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Healing Solutions Health & Nutrition

25 Aug '15

The Thyroid Anxiety Connection

Posted by Karen Dame

Anxiety affects nearly 55 million people in the United States alone. Anxiety is basically a feeling of persistent worry that hinders your ability to relax. No one likes to be anxious as many times it is mixed with fear, depression and insomnia. Unwanted physical symptoms can also coincide with anxiety including headaches, trembling, sweating, muscle tension and muscle aches.

What causes anxiety? Many experts believe that imbalances in serotonin, dopamine, and GABA in the brain are potential causes. These neurotransmitters are affected by stress, poor diets, blood sugar swings, hormone imbalances, traumatic life experiences and especially an over or under active thyroid. Overactive thyroid symptoms include anxiety, agitation, weight loss, insomnia, and headaches. Hypothyroidism and anxiety are also related as the body struggles to maintain normal metabolism.

Conventional medicine has used drugs that target imbalances in these neurotransmitters quite successfully but they don’t always work and can have unwanted side effects. Up to this point, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been scientifically proven to be the most effective, long-term treatment for anxiety.

Alternative medicine offers a variety of well-researched options to help those of you with anxiety. Let’s delve into this wonderful world of herbal medicine and supplements that have proven effectiveness without side effects.


Passionflower has a long history in folklore as an anti-anxiety agent used by people all over the world for centuries. Between 1970 and 1990, passionflower was actually listed as an official plant drug by the pharmacopoeias of America, Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Egypt and India.

One study compared the effectiveness of passionflower versus the benzodiazepine oxazepam. The results showed that passionflower was just as effective at reducing anxiety as the medication. One interesting fact is that the subjects taking passionflower did not report impairment in their ability to work unlike the subjects taking the medication.


Kava is commonly consumed as a drink made from the plant Piper methysticum. Many cultures have consumed Kava to relieve anxiety, restlessness and insomnia for centuries. Kava is attractive because it does not cause mental impairment or sedation like benzodiazepines. Kava works by binding to GABA receptors which is the main calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Kava also has opioid-like properties as well as balancing dopamine and serotonin.

Researchers have found that Kava is an excellent alternative to benzodiazepines and antidepressants without side effects. The FDA sent out a warning about Kava in 2002 that it may cause liver damage in some individuals. This was refuted in 2008 by Teschke et al who found that the initial reported cases of liver damage were due to poor quality kava, overdose, prolonged therapy and co-medication. As with all supplements, be sure that you are buying the highest quality products available. Of 435 individuals taking Kava in a clinical trial, no liver issues were reported.

St. John’s wort

St. John’s wort is derived from the flowering tops of a perennial shrub. It has been used for centuries to treat anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. Like Kava, St. John’s wort binds to GABA receptors and also helps to balance serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. St. John’s wort is mostly widely known for it’s use in depression. A study published in 1996 found that St. John’s wort was more effective than placebo in treating depression. One trial in Germany found that SJW was just as effective as the drug imipramine in treating mild to moderate depression. Since depression and anxiety are commonly linked, it is an excellent choice.

One study of 149 patients with depression and anxiety showed that after six weeks of treatment SJW significantly reduced anxiety.

 **Liquid tincture forms of the above listed herbs are recommended, instead of capsules.**

Lysine & Arginine

Amino acid therapy is widely used to manipulate levels of serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. Lysine has been traditionally used as an anti-viral for conditions such as herpes and shingles. Other amino acids such as tyrosine and tryptophan have been used to raise levels of dopamine and serotonin.

Recent studies have found that lysine and arginine may influence neurotransmitter levels as well. Lysine has been shown to affect serotonin levels by binding to serotonin receptors, reducing the stress-response and lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Two studies have found that the combination of lysine and arginine effectively reduced anxiety with no reported side effects. Average dosing is 3 grams of each per day taken on an empty stomach.


We can’t forget my all-time favorite mineral once called “The Crown Prince” of minerals. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to anxiety and related disorders. Three studies have been done on magnesium and it’s anti-anxiety effects all of which showed positive results. The average dose used in the studies was 300mg. I recommend magnesium glycinate taken before bed or during times of anxiety during the day. Magnesium is responsible for 350 enzyme reactions in the body and will benefit you in many ways other than just for anxiety.  **Note:  The most absorbable form of magnesium is through topical application using Magnesium Gel.  This will be the fastest way to elevate your magnesium level.**

Anxiety and depression can be a sign of more serious psychological and physical problems so always consult your physician before self-medicating. Your thyroid and anxiety are sometimes related so if you are experiencing anxiety, you should always have your thyroid checked to see if this is a major contributing factor. These natural alternatives can provide excellent relief from anxiety without side effects. I am always amazed how Mother Nature has given us many of the remedies we need for common ailments.

