Category Archives: Nutrition

The importance of vitamin D

Do you find yourself feeling depressed during the long and dark winter season? Have you ever noticed why your mood is generally better on sunny days? The explanation behind this is relatively simple. If you were to step outside in the middle of July at 10 AM with no sunscreen for 15 minutes, you would be able to produce roughly 1000 IU of vitamin D3 (this will vary depending on your skin pigment, weight, age). Under ideal conditions, the human body is capable of producing upwards of 10000 IU from about half an hour in the sun. Now consider this: the minimum daily recommended dose is 600 IU and the Vitamin D Council suggests that 50 ng/ml (a measurement of the amount of serum vitamin D in the body) is the minimum acceptable level. Despite this, the Food and Nutrition Board notes that 97 percent of Americans have a vitamin D level that falls into the range of 20—30 ng/ ml and a study by Stats Canada indicates that most Canadians are also deficient in D3, especially during the winter. Here are some common risks linked to low vitamin D levels:

  • Depression
  • Cancer
  • Osteoperosis
  • Insulin resistance and poor blood sugar regulation
  • Poor immune function
  • Poor cardiovascular health
  • Decreased muscular mass, strength and power development
  • Psoriasis
  • Diabetes

Although vitamin D3 toxicity is possible, it is impossible to attain from sun exposure alone. In fact, a healthy person would have to take upwards of 50000 IU per day, every day for several months. Though it is possible to get adequate levels of vitamin D3 from sunlight exposure alone, this can be difficult or impossible, depending on the season and your geographical location. Despite the fact that vitamin D is fat soluble, meaning your body can store extra amounts of it, we simply are not getting enough! In my opinion, it is not only safe but ideal for a relatively healthy person to be getting at least 5000 IU of D3.

Here are some effective ways to increase your D3 levels:

  • Sun exposure
  • Supplementation
  • Cod liver oil
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Organ meats

Vitamin D deficiency is potentially deadly yet it is extremely common. Have your blood work done to be sure. Make sure to go outside and get lots of direct sun exposure when it is possible, supplement when it is not and improve your health drastically!



Salehpour, A., et al. A 12-Week Double-Blind Randomized Clinical Trial of Vitamin D3 Supplementation on Body Fat Mass in Healthy Overweight and Obese Women. Nutrition Journal. 2012. 11, 78.

Carrillo, A., et al. Impact of Vitamin D Supplementation During Resistance Training Intervention on Body Composition, Muscle Function, and Glucose Tolerance in Overweight and Obese Adults. Clinical Nutrition. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Rock, C., Emond, J., et al. Weight Loss is Associated with Increased Serum 25(OH) D in Overweight or Obese Women. Obesity. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Lamendola, C., Arial, D., et al. Relations Between Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Vitamin D. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Von Essen, M., Kongsbak, M., Schjerling, P., Olgaard, K., Odum, N., Geisler, C. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T cells. Nature Immunology. 2010. 11, 344–349.

Vijay, G., Milone, C., Cody, M., McCarty, F., Want, Y. Serum vitamin D concentrations are related to depression in young adult US population: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.International Archives of Medicine.  3(1), 29.

Chen, G., Kim, S., King, A., Zhao, L., Simpson, R., Christensen, P. CYP24A1 Is an independent prognostic marker of survival in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research. 2011. 17(4), 817-26.

Holick, MF. High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2006. 81(3), 353-73.

Ward, K., Das, G., Berry, J., Roberts, S., Rawer, R., Adams, J., Mughal, A. Vitamin D status and muscle function in post-menarchal adolescent girls. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2009. 94(2), 559-563.

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Benefits of coffee

Are you a coffee lover? You should be! The myths behind this delicious beverage are finally being debunked so here are 5 great reasons to consume nature’s energy drink:

  1. High in antioxidants: Coffee contains a massive amount of antioxidants such as caffeic acid and chlorogenic acid. These antioxidants have proven to lower the risk of cancer (specifically liver and colorectal)
  2. Fat burner: By increasing the metabolic rate, coffee can effectively mobilize fat to be used as source of fuel (rather than glucose).
  3. Increases strength, speed and recovery: Studies have shown that caffeine will increase strength and reaction time when consumed before a workout. In addition to this, coffee has been shown to speed recovery and help reduce muscle soreness.
  4. Increases energy levels: after being absorbed through the bloodstream, caffeine makes its way to the brain where it blocks adenosine (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) and increases dopamine and norepinephrine, allowing the neurons to fire more effectively and in turn increase energy levels.
  5. Shown to help protect you from neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. The regular consumption of coffee has shown to decrease the risk of both of these diseases by up to 60%


Although there are numerous great benefits linked to the consumption of coffee, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. It is best to avoid coffee after training because caffeine has been shown to increase cortisol levels and delay recovery when consumed postworkout. Also, limit your caffeine intake it your cortisol levels are high.
  2. Do not consume coffee with carbohydrates. Doing so will negate the stimulatory effects of caffeine.
  3. Drink organic coffee. Non-organic coffee is often grown using insecticides, herbicides and fungicides which are carcinogenic.



Lopez-Garcia, E. Long-Term Coffee Consumption Associated with Reduced Risk of Total and Cause-Specific Mortality. Evidence-Based Medicine. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

Wang, Y., et al. Coffee and Tea Consumption and Risk of Lung Cancer. Lung Cancer. 2012. 78(2), 169-170.

Takami, H., et al. Inverse Correlation Between Coffee Consumption and Prevalence of Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Epidemiology. 2012. Published Ahead of Print

Cook, C., Beaven, C., et al. Acute Caffeine Ingestion Increases Voluntarily Chosen Resistance Training Load Following Limited Sleep. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
Bailey, D., Williams, C., et al. Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Recovery of Muscle Function after Damaging Exercise: Effect of 6-Week Mixed Antioxidant Supplementation. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2011. 111, 925-936.

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