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

 


Fish Oils Reduce Inflammation and Treat Diabetes

November 11, 2010

Finally, a study has identified the mechanism by which omega-3 fatty acids appear to effectively fight chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and diabetes. The study found that there is a key receptor in obese body fat and that omega-3 oils – specifically docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) – activate this receptor, which results in broad anti-inflammatory effects and improved systemic insulin sensitivity. (There is a strong connection between obesity and diabetes.) The effect of fish oil was powerful, according to the researchers, and, “The omega-3 fatty acids switch on the receptor, killing the inflammatory response.” The study team warned that more study is required to determine how much fish oil constitutes a safe and effective dose. Researchers suggested that the study could eventually lead to a natural dietary remedy for the more than 23 million Americans who suffer from diabetes. This study was published in the journal, Cell. The full-text version is now available online by clicking here.

In health,

Dr. G


The Potential of Resveratrol-is it Worth Adding to your Health Regimen?

August 20, 2009

grapeResveratrol is a naturally occurring chemical found in the skins and seeds of red grapes, peanuts and in Polygonum, a popular and well respected herbal medicine from the Far East.  Currently, the research on Resveratrol is promising as a protective chemical against the damaging effects of toxins, synthetic estrogen and xenoestrogens, inflammation, and the process of aging.  It has specific actions on the brain, immune system, and heart.

In my practice I will use between 200 and 500 mg per day of Resveratrol as part of a treatment protocol. This typically is added to a protocol after a patient has been tested to determine if he or she has a deficiency of antioxidants or an imbalance of free radicals relative to antioxidants in the body.  All too often patients come into my practice with a huge bag of supplements, with no idea of what is working, what is not working and still battling the same symptoms that led him or her down the path of supplementation.

You know your body better then anyone else… you have been living in it your entire life!  You may have a sense of what is causing your symptoms and you also may have a sense for what medicines are helping or harming you.  To help confirm that sense, and develop a balanced approach to solving your health challenge, I encourage getting lab testing completed through a qualified Naturopathic Medical Doctor who has access and has experience with taking objective measured to get to an underlying biochemical cause for your symptoms.  And at that point, adding a powerful antioxidant such as Resveratrol to your protocol, and then re-testing after 3-6 months, this will let you know for certain if what you are taking is actually helping to balance your body!

In health,

Dr. Gina


Vitamin D3 & Curcumin for Brain Health

July 30, 2009

human brainA new research study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, points to the combination of Vitamin D3 and curcumin (derived from the common spice turmeric) to protect the brain against beta amyloid deposits. Beta amlyoid deposits can build up to form plaque.  This plaque is associated with an increase in brain cell damage and a significant increase in Alzheimer’s disease, which affects over 13 million people worldwide.

The combination of Vitamin D3 and curcumin help boost the immune system to the point of neutralizing and/or preventing the formation of these amlyoid deposits. The deposits are caused by excessive free radical production in the brain.  Other well researched foods that help to neutralize free radical production in the brain are spinach and raspberries.   Unfortunately, they are also at the top of the list of foods that have a higher content of pesticides, which increase free radical production and DNA damage. I recommend consuming these foods if they are locally grown and organic.

There are several genetic forms of Alzheimer’s.  The research shows that while one form responds well to curcumin, the other form does not.  However, when you combine the curcumin with Vitamin D3, it supports the immune system’s ability to eliminate the beta amyloid deposits from two different mechanisms, so that it also impacts patients with the genetic form of Alzheimer’s that does not respond to curcumin alone.

I am always in awe of the medicines offered in nature that impact even the most troublesome of health challenges.

In health,

Dr. Gina


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


Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Teen Health Challenges

March 16, 2009

A new study done at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals even more data on the association between Vitamin D deficiency and health. In this case, researchers studied approximately 3,600 boys and girls ages 12 to 19 who took part in a government health survey from 2001 to 2004.

The teenage boys and girls with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were twice as likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood sugar.  Even more alarming, the teens with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were four times as likely to develop metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a triad of conditions, namely high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol, that are associated with diabetes and heart disease.  Metabolic syndrome patients also tend to store fat around their midsection.  This condition is closely related to stress and Sickness Syndrome.   Most of the patients that I treat for Sickness Syndrome Depression and stress-related illness inevitably have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.  This makes sense given that a key source for vitamin D is exposure to the sun, and lack of exposure to the sun will, in many people, lead to depression and inflammation.

In our office, we test the blood for Vitamin D3, which is the active form of the vitamin.  And oftentimes if a patient has inflammation, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or Sickness Syndrome, then Vitamin D3 testing and treatment becomes part of their path to optimal health.

If this is a topic of interest to you, please read previous posts on vitamin D3.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Your Body Has the Ability to Heal Itself

January 26, 2009

painLast week I was interviewed for an upcoming PBS Series on Naturopathic Medicine. The topic was chronic pain. Throughout the interview I found myself repeating the notion that “the body has the ability to heal itself,” provided you give it what it needs and you remove the barriers to cure.  What the body needs can range from a particular combination of nutrients, herbs, and natural hormones, to more positive emotions.  Some of the most prevalent “barriers to cure” that I see in my  practice are stress, food allergies, and toxin overload.

Most people suffering with chronic pain are handed a prescription for pain killers and muscle relaxants and/or advised to get psychological help.  The Naturopathic approach to chronic pain involves identifying the cause of the pain; be it emotional, physical, stress-related, toxin-related or hormone-related. Then treatment is individualized to suit the patients’ unique situation. No two treatment protocols are the same.  My experience has been that by addressing the cause of the chronic pain at the emotional, mental and physical levels brings about the most successful long term results and allows for freedom of movement and a pain-free life.

The most important message here is that if you are experiencing chronic pain, you do not need to suffer.  There is a way to find relief. One of the best ways to find that relief is by addressing the underlying cause(s) of the pain rather then chronically masking the symptoms with medication…and allowing your own body, in its innate wisdom, to heal itself.

In health,

Dr. Gina


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