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Need-to-Know Facts About Your Sunscreen

We think of sunscreens as topical products, but the fact is that they contain ingredients that aid in the absorption of the product into the skin. Since these chemicals are being absorbed into your body, they’re actually measurable in the blood and urine, as well as in breast milk.

A recent study published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) states that some chemicals in sunscreen are detectable in the bloodstream after just one use. Repeated applications after swimming or sweating or even daily use results in a buildup of these chemicals in your body, and a significant amount of them remain there for at least twenty-four hours after the last use of a sunscreen product. This study prompted the FDA to begin a government safety study on the chemicals used in sunscreens.

Sunscreens are intended to be powerful enough to protect the skin against UV radiation from the sun while remaining gentle enough not to cause skin irritations. While some formulas may achieve these goals, others are causing skin reactions. It’s not a priority for manufacturers of many common sunscreens to consider the damaging effect that their ingredients may have on internal organs once absorbed through the skin, ingested when using lip balms, or inhaled from spray-on sunscreens. According to the nonprofit EWG (Environmental Working Group), between two and six of the following UV filter chemicals are used in most sunscreen products:

  • titanium dioxide
  • zinc oxide
  • oxybenzone
  • avobenzone
  • octisalate
  • octocrylene
  • homosalate
  • octinoxate

The EWG also determined that the majority of sunscreens don’t offer enough UV protection and at the same time, may contain harmful chemicals – a full 84 percent of 831 sunscreens EWG tested didn’t meet their health and environmental safety standards. The EWG states that chemical filters can disrupt hormones, which is supported by previous studies that showed possible links between oxybenzone and hormone changes in men, lower testosterone in boys, and shorter pregnancies as well as lower infant birth weights. Since certain sunscreen chemicals are detectable in breast milk, these chemicals are also being ingested by babies when breast feeding. There are environmental impacts as well – Hawaii, Key West and Palau have banned the use of products containing oxybenzone and octinoxate because they bleach coral and are hazardous to marine ecosystems.

Earlier this year, the FDA declared mineral filters – zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – safe for use in sunscreens. However, the FDA also stated that twelve of the most commonly used chemical filters lack data as to their safety for human use; the FDA currently plans to work with manufacturers to assess these ingredients in order to determine whether they pose health risks. Among those twelve ingredients are four chemicals that remain detectable in the bloodstream for at least twenty-four hours after only one use: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule.

That said, our skin still needs protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays – according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the US than all other cancers combined.” While it’s true that too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause problems ranging in severity from sunburn to skin cancer, our bodies need a certain amount of sunlight to make vitamin D and regulate the neurotransmitters that control our sleep/wake cycles and our moods.

There are safer ways to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging rays – these include choosing the right type of clothing to wear while outdoors, avoiding the sun during its peak hours (between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), and choosing safer sunscreens. The EWG website has many suggestions on how to avoid sunburn as well as sunscreen ratings from the safest to the least desirable so you can make better, safer choices for yourself and your family.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Stress, Hormones, and Poor Gut Function

A majority of Americans eat a diet which consists largely of high sugars and refined grains. This means that most Americans today suffer from instability in their blood sugar levels. The problem with this type of diet is that these foods are very rapidly converted into glucose and contribute to overeating, constant cravings, and poor nutrition. Contrary to popular belief, the worst possible breakfast to start your day with is a bowl of cereal, skim milk, and a banana. It is important to understand what is going to happen to your body if this is the food you choose to eat.

Hormonally, a few things happen. First, insulin drives blood sugar levels too low, creating a reactive hypoglycemic state. This may create feelings of irritability, moodiness, and an inability to focus. The body, and especially the brain, needs adequate levels of glucose to thrive. In addition to the negative effects low blood sugar has on the brain, it also stresses theadrenal glands. The adrenal glands regulate the stress response within the body. The adrenals release a hormone called cortisol, which is used to elevate blood sugar. You will therefore be trapped in a vicious cycle that sets you up for failure.

Cortisol is a hormone that is released by the adrenal gland in response to events such as waking up in the morning, exercising, and experiencing acute stress. Its far-reaching, systemic effects play many roles in the body’s effort to carry out its processes and maintain homeostasis. Cortisol therefore informs on cardiovascular health, blood sugar regulation, immune function, weight management, proper digestion and nutrient absorption, as well as other health matters.

