Health may not seem important until you don’t have it anymore. Reality shows may seem real but real life is different than an edited for television show. Healthy choices in the present can help protect and prevent problems later. Hair growth gets joked about but it can be a sign of health or lack of nutrients in some cases and in other people it is just a genetic difference or an age difference. Male facial hair requires genetics, age and testosterone for some types of hair growth. A few links about it are included in this post along with a brief note about nutrients for cardiovascular health. The nutritional need for healthy hair growth and a healthy heart are similar.
Iodine is essential for women and men and growing healthy babies.
Genetics is involved in individual differences but the underlying need for essential nutrients helps a variety of issues in the body not just ability to have a healthy cardiovascular system, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16522926,
or a good testosterone level and healthy hair growth of eyebrows, or on other areas of the body.
Oversupplementing of some nutrients (selenium, vitamin A and E) may be harmful rather than helpful to hair growth and other health symptoms. Selenium and iodine in balance are needed, and adequate vitamin A and E also, Other nutrients that seem involved in hair growth include vitamin D, the B vitamins folate, niacin, and biotin, and the trace minerals iron and zinc are also needed. Simple protein malnutrition alone or lack of some amino acids can lead to sparse hair growth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5315033/
A recent post was short but important, many nutrients work together to support a healthy body and cardiovascular system:
Whether nutrient deficiencies or other metabolic imbalance is the cause is not clear or it may be a response to oxidative stress, however levels of the trace nutrients magnesium, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D3 were found to be low and the level of calcium elevated in myocardium, a type of muscle tissue in the heart. 
Karl T. Weber,1,* William B. Weglicki,2 and Robert U. Simpson3 Macro- and micronutrient dyshomeostasis in the adverse structural remodelling of myocardium, Cardiovasc Res. 2009 Feb 15; 81(3): 500–508.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
As a dietitian I was trained to individualize nutrition therapy for special need clients, whether they had an odd diagnosis or just had odd symptoms, I was trained to just go look up the whatever medical research might be available about the unusual diagnosis or symptoms. My goal while reviewing the available research was to look for any clues about what nutrients or metabolic pathways might be essential during normal function of the problem diagnosis or symptom and to see if there might be any nutrient deficiencies that could be causing the dysfunction. And then I would work with the client to figure out where their food preferences might be leaving them with unsuspected nutrient deficiencies.
Autism can be detected from umbilical cord blood so it is a condition that develops due to the perinatal or prenatal environment. Babies are not grown out of medicine. Women grow them out of food and stored nutrients. Autism is not due to a lack of anti-autism medicine. A for-profit medical industry that is determined to find a patent protected medication that will ‘cure’ autism is likely to waste a lot of time and money in the search for something that is impossible. It takes an incredible variety of nutrients to grow a baby over 40 weeks of gestation and ideally an additional couple of years of breastfeeding, — not just one nutrient or a dose of some anti-autism ‘cure.’
Several frequently missed genetic defects that can cause several significant nutrient deficiencies may be now overlapping in enough women who then can not detoxify the levels of formaldehyde or other toxins that are now commonly found in our food supply and in our surrounding environment. Prior to conception we need to help women identify and correct any underlying metabolic defects or chronic infections before they try to get pregnant. And men’s alcohol consumption in the days prior to conception or other health factors may also be involved in the infant’s risk to develop autism later in life.
An excerpt from the last very long post that has been grouped slightly differently: A summary of the factors that may interact during the prenatal and/or perinatal (three months prior to conception) time period in a way that may lead to the development of autism within the fetal brain.
Formaldehyde, a known neurotoxin, might be accumulating from several sources [3, 5], and it is difficult for humans to detoxify, and it accumulates more in the fetus and is even more difficult for the fetus to detoxify:
Aseptically packaged juices
Badly ventilated air.
Possible Folate issues. The B vitamin Folate is essential for detoxifying formaldehyde. A genetic defect can make the commonly used supplemental form, folic acid, not useful for the fetus or expectant mother who has the genetic defect (which is not commonly tested for or treated by the mainstream medical industry – nutrients are not able to be patent protected and therefore provide less of a profit). (and methylation cycle defects may also affect supplies of B12):
Simple folate/folic acid deficiency/lack of prenatal vitamin during the perinatal time period. 
Genetic defect in mother affecting the methylation cycle makes her more susceptible for folate deficiency. 
