A Different Approach for Diabetics and Pre-diabetics

If you are on your way to diabetes or already have it, you need options.  It is not necessary to wait and see how treatment goes, watch your strength diminish, risk losing fingers, a foot or blindness due to high sugar levels.  It is often possible to keep the pancreas working even with Type 1 Diabetes.  It has long been believed that Type 1 diabetics have no insulin secretion from the pancreas but researchers are confirming that with hard work, it can be managed with minimal insulin and at times even reversed. You can heal from diabetes! Diabetes can be fixed!

For individuals who are dedicated to a better quality of life, finding not just your lifestyle options but also seeking out the triggers or start of disease can help empower you to better wellness.  The two most powerful lifestyle tools for diabetics or pre-diabetics is diet and exercise.  Research repeats itself when verifying how beneficial 30 minutes of movement on 5 days out of the week for increasing insulin sensitivity.  Diet is also crucial for managing blood sugar levels and often the most challenging part of a diabetic’s treatment.  High sugar levels in the body can be incredibly damaging for all the parts of your body that have small vessels- eyes, kidneys, fingers and toes and it is not worth the risk!  No sugar is worth the damage.  There are many yummy foods that can be eaten instead.  Proteins and veggies are your new friends, the foods for blood sugar control and the recommended diabetic diet.  Carbohydrates and grains should be limited or eliminated since they turn into sugar in your body.  Allowing fruit can be negotiable depending on the patient’s history.  Another way to deal with blood sugars is to ensure the pancreas and digestive system are working at tip top shape.

At the same time we are addressing your insulin and blood sugar, we need to protect your vessels and organs from damage. We can often do this with herbs. After we have achieved a safe balance of your sugar levels and protecting further damage, we can begin to find the cause behind the diabetes.  Although diet plays a role, many people may eat horrible diets without developing diabetes.

If you or a loved one, are ready to change your risk factors for diabetes or get diabetes under control, you may be a good candidate for our La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic.  Please call our La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic to find out more information about becoming a patient.

Homeopathy and Hydrotherapy for Families

Homeopathy can be a great instrument for families to use in dealing with boo-boos and other minor illnesses that come up at home. Many parents are seeking natural treatment options, holistic medicine for their children and ways to self-care. I’ve designed a class specifically on homeopathy for families. In my class, moms and dads learn how to use homeopathic remedies out of a kit in their day-to-day lives.  This is the ultimate natural care for families. Parents will learn ways to use homeopathic remedies for teething, ear issues, cough, menopause, pain and many other ailments and treatments. You will also learn about herbs and other therapy treatments to keep in your natural first aide kit.

Prescribing homeopathic medicine for chronic conditions is best left up to a Homeopath or Naturopathic Doctor, but learning how to use homeopathy for simple ailments is a great tool for a family to have in their first-aide kit.

My Homeopathy and Hydrotherapy for Families class starts May 7, Spring 2016! Space is limited in this popular class so be sure to enroll soon!
Homeopathy and Hydrotherapy for Families
San Diego Continuing Education Center City Campus

Saturdays, 9-12
May 7 – June 4
Class fee $75. Materials fee $10

  • Learn the basics and philosophy of natural medicine
  • Discuss specific remedies and common ailments
  • Learn how to use a homeopathic kit for families
  • Water therapy tips and techniques will also be taught
  • The instructor is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences, and a Doctorate Degree in Naturopathic Medicine with research background in evidenced-based medicine.

Follow this link to enroll in Homeopathy and Hydrotherapy for Families.

Genetic Testing to Prevent Pharmaceutical Side Effects

One major concern I hear from patients is about potential side effects of pharmaceuticals. Most people don’t realize that there is actually a way to test for side effects before having to actually experience them. This can be accomplished through genetic testing. The human genome mapping was completed a few years ago, and this gives us the ability to take a look at your genes and predict how certain drugs will affect you. Some medications will react in specific ways with your particular genes, and others won’t. This technology is still in the experimental stage, but it is still a useful tool in predicting problems with medications.

For example, one of my patients was on some medications for GERD and had a horrible reaction of headaches. She came to me in a difficult spot of needing the medication for GERD but having side effects. As we worked toward addressing what was causing her GERD to begin with, we were able to test her genetics. We found a GERD medication that she was not reactive to since we identified the liver pathways that work well for her.

Another very common reaction we should to identify is antibiotics. Many people have reactions to antibiotics. In genetic testing, we can find the normally functioning pathways and make better choices to prevent reactions when antibiotic treatment is actually needed.

Genetic testing only needs to be done once. It doesn’t change. Therefore, it can be a good reference for any medication you may need in the future for arthritis, blood thinning, etc (the list is endless!). Education on your genes makes for better health outcomes!

To learn more about genetic testing, just contact our office.

SB 277 and Our Patient Families

Many of our families are concerned about the SB 277 that seems to be progressing through our California legislature. As a mom, my heart aches with the decisions our government is trying to make for our munchkin based on an outbreak of 300-some Pertussis cases. Healthier children handle disease better and tolerate vaccines better, and healthier brains learn better. As a doctor, I do see the need for families to educate themselves on how to protect their loved ones from harm. Unvaccinated or alternative schedule vaccinated families have usually put a lot of effort into their considerations for what is healthy for their kids.

There are still many changes that are likely to be made to the bill before all is said and done. So far, they have determined:

The Vaccines:

Diptheria

Hepatitis B

Haemophilus influenza type b

Measles

Mumps

Pertussis

Poliomyeletis

Rubella

Tetanus

Varicella (Chickenpox)

Parents will still likely be able to prove immunity to these diseases if they have been exposed by running a blood test called a titer. Medical exemptions are still being allowed and not just autoimmune now but at the discretion of the MD. It is likely the board will be placing extra pressure on those who do offer more medical exemptions.

The Timing:

It looks like they are settling on students entering kindergarten through 7th grade. If a philosophical form has been filed with the school before the law goes into play, then that child is “grandfathered in.” This still does not address the concern of catching up on required vaccines for grade schoolers.

The Choices:

Home-based private schools and moving out of state are the most often discussed options among families. The overwhelming idea of schooling at home seems to be more difficult that the decision of what to do. Knowing your resources will empower you. Educated parents (whether on vaccines, education, or whatever topic is for the benefit of their family) are notoriously resilient in finding options regardless of the strictures placed on them.

Keep in mind that thinking outside the box will also create options for you such as:

  • Considering an alternative vaccine schedule over time to catch up on vaccines.
  • Developing a detox plan to go along with vaccinating your child.
  • Running titers for diseases your child has been exposed to.
  • Paying the fine issued to your child’s school for noncompliance of fully vaccinated recommendations.
  • Creating a co-op of parents to help with a home-study program.

Your options for achieving a healthy child are many. To my patient families – please have hope because I know you are resilient.

For more information, follow this link to read the text of the bill:  SB 277 Text

Treating Menopause Naturally with Naturopathic Medicine

Menopause is a change in balancing act. The body may have been going along pleasantly in rhythm and then there is a change in the hormones available for that rhythm. If you have not been pleasantly in a rhythm and have had an irregular period or painful periods, you are more likely to have more trouble adjusting to the changes your body is undergoing. As the rhythm changes, you will notice not just physical symptoms but also that your emotions will greatly change during this rite of passage for women. It is also a good idea to manage expectations around menopause – know what to expect, for how long, what is reasonable to put up with, and the pros and cons of the choices for treatment.

Physical Symptoms

Frankly, menopause is the failure of the ovaries. They are done putting out eggs. This means the layer of your uterus no longer needs to build up which means fewer and fewer periods.  There are different camps in terms of how to handle the ovarian failure and varied symptoms that come with it. Some believe that they can give you hormones, or even better, bio-identical hormones to replace the lower levels of hormones, the idea being that the hormones continue to make you feel young for a time or maybe even forever. Others believe your hormones can and will adjust naturally as you begin a new phase of life. In my La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic I see both desires in patients. Their ultimate goal is to feel good. Some of my patients have been prescribed hormones by the many hormone specialists and end up in my office begging to get off of them because they either don’t feel as good as they thought or the hormones are too much work. Some patients find the minimally-adjusted hormones do help. A larger percentage of my patients find that bringing the body in balance and nourishing the organ systems with herbs, food, lifestyle, vitamins, liver support, and sometime homeopathy actually does the trick!

