Because vitamin D deficiency is becoming implicated in such a wide range of disease conditions, researchers are increasing the amount of work targeting vitamin D.

New Zealand researchers have expertise in a number of physiological conditions and lifecycle stages where vitamin D deficiency is potentially damaging to health in both the short and long term. These include bone health, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and muscle strength, and during pregnancy, infancy and childhood, as well as older age.

Several of the recent trials have shown that a substantial number of the population have blood levels of this vitamin that is well below the optimum level. The actual requirement of Vitamin D and the dose rate that is recommended has changed markedly in the last year or so with researchers and medical professionals world wide suggesting that current rates are far too low and could be substantially lifted without any danger of toxicity or side effects. The former adult recommendation of some 1000 U.I. is seen as too low and many are recommending rates in the 2000 – 3000 I.U. range.

A 6 months study by Dr John Livesey of some 200 Christchurch adults showed they were almost all Vitamin D deficent during the period studied. His recommendation was that Christchurch adults should all be taking a daily dose of 2600 I.U. on a daily basis throughout the year. This study surprised The Wise Old Owl as it would be expected that over the summer sufficent sunlight would have been absorbed by the skin to produce adequate levels of Vitamin D, but that does not appear to be the case. Further studies by other researchers have come up with the same conclusion that a substantial porportion of the New Zealand population need Vitamin D supplementation. Blood testing of a broad sample of the population indicated that throughout New Zealand in the order of 50% of the population had below optimum levels of Vitamin D in their system

Vitamin D exists in 5 forms and it is Vitamin D3 (that is one manufactured in the body by sunlight) that is the important or critical one, so any supplementation either by diet or actual supplement should be in this form. This is the form used in NUZEACAL the bone health supplement produced by The Wise Old Owl and found on the website http://www.seniorhealthcare.co.nz

Another New Zealand website that has good Vitamin D information on is http://www.vitamind3.co.nz

Researching natural health products on the internet has been a interest of The Wise Old Owl for many years and I spend several hours every day following international developments and research results in this field. There is a huge range of products and the science or research behind them varies tremendously. From sound medically based and approved trials to real scam or antedotal results. Often there are very conflicting results or views and for the average consumer it is difficult to sort the wheat from the straw. For me to accept a natural health product has a beneficial effect I have to see a substantial number of well designed and operated trials carried out over a number of years that show significant positive results in the vast majority of cases (not necessarily every case).
Running in parallel with this research must be reliable toxicity work to prove product safety.
Once we are at that stage I am really interested and would recommend the product. However before it will get full consumer acceptance it must be accepted by health professionals and recommended by them. That final stage can take many years.
The product that I believe fits this development perfectly and is my current choice for the most important natural health product in the world is Omega 3. This product was researched widely for many years and a large body of reliable results showing positive effects on both heart and brain was available some 8 years ago but consumer acceptance was relatively low. However about that time some health professionals supported it’s use and over the last 8 years this medical acceptance has grown along with comsumer use, both growing rapidly every year.
Additional research has reinforced the early conclusions and come up with a number of additional benefits and listing all the benefits is the subject of a separate blog. Suffice to say I believe that everyone should be taking this product other than those who eat fish several times a week. An exercise I did to try and convert the benefits as shown by research into actual health benefits showed in dollar terms it would pay all health insurers very substantially to provide all their clients with free Omega 3. Which means to the individual taking Omega 3 is the cheapest health insurance they could find.

Recent publicity in the media on the danger of calcium supplementation increasing the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke has confused many consumers. Especially in USA where 51% of the population over 19 years of age take calcium supplements, with 66% of women over 60 taking calcium supplements (National Health and Nutrition Surveys USA).
This publicity has arisen from a series of meta analyses carried out by Prof Ian Reid at the Auckland Medical School in NZ, the results being published in the British Medical Journal in early 2011. For these meta analyses he has chosen a wide range of trials covering some 29,000 people and states for every 1,000 people taking calcium supplements we save 3 fractures and cause 6 heart attacks.
While he is not sure of the reason, he postulates that when a consumer starts taking a conventional calcium supplement it causes an abrupt spike in the blood serum calcium and this causes the increased risk. His recommendation is to take any calcium supplementation in the form of food rather than a capsule. That is increase the intake of such high calcium foods such as dairy products. If you must take a supplement take one that is very insoluble, take it with food and split your daily dose rate.
Prof Reid’s views are challenged by a number of people. The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Woman’s Health Initiative (WHI), a number of the health supplement organisations and a number of well known heart specialists. All express concern at the figures and say that Prof Reid has just selected trials that proved his thesis and left out those that did not fit and they say he poses more questions than answers. There are many more trials that show no heart effects than the ones he has selected and none of the trials were designed to measure effects on the heart
That may be correct, and mega analyses can often give strange results. For example a world meta analyses of dairy product consumption and osteoporosis rates show clearly an inverse ratio. Often countries with a high dairy product consumption have much higher rates of osteoporosis than those with a low dairy product consumption. Still Prof Reid is a very reputable researcher and The Wise Old Owl is sure he honestly believes in his theory. It would seem foolish not to keep this matter under review and in the meantime follow Prof Reid’s advice if taking calcium supplements (generally he prefers calcium to be taken in the diet in a natural form with other minerals and nutrients).
However he says if you do need a calcium supplement make your choice an insoluble one, preferably a complex one that contains a range of minerals and proteins and is akin to a concentrated food.Take them with meals and split the daily dose.
The calcium supplement NUZEACAL fits these criteria well with it’s calcium being held in the desirable MCHA form and has the additional benefit of containing a powerful bioactive that increases bone strength. Also some of the calcium supplements derived from sea algae are more complex and contain a wide range of minerals
More information may be found at http://www.seniorhealthcare.co.nz