Corona virus, COVID-19, Education and Newsletters, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Bolstering Immunity-What You Should Know About Supplements

What’s Novel about COVID-19?

As an emerging infection, we’re beginning to understand what makes this virus unique.  This allows us to be more strategic in our efforts to prevent and treat it.  Here’s what we’re learning:

ACE2 receptors

This virus uses ACE2 receptors on cells to gain entry. Different substances interact with and increase the number of receptors or bind and potentially block them, including Vitamins A and D, Zinc, ibuprofen and anti-hypertensive drugs.  Also, certain conditions can increase the number of these receptors on the cell surface: cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension, conditions increasingly seen with aging and associated with worse outcomes.  Let’s drill down a bit…
While optimal levels of vitamins A and D are critical for a healthy immune response, there is emerging concern that high-doses of these vitamins during active COVID-19 infection may increase the number of ACE receptors on cell surfaces, allowing for more access points into the cells where these receptors are present (they’re especially abundant in the epithelia of the lung, small intestine, kidneys and blood vessels).

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for the health of the respiratory tract and mucus membranes, both of which play a central role in overall immune response However, in practice, I only see vitamin A deficiency in maaaaybe 5% of the nutrient tests I review, so aside from what’s in your multivitamin, this is a good one to leave out if you’re not sure you need to supplement extra.

Vitamin D

If you’ve been living north of Georgia for the past 6 months, you should consider taking enough supplemental vitamin D to achieve a sufficient serum level to support overall immunity (50-80 ng/mL, which usually requires 3000-5000 IU daily). However, if you begin to experience classical symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell/taste) or test positive, we recommend to either decrease the dose or discontinue altogether until you’ve recovered.

ACE-inhibiting drugs used for hypertension

There’s an urgent need for clinical trials to determine whether ACE-inhibitors (including drugs with the suffix “-pril”, angiotensin receptor blockers and thiazolidinediones) help or harm patients with active COVID-19. Meantime, here’s a link to an article as well as a video that discusses this very issue, as well as why we still aren’t sure.

Zinc

It appears zinc can benefit in two ways: by lowering the virus’s ability to enter cells through ACE2 receptors and also inhibiting replication once it’s gained access.  We recommend 30-50 mg/day, doubling the dose at the first classical signs of illness (shortness of breath, cough, loss of taste and smell).

Ibuprofen

Some observational studies have demonstrated an increase in ACE2 receptors with ibuprofen use, however, it’s still too soon to say for sure it is significant enough to affect outcomes.

Cytokine storm

When this particular virus gets going in your body, it can create what is called a cytokine storm, which is when your immune system reacts vigorously and releases an enormous amount of chemicals (cytokines) and free radicals to destroy the virus. This is generally a good thing, however, what is concerning is that in some people, COVID19 triggers an extreme cytokine storm, causing (among other things) acute respiratory distress (ARDS) and lung injury.
Though there are not yet human clinical studies to prove this, there are concerns that some immune-boosting supplements, based on their specific mechanisms, could make this inflammatory, oxidative process much worse in some people.
Hence, until we know more, our recommendation is to stop these supplements if you have a positive test or develop some of the more concerning classical symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, loss of sense of taste/smell).

Avoid these if you get sick:

  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea
  • Larch Arabinogalactan
  • High-dose vitamins A and D (as described above)

Considered safe and beneficial during active COVID-19 infection:

  • Zinc
  • Probiotics
  • Vitamin C
  • Astragalus
  • Andrographis
  • NAC
  • Silver
  • Melatonin

Zinc

Dosing: 30-50 mg/day, doubling dose if you get sick.  This article discusses zinc’s ability to inhibit the virus from gaining access into the cell, as well as its ability to inhibit viral replication once inside the cell.

Probiotics

Our favorites here (Ultra Flora Immune Booster and Ultra Flora Balance) include specific strains that benefit the respiratory system, the system that is of utmost concern in severe cases.   Take 1-2 per day, preferably away from food.

Vitamin C

Because there is some controversy over whether high dose (above 3000 mg/day) may potentially cause harm, we recommend keeping your daily dose to 3000 mg or less if you become ill and suspect it is COVID19.  Some forms of vitamin C are acidifying and this may negatively impact patients who are in the phase where the cytokine storm has begun.

Astragalus

Research indicates that astragalus stimulates white blood cells to engulf and destroy invading organisms and cellular debris as well as enhance the production of interferon (a key natural compound produced by the body to fight viruses).  Follow label directions for prevention and increase the frequency of dosing if symptoms appear.

