How to Make Sure You’re Getting Enough of The Protective Power of Vitamin D 3
By Kristin Grayce McGary LAc., MAc., CFMP®, CSTcert, CLP
My family and I lived in a suburb of Chicago when I was a child. The weather was often overcast and gloomy. When it was sunny, my parents applied sunscreen. Unfortunately, when I was 10 years old I fell off a jungle gym and fractured my right arm. It wasn’t a big fall, I shouldn’t really have broken any bones, but looking back I suspect my vitamin D levels weren’t optimal.
Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. It is produced in your skin in response to sunlight and is a vital organic compound supporting the absorption of calcium and protecting bone strength, supporting immune function, and regulating mood. Deficiencies in Vitamin D can lead to weakened bones, autoimmunity and conditions like osteoporosis, and mental illness such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, more commonly known as SAD.
Vitamin D-eficiency can also lead to:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease including heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Cancers of colon, prostate, ovaries, esophagus, and lymphatic system.
- Muscle and bone pain
- Broken bones
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hoshimotos Thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are two forms of Vitamin D; ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Of the two, Vitamin D3 is the preferred form for human consumption.
Vitamin D3 is Good for Your Brain
D3 helps regulate the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, which is the essential neurotransmitter affecting a variety of cognitive functions including mood, decision-making, social behavior, impulsive behavior, and social decision-making. Many psychological disorders associated with brain chemistry and function, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, show low brain serotonin. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is positively impacted by combining light therapy with Vitamin D 3.
So how can you help your body get the right amount of protective Vitamin D?
While sun exposure is helpful, it is often not enough. It is worth considering a daily dose of a good quality Vitamin D3 supplement. Obviously, dosing Vitamin D3 depends on your weight and current Vitamin D3 status. The first order of business would be to get tested and look at the data. Generally, children need less than adults.
In my experience, most doctors order 25 dihydroxyvitamin D test but this is the inactive form and may not give you all the information. I suggest also getting your Calcitriol 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D blood levels checked and if required ask your doctor or holistic health care provider to recommend an appropriate dose of Vitamin D3 for supplementation.
A healthy vitamin D blood level is about 45-75 ng/ml, depending on an individual’s unique biological needs. The Vitamin D Counsel recommends an average of 50 ng/ml. As part of my practice, I’ve learned to individualize things, some people do better with vitamin D levels that are 75ng/ml, and others lower. People with known autoimmunity, autoimmune disease, immune dysfunction or those living in northern states should have their levels tested regularly.
In order to work optimally, it is worth supporting Vitamin D3 supplementation with other important mineral co-factors that help the body to utilize D3 properly. In addition to the D3 supplementation I also suggest adding magnesium, boron and zinc. Here’s why:
Magnesium is necessary for your body to make energy from the food you eat. It helps to control blood pressure, blood sugar levels and it keeps your heart beating regularly.
The Vitamin D Council believes that the daily amounts of magnesium recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board aren’t enough to keep your body healthy and supplementation is recommended. Some research studies show that your body needs between 500 and 700 mg a day.
Zinc is a mineral mainly found in the muscles and bones. It helps the body perform many vital functions such as fighting infection, healing wounds, making new cells, facilitating the use of carbohydrates, fat and proteins in food, promoting strong growth and development especially in babies and young children through adolescence and helping with taste and smell.
Zinc isn’t stored long-term in the body so it’s vital to eat foods that contain it or to supplement. Zinc helps vitamin D work in cells as well as strengthening bones. Oysters have a high concentration of zinc.
(*If you are taking any medications that are intended to suppress your immune system consult your doctor before taking zinc.)
Boron is a trace mineral needed in small amounts by the body. Fruits, leafy vegetables and nuts contain boron. It works with vitamin D to help bones use the minerals they need such as calcium.
To reiterate, vitamin D3 plays a central role in a healthy mind and body which is why a balanced diet and supplementation is vital.
There are a few on the market that have a very healthy carrier oil called Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) or olive oil. Look for this in your supplement. Avoid products that contain soy, cotton seed, canola, and safflower oil.
Some doctors believe an adult dose of 2000 IU/day is adequate, others promote 5000 IU/day, some individuals may temporarily need as much as 10,000 for a short period of time to help boost their levels.
About the author:
Kristin Grayce McGary LAc., MAc., CFMP®, CSTcert, CLP is a highly sought-after health and lifestyle alchemist. She is renowned for reversing annoying and debilitating health conditions and helping people to live with clarity and vitality. Kristin Grayce is also a speaker and author of Ketogenic Cure; Heal Your Gut, Heal Your Life. www.KristinMcGary.com
The holidays are fast approaching, and if you’re not careful, they could toss you into a relentless cycle of depletion. In addition to the daily challenges of work, family, and taking care of yourself, now you’ve also got to worry about holiday parties and events, and finding the perfect gift for everyone on your shopping list. Just thinking about the hustle and bustle in coming weeks saps your energy and stamina. Even though you should be enjoying yourself, you may instead be worrying: If I keep up this pace, I’ll surely get sick…really sick.
The worst part is, you’re right. Struggling through the hectic pace of the holidays can leave you exhausted and depleted, and could even set you up for illness. But Dr. Stephen Sinatra and spiritual counselor Tommy Rosa say there is a way to keep your body and spirit in balance from the holidays straight through the new year: Nurture your Vital Force.
“We are all born with an inner core energy called Vital Force that, when strong, leads to healing, good health, and overall well-being,” says Dr. Sinatra, coauthor of Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near Death Experience (Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99). “But if you don’t nurture this energy, it can’t sustain you. Many aspects of modern life destroy or weaken your Vital Force, and that’s when you get sick. This is especially true during the holidays, when everyone is already stressed out, experiencing a host of mixed emotions, and overscheduled.”
What exactly is Vital Force? Well, it’s called chi by the Chinese, ki by the Japanese, prana by Hindus, and breath of God by Hebrews and Christians. But when scientific types talk about Vital Force, they tend to focus on the mitochondria that produce it, explains Dr. Sinatra. Mitochondria are tiny cucumber-shaped power plants in cells that produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the energy of life. Our body must make ATP continuously or else we perish. But we store enough for only 8-10 heart beats.
Thousands of studies have now been published on the link between abnormal mitochondrial dynamics and their involvement in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune conditions, cancer, heart disease, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, and even aging itself. More than 50 million people in the United States are said to be affected by conditions involved in mitochondria dysfunction.
Here’s where things get interesting: Dr. Sinatra’s coauthor, Mr. Rosa, learned about Vital Force during a life-altering near-death experience (NDE) following a terrible accident. During his stay in Heaven, eight revelations of good health were imprinted onto his psyche. These revelations dovetailed with the knowledge that Dr. Sinatra had already gained through his studies of scientifically and medically validated clinical research, as well as his own experiences as a cardiologist. Upon meeting Mr. Rosa at a lecture in 2010, the two friends began working together to uncover the science- and medical-inspired insights on Mr. Rosa’s spiritual lessons.
“Every living thing is imbued with Vital Force at conception,” says Dr. Sinatra. “It can also be called Life Force, General Vitality, or simply vibration. A person’s Vital Force or vibration increases or decreases throughout that person’s life based on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual choices that are made each day. The better the choices, the higher the vibration or Vital Force and the stronger and healthier you become.”
Our Vital Force—AKA mitochondria—can be depleted by many things in our environment, like viruses, bacteria, heavy metals, fungi, parasites, and molds—as well as toxins caused by negative emotions from within, notes Dr. Sinatra. These factors can lower our vibration and make us sick. But when mitochondria and ATP are supported, not only can organs, particularly the heart, be repaired, but they can also be rejuvenated.
