I Can’t Sleep!

I can’t sleep and I’m exhausted.  Help me.

What can cause insomnia?

We need to rule out any medications or herbs that could be causing insomnia.  The first and foremost of these is caffeine.   Caffeine consumption anytime during the day can cause sleep onset to be delayed, total sleep time reduced, normal stages of sleep altered, and the quality of sleep decreased.  Look for hidden sources of caffeine.  Most over the counter diet “cocktails” contain herbs that are converted to caffeine in the body.*

Other medications affecting sleep include antidepressants (fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram, trazadone), beta blockers (metoprolol, carvediolol), ADHD meds (methylphenidate, concerta, adderall,  strattera), phentermine, and too much thyroid hormone.*

Some medical conditions can cause poor sleep quality.  These include sleep apnea, restless legs, heartburn, frequent urination, depression, and chronic pain.*

Eating too much late in the evening can sometimes cause insomnia.  Low blood sugar while you are sleeping can cause you to awaken in the middle of the night.  I usually recommend high protein low-carb snacks before bedtime to help alleviate middle of the night awakenings.  If you are having trouble getting to sleep, try a small carbohydrate snack.*

Exercising late in the day can sometime cause insomnia, as can spending a lot of time on the computer or watching TV late in the day.  Food intolerances can also cause insomnia.*

Hormone disruption can cause insomnia.  Low progesterone, high or low cortisol, high testosterone, and high thyroid can all affect the ability to sleep.  For more information about this, you can read Perimenopause and Adrenal Health.*

What are some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation?*

  • Irritability and nervousness
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Behavioral learning or social problems (increases bipolar disorder, ADD and ADHD)
  • Frequent illness and slowed healing
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain
    • In a weight-loss study, when participants compared 8.5 hours of sleep to 5.5 hours of sleep, those with more sleep lost more fat, although pounds lost were the same.  Annals of Internal Medicine Oct 2010
    • People who got more 7.5 hours of sleep had less insulin resistance than those who got 6.5 hours of sleep.
    • People with less sleep typically eat more
  • Performance drops after 17 hours of being awake by the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of 0.05%
  • Sleep outside of the REM phase may allow enzymes to repair brain cell damage caused by free radicals. High metabolic activity while awake damages the enzymes themselves preventing efficient repair.
  •  A 2004 study also found medical residents with less than four hours of sleep a night made more than twice as many errors as residents who slept for more than seven hours a night,

What can I do?*     Practice good Sleep Hygeine

  • Don’t lay in bed & watch TV, do work, or read an exciting book.
  • Don’t drink caffeine or take stimulant medications
  • Exercise early in the day
  • Don’t eat after 7 or 8 p.m. and eat lower amounts of carbohydrates at your evening meal.
  • Establish a bedtime routine in a certain order every night.  This helps your body recognize that it’s time to start winding down.
  • Don’t watch the clock.
  • Don’t take naps during the day.
  • Changing your diet can help.  Eat more bananas, papayas, dates, chicken, turkey, fish, almonds, avocaodos, and cheese.  Avoid wheat and rye.  This increases serotonin and dopamine production and helps sleep.*

What type of supplements and medications are available without a prescription

Benadryl (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine and causes drowsiness as a side effect.  It is found in Tylenol PM.  It should be avoided if the patient has glaucoma or prostate problems.   Dose: 25-50mg 30 minutes before bedtime.  Dose lasts about 4 hours.*

Unisom (doxylamine) is an antihistamine that causes drowsiness as a side effect.  It should be avoided if the patient has glaucoma or prostate problems.  Dose: 1 tablet 30 minutes before bedtime.  Dose lasts about 6-8 hours. Make sure to get the tablets and not the sleep gels (which are just diphenhydramine).*

Melatonin: Commonly used, but not really effective for most insomnia.  Best for sleep problems due to travel or shift work.  Cautions: May decrease the anti-depressant activity of fluoxetine and duloxetine. Decreases the effects of warfarin (Coumadin) activity. Reduces effectiveness of Clonidine and corticosteroids.  Dosage: Up to 3 mg 20-30 minutes before bedtime  Does not work effectively unless you are in a completely dark room.   Sublingual form seems to work better.*

5-HTP:  Is metabolized in the body to melatonin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter (a messenger in the brain).  Sometimes used for depression.  Cautions: May cause nausea, dizziness, diarrhea. Safety in pregnancy and nursing has not been documented.  Should not be taken by children with Down’s syndrome.  Drug interactions:  Carbidopa, Dextromethorphan, MAO inhibitors, other drugs that increase serotonin, and tramadol.  Dosage is 100-300mg 30 minutes before bedtime.  Children should take 5 mg/kg not to exceed 100mg.  Please consult your pharmacist for the correct dose for a child.*

L-Theanine:  This amino acid helps normalize brain waves and can improve anxiety and sleep quality.  This is not a “sleeping pill” as is usually takes use over a week or so before its effectiveness is seen.  Warnings:  No documented use in pregnancy.  May increase activity of chemotherapeutic(cancer) drugs.  May increase the effects of other sedatives.  Can be taken during the day for anxiety, or at bedtime for relaxation.  Dosage is 50-200mg.  My favorite way to use this in a combination with GABA and Valerian.  Contact me to order this.*

GABA (Gamma-aminobutyricacid) – is a major inhibitory neutotransmitter (messenger in the brain).  It has a relaxing, anti-anxiety effect.  No documented drug interactions.  Can cause tingling in extremities at high doses. Dosage:  Range from 100 to 2000mg at a time.  You can start with capsules…open 1 capsule, dump 1/3 of the contents under the tongue, and leave under the tongue as long as you can stand it, then swallow any remaining contents.*

Valerian-  Improves sleep quality and helps with anxiety.  Cautions: Interacts with several prescription sleep and anxiety medications (diazepam, alprazolam).  Dosage is 450-600mg taken 2 hours before bedtime.*

Progesterone cream– Induces drowsiness and is especially helpful in perimenopausal or menopause. Dose:  25-50mg applied 1-2 hours before bedtime.*

Phosphatidylserine–  When 100mg is taken twice daily at 6 pm and at bedtime, this supplement may help blunt the effect of cortisol and allow a person to sleep deeper and after continuous use (about a week), go to sleep better.*

What Vitamins Do I Take?

I get asked quite often what vitamins I take on a regular basis. Here is the answer:

First, remember that no amount of vitamins or supplements is a substitute for a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables with the nutrients and anti-oxidants your body needs to stay healthy.  Now, here is what I do in addition to that:*

  • A multivitamin. This gives me the B vitamins I need to deal with stress and help prevent disease.*
  • Vitamin C. I prefer it in the form of an Ester-C or Ascorbate instead of ascorbic acid. I also prefer my vitamin C to have bioflavanoids in it. The one I usually take is Adrenal C Formula.
  • Vitamin D3 50000 IU weekly.
  • A probiotic or a prebiotic. Since you have 100 trillion bacteria in your digestive system, you need a large amount of viable probiotic to make a difference in the intestine. I recommend a high quality supplement of at least 20-40 billion acid-resistant organisms per day. Not everyone needs a probiotic, but I know I do better with one.  I do recommend everyone consume lots of veggies and a prebiotic everyday to encourage the growth of good bacteria.
  • Fish Oil- I take a certified mercury-free supplement once or twice a day. Fish oil contains Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. It boosts mood and helps with my dry eyes.  I prefer an enhanced monoglyceride fish oil.  This allows me to get my 2-3 grams of Omega-3 (not fish oil, but Omega 3) in one capsule.   Contact me if you would like to purchase a similar product.  For more information on finding out how much Omega-3, read my blog post about it here.*

GPC and Memory

Memory declining?
Are loved ones suffering from dementia?
Would you like to know about a natural supplement that has been shown as effective as prescription drugs for dementia?


Glycerophosphocholine (GPC) may help:*
• Memory/mental focus function in elderly and young
• Mood status
• Growth hormone production
• Brain recovery from stroke or injury
• Age-related changes in brain function
• Impairment in cognition and social behavior due to Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia
At least 23 clinical trials have been done with GPC, all of them with positive outcomes
Improved attention, mental focus, recall, and cognition. Not just in the elderly, but also in young healthy subjects
Improved brain recovery following stroke
Supports hormone secretion (like growth hormone) in the elderly
Reduced symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness
Reduced irritability, emotional stability, and indifference to surroundings

The typical oral doses of GPC used in most trials were 1200 mg per day in divided doses
In comparison with prescription drugs, GPC was shown to be:
• better than Oxiracetam
• similar to the Donepezil and superior to Rivastigmine, both of which are acetylcholinesterase inhibitor drugs


