Tag Archives: Vitamin D

Rickets

Definition:
Rickets is a softening of bones in children due to deficiency or impaired metabolism of vitamin D, magnesium , phosphorus or calcium, potentially leading to fractures and deformity. Rickets is among the most frequent childhood diseases in many developing countries. The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency, but lack of adequate calcium in the diet may also lead to rickets (cases of severe diarrhea and vomiting may be the cause of the deficiency). Although it can occur in adults, the majority of cases occur in children suffering from severe malnutrition, usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood. Osteomalacia is the term used to describe a similar condition occurring in adults, generally due to a deficiency of vitamin D. The origin of the word “rickets” is probably from the Old English dialect word ‘wrickken’, to twist. The Greek derived word “rachitis” (paXiTig, meaning “inflammation of the spine”) was later adopted as the scientific term for rickets, due chiefly to the words’ similarity in sound.

Click to see the picture..

Types:-
*Nutritional Rickets
*Vitamin D Resistant Rickets
*Vitamin D Dependent Rickets
…#Type I
…#Type II
*Congenital Rickets

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Symptoms:

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Signs and symptoms of rickets may include:

•Bone pain or tenderness
…#Arms
…#Legs
…#Pelvis
…#Spine

•Dental deformities
…#Delayed formation of teeth
…#Decreased muscle tone (loss of muscle strength)
…#Defects in the structure of teeth; holes in the enamel
…#Increased cavities in the teeth (dental caries)
…#Progressive weakness

•Impaired growth
•Increased bone fractures
•Muscle cramps
•Short stature (adults less than 5 feet tall)

•Skeletal deformities
…#Asymmetrical or odd-shaped skull
…#Bowlegs
…#Bumps in the ribcage (rachitic rosary)
…#Breastbone pushed forward (pigeon chest)
…#Pelvic deformities
…#Spine deformities (spine curves abnormally, including scoliosis or kyphosis)

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Causes:
Vitamin D helps the body control calcium and phosphate levels. If the blood levels of these minerals become too low, the body may produce hormones that cause calcium and phosphate to be released from the bones. This leads to weak and soft bones.

Vitamin D is absorbed from food or produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. Lack of vitamin D production by the skin may occur in people who:

•Live in climates with little exposure to sunlight
•Must stay indoors
•Work indoors during the daylight hours
You may not get enough vitamin D from your diet if you:

•Are lactose intolerant (have trouble digesting milk products)
•Do not drink milk products
•Follow a vegetarian diet
Infants who are breastfed only may develop vitamin D deficiency. Human breast milk does not supply the proper amount of vitamin D. This can be a particular problem for darker-skinned children in winter months (when there are lower levels of sunlight).

Not getting enough calcium and phosphorous in your diet can also lead to rickets. Rickets caused by a lack of these minerals in diet is rare in developed countries, because calcium and phosphorous are found in milk and green vegetables.

Your genes may increase your risk of rickets. Hereditary rickets is a form of the disease that is passed down through families. It occurs when the kidneys are unable to hold onto the mineral phosphate. Rickets may also be caused by kidney disorders that involve renal tubular acidosis.

Problems with absorption
Some children are born with or develop medical conditions that affect the way their bodies absorb vitamin D. Some examples include:

*Celiac disease
*Inflammatory bowel disease
*Cystic fibrosis
*Kidney problems

Rickets is rare in the United States. It is most likely to occur in children during periods of rapid growth, when the body needs high levels of calcium and phosphate. Rickets may be seen in children ages 6 – 24 months. It is uncommon in newborns.

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Risk Factors:
*Age. Children 6 to 24 months old are most at risk of rickets because their skeletons are growing so rapidly.

*Dark skin. Dark skin doesn’t react as strongly to sunshine as does lighter colored skin, so it produces less vitamin D.

*Northern latitudes. Children who live in geographical locations where there is less sunshine are at higher risk of rickets.

*Premature birth. Babies born before their due dates are more likely to develop rickets.

*Anti-seizure medications. Certain types of anti-seizure medications appear to interfere with the body’s ability to use vitamin D.

*Exclusively breast-fed. Breast milk doesn’t contain enough vitamin D to prevent rickets. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vitamin D drops for breast-fed babies

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Complications:
If left untreated, rickets may lead to:

*Failure to grow
*Skeletal deformities
*Bone fractures
*Dental defects
*Breathing problems and pneumonia
*Seizures

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Diagnosis:
A physical exam reveals tenderness or pain in the bones, rather than in the joints or muscles.

