UTI’s, Yeast Infections, Standardized Herbs

UTI’s, Yeast Infections, Standardized Herbs

by Dr. David Olarsch
Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Q: What is a “standardized” herb and do you recommend them?

A: A: Standardized herbs are the professional holistic health care provider’s answer to their allopathic colleagues allegations that our remedies vary in potency too much from batch to batch due to natural variances. They are made by mixing or blending batches that test low with batches that test high for particular compounds in herbs. I’ll give you an example: In St. John’s Wort, we have identified the active constituent, or compound, as Hypericin, and each capsule is guaranteed to contain 0.9 mg. of Hypericin. Similarly, in Turmeric, we know that Curcumin is the active compound, and ours is 95% Curcumin for the best results.

Traditional herbalists sometimes oppose standardization, while more modern, scientific based herbalists have endorsed it. I use them in my practice because I want results! In my experience, they work more consistently, safely, and have raised the standards of natural therapies. They are simply more effective. The patient gets more for their money. It is wise to use the wisdom of the old world with modern technology. I have not experienced any downside to the introduction and use of standardized herbs.

Q: I just started having (finally) a relationship with a kind gentlemen and now I am getting yeast infections. What should I do?

Q: Help, Dr. David, I have a urinary tract infection (UTI)!

A: I have answered both of these questions at the same time as the remedies are often similar. There is much to say on this, but I must be brief for now. We first have to consider if he has something! The best way to figure that out is to abstain from intercourse or use condoms exclusively for a short period of time, say during his next visit and see if that eliminates the problem. It also can be from “stirring things up” as it has been a while!

Yeast infections, whether they be occasional, chronic or systemic, are a serious indication of a women’s body chemistry being out of balance. It is not normal or usual for people to get them, although they are common. Some of the culprits include: not enough rest (get good sleep), an infection, stress, tight restrictive clothing and synthetic clothing (particularly underwear). Even too much sex can be an irritating factor. Sleep with no underwear on (let things breathe!) and get a medical examination to make certain it is not something more serious.

However, they are most often caused by sugars. I say sugars because many things convert to sugar – alcohol, carbs (bummer!), grains. Anything containing yeast, such as breads and other baked goods can feed a yeast imbalance. To some extent, birth control medicines can contribute to yeast infections and UTI’s. If you have a weak or rundown immune system, this might be one way that it manifests.

Both conditions could be fungal related. If you have issues with nails having fungus or thrush in the mouth, that can indicate it’s more of a fungus type issue. Also antibiotics destroy the good vaginal flora so one would need acidophilus supplements in large amounts to replenish what the antibiotics have removed.

As your doctor, I would ask about what kinds of sanitary products are being used, and what kind of cosmetics you’re applying and discuss your sex life if it could be a factor. With yeast infections, you can’t totally rule out a urinary tract infection, or something even more serious. But in most cases it’s just too much sugars!

Other factors that can also contribute include: pushing your body too much – i.e. excessive exercise if you are an athlete (such as bike rider chamois), time of year, dehydration or hormonal imbalances.

To treat it, we can use: Yeast Free tincture, Olive Leaf, Lomatium Combo, Echinacea & Goldenseal (or Immune System Support or Immune Boost), Garlic 500 mg., Suprema-Dophilus (full of good bacteria to rebuild intestinal flora), Oregano oil caps, Uña de Gato tincture and/or Pau D’ Arco. That is just off the top of my head; there are plenty others depending on what your body chemistry tells us. Drinking plenty of water is essential. Adding lemon or lime juice to your water helps alkalinize the body, as can some raw apple cider vinegar.

Here are some more natural remedies: Tea Tree Oil suppositories, Cranberry Concentrate, Kidney Care tincture, Kidney Rescue, Thyroid supplements (as it affects the immune system), Liver supplements (for issues that affects hormones), Dandelion/Burdock tincture. One of my favorite remedies is a Maitake Mushroom supplement. Another favorite of mine to boost the immune system is Silva Solution®. Many of these remedies are also indicated for UTI’s. Some D-Mannose can often clear up these problems.

