Category Archives: Health Blog

Circadian Rhythms Part III—Tips for Circadian Health

Taking into consideration the information provided in Parts I and II of this series on circadian rhythms, here are a few tips to ensure that your body clock stays in sync.

  1. Try to go to sleep by 11:00 pm—earlier is better, if your schedules allows.
  • “Spending time in low light a few hours before bedtime will encourage your body to produce sleep-promoting melatonin.”¹  Any amount of time you spend in low light before bedtime will be helpful.
  1. Make your sleeping room as dark as possible.
  • Use room-darkening shades or curtains.
  • Turn off all lights, digital and electronic devices, including the TV.
  • If you feel you need light to go to sleep, reduce the light slowly over time until you can comfortably sleep in the dark.
  • In the morning take a walk outside (it doesn’t have to be long) or eat your breakfast by a sunny or well-lit window.
  • To the degree you are able—given your responsibilities to others—go to bed and get up at the same general time every day.
  • It is best to block out blue light in the evening.
  • If you need to use a laptop or smart phone in the evening get a program like f.lux (https://justgetflux.com).  This will help to eliminate the blue wavelengths coming from the screen.
  • Another solution is to wear amber sunglasses at night or put a red or amber light bulb in your bedside lamp.
  • Remember, morning sunlight is full of blue light, similar to the light that comes from digital devices.  When you text or play video games or work on a lap top or phone in the evening your brain’s master clock thinks the day is just beginning.  As a result your organ systems shift into morning tasks rather than evening ones.  This causes dysfunction in the body and ultimately disease.
  • Consider replacing the use of digital devices in the evening with new ways of relaxing.  You could pick up a good book (not on your tablet), journal with pen and paper, take a long candle-lit soak in the tub or listen to some soothing music.
  • Eat all your meals in a 9 – 12 hour span during the day.  Finish eating by 7:30 – 8:00 PM.  If weight loss is an issue, try to finish your main meal before 3:00 PM.  Studies have shown that this pattern works best for losing weight.  In this regard it is best to finish your last meal by 6:00 – 7:00 PM.
  • Exercising regularly is always important and during the day is best.  Aerobic exercise, if done in the evening can, “…disrupt sleep and other rhythm dependent aspects of health.”²
  • Optimal health is best achieved by keeping your bodily systems “in sync”.

 

If you would like further help in this area of health care please feel free to call our office at

773/262-7611.

References:

¹Out of Sync, by Emily Laber-Warren, “Scientific American Mind”, p. 35

²Ibid, p. 35

 

Circadian Rhythms Part II— When Your Internal Rhythms Are Out-of-Sync

At the end of the first blog about circadian rhythms we concluded that in order to be healthy it was necessary:

  • To get a good night’s sleep
  • Sleep in the dark
  • Be up during the day
  • Be on a regular eating schedule—no later than 8:00 PM

Now let’s look more in depth at what can occur as a result of a daily schedule that does not fit the above description.  John Hogenesch, a geneticist at the University of Pennsylvania said, “Disconnecting from daily rhythm strikes the body at the most basic level: the cell.”¹ He made an amazing discovery, “Nearly half of all gene activity is timing-related.”²  “This means the circadian clock could be influencing most, if not all, of our physiology and many of our behaviors,”³ Hogenesch said.  His team found that the organs in our body do not work at a steady pace.  They have certain tasks during the day and some at night.  They also have a type of “rush hour” at dawn and dusk.

For most people to have normal rhythms it would mean a change of habit patterns and this is not easy.  “But if more people understood the potential long-term benefits to their mood, sleep quality, cardiovascular health, weight loss goals and mental sharpness they might make the effort.”⁴, said neuroscientist Christopher S. Colwell of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Here are some of the actual conditions that have been proven by research to be caused in part by disrupted circadian rhythms:

Depression:

  • For years psychiatrists have made the connection that people with mood disorders, and especially depression, tend to have difficulty sleeping and other problems with their circadian rhythms.
  • “A recent analysis of 19 studies found that treating sleep apnea with CPAP devices significantly reduces symptoms of depression.” ⁵
  • Given all the research it is clear that lack of sleep, as well as interrupted sleep, is a significant cause of depression and other mood disorders.

Decreased alertness and difficulty with short-term memory:

  • The number of industrial accidents is highest between 2-4 AM.  At these hours of the morning experts say, “…people should not be doing anything that requires vigilance.”⁶
  • Studies show that emergency room doctors working the night shift have difficulty with short-term memory.
  • Research has shown that, “…the hippocampus, the part of the brain central to learning and memory, is highly sensitive to circadian disruption.”⁷
  • This information lends much credence to the old fashioned concept of going to bed at a reasonable hour, getting a good night’s sleep and having three balanced meals during the day.

The Heart:

  • Blood pressure decreases at night when we sleep in order to give the heart a rest.  This is a great reason to get to bed at a reasonable hour—how about 11 PM or earlier—and sleep 7 – 8 hours!

Alzheimer’s Disease:

  • According to research at the University of Rochester Medic al Center, in 2013, it was discovered that when a person has a good night’s sleep the space between brain cells increases.  This allows for a good flow of cerebrospinal fluid between the brain and the spine.  As a result waste products can be removed from the brain decreasing a person’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Pregnancy:

  • In April of 2015 scientists at the University of Warwick in England tested 70 women who had all suffered multiple miscarriages.  All these women also had disrupted circadian rhythms.  This work suggested, “…that a misalignment of daily rhythms in the womb hampers the ability of the fertilized egg to implant.”⁸

Weight Gain/Increased Appetite/Diabetes

  • Multiple studies at various universities  have shown that when people get only about 4 hours of sleep, or have interrupted sleep and have lights on:
  1. Body temperature, hormone production and blood pressure no longer followed regular patterns.
  2. The hormone leptin, that tells us when we have eaten enough, decreased.
  3. The hormone ghrelin, an appetite stimulating hormone, increased.
  4. The ability to clear glucose from the blood decreased.

In consideration of this information, we can see that reduced amounts of sleep and imbalanced circadian rhythms, even for short periods of time, can lead to weight gain—possibly obesity in the long run.  Also blood sugar problems, including diabetes, can occur.  These conclusions are supported by more than 50 studies.

After reading these two blogs you may be relating to some of the symptoms and wondering if your own circadian rhythms (body clock) are “out-of- sync”.  If so, I encourage you to consider putting some of the recommendations I’ve made into place in your life.   I’ll also be giving more ideas for improved circadian rhythms in “Tips for Circadian Health”, Part III of this series.  As always, I’d be happy to answer your specific questions and help you get started on the road to better health.  Feel free to call me at 773/262-7611.

 

References:

¹Out of Sync, by Emily Laber-Warren, “Scientific American Mind”, Sept/Oct 2015, p. 34

²Ibid, p. 34

³Ibid, p. 34

⁴Ibid, p. 39

Sleep on It, by Robert Stickgold, “Scientific American”, Oct 2015, p. 56

Out of Sync, p. 37

⁷Ibid, p. 37

⁸Ibid, p. 37

 

Circadian Rhythms Part I—How Your Inner Clock Controls Your Health

Our body’s natural rhythms and our health are being threatened by 24/7 lifestyles, digital devices, cell phones, I pads, lights on our computers and our eating schedules.  How widespread is this problem?  Here are a few facts that will shed light on this question.

  • “More than 27 million Americans—including nurses, firefighters, truck drivers and factory workers—have irregular work schedules” ¹ that may cause health problems due to their altered sleep/wake cycles.
  • Thousands of people regularly fly part way or all the way across the world.  The resultant jet lag causes the body’s clock to be totally out of order leading to fatigue, insomnia, digestive problems, headaches, dizziness as well as various other symptoms.
  • Many people in our world have banished darkness in their sleeping spaces.  They keep the TV, other digital devices and/or lights on in their bedrooms all night long.  In fact, many people cannot sleep or sleep well if it is dark where they sleep.
  • Because of 24/7 lifestyles, social or work schedules, or lights on in their sleeping spaces people are up at odd hours and tend to have irregular eating schedules.

 

How do all these changes in lifestyle affect our health?  And why would it matter when we sleep, whether we have light on 24/7 or when we eat?  These questions can be answered by defining and discussing the topic of circadian rhythms—our body’s normal daily rhythms.

 

The word circadian comes from the Latin for “about a day”.² Timing is critical when it comes to discussing the health of the body.  “Scientists have been investigating circadian rhythms for decades, but until recently they did not appreciate how critical these rhythms are to the regulation of nearly every body system.”³

 

How does it all work?  We function on many levels—anatomical, physiological, biochemical and electrical.  Circadian rhythms create the ebb and flow and the timing of these last three levels.  This accounts for many of the patterns we see in peoples’ bodies.  For example:

  • Fevers being higher at night
  • Teenagers being late risers
  • Late meals making it harder to sleep

All these patterns “are grounded in the daily planetary shift between light and darkness.”⁴

 

In our bodies it is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (which is in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus) that aligns our bodies with what is going on in the outside world.   It controls our daily rhythms and is called our master clock.

 

This nucleus is monitoring the light (or lack of light/darkness) that is around us.  For example, if it is dark, the hormone melatonin flows, causing restfulness and the bladder expands to hold more urine so you can sleep more soundly.  On the other hand if the nucleus encounters light around you it will send messages to the body to “start your day”.  This light can be from any source:

  • The sun
  • A light bulb
  • The TV
  • A computer screen
  • A cell phone, iPad or other digital devices (“Digital screens emit the same blue wavelengths found in the morning sunlight.”)⁵

 

These “start your day” messages can come at any time—1 AM, 2 AM or first thing in the morning.  The timing depends mainly on two major factors.

  • How much light you have around you
  • Whether you have a regular eating schedule during the day (When you eat in the middle of the night this starts the digestive processes that are designed to happen first thing in the morning).  Research shows that it is best to have approximately a 9 to 12-hour eating schedule—most importantly no later than 8:00 PM.

 

“The suprachiasmatic nucleus functions like an orchestra conductor, keeping time so that the individual rhythms of the heart, liver and other organs can coordinate”.⁶ When this clock is not working properly due to a biological defect (very uncommon), working, socializing or eating late into the night, our bodies no longer have a properly working conductor.  This means that the timing of our bodily functions is off—in other words the clock is NOT working.  It is our daily schedules that affect the clock most of the time.  Any illness or condition can occur when this happens.   

 

“For years, observational studies have shown that people who work nighttime or rotating shifts are susceptible to much higher rates of obesity and diabetes.”⁷ “Other studies have also shown that a lack of sleep can also cause both these conditions”.⁸

 

Actually any condition or illness can arise due to misaligned circadian rhythms.  Some examples are high blood pressure, learning and memory problems, immune dysfunction, heart problems or hormonal imbalances.

 

According to the literature, information about circadian rhythms is seen as old fashioned—your mother’s or your grandmother’s medicine.  Go to sleep at a reasonable hour, eat a good breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Do what you do well.  At the same time be good to yourself and do not push too hard.  Depending on how well you follow these timeless instructions, will have a great deal to do with how healthy you will be.

 

See Circadian Rhythms Part II—When Your Internal Rhythms are Out-of-Sync, for more fascinating details on this subject.

 

References:

 

¹ Out of Sync by Emily Laber-Warren, “Scientific American Mind”, Sept./Oct. 2015, p. 32

² Ibid, p. 33

³ Ibid, p. 33

⁴ Ibid, p. 33

⁵ Ibid, p. 33

⁶ Ibid, p. 35

⁷ Ibid, p. 36

Sleep on It by Robert Stickgold, “Scientific American”, Oct. 2015, p. 55

Biochemistry of Inflammation Part I

As part of our ongoing conversation regarding factors that impact our health, I want to spend some time addressing the biochemistry of inflammation.   The understanding of this process can help you in your quest for good health. Let me explain how it works.  Our bodies are composed of 50 trillion or more cells.  Every single hour approximately 1 billion cells die and another billion are made—a process that goes on 24/7.  When even a single cell dies it releases histamine, which in turn produces a microscopic amount of swelling.  Histamine and the swelling or inflammation it produces is normal and necessary.  On the biochemical level, this swelling signals white blood cells (your immune system) to be drawn into the area.   Why does this happen?

