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Diet and Depression

Americans are suffering from depression at alarming rates. Depression and its medical treatment with medications is in the news too often. One staggering statistic states that almost 8% of Americans over the age of 12 are suffering from this disorder.  This disordered mood state affects the daily lives of those affected as well as their families, their workplace and even the economy.

What Affects Mood?

Patients who are diagnosed with depression are often treated with medication without consideration of dietary habits. Recently in 2016, a group decided to do just that. They discovered that those who ate less processed foods had fewer depressive symptoms.


Monamine Oxidase (MAO)

Depression has been linked to both brain inflammation and neurochemical transmitter imbalances. Medications for depression symptoms balance these neurotransmitters as their mechanism of action. One such medication that is a monamine oxidase (MAO), and in depressed people this chemical is too high. This is important because high levels of this result in rapid breakdown of the neurotransmitters needed for feeling good emotionally. Too much MAO leads to too little serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

There are some readily available foods that contain another chemical called quercetin that act as a MAO inhibitor. When you inhibit the high levels of MAO then the serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine can return to normal levels. These normal levels mean that mood can improve. These quercetin containing foods include apple, kale, berries, grapes, onion and green tea.


Serotonin, mentioned above, is one of the feel good neurotransmitters. Proper amounts of serotonin is necessary for a happy mood. Serotonin is made from amino acids that we consume from foods.  One of those amino acids is Tryptophan. Meat is high in this amino acid, however the high concentration of it actually results in a competitive situation where there is less of it available for the brain. To improve the ratio of tryptophan that is available to the brain, consume a diet rich in plant based complex carbohydrates. These are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.


Inflammation in body tissue, including the brain, is linked to diets high in processed foods. Arachidonic acid, also called Omega 6, is a polysaccharide fat. This chemical cause’s inflammation in the body and can result in depressive mood symptoms. With increased inflammation in the tissues of the body, the immune system is over stimulated. When our immune systems are over stimulated feelings of anxiety, stress, hopelessness can prevail. Foods that have noted to have high levels of this chemical include chicken, eggs and other animal products. Studies are showing that reducing these foods in the daily diet can improve mental health.

We know that plants are high in phytochemicals and therefore also act as antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemicals that will pick up and neutralize free radicals that wreak havoc on body cells and tissues by causing inflammation.

Foods for Mood


Animal proteins


Plant based Omega 3’s: walnuts, flax seeds, leafy greens, sunflower seeds, watercress, soybeans, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, broccoli and peas.

Complex carbohydrates: whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

“Rather than resorting to medications, following a plant-based diet, rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, from fruits and vegetables, can serve as an inexpensive, natural and noninvasive therapeutic means to support mental health”.

Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine 2015

If you are thinking of taking your life, please don’t. It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Call a suicide hotline and speak to someone!

If you are currently taking medication for depression do not decrease or stop taking the medication. Make the dietary changes suggested above and then talk to your prescribing provider about the possibility of stopping the medicine.

I have seen some very sad people change into joyful ones when they make a plan to regain their health and they stick to it.

My book, Second Chance at Health can be your guide.

 Purchase my book by clicking this link- Buy Book Now


Food and Mood: Eating Plants to Fight the Blues. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine 06232015.

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The Empty Nest

Are you and empty nester? The empty nest phase of our lives can be scary. Empty nester’s are those of us whose children have left the home and are finding their own way. Some may find this to be a difficult phase to adjust to. It may lead to feeling lost, depressed and lonely.

This major life transition is real. But there are actions you can take to lead to positive change. By being proactive and aware of your feeling you use this time to rediscover and redefine yourself.

Mid-Life Changes

Mid-life is a time of transition. You may be experiencing personal changes, health changes, relationship changes, career changes and more. While some mid-lifer’s may still have children at home, perhaps due to a second marriage and a second family, or perhaps raising grandchildren, many are now empty nesters, and you may be one of them.

