Customized Medicines

Customized Medicines
Dr. Sonja O'Bryan, Pharm.D., ABAAHP Board Certified Health Practitioner Diplomate-American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine: "Creative Medicines" for Hormones-Weight-Pain-Fatigue-Skin Diseases-Pediatrics-Autoimmune Disorders-Veterinary Needs. Using Complimentary, Integrative, Regenerative, Bio-Identical, and Lifestyle Medicine For Health and Healing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's GREAT to B Complex!!

No doubt I love anti-aging, functional, integrative, and regenerative medicine. I'm now getting referrals from physicians who want to incorporate some of the natural therapies into the mix for their patients. I had a young mother sent by her doctor a few months ago to ask what we could do for her young son who continually gets infections and as a result, breathing difficulties. I directed her to some simple "wellness" essentials to bolster his immune system in nursing him back to health. Interestingly, we have not filled any prescription medicine for him in awhile, but mom keeps coming back for the supplements. It's a great thing to be able to advise on complimentary medicines.

Today's blog gives particular focus on the B vitamins. WOW!!! In my research I couldn't believe all of the unusual symptoms that can be brought on by a B deficiency. Cracks at the corners of the mouth, flaking skin, migraines, cholesterol problems, and constipation are just a few of the things you will discover in this blog today. Young women on birth control pills and women on hormone replacement therapies for an extended period of time can expect vitamin B deficiencies because of the metabolic processes required to use the hormones appropriately in the body.

Please take time to read each deficiency and what can happen, but even further, get on a B COMPLEX vitamin asap. We carry a high pharmaceutical grade formulation that provides these and other key vitamin essentials.

The B vitamins are critical to our bodies and deficiencies can result in the most unusual of symptoms. This is a little breakdown of the key B vitamins and what they do, the deficiency related symptoms, and the primary anti-aging functions of certain B vitamins. I hope that after reading this you will realize that high pharmaceutical grade B COMPLEX vitamins can change things from the inside-out.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Recent studies suggest that high-dose B1 supplementation can help diabetics reduce their risk of kidney disease by reducing the spilling of protein in the urine by as much as 40%. B1 is also known as the "morale" vitamin because it helps convert carbs into energy, promotes growth, aids in digestion, and is essential for nerves, muscles, and the heart.

Symptoms of B1 deficiency:
mental illness, paralysis of some eye muscles, foot drop, decreased sensation in the legs and feet along with a "burning" sensation in the feet. Alcohol interferes with B1 absorption and leads to some of these problems in those who consume alcohol regularly.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

B2 is manufactured in the body by the intestinal flora and helps in the metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbs. B2 may be useful in people with severe burns, chronic diarrhea, cirrhosis of the liver, alcoholism, and cancer. People who exercise a lot typically have an increased need for B2 supplementation. B2 may also reduce the frequency of migraine headaches. It also has shown benefit for patient with degenerative eye diseases.

Symptoms of B2 deficiency:
Cheilosis (cracks at the corner of the mouth), frayed and scaling lips, eczema, flaking skin around the nose, eyebrows, chin, cheeks, earlobes, and hairline; bloodshot, watering, itching, and fatigued appearing eyes, "pins and needles" sensations, weakness, moodiness, nervousness, and irritability can all be connected to B2 deficiency.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin, Niacinamide, Nicotinic Acid, Nicotinamide)

Benefits: Cholesterol reduction, protection of cognitive function, and in improving memory in Alzheimers disease. B3 also helps in the synthesis of hormones.

Symptoms of B3 Deficiency:
pellagra (symptoms include dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia), bright red tongue, sore tongue and gums, canker sores, mental illness, changes in the five senses, rheumatoid arthritis, weakness, irritability, recurring headaches, indigestion, bad breath, insomnia, and small ulcers.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid, Panthenol)

B5 is necessary to make acetylcholine and coenzyme A which play an important role in energy release from fats, protein, and carbs. It also helps to synthesize steroids and antibodies to fight infections. B5 is important for the health of the adrenal glands and the production of cortisone.
It is sometimes called an "anti-stress" vitamin because it boosts the immune system and helps the body to withstand stressful conditions. It also has gained attention as a weight loss agent.

Symptoms of B5 Deficiency:
burning sensation in the feet, enlarged tongue, eczema, restlessness, muscle cramps, constipation, depression, overwhelming fatigue, allergies, arthritis, gout, and graying hair.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

B6 metabolizes proteins, fats, and carbs. It also helps in maintaining a healthy nervous and blood system. It is required for the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells and antibodies to fight infection. It also helps lower homocysteine levels and reduces the risk of cancers, especially of the colon where the risk was lowered by 20%.

Symptoms of B6 Deficiency:
greasy, scaly dermatitis between the eyebrows, low blood sugar, numbness in the hands and feet, motion sickness, kidney stones, excessive fatigue, cradle cap in babies, and much more. Government surveys suggest that 1/3 of American adults suffer from B6 deficiency!

Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)

Benefits: Formation of red and white blood cells are dependent on B12. Experts think that as many as 1 in 5 people have a B12 deficiency. Increased cognitive function, energy, and muscle strength all can be realized by having appropriate B12 levels in the body. An even more important deal with B12 is that it helps reduce homocysteine levels which we know contributes to heart disease.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency:

Cognitive decline, fatigue, poor immunity, heart disease, a sore tongue that appears shiny, numbness and tingling in the extremities, weak pulse, stiffness, drowsiness, and irritability can all be connected to this key vitamin deficiency.

So what do you do with all this information? GET ON A GREAT B COMPLEX VITAMIN!! It's great to B Complex!! (smile) Again, we carry a physician formulated "B"ooster vitamin that covers all of these B vitamins. If you wish to get guidance on a great supplementation regimen, I'm your girl. It just makes sense that supplementing these core nutrients is good medicine.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Uncommonly Common Climacteric Changes of the Uro-zone

I couldn't help but revisit an informational folder I have been collecting over the years of doing customized medicine on the topic of vaginal pain syndromes.  My BLOG title today is uncommonly common because this somewhat "common" alphabet soup of symptoms is "uncommonly" talked about in the outside world.  I don't mind talking about it at all because I actually make a living on helping find answers for troublesome symptoms such as this through creative medicines.  Let me give you a little insight into what happens in the urogenital zone as women age. 

During the reproductive years, three estrogens of importance are Estradiol, Estrone, and Estriol.  About five years before actual menopause, the production of Estradiol begins to decline, and after menopause the production ceases almost completely. Consequently, estrone and estriol become the main circulating estrogens.  This decrease and shift of estrogens commonly brings noticeable changes such as hot flashes, atrophy (thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen), and an increased risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. 

Studies have indicated that 50% of otherwise healthy women over 60 years have symptoms of urogenital atrophy.  That's 1 in 2 and thus why I call it common.  The symptoms are vaginal dryness, pain, itching, urination complaints, recurrent vaginal infections and urinary tract infections.  The answer is often estrogen replacement therapy and we have tons of patients that get a common (there's that word again) formulation to help with these problems.  In fact, the OB/GYN's that we collaborate with will order a customized formulation for their patients needing some help in this area. (literally)

Lichen Sclerosis (LS) is another Uro-zone problem that can be associated with hormone deficiency.  LS is a benign and progressive skin disease that creates patchy, white skin usually around the genital area.  It can affect both men and women at any age, but usually is found in menopause aged females.  Some medical articles suggest that androgen deficiency (testosterone) is a culprit and that testoserone replacement therapies applied to the affected area can help promote healthy skin and healing of the wounds associated with this condition.  A soothing base can be used to promote good saturation of the therapy into the diseased tissue which gives great relief to those who suffer from this.

Sometimes with vaginal area pain there can be a neuropathic process causing pain sensitivity affecting activities of daily living.  Working with a physician to determine if the issue is related to muscle constriction of the pelvic floor, involvement of the hormonal system, genetic and disease factors, or sexually transmitted diseases is important in determining a plan of action for creative medicine interventions.  Very effective creams, suppositories, and sprays can be customized and formulated to control multiple issues contributing to the pain and on a per individual basis.

I think it's so important for women and men to know that there are options in treating these conditions.  And believe me, throughout the years, I have responded to these needs many, many times. We can cover a lot of territory (literally) in the creative medicines that we provide for these and other things. Simply talking with your personal healthcare provider is the first step in getting help.  Feel free to connect with me or have your doctor contact me about your concerns and failed attempts at healing through other medicines and means.  We are here to help in finding your answer through the means of creative medicine.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hormones and Arthritis

There are so many links to hormone deficiency that people do not give attention to. This is the reason the BLOG has become so popular I suppose.  And by the way, the BLOG is going across the globe which our team considers AMAZING.  This morning we picked up a few readers in China, Germany, and the Ukraine.  That means more and more people are being educated about their journey to health and wellness and we are a part of it.  Yeah!!

Today I wanted to highlight a common thing that I hear in my office.  Many times men and women feel that aches and pains are just a "normal" part of the aging process and something they will "just have to live with".  I put this is quotations, because these are the specific words I hear over and over again.  Many clinical studies show us that appropriately balanced hormone replacement therapy can minimize the stiffness and popping that seems to creep up on men and women as they age.  For women it's the voice of the joints screaming for Estrogen and in men for Testosterone. 

Conventional standards would require x-rays of the joints, and if severe, a blood test to rule out rheumatoid arthritis.  Then once the early osteoarthritis diagnosis is handed out, traditional medications will be started that often will include NSAID's (Anti-inflammatory medicine's like ibuprofen, naproxen, Celebrex, steroid injections, and topical creams.)  Sadly, the band-aids of medicine are applied with the same end result (although prolonged) of irreversible joint damage requiring new knees, and hips in the end. 

If you are a recent hysterectomy patient, in the late years of perimenopause, or trekking through menopause, please pay attention to how the joints are feeling.  If you are a male patient and you notice that you just can't play those golf and basketball games without hurting all over, this BLOGS for you too.  Yes, aging does bring on aches and pains, but can be exaggerated and influenced by hormone deficiency.  Get your hormone levels checked!!  This is good medicine, because it restores back what is lost.  Bio-identical Hormones will turn on the right proteins, transmitters, and bone builders to get things reset to the normal range.  Rheumatology and Arthritis journals are packed with information about this with the results showing reduced pain and inflammation if treated with hormone replacement therapy.  There's even a load of information about FIBROMYALGIA pain and hormone deficiency. 

Here are some other anti-inflammatory remedies to add on to this topic:
1) Vegetable Juicing Diets- You can read about this is Dr. Andrew Sauls book "Doctor Yourself".
2) Weight Loss- Fat produces inflammatory chemicals and your joints suffer to carry the extra load.
3) Herbs-Boswellia, Ginger, Curcumin, and Omega 3 Fish Oils.
4) Cartilage Builders-Glucosamine, Chondroitin, walking and exercise, Vitamin C, Silica, Collagen, and MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane)

What about Carpal Tunnel or Trigger Finger pain?
There is a simple vitamin that can be used to help combat this problem which is vitamin B6, but you have to use the activated form.  Remember, not all supplements are created equal as I've mentioned in other BLOGS.  If you notice that the back of your hands are puffy and swollen and if you cannot touch the tips of your fingers to your palm, you might benefit from this readily available vitamin.  This sign is called a positive "Ellis sign" indicating that a trial of V-B6 is in order.  The usual dosage is 20mg 3 times daily of the activated pyridoxal-5-phosphate form. 

So, is this you?  Are your joints killing you?  (Literally) I believe in traditional medicine for sure, it's the way I was trained, but I also believe there are many other contributors to joint pain that have to be investigated in the overall scheme of things before just medicines alone are used to combat the problem.  Testing hormone values is a GREAT place to start if you are wanting to "move" in the right direction with your joint paint.  I have an entire selection of these additional supplements and herbal products that could help you feel truly "NORMAL" again.  Give me a call and I'll help.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Anti-Aging Skin Care-Winning the War on Wrinkles

Our skin is one of the largest organ systems we have.  In fact, the human integumentary system  accounts for 1/6 of our total body weight.  It is designed primarily to be a barrier system to the environment both inside and outside of the body.  Some of it's functions include keeping fluid and electrolyte balance, temperature control, sensory perception, and a healthy immunity.  As we age, the skin has a tendency to become thinner and more prone to infections and cancers. Some of that is due to our poor lifestyle behaviors like sun exposure and some of it is due to the nature of aging and hormone imbalance.  In fact, women on hormone therapy in blinded scientific studies tend to look on average 8 years younger. 

We are now providing a full line of Anti-aging and medicinal skin care products that can be purchased over the counter.  The ingredients, I can tell you, are the most key cosmeceutical agents known to restore skin integrity, minimization of fine lines and wrinkles, and moisture restoration.  Problem skin?  No problem!!  We can make recommendations on things from rosacea to acne to the more common things like oily or dry skin problems.  I have been using the product line for several months now and I have seen dramatic results in my own skin "issues". 

The behavior and lifestyle of "sun-seeking" individuals has been a primary contributor to skin cancer.  It is believed that 90% of skin cancers are diagnosed at or after the age of 45.  The incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers has risen at varying, but persistently alarming rates across the industrialized world.  Annual incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers exceeds that of ANY OTHER cancer 5 fold.  What you thought was a great suntan in your 20's has now become a reason to have an assessment of your wrinkled skin today.  Or maybe you have age spots and unusual demarkations of the skin that seem to appear overnight.  They might disappear with something as simple as a glycolic peel available through our skin care line.  But, those can also be warning signs of something that is commonly diagnosed as basal cell carcinoma.  It's worth getting an analysis and starting treatments to minimize the problem. 

For women the changes in hormone imbalance that menopause brings with it can change the skin tissue in many areas of the body.  For today's blog I will focus on the face.  There are studies that clearly identify rapid aging associated with hormone decline.  Aging skin is at greater risk of breakdown and failure.  It is characterized by a thinner epidermis which presents sometimes with a crepe looking appearance around the eyes and on the neck area. 

In providing hormone consultations and recommendations to patients for many years now, I can tell you that the issue of skin always comes up.  This is one of the reasons that we felt we needed to address this concern and frustration of women.  So, our team is excited to share that we have chosen the Rx Skin Therapy line to use in our pharmacy. 

I have reviewed many products over the years for friends and family wanting to try something new, but this line we have chosen is based on the premise of science and quality in manufacturing.  I had the privilege of meeting with the product developer (Dr. Kristen Riddle) personally and was amazed at her thoughts and awareness of all aspects of skin care.  This started out as something small she offered to her hormone therapy patients and then grew to the point of mass distribution throughout the country. 

Please stop by or call for a personal evaluation of your skin needs and we can help you win the war on wrinkles and other skin related concerns.  I promise you will love the options we can provide for you.  We should all be diligent with our skincare.  As noted about, it is a BIG deal to our appearance, and more importantly, to our health. 

To your good SKIN health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

So, You've Been Told Your Thyroid Is Normal....

Here's some thoughts on thyroid from an expert Dr. K. Holtorf.  Just sharing his posts about thyroid disorder.  I think you will have an "Aha" moment about the way you have been feeling even if you have been told that everything with your thyroid is "NORMAL".  So, have you been told your thyroid is normal?  Yes?  Then you might want to read these comments.

The TSH (or Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is the test that most doctors use to screen for hypothyroidism. But this test actually measures how well the pituitary is “talking” to the thyroid gland, rather than measuring actual thyroid hormones or, more importantly, the level of thyroid activity in the body . Patients are often frustrated because their TSH test results are “normal,” and their doctor tells them nothing is wrong. This standard testing does not catch 80% of patients who have low thyroid hormone levels.

The overwhelming majority of doctors and endocrinologists use Synthroid, which is the inactive thyroid hormone T4, and hope your body converts it to the active thyroid hormone T3. The problem is that the conversion of T4 (the storage hormone) to T3 (the active hormone) can be reduced in anyone with significant stress, depression, history of dieting, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease, chronic inflammation, chronic infections, PMS, iron deficiency, and many more conditions. Thus, T3-containing preparations and straight time-released T3 is much more effective for the majority of people.

Most physicians, including endocrinologists, feel that a suppressed TSH is an indication that the dose of thyroid should be reduced (except with thyroid cancer). While a suppressed TSH may be an indication the patient is hyperthyroid, this study found that was the case only 20% of the time. In other words, doctors who make the assumption that a suppressed TSH means over-replacement and decrease the dose based on the suppressed TSH will be wrong 80% of the time because 80% of the time a suppressed TSH was shown not to be an indication that the patient was hyperthyroid or receiving too much thyroid replacement. Unfortunately, most physicians, including endocrinologists, lack of ability or confidence to clinically evaluate a patient’s thyroid status and lack understanding of the limitations of standard thyroid function tests, which has resulted in the majority of hypothyroid patients receiving inadequate doses of thyroid replacement.

I customize T3/T4 thyroid replacement therapies for patients who just don't do well with T4-only replacement therapy.  If you have been told that your numbers are "normal", but you don't feel "normal", then it's worth getting a second, or even a third opinion. 

To your good health,
Dr. sonja

Blood Pressure Supplements

High blood pressure (Hypertension) is the result of genetics, lifestyle, and environment.  The hunter-gatherer existence has been replaced by a high tech industrial life that is dependent on mechanical processing for our food supply.  The transition in diets from 'living off the land' to our modern sources has left us with an epidemic of nutritionally-related diseases which include hypertension and heart disease.  An integrative approach that uses nutrition, supplements, minerals, and functional foods along with exercise, weight loss, and judicious use of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, combined with optimal pharmacology agents is the best means to reduce blood pressure.

In this blog I want to cover some of the best options to help reduce blood pressure if yours seems to be climbing into the unsafe zone on a consistent basis.  As you see from this picture I incorporated, a healthy blood pressure is critical to other organ systems.  It's worth keeping in check.  These are all integrative approaches to not only minimize the problem, but also to restore balance of nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to the problem. Here's a list I've put together of known blood pressure reducers.  They are in no certain order of effectiveness.

1.  Potassium: Numerous trials have demonstrated a significant reduction in BP with increased dietary potassium intake.  In fact Anti-Aging medicine practitioners recommend a 5:1 ratio of potassium to sodium. 

2.  Magnesium:  Magnesium competes with sodium to bind on smooth muscle and acts like a calcium channel blocker.  This dilates the vessels with an end result of reducing BP.  All magnesiums are not created equal.  We carry a prescribed supplement line that is rated high pharmaceutical grade.

3.  Calcium: a 23% reduction in the risk of developing hypertension was noted in individuals with an intake of 800mg/day versus those who only took 400mg/day. 

4.  Protein: in particular whey protein and sardine muscle protein are good sources.  Sardine muscle protein contains valyl-tyrosine which significantly lowers BP by serving as a natural ACE inhibitor like  ramipril, lisinopril, enalapril, etc.

5.  Omega Fish Oils: Eating cold water fish 3 times per week is as effective as high-dose fish oil in reducing BP, and the protein in the fish also has anti-hypertensive effects.  If you are not a fish lover, then you better stick with the capsules.  Extra virgin olive oil has 5mg of phenols in 10grams of olive oil and is rich in antioxidants and known to help reduce blood pressure.  Again, all fish oils are not created equal.  The source of fish is important and the ratio of components is equally important. We carry a cardiologist formulated blend and can ship a supply to your home.  I use this blend myself on a DAILY basis.

6. Fiber: Fiber helps, but unfortunately you have to eat a lot of foods rich in fiber to reduce blood pressure.  For instance; 60g/day of oatmeal, 40g/day of oat bran, 3 g/day of beta glucan, or 7g/day of psyllium.  Fiber rich foods are always great to have on board.  Supplementing your regular diet with fiber is a great idea and is known to help a host of other problems as well.

7.  Garlic: Good clinical trials utilizing the correct type and dose of garlic have shown consistent reduction of BP in hypertensive patients.  One needs the amount contained in four gloves of garlic (4g) to achieve significant BP reduction.  Garlic capsules are available so don't feel that you have to chomp down on raw garlic cloves to have benefit.  And....we want your personal neighbors to be able to withstand the smell.  :)

8.  Seaweed: Wakame is the most popular, edible seaweed in Japan.  In humans, 3.3 g/day of dried wakame for 4 weeks significantly reduced blood pressure.  Our Western diets are pitiful compared to those ethnics groups who live near water. They also have reduced thyroid disease compared to Americans who have limited iodine intake these day. 

9.  Vitamin C: An initial loading dose of 2000mg followed by 500mg/day can help as an antioxidant, but also helps to recycle vitamin E which improves the endothelium and also acts as a diuretic.

10.  Vitamin D: catch my blog on Vitamin D-eficiency for more about this CRITICAL vitamin.

11.  Vitamin B-6: The participation of VB-6 in neurotransmitter and hormone biosynthesis along with amino acid reactions account for it's antihypertensive effects.  B vitamins are an essential to good health in so many ways.

12. Lycopene: This is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, guava, pink grapefruit, watermelon, apricots, and papaya and beneficial for blood pressure patients.

13.  CoQ10:  Blood levels of CoQ10 decline with age and are found to be lower in patients with diseases characterized by oxidative stress such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and atherosclerosis. There is a high correlation of CoQ10 deficiency and hypertension.  CoQ10 is also very deficient in patients who take cholesterol lowering agents.  Again, I carry a high pharmaceutical grade blend here in the store and recommend it to anyone with heart disease and those on "statin" therapy. 

14.  Alpha Lipoic Acid: ALA helps to recirculate tissue and blood levels of vitamins and antioxidants with an end result of lowered blood pressure.

15.  L-Arginine: Patients with high blood pressure have high levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine which inactivates Nitric Oxide a known blood pressure reducer.  L-Arginine helps form NO so that it is restored.

16. Taurine: Patients with high blood pressure tend to be low on Taurine.  Studies indicate that Taurine lowers blood pressure and heart rate.  It's a good component to look for in multi-vitamin formulations.

17.  Celery: Studies have demonstrated a significant reduction in BP with 3-N-Butyl Phthalide, a component of celery oil.  Celery relaxes smooth muscle and lowers blood pressure. Consuming 4 stalks per day has an antihypertensive effect along with having diuretic effects.  Add celery to your diet.

18.  Hawthorne:  Acts as a diuretic to help reduce fluid retention and extra work on the heart.  I have great success stories from patients who have added the natural supplement Hawthorne to their regimen.

19.  Estrogen:  transdermal estrogen acts as a vasodilator and helps to reduce blood pressure in women who are estrogen deficient.   I have a study in my office from a popular OB/GYN magazine called  showing a 10 point reduction in systolic and diastolic pressures at the end of 1 year from simply balancing hormones.  Again I will say that hormones touch everything in our bodies.  I think everyone should be tested at 45-50 years old. I can help with that, no problem. Call me for a testing kit.

As you can see, it's one thing to take your prescribed blood pressure medicine to lower systolic and diastolic numbers, but many natural sources can also be implemented into your daily regimen.  We now stock various high pharmaceutical grade supplements that have to be dispensed by a licensed healthcare provider.  I would be happy to discuss integrative supplements to help you lower your blood pressure values and restore your good health for the long haul.   Give me a call and let's implement supplements for wellness into your program before disease strikes. 

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"The Pill" Revealed

The thought that the Pill is a safe and natural way to correct hormone imbalances has led to it's wide range of use for alleviating painful periods, but also for things such as correcting acne.  You can now watch TV commercials promoting The Pill for complexion problems.  It seems to me as I've sat in this chair for many years helping to identify and treat hormone imbalances that puberty is becoming medicalised.  Why do I have say that?  Well, for one, I have two daughters who are at that age of change so I have a keen awareness of it, but also because it can take several years for a teenagers menstrual cycles to balance out.  I've seen girls as young as 13 prescribed The Pill for acne and to "regulate" their periods. 

In 1940 when contraceptives with oestrogenic chemicals ("synthetics" by the way) were introduced, the rates of breast cancer were much lower than they are today.  We now have technologies that will determine which kinds of breast cancer tumors grow as a result of estrogen exposure, ER+ or not ER+.  The Kaiser Permanent tumor registry in the U.S. revealed that from 1974 to 1985 the incidence of ER+ breast tumors rose 131 percent.  Dr. Max Cutler gave a US Senate Hearing testimony in 1970 after investigating the pill.  His reports of breast biopsies for the same patients 2 and 3 times (before and after the start of The Pill) showed "increased cellular activity" and in his words, "the risk is a potential time bomb with a fuse at least 15-20 years in length."  (Hmmmm?  Boy does that statement resound truth today). 

Dr. Clair Chilvers released a story in the Lancet in 1989 showing women using the Pill between 49-96 months had a 43% greater risk of breast cancer and users >97 months had a 74% greater risk.  Another paper that same year in the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that women on The Pill for at least 4-10 years and beginning early in life have a 40-70% greater risk of premenopausal breast cancer than do women who never took The Pill.  Harvard School of Public Health even weighed in on a landmark study showing that women who took the pill before age 20 and later diagnosed with cancer had tumors with worse prognoses than those never taking The Pill or who started on it later in life.

This is just one aspect of the introduction of The Pill to our society.  Cervical Cancer concerns are another problem and a very commonly diagnosed problem in young women.  Not only have the rates of cervical cancer increased, but the incidence of STD's have also increased.  The Pill ushered in sexual freedom resulting in increased prevalence of sexually transmitted infections and venereal diseases simply due to assumed "protections".  A form of viral infections is genital warts known as HPV (human papillomavirus). It's a double edged sword because HPV (human pappilomavirus) common to cervical cancer patients is stimulated by The Pill.  The risk of cervical cancer is 50% higher for Pill users according to a study in the American Journal of Obstretics and Gynecology.  Those "protections" have really caused disease in the end.

I'm asked all the time about my thoughts on oral contraceptives.  Today we are in a better position than back in the 1940's when high doses of contraceptives were introduced, but overall, I am not an advocate for The Pill unless there is an endocrine disorder than needs management and the benefits and risks have been shared to the user.   Using contraceptives for complexion and menstrual regularity in a young cycling female is NOT the best way to go.  The statistics speak for themselves in terms of the risks (I think you would agree) after reading this.  I'm not sure what the next 30-40 years will show us on this topic, but I think the evidence thus far is very concerning.  My opinion is that treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis, and infertility are managed best by using bio-identical hormone replacement therapies such as natural progesterone, integrative therapies such as metformin, and other evidence-based treatment approaches.  I have many women using progesterone replacement therapy along with other complimentary therapies to restore true balance back to their bodies.  Will it prevent a pregnancy? No!  But, there are other less offending contraceptive options, and excitedly for me, there's a culture of women rising up saying they want the most natural approach to therapy possible in treating their female issues. 

If you are touched by this topic in any way, I would be happy to discuss your concerns personally and privately.  The testing to determine imbalances is simple and affordable and hopefully will change your life for the long haul.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

You're So Hormonal ~Suzanne Somers

Here's a great article written by a celebrity and bioidentical hormone user. 

You're So Hormonal!

If you are a man, you may have made the horrible mistake of saying that phrase to a woman when she had PMS and was acting irritable. If you are a woman, you may have thrown something at that man when he said it to you, because how dare he diminish the very real feelings and difficulties that come with hormonal imbalance. The truth is, WE ARE HORMONAL!

All of us, men and women alike, are ruled by our hormones. These chemicals course through our bodies, helping to regulate every aspect of our health — they instruct our bodies to release energy, regulate our body heat, allow us to think and feel good, keep our bones and brains strong, maintain healthy organ function, and determine our level of body fat. So when hormone levels drop, as they do when you age, you feel it immediately — in the hot flashes and sleepless nights of menopause, the weight gain of middle age, or the off-the-charts stress levels that cause our blood pressures to soar.
And the worst part? It may all start with declining (or surging) levels of just one or two hormones, which then leads to an imbalance in several other levels and results in a rapid decline in physical and mental well-being. I liken it to a teeter-totter.

With age, the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone begin to decline. That dip on one side causes the major hormones cortisol and insulin to rise. Raised cortisol leads to increased stress, sleep disruptions, and belly fat. Increased insulin levels lead to food being stored as fat rather than burned as fuel. And over time, numerous studies have shown a correlation between raised insulin and heart disease. Bottom line: Hormones create a symphony and if one is out of tune, the whole song sounds lousy.

In my opinion, balancing your hormones is the key to good health and your best bet to staying slim and avoiding age-related diseases. What are your options? There’s certainly no shortage: Take a sleeping pill to get rest. Take depression meds to fix your mood. Take a diet pill to lose the weight. Take beta-blockers to bring down the blood pressure... But these are all Band-Aid fixes that address only your symptoms. Replacing your diminished hormones may actually solve the problem… and isn’t that what we are all seeking?

Bioidentical hormone replacement, from a qualified specialist, could provide you with a real solution to your health and well-being. It has certainly done so for me, and I have devoted my career to getting out this important message because I remember what it felt like for the three awful years when my hormones were not balanced. Now I feel great each and every day, and I want you all to feel as good as I do!


Monday, November 12, 2012

A Disease Called Stress

Hormones are one thing when it comes to keeping checks and balances in the body, but stress is another.  One of the things that I always encourage men and women to test when they make contact for their physical concerns is their adrenal hormones.  Why?   Because there are many connections that can be made to those two little powerhouse glands located on top of the kidneys.  Cortisol is one of those key stress hormones that is excreted from the adrenal glands and when it's "off the charts" in one direction or another, it can have a huge impact.  Today I will address what HIGH cortisol can do to a person. 

When salivary cortisol in the morning is high, it can indicate adrenal gland stress.  The most common adrenal gland stressors include psychological stressors (emotional), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), physical insults (pain or injury resulting in inflammation), exposure to toxic chemicals, and infections (bacteria, viruses, fungi). When ANY (or a combo) of these stressors persist, the adrenal glands either continue to meet the demands of the stressor, wherein cortisol levels remain high, or become exhausted, wherein cortisol levels fall.  While high cortisol production by the adrenal glands is a normal response to stress and essential to health, persistence of stress and high levels throughout the day and over a LONG course of time can lead to:

muscle wasting
thinning skin
rapid aging
imbalance of other hormones (sex hormones, insulin, and thyroid)
immune suppression
sleep disturbances
hot flashes/night sweats
weight gain in the waist
bone loss
high blood sugar
increased blood pressure
changes in GI motility
Acid Reflux
Irritable Bowel
Increased Behavioral Despair
Decreased fertility
and much more

Can't sleep? A high cortisol at night will lower melatonin production and make it near impossible to get a good nights sleep. 

Getting sick a lot? The immune system will take a dive most assuredly with no sleep, poor digestion, and constant hormone stealing within the body.

If you are struggling with any of these, you might turn your attention to Cortisol as the Culprit.  No one can deny that stress is a disease these days.  But, it can be tested and brought into balance. I can guide you through a simple and affordable process of testing that will reveal the impact of stress on your body.  It's a breeze!

So what if Cortisol is high?   Remember, when possible, I like to use diet and lifestyle, natural supplements, vitamins, botanicals, and  bio-identical hormones to restore the body back to it's happy place.   You've got options and can be involved in the choices you make about how to address the problem.

Do you have the diagnosis of stress?  Get it checked out and get back on track.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fish Oils for Depression? Yep!

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Major Depression
in Perimenopausal/Menopausal Women

Author: Freeman M, Hibbeln J, Silver M, et al.
Reference: Omega-3 fatty acids for major depressive disorder associated with the menopausal transition: a preliminary open trial. Menopause 2012;18(3):279-284
Design: Open-label study of omega-3 fatty acids for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). After a 1-week single-blind placebo lead-in, participants received 8 weeks of treatment with open-label omega-3 fatty acids. Participants received open-label Lovaza 2 g/day (2 capsules per day). Each capsule of Lovaza contains 840 mg of ethyl esters of omega-3 fatty acids, as a combination of approximately 465 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and approximately 375 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per capsule. Each capsule also contains small amounts of docosapentaenoic acid, stearidonic acid, heneicosapentaenoic acid, ecosatetraenoic acid and alpha-linolenic acid totaling the remaining 160 mg.
Participants: Perimenopausal or postmenopausal women, 40 and older who met the criteria for MDD and had a minimum score of 19 on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) at the screening visit. In total, 24 eligible women were enrolled between November 2008 and April 2009.
Primary Outcome: The primary objective was to determine if an 8 week treatment with omega-3 fatty acids would decrease depressive symptoms in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women who had major depressive disorder. The secondary outcome was a change in hot flashes using a hot flash diary and the Hot Flash Related Daily Interference Scale (HFRDIS)
Key findings: Of the 20 women who completed the study, pretreatment MADRS scores were 24.2 and post treatment, 10.7, demonstrating a significant decrease in MDRS scores. Seventy percent of participants had their MADRS score decrease by 50% or more. The remission rate was 45%, i.e. a final MADRS score of 7 or less.
Fifteen of the women had hot flashes at baseline and the number of hot flashes per day improved significantly with a score of 9.0 + 10.3 hot flashes per day pretreatment and 2.5 + 4.0 posttreatment. The average change in score from pretreatment to posttreatment was 5.1
The women whose depression responded to treatment were significantly more likely to have decreased hot flash scores than the nonresponders. This was stronger for nighttime hot flash scores than daytime scores. Women who had a remission of their MDD had a significant decrease in their hot HFRDIS compared with those who did not have remission.
Practice Implications: This study is very clinically meaningful as MDD is experienced by a significant number of perimenopausal and postmenopausal women. While there are many therapeutic options, including hormones, prescription anti-depressants and herbal/vitamin options, not all of these have good data in perimenopausal/menopausal women. This open trial provides good evidence that omega-3 fatty acids can be effective for not only major depression in these women, but hot flashes as well. This study is an echo of a study published by Luca M, et al in 2009, demonstrating that omega-3 fatty acids can be effective to decrease hot flash frequency and improve quality of life. (Lucas M, Asselin G, Merett C, et al. Effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on hot flashes and quality of life among middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. Menopause 2009;16:357-366.) A future randomized, placebo-controlled trial on omega-3 fatty acids in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women with MDD will be even more convincing but for now, the use of 2 gm/day of high quality of fish oil with the approximate amounts of EPA/DHA used in this study is an appealing therapeutic option either alone or as an adjunct to hormonal and nonhormonal therapies for this population of women.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Check-Up From The Neck-Up! Natural Mental Medicine for Cognitive Disease

The brain accounts for 2% of the body's weight and contains, literally, billions of neurons which are specialized to send signals to the rest of the body.  Nerve fibers actually begin to form during the second month of fetal life and the central nervous systems begins to develop rapidly from there providing the the most complex conduction pathways of the human body.  Sight, sound, hunger signals, pain signals, thought processes and really everything that we need to function are housed in that little area of our body.  That is amazing.

As we age, the brain tends to slow down in it's conductivity and memory.  I truly believe the old saying is true, "if you don't use it, you lose it!", when it comes to brain function.  Simple things:  I know of physicians (in the anti-aging practice realm) who refuse to use preset numbers in their phones.  Why?  Because if you don't use the recall and storage function, you won't be able to recall and store.  It's amazing to watch their minds at work.  I'm guilty of relying on my presets for everything.  There was a time when I was a child, that we had to memorize everyone's number for safety and such.  Now, we just scroll through the list of numbers and hit the send button.  Hmmm?   Think about the things you once had committed to memory, but now you couldn't recite the information if your life depended on it.  But really, our lives do depend on a healthy brain!!  Dementia often takes 15-20 years to develop and begins with mild cognitive impairment.  Thought leaders mention the starting clock for this begins in the late 30's to 40's.   So, some of us could be losing our mental mojo right now.  Sadly, Alzheimers Disease affects more than 5 million Americans and is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S.  That is alarming, but even more alarming is that 50% of cases are undiagnosed, and only about 25% of those with Alzheimers Disease receive the medications they need.

So what happens:
Key neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin can become affected due to stress, illness, injury, genetic predisposition, and so on to result in diseases that we see in the form of Parkinsons, Schizophrenia, Depression, Anxiety, and countless more.  And certainly, if the brain is not healthy, the body is not healthy.

Sometimes I'm asked what natural supplements or integrative medicine approaches can be used for someone with a known risk of Alzheimers Disease or other Cognitive Disease in their family.  To answer this question and break this down for my readers, there are 4 basic measures of brain function: Voltage (energy and the power supply to the body; Rhythm (Calmness and Stability); Speed (Memory and Cognition); and Synchrony (Balance or Resting).  I call these supplements listed below Mental Medicine.

Remember, 4 systems:

1) The Voltage System (Dopamine): Caffeine, Guarana, Nicotine, Tyrosine, Rhodiola, Thiamine, Folic Acid and Ginko Biloba are known to help.  Hormones for this system would include Testosterone, DHEA, Thyroid, Human Growth Hormone, Insulin, and Cortisol to name a few.

2) The Memory/Cognition System: Phosphatidylserine, Lipoic Acid, Fish Oils, Manganese, Ginko Biloba, Huperzine A are a few known boosters of this system.  Hormones would include human growth hormones, Estrogen, and DHEA.

3) The Rhythm System: Inositol, B Vitamins, Kava, Taurine, CoQ10, GABA can be used.  Hormones would include Progesterone and Pregnenolone.

4) The Sleep/Rest/Symmetry System: Melatonin, Tryptophan, St. Johns Wort, 5-HTP, Vit B6, Fish Oils, Magnesium, and Zinc are all known to be helpful with this need.  Natural hormones would include Progesterone, Pregnenolone, Leptin, and Aldosterone.

CRAVINGS, behaviors, memory speed of the brain, INSOMNIA and so much more can be affected by deficiencies of these key 'ingredients of health' in the brain.  We are all familiar with the vital signs of blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen levels, but in our traditional medical model we need to be doing vital signs of the brain as well.  I think it's important to find hidden disease before it finds you.  If you have a family history of cognitive disease, make sure that you are doing all that you can to give the brain the appropriate food that it needs for the long haul.  Many neurological tests exist, but key markers of Alzheimers Disease can also be checked.  I would encourage you to have a check-up from the neck up the first chance you get.  If you supply your brain with the appropriate nutrients, your chances are better to stay mentally fit.

Hormone balance, as you see above, is critical to brain performance.  If you are deficient on any of the hormones listed, I can help you in determining a course of action to help you improve your memory and your overall performance.  The testing is simple and affordable!!!!  Believe me when I tell you that it is a small price to pay to get your brain the appropriate mental food that it needs and I can personally verify that MANY have given feedback through the years that they just feel more mentally alert and energetic when hormones and neurotransmitters are in normal range.

Thanks for staying tuned to the BLOG.  Check back with us!

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Friday, November 2, 2012

Warning Signs of Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 57 million Americans have Pre-Diabetes.  This is defined by having a blood sugar reading that is 100-125mg/dL.  So, the blood glucose reading is not quite high enough to give you a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, but it means you are well on your way unless you intervene NOW!

In a normal endocrine process, your pancreas produces insulin to get sugar to your cells for energy.  It's like a UPS driver delivering packages to your muscles, brain, heart, and so on.  In hyperinsulinemia or Pre-Diabetes, the cells won't uptake the sugar because there is already so much on board in the body from too much sugar intake through foods, drinks, a sedentary lifestyle.  They essentially snub the driver and ask him to move on.  This leaves the sugar unclaimed and the pancreas begins to work hard with more insulin output to try to combat the offense.

These are some signs to pay attention to along with the blood sugar reading that I mentioned above.

Feeling Thirsty:  Your brain needs glucose, but when it's constantly overloaded with too much, it will pull water from other areas of the body to bring the concentration down.  The result is that you will get thirsty.

Frequent Urination:  More water, more trips to the bathroom.  More trips to the bathroom, more water needed.  It's a viscous cycle.

Weakness and Fatigue:  When the glucose from your meals can't get to where it's supposed to go, you will feel zapped and actually crave more food to try to fuel your body.

Numbness and Tingling in the hands and feet:  Same thing if you think about it with common sense.  The blood system gets so overwhelmed with glucose that it's like poison to the nerves and causes neuropathy slowly and surely.

Blurry vision:  Remember that fluid is pulled from other areas of the body to help protect your sugar loaded brain.  This may affect your ability to focus and cause free radical damage.  This is why antioxidants are so important.  They halt those free radicals from causing so much destruction.

Infections:  bladder and vaginal infections along with poor wound healing can be a sign of diabetes in the works.

Skin Problems:  Sometimes people with type 2 diabetes will have darkened areas of skin called acanthosis nigricans.  They usually happen in the armpits, neck, knuckles, or groin.  It's a sign of insulin resistance.  It resembles a dirty area, but unfortunately, you can't just rub it off.  Skin tags are also common to stages of high insulin production.

Losing weight without trying:  Many with pre-diabetes want to nosh all day on food.  Improper fluctuations of hormones complicate things and cause intensify hunger.  You will also lose muscle mass because the body will begin to extract energy and fuel from the muscles to stay in equilibrium.  The weight loss can occur over time and often flies under the radar because often patients with diabetes start out overweight.  

If you have any of these signs, step one is to get your blood glucose checked.  I am also an advocate of checking serum insulin.  If the insulin levels are high along with the glucose measures, then it's time to have a total change of lifestyle.  Fortunately, if caught early enough, things can really turn around and you will be healthy for the long haul.

Decreased sugar consumption and increased exercise are the initial treatments of choice if you are affected by this condition.  Please pay attention to the warning signs and change things for the good.  You will be glad that you did.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Friday, October 26, 2012


Do you feel like you need a new set of internal batteries most days?  Are you missing key details?  Are you checking in and out of conversations and lacking focus?  You are probably going too fast and you're going to CRASH!   That is.....if you haven't already.

 A well oiled machine can only run so long and then it needs to be serviced, relubricated, and put back into performance mode.  I hate having to take the time for oil changes on my car, but it's necessary to keep it perfoming at it's peak and to keep the engine from seizing up all together.  It's the same with us!!  Our lives, unfortunately, do not always allow designated down times, and our bodies suffer the consequences when we don't pay attention to our internal "check engine light".   The end result is that our bodies crash and then we are forced to make changes.

Often people first make a connection with me to determine if there is hormonal imbalance going on, but I also share that poor stress management plays in significantly in the "hormone world".  I like to look into both the ovaries and the adrenal glands for poor engine performance. (so to speak) :)

Adrenal Fatigue is running rampant in our society and it's due to the fast paced lifestyles we lead.  The physical manifestations of stress can be very interesting to say the least.  From headaches, to missed menstrual cycles, to crying spells, to lashing out at people, to missing work, and on and on the list goes. 

Here's some of the things that PROLONGED stress can cause:

Tendency to gain weight and unable to lose it, especially around the waist.
High frequency of getting illness or flu.
Tendency to tremble when under pressure
Reduced sex drive
Lightheaded when rising from a laying down position
Unable to remember things
Lack of energy in the mornings and also in the afternoon often between 2-5pm.
Feeling better suddenly for a brief period after a meal.
Cravings for salty, fatty, and high protein food.
Increase in symptoms of PMS for women
Feeling better when stress is relieved, such as on vacation or on days "off" without deadlines
Mild depression
Dry and thin skin
Lack of focus and difficulty staying in conversations without your mind wandering
Unexplained hair loss
Upset stomach
Skin rashes
Rapid aging
Feeling Tired but Wired

When we talk "hormones", often the focus in on the ovaries.  The problem with just focusing on the ovaries is that the adrenal glands contribute about 35% of female hormones pre-menopausal and almost 50% post-menopausally.  So what's the big deal with that?  Well, in short, if the adrenals are exhausted so will be the person.  This fatigue will affect almost EVERY area of life if allowed to run off course.  (sleep, infertility, rapid aging, memory, blood sugar issues, osteoporosis, weight, etc. etc.)

So how do you know where you stand with stress?

The best way to measure your level of free key adrenal hormones is through a saliva testing panel.  It is preferred because it measures the amount of free and "usable" hormones circulating through the body.  I just received a report on a male patient this week who has a skyrocketing cortisol at night.  No wonder he can't sleep.  Thankfully he tested and we can offer adaptogens and nutraceuticals to combat this problem.    Another female patient this week is having difficulty and feels like she's on the verge of crying all the time.  I am working with her private physician to develop a treatment plan to restore key hormones, but also addressing the stress hormones as well.   She is simply running on empty.

If you feel stressed to the MAXXXX and you're noticing some suspicious symptoms, please MAKE THE TIME to give me a call.  I will help guide you through the process of testing and help you in getting to the bottom of things. 

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ya! What she said!! Cortisol can be Tested With Our DIY Kits

Belly Fat? Blame Cortisol!

Today you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't stressed out. It's the nature of the crazy, rushed, chaotic world we live in. It seems like the daily to-do list never ends, right? Well, that stress affects your body. Adrenaline and cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormones put out by your adrenal glands, were originally designed to give you the extra oomph you needed to evade death by saber-toothed tiger; in modern life, the stress caused by outrunning big, toothy animals has been replaced with the constant daily hassles you face — like sitting in traffic! However, whether it's a tiger or traffic, your body still responds with a fight-or-flight response, which spikes your hormones and keeps them spiked.
Our modern, deadline-a-day lifestyle overtaxes our adrenal glands, which ends up overproducing cortisol. Perhaps you've heard me describe your hormones as a teeter-totter: When cortisol is constantly pumped out, it can blunt estrogen and progesterone production and bring on those menopause symptoms. Raised cortisol has huge effects on our overall health — cortisol will rev you up and make it nearly impossible to sleep, and it can put you at risk for a heart attack. An overabundance of cortisol also boosts your insulin levels, which can cause you to pack on the pounds, especially around the midsection.
If you have insomnia and weight gain (particularly belly fat), odds are cortisol may be to blame. Here are some potential fixes for your problem.
  • Find out about your cortisol levels. A simple blood test is all you need to see if your levels are within normal ranges.
  • Load up on DHEA. This supplement helps transform cortisol back to cortisone, helping to reduce the amount of cortisol in your system.
  • Balance your sex hormones. Back to the teeter-totter — perhaps an age-related decline of estrogen and progesterone are responsible for your heightened cortisol. If your blood tests show that either of these hormones is low, consider supplementing those hormones to bring your cortisol into balance.
  • Book yourself plenty of R&R. Start going to bed at a set time every night. Your body needs eight hours of sleep to fully regenerate; by getting the right amount of sleep, your cortisol levels will start to drop. Also, sleep in total darkness! Research has shown that even a little bit of light is enough to cause an increase in your stress hormones. Additionally, try to lower your cortisol levels organically by reducing the stress levels in your life through relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and exercise.
I know, I know. In today's cut-throat world, it's really tough to just chill out. But high cortisol levels, as you've seen, are a vicious cycle: high stress = high cortisol = less sleep = higher stress = higher cortisol = no sleep.… Get the picture? Not to mention, it's not just your mental well-being that's suffering — high cortisol ultimately leads to weight gain. Take the steps necessary to address your stress now! You'll look and feel way better for it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The "Ups"and "Downs" of Hormonal Imbalance.

As I sat down to write this blog, I for some reason,  remember that catchy song that goes, "When you're up your up, and when you're down, you're down, and when you're only half-way way up, you're neither up nor down.  Sorry!  Now you have it stuck in your head too.  The reality though is that emotional ups and downs are not "all in your head."  There is a clear connection to hormonal imbalance. 

As I consult and teach, I always like to cover that pesky little "e" word (emotions) and the link to hormonal imbalance in my presentations.  Why?  Because so many are on the verge.  You know, that place where if someone says, "BOO", you might explode with tears. And have you ever noticed that some days you laugh and some days you cry....for no particular reason?  I've had many women and men throughout the years express concern that they are more emotional and on the verge of tears all the time. In some conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), the roller coaster can really drop to the ground floor of emotions. 

In today's blog, I just want to point out some clear connections to hormones that might help you understand how you might find your way off the "E"-roller coaster. 

If you are DOWN in ESTROGEN this is how you likely will feel:  depressed, mildly anxious, feeling despair at times, and on the verge of crying all the time.

If you are UP in ESTROGEN: agitated, angry, irritable, and short tempered.   "Estrogen Dominance" is common particularly in women aged 30-45 (as a general guide). 

If you are DOWN in PROGESTERONE: anxiety, over reacting, easily alarmed, stressed, feelings of confusion, mood swings, irritable, nervous, jittery, and depressed. 

If you are UP in PROGESTERONE: (rarely happens, but I did consult with a "toxic" patient using too much of her hormones a few years ago.  Thankfully her doctor sent her for testing.) crying, flat mood, excessive tiredness, and more unresponsive to significant things that normally should cause some emotion.

If you are DOWN on TESTOSTERONE: depression, lack of drive and confidence, and demotivation are the "E" warning signs.  (This certainly goes for men too)

If you are UP on TESTOSTERONE: agitation, angry, irritable, feeling throttled inside.

As you see, there can be some crossovers in symptoms with the various hormones.   This is ABSOLUTELY the reason that you need to be tested to determine what is UP or DOWN.  Just like the song...."When you're up, you're up, and when you're down...  Okay, I'll stop! 

In the "REAL WORLD", I have had patients come my way for testing because they've noticed that coping with the normal things of life are particularly hard as they go through the aging process.  And this is not just a "menopause thing"!!!  I have PLENTY of younger women who take small doses of progesterone in a pattern with their menstrual cycle to help "level them out" because they've noticed that they are very emotionally unstable around their monthly menstrual cycle.  That's because of a clear deficiency that can be tested and put back into proper balance to help them maintain better "E"-contol.   Please don't just run out and buy hormone creams over the counter without knowing what is out of balance and without consulting a trained healthcare professional in this area of health and wellness.   You could do some real damage.

Testing kits, private consultations, and phone consultations are available by calling my office. I'm excited to share that physicians and healthcare professionals are also coming to the office to have their personal hormone and stress assessments as well.   This affects everyone!!  It's so great to serve in such a growing area of need in health and wellness. 

I feel confident that identifying hormonal imbalance can help YOU!! 417-231-4544 or

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Combatting Multiple Sclerosis

Every time that I post anything about Multiple Sclerosis I tend to get a lot of web hits, Facebook shares, phone calls, and so on.  Some of you may know that I'm now back in school and today I couldn't help but share some of the highlights of my studies on the topic of cognitive disorders and neurological diseases.  Today's blog will be about MS specifically because when you get into an intense program like this, there is just so much territory to cover.  There are so many suffering from various autoimmune diseases it seems, and I believe there are basic "helps" that many are not aware of.  The program that I am doing is designed to use complementary medicine, integrative medicine, lifestyle modification, and pharmacology as a "whole" package to help patients feel better and overcome the symptoms of their disease.

Let me just share with you some of the highlights of my studies in a concise nutshell to put you on a path to your own research and treatment wishes.  

MS onset is usually between the ages of 20-40 years old.  

Interestingly, it does tend to have a geographic prevalence, avoiding equatorial regions, and being more prevalent above 40degrees N and 40degrees S latitude.   

Diagnosis of MS is determined by various clinical presentations, but often an optic neuritis (visual disturbance) will be a complaint of patients. MS is classified as an autoimmune disease.  

MS is a chronic, often progressive, disabling disease of the CNS.  

Confirmation is often made by assessing the spinal fluid for specific indicators. 

Hypothesis and Study Insight: 
Some studies support Epstein-Barr virus ("mono") as a contributor to immune system overload.  

Other studies implicate Chlamydia pneumoniae as a factor.  In one study 100% of MS patients tested had C pneumoniae. Interestingly Methotrexate (a med used for autoimmune dz) also inhibits growth of C. pneumoniae. 

Candida has also been found to be overgrowing and looming in the body of patients with MS.  

These three things should be considered in determining the individual's disease process. 

Information Take-aways:

Eskimo populations (as far North as you can get) have a diet known to be high in omega-3 fatty acids, with virtually no incidence of MS.  START TAKING OMEGA-3's!!!! 

Vitamin D has been shown to block the progression of damage.  Evaluate the Vitamin D levels!!!! 

The antibiotic minocycline has been shown to decrease inflammation. 

Alpha-Lipoic-Acid, antioxidants (Vitamin C), and N-acetylcysteine show promising results. 

Vitamin B12 helps with normal myelin function.  It also boosts the immune system. 

Gluten free diets tend to help in autoimmune diseases.  Ditch the gluten from your diet! 

Phosphatidylserine and CoQ10 have been shown to support nerve cell wall integrity. 

Estrogens have an anti-inflammatory effect.  I've covered this before in BLOGS.  In particular ESTRIOL helps to improve MS symptoms.  GET YOUR HORMONE LEVELS CHECKED!! This is a biggie.  When the hormones go down, most everything goes down with them......

Get dental amalgams removed if they contain metals. 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy shows remarkable improvement in randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled studies.  It essentially halts the autoimmune attack on the nervous system. 

Avoid high temperatures, including hot tubs and saunas.  

Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) is showing positive results in the areas of decreased MS relapse rates and in the progression of MS.  We customize LDN in our laboratory ALL THE TIME.  

Please, please, please share this blog with an MS patient.   I would be happy to advise and recommend some quality nutraceutical products, hormone testing and treatment plans, and vitamins and supplements to help for the long haul.  Remember, you need to follow the advice of a healthcare professional before you make any additions or subtractions to your normal therapy.  

It's a pleasure to be able to share this BLOG because it reaches so many both here in the U.S. and internationally.  If one person benefits, I'm happy.   

Please call me if I can help further.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saliva Testing-How to test for hormonal imbalance

Estrogens, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA-S and cortisol are routinely measured in saliva. Steroid hormones in the bloodstream are mostly (95-99%) bound to carrier proteins, and in this form are unavailable to target tissues. Only the unbound fraction freely diffuses into tissues, including the salivary gland. Hormone levels in saliva therefore represent the quantity of the hormone that is currently available to target tissues and actively exerting specific effects on the body.

Often I'm asked how to go about testing for hormonal imbalance.  It's so simple and affordable and such a life changer for those struggling to make it through their days.  And if you can't make it through your days, how will you ever make it through your years?  Simply click on the link above to find out more about the testing kit that I can provide conveniently by shipping it to your home address. The same kit is used for both women and men and a simple call to our staff can help you determine which testing panel is best for you and your symptoms.  417-231-4544

So is Hormonal Imbalance Affecting You? 

Loss of pregnancy
Erectile Dysfunction
Night sweats
Sexual dysfunction
Difficulty losing weight or gaining unexplained weight
Vaginal Dryness
Yeast Infections
Continual infections and immunity issues
Memory concerns
Lack of focus
Loss of stamina
Loss of muscle mass

It's exciting to have helped so many  and extra exciting to see so many getting the help that they need in these areas.  Don't put this off another day.  Your "normal" is not acceptable when it affects your body, your health, and your longevity.  Don't allow another dismissal of your symptoms with your provider with an "it's just the way it's going to be" mentality. Give me a call and I can help you get started towards a "NEW and IMPROVED YOU"!!  Yay!!!

To your good hormone health,
Dr. Sonja

Hormone Imbalance In the News....Again!! Jillian Michaels


Finding the Estrogen/Progesterone Balance

The terms "estrogen" and "progesterone" are thrown around a lot when women's bodies are under discussion — however, these two steroid hormones are important influences on the metabolism of both sexes. While you may think "muscle-bound meathead" when you hear the word "steroid," all it signifies is that your body uses cholesterol to make these hormones. Men and women both produce estrogen and progesterone normally, but our environment also imposes a tremendous amount of estrogen on our bodies. Man-made estrogens in hormone replacement therapy, pesticides, and food additives can all have a profound effect on the body's overall hormone balance. What you need to do is to find a balance between progesterone and estrogen by focusing on what you're eating and avoiding toxins. For a long time people believed that women's hormone problems stemmed from declining levels of estrogen, especially during premenstrual syndrome, after giving birth, and during perimenopause and menopause. But increasingly, women in Western cultures tend to have too much estrogen rather than too little. For the past 50 years, doctors have noticed that the onset of puberty among girls — characterized by the development of breasts and pubic hair and the beginning of menstruation — has been occurring at earlier ages. In addition, rates of breast cancer have jumped 40 percent in the past 35 years. Studies have linked excessive exposure to estrogen to early puberty and breast cancer. And many signs — including decreasing sperm counts and increasing prostate cancer rates — indicate that men are also struggling with the effects of excessive exposure to estrogen.
How can we fix the problem? An estrogen and progesterone imbalance can be corrected by addressing the endocrine disruptors that are affecting you — not so easy given our society's seeming addiction to toxic chemicals. Our bodies are slammed with synthetic estrogens, from the ingredients in our cosmetics and the cleaners under our sinks to the preservatives in our foods and the chemicals in the plastics that wrap them. Other factors that can add to unhealthy levels of estrogen are stress, a lack of quality fats and protein, and too many refined grains and sugars. Remove as many exogenous estrogens — those that originate outside the body — from your diet and your environment as possible, and eat whole foods, especially healthful fats; do your best to minimize stress as well, and you'll help your body build the right hormones.


It's Not Just a Woman's Problem

Remember, hormone imbalances affect men too. When estrogen is at a normal level, it can protect a man's brain, heart, and bones and help him maintain a healthy libido. Also, when estrogen in men is in balance with testosterone, it has little negative impact on metabolism. But when estrogen is out of balance with other hormones, men can lose their muscle-building, fat-burning advantage. That's when they tend to develop man boobs (affectionately known as "moobs") and love handles, features typically seen in women.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Au Naturale is the way to go! - Splenda Exposed

(NaturalNews) Do you put Splenda in your coffee? Or use it in your baked goods, instead of regular sugar or other natural alternatives? You may think you are making a better choice, but in fact, you are doing more harm than good. Many foods labeled as "healthier for you," low calories, no/low fat, are typically worse for you than the real thing. Ingredients that are chemically altered and processed are not better for you. Although long-term studies performed on Splenda and their effects on humans have not been performed, willingly ingesting possibly carcinogenic materials is unsafe.

The many problems with Splenda

Splenda, also known as sucralose, is a combination of maltodextrin and dextrose and is 600 times sweeter than regular sugar. Splenda is a synthetic compound discovered in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formation and is similar in chemical composition to DDT. Splenda is found in countless products and advertised as a "safe" alternative to sugar. "The inventors of Splenda admit around fifteen percent (15 percent) of sucralose is absorbed by the body, but they cannot guarantee us (out of this 15 percent) what amount of chlorine stays in the body and what percent flushes out" (Brahmini, 2012). Chlorine is considered a carcinogen. Possible side effects of Splenda include: "gastrointestinal problems (bloating, gas, diarrhea, nausea), skin irritations (rash, hives, redness, itching, swelling), wheezing, cough, runny nose, chest pains, palpitations, anxiety, anger, moods swings, depression, and itchy eyes." (Brahmini, 2012)

A 12-week study performed by Duke University on rats determined that Splenda caused pH imbalances in the body, disrupted absorption in the intestinal tract, depletion of good bacteria, swollen livers, kidney calcification and promoted weight gain (Gerson, 2008). No long-term studies have been performed regarding the dangerous effects of Splenda on humans, yet this product continues to be put on the shelves of our grocery stores, advertised and bought by "health conscious" consumers, trying to make healthier decisions.

Au naturale

Our society needs to get away from the common perception that sugar substitutes are safer, healthier options; they are NOT! Agave is an example of a natural sweetener that is not chemically processed. Sugar in the raw form and Stevia are some other examples of natural, healthy sweeteners. Organic honey can also be used to sweeten many things naturally. Just because a product is on the shelf, does not mean it is safe. The Food and Drug Administration has approved many unsafe products for human consumption. NutraSweet is a known neurotoxin that has been proven to cause tumors and had been previously banned in Europe; yet was previously deemed safe for human consumption, like Splenda has been today. The truth is, the long-term consequences of ingesting man-made chemical substitutes are unknown, but it is better to be safe than sorry, and avoid products containing such ingredients at all costs.

Always read labels and question anything that has a long name that you cannot pronounce; more than likely it is a chemical you should steer clear of.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Not just CELEBRITY medicine. This Is What We Can Do For You!

Why Bioidentical Hormones Are Best

When I hit my 40s, I had three years of frustrating, unexplained weight gain that no one seemed to understand. “It can’t be menopause,” I thought, “I’m only 40! But it sure seems like my thighs are growing.” Come to think of it, once I hit my 40s I wasn’t very interested in sex either. When did that happen? I had always loved it!What did happen when I hit 40? A one-two punch: The changing toxic planet took its toll along with my declining hormones — a lethal combination if you are trying to stay thin. Declines in levels of hormones start early now, often in the mid- to late 30s, with some lucky people making it to their 40s intact. But eventually we all get there. Did I make that connection? No! I suffered through another ten years before I understood; and during three of those years life would be a living hell due to dramatic symptoms of declining hormones. My life now is much different: I’m at a healthy, happy weight. I enjoy a robust sex life. I sleep eight hours nightly. And while I avoid chemicals in my home and eat organic food, none of this good feeling would be possible without natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT).
Why bioidenticals? All methods of hormone replacement aren’t created equal — and the most conventional treatments may put you at greater risk for serious health issues down the line. Bioidenticals, which are crafted in the lab from material derived from yam or soy to be as identical as possible to the hormones your own body produces, are often considered the gold standard of treatment explains why it’s the gold standard. Here’s why:
  • Synthetic hormone replacement treatment (standard in the US) may be linked to a cancer risk. Studies showed that women who had received estrogen replacement in the form of Premarin, an estrogen that’s derived from a pregnant horse’s urine (and that is not identical to the estrogen a female body produces), had an increased risk of breast cancer., the study participants were given doses of Premarin, an estrogen that’s derived from a pregnant horse’s urine — and that is not identical to the estrogen a female body produces. Bioidentical estrogen has not been shown to have the same risks as the horse-derived estrogens.
  • Bioidentical hormones can promote weight loss. While standard hormone replacement treatment may actually cause you to gain weight, especially around your abdomen, using bioidenticals may actually help you lose weight.
Hormonal health is the key to losing weight; you can’t do it any other way. Think about talking to a doctor who specializes in BHRT. You can find one in your area by using my medical resource guide or you can order a hormone-panel test. Once you are able to find a balance, you’ll be able to lose weight, you’ll start to look better and feel happier, and you’ll be well on your way to getting Sexy Forever

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Bare Bones Information! Literally!!

Are you wondering why you are now seeing signs in the Dentist office asking if you have ever used osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax, Boniva, or Reclast?  The answer is bone disintegration!!  GASP!!!! Even more alarming in addition to this though is the risk of heart disease and cancer brought on by this class of medications.  This is what's going on and I want you to be "in the know" as I so often say.  

Use of most popular osteoporosis medications are associated with brittle bones, osteonecrosis, heart damage and cancer.
It was shown that any individual who had ever used these meds (even if stopped years prior) had a 300% increased risk of abnormal heart arrhythmia and a 575% increased risk of sustained arrhythmia.

Esophageal Cancer
In a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration official Diane Wysowski said that they are receiving increasing numbers of reports of esophageal cancer associated with the use of Fosamax. There is typically two years between the start of the drug treatment and the development of cancer.  Now just think about this.  The directions on the package have always been.  Take with a full glass of water, 30 minutes before meals, and stay sitting up.  This would give us a clue that it has erosion capabilities to the esophageal lining.  We won't even go there on what it might do lower in the GI tract.  Eeesh!!  

(New study shows that 1 in 25 patients experience jaw disintegration)
Bisphosphonates such as Fosamax, Acetenol, Reclast and Boniva are widely used to treat osteoporosis. 
The brittle bones caused by bisphosphonates use is not limited to the jaw. There are numerous reports of patients suffering atypical large bone fractures with little or no trauma, including bilateral femur fractures, which are not seen in patients without a history of bis- phosphonate use. Bone brittleness and fracture risk increases with increasing dura- tion of bisphosphonate use even if bone den- sity continually improves.

1 out 25 patients taking Fosamax suffered from osteonecrosis of the jaw
Healthy bone has turnover where old bone is removed (resorption) and new bone is formed to replace the old removed bone. The bisphosphonates significantly suppress resorption, but also significantly suppress new bone formation. Studies show that the use of bisphosphonates are associated with a 60-90% reduction in new bone formation. Thus, the diminished bone loss is beneficial for a few years, but overtime, the lack of new bone results in excessively calcified old bone that is excessively brittle. This old excessively calcified bone looks denser on X-ray and Dexa scan but it is, in reality, very brittle and inflexible. Use of these medications for more than a few years is associated with inability to repair and heal even micro-cracks that occur with normal daily activities and is associated with osteonecrosis (disintegration of the ex- cessively brittle bone). This can occur anywhere but the jaw appears to be particularly susceptible and can result in tooth loss or even jaw disintegration with relatively minor procedures such as tooth extraction. 

Heart Arrhythmia and Muscle Pain
There are a number of studies that demonstrate that the use of bisphosphonates is associated with an increased risk of heart arrhythmias. This includes a large study of 1700 women published in Archives of Internal Medicine that demonstrated that current and past users of bisphosphenate medication such as Fosamax, Actenol, Reclast and Boniva had significant increased risk of potentially fatal heart arrhythmias. It was shown that any individual who had ever used these meds (even if stopped years prior) had a 300% increased risk of abnormal heart arrhythmia and a 575% increased risk of sustained arrhythmia. In addition, the risk was higher if the mediations were used by those who also had diabetes mellitus or were currently taking statin medicationfro high cholesterol. There are also increasing reports of muscle and joint pain due to bisphosphonate use.

If you or a loved one are using this class of medications, I would suggest that you call your doctor.  This is a biggie!

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja