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Sun Exposure and Your Health

We’ve all been told that it’s a good idea to get a little sunshine each day. Reasons include the fact that this helps generate a bit of vitamin D, and that we basically just feel better when we’re exposed to this component of nature!

But new research may strengthen the sunshine recommendation. A new study, Moderate UV Exposure Enhances Learning and Memory by Promoting a Novel Glutamate Biosynthetic Pathway in the Brain, appeared in the journal Cell demonstrates how UV light exposure actually enhances memory function in laboratory animals. These researchers showed that when laboratory rats were exposed to moderate amounts of UV light, a biosynthetic pathway was activated that caused increased production of the neurotransmitter glutamate in various brain regions. Further, these animals were then shown to have improvement in specific forms of memory that involve both motor activity as well as object recognition.

The researchers stated:

Although overexposure to UV radiation may cause several adverse health effects, moderate UV exposure greatly benefits physical and mental health at multiple levels. Moderate UV-light exposure affects behaviors related to the CNS, such as emotion, learning, and memory.

Our ancestors spent a lot of time exposed to UV light, and we are just beginning to unravel more of the story as to why this was, and is, healthful.

Skin cancers, including melanoma, and enhanced skin aging do seem to be related to UV light exposure, and that’s clearly the other side of the coin. So, like so many other considerations, this is a recommendation grounded in balance. So I would consider avoiding sun exposure from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M., and then limit it to around 15 minutes in total each day.

multiple_sclerosis

Prevention of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune condition, and this is a disease that actually has its origin in the gut! The gut, as you know, regulates inflammation in the body and plays a huge role in regulating immunity. As it relates to MS, we want to implement a diet that improves gut health and preserves the gut lining. The tenets of that diet include being low in carbohydrates, rich in healthy fats, and stocked with plenty of prebiotic fiber. It’s also possible, as recent science is discovering, that vitamin D could have a role to play too.

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Healthy Microbiome – Healthy Bones

Osteoporosis and osteopenia (meaning low bone mass) are extremely common problems here in America. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recently released data indicating that approximately 54 million American adults, age 50 or older, are affected by these issues. Shockingly, this figure is expected to increase to approximately 71 million by the year 2030. Bone fractures, including those involving the hip or spine, will increase in lockstep as the bone health of Americans continues to decline.

By and large, the emphasis in mainstream medicine seems to be focused upon the development of new treatments for bone thinning. Just watching the evening news often provides information about one or more osteoporosis products that may enhance bone density. Continue reading

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Low Vitamin D Status in Athletes

As the years go by it is certainly being made clear that clinicians like myself, and scientists alike, have dramatically underestimated the importance of vitamin D in human physiology. As it turns out, we are now in a position to recognize that we have been significantly off-base in terms of what it means to have a  “healthy vitamin D level.” Continue reading

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Vitamin D and Dementia

We’ve all grown up knowing that vitamin D is important for strong healthy bones. After all, that was the reason that labels on milk cartons stated that the product was “fortified with vitamin D.” But research now demonstrates that the role of vitamin D in human health and disease resistance is much more vast than we ever imagined. Even brain health is significantly affected by vitamin D!

ScienceDaily, a well-respected web site for health and other science related information, has published a review of research performed at Peninsula Medical School, the University of Cambridge and the University of Michigan. The research collected data on close to 2000 adults, aged 65 years or older, and evaluated both cognitive function as well as vitamin D levels. The researchers clearly demonstrated that as vitamin D levels declined, so did brain function. In fact, those whose vitamin D levels were the lowest had double the risk of being diagnosed as cognitively impaired. Continue reading

Starting the Day with Supplements

While we can use food to nurture and protect our bodies and our brains, supplements play an important role in preventing inflammation and helping us achieve total health. In both Grain Brain and Brain Maker, in addition to laying out the lifestyle plan you should follow to avoid brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, I mention some of the most important supplements you can take for your health.

However, I’m often asked what my own daily routine is. Well, today I’m here to tell you.