We are now happy empty nesters. But it wasn’t always so . Our transition occurred six years ago when my youngest daughter left for college (and she was only 30 minutes away).  I struggled with my identity as a person because I have been a full time mother since I was 18. It became real to me after she was dropped off at her dorm. I realized then that I had no longer had any children at home.

It took me a few months of tears, irritability, work problems and marriage problems to identify that the source of my stress and sadness was being an empty nester. However once I began to understand this phase in my life was the source of the unrest, I sought help. It took me about six months with help from my doctor and a caring husband to begin blossoming into this new phase of my life.

Start a New Life

Being active at mid-life can ease the transition into the new phase of your life. Mid-life can be the most amazing opportunity to rediscover yourself by being proactive.

The Silvernest team has written a great blog on some actions to take to ease the transition to a new and amazing you. Check out their blog:  How Empty Nesters can Benefit from an Active Lifestyle.

Being active and eating a healthy diet is paramount to health at any age, but particularly middle age. I have an easy to follow guide that will help you navigate the health issues of mid-life, how to monitor them, how to choose the right exercise and eating plan and more. Check out my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating.

If you liked this blog, please like, comment and share on your social media.

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Prescription for Improved Health-Go Outside!

Guest Author: Amy Britton, MSN, APRN, FNP-C

Americans increasingly spend more time indoors, over 90% according to one survey. Yet most of us intuitively know that spending time in nature makes us feel good. Maybe that’s why we putter around making our yards and patios inviting and why we seek to spend our vacations in areas known for their natural beauty, whether they be mountains, beaches, or forests.

Nature Matters

Now researchers are backing that notion up with hard data and can even quantify the “dose” needed to benefit our health. A large (n> 19000) study conducted in England published June 2019 indicated that accumulating at least 120 minutes per week of recreational contact in nature (not including time in their own gardens) resulted in a higher likelihood of reporting good health or high well-being, compared to those who had no nature contact within the previous week. The results held across various age groups and socioeconomic status levels. Also, it didn’t matter how the time was divvied up; visits could be in a large chunk or several shorter intervals.


While this study is limited in that the outcome measures were self-reported, other smaller studies provide evidence that contact with natural settings can have tangible benefits such as reduced salivary cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increased heart rate variability. Heart rate variability is an indicator of physiologic stress, with decreased heart rate variability recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

More time spent outdoors has even also been correlated with a reduced risk of myopia (nearsightedness) in children, even in those whose parents are myopic. 

Game Plan

Some suggested ways to increase your exposure to the great outdoors include:

  1. enjoying your morning beverage out on your patio
  2. Making your usual treadmill run or walk out on a park trail
  3. Enjoying lunch at a café with outdoor seating,
  4. Walking to your destination instead of using a vehicle whenever possible.

Taking your exercise outside is an easy way to incorporate nature into your day. If you need help deciding what type of exercise plan to begin order my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. This book is an easy read guide that will help you discover the best plan for you to regain your health.

Please like, comment and share if you love this post.


KLEPEIS et al., “The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): A Resource for Assessing Exposure to Environmental Pollutants.”

White WP, Alcock I, Grellier J, et al. (2019, June) Scientific Reports vol 9 “Spending at Least 120 Minutes a Week in Nature Is Associated with Good Health and Wellbeing.” Razani, N., Morshed, S., Kohn, M. A., Wells, N. M., Thompson, D., Alqassari, M., … Rutherford, G. W. (2018). Effect of park prescriptions with and without group visits to parks on stress reduction in low-income parents: SHINE randomized trial. PloS one13(2), e0192921. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0192921

French AN, Ashby RS, Morgan IG, Rose KA. 2013. Time outdoors and the prevention of myopia. Exp Eye Res 114:58–68, PMID: 23644222, 10.1016/j.exer.2013.04.018.

