A Vitamin of Many Names – B3!

Niacin, nicotinic acid, niacinamide, nicotinamide…so many different names for the same vitamin! What is the difference in these forms? Niacin and nicotinic acid are synonymous, and they are the form of Vitamin B3 found in foods (turkey, tuna, peanuts, and mushrooms being amongst the highest). In the human body they may be converted to niacinamide, or nicotinamide, which has other effects.

Niacin is the vasodilating form which is recommended to increase HDL cholesterol. It must be taken carefully, since in it’s immediate-release form it can cause intense flushing. Sustained-release forms are available, but dosage should be limited to 500 mg/day unless under the supervision of a physician as this form is linked with liver toxicity at higher strengths.

Niacinamide, or nicotinamide, receives much attention for its benefits on the skin, and rightfully so! It has been found to reduce redness through anti-inflammatory actions. These same actions are helpful for acne, as demonstrated in a study which compared its effectiveness against an antibiotic, clindamycin ( view abstract here ). In oral form, it has been studied for photoprotective effects, which can be especially helpful for those pre-disposed to skin cancers (view abstract here ).

If you have further questions about Vitamin B3, please don’t hesitate to send us a message or give us a call!

Optimized Fat Metabolism


* Weight loss/increased lean body mass

* Optimized athletic performance/faster recovery/no bonking

* Enhanced mental focus and emotional stability

* Improved glucose/insulin profile

* Metabolic flexibility – get rid of “HANGRY”!

* Optimized athletic performance / faster recovery / no bonking /

diminished soreness (especially for Weekend Warriors!)

* Learning more about “keto”, “Low Carb” or “Fat-Adaptation” for  sport and/or long-term health

The OFM (Optimized Fat Metabolism) protocol may be the perfect solution! Alpine Apothecary is extremely pleased to welcome Peter Defty, founder of VESPA, and developer of the OFM program which has improved the performance and health of many athletes and others with similar health goals. Peter will be giving an outline of the program, but even more importantly will be available to answer questions about how a lifestyle adapted to fat burning can benefit anyone interested in long-term health. The product he developed, VESPA, is designed to enhance the effects of fat adaptation as well as make it easier to get your body to readily burn fat as fuel.



Peter Defty, nutrition expert and ultra athlete, began running in 2000 and went from carb burner with poor results to a successful fat burner. He’s competed in the Western States 100, among many other events, and coaches ultra athletes on using fat as fuel. He works with researchers such as Drs. Stephen Phinney & Jeff Volek on refining this approach for success in life and racing.


Simplifying Detoxifying!

We are excited to welcome Dr. Henry Malus, NMD, who will be offering a comprehensive yet concise overview of detoxification:

Do you need to detox?

Self assessment tools will be sent upon registration

In this class you will learn about potential sources of environmental toxins, how to prevent exposure, how to evaluate your toxic burden, and the safest methods for removing accumulated burden.

Lab testing options will be available at completion of class.

Dr. Henry Malus is a naturopathic doctor in Midway and SLC. He has worked with a variety of environmental medicine organizations and has completed advanced clinical courses in Environmental Medicine. He is passionate about raising awareness of the environmental impacts of health and the genomic and epigenetic factors that increase risk for individuals.

When: Wednesday, January 18th @ 6 pm

Class size will be limited, cost is $25 ($25 coupon given at end of lecture for products/services)


What’s not to LOVE about Low-Carb?

100 miles of trail on fat tires, 16,000 feet of climbing, 14 hours in the saddle – all on 700 calories of carbs? Figuring at least 500 calories burned per hour, that’s 10%, at most, of the energy expended, which means the other 90% came from FAT. That, for me, was the ultimate validation of a low carbohydrate lifestyle. I completed the Butte 100 mountain bike endurance race in late July. It was less about wanting to actually spend that much time training and then pedaling the course as it was wanting to see for myself whether the data presented by Dr. Stephen Phinney in his book “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance” and documentary “Run On Fat” could apply to a weekend warrior athlete like myself. It was, in a way, the completion of a personal experiment to discover whether a low carbohydrate lifestyle is enjoyable, sustainable, healthy, and supportive of athletic endeavors. The answer for me is a resounding YES!

