Food for thought: Women are not Immune

Ms. M is an attractive 40 year old Market Research Analyst. She lives in a beautiful upscale South Florida Community. She has a loving mom and a steady caring gentleman friend. In February, she came to see me and have me her history. She was always cold, her hearing would fade in and out, and her ears hurt daily. She’d have sudden attacks of vertigo that would last for 6-8 hours and leave her on the bathroom floor vomiting, followed by almost a week of feeling ‘Foggy’. It would take another week to feel normal. This was going on several times a year for a couple of years, and the episodes were getting progressively worse. She’d frequently get headaches. In addition, she could not remember ever not having diarrhea. She’d feel gassy and bloated and get congested right away almost every time she ate. She’d seen doctors in the past and was treated with antidepressants. She was on those for 2 years, which caused weight gain as well as a constant ‘weird’ feeling. And even though her food was running right through she couldn’t lose the weight. In fact, she was the heaviest she’d ever been at 190 pounds and only 5’3”. Her hands and feet were constantly tingling with an annoying sensation as if they’d fallen asleep. She’d had a cold earlier in December and been put on antibiotics. And after the antibiotics treatments she’d typically get a yeast infection.
In general, Ms. M felt miserable, scared and desperate. Nothing she’d tried had helped. Her new physician diagnosed her with Meniere’s disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and Irritable Bowel Disease, along with a very complex list of food allergies. He then sent her to a nutrionist (smart doctor). Does this sound like you or a friend, or your mom, or your sister? Are you at loss for what to do about your ‘weird’ symptoms and you feeling your doctors don’t believe you are no longer listening to you?
Interestingly enough, all of these conditions are examples of what are called ‘Auto Immune’ disorders, a group of related syndromes having in common the underlying inflammation that results when the body no longer recognizes itself and has the immune system attack and destroy its own tissues. Auto Immune diseases are a result of the interaction between an individual’s unique genes and their environment. The theory says for an autoimmune disorder to start, there must be some kind of triggering event, such as a bacterial or viral infection (and potentially a change in the defense system of the body by further interaction with antibiotics), a genetic ‘weakness’ or susceptibility related to immune system individuality, or an imbalance or weakness in the person’s hormonal system (adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, hypothalamus). Our immune system is designed to protect us- from pretty much everything including infection, injury, toxins, etc.- by a complicated system of “communication” between our cells and the components they make: our chemical ‘signals’. In a healthy immune system, this communication is clear and specific. The body can tell the difference between a “foreigner” and “self” (our own tissues or cells) very effectively. The chemical signals says this is “me” and the other is “not me” are working. The idea that the body can become “allergic to itself” (autoimmune) means the recognition progress has broken down and the immune system and the immune system can attack the host’s tissues (self) resulting in an autoimmune disease. The term ‘autoimmune disease’ refers to a varied group of more than 80 serious chronic illnesses, which can involve almost very human organ system. Approximately 5% of the population or 15 million people in the U.S have been diagnosed with and are seeing a doctor for some type of autoimmune disorder. Another 10-20 % of people have early stage autoimmune symptoms and imbalances. This makes autoimmune issues nearly as prevalent as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. The idea that all autoimmune disorders may be related and connected, in terms of cause and progression, is a new one. This was discussed in an editorial article called “Autoimmunity” in the 2005 edition of Nature, and presented at a seminar I attended a few weeks ago in Orlando given by a brilliant biochemist and my mentor, Jeffrey Bland, Ph. D. Also, very interesting, auto-immune conditions occur much more frequently in women than in men. In fact, the