Tag Archives: Functional Medicine

A Test to Reveal Root Causes of Depression, ADHD and Other Brain-Based Disorders


Is it possible to test for the root causes of chronic disease conditions? At Functional Health and Acupuncture Institute in Cherry Hill, NJ, understanding the root cause of a person’s chronic condition is critical to helping people get better.

One thing that all brain based conditions such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism have in common is that inflammation has a negative impact on brain functioning.  Inflammation may be due to gut infections like candida, hormone imbalance, blood sugar imbalance, poor liver detoxification (and buildup of toxins), nutrient depletions and food sensitivities. If we can assess these things, we can make dietary and lifestyle changes that give us a better chance of having improved brain functioning and overall improved health.

One test that is simple yet very useful in this regard is the Organic Acids Test.  Watch here to understand how it may help you:

Can Sunlight Help Lower Blood Pressure?

There is now a new natural weapon to combat against the growing population of high blood pressure sufferers.

Now this new weapon is as close as your backyard.

What I am talking about is good old sunlight.


Blood pressure levels are commonly higher during winter months.

The question you may ask is what is the mechanism that allows sunlight to lower blood pressure?

British researchers have figured out why.

The answer is nitric oxide (NO).

Nitric oxide is known to reduce blood pressure by evoking vasodilation either directly by causing relaxation of vascular smooth muscle or indirectly by acting in the rostral brainstem to reduce central sympathetic outflow, which decreases the release of norepinephrine from sympathetic nerve terminals.

Basically, nitric oxide increases the elasticity of the artery walls and helps to normalize high blood pressure.

An increasingly large body of literature suggests that alterations in the NO system may play an important role in the development or maintenance of clinical hypertension.

What they found is that nitric oxide stored in the top layers of the skin reacts to sunlight and causes blood vessels to widen as the oxide moves into the bloodstream. That, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

According to researcher Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine and integrative biology at the University of Southampton, exposure to ultraviolet light might help reduce the risk for heart disease.

“This new study finds that UV light exposure to the skin induced nitric oxide release and modestly lowered blood pressure, suggesting that this may play a role in modulating blood pressure,” said Fonarow, a spokesman for the American Heart Association.

In 2009, a team led by the University of Edinburgh’s Richard Weller showed that human skin and the dermal vasculature contain significant stores of NO—much more than can be found circulating in the blood—and that these stores could be mobilized by UVA (long-wave UV) irradiation.

“This study provides suggestive evidence that skin-derived NO metabolites may have a role in modulation of blood pressure upon UV exposure,” Thomas Michel, a professor of medicine and biochemistry at Harvard Medical School.

Courtesy of www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com

Note: In my clinic helping the body make proper amounts of nitric oxide is an important strategy for increasing blood flow to the brain and hands and feet. A lack of adequate nitric oxide is one of the reasons for erectile dysfunction, and the drug Viagara works by blocking the breakdown of what little nitric oxide the body is still producing.

There are some great herb and nutrient combinations that promote healthy nitric oxide levels, These help optimize function after concussions and I commonly see them help with brain fog. They can also play an important role in interrupting the inflammatory process of autoimmune disease, you also have to be careful to address high levels of inflammation if it exists, or you could make things worse.

Difficult losing fat? This may be the cause.

At Functional Health and Acupuncture Institute in Cherry Hill, NJ we help people with chronic health issues identify the root causes of their conditions using traditional tools of Chinese Medicine and modern principles of Functional Medicine.

One factor that often complicates chronic illness is the rising rates of obesity we see in society.  Despite people’s efforts at eating a healthy diet and exercise to lose fat, they may still be resistant to losing weight. One reason for this is the levels of toxins in their system may be very high.   And there is one little unknown fact that will prevent millions of people from ever losing fat. According to the US government this one thing is the considered the number one pollutant in the human body and will put a quick halt to ever reaching your desired level of fitness and fat loss.

