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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

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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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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Some of you have asked me to explain further some of the methods that I use in psychotherapy. Using depression as an example, I will try to explain how I utilize an Integrative, Strengths-Based, Transpersonal approach to treating depression.

According to the World Health Organization, by the year 2030 depression will be the most prevalent health problem. More and more, normal changes in our mood are being diagnosed as depression, and even if the individual truly is depressed, the treatment is mostly limited to powerful, pharmaceutical medications.

Doctors often times lack the time or training to recommend alternative treatment options. An Integrative approach does not exclude the use of medications, but employs both conventional and evidence-based natural therapies for some mental health conditions.

Here at Glow, our Naturopathic doctors may explore some nutritional approaches to treating depression by ordering blood work to rule out vitamin deficiencies and exploring optimal diet. The World Health Organization acknowledges acupuncture as an effective means of treating mild to moderate depression, and massage therapy can provide relief of depressive symptoms.

My approach, when dealing with depression is to explore what may be contributing factors to depression. Is it situational, a life transition, or something physical? Taking the time to listen in order to gather the correct information to formulate an accurate diagnosis and treatment protocol is essential. Often times, individuals cannot recognize, or they have forgotten, the strengths that they possess to assist in their own healing. I help individuals rediscover their strengths so that they can effectively collaborate with me in their healing process.  Using Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, I can help patients change habitual thought patterns, which often get in the way of recovery. Mindfulness and Transpersonal therapies join the spiritual component to facilitate physical, mental and emotional healing.

Because making a good connection with one’s therapist is essential, I offer a free 30-minute consultation.

Warmly,

Tina Michalski, MSW, LSWAIC

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This post is in response to the requests of clients to learn more about Shamanism and what happens during the Shamanic treatment. To schedule your own appointment with me call Glow’s office. 206 568 7545

It began after a “dark night of the soul” which occurred during the time of my two ACL (1992, 1995) reconstructions and one major meniscus repair. It wasn’t until my first Shamanic session that I started to get a framework for my own personal “spiritual” experiences, some of which had been fairly disconcerting and life changing.

 At first I thought, it was PRETTY kooky. But hey, I was already an acupuncturist and many people think that’s pretty crazy too. I received my first session as a gift and didn’t know what to expect. She asked me what I wanted to focus on and I was unclear. I didn’t really have any problems. Finally, I conceded that having been born and raised in the country, I sometimes found the city noise, lights, and traffic to be a little much. Was that something she could help with? She said we’d find out. I don’t remember much else from that first encounter. I lay on the ground and she shook a rattle near my head. I relaxed. Afterword, I no longer felt that way about the city. I found that interesting.

 Betsy  and I began to work together in the same office.  I noticed that with certain issues, she helped people address in a couple sessions what I felt would take many more,  if not years to treat with acupuncture. This included physical, emotional and spiritual issues. I’ve included a small study through Kaiser that shows promise in the treatment of jaw pain with Shamanic medicine. Kaiser study on jaw pain

I asked Betsy to be my mentor and began training in 2002.

Shamanism is not a religion (unless you want it to be) although it can add depth to any religion. It is an ancient healing modality which uses near universal principles and archetypes to access spiritual information and facilitate healing.  It provides direct access to personal spiritual information. It is worlds of archetypes and storytelling. It is realms that we all know and have access to like nature, and myth. Anyone who has ever felt healed after a good book or a poignant movie understands that image and messages at the right time can feel like they are “just for us” and have profound effects. It’s also about connection or reconnection with our natural state, and our natural world.

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In keeping with our discussion of aging from the last
newsletter we are proud to be offering this series with Tina,
 our licensed social worker. She
 is also taking care of Grandson
Eli while mom (Lindsey) is at work. The rest of the time
she helps us here at Glow.

Topics to be covered include:

Cultivating the wisdom of the crone

Embracing intuition

Dietary Support

Changing family roles

Please email info@glownaturalhealth if you are interested in more information.

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 Vitamin D deficiency is quickly emerging as one of the greatest risk factors for a wide variety of diseases. It is also one of the most common deficiencies, especially here in the Northwest. It is however, easily remedied.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to at least 17 forms of cancer, neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, skin issues, calcium and bone metabolism issues, muscle pain and weakness, macular degeneration, mental illness, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, periodontal disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, colds and flues, and the list goes on. It seems to play no small part in many of these diseases.

For instance, people with adequate levels of Vitamin D have a 30 – 50 percent less likelihood of developing many types of cancer. For those people who did develop cancer, one study even showed that in most types of lung cancer, people with the highest Vitamin D intake had double the 5-year survival rate than those with the lowest!

Musculoskeletal pain, especially low back pain, is also common in people with Vitamin D deficiency. One study found that chronic pain was three times more common among those people with the lowest Vitamin D levels. Additionally, many geriatric units across the country are now supplementing Vitamin D to their patients because they’ve found that it helps to prevent muscle weakness, thereby significantly reducing the amount of falls in their facilities.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with depression. People with the highest levels of Vitamin D had a “higher overall sense of well-being,” according to one study. Who couldn’t use that?

One fairly recent discovery is Vitamin D’s role in maintaining a healthy immune system. It is believed that one reason people get sick more often in the wintertime is secondary to a seasonal deficiency in Vitamin D. One study found that supplementation with 2000 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D per day “virtually eliminated self-reported incidences of colds and influenza.”

How We Get Vitamin D

Our bodies obtain Vitamin D from sunlight exposure, diet, and supplementation. When fair-skinned people sunbathe in the summer, they produce approximately 20,000 IU of Vitamin D in less than 30 minutes. Obviously, sun exposure is a very efficient way to obtain Vitamin D. However, sun exposure does increase skin aging and burning increases rates of melanoma.

Diet provides about 250 – 300 IU per day. Fish oil, liver, and milk are some of the richest sources. However, you would need to drink about 30 glasses of milk per day for three months or more to raise the average person’s levels up to healthy, disease-preventing levels.

Supplementation with Vitamin D is another way that we can obtain adequate levels, of course. Most adults need 2000–4000 IUs per day to raise and maintain Vitamin D at healthy levels. This is more than most conventional doctors recommend or are comfortable with, but this is what the research is showing. There have been no credible incidences reported in the literature showing toxicity with up to 10,000 IU per day of Vitamin D. What few incidences have been reported were from faulty industrial production, labeling errors, dosing errors, and in patients treated medically with high doses of synthetic Vitamin D, called ergocalciferol. (Most Vitamin D and the kind you should take is called cholecalciferol.)

Incidence of Vitamin D Deficiency

Most people have blood levels of 10 – 18 ng/ml in the wintertime, or if they spend the majority of their time out of the sunlight. Major decreases in cancer and other diseases have been shown when blood levels are at least 30 ng/ml. For instance, levels of 33 ng/ml were associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of colon cancer, and levels of 52 ng/ml were associated with a 50% reduction of breast cancer. Natural levels, that is, levels found in humans who live or work in the sun, are approximately 50 – 70 ng/ml.

Many factors influence one’s levels of Vitamin D, including geographic location, skin color (darker skin people produce less Vitamin D from sunlight exposure than do lighter skinned people), use of sunscreen, weight, age, diet, digestion, etc. Blood testing is recommended to find out what your levels of Vitamin D are and to monitor therapy. The test you want your doctor to run is called 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D.

Having adequate levels of Vitamin D is one of the biggest factors in preventing a wide variety of serious diseases. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common; in fact, most people are deficient, especially in the wintertime. Blood testing is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to find out what your levels are. And supplementation with Vitamin D is a very inexpensive and easy way to help ensure optimal health.

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