family disorders that includes Lupus (SLE), Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Sjogren’s Grave’s Disease, Raynaud’s Disease, Myasthenia Gravis, Crohn’s Disease and the above conditions Ms. M was found to have, occur 5-10 times more often in women. Approximately 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women, during the childbearing years. Sex hormones are thought to play a role, because the incidence of some autoimmune diseases increases after menopause; some may suddenly during pregnancy, with flare-ups at delivery, while others get worse during pregnancy. This may not be an entirely bad thing. Women are uniquely designed to be more tolerant of foreign proteins. We have to be. When we carry a baby in pregnancy, half of the baby’s proteins- the half that came from the DNA of the sperm- is “foreign” not of our making. Yet our bodies tolerate it, even nurture it and protect it. This is wonderful and assures the continuation of our species. But what if we are not pregnant? What if we just hurt, and no one seems to be able to help?
What kind of support can we offer Ms. M? Constant diarrhea “for as long as she could remember” told me her digestive system was creating a mal absorption issues as well as discomfort and inconvenience. Two of the most common causes of diarrhea for long periods of time are either intolerance to milk sugar (lactose) or sensitivity to wheat protein (gluten). Just as to be on the safe side, we eliminated both. Because she had a strong history of recurrent infections and antibiotics, I knew this was also affecting her digestion. In a healthy intestine, “there are more bacteria than there are stars in the known universe,” says Dr. Bland. These gut bacteria help us digest our food, make Vitamin K and biotin (a B vitamin), and protect our immune systems. Our intestines are where the majority of our immune systems cells lie. Anytime an antibiotic is used, the healthy gut bacteria have to be replenished. They are the guardians to our intestinal lining, which proteins stay in and get properly digested and which proteins accidentally slide through into the blood stream undigested. Whole intact proteins in the blood are reacted as if they were allergens, creating an antibody-inflammatory response. In the case of gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, oat and barely foods, the inflammatory response they might be triggering could be related to the discomfort in her ears. So in addition to eliminating all wheat products, we also started a good quality probiotic. This is the name given to the supplements that replace the numerous strains of healthy gut bacteria.
The treatment plan for Ms. M included the following recommendations:
Total elimination of any source of gluten from her diet and any other identifiable allergic triggers. Daily supplementation with a probiotic. High doses of Vitamin D. Daily consumption of whey protein, which is particularly high in an amino acid called glutamine. Glutamine specifically aids in intestinal healing. A multivitamin-mineral supplement providing higher amounts of the B vitamins and folic acid which would result in reducing her inflammation.
Co-enzyme Q10 to improve energy levels, as she was very fatigued from constant diarrhea. Reduced intake of salt and salty foods. Increased intake of water as diarrhea is a dehydrator and replacing lost fluid would also support her energy.
Within 10 days of implementing the treatment plan, the majority of Ms. M’s symptoms had resolved or minimized to the point where she felt they were no longer an issue. She felt it was a miracle! Within 3 weeks, Ms. M had a really good idea of which foods might retrigger symptoms (very mildly and temporarily) and what to do to replace them. Bodies really are pretty miraculous. When we pay attention to them, and give them what they need, their design tends to recreate healthy fairly readily. The good news is that women can do things now to help prevent initiation or flare ups of autoimmune diseases later. Ms. M’s treatment recommendations are also good preventive measures. Additionally, all of these choices help to protect the organs that are targeted by autoimmune issues (heart, brain, breasts, joints) and even help reduce risk of cancer.
By: Paula H. Mendelsohn (A registered Dietitian and Certified Clinical Nutritionist in private practice in Boca Raton.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Coenzyme Q10