Enjoyable – eating delicious whole foods such as salads (rich with avocadoes, nuts, and olive oil), eggs, coconut, meats (as long as it is free of hormones), and full-fat dairy products (organic)

Sustainable – it has been almost 3 years eating this way for me and carbohydrate-rich foods, in particular the simple grains, devoid of nutrients, are not hard to avoid

Healthy – my blood testing shows low risk factors for heart disease, low inflammation, and optimal blood sugar regulation

Add to that list the benefits such as lack of cravings, sustained energy, mental acuity, weight management (or loss if not careful), and freedom from bonking when exercising, and it is not hard to keep me convinced.

Please keep in mind this is more of a lifestyle concept and not a “diet”. The idea is to get your body comfortable with burning fat as a fuel – something it is designed to do but in most cases is just not used to. Glucose, from carbs, is burned preferentially because it is “easy” and cannot not be allowed to accumulate in the bloodstream as it can become harmful, i.e. diabetes. Fat adaptation is the ability to switch over to burning fat, which our bodies can do very efficiently and cleanly, if given the opportunity. We have been conditioned to take in carbohydrates at regular time intervals, so our bodies rarely have the opportunity to delve into fat stores. Three distinct benefits of fat adaptation are body weight management, glycemic (involving blood sugar and insulin levels) control, and enhanced exercise endurance ability.

Because I am convinced of the benefits of fat adaptation for long-term health, I’d like to start sharing what I’ve learned over the past 3 years. To that end Alpine Apothecary is offering an informational presentation:

Facts About Fat Adaptation

…an explanation of how it benefits weight management and blood sugar control, and how to begin moving in the direction of a fat-adapted lifestyle

Tuesday, October 18th

6:30 – 7:30 pm

1675 W Redstone Center Dr., Suite 125

Park City, UT


Space will be limited to 12 people in order to allow us to address questions and concerns completely – please RSVP to ensure a spot!

We are moving!

In order to create more convenience, better selection, and the best in efficient customer service, we are moving the apothecary to a new location in Redstone Village!  Construction is underway and proceeding as planned, with a targeted move-in date of July 1st.  Please check back often, or visit our Facebook page (!

Toss My Vitamins? Not Me!

I was recently made aware of a NY Times article entitled,  “Should We Toss Our Vitamins?” and asked my opinion.  The article is filled with vague statements such as “taking vitamins does not extend life” and [there is] “limited evidence that vitamin and mineral supplementation could prevent cancer or cardiovascular disease”.  One physician, speaking on a study she was involved with, concluded, “I do think there’s room for more research.”  First, let’s consider the true clinical significance of these statements.  In the field of medical research, data should be completely objective, yet there are several points which definitely add subjectivity:

                – Types of and quality of products tested – cheaply made multivitamins contain forms of nutrients which are known to be poorly absorbed or utilized

                -Lack of uniformity in subjects being tested – variables such as diet, exercise and metabolic genetic tendencies are often not controlled

                -Broad goals being measured – longevity, cancer (often without attempt to narrow down aspecific form), and cardiovascular health either connote a variety of parameters which would need to be addressed, or may be unrealistic to expect from a supplement, especially when lifestyle parameters are not accounted for

 Given the unreliable and very difficult-to-translate data, it might help to look at a review published in November, 2013, by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (CLICK HERE FOR FULL TEXT).  After taking into account all of the challenging variables , their end statement was: “ Based upon the available scientific evidence to date, supplementation with MVMs does not appear to increase all-cause mortality, cancer incidence or mortality, or CVD incidence or mortality and may provide a modest protective benefit.”

I did not used to feel multivitamins were necessary for the average person, but I’m beginning to change my mind a bit.  It is a true challenge to take in all the basic nutrients our bodies need, even if we are the most vigilant foodies.  Data reported in the Journal of American College of Nutrition states: “They studied U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits, finding “reliable declines” in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past half century.”  Reports of similar findings are easy to find, including a report by the Nutrition Security Council, which cites a decline from 400 mg to 55 mg in the sum of minerals (calcium, magnesium, and iron) found in cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, and spinach.  That means our produce now is less than 15% as nutritious as it used to be!  We really need to eat a lot more spinach!!  But make sure it’s organic, or you may well offset all the extra minerals by taking on a large load of pesticides.

The high proportion of processed, grain-containing foods in the average person’s diet usually means that percentage of their diet is going to be low in nutrients, despite the fact that those foods are often “fortified”.  The nutrients which are used to fortify foods (folic acid, for example) are often not a high-quality form usable by the body.

And don’t forget about fats…the human body ideally wants a high ratio of omega 3:6, but again the high levels of omega 6’s found in processed foods make an adequate amount of omega 3 almost unattainable without taking in inordinate amounts of fish, which raises the risk of inadvertently taking in heavy metals or PCB’s.

In the end, although I feel nutrients from foods are the best form, getting enough from our diets has become increasingly difficult, even for the most disciplined eater.  The time involved in sourcing, purchasing, and preparing the most nutrient-dense foods can be overwhelming for many who already struggle to get all of their tasks taken care of.  Adding a multivitamin to help cover some of the bases can help ease the stress of trying to get the best nutrition.

From an economic standpoint, I believe the best  way to achieve optimal nutrition is to

                Eat whole, clean foods                               

Produce – organic is sometimes more expensive than conventional, so reserve it for the produce highest in pesticides – For a great guide, CLICK HERE.

Grains – use whole grains which are not commonly produced using GMO technology (spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, etc.)

Eat clean meats and dairy products – again, somewhat more expensive, so reduce  serving sizes

Maintain good digestive health – make sure you are absorbing the nutrients from all the goodfood you are eating with proper stomach acidity, digestive enzymes, and a healthy intestinal lining

Take a quality multivitamin – this will set you back $20-$25/month, but provide very significant levels of minerals, trace minerals, and vitamins needed by the millions of different enzyme pathways in our bodies

Popping a multivitamin (especially a poorly formulated one) may not guarantee prevention of cancer, heart disease, or early death from any cause, particularly if it is not coupled with a healthy lifestyle.  However, I have experienced  overwhelming response from clients who have realized significant improvement in everything from digestive health to renewed energy and vitality when using a well-thought-out supplement regimen, especially when coupled with positive lifestyle changes.  Some of these improvements are purely subjective, as in “I feel so much better!” or “my abdominal pain is relieved”.  However, some are completely objective, as in homocysteine levels (a pro-inflammatory risk factor for heart disease and other issues, easily measured by blood test), which come down with a small combination of nutrients.

An optimal supplement regimen for you may or may not include a multivitamin, but it is far from accurate to proclaim quality nutrient products a “waste of money”.   A  large body of research on individual nutrients, which can be found by CLICKING HERE, supports the judicious use of supplements for optimal health.

Vitamin D Report

A report released yesterday by the Institute of Medicine outlined the group’s findings based on an analysis of studies and input from clinicians. What is the Institute of Medicine? According their website, it is “an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public”. However, upon closer look at this group, one finds that 54.8% of the funding comes from the federal government. Additional funding is through: a large sum from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (originally started by the founder of Johnson & Johnson – one of the largest health care and pharmaceutical corporations, and whose ongoing investment funding is not specifically noted on their website), other large philanthropic organizations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and other smaller groups. With so many different interest groups involved in the Institute of Medicine, is it realistic to expect unbiased reporting?

