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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

ear, nose and throat
 

 

 

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More
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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

ear, nose and throat
 

 

 

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More
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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

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Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More
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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

ear, nose and throat
 

 

 

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More
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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

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Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More
spices
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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

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Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More
forest

What is Detox and Why Do I Need it?

Taking special care of your body and giving it the nourishment it needs is a great way to start on a path toward a happier, healthier life. Sometimes your body just needs a break. A detox is the process of purging yourself of foreign toxins, and it can change the way your body functions and give it the rejuvenating care and rest it needs.

Nobody knows your body (and if it’s functioning at peak efficiency) as well as you. If you are feeling particularly sluggish, having digestive issues, menstrual problems, or even irritated skin, you may consider a natural body detoxification.

Listen to what your body is saying. Pay close attention to how your body reacts to various environmental and dietary factors. With a few small changes, your mood, energy levels and overall lifestyle can drastically improve through a natural detox process.

What is detox?

Detox is the natural process of nullifying and purging your body of dietary and other peripheral toxins. Detoxification stimulates the liver and other organs to aid in cleaning the blood and the body. The body naturally processes toxins in the liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. But, when your system is compromised or overworked, your organs struggle to keep up with the naturally cleansing process and impurities are not properly sorted and filtered from your system.

Why should I detox?

The decision to detox can have a dramatic impact on your overall health. A detox program aids the body’s natural cleansing process by:

  1. Allowing the organs to rest through fasting;
  2. Aiding liver and organ function to purge impurities from the body;
  3. Easing the digestive process through the intestines, kidneys, and even skin;
  4. Improving blood circulation;
  5. Boosting immune system through healthy nutrients;

How do I detox?

Change your diet

Right off the bat, you should reduce the amount of toxins, both dietary and environmental, that you are consuming. Alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, refined sugars, should all be eliminated from your diet.

Exercise

Exercise is one of the best ways to jump-start the detoxification process by improving blood circulation and helps rid the body of foreign substances and bacteria. Be active for 30 minutes a day and your body will thank you for it. Gentle exercises like walking and yoga are great during a detox because they ease the strain on your body but are still a great way to improve body function.

Practice mindfulness

Journaling, sitting still, and meditating are great mentally cleansing activities that help center your body and eliminate external stresses of everyday life.

Sweat it out

Do you have access to a sauna at the gym or your best friend’s house? Sweat out those harmful toxins – your skin naturally filters out impurities in your body – but make sure you keep yourself hydrated before, during, and after spending time in the sauna and say goodbye to those harmful toxins.

Rest

The importance of giving your body the rest it needs cannot be underestimated. Sufficient rest can help your body focus on the detoxification process. If you have trouble resting, try deep breathing or other relaxation and meditative techniques to improve circulation and relax.

There are many factors to consider when deciding to detox, including how much time you want to commit, your overall health, energy levels, and caloric needs.

Detox and nutrition

When most people think of detoxifying, they think of fasting, or restricting their food intake.  But actually, having nutrient dense foods is essential to detoxification.  It’s these nutrients that allow the body to be able to eliminate toxins.

Fiber in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains support the body in clearing waste and alkalizing the system. Sulfur rich foods like onions and garlic, and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cabbage support detoxification pathways in the liver. Dandelion leaves and artichokes promote bile flow in the liver, which also clears toxins.

Antioxidant rich foods like berries, green tea, and a variety of colorful vegetables protect the body as it clears toxins.

 

To learn more about eating to support detox, schedule a consultation with Nutritionist Jill Borba today. Or, to discuss a naturopathic detox treatment plan, schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile!

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What is Detox and Why Do I Need it? / Read More

A Naturopathic Guide to Recognizing and Treating Eczema

 

What is eczema?

Eczema is a chronic skin reaction that creates dry, red and itchy skin, often on the hands or feet. Eczema affects 31 million Americans, and more than 17 million of those affected have moderate to severe conditions. Itchy skin is the most common symptom of eczema, as it is an allergy-like response to various toxins or situations, and it is common in those who have a history of allergic reactions.

Eczema can be a chronic condition. Many people experience eczema with consistently dry or itchy skin.  Flare-ups can occur sporadically also, causing the skin irritation to become exacerbated and possibly infected.

 

What causes eczema?

People who are predisposed to atopic or allergic eczema have a reduced lipid layer of the skin. This layer normally contains oils that trap in water and hydrate the skin. Eczema is actually the result of the skin losing water faster than normal and drying out.