Andrographis Plus by Metagenics

Over the years, we’ve trialed other brands of andrographis without the same success, so this is the only andrographis we typically stock (lately we are trialing a powder form that was recommended by an acupuncturist who has seen good results).  Though you can take this as a preventive, I find that it truly shines at the first sign of infection. Most of the time, if I’m able to start taking this immediately at the first sign of infection, after 3-5 hourly doses, symptoms are completely resolved.

NAC

Used in hospitals to treat acetaminophen poisoning, NAC is also used as a mucus thinner that targets the lungs, improving respiration.  Dosing is typically 600–1,800 mg, and in hospitals, if available, it can be administered as an IV or taken orally, as an aerosol spray.

Silver

Silver is an earth element that has broad-spectrum effects when targeting infections.  Most brands taste like water, so it’s an easy thing to add, especially with kids. We’re now using 2 brands of silver with good success: Smart Silver from DesBio and Silvercillen from Designs for Health.  We recommend 1 tsp twice daily as prevention, increasing to 1 tbsp twice daily (or more – neither will cause blue skin – this is a condition associated with colloidal forms of silver taken excessively over prolonged periods of time).  We’ve recently heard from one of our providers that her husband, who had developed a severe upper respiratory illness (no testing done), responded well to nebulized silver.  Obviously not everyone has access to a nebulizer, but this is interesting to note.

Melatonin

Many researchers now believe that one of the reasons younger people are not as affected by this virus is their melatonin status.  Melatonin is a hormone that declines with age, which could explain some of why the risk of death with COVID-19 increases with age.  Melatonin has been used for years as a natural therapy for cancer (usually 10-20mg is used if tolerated) because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, not to mention that it can help with sleep, the loss of which impacts the immune system.  We recommend using a dose that doesn’t cause drowsiness the following morning, and offer melatonin in a variety of doses to allow for this individualization.

Wrapping it up

With so many options, many patients have asked me what I do for myself as prevention and how would I address symptoms if they were to appear.  Andrographis Plus is the herbal formula that helps me the most and the quickest when I’m fighting infection. At the first sign (typically a sore throat for me), I begin taking 1 andrographis hourly, and if available, I pair it with 1 tab of Essential Defense from Metagenics (recently on a long backorder but starting to trickle in) and Herbal Throat Spray from Medi-Herb (as often as I think about it when sore throat is present–it’s antiseptic and has a lovely numbing effect from the clove oil it contains) since most viruses start in the throat.  I find vitamin C drinks soothing (I now prefer LiquiMins Power Pak over EmergenC because it’s buffered with minerals).  And of course, I am currently taking melatonin 5-10mg, zinc, silver and a probiotic.
I hope you find this article helpful.  Please feel free to reach out in the comments below with questions or comments.  And above all, stay home and stay well!
Corona virus, COVID-19, Dr. Emily Roedersheimer, Education and Newsletters, Karen Bush, NBC-HWC

Building Immunity by Managing Stress

Stress… We use this word so often that we don’t even take it seriously anymore.

Stress occurs when life’s events surpass our ability to handle them. It comes in many forms: rush hour traffic, unexpected bills, your boss yelling at you, your kids fighting, or worst yet, there’s no toilet paper to be found in central Ohio! Add the corona virus to this list and our stress levels are boiling over. During this time in history we need our immune systems to be ready for anything and one of the best ways to help with that is to decrease stress.

Why? Because believe it or not, stress lowers immunity.

Fight or Flight

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defend the body against infection. Think of it as an army poised and ready to go to war for you if needed to prevent infections of all kinds – viruses, bacteria – and even cancer cells.  This army works best when we’re in a calm, rested state.

You’ve likely heard of the “fight or flight” response that kicks in when we’re under stress. This system is uniquely designed by our bodies to prepare us to flee or fight if we’re attacked. Now with our modern day “attacks” being more ongoing (work, bills, kids, TP, etc) we tend to stay in the fight or flight state. In preparation to fight or flee, our body shuts down the less important functions (ie, immunity) that aren’t needed in what should be a short-term stress response. Who cares about that cold virus or cancer cell if we’re about to be eaten by a tiger?! Unfortunately, with our current pace of life in America, most of us tend to stay in that fight or flight state all the time. So, we tend to get sick much more easily than our non-stressed friends (if you have any of those!)

