Tag Archives: Functional Medicine

STOP COVID COLD

This is how the risk of getting Covid-19 is usually explained: in terms of EXPOSURE.

In fact, there’s a much better way to assess your likelihood of getting Covid – and whatever other bugs are going around: THE HEALTH OF YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.

This is an important difference in perspective. In the first view, there’s nothing you can do to stay healthy except avoid exposure. In the second view, you can do lots to stay healthy by taking specific measures to strengthen your immune system. And, since 80% of your immune system resides in your gut microbiome, improving the health of your gut microbiome will also protect you against most of the diseases and conditions usually considered just part of aging.

Clearly a huge win-win for you with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

GOOD HEALTH = HEALTH OF THE ENTIRE BODY AS A SYSTEM

The second perspective is how Functional Medicine practitioners approach healing – not as a series of symptoms to be modified but as seeking the root causes of those symptoms and repairing those underlying imbalances.

YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM: THE GUT MICROBIOME

This video gives a brief explanation of the relationship between the health of your gut microbiome, where 80% of your immune system lives, and what’s going on with your overall health.

Covid and other viruses spread among people whose immune systems aren’t working properly, making them vulnerable to pathogenic bugs. We often hear people express surprise that someone in ‘good health’ got Covid, a Clostridium difficile infection or some other nasty illness.

At issue here is how we think of ‘good health’. If you define it as not having been diagnosed with a disease, then you’re missing the important role of the gut microbiome. Modern conventional medicine tends to focus on and treat the symptoms of chronic poor gut immunity, dividing the various organs up into medical specialties. Functional medical practitioners view the body as an integrated system and treat the whole system by helping people correct the underlying causes of their various symptoms.

An example from my life. My husband suffered from autoimmune conditions starting early in his childhood: frequent, severe migraines and rheumatoid arthritis. In his 40’s, some of his liver functions were off. I went with him to his doctor’s appoint and heard the doc commend him for his good health because he had such low blood pressure. We were told not to worry about the liver imbalance. My husband went on to develop other autoimmune conditions, including, eventually, life-threatening myesthenia gravis, which caused him great suffering.

This doc was a very nice guy. He surely had gone into medicine to help people stay healthy but his way of understanding health was sorely lacking.

How autoimmune problems develop:    

Chronically poor condition of the gut microbiome (gut dysbiosis) ––> leaky gut ––> chronic low level inflammation in the body, which eventually ––> autoimmune diseases and conditions

ASSESS YOUR COVID-19 RISK & IMPROVE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

To this end, a group of scientists have created a way for you to assess your real risk of getting COVID and provided clear information on what you can do to build up your immune system so you don’t get it – while also improving your overall health at the same time.

Go to their #STOP COVID COLD site to calculate your Covid risk. After you’ve submitted your answers to the quiz, you’ll see your score and can learn what you can do now to keep from getting the virus and also improve your general health picture.

The video by Dr Mercola at the top right of the page explains it well as do the two Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold e-reports you’ll find near the bottom of the page to download. (#StopCovidCold, 2020)

You can also download one or both of the Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold reports here.

See the About page on the Stop COVID Cold site for bios for the coalition of experts and organizations who provided the information on the site.

NOTES ABOUT THREE OF THE QUESTIONS ON THE QUIZ

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 is highly protective in preventing and achieving overall health. A 25-hydroxyvitamin D test is the usual way to measure its level in the blood.

For more information on why an adequate amount of Vitamin D is necessary for a healthy immune system and achieving overall good health, see Vitamin D Benefits Bones, Immunity, Skin & More (Levy, 2020)

Lymphocyte Value

Lymphocytes are white blood cells that are one of the body’s main types of immune cells. They are made in the bone marrow and found in the blood and lymph tissue.

A high lymphocyte blood level indicates your body is dealing with an infection or other inflammatory condition. Severe or chronically low counts can indicate a possible infection or other significant illness.

Neutrophil Value

Neutrophils are the most plentiful of the white blood cells in the body’s immune system, making up 55-70% of the white blood cells.

INFORMATION ON IMPROVING OUTCOMES FOR COVID-19 PATIENTS (emphasis added):

  • Researchers with the Singapore General Hospital and Duke-NUS Medical School set out to determine if a combination of vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 would improve outcomes among COVID-19 patients aged 50 and older
  • Seventeen of the patients received oral vitamin D3 (1,000 IU), magnesium (150 milligrams (mg)) and vitamin B12 (500 mcg) — together known as DMB — upon admission for a median of five days while 26 patients who did not receive DMB served as the control group
  • Significant benefits were seen among the DMB group, with only 17.6% requiring initiation of oxygen therapy during their hospitalization, compared to 61.5% of those in the control group
  • Vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 may present a unique three-pronged approach for tackling COVID-19 by modulating the hyper-inflammation often seen in the disease

– Midlands Directory. (8/24/2020)

NUTRITIONAL SUPPLEMENTS I LIKE

In case your risk of getting Covid is high and you need to supplement with the vitamins and mineral mentioned in the previous section about improving outcomes for Covid patients – also important for preventing getting Covid, here’s a list of the supplements I like and use in case my diet isn’t providing adequate amounts. These amounts work for me. You should check with your own health care provider:

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 5,000 (Metagenics). I take 1 gel cap daily and 2 every 3rd day during the pandemic – and have 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood tests every three to six months to check my D blood serum level. It was 63 in early March 2020 (good) and I’d gotten it up to 90 by September 2020 (very good).

