Are you concerned about the health of your skin?

Our skin is the largest organ in the body.  It is the interface between our internal world and the external environment.  The skin is a reflection of inner health and there are many influences on the skin such as nutrition, hormones, medication side effects, stress, gastrointestinal health and inflammation.

Whenever I see someone with a skin problem, I look for a deeper issue.  I review diet, exercise, family history, hormones, digestive issues and stress.  There is often a connection between digestive issues and the skin.  Gas, bloating, constipation and inadequate hydrochloric acid often accompany skin disorders.  Treatment focuses on healing the gut which insures that proper nutrients get to the skin and the rest of the body.  When there is a leaky gut, this means that the digestive tract mucosa is inflamed and the tight junctions of the intestines have loosened and undigested food and toxins are absorbed.  The immune system then becomes over-reactive.  The result is a vicious cycle of inflammation and further loss of the integrity of the intestinal barrier.  What can often result from this process is the development of food sensitivities and both bacterial and yeast overgrowth. The first step to healing is a formula containing some blend of L-glutamine, slippery elm, DGL and other healing herbs.  I often follow this process with a general cleanse and challenge.  A challenge provides significant feedback if there are symptoms (more…)

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Am I gluten sensitive, gluten intolerant or have Celiac Disease?

If you have celiac disease you are by definition gluten intolerant and gluten sensitive.  If you are gluten intolerant and do not have celiac disease it means that when you avoid gluten your symptoms are relieved.  Food sensitivity means that when you eliminate the offending food your symptoms go away.  To be more specific you may notice that a predictable recurring set of symptoms is relieved when gluten is removed from your diet.  You may also find that you are able to eat gluten occasionally if you are gluten sensitive.

What is Celiac Disease?  It is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the gastrointestinal system.  Celiac Disease is the body attacking itself and the target is the villi of the small intestines.  Villi are the little hair like structures that enable us to absorb the nutrients we need.  When a genetically susceptible individual consumes gluten the villi become inflamed and flattened which over time damages the absorptive surface of the small intestine.  Resulting nutrient deficiencies may include iron, calcium, folate and vitamin B12.  If the damage progresses then there is malabsorption of carbohydrates, fats, fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, K) and protein.  Celiac disease can affect an individual at any age.  I have often seen it diagnosed as a causative factor in osteoporosis, pancreatitis, various neurological symptoms, and miscarriages.

What is the prevalence of Celiac Disease?  It affects approximately 1% (more…)

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Enhancing Your Sleep

Insufficient sleep is probably the most prevalent sleep disorder in America.  Our busy lives and pressure to get things done and get ahead, plus financial worries are typically sleep disrupters.  A lack of balance in life contributes to lack of balance in mind, body and sleep.

There are many factors contributing to problems with sleep and it is essential to identify the underlying cause and address it on an individual basis.  Inadequate sleep affects the ability to process information, and affects concentration, focus and memory.

There are several types of sleep disturbance, an inability to fall asleep, waking up throughout the night and waking up in reaction to disturbing dreams.  Difficulty falling asleep is often accompanied by having difficulty slowing down the mind, anxiety, stress, too much stimulation, worry and emotional turbulence which may include any feeling/issue that is unresolved.

Individuals suffering from PTSD often become hypervigilant at night and have difficulty calming the mind and body.  People who suffer from depression often have difficulty staying asleep or sleep too much.  Chronic pain patients may have difficulty sleeping and lack of sleep in turn amplifies their pain.  When a person is chronically stressed, then there may be a disruption in cortisol rhythm and this in turn can affect the feedback system of the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal gland and consequently affect sleep.  (more…)

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Menopause – A Time to Change

A season of change is upon us as Autumn draws near.  Each year at this time I am reminded of the path of peri-menopause into menopause.  As I reflect on my own journey I realize that this time changed the course of my life.  Peri-menopause was filled not only with physical changes but also remnants of unresolved issues and the gateway to evaluate how I was living my life, what I wanted and the changes I was willing to make.  The path into and through menopause can truly be a gift.

The menopausal transition spans 3-9 years, typically starting around age 45 with a range of age 44-56.   The transition is dynamic, beginning with longer cycles, periods that are lighter and shorter or heavier and longer in length.  During early peri-menopause progesterone levels begin to fall, estrogen typically remains the same or increases.  When progesterone declines and estrogen remains the same, an imbalance is created.  The first symptoms experienced are irregular periods and often excessive vaginal bleeding.  This is often a time of weight gain, premenstrual headaches, bloating, mood swings and forgetfulness.  As a woman moves closer to menopause, defined by 12 months without a period, estrogen declines and hot flashes often occur.  A hot flash is a sudden sensation of warmth that can become intense heat over the face, scalp and chest area.  (more…)

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What can Natural Medicine do for Arthritis?

While there are many forms of arthritis the most common are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.  The common features of the arthritic illnesses include joint pain, stiffness and inflammation.  Nearly 1 in 3 adults are affected by osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease, which is the most prevalent.  The primary risk factor is aging.  The second most prevalent form is rheumatoid arthritis which affects 3-4% of the population including children.  Gout affects the small joints of the hands and feet and is more prevalent among men.  Less common forms of arthritis include psoriatic arthritis, infectious arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

What causes arthritis?

There are many factors contributing to arthritis and that combination is individual.

  • Leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability
  • Food allergies
  • Dysbiosis
  • Accumulation of toxins in the body
  • Parasites, bacterial and yeast infections
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Immune dysfunction leading to an autoimmune reaction, which means the body becomes allergic to its own tissues.
  • Biomechanical stress

(more…)

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