We hope this finds you and your loved ones safe and well. Our hearts go out to the communities affected by these devastating wildfires. While the immediate threats to life and property are the foremost concern, smoke particles have an impact on our lungs and well-being. Outlined below are key notes about symptoms, how to limit exposure and natural therapeutics. We hope you find this useful!
HOW CAN I TELL IF THE SMOKE IS AFFECTING MY FAMILY?
- Watery or dry eyes
- Persistent cough, phlegm, wheeze, scratchy throat or irritated sinuses
- Shortness of breath, asthma attack or lung irritation
- Irregular heartbeat, chest pain or fatigue
WHAT ARE WAYS TO LIMIT EXPOSURE TO SMOKE?
- Stay indoors whenever possible with the doors and windows closed.
- Avoid rigorous outdoor activities.
- If you do spend time outdoors, change your clothes as soon as you get inside and wash exposed parts. Additionally, rinse dogs off with water. Keeps cats inside until quality of air improves.
- N95 masks properly worn may offer some protection. Do not rely on paper or dust masks for protection.
- Use a HEPA filter(high-efficiency particulate air) such as Healthmate by Austin Air. SFNM is a distributor and can order this for you.
- Avoid vacuuming, which can stir up dust.
- When driving keep windows closed and use air conditioner set to recirculate.
- Track air quality using AirNow. Open windows for fresh air when the air quality improves.
WHAT ARE SOME NATURAL WAYS TO SUPPORT MY HEALTH?
- Irrigate sinuses with saline using a bulb syringe or a neti pot.
- Steam inhalation—add a few drops of an essential oil (such thyme or eucalyptus) to nearly boiling water in a bowl, put a towel over your head and breathe in deeply. This will help clear out your sinuses.
- Use an herbal eyewash to soothe irritated eyes. You should be able to find at your local health food store. Herbs it will likely include: calendula (marigold), hydrastis (goldenseal), chamomile, and euphrasia (eyebright).
- Increase water intake to reduce scratchy throat, coughing and dry nasal passages.
- Increase intake of anti-inflammatory foods: garlic, turmeric, ginger, green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, nuts, beets, pineapples, etc.
- Increase intake of high anti-oxidantfoods: goji berries, wild blueberries, dark chocolate, pecans, artichoke, elderberries, kidney beans, cranberries.
- Supplemental anti-oxidants: N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Smoke causes inflammation via oxidative damage so, antioxidants are great for cleaning up the debris.
- Herbal Respiratory Suport: marshmallow root, yerba santa, mullein, elecampane and licorice (don’t use if you have high blood pressure).
- Herbal Stress Support: Adaptogens—ashwaghanda, eleutherococcus, rhodiola, holy basil; Nervines—lemon balm, passion flower, kava kava, valerian.
Our doctors are also herbalists and have put together an herbal tincture to support your lungs. This is available now at 10% off our normal tincture price. Give us a call if you would like to nourish your lungs with botanical medicine.
Most importantly, listen to your body and contact your healthcare provider or 911 if you are experiencing health symptoms. Additionally, contact your veterinarian if your pet or livestock is having difficulty breathing or coughing. Stay Safe!
The kids are back in school, and fall is upon us. We are moving from outdoor meals to inside the home. Transition periods such as the seasons changing are a great time for starting healthy habits. Here are some fun and engaging tips for helping your kids develop healthy eating habits.
EAT SEASONALLY AND LOCALLY
- Visit your local farmers market to experience seasonal foods with ALL your senses—see the vibrant colors, taste a peach, touch the bumpy gourds, smell the wildflower bouquets, hear the fiddlers playing.
- Encourage your kids to ask the farmers about how and where the food was grown.
- Allow them to pick out one new seasonal vegetable and fruit each week.
- Plan a day-trip to a local farm, apple orchard or pumpkin patch to experience things firsthand.
- Think about joining a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. When you join a farm’s CSA program, you will receive a box of fresh, seasonal, local produce and/or other food, every week or two. Consider signing up with Imperfect Produce, a CSA that finds a home for “ugly produce” and thereby prevents waste. In addition to eating yummy produce you get to see the beauty of imperfection.
- Throughout the season, have your child draw pictures of the foods you try and display them as a collage on the refrigerator. At the end of the season, you will have a fun piece of art and a nice reflection of the foods you experienced together.
- Use these experiences to teach your child about the connection between their food and nature’s cycles. Illustrate that it’s possible to care for their body and the earth at the same time. By eating locally and seasonally, we reduce our carbon imprint while obtaining high quality vital nutrients to fuel our bodies. This is good stuff!
BE CREATIVE IN THE KITCHEN
- Engage your kids in meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. The more they are involved in the meal, the more they will be interested. At the farmer’s market or store, tell them “We’re going to have stir fry tonight. Can you please help me pick out some veggies to use?”
- Get your kids involved in packing their own lunch. Instead of brown bags, consider using a BPA free Bento style lunch box such as Yumbox. This a great way to learn about balanced and proportional meals.
- Explore Pinterest or ask your community about their favorite fun, kid-friendly recipes such as “zoodles” (zucchini noodles), veggie tater tots, smoothie pops, fruit shish kabobs, etc.
- Do you know a kid that hates bread crust? Try using sandwich cutters. They are fun and come in all shapes and sizes. They are a great addition to spicing up the lunch box!
FAMILY & COMMUNITY MEALS
- If you follow just one of the tips, this is the one! Pick at least one meal per day that your family can sit down and share a meal together. This is a time you can model healthy eating behaviors, such as eating slowly, enjoying your food and stopping when you are full. Evidence shows that kids who eat meals with their family have increased communication skills, less anxiety, higher self-esteem, increased academic performance and improved nutrition.
- Consider hosting or organizing a monthly or quarterly event centered around sharing food with your extended family, friends and community.
Dr. Katie Strobe is a proud mom of a spunky 4-year-old girl. When she’s not at the playground, she is passionately helping people with their health using a holistic approach. Her specialties include: Functional Gastroenterology, Functional Endocrinology, Emotional and Mental Wellness and Naturopathic Dermatology. Dr. Strobe is available Tue-Fri and is currently accepting new patients. Call 415-643-6600 to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consult.
The “Myers’ Cocktail” is the gold standard of delivering intravenous vitamins and minerals directly to your bloodstream. John D. Myers, MD, pioneered this use of Intravenous Nutrient Therapy (IVNT). The nutrients included in this formula (calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, Vitamin B and Vitamin C) are balanced perfectly for people new to IVNT and those needing a quick boost.
Take a look at the following ingredients and you’ll see why the Myers’ Cocktail is the perfect elixir.
The most abundant mineral in the body is necessary for strong bones and releasing hormones into the body for intracellular and nerve signaling. People that are more at risk for calcium deficiency include: postmenopausal women and women of childbearing age whose menstrual cycle has stopped (amenorrhea).
This important mineral is involved with neuromuscular activities, nerve conduction and electrolyte balancing. Symptoms of a deficiency include: anxiety, migraines, muscle cramps, insomnia, tics and irregular heart rhythms.
This trace element is required for thyroid gland function, DNA production, reproductive health, free radical protection and fighting infections. Hair loss, fatigue and difficulty concentrating are all indicators of having a selenium deficiency.
Zinc supports the immune system, makes proteins and genetic material and assists in wound healing. It is important to take a daily intake of zinc since there is no storage system. Symptoms indicating you may have a deficiency—weakened immune system, diarrhea, inability to taste food, decreased mental alertness, delayed healing of wounds and impotence.
VITAMIN B1 (THIAMIN)
This is an important vitamin for cellular growth and energy metabolism. Be aware—Furosemide (Lasix), a commonly prescribed medication for hypertension, can deplete thiamin. Weight loss, confusion and short-term memory loss are symptoms of depletion.
