Discussing Eczema: Causes and treatments with Naturopath Dr Sonya Jensen
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here this morning with Dr. Sonya Jensen of Divine Elements Naturopathic Clinic in Vancouver. How are you today Sonya?
Sonya: I’m good. How are you?
Mark: I’m good, so we’re going to talk about a really common issue, I think, but how it applies to children and infants is, eczema, so this is something you’ve dealt with a lot. What’s the story on eczema?
Sonya: Well eczema, I guess the definition of it is inflammation of the skin and it usually shows up with red patchy, kind of itchy skin. In infants usually either on the face or on the flexor folds, or the joints and children, same thing and maybe even all over really depending on the severity of the eczema and it can be as simple as just cradle cap which most infants do have. So like you said it is very common and I would say most people end up having some sort of an experience with eczema in their life.
Mark: So what are the triggers and causes of infant eczema?
Sonya: So if the mother is nursing, and say she has some food sensitivities that may be coming through the milk when the baby is feeding, that can sometimes create inflammation in the baby’s skin so they’re reacting to those inflammatory foods. Examples could be cow’s milk, for some wheat and gluten, citrus, nuts and seeds; it’s really dependent on the mother’s health in general. A lot of times baby skin is just so sensitive that any environmental triggers like clothing, detergents, different soaps, other factors in the environment like dust and things like that so it’s really very individualized, it’s all dependent on the child and it’s vital force and so we kind of try to figure out which triggers is actually trigging that specific child’s eczema and in children it’s kind of the same if they’re not nursing then they’ve been introduced to foods now and usually allergens have been introduced early so some women unfortunately that maybe cannot breastfeed will go to cow’s milk formula and we’ve seen a big correlation between the protein in the cow’s milk and eczema so they tend to react through the skin and the kind of great thing about it reacting through the skin we get to know right away what that child’s constitution is like so it kind of gives you a story behind what that child may be susceptible to so it’s really great information because they react so quickly and that tells us that they can actually heal quite quickly from it too.
Mark: So, what are some of the complications of eczema?
Sonya: For infants, for instance, I’ll give you an example, my son who was only three months old and we were just actually dealing with this in the last week and you know, I’m a naturopath so perfect naturopathic diet, took all the right supplements, thought I was doing everything right and all of a sudden his big cute little cheeks were rubbing up against zippers and he got a little bit of a rash there and with their nails they tend to scratch themselves and he scratched it, opened it up and an infection developed from that and all of a sudden it’s all over his cheeks so I kind of had that mommy moment where my naturopathic hat was off and there was a bit of panic, you look what did I do wrong, you know blaming myself of course and going into that, oh no, what are we going to do about this and I decided to step back, take a breath and say o.k. this could be a staph infection which is a major complication that can show up and if that happens it can be quite serious so again I had to look at my child and our diet and all the things that I do and say o.k. is this something that he can just pass or do I need to go the antibiotic route which is there for a reason. Sometimes we need to go there, but I decided to not do that and change my diet, take out all the allergens, anything that was inflammatory. I got him some good herbs and a good salve and three days later was now 95% better. So diet is one of the major complications really in staph infections but there is always a way to deal with it depending on the child and another complication that can show up, say somebody has a cold sore on their mouth and they kiss the baby or they’re around the baby when they’re having sort of eczema and if there is an open cut it can actually create herpeticum eczema, so the herpes virus that is created and as the child grows if there is nothing done to change the triggers in the child it can go deeper within their body creating asthma like symptoms. So large children that I’ve see now to, that come into the clinic, ages 3 to 4 or even older usually show up with asthma and they usually have a history of cradle cap and eczema as an infant so that really tells us that there’s a huge link between the two. So if you see that your infant has eczema you really want to get on top of that right away so you know how to deal with it because that might just a little sensitive allergic baby that you may have to look at the triggers around them, make sure that they’re not there.
Mark: Thank you.
Sonya: You’re welcome.
Mark: So this is very um, I’ve seen it in our grandson and we’re going to have to bring him in.
