Facts About Vitamin D

Facts About Vitamin D

Did you know that Vitamin D is considered a hormone? 

Hormones are known as chemical messengers in our body. Hormones send signals to tell our cells and tissues to do certain functions like digestion, growth, and even our mood regulation.  

Why is vitamin D considered a hormone? 

Vitamin D is considered a hormone because it can be synthesized by our body when we obtain sunlight.  Vitamins are considered to be a nutrient that must be obtained from a food source and unable to be synthesized by the body.  Therefore, Vitamin D can be synthesized by sunlight and obtained from food sources.

Did you know that lifestyle factors can deplete vitamin D?  

Smoking depletes vitamin D.  “Cigarette smoke decreases the production of the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) in lung epithelial cells (20), which may be overcome with higher serum levels of the substrate (25-hydroxyvitamin D). Additionally, cigarette smoke may affect expression levels of the vitamin D receptor (21).”  

Many types of medications can deplete vitamin D and block vitamin D receptors.  Some drugs in classes of antiepileptics, antibiotics, antihypertensives, and anti-inflammatory drugs have been found to interfere with Vitamin D, and this study suggests vitamin D supplementation should be considered.

Healthy sources of vitamin D in foods include egg yolks, salmon and liver.  Direct sunshine is another healthy source of vitamin D but oftentimes food and sunshine aren’t adequate sources of vitamin D, so supplement form is added.  It has been found that people who live above the 37th parallel North of the equator are at greater risk of Vitamin D deficiency.  

At the NHCAA, we carry many great forms of Vitamin D and K2 with D3 blends for improved absorption. We carry 1,000-50,000 IU of Vitamin D supplements. Ask at your next visit which might be the best for your health. 

Yours in health and longevity,

Kristen Clore OTRL, I-MD & PhD Student in Integrative Medicine

Four Types of Hunger

Four Types of Hunger

It is important to be aware of what type of hunger you are feeling so you can address it appropriately.

The four different types of hunger that I most commonly observe with patients are listed and detailed below.

1) Thinking hunger: aka, thinking about food. 

Thinking about food is often not accompanied by real hunger, the actual need to eat.  Signals like feeling tired or having difficulty thinking are real signals of hunger.  However, just thinking about food does not equate to actual physiological need for food, or hunger.  Often our environment can trigger thinking about food, especially if we are bored, watching television, or browsing the internet and social media.  These outlets are filled with recipes, food promotions and advertisements for food.  Late night entertainment can lead to the desire for snacking and late meals.  These actions contribute to obesity and other declining health issues. 

Instead of eating late we should eat when we awaken and quit eating earlier, no later than 5-7 pm for most healthy adults.  Adding structure or new organization to eat early and quit eating early, then utilizing night time for activities like hiking, cleaning, studying or exercising can help reduce the temptation to falter toward night time eating and snacking.  Altering our behavior, having less sedentary time, creating more structure, and limiting screen time can also help reduce thinking about food.

This study concludes that “Having a late dinner or bedtime snack was associated with a higher probability of overweight/obesity.”

Also read this study which investigates food and hunger cues :   “Most food consumption in western populations happens for reasons other than energy shortage, suggesting that a significant proportion of food consumption is driven rather by pleasure than by a physiological need [1]. Dietary behaviours and the drive to eat are undeniably powered by food-related cues. Food cue stimulation is omnipresent throughout the day. Advertisements, an abundance of products in appetising packages in stores but also the sight or smell of food, people eating or talking about food as well as emotions, feelings and activities can represent cues. The number as well as the density of the food-related cues have been implicated in choices to consume food or restrain from it [25]. It has been suggested that exposure to cues triggers the expectation of rewards in the form of food, which might be misinterpreted as hunger. 

2) Taste hunger: aka: sensory desire for eating (smell, taste, crunch, hand to mouth desires)

“Taste hunger” is very much driven by our senses.  The desire to crunch on something, or hold a hot cup of liquid, the desire to smell certain foods, the desire to taste certain foods, especially sweet foods, are the desires I refer to as taste hunger.  We often have the idea that the momentary pleasure of the sight, smell, taste and touch of that food will create more happiness within this moment.  However, this pleasure is short-lived.  The body creates the desire to repeat eating again and again.  Eating based on these sensory desires does not often result in good control over our diet or eating whole food based meals.  Often eating foods to fill this desire lead us to overeating, too much snacking, eating too late in the evening, eating outside of a healthy 8 hour window, and indulging in highly refined foods.

This study states “Foods with a higher GI, such as drinks sweetened with sugar, are rapidly digested and absorbed and provoke a rapid increase in blood glucose, a fact that exacerbates hunger and favors hyperphagia, since these foods are unable to stimulate the mechanisms of satiety”

3) Stomach hunger or real hunger: actual hunger when the stomach is growling.

Real hunger.  The actual need to eat.  This happens when we are in a slightly fasted state, our body has utilized much of the readily available energy and we begin getting signals like stomach growling to let us know it is time to eat. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone that helps us know when we are truly hungry.  Some people  ignore this signal in an effort to extend our fasted state.  If we are attempting an eating style like intermittent fasting where the eating window is smaller  (less than or equal to 8 hours per day) and the fasting window is larger (more than, or equal to 16 hours per day.)

You can read more about Ghrelin and it’s impact on hunger in this article.

4) Energy hunger: need to obtain sunshine

This is the kind of hunger that is recharging your battery.  This cannot be replaced with a vitamin D supplement or with energy drinks. This is photon hunger.  Sunshine has been studied to have health impacts on pregnancy, bone health, vitamin D levels, immune system health and metabolism. Sunshine helps our body increase metabolic functions.  If you are feeling hungry and continue to snack or drink things and cannot feel satiated, go outside and obtain direct sunshine on your skin (even if it’s cold).  Put on a coat if you need to and face the sunshine for 20 minutes.  Then reassess if you are still feeling “hungry.”

This Kristen Clore OTRL, I-MD & PhD Student in Integrative Medicine

Fungus and Yeast and Mold, Oh My!

Fungus and Yeast and Mold, Oh My!

Fungus (plural fungi) is a microorganism of which there are many species.

These species include yeast, mold, and mushrooms.  As with many things in life, there can be good and bad qualities of fungi. Fungi are used to make bread, wine, beer, kombucha, and some cheese.  Fungi break down dead trees and animals in nature and through that process provide beneficial compounds such as carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus back into the soil. Some fungi, such as Ganoderma, Shiitake, and Lion’s Mane are being researched and used for their therapeutic qualities. But, some mold can be extremely toxic (example: Stachybotrys – black mold). 

Mold spores are everywhere. Problems begin to arise when certain mold spores grow in damp, dark conditions and produce Mycotoxins, which are poisonous to humans. Common places where mold can grow are areas with water or dampness- sinks, tubs, kitchens, bathrooms, washing machines, basements, the humidifier on your furnace, indoor plants. Fungi/mold can live on coffee (OH NO!), nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Here in Michigan, during the early fall, mold can be found in higher quantities in the environment- falling leaves, rainy weather, damp ground.

I have had first hand experience with mold exposure several times in my life. For me, I believe it has caused sinus problems, headaches, and heart pain. Symptoms of mold or mycotoxin exposure can be: sinus and lung problems (because we breathe it in), skin rash or irritation (ringworm, athlete’s foot, jock itch, toe nail fungus, vaginal yeast problems), circulatory problems (heart palpitations, shortness of breath, heart pain), anxiety, brain fog, headaches, muscle pain, digestive problems, and fatigue.

What you can do to help your body and health – 

  • There are supplements that can help. CellCore’s Biotoxin Binder and Carboxy are top choices in our office for addressing mold/mycotoxin problems. Additionally, supplements such as Oregano, Spanish Black Radish, Echinacea, Garlic, and Pau D’Arco can be anti-microbial and beneficial to the immune system. For specific recommendations for your situation, it is always best to consult with your Practitioner.
  • Inspect and clean areas where you suspect mold overgrowth. 
  • Diffuse Thieves (from Young Living) to improve your immune system and benefit the lungs and sinuses. Thieves can also be used topically on problem skin areas, but remember to use a carrier oil such as coconut, jojoba, or castor oil if applying it on a sensitive area.
  • Navage and Neti Pot can be helpful if you have sinus problems.
  • Avoid white refined sugar and dairy, which can feed fungi/mold in your body. 
  • Sweat with exercise or sauna use.
  • Use an Air Purifier. I have a Molekule Air Purifier that helps the air quality in our house. Some filters can decrease the amount of harmful microorganisms in the air such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • Use leftovers within 3 – 4 days. Watch for mold growing on food and discard those right away to protect yourself from toxic fungus.

