Integrative Health Blog

Detoxing from the Salon

Posted by on Tue, Dec 03, 2019

Looking our best sometimes means a little extra makeup and a monthly trip to the hair salon for a touch up of our “new growth”. But with all of the talk about chemicals found in our personal care products, how can we continue to look fabulous and at the same time, make sure we are not being harmed by our choices?

Beginning in the 1940’s, the US has introduced a few thousand new chemical products into the market each year. This equates to about 85,000 chemicals that our great grandparents were never exposed to and that our bodies now have to process. Such chemicals can be found in the foods we eat, the inside and outside environment in which we live, and the personal care products that we place on our bodies.

When we were young and invincible, our outward appearance often mattered most. We didn’t think about the long term consequences of our shampoo or lipstick - just as long as it did the job that it was marketed to do. As our bodies begin to age, however, could these same products be causing us harm? As it turns out, our increasing waist size, minor unexplained aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems and progressively aging skin changes can, in fact, be related to the same chemicals that once made us look gorgeous.

Over time, if we do not regularly and safely remove them from our body, these cumulative toxin exposures can impact the development of many chronic diseases.

So let’s be smart and learn to detoxify.

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Tags: detoxification, toxins

It's official! Food IS NOT food

Posted by on Mon, Oct 22, 2018

Well, we sort of knew that, given the genetically modified corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and the list goes on1. In this case, however, I am referring to an NPR story2 on the new dietary habits of animals at the Melbourne Zoo.

“ . . .the monkeys are no longer allowed to eat bananas. And the pandas are getting pellets instead of plums. In fact, fruit has been phased out completely. That's because the fruit that humans have selectively bred over the years has become so full of sugar, the zoo's fruitarian animals were becoming obese and losing teeth.”

How ironic that, in this case, humans are the “canary in the coal mine”3.

The author being interviewed goes on to describe the fruit we see in stores today as something not found in nature, that is, beautiful to the eye and sweet in taste, but “robbed” of nutritional value.

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Tags: holistic nutrition, toxins

What's In Your Sunblock? Tips for Healthy Sun Protection

Posted by on Mon, Jun 25, 2018

Last Updated: July 14, 2021

Some time ago, I blogged about my friend who was instructed by her primary care doctor to use sunscreen daily, all over. At that time, the doctor suggested SPF 45, but he has since retracted that recommendation and now suggests using SPF 100. I have recently delved a little deeper into this issue for several reasons.

In my previous blog, I alluded to the fact that finding a sufficiently protective sunscreen isn’t always so easy for everyone. Active and inactive ingredients can pose problems for some (more on this below). Looking for SPF 100 products can narrow the field even further. Secondly, if physical sun screen creams and lotions leave you looking like an extra from The Walking Dead, you are unlikely to continue applying enough sunscreen.

On the other hand, according to my friend’s doctor, physical screening like hats, shirts, long sleeves, etc. is insufficient because of her autoimmune disease diagnosis. Her physician also suggested that she plan to get all of her vitamin D from a bottle for the foreseeable future since she needs to stay completely out of the sun. Lastly, sun screening technology continues to advance in ways that users should be aware of - and here I mean protective clothing, accessories and supplements. There is a lot online about choosing an appropriate SPF, so I won’t address that in this blog.

She asked: how do I pick a sunscreen product I feel safe using every day, all over?

Good question.

As a holistic physician, I get questions all the time about what may be a healthier alternatives for food, water, cleaning products, skin care products, etc. Enter Environmental Working Group, or The Environmental Working Group is an environmental organization that provides education and research on toxic chemicals, agriculture and public land. They offer Consumer Guides to skin care, pesticides in fruits and vegetables, home cleaning products and more with safety and hazard ratings for ingredients in each category.

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Tags: holistic health, toxins

A New Health Statistic To Worry About

Posted by on Mon, Apr 17, 2017

Life expectancy is one of those statistics we just knew would inch up every decade and with each generation.

We were sure we would live longer than our parents and our kids will live longer than us.   As health research improves, health challenges are identified and the population becomes more informed, so it makes sense that we would continue to live longer.  Until now, common sense would suggest that the odds of reaching 100 years old in great health would continue to steadily improve.

Sorry to break the news and dampen your life longevity celebration- but The National Bureau of statistics just revealed that life expectancy decreased for the first time ever. This means that we will not live longer than our parents and our children will not reach our life expectancy.

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Tags: toxins

How the Environment Can Impact Your Health: What’s in Your Water?

Posted by on Tue, Feb 09, 2016

Edited: November 11, 2021

It depends.

If you use tap water, you can find out relatively easily by perusing the website of your local water utility. Local water utility websites (District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, and Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission, for example) and contain a wealth of information on regulated contaminants, like lead and coli-form bacteria (like E. Coli), and on currently unregulated (but periodically tested for) contaminants, like chromium 6 (entered into popular culture by the movie Erin Brockovich) and strontium.

If you use well water, testing every few years by a laboratory certified to do so should disclose the contents of the water, the results of which are subject to activity or industry near your property, above or underground. 

What does this have to do with your health?

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Tags: water, detoxification, toxins

3 Steps to Detoxify Your Body and Lower Your Toxin Load

Posted by on Thu, Dec 04, 2014

What does it take to be healthy in a modern, toxic world?

We are lucky to be living in a fast paced modern world that has brought us so many amazing benefits.

But, at the same time, we see unintended problems like chemicals in household and personal care products, energetic pollution (WIFI, cell phone, anyone?) and malnutrition from eating “convenient” processed food, all of which are contributing to toxicity-related health problems. Many chronic psychiatric and medical problems may be caused by toxins derived from chronic infections, environmental exposures from the air, food and water, psychotropic drugs, medications, genetic vulnerabilities and gastrointestinal imbalances. Efforts to help patients detoxify can take up the lion’s share of your time with a medical provider, but you can make some lifestyle and dietary changes today that will assist natural detoxification and begin to improve your health status. 

Here are 3 ways to detoxify to help your body rid itself of health-stealing toxins.

Step 1: Avoid or minimize exposure to toxins.

Step 2: Enhance the detoxification of toxins already stored in the body.

Step 3: Make detoxification a way of life.

Step #1 Avoid or Minimize Exposure to Toxins

Limiting exposure to toxins can be relatively simple. For example, adopt a routine lifestyle habit that includes consumption of organic food and filtered clean water, and avoidance of air pollution wherever possible. Minimize contact with Wi-Fi, microwaves and high power lines, and wear devices which decrease their biological harm to offer some protection. If you are a health care provider or healer, since toxicity is the cause of so much disability, make it a routine activity in the care you provide to design a program to mitigate this exposure side of the equation.

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Tags: detoxification, toxins

Are Allergies No More Than Toxicity?

Posted by on Fri, Sep 26, 2014

Autumn Frandsen ND

                Allergies can develop at many points in a person’s life, often going unnoticed or unrecognized until they are a major hindrance. They can present as a sinus infection, headaches, itchy eyes, and even colitis. I have found that emotional turmoil, stress, exposure to chemicals, poor diet, defects in detoxification pathways, and frequent antibiotic use can all cause allergic reactions. The threshold for toxicity is different in everyone and once it is reached the nervous system and immune systems become hyperactive. At that point it is no longer enough to use antihistamines and anti-anxiolytics. A more holistic allergy treatment must be focused on unburdening the body through increasing antioxidants, repairing damaged caused by inflammation (particularly in the gut), and desensitizing both the nervous system and the immune system.

                There is a delicate balance between the nervous system and the immune system. Adrenal function affects both of them greatly and in those with pronounced stress, whether physical or emotional, adrenal output is usually diminished. At any given time there can be surges of cortisol, causing the nervous system to by up regulated, which in turn causes hyperactivity of the immune system as it searches for stressors and invaders. This increase in immune system reactivity causes increased inflammation, leading to destruction of the GAP junctions in the gut lining. This causes “leaky gut” and suddenly (or insidiously) food allergies or sensitivities never before present or bothersome increase in number and symptom presentation.

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Tags: allergies, toxins

5 Toxic Food Choices and Simple Ways to Trade Up

Posted by on Fri, Jun 06, 2014

Over the past few decades, a lot has changed about food and about our food choices. 

The food industry is constantly trying to keep up with our changing lifestyles by offering us foods that are easily eaten on the run, or that have longer shelf life.  Recently, the food industry has been offering solutions to our childhood obesity epidemic by offering low-calorie and low-fat food.  But most of the time, these foods contain toxic ingredients that are contributing to disease rather than improving health.  If you’re trying to improve your child’s health by replacing regular soda with diet soda, encouraging “low cholesterol” refined carbs, or “low-fat” dairy products, read on to find out how such choices are detrimental to your child’s health. 

Artificial sugars: More and more children are using artificially sweetened foods and beverages in an attempt to curb the obesity epidemic.  But aspartame, and other forms of artificial sugars are toxic chemicals.  Aspartame is associated with numerous symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain, fatigue and even seizures.  Moreover, the main reason for its use, weight control, often doesn’t work.  A recent study showed that regular consumption of diet soda actually is associated with weight gain.

Trade up: If you want a low- or no-calorie sweetener, switch to Stevia or Xylitol which are natural.

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Tags: obesity, holistic nutrition, toxins

Hurry- We've Got a Second Chance to Label GMO's

Posted by on Wed, Oct 09, 2013

When I was little I loved to read science fiction. But had I picked up a comic or book with a suggestion that in the future, my food will have poison and toxins sprayed on it, and that this was legal, and that I would have to pay extra to not have poison in my food, and that this ‘safe’ food would have a special name, ‘organic’,  I would not have believed it... nor would I have bothered to read it. Mark Twain once said that truth is stranger than fiction… because fiction has to be credible. 
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Tags: toxins, GMO, glyphosate

Integrative Health: What Keeps You From Being Healthy?

Posted by on Tue, Oct 08, 2013

Bob Johnson DMD


Health is the most important “possession” you have.  Unfortunately, health comes with a price in time, energy and money.  Additionally we all have certain handicaps that we begin the health and life journey which must be overcome to live a healthier life.

These handicaps include genetics, toxins, infections, lifestyle and mindset into which we are born.  The good news is that limitations in time, energy and money can be overcome while the handicaps we acquire in utero up to the point at which we make our own health decisions don’t necessarily prevent us from reaching a healthy ripe old age.

An  integrative health  natural approach incorporates nutrition, lifestyle, exercise, and integrative medicine as the building blocks of your healthy life. Start slowly. Try working one  nutrition tip (e.g. cutting back on sugar) into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. It is never too late to quit smoking or start eating more vegetables.

Are You Blessed with Good Genetics?

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Tags: integrative health, genetics, toxins