Dr. Laura: How does your thyroid function?

Feeling tired, loosing hair, bring fog, brittle nails, constipated,  periods heavy and cholesterol rising? Perhaps your thyroid is to blame.

What does thyroid hormone do?

Thyroid hormone keeps:

  • our metabolism humming
  • hair and skin smooth and silky
  • muscles and tendons well lubricated
  • mood bright
  • digestion moving along
  • brain firing on al cylinders
  • LDL cholesterol at healthy levels

How do you measure thyroid function?

General practitioners assess Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), and if it is out of range, T4 and T3 is measured. Sometimes an ultrasound is done to visualize the size and health of the gland, to assess nodules or help diagnose thyroid cancer.  Naturopathic doctors, functional medicine doctors and endocrinologists will be more likely the ones to run a full thyroid panel (freeT4, freeT3, TSH, TPO, Anti-Thyroglobulin and reverse T3).

How does the body naturally balance thyroid hormone?

T3 is the active hormone in the body and is made from T4. Although the T4 is made in the thyroid, conversion to T3 happens mostly in the liver and the gastrointestinal tract.   A normal functioning thyroid gland works with the hypothalamus in the brain using a negative feedback system to indicate when there is enough active thyroid hormone in the system.

How does the medical doctor balance thyroid?

Traditionally synthroid or levothyroxine is prescribed to treat inadequate levels of thyroid hormone and treatment is geared to reach a desired TSH level. Direct T3 therapy (Cytomel) is rarely prescribed due to lack of research and clinical experience. Typically the family doctor will  treat to normalize the TSH, but recent research, and numerous patient complaints may indicate that this is not enough.

More research is required to support T4 and T3 combination therapy, whether it is levothyroxine plus cytomel or natural desiccated thyroid, alone or in combination.

Research finds TSH monitoring is not enough to determine adequate thyroid functioning and some medical doctors agree a 4:1 ratio of T4:T3 predicts patient satisfaction and better health.

What does the naturopathic doctor do to balance the thyroid?

Naturopathic doctors seek to support the thyroid in making T4 and the body’s ability to convert the T4 to the active form of thyroid known as T3.   A naturopathic doctor offers support to people on pharmaceuticals like synthroid or levothyroxine, and is also able to additionally or solely prescribe advice for nutraceutical  support and natural desiccated thyroid.

A naturopathic doctor will:

  • look at the full thyroid panel
  • adrenal health
  • cholesterol panel
  • sex hormone health
  • the function of the liver
  • health of gastrointestinal tract,
  • nutrient balance of things like selenium, zinc, iron and iodine

How is cholesterol linked to thyroid function?

T3 levels are also inversely linked to LDL Cholesterol. When thyroid levels are low, LDL cellular reception is reduced, leaving more LDL in the blood stream.  Emerging research finds treatment with T4 alone (synthroid, levothyroxine) does not always correct the high levels of cholesterol induced by poor thyroid function. Rising levels of LDL cholesterol in peri-menopausal women with symptoms of fatigue should trigger an investigation into the balance of T4 and T3, not just TSH.

What drives T3 levels down?

  • Body shuttles T3 to reverse T3 in times of starvation and stress
  • Poor feedback function in the hypothalamus
  • Thyroiditis
  • High levels of natural and environmental estrogens
  • Epstein Barr Virus

T3 levels are increasingly challenged as xenoestrogens (environmental contaminants) rise in developed countries.  Peri-menopausal women also experience challenges. This is because estrogen (unopposed by progesterone as ovulation slows down), or estrogen mimickers like xenoestrogens (from plastics, pesticides and insecticides) have the ability to bind up Thyroid Binding Globulin and somehow affect the T4 to T3 conversion ratio. Some research points to Epstein Barr Virus impacting the genome and ultimately the function of the thyroid.

For more help optimizing your thyroid function, book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 

Dr. Laura: Long Term Effects of Cortisol and Stress

Cortisol is released in a daily rhythm, but also in response to stress. Ever wonder what are the long term effects of cortisol (stress) in the body?

picture from  philosophytalk.org

Long term danger can be perceived in the form of anything that takes away our freedom, feeling unloved, feelings of insecurity, projecting into the future something that is not true, as if it were and  fear-based memories for future survival so as to avoid any repeat of traumatic events.

Cortisol is not all bad, it has some daily and life-saving functions. The problems lies when the body gets stuck in fear gear, cannot return to its natural state of homeostasis and subsequently has difficult with rest and digestion.

Normal Cortisol Function

Cortisol hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is released twice a day with blood levels peaking in the morning, and rising slightly again in mid afternoon.

Throughout the day, cortisol:

  • Helps provide energy; maintains blood glucose
  • Suppresses nonvital organ systems to provide energy to the brain, nerves and muscles
  • Is a potent anti-inflammatory hormone
  • Prevents widespread tissue and nerve damage associated with inflammation

Short Term Stress Response

In response to a moment of physical or emotional shock or trauma, the body releases three main chemicals: epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. In the short term, these chemicals trigger a series of events in the body to promote survival including anti-inflammatory actions and activation of energy to flee from the danger. Short term response has a clear purpose to better outcome (safety, life).

Once the epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol are released into the blood flow,

  • heart rate increases
  • blood pressure increases
  • respiration rate increases
  • arteries vasoconstrictor & release sweat.
  • pupils dilate
  • Pro inflammatory response so as to destroy antigens, pathogens, or foreign invaders; adrenoreceptor antagonists have been shown to inhibit stress-induced inflammation and cytokine production by blocking the proinflammatory effects of norepinephrine.

Long Term Cortisol Danger

Body’s release

When the brain feels you are in danger on an ongoing basis, cortisol release goes into overdrive. This can be things that threaten our survival like financial concerns, relationship problems, too many commitments, feelings of bitterness towards others, anger, resentment, being unhappy with yourself, lack of faith, hope, love, fear of loosing something you treasure… the list can go on.

Basically the body gets stuck in some type of survival mode. It is then difficult to re-establish to its natural balance.

Medications

Long term medications that end on “-sone” are often producing similar effects to cortisol in the body. These are drugs that suppress the immune system like prednisone, hydrocortisone.

Cortisone type drugs are used to treat pain, allergic disorders, skin conditions, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, or breathing disorders.

Be sure to also be aware of information on cortisone drug side effects. 

  • Osteoporosis
  • Muscle wasting
  • Hypertension
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Hyper irritability
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Vascular fragility including easy bruising
  • Striae or redish stripes over the lower abdomen (thinning of the skin structures)
  • Suppressed immune system, make it easier to get infections
  • Central obesity

If you feel like you are “always on” , have difficulty digesting food or feel “tired and wired”, chances are you are running the meter up on cortisol. As you can see the long term effects are not favourable for good health.

Have Hope

Don’t give up hope, however. The first step is to recognize what is stressing you out. This is more than relationships, it can be pain, inflammation, poor diet, lack of sleep, poor coping mechanisms or genetic wrinkles.

Resolution doesn’t happen overnight but can be improved on a steady course of treatment over time.  Treatment will look at things like sleep hygiene, a healthy diet, the right amount and type of exercise,  and new perspectives on managing yourself in relationships with yourself and others.

The Last “Peace”

Need more peace in your life?  Join me at Goodness Me! on Sept 19th in a presentation on Anxiety Antidotes.

 

References:

Constanzo LS. 2011. BRS Physiology Fifth Edition. Walters Kluwer|Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Philadelphia.

Hannibal KE, Bishop MD. Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: A Psychoneuroendocrine Rationale for Stress Management in Pain Rehabilitation. Physical Therapy. 2014;94(12):1816-1825. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130597.

Wright H. 2009. A More Excellent Way. Whitaker House. Pennsylvania.

Dr. Laura Shares: GUT Viruses Implicated in Parkinson’s Disease

This article on the link between viruses found in the gastrointestinal tract and Parkinson’s Disease is from www.medscape.com

Gut Viruses a Potential Trigger for Parkinson’s Disease?

Pauline Anderson

July 19, 2018

Shifts in gut bacteriophages, viruses that infect and replicate within bacteria, are implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD), new research suggests.

“Most likely, bacteriophages are previously overlooked triggers for the development of Parkinson disease in some patient populations,” lead author George Tetz, MD, PhD, head of R&D at the Human Microbiology Institute, a not-for-profit scientific research organization in New York City, and of the Tetz Laboratories, told Medscape Medical News.

Dr George Tetz

Although the results need to be confirmed, they open the door for discussing bacteriophages as a novel therapeutic target and diagnostic tool for patients with PD, said Tetz.

The study was published online July 17 in Scientific Reports.

Incidence Rising

The incidence of PD is on the rise in the Western world, with a higher prevalence among white men.

PD symptoms of tremors and motor symptoms are mainly related to depletion of dopamine in the striatum. The hallmark pathological signs of PD are Lewy bodies, which have a main component of α-synuclein protein.

While genetic risk factors contribute to PD, about 90% of PD cases are attributed to environmental factors. Up to 75% of patients have gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities that can precede motor symptoms by many years.

Given the influence of gut bacteria on human health and the early involvement of GI microbiota in PD, the concept that the microbiota-gut-brain axis plays a role in PD has recently emerged.

The human GI tract houses bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses, including bacteriophages, which outnumber other viral and bacterial species.

How bacteriophages negatively affect health has recently gained scientific interest.

“These bacterial viruses can lead to the death of bacterial populations,” said Tetz.

He and his team previously showed that bacteriophage administration can cause shifts in mammalian microbiota, leading to increased intestinal permeability and triggering chronic inflammation.

Gut bacteria may be implicated in PD through several pathways. One such pathway outlined by the authors involves the enteric nervous system (ENS), which  that is in constant direct communication with the brain through the vagus nerve.

Vagus Nerve a Disease Pathway?

According to the model of gut-originating, inflammation-driven PD pathogenesis, PD starts in the ENS and spreads through the vagus nerve to the central nervous system.

This concept is confirmed by the presence of α-synuclein aggregates in myenteric neurons of the ENS before the onset of PD motor symptoms, the authors note.

An unrelated 2016 study, reported by Medscape Medical News, showed that truncal vagotomy, or removal of the vagus nerve, was associated with a reduced risk for PD.

The authors of that study concluded that this finding suggests Parkinson’s pathology may ascend from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve.

In the new study, Tetz and colleagues note that changes in the composition of gut microbiota may cause alterations in the intestinal barrier function and permeability, affecting both the immune system and the ENS.

The new analysis was based on another study that included 31 patients, mean age about 65 years, with early-stage PD and 28 sex- and age-matched people without PD.

The patients with PD had not yet been treated with L-dopa. This, said Tetz, is very important.

“It’s well-known that the administration of dopamine in Parkinson’s disease patients leads to a significant shift of the microbiome.”

Patients with chronic and inflammatory GI diseases and those using laxatives, immune suppressants, or antibiotics in the past 3 months were excluded from the study.

To analyze the study participants’ fecal samples, researchers used metagenomics analysis and a unique algorithm developed by the authors to quantify bacterial and phage content. They also examined the phage/bacteria ratio.

Environmental Origin?

Under normal circumstances, this ratio is 1, which means one bacterium has one bacteriophage inserted in its genome, said Tetz.

“Alterations of this ratio represent an increase of bacteriophages, and as a result, lead to a decrease of bacterial populations that are killed by these bacteriophages.”

The investigators found a significant between-group difference in the phage/bacterial ratio for Lactococcus (lactic acid bacteria). There was more than a 10-fold decrease in Lactococcus species  in patients with PD compared with controls.

Lactococcus plays an important role in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, including dopamine. It also regulates intestinal permeability, another factor implicated in PD pathogenesis.

Despite the “striking” depletion of Lactococcus species in patients with PD, the total number of respective Lactococcus phages was about the same between the PD and control groups, the investigators report.

To investigate this discrepancy and a possible role of bacteriophages in the depletion of Lactococcus, the researchers divided Lactococcus phages into two clusters: strictly virulent (lytic), which can lead to the death of bacterial populations, or temperate. They compared the distribution of these two types between patients with PD and controls.

In the control group, the number of the lytic and temperate phages was similar, whereas in the PD group, most lactococcal phages were strictly virulent.

Tetz noted that the increase in these strictly lytic phages was accompanied by a decrease of Lactococcus bacteria. This, he said, suggests that the depletion of Lactococcus in patients with PD could be caused by lytic phages.

It’s not clear why the patients with PD had increased levels of lytic phages — whether, for example, it was from diet or a particular genetic susceptibility. This question must be addressed in further experiments, which are already in the planning stages, said Tetz.

However, he believes that the appearance of these lytic phages is most likely due to some external factor. The fact that these phages are lytic, meaning they enter microbiota, lead to the death of the bacterial population, and don’t persist for long in the gut, “would suggest that it’s something that originates from the environment.”

Dairy to Blame?

He noted that the type of phages that were increased in patients with PD in the study are found in yogurt and other dairy products. But he said it’s too early to conclude that such products play any role in PD.

The investigators believe that boosting Lactococcus bacterial species, or preventing a drop in levels, may prove useful in halting the development of PD.

But he stressed the importance of “diagnosing the death of the Lactococcus population at the appropriate time — before and not after the development of the disease.”

While it’s still unclear whether changes in dairy food consumption, or use of supplements, would change the gut Lactococcus population, fecal transplants are an intervention under active investigation.

However, Tetz believes that to be successful, such transplants would likely need to involve a limited number of bacterial species.

“There are a lot of drawbacks to regular fecal transplants, especially in the elderly population,” said Tetz. “It can lead to unpredictable shifts of the microbiome,” so new methods and new algorithms need to be developed “to make it safer.”
In light of these new results, bacteriophages should be added to the list of possible factors associated with the development of PD, the authors note.

They add that gut phagobiota composition may serve as a diagnostic tool as well as a target for therapeutic intervention.

The research team has also investigated the role of bacteriophages in type 1 diabetes. Tetz said the results “have revealed a striking difference” in children with this autoimmune disease.

Gaining Momentum

Commenting on the findings for Medscape Medical News, Michael S. Okun, MD, professor and chair of neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville, and medical director, Parkinson’s Foundation, said the idea that change in the gut microbiome and bacterial content may be important to PD is “gaining momentum.”

The new study, which is “novel” in that it analyzed the phage/bacteria ratio in study participants, contributes useful information on the topic, said Okun.

“There were possibly important shifts in the phage/bacteria ratio in lactic acid bacteria potentially important to dopamine and to intestinal permeability.”

