence of AD. Antioxidant supplements merit further study as agents for the primary prevention of AD(8)

The effects of multivitamins are most often researched in the elderly. However this study looks at multivitamin mineral supplementation and psychological functioning in healthy middle aged adults.

The study shows how a proprietary multivitamin and mineral supplement improves mood and mental performance while also reducing stress, mental tiredness and fatigue in healthy males.

In a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study, 215 men in full-time employment aged between 30 and 55 were given either a multivitamin or a placebo for a period of 33 days. The  group reported significantly improved ratings of general mental health, reduced subjective stress and increased ratings of 'vigour', with a strong trend towards an overall improvement in mood.(9)

Another study found that vitamin and mineral supplements can enhance mental energy and well-being not only for healthy adults but for those prone to anxiety and depression(10)

Autism Spectrum Disorder
The term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” includes Autism/Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).

ASD often causes individuals to struggle to understand and relate to other people and to their environment and this can often result in extreme behaviour, which can be seen as tantrums in children or rudeness in adults. It is the only way they have to indicate how anxious they are feeling

Supplementing with multivitamins peri-conventionally may help reduce the incidence. A study found that women who reported not taking a daily prenatal multivitamin immediately before and during the first month of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to have a child with an autism spectrum disorder as women who did take the supplements and the associated risk rose to seven times as great when combined with a high-risk genetic make-up, a study by researchers at the UC Davis MIND Institute (11)

Macular Degeneration
The most common cause of blindness in Australia is macular degeneration (MD) with 12,000 cases of late stage MD diagnosed each year. MD affects twice as many women as men.

The symptoms of MD include blocked central vision or empty spaces, straight lines appear distorted or wavy and colours can be hard to distinguish. MD usually affects people over the age of 50 years and its onset has been associated with long-term exposure to sunlight, smoking and a lack of the important dietary antioxidants including vitamin C, E and the minerals zinc and copper. Studies have found that supplementing with a combination of the above antioxidants can reduce the incidence of the disease by up to 25 per cent and may reduce the progression of the degeneration resulting in vision loss by around 19 per cent. Also emerging epidemiological and clinical data for the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin and for omega-3 fatty acids.is positive(12)(13)(14)

A cataract, or a clouding on the lens, is a problem that affects people as they grow older. Vision is affected and the eyes can have a watery look. The work comes from the Greek for 'falling water'.
The cause is not fully understood but it is believed free radicals  can be one of the causes. It is more common for cataracts to develop in elderly people. Research has found supplementing with antioxidant nutrients (beta-carotene, vitamin E and C) may reduce the occurrence.

Daily multivitamin supplement use over a long period was found to lower cataract and ARMD risk in men, The study was part of the Physicians' Health Study II (PHS II) and was a randomized, double-blind study from 1997 to 2011 of 14,641 U.S. male doctors age 50 and older. 50 per cent took an antioxidant formula and multivitamin supplements daily. The other half took a placebo.

The results showed a 9 to 13 percent decrease in risk of developing cataracts for those that took the supplements(15)

Birth Defects
There are a number of factors that contribute to an increased risk of birth defects. These include nutritional status of the parents, sex of the infant, birth weight, and environmental factors. It is more probable that birth defects are caused by a combination of these factors, all of which should be modified in our endeavour to reduce the problem.

Spina bifida, one of the most prominent  neural tube defects, is  a congenital  birth defect that affects more than one in 2,000 babies. During the third and fourth weeks of embryonic life, the neural groove, which runs along the back of the embryo, fuses to form the neural tube, the forerunner of the central nervous system. If the neural tube in the spine does not  fully close during the prenatal period, this leaves the spinal cord unprotected and may result in protrusion  of part of the contents of the spinal canal through this opening. There are three forms of the condition, ranging from very slight to very severe.

To number of studies examine the effect of multivitamin supplementation on the incidence of children being born certain birth defects have been undertaken. One of these examined the incidence of cleft pallet and supplementing with multivitamins. Eighty-six cases and 172 controls were enrolled. The results found that mothers who took a vitamin supplement were significantly less likely to have a child with cleft pallet(16)

Another study was undertaken to determine the association between prenatal multivitamin supplementation and congenital genitourinary tract anomalies.
In this study a total of 46,850 births were registered and 122 (26/10,000) of them were identified to have a genitourinary tract anomaly.

The results found that prenatal multivitamin supplementation during the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy was associated with a reduction in the risk of these anomalies.