Sonya: Yeah, it is really easy to treat, they heal so well and it just kind of figuring out, like I said what that specific child needs and it’s just usually education for the parents because it’s so common we just think oh, it’s just a rash and it will go away and its o.k. but really it’s something that needs to be looked at deeply.
Mark: So we’ve been talking with Dr. Sonya Jensen, she’s a naturopath in Vancouver, BC. Her clinic is Divine Elements.ca and you can call them at 604-568-3735. Thanks Dr. Sonya.
Sonya: Thank you.
Thyroid issues discussion with Vancouver Naturopath, Dr. Nicholas Jensen of Divine Elements
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert at Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Naturopath Dr. Nicholas Jensen from Vancouver, BC. He’s the owner and runs a clinic called Divine Elements. How’re you doing today Dr. Nicholas?
Dr. Nicholas: I’m doing great Mark, how are you doing?
Mark: I’m good. So we’re going to talk about thyroid – which is a pretty common thing and whether using Synthroid or more natural alternatives are better. So what’s the deal?
Dr. Nicholas: Yeah, so the reality is thyroid is a very, very common problem and typically we’re seeing more hypothyroid issues that are showing up. So what does hypothyroid look like? It’s typically unexplained weight gain, constipation, dry hair and skin, nails that are brittle, hair loss is quite common, that depressed mood and low energy, these are just to name a few. There’s definitely other signs and symptoms of thyroid decline, but those are definitely more common ones.
So the story behind Synthroid is interesting. It’s actually the number one most prescribed medication according to the 2013 report and what does that mean? That means 22.6 million prescriptions are being given out every month. So the reality is that Synthroid is actually ever prescribed once TSH, which is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, goes above an elevated range which is technically described as hypothyroid. So Synthroid being that it is so commonly prescribed, is actually only just in its form of T4 which is an inactive form of thyroid hormone. So the reality is that so many people are experiencing these symptoms and may be kind of flying under the radar, not actually outside of the actual range, so the number we’re seeing of prescriptions don’t actually include the other people who are still dealing with these problems.
So we ask people in the clinic, how are you doing with the Synthroid, is it working for you? We get two responses typically. One is that, I’ve been on it for 5-10 years and I don’t really know why I’m on it, I don’t know what it’s doing, I don’t feel any different. Number two is, yes I’ve definitely gained benefit from Synthroid, however symptom A,B,C, D are still showing up in my life.
So the great news is there’s a natural solution for, instead of using Synthroid; Synthroid being a pharmaceutical counterpart to desiccated thyroid or also known as Amour Thyroid. What this is is a natural glandular extract of hormone. Desiccated thyroid is actually taken from a pig source, from the thyroid gland. Where Synthroid, the pharmaceutical form, is just in the form of the T4, this is inactive thyroid hormone. Desiccated thyroid is the thyroid glands and also contains 80% T4 and the remainder is in the active form of T3. So usually when people who are on Synthroid aren’t gaining the benefits it’s because their inactive form of thyroid is not converting properly into T3, the active form for the majority of people. Also interesting to note is that desiccated thyroid or Amour Thyroid, they kinda go by the same name, except that desiccated thyroid is a compounded form is actually, historically the treatment of choice. So this was on the scene, well before Synthroid was, which is quite interesting that now it’s Naturopathic Doctors or Functional Medicine Practitioners, who are actually prescribing desiccated thyroid which was always a treatment of choice. The results were always great. It’s just that it wasn’t necessarily backed by a large pharmaceutical company. That’s a whole other topic obviously!
So one study I looked at showed a population of 70 individuals and of those 70, 49% preferred desiccated thyroid and of those 49% also reported a much improved weight loss as well because with Synthroid they’re not typically getting those results; 19% of that particular population preferred Synthroid and 23% had no preference. So in that small population size, we’re seeing this increase in numbers in favour or preferring desiccated thyroid.
So in our practice, whenever we see people come in with a prescription of Synthroid, we are always recommending its counterpart in the form of the natural thyroid hormone called Desiccated Thyroid, as it continues to clinically outperform Synthroid. So it’s important obviously, that whenever you’re working with hormones, whether it’s Synthroid or Desiccated, that you’re getting a professional to address you as an individual and what works for the blanket of people doesn’t necessarily work specifically enough for you. So in saying that desiccated thyroid and Synthroid are both prescribed medications so you do actually need to see a health care practitioner in order for it to be prescribed.
So, there’s lots to talk about thyroid and I’m excited to dive into more of the causes behind thyroid imbalance and the connection to some of the other glands which we will definitely be doing in upcoming episodes. But hopefully that gives you a good sense of the main differences between desiccated thyroid and Synthroid and looking for an option to use the natural hormone counterpart.
Mark: Great. So we’ve been talking about thyroid issues with Dr. Nicholas Jensen. He’s a Naturopath in Vancouver. His clinic is called Divine Elements. You can reach him at www.divineelements.ca or give him a call 604-568-3735. Thanks
Dr. Nicholas: Thanks so much Mark. Have a great day.
Mark: You too.
Weight Loss Explained with Vancouver Naturopath Dr Nicholas Jensen
Mark: Hi it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Dr. Nicholas Jensen of Divine Elements Naturopathic Clinic in Vancouver. We’re talking about weight loss today. How’re you doing today Dr. Nicholas?
Dr. Nicholas: Doing great Mark, thanks for having me… how’re you doing?
Mark: I’m good. So we’re going to talk about something that a lot of people need to do, including myself, a little bit weight loss would probably help everybody. What kind of information can you share with us today about that?
Dr. Nicholas: Yeah, well doing a quick search on Google looking for some of the factors that contributing to weight loss, it’s obvious that our diets play a huge role in. And some of the statistics that are emerging over the years is that there’s a constant progression of increase in the numbers of people who are dealing and suffering from obesity. So some of the numbers I looked at showed the US population to be around 60% or greater of the population in the state of obesity and Canadians are a little bit healthier in that 40-60% range. And looking at graphs between the countries, you can actually see that the US is at the top, then it’s Mexico and fourth on the list is actually Canada. These are industrialized nations that should be top of health care and these are the results that we’ve got. So, obesity isn’t a problem in and of itself, and what does it really mean looking at a body mass index scale which is the height and weight ratio that’s anything greater than 30, and extreme obesity is greater than 40. So there’s quite a few people in the population, definitely even in our patient population that are well about this 30 range. So again, obesity in and of itself isn’t necessarily the issue, the cause of the factors that are making it happen are part of the problem, which is diet and exercise for the most part, toxicity also plays another huge role. But it’s the events that are showing up because of the obesity; so the increase in the triglycerides and some of the bad cholesterols that are clogging up our arteries are contributing to diseases like, cardiovascular disease, stroke, thromboembolism, diabetes; making us more prone to auto immune disorders. Basically most of the age related illnesses are going to be worsened in people who are obese and this is staggering especially because it’s starting to show up in our children. So it’s not just about looking good and definitely that’s the media experience that we’re all getting is to look fit and to look thin. It’s really about preventing illness as we get older and this is a major priority for many people especially when these disease processes are showing up down the road.
So here in our clinic, we focus on a specific program where we’re seeing some fantastic results with patients which is a food based or nutrition based program involving some supplementation and some staggered visits throughout a month period – we call them B12 Metabolic Boosters. So through this program people are loosing an average of 15-20 lbs per month, which is fantastic. One of my latest patients that have gone through a three month program with us. She’s in her early forties, she went through three months and she in the first month alone, she lost about 15 pounds. Interesting to note was that about 10-12 of those pounds were in fat and she actually gained some muscle and after the three month period, she went to a more Mediterranean style diet – we call it the Match by the Medicine and the Anti-inflammatory diet, which we’ve talked about before. She’s maintaining the weight and she’s still improving her muscle mass despite not being on this program. So really what it’s doing, is changing an individuals metabolic profile.
So looking at the bigger picture, what does that mean? It means you can have more energy, you’re going to feel better in your skin, you’re going to feel more confident, you’re going to be more likely to put the right kinds of food and exercise into your body; and you’re going to make better decisions and in doing so you’re going to feel a lot better about the process you went through; because you’re sustaining this metabolic profile after going through a series of treatment.
Mark: So what sort of weight loss did she get after the three months, did she maintains the 15 lbs?
Dr. Nicholas: Yes she maintained the 15 lbs, she got up to 20 lbs total after three months and a lot of what was going on was this shifting in her muscle mass and continually decreasing her fat mass. What are the tools we use in the clinic to assess is called Bioimpedance Analysis which is measuring the differences between the muscle and fat mass. So for the average Joe out there, who’s doing a weight loss program or whatever on their own and they’re just jumping on a scale they’re just seeing a fraction of that really important information. So this tool helps us to more accurately assess the transition and physiology of the cellular makeup that’s actually happening in the body and along with that, we’re also measuring waist to hip ratio’s – which I believe she lost 4 inches on her waist and 2 inches on her hip- which is pretty significant. So for any woman especially wanting to fit into smaller jeans or smaller clothes, or put back on the clothes that they’ve had stored in their closet, it’s a pretty big victory to be able to open that box again and say wow I can use these again – this is great.
Mark: And they’re back in style. So muscle weighs quite a bit more than fat isn’t that right?
Dr. Nicholas: Absolutely. It’s funny because many people, when they’re starting on a program, they’re jumping on that scale everyday and it’s self sabotaging because we’re purely looking at this one perimeter for weight loss or improving metabolism. So definitely yes, muscle does weigh more than fat and without that objective assessment looking at But most people, whenever they’re doing a detox, or they’re doing a weight loss program they can’t help but to jump on the scale and see how things are going and for the most part. I encourage people to just – don’t bother looking at it for the first month at least or until we see you again and we can reassess in the clinic.
Mark: I guess the other thing I’ve learned over the years is more muscle means you burn more calories so it becomes a positive cycle – is that right?
Dr. Nicholas: That’s absolutely correct. There’s something on the test, which we don’t need to talk about, but it’s a basically measuring your bodies metabolic weight and it’s called your Body Cell Mass. So if you were to take your weight and subtract all the fat and then what you’re left with is, what’s burning or what’s creating metabolism and another part of fat free mass which isn’t doing a whole lot. And so when you increase this component called your body cell mass, you’re drastically driving the increase in metabolism, and then that relays over to lean muscle and the lean muscle feeds the cycle and that’s what helps to support your basal metabolic rate
Mark: And you burn more fat…
Dr. Nicholas: Exactly
Mark: So, if you’re looking for a well researched and proven solution then give Divine Elements a call for more details. They’ve got a free 15 minute health strategy to help you get going. You can reach them at divineelements.ca or give them a call 604-568-3735. Thanks Dr. Nicholas.
Dr. Nicholas: Thanks so much Mark. Have a great day.
Talking about the common problem of food allergies with Dr Nicholas Jensen
Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. we’re here with Dr. Nicholas Jensen, he’s a Naturopath in Vancouver BC. How’re you doing today, doc?
Dr. Nicholas: Great Mark, thanks for having me again. I’m doing fantastic.. how’re you today?
Mark: I’m good. So we’re going to talk about food allergies, how to determine and deal with them. Si guess the first question really out of that is how do you know whether it is a food allergy that’s got you not feeling particularly great?
Dr. Nicholas: I guess, this conversation started with the last talk we did regarding inflammation and obviously the topic of food sensitivity has come up. So how do you know really if you’re dealing with them? There are only a few things that happen throughout each and every day where you’re having a direct influence on your health. I mean, we’re bombarded with all sorts of environmental influences, whether it’s friends, family or stresses with work or whatever, which obviously all play a huge role in the health of the body, but one thing that is so consistent is what we put into our bodies every single day. When we start to take a closer look at how we’re feeling after each meal, over time we just get used to a new normal. So what we really want to do is take a step back and get a clearer look at the food that we’re eating and there’s all sorts of ways to find out if there’s a specific allergy or sensitivity going on. So is this a new topic, do you feel like or is this something you’ve heard of Mark?
Mark: Well sure, you know people talk about it a lot our son had a lot of, we self diagnosed, issues around all kinds of foods and so for a long time we were vegans and we followed a pretty strict diet because it really helped with our son’s growing up period and then as he got older, it seemed like his immune system was able to deal with a lot more stuff. He’s not a vegetarian, he eats whatever he wants and we’ve continued on with being vegetarian for the last 28 years. So it’s something I personally know, but I don’t have the background that you do so that’s where I’m interested in, well there’s the anecdotal stuff but then how do you guys know and pinpoint when you’re actually testing someone. What are the tests that you use?
Dr. Nicholas: When we’re doing the intake with a patient, we are addressing what are you putting into your body on a regular basis and for most people we would start to look into the food sensitivity picture when there is an obvious imbalance in the digestive process. This can be something that happens early on in life, people just go through life and deal with it – they just used to a new normal; or they decide to do something about it. In the western medical system everything is talked about with regards to allergy and the word sensitivity is a term that gives medical doctors and GP’s a shiver down their spine because it’s typically something that is not discussed and it’s not something they have experience with dealing. So many things get diagnosed as mood disorders, or chronic fatigue, or chronic migraine headaches, or heartburn, insomnia, hormonal imbalance… all these things get diagnosed under different ideas and the problem is because we’re just looking at the symptomatic picture. So if we take a step back looking what’s the bigger picture, what’s the underlying thing that you’re doing on a daily basis that’s possibly causing problems, now we’re getting somewhere.
So what we do is: we’ll do a blood test – we do a blood draw at the clinic and send it off to the lab – the lab is reading something called an IGG which is basically an antibody that reads high or low when introduced to a certain food item. For a particular food item, if your immune system is reacting to it, the IGG levels will be really high and could be moderate or mild depending on what it is you’re eating a lot of or depending on what your immune system does’t like.
So it’s quite different from an allergy, and to really separate the two – an allergy is an immediate reaction that happens in the body. It’s usually upper respiratory in nature, sinuses, nose, sometimes it can be difficulty breathing or asthma – so it’s usually the upper respiratory tract, can also be headaches and things too. The thing with allergies though, is it’s a short time frame – comes on strong usually and then it dissipates fairly quickly through the body, possibly within 24 hours at the most 48 hours.
Sensitivity on the other hand – it’s called a delayed hyper sensitivity reaction which basically means that this reaction can happen the moment you put that food item in your mouth but it can also last up to five days. And the issue here, is that so many people may only have this particular food item, maybe twice or three times a week, but because it’s a delayed reaction these symptoms won’t actually show up for a few days and that can become very frustrating especially when you’re doing things on your own and saying, well I tried this and I didn’t eat that today and no reaction, or I did eat this today and there’s a reaction. How do I know what’s going on? At the end of the day, it just causes a lot of confusion for people. So for those people that have a difficult time with some of the food elimination pieces, like following an anti inflammatory diet for example, we’ll often recommend a blood test to figure out what it is that their body is actually sensitive to. And once we find that, we put together a detailed plan or nutrition plan based on those food sensitivities and with the proper elimination, not with just the one or two items, but with say the five or six items that are really causing the problem, people have had extremely, profound benefit to eliminating them.
There’s always a problem that shows up when after we see people doing that elimination for that first month because we’re so used to eating a certain way and it can be a bit of a difficult process for some people – so they want to reintroduce those foods as fast as they can. And when you do that, that’s when big problems happen. So in particular, just thinking back to a few different patients who have done a too early reintroduction, their symptoms have come back in an extreme kind of way because their immune system is just hyper sensitive and waiting to react to that food item and when it’s brought in too early, the body has a pretty big reaction. So the general recommendation is 90 days to avoid these particular foods, for some people they need to wait a little bit longer but the whole goal is to change a lifestyle pattern; so these symptoms that are often diagnosed with different names start to clear. That sounds like a similar process to what your son went through.
Mark: Sure, you know like corn chips. Let’s pick on something, something thats an obvious and fairly, a lot of people know that corn is a pretty big culprit and can cause sensitivities. I love how you defined how sensitivities are different than allergies. To me it is almost like a sensitivity more of a chronic thing that’s ongoing and it just sort of runs you down – where the allergy is like – bang – it’s the punch in the head – like whoa I just can’t eat that and it’s obvious. So corn chips, if you cut them out of your diet – so what would be the result.. would somebody have less mucus, better bowel movement, more energy – how does this manifest?
Dr. Nicholas: That’s the funny thing with sensitivities. Like I said, where allergy is upper respiratory in nature and usually clears fairly quickly. A food sensitivity can look like almost anything. I’ve had people with food sensitivities that have had chronic migraine headaches, eczema rashes, psoriasis, joint pain, fatigue, mucus formation or chronic sinusitis, extreme difficulty with the bowels. And often, and here’s a case where someone with Crohn’s or colitis, very serious bowel disorders, so often, can’t say always, but they are so often an underlying food sensitivity problem. This is the funny thing, when people start to open up to food sensitivities they start to see that there’s such a vast array of symptoms that can happen for any one given individual and so I can never really predict what it is that particular food item will do once it’s out of the system. But like I said, when you’re taking someone who has had chronic digestive upset for a good part of their life, or difficulty breathing, or chronic joint pain or headaches and you clear that out of the way, it’s like you’re in a new body basically. Everything comes back on line, thinking clear, energy, hormones start to change to and it’s quite profound.
Mark: So if somebody wants to get clarity as to whether they suspect, because we really don’t know, the lay person without testing. Basically they’ve just got to book an appointment and come in say – hey, lets tune up this engine here
Dr. Nicholas: That’s just it. It doesn’t always mean we have to do a food test, I always want to let people know it doesn’t have to go there. Sometimes with some good coaching we can get some good resolve. However, for a good majority of people that testing becomes such a helpful tool because it is something we can track down the line too. We are in the day and age of needing objective information because there is so much – do this, do that out there and it’s easy to get lost on the internet reading all these different ideas or following a specific diet plan that’s been written in the latest book. Just because it’s general information or it’s popularized, doesn’t mean it’s going to be very specific for you as an individual. So that’s the focus that we try to overlay for the patient, that this is your nutrition plan, it isn’t your mom’s or sister’s or brother’s – this is your’s and if it works for you great. And like I said, when people do eliminate those things that are on the food tests, I’d say at least 90% removal of those symptoms and the phenomenal change and how the health is in the body. Definitely come on by or give us a call to ask about what is involved in getting a food test and maybe that’s the direction you need to go and maybe there’s another one for you. Look forward to seeing you.
Mark: So basically, it’s so complicated how are current health is a pretty complex stack of blocks basically and then what we’re putting into it is really different, as well as any environmental issues, or our own stress levels and what we’re doing to deal with the stress level that we have – all that becomes a really complex package that you need a professional to unpack and make sense out of what that complexity is and that’s where a Naturopath has the training and the experience to start to be able to make sense out of it. So you have a direction that works instead of experimenting.
Dr. Nicholas: Exactly. I can’t tell you how many people come in for their first visit with a giant bag of supplementation and a list of all the things that they’ve done. My first question is – how’s that working for you? – and it’s usually, I’ve been banging my head against the wall because I don’t know. I don’t know what these 10 supplements or these 20 supplements are doing for me but they’re supposed to be good for me.
So again, individualized, very focused, professional treatment is really helpful and it’s going to, like I tell most people, is you end up saving money in the long run because you’re actually targeting what needs to be targeted. So, who’s not guilty of that..before Naturopathic Medicine, I would of looked on the internet or looked in books to see what’s wrong with me, I’m going to try to figure it out. So just like if we’re going to get our computer fixed, or our car fixed – we’re not going to take it to our neighbour, we’re not going to ask our friends or relatives what we should do, we may ask for a referral to go see someone to seek professional advice and that’s what we’re recommending here as well.
You get targeted, focused health care that’s individualized for yourself and not for the general public.
Mark: Awesome. So if you have or you suspect you have any kind of food allergies or food sensitivities, this is the guy to come and see. Dr. Nicholas Jensen. You can see their website at divineelements.ca or give them a call 604-568-3735. Thanks Dr. Nicholas
Dr. Nicholas: Thanks so much Mark. We’ll see you again soon. Bye