Posts

Vitamin D: What You Need to Know for Your Health

Florida sunshine vit D

Sun exposure for Vitamin D

Worldwide interest in the health protective benefits of Vitamin D has increased exponentially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. We now know that low Vitamin D levels are common among people of different ethnicities, geographic regions, and age groups. More importantly, low Vitamin D status has a strong association with serious, chronic health conditions including infectious disease. As this is emerging research, it’s easy to feel confused by conflicting scientific opinions. Here are answers to many ofthe key questions surrounding Vitamin D.

 

Is Vitamin D Good for More than Healthy Bones?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin essential to maintaining calcium balance to support bone health, muscle contraction, and cardiovascular function. Over the past 20 years, particularly during the last few years, low serum Vitamin D level (the level of Vitamin D circulating in blood) has been associated with many chronic health conditions, among them:

  • Ricketts
  • Bone loss leading to osteopenia or osteoporosis
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer, including breast, colon, and ovarian
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Hypertension
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Infectious disease, including respiratory tract viral infection and coronavirus

How do you test for Vitamin D Level?

Vitamin D sufficiency or deficiency is evaluated by the measurement of serum 25-hydroxyVitamin D (25-OH-D3). This is a simple, quick blood test a physician can order.

What is a ‘Normal’ Level for Vitamin D?

Optimal serum levels for Vitamin D are a matter of debate. Different medical organizations recommend different threshold levels. For example, the Institutes of Medicine report that people with less than 25 ng/mL are deficient and 50-75 ng/mL is sufficient. The Endocrine Society, on the other hand, agrees with the 25 ng/mL for deficiency but states that levels should be higher than 75 ng/mL. Most holistic practitioners strive for a circulating level > 50 ng/mL.

When you hear “low Vitamin D,” that can mean either severe deficiency – a value so low that a person can develop a disease like Ricketts or suffer from bone loss. But it can also mean insufficient, which are levels that are not necessarily as high as they need to be for optimal function but not low enough to develop a disease.

Who Is Low in Vitamin D and Why?

Since 2008, research interest in Vitamin D expanded from a focus on the implications of simple deficiency to looking at the role of Vitamin D in the prevention of health problems. Research has revealed important findings including a detailed picture of who is most lacking in Vitamin D:

  • Affects both the developing world and industrialized world.
  • Rates are higher among women than men.
  • 50 -70 % of the European adult population.
  • 20% or higher for non-Hispanic whites, and up to 70% for non-Hispanic Blacks.
  • Even in countries with plentiful sunlight year-round, levels can be below recommended levels. An example is India, a country with a prevalence rate of 50-94% Vitamin D deficiency. As of May 2021, India was experiencing a high rate of infection of COVID-19. The role of Vitamin D in these high rates of infection is an interesting research question.

Over the years, studies on Vitamin D have focused on deficiency, rather than optimal levels for optimal function. This has changed as the association between insufficient Vitamin D and chronic health conditions continues to appear in more varied and large-scale clinical studies.

Can Vitamin D Help Prevent Viral Infection?

The research is not conclusive nor final…but it is compelling. Scientists have seen in both human and animal studies that Vitamin D plays an important role in immune system regulation, including how the immune system mounts a defense against viruses that invade the body. Recent studies suggest that people who are low in Vitamin D have greater risk for, and worse outcomes from, respiratory infection. Vitamin D seems to up-regulate or kick into high gear the immune response around certain types of viruses. It also is being studied for its role in treatment of viral infections.

Can I Boost My Vitamin D Level, Naturally?

To boost Vitamin D level naturally, experts recommend a minimum of 15-minutes, up to 30-minutes, of daily sunlight exposure without applying sunscreen. Your skin produces more Vitamin D when you spend time in the sun during the middle of the day at the time the sun is at its highest point in the sky. While this type of sun exposure can elevate Vitamin D levels, it is not a permanent solution for maintaining an optimal level of Vitamin D throughout the year. Other factors such as weather, geography, elevation, and personal health concerns come into play.

Ultimately, the ideal level for you should be discussed with Dr. Myra Reed, who will identify your need based on health history and lifestyle factors. Together you can decide how much sun exposure to get and/or how much and what kind of Vitamin D supplementation is needed. Since Vitamin D can build up to toxic levels if you take too much, it is very important to follow your doctor’s guidance.

Vitamin D has garnered a great deal of attention during these past two years. As research continues and the science evolves, we will understand more about the role Vitamin D plays in the immune response and protecting us from serious illness.

,

Antibiotic Resistance

Take A Holistic Approach to Antibiotic Resistance

When it comes to our health, there are two schools of thought: the Germ Theory and the Terrain Theory. Understanding the differences is critical, particularly because it involves the use of antibiotics, which should be used sparingly and for the right reasons. So let’s examine this often confusing topic.
The Germ Theory asserts that, regardless of the state of our health, germs that can cause disease will, indeed, cause disease. That’s because the germ is responsible for our illness and not the overall state of our health. Traditional medical practice calls for identifying and destroying invading germs, including bacteria (but not by viruses including cold and flu) through the use of antibiotics. Unfortunately, antibiotics are often over-prescribed and germs are mutating to survive them.
On the other hand, the Terrain Theory, embraced by holistic practitioners from a wide range of medical fields, asserts that germs that can cause disease will do so when the body is more susceptible and that the more healthy we are (the terrain) the less likely we will become ill; if we do, we will become less ill. In other words, when the body’s internal environment is at its best, then immunity, metabolism, and detoxification are at their strongest. Consequently, the body is less susceptible to illness and has the best defense against “disease causing” germs. Antibiotics are used sparingly and primarily in life-threatening situations.
It’s important to understand that taking antibiotics does not contribute to building immunity; they are prescribed for treatment, not prevention, and there is the real threat of resistance.
Antibiotic Risks and Drug Resistant Disease
When prescribed judiciously by doctors and used properly by patients, antibiotics can save lives by destroying bacteria or stopping it from reproducing. Despite the wonders of this medicine, there are significant problems:
  • 20% of people experience side effects including gastrointestinal, kidney, and joint abnormalities after taking antibiotics. Risk for side effects and weight gain increase with each additional ten days of use.
  • About 10% of people are allergic to antibiotics.
  • In the U.S. more than two million illnesses per year are caused by resistance to antibiotics, resulting in 23,000 deaths when these drugs fail to work.
Antibiotic resistance (AR) means that the germ targeted by the medication has mounted defenses that render the drug ineffective even when taken properly. Situations and conditions that present the greatest risk for AR include:
  • Overuse of antibiotics
  • Not taking the medicine as prescribed
  • Long hospital stays
  • Not having the ability to meet essential nutritional needs
  • Improperly handling raw meat, consuming contaminated meat, crops, or water
  • Contact with infected individuals
Protect Your Internal Terrain from AR
Healthcare is faced with a dangerous rise in antibiotic resistance, making the more holistic “terrain approach” to battling germs vital to preserving health. Here’s what you can do:
  • Take a probiotic supplement, a quality multivitamin, follow a quarterly detox regimen, get adequate sleep, and eat a variety of whole foods
  • Choose organic foods (antibiotic-free meats, non-GMO grains)
  • Filter your water (drugs disposed of at landfills can get into groundwater supply)
  • Use herbal treatments like Viracid that indicate virus’ and boost support at the onset of symptoms.
  • Limit your intake of sugar and processed foods (these lower immune function)
The unfortunate truth is the “kill the germ” perspective is failing. We will reach a point where we do not have effective antibiotics. By bolstering the internal terrain, a healthy and vibrant person can mount the immune defenses necessary to protect their health.

Food & You: The Body-Mind Connection

Did You Know?
The human brain consumes the largest portion of the total energy that is generated in the human body – up to 20%!

Sept2016_Image_Feature_smiling girl at tableThere’s no doubt about it: what we eat, and how much we eat, has a direct impact on our physical health. But did you know that those same choices also influence mood, mental alertness, memory, and emotional wellbeing? Food can act as medicine, have a neutral effect, or it can be a poison to the body and mind.
When food acts as poison, it creates inflammation, which alters the body’s balance of nutrients, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This directly affects your body’s ability to manage and heal from stress or illness.

While some body-mind effects are due to naturally occurring nutrient content in food, much is due to hidden additives. Below, are four common culprits. If you’re experiencing symptoms that interfere with your quality of living, talk with Dr. Myra Reed and her staff about the role these or other foods may play in your health.

Foods that Impact Body-Mind Wellbeing

Caffeine: The most socially accepted psychoactive substance in the world, caffeine is used to boost alertness, enhance performance, and even treat apnea in premature infants. Caffeine is frequently added to other foods, so be mindful of total consumption. Too much caffeine (500-600 mg daily) interferes with sleep quality, which affects energy, concentration, and memory. Caffeine can aggravate other health conditions, cause digestive disturbances, and worsen menstrual symptoms and anxiety.

Food Dye: Those brightly colored, processed and packaged foods come with a rainbow of health risks. Listed on ingredient labels as “Blue 2,” or “Citrus Red,” food dye has been documented to contain cancer-causing agents (e.g., benzidine). They’re also associated with allergic reactions and hyperactivity in children. Dyes are sometimes used to enhance skin color of fruits and veggies. A number of dyes have been banned from use in foods and cosmetics around the world.

Sugars: Increased sugar consumption (as much as 30% over the last three decades for American adults), is linked to decreased intake of essential nutrients and associated with obesity, diabetes, inflammatory disease, joint pain and even schizophrenia. Too much dietary sugar can result in blood sugar fluctuations, causing mood swings, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and increased depression. Sugars that can act as poison include High Fructose Corn Syrup, table sugar, artificial and “natural” sweeteners.

MSG: Monosodium glutamate is a flavor enhancer common in packaged and prepared foods. Although the FDA considers MSG “generally safe,” some individuals experience a complex of physical and mental symptoms after eating MSG-containing foods. Symptoms vary but can include headache, sweating, nausea, chest pain, heart palpitations, and overstimulation of the central nervous system which can lead to alterations in sleep, mood, and immunity.

Becoming aware of your food choices, why you make them, and how you feel mentally and physically is an important first step in understanding your personal body-mind food connection. Dr. Reed and her staff may ask you to keep a mind-body food journal to provide a clear picture of how your food choices affect your health.

References

Healthy Chocolate Avocado Mousse Recipe

Vegan Avocado Chocolate Mousse

 

chocolate avocado mousse

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth without adding inches to your waistline? This rich, creamy avocado mousse is about as close as you’ll get to a truly healthy chocolate treat. Serves 1.

Ingredients
1 ripe avocado, skin and pit removed, mash slightly with a fork
3 1/2 Tbs unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder
3 1/2 Tbs RAW honey                                                          Unsweetened almond, coconut or hemp milk
Preparations
Place avocado and cocoa powder in food processor. Add honey.
Process avocado, cocoa powder and honey for approximately 1 min, pausing to scrape the sides, or until a thick, smooth mousse forms.
Add milk as needed to bring to desired consistency.
Spoon mousse into a small bowl; top with almonds or fresh fruit.

What saliva can tell us about your health

saliva_testingYou probably know the most common ways your doctor monitors the health of your body—checking your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature), and collecting blood, urine, and even tissue samples. These are all effective tools that can tell your healthcare team more about what’s happening inside your body, but there’s more. Read more