CYP enzymes are needed to produce both 25 vitamin D and 1, 25 hormone D; and more on glyphosate

The CYP enzymes that were mentioned as being inhibited by glyphosate and necessary for the conversion of 25 hydroxy D into the active 1, 25 dihydroxy D form turn out to also be essential for conversion of vitamin D3* into the 25 hydroxy D form [12] — so glyphosate could be the smoking gun that explains why U.S. citizens on average had lower 25 hydroxy D levels than Canadians (who presumably live farther North and receive less direct sunshine over the course of a year).

  • *I have read more recently that supplements of the D3 version are active in the vitamin D receptor so it may not need the same CYP enzymes to be activated as the D2 supplement form does but the D2 form is more commonly available in supplements, double check the supplement bottle when shopping to see which type is included.  See:

And this could help explain why taking high doses of supplemental vitamin D has not been found effective to help raise patient’s 25 hydroxy D levels — if the person has glyphosate within their body inhibiting the CYP enzyme then they wouldn’t be able to convert the vitamin D supplement into the 25 hydroxy D form that the lab test is checking for and the supplemental form wouldn’t show up on lab tests for the 25 hydroxy form (which in normal health would then be available as needed to be converted by a CYP enzyme into the active 1, 25 dihydroxy D form whenever the active form was needed). There are multiple types of CYP enzymes with a variety of roles. Breaking down the active form, 1, 25 dihydroxy D, also requires a type of CYP enzyme.

CYP enzymes are also involved in the production of bile salts which help with the digestion of fat. Intestinal problems with symptoms of fatty diarrhea can occur when there is limited bile salts available and fat soluble nutrients may be more poorly absorbed (which includes vitamin D as well as vitamin A and E).

Glyphosate was not originally developed as an herbicide it was first used medically as a mineral chelator (binds with minerals) and as an antibiotic:

It’s important to realize that glyphosate is not “just” an herbicide. As explained by Dr. Huber, it was first patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, so they’re not physiologically available for your body. [4]

“You may have the mineral [in the plant], but if it’s chelated with glyphosate, it’s not going to be available physiologically for you to use, so you’re just eating a piece of gravel,” Dr. Huber says. [4]

Glyphosate is alsopatented as an antibiotic—and a very effective one at that— against a large number of beneficial organisms. Unfortunately, like all antibiotics, it also kills vitally important beneficial soil bacteria and human gut bacteria. [4]

“Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus faecalis—these are organisms that keep you healthy either by providing accessibility to the minerals in your food or producing many of the vitamins that you need for life. They’re also the natural biological defenses to keep Clostridium, Salmonella, and E.coli from developing in your system,” Dr. Huber explains. [4]

“When you take the good bacteria out, then the bad bacteria fill that void, because there aren’t any voids in nature. We have all of these gut-related problems, whether it’s autism, leaky gut, C. difficile diarrhea, gluten intolerance, or any of the other problems. All of these diseases are an expression of disruption of that intestinal microflora that keeps you healthy.” [4]

Glyphosate first came into use as an agricultural herbicide in the U.S. in 1974. Use of the herbicide in the U.S. increased significantly around 2005 when the use of genetically modified Round-UP Ready crops became more common.  “Nearly 67 % of total agricultural glyphosate use in the U.S. since 1974 has occurred in just the last 10 years (Table 2).” [3] Table 3 from the same reference shows a significant increase in use of glyphosate also occurred between 1995 to 2000 but then the total use doubled again between 2000 and 2005 and has not quite doubled again between 2005 and 2014. Table 4 shows that the timing of use and increase of use is similar for global averages. And Table 5 simplifies the information by showing the amount used each decade since 1974 as a percentage of the total; 71.6% of the total agricultural use occurred in the years between 2005 and 2014. Glyphosate is also used as a spray along railroad tracks and other areas where an herbicide that kills all types of plants is desired (and frequently glyphosate used for non-agricultural purposes may be used in those areas at higher concentrations than recommended for agricultural uses or it may be sprayed more often).  [3]

It is unethical to use humans as research test subjects for assessing the toxicity of a substance but when a substance is approved for use in the food supply then the entire population become test subjects (whether they know or not). Comparing health data between communities or countries that don’t use glyphosate products and those that do then becomes a way to assess toxicity of the substance — without having to worry about any pesky ethical issues in research design — the government says the stuff is safe so it must be safe right? The entire population where a product is in use can be assumed to be in the experimental group on average; individuals may or may not be consuming the same amounts of the substance but on average within the country or community where a product is in the use the average person may be assumed to have been exposed to an average amount that would be more than the average amount of exposure that an individual living in a country or community where the product is not in use making those individuals part of the control group — less exposed to the substance in question.

Assessing the health of populations that may be exposed to larger amounts of the suspected toxin can be another way to do “human” research without directly giving toxins to experimental test subjects in one group and not giving the toxins to the control group.

Agricultural workers might be exposed to more of an agricultural herbicide or pesticide than people who simply are eating foods that might have herbicide or pesticide residues. And sure enough agricultural workers do seem to be suffering from negative health affects due to glyphosate. Kidney failure has been a problem among sugar cane cutters and glyphosate is now used as a desiccant applied to the crop just before harvest. Kidney failure has also been observed in agricultural workers in Costa Rica and India:

Agricultural workers in Costa Rica and India are experiencing high rate of kidney failure.” – [2]

Looking at the rates of increase in disease compared to the rate of increase in use of the suspected toxin can be another way to do “human” research without directly giving an experimental group toxins and not giving the toxin to the control group. When looking at the rate of disease increase there are over thirty diseases including autism and Alzheimer’s Disease with increasing rates of incidence that overlap the increased rate of glyphosate and genetically engineered proteins in our food supply:

2. Epidemiological patterns show there’s an identical rise in over 30 human diseases correlated with our increased usage of glyphosate and the increased prevalence of genetically engineered proteins in our food. [4]

Genetically engineered proteins refers to the mystery substances that can be created during the process of developing genetically modified organisms. Genes from one species are inserted into the DNA of the organism that is being modified. The segment of DNA that is inserted may contain many individual genes that encode a variety of proteins in addition to the desired one (such as resistance to glyphosate). New allergenic proteins can be created in addition to the desired goal (of resistance to glyphosate for example). [4]

Do we want a food supply based on traditional foods that nourish the body as nature designed? Or do we want a corporate profit system that sells food like substances that are actually man-made, untested experiments? Genetically modified crops have been shown to have less nutrient content and more herbicide and pesticide residue than traditional crops as well as the mystery genetically engineered proteins.

To give a gross but memorable example – what if the makers of clam tomato juice (a real product used in some alcoholic drinks) wanted to save their product from the risk of ocean acidity or increased temperatures in fresh water ecosystems [5] causing a reduction in the number of clams available for making clam juice and so they decided to develop a genetically modified clam flavored tomato?

The segment of DNA that encodes for clam aroma might be selected for insertion into a tomato seed’s DNA. The segment of DNA from the clam, however, might also include a few other genes that encode for shellfish proteins that cause allergies. If the genetically modified tomato incorporates not only the clam aroma gene but also incorporates some allergy causing shellfish protein genes then the resulting genetically modified clam-tomato would be an allergy risk to people with shellfish allergies.

This would not be a problem if the GM clam-tomato was only used to make clam tomato juice as consumers with shellfish allergies would have a product label that suggested there was clam content in the substance but if the GM clam tomatoes ended up being grown as a replacement for most of the tomatoes and were used in most tomato products  then the shellfish allergic person might not know to start avoiding all tomato products in addition to having to avoid all shellfish products. (This is a smelly and not realistic example; if the GM hybrid worked as hoped then the clam aroma would be obvious whether the label mentioned GMO or not and so shellfish allergy sufferers would likely learn to avoid tomato products after having a few bad reactions or to at least sniff them before eating.)

I digress and am now giggling, sorry for the smelly example. Except that people with fish allergies actually may be at risk from a different type of genetically modified tomatoes:

Tomatoes have been developed that resist frost and freezing temperatures with antifreeze genes from a cold-water fish, the winter flounder (Pseudopleuronectes americanus). [9]

The cold-water fish-tomato GMO has not been approved yet for general use so fish allergy sufferers can eat tomato products without worry (yet, tomato isn’t on this list of GMO crops that have been approved for general use: [10] *and I haven’t cross checked this reference for validity, it may be a joke, I read it on the internet after all aplogies to the scientists involved if it isn’t a joke.

But do we really want a food supply based on man-made untested experiments? Or on man-made untested herbicides that may have originally been designed as mineral chelators or antibiotics? Or on man-made untested experiments that produce pesticides within the portion of the plant that is intended to be sold for human or animal consumption? (Bt GMOs are designed to produce a bacterial toxin within all parts of the plant so insects eating any part of the plant will be killed by the bacterial toxin. The GM Bt toxin turns out to be a slightly different shape than the type of Bt toxin that was traditionally used as a surface spray pesticide and which was used as a basis for safety expections about the Bt GMOs. [8] More on Bt crops and other references are in the last post.)

Genetic modification is not well controlled with one specific gene being inserted into the plant to by modified.  A segment with many genes may be inserted and a number of changes can occur within the new species of plant. We are playing with Mother Nature or God’s roles in the creation of life. Genetic modification may be profitable for the agribusinesses or chemical company but it may be costing our environment and individual health more than we realize. Our food supply is not the only species at risk for human manipulation. Goats have been genetically modified to produce spider silk proteins within their milk which is then filtered out to be used to “make a lightweight, ultra-strong silk with a wide range of industrial and medical uses.” [9] *I didn’t cross check this for validity.  (While that’s great for humans is it healthy for the new species baby spider-goats? *my term. The article does not mention whether baby spider-goats are allowed to nurse from their mother’s or if they are bottle fed goat milk from normal goats.)

