to Common Health Concerns
to use this page: This section is set up in a Q & A
format for ease of use. If you have a
question which is not addressed here please contact
for male infertility
Naturopathic treatments for reducing stress
treatments for adrenal burnout
Prostate health main page
Glycemic Index (list of foods)
Cold and flu prevention
Depression and Anxiety
Glycemic Index (list of foods)
take during breastfeeding
Urinary Tract Infections
dietary supplements should I consider while breastfeeding? I eat healthy
diet most of the time but do not eat any red meat, eggs sometimes,
and very little fish. I try to avoid dairy products because they make
my allergies worse. I'm pretty busy with a two year old and my newborn.
mothers require a higher intake of calories and fluids. The milk
secreted in four months represents about the same amount of energy
used by your body to maintain the pregnancy during the nine months.
Nutritional deficiencies are found in breast fed infants. You might
find that a fruit smoothie with protein powder convenient and helpful.
It is important for the mother to eat a nutrient dense diet (no
empty calories). Women need approximately 500 extra calories throughout
lactation. As far as supplementation goes some of the more important
K - Babies are born with bacteria free bowels. These normal
flora produce most of the vitamin K in humans, breast milk is
also low in this vitamin. Most infants are given vitamin K injections
at the hospital to protects them against vitamin K dependent hemorrhage
disease of the newborn. If your baby was not given the injection
oral vitamin K can be given to the infant for months one, two
and three or mom can take the vitamin K. In addition to help blood
form clots vitamin K a necessary for normal bone development.
fatty acids (EFAs)/ DHA - Infants need these fats for nervous
system development. Approximately 25% of the brain is composed
of DHA. The proportion of fatty acids in breast milk reflects
dietary intake. Although the World Health Organization recommends
up to .5% supplementation of infant formula by weight the FDA
bans its use in US formulas. We recommend that lactating moms
supplement with a high quality Cod Liver oil providing at least
200 mg/ day of DHA. This will also supply vitamin A and D.
D - Levels in human milk are low and each year children with
rickets are seen in US hospitals. Sunlight can help your baby
create vitamin D and only need 30 min per week if in diaper only
or 2-hours/ week if clothed with no hat. Maternal exposure to
sunlight does not affect vitamin D levels in breast milk.
to take your prenatal multivitamin - We recommend that mom
stays on the prenatal multivitamin throughout lactation. Increasing
the mother's intake of nutrients to levels above the RDA ordinarily
does not result in unusually high levels of the nutrient in her
have been taking Cranberry juice and vitamin C for a urinary tract
infection but it does not seem to be working. I get two or three
of these infections a year. Are there any safe and effective alternatives?
we would need to determine what organism is responsible. See your
family doctor for this. If its E. coli (most common) then we recommend
D-Mannose. D-mannose is a naturally occurring sugar, which is not
broken down well in the body. Most of it ends up in the urine where
it interacts with E. coli's ability to adhere to the bladder wall
and cause infection. D-mannose binds to the bacteria coating them
so they can no longer stick to the walls of the bladder and urinary
tract. The bacteria then get flushed away with the urine.
feel D-mannose is superior to antibiotics because when an antibiotic
is taken, it kills both the unwanted microorganisms, as well as
"friendly" microorganisms important for maintaining a
health ecosystem in the body. Women often get yeast infections after
broad-spectrum antibiotic use. This happens because the normal flora
is killed off whereas the yeast is not affected and can grow unchecked.
the childbearing years the normal flora of the vagina is largely
composed of acid producing Lactobacillus. These Lactobacilli keep
the pH between 4 and 5. This pH is optimal for the growth and survival
of the lactobacilli but inhibits other organisms. Therefore, we
recommend a course of oral or vaginal Lactobacillus suppositories
to prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
or repeated antibiotic use can lead to the overgrowth of pathogenic
organisms in the relative ecological vacuum produced. In contrast,
D-mannose doesn't have this indiscriminate antimicrobial effect.
treatment of E. coli bladder and urinary tract infections is an
effective natural solution. You can also use ½ teaspoon twice
a day as preventive measure. You may not find D-mannose at you local
pharmacy or health food store because it is not sold over the counter.
