Could Fermented Sourdough be a solution to the Gluten sensitivity problem? Tuesday, Jun 24 2014 

Could Fermented Sourdough be a solution to the Gluten sensitivity problem? Los Angeles baker, Jack Bezian and L.A. based nutritionist, Vivian Kanchian (, discuss how fermentation works to pre-digest the offensive proteins found in gluten to far less allergenic compounds, while simultaneously creating a more nutritious (and thoroughly delicious!) product.

Eating by season Wednesday, Jun 18 2014 

After a long and reluctant hiatus from my regular farmer’s markets visits, I graduated with my degree in Nutritional Science this weekend. The next morning, I high-tailed it over to one of my favorite markets (Hollywood) to pick up some goods.

In an attempt to recover from an equally long hiatus from conscious eating, I have vowed to look at food as nothing but fuel at least for the next several weeks. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun along the way!


2014-06-18 13.19.05


For lunch today, I blended some existing items from my refrigerator together with seasonal organic items from my favorite vendor, Finley Farms !  The squash on Saturday was a bright lemon yellow, like nothing I’ve ever seen even in the fanciest of grocery stores.  I couldn’t resist.  I also picked up some adorable mini Savoy cabbage (don’t let the cute package fool you– all cruciferous vegetables pack a powerful anti-cancer punch!), and some beautiful whole radicchio (nothing like the usual shriveled purple ball I’m accustomed to seeing, but similar to Romaine in appearance with dark green strips blending into purple).   Since I always check the newspaper specials… I knew that my local market was offering fresh Sockeye salmon for $9.99/ lb.   I picked up a pound and a half (6 portions), and individually wrapped and froze whatever I didn’t use.

I’m very proud of this dish because it’s easy, can be easily modified to the ingredients in your own refrigerator, and it makes “fuel” delicious– for the eyes and the taste buds!

Ginger-Chili Salmon over Wilted Vegetables

Original recipe makes two servings

With your oil of choosing, sautee vegetables with cayenne and sea salt to taste, until slightly wilted but still crunchy and brightly colored:

1/2 large summer squash cut into paper-thin coins

medium-thin strips of radiccio (half of a large head)

very thin strips of savoy cabbage (one mini or half a medium head)

(5) medium-thin mini carrots cut lengthwise

(10) grape tomatoes cut into halves

Place two 5 oz. filets in a glass container, and cover with the juice of half a lemon, fresh and powdered ginger to taste, 1/8 tsp of garlic powder, 1/8 tsp dried oregano, and 1/8 tsp chili flakes.  Marinate in refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours.

On a stove top, making sure oil is heated enough that you hear a “happy” (not an “angry”) sizzle when salmon is placed in skillet, cook skin-side first until golden brown.  Flip the filets over, cooking for another 4-6 minutes (or until cooked through, but still moist) with lid covered.

Plate sauteed vegetables, then top with salmon filet.  And treat yourself with a beautiful garnish of peppery fresh green basil!


Nutrition Analysis (per serving) – click for larger view :









Top picks: Gluten Free Expo 2014 Tuesday, Jun 10 2014 


This weekend, I attended the annual Gluten Free Expo in Pasadena. I had to dig through a mountain of GMO corn-based product samples to find a few “gems” to share with you. I was especially impressed with some of the small family-run businesses, who despite an agricultural system set up to make their jobs very very difficult…have been able to stay true to creating honest, clean products. For the small time business owner, the food industry is not an easy one to break into. The mega-giants like Frito Lay, General Mills and Dole (all of which sponsored the event) have virtually cornered the market by providing heavily processed snack foods using subsidized grains like soy and corn (it was in almost every label I checked) at rock bottom prices. Many people still operate under the premise that if it’s gluten free, it must be good for you—wrong!

This is why it’s more important than ever that we support these risk-takers. Many of them are passionate about the products they create, and view this as a labor of love. I found their personal stories of how Celiac disease has affected their lives heart-warming. These are people who are interested in producing a quality product that they themselves would eat, or feed to their loved ones without hesitation—a product they can take pride in!