Genetic defect in the fetus affecting the methylation cycle makes it more at risk for autism. 
A methylated form of the vitamin may be more effective for reducing risk of developing autism. The natural food form, folate, is more bioactive than the supplemental form, folic acid, that is used in prenatal vitamins. 
schizophrenia, – Symptoms of schizophrenia may sometimes simply be due to an underlying deficiency of folate or B12, which could be due to an underlying genetic defect in the methylation cycle. And folate and B12 have both been found to help treat schizophrenia symptoms for some patients (or it is helping treat those patient’s whose symptoms are actually due to an underlying deficiency of folate and B12 and providing the nutrients simply is helping the brain to function normally again.)
Possible Vitamin D Issues – it might not just be a lack of vitamin D or sunshine (essential for the mother’s body to accept the foreign DNA of the new fetus rather than develop autoimmune antibodies against it – which may be able to cause brain damaging changes prenatally or later in life):
Simple vitamin D deficiency
An underlying genetic defect in the Vitamin D Binding Protein causes a tendency to become vitamin D deficient more easily than normal. [10, 11, 12] (Might a simple protein deficiency then also add a risk to a simple deficiency of all important proteins?)
allergic reaction, and – the vitamin D receptor and the Dendritic cells are what control the immune system’s allergic reaction. Excerpt: “1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (calcitriol), the biologically active form of vitamin D, is an immunomodulatory hormone, e.g. it inhibits IgE synthesis in B cells. As its clinical application is limited by hypercalcemia, synthetic vitamin D receptor (VDR) agonists that mediate immunomodulatory activities without adverse hypercalcemic effects are of great interest.“- [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21121929]
Getting sick during the first trimester may be creating antigens in the mom that may then affect the babies brain development, and it involves the vitamin D receptor part of the immune system. Pregnant ladies should avoid sick people and possibly avoid getting vaccinations during the first trimester – but research is still in the early phases. — rubella, – also known as German measles, it is the R part of the MMR vaccine. It is rare in the U.S. now with less than ten cases per year but can cause defects in an expected infant if a pregnant woman gets sick with the infection prior to 20 weeks gestation. [http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/complications/rubella.aspx]
An underlying infection is present with a pathogen that is suppressing the vitamin D receptor system.
cytomegalovirus, – a viral disease that may affect vitamin D levels: “However, when outliers were removed, the association was not apparent. The effect of outliers could not be assessed when vitamin D was dichotomized because no patients with CMV antibodies had sufficient vitamin D levels after outliers were dropped.” [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3134182/]
autoimmune disease, – associated with vitamin D deficiency and malfunction of the dendritic cells ability to promote self tolerance of the immune system. The dry cleaning chemical and degreaser tetrachloroethylene has been shown to cause autoimmune disease in lab animal studies on toxicity: [http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/tce_pce.html]
Excerpt from an earlier post about intracellular pathogens that have developed ways to block or suppress the vitamin D receptor immune functions. “Other pathogens that have been shown to reduce the activity of the Vitamin D Receptor, in addition to the pathogen that causes Tuberculosis, include the mold Aspergillus, the viruses that cause Epstein-Barr chronic fatigue syndrome and HIV/AIDS, and the autoimmune diseases sarcoidosis, Crohn’s Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Elevated levels of 1, 25(OH)2D are seen with the bacterial infections: “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” [page 19, 1]” [https://transcendingsquare.com/2015/08/11/whether-to-be-compliant-or-to-be-healthy-seems-like-an-easy-question-to-answer/] Women with rheumatoid arthritis who get pregnant have been found to have some relief from their symptoms. Levels of the active hormone D seem to be elevated only in the areas of joint damage in RA rather than throughout the entire body. However while the woman might feel better the baby may end up being born with an intracellular bacterial pathogen – so mom might feel better for a few months but baby might suffer from juvenile RA because currently the mainstream medical industry does not recognize, test for or treat, the bacterial pathogen involved in Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Iodine deficiency and excess of fluoride, bromide or perchlorate and be a cause of hypothyroidism
Alcohol is bad for the fetus whether it’s dad drinking in the days before conception or mom drinking prior to conception or during the pregnancy and the risks to the infant may be worse if there is also a deficiency of the mineral zinc.
alcohol, – alcohol use by the mother during pregnancy or by the father during the days prior to conception can be a cause of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the infant. A zinc deficiency in the pregnant woman may increase the risk of the expected infant developing FAS. [search term alcohol FAS zinc deficiency]
Zinc deficiency and B6 deficiency can be due to pyroluria, a genetic defect that can cause significant loss of zinc and B6 in the urine but it is a condition that the mainstream medical industry does not typically test for or treat. Nutrients are not able to be patent protected and therefore can not be sold for a large profit.
