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The Sequoia Advisor

IN THIS ISSUE                                                       March 1st 2011

  • Bone Quality, Density and Fracture Risk
  • The Best Time to Check Vitamin D Levels
  • Posture Perfect! Class Testimonial
  • The Importance of Good Dental Health for Your Pets
  • Sara Meeks Sundance Osteoporosis Conference Summary
  • New Entry for Kate's My Healthy Way Blog

Feel Better... Live Better

Bone Quality, Density, and Fracture Risk
By Woody McMahon

Bone's Major Functions
Bone has three major functions. The first involves providing a structural
support for your heart, lungs, marrow and other organs and the attachment
sites for muscles so that you can move your arms, legs and head. Think of
what a blob you would be without your bones to give you structure. The
second function involves providing protection for your brain and other
internal organs. Finally, bone acts as a mineral storage bank for calcium
and phosphorus helping to maintain a proper acid/base balance in your body
called pH. So you can see that your bones have more than just one function.

The Importance of Bone Quality
The term bone quality may be new to you but it is an important one to
understand. Bone quality describes all the components that keep it
strong and fracture free. By weight, bone is composed of about 10%
collagen matrix, 65% minerals and 25% water. It is not just the minerals
but all three components working together that keep your bones strong and
fracture free.

Bone Density Numbers

Bone quality however is very different from the term bone density.
You may have had a DEXA test and been told they found a change in
your bone density. Your bone density was either normal or you received
a diagnosis of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Take heart because all is
not lost. The DEXA scores you received only tells you about the mineral
density and content of the bone. It cannot tell you the amount or the
health of your matrix or water content. The mineral density then is
considered one
of many risks. It is used, along with other risk factors,
when calculating fracture risk. It is important to remember that
no one risk factor by itself can predict fracture risk.

Bone Density; Only One Risk Factor
Sometimes in the rush to osteoporosis treatment, it is lost in the shuffle
that your DEXA scores are just one risk factor of many to consider when it
comes to predicting fractures. It is also important to remember that you
want to prevent fractures, nothing more nothing less. It also bears
repeating that only one risk factor by itself cannot predict fracture risk,
not even DEXA. According to Dr. Susan Ott, MD at the University of
Washington, "In an individual, the quality of the bone, the shape of the
bone, the presence of a fracture or other risk factors, weight, muscle
strength, and the tendency to fall (balance) are all important to
predicting the risk of fracture."

Fracture Risk... Using the
FRAX® Tool
The FRAX® tool is a better predictor of fracture because it uses 12
independent risk factors, including bone density, to determine your course
of treatment. The FRAX® tool was developed by WHO to evaluate fracture
risk of patients. The FRAX® models have been developed from studying
population-based cohorts from Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
The FRAX® tool gives the 10-year probability of a hip fracture and/or a
major osteoporotic fracture (clinical spine, forearm, hip or shoulder

The Limitations of the FRAX® Tool
The International Osteoporosis Foundation says that the FRAX® tool has
the following limitations:
  • Does not include all known risk factors
  • Lacks detail on some risk factors
  • Depends on adequacy of epidemiological information
  • Limited country models available
  • Model relevant only for untreated patients
  • Does not replace clinical judgment
Improving Bone Quality
So now you know that keeping your bones healthy is more complex
than just trying to increase bone density. Your bones and the rest of
your body work together and are dependent upon each other. So your
general health will, to a great degree, determine your bone health.
Lifestyle factors like drinking enough water, eating a balanced diet,
exercising safely and effectively, drinking and smoking habits and how
well you manage your stress are all important in keeping your bones
healthy. Just focusing on one lifestyle change, like eating healthier
foods, is rarely enough to improve your bone health. It takes multiple
changes, in the right proportions, to really make a significant difference
in your bone and body health.

Would you like to improve your bone quality but don't know where
to start?
I provide an easy to follow program called Be Bone Strong!
that helps improve your bone health, posture and balance while reducing
fracture risk. Contact me anytime for a no cost consultation at
703-628-2880 or email to

The Best Time to Check Your Vitamin D Levels
by Woody McMahon

Lowest Levels of the Year
In the winter months, your body uses stored vitamin D from the liver. If
your liver stores are not adequate at the end of the summer, the blood will
show low levels just before spring. Checking levels now gives a much more
accurate indication of whether you are getting enough vitamin D during the
rest of the year. If you supplement regularly with vitamin D, your values
should be much higher and maybe even in the normal range.

The Growing Importance of Vitamin D
Once thought to be just a vitamin necessary for strong bones, recent
research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen
varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension,
autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis,
osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, and
periodontal disease.

Cancer and Vitamin D
A recent study of women who took vitamin D and calcium showed a 60 %
decrease in breast, lung and colon cancer at the end of the trial over the
women who took a dummy pill. When the researchers dropped the cases
discovered in the first year, assuming those cancers had been present but
unnoticed when the trial began, the reduction in cancer in the vitamin D
group was an astonishing 77% lower. This study reinforces other studies
showing that it is harmful to your health to have low blood levels of
vitamin D.

Vitamin D Basics
Vitamin D was originally misnamed and is actually not a vitamin at all.
It's a naturally occurring hormone, produced when ultraviolet B rays (UVB)
from the sun strike your skin. If the skin produces more vitamin D than is
needed, your liver stores the excess. In a natural vitamin D cycle, the
skin produces enough vitamin D in the spring and summer lasting you
through the winter when vitamin D production is at its lowest due to
clothing and  reduced hours of sunlight. If you live in the northern
latitudes, this is the time of year your body will have its lowest
levels of vitamin D.

What Steps Should I Take?

1. Get Your Vitamin D3 Levels Checked
Your physician can administer a simple blood test to check for 25
hydroxyvitamin D levels. Optimal levels are around 50 ng/mL (125 nM/L).
You can also order a home test kit for vitamin D from the Vitamin D council

2. Get Sunscreen Free, Sun Exposure (5 to 15 minutes)
5 to 15 minutes in the middle of the day is adequate for vitamin D
production. The average person needs about 5000 units of vitamin D
daily. You make approximately 20,000 units of vitamin D after 15 minutes
of summer sun.

Depending on the color of your skin (darker skin requires longer exposure
times) this brief sun exposure should be adequate for healthy vitamin D
production in the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter,
vitamin D supplementation is about the only way to keep blood levels
within the normal range.

3. Supplementing with Vitamin D3
Vitamin D3 is readily available from health food stores and is
inexpensive. It's always recommended to have your doctor check your
vitamin D3 levels before taking supplements. Excess vitamin D3 can be
harmful to your body.

Vitamin D from Food
It is almost impossible to get enough vitamin D from your food alone. For
all practical purposes, Vitamin D must come from either sun exposure or
supplementation. Here are the primary foods that are naturally high in
vitamin D listed in International Units (IU): Salmon (3 1/2 oz.) 360 IU
Mackerel (3 1/2 oz.) 345 IU Sardines (3 1/2 oz.) 270 IU Fortified juice
(8 oz.) 100 IU Milk (8 oz.) 98 IU Egg yolk 25 IU

To learn more about vitamin D go to:

Try these healthy lifestyle changes for 30 days. Feel what it is like to be
a part of the health solution rather than a health burden. If you need
additional suggestions and advice on living a healthier lifestyle, email or

call me for a no cost consultation, at 703-628-2880 or email to

Osteoporosis Support News

Posture Perfect! Classes Are a Big Hit!

Posture Perfect's! momentum continues to grow. Here is a glowing testimonial
from one of our class members.

"Posture Perfect! class has not only met my expectations, but exceeded
them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class. The small class size
gives each of us extraordinary personalized training; your knowledge,
expertise, patience, and sense of humor makes me look forward to
coming to a class I thought would be only for 6 weeks; and I have
learned so much more that I expected."

"For example, I now think about my posture every time I sit, and just when
I thought I'd begin to have a hard time rising from sitting on the floor, you
taught me how to make it easier. I try to practice some of the balance
exercises a couple of times a week (I know, I should do it more often!).
I thank you for all I have learned from you so far, and hope to continue
this class for the foreseeable future!"

You can read more about Posture Perfect! at:

New classes for 2011 are forming right now. Please call Woody McMahon at
703-628-2880 or email to for more information,
class times and reservations.

Pets and People 

The Importance of Good Dental Health for Your Pets
By Ingrid King 

Dental disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem for pets.
Dogs and cats are particularly prone to tooth and gum diseases. An
astounding 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats show signs of oral
disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society.

Normal teeth in both cats and dogs should be white or just a little
yellow. Gums should be light pink and smooth (except in breeds with
pigmented gums).

Oral disease begins with a build up of plaque and tartar in your pet's
mouth. Without proper preventive and therapeutic care, plaque and tartar
buildup leads to periodontal disease, which manifests in red and/or swollen
and tender gums, bad breath, and bleeding. When the gums are swollen, they
can be painful - a good rule of thumb is that if it looks like it might be
painful, it probably is. Pets are masters at masking pain - when in doubt,
assume that your pet is experiencing at least some discomfort.

The inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease can
lead to damage to other organs such as the heart, kidney and liver, and
lead to other serious health problems. Dental disease can also be an
indicator of immune system disorders, particularly in cats.

Common indicators of oral disease in dogs include bad breath, a change in
eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face or mouth and depression. If
you notice any of these, don't wait until your dog's next annual check up,
take him to the veterinarian for a thorough exam.

Cats rarely show any symptoms at all unless the situation is literally
life-threatening. They will eat even when their level of chronic mouth pain
would send a person to the emergency room. They almost never paw at their
face, even with loose or abscessed teeth. They get pretty smelly breath
from eating cat food, so it's tough to tell by smelling the breath whether
your cat has dental disease or just had breakfast. But even though they
don't show us much in the way of outward symptoms, chronic
dental/periodontal disease can cause severe and often irreversible damage
to internal organs. So it's important to get regular veterinary exams at
least once a year, and twice a year for cats six and older or for cats with
a known history of dental problems.

Since our pets won't just sit still and open their mouths to have their
teeth cleaned like humans, dental procedures for pets require general
anesthesia, something that makes many pet owners nervous. While there are
always risks with anesthesia, they can be minimized with a thorough
pre-anesthetic check up, including bloodwork to assess kidney and liver
function and rule out other underlying health issues. This will allow your
veterinarian to customize the anesthesia to your pet's health status and
potential special needs. Keep in mind that leaving dental disease untreated
may present a far greater risk than anesthesia.

For more information on anesthesia for pets, read this article by Dr.
Louise Murray about Safe Anesthesia for Pets.

(c) Ingrid King 2011

Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager turned writer. She is
the author of Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher. Her

online magazine News for You and Your Pet goes out to subscribers around
the world. Her blog, The Conscious Cat, has been called "educational cat
nip for the cat lover" and is a comprehensive resource for conscious

living, health and happiness for pets and their people. For more
information about Ingrid, please visit

Sara Meeks Sundance Osteoporosis

I had the honor of speaking at the Sara Meeks Sundance Osteoporosis
conference held this past week in Sundance, UT. There were twelve
presentations that included important new developments in vibration
technology for bone, safe and effective exercise programs and the
importance of posture and balance for health and independence.

My talk focused on a new personal training certification I am
developing that will
help trainers provide safer and more effective
exercise programs for their clients based on The Meeks Method.
will be teaching this certification later this year.

I should have some pictures to share with you very soon. Stay

Kate's My Healthy Way Blog

Check out Kate Conrad's latest blog entry titled
Girl Scout Cookies are Yummy!!!

Click on Kate's My Healthy Way Blog to Read More>>> 

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon
The Sequoia Advisor


Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Drive
Herndon, VA

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed
as a health-care diagnosis, treatment regimen or any other prescribed
health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the
understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine
or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care
practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not
advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to
matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that
readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No
action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The
material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound
at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the
authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to
replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult
with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The
publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

Copyright (c) 2006-2011 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.


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