         Now, let’s get to some of my favorite products… 

  • I picked up a bag of Gluten-Free Prairie’s Oat Groats. I have been talking a lot lately about choosing slow-cooking grains to keep blood sugar levels steady. An oat groat is a steel cut oat before it’s been cut. I soaked some in water overnight and cooked a pot in the morning. The groats were delicious, wholesome, chewy and filling with a tablespoon of almond butter, strawberries, unsweetened cacao powder, cinnamon and a little coconut oil! Oatmeal is naturally gluten free, but oftentimes is contaminated by neighboring wheat fields. This Montana based, family run operation maintains a gluten free facility (wheat free land for a minimum of 4 years). They are not certified organic, but claim to use a natural syrup to keep pests away.  These oats are uniquely hull-less, have an 18 month shelf life, are non-GMO, high in fiber, and have a higher protein content compared to other varieties.
  • I was given a generous sample of Casa de Mesquite’s (CDM) organic mesquite powder, along with an impassioned one-on-one chat session with Dr. Peter Felker, general partner and plant scientist! His interest in discovering new sustainable food forms led him to the mesquite tree; known for growing in arid environments with little to no water. CDM pulverize the mesquite pod to make flour meal, which can be used as an additive to other GF flours to add flavor and fiber to baked goods. The flour is naturally sweet, with a smoky maple syrup flavor.

This product is currently available online at:

Mesquite is high in protein, low-on-the-glycemic-index, and a good source of calcium, lysine,   manganese, potassium, and zinc.            It is also high in fiber, tannins, inulin and polysaccharides which help flush the body of excess sugars and lipids. Thus,  it can be a useful addition to the diets of diabetics, the overweight and obese, and those with high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease. Anyone with malabsorption issues and nutrient deficiencies should use this and other fiber-rich products sparingly.

  •          I sampled Beau Monde Bakery’s (LV, Nevada) egg-free artisanal bread. They substitute flax seeds for the egg component, and the results are quite delicious. The small amount of corn in this particular variety is from xantham gum that is used as a stabilizer and binder. Other than that, they use a proprietary blend of white rice flours in most of their items, which makes for a hearty, chewy bread that closely resembles gluten-containing breads when toasted. They also make a whole range of flavored breads with egg, as well as a variety of baked goods.  I found their prices to be a bit high at $10 per loaf (even for GF bread) given the size, and the conventional ingredients used.   Their products can be found at the Four Seasons LV, Caesars Palace, Wynn Resort and other high-end local resorts.

Order online at:

  • As a certified chocoholic, and purist to boot… I was excited to find a company dedicated to providing a combination of both these things. Pascha’s certified organic 85% dark chocolate is totally free from peanuts, nuts, dairy, soy, eggs, wheat and gluten (the 8 major allergens). Made with just 5 simple ingredients—all organic: Cocoa mass, natural cocoa powder, sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla. 85% Pascha is super smooth, with a different flavor and mouth-feel compared to chocolates that use emulsifiers like soy lecithin. As a person who can easily devour half a bar of chocolate in one sitting, I am especially excited for Pascha’s launch of an 85% dark chocolate chips product which make portion control easier. They also make a 70% version, and several 55% versions; some with added ingredients like cacao nibs and golden berries.   Founder Simon Lester began his chocolate career in England, and the concept for Pascha was sparked by his and his two daughter’s varying food allergies. Read more about the company’s holistic philosophy at:

In Los Angeles, Pascha Chocolates can be purchased at Lassens Los Feliz or online at:

  • Breads from Anna is a homegrown (Iowa) company that uses bean and chia flours to make a variety of bread mixes (no breadmaker required!) from a Classic Herb flavor to Pumpkin bread and many other flavors in between. They also have a line of pancake, pizza, and brownie mixes.   I sampled the yeast free bread, and it was delicious! It reminded me of a soft textured scone, or a homemade soda bread– crumbly and moist. In my short chat with Anna, she shared that her fellow Iowans can’t understand not using corn when you’re in the middle of nothing but corn fields. But like many of the others, her story is a personal one. BFA grew out of Anna’s own diagnosis of Celiac disease eight years ago. Being a Type 1 diabetic as well, she wanted to create a product that contained fiber (sorely lacking in many gluten free products).   The resulting product is non GMO, free of wheat, gluten, soy, rice, fish, shellfish, nuts, refined sugar, artificial ingredients, and excess salt and sweeteners. Some mixes are also yeast and potato free.  