Other, other factors that may be involved in development of autism may include a variety of chemicals known to be toxic for brain development and which may be common in our modern environment. From the Abstract of a review article by Dr. Philippe Grandjean, MD and Philip J. Landrigan, MD, Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity., (The Lancet Neurology, 2014): “In 2006, we did a systematic review and identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. Since 2006, epidemiological studies have documented six additional developmental neurotoxicants—manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. We postulate that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered. To control the pandemic of developmental neurotoxicity, we propose a global prevention strategy.” 
And other factors associated with autism that were mentioned in the other hypothesis about autism and folic acid included: “valproic acid, thalidomide, alcohol, rubella, cytomegalovirus, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autoimmune disease, stress, allergic reaction, and hypothyroidism.” – CR King 
valproic acid, – a medication commonly used to prevent seizures in epilepsy, may also be prescribed for bipolar disorder or to prevent migraine headaches. (Valporate (VPA), sodium valproate, and divalproex sodium, Depakote). It has been known to cause serious abnormalities in babies when used by pregnant women and is no longer typically prescribed to women of childbearing years. [Wikipedia]
thalidomide, – a medication that was prescribed to pregnant women for preventing nausea in the 1960s but it was discovered to cause serious birth defects. It is still used for the treatment of leprosy and still has been known to cause birth defects in the babies of women with leprosy who become pregnant. [http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/122/1/1.full]
A summary of the developmental neurotoxicants: “lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene. …manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers.”  And the other factors associated with autism that were mentioned in the other hypothesis about autism and folic acid included: “valproic acid, thalidomide, alcohol, rubella, cytomegalovirus, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autoimmune disease, stress, allergic reaction, and hypothyroidism.” – CR King 
Autism can not be called a complete mystery anymore. When all of the known risks are combined it is clear that something is going wrong prenatally from as early as the day of conception when the sperm and egg first combine into a new baby zygote (the single cell stage of fetal development). And to be fair we have to leave God out of this — autism is not God’s will after all –lead, arsenic, manganese, fluoride and stress are products of nature but the formaldehyde producing Nutrasweet and Neotame are man made products and I don’t think nature invented refined sources of methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, toluene, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, or the polybrominated diphenyl ethers.”  orvalproic acid, thalidomide, or alcohol.” – CR King 
/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./
I’m feeling so much better after only two days of calcium supplements that I feel like throwing a party. Fatigue is tiring. Replenishing supplies of a trace nutrient deficiency can help resolve symptoms so quickly that it feels like a miracle. I’ve experienced rapid resolution of symptoms in the past when I had a problem with low B1 intake  that was due to a low intake of everything – I had an anorexic appetite at the time which I later found may have been due to an underlying zinc deficiency.
The anorexic appetite symptom resolved when I added zinc and B6 supplements after reading about pyroluria. Pyroluria is not yet treated or accepted by most main stream health practitioners but it is believed to be due to a genetic defect affecting an enzyme that helps break down old hemoglobin for reuse and recycling. Molecules of B6 and zinc are involved in the process and in normal health would be recycled but if the person has the genetic modification than the B6 and zinc is released in urine rather than being retained for reuse. 
Calciphylaxis is a symptom that is not well understood but is associated with severe hyperparathyroidism. It is a rare symptom in the general population but is seen more frequently in people with end stage renal disease. When the kidneys are no longer able to make normal amounts of 1, 25 dihydroxy D the plasma calcium levels can drop. And to try to maintain normal calcium levels the body responds by having the parathyroid glands increase production of parathyroid hormone which in normal health would tell the kidneys to activate more 1, 25 dihydroxy D which would then tell the intestines to absorb more calcium and would tell the bones to release more calcium from storage.  But in end stage renal disease there aren’t functional kidneys and the elevated levels of parathyroid hormone can cause other symptoms like irregular or rapid heart rate or in severe cases calciphylaxis may occur.
Calciphylaxis “is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome of vascular calcification and skin necrosis.”  The word calciphylaxis may refer to the syndrome or to the patches of necrotic (decaying) tissue which may occur internally on the surface of bones or externally in patches on the surface of the skin. The decaying areas occur more commonly on the lower legs. The areas can first appear as reddish or purplish bruised areas that may feel like they have small hardened nodules under the skin. The skin surface may be itchy and eventually may break down to be an open wound that doesn’t heal easily. There is a risk of skin infections developing in the open wound which can become severe enough to cause sepsis and death as the patches of decaying skin or bone areas do not heal well.
Calciphylaxis is more of a risk with end stage renal disease but it has also been found in people who had normal vitamin D levels and normal kidney health. And “high dose vitamin D administration is capable of inducing STC (soft tissue calcification) and calciphylaxis in murine models. [56, 57] In an attempt to reestablish normal calcium-phosphate homeostasis, ESRD patients receive vitamin D analogs that could theoretically increase their risk of calciphylaxis if hyperphosphatemia and hypercalcemia ensued. [58, 59]” 
“Experimental sensitizing events and agents included nephrectomy and exposure to parathyroid hormone (PTH) and vitamin D. Substances used as challengers included egg albumin and metallic salts. Calciphylaxis was the end result.4 – from a 1962 study, abstract is free. [4.5]
Eczema is something I’ve had to cope with since infancy along with severe congestion problems. The images of calciphylaxis do not look quite like the itchy patches that I’ve been dealing with for a few months but they resemble the images of calciphylaxis more than they look like the patches of eczema that I’ve had off and on since infancy.
The fun thing about autoimmune disease is all the nifty weird symptoms that you get to experience – and which are so rare that many physicians don’t want to see you or the symptoms in their office – because those unusual symptoms must be covered by some other specialist’s field. This quote said it well: Calciphylaxis “is a poorly understood and highly morbid syndrome”.  Maybe I wouldn’t want that syndrome to be my professional responsibility either, and maybe it is just too bad for me that it might be my personal responsibility whether I like it or not. However maybe I’m lucky that my professional and personal experiences have left me more informed about odd symptoms than other health professionals, and therefore I may possibly be better equipped to cope with the odd symptoms.
Thankfully just two days of calcium supplements (while continuing to avoid excess vitamin D and sunshine) have left me feeling less itchy and my open wound areas are beginning to form scabs instead of remaining open wounds with seeping plasma.
In normal physiology the activated hormone form, 1, 25 dihydroxy D, is typically found in elevated amounts only in areas of rapid growth or membrane breakdown, such as in scab formation by white blood cells, , and within the placenta during pregnancy.  – Maybe elevated 1, 25 dihydroxy D can also be an underlying problem causing calciphylaxis rather than it being due only to deficiency of the inactive vitamin 25-D or the active hormone 1, 25-D.
Yes, my vitamin 25-D level was low at 10.9 ng/mL and anything below 20-30 is considered deficient and I was recommended by my endocrinologist to take vitamin D and calcium. However my hormone 1, 25-D level was 55 pg/mL which is considered within the normal range by mainstream medicine (range: 18-72 pg/mL). Specialists in vitamin D/hormone D metabolism would consider levels of 1, 25-D above 42 pg/mL to be elevated enough to be an osteoporosis risk because above that level the bone cells start releasing calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium into the blood supply instead of absorbing the minerals from circulating plasma and storing them for increased bone strength or for later use. 
Calcium and magnesium are so important as electrically active ions that the body has a variety of ways to maintain the blood levels of the two minerals within a narrow range. Blood tests for calcium and magnesium levels may be normal even though there is inadequate dietary intake because the bones can act like a savings account at the bank. In normal health if the blood plasma dips a little low for calcium or magnesium, more minerals are released from the bone, and if levels are getting too elevated than more would be excreted by the kidneys, less would be absorbed by the intestines, and more would be absorbed into the bones for long term storage.
However if 1, 25-D levels are elevated above 42 pg/mL than even if calcium levels were elevated in the blood the abnormally elevated 1, 25-D level would still be telling the bones to release more calcium and for the intestines to absorb more calcium which would lead to way too much calcium for the kidneys to be able to excrete during good health let alone during renal disease (elevated blood calcium would normally signal the body to make more of the enzyme that de-activates 1, 25-D but some microbial pathogens seem to bypass our immune system by disabling our body’s ability to make that enzyme). Adequate magnesium is necessary for the kidneys to be able to excrete calcium and elevated 1, 25-D causes the intestines to preferentially absorb calcium rather than magnesium.
And it turns out that eczema is an autoimmune disease so I may have been trying to figure out how to feel healthier since I was a baby. 
My mother gave up trying to spoon feed me. She said I would spit food into my hand, look at it, then put it back into my mouth before swallowing. She put cookie sheets around my highchair to block the mess (and possibly the view) and left me to feed myself from a fairly early age. I still don’t like to be fed by others, whether it’s just a taste of something on a spoon, or whether it is a dietary supplement that might cause my underlying autoimmune condition to worsen.
I’m feeling less itchy and the open wound areas are beginning to heal. The tachycardia problem is better, (having a rapid heart rate with little exercise), and an internal jittery feeling is less. The problem with trying to medicate a nutrient deficiency with psychiatric drugs is that the psychiatric drug can’t take the place of a nutrient in metabolic pathways. For years now physicians, family members and friends have been encouraging me to just take the psychiatric medication as prescribed and stop complaining about psychosomatic symptoms and imaginary problems. But the psychiatric medications that were offered all had bad side effects and while some helped slow down whirling thoughts they didn’t make the thoughts less sad or negative and they didn’t take away the internal feeling of tension.
I felt like a coiled spring internally, very jittery all the time and unable to concentrate as well as normal. I knew something was wrong and I knew feeling like a coiled spring all the time wasn’t an imaginary delusion and the feeling didn’t go away with the three different anti-psychotic medications that physicians or psychiatrists had me try.
We can’t afford ineffective health care as individuals or as a global community. Harsh medications that cause side effects in humans are probably also causing side effects in the health of the environment once the chemicals become waste products. Expensive pharmaceuticals that cause side effects in patients without addressing the person’s underlying condition are primarily helping the pharmaceutical company and may be causing the person’s condition to worsen over the long term.
Low protein intake may be involved as hypoalbuminemia is a risk factor for calciphylaxis. [9 -includes images of calciphylaxis wounds.] I don’t know for sure that my weird skin patches are early stage calciphylaxis wounds but I hadn’t been eating much protein in the weeks before my bruise like symptoms became more like open painful sores and I have probably had a low calcium intake ever since I started limiting my use of dairy products. I did take calcium supplements in the past but my chronic muscle cramps became a problem and the calcium seemed to make it worse. More recently not eating much for a couple weeks would have further reduced my intake of calcium from the sources such as sesame seeds and tree nuts that I normally do eat. Just two days of calcium supplements have helped me feel calm internally instead of jittery (I’m using about 500 mg spread out through the day in low doses). I’m also eating a more adequate amount of protein and other foods and the odd skin patches have less of a burning itchy painful feeling and the areas are starting to heal rather than remain open seeping wounds.
Twenty three and a half to fifty million Americans may have one or more types of autoimmune diseases.  So I don’t think that I am the only one who has been regularly told that her symptoms must all be imaginary and to go see a talk therapist or to go get stronger and stronger psychiatric medications. We can’t afford ineffective health care because it doesn’t help the patient and the medications may be bad for the environment once they become waste products. Calcium is a natural mineral that is not harmful to the environment and it is inexpensive.
Phosphorus was not ordered but would probably be good to check.
Vitamin D, 25 – 10.9 ng/mL — normal is considered: [30.0-100.0]
Vitamin D 1, 25 – 55 pg/mL — normal is considered: [18-72]
I did schedule an appointment with a physician but it will be a few weeks and the tachycardia was not pleasant, the internal coiled spring feeling made it hard to concentrate and hard to not over react to outside events, and the open seeping sores were painful.
I don’t see why I should not try to take care of myself rather than having to follow the orders/recommendations of physicians or psychiatrists when they are working from the premise that “we don’t know what is causing your symptoms or how to cure them but we would really like you to take these harsh medications anyway because we guess that they might reduce some of your symptoms – and please just ignore the negative side effects that the medication is actually adding to your problems because we guess that the medication might help reduce some of the symptoms that you originally came to see us about.” That is an example of circular logic based on guesses and I’m not buying it anymore now than I did when I was sitting in a highchair covered with eczema, milk based formula, and baby food.