If there’s a summary point it may be that we really need to stop the use of glyphosate and Round-Up Ready genetically modified crops and Bt crops and any others that have been associated with up to or over 30 diseases. “Proof” that something is harmful can be difficult to provide when human clinical trials can’t ethically be performed due to the risks of the experimental substance. We have to rely on the less clear but increasing large amount of circumstantial evidence that humans (and animals and insects and soil microbes) are being harmed by the man-made and largely untested experimental crops and chemical herbicides and pesticides. Agricultural workers as a group are among the most at-risk group of industrial workers for suffering acute or long-term health problems due to chemical exposure [6] — they are producing our “food” or are they producing our “food-like toxin delivery units“?

Lack of protective gear and safety information in a foreign language are part of the problem of farm-worker poisonings. The majority of acute (short-term high dose exposure) poisonings occur in developing nations even though the they don’t use the majority of total pesticides used globally. “As a result of the frequently problematic handling of pesticides in developing countries, 70% of all pesticide poisonings and 99% of resulting deaths occur in these countries, despite the fact that of all pesticides used globally, only 25% are applied there.[41]” [6]

It’s a little unrealistic but individually if enough consumers stopped buying all of the Round-Up Ready GMO crops and crops that use it as a desiccant and Bt crops then maybe eventually the agribusiness profit margin would be affected enough to lead to their spontaneously stopping the use of those products. I won’t hold my breath though, I will just continue avoiding the products myself as I have found they do make my autoimmune symptoms worse.

This is likely an incomplete list but just for starters:

The glyphosate avoid list: “corn, soy, sugar beets, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, as well as wheat and sugar cane” (glyphosate is used as a desiccant on wheat and sugar cane) []

The Bt avoid list: corn, cotton (the cotton crop may be used to make cottonseed oil which is used in prepared deep fried foods, in margarine, and other oily packaged foods). [9, 10] *I’m not sure if this means cotton clothing should also be avoided as a source of glyphosate exposure or if it is just in reference to the cottonseed oil products.

And soy has been modified not only to be glyphosate resistant but it has also been developed to produce two types of Bt toxin. [11]

At least 90 percent of the soy, cotton, canola, corn and sugar beets sold in the United States have been genetically engineered. The adoption of herbicide-resistant corn, which had been slower in previous years, has accelerated, reaching 89 percent of U.S. corn acreagein 2014 and in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [9]

Genetically modified products can be life saving, and they may even be able to help save species at risk from widespread infections (papaya was at great risk from a virus and the genetic modification made a GMO virus resistant strain of papaya), but they can also be a wild-card with unknown effects on the environment and within humans and other species. The genetically modified papaya may have risks for allergy sufferers as the virus protein that was used has similar chemical structure to a known allergen and wind is causing cross-pollination and hybridization of the virus resistant strains with organic farmer’s natural strains of papaya which can then leave them at risk of being sued by the chemical company Monsanto for use of patented crop. [12]

“If you control the seed, you control the food; if you control the food, you control the people.” – an old saying shared by Hawaii Co. Councilwoman Margaret Wille at a “March against Monsanto” rally. [13]

Hawaii has had a significant amount of herbicides and pesticides and GMO crops used on the chain of islands because the Monsanto company has been raising the GMO seeds there. Hawaii Co. councilwoman Margaret Wille also shared the concern of farmers who would like to be able to sell their crops to Japan and European countries that have banned GMO crops. If wind can cause cross-hybridization of an organic crop that not only places the farmer at risk of a lawsuit by Monsanto it also makes the crop unable to be sold to Japan or other countries that have banned GMO crops. [14]

There is a market for non-GMO food. Crops and soil microbes and weeds are at risk of incorporating genes from genetically modified crops into their own genetic structure through cross pollination with the GMO pollen or horizontal gene transfer. The segments of genes that are inserted into a plant to create a GMO can transfer to some other types of species such as soil microbes directly in a way somewhat similar to the way the scientist made the GMO. The gene segments were designed to invade and be incorporated into the species being modified and once they are in widespread use in nature they may be continuing to invade and be incorporated into many other life forms to create super weeds and possibly may be adding to the problem of increasing varieties of drug resistant bacteria and the more virulent viral diseases that are being spread at increased rates by mosquitoes. [14]

Human health and Vitamin D and hormone D are important but so is protecting the environment and all of its many life forms from mobile mutant gene segments. Humans are not Mother Nature or God and so we need to stop pretending that random genetic experiments are automatically safe for widespread use with only minimal testing.

Increased rates of over thirty diseases have been associated with the introduction of GMO crops and the increased use of glyphosate and 70% of the glyphosate has been used in just the last ten years. What are we to expect regarding chronic illness and more virulent virus and drug resistant bacteria in another ten years?

*This veered away from glyphosate’s inhibition of the CYP enzyme and vitamin D and whatever my original point might have been (that glyphosate may be inhibiting the conversion of supplemental vitamin D into the form the lab tests look for — 25 hydroxy D as well as inhibiting the activation of 25 hydroxy D into the hormone form 1, 25 dihydroxy D which is essential for many things including immune health), into a more general discussion of GMOs and the environment, but the connection is that most species have many similarities in how their bodies work. And problems in human health are going to suggest problems will be occurring in other mammals’ health — our pets, livestock and wildlife. The enzymes for vitamin and hormone D and the functions of  vitamin D receptor act in the same ways across many species and types of life. Health problems are likely to show up throughout the food chain due to the glyphosate being applied on food crops and for non agricultural purposes.

It lingers in the environment and in our bodies as it’s not readily broken down. Ten years of heavy use has already led to super weeds and health problems and the approval of DDT for GMO use — we need to stop risking we don’t know what kind of consequences as more toxins add up and interact in ways we also don’t know the consequences of. GMOs are very helpful but should be tested in small isolated areas for many years before being released into general use. And the issue of horizontal gene transfer and risk of more super-weeds and more virulent or drug resistant bacteria developing is a serious one that should be considered also. Genetic modification may need to be limited for use in general — it is an ethical question facing future generations as the chemicals linger.

As individuals we can avoid using glyphosate products on our own lawns and gardens. We can also try to buy more organic choices of the foods listed above but truly avoiding all of those foods is extremely difficult as they are used as ingredients in many types of processed foods that you wouldn’t think of as corn or soy or cottonseed oil (deep fried snack foods like chips). But for people who are really sick it may be worth trying to use less of the listed foods and see if you feel better. Food is our fuel and our building blocks to repair and regrow.

/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./

  1. Jones G, et. al., Cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism of vitamin D, J Lipid Res. 2014 Jan; 55(1): 13–31.
  2. Seneff, S., Roundup (C): The Elephant in the Room, MIT CSAIL, Oct. 16, 2013,  []
  3. Charles M. Benbrook, Trends in Glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and globallyEnvironmental Sciences EuropeBridging Science and Regulation at the Regional and European Level 2016 28:3 (Feb. 2, 2016)
  4. Dr. Mercola, Toxicology Expert Speaks Out About Roundup and GMOs(Oct. 16, 2013)
  5. by Guy Woodward, Daniel M. Perkins, Lee E. Brown, Climate change and freshwater ecosystems: impacts across multiple levels of organization *Interesting but unrelated to CYP enzymes or glyphosate: Increased freshwater temperature can be expected to impact species’ need for nutrients as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is increased at higher temperatures and it also increases with larger body size. So larger species may have a difficult time increasing their foraging enough to meet their increased calorie needs as their environment becomes warmer on average.

    “Essentially, because individual basal metabolic rate (BMR) is set by body size and temperature, respiratory costs will rise as BMR increases, and this will be most pronounced among larger organisms at higher temperatures (Brown et al. 2004; figure 4a).”

  6. Pesticides and Health Hazards: Facts and Figures, Pestizid Aktions-Netzwerk e.V PAN Germany, (2012)
  7. []
  14. Hawaii Co. Councilwoman Margaret Wille on bill to ban GMO on the island

There is never going to be a good time to say that glyphosate is unhealthy

Business practices that are established are likely to be more difficult to change or stop than strategies that are first being introduced. And it isn’t easy to be one of the few people saying “Wait a second, there seems to be a problem.

Satire or dark humor may take a blunt look at uncomfortable reality and laugh rather than cry about the pain or feeling of futility of the situation. The Onion is a satire magazine that moved online and responds rapidly to news of the day, but sometimes with the same old story — reinforcing the feeling of futility that real world tragedies can leave: [Read more.]

How we communicate with each other tends to be different depending on who is speaking to whom. Research suggests that men and women tend to communicate differently with each other and with their peers and peer groups. This tendency is discussed in the following article: [read more.]

We learn from our parents and siblings but many of the lessons we learned about communication styles tend to go all the way back to the interactions and childhood games  that we played with our peers. Boys tend to play in larger groups and have a clear leader or leaders within their groups while girls tend to play in smaller groups and value working together without emphasizing any one girl as being more dominant within the group.

Observational research suggests that girls seem to value building each other up within a team while boys  seem to support having a more dominant male or small group of males that take on the decision making roles for the whole team. A group with all girls might not appreciate a girl who is more forceful about speaking up while a group with all boys might not appreciate a boy who is more forceful about speaking up if he is not within the smaller group of boys who are accepted as the leaders of the group.

We tend to listen to each other differently based on gender or level of authority also and that can be life threatening in dangerous situations.

There can be risks to not accepting information from people in positions of lower authority. An excerpt from the linked article is about an airplane crash that would have been easily prevented if the captain had listened more closely to his copilot’s tentative concerns about ice build up on the aircraft:

“Shortly thereafter, the plane took off, with tragic results. In other instances as well as this one, Linde observed that copilots, who are second in command, are more likely to express themselves indirectly or otherwise mitigate, or soften, their communication when they are suggesting courses of action to the pilot. In an effort to avert similar disasters, some airlines now offer training for copilots to express themselves in more assertive ways.”

“This solution seems self-evidently appropriate to most Americans. But when I assigned Linde’s article in a graduate seminar I taught, a Japanese student pointed out that it would be just as effective to train pilots to pick up on hints. This approach reflects assumptions about communication that typify Japanese culture, which places great value on the ability of people to understand one another without putting everything into words. Either directness or indirectness can be a successful means of communication as long as the linguistic style is understood by the participants.” []

So is our society better off when women and men in positions of lower authority are expected to hint or to suggest and cajole regarding issues they consider dangerous? Or would our society be better off if we had more of an open suggestion box where anyone could speak up and say “Danger, Will Robinson,” (to quote a robot from “Lost in Space,” wikiquote)?

So our food supply is just fine and our health care system is just fine then we don’t have any problems do we. And vaccinations are guaranteed to be safe by our government and if there are any adverse reactions then our government will be there for individuals who apply for help (except for veterans of the Gulf War who have symptoms of the “emotional disorder” Gulf War Syndrome – a syndrome that has only occurred in American soldiers who in the early 1990s received an experimental series of vaccinations intended to protect against anthrax and not in any troops from other nations who fought in the Gulf War) but you might need a lawyer to negotiate with the government for you — possibly for years. Actually vaccinations are probably not the biggest issue, but they may be part of the problem for those who are also at greater risk for autism for other reasons.

The rapidly changing rates of obesity and autism and Alzheimer’s Disease in modern society all have suggested to me for a while that something in the environment changed because the biology of a whole group doesn’t change that rapidly. Genetic adaptation as suggested by theories about evolution can occasionally have sudden changes show up in a population but more typically changes in biology are small and occur over many generations.

Around 1985 increasing rates and severity of chronic health issues started to escalate in the U.S.. The accepted reason has been attributed to people eating too much and exercising too little. So if you are one of those people who has been frustrated by stubborn health issues that don’t seem to respond to your dedicated attempts to “eat healthier and exercise more” than you may need to change your definition of what eating healthier means. If avoiding glyphosate is something you’re interested or sick enough to be willing to try then avoiding the crops that use a lot of glysophate might help with weight loss by increasing your exercise too. Avoiding “corn, soy, sugar beets, canola oil, and cottonseed oil, as well as wheat and sugar cane” is enough of a challenge that your level of exercise is also likely to increase due to spending more time cooking whole foods and cleaning up afterwards. []

That kind of dietary change is kind of unreasonable to expect from anyone — unless they are already so sick that they are willing to try anything to feel better. Having been in that position myself though, and having helped others resolve their health issues with simple dietary changes, I have continued to share information that I’ve found helpful and strategies that I’ve found helpful.

Changing the safety rating of some of the genetically modified crops and herbicides and pesticides that are in common usage seems like it would be easier for individuals but before a problem can be solved it has to be recognized as a problem and currently our U.S. food supply is considered safe and we as a group seem to be considered unhealthy due to our own habits and possibly our emotions.

I love avoiding most of the food supply and it makes me emotionally feel very safe to enter grocery stores or to drive near agricultural fields where herbicides and pesticides might have been sprayed — not really. If you like traditional marriage and traditional genders then caring about traditional food supplies and traditional agricultural methods would probably be a good idea. Infertility is increasing along with obesity, autism and Alzheimer’s Disease so maybe we won’t have to worry about chronic health issues in children if we just stop having as many children — or maybe we’ll have a few generations with fewer children who have more severe health issues before we have to be concerned about infertility problems being severe enough to lead to no more new children being born at all. Or maybe we should start doing something about it now.

Glysophate has been associated with male infertility and erectile dysfunction — “Danger Will Robinson,” 60-80 million couples are now having difficulties with fertility: []

So if you are a tourist interested in visiting the U.S. you probably do not have to worry too much about chronic health issues associated with our food supply, as a short term use may not immediately cause long term health issues – animal studies on short term use of glysophate suggested that it is safe over the short term — studies performed by the chemical company. For those of us who live here, then there’s always satire.

Thank goodness it’s Friday, that at least gives me something I can be thankful about.

/Disclosure: Opinions are my own and 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./

Vitamin D deficiency prenatally may increase risk for preeclampsia

Vitamin D receptors have many roles in addition to helping with bone formation, helping immune strength is lesser known and the receptors also play an important role in prenatal and fetal health and development. Deficiency of vitamin D prenatally may be involved in the risk of preeclampsia occurring during the pregnancy as the vitamin D receptor helps promote secretion of prenatal hormones and reduce inflammatory cytokines that may stimulate preeclampsia and premature labor.