The authors of the study concluded that maternal prenatal multivitamins may reduce the risk of congenital genitourinary tract anomalies, not only during the first 8 weeks of gestation but also later in pregnancy(17)

Multivitamins containing folic acid appear to be more effective at preventing neural tube defects than high dose folic acid supplements, It concludes that multivitamins should contain between 0.4 - 0.8 mg of folic acid for pregnant women to prevent neural tube defects and some other congenital abnormalities.

This randomized and two-cohort controlled trials showed that periconceptional multivitamin supplementation can reduce the occurrence of some other structural birth defects. The first intervention trial was a randomized controlled trial involving 2,819 participants supplemented with multivitamins containing 0.8 mg of folic acid, and 2,683 unsupplemented participants. The second trial was a two-cohort controlled trial involving 3,069 participants supplemented with the same multivitamins, and 3,069 unsupplemented participants.

A comparison of these results found multivitamins containing 0.8 mg of folic acid were more effective for the reduction of neural-tube defects than high dose folic acid supplements. Also, only multivitamins were able to reduce the prevalence at birth of obstructive defects of urinary tract, limb deficiencies and congenital pyloric stenosis. Folic acid was effective in preventing some part of rectal/anal stenosis/atresia, and high dose of folic acid had effect in preventing some orofacial clefts.

The authors concluded that the findings are consistent that peri-conceptional multivitamin and folic acid supplementation reduce the overall occurrence of congenital abnormalities in addition to the demonstrated effect on neural-tube defects (18)

1.            Marianna K. Baum,  Adriana Campa,  et al.  Effect of Micronutrient Supplementation on Disease Progression in Asymptomatic, Antiretroviral-Naive, HIV-Infected Adults in BotswanaA Randomized Clinical Trial JAMA. 2013;310(20):2154-2163.
2.            Jiamton  S, Pepin  J, Suttent  R,  et al.  A randomized trial of the impact of multiple micronutrient supplementation on mortality among HIV-infected individuals living in Bangkok. AIDS. 2003;17(17):2461-2469
3.            Gaziano J, Sesso HD, Christen WG, et al. Multivitamins in the Prevention of Cancer in Men: The Physicians' Health Study II Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA, 2012; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.14641
4..           S. Wassertheil-Smoller, A. P. McGinn, N. et al. Multivitamin and mineral use and breast cancer mortality in older women with invasive breast cancer in the women’s health initiative. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, 2013; DOI: 10.1007/s10549-013-2712-x
5. C.A. Stidley, et al.  Multi-Vitamins, Folate, and Green Vegetables Protect Against Gene Promoter Methylation in the Aerodigestive Tract of Smokers, Cancer Research 2010 Jan 15;70(2):568-74

6.            Albert Baskar Arul, Ignacimuthu Savarimuthu, et al  Multivitamin and mineral supplementation in 1,2-dimethylhydrazine induced experimental colon carcinogenesis and evaluation of free radical status, antioxidant potential, and incidence of ACF. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 2012; 90 (1): 45 DOI: 10.1139/y11-100
7.            Grima NA, Pase MP, Macpherson H, et al. The effects of multivitamins on cognitive performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Alzheimers Dis. 2012;29(3):561-9. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2011-111751.
8.            Peter P. Zandi, PhD; James C. Anthony, PhD et al. Reduced Risk of Alzheimer Disease in Users of Antioxidant Vitamin Supplements. Arch Neurol. 2004;61:82-88.
9.            Northumbria University (2010, May 20). Multivitamins can add sparkle for healthy young people News Release
10.          Panel discussion July 15 2013 Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo® held at McCormick Place.
11.          Rebecca J. Schmidt, Robin L. Hansen, et al. Prenatal Vitamins, One-carbon Metabolism Gene Variants, and Risk for Autism. Epidemiology, 2011
12.          Aslam T, Delcourt C, et al. Micronutrients in age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmologica. 2013;229(2):75-9. doi: 10.1159/000343708. Epub 2012 Nov 20.
13.          Chew EY1, Clemons TE, et al. Long-term effects of vitamins C and E, β-carotene, and zinc on age-related macular degeneration: AREDS report no. 35.  Ophthalmology. 2013 Aug;120(8):1604-11.
14.          Chew, E. Presentation at Retina Subspecialty Day, American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, Las Vegas USA, 10 Nov, 2006.
15.          William G. Christen, Robert J. Glynn, et al. Effects of Multivitamin Supplement on Cataract and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in a Randomized Trial of Male Physicians. Ophthalmology, 2014; 121 (2): 525 DOI
16.          McKinney CM1, Chowchuen B et al. Micronutrients and oral clefts: a case-control study. J Dent Res. 2013 Dec;92(12):1089-94. doi: 10.1177/0022034513507452. Epub 2013 Oct 4.
17.          Fernández N1, Henao-Mejía J et al.  Association between maternal prenatal vitamin use and congenital abnormalities of the genitourinary tract in a developing country. J Pediatr Urol. 2012 Apr;8(2):121-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Sep 17.
18.       Czeizel AE. The primary prevention of birth defects: Multivitamins or folic acid?. Int J Med Sci 2004; 1:50-61. http://www.medsci.org/v01p0050.htm

The information given by Naturopath Russell Setright in this article is for general educational purposes only and not for the treatment of any disease or condition. Always see your Healthcare Practitioner for any suspected disease accident or condition and follow there expert advice.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Low vitamin D may increase diabetes risk

The Diabetes epidemic in Australia, could low levels of vitamin D be one of the risks.
Russell Setright

The incidence of diabetes in Australia is increasing and, at the same time we are seeing a corresponding deficiency in vitamin D levels. Studies show there is a strong link between the development of diabetes type-2 and vitamin D deficiency and a possible reduction in risk between childhood type-1 diabetes and vitamin D supplementation.

The growing body of evidence supports the theory that low blood serum levels of 25(OH)vit D is also associated with an increase of many diseases including diabetes and CVD, (Dobnig H, et al. Independent association of low serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D with all cause mortality. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2008 Jun 23;168:1340-1349).

One large meta-analysis found a significant association between low serum levels of 25(OH)vit D and an increase in the incidence of diabetes, CVD and metabolic syndrome. This research examined 28 studies that included 99,745 men and women across a variety of ethnic groups. The studies revealed a significant association between high levels of vitamin D (25(OH)VitD) and a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (55% reduction) and metabolic syndrome (51% reduction)  ( Levels of vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders: Systematic review and meta-analysis J.Maturitas Volume 65, Issue 3, 225-236, March 2010).

Also review and meta-analysis of the data from five trials that included 6455 infants, of which 1429 were cases and 5026 controls was published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood. The data from the five observational studies, found that infants who received vitamin D supplements were 29 per cent less likely to develop type-1 diabetes than non-supplemented infants (Zipitis C et al. "Vitamin D supplementation in early childhood and risk of type 1 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis" Archives of Disease in Childhood (British Medical Journal) .2007).

Another study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, September 2007 looked at 1770 children at high risk of developing type-1 diabetes.
Their study reported that an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids from marine sources may reduce a child's risk of developing type-1 diabetes by 55 per cent.
Vitamin D found in cod liver oil, a popular marine supplement, may have been a contributing factor.

Vitamin D deficiencies in Australia
The data are consistent in that low blood serum levels of 25(OH)VitD (25-hydroxyvitamin D) is at an alarming rate in Australia. Those people with dark or olive skin, the elderly and veiled (80% may have mild deficiency) as well as those who wear protective clothing and always use sun screen have the greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency . In addition, those taking anticonvulsant medication or suffer from renal, hepatic or cardiopulmonary disease or those who have fat malabsorption syndromes (e.g., cystic fibrosis) or inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease, are also at risk.  (Vitamin D, National Health and Medical Research Council 2010, Ministry of Health. Australian Government)

IMPORTANT In addition to diet, weight manegment and lifestyle changes, Diabetes must be managed by your medical doctor, if you think you may be at risk or have diabetes see your doctor for advise and treatment.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

daily dose of vitamin D3 improves heart function in people with chronic heart failure

New study finds vitamin D3 improves heart function

New study finds vitamin D3 improves heart function
Adaily dose of vitamin D3 improves heart function in people with chronic heart failure, a five-year University of Leeds research project has found.
Dr Klaus Witte, from the School of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, led the study, known asVINDICATE.
He said: “This is a significant breakthrough for patients. It is the first evidence that vitamin D3 can improve heart function of people with heart muscle weakness – known as heart failure. These findings could make a significant difference to the care of heart failure patients.”
Vitamin D3 can be boosted by exposure to sunlight, but heart failure patients are often deficient in it even during the summer because older people make less vitamin D3 in response to sunlight than younger people. Vitamin D3 production in the skin is also reduced by sunscreen.
The study, which was funded by the Medical Research Council, involved more than 160 patients from Leeds who were already being treated for their heart failure using proven treatments including beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors and pacemakers.
Participants were asked to take vitamin D3 or a dummy (placebo) tablet for one year. Those patients who took vitamin D3 experienced an improvement in heart function which was not seen in those who took a placebo.
Changes in heart function were measured by cardiac ultrasound. Heart specialists measure heart function by taking an ultrasound scan of the heart (known as an echocardiogram) and measuring how much blood pumps from the heart with each heartbeat, known as ejection fraction.
The ejection fraction of a healthy person is usually between 60% and 70%. In heart failure patients, the ejection fraction is often significantly impaired – in the patients enrolled into the VINDICATE study the average ejection fraction was 26%.
In the 80 patients who took Vitamin D3, the heart’s pumping function improved from 26% to 34%. In the others, who took placebo, there was no change in cardiac function.
This means that for some heart disease patients, taking vitamin D3 regularly may lessen the need for them to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a device which detects dangerous irregular heart rhythms and can shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm.
“ICDs are expensive and involve an operation” said Dr Witte. “If we can avoid an ICD implant in just a few patients, then that is a boost to patients and the NHS as a whole.”
One key aspect of this study is that the researchers avoided using a calcium-based supplement, as calcium can cause further problems for heart failure patients.
The findings from the VINDICATE study will be presented at the American College of Cardiology 65th Annual Scientific Session & Expo in Chicago on April 4.
Heart failure affects about 900,000 people in the UK and more than 23 million worldwide.
The condition can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older people – more than half of all people globally with heart failure are over the age of 75.
Further information
Dr Klaus Witte is available for interview. Contact Ben Jones in the University of Leeds press office on +44(0)113 343 4031 or email pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk

Monday, 9 May 2016

One reason Red and precessed meat according to WHO causes cancer

Red and Processed Meats and Environmental Toxins in these Causing Cancer

Six months ago, the International Agency for Research on Cancer associated consumption of red meat and processed meat to cancer risk. However, in its analysis it made no reference to some carcinogenic environmental pollutants that are already present in raw or unprocessed meat. A study shows that only cooking processes that remove fat from meat can reduce the concentrations of these substances.
When last October 26 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced that the consumption of both red meat and processed meat was associated with an increased risk of cancer, there was widespread alarm.
The specialist institution of the World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed more than 800 studies and classified red meat as 'probably carcinogenic to humans' (Group 2A) and processed meat as 'carcinogenic to humans' (Group 1), with sufficient evidence that its consumption can cause colorectal cancer.
According to the study published six months ago in The Lancet Oncology, the substances responsible for this potential carcinogenicity would be generated by the meat processing itself, such as salting, fermentation, curing and smoking, or when the meat is heated to high temperatures releasing substances suspected of being carcinogenic such as nitrous compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic aromatic amines, among others.
However, a study published in Environmental Research indicates that, in its report, the IARC made no reference to environmental pollutants that were already known to be present in raw or unprocessed meat. Therefore, scientists at the Rovira i Virgili University (URV) have analysed the role of these compounds, which include polychlorinated naphthalenes, toxic trace elements, and perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAs), among others.
"We believe this is an issue that is worth taking into account in establishing the global causes of the carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat," said José Luis Domingo, lead author of the work with Martí Nadal, researchers in the laboratory of Toxicology and Environmental Health at the URV.

Higher concentration of toxins in fat
Although it is demonstrated that meat and meat products have a major nutritional value because of their contribution of protein, amino acids, vitamin B12 and iron, their daily consumption also leads to exposure to toxic substances that reach us through the diet consumed by the animals, based on feed, forage or grass. "The water drunk and the air breathed by livestock may be minor pathways of contamination to humans through the consumption of meat," says Domingo.
"The risks to consumer health are related to micropollutants -generated by human activity through breeding or veterinary treatments- or toxins induced by the processing itself," the authors emphasize in the study.
The potential environmental toxins include inorganic elements such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, PAHs, PFAs, dioxins, pesticides and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), industrial chemicals which are viewed as one of the twelve most harmful pollutants produced by humans, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Most of these substances are fat-soluble, so any food with high fat contents accumulates higher levels of micropollutants than plant matter. "PCBs and other POPs accumulate in the fatty parts of meat because they are fat soluble. Reduced consumption of meat fats will reduce the intake of PCBs. On the other hand, eating meat with a high fat content can result in a significant exposure to PCBs," the scientist explained.
To check how cooking processes affect the presence of pollutants in meat, the researchers analysed in the laboratory the effects of frying, grilling, roasting or boiling on the concentration of various environmental, organic and inorganic pollutants present in beef steaks, pork loin, chicken breast and drumstick -which contains fewer organic pollutants than red meat-, and lamb steak and chops.
The results show that different types of cooking influence the concentration of toxins differently depending on the meat product. For example, POPs hardly undergo any changes between cooked and raw meat. Being organic substances, the study argues that only cooking processes that release or eliminate fat from meat would tend to reduce the total concentration of these pollutants in the cooked meat.
Reducing the level of pollution
The authors of the study recommend reducing the daily intake of fat from meat: "This would prevent not only cardiovascular risks, but also carcinogens, especially those associated with exposure to some environmental pollutants in the meat" they recommend.
But the concentrations of hazardous substances depend not only on the way food is prepared, "but even more so on the original content of toxins in the food itself before cooking," says the URV researcher. In fact, not all meat is equally contaminated from the source.
"It depends on precisely where and how the animals have been reared. Clean air and pastures can give meat with very low levels of environmental pollutants," they say.
Overall, the level of contamination in raw and unprocessed meat is below that of fish and seafood, "although it is much higher than that of fruits, vegetables and legumes," says Domingo. "The contamination depends heavily on the content of fat, a key tissue in the accumulation of carcinogenic POPs," concludes the expert.

