Spotlight on Wellness: Independence from Toxins

We are wrapping up our four-month series on removing toxins from our lives with a recap of the top tips from each issue as well as suggestions for use of a few natural products by a local expert. Please visit our newsletter archive to see full articles from March-June.

Cosmetics and Skin Care
An easy way to stay chemical free when it comes to cosmetics and skin care: d ownload the " Think Dirty " app before your next purchase. This handy tool will help you determine if your product is "dirty" and it will make suggestions for "clean" beauty products.

Green Cleaning
If you're a "do it yourself" (DIY) type, there are numerous natural alternatives that can be created at home to ensure safety and a cost savings. For instance, try mixing water, rubbing alcohol, essential oil and natural dish soap to make an all-purpose cleaner. More DIY at home cleaners can be found here .

Home Décor and Products
Add plants to your living environment. Even Dr. Levitt makes sure the Innovative Primary Care offices are filled with live plants. Lady Palms have been proven to improve the air quality in your home. Four other plant species are also great options to help you breathe easy and relax in green filled surroundings.

Can the Cans
Reduce your use of canned foods to get the BPA out of your diet. Most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. Check for those that say they are BPA free. Moving toward foods that are fresh will transform your diet anyway and rid your body of toxins. Check out this list of BPA canned food.

Thanks to fellow physician Dr. Paul Wolfson for his great tips and belief in living a cleaner lifestyle. His excellent list of natural products is a great reference for your use. We've only listed a few of his suggestions below, but you can visit his post to get a full listing of ideas.

  • Glassware from Life Factory makes it possible to drink from glass at home with some extra padding to protect them from breaking.
  • Sponges made from renewable products such as crushed walnut shells make cleaning up easier on the environment. Visit Natural Value to see the wide array of products offered.
  • Similar to the DIY options above, Truce offers an all-natural cleaner made from five ingredients.
  • Finding natural laundry detergent can be challenging. Thanks to Dr. Bronner you can check out his Sal Suds Liquid Cleaner that is safe on both dishes and clothing.

Healing Therapies: SculpSure

When workouts or diet modifications are just not making a difference with stubborn fat in problem areas such as the abdomen and those areas we oddly call "love handles," Innovative Primary Care has a new offering that can help you achieve a slimmer appearance without surgery or downtime. SculpSure is a breakthrough in light-based body contouring designed to removing unwanted fat effectively and efficiently. The 25-minute procedure destroys fat cells that are then naturally absorbed and removed from the body. Patients typically begin to see results in as little as six weeks and optimal results are typically seen at 12 weeks.

Call our office at 480.776.0626 to learn more about SculpSure or schedule a consultation with Dr. Levitt to determine if you are a candidate for body contouring designed to reduce stubborn fat in problem areas.

SculpSure is a new option to support the way you look and feel. IPC providers and service options also offer additional support. An IPC provider may discover lack of sleep or a change in your hormones is affecting your progress. Services such as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy , a broad range of supplements and other modalities such as Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy, Acupuncture and Jin Shin Jyutsu offered through our office partners can also help with reducing stress and building healthy habits.

Spotlight on Wellness: Clean from the Inside Out

Spring Cleaning isn't just for closets! What about the junk that's collected in our bodies. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program know that we are exposed to more than 80,000 different chemicals on a daily basis, with only a small portion tested for safety.

Dr. Levitt recently returned from another conference on toxins and how they impact our wellness. She is continually seeking to help her patients live a healthier, cleaner lifestyle. Because of that commitment, we'll explore various steps you can take to do that here and in subsequent newsletters.

Cleansing our lives from toxins is much more difficult than you might think. It requires conscious decision-making throughout our busy day. For March, we'd like to you to think about the simple act of how you store your food and the containers your food or drink are placed or packaged in from outside sources. We probably hardly give much of a thought to:

  • containers we use for our lunch or storing leftovers
  • what containers we use to heat up food
  • grabbing a drink from our favorite coffee shop or grab & go restaurant
  • the water bottles we use or are given when at a meeting
  • the shopping bags we use from our local pharmacy or grocery store, even the local department store

You may have heard of BPA or Bisphenol A. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. They may also be used in other consumer goods. Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Epoxy coatings line the more than 131 billion food and beverage cans produced in the U.S. annually. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA.

These chemicals can leach into your food or water. BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can disrupt the endocrine system. It has been linked to a number of health problems such as breast cancer, miscarriage, reproductive system cancer, obesity, diabetes, early puberty, prostate cancer, genetic damage, ovarian dysfunction, and behavioral changes in children. It is also believe that plastic can leach a type of neurotoxin and impact red blood cells and cause liver and kidney damage. And then there is the impact on weight. When plastic molecules enter human body they mimic estrogen due to having a similar chemical structure. Besides the other negative health effects, this "artificial" estrogen also decreases the levels of testosterone in the body (in men and women). Low levels of testosterone lead to muscle mass loss and body fat gain. (Dr. Levitt can help with testosterone replacement, if it fits your needs.)

Arizonans have adopted some unique habits with plastic water bottles compounding these issues. Putting a plastic water bottle in the freezer and then using it throughout the day is dangerous. Changes in the chemicals of the plastic occur when it's frozen and then later thaws. Even worse is drinking from a plastic water bottle that's been in the Arizona heat for the day. Plastics break down through the act of cold and heat. If you have water that's been exposed in this way, pour it on a plant or grass to put it to good use. And tell your friends. Help them avoid these chemicals as well if you see them using these bad habits.

Dr. Levitt suggests you follow these few quick tips to get rid of some of the chemicals you might be inadvertently putting into your body:

  • Use BPA-free products. If not labeled, check the recycled codes for 3 or 7. Some, but not all, may be made with BPA. Avoid them.
  • Cut back on cans. Reduce your use of canned foods since most cans are lined with BPA-containing resin. This might be tough, but moving toward foods that are fresh, not canned, will help. Check out this list of BPA canned food.
  • Commit to using reuse shopping bags. The more you can contribute to keeping plastics out of the food chain, the better. The plastic bags, whether from your local pharmacy or grocery, usually enter back into the food chain through marine animals and birds. Additionally you'll help cut down on the use of petroleum.
  • Avoid heat. The microwave and dishwasher can be your enemy. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences advises against microwaving polycarbonate plastics or putting them in the dishwasher because the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into foods. And don't drink water from a bottle left in your hot Arizona car.
  • Use alternatives. Use glass, porcelain or stainless steel containers for hot foods and liquids instead of plastic containers.

Stay hydrated to support one of the simplest and most effective ways to cleanse your body of toxins. Strive for a minimum of eight 8 oz. glasses a day. And now with the temperatures heating up, going beyond that would be helpful.

We invite you to show off your healthy habits on our Facebook page. Anyone who posts a photo with your glass containers or glass water bottles will be entered into a drawing for a 20 oz. Contigo Purity Glass Water Bottle. Please post your photo by March 31.

Next month we'll delve into simple actions you can take to keep more toxins out of your home. Cheers.

Spotlight on Wellness: Finding Your Mindfulness Zone this Holiday Season

By Saundra Schrock, retired financial services executive, founder of firm assisting executives into integrating mindfulness into their business and personal lives

Are you seeking a way to lower stress, improve your health and increase your productivity and creativity? With the holidays kicking in to high gear and all the potentially stressful interactions that could take place, putting into place a quick mindfulness practice or habit might be just what the doctor or naturopath ordered.

Mindfulness is the ability to intentionally place your attention in the present moment. The growing interest in mindfulness is largely attributed to people looking for relief from the ever present level of stress that comes from too much to do and too little time to do it. It might come as a surprise to you that a large amount of our stress and lack of a sense of wellbeing arises from our inability to control our attention. As we begin to experience what it feels like to be present, we understand how much control we have over our level of stress. The solution is not outside of us, but within us.

It might be hard to accept that something so simple can change our lives so radically. It won’t happen overnight. Just like brushing your teeth, it takes daily practice. And like brushing your teeth, it may only need a few minutes a day to focus your attention. Just identify a time when you would like to be more present (quick tips below). Options could include during a business meeting, a conference call, a social event, or being with a family member. When you find yourself in that situation, make a commitment to notice when your attention wanders and then gently bring it back to the present moment. Or you can take an everyday activity like preparing meals, driving to work, showering and yes, brushing your teeth. Instead of letting your mind wander, use that time to practice focusing your attention.

Most people find this kind of focus difficult at first. Don’t let discouragement set in. It gets easier with practice, just like learning to play a sport or a musical instrument. Few of us were good at something first time we tried it. It might help to picture your attention as a muscle that gains strength each time you intentionally bring your attention back to the present.

Keep in mind that frequency is the key to seeing the benefits. It is much better to practice a few minutes each day than to practice a longer time only once a week. This is a wellness prescription that you can write for yourself. What dosage will be best for you? Three times a day for 3-5 minutes? Or 4 times a day for 2-3 minutes? Vary the dosage as needed and start enjoying the benefits.

Here is a quick list of very simple practices you can integrate into your everyday activities.

  • The morning routine. Before you get out of bed, take a few moments to stretch and bring your attention to your body before you launch into your day. Take a few cleansing breaths and take a moment to express gratitude for the gift of another day.
     
  • When you are brushing your teeth, taking your shower or getting dressed, practice bringing your attention back to the present. One way to do this is to engage your breath and your senses. What does the toothpaste taste like? What does the soap smell like? How does the brush feel against your teeth? What do you see in your environment? What do you hear?
     
  • Mealtime. Before you take your first bite, bring your attention to the present moment so that you can fully appreciate the nourishment you are about to undertake. Take a few calming breaths and set an intention to stay focused on the tastes, colors and smells of your mealtime experience for at least the first few bites.
     
  • Several times a day, take a moment to connect to your breath. Notice how you are breathing. Is it shallow? Are you holding your breath? Then take a few cleansing, slow breaths and notice how the flow of oxygen can energize and revitalize you. Simply begin by counting your exhales. Sometimes it only takes 3-5 breaths for you to feel the benefits.
     
  • Driving to work or running errands. At a stop light, bring your attention to the present and focus on your breathing until the light changes.
     
  • Make mindful transitions. If you find you are on back to back phone calls or meetings, take one minute to focus on releasing your thoughts, center yourself and prepare for the next task.|
     
  • Personal relationships often suffer the most when we are busy and stressed. We often believe that those we love should understand that we have a lot on our minds and they should grant us an excuse for not being fully present. Sometimes we think that our physical presence is enough. But we all know when the other person isn’t mentally with us. Make a commitment to take a few moments each day to really be present for those that are important to us. Listen, ask questions, take a few moments to feel what they are feeling. You might be surprised to find you benefit as much as the other person.
     
  • Drinking water. Living in the desert, we know the importance of hydration. So let’s make our consumption of water a mindfulness practice. With each sip of water, notice how the water feels on your tongue; how it feels as we swallow. Visualize the water hydrating our organs and flowing through our bodies.
     
  • Talk a mindful walk. You don’t have to find time to add something to your schedule. You can practice bringing your attention to the present walking from room to room or on the way to or from the car. 
     
  • Connect with your pet. Our pets are always in moment. They are good role models for us. Instead of mindlessly, petting or talking with our pet, take a moment to really engage with them. For example, when you prepare your pet’s food, be intentional and purposeful. You might say to yourself “I am preparing this food with love and to help my pet be healthy and happy”. Or let your pet serve as a reminder to let go of grudges or to let go of perceived slights or negative thoughts.

    Any practice is good practice. If you miss a day, just start the next day. You don’t have to sit in a lotus position for hours to enjoy the benefits of wellbeing that comes from being present for your life. Why not begin today to ready to experience the holidays in a whole new way.

Healing Therapies: Say Goodbye to the Pain

Are you in pain? Pain is among the most common reasons for a doctor visit and the foremost cause of disability in the United States. Did you know there are many alternatives to medication and surgery? The Naturopathic Physicians (NP) at IPC take a Comprehensive Approach to Pain Management (CPM). During a visit with Dr. Xan Simonson and Dr. Cindy Romero, they will explore the root cause of your pain and determine if it is an anatomical change to the joint(s), functional pathology or both. 

Drs. Simonson and Romero utilize a variety of modalities such as traditional oriental therapeutic massage, acupuncture specially designed for pain management (Gua Sha), Biomodulator/Low Light Laser Therapy, and a diverse repertoire of unique injection protocols to support pain management. Each consultation with these NPs will also include a review of diet, exercise and supplements that will aid in your healing process.

Oriental Therapeutic Massage is often used by itself or in combination with other modalities. It is an ancient form of massage therapy which primarily has its roots in Asia. This technique, developed centuries ago, is used predominantly to treat joint and muscle pains, reduce stress and tension, increase blood circulation, maintain a healthy, beautiful body and for general peace of mind, relaxation and comfort. It is intended to balance and harmonize the flow of chi (the life force) through meridians (energy pathways). Oriental massage stimulates the same points stimulated in acupuncture.

Acupuncture works to restore optimal functioning by stimulating certain points on the meridians in order to “free up” or “unblock” the qi energy. The ancient Chinese believed that there is a universal life energy called chi or qi present in every living being. This energy is said to circulate throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. As long as qi flows freely throughout the meridians, health is maintained; once the flow of energy is blocked, the system experiences imbalance, and pain and illness occur.

From a biochemical perspective, we know that acupuncture has many positive effects on the body. It increases the body’s natural production of endorphins, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (which shuts down in chronic stress) and increases blood flow to local areas.

In the United States, low back pain is one of the most common reasons patients go to a physician. Back pain can be caused from many issues, but is usually muscular in origin. Muscle pain perpetuates what is known as the pain cycle, a phenomenon of which the back is particularly prone. In the pain cycle, pain causes a muscle to spasm, which may move the discs, joints and nerves of the spine. This spasm leads to further pain, leading to further misalignment, which compounds the original problem. Acupuncture can play an important role in the reduction or elimination of back pain and preventing a chronic condition from developing. Oftentimes, relief from back pain is immediate after an acupuncture treatment. Remember, acupuncture stimulates qi (or energy) to circulate in an area and can often stop a pain cycle.

Biomodulator/Low Light Laser Therapy are treatments that utilize specific frequencies and/or wavelengths of light to interact with tissue and help accelerate the healing process. Patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions often find it helps eliminate pain, swelling, reduce spasms and increase functionality. Every organ in the body runs at a different frequency. Chronic disease and pain are always associated with low voltage. To increase the voltage back to normal to promote healing in the body and pain reduction/elimination, the voltage of the cells must increase. One way to achieve this is by using the Tennant Biomodulator®. Since the device creates the necessary frequency to match each organ, by placing the electrode over an acupuncture point on the perineural nervous system transfers electrons to the attached organ.

Cold laser therapy is low-intensity laser therapy, or laser therapy that uses low levels of light to stimulate healing. Low-level light is applied directly to the problem area. The tissue then absorbs the light. In a basic sense, this leads to a biological or chemical reaction to red and near infrared light. Damaged cells have a physiological reaction that helps promote their regeneration. Cold laser therapy is ideal for tissue repair and relief from pain and inflammation. While each session only takes a few minutes, it does require a series of treatments for full effectiveness and healing.

Check back next month, when we continue exploring naturopathic pain management options related to trigger point therapy.

Changes at Innovative Primary Care

We are honored and humbled that you have entrusted your healthcare to our staff and team of providers.

As we enter into 2017, we know changes are coming for healthcare. Some we know of, some we don't in the ever-changing dynamic healthcare industry.

Changes are taking place at Innovative Primary Care as well. Beginning December 29, I have shifted my patient work to the MDVIP personalized health care platform. This will allow me to bring a new and refreshing dimension to those who have selected to become MDVIP members. I realize that this model of care may not work for everyone. That saddens me and I will truly miss those who are unable to join us.

My focus is on practicing prevention utilizing my training in functional medicine, and fostering deep and personalized care for my patients. I have decided to make the switch to this platform because the current medical model does not allow for this time of sustained, personalized and in-depth care.

Through my years of working with and serving patients, I get the greatest fulfillment by developing long term and in-depth relationships with patients. Many have followed me over the years, even traveling long distances. Now with the MDVIP platform, it will allow for patient visits at the hospital, phone conversations, coordinating your care with any specialists and following your healthcare journey.

MDVIP puts the patient and doctor relationship first. What that looks like is more personalized attention, longer appointment times if needed, same day and next day appointments and real time communication through texting and the MDVIP portal, which includes HIPPA secured email.

The plan also offers an executive type physical exam once a year that will feature:

  • vision and hearing screenings
  • EKG
  • lung function testing
  • testing for circulation in the legs
  • body composition measurements, and
  • a lab draw for advanced cardio-lipid markers

Further screenings include assessment of emotional health, sleep efficiency and sexual health. The second phase of the exam takes place three weeks after the first part of the exam, and will include reviewing of all test results, performing a complete physical exam, and detailing an outline for achieving optimal health based on the test results. The emphasis is on detailed understanding of your health concerns and a close (and real time) relationship regarding your concerns.

We can continue to enroll individuals in MDVIP even after the start date and are open to patients not currently with Innovative Primary Care.

If you'd like to continue your care outside of the MDVIP program, please utilize our providers who would be honored to serve your healthcare needs. They include Dr. Chinwah, MD and physician assistants Jane Stevenson PA-C and Todd Schuster PA-C, for internal medicine care, along with Naturopath Dr. Xan Simonson. And the wellness services of Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy through Dr. Ilana Oren and Jin Shin Jyutsu with Debbie Elman.

If you are interested in receiving the benefits of bioidentical hormones, I'm continuing to provide this service as well. You can utilize your insurance for all hormone lab work, with the exception of pellet insertions, which continues as a fee for service.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 480.776.0626.

On behalf of the full staff at Innovative Primary Care, we wish you healthy, safe and joyous holidays and look forward to seeing you in 2017.

Sincerely,

Dr. Sandra Levitt

 

 


You can see our full complement of offerings at: www.innovativecareprimaryaz.com/providers

 

 

Food for Life: Stock up on Fruits & Veggies

What is convenient, low calorie, may reduce your risk for disease and is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber? Fruits and vegetables. You really can't go wrong by upping your intake of nature's bounty and with the change of seasons approaching, we encourage you to check out the offerings at a local farmers market.

Right now is a great time to find apricots, cherries, bell peppers, blueberries, butter lettuce, cantaloupe, honeydew, corn, eggplant, garlic, peaches, plums and radishes. When you visit the farmers markets, there are always many people willing to help you come up with great ideas for preparing these foods and creative ways to incorporate them into meals. Dr. Levitt loves snacking on organic apples with natural peanut butter and many on the IPC team follow her lead.

After you've "picked" your fruits and veggies at a local market, you may needs some tips and recipes for preparing them. Visit Fruits & Veggies More Matters for meal and menu planning. We're off to try a Grilled Eggplant and Tomato Sandwich for lunch.

Supplement Support: Brain Health

Sometimes feeling better isn't as easy as just wishing it would happen. We are complex beings that rely on nutrients to maintain health in all areas of our bodies. There are many nutrients that can be derived from food and supplements that have been proven to aid in supporting our brain. Here are some top picks by IPC Naturopathic Physicians Xan Simonson and Cindy Romero.

If you’re wanting to support your mood, you might want to look more deeply into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). New research has confirmed it’s positive effects on mood even more so than docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA is a potent anti-inflammatory, which is what we want for our body and our brain, while DHA contributes to the fluidity of cell membranes. IPC offers three supplements featuring both EPA and DHA. They are Pro Omega 3, Omega Pure EC and Omega Pure Krill.

Probiotics play a crucial role in keeping your digestive system in good shape - your brain is only as healthy as your gut. The nerve cells in our gut manufacture 80 to 90 percent of our body's serotonin, the neurotransmitter we need to stay sane. IPC offers Pro Biotic Plus with a formula that contains 17 different strains of probiotics.

Vitamin B-12 has been proven to improve mental health. A study by the American Journal of Psychiatry found that 27 percent of severely depressed women over the age of 65 were deficient in B-12. IPC offers several supplements with Vitamin B12: liquid form or sublingual.

Dr. Levitt is a fan of Dr. Perlmutter, who champions Turmeric’s impact on your brain because of its ability to activate genes to produce antioxidants. IPC offers Curcuplex CR as a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplement, and because it also contains black pepper which increases the bio-availability (or absorption) of curcumin. Curcumin is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. That means it gets put to use more effectively for our brain health and anti-inflammation needs.

Amino acids are the special building blocks of protein, some of which gets transformed in our bodies into neurotransmitters. Without adequate amino acids, your brain can't work and you get sluggish, foggy, unfocused, and depressed. L-Glutamine Powder might be a great option.

Other recommended brain boosting supplements include Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Magnesium, Calcium and Melatonin. And we always recommend you speak with your provider before starting a supplement to ensure there are no contraindications and to insure your regime is established appropriately.
 
Feel free to visit our office to learn more about the featured supplements or ask your IPC provider for more details at your next visit. You can place an order through our website or by calling us at 480.776.0626. Payment is required at the time the order is placed.

Healing Therapies: EMDR and Hypnotherapy

During Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, it’s also important to address the more broad or everyday challenges people may be facing. If you’re feeling a sense of burnout, helplessness, difficulty making decisions or even un-diagnosed mental illness, you may need to seek the support of a trained therapist. Psychotherapy and counseling help people identify the issues that are contributing to their difficulties and identify more effective strategies to cope with their situations and achieve their goals.
 
There are many different approaches to therapy, including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and hypnotherapy.
 
EMDR therapy is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma. This is considered by the American Psychiatric Association, the Department of Defense and the World Health Organization as the treatment of choice to deal with PTSD. Complete treatment of the targets involves a three pronged protocol (1-past memories, 2-present disturbance, 3-future actions), and are needed to alleviate the symptoms and address the complete clinical picture. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process completely the experiences that are causing problems, and to include new ones that are needed for full health. "Processing" does not mean talking about it. "Processing" means setting up a learning state that will allow experiences that are causing problems to be "digested" and stored appropriately in your brain. More information can be found on the EMDR International Association website.
 
Hypnotherapy has been portrayed for years by Hollywood as a way to make a person do something they wouldn't normally due while in a trance-like state. Practitioners use clinical hypnosis in three main ways. First, they encourage the use of imagination. Mental imagery is very powerful, especially in a focused state of attention. The mind seems capable of using imagery, even if it is only symbolic, to assist us in bringing about the things we are imagining. A second basic hypnotic method is to present ideas or suggestions to the patient. In a state of concentrated attention, ideas and suggestions that are compatible with what the patient wants seem to have a more powerful impact on the mind. Finally, hypnosis may be used for unconscious exploration, to better understand underlying motivations or identify whether past events or experiences are associated with causing a problem. More information can be found on the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis website. 
 
If you are interested in exploring the benefits of these treatments, visit  Dr. Ilana Oren's website. She has been serving patients in the IPC offices for years and helps individuals, couples and families increase resilience, overcome their challenges and foster the belief that they deserve to be their best and actualize the dreams they have for their lives.

Spotlight on Wellness: Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Dan was in a second marriage and a father of two children. He worked a good job, was physically active and enjoyed spending time with friends. Gail, mother of two children, was a busy professional in the middle of bitter divorce proceedings over the custody of her children. They both were fighting battles - some apparent and some not so much. There were minor cries for help, but not enough to cause anyone in their lives to imagine they would commit suicide. Their internal struggles overcame them and in seemingly an instant, they both chose to end their lives. They lost hope and their children, family and friends will endure the pain of their losses for years to come.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Innovative Primary Care’s Dr. Sandra Levitt believes it's just as important to focus on mental health as it is physical health because the brain is also part of the human ecosystem. And the numbers bear that out. The World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die of suicide each year or one person every 40 seconds. Sadly, Arizona is one of the leading states, especially when it comes to veterans.

There is no single cause or reason people commit suicide, yet the majority of people (estimated at 90%) were suffering with an underlying mental illness and/or substance abuse problem at the time of their death. Dan had suffered many concussions as a high school and college football player. Gail was never formally diagnosed, but in hindsight her family believes she may have been bipolar. Both, however, were facing very difficult life challenges at the time of their deaths.

One thing we know is that being aware of warning signs or behaviors can save lives. Warning signs include:  

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

    If you or anyone you know has displayed these behaviors, please seek help! There are numerous local and national resources that offer low or no cost services of a licensed counselor and support groups. Start with the following:  
     
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24/7) 1-800-273-8255
  • IMAlive
  • Reach Out. Check In. Save a Life
  • Empact-Suicide Prevention Center
  • World Suicide Prevention Day 
  • National Association of Mental Illness Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

    One Valley mom started the Andy Hull Sunshine Foundation after losing her young son. You can learn more about and support her efforts by connecting on Facebook.

Supplement Support: Psoriasis Relief

It's Psoriasis Awareness Month and we've selected some of the IPC-curated supplements that may assist with your comfort and help in your moderating symptoms. Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin, often on elbows, knees or the scalp. It can also be associated with other serious health issues such as diabetes and heart disease.

Fish Oil with Omega 3
Eating a couple of servings weekly of salmon, albacore tuna, and other fatty fishes that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation, the hallmark of psoriasis. Fish oil supplements such as Pro Omega 3, offered by IPC, have shown that fish oil can protect against heart disease and boost the immune system. Because psoriasis is an autoimmune disease, this natural treatment could help improve symptoms. One word of warning: Don't take fish oil if you're on blood thinners - it can raise your risk for bleeding.

Turmeric
Some people with psoriasis have found relief with turmeric as a natural psoriasis treatment. Turmeric, part of the ginger family, is found in foods such as curry powders, mustards and cheeses. IPC's Circuplex CR is a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplement. It provides curcumin, derived from turmeric, along with a black pepper extract - which helps with absorption - to keep your inflammation down and improve your joint/muscle and neurologic/cognitive support.

Beta-carotene
Vitamin A is essential for healthy skin. But in too-large doses, the vitamin can have serious side effects. A safer alternative is beta-carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A. IPC carries Priority One Bio-Vegetarian which features an innovative blend of botanicals (plant-based ingredients), minerals and vitamins. In addition to assisting you with infections, these tablets offer outstanding immune system support, especially working to help prevent the common cold and flu. This supplement is preservative-free and vegetable-based.

Other natural remedies you might incorporate into your routine include soaking in Dead Sea Salts, drinking plenty of water, yoga and massage. For more highlights on how to best live with this skin-irritating disease, visit the National Psoriasis Foundation.

Feel free to visit our office to learn more about the featured supplements or ask your IPC provider for more details at your next visit. You can place an order through our website or by calling us at 480.776.0626. Payment is required at the time the order is placed.

Food for Life: Food as Medicine

Do you believe that the food you eat can improve your body and your mind? Dr. Levitt does and encourages her patients to focus on quality proteins, fruits and vegetables that are the best natural sources of the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy and fend off disease later in life.

To help in that effort, here is a list of the best brain food as outlined by one of her go-to sources for the brain-food connection, Dr. David Perlmutter. (Of course organic and responsibly sourced versions are suggested.)

Learn more here about how each of these foods can protect and nurture our brains. (And stay tuned for more on this issue. Dr. Levitt will be attending a medical conference on gut health later this month.) 

  • Olive and Coconut Oil
  • Asparagus
  • Kimchi 
  • Wild Salmon
  • Jicama 
  • Blueberries
  • Kale and Spinach 
  • Turmeric
  • Broccoli 
  • Eggs
  • Avocado 
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Red Wine 
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Dark Chocolate

Healing Therapies: Feeling Sluggish?

In your 40s or beyond? Feeling a loss in energy? Have you been wondering what your body might need to give you the "get up and go" you miss from just a few years ago? An evaluation of your hormones might be in order.

Dr. Levitt sees a variety of challenges people face every day - depression, lagging sex drive, anxiety and sharpness of thinking, among others. With the right consultation and accompanying blood evaluation, it may be determined that hormone levels are lagging.  
Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) might be a treatment to consider to provide the boost needed to get back to your "old self."

A bio-identical hormone regimen comes from natural, plant-derived compounds that have the same molecular structure as those made by your body and are delivered through creams, patches, oral lozenges or pellets. Men and women both experience a decrease in hormone production as they age. Women experience a decline in estrogen and men in testosterone. Some of the benefits of BHRT to women and men include support for cardiovascular and bone health and increased cognitive function.

If you'd like to learn whether you are a candidate for BHRT, simply call our office and ask for an appointment with Dr. Levitt to start the process. The process starts with a consultation and often with a blood analysis. Once the results are returned, next steps are determined. If pellets are determined as part of the course of action, a simple in-office procedure takes approximately 20 minutes and each pellet delivers a consistent dosage of hormones for 3-6 months. Depending on the individual, the hormone replacement process is repeated every four to six months.

Patients are so pleased with the results that they maintain their follow up visits without the need for a reminder call from our office.

Learn more about BHRT.

 

Spotlight on Wellness: Healthy Living Tips from Olympians

Five Arizonans will be competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio through most of August. While they’ve been putting in hours and hours of training and refining their food regimes for maximum performance, we thought it would be fun to take the secrets of some of the most renowned athletes and translate them into tips for you. (Click here if you'd like to read about the five Arizona athletes.)

All Olympians know where they’re starting from and the goals they are trying to reach. So start with a baseline health assessment. Make sure you're getting your annual physicals and a comprehensive blood work up to help with a wholesale assessment of where you stand. IPC has an office full of providers ready to help.

Breakfast is more than just showing up on a Wheaties box. All Olympians consider breakfast to be one of the most important things they do during their training regimen. Anything with protein - from eggs with whole grain toast to a frittata with dark leafy greens will give you the boost to cross the finish line at the end of a long day. If you need some ideas to kick start a protein-filled day, check out these recipes. Dr. Levitt also suggests adding in several cups of matcha green tea throughout the day to help keep your inflammation in check.

U.S. Olympic Committee Dietician, Jennifer Gibson, says that many athletes in training opt for organic whole foods instead of processed foods. This allows them to know what ingredients are in their meals and keeping them low in pesticides. Environmental Working Group has a handy pocket-sized listing of produce that tends to be heavy with pesticides. Get a copy of the list here so you can have it handy for your next shopping trip.

Olympians know the power of maximizing their muscle capacity. Training combined with stretching is the only way to do that. Not only does stretching help with alignment, balance, flexibility and an overall sense of wellness, stretching can also cut down on injuries. We've found some great stretches here. Experts suggest dynamic warm ups and stretches before you exercise. Static stretches are usually held for 30 seconds. Dynamic stretches get you warm and stretch. These active movements might mimic your actual workout. For runners, as an example, hip circles, walking lunges and butt kicks will activate the muscle groups used in running. For walkers, walking lunges, knee lifts and other movements might help. This provides a bit of a cardio warm-up as well as reduce your risk of energy and improve your athletic performance.

Most Olympians do not just stick with one fitness routine. Most take advantage of cross-training to shape different muscles in their body. We’re sure you’ve seen the uptick in crossfit kinds of workout places. If you’re up for those hardcore workouts, great. Just make sure if you have any specific issues with knees, shoulders or other challenges that you feel comfortable to “opt out” of those particular movements. Walking, yoga and other low impact exercises are ideal for all ages. Depending on your age range, consider learning more from either the National Institute on Aging or Healthline. And if you do have pain, consider meeting with Dr. Simonson in the IPC office who has expertise in utilizing trigger point therapy and prolotherapy to assist with such challenges.

To watch the Olympians in action check out 12 News for all the latest news and schedules.

Spotlight on Wellness: Summertime Health and Safety

It’s hot, but that doesn’t mean health and wellness should take a back seat. In fact, you have opportunities to kick things into higher gear as you not only get some extra rest, but begin to prep for the coming school year and fast paced Fall season. 

Here’s a checklist of summer safety tips and ideas:

1. Drink plenty. And we don’t mean cocktails. Beverages without sugar and with heavy water content are best. That includes water itself. Dr. Levitt suggests staying away from plastic water bottles, especially when they’re exposed to the heat (sitting in hot cars) when chemicals can leach. Stick with glass or other quality reusable containers. Iced teas and other drinks are also options. Dr. Levitt suggests looking at the sugar content of any drink and try to avoid any unnecessary additions of sugar. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, everyday (.5-1 oz. of water per pound of body weight). It’s especially important to drink water before, during and after a workout. This means drinking 16-20 oz. of water before, a few ounces every 15-20 minutes during, and another 16-20 oz. after training to replace the loss of any fluid.

2. Dig into those yummy seasonal fruits and vegetables. Enjoy a cup of mixed fresh berries every day. Blackberries, blueberries or strawberries will help you load up on antioxidants and are naturally high in fiber, which helps keep cholesterol low and may even help prevent some cancers. Cherries are fat free, sodium free and cholesterol free and are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. Grape tomatoes - yes, tomatoes are a fruit - are plentiful in the summer and so easy to consume. One cup contains 16 percent of the daily source of fiber and tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant, lycopene. Dip them in hummus for a quick and health snack. Melons are bountiful this time of year and high in vitamin C and water content – which makes them filling too.

3. Book your annual physicals today. It’s always easier to make sure you get on to the schedule during the summer to get your regular check-ups done and out of the way for the busy season. Innovative Primary Care has a wonderful line up of providers that you might enjoy for your check up.

4. Hormone checkups. Why wait? If you’re feeling lethargic, it could be more than the heat. Dr. Levitt usually sees bioidentical hormone therapy patients on Tuesdays. Advance blood work is required. Working this in now helps prepare you for the energy you’ll need through Fall and busy Holiday season.

5. Get moving even when it’s hot. Though it’s more difficult to find safe, outdoor exercise options during the summer, a walk early in the morning or as the sun goes down or just after, is an excellent fitness option. Try to avoid any outdoor activities between the hours of 10am-5pm. Walking at indoor malls (without slowing for window shopping) is also an option. Swimming is great option but you need to move! Check out a water aerobics video to get some ideas or find a class nearby.

For Seniors, check out the summer activities in your area:
Gilbert Senior Center
Chandler Senior Center
Scottsdale Senior Center

6. Make sure you apply sunscreen with SPF 15 (or higher) to prevent sunburn—even on cloudy days. Use an oil-free formula that won’t interfere with your body’s ability to cool itself down and select a sweat-proof variety to prevent sunscreen from irritating your eyes.

7. Protect your vision at work and play. Wear protective eye wear. When outdoors, wear sunglasses that block at least 99% of ultraviolet A and B rays. Sunglasses can help prevent cataracts, as well as wrinkles around the eyes.

8. Beware of the Bugs. Arizona summers are prone to high concentrations of mosquitoes. Avoid combination sunscreen/insect repellent products because sunscreen needs to be reapplied every two hours, but the insect repellent should not be reapplied. Use insect repellents containing DEET when needed to prevent insect-related diseases. Ticks can transmit Lyme Disease, and mosquitoes can transmit West Nile, Zika virus, Chikungunya virus and other viruses. Ten percent DEET provides protection for about 2 hours, and 30% protects for about 5 hours. Choose the lowest concentration that will provide the required length of coverage. As an alternative to DEET, Picaridin has become available in the U.S. and a 5-10% concentration can provide a short protection time of up to four hours and a 20% concentration product provides all-day protection from mosquitoes and ticks. Click here for more on insect repellents.

9. Know the Warning Signs. During the summer, be particularly cautious about abnormally high body temperatures -- a condition known as hyperthermia. Heat stroke is an advanced form of hyperthermia that can be life-threatening. We’ve already seen several people in Arizona die from this. Get medical attention immediately if you or anyone you know is experiencing these symptoms:

  • Body temperature greater than 104 degrees (which you may not be able to figure out)
  • A change in behavior, such as acting confused, agitated or grouchy
  • Dry, flushed skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Heavy breathing or a rapid pulse
  • Not sweating, even if it's hot out (you might even feel cold)
  • Fainting

Supplement Support: Pump up the Nutrition

Men of all ages seeking optimum performance and health might want to consider a few supplements Innovative Primary Care has vetted for you. They include a multivitamin, omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. And just like we noted above about sunscreens, multivitamins and other supplements are NOT created equally - at all. Here are a few we've researched and believe can support men's health and well-being:

  • Multivitamin to help energy, immune support and generally address deficiencies that can happen in time with aging and poor diet. IPC carries both Nutrient 950 and Spectrum 2c.
     
  • Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy cholesterol and brain health.
     
  • Healthy levels of Zinc are needed for crucial functions in your body such as immune function to fight illness, healthy cell growth and development and to ensure proper sense of taste and smell.

Feel free to visit our office to learn more about the featured supplements or ask your IPC Provider for more details at your next visit. You can place an order through our website or by calling us at 480.776.0626. Payment is required at the time the order is placed.

Food for Life: Protein Powered Food

If you have 15 minutes, then you have enough time to whip up a filling and muscle-building bowl of Lemongrass Turkey Quinoa. Featuring ground turkey (leaner than most cuts of meats and rich in selenium) and quinoa (naturally gluten-free, a complete protein with iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber), this simple meal choice is perfect post-workout or at any mealtime.

And speaking of food, the FDA recently updated its food labeling requirements to assist consumers in making better informed food choices. Check out the changes here.

IPC Team Profile: Provider Changes

Speaking of our excellent providers, it is with great sadness that we must say goodbye to our naturopath, Dr. Wiggins. Dr. Wiggins has provided services to patients of all ages at Innovative Primary Care for nearly five years. Dr. Wiggins will be moving back to her homebase of Alaska, where her family has been missing her. We wish her the best and thank her for her dedicated services to the patients of Innovative Primary Care.

Our Naturopath offerings continue with two team members. Dr. Xan Simonson joined our team in March and focuses on pain relief and other offerings. Dr. Cynthia Romero will be joining us later this month. Stayed tuned for more information about Dr. Romero in our July newsletter.

Healing Therapies: Safe Sun Protection

Despite what the temp reads in your car, the sun can do its damage hot or cold. As people begin to think of sunscreen more, it's also important to consider what you don't know can hurt you as well. IPC prides itself on "digging into" information about the products you use for your health and wellness. Same goes for your sunscreen.

Sunscreens come in a variety of formulas and strengths, yet many are more damaging to our bodies by what they do and don't contain. Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been researching the efficacy of sunscreens and making recommendations for the best protection for the past 10 years. So before you head to your corner drugstore, check out EWG's 2016 Sunscreen Guide to find out what might be lurking in your favorite brand of sunscreen.

And, of course, slather the right ones on.

Spotlight on Wellness: Men's Health

Regardless of age, studies show that men are 24 percent less likely than women to visit the doctor on a regular basis. In the spirit of Father’s Day, we encourage dads to give themselves the gift of health with regular check ups and conversations with your physician. For men over the age of 50, consider the following from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:

  • You could very well save your life if you get a screening test for colorectal cancer. Research now shows that 45 percent of colorectal cancers in the US are preventable each year through diet, staying at a healthy weight and being physically active. Tests such as a stool test or a colonoscopy can detect this cancer. While this might make you squeamish, avoiding it could be a life or death matter. Talk with your provider to determine the best steps for you. (And don’t forget the exercise.)
  • If you’ve been a smoker (smoked 100 or more cigarette’s in your lifetime), talk to your provider about being issues you might need to pay attention to. We don’t believe in screening for screening sake, we do know that some key screenings might be able to address a worsening issue.
  • Get screened for diabetes (high blood sugar) with a blood test if you have high blood pressure or take medication for high blood pressure. And keep in mind the foods you eat, even the ones you don’t believe have sugar, are likely processed as sugars (grain products, cereals, crackers and chips) and can add to issues you may be experiencing.
  • Have your cholesterol (lipids) and prostate specific antigen (PSA) checked regularly with a blood test. High blood cholesterol increases your chance of heart disease, stroke and poor circulation. A low PSA can lead to many quality of life issues.
  • Have your blood pressure checked at least every two years. High blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, kidney and eye problems and heart failure.
  • If you are younger than 65 or were born between 1945 and 1965, a Hepatitis C Virus and HIV screening is recommended.
  • Keep up to date on proper immunizations such as an annual flu shot. Every 10 years consider a shot for tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough – especially if you’re a grandpa around newborns. If you are 60 or older, get a shot to prevent shingles. If you are 65 or older, get a pneumonia shot.

Additional items to keep in check as you cross the 50-year-old threshold include lung cancer, obesity and depression.

Innovative Primary Care can conduct preliminary screenings for many of these items during an annual wellness exam. Starting in July, we will have a phlebotomist who can conduct lab draws within the office for your convenience.

Husbands, Dads, Uncles, Brothers and Sons, we want you healthy and invite you to schedule a visit today with any of our providers. If you feel more comfortable with a male provider, Dr. Chinwah and Physician’s Assistant Todd Schuster, are usually available for appointments within the week you call.