Medications can be life saving and certainly are a modern miracle but nutrients will always be our body’s building blocks. Providing medicines to reduce symptoms of nutrient deficiency will only prolong the time the body is left without adequate nutrients and some deficiencies can cause long term damage that is not reversible once the nutrient is added back to the diet. A long term deficiency of Vitamin B12 can cause irreversible nerve damage, , and it turns out that calcium or vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis if the deficiency is chronic enough to lead to secondary hyperparathyroidism.
/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./
Pyroluria: anxiety and deficiency of B6 and zinc,
Thiamin: people with anorexia or alcoholism are more at risk for vitamin B1 deficiency,
Liu NQ et al., “Vitamin D and the regulation of placental inflammation.” J Immunol. 2011 May 15;186(10):5968-74. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003332. Epub 2011 Apr 11, 
Eleftheriadis T., et al., “Vitamin D receptor activators and response to injury in kidney disease.” JNephrol 2010: 23(05): 514-524 
Meg Mangin, Rebecca Sinha, and Kelly Fincher, “Elevated 1,25(OH)2D appears to be evidence of a disabled immune system’s attempt to activate the VDR to combat infection.” Inflamm Res. 2014; 63(10): 803–819., 2014 Jul 22. 
by Charlotte LoBuono, “For the First Time, Study Proves Eczema Is an Autoimmune Disease.” Jan. 5, 2015, 
“Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause long term nerve degeneration.” August 21, 2013, 
Additional references about risk factors for calciphylaxis in dialysis patients: These articles are not mentioned in the text above and the research studies are not about secondary hyperparathyroidism but they do suggest that adequate protein intake may help reduce risk for calciphylaxis and that having elevated phosphorus or alkaline phosphatase levels may increase the risk.
Zacharias JM, Calcium use increases risk of calciphylaxis: a case-control study. Perit Dial Int. 1999 May-Jun;19(3):248-52. [link] *This small research study is about calciphylaxis occurring in patients on kidney dialysis – calcium supplements were found to increase risk of calciphylaxis, while iron intake may have been protective, vitamin D intake made no difference between groups, (n=8 women). The study group’s parathyroid hormone and albumin levels were not found to be significantly different then the lab values of the control group of dialysis patients who did not have calciphylaxis. The conclusion includes the suggestion that “use of calcium salts as a phosphate binder” during dialysis might have something to do with the increased rate of calciphylaxis that was being seen at dialysis centers at the time.
A Rauf Mazhar, et. al., Risk factors and mortality associated with calciphylaxis in end-stage renal disease. Kidney International (2001) 60, 324–332; doi:10.1046/j.1523-1755.2001.00803.x [link] *This study (n=19) found an increased risk for calciphylaxis in dialysis patients who were female, and when the patient had elevated phosphorus and/or alkaline phosphatase levels and/or low serum albumin levels. “Calciphylaxis independently increased the risk of death by eightfold.”
Doweiko JP, Nompleggi DJ. The role of albumin in human physiology and pathophysiology, Part III: Albumin and disease states. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 1991 Jul-Aug;15(4):476-83. [link] *Albumin is the main protein found in blood plasma and having low albumin levels is also associated with poor wound healing and an increased risk of death.
Albumin levels can be low even when there is adequate protein intake in the presence of edema. Fluid imbalance can make the albumin values seem lower due to the change in concentration of the blood serum rather than due to changes in diet. However edema and low protein intake may both be problems. A low protein intake can increase the risk for edema.
Pickwell K, Predictors of lower-extremity amputation in patients with an infected diabetic foot ulcer. Diabetes Care. 2015 May;38(5):852-7. doi: 10.2337/dc14-1598. Epub 2015 Feb 9. [link] *Severe edema is also a sign of ill health. the presence of edema increased the risk of poor wound healing and the need for amputation for patients with a diabetic foot ulcer.
Neurological symptoms of B12 deficiency may include:
numbness and tingling of the arms and legs; problems walking; disorientation; memory loss; mood changes that may resemble schizophrenia; and dementia. Damage may occur to the myelin sheath which surrounds and insulates nerves like the plastic coating around an extension cord. Nerve damage and mental health symptoms may become permanent with long term deficiency of vitamin B12.
Digestive symptoms may include:
loss of appetite, a painful tongue, and constipation. The reason for there to be digestive symptoms associated with B12 deficiency is not well understood. One theory suggests that undiagnosed digestive problems might have been an initial cause of the B12 deficiency.
Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency may also include:
pernicious anemia and megaloblastic anemia which are hemoglobin deficiencies that have symptoms of tiredness. Folate deficiency symptoms are also possible because B12 is necessary in folate metabolism. Increased heart disease risk from elevated homocysteine levels may result from B6, B12, or folate deficiency.
People who may be more at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include:
Those with malabsorption problems, or people with chronic use of antacids and those who are over age 60. A specific protein cofactor called the intrinsic factor and normal stomach acidity levels are necessary for B12 absorption to be able to occur. Some individuals receive monthly injections of B12 after reaching older age and some people need to receive them monthly throughout life due to having chronically low vitamin B12 for other reasons than normal aging such as a genetic issue with their production of the intrinsic factor protein.
Sublingual tablets of the supplement are also available which are absorbed in the mouth, bypassing any problems with the rest of the digestive system.
A genetic difference may exist that causes some individuals to require the methylated active form of B12 rather than being able to benefit from the more commonly available supplement which is an unmethylated and therefore inactive form. [More about methylcobalamin.] A genetic screening test would need to be ordered to find out if there were any differences in the gene that might cause an inability to methylate vitamin B12 or folate/(folic acid is the commonly used supplement which is also in the unmethylated form, and therefore inactive for someone with a genetic inability to perform the methylation reaction – meaning an enzyme is malfunctioning somewhere in the complex chemical chain of events.)
A problem with lower digestive acidity in the stomach could also be managed simply by adding a side dish or condiment to meals that contains vinegar or acidic ingredients. Examples from around the world include chutneys, pickles, lime or lemon juice/fresh wedges, vinegary salad dressing, salsa or Tabasco Sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.
What is Worcestershire Sauce? (thespruce) (and how do you spell it?)- It is an interesting story – featuring the chemists Lea and Perrins. (Lea & Perrins is still the best selling brand of Worcestershire Sauce). Who knew chemistry could be so delicious?
Low stomach acid may be an underlying issue with symptoms of schizophrenia and in other mental health disorders. The balance and variety of microbes living within the gastrointestinal tract also may be involved in symptoms resembling mental illness. (Digestion & schizophrenia /PMC4437570/)
Pickles that are made fresh and need to be refrigerated can be a source of healthy intestinal microbes, in a similar way to the healthy bacteria found in yogurt with active probiotics or Kefir drinks. A variety of traditional products with live cultures are listed here – and a new one, probiotics are being added to chocolate in some products: (health.com/probiotics & chocolate) Scientists studying the microbiome tend to recommend the live culture foods rather than supplements of probiotics – based on my overview impression of multiple sources. An overview regarding the current recommendations about probiotic supplements is available here: (washingtonpost/people-love-probiotics-but-do-they-really-help/2017/05/19)
Probiotics refers to products that contain actual good guy bacteria, while prebiotics refers to foods that contain fiber or other nutrients which the good guy bacteria need to eat in order to survive and flourish – in competition with the more negative strains of bacteria or with yeasts or other microbes which might be found within our gastro-intestinal tract.
Eating vegetables and other foods that are good sources of some types of fiber also helps support healthier intestinal microbes, a few foods that provide the types of fiber that our intestinal microbes need to eat in order to flourish and protect us from more negative types of microbes, are listed here: (pcrm.org/seven-foods-to-supercharge-your-gut-bacteria)
shellfish, fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese, dairy products, Nutritional or Brewer’s yeast. Vegetarians who don’t eat dairy, eggs, fish or other meat products may need a supplement or nutritional yeast, a vegan food source of vitamin B12. (nutritional yeast/pubmed/11146329)
See the post on Vitamin B6 for more information about how the group of B vitamins work together in energy metabolism and cell growth.
Reference for more information:
An Evidence-based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals: Health Benefits and Intake Recommendations, 2nd Ed., by J. Higdon & V. Drake, (Thieme, Stuttgart / New York, 2012)
A description and source for purchasing the text: (thieme.com)
The text is produced in cooperation with the Linus Pauling Institute. He is a researcher who used large doses of vitamin C to cure cancer tumors. His work was met with skepticism. More recently research supports his work in that a specific type of cancer cells is very susceptible to vitamin C – while to the rest of the body it is water soluble and non-toxic at the level that was toxic to the cancer cells. (sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231716302634)
Last reviewed and revised on 9/30/2017.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)