J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Tag: vitamin D (Page 1 of 3)

Bone Healing Nutritional Protocol

Mineral-rich nuts.

I broke the middle three metatarsals of my right foot on the evening of December 9th (that will be the last time I skateboard at night on a poorly paved road). The foot doctors initially thought I would need surgery (pins and/or plates), but after a week in a compression splint my remedy was revised to seven weeks in a cast.

That was tough (especially on my family, who had to pick up slack around the house), but now the cast is off and I’m walking around with a velcro boot/splint while the healing completes. X-rays show much improvement and my podiatrist seems pleased with the rate of healing. There’s still some pain and swelling, and I’m out of shape and will probably need some chiropractic adjustments down the road, but I’m thinking and hoping I’m over the worst of it.

I’ve been consuming more of the following foods and supplements in an attempt to accelerate my bone healing. I have no idea if it’s helping or not, but I figure it can’t hurt to supply an abundance of the necessary building blocks. The list, for what it’s worth:

Kefir: good source of calcium and phosphorus, and most brands provide the additional benefits of l. rhamnosus, the incredible GABA-enhancing friendly bacteria. Great for mood and resilience when I need it most. I’ve been eating more of other calcium-rich foods as well: cheese, yogurt, canned salmon and sardines (with bones), broccoli, and almonds.

Oats: high in silica, which enhances bone and connective tissue health. I’ve also been taking a horsetail supplement for additional organic silica. Some nuts (brazil, almonds, walnuts) also contain silica.

Fat soluble vitamins: I’ve increased both my vitamin D3 and vitamin K2 intake from supplements to increase calcium absorption and get that calcium into my bones. I’ve also reduced my vitamin A intake, as there is some evidence that excessive vitamin A intake can increase risk of fracture.

Citrus: I’ve been craving citrus and eating a lot of it. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production (a component of bone), so that’s probably a good thing.

Magnesium and zinc: I take supplemental magnesium as part of my asthma protocol, so I assume I’m getting enough. I’ve increased my zinc intake to support the healing process (from both food–mostly oysters–and supplements).

Bone broth: I’ve had some bone broth lately. More probably would have been better, but when it comes down to it I don’t like the taste of most of the store-bought stuff. On the other hand I love the broth we make at home from chicken bones and vegetable scraps. We usually add some white wine vinegar to help leech the minerals out of the bones into the broth (and to improve the taste).

Avoiding potential antinutrients: Ideally I would have quit drinking caffeine and alcohol, as both can reduce calcium absorption and/or slow down healing. But I kept drinking coffee and red wine in moderation (both for health benefits and also to not feel like I was depriving myself–life has been hard enough with reduced mobility). I’ve been just OK about avoiding sugar–I was strict during January but I’ve indulged in ice-cream a few times, and I eat dark chocolate pretty much every day. I’ve eaten fewer beans due to phytates reducing calcium absorption. I don’t drink any cola, so I’m not worried about excess phosphorus. I’ve also reduced my turmeric intake–it’s a great healthful spice, but in large doses it’s as powerful as over-the-counter NSAIDs and I don’t want to inhibit my inflammatory response.

I’ve still got some healing to do, so feel free to chime in with your nutritional suggestions below!

Vitamin D and Other Immune Regulating Therapies for Schizophrenia

Brain tonic!

Brain tonic!

Within the last year the understanding of schizophrenia has advanced considerably. Most notably, the origins of the disease have been traced to an overactive expression of the C4 (complement component 4) immune system protein, which is responsible for tagging neurons for “pruning” (destruction) in the adolescent and young adult brain. This “overdrive brain pruning” leads to the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia (delusions, hallucinations, difficulties in planning and life management, paranoia and social isolation). Earlier research, in 2014, linked ultra-high-risk individuals (in terms of developing schizophrenia) to overactive microglial activity. (Microglia are the macrophage immune system cells of the central nervous system, destroying “plaques, damaged or unnecessary neurons and synapses, and infectious agents.“)

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Which Supplements I Take, and Why

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Supplements are confusing. Research supports both taking and avoiding them.

In this post I’ll cover the case against supplements, why I take a select few supplements anyway, which high-nutrient foods I eat, and how I design my supplementation program and introduce new supplements.

I’ll also disclose which supplement I take that is also used as a psychiatric medication, and the herbal supplement that makes me go a little nuts if I take too much.

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Losing Weight in the United States is an Act of Rebellion

Disney wants to fatten you up.

Disney wants to fatten you up.

I just got back from Disneyland. Fun trip. Also a bit of a shock, in one regard.

America is fat. Seriously fat. The number of people I saw who were disabled by weight problems was disheartening and saddening.

