Healing Testimonies

We are always looking for ways to encourage clients in their healing journey with us.  If you have a positive health testimony to share from your experience at the Integrative Wellness Center, please submit it to us via email at <clinic@integrativewellness.org>.

You will automatically receive a 10% discount off your next order when you submit a testimony.

Thank you!

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Dirty Dozen List of Endocrine Disruptors

12 Hormone-Altering Chemicals and How to Avoid Them

There is no end to the tricks that endocrine disruptors can play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signaling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.

Here are 12 of the worst hormone disrupters, how they do their dirty deeds, and some tips on how to avoid them.

BPA

Some may say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but do you really want a chemical used in plastics imitating the sex hormone estrogen in your body? No! Unfortunately, this synthetic hormone can trick the body into thinking it’s the real thing – and the results aren’t pretty. BPA has been linked to everything from breast and others cancers to reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease, and according to government tests, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies!

How to avoid it? Go fresh instead of canned – many food cans are lined with BPA – or research which companies don’t use BPA or similar chemicals in their products. Say no to receipts, since thermal paper is often coated with BPA. And avoid plastics marked with a “PC,” for polycarbonate, or recycling label #7. Not all of these plastics contain BPA, but many do – and it’s better safe than sorry when it comes to keeping synthetic hormones out of your body. For more tips, check out: www.ewg.org/bpa/

Dioxin

Dioxins are multi-taskers… but not in a good way! They form during many industrial processes when chlorine or bromine are burned in the presence of carbon and oxygen. Dioxins can disrupt the delicate ways that both male and female sex hormone signaling occurs in the body. This is a bad thing! Here’s why: Recent research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxin in the womb and early in life can both permanently affect sperm quality and lower the sperm count in men during their prime reproductive years. But that’s not all! Dioxins are very long-lived, build up both in the body and in the food chain, are powerful carcinogens and can also affect the immune and reproductive systems.

How to avoid it? That’s pretty difficult, since the ongoing industrial release of dioxin has meant that the American food supply is widely contaminated. Products including meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter are most likely to be contaminated, but you can cut down on your exposure by eating fewer animal products.

Atrazine

What happens when you introduce highly toxic chemicals into nature and turn your back? For one thing, feminization of male frogs. That’s right, researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of the herbicide atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. Atrazine is widely used on the majority of corn crops in the United States, and consequently it’s a pervasive drinking water contaminant. Atrazine has been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate inflammation in animals, and some research has linked it to prostate cancer in people.

How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and get a drinking water filter certified to remove atrazine. For help finding a suitable filter, check out EWG’s buying guide: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/

Phthalates

Did you know that a specific signal programs cells in our bodies to die? It’s totally normal and healthy for 50 billion cells in your body to die every day! But studies have shown that chemicals called phthalates can trigger what’s known as “death-inducing signaling” in testicular cells, making them die earlier than they should. Yep, that’s cell death – in your man parts. If that’s not enough, studies have linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes and thyroid irregularities.

How to avoid it? A good place to start is to avoid plastic food containers, children’s toys (some phthalates are already banned in kid’s products), and plastic wrap made from PVC, which has the recycling label #3. Some personal care products also contain phthalates, so read the labels and avoid products that simply list added “fragrance,” since this catch-all term sometimes means hidden phthalates. Find phthalate-free personal care products with EWG’s Skin Deep Database: www.ewg.org/skindeep/

Perchlorate

Who needs food tainted with rocket fuel?! That’s right, perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel, contaminates much of our produce and milk, according to EWG and government test data. When perchlorate gets into your body it competes with the nutrient iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to make thyroid hormones. Basically, this means that if you ingest too much of it you can end up altering your thyroid hormone balance. This is important because it’s these hormones that regulate metabolism in adults and are critical for proper brain and organ development in infants and young children.

How to avoid it? You can reduce perchlorate in your drinking water by installing a reverse osmosis filter. (You can get help finding one at: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide) As for food, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid perchlorate, but you can reduce its potential effects on you by making sure you are getting enough iodine in your diet. Eating iodized salt is one good way.

Fire retardants

What do breast milk and polar bears have in common? In 1999, some Swedish scientists studying women’s breast milk discovered something totally unexpected: The milk contained an endocrine-disrupting chemical found in fire retardants, and the levels had been doubling every five years since 1972! These incredibly persistent chemicals, known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, have since been found to contaminate the bodies of people and wildlife around the globe – even polar bears. These chemicals can imitate thyroid hormones in our bodies and disrupt their activity. That can lead to lower IQ, among other significant health effects. While several kinds of PBDEs have now been phased out, this doesn’t mean that toxic fire retardants have gone away. PBDEs are incredibly persistent, so they’re going to be contaminating people and wildlife for decades to come.

How to avoid it? It’s virtually impossible, but passing better toxic chemical laws that require chemicals to be tested before they go on the market would help reduce our exposure. A few things that can you can do in the meantime include: use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, which can cut down on toxic-laden house dust; avoid reupholstering foam furniture; take care when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs). Find more tips at: www.ewg.org/pbdefree/

Lead

You may or may not like heavy metal music, but lead is one heavy metal you want to avoid. It’s well known that lead is toxic, especially to children. Lead harms almost every organ system in the body and has been linked to a staggering array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system problems. But few people realize that one other way that lead may affect your body is by disrupting your hormones. In animals, lead has been found to lower sex hormone levels. Research has also shown that lead can disrupt the hormone signaling that regulates the body’s major stress system (called the HPA axis). You probably have more stress in your life than you want, so the last thing you need is something making it harder for your body to deal with it – especially when this stress system is implicated in high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression.

How to avoid it? Keep your home clean and well maintained. Crumbling old paint is a major source of lead exposure, so get rid of it carefully. A good water filter can also reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. (Check out www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/ for help finding a filter.) And if you need another reason to eat better, studies have also shown that children with healthy diets absorb less lead.

Arsenic

Arsenic isn’t just for murder mysteries anymore. In fact, this toxin is lurking in your food and drinking water. If you eat enough of it, arsenic will kill you outright. In smaller amounts, arsenic can cause skin, bladder and lung cancer. Basically, bad news. Less well known: Arsenic messes with your hormones! Specifically, it can interfere with normal hormone functioning in the glucocorticoid system that regulates how our bodies process sugars and carbohydrates. What does that mean for you? Well, disrupting the glucocorticoid system has been linked to weight gain/loss, protein wasting, immunosuppression, insulin resistance (which can lead to diabetes), osteoporosis, growth retardation and high blood pressure.

How to avoid it? Reduce your exposure by using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels. For help finding a good water filter, check out EWG’s buying guide: www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/

Mercury

Caution: That sushi you are eating could be hazardous to your health. Mercury, a naturally occurring but toxic metal, gets into the air and the oceans primarily though burning coal. Eventually, it can end up on your plate in the form of mercury-contaminated seafood. Pregnant women are the most at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, since the metal is known to concentrate in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development. Mercury is also known to bind directly to one particular hormone that regulates women’s menstrual cycle and ovulation, interfering with normal signaling pathways. In other words, hormones don’t work so well when they’ve got mercury stuck to them! The metal may also play a role in diabetes, since mercury has been shown to damage cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, which is critical for the body’s ability to metabolize sugar.

How to avoid it? For people who still want to eat (sustainable) seafood with lots of healthy fats but without a side of toxic mercury, wild salmon and farmed trout are good choices.

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs)

The perfluorinated chemicals used to make non-stick cookware can stick to you. Perfluorochemicals are so widespread and extraordinarily persistent that 99 percent of Americans have these chemicals in their bodies. One particularly notorious compound called PFOA has been shown to be “completely resistant to biodegradation.” In other words, PFOA doesn’t break down in the environment – ever. That means that even though the chemical was banned after decades of use, it will be showing up in people’s bodies for countless generations to come. This is worrisome, since PFOA exposure has been linked to decreased sperm quality, low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol, among other health issues. Scientists are still figuring out how PFOA affects the human body, but animal studies have found that it can affect thyroid and sex hormone levels.

How to avoid it? Skip non-stick pans as well as stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.

Organophosphate pesticides

Neurotoxic organophosphate compounds that the Nazis produced in huge quantities for chemical warfare during World War II were luckily never used. After the war ended, American scientists used the same chemistry to develop a long line of pesticides that target the nervous systems of insects. Despite many studies linking organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility, they are still among the more common pesticides in use today. A few of the many ways that organophosphates can affect the human body include interfering with the way testosterone communicates with cells, lowering testosterone and altering thyroid hormone levels.

How to avoid it? Buy organic produce and use EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, which can help you find the fruits and vegetables that have the fewest pesticide residues. Check it out at: www.ewg.org/foodnews/

Glycol Ethers

Shrunken testicles: Do we have your full attention now? This is one thing that can happen to rats exposed to chemicals called glycol ethers, which are common solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics. Worried? You should be. The European Union says that some of these chemicals “may damage fertility or the unborn child.” Studies of painters have linked exposure to certain glycol ethers to blood abnormalities and lower sperm counts. And children who were exposed to glycol ethers from paint in their bedrooms had substantially more asthma and allergies.

How to avoid it? Start by checking out EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning (www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/) and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).

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Healing Health Principles By: John Smothers

Do you suffer with cancer or some other disease that has taken hold of your body? Have your attempts to find help and healing failed? If you are feeling hopeless please keep reading.

Follow me as I take you to the place you are seeking. Let’s talk a little so I can paint a picture for you of hope and healing.

After years of ingesting harmful food additives and being exposed to many toxic environmental chemicals, your body has accumulated as many as 278 known toxins. In turn, your body’s immune system has been working overtime to protect and rid itself of these unwanted chemical invaders. If your body, unaided by the proper nutrients, has become overwhelmed by the task of trying to restore your body’s health, symptoms of illness appear and progress. As time passes, your immune system, nervous system, tissues, and organs become overtaxed and unable to function properly. Your entire body becomes very toxic. As a result of your body being overtaxed, you feel overwhelmed. You have been told you are very sick, and you’re afraid you may be losing the battle. Wanting to win, wanting to live, you wonder what it would take to heal. Some of you may have been told that there is little hope, while others of you sense there are healthier and more successful options available that haven’t yet been presented to you.

Consider this: If sickness results from your body’s repeated exposure to toxins, which has undermined the ability of your immune system to ward off illness, why would you add more toxins to your body’s systems which have already deteriorated as the result of toxin over-exposure? However, you may scoff at the idea that your illness is related to toxicity. You may hesitate to believe that becoming healthy has anything to do with detoxifying. If you do already believe, though, that the restoration of your health has something to do with detoxifying your body, you may wonder if it’s even possible to detoxify aggressively enough to treat your illness in time.

You are at a fork in the road. The left fork represents fear, which in itself is a very costly venture potentially leading to greater suffering and even to a point of no return for you. The right fork represents a healing adventure aligning you with your greater purpose in life and drawing you to a place of health and peace. I encourage you to choose the right fork and follow me. Please keep reading.

The right fork represents a healing adventure in which you trust that God (or our Creator) has promised and provided a way for you to have a healthy, abundant life. I encourage you to travel the path of the right fork. If a voice beckons you in this direction, please continue reading.

The four principles below describe briefly our beliefs and basic foundations to help you achieve optimum health.

Right Fork Healing Adventure Principles:

1) Eating Raw Food:

Start looking at food in a different light. Realize that food is intended to do more than extinguish hunger pangs. Likewise, the function of food is beyond simply pleasing your palette. In fact, food is actually a subcategory of something of greater value: nourishment. One definition of nourishment is the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. Every living thing, creature, and being needs nourishment, so when you get ready to eat, ask yourself this: As I eat this food, what will it give me in return, temporary pleasure or health? Toxicity or cellular cleansing and renewal? If you want the food you put in your mouth to provide cellular cleansing and renewal, then eat a diet high in raw food, 80% of your diet or higher. This is your new foundation. It’s like building a house. Your body is your house. We want this house to withstand and endure the storms of life.

Raw foods have enzymes which assist in digestion and carry nutrition to the cells of the body. Cooking destroys enzymes, which start to die off at 112 °F and are completely

dead at 119-123 °F. Did you know that if a food is unable to grow, it is because its enzymes have been depleted? Similarly, while reproducing is a normal function of all life, plants that have been genetically modified are unable to reproduce themselves as God originally designed them. For instance, some seed-bearing plants are genetically modified so that they have no seeds!

To test the idea of how life-promoting a vegetable is, place a raw carrot in water or soil. Does it sprout or grow? Does it sustain life? Now place a cooked carrot in water or soil and watch what happens. Do you see over time that the cooked vegetable only decomposes while the raw vegetable thrives? The raw plant lives because its enzymes are intact. Raw food has the power to take a sick, weak cell and transform it into a stronger, healthy cell. Some scientists agree that this living food actually enables the body to fight off cancer. Raw food and the power of nutrition do this by waking up the P53 gene which promotes the death of unhealthy cells, thereby preventing rapid cancerous mutations.

Eating food is comparable to burning wood in a fireplace. When wood burns, it creates ash as a byproduct. When we eat cooked food like grains and meat, the by-product inside our bodies is an acidic ash. This ash robs our bodies of vital minerals and electrolytes. Unlike cooked food, raw food leaves no ash, only fiber. This fiber cleans our organs and gastrointestinal tract as it moves through the stomach and intestines and out of the rectum. Raw, living food is full of enzymes and does not rob the body of electrolytes. Raw foods actually add minerals and vital energizing nutrients and doesn’t leave any waste behind. Follow me next on this topic of healing adventure to the subject of detoxification.

2) Juicing:

Juicing is a way to attain the most amount of nutrition from vegetables. It may be very difficult to eat 5 pounds of carrots, 2 pounds of cucumbers and 1 pound of broccoli, as an example. However, you could easily juice these vegetables and drink them throughout the day. It is a way to maximize the nutrition in your body. Consider the thoughts below from one of my hero’s in life, Paul Bragg, a pioneer of juicing and fasting.

These live, recharging juices are made from fresh, organically-grown vegetables and ripe fruits – the very life-blood of the plant – to boost your energy and immune levels!

There is no liquid on Earth so satisfying as fresh live juice drink. Not only is it delicious, but there is something far greater: the satisfaction and nourishment for the billions of cells that make up your body. When people take to the health cocktail habit, they are putting the plants’ liquid life into their bodies, to super­charge their health!

Consider that fruits and vegetables have been grown naturally by solar energy (sun­ shine). They contain all of the elements that the sun and earth have buried deep into their fibrous cells; they are live-cell foods. Juicing is a convenient, inexpensive way to obtain the most concentrated form of nutrition available from live whole plant and
fruit foods. And, since juicing condenses the nutritional impact of many raw vegetables into one glass, you can incorporate many more vegetables into your juices, as well as a greater variety of them. Variety not only helps to prevent food allergies, it is also an important element in the concept in food rotation.

Did you know that 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in the juice of raw fruits and vegetables? We would need to eat 2 pounds of carrots, 10-12 apples, or 8 pounds of spinach to get the same amount of nutrients you receive in one 16 oz juice. When you drink juice, highly concentrated vitamins, minerals and enzymes are rapidly absorbed and carried into the bloodstream. Your blood, in turn, delivers the nutrients from the fruits and vegetables directly to all of your cells. Meanwhile, your digestive organs receive a much-needed rest.

Do you remember the last time you ate a big, typical American meal? Did you feel a little sleepy, accompanied by the need to “kick back” for a while? Do you know why you felt the need to relax? It’s because it takes approximately 85% of your body’s energy to digest a big meal. On the other hand, a juice’s nutrients can be absorbed easily by your intestines without requiring the usual amount of digestion. The energy saved can be directed toward healing your body rather than digesting your food!

3) Detoxifying:

Detoxify your body of unwanted toxins that are interfering with your God given ability to function. If you are able*, fasting is the quickest way to rid your body of these unhealthy toxins. Throughout your life, science says, you have accumulated over 278 different chemicals that interfere with your body’s ability to communicate with each cell. An accelerated liquid fast from all solid food speeds detoxification. (*Blood sugar stability and one’s energy capacity determines a person’s ability to sustain a long fast.)

At Integrative Wellness Center, we have two main types of fasts: a “Part 1” fast and a “Part 2” fast. The Part 1 fast involves drinking 2-3 quarts of fresh organic juice each day. This is very cleansing and is the quickest way to expel unwanted toxins. Part 2 additionally incorporates vegetarian protein powder shakes for continued detoxification. (The protein powder we use is classified as a medical food.) Proteins are used to maintain a healthy detox while preventing muscle wasting from long term fasts. Green juices, those made from wheatgrass and green leafy vegetables, are very healing to the body. They cause each cell to leap with joy! Green juices cleanse, renew, and revitalize cells, thereby enabling them to function in harmony with one common purpose, your ultimate health. Your cells are craving these vital nutrients. Will you choose to fight for your body or succumb to illness, disease, and premature death. If you choose health and life, please continue reading.

4) Enemas:

The first mention of the enema in medical literature comes from Ancient Egypt. The enema was considered such an essential component of good health that every pharaoh had his own so-called “Guardian of the Anus.” Both the Edwin Smith Papyrus (c.1600 BC) and the Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) — two of the earliest known medical documents — mention enemas in detail. Ancient Greek writings corroborate with the Egyptian preoccupation with colonic cleanliness. In 500 BC, Hippocrates and his followers began to advocate health by enema as well as did the eternally popular Galen, some 650 years later.

In the United States during the 1920’s and 1930’s, enemas were regularly used as a standard practice among most physicians and implemented as common treatment in most hospitals. It was not until the 50’s that the use of enema therapy started gradually to decrease with the development of drugs, suppositories, and laxatives. Currently, it is estimated that over 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from the multiple effects of an imbalance in the gastrointestinal system. The gastrointestinal system is the largest immune organ in your body.

Coffee enemas help to dilate the bile ducts, causing bile to dump, which de-stresses the liver and gallbladder. Salt and essential oil enemas enhance immunity, balance electrolytes, and support intestinal lumen.

By removing approximately 18 pounds of stored fecal matter in the 25 feet long gastrointestinal tract, a great deal of pressure is removed from the digestive system. As long as this bile remains, the body recirculates fecal matter back into the bloodstream, overwhelming the immune system. Approximately 500 species of bacteria increase pro- inflammatory cytokines and histamine levels which cause more inflammation. Essential oil suppositories help bring gut dysbiosis back into balance. I invite you to detoxify your body overnight in this powerful and effective manner.

4) Dietary Supplements and Lab Testing:

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems- oriented approach and engaging both client and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. Functional lab tests are required to fully access your deficiencies and imbalances. Like a car with bad spark plugs, fuel is burned very inefficiently and the engine will suffer from breakdown. Our bodies are similar. We incorporate functional lab tests that give us feedback and valuable information on vital foundational health principles. Our labs measure several things: (1)how food is digesting; (2)how to best access detoxification pathways; (3)what the body’s ability is to adapt to stress; and (4) what the balance (or imbalance) is in the neuro-endocrine system. The lab tests also asses the levels of heavy metals, antioxidants, fungus, yeast, parasites and other micro organisms. Our goal is to maximize the vital capacity of each living cell.

This is a list of some of the labs we use: Genova Diagnostics, NeuroScience/ Pharmasan Labs, Brendan Bioscience, ALCAT, LABCORP.

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The Integrative Wellness Center has many positive heath stories to share and would like to mentor you toward optimum health. Please call or email our office to schedule a consultation. Out goal is to give you all the tools for establishing a new, healthy life style: to teach you how to walk, so to speak, so that you may run the race you were intended to run and finish well. Week-long intensive programs are in place to help you establish a strong foundation. We will guide you into a step-by-step program to help you recover your health. Dial (901)763-7006. Our office staff will be happy to assist you.

It is important that you consult with your physician first before reducing, changing, or discontinuing any medication or treatment. This website’s recommendations should be considered as “generally informational” only and not as specifically applicable to any individual’s medical problem(s), concerns, and/or needs.

6262 Poplar Avenue, Suite 200 Memphis, TN 38119 p901.763.7006 http://www.integrativewellness.org

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How turmeric may help you

I’d like to tell you about two of my new favorite products. Chances are that if you have a health issue, Theracurmin and Curcumax Pro will probably help! Theracurmin and Curcumax Pro contain a highly bioavailable turmeric, which has been found to outperform pharmaceuticals in preventing disease. It has been linked to a range of health benefits, including potential protection against prostate cancer, Alzheimer’s, protection against heart failure, diabetes, and arthritis. Two studies add to that mix with benefits for arterial aging and cognition.

Everyone could benefit from daily intake of turmeric. Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric (popularly called “curry powder”). It’s been shown to halt the process of tumor cells replicating, and helps ease the pain associated with arthritis. Incredibly, only 1% of the elderly in India develop Alzheimer’s disease – one quarter of the rate in the U.S. – and this is associated with the regular consumption of curry in India.

Arthritis:
Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin – the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects – is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.

Cancer:
Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepato-carcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.

Although beneficial, curcumin is poorly absorbed. That’s where Theracurmin comes in. Due to its high absorption and accessibility, it’s much more beneficial than simply eating curry, but is just as safe!

Feel free to call us for more information, or to order Theracurmin for all of its beneficial effects! (901) 763 – 7006.

For more information, see http://preventdisease.com/news/12/110212_The-Benefits-of-Turmeric-May-Equal-Exercise-In-Heart-Health-Benefits.shtml.
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Back to school vaccinations: What you need to know

If you are one of my clients, you probably know I think many vaccines are unnecessary. It is not well publicized, but often vaccines cause many unwanted side effects. These side effects are suppressed by the media, but I have personally seen many children that have experienced these effects after being vaccinated, including seizures. When a child’s brain is developing, some vaccines may interfere with the brain’s communication and development process.

It’s important to know that often a vaccine may seem required, but parents can opt out. It may not be clear that exemptions are available, but

All state vaccination laws allow medical exemptions but they must be written by a medical doctor (M.D.) or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.) and usually must conform to federally approved contraindications to vaccination, which are very narrow.1

Every state except three—Tennessee, Mississippi and West Virginia—allow religious belief exemptions, but requirements for proof of religious belief can vary from state to state.

Research your state’s vaccine laws, as well as the harmful effects of some vaccines. Please read this article from the National Vaccine Information Center to learn more and share with others so that they can be more informed about the side effects from vaccinations.

http://www.nvic.org/NVIC-Vaccine-News/July-2013/back-to-school-vaccination.aspx

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The Brain/Gut Connection

If you missed our latest monthly Health Support Group meeting, here’s some information about the brain-gut connection. (Stay tuned for our next meeting!)

How can food sensitivities affect brain inflammation? Let’s begin with an example: Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

Often autism is reduced to a simple diagnosis, but this simplification hides the complexity and context of the disease. Autism is not a single disease, but rather a variation of a theme of neurobiological behavior. It is not a consequence of a flawed gene or a damaged child. In fact, many people with autism are brilliant. They have insights, intelligence and capabilities that would be considered extraordinary, even while their behavioral patterns may not socialize comfortably in many settings. 

Autism is best served from a functional medicine approach. Functional medicine integrates diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and evidence of clinical imbalances through the lens of the patient’s story into a comprehensive approach to improve both the patient’s environmental inputs and his or her physiological function. A functional assessment avoids a one-size-fits all approach to treating behavior problems. And functional medicine differs from traditional diagnostic medicine in that it is less concerned about diagnosis and more concerned about mechanisms. These biological mechanisms are deeper than signs and symptoms at the surface. 

And what are the mechanisms behind autism? Although complicated, researchers have found abnormalities at many levels, including “hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances, cellular oxidation-reduction imbalances and problems with energy metabolism in the subcellular mitochondria, the responses of cells from individuals with autism to challenges by toxins, the metabolic state of immune cells, cellular inflammation, and alterations in cellular membrane structure and function”. All of these deep biological abnormalities lead to changes in the behavioral level that we perceive. 

When researching the mechanisms behind autism, one focus is the gastrointestinal tract. It’s an important focus indeed; two-thirds of the body’s serotonin (a mood-altering chemical) is produced in the gut mucosal area. Thus looking at only the brains of autistic children is too restrictive, and other areas must be studied for signals and messages that modulate brain chemistry. 

Therefore medicine cannot focus on one area of the body, but must be broadened to healing the entire body, as all of the bodily systems interact in a delicate balance. Functional medicine must combine research from various disciplines and assess genetic risk factors, triggers (such as environmental or emotional stressors), and mediators (the nutritional state of the person). It is only by intervening at multiple levels that we can hope to treat a person as a whole.

Now that we know there is a link between the state of the gut and behavioral disorders, it is understandable why reaching the strongest health in the intestinal tract is so important for overall health. 

Now how do we rebuild the health of our gut? One approach is to determine if there are any foods to which we are allergic or sensitive to. The prevalence of food allergies have increased to more than 50% in adults and 70% in children over the past few years. Food-related sensitivities can cause a wide range of illnesses, from skin rashes and headaches to chronic intestinal diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome. Other chronic and unexplained symptoms, like general fatigue, may be explained by food sensitivities.   

The symptoms may differ, but the allergy mechanism remains the same. A sensitivity to a food causes the production of antibodies, or stimulates the production of T-cells, part of the immune response. When the antibodies bind to the food that causes the allergic response, or allergen, it causes tissue inflammation and other symptoms associated with the allergy.

If you are concerned about an unexplained symptom, there are test kits available that measure the amount of antibodies in the system that have been generated in response to a food allergy. Of all the food sensitivity tests, here at the Integrative Wellness Center, we use the most sensitive test, provided by Brendan Biosciences.

This test “identifies foods that may be responsible for causing symptoms associated with inflammation by measuring food-specific Immune Complexes containing C3d (IC-C3d) and IgG together. The net result is that the test is more sensitive than other tests which measure only IgG. In addition, the test ensures that a sample is either positive or negative for a particular food antigen with 95% accuracy.”

Once a food group is identified as a cause of negative reactions, they can be eliminated or reduced from the diet. This will lessen inflammation and alleviate symptoms associated with food allergies.

Call today if you are interested in scheduling a food sensitivity test. (901) 763-7006.

For more information about the food sensitivity tests, please go to http://www.brendanbioscience.com. 
 
This is a sample of a food sensitivity test results by Brendan Biosciences. Notice that the patient is more sensitive to some foods than others.

This is a sample of a food sensitivity test results by Brendan Biosciences. Notice that the patient is more sensitive to some foods than others.

Please see Jeffery Bland’s “Functional Medicine: The way to treat Autism now” for the full article and more information.
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