According to a recent study published by a joint venture of the University of Texas Southwest’s Medical Center and the Cooper Institute in Dallas, having low levels of vitamin D can be linked to depression.
What is Depression?
Major depressive disorder (MDD) or depression, as it is widely known, is a mental disorder where extreme feelings of sadness persist for months or even years. People that suffer from depression can’t seem to shake the feelings of sadness, hopelessness and despair that they experience. They also tend to lose interest in the activities that they once enjoyed and withdraw from loved ones and friends.
The study followed 12,600 adult men and women over a four year period. Participants were divided into groups based on whether they had a past history of depression or not. Their vitamin D levels were tested in addition to taking into consideration whether or not they were currently exhibiting symptoms of depression. (more…)
The supplement aisle of any supermarket or natural grocery store can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of products on the shelf, all claiming different benefits. Some are labeled with a letter of the alphabet, others are named after a tree root, and some seem like they belong on the spice aisle.
With an industry so big and so confusing, it’s alarming that there are still no strict regulations for these over the counter products. This has been an on going health frustration, leading doctors and legislators to speak out.
In 1994, President Clinton signed the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA). This placed dietary supplements as a subcategory of food. Therefore supplements can go to market without submitting proof of safety or efficacy to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 17 years later, this law remains despite the stories of harm and the urging of physicians for change.
Here in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates food safety. Denmark’s equivalent to that is the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration, also known as the DVFA. Stateside, we tend to think of extra vitamins as a positive thing but in Denmark, vitamin fortified food is a diet-don’t. The DVFA has made it clear that their stance on fortifying foods with vitamins and minerals is one of suspicion and concern.
The theory held within the DVFA is that a properly balanced diet negates the necessity for supplementing with extra vitamins. In fact, they believe so strongly in the dangers of vitamin and mineral overdose that fortified foods must first be approved through a pricey application process. Foods found to contain what the DVFA classifies as dangerous levels of fortification are not granted approval.
Among the products recently pulled from the shelves of a small Copenhagen store is Ovaltine. At my home, we use Ovaltine as a chocolate milk treat because it’s nutrient enriched- I feel a lot better about that decision as opposed to pouring a giant glob of chocolate flavored syrup in to my son’s cup. What strikes me as particularly odd is that Ovaltine hasn’t yet been granted shelf-space and yet Red Bull (with its copious amounts of both vitamins and caffeine) has, according to the New York Times.
As the first official week of summer is now behind us, we find ourselves outside more and more. You may be wanting to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. You might be training for that next 5K, marathon, triathlon or playing in a summer softball league. We want to make sure we protect ourselves from injuries, but also protect ourselves from sunburns! Damage from the sun can lead to early skin aging, wrinkles or skin cancer. Sunscreen is an important way to protect your skin from harm, and because of this, the industry is about to get a major overhaul.
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed new regulations that will change the way information on sunscreens is presented to you, the consumer. Currently some of the information can be misleading and
Are you bad to your bones? There is a growing trend in the United States and Canada: calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Bone mass reaches its peak around age thirty so calcium and vitamin D are critical in helping you to prevent breaks or fractures down the road. As important as strong muscles are to your overall health, bones are what hold us together. Otherwise we’d just be a puddle on the ground. I’m hoping I can shed some light on all the benefits that calcium and vitamin D have to offer.
What is vitamin D and why do I need it?
Vitamin D is key in helping to produce strong bones. It also helps absorb calcium from the intestines so that is why you find so many products with the two in combo. The current recommendation depends on age, but for a woman age 18-30 you are looking at around 600 internal units (IUs) per day. Our bodies naturally convert vitamin D into a usable form from midday sun (between 10 am and 2 pm). People like me who live in northern parts of the world and get to see old man winter usually do not get enough midday sun to make our own vitamin D.