Gladwell, V. F., Kuoppa, P., Tarvainen, M. P., & Rogerson, M. (2016). A Lunchtime Walk in Nature Enhances Restoration of Autonomic Control during Night-Time Sleep: Results from a Preliminary Study. International journal of environmental research and public health13(3), 280. doi:10.3390/ijerph13030280

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Using Food to Improve Fitness

Using Food to Improve Fitness

Many of us are either focused on aerobic activity or weight lifting and resistance training. But for fitness do you need both? In my opinion doing both is important.

How can we maximize the benefits of both?

Performing both aerobic activity and strength training in one day is one way to regain and maintain your health. It will improve your mood and will help you lose weight.

Yes it sounds like a lot, but it will save you money and time in the long run. It comes as no surprise then, that nutrition is as important to fitness as exercise. Read on to discover proven foods for fitness.

In an awesome study out of the UK, a group discusses what they discovered about nutrition and how it relates to health. Their study discusses recommendations for those who want to maximize their strength and endurance capabilities. While exercising twice a day may seem extreme it may be just the change you need. Clearly nutrition and fitness go hand in hand.

This study suggests that certain foods and supplements support health (strength and endurance) when taken at certain times. These supplements are readily available and can be incorporated into a health regime easily.

Strength Training and Aerobic Training

Like I said previously, fitness for most of us includes either aerobic activity or strength training. It is important to note that these two activities provide different benefits. Aerobic activity will increase endurance and not our strength. Additionally, resistance training will increase your strength but won’t improve your endurance.

As a matter of fact, this study suggests that combining the two will result in blunted strength gains. They discovered that this is due to muscular changes, but stay with me. Although the strength decreases, overall fitness increases, and that is the goal.  This is important because at middle age our bodies are not getting any younger.

When and What to Eat

The study investigated the timing and types of food and supplements on the muscle changes and arrived at some easy to follow additions to improve the body at the cellular level. As I see it, we can easily ensure that we eat the proper food for fitness with some planning.

Protein for Muscles

It is common knowledge that protein is an essential part of healthy diet. Additionally, if you are performing both aerobic and resistance training in the same day your protein needs may be increased. If you are on a weight loss diet, which means a reduced energy diet, additional protein will be necessary to maintain lean muscle mass. This study recommends additional protein is needed to ensure that the muscle building phase has enough protein to do so.

In this study the protein requirements for concurrent and extensive training are approximately 1.2 to 1.7 grams protein/kg/day. This is high because this study was looking at elite athletes. However, for the regular mid-life person performing endurance and resistance training can use .8-1.0 grams protein/kg/day and monitor their lean muscle mass on the Tanita Scale. If the muscle mass is dropping then additional protein is easily added.

When to Eat Protein?

The timing of food for fitness is important to know. This group suggests that consuming protein during training is a good idea when there is a long resistance training session following an endurance session. This will help rebuild the muscle.

Eating protein after the exercise will help with muscle building. It was explained that protein is more readily used to build muscles for up to 24 hours after resistance training.

Carbohydrates for Energy

Foods for fitness include carbohydrates. I always recommend foods in their most natural state. Carbohydrates provide the cells with glycogen which is the fuel for the cells. This study explains that a combination of protein and carbohydrate are beneficial for those who are doing two work outs a day in order to maintain glycogen stores in the cells.

However for exercise that is brief, that is less than one hour the body will benefit from additional carbohydrates and fluid only rather than protein.

Refueling the body with high amounts of carbohydrate containing foods has been shown to limit the body’s ability to repair itself after long endurance training. Whereas, refueling with protein supports muscle building.

Nitric Oxide Feeds the Muscles

Nitric oxide is an important component of endurance and strength. This regulates exercise performance by modulating muscle metabolism. It modulates blood flow, glucose and fatty acid use, and other vascular and cellular functions.

Nitric oxide supplements are available at your local fitness stores. There is also a natural way to produce NO within the body using the Nitric Oxide Dump.

Omega 3 Supplements for Strength

Omega 3 fish oil is a well-known supplement and this study again supports this easily available supplement.  Omega 3 fish oil is a fatty acid that is anti-inflammatory. This study revealed clear improvement in strength for women doing resistance training who took two grams of fish oil per day. Most supplements provide 1000mg (1 gram) per dose, so this is two doses per day.

Creatine for Performance

Creatine is a supplement that I was not fond of, and still recommend it with some hesitation for mid-life people. My best advice is to use it wih caution. Creatine is a well-known and well-studied performance enhancing supplement. It is beneficial in both resistance/strength and endurance training. Its main action on the body is to restore energy within the cells; additionally it reduces fatigue by affecting how quickly metabolic acidosis occurs in the cells. Creative supplements increase strength when used with resistance training. This study supports the use of high dose creatine (most creatine supplements will be considered high dose).

Key Take Aways:

In conclusion, this study demonstrates that food and supplements are beneficial for athletes who perform both resistance training and endurance training. As we age both of these types of exercises are important to maintain health and fitness.

I believe that using these principles to improve strength and endurance for the general population can improve health.  Timing of the food and supplements with regards to the exercise seems to be important. Timing of the activity is important for health as well. This study recommended that the endurance training be completed in the morning during the fasted state. Exercising during the fasted state promotes the many significant benefits within the body that are beyond the scope of this post. In addition, using NO supplements, Omega 3 fish oil and creatine may improve your training and your recovery.


Protein is key to supporting healthy muscle during frequent exercise.

Carbohydrates combined with protein may be better than high carbohydrate replenishment during frequent exercise.

Supplements like Nitric Oxide daily, Omega 3 fish oil daily and pre-workout creatine can be useful when used correctly.

If you find some of this confusing…no worries…I have written an easy to read guide that can help you navigate through the myriad of programs available. Order my book, The Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating today to begin your journey to doing two-a-day work outs for fun.

Reference:  European Journal of Sport Science, 2014


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Motivation Hacks

Maintaining Motivation

I hear the strumming of my alarm in the distance. I roll over and feel the coldness of the sheets, and I glance at my phone. 4:58 am. I groan inwardly and fall back into the softness of my pillow. The conversation starts. “You woke up three times last night, skip it this morning, you can work out after work this afternoon.” says the little devil in one ear. Then the adorable angel in my other ear whispers these encouraging words, “Thirty minutes goes by whether you sleep or whether you exercise, if you are tired, do your yoga.”  Just like Fred Flintstone knew which one to listen to, I do too.

Maintaining motivation is important and I will give you two methods that I use regularly.

Self-Talk Hack

Self-talk needs to be monitored for conversations that will steer you wrong. We all have voices in our head, which one are you listening to?

The first method to maintain your motivation is to flick that negative bugger off of your shoulder and out of your mind. When you acknowledge the self-defeating voice it usually runs away. Paying attention and capturing each thought and weighing it against what your goal is will help keep you on track.

The Concession Hack

The second method to maintain motivation is what I call the “concession”. The concession is to choose another less intense work out, but still do something.

My commonconcession for my 5 am work out includes substitution for a high energy work. When I have high energy, my morning work outs are arms or legs with Kayla Itsines SWEAT app. I use SWEAT Body and Mind sessions when I have low energy. If I choose to use Beach Body On Demand my high energy work out may be the HardCorps or Transform 20. If i need a low energy session I choose Yoga.

Alternatively, I give myself is permission to move my exercise to the afternoon, and sleep in an extra 30 minutes.


Planning for low energy days is essential at midlife or any age for that matter. Ensuring you have a program that you love will allow for a bit of flexibility as your energy waxes and wanes.

Flexibility and concessions are the name of the game.

Maintaining motivation with flexibility with regards to timing and type of work out will ensure that you stay on track with your plan. Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Be kind to yourself, have a plan, and don’t beat yourself up. Your weekly goals should be 5-6 days a week of moderate intensity exercise with a goal of 10k steps per day.

Finding the plans that you want to incorporate into your life can be confusing. I wrote and easy to read guide to help you decide which programs are right for you. The book is called Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. Order it today and begin your journey back to health.

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Eating For Health

What you eat is more important than how much you exercise. When we were younger we may have been able to out exercise our poor eating habits, but once we reach midlife, this is no longer the case.

