Naturopathic Approaches to Anxiety and Depression

I am going to introduce Dr. Wilson. Doni Wilson is a doctor of naturopathic medicine graduate from Bastyr natural health
expert nutritionist midwife and author who believes it is possible to be
healthy even when they’re stressed who’s stressed me experiencing and recovering
from stress herself Dr. Doni wrote a book called “The
Stress Rremedy” in that book she redefines stress to include toxins food
sensitivities and lack of sleep she explains how these things can cause
adrenal distress leaky gut blood sugar and all of these things that she’s going
to talk about today Dr. Doni has been she’s been working
for almost nearly 20 years helping women men and children overcome perplexing
health challenges underlying causes of their issues
she’s frequently called upon to discuss her approach in the media as well as
public and professional events she’s contributed so much to the naturopathic
profession over the years and so it is my heartfelt honor to welcome my friend
and colleague Dr. Wilson and so with that I’m gonna turn it over to you and
I’ll jump back on I’ll make my face go away and jump back on when when it’s
time to to wrap up the questions thank you mm-hmm oh I thank you so much JoAnn
for for introducing me and for having me to present today I really appreciate
just the opportunity to get to share what I’ve experienced both
professionally and personally especially related to this topic of anxiety and
depression and I recognize that some of you who are listening to this
presentation some of you may be interested in naturopathic medicine as a
career and some of you may be interested in as well how naturopathic medicine can
help with anxiety and depression and I also want to recognize that some of you
may be experience anxiety and depression yourself or maybe have loved ones to
experience it and so I really just want to start out by honoring that and saying
that I know it takes some just some sometimes a little bit of both
to get yourself to say hey I want to learn more about this I want to
understand anxiety and depression more and I wonder understand what else is
possible and I think you’re going to hear that throughout the presentation
today that if anything I could encourage you is that there’s so much possible
even though a lot of times in the medical community in our societies that
we get the feeling that there’s nothing we can do about anxiety and depression
and then we often feel like we’re at a dead end and maybe we feel like there’s
something wrong with us the person who feels anxiety and depression can
actually feel like they’re being dismissed or being told that there’s
something wrong with them and nothing can do about it and I really want to be
here today with the chance to shift that perspective to say we see you we hear
you we recognize that these are real symptoms and that there is some there’s
a lot of things that can be done to help and so um with that I want to just share
a little bit about a little bit about me JoAnn was saying how I’ve been
practicing as a naturopathic doctor for 20 years and and a lot of times people
ask me you know why did you start why did you even choose naturopathic
medicine way back then and the thing about me is that I essentially grew up
in a pharmacy my father’s a pharmacist um still as a pharmacist and so I grew
up moving between pharmacies in a chain of 1200 pharmacies on the west coast of
the United States and so that was normal for me growing up but at the same time
around home my father and my mom were always emphasizing ways to support our
health and prevent the need for medications so it was kind of this
ironic mix of being in the pharmacy and also very much exposed to the idea that
if we eat certain ways we can prevent health issues and we can prevent the
need for certain medications in fact throughout my childhood in my life I’ve
only taken antibiotics one time so it’s that’s sort of what I grew up with and
so the sense of wanting to spend time outdoors and wanting to be active and
and so I really um you know grew up with that around me and so when I was in
college studying pre-med I also decided to do a degree in
nutrition because I was trying to solve heartburn for myself and the medications
weren’t helping and I was very sensitive to medications anyway so I ended up
solving heartburn with changes in my diet and that made me
think oh my gosh is there a type of medicine where I can actually use
nutrition and food and nutrients as medicine and that’s when I found out a
friend told me about Bastyr University way back before there was even an
internet or webinars we just had to find out by word of mouth and get in a car
and drive there and so I just saw that a different approach was needed and was
possible even for something as simple as heartburn and that’s what that’s how I
found naturopathic medicine and I you know walked into Bastyr University
and said they said what do you why are you here what do you want to do and I
said I believe food can be medicine and I want to learn more about that and they
said well we think you’re in the right place and so that’s what I heard and I
got to Bastyr and I um really then became very interested also in stress
and how stress affects us and as JoAnn mentioned I also trained as a midwife
and so I studied women in labor and fear of labor I was just actually talking to
a patient this morning who’s anticipating having a baby in about a
month and we were talking about fear of labor and how real that is these are
these real human experiences that happen and you know wanting to understand
better what that is for people and really what that would was for myself a
lot of what I what inspired me and is and I’ve been passionate about over the
years has been my own experience with health issues as well including anxiety
and depression so when I was researching women in labor what I found is that
there’s a certain amount of stress and fear it’s actually necessary in order
for labor to work well in order for the contractions to happen in the baby
me to come out we need some adrenaline and we need some cortisol at the same
time if there’s too much stress and fear and not enough support labor comes to a
halt and I just had this realization one day wow we could apply that not just in
labor but we can apply that information to all humans all the time we need a
certain amount of challenge and motivation and inspiration in our lives
we want to be parents we want to have careers we want to do things that make a
difference and that requires a little bit of adrenaline and cortisol it’s just
that if we don’t also counterbalance that with support and self-care then it
becomes this anxiety and potentially depression and other health issues that
prevent us from doing the things we really want to do and so it’s about
finding this balance in the middle and so when I graduated from Bastyr I ended
up moving to the New York area in 2001 right after 9/11 so this was one of the
most stressful times in New York history and arguably the United States history
and it gave me this opportunity to apply this theory right away and I ended up
researching more and more about how stress is related to anxiety and
depression and wrote this article that was published in 2009 about the under
how stress and all the underlying physiology that goes behind stress
leading to anxiety and depression which is what I’m going to describe to you
today but you can also get this article if you if you’d like to read it and the
book that I’m that JoAnn mentioned “The Stress Remedy” really was born from this
research and this article already you know 10 years ago which is amazing in
the stress remedy is now I think six years old and I continue to write about
this topic and speak about it which is why I’m so happy to be here today
because I really feel like this is so important and I think it’s becoming more
and more important every day that goes by
and what I actually feel excited about is I think more and more people are
starting to see this and realize it and recognize that it’s important I’m not
because for a long time stress is something that we would dismiss we would
kind of think well stress is something we all have we are supposed to just deal
with it and it’s almost sounds cliche right we almost are just like ah that’s
just there and nothing we can do about it we’re just gotta power through it we
can become almost like what I call superheroes we think we’re superheroes
heroes or we think we’re supposed to be superheroes we’re think we’re supposed
to be able to get through stress and not have it affect us somehow and the fact
is is we’re human we we are human and humans yes are built to be exposed to
stress and respond to stress but humans also need anti stress and recovery from
stress and so that’s let’s dig in more about this really quick before you get
going on the rest of this we have a quick poll just to see who’s with us
today and and where they’re joining us from and so we like to do that just so
we know who’s who’s in the audience so keep going and we’ll just run the poll
while you’re talking okay well this is this is perfect because I’m I know that
like I mentioned there’s so many different potential interests and
reasons for listening today and and and certainly if you have questions write
them in so that I can come back to them but here’s just to point out the the
incidence of anxiety and depression at least what’s being recorded I think that
from my experience a lot of people experience forms of anxiety and
depression and it may never be diagnosed you may not even realize that that’s
what your because we call it different things maybe you call it feeling
restless or having worry or maybe for you it just feels like your hearts
racing or you can’t sleep or with depression the same there’s there can be
I’m just going to shift that over here 7% of adults have had at least one
episode of major depression but there’s also one and a half percent that just
functionalists low-grade depression all the time called dysthymia and in in
terms of anxiety you know it’s also very common as well not for some reason no
there goes and so I think that anxiety and depression are probably even more
common than these numbers reflects and I’d be curious if you found the same or
if you’ve noticed the same so then let’s think through this is one of the
difference by the way with naturopathic medicine is naturopathic doctors are
really trained to ask about the underlying cause yes we can see the
anxiety depression we can identify it but what’s causing it because
essentially if we can address the underlying cause that means we can get
it to go away we can we know what to do to solve it so instead of just focusing
on the symptom or the diagnosis or the condition and trying to treat it say
with a magic pill or a bandaid effect we’re gonna go what’s under lot what
created these symptoms these signals from within our body these anxiety
depression is really a signal from our body saying I need help and we as naturopathic doctors can come in and say okay I hear and see that you need help
let me understand what help is needed what’s going on underneath that I
can then help resolve and a lot of times it could be very simple things even
maybe someone just needs more sleep maybe someone needs more help in their
home maybe you know there could be very simple things that could solve it but we
just need to first start by saying what is it what’s going on in this situation
because it can be very different for different people and I always put stress
at the top of the list because to me stress includes yes
everything from financial stress and day to day stresses as well as we know that
um even just stress from childhood and certainly major traumas are stresses and
also there’s the stresses that we deal with day to day and I would argue that
stress also comes in the form of certain foods
that are stress to our system toxins in the environment that are stress our
system sometimes it can be a lack of food or too much food it could be lack
of sleep so anything basic you know as humans we
remember we are built to deal with stress and our bodies are constantly
through our senses from our sight our hearing our touch we’re picking up
on our environment in all ways and if our body picks up on anything that it
needs to respond to that’s essentially a stress and when our body’s responding to
those stresses it’s creating a stress response cascade that I’m going to talk
to you here just to touch on these various causes of anxiety and depression
that we’re going to talk about as there can be inflammation this is one that
there’s been so much research in the recent years showing that anxiety and
depression is very much associated with inflammation in the body and
inflammation in the nervous system and I like to point this out because a lot of
times we’ve been told that anxiety and depression are chemical imbalances and
somehow when we hear that term chemical imbalances it almost seems like it’s
stuck like there’s nothing we can do about it but that’s really not true and
which are the chemicals they’re referring to so I would say hey there’s
a lot of potential I call them more like messengers in our
body they can get out of balance even our nutrients can become deficient for
various reasons our neurotransmitters can become imbalanced our
neurotransmitters like serotonin and gaba
for example are made in our bodies from nutrients so far nutrients are out of
