Access ChARM Patient Portal Account

Non-toxic Skincare. The Why, What and How. Part One

Non-toxic Skincare.  The Why, What and How. Part One
Non-Toxic Skincare - The Why, What and How
Part One:  The WHY

This month we are highlighting healthy skin, including skincare basics, healthy skin care products, food and skin, and more. This is part one in a series of three blogs going in-depth on the topic of toxic skincare products, including why it’s important to choose healthy skincare products, ingredients to be aware of, and resources to help you choose safe, healthy skin care products for you and your family.

PART ONE: THE WHY

Our skin is our largest organ! The average adult has about 8 pounds, or 22 square feet of skin. That is a lot of surface! Not only is that a large area that requires care and protection, but it’s also like a big sponge. What we put on our skin can be absorbed by the body and enter our blood. In fact, we absorb up to 60 percent of what we put on our skin, even more through delicate areas such as the face and armpits.
b2ap3_thumbnail_SKIN2.jpg

So WHY care about the safety of your skincare products? Because what you put on your skin can go directly into your blood.

Toxic ingredients in your skincare products can be sneaky. While you generally won’t notice a problem right away, many toxic ingredients bioaccumulate in the body, meaning they store in the body and build up over time. When it comes to toxic skincare chemicals, this can lead, over time, to hormone disruption, inflammation, weight gain and increased risk of certain cancers.

Bioaccumulation = The accumulation of a substance, such as a toxic chemical, in various tissues of a living organism.

“The FDA protects me from potentially harmful chemicals, right?”

Absolutely not! The FDA does not require proof of safety before cosmetics and other skincare products reach the market. In addition, there is no skincare industry standard for claims like “natural,” “organic,” “green,” “clean”, or “non-toxic.” Buyer beware! You have to do your own research and be your own advocate.

The FDA is not protecting you against potentially harmful chemicals in your skincare products.

Stay tuned…next up we’ll be reviewing a few of the toxic chemicals that you need to be aware of in your skincare products.




Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, as well as general wellness and healthy aging. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed to your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” to find and correct underlying imbalances, and going beyond the prescription pad for true health and wellness. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  1394 Hits

FOOD SENSITIVITY TESTING & The Next Generation FIT Test

FOOD SENSITIVITY TESTING and
The FIT Test by KBMO Diagnostics


In my medical practice, we look for root causes of symptoms and chronic disease, rather than focusing on simply treating symptoms with prescriptions. This is what sets Integrative and Functional Medicine apart from traditional Western Medicine. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_inflammation.jpg Inflammation is one of the main root causes of nearly everything I see wrong with my patients.  Food is a primary trigger for inflammation and should be considered as playing a large role in most symptoms, chronic disease, and autoimmune disease.  Like I often say to my patients:

Every time that you eat, you are making a decision to either
increase or decrease inflammation in your body.


FOOD SENSITIVITIES & SYMPTOMS
First things first, we are not talking about food allergies.  Food allergies are mediated by an IgE immune system reaction, which produces immediate and often serious or life-threatening symptoms that require immediate medical attention.  In contrast, food sensitivities (also referred to as food intolerances) are mediated by an IgG immune system reaction that is more delayed and generally less serious. Reactions may take up to 3 days to develop, and the IgG antibodies can remain in your body for up to three weeks.
Click here to read more about Food Allergy vs. Food Sensitivity

With food being a primary driver of inflammation, and inflammation underlying most symptoms, the argument could be made that food may be a trigger of nearly any symptom in the body!  The most common symptoms that I see in my practice that have a strong association with food include:

  • b2ap3_thumbnail_Abdominal-Pain-Is-It-Appendicitis_article_main.jpgRashes, Acne, Eczema and other Skin Conditions
  • Joint Pain
  • Digestive Issues, including IBS
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue/Energy and "Brain Fog"
  • Autoimmunity of any kind
  • Hormone Imbalance
  • Weight Gain
  • Mood Disorders, including Depression, Anxiety and more

 

DETERMINING FOOD SENSITIVITIES
Traditionally, the Comprehensive Elimination Diet has been considered the “gold standard” for determining food sensitivities. The Comprehensive Elimination Diet involves removing the food, drink, and additives that are most commonly associated with inflammation and symptoms, including:

  • b2ap3_thumbnail_Donuts.jpgGluten/Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Soy 
  • Corn
  • Peanuts
  • Nightshade Vegetables
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Caffeine 
  • Alcohol

The Comprehensive Elimination Diet needs to be done for at least three weeks (if you recall from above, the IgG antibodies associated with food sensitivities can remain in the body for three weeks, this allows time for them to "flush out").  After this time foods may be re-introduced one at a time while monitoring for an increase in symptoms.  For those patients who are able to complete a Comprehensive Elimination Diet, the process can be life-changing.  In my patients who complete this process, I frequently see a dramatic reduction in symptoms, improved energy and mental clarity, and better sleep. However, for many others, this process can be difficult or nearly impossible.


FOOD SENSITIVITY TESTING and the FIT TEST
One of the most common Food Sensitivity laboratory tests (and the one I have previously used) involves measuring IgG antibodies in the blood to a variety of foods.  The presence of these IgG antibodies indicates an immune system reaction to that food.  While the information on an IgG food sensitivity test can be useful, I have found several problems associated with this testing:

  • Some patients have so many IgG food reactions that they could not possibly remove these many foods from their diet.
  • We cannot always correlate a positive IgG food reaction directly to inflammation or a patient's symptoms.
  • These tests can be expensive!

FIT = FOOD AND INFLAMMATION TEST
b2ap3_thumbnail_KBMO.jpgThe FIT Test by KBMO Diagnostics is, in my opinion, the next generation in Food Sensitivity Testing.  Rather than simply measuring IgG antibody reactions, the FIT Test measures IgG and Complement-mediated Immune Complexes.  Translation = by adding the measurement of immune complexes the FIT test may more accurately identify the foods that are actually causing inflammation in the body.  

Other benefits of the FIT Test:
  • The FIT Test measures sensitivities to up to 132 different foods,  as well as coloring and additives.
  • The FIT Test can diagnose increased intestinal permeability, or "Leaky Gut", through the identification of a positive Candida immune-complex response.
  • There are less positive reactions to work with, allowing patients to more easily remove inflammation and symptom-triggering foods.
  • In addition to the 132 item option (currently $275), the FIT Test offers a more-affordable 22 item option which includes the most commonly identified food and antigen triggers (currently $100).*
Click here to learn more about the FIT test, see a list of the foods tested, and view a sample report.

Are you interested in the FIT Food Sensitivity Testing?  Do you have questions?  Feel free to send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact our office 231-638-5585.

*I do not make any profit of the FIT Test, or any other laboratory test offered in my practice. Any costs associated with laboratory testing are related to the laboratories themselves.



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineLooking for a personalized approach to your healthcare? I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.

 
 
  2629 Hits

Female Hormone Testing 101

FEMALE HORMONE TESTING 101

Which test is right for you?


Achieving Hormone Balance in women starts with evaluating your hormone levels. While symptoms can often suggest hormonal patterns, I use laboratory data to confirm these patterns, and also to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of prescribed hormones, supplements and lifestyle recommendations.


WHICH HORMONES DO WE TEST?
The term “hormone balance” refers to the interaction and balance of a variety of hormones in the body, therefore when evaluating hormones we need to do so BY keeping all of these interactions in mind. While there are many hormones we are able to test, the hormones I most routinely test in my patients include:
  • Adrenal (stress hormones) - cortisol, DHEA-S
  • Sex-steroid hormones- estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA
  • Thyroid - TSH and free thyroid hormone levels
  • Other - insulin (think blood sugar regulation), pregnenolone (a hormone precursor often referred to as “the mother of all hormones”)
b2ap3_thumbnail_TESTTUBES.pngThere is no perfect hormone test for everyone.

Hormone levels can be measured in blood, urine or saliva. There are many factors taken into consideration when choosing which test is appropriate for each patient, including:
  • patient age
  • type of hormone(s) being measured
  • the number of samples needed to test
  • pre-, peri- or post-menopausal
  • whether the patient is currently on hormone therapy
  • cost of test

So which test is right for you?

Below I’ve broken down the pros and cons of each test and provided information on the tests I most often order in my practice.


HORMONE TESTING 101

BLOOD
Pros: Blood testing is simple and cost-effective (covered by most commercial insurance policies as well as Medicare and Medicaid).

I routinely use blood testing for thyroid hormones and fasting insulin regardless of age. Blood testing of DHEA and pregnenolone is useful for both baseline levels and to monitor when supplementing these hormone precursors. For sex-steroid hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone), blood testing can be useful in the following situations:
  • Pre-menopause - an early-cycle draw (around day 5) can help evaluate for PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
  • Peri-menopause - a luteal phase draw (day 22-24) helps to evaluate PMS imbalances and estrogen: progesterone balance.
  • Post-menopause - blood hormone levels can be used to confirm menopause and also to monitor hormone levels while on hormone therapy.
Cons: Blood hormone testing gives us information on one moment in time. It is not practical to use blood for multiple-day specimens, or for several samples in one day. Blood measurements are also limited in their ability to provide information on hormone metabolites. Hormone metabolites give valuable insight info which “pathways” hormones take in your body, some of which are healthier than others, and can help stratify risk for hormone-related cancers.

Click HERE to read my previous blog on estrogen metabolite testing.


SALIVA
Pros: Saliva tests can be performed and shipped from anywhere, bypassing a trip to the laboratory. Saliva tests are convenient when multiple specimens are needed and can be kept in your freezer if testing over a month cycle.
I routinely use saliva hormone testing to test adrenal hormones. I also use saliva sex-steroid hormone testing in pre- or peri-menopause to look at cyclical trends and hormone fluctuations, testing anywhere from 5-28 day periods.

Cons: While Medicare covers saliva hormone testing, most commercial insurance companies do not. Saliva hormone testing does not provide hormone metabolite information. While saliva testing can be useful for adrenal and sex-steroid hormones, it is not used to measure thyroid hormones or insulin. Some patients have trouble producing enough saliva for testing, especially if they have chronic dry mouth or are on medications that reduce saliva production.

MY MOST ORDERED SALIVA HORMONE TESTS BY GENOVA DIAGNOSTICS:

URINE

Pros: Urine hormone testing can be done and shipped from home, bypassing a trip to the laboratory. One of the biggest benefits of urine hormone testing is the ability to get an abundance of information on hormone metabolites (see above and my prior blog). Hormone metabolites are especially useful in stratifying risk for hormone-related cancers and also in evaluating the efficacy and safety of hormone replacement therapy.

Cons: Most commercial insurance companies do not cover the cost of urine hormone testing. Some urine hormone tests in postmenopausal women require a 24-hour urine collection, which can be cumbersome for patients. While I use urine hormone testing to measure adrenal and sex-steroid hormones, I do not use urine to measure thyroid hormone or insulin.


b2ap3_thumbnail_DUTCHwheel.pngMY MOST ORDERED URINE HORMONE TEST BY GENOVA DIAGNOSTICS:
Complete Hormones (either 24-hour or first-morning urine, depending upon patient age)

MY NEW FAVORITE TEST BY PRECISION ANALYTICAL INC. COMBINES BOTH SALIVA AND URINE:
DUTCH Complete and DUTCH Plus testing




Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, including many that are linked to unhealthy hormone imbalance. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” (using assessments like estrogen metabolite testing) to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  1708 Hits

Five Mindful Ways to Enjoy Your Holiday Season

Five Mindful Ways to Enjoy Your Holiday Season
The holiday season can be full of excitement, family, friends, and...busy-ness. Before your season becomes a blur of things to do and places to go, take some time to create intentional practices to help you slow down and appreciate the inspiration of the season. Here are five ideas to get you started.


1. CHOOSE AN INTENTION
Use a word, image, or memory to guide your holiday season. Take some time to think about what you truly want from your experience this year, then allow that idea to become a touchstone for your time and energy. For example, if your guiding word this year is gratitude, think about how you can enliven that word in your life, perhaps through journaling, writing a holiday letter of thanks to your friends and family, or finding opportunities to express gratitude within your community.


2. GO OUTSIDE
Getting outside, away from technology, is one of the best ways to slow down and appreciate the here and now. Being in nature calms the body, mind, and spirit, and beneficially affects the nervous system and immune system. Take time to walk in the woods. While you're there, stop to take notice of what you see, hear, and smell. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Plant yourself firmly and remind yourself that you, too, are part of the natural world.


3. BREATHE!
When we become busy and stressed, we change our breathing patterns, taking shorter breaths out of the chest rather than the relaxed, deep breaths that help us feel calm and balanced. Breath awareness techniques can help your mind and body establish a state of relaxation in which you can operate from a state of intentional response rather than stressful reaction. Here's a quick breath awareness tool you might try when you notice yourself feeling rushed and stressed:
  • Close your eyes if you can.
  • Breathe in and feel a touch of cool air at the tip of your nose.
  • Breathe out and feel a touch of warm air.
  • Notice how in each moment of breath awareness you are just here, just now, in the present moment.

4. CREATE AND ENJOY A HOMEMADE MEAL

In our focus on "getting it all done," we can forget to nourish ourselves. Whole, minimally processed food can reduce our stress levels, provide the energy we need to stay balanced, and remind us of the comfort of a good, healthy meal. Choose colorful veggies and fruits, savor the smells and sights of your meal, and enjoy it mindfully, one bite at a time.


5. BECOME DELIBERATE WITH YOUR BEDTIME
Nothing can take away from enjoying the season like sleep deprivation. Sleep is the time when our bodies rest, restore, and gather the resources necessary to wake up focused and ready for an intentional day. Especially during the busy holiday season, your body needs this time to reset. Adequate sleep helps the body to recover from stress, fight off illnesses, balance hormone levels associated with appetite and food cravings, and improve mood, just to name a few of the benefits of healthy sleep. If you are not waking up feeling rested, consider changing your bedtime routine to help you establish a calm state before bed. A few ideas include creating a consistent bedtime, turning off all technology at least one hour before bed, and avoiding substances that interfere with sleep (alcohol, sugar, caffeine, etc.). Treat yourself to a relaxing warm bath or cup of herbal tea and notice how your body can begin to relax and become calm before you get into bed.

Give yourself and those around you the gift of mindful presence this holiday season. Slow down and create a season of intention. Notice that you can find a moment of peace and joy, and take the time to absorb and extend that sensation.


Many Blessings to you all this holiday season,
Katie Winnell RN, BSN, NC-BC



b2ap3_thumbnail_katiewinnell_thumbnail.jpgKatie Winnell is a Registered Nurse and Board Certified Nurse Coach with Credentialing in Clinical Meditation and Imagery and Health Education. She helps clients reveal and activate a lifestyle of wellness though Integrative Nurse Coaching and Clinical Meditation, Mindfulness and Imagery techniques. Katie is now seeing clients through the Integrative Medicine Office of Dr. Carin Nielsen.

  1274 Hits

Book Review: FOOD: WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT?

Book Review

FOOD: WHAT THE HECK SHOULD I EAT? 
Dr. Mark Hyman

b2ap3_thumbnail_MARKHYMAN.jpgFROM THE PUBLISHER: When it comes to diet, there's so much changing and conflicting information flying around that it's impossible to know where to look for sound advice. Decades of misguided "common sense," food-industry lobbying, bad science, and corrupt food policies and guidelines have only deepened our crisis of nutritional confusion, leaving us overwhelmed and anxious when we head to the grocery store.

Bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman is here to set the record straight. In Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? -- his most comprehensive book yet -- he takes a close look at every food group and explains what we've gotten wrong, revealing which foods nurture our health and which pose a threat. From grains to legumes, meat to dairy, fats to artificial sweeteners, and beyond, Dr. Hyman debunks misconceptions and breaks down the fascinating science in his signature accessible style. He also explains food's role as powerful medicine capable of reversing chronic disease and shows how our food system and policies impact the environment, the economy, social justice, and personal health, painting a holistic picture of growing, cooking, and eating food in ways that nourish our bodies and the earth while creating a healthy society.

With myth-busting insights, easy-to-understand science, and delicious, wholesome recipes, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? is a no-nonsense guide to achieving optimal weight and lifelong health.

MY THOUGHTS: This book is a MUST READ, and will forever change the way you think about food. When I began reading this book I set aside a notebook, thinking that I would take brief notes of information “pearls” to share with my patients - I stopped after 2 chapters because there was so much relevant and useful information on EVERY PAGE I couldn’t possibly write it all down!

In this book, Dr. Mark Hyman acknowledges that there is no one “perfect” diet for everybody, instead of focusing on basic dietary principles that simply make sense. He breaks down macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), providing education on each group’s benefits, as well as information on how to make safe, quality food choices. For example, not only will you learn more about why protein is important for our health, but also which sources of protein provide the most benefit and the “dos and don’ts” of choosing quality sources of protein for you and your family.

The book is packed with information, yet easy to read, and each recommendation is backed by sound research, not simply opinion. I found this book to be eye-opening, thought-compelling, and forever life-changing when it comes to thinking about the food that we eat. Consider adding this book to your Summer reading list!

Carin Nielsen, MD



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, and using a "Food First" approach is a common theme in our office. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed to your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  1696 Hits

Summer Supplement Swap

b2ap3_thumbnail_SupplementSwap3.jpgIf you take nutritional supplements, the changing of seasons is a great time to clean and organize your supplement cupboard and re-think your routine. The demands on your mind and body vary with the seasons, and adjusting your supplements to meet seasonal needs can help you to look and feel your best all year long!

Check out these “Summer Supplement Swaps” from my personal routine to help you get started:

SWAP OUT IMMUNE SUPPORT FOR ANTIOXIDANTS

During Winter months I take Vira-Resist herbal immune support daily to fight off coughs, colds, and flu. In the Summer months, I take a break from my immune support and tighten the cap and store the bottle in a cool, dark cupboard.

Summer months bring the potential for increased oxidative stress from sun exposure, summer cocktails and restaurant meals. To fight the effects of oxidative stress I increase my antioxidant routine, adding extra Antioxidant Support Formula, which contains the powerful antioxidants Selenium, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, and N-Acetyl Cysteine, as well as Milk Thistle, which helps to protect my liver from potentially damaging effects of summer cocktails. I also add extra antioxidant-rich Vitamin C in the form of Buffered Vitamin C (which is more gentle on the stomach) to help protect my skin from sun damage and boost collagen synthesis.

ADD EXTRA MINERALS

Summer = Sweat. Combining the increased perspiration of summer with regular infrared sauna use puts me at risk for excess mineral loss, so I add extra Zinc and Magnesium to my routine to replenish losses. In addition, I am liberal with my use of sea salt to replenish minerals and stay hydrated.

KEEP YOUR VITAMIN D DOSE IN CHECK

For myself and many of my patients, a hefty dose of Vitamin D is recommended during Fall and Winter months. During Summer months, with increased sun exposure, this may not be necessary. I check my 25, OH Vitamin D levels and adjust my dose of Vitamin D3 as necessary. Why is this important? You can overdose on Vitamin D! Vitamin D is one of four fat-soluble vitamins (along with Vitamins A, E, and K), so levels can build up in your system and become toxic. It’s important to know your number!

Here’s to a happy, healthy Summer!

Carin Nielsen, MD


Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed to your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2076 Hits

Treating Crohn’s Disease - A Functional Medicine Approach

BACKGROUND
b2ap3_thumbnail_Abdominal-Pain-Is-It-Appendicitis_article_main.jpgI first met Todd* with his wife in October 2016. He had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease (an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disorder) three years prior.  His symptoms included abdominal pain and loose stools with blood and mucous.

During our first visit, I learned that during the time his symptoms began Todd had been under increased stress with an upcoming wedding, a change in employment, and home renovations.

He had originally been treated with sulfasalazine, a common prescription medication for Crohn's, however, the medication made him nauseated and his symptoms were not well controlled. He had been unable to increase the dose as recommended due to side effects.

Todd continued to have frequent loose bowel movements within 15 minutes of eating, often associated with mucus and blood. He was experiencing sharp localized abdominal pain with activity, and the pain was limiting his ability to perform his physically strenuous job as an electrical lineman.

Prior to our first visit, Todd and his wife had already explored holistic options for his treatment. He had tried digestive enzymes, probiotics, and homeopathic remedies without relief. He had also completed a two month trial of a gluten-free diet but was unsure if that made any difference.


INITIAL WORK UP
At our first visit, I ordered a comprehensive laboratory evaluation to screen for:
  • Inflammation
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Anemia
  • Hormone balance
  • Candida/Yeast
  • Celiac disease
I also ordered Functional Stool Testing.

While waiting for results, I recommended that Todd begin a four-week Comprehensive Elimination Diet, and provided educational materials and book recommendations for support with this.

Blood testing revealed low levels of zinc, and significant vitamin D deficiency, but was otherwise normal. Functional stool testing indicated significant intestinal inflammation and low levels of "good" gut bacteria.

Recommendations were customized for Todd based on his laboratory results (no more “guessing game” when it comes to supplements):
  • Vitamin D (which supports the immune system response)
  • Zinc carnosine (a key factor in the health of the intestinal lining)
  • Fish Oil (a natural anti-inflammatory)
  • Immunoglobulin powder (derived from colostrum)
  • VSL#3 - A high-dose prescription-grade probiotic (this brand has solid evidence supporting its use in the treatment of Crohn’s)
I also prescribed Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN), an opioid antagonist that has an outstanding safety profile and has shown promise in the treatment of Crohn’s in both adults and children with minimal side effects.


TWO MONTHS LATER–IMPROVEMENT!
Two months after initiating diet changes, LDN and targeted supplementation, Todd reported his pain improved by at least 50% with some pain-free days and improved energy. While still experiencing blood in his stools, he described it as much less than before.

I recommended he add a glutamine/aloe combination to promote further healing of the intestinal lining.


SIX MONTHS LATER–MORE IMPROVEMENT!
b2ap3_thumbnail_intestines.jpgAt six months Todd reported that he continued to experience significant improvement and was very pleased with his progress. He described his pain as minimal, with only minor flares "nothing like it was before”. He had good energy and stamina and was no longer having any work pain. He had become a “believer” in his regimen of supplements and LDN, having forgotten them on two nights, each time with a symptom flare.

While bowel movements had earlier been improved, he had since noticed increased blood and mucus in his stools, so a low dose of Sulfasalazine had been restarted.

He continued to cautiously experiment with his diet, determining his “trigger foods”.


ONE YEAR LATER
This past fall I was able to meet with Todd and his wife for his one-year follow-up. He reported great energy and stamina, no work pain, and no blood in his stools.

While still on the low dose of Sulfasalazine, it was a dose that did not give him side effects and his symptoms as a whole were nearly resolved. Follow up laboratory testing showed normalized levels of iron, zinc and Vitamin D.

I ordered comprehensive nutritional testing at this visit, which allowed us to customize Todd’s diet and supplement needs. His testing showed a need for B-vitamins, as well as magnesium and enhanced antioxidant support to reduce oxidative stress in the intestinal lining. Based on this testing, I also recommended he begin to reduce the amount of animal protein in his diet, transitioning to plant-based proteins.

In just one year, Todd was able to get much better control of his Crohn’s disease through changes in diet, targeted supplementation, and lower-doses of prescription medications without side effects. He had normalized bowel movements, no blood in his stool, minimal pain and improved energy. I look forward to continuing to work with Todd and his wife to optimize his nutrition, simplify his regimen as he continues to heal, and achieve further success!

*Patient names are changed to protect privacy

Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, including many autoimmune conditions. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” (using assessments like estrogen metabolite testing) to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  1720 Hits

THREE REASONS TO CHOOSE SANITAS SKIN CARE

b2ap3_thumbnail_sanitasgeneral2.jpg

THREE REASONS TO CHOOSE SANITAS:


1. MAKE YOUR SKIN WORK FOR YOU
Sanitas products give skin everything it needs to do what it already does best: repair and strengthen itself.

The human skin has miraculous built-in mechanisms for constant repair and renewal of its surface. Unfortunately, the combined assaults of lifestyle, environment and time can compromise the body’s ability to keep up – which is why every technology, ingredient, and dosage in every Sanitas product is selected to foster and improve your skin’s own natural processes to regenerate and protect itself.


2. “EXERCISE & REST” - YOUR NEW SKINCARE ROUTINE
The heart of Sanitas’ tested and proven skincare routines lies in the concept of “exercise and rest.”

A resting phase and strengthening phase are both necessary to build continuous skin strength. “Exercising” products utilize alpha hydroxy acids to encourage skin renewal and strengthen the skin’s barrier. On resting days, exercising products are eliminated and only pH neutral products are used to keep the skin’s barrier intact. Limiting the use of exercising products to three to four days per week allows the skin to recover and regenerate.


3. CLEAN, SAFE INGREDIENTS
All Sanitas products are cruelty-free and contain no parabens, phthalates, dyes, harsh preservatives or gluten.

Sanitas Skincare pharmaceutical-grade ingredients are obtained from fair trade, earth conscious, sustainable suppliers. All Sanitas facial care products that remain on the skin are completely fragrance-free and only essential oils that are medicinal in purpose are used.

Want to learn more? Stop by our Downtown Petoskey office to sample or browse products online.

Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  1581 Hits

SANITAS SKIN CARE - PROGRESSIVE SKIN HEALTH

Your skin has the amazing ability to repair and regenerate itself, especially when you treat it with the right balance of stimulation and nourishment. This simple truth is the foundation of the Sanitas Skin Care line.

I have been using products from this Boulder, Colorado based company for years and am excited to share them with my clients.  All Sanitas products are cruelty free and contain no parabens, phthalates, dyes, harsh preservatives or gluten.


b2ap3_thumbnail_SAN_CURRENT-PHOTO-groupsm.jpgPROGENERATE • ACTIVATE • OPTIMIZE

AN OVERVIEW OF THE SANITAS SKIN CARE SYSTEM
 

PROGENERATE
The foundation for healthy skin starts here.
Start with daily essentials: Cleanser - Serum - Moisturizer

Looking to change up your skin care routine? This is the place to start. This collection features customized, daily essentials that are specially formulated for various skin types. A simple daily regimen of cleanser, serum, and moisturizer will help strengthen and prepare your skin to progress to the Activate and Optimize categories for rapid results.  Formulas available for all skin types.
Dr. Nielsen's favorites: The Lemon Cream Cleanser is addictive - one smell and you will be hooked! I alternate between the Vita Rich Serum (very hydrating and packed with antioxidants) and the Weightless Serum (more of a matte finish) depending on the time of year.

b2ap3_thumbnail_SAN_GlycoSolution-5_sm.jpg
ACTIVATE
Looking to take your skin care routine up a notch?
Integrate one or more of the Active skin care products into your routine. 

Designed to activate skin rejuvenation levels and elevate results, this collection of products integrates powerful technologies for progressing the health of the skin. Activate products include alpha-hydroxy acids, retinols, high-potency topical Vitamin C and more. Product concentrations may increase over time to prevent your progress from plateauing.
Dr. Nielsen's favorites: I'm obsessed with the Vitamin C Lactic cleanser (used 2-3 days per week).  I use the Vita C Serum at night - this high-potency Vitamin C serum is rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids.  

b2ap3_thumbnail_SAN_BrighteningPeelPads_sm.jpg
OPTIMIZE
Have a specific need?
Try these targeted, therapeutic products.

Whether you are looking to reduce blemishes, brighten, hydrate, or reverse the effects of aging, this collection of targeted, therapeutic products is designed to help rehabilitate challenged skin. When combined with the proper Progenerate and Activate programs, the correct selection of Optimize products will advance skin to its most healthy, optimal state.
Dr. Nielsen's favorites: I LOVE the Brightening Peel Pads - these pads can be used 2-3 times per week for an instant glow. The Hyaluronic Concentrate is combined with your usual moisturizer to boost hydration and reduce the appearance of fine lines - instant results!

Want to learn more? Stop by our Downtown Petoskey office to sample or browse products online.

Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  1732 Hits

Childhood Mood & Behavior Disorders - A Functional Medicine Approach - Luke's Story

In one year, this 10-year-old has made significant behavioral improvements, has stopped two of three medications, is no longer experiencing insomnia or constipation, and is thriving at school.  Read today's blog to hear his story!

BACKGROUND

I first met nine-year-old Luke* and his mother in late 2016. Luke had been diagnosed with a variety of psychological and neurological disorders, including ADHD, PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified), Anxiety, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), ODD (oppositional defiant disorder), and a sensory processing disorder.

b2ap3_thumbnail_boy-attacked.jpg

Since the age of five, Luke had been evaluated and treated by a variety of psychologists, psychiatrists, neuropsychologists, and pediatricians, as well as a number of occupational and physical therapists. By age nine he was on three different prescription medications for mood and attention.

At that first visit, Luke’s mom described him as "consistently inconsistent". She illustrated a child who on one day would appear happy, calm and content, while the next day appeared ”tormented" by irritability, anger, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and anxiety.

I also learned that Luke had suffered from both chronic interrupted sleep and lifelong constipation. At times he would go 5–7 days without a bowel movement, and his mother would notice worsening behavior during these times. Complicating matters, his multiple psychiatric medications only seemed to worsen both his sleep and constipation.

INITIAL WORKUP AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
After hearing Luke’s story and performing an examination, a comprehensive laboratory evaluation was ordered which included testing for:
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • inflammation
  • blood levels of heavy metals
  • thyroid function
  • food allergies and sensitivities
  • micronutrient testing
  • functional stool testing
Prior to our first visit, Luke's parents had already implemented changes to his diet by eliminating additives and preservatives, most processed foods, sugar, soy, and conventional dairy products. I asked them to expand upon this and completely remove gluten from his diet.

FOLLOW UP AND PLAN 
I met again with Luke and his mother in early March 2017 to review the results of his testing. With the exception of low Vitamin D, Luke’s blood lab results were overwhelmingly normal. His stool testing, however, was not.

Luke’s functional stool testing revealed several abnormalities, including:
  • poor digestion, with evidence of high levels of protein and fat in his stool
  • bacterial dysbiosis, an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria in the gut
  • low microbial diversity
I recommended they add both fish oil and vitamin D with specific dosing recommendations given. We also initiated a protocol to rebalance his gut which included:
  • continued food restriction, avoiding gluten and other inflammatory foods
  • chewable digestive enzymes with meals
  • pharmaceutical-grade probiotics
  • an herbal blend to reduce the overgrowth of “bad” gut bacteria while still promoting the growth of “good” gut bacteria
TWO MONTHS LATER - PROGRESS! 
Off one medication and behavior improved!

Luke’s mother and I followed up via email in May after completing the herbal gut protocol. I was thrilled to learn of the progress that Luke had made! He had been off of Concerta (a medicine for hyperactivity and attention) for 2 months and was experiencing less behavioral problems. I advised them to continue the probiotics, enzymes, fish oil and vitamin D, and we added magnesium.

A FEW MORE MONTHS - MORE PROGRESS!
Off two medications, sleeping well and regular bowel movements!

b2ap3_thumbnail_GUT.jpgBy August 2017 Luke was down from three to only one medication. His mother reported that he was sleeping well and was having daily well-formed bowel movements! While Luke was still often impulsive and defiant, overall significant behavior improvement had continued since his initial visit.

In November Luke’s mother and I touched base after he had been back in school. She reported that he was “loving school” and was excited to report that he had not had any behavioral or academic problems. His anxiety and impulsiveness had improved. and his mother commented that “he looks really healthy”.

ONE YEAR LATER 
To follow up our gut protocol, we repeated Luke’s Functional Stool Testing, as well as a Urine Organic Acid Panel (which can give us a wealth of information without another blood draw). His stool testing had significantly improved, with better microbial diversity however he continued to show signs of poor digestion and bacterial levels, while much better, were still trending toward imbalance.

Using this follow up information we were able to “tweak” his current program, adding back digestive enzymes (which had been phased out), and repeating a one-month herbal program to further balance gut bacteria. We also added back L-glutamine to further heal and strengthen his small intestinal lining.

His diet restrictions have loosened slightly, but key concepts remain in place, including a whole food diet, and keeping sugar and processed foods to a minimum. They have identified significant gluten intolerance with increased anxiety and agitation, as well as a slightly less pronounced sugar intolerance.

Through the use of a thorough history, appropriate laboratory testing, and evidence-based Functional Medicine protocols, Luke has made significant behavioral improvements, has stopped two of three medications, is sleeping well, having regular bowel movements and thriving at school. I look forward to seeing his progress continue over the years to come!

*patient name has been changed to protect privacy

Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, including both adult and childhood mood and behavior disorders. Rather than focusing solely on the use of prescription medication, consider addressing potential "root causes" of you or your loved one's symptoms, such as nutrition, gut health, toxicities/impaired detoxification, hormone imbalance, deficiencies and more. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2753 Hits

Get to know this Super Fiber - Glucomannan

b2ap3_thumbnail_Shop_17FiberCapsules.jpgGlucomannan is a “Super Fiber” that has been shown to reduce appetite, aid in weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood sugars, and relieve constipation.*

Glucomannan is an ancient fiber that comes from the Asian elephant yam, also known as Amorphophallus konjac. This soluble fiber is one of the most viscous dietary fibers known - it can absorb up to 50 times its weight in water.

APPETITE AND WEIGHT LOSS

When combined with water, glucomannan forms a viscous gel-like substance that slows digestion, delays the emptying of food from the stomach into the small intestine, slows down the influx of carbohydrates and fats into the bloodstream, binds to bile acids, and impedes dietary fat absorption.* [1,2]  Studies suggest that glucomannan supplementation significantly reduces weight at doses of 3 g/d to 4 g/d when compared to placebo. [1-7]

Bottom line: When combined with water, Glucomannan expands in your stomach, helping to reduce hunger and promote weight loss.*

GLUCOSE AND LIPID METABOLISM

Soluble fiber slows the absorption of carbohydrates, which influences the release of insulin and the rate of fat storage. Glucomannan studies have not only demonstrated a positive impact on postprandial glucose handling and glucose metabolism but also on cholesterol metabolism.* [1-4,7-9]

Bottom line: When combined with food, studies show that Glucommanan can lower blood sugars and cholesterol.*

HEALTHY BOWEL FUNCTION, PREBIOTIC

Glucomannan not only allows more water to remain in the stool, thereby making waste softer, larger, and easier to pass through the intestines, but it is also an excellent prebiotic. In a placebo-controlled, randomized, parallel, double-blind, crossover trial, doses of 3 g/d and 4 g/d of glucomannan had a positive impact on bowel regularity when compared to placebo. [10] Glucomannan has also been shown to increased the fecal concentration of lactobacilli as well as the daily output of bifidobacteria, lactobacilli, and total bacteria. In addition, fermentation of glucomannan resulted in greater fecal concentrations of short-chain fatty acids and lower fecal pH.*[11]

Bottom line: Glucomannan promotes regular bowel movements and the growth of more "good bacteria" in your gut.*


FIBER LEAN

b2ap3_thumbnail_Shop_17FiberLean.jpgFIBER LEAN
features Shimizu Propol® A propolmannan - a konjac-derived glucomannan using proprietary processing techniques that allow the fiber to maintain high viscosity yet remain stable through the digestive tract.
  • Supports Appetite and Weight Control* 
  • Supports Glucose and Cholesterol Metabolism* 
  • Supports Healthy Bowel Movements* 
  • Serves as a Prebiotic for Intestinal Bacteria* 
When taken with adequate amounts of water, Fiber Lean expands in the stomach, creating a viscous “gel-like” substance which promotes a sense of fullness, slows the rate at which food enters your bloodstream and increases the speed at which food exits the body through the digestive tract (pushing more calories out through the colon, rather than letting them be absorbed). Fiber Lean binds and quickly eliminates toxins from the gut.*
  • Take 30-60 minutes before a meal to feel full with reduced portion sizes*
  • Take prior to heading out to a party/event to reduce cravings and temptation*

Fiber Lean comes in both powder and capsule form.  
Visit our Downtown Petoskey office for a free Fiber Lean sample, 

or visit our online store to buy online.


1. Walsh DE, Yaghoubian V, Behforooz A. Effect of glucomannan on obese patients: a clinical study. Int J Obes. 1984;8(4):289-93. [PMID: 6096282]
2. Doi K, Nakamura T, Aoyama N, et al. Metabolic and nutritional effects of long- term use of glucomannan in the treatment of obese diabetics. In: Oomura Y, Tarue S, Inoue S, Shimazu T, eds. Progress in Obesity Research 1990. London: John Libbey; 1991:507-14. [on file]
3. Kaats GR, Bagchi D, Preuss HG. Konjac glucomannan dietary supplementation causes significant fat loss in compliant overweight adults. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Oct 22:1-7. [PMID: 26492494] 4. Biancardi G, Palmiero L, Ghirardi PE. Glucomannan in the treatment of overweight patients with osteoarthritis. Curr Ther Res. 1989;46:908-12. [on file]
5. Reffo GC, Ghirardi PE, Foranttini C. Glucomannan in hypertensive outpatients: pilot clinical trial. Curr Ther Res. 1988;44(1):22-27. [on file]
6. Salvatoni A, Bosetti G, Gambarini G. Lipid pro le and excess body weight in obese children: effect of a dietary drug supplement (glucomannan vs detastranum). Ped Oggi. 1991;11:243-45. [on file]
7. Kraemer WJ, Vingren JL, Silvestre R, et al. Effect of adding exercise to a diet containing glucomannan. Metabolism. 2007 Aug; 56(8):1149-58. [PMID: 17618964]
8. Hopman WP, Houben PG, Speth PA, et al. Glucomannan prevents postprandial hypoglycaemia in patients with previous gastric surgery. Gut. 1988;29(7):930- 34. [PMID: 2840365]
9. Vita PM, Restelli A, Caspani P, et al. Chronic use of glucomannan in the dietary treatment of severe obesity [in Italian]. Minerva Med. 1992 Mar;83(3):135-39. [PMID: 1313163]
10. Marsicano LJ, Berrizbeitia ML, Mondelo A. Use of glucomannan dietary ber in changes in intestinal habit [in Spanish]. G E N. 1995 Jan-Mar;49(1):7-14. [PMID: 8566676]
11. Chen HL, Cheng HC, Wu WT, et al. Supplementation of konjac glucomannan into a low- ber Chinese diet promoted bowel movement and improved colonic ecology in constipated adults: a placebo-controlled, diet-controlled trial. J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Feb;27(1):102-08. [PMID: 18460488]

Consult your healthcare practitioner prior to use. Individuals taking medication, especially hypoglycemic agents, should discuss potential interactions with their healthcare practitioner. Do not take Fiber Lean at the same time as medication as it may reduce medication absorption.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, including many that are linked to unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle patterns Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2419 Hits

The Three Books I Most Often Recommend to Patients

THE THREE BOOKS I MOST OFTEN RECOMMEND TO PATIENTS

Summer is a great time to relax in the hammock or on the beach with a good book.  Below are three books I frequently recommend to patients.  Each is the type of book that you can come back to over time, re-reading chapters and absorbing more information.  Happy reading!


b2ap3_thumbnail_ImmuneSystemRecovery.jpg THE IMMUNE SYSTEM RECOVERY PLAN: A DOCTOR'S 4-STEP PROGRAM TO TREAT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

By Susan Blum, MD, MPH

A must-read for anyone seeking a Functional Medicine approach to Autoimmune Disease, and a great companion to my office protocols.

This book provides:

 -A basic science “primer” of the immune system and its dysfunction in Autoimmune Disease (you can skip ahead if it’s too much).
- An overview of a Functional Medicine approach to Autoimmune Disease.
- Sep-by-step protocols for managing stress, cleaning up the gut and optimizing detoxification.


b2ap3_thumbnail_HormoneCure.jpg THE HORMONE CURE:
RECLAIM BALANCE, SLEEP, AND SEX DRIVE; LOSE WEIGHT; FEEL FOCUSED, VITAL, AND ENERGIZED NATURALLY WITH THE GOTTFRIED PROTOCOL

by Sara Gottfried, MD

If you are a female between the ages of 35-65, you should read this book!

Harvard-trained physician Dr. Sara Gottfried provides an easy-to-read, well-organized summary of a Functional Medicine approach to hormone balance, including:
  • - Adrenal dysfunction
  • - Thyroid disorders
  • - Peri-menopause and Menopause
Dr. Gottfried explains how stress impacts hormones at many levels and provides evidence-based protocols to get you started on the path to hormone balance.


b2ap3_thumbnail_GrainBrain.jpg GRAIN BRAIN:
THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT WHEAT, CARBS, AND SUGAR--YOUR BRAIN'S SILENT KILLERS

by David Perlmutter, MD

Looking to learn more about gluten and its potentially damaging effects on the body? Considering a more “Paleo” diet? This best-selling book by board-certified Neurologist David Perlmutter is thought-provocative and research-oriented, and will certainly cause you to pause before you put that bagel in your mouth! Included is a practical four-week plan to get you started on a grain-free lifestyle, including gluten-free recipes.

Want to learn more? Consider a few of Dr. Perlmutter’s other books:
  • “The Grain Brain Cookbook” and “The Grain Brain Whole Life Plan” offer even more practical, day-to-day applications.
  • “Brain Maker” a compelling read that describes the relationship between gut health and brain function.
  1985 Hits

National Weight Control Registry

b2ap3_thumbnail_Scale.jpg
The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) is an ongoing research study established in 1994 that includes over 10,000 adults who have lost at least 30 pounds of weight and kept it off for at least one year.

Members complete annual questionnaires about their current weight, diet, exercise habits and behavioral strategies for weight loss maintenance.

The NWCR was developed to identify and investigate the characteristics of individuals who have succeeded at long-term weight loss.


HOW DID NWCR MEMBERS LOSE THE WEIGHT?
  • 98% of NWCR participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.
  • 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.
  • Over half of participants lost weight with the help of some type of program.

HOW HAVE NWCR MEMBERS KEPT THEIR WEIGHT OFF? HERE ARE SOME LIFESTYLE HABITS THEY HAVE IN COMMON:
  • 78% eat breakfast every day.
  • 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
  • 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
  • 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.
Like I frequently discuss with clients. this is not rocket science! These people (over 10,000) lost weight simply by changing their eating patterns in some way and moving more!


WANT TO LEARN MORE?

Visit the NWCR website www.nwcr.ws




Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, including weight gain and obesity. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” (using assessments like estrogen metabolite testing) to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2089 Hits

Alpha-lipoic Acid

b2ap3_thumbnail_Alpha-lipoic-acid.jpgWHAT IS ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID?

Alpha-lipoic acid (sometimes referred to as ALA) is a co-enzyme found in every cell of the body, and is used to turn glucose into energy. Alpha-lipoic acid also functions as a powerful antioxidant, attacking "free radicals". Free radicals are produced in the body as a byproduct of energy production, and cause harmful chemical reactions that can damage cells, organs and tissues, and make it harder for the body to fight off infections.

Alpha-lipoic acid is the only antioxidant that is both water and fat-soluble, which means it has access too all parts of our body to attack free radicals and prevent oxidative damage. Alpha-lipoic acid also helps to regenerate other powerful antioxidants and make them active again.

WHAT IS ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID USED FOR?
  • Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes and Insulin Resistance
  • Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Heavy Metal clearance
  • General Antioxidant Support
Researchers believe Alpha-lipoic acid helps improve insulin sensitivity. More simply put, Alpha-lipoic acid may make it easier for your body to use blood sugar for fuel. Alpha-lipoic acid is also used to treat the symptoms and delay progression of diabetic and alcoholic peripheral neuropathy. Studies show Alpha-lipoic acid binds with toxic metals, such as mercury, arsenic, iron, and other metals that act as free radicals. Because alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it may help protect the brain and nerve tissue, researchers are investigating it as a potential treatment for stroke and other brain problems involving free radical damage, such as dementia.

HOW TO SUPPLEMENT: ADULTS
  • General antioxidant support: 50-400 mg per day
  • Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy: 600-800 mg per day

PRECAUTIONS/POSSIBLE INTERACTIONS


Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a health care provider. Side effects are generally rare and may include insomnia, fatigue, diarrhea, and skin rash.

Alpha-lipoic acid has not been studied in children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and is therefore not recommended for use in these populations.

Caution:
  • If you are diabetic or have low blood sugar, as Alpha-lipoic acid many lower blood sugars further.
  • If you are an alcoholic, or have Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) deficiency, as animal studies have shown that Alpha-lipoic acid may lower Vitamin B1 levels.
  • If you are on thyroid medication, monitor thyroid levels as Alpha-lipoic acid may reduce thyroid hormone levels.
  • If you are on chemotherapy, you should check with your oncologist prior to using Alpha-lipoic acid.
SOURCES:
  • University of Wisconsin Integrative Medicine - Supplement Samplers
  • University of Maryland Medical Center - Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide
  • Oregon State University, Linus Pauling Institute - Micronutrient Information Center



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” (using assessments like estrogen metabolite testing) to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2168 Hits

12-week Transformation

Interested in learning more about our 12-week Weight Loss/Lifestyle Change programs?

Wondering how a program might work for you?


TODAY'S BLOG COMES FROM A PATIENT'S OWN WORDS AFTER HER RECENT
“12-WEEK TRANSFORMATION”.


b2ap3_thumbnail_Apple.jpg

“The program was personalized to fit my needs, concerns. Once I learned how and what to eat I have been able to continue almost automatically. It works because it changes how you see food and gives you a healthy change, instead of yo-yo diets or a fad diet that you won't be able to do long-term.

It is a lifestyle change, one that my body needed. I am able to pinpoint which foods make me feel sick and which ones add weight, and eliminate them.”  EL, Age 36.

In just 12 weeks, she lost:

28 POUNDS
7 INCHES OFF HER WAIST 
4.5 INCHES OFF HER HIPS
3.75 INCHES OFF HER CHEST
3.25 INCHES OFF HER ARM

 And she even took a three-week vacation during her program!  


Are you ready to get started?


Call 231-638-5585 to book your appointment today, or feel free to email me with questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineLooking for a personalized approach to your healthcare? I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2060 Hits

High Cholesterol? Three reasons to consider Functional Medicine.

b2ap3_thumbnail_BLOG_Human-Heart1.jpg

Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with high cholesterol? Have you been prescribed a statin medication? Functional Medicine provides a framework to determine why you have high cholesterol, assess other cardiovascular risk factors, and outline a treatment plan that is cu
stomized for your individual needs.

1. FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE ASKS THE QUESTION- WHY DO YOU HAVE HIGH CHOLESTEROL?

b2ap3_thumbnail_Blog_cholesterol-artery2.jpg

As Functional Medicine physician and best-selling author Dr. Mark Hyman likes to say, “High Cholesterol is not a Lipitor deficiency”.

Before jumping to a prescription, Functional Medicine asks the question why? By addressing the root cause of your elevated cholesterol you may be able to avoid medication and lessen cardiovascular risk.

Obviously, diet can play a big role in elevated cholesterol, but there are other factors that may be contributing to or causing high cholesterol that a Functional Medicine doctor considers, including:

  • Genetics
  • Hormone Imbalance (especially thyroid and insulin/blood sugar)
  • Hidden Infections
  • Toxicity (especially heavy metals)


2. FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE GOES BEYOND THE STANDARD LIPID PANEL WITH ADVANCED LABORATORY TESTING.

Why do we even care about high cholesterol? Because of risk for heart and vascular disease! Yet many physicians base risk and treatment decisions on a standard lipid panel alone.

Functional Medicine uses Advanced Laboratory Testing to get a more accurate assessment of risk and to develop individualized treatment plans that are not simply focused on statin medication.

b2ap3_thumbnail_ExampleLipidPanel_Click.jpgLDL cholesterol is typically referred to as “bad cholesterol”, but not all LDL cholesterol is created equal!

Advanced Laboratory Testing measures the size and number of your LDL particles - which is a better predictor of heart and vascular disease risk. If you have small, dense “sticky” LDL particles, these are much more concerning than large, buoyant “beach ball”-like particles, which carry less risk. In addition to measuring the size of your LDL particles, Advanced Laboratory Testing measures another type of lipid protein called lipoprotein(a). Lipoprotein(a) is a highly atherogenic “troublemaker” that has a strong genetic component and does not readily decrease with diet change or statin drugs. Knowing your lipoprotein(a) levels can help to direct a more individualized treatment plan.

What is LDL?
LDL is a “carrier protein”. Its job is to “carry” cholesterol particles around the body.

LDL isn't always "bad" because your body needs cholesterol!

Cholesterol is an important component of cell membranes and has an antioxidant effect on the brain. Cholesterol is also an important “building block” from which we make our hormones and Vitamin D.

LDL cholesterol itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, yet when LDL cholesterol is in an inflamed environment, your risk of heart and vascular disease increases.

Advanced Laboratory Testing measures the factors that make your LDL cholesterol more of a problem:

  • Inflammation (think of as “fire” in your arteries) measured with hsCRP and fibrinogen
  • Oxidation (think of as “rusting” in your arteries) measured by myeloperoxidase or oxidized LDL
  • Glycation ( think of as “sugar coating” LDL and making it stickier) measured with fasting glucose, insulin, and HbA1c

Advanced testing can also look for signs of plaque formation in the arteries - measured with LP-PLA2 activity laboratory testing, or imaging studies such as carotid artery ultrasound or coronary calcium CT scoring.


3. FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE OFFERS TREATMENT FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL THAT GOES BEYOND STATIN DRUGS.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Blog_vegetables.jpgDon’t get me wrong, a Functional Medicine doctor may prescribe statin medications if indicated, but not as first-line therapy. These days it seems almost a “knee-jerk” reaction for doctors to prescribe statin medications at the first sign of elevated cholesterol. In fact, statin drugs are one of the most frequently prescribed classes of medication worldwide and account for hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue for pharmaceutical companies.

Once you’ve determined why your cholesterol is elevated, and what other risk factors are present, Functional Medicine then outlines a treatment plan that is individual for each patient, based on this information.

Food First!

Diet is first and foremost in the treatment of high cholesterol and the discussion of heart and vascular disease risk. This doesn’t have to be difficult! The principles of a heart-healthy diet can be broken down to a few simple goals:

  • reduce the “white stuff” (sugar and processed and refined carbohydrates)
  • avoid unhealthy fats
  • eat more plants
  • choose high-quality protein sources

Functional Medicine does not believe in a “one-size-fits-all” diet approach. Based upon a person’s genetics, testing results, and the current state of health, various diet plans may be recommended, including:

  • A low glycemic load diet, such as “The Blood Sugar Solution” by Dr. Mark Hyman
  • A modified Mediterranean Diet such as the Institute for Functional Medicine’s Cardiometabolic Food Plan
  • A plant-based diet such as Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet
  • A “paleo” diet such as Chris Kresser’s “Your Personal Paleo Code”

Laboratory studies are re-checked about three months after making diet change to assess the impact on disease risk.

Beyond Diet

Moving “beyond diet”, a Functional Medicine treatment plan for high cholesterol will focus on the underlying causes listed above, and the results of Advanced Laboratory Testing, and may include:

  • Treatment of low thyroid to achieve optimal thyroid levels (not simply “normal range”)
  • Stress-reduction and mind-body tools to lower cortisol output
  • Weight reduction to lower blood pressure and reduce sleep apnea
  • Treating insulin resistance and lowering blood sugars
  • Treating infections in the gut and restoring gut balance
  • Antioxidant support to reduce oxidation stress
  • Detoxification/chelation of heavy metals
  • A regular exercise program to increase cardiovascular fitness


Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineDo you have questions about a Functional Medicine approach to High Cholesterol or Cardiovascular disease risk? Are you ready to get your own evaluation started? If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.

 
  5438 Hits

Three Simple Lessons from Sandra

“My health was continuing in a negative pattern, other programs weren’t working…I knew if I didn’t make changes now it would have dire consequences.”
-Sandra, age 63

Sandra was referred to our office by her family physician in August 2016 for help with weight loss. At 63 years old, her weight had been hovering between 190-200 pounds for the past 20 years. Despite regular exercise, including CrossFit, she had not been able to achieve lasting weight loss on her own.

LESSON #1 - YOU CAN'T EXERCISE YOUR WAY OUT OF A POOR DIET.

Sandra’s “weakness” was sugar. She loved to bake and her sweet tooth often took over, especially in the evening. She also had a fairly high-starch diet, with bread or muffin in the morning, and snacking on chips or popcorn later in the day.

LESSON #2 - WHITE FLOUR IS PROCESSED IN THE BODY JUST LIKE SUGAR.

Sandra’s plan was simple -
Rather than focusing on what she shouldn’t have, we focused on “stacking the deck”, a term we use to describe getting the right foods in earlier in the day to avoid over-eating later in the day. It’s more positive to think about the good foods you should be eating, rather than the foods you should be avoiding.

LESSON #3 - IF YOU DON'T GIVE YOUR BODY WHAT IT NEEDS DURING THE DAY, YOUR BODY WILL SEEK OUT WHAT IT DOESN'T NEED IN THE EVENING!

By focusing on protein, fiber, and healthy fat at key points during the day, Sandra was able to curb her nighttime snacking, and within a couple of weeks her sweet tooth had subsided.

12 weeks later:
  • Sandra had lost 18 pounds.
  • Her body mass index was no longer in the “obese” range. 
  • She took 4.5” off her waist, 2.25” off her chest, and 1.5” off her hips.
  • Her thyroid numbers were optimized.
  • Her blood sugar was no longer in the pre-diabetic range.

The best part? I saw her yesterday at the office, and one month after her program ended, she had maintained her weight loss!

When asked how our program was different from weight loss programs she has tried in the past, Sandra stated, “It was fairly simple in what to have. What to eliminate from eating. Not counting everything and just helping to make better choices…the encouragement from all of you was amazing.”

Are you ready for a change in the New Year?  
Visit www.CarinNielsenMD.com for more information,
or contact our office for an appointment 231-638-5585.



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, as well as for general health and wellness and weight loss. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” (using assessments like estrogen metabolite testing) to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2603 Hits

Treating Seasonal Mood Changes. Part One - Light Therapy and Vitamin D

SEASONAL MOOD CHANGES?

Time to check in with your Neurotransmitters.


PART ONE – LIGHT THERAPY AND VITAMIN D

b2ap3_thumbnail_Dark-Sky.jpg

It’s that time of year. The days are getting shorter, the sky is getting darker. If you are one of the many people affected by the changing seasonal light patterns, you may be starting to feel physical symptoms such as:
  • Feeling more tired or feeling a need for more sleep.
  • Feeling “blue”, sad, or even depression.
  • Increased food cravings, especially carbohydrates.
These seasonal physical symptoms are thought to be caused by changes in your neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that communicate information throughout our brain and body. Think of neurotransmitters as “brain hormones”. Proper balance of neurotransmitters is essential to regulate hunger, mood, cravings, energy, motivation, and self-image.

Learn more from my earlier blog “Get to Know Your Neurotransmitters”.

BOOST YOUR NEUROTRANSMITTERS THIS FALL: CONSIDER LIGHT THERAPY

As our daylight dwindles are you getting tired and grumpy?

b2ap3_thumbnail_CarinNielsen_LightTherapy225.jpgReduced exposure to sunlight in the fall and winter can be a major factor contributing to symptoms of seasonal depression, cravings, and fatigue. With light therapy (also called phototherapy), a light device (which is most often a light box but also available as a light visor) emits a full-spectrum light resembling sunlight. Light therapy is felt to work by regulating and improving the production of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine (key chemicals in regulating mood, energy and food cravings).

For best results using light therapy:
  • Your light box or device should emit 10,000 lux (a measurement of light intensity).
  • You should sit with your face near the light, eyes open but not looking directly into the light.
  • Aim for 30 minutes daily, preferably in the morning.
Want to learn more about light therapy? Check out this article by Dr. Andrew Weil.

OPTIMIZE YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS

b2ap3_thumbnail_CarinNielsen_Sunshine125.jpgVitamin D - the “Sunshine Vitamin”
Vitamin D is often referred to as the “Sunshine Vitamin”, however is not actually a vitamin at all! Vitamin D is a hormone that is produced in the body when your skin is exposed to sunlight. That being said, as the daylight hours lessen, so does your ability to produce Vitamin D. As a physician who has been routinely checking Vitamin D levels in my patients for many years, I can tell you that I rarely see an “optimal” Vitamin D level in the winter months without Vitamin D supplementation.

You may be aware of the numerous well-studied benefits of Vitamin D - including it’s role in bone strength, fracture prevention, healthy immune and nervous system function,and even prevention of certain cancers - but did you know that Vitamin D was also important in regulation of mood? Several studies have suggested that the symptoms of seasonal depression may be due to changing levels of Vitamin D3, which may affect serotonin levels in the brain (a key neurotransmitter in mood and appetite regulation).
b2ap3_thumbnail_CarinNielsen_VitD125.jpg
My Vitamin D recommendations:
  • Have your blood levels of 25 OH Vitamin D measured. While a number greater than 30 is considered “normal”, aim for an “optimal” level closer to 60.
  • If supplementing with Vitamin D, choose Vitamin D3, and take with a meal containing fat for best absorption.
  • While supplementing, recheck 25 OH Vitamin D levels approximately every three months.
Want to learn more about Vitamin D? Check out this article by Dr. Mark Hyman.


Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative Medicine I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions, including many that are linked to unhealthy hormone imbalance. Treating symptoms simply by prescribing medication as a “band-aid” does not address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface” (using assessments like estrogen metabolite testing) to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  2533 Hits

Three reasons it's time to consider Acupuncture

Acupuncture is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and can be traced back for at least 2,500 years.

The general theory of Acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow through the body that are essential for health. This energy is referred to as Qi (pronounced “chee”). Disruptions of the flow of energy/Qi are believed to be responsible for disease.

Acupuncture works to correct imbalances of energy/Qi flow by stimulating anatomical points on the body. These points are stimulated using very thin, solid metallic needles placed at identifiable points close to the skin. The needles may be manipulated by the practitioner’s hands or by electrical stimulation.

b2ap3_thumbnail_acupuncture_blog2.jpg

Three reasons it’s time to consider Acupuncture.

#1 NEARLY EVERYONE CAN BENEFIT FROM ACUPUNCTURE.

Regardless of your health history and physical background, almost anyone is a candidate for acupuncture. If you have an ailment, acupuncture can help relieve it. If you feel well, acupuncture can help you maintain wellness, boost immunity and manage stress.

#2 THE BENEFITS OF AN ACUPUNCTURE APPOINTMENT OFTEN GO FAR BEYOND THE REASON YOU BOOK IT.

While localized pain such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and back pain are common reasons for seeking acupuncture treatments, the treatment itself provides full-body benefits. Many different acupuncture points are stimulated throughout the body. Those who participate in Acupuncture often report an overall feeling of calm, relaxation and well-being after their treatment

#3 ACUPUNCTURE IS A SAFE ALTERNATIVE TO PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION.

While prescription medication may sometimes be necessary, the risk of adverse reactions and potential side effects can be staggering (all you have to do is turn on the television at night to hear the long lists of medication side effects that permeate commercials). Acupuncture can provide a safe and effective alternative with much less risk and few negative side effects. In addition, Acupuncture has been proven to treat the side effects of many chemotherapies, especially nausea and vomiting.

Are you ready to start your trial of Acupuncture? Contact our office or visit our website for more information.

Yours in Health,
Carin Nielsen, MD



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineLooking for a personalized approach to your healthcare? I use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to treat a variety of chronic medical conditions. Treating symptoms and chronic disease simply by prescribing medication doesn't address the underlying factors that contributed your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results. My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances. If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.
  3035 Hits

Three ways we can help you find your balance with diet and lifestyle change this winter.

Three ways we can help you find your balance with diet and lifestyle change this winter.

#1 - DETOX JUMP-START
  • Enhance Detoxification
  • Reduce Inflammation
  • Improve Digestion
Let our staff design a detox schedule to meet your needs.

Using the Xymogen™ 6-Day Detox Kit, combined with a modified elimination diet, we can extend your detox up to 28 days, and modify your program as needed based upon your symptoms and your schedule.

A Detox Jump-Start is a great way to kick-off your weight loss program, break sugar cravings, and refresh your body and mind. Benefits may include:
  • improved energy
  • reduced bloat and body fat
  • decreased joint discomfort
  • improved focus and mental clarity
Click Here for more information about our Detox Jump-Start program, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your appointment!


#2 - ULTRALITE™ DIETARY KETOSIS WEIGHT LOSS PROGRAM

  • Reduce hunger and cravings
  • Increase mood and energy
  • Fast, visible results
The UltraLite™ dietary ketosis weight loss program is great for those who are motivated and ready for fast weight loss results.

The program combines an elimination diet with a balance of protein and carbohydrate to put your body into a mild state of dietary ketosis. This biochemically sets the body to burn your own fat as fuel for maximal fat loss. People will typically eat less protein than they normally do, but enough to not lose muscle mass (a key issue with weight loss is to protect your muscle mass; as muscle mass is your body's calorie burning engine).

Click Here for more information about the UltraLite™ program, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your appointment!


#3 - MY OPTIMAL DIET
CUSTOMIZED DIET AND LIFESTYLE CHANGE PROGRAMS


Looking for a program with more flexibility? My Optimal Diet 12-week Diet and Lifestyle Change Programs are physician-supervised, customized for your needs, and provide three months of one-on-one support to help you meet your goals.

Our unique approach to healthy diet and lifestyle change involves more than just counting calories. We explore a variety of factors that can contribute to poor health and weight gain, including:
  • hormone imbalance
  • high levels of stress
  • medication side effects
  • thyroid disorders
  • depression and anxiety
In addition, the types of food you are eating can have a strong impact on your weight gain, not to mention your energy level and mood.
There is no “one-size-fits-all” program in our office! Each 12-week program is designed to meet your needs and may include:
  • testing for hormone imbalance and vitamin deficiencies
  • customized meal schedules and food choices
  • protein-packed meal replacement products
  • prescription weight loss medication when appropriate
  • behavioral therapy to curb binge eating
  • vitamin and supplement support
  • acupuncture, massage, and more!
Click Here for more information about My Optimal Diet, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to get started!



Carin Nielsen, MD Integrative MedicineI use an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach with my patients to help them lose weight and improve their mood and vitality.  A "one size fits all" program where you simply sign up and go through the steps doesn't address the underlying factors that caused your problems in the first place, and is not likely to provide lasting results.  My approach involves getting "under the surface" to find and correct underlying imbalances.  If you are interested in learning more or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 231-638-5585.

Yours in Health,
Carin Nielsen, MD


  3049 Hits

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://carinnielsenmd.com/