Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Overcoming Depression

Dear Patients,

Happy New Year!  Hope you all had a good start already. Due to the lack of sunlight and various other reasons, people seem to suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder) around this time of the year. Normal people can fall into depression and those who are prone to depression, can get worse.  

One in 10 people over age 12 in the United States is taking an antidepressant, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which is conducted by the Center for Disease Control. Women between the ages of 40 and 59 are the most likely group to take antidepressants. In this age range, 23 percent of U.S. women are taking one. The survey also found that 60 percent of the respondents had been on their antidepressant for at least two years and 14 percent of the respondents had been taking their antidepressant for 10 years or longer.

No need to say that Antidepressants are one of the world’s best selling drugs.  Most of the Antidepressants we use today are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) which block the serotonin reabsorption receptors. This will artificially increase the serotonin level in the brain.  Current medical society thinking believes that depression is due to a deficiency of the neurotransmitter Serotonin.  We all know Antidepressants have many side effects like agitation, amnesia, anxiety, insomnia, and worst of all, increasing suicide rate. That’s why many of them carry the black box warning.

It’s amazing that not many people ask this simple question - If patient is deficient in serotonin, why not supplement with natural products necessary to produce serotonin? Or perhaps change diet, in order to supply the body with the raw materials it needs to produce serotonin? Or find out which body function is not functioning adequately to produce serotonin and fix it.

Which leads us into the topic of; the natural means of treating depression. The methods I use are very efficient.  I have treated hundreds patients with depression naturally and have taken many patients off of antidepressants successfully.

First, I always start with the Digestive system. It goes more than just eating healthy food with wide varieties of nutrients. We need to focus on proteins and good fats (neurotransmitters are amino acids from proteins, and brains are made up mostly by fat and cholesterol) so we can make neurotransmitters. We can; eat clean food,  absorb less toxins like aspartame (shown to decrease serotonin level) in artificial sweeteners, eliminate properly to remove toxin, enhance good bacteria to detox, absorb and produce vitamins.  On top of all this,nearly 90% of the serotonin in our body is stored in our intestinal tract. A healthy guts is crucial for our mental health. Please read “Second Brain” from Michael D. Gershon, MD and my previous two articles about digestion system from my blog.

Second, exercise is probably as effective treating depression as antidepressants with much less relapse rate. Exercise has been shown to raise serotonin level. My experience suggests at least 30 minutes moderate exercise under the sun and fresh air, 5 days a week can improve mood for almost anyone.

Third, take supplements to replenish all of your nutrients.  5-HTP, the precursor of serotonin is a must. However, balance all other neurotransmitters and other crucial nutrients; vitamin and minerals like vitamin B12, B complex, Omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, etc. One of the most important supplements will be vitamin D3.  We almost inevitably fall into depression if our Vitamin D3 level is below 30, a level between 60-80 is optimal for a happy mood on top of the many other benefits. This may be one of the main reasons for SAD.

And last, but not least, is the balancing of hormones.  The thyroid hormones probably play the most major role with depression. My experience is one third of my patients will come out of depression just by optimizing their thyroid function.  Again, please read the articles in my blog for the info. Adrenal function need to be replenished before thyroid can work properly. Balancing all sex hormones;like testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, pregnenolone and DHEA play magic to our mental health as well as our physical health, is a must for any healthy living.

One very important warning. Never try to stop taking an antidepressant by yourself. Only do it with a physician guidance.  It may cause major crisis.  I usually rehabilitate the whole bodily system before I wean patients off of antidepressants, with very delicate schedule and careful monitoring.

Please feel free to share my website or blog with all your friends. Less drug usage and more natural treatments will cut back national budget deficiency, thence less tax for all of us.

Wish you all a healthy and productive new year with many happiness in your journey.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Digestion, Part 2, Constipation, Probiotics and Detoxification

Happy second day of fall!  Let’s start with finishing my second part of digestive system. Today I would like to address constipation which is probably one of the most common ailment in our modern society.  

I always ask my patients on the first visit, about their bowel movements(BM), many will tell me “I am doing good, I go once a day”. It is probably very good to move our bowel once a day in our current days,  but not optimal.  The babies usually have BM after each nursing due to “Oral-gastric reflex” to make room for the new foods. If we observe native people today, they still go into the woods after each meal also.  So if we eat three times day, we should eliminate three times a day.

The other definition of constipation is the consistency of the BM.  The healthy BM should be soft and floating, break into small pieces when they drop into the toilet.  This consistency is due to the abundance of fibers from vegetables, fruits and whole grains.  The Fibers in our bowel help not just BM, but lowering our sugar, balancing our cholesterol, facilitating weight loss and decreasing the risk of colon cancer.