VITAMIN B2 (RIBOFLAVIN)
This B vitamin is important for energy production, cellular growth, and metabolism of fats, drugs and steroids. Symptoms of a deficiency—sores at the corners of the mouth, swollen cracked lips, hair loss and problems with the reproductive and nervous systems. Higher risk groups for deficiency include pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, vegans and athletes who are vegetarians.
VITAMIN B3 (NIACIN)
Have you ever felt flushing in your face after taking a B Complex supplement? Niacin is the one responsible. Research shows it can increase good cholesterol levels, lower triglycerides and improve cardiovascular health. Symptoms of a deficiency—nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches and fatigue.
VITAMIN B5 (DEXAPANTHENOL)
Helps release energies from carbohydrates and fats; helps make RBCs and support adrenal function. Symptoms of deficiency—fatigue, depression, stress, irritability, insomnia, numbness and tingling in the feet.
VITAMIN B6 (PYRIDOXINE)
This vitamin is involved in over 100 different metabolic reactions. An important one involves the processing of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are important messengers for the brain. Anemia (microcytic), swollen tongue, cracks at the corners of mouth, depression and confusion are symptoms of deficiency.
VITAMIN B12 (COBALAMIN)
Cobalamin aids in the production of DNA and helps makes neurotransmitters in the brain. Metformin—a common prescribed drug for managing Type 2 Diabetes depletes B12. Antacids are a group of medications that can significantly decrease B12 as well. Symptoms of a deficiency—fatigue, constipation, numbness in extremities, balance problems and a painful tongue.
VITAMIN C (ABSCORBIC ACID)
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, produces collagen for wound healing, helps the body absorb iron and boosts the immune system. Symptoms of a deficiency—fatigue, poor wound healing, small red spots on the skin and bleeding gums.
Ah, summer is here which means warm weather and clear skies, but not necessarily clear skin. Heat, sweat, sugary foods and lathered up sunscreen can be a recipe for an acne disaster. Whether you are people-watching in Dolores Park, picnicking in Crissy Field or surfing at Ocean Beach—here are five tips for preventing acne flare-ups.
1. GO FOR FOODS WITH A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX
We have all heard that eating junk food can wreak havoc on your skin. Researchers are discovering that the glycemic index of carbohydrates may be the underlying cause of this. The glycemic index is a measure of how fast carbohydrates get broken down in your body. Foods that are high on the list spike the blood sugar levels quickly. This triggers a hormonal cascade that causes an increase in sebum production and therefore more acne. Some of America’s favorite summertime foods such as pretzels, sodas, potato salad, ice cream and watermelon are high on the glycemic index list, so it is best to avoid or at least eat them in moderation.
2. BALANCE THY HORMONES
Androgens, the male hormones present in both men and women, can overstimulate the oil glands and cause acne, especially along the hair follicles. In some cases, hormonal testing is recommended for females who have acne accompanied by excess facial or body hair, deepening voice, or irregular or infrequent menstrual periods. Nutrition and herbal botanicals are very effective in balancing hormones. Some of these include: red clover, saw palmetto, vitex, chaste berry, barberry, burdock and flax seed.
3. SUPPORT LIVER DETOXIFICATION
An overworked and stagnant liver can’t properly eliminate toxins and deactivate hormones floating around in the body. By reducing the toxic load and supporting the liver with herbs and foods, you can help the body to eliminate toxins through the digestive system instead of the through the skin. Increase your intake of liver supporting foods and herbs such as beets, carrots, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage and brussels sprouts), eggs, artichokes, sesame seeds, brazil nuts, milk thistle, turmeric and dandelion greens.
4. DECREASE INFLAMMATION
First and foremost, to prevent inflammation you should avoid foods that are known to increase it. These include dairy, gluten, sugar, vegetable oils, trans fats, feedlot-raised meat, processed meats with nitrites, alcohol and refined grains and flour. However, including foods with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory molecules and thereby reduces acne flare-ups.
