Archive for Jan 2011

01.13.11

How much vitamin D do you really need?

Recently, you may have read that the recommendations for vitamin D have changed. In the past, vitamin D did not have a big place in the spotlight, so here is some basic information to help you understand what it is, how it works, and how much you really should be supplementing with.

  • ·What is vitamin D? Vitamin D is actually a hormone that works alongside calcium. The absorption of calcium is dependent on vitamin D, and without vitamin D you can still be a risk for osteoporosis.It is also a super nutrient for stimulating immune function and has been clinically shown to treat viral infections including the Flu.
  • ·Where is vitamin D found? The best way to get vitamin D is through fatty fish such as salmon. Other sources include cheese; egg yolks; mushrooms; fortified products such as milk, cereals, or yogurt; and of course, vitamin D supplements. Limitations in receiving sufficient vitamin D from food supply come in the fact that absorption of all nutrients is commonly impaired.So, too, many Americans are found to be dairy or lactose sensitive.The body can also make vitamin D when the skin is exposed directly to sunlight—this does not mean through a window or with sunscreen on! The amount of sunlight each person needs varies depending on skin color, gender, and size and is often minimized due to concerns of the “dangers” of excessive sun exposure.
  • ·What happens if you don’t get enough vitamin D? Severe Vitamin D deficiency is directly associated with rickets in children (rare) and osteomalacia in adults (osteomalacia results in bone pain and muscle weakness). Long-term deficiency can be related to osteoporosis. New studies are being done to look at vitamin D’s association with other diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease, and colon cancer.More commonly, however, are symptoms of depleted immune function, mood swings, and even hormone and nerve health.
  • ·What happens if you get too much vitamin D? You may experience nausea, vomiting, decrease in appetite, weakness, and muscle loss if you take too much vitamin D. Toxicities occur almost all of the time because of supplementation, not because of food or sunlight overexposure.
  • ·How much vitamin D should you take? Recently the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D was changed from 200 IU to 600 IU for ages 1-71 and 600 IU to 800 IU for ages 71+. The RDA, however, does not translate to ideal dosing. The RDA is set for safe, but not optimal levels for all healthy adults, which leads to the upper limit (UL). The UL for vitamin has been changed from 2,000 to 4,000 IU, which is the upper safe limit for adults. This is not a cut and dry optimal dosage for all people. 5,000 IU or more may actually be a more optimal dose for most people. The Vitamin D Council is actually saying that it may take 40,000 IU for toxicities to occur! And this dose needs to be consumed for an extended period of time.It is extremely important to see a doctor before starting any new drug or supplement.

The best way to ensure you are in taking, absorbing, and storing appropriate vitamin D levels is through a blood test.As always, the form, source, and quantity of a nutrient are vital when deciding what product to use. Please speak to your doctor or your Iluminar team for an individualized assessment of your Vit D levels.

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01.12.11

Setting Goals for 2011!

It’s 2011, which means many of you have set New Year’s resolutions! This year, instead of setting a goal to lose 50 pounds in the next month and wear your high school jeans, try setting reasonable goals that may actually last you through the entire year. Also, set goals for each aspect of your life (personal goals, family goals, business goals, etc.) Lululemon has a great tool that can be found at http://goals.lululemon.com/, and here are some other techniques to keep in mind:

  • ·Set long-term goals for what you are ultimately trying to achieve, and set short-term goals that will help you get there. For example, if you want to lose a certain amount of weight, this would be your ultimate, long-term goal. Set the date that you want to achieve this goal by, and make sure it is reasonable! Next, break this down so that you have short-term weight goals (maybe just 5 lbs at a time).
  • ·Once you have your goals set, you need to plan how you are actually going to achieve them. It is not realistic to say you are going to lose 50 lbs and not change anything about your lifestyle to get there. How are you going to change your diet? Are you going to work out? How often are you going to work out and for how long?
  • ·After you have a plan, you can break your goals down even further to things like daily to-do lists. Having something to do each day is great because you are constantly reminded of your goal. This can be as small as putting your change in a jar if you are trying to save money, or looking a websites to research a trip you would like to go on.
  • ·Write your goals down in order to make them seem more real.
  • ·Stay positive! Everyone makes mistakes along the way, but by checking in throughout short-term goals, you will be on track for your final goal!
  • ·Be specific about your goals—write down the day you want to achieve it by, the exact thing you are trying to achieve, and even what you are going to do once you achieve your goal.

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01.12.11

Something to look forward to…

Have you heard about the U-bend of life? I read a great article on happiness from The Economist (read it the whole article here) that talked about how happiness is like a “U” throughout the lifecycle.

There are many things that contribute to happiness, the main four being gender, personality, external circumstances and age. Between the two genders, women are happier than men on the whole, but also have a higher tendency to be depressed. As far as personality is concerned, there are two main traits that contribute to happiness. The first is neuroticism, which leads to unhappiness, and the second is extroversion, which translates to more happiness. Children, education, and income are just a few examples of external circumstances that are factors of happiness.

Most of the examples mentioned so far make sense, but when we look at age, the results are a little more interesting. We start out and are happy as babies, children, and teenagers, but as we age and reach middle age, we are the least happy. After middle age, however, not only will we be happier again, but we will be much more happy than at early adulthood. Not surprisingly, it has been found that the unhappiest age is 46 (mid-life crisis anyone?).

At first it was thought that external circumstances caused this U-bend, but since most older people are no longer making money, are employed, or have children in the house, this doesn’t make sense. Laura Carstensen, a professor a Stanford University as another explanation; she says, “Because the old know they are closer to death…they grow better at living for the present. They come to focus on things that matter now—such as feelings—and less on long-term goals.” We may not know exactly why this U-bend occurs, but at least we know our “golden years” really are ahead of us, and this happiness may also give us better health, less stress, and better productivity.

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01.12.11

Cold and Flu Prevention

It seems as though everywhere I turn, someone around me has a cold or the flu. A lot of people travel for the holidays, and airplanes can be breeding grounds for germs, so here are a few tips for preventing sickness (or making your symptoms disappear more quickly if you do catch something!).

Prevention

  • Only the elderly need to get a flu shot. This is especially true if you live in a senior community. It is also ok to get a flu shot if you work in a hospital.
  • Keep your hands clean and away from your face
  • Use your arm/elbow to sneeze or cough into, not your hands
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush out your system
  • Exercise to bolster your immune system
  • Keep digestion light—avoid overindulging on sugar and fatty foods on a regular basis.
  • Eat extra fruits and vegetables—phytochemicals in these foods help fight disease. Garlic and green tea have also been know to prevent sickness.
  • Drink as little alcohol as possible
  • Sit in the sun for about 20 minutes to get natural vitamin D, which also helps your immune system
  • Get enough sleep—when you feel sleep-deprived that means your immune system isn’t functioning at its best either!
  • Stop by the Iluminar office and pick up PriorityOne’s BioVegetarian tablets or a Meyer’s cocktail. BioVegetarian tablets contain several ingredients to help boost your immune system, and the Meyer’s cocktail is an IV with a combination of vitamins and minerals.

If you do get sick…

  • Do everything listed above to help make your cold or flu go away faster.
  • Gargling with warm water and salt to help a sore throat
  • Try taking Echinacea as soon as symptoms begin
  • Oscillococcinum is a great homeopathic remedy for flu symptoms

Getting sick isn’t always a bad thing, though, since getting sick can be a sign that the adrenal glands are functioning properly. When the adrenals are working correctly, they are able to engage a virus and fight it off.

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