Great American Triad

Our weight creeps up and our waist size will expands, our cholesterol levels climb, our higher blood sugar rises and blood pressure increases.

Are we destined to suffer the great American triad of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol? No. We are in control.

Don’t be fooled by your family history, your genetic story or even you expectations. YOU can change your body.

Simplicity is the Name of the Game

Health can still be obtained through balanced energy in and energy out. Our health is affected by our hormones and our emotions. These can also affect how we process foods.

One of the most accessible actions we can take it to determine what we eat and drink honesty by monitoring it.

Food Log

I recommend completing a food diary for 2-3 days of your usual eating patterns. This is accomplished best by using a fitness app like MyfitnessPal. I wrote a review on my favorite apps called, Brilliant Tools for Success. Once you have recorded your food/drink intake, it is time for review.

Many of my patients discover that they are consuming many more calories than their recommended calories for the day. Over consumption will lead to weight gain and obesity over time.

The review will show you the diet breakdown of the food/drink you consumed including the total calories, amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates.

In my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, I offer successful program options to incorporate into your life for the long haul. My book will guide you to discover and show you how to put it into practice to reach your health goals. You can order the book in the shop on this page. You have the power to change your life.

Be the Magic

There are no magic foods, magic pills, magic supplements or magic exercises to obtain health. Health is chosen moment by moment. You are the magic.

Don’t complicate it; eat enough food for the energy expended. Eat foods in their most unprocessed forms. Food is simply energy, and energy from the ground, water, sky is exactly formulated for our bodies to use.

But how do I know how much I should be eating?

Your basal metabolic rate is a good starting point. My book discusses why this is helpful and how to use this number to lose weight and then to ultimately maintain your healthy weight.

So each time you are preparing to eat, think.

If you like this content, comment and share. If you have any questions, message me.

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Vitamin E Supplements

Foods with Vitamin E

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin. It is found in food and is available as a dietary supplement.

What are some of the benefits of Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is an integral part of our immune system. Additionally it is a well-known antioxidant. This means that it assists the body with curtailing the negative effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules which have unshared electrons that form a bond with oxygen resulting in a highly active reactive oxygen species (ROS). ROS particles are postulated to be damaging to cells. Additionally, free radicals are present within the body and we are also exposed to them from our environment. The most damaging free radicals come from cigarette smoking, air pollution and UV radiation from the sun. Vitamin E stops the production of ROS.

What is the recommended amount of Vitamin E to take?

As with all supplements, the dose depends on age, gender and pregnancy/lactation state. Always read the label to ensure that you are taking the correct dose based on the formula you decide to use.

What are signs of Vitamin E deficiency?

This deficiency is rare in the normal healthy adult.

Do you need to take it with food?


Does Vitamin E interfere with the absorption of other nutrients or medicines?

It does not interfere with the absorption of other nutrients. It can interfere with the function of some medicines. Vitamin E can interfere with coumadin which is a blood thinner making you more likely to bleed. Vitamin E can interfere with simvastatin (a medicine to lower cholesterol) and niacin.

Are there other nutrients that interfere with the absorption of vitamin E?


Does it matter what time of day you take it?


What form of the vitamin is best?

Most supplements are made up of alpha-tocopherol which your body can efficiently use.

As I always recommend, it is better to ensure adequate intake of vitamins, minerals and micronutrients from your foods. Eating a variety of foods in their most natural form and processed minimally can improve your overall health.

In my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating, you can learn how discover the best eating plan for you to improve your health.

Disclaimer: All content on this website,, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this website.

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Using Collagen for Healing

Jello Power

Knee pain, foot pain, ankle pain, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis are you familiar with any of these conditions? You are not alone. Many of these conditions involve tendon, ligament, cartilage and bone concerns. The treatment is often rest, rehab, injections, and even surgery.

But is there a new emerging way to improve heal and strengthen our connective tissue? There does appear to be. Read on to learn a simple and easily accessible addition to your diet in the form of collagen for injury prevention or rehab regime.

Why do Tendons take so long to Heal?

Tendons are connective tissues which are a part of the musculoskeletal system. They are particularly slow to repair. The main reason this occurs was discovered in the 1950’s, when it was discovered that repair and regeneration of tendons are limited after age 18.  Additionally, this tissue is less vascular and with fewer nerves than other body tissues. This reduced innervation and blood supply results in longer healing times. Other types of connective tissue are ligaments, bones, and cartilage which all have less vascularity (blood vessels).

Many of us have not seen our own tendons…thank goodness…but you have seen chicken tendons. They are white and rubbery, while the flesh is pink and soft and ours are the same.

Tendons are more difficult to heal due to inherent reduced vascularity.  What this means is that they do not have significant blood flow through them.  Why is this important? This is important to know because the blood is the component of our bodies that helps aid in healing our tissues and cells. The healing properties are carried in the blood and the damaged tissues are targeted for repair. So that all sounds like bad news…and it has been so far…

What’s New?

There has been recent research by scientist Keith Baar, showing that stretching of ligament leads to an increase in collagen resulting in repair. He was able to show that stretching the ligament for 10 minutes results in rebuilding within the tendon. Baar focused on searching for collagen that is most easily utilized by the body for the repair.  He settled on good old, readily available food grade gelatin. Yes, Jello. Through further investigation he was able to discover that pairing 15 grams with Vitamin C taken about an hour before a mini work-out improves the repair rate of the tendon/connective tissue. This science supports that gelatin augments the effects of exercise on the tissue.

What Type of Mini Work Out?

The type of exercise used for the mini work out will depend on the type of connective tissue that you are wanting to target. Isometric exercises are recommended to improve tendon/ligament/cartilage repair and health. To improve bone health high impact exercises are recommended.

What are Isometric Exercises for Ligaments/Tendons/Cartilage?

Isometric exercises are those that are performed without moving the joint or muscle. Think of a plank. The muscles are engaged but there is no movement, but the connective tissue is engaged and is triggered to repair.

For ankle issues (Achilles) and foot pain, they recommend standing on your toes on one foot and sustaining that pose for 30 seconds, relax your foot down for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times for each foot if necessary.

High Impact for Bone Health

High impact exercises are ones that jar the skeletal system which triggers the body to deposit strengthening collagen and calcium into the bone. Think jump rope or jumping jacks.

Is it the Holy Grail?

While this new information is not the Holy Grail, timing your Jello (or hydrolyzed collagen that does not have to be boiled), may just be a fantastic addition to our middle aged health regime.

Recommended Program

What: take 15 grams of gelatin with 200 milligrams of vitamin C between 30-60 minutes before the chosen work out.

Duration: perform the chosen isometric or high impact exercise for no more than 10 minutes

When: Perform the repairing exercised 6 hours before or 6 hours after regular exercise.


Injury prevention: perform the repairing exercise sessions two to three times per week.

Injury management: perform as soon as possible after the injury (with a reduced load if necessary- like holding on to something to reduce the total weight) and perform up to three mini work outs per day separated by six hours.

Maintaining health in midlife includes your joints. Ensuring that you are a proper weight can also reduce your risk of joint injury. If you need help finding a sustainable weight loss program for your health goals, order my book. My book Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating is an easy to read guide that can help you.


Hutchinson, Alex, Bone Up. Outside Magazine p. 68. 03/04/2019

Shaw, Greg &Lee-Barthel, Ann & Lr Ross, Megan, Want, Bing, Baar, Keith (2016). Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before intermittent activity augments collagen synthesis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 105. 10.3945/ajcn.116.138594

Disclaimer: All content on this website,, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this website.

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Vitamin B12

B12 Supplementation

What is Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water soluble vitamin that is found naturally in foods. It is also available in over the counter supplements and via prescription.

What are some of the benefits of B12?

Some of the benefits of B12 include proper blood function, proper neurological function and is integral in fat and protein metabolism.

What are some symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

The signs of a B12 deficiency can mimic other issues. Evaluation by your doctor via a lab draw or through Ulta Lab tests can help identify a deficiency.

Symptoms may include: megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, weight loss. Neurological signs like numbness and tingling of the hands and feet can occur. Others include change in balance, depression, poor memory, mouth and tongue soreness.

Do you need to take it with food?

Vitamin B12 does not need to be taken with food. B12 supplements are best taken in the dissolvable or liquid form and studies demonstrate that 56% of a 1mcg oral dose supplement is actually absorbed. The injectable form is more efficient at raising B12 levels.

Does B12 interfere with the absorption of other nutrients?


Are there other nutrients that interfere with the absorption of B12?

While there are no nutrients that interfere with absorption of B12, certain conditions can interfere. For example diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and the availability of the intrinsic factor affects can interfere with its absorption.

What can cause a deficiency of Vitamin B12?

Malabsorption from food, pernicious anemia, post-surgical malabsorption and dietary deficiencies are the cause of B12 deficiencies.

What affects the absorption of Vitamin B12?

Age, pernicious anemia, gastrointestinal disorders, and gastrointestinal surgery can affect the ability of the body to absorb B12. Additionally, certain medications such as those for acid reflux (Proton pump inhibitors and H2 Blockers) cause a decrease in absorption of B12.

Metformin, a common drug for Type 2 Diabetes, decreases the absorption of vitamin B12. If you have been on these medicines for over 2 years check your B12 levels via a blood test.

Does it matter what time of day you take it?


Any tips of types/forms of  vitamin B12 supplement for people to take.

If you have a diagnosis of B12 deficiency, via a lab test, the best form is injectable.  However, dissolvable and liquid supplements are fantastic options if taken consistently. I use dissolvable tablets myself.

Stay tuned for more information on other common supplements. Comment, share and like!

If you want help improving your health check out my book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. This is a guide to help you discover the best program for you.

Disclaimer: All content on this website,, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this website.

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Lifestyle Diseases

Silent Sickness

Life Style Diseases

Early detection of lifestyle diseases are important.  The top three lifestyle diseases that affect midlife individuals are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes. These lifestyle diseases are often without symptoms initially, which is why I refer to them as silent sicknesses. They escape detection unless you go looking for them. Most often you will not feel sick until they are advanced.

These three diseases are lifestyle related because they can be attributed to obesity. Obesity most often results from to overeating, a typical American diet, a sedentary lifestyle and stress.

In this blog I discuss when to begin checking for them and how frequently. The goal is to never suffer from lifestyle diseases, but early detection of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and pre-diabetes is the next best option.

High Blood Pressure: Life Style Disease #1

The first silent sickness is high blood pressure. High blood pressure has most recently been implicated as a precursor to diabetes in those with abnormal fasting glucose along with the high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. High blood pressure that is undetected and untreated will result in kidney damage, damage to the small blood vessels in the eyes (this is possibly reversible),  and can increase the risk for stroke and heart attack.

The symptoms are often so non-specific and it can be overlooked for years. Some of the more common vague symptoms are fatigue and headache. These are so non-specific that  most people attribute them to other conditions of their life.

Normal Blood Pressure

Normal healthy blood pressure should be below 120/80 for the average adult.

When Do I Check My Blood Pressure?

Check a baseline blood pressure at age 18 and then every 2-3 years if normal.

However, if you are obese overweight it should be checked before age 18. The risk for elevated blood pressure is high with obesity.

If it is higher than 120/80, and you are normal weight with no other health issues and if you are in your 30’s monitor it every 2 years.

If you are in your 40’s then annually is adequate if it was normal at the initial check, you are not obese and are maintaining a healthy weight.

If your BP is higher than this, and you are normal weight, recheck again in 3 months.

If your BP is higher than normal and you are overweight, obese, have high cholesterol and/or pre-diabetes then you should recheck it every 2 months.

Using Automated /Public Blood Pressure Check Machines

The automated blood pressure check machines located at many pharmacies are a great place to check you pressure if you don’t want to go to the doctor. These machines are required to be calibrated and if used properly can be used for blood pressure screening.

Follow these steps to ensure the most accurate reading.

Ensure that the home machine is not over 2 years old, and in proper working. For the public blood pressure machines you can ask for their calibration records, or trust that it is in working order.

Ensure that the cuff is the correct size. The correct cuff size is important. If you use the incorrect size cuff the reading will be too high (if it’s too small) or too low (if it is too large). If your upper arm is more than 13 inch diameter, use an adult large.

To accurately check your blood pressure follow these steps

Avoid smoking for 30 minutes prior
Sit quietly for 3-5 minutes prior to taking the reading
Refrain from speak during the reading
Do not hold your arm up actively during the reading

High Cholesterol: Life Style Disease #2

High cholesterol is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease including stroke and heart attacks. Elevated cholesterol levels do not result in physical symptoms. Doing research for this blog I discovered many sites stating that pain in the hands, and feet can indicate high cholesterol. I have never heard of this symptom before. This is such a vague symptom, and there may be many causes of those symptoms. If you experience them I recommend  a general health evaluation by your provider.

There are some uncommon outward signs include: arcus senilis, which is an opaque ring around the iris of the eye that can appear in the elderly, and in younger people with high cholesterol; xanthelasma papebrarum, these are yellow deposits around the eyelids; and xanthomata, which are fatty deposits in the tendons.

Normal Cholesterol Levels

Normal levels of cholesterol vary by gender, race and age.

When to Check Cholesterol Levels?

All adults should have their fasting cholesterol checked once very 4-6 years. Fasting cholesterol levels means that your last meal was between 8-12 hours before the blood test. Your doctor will monitor it more frequently when you receive the diagnosis of high cholesterol. Once you have the diagnosis testing may occur every 3 months, 6 months and then annually.

Studies show that keeping these levels within normal parameters (for those without genetically related high cholesterol) can reduce the risk of these life changing events such as heart attack and stroke.

Pre diabetes: Life Style Disease #3

Pre-diabetes often goes undetected for years, because,  like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the symptoms are subtle. Pre-diabetes puts you at risk for progressing to diabetes type 2.

The subtle symptoms will include fatigue, skin changes called acanthosis nigricans, sugar cravings and weight gain. Once pre-diabetes becomes diabetes, the symptoms become more difficult to ignore as they may disrupt your life. The symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, weight loss or gain without changing anything, and fatigue.

Normal Blood Sugar Levels

Normal fasting blood sugar levels are 65 mg/dL-99 mg/dL and an Hemoglobin A 1 C of less than 5.7%.

Pre-diabetes occurs when the blood sugar is higher than 99 but  less than 126 or the A1c is more than 5.7%

When to Check for Pre-Diabetes

If you are obese or overweight you should check annually for pre-diabetes. The only way to check for pre-diabetes and diabetes is to check you lab work.

Silent Diseases can Kill

These silent sicknesses can dramatically change your life. The medicines will have side effects, monitoring them will cost you money and time.
You can avoid these silent sicknesses by maintaining a proper weight, eating a clean diet consisting of wholesome foods and being active enough.

If you already have these diseases, all is not lost. If you lose as little as 5% of your body weight, you can improve your blood pressure, your blood cholesterol and your blood sugar.

You can check your cholesterol levels and blood sugar/A1c without having to go to the doctor. Ulta Lab tests offers this service. You sign up for the testing you want on the website, you will choose the lab location most convenient for you to get the blood drawn at. Your results will be available online in your account. You will then be able to print and take the results to your physician for evaluation.

Check out this blog about how to manage these silent sicknesses. Diets for Lifestyle Diseases.

Life style changes are the cornerstone for prevention and even possible reversal of lifestyle diseases. My book, Second Chance at Health- Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can show you how to make these changes. When you discover the movements that you love, and a sustainable eating plan, it is easy to stay healthy.