Dr. Laura: New tests in mental health

Are imbalances in your brain chemicals and hormones affecting your sleep, work and pleasure in life?

Check each of the following that apply to you:

  • I wake feeling unrested
  • Sleep is difficult for me
  • I am always tired, fatigued or lack lustre for life
  • Concentration and focus are a challenge
  • My motivation is low
  • I am always forgetting things
  • I am often irritable and grumpy
  • My sex drive is low
  • Weight control is difficult and my love handles or muffin top are embarrassing
  • Hormones drive me crazy (PMS, menopause)

There are possible safe, painless and natural non-prescriptive drug solutions to help!

Break free!

Did you know?

  • Increased cortisol may cause insomnia, hyperactivity and decreased thyroid function and poor memory
  • Low dopamine may result in poor focus, low libido, and depression with exhaustion
  • High glutamate may contribute to anxiety, sleeplessness and irritability
  • Lower serotonin levels may lead to depression, anxiety and insomnia
  • Epinephrine and norepinephrine may increase anxiety, hyperactivity, insomnia and insulin resistance
  • Low GABA may lead to increased anxiety, insomnia and irritability.

How does imbalance occur?

Many factors contribute to disruption in our delicate system balance. Poor diet, stress, environmental factors, lack of or too much exercise and sleep, stimulants, genetics, even medications can deplete and offset the harmony.

How do you fix this?

Take home lab kits from Sanesco and Precision Analytical are now available for neurotransmitter and hormone analysis. The tests collect the urine breakdown products of serotonin, dopamine, GABA, epinephrine, norepinephrine, glutamate, melatonin, cortisol, estrogens, progesterone, androgens and more. The kit is shipped and the lab company runs the tests and provides the results back to the doctor. Nutritional analysis through lab drawn blood work is also available to evaluate vitamin and mineral status. Laboratory results will guide clinical decisions with clarity and focus.

Results above are an example from Sanesco’s urine test.
Results above are an example of the DUTCH hormone test

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help evaluate where to start, access the tests kits and provide blood requisitions for you and subsequently interpret the results. Individualized protocols are the heart of naturopathic medicine. Diet and lifestyle adjustments are first and foremost, then where needed, vitamins, minerals, and nutraceuticals may be added to help balance the body and get you back to feeling yourself.

Spiritual Side of Heart Health

Heart Stores the Spirit

The Heart stores the Spirit. When the heart and the spirit are in harmony, one sleeps well, speaks kindly with compassion and their intentions and actions are shared, as the moment is right. This is so true. When I work with people to gain more resiliency or heart coherence, other things start to naturally fall into place in their life.

Anxiety is a wrinkle between the spirit and the heart

If you are feeling anxious, have troubles sleeping or can’t seem to get your timing right, then your heart and spirit are out of sync. You see, when the heart does not get enough Yin or Blood, it lacks substance and then it cannot anchor the spirit, causing the mind to wander. Countless times I have witnessed when patients restore their spiritual connection, whether that is inviting the Holy Spirit into their souls, getting outside more in nature, or bringing themselves closer to God in relationship, their anxiety dials down a notch or two. Usually I get a big hug too, which is all confirming of their gratitude and joy.

Even and Regular Pulse

The Heart is also regulates the flow of blood, and when the Heart Qi and Blood are abundant and flowing, the pulse will be even and regular. The majority of Heart problems are a result of imbalance in other systems. This is because the Heart relies on other organs for its nourishment and energy. Treating other organs to reduce heat and nourish Yin are also ways of ultimately supporting the smooth flow of Qi and Blood to the Heart.

You may trace the acupuncture heart meridian by starting at your axilla (arm pit) and travel down along the inner aspect of your bicep, across the inside of your elbow, and go along your inner forearm toward and off the inside of your pinky finger.

 

By treating the heart channel with acupuncture, your mind will calm (reduce sadness fear, anxiety, mental restlessness), your heat will clear (treat dry mouth, red eyes), and you will feel invigorated as we tonify Heart Qi and stimulate Heart Blood.

Another tool I use in clinic is a HeartMath monitor. With this we can see how thoughts can change the rhythm of your heart rate. We can also see how regulating the breath while going into a pleasant memory can bring the mind and the body into complete balance. This is something, which over a period of sessions and practice at home, can help you learn to bring yourself into a calm, peaceful state without any drugs or supplements.

Sometimes to help stimulate the body’s own innate mechanisms to heal I will prescribe a botanical short term to help calm the mind and nourish the Yin. This can help while the acupuncture is doing its thing and you are learning how to balance your energies with your breath and your thoughts. Nourishment in the diet can also help build Blood and strengthen the Heart.

So if you are feeling anxious, have troubles sleeping or can’t seem to get your timing right, maybe it is time to come in for an alignment of a different sort – one that has the love and care for your heart and spirit.

From the heart and mind of your local Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

 

 

 

 

Increase Focus & Attention

With such a frenzied state of work, school, and family life, I have met many patients for whom reducing stress and anxiety is a priority. In reducing the stress and subsequent feelings of anxiety patients find they enjoy an increase focus and attention. What a bonus!

Along with a body wide acupuncture protocol, dietary changes to soothe the liver, I have found cerebral acupuncture to amp up the therapeutic value. This makes sense as the lines I treat on the head are over the temporal lobe which is linked to language, organization of sensory input and is highly associated with memory skills.

templobe11
  • Temporal lobe is linked to organization of sensory input and is highly associated with memory skills
  • Acupuncture helps lower state of anxiety, increase focus & attention
  • Needling specific points with mild electrostim increases therapeutic value
  • Within the first 1-3 treatments patients are feeling a difference that lasts about 5 days.
  • Many prefer to maintain weekly sessions during stressful periods of work, home or school.

 

Most patients say they notice some change after the first treatment, but it feels much more enhanced after the third session. Weekly acupuncture sessions lasting 30min each are highly recommended during periods of stress. After 6 weeks of treatment, most are feeling highly refreshed and are ready to see how they feel with a monthly maintenance appointment.

Cerebral acupuncture is just one of many ways Dr. Laura M.Brown ND, can help you increase your focus and attention. Individualized treatment plans are medically assessed and naturally focused. Click here to book your appointment with our online booking system.

 

Vitamins: Could you be deficient?

Habitual eating habits that lack variety, medications or certain medical conditions  put us at risk for nutrient deficiency. A medical expert review of your current health condition, medications and diet diary is key to screening and finding potential changes that could be a substantial difference in your health and well being. This short review may provide some reminders and insight. Daily requirements for any vitamin vary on age, gender and current system demands. Some supplementation of one vitamin can mask a deficiency of another.

This and more will be covered in Dr. Laura M. Brown’s next complimentary talk entitled Food or Mood at Goodness Me! in Guelph on January 13th, 6:30pm. Register here.

Part 1 of 2:

Part 1: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 and Folic Acid

Vitamin A: Conditions that may be associated with Vitamin A deficiency include hypothyroidism (thyroid plays a role in converting beta carotene from our diet to vitamin A), liver disease, alcoholism, gastric or intestinal surgery, intestinal parasites, other gastrointestinal disturbances that cause malabsorption like Celiac, Crohn’s or food sensitivities. Increased levels of inflammation in the body will also decrease your vitamin A status.

Often you can tell if you are deficient if you have mild follicular hyperkeratosis – often felt at the back of the upper arms as you run your hands along, skin has multiple little bumps or feels rough to the touch. Night blindness can also be from Vitamin A deficiency but this can also be from a Zinc deficiency. Vitamin A is best absorbed from your diet and is found in foods like liver, fish liver oils, dairy, eggs. Foods that are high in beta carotene that your body converts to vitamin A are carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe and other fruits and vegetables. Women who are pregnant or are capable of becoming pregnant and smokers should never supplement with vitamin A. Vitamin A can put the baby at risk for birth defects and has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine Conditions associated with psychiatric conditions, aging or insomnia can often be helped with supplementation. A diet low in thiamine can lead to deficiency is as little as 4-5 days. Other triggers can include pregnant women with severe morning sickness including multiple bouts of vomiting, alcoholism, thyrotoxicosis, and major surgery.

Thiamine deficiency is known as “beriberi”. Signs of mild deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, vague headaches, pain, and difficulty with mental concentration and memory. Some people also experience weakness, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy, edema, tachycardia. Deficiency can also contribute to congestive heart failure. Severe deficiency is known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy in the early stages and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in the later stages. Early signs include psychiatric disturbances, ataxia, ocular palsy, nystigmus. Later stages progress to a chronic neuropathic/psychiatric condition.

Good food sources of B1 include whole grains, legumes, nuts, meat, and enriched flour products.

B2: Riboflavin. B2 is important for helping convert B6 to its active form and is active in homocysteine metabolism, something that is important to cardiovascular /cholesterol health. B2 is also used to help prevent or treat migraines, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis and some myopathies (muscle pain).

Indications that you may be deficient in vitamin B2 include cracks at the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, changes in personality, anemia, weakness, depression, seborrheic dermatitis (moist, oily flaky skin condition – cradle cap in newborns and psoriasis/eczema mocking skin reaction in adults aged 30-60), excessive tears, inflammation of the clear membrane that lines your eye (results in vision distortion). Good food sources include meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Vitamin B3: Niacin B3 is critical in supporting health as it relates to cardiovascular, dermatological, hearing, taste, balance, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, ADHD, dementia, schizophrenia, sleep, osteoarthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, diabetes and alcohol addiction.

Classic deficiency is known as pellagra – the “three d’s”: diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis and sometimes the fourth D…. death.

Early signs that you may be deficient include nervousness, headaches, forgetfulness, apprehension and/or gastrointestinal disturbances.

Food sources include meat, chicken, fish, whole grains, legumes and dairy products.

Folic Acid: Known as folate in foods, folic acid in supplements. Folic acid is key to the intrauterine development of the spinal cord. It is also involved in cardiovascular health, dermatological and neurological conditions, psychiatric many other conditions within the body as it is a key methylator to many biochemical transactions.

As adults, folic acids needs stomach acid to help absorb, so if H.pylori present or on a proton pump inhibitor you may be at risk for deficiency. However people with low stomach acid are also at risk for overgrowth of bacteria in small intestine, and these bacteria can make folic acid – so deficiency is not eminent. If you are supplementing with high doses of B12, you may not be able to tell if you have a folic acid deficiency as they present as one in the same – megaloblastic anemia. Other symptoms can be vague or similar to other B vitamin deficiencies: depression, anxiety, headache, fatigue, apathy, confusion, dementia, polyneuropathy, cracks at the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, brownish pigmented skin, low muscle tone in babies, poor immune response. This is just one of many reasons why it is always advised to seek a medical expert opinion on your supplement regime.

 

From the heart and mind of your local naturopathic doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. www.naturalaura.ca www.forwardhealth.ca

 

Source:

Gaby, A. (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing. Concord, NH.