Tired of Eczema? Natural Treatments For Eczema!

Skin, natural treatment, psoriasis, atopic, allergies, asthma, naturopathic doctor

I think of our skin as an external reflection of what is happening internally. As naturopaths, our goal is to find the root cause of dysfunction to eliminate presenting symptoms. The causes of eczema may vary. But much of the research and successful treatment strategies go back to healing the gut and supporting the microbiome. Learn how to use natural treatments for eczema below.

Eczema, skin, itch, redness, inflammation, natural treatment, edina, woodbury, minnesota

What causes eczema?

Eczema can be considered “itchy from the inside out,” meaning there is inflammation in the GI tract. Inflammation is ultimately causing the skin to be excessively irritated. This leads to severe itching, dryness, and cracking; which can lead to infection.

Some children have a genetic pre-disposition to atopic disease (eczema, asthma, allergies). Genetics, combined with disturbed gut microbiome during birth through toddler years, can exacerbate the body’s ability to develop atopy. This disturbance can lead to multiple causes, including, but not limited to:

  • Antibiotics (*this is by no means stated to make any parent feel guilty for their child needing antibiotic therapy!!!)
  • Personal food sensitivities or intolerances
  • Digestive disturbance: acid reflux/acid blocking medications that affect proper breakdown of food particles
  • Excess inflammatory foods in the diet, sugar, etc.

The above considerations ultimately lead to an inflammatory response causing gut barrier dysfunction or “leaky gut”. Inflammation inside is then reflected symptomatically on the skin! The skin is trying to tell you to “look inside”!

Inflammation, naturopathic doctor, eczema, allergies, asthma, natural treatments

Natural treatments for eczema

What you can do – tried and true? BUT every case is very personal and what works for one, may not work for another:

  1. Optimize gut health for future pregnancies
  2. Support nutritionally: Reduce inflammatory foods and
    consider potential food sensitivities
  3. Reduce stress and consider the mental-emotional aspect:
    Stress is commonly associated with exacerbations
    in skin conditions. I have seen this correlation so often
    clinically, as well as with my own daughter and severe
    eczema outbreaks associated with anxiety after the
    loss of her dad. Apps for kids: “Stop, Breathe, Think”
    and Square Breathing
  4. Heal the gut: Zinc, Probiotics, vitamin D (if deficient), Turmeric, Fatty Acids / Fish Oil (I prefer Cod Liver oil because it contains Vitamins A & D, which are important for skin health and immune balance); GI demulcent herbs help to soothe and heal intestinal cells; Digestive enzymes may also be warranted in some cases.
  5. Topical treatments: I have TRIED SO MANY with little success (always caused more itching), but my favorite is Look, No X Ma. You can purchase it locally at Tailor Made Nutrition in Woodbury, MN. I also love  Frankincense, Lavender, and Rose essential oils as well.
  6. Oatmeal bath: 3/4 cup oats, ground finely, ½ cup baking soda, ¼ cup coconut milk or olive oil, 1-2 drops lavender and frankincense essential oil in tepid/warm water
  7. Restorative sleep is essential to skin / tissue healing
  8. Acupressure: LI 4 is a great point to apply lavender essential oil and massage. Location is on the highest spot of the muscle where the thumb and index fingers are brought close together.

    LI4: Our Great Eliminator

  9. Cell/tissue salts, homeopathy based upon symptom picture
  10. Testing considerations (depending on personal patient
    history per the discretion of your naturopathic
    provider)

    1. Food Sensitivity Testing to determine specific
      foods that are causing inflammatory response
    2. Comprehensive Stool Analysis to assess
      microbiome and digestion
    3. Micronutrient Testing to assess potential
      deficiencies within the cell

Julia Liebich, naturopathic doctor, natural treatment, digestion, anxiety, depressionWritten by: Dr. Julia Liebich

Still have questions on how to treat eczema naturally? Dr. Julia and Dr. Katie are ready to help. We are located in Edina and Woodbury, Minnesota. As Naturopathic Doctors, our goal is to address the underlying causes and use natural medicine for treatment.

Schedule appointments here

Healing Pain and Inflammation Naturally!

healing pain and inflammation naturally

body massage

When you’re ready for natural pain relief

When you think about all the conditions and injuries out there, causing pain on the daily, you may wonder what your treatment options are. If you are like most adults, you probably already have a bottle of ibuprofen (Advil ®), acetaminophen (Tylenol ®), or naproxen (Aleve ®) just an arm’s reach away in your cabinet.

If you suffer from chronic pain, menstrual pain, or even the occasional “ouch”-worthy injury, you may be wondering if there are other options for pain relief beside NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), steroids, or opiates. At Balanced Care, we’re here to help. Taking steps for healing pain and inflammation naturally may be just what the holistic doctor ordered.

In this article, we’ve curated eight natural pain relief options for you to consider. If you’re curious about our services and how we can customize a treatment plan for you, be sure to schedule a consult with us, and together we can begin to help you find the relief you need.

Healing Pain and Inflammation Naturally

What is Natural Pain Relief?

A natural approach to pain relief means leveraging your body’s innate desire to be pain-free. Pain is a great teacher. Pain alerts us to injury, or that one or more of our body systems is not working optimally. Several natural pain relief modalities utilize our internal chemistry. Other methods use physical movement or other muscle manipulation to reduce inflammation and pain.

Remember, testing before treatment is best

When you notice pain in your body that is long-lasting, severe, new, or alarming in some way for you, it’s best to see your doctor first. If your pain accompanies a known or recent injury, it is essential to have proper diagnostic testing like x-rays, MRI scans, movement evaluations, blood work, or other diagnostics performed. Once you have a precise diagnosis, adequate treatment options rise for examination as well.

Prevent or reduce Inflammation

back pain

You’ve seen your doctor and got the tests to rule out severe conditions, and have acquired the recommended supports and resting protocol after injury. Now, what can you do to manage your pain and discomfort? Take steps to reduce systemic inflammation.  

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to an irritant or injury. The chemicals released by the body during an inflammatory response allows more blood to flow to the affected area, which can make the area hot, red, and swollen. Hormones released during the inflammatory response also irritate surrounding nerve tissue, which may cause pain. Taking natural measures to calm inflammation can reduce the pain you feel.

Stop Eating Inflammatory Foods

Several ubiquitous food sources can cause low-grade systemic inflammation. The biggest offenders are gluten and cow’s dairy. Watch out for these products that contain gluten:

Wheat, Barley, Spelt, and Oats, (unless the package says “gluten-free”, it may include some gluten particles).

Cow’s dairy is our most common form of dairy in the U.S. Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, or milk) are made from cow’s dairy unless the label says otherwise. Goat and sheep’s dairy are comparatively less inflammatory than cow’s dairy because they contain a different type of protein than cow’s dairy.

Choosing foods consistent with an anti-inflammatory diet may reduce the severity of your pain.

Exercise Gently

Consistently moving your body has been shown to help nearly every significant health condition. For example, in people with arthritis, a gentle and consistent movement like walking, biking, stretching, swimming, or even light dancing can help preserve or improve range of motion, reduce stiffness and swelling, and reduce pain symptoms.

People living with fibromyalgia may also relieve pain with exercise. A gentle walk or stretch can mitigate menstrual pain. Exercising (within healing protocols as suggested by your health care team) is required for re-gaining pre-injury levels of fitness and range of motion. These are just a few examples of how body movement can reduce pain.

Consider a Natural Herbal Pain Relief Supplement

Turmeric

There are a host of herbal remedies that help in healing pain and inflammation naturally. Here are a few of the most common anti-inflammatory supplements and topical products.

Capsaicin: The “spicy” compound found in peppers, capsaicin can be effective as a topical pain relief remedy.  This compound interrupts “substance P” (the neurochemical that transmits pain messages to the brain) transmission in our nervous system.

MSM: This sulfur-containing compound exists in humans, animals, and plants, and is sold extensively in pill form. The proof is in the science–taking this supplement can reduce pain and inflammation, as well as helping curb allergy symptoms and boosting immune function.

Turmeric: The curcumin in turmeric is touted as a potent anti-inflammatory. Though the science is still unclear, taking supplement-grade turmeric may improve the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Heartburn
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Kidney problems
  • High Cholesterol

Turmeric as a supplement is best for adults who are not pregnant or nursing. Using turmeric as a cooking spice is generally considered harmless for most people. As always, check with your primary care physician or schedule an appointment with us for proper dosing suggestions.

Make Friends with Needles

Yes, it’s a thing. Commonly called acupuncture, getting “needled” can have some tremendous pain-relieving benefits. Here’s how acupuncture can help reduce pain:

  1. A needle is inserted just below the skin, along several key “meridian”, or energy points in the body.
  2. Once the needles are inserted, they remain in the patient for 10-30 minutes, while the patient relaxes in a chair or on a massage table.
  3. The going hypothesis is that the needles stimulate the surrounding nerves to send a hormonal message to the brain.
  4. The brain releases our natural pain-relieving chemicals (like endorphins), and we feel happier, and we may feel less pain.
  5. Try several treatments for best results.

Try a Relaxing “Mass-ahhhhhh-ge.”

See what we did there?  Now that you are picturing yourself breathing profoundly and sinking blissfully into the care of a licensed massage therapist’s experienced hands, perhaps you are feeling less pain already! Massage helps to:

  • Loosen tight muscles
  • Improve range of motion
  • Free up the adhesions that can build up between muscle layers (Myofascial release)
  • Quiet muscular “trigger” points–irritated bands of muscle commonly seen in the neck, shoulders, and other places where we tend to hold stress.

Next time you find yourself reaching for a bottle of your favorite pain relief drug, remember that there are may ways of healing pain and inflammation naturally. Methods that use your body’s own intelligence to come back into pain-free balance. Pain relief is best approached as a mosaic — a combination of tools will bring the best results. Contact Balanced Care today for an appointment. Together, we will find the best pathway to your well being —naturally!

We Have Some Exciting News!!

Wellness center, edina, mn, minnesota, skin care, natural treatment, wellness

We are moving to 3209 W 76th St Edina, MN May 1st!!

Building

Balanced Care will be moving on May 1st to the York Business Center in Edina. We will be conveniently located off 494 and is a quick 5 minute drive from our current location. Our patients are the number one priority and we felt this is what is best for our patients and our practice. Nothing will change for patients other than an upgraded space for patient visits. We can’t wait to share it with you and hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Meet My New Business Partner Megan Pankratz!

MeganP-4

Megan is an Aesthetician with Aesthetic Skin Studio in Edina. We have been working together for the past year to provide  skin and health care needs for our patients. We are thrilled to offer our services in the same space! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Stay tuned for more updates from Megan, Dr. Rachel and I.

6 Health Benefits Of Sesame Seed Oil and How to Use it to Improve Your Health

health benefits of sesame seed oil

Sesame seed oil has been used through the ages in many Asian cuisines. It is high in nutty flavor and brings so much joy to those who eat it. It’s no wonder it has infiltrated Western culture in more recent years. People are using this small seed oil as an alternative to vegetable oil in their cooking. Do you know the health benefits of sesame seed oil?

Benefits+of+Seasme+Seed+Oil

6 Health Benefits of Sesame Oil

1. Healthy Skin and Hair

Skin: Sesame seed oil is loaded with zinc which means it’s incredibly good for your skin. It can be used to treat a plethora of different kinds of skin ailments. Sesame seed oil is useful for treating inflamed, irritated and damaged skin because it is high in antioxidants and antibacterial properties. The oil penetrates deep into the derma, fighting bacteria and leaving your skin vibrant and detoxified.

Reasons to use sesame oil on your skin include:

  • Fights and prevents bacterial infections (including acne)
  • Repairs skin cells
  • Soothes eczema and psoriasis
  • Reduces the appearance of age spots
  • Natural moisturizer and sunscreen
  • Helps with diaper rash in babies

How to use as a moisturizer

Apply liberally to your skin after a hot shower, and leave it on your skin for 10 minutes or so. Thoroughly rub it in after the 10 minutes. Apply more as needed.

How to Use to Detoxify

Before your bath or shower, apply and let it soak into your skin. This will allow the oil to have time to penetrate your skin and target the toxins deep within your skin. Finally, wash the oil away along with the toxins.

Hair: Sesame seed oil is high in vitamins and minerals which your scalp loves. From soothing a dry, flaky scalp to getting rid of lice, there are so many different ways to use this oil on your hair.

Reasons to use sesame oil on your hair include:

  • Deep conditioning
  • Lice treatment
  • Soothes and calms a dry and flaky scalp
  • Adds shine
  • Treats dandruff
  • Treats premature graying

Human Body

2. Improves Bone Quality

Sesame oil is used to help promote active bone growth. It is high in copper, zinc, and calcium, all minerals that are necessary for bone growth. It can be used by people to mitigate the effects of osteoporosis and other bone-weakening diseases brought on by age. In addition, it can be used to speed up the regrowth and healing process of damaged bones.

3. Oral Health

Many people don’t realize that brushing and flossing can cause micro-tears in their gums, which can open a gateway into the rest of your body for infections. While brushing your teeth is an essential practice for good oral hygiene, you might also benefit by giving oil pulling a try.

Reasons to use sesame oil in your oral care:

  • Fights oral infections
  • Prevents plaque build up
  • Prevents gum/mouth diseases like gingivitis and cavities
  • Fights bad breath causing bacteria

How to Oil Pull

  • Swish oil gently for about 15-20 minutes
  • Make sure it is reaching all parts of your mouth
  • As it pulls out toxins, the consistency will change
  • Once it reaches a thick consistency that is milky white, spit out before toxins are reabsorbed
  • Rinse well with water
  • Repeat a few times a week, or daily if you prefer

Note: Spit out oil in the trash so you don’t clog your pipes

running

4. Boosts Heart Health and Improves Circulation

Sesame seed oil is high in zinc and copper, which by now you probably know has many benefits to your body, including your heart and your blood.

Your heart will benefit because sesame oil contains lignins which contain polyphenols. Polyphenols are micronutrients that can prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Lignins are known to help lower cholesterol levels naturally.

Your circulation will improve after you start using sesame oil. The additional zinc and copper will enable your body to begin functioning at optimal levels for the production of new red blood cells. Healthy red blood cells in your tissues mean healthy organs, which means a healthier you. Not only that, but sesame oil is touted for its ability to lower blood pressure which will improve blood circulation.

5. Helps Manage Anxiety, Depression and Stress

Sesame seed oil contains an amino acid called tyrosine. This is great news for people who are dealing with chronic stress, depression or anxiety. Eating foods that contain the amino acid tyrosine will directly affect your serotonin levels which signal an increase in your mood.

6. Anti-Cancer Properties

Some of the chemical compounds in sesame oil, such as sesamol and sesamin, have been found to reduce certain types of cancer cells. This means that the growth of the cancer cells was slowed down or stopped altogether. Additionally, sesame seed oil stimulates antibodies which are your body’s natural way of attacking cancer cells.

There you have it: 6 key health benefits of sesame seed oil.

What Kind of Oil Works Best?

There are different kinds of sesame oil. To get the most health benefits, look for cold-pressed or organic sesame oil. These are the least processed options, and they contain the most nutrients compared to any other type of sesame oil out there. Organic and cold-pressed sesame oils can generally be found in specialty grocery stores or online.

If you are considering adding sesame seed oil to your everyday life, contact the experts at Balanced Care. We are a wealth of knowledge and would love to help you make the right decisions that fit your lifestyle. Contact us today.

Five Places to Purchase Locally Grown Produce

locally grown produce

Most of us are aware that apples and pumpkins are abundant this time of year, but so are beets, Brussels sprouts, green onions and so much more. There are many places in the Twin Cities where you can find locally grown produce that is picked at its prime.

woman-selling-fresh-local-vege

Farmers Markets

The Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area is home to over 70 Twin Cities farmers markets. With so many markets to choose from, chances are high that you’ll find a market with an array of locally grown produce near you.

Farmers markets ensure that you are buying the freshest locally grown produce around. In addition to purchasing the most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables, shopping at farmers markets also keeps money in the local economy, encourages you to talk to those who grow the food you eat, and provides you with a sense of community. You can find farmers markets in your area through the Minnesota Grown Directory.

Food Hubs and Community Supported Agriculture

A food hub is a business or organization that actively manages the collection, distribution and marketing of local and regional food. Food hubs can vary in size, but their main goal is to provide the appropriate infrastructure and support for small and mid-sized farmers.

The Good Acre [i] is a non-profit food hub in Falcon Heights, MN that provides space and the infrastructure necessary for farmers to wash, process and store produce fresh from the field. Additionally, The Good Acre purchases seasonal produce from its network of growers and distributes these in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes to its 450 members.

As a CSA member you pay an upfront fee. In return you receive a box of fresh picked produce every week, typically from mid-June to mid-October. Minnesota is home to a number of CSA programs. You can search for a CSA in your area through the Minnesota Grown Directory.

Food Co-operatives

Food co-operatives or food co-ops are food distribution channels that can sometimes look like a smaller version of a large supermarket. What makes a co-op grocery store different from the typical grocery store is that the co-op is usually member-owned and frequently purchases its products and produce from local sources. Often times, co-ops will detail where exactly its produce came from.

Normally, you do not have to be a member of a co-op to shop there. Being a member, however, may provide you with benefits not available to non-members, such as specials and discounts. Minnesota is home to a number of grocery co-ops. You can find a list of them here: http://bit.ly/2z4gL3J.

Grow Your Own

If you are completely committed to the benefits of locally grown food, why not experiment with growing your own? Plant and garden centers like Mother Earth Gardens [ii] , with two locations in Minneapolis, are committed to providing plants and products that have been grown in a sustainable way. At Mother Earth Gardens you can find seeds, fruit trees, plant starters and bulbs to help you prepare for next year’s harvest.

There are plenty of resources throughout the Twin Cities including The Good Acre, Mother Earth Gardens, grocery co-ops and more that can help you with tips and advice for cooking locally, and how to start an organic garden.

The health benefits of locally grown fruits and vegetables should help build up your immune system during this cooler season. However, if you find yourself or your family members feeling ill, please reach out to the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care. We can run tests to determine the root cause of your illness and provide you with natural treatments for all of your ailments.

Drs. Katie and Rachel are wishing you a spooky Halloween!! They see patients in Edina and Woodbury, MN serving the Twin Cities. Their goal is to address the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. They offer complimentary 15 minute consultations if you would like to learn a little more. 612-564-2218

[i] www.thegoodacre.org
[ii] http://www.motherearthgarden.com

4 Tools For Your Adolescent Child With Anxiety

Sadness, anxiety, panic, depression, postpartum

Do you worry that your child may be silently suffering from anxiety? It’s certainly possible. One out of every eight children is affected by an anxiety disorder and of those kids, 80% are not receiving treatment.

Sadness, anxiety, panic, depression, postpartum

#1 – Take Time For Self-Care

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America ( ADAA ) recommends yoga, exercise, meditation, a healthy diet, and avoidance of drugs and alcohol to combat stress and anxiety – and they may be onto something. Researchers found that those who get regular vigorous exercise are 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder within the next five years. The good news is that to relieve depression or anxiety, a ten minute walk may be just as effective as a 45 minute workout.

#2 – Make Your Fear Boring

If a thought is making you anxious, take its power by repeating it slowly and clearly over and over to yourself for at least twenty minutes. This works much in the same way as it does for those facing a physical fear. For instance, if you had a fear of elevators but rode in one a thousand times in a row, at first you would be anxious but eventually you’d become used to it and ultimately, bored of riding it altogether. You can do the same thing with anxious or fearful thoughts by riding them as well and eventually they’ll just become boring.

#3 – Recognize Anxiety Attacks As Temporary

Anxiety attacks are commonly described as a sudden and inexplicable feeling of intense panic, which can be unnerving and downright frightening to experience. But that rapid heartbeat doesn’t mean you’re having a heart attack – it’s simply your natural physical reaction to fear. Instead of focusing on this physical cue, treat it the way you would a defined thought in meditation: thank it for its message, then let it pass by.

#4 – Schedule Time To Worry

Instead of stopping to address each and every one of your worries during the day, schedule some time at the end of your day – 4:30 or so, especially if you work office hours – to dedicate to worrying about your daytime troubles. As worry pops up throughout the day, jot it down for your later appointment and move on with your current tasks. Once your dedicated worry time rolls around, you may find that the items on your list no longer have any bearing on your anxiety level and you’re able to let them go. If you find yourself creating new worries during your appointment, jot them down along with any possible solutions, and schedule them for the next day.

While trying to control your anxiety usually backfires and leaves you feeling worse, there are a number of ways for you to take its power away, which empowers you. And sharing these coping strategies with your child can help them manage their anxiety whether they’re facing a school presentation, a new extracurricular activity, or a new home and new school, which can be especially stressful for those dealing with anxiety.

Life Hacks and Self-Care for Women

Family, health, anxiety, mental health, depression, natural treatment

As women, we face more stress each day than we would ever let on. Between workplace discrimination, relationship issues, raising a family, and concerns about our nutrition and overall health. No wonder women are twice as likely as men to suffer from an anxiety disorder. Read on for a few self-care for women life hacks that will help you improve your quality of life right now.

Healing, soup, postpartum, food, medicine

Nutrition (Self-Care for Women)

Our diets are a huge contributor to our mood…and waistline. A few key modifications to your daily dinner grind can help you relax at night.

Keep it simple. Forget the fad diets that have you running all over town for the latest, greatest weight loss remedy. Chances are, it isn’t a sustainable nutrition cycle. Instead, focus on whole foods, including lean meats, colorful vegetables, in-season fruits, and complex carbohydrates.

Leave the boxes at the store. If it’s in a box, you should probably leave it on the shelf. Most chemically processed foods are full of additives, especially sugar. Excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain, poor oral hygiene, and stress. Even more alarming, many of your favorite snacks have been chemically altered over time to trigger the reward center of your brain and can lead to a food addiction.

Reduce shopping time. Make a list the day before you go grocery shopping. This will help keep you on track and get you in and out in nearly half the time. If you live in an area with online grocery shopping, you can order ahead, pick your food up, and be on your way home without ever stepping foot in the store where temptations are at every end-cap.

Make friends with the frozen section. While canned vegetables are easy and convenient, they also contain a number of additives including sodium, sulfites, and BPA – an industrial compound suspected to cause a number of health problems. Frozen vegetables, by contrast, are not preserved chemically and often contain nutrients similar to fresh-picked produce.

Time management, planning, anxiety, depression, mental health, nutrition

Time management (Self-Care for Women)

Time is our most precious commodity and there never seems to be enough to go around. Save a few valuable seconds with the following tips:

Remember your time has value. Even if you’re not a CEO or mortgage banker, your time is valuable. Don’t waste it doing things that don’t matter — time wasters such as scouring social media and flipping through fluff news stories on your phone each day. Cut that in half and you’ll have more time for the things that you really want to do. If you act like your time is worth $1000 an hour, you will act accordingly.

Quit multitasking. Women often feel pressure to live up to societal expectations regarding their careers, relationships, and parenting skills. Stop trying to do it all at once. Instead, block your days off into time chunks that you can set aside to do specific tasks. You’ll not only feel more accomplished but you’ll be less distracted all day long.

Finish the easiest tasks first. Each morning, make a list of what you have to do that day. Put your least time-consuming items at the top of that list. As you mark these off, you will gain momentum and likely get everything done as opposed to getting stuck on a difficult task and never making it to the small ones.

Family, health, anxiety, mental health, depression, natural treatment

Relationships (Self-Care for Women)

Perhaps you’re experiencing relationship issues or simply want to set the foundation for a healthy partnership. Either way, pay attention to the little things and watch your relationship flourish in a big way.

Make time for each other. We already know that time is an asset and one that we must be willing to share with our partners in order to create a strong relationship.

Broaden your circle. While you should set aside your most intimate moments for your partner, don’t rely on one person to fill all of your social and emotional needs. Spend time with friends, especially those that share common interest where you and your partner don’t see eye to eye.

 

Author: Julia Merrill (BefriendYourDoc.org)

Metabolic Syndrome: Risk Factors & Prevention

A background on Metabolic Syndrome: Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are three of the leading causes of death in the U.S. When death results from these situations it often feels like the incident occurred out of nowhere, which can leave family members wondering what could have been done to save their loved ones.

Although death from heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are almost always unexpected, there are often a group of risk factors that show up as warning signs far before the sometimes fatal events occur. Some of these risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, elevated cholesterol, and excess body fat especially around the waistline. Together, these conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome. Having a combination of these conditions increases your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Causes of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is usually the result of several causes including overweight, obesity, inactivity and a poor diet which ultimately leads to inflammation throughout the body.

If you suffer from type 2 diabetes, your body has become insulin resistant, another culprit of metabolic syndrome. When you eat carbohydrates, the body turns the carbs into sugar or glucose after the food has been digested. Insulin is a hormone that allows your body to use this glucose as energy or to store the glucose for future use. When your body becomes insulin resistant your cells cannot efficiently use blood sugar or glucose for energy. Whenever insulin is elevated it send the body into a “fat storage mode” which makes weight loss very difficult. When this happens you continuously have high blood sugar levels, which can lead to type 2 diabetes if a dietary change is not made.

Metabolic Syndrome
Source: Elite Healthcare

Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome 

As stated earlier, metabolic syndrome is the result of a number of conditions such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Often these conditions have very few signs or symptoms. Some individuals with high blood pressure may face headaches and dizzy spells, while those with high blood sugar can experience increased thirst, urination and headaches. On the other hand, some individuals show no signs or symptoms at all.

A visible sign that someone may be suffering from metabolic syndrome is a large waistline. Having extra fat in the belly area, as opposed to other areas of the body, has been linked to an increase risk of metabolic syndrome. For those of us with a more visual mind, if your body shape looks more like an apple instead of a pear, this could be a visual cue that you are suffering a health condition.

Get Tested

Because of the often few and sometimes non-existent symptoms of metabolic syndrome, it can be very hard to determine whether you are suffering from the condition. The best thing you can do if you suspect that you may have metabolic syndrome is to consult a physician.

If you have been looking to find a naturopathic doctor or if you are interested in exploring naturopathic remedies for health, Balanced Care is the right place for you. At Balanced Care we can complete a physical exam and run a number of tests to confirm whether you are suffering from metabolic syndrome. These tests will measure your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Genetic testing can also be used to evaluate your cardiac risk. 

Treatment for Metabolic Syndrome

If you are in fact diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the good news is that natural treatments and lifestyle changes can reverse your condition. These natural remedies include changes in nutrition and becoming more active which leads to weight loss and decreased inflammation.

Changing your diet will do wonders for you if you suffer from metabolic syndrome. Adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals can help your metabolism operate properly. Because everyone is different, the naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care can help you create a treatment plan that is tailored specifically to you.

Exercise and being active is a great way to lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and prevent insulin resistance. Everything from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to attending a yoga class will help – nothing is off limits. As long as you are consistently moving, this increased activity will help tackle your metabolic syndrome conditions.

As a result of improving your diet and becoming more active, you will see the pounds fall off. The apple shape you once had will soon turn into a pear if you keep up with your lifestyle changes.

Don’t Be a Statistic

Most of us know someone whose life was changed forever as a result of a heart attack, stroke or diabetes. Many of these lives could have been saved if the correct natural treatments for high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure were implemented sooner.

Metabolic syndrome is a very clear sign that you need to make some lifestyle changes. Heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes are preventable, especially when treated by addressing the underlying cause. Protect yourself and your loved ones by getting tested and regaining control of your health.

 

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathDr. Katie is a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Edina and Woodbury, MN. Serving the Twin Cities, she is passionate about addressing the root cause by using natural medicines and nutrition. Holistic medical care and individualized treatment plans for each and every patient is what you can expect. Call now to schedule your complimentary 15 minute consultation at 612-564-2218. We can’t wait to meet you!

 

Sunscreen & Vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin D

sunscreen, skin care, acne, vitamin DThe official start of summer in Minnesota is only a couple of weeks away, so it is probably safe to say that the sun is finally here to stay – for the next few months at least.  With that said, we should all be thinking about and protecting our bodies’ largest organ – our skin. More time outside means more sunscreen for a lot of people. With hundreds of brands on the market, how can we determine which one is best?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. They recommend that sunscreen should be used as a last resort. Dressing properly and spending time outdoors in the early mornings or late evenings when the sun is not at its peak are more natural ways to avoid sunburn. Most sunscreens contain an abundance of chemicals. The effects of many of these chemicals on human health have not been studied well enough to deem them truly safe for use.

The EWG’s Guide to Sunscreen

Each year, the EWG publishes a sunscreen guide. The guide offers the general public information on specific sunscreen brands. The guide also provides the EWG’s picks for best and worst brands. Brands are chosen based on their ingredients, consideration of potential health hazards, and how well they actually work.

According to this year’s Guide to Sunscreens, one chemical that we should all avoid when purchasing sunscreen is oxybenzone. Oxybenzone is a common active ingredient that was found in over half of the sunscreens that the EWG studied this year. Oxybenzone is known to cause allergic skin reactions. It has also been linked to hormone disruptions such as altering sperm production in men. Additionally, it has been associated with endometriosis in women. Given these findings, when considering your sunscreen purchases you should avoid those that contain oxybenzone.

On top of the endless list of chemicals in most sunscreens, some individuals must be even more cautious because of their higher risk of getting sunburn. These include women on birth control, babies and toddlers and individuals with fair skin. These individuals should be especially careful with their sun exposure and would probably benefit the most from using natural holistic remedies for sunburn and sun protection, such as monitoring the amount of time spent in the sun and finding and using shade often.

The toxins and chemicals from sunscreen can be absorbed through the skin.

The Sunshine Vitamin

Despite the fear of the sun that has been instilled upon most of us, the sun is not all bad. It is the source of almost all of the earth’s energy and can provide humans with the vitamin D we require.  Spending a short amount of time in the sun each day can give our bodies the vitamin D we need. This is why vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin. This is also one of the reasons why it feels so good to step outside after many hours indoors. The sun’s rays are a providing us with an essential vitamin.

Vitamin D, depression, anxiety

Unfortunately when sunscreen is applied it prohibits the skin from absorbing the sun’s rays and producing vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D is vital to regulating and absorbing certain minerals such as calcium. Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft bones in children and bone loss in adults. On top of the physical detriments, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression here.

According to a 2009 study, about three-quarters of teens and adults in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient. At the same time, the use of sunscreen has increased dramatically. Because there are many factors associated with getting vitamin D from the sun, it is often hard to measure.

What Can You Do?

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms range and many are vague. Common symptoms include: fatigue, aches, pains, and pain and weakness in the bones, depression, decreased immunity. Some people may not have symptoms at all.

If your skin isn’t getting daily exposure to the sun without sunscreen, vitamin D supplements can be taken. I recommend having your vitamin D tested through a simple blood test. As naturopathic doctors in MN, Balanced Care offers testing for vitamin D deficiency. If you do not fall in the optimal range we will use natural treatments to increase your vitamin D up to its appropriate level.

Did you miss a spot? Aloe to the rescue!! Apply aloe vera right away and continue applying for a few days. Skip the green goo and go for the organic stuff 😉

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopathWe offer naturopathic medical services in Minnesota. Located in Edina and Woodbury. Dr. Katie specializes in addressing the root cause using natural medicines and nutrition. For a complimentary 15 minute consultation you can schedule online here.

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

healthy thanksgiving recipes

Family dinner, holiday, thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost upon us! Are you worried about what you are going to make or what you are going to eat? Being on a restricted diet, regardless of the reason – food sensitivities, celiac, weight loss, digestive issues, hormonal reasons, or wanting to just stay healthy – it can make the holidays even more stressful.

I scoured the internet for healthy and allergy friendly recipes for this Thanksgiving. I know everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving dish (find out mine in the recipes below!) and did my best to include them all. I have not tried some of these recipes, but assure you that they look delicious!

RECIPES ARE:

  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • I had patients ask for recipes that are acceptable if following a diet to treat candida overgrowth, and those will be noted.
Here are your healthy alternatives to a traditional meal!

APPETIZER – Spinach and Artichoke Dip with cashew cream. Be sure to soak the cashews over night which will make it easier to blend them into a cream. You can serve this with veggies and gluten-free crackers. If your guests are thirsty, you might remember this skinny beverage. **Ok on candida diet

Creamy Spinach-Artichoke Dip (Paleo & Vegan)

 

THE TURKEY – Step one is purchasing a healthy turkey. Free-range, organic, and locally raised are best. Check with a local farmer or a health food store. Beware of turkeys with pre-injected base as these often contain gluten. Try this Gluten Free Turkey.Your turkey will be more moist and flavorful if you let it sit in the brine over night. *Skip the sugar in the dry rub and this is candida friendly.

Turkey

STUFFING: I suggest cooking this outside of the turkey. This is a simple dish to make vegetarian if you need to. For my candida readers, skip this dish and load up on the others! 

Create your own adventure with this fun recipe. You can purchase gluten free bread from a local bakery or health food store.

https://www.seriouseats.com/2011/11/how-to-make-the-best-gluten-free-stuffing.html

POTATOES and GRAVY: Have you tried Mashed Cauliflower yet?? Sooo worth it! And these mashers are more simple than they sound.

EXTRAS: Dairy Free Sour Cream and Paleo Gravy

 

SWEET POTATOES: The best part of the meal right here! My favorite dish growing up was always yams with marshmallows on top. Here is an upgraded version of a traditional dish –  Sweet Potato Casserole! *Candida diet – bake a plain sweet potato instead!

 

GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE: Is this one of your favorites? Here is a gluten and dairy free spin on the casserole! *Skip this dish if you are on the candida diet.

 

 That should have you covered for the most part! Thank you all so much for reading! I am so grateful to practice medicine I feel so passionate about. I am thankful for every single patient, and if that is you, thank you for trusting me with your health. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly. 

 

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

With a grateful heart,
Dr. Katie Corazzo