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Taking your Supplements and Medications Correctly

In Dr. Morgan Camp,Supplements & Medications on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , ,

Taking Your Supplements and Medications Correctly

We are constantly fielding questions after patients leave their appointments regarding how to take their supplements, hormones, and medications correctly and how to remember them.  As hard as we try to explain and write things down clearly on the Optimal Health Plan that you take home with you, many of you still aren’t sure.   If you are at our practice to experience optimal health, taking your supplements at the correct dose and time is imperative!  Here’s a review of how to take some of our most common supplements and prescriptions, and how to remember them!

Common Hormones and Supplements and How To Take Them

(1)        Sublingual Medications:  Pregnenolone, DHEA, Oxytocin, Melatonin, Estradiol Rapid Dissolve Tablets, HCG and Progesterone are some of the most commonly prescribed hormones we use for adrenal health, sleep, low testosterone, and PMS/menopause.  Sublingual medications are placed under the tongue and held for 1-3 minutes!  It takes a full 60 seconds for 90% of the medication to be absorbed!  HCG is an a high proof alcohol base and may be absorbed more quickly; however, you must still hold it a full 60 seconds to be sure!  After dropping the medication under the tongue you may swish your tongue around gently to increase absorption, wait the 1-3 minutes, then swallow.

(2)        All Thyroid Medications:  Cytomel, Nature-Throid, Synthroid, and Armour ALL must be take on a completely empty stomach to be absorbed.  For those of you on once a day dosing, take your thyroid medication first thing in the morning upon rising.  Keep it on your bedside table so that it is the first thing you do even before getting out of bed!  Do not eat or drink anything for 20-30 minutes after taking your thyroid medication other than water.  Nature-Throid should be chewed to improve absorption.   If you eat food or drink something besides water, your thyroid medication will get bound up with the minerals in your food, and you will not absorb it!  For those patients on twice a day dosing of cytomel/liothyronine, be sure your afternoon dose is also taken on a completely empty stomach at least an hour after lunch, preferable 2 hours.

(3)        Essential Fatty Acids/Oily Supplements:  Krill oil, Omega-3’s, CoQ10/ Ubiquinol, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Evening Primrose Oil all require fat to be absorbed correctly.  Therefore, it is recommended that you take these supplements with a meal that has fat in it!.   If you do not do this, these expensive and very important supplements will not be absorbed.  If you are taking our liquid Vitamin D, that particular supplement is already bound in olive oil for absorption and you may take it alone any time.  If you are taking another Vitamin D supplement in capsule form, take it with a fatty meal.

(4)        Water Soluble Vitamins and Minerals:  Iodorol, Iron, Chromium, Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Vitamins B, and C are examples of water soluble vitamins and minerals we frequently prescribe.  These are easily absorbed anytime with just a glass of water and may often be taken with or without food.  If you are prone to nausea you may want to take them with a meal.

(5)        Glutathione, Probiotics, Herbal GI preparations and GI Cleanse Supplements:  These are all best taken on an empty stomach unless we direct you otherwise.  When we say “empty stomach” we mean 30 minutes before eating or at least an hour after a meal.   Glutathione is one of the few supplements that may be taken with your thyroid medication first thing in the morning.

(6)        Progesterone, Estradiol, Bi-Est, or Estriol Topi-Click Cream:  Your progesterone or estrogen cream is best rubbed into the skin using pressure on your forearms or directly to your face (where it will prevent wrinkles).  It is optimal to apply your cream right out of the shower so it is easily absorbed or right before bed.  Do not use other lotions or creams for at least 20 minutes on the area you place your estrogen cream because this will reduce absorption.  It is also a good idea to rotate sites so that you do not get “dermal fatigue” in any one area.  Dermal fatigue is when your skin stops absorbing a hormone.  Rotate sites and rub in the skin multiple times using pressure each application for best absorption.

(7)        Testosterone Creams and Gels for Men:  Testosterone is applied differently depending on your gender.  For men,  Testosterone gels and creams are best placed on the area of the neck below the hairline to the clavicles, on the forehead, or on the sides of your torso.  Testosterone cream must also be rubbed in well to be absorbed, do not use other creams or lotions within 20 minutes of application, and wash your hands after application!  You may inadvertently touch a partner or a child, and they may grow hair where it is accidentally applied!

(8)        Vaginal Testosterone, Estriol, or DHEA:  Vaginal hormonal creams should be applied directly to the mucous membrane tissue of your labia or rubbed directly into your vaginal walls.  Vaginal creams are very effective for localized absorption.  If you are using Testosterone Cream, wash your hands after applying the cream to avoid inadvertent transfer of the testosterone to other skin areas where you may grow hair!

(9)        Subcutaneous Injectable HCG, Testosterone, B12, and MIC with Carnitine:  All of these medications require a subcutaneous injection either in the soft part of your abdomen or the buttocks. For men with testosterone injections, depending on your labs, we may instruct you to inject it into a specific site.  Follow the instructions we give you as to whether your injection is everyday, twice a week, or three times a week.

Remembering to Take Your Supplements

This is the next question patients ask us,  “How am I supposed to remember all of this?”  It may take a little bit of time to get used to, but when many of our successful patients start feeling better, they even ask us what else they can take to improve their health. Obviously, if you do not remember your medications or supplements, you will notice no change in how you feel.  That’s not why you came here!

So, here are a few of our favorite strategies for remembering your supplements!

1)   EZY Dose Pill Pouches:  These are Ziploc tiny sized disposable (or reusable!) plastic pouches that you can put your necessary pills in for all your dosing while you are at work or traveling.  Here is a link to buy them on amazon. com:

http://www.amazon.com/Ezy-Dose-Disposable-Pill-Pouches/dp/B001TIOLN4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1362424842&sr=8-1&keywords=ez+dose+pill+pouch

You can easily label them with a Sharpie if you desire; for example, you may want to write an L for lunch or an A for afternoon.   Fill your pouch with your necessary supplements, Ziploc and throw them in your purse or pocket! We recommend reusing them until they wear out to give the environment a break!

2)   The Bedside Table: Too many thyroid patients forget their thyroid medication if it is not there right on their bedside table.  Go to bed with a glass of water near by and your medication handy.  This way you are sure not to forget.   Melatonin sprays and sublingual drops may also be very conveniently taken as you roll into bed if they are at the bedside!

3)   Kitchen Counter Organizer:  Crate and Barrel has some very attractive, sophisticated storage baskets that actually will look good at the end of your kitchen counter or in your pantry and they are perfect to house your supplements!  This makes taking them easy:  you finish up dinner and as you walk out of the kitchen, your supplements are staring at you as you march by.  I like these because they look pretty, but you don’t actually see the supplements until you are walking right by them. I am extremely appreciative of my storage container in my kitchen! Some of them come with covers if you desire.  Or you can put them on a pantry shelf and pull the organizer out once a day and fill your EZY Pouches!  As an example only, here is a bamboo and jute storage box from Crate and Barrel:

http://www.crateandbarrel.com/organizing-and-storage/storage-baskets-bins/small-bamboo-jute-basket/s274585  or http://www.crateandbarrel.com/sedona-small-tote/s428283 .

Many stores offer attractive looking containers for counter top or pantry.  Shop for yours today!

4)   The Refrigerator Front and Center!  It is recommended that you store oil supplements like krill oil, vitamin E, D or CoQ10/ubiquinol in a cool environment so the oils do not get deranged.  Putting your oil supplements on the top shelf of your fridge front and center makes taking them easy.  As you open up the fridge after eating breakfast or dinner, there they are, staring at you!  “You just ate that fatty meal, take me!” they will say to you as you put leftovers away.

5)   The Bathroom Toothpaste Place:  Wherever it is that you keep your toothpaste out of view is a great place to put your hormones and injectables!  Most people brush their teeth morning and night.  After brushing my teeth before bed, I am confronted with my hormones when I put the toothpaste away.  In the morning, same thing happens…except this time it’s my B-12 winking at me!  Maybe it will be testosterone injections for you.  The “toothpaste place” is a great place to remember your daily hormones.

We are grateful that you put your trust in us as part of your health care team.  Taking your supplements after your appointments is critical to your success!  We hope this supplement review and storage ideas will help you take yours correctly.  And be sure to let us know if you have any special secrets for remembering yours that we haven’t mentioned!  If you would like to order any refills, please click HERE to log into your account with our practice.  From here you can make a follow up appointment or call 415 383 9903.

Also, as a reminder, all supplements that our shipped out of our office have FREE SHIPPING.  Log into the store and take a look at all the items that you can get without any shipping charges!

Cheers to your health!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates

Articles

Sleep Health

In Dr. Morgan Camp,Sleep Health on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , , , ,

Sleep Health

Getting enough sleep is vital to create an energy that can run through your mind, muscles, and organs from head to toe and back again. It is during your sleep that your body repairs, detoxifies, balances hormones, and resets itself for the next day so that you can live optimally. At some point in time with busy work schedules, life stresses, or illnesses, getting enough sleep for your body to remain healthy may become a challenge. With small changes in habits and help from Functional Medicine, getting control of your sleep pattern is made possible.

Symptoms and Types of Sleep Deprivation

Feeling fatigued is the obvious signal that not enough rest was had during the night. However, less obvious signs are increased weight, headaches, an inability to concentrate, mood disruptions, or an inability to develop appropriate muscle in relation to a specific exercise intensity.

There are different levels of sleep deprivation, ranging from minimal, moderate, to severe sleep deprivation known as insomnia. At Morgan Camp and Associates, we are interested in learning, down to the biochemical level, the cause of your sleep disturbances. During an interview with tailored questions along with targeted sophisticated laboratory testing through blood, urine, or salivary samples, we will know exactly where the imbalance in your body systems occurs and, more importantly, how to correct it.

Depending on your sleep habits, such as how well you fall asleep or at what time you awaken during the night, a reasonable cause of your insomnia and necessity for specialized laboratory testing can be determined. The Mayo Clinic recognizes ten causes of Insomnia: stress, anxiety, depression, medical conditions especially those affecting the gastrointestinal tract, a change in your environment or routine, medications, poor sleep habits, ‘learned ‘ insomnia due to television watching, eating too much late in the evening, and stimulants or depressants such as caffeine, nicotine, chocolate and alcohol.

Medications and Medical Causes of Insomnia

In regards to medications, many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including some antidepressants, heart and blood pressure medications, allergy medications, and corticosteroids. Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including pain medication combinations, decongestants and weight-loss products, contain caffeine. Antihistamines may initially make you groggy, but they can worsen urinary problems and increase the frequency to urinate at night. It is important to use medications appropriately and under the supervision of a practitioner who pays attention to the wide affect that most medications have on the body systems, so as to avoid causing imbalances.

Medical conditions linked with insomnia include arthritis, cancer, heart failure, lung disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, stroke, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Making sure that your medical conditions are well treated may help with your insomnia?and with the use of specialized laboratory testing, the cause of your insomnia will be identified and appropriate measures taken for its resolution.

Insomnia Guidelines and Diagnostic Decision Tree

The outline below gives you a window into how we consider underlying conditions related to your insomnia as well as how we choose diagnostic tests and possible treatment plans.    Because there are so many bio-chemical, environmental, and hormonal factors involved in the etiology of sleep disorders, a myriad of problems must be ruled out depending on your symptoms, physical assessment, personal sleep history and lifestyle, and specific complaints.  Given the complicated number of factors to consider, you can see why a focused health history is so important to guiding testing recommendations and treatment plans.

Insomnia Etiology Outline

I. Symptoms worse in the 1-2 weeks prior to your Menstrual Cycle (Females only!)

– Low Progesterone

– Low Magnesium

II. Difficulty Falling Asleep:

– Low Melatonin

– Low Progesterone

– High Cortisol (Stress hormones)

III. CANT STAY ASLEEP:

– Poor Liver Detoxification

– Magnesium deficiency

– Low Blood Sugar

– High Cortisol

IV. Associated with Headaches during the day:

– Poor Liver Detoxification

– Poor Gallbladder Function

V. Light Sleep, Feeling of not being rested in the AM.

– Low Growth Hormone

Treatment Options:

I. General Guidelines for everyone:

1.Sublingual Melatonin: Start with 5 drops under your tongue at bedtime. Take every night whether you notice a benefit or not for a minimum of 3 Months. You may slowly increase the dose by 2-5 drops by night. Please note:

  • Melatonin is best taken under the tongue to avoid the liver metabolism of the hormone.
  • Signs of Too much Melatonin: Grogginess in the AM and/or Frequent Waking at night. ?If either of these occur, lower the dose by 1-2 drops until the symptoms resolve.

2.Magnesium: The best forms for sleep are Magnesium Glycinate or NeuroMag (Magnesium Threonine).

II. Condition Specific Treatments:

1.Suspect High Cortisol (High Stress Hormones)

1.Consider Salivary Adrenal Hormone Test Kit

2.If High Consider:

2.Indigestion/Heartburn (In Dr. Camp’s experience this is one of the most common over-looked causes of Insomnia in all of his patients)

1.Consider Stool Parasitology to check for

  • H pylori
  • Candida
  • Consider ALCAT test for Food Sensitivities

3. Poor Liver Function

1.Avoid Alcohol, especially high sugar content wine!

2.Consider Organic Acid Testing at Metametrix

3.Consider supplements:

Female Hormone Changes Associated with Insomnia:

1.Low Progesterone: Suspect Low Progesterone if any of the following conditions exist:

  • You experience increased anxiety, insomnia, bloating, or water retention the last 1-2 weeks of your menstrual cycle or
  • You are over the age of 40 and have insomnia that has worsened as you have gotten older

If you are peri-menopausal:  contact Dr. Camp’s office for a lab slip to check your progesterone. If you are pre- menopausal, you should have your level checked ideally on Day 19-21 of your cycle.  Call us at (415) 383-9903

2.Low Estrogens: Suspect Low Estrogens if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Fatigue, Eye Dryness, Vaginal Dryness, Depression
  • You are over the age of 40 and have insomnia that has worsened as you have gotten older

3. Low Growth Hormone: Suspect Low Growth Hormone if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Greater than Age 40
  • Sagging Skin, Loss of Muscle Tone
  • Light Sleep w/ excessive need for sleep
  • Chronic Anxiety for no reason

Male Hormone Changes Associated with Insomnia:

1. Low Progesterone: Suspect low Progesterone if you are male and any of the following exist:

  • You are over 40 and experience nervousness, anxiety, feel irritable or aggressive and generally “tensed.”
  • You have developed male-patterned baldness, abdominal bloating and weight game, are overweight.
  • Superficial, light and/or nervous sleep

2. Low Testosterone: Suspect low testosterone levels if you are male and over 40 (however it can happen in men as young as 30) and the following exist:

  • Behavior changes such as irritability, nervousness, indecisiveness, reduced self-confidence and initiative, and lack of mental firmness.  New onset of depression, anxiety and memory loss.  Classically, a reduced sex drive.
  • Physical changes such as reduced body hair, smaller muscles and reduced exercise endurance, premature aging, flat hair, male pattern balding, dry eyes, pale face, and overweight or increased abdominal obesity.
  • Disturbed sleep

3. Low Growth Hormone: Suspect low growth hormone if any of the following exist:

  • Greater than Age 40
  • Sagging Skin, Loss of Muscle Tone
  • Light Sleep w/ excessive need for sleep
  • Chronic Anxiety for no reason
  • Not feeling rested after getting enough sleep.

*For all male and female hormone deficiency concerns as a cause of sleep disturbances, please set up an appointment and/or get the appropriate labs from us for replacement therapy to improve your sleep.  We are experts in this line of medicine.

Sleep Hygiene and EMF’s

There is now an entire body of evidence suggesting that habits prior to sleep (such as TV watching in bed) and exposure to EMF’s (such as having a cell phone next to your head while you sleep) can have serious effects on your sleep.  The following is a link to an article reviewing appropriate sleep hygiene habits that will improve your sleep:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/02/secrets-to-a-good-night-sleep.aspx

In general, the following habits will improve your chances of a good night’s sleep:

  • Do not watch TV or work on the computer an hour before going to bed
  • TV’s and video games should be placed outside the bedroom.
  • Avoid stimulating foods and drinks before bedtime such as alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine.
  • Do not engage in vigorous exercise or activity in the late evening.
  • Create a soothing sleep routine to promote sleep.  Examples include:  take a lavender aromatherapy bath by candle light before bed or try reading for the hour prior to bed instead of watching TV or working on the computer, and always avoid stressful conversations and situations several hours prior to bedtime if possible.

Avoiding Electro-Magnetic-Frequency’s in the bedroom is another important strategy to consider.  The evidence suggests that exposure to high levels of EMF’s may cause headaches, fatigue, nervousness, and a host of health problems including insomnia.  Here is a second link if you would like to read more about this:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/02/21/are-you-sleeping-in-a-dangerous-electrically-polluted-bedroom.aspx

The following strategies will help reduce bedroom EMF’s:

  • Unplug all electrical devices in your bedroom while sleeping.
  • Put your cell phone on “airplane mode,” leave it in a different room or turn it off altogether.
  • Avoid digital clocks on the bedside table.
  • Mattresses with metal coiling may conduct electricity from other sources exposing you to high levels of EMF’s.

The evidence suggesting the health and sleep risks of EMF’s is gaining.  Do not ignore electrical devices in your bedroom as a source of insomnia, and instead find ways to reduce them or remove them.

Brain Neurotransmitters

Science is uncovering new information about the importance of brain neurotransmitters.  It is a constantly developing field of medicine.  Neurotransmitters are specialized cells in the body and brain that carry specialized electrical information between neurons or nerves.  These specialized messages initiate the cells to do specific activities or they may signal specific neural pathways.

There are both excitatory neurotransmitters that cause energy and motivation and rev up your brain and system, and there are inhibitory neurotransmitters that cause sleep, calm, and relaxation.

Elevated levels of excitatory neurotransmitters at the wrong time can lead to sleep disturbances.  So, for example, elevated levels of adrenalin when you are stressed out will excite the brain and nerves making sleep difficult.  Other excitatory neurotransmitters include histamine, norepinephrine, and glutamate.  Ideally, these neurotransmitters are at high levels during the day and at low levels during the night.

Conversely, low levels of the inhibitory, calming neurotransmitters during the evening will lead to sleep disturbances as well.   Calming, inhibitory neurotransmitters include serotonin, GABA, Taurine, and glycine to name a few.  These neurotransmitters ideally will be at lower levels during the day supporting wakefulness, and they will be at higher levels during the evening and night helping to induce sleep.

The delicate balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters are also elemental to the production of melatonin—a key hormone for sound sleep.  Around bedtime, the drop in excitatory neurotransmitter levels and a rise in inhibitory levels signal the production of melatonin.  During the night, low levels of excitatory transmitters and melatonin are what the body needs for deep, restful sleep.

Exercise

Regular exercise is an important factor contributing to restful sleep.  30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-4 times a week as a minimum requirement will help cause relaxation and sleep.

Timing of when you exercise appears to be important.  The worst time to exercise would be right before bed or anytime after 7 p.m.  In this case, it would be too stimulating.  Avoid!

The best time to exercise to promote sleep appears to be late afternoon or very early evening anytime prior to 6 or 7 p.m.  This is because the exercise will raise your body temperature.  Body temperature changes are intricately related to the brain neurotransmitter production and balance described above.  As your body temperature cools down over several hours after exercising, calming neurotransmitters begin to get produced in relation to the body temperature change.

Exercising in the morning is another good time to exercise, but will not have the same sleep inducing properties as the late afternoon.  Exercise in the morning will promote a reduction in stress and a sense of well being which overall will benefit your sleep.

 

Concluding Remarks

Lack of optimal sleep is a common complaint at our practice, and with good reason!  Sleep deprivation is a known factor in most chronic health problems including cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity, fatigue, and immune problems including cancer.

With an accurate history and appropriate labs, practitioners of functional medicine such as Morgan Camp MD and Associates can discover the cause of your insomnia on a hormonal and biochemical level.  Lifestyle changes may be necessary as well.  If you would like a more thorough investigation of the cause of your insomnia, please make an appointment for a thorough assessment!

Optimal sleep is key to feeling vibrant and healthy!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates

Articles

Low Dose Antigen Therapy

In Dr. Morgan Camp,Low Dose Antigen (LDA) on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , ,

ALLERGY AND FOOD SENSITIVITY TREATMENT AVAILABLE

Have seasonal allergies and asthma got you down?  Are food sensitivities giving you gas, bloating and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms?  Feeling fatigued from all the nasal congestion?  Eczema or psoriasis making “shorts weather” unsightly?  Tired of trying to find a laundry detergent that doesn’t make you sneeze?

We are proud to announce that we will now offer Low Dose Allergen (LDA) Immunotherapy Therapy at our practice to help you with all your allergy symptoms!  We want nothing more for you (and ourselves) than to have freedom from those annoying allergy complaints.

LDA is a revolution in allergy relief.   Safe and convenient, with no risk of anaphylaxis, LDA is cost effective and may help you get the long term relief you’ve been looking for in an allergy treatment.

