Dr. Laura: Epstein Barr Virus Linked to Several AutoImmune Diseases

The Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) we know mostly as “mono” yields connections to several autoimmune diseases.

Who Gets EBV?

More than 90% of the world’s population is infected with EBV. The age of contraction varies and for many it lays dormant for years. Like other human herpes forms of virus (EBV is HHV4), it reactivates in times of stress or trauma. Typical symptoms are what you hear from the college student and their “kissing disease” – tired, sleep a lot, muscle aches and pains, swollen glands/lymph nodes, altered sense of taste and the list goes on.

It seems that if such a large percentage of the population has EBV, it’s easy to pin it to any disease. Recent research at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital sheds some light on how EBV affects our genome.

What Diseases Link to EBV?

  • systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
  • inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • celiac disease
  • type 1 diabetes
  • Graves and Hashimotos thyroiditis

“This discovery is probably fundamental enough that it will spur many scientists around the world to reconsider the role of this virus in these disorders,” said John Harley, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (CAGE) at Cincinnati Children’s.

How does EBV Increase Risk for Autoimmunity?

EBV alters the human DNA in ways that weaken the immune system’s ability to combat certain diseases. We all have imperfect genes with variances called SNP’s (pronounced “snips”) that may give us advantage or risk over others in certain situations. EBV tends to change the genetic transcription of DNA to suit its own vitality and puts us more at risk for certain diseases.

What Can Increase the Risk of EBV Sickness?

  • Stress
  • Trauma
  • Poor nutrition
  • Eating the wrong foods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor  sleep
  • Lack of spiritual connection

More research is required in this area of science for our full understanding of how to combat this detrimental virus. A Naturopathic Doctor like Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help balance lifestyle, diet, nutrition and immune boosting profile to keep the Epstein Barr and other forms of Human Herpes Virus (warts, shingles, cold sores) dormant in your system. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can also order and inert genetic tests to help you evaluate your risk for certain AutoImmune Diseases. Knowing your risk factors can contribute to proactive wellness plan that is tailored specifically to you.

 

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: Ear Wax Facts

Earwax, (medically known as cerumen auris) is a protective normal secretion from a skin gland in the external ear canal. Some people make more earwax than others. Certain habits or careers may put an individual more at risk for earwax impaction.

 

Do you wear earphones, earplugs hearing aids or use Q-tips?

Do you have dizziness,  ear pain, itchy ears, or hearing loss?

If so, you may have earwax impaction.

Image result for ear wax impaction
picture from hearingaiddoctors.com

What is earwax?

  • 60% skin cells that have shed from the area
  • 12–20% saturated and unsaturated long-chain fatty acids
  • 6–9% cholesterol

What is the purpose of earwax?

  • Lubricates the external auditory canal
  • Protects particles from reaching and damaging the eardrum
    • Traps dust, small particles and insects
  • Provides antimicrobial protection (acidity, fatty acid and lysosome)
    • Protection bacteria and fungal infections

What is earwax impaction?

Image result for ear wax impaction

  • Earwax impaction is one of the most common ear problems
  • When earwax accumulates in the canal and, on otoscopic inspection, blocks the view of the external canal or tympanic membrane
  • When the use of ears swabs or other devices in effort to clear the ear push the earwax deeper into the ear
  • Chronic use of hearing aids, earplugs, headphones, can also push the earwax further into the ear and prevent the natural migration outward
  • Excessive earwax production can also worsen with anxiety, fear and stress, and aging
picture from journals.sagepub.com

What are the symptoms of earwax impaction?

  • Irritation of the ear
  • Sensation of an ear blockage
  • Reduce sense of hearing
  • Earache
  • Noise in the ear or head
  • Dizziness

How to clear out earwax?

Image result for tympanic membrane
healthy ear canal and tympanic membrane
  • DO NOT use Q-tips! They tend to push the ear wax deeper into the canal.
  • Naturally, the earwax dries up and there is a migration of skin cells that helps port the dried up was out of the external canal, much like a conveyor belt
  • Assisted action of clearing out by the action of chewing and talking
  • There are products that may soften the wax however this should only be done under medical supervision.
  • It is best to have the ears looked at with an otoscope to see if there is indeed a build up and if the tympanic membrane is intact
  • Candling is not recommended as it has not shown to be overly effective and can often lead to burns, wax left behind in the ear, irritation of the external ear canal and occasional temporary hearing loss.
  • Ear irrigation is a safe and effective way to clear out earwax, so long as the tympanic membrane is intact.
  • Professional irrigation can be more effective than self-irrigation as it include the visualization of the health of the external canal and tympanic membrane before and after treatment.

Laura M. Brown, ND

provides a basic ear inspection and ear irrigation service

within a 15 minute appointment. Call (519) 826-7973

Image result for ear wax irrigationpicture from earwax treatment.com

References

Adegbiji WA, Alabi BS, Olajuyin OA, Nwawolo CC. Earwax Impaction: Symptoms, Predisposing Factors and Perception among Nigerians. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 2014;3(4):379-382. doi:10.4103/2249-4863.148116.

Daniel F. McCarter MD, A. Ursulla Courtney, MD, and Susan M. Pollart, MD, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia. Am Fam Physician. 2007 May 15;75(10):1523-1528.

Rafferty J, Tsikoudas A, Davis BC. Ear candling: Should general practitioners recommend it? Canadian Family Physician. 2007;53(12):2121-2122.

 

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: Gluten exposure common in Celiac patients

Even on Gluten-Free Diet, Harmful Exposures May Be Common

By Anne Harding

March 22, 2018

(Reuters Health) – Carefully following a gluten-free diet might not protect people with celiac disease from exposure to potentially harmful amounts of gluten, new findings suggest.

“Individuals who are on a gluten free diet are consuming more gluten than we actually imagined. It’s not uncommon for them to be consuming on average a couple of hundred milligrams a day,” Dr. Jack A. Syage, CEO of ImmunogenX in Newport Beach, California, and the study’s lead author, told Reuters Health in a telephone interview.

Hidden gluten is ubiquitous in medications, food additives, seasonings, sauces, lipsticks and lip balms, fried foods and many other sources.

Dr. Syage and his team analyzed amounts of gluten excreted in stool and urine in people with celiac disease who were following a gluten-free diet but still experiencing moderate to severe symptoms.

As reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, they estimated that these adults were still being exposed to an average of 150 to 400 mg (or less than two one-hundredths of an ounce) of gluten a day.

Up to 10 mg of gluten per day is generally considered safe for people with celiac disease, according to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.

The study wasn’t designed to identify the sources of accidental gluten exposure.

Estimates of gluten exposure in the new study are indirect, and based on several unproven assumptions, said Dr. Carlo Catassi, head of pediatrics at the Universita Politecnica Delle Marche in Ancona, Italy, who studies celiac disease but did not participate in the new research.

“The risk of gluten contamination in the diet of treated celiacs is very well known,” Dr. Catassi said, adding that the new study’s estimate was surprisingly high. “Should these data be confirmed by direct evidence of a frequent high gluten contamination, further treatments beyond the gluten-free diet would certainly be an option.”

He added: “The data of this study suggest a ‘pessimistic’ view about the possibility to maintain a correct gluten-free diet that is not justified in my opinion, until further studies directly measuring the amount of gluten contamination will be available.”

Still, the authors conclude, the data suggest “that individuals on a gluten-free diet cannot avoid accidental gluten intrusions and these small amounts are sufficient to trigger severe symptomatic responses.”

Celiac disease patients who are still having symptoms should re-evaluate their diets under the guidance of a clinician or dietician, they suggest.

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2G8B2M9

Am J Clin Nutr 2018.

 

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

For more Medscape Neurology news, join us on Facebook and Twitter

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