Author Archives: sararodgers

Menstruation Lecture

I was recently asked to participate in a Women’s Health Lecture Series at 4 Rivers Cultural Center in Ontario, Oregon. Here is my portion of the first lecture. You can find the full mensuration lectures HERE. As my lecture was hard to hear, I’m re-posting the power point lecture. HERE

Can an herbicide cause Aging?

One of the most popular weed-killing products used today is glyphosate, commercially sold as Round-Up. There is a lot of controversy about this chemical, including potential cancer risks. However, did you know that glyphosate may also promote aging? A recent study looked at how glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) affects DNA and gene expression, also referred to as epigenetic changes. Glyphosate’s metabolite AMPA “was associated with greater epigenetic age acceleration.” Both Glyphosate and AMPA were found to be “associated with DNA methylation differences that could promote the development of cancer and other diseases.” https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP10174
Manually pulling weeds may take more time, but the benefits include getting some exercise and stress reduction found from interacting with the earth. However, if spraying weeds is more your style, then consider using a 20% vinegar solution. Vinegar dehydrates the weeds without dehydrating your DNA!

Do You Need a Little Help on Your Health Journey?

The Case for Coaches

Dr. Rodgers had the pleasure to interview two personal coaches: Lori Dodson of Empowered Abundance and Blaine Bergeson of Bergeson Leadership Services. They both help people be their best selves. We sat down to discuss why coaches may be key to accomplishing life goals. Lots of wisdom provided! Listen to our conversation HERE

Are you ready for the Pollen Invasion?

A lilac bloom plotting for the next Sneeze.

As the last vestiges of winter depart,
Leaving us looking forward to warmer weather and longer days,
We must also look to the health of our sinus and bronchial passages.
Spring flowers embrace us with beauty and fragrance, but
We may also become coated with POLLEN.

A-CHOO!

Here are some suggestions to remain snot, cough, and fatigue-free during the allergy season.

  1. Masks.  Face Masks can reduce your inhalation of pollen. Consider a mask when pollen counts are high, when walking in windy weather, cleaning up the garden, or during fire smoke season.  For chemically sensitive individuals, a N95 or equivalent standard mask can reduce unexpected exposure to fragrance.  
    1. Here is an on-line resource to learn what type of pollen is the air: https://pollencount.app/
    1. You may also want to download any weather app that has pollen count info.
  2. Keep windows closed at night. We spend 6-8 hours nightly in a relaxed breathing state.  This is a great time for pollen to enter our breathing passages and create havoc! Keep your windows closed to help reduce pollen inhalation.
  3. Air Purification.  An air purifier can reduce pollens that sneak in when your door or windows are open. 
  4. Use a damp rag to reduce pollen on your indoor/outdoor pet’s coat.  Animals that spend time outside may bring in pollen on their coat. A damp rag over your pet’s coat may reduce invasion of pollen into your home.
  5. Supplementation. Vitamin C and bioflavonoids such as quercetin may help stabilize mast cells that produce the histamine that will make your nose miserably drippy.
  6. Herbs.  Nettle leaf as tea or tincture may help also stabilize your mast cells.  Caution, nettles may also act as a diuretic (increase urine flow). Do not use Nettles if you currently take any cardiovascular medications without first consulting your medical provider.
  7. Know your food sensitivities? If you know you react to certain foods, now is the time to avoid these foods diligently. If you don’t know if certain foods increase inflammation, now is the time to find out. Dr. Rodgers offers methods to help you identify your food sensitivities.

Staying healthy with A healthy Lymphatic System.

Glenda Bell, LMT of Radical Lymphatic Therapy describes why taking care of our Lymphatic System is so important.

Lymphatic Massage helps clear toxins from the body and support the Immune System. it is an excellent technique to move toxins from breast tissue, decrease inflammation before and after surgery, and perhaps even re-set emotional trauma.

Low Dose Naltrexone: a Pain Management Alternative to Opioids

I recently interviewed Dr. Madison Peach-Keen of Medicap Pharmacy to learn more about a Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) as a safer pain management alternative to opioid drugs. When people are prescribed opioids following surgery or an accident, they may find themselves unwillingly addicted to these powerful medications. Opioids prescriptions have led to a national epidemic of overdose deaths. Low Dose Naltrexone may be a safe alternative to help reduce the dose or wean off opioids. Watch the interview HERE.

https://youtu.be/1D9lxPsGUro

Why is Vitamin D so important in combating COVID-19?

The answer lies in Vitamin D’s hormone effects. Vitamin D is labeled a vitamin, but most of its properties reside in its hormonal affect. I affectionally call Vitamin D a “Vitamone” because it acts as both a vitamin and a hormone.

As a hormone, Vitamin D is most known for helping to build strong bones.  It is less recognized for its immune signaling affects.  When activated, the Vitamin D receptor signals the immune system and induces anti-viral responses including reducing viral replication, reducing viral penetration of cells, and signaling the immune system to kill infected cells.[1]  

Regarding the current COVID pandemic, Vitamin D may be a crucial nutrient to reduce hospitalization and mortality. When Vitamin D levels are low, COVID-19 has a better chance to trigger an inflammatory cascade, causing significant illness. Studies are now finding that COVID patients with low Vitamin D levels have higher risk of needing intense hospital care,[2] and Vitamin D supplementation may reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients admitted to hospital.[3] ,[4], [5] 

COVID-19 poses further risk for a subset of the infected population that may clear the virus but continue to have symptoms. Post-COVID syndrome, also known Long-COVID, may present with symptoms such as fatigue, headache, lower attention, hair loss, shortness of breath, loss of taste/smell, chest pain, cough, sleep disruption, and joint pain[6] lasting more than 3 weeks following an initial infection.  Long-COVID syndrome may occur in for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated infected individuals.

Some researchers theorize that Long-COVID may be due to the re-emergence of past viral infections, such as Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein-Barr virus. [7], [8] With its important role in combating other viruses (Epstein-Barr, Influenza (H1N1), Hepatitis C, Rota, and Dengue), [9], [10], [11], [12] Vitamin D may be an important component in preventing or treating Long-COVID.

Thus, maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin D may reduce the severity of a COVID-19 infection while also reducing the chance of triggering the onset Post-COVID syndrome.

So, what to do:

  1. Testing for Vitamin D levels is important.

In my experience, supplementation and sun exposure do not always correlate with actual Vitamin D levels.  Laboratory blood testing is really the only way to know your Vitamin D levels.

I suggest the following Vitamin D testing schedule.

  • Test both 25(OH) Vitamin D and 1,25(OH)2D3
  • Test in the late Summer/Early Fall to determine how well activities in the summer support your Vitamin D levels.
  • Test in Winter to ensure healthy levels during the period of lowest sunlight exposure and highest viral infection risk.

Always make a note next to your test results about level of sun exposure and the Vitamin D dose/product you had for the previous month. This will help you determine and remember what works and doesn’t work to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.

  • Supplementation

I usually suggest 1,000-5,000 IU (25-250 mcg) daily, based on individual patient needs. If you are not currently a patient of Dr. Rodgers, please ask your medical provider about your Vitamin D dosage needs.

Dose is based on your blood work results:

  • Vitamin D insufficiency is defined as blood levels <30 ng/dL. However, this level may be insufficient to protect one against the inflammatory storm. Conventional physicians may suggest blood levels between 30-50 ng/dL.  As a naturopath, I was taught to achieve blood levels between 60-80 ng/dL. 
  • As a vitamin, Vitamin D helps to make Dopamine, which breaks down into epinephrine and norepinephrine (types of adrenalin). For some people who can’t breakdown adrenalin appropriately, too much Vitamin D may result in anxiety. For those patients whose anxiety worsens with Vitamin D supplementation, I suggest maintaining blood levels ~30 ng/dL.
  • It is important to remember that ingesting too much Vitamin D may cause calcium levels to rise too much (hypercalcemia) and deposit in tissues, including the kidney (i.e., kidney stones).  Some studies have found this risk to be low,[13] but other studies suggest trends of hypercalcemia occurs at doses ? 2,800 IU/day, but without any adverse events.[14] 

If you test low, please supplement safely and re-test 6 weeks after starting supplementation to ensure you have achieved healthy levels.

Types of Vitamin D supplements

Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3) is the preferred form of Vitamin D, but if one has liver failure or severe intestinal malabsorption syndrome, Calcifediol (25-hydroxyvitamin D3) may be more appropriate.[15]  Calcifediol is a prescription medication and not available as nutritional supplement.

Conclusions

  1. Maintaining healthy Vitamin D levels may significantly reduce COVID-19 induced inflammatory storms.
  2. Vitamin D may reduce the re-emergence of other viruses, including those responsible for Epstein-Barr syndrome or cancers.
  3. Testing one’s Vitamin D blood levels is the best way to determine if Vitamin D supplementation is optimal or needs adjusting.

[1] Xu Y, Baylink DJ, Chen CS, et al. The importance of vitamin d metabolism as a potential prophylactic, immunoregulatory and neuroprotective treatment for COVID-19. J Transl Med. 2020;18(1):322. Published 2020 Aug 26. doi:10.1186/s12967-020-02488-5

[2] Diaz-Curiel M, Cabello A, Arboiro-Pinel R, et al. The relationship between 25(OH) vitamin D levels and COVID-19 onset and disease course in Spanish patients. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2021;212:105928. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2021.105928

[3] Nogues X, Ovejero D, Pineda-Moncusí M, et al. Calcifediol Treatment and COVID-19-Related Outcomes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021;106(10):e4017-e4027. doi:10.1210/clinem/dgab405

[4] Entrenas Castillo M, Entrenas Costa LM, Vaquero Barrios JM, et al. “Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study”. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2020;203:105751. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2020.105751

[5] Nogues X, Ovejero D, Pineda-Moncusí M, et al. Calcifediol Treatment and COVID-19-Related Outcomes. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021;106(10):e4017-e4027. doi:10.1210/clinem/dgab405

[6] Lopez-Leon S, Wegman-Ostrosky T, Perelman C, et al. More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):16144. Published 2021 Aug 9. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-95565-8

[7] Chen J, Dai L, Barrett L, et al. SARS-CoV-2 proteins and anti-COVID-19 drugs induce lytic reactivation of an oncogenic virus. Commun Biol. 2021;4(1):682. Published 2021 Jun 3. doi:10.1038/s42003-021-02220-z

[8] Lehner GF, Klein SJ, Zoller H, Peer A, Bellmann R, Joannidis M. Correlation of interleukin-6 with Epstein-Barr virus levels in COVID-19. Crit Care. 2020;24(1):657. Published 2020 Nov 23. doi:10.1186/s13054-020-03384-6

[9] Brütting C, Stangl GI, Staege MS. Vitamin D, Epstein-Barr virus, and endogenous retroviruses in multiple sclerosis – facts and hypotheses. J Integr Neurosci. 2021;20(1):233-238. doi:10.31083/j.jin.2021.01.392

[10] Villar LM, Del Campo JA, Ranchal I, Lampe E, Romero-Gomez M. Association between vitamin D and hepatitis C virus infection: a meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(35):5917-5924. doi:10.3748/wjg.v19.i35.5917

[11] Dissanayake S, Tennekoon S, Gaffoor S, Liyanage G. Vitamin D Deficiency in Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever and Dengue Shock Syndrome among Sri Lankan Children: A Case-Control Study. J Trop Med. 2021;2021:4173303. Published 2021 Oct 14. doi:10.1155/2021/4173303

[12] Suares A, Tapia C, González-Pardo V. VDR agonists down regulate PI3K/Akt/mTOR axis and trigger autophagy in Kaposi’s sarcoma cells. Heliyon. 2019;5(8):e02367. Published 2019 Aug 27. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02367

[13] Ganji MR, Shafii Z, Hakemi MS. Vitamin D Supplementation and Risk of Hypercalciuria in Stone Formers. Iran J Kidney Dis. 2019;13(1):27-31.

[14] Malihi Z, Lawes CMM, Wu Z, et al. Monthly high-dose vitamin D supplementation does not increase kidney stone risk or serum calcium: results from a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;109(6):1578-1587. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy378

[15] Sosa Henríquez M, Gómez de Tejada Romero MJ. Cholecalciferol or Calcifediol in the Management of Vitamin D Deficiency. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1617. Published 2020 May 31. doi:10.3390/nu12061617

ProActive Breast Health

Breast cancer has become a potentially survivable disease, but it remains the second leading cause of death for women (heart disease is slightly higher) and the leading cause of death for Hispanic women. Breast cancer can occur at any age, but prevalence increases with age. Breast cancer rates increase starting at age 30 and then again at age 40.

Breast Cancer in Men.  It is important to remember that men also have small amount of breast tissue under the nipples, including fatty tissue, ducts, and lymph nodes. Male breast tissue can increase during adolescence and adulthood, especially for men over 50.  1 out of 100 diagnosed breast cancers occur in men. (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/men/index.htm)

Reducing cancer risks

The Center for Disease control has suggestions to reduce the risks of breast cancer including:

  • Maintain a healthy weight and exercising regularly.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol.
  • If taking oral hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills, consult with your doctor about your level of risk factors
  • Learn about the BRCA gene risk factors.[ii] This is important for both women and men.

Additional Proactive Lifestyle Choices

Chose plastic alternatives as much as possible. Plastic compounds such as phthalates are linked to hormone disruption and may be linked to breast cancer. Plastic containers or plastic wrap may leach chemicals into food and liquids.  The more flexible the plastic, the more leaching occurs.

Apply Healthy. Know what is in your personal care products.  Click HERE to learn more about common toxic chemicals and how to avoid them. Skin applications of cosmetics, lotions, and perfumes can contain chemicals that are absorbed through the skin. Repetitive application of products containing chemicals may cause cellular toxicity over time.

Plastic Alternatives

  • Reusable silicone bags: sandwich bags
  • Pyrex-like glass containers: Leftover food storage:
  • Glass or stainless-steel bottles: water bottles
  • Dr. Rodgers does not endorse any specific products or companies, but This Article is helpful to see what the market has to offer in plastic product alternatives.

Relaxation. Constant stress can cause an increase in inflammation and blood sugars. Laughter, relaxation, meditation, yoga, and healthy sleep patterns can help reduce cortisol levels and maintain a healthier you.

Avoid synthetic Fragrance.  A full ingredient list is usually not included under the term “Fragrance”.  There may be dozens of chemicals not listed on the label.  Some products do disclose when referring fragrance as essential oils. If you are not sure what is in the product, leave the product on the shelf, or see the next point below.

Know your ingredients. The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners has a great page to help you decipher what those chemical names are.  Click HERE to learn more about common toxic chemicals and how to avoid them.

Choose organic foods and Be vigilant of other daily exposures to chemicals. Simple solutions can be found at Easy ways to maintain a healthy home and reduce your exposure to chemicals

Move daily. You may already be doing more exercise than you think. The key to exercise is to move in any way you can. Cleaning the house, walking the dog, mowing the lawn, or chopping wood may not be part of a hard-core exercise program, but they do contribute to moving. The key to exercise is to move your whole body daily. If you don’t like to exercise, consider the concept of moving and figure out what activities you can do in your day that make you move more.

Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines  The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends breast cancer screening.

  • Women 50-74 years old with average risk for cancer: mammogram every 2 years.
  • Women less than 40-49 or those with higher risk of cancer should discuss screening schedules with their primary physician.
  • Other medical organizations have different but similar guidelines. Click HERE to see guidelines.

[i] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/prevention.htm

[ii]https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/young_women/bringyourbrave/hereditary_breast_cancer/brca_gene_mutations.htm

[i] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/index.htm

[ii]https://gis.cdc.gov/Cancer/USCS/#/Prevalence/

[iii] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/men/index.htm