The following tests may help diagnose rickets:

•Arterial blood gases
•Blood tests (serum calcium)
•Bone biopsy (rarely done)
•Bone x-rays
•Serum alkaline phosphatase
•Serum phosphorus

Other tests and procedures include the following:

•ALP (alkaline phosphatase) isoenzyme
•Calcium (ionized)
•PTH
•Urine calcium

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Treatment:
The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms and correct the cause of the condition. The cause must be treated to prevent the disease from returning.

Replacing calcium, phosphorus, or vitamin D that is lacking will eliminate most symptoms of rickets. Dietary sources of vitamin D include fish, liver, and processed milk. Exposure to moderate amounts of sunlight is encouraged. If rickets is caused by a metabolic problem, a prescription for vitamin D supplements may be needed.

Positioning or bracing may be used to reduce or prevent deformities. Some skeletal deformities may require corrective surgery.

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Prognosis:
The disorder may be corrected by replacing vitamin D and minerals. Laboratory values and x-rays usually improve after about 1 week, although some cases may require large doses of minerals and vitamin D.

If rickets is not corrected while the child is still growing, skeletal deformities and short stature may be permanent. If it is corrected while the child is young, skeletal deformities often improve or disappear with time.

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Prevention:
Most adolescents and adults receive much of their necessary vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Infants and young children, however, need to avoid direct sun entirely or be especially careful by always wearing sunscreen.

Make sure your child is consuming foods that contain vitamin D naturally — fatty fish, fish oil and egg yolks — or that have been fortified with vitamin D, such as:

*Infant formula
*Cereals
*Milk
*Orange juice

Because human milk contains only a small amount of vitamin D, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all breast-fed infants receive 400 international units (IU) of oral vitamin D daily beginning the first few days of life.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

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Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rickets/DS00813
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000344.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickets
http://trialx.com/curebyte/2011/05/24/images-related-to-rickets/

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Vitamin D Can Radically Reduce Damage from Radioactivity from Fukushima

As understanding of Vitamin D increases, it is becoming apparent that its most active form, Vitamin D3 (calcitriol), may offer protection against a variety of radiation-induced damages. Vitamin D’s protective action is carried by a wide variety of mechanisms, including cell cycle regulation and proliferation, cellular differentiation and communication, and programmed cell death (apoptosis).

A paper on the subject argued that vitamin D should be considered among the prime nonpharmacological agents that offer protection against low radiation damage and radiation-induced cancer — or even the primary agent.

According to the paper in the International Journal of Low Radiation:“… [O]ur understanding of how vitamin D mediates biological responses has entered a new era … In view of the evidence that has been presented here, it would appear that vitamin D by its preventive/ameliorating actions should be given serious consideration as a protective agent against sublethal radiation injury, and in particular that induced by low radiation”.

Source: International Journal of Low Radiation 2008; 5(4)

Posted By Dr. Mercola | June 03 2011

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Cradle Cap

Alternative Names:  Seborrheic eczema; Cradle cap,infantile or neonatal seborrhoeic dermatitis,
crusta lactea, milk crust, honeycomb disease.

Definition:
Cradle cap  is a yellowish, patchy, greasy, scaly and crusty skin rash that occurs on the scalp of recently born babies. It is usually not itchy, and does not bother the baby. Cradle cap most commonly begins sometime in the first 3 months. Similar symptoms in older children are more likely to be dandruff than cradle cap. The rash is often prominent around the ear, the eyebrows or the eyelids. It may appear in other locations as well, where it is called seborrhoeic dermatitis rather than cradle cap. Some countries use the term pityriasis capitis for cradle cap. It is extremely common, with about half of all babies affected. Most of them have a mild version of the disorder. Severe cradle cap is rare.
CLICK & SEE
It’s not due to poor hygiene and isn’t contagious or an allergy. Cradle cap tends to run in families, so there may be a genetic predisposition.

Cradle cap usually resolves on its own within a few months. Self-care measures, such as washing your baby’s scalp daily with a mild shampoo, can help loosen and remove the cradle cap scales. If cradle cap persists or seems severe, your doctor may suggest a medicated shampoo, lotion or other treatment.

Symptoms:-
Common signs of cradle cap include:
*Skin lesions
*Plaques over large area
*Greasy, oily areas of skin
*Skin scales — white and flaking, or yellowish, oily, and adherent — “dandruff”
*Itching — may become more itchy if infected
*Mild redness
*Hair loss
*Patchy scaling or thick crusts on the scalp
*Greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales
*Skin flakes or dandruff
*Possibly mild redness

Similar scales may also be present on the ears, eyelids, nose and groin.

