What every man should know…
What is Erectile Dysfunction (ED)? ED is a common condition that affects many men. It’s the inability to get or keep an erection firm enough to have sex. While it may be embarrassing when this situation arises, it is important to not ignore it. It may not be a cause for concern if it happens occasionally. However, if it happens regularly it needs to be discussed with your doctor since it could be a sign of various health conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
What causes ED? Some common causes are stress, fatigue, hormone imbalance like testosterone levels, obesity, cholesterol levels, smoking, diabetes, general health and medication side effects. ED can be a complex blend of a few different factors related to emotional or mental health such as depression, anxiety, or stress.
Important factors to consider: When it comes to looking at ED the most important thing to consider is cardiovascular health and genetic risk factors.
Equally important is testosterone levels and stress reduction.
Talk to your doctor and have an assessment to see if you have clogged arteries. The arteries in the penis are small. If, they are clogged with plaque chances are so are your arteries in the heart.
What can you do about it? Talk to your doctor so they can evaluate your health and determine what factors may be contributing to the issue. This is a difficult situation for many men to discuss. In most cases, some lifestyle changes, and testosterone therapy can do the trick, in other cases there are ED medications available such as Cialis and Viagra. Before taking any medications for ED, it is important to have your cardiovascular health evaluated because it could be masking a more significant issue.
Have you noticed something is different?
Has sex become uncomfortable or painful? If so, you could be 1 of the millions of women affected by vaginal dryness which is an uncomfortable, common condition. You do not have to be menopausal to experience vaginal dryness since it can affect “peri-menopausal” women as well.
What is vaginal dryness? Vaginal dryness is a condition in which the natural lubrication system of the vaginal is no longer working properly leaving the vaginal area dry, itchy, burning, and pain with intercourse. Most often it is caused by a hormonal imbalance. Typically, it is a lack of estrogen that causes not only vaginal dryness, but in more extreme or long-term cases, vaginal atrophy. Vaginal atrophy or Atrophic vaginitis also causes changes to the cells of the vaginal lining, causing them to be more thin and fragile resulting in tearing and bleeding. There are other causes for vaginal dryness besides hormones such as dehydration, stress, medication side effects such as birth control, antihistamines, and autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome.
It’s not just about dryness! When you have vaginal dryness you are more susceptible to urinary tract infections due to the lack of protection that the lubrication provides. The natural lubrication of the vagina helps to keep bad bacteria out and without it the normal flora of the vagina can become imbalanced leading to more frequent urinary tract infections. However, many women experiencing vaginal dryness have all the symptoms of a UTI (urinary tract infection) without any bacteria present. Symptoms such as increased urgency, frequency, burning and itching with urination can all be due to the dryness of the vagina. This makes things pretty uncomfortable down there.
What can you do about it? Many women utilize hormone replacement therapy either systemically or vaginally. There are many options for hormones replacement including natural bio-identical hormones to traditional hormone replacement therapies. There are products that are made just for the vagina and vaginal dryness. Talk to your doctor about which one would be right for you.
Other things to consider are hydration levels, make sure you are hydrating and drinking enough water that your urine is light straw colored to clear. Minimize stress as stress affects many systems of our body including hormones and can lead to vaginal dryness or exacerbate it. Take a look at your medications to see if any of those could be contributing to dryness. In all cases consulting your Naturopathic doctor can provide you with the most comprehensive and individualized treatment plan for your individual situation.
Cervical cancer has been linked with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). There are over 100 strains of HPV. Some strains of HPV cause genital warts, while other strains cause abnormal changes in the cervix that lead to cervical cancer. However, this cancer can almost always be prevented through regular screening and, if needed, treatment of abnormal cell changes.
Approximately 14 million new cases of sexually transmitted HPV occur in the U.S. each year, with at least 79 million people estimated to be currently infected. Most people with HPV, though, do not know that they are infected.
