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Why you’re still low in Vitamin D (and it’s not about sunlight)

If you’ve ever suffered from low energy levels, fatigue, trouble waking up in the morning, depression in winter months or just a general lack of enthusiasm over things, you probably ended up on a standard “why do I feel tired or sad all the time?” google search and concluded that you may be low in Vitamin D. You might have even followed up with a test from your doctor to confirm that you are indeed deficient. But, do you know why you are actually low in Vitamin D, even in summer months when, in theory, just a short exposure to the sun should refill your reserves?  Or even if you consume foods (such as dairy products or soy milk), which are “fortified” with Vitamin D?

There's more than meets the eye with Vitamin D...

There’s more than meets the eye with Vitamin D…

What is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all; it’s a hormone. Your body makes its own Vitamin D when you expose your skin to direct sunlight (that is, not while using sunscreen) for 10-20 minutes per day, depending on where you live. In North America, for example, you can get Vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays during the months of March-October. In winter, your body should have enough reserve so you don’t run low.

You get sun a lot, so why still low?

Here’s the important missing link with Vitamin D: Your body must have magnesium in order to synthesize Vitamin D. And most people are deficient in magnesium, due to a number of reasons. Magnesium is known as the “relaxing mineral” because it helps to calm the central nervous system and relax the muscles, especially during times of stress. Given the high-stress fast-paced round-the-clock lives people are living today, it’s no wonder their magnesium gets burned out, literally on a daily basis. Magnesium is also one mineral that’s difficult to absorb, even in a good digestive system. And who has one of those anymore? A compromised gut, or a leaky gut, will not absorb nutrients well at all.

With no magnesium to make your Vitamin D, you can see how you can never have normal Vitamin D levels. Even if you live in a country with 360 days a year of sun. No wonder people in sunny climates are still low in Vitamin D and are going to the doctor for their D shots year after year.

Getting your Vitamin D levels up is much more about having magnesium than it is about exposure to sun!

The Magnesium Miracle

Magnesium helps you have good energy levels through the day, maintains balanced blood sugars, strengthens kidneys, keeps blood and circulation strong, and is critical for managing stress. In fact, it’s so important for overall health that there’s a book called The Magnesium Miracle. And really, when you start getting the magnesium that your body has been waiting for, it literally feels like a miracle!

By the way, if you happen to crave sugar or chocolate (especially at night), that’s a sure sign of magnesium deficiency! Also, much of your mental health in general can improve with a daily boost of magnesium, which literally helps to calm the nerves.

How I have perfect Vitamin D levels

Yep, you guessed it…I take a magnesium supplement. Every. Single. Day. Summer. And. Winter. Too. And I say that because most people who will buy a new supplement will eventually forget to keep taking it, only for the bottle to become a wonderful collector of dust long forgotten for its original glory. Don’t let that happen with your magnesium! Take it daily, forever. And ever.

How much and what kind of magnesium? I recommend Magnesium Citrate, because it’s easily absorbed (and remember, most people do have compromised gut health). The RDA for magnesium is 400-600mg daily but here’s the deal. Your body (and blood sugars) will benefit from having magnesium all day long, not just one big hit in the morning or night. Otherwise you will be more likely to feel frazzled and start craving sugar at the other end of the day when your magnesium is running low. That’s why I recommend to take 200mg THREE TIMES per day, morning noon and night. With or without food is ok.

You’ll get plenty of other benefits from magnesium too. But most importantly in relation to Vitamin D levels, your body will finally be able to synthesize its own Vitamin D!

If you’re wondering what the signs of magnesium deficiency are, then check out this article I wrote on magnesium deficiency here.

The proof: Test results

I’ve never taken a Vitamin D shot in my life, or a D supplement for that matter. But 1.5 years ago I moved to Asheville NC with my husband, which is pretty cloudy and cold in wither months to say the least! Our first winter, I was pretty much indoors working all the time. And I must admit I did start to wonder about my Vitamin D levels -are they normal? Should I get tested? I wonder if I’m low since I haven’t seen the sun in months??

In February, I flew to Bangkok for work and decided to go straightaway and get a blood test, just to know for sure (nothing wrong with that and I highly recommend you do the same with your medical doctor).  The blood test that measures vitamin D is called a 25(OH)D blood test. The result? 100% normal levels of Vitamin D. My D3 levels were 45.6 ng/ml (considered sufficient above 30 ng/ml and very good above 40 ng/ml). Above 40 ng/ml, vitamin D is working well to regulate the level of parathyroid hormone and calcium in the body.

All I can say to that is THANK YOU magnesium!!

Health benefits of Vitamin D

Not to forget why Vitamin D is valuable (and important) for your health..Here are the reasons why your body needs Vitamin D in order to work properly:

  • Helps to absorb calcium and promote good bone density
  • Sustains good joint health
  • Maintains good energy levels
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps strengthen blood

Signs you may have a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Low calcium levels
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue/low energy levels
  • Depression/melancholy
  • Muscle cramping/weakness
  • Joint pain

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Detox:

More on Immune System:

Why you’re still low in Vitamin D (and it’s not about sunlight)

If you’ve ever suffered from low energy levels, fatigue, trouble waking up in the morning, depression in winter months or just a general lack of enthusiasm over things, you probably ended up on a standard “why do I feel tired or sad all the time?” google search and concluded that you may be low in Vitamin D. You might have even followed up with a test from your doctor to confirm that you are indeed deficient. But, do you know why you are actually low in Vitamin D, even in summer months when, in theory, just a short exposure to the sun should refill your reserves?  Or even if you consume foods (such as dairy products or soy milk), which are “fortified” with Vitamin D?

There's more than meets the eye with Vitamin D...

There’s more than meets the eye with Vitamin D…

What is Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all; it’s a hormone. Your body makes its own Vitamin D when you expose your skin to direct sunlight (that is, not while using sunscreen) for 10-20 minutes per day, depending on where you live. In North America, for example, you can get Vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays during the months of March-October. In winter, your body should have enough reserve so you don’t run low.

You get sun a lot, so why still low?

Here’s the important missing link with Vitamin D: Your body must have magnesium in order to synthesize Vitamin D. And most people are deficient in magnesium, due to a number of reasons. Magnesium is known as the “relaxing mineral” because it helps to calm the central nervous system and relax the muscles, especially during times of stress. Given the high-stress fast-paced round-the-clock lives people are living today, it’s no wonder their magnesium gets burned out, literally on a daily basis. Magnesium is also one mineral that’s difficult to absorb, even in a good digestive system. And who has one of those anymore? A compromised gut, or a leaky gut, will not absorb nutrients well at all.

With no magnesium to make your Vitamin D, you can see how you can never have normal Vitamin D levels. Even if you live in a country with 360 days a year of sun. No wonder people in sunny climates are still low in Vitamin D and are going to the doctor for their D shots year after year.

Getting your Vitamin D levels up is much more about having magnesium than it is about exposure to sun!

The Magnesium Miracle

Magnesium helps you have good energy levels through the day, maintains balanced blood sugars, strengthens kidneys, keeps blood and circulation strong, and is critical for managing stress. In fact, it’s so important for overall health that there’s a book called The Magnesium Miracle. And really, when you start getting the magnesium that your body has been waiting for, it literally feels like a miracle!

By the way, if you happen to crave sugar or chocolate (especially at night), that’s a sure sign of magnesium deficiency! Also, much of your mental health in general can improve with a daily boost of magnesium, which literally helps to calm the nerves.

How I have perfect Vitamin D levels

Yep, you guessed it…I take a magnesium supplement. Every. Single. Day. Summer. And. Winter. Too. And I say that because most people who will buy a new supplement will eventually forget to keep taking it, only for the bottle to become a wonderful collector of dust long forgotten for its original glory. Don’t let that happen with your magnesium! Take it daily, forever. And ever.

How much and what kind of magnesium? I recommend Magnesium Citrate, because it’s easily absorbed (and remember, most people do have compromised gut health). The RDA for magnesium is 400-600mg daily but here’s the deal. Your body (and blood sugars) will benefit from having magnesium all day long, not just one big hit in the morning or night. Otherwise you will be more likely to feel frazzled and start craving sugar at the other end of the day when your magnesium is running low. That’s why I recommend to take 200mg THREE TIMES per day, morning noon and night. With or without food is ok.

You’ll get plenty of other benefits from magnesium too. But most importantly in relation to Vitamin D levels, your body will finally be able to synthesize its own Vitamin D!

If you’re wondering what the signs of magnesium deficiency are, then check out this article I wrote on magnesium deficiency here.

The proof: Test results

I’ve never taken a Vitamin D shot in my life, or a D supplement for that matter. But 1.5 years ago I moved to Asheville NC with my husband, which is pretty cloudy and cold in wither months to say the least! Our first winter, I was pretty much indoors working all the time. And I must admit I did start to wonder about my Vitamin D levels -are they normal? Should I get tested? I wonder if I’m low since I haven’t seen the sun in months??

