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Archive for the ‘Candace McNaughton, ND’ Category

By Candace McNaughton, ND

Allegies treatment and Glow Natural Health Center Seattle WAWouldn’t it be great if they would just go away?  Wouldn’t it be better if the treatment was simple and could be done at home?  Sublingual immunotherapy involves custom formulas based on your individual allergies to things like dust, mold, grasses, trees, weeds, or pets .  It’s a liquid under the tongue and is based on the same principle as allergy shots with no pain and no repeated trips to the office.  We do a blood test, I formulate the mixture based on your results, and then you take it at home.  The materials are the same that are used for allergy shots, just in oral doses, and can be used with adults or children.  The dose is slowly increased over time and is designed to reduce or eliminate your allergy or asthma symptoms.  Sublingual immunotherapy has been studied and found to be extremely safe.  Imagine freeing yourself or your children from dependence on allergy medications!

Candace McNaughton, NDTrained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.  Call our office with questions or to make an appointment- 206.568.7545.

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Young beautiful woman sleeping on bedThere is so much that can be done for problems with sleep without taking anything at all. Finding the perfect substance to put you to sleep is not going to do anything for insomnia- hangover or no hangover, dependence or no dependence.

Generally, there is some reason for trouble sleeping such as erratic schedules, chronic stress, stimulant use, chronic disease/pain, or mental imbalance such as anxiety or depression. One major reason for waking at 3-4 AM is blood sugar imbalance, whereby the blood sugar gets too low and cortisol is released to stimulate the production of more glucose (gluconeogenesis). A protein snack before bed can help with this problem.

Another common reason for insomnia is an imbalance in the timing of release of epinephrine (adrenaline). Normally, you produce more in the morning than in the evening. This makes sense if you just think of adrenaline as ‘energy’. When we look at samples of saliva from people who have chronic stress and trouble sleeping, we often find that they have adrenaline drops in the morning and spikes in the evening. This is a result of adrenal gland function not being optimal due to effects of chronic stress, stimulant use, etc. There are a number of herbs which optimize adrenal function and set you back up in the morning adrenaline pattern. My favorite ones are ashwagandha, eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), licorice, and schisandra. Licorice can raise blood pressure in people who have high blood pressure.

Pure Encapsulations’ Cortisol Calm is one of my favorite adrenal formulas.

Even having one cup of coffee every morning is enough to perpetuate insomnia and cause an imbalance in adrenaline production. Caffeine also decreases melatonin production and can disturb blood sugar balance, both of which interfere with sleep. Following are a couple of articles addressing caffeine and epinephrine (adrenaline):
http://tinyurl.com/2n8vhb
http://tinyurl.com/2j533s

Discovering the causes of insomnia and addressing them will help you to sleep well without sleep aids.  That being said, getting sleep is essential to functioning and a necessary place to start.  Reversing chronic conditions and life patterns can take time.  You need to sleep first! There are a number of supplements which are extremely effective.

Valerian is the most popular sedative herb because it is one of the strongest and is quite effective, but is by no means the best. Many people report a hangover effect and about 5% of people unfortunately report a stimulant effect! Plus it smells like dirty socks! The volatile oils, particularly valerenic acid, bind to GABA-A receptors leading to the release of g-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which inhibits the release of other neurotransmitters (like hormones in the brain).  GABA is basically a calming amino acid. Valerian’s volatile oils also inhibit the breakdown of GABA. The net effect is sedation of the central nervous system (CNS). Valerian is also a muscle relaxant.

Other great sedative herbs include passionflower, hops (not alcohol- it can cause you to wake up 2-3 hours later that makes it not desirable as a sleep aid), skullcap, oats, and California poppy. None of these have been shown to produce any physical dependence, but anything that helps you sleep can produce a psychological/behavioral dependence. “I took this and it helped me sleep. If I don’t take it, I might not be able to get to sleep.”

For problems falling asleep, the best herbs to use are passionflower and ashwagandha. For problems staying asleep, the best herbs to use are skullcap and St John’s Wort.  St. John’s Wort should not be used with mood medications like Prozac and Zoloft. Valerian is good for both types of insomnia.

Vitanica’s Sleep Blend is one of my favorite sleep formulas.

Magnesium is a muscle relaxant. Taking a calcium-magnesium combination is a perfect and simple solution for many people for whom the cause of insomnia is physical- muscle pain, spasm, tension, etc.

Melatonin is a hormone and regulates your sleep cycles- whether or not it has direct sedative properties is under debate- but it is not a classic sedative. Therefore, taking more will not make you more sleepy. It is interesting to note, however, that melatonin is one of the most potent antioxidants and has great results in cancer treatment with doses for cancer patients being ~20 mg per day. Melatonin does not work in people who do not have low levels of circulating melatonin already– thus the variation in effect. Long term melatonin supplementation has been associated with rebound insomnia as well as disruptions in the body’s melatonin production.

5HTP has been shown to reduce trouble falling asleep as well as staying asleep. It increases REM sleep and deep sleep while decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep.  It should not be used with mood medications such as Prozac and Zoloft.

Using some of the above suggestions can help you sleep right away- they will not cure insomnia. If you want to change insomnia and actually be able to sleep, you need to determine the cause and change that. I can help you to be free of insomnia.  

Candace McNaughton, ND

 Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.  Call our office with questions or to make an appointment- 206.568.7545.

 

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MTHFR testing at Glow Seattle WAIt’s hard to find a clear explanation of methylation defects out there. This is because they are only just being recognized (though NDs have been trained about this for years) and it’s also quite complicated. Methylation can be thought of as activation. So, while vitamins are cofactors for numerous actions in the body, many of them need to be methylated (activated) in order to work. We all have gene mutations that we don’t know about and one of those is a possible defect in activation of folic acid, or MTHFR defect. About 50% of people seem to have this (think about the common knowledge of folic acid deficiency and neural tube defects in babies).

• When we don’t activate folic acid well, this leads to a buildup of homocysteine, which is associated with heart disease.

• Research has shown that treating  those who have genetic defects in methylation can help with depression.

• Defects in methylation have also been associated with pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Methylation helps to make the myelin sheath on nerves, the equivalent of wire coating. Defects in methylation can lead to increased pain sensitivity.

• Methylation is one way that the body detoxifies (gets rid of toxins). When we give the activated forms of the vitamins, we can start detoxification pathways that have been sluggish for a long time and therefore experience side effects.

• Another place that methylation works is in DNA repair. Our DNA breaks and is repaired all the time. Cancer happens when DNA breaks and isn’t repaired properly. So, proper methylation can help to prevent cancer.

It’s important to remember that this is not the answer for everything. Just because you have the genetic defect doesn’t mean that you will actually have the problem. In addition, we need to factor in things like other genetic defects, hormone imbalance, thyroid and adrenal function, toxicity, gut health, blood sugar balance, nutrient deficiencies, and mental health needs. Side effects of methyl folate without necessary cofactors can include aches, headaches, insomnia, irritability, acne, skin rash, anxiety, and nausea. It is important to take dosing slowly; the proper schedule can take months. Side effects can be due to improperly pushing detoxification or to other genetic defects not being accounted for.

Other possible genetic defects include trouble breaking down homocysteine, trouble breaking down the brain’s adrenaline, trouble processing serotonin (involved with mood), trouble processing B12, trouble with other liver detox pathways, trouble making the calming brain chemical GABA, and trouble breaking down histamine (involved in allergies and brain stimulation).

Because of the complicated nature of these issues, it is best to approach them with a provider who is trained in this area. I do genetic and/or blood testing and interpret the results in the context of your whole health picture as we take a comprehensive approach to your treatment plan.

Candace McNaughton, ND  Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner, helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in 2003.

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Recently, attention has been drawn to some studies questioning the value of vitamins and minerals.  This comes mostly from a few recent studies: one showing modest prevention of future heart events after someone has had a heart attack, one showing no improvement in brain function in elderly men after taking Centrum, and a third looking at prevention of cancer and heart disease showing mixed results.  One problem is that there are recent studies showing a protective effect that were not included in these reviews.

Multivatamins at Glow Natural Health Seattle

The vast majority of studies on multivitamins use Centrum which is low dose, has poorly-used forms of the nutrients, contains chemical binders, and whose ability to dissolve has been questioned (though improvements have been made).  I have been shocked at the poor design (form, dose used, not distinguishing between food and supp sources) of some supplement trials.  This poor design would never be tolerated in a trial of a pharmaceutical.  Also, no one is saying, “Here, take this multi to prevent your heart attack!”  I would be a terrible doctor if that was all that I discussed with a patient after heart attack.

While the studies on Centrum have shown little to mixed benefit, solid scientific research on nutrients *abounds*, so statements that supplement use is not scientifically based are unfounded.  Further, when used in conjunction with someone trained and who understands the science, therapy beyond correction of deficiency comes into the process.  For example, B12 is used for energy production, vitamin C stabilizes cells to minimize releasing histamine (involved in allergic response), magnesium is a muscle relaxant, etc. The nutrients are cofactors for every reaction in the body.   So, keep researching, tell it like it is, and be careful about blanket statements.

McNaughton color small  Trained as a family practitioner to address acute and chronic conditions, Dr. McNaughton focuses on  autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive issues.  She facilitates healing as a knowledgeable guide and partner,  helping her patients make lasting changes and achieve health goals.  She graduated from Bastyr University in  2003.

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Why is it that so many of us are so stressed?  It is the minority of patients who come to me and say, “My stress level is very low.”  Most feel overwhelmed juggling the responsibilities of work, family, finances, relationships and home.  Especially the most caring and giving folks tend to overextend themselves and put themselves last.

Our adrenal glands do lots of things, and one is to react to stress.  Our bodies are supposed to react to stress- that’s a good thing.  But when it is daily or almost daily for years, we just wear out.  This process, termed the General Adaptation Syndrome, happens in three phases over time.

  • In the first, we are “wired” or “high-strung”.  We have adrenaline (you know- fight or flight) pumping into our blood stream, which leaves less stored up.   During this phase, you might be underweight/undernourished, develop ulcers, experience insomnia, anxiety, or have frequent colds due to decreased immune function.  You might start to see problems with female hormones, thyroid and blood sugar because stress hormones directly interfere with these.
  • In the second, you seem to adapt to the stress.  You make more reserves of adrenaline and the other adrenal hormones and seem to coast through.  You may gain weight during this time.
  • In the third, you become exhausted.  Your adrenal glands don’t react like they used to, and fatigue is extreme.  You may find yourself to be more irritable and jumpy, depressed, anxious, less able to handle conflict, unpredictable things, or even daily responsibilities.  You may have insomnia even though you are exhausted.  You may find that you have gained weight over the years that the body was in survival mode.  “This is an emergency.  Better store all the fat possible,” says the lizard brain.

What do I do? (more…)

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