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Vitamin D deficient

Vitamin D Facts

Why are so many people at risk for vitamin D insufficiency? Actually, there are several factors that influence the amount of vitamin D in your body each day. Vitamin D is formed in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight, or it’s consumed in vitamin D-rich foods, but there are many reasons for inadequate sun exposure and low vitamin D intakes today.

The season or calendar month is a major risk factor for vitamin D insufficiency because sunlight is reduced during late autumn, winter, and early spring. Sun exposure is critical to vitamin D health and the risk for vitamin D insufficiency rises with the increase in sunscreen use and time spent indoors. The geographical latitude of your home location is another determinant of daily sunlight exposure, and skin color is a key influencer as those with darker skin are less efficient at converting sunlight to vitamin D internally. Other critical factors that can create a greater need for vitamin D include increasing age, being overweight, lack of exercise, and low intake of fish and other vitamin D-rich foods in the diet.

Low vitamin D has been linked to suboptimal heart health, immune function, bone health, and an increased risk for certain cancers. An increasing number of scientific experts believe current vitamin D intakes and blood levels are too low to support optimal health. In fact, it has been estimated that as many as 80% of Americans may have “insufficient” blood levels of vitamin D.

So if you’re concerned that your vitamin D intake may not be all that it could be, consider getting 10–20 minutes of sun exposure daily without the use of sunscreen, exercising regularly and achieving a healthy weight, and eating fish and vitamin D-fortified foods more often. And because we know that obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods is difficult, find a high-quality dietary supplement of vitamin D3, the most potent form of vitamin D found naturally in the human body.

To find out if  you may have insufficient Vitamin D levels, take the new Shaklee Vitamin D-ology online quiz developed by Shaklee scientists.  Stay Well, Elise

Allergies…Just Where do they Come From and How Can we Get them to GO BACK?

peanuts-rows-2x3-72Peanut Allergies have certainly been in the news lately.  Children are being diagnosed with food allergies in growing numbers, even if the figures vary depending on the source quoted.  But the Why is not always clear.  Why are  food allergies becoming more common?   Many theories have been put forth, including the latest research from the US, Israel & the United Kingdom.

Even Popular Science Magazine has looked into this problem.  A recent article, “Why are so many kids allergic to peanuts?” has several theories:

  • An overactive Immune System. Anne Muñoz-Furlong, CEO of the US Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, suggests that we have done such a good job of eliminating the threats that the immune system is supposed to manage, it is now attacking food-based allergens instead. Wow, we are washing our hands too much!

This is the so-called Hygiene Hypothesis.  In medicine, the Hygiene Hypothesis states that a lack of early childhood exposure to infectious agents, symbiotic microorganisms (e.g. gut flora), and parasites increases susceptibility to allergic diseases by modulating immune system development.

  • Peanuts contain several proteins not found in other foods. These proteins have a structure that can stimulate a strong immune response as Allergy specialist Dr Robert Wood from John Hopkins University. It seems roasting may change the proteins’ shape, making them an even bigger target for the immune system. Boiling does not have the same effect.
  • Previous indirect exposure to peanuts (eg. in the womb or in breast milk). Recent research tends to downplay this theory, however.
  • Videogames. Videogames?? According to Popular Science, it seems that some scientists believe the human body needs Vitamin D to help the immune system label substances as innocuous. Children who spend less time outdoors (ie playing videogames) tend to be deficient in Vitamin D, which the body needs sunlight to make, so they are more likely to have immune systems that might mislabel peanut proteins as dangerous.

So what do Parents DO?  What is Popular Science’s advice?  Parents looking to protect their kids might consider sending them outside – and not washing their hands when they come home.  Now throw the kids in a mud puddle and let them play and have fun making mud pies.   Just like me when I was a kid!  I played in the red mud of Georgia and got really dirty, only to spend time in the tub each night trying to get clean.  My poor Mother!  But I can eat peanuts!!! Yeah.

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