Does Baby Teeth Care Really Matter?



When you have a baby, life suddenly gets insanely busy. Between diaper changes, feedings and night wakings, who has time to worry about baby teeth? They don’t really matter anyway, right? Wrong! Your child’s baby teeth actually matter very much, and if he is over one year old and you haven’t taken him to the dentist, it is time to get serious about her oral health.

The Right Age

According to Kool Smiles, when your baby’s first tooth appears or turns one year old, you should start thinking about making that first appointment. The first visit is more about getting your child used to the dentist and to teach you about how to properly care for their teeth. However, Web MD adds that if you have weaned your little one from the bottle and he or she doesn’t eat or drink anything during the night then you should be good to wait until age two).

Dentist Visitsblack-baby

Well, you can go to a regular dentist, but that may be doing your child a disservice. Pediatric dentists have additional training in child development so they know how to better interact with your child and make the visit as pleasant as possible. Not to mention, most pediatric dentists have fun offices that make the experience more enjoyable for your little one.

Pediatric Dentist

There are likely many pediatric dentists in your area and it can be overwhelming to choose just one. The best place to start is with your pediatrician. Ask for a referral and go from there. You can arrange a meet-and-greet with the pediatric dentist before committing if it makes you feel more comfortable. Remember, if at any point you decide the pediatric dentist is not right for your family, never hesitate to switch to a different one.

Ease Their Fears

First, breathe a sigh of relief because this is perfectly normal. A stranger is putting his hands in your child’s mouth and they don’t really understand why. Web MD believes that the best thing you can do is stay calm yourself. Your child takes cues from you more than you may realize. You also need to use your words wisely when talking about the dentist. Avoid negative words, like pain and hurt, and focus on the positive aspects of the dentist, like the healthy and strong teeth your child will have. You can even take your little one along to your dentist appointment so they can see what it’s all about.

Make it Fun

The biggest thing you can do is show excitement yourself. If you are excited to take your child to the dentist, chances are they’ll be excited to be there. You can also employ the help of the abundance of kids’ books and television shows that teach about what your child can expect at the dentist. even suggests staging a practice session for your little one, in which you are the dentist. Have your child put his head on your lap, open wide and count his teeth with your fingers.

Vitamin D Deficiency: A Silent Epidemic Among African Americans




Submitted by Rita Umile


Vitamin D has been big news in Public Health recently, as research indicates that its role in the body extends far greater than simply ensuring bone health through the prevention of such diseases as rickets, osteomalacia and osteoporosis.

Studies also suggest that achieving and maintaining an adequate Vitamin D blood serum level, as determined by a 25(OH)D blood test, is essential to the prevention and treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and type 1 diabetes.  Additionally, Vitamin D appears to play a protective role in cardiovascular health, various types of cancer, autism, depression, schizophrenia, and respiratory conditions such as cystic fibrosis.afamer

It is no secret that the number of health conditions positively influenced by maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D seems to increase daily.

What has been kept secret is the magnitude of Vitamin D deficiency within the African American population.

Certainly, because of our indoor lifestyles, Vitamin D deficiency is at epidemic proportions in the United States, actually worldwide, “with recent estimates indicating greater than 50% of the global population is at risk. A high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency has been found across all age groups in all populations studied in countries around the globe.”

However, it is far worse among those with darker skin pigmentation, as melanin factors greatly into Vitamin D production.

The sunlight needs for people with darker skin pigmentation, living at higher latitudes, are immense and are not being met. A lighter pigmented person standing in full sun can produce a day’s bodily requirement of Vitamin D in about 15 minutes. In stark contrast, a person with darker skin pigmentation, standing in the same spot, will need approximately 6 times more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

According to reports by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans suffer greatly from chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, and obesity—all of which may be controlled or prevented with vitamin D supplementation.

Unfortunately, many African Americans do not know about the health enhancing properties of vitamin D, so their health continues to deteriorate.  Despite the alarming health situation for blacks, conventional medical practitioners do not seem to be informing African Americans that they may need to take at least 5,000 IU of vitamin D3, in supplement form, every day; and that African American children should also be given adequate amounts of vitamin D3 on a daily basis, because food and drinks do not supply adequate amounts of vitamin D.

It is truly a silent epidemic within the black community.

