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Posts for: December, 2018

By Dr. Doug Williams
December 17, 2018
Category: Paleo
Tags: Untagged

Today’s Post is Brought to You by the Letter: D

Last week, we covered the benefits of sunshine and found many are related to how it ramps up our body’s production of Vitamin D. This week, we are going to look specifically at the role Vitamin D plays in health (or lack thereof). If you are just joining us, we are hitting some of the highlights of the Paleo Movement, as outlined by a special edition of Paleo Magazine entitled: “Go Paleo: The Step-by-Step Guide.” You can review last week’s post here.

According to the article, the nine most common symptoms of low Vitamin D levels are:

  1. Blood sugar issues
  2. Low bone density
  3. Depression
  4. Fatigue
  5. Joint pain (especially in the back and knees)
  6. Low immunity
  7. Mood changes and irritability
  8. Muscle cramps and weakness
  9. Weight gain

An article in Aging and Disease discusses the relationship between low Vitamin D levels and health issues in the following categories:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Immune system disorders
  • Neuropsychiatric disorders

What’s Normal?

When it comes to Vitamin D levels in your body, the magic number is between 40 and 60 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter). Interestingly, the majority of people in the U.S. have a Vitamin D level below 40. According to the article in Paleo Magazine, the best test for this is the blood test called 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test.

Where You Live Might Matter!

According to the International Journal of Research and Public Health, anyone north of the 35th parallel may be at a higher risk for Vitamin D deficiency-related disorders. The 35th parallel is clear down in Tennessee and Georgia!

Vitamin D levels are a complex dance between your diet, natural skin pigmentation, and typical sun exposure. However, it appears that the farther north you live, the less likely you are to have adequate levels in your body.

How Much Sun?

The article in Paleo Magazine gives some general guidelines and tips:

  • Those with fair skin require less sun to produce Vitamin D.
  • The sun must penetrate the skin for Vitamin D production.
  • Going without sunglasses outdoors in the daylight for 10-15 minutes is linked to significant health benefits.
  • Spending several minutes exposing the largest parts of your body (chest, back, arms, and legs) to the sun every day without sunscreen can optimize Vitamin D production.
  • Sun exposure is most effective when the sun’s rays are at their peak: 10am-4pm.

If you are like me, at this point, part of you is saying: But what about the risk of skin cancer?We covered a little bit about that last week by referencing an article by Dr. Mercola.

Two points in his article stood out to me:

  1. Increased Vitamin D production is not the only benefit of sun exposure. Thus, taking Vitamin D supplements, instead of getting out in the sun, can still leave you at risk to disease states.
  2. There has actually been some research on the avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death. The conclusion was that women in Sweden who regularly made a point to get sun exposure were at a lower risk for heart disease and non-cancerous death — they lived longer. They went so far as to say avoiding sun exposure was a risk factor for an early death on the same magnitude as smoking!

What About Food and Supplements as Sources of Vitamin D?

While the article in Paleo Magazine doesn’t cover this aspect of Vitamin D, I think it is important to cover, especially as I write this on a cold, dark December morning in Indiana. Walking around outside in my shorts for 30 minutes is just not going to happen anytime in the near future! So, for those of us living north of the 35th parallel, we need to consider some supplemental forms of Vitamin D during this part of the year.

Food Sources: cold-water ocean caught fish, eggs, and mushrooms – these are your best options to get some naturally occurring Vitamin D. Eat up!

Supplements: Like any healthcare provider, I am hesitant to give a specific recommendation, since everyone is unique! Instead, I will give some general guidelines:

  • Remember that optimum blood levels are 40-60 ng/ml.
  • Vitamin D3 is thought to have an advantage over D2.
  • Vitamin D3 is better absorbed in the presence of another vitamin – K2. Look for this on your Vitamin D supplement bottle.
  • For most people, it looks like 3000IU daily (IU is how they measure amounts for Vitamin D supplements) is adequate to raise blood levels for most people into the acceptable range after about six weeks.
  • If you are obese, you may need more than 3000IU per day.
  • Vitamin D toxicity is likely rare at the above-noted amounts.

You can read this article from the journal Nutrients for more information on Vitamin D deficiency, sufficiency, and toxicity.

Most of the drug interactions I could find with Vitamin D centered around a condition called hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood). Conversely, a number of medications can cause a reduction in the absorption of Vitamin D.

For the most part, Vitamin D is found to be a very safe and very helpful supplement, but if you are taking other medications, I would check to see if any are listed in the article. It may affect how much or how little Vitamin D you should be taking. As always, if in doubt, ask!

Safe to Shore in the Sunshine!

I will end this article like I have several others in our series and answer the question: “What do you and Dr. Sue do?”

  • In the winter (November through April), we try to take 5000IU of Vitamin D3 with K2, Monday through Friday.

  • In the winter, we try to walk outside daily, mostly without sunglasses.
  • In the summer, we try to walk outside most days wearing shorts and short-sleeve shirts.
  • In the summer, we use sunscreen on our ears, nose, and face. We avoid getting burned and, if we are going to be outside longer than an hour, we will often apply sunscreen on other areas as well (after the hour is up).
  • In the summer, we may cut our dose of Vitamin D3 in half.

Remember, like all things, sunshine in moderation can have some really powerful health benefits. Common sense and some Vitamin D3/K2 supplementation can combine to help you stay healthy and live longer!

Next week, we are going to wrap up our series on Paleo with an article on one of my favorite topics: Movement!

Yours in Health,

Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
December 10, 2018
Category: Paleo
Tags: Untagged

If you live in Indiana and are like me, you have been asking this question a lot the last few weeks! Most of us intuitively look for and like to see the sun. I work on a number of people who actually like the cold (and even the snow), but I have yet to find someone who would prefer to have overcast days on a steady basis.

We are winding down our series on the Paleo Lifestyle, as outlined by a special edition of Paleo Magazine: “Go Paleo – The Step-By-Step Guide.” This week, we are going to explore how the sun impacts our health. There is no doubt that as our society embraces advanced technology, we are spending more time indoors.

Could that actually be negatively impacting our health?

Sunshine and Physical Health

Let’s go ahead and deal with the elephant in the room…

“Doc, don’t you know, the sun causes cancer, especially skin cancer?”

Yeah, that is what I have always heard, and melanoma is the type of cancer most people associate with the sun. In fact, melanoma has been on the rise over the last twenty years, but is it due to sun exposure?

According to a study in the British Medical Journal of Dermatology, the rise in reported melanoma is actually due to the way they have started to classify the benign (non-cancerous) form of the disease over recent decades and not as a result of an increase in the actual malignant state.

An article by Dr. Mercola explores how there has been an increase in melanoma on those who are in the sun too little! I am not a dermatologist (“Dang it, Jim, I am a chiropractor, not a dermatologist!” – for all your Star Trek fans), and the relationship between the sun and skin cancer is complex. However, there is convincing evidence that some sun exposure is vital to skin health and other aspects of our well-being.

Adequate sun exposure has been linked to the following:

  • Reduced risk of colorectal cancer
  • Reduced risk of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Possible reduction in breast cancer risk
  • Reduced reduction in prostate cancer
  • Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Treatment of metabolic syndrome
  • Treatment of systemic lupus
  • Treatment of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Treatment of thyroiditis
  • Reduction of blood pressure

At least in part, the benefits of sun exposure have been linked to the increase in vitamin D that happens when our skin is exposured adequately to UV rays, especially UVB. Next week, we will talk a little more about how to go about maximizing sun exposure and minimizing sun risks.

Sunshine and Mental Health

Seriously, who doesn’t feel better mentally on a cold day when the sun warms your face? If you live north of I-70 in the United States, chances are, you’ve heard of S.A.D. – Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder is thought to occur when low levels of sunlight in the winter impact serotonin and melatonin activity – two brain chemicals associated with depression. This can be diminished and reversed with, you guessed it, light and vitamin D exposure! There are other ways to impact this and, again, Dr. Mercola has a great article on the science of S.A.D.

Besides S.A.D., sunlight exposure has been seen to benefit:

  • Non-seasonal depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Depression associated with pregnancy
  • Anxiety-related disorders
  • Panic attacks

Next Week…

Next week, we are going to talk more specifically about vitamin D, which has been linked heavily to a lot of disease states. We will discuss specifics on how it impacts health, as well as some practical ways and guidelines to increase it in your life through food, supplementation, and sun-exposure. Until then, especially if you live in Indiana, go out and get a little sun. I am pretty sure you won’t get a sunburn this week!

Yours in Health,

Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
December 03, 2018
Category: Paleo
Tags: Untagged

“I admire machinery as much as any man, and am as thankful to it as any man can be for what it does for us. But it will never be a substitute for the face of a man, with his soul in it, encouraging another man to be brave and true.”
– Reference to the electric telegraph from The Wreck of the Golden Mary (1856) by Charles Dickens

This is how the section in the Paleo Magazine opens regarding Connecting with Others. We are working our way through a special edition of the magazine called Go Paleo: The Step by Step Guide.

For those just joining us, you can review the other posts on our blog. In a nutshell, Paleo asks the question: Has modern life made us healthier people than our ancestors?

Last week, we discussed how increases in our use of electronics (phones, computers, tablets, etc.) may be leaving us with deficits in our ability to learn and remember, as well as in our physical bodies and relationships. Today, we are going to discuss how face-to-face connection with others  and the lack thereof can impact our health.

What Happens When You Don’t Communicate Face to Face?

The author in the Paleo article lists the following social areas in which people are starting to lack:

  • Communication skills
  • Social graces
  • Grammar and spelling skills
  • Empathy
  • Altruism
  • Patience
  • Brain development

Just last week, I threw out a sign in our office that read: “Please Turn Off Your Cell Phone.” Why did I throw it out? Mostly because people just ignored it. I’ve found that many don’t talk on the phone anymore – they text and email instead! The norm in society is rapidly moving towards communicating less face-to-face with the person next to you and more digitally with people somewhere else.

But, it’s not just social areas that are being affected by lack of face-to-face communication = the physical being suffers as well. Reduced social ties have been linked to:

  • Heart disease
  • Slower wound healing
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Impaired immune function
  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness

What Happens When We Do Meet Face to Face?

Five key elements occur when we meet face to face:

  1. We see and hear one another.
  2. We quickly exchange communicative stimuli (instant response).
  3. We convey and observe facial expressions.
  4. We convey and observe body language.
  5. We convey and listen to speech.

According to the author of the article, “compared to other forms of communication, face to face involves multimodial sensory information (nonverbal cues) and more turn-taking behavior between participants (with less interruptions), elements that may synchronize the brains of the participants.” Other forms of communication (texting, emailing, driving while talking on the phone, etc.) may not be able to do this at the same level.

Good communication means strong relationships, which are associated with the following health benefits:

  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Greater ability to manage stressful events
  • Lower risk of death in young women with breast cancer
  • Lower risk of death in young women after heart surgery
  • Stronger immune function
  • Reduced mortality rate

In teens, face-to-face communication during meals have been found to reduce the risk of smoking, drinking alcohol, depression, crime, and substance abuse!

Finally, consider the youngest among us. Toddlers have become amazingly proficient at working Mom or Dad’s phone. It can be really tempting to hand a little one a device for a few minutes just to get something done or catch your breath. But is the singing bear or video game really in their long-term best interest?

Kids learn the fundamentals of social interaction from their family.

The article reminds us that children have already learned a great deal from face-to-face play, which, in turn, prepares them for society with real world behaviors like sharing, cooperating, and respecting others’ property. Many schools are moving back to “play-based learning” (presumably in lieu of electronic ones) for this very reason. All Dr. Sue and I had to contend with when our boys were little were old school Game Boys – and those were hard enough! Today’s parents of little ones are to be commended, encouraged, and assisted anytime they choose to go face-to-face (and often times toe-to-toe) with their kids!

A Place Where It Meets in The Middle

I ended last week’s post saying that Pandora was out of the box, regarding technology, and wasn’t going back in. But maybe it’s not all bad.

Just this last Thanksgiving, my family was able to connect face-to-face with my father-in-law, even though he was in Colorado and we were in Indiana – all via an iPhone. Would it have been better to see and hear him in person? You bet! Would it have been nice to give him a hug? Sure! But the fact remained that he wasn’t physically present, but technology did allow us to be one step closer. We could see him and he could see us. Likewise, there have been times when we’ve been sick or otherwise unable to make it to church. We could observe the service in real time online. None of these things replace the benefits to body and soul that real live contact can, but it sure beats the alternative.

My encouragement to you and myself?

Don’t settle for second best unless you have to. Do all you can to get face-to-face interaction – it is important to you and the other people you engage with! God made us for Himself and for each other; we are supposed to share!

Yours in Health,

Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana