This past weekend, Lauren and I went on a pumpkin search at a
local farm here in Illinois. After a nice (yet not so healthy)
snack of freshly made apple cider donuts and local fresh apple
cider, we embarked on our journey through the corn maze to the
secret pumpkin patch where we continued our hunt for the perfect
pumpkin! As the day progressed and the sun shined in all its glory,
we realized we needed some water, so we paused the great pumpkin
hunt to stock up and refill with some high quality H20!
Who knew that we would need to rehydrate on a little pumpkin
search!? I guess that keeping hydrated is key to finding a great
pumpkin. So, after filling up on water, we continued on our quest
only to find pumpkin fudge instead! I guess supplementing with
water doesn't help with finding the perfect pumpkin, but pumpkin
fudge (in moderation) is a nice treat!
This leads me to supplementation, another skill that is built
and added to our doctor's toolkit here at NUHS. According to the
Oxford dictionary, in general terms, to supplement is to enhance or
complete something where a deficiency exists. In naturopathic
terms, administering supplements acts in the very same way for
Supplementation can include a simple saline solution, water or
electrolytes for someone who is dehydrated (on a pumpkin hunt),
vitamins, amino acids or a combination of any of the building
blocks, enzymes, cofactors...well, you get the idea...for any
deficiency in a human being.
Just a few of the conditions that we treat with supplementation
Our supplementation training begins very early in our
biochemistry classes with Dr. McRae, through our clinical
experience training with simulated patients and practice cases
until we reach the naturopathic clinic as interns. We learn the
various methods of administering a supplement to achieve the
greatest efficacy from the dose, whether orally, topically, or
Through the appropriate use of supplementation, we can help our
patients correct imbalances while incorporating and restoring the
basic determinants for healthy living. Ideally, once our patients
are returned to a basis for health, we will no longer need to
supplement as their diet, lifestyle and habits can help them
maintain a healthy state of living. For those who need
supplementation, a properly trained naturopathic intern and doctor
can provide the proper supplementation at the proper dose to help
our patients be their healthiest!
This past week has been an expansion of my efforts I listed for
you in my blog.
As an example, I just completed a presentation for my Advanced
Botanical Prescribing class to be presented next week. The
presentation is a review of the cardiovascular drug, digoxin, along
with referenced studies of botanical interactions on the efficacy
of digoxin's function in the human body. I chose to focus on three
botanicals. These are Hypericum perforatum or St. John's Wort,
Withania somnifera or Ashwagandha, and Crataegus oxycantha or
Hawthorne. The interactions between digoxin and these botanicals
were surprising and warrant further study. I'm sure my classmates
will be interested in the findings I present next week.
Many people take botanical supplements alongside their
pharmaceutical prescription drugs with the notion that botanicals
are all natural, not chemically derived, so they must be inherently
safe. What most don't realize is that botanicals have chemical
constituents that impact the human body and can interact with
pharmaceutical drugs by either increasing or decreasing the drug's
effect, to keep things simple for our purposes here.
Pharmaceuticals are prescribed for specific reasons and should
never be tampered with by altering the prescription or adding
supplements unless under the direction of a licensed provider. This
goes for the patient, friends, family, or those who wish to help
yet may not understand the impact of what appears to be friendly
With the exception of the myriad reports, presentations,
reviews, quizzes, and exams that are typical of eighth trimester,
my week has consisted of work, and a short break to the theatre to
see a movie. While things are a bit tedious right now, I'm certain
once this trimester is completed and "in the books" so to speak,
I'll be able to get out and about and let you guys know a bit about
the area this spring and summer! I can't wait for some nice warm
spring days to get to the lake and enjoy the scenery!
Until next week may your springtime arrive and the birds wake
you with song!
• Combined Classes
• Observing in Clinic
• Botanical Medicine
• Minor Surgery
• Intern Skills
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