Responding to stressors

How we handle our stress will determine the impact it will have on our immune system. Some situations cannot be changed – an ailing loved one, paying taxes – but we can change how we respond to these stressors. If we can consider stress reduction to be something we need to work on daily (like healthy eating, sleep and exercise), then we can help to change our body’s response to stress and maintain a healthy immune system. Given the right information, environment and directions, our bodies will choose healing over disease any day!

My health coach, Karen Bush, has offered some of her wisdom on how to handle stress in our lives.

From Karen Bush:

Often, we don’t even realize what symptoms of stress look like. It doesn’t have to be a significant worried or anxious feeling. It can simply be feeling unfocused with tasks, leaving things half done, going on social media too often during the day, reaching for food when you aren’t hungry or not eating enough, moodiness, procrastination and persistent fatigue. Once we see and recognize it, we can start to create change around us.

Let’s start with daily consistent practices and then move into things you can do right in the moment when you’re triggered into stress, anxiety or worry.

Consistent practices that support your health and well-being around stress should be a daily practice, not just something we reach for when we’re stressed or in a stressful situation.

Here are a few places to start:

Create a morning routine

Create a simple morning routine that starts the day out in a calm, contemplative and intentional way. Here are some examples:

    1. Drink 16 oz of water upon rising to replenish hydration after 8 hrs of loss while sleeping.
    2. Take 5 minutes to do some breathing – in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds, hold exhale for 4 seconds and repeat.
    3. Take 5 minutes to follow a guided meditation or journal. Meditations can be found on apps such as Insight Timer, Calm or Headspace.
    4. Do some sort of movement for at least 10-15 minutes to get your day started: Walking outside, doing a short yoga sequence (on YouTube with Adrienne or “Do yoga with me”), or even going up and down the stairs 3-4 times!

Set a schedule

Now that we’re all home more during this time it is more important than ever to set a schedule around what we are doing to feel more grounded. Even if you aren’t functioning at full capacity at work, set up your day with things you want to accomplish and include time for white space or down time.

    • Schedule times to do work
    • Set up times to be with kids, doing schoolwork and/or play time
    • Plan time for stress relief – breathing, exercise, meditation, prayer, alone time, time outside, mindful walks, walking outside on the grass with shoes off (grounding).
    • Really take a look at your day and take an honest assessment of what you’re spending your time focusing on. What could be contributing to stress? What you give attention to is strengthened. With that in mind, some questions to ask yourself:
      • How much time are you spending reading or watching the news?
      • How much time are you in conversation about anxiety-producing things you have no control over?
      • How often does your mind go to negative or worrying thoughts?

Make a shift

Now that you’ve taken a look at what your day looks like and what your habits may be in a day, you can make a few choices to shift to things that are healthier.

Here is a way to shift your mindset and gather some awareness around your thinking.

    • The practice of consistent breath work/meditation/prayer makes you more aware of your thinking.
    • Decide how much time you want to spend paying attention to the news and balance that out with joyful, happy activities.
    • When you catch yourself thinking in a way that produces stress, pause…take a moment to breathe.
    • Take the negative or stressful thought and shift to a thought around gratitude or appreciation.
    • Shift language:
      • Instead of anxious, breathe in CALM
      • Instead of stress, breathe in EASE
      • Instead of Bored, breathe in RESPONSIBILITY
      • Instead of Judgment, breathe in TOLERANCE
      • Instead of Anger, breathe in EASE TO COOL DOWN
      • Instead of Financial worries, breathe in ABUNDANCE/GRATITUDE
      • Instead of Lonely, breathe in CONNECTED and APPRECIATED
      • Instead of self-pity, breathe in DIGNITY

Remember that it takes time to shift behavior, so don’t expect it to happen overnight or even in 21 days! But daily practice leads to overall changes and what better time to start than now!?

To help you along these lines, Karen Bush and I are leading a free online stress support/meditation class this Wednesday, March 25, at 7 pm. Click the link to join us! We hope to see you there!

Education and Newsletters, Uncategorized

Ro-busting Your Immune Response

Many patients are asking what they can do to boost their immune system.  While none of us have encountered this particular Coronavirus previously, we do know the fundamentals of shoring up immunity.

Because 70-80% of immune function is found in the GI tract, any issues there should be prioritized.  This starts with a healthy diet, with a particular focus on lots of veggies, some fruits and avoidance of high glycemic and especially refined carbs.  Healing there can be assisted by probiotics, antimicrobials, colostrum, mucosal barrier support and other specifics based on individual concerns.  An advanced stool test like the one we use here at Leaves of Life is a great way to know exactly what needs addressed to help optimize the largest part of your immune system.