Dr. Sinatra says that just because you’re busy (and likely exhausted) during the holidays, you don’t have to become so depleted that you need the whole month of January to recover. Keep reading for four tips to help you nourish your mitochondria and bring your Vital Force back to its full power during the holidays, when you need it the most.
Minimize exposure to dangerous toxins. Though it is impossible to totally avoid Dr. Sinatra’s list of the most toxic substances you’re likely to be exposed to in daily life—which range from pesticides to heavy metals to prescription drugs—you and your loved ones should try to avoid or minimize exposure to them as often as possible.
- Alcohol. You’ll likely be attending one or more parties during the holiday season, but Dr. Sinatra advises capping your boozy beverages at the recommended intake. You don’t want to have too much fun at the expense of your health. Moderate intake of alcohol—one drink daily for women, two for men—may have therapeutic value, but drinking more than that is asking for trouble. Liver destruction, nutritional deficiencies, and premature aging are among the many consequences of heavy drinking.
- Indoor and outdoor pollution. Air pollution does damage to cells and organs over time. And believe it or not, those deliciously scented seasonal candles, air freshener sprays, and wall plug-ins are actually filling your air with harmful substances and should be avoided. If you want to fill your home with a holiday scent, try diffusing essential oils like cinnamon, pine, or peppermint instead. Further, use an air purifier indoors to reduce dust and other particulate matter. Install a water-filter system to purify your water—the body’s most needed beverage. And avoid walking, jogging, or biking in the city during rush hour to avoid outdoor pollution.
- Cigarette smoke. Lung cancer aside, smoking is the most destructive habit for the heart and nearly every other organ in the body. Each puff carries a toxic payload of chemicals and carcinogens. If you smoke, you need to stop now. Maybe you’re already planning to quit in the new year, but why not go ahead and stop this dangerous habit now? Seek help through your physician or a credible smoking-cessation program. Further, avoid celebrations where there will be smoking indoors. And if you quit the habit long ago, beware of backsliding. There’s nothing like a party atmosphere to tempt you to take a celebratory puff for old times’ sake.
- Personal care products. Although personal care products may seem like great stocking stuffers, they can also harbor dangerous chemicals. Most deodorants, for instance, contain aluminum, which is known to cause DNA alterations, and may, over time, lead to breast cancer. Antibacterial soap contains triclocarban and triclosan, which have been found to disrupt reproductive hormone activity and interfere with cell signaling activities, including in the brain and heart. Whenever possible, use (and gift) natural products, and use them minimally, because what goes on the skin goes into the skin…and into the body.
- Phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA). These common compounds, used in plastics and found in products ranging from toys, cosmetics, soaps, lotions, food packaging, and water bottles are dangerous to all. As you shop for holiday presents, steer clear of plastic containers and plastic products whenever you can.
Support your Vital Force through rhythmic deep breathing. Deep and rhythmic breathing helps the respiratory system remove the toxins that deplete your Vital Force. In addition to disposing of carbon dioxide, the respiratory system includes several protective mechanisms to prevent infiltration of toxins from the air we breathe. By the way, deep rhythmic breathing is also a great way to diminish stress and tension when you’re standing in a long checkout line, while cooking a festive dinner, or when you’re untangling an enormous ball of holiday lights. Be aware of these stress triggers, and use your breathing to calm yourself down. Dr. Sinatra recommends you practice this exercise at least five minutes every day:
- Sit erect (but not stiff) in a straight chair with a pillow placed between your shoulder blades. Remove your shoes. Place your feet firmly on the floor or, weather permitting, barefoot on the earth outside.
- Gently open your mouth. Let your jaw hang softly.
- Breathe in and out through your nose, with your awareness on each inhalation and exhalation.
- Place your hands over your navel and, with your eyes closed, feel your abdomen rise under your hands.
- When your breathing is calm and slowed down, your Vital Force is nurtured.
