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Vitamin D is a Key Player in Your Overall Health

 

Vitamin D, once linked to only bone diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis, is now recognized as a major player in overall human health.In a paper published in the August issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Anthony Norman, an international expert on vitamin D, identifies vitamin D’s potential for contributions to good health in the adaptive and innate immune systems, the secretion and regulation of insulin by the pancreas, the heart and blood pressure regulation, muscle strength and brain activity.

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Access to adequate amounts of vitamin D is also believed to be beneficial towards reducing the risk of cancer.

Norman also lists 36 organ tissues in the body whose cells respond biologically to vitamin D, including bone marrow, breast, colon, intestine, kidney, lung, prostate, retina, skin, stomach and uterine tissues.

According to Norman, deficiency of vitamin D can impact all 36 organs. Already, vitamin D deficiency is associated with muscle strength decrease, high risk for falls, and increased risk for colorectal, prostate and breast and other major cancers.

An unrelated study also suggests that low vitamin D is associated with Parkinson’s disease. The majority (55 percent) of Parkinson’s disease patients in the study had insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics has doubled its recommendation for a daily dose of vitamin D in children, in the hopes of preventing rickets and promoting other health benefits.

The new guidelines now call for children to receive 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day, beginning in the first few days of life.

“ … Evidence has shown this could have life-long health benefits,” said Dr. Frank Greer of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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Alternative Therapies for Migraine Sufferers

Some 30 million Americans suffer from recurring headaches or migraines, with women three times more likely than men to suffer migraines, according to a recent American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study by the National Headache Foundation.

Migraine is listed as the 19th most common cause of disability   ahead of Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, according to the World Health Organization.

While many sufferers turn to over-the-counter painkillers or prescription drugs for a quick fix, more and more Americans are now looking for alternative therapies. Make sure to ask your doctor before trying any of these remedies, and don’t try them all at once. Lastly, be patient while waiting for results.

Alternative Therapies

Liz Weiss, contributing editor at Health magazine, suggested these alternative migraine remedies:

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Riboflavin, which is vitamin B2, converts energy from carbohydrates. There’s a belief that people with migraines have low levels of energy in their brains, which causes hypersensitivity to things like light or noise. The riboflavin gives your brain more energy, which makes it less likely to be bothered by migraine triggers.

Magnesium
Studies show that people who take more magnesium than they need have fewer migraines. Magnesium also combats hypersensitivity in the brain, and it has been shown to decrease migraine pain. So, even if you do get a migraine, it’s not going to be as bad.

Butterbur
For years people have been taking butterbur, an herb you can buy in health food stores, to fight allergies. Now this anti-inflammatory is seen as one of the newer migraine treatments, because migraines are basically an inflammation of blood vessels in your brain. Studies show you have to take butterbur for a while before you discover a decrease in migraines. But you can take this preventative along with your prescription.

Coenzyme Q
This antioxidant found in meat and nuts has been shown to give the brain more energy. It also cuts the frequency of migraine attacks and reduces nausea. Coenzyme Q, found in health food stores, is expensive and probably not the first alternative remedy to try.

Botox
Doctors noticed that patients who were getting Botox injections for wrinkles not only had fewer wrinkles, but fewer migraines as well. Botox blocks the pain, basically by deadening the area. It is extremely expensive compared to other alternative remedies and is not covered by insurance. But if you have severe migraines, you might want to consider it.

Worth Noting

It’s worth noting that coenzyme Q has not been studied much in healthy people; it’s mainly been studied in connection with heart disease. Also, placebo-controlled trials find that vitamin B and magnesium are no better than placebo at improving migraine headaches. The placebo effect in migraine headache studies is pretty high: If you think you are doing something to help your headache, you often will see a large improvement — usually around 50 percent, experts say.

Alternative therapies may offer safer alternatives to drugs. But remember that although vitamins and herbs may be natural, they are not without health consequences. Even at moderate levels, some vitamins have been shown to slighly increase risk of death. You definitely don’t want people overdosing on them.

It’s alway a good idea to talk to your doctor about which vitamins and herbs to try as well as to ask him or her how many pills are safe to take.

Source:ABC News