Episode 154: Why You Need Vitamin D

In this re-released episode from October 2021, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are discussing everything you need to know about vitamin D. Vitamin D isn’t just needed for bone health – it is crucial for your immune health. Also, could low vitamin D be the cause of your aches, pains and low mood?

Vitamin D deficiency is still underdiagnosed, under prevented and under treated in between 60-90% of the worldwide population. In Canada 59% of population are vitamin D deficient (below 75 nmol/L). 

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and is best absorbed as a supplement when taken with food. 

What increases your risk of experiencing vitamin D deficiency?

  • Dark skin
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Malabsorption
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (due to malabsorption and inflammation)
  • Sunlight overprotection and/or deprivation
  • Chronic use of prednisone and other anti-inflammatory steroid derivatives, anticonvulsant medications (due to upregulation of liver detoxification, promoting excretion of vitamin D and metabolites)

Why should you care about vitamin D?

Vitamin D plays many roles in the body! It’s not just for bone density, which can decrease as estrogen decreases in perimenopause and menopause.

Vitamin D is known as a pro-hormone synthesized in the skin and activated in the liver and kidneys. Cholesterol is its precursor.

Why do you need vitamin D in your body?

  • Reduces cellular growth
  • Improves cell differentiation
  • Regulates and controls genes
  • Reduces inflammation, risk of cancer, autoimmunity
  • Reduces muscle aches/pain, fibromyalgia
  • Improves mood (and energy)
  • Enhances bone health

“The most common manifestations of vitamin D deficiency in adults is:

Depression

Infection

Chronic Pain”

  • Alex Vasquez (vitamin D monograph available at academia.edu)

Low vitamin D status or deficiency can manifest as:

  • Bone and muscle pain 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Infections/dysbiosis
  • Frequent falls and cognitive impairment
  • Statin intolerance and myalgia
  • Preterm birth 

How does vitamin D support your vagina?

Research shows that vitamin D supports the proliferation of vaginal epithelium in postmenopausal vaginal atrophy. After using a suppository with 1000IU vitamin D over 8 weeks, vaginal pH decreased, while vaginal dryness and pain significantly reduced.

You can think about your skin and mucous membranes (including epithelial cells and immune cells) are like bricks in a wall, with tight junction proteins acting like mortar and weather proofing or waterproofing provided by antimicrobial peptides, as well as lysozyme and secretory IgA, on surfaces. 

Mucous membranes are present in your mouth, digestive tract, genitourinary tract and respiratory tract. Strengthening your exterior barrier defenses prevents infection.

Research shows that people with low vitamin D levels are 27-55% more likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection. Higher doses of vitamin D are more protective, improves lung function and decreases inflammation. 

Synergistic nutrients for vitamin D include:

  • Magnesium – cofactor in the synthesis of vitamin D from both exposure to sunlight and dietary sources
  • Vitamin K2 supports getting calcium into bones and teeth

Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) produced in skin and consumed in diet, preferred form for supplementation.

Food sources provide low amounts: fatty wild fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, trout, salmon, cod liver oil, egg yolk, milk, soy milk, fortified foods, beef liver, cheese

Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) produced by irradiating fungi and mushrooms, less efficient precursor to biologically active 1, 25 dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol), also potentially less effective and more toxic. 

Some examples of research using cod liver oil as a source of vitamin D:

  • study with 10 patients with multiple sclerosis over 2 years, daily supplementation of 1000mg calcium, 600mg magnesium and 5000IU vitamin D (from 20g cod liver oil) reduced number of exacerbations with an absence of adverse effects
  • studies with cod liver oil showed significant reductions of type 1 diabetes, while a study of more than 10,000 infants (less than 1 year of age) and children with 2000IU of vitamin D daily reduced incidence of type 1 diabetes by almost 80%

How do you know if you’re getting enough vitamin D?

Get your blood tested!

Reference ranges for serum 25 (OH) vitamin D3 in adults can vary:

Example:

Deficiency: <20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) 

Insufficiency: 20-40 ng/ml (50-100 nmol/L)

Proposed optimal: 40-65 ng/ml (100-160 nmol/L)

Excess: >80 ng/ml (200 nmol/L)

Proposed updated ranges:

Depletion: <20 ng/ml (50 nmol/L) 

Insufficiency: <32 ng/ml (80 nmol/L) 

Marginal sufficiency: 30-40 ng/ml (75-100 nmol/L)

Sufficiency: 40-50 ng/ml (100-125 nmol/L) 

Proposed optimal physiologic range: 50-90 ng/ml (125-225 nmol/L) – based on levels found in pregnant rural Africans, lifeguards in USA/Isreal, farmers in Puerto Rico

Supraphysiologic: >100 ng/ml (250 nmol/L)

Potentially toxic: >150 ng/ml (325 nmol/L)

Pharmacologic dosing: 200-300 ng/ml (500-750 nmol/L)

Also see:

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – for more info, see Episode 47

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – for more info, see Episode 71

What Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing monthly info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective begins again in 2023. You can get on the waitlist at wildcollectivetoronto.com

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of board games for lots of family fun, including Despicable Me Minion Game of Life, Mousetrap and Don’t Make Me Laugh. 

