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Tips & Recipes

Do I really need Vitamin D?

Q)  Why do I have to check my vitamin D levels?  I’m already taking Vitamin D.  Plus, my family doctor told me my levels were fine. 

A)  Vitamin D has emerged in the last several years as one of the most promising anti-aging “treatments” – it’s cheap, easy, and works wonders for just about every organ and cell in the entire body!  For decades now, the medical community has thought that serum blood levels of Vitamin D at 32ng/ml and above were good. We couldn’t have been more off-base! We now know, that the optimal levels are >50ng/ml (I like between 60 – 80 ng/ml). At these higher levels, we can reduce the risk of many cancers, (specifically breast cancer), male heart attacks, depression, neurological disorders, auto-immune disorders, diabetes, upper respiratory disorders, falls in women, cold & flu viruses and infections at very substantial rates. The benefits of adequate Vitamin D are enormous!
Most of our patients we test for the first time are very low in Vitamin D – even those that take supplements!  I have seen way too many times a patient taking 1,000 units or more daily, and they STILL have deficient or suboptimal levels! This is why we recommend knowing your blood levels. Once we know your accurate level, we can make recommendations on the appropriate amount of Vitamin D to take every day!  


Do I need a Mammogram?

Q:  What do you make of the new mammogram screening recommendations?  I am still confused!  – Ann, 47

A:  We having been hearing this a lot lately!  Unfortunately, the new mammogram screening recommendations (from The US Preventive Services Task Force) are causing a lot of confusion for women now.  Basically, the new recommendations of biannual screening starting at 50 are probably ok if you choose to wait that long, as long as you have NO risk factors for breast cancer.  The caveat of that is that many patients who develop breast cancer have no risk factors at all. 

Specific risk factors for breast cancer are:close relative having breast cancer, history of artificial hormone use (for any period of time), smoking, drinking alcohol, a diet poor in vegetables, low Vitamin D levels, and excess weight (>20 pounds overweight). Also, having PMS (a progesterone-deficiency) might be a potential risk factor, as well. 

Our recommendations are to continue with the American Cancer Society recommendations of annual screening at 40 if you have any risk factors at all; or if you feel more comfortable with that.  If you truly want to wait until you’re 50, please do so only if you do not have any risk factors.  Personally, I’ve seen way too many patients under the age of 50 who have had breast cancer!