Archive for October 2011

Fair skinned people may need extra vitamin D supplements

Fair skinned people who are prone to sunburn may need to take health supplements to ensure they get enough vitamin D, say cancer experts. Fair skinned people may need extra vitamin D supplementsThe Cancer Research UK charity say that even with a lot of sun exposure, those with fair skin may not be able to make enough vitamin D. And too much sun causes skin cancer.

Clearly, for this reason, increasing sun exposure is not the way to achieve higher vitamin D levels in the fair-skinned population, say the researchers. But taking supplements could be.

Their work examined 1,200 people.

Of these, 730 were found to have “lower than optimal” vitamin D levels – and many of these were people with very pale, freckled skin.

Supplements are already recommended for groups at higher risk of deficiency. This includes people with dark skin, such as people of African-Caribbean and South Asian origin, and people who wear full-body coverings, as well as the elderly, young children, pregnant and breastfeeding women and people who avoid the sun.

Based on the latest findings, it appears that pale-skinned people should be added to this list.

Vitamin D is important for healthy bones and teeth.

At levels less than 25 nmol/L the blood is in a deficiency, but experts increasingly believe that lower than 60 nmol/L levels are suboptimal and can also be damaging to health.

Most people get enough vitamin D with short exposures to the sun (10 to 15 minutes a day). A small amount also comes from the diet in foods like oily fish and dairy products.

But people with fair skin do not seem to be able to get enough, according to Prof Julia Newton-Bishop and her team at the University of Leeds.

Part of the reason might be that people who burn easily are more likely to cover up and avoid the sun.

But some fair-skinned individuals also appear to be less able to make and process vitamin D in the body, regardless of how long they sit in the sun for.

Hazel Nunn, of Cancer Research UK, explains how to increase vitamin D levels if you’re pale

Prof Newton-Bishop said: “It’s very difficult to give easy advice that everyone can follow. There’s no one-size-fits-all.  However, fair-skinned individuals who burn easily are not able to make enough vitamin D from sunlight and so may need to take vitamin D supplements.”

Hazel Nunn, of Cancer Research UK, said: “It is about striking a balance between the benefits and harms of sun exposure.

“People with fair skin are at higher risk of developing skin cancer and should take care to avoid over-exposure to the sun’s rays.  If people are concerned about their vitamin D levels, they should see their doctor who may recommend a vitamin D test.”


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Why Halloween can be bad for you

Over the weekend, the streets will be filled with frightening monsters, ghosts and goblins, and little kids dressed up like witches and draculas.Why Halloween can be bad for youWhat could be more terrifying than that?

Even so, in the spirit of the season, there are four things that I find scarier than kids with face paint and adults believing it’s okay to parade around in next to nothing every time October 31 rolls around.

And the scariest thing about the information below is this: it’s totally, 100 percent true. Yikes.

Scary Fact No. 1: Weight gained during the holidays may last a lifetime.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, while most adults only gain about a pound during the holiday season, that “extra weight accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life.”

The study was conducted with a diverse population; it included participants from ages 19 to 82, from different socioeconomic, racial, and ethic backgrounds, and with a wide range of starting weights.

The study found that, “Compared to their initial weight in late September or early October, the volunteers gained just over a pound (1.05 lb.) by late February or early March. Most of that weight gain (0.8 lb.) occurred during the six week interval between Halloween and New Year’s Day.”

Moreover, “When 165 of the study volunteers were weighed a year after the study began, they had not lost the extra weight gained during the holidays, and ended the year a pound and a half heavier (1.4 lb.) than they were the year before.”

Scary Fact No. 2: Not working out means losing the muscle you’ve gained.

I realise this may sound like common sense, but putting an actual number of weeks to it gives this fact its frightening fangs. mentions in this article that,

“Detraining can lead to muscle loss or atrophy and a decrease in muscle strength within two to six weeks.”

Now, this depends a lot on your current level of fitness, your age, and your exercise program.

But suffice to say, if you like to take a break from your fitness routine during the holidays, you’re not doing your muscles any favors.

In the weeks between Halloween and New Year’s Day, you may be giving up all the hard work you’ve put in at the gym this year.

Scary Fact No. 3: Halloween candy “fun” sizes aren’t that fun.

Sure, sneaking a bite sized candy from your kid’s candy stash doesn’t seem so bad…that is, if you can eat just one.

But the truth is, just eating one is difficult, if not down right impossible. outlines the calories, fat, and sugar in our most popular Halloween treats in this article, showing the good, the bad, the ugly, and the scary.

Scary Fact No. 4: You’re not a statistic.

Sure, the cards are stacked against us all during the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you have to fold.

You’re in control of you. You make your own choices. You select the foods you eat. You decide whether you take a walk after dinner or sit and watch TV. You choose to wake up early and exercise while the family is sleeping.

You’re not a statistic. You’re you. So don’t let the holidays scare you. Make conscious choices, be aware of your personal pitfalls, and do the best you can.

Who knows? Maybe you can get a head start on those New Year’s goals after all.

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