Friday, May 29, 2009

Hello Everyone,

There's been a lot happening at Naturopathic Family Care this month and we don’t expect that to change much in the near future! One of the biggest changes that will be happening soon is a name change. Soon, we’ll be transitioning from Naturopathic Family Care to Longevity Medical Health Center. We’ve decided to make this switch because in the past 5 years our office has expanded to include doctors who focus on more than just family medicine. Of course we still have great docs who offer family medicine, but our office is also home to doctors who focus in particular areas. Some of the areas in which our doctors are considered experts include oncology, women's health, pain and mucsuloskeletal medicine, environmental medicine and detoxification, as well as men's health. We wanted our new name to more accurately describe what we have to offer at the clinic. Other than a name change nothing else will change, we'll continue to have the same great doctors and provide the same great services!

We've teamed up with Our Organics to now offer fresh, certified organic produce right at our office! Beginning on July 17th we will be offering organic produce on every other Friday afternoon from 5-7PM. Our Organics will be delivering two different box sizes of produce, with the items changing with the season. The larger box, which will easily provide for a family of four is reasonably priced at $60. A smaller box costs $40 and will supply a couple or small family with all the fruits and veggies they can eat for two weeks! Just try to get those kind of prices at an organic grocery store! In order to reserve your fruits and veggies call Our Organics at (602)-550-0330, or visit their website at here.

During the month of June we’ll be offering two “Free BIA Days.” During these two days it will be possible to come into the office and receive a BIA for free!!!

The BIA is a great way to get a large overview of your body. Measurements such as %lean body weight, %fat mass, resting metaboilic rate, body mass index, and total body water are all determined with this fast and easy test. We frequentlay use this test to monitor people who are taking advantage of our First Line Therapy programs. These programs provide guidance on therapeutic lifestyle medicine and are used for conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, weight control, and hypertension.

The Free BIA Days are going to be the 19th and 26th of June. If you want to take advantage of this offer please call the office and tell them which day you would prefer. The BIA is non-invasive, totally pain free, and the whole procedure only takes about 15 minutes. Call today to reserve your spot!!

We've got a great selection of articles to share with you this month:

Hypothyroidism by Shahrzad Orona, NMD
Adrenal Fatigue by Phranq Tamburri, NMD
Alcohol and Longevity? by Dr. Ross Kerievsky, DC, NMD
Weight Loss and Aging Metabolism by Dr. Marianne Marchese, NMD
New Hope for Autoimmune Disease by Marie Niechwiadowicz, NMD
Pollution Reflections by Raushanah Najeeullah, NMD

Shahrzad Orona, NMD

Do you hear of low thyroid symptoms and think that the majority apply to you? You may have heard of this recently on the Dr. Phil Show. Low energy, easy weight gain, cold hands and feet and hair loss are just a few of the symptoms that are often associated with sub-optimal thyroid functioning. You have experienced these symptoms, and even asked your doctor test your blood for thyroid function knowing for sure that you are hypothyroid (low thyroid). Then, you are told that your thyroid is normal, but you just don’t know how this could be possible as you still feel the symptoms.

Many people experience this scenerio, usually because the only blood test the doctor ordered is simply checking the level of your thyroid stimulating hormone or TSH. The TSH level indicates how the brain perceives the body’s thyroid hormone levels. When your brain perceives that your body has low thyroid hormone levels it produces more TSH to tell your body to make more thyroid hormones. When your brain perceives that your body has adequate or high levels of thyroid hormones it produces less thyroid stimulating hormone. Measuring only TSH levels also has other problems, as there is debate over the optimal range of TSH. Although labs generally set the range between 0.45 and 4.5, many doctors are now finding this range too broad and are using other more narrow ranges.

So what is a person to do? My recommendation for obtaining a complete thyroid assessment would be:

A questionnaire to rank your symptoms, and a complete health history.

Blood testing: TSH, total and free T4, total and free T3, reverse T3, T3Uptake. T3 and T4 are both hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland, and both can have a major impact on how a person feels.

Possibly testing your thyroid antibodies depending on your risk of autoimmune disease

Thyroflex test- this non-invasive test calculates thyroid function based on the speed and duration of your reflexes. This test is what Dr. Phil presented on his recent show. To see a short clip of this episode click here.

Urinary iodine test- insufficient levels of iodine in the body have been associated with abnormal thyroid functioning. Low iodine levels have also been associated with condition such as breast cancer. For more on this see NFC cancer blog at

Treating thyroid problems is a large part of my practice, and if you feel that you may have a problem with thyroid function I would be happy to help you investigate this.

Adrenal Fatigue
Dr.Phranq Tamburri, NMD

Adrenal fatigue is a common health condition that affects millions of people. The adrenal glands are important because they give us energy, allow our bodies to adapt to stress, maintain a healthy weight, help regulate blood pressure and contribute to hormone balance in the body. The adrenals can develop dysfunction when we are under prolonged periods of stress or experience an isolated episode of major stress. Stress comes in many forms, both physical and psychological. The main sources of physical stress are pain, inflammation, blood sugar dysregulation or an illness like a severe respiratory infection. Psychological stresses are often associated with living in a fast paced society with very little leisure time to rest and rejuvenate. When the level of stress exceeds our body's ability to cope then adrenal fatigue develops.The symptoms of adrenal fatigue can vary but the most common ones are: fatigue, difficulty losing weight, lack of concentration, muscle or joint pain, frequent colds and flu, mood changes and insomnia. Adrenal dysfunction may also worsen hormone related conditions like symptoms of PMS, menopause, or for many of my specific male patients, andropause.

Your adrenal function can be assessed with a simple salivary test called the Adrenal Stress Index test, in which the daily cortisol rhythm is mapped out and compared to a normal curve. Based on the test results and your specific symptoms, an individualized treatment plan can be developed to help restore optimal adrenal function. Treatment may include nutritional IVs, oral supplementation with vitamins C, E and B vitamins, adrenal glandular extracts, and herbs that help tonify and restore the adrenal glands. It is also important to utilize stress management techniques to help mitigate the effects of stress.

Although healthy adrenals are the key to improved energy and vitality, many books or alternative practitioners too frequently and prematurely make this diagnosis so make sure that you are properly assessed by your physician to rule out other more serious disease that may have similar symptoms.
If you suspect that you might have adrenal dysfunction make sure you ask us about testing.

Alcohol and Longevity?
Ross Kerievsky, DC, NMD

There has been a lot of conflicting data over the past few years regarding whether alcohol consumption is a health benefit or a health risk. Unfortunately, there is still a debate on the subject. Recent data suggests that depending on if you are a male or female can indicate whether alcohol consumption is a health benefit or a risk.

A recent study from of the April 30th The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reported that drinking a half a glass of wine daily for men increased longevity by 5 years. More studies are needed however. For best results avoid boxed wine!

Benefits were attributed to the actual alcohol consumption as well as the benefit specifically from wine. Unfortunately, the benefits seen in males do not seem to be the same in females. Other reports show a potential increase in incidence of breast cancer with the addition of alcohol. Hopefully more studies will shed light on this topic in the future. To see the study click here

Weight Loss: The aging metabolism
Marianne Marchese, NMD

Ever feel like you’re fighting a losing battle to shed pounds not matter how much you exercise or how well you eat? You may be losing the battle at a cellular level. Your body is built to store fat and later use the stored fat for energy. As you age and your metabolism slows down not only do you burn less fat but the food you eat is more likely to be stored as fat instead of being used to fuel your body.

Food is fuel

The primary nutrients in foodstuff can be classified as fats, proteins or carbohydrates that are used to fuel the body. Metabolism is the way the cells, organs and tissues in our bodies handle those kinds of fuels. As metabolism slows, the primary thing that seems to occur is that mitochondria in the cells slow down with age. As we age, we are subject to muscle wasting. Since muscle burns more energy than fat if you do nothing about your loss of muscle with age, it will take you longer to burn off a candy bar at age 60 than at 20.

How to slow the slowing

Dr. Marchese has developed a treatment plan to address the slowing metabolism at a cellular level. Along with a comprehensive nutrition and exercise plan she assists the cells to ramp up the mitochondria. This is done with a simple sugar that increase the energy molecule ATP in the body, an extract of the skin of the red grape that increases enzymatic activity and mitochondria, and the reduced form of a naturally occurring antioxidant that is present in every cell of the body that increases cellular activity.

Other causes of weight gain

In addition to aging and slowing metabolism, hypothyroidism and insulin resistance can cause weight gain and make losing weight difficult. This is why it is important to have a complete medical work-up to determine the cause of weight gain. Treatment for hypothyroidism and insulin resistance are mainstays of Dr. Marchese’s practice.

If you are having trouble losing weight, making changes in your diet or getting started on an exercise program, Dr. Marchese can help.

New Hope for Autoimmune Disease
Marie Niechwiadowicz, NMD

When patients are first diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, a common initial response is confusion. “I like my thyroid (or insert appropriate organ) – why doesn’t my immune system?” The cause of this internal power struggle remains unknown. Current theories point to viral infections as the etiology. What is even more worrisome is that once you have one autoimmune disease your likelihood of developing another one increases exponentially. Celiac and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis go hand in hand. More than eighty different diseases are classified as autoimmune conditions. In conventional medicine, treatment has been limited to immunosuppressant drugs. Alternative medicine offers more options with supportive treatments such as acupuncture, nutritional support, IV therapies, and herbal medicine. A new use for an old drug offers another powerful option that may reverse the autoimmune process. This is low dose naltrexone therapy.

Since 1980, therapies developed by a neurologist may cure or at least slow the process of autoimmune conditions. Neurologist Dr. Bernard Bihari started using low dose naltrexone on his Multiple Sclerosis patients in New York City. His research showed that low dose naltrexone stopped cell death of oligodendrocytes which produce myelin, prevented the inhibition of glutamate transporters, prevented excitatory neurotoxicity on neurons, and reduced inflammation in neurons. In short, MS, which is a progressive disease process that is characterized by demyelination of neurons, was being reversed. Low dose naltrexone has also been given for some cancers and HIV with promising results. At high doses, naltrexone is conventionally used for opiate drug addiction. It is classified as an opiate agonist. The dosage for addiction is 50-300mg a day.

The cells of the immune system have several types of opiod receptors and naltrexone in low doses blocks mu opiod receptor decreasing the immune systems responsiveness to antigens. The balance between delta/mu receptors lead to competent immune system that recognizes self from non-self. Naltrexone increases Th1 and decrease Th2 cytokine production, decreases IL-4 production and increase IL-2 and interferon gamma levels. Low Th1 levels increase the production of auto reactive T lymphocytes and of auto antibodies. What this means is naltrexone gets your immune system to stop seeing you as the enemy.

Low dose naltrexone therapy has been successfully used to reverse the autoimmune disease process in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Multiple Sclerosis. Patients typically notice symptomatic improvement within a month. After 3-6 months of treatment, autoimmune antibodies are considerably lower and sometimes undetectable. Treatment is 1.5mg to 3mg of naltrexone taken before bed. At this low dose naltrexone has no known side effects. In conjunction with supportive therapies, low dose naltrexone is a powerful weapon to combat autoimmune diseases.

Pollution Reflections
Raushanah Najeeullah, NMD
My precious little angel, also known as my son Phoenix, has had a bothersome cough for the last 2 weeks or so. Being a good mother/doctor, I took his temperature, listened to his lungs and watched him like a hawk. Other than this annoying little cough he was perfectly fine. A very pretty basic and gentle kid-sized cough treatment involving botanicals and homeopathy definitely gave him some relief but this cough just wouldn’t quite go away.

Remembering the Naturopathic Principle of ‘Discover and Treat the Cause’, I decided to try a little experiment. It was mother’s day weekend so I took a trip to Sedona; a beautiful canyon only 120 miles away from but roughly 3,000 feet above the heavily polluted metro Phoenix area where we live. Low and behold, the coughing ceased for almost the entire time we were in Sedona and started again upon our return to Phoenix (the city, not my son).

The high pollution days and constant ‘Brown Cloud’ seen over Maricopa county can take a terrible toll on respiratory health especially in the very young and elderly. Of the 25 most ozone-polluted cities in the country, Phoenix ranks 9th. According to the American Lung Association’s "State of the Air 2005" report, over 2.6 million, or 79%, of Maricopa county's residents are at high risk for respiratory complications due to air quality. Increased air pollution can cause cough, eye and throat irritation, shortness of breath and brain fog in otherwise healthy individuals.
Asthma sufferers in particular may see an aggravation of symptoms during this time.

Asthma is an inflammatory condition of the bronchial and bronchiolar airways found in the lower respiratory system. It causes narrowing of the airways, swelling to the lining of the airways, and increased mucus production. Symptoms commonly seen are wheezing, difficulty breathing, cough, a feeling of discomfort in the chest, and shortness of breath with activity.

There are steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms of air pollution. HEPA air filters and plants that clean the air are very effective at cleaning the air in your home. It is also important to remove your shoes as you enter a home. You can track pesticides, herbicides, and other substances through a living area if you did so much as walk across a treated lawn. There are also therapeutic options to address preexisting conditions such as asthma. Homeopathy, NEAT (Natural Elimination of Allergy Therapy) and constitutional hydrotherapy are just a few options you can discuss with your doctor.