Whether or not a particular individual’s stress levels will result in high cortisol levels and leaky gut is not readily predictable. The amount of cortisol secreted in response to stress can vary among individuals, and some people are inherently more reactive to stressful events. For example, women who secrete high levels of cortisol when they are under stress tend to eat more at those times than women who secrete less cortisol. Additionally, women with higher cortisol levels tend to store their excess fat in their abdominal area, and these women report having more lifestyle stress than women whose fat gets stored on their hips.

We do not necessarily know every time our body comes under attack. Also, sometimes we rationalize that certain foods are not really harmful for us but rather less than ideal, when in fact we know they are actually bad for us. However, eating foods that are rife with toxins and antigens or that consist of “empty calories” will damage your body. Insidious sources of strain on the body that cause widespread inflammation include refined sugar, anemia, stress, lack of sleep, cancer-causing free radicals, low-grade infections, and a “leaky gut” that lets food, waste, and pathogens freely enter our bodies.

Everything you eat either harms you or heals you, so it is vital to consume foods that enable the body to perform its vital functions and avoid foods that inhibit its performance.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Thyroid Hormones Part I: Misunderstood and Mismanaged

Statistics indicate that 27 million otherwise healthy people suffer with thyroid hormone disorders. Thyroid hormones are metabolic hormones, meaning that they are your energy producing hormones. This is significant because the 70+ trillion cells in your body require energy, and all are affected by thyroid function. The failure to meet this energy requirement affects every organ and system in your body, including the brain, which requires over 20 percent of the total energy demand.

That is why thyroid problems are not isolated problems. Think of the thyroid gland as the gas pedal – the feature that allows you to produce energy at the cellular level and function throughout the day. When the thyroid fails, you do too. When you suffer with anxiety or depression, you must look at the thyroid; high cholesterol, digestive problems, and diabetes – think thyroid. Obvious symptoms can include brain fog, constipation, insomnia, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, brittle nails, chronic pain, and more. Extreme cases can be debilitating.

The standard of care, medically speaking, for anyone with low thyroid is to prescribe replacement hormones forever and to monitor the results periodically, usually every six months, and adjust the dosage accordingly. For a minority of patients this is sufficient; for most, it is not. Unfortunately the replacement model might make your labs look normal, but it does not allow you to feel any better. The laboratory range for making a diagnosis is too narrow, and many people who need help are told they are “fine.”

An expanded blood test would perhaps indicate a T3, T4 conversion problem. Without a full thyroid panel, you’d never know. Nor would you know about a resistance to thyroid hormones problem, or a pituitary problem that does not show up on blood tests at all. Related to this is the fact that nine out of ten hypothyroid sufferers are actually autoimmune, which isn’t often tested for in the conventional medical model because it does not change the standard of care.

A second problem that is deeply misunderstood has to do with iodine supplementation. Nearly every single natural solution for thyroid includes a remedy based on iodine deficiency. Not only is this faulty science, but it is downright dangerous for the 90 percent of autoimmune thyroid patients to be supplementing this way. The unfortunate reality is that iodine is a cheap, commercially available ingredient used in almost every nutritional product targeted toward thyroid sufferers. The usage of iodine as a natural substitute for hormones is as altogether antiquated as the replacement model itself!

We live in a toxic world where the ability to maintain healthy thyroid function is crucial. Most doctors aren’t trained to think about the underlying causes of disease, such as toxic buildup, microbes, poor fuel delivery and nutrition, the ability to detoxify and eliminate wastes and manage blood sugar or restore health. From a functional medicine perspective, a good way to understand low thyroid function is to view it as a downstream problem, part of a whole health approach. Ruling out autoimmunity is step one, followed by a complete workup to assess hormone and nutrient status, gut barrier integrity, detoxification and waste elimination capabilities, liver function, infection, brain fitness, and so on.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Gut Problems and Low Thyroid

Functional gastrointestinal problems are common. In fact, about 1 in 4 people in the US are forced to limit their daily activities as a result of uncomfortable and embarrassing GI troubles. Chronic constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, delayed stomach emptying and gallbladder sludge can be symptoms of motility problems that are commonly seen in thyroid patients. The conditions account for almost half of the GI problems seen by doctors.

Functional problems can also involve the gut’s ability to secrete digestive enzymes that allow nutrient breakdown and absorption. Bloating, gas, smelly stools and bacterial overgrowth can be symptoms of these problems. Functional problems can also involve a condition called “leaky gut.” This is increased permeability of the intestinal lining, which can set off body-wide inflammation and increase the risk for autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thyroid hormones help maintain tight junctures between the cells lining the intestines and have been shown to protect gut mucosal lining from stress-induced ulcers.

Another important function (and increasingly understood role) of the gut is to host 70% of the immune tissue in the body. This portion of the immune system is collectively referred to as GALT, or gut-associated lymphoid tissue. The GALT comprises several types of lymphoid tissues that store immune cells, such as T&B lymphocytes, that carry out attacks and produce antibodies against antigens, molecules recognized by the immune system as potential threats. It is also a warehouse to living microbiota and organisms that are crucial to immune health.

Problems occur when these protective functions of the gut are compromised. When the intestinal barrier becomes permeable (i.e. “leaky gut syndrome”), large protein molecules escape into the bloodstream. Since these proteins don’t belong outside of the gut, the body mounts an immune response and attacks them. We also know that thyroid hormones strongly influence the tight junctions in the stomach and small intestine. These tight junctions are closely associated areas of two cells whose membranes join together to form the impermeable barrier of the gut. T3 and T4 have been shown to protect gut mucosal lining from stress induced ulcer formation.

Inflammation in the gut also reduces T3 by raising cortisol. Cortisol is a steroidal hormone that is released by the adrenal gland in response to everyday events such as waking up in the morning and exercising, but also during acute and chronic stress situations. Excessive cortisol load informs blood sugar regulation, immune function, weight management, proper digestion and nutrient absorption.  Women who secrete high levels of cortisol when they are under stress tend to eat more at those times than women who secrete less cortisol.  Additionally, since T3 is the ‘available’ or active form of thyroid hormone, thyroid activity further decreases as a result of how the gut is functioning.

Each cell in your body requires thyroid hormones to function properly. Because of this it’s no surprise that low thyroid activity–and the resulting low metabolism–can cause gastrointestinal trouble.  A lot of that trouble is “functional.” That is, it has to do with the way the gut functions in real life and is not some structural abnormality that will show up on endoscopy, x-rays or blood tests. These functional problems are likely to involve GI tract motility–the coordinated movement of food from top to bottom, not to mention acid reflux and GERD.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Hormone Imbalances and Fatigue

Contrary to popular belief, fatigue is not just an inevitable product of age. Instead it is a telltale sign of hormonal imbalances for both men and women. Fatigue is not simply the feeling of being tired. It is much deeper and includes a state of lethargy over an extended period of time. Chronic fatigue fosters a range of additional symptoms often typified by hormonal imbalance such as mood swings, insomnia, depression, anxiety and even hinders adrenal function.

As an aside, many of the most important hormones are actually made from cholesterol. It is the mother of all fat molecules in the body: a cornerstone of normal cell function and mood regulation. It is needed to maintain neurotransmitter and brain function, build brain and nerve tissue, and nourish the immune system. It provides the crucial insulation around nerves that transmit electrical impulses and helps to digest fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Indeed, it’s no wonder that fatigue, lethargy, a waning capability for work and everyday activities, brain fog, and so on, go hand in hand with hormone imbalances.

Cholesterol is often a feared term, and in my opinion, unnecessarily so. We rarely hear about why it is so crucial to our wellness and how it can be instrumental to hormonal balance and the production of vitamin D. In its natural, unstressed state, the liver makes 75% of the cholesterol needed. (However, because of alcohol, pharmaceuticals, environmental and food toxins and unprocessed anger, the liver is among the most overstressed organs in the body.) By depriving the body of cholesterol (and eating carbs and sugar instead), metabolism goes into famine mode causing the liver to overproduce cholesterol in order to make up the difference.

For men, fatigue is indicative of the male counterpart to menopause, known as andropause, and usually occurring between the ages of 45 and 55. Andropausal males not only exhibit low levels of testosterone overall, they will often become estrogen dominant. And since testosterone plays an important role in energy production, diminished levels are a major cause behind insomnia or sleep apnea, both of which contribute to fatigue in men.

For women, fatigue is especially prevalent during perimenopause and menopause. Obviously this leads to the belief that fatigue is an inevitable by-product of age. Instead, low estrogen levels (relative to the production of progesterone), many times found in menopause, can result in insomnia and night sweats, which contribute to fatigue. Diminished estrogen also causes irritability and mood swings in women which furthers exhaustion. Too little progesterone is also a problem. Low progesterone not only decreases sex drive, but contributes to a proliferative, estrogen dominant status.

Balancing hormones does not have to be an elusive scientific procedure filled with bio-identical replacements. We always recommend starting with root causes, such as environmental toxins, liver congestion, neurotransmitters in the brain, and reduction of the stress hormone cortisol, which, because of its survival component, will trump the production of all other hormones. This is the most natural and effective, lasting approach. When hormones are balanced, many things fall into place. Symptoms begin to lessen and disappear, energy levels increase and mood improves, thereby effectively reducing or eliminating the fatigue you have been experiencing.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Estrogen Dominance in Men and Women

Up until 60 years ago most women didn’t suffer from PMS, migraine headaches, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibrocystic disease, endometriosis, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, memory loss, low libido, osteoporosis, thyroid dysfunction, obesity, bloating, and so on. And certainly one out of eight were not diagnosed with breast cancer! Men weren’t as obese as they are now; they weren’t prescribed hypertensive drugs nearly as often as today (nor insulin and Metformin), nor was Viagra even on the radar screen.

Part of the problem is that literally in the space of a few decades enormous quantities of chemicals that our bodies cannot process have been dumped into our environment. Hormones themselves are chemical messengers, each with different functions (i.e., thyroid hormones affect metabolism, adrenal hormones respond to stress, reproductive hormones are self-explanatory). Hormones can be easily disrupted by lifestyle and environmental factors.

Even though we think of hormones as static, a number on a page, they are actually fluctuating daily as an adaptive response. They travel throughout the body attached to proteins. These are biologically inactive and are measured on a blood or salivary hormone test as a “Total” amount. In reality, this number has little to do with distribution, bioavailability, or performance and is influenced by many factors.

Some basic mechanisms that cause male and female hormone imbalances include:

  1. Once a woman enters perimenopause she is producing 35% of the progesterone she once did in her twenties while still producing about 75% of the estrogen. This imbalance between progesterone and estrogen creates a potentially proliferative environment for both breast and uterine tissue.
  2. Interestingly, over a woman’s lifetime she usually also has had far fewer pregnancies than her grandmother or the women before her. During pregnancy, a woman’s progesterone surges 300-400x over their baseline. This affords protective benefits by limiting estrogenic exposure.
  3. Men with blood sugar imbalances (i.e., diabetes, insulin resistance) will produce an excess of the enzyme aromatase that converts testosterone into estrogen. This leads to low libido, loss of erections, weight gain, development of breast tissue, and a more emotional state.
  4. Conversely, women will produce the enzyme 17,20 lyase that will convert estrogen into testosterone, causing hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth), PCOS, and related health problems.

In both men and women, there are more complicated underlying mechanisms that need to be addressed. Stress, for instance, produces the adrenal hormone cortisol. Cortisol interferes with the production of progesterone and causes an estrogen dominant state. Furthermore, estrogen has the longest half-life of all the sex hormones and is difficult for the liver to metabolize already. On top of that, a sluggish liver that is unable to process wastes and metabolize hormones will create estrogen dominance. Chronic infections, gut dysbiosis, and other gut issues such as poor digestion create a scenario in which estrogen hormones de-conjugate and absorb back into the bloodstream where they freely circulate.

Of particular concern is the use of hormone creams and replacement hormones that anti-aging experts (including alternative and mainstream practitioners) prescribe. I call it a failure of the Replacement Model. In this model, progesterone creams are applied liberally based on the notion that more progesterone will magically replace the lost progesterone due to aging. Or will magically counterbalance the loss of testosterone in men. In reality, this is not true. And with bioidentical hormones, after the initial “honeymoon” period, the results will wane (even though the dose gets stronger and stronger) because the related physiological factors and root causes have not been resolved. Proper testing includes a comprehensive workup for salivary hormones and a complete blood panel.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Clinical Pearls in Functional Endocrinology

Many of us are likely aware that hormone imbalances can contribute to many health complications. The logical next step is to have hormone levels checked and get them balanced. Sounds easy, but is it? Many people have gone to doctors and naturopaths who have attempted to their normalize hormone levels, only to find it is a game of whack-a-mole at best.

For those who have tried balancing hormones and found it to be an impossible task, the chances are that something significant is being overlooked. From hormone delivery methods to testing procedures and supplemental nutritional support, all aspects of hormone adjustments can be tweaked for maximum success.

Here are 6 pearls of clinical wisdom to help guide us down the challenging path towards optimal hormonal balance.

Pearl No. 1 – Hormone Delivery

Typically, effective hormone supplementation, especially progesterone and testosterone, are delivered either topically (creams) or sublingually (oil or alcohol based liquid solutions placed under the tongue). One potential drawback of creams—particularly for menopausal women—is that chronic use of hormone creams can lead to tissue saturation, thereby rendering them ineffective.

Pearl No. 2 – Repeat Testing

It is all too common to hear of doctors prescribing hormone creams or capsules but failing to run repeat tests soon enough, if ever, to monitor the effectiveness of a particular course of treatment. Regular follow-ups are essential because testing will show whether the regimen is balancing hormones in the right direct. Clinical success depends on monitoring the results and taking action every 8 to 12 weeks in the beginning.

Pearl No. 3 – Testing Methods

Many doctors will run blood tests to measure reproductive hormone levels; however, this is not necessarily the best approach. A better approach is salivary hormone testing that measures the free fractionated forms of each hormone so that it is possible to tell what amount of hormones is not just in the bloodstream, but actually available to cells and used.

Pearl No. 4 – Root Cause Investigation

What is “functional endocrinology”? While everyone agrees it is important to achieve hormonal balance in order to feel well, only a functional endocrinologist will inquire about the root cause of any imbalances present.

Supplementing hormones is by trial and through follow up, and with a comprehensive look at everything going on. There is a reason why a hormone imbalance is present in the first place, and we want to understand what that reason is.

Culprits include compromised adrenal function, blood sugar regulation, hormone receptor saturation, inflammation and brain-body communication. Administering hormones without addressing these root cause issues won’t work.

Pearl No. 5 – Supplement Overload

There are articles and advertisements all over the media touting the health benefits of new supplements and the latest products. However, consumers are mostly in the dark regarding what supplementation their body needs. Add to this a problem with product authenticity, harmful fillers, and potency. It is imperative to have a doctor prescribe high quality, all-natural, pre-screened products on a regimen tailored to an individual’s needs.

Pearl No. 6 – Hormone Clearance

An often overlooked but potent aspect to hormone balance is bile synthesis and clearance of excess saturation from the body. The liver must be supported to aid the body in pushing out excess hormones. Sometimes it is not only adding in hormones, but often pushing excess hormones out that can be key.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Freeing Yourself of the Standard Model of Treatment for Thyroid Hormones

It is widely understood throughout the medical community that low thyroid function is always secondary to something else, but they never consider the possibility (even likelihood) of it being caused by an autoimmune attack, i.e. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is when the thyroid becomes so toxic the body attacks it.

Patients are considered to be managed and treated properly when the TSH normalizes. But all that means is that the TSH is managed, while the underlying mechanism for low thyroid function (the autoimmune attack) is not. In many instances a doctor will even refuse to run thyroid antibodies, because most doctors don’t understand the underlying issue and so don’t see the point.

In conventional medicine, or what I call The Replacement Model, a drug, or in this case a hormone, is meant to replace actual physiology. Any symptoms that remain after the normalization of the TSH marker are attributed to some other cause. In other words, the prevailing medical thinking is that since the TSH reads as “normal” on your lab report, or outside the laboratory range for prescribing medicine, your symptoms are resolved, and the drug you are taking has worked as a perfect replacement for actual thyroid hormone. If your symptoms have not in fact resolved, they must be because of something else, because look, your labs are normal!

This kind of circular thinking is chronic in the medical community.

For example, if your TSH levels are “normal,” but you are still experiencing depression, then your medical doctor or psychiatrist will give you antidepressants. Never mind that depression and hypothyroid issues are often linked.

If you haven’t had this kind of experience yet, you probably will. You will go into your doctor’s office because you STILL suffer with the same symptoms, and in an attempt to move you out of the office in the allotted 10 minutes for your visit, your doctor is going to shove an anti-depressant prescription at you, and tell you that it will help alleviate some of the symptoms, implying that it’s all in your head.
In most cases, since the actual autoimmune response is ignored, over time you will continue to lose more thyroid activity. This is what most of you suffer from. And as the requirements for your thyroid replacement hormone prescription continue to rise, you will continue to have symptoms and be ignored.
Something else needs to be done. Get your thyroid checked properly, and get it healed, not just “managed.”

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

A Case of Nerves

Neuropathy is painful and scary. It affects 10-20 million people in the US, especially those with Type 2 diabetes who have a 50 per cent chance of developing this condition. Medical treatment for neuropathy is limited and can include prescriptions for anti-depressants, anti-seizure medications, and pain suppressants like oxycodone and other dangerous drugs. These medications may mask the problem for a while, but often they can cause side effects and lead to even worse issues.

A good example of this is Lola B, a young woman who was experiencing neuropathy, evidenced by tingling and numbness down her entire right side that was progressing into her foot. She also had neck pain and auras in her left eye that dominated her peripheral vision all day, every day. These ocular disturbances are migraines. She scheduled to see a neurologist in order to get to the bottom of her pain, and ended up being placed on mood-altering drugs instead.

Her neurologist ruled out any pathological cause for the migraines such as tumor, blood clot or stroke, and she was diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). She was prescribed medications that effectively alleviated the auras and masked the pain, but in less than a month, these symptoms returned. Not only that, these strong medicines caused unwanted side effects such as depression, feelings of worthlessness and unwelcome thoughts. So her neurologist would proceed to take her off one medication, put her on another, and wait-and-see the result.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to pain or any other health issues; obviously, every case is unique and each requires a tailored approach. Neurological pain can be reduced or even eliminated through in-office treatments, dietary changes and nutritional supplements. In Lola’s case she was young, still in school needed a better solution – one that would allow her to function normally, and she was hoping for one that was more holistic.

Lola’s auras disappeared once we balanced her hormones and stabilized her blood sugar. In other words, by supporting her blood sugar and hormonal spikes, we could control the migraines. Next, she needed visualization techniques that would allow her to alleviate her anxiety. In the past, she would experience this as inward trembling, which could also be attributed to blood sugar and thyroid issues. These treatments were coupled with neurological exercises that she could do at home to improve the neuropathy. She also began a nutritional regimen to reduce inflammation and pain.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.

Are Your Emotions Preventing Your Good Health? 12 Tips for Emotional Healing

Most people don’t see a connection between emotional issues and physical pain or good health, but the relationship between them is actually quite powerful. In fact, emotional healing is a necessary component of physical healing; deep emotional pain, especially for people who have little or no support system, can lead to self-sabotage and the belief that there is no hope of recovery.

The good news is that everyone has the power to heal within them. We’re born with it, but because of various circumstances and events that occur throughout our lives and in our surroundings, we lose our connection to it. However, we can reconnect with that important healing energy within ourselves by implementing some proven methods to change our internal messages and create a happier, healthier future.

“Everyone has the power to heal within them.”

The plan I use to help my patients become more open to the healing process includes these steps:

  1. Consciously invest your resources toward what you believe you can create.
  2. Envision a version of you that is healthy (even if it requires you to stop being the person everyone thinks you are).
  3. Learn and study using the guidance of a trusted authority whether a doctor or mentor who can assist you to implement this vision.
  4. Anticipate at least 30 days to create a new habit and begin by scripting each day.
  5. Notice what’s keeping you the way you are in order to overcome habits and attachments that hold you back.
  6. Use newfound time and energy to continuously monitor and adapt.
  7. Halt the automatic repetition of the past by acknowledging the scars and wounds that no one else can see and moving beyond them.
  8. Prepare at home.
  9. Focus on the outcome you’d like to create. There are a million futures we don’t want to create and only one that we do want to have happen.
  10. Find comfort in the uncertainty as it’s happening.
  11. Work to achieve authenticity, which is the standard of credibility for becoming a new person. If in the beginning you feel like an actor moving from role to role, through repetition you will achieve a feeling of who you are inside and out.
  12. Learn optimism and joy in the smallest of things.

It isn’t always easy to understand what’s at the root of our emotional pain; there can be a difference between what we think the problem is on the surface and what the original cause and core emotions are underneath. In my practice, I have helped many of my patients push past the emotional blockades that are not allowing them to live their lives to the fullest, whether due to physical pain, depression, illness, lack of focus or any other issue. By learning how to redirect your thoughts away from damaging emotions and negative energy and instead turning them toward healing and positive beliefs, you can help both your physical and emotional healing process. You’ll be surprised at how much your life and health can improve.

Find out what you need to know about your thyroid hormone or health disorder diagnosis today, and get health news updates via Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and The Wellness Essentials newsletter.

If you’d like to leave a question for me to answer in a future blog, you can do that via social media or email.

For more information about my clinic in Oradell, NJ, including Functional Medicine, Neurology & Nutrition, and The Grassroots Medicine Initiative, please call (201) 261-5430.