References 1. Kidd P, GPC (GlyceroPhosphoCholine),Ortho-Nutraceutical For Active Living and HealthyAging. Townsend Letters. April 2004. 3. Canal N, et al. Effect of l-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine. International J Clin Pharmacol Therapy Toxicol 1991;29:103. 4. Canal N, et al. Comparison of the effects of pretreatment with choline alfoscerate, idebenone, aniracetam and placebo on scopolamine-induced amnesia. Le Basi Raz Ter 1993;23:102. 5. Parnetti L, Amenta F, Gallai V. Choline alfoscerate in cognitive decline and in acute cerebrovascular disease: an analysis of published clinical data. Mechs Ageing Dev2001;22:2041. 6. Aguglia E, et al. Choline alphoscerate in the treatment of mental pathology following acute cerebrovascular accident. Funct Neurol 1993;8 (Suppl):5. 7. Barbagallo Sangiorgi G, et al. alpha-glycerophosphocholine in the mental recovery of cerebral ischemic attacks. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1994;717:253. 8. Tomasina C, et al. Clinical study of the therapeutic effectiveness and tolerability of choline alfoscerate in 15 subjects with compromised cognitive functions subsequent to acute focal cerebral ischemia. Rivista Neuropsi Sci Affini 1996;37:21. 9. Ceda GP, et al. Effects of an acetylcholine precursor on GH secretion in elderly subjects. In: Bercu, BB, Walker, RF, eds. Growth Hormone II: Basic and Clinical Aspects.Springer- Verlag;1994. 17. Amenta F, et al. Treatment of cognitive dysfunction associated with Alzheimer’s disease with cholinergic precursors. Ineffective treatments or inappropriate approach es? Mechs Ageing Dev 2001;122:2025. 18. Di Perri R, et al. A multicentre trial to evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of alphaglycerylphosphorylcholine versus cytosine diphosphocholine in patients with vascu- lar dementia. J Intl Med Res 1991;19:330. 19. Frattola L, et al. Multicenter clinical comparison of the effects of choline alfoscerate and cytidine diphosphocholine in the treatment of multi-infarct dementia. Curr Therap Res 1991;49:683. 20. Muratorio A, et al. A neurotropic approach to the treatment of multi-infarct dementia using Lalpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine. Curr Ther Res 1992;52:741. 21. Paciaroni E, Tomassini PF. Clinical study of effectiveness and tolerability of alpha-GFC (choline alfoscerate) vs. oxiracetam in patients suffering from slight/moderate cognitive defect of vascular origin. Gior Ital Rech Clin Terap 1993;14:29. 22. Ban TA, et al. Choline alfoscerate in elderly patients with cognitive decline due to dementing illness. New Trends Clin Neuropharmacol 1991;5:87. 23. Palleschi M, et al. Evaluation of effectiveness and tolerability of alpha-GFC (choline alfoscerate) in patients suffering from slight/moderate cognitive decline. Preliminary results.Geriatria 1992;4:13. 25. Parnetti L, et al. Multicentre study of l-a-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine vs ST200 among patients with probable senile dementia of Alzheimer’s type. Drugs & Aging 1993;3:159. 33. Wirthenson G, et al. Role and regulation of glycerophosphocholine in rat renal papilla. Pflu(e)gers Arch. 1987;409:411. 41. Ferraro L, Tanganelli S, Marani L, et al. Evidence for an in vivo and in vitro modulation of endogenous cortical GABA release by alpha- glycerylphosphorylcholine. Neurochem Res 1996;21:547. 42. Schettini G, et al. Molecular mechanisms mediating the effects of l-alphaglycerylphosphorylcholine, a new cognition-enhancing drug, on behavioral and biochemical parameters in young and aged rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behavior 1992;43:139. 43. Lacomba C, et al. Effects of l-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine on the EEG power spectrum in the rat. Drug Dev Res 1992;26:101. 44. Infante JP. Defective synthesis of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholines as the primary lesion in Duchenne and murine dy muscular dystrophies. Med Hypoth 1986;19:113.

Gluten: the Tooth of the Matter

Gluten-what is it, really?

grain field

I love the grain field next to my house.  I love to watch it grow and turn colors.  My favorite time of the year is when it is almost ready to turn colors.   The green stalks will move in the breeze and look just like the waves on the ocean.  It is beautiful.

Wheat is beautiful.  It has been a life-saving grain for mankind for centuries because it can be stored.  However, I have found that, for me, it isn’t the greatest thing.   Why?  What is “gluten” anyway?   Gluten is a protein found in wheat and barley composed of two parts…glutenin and gliaden.   Gliaden is the culprit for most of the problems created by wheat, although not all!  To help us understand the current impact of gliaden and wheat, we must understand its history.

In 1943, a world-wide effort began to increase yields of corn, soy and wheat to help starving under-privileged countries.  They did this in part, by using hybridization.   Thousands of new strains of wheat were being produced by 1980.  These new strains were more hardy against weather, diseases, and increased yield by 10%.

More than 99% of wheat crops are now “dwarfed,” growing to 18” tall instead of 4 1/2 feet.  No animal or human safety testing have been conducted on these new strains of soy, corn, or wheat.  In one study, fourteen new gluten proteins were identified in the new hybridized wheat.  I am thankful we are able to feed more people.  I worry, however about  the impact all of these changes have made?

What are some of the things we currently know about gluten?

