Do No Harm, The Liver, Dandelion Recipe
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(Late) March Health News

Michelle Crowder, ND - Licensed Naturopathic Physician

Click here to view the last newsletter from February 2014.

Click here to view archive of past newsletters.

March is almost over! Hooray! It is not much of a lamb but it certainly is a relief after our extreme winter. Congratulations survivors. 

Upcoming in April, I will be…  Planning some talks around the area (details to come) // Working with the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians on public relations matters related to the bill we plan to introduce // And running my first race (a 10k!). I hope to get out into our woodlands and start looking for spring's ephemeral wildflowers: spring beauty, trout lily, bloodroot, hepatica (named for its liver-shaped leaves). I love to see little pops of color poking through last year's leaf-fall. 
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

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.
1. First, Do No Harm
2. The Healing Power of Nature
3. Treat the Cause
4. Treat the Whole Person
5. Doctor as Teacher
6. Prevention 

First, Do No Harm

This is part of the Hippocratic Oath taken by graduates of many medical schools.  As physicians, we have the power to promote healing, but we also have the power to harm.  Pharmaceuticals and surgery generally carry a higher risk of harm than dietary and lifestyle changes; however, sometimes more aggressive intervention is necessary. Naturopathic doctors are trained to distinguish between chronic, low-risk presentations, and those needing more immediate or high-level care, and to refer when necessary. Once the patient is stable, we can address underlying factors and overall health.  

Naturopathic physicians follow three guidelines to avoid harming the patient: 
  1. Utilize methods and medicinal substances which minimize the risk of harmful side effects, using the least force necessary to diagnose and treat; 
  2. Avoid when possible the harmful suppression of symptoms; and
  3. Acknowledge, respect, and work with individuals’ self-healing process. 

The Liver

A truly vital organ.

Our Liver does so much for us: helps maintain blood sugar, produces cholesterol and blood clotting factors, stores and processes vitamins, participates in immunity, and helps us digest fats. On top of all this, the Liver is our primary detoxifying organ, which means that it helps us process and eliminate compounds that would otherwise make us sick. These include environmental pollutants, pesticides, drugs, alcohol, hormones (both exogenous and endogenous), and other end-products of metabolism.

Detoxification occurs in two phases, with the end goal of making toxins more water-soluble so they can be excreted through bile and urine. During Phase I Detox, potentially harmful free radicals and intermediates are produced, so adequate antioxidant stores are necessary to protect liver cells from damage. In Phase II Detox, amino acids and other compounds are added to toxins, making them ready to be released in bile and urine. Specific nutrients are required along the way. 
Let's see what we can do to support our body in this process… 

Phase I Detox  B vitamins and magnesium participate in enzymatic reactions. Curcumin inhibits Phase I Detox, while stimulating Phase II Detox. This quality may help reduce damage when toxic intermediates have accumulated. 
Phase II Detox  Amino acids are required to conjugate toxins, so be sure to consume adequate healthy protein on a daily basis
Antioxidants  Important antioxidants include glutathione, vitamins C and E, and alpha-lipoic acid. Glutathione is the predominant antioxidant in the liver and is particularly important because it can regenerate all other antioxidants. 
To make, regenerate, and maintain glutathione, we need the following:
  1. A good source of sulfur. Get this through food high in thiol groups (garlic, onion, eggs, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower). You may also consider the supplement N-Acetyl Cysteine, also known as NAC, which is used in emergency medicine to treat acetaminophen and non-acetaminophen induced liver damage.
  2. Methylation support in the form of methyl-folate (found in raw leafy greens), vitamin B12, and betaine, which is high in beet root.
  3. Selenium, which is found in brazil nuts grown in high-selenium soils.
  4. Milk thistle and Turmeric have antioxidant activity and help preserve glutathione stores; Milk thistle also stimulates enzymes that promote regeneration of damaged liver tissue.
Bile Secretion  Bile secretion is stimulated by bitter flavors on our tongue. Think about bitter greens like dandelion, endive, and arugula; adding a squeeze of lemon to foods or water is slightly bitter and tonifying to the liver. You might also consider sipping a bitters formula at the beginning of a meal; traditional botanicals used in this regard include gentian, artichoke, dandelion, fennel, and ginger.

Spring is a great time to think about supporting your liver. It is a time of renewal, and bitter greens are in season. You might also think about taking the load off of your liver for a few weeks, and replacing commonly aggravating foods with their gentler and more nutritious relatives. Please be in touch if I can help you in this process. My patients have seen a lot of benefit from this approach. 

Spring Recipe: Dandelion Greens with Chickpeas

Dandelion greens are a wonderful bitter green abundant in the spring. You can harvest plain old dandelion leaves from an area that you know is free of pesticides and other chemicals, or purchase them at the market. Garlic supplies sulfur compounds to further promote healthy liver detoxification.
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups dandelion greens, washed and stems trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one small tangerine (optional)
  • sea salt
Place cooked chickpeas in a medium sized mixing bowl.

Once all your ingredients are prepped, get out a large saute pan, and place it on the stove top. Pour in olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to medium. Once the garlic sizzles a bit without browning, add the greens. Toss everything a few times with tongs to coat the greens with the warm oil. Cover pan with a lid and cook for 2 minutes or until tender.

Add the wilted greens to your bowl of chickpeas. Stir. If needed to help balance the bitter flavor of the greens, add the juice of a fresh tangerine. Add sea salt to taste. Top with lemon zest.

Recipe courtesy of Yummy Supper

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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