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Study finds vitamin D improves irritable bowel syndrome

Sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) put up with abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea and constipation. But what role (if any) does vitamin D play in this chronic condition?

vitamin d deficiency

Vitamin D research

Due to it’s effect on the immune system and inflammation, researchers have began studying vitamin D’s effect on IBS. A case study reported that IBS symptoms significantly improved in a patient taking 3000 IU of vitamin D daily. Researchers have since completed a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effects of vitamin D on IBS further.

A total of 74 men and women between the ages of 18 and 70 years were recruited from the outpatient clinic at Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran. The patients were randomly selected to receive either 50,000 IU of vitamin D3 or placebo every two weeks for a period of six months. They used a quality of life questionnaire to record the effects the vitamin D supplementation and the placebo had on the patients’ lives.

 

The Results

After the six months the researchers found that the vitamin D group experienced significant improvements in the mean IBS Quality of Life scores in dysphoria, health worries, food avoidance, social reaction, relationships and sex life in comparison to the placebo group.

The researchers concluded,

“The findings indicated that vitamin D supplement therapy has beneficial effects on IBS-QoL and the IBS severity score correlating with improved abdominal pain and distention, flatulence, rumbling, and overall GI symptoms as compared to the placebo group.”

At the beginning of the trial the patients were vitamin D deficient and by the end they were not. However the placebo patients remained deficient.

vitamin d deficiency

Whilst the study was relatively strong, it is important to note that there were a couple of limitations. Firstly the vitamin D supplementation was administered once every two weeks, rather than on a daily basis.  And secondly, the sample size was quite small. However, there is no doubt it is a step in the right direction.

Vitamin D deficiency

It is widely reported that vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. If you consider how our lifestyles over the past 40 years have changed, it does not take long to figure out that we spend a lot more times indoors then we ever used to. We recently wrote about Gwyneth Paltrow’s vitamin D deficiency and 7 signs you may be deficient. If you would like to read how you can increase your vitamin D levels, then please read our guide.

Source

Abbasnezhad A, Amani R, Hajiani E & et al. Effect of vitamin D on gastrointestinal symptoms and health-related quality of life in irritable bowel syndrome patients: a randomized double-blind clinical. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 2016.

 

*It is important to note that you should always consult your GP before taking any additional supplements.  

 

 

 

Gwyneth Paltrow, Brittle Bone Disease and Vitamin D

 Gwyneth Paltrow’s Brittle Bone Disease caused by Vitamin D deficiency

“We’re human beGwyneth Paltrowings and the sun is the sun — how can it be bad for you? I think we should all get sun and fresh air. I don’t think anything that is natural can be bad for you — it’s really good to have at least 15 minutes of sun a day.” – Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Several years ago, Gwyneth Paltrow revealed she had the developed the beginning stages of Osteopenia – also know as brittle bone disease. The media immediately blamed it on her radical diet, which she is famous for. However, Gwyneth later revealed on her website Goop that it was actually due to a vitamin D deficiency:

 

‘I suffered a pretty severe Tibial plateau fracture a few years ago (requiring surgery) which lead the orthopaedic surgeon to give me a bone scan, at which point it was discovered I had the beginning stages of osteopenia. This led my western/eastern doctors in New York to test my Vitamin D levels, which turned out to be the lowest they had ever seen (not a good thing). I went on a prescription strength level of Vitamin D and was told to…spend a bit of time in the sun!’ – Gwyneth Paltrow.

 

Whilst Vitamin D supplements are the obvious, reactive option for those with a severe deficiency, with the knowledge of Gwyneth’s experience, why not be proactive? For the large majority of the public, a healthy balanced diet in conjunction with controlled exposure to UV light, either from the sun or a safe and responsible tanning session, should be enough to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.

Check out our previous blog posts on Vitamin D for even more information:

 

DrFrankLipmanNew

In the same post, Gwyneth also shared a very interesting article written by Doctor Frank Lipman. He is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC, where he combines the best of Western medicine with age-old healing techniques from the East. The article, which we have included below, has some very interesting observations. Dr Lipman suggests that “the best way to optimize Vitamin D levels is through safe, smart and limited sunscreen-free exposure to the sun.”

 

Dr Frank Lipman on Vitamin D


For the last 30 years or so, doctors (dermatologists in particular), health officials, beauty experts, and many product companies have been demonizing the sun. They’ve told us to avoid it because without sunscreen, exposure to the sun’s rays will damage skin and cause cancer. But this oversimplification distorts the facts. In the past few years, numerous studies have shown that optimizing your Vitamin D levels may actually help prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers. And the best way to optimize Vitamin D levels is through safe, smart and limited sunscreen-free exposure to the sun.

For hundreds of thousands of years, man has lived with the sun: Our ancestors were outdoors far more often than indoors. We developed a dependence on sunshine for health and life, so the idea that sunlight is dangerous does not make sense. How could we have evolved and survived as a species, if we were that vulnerable to something humans have been constantly exposed to for their entire existence? Is it possible that our bodies are made in such a way that the sun is really a lethal enemy? Not in my opinion. Like all living things, we need sunshine, and it feels good for a reason. Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis, our bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce the Vitamin D it needs to build bones, quell inflammation, bolster the immune system and protect against cancer (including skin cancer).

Let the Sun Shine In

Western medicine has made a practice of telling us to abstain from things that are bad for us in extreme quantities, when in fact those same things⎯fat, salt, and sunshine for example⎯are very good for us when consumed wisely and in moderation. In the case of sunshine, our UV paranoia is contributing to a silent epidemic: Vitamin D deficiency. It’s silent because most people don’t know they are deficient. And it’s deadly, because this deficiency can lead to cancer and a multitude of other diseases. But we’ve demonized the sun and been brainwashed into believing that even small amounts will harm us. We are told to slather on sunscreen whenever we are in the sun, which blocks Vitamin D production and exacerbates the Vitamin D deficiency induced by our modern, indoor lives.

Studies show that as many as three out of four Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. A study published in 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine (a leading scientific journal), found that 70% of Caucasians, 90% of Hispanics and 97% of African Americans in the US have insufficient blood levels of Vitamin D. Indeed, it’s thought to be the most common medical condition in the world, affecting over one billion people and we now have research showing just how essential Vitamin D is to health.

U.S. and Norwegian researchers have found that people who live in higher latitudes are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency and more prone to developing common cancers and dying of them. It’s now thought that this is due in part to the body’s inability to make enough activated Vitamin D to help regulate cell growth and to keep cell growth in check. Independent scientific research has shown that whether you live in a sunny or not-so-sunny climate, exposure to the sun and its UVB radiation will increase your production of Vitamin D and help lower the risk of a host of debilitating and fatal diseases—including many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression.

And now the experts are concerned that we’re passing an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency down to a new generation. Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency may imprint on an infant for the rest of his/her life. Infants that are deficient at birth can remain Vitamin D deficient for the first several months after birth, which may put them at risk of developing many chronic diseases much later in life.

How Much Vitamin D Do We Need?

Although called a vitamin, it is not. Vitamin D is in a class by itself, behaving more like a hormone. It is made in the skin, gets into your bloodstream and then goes into the liver and the kidney where it becomes activated as a key steroid hormone called Calcitriol. It then goes to the intestines, bones and other tissues, effecting metabolic pathways and the expression of myriad genes. Vitamin D’s active form can interact with almost every cell in the body directly or indirectly, targeting up to two thousand genes, or about six percent of the human genome. It is necessary for numerous cellular functions, and when the body does not have what it needs to function optimally, it follows that we experience a decline in health and put ourselves at risk of disease. We now know that almost every cell and tissue in our body has Vitamin D receptors, which raises the question: Why would those receptors be there if they didn’t have a function?

Our Vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, percent of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual reactions to sun exposure, and our overall health. As a general rule, older people need more Vitamin D than younger people, large people need more that small people, fat people need more than skinny people, northern people need more than southern people, dark-skinned people need more than fair skinned people, winter people need more than summer people, sun-phobes need more than sun worshipers, and ill people may need more than well people.

The best way to determine whether or not you are deficient is to have your Vitamin D blood levels measured and replenish accordingly.

9 Ways to Optimize Your Vitamin D Levels

  1. Have a healthy respect for the sun. It is powerful medicine with potentially dangerous side effects on your skin. Treat it like medication, using the lowest dose necessary, but don’t avoid it completely. Never fall asleep in the sun without protection.
  2. Always avoid sunburn. It is sunburn, not healthy sun exposure that causes problems. Repeated sunburns, especially in children and very fair-skinned people, have been linked to melanoma. Whereas there is no credible scientific evidence that regular, moderate sun exposure causes melanoma or other skin cancers. Prepare your skin and build up tolerance gradually. Start early in the year (spring), or early in the morning before the sun is strongest and slowly build up the amount of time you spend in the sun.
  3. Get 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure 2-4 times a week. Each of us has different needs for unprotected sun exposure to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. Depending on your age, what type of skin you have, where you live and what time of the day and year it is, your need will vary. The farther you live from the equator, the more exposure to the sun you need in order to generate Vitamin D. For instance, a fair skinned person, sitting on a New York beach in June, in the middle of the day, for about 10-15 minutes (enough to cause a light pinkness 24 hours after), is producing the equivalent of 15,000-20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D. But the same person living further north in the U.K, or Canada would need 20-30 minutes to get that light pinkness, which is all one needs. Also, people with dark skin pigmentation may need 20-30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amount of Vitamin D. For more specifics, I recommend the tables in The Vitamin D Solution by Dr Michael Holick.
  4. Get frequent, short exposures. Regular short exposures have been found to be much more effective and safer than intermittent long ones. Note that you cannot generate Vitamin D when sitting behind a glass window, because the UVB rays necessary for Vitamin D production are absorbed by glass.
  5. Use Safe Sunscreen After your 15-30 minutes of sun-block free time in the sun, you must protect yourself. If you’re going to be out in the sun for longer periods, wear a hat to protect your face and light colored clothing that blocks the sun and keeps you cool. When you do apply sunscreen, use one with fewer chemicals. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of safer sunscreens. Remember that even weak sunscreens block the ability of your skin to manufacture Vitamin D, so once you have applied it, you will not be making Vitamin D.
  6. Boost your “internal sunscreen” by consuming anti-oxidants and beneficial fats. These strengthen skin cells, helping to protect them from sun damage. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, goji berries and pomegranates and supplementing with green powdered mixes and fish oils are great options when going into the sun.
  7. Have your Vitamin D blood levels checked regularly. The correct blood test is 25OH vit D or 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D test. Be aware, however, that current “normal” range for Vitamin D is 20 to 55 ng/ml. This is much too low!!! Those levels may be fine if you want to prevent rickets or osteomalacia, but they are not adequate for optimal health. The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80 ng/ml.
  8. Don’t rely on food alone for your Vitamin D needs. It is almost impossible to get your Vitamin D needs met by food alone. Fatty wild fish (not farmed), like salmon and mackerel are the best food sources, but you would have to eat huge quantities of them daily to get anywhere near what your body needs. Although fortified milk and orange juice do contain Vitamin D, you would have to drink at least 10 glasses of each daily and I don’t recommend doing that.
  9. Take Vitamin D3 supplements if necessary. In the winter or if you don’t get enough healthy sun exposure or if your blood levels are low, make sure you supplement with at least 2,000 IU’s a day of Vitamin D3. Although I recommend moderate sunbathing, Vitamin D supplements provide the same benefits as sunshine (in terms of Vitamin D needs). But, if taken in too large a dose, they can cause Vitamin D toxicity, whereas sun exposure does not. It is impossible to generate too much Vitamin D in your body from the sun: Your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs, which just reaffirms to me that we should get our Vitamin D from sensible sun exposure. Here are specific guidelines for replenishing Vitamin D.

Although irresponsible sunbathing is unquestionably harmful and precautions need to be taken, regular, moderate, unprotected sun exposure is essential for good health. It is free, easy to get and good for you when used intelligently. It is the only reliable way to generate Vitamin D in your own body, which we now know to be an essential ingredient for optimizing health and preventing disease.


 

how to choose the perfect tanning lotion

How to choose the perfect tanning lotion

How to choose the perfect tanning lotion. Below is a quick guide on what you should be considering.

How sensitive is your skin?

Your first point of reference should be your skin. How sensitive is it? If you have tanned before and never had any issues then you will not need to worry about this section. However, if you have sensitive skin you should look for a hypoallergenic, gentle product. Check out our hypoallergenic products.

Recommendations: If you want a hypoallergenic intensifier we recommend Australian Gold Beachin’. However if you would like something with a bronzer, we also recommend Totally Beachin’ and Naked Ambition from Designer Skin. Australian Gold also do an excellent hypoallergenic intensifier for your face called Smooth Faces – its so good you can even use it as a daily moisturiser!

Hypoallergenic

  • Australian Gold® Totally Beachin ™

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    Berry Tropical Natural Bronzer: Powerful blend of natural ingredients including Australian Berries and Caramel for streak-free, vacation-perfect dark colour

    Exotic Fruit Smoothie Complex: Delicious cocktail of Pineapple, Lilly Pilly, Apricot and other fruits protect, soothe, purify and moisturise for healthy, smooth skin

    Vacay Extend: Mixture of Oils help to rejuvenate and lock in moisture for longer-lasting dark colour

    Fragrance Free with intoxicating beachy essence

    £30.00
  • Naked Ambition

    Designer Skin Naked Ambition

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    It’s time to get naked! Strip down to nothing but bare, bronzed and beautiful skin. This hypoallergenic, natural bronzer will leave you with a sultry glow that is all your own. With perfectly blended Silk Amino Acids and Shea Butter, your skin will be irresistibly soft and touchable. What are you waiting for…take it all off! Bare It All™ Natural Bronzers infused with MelanINK™ Technology

    £33.00
  • Smooth Faces

    Australian Gold Smooth Faces

    0 out of 5
    £16.00
  • Australian Gold Beachin’

    0 out of 5

    Dig your toes in the sand, take a dip in the, ocean or hit the tanning bed, this hypoallergenic intensifier is sure to give you a tropical dark colour.

    £28.00

The most important rule if you have sensitive skin is to avoid products that contain tingles! 

What is a tingle product?

Tingle products increase the skin cell’s microcirculation and oxygenation to produce deep, dark tanning results. As the name suggests that create a minor tingling sensation. They are designed for advanced tanners and not for individuals with sensitive skin. Sometimes tanners will use them solely on hard-to-tan areas such as the legs. Check out our tingle products.

Tingles

  • Swedish Beauty® Pink Rock ™

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    Carefree. Rebel Soul. Wild Style. Conforming to societal norms? Not a chance. You’d rather be rocking out at a show or dancing to the beat of your own drum in your favorite studded cutoffs. Everyone knows your spirit can’t be tamed and they secretly love your over-the-top antics. Shock them further with intimidatingly dark colour only a Rebellious Bronzer can deliver. No need to leave the party early, let Wolfberry re-energize your skin with a boost of hydration after a long night out. Look and feel like the flawless backstage beauty that you are with Pink Rock™!

    £28.50
  • Heated

    Australian Gold Heated

    0 out of 5

    Give yourself a T4 Tingle for immediate Dark Colour  with a tantalizing Glow.

    £22.00
  • JWOWW Mad Hot Tingle Bronzer

    0 out of 5

    Get colour at the speed of light. The One and Done™ Advanced Bronzer Blend is mixed with Melanin enhancers and MAP guaranteeing you to get shades darker with each session.  YOLO (You Only Live Once) you might as well look fabulous!

    £53.00

 What is your goal?

Another factor in finding your perfect tanning lotion is your tanning goal. Are you tanning for a special occasion and need immediate results? Or do you tan more regularly and just need a more basic and particularly nourishing product? Ultimately, your goal will depend on your skin type. Check out this blog post to determine your skin type.  Our tanning accelerators can be split into three main categories: intensifiers, bronzers, and the already mentioned, tingles.

Intensifiers: These do not contain bronzers or tingles. They intensify the tanning session through intense hydration and skin nourishment. This helps the skin to get a good base tan. Some of the more premium intensifiers contain amino acids and vitamins such as vitamin A to accelerate the body’s natural melanin creation. Check all of our intensifiers here. 

Bronzers: The majority of tanning accelerators contain natural, immediate or delayed bronzers. Again, the bronzer you should look out for depends upon your tanning goal. As the names suggest, immediate bronzers work immediately and delayed bronzers can take several hours to develop. When using tanning products that contain bronzers it is best not to shower directly as this may not allow sufficient time for the bronzers to develop. Take this into account when choosing!

Why choose Australian Gold?

All of the Australian Gold products contain the essentials for healthy tanned skin, assuming you tan safely and responsibly. This is due to premium blend of moisturisers that provides the base for all of their products; arguably the most important factor in a good tanning accelerator. What varies with the range and price of the product are the additional ingredients that we have found promote even healthier, gorgeous skin. Such ingredients include Aloe Vera, Shea butter, coconut oil, caffeine, and supplementary vitamins such as A and E. Check out the product descriptions to discover what extras are included.

Hopefully this quick guide has helped you learn about the basics. If you are still struggling to find your perfect tanning lotion, you can also consult your local tanning salon, they should be able to help you out!

