Connecting Vitamin C to Cardiovascular Health

Connecting Vitamin C to Cardiovascular Health

Learn how low levels of vitamin C can affect heart health. Antioxidant activity, supporting healthy vascular smooth muscle cells, healthy collagen production and healthy lipid profiles are just some of the ways vitamin C supports cardiovascular health.

The scientific literature is clear: low levels of vitamin C can affect heart health. Vitamin C supports heart health via several important mechanisms:

Insufficient vitamin C levels leads to weakened blood vessel walls which trigger a biological repair process leading to plaque formation.

In an interview featured in Element magazine, naturopathic cardiologist Daniel Chong, ND explains research on this connection:

“The idea that vitamin C may be a key component in cardiovascular health was first conceptualized by Linus Pauling and Matthias Rath in 1990. Humans are one of the few animals on the planet that are unable to make vitamin C. They are also one of the few animals to develop cardiovascular disease. The only animals that have heart attacks like we do are guinea pigs, and they don’t make vitamin C either.”

Chong continues: “Vitamin C is required for collagen production. Pauling and Rath suggested that vitamin C insufficiency weakens blood vessel walls which triggers a biological repair process leading to plaque formation. They noticed that one of the most effective repair molecules to be mobilized during the process was lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)]. They observed an inverse relationship between production of Lp(a) and vitamin C levels, and proposed that Lp(a) might act as a surrogate to protect the blood vessels when vitamin C levels decline.”

The Dr. Rath Research Institute then developed a mouse model to imitate human metabolism. The mice were genetically altered to lose the ability to produce vitamin C and at the same time gain the ability to produce Lp(a). Mice were placed on a consistent diet with varied amounts of vitamin C (in the form of ascorbic acid).”

The study results showed that mice consuming less vitamin C produced more Lp(a). Also, the production of Lp(a) paralleled the development of atherogenic plaques. Even more exciting is that the researchers were able to achieve a level of vitamin C where the mice had no plaque formation at all.”

Vitamin C is a nutrient vital to human health. As integrative practitioners know, determining how much vitamin C to recommend can be highly individualized, based on a person’s age and health status. “I don’t feel many of the human studies of vitamin C supplementation have been useful in estimating the amount that’s sufficient to support cardiovascular health because they rarely use dosages of more than 1,000 mg per day,” explains Chong. He says this is inconsistent when compared to amounts produced endogenously in animals. “For example, goats produce a baseline amount of vitamin C of a few thousand milligrams per day when they’re healthy and not under stress,” says Chong. “Interestingly, when they are exposed to stress of any kind, goats increase production of vitamin C to over 10,000 mg per day.”

All experts agree that when taking vitamin C, regardless of the dose recommended, it’s always best to consume multiple doses throughout the day versus one large daily dose. This mimics nature, says Chong, who often recommends 2,000 mg per day. “Some patients may need more, depending on their diet and lifestyle,” says Chong.

Article published by By Emerson Ecologics | Feb 11, 2021

Immune Support and More for Fall 2020

Immune Support and More for Fall 2020

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For over 26 years, Treasure of the East has served the American TCM community, and especially the Chinese American TCM community, with over 500 varieties of single herbs and formulas.

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Toilet Paper- the key to preventing COVID-19

Toilet Paper- the key to preventing COVID-19

So, the COVID-19 coronavirus is most likely going to be in your community in the next few weeks if it isn’t already and I am repeatedly being asked by patients what they can do to protect their families besides stocking up on toilet paper. 

The biggest thing that we can do for our families and ourselves is boost innate immunity against viruses; do things to help prime our immune system so it is ready to shut the virus down.  There is no need to panic- for most people it will be a mild illness and so the very same measures that we take against a flu can help with respect to immune building for the coronavirus.  I have to start by saying make sure you are doing the basics- good nutrition (largely plant based whole foods diet), good sleep (try to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night), decrease stress (meditate, laugh, be social), exercise, and wash hands regularly.  All of these things seem so basic, but really do affect the health of our immune system.

Now that that is out of the way- what else can you do naturally?  This is kind of an easy one for me because I have used it for so long with my own family, friends and patients and I know that it works.  There are a few ingredients that have many good studies and medical literature supporting the fact that they can measurably increase our immune system efficacy against viruses.  It specifically works by increasing the potency of our Natural Killer Cells, which besides having an awesome name, are one of our biggest defenses against viruses. Although I make an antiviral cocktail from different supplements that I keep in my fridge when my family is sick; the one ingredient that always goes in is the Immunoberry liquid by Designs For Health.  It is a one stop shop of the studied powerhouse antiviral ingredients; Elderberry, Astralagus, Cherry Bark, Maitake and Shitake mushrooms, and Beta Glucans.   

My kids even ask for “the mushroom stuff” when they are starting to feel under the weather or are sick.  I believe everyone should keep a bottle of this in their fridge. You should check with your physician, however this supplement is generally very safe for children as well as adults and very easy to take  -about one ml (one dropper full) every day when you are sick or getting sick to boost your natural immunity.  Although, you could use it every day – I don’t recommend that because if you are otherwise healthy you don’t need an immunity boost every day. The taste is “earthy” and for those who don’t like eating dirt it can easily be masked in another liquid.  (Read: you can get your kids to take it).

You can find it in our shop for much cheaper than you will find anywhere else.  One bottle lasts my family of six 4 months.  Any supplement in our shop is quality checked and you can be certain that you are getting what you paid for.  We really want our patients to afford and use the supplements that matter so we tried to pass on as big of a discount as we can to you.  Please forward this along to anyone else who you think might benefit from this information.  I will include the studies below if anyone wants to do some light reading. 

If you are convinced here is a link to our shop: If you have already registered with us just sign in, otherwise it only takes a minute to create an account and you can have access to all of our quality tested supplements.

If the link doesn’t work you can visit our site at and click Shop.

Beta-glucan recognition by the innate immune system.

Goodridge HS, Wolf AJ, Underhill DM.

Immunol Rev. 2009 Jul;230(1):38-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2009.00793.x. Review.

Antimicrobial properties of shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes).

Rao JR, Smyth TJ, Millar BC, Moore JE.

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2009 Jun;33(6):591-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2008.10.018. Epub 2008 Dec 31. No abstract available. Erratum in: Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2009 Jun;33(6):597. Smyth, T J [added].

beta-Glucans and dectin-1.

Tsoni SV, Brown GD.

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2008 Nov;1143:45-60. doi: 10.1196/annals.1443.019. Review.

Medicinal importance of fungal beta-(1–>3), (1–>6)-glucans.

Chen J, Seviour R.

Mycol Res. 2007 Jun;111(Pt 6):635-52. Epub 2007 Mar 7. Review.

 Colds and influenza: a review of diagnosis and conventional, botanical, and nutritional considerations.

Roxas M, Jurenka J.

Altern Med Rev. 2007 Mar;12(1):25-48. Review.

Inhibition of proinflammatory activities of major periodontal pathogens by aqueous extracts from elder flower (Sambucus nigra).

Harokopakis E, Albzreh MH, Haase EM, Scannapieco FA, Hajishengallis G.

J Periodontol. 2006 Feb;77(2):271-9.

Immunomodulatory and antimicrobial effects of some traditional chinese medicinal herbs: a review.

Tan BK, Vanitha J.

Curr Med Chem. 2004 Jun;11(11):1423-30. Review.

Fungal beta-glucans and mammalian immunity.

Brown GD, Gordon S.

Immunity. 2003 Sep;19(3):311-5. Review.

Effects of D-Fraction, a polysaccharide from Grifola frondosa on tumor growth involve activation of NK cells.

Kodama N, Komuta K, Sakai N, Nanba H.

Biol Pharm Bull. 2002 Dec;25(12):1647-50.

Anti-angiogenic property of edible berries.

Roy S, Khanna S, Alessio HM, Vider J, Bagchi D, Bagchi M, Sen CK.

Free Radic Res. 2002 Sep;36(9):1023-31.

[Studies on pharmacological junctions of hairy root of Astragalus membranaceus].

Jin R, Zhang X, Chen C, Sun Z, Shen Y, Liu D, Hu Z.

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 1999 Oct;24(10):619-21, 639. Chinese.

Addition of Maitake D-fraction reduces the effective dosage of vancomycin for the treatment of Listeria-infected mice.

Kodama N, Yamada M, Nanba H.

Jpn J Pharmacol. 2001 Dec;87(4):327-32.

Increased production of antigen-specific immunoglobulins G and M following in vivo treatment with the medicinal plants Echinacea angustifolia and Hydrastis canadensis.

Rehman J, Dillow JM, Carter SM, Chou J, Le B, Maisel AS.

Immunol Lett. 1999 Jun 1;68(2-3):391-5.

Anthocyanins are detected in human plasma after oral administration of an elderberry extract.

Cao G, Prior RL.

Clin Chem. 1999 Apr;45(4):574-6. No abstract available.

Interaction of vitamin C and flavonoids in elderberry (Sambucus nigra L.) during juice processing.

Kaack K, Austed T.

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1998;52(3):187-98.

Induction of immunomodulating cytokines by a new polysaccharide-peptide complex from culture mycelia of Lentinus edodes.

Liu M, Li J, Kong F, Lin J, Gao Y.

Immunopharmacology. 1998 Nov;40(3):187-98.

Chinese herbs: a clinical review of Astragalus, Ligusticum, and Schizandrae.

Sinclair S.

Altern Med Rev. 1998 Oct;3(5):338-44. Review.

The function of human NK cells is enhanced by beta-glucan, a ligand of CR3 (CD11b/CD18).

Di Renzo L, Yefenof E, Klein E.

Eur J Immunol. 1991 Jul;21(7):1755-8.

Fast Dancing- An Easy Way to Stop Pandemic Weight Gain

Fast Dancing- An Easy Way to Stop Pandemic Weight Gain

Strategy for Pandemic Weight Gain

I have been hearing it from many patients who were on track and doing well. There’s something about not having structure that makes it really hard to stick to their workout plan and they’re eating plans.  With  homeschooling, working from home, gym closures, and our very forgiving sweatpants it’s easy to see why it feels like the cards are stacked against us. This is really why Intermittent Dancing + Intermittent Fasting or Intermittent Fast Dancing.  This the way to go- Seriously it’s going to be a new trend and you’re hearing it here first because I’m pretty sure I invented it – at least I have never had a client tell me they had been prescribed this before. I’m actually going to dare you to do it for one month because it’s really easy to stick to and it works.  Comment below if you are going to take the challenge and share it with others-  and then click here to get started 

The Plan and why it works:

We are combining the power of Ketosis (Fasting) and Dancing (High Intensity Interval Training at a Minimum Effective Dose )

Fasting can be done for two main reasons- Longevity or Weight Management (loss or stabilization). I have an article on Intermittent Fasting here already, but essentially when you are doing fasting for weight loss the 16:8 works best and is the easiest to maintain long term. This means you eat for only 8 hours a day and you fast the other 16.  The best window can vary depending on your schedule, but for most people 12pm-8pm or 10pm-6pm work best because it is really hard to fast if you have a family and everyone is eating dinner.  Fasting is really easy- you just don’t eat. 

We are combining the power of Ketosis (Fasting) and Dancing (High Intensity Interval Training at a Minimum Effective Dose ) – And it’s fun!

 So, what do you eat when you are not fasting? I’m going to tell you exactly what I tell my clients- You will plan to have 2 full meals during your 8 hour fasting window. And, you will take a ketone ester (not a ketone salt) – 1 capful if you are female, 2 if you are male 20 minutes prior to each meal.  Your meals should consist of a protein, a carb, and a veggie and if possible you will eat them in that order (if you are having a sandwich you don’t need to take it apart and eat it in pieces- that’s just weird).  If you get hungry, you can have one snack between your meals preferably something low fat like fruit.  The only other food rule is that  your meals is you can only have 100 calories of fat with each meal – you choose it, mayo, oil, butter, cheese, avocado, dressing, etc…  The first two days might be a little adjustment period as your body gets used to burning your stored fat for fuel, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to do this after 3 days- and that you don’t even get hungry. Drink water, unsweetended tea (hot or iced), no alcohol, black coffee, 

Now for the Intermittent dancing- super simple- you have to dance (and sing outloud if your location permits) for 5 minutes a day, but if you are only to purposefully exercise for 5 minutes a day you better be doing it hard enough so your body and muscles get the message and start producing all of the beneficial signaling hormones of exercise.  This is exactly how you do it- turn on your favorite music, start a timer for five minutes and you dance as hard as you can until you are out of breath and feel like you are going to die (energy level required for this will depend – if you are in shape you may have to throw some really high energy moves like jumping, squatting, somersaulting to get you winded -but do what you gotta do) and when you feel like you are going to die- dance for another count of ten and then stop and count to fifteen and start and repeat until your timer rings.  Dancing is way more fun, but if you wanted to be a little more structured or take it to the next level- just do any body weight exercise you can remember from middle school PE ( Burpees, Cherry Pickers, Jumping Jacks, Butt Kickers, Mountain Climbers, Squats, Quick Feet, Lunges, Cartwheels, Pushups) with the same of idea of setting your timer, doing them until you feel like you are going to die, stop for 15 seconds, repeat until timer ends.

The reason 5 minutes can work is because of a concept called minimum effective dose of exercise- the smallest dose or exercise required that will produce a desired outcome.  And for most of us busy people if done correctly it can mean as little as 5 minutes of HIIT exercise a day and combined with fasting can produce real results with respect to fat loss without muscle loss. 

Kinder Fayssoux MD

This challenge is for fun- but we will be opening up our new Fat Loss in 5 minutes a day course again in June.  Enrollment is limited, so gather your friends and hold your spot at the Quarantine rate of $399 for a 8 week program If you would like to hold a spot click here. 

Sleep Initiation, Sleep Latency, or Both?

Sleep Initiation, Sleep Latency, or Both?

Sleep is important for many reasons. During sleep our brain is hard at work cleaning up and organizing all of the activity from the day.  The ideal amount of sleep for longevity, decreased risk of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases like Parkinson’s and dementia is 7 to 9 hours.

Many people struggle with sleep issues and it is important to dig in and unroot where the problem lies: is it sleep initiation? sleep latency? or both? Sleep initiation is having trouble falling asleep and sleep latency is having trouble staying asleep or achieving deep levels of sleep. Sleep initiation tends to be related to anxiety, elevated cortisol levels, exercising too close to bedtime, caffeine intake, temperature, screen time, inadequate morning light, or decreased natural melatonin production. Sleep latency can be caused by excessive ambient light, screen time, alcohol use, bedroom temperature, pets, or children in the bed, hormonal imbalances, prescription medications, and nighttime urination.  I often hear patients say, “it’s normal to get less sleep as you age,” but that isn’t entirely true; regardless of your age, you should be able to get very close to the recommended hours of sleep.

Common supplements that can help with sleep initiation are melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. Common supplements that can help with sleep latency are glycine and l-theanine. Honokiol or dihydrohonokiol-B (DHHb), derived from magnolia bark, can work for both.

– Kinder Fayssoux MD

Common supplements that can help with sleep initiation are melatonin, valerian root, passionflower and lemon balm. Common supplements that can help with sleep latency are glycine and l-theanine. Honokiol or dihydrohonokiol-B (DHHb), derived from magnolia bark, can work for both. You should check with your physician prior to trying these supplements, especially if you are on any other prescription medications, but generally speaking, they are safe substances.  Tylenol PM or Nyquil should not be used for sleep as they have many other ingredients in them besides the antihistamine, usually Benadryl, which is putting you to sleep. However, I also don’t recommend patients use Benadryl or antihistamines alone as a sleep aid as there are other side effects of those medications that can make sleep worse; the most common being increased nighttime urination.  

Other activities that are conducive to restful sleep are meditation and gentle stretching or yoga before bed.  Another recommendation supported by science is to do a controlled sleep deprivation for 24 hours in order to reset the sleep cycle. If your sleep pattern is off, stay awake for 24 hours, and then go to sleep between 9 and 10 p.m. to reset the cycle and maintain this bedtime. Excessive napping also can interfere with a solid sleep routine.  

Often overlooked, another easy fix is to review your prescription medications. For example, if you take a medication that makes you urinate more, ask your doctor if you can take that medication in the morning instead of the afternoon or evening to decrease the likelihood that you will need to urinate in the middle of the night. Reviewing the sleep-disturbing effects of all your prescription medications is paramount.

Sometimes prescription medications are necessary to help with sleep, but they should primarily be looked at as a temporary solution for most. There is no consensus as to whether they produce deep sleep at a level that is beneficial for health. Also, some of these products, particularly benzodiazepines, steeply increase your risk for dementia – even with occasional use. That being said, occasional use of prescription sleep aids can be necessary at times to reset and regulate the sleep cycle.

What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!

What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!

What to Get Someone Who Has Everything? The Gift of Longevity!

With the upcoming gift-giving season, we can remember that longevity is a gift we can give ourselves every day, not just for the holidays. We all have a genetic blueprint in our DNA, which indicates whether we might have a tendency for chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, fibromyalgia, dementia, and arthritis.

The thing about it, though, is that just because it is in your DNA does not mean it is your future. Epigenetics, the study of genes, involves two important terms – genotype and phenotype. Very simplistic definitions of genotype and phenotype are what is in your genetics and what is actually present. So, for example, say you did genetic testing, and it shows you have the genotype for diabetes that puts you at risk for diabetes. Still, you do not have the phenotype for diabetes because your labs and testing do not indicate you have diabetes. In a nutshell, this is the concept of epigenetics: that there is more to developing disease than having a gene. There are certain environmental factors that can turn on and turn off genes resulting in a phenotype that either matches your genotype or does not.

Just because it is in your DNA does not mean it is your future.

This is powerful information. As I tell my patients, just because it runs in your family does not mean you will get a particular disease. To counter genetic tendencies, you can create a lifestyle to help keep those genes from turning on and becoming your phenotype. Not everyone wants to or can do genetic testing, but for many of these diseases, the interventions that make the significant effects are similar.


Here are a few things you can do to keep your chronic disease genes turned off:


  • Get 7-9 hours of good, quality, uninterrupted sleep a night
  • Eat a whole-foods, mainly plant-based diet
  • Get a minimum of 5 minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week
  • Reduce sedentary activities
  • Walk after meals
  • Do a minimum 12-hour fast daily
  • Make sure you are getting adequate Omega 3s in your diet
  • Eat plenty of greens (aim for 10-12 cups a day)
  • Take sugar out of your diet
  • Take alcohol out of your diet
  • Socialize (responsibly) and laugh daily
  • Have your meals with other people

So, for the person who has everything – and everyone else on your list – feel free to give them a beautifully wrapped copy of this article.

Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season.