LOW DOSE ANTIGEN THERAPY (LDA THERAPY)

(Frequently Asked Questions)

What is it? Low dose antigen (LDA) therapy is a cutting edge immunotherapy for the reduction and removal of the allergic response to over 300 allergens.   The allergens LDA is formulated to treat include inhalant pollens, dust and mites, fungi, yeast, molds, foods, food additives, pets and dander, common chemicals and perfumes, and formaldehyde—almost any allergen you may have.

Why should I consider LDA therapy?  LDA therapy is useful for the treatment of:

  • Hay fever and seasonal allergies.
  • Food sensitivities and inflammatory gut problems related to food sensitivities.
  • Mold and fungus sensitivities.
  • Fatigue related to allergies.
  • Eczema, psoriasis, and various dermatitis conditions related to allergies.
  • Chemical sensitivities such as perfumes, chemicals, formaldehyde, and soaps.
  • Mood disorders such as ADD and ADHD when they are related to allergens.

 

It’s safe, convenient, and very effective.

How is LDA prescribed?  LDA is mixed at a compounding pharmacy and is given by intradermal injection here at the office once every 2 months.   You will have to come into the office to receive your shots.  The compounded LDA mixture will be sent to our office once a month, and you will have 1-2 weeks from it’s arrival at our office for you to schedule a time to come in and receive your injection.

To eradicate your allergies completely, most people will need 6-12 shots (1-2 years of treatment depending on the severity of your symptoms).  Occasionally, there are patients who require very infrequent booster shots.   A large percentage of patients will get immediate relief from the first injection.

How is LDA formulated?  LDA is made with an enzyme mixture containing an extremely low dose of over 300 allergens and beta-glucoranidase.  The enzyme mixture acts as a lymphokine, better signaling the immunizing effects of the allergens.  LDA induces the production of “activated” T-suppressor cells.  T-cells have a half-life of about 60 days; therefore, LDA can create a much longer lasting desensitization than the conventional immunotherapy used in the USA.  Patients generally need fewer allergy medications immediately and avoidance of the allergens becomes much less necessary.

Will I get relief right away?  It is common for patients with simple allergic symptoms like hay fever and seasonal allergies to get immediate relief.   However, the FULL benefit of LDA will take longer.  Patients with multiple and severe allergies may take 3-8 shots to get relief.

All patients will need a minimum of 6-8 shots for long lasting and full benefit with some needing as many as 12 doses.  It is very rare for a patient to have no response

Additionally, for foods that cause adverse reactions, like milk and wheat, usually take the longest time to desensitize completely.

What should I expect after the injections?  The response to LDA has two distinct phases after an injection:

  1. Immediate Reaction:  An immediate temporary “cure” of symptoms may result.  This may begin immediately after the first treatment and usually should last 2-5 weeks.  One may experience this for the first several treatments.  The first shot that should “work”—at least to some degree—for most patients will be either the first, second or third.  A positive response to the first injection occurs on an average about 70% of the time, a neutral response about 23%, and a poor response about 7%.  Response rates generally improve with subsequent injections.

 

  1. Delayed Action:  This should begin after 3-4 weeks (when the   lymphocytes mature) and may last to some degree for 2-4 months at first, then much longer later on in treatment.  This response begins usually between the sixth and eighth treatment, when there may be no apparent immediate response to the shot, but as lymphocytes mature, the positive effects are noted.   Patients may complain for 3 weeks after a treatment, only to find their shot “kicks in,” almost like magic, at about 3-4 weeks.

 

Do I need to worry about an anaphylaxis reaction?  No, there has NEVER been an anaphylactic reaction to LDA shots in the USA since it’s inception in 2002.

I have a true peanut allergy:  are these injections safe and effective for me?  Yes, true food allergies (IgE-mediated), such as life-threatening reactions to shellfish and peanut, do not exclude you from safely using this therapy.

Is it safe to take all my current supplements and medications during the treatment?  LDA treatments require very specific guidelines for the use of medications and supplements.  You may be required to discontinue some of your medications, soaps, shampoos, lotions and supplements for a brief amount of time, and, in some cases, a longer  time before, during, and after the injection.  At your initial appointment with our Nurse Practitioner, you will be given instructions specific to your supplement and medication regimen.

Additionally, there may dietary changes for the three days surrounding your injection that will improve your chances of the injection being effective.

I’m moving to a different state in 2 months, should I still get the injections?  No, never plan to start LDA unless you’re willing to be treated for 12 months before you might see lasting results.

 

How do I get started?

IT’S EASY!

1) Set an appointment with either Dr. Camp or Nurse Practitioner, Marya Grosse, prior to the injection to discuss the protocol.  This appointment can be in person or on the phone.

2) Follow up with your injection as soon as 3 Days later.

3) Repeat your injection every 2 months for 1 year!

BE ALLERGY FREE!

Here is a link to an article explaining LDA from Dr. Shrader, the MD responsible for making this treatment available in the US:

http://www.townsendletter.com/April2012/allergen0412.html

 

See you soon,

Morgan Camp and Marya Grosse

Articles

The Master Hormone: Human Growth Hormone

In Bio-Identical Hormones,Dr. Morgan Camp on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , ,

The Master HormoneHuman Growth Hormone

Feeling fatigued?  Having difficulty losing weight?  Is your abdomen getting larger?  Surprised to find you have high cholesterol when your entire life it has been normal?  So you say you can’t sleep, huh?  Not feeling rested in the a.m.?  Any of these symptoms may be a sign off lowered Human Growth Hormone Levels.  In this newsletter we will help you understand what Human Growth Hormone is and what options you have to keep your body in balance.

 

Growth Hormone:  The Master Hormone

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is one of the most important of human hormones.  Human Growth Hormone creates feelings of health and vitality.  It effects almost every system of the body, and a Growth Hormone deficiency will cause all sorts of common complaints seen in aging such as increased abdominal fat, exercise intolerance, decreased muscle mass, reduced vitality, increased lipids and cholesterol, osteoporosis, increased risk of dementia, fatigue, increased wrinkling, a reduction of mental clarity, and even poor sleep.  

In this article, I hope to review what growth hormone is, what symptoms might reflect a HGH deficiency, how it is used in replacement therapy, and how it might benefit you.    Be sure to read the section on lifestyle habits, supplements and prescriptions that can boost this precious hormone!

What is Growth Hormone?

Human Growth Hormone is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland, a pea sized structure at the base of the brain.   The hormone is most abundant in your first 2 decades of life.  Indeed, Growth Hormone, as the name suggest, is responsible for spurring growth in children and adolescents.  Without Growth Hormone, you would never grow and develop in height and stature in a normal way.

But Human Growth Hormone is necessary for many more functions than just growth and development.  It is implicated in helping to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and heart function.  It is indicated in the proper function of every human organ.   Cosmetically, it is important for keeping youthful looking skin, avoiding fat accumulation on your back and in your abdomen, and is suggested to give people a youthful glow.   In terms of mental and emotional health, Growth Hormone deficiency is theorized to contribute to depression, memory loss, and a loss of vitality.  In other words, optimal levels of Growth Hormone help keep us mentally fit and energetic.

Is It Aging or Low Growth Hormone?

Human Growth Hormone reaches it’s height of production around puberty, and slowly it’s production starts to decline as we age starting around age 20.  Each decade represents a drop in HGH production anywhere from 10-14% of baseline depending on a person’s lifestyle and genetics.  Therefore, a 20 year old may produce up to 5 times more GH than someone at age 60.  Since GH is known to reduce fat and increase muscle mass, it is no surprise that people are fitter and more athletic in their youth.  Once again, the symptoms of aging are simply a reflection of decreased hormone production—including HGH.

When is Growth Hormone Produced?

Human Growth Hormone is produced in spurts with the largest production (1) during sleep and (2) after a work out.  One of the largest spurts occurs while sleeping.  If you do not sleep well during the early morning hours, you may miss this crucial GH spurt.    Night shift workers notoriously are low in GH since they miss this nocturnal surge in GH.

What are the Clinical Symptoms of Human Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Since HGH effects so many different body systems, there are multiple symptoms that may suggest an adult deficiency.   Here is a partial list of most likely symptoms you may experience with this hormonal deficiency as you age:

  • Cardiovascular symptoms may include exercise intolerance due to reduced heart muscle contraction and reduced cardiac output, abnormal lipid panels such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and an increase in LDL, as well as an increased blood pressure.
  • Abnormal body composition will include an increase in visceral and abdominal fat, decreased bone density leading to an risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength and muscle size, decreased lean body mass, and an overall increase in fat mass.
  • Physical Symptoms will include a significant lack of energy and increased fatigue, decreased sexual desire, a sense of muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping is a common complaint, and let’s not forget weight gain secondary to reduced muscle mass and increased fat composition.
  • Psychological Symptoms of HGH deficiency are some of the worst.  Patients will complain of social withdrawal and shyness.  Some may feel an increased nervousness or social anxiety.  Most find less of an interest in socializing leading to decreased social contact.  Common psychological complaints include sadness, depression, and feelings of hopelessness.
  • Neurocognitive Symptoms include a reduction in memory, a patient may complain that they feel like their brain moves slower or that they do not feel as alert.
  • Cosmetic Signs include increased wrinkles, particularly on the forehead, drooping areas of body fat and tissue such as the upper thighs, increased fat pads on the back, notable abdominal fat, and reduced definition and tone of arms and legs.

Obviously, the general theme of growth hormone deficiency symptoms could be described as a reduced sense of overall vitality.   Whether it’s a slower mental processing, exercise intolerance, feelings of fatigue or reduced sexual desire, growth hormone deficiency seems to define “getting older.”  If you feel like you currently have many of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Camp HERE for a complete work up or call us, (415) 383-9903 for a lab slip to start the evaluation.

Improving Your Growth Hormone Production:  Lifestyle Changes, Prescriptions, and Supplements that Will Help:

No newsletter would be complete without a list of lifestyle choices you can make to improve your own health.  When it comes to improving your Growth Hormone (GH) levels, here are a few of the best strategies!

  • Avoid carbohydrates and alcohol in the evening:  Carbohydrates and alcohol both contribute to a decrease in your GH production.  These foods cause a spike in insulin which interacts with your ability to produce this important hormone.  Since one of the largest spurts of GH production occurs while sleeping, eating simple carbohydrates and alcohol, like pasta with a glass of wine in the evening, is one of the surest ways to interrupt production of this precious hormone.  Following more of a Paleo diet at dinner time—eating protein and veggies only– will improve your GH production, stabilize your blood sugars, and reduce weight gain.  If you didn’t have enough reasons to reduce your carbohydrate intake, here is one more!
  • Sleep hygiene:  ahhhhhhh….sleep…..it not only makes you feel great, it’s important for every system in the body.  One of the reasons it’s so important is the spurt in GH that is produced when you sleep.  If you are not sleeping well, or are getting to bed frequently after midnight, you may be missing this important wave of hormone production.  Some tips for getting good sleep include: routinely getting to bed before 10, turning off TV’s and computers an hour before you hit the pillow and start calming down your nervous system with a good book or a hot bath, avoiding stimulants like chocolate and caffeine in the evening, and dimming the lights at nightfall. Televisions should be removed from bedrooms. Your body is intimately tied to light and the solar day.  In modern times, most of us don’t “get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun,” but taking time to mimic these patterns—even by just dimming the lights—can be important to getting some good shut eye!  Some people are extremely sensitive to electrical frequencies in their house.  If you think you are sensitive to EMF’s, you may need to unplug appliances, sleep without a bright alarm clock next to your bed, and turn your cell phone off.
  • Important supplements:

1.Melatonin: Supplementing with melatonoin will encourage sleep and encourage growth hormone production at night.    Start with a low dose such as 0.2 mg prior to bedtime.  You may order melatonin HERE

2.Vitamin D: Vitamin D is known to improve athletic performance.  How does it increase your HGH?  Vitamin D increases the number of fast twitch muscle fibers.  These muscle fibers are the ones implicated in the production of human growth hormone during your work outs.   We recommend following your levels with a lab test to make sure your levels are optimal.  Order your Vitamin D HERE.

3.Inner Power Supplement Powder: This arginine supplement is easy to use and works synergistically when taken prior to either sleep or a work out.  Mix one tablespoon in 4 ounces of water prior to bedtime for best results.  Will potentiate the use of sermorelin a well.  To order Inner Power, please click HERE

  • Prescription Options: 

(1) Replacement w/Tev-Tropin or  (2) Stimulation w/ Sermorelin:  In our office we use Tev-Tropin for actual replacement hormone.  This is an injectable prescription that replaces your HGH with Tev-Tropin.  A second option is the use of Sermorelin.  Sermorelin is a Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone that will stimulate your pituitary to release more of your own Growth Hormone.  The great thing about sermorelin is that it has little to no side effects.

  • Exercise: For those still waiting to start your exercise program, maybe this will give you the motivation you need!  High intensity exercise is proven to increase a person’s 24 hour secretion of GH by more than double!  Not just any type of exercise will do as interval training is the best form of exercise for increasing your GH.  Interval training is a process where the intensity of exercise is maximized for a time frame, then reduced to a regular aerobic pace.  This pattern is repeated over a 15 minute time frame.  So, for example, let’s say you are out walking–interval training would be where you walk for 2 minutes then sprint for 30 seconds.  Repeat this interval 5-8 times and you’ve got interval training.   You can do it with walking, running, elliptical machine, and with the bicycle–any exercise that uses the large muscle groups of the buttocks and legs.  Interval training will cause your muscles to burn usually by the 5th interval.   This burning in medical terms is called reaching “the lactate threshold.”    It is this burn during interval training that appears to increase GH production.  One benefit to this exercise is that you no longer have to work out for 45 minutes.  Do a 5 minute warm up, do your intervals, then do a 5-10 minute cool down and you will be done!  It is the intensity of the interval training (such as sprinting) that seems to be the key to GH release.  If you would like to read more on this phenomenon, you may purchase Phil Campbell’s book entitled “Ready, Set, Go!”
  • Avoid high glycemic foods and insulin surges: Once again, sugars and spiking insulin and insulin resistance will be a hazard to your health.  Sugars and insulin absolutely reduce your GH production.  So, no simple carbs in the evening and basically, avoiding processed food for most or your meals will make a big difference in your GH production.  In fact, to maximize your interval training as discussed above, you should avoid sugar—any type of sugar—for two hours after the exercise to avoid interrupting the sequence of hormones and pro-hormones that will increase your GH production.   The benefits of eliminating processed white sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrup from your diet are never-ending!  Production of GH is no exception!  Skip the sodas, cookies, pastas and bread and start getting your health back!
  • Lose weight, particularly abdominal fat: Abdominal fat is implicated in the development of diabetes and cardiovascular risk for heart attack, increased blood pressure and stroke risk.  It is advantageous for all of us to attempt to reduce our fat ratio in our abdomens.   Abdominal fat acts like its own endocrine tumor producing the wrong amounts of the wrong hormones, and is implicated in leptin and insulin resistance.  Any attempt to reduce this fat whether by overall weight loss or walking if you aren’t in good enough fitness for interval training just yet, will help reduce your risks and improve your GH production.  If you need help losing weight, please set up an appointment to discuss your options with Dr. Camp or Marya Grosse NP by calling our office, (415) 383-9903 or clicking HERE to log into your online account with Dr. Camp.

How Does a Patient get Screened for Growth Hormone Deficiency?  Labs:

  • IGF-1: Your IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor 1) mirrors your GH levels and is a good reflection of your general GH production.  Optimal levels are well over 200.   We may take 2 of these tests to demonstrate serial low IGF-1 results before treating you with GH.
  • GH Stimulation Test: This is a slightly more complicated test which carries some risks and is therefore not used that often.  For this test you will fast 10-12 hours over night and get a baseline blood test.  Then you will be given glucagon which should stimulate GH production.   After the glucagon, you will get a series of blood tests to see if GH was produced.  This test shows us if your pituitary is able to produce enough GH.  If you fail to produce GH during the stimulation test, then you are certainly a candidate for GH replacement.
  • 24 Hour Urine Test: The 24 hour urine test is our favorite for identifying most hormonal deficiencies.  The urine test gives you an exact amount of hormone or hormone byproducts created over a 24 hour period and eliminates the need for guesswork.  We can best diagnose thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, adrenal, and testosterone hormonal levels with this test, and Growth Hormone is no exception.

Concluding Remarks

The research suggests that this HGH is vital for reducing multiple health risks and complaints associated with aging.  Patients who receive GH replacement have been shown in the research to have reduced risks of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, improved inflammatory markers, healthier body composition, less fatigue, and better mental acuity.

If you are concerned about any of these health problems and are interested in assessing your own growth hormone production, please do not hesitate to set up an appointment with Dr. Camp for a thorough assessment!  We wish all of you health and happiness!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates

Articles

Cold and Flu Season: How to stay Healthy!

In Cold & Flu Prevention,Dr. Morgan Camp on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , ,

It’s Almost Cold and Flu Season:  How to Stay Healthy!

The darker and colder days of winter are almost upon us!  And, while holiday fun is something many of us look forward to, unfortunately, this time of year also means a surge in colds and flu!  While friends, family and co-workers may be hacking away around you, you CAN stay healthy!  If you do catch a bug, we have the information you need and an effective supplement plan to greatly minimize the damage!  We want to get you ahead of the curve so you can stay healthy this season.  Following is a review of lifestyle and diet habits that may prevent colds and flus as well as a list of supplements to knock it out if you do get an infection.  It’s great to have at least some of these supplements on hand at home as many are most effective literally at the first sign or couple of hours after exposure or symptoms. Get your supplements today so that you and your family are prepared for cold and flu season! Read on!

General Prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent catching a cold or flu.  With a healthy lifestyle and diet, you can prevent almost any acute infectious illness.  If you missed last month’s newsletter on Adrenal health, please review now by clicking HERE as protecting your adrenal health is an important key to staying healthy.   Here is our list of your top lifestyle and foods that are infection squashers!!!!!!

Frequent Hand Washing:  Many experts agree and it is well documented that frequent hand washing prevents the spread of infectious organisms, both viral and bacterial.  If someone is sick at home or at work, preventing hand to nose/mouth transmission of the infectious agent is your first big block to acquiring the illness.   Effective hand washing does not necessitate chemical soaps.  It DOES necessitate 10-15 seconds of soaping and rubbing hands together firmly and rinsing in warm water.  Count the seconds.  It will feel long at first.  Do this as frequently as needed.  If you are surrounded in an enclosed environment (home, work, court, Target, wherever!), hand washing every hour or more would be appropriate!

Avoid Hand to Nose/Mouth Contact:  Handwashing is a part of avoiding spreading infection, but so it avoiding touching infected items that someone sick may have touched.  Avoid sharing the following with sick people: sharing pens, utensils, cups, door handles, elevator buttons, and almost anything you can think of that multiple people touch in a public environment.  Use your elbow to press elevator buttons in public areas during cold season (I do this year-round).   If you must touch an infected public door handle or other infected item, wash your hands as soon as possible and avoid touching your hands to your face until you do so.

Keep Your Vitamin D Optimal:  Keeping your Vitamin D levels in an optimum level is an effective way of preventing colds and flus.  It is not a simple coincidence that people contract far less of these infections during the summer.  As many of you know, vitamin levels naturally increase during increased exposure to the sun.  Vitamin D enhances immune function and is a primary hormone for improved immune function and cold and flu prevention.

Optimize Sleep: We all have heard about the benefits of sleep.  Most of us hardly function if we miss out on more than 1 or 2 nights of good sleep.  Sleep is when your body repairs and rejuvenates.  It’s critical for healthy immune, adrenal, hormonal, neurologic, brain and gastrointestinal function.  If you are able to get regular, deep sleep, you will have a head start on a strong immune system for preventing colds and flus.  Start creating a sleep routine that supports a good nights sleep.  Turn off all TV’s, computers, game devices, and bright lights at least an hour ahead of your expected sleep time.   For a full read on sleep and how to improve it, please click HERE to read our article on Sleep.

Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet:  Coconut oil is fast becoming the latest in good health.  There are many good reasons for this:  coconut oil promotes weight loss, helps reduce insulin, may improve metabolism, and what’s important for our topic here is that coconut oil has many anti-infectious properties.   It is useful in the treatment of gut candida infections, but it also has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.   While vitamin D and other supplements go into my suitcase for travel trips, coconut oil does too.  It’s useful for scrapes and burns, improving skin, is anti-inflammatory in general, but I add it into my tea or coffee when traveling for added defense against colds and flus.   If you start using it regularly in your cooking, you will get this added benefit year round.

Include Garlic, Onion, and Shallots in Your Cooking:  Onions and garlic and their relatives (leeks, shallots) are super foods to keep in your kitchen this fall and winter to prevent illness.  Both onions and garlic are in the Allium vegetable family and they are rich in sulfides and sulfoxides.  These sulfers are potent anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial elements.  Even some antibiotic resistant strains of staph bacteria have been shown to respond well to garlic.   Garlic is a particularly potent anti-infective.

Garlic loses some of it’s anti-infective properties when cooked.  Unfortunately, raw garlic makes many people nauseous.  I discovered in college the best way to get raw garlic down without nausea was to create a raw garlic-butter or oil toast.  Here’s how to make your gluten free toast with some raw garlic butter or garlic olive oil or coconut oil.  Start by melting 2-3 teaspoons of organic, raw butter or olive oil or coconut oil over low heat in a saucepan.  Meanwhile toast your gluten free bread and chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.  When the butter is just melted but not hot, add the garlic and immediately put the garlic oil or butter on the toast and eat.  You will have a raw garlic toast treat that will not make you nauseated! Do this 2-3 times per day at the onset of a cold!

Regular Exercise:  Exercise is not just good for mood, your waistline, and your cardiovascular health.  It is great for improving your immune system and reducing your chances of getting colds and flus.  Research continually confirms that it does not need to be intense or exhausting for you to reap the immune-boosting benefits.

Some findings show that moderate exercise such as 20-30 minute walks several times a week reduces the number of colds and flus a person will get.   Research shows that regular exercise boosts both the number and the aggressiveness of natural killer cells by as much as 50%-300%.  These immune cells are one of your initial defenses that battle infectious intruders.

In another study in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for 30 minutes every day for a year had half the number of colds as women who did no exercise at all.  Another study found that T-Cells—a white blood cell that fights infections–were also increased with a simple walking program.

Get moving to avoid colds and flus.  Start your walking program today!

What To Do After An Exposure

Ok, so you’ve been taking your vitamin D, washing your hands, getting lots of sleep, and eating all kinds of garlic and coconut oil, but now you are certain you had close contact with a very sick person and got exposed. You’re even feeling a little fatigued as if illness may soon ensue.  No worries.  It only means it’s time to start taking the correct anti-virals and immune support at the correct dosing.  All of these products are available at our online store.  Buy a few today so that you are prepared at the first sign of exposure! Click the highlighted word to order these supplements from our online store so that you are prepared at home!  Here’s your infection battle plan:

  • Vitamin D3:  Start loading our Liquid-D3 by Rx Vitamins immediately after exposure.  You should take 1 dropperful per day x 3 days, then 5 drops per day for one month.  Then re-check serum blood levels
  • Argentyn 23:  This bio-active silver hydrosol product Argentyn 23 is available through licensed professionals only.  It is a refined and pure colloidal silver which enhances immune function and is used as an anti-infectious agent, killing various viruses and bacteria.  Take 1 teaspoon 3 times per day.  Hold in mouth for 1-2 minutes then swallow.
  • Vitamin C:  Take 3,000 milligrams 3 times per day of our Vitamin C Powder by AllergyResearchGroup.  Vitamin C has long been heralded as a strong anti-viral at therapeutic dosages.  Our powder is highly absorbable to help knock out that infection!  This dosage may give you some loose stool, a normal side effect. You may decrease your dose to 2 grams 3 x per day if this side effect is bothersome.  However, loose stool may enhance your healing ability by detoxing and improving liver and gut health which will improve your chance of fighting of the exposure, an added bonus actually.
  • Selenium:  Selenium is touted as being a big gun against the flu virus specifically. Take 200 mcg per day of our highly absorbable Selenium Solution.
  • Pregnenalone:  Get out your sublingual Pregnenalone to enhance your immune function!  If you read our adrenal health newsletter, you will already understand that cortisol will help improve immunity and fight infection.  Pregnenalone is a pre-cursor hormone that will convert in part to cortisol, boosting your immune system. Take 10 drops sublingually 3 times a day until symptoms resolve.  Be sure to hold the drops under your tongue a full 60 seconds for absorption!

Treating Full Blown Colds and Flus

Below are listed powerhouse supplements that will greatly reduce both the intensity and the duration of your cold or flu.  As soon as you realize your exposure has moved into the infection stage, start the following supplement regimen as soon as possible.   Again, to order click the highlighted product to get directed to our online store for purchase.

  • Vitamin D3:  Increase the amount of Vitamin D3 you take immediately to 1,000 Units per pound of body weight (or 1 drop per kilo per day x 3 days).  Again, ramping up your Vitamin D will quickly increase your immunity.
  • Argentyn 23:  Ramp up the dose of this potent anti-microbial.  Take 2 Tablespoons 3-4 times per day.
  • Virattack:  Add on this powerful herbal mixture.  As the name implies, this mixture is a specifically concocted anti-viral.  Take 1 dropperful 5 times per day.
  • D-Lenolate:  An olive leaf extract formulation, D-Lenolite can be used to remedy many different types of viral infections including colds and flus.  D-Lenolite has many anti-inflammatory properties as well.  Take 1 capsule 3 times per day.
  • Bio-Identical Hydrocortisone:  For those of you currently taking Hydrocortisone as part of your hormone regimen, hydrocortisone is fantastic at improving immune system response and minimizing colds and flus.  Take an extra 5 mg at the onset of symptoms, then take another 5 mg 30-60 minutes later.  You may need to double your regular dose for a few days.

Please see the Cold and Flu Treatment Quick sheet below for a synopsis of these supplement remedies.

Cold and Flu Treatment Qucik Cheat Sheet: 

What to take ASAP after Exposure:

  • Vitamin D3: 1 dropperful per day for 3days, then 5 drops per day for 1 month
  • Argentyn 23: 1 tsp 3 time per day.  Hold in mouth for 1-2 minutes
  • Vitamin C: 3,000mg, 3 times per day
  • Selenium: 200mcg per day
  • Pregnenolone: 10 drops, 3 times per day sublingually until symptions resolve

What to take for Actual Treatment when Sick:  Take immediately at START symptoms.  (This is a very potent infection treatment plan!)

  • Vitamin D3: 1,000 Units per pound of body weight (or 1 drop per Kilo of body weight for 3 days)
  • Argentyn 23: 2 tbsp, 3-4 times per day.  Hold in mouth for 1-2 minutes
  • Virattack: 1 dropperful, 5 times per day
  • D-Lenolate: 1 capsule, 3 times per day
  • Hydrocortisone: Take an extra dose immediately at onset of symptoms, then again 30-60 minutes later.  May need to double dose for a few days.

  

Concluding Remarks

All of us here at Dr. Morgan Camp MD and Associates want to wish you a safe and healthy holiday season!  Get a head-start on your prevention plan today.  Print out and post on your refrigerator the supplement cheat sheet for cold and flus below so the information is practical and handy.  Log in to our online store HERE to get your cold and flu supplement remedy stash together and ready for combat action!

Articles

Adrenal Health

In Adrenal Health,Dr. Morgan Camp on November 12, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , , , ,

Adrenal Health

Are you prone to fatigue?  Do you suffer from insomnia?  Is anxiety interfering with your life?  Do you suffer from feelings of mental fog?  Is getting your coffee in the morning the best part of your day?  Do allergies or asthma bother you?   Ever feel like you have drops in blood sugar that seem sudden or unexplainable?  Do you feel like you have a lack of vitality that keeps you from working out effectively?  Low libido?  You are not alone!  Adrenal-related issues are incredibly common and are one of the primary reasons why people seek help at our practice.

Fall Focus

As the sun moves South and the long, lazy days of summer begin to fade, busy school schedules resume, workloads shift back into gear, and the holidays loom in the foreground.   As stress levels start to rise with these increased demands in your schedule, protecting your adrenal health should be one of your primary fall health goals.  Read on for a discussion on how your adrenal glands function, how they impact your health, and what you can do to keep them functioning well.

Symptoms Of Adrenal Problems

Adrenal problems often pop up after either physical stress–such as a chronic infection or a busy schedule–or after emotional stress such as the death of a loved one or a break up.   After prolonged physical or emotional stress, eventually a person will end up with either symptoms reflecting adrenal imbalances or other health syndromes and diagnoses that are related to adrenal fatigue.

Here are some common symptoms and physical indicators that you having disruptions in your adrenal function.  You only need one or two for us to suspect an adrenal imbalance:

  • Chronic sense of fatigue
  • Unexplained headaches
  • Feeling tired in the morning even after a “good” nights sleep
  • Loss of libido
  • Weight gain
  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • Unable to cope with stressors
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Insomnia or deranged sleep patterns
  • Feeling rundown
  • You may feel most energetic in the evening
  • Low stamina, poor to recover from exercise
  • Difficulty concentrating or frequent “brain fog”
  • Consistent low blood pressure
  • Unexplained anxiety

 

Health problems and diagnoses associated with adrenal imbalances:

  • Food sensitivities or environmental allergies
  • Chronic allergies or asthma
  • Frequent infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic gut infections and inflammation
  • PMS and other debilitating menstrual symptoms such as severe cramping
  • Frequent dizzy spells
  • Low immune function
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Joint pain and muscle pain
  • A diagnosis of “fibromyalgia” or chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Feeling drawn to adrenal stimulants such as coffee, tea, sodas, sugar, nicotine and alcohol
  • Anxiety disorder or depression
  • Any type of tick-borne illness or disease such as Lyme disease or Bartonella

 

Obviously, adrenal complaints are no laughing matter and many of these signs and symptoms can impact not only your physical health and personal well being, but your work performance and relationships.  If you have any of these infections, signs or symptoms, you would be wise to consider testing.

What Are Your Adrenal Glands?

Your adrenal glands are tiny, triangular shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys.  They are responsible for creating and releasing hormones that help you cope with stress, reduce inflammation in the body, regulate sodium and potassium levels in the blood, and stabilize blood sugars.  Most people are familiar with cortisol and epinephrine (or “adrenaline”) as they relate to stress, but most people are not aware that these hormones impact your blood sugars and glucose metabolism as well.  Additionally, cortisol reduces inflammation, helps fight infections, and is critical at optimal levels for creating a sense of vitality and well being.

When you become stressed for any reason whether it be a difficult conversation with someone, a car accident, a stressful day at work or a situation where you may be in danger, your adrenals release epinephrine (adrenaline.)  The adrenaline hormone quickly increases your heart rate, contracts blood vessels, and dilates air passages to give you what’s commonly described as a “fight or flight reaction.”  You may experience this as feeling “super charged” ready for muscular strength or quick thinking.  Your body, in response to this hormone, will quickly burn through any available energy stores, lowering your blood sugar.  Shortly after the adrenaline release, your body will produce cortisol to increase your blood sugar in order to help your body return to homeostasis.

Of course, if you are river rafting and fall off the raft and this reaction occurs, it sets up the perfect environment for you to quickly harness energy and respond to the emergency.  However, if you are garnering this hormonal response multiple times a day due to emotional stress from family responsibilities, emotional turmoil from family dysfunctions or break ups with a partner, work stress, traffic, death of a loved one, or prolonged health problems or social crises, your adrenal glands and entire physical body will soon become exhausted.  This fight or flight reaction was not intended by mother nature to be an all day, everyday event, but intended only for use during true survival emergencies.

Modern day life and pressures set up the perfect opportunity for many people to feel chronically fatigued and “burned out.”  In fact, they are indeed in a form of burn out we diagnose as adrenal fatigue. 

How do I get tested?

Testing for your adrenal health is fairly simple, but it is important that you get the correct tests.    There are 3 ways of collecting information about your adrenal glands:

1.  Salivary Testing

2.  24 Hour Urine Testing

3.  Blood Work

 

Salivary testing:  Salivary testing is considered “The Gold Standard” with regards to adrenal testing, and we will recommend this test to anyone whom we feel may have an adrenal issue underlying their health complaints.  During the salivary test, you will collect your spit into tubes at specific times throughout the day.  Because science knows that healthy adrenals produce a reliable pattern of hormonal output during specific times of the day, this test allows us to measure how well your adrenals are functioning against a healthy standard.

Oftentimes, we can identify the reasons for insomnia or decreased energy levels during specific time periods of the day reflecting the timing of patients’ complaints.  We can also see if you are in a severe state of adrenal fatigue where cortisol levels are bottoming out throughout the day alerting us that there may be other issues going on such as a chronic infection draining the system.

It is critical on the day of the test that you do not have any caffeine and you may not use any other sublingual medications or hormones (such as melatonin, pregnenalone etc) several days prior to and of the testing.  Caffeine and sublingual medications and hormones can disrupt your test results.  It is also important that you choose a day off where you do not have to go to work or deal with any other additional stressors.

24 Hour Urine Test:  The 24 hour urine test is another test that will give us detailed information about your adrenal health.  For this test, you will literally collect all of your urine for a 24 hour time period and send a portion of it to a lab for analysis.  Similar to the salivary test, it is best to do this test on a day where you do not have to work or deal with stressful events that may alter your test results.  Additionally, caffeine use may disrupt the test results.

The 24 hour urine test will give us 24 hour totals of your adrenal hormone derivatives, but will not tell us functional patterns of your cortisol output at specific times during the day.  For most patients, we will recommend the salivary testing first.  The 24 hour urine test is one of the best ways for assessing hormonal imbalances and we often recommend it to assess for a variety of hormonal issues.

Bloodwork:  Bloodwork is the least reliable way to check your adrenals.  Nonetheless, there are some very specific tests that can be done via serum labs that cannot be done on the salivary test.  We may add some adrenal blood tests to confirm or match with the results from your salivary test.

Please call the office for any questions regarding testing.

Treatment of Adrenal Issues, Dietary Guidelines, and Supplements

Get More Sleep and RestToo little sleep causes your adrenal glands to over produce cortisol and adrenaline just to maintain normal bodily functions and energy levels that should be rejuvenated during sleep.   By resting whenever you feel tired, your body will recharge energy levels naturally rather than relying on cortisol and adrenaline to keep you going.  This would include creating a sleep schedule.  Try getting to sleep around the same time every night.  Having erratic sleep schedules that change everyday will quickly tire out your adrenals.  It is also said that sleeping between the hours of 7-9 a.m. can be particularly healing.  Whenever you get the chance, sleep in!  Sleep and rest are a critical component of healing.  You MUST figure out a way to find more time to sleep and relax.

Avoid Intense Exercise:  Intense exercise requires large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol.   Many people experiencing adrenal fatigue notice that after their work outs they feel a dramatic sense of fatigue instead of feeling energized.  If you are in adrenal fatigue, you must tone down your work outs to things like quiet walking, yoga, and gentle swims.   Intense exercise may be something you can go back to doing once you have healed.

Avoid Chemicals, Toxins, and Pesticides:  All of these things will drain your adrenals as your adrenals will attempt to reduce inflammation caused by these products.  Food must be organic, you must avoid chemical inhalents such as paint fumes, and body care products such as toothpaste and shampoos should be organic and made of natural products.  Start looking at labels and buying products that are created without chemicals.

Treat All Chronic Infections:  If you suspect that you have any chronic infection whether it be a virus like Epstein Barr, bacterial like chronic sinusitis, or a long term gut problem like candida or H Pylori, these infections must be correctly treated before you will ever recover.  Because your adrenal glands also function to reduce inflammation and improve immune function, hosting an infectious agent chronically will eventually weaken your adrenals and cause extreme fatigue.  You can take adrenal supplements, sleep, eat the perfect adrenal diet, and reduce all other external stress, but you will not heal until the infection is managed correctly.  Please come see us for testing if you suspect any type of infection.

Avoid Caffeine and Other Stimulants:  Caffeine and other stimulants such as nicotine will artificially spike your cortisol and adrenalin hormones adding an extra work-load for your adrenal glands.  This will contribute to fatigue.  Taper off slowly.  If you find that you truly cannot stop caffeine completely, reduce it to the lowest possible amount!  Your adrenals will thank you!

Avoid Alcohol, Refined Sugars and Grains:  When you drink alcohol or eat refined sugars and grains, your blood sugars rise quickly. This prompts your pancreas to release insulin to reduce your blood sugars.  When your blood sugar drops too low, your adrenals are forced to produce cortisol to bring blood sugar levels back up to normal.    This blood sugar merry-go-round is one of the contributing factors to adrenal fatigue.  To heal, your diet must eliminate most sugars, breads, grains, and packaged carbohydrates.  Alcohol is metabolized in the body and cells just like sugar, so alcohol is best eliminated for healing as well.

Include Small Amounts of Complex Carbohydrates:  While the Paleo diet is definitely a diet we recommend for many patients, people who are already in adrenal fatigue will feel miserable in the initial stages of treatment on a strict paleo diet that eliminates all carbohydrates.  Instead, people with weak adrenals will need to include a small amount of complex carbohydrates in each of their meals that are low glycemic.

Low glycemic carbohydrates will not spike blood sugars.  Instead, complex carbohydrates will slowly release a steady amount of sugar into the blood stream over several hours as the stomach breaks down the long chained food and chemical bonds.  These carbohydrates when eaten with meat, vegetables, and some healthy fat will help stabilize your blood sugars and eliminate surges and drops in sugar levels so your adrenals won’t have to work so hard at maintaining them.  Our favorite recommendations are small amounts of yams or quinoa with your meals both for their low glycemic index and for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Eat More Healthy Fats:  Including healthy fats in your diet will be very important for  adrenal healing.  In fact, healthy fats—not carbohydrates–should be your primary energy source.   In particular, you may want to include coconut oil in every meal.  Coconut oil is a medium chained fatty acid and has the very unusual property of being the only fat that your liver can turn into useable energy in the bloodstream instead of going straight to fat storage.  Therefore, while you eliminate your sugars and grains, coconut oil will help keep you from feeling fatigued.  Including healthy fats in your meals will help stabilize blood sugars, even out moods, and keep you feeling satiated.  Many experts are now concluding that having larger amounts of healthy fats in your diets and far less carbohydrates are a key to optimal health.  Adrenal health is included.  Pour on the olive oil, use coconut oil, add some avocado to your meals, and make sure all meats and poultry are organic and grass fed to avoid toxins and chemicals that will also weaken your adrenals.

Eat Lots of Greens and Healthy Salt:  Your adrenal glands produce a hormone called aldosterone that regulates sodium and potassium levels.   Many of the minerals found in deep leafy greens and in a healthy salt (such as Himalayan or sea salt) will help support your adrenal glands by avoiding highs and lows in these important nutrients.  Having healthy levels of salt is actually critical to adrenal recovery with some experts recommending having warm water with a teaspoon of sea salt 2-3 times per day as part of their adrenal treatment plan.  Cook up your greens and heap on the salt!

Supplements and Support:  There are a wide variety of bio-identical hormones and supplements that may help you overcome adrenal fatigue—too many to fully discuss here.   After testing, we can prescribe the correct dose and combination of supplements that fit your health needs.   Please click HERE to log into your account with our office.  Once you log in you can set up an appointment to discuss which one’s might be right for you, or call the office at (415)383-9903.

Stress Management

Stress management will be a crucial piece to your healing, and it is something we cannot do for you.   While we can certainly recommend lifestyle changes, medications and supplements to support your adrenal glands, in the end, learning to handle stress effectively and arranging your life to be less stressful may be the central task for long-term wellness and healing.

Meditation and BreathingResearch has shown us that meditation and breathing exercises can greatly improve stress responses and common health problems such as anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue.   They do not have to take up huge amounts of time in your day to be effective.  For example, the simple exercise of taking 3 deep, slow belly breaths can change your day right in that moment. Learning to get in touch with some of these techniques will be very important as you learn to control your emotional and stress responses.

Dr. Andrew Weil MD, whom you may be familiar with, has been a pioneer in integrative health for decades.  He has long been a proponent of teaching patients (and their healthcare providers) breathing exercises to improve health and is emphatic that food, sleep, and supplements are not enough to stay healthy.  In fact, meditation and breath work are mandatory for the Physicians and Nurse Practitioners he trains at his integrative medical school in Arizona.   Here is a link to his introduction to breathing exercises from his website: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00520/breathing-basics.html

Dr. Deepak Chopra, also likely someone you are familiar with, stands at the forefront of bringing meditation practices to the masses.   You may have heard of his and Oprah’s “21 Day Meditation Challenges” which are short, free, and intended to bring beginning meditators “into the fold” by creating 12-15 minute daily guided meditations that anyone can do.  To register so that you will be alerted to their next 21 day challenge, click this link: www.chopracentermeditation.com and click “register” at the top right.

There are thousands of internet sites devoted to meditation and spiritual practices.  We are fortunate in the Bay Area to have multiple Buddhist and Zen centers dedicated to teaching meditation that often offer free weekly meditations and meditation trainings to the public.  Spirit Rock is one in Woodacre:  www.spiritrock.org.   For other places closer to you, enter in your google search tool “zen center” and any city, and multiple centers with calendars and events will show in your browser.

We recommend everyone start to integrate breath work or a meditation practice into your health regimen even if for just a few minutes or even seconds each day!

Reducing Stress and Anxiety:  While breathing exercises and/or meditation will be helpful, other things you may need to revise to heal are your work schedules, your living spaces and your relationships.  You will not fully heal until you manage the physical and emotional realities causing your adrenal fatigue.

For example, is your apartment full of mold?  This physical stressor demands a move.  You may never feel well regardless of supplements, food and breathing techniques if you are constantly exposed to this physical toxin.

Are you fighting with your partner?  Maybe some marriage counseling is something that is finally necessary.  Chronic emotional stress such as this will keep your adrenals weak.

Are you having problems at work?  What can you do to make it tolerable?

We literally have had patients that have had to change jobs, move to a different location, or get a divorce to get healthy.  These are extreme cases.  For most of you, there will be strategies and ways you can reduce stress in your day to day life without taking such extreme measures.

Start today by taking a pen and paper and writing down all the things impacting your adrenal glands and nervous system.  Brainstorm solutions and start implementing whichever ones you can.

Concluding Remarks

Adrenal fatigue is one of the most common health problems we see in the office.   If you are undergoing a stressful time in your life or are having some of the symptoms we have listed in this article, please do not wait for the fatigue or other related health problems to get worse.   We can help.   If you feel that you need testing, retesting, or an assessment, please do not hesitate to call us for a full analysis!  Stop suffering and waiting for your health to get worse.  Get the help that you need.  Moreover, whether you are well or feeling fatigued, implement some of these adrenal supporting strategies today and protect your vitality!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates

Articles

Breast Health

In Breast Health,Dr. Morgan Camp on October 1, 2012 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , ,

Breast Health

A Focus on Prevention, Breast Thermography, and what YOU can do to reduce your risk!

For my entire Nurse Practitioner career spanning 15 years, breast cancer and it’s screening controversies have been central issues in my patients’ lives.   In fact, for most women reading this article over the age of 35, breast cancer is a major concern.  The facts on breast cancer explain why.   Here are some general statistics:

  • 1 in 8 women who lives to 85 will develop breast cancer
  • 15% of all breast cancers occur in younger women under age 45.  Breast cancers for this age group tend to be aggressive and grow fast.
  • Breast cancer is, in fact, the leading cause of death for women ages 49-55.

Obviously, this is a statistically scary disease prospect, and most women are ready to do anything to prevent it.  My youngest patient with breast cancer was only 19 years old.  This scared the heck out of me, as I was only 29 years old, and you can bet I went and got my first breast thermogram after that patient visit!  What is a breast thermogram you may ask? This and much more will be covered in the pages ahead, because there is A LOT you can do to prevent this deadly disease!

A Review of Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Seventy per cent of breast cancers are found through breast self exam, NOT mammograms or a health care provider’s exam.   We encourage women to check their breasts and become familiar with their own breast tissue.  This will help women ascertain early discovery of breast lumps and changes.   If you do not know how to check your breasts, please set up a short appointment with me to review.  Here is a list of the most common signs or symptoms of breast cancer that women should be aware of.  They are in no particular order of importance:

  • A change in your breast’s size or shape
  • Pain or tenderness in your breast that is unusual for you
  • A nipple that suddenly becomes inverted
  • Swelling in your armpit that may or may not be painful
  • A breast lump or thickening of your breast tissue that feels unusual or different
  • Any discharge from your breast (that is not related to breast feeding) and particularly if it is bloody
  • Changes on the skin on your breast such as dimpling or indentation
  • Redness or pitting of your breast skin.  These breast changes look similar to the skin of an orange
  • Flaking skin on your nipple

If you notice any of these changes in your breast, please call us immediately for a breast exam

 

Current Protocol for Breast Cancer Detection

The standard of care in the US and most of the world involves one very simple strategy:  mammograms.  There is confusion regarding the current protocol.  The American Cancer Association is still recommending annual mammograms starting at age 40.  The U.S.  Preventative Task Force is recommending that mammograms start at age 50.  Most doctors are practicing  “in the middle” by recommending every other year mammograms after age 40 and every year after age 50.   While the statistic is firm that 70% of breast cancer lumps are detected by women during their own breast self exam, the U.S. Preventative Task Force is NOT recommending women do their own breast exams.  This is all very confusing for women, and rightly so.

The Controversy Surrounding Mammograms

We are lucky to have very educated and aware patients in this practice.  Many of you are already aware that there is a controversy surrounding the safety and efficacy of mammography and that breast thermography is in growing demand as a screening tool.  For those of you who don’t know, I will briefly review the controversies on the use of mammography as THE ONLY screening tool available to women.

  • Ionized Radiation:  Who doesn’t know that ionized radiation is a cancer risk?  All of us are aware of this health FACT.  According to Dr.  Mercola, from pages 3-4 his article “Breast Cancer Breakthrough—Cut your Risk of Death in Half” dated February14, 2011: “It is well known that ionizing radiation increases the cellular mutations that lead to cancer—as mammograms aim a highly focused dose directly at your breasts, thereby increasing your cancer risk!”   He continues:  “Mammograms expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than a chest x-ray, which we know poses a cancer risk.  Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, and often painfully, which could lead to a lethal spread of cancerous cells, should they exist. “ So, should you be concerned that you are radiating your breasts every year during your mammogram?  We certainly worry about it, and so do many other health care providers here and around the country.

The controversy is heating up in Europe as well.  Recently, Peter Gotzsche, director of the independent Nordic Cochrane Collaboration, has been lambasting mammography screening and the risk of radiation.  To read more on him you may read his book, Mammography Screening:  Truth, Lies and Controversy.  He is quoted in an article dated January 23, 2012 from the UK’s The Guardian, as saying:  “Hundreds of millions of women have been seduced into attending screening without knowing it could harm them.  This is a violation of their human rights and is the main reason we have done so much research on mammography screening and also why I have written this book.”   Strong words questioning mammography screening protocols coming from one of the top researchers in the EU.

  • Inability to Screen Women with Dense Breasts Effectively:  It is well known and common knowledge that mammography is not a good screening test for women with dense or fibrocystic breasts.   This is a high percentage of women! They have a high false positive rate leading them to ultrasounds and unnecessary needle biopsies which are both scary and painful.  If you have any question about this fact, just read your mammogram consent form where it will say in plain English that it is not a great screening test for women with dense breasts.  It is on the consent form to protect them from lawsuits and liability should they miss a cancer when they screen dense breasts.  Should women with dense breasts be given other screening options?  We think so.
  • High False Positive Rate:  Mammograms have a high false positive rate leading to unnecessary biopsies and anxiety as well as unnecessary treatment.  In a January 5th, 2012 article in greenmedinfo.com they quote Gotzsche and Nielsen’s 2009 Cochrane review, titled “Screening for breast cancer with mammography” where this problem of false positives is addressed:

Screening led to 30% overdiagnosis and overtreatment, or an absolute risk increase of 0.5%.  This means that for every 2000 women invited for screening throughout 10 years, one will have her life prolonged and 10 healthy women, who would not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be treated unnecessarily (bold type mine).  Furthermore, more than 200 women will experience important psychological distress for many months because of false positive findings.  It is thus not clear whether screening does more good than harm.

It is a scary prospect indeed to think that 10 women out of 2000 will get treated for cancer unnecessarily simply because they followed screening advice.

I want to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR that we are not opposed to mammography and that we will at times recommend it:  it is an important screening tool that will detect tumor structures.  What we do support is the judicious use of this tool and the INCLUSION of other strategies so that women have all their options in preventing breast cancer.

Breast Thermography:  The Screening Tool that is Safe and Effective and Highly Underutilized

Breast thermography, otherwise known as digital infrared thermal imaging, is an alternative screening option for women rarely discussed or offered at conventional doctor offices.  Nonetheless, it has been growing in popularity here and in Europe as more and more women seek out screening methods that don’t radiate their breasts. Additionally, large number of published research studies are showing the benefits of thermography with little, if any, drawbacks.  The facts on thermography lead one to question why this test is not used more often by the medical society at large.   Here are some bullet points on the  pros of using thermograms as an adjunct screening tool:

  • FDA approved since 1982 as an adjunctive screening tool.
  • Patients will get no radiation during the test.
  • It is non-invasive (no injection or touching or squeezing the breast tissue)
  • Women from any age can benefit from the information.
  • Considered the earliest and safest breast cancer screening tool
  • Thermograms are much cheaper than mammograms making them cost effective
  • Thermograms  reveal vital information regarding hormonal effects on breast tissue and generalized inflammation.

What Thermography Measures

Breast thermograms measure infrared heat from your body which can detect signs of breast cancer as early as 10 years in advance of tumor development that neither mammography nor physical exams can assess  The infrared imaging gives the woman and her health care provider vital information about her breasts.  Namely, the level of inflammation she has developing in her breast tissue.  Inflammation is heralded as the start point for most cancer tumor development.

What this means to you is that thermograms can predict the likelihood of your developing breast cancer long before a tumor has formed.  Breast thermograpy gives women ample time—as much as 10 years advanced warning!– to address a preventative plan including lifestyle changes and supplements to reverse their risk of breast cancer.  TEN years!  I highlight this because, who doesn’t want 10 years advanced notice of their risk of cancer?  Who out there does not want to know BEFORE the tumor develops?  Determining your cancer risk before a tumor develops is our goal here, and we recommend thermography to all our patients.

Following is an interview with Donna Scippa, FNP who we refer our patients to for breast thermograms.  Donna uses FDA approved equipment and is passionate about preventing breast cancer.  Read on!

 

Interview with Donna Scippa, FNP, CTT (Certified Thermography Technician)

And a member of the IACT (international association of certified thermographers.) 

(1)   How did you decide to become a Breast Thermographer?

There were a number of reasons, but the most significant was that things  didn’t seem to be a whole lot different in healthcare since my mother died of breast cancer decades ago.  I really wanted to make a difference in the lives of women in a way that increased their chances of survival.  It’s more about prevention for me which is the opposite of conventional breast cancer mammography screenings where we sit there and wait for the cancer to show up instead of doing something proactive.  Thermography was an opportunity to do this type of screening and prevention.  Thermography results often give women the quantitative information that they need to support their healthcare choices and point them in the right direction.  We see their repeat thermograms and inflammation improve as they take their health more seriously after an abnormal thermogram reading.

(2) Why should women get a Thermogram?

Because it is the earliest and safest screening tool that we have, and regardless of age or risk factors or breast tissue including implants—even pregnant and nursing moms—can have this test done with no abnormal side effects or toxic risks.  There is no radiation exposure in this test.

(3) What kind of information do we get from your thermograms?  What    do we see on them and what does it mean?

It shows us areas of excess heat that reflect a state of inflammation.  This could be an early cancer forming, a hormone imbalance such as estrogen dominance, or it could be lymphatic stagnation.  Once your provider receives the results, they can do further testing to determine what is causing this inflammation, and integrative medical practices such yours at Dr. Morgan and Associates have protocols in place for guiding the treatment of abnormal thermograms.  As you know, Marya, there’s a lot women can do to be proactive in protecting their health!

(4) When should women start getting thermograms and why?

Baseline thermograms should start as early as age 20, and be done every 3 years until 30 because it gives valuable info about this young women’s risk and allows us time to give her preventative tools to avoid the development of breast cancer.  At ages 30 and over, it is recommended that women get a thermogram every year so they can get a headstart on any abnormal changes we see going forward.

(5) What should women expect at their thermography appointment?