Magnesium

Magnesium Glycinate Chelate  (Nested Naturals). I take 2 capsules in the morning.             

Neuro-Mag (l-threonate) (Designs for Health). I take 1 capsule after lunch + 2 in the evening.                    

Vitamin B Complex

Dr Mercola’s Vitamin B-Complex (I take 2 capsules each morning)

Keep your gut microbiome healthy so the rest of you can be healthy too.

REFERENCES

Levy, J. (2020). Vitamin D Benefits Bones, Immunity, Skin & More. Dr Axe. See: https://draxe.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-benefits/

Midlands Directory. (8/24/2020). Dr. Mercola Introduces Stop COVID Cold. See: https://www.midlandscbd.com/articles/dr-mercola-introduces-stop-covid-cold

#StopCovidCold.(2020). Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold. See: https://www.stopcovidcold.com

#StopCovidCold.(2020). Stealth Strategies to Stop Covid Cold. See: https://www.stopcovidcold.com/covid-research.html

#StopCovidCold. (2020). About. See: https://www.stopcovidcold.com/about-us.html

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Answers to Top 11 Coronavirus Questions by Amy Myers, MD

Amy Myers, MD is a two-time New York Times bestselling author and an internationally acclaimed Functional Medicine doctor. Dr Myers specializes in empowering those with autoimmune, thyroid and digestive issues to reverse their conditions and take back their health. She is also a wife, mother and the  founder/CEO of Amy Myers MD®

The following is a useful article she wrote about Coronavirus-19 and posted on her own website: Your Top 11 Coronavirus Questions Answered. It’s her answers to the most common questions she’s been receiving about how to stay healthy or respond to Covid-19 should you get it.

These are her answers, copied from her own site. See the article as it appears on her site for links to the information sources she has used:

1. How does COVID-19 affect the immune system?

There are two ways the immune system responds to this virus. The less severe response is your typical adaptive immune response which is triggered by your body’s “intruder alarm system” and used to fight off an infection. This is the common response after being infected with the coronavirus. 

Once you recover from COVID-19, your immune system has learned how to fight yet another virus! It can use this information to fend off similar viruses in the future. 

A different response occurs if your immune system is severely compromised by the virus, leading to a “cytokine storm.”1 Cytokines are a group of proteins responsible for signaling and communication in your body, including regulating your immune response.2  

During a cytokine storm, your body releases too many cytokines into the blood too quickly.3 With COVID-19, this particularly affects lung tissue and prevents inflammation from going down. Then a build-up of jelly-like fluid in the lungs due to proinflammatory activity causes respiratory distress. This severe immune response may require medical attention.

2. I have an autoimmune condition. How will COVID-19 affect me?

Generally speaking, autoimmune conditions are a result of an imbalanced immune system rather than a suppressed one. Therefore for most people having an autoimmune condition does not inherently put you at more risk of getting COVID-19. The exceptions to this are those who are on immunosuppressive drug or have an autoimmune condition such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis that can impact lung function.

Following preventive measures, such as I write in my book The Autoimmune Solution, which support, rather than suppress, your immune system. Refer to this article for steps you can take to avoid COVID-19.

3. Are there special concerns for those with thyroid conditions?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Thyroid dysfunction is generally not related to an increased risk of viral infections. There’s no evidence that you will be in a higher risk group if you are not over 60 and don’t have any other underlying illness.

However, it is possible that if you were recently put on medication for hyperthyroidism such as propylthiouracil (PTU) or methimazole (also known as Tapazole),  you may be at higher risk of a complication if you are infected by the virus because hormone levels in your body are fluctuating. Contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned about your medications. Don’t stop or reduce medications without talking to your doctor.4 

In my New York Times bestselling book,The Thyroid Connection, I provide details on The Myers Way® to reverse the symptoms of thyroid conditions naturally. Now’s a great time to settle in with a book! 

You can also support a healthy immune system with the right vitamins and minerals. Try to ensure you’re getting optimal amounts of copper, folate, iron, selenium, zinc and vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D.5 I specially formulate my multivitamin for my thyroid patients to ensure the optimal amounts of these vitamins and minerals.

