Is the form of a supplement important?

The quick answer is yes. Absolutely. AND, we should always be looking first to spend our time and money on picking good foods high in the nutrients we are concerned about.

Food vs supplemetns

For minerals, I do prefer zinc picolinate. For calcium and magnesium, I always recommend chelated forms, and there are many (citrate, malate, aspartate, etc.). I don’t usually care which chelated form they take so long as there is no magnesium oxide or calcium carbonate in the product.

For patients with documented methylation defects (e.g. MTHFR 667, high or highish homocysteine, or a high normal MCV), I prefer Continue reading “Is the form of a supplement important?”

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

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 Continue reading “Natural Treatments for Depression & Anxiety: The Defining Disorders of Our Time”

MTHFR Testing & Methy-Folate Dosing

Recently, there have been revolutions in the cost of genetic testing and methylation cycle SNP analysis. 23andme will run ~1,000,000 SNPs for $199, and GeneticGenie will isolate 30 methylation SNPs from the 23andme raw data for free. While the cycle’s various parts and levels of function are inherently interrelated, the focus has been largely been on two SNPs on a single enzyme: MTHFR C667T and A1298C. That’s what I would like to talk about here. Continue reading “MTHFR Testing & Methy-Folate Dosing”

Attention Deficit Disorder & Adrenal Hormones

adderall-cereal1

For starters, I take issue with the word “disorder” in attention deficit disorder (ADD). It’s not a stretch to suggest that ADD is actually a normal physiological response to the many insults of the modern world. The hyper-vigilance, distractibility, and impulsivity of ADD could all be predictable evolutionary adaptations intended to help us be safer and more successful in stressful environments.

Stress is not just mental, it quickly jumps to a physiologic effect. When the brain perceives stress, it sends both chemical and nerve signals to the adrenal glands ordering them to make two short-term stress hormones [epinephrine and norepinephrine] and the long-term stress master hormone cortisol. Not eating regularly enough and getting low blood sugar also spike cortisol levels. Cortisol is now known for promoting the dreaded stress-gut that gives chronically stressed people that apple shape.

Epinephrine and norepinephrine both promote the “fight or flight” response to the world by stimulating increased tone in the sympathetic nervous system. Other attributes of the “sympathetic state” are the tendency to freeze up, tense muscles, shallow breathing, and divert blood flow away from the extremities and digestive tract toward the large muscles. The sympathetic nervous system also interrupts digestion and makes it harder to concentrate and integrate and make new memories. If you have ever had trouble getting someone else (or yourself) to see a new point of view in a heated argument, you can probably thank the sympathetic nervous system for that gem of human psychology.

It all makes perfect sense if you think about it; if your body senses a threat (stress) it gets everything ready for a fight or flight from danger. Cortisol helps us prepare for stress by mobilizing resources to raise blood glucose and cholesterol. This sugar boost is good if you’re about to sprint away from an angry rhinocerous, but not so good (AKA promoting diabetes and heard disease) if the stress is an email or a phone call.

Here’s the problem: Continue reading “Attention Deficit Disorder & Adrenal Hormones”