Milk for the Muscles!


A recent study in the June issue of Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise reported the women who drank two glasses of milk after weight lifting exercise gained more muscle mass and lost more fat than women who drank the energy, sugar-based drinks.

While resistance training is less common an activity women choose, it does have major health benefits.  Resistance training is good for muscle and bone health as well as improving metabolic health. Many women also avoid dairy products for they believe they are “fattening” foods/drinks.

For 12 weeks, the study followed young women who did not do resistance training exercises.  They began 3 types of training exercises: pushing (bench press or chest fly), pulling (lateral pull downs or abdominal exercises) and leg exercises (presses or curls).  Each day the women did not eat or drink 2 hours prior to exercise, except for water.  Immediately following exercise and one hour after exercise the women drank either 500ml of fat free white milk or 500ml of a sugar based energy drink looking similar to the milk.

The results were a gain in lean muscle mass without a gain in weight because there was a balance due to loss of body fat.  Investigators are not quite sure why there was the loss of fat as well as the gain in muscle. They state it may be the calcium, protein and Vitamin D that may be part of the answer.

The bottom line is that simple lifestyle changes like adding some resistance training and drinking some fat free milk can significantly improve a woman’s body composition! So girls (and guys too-an earlier study found the same results in men) let’s get moving and lifting!!!

Looking for more info about what beverages to drink – the facts about water, coffee, tea, alcohol, fruit juice check out our e-book “You are what you Drink” at

If you are looking for more heart healthy tips and info please check out our website and our 2 books about preventing heart disease, stroke and diabetes

“Take Charge: A Woman’s Guide to a Healthier Heart” and “Take Charge: A Man’s Roadmap to a Healthy Heart – So simple you will not even have to stop and ask for directions” – our books offer realistic steps to help you develop a healthier lifestyle, all of the information in the books comes from the latest medical guidelines available and is written in an easy to follow and understand format.


The Important Vitamin You’re Probably Lacking


The Important Vitamin You’re Probably Lacking
from HealthyWomen’s e-newsletter, HealthyWomen Take 10

On the seemingly ever-changing list of what vitamins and minerals we ought to be taking—and in what amounts—vitamin D has long been a solid, boring standard. For years, we were told that we’d have our needs covered if we drank fortified milk, got a few minutes of daily sun exposure (which delivers the vitamin directly to us through our skin), or took calcium or multivitamin supplements containing additional amounts of vitamin D.

That accepted wisdom is no longer. Recent research shows that many people living in the United States and around the world are getting insufficient levels of vitamin D, putting them at risk for health problems. If you spend a lot of time indoors at work or home, have dark skin, are older or severely overweight or have certain medical conditions, you’re more likely to be vitamin D deficient. Even if you spend a lot of time outdoors but wisely cover up with sunscreen or sunblock, you also keep the vitamin D in sunlight from reaching your skin and being stored by your body. 

Getting insufficient vitamin D has long been known to contribute to lower bone density, osteoporosis and bone fractures. (Adding vitamin D to calcium supplements helps the body better absorb the calcium it needs.) Now, having low levels of vitamin D has also been linked to cardiovascular risk and death, several cancers (including breast cancer in younger women), liver disease, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases, diabetes, periodontal disease and falls (caused by weakened muscles).

Although a handful of foods contain vitamin D, it’s nearly impossible to eat the amount of the nutrient you need. Sun exposure can be hard to control safely and effectiveness varies. Taking vitamin D in supplement form is the most reliable way to get what you need.

Many experts now believe that the level of daily vitamin D once thought necessary for good health (400 IU for adults) was set too low. Talk with your health care provider about your specific needs and whether you should have your vitamin D level checked by a simple blood test.

In the United States, the Institute of Medicine is reviewing whether the daily vitamin D amount for adults should be raised, but the American Academy of Pediatrics has already recommended that levels for infants, children and adolescents be raised to 400 IU. Many researchers and physicians now contend that 1,000 IU should be the adult level. Don’t take more than that without getting a doctor’s advice.

For more on bone and joint health, visit:


Bischoff-Ferrari H. “Vitamin D: What is an Adequate Vitamin D Level and How Much Supplementation is Necessary?” Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. 2009;23(6):789-795.

National Osteoporosis Foundation. “Vitamin D and Bone Health.” Accessed December 17, 2009.

Lee JH, O’Keefe JH, Bell D, et al. “Vitamin D Deficiency an Important, Common, and Easily Treatable Cardiovascular Risk Factor?” Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2008;52(24):1949-1956.

