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.

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