Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

April 15, 2013

Yoga Pic 2A new article in the Los Angeles Times helps to shed light on the value of yoga as part of a treatment plan for anxiety and depression.

In health,

Dr. Gina

Los Angeles Times (latimes.com) – Yoga Might Help Boost Mental Health – By Amber Dance – (Saturday, April 13, 2013)

As you stretch into warrior pose and inhale and exhale, you’re not just stretching those hamstrings and lungs; you’re also doing good for your brain with a practice that can stave off or relieve problems such as stress, depression and anxiety.

Yoga “gives some sense of sanity,” says Sat Bir Khalsa, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “You’re no longer washed away by the avalanche of your emotions. You are more in control.”
Yoga practice can also lower heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure, and may make people less sensitive to pain.

In some cases – particularly for anxiety, depression and stress – yoga might be more effective than medication, though this hasn’t been proved, says Dr. Murali Doraiswamy of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. While it won’t get rid of whatever is causing you distress, it could make it easier for you to deal with the issues. Doraiswamy compares learning yoga to learning to surf: Once you’ve got the skills, you can ride the wave instead of drowning underneath it.


Lithium Protects the Brain

February 26, 2013

I recently read a good summary by journalist Sheila Casey of the benefits of the mineral lithium orotate (not to be mistaken with the prescription medication lithium carbonate) for protecting the brain from challenges like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, mood disorders including depression, alcoholism, and brain injury, and to enhance brain function, increasing the number and the quality of new brain cells.

Lithium protects the brain against toxins of all kinds, including alcohol, and environmental toxins we all face.  At HealthBridge we test the blood for lithium in patients who are challenged with mood disorders and often find an extreme deficiency of this mineral. I will prescribe the mineral when it is appropriate, while monitoring blood tests to make sure thyroid, kidney and liver function remain healthy.

Some food sources of lithium to incorporate into your diet include kelp (1000-2000mg taken daily) and pistachios (just a handful, 2-3 times per week).

In health,

Dr. Gina

Li

Miracle Mineral Protects the Brain By Sheila Casey / RCFP

Numerous studies have found that a common mineral heals the brain by stimulating the growth of new brain cells and protecting brain cells from every known neurotoxin. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of violent crime, homicide, suicide, and drug addiction, while preventing the brain shrinkage and memory loss that otherwise occurs naturally with age, as well as helping people with alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cluster headaches and traumatic brain injury.

Although occurring naturally in tomatoes and in the water supply in many places, this mineral is rarely found in any vitamin-mineral supplement, and is not even commonly found in brick and mortar health food stores. Its name may surprise you: Lithium.

Most people think of lithium as a drug for crazy people. While high doses of lithium carbonate are used to treat bipolar disorder, and are available only as a prescription, both lithium orotate and lithium aspartate are available cheaply over the counter, in much lower doses, at outlets such as vitacost.com and iherb.com. (Note: We have no financial connection with either outlet.)

According to the controversial, and now deceased German orthomolecular physician Dr. Hans Nieper, the orotate form of lithium is more effectively transported inside cells, making it more effective at lower doses than the prescription form, lithium carbonate.

Lithium has also been shown to be effective at ultra-low doses, such as those found naturally in tap water. A ten year Texas study found that the incidence of rape, homicide, suicide, burglary and drug addiction was significantly lower in counties where the water supply contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter, compared to counties where there is little or no lithium in the water. A similar study in Japan found that lithium in the water supply significantly reduced the risk of suicide.

Even a very thirsty Texan who drank three liters of water a day (100 ounces) would still be getting only a half a milligram of lithium per day, if they lived in an area where there is 170 mcg. of lithium per liter of water. Compare this to the amount commonly taken by bipolar patients: 900 mg/day of lithium carbonate, which contains 165 mg of elemental lithium. Put another way, the startling results of the Texas study were achieved with doses that were one-third of one percent of the amount taken by bipolar patients.

These highly beneficial effects from low dose lithium have prompted some researchers to call for adding lithium to the water supply in the amounts found naturally in the high lithium Texas counties.

One of these is Jonathan Wright M.D, author, founder of the Tahoma Clinic in Renton, Washington, and a member of the medical advisory board for the non-profit Life Extension Foundation. Dr. Wright first began working with lithium in the 70s, when research at a VA hospital showed that it dramatically reduced recidivism (otherwise known as “falling off the wagon”) among alcoholics. Not only were these vets drinking less, their families reported less anger, aggression and violence in the men, and less moodiness, weepiness and depression in the women. They were also sleeping better, and generally calmer and happier.

Wright later began using low dose lithium with the children of alcoholics, who often have some of the same mood problems afflicting their parents. (A February 2010 article published in the journal Addiction showed that kids with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to crave sweets, suffer from depression, and become alcoholics themselves.)

But Wright didn’t start using low dose lithium himself until 1999, when an article in the British medical journal The Lancet reported the astonishing finding that just four weeks of high-dose lithium therapy caused a three percent increase in brain volume — translating into billions of additional brain cells. These findings turned on its head the conventional wisdom that we are born with all the brain cells we will ever have, and that brain shrinkage is an unavoidable consequence of aging.

In the past ten years, says Wright, there has been an “avalanche of research” about lithium. In addition to proving definitively that lithium stimulates the brain to grow new cells, it has also been shown to be, Wright says, a “wonderful neuroprotective agent from any type of toxin there is.” This neuro-protective mechanism is so strong that one respected lithium researcher said, according to Wright, that it “verges on malpractice to prescribe any psychotropic medication without lithium to protect the brain.” Psychotropics include antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and sleeping pills.

Dr. Wright has even heard, anecdotally, from numerous patients, that when they are taking lithium they don’t get bad hangovers. Lithium protects the brain from the damaging effects of alcohol, reducing the pain the morning after. Wright cautions that one can’t simply pop a tablet of lithium along with a pitcher of margaritas to achieve this effect, one would have to be taking it regularly, prior to a night of overindulgence, to protect brain cells.

Likewise, it has been shown that if the blood supply is suddenly cut off to the brain, such as with a stroke, brain cells suffer much less damage if the stroke victim has been taking lithium. (It does not work to take the lithium after the stroke, when the damage has already occurred.)

Mentioning that a recent medical journal carried a story with the headline “Can lithium prevent Alzheimer’s disease?” Dr. Wright said, “You know when you see a headline like that, that in another ten years you’ll see the same headline without the question mark.” He then enumerated multiple ways in which lithium interferes with the Alzheimer’s disease process.

Although he has no family history of mental illness or alcoholism, Wright has been taking 20 mg/day of elemental lithium (in the orotate form) for over ten years, purely to protect his brain and keep his IQ and memory in tip-top form, for as long as possible, as he ages.

In over 30 years, Wright has encountered only two or three people who have had a possible reaction to a dose of 20 mg/day or less: they thought it might have caused a slight tremor — which went away when the lithium was discontinued. On the other hand, he’s had dozens of patients report that their benign tremor improved on low dose lithium

Wright cautions that every patient is different and it is wise to also take fish oil and flax seed oil, if one is taking lithium. These healthy oils are routinely used to treat lithium toxicity in patients who are so severely bipolar that stopping their lithium is not an option, and they add an extra layer of safety for those using over the counter lithium without a doctor’s supervision.

Wright defines low dose lithium as anything up to a maximum of 55 mg of elemental lithium per day, which is the equivalent of a single 300 mg. capsule of prescription lithium carbonate, or 11 tablets of over the counter lithium orotate or aspartate, which typically contain 5 mg. of elemental lithium per tablet. No one, he says, should consider going higher than that without regular blood testing to insure that they are not toxic, and damaging either their kidneys or thyroid gland. Symptoms of lithium toxicity are: tremor in the hands, rising blood pressure, and flu-like symptoms.

Given the many amazing neurological benefits of lithium, why has there been so little it in the press? A search at nytimes.com for “lithium alcoholism” brought up just two relevant articles: from 1973 and 1975. A search for “lithium Alzheimer’s” at both MSNBC and CNN brought up no relevant articles.

Dr. Wright has a theory about this, and it’s not flattering to either science writers, pharmaceutical companies or biosciences academics. The problem begins, he says, with the fact that lithium cannot be patented, so no real money can be made from selling it. Thus, there are no armies of press agents blanketing science writers with press releases touting its eye-popping benefits. And science writers, Dr. Wright says, “do not dig, and they have not been digging into this lithium at all.” If they don’t receive a press release about it, says Wright, science writers are unlikely to find out about new discoveries.

Not only is there no money to be made selling lithium, lithium represents direct competition to drugs that are currently earning many billions of profit for pharmaceutical companies. The central nervous system (CNS) drug market is expected to increase to $64 billion this year. By comparison, lithium aspartate is available at vitacost.com for less than $6 for a 30 day supply.

