Integrative Health Blog

Ragweed Allergy Symptoms and Treatment

Posted by on Mon, Aug 24, 2020

Fall allergies start to appear in August as people start sneezing from ragweed and other weeds. A ragweed allergy is also known as hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis. It is estimated that ragweed pollen allergy affects 23 million people.¹

The drier the weather, the worse the pollen count. But hot weather, high winds and heavy rains can also create a perfect growing environment for ragweed plants. Ragweed allergies usually peak in mid-September as one plant can produce one billion grains of pollen.

So, just when you want to enjoy an outdoor hike or plant some mums, ragweed allergy symptoms can make you miserable.

Symptoms of Ragweed Allergy

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Tags: allergies

Mindfulness and Healing Group: Guided Sessions Online

Posted by on Wed, Jul 01, 2020

This is an invitation to the free online mindfulness and healing group on Sunday evenings. 

Title: "Mindfulness and Healing" - Guided Sessions Online

Dates: Sundays, July 5, 2020 - Aug. 30, 2020

Time: 7:00-8:00 pm

Presenter: Charles Gant, MD, functional medicine physician

*NOTE- This first session has ended but Guided Mindfulness Sessions are offered now very Sunday night at 7 via a call- in number. No registration is required.

At 7 pm, Call 712-770-4340  and enter the access code 566853# (pound) to participate.

 

Mindfulness in a Pandemic

Why should you consider a Mindfulness practice?

To give you some perspective, here is information from an expert on why mindfulness can be so valuable now during challenging times.

Jon Kabat Zinn, one of the most experienced and famous mindfulness teachers and researchers, defines Mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally,” and then he sometimes adds, “in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

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Tags: mindfulness, mind-body

Holistic View and Treatment Approach for Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol

Posted by on Mon, Jun 29, 2020

For quite some time, the public view towards drug or alcohol addictions was more focused on the problems of personal will power and lacking self control. But fortunately, the smoking cessation treatment programs in recent years have started to shed more light into our understanding about the unique biological needs in certain individuals driven by particular genetic predisposition and environmental factors.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can predispose or coexist with other medical conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. Adolescence is the often the time when some may start to seek relief and experiment with drugs and/or alcohol by themselves or with peers. Adolescents may lack knowledge and understanding of consequences and not have a good social support system in place. 

It is important to raise awareness in patients, families and society to understand how some of the possible underlying biological causes and potential treatment options can have a direct impact on the outcome for individuals who become addicted, and to society at-large. 

While personal discipline and social standards still play a vital role in combating against drug and alcohol abuse, a holistic clinical and laboratory evaluation to identify the root causes based on analysis of certain biochemical profiles and particular nutritional needs may open a new realm of therapy and provide hope for those with substance use disorders. With the advancement in genetic analysis, a spectrum of mild presentations of inherited genetic deficiency has been increasingly recognized. A majority of them have therapeutic options. Furthermore, coexisting chronic medical conditions, such as Epstein- Barr virus (EBV) and Lyme Disease/co-infections must be ruled out before any psychiatric drug therapy should be implemented.   Many of the laboratory evaluations are available now and also covered by medical insurance. The goal is to enhance the treatment efficacy and improve the treatment outcome.

Treating the Whole Person

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Tags: addiction, holistic approach, integrative medicine

12 Risk Factors That Affect Brain Function

Posted by on Mon, Jun 22, 2020

June is Brain Awareness Month, which is a wonderful opportunity to discuss or have a national conversation about our brain health, the part of us which makes us distinctly human.

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Tags: functional medicine, integrative medicine, brain health

Let's Think About Virus Prevention

Posted by on Wed, Jun 10, 2020

Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, was Right

It is more important to understand the patient who has a disease, than it is to understand the disease that a patient has.  ~ Hippocrates

Now that we are mostly through the first stages of the Corona or COVID-19 pandemic, we can appreciate that all the good preventative efforts (masks, social distancing, hand washing, disinfecting, etc.) have slowed the spread, giving our healthcare system “breathing room” to process new cases. 

Of course, as I have often explained, the media and governmental agencies tend to focus only on the virus and not on our innate immunity, which is our best defense system.  However, having slowed the spread of COVID-19, it gives us all time to think about ways to enhance our immune systems, so I will reiterate here some information from my previous articles for two important reasons:

  • It looks like COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and while you may have escaped the first wave, it is a good idea to beef up your immunity now and for a long time to come. Don’t drop your guard.  Just remember the acronym, ABCD and…Z.  Everything that you do to enhance your immune system also helps protect you from cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases.

  • The latest research on Vitamin D from 10 countries shows (surprise, surprise) that deaths are much lower in those who have higher vitamin D levels.

Be sure to have your physician test your Vitamin D level, and keep it optimized.  The ideal levels are greater than 50 ng/mL.

Basic Supplements to Support the Immune System

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Tags: immune system, integrative medicine

Mindfulness and Healing: Forgiveness & Letting Go of Anger

Posted by on Tue, May 12, 2020

Join us for a Mindfulness and Healing Webinar as we focus on an important topic:

Title: Mindfulness and Healing: Forgiveness & Letting Go of Anger

Date: Sunday, MAY 17, 2020

Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm

Presenter: Dr. Charles Gant, functional medicine physician

 

This event is over but Mindfulness Sessions are now offered every Sunday night.

Join a free mindfulness group every Sunday night, at 7 PM, by simply calling 712-770-4340 and when prompted enter the code 566853# (pound).

Would you like to quiet your mind and take refuge from the worries and emotional disturbances of the world?

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Tags: mindfulness, emotional wellbeing

Text Neck - Is there Such a Thing?

Posted by on Fri, Apr 17, 2020

Definition: Text neck is a term commonly used for a repetitive stress injury where excessive texting or mobile device use is believed to be the primary cause.

Smart phones have really changed the way we live life.

With a tap and a swipe, we have more ways to connect and we have access to amazing amounts of information. Our ability to connect- with people, work and the world- has made our lives easier, yet at the same time harder.  As a whole,  people are spending an enormous amount of time on phones and computers. This can creates pain in the neck and upper back, headaches and, at times, jaw pain.  In combination with a society that is overworked, stressed out, has low physical activity and minimal body awareness- this creates an ideal situation for a body that is not healthy and more prone to pain.  As a chiropractor, “neck pain” is one of the most common complaints I hear from of my patients.

But we can’t escape the smart phone! So, with all this use of a smart phone and looking down more than we ever have, that must mean text neck is for real and the cause of neck pain, right?

Yes.... and no. Let me explain.

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Tags: neck pain, chiropractic

Improve Your Immune System Health to Fight Virus

Posted by on Wed, Apr 15, 2020

We are ALL concerned about how exposure to coronavirus could adversely affect the health of ourselves and our loved ones. We want to know:

  • Am I at high risk for COVID-19?

  • Is my immune system strong enough?

  • What can I do at home to remain healthy while social distancing?

  • What should I be eating?

  • Are there certain vitamins or minerals that may help?

The key to who gets sick and who does not lies in the strength of their immune system. The healthier you are, the better chance you have at fighting the Coronavirus. To combat coronavirus, or any flu or cold or virus, we must first support the immune system.

But how do we do this?

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Tags: flu, immune system, functional medicine, virus

Coronavirus: Healing the Gastrointestinal Tract to Boost Immunity

Posted by on Sat, Apr 11, 2020

One of the ways to tune up your immune system and give you more resistance to the Coronavirus is to heal your intestines.  A healthy gastrointestinal tract is often synonymous with a healthy immune system, which strengthens your resistance to any and all infections.

Roughly 60% to 80% of our entire immune system is estimated to surround our gastrointestinal tract to keep our microbiome, the bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses, in check.   If an overgrowth of unfriendly flora occurs or our immune system is reacting to various foods (e.g., food allergy), a lot of our immune systems energy is diverted to the intestines and away from the immune system’s other responsibilities such as resisting or fighting infectious invaders like Coronavirus.

Symptoms of an Unhealthy Microbiome

How can we tell if the immune system is wasting its energy fighting food proteins or the flora growing in our intestines?  One way is to consider symptoms.  If bloating, excess gas, abdominal discomfort, loose stools, acid reflux or constipation are a regular occurrence, you may be suffering with food allergy/sensitivity and/or the overgrowth of unfriendly intestinal flora.  Sometimes it is impossible to figure out which foods are involved, and which micro-organisms are overgrown without diagnostic functional medicine testing, like a stool test, a urine test and blood work.  Once the diagnosis is made, it’s a relatively simple process to correct the flora and get your immune system to then divert its attention away from the intestines to other parts of your body.

Healing the Gut with the 5 R’s

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Tags: immune system, gut, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus

Coronavirus: It's Not Just About the Virus (Mostly)

Posted by on Tue, Apr 07, 2020

It’s more important to treat the person with a disease, than it is to treat the disease that a person has.

                                                                                                  ~Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine

When I was in medical school almost 50 years ago, we were recruited for an experiment to test the common cold virus (i.e., a rhinovirus).  I didn’t volunteer even though some extra spending money would have been nice, but my classmates did.  Students were selected who had essentially no antibodies to rhinovirus.  In exchange for a pittance, researchers at the University of Virginia Medical School divided the volunteers into four groups (if my ancient recollection serves me well): 

  • Group 1 was the control and received no virus.

  • Group 2 received a very low dose.

  • Group 3 received a moderate dose.

  • Group 4 received a high dose.

As you might expect, no one in group 1 became ill, whereas everyone in group 4 got a cold.  A few in group 2 came down with the sniffles and about half of those in group 3 “caught” the cold.  The takeaway from this outcome was that we all have a dosage threshold of inoculation.  Despite this well-established fact, I see little discussion about immune resistance to the corona virus and almost all discussion is about the virus itself.  It’s as if the quote above from the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, has never been heard.  It’s also similar to integrative cancer treatment – modern medicine’s expertise treats the cancer but may tend to ignore the whole person (with an immune system), who is fighting and killing cancer cells.

The Role of the Immune System

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Tags: immune system, functional medicine, integrative medicine, virus