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!
Caitlin Pfeil, FMCHC, CPT, NCAA Personal Trainer, Leaves of Life Practitioners, Uncategorized

Meet Caitlin Pfeil, FMCHC, CPT, NCCA Personal Trainer

Hi! My name is Caitlin and I’m so excited to be part of the incredible team here at Leaves of Life. The kind of world I want to live in celebrates holistic health with a focus on balance, where body positivity is the norm, diet culture is not, and where “bad” foods don’t exist. It’s possible with small but powerful steps, accountability, support, and making it fun!

I’m a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach certified through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy with the Institute of Functional Medicine. I’m also an NCCA Certified Personal Trainer, with a specialization in fitness nutrition. On the Leaves of Life team, I’m a one-on-one Health Coach in partnership with practitioners. Working collaboratively with doctors, nurses, and lifestyle educators offers a clear treatment plan. I also provide laser allergy treatment for patients who need help with environmental and food allergies and other imbalances.

Over eleven years ago, I knew I had to make a change. At my heaviest, I was fifty pounds overweight, tired and moody, with skin issues, environmental allergies, food sensitivities, and frequent headaches. I joined a gym, became certified as a Personal Trainer and my passion for the gym led me to fitness competitions. Most recently I competed in the Arnold Classic. Competing has taught me extreme drive, intrinsic motivation, patience, and discipline, but definitely not balance. Now, I’m an advocate for balancing physical, mental and emotional health, which I’ve seen spill over into and improve all different areas of my own life and in the lives of my family, friends, and clients.

I’ve been working as a part of the holistic health world for about a decade now! I have owned and operated a successful nutrition club and storefront, led many large group fitness classes, taught dozens of nutrition workshops and seminars, managed thousands of supplements as a buyer for a health food store, and I’ve appeared on 10TV Columbus multiple times leading health, fitness and cooking segments. I spend hours every week self-studying to stay up to date in the ever-expanding world of natural health, and I enjoy continuing education conferences and seminars. I look forward to meeting you and working with you to help you achieve your goals and live your best, balanced life!

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!

About Leaves of Life, Karen Bush, NBC-HWC, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Meet Karen Bush

Karen Bush, National Board Certified Health and Wellness coach (NBC-HWC) has the distinction of being among the first coaches in the country to be Board Certified through the
National Board of Medical Examiners, a designation that places her in the top tier of health coaches in the US. Her experience in healthcare began after receiving her Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and working in hospitals and rehabilitation centers around the country.

Realizing that she needed to be on wellness side of healthcare, she trained at Duke University’s Integrative Medicine Health Coach training program, one of the pioneering programs in health coaching. Her training involved extensive work in positive psychology, mind-body medicine, motivational interviewing and the principles of behavior change. Karen is a former health coach at the Center for Functional Medicine at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic, where she worked with an exceptional group of collaborative physician providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and dietitians. She obtained further certification through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) a collaboration with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM).

Karen now works in private practice and in collaboration with Dr. Emily Roedersheimer to help her patients navigate and support the lifestyle changes that are the hallmark of functional medicine. Our goal is to help each patient live their best life, achieve their goals and ultimately find success with a functional medicine approach. She blends integrative and functional medicine to provide a root cause, holistic practice that supports Dr. Emily’s personalized plan for each patient.
On any given day, you can find her rowing on the mighty Cuyahoga river, biking, practicing and teaching yoga, hiking with her husband and dog Jackson, traveling, and cooking plant based meals for her family.

Karen provides virtual coaching sessions as part of the practice, to support you in living your happiest and healthiest life.

Karen says: “In functional medicine we look for the root cause.  Oftentimes, stress is an underlying and not always obvious trigger to symptoms and health issues.  Our awareness around how stress affects our bodies on a deeper level is often pretty low.  One of the tools I use as a Functional Medicine Health Coach is something called HeartMath.  At its most basic level it uses breathing exercises that combine awareness of a heart centered breath and gratitude.  It is a way of slowing down the reaction to stress and allowing it to dissipate so it doesn’t affect our body adversely.  To add more to the breath work, HeartMath also has a simple biofeedback device called Inner Balance,  that can help the user identify areas of stress and how stress feels in the body.  When stress is present chronically, even in small amounts, we tend to habituate to it and after time we don’t notice it at all, but it is still very present.  If you think that stress is an underlying issue for you, maybe considering this as a tool to learn how to respond differently might be a key to your well-being.  Find out more at Heartmath.com or reach out to Karen Bush, health coach at clinicalcoordinator@balancedlivingfm.com

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

 

 

Dr. Emily Roedersheimer, Leaves of Life Practitioners, Uncategorized

Meet Dr. Emily Roedersheimer, DO, IFMCP

Hi. I’m Dr. Emily Roedersheimer, DO but that’s a mouthful so please call me “Dr. Emily”. I had been a board-certified family physician in the Columbus area for more than a decade when my career path took a change. Now, I am thrilled to be practicing functional medicine and helping people reverse or greatly improve their chronic medical conditions. Let me tell you a little bit about how I got where I am today.

I was originally drawn to medicine through my own life experiences. When I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. After years of medications, injections and frustration, I came upon an article by Dr. Mark Hyman that discussed functional medicine and how it can reverse such conditions. The article talked about how the food we eat can either help us heal or harm us, and the impact of lifestyle choices on our health. By starting an anti-inflammatory diet and following other functional medicine principles, I was able to eliminate all of the prescription medications and am now in remission. Being a patient for many years myself, I can relate to how scary it can be to suffer from a chronic medical condition.

Discovering that it was possible to reverse an autoimmune condition in this way, I wanted to learn what other benefits functional medicine had to offer, and how I could spread this knowledge to others. I was on a mission! So, I started my training through the Institute for Functional Medicine and have received my certification (IFMCP) after years of hard work. I’m also presently in The Kalish Institute Mentorship Program with Dr. Dan Kalish to continue my learning.

Functional medicine sees the patient and provider relationship as a partnership. Much of the healing comes from lifestyle changes incorporated by the patient (with some guidance along the way) – including nutrition, stress reduction, exercise and sleep. These lifestyle habits are the foundation of health and once this foundation is strong, the body can heal and remain healthy.

Whether you have symptoms that cannot be explained after visiting multiple specialists, or have been properly diagnosed but prefer to use lifestyle changes rather than multiple medications, I applaud you for also finding your way to functional medicine.  I take immense pleasure in working to create health and wellness in the lives of my patients and want to help you as well. I will individualize your care based on your life circumstances, medical history, genetics and specialized lab test results. As your functional medicine physician, I want to collaborate with you and guide you in taking a lead role in improving your health and finding wellness again.

I’ve been blessed with an amazing husband and two wonderful boys. I love spending time with them, walking our dog, working out, traveling and reading (Harry Potter anyone?). Since discovering functional medicine my love of learning has been reinvigorated, so you can often find me listening to a podcast or reading the newest research that’s come out. And last but not least, I really enjoy clean cooking (especially if I can get my kids involved) and have been told I make a mean guacamole! I look forward to partnering with you on your path to wellness!

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).

 

About Leaves of Life, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Meet Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner

Hi, I’m Kelli Cuda, a Family Nurse Practitioner that is beyond thrilled to begin my work at Leaves of Life, one of the most well-established healing clinics in the Columbus area. My journey all started as a student nurse at The Ohio State University Medical Center.  I quickly realized that I was on the right path when I looked forward to sitting at my patient’s bedside all day and learning more about their story. I received my BSN at OSU and worked ten years in critical care. Ten years and two kids later, I returned to graduate school to fulfill my longtime goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. In 2014, I had the pleasure of working alongside an amazing medical team at a large family practice. During this time, I cared for patients of all ages and ailments. I was pleased to have the opportunity to initiate real change using an integrative, patient-centered approach.

As much as I have gained from the immeasurable experience in healthcare, both academically and at the patient’s bedside, it is my own personal health journey that defined my path in functional medicine. During my last year of graduate school, I became ill. Suffering from a wide array of symptoms and seeing six specialists within a year, I was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease. This diagnosis however was disputed between different disciplines and I was once again, left without a clear path. This led me to search for answers in an effort to regain my health. I attended a conference through Institute of Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. I left feeling inspired and hopeful. This was the start of my journey in this field of medicine and I haven’t stopped learning since. I am currently completing my post-master’s certificate in functional medicine.

Today I hold close not only the valuable professional and life experiences I have gained over time, but my internal desire to become part of the exciting and evolutionary change in healthcare. It is my desire to sculpt the paradigm of healthcare through education, prevention, and wellness. My love for this chosen path is driven by the new-found energy and excitement patients experience when they are given the tools to heal.

I have a loving husband of almost twelve years and three beautiful kiddos. My side job is their personal uber driver and lover of all their sports and recreation. Our community is everything. I find peace in my faith and always…on the lake. My personal hobbies include working out, traveling, and spending quality time with friends and family.  I still love to choreograph a good dance routine, sleep in whenever I can, and belt a tune like Beyoncé (my kids think it’s hysterical). I believe balance is key and laughter IS the best medicine.

How Can I Help You?

At Leaves of Life, I’ll help you better understand your health and how to move it in the right direction. I strive to improve whole body wellness by identifying the root cause of inflammation or imbalance. Every patient is unique and biochemically diverse and therefore a comprehensive history is essential. We review symptoms, conduct a thorough medical/surgical/family history, review lab work and other diagnostics, discuss lifestyle (including nutrition, stress, sleep hygiene, toxic burden, etc.), and physical exam. I will work alongside your primary care physician and communicate identified imbalances based on my extensive work-up and make suggestions accordingly. I believe in collaboration and value the importance of integrating traditional medicine with functional medicine. It is an extension of evidenced-based practice that allows us to treat more than just the symptoms by treating our patients just as uniquely as they were created.

If you’d like to take charge and work toward your best health yet, I’d love to partner with you and your primary care physician on your journey!

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