Flu for thought

Here is a lovely discussion of flu vaccination by one of my favorite docs, Aviva Romm:




Vertigo: How viruses are keeping us on our toes and off balance…

I have seen 3 cases of vertigo just this week, and have been talking about and treating the viral component of it.

Check out the work done by other Naturopathic Physicians and the use of homeopathy in cases just like this: http://www.paulherscuepidemics.blogspot.com/2012/10/updated-thoughts-on-vertigo-epidemic-i.html

-Dr. S


Another round of applause for Probiotics…

Did you know that nearly 60% of your immune system lives in your digestive tract?  And that the more stockpiled and protected your digestive tract is by ‘good’ bacteria, the better your immune system can function?  These are the reasons your doc may be asking you to take probiotics (supplements that contain strains of live, ‘good’ bacteria) for your colds, allergies, digestive ailments, or even pre- and post-immunization.

Check out this article to find out more about how it can reduce time and severity of your colds this season:


– Dr. Sunita

Bacteria are our worse enemies…or our best friends?

It’s not really news.  In fact, many of you probably take a probiotic, eat some yogurt or kefir, or use fermented foods in your diet because you know that ‘good bacteria’ is great for the digestion and immune system.  Maybe you have seen the benefits in your or your child’s own life and health or hope to.

Healthy microbes are an essential part of a healthy immune system, as much of our immune tissue resides in our digestive tract.  This is so that we can identify the things that may do us harm right when it enters our body and gut, before it makes it to the blood stream.  Which means that the more fortified our gut is, the healthier our immune system can be.  And these healthy microbes can be derived from many different sources other than or in addition to supplemental probiotics such as:

  • Fermented foods like kimchee, tempeh, miso, or sauerkraut
  • Dairy products with live cultures such as yogurt, raw milk, or kefir
  • Organic produce (when we don’t kill off all of the critters with chemicals, the good ones live too)
  • Dirt (really, you don’t have to be so afraid of it)
  • Fructo-oligosaccharides or ‘Prebiotic’ foods (garlic, onions, asparagus, burdock, dandelion, jicama)

The more common way of increasing the population of healthy microbes in our gut is with supplemental probiotics.  However, these are not made equal.  Many probiotic products on and at the market are not viable or are derived from sources that may worse some people’s food intolerances or digestive issues.  If you are taking probiotics and are not noticing changes in the issues you are attempting to treat, it may not be that ‘probiotics don’t work’; it may just be the one you are using.

Healthy microbes are one particular arena where quality really matters. You need to take the right one, that is actually viable, and in addition to a ‘living’ diet. Otherwise it’s just expensive s*^t.  And if you think this is just wacky naturopathic rhetoric, check out this article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/story/2012-07-13/body-bugs-microbes/56255904/1

Your naturopathic doctor may actually be able to help you…

Many of you may already value your naturopathic doctor and have enjoyed a more integrative approach to your care, so maybe this is no great surprise….

Here is a link that discusses some up-and-coming research into what we offer as naturopathic doctors can do to improve outcomes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-weeks/integrative-medicine_b_1584998.html

Check out this blog post regarding Cesarean sections and childhood obesity….http://www.scienceandsensibility.org/?p=4875&cpage=1#comment-12116

This is not about demonizing mothers who have ended up with or elected a Cesarean section.  I see this as an opportunity to be aware of challenges on the horizon for a newborn and growing child, and what we can do to mitigate some of the potentially lasting effects.

Breastfeeding: When the Labor Isn’t Over…

Breastfeeding is challeging for many moms and for many reasons, which makes compassionate and knowledgeable support so important. This article talks more about the challenges that we face and opens up areas in which we can provide more support as a community: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246187.php.


Eastside Natural Medicine is making changes

Many of you have had the opportunity to be in the (relatively) new space in the last five months and not only are we staying put, we are expanding! Beginnning July 1st we will be taking over Suite 104 and with this expansion will come some new faces….

In addition to Eastside Natural Medicine and my practice, there will be another family practice naturopathic physcian, a nurse midwife and lactation consultant, a massage therapist, a reiki and energy pracitioner, and nutritionists. All of these wonderful people are ‘hand picked’ and I am excited to have them in one place to serve all of you. I will introduce them all to you more formally come July, their bios will appear on the Eastside Natural Medicine website, and there will be an Open House to meet everyone in person.

In addition to new practitioners, you will also get to know Chelsea and Micki, who will greet you, speak with you when you call, and generally help me keep the sailing smooth. There will also be a classroom onsite where we will be hosting parenting groups, breastfeeding drop-in clinics, craniosacral therapy drop-in clinics, family nutrition classes, and more.

Welcome to the next phase of Eastside Natural Medicine!
See you soon, Dr. S

Arsenic in Brown Rice Syrup?

Brown Rice Syrup Puts Arsenic In Organic Foods

by Dan Flynn | Feb 17, 2012
Brown rice syrup used in many organic foods as a substitute for the often-chastised high fructose corn sugar is causing problems of its own with high arsenic levels.
That means danger for those consuming such products as “organic” infant milk formula, cereal bars or high energy foods that contain the organic brown rice syrup (OBRS) as an ingredient, according to a Dartmouth College research team led by Brian Jackson.
Jackson is director of Trace Metal Analysis at Dartmouth’s Department of Earth Science.
The team’s findings on arsenic in foods containing OBRS were published Thursday in Environmental Health Perspectives, the online peer-reviewed open access journal of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.
There is “an urgent need for regulatory limits” for arsenic in foods, the researchers say, as there are no current U.S. regulations that set such limits.
After testing 17 infant formulas, 27 cereal bars and three different “energy shot” drinks, the team found levels significantly above the level established for public drinking water.
In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – using recommendations from a series of independent panels – set the limit for public drinking water at 10 parts per billion (ppb).  The earlier limit, in place since the 1940s, was 50 ppb.
Dartmouth researchers found cereal bars with inorganic arsenic levels raining from 23 to 128 ppb. One of the “energy shot” drinks registered at 84 ppb, and the two others hit 171 ppb. The infant formula came in at 8.6 ppb for dairy-based, and 21.4 ppb for soy-based.
While the cereal bars and “energy shots” returned much higher levels, Jackson is most concerned about the organic infant formulas because these are often a baby’s sole source of nutrition.
Rice plants take up arsenic through the soil because the dangerous substance behaves much like silica, which rice needs to grow.  Brown rice tends to collect arsenic in higher levels, but amounts vary.
The study’s release brought out TV doctors on most major network news shows to warn the public once again that they should not mix up “organic” with “safe.”
Others on Jackson’s team are Vivien F. Taylor, Margaret R. Karagas, Tracy Punshon and Kathryn L. Cottingham.
Arsenic at levels higher than the EPA drinking water standard have also been found recently in juices popular with children.

Love this story of a fit pregnant momma….

Check out the link to this story and pictures of how it is possible to stay active and fit while pregnant (albeit more active and fit than most of us!):