2018.12.11 by Dr. Randy
This year another nasty cough season could disrupt winter plans. This viral illness can last for weeks, but there is a plan to cut it short. First of all prevention. Be sure to take a vitamin D supplement, preferably one that also contains vitamin K2. The dosage range is 2,000 IU for preschoolers, 5,000 for children, and 10,000 for adults. Try a medicinal mushroom formula with Astragalus to fortify the immune system. Take probiotics and eat fermented foods (pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha).
If the cough (or a cold) strikes, then begin a Yin Chiao Chinese herbal formula and elderberry extract. Wellness Formula by Source Naturals is an excellent antiviral formula with elderberry. A frequently indicated homeopathic remedy for the cough this year seems to be Rumex crispus. Take a few pellets of a 6, 12, or 30 strength three times a day. There may be other homeopathic remedies necessary if the cough becomes loose and rumbly (particularly Ipecacuanha). A good cough syrup readily available at health food stores is one of the versions by Planetary Herbals.
I wish you the best of health getting through this season.
2018.11.12 by Dr. Randy
Are you doing everything you can to maintain your health? Your family depends on you staying healthy. They expect you to take care of them. So don’t get sick and don’t acquire any chronic illnesses. This requires two levels of prevention: immune support and long term care.
A healthy lifestyle will support both levels of prevention: avoiding viruses and infections, as well as maintaining health as you age. These lifestyle practices apply to anyone at any age. They fall into some broad general categories: getting exercise, eating fruits and vegetables, avoiding starches, sleeping well, and enjoying nature. If you are remiss in any of these areas work on these fundamentals first. And all of us could use some improvement. Also avoid toxic exposure in household products and BPA plastics and sugar.
Supplements for immune support
Some supplements will assist both realms. The most important of these for immune function and many other cellular functions is vitamin D. Take vitamin D whenever you have a lack of sun exposure. For many people that means year-round. And be sure to take an adequate dose. For children – 1,000 IU per 10 pounds of body weight (up to 5,000 IU). And for adults 5,000 to 10,000 IU per day. It is best to take a vitamin D supplement that also contains vitamin K2.
Vitamin C and vitamin A provide powerful immune support. Of course, many brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain these vitamins, but you can also take them as supplements.
Probiotics and fermented foods help to maintain a balanced ecology in the digestive system, where most immune mechanisms are produced.
Finally, medicinal mushrooms have specific immune boosting effects. Formulas of supplements often include reishi and shiitake mushrooms along with the herbal immune booster astragalus.
Supplements for long term prevention
Here’s a short list
Omega 3 fats in the form of fish oil or flax seed oil.
B complex with quality forms of each (folate, methyl B12, and 50-100 mg of B1, B2 and B6 as P5P)
There are many other supplements to prevent aging and inflammation including antioxidant formulas and Curcumin preparations.
Here are some blood tests you may want to ask your doctor to order to assess your health status: vitamin D (should be 50-80), fasting leptin (should be < 10) glucose (<100) and insulin (< 5), homocysteine (< 9), CRP (< 1), TSH (< 2), Free T3 (> 3.2), Reverse T3 (<15), B12 (> 550).
These tests will evaluate your immune status, your metabolism, and whether you have signs of inflammation. If any of these are out of range you could be at risk of metabolic syndrome or low thyroid. If you are gaining belly fat, if your glucose level is creeping up, then a personally designed supplement program can help to rebalance your system.
If you need suggestions about brands of supplements or help in designing a personal program, send me an email. I am happy to arrange a personal consultation.
And stay healthy.
2018.10.01 by Dr. Randy
Another school year for kids and parents, and we recognize the patterns and flow of school life. For young children this entails social interactions with friends, getting used to schedules, and becoming engaged in learning. This is such a complicated process filled with excitement, inspiration, and frustrations. It involves recognizing the priorities of academics, hobbies, activities, and relationships. And that’s just for those who are flowing well through the program of school. For many children, school is stressful or even painful. So many factors can be deterrents to engagement, especially for those children who find it difficult (or boring) to sit still at a confining desk for extended periods of time. For students who enjoy prolonged periods of quiet and focused attention, school can be a haven. Others may feel socially awkward, shy, or out of place. They may have other pressing interests besides the typical subjects taught in school. And a large percentage of children have high kinetic energy and difficulty remaining in one place for long. They function best through exploration of their environment and hands-on interactions. Unfortunately, they are often labeled as being distracted or disruptive. And some even get a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. Others have completely different styles of relating to the world, and they get put on an autism spectrum or diagnosed with a condition such as Asperger’s syndrome.
Every child has a distinctive and individual style of learning that needs to be honored and respected. Every child has unique gifts and talents, and these may not fit easily into the mold of the school model. It falls upon parents to recognize and cultivate these gifts. All too often we focus on perceived weaknesses and faults, giving negative feedback and corrections, forgetting that children need love, nurturing, recognition, and encouragement. Many children see themselves as failing, not rising to expectations of their own or the adults around them. They see their interests and pursuits as private havens when they should actually be celebrated. It is often hard for us as parents to strike the balance between trying to keep kids on track in the grooves of schedules and schoolwork and actually enjoying life.
Here are some suggestions.
- Have periodic conversations with children about their interests, whether those are music, video games, imaginative play, animals, or hobbies. Show your interest in their private pursuits. This points to the value of their inner life and can help to foster their passions.
- Communicate with teachers about your child’s strengths and interests so that he or she can play to these strengths.
- Avoid struggles over homework. You are not responsible for getting homework done. And keep in mind the myth of homework. Studies have shown that homework accomplishes very little. It creates conflict and tension in families and serves little positive purpose.
- Enjoy your children. Cultivate your appreciation of their amazing personalities and talents.
- Cultivate your own patience and forbearance. It may seem like your children are intent on driving you crazy, but they just want to have fun.
- Children will actually learn responsibility without your nagging. They will learn how to get assignments turned in by the time they get to high school. They will learn that they need to show up for work once they are on their own. They will be fine. Let them learn.
- Remember that life is fleeting. Teachers come and go. Struggles are inevitable and mean very little.
- Pay attention to the moment. That’s where children live. Take them as your role models.
- You may also want to review this article about recognizing your children’s strengths.
2018.07.24 by Dr. Randy
Colic or reflux is characterized by prolonged crying, spitting up after feeding, arching the back, rumbling tummy, and expulsion of gas. Symptoms tend to be worse in the evening, after eating, and when lying down. Often these symptoms begin two to three weeks after birth and can persist for several months or sometimes even longer. The cause is usually a stressed digestive tract that has a hard time moving food through. When digestion is weakened, then food tends to get stuck or move back up into the esophagus. Your pediatrician may want to prescribe antacids or acid blockers, but these drugs are not especially effective and some babies have obvious side effects.
Here are some simple measures you can take to solve these bothersome symptoms.
- Avoid foods in your diet that pass through breast milk and cause or aggravate your baby’s symptoms. Some foods can trigger allergic reactions in your baby. Other foods can be irritants.
Cabbage family foods (broccoli)
Onions and garlic
- Give your baby a probiotic supplement that includes bifidus and lactobacillus species, at least 10-20 billion CFU. These healthy bacteria help digest food and decrease irritation in the small intestine lining. These can be mixed into some expressed breast milk.
- Chinese herbal formulas Grow and Thrive and Tummy Tamer by Chinese Medicine Works (available through any health care provider from KanHerb.com by prescription or online through several sources). These two formulas strengthen digestive function, soothe the lining of the digestive tract and promote healing of the small intestine lining.
- Glutamine powder mixed with breast milk (or formula) 1,500 mg. The amino acid glutamine heals the small intestine lining.
- Keep your baby close. Wearing your baby in a sling or front pack and wrapping your baby snuggly in a baby blanket (swaddling) are techniques that have been shown to relieve colic and crying. Prop your baby upright to allow gravity to help move milk through your baby’s digestive tract.
- Try using homeopathic Colocynth, especially if your baby is soothed by pressure on her belly. Just put one pellet of a 6, 12, or 30 strength inside your baby’s cheek as a dose. Other homeopathic medicines may be appropriately prescribed on the basis of differing and specific symptoms.
2018.07.18 by Dr. Randy
In a previous article I talked about the metabolic factors involved with difficulty losing weight. Those include factors like thyroid function, leptin, insulin, and other hormonal balance issues that can all make it difficult to lose weight. Those interacting factors can be complicated and require a holistic medical evaluation. Dietary issues, however, are pretty simple. There are some basic principles to maintaining a diet that prevents weight gain.
What to eat
- Do not restrict calories. Eating a low calorie diet and skipping meals will just lower your metabolism. That will cause your body to burn less calories, exactly what you don’t want.
- Eat relatively low glycemic index foods. Some foods will stimulate more insulin production that encourages a cascade of factors that will store excess fat in your fat cells. Foods with a high glycemic index include, grains (especially wheat), potatoes, tropical fruits or dried fruits that are higher in sugar, and processed products with refined sugar. Eat all of these sparingly.
- Eat foods as they grow in nature. That includes fresh fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked), nuts and beans, and animal products (eggs, dairy, chicken, fish). Try to avoid packaged foods that contain with a long list of ingredients.
- Don’t avoid fats. Your body needs fats and cholesterol to make hormones. The best fats are butter, coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, avocados, and fish oil supplements. Try to avoid vegetable oils. Remember fats do not make you fat, excess carbohydrates make you fat.
How to eat
- Eat protein in the morning.
- Eat three meals a day. Don’t skip meals and leave space between meals. Try to avoid snacking on carbohydrates. If your blood sugar gets low and you start to feel tired or light-headed, then eat protein snacks.
- Don’t eat late at night. Leave 2-3 hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime. If you eat before sleeping when your metabolism slows down, that food will turn to fat. And often those late night snacks are also high in carbohydrates, making the problem even worse.
- Be kind to yourself. If you crave sugar and carbohydrates, there is a reason that needs to be addressed. It may be a problem with glucose metabolism, thyroid dysfunction, or insulin or leptin resistance. There are specific supplement programs that can help all of these issues. Don’t blame yourself for having weak will power.
- Be consistent. Establishing good eating habits will reinforce and establish healthy behaviors. Every day that you continue on a program will reinforce your confidence and determination.
- Don’t expect quick results. Fad diets and restricted diets will cause loss of fluid retention and some quick weight loss, but you will gain back that weight again and become frustrated. Do not attempt extreme diets (like the ketogenic diet). If you maintain these for a while you may lose weight, but if you go off the diet the rebound effect may leave you with more weight than when you began.
- Stay positive. Losing weight is a gradual process. But once you are more healthy and fit, you will feel better and your cravings will decrease.