Use a sauna to sweat out toxins and rejuvenate your body. Sweating in a sauna is an excellent way to detoxify the body. It helps you eliminate heavy metals, toxins, petrochemicals, insecticides, and pesticides that reside in our subcutaneous fat. While they are pricey, a home sauna offers your family the gift of detoxification and improved health. If buying a home sauna isn’t a realistic option for you, you can always give gift certificates for sauna sessions to your loved ones.
“Several of my patients strongly believe that they ‘cured’ themselves by sweating out such toxins in infrared and Swedish sauna,” says Dr. Sinatra. “Another great way to sweat out toxins is through regular exercise, which also promotes detoxification.”
Raise your vibration through positive thoughts. Along with the other self-healing powers of your body, your thoughts and actions can either raise or lower your vibration, affecting your Vital Force. Negative emotions like fear, lack of faith, anger, jealousy, greed, ego, self-pity, and negative thinking lower your vibration and make you vulnerable to illness. Incidentally, you may find yourself grappling with some of these negative emotions more than normal around the holidays—many people find them difficult as they bring up complicated feelings. Luckily, you can choose to avoid behaviors, circumstances, and thoughts that lower your vibration and can embrace others that raise it. Practice raising your energetic vibration through positive thoughts throughout the holidays to enhance your Vital Force. If you need help getting started, try focusing on some of the themes of the season at hand: gratitude, generosity, giving, receiving, and forgiveness.
“Because your Vital Force is so crucial in maintaining the life—and the aliveness—in your body, you need to be committed to nurturing it back to its fullest potential, especially during times of busyness and stress, like the holiday season,” concludes Dr. Sinatra. “It’s an ongoing job that will continue to pay off for you. When the Vital Force is strong, you become the healthiest, happiest version of yourself, because you are supported and well, all the way down to the cellular level, where true healing occurs.”
About the Authors:
Dr. Stephen Sinatra and Tommy Rosa are coauthors of Health Revelations from Heaven.
Stephen T. Sinatra, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist and psychotherapist with 40 years of clinical experience treating heart disease. He is the host of HeartMDInstitute.com and the creator of Vervana Marketplace (vervana.com), which offers wholesome, high-quality products from all over the world. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL.
Tommy Rosa is a spiritual counselor who helps people conquer their fear of death. He is also the founder of the Unicorn Foundation in Stuart, Florida, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to educational endeavors and community outreach projects. He lives in Stuart, FL.
About the Book:
Health Revelations from Heaven: 8 Divine Teachings from a Near Death Experience (Rodale Books, 2017, ISBN: 978-1-635-65066-2, $14.99) is available from major online booksellers. For more information, please visit www.healthrevelationsbook.com.
by Joshua Butcher
We can overdose in many ways, including food and alcohol. A binge-drinking session doesn’t necessarily mean somebody is an addict or alcoholic (although sometimes it can be a sign). Most people who drink alcohol have over-indulged a few times in their life. Over-eating also doesn’t mean someone has an eating disorder such as Binge Eating Disorder (BED) or Night Eating Syndrome (NES) (though, again, it can be a sign). Most people have had a few too many second helpings at some point in their life, especially around the holidays or special occasions.
The terms “food coma” and even hangover really just mean that the body is overloaded and needs to detox. How can we do this for immediate relief, to help repair our body, especially when the last thing we want to do is anything beyond curling up in bed? Detoxing the body will require a little action, but the relief that comes with it is well worth it.
Here are a few natural and safe ways to detox when you’ve enjoyed yourself a little too much:
1. Drink water (but not too much). Technically, it’s possible to “dry drown” when you consume way too much water, but that’s pretty tough to do when you’re just responding to your body’s natural demands. A general rule on a daily basis is to consume water (in ounces) at half your weight (in pounds). For example, a 150-pound person should aim for about 75 ounces of water per day. However, when you need to detox, you may need a little more.
2. Try green tea. Water doesn’t need to solely come out of the tap. It can also be found in foods and healthy beverages. Green tea is a natural detoxifying option, and it has the added benefits of being soothing. Hot water can help encourage digestion for over-eating and may come with a myriad of additional perks such as fighting off arthritis.
