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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Immune System Supplements for Children

  • Zinc supports immune function and acts as a cofactor in many enzyme reactions. Normal dosage is 10 - 20 mg per day. If zinc supplementation is continued for a prolonged period of time, it should be given in conjunction with copper in a ration of 10 to 1 to prevent copper deficiency (i.e. 1-2 mg/day)
  • Vitamin C has anti-inflammatory effects, anti-oxidant activity, and antibiotic qualities. 500 mg daily for children under 3 years of age. 1,000 mg for older children.
  • Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and increases resistance to infection. Use only natural vitamin E (d-alpha-tocopherol), not the synthetic form (dl-alpha-tocopherol). A mixed tocopherol form of vitamin E is best because children need the gamma as well as the alpha forms. 100 IU daily for children under 3 years of age. 200 IU for older children.
  • An omega-3 fatty acid supplement such as fish oil capsules, DHA from algae (Neuromins), or cod liver oil helps establish healthy cell membranes that prevent inflammation and resist toxins and attack by pathogens. 200 mg of DHA or one teaspoon of cod liver oil for each 50 pounds of body weight is an appropriate dose.
  • Cod liver oil also contains Vitamin A which is needed for proper mucous membrane function and support of the immune system. The recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin A is 1,000-2,000 IU for children, depending on their age (1,000 at one year of age, 2,000 by age nine). A diet containing significant amounts of fat such as organic whole milk products, butter, and free range eggs will help maintain necessary levels of this important nutrient. Several studies have also shown that vitamin A supplements during viral illnesses promote rapid recovery and prevent complications. Children can take 1,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin A derived from fish oil.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seven Ways to Boost Your Immune System

  • Manage your stress. Learn and practice a meditation or relaxation technique on a daily basis.
  • Eat well. Favor fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Limit your intake of red meat, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Get to bed no later than 10:30 pm. Awaken with the sun.
  • Exercise. Integrate flexibility, strength building, and cardiovascular activities into your daily routine.
  • Laugh. Studies have shown that one good belly laugh improves immune function for 24 hours.
  • Get touched. Massage awakens immune function and feels good.
  • Look at things that inspire you. Limit your exposure to violent images. A Harvard study showed that watching violent scenes weakens immunity, whereas watching loving images stimulates immune function.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Responding to Swine Flu

By Valencia Porter, M.D., M.P.H.

The Chopra Center’s Director of Women’s Health

The outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and the United States, with confirmed cases now in 19 other countries, has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and a public health emergency by the U.S. government. While it’s easy to stay glued in front of the TV or Internet, keeping track of every aspect of the unfolding events, getting caught up in fear and hysteria clearly isn’t a healthy response. In the face of a legitimate public health concern, here are a few practical guidelines to help you stay calm and protect yourself and your community.

Get the FACTS

The swine flu is an influenza virus that spreads in the same way as other respiratory viruses such as the common cold – through the transmission of infected respiratory particles. Swine flu is spread from one person to another through coughing or sneezing. It is not transmitted by eating pork or pork products.

Usually swine flu only affects pigs; however, when people are in close contact with pigs (such as those working in the swine industry) disease may be spread to humans.

The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of regular seasonal influenza and can easily be remembered by the mnemonic FACTS: Fever, Aches, Cough and Chills, Tired, Sudden Onset. Some people with swine flu also report runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Protect Yourself with Good Hygiene
WHO issued the pandemic warning not to create panic, but to make people aware of measures they can take to prevent the spread of the swine flu virus. The more people practice these types of preventive measures, the less impact there will be.

The following good hygiene practices will help reduce transmission of the swine flu virus as well as other airborne illnesses:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • When you do cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw it away in the trash after you use it. If a tissue is not available, sneeze or cough into the crook of your elbow, not into your hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs are spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. If close contact cannot be avoided, transmission can be minimized by using a disposable medical facemask or an N95 respirator.
  • Some viruses can survive on non-porous surfaces for up to 2 hours, so wipe down high traffic surfaces such as doorknobs, keyboards, and phones. Use soap and water, anti-viral wipes, or a mild bleach solution.
  • At this point the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recommended that people avoid non-essential travel to Mexico; however, no other travel advisories have been issued as of this writing.