Where can you get this? To get D-mannose or a quality Lactobacillus
product visit our online dispensary.
have been trying to conceive for some time now (18 mos) and have had
a variety of tests done, all coming up with no apparent cause. Is
there anything we can do naturally to help us as we continue to try?
I have done some reading and we are both taking vitamins and trying
to be as healthy as we can. What about eastern remedies and herbs"?
seems to be a growing problem despite the worldwide population explosion.
Since you didn't mention any problems with low sperm count or swimming
ability (sperm motility) I'll focus on the female side of things.
Because we get asked this question so frequently, I wrote referenced
answer to your question so that I'll have something to give out next
Only one in five couples trying to conceive will be successful in
a given month and ~20% of couples have difficulty conceiving or maintaining
a pregnancy. The other 80% can be reassured by the fact that more
than 85% will become pregnant within the first year.
related factors are to blame up to 40% of the time! Among women,
pelvic conditions account for 30% to 40% of cases, while problems
with ovulation and the cervix each contribute another 10% to 15%.
Approximately 5% are due to other causes. Roughly 10% remain unexplained
even after thorough investigation.
has a number of causes many of which are not treated by herbs or
nutrition. Naturopathic doctors focus on treating the cause of the
problem not just the symptoms. However, if your physician has done
a complete work up and no abnormalities were found the below recommendations
could be implemented and /or discussed with your physician while
you try to conceive.
Take a high quality prenatal multivitamin. Taking a multivitamin/mineral
supplement has been shown to increase female fertility. Also,
see your doctor to check for iron deficiency. Even subtle deficiency
of iron has been tentatively linked to infertility.19
stress: Stress may lead to infertility, and treatments for reducing
stress might help increase fertility. ,
Eat a balanced, unprocessed, whole foods diet with emphasis on
organically grown foods. This makes good sense as a general health
measure. There is also some evidence that certain agricultural
pesticides and plastics used in packaging can act as "xenobiotics",
either increasing or decreasing normal sex hormone levels in the
body. We recommend that women trying to get pregnant avoid caffeine.
Studies have shown that alcohol consumption can negatively affect
the chance of conceiving and caffeine may actually enhance alcohol's
negative effect. Consumption of one to four cups of coffee per
day in some studies has been associated with delayed conception
in women trying to get pregnant. , , Caffeine consumption at more
than two cups of coffee per day has been associated with an increased
incidence of infertility due to tubal disease or endometriosis
and a 50% reduction in fertility.
cigarette smoke: Smoking has been linked to reduced fertility
and increased risk of miscarriage. , Because of this possible
danger; you should avoid second-hand smoke as well.
and Eastern medicine?
(Vitex agnus-castus) Vitex is useful as an herbal treatment
for infertility in cases where the second half of the menstrual
cycle is abnormally short and flow is irregular or absent. High
levels of the hormone prolactin levels can also be found. Elevated
prolactin levels can also cause a woman's period to become irregular
and even stop. Vitex works by suppressing the release of prolactin
from the pituitary gland. In one study, 48 women diagnosed with
infertility (ages 23 to 39) took vitex once daily for three months.21
Seven women became pregnant during the study, while in 25 of the
women, progesterone levels normalized, which may increase the chances
Problems with ovary function can lead to infertility. Acupuncture
may be helpful. In one study, women who did not ovulate were treated
with acupuncture 30 times over three months. Acupuncture lead to
marked improvement in ovulation in the majority of these women.
. Ear acupuncture was compared to standard hormone therapy for treatment
of infertility. In both the acupuncture and hormone therapy groups,
15 out of 45 patients became pregnant. Although the pregnancy rates
were similar with either treatment, acupuncture has no negative
supplements should I consider for male infertility? I have had my
sperm analyzed and they said sperm count and sperm motility was a
little low. They also checked out my wife but said she was OK. I'm
in the military and have to travel quite bit.
semen analysis often fails to identify an infertile couple who have
a sperm sample that is within normal ranges, and also often fails
to identify fertile males that have a sperm sample that is judged
abnormal. In our office we would also include an evaluation for
hormone problems such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes,
etc. Other causes must also be excluded including the use of drugs
that cause infertility, infection, and a number of other conditions. History of
exposure to toxic chemicals, heavy metals, radiation, use of alcohol,
tobacco, Cannabis, and caffeine would also need to be looked at.