4. Am I more likely to get the virus if I’m taking immunosuppressive drugs?

You could be at increased risk because your body’s ability to defend itself against pathogens is lessened. Because there are a lot of variables including which medications you take, your age, and the severity of your symptoms, you should take every precaution to protect your health. Additionally, speak to your doctor about the advisability of reducing or changing your immunosuppressant medications during this time. 

Immunosuppressed patients who contract the flu may not get a fever. That means if influenza is suspected in an immunosuppressed patient with acute respiratory symptoms, even without a fever, they should be tested for the flu. 

That may also be relevant information for COVID-19. If you are immunosuppressed and are experiencing the following symptoms, even without a fever, contact your healthcare provider about testing for COVID-19.

Symptoms include:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sputum (mucus) production 
  • Tiredness
  • Aches and pains
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Sore throat 
  • Diarrhea

5. Is it ok to take NSAIDS for COVID-19?

I recommend following the instructions of your personal healthcare professional. Your conventional doctor will likely treat mild cases of COVID -19  with fever reducers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) and NSAIDS including aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®), and naproxen (Aleve®).6 

French researchers initially warned against ibuprofen because they hypothesized that an enzyme boosted by that anti-inflammatory drug could worsen the symptoms of COVID-19.7  However, the World Health Organizations, as well as other groups, have now determined that is not true.

However, NSAIDS can be extremely damaging to your gut, you may wish to add Omega-3 fish oil and/or my Liposomal Curcumin to your daily regimen. Both support a healthy inflammatory response. If you are recovering at home, rest and stay hydrated with plenty of fluids such as my gut-nourishing Bone Broth Collagen, which tastes just like a comforting bowl of chicken soup. Collagen from bone broth is full of amino acids and peptides that help maintain and promote a healthy gut lining health for optimum nutrient absorption.

6. What are the treatments
for more moderate cases of COVID-19?

Some more moderate cases are being treated with the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. These are primarily used to treat malaria and several autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. These drugs seem to make it harder for the virus to attach itself to a cell and enter it. If the virus does manage to get inside the cell, the drugs kill it before it can multiply.

These antimalarials have also been used in combination with azithromycin, an antibiotic that’s often used to treat bacterial infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and infections of the ears, lungs and other organs. You may have heard of a “z-pack” which is a five-day course of this medication.8

If you are given antibiotics, it’s especially important to support the good bacteria in your gut, the home of 80% of your immune system. My Probiotics 100 Billion contains 14 of the most important probiotic bacteria strains for maximum digestive and immune support.

When you’re under stress, your body quickly works through its natural supply of the critical detoxifier, Glutathione. Made in your liver, it’s your body’s number one free radical scavenger. You may also wish to support your liver, your body’s main detoxifying organ, with my custom-formulated Liver Support.

7. What’s the best supplement for me to boost my immune function now?

My number one recommendation right now is the product I custom-formulated to support immune function, Immune Booster Powder. It offers high-quality colostral whey peptides. These peptides are protein fractions from colostrum, which is teeming with beneficial compounds such as bioactive proteins and novel growth factors. 

Immune Booster Powder is a concentrated source of immunoglobulins, special proteins created by your immune system. Your white blood cells create these glycoproteins to bind to all kinds of antigens including viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and even inflammatory proteins from the foods we eat. Once they’re bound by immunoglobulins the antigens can be destroyed or carried out of the body through the bowel.

8. What are some other inexpensive ways I can support my immune system?

Whether or not you test positive for COVID-19, I recommend continuing  a diet of nutrient-dense, organic foods. This includes fruits and vegetables as well as grass-fed meats, organic chicken, and wild-caught fish. If you can’t purchase organic foods right now, concentrate on what you can do. Select foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Buy large sizes if you can — the big bags of frozen vegetables are less expensive than single-servings of fresh vegetables in the long run. 

Many food banks are actually gearing up to serve more people, not less. You may not be able to enter to select your groceries, however many sites offer pre-boxed or bagged groceries. Feeding America has a site that can help you find resources near you. Try to avoid resorting to cheap, toxic and inflammatory foods including gluten, dairy, sugar, and alcohol.

I know this is an extremely difficult time. Many families are facing economic hardships while they try to remain healthy. To help ensure my community has access to the supplements they need, I’ve extended free shipping on everything in my store for everyone in the contiguous US. You can also sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on promotions and special offers on my supplements and programs.

9. What personal care & cleaning products should I use?

The most important thing to remember is to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds frequently. You don’t need any special antibacterial soaps! Just wash in hot water and work up plenty of lather because the foam actually breaks down the fat layer on the outside of the virus, causing the virus molecule to disperse and break down on its own.

