It seems like everyone is talking about vitamin D these days and your patients are probably asking you about it too. As a result of people getting less sun exposure due to climate, lifestyle, and skin cancer concerns, there is a growing epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, it is estimated that up to 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D, commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that many experts classify as a hormone. It mainly functions to keep normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and support bone health. Current research is also pointing to a role in protecting from psoriasis, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. New research is showing an increased risk of heart attack, depression, and certain cancers associated with low vitamin D levels. Based on these findings, many healthcare providers have increased their recommendations for vitamin D supplementation to 1,000 IU and higher. Continue reading
Most of your patients have probably heard about the many benefits of increasing their intake of omega-3s and are coming to you with questions. Omega-3s are being studied for their positive effects in coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis), depression/mood disorders, and cancer. Here’s a quick review that may be helpful when discussing this topic with your patients. Continue reading
Many people are now making the connection between how what we eat impacts our state of health and wellness. The quality of food we eat can affect our energy and mood, beyond just quieting a grumbling stomach. With more and more health-food stores, neighborhood co-ops, and farmer’s markets expanding into new neighborhoods, it’s now easier than ever to find fresh, whole, and unprocessed foods.
While it does take some time to transition away from the standard American diet, your body, mind, and spirit will certainly thank you. Even after one day of whole-food based meals, you may feel lighter and more energized. Hopefully it will continue to inspire you and those around you to strive for the highest quality food. Quite honestly, your health and wellness depend on it. Continue reading
You may find your health-coaching patients asking you about taking herbal and dietary supplements more often these days. As they continue on their quest to improve their health, it’s likely they’ll want to experiment with more “natural” therapies. I personally always approach herbal and dietary supplements with an open and curious mind. But as trusted healthcare professionals, it’s our duty to make sure our patients are taking a safe combination. Herbals have tremendous healing potential but they’re also potent substances that should be respected as such. Continue reading
I will admit that I never thought much about the canola oil I routinely use for my baking until I asked myself one day, “is there a canola plant”? Canola oil comes from crossbreeding several types of rape plants. The rape plant is part of the mustard family, along with turnips, cabbage, watercress, horseradish, and radish. Traditional rapeseed oil was used for cooking in Europe, India, and Asia. But it naturally contains a high percentage of erucic acid, a toxic fatty acid. These levels have been reduced significantly through the process of crossbreeding, which replaces the erucic acid with oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat). This was done by Canadian scientists in the 1970’s and is the origin of the name, canola oil-“Canadian oil, low acid”. Continue reading
As pharmacists transition into the new role of health coach, one of the common obstacles involves helping patients overcome their personal barriers. Often times when patients present to you, you are seeing the cumulative results of years of poor lifestyle choices. But it is important to empathize with the fact that these choices are usually connected to some common personal barriers including bad habits, negative attitude, and lack of a support system.