Getting Your Vitamin D Levels Checked is Something You Shouldn’t Ignore!

When you go to get your physical this year, don’t forget to ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels. If you are suffering from a chronic autoimmune disease, chances are your vitamin D levels just might be next to none existent.

 

I had mine checked 3 years ago and was SHOCKED (I had been supplementing with vitamin D for 2 years) that my level was only 17-the normal range is between 30- 74 ng/ml, according to Livestrong.com.   In retrospect, I now know why my levels were so low.  Two years prior to getting my levels checked, I was only supplementing with 4oo i.u, which was recommended at that time, and I was expecting a baby.  Needless to say, the baby was taking all of the supplemental vitamin D from me.

 

After getting my lab results back, I began to do further research on vitamin D, and was greatly surprised to find that many Americans are deficient in vitamin D, especially African Americans.

 

Vitamin D Deficiency-America’s Epidemic

It turns out that one of the biggest health epidemics today is vitamin D deficiency.  In fact, it’s such a huge problem in America that everyone from integrative and conventional doctors to news outlets are reporting on the topic.  My mother has always said, if three people are telling you the same thing, you should listen to one of them.  I’m at full attention. Are you?

 

The Scoop on Vitamin D

Technically, vitamin D is not a vitamin, but rather a metabolic product called calcitriol. Calcitriol is a secosteroid hormone, which means that it is similar to a steroid and has an endocrine mechanism of action. Over 2000 of the genes in your body are regulated by vitamin D. Therefore a deficiency in this hormone has a tremendous impact on your health and has been linked to several diseases such as cancer, osteoporosis, and birth defects. In addition researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas say that there is a correlation between low serum levels of vitamin D and lupus. If you are deficient in vitamin D, let’s examine how you can restore your levels safely?

 

therefore, everyone should get their vitamin D levels checked during their annual physical. Moreover, you should request that your doctor give you the more accurate 25(OH)D blood test for the best results. What exactly is vitamin D and why is it so important?

 

Here what Dr. Oz  has to say.


 

Other Related Vitamin D Articles

 

Make Beautiful Babies With Exercise, Nutrition, and Sleep

Most women today are fully aware of the benefits of  nutrition and exercise prior to conception.  But is that enough? Well, perhaps not!  If you’re till having trouble conceiving naturally, research suggests that skipping out on your eight hours of sleep just might be the culprit that’s putting the kibash on your family planning.

 

Hormonal Effects of Sleepless Nights

Although most people need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to function well the next day, the National Sleep Foundation’s (NSF) 1998 Women and Sleep Poll found that the average woman aged 30-60 sleeps only six hours and forty-one minutes during the work week. Without adequate sleep, you can’t achieve optimal health and wellness-let alone create a proper environment for a fetus.

 

A lack of sleep greatly impacts one of your body’s most important systems (especially for making babies), the endocrine system.  That’s right-not getting enough zzzs will cause your endocrine system to malfunction.  When that happens, your ability to conceive can decrease drastically and ladies, not having a properly functioning endocrine system is like not having water for your beloved plants-nothing can grow.

 

Oh Endocrine-Friend of Mine

Your endocrine system plays one of the most important roles in terms of regulating ovulation.  The endocrine system controls all of the hormones in your body, which means that women (especially those who are trying to conceive) are adversely impacted when it fails to produce the necessary reproductive hormones like leptin.  Generally when we think of leptin, we might think of it in terms of regulating your appetite and weight, which is important to help you reach your body image goals.  However, if you’re trying to conceive, you also need leptin to help you reach your fertility goals.

 

Leptin the Fertility God

If you are not sleeping adequately, your leptin levels will decrease, which could lead to  irregular ovulation; as well as, irregular or decreased menstrual cycles.

