WEEK 6 - The Storyteller
Tell a New Meaningful Story
Positive Health Principle #40
See the Silver Lining
In today's class you will learn:
1. What scientists say about vitamin D supplementation
2. How vitamin D impacts your health
3. What is the recommended dosage of vitamin D
When you finish today's class, click the golden button below and take another extra small action!
REFLECT: What does the silver lining mean to you?
“Hope is being able to see that there is lightdespite all of the darkness.”
the Silver Lining
TODAY'S DOSE OF POSITIVE HEALTH
“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” Helen Keller
Vitamin D is omnipresent in media, and there is a lot of inflicting evidence about vitamin D supplementation. We see many observational studies suggest that low vitamin D level is “linked to” or “associate with” bad outcomes. Those studies are cohort or case-control observations that show a correlation between vitamin D levels and many diseases, but those are correlations, not causations.
Of course, many other factors like the exposure to sun, the foods we eat, age or socioeconomic status are also related to both vitamin D levels and health. The only way to see if the correlation is really a causation is to look at the results from prospective randomised controlled trials, but we don’t have many of them.
In one study, researchers were looking at how exercise and vitamin D may affect the falling prevention among older women. This was a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Participants were divided into four groups: exercise with vitamin D, exercise with placebo, no exercise with vitamin D and no exercise with placebo.
The main outcomes of interest were: reported falls, injuries, bone density, physical functioning and vitamin D metabolism. The results have shown that the rates of falls were unaffected by exercise or vitamin D. However falls with injuries differed. In the exercise group, the rates of falls and injuries dropped almost half. Vitamin D, however, had no effect. Scientists concluded that vitamin D improved femoral neck bone mineral density and only slightly increased tibial trabecular density. Exercise, however, increased muscle strength and balance.
The study has proven that vitamin D supplements help improve the way the bones look on a bone scan, but exercises are necessary to decrease the risk of falls and injuries and improve balance and strength. Vitamin D won’t make any difference.
Another newly published randomised controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation enroled 230 postmenopausal women of the age of 75 or younger who had diagnosed vitamin D deficiency but no osteoporosis yet. It seemed that this was a group where vitamin D supplementation would work.
The researchers were looking at three arms: placebo, low-dose supplementation, and high-dose supplementation. Women were followed for a year. The results have shown that in the high-dose group calcium absorption went up 1%, in the placebo group, and it went down 1.3% and 2.0% in the low dose arm. Looking at other outcomes, there was no impact on spine, mean total hip width, mean femoral neck width or total body bone mineral density.
There was no effect on the trabecular bone score, muscle mass, functional tests, physical activity, no changes in falls, not even the number of people who fell. It turned out that supplementation with vitamin D for an actual deficiency of that vitamin had no or minimal effect on bone measurements and outcome.
The third study was looking at the effect of vitamin D supplementation on blood pressure. This was a large meta-analysis, a systematic review and randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial incorporating individual patient data on vitamin D and blood pressure. Both forms of vitamin D (active and inactive) were used as well as analogs.
The scientists analysed 46 trials involving more than 4,500 participants. Vitamin D supplementation had no effect on either systolic or diastolic blood pressure. Vitamin D supplementation didn’t lower blood pressure, and it didn’t protect the elderly, but the exercise did. Although it’s more challenging to start exercising than to take a pill, in reality this is what actually works.
The Institute of Medicine Committee did a comprehensive and rigorous review based on nearly 1,000 studies of the evidence both bone health and non-skeletal outcomes in relations to vitamin D.
The committee found compelling evidence that vitamin D has a role in maintaining bone health and the recommended dietary allowances are based primarily on bone health purposes covering more than 97% of the US and Canadian population.
However for non-skeletal outcomes like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and cancer the evidence was found to be inconsistent, inconclusive and not yet of high enough quality to establish the nutritional requirements of vitamin D.
How much vitamin D do we need?
We have enough evidence that a shortage of vitamin D is bad for us, but we still don’t know what is the correct level to have. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is about 600 IU of vitamin D a day for people age 1 to 70-year-old and 800 IU for ages above 70. Various studies have shown however that this may not be enough suggesting the maximum of 1,000-4,000 IU a day. Those who are overweight and obese for example often require more than the recommended dosage to sustain their supplies. The American Endocrine Society Guideline, recommends 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D a day, that is not going to come from food.
The current recommendations cover people living in all climates even in Alaska where there is not much sunshine for approximately six months of the year.
The fact that health outcomes improve with vitamin D3 supplementation has been known for a few decades now thanks to research showing that vitamin D3 is actually a hormone. Although data from many studies doesn’t prove causation, most researchers don't recommend against the supplementation either.
We have two major natural sources of vitamin D - the foods we eat and the exposure to sunlight. The trouble is that many avoid products rich in vitamin D like plant-based foods or animal products, others are afraid that the sun exposure may cause skin cancer. What's the vitamin D solution? Moderation and common sense.
Why Do You Need Vitamin D?
TODAY'S INSPIRED ACTION
Add one green vegetable to your dinner
YOUR WEEKLY SESSION
Get ready for your weekly session.
In your fifth session you will focus on reframing your past experiences, focus on finding meaning and set the following intentions:
1. Identify and change your old story; replace it with a new meaningful one
2. Forgive yourself and others
3. Transform a post-traumatic stress syndrome into a post-traumatic growth syndrome
Answer the Meaning Questionnaire (download No1), spend a few moments reflecting on the PT Growth Worksheet (download No2), and go through the exercises (download No3) before your next session. Evaluate your session in the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (download No4).
1. Please make sure that you choose a convenient time and a quiet place for your Skype conversations.
2. Let the members of your household know when you need time for yourself, so you are not being interrupted.
3. Check your wifi connection and show up on time.
4. If you are unable to attend, you can still reschedule within the next few days before the Monday of the following week, if your guide has a free time slot.
5. Your one-to-one sessions are an integral part of the Grace School curriculum. It is, therefore, fundamental that each session is in synchrony with the weekly Grace School module.
YOUR WEEKLY DOWNLOADS
All files attached below have been created to support and enhance your learning experience.
These are available for download for the next 7 days. Please make sure that you answer the Meaning Questionnaire (No1), reflect on the PT Growth Worksheet (No2), and do the exercises (No3) before your next session.
Use the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (No4) after your session. At the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges. Summarise your week with the Self-Reflection Worksheet (No5).
Your WEEK 5 Downloads:
1. Meaning Questionnaire - answer 10 simple questions related to a deeper meaning of life (approx. time 5 minutes)
2. PT Growth Worksheet - grow from your previous experiences (approx. time 10 minutes)
3. Exercise Worksheet - do the exercises before your next session (approx time 10 minutes)
4. Self-Evaluation Worksheet - evaluate your session and learn from your experience (approx time 10-15 minutes)
5. Self-Reflection Worksheet - at the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges (approx time 10-20 minutes)
If you have any questions, comments or technical problems, please write: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to help.
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