It’s interesting how something so essential for our overall health (especially hormones) can be thought of as something bad or that needs to be crushed to the lowest level possible.  You probably have guessed (the title gave it away) that I’m talking about cholesterol.

When did cholesterol become the bad guy?  Well, you need to go back to 1950 when Dr. Ancel Keys proposed that heart disease was a result of dietary fats and cholesterol circulating in the blood.  Then, in 1972 Dr. John Yudkin proposed that the over consumption of sugar was the leading cause of heart disease and diabetes.  He wrote the book, “Pure, White and Deadly”.  This was two conflicting ideas and would be contested by the parties involved.  A committee was formed by the US Senate and as a result they published a document called “Dietary Goals for the United States”.  This document sided heavily with Dr. Keys hypothesis about lipids and without scientific proof, cholesterol was now the bad guy.  Ironically, this report went on to suggest that Americans consume more carbohydrates but limit fats, meat, and dairy.  So, began the rise of low fat food that contained added sugar to make it taste better.  This also resulted in the increase of plant based oils – hydrogenated fats.  Remember margarine?  Crisco shortening?  Corn oil and other seed oils?  High fructose corn syrup?  They took the fat out of milk…told you butter was bad for you and the revolution for highly processed food and fast food was on!

This could easily turn into a blog about sugar, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease but let’s get back to cholesterol!

Suffice to say, cholesterol isn’t why there’s heart disease.  Actually, I think we could say it’s trying to save you!  If your arteries are chronically inflamed they will weaken.  As a result, the body will start laying down plaque to keep you from springing a leak.  If that plaque isn’t very strong, kind of like having a weak scab on a wound, it can dislodge and block another area.

In order to avoid heart disease, we need to reduce inflammation and strengthen the vessels.  The truth is that there are plenty of people having heart attacks with perfectly normal cholesterol levels.  Now, that’s not to say elevated cholesterol isn’t a relatively common finding with heart disease…but that doesn’t make it the cause!

So why do we need cholesterol?  I’m going to highlight a few really key areas where cholesterol is important.  It is absolutely essential for a healthy cell membrane.  Our brain needs it to function properly.  In this way, cholesterol that is too low can affect our personality and more significantly our memory. (Check out the book, Lipitor – Thief of Memory by Duane Graveline MD, MPH) And my favorite, we need cholesterol to make our steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and even calcitriol (vitamin D)!  The other thing that I find so fascinating about cholesterol is that it can change so quickly!  We could check it every week or month and see changes.  It is very common for women to see a rise in cholesterol after menopause as the demand for hormone production shifts to the adrenals.

Our primary source of cholesterol is the liver.  Our diet will make up about 50% of our total cholesterol.  To understand your cholesterol numbers, also known as the lipid profile, let us look at their roles.  The first thing that is listed is your total cholesterol.  Then you will have a value for your HDL’s, LDL’s, VLDL’s and triglycerides.  There are no “good” cholesterol  or “bad” cholesterol!  There is balance or imbalances that could indicate deeper problems.  (I really think we need to work on our language when we discuss cholesterol!)

Here is a very simplified way to think about the roles of the lipoproteins: The role of the LDL’s (low density lipoproteins) is to take cholesterol out away from the liver for cell membrane health, hormone production, brain health and anything else the body would use cholesterol for.  It’s like Amazon Prime!  Delivery right away for all the things you can’t wait to have or live without!  But LDL’s can become small, damaged and sticky.  This can be the beginning of atherosclerosis.  (Hint: Sugar is the most damaging substance to the LDL’s>)

The HDL’s (high density lipoproteins) brings back the unused cholesterol to the liver.  If the numbers are low, it’s kind of like the body hoarding the cholesterol and won’t allow very much to return to the liver.  (Which could be sign of increased inflammation or need for cholesterol in other places.)

VLDL’s are very low density lipoproteins and can be up to 60% full of triglycerides.  Then there’s triglycerides, which are undigested sugars stored as fat.

What does trouble look like?  Trouble is showing up if there’s way more cholesterol leaving the liver than coming back and/or there is an excessive amount of triglycerides!  Your cholesterol to HDL ratio should be a 4 or less.  Your LDL’s should be about 100 points less than the total cholesterol if it’s 200 or higher.  And the triglyceride to HDL ratio should be 2 or less.  This would be considered an optimal profile.

    • TC – 225
    • HDL – 65
    • LDL – 125  (LDL’s are a hundred points less than TC)
    • Trig. – 80
    • TC/HDL – 3.46
    • Trig/HDL –  1.2

Don’t shoot the messenger by inhibiting cholesterol.  Instead, correct the problem.  Change the diet by reducing the sugar intake and increase the fiber.  Balance hormones, reduce inflammation…whatever needs to be done!  The body wants to be well.  Help it, don’t hinder it!