  • Read more: Relationship Between Vitamin D During Perinatal Development and Health, Jovana Kaludjerovic, MSc; Reinhold Vieth, PhD, J Midwifery Womens Health. 2010;55(6):550-560. []
  • Citation from the linked article: 15] Bodnar LM, Catov JM, Simhan HN, Holick MF, Powers RW, Roberts JM. Maternal vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of preeclampsia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007;92:3517–22. []
  • *Vitamin D levels were measured early in the pregnancy and then the women were followed until delivery. Lower levels of vitamin D early in pregnancy was more associated with preeclampsia developing later during the pregnancy. Infants born to mothers who had preeclampsia during the pregnancy were also more likely to have a low vitamin D level at birth. Autism risk has been associated with low vitamin D levels in infants and mothers of infants who develop autism. Which is discussed in other posts on this site.

Vitamin D is readily available in fortified milk and milk substitutes. It is also added to some yogurts and other dairy foods but it necessary to read the label. The amounts of vitamin D added to milk used to make yogurt or cheese is not regulated in the same way as the vitamin fortification of liquid milk sold for drinking. Vitamin D is also added to many breakfast cereals and protein rich meal replacement bars. It is naturally found in seafood and sardines in significant amounts, and a smaller amount is available in the egg yolk portion of eggs, and in mushrooms. A typical one-a-day vitamin or prenatal vitamin would also contain vitamin D. And our bodies can produce vitamin D from stored cholesterol when we get sunshine, about 15 to 30 minutes of sunshine on the face, upper arms and chest is adequate during summer months.

Excessive levels of active hormone D can cause negative health symptoms but the average person has enzymes that break down excess active hormone. A protein deficiency may also be a risk for low vitamin D because a carrier protein transports the inactive vitamin form and keeps it in the inactive state. Free, loose vitamin D is quickly activated to the hormone form of the molecule – which is actually a seco-steroid similar to cholesterol and other steroid hormones rather than being a typical essential “vitamin” that can not be formed in the body at all.

Preeclampsia is also associated with the presence of more fetal cells, microchimerism, in the mother than for women who had a pregnancy without preeclampsia. []

The vitamin D receptor is involved in the immune system’s ability to suppress allergic responses to foreign material – such as a fetus potentially. The placenta is not able to prevent all maternal or fetal cells from crossing and infants can have maternal cell DNA and mothers may have left over fetal cell DNA. The leftover fetal cells may have protective benefits as stem cells but they may also be a risk for autoimmune conditions such as Grave’s disease which causes a type of hyperthyroidism but can also cause other symptoms. Adequate vitamin D might be helpful throughout life for protecting against overactive allergic responses of the white blood cell portion of the immune system.

/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./

“50 Shades of No”

50 Shades of No” is a paraphrase of a paraphrase of a book titled, “50 Shades of Grey,” by author E. L. James,  which was also made into a movie with the same title. While I have not read the book nor seen the movie, it is said to be about a young woman who became seduced into an ongoing domestic violence relationship. Reviews suggest that neither the book nor movie are based on research in the area of relationships involving bondage or domestic violence.

While I didn’t make it past the back cover of the book, I did attend most of a forum with a mixed panel of speakers regarding sexual assault policies for college students. The event was advertised as being a scenario based forum and was titled “50 Shades of K(no)w” so I was expecting some role playing to help college students practice different ways of saying no to unwanted sexual relations. That did not occur.

We weren’t even given a list of ways to say no or a handout with contact information for resources to help cope with sexual trauma. However we were assured early in the forum that we would be given contact information for resources later in the session — we were, kind of, a slide was up on the screen briefly, and I did happen to have a pen with me and managed to copy down one of the contacts in the time allowed: RAINN, Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, 1-(800) 656-4673,

We were also assured that the goal of all of the panel was to not re-victimize the victims, but as a survivor of child sexual trauma and date rape in college and as an adult, I would have to say that their policies may fall short of that goal. And the scenarios that the forum was based on also seemed to be casting the victims as at fault for their date rape and gang rape situations or as a liar who led her young man into a bad situation that could ruin him for life if he ended up charged and labeled a sex offender.

False accusations are unfair but that situation involved a father that was likely a domestic violence offender himself and the girl was lying because of her fear of her father. She was made to press charges by the father. A child who grows up in a traumatic household may not learn the skills necessary for handling an adult relationship with complete honesty because domestic violence households are all about denying truth, denying that anything is not perfectly normal. And she may not have even learned how to say “No” in such an household.

The first and third scenarios were very similar to each other in that a female college student drank too much at a large party and then was assaulted after trying to say that she was uncomfortable with the situation and was too drunk — Was that a “No” or not quite a “No“? We learned from the panel that too drunk to be able to legally say no requires the person to be “incapacitated,” which is a vague term. Is “incapacitated” equivalent to “Stumbling and slurring words drunk,” or “Falling down and vomiting drunk,” or “Totally passed out drunk“? Based on the panel’s responses it seems that it is equivalent to “Totally passed out drunk.”