As for the diet, cut out any alcohol, sugar, most breads (unless yeast free), “diet” foods (artificial sweeteners), and moldy products. You need to keep your body alkaline, not acidic, and consider if there is also a UTI (urinary tract infection). If you have been swimming, that could be a cause/factor. If you are wearing underwear 24 hours a day, that can be a problem also, as can thongs or too tight clothing during the day. The genitals need to “breathe.”

Eat more onions, garlic, mushrooms. Avoid all refined sugar or cane sugar, alcohol, cut down or eliminate grains (except for sprouted or quinoa) which includes breads, particularly those that have baking yeast, ice cream and soft drinks. Consider if your diet is too acidic, and read up on the acid/alkaline balance. Drink lots of water to act as a flush.

You could douche with some chlorophyll liquid to ease the irritation. You could also take some Chlorophyll Liquid or Chlorophyll caps. Adding a tablespoon of organic oregano to your diet daily has shown to be a good treatment. In my practice, dietary changes and supplements usually end this cycle of UTI’s and yeast infections once and for all.

Hope that helps. Sometimes yeast infections get worse when they are going away, called “die off” and that can be irritating. One thing I can say for certain, if you don’t clear it up using natural therapies, it will keep coming back, usually getting worse each time.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?  What Can I Do About Acne?

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? What Can I Do About Acne?

Q: Why can’t I lose weight?

A: Many holistic health practitioners predicted our obesity epidemic decades ago. Years of inactivity and eating fake foods has finally caught up to the human race! A healthy weight is a combination of many factors, each requiring some discussion. Eating the foods that are right for your particular body is paramount. There are some foods that you do well with, and some foods that will easily put weight on you. A good Naturopath can help you discover these foods.

When you eat is often a factor. Food consumed late at night counts twice as much. Any food after 5PM should be light on the body, such as fruits, veggies, or a healthy starch such as sweet potatoes. Exercise or movement can be a factor, as can sleep patterns, stress and work. Fluid (hydration) can be a factor. Portion sizes of food can be a factor for some. Learning about good fats vs. bad fats is important.

One major and often overlooked factor is colon health. That is where food is absorbed and assimilated from, not the stomach! If we are not digesting our food, we need to eat more to get nutrients. Salads, good fibers are filling and clean us out, and are loaded with nutrients. The thyroid must be considered, as well as your adrenal glands. At our Clinic, we utilize many tools to help patients lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off for their lifetime. This Q&A format only lends itself to a brief answer, and one that is not personalized for you!

Q: What can I do about acne? What is the best and quickest way to get rid of acne?

A: There can be several causes for acne. Also, where it presents on the body can be a clue. In my experience, everything from cosmetics, perfumes, synthetic clothing, clothing that needs to be washed more often, laundry detergents, sleepwear (synthetic, needing to be washed), are all possible factors.

The most common cause of acne is toxicity; the body is full of toxins and it is using the skin as an eliminative organ. Plenty of water consumption with an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables to reduce constipation is the key. Using a cotton wash cloth to keep the acne area free of excess oils can help, as can some cleansers from Aubrey Organics. I love their Herbal Facial Cleanser! Incidentally, the cotton wash cloth must be fresh and clean. They develop bacteria and mold quickly, not good for your skin!

The liver can be toxic, so doing a liver/gallbladder detox often helps tremendously. Our liver filters toxins, breaks down fats, helps with blood purifying and hundreds of other important functions. The liver also has a lot to do with our hormonal balance, and that can affect acne quite a bit.

One observation from years of observing patients: Keep your hands off your face! Use the backside of your hand if you have an itch or need to touch your face. There is much oil on the palm side of your hand and that clogs pores. While we are on the subject of skin health, consider skin brushing and complexion brush, flax or fish oils, iodine, vitamin A&D or beta carotene. Sunlight in moderation is very important for skin wellbeing. The thyroid needs to be running well to have healthy skin. Toxins from environment such as air pollution, chlorine, chemicals (especially housecleaning, furniture refinishing) can mess up your skin.

That’s it off the top of my head. You can use the search engine on our website for remedies for the liver, acne, detoxification, and other key words such as kidney, bowel, colon, skin.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.

Eating Out, Is Alcohol Good For Me?

David G. Olarsch, N.D.

by Dr. David Olarsch
Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Q: How do you feel about eating out?

A: Americans are eating out more frequently. For the most part, this is contributing to the obesity epidemic. Most people tend to finish the huge servings at a restaurant—more than you would eat at home. There are more temptations when dining out, and the atmosphere often lends itself to eating quickly and nervously. We must try to remember to retrain our minds, that eating is not for fun or pleasure, it is to nourish our temple, our body. Too many restaurants use “fun” or other tactics to give us an excuse to choose the wrong foods.

As if that wasn’t enough of a problem, food establishments are not required to tell us the ingredients or ways the food is prepared. This inherently dishonest profession employs many tricks and unhealthy methods in preparing food. Ways to mask old or rancid food, ways to make poor quality food taste good, and other methods to increase profits and fool us. Here are some examples: over-salting food. This masks many defects in the raw food. Ditto for adding lots of sugar. I hope you know by now how I feel about sugar! By reading this, I want you to discover just how hard the industry works at keeping its dietary secrets. Indeed, the law is on its side: The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 actually absolves restaurants of all nutritional liability to the American public!

Another problem is aluminum cookware. I have repeatedly seen very high levels of this toxic heavy metal in the hair mineral analysis of patients that eat out often. Take out containers (see link to article here: Concerns About Recycling & Plastic) are another problem. They are coated with chemicals similar to non-stick coating used on cookware. For more information on restaurant tricks and eating out hazards, read Even Five-Star Restaurants Can’t Be Trusted for Healthy Food, 16 Secrets the Restaurant Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know, and The Truth Behind Fast-Food Restaurant’s Soft and Fluffy Claims!

What to do? Not all dining establishments are evil, of course. I stick to places that are owner-operated, not a nation-wide chain, places where I know the owner and/or their family. I ask about cookware, ingredients, cooking methods, try to ascertain their savviness to organic, free-range and other health issues. It’s not about perfection, it’s about making the best choice. It’s all about choices.

There is no place like home when it comes to nourishing our body with healthy and economical food. When dining out, select food that is baked, steamed or broiled. Avoid dessert, alcohol, soda, bread and fried foods. Choose vegetables and protein, have them hold the starches and instead give you extra veggies. I ask for steamed or “stir fried” veggies instead of pasta under my protein (fish, turkey, chicken, etc.). Many ethnic restaurants offer healthy choices. Some patients eat before going out socially so they are not as hungry, often just ordering a big salad.

Again, try to avoid the “treat” mentality and remember your long-term goals. We trick ourselves by telling ourself that this is a “treat, just this one time” and that happens again and again until we are grossly overweight and sickly. Remember that soon almost everyone in that restaurant will be saying or thinking “I wish I hadn’t eaten all that, I wish I hadn’t eaten that dessert.” Ask that the bread not be brought to your table, same for dessert menus. It’s your life and your body.

Q: Is red wine good for me? What about all those studies saying moderate red wine intake has health benefits?

