TAG | pollution
Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is characterized by inflammation of the intestines, and is most notably represented as Crohn’s disease, which usually affects the small intestine, but may affect other areas of the digestive tract, and ulcerative colitis, which usually affects the large intestine, or colon.
Two recent studies, presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 76th Annual Scientific Meeting, discovered a connection between IBD and vitamin D status, or with latitude of geographic location at age 30. Latitude has been found to be strongly correlated with vitamin D status, because vitamin D is most commonly obtained through UV sun exposure. Those people living at higher latitudes are more likely to have insufficient vitamin D status; thus, the vitamin D connection to IBD.
In one study, it was found that people who lived in northern US latitudes at age 30 were more likely to later develop IBD. The researchers stated, “This differential risk may be explained by differences in UV light exposure, vitamin D status, or pollution.” The risk of developing Crohn’s disease was 50 percent lower in those people living in southern latitudes at age 30, and for ulcerative colitis, it was 35 percent lower.
In the second study, vitamin D3 supplementation was given to Crohn’s patients with low blood levels of vitamin D. The low-dose group received 1,000 IU daily, and the high-dose group received 10,000 IU daily. After 26 weeks of supplementation, there were differences in vitamin D levels, but more importantly, there was a significant improvement of disease symptoms in the high-dose compared to the low-dose group.
So many conditions are affected by insufficient vitamin D levels. If you do not know your vitamin D level, get it checked, even if you live in the south. Most integrative doctors recommend a vitamin D level of at least 50 ng/dL.
It’s something that none of us ever wants to hear: that every day our bodies encounter scores of dangerous toxins that can contribute to one of the deadliest diseases in history. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, and an alarming new report from the President’s Cancer Panel brings to light the shocking truth about the impact of environmental pollution on cancer rates in the United States.
The report, entitled Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, outlines the sources and types of environmental contaminants and their significant impact on our overall health—emphasizing in particular the risk to pregnant mothers and infants. The PCP urges government officials to take a stronger position on regulating harmful chemicals and provides a comprehensive list of recommendations to help reduce our exposure to environmental contaminants. That list includes:
- Choosing organically grown foods to reduce exposure to pesticides and chemical fertilizers
- Eating free-range meats to reduce exposure to antibiotics, growth hormones and toxic runoff from livestock feed lots
- Buying environmentally-friendly home/garden products to reduce exposure to hazardous toxins
- Avoiding hard plastic bottles/containers made with endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as BPA
- Reducing exposure to occupational chemicals by removing shoes before entering the home
- Filtering home tap or well water to reduce exposure to numerous known/suspected carcinogens
- Storing and carrying water in stainless steel, glass or BPA- and/or phthalate-free containers
- Microwaving food in ceramic or glass instead of plastic containers
Still, this isn’t new news to natural health experts, who for decades have warned of the dangers of toxic exposure and advocated for stronger government regulations. The reality, however, is that of the more than 80,000 chemicals currently being used in the U.S. (with over 1,000 new chemicals introduced each year), only a few hundred have actually been tested for safety. Not only that, but according to the PCP report many known or suspected carcinogens are not regulated at all.
Says natural health and detox expert Brenda Watson, “I can’t stress enough how important it is that the danger of toxin exposure is finally receiving the attention it should. My hope now is that more people will take responsibility for their health—and the health of our planet—by taking steps to reduce toxins in their daily lives.”
For more information about environmental toxins, their impact on your health, and how you can take steps to reduce your daily exposure, visit Brenda Watson’s Detox Strategy website.