I had recent patient come to me complaining of memory issues but also feeling very emotionally unstable. Angry, upset, anxious, paranoid…pretty much all over the place.  About a year ago, her OB/GYN told her that her cholesterol was borderline high and she needed to go on a stain drug.  So she did, she trusted her doctor and what he wanted her to do.  About 3 months later she went back because she was having issues with her memory.  This time she walked out with a prescription for two bio identical hormones.  (She was not through menopause.)  She was becoming more and more undone!  When we had a chance to sit down and talk, I was able to explain what I believed her problems were stemming from. It became apparent that the memory problems started after being on the statin drug for a few months.  Yet, it was decided that she must need more hormones.  THIS IS NOT THE ANSWER OR THE CORRECT APPROACH!  Fast forward just one month under care and she’s doing a hundred times better! Now, I don’t believe the doctor who prescribed the medications was doing anything other than what he thought was best.  Honestly, this isn’t the first time I worked with someone whose memory was affected by a statin.  Some drugs now target just the LDL’s.  That really is like shooting the messenger!

What do you need to do?  If you are on a statin drug or any drug meant to lower/ alter any part of your lipid profile, make sure you are taking CoQ10 at the very least.  Try to look deeper at what is causing your numbers to be out of balance and get to the root cause!  Fixing symptoms with more drugs or the side effects of drugs with more drugs is not healthy nor will is it going to make you well.  It will only cause more problems.  If you would like to come off of these types of medications or avoid going on them altogether, find a doctor/health care practitioner that understands functional physiology and can support you with the right supplements and herbs.  If you cut your sugar down to no more than 20g per day, avoid fried foods and other highly refined carbohydrates, increase your fiber and healthy fats…you will see positive changes.  Herbs like schisandra, globe artichoke, dandelion root, turmeric, and milk thistle can be key to a healthier liver and a better lipid profile.

As always, advocate for yourself and your health!

Be Better.  Feel Better.  Liver Better.
Dr. Annette

P.S.  If you would like to read more about the  role of cholesterol and statins, check out the following books!

  • The Dark Side of Statins by Duane Graveline MD, MPH
  • The Statin Damage Crisis by Duane Graveline MD, MPH
  • Lipitor Thief of Memory by Duane Graveline MD, MPH
  • Statin Drugs Side Effects and the Misguided War on Cholesterol by Duane Graveline MD, MPH
  • The Great Cholesterol Con: The Truth About What Really Causes Heart Disease and How to Avoid It by Malcolm Kendrick
  • The Great Cholesterol Con by Anthony Colpo

This should be enough to get you started down the rabbit hole of statins and cholesterol!

Join Endocrine Wellness for an exciting practitioner only virtual Herbal Blending Masterclass where you’ll learn the art of creating liquid herbal blends to help support your patients and grow your practice.




Learn about the therapeutic benefits of Dr. Annette’s favorite herbs and how they can be blended together to support every patient. Whether you’re new to the world of liquid herbal blending or it’s been a part of your practice for awhile, this masterclass is perfect for you. Dr. Annette will guide you through the process, sharing tips and tricks to help you become an herbal blending master. 

Each registrant will receive a copy of Dr. Annette’s herbal blending book with over 65 of her favorite recipes to support a myriad of health issues from adrenal fatigue and thyroid support to blood sugar and digestion.

Can’t attend the live class? Don’t worry, as long as you are registered you will receive a copy of the notes along with a recording for the presentation so you won’t miss a thing!

Registration is required! Register HERE!

I want to share my favorite supplements and herbs I keep on hand in case I get sick, hurt, or experience occasional digestive issues.  It’s not a short list but if you want to be prepared for just about anything, these will help!

Let’s start by breaking down into categories: Digestion, Allergies, Immune and Pain/Minor Injury.

Digestion – Zypan, AF Betafood, DiGest Forte, HiPep, DGL, DG Protect, GI Adsorb

  •  For general indigestion, I like Zypan, AF Betafood or Digest Forte. Ideally you would take these before you eat but let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen, so if you forget just take them after.  My personal favorite is Digest Forte! If you have digestive issues frequently, you should take one of these supplements consistently with every meal for 2-6 months minimum.
  • Heart burn, think HiPep or DGL. Both are great for heartburn and are meant to be taken after meals or before bed.  If this is a persistent problem, please reach out so we can correct any under lining issues that could be causing the heartburn.
  • DG Protect helps me when I have too much dairy or gluten. This can be taken before or after a meal containing dairy and/or gluten.  If you have a true allergy or strong reaction to dairy and gluten, DG Protect may not be strong enough.  It’s probably best for you to avoid them all together, but something like GI Adsorb might be more beneficial.
  • GI Adsorb can be used in multiple ways!  I’ve had some patients take it for heartburn. I’ve used it when something I’ve eaten from a restaurant doesn’t sit well with me!   Just remember it should be taken on an empty stomach, so it doesn’t adsorb other nutrients that we want to keep!!!

Allergies – Allerplex, AllergCo, Sinus Forte, D-Hist, Antronex, Black Cumin Seed Forte

  • Allerplex is a good all-around allergy support, especially for sneezing and irritated eyes. You can take a little or a lot!!  It pairs well with AllergCo for these symptoms.
  • If it is settled in your sinuses, Sinus Forte is the best one here!  It can be taken with Allerplex and/or AllergCo if allergies are really trying to kick your butt!
  • D-Hist and Antronex support a normal histamine response. They can be taken with any other allergy support and are great for hives when you have a more intense allergic reaction.
  • Black Cumin Seed is excellent for typical allergy symptoms and works better the longer you are on it.  I find that over time it helps the body’s response to allergies and lessens all symptoms.  Side note: it’s also great for blood sugar, digestion, and metabolism!

Immune – Echinacea Premium, Andrographis Complex, Congaplex, Viranon.

