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, March 22, 2012


Today I'm doing just a quick BLOG to share the changes of "The Change."  Some of these symptoms appear sooner than others (even as young as 35) in the aging process, but all have been directly tied to hormone imbalance. 

Hot Flashes
Night Sweats
Vaginal Dryness
Mood Swings
Loss of libido
Hair growth on the face
Panic attacks
Weird dreams
Urinary tract infections
Vaginal itching
Low back pain
Aching ankles, knees, wrists, shoulders, and heels
Hair Loss
Frequent urination
Sore breasts
Varicose veins
Urinary leakage
Dizzy spells
Migraine headaches
Memory lapses
Weight gain
Blood pressure problems
Weepy or Tearful
Short tempered

 I have had the privilege of helping hundreds of women and men throughout the years.  I enjoy hearing feedback from each of them as they share all of the improvements and benefits they have noticed as a result of achieving hormonal balance again.   If you are having problems on this list, give me a call.  Don't suffer through the changes of "The Change".

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are you a Stressaholic?

 It's one thing to look at sex hormones (and often there are deficiencies), but it's another to look at stress hormones.  I had two patients just last week who had very high Cortisol levels.  A high Cortisol level is not a good thing and if left untreated, can put a person on the road to chronic diseases.   Here are a few things that should get a Stressaholics attention. 

Metabolic Effects of High Cortisol

Increased appetite, accelerated muscle breakdown, and enhanced fat storage---------> obesity

Elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels----------------> heart disease

Elevated blood pressure----------------->heart disease

Alterations in brain neurochemistry -------------------->depression/anxiety

Physical atrophy of brain cells-------------------->Alzheimers disease

Insulin resistance and elevated blood sugars----------->diabetes

Accelerated bone breakdown-------------->osteoporosis

Reduced levels of testosterone and estrogen----------------->suppressed libido

Suppression of immune activity--------------->Frequent colds/flu/infection

Reduced synthesis of brain neurotransmitters---------------->memory and concentration problems.

Insomnia------> fatigue, poor immune function, weight gain.

If you think you might be suffering from conditions related to stress, call me!!  And remember, stress comes in many forms.

And just so you know . . . often I can recommend natural supplements and some simple lifestyle changes that will help you sleep better and manage stress better to help for the long haul.  Stress is inevitable in our fast paced society. That's a given.  But continued and unresolved stress can really take a toll on the body. Stress is really the #1 reason for doctors visits when you begin to assess things fully.

The testing is simple and affordable.  Give me a call if I can help.

To your good health,

Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Using Your Laptop For A Pillow?

Do you have trouble sleeping at night? Do you feel like you want to nap throughout the day? Constant fatigue? Inability to lose weight even with diet and exercise? Crave salty or sugary foods? Have low energy in the morning and afternoon? ......... Did you answer YES? ...........................You may have adrenal fatigue.

Before defining ADRENAL FATIGUE, let's review the functions of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are two small glands located on top of the kidneys. Their purpose is to help the body deal with stress. They produce many different hormones in three major classes-glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and androgens. These hormones are primarily concerned with controlling you 'Fight or Flight' response to a stressor by stimulating the body so that it has energy to deal with danger or a stressful situation. This adrenal response involves an initial release of adrenaline, which causes a sharpening of the senses, rapid heart rate, and acute mental alertness. Adrenaline is quickly converted into cortisol, which circulates in your blood stream for a much longer time. Cortisol slows digestion, inhibits thyroid function, and increases blood sugar levels, supresses the immune system, and contracts mid-size arteries. All this is done to help your body deal with a stressful emergency situation.

In modern times these stressors manifest themselves in our fast-paced lives in different ways (see below). Problems arise when sustained stressors cause the prolonged release of cortisol in the body. Our bodies were not meant to maintain this 'Fight or Flight' state constantly; and doing so is detrimental to our health. Eventually, the adrenals are simply not able to mount an effective response to stress, and these excessive cortisol levels decrease to an ineffective level.

Common Causes of Adrenal Fatigue:
Chronic Illness                              
Severe/Chronic Stress
Chronic Pain
Low Blood Sugar
Consistently High Caffeine Intake
Excessive Exercise                       
High Carbohydrate Diet              
Sleep Deprivation

Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
Imbalance of Sex Hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA)        
Sugar Cravings                      
Shakiness between meals                                            
High Cholesterol                    
Weakened Immune System                                       
Memory problems
Weight Gain... Weight Gain... Weight gain
Low sex drive                        
Fatigue especially afternoon                                     
Increased insulin resistance

Call me if you have any of these symptoms or feel you may be suffering from adrenal fatigue. This can be tested and might get you off the couch and plugged back into society.  It's simple and you can do it from your own home.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, March 12, 2012

Having A Girth Spurt? Calculate your BMR

Happy Monday my BLOG friends!   My office is overwhelmed with emails, phone calls, and messages with questions on many things, but perhaps because Spring is upon us, weight loss seems to be at the forefront of everyone's mind.  Soon the swimsuits and beach towels will make their way to the front of our closets, and concessions will need to be made in dietary habits to help the Spandex and Lycra do their jobs a little more effectively. 

This week I will be focusing on some things to help you get motivated and on track with your weight loss goals.  Are you wanting to drop a few pounds?  Then, read on and start by doing some math.

It's interesting to watch a child go through "growth spurts". As parents we can definitely see changes in eating habits and sleep patterns while our children morph into these little miniature adults right before our very eyes.  But, adults who are not paying attention can find themselves going through a spurt of growth as well.  I call it a "girth spurt".  Is your abdominal measurement going up along with the numbers on the scale?  Then you are having a "girth spurt". The big shows on TV are focusing on "belly fat" more and more because one of the realities of aging is that everything seems to land in the belly area.  Men really have a tendency to carry their weight in their belly area.  Women have the misfortune of carrying it in the belly along with other areas of the body.

There are a lot of reasons (physiologically) as to why this happens, but I want to share a few simple things to help you drop a few marks on the tape measure.  Check back for more information as we go throughout the weeks.

When trying to lose weight, I always suggest that people start by determining their basic metabolic rate!  What's that?  This simply represents how many calories your body likely burns each day AT REST and this is how you determine your BMR. (We have a fancy scale that does this electronically for our patients, but not everyone has that convenience.)

Calculating BMR:
1.  Men should multiply their weight (lbs.) by 6.23.  Women by 4.35
2. Men should multiply their height (in.) by 12.7. Women by 12.3
3. Men and women should add those two results together.
4. Men should add 66 to the sum of Steps 1 and 2.  Women should add 65.5.
5. Men should multiple their age by 6.8. Women should multiply by 4.7
6. Subtract the total in Step 5 from the total in Step 4.  This is your BMR.

To lose weight begin to eat at or about 200-300 calories less than your BMR each day. Adding physical activity will help you reduce the daily caloric value even more.  If you don't know how many calories you burn in a day, how can you understand your calorie targets?  This is how.  By reducing your calories in a manageable way, you should lose weight.  I hope it helps in getting started.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

P.C.O.S. What is it?

  I just did a consultation with a 53 year old woman yesterday who is certain that she had PCOS with a long history of female issues and eventually a hysterectomy, but "back then" she stated, they just didn't know it.   (It always makes me sad to hear this because she struggled with infertility and never had children along with all of the other painful details of her medical history.)

Last week I consulted with a 16 year old and her mother who had checked out a book at the library on PCOS and became suspicious that this was the problem that she was experiencing each month with horrible menstrual cycles and pain.  We had her test her hormone levels and she did have indicators that pointed to this disease.  The next stop will be a visit to her doctor for an ultrasound and other tests.  Thankfully she is young and if this is the problem, then interventional medicine can help her.  Yeah!!

Yesterday, PCOS wasn't mentioned, but a 26 year old woman was referred to see if I could suggest a natural supplement to bring her Testosterone down.  This can be a sign of PCOS and I encouraged other testing.  The supplement she will take is designed to help young women like this get back to a regular menstrual cycle and to prevent the unwanted symptoms that can go along with having a high Testosterone value and often a very low progesterone value. 

We do know about the implications of PCOS "these days". Read on mothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, grandmothers..... you might just help someone you care about.

This is a SHOUT out to girls and young women who may be dealing with hidden practices and secrets related to polycystic ovaries. What do you mean(?), you might be asking. Did you know that it is not uncommon for a woman with this disease to have to shave? Did you know that they often struggle with depression? Did you know that they skip menstrual cycles of just don't have them at all? Did you know that infertility is a huge problem for these patients? Did you know that they are prone to insulin sensitivity issues and later on, diabetes if not addressed? Did you know that PCOS is becoming more prevalent?

Let me just give you a running list of some of the symptoms of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).

Infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, irregular bleeding, infertility because of no ovulation, increased hair growth on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes-a condition called hirsutism. Here's some more: ovarian cysts, acne, oily skin, dandruff, weight gain or obesity (around the waist), insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, male-pattern baldness or thinning hair, patches of thickened or dark brown skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs, skin tags in the armpits or neck area, anxiety or depression due to appearance or infertility, sleep apnea and excessive snoring. Hidden struggles as you see.... Who wants anyone to notice these things? It makes me sad to see young women dealing with this syndrome.

There is no single test to determine if a woman has PCOS. A comprehensive medical history will usually be taken along with a physical exam by the doctor. I totally recommend that a person have a hormone panel done because there are some key identifiers and values that are helpful in determining if this is the problem. I remember a 23 year old female that came to my office about 3 years ago. She was referred by a friend who suggested she come in an get tested. Thankfully she did. After reading the lab results, I was able to refer her on to a physician friend of mine who started her on a prescription regimen that gave her quality of life again. Her depression improved, she lost weight, the hair growth lessened on her face, she just looked brighter overall. Yeah!!

There are effective treatments for PCOS. (some prescription, some herbal, some lifestyle modification) If you know of a woman who may be dealing with these troublesome symptoms, please have them give my office a call. I would love to talk with them. I can walk them through the testing process, work with their personal physician, and get them on the road to better health. Time is critical in treating this syndrome. Call right away!

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sleeping Pills May Dramatically Increase Death Rate

Sleeping Pills May Dramatically Increase Death Rate


If you are a woman who does not sleep and you are using prescription sleep aids, PLEASE give me a call. I hate to see a "band-aid" sleeping pill put over a normal issue of aging and a detectable deficiency that can be treated.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Your Testosterone Check Engine Light ON?

It's been an unusual morning here at the office.  I'm certainly used to the stream of charts for women testing their hormones (in fact I'm up to my ears in saliva tests), but today, I have responded to four men who have explained symptoms that scream Testosterone deficiency.

The Science:
I have all kinds of information in the office that I can share on andropause (male menopause) but wanted to briefly highlight one compelling study linked to long-term risk of death in relatively healthy adult men.  (Endo June 5, 2007) The study included nearly 800 men who were followed for 18 years between the ages of 50-91.  The men with LOW testosterone levels had a 33 percent GREATER RISK OF DEATH than those with higher testosterone. The difference was not explained by smoking, drinking, other diseases, or exercise. The men with lower T were also more likely to have higher inflammation markers, called inflammatory cytokines, which leads to other diseases.  The men with the low T were also shown to be 3x more likely to have a waist greater than 40 inches, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high Triglycerides, and high blood pressure and blood glucose.

The Symptoms:
Here are the common symptoms of Andropause: Back pain, bone loss, decreased muscle strength, decreased endurance, decreased urine flow, depression, erectile dysfunction, high cholesterol, hot flashes, low libido, irritability, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, and weight gain (especially around the middle).

The Suggestion:
My BLOG message today...Guys, get your testosterone checked!!!   If you are worn out, crabby, unmotivated, and noticing physical signs of aging, then your Testosterone check engine light is requiring your attention.  Get off the speedway and take a pit stop for better health.

What is the process? Get tested! (blood/saliva) There's a possibility that a natural supplement could help restore Testosterone levels to a normal range as a first method of action and a low testosterone doesn't necessarily mean that prescription medicine is needed. But, if you have a really low T, then you are functioning at the bottom of the scale rather than the middle or top.   Going about your day at a Testosterone level of 200 or 300 is going to make you feel like you're running on empty. 

The Schematics:
Men actually use a saliva testing kit too.  Or get your doctor to do a blood draw for your Testosterone level at your annual office visit.  It's worth checking out especially if you are over 45 years old.  Also, I have consulted with many physicians throughout the years who have wanted to convert their Testosterone injection patients over to a cream or gel.  That's where our services really come into play.  I have patients on 25mg of Testosterone and patients that are on over 200mg.  Each individual has different needs, different metabolism, and different quality of life desires.  A customized Testosterone gel with adrenal hormones can be included in the same formulation.  FOR NO EXTRA COST!  Remember, if the adrenals are running low, that needs to be rebalanced too.    Fixing all of the issues at the same time is often the best approach.  PLUS....WE CAN BILL YOUR PRESCRIPTION INSURANCE.  That's a win-win!  If you currently do not have insurance, please call me.  The affordable cost for therapy will amaze you and make you wonder why you've waited so long.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Top 5 supplements

I hope you enjoy this BLOG post.  It's from a colleague and friend Dr. Angi Moormann, N.D.  I appreciate what she is doing through natural and complementary medicine for her clients along with the opportunity to collaborate back and forth on needs to make people feel better and live healthier lives.  ~Dr. Sonja

From the Desk of Dr. Moormann:
One of the most asked questions I get is; How many supplements must I take and for how long?
What a great question, I never get tired of answering. Why? That questions tells me that the person knows that supplementation is necessary and not always do we take a supplement for life.
Now, let me go into that a little deeper. What supplements would we start with? I have a top five that I work with in the beginning.
1. Vitamins & Minerals – Years ago, this would not have been the case. In today's world of processed foods and “fast food” we do not get a good amount of vitamins & minerals that are recognized by the body as useful.
2. Fats – With all the worry about an obese country, we listen to advertisement that tell us to eat “no fat” & “low fat” and yolk-less eggs and chicken. We need the good fats that are found in animal fat like butter, cream (yum!) and eggs. And, you can supplement these oils.
3. Pro-biotic – Our ancestors ate fermented food which kept the beneficial bacteria in our guts at a good amount. With all the dead food we eat today, we must supplement.
4. Anti-oxidant – Free radicals damage cells. It's like rusting from the inside out. The pollutants in our air, food and water dramatically increase the number of free radicals we produce. In addition to the enormous stress, cigarette smoke, cell phones, radiation and prescribed drugs, even exercise contributes to the production of free radicals.\
5. Immune Support – This almost can go without an explanation. The fad just recently was to use anti-bacterial everything. If our bodies have no opportunity to protect, it then grows weak at protecting. We have created a “sterile” environment. The healthiest people are those who are exposed to a lot and become “immune” to it.

Second part of the question – How long. My answer : UNTIL!
Until you change the quality of the food you eat. Until you stop exposing your self to chemicals that are in our food, water and the products we use. In the process of moving towards a healthier diet & lifestyle , the amount of supplements can lessen.

Dr. Angi Moormann
Designed 4 Healing, Inc.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What's Progesterone got to do with it?

I've met and tested only a handful of women who were NOT deficient of progesterone throughout my years of doing this.  Why? Progesterone is the "feel good hormone" that really gives balance to many things and begins to decline earlier than the other hormones. I can almost guarantee that progesterone is an issue for women as they begin to share their symptoms and concerns during consultations simply based on what they describe as their problems.  You might be struggling with the same things and just aren't aware of the power of progesterone in resetting your out-of-balance body.  I will throw myself in the mix here and tell you that I am a progesterone user.  I practice (on myself) what I preach!

If you have any of these symptoms, please give my office a call.

Swollen Breasts
Fuzzy thinking
Food Cravings
Emotional Swings
Painful Breasts
Weight Gain
Early Menstruation
Inability to Concentrate
Painful Joints
Sweats especially at night
Headaches especially occuring with menstrual cycles.

Another topic I want to add on to this post regarding progesterone deficiency is the issue of INFERTILITY.  Progesterone is manufactured in the ovaries during the latter half of the menstrual cycle and is important for implantation and growth of the fetus.  Younger women with regular cycles generally make adequate progesterone and have fewer symptoms of "Estrogen Dominance".  I encourage you to look up that term.  Progesterone is very important in normal menstrual cycles, breast development, MAINTAINING PREGNANCY, relaxing blood vessels, and influencing neurotransmitters in the brain.  I have received newborn photos (and I love that) by women who carried a child to term and used compounded progesterone throughout the first trimesters of their pregnancy because they simply didn't produce enough on their own.  Those are the days that I'm ESPECIALLY thankful to be doing this.

Now here's the deal though.  I recommend that you test to see if progesterone might be the problem.  A physician sent a woman my way a couple of years ago who was basically TOXIC on progesterone.  From the results on her labs, she was using WAY TOO MUCH because someone had shared she should try it. Ugh!!  You need to know if you are LOW (and how low) before you GO and start using something that YOU do NOT need!  Some hormones turn into other hormones within the body.  There's a science to restoring hormones.  I REQUIRE concrete evidence of a deficiency (lab work) before I will work with your provider or recommend any over the counter supplements to boost progesterone production.  Blood is fine, but saliva is awesome!  OB/GYN's and General Practitioners send women to me ALL THE TIME to determine levels and to customize formulations specific to their patients needs.  Hormones are to be evaluated just like everything else (blood pressure, blood sugar, etc).  So what do you do?  Call me!! The testing is affordable and something I think that every woman should do beyond the age of 40 OR if she has had a hysterectomy.  If a young woman is not having regular menstrual cycles and is suffering from headaches, lack of motivation, and depression, then get them TESTED also!!  Is that you? 

Give me a call today.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja