Some facts:

  • There is an estimated 20 million people in the US with some form of thyroid disease
  • Up to 60 percent of these people are unaware of their condition
  • One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime
  • A synthetic form of thyroid hormone is the 4th highest selling drug in the US
  • 13 of the top 50 selling drugs are either directly or indirectly related to hypothyroidism
  • up to 10% of women over 60 have clinical or subclinical hypothyroidism
  • every cell in the body has receptor sites for thyroid hormone


Common hypothyriodism symptoms:

  • mental slowing
  • depression
  • dementia
  • weight gain
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • hair loss
  • cold intolerance
  • hoarse voice
  • irregular menstruation
  • infertility and reproductive dysfunction
  • muscle stiffness and pain
  • bone fractures
  • elevated blood cholesterol
  • impaired phase II detoxification
  • blood sugar imbalances
  • anemia
  • arterial plaques
  • anemia
  • gallstone formation
  • decreased stomach acid production


Thyroid hormone affects:

  • brain
  • the gastrointestinal tract
  • cardiovascular system
  • bone metabolism
  • red blood cell metabolism
  • gall bladder and liver function
  • steroid hormone production
  • glucose metabolism
  • lipid and cholesterol metabolism
  • protein metabolism
  • body temperature


Credit is given to Chris Kesser, L. Ac, for the source of this information.

Next blog: Thyroid Lab Tests and Thyroid Patterns


Summer Sun Protection

We all need sunshine to stay healthy but with the arrival of hot summer days we need to be prepared to protect ourselves against unhealthy amounts of ultraviolet radiation.


  • according to the report of the National Cancer Institute (NCI 2013) more than 2 million Americans develop skin cancer each year.

  • Health Canada also reports that cancer rates have been increasing over the past 30 years

  • there are three major types of skin cancer

  • basal and squamous – common but rarely fatal and often appear on sun-exposed areas like faces and ears, exposure to ultraviolet light over years is a definite risk factor

  • melanoma – about 3% of all skin cancers, is frequently fatal and causes 75% of the deaths, data on sun explosion is still unclear

  • researchers found that regular use of sunscreen lowers the risk of squamous cell carcinoma but there isn’t strong enough evidence that it can prevent melanoma or basal cell carcinoma.

  • studies conducted in the 1990s reported higher, not lower, incidence of melanoma among frequent sunscreen users

  • outdoor workers report lower rates of melanoma than indoor workers

  • melanomas are not usually located on the parts of the body that get daily sun exposure

  • the consensus among researchers who study skin cancer is that the most important step people can take to reduce their melanoma risk is to avoid sunburn but not regular sun exposure.  It is thought that higher vitamin D levels resulting from regular sun exposure may play a role in reducing melanoma risk

  • Some additional facts – certain diseases such lupus, medications such as antibiotics and antihistamines can cause extra sensitivity to sun rays



  • accounts for up to 95 percent of the solar UV radiation reaching the Earth surface
  • can penetrate glass, cloud cover, pass through the ozone layer and into the deeper layers of the skin contributing to accelerated skin ageing, wrinkling and the development of skin cancer
  • does not cause burning /blistering
  • heavily contribute to premature ageing
  • new research suggests that UVA causes more skin damage than UVB
  • tanning booths primary emit UVA often times in doses 12 times that of the sun


  • makes up only 3-5 percent of the UV radiation striking the Earth’s surface
  • the chief cause of skin reddening, burning and tanning, tends to damage the more superficial layer of skin causing DNA damage
  • plays a key role in the development of accelerated skin ageing, cataracts and some type of skin cancer
  • helps the skin to convert cholesterol into vitamin D
  • UVB intensity varies by seasons, locations and times of the day.  The most significant amount of UVB hits the North American continent  between 10am and 4pm from April to October
  • majority of UVB rays is absorbed by the ozone layer


  • the most damaging rays, but fortunately they are completely blocked by the ozone layer


  • sunscreens were invented to stop sunburn and are indexed by their SPF rating, which describes the product’s ability to prevent burning

  • for decades, sunscreen manufacturers and sunscreen users assumed that preventing or delaying sunburn would also avert dangerous skin damage

  • when people use sunscreens they tend to extend their time in the sun

  • sunscreens prevent burning but will not be  protected from cumulative exposure to UVA rays

  • CDC national survey data concluded that people who relied solely on sunscreens for sun protection had more sunburns that people who reported infrequent sunscreen use but used hats or clothing to shield themselves from the sun

  • an ideal sunscreen would have to offer similar level of UVB and UVA protection



The Case for Nutritional Supplements

Supplements have grown increasingly popular in recent years, whereas there were only 4,000 dietary supplements on the market in 1994, in 2008 there were about 75,000, according to a report from the US Government Accountability Office.

 The roles of nutritional supplements in the body 

  • Vitamins and minerals are considered essential nutrients acting in concert to perform hundreds of various roles in the body and are needed in small but steady amounts for normal growth, function and health.

  • They bolster the immune system, convert food into energy, heal wounds, repair cellular damage and catalize chemical reactions.

  • Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients the body can’t make and therefore we must get them from the foods we eat or, in some cases, from supplements.

Although we don’t see critical nutritional deficiency diseases such as scurvy or beri beri, numerous nutritional surveys have shown that today’s standard diet does not meet the nutritional needs of most people. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHAENSII) revealed that 91 percent of people do not eat the suggested two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables daily. 

We need to be aware of the following facts:

  • vitamins and minerals in a supplement form are NO substitute for a healthy diet, however we also know that

  • nobody is perfect when it comes to healthy eating

  • Numerous nutritional surveys have shown that the standard diet does not meet the nutritional needs of most people. 

  • A study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealed that the diet of many people does not even provide the Recommended Daily Allowance of several nutrients. 

  • According to a statement released by the Surgeon General of the United States in 1988, “approximately two-thirds of all deaths are associated with imbalances in diet and nutrition”

 Getting all the essential nutrients from food alone can be challenging. We are well fed but study after study has shown that most of us don’t get adequate amounts of key vitamins and minerals.

 Taking dietary supplements is always a personal decision based on individual knowledge and awareness of two important factors:

  1. individual factors – personal needs, health conditions, diet, lifestyle, life stage, taking prescription medications

  2. food production methods – the state and nature of food we consume

Let’s examine each of these in details:

  1. individual factors:  While many can benefit from the additional support of certain high quality supplements, some groups may be especially in need of this extra support. 

These include:

  • people eating a poor, unbalanced or junk-food diets (processed food).

  • women of childbearing age

  • women with heavy periods

  • women in menopause/post-menopause

  • people aged 50 and over

  • people on special diets.

  • those with a poor appetite

  • anybody with compromised digestion, absorption

  • food intolerances

  • people on extreme weigh-loss regimen

  • smokers

  • anyone who drinks alcohol excessively

  • people with certain illnesses or under excessive stress

  • special diets including low protein, low carbohydrate

  • vegan and vegetarian diets

  • malabsorption (genetic or otherwise)

  • drug induced nutritional depletions

  • athletes under physical demand

  1.  Food production methods:

  • many fruits and vegetables contain a lot less nutrients than they did 40 years ago.  Fresh food, sold in the supermarkets and stored in chilled containers, can travel hundreds or even thousands of miles and take several days to get to and from distribution centres. Broccoli and pineapples  now have less than half the calcium. Cauliflower now has less vitamin C and sweet peppers 30 percent less.   Some oranges have no vitamin C at all.

  • processing removes most of the nutrients.  For example, white flour, white rice and refined white sugar contains virtually no vitamins at all and only 10 percent of the minerals they originally had.  That’s why manufacturers try to compensate by adding back some of the nutrients removed or destroyed, but not all.   Take magnesium for example: the average American diet contains barely over 50% of the conservative recommended daily allowance (RDA) for magnesium, and roughly three quarters of the population consumes a magnesium deficient diet.  The majority of good magnesium sources contain only about 10% or less of the recommended daily amounts and those that contain more are often eaten in too small quantities by the average person. 
    • Refined oils remove all magnesium.  The result of oil refining is a zero magnesium product. Safflower seeds, for example, contain 680 mg of magnesium per 1,000 calories. Safflower oil lacks magnesium entirely.

    • Refined grains remove 80-97 percent of magnesium.  At least twenty nutrients are removed in refining flour. And only five are put back in when refined flours are “enriched”.   Magnesium is not one of them.

    • Refined sugar removes all magnesium. Molasses, which is removed from the sugar cane in refinement, contains up to 25% of the RDA for magnesium in one tablespoon. Sugar has none.

  • depleted soil

  • high-yield crops are deficient in certain nutrients

  • modern fertilizers do not supply enough trace element

  • fertilizers and pesticides kill soil microorganism and affect the nutritional
    value of the crop

  • long distance transportation of food diminishes their nutrient content

  • food additives can further deplete nutrients

 The foundation of every supplementation program is a multi vitamin with minerals, that will fill most nutrient gaps in normal diets.

Who should take supplements?

Experts recommend that everyone who is interested in optimal health and prevention of disease should be on a regular nutritional supplement regime customized according to their specific needs.

 And YES, quality makes a difference! When planning to shop for supplements find a trusted and reliable store where you are provided with quality and safe products, valuable information and with the  assurance that the product you are purchasing has been checked for safety and purity. 

Great book to check out!


The “Mising Link” in Bone Density and Cardiovascular Health – Part 2

The “Missing Link”

Research over the last few decades has shown a new and emerging role for Vitamin K in the treatment of osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. Vitamin K2 is turning out to be the prime contributing factor and the missing link in abnormal calcium regulation throughout the body.  Clinical studies confirmed that most healthy adults have sub-clinical vitamin K deficiency and the first symptoms of this deficiency can be heart attack or osteoporotic bone fracture.

 Vitamin K

Identified in 1929, vitamin K is a group of fat soluble vitamins found primarily in two forms in nature, K1 and K2.  Of the two it is vitamin K2 that is essential for the regulation of normal calcium deposits.  Vitamin K2 has two significant sub-types.

These sub-types are:

  • MK-4 – in dairy, meat and eggs of grass-fed animals

  • Mk-7 – in fermented soy, natto.

How Does Vitamin K2 Control Bone and Vascular Health?

The possible role of vitamin K2 on bone and vascular health emerged from observations of its effects on certain proteins found in bone tissue and the walls of the arteries. 

Vitamin  K2 controls  two calcium regulating proteins in the body:

  1. osteocalcin – in bones.  Vitamin K2 binds osteocalcin to the mineral portion of bone which is an essential process in attaining optimum bone density.  Lack of vitamin K2 amplifies the mobilization of calcium from bone tissue resulting in osteoporosis.

  2. Matrix GLA protein –  in artery walls.  Matrix GLA, controlled by vitamin K2 also, prevents calcium from depositing in the walls of arteries.

Impaired osteocalcin and matrix GLA function, both resulting from low vitamin K2, will increase the risk of osteoporosis and vascular calcium deposits, respectively.

 Role in Bone Health

The human skeleton is fully replaced in every 8 to 10 years.  The effect of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D in bone health was known previously, but the importance of vitamin K in optimum calcium metabolism has been recognized only recently.

Normal calcium deposits are found in two organs in the body, bones and teeth.  Insufficient vitamin K2 leads to decreased bone mineral density, increased risk of osteoporosis and resulting bone fractures.  Experimental animal models of osteoporosis reveal that vitamin K2 increases bone mass and mechanical strength, stimulates mineralization and enhances bone collagen structure.

 Role in Cardiovascular Health

Abnormal calcium deposits can develop in various soft tissues including the inner lining of arteries, heart valves, muscle tissue and kidneys.

The role of vitamin K2 in cardiovascular health was demonstrated by the Rotterdam Heart Study in 2004. The study tracked 4800 participants over a span of seven years. It was found that the group ingesting the largest quantities of vitamin K2 had a significant 57% reduction in death from complication of heart disease  compared to the control group.

New research reveals other benefits of vitamin K.   Its importance was discovered in the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease – patients are found to have low vitamin K levels

  • diabetes – experimentally induced vitamin K deficiency increases the incidence of type II diabetes in laboratory animals

  • some cancers are also associated with low vitamin K2 level


Clinical trials support the findings that regular intake of vitamin K2 in the form of a supplement or from food sources can successfully increase bone density, reduce the incidence of bone fractures and prevent or reverse calcium deposits in arteries.  Best food sources of vitamin K2 are natto (fermented soy beans), Gouda and Edam cheese.


  •  Hara, K. Akiyama, Y. [Vitamin K and bone quality]. Clin Calcium. 2007 Nov, 17(11):1678-84
  • The Emerging Role of Vitamin K2,Manoucher Saljoughian, PharmD, PhD, US Pharm. 2012;37(1):HS-12_HS-14

  • Dr. James Howenstine, MD.June 5, 2007. NewsWithViews.com

  • Vitamin K May Protect Against Developing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Medical News Today. 20 Apr 2010

  • Adams, J. Pepping, J. Vitamin K in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis ans arterial calcification. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2005 Aug 1; 62 (15): 1574-81