  • Echinacea Premium is the ultimate support for a resilient immune system!  It will work best when taken every day and can be increased during an infection of any kind.
  • For an acute infection, be it bacterial, viral, fungal etc., I pair Andrographis Complex with Congaplex.  I will take 4-6 Andrographis Complex tablets per day in divided doses and add in 3-5 Congaplex every couple of hours if I’m trying to kick it fast!  Congaplex can be used at any age!
  • Viranon is a combination of key herbs that address a viral load/current infection.  You can take 1-2 daily if you experience chronic issues, such as the herpes virus, but it can also be paired with the other immune supports when we are fighting an acute viral infection.  If it’s an upper respiratory infection, I think there are some additional products that are key if the Andrographis Complex and Congaplex won’t knock it out! Contact us if this is the case.

Muscle Pain/ Minor Injury – Nervagesic, Gotu Kola Complex, Saligesic, Turmeric Forte, Acute.

  • Nervagesic is excellent for muscle spasms or cramping.  I LOVE this one when I have slept wrong or maybe went too hard on my paddle board!  Typically, I will take 2 at once and see if I need to take more in a few hours.
  • Gotu Kola Complex supports circulation and connective tissue.  I have to be honest, I always take Gotu Kola but will increase it if I have hurt myself.  It’s also excellent for higher altitudes and hiking.
  • Saligesic is the rescue pain reducer!  It is made of Willow Bark and can be taken for any kind of pain.
  • Turmeric Forte can also be taken for pain and inflammation. Most people are already taking it! Turmeric just so happens to be excellent for many other things as well, like supporting the gut, immune system, brain etc.!  For general pain, you can take anywhere from 3-6 per day.
  • Acute is a supplement made with a special combination of herbs, but I think it’s the proteolytic enzymes that make it special!  It is excellent for acute injuries or pain.  It works best when taken on an empty stomach.  I have some patients who, due to their work, will take 2-3 before bed every night.

The best part about all these supplements is that none of them will tear up your stomach!

Ok, now time for the disclaimer!  The supplements I’m recommending come from companies I trust and have been using for a long time. I cannot make any claims or guarantees about other companies’ products.  Unfortunately, herbs can be adulterated or not meet label claims.  The only major caution I can think of is with Echinacea Premium and people with allergies to the daisy family. Although I’ve only come across 4 people in my 20 years in practice that couldn’t take Echinacea due to a daisy family allergy. There are also contraindications to St. John’s Wort and Licorice that may exclude some individuals from taking Viranon so please check on those before using it.

If you are new to me and aren’t sure what you should be taking, or you have more complicated issues, please reach out and set up a time to talk.  I would love to help you more!

Dr. Annette

P.S. Here is The Family Health Cabinet geared a little more towards little ones.

How your body uses nutrients:

Your body can only naturally heal itself by using extra nutrients it needs to support that healing. The human body uses nutrients in a variety of ways to support healing and overall health. Once the body uses its daily nutrients for day-to-day survival, it can use the extra nutrients to heal through:

  • Building and repairing tissues
  • Supporting immune function
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Supporting detoxification
  • Supporting energy production
  • And more

A balanced diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods is the best way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs to support healing and wellness. But unfortunately it can be extremely difficult in today’s world to rely on diet alone to get all the nutrients your body needs – especially when needing extra nutrients to heal. This is why I recommend Whole Food Supplements. 

What are Whole Food Supplements?

Whole food supplements are made from whole foods or food concentrates, rather than synthetic or isolated nutrients. They are designed to provide essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in a form that is similar to how they occur naturally in food.

Whole food supplements typically contain whole fruits, vegetables, grains, and herbs that have been dried and processed to remove water and create a concentrated powder or capsule.


“Natural” vitamins vs whole-food supplements?

Most “natural” vitamins are rarely whole food supplements but typically are isolated nutrients that are synthesized in a lab to mimic the chemical structure of vitamins found in nature.

Whole-food supplements, on the other hand, are made from whole foods or food concentrates that contain a complex mix of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial compounds. Rather than isolating specific nutrients, whole-food supplements are designed to deliver a range of nutrients in a form that is similar to how they occur in nature.

The main difference between natural vitamins and whole-food supplements is that the latter contains a broader range of nutrients that have health benefits beyond those of vitamins and minerals alone.

Another important difference is that whole-food supplements are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body because they are in a form that the body recognizes and can process more efficiently. In contrast, isolated nutrients found in natural synthetic vitamins may be less bioavailable because they are missing other components of the whole food matrix that help with absorption and utilization.

The Annual Review of Biochemistry stated that “natural forms of vitamins may lose up to ninety-nine percent of their potency when separated from their natural synergists”. This is why quantity is never more important than quality.


Give your body what it needs to heal

It’s important to know that most synthetic vitamins – even those labeled as “natural” are far from giving your body the complete nutrients it needs to holistically support the body’s system to heal. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Synthetic vitamins are extremely difficult to absorb – oftentimes only allowing the body to absorb up to 10% of the actual vitamin. 
  • High-potency synthetic vitamins act as a drug or stimulant, not as a healing agent, therefore they are only providing symptomatic relief.  
  • You may feel quick results with synthetic vitamins, maybe even a slight “rush” but because it is not actually helping your body to heal you will always be taking that vitamin. 
  • With whole food supplements, your body is given a chance to heal and with a proper diet, over time, you can severely reduce the amount you take.


Overall, the body uses nutrients in a variety of ways to support healing and overall health. A balanced diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods plus the support of whole food supplements is the best way to ensure that you are getting the nutrients your body needs to support healing and wellness. If you are concerned about nutrient deficiencies or are considering taking supplements, it is important to schedule a visit so together we can determine the best options for your individual needs.


In my recent blog, I discussed what toxins, hormones and mood issues have in common. Turns out… A LOT! In this Part 2 I will focus on some steps you can take to survive the holidays and hopefully keep a little holiday cheer.

Just a quick review from Part 1:

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed can come in lots of different packages and for different reasons.

1. Hormonal imbalances
2. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
3. Toxic overload (environment, endogenous, medications)
4. Lack of exercise and sunlight (too much exercise isn’t good either)
5. Poor gut health

Before I go further, I need to be honest with you. Some of the reasons listed above will need professional guidance to resolve. But even so, when you address any ONE of those areas, you can expect some improvement!

Hormonal imbalances

I am going to say this loudly for the people in the back, balancing hormones RARELY looks like taking a bunch of bioidenticals. There are a few people that could benefit from this approach if done properly… but properly is the key word here. A gentle and thorough detoxification will do the most for balancing hormones although it can’t do it all. For most individuals, giving more attention to the adrenals will be a key component to getting your steroid hormone family more balanced. This is one area that I believe requires more guidance. Do not lose hope if you feel like hormonal imbalances are your main issue, working on the other areas mentioned here will help too.

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

There are 2 common deficiencies you can address here. Make sure your vitamin D levels are between 40-80 (test to know for sure) and since the majority of the population is deficient in magnesium… it can be a good idea to add some in! Magnesium is important for the endocrine system and plays a huge role in balancing cortisol and blood sugar. Magnesium can be key if a person has constipation and also help with sleep at night. The tricky part is finding quality vitamins and minerals. For magnesium, at the very least avoid magnesium oxide! I prefer a magnesium that is in a chelated or lactate form. I also love the EZ Mag by Standard Process that is a completely natural concentrated form of magnesium and potassium from organic swiss chard and organic buckwheat. A natural source of vitamin A and D is cod liver oil. But if your levels are too low, supplementation might be required.

Toxic overload

Every one of us could take steps to reduce our exposure to toxins and endocrine disruptors. No matter where you live, you will be exposed to toxins! Reduce plastics in your house by using glass containers to store food in or to reheat food. Eliminate scented plug-ins or heavily perfumed candles. Replace plug-ins with oil diffusers or clean burning candles. Look for cleaner products to clean your home and body with… especially skin care and make up! A good resource for additional information in this area is You can also look for organic detox teas that will support the body’s natural detox pathways. Drink plenty of clean spring or filtered water. Eat foods that support detox pathways and include plenty of fiber to naturally bind to toxins in the bowels for proper elimination. Dark leafy greens are key here; especially spinach, kale, parsley, broccoli and brussels sprouts to name some of the top foods!

Exercise and outside time

When we think about exercise we really need to focus on increased movement. That movement can be anything you enjoy and hopefully something you will want to do daily! It can be dancing, exercise videos, riding a stationary bike or walking on a treadmill. Don’t get hung up on WHAT to do! Just pick something and try to do it for 20-30 minutes per day to start. If you can bundle up on a cold sunny day and get outside to walk… even better! If you feel like you experience a form of Seasonal Affect Disorder, consider doing light therapy with a light box or lamp. Make sure you follow the instructions for light therapy to receive maximum benefit without side effects.

Strong digestion and a healthy gut

Saving the best for last because this could be THE most important piece you have the most control over to change! You get to decide what nourishes you or what depletes you. To keep it simple, eliminate processed sugars but DO NOT replace them with sugar substitutes… natural or chemical. Sugar highs and lows creates mood and energy highs and lows… triggers more inflammation everywhere in the body. If you can’t eliminate sugar right off the bat, then limit it to 25 g per day of added sugar. Be careful of foods that are low fat, gluten free… often times they will have added sugar in them to make them taste better. Become a label reader! If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. Utilize more bitter herbs and plants in your diet for improved gut health. Bitter greens like kale, spinach, arugula and brussels sprout can be a good place to start but any dark, leafy greens will be good. Use spices like curry, cayenne, ginger and cinnamon. Start your morning with a cup of hot water and fresh lemon squeezed into it to help stimulate a healthy bowel movement. (This could be done at other times too!) Dark chocolate that is at least 75% cacao is a good bitter and rich in magnesium. You can also incorporate teas to support healthy digestion that might have chamomile, ginger, licorice or cinnamon in them. Just look for “tummy teas”. And finally, think “fiber, fat and protein” to help you feel full, stabilize your blood sugar and to improve the microbiome. Fiber and fermented foods will act as prebiotics and nourish your microbiome. And hopefully you noticed some repetition in the detox paragraph with this section about gut health!

I realize there have been books written on everything I’ve talked about. (This might have felt like a small book to some of you!) My goal was to remind you of things you may already know or for someone new to this, give you a few places you can start to live a better and healthier life!

“A healthy outside starts from the inside.” Robert Urich


Dr. Annette

P.S. Please reach out to a counselor or a friend if you need someone to talk to if you feel like anxiety and depression are taking over. There are some additional herbs that can make a tremendous difference too.