With the universal availability of vitamins, supplements, herbs, and a myriad of other medical remedies today, consumers today are confronted with questions and uncertainties about the usage and benefits of these various therapies. One natural substance produced by the human body that has been gaining interest from both medical professionals and individual clients is Coenzyme Q10, also known as Ubiquinone, Vitamin Q, and CoQ10.

Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that is naturally produced by the human body and is present in virtually every cell of the body, thus its nickname “ubiquinone,” for its ubiquitous presence.  Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of cells in the human body. Just as every part of a cell has a different function; mitochondria serve to produce energy for the cell, by transforming inputs, primarily foodstuffs, into ATP, Adenosine Triphosphate, which is the human body’s currency for energy.  ATP is then used throughout the body to carry out multiple functions, everything from muscle contraction, digestion, and respiration, to intracellular signaling and DNA synthesis.

Coenzyme Q10 plays a critical role in the human body and is most heavily concentrated in the heart and liver. Research shows that the levels of Conenzyme Q10 substantially decline in a person once they are around forty years of age.  Research also shows that Coenzyme Q10 levels decrease with age and individuals suffering from chronic diseases, such as heart conditions, Parkinson’s, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS.

The decline of Coenzyme Q10 levels poses an imminent threat for the overall health of individuals as lower levels of Conenzyme Q10 lead to lower levels of energy production, overall health deterioration, and substantial declines in the human body’s homeostasis.

Fortunately, suppressed levels of Coenzyme Q10 can be combated with Coenzyme Q10 supplements. Coenzyme Q10 has been used and recommended for numerous conditions, including chemotherapy support and cardiovascular health. There are numerous other health benefits of adding Coenzyme Q10 supplements to one’s dietary routine; these benefits entail immune system, nervous system, and cardiovascular system health, cancer prevention, healthy gums, teeth, and muscles, and improved energy.  Suggested dosages of Coenzyme Q10 range from 30mg to 100 mg each day, and up to 100 mg twice a day can be recommended for certain individuals with heart and respiratory problems. Coenzyme Q10 supplements are best taken with food and while side effects are rare, they can range from stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

A medical professional should always be consulted prior to undertaking any major dietary and medical changes. While the purpose of this information to provide accurate and objective information, the proliferation of the Internet and social networking sites allows individuals to quickly gather information, share resources, and consult with one another for advice, and such information should always be reviewed and discussed with a medical professional.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protecting Yourself from Cancer

New Things You May Not Have Heard of Yet

1. Promoters and Initiators:

Tobacco in all forms-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing, dipping snuff, side stream smoke.

Alcohol in all forms, even red wine.

Smoked meats-beef jerky, smoked fishes (lox, nova, sable, whitefish), smoked flavored foods.

Nitrates and nitrites used to preserve meats-ham, salami, bologna, hot dogs, sausages, pepperoni, prosciutto, corned beef, tongue, spam, wieners, bacon (recognize by their pink color)

Chargrilled and charbroiled meats-the browned, burnt edges, esp. of fatty meats

Trans fats-stick margarine, shortening, lard, most bakery-pastry products and commercial crackers, (read labels and put back if contains “hydrogenated oils”)

Endocrine disruptors-anything in the environment that mimics estrogen, esp. pesticides, plasticizers (things that make plastics soft such as phthalates and bis-phenol A), parabens (check your lotions and shampoos-things used to soften you).

Exogenous estrogen exposure-hormones, esp. non bio-identical, medications that are hormonally based such as megace and Lupron, oral contraceptives, even topical creams may be a risk factor depending on your genetics and the health of your liver.

Hormones given to farmed animals, esp. dairy cows (recombinant bovine growth hormone).

2. Accelerators:

SUGAR! Most people do not realize that sugar in all forms is the primary accelerator of any present cancer cells. This concept is so widely known, oncologists actually capitalize on it by using radioactively labeled sugar as part of the tracer in pet scans to look for metastasis.

Other nutrient accelerators include elemental iron, copper, sodium and the essential fatty acid called linoleic acid if these nutrients are used in excess or in the absence of other balancing-controlling nutrients.

3. Preventers, Protectors, and Reversers:

The Good News is there are WAY more foods, plants, compounds, herbs, and supplements that are anti-cancer. cancer fighters, cancer minimizers and cancer-reversers than there are problem foods.

Among the best of them are:

The Super Foodsbroccoli, broccoli sprouts, and broccoli seeds. There are the most concentrated sources of I-3-C (indole-3-carbinole), DIM (diindolylmethane), and sulforaphane glucosinolate. All 3 of these compounds are found in the crusiferous vegetable family which also includes cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and kohlrabi. They help the body make glutathione peroxidase, which is a potent anti-cancer compound.