Also important is managing stress, since our immune system can be inactivated during times of high stress.  This is an adaptation carried over from the days when we had natural predators…it’s not important, after all, to fight a cold or flu virus if we’re about to be eaten for lunch.  Managing stress can be easier said than done when infection and death tolls are being discussed on every newscast.  It’s important to remember that this virus is much like other infectious agents…the healthier you are and the stronger your immunity, the less vulnerable you are. This can empower you to calmly take protective measures.

Sufficient sleep is essential for optimal immune function.  If you’re practicing good sleep hygeine and still have trouble sleeping, consider seeking help from a professional.  We get great results here with several different products: Perfect Sleep (DesBio), CBD, Melatonin and Alpha GABA PM.

Stay hydrated.  This includes making sure your environment has a good level of humidity since bugs spread and persist more easily in dry air.  The optimal level of hydration is 40-60% and can be tested and adjusted by purchasing a hygrometer for $10 or less. Hygrometer link here.

Aside from addressing GI concerns, eating healthy, managing stress and optimizing sleep and hydration, there are also natural products that can help enhance your immune response.  Here are some of our favorites: (We’ve included many options because some of these are or will go on backorder as companies try to meet the demand.)

Vitamin D

If you’ve not been taking vitamin D and you live north of Georgia, you’re likely deficient and should start with 10,000 IU daily for the next 3 weeks.  At that time, we would suggest testing your blood level to determine dosing going forward.  Your goal is 60-90 ng/ml.  In my opinion, Vitamin D is one of the most crucial elements of protecting immunity.  Here are a couple of studies from  British Medical Journal and Scientific American that support that advice.

Andrographis Plus AND Essential Defense by Metagenics

Technically, the Essential Defense is meant to be taken when you’re fighting a new infection, and Andrographis Plus for once you’re actually sick, however, we find that they work best when taken together at the first sign of illness, 1 of each every hour.  Often after 3-5 doses, patients are no longer sick.  We suggest continuing to dose until you are symptom-free, though you can take less often as symptoms begin to abate.

Herbal Throat Spray, Propolis Throat Spray or Silver Throat Spray

Begin use at the first symptom of sore or tickly throat.  Spray directly at the back of your throat 2-4 times every 1-2 hours or as needed for symptom relief. This can also be backed down as symptoms resolve.

Silver (we use Smart Silver from DesBio-dosing may vary based on ppm of silver)

1-3 tsp daily for prevention and increase to 1 tbsp 3 times daily if symptoms appear, lowering as symptoms resolve.  You can also add silver to a spray bottle to use as a throat spray, add it to a neti pot for sinus rinsing, or apply it topically to disinfect wounds.

Ultra Flora Immune Booster

Helps with frequency, intensity, duration and onset of upper respiratory illness. Take one per day.

Vitamin C

There are many different kinds of vitamin C to choose from, and you should know that taking too much can create diarrhea.  This will quickly resolve if you lower your dose.  Some doctors recommend dosing to bowel tolerance (just below the dose that would create diarrhea), while others recommend 1-3 grams daily.  Whatever your strategy, know that vitamin C is water-soluble (unless labeled as liposomal) and will wash out within a few hours of ingestion.  Liposomal provides a time-released, constant blood level, or you can simply divide your water-soluble vitamin C into several doses throughout the day.

Zinc

We have several products to choose from – your provider can assist you in making the best selection for you, but be aware that chronic ingestion can cause imbalances in other minerals.

Elderberry, Viracid and Immucore are several more options should any of the options above be out of stock.  

Our providers are available if you have questions or concerns surrounding symptoms or prevention.  Let’s get through this together!

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Everyone Should Detox!

What does it mean to detox?

We define detox as the body’s physiological process of reducing internal toxicity.

Every day the liver, kidneys, colon and skin are working to eliminate toxins, with the liver being the main driver of detox, via 2 phases of detox pathways. In phase I, the liver uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to convert toxic substances into intermediaries that are then fully processed for elimination in phase II. Phase III is the final, crucial step where toxins leave the body via stool, urine or sweating.

There are many critical nutrients needed to run phase I and II liver detoxification pathways. These include B-vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids (which come from protein). A diet high in organic fruits and vegetables as well as clean sources of protein and fiber will go a long way in supporting detoxification. Your healthcare practitioner can also guide you in providing your body with additional, tailored detoxification support.

Although our bodies are continuously working to combat toxins, if our total toxic burden is too great and/or we are lacking the proper support, chronic illness lurks just around the corner.

 Did you know?

  • The average adult carries over 700 toxins in their body
  • The Toxic Control Act, responsible for regulating industrial chemicals, was last updated in 1976!
  • Proper sleep hygiene allows our brain to clear out harmful waste products, possibly helping to reduce risk for developing Alzheimer’s
  • The average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood

Common symptoms and conditions indicating a need to detoxify:

  • Digestive issues
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Skin issues
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Bad breath
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Cold sores
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Behavioral and mood disorders
  • Allergies
  • Neurological symptoms (tremor, headache, brain fog, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)

Testing to optimize detoxification capacity

Three of the main factors affecting our total toxic burden are:

  • The amount and types of toxins we’re exposed to in our diet and environment
  • Our genetic ability to produce detoxification enzymes for processing and eliminating toxins
  • Whether our diet provides sufficient nutrients necessary for supporting detoxification pathways

For some patients, it can be helpful to understand what types of toxins are present, what critical detoxification nutrients may be insufficiently present and whether there is genetic compromise in the ability to detoxify.  Your provider can work with you to determine what testing would be best in your specific circumstance.

Actionable Steps:

  • Choose organic whenever possible – refer to ewg.org to find the dirty dozen (a list of the 12 most heavily contaminated fruits/veggies that should be avoided)
  • Remove inflammatory foods such as trans fats, refined carbs, sugar and processed foods
  • Drink plenty of clean, filtered water to enable to kidneys to remove toxins
  • Work up a sweat regularly (exercise, hot baths, sauna, etc)
  • Consume plenty of fiber to ensure regular bowel movements to carry toxins out
  • Get rid of plastics as much as possible
  • Work on cleaning up your personal care and other products -the environmental working group has a healthy living app that can help
  • Minimize EMF exposure
  • Work to lower stress levels
  • Eliminate toxic relationships as much as possible
  • Get regular deep sleep – shoot for around 8 hours per night
  • Work with a functional medicine provider if you need more guidance

Beyond detox support, a functional medicine provider:

  • Sees the body as a whole
  • Looks for the root cause
  • Takes a thorough history from birth to present day
  • Focuses on body systems and how they are connected
  • Lays the foundation for health by addressing lifestyle factors
  •  Does targeted testing as necessary
  • Creates an individualized care plan with the client as a partner
  • Is not limited by time constraints imposed by insurance companies

Interested in meeting with one of our providers?  We suggest reading the bios on our webpage to see who would be the best fit for you.

 

 

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath, Uncategorized

Thyroid Health Lecture

On Thursday, May 30, I co-presented with Patty Shipley, our Naturopath, on the common causes of chronic fatigue.  Patty’s talk covered some of the unusual layers that patients and their doctors may be unaware of, and I took a deep dive on thyroid imbalance since that is one of the most common layers to chronic fatigue in our practice.

Our goal in lecturing was to help patients who have already addressed the more easily identified layers (such as healthy diet, exercise, sleep) to move forward with some more advanced information. Feedback on our talk ranged from “most was way over my head” to “wonderful lecture with lots of great, new info” and “please allow more time on these complex topics!”. Clearly, in future lectures, we should cover the basics before moving into the more advanced information and stick to one main topic.  We appreciate those who attended and their willingness to share input!

For those of you who wanted access to the information presented, here are links to my presentation and handouts. Patty’s presentation on Common Causes of Chronic Fatigue and her handouts can be found here.

Let us know if you have questions or additional feedback!  We’re busily planning upcoming events with all your feedback taken into consideration.

Click Here for the Thyroid Lecture Powerpoint Presentation

Handout from the lecture:

Tips for a Healthy Thyroid

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath, Uncategorized

Common Causes of Chronic Fatigue

On Thursday, May 30, I co-presented with Kelli Cuda, our Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner, on the common causes of chronic fatigue.  My talk covered some of the unusual layers that patients and their doctors may be unaware of, and Kelli took a deep dive on thyroid imbalance since that is one of the most common layers to chronic fatigue in our practice.

Our goal in lecturing was to help patients who have already addressed the more easily identified layers (such as healthy diet, exercise, sleep) to move forward with some more advanced information. Feedback on our talk ranged from “most was way over my head” to “wonderful lecture with lots of great, new info” and “please allow more time on these complex topics!”. Clearly, in future lectures, we should cover the basics before moving into the more advanced information and stick to one main topic.  We appreciate those who attended and their willingness to share input!

For those of you who wanted access to the information presented, here are links to my presentation and handouts. Kelli’s presentation on Thyroid Imbalance and her handouts can be found here.

Let us know if you have questions or additional feedback!  We’re busily planning upcoming events with all your feedback taken into consideration.


Click here for the Powerpoint presentation

Handouts from the lecture:

Tips for Improving Energy

What Every Patient Should Know about Lab Testing

 

 

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Thyroid Health Uncovered

What is the Thyroid Gland?

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that sits just below your Adam’s apple. It is a master gland that secretes hormones and is responsible for regulation of metabolism, growth and development, and influences nearly every physiologic process in the human body. When thyroid levels are out of balance, so is our health and well-being.

How Does the Thyroid Gland Work?

In order to create balance, the thyroid communicates with two other glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT axis for short) aka thyroid homeostasis, is an entire neuroendocrine system responsible for the regulation of metabolism. One might imagine the hypothalamus as the person who regulates the thermostat. It releases Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) and tells the pituitary gland where the thyroid should be set. The pituitary gland (the thermostat), then releases Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) to the thyroid gland, which acts as the furnace, producing thyroid hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormones are like heat. When there is enough heat, the thermostat turns off, the room cools (thyroid hormone levels drop) and the process starts again as a negative feedback loop.

The thyroid gland itself uses iodine to produce the two main hormones, T4 and T3. The thyroid produces 80% T4 (inactive) and 20% T3(active). The body must convert the inactive hormones into an active, unbound, usable form.  Certain conditions, factors, and nutrients must be present, not only for the thyroid to produce these hormones but for this conversion to take place.

What Are Symptoms of a Malfunctioning Thyroid?

A wide array of symptoms can stem from either an under or over-functioning thyroid gland. Nearly every system in the body can be impacted so symptoms should not be ignored.

 

How to Treat a Thyroid Disorder

Often times when a thyroid condition is diagnosed, little is done to determine the underlying insult to this essential “master gland” of our body. Rather, treatment often stops at replacement hormones without determining where the imbalance has occurred. Simply replacing hormones, does not address the immune system dysregulation, which is often the root cause. Some considerations in a thorough work-up include;

  1. A FULL thyroid panel. Many times, only TSH, T3, and T4 are tested.  A full panel would include the following markers: Free T3, Free T4, Total T4, TSH, Anti-thyroglobulin Ab, Anti-TPO Ab, Thyroglobulin, Thyroxine-Binding Globulin (TBG) and Reverse T3
  2. Thyroid lab ranges vary. “Normal” can be a wide range with optimal functioning in a narrower window.
  3. Assess for specific nutrients that facilitate thyroid health
  4. Assess for potential factors (lifestyle, toxins, medications, etc.) that inhibit thyroid
  5. Heal the gut! Over 70% of the immune system originates in the gut. Gut bacteria also assist in hormone conversion
  6. Determine the most appropriate replacement hormone based on the patient’s specific needs

Want to optimize your thyroid and overall health? Kelli is currently accepting new patients. Call us to schedule! (614) 888-HERB (4372).

 

Education and Newsletters, Joanne Corroto, RN, BSN, LMT

About the BioScan (Meridian Stress Assessment)

Joanne Corroto RN, BSN, LMT uses the BioScan (Meridian Stress Assessment), a class 2 FDA-approved medical device, to detect imbalances in the body. The BioScan provides an extraordinary perspective on the state of your body’s energetic health and balance by measuring electrical conductivity at response points (acupuncture/meridian points) on the hands and feet.  A total of 58 points are used for testing and are recorded to provide a profile of the client’s present condition. According to research, acupuncture points are related to the body’s organs and systems.

As the client moves away from health, imbalances can be sensed along the meridians at representative points. As a result, stress associated with the corresponding organs can be surveyed using the indicated organ points.

The BioScan can provide information on how organs, glands, and body systems are performing and how they’re reacting to environmental toxins, stress, emotions and more.  It is a comprehensive, non-invasive and pain free test. It creates a complete circuit (like an EKG) using a highly sensitive Ohm meter that measures the flow of energy between each meridian point and organ.  After the initial assessment or measurements have been taken and recorded, the results can be viewed. If stress values are above or below the balance point, the systems’s extensive computer database will allow consideration of a wide range of possibilities that can help the client regain a healthy balance. The BioMeridian allows consideration of thousands of homeopathic, herbal and nutritional products.

Here’s what testing looks like:

At a typical appointment, the client sits in a chair and holds the moistened brass hand mass in one hand, while the other hand is tested using a stylus to touch the various acupuncture meridian points on the fingers. The information is visibly plotted on the computer, displaying the energy that point is exhibiting: stressed, weak or balanced.

