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May 2012 – Newsletter

Specialty Natural Medicine - Acupuncture Naturopath - Mukilteo Seattle

Bridging the Gap Between Natural & Conventional Medicine
When To Suppress or to Heal



The Bridge gets a little rough sometimes, but we keep on going, knowing that our ultimate FOCUS is not the provider or the medicine that is chosen, but the optimal health of our patients.

Bridging the gap between natural and conventional medicine can be awkward when there are diametrically opposing ideas on the protocol for treatment.  I see this most in my practice with two drugs:  Acid Blocking Drugs and Cholesterol Lowering Drugs.

The reason for these differences is a direct result of the differences in the fundamental core principals upon which natural and conventional medicine are built.

ND’s believe in the Vis Medicatrix Naturae or the healing power of nature.

We believe that the body has an innate intelligence that lives us, manifests through us and has the ability to heal us when the obstacles to cure are removed.

We believe that symptoms are a call from the body to pay attention, that something is wrong.  There are times when in order to be safe, we need to temporarily suppress symptoms with drugs like acid blockers, pain medications, steroids etc.  But that that is not THE BEST long term plan for the body if it is safely avoidable.  In terms of the need for long term suppression of an important function like the acidity in the initiation of digestion, long term suppression by acid blockers is required in very, very few cases.  Even in my practice.

What I’ve learn from my spiritual practice is that when action is built off of opposing principals, it is important not to make the other practice wrong.  You don’t have to agree with it, but from a level of higher consciousness and openness, you can see it and even understand why a practitioner trained with one principal may choose the treatment methods that they do.

In terms of Acid Reflux (Heartburn), I find that over 95% of the time acid blockers are NOT necessary and that the symptoms can resolve quite easily with the regeneration of the digestive system.  What we are doing is merely training the digestion to go downward toward the intestines like it is meant to, rather than upward into the esophagus.

In the 5% of cases where the body is not ready for regeneration or there are other compounding factors like the need for chronic pain medication which irritates the stomach, a healing period is helpful in order to ready the body for normal acid secretion in the stomach.   I have seen disease states like Barrett’s esophagitis and Diverticulitis resolve and revert to normal tissue many times using this protocol.

Getting the patient to a place where their body is secreting normal stomach acid is VITAL to their health for the following reasons.

Acid release (pH) in your stomach serves some very important purposes.  The following information was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Acidic Stomach pH protects you against infections  (like yeast, parasites and bacteria) in the intestines and other parts of your body.

It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that people on acid blocking drugs were 4 1/2 times more likely to develop pneumonia.

Combining antibiotics and acid suppressing drugs increased intestinal infections by 3x.

People taking acid suppressing drugs are 3x as likely to get infected by Clostridium dificile than people not taking these drugs.

Acidic Stomach pH protects you against cancers in the intestines

In an acid blocking study in mice, 6 out of 20 developed GI tumors at 12 months.  None of the mice with regular acid secretion developed tumors.

The drug companies educate MD’s to focus on the fact that acid reflux into the esophagus will lead to esophageal erosion, Barrett’s esophagitis and potential cancers.  While this is accurate, they omit the fact that without adequate acidic secretion in the gastric chamber, cancers more readily develop in the lower part of the GI tract.

This may be due to many factors for example, the impairment in ability to absorb minerals and nutrients necessary for proper cellular division or increased infections that occur with suppressed acid secretion.

Again, we return to the concept of short term suppression of the Acidity in appropriate cases combined with tissue regeneration.  This is the healthiest resolution of the problem of reflux as it allows eventually for proper digestive function.

Acidic Stomach pH is necessary for absorbing minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc etc.

This is important for connective tissue health, for example: osteoporosis and arthritis
Acid blocking drugs triple the rate of hip fracture.

Acidic Stomach pH is necessary for absorption of nutrients like B12

This is important for fatigue, anxiety, nervous system problem.  Here I refer you to the B12 information on the Specialty Natural Medicine website.

Acidic Stomach pH is necessary for digesting proteins

These proteins are used in many capacities to build and maintain the body

Acid blockers (prilosec, nexium, omeprazole) are recommended by the Physician’s Desk Reference to be prescribed for a 6-8 week maximum because of the issues listed above.

Please feel free to share this with your friends and family and call us with any questions.

Always the best to you in health,

Dr Kathleen Janel


Vegan Butternut “Cheesy” Cauliflower

Vegan Butternut “Cheesy” Cauliflower

1 large head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 cup butternut squash puree (either canned or follow instructions below)
½ cup nacho cheese sauce (or melted cheese/cheese substitute)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
½ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan butter, melted
3-4 tablespoons almond flour
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil an 8”X8” baking dish and set aside.

Steam or boil the cauliflower florets until tender but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.

Place the butternut puree, nacho cheese sauce, Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast flakes, half of the salt, and smoked paprika in the
bowl of a food processor or blender and process to blend ingredients. Taste and adjust salt levels as needed. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with a splash or two of water or non-dairy milk. Scrape sauce over cauliflower and toss to coat well. Turn cauliflower into the baking dish and spread out evenly.

In a small bowl, combine the coconut oil/vegan butter, almond flour, garlic powder, and remaining salt and combine. Crumble into small bits over the top of the cauliflower.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. If the top isn’t browning to your liking, turn the broiler on high and allow to brown for just a few seconds – don’t walk away or it’ll burn.

Serve warm.

To make butternut squash puree:

Peel and cut butternut squash into large dice (about 1-inch cubes). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast butternut squash for 30-40 minutes or until soft with a few delicious brown bits on the edges. Puree in the bowl of a food processor or blender.


“Your Heart Skips a Beat…”
By Dr. Maegan Knutson

How often are you aware of your heart beating? Have you ever felt your heart skip a beat? Heart palpitations are really common.

Why is that?

Your heart is truly an amazing electrical organ. On average the heart beats over 100,000 times a day. And nearly 99.99% of the time your heart probably beats perfectly. However, every once in a while your heart can malfunction. Yes, it is totally normal for your heart to “flip flop”, “flutter”, and “skip a beat”. If you’ve noticed this, you should bring it to your doctor’s attention. Some heart palpitations are harmless and some are quite concerning. This is why you should have your heart evaluated by a physician every year at an annual physical exam. Yes, I am suggesting that you should meet with your doctor at least once a year. In fact, if you are over 40, you should get an annual Electro Kardio Gram (EKG) screening, even if you have not experienced cardiovascular symptoms.  An EKG screening will show the electrical activity in the heart pulse. This test can diagnose specific types of heart palpitations, or rule out the heart as the source of the discomfort.

There are many different kinds of heart palpitations.  Some palpitations are triggered by your cardiovascular system, some your nervous system, and some from substances you ingest. You actually have control over many of the triggers that can induce heart palpitations. With heart palpitations it would be wise to monitor your intake of water, caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine are all common causes of palpitations. Getting dehydrated along with the associated mineral imbalances is a common cause of heart palpitations. It is important to drink a minimum of 60 ounces of water each day that is balanced with minerals (tap water, spring water, mineral water, ect.). An easy way to keep your minerals balanced is to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Another really common trigger for palpitations is caffeine. Living in the Northwest it is difficult to suggest that anyone should give up coffee or energy drinks. Most of use are pretty addicted to the stimulation of caffeine. The good news is that heart palpitations often improve by just reducing your caffeine intake. It is something to think about.

There are many natural and conventional treatments for palpitations. We already talked about improving hydration and reducing caffeine to get you started. You should consult a physician about  taking minerals (like potassium and magnesium), fish oils, herbs and nutrients like CoQ10. The need and dosing of these nutrients can be determined by a visit with a physician, reviewing blood work, physical exam, EKG results, combined with your history.

Some of the heart palpitations are related more to stress on the nervous system. In this case the heart is quite healthy and that the problem lies with the stress hormones and neurotransmitters. Stress hormones, like cortisol, and neurotransmitters, like epinephrine (“adrenaline”), can trigger your heart to “skip a beat” too. There are tests that can confirm your cortisol and neurotransmitter levels as well. The treatments for healing the nervous system would often be quite different from treatments directly for the heart. Often healing the nervous system can involve counseling, biofeedback, herbal medicine, acupuncture and targeted amino acid therapies.

I find the beating heart a great example where conventional technology can pair with natural medicine to serve patients holistically. At Specialty Natural Medicine you will find Naturopathic Physicians that will listen to your history, perform necessary labwork and treat your heart palpitations individually.