The following are some
medicines we use:
C. This vitamin protects sperm from free radical damage and
improves the quality of sperm in smokers. When sperm stick together
fertility is reduced. Vitamin C reduces sperm stickiness.
For men with low testosterone levels, zinc supplementation
raises testosterone and also increases fertility. For men with
low semen zinc levels, zinc supplements may increase both sperm
counts and fertility.
Most research shows that several months of L-arginine supplementation
increases sperm count and quality and also fertility. However,
initial sperm count is extremely low (such as less than 10 million
per ml), L-arginine will have little effect.
Q10 is a nutrient used by the body in the production of energy.
While its exact role in the formation of sperm is unknown, there
is evidence that it will increase sperm count and motility.
is needed to maintain fertility. Vitamin B12 injections have increased
sperm counts for men with low numbers of sperm. These results
have been duplicated in double-blind research.
is necessary for normal functioning of sperm cells. L-camitine
has been found to improve sperm motility and sperm maturation.
In a double-blind study with infertile men, supplementation
with selenium significantly increased sperm motility, but had
no effect on sperm count.
ginseng may prove useful for male infertility. A study found
that Asian ginseng given for three months led to an improvement
in sperm count and sperm motility.
What are the effects of stress on men and what are
some naturopathic treatments for reducing stress?
to a report in the February 11th 2002 issue the Archives of
Internal Medicine, chronic work and marital stressors increase the
risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease in men.
Over a 16-year period 12,336 men with work stress, and 10,904 men
with marital stress were studied. There was an positive
association between high work stress, marriage problems and risk
of dying early. Men with at least three work stressors had 1.26
times the chance of dying, compared with those reporting no work
stress. Men who divorced during the trial had 1.37 times the
chance of dying, compared with those who remained married.
strongly linked to stress include:
stressed are you?
an athlete who is over- training, typical symptoms of over-stressing
include insomnia, depression, fatigue, headache, upset stomach,
digestive disturbances, and irritability. Some deal with this by
using drugs, overeating, watching excessive television, having
emotional outbursts, feeling helpless, or overspending. The best way
to find out if you are overstressing is to have a complete workup
including an adrenal stress profile.
how you handle stress that matters
an individual handles stress plays a major role in determining their
level of health. For years researchers have been looking at the
association between stress and heart disease, including the
beneficial effects of relaxation therapies. Chronic diseases
are usually caused by an inability of a person’s body to maintain
optimal balance. Stress profoundly affects the delicate balance
primarily through altering your body’s output of hormones, central
nervous system, and immune system; although other systems are
affected as well.
to Hans Selye (the father of modern stress research ), stress alone
should not be viewed negatively. It is not the stressor that
determines the response; instead it is the individual’s reaction
which triggers the response. This internal reaction is highly
individual. One person's stress may be another person's medicine.
Important point here is that you need to be able to adequately
handle stress. While eliminating excess stress might be
optimal, usually is is not practical (we all have to work and live).
Our goal is to help you develop an appropriate response to stress by
"preparing you body to take it."
should you do?
a comprehensive stress evaluation. This may include a complete
history, physical exam and laboratory or functional tests depending
on the case. If you are not in our area we can set up the next best
thing through a phone consultation. Our treatments will vary
depending on the situation and can include relaxation training,
dietary modification, natural medicines, nutrition, and eliminating
What are some natural treatments for adrenal burnout?
Nutritional and botanical approaches for patients with
decreased ability to handle stress include supporting the
adrenal glands. Long-term stress can cause the adrenal glands to
become dysfunctional, aggravating the stress symptoms of anxiety,
depression, or chronic fatigue.
adrenal function, either deficient or excessive hormone release,
significantly alters an person's response to stress. The adrenal
gland may become exhausted as a result of constant demands placed
upon it. This is what people are referring to when they say " I
have adrenal burnout". An individual with adrenal exhaustion
will usually suffer from chronic fatigue and may complain of feeling
"burnt out" or constantly anxious. These patients
typically have allergies and get infections and colds easily. In
addition to exercise, diet and adding relaxation to one’s life the
we have success with magnesium and certain herbs.
