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Looking for a Speaker for your Group

A talk on writing, publishing and selling books will be given by the author to local and nearby groups upon request. His book "You Should Write a Book: Writing it With Style and Clarity, Publishing Beautiful Pages, Selling Thousands of Copies" will be available.Contact the author at parkbarr@​isu.edu.

Health News: Vitamin D, the Miracle Vitamin

For years most people took vitamin D for granted. We got it from the sun, and there was no doubt that we got enough. Besides, it didn't seem to be a particularly important vitamin. It may surprise you how much things have changed in the last few years. Vitamin D now appears to give more protection from cancer than any other vitamin. And that's not all. It also protects us from various autoimmune diseases, including MS, Crohn's disease, and autoimmune diabetes. Furthermore, it has been shown to control the amount of inflammation produced by various cells, and as you likely know, excess inflammation can be a problem.
The evidence for protection from cancer is quite dramatic. Some of the forms of cancer it has been shown to protect us from are: bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and rectal. It has been shown, for example, that the northern states, which get less sunlight (and therefore less vitamin D from the sun)than southern states have double the rate of cancer.
There are actually two forms of vitamin D referred to as D2 and D3. We will be concerned with D3 as it is the most common; it is created in the skin by UVB light from the sun, and it is the main type we get from food. D2 comes mainly from mushrooms. The vitamin D we take in is in an inactive form. It is "preactivated" in the liver and final activation takes place in the kidneys. The preactivated form from the liver is the main type that circulates in the blood; it is called 25D.
The main reason that vitamin D is so important is that it is capable of regulating genes -- in other words, turning them on and off. This means that it sends a message to our genes to start or stop production of protein, and at least 1000 different genes are regulated and therefore are under the control of vitamin D.
Why is this important? One reason (and perhaps the most important one)is that cancer is caused by cells where the "turn off" switch has been compromised, and as a result, rapid and uncontrolled growth is occurring. And since vitamin D controls this growth in many types of cells it is obviously important. This means we need to keep sufficient levels of vitamin D circulating in our blood. Studies have shown, however, that a large fraction of the population does not. A recent study in Europe of adolecent girls showed that 97% had low levels of vitamin D with 37% "severely deficient."
How much vitamin D do we need? The RDI for adults is 200 -600 IU/​day, depending on age, but many researchers believe this is far too low. They recommend 1000 to 2000 IU/​day. But it's important to remember that vitamin D is fat soluble so it is possible to overdose. Studies have shown. however, that toxicity doesn't occur until about 40,000 IU and you could never overdose from food or sunlight, only by taking too many supplements.
What is the best source of vitmain D? The UVB light from the sun is, of course, at the top of the list. You can get all you need in a day from about 15 to 20 minutes of sun. I should mention, however, that sun screen blocks about 98% of UVB. And as you no doubt know: the sun causes sunburn, which can cause skin cancer, so you have to be careful.
What about foods? Cod liver oil is best, but of course it doesn't appeal to many people. Other good sources are: tuna, sardines, salmon, eggs (a small amount) and fortified milk and orange juice. Shiitake mushrooms are also a good source.

My Newsletter

Seven Ways to Improve your Health

November 28, 2007

This is the first of my newsletters and although I have written books on several topics including popular science, Einstein, James Bond and cars, this newsletter will be directed to health and fitness, the topic of my latest book "Feel Great Feel Alive: Seven Steps to Super Health and Fitness." The book centers on seven major ways that you can improve your health. And I'm sure that everyone wants to improve their health, or at least maintain it if you're already healthy. The seven ways are as follows: Get the proper amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients every day, get them as much as possible from "superfoods," maintain proper weight, exercise regularly, avoid stress, get sufficient sleep, and take care of your emotional health. I'm sure these are not news to you, but there may be more to them than you think. In future newsletters I'll talk about each of them in considerable detail, as I do in my book.
Looking at some of them you may say they're easy to talk about but not so easy to do in pratise. Take stress as an example. Merely telling yourself to avoid stress won't accomplish it. But avoiding stress is particularly important; according to many researchers it causes more illness and disease than everything else put together; indeed, it may account for over 70% of all illness. So it's pretty obvious that we should avoid it. The question, of course, is: how do we manage to do that? Some of the things that stress is related to are: poor diet, lack of sleep, and little or no exercise, so it's obvious that the above ways to improve your health are interrelated. But there are other things you can do, and one of the major things is called relaxation techniques. Several fo these are: meditation, massage, and music. I'll go into each of these in detail in the next newsletter.

Popular Science and Health

An inspirational book that covers the topics: Happiness, Motivation and Relief from Stress. the emphasis is on "Live for Today." Don't worry; enjoy life more and look forward to each new day as if it were a new adventure.
Einstein's younger life was fascinating inmany ways. It was filled with disappointments and failures, but he struggled on and overcame them and went on to become the greatest scientist who ever lived. This is the story of his early life, written in novelization form for ease of reading. Liberties are taken in the dialogue, but the story is factual and very close to his actual life
nonfiction book on music
A book that tells you everything about what is behind music: the science behind it
nonfiction book
A book on writing that tells you how to make sure it sells
Books and Writing
An excellent book for writers and people wanting to publish a book. It gives details on all three of the main things needed to write, publish and sell your book
Health and Fitness
Most people have a good idea what they should be doing to maximize their health, but very few actually take them to heart and do them. This book gives you a program for maximizing your health and making you "feel great," and, hopefully, it will also motivate you to do it.
Popular science
This book explains the science in the James Bond movies. Some of it is, of course, valid, but some is not. This is where to find the truth.
Part of the Smithsonian series on science. 218 pages with 250 full color photgraphs and illustrations.
Nearly everyone has heard of Einstein's theory of relativity, but few people know of his other contributions to other areas of science. This book shows the incredibly wide-ranging influence of Einstein's many discoveries.
This book focuses on five aspects of Einstein's emotional nature that had a profound impact on his life and career
This is the story of the origin and development of quantum theory. It also shows us how quantum theory has affected our everyday lives.
A description of the discoveries of modern physics and the mysteries still faced in the quest for a unified theory of the universe
An introduction to some of the most important questions about the universe. Is there life out there, and if there is what form does it take. When will we see it? Has it visited us in the past?
Will it ever be possible to travel to the stars? what about going into the future and back to the past? These are the questions that this book answers.
An overview of how the universe began and how it has evolved. Some of the most important questions about the universe are answered.
An overview of of our search for am understanding of the organization of the physical world.
An overview of the triumphs and problems that still exist fro the Big Bang theory of the universe. Almost everyone is convinced that it is the correct theory of the universe, but there are still a few things to iron out in it.
Galaxies are the largest things in the universe. This book explains what happens when they collide and explode.
Chaos theory is considered to be one of the most important discoveries of the twentieth century. The revolutionary ideas of this new science are applied to astronomy in this book.
Kid's book
A delightful book for young children. It is the story of an amazing goat and her friends, Barney, the mouse, Dolly, the mule, and two goats, Nanny and Billy. Zack teaches Baby to count and she soon becomes the town celebrity, but she doesn't like it. At the end of the book she becomes trapped in a burning barn with Barney, but Barney gets help.
popular science
An exciting ride into the world of cars and physics. In short, a look at how cars depend on the many principles and laws of physics.
Popular Science
A simple introduction to Einstein's two best-known theories: his special and general theories of relativity. Applications are also discussed.
Perched on the top of the highest mountain in the Pacific is the largest observatory in the world, the Mauna Kea Observatory. This is the story of how it began and how it grew.
An overview of the role of the "dark matter" of the universe in cosmology. It also contains a discussion of the possible eventual fates of the universe.
Kid's books
An excellent introduction to and explanation of gravity for children ages 9 to 14.
Textbook in Astronomy
An introduction to astronomy. It covers astronomy from A to Z
Inspirational Articles
A look at what happiness is and what it entails, from my book "Feel Great Feel Alive."
A list of the things you can do to raise you happiness set point.

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