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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Thursday, 08 January 2009

I am reprinting here an email I received from John Cannell, MD.

The New York Times just posted their article (Jan. 7 2009) about Quest Diagnostic Laboratory's recall of their vitamin D blood tests.  To my knowledge, this is the biggest recall in the history of medicine.

It is important to note that I think Quest Diagnostics has fixed the main problem with their vitamin D testing.  As far as I can tell, the problem was in their preparation of blood samples.

However, I cannot get Quest to fix their second problem, correlating their method with the method used in virtually all the major scientific studies of vitamin D, the DiaSorin RIA (I am a consultant for DiaSorin). When you read that levels of 50 ng/ml protect you from heart disease, that does not mean levels of 50 by Quest, rather levels of 50 by a method correlated with DiaSorin RIA. 

So don't be afraid to use Quest, but, if you do use Quest, you must divide your 25(OH)D result by 1.3 to get an accurate 25-hudroxy-vitamin D [25(OH)D]. Thus, if Quest says your 25(OH)D is 40 ng/ml, divide 40 by 1.3 (40/1.3 = 30) to get a true reading of 30 ng/ml. 

As a 25(OH)D level of 50 ng/ml is the minimum needed for good health, your Quest level must say 65 ng/ml or higher for optimum health (65/1.3 = 50).  Thus, when you read that levels of 50 ng/ml protect you from breast cancer that would be levels of 65 ng/ml if you use Quest.

LabCorp is not affected by this recall and continues to have accurate vitamin D tests, correlated very well with DiaSorin RIA.

Remember, you can save money by starting vitamin D supplements before getting your 25(OH)D tested.  Most adults need 5,000 IU per day of vitamin D in the winter.  Children need about 1,000 IU per every 25 pounds of body weight.  However, many people will still be deficient at these doses so after taking the vitamin D for three months, get tested. 

Please read the page below before doing anything, including emailing me with a question already answered on the page below.
John Cannell

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Tuesday, 06 January 2009
Grosswald SJ, Stixrud WR, Travis F, Bateh MA. Use of the Transcendental Meditation technique to reduce symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) by reducing stress and anxiety: An exploratory study. Curr Issues Educ 2008 Dec;10(2).

This exploratory study tested the feasibility of using the Transcendental Meditation? technique to reduce stress and anxiety as a means of reducing symptoms of ADHD. Students ages 11-14 were taught the technique, and practiced it twice daily in school. Common ADHD inventories and performance measures of executive function were administered at baseline and three months later. Results showed statistically significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and improvements in ADHD symptoms and executive function. +++++

The practice of transcendental meditation (TM) may help children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) manage their symptoms.

In this pilot study, researchers found that TM lessons appeared to calm the anxiety of children with ADHD, and improve their behavior and ability to think and concentrate.

TM is considered to be one of the simplest meditation techniques. Practitioners sit comfortably for 10 to 15 minutes with their eyes closed, silently repeating a mantra -- a sound, word or phrase -- to calm the mind and body. TM has been shown to affect the nervous system in a way that can alter a range of bodily functions, including breathing, blood vessel dilation and stress-hormone regulation.

This study showed that children with ADHD can not only learn the TM technique but also benefit from it. "The effect was much greater than we expected," lead researcher Sarina J. Grosswald, a cognitive learning specialist in Arlington, Virginia, said in a written statement. "The children also showed improvements in attention, working memory, organization, and behavior regulation," she added.

The study included 10 children between the ages of 11 and 14 who were attending a school for students with language-related learning disabilities. All had been diagnosed with ADHD and, though most were taking medication, were having problems at school and home.

The students were taught the TM technique and then practiced it at school twice a day, for 10 minutes at a time. After three months, the students reported lower stress and anxiety levels, while their ADHD symptoms also improved, based on questionnaires given to teachers and parents. "Teachers reported they were able to teach more," Grosswald said, "and students were able to learn more because they were less stressed and anxious."
"TM doesn't require concentration, controlling the mind or disciplined focus," Grosswald noted. "The fact that these children are able to do TM, and do it easily shows us that this technique may be particularly well suited for children with ADHD."

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Sunday, 04 January 2009
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism December 23, 2008
Looking at the beginning of the 20th century, according to background information in this report, deformed bones in the pelvis often led to a C-section. According to this study, published online, vitamin D deficiency in pregnancy is still a problem.

The researchers studied 253 births at a Boston hospital from 2005 to 2007. After controlling for other variables, the scientists found that women with low blood levels of vitamin D were almost 4x as likely to have an emergency C-section as those with normal levels. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with muscle weakness and high blood pressure, which might relate to the finding.

Dr. Michael Holick, a professor of medicine at Boston University and the senior author of the study, offered straightforward advice for pregnant women. "Take a thousand-unit supplement of vitamin D, available at any pharmacy, on top of any prenatal vitamins you're taking, so that you're getting 1,400 units a day," he said. "There is no downside to doing this."

When you compare the C-section rates of the US with the rest of the world, ours are much higher. For the longest time it seemed as if cultural bias played a large part in this aspect of labor and delivery in the United States. To this cause we must now add the possibility of Vitamin D deficiency.

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Saturday, 27 December 2008
January 2009, The Journal of Pediatrics
Almost 75% of children and adolescents with Type 1 diabetes have insufficient levels of vitamin D, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston report. A deficit in vitamin D can lead to bone problems later in life, especially among those with type 1 diabetes. Researchers suggest that supplements are needed to boost vitamin D levels. "We found in children with Type 1 diabetes a pretty significant level of vitamin D insufficiency -- much more than we had expected to find," said lead researcher Dr. Britta Svoren. Moreover, many children throughout the world without type 1 diabetes have vitamin D deficiency, Svoren said.

Diabetes is associated with a reduction in bone mineral density, which can make bones more fragile, Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of fracture in these children later in life. In addition, vitamin D may have a role in the risk for developing type 1 diabetes.

For the study, Svoren's team measured vitamin D levels in 128 children with Type 1 diabetes. The children were between 1.5 and 17.5 years old. The researchers found that 61% of the children had insufficient levels of vitamin D, and 15% had a deficiency in vitamin D, meaning their vitamin D levels were severely low. In fact, only 24% of the children had sufficient vitamin D levels. The lowest vitamin D levels were seen among the oldest children. Among adolescents, 85% had inadequate levels of the vitamin.

"One of the things that might be going on is that, for a lot of children and adolescents, the primary source of vitamin D is through vitamin D-fortified milk," Svoren said. "The problem is that a lot of teenagers with type 1 diabetes, rather than drinking milk, a lot of these individuals are probably drinking increased amounts of sugar-free colas."

Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine, said that vitamin D is important for all children. "A growing body of research suggests the importance of vitamin D in many aspects of health, far beyond the long-established role in bone development and preservation," Katz said. "But the role of vitamin D in bone health remains crucial, and perhaps that much more so in groups at high risk of bone-thinning and injury. Such groups include postmenopausal women, those with kidney disease, and children with type 1 diabetes."

I'm pleased to see so much awareness developing regarding Vitamin D and health. However, Both Katz and Svoren do a disservice by recommending 400IU Vitamin D daily. This is an absurdly small amount of Vitamin D. If they had proper training in nutrition they would know that, to replete Vitamin D properly and have it at therapeutic levels, a few thousand IUs per day would be necessary. Of course, correct testing could direct supplementation and help ensure creation of optimum levels.

Sunday, 14 December 2008
Science Daily November 19, 2008
In this new study it was found that a ban on fast food advertisements in the United States could reduce the number of overweight children by as much as 18%. Further, if the tax deductibility of television advertising were eliminated, there would be a greater reduction of childhood obesity.

The study's authors found that a ban on fast food television advertisements during children's programming would reduce the number of overweight children ages 3-11 by 18%, and would lower the number of overweight adolescents ages 12-18 by 14%.

Research indicates that there is an 80% chance an overweight adolescent will be an obese adult. Over 300,000 deaths can be attributed to obesity and excess weight in the United States every year.

Now wouldn't it be interesting to see the results if fast food was banned from school cafeterias? No place in the lunch line, no place in the vending machines. Besides the increased benefit relating to obesity, there would be positive effects on hyperactive behavior, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic disease killers.

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