Why Vitamin D or Lack of It May Be Contributing to or Causing Your Health Issues

I’m sure by now everybody has heard of Vitamin D and how important it is for our overall health! If you haven’t, please crawl out from under that rock for a moment so I can bring you up to speed! Most people, I’m hoping, are even supplementing with it daily (or they should be). Vitamin D is actually a not a vitamin at all but is a pro-hormone, as it can be manufactured in our body when we are exposed to light. Herein is where our problems arise. We get very little sunshine into our tissues on a regular basis nowadays. Many of us live at a latitude which predisposes us to sub-par sun exposure on our skin (where all the Vitamin D magic starts), or we are slathering on sunscreen for protection against the damaging effects of the sun, (like producing Vitamin D to keep us healthy) which halts our vitamin D conversion!

It turns out that about 40% of the global population is deficient in Vitamin D and over 70% of Americans are either deficient or insufficient in their vitamin D levels. The sunlight we are exposed to daily is our primary source of vitamin D and since we get very little from our diets, if we are not receiving that exposure on our skin, you can imagine how important supplementation now becomes. A deficiency of Vitamin D (a serum vitamin D 25-OH level less than 20 ng/dl) is linked to many chronic diseases, cancers, poor bone health, autoimmune diseases, neurocognitive issues like depression, mood stability and Alzheimer’s disease. You can begin to see the importance of having adequate levels for our bodies to operate efficiently and without disease. We have a vitamin D receptor in nearly every single cell in our body and it is responsible for regulating over 3000 of our genes. So, you can understand the gravity of the situation. Unless you plan on sunbathing in the summer and taking vacations to sunbathe in the winter, your Vitamin D requirements might need some attention. I always tell my patients that they should know their vitamin D level. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (OK, pro-hormone) that needs to be monitored. As with any fat soluble vitamin, toxicity can be an issue (although Vitamin D has a very broad range level of safety).

Where do we start? With a simple blood draw, inexpensive, not routinely done with the normal CBC or CMP, but can easily be added by asking your doctor. The test is serum Vitamin D 25-OH, and is one of the more important numbers you should know.

I had a patient who was suffering from crippling agoraphobia (she felt it unsafe to leave her home). What stood out the most from her blood work results was that her vitamin D 25-OH level was in the single digits at 7ng/dl. Very shortly after supplementing with Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) she had no anxiety, depression or mood instabilities, and her words were, “she felt like herself again”!

Vitamin D is one of the supplements I tell every one of my patients they should be taking regularly for their health. How much you may ask? Dosage depends on your serum blood levels. If you are deficient or insufficient in your Vitamin D levels, work with a practitioner to help monitor it and set your dosing appropriately. That being said, a very safe dosage that you may immediately start supplementing with (until you can have your blood levels checked) is a summertime dose of 5,000 I.U.s and wintertime dose of 7-10,000 I.U.s of vitamin D3. Everyone should be supplementing with some amount of Vitamin D for better health. If you need your levels checked or dosage customized, give us a call and we’ll accommodate your needs.

7 Main Reasons to Drink More Water

“Water is the driving force of all nature” – Leonardo Da Vinci

Water, the liquid life. It makes up 60% of your body, 75% of your muscles and 85% of your brain. It’s the lubricant that is involved in nearly every chemical process that takes place inside your cells.

Water is clearly the most important nutrient for the human body, but we often take it for granted. Opting for soda, fruit juice, alcohol, coffee, or tea over boring old water. That’s likely the reason why 75% of Americans are suffering from chronic dehydration. There’s just so many other options!

Interestingly enough, even though water is so important for the body, there’s not much scientific research dedicated to learning more about water and how it affects human health. That’s because water is very cheap for most developed countries. Water’s health benefits don’t increase the bottom line of the giant pharmaceutical companies that usually fund health research. The few research articles that I did find were actually done by bottled water companies such as Evian, meaning that even this research may be slightly biased.

Nonetheless, water is a necessary and fundamental part of being healthy and it’s importance should not be underestimated. Making sure to drink the right type of water and plenty of it is crucial to achieving your health goals. Here are the 7 Main Reasons to Drink more water. Let’s dive in.

The 7 Main Reasons to Drink More Water

#1 – Water Helps You Lose Weight
Everyone wants to look good and be in shape. The EASIEST way to do that is to drink more water. Here are the two main ways that water can help you lose weight or maintain optimal weight.

Water Reduces Cravings
In the center of your brain, there is an area called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for regulating hormones in the body, controlling body temperature, and the sensations of hunger and thirst. Since your feelings of hunger and thirst are supplied from the same area of your brain, you may sometimes mistake your thirstiness for your desire to munch on something.That’s why if you get a craving for food, you should try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 minutes. Most of the time the craving should go away and you reduce your calorie intake, which helps you lose weight.

Water Stimulates Your Metabolism (Burning of Calories)
Did you know that drinking water stimulates your metabolism and increases your calorie burn? Especially if you drink cold water. Drinking cold water forces your body to burn calories to warm up the water to body temperature. Really any water that you drink needs to be processed and transported to the rest of your body.

Research showed that in 14 healthy and in-shape individuals, drinking 500ml of water increased their metabolism by 30% in just 10 minutes. Another study showed that drinking 2 liters of water a day could increase calorie burn by up to 400 calories. A short-term study of overweight women showed that the women who drank more than 1 liter of water a day over 12 months, lost an extra 4lbs of weight without any other lifestyle changes.

Water needs to be processed and transported to be used by the body, which requires energy. More energy demand causes an increase in metabolic rate. Just by drinking more water you’ll burn more fat and get leaner. It’s like the best natural fat-loss product. A Zero-Calorie food!

#2 – Water Increases Your Mental and Physical Performance
Fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Even if you lose just 1-2% of your body weight in water, it can impair physical and mental performance. That’s because everything that goes on in your body and brain requires water.

Physical Performance
If you exercise regularly, you need to hydrate even more than the normal sedentary human being. You lose water rapidly through your sweat and your breath when you exercise. It has been shown that athletes often lose 6-10% of their body weight in water during competition and intense training. Dehydration during training results in reduced endurance, increased fatigue, reduced motivation, and increased perceived effort. All of which negatively impacts performance.

The good news is that proper rehydration reverses all of these negative effects and even reduces oxidative stress caused by exercise and dehydration. Make sure to hydrate before, during, and after exercise to aid in recovery and maximize your performance. A solid workout with maximum effort also means more calories burned, resulting in a leaner and better you.

Mental Performance
Even just mild dehydration curbs cognitive functions such as concentration, alertness and short term memory in everyone including children (10-12 years), young adults (18-25 years) and (50-82 years). The brain is 85% water, so staying adequately hydrated is important to ensure proper functioning of your brain. In the morning, instead of going straight for coffee, try drinking 500ml of water as soon as you wake up. It will help kickstart your day and get you going faster. When that afternoon snooze starts creeping, try drowning it with water. Water, not coffee, is the key to sustained energy throughout the day.

#3 – Water Improves Your Skin Health
The skin is the largest organ of your body and contains 30% water, which contributes to the plumpness and elasticity of skin. Drinking more water can improve skin thickness and density, helping your skin look more youthful, smooth, and firm. Choosing water instead of inflammatory drinks such as sugary sodas, processed fruit juice, caramel macchiatos, and even milk will help you achieve clearer skin. These inflammatory drinks cause spikes in blood sugar which messes up your hormones and leads to unwanted breakouts. Be conscious of what you drink, especially for the sake of your skin.

#4 – Water Helps Detoxify your Body
There are so many toxins that you come into contact with everyday from processed food, household chemicals, environmental pollutants, etc. It’s your kidney’s job to filter out your blood and remove toxic waste. The kidneys depend on plenty of fluid available in your body so that even if you lose fluid through your urine, your body can function optimally. Give your kidneys adequate water, they can efficiently work and remove all the toxins from your blood. The more dehydrated you are, the harder your kidneys have to work to fit all the toxins into a small amount of urine. Leading to the darker and darker shades of yellow in your urine. The easiest way to make sure you’re getting enough water is to drink enough water until your urine is crystal clear. This will help your kidneys remove toxins from your body efficiently, and you will feel great!

#5 – Water Helps Minimize Joint Pain and Muscle Pain
Your joints are the hinges where two bones come together. Between your bones is a coating of cartilage which provides a cushion between the your bones to prevent friction.

Joints are like sponges. Wet sponges move easily against each other while hard sponges can rub and break off. Drinking plenty of water ensures that your sponges (cartilage) are hydrated and soft, minimizing joint discomfort. That’s what glucosamine and other joint supplements are designed to do, retain more moisture in your cartilage. You can do this naturally by drinking more water.

Muscle pain is a slightly different issue. If you work out or lift weights, there’s a build-up of lactic acid and microtears in your muscle fibers that cause pain. Drinking plenty of water flushes out the lactic acid, and transports nutrients to your muscles (assuming that you’re eating nutritious diet) that will help repair muscles quicker and reduce muscle pain. Drinking more water means faster and more efficient recovery.

#6 – Water Makes You Happier
The more water your drink, the better your mood will be. If your body is running efficiently on plenty of water, you’ll have more energy and be in a better mood. A study on 120 healthy female college students showed that the girls who drank more water on average had less tension, depression, and confusion.

Another study on 30 people who drank five cups of water a day showed that when the same people were asked to increase water intake to ten cups a day their mood, energy, and satisfaction all improved. DRINK MORE WATER, it will make you happier.

#7 – Water Helps You Digest and Poop
Your digestive tract is where everything goes to gain entrance into your body, including water. Keeping this area nice and moist is good for your digestion.

Water Aids Digestion
Everything that you eat lands in your stomach first and waits there to be broken down by stomach acid and digestive enzymes. The rate at which digested food then moves into your intestines from your stomach is mostly determined by the volume of food & fluid that is in the stomach at the time. After your stomach breaks down the food, it empties into the small intestine, where most of the nutrients and water are absorbed. The more water that is available, the better the absorption.

However, there’s a constant debate among health professionals on whether or not drinking water with meals positively or negatively affects digestion. On one hand, it’s theorized that drinking water during meals dilutes your stomach acid and enzymes leading to poor breakdown of nutrients and causes limited absorption. On the other hand, drinking water is said to aid in moving food through your digestive tract quickly and smoothly.

So in order to cover both sides of the argument, here’s the best way to drink water for proper digestion.

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day so you don’t have to gulp down water right before you eat.
  • Take small sips of water (preferably room temperature or warm) during meals.
  • Make sure to beginning hydrating again 30 minutes after your meal to give time for your body to digest the food you ate.