October 7, 2009

Critical Vitamin Deficiency on the Rise (The Paleo Diet Update v5, #40)

Filed under: Uncategorized — SL @ 5:44 am
    The Paleo Diet Update
    Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
    Issue: # 2009 – 40 / October 2, 2009


    Hello! Welcome to The Paleo Diet Update, a look at current scientific research into what causes and what can prevent disease. Again and again, research has indicated that reproducing the nutrition that sustained our ancestors for millions of years can keep us healthly, active and vital.

    In addition to better nutrition, our ancestors also had more access to sunlight, which is critical for maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D. Current research is showing that vitamin D deficiency not only results in disease, but this deficiency is also alarmingly prevalent.

    Ultraviolet B light (UV-B) is the wave length of sunlight that stimulates our skin to make vitamin D. The increasing tendency of children to spend more time indoors has contributed to low levels of vitamin D. In addition, while UV-B is plentiful in summer sunlight, it is filtered out in winter due to the sun’s position. This also allows vitamin D levels in our blood to become very low without adequate supplementation.

    In this issue, we take a look at who is at high risk for vitamin D deficiency, and the risk factors for disease associated with this. We'll also share ideas on making portable and non-perishable jerky, as well as dried fruits and vegetables.

    Thanks to Maelán Fontes and Pablo Martinez Ramirez, this update is also available in Spanish.


    Loren Cordain, Ph.D.

    In This Issue

    Make Your Own Jerky
        A Critical Vitamin Deficiency Is on the Rise            by Wiley Long

    A newly published study in Pediatrics had unexpected results: seven out of ten children in the U.S. suffered low levels of vitamin D. Such a deficiency could put children at risk for rickets (a bone disease in infants that is already known to be increasing), heart disease, and high blood pressure.

    In the study, several key risk factors for disease were associated with vitamin D deficiency. These included higher parathyroid hormone levels (a marker of bone health), higher systolic blood pressure, lower serum calcium, and lower HDL or “good” cholesterol levels.

    Millions may be at risk

    This study involved more than 6,000 children at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Extrapolating the percentage of children who had low levels of vitamin D to the total number of children nationwide suggested that vitamin D deficiency could affect millions.

    Nine percent of those in the study showed vitamin D deficiency. That’s equivalent to 7.6 million children across the U.S. In addition, another 61 percent had less severe, but still insufficient, vitamin D levels. That equates to an additional 50.8 million children.

    Highest risk categories

    Low vitamin D levels were most often seen in children who were older, female, African-American, Mexican-American, obese, drinking milk less than once a week, or spending more than four hours a day indoors watching TV, playing videogames, or using computers. Authors of the study recommended that pediatricians routinely screen such high-risk children for vitamin D deficiency.

    Researchers further noted that widespread use of sunscreens has compounded the problem because the body uses UV-B sunlight to convert a form of cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D.

    Preventing vitamin D deficiency among children

    Vitamin D from sunlight

    The study authors encouraged parents to ensure children got adequate amounts of vitamin D with a combination of diet, supplements, and sunlight. According to Dr. Melamed: "It would good for them to turn off the TV and send their kids outside. Just 15 to 20 minutes a day should be enough. And unless they burn easily, don't put sunscreen on them until they've been out in the sun for 10 minutes, so they get the good stuff but not sun damage.”1

    Vitamin D from supplements

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recently updated guidelines to recommend that infants, children, and teens receive 400 IUs of vitamin D supplements a day.1 Supplements are critical for breast-fed infants because breast milk, unlike formulas, contains relatively little vitamin D.1

    Supplements are also important if you’re in northern regions that receive less sunlight. Remember that pollution has reduced the amount of sunlight reaching us, too.

    Preventing vitamin D deficiency is also important for adults

    Although vitamin D deficiency was thought to be relatively rare in the U.S., recent studies have shown it to be a growing concern for adults, too.1

    Last year, the Archives of Internal Medicine published a study showing that low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of death from all causes.1

    Help yourself

    It is recommended that children in high-risk categories (older, female, African-American, Mexican-American, obese, drinking little milk, or spending more than four hours each day with indoor entertainment) be routinely screened for vitamin D deficiency.1

    Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods. Our Paleolithic ancestors got all the vitamin D they needed because they lived outdoors and got plenty of sun exposure. Sun exposure is also the best way for us to get vitamin D, but supplementation may also be important because most of us do not spend a lot of time out in the sun each day.

