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The best vitamin under the sun

Vitamin D

The fourth vitamin to be discovered, vitamin D is a group of secosteroid compounds that include ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). The term “vitamin” is generally reserved for vital substances the body cannot synthesize on its own.

If the body is given cholesterol and sunshine, it can synthesize its own vitamin D, so technically Vitamin D is not an essential dietary vitamin.Serious deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to rickets, and it was research into this childhood disease, that led to the vitamin’s 1922 discovery by Edward Mellanby.

Vitamin D and Bones

Vitamin D has long been known to play an important role in bone health, and several recent studies provided additional confirmation. One study showed that girls who consumed the most vitamin D had the lowest risk for stress fractures.

It’s not just children who are at risk: 44% of postmenopausal women treated for distal radius fracture were vitamin D deficient or insufficient. And a meta-analysis showed that high doses of vitamin D lower the risk for fracture by 14% to 30% in people age 65 years or older.

Links to Diabetes

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to several types of diabetes.  It’s unclear, however, whether low levels of vitamin D caused the diabetes or vice versa. A larger study in active-duty military personnel in the United States, found that those with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to develop insulin-requiring diabetes within 1 year. And women who have low vitamin D levels during their first trimester of pregnancy were more likely to develop gestational diabetes

Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease

Numerous epidemiologic studies, including the largest one to date, suggest that a low vitamin D level increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.


Women with low levels of vitamin D during pregnancy may have children that are more prone to excess body fat at age 6 years. Furthermore, children ages 6 to 18 years who are overweight are more likely to have low vitamin D levels. Adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with less weight gain among women age 65 and older.

Neurologic Function

Vitamin D has been tied to several higher neurologic functions. Studies have linked autism to low vitamin D during pregnancy, a connection that was strengthened by a map showing that autism rates were highest among children living in states with the lowest levels of ultraviolet B radiation.

People with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have low levels of vitamin D, and better cognitive test results are linked to higher vitamin D levels.  Vitamin D3 may help clear the brain of amyloid-β. And low vitamin D levels in pregnant women have been associated with poor language development in their offspring.

Stroke and Multiple Sclerosis

Data from the Honolulu Heart Program show that people with low dietary vitamin D at baseline were about 25% more likely to sustain thromboembolic stroke, but not hemorrhagic stroke, during the ensuing 34 years.

The last year has seen a flurry of studies linking vitamin D to multiple sclerosis (MS), and all of them tie low levels of vitamin D to the disease. Three of these studies were published in a single issue of the journal Neurology. Another study linked low levels of vitamin D plus exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus to the development of MS.

Low vitamin D levels predict a near-term conversion of clinically isolated syndromes to definite MS. And the risk of developing MS has been linked to lower sun exposure in early life.


About half of women with metastatic breast cancer suffer intense musculoskeletal pain, but high-dose vitamin D2 supplements appear to help. A single oral dose of 300,000 IU of vitamin D appears to help with dysmenorrhea.  And a low level of vitamin D in black Americans increases the risk for knee osteoarthritis pain.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

A recent study showed that women with sufficient vitamin D levels at baseline are 62% less likely to develop Crohn’s disease over the 22 year study than those with vitamin D insufficiency. Additionally, women living at southern latitudes in the United States are 52% less likely to have inflammatory bowel disease than those living in the north.

Kidney Disease

Vitamin D deficiency is almost universal among patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).  Two recent studies independently concluded that high-dose cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) supplementation safely prevents and corrects this in patients undergoing dialysis.

But Wait, There’s More

Within the past year, studies have shown that vitamin D may reduce risk for dental caries (aka cavities).  Low vitamin D may be a result of depression,may increase the risk for perforated eardrums, and is linked to food allergies.

How Much Is Enough?

There’s little consensus about what blood levels of vitamin D are adequate, and even less on how much supplementation is enough. The US Recommended Dietary Allowance is 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years and 800 IU for those who are older.

Some authorities recommend that people who are deficient should receive supplements of 1,000 to 5,000 IU daily, but others have recommended single-bolus doses of up to 500,000 IU.

If you have questions about your Vitamin D level or supplementation, please contact the office.

Gently adapted from Medscape news.

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Burick Center Staff MemberTracy Koval

Office Manager

Tracy joined the Burick Center for Health & Wellness in June of 2016 to help patients by managing various aspects of the office. Tracy brings more than three decades of medical office experience as the former office manager of a multi-specialty group and also works on a part-time basis as a Patient Service Rep at a local urgent care center.

Tracy’s favorite part of working in a medical practice is the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them navigate through the maze of health care. She loves being part of the dynamic team at the Burick Center.