Dr. John Cannell, an international leader in the field of Vitamin D research, has been educating the public since 2003 on the importance of Vitamin D.  In his role as founder and Executive Director of the Vitamin D Council, Dr. Cannell has repeatedly highlighted the seriousness of Vitamin D deficiency within the African American community.

As far back as 2005, Dr. Cannell wrote specifically on the racial differences in Vitamin D status. His article is included here, as it significantly exposes the enormity of this issue. It is important to realize that 8 years have passed since Dr. Cannell first addressed this Public Health matter, yet little information on the urgency of Vitamin D deficiency has made its way into the African American population.

How many African Americans have developed preventable health conditions due to the medical community’s lack of interest in this subject? How many more will suffer needlessly?

Again, please remember that Dr. Cannell was writing in 2005; and little attempt has been made in the ensuing years to resolve this Public Health issue. This lack of progress, therefore, presents us with unique opportunity to facilitate change.

Opportunity is knocking.  How we choose to answer the call will make the difference between life and death for us, our family members, our friends and colleagues, and for our future generations.

With our involvement the silent epidemic of Vitamin D Deficiency within the African American population can be ended.

For additional information regarding Vitamin D deficiency, please visit The Vitamin D Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, working to educate the public on vitamin D, sun exposure and health.”

Racial differences in vitamin D status

February 12, 2005 by John Cannell, MD

Thomas Edison once said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Politicians in Washington and scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have a rare opportunity, one dressed in the overalls of the advocacy group promoting it and requiring real scientific work to prove (or disprove). However, it may be the scientific, medical, and civil rights opportunity of a lifetime.

Most of us know that African Americans die at a younger age than whites due to a bewildering and seemingly disconnected array of diseases. Even ailments with a lower incidence among blacks, such as breast cancer, have a higher mortality in blacks. Why? Is it all socioeconomic factors? Or is there a near universal medical condition in sunbathingthe black community that is associated with virtually all the diseases that disparately and prematurely kill black Americans? Is there a single substance with a plausible mechanism of action that could parsimoniously explain virtually all the reasons African Americans die prematurely?

In the last four years, a number of studies have documented dramatic racial differences in the blood levels of a crucially important prehormone, 25-hydroxy vitamin D. These studies, when read in the context of clinical studies of vitamin D deficiency, offer scientists and physicians a unique opportunity to examine, and perhaps erase, some of the health inequities burdened by African Americans. Opportunities like these are rare in medical science (and in politics), but government officials, private citizens and the press must first be aware of the studies.

What about you, how aware are you? How many of the following thirteen questions can you answer correctly?

1. Blacks are about ten times more likely to be vitamin D deficient than are whites.

A) true
B) false

The answer is true. Of course, it all depends on how you define vitamin D deficiency but the problem is much more severe in the black community. The reason is simple:
humans get most of their vitamin D from the sun and blacks need up to ten times longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D as whites1, 2.

2. The incidence of vitamin D deficiency among black women of reproductive age is:

A) twice as high for blacks as whites
B) four times as high
C) ten times as high
D) twenty times as high

The answer is d, twenty times as high. Twelve percent of young black women had 25(OH)D levels below 20nm/L (8 ng/ml) while only 0.5% of whites had such levels3.

3. On the average, young white women of childbearing age have twice as much vitamin D in their blood as young black women.

A) true
B) false

The answer is true4.

4. The following diseases are:

A) associated with vitamin D deficiency.
B) more common among African Americans.
C) both.

• coronary heart disease
• hypertension
• type two diabetes
• colorectal cancer
• prostate cancer
• cervical cancer
• end stage renal disease
• metabolic syndrome
• multiple sclerosis
• rheumatoid conditions
• obesity
• periodontal disease
• rickets
• osteomalacia

The answer is both. With the exception of osteoporosis, the list of diseases associated with vitamin D deficiency and the list of diseases more common among African Americans are virtually identical. Osteoporosis, the exception that proves the rule, is a multifactorial disease whose main determinate is peak bone mass during puberty.

The law of parsimony (one explanation for multiple findings is better than multiple explanations for multiple findings) suggests the high rate of vitamin D deficiency among African Americans explains at least part of excessive disease and mortality among African Americans5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.
Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control, American Public Health Association, Second Edition, 1998

5. Vitamin D deficiency in African American mothers may explain the fact that black babies are more than twice as likely as whites to have low-birth-weights.