Please set up an appointment to get started if you need a little extra help!

Be Better. Feel Better. Live Better.

With fall rolling in and the days getting shorter plus the holidays are just around the corner, it is a good time to talk about mental health and steps we can take to improve it naturally. First, let’s look at what can impact our mental health.

Symptoms of depression, anxiety, fatigue and feeling overwhelmed can come in lots of different packages and for different reasons.

  1. Hormonal imbalances
  2. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  3. Toxic overload (environment, endogenous, medications)
  4. Lack of exercise and sunlight (too much exercise isn’t good either)
  5. Poor gut health  

Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances alone can be the root cause for many of these symptoms. Stressed adrenals can impact both the thyroid and reproductive hormones along with our neurotransmitters. Hormones get tricky because high and low hormones can look the same.  And ultimately it comes down to the balance between hormones! There isn’t one hormone that is more important than another one. Prolong and high stress can result in higher levels of rT3 and lower levels of fT3…  Imbalances between testosterone, progesterone and estrogen can leave us feeling depressed and irritable or anxious. And prolonged stress can result in gut issues which can lead to conditions like IBS or just decreased absorption of key nutrients like magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin D to name a few! (I could go on for days how our hormones impact our mental health!)

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Vitamins and minerals are the building blocks for our health and supporting the hormones in our endocrine system. But it’s key to understand that simple mineral or vitamin replacement of a singular mineral or a fraction of a vitamin doesn’t work well in the long run. The body requires a balance here too! As an example, B12 doesn’t work well without B6 and vitamin D requires vitamin A to work effectively. Yet, many companies will push just one part of a vitamin or give you a poorly absorbed mineral source. In the case of B12 or D3, your labs might look good but not necessarily make a change on a cellular level. Without the synergists, like the whole spectrum of B vitamins or vitamin A, the effect isn’t the same as it would be when everything is there. It shouldn’t surprise you that when we get these nutrients from whole food or healthy sources of fat, like cod liver oil for vitamin A and D, it’s in the perfect ratio! And of course, it takes a healthy gut and strong digestion to be able to absorb these important nutrients!

Toxic overload!

Toxins and endocrine disrupters are literally EVERYWHERE! And there are also the toxins that are produced endogenously. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country or the city… new house or old house… we are exposed to toxins every day. Now, fortunately, we have a system designed to handle this, but for many of us, that system can get a little out of balance. You have two major organs of detoxification – the liver and the kidneys. Most people will deal with an imbalance between phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification leaving them feeling the effects of increased toxicity.  This can result in poor sleep, chronic inflammation, poor blood sugar regulation, digestive issues, fatigue and increased mood issues to name a few. While we can’t escape toxins, we can decrease our burden and work on improving our detox pathways. This will also result in better hormone balance too!  (More on this later!)

Exercise and getting outside

Exercise and getting outside can simply make all of us feel better. But it can be a tricky topic because we are inundated with TONS of videos and programs about what kind of exercise we should be doing. Keep it simple and go for a walk. Research has shown that walking for 60 minutes per day can help normalize our stress hormone cortisol. It doesn’t have to be fast or all at once. Feel free to divide it up. If walking isn’t your thing, then find something you like and try to move for at least 20-30 minutes per day. I think it’s important to start with small goals if it’s a new routine for you. If you are exercising too much, you will start to experience more fatigue and trouble losing weight. So pay attention to how you feel!!! We are all different and what works for one person doesn’t work for another. It’s important to get outside and feel the sun on your face and breathe fresh air. This is more critical for the individuals that suffer from seasonal affect disorder.

Poor gut health

Finally, you need to have a healthy gut and strong digestion for hormone balance, increased absorption of nutrients, toxin elimination and a healthy immune system. The gut and brain are intimately connected and imbalances in the gut can also present as anxiety, irritability and mild depression. It is estimated that approximately 80% of serotonin is made in the gut! People are so quick to grab an ant-acid for their digestive issues to reduce their symptoms but never really address what’s going on. Partly because they may not know what to do or where to look for help. It’s another area where the suggestions are endless and overwhelming!  

I know all of this can feel daunting and leave you wondering about the next step. If you feel like you could use some help in any of these areas, stay tuned for part 2 where I will give some practical advice and ways to improve your physical and mental health. And as always, if you are looking for a personal, customized plan to help address these issues and more, give our office a call.


Dr. Annette

Be Better.  Feel Better.  Live Better.

Autumn is officially around the corner and by now, everyone is in full swing with school! Which means the germs are back to school too! Daycares are especially a big melting pot of germs.

Sick kiddos aren’t any fun but we need to remember that the exposure to germs, getting sick from them, and then getting well is what builds a strong immune system! And let’s face it, kids are notorious for touching anything and everything they can and then putting those hands in their mouth. Ugh! It’s estimated that children in daycare will get 6-12 colds per year. That’s pretty much every month or every other month! Furthermore, respiratory tract infections are very common in small children because that system is immature up until 6 years of age. I believe this is why we can see a higher rate of allergies or asthma in little ones.

The gut reaction for many parents is to intervene as much as possible when our children are sick. We try to force a fever down and suppress a cough or any other symptom they exhibit. The truth is that we should let the body do what it’s designed to as much as possible rather than interfere. I feel like an exception to this is if they can’t sleep. They need to sleep to heal, so we may need to take other measures. But let’s try some other tools first!

There are many herbs and whole food support that can be given to children to enhance the proper immune response. And some herbs will make the immune system more resilient if we continue to give them even when our children are feeling fine. And there are also some practical solutions you can do in your home!

Best practices for a healthy immune system:

1. Sleep! Make sure they are sleeping enough which is anywhere from 8-12
hours depending on their age.

2. Dramatically reduce sugar intake; especially watch for sodas and fruit juices
or energy drinks. Children should keep added sugar below 12g per day and
adults should be at 25 g per day or less. (Statistics show that children today
are consuming on average 110-180g of added sugar per day!) Give them a
piece of fruit if they want something sweet.

3. Drink plenty of water.

4. Get them in the habit of drinking green tea and or chamomile tea. It will
have multiple benefits for them! Use a small amount of local raw honey to
help with any allergies. (1 tsp = 4g sugar)

5. Fermented foods and fiber will keep their gut healthy and support the
immune system. (Think prebiotics!)

6. Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia for immune resiliency!

Tips for when they are sick:

1. Andrographis can help shorten the duration of an illness.

Congaplex® Family

2. Thymus gland support like what is found in Congaplex is an excellent
immune support

3. Run a hot shower with peppermint oil in the bottom to create a steam and have them sit in the bathroom outside the shower; can help ease coughing.

4. Use organic teas for issues like sore throats, poor sleep and stomach
distress with a small amount of honey added to it if desired. Key is to steep
the tea for at least 20 minutes.

5. Their body ultimately needs time to heal. Getting sick isn’t a bad thing
necessarily…it only becomes bad if we fail to rise to the challenge. Remember,
the body wants to be well!

If you have any questions on how to boost your kid’s immune system, or support it while sick, including access to the suggested supplements, give our office a call or send an email so we can connect.

In health,

Doc Annette

Let’s talk about your immune system for a moment or two….  First, let me start by saying that the majority of you reading this are going to get sick.  We ALL get sick.  It’s impossible to avoid ALL pathogens!!!  Some of you will know it because it becomes an acute infection and others will have no idea they are harboring a chronic infection.

IMG_3496Take a look at this chart about recent viruses and the severity of each one…  And while the COVID-19 numbers could still rise, we are nowhere near epidemic proportions!  Corona is a type of virus that has an affinity for lung tissue.  Just like many other viruses.  More importantly it doesn’t leap through the air or travel on wings!  WE HAVE TO SHARE IT!!!!  Which means we would have to come in contact with it and then touch our face (hands, nose, mouth or eyes) for it to be able to get inside.  A mask isn’t going to protect you unless it keeps your hands off of your face!

Given that we are exposed EVERY DAY to unwanted pathogens, what can you do to help yourself?

First…STOP PANICKING!!!!  “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is a quote from Benjamin Franklin and it has never been truer.  Stress, loss of sleep and stress eating will weaken your immune system.  It won’t make it stronger!

There are some very simple things we can all do for prevention.  And if you do happen to get sick, you will be in better shape to handle it!

WASH YOUR HANDS FOR 30 SECONDS (especially after touching public surfaces)Screenshot 2020-03-07 at 9.40.19 AM

You can also supplement with key nutritional support to strengthen your immune system so that if you should “catch a bug” you can fight it off better!


Some of these herbs and vitamins can be found in combinations that are real powerhouses when it comes to fighting infection.  You can always check with me or a physician that carries Standard Process and MediHerb to get the highest quality support!

Please stop letting the media dictate how you should feel on a daily basis.  Fear and stress are way worse than any virus out there.

Be well, and wash your hands (for 30 seconds at least!) !

Dr. Annette

By now all the first day of school pictures have been posted on social media and families are trying to adjust to the new normal for the next 9 months.  The battle to get up in the morning and get homework done at night has begun along with little ones trying to just stay awake through the day.

Some kids will find it easier than others but many will struggle.  No parent wants to see their child struggle and will turn to what seems like an easier and maybe better solution to handle the issues that come with being a child and growing up.

What am I talking about more specifically?  The children who struggle to pay attention will be newly diagnosed with ADD/ADHD or after a summer off, back on their meds with the start of school.  Some will struggle with stomach pain (most likely due to stress) and might be medicated with an ant-acid or an acid reducing medication…or experience frequent illnesses that seem to require anti-biotics.  And finally, many adolescents will struggle with social pressure, changing hormones, school pressure and will feel very over whelmed and anxious.  This will result in medications for many of them as the number of adolescents on SSRI’s continues to climb.

NONE of these medications were ever meant for children when they were developed.  Children’s bodies and brains are still developing!  How can we believe that there won’t be consequences from these medications?  Aren’t we missing the bigger question?  Instead of looking at “what” they are doing and how they are behaving, we should be looking at “why”.

I believe one of the main areas we need to look at “why” our children are struggling goes back to the diet and their overall gut health.

Our gut manufactures over 90% of our neurotransmitters. In fact, 80-90 percent of serotonin is mediated from the gut!  It is CLEAR that our gut health is related to our mood.

Approximately 70% of your immune system lives in your gut. It is a known fact that humans have a lot more bacterial cells than they do human cells…  Let that sink in for a moment.  You are more bacteria than you are anything else.  And your bacterial blueprint is unique to you.  What happens to your body every time you take an anti-biotic?  Get stressed out?  Feed it garbage?

If we are not feeding our body well and there is a constant burden on it from poor dietary choices and excess sugar there will be consequences!  Doesn’t it seem possible that a lot of the issues children or ourselves could be experiencing could be tied back to our overall gut health?

All diseases begin in the gut…  Hippocrates, 460-370 BC

I understand that it isn’t easy to raise children and mornings along with meals in general can create a challenge.  But it is still our job as a parent to provide the best possible nutrition for our children.  Many children will start the day with no breakfast or one that is full of sugar leaving them ramped up and unable to concentrate and later too tired.  Ever witness a child that is too tired?  Not exactly pleasant…  After school will often times result in a lot more of the same. (Please feel free to think about your own habits and not just those of your children or children you know!)

And while a poor diet can lead to obesity, there will be some that despite poor dietary choices, no weight is gained.  THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT OK!!!!  If you are experiencing mood, energy and concentration issues, you have a problem!

I remember one afternoon when my son was about 9 years old and I went to pick him up from his grandparents after work one day.  His grandfather was complaining that my son was bouncing off the walls and he didn’t understand why…  So, I asked him what he fed my son after school.  He goes on to tell me that first he gave him waffles with syrup on them (which will mean drenched in syrup) and that was followed by a lotof fruit juice.  Basically, it was an after-school snack of massive amounts of sugar!  Of course, he was going to be bouncing off the walls!!!!!  Just because he wasn’t handed a candy bar and a soda, it didn’t make it any less bad for him.  Now think about how many kids and adults reach for sugar in the afternoon.  It could be a soda, sugary coffee drink or maybe a huge lemonade or fruit juice…the result is still the same.  Too much sugar!

The sugar is just one example.  There are other foods that will hijack our gut.  The bottom line is that we all get to choose what food we buy. Food does not fall out of the sky. We don’t live in the movie “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”.  Which means every single person could make better choice for themselves and if they have children, for their children.

So, let’s go back to the beginning.  Children in school having issues.  Take a moment and stop to look at their diet.  Does their morning begin with some protein and healthy fats? Or is it mostly sugar?  Remember carbohydrates break down into sugar. Refined carbohydrates like white bread/flour and cereals turn into sugar even faster!  What are they having for lunch that will help them get through the day? We have to look at the gut and that means starting with their diet.

Children (and adults) who have been on a lot of anti-biotics will most likely require extra support.  Immune support along with nutrients that rebuild the gut lining will be especially important.  Fiber is absolutely essential and it is something most of us do not get enough of in our diet.

There are fantastic herbs and minerals that can be used as an alternative to ADD/ADHD medications and anti-depressants. Working with a qualified practitioner to make sure you are getting the right ones along with high quality is extremely important.  But starting with good essential fatty acids, like cod liver oil or tuna oil, is a great starting point.

Remember the body wants to be well.  Chronic symptoms are a sign that something isn’t functioning optimally.  Do not cover it up with a medication!  I promise there are better ways to look at the body and figure out why it is doing what it is doing!

Dr. Annette

P.S. If you would like to learn more, here are a few recommended books: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride; Digestive Wellness by Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., CCN, CHN; Little Sugar Addicts by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D (She also wrote Potatoes Not Prozac) and Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig, M.D. (He has a great YouTube video called Sugar the Bitter Truth)


I’m pretty sure this blog isn’t going to go where most people want it to go…  I think many will be looking for the diet secret or a final answer about which “diet” they should follow.  Should you follow a ketogenic diet?  Paleo? Gluten free?  Maybe a FODMAP diet???  All meat…no meat.  No sugar. No lectins.  How about no fun?!

Which one is the right one?  Everyone that writes a book about a particular diet makes a great case for the diet they are promoting.  We start to think that just maybe this diet will be the diet.  Most people are looking for ways to lose weight and others want to have more energy and less pain.  Ultimately the “diet” you are on should be as flexible and ever changing as the human body is.  Diet simply means the food that we eat to give us optimal health.  It doesn’t have a finite beginning and end.  Thinking it is “just for right now” is how people get on the diet roller coaster…they aren’t viewing what they are doing as a lifestyle change, just a quick fix.  Many do it until they achieve whatever results they are looking for (often times weight loss) and then they go back to what they were doing before.  Or the diet is so restrictive that they can’t keep it up and get frustrated and move on to another less restrictive diet or just give up altogether for a while and eat everything and anything!

Why should we think about flexibility in a diet?  Our body will strive to adapt to whatever new dumb idea we come up with.  It will rob Peter to pay Paul all day long if it has to!  Which means if you go on a calorie restricted diet for too long, the body will think that it’s starving and work even harder to conserve energy and/or store fat.  At first the eating-less-principle seems to work but there is always that point where the body says enough is enough.  Bottom line here, eat enough to maintain a healthy weight and make sure when you are exercising more, you are eating more.