Fortunately, there’s also no need to purchase expensive disinfecting supplies. You can use chlorine-free bleach and dilute it with ⅓ cup per gallon of water.9 A spray bottle of a solution of 50/50  isopropyl alcohol and water works great too.

10. Does drinking extra water help prevent COVID-19?

No amount of water will prevent you from getting the virus if you are exposed. However, staying hydrated with plenty of filtered water can support your immune system, and prevent dehydration from side effects of illness such as fever and/or vomiting. 

You may want to boost your hydration with a liquid that includes electrolytes such as an infused water. aHowever, if you have diarrhea or can’t eat, consider a beverage with some added carbohydrates. Instead of a sports drink, which can be filled with all kinds of colorings and additives you don’t want, you can get the same effect by mixing one quart of water with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ cup of the fruit juice of your choice such as orange (if you tolerate citrus) or cranberry.

11. If I take Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN), does that mean my immune system will work better?

There is no evidence that LDN bolsters your immune system against this virus in either protecting you from contracting the virus or lessening your symptoms.

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the opioid receptors in your brain. These receptors are meant to respond to endorphins — your body’s natural “feel good” chemicals. These effects may be beneficial for autoimmune patients due to the fact that endorphins play a role in immune system modulation. Autoimmune patients typically have lower levels of endorphins than people without autoimmunity.

No one knows exactly how endorphins help modulate the immune system or why they are decreased in autoimmune patients, yet studies have shown anti-inflammatory benefits. You can learn more about that in this article.

– Amy Myers, MD (4/10/2020)

REFERENCES

Myers, A. (4/10/2020). Your Top 11 Coronavirus Questions Answered. See: https://www.amymyersmd.com/2020/04/coronavirus-questions-answered/?utm_term=coronavirus-questions-answered-article-email-coronavirus-questions-answered-article&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=content&utm_source=klayvio&utm_content=coronavirus-questions-answered-article&_ke=eyJrbF9lbWFpbCI6ICJqcmhhcmRpbkB1c2EubmV0IiwgImtsX2NvbXBhbnlfaWQiOiAiS2padXpRIn0%3D

Source: Al Jazeera

© Copyright 2020. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

 

Source: Time Magazine

 

An article titled “Do Probiotics Really Work? in the current (July 2017) issue of Scientific American really irked me so I decided to send a Letter to the Editor responding to it. Since the chances my letter will get printed are slim and I think it addresses several important issues, I’m putting it into this post.

Continue reading In Response to “Do Probiotics Really Work?” (Scientific American, July 2017)

Incremental Medicine + Functional Medicine = Good Medicine

 

Atul Gawande, MD

Photo by Aubrey Calo, photographer, Harvard School of Public Health

 

 

Atul Gawande is a surgeon and well regarded writer on public health issues. He was awarded the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science from The Rockefeller University in 2014. This Prize honors  “the rare individual who bridges the worlds of science and the humanities — whose voice and vision can tell us about science’s aesthetic and philosophical dimensions, providing not merely new information but cause for reflection, even revelation.” (The Rockefeller University, 2014)
Gawande practices General and Endocrine Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and is a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School as well as a Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.
I’m writing about him today after reading his article Tell Me Where It Hurts: Our medical system rewards heroic intervention. When will we grasp the power of incremental care?  In The New Yorker‘s January 23 2017 issue. (I’m usually at least a few weeks behind.)

 

Source: The New Yorker

 

Gawande eloquently makes the case for switching our health care system’s  focus away from relying on heroic specialty care once we’ve develop medical conditions to ongoing, incremental care by primary-care docs to keep people healthier in the first place:
“We have a certain heroic expectation of how medicine works. Following the Second World War, penicillin and then a raft of other antibiotics cured the scourge of bacterial diseases that it had been thought only God could touch. New vaccines routed polio, diphtheria, rubella, and measles. Surgeons opened the heart, transplanted organs, and removed once inoperable tumors. Heart attacks could be stopped; cancers could be cured. A single generation experienced a transformation in the treatment of human illness as no generation had before. It was like discovering that water could put out fire. We built our health-care system, accordingly, to deploy firefighters. Doctors became saviors.
“But the model wasn’t quite right. If an illness is a fire, many of them require months or years to extinguish, or can be reduced only to a low-level smolder. The treatments may have side effects and complications that require yet more attention. Chronic illness has become commonplace, and we have been poorly prepared to deal with it. Much of what ails us requires a more patient kind of skill.” (Gawande, 2017, p. 39)

Source: www.ncsl.org

 

Studies have demonstrated “that states with higher ratios of primary-care physicians have lower rates of general mortality, infant mortality, and mortality from specific conditions such as heart disease and stroke. Other studies found that people with a primary-care physician as their usual source of care had lower subsequent five-year mortality rates than others, regardless of their initial health. In the United Kingdom, where family physicians are paid to practice in deprived areas, a ten-per-cent increase in the primary-care supply was shown to improve people’s health so much that you could add ten years to everyone’s life and still not match the benefit. Another study examined health-care reforms in Spain that focussed on strengthening primary care in various regions—by, for instance, building more clinics, extending their hours, and paying for home visits. After ten years, mortality fell in the areas where the reforms were made, and it fell more in those areas which received the reforms earlier. Likewise, reforms in California that provided all Medicaid recipients with primary-care physicians resulted in lower hospitalization rates. By contrast, private Medicare plans that increased co-payments for primary-care visits—and thereby reduced such visits—saw increased hospitalization rates. Further, the more complex a person’s medical needs are the greater the benefit of primary care.” (Gawande, 2017, p. 40)
“In this era of advancing information, it will become evident that, for everyone, life is a preexisting condition waiting to happen. We will all turn out to have … a lurking heart condition or a tumor or a depression or some rare disease that needs to be managed. This is a problem for our health-care system. It doesn’t put great value on care that takes time to pay off. But this is also an opportunity. We have the chance to transform the course of our lives.
“Doing so will mean discovering the heroism of the incremental. That means not only continuing our work to make sure everyone has health insurance but also accelerating efforts begun under health reform to restructure the way we deliver and pay for health care. Much can be debated about how: there are, for example, many ways to reward clinicians when they work together and devise new methods for improving lives and averting costs. But the basic decision has the stark urgency of right and wrong. We can give up an antiquated set of priorities and shift our focus from rescue medicine to lifelong incremental care. Or we can leave millions of people to suffer and die from conditions that, increasingly, can be predicted and managed. This isn’t a bloodless policy choice; it’s a medical emergency.” (Gawande, 2017, p. 45)
I highly recommend reading the entire article.

 

 

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

If we were to take Gawande’s argument for incremental care over heroic rescue care one step further and add a shift to Functional Medicine instead of what has come to be called Conventional, Traditional, Allopathic or Western Medicine,  then we’d really be on the right track to regain our health and save a bundle on health care.
Functional Medicine treats the patient, not the disease. It looks at the underlying causes of diseases and conditions in a particular person then works on rebalancing the body to return the person to full functioning.

 

Source: Pinterest

 

The seven basic principles of Functional Medicine are:
  • Science-based medicine that connects the emerging research base to clinical practice
  • Biochemical individuality based on genetic and environmental uniqueness
  • Patient-centered care rather than disease-focused treatment
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors that affect total functioning
  • Web-like interconnections among the body’s physiological processes also affect every aspect of functionality.
  • Health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease.
  • Promotion of organ reserve.
  – (American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, 2017)

Source: www.iyogaposes.com

“Here lies the clear distinction and definition of Functional Medicine. Instead of asking, ‘What drug matches up with this disease?’ Functional Medicine asks the vital questions that very few conventional doctors ask: ‘Why do you have this problem in the first place?’ and ‘Why has function been lost?’ and ‘What can we do to restore function?’ In other words, Functional Medicine looks to find the root cause or mechanism involved with any loss of function, which ultimately reveals why a set of symptoms is there in the first place, or why the patient has a particular disease label.” (Cole, 2012)

 

Source: Integrated Wellness

 

Another description of Functional Medicine – with an example of how he uses it – from one of my favorite practitioners, Frank Lipman, MD:
“Functional Medicine is a true combination of Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine and scientific research. It combines the philosophy of balance and how to restore function from Chinese Medicine and the knowledge of biochemistry and physiology of Western Medicine with the latest scientific research about how our genetics, environment and lifestyle all interact with each other. Functional medicine focuses assessment and intervention at the root levels of metabolic imbalance and is an evolution in the practice of medicine that addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century by focusing on prevention and uncovering the underlying causes of serious chronic disease. Instead of just suppressing symptoms, it deals with the root causes of disease and is less concerned with making a diagnosis and more concerned with the underlying imbalances, which are the mechanisms of the disease process.
“For instance, in the last 2 weeks, 3 people came to see me complaining of reflux and all had been given Nexium by their Doctor. But for one of them, the cause was his diet and eliminating the foods that caused the problem did the trick. For the second person, giving her probiotics and nutrients to heal the lining of the gastro-intestinal system helped and for the third person, giving him HCL, yes you read correctly, giving him Hydrochloric Acid tablets to help digestion helped. All 3 had different causes and needed to be treated accordingly.
“As opposed to Western Medicine, Functional medicine treats the patient and not the disease. In addition, it provides a framework for the practice of medicine that uses all the tools of healing, both conventional and alternative, to address the whole person rather than an isolated set of symptoms. I have studied Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine which taught me to see the body from a holistic perspective. Now Functional Medicine gives me a framework to combine this with a Western understanding of the body.” (Lipman, 2009)

 

Source: Washington Wellness Center

 

REFERENCES

American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. (2017). What Is Functional Medicine. See: http://www.a4m.com/fellowship-anti-aging-overview-what-is-functional-medicine.html

Cole, W. (2012). The 5 Principles of Functional Medicine. See: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-6014/The-5-Principles-of-Functional-Medicine.html

Gawande, A. (1/23/2017). Tell Me Where It Hurts: Our medical system rewards heroic intervention. When will we grasp the power of incremental care? The New Yorker. See: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/01/23/the-heroism-of-incremental-care

Lipman, F. (2009). WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE? See: https://www.bewell.com/blog/what-is-functional-medicine/

The Rockefeller University. (4/1/2014). Surgeon and writer Atul Gawande awarded Lewis Thomas Prize. Newswire. See: http://newswire.rockefeller.edu/2014/04/01/surgeon-and-writer-atul-gawande-awarded-lewis-thomas-prize/

 

 

 

© Copyright 2017. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Dr Kelly Brogan: When it comes to treating depression & anxiety, we’ve had it all wrong

 

(Source: freshpickeddeals.com)
(Source: freshpickeddeals.com)

The following is a guest post written by Kelly Brogan, MD, a New York City based holistic women’s health psychiatrist and author of A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives for ParsleyHealth.com:

 

 

7 facts about Depression that will Blow You Away

March 16, 2016

ParsleyHealth.com

By Kelly Brogan MD

“A silent tragedy in the history of modern health care is happening right now in America, but no one is talking about it. We have been told a story of depression: that it is caused by a chemical imbalance and cured by a chemical fix—a prescription. More than 30 million of us take antidepressants, including one in seven women . Millions more are tempted to try them to end chronic, unyielding distress, irritability, and emotional “offness”—trapped by an exhausting inner agitation they can’t shake.

The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason.

“It is time, even according to leaders in the field, to let go of this false narrative and take a fresh look at where science is leading us. The human body interacts in its environment with deep intelligence. Your body creates symptoms for a reason. Depression is a meaningful symptom of a mismatch, biologically, with lifestyle—we eat a poor diet, harbor too much stress, lack sufficient physical movement, deprive ourselves of natural sunlight, expose ourselves to environmental toxicants, and take too many drugs. Inflammation is the language that the body speaks, expressing imbalance, inviting change. We usually suppress these symptoms with medication but that is like turning off the smoke alarm when you have a fire going on.

 

LET’S GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT:

 

“1. Depression is often an inflammatory condition

a manifestation of irregularities in the body that often start far away from the brain and are not associated with so-called “chemical imbalances.” The medical literature has emphasized the role of inflammation in mental illness (1) for more than twenty years (unfortunately, it takes an average of 17 years (2) for the data that exposes inefficacy and/or a signal of harm, to trickle down into your doctor’s daily routine; a time lag problem that makes medicine’s standard of care “evidence-based” only in theory and not practice). Not a single study has proven that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.(3).

That is about as misguided as putting a bandage over a nail stuck in your foot and taking aspirin. It’s absolutely missing an opportunity to “remove the splinter” and resolve the problem from the source.

 

“2. Antidepressants have the potential to irreversibly disable the body’s natural healing mechanisms.

Despite what you’ve been led to believe, antidepressants have repeatedly been shown in long-term scientific studies to worsen the course of mental illness—to say nothing of the risks of liver damage, bleeding, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and reduced cognitive function they entail. The dirtiest little secret of all is the fact that antidepressants are among the most difficult drugs to taper from, more so than alcohol and opiates.

 

“3. The effect is not a cure.

Even if we accepted the proposition that these drugs are helpful for some people (82% of which is due to the placebo effect according to Dr. Irving Kirsch), extrapolating a medical cause from this observation would be akin to saying that shyness is caused by a deficiency of alcohol, or that headaches are caused by a lack of codeine. And what about a genetic vulnerability? Is there such thing as a depression gene? In 2003, a study published in Science (4) suggested that those with genetic variation in their serotonin transporter were three times more likely to be depressed. But six years later this idea was wiped out by a meta-analysis of 14,000 patients published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (5) that denied such an association.

 

“4. Most prescriptions for antidepressants are doled out by family doctors—not psychiatrists,

with seven percent of all visits to a primary care doctor ending with an antidepressant (6) prescription. What’s more, when the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health did its own examination into the prevalence of mental disorders, it found that most people who take antidepressants never meet the medical criteria for a bona fide diagnosis of major depression, and many who are given antidepressants for things like OCD, panic disorder, social phobia, and anxiety also don’t qualify as actually having these conditions.

 

“5. The Great Pretenders.

Many different physical conditions create psychiatric symptoms but aren’t themselves “psychiatric.” Two prime examples: (8). We think that we need to “cure” the brain, but in reality

WE NEED TO LOOK AT THE WHOLE BODY’S ECOSYSTEM: INTESTINAL HEALTH, HORMONAL INTERACTIONS, THE IMMUNE SYSTEM AND AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS, BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE, AND TOXICANT EXPOSURE

 

“6. Basic lifestyle interventions can facilitate the body’s powerful self-healing mechanisms to end depression:

dietary modifications (more healthy fats and less sugar, dairy, and gluten); natural supplements like B vitamins and probiotics that don’t require a prescription and can even be delivered through certain foods; minimizing exposures to biology-disrupting toxicants like fluoride in tap water, chemicals in common drugs like Tylenol and statins, and fragrances in cosmetics; harnessing the power of sufficient sleep and physical movement; and behavioral techniques aimed at promoting the relaxation response.

 

“7. Depression is an opportunity.

It is a sign for us to stop and figure out what’s causing our imbalance rather than just masking, suppressing, or rerouting the symptoms. It’s a chance to choose a new story, to engage in radical transformation, to say yes to a different life experience.

“Join the revolution. Find out more in A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives.

“Kelly Brogan completed her psychiatric training and fellowship at NYU Medical Center after graduating from Cornell University Medical College, and has a B.S. from MIT in Systems Neuroscience. She is board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, and is specialized in a root-cause resolution approach to psychiatric syndromes and symptoms. She is a mother of two.

 

References:

  1. http://kellybroganmd.com/new-psychiatry-psychoneuroimmunology/
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22179294
  3. http://kellybroganmd.com/depression-serotonin/
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2708005/
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2824618/
  6. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/11/3/149.full.pdf
  7. http://kellybroganmd.com/thyroid-whats-mental-health-got/
  8. http://kellybroganmd.com/sugar-causing-depression/

 

Kelly Brogan, MD

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PARSLEY HEALTH

Parsley Health, whose website is where Dr Brogan’s post appears, was founded by Functional Medicine doc Robin Berzin, MD, as a membership-based wellness practice. Berzin’s site describes her novel approach to the practice of medicine this way:

“Parsley Health is a high-tech, holistic medical practice and wellness center. We offer detoxes, gut healing programs and medical memberships to help you live your healthiest life.

“WE’RE A MEMBERSHIP-BASED WELLNESS PRACTICE AND WE BELIEVE IN YOUR POTENTIAL TO THRIVE.

“We get to know our members as individuals. We help you cleanse and renew your body, embrace a healthier lifestyle and live better.

“Our comprehensive testing reveals how your body is functioning today and helps you discover the underlying causes of chronic pain and disease.

“Dr. Robin Berzin founded Parsley Health because she believes health care can and should be different.”

 

 

Robin Berzin, MD, founder of Parsley Health

(Source: robinberzinmd.com)
(Source: robinberzinmd.com)

 

Here’s information on Parsley Health’s membership program in case you live in the NYC area and are interested in subscribing. The practice is located at:
PARSLEY HEALTH
120 E 23RD ST, 5TH FLOOR
NEW YORK, NY 10010
Website: parsleyhealth.com

 

 

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Many thanks to Colleen Hodgetts for sending Dr Kelly Brogan’s article my way.

 

 

REFERENCES

Brogan, K. (2016). 7 facts about Depression that will Blow You Away. See: https://parsleyhealth.com/holisticdepression/

Brogan, K. & Loberg, K. (2016). A Mind of Your Own: How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives. See: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=A+Mind+of+Your+Own%3A+How+Women+Can+Heal+Their+Bodies+to+Reclaim+Their+Lives

Parsley Health. (2016). See:  parsleyhealth.com

 

 

© Copyright 2016. Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Alzheimer’s, Gut Bacteria and Music

LAST UPDATED 7/18/2018.

 

 

(Source: www.sciencedaily.com)
(Source: www.sciencedaily.com)

 

 

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that gradually worsens over time, affecting memory, thinking and behavior – eventually becoming severe enough to interfere with all aspects of daily life. Alzheimer’s involves the progressive loss of brain function, is the most common cause of dementia and the 6th leading cause of death in the US.
In 2013 over 5 million American had the disease. The rates rise yearly and are expected to reach 16 million by 2050.

Continue reading Alzheimer’s, Gut Bacteria and Music

AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT – dedicated to reversing & preventing autoimmune disease. Nov 10-17 2014. FREE online event.

 

 

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AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS

An autoimmune disease, disorder or condition develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, becomes unbalanced and treats healthy cells as if they were pathogens needing to be destroyed. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy body cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function. According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), autoimmune diseases affect up to 50 million Americans. (Roddick, 2014)
When the micro-organisms living in the body’s gut microbiome, a major part of our immune system, become chronically out of balance (gut dysbiosis), chronic inflammation develops there and elsewhere in the body and eventually leads to a diagnosable autoimmune problem or other illness – even cancer.

 

 

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Here’s a useful A to Z list of over 100 autoimmune diseases, disorders and conditions and their symptoms. (autoimmunediseaselist.com, 3/18/2014)
The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association lists 80 autoimmune diseases and autoimmune-related diseases on its site. (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, 2014)
Commonly occurring autoimmune diseases include (Roddick, 2014):
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues
  • Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: affects skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs
  • Multiple Sclerosis: affects the brain and spinal cord
  • Celiac Sprue Disease: a reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine
  • Pernicious Anemia: decrease in red blood cells caused by inability to absorb vitamin B12
  • Vitiligo: white patches on the skin caused by loss of pigment
  • Scleroderma: a connective tissue disease that causes changes in skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs
  • Psoriasis: a skin condition that causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon and small intestine
  • Hashimoto’s Disease: inflammation of the thyroid gland
  • Addison’s Disease: adrenal hormone insufficiency
  • Graves’ Disease: overactive thyroid gland
  • Reactive Arthritis: inflammation of joints, urethra, and eyes; may cause sores on the skin and mucus membranes
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome: destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs
  • Type 1 Diabetes: destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas

 

 

 

FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

Functional Medicine is a way of practicing medicine that focuses on optimal functioning of the body and its organs, usually involving systems of holistic or alternative medicine.
The Institute for Functional Medicine describes the approach like this:

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual. (Institute for Functional Medicine, 2014)

 

 

 

 

 

 THE AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT

 

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Amy Myers, MD, is a well known and highly respected Functional Medical doctor practicing in Austin TX and the author of The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases (available January 27 2015).
She has organized a very interesting  online AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT dedicated to teaching you about the root causes of autoimmune diseases so you can reverse and prevent them.  It’s FREE and takes place November 10-17 2014. You can sign up for it here.
The participants in this AUTOIMMUNE SUMMIT are experts in the fields of Functional Medicine, nutrition, and autoimmune disease who will explain how leaky gut, genetics, and environmental triggers such as toxins, food sensitivities, infections, and stress all play a part in the development of autoimmune disease.

 

 

(Source: hypothyroidmom.com)

 

 * Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with one or more of the autoimmune diseases, disorders, or conditions?

 

* Do you have a family history of autoimmunity and want to learn how to prevent it?

 

* Or are you a healthcare provider who wants to better treat your autoimmune patients?

 

* If these describe you or you just want to learn more about preventing, treating, and reversing these conditions, The Autoimmune Summit is for you! The information you will learn will put you on the road to better physical, mental and spiritual health.

 

 

(Source: lookfordiagnosis.com)
(Source: lookfordiagnosis.com)

 

 

A sampling of the speaker line up and what you’ll learn about how to manage your autoimmunity problems naturally:
  • Mark Hyman, MD:  A Functional Medicine Approach to Autoimmunity
  • Alessio Fassano, MD: The Role of Gut Permeability in Autoimmune Diseases: How To Distinguish Facts From Fantasies
  • Robb Wolf:  What is the Paleo Diet, and How Can It Help Reverse Autoimmunity?
  • Sarah Ballantyne, PhD (AKA The Paleo Mom):  The Problem with Grains and Legumes in Those with Autoimmunity
  • Terry Wahls, MD: Macronutrients, Micronutrients, Mitochondria, and Autoimmunity
  • Datis Kharrazian, DC: Understanding Hashimoto’s and Other Thyroid Conditions
  • Chris Kresser, Lac: Updates on Low Dose Naltrexone and Autoimmunity

 

 

AMY MYERS, MD

This is Dr Myers’ website. It’s worth taking a look at and reading her own story of the route that led her to practice Functional Medicine.

 

 

(Source: www.amymyersmd.com)
(Source: www.amymyersmd.com)

 

 

 

REFERENCES

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (2014). Autoimmune and Autoimmune-Related Diseases. See: http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/list-of-diseases/

AutoimmuneDiseasesList.com. (3/18/2014). Autoimmune Diseases List. See: http://autoimmunediseaselist.com/

Institute for Functional Medicine. (2014). What is Functional Medicine? See: https://www.functionalmedicine.org/about/whatisfm/

Myers, A. AmyMyersMD.com. See: http://www.amymyersmd.com/

Myers, A. (2015). The Autoimmune Solution: Prevent and Reverse the Full Spectrum of Inflammatory Symptoms and Diseases. See: http://www.amazon.com/Autoimmune-Solution-Spectrum-Inflammatory-Symptoms/dp/0062347470/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1415576888&sr=1-1&keywords=amy+myers+md

Roddick, J. (2014). Autoimmune Disease. Healthline.com.  See: http://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorders#Types2

 

 

 

© Copyright 2014 Joan Rothchild Hardin. All Rights Reserved.

 

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.