Naturopathic Pearls

Simple changes and natural remedies can help improve many health complaints and conditions. Check out the naturopathic pearls below – they may be beneficial to you or someone you know.

*Disclaimer: Results may vary from patient to patient

Take control of your allergies without pharmaceuticals

Classic allergy signs of sinus congestion, runny nose and sneezing, tearing and itchy eyes are caused by the activity of excess histamine. Histamine is released when a specific type of white blood cell, called a mast cell, is triggered by an allergen to burst. Histamine molecules then attach to histamine receptors, triggering allergy symptoms.

Anti-histamine medications, such as Loratadine and Cetirizine, work at the end the allergy process by preventing the histamine molecules from attaching to histamine receptors.

The goals of naturopathic allergy treatment includes 1) identifying the allergens and reducing your exposure to them, 2) decreasing your immune system’s sensitivity to these allergens, 3) stabilizing your mast cells to decrease the release of excess histamine, 4) reducing discomfort from current allergy symptoms.

Air filters help to reduce the amount of allergens in your home. Choose a filter that incorporates a multistage filter. Do a daily nasal rinse with distilled water and a small amount of sea salt. Decrease problem foods from your diet. Stabilizing mast cells and reducing current symptoms can be achieved with a number of different herbs and common nutritional supplements, such as vitamin C, the B vitamins, nettles and probiotics.

Reduce your risk of heart disease without medications

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in America. Approximately 500,000-700,000 deaths a year are related to the coronary artery. Wouldn’t you like to reduce your risk of becoming part of this statistic?

To reduce your risk, start with the basics – clean up your diet, removing trans fats and reducing saturated fats, simple carbohydrates and caffeine, and increasing vegetables, whole grains, health fats and wild caught fish. Incorporating anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, like ginger and turmeric, in your cooking can help to decrease general and cardiovascular-related inflammation. Increasing fiber content, either by adding more servings of fresh vegetables and whole grains, or by adding flax seed or psyllium husk to your supplementation routine, helps to bind and decrease cholesterol more efficiently, decrease total cholesterol levels. Exercise keeps your heart muscle strong and healthy and keeps off excess body weight. Stress reduction is also an important consideration. Make stress-relieving activities, like exercise, meditation and intentional deep breathing a part of your daily routine.

You can further reduce your risk with a thorough laboratory investigation of your current cardiovascular health. This includes the standard total cholesterol, LDL and HDL levels, a breakdown of LDL and HDL subtypes and other risk factors such as homocysteine levels and high sensitivity CRP. Knowing if these values are elevated will help us determine if further gentle interventions will help improve your cardiovascular health even more. These interventions may include niacin, fish oil, red yeast rice and CoQ10 – all can be beneficial, but need to be used appropriately to effectively lower your risk.

Enhance your fertility and prepare for pregnancy naturally

Healthy nutrition is especially important from a few months before the beginning of a pregnancy all the way through to the end of breastfeeding both for mom and baby. In addition to eating a whole foods diet rich in vegetables, fruit and whole grains, there are several specific nutrients that are important in the healthy development of your baby. Folic acid is an essential nutrient that helps to prevent neural tube defects in the first couple months of pregnancy. Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oil that encourages healthy neurological development of your baby. Further along in pregnancy, calcium and magnesium become more important to support development of your baby’s skeletal system (without taking away from the integrity of your own!) and to help minimize muscle cramps for mom.

Naturopathic medicine also has much to offer individuals and couples who have concerns about fertility or are having difficulty getting pregnant. The first and most important step is to perfect your timing. Women can only conceive after ovulation, which is typically on day 14 of the menstrual cycle. However, not all women ovulate at the same time, so it is important to find your own rhythm through basal body temperature charting, watching for cervical mucous or using an ovulation predictor kit.

Women who have perfected their timing and still have difficulty conceiving may need further investigation into their menstrual cycle and adrenal hormone levels. Imbalanced sex hormones or dysfunctional adrenal hormones that can prevent pregnancy we can often correct with nutritional and lifestyle changes coupled with safe and effective botanical medicines. For more difficult hormone pictures, we may recommend gentle hormone therapies, using bioidentical hormones when possible.

For further information on naturopathic medicine and fertility, take a look at our Spring 2012 newsletter.