A) true
B) false

Dr. Kathleen Fuller, of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine was the first to point out this possibility14.

6. Eighty-three percent of American children diagnosed with vitamin D deficient rickets in the last 17 years were African Americans.

A) true
B) false

Again, true15.

7. Professor John McGrath recently documented that vitamin D is crucial for brain development.

A) true
B) false

Again, the answer is true. Low maternal vitamin D caused altered brain shape, reduced expression of nerve growth factors and increased cellular proliferation in the rat fetal brain. We don’t know what role it plays in humans. African Americans are certainly as intelligent as whites but that doesn’t mean all blacks fetuses (or all white fetuses) are in optimal intrauterine environments. However, another way of asking the question is: “Does it seem reasonable that the most potent steroid hormone in the human body may be important for optimal human brain development?”16

8. Breast milk of black women often has undetectable levels of vitamin D. With adequate supplementation, breast milk can easily be transformed into a rich source of vitamin D.

A) true
B) false

True. It is now clear that the reason most breast milk is such a poor source of vitamin D is because most mothers do not have enough vitamin D in their own blood to excrete it in their breast milk. Dr. Bruce Hollis and Dr. Carol breastfeedingWagner recently solved an old and vexing medical question: Why is nature’s perfect food devoid of vitamin D? Answer: Because virtually all modern mothers are vitamin D deficient.

Hollis and Wagner found 4,000 units of cholecalciferol a day transformed vitamin D deficient lactating mothers into vitamin D replete lactating mothers whose breast milk transformed vitamin D deficient infants into vitamin D replete infants. The mothers needed 4,000 units a day, about as much vitamin D as whites get after about 5 minutes of full body summer sun exposure. Black women are much more likely to have undetectable levels of vitamin D in their breast milk than white mothers17, 18.

9. Blacks consume much less fresh milk than do whites

A) true
B) false

True, see below for discussion.

10. Under current FDA regulations, the only foods mandated to contain vitamin D are milk products.

A) true
B) false

The answer is true. Virtually all physicians know that blacks consume much less milk than whites; the most common reason given is that many blacks are lactose intolerant. The FDA delivers most of the vitamin D in supplemented food in the form of milk. I’m not saying, nor do I think, the FDA under the Bush administration continues to purposefully mandate only milk products be supplemented with vitamin D in order to hurt African Americans. I don’t know what Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or the NAACP would think.

However, the facts are upsetting and the facts are these:

  • African Americans are much more likely to be vitamin D deficient than whites
  • The only two foods the FDA mandates to contain vitamin D are milk products, (fortified nonfat dry milk and evaporated milk),
  • Virtually all the vitamin D in fortified food is delivered via milk,
  • African Americans consume little milk.

Foods which African Americans do consume in equal quantities, such as juice and cereals, may be supplemented with vitamin D but such fortification is not mandatory or widespread. Virtually all the vitamin D delivered to Americans via fortified food is delivered in fresh milk, a product that manufactures choose to fortify with vitamin D – a practice the FDA allows, but does not mandate unless the milk is advertised as vitamin D fortified milk. A recent study sponsored by the National Medical Association indicated blacks could consume more milk but choose not to do so for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, there is usually no vitamin D in yogurt or cheese, foods African Americans do consume19, 20.

11. The FDA knows that vitamin D deficiency may explain a significant part of the excesses mortality in the black community.

A) true
B) false

True. In 2003, Dr. Mona Calvo, an FDA employee, wrote, “In sharp contrast to their white counterparts, blacks have a much higher incidence and mortality of certain types of aggressive cancers and autoimmune diseases, including diabetes that cannot be attributed entirely to socioeconomic differences or disparities in health care. The strong association between vitamin D insufficiency and risk of chronic diseases should raise concern about the current mechanisms in place to prevent [vitamin D deficiency].”21

12. The FDA also knows blacks do not drink much milk and are not getting as much supplemental vitamin D as whites.

A) true
B) false

True. In 2004, Dr. Calvo warned them again, “The racial/ethnicity groups at greatest risk of vitamin D insufficiency consume less milk . . . than do their white counterparts.” Dr. Calvo went on to say, “African Americans, with the greatest physiological need for dietary sources of vitamin D, have the lowest intake from food alone and food plus supplements.”22

13. When did we discover that vitamin D deficiency is much worse among African Americans and that the FDA’s food fortification program is shortchanging African Americans?

A) over the last twenty years
B) during the last four years.

The answer is b. Virtually all the studies were published in the last four years. That leaves the NIH, the IOM, the FDA, and the Bush Administration with a unique opportunity to right a wrong and, perhaps, do some real good. Opportunities like these are rare in medicine and rarer yet in politics. It may not look like an opportunity to many. After all, isn’t theory too simple and the solution too inexpensive to possibly be true? Mason Cooley once said, “Opportunity knocks, but doesn’t always answer to its name.”

(February 12, 2005 by John Cannell, MD,



  Author Rita Umile

Vitamin D- Nutrition Series by Caroline Devine

Submitted by Carolyn Devin of Serenity of Body and Mind, CT, USA
The fourth in a series of talks about the importance of vitamins.


Hello everyone! This is the fourth part of my vitamin blog series and today I will be talking about Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is also called the sunshine vitamin but it isn’t actually a “vitamin” at all.  It is actually more accurately described as hormone-like.  When the skin is exposed to adequate UV light it can synthesize vitamin D from a type of cholesterol in the skin.  Many, many people in the United States, especially in the northern states, are deficient in this vitamin.

The best natural food sources of vitamin D are fatty fish such as sardines and salmon.  Cod liver oil was very popular in the 1930s as a supplement because of its high vitamin D content.  Two tablespoons of cod liver oil provide 680% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D.  Three ounces of tuna provides about 50% and three ounces of salmon is about 150%.  Milk provides the bulk of the United States recommended amount as it is heavily fortified with vitamin D which helps with the processing of calcium.

For Connecticut people to get vitamin D from the sun we would need to be in the sun, unprotected (meaning without any sunblock), for 20 minutes, 4-5 times per week, and it would have to be between the months of March and October.  The rest of the year the sun is not strong enough to produce the vitamin D in the skin so we should be supplementing.  The problem is that many people don’t go in the sun in the summer or are entirely covered in sunblock.  Now I don’t recommend that people should be out in the sun for hours at a time with no sun protection but for a little while every other day will definitely be a health benefit.  And get tested for deficiency by your doctor so you’ll know what your vitamin D status is.

The function of vitamin D in the body is very similar to hormonal regulation.  Vitamin D regulates the body’s concentration of calcium and phosphorus which is extremely important for bone health and maintaining the pH of the blood.  In this society there is a lot of emphasis on calcium and bones but without vitamin D, calcium doesn’t really work as it should.  Calcium and vitamin D go hand in hand which is why milk is a good food for vitamin D fortification.

Vitamin D has also been found to be important in immune functions and cellular metabolism.  Adequate levels of vitamin D can help prevent infection and there are studies that show vitamin D can actually decrease the likelihood of certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and possibly certain cancers.

Severe vitamin D deficiency in children causes rickets.  When children are growing and developing, calcium and phosphorus are very important to the mineralization of the bones.  When vitamin D levels are low the body cannot regulate the calcium and phosphorus which causes the bones to be weak and brittle.  A common trait of children with rickets is bowed legs, deformed pelvises, and enlarged heads.  Vitamin D deficiency in adults is called osteomalacia and is translated to “soft bones”.  This results in fractures of the hips, spine, and other bones.  This is not the same as osteoporosis as it has more to do with mal-absorption of vitamin D and calcium whereas osteoporosis is actual loss of bone mass.

Vitamin D toxicity can occur with too much supplementation.  It cannot occur with too much sun exposure as the body will self-regulate the amount of vitamin D it will produce.  Excess vitamin D can cause increased calcium in the blood which leads to calcium deposits in the kidneys, heart, and lungs.  Other symptoms are nausea, weakness, joint pain, and disorientation.  In early stages this can be treatable but continued excess supplementation can be fatal.



Vitamin C – Nutrition Series by Caroline Devine

Submitted by Carolyn Devin
The third in a series of talks about the importance of vitamins.



Vitamin C is an interesting vitamin because most of the animal kingdom can synthesize it themselves. Humans, guinea pigs and fruit bats are some of the very few species that need to supplement it in their diets. This vitamin is also known as ascorbic acid and we mostly associate it with citrus fruits such as; grapefruits, lemons, limes and especially oranges. While citrus fruits do contain quite a bit of vitamin C, guava fruit and red peppers actually contain much more. Half a cup of red pepper contains 160% of our daily recommended amount, half a cup of guava is 310%. Half a cup of orange juice is less than 75%. Green vegetables are also a great source of vitamin C but this vitamin is very heat sensitive and is easily destroyed in the cooking process.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body, helps in collagen production and helps with the synthesis of other biological compounds needed in the body. Collagen production is very important in wound healing as it is critical to the skin’s structure. Another important role of vitamin C is the assistance to non-heme iron (non-animal form of iron) to be absorbed in the body. And lastly, vitamin C does assist with immune system functions; it does this by binding to free radicals in the body to prevent damage and illness.

Generally, vitamin C deficiency is rare, less than 15% in America. Vitamin C is fortified in many processed food such as juice and cereal so most people do have access to enough. Smokers, woman taking oral contraceptives and burn victims need more than the vitamincnormal daily recommended amount because of oxidative stress and tissue regeneration. Severe vitamin C deficiency is called scurvy. It was prevalent in sailors hundreds of years ago because their sea voyages would last for months with no access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Many sailors died before a British doctor discovered the connection between citrus and the sailor’s sicknesses and deaths in the mid-1700s. After that British fleets were stocked with limes (as they kept for long periods). This is why the British sailors were called Limeys.

Scurvy is a nasty disease. It starts with fatigue and small red spots around with hair follicles which are called pinpoint hemorrhages. As the connective tissue in the body continues to break down, larger hemorrhages begin to appear, bone pain and diarrhea. Scurvy is fatal if not treated. This disease is generally associated with poverty but is rare in the United States. Poor vitamin C status is more common in populations of smokers, alcoholics and those with extremely poor diets.

There are studies currently going on to see if there is a correlation between intake of vitamin C and the prevention of some cancers and heart disease, however, there have been no definitive results.

Cacarolyndevinerolyn Devin is a Health and Wellness Coach. She helps individuals who are looking to lose weight, gain energy or just to feel better by teaching about nutrition and lifestyle changes.

“I don’t advocate “dieting” or quick fixes. I feel that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy, which means that I don’t propose radical changes to your lifestyle or starvation diets. I want to guide you on a path to healthier living.”

Vitamin B – Nutrition Series by Caroline Devin



Submitted by Carolyn Devin
The second in a series of talks about the importance of vitamins.



Vitamin B was the second vitamin to be recognized (after vitamin A). It was so named because the scientists at the time did not realize that vitamin B was actually many different compounds. All the B vitamins are water-soluble which means there is little risk of toxicity as they are readily excreted from the body in urine. This is why when you take a vitamin B supplement your urine is a very bright yellow. That is from the riboflavin (B-2).

All B vitamins form coenzymes, which mean they help the biological processes that happen in our bodies, such as the process of transforming food into energy. The B vitamins that I am going to write about today are B-1 (Thiamin), B-2 (Riboflavin), B-3 (Niacin) and B-6. Many of the B vitamins are found in whole grain which is why when grains began to be processed and refined there was an increase in vitamin B deficiencies. To combat this problem, vitamins were added back to processed food such as bread, cereal and ground flour. It is called “enriched” flour on labels. Unrefined or whole wheat (or grain) flour is healthier but it will go bad much quicker than the refined flour because the germ of the grain contains oil that will go rancid. It’s best to use whole wheat flour quickly or store it in the freezer for longer storage.

Thiamin (B-1) is found in great quantities, naturally, in sunflower seeds. Just two ounces contain the daily recommended amount. Other good sources are pork products and, of course, enriched foods such as bread and cereals. Thiamin deficiency can cause a disease called Beriberi. This disease can have many different symptoms such as impaired nervous, cardiovascular, muscle and gastrointestinal systems. It can cause weakness, difficulty breathing and heart enlargement among other symptoms. Beriberi can be fatal if not treated. Symptoms of deficiency can begin just fourteen days without thiamin intake. Thankfully, thiamin deficiency is rare now due to the enrichment of so many food products and the new trend of eating whole grain foods. Thiamin is not heat stable and cooking may destroy much of the vitamin.

