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Keep Your Metabolism Up This Winter

As the weather grows colder, wetter, and darker during the fall and winter months, life in the northern hemisphere can pose multiple challenges. It’s a fact of life that colds and flus abound during this time of year. Studies have linked a portion of this increased seasonal risk to lowered vitamin D levels.

Unless you accumulate a good supply of vitamin D in your body leading up into autumn, your levels will begin to drop as temperatures dip, continuing to decline until mid-spring. This is why supplementation is so important to help bolster immune function during the darker months of the year. And the story does not end there—researchers around the world have discovered that a deficiency in vitamin D increases the risk of thyroid disease. They found a significantly heightened prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among patients with thyroid diseases when compared to healthy controls (63% vs. 30%).

My clinical practice is located in the part of Oregon that lies above the 45th degree latitude, and autoimmune thyroid problems are all too common here. The scientific literature supports what I have observed over the last 24 years, which is that patients with autoimmune thyroid disease experience an even higher frequency of vitamin D deficiency (72%); especially those with low thyroid (hypothyroid) Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (79%) and the hyperthyroid condition known as Graves’ disease (64%). The crux of this message is that the thyroid gland controls your metabolic rate. A person who acquires Hashimoto’s disease (low thyroid) will generally experience a deceleration in their calorie burning and an increase in their waist size.

Vitamin D also helps support healthier blood sugars. The Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University has published extensive information on the amazing benefits of vitamin D relative to diabetes, autoimmune disease, blood pressure, immune support, osteoporosis, cancer and much more. As a research center housed at a world famous university, the institute has made its data publicly accessible at no cost, via http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D.

I encourage all my patients and readers to maintain healthy vitamin D levels year around. For most patients in the United States, the goal is between 55 and 70 ng/ml, even though the reference range varies from as low as 30 to as high as 100. Targeting the middle to upper middle zone of the range helps confer the many potential benefits of vitamin D.

Even if a blood test indicates adequate levels of vitamin D towards the end of summer, supplementation is essential for most everyone to sustain those levels as the sun spends more and more time behind the clouds.

Written by Dr. Chris D. Meletis

Kivity S, et al. Cell Mol Immunol. 2011;8:243-7.


Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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