One of the major causes of the obesity epidemic is the unprecedented level of phthalates or plasticizers in our lives. The problem with these toxic environmental chemicals is the fact that they are difficult to impossible to avoid. In fact they are found in every species even in the most pristine wild.

Phthalates are the highest pollutant in the body being over 10,000 times higher than any of the thousands of other environmental toxins. They are found throughout our homes in items such as soda and infant formula bottles, food packaging, cosmetics, nail polish, mattresses, couches, carpets, clothing, medications, styrofoam cups, vinyl flooring, construction materials, home wiring, computers, industrial and auto exhausts. In fact they are so pervasive that now children six years of age have levels that used to take adults until the age of 40 to accumulate.

These toxins are largely stored in fat stores to protect our vital organs. It would be unsafe to have these chemicals released in circulation so they are stored away in fat. The overwhelming amount of toxins, called phthalates, accumulated in the body shocks the body’s natural ability to depollute them, resulting in the inability to lose weight. These pollutants have also been linked to complications when treating chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and diabetes to name a few.


How to detoxify these chemicals?

Phthalates are virtually impossible to avoid as they are contained in foods, water bottles and body lotions. The best most people can do is to be certain they are doing everything they can to effectively and efficiently eliminate their build-up in the body.

One of the key ingredients to ridding the body of these harmful toxins is first to do what you can to avoid them.  Stop drinking out of styrofoam cups and plastic bottles. Eat 1-2 servings per day from the Brassica family vegetables like brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, kale and arugula, as this will help the liver detoxify phthalates. Supplements also exist that can confer many of the benefits of these foods.  You can also use a far infrared sauna to help sweat out toxins.

I also recommend a formal detoxification program twice a year to help the liver clear out the body’s chemical burden.  This consists of a 3 week period of eating a very clean diet along with providing specific nutrients that the liver uses to conduct its Phase I and Phase II detoxification processes.  A formal three-week detoxification will not only help eliminate toxins, but also can help reset your metabolism and improve immune heath. Here at Functional Health and Acupuncture Institute, we offer a variety of detoxification programs that are helpful to everyone and vital to anyone experiencing autoimmune disease, chronic illness, or those just looking to look and feel their best.



Vitamin D: How Much is Enough?

The verdict is out. We are simply not getting enough Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is crucial in every disease from inhibiting cancer and heart diseases to mental disease, recurrent infections, tooth loss, osteoporosis, narcolepsy and auto-immune disease.

Unfortunately the reference range of Quest and Lab Corp is commonly 30 to 100 nanomols per liter (nmol/l), and sometimes it is 30 to 75 nmol/l.

Scientists who are experts in vitamin D chemistry are now finding that the actual need for vitamin D is greater than 75 nanomols per liter (nmol/l).

What is the problem?

The problem is millions of people who are around 30-75 are told by their physicians that they have a normal level of D, when in fact it is too low.

Now here is another more serious problem.

When you do have a good therapeutic level, doctors using the “normals” (30 to 75) on conventional labs will erroneously tell you that you’re too high and you should cut back.

Researchers have shown we could cut the cancer and heart attack rates in half in this country if people just had enough vitamin D.

Sadly, it will take many years before medicine catches up.

As a consequence, we will see even more of an explosion of our current epidemics of diabetes and depression, cancer and heart disease. In addition, more people will develop auto-immune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and lupus, not to mention Alzheimer’s.

Basically the take away message from today’s article is people who have too little vitamin D are told they have just enough. And people who think they are taking enough will be told they have too much and should cut back.

Functional medicine practitioners also understand that cheap and synthetic forms in foods and nutrients lower the good level of D3.

So make sure you use a quality Vitamin D3 supplement. The dosage depends on your levels, and a good Functional Medicine practitioner can help you with this. And don’t forget the value of 30 minutes of natural sunshine (though here in the Northeast this only helps in summertime).

This article is compliments from Functional Medicine University