Tracy likes to spend time with her family. She has two sons, Mason, who is living and working in Philadelphia as a Sr. Analyst for a marketing firm, and Spencer, who works at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts.

Burick Center Staff MemberTom Baker

Strategy Officer

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Burick Center Staff MemberRena Geesaman

Patient Coordinator

Rena Geesaman is a Registered Medical Assistant who enjoys providing attentive and caring client service. She is very happy to be part of the Burick Center team where patient care is our number one focus.

Her goal is to do everything within her power to ensure every interaction leaves you feeling well cared for and perhaps even delighted.

Rena volunteers by serving as board treasurer for Carlisle Christian Academy. She also helps facilitate a program at River of God Church for single, pregnant girls which provides practical, emotional and spiritual support.

Outside of the office Rena enjoys hiking, traveling, tending to her flower beds, hosting meals on their back deck, enjoying time with dear friends, loving on her little dogs, and best of all spending time with family. Being fairly new grandparents, she and her husband Don are always happy to share pictures of their little grandson, Lucas. Feel free to ask! She considers herself amazingly blessed!

Burick Center Staff MemberDr. Peter Lu


Dr. Peter Lu trained and worked in New York City for 15 years and recently moved to central PA. He studied pre-med at Brooklyn College and attended medical school at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. Thereafter he worked in the inner city hospitals of New York City, and lastly had the honor of caring for people with his sister in Stamford, Connecticut.

Dr. Lu greatly appreciates open lines of communication as it pertains to questions you may have about your ailment and how acupuncture could help in the healing process. His intention to address your needs to the best of his ability.

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Burick Center Staff MemberLee Morand

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Lee has had the sincere pleasure of working in the Greater Harrisburg area for over 20 years. She relocated to Harrisburg in 1990 after completing her undergraduate degree in Nutrition Pre-Med at Cornell University. Lee received her first Master’s Degree from Shippensburg University. Her second Master’s Degree, as well as Doctorate, were both from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

She uses a Cognitive-Behavioral approach to guide her work with clients across the lifespan. She strongly believes research has shown that changing your thoughts does change your life. Her primary focus with clients is to reduce symptoms by assisting clients to achieve skills they can utilize in their professional, academic, and personal lives.

Burick Center Staff MemberHeather Motter

LMT, Massage Therapist and Back Desk Coordinator

Heather Motter joined the Burick Center team in 2018. A graduate of YTI Career Institute, Heather prides herself on using her highly developed skills to maintain the balance between mind and body. As a licensed massage therapist, she specializes in Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Trigger Point Therapy, and Oncology Massage.

Heather has a vast amount of experience working with a variety of patients. From a simple relaxation massage to a patient dealing with chronic pain, Heather is able to facilitate treatments uniquely designed for each patient’s individual needs.

Heather insists that massage is not just a relaxation luxury. Instead, her philosophy is that massage helps lead to a healthier, happier lifestyle. She encourages everyone to take the time to meet with her to develop a care plan to enhance their overall wellness.

Heather is a resident of Carlisle, where she resides with her fiancé, two sons, and four dogs. When she’s not at work, she can be found outside working on her back yard oasis, or volunteering at Speranza Animal Rescue.

Burick Center Staff MemberFelicia Miller


Felicia Miller is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist who provides nutritional counseling and education to patients of the Burick Center for Health & Wellness.

She takes the science of nutrition with her extensive knowledge of food and coaching skills to create an easy-to-follow actionable plan for her clients to follow.

Recognizing that there are multiple components to creating a successful wellness plan, she looks at the whole person – their concerns, lifestyle, personality, family, and career. Listening to her patients allows for Felicia to find the root cause of their issue and not simply the symptoms.

“Being healthy goes beyond diet, food is just one of the pillars of a happy, healthy person.” Felicia goes beyond the traditional diet education- she coaches and supports her patients as they learn how to make changes in their day-to-day life.

“I’m passionate about whole foods and healthy living I strive to inspire you to make positive food and lifestyle changes – at any age.”

Burick Center Staff MemberAshley Weibley

Registered Nurse

Ashley is a nurse at Burick Center for Health & Wellness. Her nursing philosophy is one of holistic care. She is a patient advocate committed to clear communication, education and applying critical thinking and decision-making skills to help patients achieve better outcomes. She enjoys providing the highest quality nursing care in a respectful, healing environment. She has a personal commitment to life-long learning through formal education and hands-on experience. She appreciates that compassion along with innovative care is what the Burick Center for Health & Wellness is all about.

Ashley has an Associate’s Degree from Harrisburg Area Community College and a Bachelors Degree from Penn State University.

She is married and has twin boys, She enjoys spending time with her friends, family and pets. She has owned and shown Quarter Horses all of her life and continues to compete in her spare time.