Fending off the winter cold/flu

Bacteria and viruses – they’re literally everywhere and nothing is as boring and unproductive as being hit by them. Even though we have come a long way since these micro organisms were discovered we nonetheless still haven’t conquered the yearly flu let alone the common cold. Now that winter is upon us, at least for us living in the northern part of the earths’ hemisphere, it is about time to gear up with the right weapons. Following is a list of weapons that is well worth accumulating in order to stay healthy and productive this winter.

1. Healthy gut flora
More and more evidence is being gathered showing that having a healthy gut flora is key to good health. These small creatures that live in our gut can either be our friends or our enemies. It all seems to depend on what we eat and what we think. If we have a healthy unprocessed diet that includes some fermented food items and supplement with cultures during stressful times – and when we feel like we are coming down with a cold or a flu – we are in much better shape to fend off invading viruses and bacteria.

2. Cleanliness without going to extremes – stop touching your face! Ekki snerta andlitið
We all know it but do we go by it? Hand washing is essential after touching areas that are touched by several people such as handlebars, doorknobs and towels. But you can’t go about all day long washing your hands again and again after touching every random object around. A lot of people don’t realise that the essential thing is to never touch your face unless your hands are clean. Never touch your eyes, your nose or any part of your face unless you have washed your hands. If you touch an item that a person that has a cold or is coming down with one has just touched and then rub your eye or your nose you are hand delivering the microbial viruses straight into your body. So wean yourself of rubbing your nose and your eyes right away – it is well worth it. Be careful to not go to the extremes either; there is no need to use an antibacterial soap it can actually weaken your system.

3. Make sure you’re getting enough of the following:

  • Vitamin D
    Vitamin D is not really a vitamin it is a hormone that controls the immune system. Studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is very common all around the world both secondary to dietary changes as well as profound use of sunscreen. It is well worth to have your vitamin D levels checked with a simple blood test but keep in mind that “normal” levels vary a lot around the world. Dr. Michael Holick,  one of the world’s best authorities on vitamin D suggests that we should have levels around 90-100 nanomoles per ml of blood. If you turn out to have low levels it is important to start with high doses temporarily to oomph the system – consult with your doctor or health care specialist.
  • Iron
    Iron is another supplement that is important for a strong immune system so if you think you might be low in iron (most women of childbearing age are) you should have that checked.
  • Vitamin C
    If you are eating a healthy diet including lots of veggies and fruits you shouldn’t have to worry about not getting enough vitamin C. Taking a boost once in while might do you good though, especially if you feel like you are coming down with something.
  • Zink
    Zink is well-known for boosting the immune system as well as improving the sex drive as an added benefit. Like any other substance it is best to get zink from your diet so eating e.g. pumpkin seeds on and off should keep your levels up.
  • Magnesium
    Like vitamin D magnesium deficiency is common. One of the reason being that the soil today does not contain as many minerals as it used to. It is important to make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet as it can support a healthy immune system.

4. Make use of the placebo effect and avoid the nocebo effect

placebo-effect

Most people are familiar with the placebo effect; if you believe something will help you it probably will to some extent at least. Actually the fact is that studies are showing that the placebo effect could be even stronger than we have thought This effect is so effective as a matter of fact that most of psychotic medicine do not seem to work much better than the placebo effect. You might on the other hand not have heard of the nocebo effect which basically is the opposite of the placebo one. So if you believe something will be harmful to you it most likely will. The power of our brain is being proven to be more powerful than we ever thought possible. So how can this help you fight off sickness? These effects can actually help you quite a bit; for instance if you believe something will help you in the fight against being sick it most likely will. On the other hand if you are convinced that you will fall sick you might have a better change of actually getting sick.

garfield sofandi5.Getting a good nights sleep
Sleep is never over rated and studies that show the importance if getting a good nights sleep have been piling up. A new research overview  published in the Annual Review of Psychology how sleep can affect immunity of the body. How much sleep we need seems to differ a bit between one person and the next but going to sleep at a similar time seems to matter.

6. Exercise – preferably outdoors
Wherever you look there is an article letting us know how important it is to exercise and avoid too much sitting. The body is made to be kept on the move and regular exercise is essential. If you can exercise outdoors it gives the immune system an extra boost – plenty of sunshine and oxygen. Now studies are also showing that it is not enough to exercise 2-3 times a week as it seems to be essential to move throughout each and every day and that the ace of sitting can be harmful. Get up and move!Bicycling

7. Drink enough water
The body is 50-60% water and we need to replenish our stacks. Think of the mucous membranes that line the inner surface of the body as flowers that need watering; without water the flowers will wither away. Similarly will the mucous membranes dry up and lose their ability to fend of invading bacteria and viruses if they don’t get their regular water supply. Not drinking enough water can actually increase your changes of getting a cold or the flu. drink water

 

Do we all qualify for a mental diagnosis of some sort?

In case you are wondering about all the people around you that you have considered “normal” but now have a psychiatricpopping pills diagnosis of some sort you are not the only one. All over the world the number of people on disability secondary to a mental diagnosis is increasing. At the same time more and more psychiatrists as well as psychologists are speaking out on the over diagnosis of mental disorders. Dr. Allen Frances, a psychiatrist once dubbed as the most influential psychiatrist in the US and one of the scholars that formed the DMS-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association offering the common language and standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders) that came out in 2000 is one of them. In a hilarious preface to his book “Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life” that was published in August, 2014 Dr. Frances describes his concerns with the updating of DSM-IV to DSM-5, the newest version of the DSM manual. He goes as far as saying that this latest version “threatens to turn everyday living into psychiatric disease”

The number of disorders has increased

Indeed each edition of the DSM leading up to the DSM-5 has increased the number of disorders. The first one, DSM-I, that came out in 1952 listed 106 disorders. The DSM-III from 1980 listed 265 disorders and the DSM-IV listed 297. There seems to be some debate on the number of disorders listed in the newest version; DSM-5. Some 15 new diagnoses seem to have been added but others revised or taken out leading some sources to declare the total number being less than the 297 listed in the DSM-IV but others that they are over 300.

Psychologists as well as psychiatrists criticize the DSM system

Psychiatrists are not the only ones criticizing the DSM system and Peter Kinderman, a professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool goes as far as to say that we need to abandon the disease model of mental health care and stop medicalizing normal life. In his new book “A Prescription for Psychiatry” he argues that services should be based on the premise that the origins of distress are largely social but not diseases. Thus the role of clinicians should be to support people who are distressed as a result of their life circumstances.

Have we reach an era where normal responses to life’s’ challenges are being diagnosed as illnesses? Should people be diagnosed with depression when they are experiencing sorrow after a loved one has passed away? What about the ones that have been abused or suffered severe trauma? Are they suffering from an illness or are they showing normal response to difficult challenges? Maybe they need help temporarily but should they have to carry a mental diagnosis for the rest of their life? Because that seems to be what happens; once a person is diagnosed with a mental disorder it tends to stick.

 

 

Milk consumption – have we been misinformed?

sannleikurinn um mjólkWrong information?

From early childhood on we are made to believe that the more milk we drink the stronger our bones will become. We get bombarded with this message from every direction; in school, on posters, in ads and from our parents. Now more and more research is showing that actually the opposite could be true; that the more milk we drink the weaker our bones become. It was more than 25 years ago that I first read about milk not being as healthy as it was promoted to be. Unfortunately I didn’t keep track of the research that I came across at that time but I remember that some of them suggested that drinking milk changed the acidity of the blood causing calcium to be leached from the bones. Looking at the literature today I stumbled upon research like the one that was performed in 1994 in Sidney Australia and looked at elderly men and women showing that higher dairy product consumption was associated with up to double increased fracture risk. Similar findings were confirmed by Karl Michaëlsson, a lead researcher at Uppsala University in Sweden, who along with his associates published a study in BMJ in October 2014. The study looked at two large Swedish cohorts who were administered food frequency questionnaires. The results showed that high milk intake was associated with higher mortality in one cohort of women and in another cohort of men, and with higher fracture incidence in women.

How can milk consumption lead to fractures and shortened lifespan?

The Swedish authors speculate if high intake of milk might have undesirable effect because it is the main dietary source of D-galactose. Milk contains essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D whose intestinal uptake is enhanced by the enzymatic capacity to digest lactose into D-glucose and D-galactose by mutation in the lactase gene, a variant common in those with northern European ancestry. Experimental evidence in several animal species indicates that chronic exposure to D-galactose has deleterious effects on health inducing changes that resemble natural aging in animals, including shortened life span. This is caused by oxidative stress damage, chronic inflammation, neurodegeneration, decreased immune response, and gene transcriptional changes. The increase of oxidative stress with aging and chronic low grade inflammation has been connected to cardiovascular disease and cancer in humans as well as being mentioned as a possible mechanism of age related bone loss.
It could also be mentioned here that the Physicians Committee that combines the expertise of more than 12,000 physicians points out that ecological studies suggest higher mortality rates from fracture and ischaemic heart disease in countries with high milk consumption.

I don’t know about you but after reading about these studies I feel kind of funny when I see the ads recommending increased milk intake for prevention of fractures and improved health.

Is cheese and yogurt ok?

yogur-and-cheeseThere is one thing that we can be glad about though i.e. the fact that the Swedish research showed that consuming cheese or fermented milk products like yogurt seemed to have the opposite effect of drinking milk.  Thus women with a high intake of cheese or fermented milk products had lower mortality and fracture rates than women who consumed less of the same.

 

 

 

 

Can we trust scientific findings?

Have You Heard - 3d Words IsolatedEvery single day we hear about new scientific findings that have the potential to affect the way we behave in our daily lives. We hear about what we should eat, how much we should exercise and how stress affects us just to mention a few findings. As great as it is to be well-informed, the problem is that the findings we hear about are often contradictory to what we have heard before. Coffee is a great example since in the last years it has been proclaimed to be anywhere from health inducing to being a health threat. If we ought to act on all the findings we hear about our diets would change from one extreme to the next over a short period of time.

Can we trust what is being published?

After years of being bombarded like that you begin to wonder what is really going on. Could it possibly be that something is wrong with research itself? Can we trust what is presented to us as good research and published in prestigious journals? This is exactly what scholars are beginning to question. One of them is Curt Rice, a professor at the University of Tromso and a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. In an article posted on February 6 2013 he points out that retraction rates of published scientific articles have increased tenfold in the past decade. Rice cites a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that demonstrates that two-thirds of all retractions follow from scientific misconduct like fraud, duplicate publication and plagiarism. As Rice points out “the most prestigious journals have the highest rates of retraction, and that fraud and misconduct are greater sources of retraction in these journals than in less prestigious ones”. There also seems to be “a preference among prestigious journals for results that have more spectacular or novel findings, a phenomenon known as “publication bias”. Rice mentions also what is known as the decline effect; i.e. the effect of getting weaker results when research is repeated possibly because of an earlier statistical fluke being cancelled out.
Another sceptic, Dr. Frank Lipman the founder and director of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, in his article elaborates on how most medical studies on health can not be trusted. He points out that not only is it “a well-known fact that studies funded by the industry or conducted by researchers with industry ties tend to favor corporate interests,” but also that almost a third of papers published are refuted by other studies in a few years time. Dr. Lipman cites a study in Public Library of Science (PloS) Medicine suggesting “that there are so many scientific papers pursuing very few pages in the most prestigious journals, that the winners could be the ones most likely to oversell themselves—to proclaim impressive results that later turn out to be false”.

Dr. John Ioannidis, a meta-researcher and one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research, has spent most of his career challenging other scientists by exposing their bad science. David H. Freeman writes about Iaonnidis’s work in an article called “Lies, damned lies, and medical science“. Like Freeman puts it Iaonnidis “and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed.”

What to do?

I have to say that I was happy what to doto find that prestigious scientists are questioning research findings. When I was working on my masters thesis in 2007 I couldn’t help having the feeling that almost no matter what the research question had been in the beginning the results would somehow have supported that question. I honestly think that most scientists are inspired by good intentions and set out to do high quality research. It just seems to be so easy to sway the results in the correct direction when looking for the answers you set out to find.

It seems to me that we need to be more critical of research findings and use our common sense before altering our habits too quickly in the light of new research. Research that might be refuted in the near future.

 

 

 

Mammograms – have women been misinformed?

Some topics are holier than others. It seems that breast cancer screening is one of them. Although studies are pouring in showing that this type of screening could be at the best useless and at the worst harmful we still receive invitations in the mail for our “life saving” breast exams.

screeningIn March 2010 the renowned British Medical Journal published a Danish study showing that the Danish breast screening programme had no effect on breast cancer mortality. Another study published in the same journal in 2009 showed that one in three breast cancers detected in a population offered organised screening is overdiagnosed (over diagnosis referring to the detection of cancers that will not cause death or symptoms). One in three is a lot! What about all the women that undergo treatment for their overdiagnosed breast cancer? Adding to all these cases of overdiagnosis is the sad fact that breast cancer screening seems to only save limited number of lives as a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2012 shows and Dr. David Newman, an emergency room physician in New York City, articulates brilliantly on in an article published in The New York Times in 2012.

In April 2014 an astonishing article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting on a review of mammography screening conducted by the Swiss Medical Board in January 2013. (The Swiss Medical Board is an independent health technology assessment initiative under the auspices of the Conference of Health Ministers of the Swiss Cantons, the Swiss Medical Association, and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences). Their conclusion is very clear: “It is easy to promote mammography screening if the majority of women believe that it prevents or reduces the risk of getting breast cancer and saves many lives through early detection of aggressive tumors. We would be in favor of mammography screening if these beliefs were valid. Unfortunately, they are not, and we believe that women need to be told so. From an ethical perspective, a public health program that does not clearly produce more benefits than harms is hard to justify. Providing clear, unbiased information, promoting appropriate care, and preventing overdiagnosis and overtreatment would be a better choice”.

What will it take? Why are we still being told to have our routine mammograms and made to feel like we are irresponsible if we don’t? Should health authorities not be looking at implementing other options for prevention of breast cancer by now?

 

 

 

 

According to the best knowledge of each time

hysteria (1)

Throughout the history of mankind people have believed that the various medical diagnoses and treatments used at each time were correct and indisputable. In the 19th century women were diagnosed with “hysteria” if they presented with almost any kind of symptoms – and no one dared to protest. I wonder which conditions of today, considered indisputable and beyond doubt by most, will be considered obsolete in the future. Fibromyalgia perhaps? Depression? Could it also be that with all the emphasis on complex diagnoses we have forgotten the basics? Like shortage of iron, vitamin-D or vitamin-B12 as the root cause of symptoms? Physicians of the 19th and 20th century knew that excessive head sweating of children at night-time signaled vitamin D deficiency. Do physicians of today possess this knowledge at all?

In any case it is interesting to compare the symptoms caused by deficiency of common vitamins and minerals with the symptoms of fibromyalgia:

Vitamin-D deficiency:D vítamín, mynd 2
Lack of concentration
Lack of energy
Disturbance of sleep
Widespread longstanding muscle aches
Muscle weakness
Iron deficiency:
Lack of concentration
Restless leg syndrome
Coldness of hands and feet
Heart palpitations
Headache
Lack of energy
Dizziness
Omega 3 deficiency:omega 3 rich food
žLack of concentration
Lack of energyž
Heart problems
žAnxiety
žPoor memory
žPoor circulation
žJoint pain
Mood fluctuations
žSleep disturbances
Depression
žDry skin
Vitamin-B12 deficiency:
Numbness of hands and feet
žLack of concentration
Lack of energy
ž“Brain fog”
Balance problemsB12
Anxiety
žPoor memory
Disturbances of sight
Muscle weakness
žDisturbances of sleep
žDepression
žUrinary incontinence
Magnesium deficiency:
Lack of energy
žNumbness
žRestless leg syndrome
Heart palpitations
žHeadache
žAnxiety
žSleep disturbances
žMuscle weakness
žUrinary incontinence
Symptoms of fibromyalgia

Depression/anxiety
Lack of concentration/amnesia
Symptoms from the heart and vascular system as well as digestive tract
Restless leg syndrome
Headache
Arthralgia
Lack of energy
Raynaud’s phenomenon (coldness of hands and feet)
Sleep disturbances, balance problems
Dizziness
Muscle weakness
Myalgia
Urinary incontinence

Can we trust that all physicians send patients they diagnose with fibromyalgia first for a thorough blood work?
Maybe we should look further than the best knowledge at each time….

 

 

 

 

 

Children and the harmful effects of second hand smoking

Some would say that exposing children to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is one form of child abuse.

Children’s second hand smoking starts as early as in the uterus with the smoking of expectant mothers. It has been proven that exposure to second hand smoking in the uterus can cause lower birth weight and cot deaths. After birth exposure to second hand smoking has been linked to the build up of fluid in the middle ear, ear infections, respiratory infections especially during the first year, asthma, less ability to learn and mature, meningitis, cancer, leukemia, worsening of cystic fibrosis and decreased lung function. Exposure to second hand smoking also causes symptoms from the respiratory organs such as caughing and increased mucous and even food intolerance and excema. Such exposure has also been shown to cause blood clots later in life.

Even though the effects of the expectant mother being exposed to second hand smoking is less on the fetus than if the
mother herself smoked there are still provable effects such as miscarriage and lower birth weight. After birth the babies
of mothers that are exposed to secondary smoking produce breakdown components of nicotine that goes to show that they are exposed in uterus.

A lot has been said and written about how important it is for parents to be good role models for their children. Therefore it does not come as a surprise that children who are exposed to second hand smoking growing up are up to three times as likely to smoke later in life than those who are not exposed. Research has also shown that children are less likely to start smoking if they live in surroundings where there is a smoking ban in effect since they are more likely to regard smoking of adults as socially unacceptable.

In 2007-2008 an estimated 88 million nonsmokers in the United States were exposed to secondhand smoke and 53.6% of young children (aged 3–11 years). What is even worse is the fact that 18.2% of children (aged 3–11 years) lived with someone who smoked inside their home. Keep in mind that research has shown that up to 85% of children that were exposed to second hand smoking in their home measured with nicotine in their blood.

 

 

 

Vitamin D and fibromyalgia

A hormone rather than a vitamin
The importance of vitamin D is without doubt one of the hottest health topics of recent years.  In Iceland we had the good fortune of enjoying the presence of Dr. Michael Holick, professor at Boston University, as the main speaker at a conference held in October 2011 on this important vitamin.
Dr. Michael Holick, has spent a large portion of his life´s work researching vitamin D. His research as well as the research of other scholars has revealed that every single cell of the human body contains a receptor for vitamin D and that the vitamin is really a hormone rather than a vitamin. The body produces vitamin D in the skin from sunlight and throughout history most people have been getting their vitamin D through their skin as well as getting some from certain types of food like oily fish, cod liver oil, eggs and mushrooms. If sunscreen is applied our ability to produce vitamin D from sun exposure is greatly diminished.


 

Are we not getting enough vitamin D?
With increased usage of sunscreen and less consumption of oily fish there has been an increase in vitamin D deficiency all over the world. In his book „The Vitamin D Solution“, published in 2011, Dr. Holick explains the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and the consequences of such a shortage. He states that at least 50% if not 90% of the American population is suffering from a shortage of vitamin D and that the situation could be described as an outbreak. The book also states that vitamin D shortage is in deed the most serious disease in the world and is connected to disease prevention and in many cases the treatment of diseases like heart diseases, cancer, stroke, infectious diseases, diabetes, depression, insomnia, muscle weakness, fibromyalgia, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis,  psoriasis, MS and high blood pressure. It has also been shown that those who suffer from obesity are more often than not suffering from severe vitamin D deficiency that can keep the vicious cycle of obesity going.

 

Vitamin D and Fibromyalgia

One of the most serious forms of vitamin D deficiency known is a disease that most people think of as a disease of the past; or rickets. In the last few years there has been an increase in confirmed cases of rickets in the US and Europe, all connected to an increase in vitamin D deficiency. Another disease but less known and also caused by vitamin D deficiency is osteomalacia. Osetomalacia has also been called rickets of adults and is characterized by undefined aches and tenderness of bones and muscles as well as a relentless lack of energy. These symptoms are almost identical to the ones of fibromyalgia and Dr. Holick asserts that osteomalacia is often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or even arthritis.
In Dr. Holicks´ experience 40-60% of those who seek his help and have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome are in reality suffering from osteolamacia caused by vitamin D deficiency. He has been very successful in treating these individuals with high doses of vitamin D and sensible exposure to sunlight. Dr. Holick warns that if physicians do not rule out vitamin D deficiency as a possible cause for undefined aches in muscles and bones the correct treatment can be delayed significantly.

 

 

Vitamin D and infections

The number of infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria (MRSA) has been on the rise for the past years. These infections are now being diagnosed more often in people that are not hospitalized. At the same time research has shown that a large proportion of the worlds population is vitamin D deficient. Could deficiency of vitamin d and infections be related in any way?

It so happens that vitamin D is not really a vitamin but rather a hormone that not only helps boost the immune system but basically controls it. This, among other facts, is revealed in a book by Dr. Michael Holick, The Vitamin D Solution, which was published in 2010. Dr. Holick has studied vitamin D for the past 30 years. Since one of the major roles of vitamin D is to help the body fight all kinds of infections and a large proportion of the population is deficient it is not illogical to speculate if this deficiency could help explain the rise in infections.

Why are so many people deficient in vitamin D? Dr. Holick and many others think there are two basic reasons; we are not getting enough sun exposure, partly secondary to increased use of sunscreen, and we are not getting enough vitamin D from food sources.

Vitamin D and sun exposure                 picture of the sun that gives us vitamin d

It is common knowledge that our skin produces vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. A lot of people don‘t realize though that this production is hampered by the use of sunscreen. Sunscreen with Spf of 30 can thus reduce vitamin D production by 95-99%. Dr. Holick and others are not recommending that we stop using sunscreen altogether but that we let the skin be exposed to sunlight for a short period of time before we put sunscreen on in order for us to be able to produce this important vitamin.  The amount of vitamin D that we can produce through the skin is much larger than the amount that we can get through our food or through supplements and lasts much longer in the bloodstream. Dr. Holick is not promoting suntanning and warns strongly against sunburn.

Vitamin D in food

There are not a lot of food sources that contain vitamin D, mostly oily fish such as herring, salmon, trout, sardines and halibut. Vitamin D is also found in eggyolks and in some amount in mushrooms. Cod liver oil is also rich of vitamin D and research has shown that people living in the northern countries such as Iceland that consume cod liver oil on a daily basis are not as vitamin D deficient as those who do not take cod liver oil. Mushrooms are remarkable for the fact that if they are exposed to ultraviolet light of B type during the cultivation process they will produce vitamin D in their “skin“ and thus can increase their vitamin D amount markedly.  Such vitamin D rich mushrooms are now available in Australia and the US.

a picture of fish Oil Capsules that contain vitamin d

Living above 35°north latitude

People that live in the northern hemisphere of the world, defined by living above 35° north latitude, have less opertunity to produce vitamin D from sunlight than people living further south. Therefore they need to supplement on vitamin D in order not to become deficient. Research has shown that people living in northerly countries, e.g. Iceland, are not getting enough vitamin D from their food. That indicates a need for taking vitamin D supplements. How much is needed has been debated and people are getting mixed messages. In Iceland for example the official guidelines are that grownups should take 400 international units (iu) per day or 10 micrograms while Dr. Holick and others recommend that grownups need to take 1000 -2000 iu per day. Some experts recommend even higher doses.

What should we do?

We need to come up with clear recommendations for the public about both sensible exposure to sunlight as well as amounts of vitamin D to consume. The sun is the source of all life on this earth and we have to be able to be exposed to it to such a degree that we will be able to produce enough vitamin D without increasing our changes of getting skin cancer. Diseases like rickets in children that were thought to be extinct are on the rise secondary to vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D not only protects us against all kinds of diseases and infections but also can protect us from high blood pressure, heart disease, certain kinds of cancer (e.g. breast- and colon cancer), autoimmune diseases, arthritis and fibromyalgia as well as increasing our life expectency.  We live in times where the cost of health care is constantly on the rise so cutting down on infections and diseases with simple measures like supplementation of vitamin D and sensible sun exposure can prove invaluable, both financially as well as to improve the quality of our lives.