 

Dr. Randy Morris, a reproduction and infertility doctor located in Chicago, cites the following study: Researchers in Boston studied 14 female athletes who had stopped their menstrual cycle five years prior to the study. Their body fat was 40 percent less than the average woman. Eight of these women were given leptin, while the remaining women acted as controls. After just three months of treatment, women who received leptin supplements resumed their menstrual cycle and their ovaries began to function normally. Leptin also improved bone density bone markers in their blood. Conversely, there were no changes found in the menstrual cycle or bone density bone markers of the control group.

 

Needless to say, this study proves that women who are trying to conceive must ensure that they have adequate leptin levels-ideally by getting the proper amount of sleep.

 

Increasing Your Leptin Levels

If you are having problems conceiving, speak with your OB/GYN and put yourself on an adequate sleep regimen to restore your endocrine system. The following tips should be helpful in getting you back to sleeping like a baby:

 

  • Try to get in bed by 10:00 PM. Your body-more specifically, your adrenal system does the majority of its recharging between the hours of 11 p.m. and 1 a.m,
  • Don’t snack on sugary foods before bedtime because it raises your blood sugar level, which can inhibit sleep,
  • Make sure your room is cool and below 70 degrees, (I sleep like a baby at 68 or 69 degrees)
  • Stop watching mood altering television programs,
  • Try to avoid situations and people who upset you,
  • Get into a good cardiovascular work-out routine, which will regulate your adrenal glands. Insomniacs have a significant higher level of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenocorticotropic (ACTH), and
  • Avoid consuming caffeine after 12:00 PM.

 

Check out Gretchen’s Story


Reference:

 

 

References:

 

Morris, Randy S. MD. (June 2008). Could Leptin be the Next Fertility Medication. IVF1. Retrieved January 24, 2013 from http://www.ivf1.com/leptin/

 

(n.d.) Women and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved January 24, 2009, from
http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-topics/women-and-sleep
 

 

Treating Middle Ear Infections with Modern Science and Old World Wisdom

One of the main causes of otitis media or ear infections is a malfunctioning of the Eustachian tube.

 

According to Kidshealth.org, the eustachian tube contributes to ear infections because it functions as a passageway for allowing mucus to drain from the middle ear to the throat. When this function does not happen, the Eustachian tube can become blocked by mucous (from allergies or the common cold) in its lining . When the fluid builds up (instead of air) within the middle ear , viruses and bacteria can get trapped inside. Once trapped, they begin to multiply, which results in an ear infection.

 

Symptoms

Symptoms of a middle ear infection can include loss of hearing, fever, vomiting, dizziness, ear pain, and loss of appetite to name a few.

 

Conventional treatment

Generally, conservative doctors like Dr. Randy Naidoo, an integrative medical doctor located in Garland, Texas, might suggest that parents “wait and see” as a precautionary method to prevent over prescribing antibiotics.  An overuse of antibiotics will disrupt the healthy gut flora and can ultimately, lead to the over growth of antibiotic resistance bacteria.  In 4 out of 5 children, the middle ear infection will clear on its own and in 1 out of 5 children, treatment will be needed to clear the infection.

 

If the infection clears up on its own, you’re good to go and will not need further treatment; however, if it doesn’t clear up, you have the following two options for treatment:  The Western Medicine Method-Antibiotics and/or the  Ayurvedic Method-Garlic Ear Drops.

 

Antibiotics

After a confirmed diagnosis by your child’s pediatrician, you will more than likely leave with a prescription for amoxicillin, which is very effective at treating bacterial based ear infections.  Note, antibiotics will NOT clear up an ear infection caused by a virus.  The treatment usually lasts for a duration of 7 to 10 days; however,  the symptoms will disappear in  about 48 hours according to Webmd.com.   The side effects are minimal and could include diarreah.  After your child has completed the course, I strongly recommend a good probiotic, such as Jarrows, to replace the good bacteria in the gut, which was destroyed with the antibiotics treatment.

 

Ayurvedic Treatment

However, if you are feeling more adventurous and open to more natural treatments, I highly encourage you to try garlic ear drops, which is an Ayurvedic treatment that has been used for generations in India.