Cradle cap is most common in newborns. It isn’t contagious and probably won’t bother your baby. In most cases, the condition isn’t itchy for infants.

Causes:
Cradle cap is not caused by a bacterial infection, allergy, nor from poor hygiene. Doctors are not in agreement as to the causes, but the two most common hypotheses include fungal infection and overactive sebaceous glands.

In many cases, what is commonly called cradle cap is actually a fungal infection. This infection may be related to antibiotics given to the mother just before the infant’s birth, or the infection could be related to antibiotics routinely given to infants during the first week of life. Antibiotics kill both harmful bacteria as well as the helpful bacteria that prevent the growth of yeast, which is why people who are prone to fungal infections will often discover a fungal infection after taking a round of antibiotics. In infants, the fungus is mostly likely to appear on the scalp (cradle cap), diaper area (fungal diaper rash, jock itch), ear (fungal ear infection, or an ear infection that does not respond to antibiotics),or in the mouth (thrush).

Another common cause of cradle cap appears to be a common manifestation of biotin insufficiency. This may be due, in part, to the influence of biotin on fatty acid biosynthesis. Possibly it has to do with overactive sebaceous glands in the skin of newborn babies, due to the mother’s hormones still in the baby’s circulation. The glands release a greasy substance that makes old skin cells attach to the scalp instead of falling off as they dry. There may be a relationship with skin yeasts (Pityrosporum ovale, newly renamed Malassezia furfur). Seborrheic dermatitis is the adult version of cradle cap

SOME SIGNS OF WARNING:-
If the condition thickens, turns red and irritated, starts spreading, appears on other body parts, or if the baby develops thrush (fungal mouth infection), fungal ear infection (an ear infection that does not respond to antibiotics) or a persistent diaper rash, medical intervention is recommended.

Severe cases of cradle cap, especially with cracked or bleeding skin, can provide a place for bacteria to grow. If the cradle cap is caused by a fungal infection which has worsened significantly over days or weeks to allow bacterial growth (impetigo, most commonly), a combination treatment of antibiotics and antifungals may be necessary. Since it is difficult for a layperson to distinguish the difference between sebaceous gland cradle cap, fungal cradle cap, or either of these combined with a bacterial infection, medical advice should be sought if the condition appears to worsen.

Cradle cap is occasionally linked to immune disorders. If the baby is not thriving and has other problems (e.g. diarrhoea), a doctor should be consulted.

Possible Complications:
•Psychological distress, low self esteem, embarrassment
•Secondary bacterial or fungal infections

Treatment:
Treatment other than gentle washing is not necessary in most mild cases (flaking, with or without small patches of yellow crusting), as the problem often resolves itself whether the cause is sebaceous-gland-related or fungal, but since many patients (and/or parents) are concerned about cosmetic issues, the following options are often considered:

-For all ages: Home remedies include the application of various oils, lotions, or petroleum jelly. There is little adequate or controlled research to support or negate the usefulness of most common home remedies at any age, but there is anecdotal evidence to support either position. When cradle cap is related to fungal infection, treatment for other fungal infections can also work. Tinea capitis is one example of a fungal cause. Doctors may prescribe a seven-day daily application of clotrim (commonly prescribed for jock itch or athlete’s foot) or miconazol nitrate (commonly prescribed for vaginal yeast infections).

-For infants: in cases that are related to fungal infection, doctors may recommend once-daily application of clotrim (1%) or miconozal nitrate (2%) for seven to fourteen days.

-Application of  lavender oil may be helpful for fungal infection.

-For toddlers: doctors may recommend a treatment with a mild dandruff shampoo such as Selsun Blue or Neutrogena T-gel, even though the treatment may cause initial additional scalp irritation. A doctor may instead prescribe an antifungal soap such as ketoconazole (2%) shampoo, which can work in a single treatment and shows significantly less irritation than over-the-counter shampoos such as selenium sulfide shampoos, but no adequate and controlled study has been conducted for pediatric use as of 2010.

-For adults: Seborrheic dermatitis (the adult version of cradle cap) usually requires the use of an antifungal shampoo, possibly along with the nightly application of an antifungal cream or an anti-itch cream/gel like Scalpicin. Some doctors also recommend the supplementation of a B-vitamin complex to improve fatty acid metabolism..

Scalp, behind ears, eyebrows:
The common home remedy of applying oil (vegetable, particularly olive oil, or mineral oil) liberally to the scalp and letting it soak in overnight or for lesser periods of time seems to conflict with the fact that Malassezia yeasts thrive in oily environments preferring saturated fats, although anecdotal reports suggest it may be effective. This may be because olive oil is primarily unsaturated fat and does not promote fungal growth. If the cradle cap is not severe, you may try to comb it out gently after bathing. The softened scales can then be brushed away with a soft brush, comb or cloth, but if not done very gently, this can worsen the condition and bring about temporary hair loss. There has been no studies done on these recommendations. Applying petroleum jelly (e.g., Vaseline) liberally overnight is another popular treatment. The softened scales either fall off during the night, or can be brushed off in the morning. Making a paste from sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and leaving it on the affected area for 10 minutes can also help lift the scales.


There is broad disagreement regarding the role of shampoos. Some sources warn against frequent shampooing, others recommend it. Mild baby shampoo is often recommended, while never specifying what “mild” actually means. Baby shampoos often contain detergent surfactants, perfumes, quaternium-15 and other eczemagenic irritants. Again, no studies have been performed on non-prescription shampoos.

Keratolytic (dandruff) shampoos (e.g. with sulfur, selenium, zinc pyrithione, or salicylic acid) are generally not recommended as they sting eyes and may worsen the dermatitis. In stubborn cases some doctors do recommend them while others warn against the use of medicated shampoos in newborns due to systemic absorption. Dandruff shampoos often contain sodium dodecyl sulfate, a noted skin irritant.

Steroid and tar preparations have also been used but have significant drawbacks. Immunomodulators (tacrolimus/Protopic, pimecrolimus/Elidel) have not been approved for babies under two years.

Ketoconazole shampoos and creams are taking first place in medical treatment of moderate to serious cradle cap. Research so far indicates that this anti-fungal medication is not absorbed into the bloodstream. Ketoconazole shampoo is currently made with a number of problematic irritants and allergens.

A Swedish study   found good results from massaging the scalp with small amounts of borage oil twice a day.

Other home remedies recommended in various alternative sources and parent forums are herbal washes (e.g. burdock or chamomile), aloe gel, and tea tree oil (Melaleuca oil) shampoo. Tea tree oil and aloe can be sensitizers; any worsening should be an occasion to discontinue the remedy in question. Both remedies have been tested in medical trials and found useful.

Eyelids:…….click & see
Typical medical advice is to use diluted baby shampoo on a cotton swab to cleanse the eyelid. There is no agreement on the dilution, which ranges from a few drops to a half cup warm water, to a 50/50 mix. No studies have been performed on the efficacy or safety of this treatment. (Please note the problems with baby shampoo noted above.) In adults, a study comparing soap and baby shampoo to commercial eyelid scrubs found that patients strongly preferred not to put soap or shampoo on their eyelids. Baking soda has also been recommended (a teaspoonful in a cup of boiled water) and is well accepted by adults. Boiled warm water wash may help.


Prognosis:
As the baby matures this conditions will be cleared.However, studies have shown that the condition occasionally persists into the toddler years, and less commonly into later childhood. It tends to recur in adolescence and persists into adulthood. In an Australian study, about 15 percent of previously diagnosed children still had eczema 10 years later. Sometimes, cradle cap turns into atopic dermatitis. Rarely, it turns out to be misdiagnosed psoriasis.

Prevention:
Shampooing your baby’s hair every few days can help prevent cradle cap. Stick with a mild baby shampoo unless your baby’s doctor recommends something stronger.

The severity of cardle cap can be lessened by controlling the risk factors and by paying careful attention to skin care.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/cradlecap2.shtml
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000963.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cradle-cap/DS01074
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cradle_cap
http://www.livestrong.com/article/294548-itchy-scalp-behind-my-ears/
http://www.dermis.net/dermisroot/en/39521/image.htm

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Green Tea Extracts Plus Vitamin D Boost Bone Health

Green tea polyphenols combined with a form of vitamin D called alfacalcidol could boost bone structure and strength, according to a new study in mice.
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The mixture may reverse damage to bones caused by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced chronic inflammation, which could in turn reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Chronic inflammation causes bone loss through oxidative stress and excessive production of pro-inflammatory molecules.

According to NutraIngredients:

“The researchers reported that both extracted green tea polyphenols and alfacalcidol supplementations reversed LPS-induced changes in bone structure, whilst a combination of both was shown to sustain bone micro-architecture and strength.”

You may click to see :Green Tea and Vitamin D: Cancer Prevention at Your Table?