Testing the small bowel point might indicate a possible imbalance with digestion/absorption, indicating to the technician that there is a need to look at other items that impact digestion and absorption. Low stomach acid, sluggish bile flow, flora imbalance are some of the possible underlying causes. Once the underlying cause is determined, the BioScan helps to determine from thousands of treatment options, what will work best with the client.

Overall, the BioScan unit is an information gathering device to disclose patterns of stress and provide feedback to help restore each system and meridian to an appropriate balance.

The BioScan does not provide a medical diagnosis.

by Joanne Corroto, RN, BSN, LMT

Education and Newsletters, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Iridology – Constitutional Iris Assessment

 

 

Iris Assessment Charts, courtesy Leaves of LIfe

What is Iridology?

Iridology is the art and science of analyzing the markings, structure, and pigmentation in the iris (colored portion of the eye). Bernard Jensen, DC popularized iridology in the US and taught that the iris revealed present tissue conditions as well as changes in the iris from healing interventions. However, several studies have refuted this and there has been no photographic proof of the “healing lines” he wrote about.  His work was based on early research in Germany that was developed by medical doctors.  Modern research from Germany is based on autopsies and other scientific analysis, and points toward iris patterns as constitutional (inherited tendencies) rather than diagnostic of present tissue conditions.

Unfortunately, there are those who use iridology as a diagnostic tool, which detracts from its credibility. Personally, I studied under Steven Horne, author of numerous books and courses in natural healing, a professional member and past president of the American Herbalists Guild and professional member of the International Iridology Practitioner’s Association (IIPA). His Iridology courses can be accessed here.

Steven Horne’s courses are taught from a constitutional perspective, meaning that the iris will tell us where a person tends to be weakest.  I think of it like looking at a board and seeing the knothole/s in the board.  Put pressure on the board, and it will most likely break at the knothole, since it’s the weakest point. Similarly, when looking at a person’s iris, if they’re taking good care of themselves, none of their tendencies/weaknesses may be manifesting.  Alternatively, when someone has taken poor care of themselves, their genetic weaknesses are more likely to be expressing. In general, as a person ages, more of what we see in the iris will point to present tissue conditions.  Iris assessment is a great way to find out how to prevent future problems or give us a place to start with what’s presently going on.

More than 20 years ago, I saw an herbalist and had an iris assessment done, and it was so accurate (I was quite ill), I knew I had to learn to do it myself.  For many years, it was part of all my new patient appointments.  Nowadays, I informally include it as part of a visual assessment, without most patients even being aware.

One of the most common questions I’m asked is whether the iris will change as people improve their health.  Though iris signs are mostly constitutional, I have observed some pigment changes in my years of practice.

When I first started practicing, much of my focus was on regaining my own health, and I noticed that each time I did a focused, deep detox, my eyes were noticeably bluer (as opposed to their usual grey-blue).  Every time I detoxed, several people would ask if I’d gotten blue contacts.

Approximately 18 ago, a married couple came in for a dual new patient appointment.  The wife was concerned because her liver enzymes had been chronically elevated over the last several blood draws with her doctor, and she was interested in doing a detox.  I did an iris assessment with each of them, gave them a paper outlining each of their iris signs that included the organ map (shown above), we outlined a plan for both of them and they went on their way.  Six months later, they returned to my office, concerned about a dark brown pigment that had appeared in the wife’s right eye over the liver area on the iris map.  In talking with them, it became apparent they hadn’t followed any of the recommendations I’d outlined in our previous session, so we talked about the barriers to making changes, came up with some solutions, and they got started.  Within 3 months, the brown pigment had completely disappeared! (And of course, she felt much better.) This was fascinating to me, but what I’ve seen over years of reading irises is that in general, if pigments have been present in the iris for a prolonged period of time, even if the original imbalance that triggered these pigments to appear is resolved, they seem to have gelled and become a permanent part of the iris.  This may be one reason why photographic proof is so difficult to come by with iris assessment.

In general with iridology, there are three basic eye colors: brown, genetically mixed (AKA biliary) and blue. Any other variation from these colors is due to pigmentation that comes in over top the fibers, which can give the appearance of hazel, green or grey eyes.  Note the photos below.  A list of some of the different signs depicted in each is listed below each picture.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to do any type of in-depth explanation of iris assessment, but below the iris pictures you’ll find a few of the common signs that are seen in iris assessments and their meaning.

 

Blue iris depicting “jewels”, lymphatic rosary, scurf rim, stomach halo, polyglandular fiber structure, tight, irregular, pocketed autonomic nerve wreath, enlarged pupil
Biliary or genetically mixed iris, wearing contacts, nerve rings, connective tissue fiber structure, uneven pupil tonus
Blue iris, scurf rim, lymphatic rosary, pink stomach halo, arcus senilis, dilated pupil
Brown iris, nerve rings, radii solaris

Lymphatic Rosary

Looks like a string of white or yellow/white pearls in the outermost portion of the iris and indicates a tendency toward lymphatic congestion that can result in chronic sinus/respiratory or allergy symptoms, and can also involve joint and kidney problems.  The lymph system is the garbage-removal system in the body, and doesn’t have a pump.  It moves when we move, so exercise is beneficial to increasing lymph flow.  Bouncing on a mini-trampoline or skin-brushing can also stimulate lymph flow.

Tight Autonomic Nerve Wreath

(Visualized most easily in the 3rd picture above) There is a tendency for tense, tight or spastic bowels with an ANW that is closer than 1/3 the distance between the outer edge of the iris and the pupil.  Often I find these people crave chocolate, notice a worsening in constipation with travel or have menstrual cramps that respond to heat.  Often there is an increased need for magnesium.

Nerve Rings

Seen most easily in the brown eye above, they are the concentric circles around the outer edge of the iris that resemble ripples in water. These are indicators of a tendency toward tension or stress or a type A personality.

Scurf Rim

Seen in the 1st and 3rd eyes as the dark circle at the edge of the iris, which is in the skin zone.  This indicates a tendency toward slowly eliminating or toxic skin.

Radii Solaris

Appear as “spokes” that radiate out from the center of the iris and are easily pictured in the brown eye above.  RS are a tendency for a toxic bowel that is allowing for toxins to be absorbed across the lining into the body tissues.

Enlarged Pupils

Not technically part of the iris, enlarged pupils can indicate current issues with adrenal burnout, difficulty sleeping and fatigue.

As I said, this article doesn’t list all of the common iris signs and markings, but is just a smattering to give you a little taste.  If you’d like to schedule for an iris assessment with me, you can contact the office.  Assessments take approximately 15 minutes and are $50. Simply want to do a little more reading and learning?  Check out these links:

http://modernherbaleducation.com/an-introduction-to-constitutional-iridology.html

http://iridologyinternational.com/node/5

by Patty Shipley, Naturopath, RN, Herbalist

Meet Patty Shipley

Education and Newsletters, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Nitric Oxide

 

Nitric Oxide–the Body’s Natural Vasodilator

 

Say NO to Disease!

Prevent and reverse disease by generating Nitric Oxide with WHOLE FOODS and a HEALTHY MICROBIOME!

What is Nitric Oxide?

A combination of one molecule of Nitrogen and and one molecule of Oxygen. (NO)

 

What Nitric Oxide is not:

Nitrous oxide, “Laughing gas” used at the dentist’s office:  one molecule of Nitrogen and TWO molecules of Oxygen (NO2)

 

What does Nitric Oxide do?  It’s a chemical messenger that signals:

-Arteries to relax and expand, promoting blood flow

-Immune cells to kill bacteria and cancer

-Communication between brain cells

-Oxygenation of tissues

 

Nitric Oxide can:

-Prevent high blood pressure

-Keep arteries flexible

-Lower cholesterol

-Limit swelling and pain of arthritis

-Prevent, slow or reverse arterial plaque

-Protect bones from osteoporosis

-Help protect skin from sun damage

-Reduce risk of developing dementia

-Reduce formation of blood clots

-Reverse erectile dysfunction

-Reduce risk of diabetes and complications like kidney disease, blindness and limb amputation

 

How to help your body make Nitric Oxide:

-Raw greens (particularly kale, swiss chard, arugula, spinach, bok choy, lettuce, cabbage, mustard greens, kohlrabi),

-Dark colored fruit (berries, red wine, grapes), dark chocolate, asparagus, celery, watercress, artichoke, eggplant

-Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes)

-Fish oil and other unsaturated oils

-Refrain from antiseptic mouthwash, as this kills the normal flora in the mouth that are involved in making NO

-Support normal flora in your GI tract and ensure adequate hydrochloric acid in the stomach (avoid acid blockers, rule out H Pylori or other GI infections)

 

By Patty Shipley, Naturopath, RN, Herbalist

Meet Patty Shipley

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