Monday, January 26, 2015

If You Suffer From Hair Loss

There can be lots of reasons for hair loss and when I work with patients with hair loss, men and women alike, one common reason is there tends to be a circulation problem where the hair roots aren't getting enough blood to them. Without enough nutrients the hair prematurely falls out. What I suggest doing is spending a full minute in the morning and another full minute at night massaging your scalp to increase blood flow to the hair roots. You may find that as you massage in small circular motions using your fingertips, tender spots and it is those spots in particular you want to concentrate on for they are tender due to lack of circulation. You will notice as you massage the tender spots they will become less tender. Continue to do every day, twice a day, for at least 2 weeks in order to see a change.

I also love this supplement called Hair Rejuvenation to give the hair the right nutrition to help it grow.

Sometimes hair loss is due to the body (or hair) not having enough of the right nutrition.  This is why I developed my own hair supplement called Hair Rejuvenation.  It uses black current seed, saw palmetto, dandelion, rosemary, pomegranate, raspberry leaf, vitamin C and vitamin E to give the body the boost it needs to grow hair.  Vitamin C, vitamin E and pomegranate are used for their antioxidants which helps the body have less stress on it from toxins.  Pomegranate also contains punicic acid which stimulates the hair follicles for better hair growth. This will strengthen the hair follicles and stimulates strong and fast hair growth. Also to help detox is dandelion which supports the liver.  Dandelion is also rich with vitamins A, C, B-complex and E. It also contains biotin, iron, sulfur, magnesium and calcium. These all enrich the hair by stimulating and strengthening the hair.   Rosemary has been tested in clinical trials and shown hair growth just as good as Rogaine on men after 6 months of use.  Raspberry leaf supports the hormones while black current seed and saw palmetto are direct hair support.  Hormone support is important because too much testosterone can cause hair to fall out.  Black Currant Seed contains omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids, which help provide moisture for your hair and encourage hair growth and strength. Specifically, the gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in black currant seed oil is an omega-6 acid that can help prevent hair thinning, splitting and dryness.

By taking the oxidative stress off the body, while also supporting the hormones and liver as well as the hair I have seen the best results with my patients’ regrowth of hair.  Unfortunately it takes time and it’s usually only in the 4th month that patients start noticing a difference.  

Is Your LIver Toxic?

When working with people in getting rid of toxins I help the body pull the toxins out of the cells and into the bloodstream to then be detoxed by the liver and kidneys and then out through the bowels or urine. Sometimes the liver is already burdened and cannot do this job well so to help jump start the liver and allow the person to detox without problems I suggest a liver flush. I also suggest one when the patient has a history of or I suspect, gallstones.

There are quite a few varieties of liver flushes out there. The one I like the most is from Standard Process with my own slight variations. Here are the steps:

1. From Monday morning to noon on Saturday, in addition to your normal diet, add 4 malic acid a day, 2 at breakfast and 2 at dinner. Dosage may vary person to person so it is best to get the malic acid muscle tested for correct, personal dosage.

2. At noon on Saturday, eat a normal lunch, including salad.

3. Three hours after lunch, take 8 capsules of Disodium Phosphate by Standard Process.

4. Two hours later, take 8 more capsules of Disodium Phosphate. This should be done at least one hour before dinner.

5. Saturday dinner should be only organic citrus or organic citrus juice.

6. At bedtime, drink 4 ounces (1/2 a cup) of unrefined, extra virgin, first-pressed olive oil with the juice of half a lemon. Follow this with a small glass of grapefruit juice.

7. Go to bed. Lie on your right side with your right knee up for 30 minutes.

8. Go to sleep.

9. Upon rising and at least one hour before breakfast, take 8 capsules of Disodium Phosphate again.

10. Sunday will be your cleansing. Continue your regular diet, and you will usually have a loose bowel movement within an hour of step 9. In some individuals this may happen the night before.

11. After this bowel movement do not flush toilet. Instead check for any stones of gelatinous balls. Evaluate their approximate size and number. Report this to your practitioner. Here is an example of what they may look like. Variations of green and greenish brown colors are common.

12. This procedure will leave some people weak. Be prepared to rest after this procedure.

13. If stones or balls are present, this procedure can be repeated in 2 weeks. Talk with your practitioner to make a plan.

14. The number and size of balls will generally diminish when subsequent procedures are done as suggested by practitioner.

