Mold: Not Just an Allergy

It’s not an uncommon scenario. Someone comes to my office complaining of headaches, recurring sinus issues, a nagging cough, “brain fog”, and other chronic symptoms. They’ve already had complete medical work-ups, and were most likely prescribed multiple rounds of antibiotics, to no avail. “My allergist said that all of my test results were normal”. The first thing that comes to mind for me?  Mold toxicity. [Read more…]

Are Annual Exams Really Necessary?

I hear it at least every week, if not more. “My doctor gave me a clean bill of health.” OK. So maybe the annual battery of tests and exams didn’t reveal any serious underlying diseases, but that hardly equates to being healthy. Unfortunately, we’ve become so accustomed to physical exams, even the insurance companies consider them “preventive care.” The chief cited rationale is that the annual offers a regular opportunity to address risk factors and health or life concerns. There may be some truth to this, but both insurance companies and doctors could be doing so much more to provide preventive care for patients. [Read more…]

What Can I Do About C. diff?

A patient came to me recently after finishing her 2nd course of antibiotic treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection. Despite some temporary relief during while taking the medication, her symptoms were beginning to return to the same level of intensity that she was experiencing before the treatment. The patient’s gastric distress was so severe that she barely had the ability to function at work, having to take both prescription and OTC pain relievers just to get through the day. She was reluctant to go through another round of antibiotics, since they weren’t giving her any relief, and were causing other side-effects as well. [Read more…]

Understanding and Effectively Treating PMS

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is one of the most common female problems, affecting 30-40% of women during their reproductive years. The most severe cases occur in approximately 2% of women between the ages of 26 and 35. PMS is characterized by recurrent symptoms that appear 7-14 days before a woman has her menstrual period. These symptoms often include decreased energy, irritability, increased appetite (usually sugar cravings), acne, and bloating. Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), while technically a separate diagnosis, can also be attributed to the same hormonal fluctuations that cause PMS. [Read more…]

Acid-Blocking Medications Aren’t Meant For Long-Term Use!

While I may have written about this more than once in the past, I feel like it’s a topic that continues to need revisiting.  A recent New York Times article highlights the many reasons why proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, can cause more harm than good when used beyond the recommended window of 8 to 12 weeks.  While it seems to come as a surprise to the doctors who are handing out these medications like candy, our stomachs are supposed to make hydrochloric acid! This is essential for initiating the digestive cascade that leads to the proper assimilation of nutrients. As the article points out, blocking stomach acid production for an extended period of time can lead to a host of nutritional deficiencies, including iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium.  A decrease in stomach acid also takes away the protective barrier meant to protect us from harmful bacteria, setting up an environment that’s more prone to infection with Clostridium and other pathogenic bacteria. [Read more…]

Osteoporosis: Exploring the Alternatives

In the recent past, it wasn’t uncommon for most women to be placed on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for easing the symptoms of menopause, in addition to protecting them from osteoporosis. But that standard of care has since changed with the discovery that HRT may increase the risk of breast cancer and heart disease. Without the use of HRT, it has become increasingly challenging to treat and prevent osteoporosis. Many women have turned to other pharmacological options, like selective estrogen receptor modulators (raloxifene; Evista) and bisphosphonates (alendronate; Fosamax), but these medications aren’t without their side effects, either. Raloxifene can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and the lungs (pulmonary embolism), while alendronate can cause severe damage to the esophagus and may increase the risk of thigh bone fracture. [Read more…]

Why Will I Gain Weight If I’m Not Sleeping Well?

As bizarre as it sounds, how well we sleep can have a direct impact on the amount of weight we gain. While doctors often talk about how poor sleep impacts immune function and stress hormones, we’re only more recently beginning to understand how hormones that control appetite are also affected. [Read more…]

Patients With Type II Diabetes Benefit From Naturopathic Care

Diabetes is a complex, multi-factorial condition that takes many variables into account, including diet, exercise, and family history. Typically, if certain markers are detected early enough (elevated blood glucose, increased hemoglobin A1C), lifestyle and/or pharmaceutical treatments can be implemented to slow or reverse the progression of type II diabetes before long-term complications arise. Since the essence of naturopathic medicine is addressing core diet and lifestyle issues that may be contributing to disease, it’s essential for anyone who’s dealing with type II diabetes, or even “pre-diabetes”, to incorporate a naturopathic treatment protocol as part of their long-term strategy. [Read more…]

Recognizing Lyme Disease and Related Infections

Although we live in a state where Lyme disease is endemic, the diagnosis and treatment of this condition continues to be controversial. Unfortunately, the political landscape surrounding Lyme disease has steered many doctors away from treating it altogether, putting many patients at risk for developing long-term complications. It’s not uncommon for me to see patients who have been told that their testing for Lyme disease and other co-infections is negative, so therefore there is no possible way that these infections can be responsible for their symptoms. This information can be extremely misleading, since the validity of testing is dependent on what stage of the disease they are performed. Doctors who are well informed about Lyme will typically treat based on clinical criteria (outlined by the CDC), with the argument being that the risk of putting uninfected individuals on antibiotics is not outweighed by the risk of long-term Lyme complications. [Read more…]

Can Diet Reverse PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects the hormone balance in women, favoring the production of male hormones like testosterone over female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance can lead to symptoms such as menstrual problems and infertility. Many women with this condition also develop insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. In a new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, blood sugar control, weight loss, and cardiac risk were all improved when women with PCOS were put on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. [Read more…]