Winter Survival Tip: Vitamin D

Hi Everyone!

My tip of the winter is to get your Vitamin D levels measured. Having optimal levels of Vitamin D in your blood stream is essential for a healthy immune system. It is extremely protective against colds and flus, as well as cancer and seasonal affective disorder. Vitamin D is actually a hormone, instead of a vitamin. It needs sunlight to make it active via our skin. Folks with darker skin tones, who use sun screen or who live in regions of the world north of the 33rd latitudinal line are typically deficient without supplementation. Vitamin D is naturally occurring in small amounts of salmon, mackerel, sardines, eggs, but not in the quantities that are known to be optimal. Most everyone could be taking 2,000 iu day, with the caveat that this needs to be in addition to a healthy diet that includes lots of dark leafy green vegetables to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin K and loads of orange vegetables such as carrots and squash to ramp up the amount of Vitamin A in your blood stream. Vitamins A, K and D are all fat soluble, get stored in the liver and work together to maintain a happy immune system. I commonly see folks who come into my office with the chief complaint of anxiety, depression, frequent colds or flu, and/or seasonal allergies with serum Vitamin D levels well below the lower recommended limit of 30. It is always best to actually know what your levels are. I like to test for genetic mutations in relation to the Vitamin D receptor. I am not surprised when I find a mutation in folks who walk in with levels so low, they catch every cold coming by and every year have to ramp up their anti depressants to cope through the long winter. So the take home is get your blood levels measured. I either run it through insurance or I have a lab coop I am a member of to get discounted prices for my patients. It is $29 with a draw fee of $7 or if your insurance covers labs we can go that route.

Here is a decent article from Dr Andrew Weil on Vitamin D.

Happy New Year!

Lymphatic Dry Skin Brushing

Dry skin brushing is so beneficial to a healthy a trash system or as Naturopaths call it our emunctories. To feel healthy and vibrant our circulation and lymphatics need to be flowing freely. Exercise and a healthy diet help this but so does adding in to your routine a 6 minute dry skin brushing technique. I cannot tell you how many folks came back to me after adopting this jumping up and down with enthusiasm over their new beautiful skin as well as the increase in energy. Even sleep improves. After doing it for awhile, people notice that their aches and pains get less and less and even can become a thing of the past. This is because the allostatic load has been reduced. More on that in another post. 

Here are two links for you to check out that describe the benefits in detail. Interestingly they differ on their technique, you will find this if you search videos. I think the Trista Thompson in the youtube video has researched and created the most accurate way to perform this lovely approach to a healthy body. Lee Sutherland's post has great synopsis on all the ways dry skin brushing can benefit you today! Thank you to both of them! Do it!


Seasonal Allergies

Get ahead of allergies by including stinging nettles into your regiment. Dried they add well to soups and make a delicious mineral rich tea. Your next visit I can make you a cup. I love gathering nettles this time of year and making soup. They are found at your local food coop or farm markets. I have a great encapsulated formula that I offer that has nettles, quercitin, bromelain and a bit of NAC in it that does wonders at decreasing  allergic reactivity. 

Think of decreasing your overall exposure to allergens: shower before bed to get the days pollan off of you, keep your bedding very clean, including your top blankets, keep animals out of the bedroom, if you have rugs get them dry cleaned, if carpet consider getting some sort of hard cleanable surface instead, consider an air filter in the bedroom such as Austin Air, and rinse your nose morning and night.

For sure you need to be rinsing your nose day and night. You can do this with a nasal spray that has antimicrobial agents such as grapeseed extract, some have homeopathics, some relay on xylitol which keeps organisms from adhering to the mucous membranes or you can neti pot. To use a neti pot start with filtered, distilled or boiled water (just in case of organisms in the water), 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp xylitol to 1 quart water. Use 1 cup cold solution per nostril. I would have you add my favorite herbal tincture made of yerba mansa and horseradish. 1 squirt per cup. Come in for help with this is you have any questions.

Hot and cold compresses to the face before using a neti pot is great and can also be used if you are having a sinus headache. The general rule of thumb is 3' hot and 30" repeated 3 times, always finishing in cold. This process quickens circulation, which relieves pressure, brings inflammation gobbling cells to the area and drives debris away.

Commonly folks use corticosteroids the first sign of nasal discomfort but this is a something I rely on only in extreme cases. Most folks do just fine with these simple measures above along with an awareness of their gut health, any food allergies and an overall picture of their immune system's status. 



Get out in nature! My goats and I took a big long hike at Catherine Creek the other day. When it is pouring down rain, it is often dry here. It is far enough east that there are ponderosa pine. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to get there. Hiking and moving your body are key to feeling balanced and connected, IMHO. My sweet goats, Keith and Kevin would agree. Where have you gone lately?