About half of our training as acupuncturists is actually in western medicine. I like to keep up with the latest in western medicine and I pass on what I have learned to my patients. I just want them to get well and be healthier and no single type of medicine has all the answers. One thing that I think is important especially this time of year is to take vitamin D. Many of us are low on this vitamin which is essential for a healthy immune system. In the winter our D levels drop even more. Some experts think that this is why we get sick more in the winter. Regardless if this is true or not, many ailments have been linked to vitamin D deficiency. I will never forget a patient I had who was in her early thirties and had been diagnosed with MS. I was wondering how she got this diagnosis at her age. The first question I asked her was if she takes vitamin D. She said that her level had been found to be so low that they were injecting mega-doses of the vitamin weekly. I was not surprised. Some chronic ailments like MS actually occur more in northern latitudes. Fascinating, and such an easy thing to prevent.
On a personal note, I had a cold this winter, then a week later I got another cold. It's very unusually for me to get sick but realized that switching to cod liver oil several months before (which has varying amounts of vitamin D) probably left me deficient enough to weaken my immune system. I started taking liquid D at 2000 IU a day and so far no more colds. Coincidence? Maybe. But more and more studies are showing this connection between vitamin D and the immune system.
Monte Jackson, owner Acupuncture Center of Richmond