The other benefits of UV-exposure

The other benefits of UV-exposure

Previously in our blog, we have discussed the benefits of UVB induced vitamin D production, for overall health and wellbeing. However, as outlined in a paper by Johan Moan and Asta Juzeniene, there are other beneficial effects of UV-exposure. You can view the original paper here. 

The other benefits of UV-exposure Previously in our blog, we have discussed the benefits of UVB induced vitamin D production, for overall health and wellbeing. However, as outlined in a paper by Johan Moan and Asta Juzeniene, there are other beneficial effects of UV-exposure. You can view the original paper here. Good for your heart ”UV generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health. UVA induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects and furthermore, act as a neurotransmitter.” This means that UV light (including UVA and UVB) is good for your heart and overall cardiovascular health. However, this is not an entirely new idea. In ancient Indian writings (the Bhagavad Gita) you can read about the positive effects that the ‘green light’ in sunshine can have on the heart. Scientists have since discovered that it is not the green wavelength but the UVA-rays that improve the cardiovascular system. This is good news for indoor tanners as sunbed lamps emit both UVA and UVB rays. Sunbeds, when used safely and responsibly, can produce both vitamin D (through UVB) and release nitric oxide – which is linked to the reduction of the most common killers today. The authors also acknowledge the benefits of sunbeds (if not over-done) in their ability to help us build up a natural sunscreen: “Cosmetic tanning (immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning). UVB-induced, delayed tanning (increases melanin in skin after several days), acts as a sunscreen.” Healthy skin Another observation the authors notice suggests that regular and moderate UV-exposure is actually good for the skin. This is assuming that you tan safely and responsibly (not burning yourself) and look after your skin with high quality, nourishing, tanning lotions and moisturisers. This is what the authors wrote: “Skin exposed to UVB and UVA is more resistant to primary irritants, which may indicate the improvement of skin barrier functions. Such an improvement is not due to epidermal hyperplasia, which does not appear after UVA exposure, and neither is it due to increase in lipids in the stratum corneum as has been believed earlier.” They then continue to dig deeper into several human skin diseases that can be treated with solar or UV radiation. This included psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma. They also comment on multiple sclerosis: “UV exposure can suppress the clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis.” Increased energy and elevated moods Last but not least, the authors also comment on the mood elevations that tanners often experience after UV-exposure. “UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphins.” This is a notion that we have touched on in previous blog posts as we not only experience it ourselves, but also hear it from our customers.Good for your heart

”UV generates nitric oxide (NO), which may reduce blood pressure and generally improve cardiovascular health. UVA induced NO may also have antimicrobial effects and furthermore, act as a neurotransmitter.”

 
This means that UV light (including UVA and UVB) is good for your heart and overall cardiovascular health. However, this is not an entirely new idea. In ancient Indian writings (the Bhagavad Gita) you can read about the positive effects that the ‘green light’ in sunshine can have on the heart. Scientists have since discovered that it is not the green wavelength but the UVA-rays that improve the cardiovascular system.

This is good news for indoor tanners as sunbed lamps emit both UVA and UVB rays. Sunbeds, when used safely and responsibly, can produce both vitamin D (through UVB) and release nitric oxide – which is linked to the reduction of the most common killers today. The authors also acknowledge the benefits of sunbeds (if not over-done) in their ability to help us build up a natural sunscreen:

“Cosmetic tanning (immediate pigment darkening, persistent pigment darkening and delayed tanning). UVB-induced, delayed tanning (increases melanin in skin after several days), acts as a sunscreen.”

Healthy skin

Another observation the authors notice suggests that regular and moderate UV-exposure is actually good for the skin. This is assuming that you tan safely and responsibly (not burning yourself) and look after your skin with high quality, nourishing, tanning lotions and moisturisers. This is what the authors wrote:

“Skin exposed to UVB and UVA is more resistant to primary irritants, which may indicate the improvement of skin barrier functions. Such an improvement is not due to epidermal hyperplasia, which does not appear after UVA exposure, and neither is it due to increase in lipids in the stratum corneum as has been believed earlier.”

They then continue to dig deeper into several human skin diseases that can be treated with solar or UV radiation. This included psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma. They also comment on multiple sclerosis:

 “UV exposure can suppress the clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis independently of vitamin D synthesis.”

uv exposureIncreased energy and elevated moods

Last but not least, the authors also comment on the mood elevations that tanners often experience after UV-exposure.

“UV exposure may improve mood through the release of endorphins.”

 This is a notion that we have touched on in previous blog posts as we not only experience it ourselves, but also hear it from our customers.