Atopic eczema is the most commonly recognized form, and can be a hereditary condition. Eczema tends to worsen when the skin is exposed to toxins on a regular basis, with poor circulation, fungal infections, scabies or allergens such as pollen, mold and even some foods like milk, eggs and wheat.

 

How can I prevent eczema?

If you are diagnosed with eczema, there are certain measures you can take to avoid flare-ups and decrease chronic symptoms. Prevention of eczema largely focuses on decreasing symptoms.

To prevent symptoms from worsening, avoid hot baths, itchy clothing, cigarette smoke and soaps or detergents containing allergens like linalool. Allergens like this can not only cause dryness and redness in the skin, but they can also increase your urge to scratch. Scratching affected skin makes symptoms worse and can even lead to an infection. Eczema can also become worse with exposure to dust, pollen, dander and other environmental or food allergens.

To prevent flare-ups and chronic symptoms, you should talk to your naturopathic doctor to identify triggers and avoid these allergens.

 

How can I treat eczema naturally?

Of course, sticking to a healthy diet is critical to maintaining your overall health and can help manage flare-ups and eczema symptoms. The diet for children and babies that are diagnosed with eczema are particularly important, and any changes should be discussed with your naturopathic doctor.

 

Here are some natural ways to treat eczema:

De-stress

Stress is a common factor that intensifies symptoms in people prone to eczema. Maintaining a stress-free lifestyle is key to preventing flare-ups and avoiding chronic symptoms as much as possible.

Salt water

For those that can tolerate soaking in water, a salt solution can work wonders to reduce inflammation in the skin and soothe irritation and itch.

Coconut oil

This topical oil helps to soothe the discomfort and pain of eczema flare-ups.

Aloe vera

Applying aloe vera topically can help soothe irritated skin.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver and other essential fatty acid supplements help to build up the lipids in the skin, improving its ability to retain water. Taking cod liver oil as an oral supplement can lower the intensity of eczema symptoms in some patients. It’s also a great source of vitamins A and D.

Probiotics

Since digestive bacteria can be related to eczema conditions, taking a daily probiotic can help your gut rebuild a healthy bacteria presence. This protects the gut lining by helping to break down food and strengthening your gut’s ability to properly filter out toxins and deliver nutrients to cells.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture philosophy dictates that conditions like eczema could be caused by blockages in the body’s energy flow, causing flare-ups and irritation. To restore healthy skin function, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help release the flow so it’s returned to normal. Acupuncture can also be a method for reducing stress, which can improve overall skin health.

To learn more about eczema and how to treat your skin naturally, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

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Recognizing and Treating Eczema / Read More

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat

Have you ever wondered why your throat hurts when you have a runny nose or how a cold can turn into an infection in your sinus?

It’s because the ear, nose and throat are a highly connected set of organs that are commonly understood and treated together. These areas make up the upper part of the human body’s respiratory system and are comprised of organs that help us hear, smell, breathe, swallow, speak, and balance. It’s the unique interconnected nature of the ears, nose and throat organs that enable many of the body’s sensory functions. But it is these same interconnections that provide an easy passage for irritation, infection and other illnesses to spread between the three areas.

Understanding the purpose of the organs in these areas and how they are connected are the first steps in putting together holistic picture of our health when we’re feeling pain or discomfort in one of these areas. And, it’s the first step in the journey toward getting the best naturopathic treatment.

 

Ear

The ear is the organ used by the body for hearing and for balance. It is made up of three sections: the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. The main purpose of the outer ear is to hear. This part of the ear also contains the ear canal and the wax that is produced there. Wax protects the ear from pathogens that can enter through the ear canal, and earwax has antimicrobial properties to fight off bacteria.

The middle ear is where the eardrum is located. The purpose of this part of the ear is to turn sounds that enter the body through the outer ear into vibrations that can be sent to the inner ear. This is the section of the ear where ear infections occur. See our post on ear infections to learn more about this condition and naturopathic treatments.

The inner ear contains the cochlea, which takes vibrations created by the eardrum and generates nerve signals to be picked up and understood by the brain as sound. The inner ear also contains three small semicircular canals that hold liquid used to measure balance and body position.

The ears are connected to the nasal cavity by the narrow eustachian tube, which regulates air pressure on both sides of the eardrums. The pressure in your ears may change if you have congestion in your sinuses, which can lead to discomfort or pain in the ears or an overall sense of dizziness.

 

Nose

Made up of bone and cartilage, the nose is the organ of smell. Using mucus and cilia hairs, the nose also cleans and warms the air that enters the body before traveling to the lungs. With the onset of a cold or allergy symptoms within the nose, inflammation can block proper nasal drainage, allowing bacteria to grow and potentially leading to a sinus infection. The nasal septum, which connects the nostrils to the back of the throat, is located within the nasal cavity. The nasal cavity is connected to the pharynx, or the throat.

 

The throat

The throat is connected to the nasal cavity as well as the middle ear, helping to regulate pressure throughout the organs. Food is carried through the pharynx to the esophagus and air is carried through the windpipe to the lungs. Similar to the nose, the throat is lined with mucus and cilia that clean dirt particles and other pathogens from the air that enters the body, and the epiglottis, a flap of cartilage, protects the lungs when swallowing.

 

Naturopathic healing for ear, nose and throat infections

Not only are the ears, nose and throat all interconnected, they also contain methods for protecting the body from harmful particles from entering the body. Within the ear, nose and throat system are a number of cavities and other areas where pathogens can collect and lead to illness or infection. Here are a few methods to avoid pain or discomfort throughout your ears, nose and throat:

Hydrate – drinking plenty of fluids thins the mucus throughout the nose and throat to help clear congestion and drain harmful bacteria.

Steam – relieve pressure with warm moisture from shower steam or by placing a warm washcloth over your face.

Vitamin C – can help increase immune function and decrease inflammation or infection in the ears, nose or throat.

Vitamin A – works to protect the lining of your air passages.

Zinc – protects cells from pathogen penetration.

Ginger – decreases inflammation.

Thyme – has antimicrobial properties.

Eucalyptus – has antimicrobial properties and is a natural decongestant.

 

For more information about the ear, nose and throat functions or to schedule a consultation, contact Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

ear, nose and throat
 

 

 

Understanding the Ear, Nose and Throat / Read More

What you should know about diabetes

 

Diabetes (diabetes mellitus) is often a chronic disease, which develops when high levels of sugar are present in the blood. According to the American Diabetes Association, over 25 million Americans are afflicted with diabetes. There are 3 distinct types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes

This type of diabetes occurs when the body does not produce insulin or produces too little. Typically affecting young people, this type of diabetes develops quickly and often requires lifelong insulin injections on a daily basis. And, glucose levels must be carefully monitored. Type 1 diabetes makes up only about 10% of all diabetes cases in the U.S.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells throughout the body are resistant to insulin the body produces. This type constitutes the largest number of diabetes cases around the world and develops gradually over time. Though type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults, because of increasing obesity rates, more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with this condition.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy. This is the least common type of diabetes, and occurs when insulin production is too low for glucose levels in the blood. Undiagnosed or uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause complications during childbirth. Though this type is only diagnosed in women who have not previously had diabetes, some women can go on to develop type 2 diabetes after childbirth.

 

What causes diabetes?

To fully understand diabetes and its causes, it’s critical to first understand the body’s normal process for regulating blood sugar. When food is consumed, the body breaks sugars and carbohydrates down into glucose in order to distribute them as energy sources for muscle, fat and liver cells. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas during this process to control blood glucose levels in the body. When there is a surplus of glucose in the blood stream, insulin is activated and stimulates cells so they may properly absorb the glucose that they need for energy.

When a person is afflicted with diabetes, blood glucose levels rise because insulin production is either non-existent or ineffective at stimulating the receiving cells. This can be caused by either the pancreas not producing a sufficient insulin supply or because the cells do not respond normally to the insulin or both.

 

What are the symptoms?

There are three common symptoms of a diabetes affliction:

  • Polyuria (frequent urination)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyphagia (excessive hunger)

Other symptoms can include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Fatigue
  • Hyperventilation
  • Weight changes
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal gas and bloating

When left undiagnosed or untreated, diabetes may be responsible for the onset of more severe complications related to the high susceptibility of infection, such as:

Eye conditions

  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Risk of blindness

Foot complications

  • Gangrene (can become so extreme that amputation is necessary)
  • Neuropathy
  • Ulcerations

Skin conditions

  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Acanthosis Nigricans
  • Diabetic Dermopathy

Cardiovascular complications

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Nerve damage

  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Focal neuropathy

 

How can I treat and prevent it?

Treatment and prevention of diabetes both center around a healthy combination of diet and exercise. Controlling weight, strengthening cardiovascular, respiratory and muscular systems as well as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol can all improve the body’s insulin production and sensitivity.

