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Dr. James Chandler, N.D., Ph.D

Traditional Naturopathy

Chandler Naturopathic Health Center

Go Natural - Your Natural Health Alternative


Vitamin D The Sunshine Vitamin

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (1702)
     As summer winds down and autumn just a couple weeks away it is a good time to start thinking about the "sunshine vitamin" vitamin D.  As the days begin to get shorter and the temperature a bit cooler, we will need to manage our vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D plays a dual role, that as a fat soluble vitamin and that as a hormone.  During the fall and winter moths, especially in latitudes north of Atlanta Georgia, the sun in not at an angle that can produce vitamin D through the skin.  Vitamin D is needed by the body to regulate calcium and phosphorus.  More extensive roles for vitamin D include: immune system regulation, cancer prevention, diabetes prevention, and mood elevation.
     Who needs to have more vitamin D?  Older people, those that stay indoors or work indoors, people of color, people in long term care facilities, people that have health issues and those in areas that receive fewer hours of sunlight (those north of Atlanta) in the fall, winter and spring months.  It is a good idea, if you fall into one of these categories, to have your blood levels check at your next doctor's appointment.  Anything less than 50 ng/L is considered low, although most medical doctors and laboratories have a range of 20-100 ng/L with 20 consider being low.  For some people, especially those that have health issue, the optimum level should be 70-80 ng/L. 
     How much should I take?  How much is enough? How much is too much?  It is difficult to answer these questions without knowing what your vitamin D levels are.  That is why it is recommended that you have your levels checked periodically.  As a general rule, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) used to be 400  International Units (IU) per day which is equivalent to about 10 mcg.  In 1997, the National Academy of Sciences revised their guidelines and issued Adequate Intake (AI) levels.  These are recommendations based on nutrient intake levels by a group of healthy people, that are assumed to be adequate.  The AI levels did not change the RDA of 400 IU daily.  More research has suggested that these levels be increased to 800 IU daily.  More and more studies show that most Americans are low or below optimum levels.  My suggestion is that all people should supplement vitamin D3 (or if you are vegan vitamin D2).  I recommend that everyone supplement with at least 1,000 - 2,000 IU daily. The most important thing is, know what your levels are.  If you are low, you may need to supplement at higher doses.  It is not recommended to supplement at extremely high doses (above 10,000 IU daily) for long periods of time.
For otherwise Healthy Individuals:
Infants and children........................800 - 1,000 IU
Teenagers........................................800 - 1,000 IU
Males and Females up to age 50.....800 - 1,000 IU
Males and Females  51 -70 years....1,000 -1,500 IU
Males and Females older than 70....2,000 IU
Pregnant and Lactating women.......800 - 1,000 IU
If you have a health condition, please get your Vitamin D level checked!
Disclaimer: This blog and all of its content is for informational use only.  It does not intend to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness and does not substitute for the advice of medical physicians.  Seek medical approval before starting any supplemental routine or protocol.
For supplemental vitamin D or any supplemental vitamin, herb or mineral, please visit my website at, click on the "Store" tab.  There you will find links to DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont, IHERB, and Natural Dispensary.

Carnosine, the anti-aging supplement.

Posted on July 3, 2012 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (1319)
Carnosine has been in the news lately withpeople like doctor Oz stating its miracle benefits. So, what is this miraclesupplement and what are the many benefits of supplementing with it?
Carnosine, or more specifically L-carnosine, isactually made of two amino acids. The combination of alanine and histidine makethis compound and is classified as a dipeptide. As an amino acid or dipeptide,l carnosine is a protein building block. Carnosine is usually made in the body,especially when we are young. As we age our ability to make this substancebecomes more and more difficult. In our youth, l-carnosine is abundant inmuscle and brain tissue. Since levels of carnosine declines as we age, it isthought that supplementation of this compound slows the aging process.
Carnosine is responsible for numerous functionsin the body. Physical appearance is certainly one of them. This is because proteins,built in part by carnosine, change over time. As you have probably noticed,physical appearance changes over time as well as does general health.
Other functions of carnosine include: preventionof disease, minimizes damage to body tissues, it is an antioxidant thatneutralizes free radical damage, it bounds toxic metals and eliminates themfrom the body before they can cause damage to tissue, and it strengthens theimmune cells.
Who should consider taking carnosine? To startwith, people who do not eat enough complete protein (foods that contain allnine (9) of the essential amino acids: meat, fish and dairy are often cited asfoods that contain complete proteins). Anyone with a specific health concernthat may be helped by carnosine ( epilepsy, seizures, autism, diabetes, Alzheimer’s,heart disease, skin conditions, heavy metal toxicity, and many more). Any onethat is interested in anti-aging benefits. Some studies show that carnosine canactually help reduce wrinkles. It can help promote lean muscle mass.L-carnosine can prevent the development of diseases and minimize tissue damage,which is thought to increase lifespan.
How much should you take? Carnosine is anextremely safe supplement with few (if any) side effects. The usualrecommendation for general anti-aging and protection from free radical damageis 50 to 200 mg per day taken with meals.
Looking for carnosine supplements? IHERB IHERB offers a $5 offcoupon on your first order, use coupon code GUQ700 in the shopping cart.