I find it better to look at studies for myself and draw my own conclusions. The amounts of studies which have been conducted worldwide point to overwhelming evidence that our Vitamin D levels are alarmingly low. Our government has stated that a level of 30 ng/ml is considered low, while other experts are suggesting that levels of 50 ng/ml are more the optimal range. The IOM report states that supplementation with Vitamin D is not necessary, but in the patients I have spoken with who have had their Vitamin D levels drawn, even in the summer months, the levels are consistently well below 30. If one is going to opt to not supplement, I suggest having a level drawn in February, when sun exposure has been at a minimum, to determine whether dietary Vitamin D is adequate.
For questions on Vitamin D’s role in specific health issues, I strongly urge visiting, the government listing of medical studies, to evaluate their findings. We live in an age when such a wealth of information is at our fingertips – we need to take advantage of it and not simply accept reporting which has the potential of being biased.

Keep that Healthy Feeling

With the new year for many comes a desire to make changes in eating habits. Getting on a health kick can be exciting for a while, especially when its influence begins to bring beneficial changes in how we feel. Often, however, the new regimen begins to become hard to maintain, whether because the food preparation takes longer, it requires more planning, or we begin to feel we can “slip” a little and it won’t make any difference.

I would like to propose that the best way to keep ourselves on track with diet and health goals lies in education and awareness. Remaining mindful of what we are eating does two things:
– It helps us make healthful choices
– It provides us a richer relationship with the truly good foods available to us
One great way to gain awareness is to watch the film “Food, Inc.” (available on Instant View from Netflix), which explains how big industry has changed our food supply for the worse. Yes, they are feeding many people for little money (yet themselves reaping huge rewards), but the poor quality resulting from all the processing is taking a major toll on our collective health. The images from a film like “Food, Inc.” are sure to remain vivid with you as you stand by the meat counter at the local supermarket, or browse the produce department. Thinking about where our food came from before it appeared in the market helps us establish a connection and make better decisions as to whether it is a quality product or not, and whether it will truly nourish us or simply satiate hunger!

A good documentary will often leave us seeking more knowledge on its subject….keep the quest going by subscribing to an online health newsletter such as, Tufts Health Letter, or the Nutrition Action Health Letter by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Another valuable source of information is, which has a Health & Medicine Section, as well as, a government listing of medical studies conducted worldwide.

You will surely find that the more you learn, the more you realize you can’t rely on industry or regulatory agencies to look out for your health. Dig deeper on topics that interest you to find unbiased, scientifically proven information. Remain reflective and vigilant when presented with information that sounds “too good to be true” (or too good to be healthful). If we can ever be of help in interpreting information you come across please don’t hesitate to email us at

Winter Wellness – Coconut

It’s not just for Pina Coladas anymore!  Coconut belongs right up there with all the other health foods, for several reasons.  First, and the one most fitting to our theme this week, is the immune boost it gives.  Coconut contains a substance called lauric acid, which has been shown to have anti-infective activity.

Mary Enig, PhD, is a scientist regarded as a leading expert in the field of nutritional fats.  Her thoughts on coconut oil: “Approximately 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid.  Lauric acid is a medium chain fatty acid, which has the additional beneficial function of being formed into monolaurin in the human or animal body.  Monolaurin is the antiviral, antibacterial, and antiprotozoal monoglyceride used by the human or animal to destroy lipid coated viruses such as HIV, herpes, cytomegalovirus, influenza, various pathogenic bacteria including listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and protozoa such as giardia lamblia.  Some studies have also shown some antimicrobial effects of the free lauric acid.”

Add to these immune effects the fact that as a MCFA (medium chain fatty acid), coconut is metabolized differently from other fats and used preferentially as an energy source rather than to form fat.  In addition, coconut oil has been found to increase basal body temperature and metabolism in people suffering from low thyroid function.

For all these reasons, coconut is a terrific addition to one’s diet.  But don’t buy the sweetened versions commonly found in the supermarket baking supply aisles!  Unsweetened shredded or grated coconut can be found in bulk food sections and health food stores.  It makes a flavorful and healthful addition to breakfast foods and snacks.  Coconut oil makes a terrific substitute for butter or other vegetable oils.  Coconut milk is readily available in cans for cooking or cartons for drinking – think stir-frys and smoothies!

More concentrated immune support can be found in a supplement called Monolaurin, which is the substance credited with the anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects.  It is commonly used in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, where low-grade infections of viruses such as Epstein Barr are suspected.  For general immune boosting, it can be used in a dosage of 1-2/ daily.

