Vitamin D: Power in Cancer Prevention?

This and vitamin D should get your attention.
This and vitamin D should get your attention.

Have you ever noticed that after a good long day outdoors, maybe hiking, at the beach or even working in the yard, you feel really strong and healthy, maybe even more relaxed than after an indoor session in front of the telly or computer? Maybe a February trip to someplace sunny like Mexico or the Canary Islands has given you renewed zest for your normal tasks?

While rest and a change of scenery is never a bad thing, time outdoors and in the sunshine might have gained for you something more than rest and relaxation. If it included a little UVB irradiation, your time outdoors may have increased your serum vitamin D level. And though it’s been presumed for years, we now have proof that higher serum vitamin D3 levels correlate with a decreased incidence of certain cancers. Continue reading “Vitamin D: Power in Cancer Prevention?”

Autophagy: The Intersection of Vitamin D, HIV and Tuberculosis

HIV-1 particles assembling at the surface of an infected macrophage. By see Source [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons
With the warmer season in full swing in Wisconsin, the grass needs mowing and the weeds need pulling. As a consequence, I am outside in the sun, synthesizing Vitamin D (and watching my freckles multiply). The benefits of this vitamin have been discussed in the news (e.g., may help prevent cancer, maintains a healthy working brain) while informing us most people lack adequate levels. A recent PLoS Pathogens article intrigued me because the researchers examined the role Vitamin D played in mitigating human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV) and Mycobacterium tuberculosis coinfection in macrophages.

Why were Campbell and Spector interested in Vitamin D’s effect on HIV-1 and M. tuberculosis? Continue reading “Autophagy: The Intersection of Vitamin D, HIV and Tuberculosis”

Vitamin D and Asthma

We all like sunshine, right? In fact this time of year, some people pay a pack of moola and travel great distances in search of stronger solar.

Research reports continue to tout the benefits of vitamin D (1). In several studies from 2009, researchers found that patients with low blood levels of vitamin D had worse asthma symptoms than patients with higher serum vitamin D levels. In addition, patients with low vitamin D levels didn’t respond as well to asthma therapies as the patients with higher vitamin D levels.

A study done at National Jewish Health Center in Denver, Colorado, found that that low vitamin D levels influence a number of aspects of asthma, including lung function, bronchospasm and response to steroids. Results of this study are soon to be published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2). Continue reading “Vitamin D and Asthma”