(Mg) deficiency is common in the US. Levels of this mineral have
been reported to be low in people with chronic fatigue. Magnesium
given orally or injected has been used with success in studies on
fatigue. When magnesium deficiency exists, stress increases the risk
of heart damage (hypertension, stroke, arrhythmias and sudden
cardiac death). Stress induced stimulation of fat breakdown can
intensify its deficiency because Mg gets bound to the broken down
fat which are liberated into the bloodstream. A low Mg/Calcium (Ca)
ratio (more Ca than Mg ) increases release of adrenalin, which
lowers tissue Mg levels further. A low ratio may also make the
blood “thicker” and reduce blood flow; a low Mg/Ca ratio also
directly favors blood coagulation (formation of clots). Stress,
whether physical (exertion, heat, cold, trauma), or emotional
increases the need for Mg. We give Mg to break the cycle of stress
leading to low Mg.
such as Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng may be used because they
support the immune system and help people handle stress. Other
botanical we sometimes employ are Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra and
Ashwagandha. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin. Licorice is
anti-inflammatory and inhibits the breakdown of the stress hormone
cortisol. In late stages of adrenal burnout cortisol is low. Its
best not to self prescribe Licorice because it can raise blood
pressure, deplete potassium and may interact with prescription
drugs. Scientists have studied Ashwagandha for its ability to
activate the immune system, inhibit inflammation and improve
three year old boy has been throwing a lot of tantrums lately and
its driving me crazy. I don't want to medicate my child. What can
are a normal and can be dealt with effectively by changing the way
you react to the event. For children, temper tantrums are an emotional
outlet. They are resorted to when the child feels overwhelmed and
unable to comply with parental or teacher requests or demands, when
social schedules of family routines interrupt a child's play or
work, and when children try to force parents to give them what they
want or think they need. Tantrums also occur frequently in the active,
determined child who has his/her autonomy thwarted, or when boredom,
fatigue, hunger, or illness reduces the child's tolerance for frustration.
Parenting practices that may encourage tantrums include inconsistency,
excessive demands, being too strict, and being over-protective.
When temper tantrums occur it is important to stay calm and give
the clear consistent message that the child will never get what
they want by this type of behavior.
the following step by step approach when dealing with tantrums:
Set a positive example by remaining in control of yourself.
PAUSE BEFORE YOU ACT.
Try to get the child's attention focused on something else.
Take the child to a quiet, private place to calm down. This should
be a quiet place that is away from other children. Avoid trying
to talk or reason with a screaming child.
Children will sometimes throw tantrums to get attention. Try to
ignore the tantrum and go about your business as usual. Do not
reward the behavior in any way.
Holding a violent child calmly is sometimes necessary to keep
him from hurting himself or someone else. Tell the child that
you are going to hold them until they calm down because is not
OK to hurt people.
UNTIL THE CHILD CALMS DOWN - THEN TALK. It's difficult to
reason with a screaming child. Insist on a "cooling down"
period, and follow up with a discussion about behavior.
AND REASSURE THE CHILD. Tantrums scare most kids. Often, they
are not sure why they feel so angry and feel rather shaken when
it is all over. They need to know that you disapprove of their
behavior, but that you still love them.
WAYS THAT THE CHILD MIGHT AVOID FUTURE DISAPPOINTMENT AND FRUSTRATIONS.
I am a working mom and keep my child in daycare during the week.
Every winter and spring, all the kids in daycare get sick, and so do
mine. How can I prevent this? I cannot afford to take time off every
season when this happens.
thing about treating children with natural remedies is that they
typically respond quickly. The trick is for the parent to adhere to
and enforce the necessary changes. Having said that, the number one
thing that needs to be addressed is sugar intake. Researchers have
demonstrated that just one teaspoon of sugar adversely affects the
immune system function by 50% for up to a few hours. Think of what
that means when your child is eating sugar throughout the day!
