A Quick Note About Summer Sun

Sunshine like so many things in life is all about the right amount. Getting sunlight on our bodies has been demonized lately as being purely bad, and only good for getting skin cancer. Yes, true, not good to get a sunburn as that can be painful and definitely increase your risk of skin cancer. Also, too much sun can damage skin and cause “age spots” and make skin leathery over time.

However, we would not be made to live in a world where the sun shines half the day if we did not need some sunshine. Full spectrum sunlight is good for us and a little bit of of exposure on our skin is healthy. That is how we make vitamin D. 15 minutes of sun exposure even just on our face and arms can be enough to make this vitamin which is crucial to our health. More sun than that can be damaging as above.

Vitamin D is actually a multi purpose hormone that is critical to keep our bones healthy, and for our immune system to function properly. It is extremely difficult to get healthy amounts of vitamin D from diet (takes a whole lot of fish oil) and low vitamin D levels are associated with many health issues including osteoporosis, auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis and also cancer.

For the latest on the best and safest sunscreens to use if you are outside for work, gardening or sport, check out the latest information from the Environmental Working Group on their web page.


Of note the FDA only recognizes 2 sunscreen ingredients to be both effective and safe, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Other non-mineral, chemical sun sunscreens can be problematic. For example oxybenzone can act as an endocrine (hormone) disruptor possibly acting like estrogen or a cause of lower testosterone levels. Such chemicals have been banned by the state of Hawaii as they can damage coral reefs and concerns have been raised about them by some health organizations. Again, check out the website above for useful information.

Another note: too much ultra-violet (UV) light in sunshine can also be damaging to the lenses in our eyes and make cataracts grow faster. If you are out in the sun for long periods of time I recommend good sun glasses with UV protection and polarized lenses to protect your eyes, cut glare and make it easier to see clearly.

Enjoy the sun in small doses!

For Your Health,

Mark L. Hoch, MD

Spring Time Health

Take Charge of Your Health & transform with the season

Spring is here.  It is the time for New Growth and Moving Ahead to the New You. Spring time: the return of life and greenness and blossoms bursting with sweet fragrances in the warming air. From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, this shows up as wood and new life shooting up skyward out of the ground and wind moving you forward if you are in the flow, maybe sideways or backwards if you are not. These tips will support you to get in the flow and receive the most this season has to offer.

What do you need to nourish and strengthen your whole being and begin the process of bringing forth in this world?  What is holding you back?  It is time to discharge any physical, mental, or emotional toxins that are holding you back.


In the 5 phases of action of Chinese medicine, spring is about the energy of the liver and gall bladder system. If you have issues in this phase they most often turn up in the spring.  I have seen this over the years in my clinical practice of holistic medicine.

If all is well the key is to finely tune your system through nourishing herbs and lifestyle practices.

If there is deficiency in the liver, the blood and energy in your body will not move efficiently and vitality will seem to be low.   If you are finding it hard to get up the gumption to get things going or make things happen this signals a deficiency.   Also, if your liver enzymes are low on your blood tests (CMP complete metabolic profile) ALT and or AST is 10 or less, that indicates a deficiency and nourishing this system is critically important for you.


Stinging nettles as tea or lightly cooked.

I like to take a quart or larger sized mason jar and lightly pack it with fresh nettles (careful to place them gently in the jar and not experience the stinging part).  Then fill with hot water and let steep until the water cools.  You can fish the nettles out with a spoon and then drink a cup of the tea 2 to 3 times a day. You can also buy a tincture of the herbs or make a tea or infusion (steeped overnight) from dried herbs.

Chicory, artichoke, watercress and beets are also helpful for the liver.

Artichoke, watercress, and beets can easily be found at the grocery store and chicory can be found in powdered form at your local health food store.


Another issue that shows up classically in spring related to liver and gall bladder is not being able to process or get rid of toxins appropriately.

Clean up your diet.

Eat local, fresh, organic foods.  It is not good to consume pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate that are found in conventional produce and most processed foods. Stop eating fried foods, all processed foods, and all sugar, especially corn syrup and artificial sweeteners.

If you cook in oil use mono unsaturated fats; olive oil (best at lower temperatures), avocado (at higher temperatures) or coconut oil. It is important to avoid deep frying as it creates oxidized oils which enter the blood stream and can cause oxidized cholesterol (bad for the heart). Polyunsaturated oils including sunflower and safflower can become carcinogenic at high heat. Bile moving herbs help clear the liver and get toxins out.

For a general spring cleanse I recommend the following products. Just pick one that resonates for you. You can order these at a discount via your Wellevate account if you are a current patient. If you need help ordering please email us.

  • HerbPharm Health Liver Health Compound 40 drops (1.5 dropperfuls twice a day)
    Product Code HEA13 – the 4 oz. size is more economical
  • Thorne Liver cleanse 1 cap twice a day.
    Product Code T69026
  • Gaia Daily Liver support 1 cap twice a day
    Product Code G99043

For folks with detoxification issues it is important to make sure you have everything your Liver needs to optimize all of its detoxification systems.

Xymogen MedCaps DPO start 2 once a day,  advance to 2 twice a if have a heavy toxic load and can tolerate that.  (Contact us to order.)

Soluble fiber in diet or supplement to absorb toxins in gut so not reabsorbed after excreted/dumped by Liver/Gall bladder.  (fiber that dissolves in water such as beans, oat bran, fresh ground flax seeds, chia seeds, inulin, citrus pectin, psylium).


Do you have the Courage to be you authentic self?
If yes, be courageous and do what you need to do for self care and to fulfill your life purpose!
If not, this a place to get some coaching and develop your courage and will.

Emotional/ Mental for detox.

Monitor anger and be careful not to express the potentially destructive effects of anger.  If you are having difficulty with that get help support trough therapy or other means. Spring is time to build, grow, be vibrant. Be Clean and Green. NOW.

If you need help accessing these medical grade supplements please contact our office.

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Office of Dr. Mark Hoch
190 Broadway St. Suite 101
Asheville, NC 28801

Mark Hoch, MD