Green tea, white tea, and black tea. Tea leaves contain catechins, esp. EGCG (epi-gallo-cathechin-gallate) which help induce apoptosis in cancer cells. (“Apoptosis” is the self-destruct a cancer cell usually performs in a healthy body.)

Onions and garlic-stomach cancer is the most common type of cancer worldwide. Onions and garlic, members of the allicin family, cut the risk of stomach cancer in half. Containing bioflavonoids such as quercetin, which can actually revert a cancer cell back to a healthy cell. Allicin and S-allyl cysteine are part of the arsenal of this food group’s cancer-protective compounds.

Mushrooms: Rei-shi, Shiitake, and Maitake mushrooms are potent anti-cancer fighters. Maitake mushrooms esp. contain a polysaccharide called Beta-glucan which stimulates the immune system and activates it against cancer triggers.

Soybeans-contain Protease Inhibitors that squelch tumor growth. They also provide isoflavones such as genistein and diadzein that help prevent estrogen-related cancers.

Berries of bright and deep colors contain ellagic acid which help induce apoptosis, as well as provide a high ORAC (oxygen radical absorptive capacity) value. Foods with high ORAC values are excellent anti-oxidants to scavenge free radicals and prevent cellular damage. Choose blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, dark cherries, red grapes, strawberries, and boysenberries.

Cold water fish provide healthy omega 3 oils such as EPA and DHA which not only protect the heart, they are anti-inflammatory and slow the spread of cancer.

Whole grains not only contain anti-cancer fiber to help prevent colon cancer, they also provide lignans and phytochemicals which actively fight cancer. A fermented wheat germ product is being marketed to reverse most cancers-successfully!

Kelp and sea vegetables such as nori, dulse, and wakame have a special fiber which helps carry toxins, pro-oxidants, harmful fats, and hormone residues out of the intestines.

Fermented dairy such as yogurt, and the probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) used to make yogurt protect our immune system, 80% of the immune system lines the GI tract and fortifies the body’s defense against infection and cancer.

Spices and seasonings such as turmeric, a source of curcumin, help prevent cancers and protect the immune system. Others include cinnamon, ginger, curry, mustard, hot peppers, sage, and rosemary.

VitaminsVitamin C (ascorbic acid) resembles glucose chemically. The cancer cells mistake it for their favorite fuel, take it up readily, and then cannot use it. In addition, vitamin C is a potent anti-oxidant.

Vitamin D (cholecalciferol) prevents the oncogene (the gene inside cells that acts as a ‘switch’ to to turn cancer on) from activating. The people with the lowest rate of skin cancers are outdoor construction workers. The more vitamin D we have, the better our tolerance for the sun. Vitamin D is actually a hormone we make from the action of the sun’s ultraviolet rays on the cholesterol under our skin surface.

Folate and B12 reverse cervical dysplasia.

Beta carotene, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E reverse oral leukoplakia.

Vitamin C, along with selenium and calcium reverse colon polyps.

There are entire lines of supplements being devoted specifically to anti-cancer uses because they work to protect the cell, enhance the immune system or induce apoptosis.

Further Reading-Beating Cancer with Nutrition by Patrick Quillin, PhD. R.D.

Paula can be reached at 561-394-8490, Boca Wellness & Nutrition Services, 2220 N. Federal Hwy, Boca Raton, FL 33431

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reducing caloric intake by 250 – 500 per day for Diabetics choosing weight management

Have you ever experienced any of the symptoms listed below?