We learned that on campus students who reported a sexual assault situation that occurred while under the influence of alcohol or other substances would not be charged for the substance violation however the Prosecuting Attorney made it clear that an entire house party serving alcohol might be charged with running an unlicensed liquor establishment. A girl might want to think twice about just how bad her bad experience was before getting involved with getting an entire house of college students arrested for serving alcohol.

The other main difference between the first and third scenarios was that the first girl was raped by one acquaintance who had invited her to the party and who she seemed interested in as a potential boyfriend (that didn’t happen, he never called her again.) She was deemed at fault for not reporting the situation until six weeks later due to a female friend prompting her too as it seemed like she had been raped. While the girl in the third situation was raped by the whole household who, she found out later, had also taken pictures of themselves with the passed out victim and posted the images online.

We learned from the panel that each case is handled individually and what happens depends on what the Defendant and the Complainant describe. In the third scenario the girl was described as sexy and suggestive and the Prosecuting Attorney suggested that it is the responsibility of the girl to keep her clothes on or to not ever do anything that she wouldn’t want posted online in this day and age of cell phone recording and instant upload capability. He did suggest that cellphones are very traceable and that would likely be a way to apprehend some of the violators.  [The three scenarios were prepared by Alan McEvoy, Professor of Sociology, NMU, All Rights Reserved. The paraphrased title, “50 Shades of K(no)w” is not part of the Scenario handout, so he might not have been responsible for the title of the forum event.]

Note to females — password protect your cellphones before going to any parties and practice saying “no” as the drinks are being forced on you by “house party rules.” Females tend to have smaller body masses and can get drunk on fewer alcoholic beverages than males, on average. One serving is recommended as a moderate amount for drinkers of a legal age.

Note to males — always check the female’s real driver’s license or state issued I.D. for her birthdate before sharing a “bad experience” with her because it was made clear that if she is 17 or younger than you may be liable for the worse offense of abusing a minor.

Bad experience” is a term I read somewhere that was suggested as a better catch-all phrase for those date-rape type situations where it is hard to tell if “no” or “yes” had ever been asked or answered. I have found the phrase useful in coping with my own history of “bad experience,” as it is easy to feel at fault, especially as a survivor of child trauma. Children raised in domestic violence or otherwise dysfunctional households may have learned the core message that they are always at fault for everything bad that happens to the family or to other family members. Children who grew up experiencing sexual trauma frequently have trouble with normal adult relations and may either be overtly sexual without realizing or without the skills to control it (“sexy and suggestive“) or they may be less sexual than usual or have other difficulties understanding or handling normal adult relations.

It is a myth that rape is mostly a stranger danger problem. More typically females or young boys have bad experiences (sexual assault) with acquaintances, mentors, or family or extended family members. Note to self — go buy that can of Mace and carry it everywhere.

Since I didn’t get a handout with 50 ways to say no, for practice saying no, I’ll try writing one:

