Category: Articles and Recipes

Revitalize Your Energy with a Liver Cleanse/Detox

Your liver, one of the body’s largest organs, acts as a natural detoxifier, processing nutrients, medications, and toxins. Over time, environmental pollutants, poor diet, and stress can overwork your liver, impacting its performance and your health. A liver cleanse can help support its functions, boosting your energy and vitality.

Why Spring and Summer?

The longer, warmer days of spring and summer represent renewal and can also boost your spirits and energy, making it an ideal time for a liver cleanse and helping you stick to healthier habits.

What is a Liver Detox?

A 3-week liver detox program aims to remove toxins, promote weight loss, and enhance overall health. By providing essential nutrients and supplements, it supports the liver’s natural detoxification process and reduces stress from toxins.

Health Benefits

  1. Boosting Energy: Detoxing prevents toxin buildup, allowing the liver to function efficiently and increase energy levels.
  2. Assisting Weight Loss: A healthy liver optimizes fat digestion, helping with weight loss and boosting metabolism.
  3. Maintaining Smooth Body Function: Detoxing strengthens the immune system, preventing illnesses that drain energy.
  4. Toxin Removal for Cellular Health: Efficient detoxification prevents cellular damage, improving overall well-being.
  5. Promoting Healthier Skin: Reducing toxin load can clear skin issues like acne.

Supporting Detox Through Diet and Supplements

A three-week program that includes dietary changes and nutritional supplements can support liver detoxification. This approach reduces toxin exposure and provides nutrients to support liver function, enhancing energy and health.

Get Started on Your Liver Cleanse

Consult Dr. Nicole Maxwell at Boise Natural Health to start your liver cleanse and boost your energy and well-being. Taking this step could be the key to a more vibrant and energetic you.

My new favorite herb: Salvia Miltiorrhiza (aka Dan Shen or Red Sage)

In my practice treating chronic complex illness, Dan Shen is a recent addition to my repertoire that I’ve begun using with success.  This herb is in the sage species that originally comes from China. It was traditionally used to promote blood circulation, calm the mind, regulate menstruation, and to relieve pain. However, modern research papers show body wide effects, including some of the most notable below:

1) Anti-inflammatory and pain support
including menstrual cramps, joint pain, and even endometriosis pain, chest pain (angina), allergies, asthma, even some anti-cancer properties

2) Antimicrobial against many organisms
including some tick-borne bacteria like anaplasma and ehrlichia

3) Liver protective
including decreasing markers of liver inflammation

4) Kidney protective
including protecting from diabetic kidney disease and shock from kidney stone treatment (lithotripsy)

5) Heart protective
including decreasing cholesterol and plaque formation. Also helps heal vascular wounds and fibrosis as well as slightly thins the blood. Human studies include COPD, preventing stroke recurrence, blood clot disorders, high blood pressure

6) Depression and anxiety support
supports GABA, which promotes calm, happy mood and sleep. There are human studies even for Alzheimer’s

7) Spleen protective
Decreases inflammation of the spleen

8) Gut and microbiome supportive
supports the microbiome by reducing bad bacteria and encouraging growth of the good bacteria. It also tightens both the GI mucosa and blood brain barrier

Most studies have shown that Saliva miltiorrhiza can either help the condition itself or prevent recurrence. While it is most known for its cardioprotective effects, I’ve been seeing good results so far for liver support and Lyme support in my patients. 

As with any medicine (natural or otherwise), there are circumstances where this herb may not be appropriate.  If you’re interested in finding a solution to Lyme disease or any other chronic unexplained symptoms, call for a free consultation or schedule an appointment with me to get started. 

Say Goodbye to Pelvic Pain

Pelvic pain – more common than you’d think

Imagine you are out to dinner or grabbing a coffee with a couple of your girlfriends. Odds are that one of you has experienced chronic pelvic pain at some point during your lives and it’s also likely that you have no idea which one of you it is. Studies estimate up to a third of women experience chronic pelvic pain, and up to a third of those women have pain that causes them to miss work. These statistics can be surprising because the pelvic area is not often discussed in social situations. It’s normal to hear someone say “I have a terrible headache today” but it would be a bit taboo to say “My pelvic pain is really bothering me today.”

Why I decided to get trained in pelvic floor therapy

When I see patients that experience pelvic pain, I often don’t know it’s a concern until it’s time for their annual women’s exam. Seeing this happen repeatedly made me realize there is something we’re missing… women don’t need to live this way! When I would suggest seeing another provider, like a pelvic floor physical therapist, to address their pain, many women were hesitant. They didn’t want to share their story again or work up the courage to trust another provider to see, examine, and treat such a sensitive area of their body. This is why I decided to get trained in pelvic floor therapy. 

What is pelvic floor therapy?

Pelvic floor therapy is an in-office, hands-on treatment for the muscles, ligaments, and tendons of the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor therapy is well known in the post-partum community for treatment of diastasis recti (abdomen muscle separation) and for patients that are experiencing a uterine, bladder or rectal prolapse but is not frequently talked about as a possible treatment for other symptoms that can be caused by muscles in the pelvic floor that are too weak or too tense.

Pelvic floor symptoms

Symptoms of weak or tense pelvic floor muscles could include constipation, urinary frequency, pain with urination or passing bowel movements, pain with intercourse, pelvic pain and more. 

Physician assessment, hands on treatment and other therapeutic options

Although this type of therapy is typically performed by physical therapists, being a physician who does this type of work makes me uniquely able to add on an assessment of the pelvic floor muscles to your annual well woman exam and incorporate additional treatment strategies for a well-rounded approach to your concerns. I get to combine soft tissue work and muscular retraining techniques for the pelvic floor muscles that are typically used in pelvic floor therapy with the rest of my tools like nutritional counseling, herbal medicine, pharmaceutical medications, stress management, and acupuncture.

If you think you could benefit from pelvic floor therapy, schedule an appointment or free 15-minute consultation with Dr. Amanda Grischow at Boise Natural Health Clinic!

What is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor?

Naturopathic Medical Doctors or Naturopathic Physicians (NMD) are the only licensed naturopathic providers in Idaho who are educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical colleges recognized by the US Dept of Education. They diagnose, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illness to restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person’s inherent self-healing process. While naturopathic physicians can prescribe medications, they prefer to work to identify underlying causes of illness, and develop personalized, whole-body treatment plans to address them. 

In addition to practicing many natural modalities, NMDs can prescribe medications, order lab tests and imaging, and are licensed as Primary Care Providers in Idaho.

How are an ND and an NMD different?

The terms “ND” and “Naturopathic Doctor” and “naturopath” can be used in other states to denote licensed naturopathic physicians but these titles remain unregulated in Idaho and can be used by anyone – with or without any training.  In Idaho, only the title “NMD” is used by licensed naturopathic physicians.

What is Functional Medicine?

Many kinds of licensed and unlicensed providers use the term “functional medicine” to describe the services they offer, but there is no standardized training or requirements of education to use the term. Functional medicine providers sometimes have conventional training first and then add holistic training later, on their own or through a certification program. 

For More Information:

Navigating the Sodium-Potassium Debate: A Layperson’s Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure summarized by Dr. Nicole Maxwell, NMD

This overview encapsulates the insights from Christopher Labos, MD CM, MSc’s January 29th, 2024 commentary entitled “Sodium vs Potassium for Lowering Blood Pressure.”

When it comes to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, there’s often a tug-of-war between sodium and its lesser-discussed counterpart, potassium. Should we be slashing our sodium intake or upping our potassium consumption? It’s a complex question that delves into the depths of renal physiology, but fear not, we’re here to break it down for you. 

The Case for Sodium Restriction

Dr. Stephen Juraschek, along with many others, advocates for the reduction of sodium in our diets. Countless studies have highlighted the correlation between high sodium intake and elevated blood pressure. From the famous DASH diet to extensive intervention trials, evidence overwhelmingly suggests that cutting back on sodium can lead to significant reductions in blood pressure.

However, not all studies align perfectly. The PURE study raised eyebrows when it hinted that extreme sodium restriction might increase cardiovascular mortality. But upon closer examination, methodological issues emerged, casting doubt on its findings. Regardless, the consensus remains: excess sodium isn’t doing our hearts any favors.

The Case for Potassium Supplementation

Dr. Swapnil Hiremath presents a compelling argument for potassium supplementation. While the evidence may not be as robust as that for sodium restriction, studies suggest that increasing potassium intake can play a vital role in blood pressure regulation. Potassium works hand in hand with sodium in the kidneys, influencing how our bodies manage fluid and electrolyte balance.

The DASH diet, celebrated for its blood pressure-lowering effects, emphasizes potassium-rich fruits and vegetables. Similarly, studies like the SSaSS trial have explored the benefits of salt substitutes containing potassium. The challenge lies in finding practical ways to integrate these dietary changes into our daily lives.

Realistic Diets and Taste Issues

Encouraging a diet rich in fruits and vegetables seems like a no-brainer, but economic barriers and taste preferences often stand in the way. Potassium supplements might sound like an easy fix, but some folks worry about issues like too much potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia) and the not-so-great taste. Similarly, salt substitutes that contain potassium seem like a good idea, but they might not catch on everywhere because people have different tastes and cooking habits.

You can naturally increase your potassium levels by adding certain foods to your diet. Foods like potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados, and oranges are excellent sources of potassium. Incorporating these tasty options into your meals can help you get the potassium your body needs without any concerns about supplements or substitutes.

Remember, continuing to reduce sodium intake is essential for managing blood pressure effectively. By combining a potassium-rich diet with reduced sodium consumption, you can take proactive steps towards better cardiovascular health.

Looking Ahead

At Boise Natural Health, I and the other practitioners can assist you in achieving blood pressure balance. Both Dr. Juraschek and Dr. Hiremath converge on the need for practical interventions, and our team is dedicated to providing holistic support tailored to your individual needs. While policy changes like the recent proposal by the US Food and Drug Administration to label salt substitutes as salt are steps in the right direction, our personalized approach ensures that you receive comprehensive care to optimize your cardiovascular health.

Contact Dr. Nicole Maxwell at Boise Natural Health Clinic for a complimentary 15-minute consultation, or schedule an appointment to receive the assistance you need promptly. We’re here to support you on your journey to better health and well-being.

Ways Ozone Can Benefit the Body

Ozone is created by exposing 100% pure oxygen to a spark of electricity in a special generator which adds an extra electron onto the oxygen molecule. 

Ozone therapies have been used since its discovery in 1840 and ozone is used all over the world safely.  Boise Natural Health Clinic is proud to contribute this important therapy to the Treasure Valley. Here are some of the amazing things that ozone does for us:  

1) Ozone kills infectious microbes like viruses, bacteria, fungi.

We use ozone in a variety of ways to kill infectious microbes. It can directly kill almost all ‘bugs’. Ozone gas has direct killing effect by using ozone infused olive oil or a process called insufflation. Insufflation is allowing ozone gas to come into direct contact with various tissues, including nasal passages, ear canals, vaginas, and rectums.

2) Ozone increases the delivery and use of oxygen in the cells.

Energy production runs most efficiently with oxygen. If we inject ozone into damaged joint spaces or tissues, we can focus that oxygenation into the injured area and promote healing.  By increasing oxygen in the cells, we can increase our energy production, healing capabilities, and support our immune system.

3) Ozone helps stimulate and improve our antioxidant and detoxification pathways.

Ozone therapies increase our antioxidant production by up to 300% in some studies. Antioxidants help with slowing down the aging process, decreasing some cancer risks, decreasing inflammation, and promoting movement of waste products. Rectally, ozone has been shown to improve our bodies’ own production of the most potent antioxidant, glutathione. Glutathione is often referred to as the master antioxidant and helps the liver to detoxify, is anti-aging, and is used in the immune system to combat infections.

4) Ozone can modulate the immune system.

Immune system modulation means increasing immunity in the presence of an infectious agent or decreasing immunity when the immune system is out of control, like in an autoimmune disease. Ozone mediates some of our cell signaling messengers, called cytokines, to help turn the immune system up or down depending on our needs. Ask your BNHC naturopathic physician if they think ozone therapy may be right for you!

Are Your Medications Causing Nutrient Deficiencies?

Could your symptoms be nutritional deficiencies?  Medications can have many potential side effects that patients often aren’t aware of when they start a new prescription. Are you aware of all the possible side effects of your medications and the nutrient deficiencies they can cause?

Medications can cause nutrient deficiencies by:

  • Decreasing the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals
  • Increasing excretion of nutrients
  • Increasing the amount of a nutrient needed to help break down the drug

Common medications and the nutrients that are affected:

  • Magnesium
  • Folic Acid, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Iron
  • Co Q 10
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin B12
  • Folic Acid

What should you do if you’re taking nutrient-depleting medications?

  • Do NOT stop your medications abruptly without talking to your healthcare provider. Some medications may require tapering and some medications should not be stopped at all.
  • Consider getting your nutrient levels tested or talk to your doctor about possible symptoms of nutrient deficiency.
  • Consider supplementing to prevent deficiency with high-quality, third-party tested supplements.

Cortney M. Mospan. (2019, December 17). Drug-induced nutrient depletions: What pharmacists need to know. U.S. Pharmacist – The Leading Journal in Pharmacy.

Heartburn and Discontinuing Acid Blocking Medication

Why Do We Need Strong Stomach Acid? 

  • Essential in absorbing certain nutrients, such as protein, vitamin B-12, and minerals 
  • Kills bacteria and other pathogens in the stomach to prevent infection 
  • Acid blocking medication increases risk of osteoporosis and fractures, pneumonia, Clostridium difficile and other gastrointestinal infections, vitamin B12 deficiency anemia, chronic kidney disease, and dementia.   

Five steps to fixing your heartburn:   

  1. Manage symptoms 
  2. Identify causes of heartburn 
  3. Change diet and lifestyle factors 
  4. Repair stomach lining, look for infection, and support a healthy microbiome 
  5. Wean medication slowly 

Step 1 – Manage symptoms 

At first, if you are on an acid blocking medicine stay on the lowest dose you can tolerate.  To treat occasional breakthrough heartburn symptoms, choose one at time from this list:  

  • Chew 2 DGL wafers (this black licorice wafer also helps heal stomach so its good to chew 2 three times a day regardless of symptoms) 
  • Chew two Tums 
  • Drink 2 dissolved Alka-Seltzer 
  • Drink baking soda in water (1 teaspoon baking soda in 4 ounces of room temperature water) or plain seltzer water 

Step 2 – Identify causes of heartburn 

  1. Hiatal hernia (diaphragm dysfunction, belly fat) 
  2. Infection – H. Pylori 
  3. Gastric acid over-secretion and under-secretion both can create heartburn 
  4. Hypersensitivity to a normal amount of acid (lack of mucus in stomach) 
  5. Pancreatic insufficiency (digestive enzymes) 
  6. SIBO – Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth 
  7. Stress, improper breathing, posture, spinal alignment 
  8. Diet and Lifestyle – see step 3 

Step 3 – Change diet and lifestyle 

Start with “low hanging fruit” – things that are relatively easy. Eliminate as many of these as you can.   

  • Acid foods such as citrus and tomatoes 
  • Alcohol  
  • Caffeinated products 
  • Chocolate 
  • Dehydration 
  • Eating quickly and unconsciously, not chewing 
  • Eating too close to bedtime  
  • Fatty foods 
  • Food sensitivities – Consider testing (wheat & dairy?) 
  • Overeating 
  • Raw vegetables in excessive amounts 
  • Smoking 
  • Spicy foods 
  • Sugar are refined carbohydrates 
  • Tannins in black tea 
  • Wearing restrictive clothing 

Step 4 – Repair the stomach lining, look for infection, support a healthy microbiome 

Your doctor will create an individualized protocol based on your symptoms, history, and lab testing.   

Step 5 – Weaning medication slowly 

Go slow – this process will take weeks or months and depends a lot on steps 1 – 4.  Stopping your medication abruptly can cause rebound acid hypersecretion.   

If you are on a PPI, in collaboration with your doctor, you will wean the dose and frequency of the PPI first, then you’ll switch to an H2 blocker then wean it slowly.   

H2 Blockers – partially stop stomach acid secretion 
– nizatidine (Axid) 
– famotidine (Pepcid, Pepcid AC) 
– cimetidine (Tagamet, Tagamet HB) 
– ranitidine (Zantac)   
PPI – almost completely stop stomach acid secretion 
– omeprazole (Prilosec, Prilosec OTC, Zegerid) 
– lansoprazole (Prevacid) 
– pantoprazole (Protonix) 
– rabeprazole (Aciphex) 
– esomeprazole (Nexium) 
– dexlansoprazole (Dexilant) 

When your digestive enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid are low 

Heartburn symptoms can happen from having low digestive juices – both hydrochloric acid from your stomach, digestive enzymes from your small intestines and pancreas, and bile from the gallbladder.  People low in digestive juices can have not only heartburn but often bloating, feeling overly full, abdominal pain, and other digestive symptoms.   

Your doctor can test for and explore the use of digestive enzymes, bile, hydrochloric acid capsules, and the proper use of apple cider vinegar and digestive bitters.   

Relaxation Therapy with Deep Breathing Reduces Heartburn Symptoms 

Do not underestimate the impact of stress on your digestive tract! 

Your Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES), the muscle at the top of the stomach that closes when the stomach is digesting is affected by stress.  When it doesn’t close at the right time (during digestion), it allows acid to reflux up into the esophagus.  In a study, deep breathing exercises decreased severity and frequency of reflux episodes.  

The LES, and the rest of your digestion, is controlled by the vagus nerve, an important part of the gut-brain connection.  The vagus nerve controls the rest-and-digest side of your nervous system which in turn balances the flight-and-flight part of our nervous system.   

Take many moments each day to check in with your breathing.  Work on only breathing through your nose.  Practice a slightly slower exhale to calm your vagus nerve.  Check in with your posture’s effect on your breathing and diaphragm.  Get up, stretch your ribs and back.  Do a few twists or even better take a yoga class!   

Read more about heartburn from Dr. Haynes: 

Unveiling the Surprising Side Effects of Cardiovascular Disease

When we think of cardiovascular disease (CVD), we often picture heart attacks and strokes. But did you know there are hidden consequences that can quietly impact your life in unexpected ways? Let’s dive into these lesser-known effects that go beyond the heart and explore how a holistic approach, including a visit to a naturopathic physician, might be beneficial.

  1. Mind and Memory Matters
    It turns out that your heart health can affect your brain. Cardiovascular disease may increase the risk of memory problems and conditions like Alzheimer’s. If you find yourself forgetting things more often or feeling mentally foggy, it could be related to your heart.
  2. Emotional Rollercoaster
    Heart issues can bring more than just physical challenges; they can take a toll on your mood. Stress, anxiety, and even depression can become unwelcome companions on your health journey. Don’t ignore your emotional well-being—addressing it is as crucial as taking care of your heart.
  3. Sleep Snags
    Ever noticed that heart problems can disrupt your sleep? Conditions like heart failure might cause shortness of breath at night, affecting your rest. Poor sleep can then worsen your heart health, creating a loop. If you’re struggling with sleep, your heart might be trying to tell you something.
  4. Intimacy Interruptions
    Surprisingly, heart conditions can impact your love life. Reduced blood flow can lead to sexual difficulties, and medications may add to the challenges. It’s an aspect often overlooked but important to address for a full picture of your well-being.
  5. Tired All the Time
    If you’re feeling persistently tired, it might not just be a lack of sleep. Heart problems can lead to chronic fatigue, leaving you drained both physically and mentally. Don’t ignore this symptom—your heart could be working harder than it should.
  6. Kidney Connections
    Your heart and kidneys are team players, and when one isn’t doing well, the other can suffer. Heart issues can harm your kidneys, and kidney problems can worsen heart conditions. It’s a tandem act that emphasizes the need for a comprehensive approach to your health.
  7. Painful Legs
    Cardiovascular disease isn’t just about the heart—it can affect your limbs too. Peripheral Artery Disease can cause pain and cramping in your legs, impacting your ability to move comfortably. It’s another way your body signals that something might be off with your heart.
  8. The Cost of Health
    Lastly, the impact of heart issues goes beyond you—it affects economies too. Treating heart problems, coupled with lost productivity due to illness, puts a financial strain on healthcare systems and societies.

Considering these hidden consequences, it’s essential to approach heart health holistically. A naturopathic physician can be a valuable partner in your journey, offering natural and comprehensive approaches to complement traditional treatments. From dietary adjustments to stress management, they focus on your overall well-being.

In essence, don’t just listen to your heart; pay attention to how it’s affecting the rest of you. Taking a holistic approach, with the guidance of a naturopathic physician like Dr. Nicole Maxwell, can make a significant difference in managing the lesser-known consequences of cardiovascular disease and promoting your overall health and happiness.

We can add links to other articles like the cardio labs one

The Far-Reaching Effects of Hormones on Your Body

Many people are aware that sex hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and DHEA influence more than just reproduction and menstrual cycles. While common knowledge acknowledges their impact on bone density, brain health, and cardiovascular risk, emerging medical perspectives recognize that these hormones have even broader effects.

Our Changing Brain Architecture Throughout the Menstrual Cycle

Recent studies have revealed intriguing insights into how the architecture of our brains changes during different phases of the menstrual cycle. These hormonal brain differences could potentially explain the increased incidence of early-onset dementia in women who experience early menopause. These new studies suggest that our thought processes may also vary depending on the cycle phase, potentially influencing behavior. Hormonal fluctuations and physical changes in the brain may contribute to reported instances of “brain fog” at specific points in the menstrual cycle. Although some studies indicate no difference in task performance, patients often report changes in effort. Animal models also suggest increased brain connections before ovulation, aligning with women’s experiences of feeling their best during this period. This research opens new avenues for exploring the validation of reported brain changes throughout the menstrual cycle.

The Impact of Menstrual Cycles on Immunity

Surprisingly, a Long COVID study delved into the sex differences and hormonal influences on the immune system. Hormonal fluctuations during menstruation, early follicular phase, and PMS (end luteal phase) favor the TH1 immune pathway, which is effective against viruses but can escalate inflammation, autoimmunity, and cancer risk. This phase also leaves individuals susceptible to bacterial and parasitic infections. Conversely, during the late follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase (higher estrogen and progesterone levels), women favor the TH2 immune pathway. While this pathway protects against parasites and bacteria and is anti-inflammatory, it may enable stealth viruses to replicate. These immune system changes potentially explain the higher incidence of autoimmune diseases in women, with patients often reporting flares of symptoms around ovulation.

In summary, we are entering an exciting era of research that focuses on the monthly changes experienced by females, recognizing that these changes extend beyond reproduction to impact the entire body. The evolving understanding of these hormonal dynamics is poised to reshape the field of medicine.