Researchers have demonstrated that 75 grams of glucose taken orally
depresses the immune system’s ability to respond to an attack.
This may be caused, in part, to an increase in insulin levels. Simple
sugars and some starches cause insulin to increase more than other
foods. Below is a chart, which illustrates the effect of refined
sugars on insulin levels (Glycemic index). Proteins and fats tend to
have the lowest scores whereas sugars and starches tend to have higher
scores. The lower the number on the glycemic index, the better.
GLYCEMIC INDEX OF COMMON SUGARS
fructose corn syrup
does the sugar come from in your child’s diet?
Starches such as bread
Cereal (don’t be fooled, even the health food store variety adds
Soymilk with added sweeteners
Peanut butter (check the label!)
Children’s multi vitamins especially liquid or chewable
There are natural therapies you can implement to keep your child
healthy, such as identifying and eliminating food allergens and
getting them on a good multivitamin. Use an adult powdered
multivitamin and divide the dose based on your child’s age. Add
extra vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, but consult with a
physician who is knowledgeable to help determine what amounts are safe
for your child. One of the great naturopathic doctors, Dr. Bastyr,
would use just two things to keep your child healthy, Cod liver oil
and vitamin C. (Beware, cod liver oil contains vitamin A, so you must
be careful of the overall dosage of this vitamin. Also, vitamin
C can cause diarrhea at large dosages, please consult with a
do these vitamins do for the immune system?
Vitamin A has been shown to stimulate or enhance the function of a
number of immune system cells in order to better combat infection. Not
only does vitamin C have antimicrobial effects, it also has been shown
to improve the body’s resistance to disease. Vitamin E and zinc
share some similarities in that a deficiency in either of these two
nutrients has been shown to have a dramatic decrease in both the
T-cell and B-cell immune functions.
medicine is also safe for children to keep their immune system
strong. Astragalus (a Chinese herb), medicinal mushrooms and Echinacea
are just a few. For more details on this, watch for future
publications on this website or take advantage of our consultation
service, and we can provide an individualized treatment plan for your
keep hearing different opinions about stretching depending on whom
I talk to. How much is enough? Will it prevent age related postural
changes? Will it prevent injury?
frequently ask me about stretching. Many of the questions pertain
to rehabilitation, increasing athletic performance or injury prevention.
There are many reasons people stretch. Some even think it will slow
the aging process or that it is somehow unhealthy not to stretch.
Stretching gets promoted in lay health magazines as a panacea for
many ailments such as stress, muscular pain, athletic injuries and
poor posture. Stretching should not be confused with yoga, which when
done correctly includes mind-body relaxation and strengthening exercises
in addition to static stretching.
are numerous theories as to exactly how stretching works to produce
the sensation of decreased pain and increased flexibility. Researchers
now think that stretching causes an increase in stretch tolerance
as opposed to increased elasticity. This means that patients feel
less pain for the same force applied to the muscle. This is thought
to be due to an analgesic effect. The result is increased range
of motion, even though true stiffness does not change.
I was being trained in massage in naturopathic medical school we
were taught that stretching and massage could fix most musculoskeletal
pain syndromes. While massage and stretching may help a number of
conditions resulting from injury or trauma they do not always address
the cause of the dysfunction. Additionally, overstretching may cause
damage to the muscle and tendon or the joint capsule itself.
if you are experiencing pain there could more going on than tight
muscles/tissues. See your physician for a proper diagnosis then
follow his/her treatment advice. If you don't like the advice you
get contact us at "the center" for possible alternatives.