balance of course our neurotransmitters can get out of balance and if we have
inflammation from various causes this then triggers the nervous system to
create these signals that we call anxiety and depression
there could be hormone imbalances and there’s also this connection with our
digestion and our nervous system that’s such a huge realization we used to think
that our brain in our body were so separate and that what was going on in
our mood or brain was separate from everything
else but we know that that’s not true anymore we know that we’re an
interconnected and this is also very much a principle of naturopathic
medicine is that we’re a whole body a whole system there’s communication
happening amongst all of our systems all the time and this connection between our
digestion and our nervous system and is a two-way road we used to think oh it’s
just our brain communicating to our digestion but that’s not the end of it
the digestion communicates back to our nervous system and by understanding that
complexity and how we can even say make changes in our digestion that can affect
the way we feel and our mood is huge right so to me I just go wow these are
I’m hoping when you look at this list that you go wow there’s a lot we can do
to understand the causes of anxiety and depression and to address them so that
we can make a difference and yes genetics do play a role but what we now
know about genetics is we can’t blame the whole thing on genetics yes genetics
can be say 10 to 20 percent of a predisposition but what we also know is
the thing that turns on a genetic predisposition is stress exposure when
we’re exposed to stress which of course we all are it turns on our genetic
predispositions including for anxiety and depression but the other key piece
is that by addressing the stress we can also turn off the genetic
predispositions we can help genetics are not set in stone the genes
are set but that doesn’t mean that the effects of the genes are said we can
actually influence what plays out from our genes based on how we what we do
with our body and our support related to stress exposure so I’m just want to go
into a little bit more about the stress response and and show you how these
various causes are actually interconnected so here’s cortisol now
cortisol is our main stress hormone and cortisol we don’t want it to be zero we
need cortisol we need it to be higher in the morning
gradually decreasing through the day sort of like this curve here where it
would be higher when we wake up in the morning and gradually decreasing so it’s
low and allows us to sleep through the night
the thing with cortisol and and depression and anxiety for example is
the studies show that if cortisol is either too high above this curve or too
low you can have increased risk of anxiety or depression so really again
just like we learned from women in labor we need an optimal amount in order to
function well and feel good as humans we don’t want too much or too little but we
also want our body to be able to respond when we’re stressed now the thing is is
that we’re stressed we tend to be stressed so often right we tend to have
especially you know certain times of the year we have just stress coming in from
every direction and so what can happen is instead of having a stress response
like I guess the the healthy way would be what we want is we want our body says
say the alarm goes off we want the cortisol to respond and the adrenaline
to respond and we want to be able to respond to that alarm but then when the
alarm is off we want to calm back down and go back to resting mode what can
happen is when we’re constantly exposed to stress the cortisol and adrenaline
happen but then the brain gets confused and it thinks it stopped it doesn’t
understand to turn off the stress response it thinks this dress response
needs to keep going I call it getting stuck in stress mode and getting stuck
in stress mode looks like potentially having high cortisol or adrenaline a lot
of the time even if you’re like wait a minute there’s something stressful going
on I feel fine why is my cortisol and adrenaline still responding well it’s
because the body’s anticipating the next stress and it’s stuck in stress mode
well we can get it unstuck and I’m going to tell you more about that in a minute
the next piece of this stress response is that is to understand that it affects
these different systems in the body what I do with reviewing the researchers I I
look for patterns and what I see is there’s a pattern of how cortisol
affects four major systems in the body again this is how our body is
interconnected it affects our hormones all the hormones so thyroid insulin
estrogen progesterone testosterone all get affected by a stress response and
cortisol our digestion gets affected think about when we’re stressed and we
get butterflies in our stomach or ulcers or IBS right irritable bowel syndrome
that’s the stress effect on the digestion we also know that our immune
system gets affected when we’re stressed we know that when people are stressed
they’re more likely to catch a cold or other viruses we also know that people
are more likely to have autoimmunity when they’re exposed to various forms of
stress and we know that the nervous system gets affected by stress as well
and that’s where we start to see neurotransmitter imbalances and mood
changes but also for some people it could be migraines that’s a lot of what
happened for me was migraines and it can also cause other neurological symptoms
neuropathy dementia and so on so this is to show you how the effects of stress
over time affect these four systems now for some people it might only really
show in one system or another but some people they start to realize oh my gosh
I’m having symptoms signals from my body telling me the stress is affecting all
of these systems and as that starts to happen what we see is some made some
other patterns that occur one is with stress in the digestion what develops is
something called intestinal permeability or it’s also referred to as leaky gut
it’s when the intestinal cells are not as healthy as they could be and they’re
allowing undigested food and even toxins from bacteria to leak through the
intestinal walls into the body and this becomes another stress of inflammation
and that signals through that gut brain axis to our nervous system so this is
again just trying to connect the dots a little bit so you can get a sense of how
this stress and effect on the digestion can lead to symptoms in the nervous
system we also know stress disrupts hormone
but especially the what I call the carbohydrate metabolism which is our
blood sugar levels and have insulin function and when that starts to happen
that also becomes a stress from within our bodies that sends more stress
signals and and becomes a vicious cycle really where if you see it the lower
part of this diagram and this is this is diagrams from the stress remedy book
you’ll see this the adrenal do the stress is when we cortisol adrenaline is
in a constant stress mode or sometimes getting depleted by sorts mode and we
have this leaky gut and carb metabolism imbalance which then affects these four
systems when that’s creating the symptoms the various signals and
symptoms including anxiety and depression which we’re talking walk away
so for me to see that anxiety and depression is really the outcome of an
underlying process that is triggered by the various stresses that were exposed
to and our genetic predispositions as humans the amazing thing and this is
what especially naturopathic doctors can help you to do is to test these
levels so it doesn’t have to be a mystery anymore we can actually measure
your cortisol levels and patients cortisol levels we usually test it four
different times a day the morning the middle of the day the evening and the
bedtime so we can compare it to that healthy cortisol curve is the cortisol
going to high like this top diagram or is the cortisol dipping to low because
here’s the thing is when it comes to natural approaches whether we’re talking
about herbs or nutrients or even sometimes pharmaceutical approaches to
help with cortisol we need to know what the level is so we give the right
treatment different herbs will help decrease the cortisol from herbs that
help raise the cortisol when it’s too low so for me I’d rather know as much
detail as possible and once we have that information then
we can actually make choices that are very specific to that person we also can
do tests to understand this gut brain axis and leaky gut
we can do food sensitivity panel which is a blood test there’s various labs out
there that do this kind of a panel but they’re looking for antibody responses
and immune responses to foods and this can tell us about not only the foods
that might be triggering inflammation to the nervous system but also tells us
about the how severe is the leaky gut is it mild moderate or severe and what do
we need to do to help restore that we can also do there are tests that
actually test for leaky gut and those are possible also and there’s tests
stool tests can help us analyze the bacteria living in the digestion because
we also know that those bacteria that what we call the microbiome have a huge
communication and influence on our nervous system they’re part of the gut
brain axis and so it’s a lot of times people will think okay I’m gonna take a
probiotic I’m gonna eat fermented foods and that can be great but if you think there
may be an imbalance in your gut brain access or your gut bacteria then what
could really help us get specific information is to do a stool test where
we can measure the bacteria not just as a culture but we can measure the
bacteria based on their DNA and exactly you know exactly who’s living in your
digestion and we can see are there some maybe some overgrowing bacteria or do
you have too little of some bacteria and then we can address them we can also do
tests like blood tests you know thyroid actually it’s important to know that a
lot of you know it’s known that low thyroid function one of the symptoms is
depression and one of the symptoms of high thyroid function is anxiety so
anytime someone is know is experiencing anxiety and depression we really need to
check their thyroid we also need to check their blood sugar levels right
because I was just mentioning that and we need to check nutrient levels but not
if we have to there’s specific ways we can check nutrients and that’s another
thing that naturopathic doctors really are good at is knowing how can I really
know my nutrient levels do I need more folate do I need more B vitamins do I
need more minerals we can we can do this type of blood work and
other tests to find that out we can also measure the neurotransmitters so we can
actually measure serotonin we can measure dopamine these are these
neurotransmitters in our nervous system that we’re counting on and they get
affected by stress so of course they can get imbalanced for all of us and as
humans that just happens and so we need to do a test that we can do a urine test
to see what’s the level this is my cat you can see his whiskers what is then
what does the serotonin level and then again neurotransmitters are made from
nutrients so if we see that the levels too low we can give nutrients I’ll show
you to address it we can also measure estrogen production I like to do that
with a urine test we can do tests like uric acid we can look for toxin
because toxins can also be a stress that affects our nervous system so I
really just want you to know that these tests are possible and they might not be
happening at the regular doctor’s office and a regular clinic when you if you get
to a point where you’re really wanting to do more for your health and you’re
thinking oh my gosh more is possible I want this information
so I know how to be an advocate for myself and feel better then your you may
need to be choosing working with a naturopathic doctor to help you to get
this information you need you can also know your genes we can do genetic
testing to understand what influence that might be having in terms of need
for certain nutrients and processing of neurotransmitters and like I mentioned
then we can actually do something about it we can actually help these genetic
predispositions so that it doesn’t have to affect your your life and your day in
a negative way so when we think of the approaches a naturopathic doctor
can offer often you’ll see a list like this you know we usually will start with
anything that would be lifestyle like just your day to day you know what do
you do when you wake up how do you you know how much sleep are you getting are
you getting some time outdoors just some basic self-care I would call it in a lot
of times this term self-care can be a little cliche also we almost think of it
as like a massage and a pedicure which are sometimes can be wonderful ways to
take care of ourselves so to me also actually starts with the C I just use
the word care to remind us the C starts is for clean eating so this is to say
and this can be very different for each person
but let’s find out with food allergens let’s take out the sugar let’s clean up
your diet because we know that having healthier foods organic healthier
nutrient filled foods is gonna be better for your body overall including for your
nervous system getting enough sleep which is at least seven and a half hours
a night and then doing stress reducing activities I don’t like to say that I
don’t like to emphasize that we’re gonna you know our goal is not to have zero
stress that would be impossible it would not be a human thing we need some
stresses we just want to choose our stress we want to choose our anti stress
to counterbalance the effects of stress to make sure that we have some down time
and so that’s the R in care the E is from exercise or a movement you know making
sure that we have ways to to have and in that might be starting with very little
you know if you’ve not been moving we’re not gonna say go run five miles we want
to really modify it and choose a type of movement in activity that matches for
your body it doesn’t we don’t want to stress ourselves more right with any of
these changes we want to implement it in a way that doesn’t stress us but does
help us naturopathic doctors often will start with those type of
recommendations in terms of anxiety and depression naturopathic doctors are
also trained in psychology and counseling techniques I do encourage you
however to know that it’s very all of naturopathic care the scope of
practice is based on the state so depending where you are or where you
practice as a naturopathic doctor will determine how much you may have
some of these approaches in your practice this and I think that for anxiety and
depression it’s it’s often especially if the symptoms are severe it’s going to be
important for the patient to have a therapist a psychotherapist and
potentially a psychiatrist that they’re working with as well because we always
want to make sure that a person has as much help for their symptoms as possible
and so you know for other conditions even for say was a digestive issue we
would want that person to have a gastroenterologist a specialist to
oversee them for anxiety and depression it would be important to have a mental
health specialist as well but naturopathic doctors are trained in psychology
and can help with these conditions alongside the specialist
there’s diet changes there’s nutrients and herbs that naturopathic doctors are
trained to use as well as homeopathy and some naturopathic doctors may use more
or less of these approaches again depending on their interest and their
focus and their location and medications it’s not that naturopathic doctors don’t
use medication or we’re not anti medications we just know and we actually
are trained in the interactions between natural products and medications
so naturopathic doctors are probably the the experts most export in from
interactions between medications and natural substances and we have that in
our training and again depending on the state in the scope of practice which
naturopathic doctors may also prescribe medications or potentially help patients
with coming off of medications when it’s appropriated so it’s not I want to
emphasize it it’s not that medications are not used or spoken about negatively
it’s more like let’s see what else do body needs to help so that maybe you can
become less reliant on a medication because a lot of times medications have
side effects and sometimes they don’t completely solve the symptoms a lot of
people have been taking medications for anxiety and depression and still have
symptoms so what our interest is is how can we help so that you can feel your
best and be your best person and do all the things you really
are wanting to do in your life without having to experience the anxiety and
depression in such a way that’s you know because they can definitely be you know
a way of not only the pain that’s experienced but also the emotional pain
but also the risk and the the ways that it can negatively negatively affect the
your ability to do things that you would like to do in your life so let’s see I’m
just peaking at the time here I want to make sure I have enough time for your
questions so I want to just go through these approaches a bit here so in terms
of diet one of the first places that I recommend starting is with blood sugar
balancing again when we’re under stress it throws off our blood sugar levels and
if we have if we’re eating in irregular patterns throughout the day either going
too long without eating or having too large of a meal or having too much sugar
it’s gonna affect the way we feel it’s gonna affect our nervous system so this
is a place that you could start right away is just having small frequent meals
with less sugar and more balanced with protein and fat to balance your blood
sugar in it’s amazing to me how sometimes patients will come back after
just doing that and say to me that they feel at least 50 to 60 percent better
from anxiety and depression and other symptoms just by helping to balance
their blood sugar levels so it sometimes is that simple um what we also want to
make diet changes so that we can address this gut brain axis we want to heal
the leaky gut we want to reduce inflammation we know that inflammation
from the gut and the diet can get to the nervous system so we want to address
that we want to make sure that you can actually absorb the nutrients from your
food and and so that’s until eating foods that have nutrients that can get
digested what’s important we want to address the gut bacteria and what we
also know about gut bacteria is that they are fed by the food we eat so what
we eat actually determines our gut bacteria so we want to make diet changes
so that we’re feeding the right bacteria and not the wrong
bacteria and essentially to help with this gut-brain active so that you can
get you can use your digestion to communicate in a positive way with your
nervous system we want to we can also look at nutrients now this there’s some
nutrients that are generally in the research looked at for helping with
anxiety and depression but I like to emphasize and this is part of naturopathic medicine is individualized care so we’re not going to just give the same
nutrients to everyone we want to know what nutrients are specifically
important for this person does this person have an MTHFR gene
like I do in which case they might need a little bit more methylfolate and so we
need to test we need to find out about the genes we need to know their current
methylfolate levels and do they need a little bit more do they need a lot more
or maybe they need less we need to we can do nutrient tests to understand we
can look at the neurotransmitters and understand which the serotonin is low
then we can use certain nutrients here I have this chart that shows us say here
on the right where we have serotonin which by the way leads to melatonin
which is our main hormone for sleep but if you look up backwards on this chart
you can see that serotonin comes from something called 5-hydroxytryptophan or
a 5htp which comes from tryptophan which is an amino acid that comes from protein
in our diet so when we are looking at diet as well as nutrients we can use
these nutrients to then influence our neurotransmitter levels and this is a
amino acids amino acid therapy it’s called is something I’ve been doing for
about almost 20 years and it takes practice it takes um you know time to
really start to understand how to do this um so I would definitely recommend
working with a practitioner who has that experience to help you or if you’re
thinking of studying this and offering this yourself you would want to
oops what happened there I guess it just went out of play mode
okay there we go we want to we want to be able to work
with someone who can really help you to because this can look a complex when you
first look at it but the main thing I want to share is to just emphasize that
these neurotransmitters come from nutrients and we can as we know which
nutrients we need more of then we can give those amino acids and the nutrients
that help with the production of the neurotransmitters to actually change the
levels to actually if you need if your body needs more serotonin we can help
your body make more serotonin verses the way medications work is by affecting the
receptor that manages the breakdown of the neurotransmitter it’s not working by
giving the nutrients to make more of that neurotransmitter and so it’s a
really good distinction to know that these neurotransmitters are not far off
in a mystery place these are testable and adjustable using clinical nutrition
because what makes travel backwards are trained to do we can also look for other
conditions I mentioned thyroid before there’s also something called Pyroluria
and other conditions that affect nutrient needs and so we can use this to
help us understand which nutrients are needed here’s some examples that have
been found in the research omega-3 from fish oil has a lot of research showing
benefit for anxiety and depression same with the B vitamins these are often
researched and shown to be helpful magnesium is a favorite for me as a
starting place because magnesium helps with breaking down adrenaline so if we
if the person has too high of adrenaline and therefore that’s triggering anxiety
magnesium can help drop that adrenaline level and so the anxiety can come around
I mentioned 5-htp which is a precursor nutrient to serotonin and sometimes also
we’ll use antioxidants like vitamin C and coq10 which have been shown to help
also to rebalance the nervous system and help with anxiety and depression so this
is show you that there is research on nutrients and what is a naturopathic
doctor we would do is work specifically with the
to see what doses in which nutrients are gonna work best for them we can do the
same for herbs we want to understand based on their genetics and their
hormone imbalances and there may be if there is leaky gut we’re gonna use
certain herbs or if there’s an imbalance of gut bacteria we can use herbs to
address those bacteria or toxicity we can use nutrients and herbs to address
that yes St. John’s wort is an herb we often
hear about for depression for example and it can be very effective and is used
by naturopathic doctors for that purpose but we also are going to be looking at
what herbs are going to fit for this person again at some of these other
underlying causes of anxiety and depression um we can also use
homeopathic remedies um usually with homeopathy it’s about understanding the
specific symptoms for that person and then choosing a homeopathic remedy to
help homeopathic remedies our dilutions of substances could be dilutions of
an herb or a mineral or other substance and so it’s working on a very energetic
and subtle level to help rebalance the body and for some people these are the
best approach because they’re very gentle and very specific and sensitive
and they can be used alongside other approaches I wanted to share this case
study with you and this is a patient 46 year old woman who has actually several
of the things that we’ve just been talking about going on all at once so I
want you to know that sometimes the cases are not this complex as they are
and for her she’s a mom she was experiencing depression as well as
anxiety and insomnia sometimes those go together and so she
was taking medications for each of these things she was taking Lorazepam for
anxiety and she was taking Zoloft for mood and anxiety and she was taking
Remeron for sleep and she just felt like she wanted to feel better even with
taking these medications she was still experiencing symptoms and side effects
and she really wanted to be able to get to the underlying cause and feel better
and hopefully have to take so many medications so in
her case just to give you a sense of it what we do and as a naturopathic doctor
we’re gonna look at all these under different underlying causes she does
have little thyroid function so we need to make sure that that’s addressed she
also has Pyroluria which is a condition that means her body needs more vitamin
b6 and zinc in order to for her to not feel anxious from that cause she also
had these MTHFR and other genes that also would affect her nutrient levels
and her neurotransmitter levels she was exposed to mold so she had mold toxicity
which can also affect the nervous system she had imbalance of her got bacteria
she had a gluten sensitivity gluten by the way is one of the is a food from
wheat right from anything made from wheat actually wheat barley rye and
spelt have gluten in them and gluten is associated with leaky gut but it’s also
associated with neurological issues including anxiety and depression in fact
even though we usually think of gluten as a as something that causes digestive
issues and people think of diarrhea or bloating actually for 60% of people they
don’t experience any digestive symptoms when they eat gluten they only
experience anxiety depression or other neurological issues so I really like to
emphasize to think about gluten for someone who’s experiencing anxiety or
depression this patient also had low iron levels an iron can also create it
has an effect it helps with processing or transmitters and it can create
fatigue she also had low copper and her and low homocysteine see this is the
thing is as some people with MTHFR we usually think of having high
homocysteine but this patient actually had too low homocysteine so it required
a different angle to help get her B vitamins levels back on track she had
high adrenaline and she had a low cortisol so sometimes these don’t uncle
that you would think if someone has high cortisol they have high adrenaline
together but not always you could have high adrenaline
low cortisol and and it’s my job to help get them back aligned with each other so
these are the steps that I think of in my protocol step one is get out of
stress mode so we want to eliminate the stresses like for her with gluten when
was one of the main stresses in her diet we need to decrease that adrenaline I
mentioned magnesium that’s a great one for her is to use magnesium to help
decrease adrenaline we also need to help get the mold toxins out of her body
which we can do using an herb called yucca root so we start with getting out
of stress mode and removing the toxins the stresses and the toxins that we can
remove from her day to day experience step two is the rebalance and restore so
we need to rebalance those gut bacteria heal the leaky gut and rest those
nutrient imbalances and hormone imbalances as well as the homocysteine
so we need to just get everything back to balance again including her cortisol
and adrenaline and then once we get everything back into balance it’s all
about what I call stress resilience how can we help her become very resilient to
her ongoing stress of course as a mom and having a job and being a human in
this world she’s going to be stressed so how do we help her maintain her diet in
her digestion and her nutrients and her hormone balance so that she doesn’t fall
susceptible to the same situation over again I think I’ve shared some about
what I love about naturopathic medicine throughout this presentation but I just
wrote a couple of things here just to help summarize which is to say that
naturopathic medicine is really based on this belief that our body can heal
our body is changeable it’s not stuck when we have symptoms they’re just
signals telling us that something needs attention we need to even give our body
what it means and it will respond and can actually shift which sometimes have
you been feeling some way for a long time it’s hard to believe that it could
change but as a naturopathic doctor I’m here to say to you that most every
situation the can respond and can change including the
nervous system especially when we address the root cause so it’s all about
understanding what’s really going on here so we can get it bad instead of
trying to focus on some magic pill or a band-aid you know effect to get us to
back to feeling good again naturopathic medicine also has a belief that
education is important and I really believe this and see this with my
patients the more than people understand their bodies and understand what’s going
on the more likely they can feel better and the more likely they’re able to keep
on feeling better over time because then that’s can influence the
choices we’re making because we understand why we’re making that choice
and most of all I love that naturopathic medicine is about empowering
patients to be their own advocate to say don’t just depend on the medical system
or someone else to determine your health and your life be dependent on you you
get to choose each day how you want to live and have what you want to do to
support your health and we’re here to help you
we’re here to help give you the information and the support and the
knowledge to be able to make those choices for you and for your health
let’s see so for me I’m looking forward to doing more of this more more of
sharing information about from my experience and from and just from
working with patients I’ve learned so much from my patients over the years and
so I look forward to doing more writing I’m planning to write another book about
stress and in terms of what I call our stress types what is what is your stress
type and what can you do in terms of these things we talked about today to
help become more resilient to stress let’s see what I wish I knew
let’s see that’s a good question I might have to think about that one for a
minute I think I I just wish I knew that what matters most I think of anything
for people is not necessarily I really didn’t agree or the expertise
like sometimes I just want to talk to you as if I’m just Doni Wilson I’ve
experienced anxiety and depression I’ve had to search out these answers too and
I wish I knew that sooner that yes having the degree and the education
allows me to be a professional and I can serve people in that way and in states
where there’s licensure and insurance coverage patients can actually see me
and receive that help under their insurance plan but at the same time I
think what can help people most is just connecting on that personal level and
being willing to just say hey I’ve experienced this too and this is what
I’ve learned and and that human human connection can really make a difference
okay well here’s a bit about how you can reach me and also about the books that I
expected there stretch remedy working on the right the stress what your book is a
book I published about a year ago also about stress and really bringing in a
lot of these concepts that we were talking about today everything from
genetics and neurotransmitters and leaky gut and how to address it and you can
find both these books at Amazon “The Stress Warrior “book you can also
read online on my website at a stress warrior I think it’s actually that or just and this is where you can find me online I’d be
happy to have you I write blogs and I do interviews all
the time so be happy for you to jump over to my website and and sign up so
that you can you know we hear more from me especially if this has been helpful I
always love to connect and hear more from you so I’m hoping maybe you all
have some questions for me what do you think there JoAnn yes so if
you go to the next slide really quick we’ll just uh so AANMC has monthly events
like this one every month and so next month we have if you’re thinking about a
career shift we have two doctors who have changed careers we also have
of webinar on eating disorders coming up in February as well so with that I am
going to just give you a couple questions here there are a bunch that
have come in and so if you can try and keep your answers as tight so we can get
to as many as possible that would be awesome okay so one example would be
working with patients who have been taking maybe pharmaceuticals like prozac
for a long amount of time is it ever able to get off I know that a lot of
people feel like oh well now I’ve been on this for so long I can’t get off can
you speak to that just briefly oh yes and I and then actually I didn’t say
from the case that I mentioned she now has been feeling better from the
approach that we’ve been taking over the past year and she’s been able to very
gradually decrease her doses and the careful thing is you know you’re always
working with the prescribing doctor and you were always wanting to make sure
that you feel better first some people think oh I have to come off the
medications before I can do any naturopathic approaches and that’s not correct
it’s actually better to stay on your current doses start implementing work
with a practitioner who can help you start implementing and as you feel
better and maintained then you can very slowly come off these medications
because the medications do have withdrawal symptoms and is very
important to have someone help guide you through that my answer is yes it’s
possible but you want to do it with the right support to do it successfully thank you so much so there there are a
bunch of other kind of angles on this but one is about cortisol and there was
a question if cortisol naturally decreases inflammation why is there so
much inflammation associated with anxiety mm-hmm I love it because that
means to me I got you thinking about all of this and
it’s true that like when we think of cortisol one of the medications is
prednisone which is cortisol and so sometimes prednisone is used when a
person is having a lot of inflammation say there’s inflammation from an
autoimmune condition or an allergy reaction a patient will take prednisone
a high amount of cortisol to turn off the immune system essentially which
turns off the inflammation but what we also know is a person can’t shrilly is
not going to do well if they stayed on prednisone forever right if they stayed
on prednisone for a long time we start to have negative effects of a high
cortisol they start to experience depression along with different weight
gain and sleep issues and skin changes and so we can use high doses of cortisol
for a short period of time and then we have to we not very carefully because
it’s it’s not about you can’t stay on that high cortisol the time it’s gonna
create the symptoms it doesn’t know that it’s not as clear like I think sometimes
we wish something was as clear as black and white right we just wish okay it’s
gonna be black or white but actually this is exactly a situation where it’s
gray we’re working in this middle zone we need to get the balance so we need a
balance of cortisol actually to maintain an anti-inflammatory effect over the
long term if that makes sense so yes for a short-term effect high cortisol will
turn off the immune system and drop inflammation but it’s going to cause a
lot of negative effects we have over the long term so we need to
find a way to have zero inflammation or low inflammation over the long term and
that’s what we’re going for it for an anxiety and depression thank you so much
Dr. Wilson and so another question came in about drug induced nutrient depletion
and you know for your patients who are still taking pharmaceutical medications what what is
your approach there well definitely and and it’s true that’s a really good point
that you know medications can cause nutrient depletion and so it’s important
to work with this is exactly where naturopathic doctors can help you to
know hey based on your medication which nutrients are likely to get depleted
let’s do some tests and find out if they’re depleted and then let’s get you
the right of the right nutrients to help with that
depletion and that can make a big difference because otherwise you might
be taking a medication and having symptoms worsen because it’s depleting
nutrients that are important right so it’s like okay we got to do a
combination we need to do the medications along with addressing the
nutrients at the same time thank you so much last I know we don’t
have too much more time for questions here but you mentioned how important
sleep is and for folks who wake up early can you speak a little bit about that I
know there are questions about melatonin versus 5-htp and blood type diet and and
things of that sort and and you know kind of how all of that plays in but
sleep is a big topic and I know we’ve only got two minutes left here so okay
and I would say I mean I love all of those thoughts because it tells me
you’re thinking of yes there’s so many different there’s dietary changes that
can make a difference there’s nutrient changes that can make a difference what
I would emphasize is you we want to be specific to you in your case so this is
we’re meeting with a naturopathic doctor can help you to say hey is the
blood type diet gonna help me hey is sleep an issue for me one of my
other books which I didn’t mention is actually called “The Natural Insomnia
Solution” so if you’re wanting more help with sleep I encourage you to check that
one out it’s it’s at Amazon for I think two dollars or something and you can
actually if you come to my website I have a offer where my
office will send it to you for free so I’ll be happy to send you “The Natural
Insomnia Solution” and so you can read more about it because the thing with
sleep is that it really again varies some people are staying up too late at
night which I call a night owl and that could be because your cortisol
adrenaline is too high at night other people might be waking up too early or
in the middle in the middle of the night and that would be a different scenario
and so we want to see I would test first what is your cortisol doing is it high
at night or low in the morning what’s it doing is it what’s the adrenaline levels
what are your neurotransmitter level because here’s the thing is I love that
you guys are already at stage one for me which is you’ve accepted that you’re
human and that your bodies are affected by stress
I can hear by your questions that you’re there already step two is let’s gather
the information that’s specific to you let’s get some tests done so we know
exactly why you’re waking up early and then step three is you can use the
nutrients and herbs and the diet changes that are specific to your situation so
that if you’re waking up early because your cortisol is too high at 4 a.m.
let’s use the herbs that help drop the cortisol at 4 a.m. but we need to know
first is it the cortisol that’s causing it if that makes sense so definitely all
of this is possible and I love that you’re engaged it’s gonna be a matter of
now working with a naturopathic doctor who can help you really solve that and
then really understand your body so you know what to do going forward to
maintain it thank you so much so we are pretty much at a time here for those of
you who did not get your questions answered feel free to email us at [email protected] Dr. Doni also put up her contact information as well but I
appreciate so much you all coming and spending time with us today and and
Dr. Doni thank you again for your assistance in this really informative
webinar we’ve had a lot of folks just chiming in and telling you thank you so
I just wanted to pass that along that you know your information is really
valued and we appreciate your time today and so with that we’re going to conclude
our webinar and appreciate all of you and check out future events here with a

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