News You Can Use
Janet Alexander and Chris Maund
February/March 2015
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Welcome to our February/March newsletter! In this issue we discuss sun exposure, hydration and desk work. Some of what follows will surprise you. 

 Too Much Sun is Just as Bad as Not Enough

First, please understand that "too much" of ANYTHING (by definition) means "more than is good for you". How do you know when you have had too much sun? If you are pink or burnt and your skin is painful later in the day after you have peeled yourself off the beach then you had "too much" sun. The amount of time that it will take to burn you is going to vary from hours to just a few minutes depending on where you live, what time of year it is and how sensitive your skin is to sunlight.


A lot of people have reacted to the "sunlight and skin cancer scare" by taking it upon themselves NEVER to expose unprotected skin to the sun. In most cases this is unjustified paranoia and will almost certainly eventually lead to low vitamin D levels and all the associated concerns (depression, low bone density, increased risk of bone fractures etc).


We suggest that you monitor your vitamin D levels by getting your 25 hydroxy vitamin D measured at least once a year if you are under 40 and twice yearly if you are over 40. If your 25 hydroxy vitamin D drops below 50ng/mL you should consider taking a vitamin D supplement AND getting some direct sunlight on your skin. Make sure that the supplement you take contains vitamin D in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol) AND vitamin K.


Vitamin K helps to ensure that calcium is directed into your bones and teeth (where it is needed). If you increase your vitamin D intake without adding vitamin K at the same time you run the risk of getting calcium deposits in your arterial walls which reduces the elasticity of these walls. One thing everybody agrees on is that reduced arterial wall elasticity is NOT healthy! This same process is often partly responsible for the "stiffening" that takes place as we age. The message is clear...if you want to feel more flexible (and keep your arteries in a nice elastic state) then make sure you have plenty of vitamin K in your diet. If you have a family history of heart disease or osteoporosis then taking a vitamin K supplement makes good sense.


Where can you get a supplement that contains both vitamin D in the D3 form AND vitamin K? Designs For Health makes a good one called D Supreme and for those who do not like swallowing pills, Thorne Research makes a suitable liquid supplement.


If you need help with dosing please send us an e-mail. 

Water, water everywhere...but what type of water should I be drinking?

In previous newsletters we have talked about the fact that most of us do not drink enough water. A good rule of thumb that works well for most people is to base your daily water consumption off this chart:


If you weigh 100lbs...drink 50 fluid ounces of water per day

If you weigh 150lbs...drink 75 fluid ounces of water per day

If you weigh 200lbs...drink 100 fluid ounces of water per day


For those of you who do not live in the US the rule can also be stated like this:


Drink 1/3 of a litre of water for every 10kg of body weight. So if you weigh 50kg you need at least 1.7 litres per day. If you weigh 70kg you need at least 2.3 litres of water per day. If you need help with the maths let us know.


So what's the "best" water to drink? Tap water is usually not a good idea as it contains many chemical and biological residues. Admittedly these are present in VERY small quantities but over the course of a lifetime some of these impurities (like heavy metals) can accumulate in quantities sufficient to negatively impact your health.


Ideally you want a water that has plenty of minerals in it but nothing else. Minerals include things like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium although your body needs dozens of others to function properly. If you filter your tap water using reverse osmosis, de ionisation or distillation you will end up with a water that has very low concentrations of minerals. EVERYBODY becomes mineral depleted as they age so the smart thing to do is to add some minerals to your filtered water by putting a pinch of sea salt in every glass you drink.


One other point worth noting is that if you are stiff/inflexible it might be a good idea to add extra magnesium to your drinking water. An easy way to do this is to buy Ionic Magnesium made by Trace Mineral Research. Magnesium helps promote muscle relaxation and calcium helps promote muscle contraction. If you have been taking calcium supplements with no additional magnesium this might explain why you feel as if somebody has poured concrete into your body!


Standing Versus Sitting

If you are a typical Westerner you probably spend many hours a day sitting in front of a computer. Unfortunately we haven't figured out a way to get rid of the computer but you can do yourself a HUGE favour by getting rid of the chair. It does not matter how expensive the chair is or what ergonomic "expert" designed it...the bottom line is that you should be STANDING not sitting. There is a mountain of evidence showing that sitting affects your DNA, increases your chance of low back and neck pain, slows down your metabolic rate and destroys your posture.


The first week or two will be hard on your legs (unless you are used to running and cycling every day like us!). Once your legs have become used to the work you will feel much better than you ever did while sitting. Make sure you set your keyboard at just below elbow height and set your monitor up nice and HIGH. The centre of your monitor should be in line with your eyes when you look straight ahead.



That's all for now. If you would like to read back issues of our newsletter these are now archived on our website: