Category: Articles and Recipes

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi or Borrelia Miyamotoi (tick borne relapsing fever). This disease was first discovered in the 80s and is often categorized as acute disease vs chronic disease. Lyme disease has been documented in all 50 states, so even states with relatively low tick populations are not spared. Acute Lyme is fairly well recognized and treated in mainstream medicine, but there is contention over the existence of chronic Lyme disease and other tick-borne co-infections. This is because the symptoms are often migratory and span multiple body systems. Because of this lack of clear diagnostic tools and guidelines, it has been estimated that undiagnosed Lyme disease costs Americans $712 million to 1.3 billion dollars per year in treatment and medical visits (Aucott 2015). Lyme disease profoundly affects both patients and loved ones.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms vary depending on each person and how long the bacteria have been in the body. Most common symptoms are as follows:
    • Swollen, painful joints; neuropathies; migraines; POTS and changes in heart rhythms and rate; sudden new onset anxiety; brain fog; fatigue; mood changes, GI symptoms.
    • Many of the symptoms are often migratory in nature (if pain) or come and go with seemingly no reason.

Testing

  • Testing is notoriously difficult with Lyme because of its unique ability to change shape when exposed to antibiotics. CDC criteria is very exclusive and oftentimes does not recognize the changes in the immune system that Lyme can cause.
  • General labs:
    • CD57 – this is a particular white blood cell that is “spent” fighting Lyme and other diseases. If low, likely an infection is causing symptoms.
    • Western blot – Not very specific. Most often will only detect 84% of positive Lyme cases.
    • Antibodies to Borrelia – also not super specific and Borrelia is particularly good at avoiding the immune system and not “following the rules” of the immune system.
  • Specialized labs:
    • Igenix – We use Igenix laboratory as they are the gold standard of Lyme detection. Their testing is much more sensitive than the general labs. Average sensitivity is closer to 90-96%. This means that the test can catch up to 12% of Lyme cases missed by standard western blot testing. https://igenex.com/the-igenex-advantage/

Treatment

  • Prevention is the best cure! Here are some handy tips from Igenix on how to prevent Lyme disease. https://cdn.igenex.com/wp-content/uploads/2022-Lyme-Disease-Awareness-Month-Tips.pdf
  • Herbal treatment – There are many herbs including Japanese Knotweed and Cat’s Claw that are effective in treating Lyme. Herbal treatments are often easier to adjust the dosing to tolerance as well as easier to take long term.
  • Antibiotics – doxycycline is the antibiotic of choice for Lyme.
  • Ozone therapy – ozone kills bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
  • Treat other supportive body systems: address the thyroid, adrenal glands, vitamin levels, and multiple other organ systems to ensure your body can fight the Lyme.

Lyme disease does not have to be forever. Treatment can take a long time, but there are many examples of patients improving their quality of life when diagnosed and treated appropriately.

Dr. Falkner has attended ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) conferences as well as has years of experience treating Lyme both naturally and with antibiotics.

Premature Pubarche: What Is It And Why Should We Care?


Has your child developed early pubic or underarm hair?  Premature pubarche (PP) is when girls under 8 and boys under 9 have premature development of pubic and/or axillary hair. It tends to happen more in girls.  It is different from “precocious puberty” because it does not include breast buds or testicular development and there usually isn’t increased linear growth (height). One thing to note, PP is a diagnosis of exclusion – meaning we have to rule out other possibilities first, and once that is done, PP is considered a normal variation of development.

What could it mean for the patient long term? PP has been associated with a higher risk of a variety of conditions including obesity, insulin resistance, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular issues; and mental health issues (even during childhood).  

If one has PP then we can start helping that child to avoid these potential health issues with diet and lifestyle changes, reducing chemical exposures, appropriate supplementation, monitoring and providing education for the child and the family.

Taking care of kids is a passion of mine.  If you have concerns about your child’s development, please reach out for an appointment. 

Did you know you are a Super Organism?

Every day we carry around 10 times more microbial cells than our own.  As Dr. George Weinstock, professor of microbial genomics says, “You’re not just a human, you’re a kind of super organism because you’re a community of all these things that are with you your whole life”.

Our microbial partners carry out a number of metabolic reactions that are necessary for human health like:

  • harvest energy from foods
  • improve gut motility and function
  • reinforce our gut barrier
  • protect against pathogens
  • synthesize vitamins, hormones, and amino acids
  • influence our brain, liver, kidney, skin and vaginal tract function
  • and much more!

Due to innovations in testing, we can now identify the microbial communities, their genes, and use that information in helping people return to health.  At Boise Natural Health we can test for over 50 different microbes that inhabit your GI tract and review them with you.

https://boisenaturalhealth.com/test-your-gut-microbiome-with-a-simple-stool-sample/.

Here are two easy ways you can start feeding your good gut bugs now and keep that super organism that is you functioning optimally!

1. Feed your bugs resistant starches.  Resistant starches increase our beneficial population and increases short chain fatty acids – food for the good gut bugs.

  • Oats. Oats are one of the most convenient ways to add resistant starch to your diet.
  • Cooked and cooled rice. Resistant starch amount increases over time.
  • Beans and legumes. Soaked and heated.
  • Raw potato starch. 1 tbsp a day in smoothie or overnight oats. Don’t heat.
  • Cooked and cooled potatoes. Don’t reheat – think salad.
  • Green bananas. Replaced with simple sugars as they ripen.

2. Eat a phytonutrient rich diet!  In other words, like mom said, eat your vegetables.  Go for a rainbow of colors at two of your meals. If you’re an omnivore, consider going vegan for two nights of the week or more.  Check out the recipe section on our website or these other websites:  https://www.whfoods.com/foodstoc.php and https://nourishingmeals.com/about

For more help keeping your super organism healthy, feel free to schedule a free 15-minute consult at Boise Natural Health Clinic.

Is Autoimmunity Created in the Gut? Studies are Pointing to Yes…

The field of microbiome research is exploding, from autism to autoimmune disease and even branching out into the new field of psychobiotics (probiotics for mood/mental health). Ultimately, we are finding we are much more than just what we eat; many of our health parameters and even our quality of mental health are tightly linked to the bacterial community that lives in our gut. The microbiome refers to the balance of good and bad bacteria populations that live in our large intestine. Many factors can change the microbiome including even how we were born! Other things that can influence the microbiome’s health is eating fermented foods, exercise, food and alcohol habits, smoking, stress, and use of certain medications and antibiotics. An altered microbiome has long been linked to abdominal pain, altered bowel movements, and IBS.

The truly interesting and new info is that we are finally linking the microbiome to autoimmune diseases and diseases that are not classically thought of as GI diseases. Autoimmune diseases are where the body no longer can differentiate between self and foreign invader and will attack particular tissues that have been misidentified as “not ourself”. Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome have all been identified as possibly being started by disruptions in our microbiome. What might be more exciting is a Canadian research group was recently given a sizeable grant to study the potential treatment of ALS (Aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) with a specific strain of probiotics! This could be ground-breaking! Researchers are also calling for more research in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders with probiotics as well! I linked a few of the studies and articles below.

Naturopathic medicine always has believed that much of health is created in the gut and the basis of treatment in my practice for autoimmune diseases specifically has always been to begin with digestion. It’s nice to see science following suit and what we intrinsically knew many years ago is being shown to be correct.

Test your Gut Microbiome with a Simple Stool Sample
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29920643/
https://alsnewstoday.com/news-posts/2022/02/25/1-6-million-canada-grant-supports-trial-probiotic-slowing-als-progression/

Nasal Rinsing Reduces Severity of Covid and Other Respiratory Illness

nasal rinsing

SARS-CoV-2 and other infectious pathogens enter the nasopharynx (nose-throat) to replicate.  One way to reduce your risk of covid and other respiratory illness with with  nasal rinsing.  Not just an old-as-time natural treatment, the conclusion of one study of people who tested positive covid revealed “participants initiating nasal irrigation twice daily for 14 days were over 8 times less likely to be hospitalized than the national rate.”   Many people are intimidated but its easy and done correctly, is not uncomfortable. 

Nasal rinsing vs nasal sprays

To be effective, we need to use a volume of water of at least 1 oz (30 ml) to 2 oz (60 ml) or more.  This is NOT the same as nasal sprays which are good for moisturization but are not enough to wash out the nose and back of the throat.

To wash your nose out, 3 things are needed:

  1. Device to get the water up your nose.
    1. Positive pressure squeeze bottle system or machine
    2. Neti Pot which works with gravity
  2. Water. It needs to be distilled or boiled for 5 minutes. Heating it to body temperature makes it more comfortable.
  3. Saline solution.

The easiest way to get started:

NeilMed Sinus Rinse – available at most drug stores or online https://shop.neilmed.com/collections/sinus-rinse

NeilMed makes it super easy!  This company has everything you need including product options and instruction videos.  The saline packets are premeasured and inexpensive. 

If you want to make your own saline solution, here’s a basic recipe.  You can experiment with a little more salt and baking soda for comfort. 

  • 1 cup warm water.  (250 mL) Distilled, sterile or boiled for 5 minutes.
  • ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt and a pinch of baking soda.  No anti-caking agents or preservatives

For extra infection control you can add ½ tsp of 10% povidone-Iodine to the above saline solution (do not use if you have an allergy to shellfish or iodine).  Be careful as iodine stains. 

Another antimicrobial choice is to use 1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide with 2 parts of saline solution.

Webmd has a slide show that walks you through how to do it:

https://www.webmd.com/allergies/ss/slideshow-nasal-irrigation

More information:

Another option is Nasal Sprays.  Xylitol & Grapefruitseed Extract products have been studied with covid.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7645297/

This nasal spray called Taffix has been studied with covid.  It works by creating an acidic environment that lasts for 5 hours. 

https://taffixprotect.com/

A literature review about hydrogen peroxide in nasal rinse for covid.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7262503/

Essential oils have been shown in studies to have antimicrobial as well as antiviral effects.  If you use essential oils in your nasal rinse, be careful as the oils can very easily irritate the delicate tissues.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6612361/

Here is a summary of studies on this topic.

https://health-desk.org/articles/what-do-we-know-about-mouth-and-nose-rinses-washes-sprays-or-creams-to-prevent-covid-19

This is an informative 13-minute video of Dr. Amy Baxter talking about lots of ins and out of covid and nasal irrigation. 
https://paincarelabs.com/health-wellness/the-ins-and-outs-of-nasal-irrigation/

Keys to Maximizing Exercise Recovery

sleep castor oil and shower

Many people include exercising more and joining a gym or fitness center in their New Years resolutions. However, after that first workout or two, the soreness kicks in and can make working through the soreness difficult. Here are some tips that help to alleviate muscle soreness, decrease inflammation, and keep you on the track to health.

sleep castor oil and shower
  • Contrast Showers
    • Many athletes swear by ice baths after a tough workout. There are increasing studies showing that muscles recover faster and performance increases when contrast baths are used. Contrast showers are easy to do at home. You run a hot shower and stand in it for about 5 minutes. Turn the water to cold and stay under it for 30 seconds. Repeat this 3 times. A study of rugby players showed that athletes performed better and reported being less sore the day after contrast baths versus 5-minute ice baths.
  • Castor oil
    • Topical castor oil is amazingly anti-inflammatory and can be used for everything from detoxification, to hormone balancing, to aching joints and muscles. Just be careful, it stains!
  • Herbal formulations
    • Some useful herbs are passionflower, Siberian ginseng, crampbark, and cordyceps. Call us to make an appointment for a personalized formulation!
  • Proper Nutrition: Protein, BCAAs
    • Don’t forget to give your muscles the building blocks to repair and grow. A good protein powder and BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are integral to fast recovery and muscle repair. Feeding your body is one of the most important things to do in helping to build muscle and alleviate soreness.  Other amino acids that aid in increased blood flow, increased growth hormone secretion, and muscle building are: choline, glutamine, and arginine.
  • Mitochondrial Support
    • The mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. Carnitine and acetyl L-carnitine have been shown to decrease inflammation and carnitine is one of the key components in energy synthesis of cells, including muscle cells. B-vitamins are also imperative to make those powerhouses run. Magnesium is also key to mitochondria as well as muscle soreness.
  • Hormone Optimization
    • Make sure your testosterone and DHEA levels are optimal so you can grow your muscles and recover faster. Low estrogen can cause muscle achiness and joint pain.  Also making sure your thyroid and adrenals are in tip top shape will also help to recover and get the most from your workout.
  • SLEEP!
    • Sleeping at least 8 hours a night will not only help you wake rested and energetic for another gym session, but also helps to increase growth hormone. Growth hormone is secreted at night during deep, restful sleep and while doing fasted strenuous exercise.

Before starting any regimen, its best to talk with your doctor and discuss other options for faster recovery and a healthier you! I’d love to help you recover faster from work outs and keep your nervous and endocrine system healthy while you gain strength, endurance, and health! Make an appointment at 208-338-0405.

Want to be 3 Years Younger in 8 Weeks?

Old lady happy staring at the mirror

A new research study from the National University of Natural Medicine’s Helfgott Research Institute show’s us how, in a simple and naturopathic way.  Why do we want to be younger aside from feeling better?  Age-associated health decline is associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, Diabetes type 2 and Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Fitzgerald, ND, IFMCP said that if can slow down aging by a single year (with the extended lifespan) then we can save the United States $38 trillion.  That jumps to  $367 trillion by 10 years.  The impact on our economy and our society is tremendous.

Old lady happy staring at the mirror

The simple interventions targeted DNA methylation patterns that predict biological age.   DNA methylation capacity is a major driver of aging and the associated diseases and if patterns are optimized then aging slows down.

Wouldn’t it be great to be biologically a year or even 3 years younger?  The study parameters were quite simple and involved 5 areas:

  1. Diet:
    1. The intervention was plant-centered with targeted foods that support methylation (see footnote 2 for specifics)
    2. Low in carbohydrates
    3. Limited nutrient-dense animal proteins like egg and liver
    4. Mild intermittent fasting (no food from 7pm to 7am)
  2. Supplements:
    1. Probiotics
    2. A proprietary powder combination of vegetables, fruits, seeds, herbs and plant enzymes
  3. Exercise
    1. A minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day, 5 days of the week at 80% maximum perceived exertion (rapid breathing, can’t talk now!)
  4. Breathing
    1. Individuals were taught a relaxation breathing technique to use twice daily. I also encourage the use of meditation apps like Insight Timer, Calm, Headspace, etc. If you use Insight Timer you can find me under the name Nicole in Boise with a photo of a boy on a log
  5. Sleep
    1. Individuals were encouraged to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night

The Horvath NDAmAge Clock showed that the treatment group was, on average, 3.23 years younger than the control group.  And the participants in the treatment group were 1.96 years younger at the end of the program compared to when they started.

Although one significant limitation of this pilot trial is limited statistical power due to the relatively small sample size, I for one am happy to make these simple changes to maintain a healthy biological age.  I realize confirmation of these results is needed in larger study groups (they are currently enrolling for a larger study) and populations beyond middle-aged men.

I hope you find this helpful in supporting a more youthful metabolism in the new year and beyond.  For more individual support please feel free to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nicole Maxwell at Boise Natural Health Clinic.

Long COVID Connection to Chronic Infections Including Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) & Lyme

Now that COVID 19 has been rocketing around the globe for over 18 months, we are starting to be able to study a new phenomenon of the virus: Long COVID aka Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS). Long COVID is a constellation of symptoms that remain for more than 30 days after testing positive, oftentimes taking 4-5 months (or longer) to start to improve. These symptoms are commonly fatigue, brain fog, sleep difficulties, joint and muscle pains, sore throat, headache, fever, GI issues, and skin rashes. So far, PACS doesn’t appear to correspond to the severity of the COVID infection with even asymptomatic COVID patients diagnosed.

Reactivation of Other Infections – Epstein-Barr (EBV)

Scientists have begun to wonder if long covid isn’t unique, but actually reactivated EBV. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the virus that causes mono and is estimated to have infected 95% of adults at least once in their life.

Epstein-Barr Virus has been long known to go dormant after initial infection and reactivate when the immune system is “distracted” with other stressors and illnesses. EBV has also been linked to Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, and even some cancers.  

Symptoms of reactivated EBV are just as vague, and almost identical to, long COVID:  fatigue, brain fog, sleep disturbances, joint and muscle pains, sore throat, headaches, fever, GI issues, and skin rashes.

Patients with EBV stay in ICU Longer

Various retrospective studies have shown that between 66-95% of COVID ICU patients (dependent on geographical location) tested positive for reactivated EBV as well with one French study showing that patients with reactivated EBV had an average 15-day ICU stay vs 8-day ICU stay without EBV co-infection.

COVID and Lyme

Symptoms of Long COVID and chronic Lyme can often overlap as well. The CDC reports a decrease in Lyme diagnoses; however, it may be artificially low due to telehealth appointments and missing tell-tale symptoms of Lyme such as the bullseye rash (though only 50% of patients get a rash), swelling of the joints, and heart rhythm abnormalities. There is concern that Lyme patients, since they are chronically inflamed, are at a higher risk of complications due to COVID as well as many Lyme patients also have reactivated EBV. The presence of the reactivated EBV and other immune system strain may translate into more Lyme patients developing Long COVID, though this has yet to be studied.

How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help

I have effectively helped patients with chronic infections such as EBV, Lyme, and even mold using natural and conventional therapies. Choices include antiviral, immune modulating, and anti-inflammatory herbs & medications, replacing various nutrients, and even using ozone therapies. Ozone historically is quite effective at treating viruses, and may have applications in long COVID as well, though this needs more study. Ultimately, recovering from chronic infections involves evaluating and balancing multiple body systems, including optimizing digestive, hormonal, and cellular health.

Resource:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8233978/

Getting to the Root of Hair Loss, Strategies Old and New


Many people suffer hair loss, and it can be devastating to our sense of self. Hair shedding is part of a natural balance — some hairs fall out while others grow in. When the balance is interrupted — when hair falls out and less hair grows in — hair loss happens.

The three most common types of hair loss are:

Androgenic Alopecia: this is the most common cause of male and female pattern baldness. It occurs in more than 95% of men and often in a well-defined “M” pattern. In women the hair becomes thinner all over the head, but the hairline does not recede.

Poor nutrition: this can be from diets high in animal fat and processed foods or deficiencies of biotin, protein, zinc, vitamin D or iron. We can help you optimize your diet and decipher your gut health to promote better terrain for hair growth. https://boisenaturalhealth.com/test-your-gut-microbiome-with-a-simple-stool-sample/

Hormonal imbalance: low levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause hair to grow more slowly and become much thinner. We dive further into this aspect here https:// boisenaturalhealth.com/hair-thinning-women-identifying-cause/

We can also provide you with compounded hair loss solutions! This includes using minoxidil, finasteride, items to enhance absorption like tretinoin and azelaic acid, hormones like progesterone, antifungals like ketoconazole and more. Check out this video from Central Drugs about the possibilities:

Medical Ozone Therapies – Topical, IV Ozone, Prolozone and Insufflation

What is Ozone?

Ozone is simply an alternate version of oxygen. Oxygen (O2) in the air we breathe is two molecules of oxygen attached together.  Ozone (O3) has three atoms of oxygen attached together.  O3 behaves somewhat differently than O2. Ozone is “activated” and far more energetic and oxidative than oxygen, which is what makes it so valuable to us for air and water purification as well as medical ozone therapy treatments.  Medical ozone is created by an ozone generator which exposes pure oxygen to a spark. 

What Does Ozone Do?

In chemical terms ozone is an oxidizer. In simpler terms it destroys bacteria, viruses, parasites, amoeba, mold, fungus, aIn chemical terms ozone is an oxidizer. In simpler terms it destroys bacteria, viruses, parasites, amoeba, mold, fungus, and also breaks down harmful chemicals and impurities. It is 35 times more powerful than chlorine; leaves no harmful chemicals or byproducts behind; and if used properly and in the proper amounts, it is completely non-toxic.[i]

What is Medical Ozone Therapy?

Medical Ozone Therapy is the use of ozone in medicine. It can be used outside the body (on the skin) and also inside the body. Ozone is used openly in medicine around the world, mainly in Europe, Asia, and South America. It is also gaining a foothold in North America. It is amazing how many different uses ozone has in the field of medicine, from disinfecting and healing external wounds, burns, and rashes, boosting of the immune system, to the successful treatment or control of internal systemic diseases of all kinds, from the common cold and flu through to chronic degenerative diseases that can scare, and disable us all.[ii]

What Does Ozone Do When Used for Medical Ozone Therapy?

  1. Ozone modulates the immune system to make it function better.
  2. It increases oxygen delivery to the tissues and cells.
  3. Ozone kills bacteria and viruses on contact, and it inhibits the ability of viruses to attach to cells so that they can’t cause disease.
  4. It increases cellular energy production, making energy production more efficient.
  5. Ozone decreases the level of oxidation in your body by increasing the levels of antioxidant enzyme systems and their activity.

Ozone is used in our office for:

Pain
Ozone doesn’t just decrease pain, it uses the power of oxygen to cause damaged tissues, ligaments, joint and tendons to regenerate and heal.
• Chronic pain syndromes
• Musculoskeletal pain
• Tendonitis
• Joint pain
Anti-microbial properties
• Wound healing – Diabetic ulcers
• Chronic Infections
• Can be applied to skin, ears, sinuses, eyes, vaginas, rectums.
• Also used via IV into the blood (MAH).
1)    Bacterial (staph, MRSA, Lyme, etc)
2)    Viral (EBV, HPV, CMV, etc)
3)    Other infections
Anti-aging
Ozone creates:
• a positive neuroendocrine response
• up regulation of antioxidants
• activation of the network of enzyme repair
• and ameliorates age-related biochemical changes
Fatique
Ozone creates:
• ATP, which is the currency of energy inside the cell.
• SOD, which cleans up free radicals/damaging oxidation to the body.
• Kills viruses that are often linked to chronic fatigue, such as Epstein Barr virus.
• Support and activation of the hypothalamic endocrine pathways (brain/hormone connection ).

For more information or to schedule your appointment with Dr. Nicole Maxwell, call 208-338-0405.

What is Prolozone Therapy?

  • Prozolone Therapy is an injection technique that uses ozone.  “Prolo” is short for “proliferation” because the treatment causes the proliferation (growth, formation) of new tissue. 

What is IV Ozone/Major Autologous Hemotherapy (MAH)? 

IV Ozone, or MAH, is the process of removing a small portion of your blood into a sterile IV bag, adding ozone gas into that blood, and then infusing the mixture back into your veins via IV. This procedure takes about 45 minutes each visit and we recommend between 6-10 treatments.

The ozone gas binds to your red blood cells (much like oxygen does), and then is infused safely back into your veins, so no actual gas is injected directly into your veins. This helps the ozone travel body-wide to decrease inflammation and kill any viruses, bacteria, or other organisms that might be present.

We use MAH for chronic fatigue syndrome, lyme disease, colds/flus, adjunctive cancer care, pain, neuropathy, and many other applications.

Topical Ozone

Ozone is useful topically when infused into olive oil to help heal wounds, kill bacteria, and decrease pain/inflammation.

Sinus Insufflation

We also offer sinus treatments that help to kill fungus, mold, and bacteria that can cause or exacerbate sinus infections, allergies, and pain. Ozone can help dissolve biofilms as well, which is useful in the treatment of MARCoNS, a type of antibiotic resistant bacteria, as it not only kills the bacteria, but also destroys the bacteria’s protective housing.  


[i] http://www.oxygenhealingtherapies.com/What_Does_Ozone_Do.html

[ii] http://www.oxygenhealingtherapies.com/What_Is_Medical_Ozone_Therapy.html