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Reduce and Manage Your Stress

March 23, 2017

One of my favorites ways to get patients to reduce and mediate their stress levels is to use a free “breath trainer” on their smart phone or computer. There are a lot of free apps to do this, and my favorite for the iPhones is Breathe+ and my pick for Android is MyCalmBeat. It’s as simple as a metronome with a breathing visual. Read more…

What does “normal” really mean when it comes to lab tests?

March 23, 2017

Naturopathic and functional medicine practitioners often interpret conventional labs more carefully than just a binary determination of “normal/abnoral”. There is good reason for this. A more careful look at lab values can an ammount to a life preserver for medical refugees who are castaways from strict interpretations.

Shoe size is a good analogy regarding lab interpretation. Most labs define “normal” as the average result of a pool of asymptomatic patients plus or minus 2 standard deviations. This covers about 90% of the “normal” population. If you were to use this standard to determine what the average shoe size was, it would probably be somewhere between 6 and 12. Given biological individuality, it becomes rather absurd to suggest that you could give any human being a shoe between size 6 and 12 and expect it to fit. Read more…

How do you help patients get off medications?

March 23, 2017

I frequently get asked by practitioners new to functional medicine how and when to take patients off of medications.

vitaminmyth

When I am thinking of helping a patient get off a medication, I always have lifestyle, diet, and nutriceutical interventions in place first. The time to consider whether to taper off of a medication is after several months of consistent practice and clear benefits from lifestyle changes.  Read more…

Adrenal Fatigue & Adrenal Insufficiency

March 15, 2017

The Adrenal GlandsAdrenal glands
Gram for gram, the adrenal glands receive more blood flow than any other part of the body–including the heart and the brain. The body is an efficient machine, so this relatively massive dedication of blood flow is an indication of how important these often tiny organs are. Theysit on top of your kidneys weigh in at a mere 3-5 grams each and measure are 1/2″ tall and 3″ wide.

The Adrenal Medula & Cortex
Your adrenal glands have two layers that secrete different sets of vital hormones. The outer layer of the adrenal gland (the adrenal cortex) secretes steroid hormones which are made from cholesterol. Cortisol is, by far, the major hormone product of the adrenal cortex. It is called a “glucocorticoid” because of it’s effects on raising blood sugar (glucose).

Healthy cortisol levels have a “diurnal” cycle, with normal levels being highest around 7AM and lowest levels occurring around midnight. This morning cortisol boost is intended to wake you up with plenty of blood sugar and blood pressure. If you wake up feeling unrested, groggy and wrecked there may be a problem with your sleep or your Adrenal glands may be fatigued or exhaustred. That’s what this article is about.

The Diurnal Cortisol Patterncircadian-rhythm-cortisol

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Natural Treatments for Depression & Anxiety: The Defining Disorders of Our Time

July 17, 2016

depressed young man sitting on the bench

Depression is predicted to be the second largest contributor to the global burden of disease by the year 2020. By 2030, depression will be the #1 contributor to the global burden of chronic disease in high-income countries.

There is a greater than 16% lifetime risk of major depressive disorder (MDD). Persons living below the poverty level are nearly 2½ times more likely to have depression. 43% of persons with severe depressive symptoms report serious difficulties in work, home, and social activities.

There are no laboratory tests for MDD and diagnosis depends on Read more…

Chronic Inflammation: The Fire Behind the Modern Epidemics

June 7, 2016

Woman-in-fire

Inflamare: To set on fire.

We are all familiar with classic signs of inflammation include: Heat, Redness, Pain, Swelling, Loss of function. While most of us associate inflammation with pain, acute, short-term inflammation is a normal and necessary part of the body’s response to injury or infection. Chronic low-grade inflammation is another, far more problematic, matter that underlies nearly all of the modern epidemics.

Inflammation occurs with everything from a flea bites, rashes, bruises and minor infections to serious heart attacks, autoimmune diseases and cancers. Less commonly known is that low-grade, chronic inflammation contributes to not just general aches and pains, but also cancer, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmunity, low testosterone, cognitive decline, depression, Parkinsons, Altzheimers.

Inflammation

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Correcting Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder (DSPD)

May 13, 2016

DSPS

Getting enough sleep and high-quality sleep is critical to mental, emotional and physical health. Deep sleep is when your body makes the most growth hormone–the body’s own fountain of youth that keeps your body and mind feeling young and facilitates recovery from stress, injury and disease.

First off, identifying and treating sleep apnea and snoring that may be disturbing sleep is key. There are now fairly inexpensive home-tests that measure pulse oxygen and nasal breathing as a fairly accurate screen for apnea that is far more convenient that a full, overnight sleep study. You still need to get the test from a doctor, but health insurance is often covering these convenient home screens. Depression, anxiety, peri-menopause, menopause, and andropause can also cause sleep disturbance and these are also all treatable with functional and naturopathic medicine.

Now, I want to focus on night-owls. If you have trouble winding down and Read more…