In the Bay Area, it’s easy to forget this fact. On average, we’re thinner here. It’s not because we’re morally superior or have more willpower. It’s because we have access to fresh food, and we live in a microculture that encourages healthy eating, organic food, and exercise.

Most Americans aren’t so lucky.

What I realized, looking around at my fellow Americans, is that to eat a decent diet in most parts of the country is an act of rebellion. To eat well (real, high quality food), the average American is rebelling against:

  • what most restaurants have available on their menus
  • packaged items advertised as “food” on television
  • 9 out of 10 aisles in the average grocery store
  • cultural conditioning
  • the fattening and hormone-disrupting foods our government subsidizes (sugar, corn, wheat, soy, etc.)
  • in many cases, what your family serves for dinner

There are thousands of voices telling you to eat the wrong foods: pseudo-foods that won’t support your health; packaged foods that will make you fat (or fatter); Franken-foods that will leave you with no energy and feeling depressed.

It was a wake-up call for me … I had forgotten how bad it was out there in mainstream America. I want to reach out to U.S. readers who are struggling with weight (some of you have contacted me personally), and who may not have access to the culture of good food that is so readily available in the Bay Area and other health-conscious parts of the country.

Words of encouragement to those who would like to lose 30 or more pounds of fat (at least half the adults I saw in Disneyland could easily lose this much):

  • In most of the United States, the deck is stacked against you in terms of eating well. That doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. U.S. food culture is changing, slowly. You can be part of that change.
  • To make a change in your diet, health, and life, you will need to commit 100% to the process. To do this, take some time to consider the consequences of not changing your diet (Type 2-diabetes, reduced virility, reduced mobility, early death) and also the rewards if you do change (improved energy, physical attractiveness, self-confidence, better health, better sex life, longer life).
  • Once you commit to a change, you will get friction from your family and friends who may feel that you are judging them. Make it clear that you are just trying to get healthier, and that they do whatever they want with their own bodies, and that you are going to eat real food regardless. (Secret: if you stick with it, they’ll eventually follow)
  • Your first step, which will yield massive results, should be to eliminate or greatly reduce refined carbohydrates. This includes high-fructose corn syrup (soda), white flour (bread, pastry, donuts, etc.), and sugar (ice-cream, candy bars, etc.). If you only make one change, it should be this one. You might have a rough couple of days while your body adjusts to not having a massive flow of sugar available at all times, but you’ll adjust.
  • To get your (fat-burning) liver in good shape, go easy on the alcohol. A 40-day reset was helpful for me. Beer is good, but beer is not your friend.
  • Second in importance (after removing/reducing refined carbs) is getting rid of processed oils that oxidize easily, promoting inflammation, chronic disease, and weight gain. These include vegetable oils like corn oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, other seed oils, and trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oils). I’m guessing that for most Americans, the biggest sources of these oils are french fries, popcorn, and chips.
  • What should you eat instead? Fresh fruits and vegetables, good fats (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, unsalted nuts and seeds, avocado), and humanely raised animal products (the “humanely raised” is not only to be a good person, but free-roaming, grass-eating animals tend to be healthier, happier, and more healthful when you eat them, especially in terms of omega-3 fatty acid content). If you don’t have access to grass-fed meat and free-range poultry and eggs, consider supplementing your diet with fish oil (for omega-3 fatty acids), or eating more fish (but only eat wild-caught, low-mercury fish, like sardines and wild salmon).
  • Don’t replace refined carbs and classic desserts with massive amounts of “natural” fructose. Eating an apple or a square of dark chocolate is fine. Skip the 12oz. glass of OJ or big handful of raisins or granola bar. Lots of fructose is hard on your liver and will slow or prevent fat loss.
  • What about grains and beans? This is not the post where I tell you to go paleo. Unless you have serious digestive or autoimmunity issues, eat small amounts of properly-cooked beans, and lower-gluten grains like oats and rice. Organic whole-grain (or even partially whole-grain) sourdough bread may be fine too. Consuming grains and beans (neolithic/agricultural foods, which our bodies have had less evolutionary time to adjust to) are fine, for most people, in moderation (but if these foods give you digestive issues, get your complex carbs from starchy vegetables instead).
  • Get your gut bacteria working for you. Your gut biome will change as your diet changes, but you can fast-track a healthy gut biome (which will help you burn fat and improve your mood) by eating probiotic foods like raw sauerkraut and plain kefir.
  • Reduce your exposure to bisphenol-A and other hormone-disrupting chemicals. Common exposure sources are plastic water bottles, packaged foods, canned foods with plastic linings (soups, tomatoes), and thermal receipts (BPA can be absorbed through the skin).
  • If you have a deep emotional attachment to a food, eat that food once in awhile. Even eating it once a week probably won’t hurt you, as long as the rest of your diet is good. It makes sense to eliminate foods that you don’t actually enjoy that much first.
  • Don’t think in terms of dieting. Think in terms of permanent positive changes to the way you eat. Think in terms of nourishing your body, mind, and spirit.
  • Find out what works for you, in terms of your taste preferences, cultural upbringing, budget, food sensitivities, ethical standards, etc. Do it your way.

Supplements

There are no magic weight loss supplements. Diuretics, stimulants, and laxatives will all harm your health — don’t take them. Some supplements may support weight loss by reducing inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, and improving liver function. If you don’t have a negative reaction (try them one at a time so you know), the following might be helpful:

  • fish oil (2-4g/day, depending on body weight)
  • vitamin D (2000-4000IU day, depending on body weight)
  • chromium picolinate (up to 200mcg/day, support insulin sensitivity)
  • milk thistle (support liver function)

I’m not a doctor, and you should consult yours before taking any supplements.

What About Exercise?

Yes, exercise! Exercise is great for you. But in terms of losing fat, diet is at least 80% of the equation. Most people would lose fat just by walking around Disneyland if the diet part of the equation was looking better.

I think the key to a successful exercise program is finding a physical activity that you enjoy, and that is easy to do. Then do it every day.

One More Voice

I realize that there are at least 1000 blog posts offering this exact same advice. But seeing how massive of an obesity problem we still have in this country, I can’t be silent. Even if this post only helps one person lose five pounds, it will still have been worth it to me to write it.

Mainstream food culture in the U.S. still sucks. For those of you who don’t have local access to good food culture, I feel for you! Until your local culture changes, find what you need on the internet (places to buy good food, recipes, health information, like-minded folks), and keep your own standards high.

It’s rough out there. Don’t give up. Raise your standards. Corporations and government will follow where the people lead. So rebel against the bad food that makes us sick and fat. Together, we can change the USA from the land of the fat to the land of the strong.

Follow-up to "Watch and Wait" Approach to Two Small Cavities

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What happens when you ignore your dentist’s advice?

Back in April I wrote about my decision to take a “watch and wait” approach with two small cavities that my dentist recommended getting filled. My plan was to follow a home treatment plan including dental hygiene, nutrition, and supplements. This is a follow-up post to fill you in on the results.

Compliance

I did a decent but imperfect job in terms of complying with my own home treatment plan. I intended to do a fluoride rinse three times a week, but I slacked off over time, probably averaging only once a week. In most other areas I did well, including taking supplements on a regular basis (vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium), and eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin A. I modified my diet to include more vegetables and somewhat less protein (I still eat meat, but my diet would probably be better described as “low-grain Mediterranean” rather than “paleo”). I continued to not drink soda, which as far as I can tell is the most destructive and dangerous habit in terms of dental health (I could link to pictures of “soda teeth” but I will spare you the gore). I continued to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. I chewed xylitol gum on most days.

Results

On my most recent visit to the dentist, my dentist observed that one area where the enamel had been soft had hardened up, and she no longer recommended drilling and filling that tooth. The other small cavity, though apparently not worse, had not improved. Otherwise, my teeth and gums were in great shape.

At this point I will take her recommendation and get the one cavity filled.

Takeaway

I’ll continue with my home treatment plan, as it seems to be doing some good in terms of dental health. I’m glad I took the watch and wait approach, as it seems to have saved me some money, done no harm, and saved a tooth from being drilled.

Advice

If your dentist says you have a cavity, ask for details. How big is it? Is there any chance that the enamel could harden up over time with good dental hygiene, home fluoride rinse treatment, and excellent nutrition? Within private healthcare systems, it’s not in your dentist’s financial interest to recommend delaying treatment, so they may not present this as an option. Dentists may also be reluctant to recommend delaying treatment of observable cavities because of their training, and/or the expectations of their patients.

Remember that the final decision is yours (as well as the ultimate responsibility for your dental health).

How Do You Prevent Heart Disease? (vitamin D might not help, but there’s plenty you can do)

We all have one ... let's keep it beating.

We all have one … let’s keep it beating.

Recently one of my favorite bloggers, Ferrett Steinmetz, had some chest pain, and as a precautionary measure went to the ER to get checked out. His initial tests came back normal, but the chest pain continued, and his blood work showed abnormal results. Ferrett had experienced a heart attack, and was immediately scheduled for surgery.

It got me thinking about heart disease.

Heart disease is incredibly common. It’s the leading cause of death in the United States.

So what can we do to prevent it?

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