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Wednesday, 23 December 2009 19:58 - Healthy Tips Newsletter September 2009

Posted Dec 23 2009 3:58pm

September 2009
#120909
Monthly Health Tips Newsletter

Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm)


This issue contains:

Is Technology Working for or Against You?

Can Depressed Vitamin D Levels Cause Depression?
Are You Free to Fly?

Is Technology Working for or Against You?

These days technology can do a lot of things for us that supposedly make life easier.  As I sit at my computer on a regular basis during the work week, and sometimes on the weekends too, I certainly wonder about that concept. Perhaps I used to work harder, and get less done; now I think I am working just as hard, or harder and getting more done - but there always seems to be more to do! What's that about? To be sure, technology can work both for us and against us. I remember when I used to go to the store and somebody would wait on me and get me what I wanted. Now I have to get it myself. Remember when we used to go to the bank, and a teller would wait on us and tend to our needs - now we have to go and do it ourselves at an ATM or online.  Now we even shop online, and again we are doing most of the work which takes a lot of time and energy and all too often presses our frustration buttons!

But technology can definitely work for us and it is this that I want to talk about. I like to cycle. This summer I discovered that my new iPhone could download a program that would track my mileage, speed, altitude, distance and also map out my route wherever I went on my ride! Very cool.  For a technology lover like myself this was a big bonus. It actually motivated me to get out, do more mileage and explore new routes.

The other exciting thing that I discovered about technology this summer is something called Geocaching - 'the sport where you are the search engine'. Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with portable GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.  There are over 850,000 prizes stashed all over the world by a community of Geocachers.

The caches are not always easy to find even though you may be right on top of them. You can get to these caches by car, bicycle, horse, canoe, scuba diving, or any other form of transport. If you start by car though, right at the end you actually have to get out walk and this is where you can get exercise. Of course you can get more exercise if you actually bike, walk or jog right from the start to the cache itself.  To find out more about Geocaching go to www.geocaching.com - yes, there is a website where you log your finds, and there are often local websites where you can meet with people who are Geocachers in your area.  It's a true family sport that kids love too.

So if you are going to make technology work for you, think about the ways that you can use it that will help you get exercise, and make life easier without doing more work of a mental nature that can cause stress.  It's all about making technology work for you.

ARE YOU FREE TO FLY?
"I looked over at my husband and said," Hey,this is really good." I felt better. Crammed in my seat heading to England, I needed something to calm me. I hadn't listened to Learn to Enjoy your Flight for a long time and I was pleasantly surprised at how relaxed I felt after listening to it.  I didn't listen to the first two tracks; I went right to track 3 - Relaxing during the flight. I loved the part where he talked about going down the flight of stairs and feeling your body relax. It put me to sleep. When I woke up I noticed that I was less agitated and wanted to watch a movie or look out at the moon and stars over the Atlantic.If you are flying anytime I highly recommend this CD."

ANSWERS TO READER'S QUESTIONS


Readers who send in questions can have them answered by Dr. Leyton right here!


NEW WEBSITE!
Yes! We have a newly designed website - more efficient, easier to navigate, and more pleasing to the eye thanks to our web designer Cindy@gobeyond.ca
Check it out at www.arfe.ca


Did you know that Dr. Leyton writes for both Ezine Online Articles and for Wellsphere International the online health network seen by millions daily.


Thanks for reading this month's newsletter. See you next month!

REMEMBER TO CHECK THIS OUT!

Dr. Leyton's YouTube Video on Sleep at
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Healthy Tips
Short and Simple~News to Use
There are four basic principles to health:
1. Good nutrition
2. Good exercise
3. Good thinking and emotional states
4. Good self-care
These embrace the mind, body and spirit of good health and well-being. Each monthly tip(s) will address one or more of these principles. These health tips are short and simple. All tips, where applicable, are based on quality research that is being done in the medical field. You will see links throughout the newsletter to take you to more detail if you wish...or you can simply read what's here.

Can Depressed Vitamin D Levels Cause Depression?

Is there a link between low vitamin D and depression? This is a question not yet completely answered, but there are some strong suggestions in that direction. We already know that vitamin D has an impact on many different parts of the body and its deficiency may impact various chronic illnesses including prostate cancer and multiple sclerosis. Increasing risks of colon, and some breast cancers are also associated with low levels of Vitamin D3 in the blood. There is intriguing evidence that there is a connection between the brain and bones. It appears that antidepressants, particularly SSRIs (e.g. Celexa, Paxil, Luvox, Zoloft etc.), may decrease bone density in the elderly - a potentially serious problem. We also know that in the northern latitudes getting sufficient vitamin D from the sun between October and April is impossible. I have recommended vitamin D supplementation in this column before.

In 2002 Lambert and his colleagues found that in healthy men the production of serotonin (one of the brain hormones that is decreased in depression) declined in the winter months, and that this was directly related to the absence of exposure to bright sunlight.(1)  In 1999 Bruce Hollis, a Canadian researcher at the University of Guelph (and responsible for much of our understanding of fish oil as a supplement), studied a group of 15 subjects with seasonal depression.  Fifteen subjects with a type of depression know as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), received either 100,000 IU of vitamin D or phototherapy. At the onset of treatment and after 1 month of therapy subjects were tested for depression using questionnaires. All subjects also had serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D measured before and 1 week after intervention therapy. All subjects receiving vitamin D improved in all outcome measures, but the phototherapy group showed no significant change in depression scale measures. Vitamin D levels were significantly associated with improvement in scores on depression. The authors suggest that Vitamin D may be an important treatment for seasonal affective disorder - a subtype of depression that occurs in the winter months, but further studies will be necessary to confirm these findings.(2)

So what is the bottom line? It appears that there is a definite link between seasonal affective disorder, with levels of vitamin D and light both being lower. The normal treatment for this kind of depression is exposure to special lighting for about one hour a day. It is not unreasonable perhaps to add vitamin D supplementation to this treatment. The evidence is less clear in other forms of depression, but may prove to be positive as research progresses.
Dr. John Cannell, President of the Californian Vitamin D council, wrote an excellent review of this whole topic entitled 'Vitamin D and Your Mental Health'.

However, before adding any vitamin D supplement for whatever reason, it's a good idea to get your 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels checked. This is a standard blood test that your doctors can check if you ask them for it by the name in bold letters above. If your vitamin D level is not above about 80 nmol/L, or in the USA 40 ng/mL, then supplementation with vitamin D is warranted. This may help, your bones, your heart, as well as your mind.

After taking 1000-2000 international units per day for 3 months, you should have your levels checked again to make sure that you do not have levels that are too high. If you do, reduce the dose by half. The only good way to check for healthy vitamin D levels is by having your blood levels measured. It is quite safe to take 1000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily regardless.

(1) Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. Lambert GW, Reid C,Kaye DM, Jennings GL, Esler MD. 2002

(2) Vitamin D vs broad spectrum phototherapy in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Gloth FM 3rd, Alam W, Hollis B. J Nutr Health Aging. 1999;3(1):5-7







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Accessing Resources for Empowerment(tm) is committed to bringing you quality products,
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articles are for educational purposes only and are not intended as treatment to be used without
the further advice of a physician or other health-care practitioner familiar with the diagnosis
and treatment of any condition using nutritional or other alternative approaches.
Please, always see your health care provider to provide a proper diagnosis and
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