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In the lighter mood: Checking Vitamin D level



Vitamin D deficiency has become a pandemic with about 1 billion people all over the world having low levels of vitamin D. Although adequate levels of vitamin D can be produced by the body with regular exposure to sunlight, vitamin D insufficiency prevails in United States due to several other factors like dietary habits, increasing pollution and genetics.

The fact that vitamin D alone can influence about 3000 genes of our body (out of the total 24000 genes) clearly signifies its importance in our system. Extensive studies have explored the role of vitamin D in health problems.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to over a hundred health issues till now. Here are top health risks you might face due to low levels of vitamin D:

1. Brain damage: A recent study led by researchers at the University of Kentucky showed that low levels of vitamin D can cause damage to some proteins in the brain of rats.

The study also suggested that deficiency of vitamin D can affect the oxidative status of the brain, cognitive performance and memory power.

2. Cardiovascular Risk: A population-based study of 9,949 adults showed that vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with increased risk of fatal cardiovascular events.

The study considered adjustments for smoking, physical activity and other factors contributing to heart diseases and concluded that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases (CVD) by 62%.

3. Hypertension: Research based on a large scale observational data showed that people having low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (a form of vitamin D) had a higher risk of developing hypertension.
However, the correlation is not yet found.
4. Diabetes: The number of diabetic people is increasing day by day and most of them might be deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is required to balance sugar levels in the blood by regulating the secretion of insulin.

Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

5. Flu: Do you suffer from recurrent cold and respiratory infections? Instead of blaming the seasonal changes, check your vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D has an important role to play in activating the cells of your immune system which help to fight infections.

6. Anaemia: Anaemia occurs when your body does not have sufficient levels of red blood cells that carry oxygen to various parts of the body.

But the main underlying reason for anaemia might be vitamin D deficiency.

7. Weak bones: Vitamin D plays an important role in absorbing calcium from the food you eat in the intestine. Therefore indirectly vitamin D deficiency results in weak, soft and achy bones.

Lack of calcium deposition due to vitamin D deficiency also causes rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. It also affects the bone density in adults, which increases the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

8. Infertility: Daily morning walk under the sun can help you to boost your reproductive health.

After a detailed analysis of several studies, Austrian physicians found that vitamin D stimulates the production of the male hormone testosterone and female hormone progestrone.

9. Aging: As you age, your bone mass will gradually decline. But with low levels of vitamin D, your body will start ageing prematurely.

A study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine shows that vitamin D insufficiency causes early ageing of bone because of reduced bone mass.

10. Depression: Antidepressants is not the only solution for you prolonged sadness and depression. You could actually pep up your mood by restoring your vitamin D levels.

In a systematic review on women suffering from moderate and severe depression, an oral vitamin D therapy for 8-12 weeks significantly improved depression symptoms in participants.

11. Cancer: Low levels of vitamin D also makes it to the list of hundreds of things that are known to increase the risk of cancer.

There is abundant evidence supporting the role of vitamin D levels and reduced risk of colon, prostate and breast cancers. In fact, evidence also suggest that vitamin D can help in cancer treatment. A study carried out by scientists at Georgetown University Medical Center revealed that increased level of vitamin D reduced cancer growth by 75 percent.

12. Increasing Dental Cavities: With the lack of Vitamin D, people are more prone to the risk of Dental diseases, specially cavities.

A review of 24 controlled clinical trials encompassing 2,827 children found a 47% reduced risk of Dental cavities with vitamin D supplementation.

As per the current recommendations, daily intake of vitamin D should be 2000 IU. Although sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D, you can also obtain it through your diet. Natural form of vitamin D3 is present in dairy products like milk (100 IU in one 8 ounce glass), yogurt (80 IU) and egg yolks (one yolk offers 20 IU of vitamin D). But the dietary sources are seldom enough.

To start supplimentation a dose of vitamin D3 60000 IU with milk every week for 8 weeks followed by a similar dose monthly maybe enough to guard the deficiency.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005 to 2006 data were analyzed for vitamin D levels in adult participants (N = 4495). The overall prevalence rate of vitamin D deficiency was 41.6%, with the highest rate seen in blacks (82.1%), followed by Hispanics (69.2%).

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners



…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live



The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured



…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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