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Plataforma SINC. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

José L. Domingo, Martí Nadal. Carcinogenicity of consumption of red and processed meat: What about environmental contaminants? Environmental Research, 2016; 145: 109 DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2015.11.031

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Sneezing - allergies, hay fever and symptoms of a cold natural therapies can help.

Allergies, Hay Fever and Sinusitis
Russell Setright

Unfortunately many people suffer from a number of allergy symptoms. These symptoms vary with the causative agent, called an allergen, and with the part of the body affected. The symptoms of allergic reaction include asthma, hay fever and rhinitis, itchy eyes and throat, and sinusitis.

Allergic reaction occurs when the immune system, which normally only reacts to dangerous foreign substances, "mistakes" the potentially harmless allergen for an invader, such as a virus. The body's immune system reacts to an allergen by producing antibodies and causing the release of histamine. Histamine, in turn, affects the blood vessels and mucous membranes, causing them to swell, become congested and discharge mucus and watery fluid.

The most severe type of allergic reaction is called anaphylactic shock. This is a rare and extreme allergic reaction to an allergen. Common triggers of anaphylactic shock are; bee or wasp stings, penicillin, peanuts and certain types of sea foods. Anaphylactic shock is characterised by a severe drop in blood pressure, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, swelling of the tongue and throat, which can lead to asphyxiation and death. Anyone suffering from this type of shock needs urgent medical treatment which requires the injection of the hormone adrenalin.

Luckily, most people don't have such severe reactions to allergens however, sneezing as a reaction to a cold or flu,  hay fever, sinusitis and asthma are common and extremely debilitating. These types of allergic reaction are usually caused by airborne pollens from flowers, dust mites, cereal grains, fungi and rust and respiratory infections. Moulds also can be devastating to many allergy sufferers. Moulds release particles during their reproductive cycle that are borne in the air, and when inhaled, can trigger an allergic reaction. Other common allergens, include cosmetics, animal fur, feathers, textile dyes, cigarette smoke, bacteria and chemical pollutants in the atmosphere. Even heat, cold, and light may cause allergy in susceptible people.

If you are an allergy sufferer, identifying the cause of the problem and removing it, is an obvious solution, but, it is not always that simple. If the cause is your loved family pet or the polluted air in the city were you work, removal of the problem may not be possible. Don't despair, there are other options open to you. An air filter in the home can remove the animal dander and fur from the air, allowing your loved pet cat or dog to remain the family friend. Its also important to air your house allowing the sun in. This will help reduce the formation of mould and kill dust mites.

Herbs and vitamin supplements can bring relief, and even help prevent further attacks. Horseradish and garlic have been used successfully for years in the treatment and prevention of hay fever and allergy symptoms. Horseradish, once ingested, gives off mustard gas, which flushes the sinus and nasal passages, ridding them of the irritants that are causing the problem, at the same time desensitising the delicate nasal membranes and preventing further irritation and attacks. Garlic has an expectorant and drying effect on the sinuses. It will help clear that runny nose, and because of its bacteriostatic and antiseptic properties, it helps treat and prevent the onset of sinusitis. Elder flowers (sambucus) and echinacea are herbs that are also effective in the management of hay fever and sinusitis. Vitamin C, 1,000 mg taken morning and night, lowers the histamine level in the blood and reduces allergic response.

Blackmores Kaloba® Oral Liquid is a clinically proven naturally derived option for acute bronchitis and acute sinusitis. It has been demonstrated to significantly improve recovery time of acute bronchitis and relieve symptoms of acute bronchitis and sinusitis.

For centuries, the active ingredient in Kaloba®, herb Pelargonium sidoides, has been traditionally used in South Africa for respiratory conditions. The common name for this herb is umckaloabo which is derived from the Zulu language and means ‘heavy cough’.

So, before you dive for the antihistamines, consider the natural way and the results could surprise you.