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National Doctors' Day: Schedule a Wellness Conversation

Vitamins and supplements should be part of an overall wellness conversation between doctors and patients. (Moonlightway/morguefile)
Vitamins and supplements should be part of an overall wellness conversation between doctors and patients. (Moonlightway/morguefile)
March 30, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Are you living the healthiest life you can? Today is National Doctors' Day, and one Florida physician says it's time for both doctors and patients to focus more on wellness than on illness.

Dr. Leslie Emhof is a Tallahassee family practice physician who says, while healthy eating is key, due to changes in our food system it is almost impossible to get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients from diet alone. He recommends talking with a doctor to help fill the gaps.

"The processing has taken most of the nutrients out of the food, and what is fortified is woefully inadequate," Emhof says. "They're enough to prevent disease, such as rickets and scurvy and that sort of thing, but not enough to maintain optimum health."

Emhof says vitamins and supplements can help, but it is important to talk with a doctor, as some can have negative effects when taken in high doses or combined with prescription medications.

He notes even in the Sunshine State, 98 percent of his patients have deficient levels of Vitamin D3 for optimum health.

Getting enough Vitamin D3 from sunshine alone would require 20 minutes of daily exposure over 80 percent of a person's body, which many Floridians avoid due to climate change and ozone depletion, or their fears of skin cancer.

But Emhof says adding an inexpensive supplement can pay off by reducing the risk of many conditions.

"Breast cancer and colon cancer, and prostate cancer, and leukemia, and lymphoma, and melanoma," says Emhof. "And to boost your immune system to reduce your risk for catching a cold, and catching flus."

Emhof adds he recommends a probiotic for most of his patients, the so-called "good" bacteria which can help promote gut health.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - FL