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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Do-It-Yourself Natural Medicine

There are many times when I 'm asked if a natural or over-the-counter product can be used for various things.  The answer is almost always yes! There are situations where things get a bit technical or can be a problem, but overall I felt that I could compile a general list for whatever might ail you.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, you might try one of these more natural treatment approaches. 

Anxiety: Valerian, lemon balm, glutamine, kava, and teas (passion flower, hops, and chamomile).
Cancer: Beta carotene, fish oil, black or green teas, garlic, soy, and vitamin A and D.
Canker Sores: Lysine
Cholesterol: Fish oil, red yeast rice, plant sterols, and garlic
Colds and Flus: Echinacea, elderberry, garlic, zinc, and vitamin D and C
Dementia/Memory: Ginko, huperzine A, and vitamin E
Depression: St. Johns wort, fish oils, 5 HTP, tryptophan, glutamine, and inositol
Diabetes: Bitter melon, gymnema, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, cinnamon, and green tea
Energy/Weight Loss: Guarana and bitter orange (and others...check out my weight loss postings)
Gastrointestinal distress: Peppermint oil and chamomile tea
Heart Health/Heart Failure: Co-Q10, arginine, fish oils, grape see extract, and garlic.
Inflammation: Fish oil and willow bark
Liver Cleansing: Milk thistle
Menopausal Symptoms: Black cohash, dongquai, red clover, and evening primrose
Migraine/Headache: Feverfew, willow bark, butterbur, fish oil, magnesium, coQ10, and riboflavin
Motion Sickness/Nausea: Ginger and peppermint
Osteoarthritis: Glucosamine and chondroitin
Prostate Enlargement: Saw Palmetto and lycopene
Sleep: Melatonin, magnesium, valerian, kava, and progesterone.

Make sure to check other medications against these options for any potential interactions. Your healthcare provider can help answer those questions for you.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Vitamin D-eficiency?

Vitamin D has long been known to prevent rickets disease in children, and in helping the intestine to  absorb calcium, but currently Vitamin D is also known to protect the body from many other conditions and diseases. 

Take a look for yourself and you will find "D"-eficiency connections to these things:

Autoimmune diseases (RA, Crohns, MS, psoriasis)
Behavioral and Learning disorders
Bowel Disorders
Chronic Fatigue
High Blood Pressure
Peripheral neuropathy
Polycystic Ovary Disease
Premenstrual Syndrome

Cancer risk reduction can be as much as 80% in the clinical studies of recent years.  Wow!

Causes of Vitamin D deficiency include:

Sunscreen use
darker skin pigment
liver or kidney disease
excess animal protein in the diet
low UVB exposure due to climates and seasons
certain medications (anticonvulsants, steroids, HIV/AIDS meds, transplant medications, and Alli)
diseases (cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, Crohn's and Whipple's disease.)
poor absorption and metabolism related to stress, dieting, illness, diet, drug and alcohol consumption, allergies, and processed foods can also contribute to "D"eficiencies.

D3 or D2?

D3 is technically a prohormone and is produced from UV light hitting the skin.  It is also found in cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements. 
D2 is not found in animals, but is prepared commercially by exposing a component to fungal cell membranes to UV light.

Both D3 and D2 are hydroxylated in the liver to form the major circulating form of the prohormone.  However D2 has a lower affinity than D3 for binding which results in a shorter half-life in the blood stream.  Therefore D2 must be given in higher doses. When given daily, D2 is as effective as D3 but most assays only measure D3 and not D2 so it's hard to tell the progress from a blood evaluation.  Many vitamin producers are already switching to D3 in their preparations.

Food Sources of Vitamin D: (Salmon 300-600IU, Tuna 230 IU, Sardines 300IU, Milk fortified with D 100IU, Margarine fortified 430IU, Cereal fortified 100IU, Cod Liver Oil 400-1000IU)

Sunlight provides about 3000IU with 10 minutes of exposure.  Here's the problem though. When formed on the skin it takes about 48 hours to absorb into the bloodstream and washing with soap will wash away most of the Vit D that has been formed.  It is recommended to only soap the underarms and groin area when possible within that 48 hours.  So I guess you can only take a bath every 2 days.  (smile)

40-75 % of the world is "D"eficient.
Recent findings suggest daily intake of about 2000IU/day to prevent the diseases mentioned above.
Grassroots Health at the U of Cal, San Diego found that oral doses of 10,000IU daily did not show any toxicity and the average to test at 60ng/ml (the lab marker) was around 6000IU daily.
Some conditions are more sensitive to Vitamin D levels and you should consult a healthcare professional if certain diseases exist. (liver, kidney, kidney stones, heart disease, etc.)

We carry an excellent Vitamin D3 product (pharmaceutical grade) that is formulated with Omega Fish Oils to provide dual health benefits.  If you are not supplementing with Vitamin D, you might want to start.

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Little Secret to Looking Younger

Women with low estrogen look significantly older than women the same age with more optimal levels of estrogen.

Seriously?  ......Absolutely!!! 

Low estrogen levels are associated with accelerated aging, including the loss of collagen and moisture content of skin as well increased facial wrinkling. Conversely, natural estrogen replacement has been shown to improve collagen levels and moisture content of the skin and reduce wrinkles.

A panel of independent reviewers estimated the ages of 100 women, ranging in age from 35 to 55 years old, on their first office visit to a gynecology practice. ***The women’s estimated age was then compared to their real age and the level of estrogen.

It was as found that women with low estrogen levels looked SIGNIFICANTLY OLDER than their age, and those with more optimal levels looked MUCH YOUNGER than their age.

There was a DIRECT correlation with the level of estrogen and looking older or younger than one’s real age. Those with the lowest level of estrogen looked 8 years OLDER than their age and those with the most optimal levels looked 8 years younger than their age (16 year DIFFERENTIAL).

The authors state, “The age of women with low estradiol serum concentrations was systematically overestimated; with increasing serum estrogen levels the reverse was the case. Women with high estrogen concentrations looked younger, while women with low estradiol concentrations looked older than they really were. The discrepancy between estimated and real age could be as high as 8 years in either direction [16 year differential]. These data suggest that serum estrogen concentrations have a pronounced impact on the estimation of age.”

For those women wanting to use a unique cosmeceutical agent applied directly to their face and neck, I have a great suggestion.  I can provide a special estrogen formulation that can fill the fine lines and wrinkles right at the place where it's needed the most.  I call this product a face lift in a bottle.  What woman doesn't want that?  Give me a call and I can share more secrets on this topic.  Another secret:  I use this special formulation myself and I love it!!  

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Sunscreen linked to Thyroid Disease? 2 problem ingredients

Sunscreen Inhibits Thyroid Function
  • Animal studies
  • Rats treated with 4MBC and Benzophenone 2 (BP2) for five days found to have significantly increased TSH and lower T4.
    • Weight of thyroid glands increased
    • All above results prevented if there was adequate iodine present
      “The work has shown that MBC and BP2 are potent disrupters of the pituitary-thyroid hormonal system in rats. If the same effect is discovered in humans, then we may have to rethink how we protect our children and those with existing thyroid problems or those in iodine-deficient areas from sun exposure.”

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Women's Health Initiative Study, 10 Years Later - ABC News

Women's Health Initiative Study, 10 Years Later - ABC News

Strolling Down Memory Lane

One of the complaints I hear in private consultations with men and women is the decline of memory and mental acuity.  It's a known fact that as we age, we lose some memory.  In fact, studies have shown that there is a loss from age 25 to age 40 of 21%.  Yikes!  (sorry to be the bearer of bad news. smile) Sadly, it doesn't stop there though.  By the age of 70-79 the memory decline is 43%.  (Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 1991)   Mild cognitive decline begins 30-40 years earlier than when full blow Alzheimers Disease is diagnosed.  It's SOOOO important to protect your brain earlier rather than later. 

Alzheimers Disease is always a concern for people as they age and especially when there is a family history.  Here's some facts on Alzheimers: 
1) Several genes have been identified (chromosomes 21, 19. 14, 1, 21, apolipoprotein C1, HLA 2A gene)
2) Apolipoprotein E4 is a gene that is carried by 30% of people but only 10% who carry the gene get Alzheimers.
3) The younger the onset, the more likely that it's genetic
4) Head trauma with a loss of consciousness doubles the risk
5) Head trauma with the E4 gene increases the risk tenfold.
6) There's a link to the mother 9:1 compared to the father
7) Cherokee Native Americans seem to have a natural immunity
8) African Americans and Hispanics have a higher rate of A.D. than caucasians

Factors Affecting Memory:
1) Nutrition and Lack of Nutrients (high fat and sugar consumption)
2) Hormonal Imbalance
3) Inflammation
4) Homocysteine levels
5) Psychological health (Depression and Anxiety)
6) Toxic environmental substances (heavy metals i.e. dental fillings, fluoride, solvents, fuels, and pesticides)
7) cadmium which is found in cigarettes
8) Lead and arsenic
9) alcohol consumption
10) lack of exercise (a study in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that people who ballroom dance 2 times a week were less likely to develop dementia.  Also, for an extra mile walked each week, there was a 13% reduction in memory decline.
11) level of education
12) genetics, of course
13) recreational drug use
14) medications (pain meds, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antihistamines/decongestants, heart meds, muscle relaxers, sedatives, steroids, and others)

Brain Boosters:
1) DHA (found in fish oil formulations)
2) Phosphatidylserine
3) Ashwagandha
4) Ginger
5) Ginko Biloba
6) Magnesium
7) Actyl-L-Carnitine
8) Alpha Lipoic Acid
9) Carnosine
10) Zinc
11) and some others

I met a physician recently who did not have any phone numbers preset in her cell phone or in her office.  She felt that it inhibited her congnitively to rely on the numbers instead of forcing her mind to memorize and recall.  It really made me think about our culture and environment.  Are we seeing a decline in memory just on this shift alone?  I remember as a child we did not have cell phones (and we walked 20 miles to school in the snow and rain...haha...jk) and you were forced to memorize key phone numbers in addition to all of the elementary facts obtained in school. We had TV guides, but mostly we just knew when certain shows were on and which channel.  Now without the online guide, we're not sure what's available.  I think there may be something to having everything preset in our society.  Do you? 

Cognitive decline is so frustrating for people.  Once again, I feel strongly that we should be supplementing our bodies with key nutrients that we are not obtaining from our poor Western diet.  If you are suffering from memory decline, give me a call. I feel that I can "alert" you to some key lifestyle and diet changes..

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, July 9, 2012

Maybe It's Magnesium?

I recommend that everyone be on about 5 key supplements, one of which is magnesium.  Really?  Yes, and I'm going to explain why in this blog today.  Magnesium is an important electrolyte needed for so many things. (ie. muscle, nerve, and enzyme function, and common premenstrual symptoms related to mood changes.)  Studies indicate that certain medical conditions such as hypertension, heart arrhythmias, diabetes, osteoporosis, sexual dysfunction, premenstrual syndrome, INSOMNIA, and migraines may arise from magnesium deficiency.  In fact 50% of headache sufferers have a magnesium deficiency.  And I highlight insomnia because it's just such a huge problem in the population these days.  In fact, we are providing a specially formulated magnesium 10% cream to patients with cancer quite often these days.  It helps with pain, sleep, leg cramps, cardiac problems, etc. etc. 

One study by the National Institutes of Health showed that 68% of Americans are magnesium deficient and other experts put that number closer to 80%.  WOW! Even well trained athletes are often magnesium deficient.  Data suggests that their intake is only about 70% of the recommended daily allowance with female runners being at ~59%. 

The American diet full of preservatives, fats, convenience foods, and processed foods is causing an epidemic of magnesium deficiency.  And even with what is considered a good dietary lifestyle and cooking vegetables, there will be a loss of about 50% of the nutrient content with boiling raw vegetables. 

Conditions that can upset the body's magnesium  supply are these (along with others of course): intestinal flu, irritable bowel and GI disorders, celiac sprue, diabetes, salt, and alcohol intake.  Also heavy menstrual periods, excessive sweating, and prolonged stress can effect the body's magnesium supply.  Although people are trying to eat healthier, often times they are cooking the nutritional content right out of everything and food as a remedy for these conditions just doesn't cut it. 

Got insomnia? Did you know that magesium is considered the nonaddictive tranquilizer?  Magnesium deficiency often presents as night terrors, restless leg syndrome, frequent awakenings, and nocturnal verbal and motor outbursts.  Conversely, a high magnesium and low aluminum diet has been found to make people sleep like a baby with few awakenings and uninterrupted sleep. 

"Diabetes is a magnesium deficiency state,"says Jerry Nadler, MD, of the U of Virgina School of Medicine.  He suggests that 80% of diabetics have low intracellular magnesium.  Research suggests that low magnesium boosts your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 1/3.  Why don't people know this?!?!   Ahhhhhh.......ok, done with my rant.  Supplementation can improve insulin activity and may help with insulin resistance in obese children. 

Osteoporosis:  The emphasis has always been on calcium, but 50% of the body's total magnesium is found in the bone.  Low magnesium=Low bone density.....rocket science I know. Tufts reseachers found that high magnesium predicted stronger bone mass. 

Cardiac: Studies indicate that daily Mag intake for 6 weeks reduces arrhythmias by 25-50%.  In fact, women skimping on Mag were prone to developing irregular heartbeats within 3 months.  Documentation shows that higher Mag means lower blood pressure, more elasticity in the blood vessels, and a less enlarged heart.  It's sort of a natural calcium channel blocker for all of you in my blog land who know what that class of medicines does for heart patients. 

Migraine: Studies show that there's a 42% drop in headache frequency in migraine sufferers taking 600mg of Mag/day.  Again, estimates are that 50% of headache sufferers have a magnesium deficiency. 

Pain Relief: Mag helps with muscle cramps, restless legs, fibromyalgia, and chonic pain conditions. 

Anxiety and Mood:  Symptoms of Mag deficiency can include poor attention, memory loss, fear, restlessness, insomnia, cramps, and dizziness.  (That's about 90% of the symptoms of patients who come to my office for hormone consultations right there.)  In one study of more than 200 patients with depression and chronic pain, 75% had low Mag levels.  Hmmmm?  It's not hard to connect some dots on that. 

(From the Livestrong website) Women need 320 mg of magnesium daily and men require 420 mg, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements. Pregnancy ups the requirement to 360 mg, but you don't need more than 320 mg while breastfeeding. Magnesium supplements have varying levels of the mineral available for absorption, which is referred to as elemental magnesium. For example, magnesium oxide provides 60 percent elemental magnesium, making it the most bio-available source. Magnesium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide each have a little more than 40 percent elemental magnesium. Most other forms of magnesium in supplements contain less than 20 percent elemental magnesium.  I actually recommend the magnesium glycinate version and carry a pharmaceutical grade product for our patients.  When women or men complain of constipation, I typically will ask if they are doing any kind of magnesium supplementation.  If not, then it's always a good place to start.  Most people in our society are deficient and recommended manufacturers dosing on the side of the bottle serves as a good guide. 

Drug Interactions:  Now before you go out and start popping Magnesium supplements let me share some of the interactions that you need to be aware of.  These meds can cause a bit of a conflict if not appropriately managed:

Antibiotics (such as cipro, tetracycline, doxycycline, etc.)
Calcium Channel Blockers
Diabetic meds
Thyroid meds

So after reading this blog do you see the magic of Magnesium?  Perhaps you should consider your symptoms and draw correlations to this incredible supplement.  It's a simple and inexpensive remedy to a host of physical problems.  There are other beneficial supplements, but this is a BIGGIE in my opinion.  On almost every hormone patient that I take on, I recommend this key supplement.  It's essential to core nutrition and healthy hormone metabolism.  Call for a custom nutraceutical regimen today.  All vitamins and supplements are NOT created equal.  We provide only the highest quality products lines and those that must be directed by a healthcare provider. 

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja

Monday, July 2, 2012

One Size Does NOT Fit ALL!! Designer Medicine

When you are heading into the clothing store you might find something with the label One-size-fits-all.  That's great if you are buying sunglasses, a hat, or even some styles of clothing, but when it comes to medicine, it's not always the best way.  One of the questions that I often respond to is, "Dr. Sonja, what is it that you actually do?"  Well, in a nutshell, I design medicine!  And I is not even the way I should respond.  I have a staff surrounding me that really know how to make things happen under my direction and supervision. 

I just wanted to share some of the neat things that we were able to intervene on in recent weeks so that you have an understanding of what it means to customize medicine.

Patient 1: A patient with the horrible problem of hemorrhoids.  I received the call and was happy to share that I could design a suppository formulation with multiple ingredients that would heal his problem.  His case also happened to be higher in the rectum area causing fissures and tears.  No problem.  We can design medicine for any area of the body and any need.  We also make a cream that's the BOMB for hemorrhoids.  NO kidding.  My GI Doctors write for it all the time. 

Patient 2: A woman with fertility issues and a history of lost pregnancies.  We tested her hormone levels, and I worked with her OB/Gyn to help her get into a normal menstrual cycle pattern.  We also created progesterone suppositories that helped her sustain a pregnancy.  Love that!!

Patient 3:  A young teenager with horrible sweating causing embarrassment and irritation.  I designed a deodorant formulation that will dry up the sweating and stop the rash.  Yes we have dispensing units that allow us to make deodorant like you see in the stores.  It's really "cool" to be able to provide this treatment.  We've used it and put it to the test over and over in patients.  The patients always come back.

Patient 4:  A child with autism who requires a small dose of medicine and needs a specific flavor for palatibility issues.  We have had him in our care for a couple of years now and we love when he walks in the door each month.

Patient 5:  A patient with shingles who had intense stinging and burning pain along with a rash caused by this terrible disease.  On her, we were able to customize a medicine with 3 ingredients that put a halt to the pain and allowed healing.  Yeah!! 

Patient 6:  A woman with a condition called Lichen Sclerosus who has suffered for 8 years before finding us.  Thankfully a referral was made by her provider to me and YES I had a formulation that we started about 4 weeks ago with her.  She reports that she is improved and regaining some of her life back.

Patient 7: A woman with horrible symptoms of menopause.  Sweating, depression, fatigue, irritability, and the whole gammet.  I consulted with her privately, tested her hormone levels, and designed a formulation specificially to her need by collaborating with her personal physician.  This is the majority of our business. Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement. It's the future of medicine now and women in our care are doing great.  It's spreading like wildfire. 

Patient 8:  A man with psoriasis who did not like to wear shorts or short sleeves because of the embarrassment of the patches and silvery areas on his elbows and knees.  No problem.  We again had a multi ingredient recommendation that cleared him up wonderfully and even added a shampoo for his scalp too.  He's doing great!

Patient 9:  A baby with horrible diaper rash.  We actually intervene a lot to provide Happy Hiney's.  I formulated a product years ago that I named Butt Paste.  Our pediatricians and providers write for it all the time to soothe bottoms for our little patients. 

Patient 10:  A cat with hyperthyroidism.  Yes, we do veterinary work too.  We make a special medicine that can be rubbed into the non-hairy pat of a cats ear to fix it's thyroid disease.  It's a pretty common formulation for us to make.  We also help animals with anxiety, wetting, and allergies.   Years ago, we made medicine for sharks.  Not kidding.  :)

I'll share some more examples in another post. 

So to say that I have the coolest job in the world is TRUE.  I never know what's coming in a days time, but with some years of experience and knowledge behind me, I can now make some great recommendations to heal whatever ails.  It really is amazing to make medicine for a living.  I've met a lot of great people who felt trapped by their physical need but who fortunately made the phone call to see if there was a better way.  Trust is not taken lightly because I have to calculate percentages, and determine if certain medicines can be added together, and figure out a way to make it the most effective to the need.  It's really quite intense at times, but we have great resources, libraries, and consultants available to us.  

The cost of customized medicine is always a concern for people.   No joke, I can often design a medicine for the same price that you would pay on your insurance copay.  Really?  Yes! And sometimes it cheaper. 

I work with physicians all over the U.S. now.  If you are struggling with something, ANYTHING, please don't hesitate to call.  I would love to help you out and share some options.  Let's get you FIXED!! 

To your good health,
Dr. Sonja