Sit Less and Move More.

We sit way too much. Many of us have desk jobs where we sit for 8 to 9 hours a day. After we leave the office, we sit in our car to run errands. We follow that by sitting down to eat dinner. Our day ends by sitting on the couch to unwind by watching some television.

Many of us will be sitting a good 12 to 15 hours each and every day. Unfortunately the research shows that long hours of sitting can lead to obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and even early death. Don’t be fooled that your workout is enough movement. You can still be active and sedentary.

How can you add more movement to your day? First, think about all the times you find yourself sitting during the day. Then come up with a creative way that you can get out of the seat and move your feet.

Here are a couple of examples:

Instead of driving everywhere, jump on your bike. The picture above is of the bike I use to go to work or run errands. Bike riding is great exercise, greener transportation and a great stress relief.

We spend a lot of time at work sitting in front of the computer or the phone. Prop your laptop on a bookshelf to create a standing workstation. You can also purchase a sit-stand workstation you can adjust throughout the day. Get a headset and stand during phone calls.

Walk during your lunch break. Walk to the coffee shop, the mailbox, and the dry cleaners. Get your errands done on foot or just enjoy a stroll outside.

Take a movement break every hour. Do some desk push-ups, squats or walk the stairs. Need to communicate with a coworker? Don't email, walk over and talk to them.

Human beings are meant to move, not sit in chairs all day. I want to challenge you to incorporate more movement into your day. I'd love to read your comments how you move more and sit less.

Have You Had Your Prebiotics Today?

Prebiotics and resistant starch may be the missing link to your digestive health. Indigestible fibers that allow healthy bowel flora to proliferate and thrive are often called prebiotics. They are also known as resistant starches, because they are resistant to human digestion. I recently had a client call the addition of resistance starch to her diet, “the missing link my body needed”.

A starch that resists digestion and reaches the large intestine becomes food for the healthy bacteria in the large intestine. These bacteria can break down and “feed on” the resistant starch thus providing the friendly bacteria with the fuel they need to survive.

Imbalance of the quantity and type of bacteria species present in the gut contributes to gastrointestinal illness, blood sugar imbalance, obesity, mood disorders, and immune system challenges.

Green unripe bananas and plantains are one of best sources for prebiotic fiber content with 27 to 30 grams of fiber in one medium banana. Green bananas are essentially inedible. They are most easily incorporated into diet by blending into a smoothie.

One mistake frequently made incorporating prebiotic fibers from bananas is consuming bananas that are too ripe. Once the banana ripens the resistant starch is degraded and become a digestible starch. Thus, no longer a good prebiotic fiber source. In fact, the riper the banana becomes the higher the glycemic (blood sugar) response.

It can be difficult to find bananas that are very green. I made several trips to my local grocery store to find these bowel flora champions. I find it helpful to ask the produce clerk to take a look at the shipment that just arrived, noting the day the shipment arrives, for the best chance to gobble up these green beauties.

In an effort to keep green bananas green I tried a few strategies. One that sounded promising was wrapping the end of the banana to prevent the ethylene gas, which ripens the fruit, from dissipating. You can see from the image this clearly did not work. After a mere two days the green bananas were no longer green. What I found works best is placing the green bananas in the fridge. This halts the ripening process. The skin of the banana will turn brown, which is normal, but the fruit inside is still good. I’ve kept bananas in my fridge for up to 8 days and they hold up well other than the brownish black discoloring that develops on the skin. The banana will be firm and require a knife to cut the skin off the banana.

If you’d like to learn more about prebiotics and strategies to support resolution of common gastrointestinal complaints read the recently release Cureality Guide to Healthy Bowel Flora by Dr. Davis. This guide is one of the many valuable resources available exclusively to members.
---Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN,CD,CDE
Cureality Nutrition Specialist

Something is Better Than Nothing

This past weekend I attended a fitness conference with an amazing lineup of presenters. Even after 11 years in the fitness industry, I love attending these events. I’m a lifetime student always learning more and honing my craft.

I went to a presentation by Al Vermeil about joint mobility, not knowing anything about him. To my surprise, Al was the strength and conditioning coach for the Chicago Bulls and the San Francisco 49ers the years these teams won championships in their respective sports. That’s a pretty impressive resume.

Al was a great presenter, full of fun and practical advice. During his presentation, Al said the following statement:

“Every time you miss a workout, the next one is easier to miss.”

This statement really hit home because I’ve seen this time and time again working in the fitness industry and in my own life. One workout is missed, then an entire week of workouts are missed, then it’s been an entire month of never setting foot back into the gym.

It’s easy to get thrown off your workout routine when life gets busy and days get long. So what do you do? Do you just trash your workout plan?

The all or nothing attitude is common when it comes to making health changes. Either you’re following your plan 100% or you not. I’m here to tell you that doing something is better than nothing. Doing part of your workout or a mini workout is better than missing an entire workout.

The other day I had the choice to do something or nothing. I had a full day of work meetings, video, and family commitments. Here is what happened. I did shorter variation of my joint mobility routine. I followed that with a quick kettlebell circuit of 25 kettlebell swings, 12 kettlebell overhead presses, and 12 kettlebell goblet squats. I did three rounds of this circuit. That’s it! The following day, I got back to my regular exercise routine.

Be consistent with movement and you’ll always see improvements. That’s the magic of exercise. You'll get better if you just do it.

What’s the Problem with My “Healthy” Bowl of Oatmeal?

Food manufacturers have clever ways to market foods to us. Unfortunately, many foods that have a reputation for being healthy are no more than junk food disguised as a healthy food choice. I commonly see people under the influence of a “health halo” effect. This is due to strategic marketing efforts. People overestimate the nutritional value of a food that is labeled “good for you” or they underestimate the negative impact of a food because it contains a healthful ingredient, like flaxseed or fiber. In fact, a recent study from the University of Houston found that terms on food labels such as antioxidants, all-natural, and gluten-free often are used to give an otherwise standard food a "healthy" halo, and influence consumption from the well- intended consumer.

Case in point-- oatmeal. We’ve all heard about the cholesterol lower benefits from soluble fiber contained in oatmeal. It’s blasted all over packages with a paid endorsement from The American Heart Association. However, that’s not the whole story. Most people enjoy a cup of oatmeal with one to two tablespoons of added sugar and fruit such as a ripe, yellow banana. In other words, let’s enjoy a bowl of “send my blood sugar through the roof” high glycemic oatmeal. The glycemic index of oatmeal is 55, and instant oatmeal is 83. Top that with more table sugar, glycemic index 58-65 and better yet top that with a high glycemic, ripe banana with a GI of 62.

Preparing one packet of regular instant oatmeal with one tablespoon of sugar and a medium ripe banana five days per week would result in the sugar equivalent of more than 5 1/2 cups of sugar per month!

Furthermore, the story many Americans are missing is all of that sugar intake, from their so-called “healthy” bowl of oatmeal, actually raises small-dense LDL cholesterol particles, increases blood sugar and contributes to insulin resistance, faulty gut flora, and belly fat.

How do we improve upon our bowl of oatmeal? Enjoy a bowl of hot coconut flaxseed cereal, eggs any variety of ways, or last night’s leftover salmon and vegetables.

The Cureality program provides tools, guidance, and support that does not follow the party line but rather offers nutrition solutions that address the underlying causes for proliferation of many chronic diseases.

Power in Numbers

In his book, The Wisdom of Crowds, author James Surowiecki begins with the story of an ox judging competition in which 800 people—not ox experts nor breeders, just ordinary people attending a county fair—were asked to guess the weight of the ox. The competition was conducted by a scientist, Francis Galton, who held a low opinion of the intelligence of the average person, remarking that “the stupidity and wrong-headedness of many men and women being so great as to be scarcely credible.” He hoped to prove, by examining the various guesses, that the average person had no idea of how to judge the real answer. After all participants casted their written votes, Galton tallied up the total and averaged the result: 1,197 pounds—just one pound off from the real weight of 1,198 pounds. Few individuals actually guessed the correct weight themselves but, when the opinions of many were combined, the result was near-perfect.

Crowds can also be a source of irrational behavior, panic, and stampede. Witness any modern football or soccer game, for instance, in which fights break out over an issue as minor as a disputed call or a heckle. Or go back through history to the countless events when mass hysteria ruled, such as the Salem Witch Trials or Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds radio broadcast.

Let’s put aside examples of mass emotional chaos of the sort that causes crowds to stampede store doors on Black Friday. Let’s focus instead on conscious, considered, thoughtful opinions. We all accept that there are as many opinions on issues as there are people, not uncommonly with widely divergent views. But can we, as Galton’s famous experiment did, combine the opinions of many and come away with some fruitful insight—the correct answer? Just as the people participating in Galton’s experiment were not experts, so Cureality participants—a crowd-sourced collection of opinions—are not experts. If we were to poll everyone to identify their area of expertise or experience, it would likely include finance, the retail industry, raising children, or teaching—but not health. Yes, we have experts curating the direction of content, but we also crowd-source collective opinion.

Right now, Cureality is based on existing science, the philosophy of self-directed health, combined with guidance and community to help the participant along in the sometimes complex world of health questions. But as our processes and procedures improve, can we—like Galton’s ox weight guessers—come away with coalescent wisdom, answers to our health questions, near-perfect solutions to health conditions that have eluded the “experts” for centuries?

I think that we can. No, I know that we can. We enter a new age in information and harness the power of the crowd-sourcing of solutions, even when no single individual has the complete answer herself.

Use This Trick to Boost Exercise Motivation

Are you been struggling to get your workouts in? 

Do you belong to a gym and find that you're not going?

Do you have exercise equipment sitting in your basement collecting dust because you find that you just can’t get yourself down there?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions you are not alone. Many people struggle with finding the motivation to exercise.

The problem here is that you have head trash going on. Head trash is that voice inside your head coming up with a million excuses that inhibit you from carving out a bit of time to take care of yourself.

Head trash will tell you that you’re too tired, even though a workout would give you a boost of energy.

Head trash will tell you that you’re too busy, even though you just spent a half hour on Facebook.

Head trash is barking at you to take care of others, even thought you know your health is important for you well being.

