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You Need Sunshine
May 01, 2007

Midlife Wisdom For Men Issue #081, May 1, 2007

=========== TABLE OF CONTENTS ==========

· Kitchen "Cure" for Erectile Dysfunction

· You Need Sunshine


Written by Noel McNaughton (c) copyright 2007


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Welcome to this issue of Midlife Wisdom for Men.

A couple of years ago, I started hearing that we are protecting ourselves from the sun too much, and that we should get at least 15 minutes per day of full sun on a significant portion of our bodies.

In Canada in winter, that is a bit of a challenge. The snow is almost gone in my part of the world, but it is still just a bit cool for sun bathing.

The answer is vitamin D.

If you are over 45, chances are you have had at least one encounter with erectile dysfunction, and it is a bit scary. Many men handle it with little blue pills, but a recent study shows diet could have a salutary effect as well.

There are about 1200 words in the articles in this newsletter, which should take you about four minutes to read.




Kitchen "Cure" for Erectile Dysfunction

Here is an article from the Bottom Line Health newsletter. Thought you might find it useful.

Many men look to the little blue pill to solve the problem of erectile dysfunction (ED), but according to a recent Italian study from the second University of Naples, the real answer might not be in the medicine chest but in the kitchen.

The study investigated how following a Mediterranean-style diet (a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits/vegetables, dried beans and other legumes, olive oil, nuts and fish and a reduced intake of red or processed meat) would impact ED in men with metabolic syndrome, defined by a cluster of symptoms, including raised blood pressure, abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, blood lipid disorders and elevated markers for blood clotting and inflammation. Men with metabolic syndrome also have a higher incidence of ED -- nearly 27% versus 13% of men without the syndrome.

For this study, researchers gathered 65 men with both ED and metabolic syndrome and put 35 of them on a Mediterranean diet. The 30 men in the control group received information about healthy eating practices, but they did not follow a specific food plan.

At the end of two years, approximately one-third of the men on the Mediterranean diet regained normal sexual functioning versus just two men in the control group. And more good news -- those following the Mediterranean diet had a significant decrease in blood glucose, insulin, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure and a significant increase in HDL cholesterol.

Furthermore, their blood showed lowered inflammation and improved endothelial function (having to do with blood vessel function). Study authors speculate that the increased fiber and antioxidants in the diet, with its emphasis on whole foods and olive oil, may play a role in the men's improvement, though all elements acting together may have been even more important.

I spoke with urologist and ED specialist Arthur L. Burnett II, MD, professor of urology and director of the Male Consultation Clinic at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions about this study. He says that this may be the first controlled study demonstrating how effective dietary changes can be.

While he agrees that because ED and cardiovascular disease have been shown to have some of the same risk factors, the increase in antioxidants in the diet would surely have had an impact.

He also points out that when people are eating healthful foods, they are eating fewer injurious ones such as high-fat meats. Dr. Burnett adds that we need more research to further confirm whether diet and modified lifestyle can limit or reverse the problem of ED, but it is obviously intuitive that eating healthfully as well as maintaining a normal weight and cholesterol levels and not smoking are, at the very least, important steps.

Be well, Carole Jackson Bottom Line's Daily Health News


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You Need Sunshine

When I was a kid, we were given cod liver oil capsules at school, and we got cod liver oil by the spoonful at home. It tasted REALLY bad, but my parents said it was necessary because we needed sunshine vitamin D, and in the winter, there wasn't much sunshine.

By the time I was in junior high, we were not taking cod liver oil any more. I guess people thought we got enough some other way, or maybe we whined and complained enough that our parents gave up.

However, an article in the Canadian national paper The Globe And Mail the other day made me take notice. It basically says that vitamin D is a very powerful ally in maintaining health, and that most people don't have enough in their blood streams, because they do not get enough sunshine: "One survey published in 2001 estimated office- and homebound Canadians and Americans spend 93 per cent of waking time in buildings or cars, both of which block ultraviolet light."

Of course in recent years everyone has been positively panicky about getting too much sunshine for fear of getting skin cancer, but some experts say that is WAY out of line:

The sun advice has been misguided information "of just breathtaking proportions," said John Cannell, head of the Vitamin D Council, a non-profit, California-based organization. "Fifteen hundred Americans die every year from [skin cancers]. Fifteen hundred Americans die every day from the serious cancers."

Here is another quote from the Globe and Mail story:

For decades, researchers have puzzled over why rich northern countries have cancer rates many times higher than those in developing countries - and many have laid the blame on dangerous pollutants spewed out by industry.

But research into vitamin D is suggesting both a plausible answer to this medical puzzle and a heretical notion: that cancers and other disorders in rich countries aren't caused mainly by pollutants but by a vitamin deficiency known to be less acute or even non-existent in poor nations.

Those trying to brand contaminants as the key factor behind cancer in the West are "looking for a bogey man that doesn't exist," argues Reinhold Vieth, professor at the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and one of the world's top vitamin D experts. Instead, he says, the critical factor "is more likely a lack of vitamin D."

What's more, researchers are linking low vitamin D status to a host of other serious ailments, including multiple sclerosis, juvenile diabetes, influenza, osteoporosis and bone fractures among the elderly.

Not all health experts agree with the claim that vitamin D can help prevent cancer, but apparently they will get a comeuppance in June when U.S. researchers will announce the first direct link between cancer prevention and vitamin D. Their results are impressive. A four-year clinical trial of 1,200 women found those taking vitamin D had 60 percent fewer cancer incidences than those who didn't take it. This is twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking. And it was achieved with an over-the-counter supplement that cost pennies a day.

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?

Recommendations vary, but it appears you have to take a LOT before it will harm you. I read on a medical listserve about a couple of people who had vitamin D toxicity, but they were taking a million international units per day!

The conclusion of the 334 scientists from 23 countries at the meeting in Victoria, British Columbia in April, 2006 was that governmental guidelines for daily vitamin D requirements in all countries are too low, and out of step with current research findings.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a well-known M.D. who is very strong on health maintenance, recommends 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day, based on recent research.

All the research I read says we do not get enough vitamin D from foods, including those such as milk, which are 'fortified', and it suggests you look for supplements that provide vitamin D3 (choleciferol) rather than D2 (ergocalciferol).

Now that it is spring in the northern hemisphere, get out there and get some sunshine. You folks in Australia and New Zealand need it too, but you get more sun than we do to start with.


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I Need Your Questions and Feedback!

Got comments? Questions? I'd love to hear from you.

Just email your suggestions and/or questions to . I look forward to hearing from you. And thanks.


Well friend, that's it for now. Again, if you enjoyed this and/or found it useful, and know of anyone else who might like it, please pass it forward. And if you have questions or recommendations, I would love to hear from you.

All the best, Noel

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