15. Some people experience nausea after taking the olive oil. This usually diminishes by the time you go to bed. If olive oil induces vomiting, do not repeat the procedure at this time and discuss with your practitioner.

When a patient vomits or I feel that the liver flush may be too extreme for some patients who I suspect have gallstones or that a sluggish liver is holding back their progress in my office, I then suggest taking malic acid or Chanca Piedra on a regular basis (whichever one the patient muscle tests better for) to help break down gallstones and move sluggish toxins through liver. Slowly but surely this can also get the job done over time!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Benefits of Fermented Foods

Fermentation is the breakdown of carbs, like starch and sugar, by bacteria and yeast that helps preserve food.  Because fermented foods are loaded with good bacteria and yeast adding them to your diet could help with any digestive issues including bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea. I have also seen it help people with acne and people with low immune systems. The key is to eat a small portion of fermented foods on a very regular basis. One serving every day with a meal is best.  The consistency of doing it every day is very beneficial. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, natto (fermented soybeans, be careful, it's an acquired taste!), fish sauce, miso, kimchi, shrimp paste, soy sauce, tabasco sauce, tempeh, kefir, yogurt (if you can have cow milk, Fage brand muscle tests the best), kombucha, and pickled vegetables. Do not eat fermented foods if you have or suspect candida.

Here are four explanations of how eating fermented foods help the body:

Explanation #1: Traditional fermented foods help balance the production of stomach acid. Fermented foods have the unique ability to ease digestive discomfort related to having either too much or too little stomach acid. When the production of hydrochloric acid by the stomach is low, fermented foods help increase the acidity of gastric juices. On the other hand, when the stomach produces too much acid, fermented foods help protect the stomach and intestinal lining.

Explanation #2: Traditional fermented foods help the body produce acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter. In simple terms, it facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses. In practical terms, it helps increase the movement of the bowel, and can alleviate constipation problems. It also helps improve the release of digestive juices and enzymes from the stomach, the pancreas, and the gallbladder. So by helping your body produce acetylcholine, fermented foods act as potent digestive aids.

Explanation #3: Traditional fermented foods are beneficial for people with blood sugar problems, including diabetes. In addition to improving pancreatic function, which is of great benefit to diabetics, the carbohydrates in lactic acid–fermented foods have been broken down or "pre-digested." As a result, they do not place an extra burden on the pancreas, unlike ordinary carbohydrates.

Explanation #4: Traditional fermented foods produce numerous compounds that destroy and inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Many pathogenic forms of bacteria are sensitive to acidic environments and will not grow.

See if you can incorporate eating or drinking a serving of fermented food/drink every day. Fermented foods include:

  • kefir
  • kombucha
  • sauerkraut
  • pickles
  • miso
  • natto 
  • tempeh
  • kimchee
  • raw cheese
  • yogurt
  • apple cider vinegar
Due to the high good bacteria content of fermented foods, the most common side effect is an initial and temporary increase in gas and bloating.  So if this happens to you start off small. Try 1/4 or 1/2 a serving of fermented food/drink to start and then work your way up to a full serving.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Candida, What it is and What to do About it

Candida is a family of yeasts and is the most common cause of fungal infections. Many species are harmless and can live in the body, specifically the gut, without a problem. However, when mucosal barriers are disrupted or the immune system is compromised they can invade and cause disease. Candida albicans is the most commonly isolated species. Most common ways to develop an overgrowth of Candida are

-Antibiotic use
-Chlorine from swimming pools
-Alcohol, especially beer, red wine, vodka
-Use of cortisone or prednisone
-Regular eating of Candida-promoting foods, such as bread, chocolate, alcohol, sugar, vinegar, cheese, milk, nuts, coffee, apples, grapes and bananas
-Hormonal birth control
-Direct pesticide exposure
-Heavy metal exposure or fillings
-Having lived or worked in a moldy building
-Excessive milk intake

Symptoms include

-Cravings for sugar, bread, milk, cheese, vinegar, chocolate or alcohol
-Sleep problems
-Acid reflux, heartburn
-Muscle or joint pain
-Bloating or abdominal pain
-Excessive weight gain
-Lack of sex drive
-Constipation or diarrhea
-Skin problems - rashes, eczema, psoriasis
-Recurring infections - ears, bladder, sinus, vagina
-Cold feet, hands, nose
-Poor memory
-Heart palpitations
-Large abdomen ('beer belly')
-High cholesterol

A person suffering from Candida usually can distinctly identify with at least 3 or more of these symptoms.

There is a full Candida cleanse with a special diet that cuts a lot of foods out. But when patients come to the office we muscle test to see what their specific Candida diet is.  Every Candida diet is different.  Some Candida diets allow vinegars and others don't.  Some allow berries and others don't.  Everyone is different and that's why a custom made cleanse is nice to have.  But if you can't get tested google Candida diet, the standard Candida diet cuts out everything and therefore works for everyone.  Instead of me writing what not to eat on the standard Candida diet it is easiest for me to list here what is permissible while doing a Candida cleanse.

Vegetables - all kinds. No corn, potato, sweet potato.

Starches - beans, rice, lentils, quinoa, spelt, millet, buckwheat (bread of these grains, if no added malt or yeast).

Meat, poultry, fish and eggs - choose organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised when available. Veal and lamb are the safest meats if you don't have organic meat available. Avoid tuna.

Dairy - grass-fed butter and ghee.  Substitute coconut milk or almond milk for cow, sheep or goat milk.

Fruit - fresh lemon, lime

Spices - green herbs which come from dried leaves, such as basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano etc. Black pepper, salt, garlic, ginger, paprika, turmeric. 

Healthy Fats - unrefined coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, flax oil, sesame oil.

Nuts and seeds low in mold- almonds, sunflower seeds, coconut or flaxseed.

Condiments- Apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos and sauerkraut. 

Non-caffeinated beverages- Herbal teas, chicory coffee, filtered/bottled water, and water infused with lemon or lime.

Let me clarify no alcohol, caffeine, sugar or sugar substitutes like coconut sugar, stevia, honey etc.  

Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Eat to Manage Stress and the Adrenal Glands

Chronic stress is a major culprit in the lives of New Yorkers, contributing to ongoing cycles of fatigue, poor nutrition, waves of exhaustion, mood swings, and hormonal imbalance. When I ask my patients what they think is the reason for their symptoms, their answers have one common thread: too much responsibility that is impossible to manage. Trying to help themselves through each day, many people find themselves overloading on caffeine, sugary or salty snacks, alcohol, and even sleep aids to manage stress, all of which can disrupt our body’s normal rhythms.

Research shows that when we experience chronic stress, our adrenal glands, or the tiny glands that moderate the stress response as well as regulate other hormones, will suffer. The adrenals, which are the size of walnuts, have an enormous job. They produce many hormones that regulate our body’s functioning, including cortisol, a hormone activated when our stress levels rise, signaling our body to enter a heightened state of emergency. But high cortisol levels are intended to be short term, not remain elevated.

When our cortisol levels stay elevated, people feel like they are stuck in the 'fight or flight' response and it interferes with many functions in our body, including immune function, digestion, sleep, and even the ability to produce other essential hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones. This can lead to high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess abdominal fat, and inflammation. In the meantime, our health is compromised, along with our moods, and even our sex drive.

When the adrenal glands continue to be compromised long term, they have a decreased ability to produce cortisol, and instead produce extra adrenaline, causing us to feel irritable, shaky, lightheaded, and anxious. Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome that can, over time, cause low blood pressure, allergies, and pure exhaustion.

These issues, although very concerning, can also be relieved when adrenal dysfunction is healed. And the good news is, it can be healed. Along with decreasing chronic stress, adjusting our emotional responses to stressors, and changing what, when and how we eat, we can reverse adrenal fatigue. Let’s take a look at some of the dietary approaches we can utilize to not only support our adrenals, but also improve our energy and promote better sleep.

First: Time Your Meals and Snacks

When we go for long periods without food, our adrenal glands work hard to release more cortisol and adrenaline, to try to maintain the body’s normal functioning. When our blood sugar dips for extended periods, this creates a stress reaction, taxing the adrenals. It’s important to know that our body always needs energy, even when we are sleeping. Cortisol works to moderate blood sugar in between meals and at night, so regulating our cortisol levels by eating timely, healthy meals and snacks is key.

Cortisol levels begins to rise around 6 am, peaks around 8 am, and then throughout the day naturally rises and falls as needed. It tapers off at night, and reaches its lowest levels while we are sleeping.

Timing our meals, and how much we eat, can help regulate cortisol and its natural cycle. Eating larger meals earlier in the day naturally helps support cortisol levels, while eating smaller, lighter meals at the end of the day helps maintain hormonal balance.

Exercise will also increase cortisol levels, so enjoying lighter activities while trying to heal adrenal fatigue is important. To keep cortisol levels as smooth as possible, heavier exercise is recommended in the morning or early afternoon when cortisol is higher, and lighter exercise, such as walking or gentle stretching such as restorative yoga, is better in the evening.

The old adage about breakfast being the most important meal is actually true. Eating a nutritious breakfast that includes protein within an hour of rising will help balance your metabolism and cortisol throughout the entire day. But it’s hard to eat when we don’t feel hungry, even if we know it’s important.

Here are reasons we may not feel hungry in the morning:

1) Corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) levels can dull the appetite when it enters the bloodstream at a fast rate first thing in the morning.

2) Decreased liver function can accompany adrenal fatigue, which also can quell morning hunger.

Here are some tips to help support your natural cortisol cycle:

-Eat breakfast within an hour of getting up, or by 8 am to restore blood sugar levels that were depleted during the night.
-Eat a healthy snack around 9 am.
-Try to eat lunch between 11 am and noon to prevent a large dip in cortisol levels.
-Eat a healthy snack between 2 and 3 pm to help off-set the natural cortisol dip that occurs around 3 or 4 pm. Many people notice this dip every day and reach for extra caffeine or carbohydrate-loaded snacks, which will actually impede hormonal balance.
-Try to eat dinner between 5 and 6 pm and although it may be difficult at first, try to eat a light meal. Eventually your body will enjoy digesting less food in the evening.
-Eat a nutritious, light snack around 9PM.

Stress and exhaustion, when combined with hunger, can impede our ability to make healthy choices. When we aren’t aware of the effects that too much caffeine and refined carbohydrates have on our bodies, we may not realize we are affecting our hormones and how they function, as well as our sleep patterns by consuming them.

In addition to cortisol levels, our serotonin may also be off balance, signaling our body to rest. That doesn’t always mean sleep — sometimes deep breathing or a 10-minute walk outdoors can help boost serotonin and ward off fatigue.

My patients are always surprised when I tell them to give in to their cravings of salt during periods of adrenal fatigue. Salt cravings in adrenal insufficiency are related to low levels of a steroid hormone called aldosterone. This hormone helps the body maintain salt and water as a way to help regulate blood pressure. When cortisol goes up, aldosterone goes down. Like cortisol, aldosterone fluctuates throughout the day, and is also influenced by stress. Chronically low levels of aldosterone can impact electrolyte balance, and sodium intake is one way to help correct this imbalance.

If you experience lightheadedness when you get out of bed in the morning, you may have low blood pressure. This is a common side effect of adrenal insufficiency, so adding good quality-salt, such as a pinch of Himilayan salt to your drinking water, could be helpful to manage those symptoms.

Vitamins and minerals are essential to restoring adrenal health, and supporting the entire endocrine system. Not only can they help the healing process, but they can provide extra nutrition to our cells, and support proper adrenal functioning every day. Here are some important ones.

Drenamin supports adrenal function and helps maintain emotional balance and energy production
Vitamins C, E and all the B vitamins help regulate stress hormones.
Magnesium provides energy to the adrenal glands.
Calcium and trace minerals including zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine provide calming effects in the body.

Herbal support is also a consideration when treating adrenal fatigue. Adaptogens are herbs that actually adapt to the individual needs of your body, providing the additional essential support your adrenals need. Begin with the first two herbs listed below, along with B vitamins. If you do not notice improvement within a few weeks, be sure to consult with a naturopathic or functional medicine provider for evaluation and a program that evaluates your specific needs.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Eleuthero / Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)
Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus)
Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
Rhodiola rosea
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

It’s amazing to think that the adrenal glands have so much power over our functioning. When they are working properly they offer balance – providing us with energy when we require it, and helping us feel relaxed when it’s time to rest. The burden is great on our adrenals, and they can become impaired under the heels of long term stress. But we can make small choices that can dramatically impact their functioning for the better. With proper nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and sleep, our body’s natural rhythms will be supported. By reducing stress levels, our adrenal glands will work in harmony with us, and our energy and vitality will be renewed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Trickiness of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a complicated infection, tough to diagnose and even harder to treat if doctors miss an early diagnosis, which is all too often the case. Lyme disease treatment is tricky because the most popular blood tests used in most doctors' offices to detect the disease miss about 55% of Lyme cases. If and when a patient finally is diagnosed, it's sometimes by a clinical evaluation of the symptoms, ones that often mimic other ailments like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and even Alzheimer's disease.

Complicating matters even further, symptoms can change and move making it even harder for doctors to effectively diagnose and treat. Headaches, migrating pain, bowel problems, uncharacteristic mood swings, panic attacks, and sleep disorders are just a few of the symptoms commonly reported in Lyme patients.

Antibiotics Aren't Always the Only Answer

While antibiotics and other prescription medications can help in treating the disease and the all-too-common tick-borne co-infections that often hitchhike into your body through a tick bite, I say there's also a place for holistic remedies in the treatment and management of Lyme disease. Antibiotics alone may not suffice because Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi and it has a way of getting into the cell. When it does this the cell membrane inadvertently protects the bacteria and shields it from the antibiotics. The bacteria can also hide dormant in the nervous system, among other places, where antibiotic drugs can't reach them.

Natural treatments can help heal the body by knocking out the infection all together and reducing inflammation while also getting an injured immune system back on track.

Using Nutrition Response Testing I do not diagnose or treat Lyme but if a patient comes in knowing they have it, here is how I help support the body:

Herbs: samento, banderol, stevia, andrographis, resveratrol, and cat's claw all target Lyme and related tick-borne infections.

Tea time: green tea compounds, along with curcumin, a component of the spice turmeric, are known to reduce oxidative stress and help aid in traditional antibiotic treatment.

Having enough vitamins and minerals: Zinc, B, and D vitamin deficiencies could slow down Lyme recovery, so I always test to see if a patient is in need of these.

Probiotics: Probiotic foods may help replenish beneficial bacteria in the gut that are wiped out by antibiotic Lyme disease treatment. Organic yogurt, kefir, and even fermented vegetables are good sources of probiotics and a supplement may be needed as well.

Exercise: Even small concentrations of oxygen can help destroy Lyme bacteria in the body. Although Lyme typically zaps people's energy, intense exercise during and after treatment can help keep the disease at bay.

Natural Anti-Inflammatories: natural compounds that ease inflammation, such as curcumin, and Standard Process's antronex.

Diet: a low-carbohydrate diet is a must because carbohydrates, including sugar, fuel the Lyme germs. This means ditching most processed foods and avoiding any added sugar. Muscle testing the person, and actively supporting the person's general health with emphasis on their immune system, circulation, reduced inflammation, and detoxification can lead to reduced symptoms and full immune system restoration.

We help Lyme's patients and have built a niche for helping severe, chronic Lyme's patients.  Here's one of our testimonials. To learn more go to

Lyme’s Disease: “Having suffered chronic Lyme Disease for years with no help from Western medicine, I set out on a journey to find out all I can about the beings that were inhabiting my body. During the years I was infected I tried nearly everything, including vitamin IV drips, weeks at a raw living food center, acupuncture, colonics, lymph drainage, doctors, doctors and more doctors. Having finally overcome the infection and on the better side of dealing with the toll it took on my body, mind and spirit, I can highly recommend Dr. Alicia Armitstead. Dr. Armitstead’s uses your own body’s intelligence through NRT (Nutritional Response Testing i.e., muscle testing) to create the plan of action. In my work with Dr. Armitstead we were unable to treat my Lyme infection for 14 months because we had to work through other issues that took priority over the Lyme infection. As an example, if the body is already in a weakened state, it is incapable of performing basic functions like contending with the "everyday" toxicities found in water, air, food, cleansers, deodorants, creams, shampoos, detergents, exhausts, etc., so the body, being too sick to detox them, ends up storing those toxins away in organs or tissue throughout the body. This gradually builds up over time and while this can happen to a healthy happy body, it can be extremely debilitating to a body infected by Lyme or any other severe situation. With Dr. Armitstead, you will experience through the work what toxins are aggressive to the body and need the most immediate attention from visit to visit. Overcoming Lyme Disease is just the beginning; the real work is in restoring the body from the havoc Lyme wreaked. I was like the girl in the bubble: my immune system was and is still so sensitive and if I am exposed to any kind of chemical I get sick. I continue to get better and better but it is a process and a commitment to my health.
It could be Lyme’s disease, autoimmune or any other of the thousands of things that people fight these days and one thing is for sure: You have the power to help your body heal right now today by changing your toxic environment.” A.H.