If you have concerns about your health or just want to feel better, we are here to help. We can support you and your body’s specific needs in any situation. 

Yours in health,

Kerry Cradit, B.S. Nutrition and Food Science


  1. https://epi.dph.ncdhhs.gov/oee/a_z/mold.html
  2. https://www.britannica.com/science/fungus
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031942206004080
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924982/
  5. https://www.apsnet.org/edcenter/apsnetfeatures/Pages/Stachybotrys.aspx
5 Common Dietary Mistakes

5 Common Dietary Mistakes

Here at the NHCAA, our patients diligently track their diets. 

I have been reviewing food logs for over a decade and have seen thousands.  You don’t review that many food records without noticing some common themes in food choices people tend to make.  I’m going to share with you 5 common dietary mistakes that people often do not realize are mistakes.  

  1. Coffee creamers 
  2. Salad dressings
  3. Excessive snacking 
  4. Frequent alcohol intake
  5. Overuse of sugar substitutes

Coffee Creamers & Sweeteners

Many individuals think they are doing themselves a favor by foregoing breakfast and just drinking coffee. What these individuals often fail to realize is the impact the coffee can have on their health when mixed with certain ingredients.   While many people can successfully intermittent fast and still have a cup of coffee, if you add enough creamer, milk and milk alternatives, sweeteners, and other products to your coffee, you may completely lose the benefit of delaying food, and may even worsen your glycemic control.  

There’s another camp of people who eat a good breakfast but ruin it by pairing it up with coffee containing sugars, artificial sweeteners, chemicals, and processed fats.

Coffee is not great for everyone; however, if you are drinking it, you should be very aware of what you are putting into it.  Cut out the Coffee Mate, International Delights, sugar free syrups and other like additives.  

Better options for coffee are drinking it black or adding mct oil, Nutpods, collagen powder, stevia or monk fruit (in moderation).

Salad Dressings

When attempting to eat healthy, many people go straight to salads.  If you can digestively tolerate eating raw vegetables, a salad can be a great low carb meal.  However, most commercially prepared salad dressing is full of chemicals, processed fats, soy, and sometimes loaded with sugar.  Read your labels!  You will probably be surprised at the ingredients list of your favorite dressing.  If you are eating a restaurant salad, It is highly likely that one or more undesirable ingredients are in it.

Better options for salad dressing are to make your own so you know exactly what is in it.  If you don’t want to make your own, Primal Kitchen has a line of clean salad dressings.  When eating a restaurant salad, the best bet is to ask for olive oil and vinegar.

Excessive Snacking

Snacking is a very common habit of Americans.  There was a time when people were instructed that their best bet for their health was to eat 5 small meals a day.  Snacking between meals is not a good thing for most adults.  Toddlers need snacks; most adults do not.  If you feel the need to snack, you are probably missing out on something in your meals to create lasting satiety.  For most people in this situation, it is good fat and protein they are skimping on. 

The worst type of snacking is night-time snacking.  Make having at least a 3 hour buffer between eating and bedtime a priority.  You don’t want your liver and digestive system working hard on digesting food while you are trying to rest.  Your organs have other things to do at this time and need a rest as well.

Frequent Alcohol Use

I have seen many cases in which a patient has an incredible diet, super low carb, but are still having a nightly cocktail.  Even if your alcohol choice is low carb or a spiked seltzer drink (which are undoubtedly better choices), at the end of the day, regardless of carb count, it is still alcohol and is a special circumstance.  Alcohol must be metabolized FIRST- even before sugar.  Alcohol increases the workload of the liver and may affect blood sugar and inhibit fat burning and other health benefits from your otherwise healthy diet; not to mention, alcohol may negatively impact your sleep cycle.

Overuse of Sugar Substitutes

I typically recommend that patients avoid sugar as much as possible and use natural substitutes that do not spike blood glucose.  My top recommendations are stevia and/or Monk Fruit.  But even these better replacements can be overused.  Too much use of natural sugar substitutes not only can cause you to hold on to your sugar cravings but can also imbalance your gut bugs (microbiota).  Overusing these seemingly innocent sweet treats can cause digestive problems and sometimes can halt your health progress.  It is best to use stevia, monk fruit and any sweetener only occasionally.

There you have it, 5 very common diet mistakes that are best to avoid.  If you are halted in your health goals in any way, I challenge you to examine this list and see if you are doing any of these 5 things.  If so, correcting these 5 areas can help get you back on track.  If you are still stuck or having trouble identifying your dietary trouble area, you should consult with us at the NHCAA.  

Your Holistic Pharmacist,

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Confused?… Where to Start with Your Diet

Confused?… Where to Start with Your Diet

It is extremely hard to navigate having a healthy diet when there is so much conflicting information floating around.  There are millions of TV shows, articles and social media posts that say, “Always do this” and “Never do that.”  It’s confusing.

At the NHCAA, we recognize that “always”es and “never”s are quite rare.  We are all unique individuals with different genetics, lifestyles, and metabolic types.  That’s why our practitioners don’t give out cookie-cutter diet recommendations to each patient.  We help our patients discover their best diets by tracking their intake and making changes, monitoring results, and thus evolving their diets over time.

Even though there is no one-size-fits-all diet, we must start somewhere.  Everyone is unique, but there are some basic, natural laws that apply to food and your health.  These laws are as follows:

  • White refined sugar is inflammatory to the whole body and unhealthy for all.  
  • Eating too many carbohydrates puts stress on the metabolic system.
  • Chemical contaminants in food create a toxic burden in the body.
  • Rancid oils and processed fats inflame the cardiovascular system.

These 4 points form the foundation for starting a healthy diet.  If you are unsure of what dietary path to take, start with applying these 4 nutrition laws and expand from there until you get the results you are seeking.  

All NHCAA patients are recommended to start a low carb diet that consists of REAL food.  How low carb to go is the recommendation that is variable.  A low carb diet is typically no more than 125 grams of net carbs per day, but many people may need to go much lower than that to achieve results.

Regardless of what your health picture is, you should apply these datums to your food choices.  If you are confused about what you should do with your diet, then you should first make sure you are applying all of these principles and then, if you still need direction, you should consult with a practitioner at our office to help you figure out what changes will best support health in your body.

Your Holistic Pharmacist,

Dr. Amanda Childress, PharmD

Ozone 101

Ozone 101

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a molecule consisting of three atoms of oxygen.  It is commonly known as an unstable portion of our atmosphere.  Ozone is also well studied and used in intravenous and oral remedies for many conditions.

Is Ozone new?

No, Ozone has been studied for over a century and was regularly used as a remedy for many common ailments.  It was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century.

What is Ozone used for?

Ozone has been used for improving the immune system by delivering increased oxygen supply to the body and forming more red blood cells.  Research has indicated that ozone is capable of deactivating bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast, and protozoa.  

Ozone has also been used to correct oxidative stress associated with spinal conditions and diabetes.  Oxidative stress is the balance in the body between free radicals and antioxidants. 

How can I use Ozone?

We have added multiple Ozone products available for use in your holistic health program:

  • Ozonated Toothpaste
  • Ozonated Deodorant
  • Ozonated Oils for topical use
  • Ozonated Suppositories for rectal and vaginal use 
  • Ozonated capsules, to be taken orally

Ask me at your next visit how ozonated products might be helpful in your daily self care routine. 

Yours in health and longevity, 

Kristen Clore, OTRL

I-MD & PhD student in Integrative Medicine & Quantum Physics

Holistic Occupational Therapist, Master Nutrition Response Practitioner ®