Author: Joan Haynes

Chronic Nasal Congestion and Sinus Infections

Joan Haynes, NMD

When sinuses are functioning normally, the mucus lining the cavity warms and moistens the incoming air and filters germs and particulates. But when the sinuses can’t drain properly, mucus accumulates making the area ripe for infection. An acute infection can often be treated with simple home care and immune-boosting strategies. However, chronic sinusitis needs a broader approach. In 1999, a Mayo Clinic study showed that almost 100 percent of chronic sinusitis patients tested positive for fungus. Chronic congestion caused by food or environmental sensitivities creates a perfect breeding ground for fungus and bacterial infections.

With my chronic sinus sufferers, I often begin with food allergy testing (to discover the source of the congestion) and a systemic antifungal protocol. We may also need to do an environmental evaluation, and improve digestion and stress response to improve overall health.

For an acute infection, you may want to try:

  • Allergy-Sinus Tincture (from BNH). 2 droppers-full every two hours. The herbs will thin the mucus, dry out the sinuses and fight infection.
  • Neti Pot. Irrigating the sinuses with a saline solution can reduce swelling and wash away irritants. The Rhino Horn is a great device and the instructions are very thorough.
  • N-acetylcysteine. 500 mg three times daily on empty stomach. Thins mucus secretions.

For chronic congestion and/or infections, you may want to try:

  • Food allergy testing either through an elimination-challenge diet or a food allergy panel.
  • NAET allergy desensitization.
  • Reduce mucus forming foods – dairy, refined flours, chocolate, eggs, fried and processed food.
  • Evaluation and treatment for fungal infection, including Candida overgrowth.
  • Regular use of essential oils, such as oregano, or combinations for respiratory health and immune boosting.

 

5 Ways to Beat the Heat (the Naturopathic Physician’s perspective)

Joan Haynes, NMD

  1. Make sure you are staying hydrated.
    Dehydration is very common in our dry hot summers. The first sign of dehydration is fatigue, not thirst! The average 150 poundperson needs about 64 ounces of non-caffeinated fluid daily, more with hot weather &/or exercising. Avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol, caffeine, and sugar-sweetened drinks. If you must have these treats, dilute dilute dilute!
  2. Electrolytes are your friends.
    When you sweat you lose electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and salt. You need electrolytes to maintain proper hydration levels (remember Gatorade?). A healthier alternative to Gatorade is Emergen-C packets added to water. This gives needed vitamins and electrolytes, in lots of different fun flavors.
  3. Heat intolerance?
    You may need to have your thyroid checked. Heat intolerance can be a sign of low or high thyroid function. If you are already taking thyroid medicine, you may be taking too much. Thyroid regulates metabolism, which produces heat. When it’s already hot outside, you may need less thyroid hormone. Check with your doctor.
  4. Hot flashes?
    If you are having brief but intense rushes of heat on a daily basis, you may be experiencing peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms. These tend to worsen in the summer months. If you are female, in your 40’s or 50’s, and have been experiencing irregular menstrual cycles for several months, you may benefit from natural hormone balancing. Ask your doctor if hormone testing is appropriate for you.
  5. Consider losing weight.
    The bigger the body, the more heat it can produce. Fat is insulating, that’s why arctic mammals have massive fat stores.

For additional practical tips for your home and work environment see Real Simple’s article:
23 Ways To Beat The Heat.

Staying Healthy while Traveling – 4 Tips

by Joan Haynes, NMD

If your vacation plans this summer involve travel to a foreign country, here are some tips to ensure your health stays in tip-top shape while you’re gone. Foreign lands mean foreign bugs, ones that our immune systems are less adapted too. If you are headed to a place where parasites are common, some extra precautions can be very helpful.

1. Prepare your digestive tract & prevent gastrointestinal illness

Take probiotics

Increasing your healthy intestinal bacteria for a month before your trip will leave you less susceptible to pathogens. We recommend HMF capsules one cap twice per day. This brand can tolerate room temperatures for up 30 days without refrigeration. If you are headed to a hot area without a fridge or air conditioning, buy a brand that is heat stable.

Make sure your digestive function is strong

Normal stomach acid is our best defense against pathogenic organisms. If you have symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, or indigestion, check with your doctor to see if supplementing with hydrochloric acid is appropriate for you.

Don’t drink the water (or eat the salad, or iced drinks, etc!)

Hydration is very important of course, and if you are travelling to an area that has contaminated water, vigilance is required to avoid gastrointestinal illness. The best solution is to bring your own water filter and treat your water yourself. REI has some great options. If you choose to go the bottled water route, make sure that you are the one opening your bottles and check the seals. It is not uncommon in impoverished countries for locals to refill old bottles with unclean water and resell it. Similarly, do not believe any claims that the water or ice is boiled or treated. I could have saved myself a week of misery in Nepal if I had been less naïve! Peel your own fruit, insist that your food is steaming hot when it’s brought to you, and eschew raw salads and ice. You will be a less frequent visitor to the latrine.

Consider Hepatitis B vaccination if travelling to endemic areas

Hepatitis B causes an acute viral infection of the liver. Severe malaise, fatigue, and abdominal pain are common symptoms. It is transmitted when food preparers don’t wash their hands properly after using the toilet. The vaccine itself is one of the more benign ones, and could save you from ruining your vacation.

2. Prepare your circadian rhythm with melatonin

Jet lag can slow down the best of us. If you are travelling across several time zones, melatonin can be extremely helpful in “resetting” the circadian clock. Take 3 mg at the time that locals would be going to bed (and go to bed yourself). This should help induce proper sleep and wake times for that time zone.

3. Support your immune system

Get adequate sleep, and go easy on the sugar and alcohol. If you are concerned about a tendency to get sick, take an immune stimulating product such as Biovegetarian by Priority 1. As a preventative, the dose is 2 tablets per day. To treat acute illness the dose is 2 tablets 3-4 x/day.

4. Bring a travel kit and add your own natural medicines

Additional natural remedies you may wish to add:

For gastrointestinal illness:

Arsenicum 30C A homeopathic remedy that treats vomiting or diarrhea. At the first sign of getting ill, let 3 pellets dissolve under your tongue. Use every hour or two when awake until symptoms resolve.

Charcoal caps Charcoal absorbs toxins in your digestive tract. If you feel you ate or drank something that upset your system, take 2 caps (for a child) or 4 caps (for an adult). You can take 2 more capsules in another 1-2 hours. The charcoal will turn your stool black.

NF Phytofuge These capsules contain several different herbs that kill off parasites and pathogenic bacteria. They can be used as a preventative measure (1-2 caps per day) as well as to treat an acute infection (1-2 caps 3-4x/day).

Probiotics HMF caps or Probiotic Pearls (shelf stable) from the Co-op. Take 1cap with each meal to ensure healthy gut bacteria.

For trauma:

Arnica 30C

A homeopathic remedy that treats acute injuries by helping to reduce pain, swelling and bruising. Take 3 pellets under the tongue as soon after the injury as possible. This can be repeated every hour until symptoms subside.

Traumeel gel

A homeopathic topical gel that works similarly to arnica. Apply to affected areas every 2-3 hours as needed for pain and swelling.

For sunburn:

Aloe gel Soothing and healing to the skin following a burn. Do not apply to blistering or broken skin. Available at the Co-op.

For sleep/ jet lag:

Melatonin Take 1-3 mg at bedtime in your new time zone.

For colds/flu or general immune support:

Biovegetarian 2 caps per day as preventative, 2 caps 3-4 x/day for acute illness Consider purchasing a homeopathic first aid kit and book for other illnesses and injuries such as sunburn, insect bites, earaches etc.

All products are available at Boise Natural Health unless otherwise referenced. Happy Travels

 

Choosing a Good Multiple Vitamin and Mineral Supplement

Joan Haynes, NMD

This article is not intended to tell you which vitamins to buy specifically, but rather how to make an informed decision. You are making a financial choice in your vitamin purchase; choosing the highest quality vitamin makes your purchase worthwhile.

Why do I need to take a multiple vitamin and mineral (MVM) supplement?

In theory, we should be able to receive all the nutrition we need from diet alone. But the fact is that most of us do not.

  • Few of us eat the recommended 5 – 8 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Our food is often picked before it is ripe and transported long distances.
  • The soil in which our food is grown has become depleted of nutrients.
  • We rely on quick, processed foods with our busy lifestyle.
  • We live in a highly toxic world.
  • We have individual health needs and challenges.

A multiple vitamin and mineral (MVM) supplement does not replace a good diet. There are compounds in food that just can’t be replaced in a pill. Evidence shows that a good diet is still your best tool for staying healthy. However, a good MVM supplement is important insurance for optimal health.

How will I know its working?

You may experience higher energy levels, improved brain function, fewer colds or infections, reduced symptoms and other health benefits, or you may feel nothing.

Just because you may not feel anything doesn’t mean that the higher nutrient levels you are ingesting are not being used by your body. One study has shown that children taking a MVM supplement increased non-verbal intelligence (1). Another has shown that the elderly had significantly fewer infections compared to a placebo group (2). Use of a MVM supplement has also been associated with decreased mortality rates due to cardiovascular disease (3). The evidence for taking a MVM supplement is becoming overwhelming.

How much do I really need to take?

You will notice on supplement bottles the amount of each nutrient followed by the % DV. This number is the percent of the total daily amount recommended by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). (There are nutrients for which a %DV has not been established.) %DV on labels can be misleading because it is an average amount needed for most healthy people and does not reflect age, gender or health status.

A quality MVM supplement will show a %DV that may exceed or go below 100%. This is because there is a difference between the amount of nutrients needed to ward off illness and the amount needed for “optimum” nutrition. The amounts of nutrients that are recommended by different experts will differ if their goal is to simply avoid signs of nutrient deficiency or if their goal is to allow a person to function at the highest degree possible. The %DV also does not take into account the form of the nutrients and its bioavailability.

What does a good multiple vitamin and mineral supplement look like?

Choose Capsules, not Tablets

Capsules: A capsule is usually made of animal or vegetable derived gelatin. Capsules are free of binding agents, glaze, and coloring allowing the nutrients to be more easily available and absorbable.

Tablets: Tablets are made by combining all the ingredients and compressing them together. Sometimes these tablets are then coated with pharmaceutical glaze. To obtain the nutrients, the body has to digest this highly compressed tablet. If you have digestive weaknesses, you may or may not digest the entire vitamin.

An easy test to determine if you are digesting your MVM supplement is to check if your urine turns bright yellow. If your urine is not bright yellow after taking the vitamin, either you are not absorbing the vitamin, or there are not enough B vitamins in the product to spill over into the kidneys.

Number of Capsules

A one-a-day pill cannot give you all the nutrients you need, making it a poor value. The dose of a high-quality encapsulated MVM supplement is usually 6-8 capsules a day.

Age and Gender Specific

Your age and gender, along with your health status will determine the amount of nutrients you specifically require. This is best determined in conjunction with your health care provider. You can also do your own research. We recommend the book Prescription for Natural Cures, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, NMD

Bioavailable Forms

There are better forms of individual nutrients than others. You get what you pay for. Many lower cost products will use cheaper forms of vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, many times cheaper forms also mean nutrients which are poorly absorbed or not usable by the body. Below are a few examples of nutrient choices.

  • Vitamin D: Cholecalciferol, D3, is the active form of Vitamin D and is the preferable form.
  • Vitamin E
    • The best form of Vitamin E is d-alpha tocopherol with mixed tocopherols (dalpha, gamma, beta, and delta).
    • The synthetic form of Vitamin E is dl-alpha tocopherol. Note that the difference in labeling is “d” vs. “dl” before the alpha. “dl” is not a healthy choice.
  • Vitamin B12: The best form of Vitamin B12 is methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the form in most vitamins and is usually fine for most people. If someone has chronic disease however, a methylcobalamin form is recommended.
  • Vitamin B6: The active form of B6 is pyridoxine 5-phosphate. This is usually designated at P-5-P.
  • Minerals: There are many forms of minerals which are bonded to compounds; the physical form of a mineral is usually designated by the last word of the name. Example: magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide. Each form has different amounts of the basic elemental mineral as compared to the size of the whole compound and will determine how absorbable the mineral is.
    • For example: calcium carbonate (this includes coral calcium) is a large molecule with a lot of elemental calcium. The large size of this molecule means that it is not easily absorbed. Calcium carbonate also tends to be constipating for some people. Calcium citrate, by contrast, is a smaller form of elemental calcium, and is much more easily absorbed than the carbonate form. (An interesting note is that certain antacid medications contain calcium carbonate and are marketed as a source of calcium. However, because the purpose of an antacid is to inhibit stomach acid, and stomach acid is necessary for making minerals available for absorption, the body has a harder time actually utilizing the calcium!)
    • Similarly, magnesium oxide is poorly absorbed and causes water to stay in the intestines, thus causing a looser stool. Thus, magnesium oxide can be useful to treat occasional constipation. Alternatively, magnesium citrate is a better choice because it is more easily absorbed. (Caution, however, the citrate form may also cause loose stools for some people.)
    • There are other forms of mineral compound chelates including gluconate, aspartate, asparotate, and lactate. The gluconate form is not recommended.

Hypoallergenic

A good multivitamin will be hypoallergenic, meaning it does not contain wheat, dairy, corn, soy, or artificial dyes or colorings.

Other Ingredients

Before you read what the active ingredients are, read the label for “other ingredients.” Many supplements contain extra ingredients that may cause side effects or impair absorption. If you have lots of unnecessary “other ingredients”, it does not matter how much active ingredients you have, the MVM supplement is already a poor choice. We recommend researching any ingredient that is unfamiliar to you.

The following is not a comprehensive list. Some “other ingredients” to avoid:

  • Glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltodextrose, corn syrup, sucrose, lactose. These are sugars and unless these are added for flavor in children’s chewable vitamins, they are not needed. As soon as possible, wean your child from a chewable to a capsule to minimize their dependence on sugar and risk to their teeth.
  • Sorbitol. This is a sugar alcohol, and although is not purely sugar, it is not beneficial in a vitamin. For diabetics this is an absolute must for avoidance! Sorbitol can also cause diarrhea.
  • NutraSweet, Equal, Aspartame, Sucralose, Splenda. These are artificial sweeteners and are NOT beneficial to the body.
  • Polyethylene glycol. Although non-toxic, this chemical, when used in large dosages, is a treatment for constipation. It is unnecessary for use in highly absorbable vitamins.
  • Mineral Oil. Mineral oil is derived from petroleum and prevents absorption of nutrients. Given these two facts, taking a vitamin with mineral oil does not seem a good choice.
  • Canuba Wax. Canuba wax may inhibit the digestion of the ingredients and make it less absorbable. This is especially true if digestive weaknesses are already present.
  • Dextrin. This is a binding product, making the nutrients less available for digestion.
  • Di-calcium phosphate. Di-calcium phosphate is an excipient (an inactive ingredient) and is not available to the body as calcium. A vitamin labeling both calcium and phosphorus may be counting the di-calicum phosphate as calcium, but it really doesn’t add much to the calcium content nutritionally.
  • Any coloring
  • Any pharmaceutical glaze
  • Magnesium stearate, calcium stearate, stearic acid. These are not nutritional ingredients but rather fats that act as lubricants, they allow the manufacturing process to run faster and prevent the capsulation/tabulating machines from clogging up. Many times, these lubricants are animal based. Each particle of your vitamin can be coated by the lubricant, which then needs to be dissolved before you can access the vitamin. If you have digestive problems such as irritable bowel, a missing gallbladder, or acid reflux, it may be difficult for you to get benefit from your MVM supplement if these lubricants are present.

I always forget to take my multi. How can I remember?

Find a visual trigger and make it a habit:

  • Buy a little shot glass or small candle holder, fill it with your vitamins and set by your usual meal place (we have a basket of free ones at our office)
  • Medication holders – found at drug stores
  • Small baggies – create a week’s worth on Sunday night
  • Involve your family – set out everyone’s supplements at once
  • For a month, create a checklist to record each time you take your supplements

When should I take my MVM supplement?

The best time to take a MVM supplement is when you are eating. This is when your gastrointestinal system is optimally prepared to absorb the nutrients. Many people think they cannot tolerate a MVM supplement but it is simply because they’ve only tried taking it on an empty stomach. Divide your daily dose in half and take it with breakfast and lunch or dinner.

In Conclusion

While good supplements are available at reputable stores, it can be overwhelming even for the most knowledgeable consumer to know what to choose. Choosing a MVM supplement may seem as easy as grabbing one off the supermarket shelves, but with a little knowledge, the one you choose can be the right one for you. Read the labels carefully and make an informed decision. Your health is valuable and making informed choices can help your health and your pocketbook.

The supplements available at Boise Natural Health are professional grade and are manufactured by very reputable companies. We strive to bring you supplements that are thoroughly researched and provide the best available ingredients. Please note, we sell only to current patients. You can look at the following links to see some information provided by some of our manufacturers:

  • Thorne Research http://www.thorne.com/media/supp_facts_2003.pdf
  • Pure Encapsulations http://www.purecaps.com/QualityControl.asp
  • Wise Women Herbs http://www.wisewomanherbals.com/about_our-products.html

References

1 Benton D and Roberts G: “Effect of vitamin and mineral supplementation on intelligence of a sample of school children.” The Lancet 1:140-3, 1988
2 Chandra RK: “Effects of vitamin and trace-element supplementation on immune responses and infection in elderly 
subjects.: The Lancet 340:1124-7, 1992
3 Watkins ML, Erickson JD, Thun MJ, et al. Multivitamin use and mortality in a large prospective study. Am J Epidemiol 152:149–62, 2000

 

Could It Be Your Gallbladder?

Joan Haynes, NMD

Do you suffer from bloating, gas, belching, or abdominal pain with meals? If so, maybe your gallbladder is causing the symptoms.

The gallbladder is a digestive organ located in the upper right portion of the abdomen directly underneath the liver. The liver makes bile which is stored and concentrated in the gallbladder. As food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine (duodenum), bile is secreted. The main function of bile is the digestion and absorption of fats. Bile also helps us absorb fat soluble nutrients and eliminate drugs and other compounds such as hormones.

Gallbladder

Symptoms of Gallbladder Dysfunction

Symptoms of Chronic Gallstones

  • Can have no symptoms
  • Abdominal pain following meals high in fat
  • Right sided abdominal pain but can be anywhere in abdomen
  • Radiating pain to the right shoulder
  • Bloating, gas, belching

Symptoms of Acute Cholecystitis (gallbladder attack that may require immediate surgery)

  • Abdominal pain with fever, nausea, vomiting

Tests Used to Diagnose Gallbladder Problems

Adapted from www.webmd.com

There are many choices of tests your doctor may order for you depending on your symptoms. Some are more commonly used than others.

  • Liver function tests (LFTs), which are blood tests that can show evidence of gallbladder disease.
  • A check of the blood’s amylase or lipase levels to look for inflammation of the pancreas. Amylase and lipase are enzymes produced in the pancreas.
  • A complete blood count (CBC), which looks at levels of different types of blood cells such as white blood cells. A high white blood cell count may indicate infection.
  • The use of ultrasound testing which uses sound waves to image the intra-abdominal organs including the gallbladder.
  • An abdominal X-ray, which may show evidence of gallbladder disease, such as gallstones. (not commonly used, may be an incidental finding)
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan that constructs X-ray images of the abdominal organs. This test may follow ultrasound if there are more questions.
  • A HIDA scan. In this test, a radioactive material called hydroxy iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) is injected into the patient. The radioactive material is taken up by the gallbladder to measure gallbladder function. This test also is referred to as
    cholescintigraphy.

Food Allergies and Sensitivities can be a root cause of gallbladder attacks

Since the 1940’s, James Breneman, MD reported that food allergies can initiate gallbladder  attacks and gallbladder disease. One study found that 100 percent of a group of patients were symptom free after following an elimination diet. Dr. Breneman believes that food allergies cause inflammation and swelling of the bile duct, which restricts bile flow from the gallbladder.

At Boise Natural Health, we offer three ways to help identify food allergies: a food allergy panel blood test, a formal elimination/challenge diet, and NAET allergy testing and desensitization.

Treatment for Acute Attacks

  1. Fever, nausea and vomiting may require immediate medical attention and surgery.
  2. If immediate medical attention is not needed, your Boise Natural Health physician can make other recommendations such as the herb wild yam room (among others) that is antispasmodic, to provide relief of gallbladder spasms and pain.
  3. Specific homeopathic remedies may also be recommended chosen based on your specific symptoms may also provide symptom relief.

Treatment for Chronic Symptoms

Many times a gallbladder ends up being surgically removed. However, it may be possible to preserve your gallbladder and improve long term digestive health with proper care. You may want to consider:

  1. Correct dehydration to increase water content in bile
  2. Identify and remove or desensitize food allergies
  3. Decrease fat in diet and increase dietary fiber
  4. Repair nutritional deficiencies found in gallstone patients – vitamins E and C and omega 3 fish oils for example
  5. Increase solubility of the bile by using nutritional lipotropic (liver supporting) compounds and herbal cholagogues (stimulates bile flow). Your Boise Natural Health physician can customize a formula for you.
  6. Chemical dissolution of gallstones using plant terpenes, bile acids and lecithin

If you’ve had your gallbladder removed, consider the following:

  1. Replace the function of the gallbladder with bile salts. 1 to 2 tablets of professional quality bovine bile salts with each meal improves digestion and the absorption of fats.
  2. Evaluate what dietary and lifestyle factors contributed to the dysfunction of your gallbladder.

Oliver Oil Gall Bladder Flush

At Boise Natural Health, we do not recommend olive oil flushes to treat gallbladder problems. We have been taught that this procedure is dangerous because the large amounts of oil causes contraction of the gallbladder which in turn can cause existing stones in the gallbladder to become lodged in the bile duct causing an emergency situation. Some people see “stones” in the
toilet after doing an olive oil flush. A 2005 study in the Lancet (a much respected medical journal) analyzed the chemical makeup of the “stones”. These are not gallstones, but are soap solids created in the emulsification process of the olive oil.

In Summary

Gallbladder symptoms diagnosed early and will lead to earlier treatment and may function may be restored. If the gallbladder cannot be saved, there is still work to do by identifying the cause of the malady in the first place and supporting digestion for optimal absorption.

Managing Childhood Behavioral Disorders

Joan Haynes, NMD

View this slide presentation on childhood_behavior_disorders.

In recent years, diagnoses such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, bipolar disorder, and autistic spectrum disorders in children have skyrocketed. Labeling children with diagnoses such as these tends to overlook the real issue – what is the underlying cause(s)?

Naturopathic physicians address the underlying cause by diagnosing not just the behavior disorder itself but also the biochemical processes that contribute it. Many of these children with behavioral and emotional problems are treated with psychiatric medications and their families are given few other options. An effective approach needs to involve relational, nutritional and environmental factors. The result? A happier, healthier child, and a more peaceful family and school experience.

If your child suffers from one of these labels:

  1. Ask for help. Parents are overwhelmed and tired, often struggling with similar symptoms themselves. We just can’t do this alone and do not need to reinvent the wheel. It often takes more than one professional expert and a team approach. Involve the school counselor, take parenting classes, find medical providers who welcome your questions and have new ideas. Find credible reading material. Create a plan for action.
  2. Get an accurate diagnosis not a label. If you want to avoid prescription medication, you’ll need to become proactive. Testing is available for food allergies, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, hypoglycemia, hidden infections, lack of integrity in the
    digestive system, and toxic overload.
  3. Focus on the things you can change. Daily multivitamin,omega-3 oils and other specific supplements. Treat hypoglycemia with regular protein based snacks. Avoid or desensitize them to food and environmental allergens. Make positive lifestyle changes for you and your family. Consider homeopathy.

Resources:

Please Don’t Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective  Choices for Your Child’s Emotional Health by Scott M. Shannon and Emily Heckman

Ritalin-Free Kids: Safe and Effective Homeopathic Medicine for ADHD and Other Behavioral and Learning Problems by Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman and Robert Ullman

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders by Kenneth Bock and Cameron Stauth

Massaged Kale

By Joan Haynes, NMD

High in nutrients and low in calories, kale is an ideal food to eat regularly. There are over 60 nutrients found in kale. It is a rich source of the antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Kale also contains manganese, copper, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin E and potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, niacin and protein.

Kale also provides a large amount of sulfur compounds. Sulfur compounds increase the liver’s ability to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially toxic substances and may help in the prevention of cancer.

This is an easy way to incorporate kale into your daily diet.

Massaged Kale

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (Curly Kale works best for this)
  • 1 tsp sea salt or Celtic salt

Instructions

De-stem the kale leaves and save for soups or stir fry. Slice the leaves into ribbons (1/4 – 1/2 inch wide), sprinkle salt and start massaging the salt into the leaves. After a few minutes you’ll be able to feel the kale soften, making it much easier to chew and digest. You can store this kale for days in an air tight container and sprinkle it on your morning eggs, lunch time salads or add
to dinner in stir fry or soup.

Massaged Kale Salad

I’ve adapted this recipe from The Wellspring School for Healing Arts in Boise. It is a sure-fire  hit at pot lucks for your foodie friends.

Mix Together

  • 1 bunch kale & 1 tsp salt – chopped, salted and massaged
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach – washed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 3/4 cup diced apple
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar or seasoned rice vinegar
  • Optional – 1/3 cup Roquefort cheese, crumbled, sheep cheese is a good option

Recommendations for Preventing and Treating the Flu

Joan Haynes, NMD

Prevention

  1. Read the “8 Natural Tips to Prevent a Cold” on WebMD for the basics.
  2. Boost your immune system
    • Eliminate or reduce sugar. Sugar decreases the activity of white blood cells, your primary immune defense system.
    • A quality multivitamin, fish oil and probiotics will go a long way to ensure your immune system has what it needs.
    • Eat nutritious foods such as fruits and vegetables daily. Alternatively, a green drink such as Nanogreens can help supplement the nutrients found in fruits and vegetables.
    • Eat garlic – try to get a clove in every day.
    • Correct a Vitamin D deficiency if you have one.  If you don’t know your vitamin D status, take 2,000 iu a day.  Testing is available through our office.
    • Rotate immune supporting herbs such as astragulus, mushrooms extracts, and echinacea.
    • Alterative Tea is an herbal preparation designed to help immune support while gently detoxifying the body.  1-3 cups daily is used for immune support.  Available at Boise Natural Health.
    • Exercise daily and reduce your stress!
    • Use essential oils regularly – in the air, on your skin orally.
  3. Take something to prevent the flu.  If you aren’t getting a flu vaccine, consider an alternative.  Homeopathic flu prevention preparations such as Muccococcinum are available to the public at our clinic.  Similar preparations are available at better vitamin shops and natural food stores.

Symptoms of the Flu

  • Common symptoms of the flu include:
  • Fever
  • Runny Nose
  • Cough
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

Treating the Flu

Below is a list of treatment options you can choose from. Because some products are contraindicated in children or pregnant women, it is suggested that you consult your physician regarding what would be best for you.  Early treatment is best.

  1. Stay at home from work or school until all fevers subside for 24 continuous hours.
  2. General immune support with herbs and nutrients in combination products such as Biovegetarian or Wellness Formula.
  3. Elderberry has been shown in studies to reduce the duration and severity of the flu.  Boise Natural Health carries a high quality elderberry extract that tastes good.
  4. Specific herbs for cough.  We can create a tincture for you.
  5. Homeopathy.  Specific remedies can be useful to lessen symptoms and shorten duration.
  6. Warming Socks Treatment. Please ask for a copy of instructions for this very simple and effective treatment.

When to See your Physician

  1. Most people with the flu will recover without medical help. However, if you or your child have any of the following severe symptoms, please seek medical care:  prolonged illness longer than 5-7 days, shortness of breath, chest pain, intractable vomiting, confusion, sudden dizziness, dehydration, any progressively worsening symptoms, or in a child, non responsiveness, bluish skin color, or fever with rash.
  2. If you need help creating a treatment plan, call our office and set up an appointment.

 

Finding Solutions to Your Allergy Problem

Joan Haynes, NMD

Allergies. What a nuisance they are! We all seem to know someone (ourselves included) who suffer from this common problem, whether they are seasonal due to pollens, or more of an everyday occurrence because of food, pets, or chemicals. For some, allergic reactions can even be life-threatening. To date, modern medicine has not had very satisfactory long-term solutions to dealing with allergies. And for reasons unknown, allergies seem to be coming more and more common. Allergic reactions underlie many common health conditions such as asthma, eczema, chronic ear infections, sinusitis, digestive disorders, heartburn, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, autism, ADD & ADHD, even depression and insomnia! The list goes on and on.

What is an allergy?

An allergy is a misguided reaction, or hypersensitivity, of the immune system to a harmless substance. In other words, it’s when the immune system gets confused. Instead of just fighting the “bad guys” (such as bacteria and viruses) it starts fighting “good guys” too (such as nutritious foods, or neutral things like pet dander, pollen, etc.)

The substances that trigger allergies are called allergens. For the purposes of this article the most common allergens are divided into the following categories:

  • Environmental (Inhalants/ Contactants)
    • Pollen, mold, chemicals, dust, grass, animal dander, perfume, bee-stings etc.
  • Food (Ingestants)
    • Type I: Immediate reaction (can include severe anaphlyatic). Most common are peanuts, strawberries, medications, etc.
    • Type II: Delayed reaction
      • Can be caused by anything. Some common examples are wheat, dairy, corn, gluten, sugar and soy.

“I’ve got terrible allergies! What do I do?”

The following discussion addresses both conventional and alternative diagnostic & treatment options for allergies. In some cases it is very appropriate to use both natural and conventional medicines to manage allergy symptoms while the long-term alternative treatments are underway.

I commonly recommend the following options in my practice:

Conventional Medicine Options for Diagnosing and Treating Allergies

Environmental Allergies

Conventional Diagnosis

There are two types of allergy testing considered to be valid by most of the conventional medical world: Skin testing (prick/puncture, intradermal, and patch) and blood testing for antibodies to allergens such as ELISA or RAST. For more information on these testing procedures click here.

While the conventional world considers skin testing to be more accurate, there is clear evidence that skin testing is a poor procedure for picking up common food allergies.

Conventional Treatment

  • Medication
    As these type of allergens are usually very difficult to avoid, they are typically treated with antihistamines or corticosteroids which suppress the allergic response.
  • Allergy shots
    Some patients elect to undergo allergy shots, which involves injecting a small amount of allergen under the skin at frequent intervals, usually for a year or more. These treatments can be painful, and are often quite costly, however they can be effective. Results are not guaranteed however, and they are not very effective for treating food allergies.

Food Allergies

Type I: Immediate reaction

Conventional Diagnosis

Conventional medicine usually only recognizes this first category of food allergy, the immediate reaction type. The technical terms are Type I, or IgE mediated allergy. This type of allergy is quick and unmistakable, as it launches a rapid histamine response from the immune system. Symptoms include swelling, hives, itching, and depending on severity can lead to anaphylatic shock which can be fatal if left untreated.

Conventional Treatment

Avoidance is recommended. If exposure occurs, antihistamines plus epinephrine for more severe anaphlyatic reactions. Allergy shots are usually avoided as a treatment for this type of allergy, as they can trigger severe reactions themselves.

Type II: Delayed Reaction

Conventional Diagnosis

This is by far, the most common type of food allergy. Unfortunately, conventional medicine seems to mostly ignore it. Perhaps this is because the testing procedures that are favored typically miss Type II reactions. These are usually mediated by IgG antibodies, which don’t show up well on skin-scratch tests. Blood tests such as ELISA or RAST are better, but even those aren’t perfect. You can expect about an 80% accuracy rate with a blood test for food allergies.

What ends up happening for most, is that these types of allergies go undiagnosed, and are recognized only by their symptoms, which are diagnosed as IBS, asthma, eczema, ADD, etc. These secondary conditions are then usually treated with suppressive medications which temporarily alleviate the symptoms, but do nothing to treat the cause. Long-term ill health often results.

Conventional Treatment

Avoidance is generally recommended for known food reactions. Allergy shots are not as effective for food reactions as for environmental allergies, though some treatment centers do use them.

Alternative Medicine Options for Diagnosing and Treating Allergies and Sensativites

Environmental Allergies

Naturopathic Diagnosis

In addition to the conventional testing procedures, neuromuscular sensitivity testing, a relative of kinesiology, is a quick and painless diagnostic tool which is gaining popularity. For mild cases, clinical diagnosis based on patient history can also be used.

Naturopathic Treatment

  • Short term
    To control allergy symptoms until a long-term solution is achieved, quercetin, vitamin C, and believe it or not, water, are all excellent natural antihistamines. Other treatments include bromelain, nettles, and liver detoxification.

    • It can be helpful to install a HEPA filter in the house and vacuum cleaner to remove airborne allergens. Careful hygiene in the bedroom is a must, with weekly washing of bedclothes in hot water, vacuuming and dusting.
    • While temporary symptom management is helpful for quality of life in the moment, it is not a cure. As soon as these medicines are discontinued, the allergy symptoms will return. This is known as palliative treatment. Don’t you also want to be working towards a cure?
  • Long term
    The best long term treatment I have found is NAET, Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique. This noninvasive desensitization technique is explained in more detail below.

Food Allergies

Type I: Immediate reaction

Naturopathic Diagnosis

Diagnostic procedures for this type of allergy include all those of conventional medicine, as well as NST, neuromuscular sensitivity testing use in NAET.

Naturopathic Treatment

These types of allergens must be scrupulously avoided. Any patient with anaphylactic type allergies should carry an epi-pen with them at all times. NAET can be helpful for these types of reactions, but must be done very carefully. NAET treatment can truly be life-changing, as it frees up the patient to live their life without a constant fear of reaction.

Food Allergies

Type II: Delayed reaction

Naturopathic Diagnosis

There are three main diagnostic tools I use in my practice to determine this type of allergy. They are the elimination & challenge diet, ELISA blood testing, and neuromuscular sensitivity testing (NST). They each have their pros & cons. The elimination and challenge diet is considered by many holistic medicine doctors to be the gold standard for determining food allergies. It is very accurate when done correctly, however, many patients find this difficult and time consuming. The blood test is very easy, but only about 80 percent accurate, and there is a fee involved of course. Blood tests are only checking for antibody mediated allergies, Type I (IgE) and/ or Type II (IgG). NST is done in office during a visit, and is extremely accurate, fast, and non-invasive. Another benefit to NST is the ability to test for any type of allergy including foods, inhalants, & contactants, and is not limited to antibody mediated responses.

Naturopathic Treatment

Avoidance.
Avoidance.
Avoidance.
Anybody besides me tired of avoidance?

This is where NAET comes in.

Learn More

To find out more about NAET, I recommend visiting the NAET website, our clinic’s information on NAET, and reading ”Say Goodbye to Illness” or ”Say Goodbye to Allergies” by Dr. Nambudripad, both of which are available in our office and on the NAET website. We also offer free ten minute consultations to prospective patients, to help you find out if NAET treatment is right for you.

Testing for Hormone Imbalances: The Big Five

By Joan Haynes, NMD

Hormone imbalances is something we see a lot of at Boise Natural Health. Listed below are symptoms of deficiency and excess of different hormones. Because there is such an overlap between the symptoms of the hormone imbalances, testing takes the guess work out.

Estrogens

Deficiency

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Foggy thinking
  • Memory Lapses
  • Incontinence
  • Tearful
  • Depressed
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations
  • Bone loss
  • Aches/pains

Excess

  • Mood swings
  • Tender breasts
  • Water retention
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Fibrocystic breast
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Weight gain hips
  • Bleeding changes
  • Headaches
  • PMS

Progesterone

Deficiency

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Foggy thinking
  • Memory lapses
  • Incontinence
  • Tearful/Anxiety
  • Depressed
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Heart palpitations
  • Bone loss
  • Irritability
  • PMS
  • Infertility

Excess

  • Sleepiness
  • Breast swelling
  • Breast tenderness
  • Decreased libido
  • Mild depression
  • Candida infections
  • Water retention

Androgens (DHEA and Testosterone)

Deficiency

  • Low libido
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Foggy thinking
  • Foggy thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Aches/pains
  • Memory lapses
  • Incontinence
  • Depressed
  • Insomnia
  • Bone loss
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Thinning skin

Excess

  • Excess facial hair
  • Excess body hair
  • Loss of scalp hair
  • Increased acne
  • Oily Skin

Cortisol (Adrenal Gland)

Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cravings
  • Allergies
  • Chemical sensitivity
  • Stress
  • Cold body temperature
  • Heart palpitations
  • Aches/pains
  • Arthritis

Excess

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Bone Loss
  • Tired and wired
  • Weight gain in waist
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Thinning skin

Thyroid

Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Goiter
  • Constipation
  • Low body temperature
  • Dry hair
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Achy joints
  • Infertility

Excess

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Goiter
  • Increased hunger
  • Racing heart
  • Diarrhea
  • Excess energy
  • Bulging eyeballs
  • Mood swings

Sex Hormone and Adrenal Testing – Description and Costs

Sex hormones can be measured in saliva, blood, or urine. For menstruating women, collection is best near day 20 of their cycle. (Day 1 is the first day of bleeding). For non-menstruating women, or men, it can be run any day of the month. Salivary testing measures the “free-fraction” of the hormones, not “total” hormone levels. The free-fraction is what is available to be used by the body. The salivary panel is best used when a patient is not taking hormone replacement therapy. Typically, we test estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and DHEA and a morning cortisol. The cost for this test is $150. If a patient is experiencing adrenal symptoms, we can test adrenal function for an additional $120. This involves collecting saliva 4 times throughout the day since cortisol levels should be high in the morning and much lower at bedtime. This test is not usually covered by insurance.

Another option is 24-hour urine testing. This test is more expensive at $280 but already includes adrenal testing. We prefer this test if a patient already begun hormone replacement therapy or if they think they are likely to begin. It helps is check for optimal dosing for our patients on HRT. This test is not usually covered by insurance.

Thyroid Testing – Description and Costs

Thyroid hormones are measured through a blood test and are often covered by insurance. If a person is experiencing thyroid symptoms, we usually order at least 3 tests – TSH ($27.30), Free T3 ($19.55), Free T4 ($17.50). We may also want to know if our patient has an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s so we order two additional tests antithyroglobulin antibodies ($48.41) and antithyroid peroxidase antibodies ($25.75). Often our patients have had thyroid testing done with their regular provider and will bring in their recent labs for our opinion. There is controversy about the lab ranges that are used to determine if somebody has hypothyroidism. Some people are told they are “borderline” but with the current thinking, they are really low thyroid and often benefit greatly from treatment.

For More Information:

My article about a great thyroid book by Wentz Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause Here is great website to get more thyroid information.
Visit the ZRT lab we use for salivary hormone testing.
To find out about the lab we use for 24-hour urine collection hormone testing visit the Meridian Valley lab’s.
Check out Dr. James Wilson, NMD, DC, PhD’s site for more information about adrenal function and adrenal fatigue.