3. Try for a little cardio. It might not sound like the most appealing thing to do when you’re hungover or in a food coma, but raising the heart rate naturally helps with digestion. Do so outdoors if possible, such as a brisk stroll around the neighborhood, and get the added benefits of fresh air. Sometimes moving and getting outdoors is enough to break through a food coma.
4. Keep an eye on your bathroom activities and act accordingly. The color of your urine, as well as the quality of your stools, will tell you a lot about what your body needs. Urine should ideally be clear. If it’s bright yellow that’s a sign that you need to drink more water. If you’re constipated or have diarrhea, it’s your body’s reaction to over-indulging in foods that you’re not used to, and you may need to take action—for instance, coffee is a natural means of helping with constipation.
5. Snack on antioxidant-rich foods. Antioxidants stop or prevent cell damage, and are an important part of healing. If you’ve overeaten, many antioxidants are snack-able and won’t make you feel woozy or even more full. For example, there are blueberries, goji berries, pecans, dark chocolate, cranberries, and kidney beans.
6. Take a hot shower. Not only will a hot shower soothe your body, but it also opens up your sinuses. This is especially helpful if your hangover or overeating episode has led to sore muscles. Bathing is a natural healer, but when used as a recovery tool feel free to linger a little longer. Soothing aromatherapy, such as using lavender-scented soap, can help, too.
Although it’s common to say, “I’m never doing this again!” that’s probably not the case. Keep these tricks in mind the next time you need to detox and make sure you have all the necessary tools on hand if you see a night of debauchery coming up.
About the author:
Joshua is an ex-addict and founder of the Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge.
by Josh Mitteldorf, Ph.D., and Dorion Sagan
(Flatiron Books, Paperback, June 13, 2017)
Everything we think we know about aging is wrong.
According to a popular theory of the 1970s and 80s, aging was supposedly caused by an accumulation of oxidation. Our energy metabolism produces a kind of toxic waste called ROS, reactive oxygen species, which attacks delicate biomolecules. The solution to this problem was supposed to be antioxidant vitamins. In Finland, a huge clinical trial was arranged, with 30,000 participants taking anti-oxidant vitamins to see if it would stave off cancer and heart disease. After just four years, the trial was called off for ethical reasons when early results showed that people taking the antioxidants were more likely to get sick and more likely to die than those on placebo!
Paraquat is a poison which is sprayed onto weeds, burning them on contact. It is the opposite of an anti-oxidant, a powerful pro-oxidant. When worms are fed a small amount of paraquat, they actually live half again as long as worms without paraquat!
These were unexpected results. We used to think that aging was a kind of deterioration, an accumulation of damage. How can we make sense of the fact that adding to the damage – pouring gasoline on the fire – can actually make a positive contribution to life and health?
The first step in understanding is to give the phenomenon a name. When harming an animal leads to overcompensation, greater health, and longer life, it’s called hormesis.
What the heck is hormesis?
No wonder we’re confused! The scientists we count on for information are in the midst of a sea change, so they are giving us mixed messages about what aging is, why it happens, where it comes from.
25 years ago, the first reports came in that lifespan could be dramatically extended by simple interventions. Life was extended by reducing the animals’ rations. Restricting food to the brink of starvation, scientists were able to make mice live half again as long. In other labs, genetic scientists produced a worm that lived twice as long just by crippling a single gene. Elsewhere, dogs were tested for the adverse long-term effects of low-dose poisons, and the researchers were surprised to discover that the poisoned dogs actually lived longer!
Of course, you can harm an animal to the point that it dies. But small amounts of harm sometimes have a paradoxical effect – the animal lives longer!
Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.”
Science of Aging – a Revolution in Slow Motion
New experimental results like these are pouring in at an accelerating rate. Aging is easily modulated, and often it is not by helping the animal but by harming it. The message is right before our eyes, written in neon lights: The body is not trying to live as long as it possibly can. The body is dying early just when life is easy and all is going well. The body is holding some longevity in reserve to extend lifespan during hardship, perhaps to compensate for all those other individuals who are dying of starvation.
This is a new reality and it is in stark contrast to the way scientists have been accustomed to thinking. Scientists are rational, and they will adapt their theories to a new experimental reality. But scientists are also human. They are attached to their old theories and attached to the funding that comes with being in the mainstream of scientific thought. The truth is that most scientists have been dragging their feet, trying to understand these radically new results within their old, familiar theories. In truth, these experiments fundamentally contradict the old theories, but most scientists are still trying to bend and twist the old theories to accommodate these experiments.
Most upset are the evolutionary scientists. The foundation of their thinking is “survival of the fittest”. But aging is the opposite of fitness. Programmed death is the opposite of survival. Experiments are telling us that there are genes for aging, and not only that, these genes are very old. We share some of the same aging genes with the worms! That means that half a billion years of evolution has preserved the genes that destroy our fitness, genes that kill us on a schedule. It is enough to send an evolutionary scientist into a state of denial. Evolutionary scientists insist that things cannot be as they appear, and what look like aging genes are really fertility genes in disguise. Or perhaps they have some other function that remains to be discovered. We must search harder, examine the genes more closely…
If it quacks like a duck…
Mitteldorf is a theorist who has been in the front lines of a scientific revolution these 20 years. From the start, he has said, “if it looks like an aging gene, it probably is an aging gene.” Through computer modeling of evolution and ecology, he has demonstrated ways in which natural selection might indeed prefer aging genes – not for the sake of the individual, of course, but for ecological balance.
Mitteldorf is also a science writer for the people, with a popular blog and a health advice page. Now he has teamed up with the golden pen of Dorion Sagan to create a book that reports from the midst of a scientific debate as it is happening, before it becomes consensus.
Big implications for health
But this is more than an academic revolution for evolutionary science. The way we think about aging has a big impact on the way we take care of our own health, and the way we pursue the medical research.
Theories have consequences. This misconception about aging has set anti-aging medicine and medical research in general on an unproductive path, a path that cannot succeed.
We’ve been trying to find out what goes wrong with the body and get the body back on track. But the body is already on track, doing what it is designed to do, and that is to slowly destroy itself with age.
The magic bullet will be epigenetics
Epigenetics is the study of how genes are turned on and off in the body. We have the same genes throughout our lifetimes, but different genes are activated at different times.
Children grow because the genes for growth are turned on. Teenagers become sexual because the genes for sex hormones are turned on. In just the same way, old bodies embark on a path of self-destruction, all part of the same genetic program. The way to cure aging is to reprogram the body’s epigenetic signals. Speak to the body in the language of biochemistry, and say the word “youth”.
Today there are tens of billions of research dollars for new cancer drugs and cholesterol-lowering medicines, but maybe 1/100th as much for anti-aging medicine. We’re trying to cure one disease at a time. We should be trying to prevent all diseases at once.
When we understand the epigenetic basis of aging, we will be able to re-balance the hormones in old people to make them look more like the hormone profiles of young people. Aging will stop. It may even be possible to turn back the clock.
Cracking the Aging Code (Flatiron Press) by is a book that will take you the distance. From theory to practice, from the latest medical research to practical advice for a long and healthy life, the book is packed with fresh new thinking that flies in the face of the old science. This is a book for independent minds.
About the authors:
Theoretical biologist Josh Mitteldorf has a PhD from UPenn. He runs the website AgingAdvice.org, and writes a weekly column for ScienceBlog.com. Mitteldorf has had visiting research and teaching positions at various universities including MIT, Harvard, and Berkeley.
Dorion Sagan is a celebrated writer, ecological philosopher, and author or coauthor of over twenty-four books, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His work has appeared in Natural History, Smithsonian, Wired, and The New York Times, among other publications.