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November 20, 2017

Got Enough B12? Benefits of B12 Injections

Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that is involved in many crucial functions in the body, and B12 injections are a great way to increase your levels. Do you know if you have enough B12? Consequences of B12 deficiency range from fatigue, vision loss and constipation to neurological problems, psychiatric problems and certain types of anemia. Vitamin B12 is found almost exclusively in animal foods, so long-term vegans and vegetarians are at an elevated risk of deficiency. In addition, absorption of this nutrient from food is a somewhat complex process and may be impaired in some people.

In this blog we’ll review the most important functions of Vitamin B12 in the body, which foods are good sources, what conditions and medications interfere with absorption, how to test for Vitamin B12 deficiency and the researched benefits of B12 injections. Because B12 absorption can be impaired even if you’re eating enough, you may be deficient even if you’re eating B12-rich foods. If you’re deficient in B12 despite eating good food, B12 injections are the most effective way to raise B12 levels. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of B12 injections!Continue reading

November 18, 2017

The Pyroluria & Omega-3 Paradox

Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

In a recent post we wrote about pyroluria, a genetic condition that is highly implicated in many mental health disorders including depression, anxiety and schizophrenia, as well as addiction and alcoholism. Pyroluria is best known for its tendency to deplete zinc and vitamin B6, which can lead to mood disturbances and inner tension. Although not as widely known, pyroluria also depletes other nutrients.

In this post we will continue the discussion by focusing on the role of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in pyroluria. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, mostly commonly found in cold-water fatty fish like salmon, sardines and anchovies are highly touted for their ability to reduce inflammation and positively impact mental health conditions. Omega-3s are now well supported in the research for the treatment of depression and anxiety (1) (2).Continue reading

October 25, 2017

Myth of Multitasking: How to Be More Efficient

Functional Medicine Certification

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

This post will delve into what is becoming known as “the myth of multitasking.” Multitasking is a feat that is glorified in our culture. As many employers will attest, job applicants often list multitasking as a skill on resumes and job applications. As a culture, we believe that doing lots of things at once makes us very productive. Unfortunately, research is beginning to show that for most people, the opposite is true.

It turns out that multitasking is a fallacy and a misnomer, a feat that is not really possible. Adding insult to injury, attempting to multitask may even be counterproductive, resulting in accomplishing less than we would if we instead focus on one task at a time. In this article we’ll explain why multitasking is a myth and provide recommendations on how to become more productive by focusing on one task at a time.Continue reading

October 9, 2017

Natural Alternatives to Aspirin for Heart Health

Functional Medicine Certification

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

In this week’s post we’ll be discussing natural alternatives to aspirin. Aspirin has been used for more than 100 years as a remedy for pain, and headaches in particular. In more recent years, daily low-dose aspirin was recommended as a way to reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular events. Because aspirin thins the blood, it shows some benefit in preventing heart attack and stroke by preventing platelet aggregation, especially in atherosclerotic individuals.

However, this therapy has its own risks, and the risks are serious. In addition to the risk of excessive bleeding in the event of an injury, others include gastric ulcer, hearing loss, cerebral bleeding, Crohn’s disease, influenza mortality, Reye syndrome and helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. Fortunately, several natural alternatives are available which provide similar, and sometimes superior, cardiovascular protection.

This blog will focus on the risks associated with regular low-dose aspirin consumption and natural alternatives. So to learn more about natural alternatives to aspirin, keep reading!Continue reading

September 9, 2017

Pyroluria, an Underlying Cause of Mental Illness

Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT and Dr. Miles Nichols, DAOM, MS, LAc

The last several weeks I’ve written a lot about cardiovascular disease, with posts on pomegranate, Dan Shen and hawthorn. This week I’m going to shift gears and cover pyroluria, which is a genetic condition that is characterized by elevated excretion of pyrroles in the urine. If you got your hopes up (as I did) the first time I saw the term “pyroluria” thinking it had something to do with fire, you may be disappointed to learn that the “pyro” part of the name comes from the pyrroles which are excreted in high levels in the urine, not the “pyro” prefix of pyromaniac.

All the same, pyroluria is an interesting condition that is seldom discussed in mainstream medicine or psychiatry, despite the fact that it is associated with many psychiatric conditions and autism. As we’ll see in the coming sections, pyroluria depletes the body of several nutrients required for neurotransmitter production and stable mood, namely Vitamin B6 and zinc. Before I get into the details of how these nutrients become depleted, let me first give a brief history of pyroluria.Continue reading

August 29, 2017

Hawthorn, a Cardioprotective Herb Powerhouse

Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT

This week’s blog post is about the role hawthorn plays in preventing and treating cardiovascular disease (CVD). I’ve written a lot over the last several weeks about natural treatments for CVD and their mechanisms of action, including pomegranate and the Chinese herb Dan Shen. This week I’ll be continuing the conversation about CVD by talking about hawthorn, which is also a powerful cardioprotective herb.Continue reading

August 23, 2017

Dan Shen, a Powerful Cardiovascular Chinese Herb

Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT

Dan Shen is a cardioprotective herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for 2000 years or more. Also known as salvia miltiorrhiza, this perennial plant in the mint family has a long history of use in the treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD), atheroscleroris, thrombosis and angina pectoris, as well as related disorders like hypertension. Despite its long history of use, Dan Shen has only recently been studied in formal clinical trials. This article will review what modern clinical trials and animal models have revealed about the efficacy and safety of Dan Shen in the treatment of cardiovascular disease.Continue reading

August 10, 2017

Habit Change: Old Dogs CAN Learn New Tricks!

Functional Medicine Coaching Academy

by Aaron Mello, CNTP, MNT

I’ve written the last several posts about science-heavy subjects like clinical applications of berberine and treating gout. For this week’s post I’m shifting gears a bit and writing about habit change, which is a difficult feat for many people to accomplish. Habit change is a very important topic for health, and many patients struggle to implement positive changes in their life that benefit their health. After all, knowing what we should do for our health isn’t terribly practical if we’re not able to implement and integrate healthy habits into our lives.

This post will focus on what the science has to say about habit change, and I’ll emphasize practical strategies you can implement to make lasting positive habit changes in your life. If you’ve struggled to change habits in your life, you’re not alone! The existence of common expressions like these speak to the difficulty many people experience when trying to change habits:

  • Old habits die hard.
  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Continue reading

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