One of the things that I love most about winter is that, for me, it’s a time to hibernate for awhile. Spring, summer, and fall are jam packed with festivals and events. Winter tends to slow things down, which is fine by me. At the same time, I find myself biking less, and being outside less. By the time that February rolls around, I am looking forward to the warmer weather that is right around the corner.
In the meantime, I’m always looking for ways to make the most out of winter, whether it’s creating new festivals or simply spending more time in my favorite cafés. So far, this winter has been a breeze – I’ve even been out biking around a bit, since the streets have been mainly clear of snow.
Speaking of winter, I recently found myself talking to Karen McCarthy, who is a Health Coach and Advisor as well as Medical Aesthetician in Greater Buffalo. Right off the bat, we got to talking about ways that people can make the most of winter, medically speaking that is. Since winter is the time of year that we’re not out playing soccer in the park, or jogging around the city (as much), we need to keep healthy in other ways, and I’m not simply talking about hitting the slopes and/or going to the gym. I’m talking about ways to get powered up and re-energized, so that we’re all feeling at the top of our games. “Everyone keeps telling me that I should go out and purchase vitamin D supplements,” I told McCarthy. “Is that the trick?”
“According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we are supposed to get more rain than snow this year but only time will tell,” said McCarthy. “It’s true what you say about not getting enough vitamin D. Some people might face winter depression or seasonal depression. Personally, I am a big advocate of supplementation to enhance our bodies and minds throughout the various seasons, especially winter. Supplementation is so powerful and almost necessary in order to receive everything your body needs. Beauty from the inside out is my motto.
“Getting back to Vitamin D, did you know vitamin D is a hormone? Well, it’s the truth! Vitamin D is a critical supplement that can seriously affect our psyche. The winter months in Buffalo can also affect us. Vitamin D not only positively affects your mood but it can prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis, reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. It can reduce the risk of diabetes, especially in young people and in those living in high altitude. Vitamin D protects against heart disease, including high blood pressure and heart failure. It can reduce your risk for multiple sclerosis as well as improve your lung function.
“Now listen up. This is important! Vitamin D should ALSO contain a K2 component to ensure maximum absorption. Vitamin D and K2 work with one another to maintain tight control over calcium levels in the body. Vitamin D controls the absorption of calcium into the blood. Vitamin K2 controls where that calcium ends up. Over-supplementation of vitamin D3 without ample vitamin K2, leads to problems of excess calcium. If calcium isn’t laid into bone, it will find itself in other tissues, like your arteries. Calcium in the arteries is BAD. Vitamin D is a powerful hormone and does much more than support bone health. It helps keep your immune system strong and balanced. It has anti-inflammatory properties and promotes intestinal health.
“To get more of these whole body benefits beyond bone health, its recommended vitamin D levels are closer to the range of 40-80 ng/mL, with 50-70ng/mL being an even more optimal sweet spot. That’s your blood test measurement. If we’re talking units, around 5,000 IU daily. To control calcium balance, you must have sufficient vitamin K2 to activate the relevant vitamin K2-dependent proteins. Vitamin K2 also improves brain health, energy production, oxidative stress and metabolism, as well as risk of cardiovascular disease.
“Now let’s talk isotonic. What does isotonic mean you ask? Isotonic means ‘the same pressure as.’ If a supplement in the body was ‘isotonic’ that means it would be recognized as something that already belongs there such as blood. A line that is all the rage which is why I now take them and sell them at my Spa are called Isotonix. Isotonix delivers nutrient dense solutions which move from the stomach into your intestine in a fast, controlled way. And they’re buffered to resist nutrient degradation and to be gentle on your system. Isotonix products have been carefully formulated to clear your stomach at an optimal rate to maximize absorption. A pill does not fully deliver into your bloodstream the vitamins it holds within. Either the pill is dumped whole into your intestinal tract or the active ingredients pass through without being fully absorbed. Vitamins taken in Isotonix form do not have these shortcomings.”
Winter is one of Buffalo’s greatest seasons, so there’s no reason to ever feel that you have to sit it out. From dressing appropriately, to taking the right supplements, there are numerous ways to take care of your body, soul, and spirit. As for getting started with a supplement regimen, whether you buy supplements online, or at your local pharmacy, or at your local spa, there are plenty of places out there that will help you to get healthy this winter season. So what are you waiting for?
Karen McCarthy is a Health Coach and Advisor as well as Medical Aesthetician in the Buffalo. She is also the owner of Karen About You Spa in Hamburg, where she offers a broad spectrum of services, including chemical peels, detoxifying body wraps, microneedling, and even complementary consultations on how to best handle this winter season!
The medical/health views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author/interviewee, and not necessarily to Buffalo Rising.