Category: Miscellaneous

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.

Mullein Cold Infusion – Herbal Remedy for Chronic Coughs and Irritated Lungs

By Emily Dickerson, ND

The respiratory infections that spread and persisted across the Treasure Valley this past winter and spring were brutal. Sinus congestion and coughs lasted for  weeks, and often for months. Following respiratory infections came seasonal allergies, which caused bronchial irritation and respiratory symptoms to linger for even longer. Many of my patients have had difficulty differentiating between infection and allergies. Their lungs continued to be irritated and inflamed, and they have had difficulty getting their coughs to go away. Soon we will transition into the heat of the summer months, with potential for forest fire air pollution to irritate our airways. A mullein cold infusion may be just what the doctor ordered.

My favorite remedy for chronic lung irritation is a mullein (Verbascum thapsus) cold infusion. Mullein is a soothing lung tonic and is safe for all ages. It helps to resolve chronic coughs and lung irritations and promotes restoration of lung health.

Why cold infusion instead of hot infusion?

A cold infusion extracts the components of mullein that are beneficial to the respiratory tract. A hot infusion extracts different properties, so it is important to focus on herbal extraction via cold infusion for respiratory benefit. A mullein cold infusion is indicated for dry, harsh, hacking coughs, weak lungs, kidneys, and as a nervous system support. It is a great herb for hoarseness, bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, hay fever, and respiratory conditions in general. A mullein hot infusion may be used for colic, constipation, facial neuralgia, and urinary tract irritation. You will also find it in a garlic-mullein combination for external ear drops used for earaches.

I recommended a mullein cold infusion to many of my patients this year. I would like to continue to share it in hopes that it might help any of you that are still suffering or will suffer from chronic lung irritation.

Parts used: The leaves are used for lung support, so that is what I am focusing on in this article. Mullein is a biennial plant, meaning that it lives for 2 years and changes from its 1st year to its 2nd year. The leaves that are best for a cold infusion are those in the 1st year, which is before it grows a stalk. If wildcrafting, make sure that you harvest mullein that is not polluted. Focus on areas away from heavy car or foot traffic.

Simple instructions for how to make a mullein cold infusion:

Infuse 1 teaspoon of dried or fresh mullein leaves (chopped or crushed) per cup of water; or 1 handful of mullein leaves per gallon of water. A cold infusion is very simple to do! You simply place the herb in cold water, let it soak overnight, remove the herb, then store in your refrigerator. Using cold water instead of hot water optimizes the lung-benefiting, demulcent properties of mullein.

Dosage:

  • Adult, acute: Drink 1 cup every 2-3 hours.
  • Adult, chronic: Drink 1 cup three times per day.
  • For kids, the strength of the infusion should be decreased, but dosing intervals are the same.

To schedule with Dr. Dickerson for medical evaluation of respiratory infection, asthma, allergies, or other chronic lung infection, please call Boise Natural Health Clinic at (208)338-0405.

What’s in Your Supplement?

By Esther Sears, MSN, AOCNP, FNP

First, Why are Supplements Necessary for Most of Us?


Supplements and natural remedies have become a common aspect of health seekers in the past 2 decades as people become more educated on the importance of replacing the nutrients that are often lacking in our foods.  The majority of our food comes from large agriculture businesses which often grow one specific crop.  This depletes the soil of nutrients that crop rotation provides.  Pesticides and herbicides create unhealthy soil as well, further producing contaminated and nutrient poor crops.  For those who are fortunate enough to grow their foods organically, hunt, fish or raise their own protein sources, supplementation may not be necessary.  And then there are the rest of us….

Some Good, Some Bad, and Some Just Plain Ugly

Regulation of supplements falls under the category of “food” rather than “drugs” by the FDA, making regulation much less stringent.  Manufacturers are expected to comply with Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP).  The FDA does random audits to evaluate compliance with GMP which regulate the design and construction of manufacturing plants, maintenance and cleaning, manufacturing operations, quality control procedures, consumer complaints, testing of products to meet label claims and manufacturing records.  Audits are done randomly.  According to Daniel Fabricant, PhD, past director of the dietary supplementation program at the FDA, almost 70% of those companies tested were in non-compliance with GMP’s.  Compliance issues included failure to test appropriately, or to keep adequate records, adulteration of product, presence of heavy metals, and false labeling claims.  Internet sales put more distance between the consumer and the source and can be a way for opportunists to hijack well-known company labels with fake product.  Try googling “fake supplements” and see how prevalent the problem is!

Getting it Right

So how do you know if you are getting a good supplement?  First, it is important to choose a manufacturer that tests every batch rather than skip batch testing.  This is something you will see a reputable company boast about in their sales pitch.  This ensures the quality of every batch and consistency of their manufacturing processes.  Also look for third party certification such as Natural Products Association (NPA), Consumer Labs (CL), Dietary Supplement Verification Program (USP) or the National Safety Foundation (NFS).  You can also subscribe to The Natural Medicine Database which does independent verification of products and gives a rating of each supplement by each manufacturer allowing you to compare the quality of products.  The Office of Dietary Supplements or the National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health provide information on supplements uses, precautions, dosing, interactions, etc. but do not provide information on individual manufacturing.  For information on on safety alerts, recalls, and market withdrawals go to the FDA website.

At Boise Natural Health Clinic

In our clinic we recommend and provide pharmaceutical-grade supplements only from reputable sources ensuring our customers the best quality.  Obtaining your supplements from us takes the homework (and the guess work) out of your purchase.  We meet with representatives from companies such as Metagenics, Thorne, Vital Nutrients, and Pure Encapsulations at conferences, and we learn first-hand about their manufacturing processes and quality assurance.  By purchasing your supplements from us, you are also supporting a local business and we truly appreciate this in our customers!

To schedule an appointment with Esther Sears, FNP, APRN, AOCNP regarding optimizing your daily supplement regimen and treatment plans, call Boise Natural Health Clinic at (208)338-0405.

Freedom From Inflammation

by Emily Dickerson, ND

Do you have an autoimmune condition or a chronic inflammatory condition and are not sure what to do daily to live your best life possible? Or are you simply interested in preventing harmful excess inflammation in your life? Dr. Dickerson loves teaching about how to manage and prevent chronic illness by living our best lives possible.

Background: What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is the body’s response to acute injury or infection. Inflammation is one of the body’s principal defense reactions, and involves increased blood flow, swelling, and movement of white blood cells to the site of injury/infection. Inflammation brings the immune system cells to the location at which they are needed.

Once at the site, white blood cells get to work to clean up the area and clear it of infected or damaged cells. Pain is caused by chemical agents released during inflammation that act directly on the nerve cells in the affected area.

I’ve Heard That Inflammation is Bad… What is That All About?

What I have described above is the process of a healthy acute inflammatory response. Inflammation is necessary and beneficial in an acute setting. In a chronic setting, inflammation can be damaging. In a chronic setting, inflammation has a constant stimulus and can cause symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, and joint degradation. Inflammation can be triggered inappropriately by things such as autoimmune conditions, allergies, food sensitivities, or toxic exposures, for example. In autoimmune conditions, the body’s immune system reacts to its own cells in an inflammatory manner, attacking them as if they were foreign invaders. Chronic exposure to allergens, food sensitivities, or toxins trigger the inflammatory cascade and can cause chronic inflammation throughout the body, which can impact a myriad of bodily processes.

What Conditions Does an Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle Help?

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle would be healthy for everyone, but for some chronic conditions it is essential. Following are a list of examples of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that would greatly benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle:

Autoimmune Conditions:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Psoriasis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Polymyositis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Grave’s disease
  • Autoimmune hepatitis

Chronic Inflammatory Conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Chronic gastrointestinal conditions: Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, food allergies, food sensitivities
  • Chronic pain
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Dementia
  • Malabsorption

**Please note that although minimizing inflammation can prevent progression, minimize pain, and improve your overall health, it will not reverse permanent damage.

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle:

“Anti-inflammatory” means creating a healthy immune system response and preventing unnecessary inflammation. Diet and lifestyle have everything to do with controlling inflammation. Below are some of the pillars of a healthy, anti-inflammatory lifestyle.

  1. Exercise: Not only does exercise reduce stress and cortisol (pro-inflammatory stress hormone), it also increases circulation, reduces your risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease, and increases glutathione, the body’s extremely potent antioxidant (anti-inflammatory).
  2. Sleep: 8 or more hours of sleep is anti-inflammatory, while less is pro-inflammatory.
  3. Stress: Create a stress management routine. Examples of good stress management strategies: exercise, meditation, epsom salt baths, reading, designating alone time, talking with friends, counseling, massage, bodywork, acupuncture. Find a routine that works for you.
  4. Diet: Eating sufficient fresh produce, balanced with healthy fats, and healthy proteins. Avoid food allergies and sensitivities that can contribute to chronic inflammation. Identifying food allergies and sensitivities can be helpful in tailoring an anti-inflammatory diet to meet your needs.
  5. Toxins: It really does matter what you put in your body, on your body, and breathe into your body. See the Environmental Working Group website to identify possible toxic exposures.
  6. Fermented foods: Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha contain beneficial bacteria that promote immune system health and are an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet. (This is true only for those that do not have a histamine intolerance. For further information, read my article.
  7. Fresh herbs: Herbs carry powerful health and anti-inflammatory benefits. Load up on these while they are in season!

Going Beyond the Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle:

Some conditions and symptoms are not controllable via the Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle alone and may require further workup. Tests to pinpoint hidden causes of inflammation are available. Evaluation for environmental exposures, dietary counseling, food sensitivity testing, or an individualized detox program may be necessary.

Upcoming Events:

Dr. Dickerson is teaching an Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle class on April 27th, 2017 at 6:30 pm. For more information see our event page.

This Spring Dr. Dickerson is guiding patients through a 10 or 28 day detox protocol, with group or individual options available. Starting the first week of May, she will be leading a group cleanse class that meets every Monday throughout the month. Read More.

To schedule a free consult with Dr. Dickerson to discuss your best path toward a lifetime of freedom from inflammation, call Boise Natural Health at (208)338-0405.

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.

What do Zion National Park and Your Health have in Common?

By Esther Sears, FNP

Zion was not always the Beautiful Canyon that it Currently is.

One of the greatest experiences I have ever had was visiting Zion National Park in southern Utah this past summer.  While there I learned about how this majestic canyon was formed by the flow of water over millions of years.  Except for major geological events such as earthquakes or major floods, there is probably not one generation that has ever witnessed a significant change in the canyon, and yet it went from being a fairly flat high desert to this incredible awe-inspiring canyon over the course of time.

It Takes Time for Disease to Develop

Like Zion, our bodies also experience subtle changes over time.  Some changes are a normal part of aging but others are the cumulative effects of poor eating habits, medications, exposure to environmental toxins, stress, lack of quality sleep and toxic relationships over the course of our lives.  Our bodies are incredibly resilient and will compensate for many insults which is why we continue to live and function without noticing these subtle changes, while beneath the surface a canyon is slowly being carved.  When the burden of these insults becomes too great, disease results.  It may come in the form of frequent infections like colds and the flu or it may be in the form of chronic disease like diabetes, hypertension, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, obesity, irritable bowel, depression or rheumatoid arthritis.

Functional Medicine looks at Disease Differently

In the world of functional medicine, we know that there are numerous contributing factors to a person’s suboptimal health.  Taking a comprehensive look at the whole person from birth to the present we begin to uncover the root causes of disease and then develop a plan to improve and often reverse disease.  And that is what I LOVE about functional medicine!  These days people want more out of life.  The world we live in is big and beautiful and begs exploration whether it be walking in the neighborhood park and enjoying the sounds of birds, or taking a challenging hike.

This is a picture of me taken at observation point in Zion this past summer.  I am proud to say that at fifty-seven, I could take this amazing 8 mile round-trip hike with an elevation gain of 2,000 feet over 3 miles with plenty of energy left afterwards to enjoy making dinner at the campsite.

Are you Experiencing Your Best Health?

I would love to help you achieve your best health so that you, too, can enjoy everything that nature has to offer.

To your good health!

Esther

What is Functional Medicine?

By Esther Sears, MSN, FNP, AOCNP

Functional Medicine is a science-based approach to understanding the origin, prevention and treatment of disease.  The practitioner seeks to gain understanding of the root causes of disease for each individual by considering their unique history, lifestyle and genetics, focusing on the whole person rather than an isolated set of symptoms.  Both conventional and integrative medicines are employed with an emphasis on diet and lifestyle interventions.

Functional Medicine practitioners ask “Why?” rather than just label and prescribe.  People are often given diagnosis’ of irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and a host of other things along with a prescription but no real information on what they can do to decrease the disease burden or even possibly reverse it.  Using a functional medicine approach, we uncover the root causes of disease and create an individualized plan of care to begin to restore health.

Health is not just the absence of disease.  It is about feeling your best physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally and living life to the fullest.  Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Make the most of yourself, for that is all you have”.

Here are some things to think about when considering your own health:

  1. Am I as healthy as I would like to be?
  2. If I change nothing, what will things look like for me in 5-10 years?
  3. Do I have the energy to play with my kids/grandkids or to do the things I want to do?
  4. How important is my health to me?

If you would like help in achieving your best health, contact us at 208-338-0405  for an appointment today.  For more information go to the Institute of Functional Medicine.

Advanced Hormone and Neurotransmitter Workshop

by Joan Haynes, ND

I’m just recently back from a 3-day conference in Las Vegas Hosted by Labrix Clinical Services, a lab that’s new to us at Boise Natural Health. This conference was three days of very useful clinical information. We started off by learning more about the gut microbiome and how it influences our brain chemistry and hormone balance. We talked in great detail about testing for hormone balance for women – estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone. Here is a sample hormone test. There was a whole talk about libido, full of useful information.

Adrenal health was covered in most of the talks because of its fundamental role in our energy production. I learned about the Stages of Adrenal Dysfunction and treatment considerations at each stage. One of the speaker’s had a great line:

“If the adrenal ain’t happy, nothing is happy.”

I also learned more about men’s health and especially testing and treatment for progesterone deficiency, not just testosterone deficiency. We also covered inflammation and its role in neurotransmitter production and hormone balance
.

I’ve been doing neurotransmitter testing for many years, and  I’m excited to be offering a new lab,  Labrix to help people identify their underlying imbalance that leads to their depression and/or anxiety. We covered the use of nutrients, herbs and amino acids to raise or lower neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Here is sample neurotransmitter test to see what’s included.

The lab also offers a genetic test FindWhy™ Weight Control that looks at five genes that are known to have a significant impact on regulation of metabolism, satiety, sensitivity to carbohydrates, and regulation of insulin and leptin systems. B
ased on the results, different weight loss plans are created to overcome predispositions.

Cost for these tests range from $191 to $347 depending on what is ordered.

If any of this new testing interests you, come in and we’ll get started, or you can call and set up a free 10-minute consult to speak with me about how this testing might be useful to you.

What is a Nurse Practitioner?

By Esther Sears, MSN, FNP, AOCNP

A nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse (RN) who has completed advanced education (a minimum of a master’s degree) and training in the diagnosis and management of common medical conditions, including chronic illnesses. A Family Nurse Practitioner, who may also be referred to by the acronym FNP, is a registered nurse with specialized educational and clinical training in family practice

The license held by a nurse practitioner allows them to practice independently. Nurse practitioners provide a broad range of health care services including performing complete physical exams, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests and prescribing appropriate medications and interventions. Nurse practitioners focus on the whole person and generally spend more time with patients in teaching and health promotion.

A nurse practitioner can serve as a patient’s primary health care provider and can see patients of all ages.

Like other licensed medical providers, nurse practitioners are covered under health insurance. Although Boise Natural Health Clinic does not bill insurance, we provide paperwork to help you get reimbursed.

Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland: A Review

By Emily Dickerson, ND

Recently I have been enjoying the book Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, PhD. Dr. Bland is a widely known and respected researcher and lecturer, and the founder of the Institute for functional medicine. He has both taught and been on the Board of Trustees at my alma mater, Bastyr University. He is a huge advocate for the integration of natural and conventional medicine, and sees it as the future of healthcare. This book outlines this perspective and is a good reminder of why we do what we do as naturopathic doctors. Naturopathic medicine, similarly known as “functional medicine” in the conventional medical world, addresses the root cause of disease, rather than treating the symptoms. This approach to medicine helps patients to avoid polypharmacy, which often results when medications are prescribed to treat side effects of other medications.

The difference between naturopathic and conventional medicine has been evident to me during my first year of conventional medical school. Both naturopathic and conventional medicine have the patient’s best interest in mind, both have the same scientific background, but the approach to healthcare is innately different. If you are interested in learning more about the unique approach to healthcare of naturopathic doctors and functional medicine providers, and to learn more about the possibilities for improved health through this type of medicine, I recommend that you read or listen to this excellent book. You can also schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options. I have this book both in both audio and hardcover forms. Available as a free 1st download in audiobook format on audible.com!

Dr. Dickerson is available monthly in office at Boise Natural Health and via telemedicine appointments. Appointments available also call Boise Natural Health at (208)338-0405 to schedule.