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A new study published this month finds that the hormonally active form of vitamin D, Calcitriol 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3), inhibits the growth of many kinds of cancerous cells, including breast cancer, indicating that vitamin D3 can be useful in treating and even preventing a variety of cancers. Authors of the study said that cancer cell growth is inhibited by “anticancer actions including cell cycle arrest, promotion of apoptosis and inhibition of invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis.” Continue reading
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(London) Pregnant women in the UK should be told to routinely take vitamin D supplements, researchers say.
The team at University College London Institute of Child Health says official bodies currently offer conflicting advice.
Writing in the British Journal of Nutrition, they say there is a “strong case” for a daily dose of vitamin D in pregnancy.
But one leading expert said more evidence was needed.
The Department of Health advises pregnant women to ensure they receive a certain level of vitamin D – 10 micrograms per day. The researchers say this in effect endorses use of supplements, because diet and the sun provide too little.
But the National Institute of health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) said in its guidance that it did not support supplements.
It has instead said that women should simply “be informed” about the importance of having adequate vitamin D levels during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding – adding that some women may choose to do this via supplements.
Additionally, pregnant women on low incomes are entitled to a range of nutrients – including vitamin D – as part of the Healthy Start Scheme.
The paper said the UK was the only one of 31 countries examined which did not recommend that women of reproductive age took a vitamin D supplement, and that it also fails to endorse a daily supplement for expectant mothers.
Dr Elina Hypponen, co-author of the paper, said: “The incidence of vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women in Britain is unacceptably high, especially during winter and spring.
“This is compounded by a lack of exposure to sunlight and the limitations of an average diet to meet the optimal need.
“In the most severe cases, maternal vitamin D deficiency can be life threatening to a newborn.
“We believe that the routine provision of a daily supplement throughout pregnancy would significantly decrease the number of mothers who are clearly vitamin D deficient, reducing related serious risks to their babies.”
Dr Hypponen said past evidence showed a proactive approach to supplements coincided with a much lower incidence of deficiency linked diseases such as infantile hypocalcaemia [also known as William’s syndrome, which affects development], and rickets [which weakens bones].
One in four
The authors say women from some ethnic minorities are recognized to be at greater risk because their darker skin means they do not absorb as much sunlight.
But they add that the problem is also common among white women, even when they live in southern England.
Women are more likely to be vitamin D deficient than men, and a previous study found one in four pregnant mothers has been found to be vitamin D deficient during winter and spring
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends only women at risk of vitamin D deficiency should take a supplement.
Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for the college, said: “There is gradually accumulating evidence that universal vitamin D supplementation in the UK might be beneficial for the whole population.
“But more research is needed on the balance of risks and benefits in women at low risk of vitamin D deficiency, and on the correct dosage to use.”
WASHINGTON — People in sunny, outdoorsy states — Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida — say they’re the happiest Americans, and researchers think they know why. A new study comparing self-described pleasant feelings with objective measures of good living found these folks generally have reason to feel fine.
The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things like climate, crime rates, air quality and schools.
The happiness ratings were based on a survey of 1.3 million people across the country by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It used data collected over four years that included a question asking people how satisfied they are with their lives.
Economists Andrew J. Oswald of the University of Warwick in England and Stephen Wu of Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., compared the happiness ranking with studies that rated states on a variety of criteria ranging from availability of public land to commuting time to local taxes.
Probably not surprisingly, their report in Friday’s edition of the journal Science found the happiest people tend to live in the states that do well in quality-of-life studies.
Yet Oswald says “this is the first objective validation of ‘happiness’ data,” which is something he says economists have been reluctant to use in the past.
“Very loosely, you could say that we prove that happiness data are ‘true,’ — such data have genuine objective informational content,” he said.
“Moreover,” Oswald added, “it is interesting to uncover the pattern of life-satisfaction across one of the world’s important nations.”
Ranking No. 1 in happiness was Louisiana, home of Dixieland music and Cajun/Creole cooking.
Oswald urged a bit of caution in that ranking, however, noting that part of the happiness survey occurred before Hurricane Katrina struck the state, and part of it took place later. Nevertheless, he said, “We have no explicit reason to think there is a problem” with the ranking.
Rounding out the happy five were Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee and Arizona.
At the other end of the scale, last in happiness — is New York state.
As if to illustrate the problem, residents attending a meeting Wednesday in rural Queensbury unleashed their anger and cynicism at a state government they described as corrupt, self-dealing and too quick to increase taxes. It was a tirade that had one lifelong resident saying he was ready to flee “this stinkin’ state.”
Oswald suggested the long commutes, congestion and high prices around New York City account for some of the unhappiness.
He said he has been asked if the researchers expected that states like New York and California, which ranked 46th, would do so badly in the happiness ranking.
“I am only a little surprised,” he said. “Many people think these states would be marvelous places to live in. The problem is that if too many individuals think that way, they move into those states, and the resulting congestion and house prices make it a non-fulfilling prophecy.”
Besides being interesting, the state-by-state pattern has scientific value, Oswald explained.
“We wanted to study whether people’s feelings of satisfaction with their own lives are reliable, that is, whether they match up to reality — of sunshine hours, congestion, air quality, etceteras — in their own state. And they do match.”
Oswald and Wu used data from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System collected from 2005 to 2008. The survey, launched in 1984, collects information on a variety of health measures.
The research was supported by Britain’s Economic and Social Research Council.
DETROIT – Vitamin D deficiency in younger women is associated with increased risk of high blood pressure in mid-life, claims a new study.
The research has been reported at the American Heart Association’s 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference.
To reach the conclusion, researchers examined women enrolled in the Michigan Bone Health and Metabolism Study and analyzed data from 559 Caucasian women living in Tecumseh, Mich. The ongoing study began in 1992 when the women were 24 to 44 years old with an average age of 38 years.
Researchers took blood pressure readings annually throughout the study. They measured vitamin D blood levels once in 1993, and then compared their systolic blood pressure measurements taken in 2007.
Premenopausal women who had vitamin D deficiency in 1993 had three times the risk of developing systolic hypertension 15 years later compared to those who had normal levels of vitamin D, researchers said.
“This study differs from others because we are looking over the course of 15 years, a longer follow-up than many studies,” said Flojaune C. Griffin, M.P.H., co-investigator of the study and a doctoral candidate in epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“Our results indicate that early vitamin D deficiency may increase the long-term risk of high blood pressure in women at mid-life,” the expert added.
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