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.


It is my first true love and the body’s soul mate.  It was never meant for short term use.  It is the forever herb…

I felt that with all the excitement surrounding Turmeric Forte, I should revisit Echinacea.  I LOVE Echinacea and the more I understand this amazing herb and how it works, the more I love it.  But when we consider Turmeric Forte and Echinacea we find that life is better with both of them!

To be more specific here, I am talking about Echinacea Premium from MediHerb. I still remember the first time I tasted Echinacea Premium…  It wasn’t exactly love at first sight.  The tongue tingling experience put me off a little at first!  Little did I know at the time that the tingling was from the alkylamides and a sign of high quality with true medicinal properties.  Oh, and I also found out that copious amounts of water right after having a high quality undiluted liquid form of Echinacea does NOT help!!!  So, like all great relationships, we were off to a rough start.  But you know how you get that gut feeling, or in this case your tongue, that there is something special happening?  I had that feeling.  Literally and figuratively!

6E9AC0EE-C764-4343-913C-2EE6F988F76CSo why the confusion and misunderstanding about this beautiful plant that has so many benefits to the human body?  Part of that is due to the three different species and that while all parts of the plant have been used, they are NOT all created equal!  It is known as the purple coneflower and the 3 main species used medicinally are Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea pallida.  Echinacea purpurea is the most
widely used but it is the rhizome and root of the Echinacea angustifolia that contains the highest amount of alkylamides.  E. pallida is relatively low in alkylamides compared to other two but has been incorrectly labeled in the past as E. angustifolia.  I believe this is why I have had patients tell me that Echinacea “doesn’t work”. If there’s no therapeutic benefit, due mainly to missing alkylamides, of course that would be the belief and an actual truth.  The confusion continues because often times when reviewing the literature, all of the species and parts are lumped together as if there was only one Echinacea plant. I love introducing my patients to Echinacea Premium especially if they have tried other brands!  One case I had several years ago was a college student who was still suffering from Mono (Epstein Barr Virus) …  She had researched Echinacea a little and bought an over the counter brand hoping it would improve her health.  She was mentioning it to me and how she didn’t feel any better. I asked her if she would like to try Echinacea Premium from MediHerb and explained why I thought it could help and how it was probably different from the brand she was taking. She took Echinacea Premium and when I saw her the following week, she couldn’t believe how much better she felt!!! It was so simple and at the same time incredibly effective.

I find the history of Echinacea to be fascinating. I believe it proves, without a doubt, that Echinacea is best taken long term and increased during times of heightened stress or illness.  The first use of Echinacea root came from the Native American tribes.

Screen Shot 2018-04-24 at 10.32.31 AM
The King’s American Dispensatory, pg. 671

It was later adopted by the Eclectics in the late 19thcentury and by 1921 the root of E. angustifolia was the most popular treatment prescribed by the Eclectic physicians.  Their extensive use of it for over 50 years resulted in significant clinical experience.  Much of what they did was based on tribal knowledge and the best sources for this data are The King’s American Dispensatory and Ellingwood.  In more serious health conditions, the Eclectics would use the Echinacea root long term.  Their clinical experience I believe puts to rest the idea that we should only use it short term and it would be a key herb for supporting any auto immune condition.

Here is a summary of traditional therapeutic uses of Echinacea root according to Kerry Bone and Simon Mills from Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, Second Edition; Modern Herbal Medicine:

“Bacterial, viral and protozoal infections, including infections of the digestive tract, respiratory and urinary tracts; mild septicaemia; states of weakened, suppressed or imbalanced immunity, including allergies and autoimmune disease; inflammatory and purulent conditions, including acne, abscess, furunculosis; envenomation.  Topically for poorly healing wounds, inflamed skin conditions and bacterial infections.”

As the research continues on about this amazing plant more benefits are being discovered.  Fairly recently, research has shown its impact on the endocannabinoid system and its influence on our “fight or flight” response supporting a better response from the HP axis.  This discovery was first presented in 2004 at the International Congress on Natural Products. This related specifically to the alkylamides found in the root of the E. purpurea and E. angustifolia plants.

It is simply one of the best herbs out there! BUT quality matters!!! Adulteration of this beautiful plant is quite high so it is important to get it from a reliable source.  If someone has a known allergy to the members of the Compositae family, care should be used when taking or prescribing Echinacea.  I believe in more serious health conditions it is best to work with a qualified practitioner well versed in herbal medicine for the best results.

I am constantly amazed at the power of plants and whole food nutrition!  It is proof that there is already a plant or a food that can heal us.  We need to get back to our roots and not accept that pharmaceutical drugs are the way to go.  They fix nothing and are a dangerous piece of duct tape covering up what is really going on.  Modern science is proving what great healers like the Eclectics and others from the past knew about herbal medicine and its power to heal the body!!!

I have only skimmed the surface when it comes to the therapeutic benefits of E. angustifolia and E. purpurea.  If you are a practitioner, please check out Kerry Bone and Simon Mills textbook, Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, Second Edition.  If you are not a practitioner, find a qualified practitioner who uses MediHerb to get more information about it and to hopefully add it to your daily support!

Dr. Annette

Spring has felt like it is slowly creeping in and it won’t be long before the sneezing starts.  Although I know there are some of you that the sneezing is a year-round affair!

Are allergies genetic?  Do we grow out of them?  Are we stuck with them forever?

To cover all the nuances when it comes to the topic of allergies, this would be a book instead of a blog.  Instead I want to share some insight with you about it and give you a couple of practical steps to take and supplements you could use for support.

Processed with VSCO with f2 presetMany of us would like to believe that when we get sick or are dealing with allergies, it’s because of the outside world.  The truth is, it’s all an inside out job.  Your immune system, your gut and your endocrine system are responsible for how you respond to your environment.  And of course they are all tied intimately together!  You can’t have one of those out of balance and the other two to remain unaffected.

There is a single layer of cells separating your GI tract from your immune system.  In fact, it is said that 2/3 of your immune system lies in the gut.  When we are exposed to allergens, whether it is from food or the environment, our immune system gets engaged.  The GI is one of the first lines of defense as we try to eliminate or deal with allergens.  The adrenals fit into this picture by their ability to respond to stress, including environmental stressors.  A stress response is natural.  The problem comes in when we fail to respond to stress appropriately.  Certain hormones rise in answer to stress like cortisol and DHEA.  And that hormone response has an impact on the immune system.  Poor dietary choices will feed inflammation and further aggravate the stress response and the immune response.   To highlight this a little better, let me share my story with you…

annetteI cannot remember a time when I was little that I didn’t sneeze a lot.  And it was never just one sneeze… nope, once I sneezed there was at least 5-6 to follow!  My mom used to joke that I was allergic to getting up in the morning since that was how I pretty much started every day.  (I’m pretty sure this is why I’m not a morning person!)  Fortunately, my mom wasn’t big on medicine or running us to the doctor and I avoided the painful experience of allergy shots.  I didn’t tolerate over the counter allergy medications either.  They would simply put me to sleep for 4 hours or until they wore off.  So, I decided to take the sneezing and itchy eyes.  An important part to this story is that we had a house surrounded by lots of trees, lots of grass to mow and we always had cats and dogs!  I’m sure I was quite a sight mowing and sneezing in the spring.  I swear that was why I didn’t see the small trees I ran over. (Sorry Dad!)

Fast forward a little bit to my 20’s and being on my own.  We may not have had a perfect diet growing up but looking back, it was better than most.  But like all young adults, being on my own meant I could eat and drink whatever I wanted.  It goes without saying my diet got to be pretty bad.  Way too much fast food and a constant stream of Diet Coke!  But hey, what does diet have to do with allergies?  I had accepted the fact that there would be certain times of the year that I wouldn’t be wearing my contacts or make up.  Spring and Fall were the worse for me even though my allergies never really went away.  Then one day I was over at a friend’s house who had cats and I decided to hold one.  I thought I will eventually get over the sneezing, right?  Only this time I broke out in hives.  This was another level of allergic reactions and it was not fun at all!  Why hives now?  Aren’t we supposed to grow out of them?  Ugh, this is awful because I love animals.

It was also around this time that I had decided on becoming a chiropractor.  I remember thinking how I had heard adjustments could get rid of your allergies and I couldn’t wait!  That would solve this pesky problem finally!!!  Only, that didn’t work out like I thought it would.  Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely better but not gone.  I wasn’t getting hives anymore but all the other symptoms were still there.

Made it through school with some sanity still intact.  I am married with 4 children and a cat.  A cat in my house.  A long-haired cat in the house that preferred our bedroom as her favorite place to be.  I still wasn’t getting hives but I was pretty miserable.  Since it was my husband’s cat before he met me, the cat was staying.  We bought air purifiers and tried to make the best of it.  It would also be good to mention that my diet still isn’t stellar at this point.  I was probably like most young moms with a very busy life and lots of kids!  Shocking that I was also having more and more digestive issues and was breaking out like a teenager!

So, what changed?  You know this story isn’t about surviving with a cat in the house.  What changed is me.  I changed my diet, strengthened my immune system and very specifically supported my adrenals.  It was the combination of doing all three that made such a huge difference for me.  At one point, we had 5 cats and 2 dogs in the house.  Don’t roll your eyes about the insanity of that, although it’s deserved.  Instead focus on the fact that at this point I’m not sneezing, no itchy eyes, no hives AND I am not experiencing seasonal allergies either!!!

I didn’t do allergy shots.  I didn’t magically grow out of my allergies.  In fact, they got much worse before they got better!  And it would also be good to point out that when my diet gets too far off and I get run down, I will be affected by seasonal allergies!  But it is NOT something I have to live with.  I will suffer with them if I am not taking care of myself.  I think that is so powerful!!!  Every single person has the ability to be better and feel better. It is your choice!

Spring Wellness Pack

Medications can soften or relieve us of the symptoms but it WILL NOT CORRECT the underlying problem!  Cut out the sugar and dairy…reduce or eliminate grains for a while.  Drink plenty of water.  Make sure your detox pathways are healthy!  Strengthen your immune system and support your adrenals.  Supplements that can help and are better than the medications are Allerplex and Albizia Complex.  They will relieve you of the symptoms or at least lessen them to a manageable degree.

But if you really want to live better, it’s an inside out job.  You just need to decide what kind of life you want to live.  It’s all there for you!

Dr. Annette

PS. Don’t forget to pick up your Spring Wellness Pack, which includes Allerplex and Albizia (and other Spring Allergy Relief products) for $49!!


I admit it…  I am in love.  I wasn’t sure I would love anything more than Echinacea Premium, but Turmeric Forte is making me doubt my first love.  Ok, I know the opening of this blog is super corny but wait until you hear about Turmeric Forte!  (Please tell me you got the James Bond reference in the title?!)

There are few spices or herbs that have been researched more than turmeric…maybe none!  Curcumin and turmeric are used interchangeably in conversation when talking about this amazing herb.  The yellow pigment curcumin is a key active component in turmeric.  It has been used for thousands of years in many different capacities.  It’s been used as medicine, a spice and even as a coloring agent.

Kerry Bone has described it the following way, “ ….possesses a promiscuous pharmacology, demonstrating interaction with a wide range of biochemical pathways.  Curcumin has been shown to influence a variety of molecular targets, including transcription factors, cytokines, growth factory kinases and other enzymes.  It has also demonstrated a considerable repertoire of anticancer and chemo-preventative effects, although the former is mainly in vitro. “

The possibilities of turmeric seem endless!  It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, neuro-protective, hepato-protective, cardio-protective, anti-tumor, hypolipidaemic…  It’s uses have been topical as well as internal.

What has made Turmeric Forte different?  With so many versions of turmeric out there, why would we need one more?  The challenge has been the low bioavailability of turmeric in general, mostly due to its very short half-life.  (The bioavailability of a substance depends on how well it is absorbed and processed by the body.)  Studies have shown that very little, if any, of the curcumin made it into the blood and tissues with unformulated versions of curcumin.Turmeric Forte.JPG

By pairing the turmeric with soluble fiber from an extract of the fenugreek seed, its bioavailability went up by 24.8 times compared to an equivalent dose of unformulated curcumin.  Increased absorption in the blood and longer half-life meant that the turmeric could get into the tissues and create positive changes.  And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the new Turmeric Forte can cross the blood brain barrier!!!!  This fact alone should get the attention of anyone dealing with neuro-inflammation; this would include brain traumas, Alzheimer’s disease and autism for starters.

As of right now, there simply isn’t another version of turmeric on the market that can begin to compete with Turmeric Forte.  When taken with Boswellia Complex or Vitanox, it will enhance the effectiveness of those two supplements.  I would go so far as to say that it would make any protocol more effective!  I intend to make it part of my every day routine along with Echinacea.

I would encourage you to check out the MediHerb perspective on Turmeric Forte by Kerry Bone.  He goes into more detail about the clinical studies and research on turmeric.  There you will also find the list of references for it and there’s more on it in the Principles and Practices of Phytotherapy, Second Edition by Kerry Bone and Simon Mills.

And lastly, to finish what I started with the James Bond theme…just like the song by Carly Simon, “Nobody Does It Better”.  Clearly, nobody does herbs better than MediHerb and there isn’t a better turmeric out there!

Dr. Annette