Category: Miscellaneous

Advanced Hormone and Neurotransmitter Workshop

by Joan Haynes, NMD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chilly?

Joan Haynes, NMD

Feeling more chilly than those around you?  Some causes could be a low thyroid, anemia, diabetes or Raynaud’s Syndrome. Here’s how to find out.

Lab Tests

Our office or your doctor can run some of the following tests.  Tests are selected depending on any other symptoms or health concerns you may have.

  • CBC, Ferritin – will find anemia
  • TSH, Free T4, Free T3 – will pick up a low thyroid
  • ANA, Rheumatoid Factor, Sed rate – will look for autoimmune disease
  • Fasting blood sugar and HgbA1C – will catch diabetes

Raynaud’s Phenomenon

Usually people with Raynaud’s have blue or white skin discoloration with the cold. Here’s a great article from Medicine Net describing Raynaud’s Phenomenon.

Supplement and practices that may help keep your Raynaud’s under control:

  1. Flavinoids.  Found in food and also in supplements, flavinoids dilate blood vessels.  2000 mg 1 – 3 times per day.
  2. Cayenne capsules.  1 or 2 capsules twice a day (with food), or sprinkle on your food regularly.  Great warming effect.
  3. L-arginine.  Increases nitric oxide in the blood and will dilate blood vessels.  Dose is 2 grams – 6 grams per day.  (L-arginine is also well known to help erectile dysfunction.)
  4. Magnesium decreases vasoconstriction and helps the blood vessels relax.  Approx 200 mg three times a day is a good dose.  If your dose is too high, you’ll get lose stool so back down.  Look for Magnesium Citrate.
  5. Ginkgo helps with blood flow to microvasculature.  40 mg three times a day.  Look for a standardized extract.
  6. Caffeine constricts blood flow – so limit or eliminate it.
  7. Relaxation and visualization can work.  Studies show that you can warm your fingers and toes by using your mind to increase blood flow and temperature.  Practice by holding an old fashioned thermometer between your thumb and fingers and watch it climb.
  8. Acupuncture – in one study it reduced attacks by 63%

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.

Medical Research – A Disturbing Corruption

Doctoring Data: How to sort out medical advice from medical nonsense

by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick

Book Review by Dr. Haynes

Almost all of the medical research is funded, conducted, and reported by the corporations with vested interests.  Dr. Kendrick has been studying the problems in medical research for over 30 years.  After reading his book, I will never look at health news or published research in the same way again.  It turns out we simply can’t believe what we are being told.

Dr. Kendrick’s book was compelling and his witty, irreverent writing makes it a fun, if disturbing, read.   He explains the basics of understanding a study and then shows us how to question data we’ve previously taken as fact.  He tackles cancer, heart disease, blood pressure, hormone replacement therapy and more.  He shares that the popularly accepted “cholesterol hypothesis” has been disproven for many years but continues to thrive due to profits made from statin medications.

As a naturopathic physician, people often expect me to be skeptical about Big Pharma medicine.  But questioning the current medical system is not limited to those practicing alternative medicine.  Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the Lancet are the most well respected, peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.  Here’s what their own editors have to say about the state of medical science today:

 “It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.  I take no pleasure in this conclusion which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.” Dr. Marcia Angell, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analysis, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet

With all this doubt about truth in medical research, what is a patient to do?  I strongly believe in the tenants of Naturopathic Medicine and use them as guiding principles with all of my patients (see a more detailed description):

  1. First Do No Harm – primum non nocere
  2. The Healing Power of Nature – vis medicatrix naturae
  3. Discover and Treat the Cause, Not Just the Effect – tolle causam
  4. Treat the Whole Person – tolle totum
  5. The Physician is a Teacher – docere
  6. Prevention is the best “cure” – praevenire

I encourage all patients and practitioners interested in being savvy consumers of medicine and advocates of their own health to read Dr. Hendrick’s book.  It is one of the most informative books I’ve come across and is enjoyable to boot!