Author Archives: sararodgers

Got Food Sensitivities?

Food sensitivity may be an overlooked source of inflammation leading to fatigue, sleep disturbance, acne, mood disorders, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal complaints, and other chronic conditions.

The foods we love to eat can be the triggers of inflammation, making the cause of disease hard to identify. If you have a chronic condition, identifying the food(s) contributing to your chronic illness may help provide an answer you’ve been looking for. Additionally, identifying these foods early in life may also reduce the onset of chronic disease. Some diseases or medications cause disruption in the gastrointestinal lining, triggering an inflammatory process that precipitates the formation of food sensitivities, leading to more inflammation. Identifying triggering foods may reduce the need for further medications.

Dr. Rodgers utilizes two methods for identifying food sensitivities. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

Elimination-Challenge Diet

  • Strengths: This method is low cost and usually provides some answers in a week. A laboratory test is not needed to tell you if a food is a problem or not. This is considered the gold standard for determining food sensitivities.
  • Weakness: Changing one’s diet is not easy. It takes at least 6 weeks to determine which foods, if any, are causing an inflammatory response. Not all foods are eliminated and thus, some inflammatory triggers may be unidentified.

Immunoglobulin Testing

  • Strengths: Numerous foods can be tested and evaluated with a simple blood draw. Depending on severity of disease, several different markers can be used. The Elimination-Challenge process can be used to verify results.
  • Weakness. These tests can be expensive and not recognized by insurance companies. These tests are not valid for chronic steroid users (ie, for asthma or autoimmune conditions. etc.)

For many patients, identifying and removing food-based inflammation starts their healing process. It is always amazing to watch an inflammatory issue resolve with the removal of one or two foods from the diet.

A caveat. Identifying food sensitivities is what coined my motto for the challenges of lifestyle modification: Simple, Not Easy. It is a simple process to remove a food: Don’t buy it or eat it. However, It is not always an easy to let go of a beloved food. Regardless of how easy it is for each patient, great benefits await those who decide to take the plunge and figure it out.

Please contact Dr. Rodgers at Idaho Naturopathic Medicine if you want to determine if food sensitivities contribute to your inflammatory condition. Phone: 208-275-0007.

Read an article from Chris D. Meletis, N.D, a consultant to US Biotek, describing his experience using different types of IgG, IgG4, and IgA testing. Click HERE for article.

Berberine: A Natural Blood Sugar Manager

Diabetes is complicated and complicates other diseases. Sometimes, however, simple interventions can reduce those complications.

Berberine is a compound found in numerous plants, some of which may be growing in your back yard (Oregon Grape and Goldenseal). This natural substance has been found to support healthy blood sugar levels, HgA1c levels, triglycerides, healthy cholesterol levels, and blood pressure. These improvements were seen when used alone, but had better outcomes with combined with lifestyle modifications and/or oral glycemic lowering medications such as Metformin.

Berberine has also been shown to support liver health by reducing fatty deposits and reducing liver enzymes. Rat studies show improved kidney health.

Berberine has antimicrobial properties and has been used for bacterial, viral, and parasite infections. This anti-microbial action may help re-balance gastrointestinal bacteria resulting in reduced glucose absorption and increased short chain fatty acid production. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties. Side effects are few and may include gastrointestinal disturbance, such as diarrhea or constipation. It has been shown to be used safely with prescription diabetic medications. With these characteristics, it makes sense that Berberine is part of a diabetic supplement plan.

Dr. Rodgers provides each diabetic patient with an individualized plan to slowly and safely correct blood sugar levels. She regularly prescribes berberine in addition to diet changes, exercise, and reduced toxin exposure. Please call her office if you have questions or are interested in starting her program. Phone number: 208-275-0007.

References

Bang, P. Application of Berberine on Treating Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Int J Endocrinol. 2015; 2015: 905749.Published online 2015 Mar 11. doi: 10.1155/2015/905749

Lan, J. Meta-analysis of the Effect and Safety of Berberine in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Hyperlipemia and Hypertension. J Ethnopharmacol.  2015 Feb 23;161:69-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2014.09.049. Epub 2014 Dec 10.

Zhang H et al. Berberine lowers blood glucose in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients through increasing insulin receptor expression. Metabolism clinical and experimental. 209, Oct; 59(2): 285-292.

Kong, W et al. Berberine Reduces Insulin Resistance Through Protein Kinase C-dependent Up-Regulation of Insulin Receptor Expression. Metabolism. 2009 Jan;58(1):109-19.

Are You Viral Sharing?

June 30, 2020

Since Idaho moved into Stage 4 of economic re-opening, there has been a resurgence of Covid-19 viral cases in both Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Even in rural Malheur county, the virus is spreading more rapidly, tripling case numbers in the last 15 days. See HERE to look at Idaho viral counts (look for Covid-19 demographics Tab).

In Idaho, the 18-29 year old age group is experiencing the greatest number of cases.

The spread in this age level may be due to a perception that young people are not at risk for serious consequences of getting ill. Unfortunately, this is not always true and the risk to others is significant due to an average 20-day viral shedding period. One infected person, with or without symptoms, can infect numerous other people, who then go on to infect others. As shown below, older persons are paying for this infection with their lives.

Covid-19 Idaho deaths by age June 29, 2020
https://public.tableau.com/profile/idaho.division.of.public.health#!/vizhome/DPHIdahoCOVID-19Dashboard_V2/Story1

Death rates are not currently rising, but I suspect that these numbers will climb once the virus has longer to damage infected lungs 2-4 weeks after initial infection. For survivors, detrimental effects due to a powerful lung infection may be long term.

The politicalization of common sense prevention measures may be providing an avenue for the virus to spread. The virus is highly contagious and is easily spread when given the opportunity. I encourage everyone to practice safe measures of social distancing and face coverings in public in order to reduce the risk of getting ill.

Covid-19 is not like other flu virus. Covid-19 is dangerous, not pleasant, and expensive if hospitalized.

Sharing is usually a fun activity. In the case of Covid-19, sharing is not recommended.

Not sleeping well?

Sleep can be affected by many things including stress and increased daylight.
Sometimes, simple interventions can help. If you have sleep apnea, pain, or blood sugar disturbances, these interventions may not be enough. Please contact Dr. Rodgers if insomnia is not resolved with the following suggestions.

Practice Healthy Sleep Hygiene. Go to bed and rise at the same time daily. Remove all electronic devices from the bedroom

Block all light coming into bedroom windows to reduce the effect of light upon your sleep. Sunlight triggers the breakdown of melatonin, helping you to wake up. Melatonin helps facilitate sleep and is an important anti-oxidant and brain brain repairing neurotransmitter.

Exercise daily. Exercise helps metabolize stress hormones. These stress hormones may inhibit your ability to relax and find sleep.

Take time to worry long before bedtime. If you have underlying worries, take time out of your day to consider those worries. By worrying before bedtime, you may not have to worry at night.

Breathing. Diaphramtic breating can help reduce stress responses. Click HERE to learn how to do this..

Supplements can help facilitate sleep. Product with these ingredients can be found on Fullscript. If you need help choosing the right product for you, please contact Dr. Rodgers. Click here to sign into Fullscript.

  • Melatonin with Vitamin B6. Melatonin does help to promote drowsiness.
  • Supplements that help reduce anxiety to help facilitate sleep include: L-theanine and Cannabidiol (CBD)
  • Herbs to help calm down the mind include passionflower, Valarian, Lemon balm, Passiflora (Passionflower), and Hops. Teas, tinctures, and capsule forms may all be beneficial.

Be Safe at Work: Consider an Air Purifier

It is theorized that Covid-19 viral spread on cruise boats occurred thru air ducts, rather than direct person-to-person contact. Air purifiers designed to catch viral particles may be a prudent addition to workspaces.

Choosing the right type of purifier is important. Filtration size matters.

The Covid-19 virus is 0.12 microns in size.  

HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) purifiers are designed to capture 99.97% of 0.3 micron diameter particulates. Although 0.3 microns is larger than 0.12 microns, a NASA article indicates that they are probably helpful for particles much smaller in size, especially when combined with a granular material such as activated carbon. (For people who like reading technical articles, Click HERE to read NASA’s article).

ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) purifiers are designed to capture 99.99% of 0.1 micron diameter particulates. These purifiers may be marketed as Ultra HEPA or Hyper HEPA. Since 0.1 microns is smaller than 0.12, these purifiers are designed to capture viruses.

There are numerous products on the market. Dr. Rodgers is not affiliated with any air purification company, but here are two ULPA product lines to help you begin your search.
IQAir captures down to 0.003 microns. Click HERE to learn more.
Intellipure captures down to 0.007 micron particles. Click HERE to learn more.

Avoid purifiers that dispense ozone or ions into the air without any physical filters.
These machines make dust heavier, thus moving dust from the air column to your floor or counter tops. They don’t actually remove anything from the environment. Additionally, ozone is a respiratory irritant and environmental pollutant causing damage to indoor plants.

Covid-19 Testing: Diagnostic and Immunity

What types of test are available?

 There are two categories of tests available.

Diagnostic Testing: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).  Presence or Absence of the virus.
This is a done by looking for viral RNA. Obtained with a nasal or throat swab. One test company also provides fecal sample testing.

A positive test confirms that you have the Covid-19 virus.

A negative test indicates that you do not have the virus OR that you are in the initial stages of viral infection.  During initial stages of infection, viral counts are low and may cause a false negative result.  If you have symptoms and test negative, a repeat test 1-2 weeks later is important to confirm test results.

Sample collection. Samples can be obtained via oral or nasal samples. Most tests are limited to hospitals and public health institutions.

Fecal PCR testing. There is evidence that the Covid-19 virus may continue to shed via the fecal route up to 5 weeks after clearance in the respiratory system.  This test is available with physician ordering only.
A fecal PCR test is not officially diagnostic for Covid-19, but may help determine:

  • If a Covid-19 patient continues to be a risk to others.
  • Help determine transmission risk from an asymptomatic person with possible viral exposure.
  • Possible infection in someone with Covid-19 symptoms.

For locations for Diagnostic Testing, See Article Can you get tested for Covid-19?

Immune reaction testing:  Immunoglobulin IgM/IgG. 
Currently only FDA approved tests are available and are limited. Testing availability should increase in the near future.

This blood test evaluates an immune response to the virus.  Immunoglobulins are important immune proteins that react to infection.

It is NOT diagnostic for viral infection.  It is NOT diagnostic for immunity. 

This test evaluates for an early or ongoing immune response to viral exposure.

  • IgM. IgM immunoglobulins rise from ~ day 7 to 21 days after initial infection. IgM does not remain in the body after this initial infectious stage.
  • IgG.  The body starts building IgG immunoglobulin ~14 days after initial infection and remains for longer periods of time. It is unknown how long IgG remain elevated after exposure to Covid-19.
  • At the time of this article, Crush the Curve Idaho offers an IgG test to anyone who wants to be tested for ~$100.  Their test may be helpful to determine an immune response, but only 13 days after a positive PCR test or 17 days after symptoms start. It is not reliable for people who never had symptoms. Click HERE to sign up for a test.

Are these foods in your kitchen?

These foods help improve your immune function and can easily become dietary stables.

  • Green Tea. Green tea contains beneficial anti-cancer and anti-oxidant compounds. The best way to get the most out of your green tea is to re-steep the tea leaves with each cup of tea. It is ok to add other tea to the used leaves. Beneficial compounds become more available with each steeping.  Alternatively, consume the full leaf green tea as matcha powder.
  • Turmeric. Turmeric root has liver supportive nutrients and is a power anti-oxidant.  Its orange color provides the color for curry powder.  Add turmeric or curry powder to steamed vegetables, stews, or stir-fry.  Purchase raw turmeric root and add to protein smoothies. Prepare raw root by cutting into ½ inch portions and freezing until needed.   A little fat (coconut oil) or oil (fish oil, olive oil) taken at the same time is helpful for absorption.
  • Mushrooms.  Mushrooms have amazing immune enhancing properties. They are best used raw. Cut into salads or add to protein smoothies. Do not consume mushrooms if you are mold sensitive.

Improve your gastrointestinal biome. Our total health depends on gastrointestinal health.  The following foods help support healthy bacterial populations.

Pre-biotic foods supply food for beneficial bacteria:

  • Jerusalem Artichoke (sun spuds)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Leeks
  • Spices: Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Basil, Cinnamon

Probiotic foods contain beneficial bacteria:

  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt  – Choose high protein/low carb varieties.

Herbs to support your stress response and reduce inflammation. These herbs help lower the inflammatory protein Interleukin-6 that may be related to the COVID-19 inflammatory response. They are also very helpful to support the stress response.

  • Lemon balm. This garden weed helps to improve a relaxation response. Easy to make a sun tea from this herb.
  • Passionflower is an anti anxiety herb. It is usually combined with lemon balm in natural sleep formulas.
  • Ashwaganda is an herb used for thyroid and adrenal support.