Dr. Toni loves her emulsified vitamin D drops plus vitamin D/K for the whole family.

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 153 – What You Need to Know About “Mom Brain” (aka “Super Brain”) – Part 1

In this part 1 of 2 episodes, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss why “Mom Brain” or “Super Brain” is a thing and what you can do about it. Your brain gets rewired to respond to cues from your kids to keep them alive, which is a good thing! Learn how to treat your new Super Brain well so it function its best.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • How and why your brain gets rewired from hormone changes in pregnancy 
  • The hormones involved in your brain’s rewiring
  • The importance of the maternal locus of control in your brain to allow you to respond to the cues from your kids
  • The physical presence of your kids in your brain due to fetal microchimerism
  • Other factors that can impact how you experience Super Brain, including sleep, nutrient depletion and stress
  • Some tips to support your brain to work its best

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

Dr. Toni loves using steam inhalation in addition to humidifier for dealing with dry air in winter. Sometimes she adds 1-2 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to reduce congestion and provide some anti-viral activity. 

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of her 5 minute meditation daily, in addition to her walking meditation.

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening soon. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Facebook group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 151: What We Know About Ageism and What to Do About It with Helen Latimer

What beliefs do you hold about ageing? Discrimination against women as they age is real and rampant, and not addressed often enough.  In this episode, Dr. Lisa chats with Helen Latimer, a leadership and transition coach, all about ageism in the workplace, in society and even self-imposed. They discuss ways to overcome ageism and some useful resources to check out to learn more.

Helen Latimer is a leadership and transition coach who works with people wanting to enrich their careers, change fields or find a new role. She really enjoys working with people over 50. She’s a highly skilled coach who provides her clients with actionable advice along with warmth and encouragement. 

She’s a former executive with over 20 years of corporate experience and a member of John McKee and Associates, a prestigious international coaching organization with members in over 20 countries.  

A long-time community volunteer in Toronto, Helen is the Chair of the Board at CultureLink. She is the co-author of The Plan: Personal Balance, Career Success, Financial Strength. 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • The prevalence of ageism in Canada and the US
  • The assumptions behind some of the discrimination around age in the workplace
  • How to recognize and overcome self-imposed ageism
  • The book “Breaking the Age Code” by Becca Levy

Connect with Helen by email at helen@helenlatimer.com and find out more at https://helenlatimer.com/

Register for Helen’s Workshop: “How to Thrive and Flourish After 50” (on Nov 12th 2022) HERE.

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

  • Dr. Lisa loves her sleep and honouring her bedtime routine to get at least 7 hours. 
  • Helen is a big fan of packing an inflatable beach ball for play while travelling. 

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this month. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 150: Our Top Take-Aways from Previous Episodes to Navigate Perimenopause with More Ease

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni are celebrating the 150th episode of the Perimenopausal Mamas Podcast and review their top lessons from the past 149 episodes to navigate perimenopause with more ease.

  1. Unpredictable changes in perimenopause is the only thing that is predictable!
    • symptoms can change from month to month
    • symptoms can vary and are based on your hormone fluctuations
      1. irregular cycles and heavy bleeding
      2. PMS, mood swings, depression and anxiety
      3. hot flashes and night sweats
      4. joint pain and body aches
      5. skin and hair changes
      6. weight and metabolism changes
      7. fatigue and brain fog
    • hormones are impacted by stress, sleep and how much fun you have (or miss)
      1. See more info about stress and cortisol: Episode 24
      2. See more info about thyroid hormones: Episode 42
      3. See more info about sleep: Episode 73

Menopause is when you have not had a menstrual period for 12 months.

Perimenopause is the transition period before you reach menopause and can last for 4 years, 8 years or longer. 

Does every woman experience the transition from perimenopause to menopause the same way?

No!

You can have one of 4 different patterns of estrogen and 3 different patterns of FSH levels, as well as different combinations of other symptoms at different stages of perimenopause. 

  1. Acceptance and love for yourself is more important than forcing or pushing yourself
  • Treat yourself like a friend instead of shoulding on yourself
  • Don’t have to fight yourself or cycles and expect perfection
  • Don’t have to restrict to see change – focus adding things in, not removing, to nourish yourself: joyful movement, foods you love, adding in sleep and connection
  • Practice acceptance of what is and what isn’t
  • RAIN meditation by Tara Brach – https://www.tarabrach.com/
  1. Perimenopause can be a positive time for reawakening and reconnecting with yourself
    • Focus on your needs, priorities and boundaries
    • Recognize the different phases you can experience with cyclical living and the 4 different Relationship Seasons™ – see Episode 82
      1. Coping
      2. Coasting
      3. Connected
      4. Confident
  2. Practicing being mindful and conscious
    • Scheduling time to relax
    • Recognize that you can change your emotional state
      1. See Episode 112
    • Prevent stress with organization like bullet journal
      1. See Episode 11

Today’s Mama Must-Have:

  • Dr. Lisa loves being part of mom’s groups like Mom Halo and Mamas and Co (and running Wild Collective) to connect with other like-minded women
  • Dr. Toni is a big fan of 5 minutes of anger work as healthy outlet for expressing anger instead of avoiding, stuffing it or unleashing it on loved ones – using the couch as a punching bag

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 149: What is the Dirty Dozen? Why Does It Matter?

In this episode, Dr. Toni discusses EWG’s 2022 Shopper Guide to Pesticides in ProduceTM, also known as the Dirty DozenTM and Clean FifteenTM lists for fruit and veggies. Conventionally grown fruit and veg can have residue from hundreds of different pesticides, some of which have been associated with increased risk of brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer and hormone disruption. How can you reduce exposure of these chemicals in you and your family and is it possible without having to break the bank by buying all organic? Listen in to find out!

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is an organization in the US that ranks pesticide contamination of 46 different fruit and vegetables, based on results from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that tested over 40,000 samples of produce. 

What is the Dirty Dozen list of fruit and vegetables?

EWG’s 2022 Shopper Guide to Pesticides in Produce is created to share what fruit and veg have the highest levels of pesticide residues (Dirty DozenTM) and the lowest levels of pesticide residues (Clean FifteenTM)

Dirty DozenTM:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale, collard and mustard greens
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Bell and hot peppers
  8. Cherries 
  9. Peaches
  10. Pears
  11. Celery
  12. Tomatoes

Clean FifteenTM:

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Onions
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet peas (frozen)
  7. Asparagus
  8. Honeydew melon
  9. Kiwi
  10. Cabbage
  11. Mushrooms
  12. Cantaloupe
  13. Mangoes
  14. Watermelon
  15. Sweet potatoes

What are pesticides? Why should you care about them?

Pesticides are chemicals that are created to kill insects, plants and fungi that are considered pests and used to support crops that are grown for food. 

Several pesticides have been associated with health concerns in people, with possible link to brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer and hormone disruption. Infants are more susceptible to the negative effects of pesticides than older children and adults due to a lower ability to detoxify those chemicals. 

While conventional farmers can use 900 different synthetic pesticides, organic farmers are allowed to use only 25 synthetic pesticides — and then only in carefully regulated ways by the USDA National Organic Program. 

Pesticides used can vary from country to country. Some pesticides still used in the US and Canada have been banned in the EU for over a decade. 

Important Notes about Pesticides on Your Fruit and Vegetables:

  • At least 1 pesticide is found on about 70% of conventional/non-organic produce tested by the USDA
  • Almost 70% of Clean FifteenTM fruit and veg had no pesticide residues
  • More than 90% of strawberries, apples, cherries, spinach, nectarines and grapes tested had residue from 2 or more pesticides
  • Less than 5% of Clean FifteenTM fruit and veg samples had 2 or more pesticide residues
  • Kale, collard and mustard greens had the most pesticides detected, and a single sample had up to 21 different pesticides 
  • Spinach samples almost twice as much pesticide residues as any other crop tested
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant were removed from the Clean FifteenTM list due to a lack of testing by the USDA
  • Testing by USDA was done after washing all produce samples
  • The USDA does not test all pesticides used on crops, including glyphosate (also known as RoundupTM) which is the most heavily used pesticide in the US and found on grains and beans like oats and chickpeas
  • Most corn and soy grown in the US are genetically modified to allow for spraying with RoundupTM and are processed into oil and corn syrup used in processed foods

Research from Harvard University produced lists of high and low pesticide produce that is similar to EWG’s Dirty DozenTM and Clean FifteenTM:

High Pesticide Residue Score: apples and apple sauce, blueberries, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, pears, peaches, potatoes, plums, spinach, strawberries, raisins, sweet peppers, tomatoes, winter squash

Low Pesticide Residue Score: apple juice, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupe, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, lentils, lettuce, onions, orange and orange juice, peas, prunes, summer squash, sweet potatoes, tofu, tomato sauce, zucchini

People who ate more high pesticide foods had higher levels of urinary pesticide products and lower levels of fertility. People who ate more low pesticide foods had higher levels of successful pregnancy, but may also be more health conscious and have a higher socio-economic status which impacts health. 

What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford To Buy Organic Produce?

Research has shown that commercial produce cleaners are no better at removing pesticides residues than water. Other methods have been demonstrated to be more effective at removing pesticide residues:

  • 10% salt water solution and 10% vinegar solution were effective in removing a large percentage of pesticides from cabbage when soaked for 20 minutes, more than washing with water
  • Ultrasonic cleaning with baking soda and water solution was shown to be effective at removing over 90% pesticide residues
  • 1% baking soda solution (1 oz to 100 oz water) was more effective than Clorox bleach at removing pesticide residues from apples when soaked for at least 12 minutes 

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni likes to keep a large jug of white vinegar under the sink for cleaning produce and using for household cleaning. 

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Follow Dr. Lisa on instagram @drlisaweeksND for more info about Wild Collective and other events.

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.