Calcium Study

Posted on June 30, 2012 at 1:02 PM Comments comments (1768)
     Well it has been a while since my last post.  I have enjoyed a very long vacation with my beautiful wife and partner Jann celebrating our wedding anniversary and her birthday.  We've spent time exploring the outer banks of NC from Newbern, Ocracoke, Duck and Manteo to discoveries along the way and to the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.  Reflecting upon our travel, one can only conclude that there is a divine intelligence that not only created our world and universe but also the human spirit.  We witnessed many beautiful things, people, and places.  We learned so much about history, nature, and life in general.  All of this beauty abounds in just our state.  We can't wait to discover more places, people and things in other parts of great nation.  With a renewed dedication to each other and a deeper love for each other, our lives are ever more enriched.
So what's new in our natural health world?  There was a study recently published that stated the beneficial properties of calcium turns out to be false.  The study reports that the use of calcium supplements by women aided in the development of heart disease and that it did not help in bone loss. (You can find an article on the report on "WebMd".  Yes, that is what was reported in the study.  I must admit, I have never been a proponent of taking calcium supplements (especially in the amounts and ratios often prescribed) but, I was taken aback by this study.  With that said, I don't believe that the study reveals the "whole truth."
     As a natural health doctor and practitioner, I belive that the more nutrients that you can get from your foods the better you will utilize those nutrients.  However, there are situations and circumstances that mandate the use of supplementation.  In this study, thge researchers did a meta analysi of about one dozen clinical trials.  These trials alo include the supplementation of vitamin D.  The problems, that I have with the study, are they do not indicate what kind of calcium was supplemented (and it matters) nor the amount of calcium and vitamin D being supplemented.
     The bottom line from my standpoint is:  You probably do not need calcium supplementation if you eat a lot of dairy and other calcium rich foods.  If you feel a need to supplement calcium, include vitamin D3 and magnesium.  In my opinion, the ratio of calcium, vitamin D3 and magnesium should be 1/2/1.  In other words , 500 mg of calcium, 1,000 IUs of vitamin D3, and 500 mg magnesium taken together.
Looking for calcium, vitamin D and magnesium?  Click on the DaVinci  or IHERB link. Enter the code: GUQ700 in the iherb shopping cart to receive $5 off of your first order.

Dimethylglycine (DMG) Amino Acid in its simplest form.

Posted on June 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (1755)
     Dimethylglycine (DMG) is a derivative of glycine, which is the simplest of the amino acids.  It is the building block of many important substances including the amino acid methionine, choline, many hormones and neurotransmitters, and DNA.  Research shows DMG to be physiologically active and important to cell metabolism. 
     DMG is a safe, natural, non toxic food substance that does not build up in the body.  It is a water soluble intermediary metabolite (it has a temporary role in the cell cycle before being rapidly broken down).  DMG can be produced in the body in small amounts from the amino acids choline and betaine.  Supplementation can increase levels that can result in increased health benefits within the body. 
    Some of the benefits of having higher levels of DMG in the body include: enhanced immune system,  strengthening both immune systems by stimulating both B cell and T cell production, increased production of antibodies, cytokines, and lymphocytes, strengthening anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-tumor properties and modulating the inflammation response; improves cardiovascular functions by reducing elevated blood cholesterol and triglycerides levels, helps to normalize blood pressure and glucose levels, and helps to maintain homocysteine levels within normal range; improves neurological function, may help with in controlling epileptic seizures, may help in verbal communications and social interactions in individuals with autism; and it improves the functioning of many organs including the liver and detoxification processes among other whole body health processes.
   Some sources of natural DMG are in foods like meat, beans, seeds, and whole grains.
   Is DMG supplementation right for you?  Anyone that has challenges to the immune system, athletes (sports practice and fitness), people with cardiovascular issues, stress, support for neurological issues, autism spectrum (autism, ADD), seizures,  support for carbohydrate metabolism (diabetics), liver detoxification and support, auto immune diseases, cancer, respiratory disorders (allergies/asthma), stress, chronic fatigue, and  fibromyalgia may benefit by taking a supplement form of DMG along with anyone who wishes to gain general health and anti-aging benefits. 
     Looking for DMG products or more information?  Go to click on the store page and click on the DaVinci Laboratory link or go directly to
    DaVinci has several specific products (some available in tablet, chewable tablet, and liquid), with DMG:  Aller-DMG, Behavior Balance-DMG, Cardio-DMG, COQ10-DMG, Energy-Plex, Fibro-DMG Gluconic - DMG, Gluconic Gluta-DMG, Immuno-DMG and Neuro-DMG.  DaVinci also provides "sell sheets" for each product that gives additional information on that product.

The need for iodine

Posted on June 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM Comments comments (1198)
     A somewhat rare element, iodine is utilized by every cell of the body.  It is most concentrated in the glands of the body, especially the thyroid gland.  Large amounts are also stored in the salivary glands, breast, ovaries, gastric mucosa, cerebrospinal fluid and the brain, and the ciliary body of the eye (just behind the iris).  Iodine is considered to be antibacterial, anti parasitic, antiviral (three great reasons why we used iodine tablets to purify water in the armed forces), anticancer, elevates pH, and is a mucolytic agent (expectorant).
     Iodine was discovered in 1811, by accident, by Bernard Courtois during the process of making gunpowder from potassium and sodium compounds from seaweed.  Iodine was first used, medically, to treat goiter (swelling of the thyroid gland) by Francois Coindet.  In the early 1900s, iodine was use to prevent and treat goiter in the United States by adding iodine to table salt.  Since the practice of the US government adding potassium iodide to salt, the incidences of goiter in the US have fallen dramatically.
     Today, probably less than 30 percent of Americans use iodized table salt.  Over the past 30 years studies show that iodine levels have dropped in the US population by 50 percent.  Pregnant women with low levels of iodine have increased by a whopping 690 percent.  Since iodine is vital for fetal development, low iodine levels of pregnant women have been shown to increase the risks  of such birth defects as: cretinism, mental retardation, attention deficit disorder among other health issues in children.
   What can be treated with iodine?   There is a list of conditions that would benefit from supplementing with iodine or eating iodine rich foods.  Some of these conditions are: ADD/ADHD, atherosclerosis, breast diseases (including fibrocystic breasts), excess mucous production, fatigue, thyroid disorders (including goiter), hemorrhoids, headaches (including migraines), hypertension (high blood pressure), infections, keloids (excessive growth of scar tissue), liver diseases, ovarian diseases, prostate disorders, sebaceous cysts, vaginal infections, and weight gain.
     What causes an iodine deficiency?  The problem with salt.  The iodine in regular table salt is poorly available for up take by the body plus the negative medical statements about salt intake have produced a decline in salt intake by the population as a whole.  certain lifestyles and diets are also a major factor in the declining iodine intake.  Diets low in ocean fish and sea vegetables, diets high in refined wheat that contain bromide such as pastries, bread, and pasta, and vegetarian and vegan diets may cause a deficiency.Exposure to perchlorate ( a chemical manufactured for rocket fuel and other industrial uses) can displace iodine.  Perchlorate contamination of our drinking water is widespread and continues to increase throughout the nation.
     Foods that are high in iodine include: dairy products, iodized salt, seafood, saltwater fish, kelp, asparagus, dulse, garlic, Lima beans, mushrooms, sea salt, sesame seeds, soybeans, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard and turnip greens.  Supplementation from kelp tablets may be helpful.
     Foods that can block the uptake of iodine to the thyroid are: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, peaches, pears, spinach and turnips.  These foods eaten in large quantities and in raw form may block iodine uptake.  It is advised to cook them before you eat them.  If you have an under active thyroid (hypo-thyroid) you should consider limiting your consumption of these foods in their raw form.
Brownstein, David (2009) Iodine, why you need it, why you can't live without it.  West Bloomfield, MI: Medical Alternative Press.

Vitamin B-12 Could it be B-12?

Posted on May 18, 2012 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (1116)
     Today, I close out the discussion on B vitamins with a lookat B-12, my favorite B vitamin.  VitaminB-12, Methylcobalamin, is said to be the most “chemically complex of all of thevitamins.”  Its beautiful ruby red colorcertainly makes it the most beautiful of all of the vitamins.  It is the name of a group of essential biologicalcompounds known as cobalamins.  Thesecolalamins, similar to hemoglobin in the blood, contain cobalt instead ofiron.  There are two forms of B-12, thefirst is cyanocobalamin.  This is themost common form, it is less expensive and easier to manufacture.   Unfortunately, it is also the most difficultfor the body to absorb.  The very smallamount that is absorb, usually never finds its way into the cell where it isneeded.  People that take this form ofB-12 continue to be deficient in this vitamin although the live does convert avery small amount of cyanocobalamin into the more active and more absorbablemethylcobalamin form.
     Methylcobalaminactively supports the growth and provides protection of the nervous system,especially as we age.  Some studiessuggest that it may be beneficial in treating people with Parkinson’s diseaseand may be able to slow the progression of the disease.  Other neurological disorders that may benefitfrom this form of B-12 are Bell’s palsy, multiple sclerosis, and others.    A study published in the Journal ofNeurological Science (1994), suggested that methylocobalamin could assist inthe regeneration of nerves, a rare feat by any substance.    Methylocobalamin is a crucial component inthe conversion of homocysteine into methionine, which is used to buildprotein.  As discussed in other articles,elevated homocysteine levels play a major role in developing cardiovasculardiseases.  By converting homocysteineinto methionine, it plays an important role in protein synthesis that isnecessary for cardiovascular function.
     I first was shownthe extremely important benefits of B-12 through a television program featuringDr Richard Becker, DO and his guest Dr. Jeffrey Stuart, D.O. and Sally Pacholokauthors of  the book, Couldit be B-12.  He presented afantastic show on this wonderful vitamin. The roles vitamin B-12 has are many. It is needed to prevent anemia (especially in the elderly), it assistfolic acid in regulating red cell formation, it is required for proper digestion,absorption of food nutrients, and the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates,prevents nerve damage, it protects the fatty sheaths that cover and protect thenerve endings, and it assists in treating insomnia by promoting normal sleeppatterns. 
     Though B-12 is awater soluble vitamin, the body does store up to five years of it.  However, day to day stresses, improper diet,aging, people with digestive disorders, pollution, and medication all depleteour stores of B-12 in a relatively short time. It is estimated that 50 percent of the population over age 50 has adeficiency.  Those under age fifty with adeficiency is not well known because of the testing requirements. The mostcommon reason for deficiency in older adults is malabsorption.   Those using anti-gout medication,anticoagulants, metformin and those people taking potassium supplements may beblocking the absorption of B-12.  Deficiency can cause abnormal gait (as inpeople with Parkinson’s), dementia, bone loss, chronic fatigue, constipation, depression(including postpartum) , digestive disorders (which leads to furtherdepletion), dizziness, drowsiness, liver enlargement, disorders of the eyes,hallucinations, headaches, swollen tongue, irritability, labored breathing,memory loss, moodiness, nervousness, neurological damage, palpitations, perniciousanemia, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and degeneration of the spinal cord.
     Good food sourcesof B-12 are:  Meat, kidney, liver,seafood; eggs, milk, and dairy; brewer’s yeast, sea vegetables like: dulse,kelp, kombu, and nori.  Most othervegetables lack vitamin B-12.  Supplementation is always a good choice. The methylcobalamin form is the best supplement source.  Those with digestive and absorptiondifficulties should take a sublingual form or injections.  There are no restrictions on the amount of B-12one can take at this time.   A dailymultiple vitamin is not enough for someone in trouble.   Most people could take 1,000 mcg to 5, 0000mcg daily.  However, those that havedigestive and malabsorption difficulties should consider discussing testingwith their doctor before starting a supplement. Blood serum test are generally not conclusive and you should also requesta test to check methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels.
There are so many people that could have a deficiency in B complex vitamins.  All of the B vitamins have simular associated disorders when levels are low.  It is always best to take B vitamins together in a complex formulation.  However, there are times and conditions that require additional supplementation of specific B vitamins.  With most B vitamins there are no toxic levels (B-12 is an excellent example), but there are a few that can be toxic if taken in large doses.  Should you take B complex vitamins?  If so, how uch should you take?  Generally speaking, B complex vitamin formulas in the 25 mg to 75 mg range are reqarded as safe. 
If you would like a B complex supplement, go to and on the "store" page click on the DaVinci Labs link.

Vitamin B-11 Pteryl-hepta-glutamic acid

Posted on May 17, 2012 at 4:56 PM Comments comments (2120)
    Vitamin B-11 is a member of the B complex family of vitamins.  Sometimes referred to as vitamin S or S factor, B-11 is also considerate a folate (like B- 9) and is a derivative of B-9.  Folate and folic acid derive their names from the Latin word folium(which means "leaf"). Green leafy vegetables are a primary source of this nutrient, however, in Western diets bread and cereals fortified with folate may be a larger dietary source.  An argument can be (and has been) made that enriched sources (bread and cereal) may not provide the absorption  levels from leaf vegetables and in fact, be of no help at all.  This is in part because of the other chemicals(namely bromine) used in the process of making bread and cereal.  Bromine competes with other vitamins and minerals in absorption.
     A lack of folic acid leads to folate deficiency, an uncommon condition in the normal American diet.  A complete lack of dietary folate takes months before deficiency develops.   Most individuals have about 500–20,000 µg of folate stored in the body.  It is not that uncommon to have depleted or less than optimal levels within the body for a variety of reasons, eating breads and cereals and no green leafy vegetables is only one of many.  Stress, (whether from work, home, air pollution, or illness) also depletes stores of this nutrient.  Any type of gut or intestinal illness (IBS, IBD, GERD, diarrhea, constipation, yeast infections, and parasites) blocks the manufacturing and absorption of B-11.   
     A less than optimal level may result in many health problems, the most notable one being neural tube defects in developing embryos.  Symptoms of folate deficiency include diarrhea, anemia with a shortness of breath and/or weakness, lack of appetite, nerve damage,  numbness  and weakness in the limbs, lower immunity, fatigue, pregnancy complications, mental confusion, forgetfulness or other cognitive declines, depression, sore or swollen tongue, peptic or mouth ulcers, headaches, heart palpitations, irritability, behavioral disorders, and weight loss. Low levels of folate can also lead to impaired DNA synthesis and repair which could eventually lead to formation of cancers and homocysteine accumulation.  Homocysteine,though a natural substance made by the body, is thought to irritate the lining of the blood vessels causing them to become scarred, hardened, and narrowed.This increases the work the heart must do, leading to heart disease. High levels of homocysteine levels also cause increased blood clotting.  Folate is required in the synthesis and breakdown of homocysteine.
     The benefits of adequate levels of B-11 are enormous. Vitamin B-11, combined with B-12, is involved in the formation of RNA and DNA.  B-11 is essential for growth and in forming tissue, in developing the brain, is essential for the development of the fetus nervous system and the spinal marrow of the fetus, is essential for cell division, reduces the risk of cardiac functions, is essential for the re-methylation of homocysteine, it plays a very essential role in the immune system and in blood production.
Do you need B vitamins?  Go to and on the "store" page click on Davinci Labs link.

Do you want stronger hair and nails? Vitamin B-7 may be your answer.

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 10:57 AM Comments comments (958)
     Most mothers have encountered the condition called "cradle cap".  The condition is characterized by a baby's dry and scaly scalp.  Biotin deficiency maybe responsible. 
     Biotin assists in cell growth, in the production of fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9), assists in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and protein, and in the utilization of other B complex vitamins.   Healthy hair and skin depend on sufficient quantities of biotin.  Some studies suggest that supplementing with 100 mg of biotin daily may help prevent hair loss in some men.  Biotin helps relieve muscle pain, promotes healthy functioning of sweat glands, nerve tissue and bone marrow.
     Biotin is produce in the intestines.  People who suffer from intestinal problems, intestinal dysbiosis (altered bowel flora), and other  bowel related disorders may be susceptible to low levels of this B vitamin.  Use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), antacids, antibiotics, and other drugs such as sulfa drugs, may inhibit the production of biotin in the intestines.
     Deficiency can cause anemia, depression, hair loss, high blood sugar, inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes, insomnia, loss of appetite, muscular pain, nausea, and soreness of the tongue.  Many athletes consume raw eggs in their sakes and smoothies.  This practice binds biotin with an egg protein (avidin) in the intestines and depletes the body of this nutrient.  Also, fats and oils that have been subjected to heat or exposed to air for any length of time block the absorption of biotin.
     Food sources include: brewer's yeast, meats (including poultry and fish), cooked egg yolks, whole grains, milk and soybeans.
Looking for Biotin supplements?  Go to and on the store page, click on the  DaVinci Laboratories link.
Balch, Phyllis A., (2010) Prescription for Nutritional Healing, NY: Penguin Group p24

