July 22, 2015

A new website!!

I am very excited to share my new website!  This is a way to connect if interested in my clinical services.  Please click here  to check it out, and let me know what you think!

Warmly,

Rachelle

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June 2, 2015

Supporting Our Brain Health as We Age

A “hidden” epidemic:

The incidence of brain-related disease is on the rise in aging populations. According to a study published by professor Colin Pritchard in the journal Public Health, between 1979 and 2010, brain condition-related deaths in the United States rose 66% in men and 92% in women. Professor Pritchard states: “It is not that we have more old people but rather more old people have more brain disease than ever before, including Alzheimer’s.”

Currently, there are nearly 5.4 million Americans affected by Alzheimer’s disease and 30 million globally.  It is becoming evident that women are at the epicenter of the Alzheimer’s epidemic, with 65% of patients and 60% of caregivers being women. In fact, a woman’s chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease is now greater than her chance of developing breast cancer.

So what do we do with this staggering data?

The good news is that recent studies are revealing strong ties between diet choices and lifestyle habits that can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of dementia and Alzheimer’s in both women and men.  There are advanced testing options to evaluate your nutritional needs and assess your body’s ability to manage environmental toxins. Your doctor can provide guidance in designing a personalized diet and lifestyle plan based on these findings that can help you reduce your risk for brain-related diseases later in life.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia – What’s the cause?

Current research is divided over the ultimate cause of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, but some strong associations are coming to light regarding nutrition and Alzheimer’s prevention.  We are learning the importance of blood sugar control in management and prevention of Alzheimer’s.  In fact, some researchers are beginning to refer to Alzheimer’s disease as “type III diabetes” because of the strong relationship between insulin resistance in the brain and evidence of Alzheimer’s progression.

Evaluating your insulin resistance:

The term “insulin resistance” refers to how effectively your body can utilize the sugar you consume.  As your cells become “insulin resistant” you are more inclined to develop poor blood sugar control.  In the past, we were primarily concerned about insulin resistance leading to type II diabetes and increasing risk for heart disease.  We now know that insulin resistance can also lead to cognitive decline and may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Advanced testing to evaluate your metabolic processes and determine your personal sensitivity to insulin is often a good starting point. One such test is the MetSyn Test by Genova Diagnostics which utilizes a combination of inflammatory, metabolic, and advanced lipid biomarkers to provide an early assessment for pre-diabetes and progression toward cardio-metabolic syndrome. This test can identify early signs of insulin resistance long before there are any blood sugar changes.  This important information can help with the assessment of your risk for developing dementia and provide the motivation to get a jumpstart on prevention.

Genetic testing:

One genetic risk factor that has been associated with an increased risk of developing early onset Alzheimer’s disease (before age 60) is related to the apolipoprotein E gene (ApoE) found on chromosome 19. ApoE comes in several different forms: ApoE 2, ApoE 3, and ApoE 4.

According to the National Institute on Aging:

  • ApoE 2 is relatively rare and may provide some protection against the disease. If Alzheimer’s disease occurs in a person with this allele, it develops later in life than it would in someone with the ApoE 4 gene.
  • ApoE 3, the most common allele, is believed to play a neutral role in the disease—neither decreasing nor increasing risk for Alzheimer’s.
  • ApoE 4 is present in about 10 to 15 percent of the population and in about 40 percent of all people with late-onset Alzheimer’s. People who develop Alzheimer’s are more likely to have an ApoE 4 allele than people who do not develop the disease.

More than meets the eye:

Environmental toxins exert enormous stress on our bodies and may be one of the causative factors contributing to dementia and Alzheimer’s. When asked what he thought caused the recent increases in brain disease in Western countries, Professor Colin Pritchard said: “Considering the changes over the last 30 years — the explosion in electronic devices, rises in background non-ionising radiation- PC’s, micro waves, TV’s, mobile phones; road and air transport up four-fold increasing background petro-chemical pollution; chemical additives to food, etc. there is no one factor, but rather the likely interaction between all these environmental triggers, reflecting changes in other conditions…there is an ‘epidemic’ that clearly is influenced by environmental and societal changes.”

 

Dietary and lifestyle changes can significantly improve brain health:

Recently, a small study conducted at Buck Institute revealed remarkable success in patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease who participated in a therapeutic program that addressed diet and lifestyle changes. Nine out of ten participants showed reversal of cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer’s disease just by altering their diets and making lifestyle changes.

Most of the dietary changes were focused on balancing blood sugar while the lifestyle changes focused on stress reduction.  Although this study was small, it provides promising data linking improved diet and reduced stress with improvement in cognitive health.

So what can you do today?

  1. Speak with your doctor about appropriate testing to evaluate your capacity to manage environmental toxins, your blood sugar control, and your inflammation levels.
  1. Help your body manage day-to-day stress:
  • Meditate daily
  • Sleep 8 hours a night
  1. Take supplements to support cognitive health:
  • Curcumin: protects brain cells and works as a powerful natural anti-inflammatory
  • Ashwagandha and Bacopa monniera: herbs that support healthy cognitive function by promoting circulation and supporting adrenal health
  • Fish oil: provides anti-inflammatory support and promotes brain function
  • Vitamin D3: improves brain function, supports mood (check with your doctor on appropriate dosing for you).
  • Vitamins B6 and B12: essential for healthy neurological function and help convert carbohydrates into energy
  • CoQ10: helps optimize brain cell function by providing energy in the mitochondria
  • Multivitamin
  • Probiotics: improve brain function, support mental focus, reduce depression
  1. Focus on dietary changes that reduce the risk for insulin resistance:
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates and processed foods including sugar, grains, and other starches.
  • Fast for a minimum of 3 hours between dinner and going to bed.
  • Fast a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast

Ultimately, there is still much to be learned in the area of brain health, but the recent increase in incidence of brain-related disease warrants our attention.  As a naturopath, my focus is always on prevention, and recent studies support the importance of making healthy lifestyle and dietary changes today to prevent brain-related diseases later in life.  Speak with your doctor for more information on tailoring a brain-supportive health plan for yourself and your loved ones.

Resources:

  1. Pritchard, C., Mayers, A. and Baldwin, D., 2013. Changing patterns of neurological moartality in the 10 major developed countries – 1979-2010.Public Health.
  2. Dale E. Bredesen, 2014. Reversal of cognitive decline: A novel therapeutic programAging
  3. Suzanne M. de la Monte, M.D., M.P.H.and Jack R. Wands, M.D. 2008. Alzheimer’s Disease Is Type 3 Diabetes–Evidence Reviewed. Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology
April 23, 2014

Adrenal health video

Hello all!

Well, I am venturing in to a whole new level of media …and vulnerability!  Let me know what you think of my new short videos — this one is about adrenal stress index testing and is one of the most important tests available to my patients – I think we all should test our adrenal function to see how we are handling our stress!!

Here is the link to my YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRnEys8up-k&feature=youtu.be

In health,

Rachelle

August 5, 2013

Fish oil and prostate cancer risk

Recently a study was published suggesting that intake of fish oil supplements could increased prostate cancer risk. The majority of my male patients take a fish oil supplement and so I have certainly been fielding a lot of questions on this subject. Below is a response published by Thorne Research, which is a nutritional supplement company. I just thought I’d share another perspective on this hotly debated subject.

Presently, I am recommending that any male who is taking fish oil should personally discuss the risk with his doctor. For most of my patients, I believe the clinical benefit from a high-quality fish oil supplement is too critical to consider eliminating because of one retrospective study that found a correlation.

Here are some thoughts in more “sciency” terms for those of you who like that!

As you may be aware, an article published in the July 2013 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests there is an association between elevated plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels and a heightened risk of prostate cancer.

This study must be interpreted with a significant degree of caution for a variety of reasons:

The data came from what is referred to as a retrospective, nested, case-control study. The data was extracted from another, much larger, previously conducted trial that was not originally intended to examine the relationship between omega-3 fatty acid levels and prostate cancer. In other words, the original s tudy was not designed to determine any of the conclusions reached in the analysis contained in the article.
The study’s results conflict with the results from other studies that do suggest that omega-3 fatty acids offer a protective benefit against prostate cancer; and these other studies were, in fact, designed to analyze that very outcome. (See link)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3629172/
Identifying one particular physiologic marker in a group of individuals with a given condition – in this case, an elevated omega-3 level in men with prostate cancer – does not prove causation, especially when that marker can be influenced by diet or behavior and is only measured at a single point in time.
It is also hugely important to realize that the authors of this study did not assess any of the participants’ dietary intake of fatty fish or omega-3 nutritional supplements – the study’s conclusions are based wholly on the results of a single blood test.
The omega-3 index, which measures both EPA and DHA within red blood cells, is a much more accurate indicator of long-term omega-3 intake and tissue status than is the plasma omega-3 level, which is subject to significant day-to-day variability.
A number of confounding risk factors might have influenced the purported outcomes in the study, despite attempts by the investigators to account for them:
53 percent of the subjects with prostate cancer were smokers.
64 percent of the cancer subjects regularly consumed alcohol.
30 percent of the cancer subjects had at least one first-degree relative with prostate cancer.
80 percent of the cancer subjects were overweight or obese.
Considering the extensive body of literature that supports the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids, there is no credible biological mechanism, nor is one suggested in the article, that would explain why these essential fatty acids might increase tumorigenesis.
Summary: Given the inconsistent data attributable to omega-3 fatty acids and prostate cancer, and acknowledging the broad range of health benefits that are almost universally accorded to omega-3 fatty acid consumption, it would be premature to stop eating fish or to discontinue taking omega-3 nutritional supplements on the basis of this study.

In Health,

Robert Rountree, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Thorne Research, Inc.

January 19, 2012

WSJ article on Brain-Gut connection

Here is a great article a friend shared with me from the Wall Street Journal: A Gut Check for Many Ailments… I hope you read it!

This article is a succinct and well-written summary of a branch of scientific research some call “psychoneuroimmunology.”  A study of the connection between the brain, the mind and the immune system.  In this article, the author presents a few important research studies that have helped us understand the role of another key palyer: our gut!  When addressing any disease, one system your naturopath may always ask about is the gastro-intestinal system.  Why? Because, often the GI ‘runs the show’ in the body more than any other system — some scientists even refer to gut as having its own ‘brain.’

The author discusses research revealing the importance of maintaining healthy gut flora in order to maintain proper neurotransmitter balance – which affects things like anxiety and depression; and, in this study, autism.  Just another good reason to eat lacto-fermented foods on a regular basis or include a high-quality probiotic in your diet.

The author also mentions research showing that stimulation of the vagus nerve – the largest nerve connecting the brain and the GI system – could significantly alter someone’s experiences of depression.  We often talk about food as medicine, but I love this article because it brings together a nice sampling of mainstream research to illuminate how we can see gut health as playing a central role in achieving balanced health in the mind and body.

November 9, 2011

Welcome fall!

As the leaves are turning such brilliant golden shades, and the air is getting crisp, I am enjoying more time cozied-up inside with a blanket and warm cup of tea reading in my favorite comfy chair.

In Chinese medicine, fall is a season of beginning to rebuild, to store-up and to prepare for the winter season. Fall is a good season for you to examine new ways to be caring for yourself. Eating hearty soups with lots of root vegetables, lentils and grains will nourish your body. Taking the time to get plenty of rest and not engaging in overly stressful activities is also important in this season.

In my times of restoration I have been doing a lot of reading and have found a number of interesting articles online and I thought I would share a small sampling with you all… let me know what you think!

Be Well,
Dr. Rachelle

Natural news updates….

Naturopath and family run cross-country to promote health awareness

Vitamin D deficiency a bigger concern in obese teens

Joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis may be linked to exposure to air pollution

Dr. Mercola’s “cancer in a can” warning

October 24, 2011

hydration better than “five hour energy?!”

Living in the city means we are constantly bombarded by toxins in our environment – not to mention, all the toxins we may be consuming in our food, absorbing from products we put on our skin or that we drink from unfiltered water.

Note: In our discussion on water, I am always advocating that the source of water be from a clean reliable source – I personally prefer to drink water that has been filtered through reverse osmosis. If you do not have access to this, the next best is to invest in a charcoal filter for your water (ie. “Brita” filters). Bottled water is okay if you confirm its source, but obviously contributes to more landfill issues and is rarely cost-effective.

 

 

Why drink water?  I know its cheesy but, I truly believe it…. The Solution to Pollution is Dilution!

Environmental toxins (air pollution (VOC), pesticide in foods, etc.) can decrease immune function: Toxins can eat up all your antioxidants needed to fight infections, white blood cells (your immune cells) need them to function properly, when your toxic burden is too high, you are prone to getting sick more often. In addition to reducing toxic burden in the body, hydration will increase fluidity of the blood so your white blood cells can move to the target area with ease.

Daily, you should make a goal to drink 1/2 your weight in pounds in fluid ounces. So if you weigh 120#/2=60 so drink 60oz. Add 8oz for every 1 hour of sweating and 8 oz cup of coffee or soda (carbonated sugar drinks).

Our total body is 70-85% water. We lose water through evaporation, and urination. So it may be obvious that hydration is important but many people forget to drink water. Hydration is important for cardiovascular health, energy level and weight issues.

5% of water loss can lead to 20% of energy loss and thirst is often mistaken for hunger – so next time you are feeling that afternoon lull in energy try reaching for a glass of water (or maybe two) because it is likely dehydration kicking-in… not a deficiency in an energy supplement! I had a patient ask – “you mean drinking water is better than five-hour energy?!”  ha ha, (of course) I said “yes!!!”

Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. Water is essential for good health. You lose water each day when you go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when you breathe. You lose water even faster when the weather is extremely hot, when you exercise, or if you have a fever. Vomiting and diarrhea can also lead to rapid fluid loss. If you don’t replace the water you lose, you will become dehydrated.

What to do when you are dehydrated:

– Start drinking water – your body cannot absorb more than 8 oz in 20 minutes so do not exceed this rate.

– Avoid dehydrating beverages such as coffee, soda and alcohol.

– Help increase movement of water into the cells by adding electrolytes to your water: I like “EmergenC” packets although they do have some sugar. Coconut water is another good option and is naturally infused with electrolytes! Avoid “sports drinks” that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.

What to do to maintain good hydration:

– Keep a bottle of water with you during the day. Consider carrying a reusable water bottle and filling it from a filtered tap rather than purchasing bottled water, which is expensive and creates plastic bottle waste.

– If plain water doesn’t interest you, try adding a slice of lemon or lime to your drink.

– If you’re going to be exercising, make sure you drink water before, during and after your workout.

– Start and end your day with a glass of water. If you have trouble waking in the night to urinate, do not drink water right before bed.

– When you’re feeling hungry, drink water. The sensation of thirst is often confused with hunger. True hunger will not be satisfied by drinking water. Drinking water may also contribute to a healthy weight loss plan, as some research suggests drinking water will help you feel full.

– Drink on a schedule if you have trouble remembering to drink water. For example, drink water when you wake up; at breakfast, lunch and dinner; and when you go to bed. Or drink a small glass of water at the top of each hour.

– Drink water when you go to a restaurant. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it’s free! (Although, I do advise ensuring the water comes from a filtered source.)

…don’t you feel thirsty now?! ;o)

Be well,

Dr. Rachelle

October 5, 2011

Update on Classes…

Monday we held the Natural Healthcare for Families class at Northgate library where we discussed how parents and kids can get involved in promoting their health in practical ways… both grown-ups and little ones were in attendance and it was a lot of fun!  We even learned how to make a tasty snack with kale (I will share the recipe here sometime soon…)!!

Just a reminder, our series on the FIVE pillars of health is in full swing at the Meadowbrook Community Center, Saturdays 10-11am.  If you would like to attend just one class that is fine… or attend the final THREE!

Saturday, 10/8 – Nutrition

Saturday, 10/15 – Exercise

Saturday, 10/22 – Natural Supplements

Every week students go home with fun new facts and a healthy treat, so don’t miss out!!!

Questions? – post them, and I will reply!

 

Be well,

Dr. Rachelle

September 27, 2011

more classes!! a free class on natural healthcare for families…

Next Monday – October 3rd – I will be offering an exciting, interactive class for parents and kids to learn more about natural healthcare basics.  This class is the first in a series and will be an overview of all that’s to come.   If you know any homeschooling families, this could also be a great supplement to Health Classes!

Check it out, I hope to see you there!

Dr. Rachelle

 

Natural Healthcare Basics for Families

A FREE educational class for Parents and Kids!!!

At the Northgate Public Library

10548 Fifth Ave. NE
Seattle, WA 98125

Monday, October 3rd 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

Call 425-213-0003 or email dr.r.forsberg@gmail.com to reserve a spot!

Interested in caring for your family’s health from a natural perspective?  Come to this interactive class taught by Dr. Rachelle Forsberg, a local naturopath dedicated to helping families prevent and treat illness naturally!

In this class Dr. Forsberg will discuss the essentials of natural healthcare for parents and kids:

  • Sleep
  • Nutrition
  • Hydration
  • Exercise
  • Natural Supplements

Come get your “check-up” with Dr. Forsberg on the fundamentals of health, gaining new insights for healthier & happier living for you and your family.

Children of all ages welcome when accompanied by a parent!

September 23, 2011

Community classes – natural healthcare basics!

If you are in the Seattle area and are interested in learning more about how you can realistically implement healthier habits into your life… might I recommend:

Natural healthcare basics – the five pillars of health!

“This class will provide an easy and accessible overview of how to employ natural options in one’s healthcare from a naturopathic physician’s perspective.  Dr. Rachelle Forsberg, a board-certified Naturopathic Physician, will be facilitating a series of five classes each dedicated to one of the naturopathic pillars of health: Sleep, Hydration, Nutrition, Exercise and Natural Supplements.  These five simple areas of your life can have profound effects on your health – did you know that getting sleep from 10pm-12am can result in the production of nearly half of all the regenerative compounds your body needs for the day?!

Come discuss these ideas with Dr. Forsberg and get your “check-up” on the fundamentals of health and gain new insights for healthier and happier living.

Sleep: Saturday, 9/24, 10:00am – 11:30am
Hydration: Saturday, 10/1, 10:00am – 11:30am
Nutrition: Saturday, 10/8, 10:00am – 11:30am
Exercise: Saturday, 10/15, 10:00am – 11:30am
Natural Supplements: Saturday, 10/22, 10:00am – 11:30am

At Meadowbrook Community Center in Wedgwood

10517 35th Ave. NE ~ Seattle, WA 98125

You can attend all five and receive a certificate of completion or just attend the one’s you find most interesting… I look forward to seeing you there!!

Be Well,

Dr. Rachelle