Vitamin D blocked by Vitamin A?

February 27, 2010

I’ve received a posting from Dr. Cannell, of the Vitamin D Council, regarding several studies on Vitamin D and Cancer.  While in general higher levels of Vitamin D are associated with lower risks of cancer, the effect appears to be blocked by high intakes of “pre-formed” vitamin A (retinol).  This form of vitamin A is found in high doses in Cod Liver oil.   Daily intake of 5000 Units of Retinol are probably OK (for adults,  correspondingly lower for children), for those who feel strongly that they should take Cod Liver Oil.

Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A which must be converted in the body to the active state, and (as far as we presently know) is not a problem.

The newsletter from Dr. Cannell (available on the website above) also contains the statement that “it takes the elderly up to ten times more time in the sun that the young to make an equivalent amount of vitamin D.”   I’m not aware of the data that backs this statement up but do consider Dr. Cannell to be authoritative and certainly current on vitamin D research.

Study on homeopathy and Breast Cancer

February 17, 2010

The following link just came across my computer screen:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20043074?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1

It describes an experiment with breast cancer cell lines exposed, in vitro (test-tube) to 4 homeopathic remedies, showing definite adverse effects on the cancer cells.

Influenza update 2/11/2010

February 11, 2010

The state of Minnesota has a highly effective public health system and an interesting notice came to my email today.  Their posting of this week can be found here.   The “Novel H1N1” is still present, and there is no sign of the usual “seasonal flu.”

The notice of this report that I received also states:  Also, a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune noted that seasonal flu viruses have been almost absent this winter and said experts are increasingly confident that pandemic H1N1 will be the only virus around for the rest of the winter. The experts also said the pandemic virus is likely to continue to predominate next fall.

Also of interest is another notice regarding evident suppression of respiratory syncytial virus (a common cause of viral respiratory disease) during this flu epidemic:  Pandemic virus may have interfered with RSV
Writing in Eurosurveillance, French researchers report that respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) circulation in France in late 2009 was reduced and delayed compared with a year earlier, and that this might be explained in part by H1N1 flu. “The influenza pandemic wave of 2009 seems to have partially overcome the RSV epidemic,” they write. Viral interference and/or increased hygiene measures in response to H1N1 might have affected RSV activity, they suggest.     [Feb 11 Eurosurveillance report]

It is still too early to stop watching for more flu, but if we pass through March without difficulty, we should be set at least until the fall.  Then,  as always, basic good health, common sense, hygiene, and good vitamin D status will be very important.