Article:  Dr. Hedberg

Addendums: Karen Dame

A list of thyroid test recommendations, as well as the above supplements are available at:  www.healingsolutionshealth.com

25 Aug '15

The Importance Of Taking Vitamin D3 And K2 TOGETHER!!

Posted by Karen Dame


Vitamin D3/K2 Sublingual Drops


Vitamin D and K2 are an important part of the calcium supplementation protocol. Calcium is a popular supplement many people take to promote strong, healthy bones. However, there has been a surge of articles lately highlighting the dangers associated with calcium supplementation. Studies indicate that taking calcium can promote atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. When it comes to vitamins and minerals, it is always best to get these nutrients from whole food sources. Nutrients derived from food are bio-available to our body and quickly recognized and absorbed. When we supplement without knowing there is a real deficiency, we risk rocking the boat and disturbing the delicate balance of nutrients that enable our bodies to run optimally.

Testing these levels through a Micro-Nutrient Test, is an excellent way to get your baseline to know what vitamins, minerals or amino acids you may be deficient in. If you feel you are not getting enough calcium rich foods in your diet, which are abundant in green vegetables, some fish and dairy, or your test results indicate you are deficient, then it may be time to supplement. Promoting strong bones requires more than just calcium. It requires other nutrients too, vitamin D, K2 and magnesium are all superstars in this arena and they need each other to be effective. They work synergistically with one another for the best absorption and delivery. Taking calcium alone, without these other nutrients may mean you are doing more harm than good. Some studies suggest that by doing this, you are actually increasing your risk of osteoporosis. When researchers combined calcium with Vitamin D they found the absorption rate was better. When they added Vitamin K2 they found it helped to move the calcium into the areas of the body where it is needed, like the bones and teeth. They also found that it helped to remove calcium from the arteries and soft tissues, where it should not be. Vitamin D and K2 should always be taken together. Vitamin D on its own creates K2 dependent proteins and we need K2 to activate those proteins. If these proteins are not activated, calcium in the body will not be distributed properly which leads to atherosclerosis and weakened bones. The absence of K2 also creates Vitamin D toxicity, which can also lead to hardening of the arteries. The balance of nutrients is critically important for optimizing good health. If you are taking calcium, consider taking Vitamin D and K2 with it. If you are supplementing with Vitamin D solely, add K2.


**Vitamin K interferes with the effect of anticoagulant drugs and therefore, should be avoided in this case. Since Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it’s best to check your level before supplementing.

25 Aug '15

Digestive Reset Program.....Heal Your Gut And Heal Your Health

Posted by Karen Dame


The Digestive Reset Program.......

Always Improves Health Conditions 

And Often Resolves Them


Healthy gut function is the foundation for good health, so it's no surprise to learn that over 75% of your immune system is found in your gut.  The intestinal tract alone has roughly 1,000 known species of micro-organisms, both good and bad.  There are many signs that indicate to us the gut is out of balance. When we experience health issues like, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, weight gain, weight loss, headaches, insomnia, acid reflux, nausea, auto immune diseases and more, it's time to reset the gut and strengthen our immunity.  What contributes to an unhealthy gut and microflora?  Use of antibiotics, birth control, NSAIDs, radiation therapy, a diet high in refined carbohydrates, gluten, sugar and processed foods, GMO's like soy, corn and wheat, a diet low in fermentable fibers, food allergies/sensitivities, rancid oils, stress and obesity.  All of these things will throw the body out of balance and create gut dysbiosis.Having an imbalance in gut flora means that the delicate ratio of good bacteria responsible for keeping you healthy and that has the ability to keep your bad bacteria in check ,is now disrupted.  As this process happens, you become sick more frequently.  This can lead to other health problems like food sensitivities, allergies and even more concerning, diseases and other health problems like cancer.  It is said that all illness and disease is rooted in gut dysfunction and there are many studies that indicate an altered microflora is connected to many, many health conditions like, autism, yeast infections, depression, eczema, thyroid disorders including Hashimoto's, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, auto-immune conditions and others.Balancing the microflora and gut function to achieve wellness will not only help, but often eliminates health conditions.  The process begins with proper nutritiion and the right combination of nutrients to repair and heal the gut.  If you consider that 'All Disease Begins In The Gut," it's sensible to make this the starting place for your healing journey.  The Healing Solutions Digestive Reset Program has all you need to achieve proper gut function and immune support for creating the foundation to better health.  Join me, as I strengthen my body, reset my gut function and improve my immune system so WE don't get sick this season. 

25 Aug '15

Advanced PreBiotic Has Ability To Reduce Anxiety

Posted by Karen Dame

Clasado Biosciences Limited, the producers and suppliers of the second generation prebiotic Bimuno(R) (B-GOS), a unique trans-galactooligosaccharide, and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, today announce the results of clinical research demonstrating for the first time that an advanced prebiotic Bimuno has the ability to reduce anxiety.

The clinical trial results, published in the journal Psychopharmacology in a paper entitled ‘Prebiotic intake reduces the waking cortisol response and alters emotional bias in healthy volunteers’, showed that the consumption of B-GOS produced a decrease in both waking cortisol levels and attentional vigilance towards negative versus positive information. The trial compared B-GOS with fructooligosaccharide (FOS) and a placebo.

The results of the study suggest that B-GOS may have an anxiolytic effect and reduce stress reactivity in healthy subjects. The study also demonstrates that manipulation of the gut microbiota with B-GOS may alter HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis reactivity and processing. The HPA axis is often dysregulated in individuals suffering from depression and anxiety impacting affective and memory processing as well as having strong directional links with the gut microbiome.

The study revealed decreased attentional vigilance to negative versus positive information after Bimuno GOS treatment, compared to placebo and FOS treatment. Increased processing of negative material is seen as a core functional marker of anxiety and depression and can be modulated by antidepressant/anxiolytic medication. No effects were found after administration of a FOS prebiotic.

Further trials are planned by Clasado and the University of Oxford studying the effects of B-GOS on individuals suffering from anxiety, stress or depression, where further positive results are expected.

The clinical study is the latest in an ongoing research programme of pre-clinical and clinical trials being undertaken by Clasado in collaboration with Oxford University and other internationally recognised research institutes. This study followed a recent pre-clinical trial, published in the journal Neurochemistry International, which showed for the first time that the modulation of gut microbiota by prebiotics can lead to changes in brain biochemistry.

“Mental health problems affect a significant proportion of people in the western world. Indeed, depression and anxiety account for 40 percent of reported disabilities worldwide. This latest study by Clasado and the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford is a valuable addition to our knowledge of brain gut interactions and may pave the way for alternatives to existing drug therapies with their associated side effects,” said Graham Waters, CEO of Clasado. “This trial is part of a wider program of clinical research in which we are currently engaged, investigating the central role of the gut in improved health and wellness.”

25 percent of people in the western world will experience a mental health problem at some point during a 12 month period and anxiety is the most common mental illness, affecting approximately one in six people in the US and UK.

“The results of these trials add to the expanding body of knowledge on microbiome-behaviour and microbiome-endocrine interactions,” said Dr Phil Burnet, Head Researcher, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. “The study makes an important contribution to the existing clinical evidence linking the gut and its microbiota to brain function.”




Originally Published In News Medical/December 2014

25 Aug '15

Top 4 Probiotics For Hashimotos Disease

Posted by Karen Dame

The Four Best Probiotics for Hashimoto’s


When I was first searching for a healing plan for Hashimoto’s, I learned about the role of the gut in autoimmune disorders.

According to research from Dr. Fasano and colleagues, every person with an autoimmune disorder has something called intestinal permeability, also knows as a “leaky gut”.

This made a lot of sense to me because I had many of the symptoms of intestinal permeability, including bloating, stomach pains, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux, as do many people with Hashimoto’s.

However, not everyone with intestinal permeability will have these symptoms. Some may have no apparent gut symptoms at all. As awful as it was to deal with IBS for almost a decade and acid reflux for three years, I’m actually grateful that I had them as these symptoms were signals from my body as to what part of the system was broken.

Autoimmunity has been determined to be a three-legged stool, needing a combination of the right genes, the right triggers and intestinal permeability to manifest itself. This was really exciting to me, because I knew that I couldn’t change my genes, and wasn’t sure if I would be able to identify the exact trigger that set off the autoimmune cascade in my body, but was hopeful that I could fix my intestinal permeability.

I found that there are a various reasons why a person may have intestinal permeability. Gluten, the protein found in wheat products, has become a well known producer of intestinal permeability, and many individuals with autoimmune conditions have been able to find relief in symptoms through following a gluten-free diet.  Some people have even seen a complete remission in their autoimmune condition after removing gluten from their diet.


Another reason why a gut may be more permeable is due to an imbalance of probiotic (good) vs. opportunistic (bad) gut bacteria, also knows as dysbiosis.

People with autoimmunity have been found to have lower amounts of probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidus, and higher amounts of the opportunistic E. coli and Proteus bacteria. E. Coli & Proteus bacterial species are often referred to as “opportunistic pathogens’, because they only become pathogenic when the opportunity is just right. If they are outnumbered by probiotic bacteria, they behave like good citizens of the gut, but in times where they outnumber the probiotics, they may start to damage the gut wall, leading to intestinal permeability.

I’ve seen this pattern of low levels of probiotic bacteria/high levels of opportunistic bacteria on my own lab tests, as well as the tests of many clients with Hashimoto’s that have had the test that quantifies the microbial flora. (You can have your functional medicine doctor order this test for you, or you can self-order it by clicking here:  


When I first took this test, I was shocked to see that I had zero growth of lactobacillus bacteria, even though I was eating yogurt on a daily basis. The problem with most commercial probiotics and yogurts is that they don’t have enough beneficial bacteria to really make a difference. 

I started to eat fermented foods and added high doses of probiotics and started to feel better and better (I had already been gluten and dairy free, and hit a "healing" wall). 

I retested myself with the  when all of my Hashimoto's symptoms were gone, and found that my probiotic bacteria were in the optimal range and the E.Coli and Proteus species were no longer predominating my gut flora. 

Thus, one of the very first recommendations I make for EVERYONE with Hashimoto's is to be sure to get enough probiotics on board. 

You can do that through eating fermented foods (like my friend and mentor Donna Gates recommends), as well as through taking probiotic supplements. 

Probiotic Rich Foods

Fermented coconut yogurt: 

Tula's Coconut Kefir is my favorite. The first time I ordered it, I ate 3 packs in one sitting! Delicious!

Fermented coconut water: 
The Body Ecology one from Donna Gates or Tula's Coconut Kefir

Fermented cabbage (make sure you get the kind that is refrigerated, the probiotic bacteria only survive for a couple of weeks at room temperature). Check your organic grocery, otherwise Thirty Acre Farm ships in the US.

Probiotic Supplements

Probiotics have been widely researched for a variety of conditions; including irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, anxiety, depression and even skin disorders. Probiotics can help with improving digestion and nutrient extraction from the foods we eat, and can also balance the immune system. 

Probiotics can help with all types of gut symptoms, can help with treating small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (present in >50% of people with Hashimoto's and responsible for leaky gut), and have helped me with symptoms of anxiety and helped me with digesting my food 

Here are three probiotics that I have used successfully:

Saccharomyces Boulardii–beneficial yeast that helps to clear out pathogenic bacteria, Candida, some parasites (including Blastocystis hominis) and H Pylori, an infection that has been implicated in ulcers and has been linked to Hashimoto’s.

S. Boulardii does not colonize the gut wall, but instead it causes an increase of Secretory IgA, which supports our own body’s natural defense against infections and opportunistic gut bacteria.

While the label of the product recommends taking 2 capsules twice per day, I used higher doses, building up to 4 capsules three times per day. 

Super doses of Probiotics

Most grocery stores and health food stores sell probiotics that contain 10 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU's) of one probiotic strain. While this seems like a really big number, in reality, we have one trillion bacteria in our gut, and that small amount is not likely to make a difference. Additionally, new research is showing that probiotic diversity is associated with greater health and improved gut function, thus I recommend taking higher doses of multi-strain probiotics. 

You may want to start with the 10 billion CFU probiotic, but then work your way up to a higher dose. The first professional brand probiotic I recommend is Probiotic 50B by Pure Encapsulations, which contains 50 Billion Colony Forming Units. 

VSL #3 contains 450 Billion CFU's per dose. This particular probiotic has been clinically studied due to showing success in and labeled as a "medical food" for Ulcerative Colitis and IBS. Please note, this is a very expensive probiotic, but you can get it covered on your insurance if you have the right diagnosis. 

I recently learned about a less expensive equally effective brand of high dose multi-strain probiotics from my brilliant nutritionist friend,  Tom Malterre, called Klaire Ther Biotic.



Tips for Using Probiotics...

If you've never taken probiotics, you will want to start low and go slow, as you may have increased symptoms if your gut flora changes too rapidly. 

If you've found that you are able to tolerate that dose, but have not reached your gut health goals, you can work your way up to higher doses.

By:  Dr. Izabella Wentz, PharmD