Posts by Dr. Sauter

Natural Treatments for Diabetes

Posted by on Jan 19, 2015

The clinicians at TCNM have treated an increasing number of patients with Type II Diabetes (DMII) in 2014. While the trend is disturbing, what’s really gotten my attention is fact that these patients have typically seen multiple doctors before coming to us, and most of them have never been given sound dietary advice. In most cases they have simply been given a prescription for Metformin or Glucophage, with little to no diet, lifestyle or nutrition counseling....

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Posted by on Oct 15, 2014

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Gut Psychology

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013

You know the expression, “I had a gut feeling”? That may be more true than you think. What if I told you that feeling was all about a molecule called serotonin? You’ve probably heard of it, especially if you are being treated for depression or anxiety with an SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitor.) These drugs effectively cause the body to keep re-using its current stores of serotonin, rather than allowing the normal breakdown and re-cycling that would occur. A current question in research is whether SSRI’s can cause the body to make less of its own serotonin over time, thereby exacerbating a functional deficiency. Some researchers think that’s the case, but if so, why not just give people serotonin? The answer is that we can’t – because each person has to manufacture their own, and guess where that happens? In the gut! Naturopathic medicine teaches that all diseases originate in the gut, including psychological disorders. With depression and anxiety, like most problems, we start with the basics – nourishment and repair of the mucosal lining of the gut. Here’s why – in addition to being the home of the immune system, mucosal cells in the gut are responsible for manufacturing vitamins, enzymes, and certain mono-amines, like serotonin and histamine, which function as neurotransmitters (among other duties), and are crucial in the brain to regulate mood and thought processes. (Histamine is another interesting example because anti-histamines are sometimes used to treat schizophrenia.) Let me explain. For a moment, think of your body as a tree – and then consider that if you were a tree, your roots would be in your gut. The mucous lining of the gut is intricately laced with tiny blood vessels that attach to the network of the rest of the body and transport nutrients that have been broken down from your food. This lining is also a filter that keeps waste products from entering your blood. The mucosal cells that maintain the gut barrier require proper nutrition to remain intact. When this lining is damaged due to stress, poor diet, nutritional deficiencies or infection, these cells can’t do their job. The result can be a condition sometimes referred to as “leaky gut,” which allows toxins to escape from the gut and get into the blood stream, which can cause serious mischief, especially in the brain. We know that many psychological disorders respond quite well to proper nutrition and repair of the gut lining. This includes depression, anxiety, bulimia, epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and ADHD, to name a few. Naturopathic physicians are well trained in normalizing gut function, so if you or someone you know is suffering from any of these problems, consider a consultation with a naturopath. It could change your...

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US Senate Passes Resolution to Recognize Naturopathic Medicine

Posted by on Sep 13, 2013

Indulge me for a moment to applaud the United States Senate for taking a simple but monumental step forward in addressing the shortage of primary care physicians in America. On September 10th the United States Senate voted to adopt a bill supporting licensed naturopathic physicians. The Senate Simple Resolution 221 was introduced in May by Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski from Maryland. The resolution passed unanimously. Herein I will freely quote from this resolution, which officially recognizes “the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care,” and “encourages the people of the United States to learn about naturopathic medicine and the role that naturopathic physicians play in preventing chronic and debilitating illnesses and conditions.” The bill speaks to the escalating cost of health care for illnesses that are largely preventable, such as obesity, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes and heart disease. It acknowledges that 75% of all health care dollars in America are spent to treat these preventable diseases, and that 67% of us are overweight and 70% of us have poorly managed stress. It speaks favorably of the non-invasive, prevention oriented, holistic approach that naturopathic doctors use to support and promote healing. It specifically refers to the extended education, training and skills required of naturopathic doctors who treat chronic illnesses such as asthma, autoimmune and gastrointestinal disorders. It also acknowledges that naturopathic medicine focuses on whole-body medicine rather than symptom management. Finally, it boldly states that “patients of naturopathic physicians report higher satisfaction and health improvement than do those of conventional practitioners.” Now, that’s not just me saying it – that’s the United States Senate…. At some length, the bill recognizes the role that naturopathic physicians can fill as primary care doctors, at a time when such providers are in high demand and short supply. Today many clinics in America offer only the services of a Physician’s Assistant or Nurse Practitioner as a Primary Care Provider (PCP) and while these individuals may be quite competent; their training was never intended to equip them for the job of a primary care doctor. The title of PCP has historically been the realm of a physician who has completed four years of college, four years of medical school, including an internship, and often an extended residency. The bill also reminds us that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that health insurance plans must include, reimburse and not discriminate against health care providers operating within the scope of their license, including integrative (naturopathic) physicians. Of course, all N.D.’s know that didn’t exactly get implemented in the way it was intended. But, be aware folks that the new health care law does have that specific language. This resolution has been long awaited by N.D.’s and their patients. The next logical paving stone would be to require Medicare to reimburse naturopathic doctors. In my practice, I have a significant number of older patients on a limited budget who pay out of pocket for my services rather than see a Medicare approved practitioner. I encourage you to go to http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/sres135/text to read the full text of the bill, which outlines the reasons that naturopathic physicians should be approved as primary care providers and reiterates the non-discrimination language that was originally written into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care...

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Probiotics and Gut Bugs – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Posted by on Jun 16, 2011

Ever had a bad gut bug? These are commonly called intestinal viruses, gastroenteritis or food poisoning. Bad gut bugs come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and your susceptibility to these organisms always depends on one thing… the terrain. In naturopathic medicine, the foundation of the human terrain is the gut, and we pay a lot of attention to it. In fact, most of our therapies are focused on optimal functioning of that organ system. The human gut is a hollow muscular tube that starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum, and every inch of the tube is lined with specialized cells that have very specific jobs to do. This is where the expression “you are what you eat,” is quite literally true. Everything you swallow goes to make up every cell in your body. It all gets broken apart into tiny molecules of proteins, amino acids and sugars, which eventually cross the mucus lining of the tube into the blood and travel to every cell to provide nourishment and allow new cells to be made. The first part of the tube is the muscular esophagus, then the stomach, which has lots of acid that is important for breaking down proteins. The duodenum has bicarbonate and enzymes for breaking down fats, while the small intestine is where most absorption occurs, and finally the colon. These last two sections of the tube are where we find the good gut bugs, which are the normal bacteria that live in the mucus lining and assist in nutrient assimilation and maintenance of the mucosa. Most of these bugs are bacteria, in fact about half of human feces consists of bacteria. One of these types of bacteria manages absorption of excess residue in the colon. Too much residue in the colon can happen from overeating or consuming foods that one is sensitive to, resulting in a condition called dysbiosis. This means that the balance of bacterial flora has been disturbed. Dysbiosis can also be caused by some ugly foreign bacteria, viruses and antibiotics. In severe or chronic dysbiosis, the mucosal lining of the gut tube can be damaged, leading to a lot of discomfort and often, outright illness. Dysbiosis is so common today that probiotics are heavily marketed to counteract the ill effects. Probiotics are intended to increase or replace the amount of good bugs in the gut. The right pro-biotic organisms can indeed normalize the bacterial flora of the gut and allow the damaged mucosal layer to heal, so the person can again begin to assimilate nutrients properly. While these products are often sold over the counter, let the buyer beware, as all pro-biotics are not created equal. Making the choice for the right probiotic organisms to help with your particular problem can be quite challenging unless you have the guidance of a knowledgeable doctor. Different strains of similar sounding organisms thrive in different locations in the gut (and other areas, such as the vaginal mucosa), and it can be hard to tell which ones are appropriate. If you would like more information about how to use probiotics to the best advantage and how to find a good quality brand, give me a call, and I’ll be happy to provide you with...

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