A low-sugar diet filled with vitamin E, zinc, and foods that stimulate cell regeneration can help control blood glucose levels. Olive oil, chard, onion, garlic, cinnamon, honey and figs as well as flaxseed, fenugreek seeds, soy, goldenseal and barberry can also contribute to controlled glucose levels in the body.

 

To learn more about diabetes or for a naturopathic consultation on the disease and its treatments, contact Dr. Casey Berkebile and Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen today.

 

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What you should know about diabetes / Read More

Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me?

 

Nutritional IV therapy is the practice of administering critical vitamins and nutrients into intravenously where the cells that need those nutrients can access them directly from the bloodstream. This process bypasses the gastrointestinal tract where nutrients are typically absorbed, which allows a higher concentration of nutrients to be delivered directly to the cells in need.

More nutrients can be absorbed through intravenous methods than through oral nutritional supplements since the digestive system acts as a filter. When digestive irregularities are at play, nutrients are sometimes prevented from being distributed to cells throughout the body. The diarrheic reaction of high levels of consumption of Vitamin C, for example, is the digestive system’s method of filtering the nutrient. Research has shown, however, that high doses of nutrients like Vitamin C that are absorbed intravenously can have immediate and long-term benefits without disruptive gastrointestinal processes.

 

What conditions does nutritional IV treat?

Nutritional IV therapy can be used to promote general health as it has been shown to enhance energy levels, but it can also be used to treat a variety of conditions:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Depression
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Allergies
  • Acute muscle spasm
  • Tension headaches

 

The Myers’ Cocktail

Invented by John Myers, a physician from Baltimore, Maryland, the Myers’ Cocktail is the most effective nutritional IV mixture that has been used to treat a number of conditions and infections. The Myers’ Cocktail is a mixture of magnesium, calcium, B vitamins and Vitamin C and has been shown to provide benefits for a wide range of conditions. Since John Myers’ 25 years of initial treatment, thousands of patients have received the cocktail and have seen real benefits.

How does it work?

The Myers’ is administered intravenously as a 5 to 15 minute treatment for general wellness or for specific conditions. Sometimes a one-time treatment is sufficient or sometimes patients require regular appointments, especially for chronic conditions. The amount of each particular nutrient that is administered as part of the mixture can change depending on the doctor or the condition being treated. As a general rule, however, dosages never stray far from the original composition Myers created.

 

For more information regarding nutritional IV therapy or to set up a consultation, please contact our office.

 

And, as a reminder, you can use your Health Savings Account or Flex Spending Account account to pay for appointments and lab work not covered by your health insurance. Be sure to get in touch with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile to book an appointment before your account deadline!

 

 

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Nutritional IV therapy: Is It For Me? / Read More

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing practice that dates all the way back to Shang Dynasty, approximately 1600 B.C. Today, this practice is used to treat illnesses, pain and discomfort in people around the world. Relying on the concept of qi (pronounced chee), an invisible life force, traditional acupuncture addresses qi disruptions within the body that are considered the cause of all illness and pain.

Qi travels throughout the body in 14 different areas, referred to as meridians, which are thought to be based on the rivers of ancient China. These meridians divide the body lengthwise, connecting various organs and parts of the body. There are also 365 acupuncture points throughout the body (that number thought to represent the days of the year).

Despite its roots in ancient philosophy, acupuncture has been tested by modern scientists who have been able to draw parallels between the philosophical elements that underlie traditional acupuncture treatment and the modern concept of anatomy. Many of the body’s acupuncture points closely resemble nerve bundles or trigger points for muscles, and many of the meridians have been shown to correspond to major arteries and nerves of the central nervous system. That explains, for many modern scientists, why the pain of a heart attack is felt up and down the left arm, and gallbladder pain will also be felt in the right shoulder – both of these “energies” radiating up and down critical meridians.

 

How does Acupuncture work?

An acupuncturist inserts tiny needles into various points on the body that correspond to target areas that may be painful or affected. Acupuncture needles stimulate pressure points, releasing the qi and regulating the flow once again.

Research, including a 2004 study by the Neuroscience Research Institute, has shown that acupuncture is thought to stimulate the release of endorphins, similar to the endorphin-releasing process caused by exercising. A 2007 study conducted by Osaka City University Medical School offers empirical evidence that acupuncture stimulates of blood flow at the needle site, creating a sort of re-energizing signal to the brain to reset the flow of the autonomic nervous system. Thermal imaging has shown that acupuncture can also be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

 

What does Acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture is traditionally a holistic healing mechanism, focusing first on the overall health of the patient and second on the targeted illness. Therefore, according to traditional philosophies and many modern day practitioners, treatment is focused on the root cause of the illness, rather than simply treating the “branch” – the pain or discomfort felt by the patient. Because of its focus on a holistic approach to healing, there are a wide variety of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture. Here is an extensive list of illnesses that can be treated with acupuncture:

Emotional and Psychological Disorders              Anxiety

Insomnia

Depression

Stress

 

Women’s health issues:

Conception difficulties

Childbirth

Endometriosis

Fetus position correction

Lactation Difficulties

Menopause

Menstrual Irregularities

Morning Sickness

Ovarian and Uterine Problems

Postpartum Health

Pregnancy

 

Men’s health issues:

Impotence

Infertility

Prostate Issues

 

Children’s health issues:

Asthma

Behavioral problems

Cough

Digestive problems

Ear infections

Insomnia

 

Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders

Dizziness

Earache

Hay Fever

Nerve Deafness

Poor Eyesight

Ringing in the Ears

Sinusitis

Sore Throat

Circulatory Disorders

Angina Pectoris

Arteriosclerosis

High Blood Pressure

Stroke

 

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Irritable bowel syndrome

Abdominal Bloating

Biliary colic

Renal colic

Colitis

Constipation

Diarrhea

Food Allergies

Hemorrhoids

Gastritis

Indigestion

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Nausea and vomiting

Spastic colon

Ulcers

Immune DisordersLeukopenia

Allergies

Candida

Chronic Fatigue

Crohn’s disease

Diabetes

Epstein Barr Virus

Hepatitis

HIV and AIDS

Lupus

MS

Rheumatoid arthritis

 

Addiction

Smoking Cessation

Cravings related to recovery

 

 

Musculoskeletal and Neurological Disorders

Arthritis

Back Pain

Bell’s Palsy

Bursitis

Cerebral Palsy

Sciatica

Fibromyalgia

Muscle Spasms

Neuralgia

Polio

Shingles

Stiff neck

Sprains

Stroke

Tendonitis

Trigeminal Neuralgia

 

Respiratory Disorders

Asthma

Emphysema

Bronchitis

Colds and Flus

 

General disorders

Allergies

Headaches

Migraines

Back Pain

Neck pain

Dental pain

Sprains

Tennis elbow

Dizziness

Chronic Fatigue

Chemotherapy/Radiation side-effects

Dermatological Disorders

Weight Control

Bladder and kidney difficulties

 

If you are considering acupuncture treatment and would like to learn more or if you would like to book an appointment, contact Dr. Berkebile today. During your visit, you will have an individualized constitutional intake, and receive an acupuncture treatment.  The doctor is also well-versed in Chinese herbs and nutrition principles, so recommendations for these modalities may also be included, depending on the condition.

 

 

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What is Acupuncture? / Read More

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally

 

An ear infection (or otitis media) occurs when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to fluid trapped behind the eardrum. Ear infections can occur in anyone, but children are the most susceptible to this infection, thanks, in part, to their underdeveloped ear canals and immune systems.

What causes an ear infection?

Ear infections can be brought on by a number of causes – including upper respiratory infections that spread bacteria to the middle ear, viral infections or allergies – all of which cause inflammation in the middle ear. Once the pathogen is detected inside the body, the immune system produces excess fluid to fight the toxins, and this fluid often finds its way to the sinuses, creating build-up, inflammation or clogging within the Eustachian tubes, the organ responsible for draining fluid out of the ear canal.

As is the case with other afflictions, such as autoimmune conditions, food intake and digestion can play a vital role in fluid build-up. Proteins and other food particles that pass undigested through the walls of the digestive tract can enter the bloodstream as toxins. This could be the result of a food allergy or an over-consumption of protein in the diet.  These toxins can result in inflammation, which can contribute to the development of an ear infection.

An infection in the middle ear could also be the result of a scratch to the sensitive ear drum. Abrasions of this nature easily become infected thanks to the dark, damp conditions of the ear canal, which create an environment in which contagions proliferate.

Another contributor to the development of ear infections can be the adenoids or tonsils. The immune system uses the adenoids to respond to pathogens in the ear, nose and throat by removing them from these areas. However, sometimes these pathogens become trapped in the adenoids rather than clearing, which can help bacteria to spread to the middle ear and cause infection that cannot be properly drained.

 

Why are ear infections more common in children?

Eustachian tubes in children are smaller and underdeveloped. The size of these tubes can prevent excess fluid from draining properly. Whether the initial cause of bacteria in the middle ear is a spreading upper respiratory illness, a scratch, an allergy, teething-related mucus or an infected adenoid, if the amount of fluid inside the middle ear exceeds the rate at which the Eustachian tubes can drain, an ear infection will result. The fluid that the body produces to fight pathogens in the ear is typically drained out through the Eustachian tubes.

 

How do I know if my child has an ear infection?

The most common symptom of an ear infection is pain or discomfort in the ear. However, because these infections often occur in young children who cannot communicate the exact symptom, recognizing an ear infection can be somewhat challenging. Here are some symptoms to look for:

  • General fussiness
  • Fever
  • Tugging or rubbing the ear
  • Balance problems
  • Yellow or bloody fluid draining from the ear
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty hearing

 

What are some natural remedies for ear infections?

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association uncovered the idea that antibiotics are not necessarily the best treatment for ear infections. More and more, natural remedies stand out effective alternatives to as the best option – with the lowest impact of side effects – to treat ear infections. There are a number of effective natural remedies that can serve as effective natural treatment:

  • Breast milk – due to the plethora of nutrients, mom’s antibodies and its general immune-boosting potential, this is the perfect treatment for ear infections in infants
  • Warm compress increases blood flow to the ear and assists the body’s natural healing process
  • Elderberry oil has unique antiviral properties that can be used to treat viral ear infections
  • Chamomile’s antiphlogistic properties help reduce inflammation and fever
  • Mullein flower oil uses antibacterial and analgesic properties to treat ear infections

 

Be sure to consult your naturopathic doctor before administering natural remedies. If you suspect your child has an ear infection and you would like an assessment, call Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today.

 

 

 

Keep your child healthy: How to treat ear infections naturally / Read More

Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions

 

What is an autoimmune condition?

The immune system protects the human body from disease and infection that could cause harm. An autoimmune condition flips this critical function on its head, inadvertently directing immune attacks at normal healthy cells, destroying necessary tissue and organs inside your body.

There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune conditions, this type of condition can affect almost any tissue in the body and multiple autoimmune conditions can occur simultaneously. Some well-known types of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis. See the chart below for brief descriptions of common autoimmune conditions.

What causes autoimmune conditions?

Antigens such as bacteria, viruses, toxins or allergens travel through your blood stream and are targeted by antibodies that your body produces. However, if an autoimmune condition is at work, antibodies have difficulty distinguishing between antigens and healthy tissue. This means that, rather than the immune system attacking an outside substance as it would in the case of an allergy, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, which leads to discomfort and inflammation.

Genetics are understood to be the greatest indicator of the risk of autoimmune conditions. Women, and in particular African American, Latina and Native American women, have a higher risk of developing an autoimmune condition. In fact, 75% of those affected by autoimmune conditions are women. High stress, physical and emotional trauma can trigger an underlying genetic disposition towards autoimmune disease.  Gastrointestinal health may also play a role. One theory is that undigested or partially digested proteins that leak into your bloodstream can confuse your immune system.

What are the symptoms of autoimmune conditions?

Depending on the type of condition, symptoms will vary in nature and degree of intensity. Some common symptoms of autoimmune conditions include pain, inflammation, fatigue, rashes, discomfort and low-grade fevers. While most autoimmune conditions are chronic, sufferers may experience sporadic flare-ups when their symptoms will worsen occasionally. See the chart below for a more detailed symptom list specific to common autoimmune conditions.

How can I prevent developing an autoimmune condition?

Preventing most autoimmune conditions begins treating yourself well. Sufficient rest, water intake and a balanced healthful diet can help to keep the immune system strong. Take time every day to relieve stress with exercise, meditation, laughing and having fun.  Treat your digestive tract gently by keeping possible dairy and gluten reactions in check and by chewing your food so it can be broken down easily and completely. This allows only proper nutrients into your bloodstream to nourish your body.

How can I treat an autoimmune condition naturally?

Paying careful attention to your stress level and nutritional choices can not only decrease your chances of developing an autoimmune condition, but it can also help to slow the progression or even reverse the condition in some cases. Lab work checking for immune reactions (IgG and IgE antibodies) to foods and your body’s ability to manage and stress (adrenal stress panel and neurotransmitter panel) can provide insight into possible triggers of autoimmunity.

Some nutritional supplements can be helpful with autoimmune conditions, including:

- Vitamin c and vitamin D can strengthen your body’s immune system
- Ginger and tumeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in controlling autoimmune symptoms such as pain and swelling.
- Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, has healing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
- Omega 3 and other fatty acids can reduce inflammation

Autoimmune Condition

Description

Common symptoms

Celiac disease Chronic inflammation of the small intestine, caused by exposure to gluten Diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, neuralgia, weight loss
Crohn’s disease Chronic inflammation of the intestines Abdominal pain, diarrhea, blood or mucous in stools
Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 Low pancreatic production of insulin frequent urination, vomiting, thirst, weight loss
Graves’ disease Overactivity of the thyroid gland Anxiety, weight loss, insomnia, heart palipations
Hashimotos Thyroiditis Autoimmune hypothyroidism Fatigue, depression, constipation, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation in the joints Joint pain, swelling and inflammation
Multiple sclerosis Nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord due to inflammation Neuralgia, blurred or double vision, confusion, fatigue, coordination problems

 

Untreated autoimmune conditions can be very dangerous. Before diagnosing yourself, see your naturopathic doctor for appropriate analysis and treatment. For more information regarding natural prevention and treatment of autoimmune conditions, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen or Dr. Casey Berkebile today!

 

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Natural Treatments for Autoimmune Conditions / Read More

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Here is another delicious recipe for breakfast that is both filling and healthy for children and adults. This recipe is versatile and can be personalized, much like granola bars. Feel free to substitute seeds for some of the nuts, and/or substitute other frozen, fresh, or dried fruit for the blueberries (not to exceed 3/4 cup).

Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Almonds, pecans, or walnuts Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Gluten free rolled oats
  • 4-6 Tbsps Palm Sugar
  • 1/3 cup Sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup Tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsps Flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Oil Room Temp.
  • 1/4 cup Pure Maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F) and lightly grease an 8 x 8” baking dish.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  3. Pour the dough into the baking dish and use a spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.
  4. Bake for 28 – 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bars comes out clean.
  5. Allow the bars to completely cool before serving.

 

Credit: Allergy Free Alaska

 

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New Recipe: Blueberry Flax Oatmeal Breakfast Bars / Read More

Summer Veggie Skillet

Cooked veggies do have a homey taste and texture, and wonderful flavors and aromas are released with a little heat. This Summer Veggie Skillet will definitely be in the rotation this summer. (Serves 6-8)

Summer Veggie Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 cup Onion Diced
  • 2-4 Tbsps Olive Oil
  • 4 Medium White Potatoes 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 Sprigs of Rosemary Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup Grape Tomatoes Halved
  • 1 Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
  • 2 cups Baby Bellas Sliced and Chopped
  • 2 Medium Zucchini 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Parsley
  • 2 cups Spinach Chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • *Optional – Parmesan cheese for non-vegans

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, saute garlic and onions in olive oil until the garlic is golden, about 5 minutes. Then add potatoes and rosemary and stir until coated. Add more olive oil if necessary. Cook and stir until potatoes begin to soften slightly, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, zucchini, and parsley and cook for 10-20 minutes until veggies have reached desired tenderness.
  3. Stir in spinach until wilted and serve immediately.
  4. Optional – Non-vegans, sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

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Summer Veggie Skillet / Read More

Naturopathic Family Health

Your health is one of your greatest assets. At Naturopathic Family Health in Los Gatos, California, our goal is to help you cultivate that asset and take control of your health and well-being. By working in partnership, our doctors will identify the root cause of your ailments and educate you on how to achieve and maintain optimal health.

The Naturopathic Family Health clinic serves both children and adults by using conventional medical knowledge, coupled with a safe, efficient and effective naturopathic approach and therapies. To ensure your treatment is comprehensive and complete, we draw on many resources to address health issues, including:

  • The most recent research available
  • Extensive naturopathic medical training
  • Traditional medicines
  • Alternative therapies
  • Conventional medical doctors and specialists, when needed.

Contact us today to set up a complimentary introductory phone consultation. We look forward to working with you on your path towards optimal health and well-being.

 

 

Dr. Jennifer Jewell-Larsen’s Testimonials

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I am so blessed to have Dr. Jen as my N.D. I came to her in late August ’12 with a history of clinical depression & anxiety. I had been using an antidepressant since 1994. I tried several times to get off the meds without success. I even changed my eating habits & became vegan but within 3 mo. the depression & panic attacks came back more intensely. I went to my previous M.D. and went back on the meds but this time they made my symptoms far worse. I couldn’t function at my job or at home.