Head trash is a real conflict that can get in the way of our health and fitness goals. We start an exercise program with the intentions of a long-term commitment. But after the initial excitement wears off, we find our workouts occurring less frequently. Head trash begins to take over and soon we find ourselves not exercising at all.

Here is my secret for winning the battle over the head trash that keeps getting in way of your workouts. Tell yourself that you are only going to exercise for 10 minutes and evaluate if you want to continue. If you're truly too tired you can stop after 10 minutes. If you're truly too busy you can stop and move onto a task that needs your attention.

Making this deal with your mind that you are only going to exercise for 10 minutes seems reasonable. The head trash will become quite because your mind is convinced it has an out within 10 minutes.

I've used this 10-minute trick myself. I grind through the first few minutes, but then the magic happens. Once you hit the 10-minute mark your body takes over. Exercise feels amazing and your body is energized and enjoying the movement. You have tricked your mind to get over the hurdle of starting and now you’re in the exercise groove.

Try the 10-minute trick next time your head trash is getting in the way of your workout. You'll be amazed how your workout consistency improves.

Are Your Cosmetics Safe?

If you are reading The Cureality blog chances are you care about your health. You care about what you eat. You want to remain healthy, free of disease, feel good and possibly even want to look and feel as vibrant as you were when you were 20. Many of us think of food all day long. Many of us love to eat. We plant gardens so we know our food is free of pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Food can be a cause of disease and it can minimize our chances of disease. We try and take care of our insides but did you ever wonder what in the world you apply to your skin on a daily basis? What do these products contain and are they safe? Why are there more endocrine disorders popping up. Could it be that some of things we apply to our skin every single day may be harmful to our insides?

A portion of the skin health section of Cureality will take a look at skincare products and cosmetics. Are the products we apply to our skin gluten-free, paraben-free and free of other harsh chemicals that can cause skin irritations and possible other unwanted diseases. I came across Mirabella cosmetics and I wanted to learn more about this particular product line so I tracked down John Maly, founder and CEO of Mirabella Cosmetics. Mr. Maly was gracious enough to take time out and answer my questions.This is what Mr. Maly has to say about Mirabella:

DD: Tell us about some key features about Mirabella, gluten-free cosmetics. What made you get started in a gluten-free line?

JM: We didn't start as gluten-free. Over time we have continued to make our line more beautiful AND more healthy for women. First we began with a mineral foundation. Then as we introduced new products, we made sure they were as clean and healthy, while still being fashion forward. We saw the benefits to our clients to take out those ingredients that didn't help them look and feel their best such as glutens, parabens and talcs.

DD: Some cosmetic companies carry partially gluten-free cosmetics. Are all of Mirabella products gluten-free, paraben-free and talc-free?

JM: Everything is paraben-free and talc free. And our brand is all gluten-free except our Skin Tint Creme foundation. That is a product that women love and we just cannot make the formula without a wheat protein to perform as well...yet! We will continue to work on it!

DD: Are there other ingredients in cosmetics that women should be cautious of using if they have skin sensitivities or allergies?

JM: Some women are sensitive to fragrance as well.This is another thing that we avoid with our brand. The biggest ingredients that women find that helps with their skin health is mineral products. They are natural and very breathable on a woman's skin.

DD: I think your velvet lip pencils are by far the most extraordinary lip pencil on the market. What are some of your other standout products your customers love?

JM: Pure Press Mineral Foundation is still our #1product. But the fastest growing product is Magic Marker Eyeliner. It is easy to use, doesn't smudge and lasts all day.

DD: Anything new on the horizon for Mirabella that you can share with us?

JM: In August we launch CC crème. This product has all the good for you ingredients to help with Anti-Aging like avocado oil, argan oil and Acai (Assai) berry. Plus it is a mineral formula, gluten-free, and paraben-free. And it has an SPF of 20. One of the biggest issues that women have with aging is lips. That is why we put Litchi Chinesis Fruit Extract in our Colour Vinyl lipstick. Then in your favorite Velvet Lip Pencil, we put Pomegranate Extract, Vitamin C and E in to assist with in Anti-Aging.

DD: Is Mirabella only sold in the US or do you have international distribution as well.

JM: We are sold in Canada, Australia, Finland and Russia.

DD: Where can we purchase your cosmetics?

JM: Our products are available at and at over 1,500 of the finest salons and spas. Go to our salon locator to find a retailer near you.

Top 5 Tips to Get Ready for Tough Mudder

When it comes to mud runs, Tough Mudder is a big deal.  This event covers ten to twelve miles of muddy running interspersed with challenging obstacles.  Using the word “challenging” when describing the obstacles along the course is an understatement.  Obstacles include getting an electrical shock, running through ice-cold water, jumping over fire, climbing over walls, and things you’ve seen when watching American Ninja Warrior.  Plus these obstacles are all done on a rugged, muddy terrain.  So, maybe the word dirty-insane-challenging would be a better fit to describe the Tough Mudder.

Don’t let this description lead you to think that this is an impossible feat.   The Tough Mudder website states that 1.3 million people have completed this event since it’s inauguration.  If Tough Mudder is on your bucket list, know that if they can do it so can you.  Here are 5 tips to get you ready to tackle the Tough Mudder.

1) Train: This tip seems obvious, but it’s not.  Many people are standing at the start line hoping for the best.  This strategy puts you at high risk for injury and not completing the event.  You need to train anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks for the Tough Mudder.  Use this guideline if you have a regular workout routine established.  If you’re new to exercise or have been on a workout hiatus you may need 4 to 6 months to get ready.  Carve out time in your schedule to train 3 to 5 days a week to prepare for this event.  If you need some guidance, join a training program to provide a road map to Tough Mudder success.

2) Run:  Tough Mudder is like a half-marathon on steroids.  Running is critical component when you find that you’re traveling up to a mile between obstacles.  Incorporate running intervals, hills, and fartleks into your training program.  Start your training off with a new pair of running or minimalist shoes so that by the time your Tough Mudder comes around your shoes are ready to get trashed.

3) Simulate Obstacles:  To feel confident at the start line of Tough Mudder, you need to practice skills that can help you with the obstacles.  This will reduce your risk of obtaining any injuries during the event.  Utilizing stairs, fences, playgrounds, rock climbing walls, football fields, lakes, and beaches are great places to start when looking to simulate obstacles.  Check out the Tough Mudder website to see a list obstacles.  Use your imagination to find ways to incorporate obstacle training in your workouts.   

4) Simulate Terrain: Running covered in mud with wet shoes is much different from running on the treadmill.  Running in the grass, on the sand and through the water is much different from running on asphalt.  Get ready to be a little uncomfortable.  Your shoes will begin to slide around on your feet and your clothes will cling to your body.  Get ready to work a little harder.  Your stride will be affected by the changes in terrain.  Practice running on the grass, in the water, and in the sand.  Make sure you get wet and run with soaked shoes and clothes. You’ll realize what shoes and clothes to wear on race day to be the most comfortable and effective.

5) Team: Teamwork is what Tough Mudder is about.  Teamwork is what keeps drawing people back to the Tough Mudder venue.  From the start to the finish, it’s about getting everyone across the finish line.  If you’re struggling to get over a wall, a hand is there to help pull you up.  When fatigue is setting in, another person is there to bring up your spirits.  You’re not alone out there.  At other races you find you’re left in the dust.  At Tough Mudder you are overcoming challenges with your muddy buddies. Get together with friends or a training group to form a team bond that will keep you accountable with your training and support you to the finish line.

Want personalized training???  Schedule a virtual appointment with Amber.

Keeping Up with the Kids

On Saturday my husband and I took our niece Anna out her annual birthday date. That date started with a trip to the Humboldt park playground. As with most kids, Anna ran straight to the spider-web jungle gym which I have to admit it looked pretty cool. Just before she began to climb up, she turned to look at me and said “Auntie Amber, climb up too!”

I was not wearing my playground apparel on Saturday. I had a cute pair of pink loafers on, skinny jeans, tank and a jean jacket. But it did look like fun so I decided to climb. No problems yet. I was good to go climbing around on the ropey, spider web apparatus. But of course, just climbing around was not enough. Anna suggested that we should race. Not just to the top, but to the top of the jungle gym over the side, across the rope bridge and down the slide. This is when my skill was put to the test.

As you could have guessed, Anna smoked me during our race. Not only that, but the jean jacket was off and I was working up a sweat. Was I getting a workout from my 9-year-old niece? I think so. But we both were having so much fun. We continued to climb up and down the fake rock wall, monkey bars and run around the playground. It was a blast.

But as I looked around the playground, I was the only adult climbing around the playground and playing. The other adults were sitting on park benches watching. One parent near by had to decline the request of a child they were with to join them on the playground equipment. I felt really good that I could be there with my niece running around, climbing and swinging.

Keeping up with our kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews is really important as we age. Otherwise we sit on the sidelines. How do you train for the playground? Get in the weight room. Lift heavy things, jump, pull yourself up, move side ways, and challenge your body to do movements beside sitting or standing. If it’s been awhile or you’re just not sure where to start then get a trainer and join some group workouts.

It’s time to get moving. Because it starts out at the playground now but soon it will be mud runs, Frisbee, triathlons and weekend football games. You need to keep up!

4 Tips to Boost Kids Veggie Intake

Vegetables are arguably the most important food group, the key to any healthy diet. They are one of the most nutrient dense food groups and serve the foundation to healthy meals and snacks. A frequent comment from people enjoying the Cureality way of eating is, “I am eating more vegetables than I ever have in my life!”

This is great because plentiful consumption is associated with decreased heart disease, reduced weight, lower blood pressure, glowing skin and decreased risk of some cancers. However, perhaps you’re reading this and feeling great that you eat your veggies but struggle to get your kids to do the same. If you are a parent, who is simply trying to provide nutritious options to your kids, give these tips a try.

1. Add cheese or butter to enhance flavor and increase the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Younger kids like to dip foods, so often pairing with a dip, such as hummus, can increase intake.

2. Try the “rule of 15” — putting a food on the table at least 15 times to see if a child will accept it. Don’t give up after a few attempts. This can indeed be frustrating, but have patience and continue to offer a small portion to expose children to veggies without forcing intake. Often parents feel like it’s their job to just make their children eat something. I suspect most children will always select apple pie over an apple. It is important to set the stage, at an early age, with what is offered. In addition, being a good food model is important. You can’t expect your child to try broccoli, if you make negative comments about its taste, texture or smell.

3. Once a food is accepted, parents should use “food bridges,” finding similarly colored or flavored foods to expand the variety of foods a child will eat. If a child likes pumpkin pie, for instance, try mashed sweet potatoes and then mashed carrots. If a child loves corn, try mixing in a few peas or carrots. Even if a child picks them out, the exposure to the new food is what counts.

4. Allow children to engage, as able. When grocery shopping or offering a snack, ask your child which option they would like to eat (e.g. ask which healthy foods they would prefer, blueberries or strawberries, cucumbers or carrots, etc.). When children are included in more food decisions it can decrease resistance. Include children in age appropriate preparation, as well, for example cutting produce, making a vegetable soup, or selecting produce at the grocery store.

Lisa Grudzielanek, MS, RDN, CD, CDE
Cureality Nutrition Coach
Increased blood calcium and vitamin D

Increased blood calcium and vitamin D

Conventional advice tells us to supplement calcium, 1200 mg per day, to preserve bone health and reduce blood pressure.

Here's a curious observation I've now witnessed a number of times: Some people who supplement this dose of calcium while also supplementing vitamin D sufficient to increase 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood levels to 60-70 ng/ml develop abnormally high levels of blood calcium, hypercalcemia.

This makes sense when you realize that intestinal absorption of calcium doubles or quadruples when vitamin D approaches desirable levels. Full restoration of vitamin D therefore causes a large quantity of calcium to be absorbed, more than you may need. In addition, two studies from New Zealand suggest that 1200-1300 mg calcium with vitamin D per day doubles heart attack risk.

We have 20 years of clinical studies demonstrating the very small benefits of supplementing calcium to stop or slow the deterioration of bone density (osteopenia, osteoporosis). These studies were performed with no vitamin D or with trivial doses, too small to make a difference. I believe those data have been made irrelevant in the modern age in which we "normalize" vitamin D.

Should hypercalcemia develop, it is not good for you. Over long periods of time, abnormal calcium deposition can occur, leading to kidney stones, atherosclerosis, and arthritis.

Until we have clarification on this issue, I have been advising patients to take no more than 600 mg calcium supplements per day. I suspect, however, that the vast majority of us require no calcium at all, provided an overall healthy diet is followed, especially one that does not leach out bone calcium. This means no foods like those made with wheat or containing powerful acids, such as those in carbonated drinks.

Comments (50) -

  • renegadediabetic

    6/21/2010 1:18:12 PM |

    Sometimes I think that the RDAs only apply to the current high refined carb, nutrient depleting diet most americans eat.  

    This is just more proof that the current calcium "requirements" are overstated and probably intended to market dairy products or calcium fortified processed foods.

  • Katie

    6/21/2010 1:42:19 PM |

    I always thought the recommendations for supplementing with calcium were probably wrong.  I've heard that Americans eat more calcium-rich foods and supplement with more calcium than other Western countries, but yet suffer from the highest amount of osteoporosis/osteopenia.  

    This wouldn't surprise me, given the importance of having the right amounts of calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K2.  I've seen other doctors/researchers recommend that Vitamin D always be taken in connection with sufficient intake of Vitamin K2 to help prevent hypercalcemia.  I do not supplement with calcium, but I do supplement with D3 and K2 and have had no problems

  • Anonymous

    6/21/2010 1:45:19 PM |

    Dr. Davis is wheat a bad idea because of the phosphates which demineralize bones ? If so then lentils and peas and beans would be quite high in phosphates too? would the recommendation be to lower their consumption as well?



    6/21/2010 2:56:32 PM |

    Calcium as a supplement is one of the toughest to assimilate in the body- I can't see how an accurate number can be assessed as too much (or too little)

  • scott

    6/21/2010 3:28:53 PM |

    I wonder how much calcium is in Gerolsteiner Water.  Dr. Davis has recommended this in the past, but probably for the magnesium content.

  • Anonymous

    6/21/2010 3:37:16 PM |

    1) It would seem that anyone speaking of vitamin D, is being a little misleading as we should most likely be talking about D-2 or D-3. Or never talking about D-2 and always about D-3 as it is the more bio-active.
    2) Increase K-2 to take care of the D-3 / calcium problem.
    3) Blood tests to keep track of all three of them.

  • miannotta

    6/21/2010 4:51:37 PM |

    Would supplementing with vitamin K2 help alleviate the problem of too much calcium in the blood? It's function is to redirect blood calcium to the bones. Or is the jury still out on this?

  • Anonymous

    6/21/2010 5:20:33 PM |

    This is a point also made in the current posting of "Diabetes Update"

  • Steve

    6/21/2010 6:11:04 PM |

    Apparently alot of people are reporting issues with vitamin d supplementation. You may have hit the nail on the head, Dr Davis. Here is a website that has over 200 comments from people experiencing issues.


