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September - October Health News

Michelle Crowder, ND - Licensed Naturopathic Physician


Thank you all for the support over the past year - you have helped me establish and grow my naturopathic medical practice in Metro Detroit. I am finding l have less time to devote to newsletters, so I am transitioning to bi-monthly or quarterly distribution. Stay up to date by visiting me on Facebook and Twitter, where I post throughout the week.   

There are still a few spots available in my 14-Day Fall Detox! I am extending the registration deadline until this Friday, October 3rd. Please email me ( ASAP if you are interested in participating. It is a great chance to experiment with new eating and lifestyle habits with the support of a group and the guidance of a doctor. 

Previous newsletter from August 2014.
Archive of past newsletters. 
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En salud,

75 Barclay Circle, Suite 225
Rochester Hills MI 48307


Register Now!

14-Day Fall Detox

I hope you can join this physician-guided detox aimed at reducing inflammation and identifying hidden food sensitivities. Delicious, antioxidant-rich foods, detoxification smoothie to support liver metabolism, and daily self-care.  

Program runs October 10th - 23rd, with an evening class on October 7th at 6:30pm. $100 includes all supplements and supplies, handouts, and personal guidance. 5 spots left! Please register by October 3rd! Click here for more information, including how to register.

October 6th - 12th! 

Congress has recognized, with bipartisan support, the ability of naturopathic physicians to “provide safe, effective, and affordable health care” and to play an essential role in addressing the nation’s pressing shortage of primary care physicians. Get involved and help spread awareness of naturopathic medicine by signing up for news and updates from the Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Stay tuned to our Facebook page during the week for daily posts on the benefits of naturopathic medicine!
As of January 2015, the office of Colleen Kennedy, D.O., including myself, will be located at:
427 W. University Dr.
Rochester MI 48307

This is 3 miles from our current location.

S L E E P . . . 

Sleep has been a fascination of mine for years. Like the majority of Americans, I have struggled with insomnia. For me, it is a chronic problem that I have learned to manage over the years, in part by understanding the root causes for me individually. I do the same with my patients. Through history and lab testing, we elucidate the various obstacles standing in the way of a quality night's sleep. Then we seek to remove those obstacles through a customized approach that may include lifestyle modification, dietary changes, botanical medicine, or supplementation of specific nutrients. 

Why We Need It
Sleep is vital and can be a very restorative experience for the body when healthy patterns are intact. Some of the functions of sleep include:
  • Memory Consolidation. Sleep is a time when the information and experiences we encounter throughout the day are processed and integrated into existing neural networks. Memories are created and strengthened. Sleep deprivation in general is associated with a decrease in working memory - this means we are less able to simultaneously hold different pieces of information in our heads, making complex thinking and multi-tasking more difficult. Loss of REM sleep in particular reduces procedural memory - the ability to perform actions like tying shoes or flying an airplane. Loss of non-REM sleep reduces declarative memory - the ability to recall facts and events. (1, 2, 3
  • Tissue Repair and Regeneration. Sleep is an anabolic state in which tissues are “built up.” Wound healing is disrupted by sleep loss. Immune cell counts decrease, making us more susceptible to infection and cancer. Growth Hormone is released shortly after sleep onset, promoting tissue repair and growth. 
  • Waste Removal. A fascinating 2013 study showed that lymphatic circulation in the brain increases during sleep, facilitating removal of metabolic wastes that build up during waking. Spaces between brain cells increased by 60% to promote clearance of particles such as amyloid beta, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 

Some of the Health Impacts of Sleep Loss
Just one week of insufficient sleep (5.7 hours per night) resulted in changes in the expression of over 700 genes - including those involved in metabolism, inflammation, stress response, and the immune system. The week of poor sleep also intensified the impact of subsequent sleep loss on the body. 

Chronic sleep deprivation has a big impact on our hormones. Studies in which sleep was restricted to 4-6.5 hours per night for 6 days led to hormonal changes that impacted the body's stress response, appetite, and sugar metabolism.
  • Overall sympathetic ("fight or flight") response increased, while parasympathetic ("rest and digest") decreased. This means baseline stress levels were higher after several nights of insufficient sleep and digestive function may have been reduced. 
  • Evening cortisol levels increased, possibly exacerbating insomnia, and growth hormone signaling was altered - both of these influence how our bodies respond to sugar and could promote diabetes long-term.
  • Appetite-regulating hormones leptin and ghrelin shifted, and overall appetite was increased, especially for carbohydrate-rich foods (1, 2, 3).
  • When young, otherwise healthy sleep-deprived subjects ate breakfast, their glucose levels were significantly higher afterwards than well-rested control subjects - in fact, their response was similar to a pre-diabetic state (1, 2). 
So, just a few nights of insufficient sleep not only makes us hungrier for sugars, but it also makes our bodies less able to deal with the sugars - this could lead to long-term imbalances in blood sugar regulation, including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.   

Over the last 50 years, average sleep duration has decreased from 8.5 hours per night to less than 7 hours per night. This trend correlates with the rise in obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. As described above, the metabolic effects of sleep loss are quite profound. I believe it is highly probable that sleep loss contributes to the development of these modern chronic illnesses, and that addressing sleep is a necessary foundation for improving health. Researchers from the CDC offered a similar explanation for the increase in waist circumference seen in recent years. 

Improving Sleep 
For the majority of our evolutionary history, humans lived closer to nature and natural cycles than we do today. We spent more time outdoors, less time sitting, and didn't have access to artificial light from smartphones and tablets. Our bodies still appreciate this lifestyle. Many of our habits as modern humans have measurable impacts on sleep physiology that can be corrected via simple lifestyle changes.
  • Avoid Blue LightScreen use inhibit release of melatonin, an important sleep-regulating hormone. Orange and red light does not seem to have this effect, so you might try using orange-tinted lights or candlelight in the evening, or even wearing orange-tinted glasses after sunset. Melatonin suppression is linked to diabetes cancer, and other health conditions. To best promote melatonin secretion, avoid screens for 1-2 hours before bedtime.
  • Cultivate a Non-Stimulating Routine such as reading, gentle stretching or yoga/meditation, journaling, or bathing - the drop in body temperature you experience after a warm bath may help facilitate entry into deep sleep (1, 2). 
  • Exercise. If you have insomnia, be patient - a recent study suggested that it may take up to 4 months of regular exercise for insomnia to improve. Exercise before bed does not seem to affect sleep in healthy people, but researchers caution that people with insomnia may respond differently. Insomniacs seem to have a heightened response to stress, so it is recommended that they complete exercise 2-3 hours before bedtime.  
  • "Sleep Hygiene" refers to habits that help promote healthy sleep pattens, and is a topic too vast to fully address here. For a great list of tips to consider, please see this article
Select Natural Therapeutics
  • Tart Cherry Juice. Older adults with insomnia who consumed 8 ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice, twice daily, slept an average of 84 minutes longer than controls. Polysomnography showed that sleep was more efficient. Montmorency cherries are a natural source of the sleep hormone melatonin, as well as the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is involved in sleep and mood regulation. Although the levels of these substances are low in cherries, the fruit also contains a compound that prevents degradation of tryptophan, possibly making it more bioavailable. Although I tend to recommend against regular consumption of fruit juice, due to the high sugar content, tart cherry juice may be an exception for certain people. It is also known to reduce inflammation after strenuous exercise
  • Walnuts contain melatonin and have been shown to raise blood levels of this hormone in rats. Walnuts are also a good source of protein, which when consumed as a small snack before bed, may help stabilize blood sugar and prevent night-time waking
  • Botanical Medicines such as Valerian, Lemon balm, Chamomile, and Passionflower can aid in supporting natural sleep patterns. Nutrients can be beneficial for some people. Whatever the intervention, I am always interested in finding the root causes of sleep disturbance, correcting them, and tailoring therapies to the individual.   

Learn More
I will be giving Part II of my talk on Sleep on Thursday, October 16 at 6:30pm at Balanced Living Chiropractic 441 S Livernois Rd Ste 265, Rochester Hills. I will delve more deeply into the metabolic effects of sleep loss and natural therapeutics. There will be ample time for questions. 

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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