The treatments of constipation should not include laxatives, since they never solve the root of the problem.  I use a herbal product, that works 99% of the time by stimulating the bowel to be more active, and to facilitate the movement. The majority of patients will not need it after few months of treatment.  But to fix the fundamental root cause of constipation, is to change the diet.  To include more water and real salt to hydrate our BM. Natural vegetables, fruits and whole grains to increase fibers. Eliminate sensitive foods which will preserve and increase good bacterias. Also maintaining an optimal thyroid function and Iodine level are critical for healthy BM.

A healthy digestive system is the foundation for both your physical and emotional health. When  balanced you will function more effectively. Your immune system becomes stronger making you less prone to flu’s, colds and food poisoning. Your digestive tract absorbs essential nutrients from your diet and vitamin supplements more effectively.

There are still many functions of our Bowels that we do not fully understand.  It was suggested to be responsible for up to 75% of our immune system.  Good bacterias play a major part of this function, these bacteria also make most of Vitamin B and prevent overgrowth of the bad bacterias and fungus. So avoid antibiotics to preserve our good baterias and take high quality probiotics taken on empty stomach (so it goes right down to our large intestine where good baterias live) are important.

Our intestine also produces the majority of our neurotransmitters for our mental health.  I do notice most people suffer from constipation also suffer from mental conditions.  A patient’s mental health seems to improve once the constipation resolved. From my experience, our physical health can not really improve without the improvement of our mental health.  Both need to be addressed at the same time.

Detoxification should be a major part of our health program and detoxification should always start from our bowels.  People start to detox their blood or liver without cleaning their guts first tend to become sicker because the toxin removed from Blood or liver still need to be eliminated from Guts or kidneys.  Resolving constipation will be Detoxification 101. I use natural products with activated charcoal or clay to absorb the toxins out of our bodies.

Please keep on working for your health and enjoy the beautiful fall season God gives us as a reward of the year’s hard work.

Osteoporosis testimonial

In my 54th year, I began suffering with bone pain, weakness and lack of energy. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and hypothyroidism. Under traditional MD care, I began taking Actonel for my osteoporosis and levothyroxene for my hypothyroid condition. After about a year my bone pain was getting worse and I still had very little energy...always tired. A spark of grace directed me to seek a natural and more holistic approach to address my conditions. I began treatment with Dr. Wendy Huang. She enlightened me to the importance of becoming educated about my conditions and the variety of natural treatment options. She encouraged me with excellent reading materials and actively involved me in selecting the treatment plan that i felt most comfortable with which included Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for my osteoporosis, Naturethroid for my hypothyroid, vitamin supplements and nutritional guidance. I also began doing yoga and some weight-bearing exercises. It has been over 2 years now and I continue my journey to health and wellness under Dr. Wendy's care. My bone density is improving and my energy level, strength and endurance are all so much better. I have come to experience and value the rewards that come with patiently and persistently following a holistic approach to overall wellness - mind, body and spirit! Cathy C.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Digestive system - the foundation of our health part 1 - GERD and Food sensitivity

Happy July 4th. Let’s celebrate July 4th by claiming our Independence from the disease-based medicine, working to make holistic medicine a viable choice for Americans. Being one of the countries spending most for health care and being one of the unhealthiest nations among the developed countries speaks for itself how our current health care system doesn’t serve us well.

I have been wanting to write about our digestive system for the longest time. It’s true that we are only as young as our oldest system and as strong as our weakest organs. Every organ and system in our body is indispensable. The digestive system is still the most basic and plays more roles than we realize. The digestive system is where we assimilate our nutrition from outside; where we host a huge population of friendly bacteria to produce many essential vitamins and to detox our bodies; where we produce so many neurotransmitters as to win the title of “The Second Brain” (the book by Michael D. Gershon, MD); where our first line of defense takes place and contributes big time to our immunity over all; and, of course, where we remove waste. Since it’s such a big system, I would like to address a part of it each time. Today, let’s start from the top - the stomach, including gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

GERD medicines have been big sellers for many years, and they are used widely even in children now. GERD medicine decreases the acidity of our stomach, which encourages the growth of H. Pylori, yeast, and candida. The overgrowth of harmful bacteria decreases Vitamin B12 absorption and has other side effects. There are actually very effective natural, alternative treatments for GERD. More than 90% of my patients do not need GERD medicine after finishing the program.

First, we remove the food that bother our stomach from our diet. I usually do a food sensitivity test. Food sensitivities are a delayed IgG response, different from an immediate IgE reaction such as peanut butter anaphylactic shock. IgG food sensitivities take 2-3 days to show symptoms, thus escaping most people’s notice. The test is not expensive, but needs to be done by an out-of-network lab. This test shows our sensitivities to 110 common foods. It frequently yields information such that patients know what to eat. Avoiding sensitive foods benefits every symptoms of the GI tract, including GERD, bloating, indigestion, gas, leaking gut syndrome, constipation, and even allergies, eczema, and asthma.

The second is to give acid back to stomach. Most of people think GERD is due to too much acid. Many of my colleagues (Jonathan Wright, MD’s Why stomach acid is good for you ) and my clinical experience suggest most GERD patients have actually less than sufficient amount of acid when they eat. As a result, the gastroesophageal junction muscle does not sense the acidity and does not tighten the junction to prevent acid regurgitation. Most of us have less acid production as we age, which contributes to poor Vitamin B12 and other nutrition absorption and many lower GI tract problems, like over growth of candida which we will address in the future. The acid I prefer to use is raw unfiltered organic apple-cider vinegar, which not only provides acidity, but also provides fermented enzymes and helps the body to become more alkaline and to control sugar better.

The third will be a broad spectrum digestive enzyme. We need to put the enzyme back to our food because most of them are processed and their natural enzymes are destroyed. Digestive enzyme decreases bloating and gas and many mal-digestive symptoms. Apple-cider vinegar taken with a good digestive enzyme at the beginning of each meal, facilitates food digestion and decreases GERD symptoms. Two teaspoons is a good dose to start with and can be increased to the dosage at which patients feel best.

Do not try to stop your GERD medicine by yourself. The adjustment of medication need to be done under the supervision of a medical doctor. I will continue to discuss the other aspects of our digestive system in the next few newsletters. Our guts are the beginning and the end of many of our health problems. If you have a complicated health condition and don’t know where to start to heal yourself, our digestive systems is always a good place to start. Have a healthy and happy summer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Japan Nuclear crisis and Iodine supplement

The Japan nuclear crisis seems to be under control now. If a melt down ever occurred, the cloud could carry enough radiation to danger our health in US. Now come to think of many nuclear power plants we have here in continental US. Unthinkable natural disasters do happen, what’s the best way to protect ourselves?

Many stores run out of Iodine supplements in many area of the country during this crisis. This crisis taught us that we should be in charge of our own health. One of the important way is to eat healthy and take proper supplements. Iodine is the most deficient mineral for the whole globe population because only sea vegetables like kelp, seaweed and wild caught fish contain significant amount of it.

Iodine binds to many iodine receptors in our bodies. When we expose to radioactive iodine, the radioactive iodine will bind with any receptors that were not bound by regular iodine, and destroy the tissue around it. It can also damage the DNA of the nearby tissue and increase our risk of cancers. Most of the iodine receptors are in our thyroid, fat tissues, breast, uterus and prostate. It was even suggested that sufficient iodine intake may decrease the risk of breast cancers. But remember every cells of our body needs iodine to function properly.

What’s the best iodine supplements we can take? I check iodine level of all my new patients and almost all of them are low. I started them on the Iodine solution which has proper proportions of iodine and iodide with the dose pending on the test results. I will check the level few months afterward and adjust the dose accordingly. It tastes bad, but I have to say that it was one of the supplements patients felt most helpful and ask for refill on regular basis.

Dear patients, please do not forget to take the supplements after you feel better. The best way to protect yourselves against nuclear iodine and also for your better health is to take it with proper dosage regularly so all iodine receptors were bound instead of taking a large dose without testing when disaster happen.

You can also get more info from my blog at my website http://holisticmdwendy.blogspot.com. under thyroid and iodine. You are welcome to forward this to your families and friends. But iodine is not without side effects, especially if the dose was not followed by test levels. So please consult your physician before taking the iodine supplements.

My health recovery with Dr. Wendy Huang (Andropause and Ulcerative Colitis)

My first appointment with Dr. Wendy was made to address andropause symptoms that I felt I had been experiencing/suffering through for roughly 1 year.

My primary physician had prescribed antidepressants for me which I did take for several months and experienced a worsening of my depression instead of relief.

My first visit to Dr Wendy she ordered a comprehensive blood test for me and used acupuncture to treat my andropause symptoms as well as to help me quit a 30 yr old cigarette habit.

Once blood results were obtained she addressed each problem area via vitamin supplementation and bio-identical hormone supplementation and acupuncture. This approach really helped alleviate my andropause symptoms.

In December of 2009, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and prescribed by a gastroenterologist three pharmaceutical formulations which were supposed to keep this condition under control.

I was informed that there was no known cure for U.C. and if the inflammation it causes wasn’t addressed I would be at a much higher risk for colon cancer than the general public.

The meds given me for the U.C. weren’t effective for me and I was told that I would have to switch to infusion therapy to control the symptoms and internal bleeding that I was enduring. If this treatment wasn’t effective I was told that I would have to have my colon removed to lessen my odds of getting that cancer

After researching the infusion procedure and the numerous adverse conditions that it can cause such as lymphoma, depressed immune system and really too many others to list.

I turned to Dr Wendy and asked her if she could help me. She suggested boosting my immune system and prescribed a combination of higher levels of vitamin D, physiological supplementation with Cortef (hydrocortisone) for adrenal hormone deficiency proved by test, iodine supplementation and using the amino acid L-Glutamine as this is being used by some gastroenterologist to help heal the gut.

She ordered periodic blood testing to assure that supplementation was at optimal levels. I’m at least 90-95% better under her care for U.C than I was under more traditional care and while I was taking the pharmaceutical meds. My colonoscope done last months showed 95% improvement with only small effected areas.

In my mind, what really sets her apart from more traditional physicians is that she will really listen to your concerns and encourages her patients to perform research themselves and will consider utilizing findings that you come up with if they are based on medically sound principals and/or have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

She also is always attending scientific courses/seminars and becoming knowledgeable in anti-aging practices that are on the cutting edge of medicine and then utilizes what she learns to benefit her patients.

In closing, I fully recommend her to anyone that is unsatisfied with the traditional care being offered to them. She truly does a wonderful job incorporating traditional and holistic care.

Thank you Dr Wendy!
Kevin O’D

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Effective holistic treatments for Type 2 Diabetes/So young and so many pills

I hope all is well. Many people probably ate too much during the holiday season and snow-in days. So let’s talk about holistic treatments of type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (we will symbolize it as DM for the rest of the letter) which is 90% of the Diabetic patients.

Type 2 DM occurred in 1 out of 10 Americans now, and we have been seeing more and more children and teens with this life style disorder- eating wrong food, lack of exercise and overweight. Most people don’t know that Type 2 DM has very effective natural treatments and medication is rarely needed to control the sugar level.

No one can deny the most effective treatment for type 2 DM is weight control. Obesity contributes to insulin resistance which causes type 2 DM. Like every health problem, the treatment is always starting with eating right food. Patients should eat low carb diet, avoid the carb from refined grains or Gluten if Gluten sensitive. So carb from vegetables and not-sweet fruits, and small amount of brown rice, quinoa, millets or buckwheat is enough for most patients. Refine sugars, especially artificial sweeteners should be avoided at all cost.

Sufficient high quality protein contain all variety of amino acids is essential. Vegans need to get them from many kinds of beans, legumes, nuts and seeds because one single plant does not have all essential amino acids we need. But if do it right, vegetarian is still the healthiest diet for human.

Sufficient amount of good fat is also important with omega 3, 6, 9 and saturated fats and unsaturated fats balanced. Most people missed omega 3 from fish and saturated fat like coconuts oil. Fat taken at the right way is good for you, but fat-substitutes made from vegetable oils like margarines are bad. Just don’t take artificial substitutes of anything.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to control DM by making tissue sensitive to insulin again and losing weight. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise, five times a week can do wonder to our sugar levels. Vitamins and mineral supplements are also important, especially Chromium, Vitamin D, B complex and alpha-lipoic acid. Certain herbs like Gymnema Sylvestre and cinnamon were found to be very helpful as well.

My clinical experience has shown a close connection between hormone imbalance and DM. I have found most DM patients have adrenal and thyroid hormones imbalance. Many of my DM patients see their sugar level improved with easier weight loss after bioidentical hormone replacement.

Diabetic medication has many side effects and can be avoided for most patients with the above program. An article in the Wall Street Journal (12.28.10) was titled, “So Young and So Many Pills.” This article pointed out that more than 25% of kids and teens in the U.S. take prescription drugs on a regular basis. Of those drugs, 424,000 prescriptions were given to non-insulin Diabetes at 2009, 5,224,000 prescriptions were for hypertension, and 94,000 were Statins for high cholesterol.

From the time I started my pediatric practice 25 years ago and the following ten years, I rarely seen any kids with those conditions. Now the children are getting those traditional adult onset chronic conditions their parents got at their 40th and their grand parents got at 60th. Within the past 10-15 years, three generations of our population developed those life style diseases around the same time, not the same age. These children will most likely take those drugs for the rest of their life and add more as they grow.

We have to really think what this will do to all of us, our health care system and our future. We need to stop this quick fix with a pill mentality and work hard to remove the problems from the roots. The problem is so profound now that it is not enough just to take care of ourselves; we need to help our families, friends and coworkers. We also need to do something at our legislation and government level. If not, we will have to pay it with our tax dollars, our retirement funds or even with our jobs - an unhealthy health care system like this can cripple our whole economy.

Let’s all work hard for a happier and healthier 2011.

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