    Getting just 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight a day may be enough.2 Unless you burn easily, it’s been recommended that you enjoy 10 minutes of sunlight before putting on sunscreen to allow the body to use UV-B sunlight to convert a form of cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D.2

    New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children receive 400 IUs of vitamin D a day. However, the Vitamin D Council suggests that children 2 years old and younger receive 1,000 IUs per day if they have little sunlight exposure.3

    Antiviral and anti-flu effects of vitamin D

    Typically, cold and flu season arrives during cold weather when we’re least likely to be outdoors in the sunlight. There is a connection between vitamin D and the strength of our immune system to fight bacteria and viruses. An antimicrobial peptide (cathelicidin) that is very effective in breaking down the walls of bacteria and viruses is dependent on vitamin D to stimulate its production.4, 5 Without cathelicidin, our immune function is compromised.4, 5

    We recommend that most adults supplement with at least 2000 IU of vitamin D per day. It is best to get your vitamin D levels tested with an inexpensive blood test, and then supplement if needed, aiming for levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml.

    Next time, we’ll take a look at the metabolic and physiologic improvements that resulted when participants in a nutrition study switched to a Paleolithic diet. We'll also share ideas on how to get all your veggies in a singe meal via salad.

              Make Your Own Jerky             by Nell Stephenson
    Perhaps it’s because jerky (whether you’re talking about beef, salmon, bison, etc.) is so portable and non-perishable, that the question of whether it’s a good Paleo choice comes up quite frequently.

    All too often store-bought jerky is laden with high amounts of sodium and sugar, which isn’t even the worst problem! Jerky may also contain sodium nitrates and nitrites (preservatives that have been linked to certain cancers), and artificial sugars, colors, etc. that you would NOT voluntarily inflict upon your body!

    The answer is to make your own! Not only will you make the cleanest jerky possible (since you know what will go into it), but you’ll also save on the cost of processing the meat.

    A recent online search revealed that you could buy a dehydrator for quite a low price. Granted, the cheapest model may not be the most premium. If you spend a little more for one that will last longer, what you can save by making your own jerky, dried fruit and veggies will be worth it in the long run!

    I’m not suggesting you should change to a diet of all dried food. I’m just suggesting this as another way to bring a form of non-perishable food to work, school or on trips. You’ll be saving money all the while by making it yourself!

              News and Upcoming Events

    • Organic foods have higher levels of minerals and antioxidants: A review article from the French Agency for Food Safety found that not only do organic foods contain less pesticides and nitrates, but they also have higher levels of minerals and antioxidants.

    • Paleo Friendly Practicing Physicians and Healthcare Practitioners: If you are a healthcare practitioner recommending the Paleo Diet as part of your practice and would like to be listed on our website, please email, and include a description of your practice and any specialties.

    • Dr. Loren Cordain will speak in Berlin, Germany: On October 13th and14th, Dr. Cordain will present “Human Nutritional Evolution” at the Workshop on Evolution and Diseases of Civilization. This will be held at Humboldt Graduate School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University, Luisenstrasse 56, Berlin, Germany.

    • Higher intake of soy foods may be associated with lower sperm concentration: Soy beans and soy bean products have higher concentrations of isoflavones than other foods. Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen, or “dietary estrogen.” An analysis relating soy food and soy isoflavone intake to semen quality was published in Human Reproduction. In the study, the mean intake of isoflavones was 5.4 mg/day. On average, men consuming soy had 35 million sperm/ml less than those who did not consume soy foods. There was also a trend toward decreasing sperm concentration with increasing soy foods intake.

      The study also suggested that excess body weight may modify the relation between phytoestrogen intake and semen quality. Asian men consume 5 to 10 times more phytoestrogens than men in the study. A higher incidence of excess weight may make Western men more susceptible to phytoestrogens.

              Our Recommendations

    • Coming soon – the improved Paleo Diet Update newsletter, and the Paleo Diet Membership Community! Be on the lookout for our upcoming announcements, and get ready for more cutting-edge nutritional information, access to expert advice and information, ongoing teleseminars, and more! One of our upcoming talks will be with Linda Land, the author of The Gift of Remission.

      Information about diet and supplements helped Dr. Rich Land recover from MS in 1980. After his full remission, it was feared that his children might be genetically predisposed to the “cluster” effect of autoimmune diseases. His wife Linda then began the research into what had facilitated her husband’s recovery, and could be used as preventative measures, that culminated in her book.

      Linda’s first-hand experience with healing includes Professor Cordain’s research in the area of autoimmune disease. She attended a consultation with him for someone newly diagnosed with MS that validated the basis of her husband’s recovery years ago. Then, she had two 30-year-long recovery examples affirming Professor Cordain’s work!

      Being a part of the Paleo Diet Membership will bring you this kind of direct experience and information that explores healing disease, accelerating athletic performance, and fine-tuning dietary intervention for specific health concerns. We’ll share more information in the coming weeks.

    • A number of autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS), improve with dietary changes: There is a growing awareness among scientists that leaky gut syndrome is often present in autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut syndrome allows microbe and food antigens continual access to the immune system. To help with leaky gut syndrome, we’ve put together a complete overview of the evolution of the human diet, and how certain modern foods may contribute to the growing incidence of autoimmune diseases, including MS. In our program How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis with Diet, you’ll learn about the scientific evidence implicating dairy, beans, peanuts, whole grains, and even eggs and tomatoes in the origin and progression of MS, and how you can adjust your own diet in response.

      Here’s one of the reports we’ve received from those who have implemented the program:

      “I have MS, and found out about Paleo/Best Bet this time last year. I've been (not perfectly, but mostly) Paleo since March 31 2008, and have been IN COMPLETE REMISSION since I began. This is the best year I've had with MS in over 10 years."


    • Natural, life-long relief from acne is on sale. The Dietary Cure for Acne has helped thousands throw away their acne medications (and prescription and doctor bills, too!). Here’s a typical success story we get back about how well the program works:

      Our 15-year-old son is a competitive swimmer, and has had acne for several years. Several weeks ago, we decided it was time to help him to eat The Dietary Cure for Acne. His acne has cleared up like unbelievable.

      Last weekend, he had a big invitational meet. He swam like never before in his 6 years of competition. All who saw his times were amazed. His coach said, ‘he was racing.’ He is already lean, anyway. But in these past few weeks, he is looking more fit than ever. It is as though his muscles are more obvious, especially in his back.”


      Unbelievable improvement in acne and athletic performance are just a couple of the benefits from the enhanced nutrition of The Dietary Cure for Acne. When you give your body the right fuel, the improvements in many aspects of your life can be quite surprising!

      The Dietary Cure for Acne Implementation Program takes The Dietary Cure for Acne to the next level. In the Implementation Program, we will keep you on track, and give you the tools and knowledge to make eating this way easy and hassle-free.

      Our team of experts will answer your questions with live Q&A coaching. You’ll have a detailed plan of what to eat; fast and easy ways to shop for and prep food; and a step-by-step program that will make the process easy and guarantee results.

      Because this is our first time doing this, we have priced The Dietary Cure for Acne Implementation Program at the one-time-only price of $297 for this program that starts October 5th at 6:30 pm Mountain. We currently have only a few openings left.

      We’re so sure that you’ll love your clear blemish-free skin, and the other improvements you’ll experience that it comes with a full money back guarantee.

              Follow Up and Feedback

    In this section, we’ll share readers’ concerns and questions about nutrition and the Paleo Diet to help you better understand how to use the diet to optimize your health and fitness.

    We recently received this request for information:

    “I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis about 3 years ago. It started off as a very mild case, but recently progressed to the point where my doctor was discussing having my colon removed if a new medication (Remicade) did not work. Being on Remicade has helped and I was able to put back on 20 pounds. However, I do not believe in medication alone.

    I believe that diet is a key component to living a healthy life. I follow the Paleo Diet, which has helped tremendously. I know that there are certain foods like night shade vegetables, which are part of the Paleo Diet, that I should avoid. Are there any other foods on the Paleo Diet that I should eliminate?”

    Yes, we do recommend that people with autoimmune conditions, including ulcerative colitis, modify the Paleo Diet in the following ways. As you mentioned, nightshade vegetables (like potatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes) should not be consumed because they contain harmful lectins and saponins.

    In addition, egg white is a source of a membranolytic protein, namely lisozyme, that breaks cell membranes, and therefore should also be removed from your diet.

    You can learn more about how to treat autoimmune diseases in our program How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis with Diet.

    Although we can't answer every question personally due to the number of letters received, we are very interested in hearing your thoughts, learning about your experiences, and understanding your questions. Many of the questions that we receive will be answered in future newsletters.

    Talk to you next week!

    To your optimum health,

    Wiley Long, M.S., Nutrition and Exercise Science



    1. Michal L. Melamed, Juhi Kumar, Paul Muntner, Frederick J. Kaskel, and Susan M. Hailpern. Prevalence and Associations of 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Deficiency in Children and Adolescents in the United States: Results from NHANES 2001-2004. Pediatrics, August 3, 2009.

    2. Sorenson, M. (2009). Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health Retrieved September 02, 2009, from Dr. Sorenson’s blog Website:

    3. Deardorff, J (2009). How much vitamin D do I need? Retrieved September 02, 2009, from Website:

    4. Liu, P. et al. Toll-like receptor triggering of a vitamin D-mediated human antimicrobial response. Science 2006;311:1770-73.

    5. Gombart, A. et al. Human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide (CAMP) gene is a direct target of the vitamin D receptor and is up-regulated in myeloid cells by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. FASEB J 2005;19:1067-77.



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      2261 Shawnee Ct., Suite 101
      Fort Collins, CO 80525

      Posted by SL

      Posted via email from sl26mi


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