Author: Joan Haynes

Alterative Tea – Year Round Tonic

by Joan Haynes, ND

Alterative herbs are those which improve overall health by supporting basic bodily processes.  They “do a little bit of everything”. I learned this inexpensive, great-tasting, 9-herb tea formula from Jill Stansbury, ND, professor at the National University of Natural Medicine and have been recommending it for over 20 years.  Drink daily to stay hydrated and healthy all year long.  For sale in the clinic for only $8.00.

 

Useful in So Many Ways

Alterative herbs contain nutrients, minerals including trace minerals, electrolytes, and hormonal precursors that all nourish and stimulate metabolism.  Alteratives also stimulate digestive and absorptive functions thereby optimizing nutrition.  Alteratives also promote eliminative functions and thereby the removal of wastes, minimizing toxic accumulations and enhancing intestinal aerobic flora.  Due to these actions, alteratives are considered to be cleansing and general tonics.

Ingredients

Equal Parts:

Taraxicum officinale “Dandelion root”

Arctium lappa “Burdock”

Berberis aquafolium “Oregon grape, Mahonia”

Glycerrhiza glabra “Licorice root”

Astragalus membranosus “Milk vetch”

Citrus aurantium “Orange peel”

Cinnamomum zeylanicum “Cinnamon”

Foeniculum vulgare “Fennel

Zingiber officinale “Ginger”

Tea Preparation

Instructions for Decoction –  1 heaping tsp per 1 – 1½  cups of water.  Make a single serving or a whole pot.  Simmer the tea covered for about 20 – 30 minutes in stainless steel or glass pot.  Strain. This tea is naturally sweet, but if you want it to be sweeter, sweeten with stevia or honey.

Tips for Tea Drinking

 If you like your tea cold consider quart glass mason jars for storing your tea.  It encourages you to drink a lot and is easy to travel with.  It’s worth investing in plastic lids.  (They have ones with fun straws and straw holders too).  You can make a quart each morning and drink room temp or iced.

If you like your tea hot, invest in a good thermos for when you work and travel.  When you are home, you can just leave your tea on the stove in its cooking pot.  Reheat it each time you want a cup.  You can strain after the 30 minutes of simmering or leave the plant matter in the water if you like a stronger brew.

Precautions

This tea contains licorice and in rare cases may increase blood pressure in susceptible people.  Avoid licorice if you are also taking an Ace inhibitor, diuretic, steroid, or blood thinner.  This tea is not recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers, but is encouraged in children.  Do not take if you have heart, liver or kidney disease.  Do not take if you have hormone sensitive cancers.

 

 

Saved My Life

Dr. Joan Haynes is very complete when it comes to forming a foundation for better health. She has saved my life, literally. I love the atmosphere of her clinic and the people who work there. Thank you Dr. Haynes

 

Correcting Your Iron Deficiency

By Joan Haynes, ND

Symptoms of Iron Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Poor attention, memory, and work productivity
  • Sore tongue
  • Poor condition of skin, nails, or hair including hair loss
  • Cracks or sores at the corners of mouth
  • Wounds heal slowly
  • Shortness of breath
  • Paleness
  • Restless leg syndrome

Reasons for an Iron Deficiency

  1. Blood loss – through heavy menstrual cycles, intestinal bleeding, etc.
  2. Low intake of iron rich foods (see attached list)
  3. Gastrointestinal problems:
    • Low hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes
    • Celiac disease
    • Intestinal parasite infections
    • Intestinal bleeding (which the patient may not notice)
  4. Supplements and Medications that interfere with iron absorption
    • Calcium – in dairy foods and calcium supplements
    • Antacids such as Rolaids and Tums and acid-blocking medications such as Pepcid and Prilosec
  5. Health Issues
    • Chronic diseases such as hypothyroidism, cancer, and blood abnormalities.

Ways to Increase Iron Absorption

  1. Increase acid in the digestive tract
    • Vitamin C – 250-2000 mg can be taken at the same time as your iron
    • Vinegar – 1 ounce of apple cider vinegar with your iron or on your iron rich foods
    • Hydrochloric acid – if too low will inhibit mineral absorption. Read my article: Reflux: Could you have LOW Stomach Acid.  Caution: do not take hydrochloric acid unless you start very slowly and read the contraindications.
  2. Meat sources of iron are more easily absorbed than plant sources
  3. Combine plant and animal sources in the same meal to enhance the absorption of iron from plants
  4. Cast Iron cookware releases iron into food

Ways to Decrease Iron Absorption

– Try to not ingest the following with your iron supplement or iron rich meals, especially if you are having trouble getting your iron levels to rise.  Avoid them 1 hour before and 2 hours after iron ingestion.

  1. Oxalates – found in many foods, even iron rich foods like spinach and kale which prevent the iron from being released. But, if you cook those veggies it will help with availability.  Other high oxalate foods include beets, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, rhubarb, strawberries, oregano, basil and parsley.
  2. Phytates – this compound is found in whole grain, fiber supplements, walnuts, almonds, sesame, dried beans, lentils, peas and soy protein.
  3. Polyphenols – another plant compound found in coffee, tea, chocolate, walnuts, apples, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries.
  4. Calcium – cow’s milk products (cheese, yogurt, milk) and calcium supplements
  5. Antacids such as Rolaids and Tums and acid-blocking medications such as Pepcid and Prilosec

Testing for Iron Deficiency

  1. The most commonly ordered test is part of a Complete Blood Count which shows hemoglobin and hematocrit levels. However, these markers are unreliable and miss many people’s iron deficiency.
  2. It is much more useful to run a Serum Ferritin which will measure your iron stores and can reveal low iron levels much earlier than a CBC. We like levels above 90.

Taking an Iron Supplement

  1. There are different forms of supplemental iron, some of which are more easily absorbed. The commonly recommended form ferrous sulfate often cases gastrointestinal issues.  Amino-acid chelates are usually tolerated better such as iron bis-glycinate.
  2. Iron is best absorbed on an empty stomach. But if you experience stomach cramps, nausea or diarrhea, you can take with a small amount of food.
  3. If you need to take your iron with food, avoid taking it with the list above under Ways to Decrease Iron Absorption.
  4. For medications and supplements, wait at least 1 hour before and 2 hours after calcium, antacids, tetracycline, penicillin, ciprofloxacin, and drugs used for Parkinson disease and seizures. Check any other medication you are taking for iron contraindications.
  5. Black stools are normal when taking iron tablets.
  6. Liquid iron supplements can stain your teeth. Use a straw.
  7. If your iron is causing constipation, diarrhea, nausea which doesn’t go away by taking with food, contact the clinic and we can recommend another form of iron. There are forms of iron that are easier on the digestive tract.
  8. An iron deficiency may be a sign of other nutritional deficiencies as well. Be sure to take a multivitamin which includes a full spectrum of minerals too.
  9. Don’t give up – it takes time for iron stores to correct. Get tested regularly so you know your therapy is working.  If your ferritin levels are not increasing, make sure you follow up with your provider to investigate the reason.

Keep iron supplements out of the reach of children.

If your child swallows an iron pill, contact a poison control center right away.

Iron Rich Foods (from www.healthcastle.com)

The amount of iron you need depends on your age and iron status.  The recommended daily allowance varies from 0.27 mg/day for an infant to 27 mg/day for a pregnant woman.  An anemic person will need more until their condition is stabilized.

Animal Sources Containing Heme Iron which is more easily absorbed

  • Clams – 23.8 mg per 3 oz
  • Oysters – 7.8 mg per 3 oz
  • Liver per 3 oz
    • Chicken – 8 mg
    • Beef – 5.8 mg
  • Mussels – 5.7 mg per 3 oz
  • Sardines – 2.4 mg per 3 oz
  • Turkey – 1.6 mg per 3 oz
  • Beef per 3 oz
    • Extra lean ground – 2.5 mg
    • Prime rib – 2.1 mg
    • Short rib – 2 mg
    • Rib eye – 1.7 mg
    • Sirloin – 1.6 mg
  • Lamb chop – 2.1 mg per 3 oz
  • Egg – 1.2 mg per 2 large eggs

Plant Sources Containing Non-Heme Iron

  • Pumpkin seeds – 8.6 mg per 1/4 cup
  • Firm Tofu – 8 mg per 3/4 cup
  • Beans per 3/4 cup cooked
    • White beans – 5.8 mg
    • Red kidney beans – 3.9 mg
    • Soybeans: 3.4 mg
  • Lentils – 4.9 mg per 3/4 cup cooked
  • Some whole-grain breakfast cereals (per cup)
    • Total – 18 mg
    • Raisin Bran – 10.8 mg
    • Cheerios – 8.9 mg
    • Special K – 8.7 mg
    • All-Bran – 5.5 mg
  • Baked potato with skin – 2.7 mg
  • Chickpeas – 2.4 mg per 3/4 cup cooked
  • Blackstrap Molasses – 3.6 mg per Tbsp
  • Prune juice – 3.2 mg per cup
  • Dried fruits per 1/2 cup
    • Peaches – 1.6 mg
    • Raisins – 1.4 mg
    • Plums – 1.3 mg
    • Apricots – 1.2 mg
  • Nuts per 1/4 cup:
    • Cashew: 1.7 mg
    • Almonds: 1.4 mg
    • Pistachio: 1.2 mg
    • Walnuts: 0.9 mg
    • Pecan: 0.7 mg

Low Blood Sugar – Could it be Causing Your Anxiety and Weight Gain?

by Joan Haynes, ND

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is one of our most commonly encountered nutritional disorders and accounts for a variety of symptoms.  A thorough dietary history and lab work can be useful in determining the diagnosis.  Treatment always begins with dietary modifications but factors beyond food may be involved.

When blood glucose levels fall too rapidly, two things can happen:

    1. The body compensates by releasing adrenaline (epinephrine). Symptoms of “fight or flight” develop:
      • Anxiety
      • Panic
      • Irritability
      • Hunger (also lack of hunger or even nausea)
      • Rapid heart rate and palpitations
      • Tremor
      • Sweating
      • Weakness
      • Abdominal pain
    2. If the blood glucose level is not corrected, symptoms of inadequate cerebral glucose levels develop:
      • Headache
      • Fatigue
      • Blurred vision
      • Mental confusion
      • Impaired memory
      • Seizures
      • Unconsciousness

Causes of Hypoglycemia

Most low blood sugar problems are caused by a diet too high in simple carbohydrates and going too long between meals.  But there are other factors as well.  Hormones may also be playing a role; patients with an under-functioning thyroid or with impaired adrenal function are much more susceptible to blood sugar swings.  Low blood sugar is also more common in patients with malabsorption problems, food sensitivities, and nutritional deficiencies.

To Correct the Problem

Dietary intervention is the most important aspect to recovery.  Patients with reactive hypoglycemia frequently crave refined sugar or other refined carbohydrates.  Eating these foods may provide transient symptom relief, but can also trigger additional episodes of rebound hypoglycemia and more carbohydrate cravings.  This repetitive cycle may lead to overeating and obesity.  Several nutritional supplements have been shown to help including chromium, magnesium, and l-carnitine.  Lab tests such as blood glucose, thyroid and adrenal studies may also provide additional information needed for full recovery.

Consider coming to Boise Natural Health Clinic for lab work, dietary interventions, nutritional supplements, and hormonal therapies that can help you get your symptoms under control.

(Thank you Alan Gaby, MD for your useful book, Nutritional Medicine 2011.)

Complementary Approach Extends Cancer Patient’s Life

Dear Boise Natural Health Clinic,

Thank you very much for what you did to help Anna in her battle with cancer. Four years ago the doctors told us she had very little chance of surviving more than a year due to her colon cancer. Then they discovered that there were large tumors in her liver. They told her she probably wouldn’t survive more than a month or so.

Her oncologist Dr. Zuckerman suggested some surgery, chemotherapy and an appointment with your office. After meeting with you and discussing the recommended treatment, we subsequently spoke with the doctor who wholeheartedly recommended your treatment program.

Treatments consisted of radiation seed implants in the liver, chemotherapy, and your program, which included mushrooms and heavy doses of melatonin. The doctors had little hope of success, but then noticed that the large tumors in her liver were shrinking and apparently dying. The doctors were calling this remarkable, considering the advanced stages of the tumors. Dr. Zuckerman told me he felt the natural healing program was a large part of the success.
Although Anna was told four years ago that she would only survive a few weeks, she actually survived three more good years without any symptoms, for which I will be eternally grateful. It is quite possible she would have survived much longer if they had caught a new tumor in its early stages.

I still call her the miracle woman, but in actuality I attribute her additional four years of success in her battle with cancer to her faith, her medical treatment plans and to her natural health program provided by Joan Haynes. I feel all three of these were very important, and I feel without any one of them her success would have been limited to months instead of years.

Thank you again Joan, I will tell as many people as I can about how you helped as.

Sincerely,

Glenn Morgan

Why Boise Natural Health Clinic Has a Fragrance-Free Policy

by Joan Haynes

You may have noticed this sign in our office:

FRAGRANCE-FREE POLICY

To protect the health of our

chemically sensitive patients and staff,

we ask that while visiting

Boise Natural Health Clinic, you do not wear any

fragrance that is perceptible to others.

 

Fragrances Can Have a Negative Effect to Yourself and Others

You may not realize you are making yourself or other people sick by your fragrances.  Because people do not want to offend you or are afraid of being accused of being “sensitive”, your friends or family may not tell you that they get sick from your laundry detergent, lotion, hair products, or perfume.  We commonly get people in the office who have no idea that their overpowering fragrance can be perceived even in the back office as soon as they walk into the building or that we need to air the building out as soon as they leave.

People can develop headaches, brain fog, dizziness, nasal congestion or sneezing, nausea, or even pass out when exposed to fragrance.  Studies have been done linking some of these chemicals to health problems with the immune, nervous, detoxification, and hormonal systems as well as cancers.

What is a Fragrance?

Perfumes, colognes, and deodorants obviously have fragrance.  But so do most seemingly harmless personal care products.  Even those marked “fragrance-free” or “unscented” may contain a fragrance along with a masking agent that prevents the brain from perceiving odor.  There are over 3000 chemicals that are used as fragrance most of which have not been tested for toxicity alone or in combination.  The industry is unregulated – fragrances are considered “trade secrets”.  Just because it is on the market, do not assume it is safe.

How to Avoid Exposure

We get exposed to dangerous chemicals in our environment all the time over which we have no control, but we have complete control over what we use on our body and in our home.

  1. Stop using scented laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets. It can take many washings to get the smell out, especially of synthetic fibers.  If clothes are permeated, you may need to hang clothes or linens in the sun for a few days – UV light is an amazing detoxifier.
  2. Get rid of any artificially scented candles, or air fresheners including plug-ins. Some contain acetone, benzene, lead, carbon monoxide, toluene and more!
  3. If you like fragrances, use essential oils instead of synthetic perfumes. But be careful, essential oils can smell too strong for some people and can affect people with seasonal allergies.  You may need to dilute the oil before using on your skin as they can burn.  Essential oil sprays make good deodorants.
  4. There are very few occasions that you need to use toxic cleaning supplies in your home. Learn to use baking soda and vinegar to clean.
  5. If you are exposed to strong fragrances in your work place, you have every right to ask for a fragrance -free policy to be implemented. Stand up for yourself!
  6. Environmental Working Group is the best place to go for more information. This non-profit organization has amazing Consumer Guides for non-toxic household and personal care products.

Hair Thinning in Women – Identifying the Cause

by Joan Haynes, ND

Hair loss in women is usually a symptom of an underlying health condition.  It can be emotionally devastating to women.  A thorough work up can reveal the contributing factors.  Knowing the cause of the hair loss leads to an individualized treatment plan.  Often women’s other nagging health problems improve with a whole body approach.   Over my years of practice, it has been so satisfying to see women return to health and regrow their hair.

Here are the most important considerations when evaluating a woman’s hair loss:

  1. Anemia is low iron in the blood and is easy to tests to for with blood work. A complete blood count (CBC) and most importantly a serum ferritin which is your storage form of iron. A ferritin level below 90 is associated with hair loss.  I routinely see values in the teens!
  2. Hormones play a big role in hair. Women may have deficiencies or excess of any hormone –  testosterone, estrogen, or progesterone, DHEA, cortisol, or prolactin.  Clues to a hormone cause are acne, hair growth on face, infertility, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), irregular menses, menopause, PMS, and hormone use.  Read more at Testing for Hormones Imbalances.
  3. Thyroid conditions often cause hair loss and many other symptoms. It is useful to be thorough when testing thyroid.  Blood tests to consider for a full thyroid work up: TSH, free T3, free T4, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies.
  4. Autoimmune conditions can be tested for such as an ANA which will test for multiple autoimmune conditions including systemic lupus erythematous.
  5. Stress is one of the most common causes of thinning hair and sometimes the hair loss happens even after the stress has passed.
  6. Scalp and skin conditions might be the problem if there is any itching, redness, bumps, or broken hairs. Exposure to chemicals and fragrances can cause skin reactions.  A dermatologist can do a punch biopsy to test for things like psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, and look for infections.
  7. Family history could be a factor if female relatives with similar problems?
  8. Personal history is important to review. Any recent diet change, weight loss, surgeries, or illness?  Is the hair loss sudden or a gradual loss?  Losing more in certain spots or all over scalp?  Any hair loss or growth on the rest of the body?  Do you have any ongoing health issue and/or have other symptoms coincided with the hair loss?   Are you taking any medications or supplements?

To understand more, WebMD has a great article:  At Boise Natural Health Clinic, we can order the lab work that you need and many lab companies will bill your insurance.

Fibromyalgia

by Joan Haynes, ND

Fibromyalgia is characterized by wide-spread pain and chronic fatigue, there is no known single cause.  However, investigating and treating contributing factors often brings relief.   Here are some ideas we can help you explore:

Hormones

Hormones involving the thyroid, ovaries and adrenal glands are essential in regulating energy, mood, appetite, sleep, behavior, and stress response.  Thyroid testing is a blood test which measures TSH, free T3, free T4 and thyroid antibodies.  Your sex and adrenal hormones are best done via urine or saliva testing (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol). Read more at Testing for Hormone Imbalances.

Neurotransmitter Imbalances


Fibromyalgia patients frequently suffer from depression and anxiety.  Research has found that having low levels of the neurotransmitters noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine in the brain are common among fibromyalgia sufferers.  Low serotonin in particular has been associated with pain sensitivity and sleep disturbances and in conventional medical practices patients are often prescribed antidepressants with some success.

At Boise Natural Health Clinic we help manipulate neurotransmitters using Targeted Amino Acid Therapy, using supplements such as 5-HTP, tryptophan, and L-theanine.  Neurotransmitters can be measured – we use urine testing to take the guess work out.  READ MORE about neurotransmitter testing.

Inflammation from Food

Widespread body inflammation can be cause by both pro-inflammatory diet and specific food sensitivities.  Here’s an article to learn more: Are Foods Causing Your Symptoms.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Studies have been conducted showing that certain nutrients can have significant improvement on pain levels such as D-Ribose, magnesium, vitamin D and others.  Vitamin D, for example, helps reduce cytokines which are inflammation-causing chemicals.  Omega-3 oils, found in flax seeds and fish, is another researched food shown to reduce inflammation.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Mitochondria are little organelles that live inside your cells and are responsible for the generation of energy.  If not working properly, fibromyalgia symptoms may appear.  Certain nutrients are needed for mitochondria to work.  An Organic Acid Test is a way of measuring your mitochondria function.  Depending on results, treatment may involve using supplements such as coenzymes Q10, creatine, L-carnitine and folate.

Sleep

Without a doubt sleep plays a huge role in fibromyalgia symptoms.  It is during sleep that the body makes growth hormone which rejuvenates our muscles.  Poor sleep can be due to hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies and lifestyle factors.  Solving sleep issues goes a long way toward feeling better.

Come Visit Us

Untreated fibromyalgia can be a life-altering illness but there is help available.  At Boise Natural Health Clinic we want to help you uncover the factors that contributed to its onset, not just cover up the symptoms with medication.  A free-phone consult may be the way to begin, 208-338-0405.

Community Help with Sliding Scale

Dr. Haynes, thank you for being so kind, patient, and generous! And, for making yourself available in times of crisis.  I really appreciate your ability to listen and willingness to explain things.  Even when I was worrying over something that now, looking back, seems somewhat minor you always took me seriously which was comforting.  So thank you for getting me started on the path to recovery, I feel so much better than I did before and I’m feeling stronger every day.

You are making a significant contribution to our community for you are helping to fill in the gaps when it comes to the failed medical system.  I don’t know what we would do without people like you on our side.  I think people like you and other alternative practitioners who are working on a sliding scale are like guardians and teachers of the community.

Calcium . . . Friend or Foe?  A Fresh Look at Bone Health and Osteoporosis

by Joan Haynes, ND

Still think 1200 mg of calcium daily will build good bone?  Think again.  That much calcium might only not help, but actually harm.  Excessive calcium might compromise cardiac and kidney health.  Here’s a fresh look at osteoporosis and the host of minerals, cofactors, diet and lifestyle recommendations that are necessary for good bone health.

Careful with Calcium

Health professionals are beginning to question the recommendations on calcium supplementation.  A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 showed a positive correlation between calcium supplementation and an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in older women through calcification of coronary arteries.  Other studies showed too much calcium leads to deposits in the kidneys leading to kidney stones.

Not All Calcium is the Same

The type of calcium is always important to consider.  At BNH we recommend calcium citrate or calcium citrate-malate.  These are highly absorbable forms of calcium and we recommend that women stay under 500 mg a day.  The popular and inexpensive calcium carbonate form is what chalk and Tums are made from.  Calcium carbonate actually blocks its own absorption through buffering stomach acid.

Low Stomach Acid

You might be getting plenty of calcium and other minerals in your diet, but if you don’t have enough stomach acid to break them down, you can’t absorb them.  Symptoms of low stomach acid might be acid reflux, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating, and nausea.  Low stomach acid is associated with an inability to digest meat well and often people’s stomach feels heavy or overly full after meals, despite eating a normal amount.  Sometimes, even if there are no gastrointestinal symptoms, it is useful to screen patients for low HCL if they have poor mineralization health conditions, such as those with anemia, osteoporosis, thinning hair, thin nails, and nervous system problems like insomnia, anxiety, and restless leg syndrome. READ MORE about low stomach acid in an article on our web page.

Bones are MUCH More than Calcium

To build and maintain bone we must also have optimal amounts of vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium and essential trace minerals such as boron.  Adequate protein is also needed as well as omega-3 oils.

High Calcium Foods are High Mineral Foods

We all know that dairy foods are high in calcium, but many of our patients avoid dairy.  The best food sources of calcium, other than dairy, include whole grains, beans, almonds and other nuts, dark green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choy and turnip greens, also salmon and sardines. It is interesting to note that individuals who avoid dairy due to lactose intolerance do not experience a corresponding increase in osteoporosis.

A Word about Strontium

In my patients that have demonstrated bone loss with a DEXA scan, I recommend the mineral strontium citrate.  This mineral has been shown to increase bone density.  Caution: calcium will inhibit the absorption of strontium if taken together so they must be ingested at different meals.

Alkaline Diet

A diet high in animal protein, grains, and sugar and low in vegetables and fruit can cause an increase in urinary excretion of calcium, leading to bone loss.  These foods acidify your system, causing a leaching of calcium from the bone to keep your body’s pH normal.  A whole-foods, plant-based diet create a more alkaline environment.

Exercise

Always at the top of the list to build and maintain healthy bones is exercise.  Both weight bearing and cardio together have been shown to be the most effective.

Don’t Wait to Take Bone Health Seriously

About one in two women over the age of 50 will develop osteoporosis but what is often overlooked is one in four men over the age of 50 will also develop the disease.  Be proactive with your bone health.

At Boise Natural Health, we can help you design an effective bone health program that includes individualized supplementation and overall health optimization.  Call today to make an appointment 208-338-0405.