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Low vitamin D linked to heart disease Chronic heart failure (CHF) has become an increasingly common condition in recent years. A study by D.

Low vitamin D linked to heart disease

Chronic heart failure (CHF) has become an increasingly common condition in recent years. A study by Dr. Armin Zittermann and PhD candidate Stefanie Schulze Schleithoff of the Bonn Institute of Nutrition in Germany suggests that a lack of vitamin D may play a significant role in CHF. Their study of 54 CHF patients and 34 healthy subjects revealed that people with CHF had up to 50 per cent less vitamin D in their bodies. CHF patients also had up to twice the amount of the hormone ANP. ANP is known as the "dehydration" hormone; when the heart muscle is weakened in CHF, the organs don't receive enough blood or oxygen. With this deprivation, the kidneys cannot eliminate toxins properly. In response, the heart produces ANP to help. ANP levels in the blood are therefore closely associated with heart failure. The study is the first of its kind and very significant, especially for northern and elderly populations. The human body produces its own vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation (sunshine), so people in winteryclimates often get less vitamin D than necessary. Older people produce less vitamin D than younger people (up to 40 per cent less when exposed to the same amount of UVB rays); they also participate in fewer outdoor activities, making them even more vulnerable to CHF. The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2003, 41;(1): 105-112) and further research is pending. The lesson here: slap on some sunscreen, get outside and stay active. Sun, exercise and fresh air will go a long way in helping prevent heart disease.

BBC news

Think About That Drink

A cool clear glass of water might look very inviting on a hot summer day, but what you might not know about it could be harmful to your health. Safety standards relating to pathogens, carcinogens and radioactive substances are almost non-existent in BC and the two biggest threats to safe drinking water, cryptosporidium and giardia (waterborne parasites), have been largely ignored. Most water sources coming from surface water contain these two parasites and when ingested even in minute quantities they can cause illness. Long-term studies by Health Canada link water turbidity (discolouration) with increased incidence of gastrointestinal illness from parasites. Last year there was an estimate of over 17,500 incidences of gastro-intestinal illness in the greater Vancouver area alone. It's up to you to be aware of which standards are being followed in your area and take steps to protect your own source of drinking water. Filter systems can be very effective in removing water-borne parasites as well as chlorine, bacteria, heavy metals and other contaminants. If you are facing serious health issues, reverse osmosis or ultraviolet systems are recommended.

Banned Kava Herb Update

A group of Hawaii researchers may have discovered why some Europeans taking kava were reported to have suffered liver damage. They believe problems occurred due to inferior products that contained not only kava roots, but also leaves and stems. Traditional kava drinkers avoid leaves and stems, which contain the toxic compound pipermethystine. Klaus Dragull, W.Y. Yoshida and C.S. Tang reported in the journal Phytochemistry that although indigenous cultures knew to avoid the toxic peelings, pharmaceutical companies cashing in on the soaring kava market in 2000 and 2001 bought up the discarded waste product.

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