The "Beauty" Vitamin: PABA Vitamin B-10

Posted on May 15, 2012 at 10:54 AM Comments comments (1080)
     Vitamin B-10, also known as PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) is commonly used as a skin protector against pollution and sun damage.  Its anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic properties are essential in the growth and regulation of skin cells and in the normal pigmentation of the skin.  PABA helps protect against sunburn by reducing the absorption of ultra violet -B radiation thus, helping to prevent skin cancers.
     PABA is a constituent of folate and helps in the assimilation of pantothenic acid (B-5).  Like most B vitamin, PABA acts as a co enzyme which helps in the breakdown and utilization of proteins and helps in the formation of red blood cells. 
      PABA offers various health benefits such as treating depression, eczema, scleroderma, irritability, loss of skin pigmentation, fatigue, fibrotic skin disorders,and  irritable bowel syndrome. Some researchers suggest that supplementing with PABA may help in restoring gray hair to its original color, if the graying was caused by stress or deficiencies in nutrition.  Other benefits of PABA include: protection against second hand smoke, air pollutants, inflammation in arthritis and improved flexibility.  PABA's anti-inflammatory properties has been shown to help prevent signs of premature aging by diminishing wrinkles, firming sagging skin, and reducing the appearance of age spots on the skin and vitiligo.
     People that have a deficiency of low levels of PABA may have symptoms of de-pigmentation of the skin (patchy white areas), skin related disorders such as eczema,  irritability, nervousness, constipation, depression, hyperthyroidism, and anxiety.
     Food sources of PABA include:  Organ meat (kidney and liver), vegetable sources are green leafy vegetables (spinach), Grains such as: whole grains, bran, mushrooms, eggs, molasses, and yogurt. 
     Looking for PABA supplements?  Go to and on the "store" page click on the DaVinci link.
Balch, Phyllis A. (2010) Prescription for Nutritional Healing, NY: Penguin Group

Folic Acid, The Brain Food (B-9)

Posted on May 14, 2012 at 11:48 AM Comments comments (1191)
     Pteroylglutamic acid (PGA), also known as folic acid, folacin, and folate (B-9), is needed for the formation of red blood cells and in the production of energy. It is a key player in strengthening immunity through aiding in the formation of and functioning of white blood cells.  B-9 is important in the healthy cell division and replication through it's coenzyme properties involved in DNA and RNA.  Folate also helps in the regulation of homocysteine levels (an amino acid that if is unregulated can lead to hardening of the arteries).  Folate may help people with depression or anxiety and people with uterine cervical dysplasia.
     During pregnancy, folate plays a vital role in regulating embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation.  For this reason, most experts recommend that every woman of child baring age take a folate supplement.  Taking as little as 400 mcg daily may help to prevent premature birth, neural tube defects such as , spina bifida.
     Signs of low levels of folate include:  a sore, red tongue, anemia, apathy, digestive disturbances, fatigue, graying hair, growth impairment, insomnia, labored breathing, memory problems, paranoia, weakness and birth defects in offspring.
     Conditions that may lead to low levels of folate include: inadequate consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, consumption of only cooked vegetables, malabsorption problems, consumption of alcohol and the use of oral contraceptives.
     Foods that contain folate are: Vegetables; asparagus, barley, bran, brewer's yeast, brown rice, green leafy vegetables, legumes, lentils, root vegetables, split peas, wheat germ, whole grains, whole wheat, mushrooms, dates and oranges; dairy products cheese, yogurt and milk, and meats like: beef, chicken,  lamb, liver, pork, salmon, and tuna.
     Cautions:  For best absorption, a folate supplement is better than the food sources (this is rare for a supplement).  Do not take high dose of folate if you have or have had a hormone related cancer or seizure disorder.  It is recommended that you take a folate supplement and eat folate rich foods if you are a woman of childbearing age.
Looking for B complex vitamins or folic acid?  Go to and on the store page click on the DaVinci link.
Balch, Phyllis A.  (2010) Prescription for Nutritional Healing, NY: Penguin Group