50 Shades of No

  1. No, I’m saving my increased risk for autoimmune disease for the DNA of the father of my children and the DNA of my future children — and I don’t know if your DNA is qualified to be the father of my future children yet. [For more info: microchimerism]
  2. No, I’m too drunk and you’re too drunk and I don’t want an unplanned pregnancy with a baby that has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. [For more info: risk of FAS and father’s alcohol use]
  3. No, I’m not on birth control and we don’t have a condom.
  4. “Ewwww, Gross.” No, no way. [Quote from the television show The Unusuals, a dark comedy/drama about an unusual team of NYPD police detectives (2009). ][]
  5. Not in this lifetime or any future reincarnations, buddy. In other words — No.
  6. Your joking, —- Right?  Ewwww Gross, no.
  7. No thanks, I have two hands and I know how to use them.
  8. No, that won’t be happening if the four pairs of tights that I have on have any staying power at all. [A counter-strategy used by female candidates in some African nations where raping the female candidate is a strategy used to discredit her chances in the election. Smart — very smart thinking. Reference, I think, was the book “Half the Sky.” Amazon]
  9. No, not even if the sky was falling or you were the last man on Earth.
  10. You mean, not good like one out of a hundred?” “I’d say more like one out of a million.” [Note – that line didn’t work for the female lead in the movie “Dumb and Dumber,” 1994, ] Some people need a very clear, “No, never, ever, ever.”
  11. No, no, a million times no.
  12. Do you see this wedding ring? It says “No” and I say “No.” [Note – some people may want to buy a cheap wedding band for wearing to some locations, to assist with this response. Note – there is no direct lie in the statement, as no direct claim is being made to actually being married. However there is definitely an implication, in wearing a ring on the ring finger of your left hand. So don’t try the tactic if you do hope to meet new people for potential relationships. Additional Note – some people may remove wedding rings at some locations — look for a lack of a tan in a ring shape on a person’s ring finger of their left hand.]
  13. No thanks, I believe in protecting myself from having bad experiences and this feels like the beginning of a bad experience.
  14. No, really, I was just leaving, really, really quickly.
  15. No, I have Mace and know how to use it.
  16. Thanks but no thanks. That means no, in case you are hard of understanding.
  17. No for today, but let’s try again another day when we are both not inebriated. That does still mean no for today, though. Just to be clear. But you seem nice. Thanks for asking.
  18. No, I’m saving myself for myself.
  19. No, I’m saving my purity for my future children and I don’t like condoms.
  20. No, I don’t do that with people I just met, even with a condom.
  21. No, really, as in not today, and probably not tomorrow either.
  22. No, not in a million years.
  23. No, not if you were the last man on Earth and I was the last woman on Earth.
  24. No, a thousand times no.
  25. No, I have a lawyer and know how to use her/him.
  26. No, I have a whole lot of STDs and I don’t like to share them with anyone. [Note – this might earn you a reputation that you don’t want. It may be best only for people who actually do have a whole lot of STDs and who don’t like to risk sharing them.]
  27. No, thanks, I have to go wash my hair — and everything else you may have touched.
  28. No, I don’t want a shoulder massage or anything else from you.
  29. No means no, and it will always mean no, not maybe, or yes if you just keep hassling me longer. That’s what this Mace is for. It likes saying “No” and making it stick. So, you have been warned. Quit hassling me RIGHT NOW.
  30. Yes, I did smile in your general direction, but that doesn’t mean that I instantly fell in love with you or ever want to have sex with you. So for clarity’s sake, that is a “No.” No, I didn’t smile in your general direction because I want to have sex with you. [For more info – research does suggest that guys can get the wrong idea about a woman’s interest level very easily:]
  31. No thanks, I have a headache just thinking about the idea of doing that with you.
  32. No thanks I have to go water my houseplants, like right this minute — they need me and I love them.
  33. No, I have a police whistle and know how to use it.
  34. No, and take warning: I have been trained in self protection maneuvers and would hate to have to break any of your body parts, but I will do what I have to do in order to protect myself from you violating the privacy of my body.
  35. No thanks, you seem like a really creepy and disgusting person, and I and my future children deserve better than that.
  36. Not a chance buddy. Yes, that does mean “No.”
  37. No, I’m saving myself for someone else; I’m not sure who, except that it’s not you.
  38. No, I would rather not participate in a meaningless encounter with you even though sexual release does have health benefits — use a sock like everyone else.
  39. To do or not to do?” Not, this is definitely a “Not” situation — and for clarity’s sake that means “No, I do not want to have sexual relations with you.” [Note – “to do or not to do” is a paraphrase of a line by William Shakespeare from the play “Hamlet,” “to be or not to be, that is the question.”,_or_not_to_be]
  40. No thanks, it sounds fun but let’s think about that a little later in our relationship.
  41. No, not today, let’s get to know each other a little better first. Thanks for being understanding about my desire to learn more about you before we get more intimate with each other.
  42. Whoa, what do you think your fumbling around down there is going to get you? A knuckle sandwich? And for clarity’s sake that means take your hands off me this instant or your knuckle sandwich is going to have a Mace dessert.
  43. Let’s slow down and enjoy getting to know each other before we start talking about sports terms, such as “getting to second base” or “hitting a home run,” — and just for clarity’s sake that means “No,” not today, but maybe another day, with appropriate contraceptive aids.
  44. Yes, you have heard correctly, I have enjoyed fooling around, in the past, but that was in the past. Now I’m saving myself for a more serious relationship, and I’m not sure how serious you are. So for clarity’s sake, that means “No,” not today and not until I get to know you better.
  45. No, I’m a little tipsy and you’re a little tipsy and we’ll have a much better time if we wait until we are in better shape and I also don’t like the idea of risking an unplanned pregnancy that might cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in the unexpected bundle of joy.
  46. No thanks, I really have to get home and feed my dogs, my big, protective dogs, like right now, this minute. Bye.
  47. No, do I have to get out the Dictionary? No means “No,” take your hands off me, or I may have to use that Dictionary in a way it was never meant to be used, and I would really feel bad about that.
  48. No, I need trust in a relationship and I don’t trust that this is a relationship. By the way, that means “No, I do not want to have sexual relations with you.”
  49. Yes, I did raise my middle finger at you, but that wasn’t an invitation, it was intended as a good-bye, as a “No thanks, not a chance, zilch, zip, Absolute Zero chance of that ever happening.” And for clarity’s sake that does mean “No, I do not want to have sexual relations with you.” [Note for more information on the absolute absence of heat:]
  50. No, I do not want to have sexual relations with you. [Note — it seemed to be the main point; and Clarity is a good thing. So it felt good to conclude by giving the phrase its very own line.]

And I will also repeat the national hotline for sexual assault type issues contact information: RAINN, Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, 1-(800) 656-4673, = (800) 656-HOPE,

/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./