  • Numbness or burning sensations in the feet, ankles, legs or hands, fingers
  • Blurred or poor vision
  • Impotence
  • Fatigue
  • Poor wound healing
  • Frequent urination
  • Thirst unquenched by drinking water

These symptoms tend to be common in people with diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the most serious diseases causing death and disability in the United States. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) estimated that 20.8 Americans suffer from diabetes. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 is far more common than Type 1 and makes up 90% or more of all cases of diabetes. It has been associated with an increase in obesity and sedentary life style. Diabetes is considered to be an inflammatory disorder and is a leading contributor to heart disease.

According to numerous research articles and studies, Type 2 diabetes is highly preventable because Type 2 diabetes is more of a life-style related disorder. The goal of diabetes treatment is to maintain a healthy blood glucose level, which essentially means preventing the diabetes from being expressed. Although there are many ways to prevent and treat Type 2 diabetes medically, life style changes such as eating healthfully and exercising can be the most effective way to reduce percent body fat,  thus eliminating one of the potential risk factors. Surprisingly, successful lifestyle changes frequently eliminate the need for medications.

Food Style

According to the most recent studies to prevent and treat diabetes, people can stay healthy by eating the following foods:

  • Foods low in saturated and trans fats
  • Carbohydrates with a low glycemic index that are high in water soluble fiber
  • Fresh fruits with edible peels and skins
  • Organic vegetables prepared with a minimum of water and free of sauces
  • “Lean clean” proteins

 Healthy lean sources of protein such as skinless cage free poultry, cold water fatty fish, low fat or fat free organic dairy products, omega 3 organic eggs, and wild free-range (grass fed) red meats such as buffalo, bison and ostrich should be included at each meal and serve to buffer the release of sugar from the meal starches. If preferred, vegetarian sources of protein such as tofu, and combining grains (ex. brown rice) with legumes (ex. black beans) can also serve as protein at a meal, although they need to be taken into consideration since they also provide carbohydrates.

Sources of healthful mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats such as wild salmon, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, olives, avocados and nut butters with the oil skimmed off, as well as small amounts of organic virgin olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil and canola oil will add texture and flavor to the foods contributing to satiety (satisfaction).

 To control blood glucose levels, it is also helpful to monitor the amount as well as type of carbohydrate consumed. Since carbohydrate servings have a great effect on increasing blood glucose level, control portions of the following foods very carefully. Think of a portion as either the size of your closed fist (about the size of your heart) or the size of cup that most closely approximates your fist.

  • Grains (wheat, rye, spelt, oat, triticale, barley, quinoa, amaranth, millet, sorghum, etc)
  • Pastas (best are made of brown rice, quinoa, or whole grains with added omega 3 fats)
  • Rice (best are brown, black, wild, arborio, or sticky)
  • Breads (check for the word ‘whole’ as the first ingredient and grams of fiber higher than sugar)
  • Crackers (same as above for breads, there are also many new crackers made of novel grains)
  • Cereals (same as above for breads and crackers)
  • Starchy vegetables including corn, sweet potatoes and winter squashes (acorn, butternut, etc)
  • Legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils
  • Fruits
  • Dairy foods such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and cheeses

 Avoid sources of simple sugars such as fruit juices, honey, brown sugar, jams and jellies, fruit sauces and butters, sodas, sugar water drinks in the kool ade and power ade families, desserts made with simple sugars such as donuts, cakes, pies, cookies, candies, pastries; ice cream, sherbet, sorbet, and frozen yogurt as well as miscellaneous items such as gum and breath mints.

Limit sources of white flour which have a high glycemic index and become blood sugar very rapidly after consuming such as white breads, rolls, bagels, pita, flatbreads, crusts, buns, pretzels, crackers, wraps, pastas (even the spinach or tomato ones), white rice, white potato and any fried starches (chips, french fries, fried dough, etc)

 Exercise daily, aerobically, building up your duration as your stamina increases and your energy from your healthy food sustains your muscles’ fuel and movement. Best choices are anything you enjoy doing that you will continue to do regularly: bike, swim laps, walk, jog, treadmill, stationary bike, rowing machine, elliptical, stair stepper, hiking, mini-tramp,  etc. Optimum is 45 minutes per day of the same muscle movement. For variety, have both an indoor and outdoor activity you can rely on. Look for ways to also increase your lean muscle mass as these are your fat burners: weight resistant movement 2-3 times per week, preferably initially with a trainer to prevent injury and learn proper posture. Reducing 500 calories per day by eating 250 less and burning up 250 more will result in a 3500 calorie deficit over the course of a week, there are 3500 calories in 1 pound of stored body fat.

Supplements found to be especially helpful for blood sugar control include:

  • the minerals* magnesium, chromium and vanadium
  • the B vitamin* family
  • herbs from aryuvedic tradition such as fenugreek, bitter melon, gymnema sylvestre
  • the fatty acid GLA (gamma linoleic acid) which helps complete a particular enzymatic step in fat metabolism known to be deficient in diabetes
  • alpha lipoic acid which may help correct and prevent peripheral neuropathy
  • Co-enzyme Q10 to help support oxygenation of the tissues and mitochondrial function for energy

 *note, minerals and vitamins need to be in a particular form in order to be bio-available for both absorption and utilization of the tissues. It is best to work with a Registered Dietitian or Certified Clinical Nutritionist who is trained in how to evaluate your supplements for efficacy or who may be able to access lines of neutraceuticals especially formulated for therapeutic intervention that are not available over the counter.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Some surprising new information about VITAMIN D

by Paula H. Mendelsohn, MPH, RD, LD, CCN

Not too long ago, I had the privilege of hearing Dr, Michael Hollick speak at the Florida Dietetic Association annual state meeting. Dr. Hollick is considered to be the “Father” of the Vitamin D and sunlight movement. He shocked us with pictures of iguanas raised as pets inside the home with broken legs and fractured pelvises. He explained that without sunlight, these animals were basically being raised to have rickets and osteoporosis, their bones had become too fragile to support their weight. We all know iguanas love to bask in the sun, keeping them indoors was unnatural and deprived their bodies of the ability to make vitamin D.

Then he shocked us even more, when he explained that humans also used to thrive outdoors naked in the sunlight. By becoming ‘civilized and industrialized’, covering ourselves with clothing and living indoors and now with fears of skin cancer, coating our surfaces with sunscreen, we are becoming as the pet iguanas, at risk of vitamin D deficiency and the consequences, some of which include various cancers and auto-immune diseases.

I was inspired to share this information with my clients and students, and motivated to communicate a sufficient understanding of the situation, they would know how to protect themselves and prevent (and possibly reverse) the potential problems. When I asked my people to please have their vitamin D levels checked, we were very surprised to see almost everyone was deficient, and the average levels being measured were in the range of 17-24. And this was in south Florida, the “sunshine state”!

We now know that vitamin D is much more than just the vitamin that protects our bones. Vitamin D, (real name “cholecalciferol”) actually acts more like a hormone than a vitamin. Humans (and animals) can synthesize vitamin D from the action of ultraviolet light from the sun on the cholesterol just under our skin’s surface. We change the cholesterol into a new compound called 7-dehydrocholesterol. This new form then cycles through our liver and our kidney, each organ adding a tiny piece of chemical called a ‘hydroxyl group’. The newly formed fully functional vitamin D is referred to a 1,25-dihydroxy-cholecalciferol.  (The test for vitamin D is called 25-hydroxy vitamin D3 (subscript), this is the circulating form of vitamin D that is the best indicator of health status.)

What surprised scientists when they started to examine humans more closely, is that there are receptors for vitamin D in every tissue in our body, not just in our bones. We need vitamin D in order to have healthy brains, breasts, colons, livers, etc…everywhere in our bodies, the bones were just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.  So what are people supposed to do, go back to being naked and living outdoors? Obviously that’s not practical, however, it is recommended that to the best of our ability, we get about 20 minutes worth of direct sunlight several times per week on exposed skin. Just enough to turn pink, not to burn. How much vitamin D you make depends on your age, how much skin is uncovered, and your skin tone. Without sunblock and with arms and legs exposed, skin will make 10,000 to 15,000 units of vitamin D in one pinking sun exposure, on average. (Sunblock with an SPF of more than 15 blocks 100% of vitamin D production in the skin.)

If sun exposure is not an option, due to work or immobility or living so far north of the equator that direct sunlight is only available during a very few months of the year, then our primary tool is to supplement.  Even choosing foods that are good sources of vitamin D, will still not give us enough to stay healthy and prevent deficiency conditions without either direct sunlight or supplementation or both.

This brings up some interesting questions: How much vitamin D is recommended? What’s the best kind to take if we choose supplements? Is anyone at particular risk who may need extra?

One of the issues that compounds the situation is our laboratories are still using older levels as the ‘norms’, so when people get their vitamin D levels tested, they are told they are ‘normal. Well, heart disease, cancers of the colon, lung, and breast, and muscle/bone pain have also become ‘normal’ nowadays. All of these conditions would be improved and possibly prevented with adequate levels of vitamin D.

Another compounding issue is there are two commercially available forms of vitamin D. The regular prescription form and some over the counter versions are Vitamin D2 (subscript), called “ergocalciferol”. This is the plant form of vitamin D and is a good match up for plant receptors. The best form for humans and animals (even our pets may need supplementation if they are kept indoors) is the cholecalciferol form, D3 (subscript). Using the standard Vitamin D2 (subscript) form, takes an extra long time to restore vitamin D levels, even in the 50,000 IU dosage!

The following chart shows the levels and potential consequences of deficient and sufficient vitamin D:

< 10 ng/mL                Severely deficient

< 15 ng/mL

  • Risk of rickets

< 20 ng/mL

  • 75% greater risk of colon cancer

          < 30 ng/mL                 Deficient

  • Increased calcium loss from bones, osteoporosis
  • Poor wound healing
  • Increased muscle pain
  • Increased joint and back pain
  • Greater risk of depression
  • Increased diabetes
  • Increased schizophrenia
  • Increased migraines
  • Increased autoimmune disease (lupus, scleroderma)
  • Increased allergies
  • Increased preeclampsia
  • Increased inflammation

30–50 ng/mL               Suboptimal levels

< 34 ng/mL

  • Twice the risk of heart attack

< 36 ng/mL

  • Increased high blood pressure

< 40 ng/mL

  • Three times the risk of multiple sclerosis

50–80 ng/mL               Optimal levels

> 50 ng/mL

  • 50% reduction in breast cancer, decreased risk of all solid cancers

80–100 ng/mL

  • Slowing of cancer growth in patients with cancer

> 100 ng/mL               Possible increased risk of toxic symptoms                                                                          (hypercalcemia)

With my patients, I recommend 2000 IU of vitamin D if their levels are between 40 and 50, 5000 IU if levels are between 27 and 39, and 10,000 IU of vitamin D3 if levels are below 26. People of color, people with digestive challenges such as colitis or gluten sensitivity, and very obese people may require even more intervention to raise their Vitamin D to a protective-preventive level.


Paula Mendelsohn is a consulting nutritionist with Boca Wellness & Nutrition Services and the nutrition professor for the Lynn College of Nursing at Florida Atlantic University, both in Boca Raton.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Acqualina Wellness Expo

Don’t miss the Wellness Expo in Miami next Monday, May 30!

Local wellness advisors will offer information on  interesting topics like yoga, healthy foods, organic products and fitness.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Boca Wellness Goes Virtual

Yes! We found another way to provide the professional nutrition counseling and education that you are looking for.

In order to be closer to you and your loved ones, Boca Wellness is entering the social media world!

This blog will be our channel to let you know about interesting research articles, healthy tips and useful recommendations for your everyday life.

Stay posted!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment