Dr Ron Featured in Article-Doctors say take charge of your health: Vitamin D can prevent illnesses from occurring

Note: Doctor Ron was mentioned in this article from the Calgary Herald on April 20, 2012. Thought I would share!

Doctors say take charge of your health, Vitamin D can prevent illnesses from occurring
by Annalise Klingbeil, Special to The Herald
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012

High blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease are not the result of bad luck, fate or genetics.

Rather, Canadians are digging their own graves, with their knives, forks and the choices they make.

In Canada and the United States, health-care systems are overwhelmed with chronic disease. The Pure North S’Energy Foundation is hoping to change this, by helping people prevent diseases before they occur.

Founded by Calgary philanthropist Allan Markin, the foundation aims to help citizens reclaim their health through education, nutrition and lifestyle recommendations.

The risk for developing illness including heart disease, vascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity is related to environmental, diet and lifestyle choices.

“People are unknowingly making choices that increase their likelihood of getting these common diseases,” says Dr. Ron Hunninghake.

Hunninghake, a Pure North board member, sees chronically ill patients in his work as a family physician and medical director at the Riordan Clinic in Wichita, Kan.

By studying endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) Hunninghake’s research team has discovered people who are at a higher risk for heart attacks and vascular problems have low EPCs.

“We’re doing a kind of detective work to discover what can increase a person’s risk for health,” says Hunninghake.

The doctor will share his clinic’s findings in a talk on vascular health at a May 12 symposium in Calgary organized and sponsored by Pure North.

Hunninghake will also speak to the audience about the importance of vitamin D.

“By having a higher level of vitamin D, you’re going to raise these protective EPCs. Their function is to repair and heal damage to the endothelial lining of the blood vessels.”

Studies have also linked low levels of EPCs to dementia and cardiovascular disease.

Taking vitamin D is “the simplest thing that people can do to improve their overall health,” says Hunninghake. Quitting smoking, eating well, watching your weight and getting adequate amounts of sleep can also increase EPC levels thus decreasing the risk of many illnesses.

Dr. Edward Giovannucci will also be speaking at the symposium.

The professor and researcher at the Harvard Public School of Health will highlight his own research and other studies in a presentation on the relation between vitamin D and cancer.

Through his research, Giovannucci has found individuals with low vitamin D levels are at a higher risk for various cancers.

“Tumours seem to grow better in a low vitamin D environment,” Giovannucci says.

There is also emerging evidence showing that individuals with higher vitamin D levels tend to have better survival from cancer, Giovannucci says.

Dr. Stephen Genuis, a clinical professor at the University of Alberta who specializes in environmental medicine will speak at the symposium about chronic illness.

“What’s being found, essentially, is there are various factors in the environment that are acting on our genes to induce illness,” Genuis says. “The exciting thing about that is the various factors in our environment are modifiable, they can be changed.”

Genuis will speak about what cause sickness and how addressing and correcting deficiencies can have people feeling better.

“There’s so much we can do to help our health-care system and prevent these problems, rather than try to deal with them after the fact,” Genuis says.

The presentations by Hunninghake, Giovannucci and Genuis have all been accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Alberta Chapter for up to one Manipro-M1 credit.

For more information on the symposium, call 403-457-5077. On the web: www.superhealth. org; twitter account @ PureNorthHealth

Watch for additional articles on the symposium in the Herald on the next few Fridays.