Riboflavin (B-2) is found mainly in enriched food products such as bread and cereal but some natural sources include; milk, mushrooms, spinach, kale and broccoli. Three ounces of beef liver also contains almost twice the recommended daily amount. As with thiamin, riboflavin deficiency is rare but symptoms include inflammation of the throat, tongue and mouth and cracking around the corners of the mouth. Anemia, fatigue and headaches are also symptoms of low riboflavin intake. Riboflavin is very light sensitive and is easily destroyed by exposure. This is why milk should be stored in light-blocking packaging.

Niacin (B-3) is most prevalent, naturally, in poultry, meat and fish and in enriched bread, cereal and whole grains. Coffee and tea also have small amounts of niacin. Niacin is metabolized from protein, more specifically tryptophan which is the amino acid most well-known for causing that post-holiday turkey-eating sleepiness. People with adequate protein intake are not at risk for deficiency. The disease caused by niacin deficiency is pellagra and was a national epidemic in the early 1900’s before the discovery of the niacin connection. It is estimated that 200,000 people died from pellagra in that time period in the United States. Today, pellagra is mainly found in Africa in famine areas. Niacin is also associated with niacin flush which is a tightening and reddening of the skin and can be quite disturbing to those unfamiliar with it but it is generally harmless. Toxicity is possible with very high supplement doses and can cause stomach upset and even possible liver damage. Consult with your doctor before using niacin supplements. Niacin is very heat stable, therefore very little is lost in the cooking process.

Vitamin B-6 can be found in the muscles of animals so poultry, meat and fish have high quantities. Whole grains again are good sources and carrots, potatoes and bananas are also great non-animal sources. Toxicity of vitamin B-6 is a real concern for those taking excessive supplements such as bodybuilders and woman treating themselves for the symptoms of PMS. Toxicity can potentially result in permanent nerve damage. Deficiency is rare in North America except in cases of very poor diets and alcoholism. Symptoms may include confusion, depression and convulsions. B-6 has been shown effective in the treatment of carpel tunnel syndrome and nausea related to pregnancy but please consult your doctor before trying B-6 supplementation.

Eating whole grains, lean meat and fish are excellent ways of getting your daily amount of these B vitamins. And don’t forget the bananas!vitamin b

The remaining B vitamins: Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, Folate and B-12. Many of the B vitamins are found in whole grain which is why when grains began to be processed and refined there was an increase in vitamin B deficiencies. To combat this problem, vitamins were added back to processed food such as bread, cereal and ground flour, it is called “enriched” flour on labels. Unrefined or whole wheat (or grain) flour is healthier but it will go bad much faster than the refined flour because the germ of the grain contains oil that will go rancid. It’s best to use whole wheat flour quickly or store it in the freezer for longer storage.

Pantothenic Acid comes from the Greek word pantothen, which means “from every side” because this particular B vitamin is found in many, many foods. Common sources are animal products and vegetables. Unprocessed foods are a better source of this vitamin because it can be easily stripped away or destroyed in processing methods. There is no known case of deficiency of pantothenic acid unless it has been produced in a laboratory. This vitamin is used in the body to assist with the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and alcohol.

Biotin is found in whole grains, eggs, nuts and legumes. Peanuts are a great source of biotin with just 2 ounces (about 3 tablespoons) containing one and a half times the daily recommended amount. One large egg has about half the daily recommended amount; however, raw egg white contains a protein that will inhibit absorption of biotin. That is another reason to not consume raw eggs. Deficiency is rare with biotin but symptoms do include rashes, hair loss and impaired growth (in children). The most common incidences of deficiency are with individuals who are born with a genetic defect that prevents the body from processing the biotin. Or people who ingest large amounts of raw egg whites.

Folate is commonly heard when talking about women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant because early conception deficiency can be devastating to developing fetuses. The term folic acid is a synthetic form of folate that is found in fortified foods or supplements. Folate is very prevalent in leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach. Legumes, avocados and oranges are also good sources of folate. This vitamin is easily destroyed in processing or cooking. Salads with avocados are an excellent way to get your daily recommended amount. Folate is used in the body in the synthesis and maintenance of new cells so that is why deficiency in pregnant woman can lead to severe birth defects in babies such as neural tube defects; spina bifida (most common) or anencephaly (most severe-total lack of brain). It is extremely important for a woman considering pregnancy to be taking supplements or eating a wide variety of folate rich foods. Deficiency is difficult to detect because symptoms are on the cellular level but generally people who are more prone to deficiency are alcoholics, people with very poor diets and those taking certain medications.

Vitamin B-12 is heard a lot in the vegan community because the only reliable natural sources of this vitamin are animal products; meat and dairy. Vegans must take supplementation to avoid deficiency. The good news is that B-12 can be stored in the body for 2 to 3 years as it is not excreted in the urine like the other B vitamins. There are other sources of B-12 but they do not contain enough to meet daily requirements or are not in the correct form for the body to use them. These include fermented soy products (tempeh and miso) and certain seaweeds. Absorption of B-12 can be inhibited by diseases such as Chrohn’s or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. Some medications may also inhibit absorption such as anti-reflux (Prilosec®) or metformin (used to lower blood sugar with Type 2 diabetes. Common symptoms of deficiency are neurological changes which include; sensory issues in the legs (burning, tingling, prickling and numbness), balance can be affected which will make walking difficult, loss of concentration and disorientation. There can be vision problems as well. These symptoms will precede more serious cellular level issues. Elderly are at risk for deficiency due to mal-absorption and infants born to vegan or vegetarians are also at risk.


Cacarolyndevinerolyn Devin is a Health and Wellness Coach. She helps individuals who are looking to lose weight, gain energy or just to feel better by teaching about nutrition and lifestyle changes.

“I don’t advocate “dieting” or quick fixes. I feel that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy, which means that I don’t propose radical changes to your lifestyle or starvation diets. I want to guide you on a path to healthier living.”

Vitamin A- Nutrition Series by Caroline Devin



Submitted by Carolyn Devin
The first in a series of talks about the importance of vitamins.


The importance of  Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it is stored in our body’s fat cells. It has three main functions in the body: cell development and growth, immune function and the most well know function, supporting good vision. How many of you have heard that eating carrots is good for your eyesight? That is because carrots are chock full of beta-carotene which gets transformed into vitamin A in the body. Half a cup of raw carrots provides nearly twice the daily recommended amount of vitamin A!

Vitamin A is also very important to the development of embryos. It helps babies in the development of their limbs, eyes, cardiovascular system and nervous systems. Deficiency in the early stages of pregnancy can result in birth defects.

Lastly, vitamin A is important to immune functions because it supports the skin cells, which is your body’s first defense against disease pathogens. Increased infection and illness can be a sign of vitamin A deficiency. Studies have also shown that having adequate vitamin A supplementation could help prevent skin cancer.

Here in Connecticut, there is very little risk of a vitamin A deficiency because so many of the foods to which we have access contain this vitamin, but not so in developing countries. Inhabitants of these countries struggle to meet even the minimum daily requirement of this vitamin.

Vitamin A toxicity can be a major problem, however, for pregnant women. There are many skin products out there that contain vitamin A as retinol (sometimes called Retin-A®) or retinoic acid (ex. Accutane®). These products are used for treating skin disorders such as psoriasis and acne, allowing the vitamin to be absorbed through the skin.

Pregnant woman should be especially careful using these products and should consult their doctor with questions.
One other important note, beta-carotene is naturally occurring in many vegetables. Sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and broccoli have some of the highest amounts. High amounts of beta-carotene have not been known to cause toxicity. The body will create the vitamin A that it needs and excretes the rest. Vitamin A is naturally occurring in animal products such as meat, cheese and eggs. The beta-carotene has already been transformed into vitamin A by the animals that ate the plants. It IS possible to get too much vitamin A from eating animal products if you are eating excessive amounts of organ meats like beef liver. Three ounces of beef liver contains over five times the daily recommended amount of vitamin A. Vitamin A is also in many fortified food products such as cereal and margarine.

A simple way to get your daily amount of vitamin A is to cut up a sweet potato into one inch pieces, toss them in a little bit of olive oil, spread them out on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some seasoning and roast at 375 for 20 minutes or so. Or, even easier, eat a carrot!



