I have another question-Is there any relation between sunlight/vitamin D and food allergies? I ask because (as noted in my other post) my younger daughter cannot have milk. However when we were on vacation back in Feb, we were in Spain, and had lots of sunlight. We gave her some yogurt there and she had no reaction. In fact the spot of eczema that had been on her neck and healing very slowly (I noticed a correlation between the severity of the eczema and when she eats almonds or milk products) cleared completely up.
We came back to winter here, tried teh same experiemtn, eczema flaired up. Slowly got better. Now that here is very sunny, I noticed teh eczema cleared up and stayed away. I haven't given her any problem foods. But it made me curious if there was a connection between skin conditions or food sensitivities and vit d or sunlight.
Yes, you've made a very astute observation. According to many research studies, vitamin D is greatly involved in immune functioning and has been shown to reduce food-related symptoms including eczema and Crohn's symptoms.
I first wanted to comment to you that cows in widely-separated countries can be genetically different enough to not spark usual sensitivity reactions at first. Usually the body will recognize the milk for what it is, over time, but there can be a little grace period. But, you reproduced your findings at home, so yes, go with more vitamin D.
Allergies have been increasing radically over the last 60 years or so and no one really knows what's going on. Certainly, unnatural additives to our environment are big components. Additionally, however, we've drifted away from many nutrients we used to attain more often. They're being re-discovered one-by-one. DHA & EPA (fish oils) and their precursors dropped from our collective diets as we reduced fish consumption, especially fatty fish, and reduced fat consumption over-all, and to make matters worse, replaced flaxseed oil, walnuts, and other natural oily foods with trans-fats. Glucosamine and other good nutrients came from fermented foods; also gone for so long. Boiling bones gave us glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluranic acid, and more. Reduced exclusive breastfeeding, antibiotics, overly sterile environments, lack of fresh or fermented vegetables, removing fiber from grains, and more have robbed us of optimal flora. Our pest-free fruits have less vitamin C than their ancestors. Less iodine... Vitamin D lost from our avoidance of the sun... and there's evidence that there's more benefit to the body from sun than just D. Eating phony foods instead of real fruits and vegetables... What have we done?? The best bet for us to reduce and heal food sensitivities is to aim for the healthiest environments and diets we can achieve, without going to extremes or becoming anxious about it. Exercise is an important factor too.
Linda F. Palmer, DC
"The Baby Bond"
This is so interesting. So perhaps next winter I will try supplementing with Vit D. I am not personally big on supplementation but I know Vit D is a bit difficult right? Are fish oils best or is there a tastier option =)?
I also have another question. I was talking about this very story (my daughter) to my friend who happens to be a nutritionist, although she specialzes in pharmacutical studies not nutritional advice for people. She echoed as you did that yes there can be a connection and then asked me why I hadn't supplemented because all the doc's here give Rx for this. I said we aren't particularly heavy into supplements, nor did our homeopath give us a script and besides I nursed dd2 until January (16 months) or so. My friend told me that research finds there is not sufficient Vit D in mother's milk for babies. I asked her how can this possibly be? What did people do before there were capsulized vitamins, etc? I realize that before people may have been out in the sun more with manual labor, but not everyone. Plus winter is winter, so you only have so much control over you sun exposure if you live in a climate that has cloudy or rainy winters.
My thinking on the subject (I have not researched this yet) is that perhaps Vit D in breastmilk is like the iron issue I here about often. People claim that babies can't get enough iron from their mom's milk. That when analyzed, breastmilk is not very rich in iron, or apparently Vit D. Could it be that while it may not contain alot, if a baby is fed on demand they are still getting enough? Perhaps their bodies can only process a small amount at a time but if you are getting continual small doses throughout the day (as a bf-on-demand baby would) then it adds up. Because afterall I imagine it would be highly digestable/absorbable if it is in my milk.
Am I totally off base? She just reiterated that studies have shown breastmilk can't give a baby enough Vit D and babies should be supplemented. For me it doesn't make sense but I am by far no expert. I am just thinking from a "what nature intended" point of view.
I've thought lots and lots about this, too. I noticed you're in France. Would a traditional diet generally have consisted of lots of coldwater fish (herring, etc)? We're in the rainy, cloudy Pacific NW and the traditional native diet was very high in salmon and other coldwater fish - all high in Vit D. Since we no longer eat that way...also, rickets (caused by lack of Vit D, I think) was rampant in northern Europe not too long ago. It's making a comeback here in Canada.
FWIW, my ds1 also has dairy-related eczema in the crevices of his knees and elbows. I'm curious about the Vit D link you've found as his improves markedly in the summer - though we did supplement with Vit D this winter but perhaps not enough to make a difference for him (800 IU/day, I think?). Our GP recommended 1000 but I'm skeptical, like you, as every time I turn around there is different info about Vit D.
"So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world." - Jack Layton
What would happen if our milk-full breasts were in the sun?? Did you know they used to expose cow's milk to UV light in order to raise the vitamin D levels in the milk? Of course breastmilk is not naturally vitamin D deficient, but many of us adult women are deficient and so our milk can be too. Babies are intended to get a little bit of sun themselves, I'm sure.
Liver is another high vitamin D food that's gone by the wayside, as well as the skins of meats. Liver has vitamin C too. I have to imagine that in a day when chickens had time outdooors, they had more vitamin D in their eggs (and when chickens were allowed to eat bugs, naturally, they had more omega-3s in their eggs).
Fish oil is used to attain DHA and EPA but is not high in vitamin D, unless a brand is specifically made that way. Cod liver oil is a good source, and some brands have higher levels than others.
Technically, naturally high levels of sun exposure during the summer should give us enough stores to get through the winter, with little dietary boosts. Taking supplements? There's no reason not to take some, especially in winter. There are stern discussions about the various forms but it's just that one version may absorb better than another. I don't think it's worth worrying much about. The whole thing with dosage and blood levels is a mystery to me. I try to get a couple good sun-soaks in the summer, and am active outdoors in summer, wearing sunscreen, hats and long sleeves when out for much time though. We DO make vitamin D through sunscreen, just less. I probably get 500 IU/day in my soy milk and supplements. Sometimes more. Anyway, when I had my blood levels tested they were pretty high -- 65 ng/ml (some experts are recommending 80). I just say this because I know a couple other women, with same light skin, who take 1,000/day and probably get more from other sources, and don't wear sunscreen, and have lower blood levels. Is it hormonal differences? I don't know what's going on there.
I do believe that there are more health contributions from the sun than simply vitamin D, and think that at least some portion of one's D should come from the sun.
People with black and brown skin started out much closer to the equator than many live now, the middle tones in middle reagions, and those who drifted very far north likely lost much pigmentation in order to absorb more sun. A dark-skinned person living in northern latitudes needs to make special efforts to have enough vitamin D.
Linda F. Palmer, DC
"The Baby Bond"