A: No, red wine is not good for you. Alcohol is poison to the human cell, and nothing has changed that! Alcohol is a drug, a mind-altering substance, one that use of causes a great deal of pain on our planet. Now, as for these “studies” and the startling conclusions that are drawn from them, remember that studies are not the final word. They are studying what is in the product, not the whole product. Yes, there are good compounds in red wine, but grapes have more. It looks like our society is trying hard to find a way to justify our addiction to alcohol and ways to escape our feelings. Not to mention the huge financial impact the alcohol industry has on our culture. Sorry to be so harsh, but someone has to tell the truth. Yes, the French are healthier than us. But how scientific is it to assume that is from red wine? They also eat four times the fruits and vegetables we do, and get twice the amount of exercise of the average American. I look at the people I know who are big drinkers, and they are not healthy! Alcohol is bad for the liver and kidneys. It is hard for these organs to break it down and that can cause serious harm. Wine is full of sugar, some naturally occurring and some added during manufacturing process. This manufacturing process is a proprietary process, a secret that each winery cherishes as a kind of secret formula, then spins it all into public relations romance mystery. How romantic not to tell us about the nitrites, pesticides, sugars, and a host of chemicals that are in alcoholic drinks. And the real treat here is that the law exempts them from telling us what poisons they have added to this mind-altering concoction. I won’t go much into how bad sugar is except to mention that we already get enough, it ages us, can raise triglycerides and other bad fats, and put your heart at risk. I will remind you that the extra calories and carbs are something we can live well without. And, red wine, like any other alcholic drink, can make us dizzy, dehydrated and cause headaches. So much for the miracle of red wine! I will drink my fresh vegetable juices or well water while reading those studies and continue to shake my head in amazement at the conclusions that are drawn.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.

My Office Practice, Dental Health

Ask Dr. David

by Dr. David Olarsch
Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Q: What do you treat at your clinic and do you have any specialties?

A: Thanks for asking and for the opportunity to share where I come from when working with a patient. At my clinic, I practice family medicine. That is, I am a general practitioner. I treat anything and everything. I want to emphasize that I treat the patient, not the disease, and I look at things holistically, as part of a bigger picture. This is also called Restorative Medicine, as we seek to rebuild the body. I particularly enjoy custom designing life-long health programs for each person I see. The long-term results of this approach are wonderful. Most of my patients have never developed cancer, heart disease (or any cardio-vascular disease for that matter), Alzheimer’s or diabetes—after being on their program. That is a gratifying track record.

I see many people who have been told their condition is incurable, terminal or unheard of. I don’t specialize as my approach is to treat the whole person no matter what the condition they come to me with. My patients often feel that I am their last chance, or the first doctor to tell them exactly what is going on in their body. While seeing anyone improve their life is gratifying, I like working with cancers of all types, sexual health (both men & women), cardio-vascular diseases, thyroid conditions and detoxifying the body. The work with cleaning out the colon (bowel) is particularly important. As an added bonus, many of my patients report that our visits seem to open them up spiritually and changes their lives (and their loved ones) physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I believe that many of my patients are at a crossroads in life when they get to my office, and the timing is amazing. I consider this a major blessing and am honored to be a part of this journey with them. It is very rewarding and rejuvenating to practice healthcare this way. Oh, and I try to invoke a sense of humor no matter what…

Q: Does Naturopathic Medicine encompass dental health?

A: Yes, absolutely! The health of our teeth has a direct bearing on the body’s health. For more information, see the work of Dr. Weston Price, a great dentist that studied the relationship between teeth and health in many cultures. There are two websites: Price-Pottenger Foundation, and the Weston Price Foundation. We use co-enzyme q-10 for gum disease (bleeding or receding gums, periodontal diseases), Vitamin C & bioflavonoids to strengthen capillaries & blood vessels, minerals & electrolytes to strengthen the skeletal system (which the teeth are part of), and several different remedies to fight infections, germs and bacteria. My dentist sees amazing changes when “Peelu Dental Fibers” are used daily. This is made from a tree in Africa and comes in the form of a tooth powder. I recommend it to my patients, or if the taste is objectionable, I recommend several other toothpastes that are not quite as effective but are the best I have found besides the Peelu. My current favorite is PerioBrite toothpaste. It is nice to alternate between the two, using one in the morning and one in the evening. Why is the integrity of your teeth so important? Because that is where digestion begins—in the mouth! Dr. Jensen taught me that carrots & apples are nature’s toothbrushes. He said that if we eat apples & carrots every day in our lives, particularly during childhood, we would have much stronger jaws, mostly eliminate the need for braces and dramatically reduce cavities Dr. Jensen also taught that by following this advice, we would have less TMJ problems when older, have healthier gums and substantially increase our overall health. Western “civilized” countries have a diet that is too soft. Our bread, rice (white vs. whole grain), and many other food preferences are all too soft. While we are on the subject of teeth, I recommend that my patients avoid fluoride. It is poisonous to the body, particularly to the liver. It accumulates slowly in the body. There is natural fluorine, a mineral, in our food & water. Sugar, as in soda, fruit juices and candy is what causes cavities! For more information on fluoridation, read this essay: Fluoridation, by Wade Frazier. As for tongue cleaning or brushing, the best way to have a healthy tongue (I do tongue diagnosis on every patient), is to have a healthy digestive system, including the eliminative system (colon). Brushing the gunk off your tongue doesn’t address the root of the problem. After eight weeks on their program, most of my patients have very healthy tongues. You can apply tea tree oil, Ipsab® herbal treatment, myrrh, or one of many other remedies available at your local health food store, on your gums or into your toothpaste. Change your toothbrush frequently, at least every three months (buy an economy pack!), and only use ones labeled soft. Gently brush your gums also. Don’t underestimate the importance of oral health and the significant role it plays in your overall health. By following this advice, you can have whiter, brighter, healthier teeth in no time.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.

Dry Eyes, Light Sensitivity and Eye Health

Ask Dr. David

by Dr. David Olarsch
Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Q: What can I do about dry eyes?

A: Dry eyes are a common complaint. Contact lenses, hormone imbalances, wind, dust or dry weather can conspire to cause your eyes to itch and sting. It often becomes worse in the winter, along with sensitivity to bright light, such as car headlights. These may be symptoms, the body telling us, that we need more Vitamin A and the essential fatty acids. Good sources of Vitamin A include fish, apricots, eggs, orange vegetables such as pumpkins, sweet potatoes, carrots and squash. Supplements such as Vitamin A&D and D. Salina Beta Carotene are helpful. For the essential fatty acids, we usually need Omega-3’s, commonly called the “good fats.” Flax seed oil in liquid or capsules, and Super Omega-3 capsules are great sources. Food sources of Omega-3’s include most fatty fish (wild salmon, sardines). For a wonderful website full of information on Omega-3’s, go to Omega-3info.com

Sometimes these complaints are helped by strengthening the eye muscles and surrounding tissue. While that could be an entire article on it’s own, the short version is that raw sunflower seeds, the above mentioned foods and supplements, along with our formulas Vision Support and Eye Tonic, can do wonders to improve overall eye health and function. Vitamin C (fruits, broccoli, red peppers) is necessary for eye health also, as a large amount of it is stored behind the eye. Vitamin C is depleted by smoking, chemicals and pollution. People with cataracts and glaucoma have low amounts of Vitamin C behind their eye. Keeping fluid intake at the proper level (see How much water should one drink?) may be a factor for some people.

An added benefit of supplementing the above nutrients is improved skin. Patients increasing these nutrients often report softer skin, less dry skin patches, less dry lips, improvement in their dry eyes and less sensitivity to bright light. Nature intended for us to increase our intake of these nutrients by making them available in the fall to build up our body reserves for winter. Finally, run a humidifier in your home, turn the heat down in the night-time, and keep house plants, which naturally humidify the air.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.

Heavy Metal Concerns (lead, mercury, arsenic), Suntanning and Lotions…

Ask Dr. David

by Dr. David Olarsch
Practice of Naturopathic Medicine

Q: How do I tell if I have toxic, heavy metals in my body and what can I do about it?

A: Heavy metals are a huge concern of mine for everyone on this planet. We are becoming toxic time bombs, in human form! That being said, when creating a program for my patients, some of my intention is to clean out heavy metals. However, for those I suspect have a higher than average amount, there are more specific protocols I engage. In my humble experience, the best way to test for heavy metals is hair mineral analysis. I provide this test at the Institute and it can be done at your next visit, or preferably, before your next visit so that we may review the results and make appropriate changes to your program at that visit. You may come in anytime for that—it only takes five minutes—and the cost is minimal. I find this test very useful but do not push it as people get well without it. It is interesting and wonderful to have it done, as one can take the test again a year later and see some outstanding differences. I do my own every year and have many years worth of tests to see progress.

Fiber is a key element in eliminating some of these poisons. Apples are particularly renowned, as they contain a fiber called pectin that pulls certain heavy metals out, and even regulates certain fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides. Fiber from other fruits and vegetables helps eliminate toxins, including heavy metals, as does pure water. There are other nutrients that can be used, call “chelating” factors. Chelate means to attach to something. I use supplements such as alfalfa, chlorophyll, Vitamin C, minerals, and a supplement called Ex-Tox to detoxify my patients of these poisons. It is a slow process, and I make sure to remove the cause of the problem in the first place. We check drinking water, cosmetics, cookware, occupation and host of other factors to find the root of the problem. This has led to some interesting findings over the years. This wisdom is what I share with my patients and is the reasoning behind many of my recommendations.

Q: Should I use suntan lotions and is the sun good for me?

A: Ah, the sunscreen controversy. That I could write a book about—I’ll try to keep it short here! I feel that the sun is very good for us. We should get as much as possible early in the season to build up our pigments and natural protection factors. It appears that certain poisons in our diet, most notably nitrates from cold cuts, may dramatically increase our chances of skin cancer. Burning the skin is never a healthy event, and sun tan lotions are suspect as they may cause more unintended problems. I know how controversial this all is, but the sun is natural and it hasn’t been conclusively proven that exposure to it causes anything except giving us Vitamin D, a very good thing! In addition, the body needs at least twenty minutes of raw light every day to be well. This means no glass in front of the eyes. A wide-brim hat or baseball cap is fine. So, if you have fair skin and burn easily, you may only be safe with the morning and late afternoon sun come summer.

If you use sunscreen at all, make sure you only use Aubrey Organics as they have it right as far as ingredients and which rays to block. I personally do not use lotion—even in Mexico—I practice “safe sunning” and wear a desert type hat from L.L. Bean that also protects my neck from burning. We often forget that sunlight is healthy for us, and yes, that includes nude exposure, except where illegal! Benefits of sun exposure are: vitamin D which is absorbed through the skin and is important to protect us from certain cancers and keep our bones healthy, prevention and treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), helps people with sleep disorders, reduces P.M.S. in some women, and reduces the appearance and discomfort of psoriasis. For scientific references read this article: Is the Sun Good or Bad?

Some studies have shown that skin cancer can be healed by exposure to sunlight! This is yet another example of the controversy surrounding the human body. We are very individual and studies can only take us so far. Now, we know that some nutrients protect us from radiation and I recommend them for those who get a lot of sun. Supplements to consider include lots of Vitamin C, selenium and essential fatty acids such as borage oil, flax seed oil or super omega-3’s. These act as anti-oxidants, protectors that mother nature uses to keep things in balance. With these, the suns rays, naturally occurring pollutants such as radon and ozone, and bad cells (the cancer or other disease types) are kept at bay. Fat in the diet. the good kind, can protect us. That is why good fats such as coconut are used abundantly in the tropics. Butter, coconut oil and fats from nuts & seeds would be my first choice to increase in my diet to keep your skin moist and youthful.

David G. Olarsch, N.D.