Let’s talk about food sensitivities for a minute….  I know this might be opening a can of worms (don’t worry I won’t suggest you eat them) but I want to give you something to think about here….  Oh, and before I go further, DISCLAIMER: I’m talking about sensitivities,not outright allergies where eating something makes you seriously ill or results in death.  When we have a reaction to food it is important to figure out why.  Is it a true allergy or is it a reflection of poor digestion and a weakened gut lining?  Which, ultimately means we also have a weakened immune system.  I’m not suggesting that every food is good for everyone!  But I am suggesting that we should look at our symptoms as information being given to us for further investigation.  In my mid-twenties to early thirties I was definitely acquiring more environmental allergies along with food sensitivities.  I wasn’t making good dietary choices at all…I considered Diet Coke a necessary part of my diet back then and water being a bit more optional.  (I can literally hear the gasps from my patients who just read that sentence!)  I didn’t necessarily eat too much food but the majority of it was processed and often times fast food.  While I was “getting by” physically, my symptoms, food related or not, were continuing to get worse….  Basically, I couldn’t really tolerate dairy, steaks (ground beef was ok) or anything remotely spicy.  I didn’t like any vegetables except maybe green beans and broccoli.  Oh, and I loved anything bread like and potatoes!!!  Fast forward a little and I survived chiropractic college with still no real idea about what my diet was doing to my health or what I needed to change.

There were a couple of things that made a big difference for me. First, I tried to go on an Atkin’s Diet. (Twenty years ago, it was called Atkin’s now it’s the Keto Diet) I got so sick, that after 3 days I had to stop. And yes, I was doing it properly.  There was so much more fat and protein than what I was used to eating, with very little carbohydrates, I felt exhausted, bloated and just all around awful.  The truth was that I had poor digestion that couldn’t break down the fats and protein, and some pretty tired adrenals that needed more carbohydrates to fuel my metabolism.  (Note: I had 4 kids at this point, recently graduated and living in a completely new place.  Key point is the 4 kids!)  I’m was feeling pretty frustrated at this point.

I won’t go into the details about how it came about but the next two significant things that changed for me was digestive enzymes and doing the Standard Process 21 Day Purification.  For 3 weeks, I had more fiber in my diet than ever before, lots of vegetables and moderate amount of protein and fat.  It was exactly what my body needed to make the shift.  It wasn’t a Keto diet or a Paleo diet.  It was just a very clean diet.  It was dairy free, gluten free and Diet Coke free. 😊 To be honest, it changed my life.  As stubborn as I can be at times, I can’t ignore what I know and what makes a difference.  Because ultimately, I want to feel good and be healthy.  Especially if I am going to help others, I need to follow my own advice. So, I gave up the Diet Coke, ate more of a Mediterranean type diet and chose whole food supplements, herbs and digestive enzymes to help me where I needed.

I’m not allergic or sensitive to gluten but I choose to eat it minimally and find the least processed sources when possible.  I totally love steak and spicier foods!  And dairy…. well, we are still working out our issues.  Basically, when I can get raw, grass fed dairy, I do great.  If it’s heavily processed, I struggle to break down the casein. I have also noticed that I don’t do well with a lot of starches such as quinoa and rice.  Small amounts are ok but more than that and I will put on weight.  (I’m pretty sure it’s payback for all the copious amounts I ate in my 20’s!) My environmental allergies and allergies to cats all went away too.  A LOT changed for me!  I will also tell you my diet isn’t that same as it was twenty years ago or even 10 years ago. Essentially, I am paying attention to when I am hungry and fueling my body with healthy foods that nourish it.

I needed a different kind of diet 20 years ago.  My hormones were different and my gut was pretty trashed. So, my point is that we change and as we change we have to figure out what is working for us and what isn’t. To keep doing the same thing and expect different results is just insane!  One of my best friends does high intensity work outs and when she tried to be more ketogenic, it didn’t work for her.  She needs more protein and carbohydrates to feel good and function at a high level for her.  Btw, she’s 12 years younger than me.  I have another friend who does a healthy ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting Monday through Thursday and eats a little more freely on the weekend.  And that works great for him!  Another hint, what works for men doesn’t always work the same for women, especially if they are still having their menstrual cycle.

I know you want a simple answer and were probably hoping I would tell which diet is the diet to follow.  I do think there are certain foods that never serve us well and put undue stress on the body.  For instance, keep the amount of added sugar in your diet to less than 25g per day.  Make sure you are getting enough fiber and water daily to support proper elimination and to keep your GI tract healthy.  Eat enough protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep your mood and energy up and maintain a healthy weight.  Portion control is key too.  You can eat all the healthiest organic foods you want, but too much is still too much! Play with what you are eating and change it up to see if those changes make you feel better.  You are the only person that knows exactly how you feel inside!

I think there are so many great books out there with brilliant suggestions but they won’t work for everyone.  Jade Teta, ND says frequently, you have to be your own health detective!  He couldn’t be more right.  Why would you turn your body over to someone else (like on the internet) or follow a book written by someone who doesn’t know you and disregard the work you need to do to make yourself feel better???  One of my early mentors talked about how doing the kind of endocrine work that I do, is like a participation sport; everyone has to be involved!  Which means I don’t have a magic pill that can override all the bad decisions a person makes!  Being healthy is an inside out job.  It matters what you eat, how you move and how you think.  EVERYONE can be better, feel better and live better!

Cheers to everyone and wishing you all a little less dietary stress!
Dr. Annette

P.S.  One of my new favorite books is Eat in Peace to Live in Peace by Charlotte Keikel. Also, check out Jade Teta on Instagram or FB.