Tag Archives: Vitamin D

What is memory?

Just what is Memory anyway?


We use the word “memory” without understanding what it is. Our memory is a complex system that can dictate our day-to-day behavior.

How's your memory?
How’s your memory?

Memory can be defined in several ways, including:

  • the process by which the brain stores and remembers information.
  • remembered from the past.
  • the remembering of a deceased person as “in memory of.”
  • the length of time a person or event is remembered.
  • the part of a computer where data is stored and retrieved.


3 stages of memory:  Encoding, Storage, and Retrieval.


During the encoding process, we absorb information. The storage phase is when our memory creates a permanent record of the information. The retrieval process is when we remember or retrieve the stored information.


During the retrieval process, our brain sorts through 3 memory “data banks”…sensory memory, short term memory, and long term memory. Sensory memory identifies and holds information for just a few seconds. When we look at something for just a second and can still remember details, this is our sensory memory in action. Short term memory allows us to recall items for anywhere from a few seconds up to one minute without rehearsing.


Most people can remember chunks of information that have approximately 4 to 5 components. An example of this is the way in which most people learn to remember a phone number. You simply break it into chunks that include the area code, then the next 3 numbers and then the final numbers. Long term memory is capable of storing information for long… almost unlimited… periods of time. If you remember those same phone numbers years later, they’ve migrated from short term memory to long term memory. Information that is repeated ends up in long term memory, allowing us to retrieve it automatically.


Tips to maintain memory function


Here are a few ways to keep your memory sharp:


  • Get enough sleep.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Have an active social life
  • Laugh… it activates the learning and creative centers of your brain.
  • Avoid stress… it destroys brain cells.
  • Exercise your brain… read, do crossword puzzles, keep a journal.


Keep Your Memory Sharp….with Shaklee supplements that can keep your brain functioning optimally:


  • B-Complex. For glucose oxidation, neuronal membrane functions, nerve impulse generation, the biosynthesis of several neurotransmitters, and the metabolism of fatty acids and amino acids in the brain.
  • Sustained Release Vita-C. is required for the enzymatic reaction that synthesizes the neurotransmitter norepinephrine from dopamine. Vitamin C may also be able to regenerate vitamin E, an important lipid-soluble antioxidant.
  • Vita-D . is known to be important for normal brain development and cognitive function in older adults.
  • Vitamin E has a key role in preventing oxidant-induced lipid destruction and is vital in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes.
  • Lecithinis a fatty compound found in all cells, but particularly in our nerves, glands and the brain. 40 % of our brain is lecithin. Lecithin dissolves cholesterol, and holds our cells together! It’s vital for the brain.
  • OsteoMatrix. Calcium ions are important intracellular signals that regulate a number of physiological processes, including neuronal gene expression, neuronal secretion of neurotransmitters into synapses, and synaptic plasticity.
  • Iron plus Vitamin C. is needed for development of oligodendro-cytes (the brain cells that produce myelin), and is a required cofactor for several en-zymes to synthesize neurotransmitters.
  • Zinc Complex. Zinc is present at high levels in the brain where it has catalytic, structural, and regulatory roles in cellular metabolism.
  • OmegaGuard. The nervous system has a great concentration of lipids (omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, phospholipids, triglycerides, and cholesterol). These lipids serve structural roles in cell membranes of the nervous system, and affect membrane fluidity, flexibility, permeability, and play important roles in vision and nervous system function.
  • Mental Acuity Plus is a Shaklee exclusive formula that contains ginkgo, bilberry, hawthorn, and B vitamins to enhance memory and decision making. It helps maintain normal metabolic activity in the brain and also lowers homocysteine levels. (Homocysteine is an amino acid and breakdown product of protein metabolism that, when present in high concentrations, has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Evidence suggests that people with elevated homocysteine levels have twice the normal risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.)
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Vitamin D may prevent Diabetes II

Gentle Reader,

Vitamin D, seems to be the miracle supplement as research turns up more benefits. In my recent travels, along the Inside Passage in Alaska, I worried about the many “round” people from the cruise ships.  They may not have gotten a diagnosis of diabetes from their doctor.  But they may, like many of us, walk around leading what seems like normal lives with pre-diabetes.

Dr. Steve Chaney describes the condition in his recent newsletter.  [To read the whole letter, go to Resources: Diabetes is a deadly scourge.]  He says that when we become overweight our tissues become insulin resistant. Initially our pancreas responds by pumping out more insulin to keep our blood sugar levels near normal. It also starts releasing fatty acids into the bloodstream.

At this stage our blood sugar levels are pretty well under control, but our blood levels of insulin and fatty acids are higher than normal. We are asymptomatic for the most part, so many of us never realize that we have a problem.

And lots of us are pre-diabetic!

When the normal range goes to pre-diabetic and beyond.

My grandfather on my mother’s side was diabetic.  He was a Swede-Finn, emigrating to New York City in around 1900 and joining the dock builders union.  He worked hard, driving piles, helping construct the Brooklyn Bridge and the piers along New York’s maritime harbor.  Then he sat down.  His knees hurt.  His hands hurt. His back hurt.  He had arthritis and moving his body hurt.  Then he developed diabetes.

My mother was never diagnosed with diabetes.  I suspected her of being very close to slipping from pre-diabetic to diabetes in the last 10 years of her life.  Her shoulders hurt.  Her hands hurt.  She had old age arthritis at 55 and began taking Motrin.  I remember her and my father both taking drugs for their aches and pains when I was in high school. They both slowed down, walking less and less.  She was never diagnosed with diabetes.  She died of pancreatic cancer.

This family history is a major driver for me to stay slim and active in spite of major arthritis.

Dr. Chaney points out that there are several published clinical studies showing that lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise and a healthy diet supplying all of the essential nutrients) can significantly reduce the progression of
pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.


Supplement with Vitamin D3 by Shaklee

This is a blog about managing arthritis.  See how stiff joints, slowing down, mild and more severe osteo-arthritis, the kind that comes with aging, can be part of the pre-diabetic cluster of conditions?  The primary focus of Dr. Chaney’s article is the research about the benefit of Vitamin D on keeping the pancreas healthy.  Make no mistake, however, Vitamin D by itself will not prevent diabetes.  

Do not let your aches and pains keep you from moving.  Keep those joints active to the maximum extent of their flexibility.

Take Vitamin D if you are over weight and suspect you are pre-diabetic.  But there is no magic bullet.

I was talking with a young woman today who says she doesn’t want to take pills.  I’m all for avoiding medicines if possible.  It was a major challenge for me to understand vitamins are food supplements, foodlets, if you will.  Yes, they are in pill form.  I seldom refer to my vitamins as pills.  They are my supplements.  I take them to fill in the gaps and to compensate for the sluggish utilization of nutrients that comes with age.  We do not make Vitamin D from the sun the way we did when we were 10.

We are going into the winter months when those of us in the north will get less and less sun exposure.  Why not supplement with Vitamin D3?  Especially if you are little round in the middle.  Then, by all means, consider the 180 Turnaround program for losing those extra pounds.  You’ll be thrilled with how much easier it is to move with even 10 pounds less to carry around.

To your good health,

Be well, Do well and Keep moving,


206 933 1889

PS If you would like to comment or ask a question, please email me at betsy@hihohealth.com.  I’ve had too many spammy comments and have limited access to the comment section, but I would still love to hear from you.




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Diabetes is a deadly scourge.

Diabetes is a deadly scourge.

by Dr Steve Chaney

[My intention is to educate you about diabetes and its prevention.  Many of us are pre-diabetic and can take measures to insure we do not develop type II diabetes.]

It is the leading cause of kidney failure, lower limb
amputations and blindness. And it is a major cause of
heart disease and stroke.

And diabetes is an epidemic.

Because type 2 diabetes is closely associated with
obesity (80% of people with type 2 diabetes are
overweight), we have a diabetes epidemic worldwide that
is following right behind the obesity epidemic that you
have been hearing so much about.

In 2010 25.6 million Americans, or 11.3% of the
population, over the age of 20 had type 2 diabetes.

That’s up from 8.3% of the population in the 2005-2008
database, and the prevalence of diabetes in the 20+ age
group in this country is predicted to exceed 15% by

However, it is not type 2 diabetes that I am focusing
on today. Instead I will talk about a related condition
called pre-diabetes.

But first, a bit of biochemistry (my favorite subject).

What is pre-diabetes and how do we develop it?

When we become overweight our tissues become insulin
resistant. Initially our pancreas responds by pumping
out more insulin to keep our blood sugar levels near
normal. It also starts releasing fatty acids into the

At this stage our blood sugar levels are pretty well
under control, but our blood levels of insulin and
fatty acids are higher than normal. We are
assymptomatic for the most part, so many of us never
realize that we have a problem.

And lots of us are pre-diabetic!

The National Institute of Health estimates that 35% of
US adults in the 20+ age group and 50% of US adults in
the 65+ age group have pre-diabetes – and most of them
don’t even know it.

That is unfortunate because people with pre-diabetes
are at increased risk of heart disease, strokes and
certain types of cancer. And there is a high
probability that those people with pre-diabetes will go
on to develop type 2 diabetes a few years down the

That’s because high levels of both fatty acids and
insulin damage the pancreas. So every year that an
individual does nothing to reverse the pre-diabetic
condition, their pancreas loses more of its capacity to
produce insulin.

Eventually, the pancreas can no longer produce enough
insulin to overcome the insulin resistance, and the
individual develops full blown type 2 diabetes.

With 35% of the population already pre-diabetic – and
most of them not knowing that they have it, anything
that we can do to prevent pre-diabetes from
progressing to type 2 diabetes is big news.

That’s why today’s study (Mitri et al, American Journal
of Clinical Nutrition, 94: 486-494, 2011) is so

The scientists directing the study enrolled 92 adults
with an average age of 57 and a BMI of 32 (anything
over 30 is considered obese). The subjects were given
2,000 IU/day of vitamin D and/or 800 mg/day of calcium
in various combinations (placebo, D alone, calcium
alone and calcium + D).

They did not assess for pre-diabetes in this group, but
given the age and BMI of the group it is fairly safe to
assume that most of them had pre-diabetes.

At the end of 16 weeks the group receiving the placebo
had a 14% decline in the ability of their pancreas to
secrete insulin – about what you would expect for
individuals with pre-diabetes.

Calcium had no effect on pancreatic function.

However, the groups receiving 2.000 IU/day of vitamin D
had a 26% improvement in the ability of their pancreas
to secrete insulin.

So what are the take home lessons for you?

#1) The most important message that I can give you is
that if you are overweight, you are probably already
pre-diabetic even if you have not received a formal

You are likely already at significantly increased risk
of heart disease, stroke and cancer – and you are
likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the not too
distant future.


#2) The authors of this study were careful to point out
that their study did not show that vitamin D alone
could reduce the progression of pre-diabetes to type 2
diabetes. That study has yet to be done.

However, there are several published clinical studies
showing that lifestyle changes (weight loss, exercise
and a healthy diet supplying all of the essential
nutrients) can significantly reduce the progression of
pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.

So if you want to act now to reduce your risk of
becoming another statistic, the proven path is clear.

#3) While I consider it unlikely that vitamin D will be
a “magic bullet” for preventing type 2 diabetes, this
study does highlight yet another potential benefit of
making sure that your intake of vitamin D is optimal.

To Your Success!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney



If you have questions or comments about this Tip from the Professor,

please give me a call, or email.  Shaklee makes an excellent Vita D3.


Betsy Bell’s Health4U

206 933 1889


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Tips for women who have back pain because of osteoporosis

Here they are:

Tip #1 Increase your vitamin D3   (more info about Vitamin D3 for bone density here)

Tip #2 Add weight bearing exercise to your routine

Tip #3 Eat more greens

Gentle Reader,

You have a sharp pain in your back and can’t remember that you lifted that bag of groceries 3 days ago even though you knew it was too heavy for you.  The pain subsides after a few weeks with the help of rest and some pain meds.    And then it happens again.

What’s going on?   You probably had a vertebral compression fracture, caused either by falling or by placing a load on outstretched arms such as raising a window or lifting a small child or a bag of groceries.  The front of the vertebrae collapse.  The spine is weakened by low bone density.  Our bodies can repair these hair line fractures on their own.  The trick is to lessen the chances of reoccurrence.

You go for your check up and they do a bone density test.  The dreaded report comes back. You have osteopenia.  They tell you that is probably why you’ve been having back pain.  This happened to me a few years ago.  My doctor immediately offered me drugs to increase the bone density.  I asked him to give me a couple years to change this picture and reverse the trend to osteoporosis.  The next bone density showed full blown osteoporosis.  I was very disappointed.  I’d been taking a good quality calcium for years.  Why hadn’t it protected me?  I was very physically active, walking all the time, skiing, working in the garden.  I pleaded again for more time and turned down the prescription.  It worked.  Here’s what I did.

#1 Increased Vitamin D3 to 6000 mg a day.  My blood test indicated a major increase was necessary.

#2 Stair climbing.  The advice was climb 200 steps every day while carrying 20 lbs.  I climbed 200 steps several times a week but didn’t carry any extra weight.

#3 Add minerals by eating lots more greens.  I eat 3 – 5 heads of greens (kale, chard, mustard greens, and collards) every week, usually steamed or in soups.  LacinatoKaleSpinach is good, too.  I also increased the supplement Alfalfa.

I was able to reverse the condition.  You can too.

I know you have done amazing things to turn osteoporosis around.  Let us know by leaving a comment.  If you found this helpful, pass it along.  And thanks,

Fondly, Betsy

Be Well, Do Well and Keep Moving

BetsyBell’s Health4u


206 933 1889  1 888 283 2077




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