When they arrive at the office, we review their breast history.  Then we get to the test.  They spend 15 minutes acclimating to a room that’s cooled to about 64 degrees farenheit, disrobed from the waist up.  After acclimating for 15 minutes, I come in the room and we do the photographs which take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.  Then you’re done!  Occasionally, I get asked to do photos of thyroid glands and full body, and that changes the time frames, obviously.  I generally ask women to allow about an hour so that they don’t feel rushed, and they can have their questions answered.

(6) Who reads your photos?

All of my images are read by Dr. William Amalu who is a board certified Thermologist, DC and an engineer with close to 20 years experience in the field.  For more info  www.breastthermography.com.  He is one of the most experienced thermography interpreters in the country.

****[he read my first thermogram I mentioned earlier that occurred 14 years ago!  Even back in 1999 he was considered one of the top thermogram interpreters in the entire United States]

(7) Why do you think conventional medical standards have not included this great screening tool?                                               

I think the biggest reason is that there is too much investment in mammography and an unwillingness to look at the research behind thermography.  Almost a “too big to fail” type of scenario.  The fact of the matter is that mammograms are only 85% sensitive (best case scenario) and even less reliable in women with really dense breasts.  The other issue is that mammograms are ionizing radiation, which we all know causes cancer.   So the bigger question is, why aren’t we finding safer screening tests for women instead of demanding that they radiate their breasts every year?  Why don’t we have 3D ultrasound and thermography available to every woman?  I am not saying that we should never do mammograms.  I am saying that if other tests were available, we could use mammography and it’s radiation more judiciously.

(8) Can a  woman have a normal thermogram and still have cancer?

Thermography is 90% sensitive and specific which means that it could miss about 10% of  cancers.  Most of these will be what we call the “cold” cancers, the Ductal Carcinoma In Situ because these cancers do not require a large blood supply.  Therefore, they tend to be slow growing and do not have the vascularity that would show up on a thermogram.    This is versus mammography, which is 85% specific, a specificity lower than thermography, especially in women with dense breast tissue.  So, overall, breast thermography benefits women as much or more than mammograms.  We are not saying to throw out mammography, but that thermography should be used as an adjunctive screening tool given that women receive ZERO radiation and a higher sensitivity rate.  None of these tests are “stand alone” tests.  They should all be used together.

(9) Anything else you would like our patients to know?

I encourage all women to be proactive about their breast health.   Thermography is one of the easiest ways to get the information you need to help you prevent inflammatory conditions in the body and breast including breast cancer!  What thermography affords is providing women the best possible care by increasing their options.  Thermography allows us to use mammography more judiciously.  Additionally, for women with dense breasts, thermography should absolutely be a part of their preventative care since mammography is so much less specific and sensitive when it comes to dense breast tissue.

What could be better?  A test with no pain, costs less, requires no radiating, has a higher sensitivity rate than mammograms (90% versus 85%), can tell you ten years in advance that your risk is increasing, and is highly effective for women with dense breasts!

Donna Scippa FNP, CTT may be reached for an appointment by calling (415) 299-0396.  Please mention that you are one of our patients and you will receive a modest discount.

So, what CAN you do to prevent your risk?

Prevention is one of Dr. Camp and my favorite topics!  With a screening tool like thermography, prevention is made easy as we see a woman’s thermogram start to change for the better as her lifestyle and supplement program gets implemented after an abnormal thermogram reading.    It’s great for you to see your progress.  Breast thermography gives all of us the QUANTITATIVE data we need to see that your breast cancer risk is improving!  It’s very exciting.

Here’s how it works:  your initial thermogram serves as a baseline look at your level or inflammation and risk.  We will implement a program for you which may include further testing, including bloodword and/or mammography if warranted (Again, mammograms are a GOOD test when used appropriately), lifestyle changes and supplement recommendations..  Your repeat thermograms will show improvement as you reduce your inflammation and your risk!

The Nitty Gritty of Prevention

We won’t wait for you to get a thermogram to start working on your prevention program!  Here are the recommended strategies for reducing your breast cancer risk!

Diet

  • Include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower in your diet regularly, preferably several times a week.
  • Use garlic, shallots and onions in your cooking to slash your cancer risk.
  • Turmeric:  this spice is getting more and more press for being a cancer buster!  I add it to almost all stir-fries.  It’s flavor is delicious.  Use liberally!
  • Avoid chemicals, pesticides, and additives in your food.  Yes, that means choosing non-genetically modified, organic vegetables, and meats that have NOT been given antibiotics, are free range, and beef MUST be GRASS FED!  Stop eating cancer causing toxins!  We live in an area where healthy options are readily available.  Make the choice today!
  • Avoid unfermented soy products.  Many are genetically modified and the estrogenic effect of soy may increase your risk.  Fermented soy such as an organic miso paste is totally safe!  I recommend Cold Mountain Mellow Red Hawaiian Style Miso paste.  It tastes delicious, is organic and not genetically modified.  You can find it at Whole Foods or your local health food store.
  • Avoid Alcohol.  Women should definitely limit their drinking to no more than one drink per day to reduce cancer risk.  Alcohol reduces the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogens correctly and will cause the increase of Estrone—the “bad” estrogen that is linked to cancer formation.
  • Drastically reduce your sugar and high fructose intake.  Cancer cells are metabolically more active than your normal cells and sugar will “feed” the cancer like no other food item.  Sugar is also inflammatory in general causing obesity, adrenal fatigue, insulin and leptin resistance, diabetes, and high cholesterol to name a few.
  • Drink Green Tea!  Green tea has powerful anti-oxidants that help prevent and kill cancer cells.  Find an organic green tea you like and sip on it daily!
  • Anti Inflammatory Diet:  this diet includes eating high doses of organic greens such as Kale with at least 2 meals per day, green tea at least once daily, low glycemic, sugar free, gluten free, minimal dairy, if any, only for seasoning, raw and organic if possible, no genetically modified foods.

Supplements for Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk:? (Click on the names to see the items in our online store)

  • Iodine:  Iodine is a major anti-inflammatory agent and our reproductive organs including the breasts use LOTS and LOTS of iodine.  It is also absolutely necessary for optimal thyroid function.  Signs of iodine deficiency include thyroid nodules, ovarian cysts and fibrocystic breasts.   Please talk to us about bio-available iodine such as iodoral or lugol’s solution and the correct dose if you would like to add this to your regimen.  Iodized table salt is NOT effective!  Please see the medical studies recognizing iodine as an adjunct treatment to breast cancer on our web site under “medical studies.”  Why wait for the cancer, start using an appropriate dose NOW, and optimize your thyroid hormones while you are at it!
  • Progesterone:  Bioidentical progesterone is an anti-cancer hormone.  It is vitally important to reduce the unwanted effects of estrogen dominance.  If you suffer from sore breasts during PMS, long heavy periods, or excessive irritability, you may be estrogen dominant and should come in right away for Dr.  Camp or myself to assess you.  Progesterone is a prescription item and requires an appointment in most cases.
  • Xanthomega Krill Oil: Krill oil is a high potent omega-3 fatty acid.  It is suggested to be literally thousands of times more effective at reducing inflammation (due to it’s 12 mg of astaxanthin) than standard Omega-3 supplements from salmon or cod, and is regularly prescribed as a supplement to reduce inflammatory conditions including breast cancer.
  • DIM:  Otherwise known as diindolylmethane, it is the active component of cruciferous vegetables that reduces cancer risk.  DIM is recognized as promoting beneficial estrogen metabolism and is helpful in managing estrogen dominant conditions including breast cancer, uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, and other hormone related cancers.  It specifically reduces the  metabolism of  your estrogen into estrone,  the form of estrogen linked to cell proliferation and cancer growth.
  • FemGuard:  This is one of our favorite combination supplements for reducing breast cancer risk.  You may find it in our online store.  Aside from some B vitamins, magnesium,  and other helpful enzymes, it incorporates large doses of DIM, green tea extract, turmeric, and Calcium-d  Glucarate, a powerful supplement to reduce your breast cancer risk.
  • 2methoxyestradiol:  This is a compounded form of estrogen that reduces cell proliferation.  Translation:  2-methoxyestradiol is a form of estrogen that is an anti-cancer agent.  Additionally, it is known to reduce uterine fibroid tumors.  If you would like to see the research on this product, please go to our website http://www.drcamphealth.com and click on “medical studies”.  If you suffer from fibroids or would like to use this product, you must set up an appointment with Dr.  Camp or myself by logginf into your account, clicking HERE or calling (415) 383-9903 as this is a prescription item.

Reduce Lymph Congestion:

  • Stop wearing underwire bras! That’s right:  the underwire in bras is implicated with the development of breast cancer.    Your lymph system is responsible for clearing toxins from your system.  Underwire bras cut off the circulation of your lymph system and trap toxins in your breasts creating inflammation.  This is distressing to large busted women to hear that they may have to give up their underwire support.  However you may find a large selection of no underwire bras that are very supportive for large busted women. However, Coobie Bras has created very good support in a non-underwire bra specifically for large busted women.  Go to www.shopcoobie.com for Coobie’s full selection of non-underwire bras.
  • Practice Lymph Massage:  Patients may go to a lymph massage practitioner at least once to learn how to do their own breast lymph massage to help remove the congestion.    Please call us for a referral if you are interested in learning how to do breast lymphatic massage.

EXERCISE!

  • Exercise helps you  maintain a normal body weight.  This is important  as fat creates excess estrogen and this is a cancer risk.
  • Exercise improves liver metabolism of estrogens and will promote the metabolism of the “good” estrogen that reduces your cancer risk, Estriol.
  • Exercise will help reduce fasting insulin levels and improve blood sugar averages.  Having high circulating insulin levels and high blood sugars are implicated in increased inflammation and an increase in cancer risk.

Important Lab Tests:

  • Vitamin D:  Vitamin D is becoming a critical factor in cancer treatment and prevention.  The standard goal for Vitamin D levels for both men and women are for levels between 50-70.  For women diagnosed with breast cancer and in treatment, the ideal range increases to 80-100.  My goal for all my female patients is between 60-80.
  • Fasting Insulin and Hemoglobin A1C:  Having high fasting insulin levels or being insulin resistant as well as having high blood sugar averages over 95 puts you at more risk for developing breast cancer.  These tests will help us devise a plan to reduce these levels and normalize your blood sugars thereby reducing your breast cancer risk.

Concluding Remarks

 My hope for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) and writing this newsletter has been that women feel a sense of control over this deadly disease that is the number 1 killer as women age.  Hopefully, this information has given you a sense that there are many, many things you have control over to prevent this disease.  We recommend that every woman get a baseline thermogram as soon as possible so that we are all aware of your actual risk and can help you accordingly.  Lastly, we want you to know that you have a health partner and advocate on your side.  Dr.  Camp and I want all our patients to know, both male and female, that we route for you to have choices, options, and the latest in prevention!

Written by Marya Grosse FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates