Detox, Mindfulness, Essential Fatty Acids, Healing Power of Nature
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April Health News

Michelle Crowder, ND - Licensed Naturopathic Physician

Click here to view the last newsletter from March 2014.
Click here to view archive of past newsletters. 

Hello and welcome to Spring in Michigan!

A few updates:

  • I will be holding another program on Detoxification and Cleansing, beginning May 13th. It promises to be a fun and interesting experience, whether this concept is completely new to you or something you have tried in the past. It has been a joy to witness people transform their health quickly with just a few simple tools. Some of the most common positive effects of this program include increased energy, better sleep, mental clarity, reduced pain, clearer skin, improved digestion, and weight loss. I hope you will participate! See flyer below.
  • My colleague Dr. Dimpi Patel and I are offering two free seminars on Food Sensitivities and Digestive Health at Better Health Stores in Novi (May 14th 6:30pm) and Bloomfield Hills (May 21st at 6:30pm). Click here for more information, including how to register
  • The Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians has introduced a bill for licensure of Naturopathic Physicians into the Michigan House of Representatives.
    • If you are interested in supporting us in this process, please sign up to receive legislative action alerts and share with friends and family. You may also contact me directly and I will add you to the list.
    • If you are a medical professional who has benefitted from collaboration with a naturopathic physician, please let me know.
    • We are seeking corporate and individual donors to aid in our lobbying activities. Please contact me directly if you can help:    

For regular updates on pertinent medical news and research, see my Twitter page. To share this newsletter with friends and family, you may forward it from your email, or use this web link.

En salud,

75 Barclay Circle, Suite 225
Rochester Hills MI 48307

Upcoming Event:
14-Day Spring Detox

Many updates and improvements since last class, thanks to feedback from participants and patients. Delicious, antioxidant-rich foods, detoxification smoothie to support liver metabolism, and daily self-care.  

Program runs May 13th - May 31st, with evening classes on May 13th and May 29th. $100 includes all supplements and supplies, handouts, and personal guidance. Please register by May 1st! Click here for more information, including how to register.


A state of open awareness of the present.

I have written before on the benefits of mindfulness for cognitive health. The more we study mindfulness, the more promising of a therapy it becomes. I am beginning to think that it is "good for everything."

What Is It?
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, has said that mindfulness is "paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment." Mindfulness is a general term that can be applied to a variety of situations, including meditation, stress reduction, and eating. 

We often go through life on "automatic pilot," failing to notice what is going on around and within us: the little flowers blooming at our feet, the emotional reactions of others to our words, our body's signals of hunger or thirst or pain, our own emotional experience, our fears, our dreams. We could miss so much! I believe that many of our modern health challenges - anxiety and depression, stress, heart disease, inflammation - are partially the result of a disconnect: from community, from nature, and even from ourselves. Restoring our curiosity and perception through mindfulness has the potential to make life a much more rewarding and positive experience.

What is the Evidence?
Mindfulness is an active area of research, with hundreds of studies to support its use for a variety of health conditions, including emotional stress, pain syndromes, and skin conditions such as psoriasis. One way mindfulness seems to work is by influencing gene expression, leading to reduced inflammation. This makes it beneficial for almost any chronic health condition.

How To
You do not have to be an expert meditator in order to receive benefit. Neural changes associated with reduced anxiety have been documented as little as 4 days after beginning mindfulness training in people with no prior meditation experience. 
  • To begin, do not meditate. Instead, take some time each day to notice what is happening in your life right now. 
  • Put aside three minutes each day to do nothing but pay attention to how you are. Stop, breathe, and feel. Let the past be over and done with, and let what has not yet happened be off in the future. Give yourself a chance to be surprised.
  • You might notice that your mind wanders constantly and that you have one restless thought after another. You might hear birds chirping outside. You might notice pain in your neck, or rumbling in your abdomen. You might notice that there is a longing in your heart, or a dream that is asking to be fulfilled.
  • Right now, you don’t need to do anything about whatever it is that you find. The goal isn’t to have any particular experience, but rather to check in with how it really is to be you.                   - adapted from Michael Baime, MD

Resources To Get Started

Featured Therapy: Essential Fatty Acids

Many of my patients come to me taking some type of Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) supplement, most commonly fish oil. The use of these oils has permeated popular culture, and for good reason: Due to a variety of changes over the years (discussed below), the majority of Americans are now functionally deficient in omega-3 and other beneficial fatty acids. The importance of EFAs in human health is supported by over 8000 clinical studies. For example, a 2009 study estimated that deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids was linked to as many as 96,000 preventable deaths per year.
What are EFAs?
EFAs are “essential” because they cannot be constructed by the human body and must be obtained through diet. The two broad categories are Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid; and Linoleic Acid (LA), an omega-6 fatty acid. ALA is the source of EicosaPentaenoic Acid (EPA) and DocosaHexaenoic Acid (DHA), the omega-3 fatty acids used by our body. LA is the source of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) and Arachadonic Acid (AA), two omega-6 fatty acids used by our body.
EFAs are found in all cell membranes, and are required for proper cellular function. They are also used to make signaling products that help to modulate inflammation and immunity. When our cell membranes are composed of a high percentage of omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory signals are sent (relax blood vessels and airways, reduce pain, muscle spasm, and swelling). In contrast, when cell membranes are high in certain omega-6 fatty acids, inflammatory signals are sent (constrict blood vessels and airways, increase blood clotting, pain sensitivity, and swelling). We need a balance of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory signals in our body, so that we can respond to stressors effectively, but inflammation is kept in check. 

Why EFAs Benefit Modern Humans
Historically, human diets probably consisted of a ratio of 1:1 omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. The modern Western diet, which includes industrially-raised meat, farmed fish, and corn, soy, and canola oils – has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio closer to 10-20:1. Although omega-6 fatty acids are not inherently bad for us, they are too dominant in the Western diet. This sets the stage for inflammatory reactions and is likely at the root of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, cognitive disorders, immune disorders, and cancer. The trick is to balance omega-3 and omega-6, because these two fatty acids compete for space in the cell membrane.  So, if you shift your diet to be more dominant in omega-3 fatty acids, over time your body will sent more anti-inflammatory signals, and your overall health will benefit.
How to Promote a Healthy Balance of EFAs

Emphasize omega-3 rich foods in your diet:
  • Vegetables and Fruits: cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts; leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnip greens; fruits such as berries, cherries, melon, lemon.
  • Seeds: flax, chia, hemp and perilla; Nuts: walnuts, pecans.
  • Wild, Cold-water Fish: salmon, sardines, herring, cod, haddock, mackerel, tuna (watch mercury), trout, halibut.
  • Pasture-Raised meats, eggs, butter: when the animal eats its natural diet (grass, insects, etc.), its meat, eggs and milk will be rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Natural Therapeutics: EFA Supplements  

Many people come to me taking doses too low to shift their physiology, while others may not need them. EFAs may even be contraindicated in some cases, such as epilepsy, bleeding disorders, and with concurrent use of blood thinners. Talk to your doctor about whether EFA supplements are indicated for you, including type and dose.

Also, please do not forget to MOVE in your daily life. Exercise seems to "unlock" some of the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids on health.

Principles of Naturopathic Medicine Series

In 1989, a group of Naturopathic Doctors met to define our profession. The Six Principles of Naturopathic Medicine were born out of these meetings.  The principles have been refined over time, most recently in 2011, and serve as a framework for both defining our medicine and influencing clinical decision-making.  As a way to further relate what I do, I will be reviewing one principle per newsletter for the next several months.
2. The Healing Power of Nature
3. Treat the Cause
4. Treat the Whole Person
5. Doctor as Teacher
6. Prevention 

The Healing Power of Nature

Naturopathic Medicine recognizes an inherent, ordered self-healing process in people, sometimes referred to as the Vis Medicatrix Naturae, or "The Healing Power of Nature." For example, when we cut our finger, the tissue will eventually heal if provided the necessary conditions. Our goal is to support this natural process. We first seek out and remove any obstacles to cure. These could be physical, nutritional, or mental/emotional. Then we provide the body with what it needs to accomplish healing on its own. Again, this may be a surgical suture in the case of a laceration, specific nutrients in the case of a documented deficiency, or lifestyle counseling when an emotional component is identified. Surgery and higher-level intervention is sometimes needed, and it does not preclude the use of our supportive therapies. We can continue to work with each individual's own healing response to promote the best possible outcomes. 

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

In short, Naturopathic Medicine combines the best of conventional and alternative medicine into an individualized, whole-person approach to primary health care. NDs are trained as primary care providers with an emphasis on natural and common sense approaches including clinical nutrition, lifestyle counseling, and botanical medicine.

What to Expect from Your Visit

I work with my clients to identify the root causes of disease, taking into account the various factors that influence health, including lifestyle, genetics, physiology, and mental-emotional state. First visits are 90 minutes and include a thorough health history, followed by discussion of my preliminary assessment and recommendations. I may order conventional or specialty lab work to aid in my understanding of your condition. We work together to devise a plan that will meet your health goals.

Follow-up visits generally last 30-45 minutes and are important so that I can better get to know your unique physiology, track your progress, and refine my recommendations. I can consult with your other health providers and make referrals as necessary.

Integrative Medicine

I am fortunate to work in an integrative primary care practice, alongside a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy), N.P. (Nurse Practitioner), and P.A. (Physician's Assistant).  We share patients and regularly consult with each other to coordinate care. 

I believe this approach benefits patients by offering them the best of both worlds - conventional and natural.  These two worlds are not mutually exclusive; in fact, many health concerns are best addressed by a multifaceted approach.  The power of Integrative Medicine is backed by research, especially for chronic conditions such as heart disease.
I am now offering Gift Certificates for my services. They are available for a 90 minute New Patient appointment, 1 hour Follow-Up, and 30 minute Follow-Up.  Please call my office with questions, or to order one for a friend or family member.

FYI: Licensing and Regulation of Naturopathic Medicine

Licensed Naturopathic Physicians attend a 4-year post-graduate medical school accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. They must pass basic science and clinical licensing exams administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners. Currently, 16 states license Naturopathic doctors as primary care providers. National and state legislative efforts are organized by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.  Because NDs are not currently licensed in Michigan, they function as complementary providers.

For more information about the active legislative efforts to license Naturopathic Medicine in Michigan, visit the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians.


About Michelle Crowder, ND

Michelle Crowder, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Physician with a focus in holistic and preventative primary care.  She works with people of all ages to identify and treat the root causes of disease, empowering her clients with the tools they need to understand and take control of their own health. Areas of special interest include digestive health, hormone imbalance, and immune dysfunction, including thyroid disease.

National College of Natural Medicine, Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine, High honors
University of Vermont, Master of Science in Botany, Summa Cum Laude
University of Michigan, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Summa Cum Laude
Copyright © 2014 Michelle C Davila, ND, All rights reserved.
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