Exercises to generally avoid
a. Full head circles - are not recommended because they apply
excessive pressure to the vertebrae and disks.
b. Toe touching - can apply excessive forces to the lumbar disks
when performed while standing with knees locked in extension.
c. The Yoga plow - places excessive strain on the lower back and
cervical spine (neck).
d. Hurdler's stretch - The version where you sit down with one
or both legs bent so the foot is next to the hip while you lean
back can cause damage to the medial collateral ligaments (knee
ligaments on the inside of the knee), compress the medial meniscus
(cartilage inside the knee joint), and may dislocate the patella
(the knee cap). The modified version where the foot touches the
opposite inner thigh is fine.
e. Back bends - can apply excessive pressure to the vertebrae
and disks. These should be done with caution unless you are skilled
a. Stretching should be used before exercise as a warm up. Muscle
temperature should be elevated before stretching to reduce the
risk of injury and maximize the effect of the stretch. The best
way to elevate muscle temperature is through exercise and should
therefore be done after the workout or after a light warm up before
a workout. Stretching is most effective if done after exercise
while the body is cooling down.
b. Pulsing is better than bouncing. Short bounces at the end of
your range of motion are less effective than static technique.
Ballistic stretching is dangerous because the muscle may reflexively
contract if re-stretched quickly following a short relaxation
period and these contractions may increase the risk of injury.
The bottom line
a. Only warm-up is likely to prevent injury
b. Static stretching is probably safest. Hold the stretch for
at least 30 to 60 seconds.
c. Stretching should not hurt
.if it is painful tissue damage
is likely to be occurring
d. Stretch while cooling down after exercise for maximum benefit.
Shrier I, Gossal K. Myths and truths of stretching: Individualized
recommendations for healthy muscles. Physician and Sportsmedicine
Q: I am a competitive athlete and
suffering from depression and anxiety but I don't like the side
effects of the prescription medications, what can I do?
A: In our practice
and as we consult with professional athletes all over the country, a
common concern is combating depression and anxiety without the side
effects from prescription drugs. Every athlete responds to these
drugs differently just as every person is so unique. With natural
medicine, we are able to help the individual find the underlying
cause of their depression or anxiety and achieve results with only
the positive side effect of optimizing their health and performance.
use of Zoloft, Wellbutrin and other prescriptions often interferes
with the athlete’s competitive drive or motivation to exercise. From
clinical experience it seems that SSRI’s are better for most
athletes than the tricyclic anti-depressants, although everyone is
different. The physiological effects of SSRI’s are to inhibit the
uptake of serotonin and bind receptors that would cause
anticholinergic, sedative and some cardiovascular side effects (PDR).
Of course this would make one feel a lack of motivation or
competitive drive. Exercise is one of the most powerful treatments
for depression and anxiety. It increases endorphins, enhances
self-esteem and provides social stimulation. But, despite regular
exercise, many athletes still experience depression and anxiety.
anxiety are normal responses, feelings or states. They can also be a
symptom of underlying disease. Steadman’s Medical dictionary defines
depression as a reduction in ones level of functioning; a temporary
mental state or chronic mental disorder characterized by feelings of
sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem and self-reproach.
Anxiety involves apprehension of danger or dread accompanied by
restlessness, tension, tachycardia (racing heart beat), and
shortness of breath unattached to a clearly identifiable stimulus
The causes of
depression may be organic such as hypothyroidism, adrenal
hypo-function, nutrient deficiency, hypoglycemia, allergy,
infectious disease and environmental factors. How many friends do
you know who have low thyroid and are also on anti-depressants? Are
these friends overmedicated? Anxiety may be cause by a learned
behavior or response, a side effect from medications or nutrients,
allergies, adrenal fatigue, or a neurotransmitter imbalance. It is
important for the doctor to identify what the underlying cause of
depression or anxiety is when helping the athlete achieve optimal
Blood tests to
check for blood sugar deregulation, thyroid disorder or allergies
are pertinent. Checking sex hormones and adrenal function with
saliva testing may also be used. Is your libido low, and are you
waking up at 3am every night, especially after a hard workout? These
tests could find the answer for you. To determine neurotransmitter
and amino acid levels, alternative medicine doctors are now using
high-tech urine tests. With the information from these tests, high
doses of amino acids are used to balance the neurotransmitter levels
in the brain instead of using prescription medications.
approach to depression and anxiety involves first and foremost
identifying the underlying cause for each individual patient. By
identifying the underlying cause, we can target our strategy and
optimize wellness, naturally.
Natural Ways to Combat Depression
B6, Folic acid
3 fatty acids
Vitamin D (theoretical)
substances are contraindicated with the use of certain prescription
medications and disease conditions. Please consult a physician