Enhance your Immunity

  • Use natural techniques to boost your immune system. This will increase your overall health and well-being, and will help you to fight the disease if you are exposed to it.
  • Don’t foster feelings of fear and worry by ingesting too much news from the TV and Internet. Fear causes a state of stress in your body that weakens the immune system. Give yourself a break from the media barrage and instead check in periodically to trusted websites such as the CDC, which offers up-to-date information without the sensationalism. (
  • Practice deep abdominal breathing, which brings your physiology back to a state of peace and enhances your immune system. Other practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qi gong can also bring you to a state of relaxation.
  • Continue to nourish yourself with plenty of fluids, nutritious foods, and adequate rest. Vitamins and minerals play key roles in the functioning of the immune system, so make sure to eat a balanced diet.
  • Certain herbs may also help boost the immune system and may have anti-viral properties. The Ayurvedic rejuvenating herbs, including amalaki, ashwagandha, and guduchi, have traditionally been used to support immune function. We have combined these herbs with key nutrients in the Chopra Center immune support supplement Vedamune.
  • Other immune-enhancing herbs that may be helpful include astragalus, pau d’arco, and echinacea. Before you take any supplements, consult with your doctor.

Seek Medical Care
Prevention is our major line of defense, but sometimes we still come down with illness. If you do have flu symptoms, stay home from work or school and limit your contact with others. Contact your health care provider as soon as possible as there are anti-viral medications that can make the illness milder and help you feel better faster when taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Homeopathic remedies such as Oscillococcinum may also help to alleviate the symptoms. Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Go to urgent care or the emergency room if you have unusual symptoms such as high fever, difficulty breathing, worsening cough, or persistent vomiting and diarrhea.

Valencia Porter, M.D, MPH. is board certified in Preventive Medicine and is the Chopra Center’s Director of Women’s Health. Read more about her here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Dr. Sharma's Ayurveda

Dr. Sharma explains Dosha basics in her Delhi clinic.

Dr. Sharma explains the importance of Ayurvedic massage prior to panchakarma.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

Download the convenient Shopper's Guide to Pesticides to see which foods are most important to buy organic. Not only are we reducing toxin load when we eat organic foods, but the phytonutrients may also be in higher concentrations. Why? Plants need to fight the same things we do - cancer, bacteria, viruses, fungi - they produce these phytonutrients to help them in the fight. So, if we are giving them help by spraying them with pesticides, then they don't have as great a need to produce these disease-fighting compounds and hence are less nutrient dense. Just another reason to buy organic!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Food and Nutrients in Disease Management

My chapter on using food and nutrients to manage Attention Deficit Disorder has recently been published. See below for ordering info.

Food and Nutrients in Disease Managment
Catalog no. 67621, January 2009, c. 740 pp., ISBN: 978-1-4200-6762-0, $149.95 / £89.00
Edited by Ingrid Kohlstadt
Johns Hopkins University,
Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Medicine with a Knife and Fork
Food and nutrients are the original medicine and the shoulders on which modern medicine stands. But in recent decades, food and medicine have taken divergent paths and the natural healing properties of food have been diminished in the wake of modern technical progress. With contributions from highly regarded experts who work on the frontlines of disease management, Food and Nutrients in Disease Management effectively brings food back into the clinical arena and helps physicians put food and nutrients back on the prescription pad. Under the editorial guidance of Dr. Ingrid Kohlstadt, physician nutrition specialist, this authoritative reference equips clinicians with the information they need to fully utilize nutritional medicine by enabling them to adjust medication dosage with diet, diagnose and correct nutrient deficiencies, and counsel patients on food selection. An emerging recommendation may soon be, “Take 2 cups of kale, and call me in the morning.”

“...Many of the bright lights of nutritional medicine have had a hand in crafting this practical, well-done text. As an educator in an integrative medicine academic practice, I would have this text available and required reading for all of the students, residents, and fellows that rotate through our program. The recommendations for use of nutrition and nutritional supplements during healthcare are made with the latest evidence at hand, coupled with great clinical insight.”
—Jeanne A. Drisko, M.D.,
Riordan Professor of Orthomolecular Medicine,
The University of Kansas Medical Center

• Explains how food and nutrients that are used incorrectly worsen disease outcomes
• Contains more than 40 disease-specific chapters, written by doctors
• Emphasizes laboratory tests, drug-nutrient interactions, food-drug interactions, and clinical toxicology
• Details quality and dosing of supplemental nutrients
• Includes more than 100 tables, figures, and summaries for speedy clinical reference
• Presents cutting-edge scientific evidence for prescribing whole foods, dietary patterns, and supplemental nutrients
See reverse for the table of contents...

Are food and nutrients on your prescription pad?
“Food and Nutrients in Disease Management is a text that is long overdue. Written by pioneering experts in the field
of nutrition and health, this text pulls together in one convenient place material that has been difficult to find in mainstream medicine. Every physician in the world should read, refer to, and apply the information in these pages.”
—Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Enter promo code 252MC to save
15% at checkout when you order
online at
Offer ends March 31, 2009

-Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Geoffrey R. Harris, M.D., Steven G. Pratt, M.D., and Stuart Richer, O.D., Ph.D.
-Rhinosinusitis, Mary L. Hardy, M.D., and Elizabeth R. Volkmann, M.D.
-Chemosensory Disorders, Alan R. Hirsch, M.D.
-Dyslipidemia and Atherosclerosis, Douglas W. Triffon, M.D., and Erminia M. Guarneri, M.D.
-Hypertension, Mark C. Houston, M.D., M.S.
-Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D.
-Cardiac Arrhythmias, Stephen Olmstead, M.D., and Dennis Meiss, Ph.D.
-Asthma, Kenneth Bock, M.D., and Michael Compain, M.D.
-Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, David R. Thomas, M.D.
-Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, Mark Hyman, M.D.
-Peptic Ulcer Disease and Helicobacter pylori, Georges M. Halpern, M.D., Ph.D.
-Viral Hepatitis, Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis, and Postcholecystectomy Syndrome, Trent William Nichols, Jr., M.D.
-Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Linda A. Lee, M.D., and Octavia Pickett-Blakely, M.D.
-Infl ammatory Bowel Disease, Melissa A. Munsell, M.D., and Gerard E. Mullin, M.D.
-Food Reactivities, Russell Jaffe, M.D., Ph.D.
-Hypothyroidism, Sherri J. Tenpenny, D.O.
-Hyperparathyroidisms, Michael F. Holick, M.D., Ph.D.
-Diabetes, Russell Jaffe, M.D., Ph.D., and Jayashree Mani, M.S.
-Obesity, Ingrid Kohlstadt, M.D., M.P.H.
-Acne, Valori Treloar, M.D.
-Renal Calculi, Laura Flagg, C.N.P., and Rebecca Roedersheimer, M.D.
-Chronic Kidney Disease, Allan E. Sosin, M.D.
-Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Patricia C. Kane, Ph.D., Annette L. Cartaxo, M.D., and Richard C. Deth, Ph.D.
-Seizures, Patricia C. Kane, Ph.D., and Annette L. Cartaxo, M.D.
-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Valencia Booth Porter, M.D., M.P.H.
-Migraine Headaches, Christina Sun-Edelstein, M.D., and Alexander Mauskop, M.D.
-Alzheimer’s Disease, Heidi Wengreen, R.D., Ph.D., Payam Mohassel, M.D., Chailyn Nelson, R.D., and Majid Fotuhi, M.D., Ph.D.
-Parkinson’s Disease, David Perlmutter, M.D.
-Depression, Marty Hinz, M.D.
-Sleep Disturbance, Jyotsna Sahni, M.D.
-Osteoporosis, Lynda Frassetto, M.D., and Shoma Berkemeyer, Ph.D.
-Metabolic Bone Disease, Joseph J. Lamb, M.D., and Susan E. Williams, M.D., M.S., R.D.
-Osteoarthritis, David Musnick, M.D.
-Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D.
-Orthopedic Surgery, Frederick T. Sutter, M.D., M.B.A.
-Wound Healing, Joseph A. Molnar, M.D., Ph.D., and Paula Stuart, M.M.S., P.A.-C., R.D.
-Breast Cancer, Keith I. Block, M.D., and Charlotte Gyllenhaal, Ph.D.
-Cervical Cancer, Cindy A. Krueger, M.P.H., and Ron N. Shemesh, M.D.
-Colorectal Cancer, Leah Gramlich, M.D., and Isaac Soo, M.D.
-Prostate Cancer, Aaron E. Katz, M.D., and Geovanni Espinosa, N.D., M.S.
-Lung Cancer, Sheila George, M.D.
-Pregnancy, Gary Chan, M.D.
-Male Infertility, Roger Billica, M.D.

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Fax: 1-561-361-6018

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Aside from visiting local farmer's markets, another great way of getting local, organically grown produce at a decent price and support local farms is to join a Community Supported Agriculture co-op. I joined one in the last year and have been impressed by the freshness and great taste of the produce. Because they provide items which are in-season, I have been forced to expand my cooking repertoire to things I would not otherwise have bought in a store and the internet is a great resource for easy and tasty recipes.

Here are some ways to find a CSA in your area: Use our website to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies. This site has a lot of information on organic products of all kinds. The link is to find a local CSA.