In February, I flew to Bangkok for work and decided to go straightaway and get a blood test, just to know for sure (nothing wrong with that and I highly recommend you do the same with your medical doctor).  The blood test that measures vitamin D is called a 25(OH)D blood test. The result? 100% normal levels of Vitamin D. My D3 levels were 45.6 ng/ml (considered sufficient above 30 ng/ml and very good above 40 ng/ml). Above 40 ng/ml, vitamin D is working well to regulate the level of parathyroid hormone and calcium in the body.

All I can say to that is THANK YOU magnesium!!

Health benefits of Vitamin D

Not to forget why Vitamin D is valuable (and important) for your health..Here are the reasons why your body needs Vitamin D in order to work properly:

  • Helps to absorb calcium and promote good bone density
  • Sustains good joint health
  • Maintains good energy levels
  • Boosts immune system
  • Helps strengthen blood

Signs you may have a Vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Low calcium levels
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue/low energy levels
  • Depression/melancholy
  • Muscle cramping/weakness
  • Joint pain

For more on how to achieve your health goals and actually start feeling great, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

More on Detox:

More on Immune System:

How to Quit Smoking Naturally

When you decide to quit smoking, you need to support your body nutritionally through the transition, withdrawal and detox process. If you do everything correctly, you’ll have a much better chance of long-term success. Years of smoking cigarettes make the body more toxic and acidic and the first step in detoxification is to eat an alkaline diet.

Repair Free Radical Damage

A daily Green Smoothie is the perfect alkaline food to bring your body back to a healthy pH. The fiber in the smoothie helps to sweep out toxins through the bowel, naturally. Greens are high in chlorophyll and the chlorophyll helps to repair free radical damage caused by the toxins in the cigarettes. Greens also help to stabilize blood sugar levels and that will be much needed as the body rebalances its adrenals.

Green Smoothie: A Daily Detox & High Nutrient Boost

Green Smoothie: A Daily Detox & High Nutrient Boost

Support the body through Nicotine Withdrawal

One of the main minerals that become deficient through smoking cigarettes is magnesium. Magnesium is used to relax the muscles but it is also used in the body’s natural heavy metal detox process, and when you take in heavy metal toxins from habitual use of cigarettes, you can imagine that any excess magnesium reserve gets burned out very quickly (no pun intended!). As a non-smoker, you will need to rebuild your magnesium levels, and especially if you want to feel relaxed naturally (Magnesium is called ‘The Relaxing Mineral’). Guess what one of the foods highest in magnesium is? Greens! Any dark, leafy green that you add to a Green Smoothie will be naturally high in magnesium. Especially for anyone who is trying to quit smoking, I recommend an additional supplement of 1 Tbsp. kelp powder or 1 Tbsp. Magnesium Citrate powder in your daily Green Smoothie for an added magnesium boost. Kelp is the highest food in magnesium, weighing in at 760 milligrams of Magnesium per 3 ½ ounces or 100 g serving.

Clean up Free-Radical Damage

Smoking creates a lot of free radical damage, or internal rust, from the toxins directly ingested with every puff. The added magnesium increases antioxidants which are then used to break down the free-radical buildup, all part of the detoxification process. Vitamin C is another natural antioxidant. If you add fresh pineapple, mango, orange or lemon to your daily Green Smoothie, you’re getting plenty of Vitamin C. Dark, leafy green vegetables are also a high source of Vitamin C. Add a handful of fresh parsley or watercress to your Green Smoothie to get your natural boost of daily Vitamin C.

Balance Mood Swings with Tryptophan and Tyrosine

In additional to adding more magnesium to your diet, I also recommend taking 500 mg of L-Tryptophan at night before bed and 500 mg of L-Tyrosine in the morning before breakfast for anyone who just quit smoking and is going through the transition off of nicotine. Tryptophan and Tyrosine are both amino acids that help with mood elevation and balancing. Tryptophan stimulates the brain to make its own serotonin, and that in turn helps you relax and improves sleep. Tyrosine triggers the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine, the ‘alertness chemicals,’ and those help to stimulate focused brain thought and improved concentration. All of this will help with any feelings of depression that may arise during the transition and withdrawal process. If you’ve been smoking for a long time, I recommend taking both of these supplements for 6 months at a minimum.

Think Detox & Alkaline Diet!

The combination of supplements – Tryptophan and Tyrosine – plus a daily Green Smoothie naturally high in magnesium, chlorophyll, minerals, fiber and alkalinity will give you the best recipe and natural cure for how to stop smoking, once and for all. When you give the body the minerals it needs and support the brain with amino acids, you minimize feelings and symptoms of withdrawal. When you support the body through natural detoxification, you feel better faster. Green Smoothies are the key to your success!

Drink Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens so you get easily get you daily dose of Magnesium, naturally.

Did you know that lack of Magnesium can lead to massive sugar cravings, mood swings, muscle cramps, irritability, trouble sleeping, constipation and fatigue? Your body really works as a whole. A deficiency in one area can lead to other problems somewhere else.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health. When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Detox and pH Health:

What Magnesium Deficiency Can Do to Your Health

By not having your daily greens, you could be setting yourself up for Magnesium deficiency. When the body is low in Magnesium, many imbalances in health can result, including heart problems, anxiety, kidney disease, constipation, osteoporosis, chronic fatique and even depression.

Green Leafy Vegetables for Health!

Green Leafy Vegetables for Health!

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, Magnesium is of therapeutic value in treating a myriad of symptoms.

Top 15 Health Conditions Related to Magnesium Deficiency:

1. Anxiety and panic attacks: Magnesium normally helps keep adrenal stress hormones under control.

2. Asthma: Both histamine production and bronchial spasms increase with magnesium deficiency.

3. Blood clots: Magnesium has an important role to play in preventing blood clots and keeping the blood thin without any side effects.

4. Bowel disease: Magnesium deficiency slows down the bowel, causing constipation, which could lead to toxicity and mal-absorption of nutrients as well as colitis.

5. Cystitis: Bladder spasms are worsened by magnesium deficiency.

6. Depression: Serotonin, which elevates mood, is dependent on magnesium. A magnesium deficient brain is also more susceptible to allergens, foreign substances that in rare instances can cause symptoms similar to mental illness.

7. Detoxification: Magnesium is crucial for the removal of toxic substances and heavy metals such as aluminum and lead from the body.

8. Diabetes: Magnesium enhances insulin secretion, facilitating sugar metabolism. Without magnesium, insulin is not able to transfer glucose into cells. Glucose and insulin build up in the blood, causing various types of tissue damage.

9. Fatigue: Magnesium-deficient patients commonly experience fatigue because dozens of enzyme systems are under functioning. An early symptom of magnesium deficiency is fatigue.

10. Heart disease: Magnesium deficiency is common in people with heart disease. Magnesium is administered and hospitals for acute myocardial infarction and cardiac arrhythmia. Like any other muscle, the heart requires magnesium. Magnesium is also used to treat angina, or chest pain.

11. Hypoglycemia: Magnesium keeps insulin under control; without magnesium, episodes of low blood sugar can result.

12. Insomnia: Sleeper regulating melatonin production is disturbs without sufficient magnesium.

13. Kidney disease: Magnesium deficiency contributes to atherosclerotic kidney failure. Magnesium deficiency creates abnormal lipid levels and worsening blood sugar control in kidney transplant patients.

14. Migraine: Serotonin balance is magnesium-dependent. Deficiency of serotonin can result in migraine headaches and depression.

15. Osteoporosis: Use of calcium with vitamin D to enhance calcium absorption without balancing amount of magnesium causes further magnesium deficiency, which triggers a cascade of events leading to bone loss.

Having a Green Smoothie every day is the best way to start getting your body back into balance with the nutrients it needs, naturally. To enrich your diet with Magnesium, increase consumption of green vegetables, nuts, seeds legumes and unprocessed grains. Of course, a daily Green Smoothie will do this for you! Add 1 Tbsp. dried organic Kelp powder to you Green Smoothie for the highest Magnesium-density food there is (100g Kelp has 760mg Magnesium). Add 1 Tbsp. organic Molasses for more Magnesium (100g Molasses has 258mg Magnesium). Molasses is especially good for pregnant women to avoid cramps and premature labor…yes, that can be caused from a simple lack of magnesium!

The Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for Magnesium is 400-600mg daily. For a supplement, you can take 200mg three times daily.

For additional Magnesium, you can also apply Magnesium Oil or Magnesium Spray to your underarms or wrists every day. Or take an epsom salt bath! Known as Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, this is a really good way to supplement the natural diet. There’s a good book on this subject called Transdermal Magnesium Therapy by Marc Sircus. Other foods high in Magnesium include brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans and filberts. Apricots, dates, figs and avocado are also good sources of Magnesium.

If your goal is to achieve excellent health and longevity, then a good diet filled with natural, whole and pure foods is the key.

Looking for Green Smoothie recipes to eat more high Magnesium foods?

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens so you get easily get you daily dose of Magnesium, naturally.

Did you know that lack of Magnesium can lead to massive sugar cravings? Perhaps you can start to see how your body really works as a whole. A deficiency in one area can lead to other problems somewhere else.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health. When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Skin Cleansing:

More on Liver Cleansing:

 

Think your Mediterranean Green Olives are a ‘safe, clean’ food? Think again!

I continue to try to dispel the myth that I hear over and over again when people tell me, “But I don’t eat processed foods” or “I NEVER eat Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)” or “the veggie restaurant I go to doesn’t use any additives in their food.”

What I hope to teach is that we have to be responsible for what we put in our mouths.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are all flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods. They overstimulate the taste in food, making a bland food taste exceptionally good. They also overstimulate the brain, and are known as “excito-toxins”. They can be listed either by the food additive name or by the food additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’): 621, 635, 631 and 627.

Legally, these food additives can also be ‘disguised’ in terms such as spices, yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavors, flavoring, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, torula yeast, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, and monocalcium glutamate.

Of course, these additives can also be listed by their real name, as in the case of the examples below. But would you think that a simple can or jar of olives would contain flavor enhancers to chemically alter the taste? Well, they can!

In this blog post, we look at Mediterranean Green Olives, all exported from Spain. I found these particular items in a supermarket in Bolivia, South America, but you will recognize these brands in any supermarket in the world.

Ybarra Green Olives, a product of Spain, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the first example, we look at Ybarra Green Olives stuffed with Jalapeños (or Aceitunas Verdes Rellenas in Spanish). Looking right on the list of ingredients, you will clearly see Monosodium Glutamate (or Glutamato Monosodico in Spanish). Looking on the Ybarra website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. However, I did find the following statement:

“We care about our consumers’ health. That’s why we include nutritional labels on all our products to communicate, in a transparent way, nutritional information and ingredients of each one of them.”

Well, I do thank them for that!

Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Pepper, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the next example, we look at Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Paprikou, or Pepper. Again, right on the list of ingredients it is easy to see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Carbonell website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. Interestingly enough, I did find the following 2 statements:

“Carbonell olives with Pimento Pepper paste are allergen-free” and “Carbonell black olives are allergen-free.”

There was no mention of the Green Olive with Pepper, Monosodium Glutamate or any other allergen information on the website.

Fragata Green Olives with Pimento, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Finally, we look at Fragata Spanish Green Olives stuffed with Pimento. On the list of ingredients, we can quickly see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Fragata website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. (Are we seeing a pattern here?)

What do you want to see on the list of ingredients?

Ripe olives, water, salt.

When buying olives in a jar or can, try to stay away from flavored olives (like lemon, garlic or pimento). Anything flavored is much more likely to contain MSG. Plain is your safest bet.

If you see the word “spices” or “natural flavorings” on the ingredient list of olives, don’t buy it! In the USA, I find that food companies are a bit more savy, and they use other ingredients which already contain MSG and them hide it in the term “spices.” All legal, of course.

What are the best olives to buy?

The best olives to buy are fresh, organic olives cured naturally with fresh lemon, fresh garlic or fresh herbs. My favorite place to buy fresh green or black olives is at the Friday organic market outside of Shuk Hanamal at Tel Aviv Port, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Once you taste a real fresh olive, you will quickly understand the inferior quality and flavor from a jarred or canned olive full of chemical additives.

A “clean diet” must be MSG-free!

All of this information may seem overwhelming at first, but isn’t it time to learn the truth? Especially if on your “clean and safe” diet, you are still experiencing migraines, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, restless leg syndrome, dizziness, vertigo, irritability, moodiness, depression, sensitivity to sound and light and/or a general feeling of malaise and lack of energy?

Even small amounts of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in the diet, as little as 3-4 times per week, can make a person symptomatic for the entire week. Imagine how someone may feel when they are unknowingly eating MSG 3-4 times per day!

Not everyone will experience the same exact symptoms, because flavor enhancers like MSG will over-stimulate the brain in individuals in different ways, depending on their body chemistry and sensitivity. Look at the rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and autism absolutely sky-rocketing every year and compare that to the amounts of flavor enhancers (or excito-toxins) hidden in foods and in the diet, and it will quickly become apparent that we are facing an epidemic with the chemical additives in our food.

Solution:

Always look at the ingredients before making a decision to buy. It’s takes less than 30 seconds, and over time, you will know what brands are safe and what brands are not. In restaurants, you always have to be careful, because waitstaff and even chefs are simply not trained on the level of food additive allergies and intolerances. In restaurants, I only order salads with no dressing and a side of lemon or lime. If there are canned or jarred olives on the salad, I don’t eat them.

More on Food Additives: