Gut Bacteria Impacts a Woman’s Brain Function

June 24, 2013

depressionNaturopathic medicine has known this for centuries but now there is some promising new research demonstrating that the health of the gut affects a woman’s brain, how she processes emotions and her response to stress.

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The Huffington Post (huffingtonpost.com) – Dietary Changes To Gut Bacteria Can Affect Brain Functioning, Study Suggests – (Monday, June 17, 2013)

Dietary changes to the bacteria living in our guts could have an impact on brain functioning, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that regularly eating yogurt with probiotics, which contain “good” bacteria, seems to affect brain functioning in women. They said the proof-of-concept study shows it is possible to impact brain functioning by altering gut bacteria through diet.

The study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, was funded by Danone Research, which is the research arm of Danone, a company that produces yogurt and other dairy products. Some of the study researchers are Danone employees, but they had no role in the interpretation or analysis of results. Researchers noted that past studies have shown a gut-brain connection in terms of the brain sending signals to the gut. But this new study shows that the gut could also send signals to the brain.

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I have published extensively on Sickness Syndrome, a condition I identified where inflammation in the body triggers inflammation in the brain that is a cause of depression, anxiety and other mental health challenges. One of our treatment strategies for Sickness Syndrome, depression and anxiety, involves testing for, and then treating bacterial imbalance in the gut.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Mounting Evidence: The Link Between Inflammation and Depression

December 29, 2012

Depression_Womannew study was just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry involving over 73,000 patients that points to the connection between inflammation in the body and depression.  I  identified this connection nearly 10 years ago, began publishing on it about six years ago, and coined the phrase “Sickness Syndrome” to help doctors to diagnose this prevalent cause for depression. I have been treating patients using this knowledge ever since.

It is time to take a new look at the underlying cause(s) of depression so that mainstream medicine can offer long lasting cures for this debilitating health challenge.

In health,

Dr. Gina


New Study Links Inflammation to Depression

October 22, 2012

A new study, albeit on mice, further points to the link between inflammation and depression. I began publishing on this topic  six years ago. In our medical office I see the real world connection between mood disorders like depression, and inflammation in the body. It is always a pleasure to watch patients as they heal from debilitating symptoms, when we address this underlying cause.

In health,

-Dr. Gina


Breast Cancer Linked to Popular Antidepressant Medication

May 7, 2011

Bloomberg reported on a research study revealing a link between female cancers and antidepressant use.

Scientists should more closely examine whether antidepressant drugs increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, according to a researcher affiliated with Harvard University whose review of 61 studies suggested a link.

The risk of cancer increased 11 percent on average for patients taking the medicines, according to a report that analyzed previous data and was published in yesterday’s issue of the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE. Read the full article by clicking here.

Preparing for a CME lecture (to air on PharmCon on June 9th, and categorized as live pharmacy hours for doctors) on  augmenting the side effects and risks associated with oral contraceptives and other synthetic hormones popular among women and teen-aged girls.  In addition to a significant increased risk in various cancers,  the synthetic hormones also decrease serotonin levels, further increasing the chance of a woman being prescribed anti-depressant medications which appear to further increase her risk of cancer!

A solution could be to take well researched immunomodulators like BRM4 if you take synthetic hormones, or to avoid these hormones if at all possible and turn to more natural options like Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.

In health and healing,

-Dr. G


Sickness Syndrome Depression-The Link Between Seasonal Allergies, Inflammation and Depression

April 12, 2011

A recent article in the New York Times discusses several large studies that link seasonal allergies to  depression and anxiety. The cause is an increase in inflammatory cytokines that lower serotonin levels.  This is a classic example of Sickness Syndrome Depression, a condition identified years ago and finally gaining media attention.  We often see cases of wrongly diagnosed anxiety and depression at our practice where patients are prescribed antidepressant medications instead of being treated for Sickness Syndrome Depression. To learn more about the syndrome click here. One treatment that is not yet mentioned on the site but that we have recently been using successfully in practice to treat Sickness Syndrome Depression and other psychiatric illnesses with an inflammatory component is BRM4 by Daiwa Health Development- an immunomodulator that alters levels of inflammatory cytokines throughout the body. The effective dosage is 4 capsules three times per day for 4 weeks, and then 4 capsules per day thereafter.

In health and healing,

-Dr. G


The Gut Brain Connection..Sickness Syndrome Discussed in Psychology Today

December 13, 2010

A new article published in the November/December issue of Psychology Today reveals that gastrointestinal disorders, like infection, inflammation, and IBS cause anxiety and depression, and that probiotics may replace prozac and Valium as drugs of choice for some psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression.  This concept, first introduced over 5 years ago and referred to as Sickness Syndrome, is finally gaining the attention of popular media channels.

For those of you who are experiencing anxiety and depression, there are options available to you that go beyond masking symptoms and address at least one of the underlying causes of why you are feeling the way you do.  We see the success of naturopathic medicine in treating anxiety and depression in our medical practice everyday, and treating digestive health is often the first step.

In health and wellness,

-Dr. G

 


The Connection Between Autism and the Gut Discussed in Latest Issue of Pediatrics

January 6, 2010

Below is a summary report prepared by Rebecca Estepp for TACA (Talk About Curing Autism), an organization that LTP Natural Medical Center supports.  The report discusses two articles published in Pediatrics that make the association between gastrointestinal imbalances and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  I am pleased to see that mainstream medicine is beginning to acknowledge the connection between the gut and the brain.  100% of our patients with Autism are tested and treated for gastrointestinal imbalances.  There is no question that doing so generates positive results.  For more information on treating brain/biochemical disorders visit www.sicksyndrome.com. This site discusses the link between brain dysfunction and inflammation in the body, and ways to treat the condition using Naturopathic Medicine. One of the most significant ways to reduce inflammation in the brain is by testing for and treating digestive disturbances.

There is an old saying known in the Naturopathic Medical community that the gut is the second brain.  Modern research is now starting to validate this notion.

In health,

Dr. Gina

Pediatrics Looks at Gastrointestinal Disorders and Autism


January 4, 2010

Prepared by Rebecca Estepp

Two reports were released yesterday in the American Academy of Pediatrics medical journal, Pediatrics. Both articles focused on gastrointestinal disorders in individuals with autism. The first report entitled Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals With ASDs: A Consensus Report is a review of available medical literature surrounding autism and gastrointestinal symptoms from a panel of experts.  These experts came to the following conclusions:

• Medical disorders, including gastrointestinal problems, occur commonly in individuals with ASDs, but because symptoms may be atypical these medical conditions may be undiagnosed.

• Individuals with ASDs whose families report gastrointestinal symptoms warrant a thorough gastrointestinal evaluation.

• The care of individuals who are non-verbal or have difficulties in communication or who display self-injurious or other problem behaviors present special challenges. Nevertheless, the approach to evaluation and diagnosis of possible underlying medical conditions, in particular gastrointestinal disorders, should be no different from the standards of care for persons without ASDs. (emphasis added)

• The communication impairments characteristic of ASDs may lead to unusual presentations of gastrointestinal disorders, including sleep disorders and problem behaviors.

• Management of co-occurring gastrointestinal problems in individuals with ASDs usually begins with the primary care provider and may eventually warrant multidisciplinary consultation.

• Anecdotal reports that restricted diets may ameliorate symptoms of ASDs in some children have not been supported or refuted in the scientific literature, but these data do not address the possibility that there exists a subgroup of individuals who may respond to such diets.

• Integrating behavioral and biomedical approaches can be advantageous in conceptualizing the role of pain as a setting event for problem behavior, facilitating diagnosis and addressing residual pain symptoms to enhance the quality of life.

The second report, Recommendations for Evaluation and Treatment of Common Gastrointestinal Problems in Children With ASDs. provides health care providers guidelines in treating abdominal pain, chronic constipation, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. This report recognizes that the expression of gastrointestinal disease can be diverse in individuals with ASDs. It also concludes that unusual behaviors can be a result of gastrointestinal disorders.

TACA views these two reports as giant leaps forward for treatment of gastrointestinal symptoms that cause unnecessary pain to many individuals with autism and their families. This landmark paper will pave the way for pediatricians across the country to start treating children suffering through different gastrointestinal maladies.  We sincerely hope this is the first step towards individuals with autism receiving the medical treatments they need and deserve.

About TACA

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides information, resources, and support to families affected by autism. For families who have just received the autism diagnosis, TACA aims to speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments. TACA helps to strengthen the autism community by connecting families and the professionals who can help them, allowing them to share stories and information to help people with autism be the best they can be.


Screening Teens for Depression..Not Necessarily in the Best Interest of American Teens

April 14, 2009

Abstract Silhouette PrayingAs evidenced by an article published this month in Pediatrics, there is a strong push by the US Government’s Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) to encourage doctors to routinely screen ALL American teens for depression using subjective mental health screening questionnaires.   Unfortunately, this can very quickly lead to over-prescription of addictive psychotropic medications, some of which have been proven to increase risk of teenage suicide.  What is most interesting is that the screening methods that the USPSTF is recommending were at one time discouraged by the same task force, which discerned that there is no evidence that screening for suicide risk actually reduces suicide attempts or death.

Teens will typically be prescribed SSRI antidepressants unnecessarily as a consequence of widespread screening. SSRI antidepressant medications have been shown to be no more or only slightly more effective then placebo.  Additionally, these antidepressants carry the FDA’s strongest “Black Box” warning for increased risk of suicide among teens and young adults.

These medications are highly profitable in the US, bringing in approximately $286 Billion in ’07.

Watch this video for more info.

You can treat depression naturally. It is absolutely worth the time, money and energy to go that route first, before considering an antidepressant.   I see the most success in my practice when we use a variety of laboratory tests (e.g. blood amino acid & nutrient levels, Organic Acids, Food Allergy panels, as well as hormones) coupled with individualized treatment protocols aimed to work with the body’s unique and natural tendency to come to a state of balance, rather then forcing it to produce a single neurotransmitter, like serotonin, at the expense of overall health and well being.

It is time to re-focus our attention on doing what is in the best interest of the people (in this case US teens) and the planet.

-Dr. G


Teenage Stress leads to Adult Health Challenges

April 2, 2009

Teenage Problems, Social Issues and BullyingA new study done by researchers at my alma mater, UCLA , further confirms the connection between stress and inflammation.  In this study researchers found that stress during the teen-aged years leads to silent inflammation as an adult, which then increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.  I will also add that it increases the risk of depression, anxiety and other mood disorders and a condition called Sickness Syndrome that is best treated with Naturopathic Medicine.

You can take a free assessment on-line to see if the depression, anxiety, sleep disorders or weight gain you are experiencing is due to this syndrome by clicking here:

The foundation protocol that I use to support the health of patients who have Sickness Syndrome can be found here:

For more information about the condition click here.

It is amazing to watch as people pull out of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight disorders and severe mental health challenges without the use of prescription medications (in fact I often have to work with their prescribing doctors to taper them off the medications so that their body and mind can get to a balance point, and benefit from the natural medicines).  Naturopathic Medicine works so well!  I am always amazed by the the body’s ability to heal itself when you give it what it needs, and remove the barriers to cure (e.g. stress, drugs, food allergies, hormonal imbalances, structural imbalances, toxicities, digestive imbalances).

-Dr. G


The MOTHERS Act-Please Take Action Today

March 19, 2009

The MOTHERS act has been introduced once again to the US House of Representatives and the US Senate.   This bill is concerning as it would mandate the federal government to screen all new mothers for “psychiatric” conditions.  It parallels the “Teen Screen” phenomenon where schools began screening kids to see if they were at risk for suicide. It appears like a good idea on the surface however, it opens the door for over-prescribing potentially lethal psychiatric medications with questionable justification.  If you follow the money trail, it leads straight to the pharmaceutical industry, and new moms and teens are both huge markets that have, until now, been virtually untapped.

In my practice, I see many patients who have been prescribed psychiatric medications, feel disconnected from who they really are, and have grown extremely frustrated with the process of trying to get off the medications, with little if any support from their prescribing psychiatrist.  I often learn that these patients felt better before taking the medications and are now left confused and totally disenchanted by the Healthistock_000007074398xsmallcare system that offers no answers once a patient decides that his or her antidepressant is causing more harm then help.  Had they come in prior to taking the medications we would have worked together to find the underlying cause for the sad or anxious feelings. Oftentimes it is due to a multifaceted condition called Sickness Syndrome Depression that is best treated with natural medicines. Sometimes it can be related to adrenal stress, or compromised immune function, or an amino acid imbalance or other nutrient deficiency. Sometimes, and especially in new moms, it is simply due to a hormonal imbalance that can be easily and safely corrected through natural, nutrition -based medicine.  Patients are able to eventually break free from the psychiatric medications, but it is a long and committed process that takes time, energy and patience.

To gain a better understanding of the consequences of allowing this bill to pass, click here.

To see and hear one woman’s story about being misled by the psychiatric field and losing her child as a consequence, click here.

To sign a petition urging congress not to pass the MOTHERS act click here.

In the spirit of doing what is best for the patient,

-Dr. G


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