I asked Dr. Wright “If everyone were taking low dose lithium, as you are, wouldn’t there be a greatly reduced market for psychotropic drugs, Alzheimer’s drugs, alcoholism drugs?” and he replied:

“Yes. I don’t know when the news about lithium will break through into public awareness. When it does, it will probably be opposed, because there are so many professors who are on the payroll of patent medicine companies. Anybody who comes out and promotes something that is in competition with a product from the patent medicine companies is going to be called crazy and a quack by those on the payroll of those same patent medicine companies.”

The news that lithium is good for our brains raises some compelling questions. Is lithium an essential nutrient for human health that is deficient in our water supply and the soil that grows our food? With so many people now filtering their water or drinking purified bottled water, are we eliminating even trace amounts of lithium from our diets? Lithium is one of the most abundant minerals in the sea, with 50 micrograms in a tablespoon of seawater. Could that be part of the reason why people the world over flock to the sea, and feel so relaxed and calm after a day spent splashing in the waves?

Until these questions are answered, one thing seems clear: your brain has a good friend in lithium.

Sheila Casey is a DC based journalist. Her work has appeared in The Denver Post, Reuters, Chicago Sun-Times, Dissident Voice and Common Dreams.


Concierge Integrative Medical Services

November 4, 2012

Just a quick post to share my excitement as our medical practice expands to offer to our patients the only medical service of its kind in southern California.

As you know, I am passionate about integrative medicine, and after 15 years treating patients and teaching physicians how to practice this medicine, I am still in awe of the results that come with helping the body to heal itself.  There are natural options available for major health challenges, like depression, infertility, ADHD, hormone imbalance, memory loss, chronic pain, and rheumatoid arthritis.

I have been practicing concierge medicine with our high profile patients and am now offering this service to more people.

As a concierge patient you have the option for home visits, a private line to the doctor, help with shopping for the best foods for your body, and a more personal and direct relationship, the way medicine used to be practiced, when your doctor was also a family friend.

Read about our patients’ experiences to learn firsthand from others who have gotten results with the help of this medicine.

You can call our offices at 310-734-0950 (Beverly Hills) or 949-715-9321 (Newport Beach) for more info.

In health,
Dr. Gina

Thyroid Presentation Post Program Evaluation

November 28, 2011

Dr. Cushman’s lecture today on “Innovative Strategies for Optimizing Thyroid Function” was a great success.  Here are just a few comments from the physicians and pharmacists in attendance:

“Thanks Dr Cushman,excellent presentation.”

“Would love to see more programs with Dr. Gina – so interesting – she is GREAT!”

“Please get Dr. Cushman back often. She’s excellent.”

“The best one on this [Live Continuing Medical Education] website.”

“Excellent speaker!

“Excellent speaker and welcomed content!”

“Excellent presentation!”

“Excellent breakdown and explanation of the key differences between thyroid products.”

Don’t miss her next presentation scheduled for Thursday, December 15th 2011 on www.freece.com and receive 1.25 hours of live continuing education pharmaceutical credits!

 


Don’t miss Dr. Gina’s popular live online continuing education (CE) presentation: Offsetting the Primary Risks of Oral Contraceptives and (HRT) Use in Women!

August 6, 2011

Dr. Gina Cushman, owner & founder of HealthBridge Management, LLC to deliver a live online CE presentation on Wednesday, August 10th at 7PM Pacific.

The presentation topic is: “Offsetting the Primary Risks of Oral Contraceptive (and HRT) Use in Women.”

Healthcare practitioners (including Naturopathic Physicians, Medical Doctors, Osteopaths, and Nurses!) receive free Pharmacy credit hours by logging on to PharmCon at http://www.freece.com and registering for Dr. Cushman’s talk.


Last Chance to Register for Dr. Cushman’s Free Live CE Presentation Tomorrow at 2PM Eastern Time!

July 6, 2011

Just a reminder to logon to FreeCe.com and register for Dr. Cushman’s live talk on Thursday July 7th from 2-3 PM ET.  The topic is Offsetting the Primary Risks of Oral Contraceptives (and HRT) Use in Women.

Licensed pharmacists, physicians, nurses and Naturopathic Medical Doctors receive 1 hour of LIVE (as if you were at a conference!) ACPE approved CE pharmacy credits. The talk is FREE to members and $30 for non-members.

Click here to register now.


Thyroid Imbalance Epidemic

February 1, 2011

Sharing a post from Dr. Gary Gordon, emphasizing the importance of diagnosing and treating thyroid imbalances.  At our office, we have found  Thyroflex to be an excellent way to assess the functioning of the thyroid gland. We also test the blood for the active hormones and find that the results from our Thyroflex readings are more accurate and more valuable in terms of adequately treating thyroid imbalances.  The result is that our patients feel more energy, are able to maintain their desired weight, and experience a stronger immune system and a more positive attitude.

Here’s to supporting your body’s ability to heal itself, and regaining energy, vitality and a greater sense of well-being.

In health,

Dr. G

Thyroid Support Epidemic

February 1, 2011 by Dr. Garry Gordon

There is an epidemic of patients who need thyroid support! The attached Pubmed report shows how thyroid can protect pregnancies from untoward outcomes.

Nonetheless, the current January 2011 Townsend Newsletter reports that the Oregon Medical Board is attacking a licensed MD there for prescribing thyroid, because the indicated T4 and TSH target levels were not present. They are ignoring all of the overwhelming clinical evidence that the patient needed, and benefited by, the thyroid prescription. As one nutritional therapist and patient of this doctor declares, the Oregon Medical Board should emulate the doctor – not pursue internal complaints.

This is very sad since subclinical hypothyroidism is EPIDEMIC in our toxic world. Just consider the levels of Fluoride and Bromide present today that induce iodine deficiency in our population, as one cause of suboptimal thyroid function. For many other causes please consider owning the new text on Nutritional Medicine by Dr. Alan Gaby with nearly 30,000 references behind it.

View the report below on levothyroxine and infertile women with hypothyroidism. How many miscarriages or other pregnancy problems would be eliminated if doctors were not living in fear of their medical licenses? Read Dr. Broda Barnes’ book on thyroid disease, ‘Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness’ (later reviewed by Dr. Stephen Langer), and then the book ‘Hypothyroidism Type 2: The Epidemic’ by Dr. Mark Starr.  These will bring the rationale for diagnosing borderline or subclinical hypothyroidism into clear focus.

We should err on the side of more thyroid support for patients since there are so many contributors to low thyroid function, instead of putting doctors (and their patients) in harm’s way for practicing real medicine.

Garry F. Gordon MD,DO,MD(H)
President, Gordon Research Institute
www.gordonresearch.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fertil Steril. 2010 Dec 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Effect of levothyroxine treatment on in vitro fertilization and pregnancy outcome in infertile women with subclinical hypothyroidism undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Kim CH, Ahn JW, Kang SP, Kim SH, Chae HD, Kang BM.
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ulsan, College of Medicine, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether levothyroxine (LT4) treatment has beneficial effects on IVF results and pregnancy outcome in infertile patients with subclinical hypothyroidism undergoing IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

DESIGN: Prospective, randomized trial.

SETTING: University-affiliated infertility clinic.

PATIENT(S): A total of 64 infertile patients with subclinical hypothyroidism, defined as an elevated serum TSH level associated with a normal free T4 level and without frank symptoms of hypothyroidism.

INTERVENTION(S): Patients were randomized into an LT4 treatment group or control group. For the LT4 treatment group, 50 μg LT4 was administered from the first day of controlled ovarian stimulation for IVF/ICSI.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Results of IVF and pregnancy outcome.

RESULT(S): There were no differences in patient characteristics between the two groups. Total dose and days of recombinant human FSH used for controlled ovarian stimulation were also similar. The number of grade I or II embryos was significantly higher in the LT4 treatment group than in the control group. There was no significant difference in the clinical pregnancy rate per cycle between the two groups. However, the miscarriage rate was significantly lower in the LT4 treatment group than in the control group. Embryo implantation rate and live birth rate were significantly higher in the LT4 treatment group. In the control group, both thyroid peroxidase antibody and thyroglobulin antibody levels were significantly higher in the miscarried subgroup than in the delivered subgroup.

CONCLUSION(S): LT4 treatment can improve embryo quality and pregnancy outcome in subclinical hypothyroid women undergoing IVF/ICSI.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID: 21193190 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

db=PubMed&dopt=Abstract&list_s=21193190


Proper Zinc Levels Cut Your Pneumonia Risk in Half!

September 24, 2010

A study of 600 nursing facility residents has found that those with adequate zinc levels were about fifty percent less likely to develop pneumonia than those with low body concentrations of zinc. Also, those with sufficient levels of zinc received fewer prescriptions for antibiotics, had shorter durations of pneumonia and had lower mortality rates. The researchers suggested that zinc supplementation for zinc-deficient elderly persons may result in a lower incidence of pneumonia and that further study is required to determine whether zinc supplements may be an effective and low-cost intervention to reduce pneumonia deaths among vulnerable populations who already have low zinc intakes. (An earlier analysis of the same data had shown that those who consumed 200 international units (IU) of vitamin E were less likely to get upper respiratory infections, such as colds.) The study was released August 10, 2010 and will be published in a future issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In the meantime, it can be read online at by subscribers to the journal or those who pay the article access fee.

The evidence is mounting that proper nutrient levels keep us well.  In general licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors will not, however, advise that everyone run out and buy a high potency vitamin and mineral supplement. We are all unique, and what we have discovered at our office is that one person may have toxic levels of zinc in their body, while another may have a deficiency.  That is why we are strong proponents for testing to discover what your unique nutrient, amino acid and fatty acid needs are. Armed with objective information on your body, we can then create a plan for you of what supplements to take, in what form, how often, and what dietary and lifestyle changes you can make to keep you healthy, well and safe!

Dr. G


Tylenol Linked to Asthma and Eczema in Children

September 12, 2010

A new study has found a dose-related association between current acetaminophen use by adolescents and their experiences with symptoms of asthma. Although researchers said that “it is not possible” to prove this is a cause and effect link, the study was quite large, involving 360,000 adolescents of 13 to 14 years of age in 50 countries. The subjects were surveyed about their use within the last year, of acetaminophen as well as their symptoms of asthma. Those who used the drug at least once a year showed a 40 percent greater risk of asthma; and those who used acetaminophen at least once a month had a 150 percent higher risk of asthmatic symptoms. Rhinoconjunctivitis – an inflammation of the covering of the white of the eye, combined with a stuffy nose – and eczema were also associated with recent use of the drug. The study team suggested that “controlled trials are now urgently required to investigate this relationship further.” This study was released August 13, 2010 but will not be published until a future issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Eczema and asthma often go hand in hand.  It is due time that we acknowledge this link and caution against freely using Tylenol to manage our children’s ailments. Asthma and eczema tend to be chronic conditions, and the immediate relief for children (and their parents) that Tylenol can bring, does not match the long term negative consequences. Naturopathic Medical Doctors often run lab tests to identify food allergies and nutrients deficiencies that cause headaches, frequent colds, asthma and eczema, and are usually quite successful in preventing and treating these conditions in children.

In health,

-Dr. Gina



The End of Antibiotics?

September 10, 2010

New research concludes a rapidly emerging gene – found in a large and growing number of bacterial samples – makes bacteria immune to all drugs. Bacteria that acquire and reproduce this gene could spread so quickly that they could make all antibiotics redundant and signal the end of modern antibiotics. The gene, known as New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1), was first found in pneumonia and E. coli bacteria taken from a single Swedish patient in 2009. But NDM-1 was found in 73 samples of Enterobacteriaceae (bacteria) taken from patients in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as 37 from the UK, who had traveled to these countries for elective surgery. Importantly, the NDM-1 gene was found on plasmids, DNA structures that can be easily copied and transferred between evolving bacteria, suggesting, wrote the researchers, “an alarming potential to spread and diversify among bacterial populations.” Worse, the infections were community acquired, meaning they exist in the general environment. No drugs, including those in development, are effective against NDM-1. This study was released August 11, 2010 and will be published in the September 2010 print issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases. Meantime, the full-text version of the study can be accessed online at http://bit.ly/bEGfvg by journal subscribers or to those who register on the site; registration is free.

At LTP Medical our foundational approach to  preventing and treating bacterial infections includes the use of Allimed, Oregacillin, Glutathione Complete, Green Light, Organic Reds, and Vitamin D3.  Be sure your body also has sufficient levels of immune-boosting probiotics, minerals like Zinc and Selenium, and vitamins like A, C and E. There are simple blood tests that licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctors run to determine what your body really needs in terms of probiotic, vitamin and mineral supplementation.  As we face a new generation of bacteria on the planet, it is best to optimize your immune function with proper nutrients and the removal of negative stress. And when possible and necessary, partner with a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor for individualized attention and to strengthen your approach to optimal health.

To your health!

Dr. G


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