Author Topic: How common is MS among Eskimos?  (Read 1176 times)

Cudzoziemiec

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How common is MS among Eskimos?
« on: December 24, 2011, 12:00:28 am »
Because apparently Scotland's lack of sunshine give it exceptionally high levels of MS - sufficiently high for people to propose dosing Scottish food with Vitamin D, which apparently has a preventative effect. But if it's really down to the lack of sunlight, surely people further north, where it's dark more and cold enough to mean you're covered up all year round, should suffer even more? Also, I thought Europeans' white skin was a development to enable us to sythesise Vit D from sunlight more efficiently than dark skin.

It's a bit worrying that in the article the main impetus for vit D dosing seems to come from an individual case, rather than medical consensus.
Quote
The cause of vitamin D has been taken up by Shine on Scotland, a campaign launched by 13-year-old Ryan McLaughlin in response to his mother's diagnosis with MS. Kirsten McLaughlin is now very ill in hospital. The campaign is supported by the MS Society in Scotland, has involved a march on the Scottish parliament and resulted last year in an international summit in Glasgow involving scientists, campaigners and Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon.

Ryan's father, Alan, said he and Ryan had another meeting with government officials on Wednesday where they urged food fortification.

"We still think that's the best way to go," he said. "We have started having talks with manufacturers about milk or fruit juice." They have persuaded Kellogg's to add extra vitamin D to their cereals.

It seems you can't overdose on vitamin D, so adding extra to food isn't harmful - but equally, you can't ensure people will eat that food and it may end up a huge waste of money. Who is going to pay for it? The Scottish Parliament? Or food processors? Maybe it would be more effective to add it to water.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2011, 12:13:41 am »
Fish occurred to me, and that would work for Norwegians too. But what about Fins, and Saami, and Alaskans and Siberians?
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2011, 01:43:29 pm »
Probably the lifestyle of Inuit and reindeer herders gets them out in the sun more when its around as well.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2011, 01:47:07 pm »
Many cancers are far more common in northern climes (after controlling for decadent Western lifestyles etc) and, again, vitamin D deficiency due to reduced sunlight exposure has been suggested as the cause.  It may be a trade-off between skin cancers and other forms of cancer.  I assume we're white up here because we evolved to cope with weaker sunlight and needed less melanin, which blocks it?

Kids of school age are getting rickets again because of the obsession with covering up in the sun.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2011, 10:15:45 pm »
Probably the lifestyle of Inuit and reindeer herders gets them out in the sun more when its around as well.
But also ensures they'll be covered up. Maybe just the face and occasional hands is all that needs to be exposed though.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2011, 10:20:35 pm »
Many cancers are far more common in northern climes (after controlling for decadent Western lifestyles etc) and, again, vitamin D deficiency due to reduced sunlight exposure has been suggested as the cause.  It may be a trade-off between skin cancers and other forms of cancer.  I assume we're white up here because we evolved to cope with weaker sunlight and needed less melanin, which blocks it?

Kids of school age are getting rickets again because of the obsession with covering up in the sun.
Yes, that's what I'd understood - that we lost melanin because it blocked sunlight and so hindered vitamin D production. I hadn't heard of this connection with cancer though. Surely that should mean that black people in northern climes get more of those cancers and of MS, once different diet etc have been allowed for.
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2011, 10:25:44 pm »
Maybe the Eskimos don't have the genetic factors that may predispose people towards MS

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-14475497

If extra Vit. D may help I'm all for it.
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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2011, 10:45:17 pm »
You can overdose on Vitamin D. It's a fat soluble vitamin and cannot be excreted by the kidneys if you eat too much. Dissolving in water would be difficult since it isn't water soluble. Take a look at the effects of too much Vitamin D here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D
It can cause hypercalcaemia which has a very nasty set of symptoms, and can even cause birth defects.

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2011, 11:27:15 pm »
Interesting, thanks. That would tend to suggest it's a bad idea to dose food with it, I'd have thought?
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andygates

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2011, 11:30:28 pm »
Only if the dangerous dose and the effective dose are riskily close.  See fortified breakfast cereal for "dosing people's food" done every day.

The traditional northern-types diet was almost exclusively animal fat and protein, and lots of gibs.  It was sufficient in vit D, unless I'm mistaken.
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Cudzoziemiec

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2011, 12:01:23 am »
Gibs?  ???
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Jaded

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2011, 12:52:33 am »
I thought most of them use Linux.
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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2011, 01:45:01 pm »
When I was young (one could still see dinosaurs about), the government used to supply cod-liver oil to supply vitamins A and D, and orange juice for vitamin C to children under 5. Partly because my mother gave us the orange juice last I still quite like the taste of cod-liver oil, which my mother continued to get even though it was no longer free. I would think Inuit who have the traditional diet would ingest quite a lot of vitamins A and D, since it is contained in oily fish and also seals liver, both part of the traditional diet.

Cudzoziemiec

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Re: How common is MS among Eskimos?
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2011, 04:09:13 pm »
But what about vitamin C? No oranges in the Arctic! I bet all the Inuit have scurvy! Free orange juice for all within the Arctic circle!

(I remember orange juice from the 'health centre' too. It wasn't really juice, more a highly concentrated squash - I used to deliberately underdilute it. Tasted delicious, but I'd probably hate it now. Never had cod liver oil though. Maybe all the Icelanders had caught the cod by then?)
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...