I was frightened so I prayed daily for God to help & help came in the form of Dr. Jennifer Jewell- Larsen. She listened compassionately to my story and calmly gave her advice & recommendations. Within a few weeks after being tested & reviewing the results of the tests with Dr. Jen she prescribed for me certain herbs & vitamin supplements to help balance my hormones & ease my anxiety.

I thank God because a miracle happened…I feel superb! I feel my “normal” self. I have a vast amount of energy & no symptoms of depression or panic attacks! I’m still vegan & making sure I get plenty of protein by eating lots of whole grains, beans, nuts fruits & plenty of veggies. I’m exercising & taking one day at a time.

Bless your heart, Dr. Larsen & thanks for your hugs!

- Nancy

I had a mysterious health situation that made me very weak, affected my ability to sleep, left me with chills, tremor, and painful tension, came on suddenly and lasted for months — especially frightening for someone otherwise healthy in my mid-thirties! What I realized from many specialist visits (2 neurologists, 2 endocrinologists, 1 cardiologist, and many visits with my primary care doctor) is that they are only trained to diagnose things that are “in the book” and prescribe a treatment “from the book”. Of all the doctors I saw, Dr. Jewell-Larsen was the only one with a true theory of what was going on AND an actionable plan to get me back to normal again. Being able to look at the big picture of my health and identify ways to help my body get back to equilibrium was such a hugely useful approach. The traditional doctors I saw are all very well-regarded and seemed genuinely caring, but they just aren’t trained to look at the “big picture” in the way that Dr. Jewell-Larsen was able to. I am now well down the road to recovery and the turning point was when I came to Naturopathic Family Health!

- Rodney

I began seeing Dr. Jewell-­Larsen last summer, and after our first meeting, I couldn’t wait to start recommending her to family and friends. She is a breath of fresh air! Dr. Jewell-­Larsen is very personable, kind, and compassionate. She truly listens to her patients, taking time to ask insightful questions to help get to the root of your health issues, and then developing a comprehensive, step-by-step treatment plan. My husband, my daughter, and I each have complex health issues that Dr. Jewell­‐ Larsen has treated. We have been very pleased with her professional, personal care and highly recommend Dr. Jewell­‐Larsen for all your health care needs!

- Glenda

I hired Dr. Jewell-Larsen to work with my college aged daughter who has been dealing with some health and stress issues. After just one visit, my daughter came back motivated and educated about what was going on in her body! She was tired of taking prescribed meds that only treated the symptoms and not the source of her problem…. Dr. Jewell-Larsen is direct, clear and treated her with respect. … I highly recommend her.

- Carol

Dr. Jewell-Larsen is a caring and compassionate health care provider who has a sincere desire to help you improve your health. She takes the time to listen and offers advice in many ways from exercise, to supplements, to changes in your diet. She gets back to you in a timely manner whether answering a question or researching something related to your treatment plan. I highly recommend her!

- Natalie

I am diabetic and after visiting Dr. Jen the first time, my blood sugar dropped from a diabetic level to a non-diabetic level, all within 2 weeks and with natural supplements. Of course, she would encourage me to exercise but that’s a difficult feat all by itself… I haven’t gone that far yet but I’ve already seen results. 
 I would highly, highly recommend Dr. Jen.

- Michael

I began seeing Dr. Jen in December of 2009. I hadn’t had a primary care physician in years and knew that I wanted to be healthier. My choice of Naturopathic medicine was deliberate. I’m not into prescription medications and doctors that can’t take the time to learn about their patients. Needless to say, I’m not disappointed about my choice to work with Dr. Jen on improving my health. She’s kind, gentle, honest, and a great listener (in my opinion one of the best qualities of a doctor)…I know I would not be in the same place today if I were seeing a traditional primary care physician. I strongly recommend Dr. Jen every chance I get.

- Lucie

In 2006 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. I had seen a host of doctors before I was finally diagnosed and then I saw a slew of doctors after my diagnosis to try and figure out how to handle all the medial issues I was dealing with…From the first visit (with Dr. Jewell-Larsen) I knew I had found someone that could actually help me. It started first with the fact that she took me seriously and wanted to find out about my medical history – that meant my whole medical history and all my symptoms, not just the easy ones that could be fixed with a simple pill. Her philosophy is to get to the root of what is going on, not just put a band aid on the symptom. …I have been seeing Dr. Jewell-Larsen for several months now and the change in my health has been amazing. I have energy to do many things I thought I would never be able to do again…I have my life back.

- Lisa