Basic Vitamin & Supplement Glossary

Amino Acids. The building blocks that make up proteins. Humans need 20 different amino acids to function properly. Some are made by the body. Others, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from foods.

Antioxidant. Substances, like vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene, that protect your body from the damage of oxidation caused by free radicals.

Botanicals. Substances obtained from plants and used in food supplements, personal care products, or pharmaceuticals. Other names include “herbal medicine” and “plant medicine.”

Daily Value. Found on food and drink nutrition labels, this number tells you the percentage of the recommended dietary allowance provided by one serving of the food or drink in question.

Fat Soluble. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, are absorbed by the body with dietary fats. Your body stores excess fat-soluble vitamins in your liver and body fat, then uses them as needed. Ingesting more fat-soluble vitamins than you need can be toxic, causing side-effects like nausea, vomiting, and liver and heart problems.

Fortify. To increase a food or drink’s nutritional value by adding vitamins, minerals, or other substances. For example, milk is fortified with vitamins A and D.

Free Radicals. An atom or molecule with at least one unpaired electron, making it unstable and reactive. When free radicals react with certain chemicals in the body, they may interfere with the ability of cells to function normally. Antioxidants can stabilize free radicals.

Herb. Herbs are plants used as flavorings in cooking, but herbs can also be used as supplements for health or medicinal reasons.

Megadose. Supplements that provide more than 100% of the daily value of the body’s required vitamins and minerals.

Micronutrients. The name given to vitamins and minerals because your body needs them in small amounts. Micronutrients are vital to your body’s ability to process the “macronutrients:” fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. Examples are chromium, zinc, and selenium.

Minerals. Nutrients found in the earth or water and absorbed by plants and animals for proper nutrition. Minerals are the main component of teeth and bones, and help build cells and support nerve impulses, among other things. One example is calcium.

Multivitamin. A pill, beverage, or other substance containing more than one vitamin.

Oxidation. A chemical reaction in which oxygen combines with a substance, changing or destroying its normal function. Oxidation can damage cell membranes and interfere with a cell’s regulatory systems, but it is also part of our normal-functioning immune system.

Phytochemicals. Health-protecting compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and other plants. Phytochemicals (sometimes called phytonutrients) include beta-carotene, lycopene, and resveratrol.

Prenatal Vitamins. Specially formulated multivitamins that ensure a pregnant woman gets enough essential micronutrients. Prenatal supplements generally contain more folic acid, iron, and calcium than standard adult supplements.

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). The amount of nutrients needed daily to prevent the development of disease in most people. An example is vitamin C; the RDA is 70 milligrams, below which, for most people, there is the risk of developing scurvy.

Supplements. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, or other substances taken orally and meant to correct deficiencies in the diet.

U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP). A nonprofit authority that sets standards and certifies supplements that meet certain quality, strength, and purity standards. Many supplements carry the USP symbol on their label.

Vitamins. Naturally found in plants and animals, vitamins are vital to growth, energy, and nerve function. There are two types of vitamins used by the body to support health: fat-soluble and water-soluble.

Water-Soluble. Water-soluble vitamins like B-6, C, and folic acid are easily absorbed by the body. Your body uses the vitamins it needs, then excretes excess water-soluble vitamins in urine. Because these vitamins are not stored in the body, there is less risk of toxicity than with fat-soluble vitamins, but a greater risk of deficiency.

Here Are Some Terms Used in Homeopathy – Easier to Understand

Here Are Some Terms Used in Homeopathy – Easier to Understand

Terms of homeopathy seem confusing sometimes particularly for them who never know about homeopathy before. Basically, homeopathy is formed from the word “Homeo” and “pathy”. “Homeo” means similar or same, while “pathy” means pain. The base of this alternative medication is concentrates on the use of natural substances to stimulate the mind and the body in order to heal the diseases. For detail knowledge of terms of homeopathy, you might need to read the information below.

Glossary of Terms

In the terms of homeopathy, you’ll find aggravation. It is a name for an obvious enhancement in the symptoms of the disease. Then there’s also an antidote for a material or a remedy that neutralizes the effects of homeopathy medication. Dose that is recommended might be given an antidote to counteract the effect when the patient is not responding well to the homeopathy.

Tissue salts termed as cell salts and biochemic remedies are several of the most important terms of homeopathy. According to homeopaths, use twelve dissimilar salts are significant for the functioning of the body. These cell salts are prepared in low potency and used under homeopathic signs.

Symptoms that are general to a specific sickness or disease like yellow skin in jaundice are known as a common symptom. In terms of homeopathy, symptom of concomitant refers to the symptom that happens at the same time as the main complaint. Those symptoms that refer to location etiology, concomitants sensation and modalities all together give what is known as complete symptom.

Centesimal is one of the three effectiveness scales used in the homeopathy pharmacy. It’s the process of repeated dilutions and successions. In terms of homeopathy and its standards, it’s notated by 10 or 100 scales.

Taking one part of the medicinal substance, tincture or dry blended with alcohol or 99 parts of lactose, and shaken will result 1c potency. In the other hand, taking 1 part of this potency and mixing it with 99 parts of lactose or alcohol and then shaken will yield 2c. A 300c has gone through this process 300 times. A 1M has gone through the process 1000 times.

Furthermore, the decimal scale is the other potency scale in terms of homeopathy. This is a process of taking one part of the medicinal element and blending it with 9 parts of diluents, and shaken well determines a 1X (D) potency.

One part of this potency and 9 parts of diluents, then successes, yields 2X (D) potency. This continuous till the desired potency is reached. The third potency scale is the LM(50 millesimal, Q) conceived by Hahnemann. Effectiveness refers to the strength of homeopathic remedy in terms of homeopathy.

If you’re keen on implementing homeopathy into your life, you are recommended to comprehend the terms of homeopathy. By knowing the terms of homeopathy before implementing homeopathy into life, it will make you easier to gain its advantage.

Using Glutathione Therapy For Parkinsons Symptoms

Anyone living with Parkinson’s disease knows that there are good and bad days. For days when there are challenges, a new treatment, one that is relatively inexpensive, effective, and safe has been discovered.

Not only is this a safe solution for treating Parkinson’s disease, it is also highly effective. This means people with this disease have a fighting chance for normalcy. While it does not cure the disease, IV Glutathione therapy does slow down the progression.

In clinical trials, results show that up to 90% of participants using Glutathione therapy experience significant improvement. In the case of Parkinson’s, the brain’s dopamine receptors lose their sensitivity but with Glutathione, the receptors are restored to normal function.

With this form of treatment, dopamine within the brain is able to function more effectively. This means dopamine sensitivity is improved, as well as the brain’s serotonin levels that can help decrease levels of depression.

In most cases of Glutathione therapy and Parkinson’s, the patient is given 1,400 milligrams on a daily basis with saline. Using an IV drip for ten minutes, three times each week grants the medication to enter the bloodstream so it can get to work swiftly.

 

Although there’s oral Glutathione medication, IV Glutathione therapy is the only way in which Parkinson’s disease should be treated, making it much more effective. Depending on the physician providing the treatment, some will also add various drugs and herbs such as milk thistle and amino acids.

The advances seen over the years pertaining to IV Glutathione therapy are incredible. This allows Parkinson’s patients to get off medications such as Levodopa that have harsh side effects. Anyone interested in this treatment option should remain on any prescribed drugs and then speak to their doctor about eliminating them and switching over to Glutathione therapy.

There are so many wonderful benefits associated with IV Glutathione therapy but the number one is the elimination of side effects, something no patient wants to deal with. Not only do many of the traditional medications have side effects but some also come with serious health risk factors to include stroke and heart attack.

Although the cost of Glutathione therapy is a little higher than other options, it works exceptionally well. The good news is that most insurance companies are now providing partial or full coverage of this substance because it has been approved by the FDA.