  • Jenny

    6/21/2010 6:55:53 PM |

    Since I ran into just this problem (and blogged about it elsewhere) I want to add this:  You don't have to be supplementing with pills to run into this problem.

    If you are eating a classic low carb diet and eating cheese rather than meat for much of your protein your calcium intake can get high pretty fast.

  • Bobber

    6/21/2010 7:19:02 PM |

    Are you familiar with Dr. Cordain's work on Acid/Base balance?

  • Anonymous

    6/21/2010 10:17:14 PM |

    Men don't need more than 626 mg/day calcium, and women with D > 20 ng/ml don't need more than 566 mg/day.

  • Jessica

    6/22/2010 12:43:32 AM |

    We usually recommend that individuals stop taking a calcium supplement once they've reached the target D level (70-90 ng/mL).

    We always draw a serum calcium with a 25(OH) level.

    Detected several cancers in our patients this way (hypercalcemic prior to starting D supplementation).

    Also, I'm about 8 months pregnant with our first child and you think cardiology is behind the times with Vitamin D, try OB! They're living in the dark ages.

    Fortunately my OB is more versed than most and the fact that I take 10,000 IU daily doesn't make him too uncomfortable (obviously not since he didn't offer to check my D level...I had to ask for it).

    I'm also taking 500 mg QD of elemental magnesium (no preeclampsia for me) and (when I remember), 12.5 mg of Iodoral/week (I worry about taking it everyday due to potential for "heavy metal dumping" since I wasn't routinely taking it prior to pregnancy).

    I still take a pre-natal, but I worry more about not taking the other supplements more than i worry about missing a dose of the pre-natal.

    Thanks for all you continue to do in healthcare!

  • cardiology emr

    6/22/2010 1:08:33 AM |

    Thank you so much for the advice I will try having an supplement calcium, to preserve bone health and reduce blood pressure for my own good.


  • Anonymous

    6/22/2010 2:09:39 AM |

    interesting. So does this mean that those areas where the calcium levels in drinking water are high : "hard" or "temporary hard", are areas where high vitamin D could work against residents trying to maintain healthy arteries?


  • Anonymous

    6/22/2010 5:02:05 AM |

    I'm 37 and have been taking 6,000 i.u. of vitamin D per day for the last several months.  I started urinating blood last night and have a CT scan in a few days to see the likely cause of it all - kidney stones.

    My Dad also had them. I think the vitamin D may have contributed in bringing this about.

    Coincidently, I'd started taking Tums (rich in calcium) every now and then for heartburn about a month or two ago.  

    Timely post doc!

  • Anne

    6/22/2010 7:17:17 AM |

    Dear Dr Davis,

    Please can you quote the links to the studies you mention in this blog. I have both osteoporosis and a heart valve defect (bicuspid aortic valve) and calcification is being deposited on the aortic valve. My levels of 25(OH)D range from 60 to 100 ng/ml. I have my bone profile tested every time I have my 25(OH)D tested and so far my serum calcium levels have been in the normal range but your post worries me considerably.


  • moblogs

    6/22/2010 9:03:29 AM |

    I would agree that we probably need no dairy based calcium at all, since it is only necessary at birth through mother's milk.
    Even so, I do like my dairy products in moderation so that's all I take - no additional calcium supplements; and my blood calcium level and bone density has benefited from just D on top.

  • steve

    6/22/2010 3:31:52 PM |

    while current blood levels of D3 may appear to be inadequate, there is no science to demonstrate what the higher levels shuld be.  While a blood level of 60 coming from the sun may be wonderful, there are no studies, let alone ones of any duration, that show that supplementing with large doses of D3 to get to a 60 level do not pose any negative health consequences.  As we have learned with other vitamin supplementation, more is not always better; adverse consequences can arise, and there is not always a way to detect them such as blood calcium levels.  Caution should be the watchword.

  • Steve

    6/22/2010 3:50:56 PM |

    Dr Davis, what is your opinion of the supplement MSM? Does vitamin D have an effect on this also?


  • Anonymous

    6/22/2010 4:24:11 PM |

    Dr. Davis,

    Magnesium competes with calcium absorption, and therefore is crucial to keeping calcium levels at bay.

  • Peter

    6/22/2010 8:11:05 PM |

    I noticed that a study this week found a correlation between very high vitamin D levels and increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

  • nightrite

    6/22/2010 9:53:05 PM |

    I too had trouble with kidney stones untill I began supplementing with magnesium.  I take 600mg of various forms of mag and no longer have any problems with kidney stones.  I also take 6000 units of D3 and 180 of K2.  I have not had my serum calcium checked but don't eat too much dairy.

  • Anonymous

    6/22/2010 10:19:44 PM |

    What about high phytic acid foods like the raw almonds and cocoa advocated here?  Don't those contain as much or more calcium binding phytic acid as wheat?  I eat very low carb and no dairy products whatsoever.  My indulgences have been raw hazelnuts and cocoa -- now I'm wondering if this has been damaging in some way.  My understanding is that serum calcium represents only 1% of body's calcium and that an ionized calcium test is more accurate.  My doc drew blood today to re-check my vitamin d status but would not check mineral status.

  • Anonymous

    6/22/2010 10:26:31 PM |

    Different take on the calcium for me.  When I develop a faint, "fluttery", tachycardia (up to about 142 for a 63-year-old, and I feel absolutely horrible) I take about 500 mg of calcium citrate with about 1000 mg of vitamin C (for absorption of the calcium) and the heart beat gets stronger and the rate comes down.  Sometimes I have to repeat.  I found only one internet reference to this phenomenon below:

    I do not have access to health care as I am one of the working poor.  Perhaps you can comment, Dr. Davis.  Thanks, Catherine

  • Dr. William Davis

    6/22/2010 10:30:07 PM |

    Hi, Jessica--

    I think that you and your group are managing the calcium/vit D issue the right way.

    Unfortunately, some people are wrongly interpreting this to mean that vitamin D causes hypercalcemia. It simply means that calcium is unnecessary when D is restored.

  • Dr. William Davis

    6/22/2010 10:31:32 PM |


    Thanks for the clarification.

    Thankfully, your situation is the exception. Most people maintain normal calcium levels even while consuming dairy and other calcium-rich foods.

    Several responders here make the point about magnesium, which I agree with. Have you addressed magnesium? Magnesium deficiency is exceptionally common, since it has been taken out of most drinking water.

  • Anonymous

    6/23/2010 2:29:29 AM |

    I noticed that a study this week found a correlation between very high vitamin D levels and increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

    Cited are NOT very high levels! The claim is higher rates of pancreatic cancers with >100 nmol/ml - which translates into 40 ng/ml, a level considerably lower than the one recommended here by Dr. Davis (~60-70 ng/ml if I remember correctly). Another claim is NO difference in rates of several other cancers across a large range of 25(OH)D concentrations.

  • LeonRover

    6/23/2010 9:11:25 AM |

    Peter's comment above led me to read the newswire report referred to.

    This study was trying to establish any epidemiological association of increased levels of Vit D with reduced incidences of various cancers. No such associations were observed. Rather in the case of pancreatic cancer only, it was observed that when the  level of Vitamin D was GREATER than 100 nmol per litre, there was higher incidence of this disease. Another way of looking at this observation is that at levels below 100 nmol per litre there was no association of pancreatic cancer with levels of Vit D LOWER than 100 nmol per litre.

    As far as cancers are concerned there is no point in considering Vit D status as long as it below 100 nmol per litre.

  • Mike

    6/23/2010 10:07:09 PM |

    This is timely. I just had blood work done recently and my Dr.'s staff ordered the wrong test. Instead of measuring D3, they measured D2 calcitriol. I don't know what to make of the result: 120.8 pg/mL on a scale of 10.0-75.0. It's extremely high.  The last time I had my vitamin D3 tested, it was 59.2 ng/mL on a scale of 32-100.
    FWIW, I follow a low carbohydrate Paleo diet and consume very little dairy. I do take a multivitamin 3-5 days per week, but it only provides 300 mg of calcium (along with 210 mg of magnesium). I also take 500 mg of magnesium citrate every evening.
    I'd sure like to know what to make of this.

  • TedHutchinson

    6/24/2010 7:54:39 AM |

    @ LeonRover
    The information on pancreatic cancer & vitamin D status comes from Finland

    The further from the equator the greater the swing from high to low status. To have a good shower requires tight regulation of both hot and cold water supplies and a reserve store of both hot and cold supply so neither ever runs out.

    Vieth explains in this paper.
    How to Optimize Vitamin D Supplementation to Prevent Cancer

    In the same way fluctuating concentrations of 25(OH)D may also be a problem, Regions at high latitude or with low environmental
    ultraviolet light can be associated with the greater risks reported for prostate and pancreatic cancers. At temperate latitudes, higher summertime 25(OH)D levels are followed by sharper declines in 25(OH)D, causing inappropriately low 1-hydroxylase and high 24-hydroxylase, resulting in tissue 1,25(OH)2D below its ideal set-point.

    The answer is to keep levels BOTH HIGH and STABLE.
    Humans only build a stored reserve of D3 in tissue above 40ng/ml = 100nmol/l. Only around 60ng/ml are there sufficient D3 reserves for lactating mothers to pass to babies in breast milk. At latitude 32 it takes modern women 6400iu/daily/D3 to provide naturally replete vitamin D breast milk.

  • Mike

    6/24/2010 8:30:44 PM |

    Thanks Ted. That clarifies the role of calcitriol, but I am still wondering why my level measured so high, if even transiently.

  • Anonymous

    6/24/2010 8:37:38 PM |

    I'm anonymous from above who talked about kidney stones and blood in my urine.

    I had the CT scan done yesterday. I have stones, one of them a whopping 1.4 cm.  

    Be careful people.

  • Catherine

    6/25/2010 10:07:09 PM |

    (I am a different Catherine than the one above with tachycardia)

    For years because I had osteopenia, I was advised to take loads of calcium.  Later they told us to add vitamin D with it.  I am now FULL of calcium deposits all over my body.

    A year ago, Dr. Davis advised me to try magnesium for a bad arrhythmia problem, and it not only quickly cured my arrhythmia, insomnia, and RLS, but I have much less grinding sounds and arthritis pain. I was the poster girl for magnesium deficiency and no one except Dr. Davis even mentioned trying it.

    I think along with K2, magnesium is of upmost importance to balance the D and calcium. I only take 500 mg a day now since I don't consume dairy, but after this article, I may totally stop supplementing any calcium and let the K2 and magnesium perhaps reduce some of the deposits..

  • Anonymous

    6/27/2010 12:24:40 AM |

    @Mike -- I have the same issue/question.  My 25 OH was 62 but the 125 test was sky high.  My serium calcium was normal.  I wonder if Holick's new book gives detailed info on how to interpret lab tests.  His first book just said that the correcxt test is the 25 OH but didn't explain if there is any danger is a sky high 125.

  • Crystal

    7/4/2010 6:44:07 AM |

    This is an awesome post. Great post. Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to read more from you.
    Green Tea

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    7/29/2010 5:35:01 AM |

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  • TedHutchinson

    7/29/2010 9:09:26 AM |

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  • Anonymous

    12/27/2010 7:27:18 PM |

    Dr. Davis,
    Since increasing my Vitamin D, Magesium and Melatonin I suddenly have very brittle, splitting fingernails.  Any idea which if any of these caused this?  Any suggestions?

    Love your blog!!!!!

  • Jack

    3/4/2011 4:13:40 PM |

    Chances are the calcium supplement you are taking now is a rock source of calcium. The label will say "calcium carbonate", which is nothing more than limestone. AlgaeCal Plus contains an organic, plant-sourced calcium form derived from a unique South American marine algae called Algas Calcareasâ„¢.

  • Emr reviews

    4/2/2011 12:01:36 AM |

    think one of the greatest hurdles is overcoming misconceptions in the minds of regulators, doctors and patients alike. I just returned from a trip to Germany and colleagues there are amused about America's 3rd World-like medical records situation

  • Anonymous

    4/2/2011 8:43:46 PM |

    I have celiac disease and osteopenia in my spine and no bone loss in my hips. I have a strong family history of osteoporosis as well.

    Because my calcium intake is less than or equal to 500 mg I take:

    600 mg calcium citrate at two seperate meals

    1200 IU's D3

    500 mg magnesium citrate

    I track using fitday. I'm grain, legume, dairy, sugar and processed food free and follow a paleo type dietary plan.

    Is this okay?

  • Anonymous

    4/2/2011 11:04:23 PM |

    I meant:

    600 mg calcium citrate in total but dosage is split between two seperate meals.

  • Dave

    5/2/2011 11:25:59 PM |

    I've seen research that shows the body produces more MGP and other calcium handling proteins with higher doses of Vitamin D.  You would expect this effect as a evolutionary collaboration with Vitamin D activity.  Higher doses of Vitamin K2 are needed to carboxylate these proteins and make them active.  These proteins are active in various places in the body like the arteries and the kidneys.  I have a theory that taking Vitamin K2 helps prevent kidney stones and maybe gallbladder stones of the calcium type.

    Uncarboxylated MGP is actually worse than the fully carboxylated MGP.  Guinea pigs are given cholesterol and high levels of Vitamin D in research to give them artery disease by exceeding their Vitamin K2 levels thus creating low carboxylation levels.

    More Vitamin K2 may well be good for those kidney stones.

  • Dave

    5/3/2011 12:14:43 AM |

    There is recent and startling Dutch research to the point that Vitamin K2 is specifically used to carboxylate calcium handling proteins that remove calcium from the arteries and promote heart health.  If you are taking extra Vitamin D, the body also generates more of these calcium handling proteins so the need for Vitamin K2 also increases.

    I had good experience over six months with taking Vitamin K2 and found my running speed increased by 8% and the itching or other mild, variable sensations in my chest have decreased 98%.  I suspect this is connected to reduction of calcification.  I noticed a reduction in my symptoms after six weeks.

    My Vitamin K2 has:
      1300 mcg Vitamin K2, Mk-4
       100 mcg Vitamin K2, MK-7
      1000 mcg Vitamin K (the ordinary stuff)

  • Reikime

    9/22/2011 2:02:34 AM |

    Reading all these posts I used to think of vitamin D and magnesium and K2 the same a most posters. Intuitively never took calcium, was up to 6000 mg of D3/ day to achieve a level of 43- up from 26.

    That said, my serum calcium has trended upward to 10.3. I am now having a few blood tests to check  for hyperparathyroidism!  The foremost parathyroid doc in the USA is Dr. James Norman from Tampa, and his website is very informative and puts a different spin on what I thought I knew of these matters. Parathyroids is ALL he and his 2 colleagues do all day every day. Please give this a look to be fully informed on the matter of Vitamin D supplementation.
    I have no connection, but if I find out I have an adenoma on one of my parathyroids, this is where I will have it removed!
    Jeanne ( RN,BSN)

  • Reikime

    9/22/2011 2:05:44 AM |

    Oops,  meant to add I have also supplemented with 400-800mg of magnesium and 1 Life Extension K2 in addition to the Vitamin D for several years.