Bread mixes can be purchased online at:

  • Most of us have heard of Food for Life (their vegan breads can usually be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores, and weigh a ton). I have tried their brown rice tortillas and English muffins, and found them to be dense, tough, dry and lacking in flavor. At the Expo, I noticed a bread item I hadn’t seen before made with black rice. I sampled a toasted piece, and was pleasantly surprised– it was tasty and chewy!  Delicious as it may sound, I found the rice almond bread to be bland and  not as successful overall. FFL make a variety of breads, English muffins, and tortillas using whole grains, some organic ingredients, and no GMO items. Their products are also kosher.
  • Doctor-approved Kirkman Nutritional Supplements (since 1949) have been raising the bar for purity by testing their supplements for over 950 contaminants. Not to be confused with Costco’s Kirkland brand of vitamins (whom I am told swiped the logo and look from Kirkman), this trusted company also makes a line of casein and gluten free items.
  • For purchasing info, click on the following link:



All written contents are copyright 2014 by Vivian Kanchian, Certified Alternative Nutrition Expert. No reuse or re-publication without permission. Please note that the information provided on this site is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any illness or medical condition. Consult a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise regimen or before taking vitamins or supplements. Statements on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.


B12 – Just the facts Sunday, Mar 30 2014 




Why do we need it?

-       Humans cannot synthesize this essential vitamin, so we must obtain it from dietary intake

-       It is one of the most metabolically important vitamins, involved in a wide array of body processes including cognitive ability, nerve transmission, red blood cell formation, mood support, DNA, ATP, fatty acid, and folate synthesis, and heart health

-       Vegans have a higher need for B12 because non-animal foods do not contain this essential vitamin. 

Where do I get it?

-       Food: only animal foods contain B12 (this includes dairy, eggs, butter, etc.).  Also, small amounts can be found in foods fermented with Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium

-       Supplements: I recommend sublingual methylcobalamin because of its enhanced absorption

-       Once per month B12 injections

-       Nutritional yeast

Nutritional Yeast v. Brewer’s Yeast:

A product designed for vegans, nutritional yeast is a yeast grown on sugar beets, molasses or wood pulp, to absorb B-12 and protein.  The flakes are packaged in bottles, to be shaken onto your favorite foods!  It imparts a nutty/ cheesy flavor to foods.  I love Bragg’s Nutritional Yeast topping with a little melted coconut oil on popcorn– MUST TRY!!!

Brewer’s yeast is a by-product (derived from hops) of the beer-brewing process



Myth: Brewer’s and nutritional yeast contain B12

Fact: Only nutritional yeast is grown in a B12-rich medium.  Brewer’s yeast contains all B vitamins, except B12.

Myth: My food based vegan supplement contains B12.

Fact: Only if it has been fortified with a synthetic form* of B12.

*Note:  Synthetic B12 is a perfectly safe and acceptable way to supplement.   It is synthesized by fermenting and growing certain bacterium under special controlled conditions. Toxicity reports are extremely rare, even when taken in mega doses.

Myth: Brewer’s or nutritional yeast are not recommended on a candida diet.

Fact:  Both of these yeasts are inactive, and therefore can easily be included in a candida diet.

Oil pulling… is it just the latest fad? Wednesday, Mar 26 2014 


If you’re into healthy living, chances are you’ve been hearing a lot of buzz surrounding the ancient ayurvedic practice of oil pulling; swishing the mouth with sesame oil for several minutes until the oil has become thick and viscous.

First, let’s address the fad factor.   I am never quick to dismiss any folk remedy that’s been around longer than the relatively new practice of modern medicine.  There is a lot of wisdom to be found in folk medicine, and there is generally a reason why the remedies have survived as long as they have.   An idea that I would love for readers to get used to is that folk remedies, while oftentimes lacking costly clinical trials as proof that they work… come with hundreds to thousands of years of trial and error.  If something has proven beneficial, it is human nature to keep it around.   With a little research, you will find that there are many parallels in specific-condition treatments spanning across cultures (particularly Eastern cultures).  In fact, plenty of parallels exist between ancient and modern medicine.  For example, today’s vaccines are a riff on the ancient homeopathic concept that “like cures like”.

So, what does the science say about oil pulling?  Fortunately, I found plenty of scientific evidence that speaks to its very real benefits.  The interest in conducting these evidence-based studies (all of which were performed in India) are twofold.  1- India has lots of sesame oil, and it’s cheap. 2- Chlorhexidine, the most effective anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis rinse is 5-6 times more expensive. The general consensus of all the studies I reviewed show that sesame oil is nearly as effective as chlorhexidine in reducing and/ or eliminating bad breath and the organisms that are associated with it.  An additional benefit of oil pulling is that unlike chlorhexidine, there is no risk of staining or potential allergic reaction (unless a person is allergic to sesame).

To date, there is no proof that oil pulling can detoxify the blood and organs. That said, perhaps its mechanism of action lies in the very modern idea that whole health begins first with oral health. While there is no conclusive theory on how oil pulling works to reduce halitosis and plaque build-up, it is evident that the interaction between salivary alkali and sesame oil during the swishing process lead to an emulsification/ saponification of the oil.   This enhances the cleansing properties of sesame oil by increasing the surface area of the fat droplets; essentially, it’s like washing your mouth out with soap (many of us can benefit from this in more ways than one)!  The viscosity of the oil probably helps prevent bacteria and plaque from sticking and accumulating.  Additionally, the three lignans found in sesame oil – sesamin, sesamolin, and sesaminol – have antioxidant properties and help to promote the action of another important antioxidant, Vitamin E.   This helps with plaque prevention and imparts anti-inflammatory benefits.

Bottom line:

Is it worth a try?   Absolutely!

How do I do it?

Take about a tablespoon of Eden organic sesame oil (you can also try this with Nutiva organic coconut oil- allow it to melt in your mouth first) and swish for 5-15 minutes, then spit out. The oil will become thicker and less pleasant-tasting the longer you swish.  This is perfectly normal!





Grains: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly Wednesday, Dec 11 2013 

Like any other food, grains can have both beneficial and adverse health effects.  Ongoing studies have demonstrated that certain susceptible populations do much better on a gluten free or grain free diet, while most people are well equipped to tolerate small to moderate amounts of grains as part of a balanced diet.

Humans transition from hunter gatherers to farmers :

            Grains are a relatively new addition to the human diet, which until about 10,000-20,000 years ago consisted of wild meats, fresh fruits and vegetables.   As the planet’s population started to rise around the Pleistocene Era, humans abruptly transitioned from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to becoming farmers.  Grains have since become a staple food, and the dominant source of both calories and protein (up to 80%) in many developing countries.  It is estimated that “three cereals: wheat, maize and rice together comprise at least 75% of the world’s grain production” (Cordain, 1999, p. 21).

Benefits of Grain Consumption :

When combined with adequate amounts of meat and plant based foods, grains can be a cheap way to boost caloric intake.   In this sense, they have helped tremendously in helping to keep an increasingly overpopulated world fed.  Other benefits of whole grains include their ability to flush the body of excess lipids, which make them a valuable option for anyone trying to prevent cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and obesity.  Grains also contain B vitamins (except for B12), trace minerals, and anti-carcinogenic compounds which help protect against certain hormonally-mediated cancers.


Negative impacts of a grain-heavy diet :

On the other hand, the displacement of nutrient-rich foods with a grain-heavy diet can have a negative impact on health.  The chelating effect of whole grains can flush both undesirable elements AND essential nutrients from the body.  Additionally, a diet too-high in grains is usually deficient in essential nutrients like B12 and iron, and can inhibit the bioavailability of many important nutrients, as demonstrated in the table below (click on table to view in full size).  (Gibson, Perlas, Hotz, 2006, p.161, 162).

Screen shot 2013-12-11 at 10.05.24 PM

The bioavailability of zinc, copper, iron, calcium and magnesium in cereal grains is also typically low.  For example, zinc from animal sources is 4 times more bioavailable.  It has been suggested that the substitution of heme foods with fiber & phytate rich grains is a large contributing factor to the global iron-deficiency epidemic. Cereal grains’ inherent nutritional imbalances can give rise to conditions like dwarfism (zinc deficiency), bone mineral pathologies (calcium deficiency), iron-deficiency anemia, vitamin B12 & D deficiencies, and Pellagra (niacin and tryptophan deficiency).  In a study by Cohen, examining 51 different populations from around the world; physical stature, life span, and overall quality of life declined with the transition from a hunter-gatherer to an agricultural lifestyle.   A strong piece of supporting evidence that humans were not meant to consume a diet so high in grains is the fact that a plant-based diet alone cannot provide all of the essential nutrients required by humans. Whole grains contain no Vitamin A, no Beta-carotene (with the exception of yellow corn), no Vitamin C, and no Vitamin B12.  Cordain proposes that “The human nutritional requirement for vitamin B12 clearly demonstrates that vegetarian diets based entirely upon cereal grains, legumes and other plant foods were not the sole dietary components which shaped the human genome.” (Cordain, 1999; p. 27).

Susceptible populations :

        Many conditions have been shown to improve with the elimination of grain consumption.  Thus far, only two autoimmune diseases have conclusively been linked directly with wheat consumption; celiac disease, in which the microvilli of the small intestine are destroyed by wheat proteins, and a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis.  However, ALL grains contain carbohydrate-binding proteins called lectins, which have the potential to “interact with a variety of other cells in the body” and “represent powerful oral immunogens capable of eliciting specific and high antibody responses” (Cordain, 1999, p. 45).  Simply put, because of their resistance to digestive breakdown, lectins can wind up circulating systemically, causing self-destruction of various body tissues.  Cordain believes that the secondary metabolites developed by cereal grains to ward off predatory herbivores “can be either toxic, anti nutritional, benign, or somewhere in between, dependent upon the physiology of the consumer animal” (Cordain, 1999, p. 42).   Like any other food, grains may be tolerated better by some people as compared to others.  There is still much research to be done in elucidating the relationship of grains to allergies and autoimmune reactions.  However, many people with wide-ranging autoimmune conditions find that eliminating some or all grains from their diets helps to ameliorate their symptoms.

A common link found between autoimmunity and conditions like autism and schizophrenia are genes that code for the human leukocyte antigens (HLA).  Many autistic children experience improvement on a gluten-free diet, and interestingly, research shows that populations who consume little to no gluten-containing grains (rye, wheat, barley) have a lower prevalence of schizophrenia.  Studies have long shown that certain gluten peptides can behave like opioids, and that their effects can be reversed by using an opioid-antagonist drug called naloxone (Cordain, 1999, p. 58).  Some side effects of opioids (ie. heroin, codeine, methadone, morphine) include constipation, sedation/drowsiness, and respiratory depression.  They are usually prescribed to increase pain tolerance.

A variety of neurological conditions respond favorably to a gluten –free, grain-free or low-grain diet.  One of the earliest examples comes from a 1921 report by the Mayo Clinic demonstrating the Ketogenic Diet’s (KD) efficacy in treating a broad range of epileptic conditions. The diet consists of a high fat, adequate protein, and low carbohydrate diet.  KD is now an accepted treatment for epilepsy; strict compliance significantly reduces seizure frequency in up to one-third of patients (Aguirre Castaneda, Mack, Lteif, 2012, p. e512); better results than any one drug or combination of drugs. The KD has also demonstrated neuroprotective activity, and has shown promising results in ameliorating a wide array of neurodegenerative conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.  While its mechanism of action is still unknown, the KD’s ability to reduce inflammation has shown great promise in the treatment of a variety of conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and even brain and prostate cancers (Masino & Rho, 2012, p. 15, 16).

The takeaway message here is that the affordability of grains makes them an important supplement/ addition to boost the caloric content of many individuals’ diets worldwide.  Most people seem capable of tolerating a moderate amount of grains, as part of a well-balanced diet.   Although, with food allergy-related conditions on the rise, that issue is currently up for debate. The research does make one thing very clear: some highly susceptible populations are better off consuming a minimal amount of grains or eliminating them from their diets altogether.


Aguirre Castaneda, R.L., Mack, K.J., Lteif, A. (2012). Successful Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes and Seizures with Combined Ketogenic Diet and Insulin.  Pediatrics, 129; e512. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-0741Cordain, L. (1999). Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword.  World Rev Nutr Diet. Basel, Karger, 84, p. 21, 22, 23, 27, 33, 42, 45, 58.

Gibson, R.S., Perlas, L., & Hotz, C. (2006).  Improving the bioavailability of nutrients in plant foods at the household level.  Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 65, 160-161.

Masino, S.A., Rho, J.M. (2012). Jasper’s Mechanisms of the Epilepsies. Retrieved from .

Nuts: Roasted or Unroasted? Monday, Sep 16 2013 


We oftentimes overhear nutrition tidbits here and there, and repeat/ retain them as if they’re the gospel truth.  I’ve always heard: “eat raw nuts, they’re better for you”.  As a nutritionist, and lover of roasted nuts… I wanted to know if this was true for both professional and personal reasons.  So I did a little research, and it turns out the answer is not so clear-cut after all.  I did, however, sort through some facts that will help shed light on your decision-making process:


  • Roasting helps break down the nutrients in nuts, making them more bioavailable; helping facilitate effective digestion.  This is good news for anyone with gastrointestinal problems, who should, as a general rule, eat cooked foods.

 * Note: roasted nuts are generally less filling. 

  • High temperature (130ºC), short time (33 minutes) enhanced the antioxidant activity of cashews, and some seeds.  Flavanoids  also increased with increasing temperatures.
  • Nuts are generally high in unsaturated fatty acids, with a low lysine: arginine ratio, and are rich in bioactive molecules.  Both roasted and unroasted nuts, and nut butters are effective in preventing heart disease and lowering blood cholesterol levels.


  • Roasted nuts show a significant decrease in amino acid levels; the higher the roasting temperature, the lower the amino acid content
  • Roasting peanuts (and other nuts) may be linked with increased allergenicity


  • Raw nuts with skins intact appear to have superior phenolic levels and antioxidant capacity, when compared with roasted and bleached nuts.  However, the roasting process has different effects on different nuts, seeds and pulses.   Effects on antioxidant levels depend on the roasting conditions (duration and temperature).  Furthermore, higher starch items like cashews and chickpeas develop a higher total antioxidant capacity (TAC).


In a study that tested boiled peanuts against oil-roasted and dry-roasted peanuts, the boiled nuts had significantly higher levels of flavanoids and polyphenolic compounds.  The boiled peanuts also contained trans-Resveratrol, whereas the othe

Magic Chocolate Shell Ice Cream Topping Sunday, Sep 1 2013 

This very simple recipe was a happy accident when I blended some cocoa and melted coconut oil into chilled almond milk as part of my breakfast one morning.  Since coconut oil hardens at colder temperatures, it seized up and turned into something that transported me back in time to my childhood… a chocolate syrup you could pour onto your ice cream that would quickly form into a solid shell; making it even more fun to enjoy this favorite frozen dessert by giving it that creme brulee effect.  What I love about this simple recipe is that you can adjust the sweetness and the sweetener to your liking, though I have not tested how different sugars may alter the effects of freezing (I personally used no sugar).  I would love to hear about your results with a variety of sugars!  I would love it even more if you enjoyed it without added sugar, though I realize that bitter is not an agreeable flavor profile for some.  Feel free to play around with the recipe, adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give it a Mexican twist!



1 Tbsp coconut oil melted to liquid form

1 tsp unsweetened cacao/ cocoa (interchangeable terms)

your sweetener of choice to taste (optional)

Blend cocoa and sugar into melted oil, pour over ice cream…

Enjoy moderately!

Vitamin D and Women’s Health Tuesday, Aug 6 2013 

New research has uncovered even more reasons why adequate levels of Vitamin D are so important. Whether you’re a woman of child-bearing age or approaching menopause, this information applies to you.

CMAJ Open journal recently reported that in a study involving 173 women receiving IVF treatment, the women with sufficient levels of Vitamin D had “both significantly higher rates of clinical pregnancy and also higher implantation rates”.

In another study of 30,000 menopausal women, slated for the February 2014 issue of Menopause, The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, revealed that a combination of Vitamin D and hormone replacement therapy worked synergistically to reduce the occurrence of hip fractures.  Hormones alone were helpful, but women taking a combination of both experienced 61% less fractures!


  • Vitamin D should be taken with food for optimal absorption
  • Daily Requirement (per NIH; progressive-minded health authorities recommend MUCH higher doses- check with your doctor) :
Life Stage Recommended Amount
Birth to 12 months

400 IU

Children 1–13 years

600 IU

Teens 14–18 years

600 IU

Adults 19–70 years

600 IU

Adults 71 years and older

800 IU

Pregnant and breastfeeding women

600 IU

  • Vegetarians and vegans: look for UV-exposed shiitake and button mushrooms (a good source of Vitamin D) at your grocery store
  • Mackerel (Atlantic/ chub), wild caught sockeye salmon, herring, sardines, and pasture raised eggs are excellent sources.  All listed fish are also very low in mercury.  Fish with skin and bones intact are preferable.  I love for their BPA free cans, high quality products, and sustainable fishing practices.
  • Sunshine 10-15 minutes per day, with legs and arms exposed


Medicinal Mushrooms Friday, Aug 2 2013 


Overheard recently in Santa Monica coffee shop … “my sister predicts that mushrooms will be the next health fad”.   It’s true that medicinal mushrooms are making a comeback, but what you may not know is that they have been used for thousands of years in folk medicine and now, the scientific evidence is catching up to reveal their many health benefits.


Did you know…

-       that the first antibiotics to be introduced were mushroom derivatives

-       PSK and PSP polysaccharides have antiviral, antitumor, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving properties.

-       PSK can inhibit HIV infection

-       have both direct and indirect anti-cancer properties.  In fact, the polysaccharides Lentinan, PSK, and PSP are now used in US hospitals in conjunction with chemotherapy to enhance the effects of treatment while minimizing side effects. PSK and PSP have the ability to activate cell death, inhibit DNA synthesis, arrest the cell cycle, and inhibit cell division

-       mycologists (biologists who study fungi) believe that understanding the roles of mushrooms’ multiple bioactive compounds and their mechanisms of action can alleviate many forms of cancers

-       mushrooms have immune (both innate and adaptive) modulating properties, dialing down the immune system when it’s overactive (as in the case of autoimmune disease), or dialing it up (as in the case of viruses)

-       have the ability to regulate blood glucose levels

-       statin-containing mushrooms such as Agaricus bisporus (white button) have the ability to regulate blood cholesterol

-       some medications for Parkinson’s disease utilize the rich neuroprotective compounds  found in mushrooms

-       some headache medications are mushroom derivatives

-       studies of hot water extracts (HWE- PSK) reveal their superior chelating (heavy metal detox) and antioxidant activities, when compared to other types of formulations

-       ethanol extracts (EE- PSP) have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.  They also have the remarkable ability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cases of cancer/ tumors

-       UV-exposed mushrooms (now becoming available in stores)

are a good source of Vitamin D; great news for vegetarians!

Science –

-       In a 1994 animal study, Paracetamol (an analgesic commonly used for mild aches and pains), when coadministered with PSP was found to have a significant protective effect on the liver

-       A study published in Vol. 97 (2003) 618-624 of Respiratory Medicine, showed that PSP administration resulted in a decelerated rate of deterioration in patients with Non-small cell lung cancer.  The study also revealed PSP’s direct anti-cancer potential and immunomodulatory effects

-        In a study published in Volume 12, Issue 6, November-December 2012; p. 467-474 of Pancreatology, PSK was shown to inhibit the growth of human pancreatic cells by promoting cell cycle arrest and apoptosis

-       A Japanese study published in the November 2010; (37)12:2255-7 of Gan To Kagaku Ryoho, showed that PSK has the ability to induce apoptosis and prevent cell proliferation in HL60 leukemia cells

Tips for effective administration:

It takes a minimum of 30 days to notice a difference in cancer patients receiving Lentinan, PSK, and/ or PSP.  It is recommended that patients continue the supplement for as long as possible both during and after treatment.

In the US, look for these science-driven brands:

FineCo Ltd. (also sold in JP, HK, AUS, and Europe)

Mushroom Wisdom

Mushroom Science

Aloha Medicinal, Inc.

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