Resources:

NutraIngredients November 2, 2010
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry October 29, 2010

Posted By:
Dr. Mercola | December 01 2010

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Vitamin D Deficiency Doubles Risk Of Stroke in Whites

Low levels of vitamin D, the essential nutrient obtained from milk, fortified cereals and exposure to sunlight, doubles the risk of stroke in whites, but not in blacks, according to a new report by researchers at Johns Hopkins.

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Stroke is the nation’s third leading cause of death, killing more than 140,000 Americans annually and temporarily or permanently disabling over half a million when there is a loss of blood flow to the brain.

Researchers say their findings back up evidence from earlier work at Johns Hopkins linking vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of death, heart disease and peripheral artery disease in adults.

The Hopkins team says its results fail to explain why African Americans, who are more likely to be vitamin D deficient due to their darker skin pigmentation’s ability to block the sun’s rays, also suffer from higher rates of stroke. Of the 176 study participants known to have died from stroke within a 14-year period, 116 were white and 60 were black. Still, African Americans had a 65 percent greater likelihood of suffering such a severe bleeding in or interruption of blood flow to the brain than whites, when age, other risk factors for stroke, and vitamin D deficiency were factored into their analysis.

“Higher numbers for hypertension and diabetes definitely explain some of the excess risk for stroke in blacks compared to whites, but not this much risk,” says study co-lead investigator and preventive cardiologist Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart and Vascular Institute. “Something else is surely behind this problem. However, don’t blame vitamin D deficits for the higher number of strokes in blacks.”

Nearly 8,000 initially healthy men and women of both races were involved in the latest analysis, part of a larger, ongoing national health survey, in which the researchers compared the risk of death from stroke between those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D to those with higher amounts. Among them, 6.6 percent of whites and 32.3 percent of blacks had severely low blood levels of vitamin D, which the experts say is less than 15 nanograms per milliliter.

“It may be that blacks have adapted over the generations to vitamin D deficiency, so we are not going to see any compounding effects with stroke,” says Michos, who notes that African Americans have adapted elsewhere to low levels of the bone-strengthening vitamin, with fewer incidents of bone fracture and greater overall bone density than seen in Caucasians.

“In blacks, we may not need to raise vitamin D levels to the same level as in whites to minimize their risk of stroke” says Michos, who emphasizes that clinical trials are needed to verify that supplements actually do prevent heart attacks and stroke. In her practice, she says, she monitors her patients’ levels of the key nutrient as part of routine blood work while also testing for other known risk factors for heart disease and stroke, including blood pressure, glucose and lipid levels.

Michos cautions that the number of fatal strokes recorded in blacks may not have been statistically sufficient to find a relationship with vitamin D deficits. And she points out that the study only assessed information on deaths from stroke, not the more common “brain incidents” of stroke, which are usually non-fatal, or even mini-strokes, whose symptoms typically dissipate in a day or so. She says the team’s next steps will be to evaluate cognitive brain function as well as non-fatal and transient strokes and any possible tie-ins to nutrient deficiency.

Besides helping to keep bones healthy, vitamin D plays an essential role in preventing abnormal cell growth, and in bolstering the body’s immune system. The hormone-like nutrient also controls blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, essential chemicals in the body. Shortages of vitamin D have also been tied to increased rates of breast cancer and depression in the elderly.

Michos recommends that people maintain good vitamin D levels by eating diets rich in such fish as salmon and tuna, consuming vitamin-D fortified dairy products, and taking vitamin D supplements. She also promotes brief exposure daily to the sun’s vitamin D-producing ultraviolet light. And to those concerned about the cancer risks linked to too much time spent in the sun, she says as little as 10 to 15 minutes of daily exposure is enough during the summer months.

If vitamin supplements are used, Michos says that daily doses between 1,000 and 2,000 international units are generally safe and beneficial for most people, but that people with the severe vitamin D deficits may need higher doses under close supervision by their physician to avoid possible risk of toxicity.

The U.S. Institute of Medicine (IOM) previously suggested that an adequate daily intake of vitamin D is between 200 and 600 international units. However, Michos argues that this may be woefully inadequate for most people to raise their vitamin D blood levels to a healthy 30 nanograms per milliliter. The IOM has set up an expert panel to review its vitamin D guidelines, with new recommendations expected by the end of the year. Previous results from the same nationwide survey showed that 41 percent of men and 53 percent of women have unhealthy amounts of vitamin D, with nutrient levels below 28 nanograms per milliliter.

Source
:Elements4Health

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