When cells die there’s a mess, and it needs to be cleaned up.  White blood cells are designed to do just that.  The swelling is their sign to move into the area.  They take into themselves foreign matter, not just viruses, bacteria and fungi but also dead cell debris.  The type of white blood cell that ingests foreign matter is the neutrophil.  After completing their task, the neutrophils die and more arrive to continue the process.  When these cells have finished their work another type of white blood cell—basophils—come into the area.  They release histaminase, an enzyme that stops the release of histamine.    

Now your body is ready to bring about repair in the area of the dead cells—a process initiated by a third type of white blood cell, the lymphocyte.  Since cells are constantly dying this process never ends.  The biochemistry of inflammation is an essential process that takes place continuously in our bodies.

What I’ve just described is the perfect scenario.  If the biochemistry of inflammation works 24/7, as described, we will be healthy.  It takes a strong immune system to reach this goal.  What can we do to help our bodies successfully complete the process?  Here are the key points:

  1. Move toward eating more whole foods while reducing refined and processed foods.
  2. Start taking whole food supplements based on your individual needs.  
  3. Drink plenty of pure water—half your body weight in ounces (e.g., 100# = 50 oz. of water)
  4. Get plenty of sleep—a minimum of 7-8 hours.
  5. Make exercise a regular part of your schedule—a minimum of 30 minutes/3 times a week.
  6. Think positive.

Be sure to check out Part II in this series.

Water: Is It Safe to Drink? Part II – Examining your choices

Water: Is It Safe to Drink? Part II – Examining your choices

Let’s take a few moments to review the sources of pure water and filtration systems that are available today.

Reverse Osmosis Water

Prior to 2016 reverse osmosis was a great water filtration system.  The problem with it now is the fact that there are many additional chemicals in the water.  For example, many areas of the country (i.e. West Virginia and Ohio):

  • Have increased the amount of chlorine added to the water
  • Have begun using chloramine (a combination of chlorine and ammonia)

R.O. units do not normally have sufficient pre-filtration with carbon to remove chloramines or high levels of chlorine and their by-products.  A large filtration tank on the main pipe is necessary to make it effective.   R.O. was able to remove sodium fluoride, but as of January 2016 there has not been enough research to determine whether R.O. can remove fluorosilicic acid (the new form of fluoride) which is now in the water supply of 70% of US cities.  

Carbon Filters (Carbon block or Carbon mesh)

I do not recommend this form of filtration as it can only take out low levels of chlorine and its by-products.  The carbon-block system can remove some lead and possibly other chemicals but it definitely cannot remove any form of fluoride.  Because of the excess chlorine and chloramines in various cities, the carbon filters are clogging up and therefore are not useful for any type of water purification.

Distilled Water

When water is distilled it is boiled, evaporated and the vapor is condensed.  As a result of this process the water no longer contains its naturally occurring minerals.  Because the minerals are missing the water becomes an active absorber.  For this reason it can be used—for short periods of time only—to help pull toxic substances out of the body.  Fasting with distilled water is dangerous because there will be a rapid loss of electrolytes (necessary minerals needed for proper health) such as sodium, potassium and chloride.  When you cook food in distilled water it pulls the minerals out of the food, reducing the level of nutrients normally contained in that food.  

Distilled water is also very acidic because:

  • It no longer contains any alkaline minerals.
  • It absorbs substances, including carbon dioxide (highly acidic) from the air.  The more acidic a person is—versus alkaline—the more chance they have of being ill.

Finally, the more minerals that are lacking from your water and food the more chance you have of developing osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and other degenerative diseases which are normally associated with premature aging.  Distilled water may be great when used in your steam iron or vaporizer, but when it comes to human consumption I highly recommend avoiding distilled water as it is very dangerous to your health!

Excerpts for this blog taken from “Why Drinking Distilled Water is Bad for Your Health and Well-Being”, WaterUse.org.

Spring Water

If you’re not ready to invest in an in-home filtration system it is important that you drink and cook with pure water.  Unless you have a well, bottled spring water would be your only choice. This type of water is distributed under many names.  Even though the label says “Spring Water” the contents may still contain contaminants.  Most bottlers provide contact information so take the time to talk with their customer service department and make sure it is truly pure spring water.  For those of you who live In the Chicago area Ice Mountain is a brand that can be trusted. They bottle water in 8oz, 16oz and gallon size containers.  Each of these comes in either spring or drinking water.  Make sure you choose only the spring water.  

In-Home Filtration Systems

The only in-home filtration systems I recommend for drinking and cooking water are sold by Clean Water Revival.  Dr Speiser (the company’s owner and developer) has designed the most up-to-date systems in our country.  He continually does research and creates systems that remove all the chemicals in our water—including newly identified contaminants.  He has recently trade marked a new heavy metal filtration system.  It uses a new filter media called MetalGon™ which takes out at least 95% of the fluorosilicic acid and other heavy metals.  His carbon filters are specifically designed to reduce high levels of chlorine and chloramine.  

You can call Dr Speiser for a consultation and he will check the water in your city and make recommendations to most effectively purify your specific water supply.  He may suggest a purifier that is ready for use or, if necessary, he can custom design a system for your family’s particular needs.  Check this company out on line (www.cwenviro.com) or feel free to personally call Dr Speiser (800/444-3563).  He welcomes your calls and is happy to answer your questions.   I highly recommend Dr Speiser and his company.  He is a man of great integrity.

Once you decide which pure water source works best for your lifestyle, plan on using it for both drinking and cooking.  Nothing takes the place of water in helping to cleanse your body on a day-to-day basis.  Work toward drinking half your body weight in ounces of water (100 pounds = 50 ounces of water).  Your body will thank you!

 

Why Restricted Calorie Diets Do Not Work

Why Restricted Calorie Diets Do Not Work

It is not uncommon to lose dramatic amounts of weight during the first days of a restricted calorie diet. Unfortunately, it is mostly water, protein and glycogen that are lost, but very little fat. Over the next several weeks or months on this type of diet it often becomes progressively harder to lose weight.

This happens because our bodies think a famine has arrived. Therefore they do everything to conserve energy and calories:

• Metabolism slows down.
• Fat is stored as much as possible in the event the famine continues.
• Energy levels are turned down to conserve energy, just as a thermostat is turned down in the winter.

Another reason it is difficult to lose weight eating fewer calories is binge eating. Why binges? Reduced calorie diets tend to result in low blood sugar—reducing the level of glucose in the brain. This becomes a real problem. All parts of our bodies, except the brain, can use proteins, fats or carbohydrates for energy. The brain can only use glucose and if it doesn’t have enough we will tend to feel light headed or dizzy. This creates a desperate call for blood sugar and usually results in a craving for sweets—a quart of ice cream or package of cookies!

If low calorie diets are not the answer what is? See my upcoming blogs in the next few weeks for the tips you’ve been looking for in regard to weight loss.

Water: Is it safe to drink?

Water:  Is It Safe to Drink? Part I – Identifying Commonly Found Contaminants

It is definitely hard to know how many toxins are in water supplies in the U.S.  “Research indicates that there are 500 or more toxic chemicals in the U.S. water supply at any given time.”¹  Chlorine, fluoride, aluminum, lead, mercury, arsenic, toluene, other heavy metals, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hundreds of other non-organic and organic contaminants flow freely every time you turn on your faucet.  Enough to quench a desert thirst!  These contaminants sound bad enough at first reading but let’s take a closer look.

Chlorine

What would happen if you were to spill common household bleach on your skin or on an article of clothing?  You’d experience a painful skin burn or watch a hole being burned through your favorite shirt.  And, in the same manner, chlorine burns the walls of your arteries every time you drink or cook with tap water.  Injured artery walls become sites where plaques can form.

As quoted in Coronaries, Cholesterol and Chlorine by Joseph M Price, MD, “….the cause of atherosclerosis and resulting heart attacks and strokes is none other than the ubiquitous chlorine in our drinking water!”

There is a growing consensus that the majority of human cancers are caused by chemical carcinogens in the environment and, hence, that they are ultimately preventable.  Several studies have demonstrated the presence of carcinogens in treated municipal drinking water.  Other studies have shown that carcinogens are introduced during chlorine treatment.  Chlorine’s implications in both heart disease and cancer should be enough to make us take a serious look at our water supply.

Fluoride

What about fluoride?  A most controversial subject.  Historically sodium fluoride has been added to water but recently it has been replaced by fluorosilicic acid in about 70% of US cities. Fluoride, in any form, is extremely toxic.  It is well documented that fluoride causes the body to age prematurely by interfering with the production of collagen (a very important protein found in the body).  Collagen normally works in the body to harden (or mineralize) teeth and bones and makes skin, ligaments, tendons and muscles pliable.  As the body ages it loses the ability to determine which tissues should be mineralized.  Fluoride promotes this process and accelerates its rate of progression.  Skin tends to wrinkle due to excess mineralization.  Ligaments, tendons, cartilage and muscles become calcified resulting in pain.  Joints tend to “lock up.”

Enzymes are responsible for making the body run smoothly on a chemical level.  Fluoride also interrupts their function.  For example, fluoride bonds with magnesium and calcium to form compounds the body cannot use.  But when properly bonded, these minerals help produce the enzyme cholinesterase (an enzyme that is essential to proper brain function).  Alzheimer’s disease may develop when this enzyme system is not functioning properly.  Fluoride is also believed to be responsible for weakening the immune system and contributing to some cancers.  It also has been implicated in certain birth defects due to its ability to damage genes or DNA.  Ready to check fluoride off your list of favorite things yet?  If not, read more in Fluoride the Aging Factor, by Dr John Yiamouyiannis (available at amazon.com).  He builds a very strong argument!

Aluminum

In his book Zinc and Other Micro-Nutrients, the late Carl Pfeiffer, PhD, MD presents a correlation between excessive blood levels of aluminum and Alzheimer’s disease.  Of pre-senile dementia (Alzheimer’s disease) he writes:  “….victims who die of this disease always demonstrate at autopsy, 1) neurofibrillary tangles, 2) neuronal degeneration, and 3) excess aluminum in the brain and cerebrospinal fluid.  The neurofibrillary tangles have been associated with aluminum poisoning.”  Indictment enough for me!

Other common toxins

Besides the main toxins we have discussed other common toxins in water include MTBE (a gasoline additive) and perchlorate (a chemical found in fertilizers). Perchlorate adversely affects brain development as well as thyroid function in children.

Heard enough to register cause for concern?  Are you willing to consider looking for a safer water supply for drinking and cooking?  I sincerely believe this is not a difficult change, but a critical one!  So what are the choices? See   Water: Is It Safe to Drink? Part II for a better understanding of the options that are available to you.

References:

  1. “Toxins in Tap Water are Wrecking Your Health”, by Dr. Roy Speiser on his website cwrenviro.com.

Vitamin E – It’s So Complex!

Vitamin E – It’s So Complex!

Most people have heard that vitamin E is very important. In supplement form it is normally sold as d-alpha tocopherol. The latter is only one part of the E complex. Alpha tocopherol is taken from soybean or cottonseed oil. Once separated from the whole complex it is very unstable and could break down and be unusable. To stabilize this product it is combined with an alcohol by a chemical process known as esterification. The newly stabilized substance is given the name d-alpha tocopherol and sold under the name vitamin E.

All food will ultimately break down. This is a normal part of the life of foods. It is not healthy to stabilize a food or change it in any way. There are actually many side effects that may occur from taking d-alpha tocopherol. A few are as follows:

• Decreased endurance during exercise
• Osteoporosis
• High blood pressure
• Severe fatigue
• Bleeding due to problems with blood coagulation
• Decrease in a woman’s ability to reproduce

Delta Tocopherol
Delta Tocopherol
Alpha Tocopherol
Alpha Tocopherol
Beta Tocopherol
Beta Tocopherol F1
Xanthine F2
Selenium E2
Lipositols E3
Lipositols F1
Xanthine F2
Selenium E2
Lipositols E3
Lipositols
Gamma Tocopherol
Gamma Tocopherol

See functional architecture of Vitamin E Complex, at left, to illustrate this point.

The best food sources of E complex are:
• Wheat germ oil (that has not been stearinated or had hexane added—which is very hard to find)
• Organic whole grains, organic raw seeds and nuts (especially almonds and brazil)
• Organic peas, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, avocado
• Organic whole eggs (especially the yolk), organic butter, organic liver

Naturally occurring E complex, which you find in all the above mentioned foods, includes an abundance of selenium. It is the trace mineral activator in the vitamin molecule. Accompanying this vitamin in foods, you will also find vitamins A, B, C and K as well as zinc and iron.

Vitamin E complex has many important functions:
• Increases exercise tolerance
• Restores normal heart rhythms
• Reduces edema
• Lowers blood pressure
• Prevents and improves atherosclerosis
• Helps to reduce angina pain
• Greatly helps neuromuscular disorders
• Helps women carry a child to full term
• Supports the immune system
• Reduces the risk of heart attacks
• Inhibits tumors (it is the selenium as part of the E complex that facilitates this action)
• Improves testicular health and sperm production

Vitamin E complex has a steroid hormone precursor. The latter helps the body produce estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisone and other adrenal hormones. As you can see by its many functions, vitamin E complex is a very important supplement to take regularly or include in your diet. Please call my office for an excellent vitamin E supplement. After much research, it is the only source I feel comfortable recommending.

References:
The Real Truth about Vitamins and Antioxidants, Judith A DeCava, MS, LNC, pgs 114-130

VITAMIN D – TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE?

VITAMIN D – TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE?

Vitamin D assists in many important functions in the body. Some of them include:
• Promoting bone growth
• Maintaining muscle tone
• Aiding cells to take in nutrients and remove waste
• Sustaining blood calcium levels for a healthy nervous system
• Maintaining calcium levels to prevent the tendency in children to spike a high fever

Because of vitamin D’s role in so many bodily functions it is important to make sure we have adequate levels in our blood. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for children and adults is between 200-400 IU daily. The actual requirement for vitamin D is smaller than you think: as little as 10 ugs (micrograms) gives you all you really need.¹

We get vitamin D from two sources: foods and exposure to the sun. The best food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, organic butter, organic raw-milk cheese and liver from a healthy animal and non-gmo or organic eggs. The amount of vitamin D in cows and chickens depends on their exposure to sunlight. Therefore, if you are relying on dairy foods and eggs for your vitamin D you will not get much, if any, in the winter. In the summer months, when the animals are exposed to more sun, these foods will be a more reliable source of vitamin D. In the winter cod liver oil is your best choice.²

Exposure to sunlight is actually the best source of vitamin D. With just arms and face exposed you would probably need 15-30 minutes daily in the warm months. If you are sunbathing with more skin exposed, 10 minutes may be adequate. As we age our ability to manufacture vitamin D from the sun decreases. Therefore we need to sunbathe for longer periods of time or take in more from food sources.
I want to assure you that sunlight is not harmful to you. Problems occur with excess exposure to sun only when you are deficient in various nutrients including: tyrosine (an amino acid), tyrosinase (organic copper—the trace mineral activator in vitamin C) and magnesium. All these nutrients can be found in the type of whole food diets and whole food supplements I recommend.

Because vitamin D is fat soluble it can be stored in your body for future needs. Vitamin A and vitamin D occur together in nature (in foods) and work together to produce the needed effects in your body. If you have difficulty absorbing fats (i.e. due to gallbladder problems or removal) you might easily develop a deficiency in vitamin D as well as vitamin A since they are both fat soluble. ³ The production of vitamin D is blocked by the following factors:

• Skin pigment: The darker the skin the less vitamin D will be produced
• Smog, fog, smoke
• Clothing
• Screens
• Windows
• Hats
• Sun screens

It’s important to understand the difference between natural and synthetic vitamin D because your body metabolizes them very differently. Excessive amounts of vitamin D from food will never accumulate in your body. It simply uses what it needs and excretes the rest. However, because synthetic vitamins are seen as foreign substances—not food—your body is not able to process them in the same way. It is not equipped to eliminate excessive amounts. Therefore, toxic levels develop resulting in serious side effects. Some symptoms of vitamin D toxicity include:

• Loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea
• Weakness, headache
• Calcium deposits in soft tissues
• Excessive urination
• Kidney damage
• Breakdown (oxidation) of fat in your body
• High blood pressure
• Absorption of lead, cadmium, strontium and nickel

Long term over consumption of high potency, synthetic vitamin D also contributes to atherosclerosis and blood clots. One of the ways this happens is by taking high doses of vitamin Dȝ or drinking pasteurized, homogenized milk that has been fortified with synthetic vitamin D. This synthetic form of vitamin D activates a substance in milk fat called xanthine oxidase (XO). When milk has not been homogenized the milk fat and the XO are broken down in the stomach and small intestine into smaller molecules which can be used or excreted from the body. When XO is not properly digested it causes damage to heart muscle, artery walls and myelin sheaths. This is what can lead to atherosclerosis, blood clots and multiple sclerosis.
Studies have shown that synthetic vitamin D levels in milk and other processed foods are very frequently much higher than the amount listed on the labels. For this reason toxicity can occur easily even without synthetic vitamin D supplements.

In conclusion, it is important to understand that your body recognizes the difference between natural and synthetic vitamin D! I invite you to call my office (773/262-7611) for recommendations regarding the best sources for you and your family.

References:
• The Real Truth about Vitamins and Antioxidants, Judith A DeCava, MS, LNC, pp. 102-111
• The Vitamins in Medicine, Bicknell and Prescott, Third Edition, p. 524
• Ibid p. 525

Vitamin C—New Facts to Consider

Vitamin C—New Facts to Consider

Ascorbic Acid
Bioflavonoid Complexes
Organic Copper
P,K,J Factors
Rutin
actors
Bioflavonoid Complexes
Organic Copper
P,K,J Factors
Rutin
actors
Functional architecture of the vitamin C molecule

Vitamin C is a very complex molecule. Try to imagine the above diagram in three dimensions. Think of an unpeeled potato. After I peel it, I hand you the peel saying, “Have some potato”. What would you say? “Thank you” or “You only gave me the peel. Where is the rest of the potato?” The peel is very important, but it is only one part. It protects the potato from turning brown or oxidizing. The ascorbic acid serves the same purpose for the vitamin C complex. It is the anti-oxidant covering protecting the inside of the molecule.

Vitamin C also contains bioflavonoid complexes, organic copper, P, K and J factors and rutin. Just as the unpeeled potato is a whole food, the vitamin C molecule is a whole complex. And yet you cannot go to the grocery and say, “I want a little sack of vitamin C molecules.” We need the whole vitamin C complex as it exists in whole food and herbs—not just ascorbic acid.

If you take 1500 mg or more of ascorbic acid daily, instead of the whole vitamin C complex, the following is just a partial list of what may begin to take place in your body:

• Adrenal hormones can be destroyed, making it harder to handle stress.
• Cells are more easily damaged leading to excess inflammation.
• Free radicals are not removed from the body as easily.
• Red blood cells are weakened, possibly leading to anemia.
• Myelin sheaths around nerves are not maintained properly.
• Vitamin B₁₂ can be destroyed.
• Vitamin A is not utilized properly.
• There is a greater possibility of developing kidney stones and diabetes.
• The most amazing fact is that you can develop scurvy—a vitamin C deficiency.

This can also happen if you do not get enough vitamin C in your diet.

I want to expand a little on two of these points:

The adrenal glands: Your body has two major systems to help you handle stress—the nervous system and the adrenal glands. They are inter-connected, as are all the systems in your body. We’re all familiar with how vitamin B supports the nervous system. Few of us understand that vitamin C is essential to the proper functioning of the adrenal glands.

Scurvy: Vitamin C complex knits cells together tightly. If we look at the many symptoms of vitamin C deficiency or scurvy we see that the tissues of the body are not bound together tightly. For example: bruising easily, stretch marks, nose bleeds, excess bleeding when hurt and varicose veins. Other symptoms of scurvy include:

• Weak adrenals, anxiety, depression, shortness of breath
• Hemorrhoids, nose bleeds
• Poor wound healing, bleeding gums
• Muscle cramps, swollen joints, aching bones

In order to avoid having scurvy or to heal from it, we need to eat foods high in vitamin C. Some of the best sources of the vitamin C complex include:

Spinach
Strawberries
Bell peppers (especially red)
Citrus
Parsley
Cantaloupe
Brussels sprouts
Pineapple
Beet greens
Collards
Kale
Cabbage
Broccoli
Raw onions
Raw or cooked potatoes

In addition to having three servings of the above foods daily, consider replacing your ascorbic acid supplement with a whole food vitamin C complex. Call my office today for more information.
References:

• The Real Truth About Vitamins and Antioxidants, Judith A DeCava, MS,LNC, pp. 183-202
• The Journal: Biochemical Nitty-Gritty, Richard P Murray, D.C., “Chemistry or Biochemistry”, December 1983