The Skinny on Vitamin D

What’s the deal on Vitamin D?   Should I check my levels?  Can I just get it from being in the sun daily?  How much is enough?  Where else can I get Vitamin D?

These are some common questions I get daily about vitamin D.  So here’s the skinny on Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D? Why do we need it?

Vitamin D is a a potent neuroregulatory steroidal hormone that influences nearly 3,000 of your 25,000genes.1 It  turns on and off genes that can exacerbate — or prevent — many diseases.  Our body will not work correctly if we do no get enough.  We now know that mild deficiency can cause a range of chronic disease including osteoporosis, heart disease, blood pressure issues, impaired immune functions, autoimmune diseases like diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and even cancers like breast, colon, lung, lymphoma and prostate.

Where do I get Vitamin D?

The major source is your skin.  When the surface of our skin is exposed to UVB light, it converts a chemical compound to Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol.  If we are indoors all the time, or only outdoors in the morning or evening, we don’t produce enough Vitamin D.  You can also get vitamin D from food(limited), and supplements.

How much sun exposure is enough?

It’s different based on where you are in relationship to the equator, and how dark is your skin.  A light skinned person will full body exposure will make 15,000IU Vitamin D in 15-20 minutes in July at noon.  Darker skinned person can take twice as long to get same effect.

Should I worry about Skin Cancer?

Sun screen blocks UVB light and prevents Vit D being made.  However, it should be safe with 15 minutes of sun exposure before you apply sunblock.

Why is Vitamin D particularly important in pregnancy and newborn?

Having enough vitamin D during pregnancy reduces the risk of premature birth, low birth weight babies, Cesarean sections, and various others of the many complications of pregnancy. It also helps the unborn infant program its own body so as to reduce the risk of a host of disorders that may not appear until many years after birth. 4000 IU/day was demonstrated to be safe in a randomized trial to help pregnant women achieve a serum level of approximately 40 ng/mL. (Reference: Hollis, Wagner, Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Nov 3) The American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommends that all babies, whether breastfed or bottle fed, need supplemental vitamin D of 400 to 800 IU/d during the first year of life.

Which form of Vitamin D should I take?

Vitamin D3(cholecalciferol) is the form that our bodies make naturally on exposure to the sun. Vitamin D2(ergocalciferol) is synthesized from plant product precursors. Vitamin D3 is recommended because it’s more potent than vitamin D2.

How much Vitamin D do I need?

A person need 4000 IU/day from all sources to maintain a normal Vitamin D level in the blood.  If you are not exposed to sunlight regularly during the day, take 2000-4000IU daily.

According to the Institute of Medicine, there’s no observable adverse event at 10,000IU/day.

How much should I take?

Average requirement is about 35 IU/pound of body weight (75 IU/kg) per day, from all sources. So if you weigh 150lb, that’s 5000 IU daily Vitamin D3.  The best approach is still checking your vitamin D levels .

What level should my vitamin D be?

Aim for 40ng/ml or above of 25 OH-Vitamin D. Studies have shown that levels over 40 ng/ml 25 OH-Vitamin D are associated with lower risk of cancer such as Breast Cancer, decrease pregnancy comorbidities, type 2 diabetes.2

In summary, Vitamin D is a useful chemical our body needs, and it’s worth it to ask your doctor to check your levels in your next appointment, or supplement if you are not often exposed to regular midday sunlight.

 

 

Reading Books Help Us Live Longer

Reading books is a popular way of relaxing and escaping stressful thoughts, as well as passing the time.  It is also found now correlated with living longer lives.

A study1 came from Yale University of Public Health recently showed that in 3600 men and women that they followed over the course of 12 years, adults who read books survived almost 2 years longer than the adults who did not read.  If they read more than 3.5 hours per week, they were 23% less likely to die over the 12 year follow-up, compare to those who do not, and 17% less likely to die if they read up to 3.5 hours per week.

So in the spirit of promoting this pleasurable tools for longevity,  I recommend a few great reads for you this week:

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza

Do you believe your thoughts can affect your physical being and your future? If you do, this book gives you examples, and research that proves how spirituality and science are so interconnected by combining the fields of quantum physics, neuroscience, brain chemistry, biology, and genetics.  Dr. Joe gives tools on how we can rewire our entire being and affect our emotions and physical being.  Fascinating read.  If  you liked “What the Bleep do we know”  then you’ll like this one.

 

 

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle gives us the tool to freedom and joy of a life lived “in the now.”  He then expands on how transcending our ego-based state of consciousness is not only essential to personal happiness, but also the key to ending conflict and suffering throughout the world. Great book if you are feeling loss in how to contribute in this messy state of the world at present.

 


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing  by Marie Condo

A detailed guide by Marie Condo in helping you learn how to determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), as a result help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home—and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.  It has changed how I view my day to day belongings, and bring practicing mindfulness and awareness to my immediate environment.  One of the most influential books for me.  Simple and beautiful.

 

 

 

  1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616303689 Read 3/8/2017

My Not-So-Secret Weapon to Rewire Our Chronic Stress Response

Every time I pick up to write, at first, I always imagined talking about the Adrenal-cortisol pathway, or Leaky gut syndrome,  like many of my peers, in order to educate my readers about these common themes that I see daily in my practice.  Instead, I want to go straight to offering you these effective, precious tools that were taught for thousands of years, and shared by my teacher Yogi Bhajan.  They are so simple in addressing the ultimate underlying root cause – our burnt out Nervous System, our Autonomic Response that are stuck in FLIGHT or FIGHT mode, and unable to trigger the RELAXATION response at will.

Kundalini Yoga sets are designed to reprogram our nervous system using breath, movements, sound currents and mental vibrations in short amounts of time.

This is the no.1 set I share with my patients who have fatigue and low mood.  Do it 1st thing in the morning, for 40 days, starting at the shortest time (1 minute each) and work up to full length.

A Yoga Set to Build and Stabilize your Energy – Surya Kriya

General Kundalini Yoga Rules:

  • Always tune into this practice with reciting the mantra “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” 3 times. A traditional practice for you to tune in deeply to the consciousness of this ancient practice.
  • If necessary, you can sit in Easy Pose (simple cross-legged position), instead of Rock Pose.  But feel free to use pillows and socks to prop and support your ankles and hip.
  • You can always cut down the times specified proportionately, but not make longer.  E.g.  3 mins  –> 1 min  (1/3)  or —> 1.5 min (1/2) for rest of the exercises.

1. Right Nostril Breath.

Come sitting up in easy pose with lower back tucked in, the chest high and the chin parallel to the
ground and slightly tucked in.  Raise the left hand and block off the left nostril with your thumb.  Take long slow deep breathing through your right nostril.  (3 minutes)

2. Sat Kriya.

Sit in Rock Pose.  or easy pose if need to.  Arms held up overhead with the upper arms hugging your ears.  Fingers clasped together with index fingers pointing straight up and palms touching.  Chant the word ‘Saat’ (sounds like Yacht) as you pull your Navel Point in and up.  Chant the word ‘Naam’ as you relax your Navel Point.  Let the breath regulate itself.  Eyes closed and focused at the center of your brows.  (3 minutes)

Then inhale with your nose, hold your breath, squeeze your pelvic muscles and navel point up. Then Relax.

3. Rest.

Remain in Rock Pose, or easy pose.  Rest with eyes closed and focused at Brow Point.  Breathe normally.  (1 minute)

4. Sat Kriya.

Repeat exercise 2 for 2 minutes.

5. Rest.

Remain in Rock Pose, or easy pose.  Rest with eyes closed and focused at Brow Point.  Breathe normally.  (1 minute)

6. Spinal Flex.

Hold your shins with your hands firmly.  Inhale through your nose as you lift your chest high, and tilt your pelvis forward.  Then, exhale through your nose as you collapse your chest down, and tilt your pelvis gently the opposite way.  Continue this fluid movement, and keep your chin level without bobbing it up and down. Like riding a horse.  (3 minutes)

7. Frog Pose.

  1. Come standing up slowly and place your feet close together with heels touching, and feet pointing out at an angle.  Squat down on tiptoes with fingertips touching the ground in between the legs. Knees apart, and heels remain touching.  Head is up.
  2. Inhale with nose, and straighten your legs, keep fingertips touching the group.  Bring the chin to the chest.
  3. Exhale and move to a. position again.
  4. Repeat 26 times.

8. Head Turns.

Come into Rock Pose.  Rest a moment.  Fold your hands on your lap and turn your head to the Left as you inhale with your nose slowly.  Then, turn your head to the Right and Exhale with your nose slowly.  Low Slow Deep Breathing.  (3 minutes)

9.  Side Bends.

Remain in Rock pose.  Bring your hands to your shoulders, and thumbs in back, fingers in front. Without twisting, inhale as you bend to the left and exhale as your bend to the right. Like a pendulum.  Slow Deep Breathing.

10. Slow Meditative Breath.

Sit now in Easy Pose.  Hands on your knees in Gyan Mudra – touching your thumb with index finger.Keep a firm concentration at your Brow Point.  Apply a light Root Lock, pulling your pelvic floor muscles and navel point muscles in and up. Begin Slow Deep Breathing. (6 minutes)

11. Deep Relaxation.

Come lying flat on your back, and your arms by the sides with palms facing up.  Your eyes gently closed, and breath soft and normal. (7 minutes)



 

Set taken from Master’s Touch Teacher training manual.

Better Mood, Naturally: Mindful Eating with the Brain in Mind

It’s all about Food As Medicine.

If you live in the East bay, check out this wonder group class on How Food can improve your Brain chemical run by a wonderful colleague who use Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in her groups.

http://www.centerforstressreduction.com/better-mood-class-oakland.html

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12 Tips to A Good Detox

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We live in an ever-increasingly toxic environment. Many of the toxins, also known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), are abundant in the environment today and did not exist 30 years ago. These new toxins include certain pesticides, herbicides, and industrial chemicals that can enter the body through food, water, and air supplies. These toxins can and often do become trapped in the body’s organs and tissues, which over time can negatively impact health, vitality, and overall wellness, and may contribute to the development of chronic illness.  We are also more frequently than the past taking regular medications, eating processed foods that has ingredients with chemical compounds that we can’t pronounce.  Therefore, a regular detox program is called for in our modern day lives.

A detoxification program should be simple to complete, effective in outcome, and without concern for safety. It should involve cutting out processed and inflammatory foods, and by supporting the body’s natural two-phase process of detoxification in your liver, which requires Vitamin B, C, E, glutathione, folic acids, amino acids, selenium and natural sulfur found in cruciferous vegetables like garlic, broccoli, then toxins can safely and effectively be cleansed from the body.  This is a simple kit I like to do at least once a year, since it has all the ingredients for boosting my liver detox.

Here are some tips that you can incorporate into your regular lifestyle to boost your Liver detox function.

1. Drink plenty of clean water, 8-10 glasses of filtered water a day.

2. Keep your bowels moving, at least once or twice a day. If you can’t get going, you may need some help. This can include taking two tablespoons of ground flax seeds, probiotics and extra magnesium citrate capsules.

3. Eat mostly organic produce and grass fed animal products, if possible.

4. Eat 8-10 servings of colorful fruits and vegetables daily, especially cruciferous vegetables  such as broccoli, collards, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts, as well as garlic and onions, which  increase sulfur in the body and help detoxification.

Make a DETOX SMOOTHIE daily with:

  • Beets (1 cup chopped)
  • Collards (1 cup chopped)
  • Carrot Juice 4 oz
  • Blackberry (1 cup chopped)
  • Pomegranate Juice 2oz
  • Green Tea for ECGC and anti-oxidants  (1 pinch)
  • Honey (1 tablespoon)
  • Water (1 cup)

5. Avoid stimulants, sedatives, and drugs such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.  Check out Dandiblend, a gluten free blend of roots of dandelion, chicory and beets, barley and rye as a great substitute for that coffee flavor in the morning.  Dandelion, chicory root are known to boost your liver detox pathways.Screen Shot 2017-01-25 at 10.44.42 AM

6. Walk or Exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week with a rotation of stretching, cardio and weight training.

7. Remove all refined carbohydrates: white sugar, flour, bread, pasta.

8. Sweat at least 3 times a week, using a sauna, steam or hot detox bath (1 cup epsom salt, 2 tbsp baking soda, lavender oil).

9. Eat regular small meals with snacks in between to avoid low blood sugar.  Eat a high quality protein shake (Metagenics Ultraclear) in between meals.

10. Schedule time to relax deeply every day so your body can rest and rejuvenate.

11. Start a mindfulness practice or meditate daily:  do deep breathing exercise for 5 minutes 1-2 times a day. You can try inhaling through your nose for 4 counts, holding for 7 counts and exhaling through your mouth or nose for 8 counts as a starter.

12. Journal for 15 minutes a day, write down any physical or emotional reactions that come up.  When we change what we put into our body, it shifts our metabolism, our energy level, our inflammatory response, and surely that will affect our mental and emotional state, bringing awareness to what shifts for you is as important as the physical changes that happen with a period of detox.

Understand Autoimmune Disease

Do you know someone in your life suffering with rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, celiac disease, thyroid disease, Hashimoto’s, dementia, and Alzheimer’s? Are you facing a disease yourself? 

The truth is we don’t know what Autoimmune disease truly is in conventional medicine.  But it’s a new era in medicine, and there are ways to turn around even the most difficult autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Tom O’Bryan, who has 30 years of clinical research, patient care in Functional Medicine invites you to begin a deeply personal journey with his powerful FREE 7-Part documentary series “Betrayal: The autoimmune disease solution they’re not telling you.” 
Watch it!  Share it!  Start a conversation!
 

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  • Episode 1– The Autoimmune Epidemic: Root Causes and Solutions
  • Episode 2– Intestinal Permeability: The Gateway to Autoimmunity
  • Episode 3– The Microbiome: Where Health and Disease Begin and End
  • Episode 4– Autoimmune Diseases of the Gut: The Role of Food and Digestion
  • Episode 5– Environmental Toxins: The Hidden Drivers of Disease
  • Episode 6– Autoimmune Diseases of the Brain: A New Approach to Neurology
  • Episode 7– Case Studies: Bringing it All Together

Can we make disease disappear?

I’ve found this to be TRUE many times in patients who use Functional Medicine to address the root causes of their illness.  

Watch how Dr. Rangan Chatterjee on TEDx Liverpool talk about How to Make Disease Disappear. His talk is testament to how our thinking around the concept of disease needs to change to help form a map for future healthcare.  We are  talking about diabetes, hypothyroid, asthma, anxiety disorder, clinical depression…

This will be FIRST of a series of videos that I will be sharing over the next month about some strong information on how to really reframe the way we think about chronic, illness, autoimmune disease, heart disease.

Meditation for Balancing Nervous Energies

This meditation teaches you to become aware of your breath.

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When you are paying attention to your breath and practicing control of your breath, whether you are holding it in, or holding it out, you bring your nervous system into balance.  When you have control over your breath, you have control over your emotions, hair trigger reactions, addictions and apprehensions.  

Practice this every day for 3 minutes.  Build it up to 5. Do it first thing when you wake up, or right before you go to bed, or both.  Try doing it for 40 days, and see what effects you feel.

Posture:   Sit in a chair with a straight spine and both feet touching the ground, or sit in easy pose, a simple cross-legged position on the floor.  Place the palm of your right hand against the back of the left hand.  Press the thumb tips together.

Raise your hands up until they are a few inches in front of the heart. Hold the hands, forearms and elbows in a horizontal line, parallel to the ground.

Eye focus: The eyes are nine-tenths closed.

Breath: Inhale deeply through the nose. Calmly, hold the breath IN for 15-20 seconds.

Exhale deeply through the nose. Then calmly, hold the breath OUT for 15-20 seconds. Concentrate on the breath.

Time: Continue for 3 minutes.  
This meditation “Balancing the Nervous Energies” is taken from from The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan.  For more information about Yogi Bhajan and his teachings, check out www.3HO.org.