The depletion in Lactococcus was “intriguing” as previous studies have linked dairy products to development of PD, said Okun.

However, he warned that the new study needs to be interpreted carefully because all the patients with PD were drug naive and there were only 31 of them.

Okun agreed with the authors that it would be “speculative” to use this information “as a direct link” to the cause of or potential treatments for PD.

“Understanding the microbiome in Parkinson may unlock new diets or treatment approaches, or even help current medications and therapies work more effectively, but much more research will be required.”

Tetz and Okun have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Sci Rep. Published online July 17, 2018. Full text

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Dr. Laura: Anxiety Antidotes

Is there a solution to anxiety, feeling uneasy, overwhelmed, or difficulty concentrating?

We can feel anxious for just about anything. How does this happen? What is going on in the body while this happens? How do you make it stop?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in North America as stated by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America  and the 2014 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada. According to this Canadian Survey:

  • More than a quarter (27%) reported that their disorder(s) affected their life “quite a bit” or “extremely” in the previous 12 months. Basic activities and the ability to work are challenging for many.
  • While the majority consulted a health professional about their disorder(s) in the previous 12 months, almost a quarter (23%) did not.

Anxiety Antidotes

September 19, 2018

6:30-8:00pm

Goodness Me! classroom

If you suffer from anxiety, feel uneasy, overwhelmed, or have difficulty concentrating, this complimentary session is for you. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND will explore mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects of anxiety. Learn what nutrients and habits may contribute to your healing and take home some next steps to ease your angst. Register Now!

anxiety

anx·i·e·ty
aNGˈzīədē/
noun
  1. a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
    “he felt a surge of anxiety”
    synonyms: worry, concern, apprehension, apprehensiveness, uneasiness, unease, fearfulness, fear, disquiet, disquietude, inquietude, perturbation, agitation, angst, misgiving, nervousness, nerves, tension, tenseness; More

    • desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.
      “the housekeeper’s eager anxiety to please”
      synonyms: eagerness, keenness, desire

      “an anxiety to please”
    • PSYCHIATRY
      a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

an·ti·dote

ˈan(t)iˌdōt/

noun

  1. 1.

a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison.

synonyms: antitoxin, antiserum, antivenin

“the antidote to this poison”

o   something that counteracts or neutralizes an unpleasant feeling or situation.

“laughter is a good antidote to stress”

synonyms: remedy, cure, nostrum

“laughter is a good antidote to stress”

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND is a registered naturopathic doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She has advanced training in pharmaceuticals, is a certified HeartMath Practitioner and a Certified Gluten Practitioner, and holds the designation of ADAPT Trained Practitioner from Kresser Institute, the only Functional Medicine and ancestral health training company.

Dr. Laura: 21 Reasons You Might be Constipated

Bowels that move slow or are difficult to pass are not only uncomfortable, they are unhealthy. It is important we eliminate from our bowels at least once, and up to three times per day. Constipation is an issue affecting up to 20% of the population(1).

When the stool stays in the colon for extending lengths of time, toxins and hormones that have been packaged and processed for elimination are at risk for re-absorption back into the body. Not passing stool frequently enough will lead to a feeling of toxic overload.

What is constipation?

  1. Irregular bowel movements
    1. Pass less than 3-5 stools per week.
  2. Difficulty passing stool.
    1. Hard stool, requires straining,
    2. Insufficient, unsatisfactory, incomplete stool

21 Reasons You Might be Constipated

  1. Diet lacks fibre and vegetables
  2. Diet too high in proteins and carbs, especially in sugar & starch
  3. Dairy or wheat sensitivity
  4. Too much dairy (cheese)
  5. Other food sensitivities
  6. Insufficient microflora
  7. Dysbiosis (overgrowth of the wrong kinds of bacteria in the intestines)
  8. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) (root cause may be hypothyroid and migrating motor complex)
  9. Hypothyroid affecting the migrating motor complex
  10. Lack of regular daily exercise
  11. Insufficient water intake
  12. Supplements such as iron, calcium
  13. Overuse of laxatives
  14. Side effects of prescription drugs- painkillers (opioids), anti-depressants
  15. Irritable bowel syndrome or diseases
  16. Colon cancer
  17. Stress
  18. Pregnancy
  19. Diabetes mellitus
  20. Hemorrhoids
  21. Nervous system disruption as in spinal cord lesions, MS & Parkinson’s.

Best ways to “get moving” –> relieve your constipation

Laxatives are okay occasionally. Too much use will lead to dependence, which is not how nature intended and don’t fix what’s really happening. Have a look at some of the possibilities of what may cause constipation and see what you can correct. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help you access and interpret many different types of testing.

References:

  1. Portalatin M, Winstead N. Medical Management of Constipation. Clinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery. 2012;25(1):12-19. doi:10.1055/s-0032-1301754.

Dr. Laura’s Electrolyte Recipes

Working out or exercising outdoors? Have you thought of an electrolyte replacement recipe? If you are active for more than an hour, replacing your electrolytes might help boost your performance, not to mention your health.

Electrolyte replacement recipes:

A.           1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 cups of filtered water

2 -4 tablespoons raw honey

1/8 teaspoon unrefined salt

 

B.          1 liter water

½ teaspoon salt

3/4tsp baking soda

1 c fruit juice

2-4 tablespoon honey

 

 

Where to start

First and foremost hydrate as your thirst indicates with fresh water. A reminder to use stainless steel or glass to store your water in these hot temperatures because temperature extremes can leach BPA’s (bisphenol A’s) out of the plastic bottles. Even the BPA free ones I don’t totally trust. BPA’s are chemicals that mimic estrogens in the body, only ones the liver doesn’t break down so well, so they end up storing up in body fat and tipping the balance on hormone profiles.

Sometimes a convenient choice is coconut water, if you like it. Some don’t so what else? Water with a pinch of sea salt will work if you’ve had a long work out in hot conditions. If you are looking for something a little more advanced that is easy to make I have a couple of go-to recipes you may like.

Dr. Laura’s Electrolyte Recipe #1

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (juice from one large orange)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice from 1/2 lemon)

2 cups of filtered water

2 -4 tablespoons raw honey

1/8 teaspoon unrefined salt

Mix up ahead and store in the fridge. Best used within a 3-4 days of making it.

Dr. Laura’s Electrolyte Recipe #2

1 liter water

½ teaspoon salt

3/4tsp baking soda

1 c 100% real fruit juice with no added colours or flavours

2-4 tablespoon honey

This one is a little sweeter and not one I would regularly consume. Definitely not recommended for those with insulin control issues or weight issues.

Remember both these recipes are for the long hot workouts or outside jobs that last more than an hour and you are sweating a lot. Consuming 250mL at at every hour of exertion makes sense. If you are out for an hour, a cup should be fine to replace. If you are out for 5 hours, every hour a break to have some would be a reasonable choice. Not a good idea to wait until 5 hours have gone by and then down a litre of it. That is just too much all at once for the body to handle. However that being said, every body’s body is a little different, so some may need a little more, some a little less.

What’s so great about these recipes?

The homemade electrolyte recipes are totally natural and contain no artificial colours or preservatives. Honey is a natural sweetener with antimicrobial factors.

Enjoy in moderation!

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: 11 Ways to Use Plants as Medicine

11 Ways to Use Plants as Medicine

Plants are essential to us. They provide food, healing and medicine. Learn 11 different ways plants can be used as medicine.

1. Plants as Food – Food as Medicine

PHYTOCHEMICALS

There are more than 5,000 phytochemicals identified plus many we suspect still remain unknown. Turns out, Mother Nature has packed a punch of power in the plant kingdom.

Many plants contain one or more of these 5,000 nutritional perks that helps us:

  • Defend against pathogens, parasites, and predators.
  • Protect against chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, neuro-degeneration, and cancer.
  • Purify and renew the blood
  • Nourish
  • Cleanse body of toxins
  • Stimulate effects
  • Relaxing effects
  • Anti-inflammatory

2. Extractable in water as TEAS and DECOCTIONS

  • Teas use the leaf or flower dried, then steeped in hot water
  • Decoctions use roots, tree barks, different seeds and nuts and are let sit over night in cool water and then brought to a boil, left to simmer for 20min.
  • Gentle
  • Will last 1-2 years if stored in a cool dry place, away for sun. Preferably in glass or stainless steel container.
  • Sip and enjoy as a drink
  • Teas in the right dose and duration, can act medicinally
  • Pour into bath to stimulate circulation, relieve cramps, break a fever, produce a sweat, detoxify the body, ease aches and pains. (Try it with ¼-1/2 cup grated ginger root in a hot bath to ease aches and pains- you can place the ginger tied up in a cheese cloth, or steep it first then add its water to the bath).
  • Herbals teas you may be made for a SITZ bath – you likely won’t be drinking these teas, but soaking your bottom end in it… different herbs can help heal perineum after birth, hemorrhoids and fissures.

3. Ground up/ mashed up applied externally as a POULTICE

  • Helps draw out pus, slivers, calms inflamed skin, eyes. Directly on skin or in a cotton cloth or gauze.
  • Potato works great

4. Cotton cloth soaked in hot herbal tea the applied to skin as a COMPRESS

  • Cover with another towel and hot water bottle. Leave in place for 20-30 minutes. Helps relieve cold, painful, inflamed, congested body parts.
  • Calendula is often helpful

 

5. Extractable in alcohol or water, sometimes glycerin  as TINCTURES

  • Alcohol most popular: it extracts alkaloids, resins, volatile oils, vitamins, minerals, tannins and more. Alcohol based tinctures will last at least 10 years.
  • Liquids- take in drop doses
  • Add to hot water to drive off alcohol if person is alcohol sensitive
  • Dried to make powder which is put into capsules or tablets
  • Professionally blended to suit individual needs. Customized and adjustable.
  • For a time, not forever.
  • Very effective and combined for many different purposes

 

6. GEMMOTHERAPY

  • Encourages the proper function of the organ and helps drive toxins out.
  • These are plant extracts made from the spring buds and embryonic tissue of trees and shrubs.

 

7. Steeped in VINEGAR

  • Organic apple cider vinegar with tarragon, basil, rosemary, thyme, and can use touch of spring tonic greens like dandelion, chickweed or nettle. Place in glass jar, secure lid and sit in sunlight for 4-6 weeks. Then strain the vinegar from the herbs using cheesecloth and store in cool dark location.
  • Goodness of the apple cider vinegar plus the herbs

 

8. Extracted through steam distillation  as ESSENTIAL OILS

  • Mostly for external use, very concentrated and potent. Often needs to be dilute in a carrier oil before applied direct to skin or in bath.
  • May be diffused – with in 3 seconds every cell in your body will be affected by the properties of the EO.
  • Facial steams- add 3 drops to a bowl of boiling water and use a towel to tent yourself over it. Inhale and steam for 8 minutes.

 

9. Herb infused oil blended with bees wax as SALVES

–     Used to help skin heal, soothe burns, soften scar tissue.

10. Essence as BACH FLOWER REMEDIES

  • Vibrational Medicine made by sun infused flowers in spring water for 4-8 hours. Mixed with oak aged brandy to produce the mother tincture.
  • Alcohol provides the most effective preservative for the vibration- maybe for decades. Without it the essence would only last a few days. Vinegar or glycerin will preserve for about 5 years.
  • After mixing up the ‘Mother’ remedy, it is succussed (pounded on the bottom of the bottle) about 100 times.
  • A stock remedy is made by a 50/50 blend of Brandy and spring water and 5 drops of the Mother, then 100 succussion.
  • A patient remedy is then made 10-50mL of 30% organic vegetable glycerin and 5 drops of the stock remedy, succus 100 times.
  • 3-5 drops three or more times daily will provide a catalyst to re-awaken natural life force within us.

 

11. Potentized as HOMEOPATHICS

  • made from plants and also animals, minerals and imponderables.
  • Any substance given to a healthy person in a suitable dose will cause that person to become ill in a specific and unique pattern
  • The same substance in its energetic dose will remove the symptoms. – “Like treats like”
  • Titrated down below the point of Avagrado’s number – no actual molecular substance left, only the vibrational & energetic properties.
  • Succussion by hand or machine. Similar process to the BACH flower remedies, using spring water or pure alcohol (vodka), then succussing many many times and subsequent dilutions.
  • Works on a quantum physics philosophy
  • When accurately prescribed can be very helpful.
  • Don’t interact with other medications, however other medications may be an obstacle to the remedy working as well as it could.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Resources:

Robinson, Karl. 1980. Homeopathy: Questions and Answers. Robinson. London.

Soule, Deb. 2011. The Women’s Handbook of Healing Herbs. A Guide to Natural Remedies. Skyhorse Publishing. New York.

Willard, Terri. 2007. Flower Essence. Emotional Alchemy and Spiritual Evolution. Wild Rose College of Natural Healing Alberta.

Dr. Laura: Organ System Screening

Organ System Screening

Detection of internal events by electrical changes in the skin is a well accepted tool in medicine.   Most are aware and have used one or more of the following medical measurement devices:

Electrocardiogram (EKG) – electrical conduction of the heart

Electroencephalogram (EEG) – electrical conduction in the brain

Oximeters- pulse-rate monitors- electrical conduction at the finger tips/ nail bed

Digitized blood pressure devices- electrical conduction at the arteries

 

Electrodermal Screening

There are also numerous points on the skin that correspond to other organs.  Acupuncture uses this theory regularly as small openings in the fascia expose a wealth of nerve fibres that can be stimulated to correct imbalances in the corresponding organ. This system of medicine has been used to bring balance in health for thousands of years.

Dr. Reinhold Voll helped advanced this theory in the 1950’s when he applied a small electric current to acupuncture points and received a similar response to acupuncture. Dr. Voll mapped numerous sites on the skin to their corresponding organs  and called the process electro dermal detection, or electrodermal screening (EDS); electromagnetic waves transferred from the site of origin of the frequency, to the detection site on the skin.

Electrodermal detection is simply a biophysical method of measuring skin resistance and electromagnetic conductance. 

In his practice and research, Dr. Voll noted that when the current passed through the body without interference, the indicator stayed balanced. While most people balance at fifty units, some may balance higher or lower, based on individuality. Generally when measuring the skin conductance at a site related to a particular organ, an indicator rising above seventy suggests inflammation, and an indicator below 40 suggests organ degeneration. A measurement that comes through but cannot be held and continues to drop indicates disruption in the cellular health of the corresponding organ. A indicator drop suggests a withdrawal of electrons. There are over 500 points where organ health can be measured on the skin. Even using the top 40 main detection sites can give a strong over all organ system screening.

Identify causes, restore balance

Introducing different electrical signals to a point can also reveal a change in conductance, which can be helpful to detect both the substance responsible for the indicator drop, and the substance that may help restore balance.

Identifying the disruptor and the balancing signals has become easier to attain through digitized codes of thousands of signals. Coded signals include pharmaceuticals, herbals, homeopathics, sarcodes and nosodes, metals, toxins, nutrients, foods, metabolic substances and many others.

Food Sensitivity Testing

One form of food sensitivity testing is to use electrodermal screening. A wave form of the food is passed through the acupuncture meridian to see if there is resistance in the body. A number of foods can be introduced and corresponding measurements and indicator drops noted. A food that measures in excess of seventy, or declines past forty should likely be avoided for one to three months, then reintroduced one at a time. Foods that fall between sixty-six and seventy should likely be reduced for a period of time to help bring balance back into the body. Foods measuring between forty-eight and sixty-five can, in general, be eaten regularly without causing strain on the body.

Electrodermal screening is a clinically useful tool in a guided elimination diet.

Knowing your food sensitivities can help reduce:

  • headaches
  • joint pain
  • heartburn
  • bloating
  • gas
  • pain
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • anxiety
  • brain fog
  • skin rashes like eczema, psoriasis, hives

References:

Speckhart, V. 2004.  An Electrodermal Analysis of Biological Conductance. Biological Conductance Inc. Virginia Beach, VA

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND 

Dr. Laura: 5 Major Factors in Menopausal Weight Gain

Menopausal weight gain is troublesome and annoying.

Menopausal weight gain can increase risks for cardiac events and insulin dysregulation.

5 Major factors in menopausal weight gain:

  • Genetics
  • Sex hormone changes
  • Sleep
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Diet

Figure out what’s going on in your body!  Learn how hormone levels, including the thyroid estrogen and progesterone, sleep hygiene, physical activity, diet and stress play a role in menopausal weight gain.

Sex hormone changes trigger menopausal weight gain

  • When the years leading to menopause set in, ovulation slows down before it stops. Ovulation is required before progesterone can be released. If you don’t ovulate, it creates irregular balances of estrogen and progesterone in the body.
  • Chemicals like BPA (plastics), cadmium, phthalates (soaps, detergents), and pesticides contribute to estrogen dominance.
  • Low progesterone against pre-declining estrogen makes for relative estrogen excess compared to progesterone. This means estrogen dominance for a time.
  • Estrogen dominance leads to poor thyroid hormone availability, reducing metabolism
  • If thyroid function is sluggish, this leads to poor estrogen clearance, more estrogen builds up in the body
  • Poor thyroid function can lead to weight gain and increase in LDL cholesterol. Elevated LDL cholesterol is linked to increase risk in cardiovascular disease.
  • As menopause progresses, estrogen declines. Estrogen decline leads to deposition of fat around the mid section.

Contributing factors to thyroid dysfunction:

  • Sagging adrenals (chronic stress)
  • Estrogen dominance
  • Low iron, selenium, iodine or zinc
  • Poor liver function
  • Poor intestinal flora.

Factors in sleep disturbance that contribute to menopausal weight gain

Poor sleep leads to disruption in balance of hormones and time for healing in the body. Lack of sleep itself can contribute to weight gain. The years of menopause are riddled with hurdles to a good night sleep:

  • decline in estrogen can disrupt sleep due to hot flushes
  • Hormone rhythm imbalance from changes in LH, FSH, estrogen and progesterone are thought to contribute to disrupted sleep patterns.
  • From a Chinese Medicine point of view, the Liver Yang rises in menopause, which explains why the sleep is typically disrupted between the hours of 1-3 am. This is why, naturopathically, we look to calm the liver, cool the body and build Yin. Acupuncture and specially blended plant medicines can be very helpful.
  • sleep apnea (in you or your partner) more prevalent in those who are overweight
  • too much technology before bed, or worse yet, in the bedroom inhibits natural melatonin let down. Relative excess of cortisol as it is unopposed by melatonin disrupts sleep and contributes to midsection weight gain

Factors in depression that contribute to menopausal weight gain

Low mood and lethargy generally lend to poor motivation for exercise and healthy habits, which leads often to weight gain.

Here are some common factors in depression and menopause:

  • declining estrogen
  • sluggish thyroid
  • poor nutrient intake
  • imbalance in the intestinal bacteria
  • inflammation in the brain (usually as a result of imbalance in the intestinal bacteria)

How  Stress Relates to Menopausal Weight Gain

In menopause, the ovaries retire and  hand over their hormone duties to the adrenal gland. This is why it is important to support the adrenals at this time. How healthy the adrenals are will dictate how well our bodies will manage the stress and the change in hormone levels. Areas we may not think about in stress that could contribute to adrenal fatigue:

  • sleep disruption
  • inflammation from infections, intestinal dysbiosis, autoimmune conditions
  • too much or too little exercise
  • poor eating habits
  • conditioned stress response (post traumic stress disorder)
  • relationships with others
  • alcohol intake
  • medications and drugs
  • overwork
  • not enough fun & play time

How diet affects menopausal weight gain

  • Generally with age, metabolism slows down and less caloric intake is required. If activity slows or stays the same and intake is not adjusted, subsequent weight gain is likely.
  • Our intestinal tract flora changes as we age, and this changes how estrogen is metabolized.

It is evident that menopausal weight can happen for a lot of reasons. Some of it is a bit of a chickened an egg, like the estrogen dominance and poor thyroid function. It doesn’t matter what comes first, but if not corrected, they build on one another.  A naturopathic doctor’s role is to look at the individual as a whole, remove obstacles, rebuild the body and stimulate natural mechanisms of healing. Women who maintain a healthy habits, hormones and weight will help stave off risks for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Solutions to menopausal weight gain include healthy diet, exercise, sleep hygiene, hormone balancing with acupuncture and plant medicines, nutritional and hormonal supplementation.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

References:

Jung SY, Vitolins MZ, Fenton J, Frazier-Wood AC, Hursting SD, Chang S. Risk Profiles for Weight Gain among Postmenopausal Women: A Classification and Regression Tree Analysis Approach. Hsu Y-H, ed. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(3):e0121430. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121430.

Franklin RM, Ploutz-Snyder L, Kanaley JA. Longitudinal changes in abdominal fat distribution with menopause. Metabolism. 2009 Mar; 58(3):311-5.

Gietka-Czernel M. The thyroid gland in postmenopausal women: physiology and diseases. Przegla̜d Menopauzalny = Menopause Review. 2017;16(2):33-37. doi:10.5114/pm.2017.68588.

Van Pelt RE, Gavin KM, Kohrt WM. REGULATION OF BODY COMPOSITION AND BIOENERGETICS BY ESTROGENS. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America. 2015;44(3):663-676. doi:10.1016/j.ecl.2015.05.011.

Williams LT, Hollis JL, Collins CE, Morgan PJ. The 40-Something randomized controlled trial to prevent weight gain in mid-age women. BMC Public Health. 2013;13:1007. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1007.

Zheng Y, Manson JE, Yuan C, et al. Associations of Weight Gain From Early to Middle Adulthood With Major Health Outcomes Later in Life. JAMA. 2017;318(3):255-272. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.7092.

Karvonen-Gutierrez C, Kim C. Association of Mid-Life Changes in Body Size, Body Composition and Obesity Status with the Menopausal Transition. Parthasarathy S, ed. Healthcare. 2016;4(3):42. doi:10.3390/healthcare4030042.

Dr. Laura: Root Cause Medicine

Root Cause Medicine

 

How do you get to the root cause of your health problems?

Welcome a medical professional who:

  • Goes over the underlying patterns identified in your recent blood work, imaging and lab reports.
  • Considers laboratory values within ranges and patterns to achieve optimal health, not necessarily waiting until there is frank disease.
  • Collects a detailed health history.
  • Reviews medication side effects
  • Performs an in-clinic physical health screen to look for patterns of cellular health deficits and nutritional decline.
  • Appreciates a medical consideration of how your body, emotional, cognitive and spiritual systems orchestrate and integrate.
  • Knows how to guide you to use food and plants as medicine.

 

Doctor as Teacher

You, at any time, can ask questions. Learn about your condition so you can make an informed decision about your health. You are living in your body 24/7 – so it’s your temple abode. You help your practitioner understand your experience and your practitioner helps you understand why you might feel the way you do.

It is not a one or the other mentality.  You may choose to see your family doctor, your specialist and your naturopathic doctor.

The fist appointment with a naturopathic doctor is about an hour. Based on what is discovered in the first appointment, a treatment plan is created. Things like sleep hygiene, understanding how stress affects the body, diet tips and detoxifying naturally are a part of the general plan, made are made specific to the individual needs.

Recommendations for further testing may be made. Further testing may include things like comprehensive hormone panels, stool analysis, organ system testing, organic acid testing, genomic, nutritional or cardiac profiles, food sensitivity analysis or environmental toxicity.

You may choose to engage in a specific program which helps stimulate your body’s natural mechanisms of healing. These programs may be executed in follow-up sessions that last about 30 minutes and may take place once a week for 4-6 weeks, or may be spaced out more or less, depending on the needs of the individual.

Upcoming Free Educational Seminars

Location: Goodness Me! Guelph

Wednesday April 25, 6:30-8:00pm Simplifying Stress

Wednesday May 16,  Beautiful Botanicals

Wednesday June 13, GUT Circadian Rhythm

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, a HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is a graduate of Adapt Level 1 at Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine. Essentially, Dr. Brown helps people better digest their food and the world around them. www.forwardhealth.ca