Food rich in vitamin D is to counter metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and a host of other serious diseases, contributing also to the rapid progression of frailty in the older person; recommended is about 800IU per day, but some are suggesting far more to prevent illness.
Over and above these common conditions, researchers at NW university have found a strong correlation between a vitamin D deficiency and death from the Covid-19 virus.
This page was last updated by Bernard Preston on 3rd June, 2020.
The philosophy behind food rich in vitamin D is all about doing whatever we can to help ourselves. It springs from a dread of serious disease and a loathing of taking so much medication, and supplements too.
Prevention is better than a cure is a much trotted out saying, but let us face it, largely ignored. In reality the ostrich mentality is prevalent; disease will not touch me or my family and, if it does, then we are confident that our doctor has a solution.
So, where do you get vitamin D if it is so vitally important?
In the Tropics sunshine contains daily the required strength of ultraviolet light to produce sufficient vitamin D in your skin, but the chances are you live far north or south of the equator.
An outdoor life then would not be sufficient. A couch potato would be in serious trouble unless he or she ate particularly well.
There is, and rightly so, a fear of a dreadful malignant skin condition known as a melanoma; however we have gone totally overboard in trying to protect ourselves from sunshine.
It should still be the main source so that we do not have to rely totally on food rich in vitamin D for our well-being.
Plus vitamin D from sunshine gives us protection against the internal malignancies; so how do we balance these concerns?
Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out for prolonged periods in the midday sun, and then a screening creme may be necessary, but for the rest of the sane world, a broad brimmed hat and some full exposure to ultraviolet light on the arms and legs, but not on your face and ears, is absolutely necessary.
Take an apple and go for a stroll at lunchtime, and then you get the triple benefit.
In Temperate regions between the Tropics and the polar regions,
probably where you live, there is never sufficient sun strength to produce adequate
vitamin D in winter, but during the rest of the year you can get adequate amounts.
In the Arctic and Antarctica the sun is never strong enough year round; food rich in vitamin D is vital.
There are two types of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB, but only the latter generates vitamin D; both contribute to melanomas.
The proportion of UVB is greatest around midday, so one gains greater amounts of useful sunshine around noon, but early and late there is more UVA and thus the benefit to risk ratio is lower.
In short, a short exposure in the middle of the day is more beneficial; you need less time to get your quota and surprisingly less damage from UVA.
So, perhaps the English are not so mad after all.
As a rule of thumb, a quarter of an hour in the sun around noon, three days a week, in midsummer would be adequate.
On the shoulders of summer, you would need half an hour.
Luckily it is fat soluble, so it is stored in the body for the long winter months when exposure to sun has far less benefit; that is when food rich in vitamin D is especially important.
So take your sunshine for a short period in the middle of the day, and then go indoors or apply sunblock. Always wear a hat and not just a peak.
Researchers led by Prof Vadim Backman were skeptical of many of the theories on how people react to the Covid-19 virus after noticing unusual and unexpected differences in deaths from the disease from one country to another. However when they examined vitamin D levels they discovered a strong correlation; this would explain why the illness is so much more deadly in the depths of winter when people are exposed to much less sunlight.
Vitamin D helps lower C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker.
Vitamin D not only enhances our normal immune systems, it also prevents it from becoming dangerously overactive; it is that which kills, says he. A 'cyctokine storm' results; it is a highly inflammatory condition provoked by an overactive immune system.
He continues that adequate levels of vitamin D will not protect us from contracting the virus, but their research indicates it will halve the rate of serious complications and death. You may still get sick, but you will not die.
It also explains why children are less prone to severe responses to the virus; their immature immune systems are far less likely to provoke these cytokine storms.
The C-19 virus gains access to our cells by binding onto the ACE2 receptor, a part of normal cell function that regulates blood pressure amongst other things. This receptor has a sugar spike to which the coronavirus attaches; it does this more readily in those who have raised blood glucose explaining why the obese and diabetics are more prone to a severe inflammatory infection.
This receptor in the lungs is also up-regulated by some by some hypertensive drugs making it more receptive to the virus. The majority of those who experience a cytokine storm have either raised blood pressure or glucose, or worse still both.
There is general agreement amongst doctors that keeping your blood glucose level well below 10 mmol/L [180 mg/dL] is associated with a lower mortality rate among patients with T2D and COVID-19.
Part of the secret is to enjoy those spices like cinnamon that help regulate blood glucose on a daily basis; the cinnamon and diabetes link is well established in the literature. Even more important of course is to strictly limit refined carbohydrate at this time if we are not to succumb to a C-19 virus exposure.
And at all times if we hope to happy, healthy old age, free from cardiovascular and other diseases associated with raised blood glucose.
Almost 50% of the American population is either wholly or pre-diabetic. It is much lower in South Africa, officially at about 15% despite our obesity, but it still high. More than one in ten frank diabetics hospitalised with C-19 die within one week.
Risk of death is higher from both types of diabetes when infected by the C-19 virus, but is even more dangerous for those with T1D.
Delaying anything sweet or starchy, and taking a walk, in the early morning helps to counteract the 'dawn phenomenon' that occurs in both T1D and T2D; in over a half of diabetics blood glucose rises ominously in the early hours. This is perhaps why an early dinner and late breakfast, a longer fast, helps with weight loss.
Well known symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger and weight loss. Less commonly known are blurred vision, tingling in the feet, yeast infections and inflammation of the penis, known as balantis.
Diabetics usually also have abnormal glucagon secretion by the alpha cells in the pancreas; this serves to raise not only blood glucose but also triglycerides above 250 mg/dL (2.82 mmol/L).
So common and deadly is diabetes that everyone over 45 should be routinely tested. A fasting blood glucose level above 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) confirms the diagnosis. A blood glucose level about 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) two hours after a starchy, sugary meal would also lead to a high level of suspicion.
An HbA1c level over 6.5% (≥ 48 mmol/mol) also confirms the chronic raised level of blood glucose; many think it should normally be considerably lower than that, say below 5.8%.
A 5% weight loss for overweight diabetics would have an immediate benefit. That can be readily achieved by reducing refined starches and increased physical activity which should include some high intensity stuff such as jogging.
The goal should be walking at least half an hour per day, particularly immediately after starchy food; ten minutes after each meal would be ideal.
Type-2 diabetes can be reversed by a very low carbohydrate diet (less than 20-50mg per day) but this must be monitored by a suitably qualified medical doctor or dietary coach. Insulin must frequently be reduced by at least a half, otherwise there is risk of diabetic coma.
Metformin is frequently recommended but it is contraindicated in those with kidney disease.
Fatty fish has plenty of vitamin D, containing about 200-300 IU per 100g, which is an average serving. Salmon is particularly rich at 360 IU.
Our smoked salmon dip recipe is a delicious way to protect yourself from the ravages of these nasty diseases.
A one gram cod-liver oil softgel contains only about 200 IU. You will be shocked at the price to get you enough vitamin D; sunshine is far cheaper and more effective.
Our mackerel recipes are another way to supply our needs; clearly we have to look for multiple sources on a daily basis. Disturbing comments from researchers about the ineffectiveness of taking supplements, and the dangers of unexpected consequences, like the increase in prostate cancer from taking alpha tocopherol, the most common form of vitamin E in supplements.
Luckily fatty fish is also the best source of anti-inflammatory omega 3.
"Let thy food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food."
Hippocrates (460 - 370 BC)
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Food rich in vitamin D, and moderate amounts of sunshine are necessary. These recipes for mussels are interesting if you are fortunate enough to live in a place like Holland. Shellfish in general are another good source.
A typical serving of mushrooms supplies about 20 IU of vitamin D; not very much.
This sauteed mushroom recipe is one of our favourites.
One egg also provides about 20-30 IU, not a huge amount but it all helps.
Eggs Florentine supplies not only the vitamin D but also all the benefits of spinach. Adequate sunshine remains important.
Food rich in vitamin D is also strongly linked to less osteoporosis and a stronger immune system; make sure you get it from sunshine and these meals, or there is serious illness on the way.
Perhaps oddly, since vitamin D is so important for bone strength, it not normally listed in those four absolutely needed to prevent premature aging, known as frailty syndrome.
So, just how much vitamin D do you need? Can you get enough from your smoked salmon dip recipe? For the first fifty years of your life, you require about 200 IU per day. After that, scientists advise a rapidly increasing amount to protect your bones against osteoporosis.
400-600 IU, and perhaps a lot more.
More sunshine, fatty fish, eggs, and mushrooms are needed.
The long and the short of it is vitamin D is vitally important in the body to protect you against
invading bugs, give you good bone strength and stimulate your immune
system. Plus it has a huge role to play in the management of diabetes, and thus cardiovascular disease.
Depending on at what latitude you live, fatty fish, mushrooms, eggs and walking benefits are absolutely vital, especially if you are in the temperate zone, in which case you will not get adequate vitamin D in winter.
The alternative is colds and flu, broken bones and a weak immune system; think of food rich in vitamin D if you want to be healthy and have the protection of omega-3, and of course the very best of protein.
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The more so the older you get. And maybe an occasional cod-liver oil softgel, and regular smoked salmon dip recipe.
Vitamin D is central in protecting our bodies from many diseases; one of them is age related macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness in the elderly.
Acting along with two phytochemcials, lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin D has a proven role in preventing blindness in the older person.
At lutein macular degeneration you will find a simple test you can do at home to detect the onset of AMD.
Your smoked salmon dip recipe is one of the richest sources of anti inflammatory omega 3, over and above the vitamin D; do you suffer from a lot of pain and anger in your joints and muscles, blood vessels and organs?
Then look to food and inflammation for the solution; enjoy these meals daily and you will be able to get off those nasty meds, or at least drastically reduce them. Is a life without medication a pipe-dream? Not if you start thinking about subjects like food rich in vitamin D long before illness strikes.
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you know that anti inflammatory drugs kill about 12,000 Americans every
year, just from a bleed in the gut? That is not including the increased
levels of heart disease and catastrophic strokes associated with NSAIDs.
Anti inflammatory omega 3 comes in the main from fatty fish, freshly ground flax seed and walnuts; if you are not having at least one of those regularly, you will be having pain in your body.
For unknown reasons, though a vitamin D deficiency is suspected, obese children are twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis later in life as compared to those with a normal BMI. This large study in the USA focused on women3.
Munger et al, published their research in the journal Neurology, showing that women with vitamin D levels below 30 nmol/L had a 43% higher risk of developing MS. This explains why those living nearer to the equator are far less likely to get the disease.
A daily walk in the sun, with a hat on and without sunscreen, has profoundly important benefits for our well-being.
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