 

Lubricating the Eustachian tubes will do both, prevent and clear up a middle ear infection. According to John Douillard, an Ayurvedic doctor who wrote the book, “Perfect Health for Kids,” lubricating the Eustachian tubes is one of the best remedies for dry sinuses and dry or congested cervical lymphatic drainage. Dr. Douillard goes on to say that if the cervical lymphatic system dries out, the ears will lose their ability to drain properly, which leads to a sore throat, irritated mucous membranes, excess mucus and ultimately, an ear infection. Dr. Douillard suggests a few drops of garlic oil in each ear a few times a week during flu/cold season to prevent an infection. This treatment also prevents your child from getting the common cold or flu and if they do get it, it us usually very mild. You can find garlic ear drops at your local health food store or at an online store.  There are no side effects to using this treatment.  I have been successfully using garlic ear drops for the last four years-which you can read more about here.

 

References:

(n.d.). Middle Ear Infections. Kidshealth.org. Retrieved on January 21, 2013 from http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/ear/otitis_media.html#

 

Douillard, Dr. John. (2004). Perfect Health for Kids: 10 Ayurvedic Health Secrets Every Parent Must Know. Ear Oil (pp. 242-244). Berkley, California. North Atlantic Books.

 

Say No to Antibiotics and Yes Garlic Ear Drops for Middle Ear Infections

Middle ear infections are quite common and can range from being a slight annoyance to a major problem that could result in a child getting tubes placed in his ear.  Since I have 3 children, I am more than familiar with the fevers and sleepless nights caused by horrible ear pain.  And like many moms, my initial thoughts around treatment were to consult a physician and give my children the routinely prescribed antibiotics.  Now of course, as a new mother, I played it safe and did just that-happily administered the antibiotics until one day I learned about a treatment that made me look at ear infections totally different. I was not afraid of them anymore.

 

Ayurvedic Medicine in a Modern World

 

I attended the Instititute for Integrative Nutrition, which is a nutrition school in New York, and every weekend we would here lectures from some of the most amazing nutritionists and medical doctors in the world.   I was pretty familiar with most of them, but there was one that stood out from the rest in that he was speaking about medicinal healing from India, which really intrigued me. His name was Dr. John Douillard and he had written the book,  “Perfect Health for Kids: 10 Ayurvedic Health Secrets Every Parent Must Know.”  John talked about different healing remedies, but the one that caught my ear was on middle ear infections.  John stated that treating middle ear infections was as simple as dropping a few garlic oil drops in a child’s ear and voila-they were healed.  Like, how wild and cool is that-Garlic ear drops in the ear?  Anyway, I filed it away and said that one day I would give it a try. Umm…..Yeah…sure!  I thought as I shook off that crazy idea and prepared for the next lecture.

 

Dooms Day Arrives

 

About two months later, my then, one year old gets and infection, which was so bad that we had to give him a shot of antibiotics.  Furthermore, to add insult to injury, he got another ear infection two weeks later and it was just as bad.  At 3:00 in the morning the doctor gave us an order to got the nearest 24 hour pharmacy to start  administering the antibiotics immediately.  But this time, I said no (as my mother gave me a scared side-eyed look).  It was during this critical time that I had a moment of clarity (or insanity according to my mother) and decided to try the garlic ear drops that I previously purchased for the first ear infection but was too afraid to try.

 

The Big Garlic Ear Drop Experiment

 

I took my toddler home and put a few drops of garlic oil in his ear and prayed real hard that I had not just permanently harmed my child.  I gave him fever/pain reducing medicine and put him to bed.  That morning when I awakened, I thought that I would find an extremely feverish boy with bright red ears, but instead, I found a baby that was sleeping peacefully and fever free.   Wow, the garlic ear drops really did work so needless to say, I have been using them ever since.   I must thank John Douillard if I should every have the pleasure of sitting in on one of his lectures again,b ut more importantly, the next time your child starts tugging at her ears, you just might want to go for the garlic ear drops first and marvel at how amazing this little herb is at fighting bacterial and viral ear infections.