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Ask Dr. Nan.

Q: I've been taking Vitality Plus for about one year. But now I'm worried. I have severe osteoporosis and I've read that too much vitamin A can be a problem. The safety limit for vitamin A is 15,000 IU and Vitality Plus contains 15,000 IU. Is this too much for me?--D.P., e-mail

A: You're not taking 15,000 IU of vitamin A. Vitality Plus contains only 5,000 IU of vitamin A and 10,000 IU of mixed carotenoids. Together that's 15,000 IU of nutrients in the vitamin A family. Carotenoids are very, very safe to take in high quantities. So is vitamin A. I've both taken and suggested 100,000 IU of plain vitamin A for people with respiratory infections. Many doctors of integrative medicine give twice that much safely.

Q: I get very nervous whenever I fly in an airplane. I don't want to take tranquilizers. Are there any natural solutions to calm me down?--S.K., e-mail

A: Yes. There are solutions that will treat your symptoms and solutions to treat the cause of your anxiety. I prefer the latter, but both should work.

You can get a homeopathic formula like Calms Forte in most health food stores. Homeopathics are energy medicine that either work or don't work. They can't hurt you, are inexpensive, and worth trying. Take as directed, but away from food, coffee, and strong flavored foods like garlic.

Try Rescue Remedy, a tincture made from flower essences based on the work of Dr. Edward Bach. Place two to three drops under your tongue before you get on the plane and repeat as needed.

Don't drink any caffeinated beverages the day of your flight and bring tea bags of calming herbs with you. Anything with passion flower, skullcap, chamomile, or valerian root will have a relaxing effect. Drink a cup before getting on the plane and more while you're flying.

My favorite solution is a technique practiced by some MDs and psychotherapists called EMDR (Eye Movement Rapid Desensitization and Reprocessing). This technique reprograms thought patterns associated with traumatic memories. It works beautifully to reduce negative thoughts associated with post traumatic stress and lesser anxiety-related patterns, such as fear of flying. You can find a licensed practitioner in your area through the EMDR Institute (www.emdr.com/clinic.htm) or by calling the institute in California at 831-761-1040.

Q: I wish I could eat more fruit, but with two yeast organisms that grow on fruit sugars in my system (cultured by a dermatologist and mycologist for a diagnosis), I have to cut back. What can you suggest?--J.R.F., e-mail

A: It's unusual for yeasts to grow on fructose. Usually, sucrose is the culprit. Some fruits contain both. Your first step is to avoid all sugars, use an appropriate antifungal, and get your yeast overgrowth under control.

After you do, begin bringing certain fruits back into your diet. Fortunately, many fruits low in sugar are highest in antioxidants, such as berries. If they're out of season, get frozen berries.

In addition to containing lots of antioxidants, berries have a minimal effect on blood sugar. This is because they're high in fiber and low in sugar. Berries may be your best choice of fruit for the moment.
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Publication:Women's Health Letter
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:546
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