Given its wonderful taste and considerable health benefits, be sure to consider adding some coconut to your diet this winter!

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2010 Jul;87(3):1101-8. Epub 2010 May 1. Anti-yeast activity of a food-grade dilution-stable microemulsion. Zhang H, Xu Y, Wu L, Zheng X, Zhu S, Feng F, Shen L.

J Drugs Dermatol. 2007 Oct;6(10):991-8. Novel antibacterial activity of monolaurin compared with conventional antibiotics against organisms from skin infections: an in vitro study. Carpo BG, Verallo-Rowell VM, Kabara J.

J Immunol. 2005 May 1;174(9):5390-7. Saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids reciprocally modulate dendritic cell functions mediated through TLR4.  Weatherill AR, Lee JY, Zhao L, Lemay DG, Youn HS, Hwang DH.

Winter Wellness – Vitamin C

Ask just about anyone to name one vitamin that is helpful for colds and Vitamin C is bound to be the one named.  Dr. Linus Pauling is credited with sparking interest in Vitamin C, not only for immune function but beneficial effects on heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  He personally used high doses of Vitamin C and felt it greatly reduced the number of colds he experienced.  His claims received much attention beginning in the 1970’s, so that numerous studies were conducted in the next 3 decades.  Analysis of these studies by Dr. Harri Hemila found an overall benefit in regards to prevention and duration.  Results were more favorable in groups of participants more prone to stress, whether through sports or jobs (e.g. soldiers).

These findings are well supported by work done by Dr. James Wilson, who has analyzed the role of Vitamin C in our stress response, including the proper production and use of cortisol, the stress hormone.  Perhaps the need for Vitamin C to prevent colds is even greater now than in the previous decades, owing to the fact that our lifestyles as a whole have become much more stressful?

Would taking Vitamin C be helpful for you?  To answer this you might look at benefit versus risk.  What are the risks of vitamin C supplementation?  It is a water-soluble vitamin and has shown remarkably low toxicity.  Because it enhances iron absorption, it is possible that it could lead to high levels of iron, so intake of iron should be assessed before taking mega-doses on a consistent basis.  The only other side effect which occurs regularly is diarrhea, which is actually used by many practitioners to serve as a guide to knowing what the correct dosage is for a patient.  It is commonly recommended that patients take 500 mg every hour until their stools are loose and watery, at which point they should stop and maintain a dosage 500 mg less than that which induced the effect.

Because it is water soluble and readily excreted, taking Vitamin C in smaller quantities throughout the day, and/or using a supplement which is sustained-release will increase its effects.

On a final note, Vitamin C absorption and usage has been shown to be enhanced in the presence of bioflavonoids, a large group of antioxidants from fruits and vegetables.  Using a Vitamin C supplement which contains a 2:1 ratio of Vitamin C: Bioflavonoids is the optimal  form for immune and stress-response support.  Since the basis for such a supplement is to mimic how Vitamin C is found in nature, it makes sense that incorporating plenty of raw vegetables and fruits which are high in Vitamin C would be the ideal form for overall health.  Produce with highest amounts of Vitamin C include oranges, grapefruits, sweet red pepper, broccoli, potatoes, and strawberries.  A daily diet including 2.5 cups of a variety of fruits and vegetables is estimated to contain roughly 200 mg of Vitamin C, which may be adequate for some, but may well create a need to supplement for individuals under various forms of stress.

Vitamin C may seem like an “old housewife” remedy, but its safety and usage are well documented and its availability is widespread and economical, making it a perfect tool in helping to fight the viruses to which we are continually exposed.

Linus Pauling Institute Newsletter, January 2006; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.Updated in November 2009 by: Victoria J. Drake, Ph.D.
Reviewed in November 2009 by: Balz Frei, Ph.D.
Director and Endowed Chair, Linus Pauling Institute
Distinguished Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Oregon State University; Copyright 2000-2010  Linus Pauling Institute