Balance your hormones and feel great all month

Hormone imbalances in women can cause a number of difficult symptoms – pain, migraines, depression, and fatigue to name a few. Working to correct your hormone levels can make a huge difference in your daily life.

Start with a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, a variety of fruit and whole grains. Increasing dietary fiber helps to improve your reduction of excess hormones that can worsen premenstrual symptoms. Limiting pro-inflammatory foods such as meats, dairy and saturated fats around the time of your menses can help decrease menstrual cramps. Eating small protein and fiber rich snacks like almonds or celery and hummus help maintain blood glucose levels and reduce fatigue and headaches.

To understand how to further correct your hormone levels appropriately, we recommend testing sex hormones about three weeks into your cycle. These results guide your treatment plan, which may include nutritional supplements, botanical medicines or hormone therapies. It’s often helpful to look at your adrenal and thyroid hormones or other lab tests in addition to your sex hormones for a more complete picture. It’s common to see dysfunction in more than one hormone system leading to patients’ symptoms. To improve your health it’s important to look at and treat the whole picture!

Give your kids the gift of truly preventative health care

Preventative healthcare for kids starts with the very important, but often underestimated, foundation of good nutrition and activity choices. Your child’s diet should include lots of fruit and veggies, whole grains, and healthy proteins and fats. It should limit refined carbohydrates such as baked goods and sweets as these can lead to several health problems including behavioral and weight issues. Make exercise part of the family routine – bike rides, hikes, a family soccer game on the weekends. Helping your kids create healthy habits from a young age will help them as they grow and become more independent.

The next step to staying healthy is learning to listen to the cues their bodies give about potential problems. Recognizing early signs is an important skill for both parents and kids to develop. Tummy aches, skin problems, ear infections, or a frequent cough are common examples of signs kids’ bodies give that indicate a potentially greater issue. The earlier these potential issues are treated, the less likely it is they will develop into more serious problems. Dr. Jewell-Larsen works with families to help interpret these signs, discover potential issues, and develops a treatment plan that addresses your child’s health concerns safely and gently.

Counteract the effects of chronic stress and correct adrenal fatigue

Stress is an unavoidable part of life. We encounter it at work, at home, in our own bodies on a daily basis. The adrenal system is one of the main ways our bodies mitigate stress. In more stressful times, our adrenals produce more hormones to help our bodies function, in less stressful times, the hormone levels reduce back to a normal level.

When you are exposed to a high level of stress over an extended period of time, for example a very high stress job or relationship or the illness or death of a family member, the adrenal system sometimes because dysfunctional or fatigued. Symptoms of adrenal dysfunction can include: all-day fatigue, difficulty waking in the morning, insomnia, changes in mood, feeling overwhelmed easily, changes in blood pressure and dependence on caffeine. You aren’t always able to remove yourself from stressful situations, and even once the stress has resolved, sometimes your adrenal system continues to be dysfunctional.

To address adrenal dysfunction effectively and comprehensively, it’s important to collect objective data on the current function of your adrenals through lab testing. This data helps us to understand how to create an effective treatment plan to correct your adrenal function and get you back on track. Treatment often includes herbal and nutritional therapies, physical activity and other stress reduction techniques.

Reduce inflammation levels with common foods, herbs and spices

High levels of inflammation in your body can cause many symptoms. Common complaints related to inflammation include joint and muscle pain, upset stomach and headaches. You can significantly reduce the inflammation level in your body by choosing anti-inflammatory foods and seasonings.

Cold water, low mercury fish such as salmon and cod are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Fresh vegetables, especially the cabbage family vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts), contain high levels of antioxidants and beneficial phytochemicals. Vibrantly colored fruits, such as berries and cherries contain different flavonoids with antioxidant and anti—inflammatory properties. Pineapple and papaya have the added benefit of naturally occurring enzymes that help to decrease inflammatory proteins. And ginger, turmeric, saffron and rosemary all contain anti-inflammatory compounds and can have a profound effect on arthritic symptoms in particular.

Many common foods can have the negative effect of increasing your inflammation level. Some examples of these pro-inflammatory foods are red meats, grain fed poultry and farmed fish, nightshade family vegetables (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers), animal fats, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, coffee and refined sugar. Decreasing or avoiding these foods may improve inflammation related symptoms.

I love Jill! I’ve been seeing her for a few months now and I’ve learned so much! Not just about how food works but more importantly, how my body works and how I need to work with it. She is incredibly gentle in her approach and I appreciate realism she brings to her suggestions. And did I mention she is smart as hell! I learn something new each time we meet! She’s NOT an uptight doctor that tells you what to do, she’s NOT full of judgement, she’s caring, knowledgeable and she has changed my life! I came into her office frustrated, worried but willing to make changes. I experienced compassion and information like never before. 8 months later, I’ve made lots of changes, need to make many more but most importantly, I feel great -Physically, Mentally and Emotionally!

- Keara

Jill changed my life. For more than 20 years (perhaps longer), I’ve had problems with food, stress, and irritability. Thinking that I was already on an excellent low-carb diet, I did not seek out a nutritionist during that time. I relied on exercise, supplements, yoga, breathing, etc. But it wasn’t solving my problem. Jill solved it. She tailored a particular balance of protein, vegetables, fruit, and starch to suit my body, activity level, and needs. She advised me to eliminate certain foods and drinks and to change the number of meals I eat per day, snacking habits, etc. I followed her plan 100%.  And it worked. Two months later, I am far less irritable, I no longer stress-eat, I have lost weight and feel very light on my feet, I am mentally sharper, I sleep better, and my relationships are improved. I owe it all to Jill. I highly recommend Jill to design a highly tailored diet to meet your particular needs.  Many thanks Jill!

- Steve

For several years my doctor regularly monitored my blood sugar, which was testing as “pre-diabetic”. He never talked to me about the role of nutrition in diabetes prevention.  Only THREE WEEKS after beginning to work with Jill Borba, my blood sugar test was normal.

- Mary

Dr. Berkebile is an amazing, talented, compassionate doctor and human being. I started seeing her a couple of months ago when I decided to try something different after years of not feeling well. I had several issues and she developed a plan to tackle each one, including asthma, fatigue, poor sleep, pain. I spent two years seeing specialist to figure out why I suddenly had difficulty breathing…many medications, tests and expenses later I did not feel well. After following the plan Dr. Berkebile prescribed for me of supplements, I was feeling better and within two weeks I was no longer on any of the asthma medications! I sleep like a baby and I now have energy to exercise. I also see her for acupuncture which has greatly reduced my stress and joint pain. Being a cancer survivor, my only regret is that I did not start any of this sooner because Dr. Berkebile has helped me get my life back.

- Hav

I first saw Dr. Jewell-Larsen with a myriad of complaints that previous MD’s and NP’s considered unrelated.  My first visit with her was memorable because she was so genuine and spent so much time trying to understand all of my issues.  It was a relaxed conversation rather than a hurried MD appointment where as you are describing your symptoms the doc is already writing the script and has his foot half way out the door!  Dr. Jewell-Larsen has been committed to addressing each of my complaints with natural, holistic solutions and provides a treatment plan after each visit so we both stay on the same page. It is a relief to know that I don’t have to figure out all of my health issues on my own anymore and try to stand my ground at the MD’s office! I even feel like I have an advocate and partner, which is how the relationship with a doctor is supposed to be!  I am convinced that seeing Dr. Jewell-Larsen is not only making me well but preventing the major illnesses in my family from happening to me! After years of feeling sick I finally feel the best I ever have and am continuing to get even better!

- Kelly

In November of 2014 I had my first visit with Dr. Berkebile.  This was my first experience with naturopathic medicine and I was desperate to find an alternative to all of the medications that had been prescribed for asthma by traditional doctors.  The past three years were pretty miserable due to respiratory issues that were not controlled. Within two weeks of my treatment plan with Dr. Berkebile, I was not using any inhalers or steroid medications, officially off of all asthma medicine.  I am back to doing the things that I enjoy, riding my bike, taking nice long walks without problems breathing. Dr. Berkebile has given me my life back!  She is so compassionate and listens to what your complaints are and then developments a plan to get you well.  In addition to controlling the asthma, she has helped me with sleep issues, fatigue and joint pain caused by chemotherapy.  I have even started getting acupuncture and now I am hooked as it really helps with stress and pain. So if you are looking for an alternative or complimentary help with medical concerns, I highly recommend Dr. Berkebile.

- Sharon

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 always thought healthy food came with a price… taste. But Jill has taught me that healthy food can be flavorful and delicious!

- Rachel
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