  • Autoimmune disease has increased exponentially since the 1960’s.  Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own intestinal cells, causing symptoms in the intestine and throughout the body.  It’s incidence is increasing, and is the only known autoimmune disease which we know how to treat…the treatment is to avoid gluten.*
  • Leptin is a protein signal your body uses to tell itself it is full, and to inhibit appetite.  Researchers currently speculate that gluten blocks the leptin receptors, so leptin cannot act to inhibit appetite and the brain does not feel satiated.  Gliaden induces the release of Zonulin (a protein signal in the intestine), which opens channels between intestinal cells, causing and increase in intestinal permeability.  (You can read more about this on my Digestion and GI Health page)*
  • Gliaden is the only protein we eat that we cannot fully break down.*

Gluten isn’t the only problem with hybridized wheat.  Here are a few other facts about wheat:

  • The carbohydrate in wheat is more rapidly absorbed than sugar.  This increases insulin substantially and rapidly.  This effect, occurring over and over, can cause fat accumulation in the abdomen known as visceral fat.*
  • Wheat changes the bacteria in your intestines.  Try a wheat-free diet accompanied by high potency probiotics and fiber to improve overall health.*
  • The outside coating of wheat is called lectin.  Because of the hybridization and engineering to make the lectin more resistant, it is also directly irritating to many peoples intestines.*

Dr. William Davis writes a book called Wheat Belly.   He sees the following things in his patients when they go off wheat and other grains:*

  1. Weight loss- 18 lbs typical
  2. Reduced appetite and food obsession
  3. Blood sugar reduction
  4. Reduced joint pain–especially fingers and wrists
  5. Reduced c-reactive protein
  6. Reduced blood pressure
  7. Reduced triglycerides, small LDL (bad cholesterol) and increased HDL (good cholesterol)
  8. Increased energy and improved sleep
  9. Less acid reflux and a 90% reduction in irritable bowel symptoms.
  10. Wheat withdrawal- fatigue, headache, increase appetite for 5 days.

Sounds like a pretty amazing boost to your health to me.  Just give it a try.  Just 30 days.  Be prepared to feel tired and irritable for the first week.  This is your body adjusting.  But then, be amazed at the difference it can make. *  

The following symptoms have been linked to wheat consumption:*

Faintness, clumsiness, drowsiness soon after eating, muscle cramps, spasms, weakness, jerking, joint aches, backache, swelling of the hands or feet, urinary frequency or urgency, vaginal itching, excessive hunger or binge eating, Schizophrenia, depression, hyperactivity (ADD/ADHD), emotional instability, insomnia, chronic fatigue, stuttering, anxiety, panic attacks, withdrawn, listless, seizures,  restless, agitated, behavior problems in children, difficulty concentrating, migraines, memory loss, poor comprehension, confusion, obsessive or compulsive thoughts, disorientation, suicidal feelings, Headache, neck ache, dizziness, vertigo, blackout, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, puffy, watery or itchy eyes, blurred vision, ringing, popping or fullness in the ears, fluid in the middle ear, earache, hearing loss, sore throat, hoarse, weak voice, gagging, itching in the roof of the mouth, difficulty swallowing, canker sores, frequent yawning, sinusitis, increased sensitivity to light and sound, Coughing, wheezing, reduced air flow, shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid pulse, palpitations, heart irregularities, Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), bloating, belching, reflux, ulcers, passing gas, abdominal pains or cramps, yeast or other fungal infections, bacterial overgrowth, and (take a breath) anemia.*

Sounds like great stuff, huh?

Food Sensitivity

Some Foods may be making you feel worse! One HUGE way to decrease inflammation is to avoid foods you are eating that you are sensitive to.  There is a difference between a sensitivity and an allergy.  Sensitivities and allergies use a different part of your immune system.  An allergic reaction is usually immediate and occurs within six hours.  A sensitivity may cause symptoms immediately, but usually takes several hours and can take up to two days to manifest.  The most common food sensitivities are: *

  • Brewer’s and Baker’s Yeast
  • Wheat
  • Dairy and Cheese
  • Egg
  • Corn
  • Peanuts
  • Soy
  • Tomato
  • Kidney Bean
  • Goat’s Milk
  • Pinto Beans
  • Mushroom

Food Elimination Diet

A food elimination diet may help you discover foods you may be sensitive to.  There are a lot of different versions for food elimination diets out there, but these two options are the ones I like.*

  1. Avoid all of these most common food allergens for three weeks and then introduce them one at a time, eating them pretty heavy for a day and watching over a 3 day period for symptoms (Rash, fatigue, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, irritability.)  This is very difficult, but possible.*
  1. From the most common food sensitivities, choose one food at a time and avoid that food for three weeks and then introduce that food pretty heavy for a day.  Watch over the next 3 days for possible reactions (Rash, headache, fatigue, cramping, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, irritability, etc.)*

Food Sensitivity Tests

There are also food sensitivity tests that can help you find the foods you are sensitive to without all the work.  They test 150-200 foods.  The one I prefer is called the ALCAT food sensitivity test.  If you would like to know more about this test, please contact me.*

Fatigue and G.I. Issues:  One of my patients was exhausted and having severe gastrointestinal symptoms.  We discussed different options for determining food sensitivities.  She could not afford to do the ALCAT food sensitivity testing and opted for a food elimination diet.  We originally planned to remove the foods from her diet one at a time.  At the last minute, she decided to remove the big 8 foods from her diet (the top 8 in the list above).   I have only had two patients do this, as it is very difficult.  She found 3 of those 8 were big offenders for her.  Her fatigue is now a thing of the past.*  (This is the results from one person, a testimonial.  Results may vary)


Accidental Gluten Exposure

Recommendations for accidental exposure to gliaden in the celiac or gluten-sensitive patient.

Dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV)  Although not proven in human studies to help in celiac (which crazy celiac patient would volunteer for this study?), DPP-IV has been shown to help out of the body to degrade the antigenic portion of gluten.  Celiac patient have been shown in studies to have a decrease in DPP-IV activity. (1)

GI repair nutrients/herbs

N-acetyl glucosamine can prevent the immune reaction caused by antigenic protein.  Has been shown out of the body to protect intestinal cells.

DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice) increases the integrity of the mucosal cells, it increases the life span of the intestinal cells, improves the quality of the mucosa, and improves the blood supply of nutrients (3). Additionally, it has a high healing rate and significantly low relapse rate for ulcers (4).

Slippery elm provides a soothing, protective film on the gastrointestinal lining. Slippery elm calms the inflamed mucous membranes of the stomach 58). In addition to a soothing texture that coats the stomach lining, slippery elm contains the fiber-rich ingredient mucilage which stimulates mucus secretion (especially protective against ulcers).

Aloe Leaf Extract has been used for thousands of years to heal damaged skin, including the bowel lining. Despite the lack of scientific published studies there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that aloe vera helps inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract. In some individuals it may increase G.I. transit time, improve protein digestion and absorption, increase stool bulk and normalize stool bacteria where high levels of yeasts previously existed(6)

L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is an energy source for  cells.  Intestinal cells prefer glutamine for energy and consume the majority of glutamine in the body. Glutamine is necessary for intestinal cell maintenance and healthy turnover.  (7,8)  In various experimental models, glutamine administration has been shown to reduce cell death and preserve or improve barrier function.  (9-11)  For instance, in an animal model of chemotherapy-induced intestinal damage, glutamine decreased the severity of intestinal injury. (12)

IgG (Immunoglobulin)  Immunoglobulins are antibodies.  They can bind and kill harmful microbes (bacteria, fungi, virus).  Supplementation has been shown to preserve the gut lining.*

Boring scientific jargon:  In vitro, DPP-IV efficiently degrades the immuno-dominant, proline-containing epitope of gliadin, the primary allergenic protein in gluten. DPP-IV has also been shown to markedly enhance the gluten- and casein degrading capacity of other proteolytic enzymes. In rats, functional expression of DPP-IV in intestinal and kidney cells is a requirement for proper digestion of gliadin and for renal filtration of the dairy exorphin beta-casomorphin. Research on the use of supplemental DPP-IV in humans is limited, but one clinical trial examined the effects of a multi-enzyme preparation with DPP-IV activity in a group of 22 children and young adults with ASD. In this open-label trial, 12 weeks of supplementation with the enzyme blend led to significant improvements in most of the clinical parameters measured including attention, comprehension, digestion, eye contact, hyperactivity, mood, sleep, socialization, and speech. A growing body of evidence thus suggests exogenous DPP-IV can be of substantial benefit for managing the digestive and neurobehavioral symptoms associated with reactivity to gluten, casein, and other allergenic and neuroactive dietary proteins.

Acetyl glucosamine, and its oligomers (N,N’-diacetylchitobiose and N,N’,N”-triacetylchitotriose) were able to prevent and reverse cell agglutination induced by peptides from all the toxic cereals. Moreover, mannan and N,N’,N”-triacetylchitotriose exhibited a protective effect on intestinal mucosa specimens of patients with active celiac disease cultured with wheat protein-derived peptides. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the agglutinating and toxic peptides are bound by carbohydrates.  (2)

The basic functions of immunoglobulins are the neutralization and opsonization of harmful microbes. Unlike antibiotics, they allow the immune system to differentiate foreign microbes from the body’s normal microflora.  Many of the studies on immunoglobulins involving immune challenge have been animal rather than human studies because of the expense and difficulty using human subjects. Studies have shown oral immuno-protein supplementation restores appetite, (13) supports the body’s healthy response to inflammation (14-16) and promotes improved protein metabolism under immunological stress. (17,18)  Oral supplementation has been shown to preserve gut wall integrity and provide intestinal humoral immunity. (19)

1. Detel D, Persić M, Varljen J Serum and intestinal dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP IV/CD26) activity in children with celiac disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2007 Jul;45(1):65-70.
2. Auricchio S, De Ritis G, De Vincenzi M, Magazzù G, Maiuri L, Mancini E, Minetti M, Sapora O, Silano V Mannan and oligomers of N-acetylglucosamine protect intestinal mucosa of celiac patients with active disease from in vitro toxicity of gliadin peptides. Gastroenterology. 1990 Oct;99(4):973-8.
3. Glick L. Lancet ii:817, 1982
4. Kassir ZA Irish Med J 78:153-56, 1985; Irish Med J 1985;78:153-156
5. Balch JF Presc for Nutr Healing 1990, Garden City, NY
6. Davis K, et. al. Randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial of aloe vera for irritable bowel syndrome. Int J Clin Pract. 2006 Sep;60(9):1080-6 [PMID: 16749917]
7. Oliveira GP, Dias CM, et al. Understanding the mechanisms of glutamine action in critically ill patients. An Acad Bras Cienc. 2010 Jun;82(2):417-30. [PMID:
8. dos Santos RG, Viana ML, Generoso SV, et al. Glutamine supplementation decreases intestinal permeability and preserves gut mucosa integrity in
an experimental mouse model. JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2010 JulAug;34(4):408-13. [PMID: 20631386]
9. Tian J, Hao L, Chandra P, et al. Dietary glutamine and oral antibiotics each improve indexes of gut barrier function in rat short bowel syndrome. Am J
Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2009 Feb;296(2):G348-55. [PMID: 19095767]
10. Vicario M, Amat C, Rivero M, et al. Dietary glutamine affects mucosal functions in rats with mild DSS-induced colitis. J Nutr. 2007 Aug;137(8):1931-37. [PMID:
11. Gulgun M, Karaoglu A, Kesik V, et al. Effect of proanthocyanidin, arginine and glutamine supplementation on methotrexate-induced gastrointestinal toxicity
in rats. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 2010 Nov;32(9):657-61. [PMID: 21225016]
12. Tazuke Y, Maeda K, Wasa M, et al. Protective mechanism of glutamine on the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen after cisplatin-induced intestinal
mucosal injury. Pediatr Surg Int. 2011 Feb;27(2):151-58. [PMID: 21080177]
13. Kats LJ, Nelssen JL, Tokach MD, Goodband RD, Hansen JA, Laurin JL. The effect of spray-dried porcine plasma on growth performance in the early-weaned pig. J anim.Sci 1994;72:2075-81.
14. Tjellstrom B, Stenhannar L, Magnusson KE, Sundqvist T. Oral Immunoglobulin treatment in Chrohn’s Disease. Acta Pediatr 1997;86:221-3
15. Peirce, JL, et al. Spray dried plasma protein globulin for early weaned pigs. J animal Sci 74 (Supp 1):258
16. Wolf HM, Eibl MM. The anti-infl ammatory effect of an oral immunoglobulin (IgA-IgG) preparation and its possible relevance for the prevention of necrotizing entercolitis. Acta Pediatr Supple 1994:396:37-40
17. Thompson JE, et al. Effect pf spray-dried porcine plasma protein on feed intake, growth rate and effi ciency of gain in mice. J Anim Sci 1994;72:2960-5
18. Jiang R, Chang X, Stoll B, et al. Dietary plasma protein is used more effi ciently than extruded soy protein for lean tissue growth in early-weaned pigs. J Nutr
19. Dickinson EC, Gorga JC, Garrett M et al. Immunoglobulin A supplementation abrogates bacterial translocation and preserves the architecture of the
intestinal epithelium. Surgery 1998;124;284-90


Depression…Is Prozac the Answer?


Your Happy Place

I bet you think I am going to go tell you to take pills.  Or…we need to increase your serotonin.

Depression is not caused by a lack of serotonin.

  • A 2010 study analyzed other studies done on anti-depressant medications.  It found that for mild to moderate depression, placebo worked as well as the drugs.
  • Each time I dispense an antidepressant, I am required to give them a page warning them of the risk of suicide in children and adolescents.
  • In post-menopausal women, antidepressant use correlates with a 32% increased risk of death.

Many factors affect the development of depression.  Sleep, stress, nutrition, Genes, Self Beliefs, history of abuse, nurturing, inflammation.  It is like a big puzzle.*

mood puzzleBecause it involves so many factors, it is important to start with the basics of good nutrition.  Here are some nutrients that have been shown to help in depression.*

Fish oil has been shown in studies to help depression and decrease inflammation.  The omega 3 oil in fish, along with omega 6 oil, is important in helping the body make serotonin.  The best way to get fish oil is through eating fish twice per week.   Some fish are at lower risk for mercury contamination.  These are haddock, sole, salmon, tilapia and trout.  Tuna and halibut are not quite as safe, but safer than sea bass or grouper.  If you want to use a fish oil supplement instead, it is important to get a good quality fish oil that is guaranteed to have no mercury.  To minimize burping up fish taste with a fish oil supplement, try an enteric coated fish oil or a lemon flavored fish oil.  The purest quality omega-3’s are also an amazing option.*

Other dietary factors that relate to good mental health are zinc, selenium, and folate.  A number of studies demonstrate that zinc levels are lower among patients with depression and 25 mg zinc supplementation may improve depressive symptoms.  Lower levels of selenium have been associated with depression in studies.   Studies have documented low levels of folate among patients with depression.  Some small trials showed a beneficial effect of folate in depression, at a dose of 500mcg.  Folate, zinc, and selenium are found in a healthy balanced diet of meat, nuts, legumes, vegetables, fruits, limited grains, and oils.  Oftentimes, the amount of these nutrients can be found in a good multivitamin.  Read my blog about what makes a multivitamin good for more information.  Here is a link to my favorite multivitamin.*

Between 30 and 40% of the US population has a genetic mutation of the MTHFR gene (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene). ” The MTHFR gene is responsible for making a functional MTHFR enzyme. If the MTHFR gene is slightly altered (mutated), the MTHFR enzyme’s shape becomes distorted. Enzyme function depends a lot on shape. It is similar to the grooves on a key. If the grooves on a key are slightly different than the lock, the key may fit and turn the lock a little but it does not unlock the door.” (from MTHFR.net)  This enzyme is one of the steps in conversion from folic acid to methylfolate (the active folate in our body).   When the enzyme doesn’t work properly, then we don’t have enough methylfolate, which can be a factor in fibromyalgia, cancer, autism, and DEPRESSION.  I believe it is so important to have the right type of B vitamins in your multivitamin to combat this.  My favorite Multivitamin contains methylfolate (the active folate in your body)*

Exercise naturally boosts serotonin and dopamine levels.  I call it my “emotional hygeine.”  Exercising outside does a better job of boosting mood that exercising inside.  The following is a study of exercise vs.  Zoloft (sertraline) on major depression:

exercise vs zoloftYou can see from this study that more study subjects recovered with exercise than sertraline, and there were only a small portion of relapses in the exercise group compared to the sertraline group.  Exercise is one of the most powerful tools in any individuals belt to help depression.*

Hormones:   Hormones also regulate mood.  Estrogen and progesterone levels change throughout the month.  The changes in these levels are responsible for the mood changes seen with PMS.   When estrogen and progesterone levels decrease after menopause, the incidence of depression decreases.  High testosterone can cause anger and aggression.   Hormone health is very closely related to the foods you eat.  A diet high in refined grains and sugar along with saturated fat (butter, cheese, frying oil) actually cause an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone.  This worsens PMS, menopausal symptoms,  and depression (and it isn’t so hot on the waistline).*

Vitamin D

  • Is actually a hormone, not a vitamin
  • Needed for calcium absorption; modulates bone growth, immune function, and mood; and prevents colon cancer.  Vitamin D has been proven to help in SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which is depression occurring in the winter months.
  • At this latitude, we do not get enough Vitamin D in the winter.
  • Supplement with Vitamin D3 5000 IU 3 times or more per week.*

Sleep:  Your body requires to 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep per night to fully recover and repair damage.  It is important to try to go to sleep at the same time every night.   Symptoms of sleep deprivation include:*

  • Irritability and nervousness
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Increases depression bipolar disorder, ADD and ADHD)
  • Frequent illness and slowed healing
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain
  • Performance drops after 17 hours of being awake by the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of 0.05%

Consider one thing you could do to help improve your mood and work on that one thing!  Don’t get overwhelmed, just work on one thing at a time. *

You can do it…You have the power to heal!!!

Folic Acid in pregnancy may increase development of Food allergies in babies!

I’m not a folic acid fan.  It is synthetic, not what your body really needs.  It really needs folate.  A new study shows a correlation between folic acid exposure in pregnancy and the development of food allergies in the baby.  Since almost all prenatals on the market contain high doses of folic acid, this means a lot of folic acid exposure.  It’s so vitally important for the developing baby to have folate in its true form (5-MTHF, folinic acid, and green leafy vegetables) to prevent birth defects.  I recommend high quality multi-vitamins and prenatals with 5-MTHF.

For a high quality multivitamin, click here.

You may also visit the Medicine Shoppe in Rexburg or call 208-356-4481 to order!

Want to know why folate is important?  Because it is absolutely essential to methylation.  Watch my TEDx talk for more info on methylation.

Source:  http://annualmeeting.aaaai.org/UserFiles/file/FolicAcidandFoodAllergyDevelopment.pdf

Diabetes, Insulin Resistant, or Overweight? Vitamin C may help.

Vitamin C…it’s a regular household thing, right?  A couple of interesting studies last year showed that we may be missing out on this important nutrient.  The first study showed that patients who:

  • Have Type II Diabetes
  • Are insulin resistant,or
  • Are overweight,

had lower levels of Vitamin C in their blood.  All three of these increase the oxidative- stress on the body, which requires more Vitamin C to neutralize.  What is Oxidative stress?  Oxidative Stress is the stress caused by oxidation. When you see metal rusting, that is oxidation. The same type of reaction can occur in your body, which can damage blood vessels and nerves.oxidation 2

The more interesting second study showed that Vitamin C administration could lower blood glucose in Type II Diabetic patients, especially when used longer than 30 days.  The effect was more pronounced on fasting blood sugars than on blood sugars after meals.

Since we already know that Vitamin C helps support the immune system, then the choice to take a good quality Vitamin C should be easy.  HOWEVER, taking a regular vitamin C may not be the best choice.  You often secrete regular vitamin C in a few hours, so I prefer an extended-release Vitamin C that will last all day long and that is buffered.  My favorite is Adrenal C Formula, which you can purchase online here, or you can call The Medicine Shoppe in Rexburg at 208-356-4481 for a much better price we are not allowed to advertise online.


Gout…maybe it’s not about meat

Recent research shows us that maybe gout isn’t caused by eating meat…that in fact it is triggered by high insulin levels and fructose intake.

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The Pain of Gout!!!

Insulin levels increase in our bodies after we have eaten carbohydrates and protein.  Consumption of fructose (especially high fructose corn syrup) also increases insulin levels, as well as increasing fat-deposition.  The typical American diet is not only high in carbohydrates, it is also high in hidden sugar and fructose and other additives that can ramp up insulin production.

What do you do if you suffer from gout?  It is a good idea to have your fasting insulin levels checked.

The most important thing you can do?  Change the way you eat!  Here is a step-by-step plan for improving your insulin levels and your gout:

Week 1, 2, and 3:  Increase your vegetable intake. The goal is 4-5 servings of vegetables per day…yes, I said 4-5 servings!  That isn’t fruit and veggies combined, just veggies.

Week 4, 5 and 6:  Continue with week 1, 2, and 3 AND Eliminate the sugar and high fructose corn syrup in your diet. I know this is hard, especially the first 4 or 5 days.  You will be AMAZED how much better you feel.

You may also eat 2-3 servings of tart cherries per day for an acute attack, or 1 serving per day for prevention, or use an extract as outlined in the supplements section.

What medications and supplements will help?

*remember to check that you are getting a supplement that is guaranteed pure and potent.

If you do have high insulin, there are two medications that have been shown to decrease insulin levels AND treat gout.  Metformin is a prescription medication usually taken twice daily.  One drawback with metformin is how irritating it can be to the intestine.  Berberine is a supplement that is also taken twice daily that is helpful to the intestinal health.  Either would be a good choice.

A prescription drug, allopurinol, has been shown to be extremely effective at preventing gout attacks and should be considered.

Tart or Black Cherry Juice

If you can’t eat tart cherries, this is the next best thing.  A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism showed that cherry extract use decrease gout attacks, especially when combined with allopurinol.  Use 2-3 servings per day for acute attacks and 1 serving per day for prevention.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids,

Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in fish oil, as well as avocado, flax seed, and some other sources.  Over time, Omega-3 Fatty acids can decrease your risk for gout.  Look for a mercury-free Omega-3 supplement.  You need 2000-3000mg of Omega-3 Fatty acids per day.  Add the amount of DHA and the EPA on the Facts label to find the dose you need.  I prefer a product called My Foundation Omega-3, as it only requires 1 capsule per day to achieve this dose instead of 4 to 6.


For most people, the higher the magnesium intake, the lower the chance of gout attack.  Magnesium may help reduce attack frequency.

Magnesium oxide is not a good magnesium source, as it is not well absorbed and can cause diarrhea.  I recommend the use of a chelated magnesium (the magnesium is bound to protein, which doubles the absorption).  Dosage is 300mg of Magnesium daily