Your Health and the Environment

chemicaltoxicityMost of us realize that the environment we live in isn’t exactly pristine.  From chemicals in our water supply to the ubiquitous use of plastics, we’re constantly challenging our body’s ability to handle environmental pollutants.  The incidence of chronic disease in this country has continued to grow, and most any chronic disease you can think of (diabetes, autoimmune disease, cancer, endocrine disorders, you name it!) is influenced by the chemicals that surround us.  However, when it comes to the relationship between exposure to environmental toxins and disease, conventional medicine pays little to no attention to this connection. [Read more…]

Heartburn Drugs Typically Not Necessary

gerdProton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. They are typically given to patients who complain of heartburn or reflux (GERD), who are then kept on the medication indefinitely. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of the patients I see to think of being on this medication almost as an afterthought, because it’s so common in our culture. What they may not realize is that long-term use of these medications can lead to long-term complications, and may be doing more harm than good! When first approved by the FDA, the suggested use of PPIs was for 4-6 weeks, mainly for treating serious gastrointestinal issues, like ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.  [Read more…]

IBS? It May Be Something Else . . .

SIBOPeople often come to my office saying they’ve been diagnosed with IBS. They may complain of intestinal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or all of the above, yet all of their test results come back “normal”, so they are prescribed anti-spasmodic medications to manage their symptoms, and sent on their way. In my experience, IBS is merely a symptom of other underlying causes, rather than  a definitive diagnosis. Whether it’s food intolerances, poor eating habits, or restoring optimal production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer when it comes to identifying and treating the underlying cause of IBS. [Read more…]

Lyme Disease Diagnosis is Clinical, Not Laboratory Based

tickI see it time and time again. “My doctor said my Lyme antibody test was negative, so my symptoms can’t be due to Lyme disease.” This is unfortunate, because many people in this area are becoming infected with Lyme disease, without being properly diagnosed. Even worse, they give up searching for answers, because their doctors tell them everything is “normal”, allowing Lyme disease to progress into the more chronic stages, potentially causing serious, irreversible health consequences. [Read more…]

Digestive Health In Early Life Linked To Allergies

dandelionAs a naturopathic physician, I’m always paying close attention to the connection between intestinal health and systemic complaints. Allergies in particular are something that our profession has recognized as having strong ties to the digestive tract. When people present to my office complaining of allergies, one of the first things I ask about is whether or not they’re having any digestive symptoms. I also want to know about their history of antibiotic use, their diet, if they were breastfed as an infant, and whether or not they were born via Caesarean section. So, what do these birth-related issues have to do with someone’s current allergy symptoms? Well, we know that allergies are symptoms that result from antibody responses to antigens (dust mites, pollens, mold, etc.) that our body recognizes as foreign. But what your doctors don’t often discuss is why this occurs in the first place. [Read more…]

Testosterone Lowers Male Heart Disease Risk

In the last couple of years, studies looking at the correlation between testosterone levels and heart disease in men have yielded mixed results. However, if you look more closely at the data, most of the reports showing negative associations with testosterone failed to factor in other independent risk factors that can lead to heart disease. The negative studies also used inaccurate laboratory methods and reference ranges to reach their conclusions, inflating the risks of testosterone. [Read more…]

Light Therapy Not Just For Seasonal Affective Disorder

Since it was first described by psychiatric journals in 1984, artificial light therapy has been used successfully to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This therapy is meant to simulate exposure to sunlight in winter months, preventing people with SAD from suffering as much during periods where exposure to sunlight is more limited. In the past few years, more evidence has suggested that light therapy may be beneficial for other types of depression as well. In 2005, for example, a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry reported that the effects of light therapy are comparable to those found in many clinical studies of antidepressant drug therapy for mood disorders. [Read more…]

Does Arthritis Originate in the Gut?

I see quite a few patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune arthropathies, and what is the first thing I do?  Give them anti-inflammatory medications? Give them immune-modulaters? No! Chances are, their rheumatologists have already done this. The first thing I will always do with patients in this category is address their digestive health. What does digestion have to do with systemic inflammation? Everything! [Read more…]

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…]