Dry Lips Treatment

natural treatments for dry lips naturopathic doctor Michigan

natural treatments for dry lips

This week’s question is about dry lips.

 

Dry cracked lips can be very frustrating and painful. Here is a list of helpful treatments to hydrate your lips.

 

1) Avoid licking your lips. The saliva from your tongue will make your lips feel temporarily better by adding moisture but it quickly evaporates leaving your lips even more dry. Salvia is packed with digestive enzymes, which is great in regards to starting food digestion, bad in regards to irritating dry lips. So try your best to avoid licking your lips.

 

2) Keep your lips moist with lip balm. Not all chap sticks are created equal. Avoid any petroleum vaseline products, since they are a cheap product that are rarely checked for contaminants and contain carcinogenic ingredients. Products, like Burt’s Bees, that contain beeswax are a good choice. I prefer using coconut oil. Yep, the coconut oil that you cook with and can purchase at the grocery store.

 

3) Be cautious in the sun. The sun can dry out your lips and skin. Make sure to cover the lips with a non toxic sunscreen or lip balm that contains SPF.

 

4) Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Most people do not consume an adequate amount of water throughout the day. You can add fruit to your water or chill herbal tea if you want to spice up your water and limit your amount of caffeine or alcohol, since they can increase dehydration.

 

5) Use a humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture to the air. A lot people sleep with their mouth open, leaving them with super dry lips in the morning. Keep on running at night and make sure to clean it regularly.

 

Steroids or antibiotics are sometimes used to prevent infections in severe cases. This may be needed for acute treatment, but long term use of steroids and antibiotics carry side effects. Long term steroid use can cause osteoporosis, adrenal insufficiency, skin atrophy, and many more.

 

Dry, cracked lips could be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. A decrease in the one or more of the eight forms of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12) could contribute to your dry lips. You can get B vitamins in your diet or through supplementation.

 

Although these simple changes can make huge improvements with dry lips, it is important to realize that everyone is an individual and the cause might be deeper. To further investigate what might be causing your dry lips make an appointment at The Center for Integrative Wellness.

Why Naturopathic Medicine is Necessary in the 21st Century

Dr. Nicholas Morgan Naturopathic Doctor, cafe scientifique

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Nicholas Morgan speaking to Michigan Association of Healthcare Auditors about Naturopathic MedicineI would like to thank the Michigan Association of Healthcare Auditors (MAHA) for reaching out to the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians and requesting someone speak to their group. Friday March 20, 2015 I presented a talk titled: Complex vs Complicated Medicine Why Naturopathic Medicine is Necessary in the 21st Century. They were very welcoming, inquisitive and seemed to enjoy the talk. I spoke about 3 areas: naturopathic education and licensure in Michigan, the importance of treating the whole person by addressing imbalances in their life, and the importance of a therapeutic doctor patient relationship to create positive changes.

People asked a lot of questions about licensure and training especially. They wanted to know how to find a reputable naturopathic physician and how much longer it would be until we were licensed. I used depression as an example of the importance of treating the whole person. Using antidepressants and talk therapy helps but most people do not undergo complete remission of symptoms and there are so many additional things that can be done to help people suffering from depression. Last but not least I talked about the doctor patient relationship necessary to promote healing. Again I thank MAHA for inviting me and I look forward to discussing Naturopathic Medicine with more people in the future.

Alternative Treatments for an Irregular Heartbeat

irregular heartbeat, atrial fibriillation, alternative treatments

I would like to thank Lynne for asking about natural treatments for atrial fibrillation (a-fib). A-fib is the most common form of irregular heartbeat. Its frequency increases with age especially after the age of 70. Patients usually complain of palpitations and fatigue which leads to testing and an eventual diagnosis. Unlike ventricular fibrillation atrial fibrillation by itself is not fatal but can cause complications. For example people with a-fib have a higher risk of stroke. Patients usually undergo treatment to control their symptoms of fatigue, chest pain, irregular pulse, lightheadedness, and etc.

irregular heartbeat, atrial fibriillation, alternative treatments

Other than undergoing surgery natural approaches are similar to conventional medical interventions with a few additional interventions. Conventional care focuses on anti-coagulation to prevent blood clots in patients with irregular heartbeats. For a truly holistic approach I would want to improve blood flow to the heart because during increased heart rates the energy demand goes up. If the heart’s blood flow is decreased due to things like heart disease or smoking then the risk for complications of irregular heartbeats increases. I would support the mitochondria to increase energy production. Also I would look at natural ways of slowing nerve impulses, decreasing stimulants in the diet, and really trying to improve the patients vascular health. By supporting the person’s body they are potentially able to decrease their risk of stroke, heart attack, and other symptoms.

Treating Hypothyroidism Naturally

Natural treatment for hypothyroidism naturopathic doctor Michigan

Treating hypothyroidism naturally

 

Do you have Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

I receive a lot of phone calls from people suffering from hypothyroidism. They complain of weight gain, fatigue, and depression among other problems. The first question I ask is do you have antibodies against your thyroid? About half of the time people say yes and the other half has no idea. Traditionally synthetic thyroid is used whether there is an autoimmune process or not so distinguishing the two is not often done without some prompting by the patient. Addressing hypothyroidism naturally is more complicated than tracking the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and adjusting a patient’s dosage of hormone accordingly.

Hypothyroidism without antibodies

If a person has hypothyroidism without antibodies usually they respond well to just taking thyroid hormone. Unfortunately these people make up less than 10% of the people suffering from hypothyroidism. I personally like to give them the necessary building blocks to see if their lack of production was simply due to lack of nutrients like tyrosine, iodine, selenium, and etc. If they are deficient in any of these constituents then supplementing can help increase thyroid levels without taking the synthetic hormone. This is important because if their thyroid is deficient to the point that it shows abnormal labs then I believe they may be deficient in other parts of their body as well so it makes sense to address that deficiency.

Autoimmune Hypothyroidism is an Inflammatory Disease

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is your immune system creating antibodies that attack your thyroid gland. The issue is not the gland itself but instead is due to the immune system malfunctioning. There may be some symptomatic relief from taking thyroid hormone but supplementing with hormone does not address the inflammatory process at the root of the problem. Circulating antibodies and immune activation is not a benign process. Therefore I like to address the inflammatory process, improve the immune intelligence so it doesn’t attack itself, and decrease thyroid cross reactors in the diet. While doing all of these things the patient can continue to take thyroid hormone and hopefully they experience significant improvement.

How to Lower Your Risk for Gout

The food pyramid and gout, natural treatments, naturopathic doctor Michigan

Many people have had an episode of gout or know someone that has. Gout is a common type of arthritis that is caused by an increase in uric acid concentration in the blood. This leads to urate crystals that are deposited in joints, tendons, kidneys, and other tissues throughout the body. Sudden, red, tender and painful joints at the base of the big toe are characteristic of gout.

 

Uric acid is a break down product of purines. Purines are found in the body as well as in certain foods. Typically, the uric acid will dissolve in your blood, be filtered through your kidneys and eliminated in your urine. If your body produces too much uric acid or your kidneys do not excrete enough, then the uric acid can build up producing urate crystals in joints and/or tissues causing severe pain and discomfort known as gout.

 

Risk Factors:

  • Diet: high purine and high fructose diet
  • Low water intake
  • Obesity
  • Family history of gout
  • Age and sex: Men and postmenopausal women
  • Medical Conditions: High blood pressure, diabetes,
  • metabolic syndrome, heart and kidney disease
  • Medications: Thiazide diuretics used to treat hypertension and low dose aspirin can raise uric acid levels.
  • Recent surgery or trauma

Gout is typically diagnosed based on a joint fluid test, where fluid is aspirated from the joint and visualized under a microscope looking for urate crystals. Blood tests are frequently used but can be misleading. A high uric acid level in the blood does not mean you have gout and a normal value does not mean you do not have gout. X-rays, ultrasound, and dual energy CT can be used to visualize the presence of urate crystals in the joints. Conventional treatments for gout include NSAIDS, Colchicine, and steroids.

Even though prescription medication is a vital part in the treatment of gout, there are many holistic adjunctive ways to support the body naturally. Lifestyle modifications, botanical medicine, and nutrition can help decrease your risk for a flare. Lower the amount of alcoholic beverages and high purine foods you consume, as well as, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly will help decrease gout attacks. Coffee, Vitamin C and Cherry juice have all been researched for lowering uric acid levels. For more information on how you can decrease your risk for gout, contact Dr. Nicholas Morgan and Dr. Lanae Mullane at The Center for Integrative Wellness.

The food pyramid and gout

Foods High in Purines (According to John Hopkins)

Very High

  • Hearts
  • Herring
  • Mussels
  • Yeast
  • Smelt
  • Sardines
  • Sweetbreads

Moderately High

  • Anchovies
  • Grouse
  • Mutton
  • Veal
  • Bacon
  • Liver
  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Kidneys
  • Partridge
  • Goose
  • Haddock 
  • Pheasant 
  • Scallops

Methylation Polymorphisms are more Complicated than MTHFR

Methylation Cycle Management Michigan Naturopathic Doctor

(warning this is a very technical blog entry for those that are familiar with MTHFR)

I love reading about the methylation cycle and methyl tetrahydrofolate
reductase (MTHFR) polymorphisms. MTHFR along with some other enzymes
in your body are responsible for transferring carbons. Carbons are necessary
for building everything in your body from DNA and neurotransmitters to
proteins, fats, and cell membranes. They are also vitality important for
proper detoxification. No wonder MTHFR variations are related to diseases
like:
Autism
Addictions: smoking, drugs, alcohol
Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
Fibromyalgia
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Atherosclerosis, Heart Attack, Stroke
Multiple Autoimmune Diseases
Unexplained Neurologic Disease
Asthma
These are only a fracture of diseases related to how well your body utilizes carbons from your food at the cellular level.

Methylation Management, Functional Medicine, Holistic, Integrative, Nauropathic

Unfortunately working with people that have MTHFR polymorphisms is often over simplified. As you can see from the picture above there is much more to it than testing for a single MTHFR variation followed by supplementation with methylated folate aka methyltetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF). Also supplementing with methylated folate is not completely benign because some of the conditions above are associated with an over abundance of carbons which is called over methylation. Therefore taking methylated folate can make some people feel worse. 5-MTHF also effects gene expression by down regulating your post synaptic neurotransmitters receptor sites.

 

Folate is not the only vitamin (co-factor) used in the Methylation Cycle. Other vitamins like B6 and B12 play vital roles as well as minerals like zinc, selenium, and magnesium. Also genes like Methionine synthase reductase (MTRR), Cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), S-adenosylhomocysteine synthase (AHCY), and S-adenosylmethionine synthetase (MAT) all encode enzymes that effect how well your body transfers carbons.

 

The good news is that there is a test that looks at the SAM/SAH ratio to determine your methylation status. This test actually looks at what’s going on with your methylation in real time instead of trying to guess based off of symptoms and genes. What does this all mean? Treat the person and what they’re presenting with and not just genetic results. Inflammation and environmental exposures will completely disrupt methylation in a person with no polymorphisms. Meanwhile a person with multiple polymorphisms with few environmental exposures and a great diet might not need any intervention.

 

With all this said if you are chronically ill you might have disrupted methylation. Is it the chicken or the egg? It depends on the person and their clinical presentation. That is why it is important to have a knowledgeable physician working with you that says more than here take folate because you have a MTHFR polymorphism. To learn more call for a free 10 minute consult. Otherwise I recommend following researchers/clinicians like Drs. William Walsh, Amy Yasko and Benjamin Lynch.

Improving Sleep Naturally

Insomnia natural treatments, naturopathic doctor Michigan

Insomnia natural treatments, improve sleep, naturally, sleep

A peaceful night’s sleep is important for allowing the body to reset. While you are off in dreamland, your body is hard at work fixing and repairing vital functions throughout the whole system. Lack of sleep can disrupt your life in more ways than one. Your brain relays on sleep to form new pathways for learning and memory. A night of poor sleep can interfere with your ability to make decisions, cause “foggy brain”, disrupt emotions and behavior. The brain is not the only thing affected by poor sleep, obesity, immune health, hormones, blood pressure, growth and development all depend on a good night’s rest.

 

There are numerous causes that contribute to insomnia. Anxiety, sleep apnea, poor sleep hygiene, caffeine consumption, and low blood glucose levels are just a few culprits. Botanical’s such as chamomile or Valerian tea an hour before bed can help relax the nervous system for people that tend to be slightly anxious at bedtime. Physical medicine, such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) and biofeedback breathing techniques can also have overwhelming benefits to calm the body and mind. Medical interventions, such as, sleep studies and CPAP devices may also be necessary.

 

At The Center for Integrative Wellness, Dr. Morgan and Dr. Mullane take an individualized approach to all their patients. After reviewing and discussing a thorough intake form of your history, they will problem solve to find the holistic solution for getting you a good night rest.

Holistic, Homeopathic, and Natural Doctors Oh My!

homeopathtic medicine, homeopathy, natural medicine, doctor, naturopath

homeopathtic medicine, homeopathy, natural medicine, doctor, naturopath

I am a naturopathic physician. Unfortunately the majority of people I meet have no idea what it means. I get responses like “So you’re a homeopath”, “So you don’t believe in drugs and do everything natural”, and my favorite response, “So you use marijuana to treat a lot of stuff”. It would be much easier for me to simply say I’m a wellness doctor or a holistic doctor but what do those terms mean?

 

A Naturopathic Physician is a profession recognized and defined by the United State Department of Labor as a primary care physician. Technically there is no such thing as a holistic, integrative, alternative, wellness, natural, homeopathic, or even complementary doctor. Sure people call themselves these titles but literally anyone and I mean anyone can identify themselves by these titles. Not anyone can call themselves a Naturopathic Physician.

 

Naturopathic physicians complete a bachelors degree before completing about 5,000 hours of training in subjects varying from Biochemistry and Cell Physiology to Physical and Botanical Medicine. We even take courses in pharmacology and minor surgery because there is a time and place of more invasive approaches.

 

We have schools that are accredited at the national level (not state) and have boards that are recognized by the United States Department of Education. For more information please follow the links below:
Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME) – Accrediting Agency
North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE) – National Board
American Association of Naturopathic Medical Colleges (AANMC) – Accredited  naturopathic medical schools

Integrative and Nutritional Approaches to Gastrointestinal Disorders

ntegrative and Nutritional Approaches to GI disorders includes taking into account the presence of archea, naturopathic doctor Michigan

I had a great time at the Gastrointestinal Disorders conference at National University of Health Sciences. I was able to spend time with old classmates and faculty as well as learn some new and exciting ways to address the causes of patient’s symptoms. Above is a picture of one of earth’s most extreme environments but still there is life. I learned that our gut bacteria also hosts some of the bugs that call places like this home. These archaea (not bacteria) do not respond to most antibiotics and can have a huge impact on your health.

 

I also learned about different ways of assessing for and addressing small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Ways to support the side effects of chemo therapy for colon cancer. And discussed different ways to support the gut for optimal digestion and function.

 

ntegrative and Nutritional Approaches to GI disorders includes taking into account the presence of archea, gastrointestinal
Grand Prismatic Spring of Yellowstone National Park

How do you detox in a toxic world?

How to detox naturally. Naturopathic medicine Michigan

detox

Detoxing is much more than doing a fad diet or visiting a sauna. Our bodies detox 24 hours a day 365 days a year. The important things to know are how do we facilitate  as well as hamper your body’s detoxification pathways.  On September 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm natural medicine expert Dr. Nicholas Morgan shares his top 5 ways to optimize your body’s innate detoxification pathways at Lansing’s Cafe Scientifique.

 

Date & Time: September 16, 2014, 7:00pm
Location: Lansing, Michigan Schuler Books – Eastwood Towne Center