Vitamin D is often referred to as “the happy hormone”. Actually it is a prohormone — it gets converted to an active hormone with multiple tissue targets such as the brain, bone and liver. Deficiencies have been linked to diabetes, autism and many cancers. Experts like Michael Holick Ph.D.,M.D. at Boston University have proven that optimal levels of D3 in humans are 60-80 ng/ml and in North America people living above Atlanta Georgia’s latitude are at risk of a deficiency in this vitamin due to a lack of sun exposure. Even farmers and other workers who are outside all day are deficient due to the angle of the sun’s rays in the northern hemisphere. Depending on your epigenes, which dictate the efficiency of your vitamin D receptors, even if you get sun exposure and take the RDA allowance of vitamin D in a multi-vitamin, you can still be deficient. Fortunately, a simple blood test can determine your level and supplemental D 3 vitamins can help! At AIM, we’ve tested thousands of patients and although 25-45 ng/ml is considered normal (but not optimal!) we’ve seen patients with levels as low as 8. Many with low levels suffer with diagnoses of fibromyalgia, depression and other autoimmune diseases. While this is often not the only imbalance, correcting it can make a tremendous difference in your health.
What other things affect our mood and energy levels?
We have messenger chemicals in our bodies called neurotransmitters. Some of these act like accelerators that wake us up or speed us up. Others act like our brakes to slow and shut us down. Due to our genes, stressful lifestyles, poor diet and lack of exercise, most of us have imbalances in them. Striking a healthy balance with consistent exercise throughout the year is one powerful way to help yourself. Fall is a great time to move your exercise routine outside again. The temperatures are more moderate and changes in fall foliage along with the crisp air beckons us. Take time to breathe in the fresh fall air and engage your senses to appreciate the beauty around you.
Often things like football games with tailgating parties and Halloween candy all around threaten to sabotage healthy eating habits this time of year. Be aware that excess sugar, alcohol and processed foods negatively affect you in multiple ways. Take back control of your habits with pre-emptive measures such as eating healthy before you go out, preparing your own healthy snack or course to share with the group. You never know who you can inspire and support in this way.
And finally, remember the power of your thoughts. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. Fall is a wonderful time to consider what you have “harvested” this year. Appreciate yourself and your hard work and the fruits of your labor. Too often we rush ahead into a new school year, the holidays and all the busyness of the season without stopping to take notice of all we’ve done. This is a huge mistake! If there is no satisfaction for our efforts we can spiral down and lose motivation for the next growth cycle. Nature shows us the way. There truly is a season for everything.
Enjoy this one now.
Prepare Well and Be Well.