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It’s summertime and here in the Northeast we have peeled off the layers of winter clothing and are embracing the summer sun. The irony of having summer and summer vacation after months of longing for better weather in the winter is the reality that “Oh, my goodness, the sun will kill us!” We are told by The Media all of the time that the Sun is very dangerous and we should wear sunscreen at all times.

Do we really need the sun? Or, is it better to be sun screened up all of the time?

Yes. Of course we need the sun! Vitamin D is produced in skin exposed to sunlight, from ultraviolet B radiation. If we use sunscreen all of the time, the benefit of Vitamin D does not get produced by the body. Vitamin D is more bioavailable when it is produced by the body that is going to use it, it is fat-soluble and stays in the body for up to 40 days after it’s produced.

A way to make sure you get some sun and still protect your skin is to make sure you get some limited sun exposure without sunscreen every day. I’m not suggesting that anyone should go out and burn themselves, but in measured doses (10-15 minutes at a time in the summer) enjoy some natural Vitamin D synthesis.

A big part of the Vitamin D production in the skin has to do with the melanin, the body’s light filter. Concentration of melanin in the skin has to do with how well the UVB can penetrate and get made by the skin. People with more melanin will require more time in the sunlight to produce the same amount of Vitamin D. The time required to produce an adequate amount of Vitamin D depends on how far they are from the equator and the season, determining the amount of sunlight.

Although it’s best to have the Vitamin D made in your skin, you can get it through nutritional sources. In fact, it seems that most processed food in the US is enriched with Vitamin D. Only fish is naturally rich in Vitamin D, you can get all you need with a daily tablespoon of cod liver oil (the idea of squishing fish livers for their precious oil makes me want to swoon) but fortified foods include many breakfast cereals, milk and soymilk. Many supplements abound fortified with Vitamin D, including Balance Complete™ by Young Living which is a super-food-based meal replacement that is both a powerful nutritive energizer and a cleanser. Offering the benefits of Ningxia wolfberry powder, Balance Complete is high in fiber, high in protein, and contains the good fats, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals needed for a nutritionally dynamic meal. Balance Complete also features Young Living’s proprietary V-Fiber™ blend, which supplies an amazing 11 grams of fiber per serving, absorbs toxins, and satisfies the appetite while balancing the body’s essential requirements.

According to Wikipedia, diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency include:

· Rickets, a childhood disease which slows long bone growth
· Osteomalacia, a bone-thinning disorder which occurs in adults,
· Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle bones and loss of calcium

A deficiency of Vitamin D has also been pointed to for many other chronic health problems, although research is less official and other factors may be present. These include:

· High blood pressure
· Depression
· Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
· Cancer
· Periodontal disease (Gum disease)
· Multiple sclerosis
· Chronic pain syndrome

The problem of Vitamin D and The Sun is compounded and exacerbated by our culture of fear of the sun but in measured doses and with care we can help our body get the sun it deserves.

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What are some suggestions to naturally cure the symptoms of a hangover? My personal favorite is “don’t get one in the first place”–that sure isn’t helpful when you’re feeling low and slow the day after imbibing a little too much.

Vitamin up: Vitamin C in large doses can help the body normalize itself, likewise citrus juice which is high in Vitamin C is beneficial. Orange juice and grapefruit or tomato juice are usually in the fridge, or can be easily gotten from the store. Maybe this is one of the reasons that cold pizza is legend in it’s ability to ease hangover symptoms.

Essential oils may help. A drop of the following oils: fennel, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, rose, rosemary or sandalwood taken with a spoon of Blue Agave (available at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods) or Honey will immediately have a rejuvenating effect. Peppermint oil behind the ears (sounds weird but it’s true) will naturally chase away headache symptoms like magic and a drop of peppermint in some water is very soothing to the stomach. A drop of therapeutic-grade peppermint has the properties of 28 cups of peppermint tea,

Bananas or Gatorade. These provide a quick hit of sugar in the form of fructose, which is easily digestible, and potassium, which are lost when you drink too much alcohol. Bananas help with the nausea, and are high in magnesium which can help headache symptoms. Maybe this is why Elvis was so into peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Try some coffee? To ease a hangover coffee should be fortified with honey because fructose is easier to digest than table sugar (sucrose).

Other suggestions abound on the internet. For best results though nutrition and time are the best healers. By fortifying the body with Vitamin C rich solutions and quelling nausea with Peppermint, the hangover will soon be a distant memory.

Marathon SignHere in Massachusetts it’s nearly time for our epoch race: the Boston Marathon. I have recently been working on runners training for the marathon. I really admire people who can sustain the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of training and completing a marathon.

Massage is one of the best ways for a runner to take care of her body. At this stage of training, training has ramped up and people are in their peak condition. Runners are running a very long run once a week to get ready and maybe running 40-50 miles in general a week to keep those muscles in shape. A regular massage during training has many benefits including enhancing range of motions (ROM), increasing flexibility, decreasing soreness (particularly DOMS), decreasing recovery time, with the added psychological benefits of being deeply relaxing and restful to the mind.

The marathon runners here train year round and the weather on race day often has a huge effect the outcome of the race. The race, of course, is on Patriot’s Day (a holiday that I am pretty sure just exists here), which is always the Monday closest to The 18th of April and the date of Paul Revere’s legend ride. Last year Marathon Monday was terrible. It was a Nor’ Easter some compared to a typhoon, with a 40 mph wind. Now, even if you have trained through a winter of snow and ice dealing with conditions like that is still quite difficult. Many, many of the folks who set out do run did not finish and some did not even show up to run.

Getting a number for the marathon can be done a few different ways. Some runners qualify with fast times from other marathons or 1/2 marathons, others will raise funds for charity which gives them the number as an incentive. I have heard that some runners raise $10K to get that magic number which lets them run the marathon, what a wonderful opportunity for the charitable organizations which provide these numbers.

One runner I know is having a 20 mile practice run next week and will begin tapering back her miles, getting ready to rest up for the big race. I wish all of these women well as they train so hard and get ready to follow their dreams. I wish them better weather than last year and a little bit of sunshine and an easy wind.

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Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is contagious. Not having enthusiasm is also contagious.--Fortune Cookie

The Future

When we look into the long avenue of the future, and see the good there is for each one of us to do, we realize, after all, what a beautiful thing it is to work, and to live, and to be happy. --Robert Louis Stevenson