Posts Tagged ‘deficiencies’

Ritalin is a class 2 narcotic, just like cocaine


I often get caught up in working with clients that I forget to communicate to all of you what I’m up to these days.  I have a passion to help all individuals get healthy and children are at the top of my priorities.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve had success with my own child, with helping other parents and knowing that if we intervene now, children may have a long term prognosis that defies the odds.

Currently 3.5 million American children are diagnoses with ADHD and are being treated. The first line of “treatment” is a class 2 narcotic chemically known as methylphenidate; brand names are Ritalin, Concerta, Medikinet and Equasym.  Cocaine is also considered a class 2 narcotic.  All of these “treatments” pose a long-term risk of addiction, as the tolerance increases with time, so  does the dosage. 

Serious side effects include sudden death, seizures, an increase in diagnosis for developing bi-polar behaviors, new psychotic symptoms, etc.    Other non-serious side effects include sleep problems and loss of appetite (266 percent experienced the latter in a recent study).    Sleep problems and loss of appetite can result in increased “ADHD” behaviors: hyperactivity, lack of focus, anxiety, etc.  (Remember, parents there is no blood test for ADHD/ADD.  It’s based on a set of symptoms).

In other words, “treatment” may need to be an immediate plan, but is NOT a long term plan.  One must dig deeper to identify the source of these symptoms.  Dr. Charles Gant, a pioneer in functional medicine and one of my mentors refers to the symptoms of ADD as this:

Absolutely 100% of human beings, without exception, can be made to display the symptoms of inattentiveness by simply driving their brains into a chemical imbalance, either with enough of a toxin exposure (brain poisoning) and/or with enough of a nutritional deficiency (brain starvation).

So how do I assess chemical imbalances, brain poisoning and nutritional deficiencies?  I use functional testing, rather than guessing.  Functional testing assesses the performance of the brain, the levels of toxins, the ability of the body to detoxify (an essential piece) and nutritional deficiencies (that can result from poor digestion/absorption).  I won’t go into huge detail but here’s a recent example.

A parent approached me about their child’s symptoms.  ‘Getting going’ in the morning was just one area identified by the mother as an area of focus.  ‘Getting going’ potentially indicated a deficiency in dopamine.  Ritalin addresses dopamine deficiency. Through comprehensive testing I identified numerous deficiencies, three of them being vitamin c, b6 and folate.  ALL of these are considered co-factors to dopamine.  This means that the body CANNOT make dopamine without adequate levels of vitamin c, b6 and folate.   This child could not ‘get going’ because she wasn’t absorbing/assimilating the correct co-factors to MAKE dopamine.  

Here are other areas that you can begin supporting now:

  1.  Reduce as much as possible sugar.  It spikes blood sugar and creates chemical chaos in the brain.
  2. Support your child with cod liver oil (450mg of DHA minimum).   Fatty acid deficiency is associated with behavioral issues, hyperactivity and inability to focus. 
  3. Explore a true elimination diet or get tested for food sensitivities.
  4. Get them out exercising EVERY day.  Exercise has been demonstrated in numerous studies to reduce the behaviors associated.  In one study it was revealed that 26 minutes of physical activity each day helped to significantly reduce ADHD symptoms in grade-schoolers.
  5. Digestive health (gut-brain connection).  How the gut performs is how the brain performs.
  6. Keep your child away from food colorings, preservatives.

I know you have a lot on your plate, parents.  I’ve been there.  Dig deeper, get support in developing that long term plan.

Be well,




Do you suffer from nutritional deficiencies? Take the Quiz…

Nutritional Deficiencies

Discovering nutritional deficiencies is imperative in all health disorders.  I’ve blogged about nutritional needs and how deficiencies can lead to chronic inflammation and dis-ease.  Please read the blog here.  You can complete an online assessment for nutritional deficiencies here

Vitamin B12: Referred to as the energy vitamin. B12 deficiency- 40% of American population is B12 deficient. Known cause of central and peripheral nervous system damage. Vitamin B12 is vital for the formation of red blood cells, as well as for the proper functioning and health of nerve tissue. B12 plays an important role in the development of fatty sheaths referred to as myelin that protect the nerves of the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of B12 deficiency, suggest treating all patients that are symptomatic and have B12 levels less than 450 pg/mL. They also recommend treating patients with normal B12, but elevated urinary methylmalonic acid (MMA), homocysteine and/or holotranscobalamin (other markers of B12 deficiency).

Magnesium: referred to as the relaxation mineral, nearly half of Americans are deficient in magnesium. This mineral is responsible for over 300 enzyme activities in the brain, bones and muscles. It helps muscles relax, cells produce energy and many other chemical reactions to occur.
Our diets our grossly depleted in magnesium beginning with our soil, sugar-laden diets and chronic stress that depletes our magnesium stores. Magnesium miracle.

Vitamin D: is actually a steroid hormone that is a neuromodulator of over 3,000 gene expressions. Vitamin D receptors are found in the brain, the central nervous system and spinal cord. Vitamin D plays a critical role in the elasticity of tight junctions in the intestinal tract and is a known deficiency in individuals on AED’s.

Zinc: “no zinc, no think”. Zinc is the most critically important mineral for immunity and in reducing inflammation, specifically brain inflammation. Zinc is used by more enzymes than any other mineral including activating digestive enzymes, removing heavy metal toxins and repairing DNA.

Fatty Acids: the brain is made primarily of fats, 60% of it being DHA and requires optimal fatty acids to function optimally. Fatty acids are responsible for the cells communication. Fatty Acids are mostly acquired from wild foods. Most Americans are deficient in fatty acids due to the “low-fat” craze and from refined fats and oils.

The most reliable form of determining nutritional deficiencies is lab work.  However, your findings in these assessments may offer you further insight and help you and your practitioner pursue additional testing and supplementation.

 Take the assessment here

Be well,


So you have your DNA results…now what?


Many of you have expressed an interest in getting the results of your genetic makeup.   I’ve spent hours studying and a weekend in Seattle, WA learning about gene variances and what can be done about them.  The news is: your genes are fixed BUT they can be turned on OR off.  Lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and even supplementation can help determine whether those genes are turned on OR off.

I do find knowing your genetic variances helpful, but not necessarily the best directive.  I’m more interested in how the body is performing and can usually interpret by seeking certain metabolic markers from a variety of lab tests.

But if you’ve pursued your genetic makeup through the very affordable company ($99 at the time of this blog) you can get a highly beneficial FREE interpretation of those results detailing nutritional supports/supplements to take and to avoid.  This information is invaluable in promoting a body that performing optimally.  Did I mention free?

Here’s the link.


Genetic Genie is another option but I find nutrahacker provides more specific information on supplementation.  

If you are interested in more information on genetic variances, please refer to my blog article “Genetics do not cause Epidemics

Be well,


How to identify nutritional deficiencies…

Nutritional deficiencies are one of 9 areas of chronic inflammation (you can read more about them here) that I address with my clients.  It’s a difficult area to address specific nutrient deficiencies for a few reasons.  Identifying specific nutritional deficiencies can be become quite costly especially when ordering blood tests for each vitamin or mineral. Assessing by dosing and toleration is another approach, but one deficiency alone may not address a complex need for multiple nutritional supports.

I do offer self-assessments that are to completed by each client, on an as needed basis. These are helpful in targeting specific nutrients.  I’ve also used the Organic Acids Test to help identify not only nutritional deficiencies with B Vitamins but also assess bacterial and fungal infections, and depleted markers in detoxification, mitochondrial and neurotransmitters.  

But just recently I was introduced to a lab test that can detect a multitude of deficiencies.   The lab Spectracell offers a detailed assessment of an individuals highly targeted micronutrient deficiencies.  In F.D.N. my generalized approach is exploring H.I.D.D.E.N. stressors (hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, environment and neurotransmitters).  All of the micronutrients listed below can lead to a malfunction of any or more of these systems. If you are suffering from any illness including: autoimmune disease, neurological disorders, fatigue, headaches, sleep disorders, digestive problems (to name a few) Spectracell is warranted.    Spectracell offers this test through a qualified practitioner (that’s me :)) . It’s at a great price too:$390 cash or $190 with proof of insurance.  

If you are interested in understanding nutritional deficiencies this may be a great addition to any healing protocol that you are working with.  

Vitamin A
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B3
Vitamin B6
Vitamin B12
Vitamin C
Vitamin D
Vitamin K
Alpha Lipoic Acid
Coenzyme Q10
for Total
Antioxidant Function

Immune Response Score

Fructose Sensitivity
Glucose-Insulin MetabolismFATTY ACIDS
Oleic Acid


Be well,


When nutrition isn’t enough


There are numerous schools of thought when it comes to health.  The allopathic medical profession, integrative physicians, naturopaths, nutritionists, vegans, paleo followers, and so on may vary on approaches to wellness but ultimately agree that a shift in nutrition can and do improve symptoms.   Eating a clean, organic, grass fed, low to no sugar diet can reduce the internal stress on the body.  But is that enough?

Often times, a “new” diet may not be everything that the body needs. It can in fact create a biochemical shift with reactions in the body, but it may not be enough.  Infections, nutritional deficiencies, malabsorption, heavy metals, toxicity and compromised metabolic pathways are obstacles that may prevent the body from responding positively to a shift in diet. 

Some of you more aversed health readers may question this thought process.  What about the high fat ketogenic diet? Or the “juicing” Gerson Therapy?  Both of these therapies have created immense results.     First, these specific therapeutic diets do involve mineral/vitamin supplementations and are not strictly a food diet.  Second, a highly specific fat diet can benefit many of the biochemical pathways but may not support any obstacles in detoxification.  My son was on the classical ketogenic diet: EVERY food item was weighed on a gram scale and recipes were calculated through an online calculator. Yet his seizures persisted and increased. Once we addressed his detoxification pathways with highly targeted supports, his seizures resolved.  I’ve also had clients that have been on very clean diets but heavy metals prevented the healing process, autoimmune symptoms resolved when infections were identified,  mental health issues responding positively with amino acids identified to support pathways.  In all of these chronic illnesses, nutrition wasn’t enough. 

As a functional diagnostic nutrition practitioner my position is to identify the tools that the body needs to heal.   I do this by simply looking at two aspects:

  1. what’s irritating the body
  2. what resources the body needs

Nutrition is only one of many modalities.  Highly targeted supplementation, accupuncture, chiropractic, mental health, neurofield work, N.A.E.T., biofeedback, homeopathy and much more are other means to support the healing the process.  Specific diagnostic tests can help in identifying what is interfering in the body’s ability to heal and what supports are needed.

Nutrition is often the main ingredient to wellness, but there are many circumstances when it’s not enough.