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Methylfolate Versus Folic Acid: Why the Fancy Folate?


How do you know if a common nutrient is good for you, or causing more harm than help?

Click below and visit Dr. Peter Bongiorno's blog post on Psychology today to find out.




Valerian for Insomnia, and Weaning Off Anti-Anxiety Medications

Dr. Peter Bongiorno's latest blog talks about how this ancient herb can help fix the modern problems of insomnia, anxiety and anxiety drug withdrawal.

More about Dr. Peter Bongiorno: here




The Role of Meditation in Optimal Immune Function

Two exciting studies discussed

Supporting optimal immune function is always a central goal of mine as a Naturopathic Doctor. Here's a summary of two research studies (1,2) linking the role of meditation (which has a myriad of other benefits) to optimal immune function and reduction of stress hormones.

The role of mucosal immunity is crucial in the prevention of sepsis via protection from exposure to opportunistic bacteria. 35 Chinese undergraduate students were taught Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT), which includes body relaxation, breathing adjustment, mental imagery, and mindfulness training. The aim of the therapy is to induce a state of restful alertness with improved awareness of body and breathing. The study group practiced IBMT for 4 weeks while the control group practiced a body-centered relaxation technique only. Salivary secretory IgA levels were shown to be increased in the IBMT group, with strong correlations to improved mucosal immune response. Another study assessed the role of Pranic Meditation on phagocyte function, where it was shown in 29 healthy individuals that more than 980 minutes of meditation (including 3-hour weekly training and 20 minute daily session at home) over the course of 10 weeks increases in phagocytosis and monocyte production of hydrogen peroxide along with reductions in plasma levels of corticotrophin.

1. Yaxin Fan, Yi-Yuan Tang, Yinghua Ma, and Michael I. Posner. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. February 2010, 16(2): 151-155. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0234.
2. César A. Fernandes, Yanna K.M. Nóbrega, and C. Eduardo Tosta. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. August 2012, 18(8): 761-768. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0718.

For more about Dr. Kachko click here



Which Diet Is Best for Your Best Mood?

What diet supports the brain and can prevent and treat anxiety and depression?

Find out with Dr. Peter Bongiorno's Psychology Today post.




The Risks of Cell Phone Radiation and How to Avoid it

Our health is a combination of our genetic susceptibility and our lifestyle choices, and our interaction with the environment takes center stage in determining how we feel. At this point, one of the most potent threats to our immediate environment is the impact of external electromagnetic frequencies (EMF). Since most people carry cell phones everywhere they go, they provide an opportunity to impact positive change in two ways:

1. Acknowledging that we lack the necessary long-term safety data on extensive cell phone use
2. Acknowledging how easy it is to make small changes which will go a long way in protecting our bodies

Every cellular phone has a documented Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), and if you read the Radio Frequency (RF) exposure information for your phone you will see legally mandated recommendations from the manufacturer to keep the phone away from your body. EMFs are impossible to completely avoid in this day and age of tech-everything, but some things are truly in our control. Here are a few guidelines to limit your exposure, specifically from cell phone use:

1.Avoid holding the phone to your head: Headsets (“airtube” headsets are best) and speaker phone options are useful. Another great idea is using call forwarding when you are at home, receiving calls to your cell phone on your landline. Wired telephones and devices are ALWAYS preferred to wireless devices. Bluetooth headsets are not currently a safe alternative.
2.If you cannot avoid using the phone directly in some instances, here’s a useful trick: when the phone rings, answer it and put it to your mouth and ask the caller to “hold on one second”, hold the phone as far from your body as possible while it experiences a frequency surge, then take the call as your normally would.
3.Do not keep your phone near your body whenever possible:
a. Keep it as far from your bed as possible when you sleep
b. Do not carry it in your pocket
c. Women should NEVER hold their phone in their bra, as there have been correlations to increased breast cancer rates
4.If you have an iPhone: When you are not using your phone consistently, turn on airplane mode (you won’t receive any calls or messages) or turn off “Cellular Data” under Settings - > Cellular (you can still receive calls and texts)

Learn more about Dr. Kachko here



Acupuncture and Cancer Care

Cancer Self Care and Acupuncture

Complimentary medicine can offer a different perspective on you and your sense of wellness. While in treatment or even after treatment, acupuncture is a relatively non-invasive way to focus on your health and your self as a whole.

Mirroring the increased use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine by patients being treated for cancer, a number of cancer centers in the United States are integrating acupuncture into cancer care.1

Clinical studies have demonstrated acupuncture as a an effective way to ameliorate many side effects of cancer treatment such as nausea, fatigue, insomnia, dry mouth, post-operative pain and immune regulation.

By reducing pain and stress, improving sleep and supporting the immune system acupuncture can go a long way to improving quality of life and offering an increased sense of well being to those in treatment for and survivors of cancer.

If you’d like to learn more about how acupuncture can help when dealing with cancer, please join me on February 23, 2015 at 8pm for the talk radio podcast Stupid Cancer Show Stupid Cancer, is a nonprofit organization, comprehensively addresses young adult cancer through advocacy, research, support, outreach, awareness, mobile health and social media.

1. Lu W, Dean-Clower E, Doherty-Gilman A, Rosenthal DS. The Value of Acupuncture in Cancer Care. Hematology/oncology clinics of North America 200822(4):631-viii. doi:10.1016/j.hoc.2008.04.005.

Click here to learn more about Cynthia Hewett, L.Ac.



Essential Fatty Acids Block the Depression Effect of Interferon Therapy

Study suggests fatty acids may prevent medication-induced depression


Dr. Peter Bongiorno's latest blog explains how old reliable fish oil can block the depression effects of interferon, a commonly used drug for hepatitis, blood cancer, multiple sclerosis, herpes viruses, and many other diseases.

Interferon can cause depression. A new study shows how fish oil can prevent this.

Published in Natural Medicine Journal - February 2015 Vol. 7 Issue 2




The Road To A Healthy Heart: What the latest research shows

Some of you may be aware that I’ve teamed up with a great company, Remedy Partners, to formulate cost effective and clinically useful recommendations for patients they manage. Our goal is to provide cutting edge research on natural approaches to health for patients who have been recently discharged from the hospital to help them get well and stay well in a sustainable way. Every once in a while I’ll share with the InnerSource Health community some of what the latest studies are showing.

The following are some general guidelines on cardiovascular health, specifically as it relates to those with Heart Failure.

***Note: It is important that you do not undertake any of the below recommendations without the consent of your physician. In addition, please note that these recommendations are not individualized for you, and your physician will work with you to optimize your individual care plan.


The Mediterranean diet has shown a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular related factors including lipid levels, insulin resistance, hypertension, and obesity. This is a mostly plant-based diet which is high in fiber, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. There is particular emphasis on monounsaturated fats including olive oil and foods high in EPA/DHA Omega 3s, mostly from fish. Some specific suggestions include:

Whole Grains: Carbohydrates should be eaten only in the complex form (as opposed to “simple” carbs). Examples are whole oats, Brown rice, millet, buckwheat, barley, quinoa, amaranth, whole wheat, spelt, kamut, teff.

Vegetables can be consumed in an unlimited amount, with special attention paid to dark leafy green vegetables. Strive to consume abundant amounts of dark leafy green vegetables, and at least one type of orange, yellow, and red vegetable/fruit per day.

Protein: Fish is consumed regularly (daily), and poultry/eggs are consumed in moderate amounts. Fish: Salmon, cod, trout, tuna, mackerel, ahi, etc. Limit consumption of tuna to 1-2 times per week due to mercury content. Fresh salmon is an especially good source of healthy oil called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Limit consumption of red meat to several times per month. In addition, limit intake of saturated fat to 5% of daily calories.

Oils: Olive oil is the principal source of fat, and can be added to salads. Aim to consume expeller pressed or cold pressed organic Extra Virgin Olive in its raw form. For cooking purposes, regular olive oil should be used because it has a higher smoke point than extra virgin olive oil.

Additional dietary recommendations:
• Aim to limit salt intake to 1800mg/day
• Discuss how much water you should be consuming with your physician
• Avoid alcohol and non-prescription drugs


CoQ10: this is an essential nutrient for the health of your heart muscle, as it plays a vital role in energy production in your mitochondria. It is also a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger.

Taurine: This amino acid helps to protect the heart and to improve the symptoms related to heart failure.

Propionyl-L-carnitine: This nutrient is cardioprotective, vasodilatory, lipid lowering, and improves energy production of the heart.

Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha): This herb relaxes blood vessels, increases the strength of the heart muscle, and controls heart rate.


Make sure that you have undergone an evaluation by your cardiologist regarding your exercise program. Once you have been cleared for exercise, you should aim to exercise 3-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes. Make sure that you warm up for 5-10 minutes before exercising, followed by 20 minutes of exercise, and ending with 5-10 minutes of a cool down. Walking for 40 minutes per day also has benefits for your heart and overall health.

Stress Reduction:

Consider adding meditation or other forms of relaxation to your daily routine to minimize stress. Meditation is the practice of contemplation or reflection in a relaxing environment with focus on deep breathing. Research has shown that meditation programs may reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce heart attack risk.

Click here to find out more about Dr. Kachko



Want to increase your chances of living longer? Follow this dietary advice

Few can argue that increasing longevity has been the ultimate goal for every life form since the dawn of time. The reasons for this have also been the subject of debate for nearly as long as human’s have had control of language. Some evolutionary theories suggest that the main incentive for increasing lifespan is to procreate, while others argue that as humans have evolved we’ve developed higher level needs grounded in an understanding of key socioeconomic tenets. The fact remains though, that historically anyone who was believed to hold the key to a longer life was highly regarded in his or her culture. In our society, where patients only consider seeing their Doctor once “disease” has already set in, we naturally forget about the role that prevention must play in optimal health. For this reason, any time research comes out showing that the foundations of health that we teach at InnerSource Health (a health promoting diet, appropriate exercise, optimal sleep, a positive mental attitude etc.) can objectively promote longer life in a highly reproducible way, I want to shout it from the metaphorical rooftops. See here goes from a study released last month:

The famous Nurses’ Health Study, which has been tracking the health of 121,000 nurses since 1976, has assessed the role that the Mediterranean diet plays in Telomere length. [I’ll digress for context: the telomere is the part of your DNA which protects it from damage. Each time our cells divide, telomeres shorten. While this is something we need to protect us from uncontrolled cell growth – think cancer – longer telomeres have also been associated with a longer life. Anything we can do to lengthen them while maintaining normal cell cycle control will increase your chances for a long and healthy life]. The researchers found that when they measured the telomere length of white blood cells in these nurses, those who ate a Mediterranean diet were more likely to have longer telomeres. This is in addition to all of the other related benefits of the diet for things like cardiovascular and mental health, and for reducing cancer risk.

As a Naturopath and Acupuncturist, I have a seemingly endless array of tools to help you get well and stay well. But all of the supplements in the world won’t do you any good in a sustainable way without incorporating health promoting lifestyle choices such as proper diet.

So then, what is the Mediterranean diet? Primarily seasonal plant based foods from local sources, whole grains, legumes and nuts form the bulk of the diet. Healthy fats are encouraged, along with various herbs and spices for flavoring (instead of added salt, for example). Red meat is limited, but fish and poultry are eaten in moderation. Red (1 glass for women, 1-2 for men) with dinner is encouraged, as well as high quality dark chocolate in moderation. Dairy is eaten but in low volumes, and fresh fruit is the main source of dessert.

Is the Mediterranean diet right for me? That depends, and is certainly something we can discuss on your next visit. There are lots of dietary options, and no one-size-fits all approach. Schedule a visit by calling 631-421-1848 to go over your options and create an individualized plan just for you.

Click here to find out more about Dr. Kachko



What is Homeopathy and what can it do for me?

Homeopathy is an extremely effective and comprehensive system of medicine that has been in use since the end of the 18th century. While it has tremendous healing potential, it is also remarkably gentle and free of side effects. Homeopathic remedies are diluted forms of substances that, if given in their crude form to a healthy person, would cause the same symptoms that we are seeking to cure in the sick.

Homeopathy is supported by the medical understanding that “like cures like,” and by the pharmacological concept of the Biphasic Dose Response (Arndt-Schulz Principle). Its efficacy is further explained by a principle foundational to Naturopathy: that the body has an inherent capacity to heal itself. Symptoms, then, are necessary, protective efforts to return the body to homeostasis. Just as any stressor we encounter will result in an organized response by the body to protect itself, homeopathic remedies serve as targeted stressors or “messages” which stimulate our adaptive capacity in a specific way which helps the body to overcome those symptoms. The properly selected homeopathic remedy (there are over 4,000 in total) matches the totality of a person’s complaints at that time, and more importantly, mirrors the adaptive healing tendency unique to each individual.

As one of many tools at the disposal of a Naturopathic Doctor, homeopathy often serves to create clarity in some of our most difficult cases. In this way, the study of homeopathy helps us gain a better understanding of our patients and forge closer relationships with them, and allows us to truly understand the whole person.

To schedule a homeopathic consult with Dr. Kachko, please call the office at 631-421-1848 or email



Tips for Avoiding the Common Cold

Scared of catching a cold? Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself healthy this winter.

Supplement with vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to decreased immune function and increased risk of upper respiratory infections. Taken daily with a meal, vitamin D will keep you healthy and can prevent those winter blues.

Boost your immune system with healthy bugs. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live in our gut and help to keep the immune system balanced, fight infection and decrease the time needed to recover from a cold. Probiotics work in several ways to protect us. They help us to digest food, produce substances to protect our gut lining from invading bacteria, and help to outnumber the bad bacteria so they cannot proliferate and make us sick. Taking a probiotic supplement and eating fermented foods ensures that we get many different kinds of beneficial bacteria.

Avoid foods that deplete the immune system like sugar, alcohol and processed foods. These foods have been shown to increase inflammation in the body. As inflammation increases immune function decreases. Certain spices like turmeric, rosemary, garlic, oregano, ginger, among others have been shown to decrease inflammation and increase immune function. Adding these spices to our everyday cooking can give our immune system a little extra help. Mushrooms have medicinal properties that have been shown to increase the body’s natural immune system. Adding mushrooms like, shiitake or maitake, to soups and stews is an easy way to boost immunity. Increasing colorful veggies and fruit provides nutrients the body needs to fight off colds.

Taking a multivitamin daily will make sure your body is getting the essential nutrients it needs to function properly.

For your body to run efficiently you must stay hydrated. Dehydration leads to dry and cracked mucus membranes, which are our first line of defense against bacteria entering our body. Be sure to drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Adding fresh squeezed lemon, cucumber or some crushed berries will make this task easier to accomplish. Bone broths are packed with nutrients, taste great and also help to keep us hydrated. Herbal teas are another tasty, nutritious way to add to hydration status.

Always wash your hands. This is pretty much common sense and I'm sure you’ve heard it before but it can really help decrease your risk of catching a cold. When we touch surfaces that other people have touched we can pick up their germs. These germs can enter our body through our mucus membranes. Simply using soap and water before touching your face and especially before eating can help to prevent the spread of germs.

Other helpful tips include exercising regularly, going to bed before midnight and decreasing stress.

To learn more about Dr. Hanlon please call 631-421-1848 to schedule a free 10 minute consult.



Why Repressed Emotions Affect Our Health


Do our cells have embedded memory? Why is that important to know?

Unquestionably, research has proven that every experience we have, has been imprinted into our cells. This occurs on every level and encompasses all the five senses. All this information is being logged into our bodies and stored in our cells. Our cells even “listen” to what we think. Our bodies respond to our thoughts. Be they positive and uplifting or negative and depressing.

There is a saying, “Perception is Reality”. Your reaction to circumstances is based on your personal experiences and belief system. It is the way you see, feel, and express yourself in your life.

So what does this have to do with our health and well being? Everything!!

We all come from different walks of life. Some have had a very difficult childhood which could range from family trauma and abuse, to various debilitating health issues. Of course, experiencing trauma can come at any time of our life. Accidents, loss of loved ones, job loss. All these misfortunes affect our cells. Ultimately our health is compromised.

How did we digest these occurrences, or did we? Perhaps consciously we didn’t and we just went into survival mode. This path takes us into the concept of repressed emotions and the toll it takes on our health in the years ahead.

Candence Pert, (1944-2013), neuroscientist and pharmacologist, former Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry, Clinical Neuroscience Branch, at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), stated in her book Molecules of Emotions, “repressed emotions are stored in the body, the unconscious mind, via the release of neuropeptide ligands, and that memories are held in their receptors (i.e. emotions). The neuropeptides and receptors, the biochemicals of emotion are the messengers carrying information to link the major systems of the body into one unit called the body-mind.
These chemicals in our body are the substrates of the emotions, and they are in constant communication with our immune system, the mechanism through which health and disease are created”.

With more that 80 types of auto-immune diseases, the medical society is still wondering what causes them. Many have similar symptoms, which makes diagnosis difficult.

Medications are helpful in treating certain symptoms, but the individual suffering needs to get to the source of the emotion to find out what may be repressed and causing their quality of life to deteriorate.

Sondra Barrett, PhD, in her book Secrets of Your Cells, cites a study by psychologist James Pennebaker, in which he claims that when people hold back a painful or fearful story, the very experience of holding back is stressful, and their cells respond accordingly with symptoms of stress and anxiety. Once those thoughts have been released, there was a wave of relief, and their cells initiate the chemistry of peace.

How To Take Control of Emotional Health

There are effective ways one can take control of these emotional health issues holistically, since emotions are just one dimension of a greater whole. This is the body, mind, and spirit connection imperative to maintaining harmony and balance within.

Integrating a supportive natural health care approach with your holistic healthcare practitioner will help you to maintain an emotionally balanced body-mind system. A custom tailored nutritional program will also give you a big boost in emotional stability and maintaining optimum energy levels.

Speak positively to your cells. Remember. They’re listening!

Bio: Donna L. Nesteruk is a Licensed Acupuncturist with National Diplomat NCCAOM Board Certification. Certified Instructor and Practitioner of Acutonics® Tuning Fork Therapy. Donna is advanced certified and specializes in Constitutional Facial Rejuvenation incorporating various modalities including acupuncture, non-invasive tuning forks, and facial cupping with jade stone gua sha. Donna is a Reiki Master, Certified in EFT, a Certified Drum Circle Facilitator, and Certified in Sound Healing, Vocal Toning, and is a member of the Sound Healers Association. If you are interested in more information, you can make an appointment with Donna in Huntington Long Island, or the NYC office by contacting her at (631) 848-8856 or e-mail:
More about Donna here: here

sculpture: Aristide Mallilol, Bronze, c. 1904, photo credit: P Bongiorno



Whole Finance: How Values-Driven Divestment Created the Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Market

I sat down with SRI expert, Katherine Burstein, CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst ®) and Financial Advisor at Pell Wealth Partners in New York City ( to better understand how one matches profit to personal values.

Anne Williams: What are the differences between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Impact Investing (II) and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factor investing?

Katherine Burstein: SRI has traditionally connoted negative screening: e.g. not investing in weaponry, tobacco or other industries in conflict with an investor’s values.

The SRI industry got its start in the 1980s as part of the anti-apartheid movement. Over time, it began to represent positive as well as negative screening, with investors seeking out companies that proactively promote certain value sets. This would include practices such as treating workers above industry standard or employing innovative technology that conserves energy and water.

II is primarily associated with positive screening that is directly linked to measurable social or environmental outcomes. For example, a company might set in motion a program to meet a stated quantifiable reduction in gas emissions over a five-year period.

ESG factor investing is also mostly indicative of positive screening and currently acts as an umbrella term for the values-conscious investor. ESG factors are the parameters that socially responsible and impact investors use to analyze companies. ESG factors include issues such as sustainable use of natural resources, pollution prevention, labor relations, gender equality, diversity, human rights, responsible lending, transparency and shareholder rights, among many other factors.

AW: How are ESG factors currently analyzed?

KB: Analysis of ESG factors within a given company is largely dependent upon voluntary reports. Some companies provide a lot of information others very little or in vague terms. Data providers such as MSCI and Bloomberg now collect ESG data points from publicly traded companies and make the data available to their subscribers.

Much of the data analysis comes from the academic realm – for example, Harvard Business School – in addition to the financial sector itself.

AW: What have been the obstacles to including ESG factors in financial analysis?

KB: In large part, tradition. The historical mindset has been that values and profit are at odds. We now have data that demonstrates that there can be an economic benefit to values-based investment choices.

For example, we now have good data that suggests having women in leadership can be an indicator of higher profit and lower risk for companies. The value of diversity has resulted in the creation of several funds focused on companies that support and maintain the advancement of women.

We have also seen data that negative screening (excluding companies with poor ESG performance) can help moderate downside risk in a portfolio. One example would be the BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. MSCI, an ESG factor data provider who assigns ESG scores to companies, rated BP’s Health and Safety record in the lowest quartile before the 2010 spill, giving subscribers the option in advance to move their money to other companies.

AW: How might ESG factor analysis become more standardized within the financial industry?

KB: Advisory boards such as SASB (the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board) have been created to encourage more standardized reporting on corporations’ ESG performance. Over time, this movement may make it easier for investors to gain standardized information and make more informed decisions.

AW: For an individual who wants to start by making small steps into the SRI arena, where would you suggest beginning?

KB: Take a moment to consider where might be areas of opportunity in your investment portfolio that align with your overall goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. Whether it be your local bank, your financial advisor, or online lists of socially responsible mutual funds (see, for example), there are many resources available for those just getting started.

Another way to get involved would be speaking up at the institution where you work or at your alma mater (college or university). If that organization holds investments through a pension plan, or endowment, and you are a stakeholder in some way, you can provide feedback that sustainability is important to you.

AW: Parting words?

KB: Thanks for talking with me, Anne! I’d like to point out that sustainability is one parameter of evaluating an investment and it is important to remember that there is no perfect company. For example, a retail company may have an advanced system for reducing waste in its supply chain, but may also have issues with employee relations. Or an energy company be making strides towards renewable, clean energy solutions, but also have issues with transparency and communicating with shareholders.

Also, it’s important to keep in mind that just because a company is sustainable, doesn’t always mean it’s a good investment. It’s always to consider investment options within the context of an overall financial plan suited to your unique goals.

For those interested, more information on this topic can be found in the Green Money Journal (, the USSIF (Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment -, Bloomberg ( and the MSCI (Morgan Stanley Capital International) ESG indexes (

Katherine Burstein, CFA, specializes in Socially Responsible and Impact Investing with the aim of not only helping clients achieve financial and life goals, but also social and environmental ones through generating positive social and environmental impact. Learn more about Katherine here:

Dr. Anne Williams, ND is a natural health expert who specializes in women’s health and cardiovascular disease. She helps her patients live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



How Does Your Gut Flora Affect Your Mood?

6 Steps You Can Take

Psychology Today Blog 11-08-2014

What do the germs in your digestive tract have to do with anxiety and depression?

What can you do to help them thelp your mood?

Click below and find out




Probiotics for Preventing the Sniffles: Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

August 25, 2014

by Dr. Anne Williams

The Japan Pediatric Society recently reported that twice daily supplementation with probiotics was able to “significantly lower risk of fever, cough,” runny nose and school absence in children 8-13 years of age.

Preventing the severity of viral infections such as the common cold can also prevent the likelihood of secondary infections such as sinusitis and middle ear infections.

In addition to the immune-boosting effects against viral infections, probiotics have also been found to reduce the incidence of allergic rhinitis or seasonal allergy symptoms in children.

Treating the digestive system is a common way to support the immune and respiratory system in Chinese medicine. Once again, we see ancient wisdom corroborated by modern research.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Williams here: here


Pediatr Int. 2012 Oct54(5):682-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2012.03647.x. Epub 2012 Jul 10.
Randomized controlled trial of probiotics to reduce common cold in schoolchildren.
Rerksuppaphol S1, Rerksuppaphol L.

Pediatr Res. 2007 Aug62(2):215-20.
A randomized prospective double blind controlled trial on effects of long-term consumption of fermented milk containing Lactobacillus casei in pre-school children with allergic asthma and/or rhinitis.
Giovannini M1, Agostoni C, Riva E, Salvini F, Ruscitto A, Zuccotti GV, Radaelli G Felicita Study Group.



Simple Steps for Back-To-School Preparation: Routine

August 20, 2014

Anne Williams, ND, LAc

Studies show that one of the best ways to support your children's academic performance and personal growth is with reliable structure. Especially by providing a consistent bedtime and mealtime. Poor grades in school and depression are strongly correlated with irregular patterns.

Children respond well to a routine that they can depend on in the face of the many changing factors in their school environment. All change results in stress on the body and the home environment is one place that can provide a sense of rest and repose. Restorative home time allows kids to have the energy to be more flexible in other situations.

Though complaints are frequent with bed and mealtime routines, remember that hindsight is usually 20/20 and your kids will most likely thank you, even if that thanks only comes years from now.

An added bonus for mom comes with bedtime routine. It appears that not only children benefit through improved sleep quality but mom’s mood improves as well.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here

The Prince’s Trust Youth Index 2012.

Sleep. 2009 May32(5):599-606.
A nightly bedtime routine: impact on sleep in young children and maternal mood.
Mindell JA1, Telofski LS, Wiegand B, Kurtz ES.



Coffee Good or Bad? Dr. Peter Bongiorno interviewed by Natural Health Magazine


Is coffee good for you?

Does Dr. Peter drink coffee?

Find out by clicking below…




Robin Williams' Loss and Holistic Care for Depression

08.14.2014 on Psychology Today

"Why do I stand up here? Anybody?
I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way."
– Robin Williams as Mr. Keating in Dead Poets Society

Robin Williams' brilliance left us way too early. Here are some steps to help us consider a more holistic and integrative model to deal with severe depression.




Pregnancy Preparation

Research shows that a healthy pregnancy begins months prior to conception. It is in this pre-pregnancy time that a mom-to-be can begin healthy lifestyle choices. Especially important are improving the basics of health, such as diet, sleep, exercise and relaxation work, to help ensure a healthy start for the baby and a safe pregnancy for the mother.
Throughout the pregnancy it is important to maintain a healthy weight for your height and body type. Gentle exercise and a healthy diet will keep your body functioning at an optimal level. Nutrient-dense foods can help achieve this goal while avoiding excess weight gain, which would decrease the risk of blood sugar problems while pregnant, known as gestational diabetes.
Methylated folate may be the most important supplement needed for women of childbearing age. A minimum of 400 mcg per day is needed before and during pregnancy in order to prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. What most doctors do not even know is that common folic acid, the form found in most prenatal vitamins, may actually be useless to some woman who posses a defect in their MTHFR gene. This gene is needed to convert inactive folic acid to the active form, methylfolate. When the gene is defective, it can also lead to blood clots during pregnancy and miscarriages. A simple blood test can identify women with MTHFR defects. For all pre-pregnant, and pregnant women, excellent natural sources of the right folate forms include: beans, lentils, spinach, asparagus, and avocado.
For the best care be sure to speak to your doctor regarding a prenatal vitamin and healthy lifestyle habits.


"Recommendations." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Jan. 2012. Web. 12 July 2014.

Dr. Lynch, "Is MTHFR Affecting Your Pregnancy?" MTHFRNet. N.p., 24 May 2013. Web. 12 July 2014.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Siobhan Hanlon



Keep Cool in Summer with Cooling Foods and Spicy and Pungent Herbs

Summer is definitely here and with it, the heat and humidity. Many people find the heat very uncomfortable and even fatiguing. Chinese Medicine offers wonderful solutions on how to stay comfortable, no matter in the environment we may find ourselves.

In the tradition of Chinese Medicine, each season is associated with an element. Appropriately, summer is associated with the element of fire. This makes sense, for the chief environmental factor in summer is quite obviously heat. When in balance, some heat can be good for us, but for many, too much heat can accumulate in the body and contribute to many common maladies. For example, heat in the body can contribute to sleep difficulties, irritability, skin irritations, restlessness and a host of other discomforts.

Staying hydrated is the best way to stay cool during the summer. The bounty of fruits and vegetables available in summer is a great resource. Watermelons and cucumbers, in particular are very helpful. These stars of the summer fruit world are cooling in nature and have the added benefit of helping replenish body fluids.

Another climatic factor in summer is humidity. Humidity can make you feel heavy-headed, sluggish and promote water retention (swelling). Pungent herbs help move energy upward and outward to the periphery of the body. The pungent flavor opens the pores so the body can cool down. Cooling or neutral pungent foods like mint, turnips, radish and kohlrabi can help keep internal humidity at bay. Other great summer pungent selection are basil and dill.

Many people think spicy foods will make you hotter. In fact, the spicy stuff can actually cool you down. Spicier options like hot peppers, chilies and fresh ginger will help open the pores and allow us to perspire and release heat. This is a classic strategy for keeping a feeling of coolness. Remember, with these hotter choices a little can go a long way. Moderation is key.

Summer is a season of expansion, growth and outward activity. Engage with others. laugh, enjoy the bounty of nature, and play just for the heck of it. And to keep in balance with the heat and humidity remember your:

* cooling foods to keep heat at bay: watermelon, cucumber, celery,
tomato, leafy greens, kiwi, mung bean, mung bean sprout and zucchini

* spices to help release heat: hot peppers, chilies and fresh ginger

* pungent herbs for humidity and swelling: basil, dill, peppermint, turnips, radish and turnip and radish leaves, lemon and tangerine zest, kohlrabi and green tea

about the author: Cynthia Hewett LAc, Cert Herb brings her gentle blend of healing using Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, individualized Chinese Medicine formulas and Cranial sacral therapy. She practices at Inner Source Health in New York City. Click to learn more about Cynthia here



A Cold Splash - Hydrotherapy for Depression and Anxiety


Read Dr. Peter's blog on Psychology Today explaining how a good old shower and some naturopathic wisdom can help anxiety and depression.




ADHD an immune and gastrointestinal disease? Looking beyond the neurological.


A recent report in the journal European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, pointed to a more complex origin for attention-deficient hyperactivity disorder. The journal pointed out that children with ADHD commonly suffer from immune disorders, that the genes linked to ADHD affect the immune system and that higher levels of immune-mediated inflammation can lead to ADHD symptoms.

Children with ADHD are known to have a greater incidence of gastrointestinal upset and irregularity – independent of pharmacological treatment.

This research is an encouraging step toward widening the lens on childhood illness. Instead of a linear “1 pill to control 1 mechanism” approach, the human body can be seen more completely – as a dynamic complex organism.

Confirming the wisdom of holistic naturopathic approaches to illness and dysfunction, treating the whole person is truly treating the whole disease.

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014 Feb 4. [Epub ahead of print]
Nutrition, immunological mechanisms and dietary immunomodulation in ADHD.
Verlaet AA1, Noriega DB, Hermans N, Savelkoul HF.

Pediatrics. 2013 Nov132(5):e1210-5. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1580. Epub 2013 Oct 21.
Association of constipation and fecal incontinence with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
McKeown C1, Hisle-Gorman E, Eide M, Gorman GH, Nylund CM.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



What do Inner Source Health and Cleveland Clinic have in common?


We both care about the safety and efficacy of our Chinese herbal formulas.

Cleveland Clinic, a multi-specialty medical center, is the third largest hospital in the country. The hospital is a leading medical innovator integrating clinical and hospital care with research and education. Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Integrative Medicine, has added herbal medicine to their clinical practice alongside of conventional medicine.

Both Cleveland Clinic and InnerSource Health source our herbs from Crane Herbal Pharmacy. Crane is an independent distributor known for their leadership in the Chinese herbal industry. Only Crane Herb pharmacy compounds custom herbal prescriptions which comply with the FDA cGMP standards, FDA labeling requirements, allergen warnings and HIPPA. Crane uses KPC concentrated herb granules and they are the only Chinese herb manufacturer to meet the rigorous standards of all industrialized nations.

Click here to learn more about master herbalist and acupuncturist Cynthia Hewett LAc, Cert Herb: here



Naturopathic Care, Heart Disease and Healthcare Costs

May 2, 2014

A recent study found that naturopathic care not only reduced the 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease but also provided significant savings to both society and employers by reducing healthcare costs.

In a country where healthcare costs are the highest per capita in the world and almost twice that of the country in second place, a second glance at naturopathic primary care is more important than ever.

Voice your support for naturopathic doctors being licensed in NY state and keep up to date through the NYANP’s facebook page:

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here

References: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Feb. 2014. “A naturopathic approach to the prevention of cardiovascular disease: cost effectiveness analysis of a pragmatic multi-worksite randomized clinical trial.”



The Magic Bullet for Aging? Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

by Donna Nesteruk, LAc - 04-25-2014

What can acupuncture do to stop the aging process??

Click below to find out….




Fertility, Embryo Quality and Acupuncture

April 22, 2014

Studies have shown that both embryo (fertilized egg) quality and embryo transfer rates are significantly increased with the use of acupuncture before and on the day of transfer.

The study in reference to egg quality was done in a population of women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) – a constellation of symptoms that includes blood sugar dysregulation, polycystic ovaries, testosterone dominance and infertility.

Additional studies on acupuncture may shed some light as to the reason for this effect. Progesterone production, which is essential for implantation and maintenance of pregnancy can be upregulated through acupuncture treatment.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here

Effects of acupuncture on the outcome of in vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. June 2013 Acupuncture in medicine: journal of the British Medical Acupuncture Society.
Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproductive therapy. April 2002 Fertility and sterility.



Three Years Later - is Fukushima Radiation Getting Into Your Food

How to protect yourself from nuclear fallout and other radiation


Fukushima and other environmental radiation poses a clear threat to health, as long term radiation exposure can mutate (change) the genetic code in our body, spurring various destructive cancers and inflammations.

But, it is not as cut and dry as you may think. Please read Dr. Peter's blog on Psychology Today, and learn what the threat is for you, and what you can do to protect yourself.

This is the expanded-full length article of one that appeared in New Living Magazine a few months prior.




Smoking and Depression: Chicken or Egg?

March 24, 2014

Smokers and healthcare providers sometimes feel hesitant about smoking cessation due cigarettes’ ability to stabilize mood in the short-term.

Studies show more often than not, however, that mood – including anxiety, depression and perceptive stress – improves after smoking cessation. And the improvement is comparable to the effect of antidepressant therapy.

This may be in part due to the hundreds of chemicals released into the lungs when a cigarette burns. According to the American Lung Association, cadmium, lead, benzene and formaldehyde are found in tobacco smoke. In addition to other compounds, these substances can significantly increase inflammation in the body, which is associated with poor mood.

The effects on mood were measured at minimum 7 weeks post-cessation, implying that with time, your body will do a better job regulating its mood that a Marlboro.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here

British Medical Journal, Feb 2014 "Change in mental health after smoking cessation: systematic review and meta-analysis." Taylor G et al



Pau D'Arco and Heart Disease

March 21, 2014

Most commonly mentioned in reference to cancer, Pau D’Arco bark may also have some benefits for those with cardiovascular disease.

An animal study showed that the inner bark has an ability to inhibit platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots. During the 1970s, human trials conducted by the National Cancer Institute found the same effect.

Native to Central and South America, the Pau D’Arco tree is a beautiful plant that shows much promise for future research in the world of integrative cardiology.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



Happy Spring - LOVE LAUGH and Your LIVER for Best Spring Health

by Donna Nesteruk, LAc - 03-19-2014

Your liver and springtime: what is the connection in Chinese Medicine, and how can you use this for your best spring health?




Leaky Gut, Is It Real, and How Does It Affect Mood ?

Is Leaky Gut Real?

Published at NDNR 03-18-2014

Is leaky gut real, and how does it relate to mood disorder?

Click below to find out in this new article by Dr. Peter Bongiorno




Loving Your Heart With Cinnamon

March 4, 2014

Long-used in Chinese medicine for nourishing the heart, research has confirmed that cinnamon has the ability to help regulate blood pressure and lipids.

Some of the compounds in cinnamon have also been shown to be more effective than aspirin in keeping blood from clotting. (This is not a recommendation to stop taking your aspirin!)

Though the daily dose is small, the cumulative effect from daily use can support long-term heart health and help protect your body against diabetes as well.

Embrace your kitchen spice cabinet and sprinkle some cinnamon on fresh fruit for a heart-healthy snack!

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



Wool: A Natural Flame-Retardant

February 25, 2014

by Dr. Anne Williams

Flame retardant clothing and bedding have become an important home safety measure to prevent against fires.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of flame retardants on the market, such as PBBs (a relative of PCBs) are known to bio-accumulate with toxic effects on the environment and possibly humans as well.

While talking to Rachel Button, manager of NYC’s the Clean Bedroom showroom (, I found out some exciting information.

Their mattresses, which have organic wool linings pass the “torch test.” An industrial torch, held to the mattress for 30 seconds, elicits no lasting flame in the 100% organic wool linings.

It is comforting to know that nature has us covered. We can breath and protect ourselves at the same time, using a renewable, natural resource.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



Where O Where is My Fresh Air?

by Anne Williams, ND, LAc

I jumped into a taxi the other day, only to be accosted by the nauseating smell of an “air freshener” pinned to the car’s air vent. I had a similar experience at a car garage, with steady puffs of perfume saturating my airspace.

It appears that we are moving back to the Middle Ages, when, instead of cleaning ourselves or our possessions, we are fragrancing away the smells.

It is not that I am opposed to the occasional mix of sweat, dirt and lilacs – I am more concerned about the chemicals I am inhaling.

One example, the commonplace candle, can burn vapors containing anything from lead to benzene, which at high levels or in smaller bodies (think kids) can lead to developmental problems and increased cancer risks.

When you combine that with the average amount of ventilation my or any New York apartment gets in the wintertime (close to zilch), the issue of testing and labeling grows more legitimate.

Yet like many, I love candles and spice and everything nice. Some great options for the like-minded include 100% beeswax candles, essential oil diffusers or when in a rush or in doubt, fresh air.

Dr. Anne Williams is a natural health expert who works with kids and adults to live life to its fullest, with energy and enthusiasm. Learn more about Dr. Anne here: here



Got to Drink Milk? Learn Your A1's and A2's for Best Health


Cow’s milk is a staple food in many homes. Unfortunately cow’s milk itself may be a silent, but potent factor in a number of illnesses, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, inflammatory issues, gastrointestinal health, and mood disorders, as well as infant and children’s health problems.

Emerging research suggests the type of cow’s milk you drink may be a part of the issue.

Learn about which milk may be healthier… and that it is more than likely you are not drinking it




What’s a Phthalate and Why Does It Matter for Joe and Jane Jr.?

by Dr. Anne Williams, ND, LAc

Maybe you’ve been hearing the buzz about phthalates in your food, cosmetics and home care products. So what are they, exactly?

Phthalates are chemicals derived from naphthalene, the beloved mothball. They act as softeners or “plasticizers” in your basic plastic structure. Without such plasticizers, plastic (PVC, PE or PP) is actually quite hard and referred to as “hard plastic.”

How do phthalates affect us? It appears that children and infants may be at the greatest risk from phthalate exposure, especially during pregnancy.

Endocrine disruption, including endometriosis, fibroids, male infertility, pre-term birth, asthma, obesity and heart disease are among the conditions associated with greater exposure to phthalates.

What can we do? To start with, consider the old-fashioned glass, stainless steel and iron as your friendly alternatives to plasticware in the home, especially for storing food.



High Intake of Omega Three Polyunsaturated Fats Reduce Risk of Diabetes 33%

Fish oil - healthful again


A very recent journal article from the American Diabetes Association’s Journal Diabetes Care continues to expound on the multitude of fish oil benefits.

This article looked at over 2200 men from Finland, who were aged between 42 and 60. These men were all without diabetes when the research began. With an average follow up of almost 20 years, they found that the men who had highest levels of fish oils in the blood had a 33% decreased risk of moving on to type 2 diabetes. This intake included both dietary and supplemental fish oil.

Mercury Toxicity?

The research also suggested that mercury levels did not have a direct effect on diabetes, although past studies suggest there is a higher level of insulin resistance (insulin no longer having a potent effect in the body, requiring more than normal to be produced). Mercury is well known for playing a role in nervous system and cardiovascular disorders.

What About the Bad Press Fish Oil Has Received?

Even though the major media’s has attempted to sway the public insinuating that fish oil and fish oil supplementation is not healthy. This media hype flies in the face the vast majority of past and current research which show clear benefits using fish oil to both support, and prevent a number of conditions including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you would like more information, please see Dr. Peter’s past article about fish oil and prostate cancer by clicking on the link below.

Reference article:
Virtanen JK, Mursu J, Voutilainen S, Uusitupa M, Tuomainen TP. Serum omega-3 polyunsaturated Fatty acids and risk of incident type 2 diabetes in men: the kuopio ischemic heart disease risk factor study. Diabetes Care. 2014 Jan37(1):189-96. doi: 10.2337/dc13-1504. Epub 2013 Sep 11.

Learn More About Fish Oil and Prostate Cancer



Insulin and High Blood Pressure?

by Anne Williams, ND, LAc

New research shows that high levels of insulin in the bloodstream may be an independent risk factor for developing high blood pressure. This occurs because insulin can damage small blood vessels, triggering a rise in blood pressure.

What does high insulin look like externally? More often than not, an “apple-shape” body type indicates insulin resistance and poor sugar control.

We know that diet, exercise and high stress strongly contribute to the development of blood sugar fluctuations.

If you have heart disease in your family, February, National Heart Month, is the perfect time to set new goals for your health and longevity.



Ashwaganda for Anxiety

Can the 'smell of a horse' stop you from getting anxious? Ashwaganda for anxiety.

PT blog by Dr. Peter Bongiorno - 1-8-2014

Ashwaganda (latin name: Withania somnifera) is an herbal medicine with a rich tradition. Its use dates back three millennia to the time the Ayurvedic practitioners in India began using it for people with anxiety, low energy, and the ravages of aging.

The word “ashwaganda” translates to “smell of horse” and has a dual meaning: one is that the herb itself does have that particular aromatic quality, and second, because traditional belief is that consumption can help it’s user gain a horse-like strength and vitality….





Emotions and the Season of Winter

by Donna L. Nesteruk, LAc


Winter started on December 21st – so we are about 2 weeks into what can seem like a long, cold season. What do you think about when you hear the word winter?

For us here in the northeast, it would be typical to think: “BRRR”, cold weather, “don’t fall on the ice”, less activity, shorter days, and more effort to feel motivated to get up and do. ……

To read the whole article, and learn the connection between the winter, kidneys and fear, please click below




Is There A Blood Sugar Monster Lurking Within You?

blood sugar balance is a key to best mood

11.14.2013 - Psychology Today Blog

Are you a blood sugar monster?

How does blood sugar affect you, and how can you help it?

Read Dr. Peter's blog by clicking below....




Emotions and the Season of Autumn

Donna L. Nesteruk, L. Ac.

As autumn has "fallen" upon us, I would like to continue discussing how emotions relate to our organ systems, this time with the fall season (If you missed the first article, please visit to read the first in this series, entitled "Emotional Balancing with Chinese Medicine").

In TCM (Tradition Chinese Medicine), it is beneficial to understand that the meridians (energy pathways in our body) connect with our body's organ systems. Each system has specific functions, which when out of balance, physically or emotionally, can create physical challenges (like pain or disease) or emotional imbalances (such as anxiety or depression).

Autumn and Your Digestion

The season of autumn is known as a time of harvesting - a time to collect and use that which we have cultivated on the earth. In Chinese medicine, the meridian system of the Spleen and Stomach is related to the Earth element, for it is the center and balancing point for our body. The seasons of late summer/early autumn corresponds to the Spleen (Yin) and Stomach (Yang) meridians.

When speaking about the Spleen/Stomach, we automatically think of digestion. And that is correct! One of the main functions of the Spleen/Stomach meridian is that of food digestion and nutrient absorption which is supplied to our blood and Qi (our vital energy). In a way, this is the system that gives each one of us the ability to 'harvest' our food.

When the Stomach/Spleen is Out of Balance

However, worry, pensiveness, obsessive thoughts or over-thinking...yes, even over-studying, negatively affect our emotional makeup, and ultimately affect the proper functioning of this meridian system. Very often when one suffers with these emotions, they are dissatisfied about their past and worry about the future, which consumes their present moment.

An imbalance of the Spleen/Stomach meridian may indeed be physically manifested by poor digestion, abdominal distention, loose stools, fatigue, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, bruising, or possibly bleeding disorders.

How You Can Help Your Stomach/Spleen?

Allow yourself five minutes in the morning to take three deep breaths. Deep breathing relaxes the nervous system, and brings circulation back to your digestive tract. The best way to deep breath is to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, feeling free to make any vocal sound to release any pent up emotions or energy. Doing this anytime during the day when feeling stressed or consumed by thoughts, will help you regroup and center yourself.

Sometimes a simple 'AHHHH' is all you need.

Also, acupuncture and the right Chinese herbal formulas can also help bring you back to the present moment and restore digestion, and help emotional balance

Try it...You'll like it! Living in the moment is revitalizing!

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
~ Mother Teresa

Donna Nesteruk, LAc practices acupuncture in Huntington, New York at Inner Source Health in Long Island. She is a NCCAOM diplomat and is certified Acutonics instructor and practitioner. More about her can be found by visiting:



Interview with Dr. Peter about Naturopathic Medicine Week

Spreading the word about naturopathic medicine

October 7, 2013

Cathy Zeiss of Natural Health magazine interviews Dr. Peter Bongiorno about naturopathic medicine week and the role of naturopathic doctors in our health care system.

Click Here for Interview



Do Fish oils and Fish Really Cause Prostate Cancer?

Media Hype or Good Science?

08-04-2013: Dr. Peter Bongiorno's Psychology today blog

Does Fish Intake and Taking Fish Oil Supplements Cause Prostate Cancer?

Dr. Peter Bongiorno elegantly answers this question on Psychology Today - please click the link below to read it.




Emotional Balancing with Chinese Medicine

by Donna Nesteruk LAc


How can Chinese Medicine balance emotions? Donna Nesteruk LAc explains.

Click on the link below to learn how....

Click Here for PDF version of article



Black cohosh contamination causing liver problems – what can we learn?

Patients often ask me “is there really a difference between the herbs and vitamins you use in your practice, and the supplements I can get at Whole Foods or at the Vitamin Shoppe?”

My answer is: “yes, often there is.”

Federal laws regulating vitamins and supplements do not require that companies check their sources for quality, quantity or toxic contaminants. And generally, companies that sell vitamins and herbs do not test these for quality themselves they rely on the manufacturer of the supplement to do it, which is akin to allowing the fox protect the hen house.

Does Black Cohosh Really Cause Liver Damage?

Black cohosh is an herb well known for its help with hormonal balance in peri-menopausal and menopausal women. It is also helpful for mood disorders, especially depression.

A recent article from the American Botanical Council highlights some of the on-going problems within the natural products industry (1). In this article in particular, several reports claimed an association between black cohosh and liver damage.

When examined more thoroughly, it appears that the products implicated were made of other herbs in order to keep costs low. Poor quality control and false labeling is not new. It has happened before with other herbs like bilberry (used for diabetes and eye care), echinacea (used for immune support) and gingko (used for circulation support).

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?

The best way to protect yourself is to be an active consumer and research the companies that you are using. Call their quality control departments and partner with us by letting companies know that you care.

At Inner Source Health, we would not give a patient a supplement we would not take ourselves. We screen companies based on their testing methods, their raw batch tests and their finished batch analyses. The vitamins we use are all independently tested and verified, both for content (making sure the right herbs and vitamins are in there) and quality (making sure that common toxins like heavy metals and pesticides are not).

Dr. Anne Williams is a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at Inner Source health in New York City. She graduated from Bastyr University in Seattle, and is well-known for her work with skin health, children and chronic disease care. More about her can be found by visiting:


1 - American Botanical Council Press release: Herbal Quality Consortium Publishes Major Article on Black Cohosh Adulteration. May 28, 2013



Belly Breathing, Hot Flashes and Individuality

By Anne Williams, ND, LAc

A form of belly breathing, known as “paced breathing,” is now being studied for its effect on hot flashes. The journal Menopause, found a significant improvement from twice daily practice.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, a change in breathing pattern would be well suited to an individual who’s metal element (characterized as the lung) was weak, since metal is the source of water (which represents, among other things, the human reproductive system) in the five element cycle. For another person, whose elemental imbalance lay elsewhere, breathing techniques wouldn’t be indicated as a top priority.

The importance of individuality in treatment can be seen through conflicting research – a common source of frustration for the consumer. A month prior to the aforementioned study, the Journal of General Internal Medicine published its conclusion that a paced breathing intervention for hot flashes does not meet a clinically significant outcome. Since the trial designs were similar – how does one rectify the conflict in conclusions?

Part of the answer may be that this therapy was appropriate for some and not for others and suiting the treatment to the person as a whole and not just the symptoms is an integral part of success.

It is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has. – Sir William Osler

Carpenter JS, et al. Paced Respiration for Vasomotor and Other Menopausal Symptoms: A Randomized, Controlled Trial. J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Aug.
Gilbert C. Clinical applications of breathing regulation. Beyond anxiety management. Behav Modif. 2003 Oct.
Mann E, et al. Cognitive behavioural treatment for women who have menopausal symptoms after breast cancer treatment (MENOS 1): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Oncol. 2012 Mar.
Sood R, et al. Paced breathing compared with usual breathing for hot flashes. Menopause. 2012 Sep.
Yousaf O, et al. A randomised controlled trial of a cognitive behavioural intervention for men who have hot flushes following prostate cancer treatment (MANCAN): trial protocol. BMC Cancer. 2012 Jun.



Katie Couric Show with Dr. Pina - All Natural Sleep Aids



What is available from the natural dispensary that can help you get a good sleep?

Dr. Pina Loguidice is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and explains how many natural alternatives can be very effective natural alternatives.

Pleasant dreams!




Gua Sha - for pain, musclar tension, colds and more

Ancient chinese remedy for modern day issues

05-30-2103 by Cynthia Hewett LAc, Certified Herbalist

When we think about Chinese medicine, we usually think about acupuncture needles and herbs. Another wonderful tool and healing technique used in Chinese medicine is Gua Sha.

Gua Sha is performed by swiftly rubbing (called ‘Gua’ in Chinese medicine) the surface of lubricated skin with a round-edged, comb-like instrument in downward strokes. This action intentionally raises a small temporary rash (known in Chinese as ‘Sha,’ also known as petechiae/rash in Western terms) in the treated area. You will feel a rubbing and slight burning sensation, but it is not painful.

In Chinese medicine, pain and disease are said to be caused by stagnation or congestion of qi and blood. Gua Sha increases the movement of qi and blood and allows the body to restore its natural functioning.

What Conditions Can Gua Sha Help?

Gua Sha can help release unwanted neck and shoulder tension that comes with computer work and the busy-ness of our day (like running around and commuting). It is also prescribed for chronic muscle tightness from overuse or injury. It can be effectively used in the treatment of colds and coughs to relieve congestion and help increase the body’s immune response.

How Does Gua Sha Do This?

The secret of gua sha lies in how this treatment encourages the vigorous movement of blood to the surface of the body. When blood moves and circulation is enhanced, the body can help heal the area that needs to be healed. This is how gua sha helps the body’s own healing process.

Is there Scientific Research About Gua Sha?

In the last decade, Western studies have started to investigate how Gua Sha works. A study from 2007 confirms that Gua Sha increases the surface circulation of blood by 400% and that increased surface circulation continued at a significant level for 25 minutes following treatment. Each individual experienced a subjective decrease or complete resolution of pain [1]. A 2009 study showed that as enzymes are released to breakdown the petechiae (small broken blood vessels under the skin created by the Gua Sha treatment), an anti-inflammatory effect is created [2]. This helps explain why Gua Sha is useful in the treatment of colds and even allergy symptoms.

Other studies have looked at Gua Sha in the treatment of migraine [3], neck and lower back pain [4], chronic neck pain [5], and hepatitis [6]. Current studies have been small but warrant further investigation especially in understanding Gua Sha’s effects on the body’s immune process.

Gua Sha Conclusion

Gua Sha is a safe, non-invasive treatment that is usually applied to the back of the body or the limbs. The rash usually fades in 2-4 days and patients are advised to relax the day of treatment, avoiding working out, fasting or large meals and alcohol, to allow the body to repair.

1. Nielsen, A., Knoblauch, N., Dobos,G., Michalsen, A., Kaptchuk, T. (2007),The Effect of Gua Sha Treatment on the Microcirculation of Surface Tissue: A Pilot Study in Healthy Subjects. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 3: 456-466. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2007.06.001)

2. Kwong KK, Kloetzer L, Wong KK, Ren JQ, Kuo B, Jiang Y, Chen YI, Chan ST, Young GS, Wong ST. (2009), Bioluminescence imaging of heme oxygenase-1 upregulation in the Gua Sha procedure. J Vis Exp. 2009 (30): 1385. doi: 10.3791/1385.

3. Schwickert ME, Saha FJ, Braun M, Dobos GJ. Gua Sha for migraine in inpatient withdrawal therapy of headache due to medication overuse. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Oct14(5):297-300. doi:10.1159

4. Lauche R, Wübbeling K, Lüdtke R, Cramer H, Choi KE, Rampp T, Michalsen A, Langhorst J, Dobos GJ. Randomized controlled pilot study: pain intensity and pressure pain thresholds in patients with neck and low back pain before and after traditional East Asian "gua sha" therapy. Am. J. Chin. Med. 40, 905 (2012). DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X1250067X/000107731.

5. Braun, M., Schwickert, M., Nielsen, A., Brunnhuber, S., Dobos, G., Musial, F., Lüdtke, R. and Michalsen, A. (2011), Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese “Gua Sha” Therapy in Patients with Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Pain Medicine, 12: 362–369. doi: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01053.x

6. Chan ST, Yuen JW, Gohel MD, Chung CP, Wong HC, Kwong KK, (2011) Guasha-induced hepatoprotection in chronic active hepatitis B: A case study. Clinica Chimica Acta, Volume 412, Issues 17–18, 17 August 2011, Pages 1686-1688. doi:10.1016/j.cca.2011.05.009

Click Here for PDF version of article



Got Mucus?

Mucus is a very common symptom of seasonal allergies. Mucus is commonly created by the body as part of an inflammatory response to help clean out the upper respiratory system (nose, sinuses and upper throat area) of the allergens in the air.

Natural medicine treatments for allergies include trying to avoid allergens when possible (by staying indoors and using air filtration), staying well hydrated, cleaning out the upper respiratory tract with nasal rinses (neti pots are one type of rinse), and using natural supplements to calm the immune system and help it clean out the respiratory tract.


One supplement used in our clinic that is excellent to help clean out the upper airway system is N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). NAC, a derivative of the naturally-occurring sulfur containing amino acid cysteine, is a well-known antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and natural mucolytic (which means it helps breaks mucus down).

Besides having a great effect on the respiratory tract to clean out, NAC is very good at protecting the liver too due to its ability to restore the master antioxidant glutathione. In fact, the most notable use for NAC in the conventional medical world has been its use in the hospital setting to prevent liver damage from acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning.

Naturopathic medicine often turns to NAC to shorten the duration of respiratory issues like sinus congestion and bronchitis because of its ability to clear mucus from the respiratory passages and prevent further exacerbations.

When we take in NAC as a supplement, it rapidly breaks down to cysteine. Cysteine is a direct precursor to glutathione. Glutathione is considered a “master antioxidant.” Glutathione’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect us against free radical damage (which is increased when we have colds and allergies) and it also boosts the immune system which results in a shortening of the duration of many respiratory illnesses.

As a mucolytic, NAC breaks down the viscosity (thickness) of mucus by cleaving the physical bonds that makes mucus sticky and hard to clear (1). When these bonds are broken, the thinning of the phlegm making it easier to expel from the body. In addition, NAC supports the immune system by inhibiting neutrophil activation and decreasing microbial attachment (2).

Several human studies have explored NAC’s effectiveness as therapeutic agent for conditions, which have excessive thickened mucus such as bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia and sinusitis. One study concluded by stating: “NAC administration results in decreased expectoration difficulty, cough severity, and diaphragm fatigue.”(2)

These are pretty good results and shows that NAC can be extremely helpful when you would like relief for congestion associated with allergies or colds without using a drug with side effects.


1. Aitio, Mirja-Liisa. N-acetcylcysteine- passé-partout or much ado about nothing? Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 61(1): 5–15.
2. No authors listed. Alternative Medicine Review. 2000. 5 (5):467-471.

A post by Dr. Siobhan Bleakney