Knight JA, Wong J, Blackmore KM, et al. “Vitamin D Association with Estradiol and Progesterone in Young Women.” Cancer Causes & Control. 2009; [epub ahead of print].

Arteh J, Narra S, Nair S. “Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency in Chronic Liver Disease.” Digestive Diseases & Sciences. 2009; [epub ahead of print].

Kulie T, Groff A, Redmer J, et al. “Vitamin D: An Evidence-Based Review.” Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2009;22(6):698-706.

Mascitelli L, Pezzetta F, Goldstein MR. “Menopause, Vitamin D, and Oral Health.” Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2009;76(11):629.

Landers, Susan J. “IOM Studies Boost in Vitamin D Requirements.” American Medical News. April 20, 2009.

© 2010 HealthyWomen All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission from HealthyWomen. 1-877-986-9472 (tollfree). On the Web at:

New vitamin D and fish oil study: how you can participate


The National Institutes of Health is funding a study of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids to determine whether taking these supplements can reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, and stroke in people who have no history of any of these conditions.

The study, called VITAL (VITamin D and OmegA-3 triaL) will include 20,000 men and women. Recruitment for the trial will begin in January 2010.

Would you like to participate? Even though the study is being run by Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, people from anywhere across the United States can be a part of the study. Here’s what you need to know.

Who is eligible for VITAL?
Any woman aged 65 or older or man aged 60 or older who has not previously experienced a heart attack, stroke, or cancer (you can enroll if you have had skin cancer) may be eligible to participate in the study. Potential participants must fill out a questionnaire, and those chosen for the study will be contacted by the study team.

How VITAL works
The study is designed for participants to take about 2000 IU vitamin D and/or about 1 gram of fish oil (omega-3 fatty acids), or placebo, daily. The chosen participants will receive their necessary supplements and instructions via mail. Eligible individuals will be randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: (1) take both vitamin D and fish oil; (2) take vitamin D and placebo fish oil; (3) take placebo vitamin D and fish oil; or (4) take placebo vitamin D and placebo fish oil.

For each year individuals participate in the study, they will need to complete a questionnaire, which can be completed in about 15 to 20 minutes. The questions are about habits such as exercise, diet, smoking, use of medications, family history of illness, and use of dietary supplements. Participants will occasionally be contacted by telephone to verify or collect information.

Participants must agree to limit their intake of vitamin D (besides the supplements provided by the study) to no more than 800 IU daily and to limit calcium supplement intake to 1200 me or less daily.

How to enroll in the study

You can visit the study website ( after Labor Day, and instructions on how to receive a questionnaire and introductory materials will be posted.

Low Vitamin D Linked to Increased Body Fat


Woman on Scale


Previous studies have demonstrated an increased risk for heart disease with inadequate vitamin D levels.  (See Jan 2009 post of this blog site – Latest Buzz on Vitamin D)  A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism now suggests that increased body fat is also related to low vitamin D levels.  This study evaluated ninety women 16 to 22 years old.  Women with low vitamin D levels had more body fat (both deep abdominal fat and subcutaneous or superficial fat) than women with normal vitamin D levels. The researchers were not able to determine if low vitamin D levels lead to increased body fat or if increased body fat lead to low vitamin D levels. Further studies are needed to evaluate this association further.

The American Heart Association recommends getting Vitamin D from food sources (milk, salmon, mackerel, sardines, fortified cereals) rather than taking supplements. Most people should consume between 800 and 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) daily.


Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &  Metabolism (November 2008)

What Do You Think About the Latest Buzz on Vitamin D ?


A recent study (The Framingham Offspring Study) reported an increased risk for heart disease in people whose Vitamin D levels were low. People with high blood pressure were at an even higher risk than people with normal blood pressure.

The study suggests that Vitamin D blood levels less than 15 ng/ml may increase your risk for a heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. In the study even after adjusting for other common risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes) people with low Vitamin D levels were at a much higher risk compared to people with normal Vitamin D levels. Low Vitamin D levels are relatively common in the United States, especially among people who do not get a lot of sun exposure or in areas that do not get a lot of sunshine. Darker pigmented skin and the use of sunblock prevents the sun rays from being absorbed and decreases normal Vitamin D production in the body. Routine screening of Vitamin D levels is currently not recommended and you should discuss your individual risk with your health care provider. The American Heart Association recommends getting Vitamin D from food sources (milk, salmon, mackerel, sardines, fortified cereals) rather than taking supplements. Most people should consume between 800 and 1,000 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) daily.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Circulation. 2008;117:503-511