Cacarolyndevinerolyn Devin is a Health and Wellness Coach. She helps individuals who are looking to lose weight, gain energy or just to feel better by teaching about nutrition and lifestyle changes.

“I don’t advocate “dieting” or quick fixes. I feel that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy, which means that I don’t propose radical changes to your lifestyle or starvation diets. I want to guide you on a path to healthier living.”


Caroline Devin and the Serenity of Body and Mind


Life brings us to many different places.  Each of us is born with a purpose and a mission; we just have to wake up to our true calling and find out how we can best serve not just ourselves, but others.  Caroline Devin is a new contributor to Women Move the Soul.  She has her own business located in Glastonbury, CT, USA where she helps people to obtain “serenity of body and mind” through nutritional counseling.  Want to change your life?  Be in better shape to heal from quickly from ailments or perhaps not even get ailments?  Then, change your diet to a more healthy one.   Enjoy our conversation with our new contributor Caroline Devin!


What type of work did you do before you began studying nutrition?

I was an accountant for 16 years.


What made you decide to make a career change?  Actually, this was not just a career change, but a life change.  What brought this about?

For many years I was on many different diets, yo-yoing back in forth in weight but always feeling unhealthy.  I had chronic headaches, IBS and acid reflux from taking so much ibuprofen for my chronic headaches.  I went to my doctor and instead of trying to figure why I was having so many health issues, she prescribed drugs for me; Topamax for the headaches and Prilosec for my acid reflux.  So in my early to mid-thirties I was on multiple medications that I would have to be on for the rest of my life.  I had basically given up.  Then one day, I was on another kind of diet, one that focused on eating “real” food, not processed crap and I felt better.  A light bulb went off and I started researching food and the importance of eating better for health.  I learned that I have multiple food sensitivities that cause my IBS and headaches and when I eliminated them the headaches and IBS were gone.  I stopped taking all of my medications and now the only things I take are some vitamins and Omega-3s.  In November 2010 I decided to go back to school for nutrition and then in December 2011, I made the decision to get my health coaching certificate.  I want to show people that they can feel better.  The answer isn’t in a pill bottle, the answer is in themselves.  I want to empower people to take charge of their health.


You are heavy into recycling.  Some people don’t do this because they feel it takes too much time.  Why is it important to you?

I watched a lot of videos and read a lot of articles about the trash situation in the world and it is really scary.  Plastic just doesn’t decompose and it is just piling up and honestly I feel even more important about not using plastic to begin with.  The recycling system is getting better but there is just not enough demand for all the plastic waste so recycleeven if you do spend the time to recycle, there is no guarantee that it is not going to end up in a landfill any way.  The best thing to do is to reuse plastic items as much as possible and use alternatives such as glass and metal.  When I go to the grocery store I try to buy stuff in glass (jars) as much as possible and I use a stainless steel reusable water bottle and I ALWAYS bring my own bags to the store.  It is virtually impossible to avoid plastic but you can make a difference with small changes.


Do you have any suggestions for people who are not recycling as much as they should be?  How can it become an easier thing for them to do?

People need to realize that it’s important.  It’s really not a hard thing to do.  Most towns make it pretty easy with an extra pickup for recycling but one thing you can think of is that it saves some money as you won’t be throwing out as much and therefore saving on garbage bags.


Back to nutrition – are more of your client’s women versus men?  Why do you think that is so?

I have a pretty even split between men and women.  I think people want to eat better and feel better and the traditional medical system is failing them.  Doctors are just pushing drugs and offering no real solutions.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a place for doctors for serious illnesses that are not nutrition related but, in general, people can control their health and they are starting to realize that.


timeWhat do you think or have you been told as the most prominent reason that people do not make a change to a healthier lifestyle and what would you suggest they can do to slowly implement changes?

No time – everyone claims to have no time to prepare healthy meals or to exercise but we all seem to have time to watch TV every night.  It really is about priorities.  Get up an hour earlier, make food for the week on the weekends and freeze it into serving sizes, go for a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.  Make your health important and stop making excuses.  There are tons of ways to make changes easier but you have to make the decision to do it.  You are worth it and you only have one life to live so you should feel your best!


carolyndevineCaroline Devin on Women Move the Soul

More about Caroline and a healthy lifestyle at