Menopause is a natural progression of life, much like childbirth, 1st grade and dating. It doesn’t need to be treated like a disease. Many times, our bodies just like some help getting into balance.

We are quite familiar with the commonly talked about symptoms like hot flashes, mood changes, and trouble sleeping, but menopause can also affect our bones, thyroid, lipids, sex lives, brain function, digestion, and mood which in turn can affect career and family life! There are some commonalities in menopause but women do not experience menopause in the same way. Therefore, the same treatment approach is not appropriate for every woman. Some are more sensitive and some have higher risk factors. Careful monitoring of hormones is important during the menopausal changes so we can avoid the risk factors of estrogen-related cancers and common side effects of hormones and protect the heart!

Despite all these challenging issues that our office sees in women, Heart Disease continues to be the number 1 killer for American women. Our health care goals include proactive measures to protect the heart and looking forward to prevent any health consequences.

Emotions

Mood usually catches women by surprise during all these menopausal changes and they may actually have to adapt life around their mood fluctuations. Tears flow more easily, boundaries are more readily held, and friends and family will hear it like it is! Those hormones that give us the nurturing, protective, mother-bear personality that mothers are so well known for are now decreasing. We no longer need so much testosterone and estrogen for our daily lives, which makes us more interested in taking care of ourselves first, and this is normal. Some women find this a hard mentality to let sink in and may even feel guilty about taking care of themselves before others. Hormonal changes give us more power to look within, be more in touch with our inner self, and a time to re-analyze what is really important to us, what life is about, etc.

Physical symptoms can actually relate to our mood. For example, if you have had a night full of hot flashes, you may consider in the morning who you might be angry with or where you may need to hold your ground and not be taken advantage of. Hormones are molecules too and they need to be recycled, broken down, etc. When there is an overload of hormones and emotions, the liver ends up overwhelmed and the body tries to adapt by ‘burning it up’, bloating, or not making sleep hormones adequately, etc. The more prepared women are for the emotional changes that come along with menopause, the sooner they can start adjusting instead of trying to figure out what is going on.

Expectations of Menopause

Most women know to expect something during Menopause but they may not know the anatomy and physiology behind it, the treatment options, or how long it will last. It comes as a surprise that there are other options to manage menopause symptoms besides hormone replacement therapy.

Hormone treatment orally or topically can be a treatment option and your doctor should talk to you about protecting your heart and bones while taking them. Botanicals can be helpful for supporting your adrenals, liver, and managing hormones, which are all important to function properly in menopause. Homeopathy can help with some physical symptoms as well as emotions. Nutrition is important and managing any nutrient deficiencies. Lastly, lifestyle and habits are important to talk about with your doctor and can add help to the balance needed in menopause. As long as symptoms are manageable, the length of menopause doesn’t seem to be important anymore but in general menopause can last from 1-10 years with African Americans in the longer range.

Once again, menopause is an attempt to get your body harmonizing again. The better periods you have now, the easier menopause will be. If you have period troubles, come in and get it addressed so you are more likely to experience a smoother transition in menopause. Expect and make plans to support the emotional aspects of menopause. Come to our La Mesa Naturopathic Medical clinic and learn about all of your options to treat your symptoms of menopause – not just the options your friends are taking. Empower yourself with the right plan for you.

The Art of Tea Making and Connection

I have a new husband. He has taken on the job of making my morning tea. In fact, he is so good at it that I have come to believe that I’m no longer the best tea maker, even though I taught him the art myself.

Loose leaf tea makes the best tea. After soaking the leaves and plunging the french press, my loving husband pours the hot, steamy liquid into a pre-warmed cup and adds almond milk and stevia or honey, tasting while stirring. Sometimes I have the opportunity to watch him in his ritual and sometimes he brings it to me wherever I am – laundry, bedroom, or even out back. He always presents it with a huge smile and pleasant sounds like “mmm… try this…”

Now, I realize how fortunate I am to have a tea connoisseur as a partner. More importantly, I have a connection, a confidant. Even if the tea weren’t tasty, it would still be good because of the delivery.

Research is readily available to show that cardiac patients do better if they feel loved. Children are more likely to have health problems as adults if they have been raised by a parent–especially a mom–who is distant and strained. Chronic diseases are far less likely if you were raised in a three-generational household. One study that involved injecting a virus in many patients found that those with greater social connections were less likely to actually get sick. Research also solidifies that empathetic doctors (those who create connections) will have patients with lower A1c numbers, better IBS outcomes, shorter cold duration, etc. Research collaborates happiness, job satisfaction, etc. with those who have more social connections.

Keep in mind that the rituals you have with your children, partner, and family members enhance your connections. Tea rituals have been used in many cultures for connection. Your rituals may be different and can be anything that create connection and health.

Doctor’s orders: Make tea or your own ritual and connect to improve your health.

Probiotics and Traveling

Patients often ask me about probiotics and many  find great help in the high quality probiotics that we sell in our clinic. These good probiotics have to be refrigerated, so how can we keep the good bugs coming when we travel or go on vacation? High quality probiotics can last for 5 days or so out of the refrigerator. I do not advise taking the whole bottle with you during travels but you can take the capsules that you will use. If there is no access to refrigeration away from home, there are two other probiotics that are stable at room temperature and that can help you stay healthy on vacations:

1. Culturelle – This is only one strain and a low dose, but it can work for many patients.

2. Pro Flora Intensive – This is a multi-strain option and a high protective dose.

Both of these recommended products can be found at our clinic.

Pain in the ???

Muscle pain can be challenging and limiting. There is nothing like being held back by painful, uncooperative muscles.

First thing to try is magnesium. Those muscle fibers use calcium to contract and magnesium to relax. Many patients are deficient in magnesium, leading to cramps of all sorts, heart palpitations and myriad other muscle related symptoms. There are several types of magnesium and patients react differently to the different forms. Heat can often relax the intermittent pain that comes with injuries and again magnesium in the form of epsom salt baths. Our goal with heat and magnesium is to relax the muscles so they can release toxins. In general, diarrhea is a sign of too much magnesium supplementation. Magnesium alone has the potential to resolve muscle pain or growing pains, menstrual cramps, as well as anxiety.

Next in our tool box is anti-inflammatories in the form of herbs. Curcumin is probably the most common used. It does seem to work at the right dose, particularly for knee pain. Many patients have tried curcumin on their own and are disenchanted with it since low quality products don’t work. We use high doses in our La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic and forms that have the same standardized amount for each dose so patients get the same results every time. Another favorite anti-inflammatory for me is Shea Butter – yeah, that stuff you put on your skin, but internally it can do wonders for certain kinds of pain. There are many more herbal options and we choose them based on what else is going on in the body. For example, adequate doses of Boswelia is great for patients with pain and unstable bowel symptoms.

Preventing inflammation in the muscles can be even more powerful than anti-inflammatories. Getting foods that are nourishing rather than inflammatory can take some time to work into your lifestyle. The big inflammatory food groups that wreck havoc in your muscles are sugar. Then there are those oils that are processed and changed beyond anything recognizable in nature. Processed foods in general just make it harder for those muscle fibers to relax and let go. Nourish your muscles with healthy meats, lots of veggies (which work well in stir-fries and soups) nuts, fruits, olive oil, coconut oil, and whole grains like quinoa and wild rice.

Another way to nourish those muscles is by doing a series of B12 shots. Whether these help you detox excess toxins or supply needed B12 to your nerves, B12 shots seem to work when muscle pain is stubborn.

The ultimate goal is to find the cause of the muscle pain – autoimmune, chronic viral infections, hormonal issues can cause stubborn, aggravating muscle pain. There are some temporary help options for these ailments but until you get to the bottom (turn off the spicket) of whatever’s feeding the inflammation in the muscles, the relief is temporary.

Cheers to healthy, functioning muscles! If you need help with your muscle pain, we the team at Journey of Health are here to help you find your answers.

Practicing Mindfulness

“Mindfulness” has become a popular word, but what does it mean, exactly? Here are some thoughts that have been proposed as definitions:

Being aware
Taking time
Making space for yourself or for another
Listening to your own feelings
Being okay with what comes to mind

Mindfulness is all these things. Recognizing our feelings and sensations, and learning how they resonate in our bodies, is mindfulness. Making the connection between cause and effect is mindfulness. Seeing things for what they are and accepting that we cannot control everything are mindfulness.

I often ask my patients unusual questions, such as, “When was the first time you felt [a certain way] and what were you doing right before you felt it?” Or, “What is the sensation of pain that you feel?” Some patients have not considered these questions, and may be caught off guard by them. They may be difficult questions for some patients to answer. Many patients feel strong sensations but get caught up in the symptoms without stopping to consider the connections to experiences or lifestyle.

There was a gentleman in my office who suffered from ADHD, low energy, and sleep disturbances. He improved after a regimen of herbs, homeopathy, and nutrition changes. However, there was one symptom that seemed too stubborn to improve – his red throat. His throat seemed angry without cause. For some reason, there was an obstacle to healing for him. I asked him to consider the things that he was having difficulty swallowing and about which he was unable to speak. Receptive to the idea, the gentleman went home to consider my questions. He reported back that anger was the dominant emotion he was experiencing and that he was unable to speak of. Once he made this breakthrough, we were able to resolve the symptom of his red throat.

It takes mindfulness to know ourselves, connect the physical to the mental and the environmental, and to find the tools that will help rejuvenate our health, balance, and wellness.

Five Reasons Naturopathic Medicine Lowers Your Family’s Healthcare Costs

1. More Treatment Options
Journey of Health Medical Clinic offers more treatment options than traditional medicine. At a typical doctor’s office visit, you will be given one treatment option (maybe two), and usually treatment will consist of a drug. In our clinic, patients often walk out with a treatment plan consisting of 3 – 5 parts, and may include diet advice, herbs in the form of teas, tinctures or pills, lifestyle changes, water treatments, supplements, and handouts to answer our most common questions.

2. Less Expensive Care
Journey of Health Medical Clinic offers less expensive treatments. In our clinic, we are very sensitive to financial needs. We will always offer less expensive alternatives when needed. Many treatment options, such as teas, homeopathy, hydrotherapy, diet changes, and lifestyle changes, cost very little to begin with.

3. Less Need for Surgery
Treatment in our clinic reduces the need for expensive surgical procedures. We can offer non-surgical options that often bring about lasting results. We can still refer for surgery when needed and can help the patient get through the surgical and recovery processes.

4. Decreased Prescription Drug Costs
Journey of Health Medical Clinic can lessen the cost of prescription drugs. Our nutritional supplements and botanicals are less expensive but effective for medical problems. Many of our patients discontinue their prescription drugs since they no longer need them. We also reduce the costs associated with drug prescriptions. About 2% of drug prescriptions result in hospital admission and adverse reactions are the fifth leading cause of death in the US. In our clinic, we help identify nutritional deficiencies caused by drugs and work with the prescribing doctor to change the drug for those who experience adverse effects. Our treatments have a much better track record of avoiding serious and costly reactions.

5. Identifying Cause
At Journey of Health Medical Clinic, we address the cause of illness and eliminate expensive ongoing care. By treating the cause of disease, we eliminate the need for repeated, expensive, ineffective symptomatic treatment. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic testing, thorough discussion of history, and complete physical examination to diagnose the underlying cause of symptoms.