Kidneys: Not just for pies anymore!

by Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz

shutterstock_6134527     This month we are focusing on the Kidney; 2 small bean shaped organs located next to your spine on either side.  I know what you are thinking: those 2 little organs, you can give one to another person and still go on living, how important could they be?  After recently being on vacation and taxing my kidneys with dehydration from flying, running heaters in the blizzards of New England and the sweating from the hot sun of Jamaica, I can tell you I have seen their importance.

Honestly, when it comes to the kidneys, you have to take a page out of the lesson plan from one of my favorite teachers, Model.  That is to step back and look at the “big picture.”  To think that your kidneys are only responsible for making urine is just the tip of the iceberg!  They are responsible for: Continue reading

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The Spring Cold and Flu Season

by Dr. Brooke Azie-Rentz
shutterstock_510260584The holidays have come and gone and Spring is in the air, but the cold and flu season is going full steam ahead, and it is bad this year.  Here at Alpine Integrated Medicine, we believe that prevention is the best medicine, but sometimes that is not enough.  Here are some tips and tricks to prevent illness and also some of our favorite supplements to use if you succumb.

Continue reading

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Who’s Afraid of MTHF-R?

Molecular Biology of Methylenetetrahydrofolate-Reductase (MTHF-R) and Overview of the Mutation

by Dr. Mohammad Shegeft, ND
communityHave you ever looked around an airport and thought to yourself: wow, we all look so different.  It’s funny because, when you look a little deeper, you may be surprised how similar we all are despite the difference in our appearances.  All humans have basically the same set of genes.  Our differences come from tiny variations in these genes, known as Human Genetic Variation.  There are multiple variants of any given gene in the human population, however on average, in terms of DNA sequence all humans are 99.8% similar to any other humans.  So how is it that we look so different, act so differently and respond so differently to stimuli, both external and internal?
mthfr-wordleAlthough our unique individualities steams from less than 0.2% difference in our DNA sequencing, this minuscule difference has a significant impact in our biological makeup.

These variations in our genes not only influence how we behave and look, but in how our bodies react differently to external factors.  One of these gene variations is seen in the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase gene, specifically in the 677 and 1298 positions of Chromosome 1.  Too much?  Well turn up your focus for a moment, this ends up being pretty important.  There are some technical parts, but I’ll try to keep it digestible.


An Overview

mthf-2Methylenetetrahydrofolate-Reductase (MTHF-R) is a critical regulatory enzyme in folate and homocysteine (an amino acid and breakdown product of protein metabolism).  MTHF-R mutation has been linked to an increase risk of heart attacks, strokes and contributes to plaque formation within arterial walls, metabolism, and how your body reacts to the foods you eat and lifestyle you live.  For example, someone that has an MTHF-R mutation may have difficulty metabolizing caffeine and/or alcohol and may react differently to them than a person without the mutation. Continue reading

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Be Prepared: Cold v Flu

by Dr. Joy Chou, ND

pac-nw-fall-sceneFall is that quintessential time of year when kiddos faithfully head back to the classroom and become exposed to a plethora of germs and viruses. Those pesky pathogens inevitably invade the household, often resulting in torturous hours of fever, cough, body aches and utter physical defeat. Of the potential culprits for this misery, the most likely are cold and flu. Provided the nearly unavoidable curse of back-to-school sickness, its important to learn the difference between these viruses, to understand the basics of illness prevention/treatment, and to identify the proper time to seek medical care.


How to differentiate between cold and flu? Continue reading

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Prevention of Diabetes

by Dr. Bridgett Simon, ND LAc

diabetes-prevention-foodHello everyone, we are talking prevention and I am talking blood sugar health in particular.  We will touch on traditional and energetic medicine a both in the following paragraphs. Traditional medicine is practical. You want your intake of blood sugar to be balanced with your need for sugar and energy. Excess energy is stored in fat cells which grow and become misshapen. Some practical things are ideas like portion size. Keep it on the smaller side to start with, even your plate being smaller is actually an option though it takes a little getting used to and people may look at you quizzically.  Watch where the calories are going, even at a big meal, if you know you are going to eat dessert and rich foods, drink less alcohol or vice versa.  Adding it all up in one meal is a big load on the GI system, especially when the meal is a long affair. The Carbohydrate Addict’s diet book mentions this a lot. If you eat a large meal over a long period of time your insulin and blood sugar regulation system is worked very hard.  On the other hand if you eat within an hour, your insulin does not spike as much.  It doesn’t say don’t relax at the table of course, it is nice to sit and talk about the day, just try not to keep eating.

Foods that are closer to whole foods or unprocessed foods are likely to cause less blood sugar imbalance.  Fruit for example is less likely to cause high blood sugar than fruit juice which is more processed than the whole fruit. Meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, avocados, are all examples of whole foods that do not cause blood sugar dysregulation.  Keeping your carbohydrate intake restricted also reduces blood sugar which is rational and also encourages weight loss.  If you reduce your carb intake and keep your meals within an hour, you can lose a lot of weight. Regular exercise uses energy and blood sugar balances naturally.

Labs to look into to monitor your blood sugar include fasting blood sugar and Hemoglobin A1C to look at your on the spot fasting sugar and your sugar metabolism intake over time. We also have some advanced cardiac testing now to monitor prevention and treatment of blood sugar problems.  One of my teachers told me that diabetes is basically heart disease and I never forgot it.


chakras          Energetic medicine and digestive health including blood sugar brings us to the power chakra or the 3rd chakra in the abdominal region.  When your well being is tested by someone or something you often get a nasty pit in your stomach or butterflies or something that tells you to pay attention. It often doesn’t feel great and can lead to loose stool. That is your power chakra being tested. It is never a bad thing to remind ourselves internally to not give our power away to others or outside situations. Giving in to the worry or fear doesn’t improve the circumstance, I believe this is the stress component of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). During anxious times, lean back in your energy or your chair literally. Become the observer in the situation for a minute and be impartial so you are not so compelled to become anxious and give your power away before you consider your options.

Diabetes can also be an autoimmune reaction where the body is attacking itself.  Energetically or in counseling working to combine traditional and energetic medicine we would ask the patient to consider any areas in their lives where they are “beating themselves up”, sabotaging their own lives or doing things in conflict with their own well being. We can help to reshape the way we see ourselves in the world, empowering us. This can help the traditional treatment we are providing in conjunction with counseling.  Take it easy on yourself, you deserve it and it goes a long way. Taking life a little less seriously seems to be a factor in relaxing too.  The truth is life is hard for all of us in ways, finding a reason to laugh lightens things up a lot and takes your power back.


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Notes on Ergonomics

by Dr. Bridgett B. Simon, ND LAc

cold autumn                Hello everyone, welcome to the fall season. I like this topic because it turned out to be more than I expected. When I thought of ergonomics before this, posture and sitting time came to mind for me. hand-painWorking with a lot of tech friends also, things like wrist and elbow issues can be common and work related. Work related is important because we spend a large amount of time there in our society.  Before too long into this article I ran across a quote from Dorland’s Medical Dictionary saying ergonomics is “the science relating to humans and their work, including the factors affecting the efficient use of human energy”. The efficient use of human energy is more than just how we sit, though I like the ideas of addressing posture. In the following paragraphs I will discuss the broader idea of energy in the work space to broaden our perspective.

As an acupuncturist who works with pain, I see, a lot of reason to consider sitting Continue reading

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Posture, Ergonomics & Pain

by Chanda Zeigler, LMP, CSP

postureGood Posture: What’s the big deal anyways?

I’m sure we all have vivid memories of our Mother constantly reminding us to “sit up straight!” or “stop slouching!” Why is posture such a big deal? There are many great reasons for good posture: standing tall feels empowering, boosting confidence and lowering stress levels by reducing negative emotions- check out this study by the American Psychology Association:

Good posture leads to proper alignment of muscles and bones, builds strong skeletal muscles and reduces the risk of developing musculoskeletal disorders such as neck and back pain, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome to name a few. Good posture improves circulation, delivering oxygen to the brain and extremities. Slouching can impinge blood flow to the brain, causing poor concentration, sleepiness, and reduced energy levels.

Ergonomics: The study of the relation of man to the environment in which he works and the application of anatomical, physiological, psychological, and engineering knowledge to the problems involved.

In laymen’s terms: it’s all about alignment. How we use our body to complete every task from computer work while sitting at a desk to washing dishes while standing at the kitchen sink.
Posture and Ergonomics define how we physically, as well as mentally, interact with pretty much everything we come into contact with- carrying a purse, briefcase, baby or backpack, driving, taking wet laundry out of the wash and putting it in the dryer, bending down to tie your shoes.  You name it- posture and ergonomics are playing a role.



Signs & Symptoms of Poor Posture & Ergonomics:

PAIN. Dull aches, spasms, muscle cramps, limited range of motion, sharp stabbing pain, tight muscles, low energy, depression, poor concentration, tingling in the fingers, swelling, tendonitis, muscle weakness, and loss of muscle function.



What can I do??

Take a closer look at yourself. Stand facing a mirror. Are your shoulders slumping forward? Is your belly sticking out? Is one shoulder higher than the other? Where are your toes pointing? The first step is to build an awareness of how your body feels and looks. When typing away on a project deadline, pause for just a moment and ask yourself, “How does my body feel?” Pain is a clue that something is out of alignment. 5 deep belly breaths stretching your arms high above your head while circling your hands at the wrist only takes 1 minute.  There are so many ways to improve posture and ergonomics- body awareness being first and foremost. Keep this simple concept in mind- “ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, knees over ankles”. When typing and sitting, make “90 degree angles” at the elbows and knees. MOVE your BODY! Choose a regular exercise program that you enjoy and fits into your life. Massage Therapy is a great start to gaining more body awareness. It helps you connect with all the aches and pains as well as offers pain relief. The staff at Alpine Integrated Medicine is here to support you on your journey to better health!

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