Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sunshine vitamin may help prevent heart attack

Vitamin D in the body may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
By David Liu, Ph.D.

TUESDAY June 10, 2008 ( -- Taking vitamin D supplements or getting enough exposure to sunlight may help reduce risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), according to a new study in the June 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Studies have showed the rate of cardiovascular disease-related death is higher in regions located at higher latitudes and during the winter time and lower at high altitudes, according to the background information in the study report.

Exposure to sunlight triggers biosynthesis of vitamin D in the body. This means that vitamin D in the body may probably affect the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“This pattern is consistent with an adverse effect of hypovitaminosis D, which is more prevalent at higher latitudes, during the winter and at lower altitudes,” the authors write. Hypovitaminosis D is also known as vitamin deficiency.

Vitamin D, commonly known for its role in bone health, has recently been found to have a strong protective effect against a number of cancers such as breast cancer. Deficiency of this vitamin has been linked to higher risk of autoimmune disease and hypertension.

Sunshine is the major source of vitamin D.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Male birth control pill soon a reality

Implants, patches and creams also on the way
By John Schieszer
MSNBC contributor

SEATTLE, Oct. 1 — - Forty-year-old Scott Hardin says he’s glad that men may soon have a new choice when it comes to birth control. But, he adds, he would not even consider taking a male hormonal contraceptive. Hardin is like many men who are pleased to hear they may have a new option but are wary of taking any type of hormones.

“I would rather rely on a solution that doesn’t involving medicating myself and the problems women have had with hormone therapy doesn’t make me anxious to want to sign on to taking a hormone-type therapy,” says Hardin, who is single and a college administrator.

For the first time, a safe, effective and reversible hormonal male contraceptive appears to be within reach. Several formulations are expected to become commercially available within the near future. Men may soon have the options of a daily pill to be taken orally, a patch or gel to be applied to the skin, an injection given every three months or an implant placed under the skin every 12 months, according to Seattle researchers.