Within a short time of a person with Parkinsons Symptoms being put on IV Glutathione therapy, they start to respond to the treatment. This means the patient starts to take back some control over his or her life. As you can imagine, both patients and medical professionals are anxious to get this treatment option out to the public. Although IV Glutathione therapy is used commonly to Parkinson’s, physicians are finding that it also helps with other health problems such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and so on.

If you’ve Parkinson’s disease or another illness mentioned and find that current treatment is not providing you with the needed relief, then Glutathione therapy could be the perfect solution. More and more, this treatment option is becoming accepted among medical professionals and it might be the exact treatment you need.

US House Bill 3962 – Will Limit Alternative Health Care

US House Bill 3962 – Will Limit Alternative Health Care

House Bill 3962, in an effort to control costs, creates a new layer of government bureaucracy that inserts itself between the doctor and the patient.

A national health commissioner and task forces will evaluate and decide everything from what medications a physician will be allowed to prescribe for a patient, to what surgery will be approved, to what outcomes will be expected for a particular medical condition.

The ‘universal healthcare Czar’ along with the task forces will also decide whether or not hospitals will be reimbursed for care rendered based on predetermined outcomes. For example, if a patient is re-admitted within a prescribed number of days after discharge, the hospital will not be reimbursed for care given. It does not take into account factors such as how ill a patient may be.

This new layer of government effectively removes the power of the individual physician and patient to decide what is the best course of treatment.

Why should you care?

You should care because the application of evidence-based medicine can potentially limit health choices of both patients and physicians.  In the reformed healthcare system recommended by Congress, alternative treatments will be pressured to end, and physicians who practice alternative medicine in extreme cases will be criminalized. The money in the system will continue to flow to well funded studies underwritten by the pharmaceutical industry, and those companies without deep pockets will continue to be unable to afford the cost of  in depth studies to critically evaluate the efficacy of such treatments.

 Alternative treatments will fail to pass the standard of evidence-based medicine precisely because they lack the funds to enter the game, and thus the cycle will continue. In short, if alternative treatments are not evaluated by the guidelines of evidence based medicine, they will never be accepted as a valued treatment option.

It can also be argued that evidence-based medicine has exponentially increased the cost of health care. In theory, the essence of evidence-based medicine is science. However, in practice it has become more about money. The system has become one where the pharmaceutical industry has been given the edge. For example:

    * Many of the prescription drug trials are not independent

They are often funded by the very drug companies that stand to gain if their drug is found to be effective in trials and is approved

    * The relationship between medical societies and the pharmaceutical industry raises questions.

Over the past 10-15 years there has been a change in the parameters of our most common diseases (hypertension, obesity and high cholesterol ). For example, in the past normal blood pressure was 120/80, and now  it is 115/75.  In fact, those with a blood pressure of 120/80 are now considered to be pre-hypertensive and are eligible for medication.

The body mass index (BMI) number for obesity decreased from 40 to 30 while the parameters for being overweight have expanded from a BMI of 27.8 in 1995 to less than 25 today. High cholesterol (LDL) is now < 200 instead of the old parameter of  < 250.

The change in parameters have meant both a dramatic increase in the number of people who meet criteria for treatment with prescription drugs along with a resultant rise in the cost of healthcare. The question that has yet to be answered – why are we less healthy despite taking ever increasing amounts of prescription medication?

    * There is a tight financial relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the medical industry.

The AMA, medical education and the underwriting of medical research has given the pharmaceutical industry a great advantage in the shaping of medical opinion and by extension evidence-based medicine.

    * There is a revolving door between those who work for the FDA and those who have worked in the pharmaceutical industry.

This cozy relationship raises the importance of Big Pharma and relegates natural/alternative methods to junk science. Inherently, this should make those of us who are critical thinkers question the statements that summarily denigrate the supplement industry which makes products, that in many cases are in direct competition with the drugs that are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies, but don’t need patents.

A more balanced approach to our healthcare system is necessary. If the same standard is applied to both alternative and conventional treatments, each will be given a level playing field to determine efficacy. This change would go a long way towards accomplishing the task of improving the health of Americans without bankrupting them.

Let’s try something new like  promoting prevention and wellness instead of just talking about it or actually giving  doctors and patients the freedom to choose how they approach health choices. No one can argue with the fact that a healthier population, will lead to a significant decrease in healthcare costs.  The current system clearly is not working.

Bangladesh Telemedicine Firm Plans to Reach Out to South Asian Workers

A Bangladeshi telemedicine company is set to provide healthcare services for more than five million South Asian workers in the Middle East and Malaysia in a couple of months.

Telemedicine Reference Centre Ltd (TRCL) has already signed agreements with around 25 Gulf and Malaysian companies that recruit workers from South Asia.

Telemedicine is a rapidly developing application of clinical medicine where medical information is transferred through the phone or the internet.

TRCL will launch the mobile phone-based service, said Dr Sikder M Zakir, managing director of the company.

“Under the project, we will start providing medical call-centre services to two million Bangladeshi, 1.5 million Indian and two million Nepalese and Pakistani workers,” Zakir added.

Prime Bank and two investors from the US and India are funding the project, he said.

TRCL has also signed deals with seven mobile phone companies in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait.

The company is working to set up multilinguistic medical call centres in India, Pakistan and Nepal, from where dedicated physicians will provide healthcare advice to the expatriate workers.

All the workers under the 25 recruiting companies will be registered with TRCL to get the services free of cost. They will call a particular number and get advice in their own language.

The recruiting firms will pay the service charge to TRCL on behalf of the workers, which is no more than one US dollar a month for a person, Zakir said.

They will also be referred to hospitals if necessary.

Zakir said TRCL is now setting up branch offices in nine countries including Malaysia, UAE and Saudi Arabia to comply with those countries’ regulatory requirements.

“It’s a milestone for telemedicine service. The sector is getting institutional shape,” he added.

Established in 1999, TRCL is operating the first medical call centre or electronic referral centre manned by physicians for the largest cellphone operator in Bangladesh — Grameenphone. More than 10,000 people are using the service by dialling a hotline number (789) from their mobile phones every day.

Kuwait Government Approves New Alternative Medicine Hospital

KUWAIT- The Cabinet has approved the establishment of a new 300-bed capacity hospital for alternative medicine and rehabilitation at a total cost of KD 30 million, announced the

The new hospital will built on the site where the current alternative medicine hospital is situated. A state-of-the art, fully equipped hospital will replace the existing building. It will include a rehabilitation center for the disabled, senior citizens’ care centers among other facilities offered.

The hospital will also be connected to one of the most advanced international centers in the field of alternative medicine, said Al-Abdulhadi. It is expected to be ready within five years, reported Al-Qabas.

On a separate note, Al-Abdulhadi announced that the decision concerning the appointment of new directors for medical, technical divisions will be made soon, especially after the Ministry completes the process of electing the most qualified candidates for the posts in coordination with the regulations of the Civil Service Commission(CSC).

Meanwhile, Al-Abdulhadi addressed the issue of health insurance hospitals, stating that the project to establish these hospitals still await a decision made by the Cabinet before it is set up. These facilities are expected to provide citizens and residents with the best medical care services.

Most Medical Students Support Complementary Therapies

LOS ANGELES – A new survey shows more than 75 percent of medical students believe patients would benefit if physicians were knowledgeable about complementary medicine—practices such as massage therapy and chiropractic—as well as conventional medicine. Almost three-quarters of respondents also say our medical system should include complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

In the largest national survey of its kind, researchers from UCLA and UC San Diego measured medical students’ attitudes and beliefs about CAM.

Among the results:

* 77 percent of participants agreed to some extent that patients whose doctors know about complementary and alternative medicine in addition to conventional medicine, benefit more than those whose doctors are only familiar with Western medicine.

* 74 percent of participants agreed to some extent that a system of medicine that integrates therapies of conventional and complementary and alternative medicine would be more effective than either type of medicine provided independently.

* 84 percent of participants agreed to some extent that the field contains beliefs, ideas and therapies from which conventional medicine could benefit.

* 49 percent of participating medical students indicated that they have used complementary and alternative treatments; however, few would recommend or use these treatments in their practices until more scientific assessment has occurred

“Complementary and alternative medicine is receiving increased attention in light of the global health crisis and the significant role of traditional medicine in meeting public health needs in developing countries,” said study author Ryan Abbott, a researcher at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine, in a press release. “Integrating CAM into mainstream health care is now a global phenomenon, with policy makers at the highest levels endorsing the importance of a historically marginalized form of health care.”

The findings were published recently in the online issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM).

Nano Drug Delivery Helpful in Treating Erectile Dysfunction

NEW YORK – An innovative drug delivery system comprising nanoparticles quickens response in erectile dysfunction (ED), says a new study.

“The response time…was… just a few minutes, which is basically what people want in an ED medication,” said study co-author Kelvin P. Davies.

“In both rats and humans, it can take 30 minutes to one hour for oral ED medications to take effect,” said Davies, associate professor of urology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Besides, “an estimated 30 to 50 percent of men with ED do not respond to oral use of (such) PDE5 inhibitors (class of drugs called phosphodiesterase type 5),” adds Davies.

The new system, after successful testing in rats, could potentially prevent side-effects associated with oral ED medications in humans.

The drug-delivery system, developed by Einstein College scientists, can carry tiny payloads of various drugs or other medically useful substances and release them in a controlled and sustained manner.

That could spell safer and more effective ED therapy for millions of men with heart disease and other health problems affecting erectile function.

Tens of millions of men worldwide have benefited from oral ED medications such as sildenafil (Viagra), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis).

However, these medications – which belong to PDE5 inhibitors – have limitations. They can cause systemic and serious side-effects.

They include headache, facial flushing, nasal congestion, upset stomach, abnormal vision as well as isolated reports of hearing and vision loss.

Men who have recently suffered a heart attack or stroke or have severe heart disease should use these drugs with caution or not at all.

This study was done to evaluate whether the nanoparticles, which have been shown to penetrate the skin, might allow the targeted delivery of compounds that treat ED and thereby avoid the drugs’ systemic effects.

“Most of the animals, nearly 90 percent, showed a response to treatment with the nanoparticles,” says co-author Joel M. Friedman, Einstein College professor of physiology, biophysics, medicine.

Friedman developed the nanoparticles with his son Adam Friedman, chief resident in the division of dermatology at the college.

Clinical studies on humans could begin in a few years if animal studies continue to show that the nanoparticle delivery system is safe and effective, says a college release.

The study was published in the online edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Introducing – Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is one of a group of natural chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids. Carotenes are responsible for the orange color of many fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins, and sweet potatoes.

Beta carotene is converted in the body to vitamin A. It is an antioxidant, like vitamins E and C.

Sources

Good sources of beta-carotene include dark green and orange-yellow vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, apricots, and green peppers.

Beta-carotene is not an essential nutrient, although vitamin A is.

Why Do People Use Beta-Carotene?

  • Prevention against cancer and heart disease
  • To slow the progression of cataracts
  • To prevent macular degeneration
  • To boost immunity
  • To protect the skin against sunburn
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Cervical dysplasia
  • Intermittent claudication

Safety

Beta carotene is relatively safe. There is some concern that high doses of beta-carotene can cause a slight increase in the risk of heart disease and cancer, especially in people who smoke cigarettes and who consume excessive alcohol.

Other side effects include diarrhea and a yellowish tinge to the skin, both of which subside then the intake of beta-carotene is lowered.

US Tele-Medicine Offers NO COST Refunds on Your Purchases of Alternative Remedies

insured people who use alternative remedies.  This means No Cost Medical Care, No Cost Refunds for your purchases of alternative remedies. 

US Tele-Medicine, a leader in Internet health care is offering No Cost Memberships to How is this possible?  Recent changes in health care take Tele-Medicine into special consideration.  Tele-Medicine is the forefront of health care and now it is in your favor. 

Imagine getting 30% 40% or even 50% CASH back for your purchases of vitamins, weight management products, supplements, protein shakes, homeopathics, flower remedies, herbal formulations and more.  You can and it’s FREE and easy to join.  Just click the JOIN NOW button above and your on your way to financial rewards at NO COST to you – ever.

Too Much of Vitamin A is Bad for Human System

NEW YORK – Excessive intake of Vitamin A can have a negative effect on the human body, a new study says.

The research shows that Vitamin A plays a crucial role in energy production within cells but too much or too little of it can harm the system.

This is particularly important as combinations of foods, drinks, creams, and nutritional supplements containing added Vitamin A make an overdose more possible than ever before.

“Our work illuminates the value and potential harm of Vitamin A use in cosmetic creams and nutritional supplements,” said study co-author Ulrich Hammerling of Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York.

“Although Vitamin A deficiency is not very common in our society, over-use of this vitamin could cause significant disregulation of energy production impacting cell growth and cell death.”

Though Vitamin A for nutrition and foetal development is well-known, it has been unclear why Vitamin A deficiencies and overdoses cause such widespread and profound harm to our organs, until now.

The discovery by Hammerling and colleagues explains why these effects occur, while also providing insight into Vitamin A’s anti-cancer effects, says a Sloan-Kettering release.

The scientists used cultures from both human and mice cells containing specific genetic modifications of the chemical pathways involved in mitochondrial (which powers the cell) energy production.

These findings were published in the FASEB Journal.

Managing Blood Sugar Emerges as a Top Concern

Managing Blood Sugar Emerges as a Top Concern

Consumers are very interested in foods that promote healthy blood glucose: 69 per cent of primary grocery shoppers are extremely or very interested in buying or using foods or drinks if they can help manage blood sugar. In addition, 43 per cent of primary grocery shoppers believe that “helps maintain healthy blood-sugar levels” is an extremely or very important claim on food labels, according to the 2009 HealthFocus Trend Report.

No disease is as closely linked to nutrition as diabetes. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in the US and contributes to higher rates of morbidity — people with diabetes are at significantly higher risk for heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and other chronic conditions.

Prediabetes is usually intertwined with being overweight and, of course, increases the risk by about 80 times of a bona fide type 2 diabetes diagnosis (not to mention heart disease). Indeed, blood-sugar issues and being overweight are usually the start of a host of health conditions. An estimated 121 million American adults (out of 184 million) are overweight, with about 60 million being actually obese — 30 pounds over their ideal weight. If trends continue, an incredible 80 per cent of Americans are estimated to be overweight by 2030.

About one-third of diabetics take supplements. The top ingredients include fibre, B vitamins, magnesium and chromium, according to Nutrition Business Journal.

A recent Swedish study found that taking a whey supplement with meals can help stimulate insulin release in type 2 diabetics. When diabetic subjects took whey at the same time as a high glycaemic-index breakfast and lunch, they had lower blood-sugar response and a higher insulin response. The findings suggest whey can help diabetics improve their blood-sugar control.

In another nod to the broad efficacy of vitamin D, insufficient and deficient levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of metabolic syndrome by 52 per cent, according to a 2009 Anglo-Chinese study.

This study backs an earlier study that found women in the 84,000-strong Nurses’ Health Study who consumed a daily intake of greater than 800IU vitamin D and 1,200mg calcium had a 33 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes compared with those to took in less than 600mg calcium and 400IU vitamin D.

Cinnamon makes insulin work more efficiently, which gets excess sugar out of the blood and into cells, where it can be burned as fuel. Cinnamon works in two ways. First, it inhibits the enzymes that cause insulin resistance. And second, it increases sensitivity to insulin.

Preliminary results from a University of Surrey clinical study found that the consumption of Hi-maize brand resistant starch, from National Starch, significantly increased insulin sensitivity in individuals with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

“These improvements are actually bigger than you get with most blood glucose-lowering drugs,” says Denise Robertson, PhD, lecturer in nutritional physiology within the Postgraduate Medical School at the University of Surrey and the principal investigator of the study. “We are finding that subjects at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, such as those with metabolic syndrome, are more responsive to the insulin-sensitizing effects of resistant starch than people with normal blood-glucose levels.

Study Links Vitamin D, Race, And Cardiac Deaths

URMC Study Links Vitamin D, Race, And Cardiac Deaths

ROCHESTER – Vitamin D deficiency may contribute to a higher number of heart and stroke-related deaths among black Americans compared to whites, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study.

The journal Annals of Family Medicine is publishing the study in the January-February edition, which goes online Jan. 11, 2010.

Researchers sought to understand the well-documented disparity between blacks and whites in cardiovascular deaths. They turned to vitamin D because growing evidence links low serum levels of D to many serious illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, kidney and heart disease.

Lead author Kevin Fiscella, M.D., said a complex host of genetic and lifestyle factors among blacks may explain why this population group has lower vitamin D levels across the lifespan than other races.

People get vitamin D through their diets, sun exposure, and oral supplements. Genetic factors common to blacks sometimes preclude vitamin D absorption, such as a higher incidence of lactose intolerance, which can eliminate vitamin-D fortified milk from the diet, and darker skin pigment that significantly reduces vitamin D synthesis.

“Therefore, our study suggests that the next step would be to intervene to boost vitamin D levels safely, with supplements,” said Fiscella, a national expert on disparities in health care and a professor of Family Medicine and Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC.

With funding through the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Fiscella and colleagues studied a sample of more than 15,000 American adults. The data included measurements of blood levels of vitamin D and death rates due to cardiovascular disease. Researchers also looked at other factors that contribute to heart health, such as body mass index, smoking status and levels of C-reactive protein.

Overall, the analysis showed that, as expected, a vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher rates of death among all people in the sample. In fact, those adults with the worst deficiency had a 40 percent higher risk of death from cardiac illness. This suggests that vitamin D may be a modifiable, independent risk factor for heart disease, Fiscella said.

Most striking, however, was that when researchers adjusted the statistics to look at race, blacks had a 38 percent higher risk of death than whites. As vitamin D levels rose, however, the risk of death was reduced. The same was true when researchers analyzed the effect of poverty on cardiovascular death rates among blacks, which suggests that vitamin D deficiency and poverty each exert separate risk factors, the study said.

A review article published in September 2009 in The American Journal of Medicine, noted that Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide health problem. In the U.S., inadequate Vitamin D has been reported in about 36 percent of otherwise healthy young adults and about 57 percent of general medicine hospitalized patients.

Vitamin D is metabolized in the liver and converted to 25 hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH) D, the form used to determine a person’s status through a blood test. Deficiency is usually defined by levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter; 30 ng/ml is viewed as sufficient. The mean blood level in the study sample was 29.5 ng/ml.

Most of the body’s tissues and cells have vitamin D receptors, making it a potent regulator of cell activity and growth. A deficiency contributes to inflammation associated with heart disease, many cancers and poor bone health.

Fiscella cautions, however, that not all observational studies of vitamin deficiency are borne out by subsequent clinical trials. For example, previous observational studies of vitamin E and beta-carotene that were associated with poor heart health did not hold up in later clinical studies. The need to further assess the vitamin D connection to heart disease is convincing, however, particularly among blacks, he added.

Other at-risk people include the obese and the elderly, (particularly housebound or nursing home residents), because vitamin D levels decline with age. And although more sun exposure can boost levels of D, skin cancer is also an increasing risk to many people. Therefore, medical authorities usually recommend increased dietary intake and/or supplementation as the best way to correct a deficiency.

WHO Maps World’s Deadliest Roads

WHO Maps World’s Deadliest Roads

GENEVA – The most dangerous place in the world to travel on roads is in the impoverished East African state of Eritrea, says the World Health Organisation (WHO) in its first report on global road safety.

To identify the most hazardous roads, WHO experts sifted through a mass of data which showed that around 1.3 million people are killed each year on the world’s highways. A further 20 to 50 million people sustain non-fatal injuries.

The global record for road deaths per capita goes to the former Italian colony of Eritrea where figures showed an estimated 48 deaths per 100,000 people.

Road travel in the Cook islands in the South Pacific is nearly as dangerous too, with a statistical 45 deaths per 100,000. The archipelago north-east of New Zealand is home to just 13,325 citizens and five of them died in road accidents in 2007. Egypt (41.6) and Libya (40.5) also both had a poor road safety record.

Driving too fast, drinking and driving along with the failure to use seatbelts and talking on mobile phones while at the wheel were given in the report as key contributing factors to the high number of fatalities and accidents on roads around the world.

“These are stunning figures that need not, should not, be so high. Over 90 percent of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have less than half of the world’s registered vehicles. This is another statistic that tells us something is wrong,” WHO Director General Margaret Chan said in a statement.

Chan said the report’s findings would serve as a basis for discussion at the First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety, which is due to take place in Moscow in November 2009.

“This will be a milestone event in international road safety that will serve as a call to action to reduce the impact of road traffic crashes over the next decade,” said Chan.

The safest road conditions were found amid the islands and atolls which make up the Micronesian nation of the Marshall Islands. Here 59,000 residents have a mere 2,487 vehicles between them. Only one fatal road accident was recorded in 2007.

France and Germany suffered 7.5 and six fatalities per 100,000 respectively compared to Britain (5.4) and the US where more than 251 million vehicles are registered. The quota here was 13.9 fatalities per 100,000 people. A similar level could be found in Sri Lanka, Turkey and Azerbaijan.

How Salmonella can be Used To Kill Tumors

How Salmonella can be Used To Kill Tumors

BRAUNSCHWEIG –  German scientists have shown how the bacteria migrate into tumors. Sara Bartels and Siegfried Weiss, of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, say that a messenger substance from the immune system makes blood vessels in the cancerous tissue permeable, and thereby enables the bacteria to conquer and destroy the tumour.

The researchers add that, simultaneously, blood streams from the vessels into the cancerous tissue, a so-called necrosis develops, and the tumor dies.

“This influx of blood was the starting point for our investigations. There is an immunological messenger present during bacterial elicited inflammation that causes this kind of reaction. We searched for it – and found it,” says Siegfried Weiss, Head of the Molecular Immunology group at the HZI.

The researchers have revealed that this messenger is named after its role in the immune system: tumor necrosis factor, TNF-alpha for short.

They say that immune cells produce TNF-alpha when recognizing salmonella, thus alarming other immune cells.

According to them, a small amount of TNF-alpha is subsequently enough to dissolve the walls of the blood vessels in the tumor and allow the blood to stream into the cancerous tissue.

They hope to be able to modify salmonella so that they can migrate specifically into tumors and cause them to die.

Since salmonella can live even in tissues that are badly supplied with blood, the researchers believe that they can be used in tumor therapy.

This is interesting because chemotherapeutics cannot be transported to an area where there is no blood flow, and even radiation therapy requires oxygen for its reactions in the tissue.

“We have obtained an important indication of how bacteria migrate into tumors. We can now try to manipulate these bacteria to use them in cancer therapy without causing deadly infections,” says Sara Bartels.

“We need to find the right amount of bacteria aggressiveness, allowing the tumor to be colonized and destroyed without harming the patient,” she adds.

If the scientists succeed in accomplishing this feat, they may be able to take the next step forward: using salmonella to release therapeutic substances within the tumor and thus participate in its destruction.

“Our experiments are currently limited to absolutely basic research and experiments with laboratory mice. It may take years before this method is usable for human patients,” says Siegfried Weiss

The study has been published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.