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May 2008 posts

Vitamin D- Why are we hearing so much about it?

Many of you have been asking about Vitamin D because your primary care physician has recently tested your Vitamin D levels or you have read an article about its importance or simply you know that it is important. 

It is well documented that there is a high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in Western societies.ViatminD   Surprisingly, we a also finding this to be true of our sunniest states such as Florida and Arizona.  This is because the fear of skin cancer has lead many to avoid sun exposure or use sun screens to protect their skin. 

In the past, 400 IU of Vitamin D was thought to be a sufficient amount to raise Vitamin D levels.  We now know that we need more like 1000IU- 2000IU per day to raise a low Vitamin D level to the normal range. 

Vitamin D levels are know to reduce osteoporosis risk by keeping bone mass high and possibly decrease the incidence of some cancers and autoimmune diseases.  Therefore, until more is known, it would be smart to limit vitamin D supplementation for most healthy individuals to 2000IU per day or less, the dose that the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set as being probably safe for the general population. 

Nasal Irrigation may provide the Relief you need during Allergy season

When it comes to spring allergies, colds, sinus congestion, post-nasal drip and a stuffy nose, don't forget about this cheap and extremely effective way of cleaning out the nasal and sinus cavities. 

Nasal irrigation involves rinsing the nose and nasal passages with a saline solution made with warm water, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and optional 1/4 teaspoon baking soda. 

There are a number of ways to use this solution.  Many pharmacies sell 4oz. bottles that you fill and squeeze the solution up through the nasal passages and out through the other nostril.

Many prefer a Netti pot, which actually looks like a miniature tea pot.  With this method, the solution is poured into one nostril and out another instead of squeezed.   

I have found nasal irrigation extremely beneficial when it comes to sinus problems.  Of course, it is always a good idea to find out why you are having the sinus problems and treat the cause.

Alison Finger, ND

Five Rules of Thumb from the book, In Defense of Food

When Michael Pollan says, "just eat food," you may think, that's simple.  Because of the thousands of products that line our grocery isles, we are left in a current state of confusion.  The general guidelines below will help us navigate those confusing shopping trips.

  1. Don't Eat Anything Your Great Grandmother Wouldn't Recognize As Food.

By going back this far, we are avoiding most modern foods.  Some examples would include: cereal bars, Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt, Corn chips, non-dairy creamers, protein or vitamin enhanced waters. 

    2.  Avoid Food Products Containing Ingredients that are A) Unfamiliar, B) Unpronounceable, C) More Than Five In Number, or that include D) High-Fructose Corn Syrup. 

The above are all markers to alert us to foods that have been highly processed.

    3.  Avoid Food Products That Make Health Claims.

In order for a food to have a "health claim" it has a package, which means it has been processed to some point.  Typically it is the big food companies that have the resources to secure a FDA-approved health claim.  A recent example of this would be all of the new and improved yogurt on the market enhanced with probiotics.   

    4.  Shop the Peripheries of the Supermarket and Stay Out of the Middle.

Most supermarkets are set up the same way with processed foods in the middle and fresh produce, meat and dairy around the perimeters. 

    5.  Get Out Of The Supermarket Whenever Possible.

Fresh, whole foods are found at Farmers' Markets, CSA programs (community supported agriculture) and your own garden.  Eating local is picked ripe, it travels a smaller distance to get to your table, and the foods are in season.  This means fresher, tastier, and more nutritious food. 

So, go out and find your local Farmer's Market, CSA or get your hands dirty in your own garden.  Doylestown Farmer's Market is located at State & Hamilton Streets, Doylestown, Pa.
Saturdays 7:00AM to 12:00 Noon or go to www.localharvest.org for more information. 

Eat Well,

Alison Finger, ND

Gilda's Club

I had the wonderful opportunity to speak at Gilda's Club.  I was invited to speak at their beautiful clubhouse in Warminster on Tuesday evening.  The talk was very simply an introduction to Naturopathic Medicine, including the history of Naturopathic Medicine, the training of a Naturopathic Doctor,philosophy of healing, and the treatments we use to support the body to heal itself.  I talked on the benefits of Naturopathic care to support the patient who has been diagnosed with cancer.  The aim is to reduce the risk and or prevent recurrence.  Working in the area of oncology, Naturopathic Medicine recognizes the optimal use of all available and safe resources.  Some of these include diet and nutrition programs, daily movement, a healthy environment, mental and emotional support and techniques for self-care.   We also look to support the body to strengthen the immune response and decrease side effects of conventional therapies.  Naturopathic medicine works very well in conjunction with conventional medical treatments.

For more information on Gilda's Club:

Gilda's Club Delaware Valley

200 Kirk Road

P.O. Box 3187

Warminster, PA 18974


Be Well,