It is estimated that 70% of women and men will come into contact with it during their life. Fortunately 80 to 90% of cases the human papillomavirus will be naturally eliminated.
• HPV can infect anyone who has ever had a sexual encounter, even without going “all the way.”
• HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, not through an exchange of bodily fluid.
• In most cases, the virus is harmless and most people have no symptoms. The body clears most HPV infections naturally.
• HPV can be contracted from one partner, remain dormant, and then later be unknowingly transmitted to another sexual partner, including a spouse.
• Though usually harmless, some high-risk types cause cervical cell changes that, if not detected in time, can turn into cancer. The majority of women with an HPV infection will not develop cervical cancer, but regular Pap tests are important.
• Cervical cancer most commonly takes 10 years to 20 years or more to develop; women who are no longer sexually active should still have Pap tests.
• Cervical cancer is the first cancer in women to be identified as being caused almost exclusively by a virus.
• The best way to screen for cervical cancer is a Pap test, which may be done alone or, for women age 30 and older, in combination with an HPV DNA test.
• HPV infections in women over 30 are less likely to be cleared naturally, so an HPV test can be helpful in letting health care providers know which women are at greatest risk of cervical cancer.
• Regular Pap tests, supplemented by appropriate HPV testing, will detect virtually all pre-cancerous changes and cervical cancers.
• Cervical cancer is completely preventable if precancerous cell changes are detected and treated early.
• Genital warts usually appear as a small bump or group of bumps in the genital area. They can be small or large, raised or flat, or shaped like a cauliflower. Health care providers typically diagnose warts by looking at the genital area during an office visit. Warts can appear within weeks or months after sexual contact with an infected partner—even if the infected partner has no signs of genital warts. If left untreated, genital warts might go away, remain unchanged, or increase in size or number. They will not turn into cancer.
• Latex condoms can reduce--but not totally eliminate--the risk of HPV transmission.
• HPV type 16 is linked to some head and neck cancers.
• Approximately thirty percent of oral carcinoma is related to HPV. Oropharayngeal cancers (cancer of the tonsils, back of throat or base of the tongue) are rare, but the risk increases with the number of oral sex partners.
Cervical cancer is slow growing and can be effectively treated and prevented with regular pap smears. New guidelines suggest pap smears are only needed once every 3 years unless you have had an abnormal pap smear along with an HPV test for those ages 30-65 every 5 years.
It was recently brought to my attention that many women undergo painful treatments in order to prevent and/or eradicate abnormal cells using lasers and other types of treatments. It is important to be aware of all risks, benefits, and options of a medical procedure before agreeing to anything. It never hurts to get a second opinion or even third opinion. Having more eyes looking at your and more brains considering your case and your needs can only be of benefit to you to as much information as possible.
Another important point that was brought to my attention was the correlation between HPV and external vulvar cancer. While, external vulvar cancer is considered to be rare, having HPV can increase your risk.
Signs of vulvar cancer include bleeding or itching.Vulvar cancer often does not cause early signs or symptoms. Signs and symptoms may be caused by vulvar cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
When in doubt, of if you see unusual changes with any body part, it is important to be checked by a doctor.
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
About 5-million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. And while this disease is generally related to old age, about five percent of those suffering with dementia are in their 40's and 50's. It's what's called younger onset or early onset Alzheimer's.
The most common early symptom of Alzheimer's is difficulty remembering newly learned information. As Alzheimer's advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.
If you notice any of these changes, either at home or work, it's time to time do see a doctor. Of course, something else could be causing this, such as medication, which is why it's important to have that medical check.
For years, scientists have been studying Alzheimer’s disease trying to find a cause for the disease. Some recent studies have identified potential causes for Alzheimer’s disease and it has been termed Type 3 Diabetes. They have found an overlap of insulin deficiency and problems with IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1). The results support the hypothesis that abnormalities in insulin and IGF signaling mechanisms begin early in the course of AD and are therefore likely have an important role in its pathogenesis. There are tests underway to test the hypothesis that AD-type neurodegeneration could be reduced or prevented by early treatment with insulin- sensitizer antidiabetes agents such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists.
“At the same time, it is essential to recognize that T2DM and T3DM are not solely the end results of insulin/IGF resistance and/or deficiency, because these syndromes are unequivocally accompanied by significant activation of inflammatory mediators, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and mitochondrial dysfunction, which contribute to the degenerative cascade by exacerbating insulin/ IGF resistance.”(J Diabetes Sci Technol. Nov 2008; 2(6): 1101–1113.)
People with memory loss or other possible signs of Alzheimer’s may find it hard to recognize they have a problem. Signs of dementia may be more obvious to family members or friends. Anyone experiencing dementia-like symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible. If you need assistance finding a doctor with experience evaluating memory problems, your local Alzheimer's Association chapter can help. Early diagnosis and intervention methods are improving dramatically, and treatment options and sources of support can improve quality of life.
Your Naturopathic doctor can help decrease inflammation, free radicals, mitochondrial dysfunction, and insulin resistance that can contribute to the development of the disease later in life. If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, working on prevention is especially important. It is also important for brain health to regularly engage in puzzles and quizzes such as cross-word puzzles, memory games, jigsaw puzzles and trivia games. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease you can also visit http://www.alz.org/
Say Good-bye to Cold and Flu Season
By Teresa Richter, ND
With cold weather comes cold and flu season. We see it coming every year. The CDC tries to prepare flu shots to prevent the public from getting the flu. The main flaw with getting a flu shot is that they can only predict what strains they think may be prevalent in the upcoming season and try to vaccinate against those. It does not protect your from all strains of the flu. Many that are vaccinated still end up getting the flu every year. The common cold and other viruses are also out there circulating, waiting for your immunity to dip. Your best defense against all illness causing viruses and bacteria is to be prepared and to stay healthy. It is much easier to prevent illness than try to shorten its duration once it occurs. The following are some simple, yet essential things to keep you and your family strong and healthy.
With these easy suggestions, you can help protect the health of yourself and your family for the next few months. The more prepared you are, the less likely it is that you will come down with something.
The holidays are an indulgent time. With all the parties, get-togethers, celebrations happening, we often tend to indulge ourselves more than we would during other times of the year. Sometimes the holidays can leave you feeling bloated and a few pounds heavier. With that in mind, it is the perfect time to start planning on a January Purification Program.
You may be wondering, "Why would I want to do a Purification program?"
Purification, also known as detoxification, can help you remove natural toxins from your body and help maintain a healthy weight. We are exposed to external toxins continually, including pollutants, pesticides, and chemicals. Internally our bodies produce waste byproducts as a result of normal metabolic function. Although your body is designed to rid itself of these toxins naturally, it can become overburdened. Purification offers your body additional support to expel natural toxins and minimize your weight, which is important to maintaining your health and vitality.
Toxins can contribute to a wide range of conditions:
There are approximately 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that hundreds of these chemicals are present in our bodies. Research has shown that many of these chemicals can disrupt our immune, endocrine, nervous, and reproductive systems. The following are examples of external and internal toxins.
Air and water pollutants
Household cleaning products
Pesticides and herbicides
Preservatives (especially from food)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals. Atlanta (GA): CDC, 2009.
How do I determine my toxic load?
Your toxic load is the amount of toxins that your body needs to process.
Do you or have you eaten processed foods?
Do you eat non-organic fruits and vegetables?
Do you eat meat and poultry that are not free range?
Do you consume genetically altered food?
Do you or have you ever used artificial sweeteners?
Do you drink soda?
Do the foods you eat have preservatives, additives, dyes, or sweeteners added?
Do you eat fast foods and/or eat out regularly?
Do you charbroil or grill foods?
Do you drink coffee regularly?
Do you drink alcohol?
Do you drink tap water?
If the majority of your answers are "yes," then it is likely that your diet contributes significantly to your toxic load. Beyond diet, many external toxins, such as perfumes, cleaners, and pollution, add to your load.
How do internal organs assist in purification?
The Purification Program stimulates specific detoxification organs in the body-the liver, kidneys, and intestines. With help from these organs, your toxic load will decrease, and your body will concentrate its energy on purification and weight reduction. This will help you achieve optimal health by cleansing the body from the inside out.
Join us in a January Purification Program!
We will be heading up a large group effort Purification Program in January. It is a 3 week challenge that will purify your insides and help you shed a few holiday pounds as well. You will start the New Year feeling and looking great! We will be supporting you through the process and we will all be doing it together. We will have weekly meetings, and support blogs to help you along the way. We will be taking sign-ups throughout the month of December. Space is limited, so give Suzanne a call today at 425-827-0334 to get on the list*.
* A commitment deposit will be required to put your name on the list
This is not a diet. It is a cleansing and purification program.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
by Teresa Richter,ND
Many women have irregular cycles, ovarian pain, and problems with fertility. Some of these issues have been linked to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). What is PCOS you may be thinking? PCOS is group of clinical presentations characterized by ovarian cysts present on both ovaries, possible absence of menses, absence of ovulation, infertility, insulin resistance, central obesity, and hirsutism (hair growth on the face, chest, breasts, abdomen of women). Women with PCOS may also experience a variety of symptoms with their monthly cycle including: breakthrough bleeding between periods, painful periods with heavy bleeding, or shortened cycles. Women with PCOS can range from no monthly bleeding (amenorrhea) to heavy painful periods (menorrhagia).
PCOS is relatively common and affects a significant number of women of reproductive age in the United States affecting anywhere from 4%-10% of women. PCOS accounts for almost 8% of women who either have absence of menses or infertility issues. The underlying cause of PCOS remains controversial, but there is growing awareness of multiple hormone imbalances that are seen with PCOS. It is believed to stem from one or more of the following hormonal imbalances: HPO axis (Hypothalamus-pituitary-ovary) dysregulation, HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis dysregulation, insulin excess, metabolic syndrome, Androgen (testosterone) excess, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) deficiency, progesterone deficiency, and Prolactin excess. One hypothesis regarding possible causes involves a central nervous system dopamine deficiency. Maladaptive Stress Syndrome Type 2 is also associated with PCOS. Among other causes, being overweight or obese poses a high probability as adipose tissue (fat) secretes estrogens. These estrogens that are now being produced in excess can be easily converted to testosterone increasing the body’s androgens and perpetuating the cycle.
PCOS is usually diagnosed by blood tests to look at hormones additionally basal body temperatures are usually low, elevated BMI and waist-to-hip ratios, and measuring body fat percentage. Evidence of cysts may be found on a pelvic ultrasound but this alone is not diagnostic. Hormonal imbalances must be present.
Treatment of PCOS usually includes weight loss programs, hormone balancing, work with adrenal glands, stress management, and in severe cases progestational agents, androgen antagonistic drugs or steroids may be used. To find out if you may have PCOS please see your local Naturopathic Doctor for the correct testing and treatment options.
Plastics and their effects on our health
For our modern society plastic is one of the most useful and versatile inventions. Practically everything we touch, eat or drink involves some sort of plastic on a daily basis. We buy our food in plastic bags and containers, we buy drinks and water in plastic jugs and bottles. Many of us use plastic plates and cups at home and store our leftovers in plastic containers. We wrap things in plastic wrap. We use plastic baggies for a variety of things. Plastic protects our phones, our books and important papers. Plastic lines the inside of canned foods for protection. Plastic has many useful applications not just for our homes but also major industries as well. Medicine, computers, chemistry, culinary, dentistry, agriculture, the list goes on and on. Plastic has revolutionized our society.
Too much of a good thing is actually affecting our health. Have you ever tried to go a day without contact with plastic? It is almost impossible. Plastic is a polymer, meaning a bunch of the same molecules loosely strung together with weak chemical bonds. This allows some of the molecules to break off. Exposure to so much plastic is starting to interfere with our hormones. Many types of plastics have a "Xeno-estrogenic" effect in excess. Once we get too much in our bodies we can begin to see hormonal Imbalances in women and men that look like excess estrogen. This can have many negative effects especially on fertility, menstruation, growth and development, and overall health and well being.
Xenoestrogens disrupt our normal endocrine system and in women it has been implicated in breast cancer, endometriosis, and can even disrupt neural signaling during fetal growth. For men Xenoestrogens have an effect on testicular function, spermatic concentration, growth and motility. Environmentalists are even seeing a trend in the fish due to so many xenoestrogens from our waste water getting into streams. Male fish are showing partial and compete sex reversal to female fish.
The most important exposure that we have control over is using plastic for food and water. Heating food in plastic containers is one of the strongest ways to intake xenoestrogens. The heating of the food in plastic allows the molecules to break off more easily. Frozen vegetable packs that advertise putting the packs in the microwave to "steam" in the bag, frozen meals in plastic trays and pouches, and putting hot cooked food into a plastic container for storage or covering it with plastic wrap are all ways the plastics can adversely affect our health. Drinking water in plastic bottles also allows the harmful chemicals such as bisphenol-a, Polychlorinated biphenyl and phlalates to leach into the water as they can leach into food.
What can you do about it? Try to use as little plastic as possible in your daily life. Use Pyrex or other types of non plastic containers for food storage and heating. Drink water out of glass or stainless steel bottles. Use your own cloth grocery bags and produce bags instead of using the plastic ones. Limit or avoid frozen meals and processed foods. Don't microwave or heat anything that is plastic. Try to eat as little canned food as possible. By implementing these simple easy changes it will not only help your own health but the health of the planet as well.
B-Vitamin Fact Sheet
B-vitamins have many therapeutic benefits, but can be confusing to figure out. This is designed to give you quick facts about B-vitamins.
Vitamin B12 is the largest and most complex of all the B Vitamins. It is unique in that it contains the metal cobalt. B12 in most of its forms will have the suffix -cobalamin. Common forms used in supplements include cyanocobalamin and hydroxocobalamin. These forms will be converted by the body to the active form of methylcobalamin.
B-12 is primarily found in animal products. The highest amounts being in clams and mussels, but is also found in fish, chicken, beef, and milk in smaller amounts. Vegans are commonly deficient and should supplement with B-12 daily. Some other common reasons for B-12 deficiency include: deceased gastric acid in the stomach, Crohn’s disease, bacterial growth in the intestines, pernicious anemia, HIV, MS, Celiac disease, and certain drugs such as proton pump inhibitors, or acid blockers can interfere with absorption.
Deficiency symptoms include: fatigue, neurological symptoms such as numbness and tingling in feet, lower legs, and hands, memory loss, difficulty walking, mood changes, disorientation, and dementia. Gastrointestinal symptoms include a sore tongue, appetite loss, and constipation.
Only 1% of Vitamin B-12 is absorbed across the intestinal lining. Supplementation with by injection of sublingual B-12 is important to get more into the blood supply.
Typical doses range between 500-1000 mcg per day.
Vitamin B-1 is also known as Thiamine. Thiamine is found in highest amounts in whole grains, lentils and beans, nuts, and lean pork. Most of the thiamin is lost in the production of white flour and white rice. Often times breads and pastas are fortified with thiamin. Thiamin is required by in higher amounts by the bodies of people who are more physically active, children, and pregnant and lactating women. Thiamin is an important vitamin involved in energy production, and sugar metabolism. Thiamin is also important for neurological system and is found in the nerves and the brain. Alcohol, coffee, and tea have been associated with thiamin depletion in humans. Deficiency usually occurs with inadequate intake of thiamin from diets high in white grains (breads, rice), and diets high in alcohol consumption. Seizure medications, cancer therapy drugs, and diuretics such as Lasix may also lead to Thiamin deficiency. Naturopathic doctors commonly use in impaired mental function in the elderly, insomnia, neurosis, sciatica, anemia, depression, and sensory neuropathy.
Riboflavin is Vitamin B-2. Most plant and animal foods contain small quantities of riboflavin. The greatest concentration is found in meats, organ meats (liver, kidney), Fish, Eggs, Green Leafy veggies, fruits, nuts, and root vegetables. Milk has the highest concentration of Riboflavin. Riboflavin is easily destroyed by exposure to light. Up to 50% of riboflavin found in milk kept in a clear glass bottle can be destroyed around 2 hours of exposure to sunlight. Riboflavin is essential for the body to produce coenzymes that are involved in important oxidation-reduction reactions. These reactions include energy production, break down of fatty acids, detoxification pathways, and iron absorption/hemoglobin production. Deficiency symptoms include: sore throat, redness and swelling of the lining of the mouth, cracks or sore on the corners of the lips and mouth, inflammation of the tongue, and most, scaly skin inflammation (seborrheic dermatitis). The most common causes of riboflavin deficiency are: inadequate dietary intake, decreased absorption from lactose intolerance, diarrhea, celiac disease and infectious enteritis, Increased destruction form phototherapy, drugs (tricyclic antidepressants) and athletes.
Vitamin B-3 is also known as Niacin. Good sources of Niacin include yeast, meat, poultry, fish with red meat (tuna, salmon), cereals, legumes, and seeds. Milk, green leafy vegetables, coffee and tea also provide some niacin. Chicken, salmon, turkey, and fortified cereals have the highest amounts of niacin. Niacin is extremely important as approximately 200 enzymes in the body require niacin as a cofactor. Niacin is also extremely important for energy production, sugar metabolism, break down of fatty acids, and alcohol metabolism. Niacin is also important for production of steroid hormones, DNA, and cholesterol. Niacin has been used to treat and reduce blood cholesterol since 1955. Niacin deficiency results in a condition called Pellagra which can be very serious and fatal. Other symptoms related to the digestive system include: a bright red tongue, vomiting, and headache. Neurological symptoms include: Headache, apathy, fatigue, depression, disorientation, and memory loss. Most common causes of deficiency include: inadequate dietary intake or either niacin or its precursor tryptophan. Taking too much Niacin can cause flushing and itching of the skin, GI disturbances, blood sugar disturbances, skin rashes, gout, and liver damage. Administration of certain types of Niacin with Lovastatin can result in rhabdomyolysis (muscle cell break down sometimes resulting in kidney failure)
Pantothenic Acid is known as Vitamin B-5. Food sources rich in pantothenic acid include liver and kidney, yeast, egg yolk, and broccoli. Fish, shellfish, chicken, milk, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, avocado, and sweet potato are also good sources. Whole grains are also good sources as long as they are not white, processing and refining grains results in a 35-75% loss of the nutrient. Pantothenic acid concentrations are found in the liver, adrenals, kidney, brain, heart and testes. Pantothenic acid is a component of Coenzyme A (CoA) an essential coenzyme in a variety of life sustaining reactions. CoA is required for energy production from food, synthesis of cholesterol, and important membrane lipids. Groups at risk for deficiency include those with alcoholism, diabetes mellitus, and inflammatory bowel disease. Deficiency symptoms may include abnormal skin sensations of the feet and lower legs. Naturopathic doctors use for adrenal support, stress, atherosclerosis, osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, high serum lipids, eczema, anemia, and systemic lupus erythematosis
Pyridoxal is also known as Vitamin B-6. Pyridoxal phosphate is the biologically active form which functions as a coenzyme in many reactions. Rich sources of B-6 include: whole grains, bananas, legumes, nuts, potato, chicken, liver, beef, legumes, fruits, vegetables, egg yolk, fish, milk, cabbage. Vitamin B-6 is important in Amino acid metabolism which is essential to producing new proteins for the body, and breaking down old ones. Nervous system functions include: production of serotonin ( an important neurotransmitter) from the amino acid tryptophan, and synthesis of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). Vitamin B-6 is also an important coenzyme in the synthesis of heme (a component of hemoglobin). Vitamin B-6 is important for hormone function as it binds to steroid receptors in such a way that decreases their effects. These hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone among others. Deficiency symptoms include: irritability, depression, confusion, inflammation of the tongue, sores or ulcers of the mouth, and at the corners of the mouth, peripheral neuropathy, dermatitis, anemia. Deficiency can be caused by alcoholism, increased dietary protein, and poor dietary intake. Naturopathic doctors use for treatment of side effects of oral contraceptives, premenstrual syndrome, depression, morning sickness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and decreased propensity for kidney stones.
Biotin or Vitamin B-7 in important for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Biotin is found in egg yolk, liver, soybeans, and yeast. There area also some plant sources of biotin such as avocado, raspberries, and cauliflower. The active form of biotin is essential to a few metabolic reactions such as reactions involving fatty acid synthesis, gluconeogenesis (formation of glucose from sources other than carbohydrates which is important for brain function and to keep us from starving) and a reaction that is essential to an important amino acid. Biotin deficiency symptoms include: hair loss, red scaly rash around the eyes, nose, mouth and genital area. Neurological symptoms include depression, lethargy, hallucinations, and numbness and tingling of the extremities.
by Teresa Richter, ND
A migraine is a very painful headache. Migraines are complex in nature exhibiting many more symptoms than the everyday headache. Migraines are 20-30% more common in women than men. There are a few different types of migraine headaches and all arise from a variety of etiologies.
Migraines can be precipitated by a variety of factors. Some things that bring on migraines include: Alcohol, hormonal changes (especially around menstruation), sleep disturbances, weather changes (sun, barometric pressure changes), chocolate, cheese, meats, MSG, smells (chemicals, perfumes). Migraines can have a genetic predisposition to them.
How do you know if you are having a migraine? Migraines are often accompanied by some additional symptoms beyond head pain. During the time the migraine is building also known as the prodrome, you may notice some changes such as constipation or diarrhea, nausea, flashing lights in the eyes, dark spots in the vision, dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Once the migraine reaches its full symptomatic stage there may be pain that ranges in intensity, lasting anywhere from one to 36 hours. The pain may be one-sided, and may have associated nausea, vomiting, and light-sensitivity.
There are a few different types of migraines. Common migraines occur in about 80% of sufferers and generally have neuropathic components to them. Classic migraines occur in less than 20% of people and generally have nervous system symptoms and the onset of the migraine will have a visual abnormality even transitory blindness. Complicated migraines are rare and occur in 1-5% of migraine sufferers. In complicated migraines the neurological symptoms continue from the onset to the end of the headache and sometimes continue after the headache has finished.
What can you do for a migraine? One of the most important things is to avoid the triggers. Trying to avoid places that have many chemicals or perfumes, avoid consuming alcohol, chocolate, coffee, wine, spicy foods, fried foods and deli meats. Cold packs to the head, forehead, and back of neck can be soothing. Alternating hot and cold packs to the head for severe headaches. Spinal manipulation for the cervical vertebrae can be useful in treatment and prevention. Food intolerances can contribute to migraines, so finding and eliminating those can also help. Regular aerobic exercise helps to decrease the frequency of migraine attacks. Feverfew is a botanical that is commonly used to help relieve migraines. Magnesium citrate or a calcium-magnesium combination can also be helpful in migraine prevention. There are many other treatments, botanicals, and supplements available to use for migraines. Please consult a Naturopathic doctor for the right treatment options for you.
Dr. Teresa Richter
Dr. Teresa Richter is a graduate of Bastyr University. She completed her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine as well as a Bachelor of Science in Herbal Sciences at Bastyr University.