An abundance of oxidative stress molecules in the body correlates with increased acne flare-up. Studies indicate that people with low levels of glutathione in their body are more predisposed to having acne. Therefore, supplementation of this powerful antioxidant can be an effective method to quench these inflammatory molecules. At San Francisco Natural Medicine we offer intravenous glutathione therapy, which delivers this antioxidant directly to your bloodstream.
5. OPTIMIZE DIGESTION AND GUT HEALTH
Constipation can be another cause of toxic matter being reintroduced back into the body. Remembering the “4Fs” of fats, fiber, fluids and fitness can help with chronic constipation. Probiotics, whether as live cultures in fermented foods or in a daily supplement, are very beneficial to skin and gut health. These “friendly bacteria” create a barrier in the gut that prevents inflammation and acne.
The American Cancer Society estimates that 26,730 Californian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis can be a very scary and devastating moment. It is common to feel lost and confused, particularly on how to navigate through the treatment options. Over the years, more and more women are turning to an integrative approach for their care. An integrative approach supports the use of conventional medicine, implements healthy lifestyle practices and promotes wellness of the whole person—mind, body and spirit.
POWER OF PREVENTION
A recent article published in JAMA Oncology suggests that in women, 41% of total cancers can be prevented by adhering to a healthy lifestyle. This is defined as:
- Smoked less than 5 years of life
- None or moderate alcohol drinking (1 drink per day for women)
- BMI of at least 18.5 but lower than 27.5
- Weekly aerobic physical activity (75 vigorous-intensity or 150 moderate-intensity minutes)
DECIPHERING DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT OPTIONS
A cancer diagnosis can be very overwhelming, and many people soon find themselves swimming in questions.
- “What are the side effects of my treatment options?”
- “What is the chance that my cancer will be cured?”
- “How likely are my children or family members to get cancer?”
- “What do these terms mean: ER, PR, HER2, triple negative, Stage 0, DCIS?”
Naturopathic doctors strongly believe in the principle “Docere” which means “Doctor as Teacher.” Having a clear understanding about the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options and side effects can be very empowering for women.
COLLABORATING WITH HEALTHCARE TEAM
A common misconception about the role of alternative medicine in cancer treatment is that it is a substitute for conventional treatment. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Naturopathic doctors work TOGETHER with your team of healthcare practitioners to support your journey and improve quality of life during and after treatment.
There are many effective cancer support therapies that come from nature. In fact, one of the leading breast cancer chemotherapies, Taxol (Paclitaxel) is derived from the bark of the Pacific yew tree that grows in Pacific Northwest forests. Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) is a natural therapy that has been demonstrated in the lab and in clinical trials to boost the immune system. Specifically, Turkey tail mushroom can augment conventional breast cancer therapies by increasing NK and CD8+ T Cell activity. Vitamin D3, melatonin, Omega 3 fatty acids and high dose IV Vitamin C are among other natural treatments that also help strengthen the immunity.
SQUASH THE SIDE EFFECTS OF TREATMENT
Whether you are undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or all of the above, naturopathic medicine includes a treasure chest of therapies that can help alleviate side effects. These symptoms may include: fatigue, neuropathies lymphedema, nausea, anxiety and depression. Herbs, vitamins and nutrients can be very supportive. In addition, there is strong evidence that mindful-based therapies such as meditation, yoga and Qi gong can improve quality of life during and post treatment.
SUPPORT BAY AREA’S BREAST CANCER AWARENESS
This weekend, cancer survivors and cancer survivors’ friends, families and caregivers will hit the streets of San Francisco to participate in the AVON 39. It is a 2-day, 39-mile event in which participants trek through the city to raise awareness. Proceeds raised will fund LOCAL Bay Area organizations that provide screenings, resources and conduct research. Last year’s beneficiaries include: Shanti Project, Women’s Cancer Resource Center and Zero Breast Cancer. Let’s help cheer them on!
From controlling every breath, heartbeat, to enabling us to think, create, learn and feel emotions—the brain sits in the center of control. Under sub-optimal conditions, depression, anxiety, memory loss, brain fog and cognitive impairment can occur. Therapies such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, probiotics, mind-body practices and botanical nootropics can be useful for optimizing brain health.
1. FOUNDATIONS OF HEALTH
First and foremost, don’t overlook the pillars of your health—nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress management. Chronic stress causes inflammation, nerve cell damage and nutrient depletion. To manage stress, engage in activities that bring you joy and peace such as meditation, mandala drawing, dream work, guided visualization, yoga or gardening.
Getting adequate sleep is critical for brain health. Research published in Science Magazine demonstrates that the brain flushes out toxins during sleep. The "glymphatic system," a network of fluid filled channels, clears toxic metabolic byproducts from the brain. This remarkable process predominantly occurs while we sleep.
2. NUTRITIONAL PSYCHIATRY
There is growing evidence in the discipline of nutritional psychiatry that demonstrates the association between diet quality and mental health among different ages, cultures and countries. According to the article in The Lancet Nutritional Medicine as Mainstream in Psychiatry, "The emerging and compelling evidence for nutrition as a crucial factor in the high prevalence and incidence of mental disorders, suggests that diet is as important to psychiatry as it is to cardiology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.”
Functional medicine testing is a great diagnostic tool to IDENTIFY AND TREAT THE CAUSE. It helps to unveil deficiencies, excesses and imbalances. This is useful in developing personalized nutrition and supplement plans. Tests to help determine the root cause include:
- Address insufficiencies: neurotransmitters, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids and microbiome diversity
- Check for heavy metal overload: lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, chromium
- Reveal genetic deficits: MTHFR & COMT
3. NOOTROPICS—ARE THEY RIGHT FOR YOU?
The pursuit for enhancing brainpower has existed for many centuries. More recently the term “nootropics” has emerged. After synthesizing the first nootropic, piracetam, a Romanian psychologist fused the Greek words for “mind” and “to bend or turn” to define a category of substances that enhance brainpower. He defined a set of criteria these drugs should meet—enhance learning, increase coupling of brain’s hemispheres and improve executive processing. Importantly, these drugs must be nontoxic and nonaddictive.
Fast-forward to today and there is a Reddit forum with over 80,000 users discussing everything from stacking, dosing, safety to legalities. It is believed that nootropics increase the availability of neuro-chemicals by enhancing oxygen to the brain and nourishing nerve cell growth. Sounds pretty great, right? It is recommended that anyone considering nootropics first consult their doctor to discuss safety.
4. USE TECHNOLOGY TO TRAIN YOUR BRAIN
According to the article Mental health: There’s an app for that published in the journal Nature in April 2016: “Electronic interventions are not new to psychology; there is robust literature showing that Internet-based cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), a therapeutic approach that aims to change problematic thoughts and behaviours, can be effective for treating conditions such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders.” Listed below are some of the best-reviewed apps for cognitive enhancing and mood balancing:
- ELEVATE trains the brain for a variety of brain capabilities, such as listening, memory and comprehension. It focuses on practical language and math skills, including: name recall, listening comprehension and estimation. Bonus—it’s free.
- LUMOSITY has games that help improve flexibility of thinking, attention, memory, problem solving, and processing speed.
- PEAK uses a variety of daily games and goals to test users’ focus, memory, mental agility, problem solving and language skills. Premium subscribers have access to exercises on demand and receive personalized training plans.
- PERSONAL ZEN reduces anxiety by rewiring your brain to focus more on the positive versus the negative. Users follow two animated characters as they burrow in a field of grass; one of them is calm and friendly while the other one is angry.
- HAPPIFY uses the principles of positive psychology. This app helps train your brain to conquer negative thoughts, show gratitude, cope with stress and empathize.
- HEADSPACE is great for the beginner who wants to learn meditation for reducing anxiety and stress. Skills the app teaches you include: breathing exercises, mindfulness and cognitive diffusion, meditation tips and advice for how to increase relaxation and concentration.
Check out these nutritional, herbal and lifestyle methods to stay healthy during cold and flu season. The earlier you take these measures, the better outcome you will have!
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION
Studies demonstrate that viral infections are spread more readily by direct contact versus airborne. Therefore, to avoid contamination don’t share utensils, wash hands frequently and launder clothing, bedding and towels regularly, especially for children sharing rooms and bathrooms.
HEALING POWER OF MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS
Fungi are a fantastic source of immune support for colds, cancer prevention and lifelong health.
- Shiitake: add these to soup or an entrée to boost immunity
- Reishi: reduces risk for infections and neutralizes free radicals
- Turkey Tail: immune modulating and cancer support
- Chaga: immune balancing and powerful adaptogenic properties
Herbal medicine has stood the test of time in providing effective immune support.
- Andrographis: supports healthy levels of immune cells in the blood
- Astragalus: immune, liver and adrenal support
- Grindelia: addresses bronchial problems
- Osha: soothes sore throats and loosens phlegm
- Sambucus: contains a high amount of anthrocyanins and flavonoids
These foods contain beneficial bacteria and yeasts that support gut health and regulate and balance the immune system. Aim for at least a small amount of fermented foods with each meal. kefir, beet kvass, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi are great choices.
VITAMINS & NUTRIENTS
Vitamins and nutrients become depleted when fighting infections. Among the most beneficial for immune support include vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. IV nutrient therapy is a great option for nipping a cold in the bud since it acts quickly by going directly into the bloodstream.
NOURISH THY BODY
Try this nutritive broth-based soup created by Dr. Bill Mitchell, one of the founders of the prestigious naturopathic school, Bastyr University.
DR. BILL MITCHELL’S IMMUNE-BOOSTING SOUP
1 small yellow onion chopped
1-5 cloves of garlic, chopped/crushed to taste
1 Tsp. to 3 Tbs. grated fresh ginger root to taste
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup of sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 quart of miso broth, chicken broth or mushroom broth
3 Tbsp. fresh minced parsley
1 grated carrot
Combine the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, mushrooms and simmer for at least 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, carrot and parsley. Put cover on pan and steam for 5 minutes. Eat 1-4 times a day.
Do you struggle with stubborn fat? Particularly in the stomach, inner thighs, neck, buttocks, hips and underarms? If so, you may benefit from receiving an MIC injection. MIC Fat Buster is a blend of powerful “lipotropic” compounds that metabolize fat deposits and speed up the removal of fat.
When administered in combination with a proper diet and regular exercise, this lipotropic formula can assist your body in eliminating fat, while simultaneously increasing your energy levels. Additionally, MIC Fat Buster can aid in detoxification, sleep, hair growth and supporting the nervous system. Let’s see how MIC Fat Buster injections work!
“M” IS FOR METHIONINE
This essential amino acid is the precursor for SAM (S-adenosyl methionine) which is the “activated” form of methionine. SAM is responsible for numerous metabolic actions in the body:
- Lowering cholesterol thereby preventing excess fat buildup in the liver and throughout the body’s circulatory system.
- Reducing histamine, thereby lowering allergy symptoms.
- Melatonin synthesis which is an important sleep aid and powerful antioxidant.
- Glutathione synthesis which is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals.
- Creatine synthesis which improves liver disease, skin tone and elasticity, nails and hair, cardiovascular and muscular functions.
“I” IS FOR INOSITOL
Inositol is part of the vitamin B complex and plays these roles in the body:
- Aids in weight loss and redistribution of body fat by breaking down or emulsifying fats in the body.
- Associated with proper insulin function which is necessary for utilization of carbohydrates.
- Involved in the hair growth process.
- Has a calming effect on the nervous system and is being studied as a possible treatment for depression and panic attacks.
- As a component of lecithin it helps to prevent and reduce high cholesterol, thereby preventing hardening of the arteries.
“C” IS FOR CHOLINE
Choline is a water-soluble macronutrient that is related to the B-vitamin complex and plays these roles in the body:
- Supports the liver in processing and excreting of waste.
- Required for the metabolism and transport of fats and cholesterol.
- Supports the maintenance of a healthy nervous system and aids in memory.
When the MIC lipotropic agents are further combined with B vitamins and carnitine, there is a synergistic effect which intensifies the fat burning effect. At San Francisco Natural Medicine we offer the “Fat Buster” injection which has MIC, B complex and carnitine.
Do you suffer from anxiety, depression, attention or behavioral problems? Perhaps you have taken a prescription medication such as Xanax, Zoloft or Adderall and it helped at first, but it stopped working OR you had terrible side effects. At San Francisco Natural Medicine, we offer you an alternative to the allopathic psychiatric approach. There are many factors that can be involved, and usually it is combination of several things. Below are some of the key points.
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers used by the nervous system to convey information throughout the body. Optimal neurotransmitter balance is required to maintain proper health. An imbalance may cause the brain and the body to produce too much or too little stimulation which produces neurological or psychological problems. Key neurotransmitters we examine include: serotonin, GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, glycine, glutamine and histamine. SFNM has provided neurotransmitter testing for many years as a helpful diagnostic test.
The gut-brain-microbiome triad plays a large role in your mood and behavior. Your “gut instincts” stem from the enteric nervous system (ENS) which is composed of over 500 million neurons. This bi-directional communication system interacts with your gut microbiome, a community of microbes, that play a role in hormone and neurotransmitter regulation and inflammation modulation.
There are many functions these gut bacteria play; one such role is breaking down food in the gut. A recent study showed that a bacterial by-product from fiber digestion increased levels of serotonin. Gut bacteria also play a role in defense and immunity. Certain food components such as gliadin can be perceived by the bacteria as“harmful” and mount an immune response. Ultimately this can result in “leaky gut syndrome.”
Ongoing physical and emotional stress can result in the adrenal glands producing too little or too much of the stress hormone, cortisol. This may manifest into symptoms of anxiety, depression, poor memory and difficulty focusing. Using a 4-point cortisol/DHEA test, we can rule in/out adrenal issues as a cause of symptoms.
A example of an extreme nutrient deficiency is scurvy, which is a severe vitamin C deficiency. However, even less extreme deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, macronutrients and amino acids can be detrimental to your mental well-being. Vitamins B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), B12 (cobalamin), vitamin C and vitamin D are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters. Magnesium and calcium are involved in nerve cell communication. Evidence shows that depression is more common in people with omega-3 fatty acids deficiencies. One of the tests we can run at SFNM is a micronutrient test to determine these deficiencies.
HEAVY METAL TOXICITY
Exposure to heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and tin can result in psychological and neurological problems. Lead piping and paint, mercury dental amalgams, fish consumption, eating canned foods and cosmetics are some of the sources of heavy metals in our daily life. Signs and symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, nervousness, shakiness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, confusion and psychotic behavior. We can diagnose heavy metal toxicity with a urine test.
Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are small changes in your hereditary DNA. In some people these minute differences can greatly affect mood and behavior. Family history of similar symptoms may indicate you have a SNP. Examples of SNPs are:
- MTHFR is a key enzyme involved in serotonin, dopamine, and catecholamine production.
- COMT is the enzyme responsible for degradation of catecholamines. If COMT is not metabolizing properly, catecholamines will build up, potentially leading to aggression, anxiety and anger.
- MAO is another enzyme in the brain that degrades neurotransmitters.
Spring has sprung and is the perfect time for NEW beginnings and hitting the reset button. These 8 powerful tips will help you feel fresh and new and put that spring back into your step.
1. GATHER THE INGREDIENTS
The first one being knowledge—understanding how the detoxification process works is pivotal. This helps you make educated decisions about the parameters of your detox plan: what type, how long and what to expect during the process. Next, cleanse your kitchen, remove or hide foods that are not included on your detox plan. If in doubt, a good rule of thumb is to follow Michael Pollan’s advice “Don’t eat anything your great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Finally, hit up your local grocery or farmers market. Organic foods are ideal. If cost and availability are a concern—resort to the DIRTY DOZEN andCLEAN FIFTEEN lists to guide you in smart shopping.
2. AWAKEN YOUR SKIN AND LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Skin, the largest organ in the body, absorbs everything we expose it to. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid using lotions, soaps and cosmetics that contain toxic chemicals. SWEATING is a very effective for detoxifying. Plan on using your gym’s SAUNA, visiting a day SPA or taking a HOT GINGER BATH at home by adding ½ cup of freshly grated ginger. Activate a sluggish lymphatic system by using a technique called DRY SKIN BRUSHING to help cleanse cells and dump toxins into the blood for later excretion.
3. LIBERATE YOUR LIVER
Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in the body; it processes everything you eat and drink and then decides to eliminate or repackage it for later use. Consuming liver-cleansing foods greatly facilitates this process. These include: artichoke, lemon, beets, carrots, broccoli, garlic and onions. A powerful liver-supporting herb is milk thistle (Silybum marianum). The seeds of this plant are effective in supporting hepatic cell protection, boosting antioxidant activity, cell regeneration and anti-fibrotic actions.
4. BE KIND TO YOUR KIDNEYS
Your kidneys are on duty 24/7 filtering toxins from your blood. Consuming adequate amounts of WATER is the most gentle and effective method to aid in flushing out toxins. Aim for drinking 2-5 liters of water per day (depending on sweating amounts).
5. LOVE YOUR LUNGS
The lungs are often overlooked as an organ of detoxification, yet they play a critical role in expelling toxins in the form of gas and phlegm. Set aside time in your day for DEEP BREATHING exercises that focus on effectively using your diaphragm. STEAM INHALATION using essential oils such as oregano, rosemary, eucalyptus help facilitate expelling phlegm from the lungs.
6. TRAP THE TOXINS
To reduce common side effects of detoxification such as headache, acne, joint pain and moodiness—incorporate FIBER and CHELATORS into your detox plan. Fiber binds to fats, hormones, metals, chemicals, and other toxins. Healthy sources of fiber include beans, apples, and crunchy vegetables. Cilantro and chlorella are powerful chelators that are able to bind heavy metals such as aluminum, cadmium and mercury.
7. ANTIOXIDANT POWERHOUSE TO THE RESCUE—GLUTATHIONE
To put it lightly, glutathione is the “Mother of Antioxidants.” This molecule binds and eliminates toxins. It reverses oxidative stress caused by environmental pollutants, pesticides, inflammation and aging. Foods that are rich in glutathione include asparagus, avocado, spinach, garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables (kale, collard, broccoli, cabbage), cantaloupe, carrot and grapefruits. Intravenous Nutrient Therapy (IVNT) is a great method for delivering glutathione directly to your bloodstream.
8. NOURISH THYSELF
Use this time for rejuvenating your mind, body and soul. This is a great opportunity for adopting mindfulness practices into your life. Take and break from technology. Follow you instincts in restoring your body. Get out in nature, read a book, journal your thoughts, reconnect with a friend, take a nap or sleep in. Most importantly BE KIND TO YOURSELF during this process. Doing a detox is hard work. Commend yourself for getting through each minute, hour and day. YOU will feel AMAZING at the end of this journey!
If you would like to learn more about personalized detoxification plans and naturopathic medicine, call today for a free 15-minute telephone consultation. Dr. Strobe is currently seeing patients Wednesday-Saturday.