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Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D has been in the news a lot recently.  This important vitamin has been strongly associated with preventing cardiovascular disease, preventing autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, lowering cancer risks, and helping to prevent diabetes.1 Vitamin D seems to be a miracle nutrient for helping to fight many serious diseases, and yet vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States.2  One reason may be because it is difficult to get vitamin D from your diet. Very few foods are natural sources of vitamin D. The main source of vitamin D for humans is sunlight. Mid-day sun exposure causes cells in the skin to produce vitamin D.

Unfortunately, most Americans don't spend enough time outside, sans sunscreen, to get sufficient sunlight on their skin to satisfy their normal daily requirement of vitamin D. It is usually necessary to supplement this crucial nutrient by taking vitamin D3 capsules or by consuming things that are fortified with Vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, and other foods.  For strong, healthy bones Vitamin D can assist the absorption of the mineral calcium in the intestinal tract.  Vitamin D also assists bone cells in utilizing calcium to create new bone. In adults, new bone is only built when it is needed, such as when the body is exposed to mechanical stress. Exercise is the best kind of mechanical stress to stimulate this bone-building mechanism.

It takes more than just taking a bunch of supplements each day to experience the greatest benefits. It is also important to make exercise a regular part of our lifestyle to truly get the most out of the nutrition we provide our bodies. When we perform weight-bearing exercise such as walking, bicycling, sprinting, and strength training - our bodies respond by creating new muscle tissue, but also new bone as well. This is a commonly known physiologic principle called Wolff's Law, which dictates that bone will remodel along the lines of physiologic stress.

In other words, bone responds to mechanical challenges by building more bone. The result is bones with increased density and strength.  Bones that are stronger and more dense are significantly less likely to fracture.  Exercise is very important when striving to prevent the typical loss of bone mass that causes osteoporosis in so many postmenopausal women and seniors. Chiropractic care helps to assist these metabolic processes. All of our metabolic processes are controlled by signals from the nerve system. These nerve impulses help our cells to know when to begin and end these complex biochemical processes. Chiropractic care can help to make sure your nervous system is free of interference so that your cells receive the proper signals they need for optimal health and well-being.

Your Millar chiropractic physician is experienced in nutritional health and wellness, and he or she can help develop a nutrition plan that is suited to you.

1 Cavalier E, et al:Vitamin D: current status and perspectives.Clin Chem Lab Med 47:1, 2009
Holick Me, Chen TC: Vitamin D deficiency: a worldwide problem with health consequences. Am J Clin Nutr 87(4):10805-10865, 2008


Minimize Your Risk of Osteoporosis

It is a common fear in many seniors that they will develop osteoporosis. When someone with osteoporosis falls and breaks their hip, it usually takes longer for them to recover, and they may never be as fully-functional as they were previously. Hip fractures in the elderly may even be fatal at times, if the  person ends up with a blood clot making its way to a major blood vessel in the brain or to the lungs.

So it is worthwhile to make an effort to prevent osteoporosis.

The excellent news is that prevention is not difficult, though it does necessitate a certain amount of attention, work, and discipline.

The most important things you can do to minimize your risk of osteoporosis is to make sure you get enough vitamin D and calcium, and to exercise regularly.

Even if you're an older person who hasn't exercised in many years, now is the time to make the effort . Make sure to get your medical doctor's approval, especially if you've been sedentary or have any health issues.  Also see your chiropractic physician for guidance regarding the exercises that are best for you.

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