The BlogHappiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. Gandhi
If you’ve been to a health food store or natural pharmacy lately looking for a vitamin D supplement, the selection can be quite overwhelming. Tablets, capsules, liquids, multivitamins. Do multivitamins have enough D, or do I need another supplement? What about dosage? 400IU? 50,000IU? That last number is a joke, vitamin D is not available over the counter in that high a potency, and thank goodness! It is a hormone, after all!
In this post I’ll explain which supplement form of vitamin D I prefer and why.
Another layer to the vitamin D puzzle is understanding which form is best to take. In total, there are four different types of vitamin D. Yikes! No wonder it’s confusing! I’ll run through each one to clear up any befuddlement, then I’ll give you my opinion on which is best as a supplement.
Sometimes when people come to see me they’ve already been supplementing with vitamin D. First, I like to check their levels, as I discussed in Part 1. Next, I tackle what their previous experience taking vitamin D was like.
Vitamin D supplementation protocols are all over the map. Lots of docs gravitate toward high doses given once a week. Other docs prefer high dosing for 1-2 months then rechecking your levels. Still others recommend a low and slow approach that involves long term, small, frequent dosing. All strive for the same goal of optimal vitamin D levels, but the journeys to achieve said levels are vastly different.
I’m definitely in the low and slow camp. Let me tell you why.
January and February are traditionally rough months for the good people of Seattle. It’s back to work after the holiday season, the rain and gloom can be relentless, and even though the days are getting longer, they are still quite dark.
This past December was one of the darkest on record in Seattle, and many people are feeling the effects of the lack of light. I always start to get more questions about the sunshine vitamin, or vitamin D, around this time. A very common question that arises is, “Should I take vitamin D?”
When most people think about the benefits of an acupuncture treatment, they think about pain relief.
Acupuncture is an amazing pain relieving tool, but it is just one component of Chinese medicine, which is a comprehensive healthcare system. Acupuncture, herbs, qi gong, tai chi, and Tui na (Chinese bodywork) represented the medical modalities the Chinese population relied upon exclusively for thousands of years.
It is a system that can treat a wide variety of conditions safely and effectively, and it can help you not only recover your health, but maintain it. It is a wonderful modality for both preventing and treating illness.
Last week I mentioned that the duration of an illness depends on two things:
1) virulence or strength of a pathogen
2) the state of your immune system and health
I covered #1 last week, and this week we’ll talk about #2.
There seems to be an idea out there that a healthy immune system is one that never allows you to get sick. This simply isn’t true.
Is it really a bad thing to get sick? I say whole heartedly, unequivocally, no! It is not a bad thing to get sick! I realize right about now you think I’m a little crazy, so allow me to explain all the wonderful things acute illness does for your body!
1) I want to address what everyone hates about getting sick: the symptoms. The body aches, nausea, fever, chills, headache, sore throat, and fatigue. Brings back great memories, doesn’t it?
But seriously, these symptoms of acute illness are miserable and uncomfortable. People tend to start hating their bodies when they get sick, and ask questions like “Why are you doing this to me?!” Ah, if only your body had the vocal apparatus to speak, it would yell back at you, “What am I doing to you? What are you doing to ME? Don’t you understand I’m telling you to slow down and rest!” Your body is communicating with you; it’s just that most of us prefer not to pay attention. We’ve got a presentation or important meeting, and we want our body to continue operating like a well oiled machine we never have to think about.
The symptoms your body creates exist for a reason. Your throat gets sore because your immune system is working overtime to kill off the pathogen. At first, only cells in the immediate area are drawn into the fight. These cells then release inflammatory and immune signaling chemicals called cytokines to recruit immune cells from all over the body. The cytokines are what produce the systemic symptoms like body aches and fever (check out my future post on fever!).
If you develop body aches, fever, and feel generally under the weather, you know your immune system is working hard to destroy the invading organism. These symptoms are an essential part of a healthy immune response, and it’s best to take a hot bath and let your body do its work.
2) The most amazing aspect of acute illness is that it can actually leave you healthier on the other side. Yep, it’s true. It goes back to an old naturopathic idea about discharge. Discharge is any physical, mental, or emotional excretion from the body. It can be a runny nose after a cold, working out at the gym to burn off stress and to sweat, or a creative outlet that acts as an emotional release.
Your body needs to process and discharge everything it experiences. Discharge is healthy. In healthy individuals, the body does this slowly throughout the day in multiple ways. However, many people don’t have enough daily discharge to keep them healthy. Emotions stay pent up, people don’t drink enough water for waste metabolites to be excreted, or cough suppressants are taken after a chest cold.
Acute illness provides a way for your body to rapidly discharge a lot of accumulation. The more intense the pathogen, the more deeply your body is cleaned out. The discharge in acute illness happens in the early stages (sweating, vomiting, diarrhea) and later stages (mucus in the lungs and sinuses) of the sickness.
Most people feel significantly better in the later stages of illness, after the fever has broken. This is because the cytokine storm has settled down, and your body is now able to function better overall. Large amounts of discharge from acute illness is like a spring cleaning for your body. It gets to rid itself of metabolic and emotional debris that has been impeding its health for the last 6 months or year. The deeper the pathogen goes, the more stuff your body is able to discharge.
So, next time you are feverish, achy, coughing up mucus or blowing your nose a lot, know that your body is working for you. It’s getting rid of accumulated junk and leaving you healthier on the other side. The experience is still uncomfortable and miserable, but sometimes it helps to know things will be better on the other side and that your body is doing what’s best for you. Discharge is a great thing!
The flu has begun making its rounds again, and it’s a more intense mutation of the virus than we’ve seen in a few years. People are staying under the weather for weeks with coughs and sinus issues, and the recovery process is slow.
With a more severe pathogen afoot, people are on the hunt for ways to avoid exposure to the virus and minimize the possibility of becoming sick. Many start taking extra vitamin C or scour the internet for herbal immune support products. These things can certainly be helpful, but the best way to boost your immune system and prevent illness is to work from within. I’ve outlined 5 simple and free ways to tune up your immune system.