How Can Naturopathic Medicine Support Cancer Treatment?

Spark Lifestyle Services

Naturopathic Medicine and Cancer

Many patients that are diagnosed with cancer feel overwhelmed and are looking for guidance in treatment options, as well as recommendations for natural therapies that can help support them through treatment.

Working with a Naturopathic Doctor that is trained in and specializes in integrative cancer treatment can allow patients to receive the benefit of conventional treatments while minimizing negative side effects.

Naturopathic doctors who specialize in naturopathic oncology understand both the standard treatments used by medical, radiation and surgical oncologists, and how best to work in a collaborative model of cancer co-treatment.

There are many ways in which naturopathic oncology care can benefit patients.

Many patients experience side effects from chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, including hot flashes, insomnia, taste changes, mouth sores, fatigue, bowel changes, nausea and neuropathy.

Naturopathic medicine can help to prevent and minimize the risk of these side effects so that patients can maintain their regular treatment schedule without interruption, and can help resolve lingering side effects from conventional treatment.

Screening for any potential interactions between conventional and natural cancer therapies is another important component of integrative cancer care, as these interactions may affect the efficacy of treatment.

After patients have completed treatment, we work to support the natural cancer-fighting ability of the immune system to help prevent recurrences or other types of cancer.

Naturopathic Medicine at Spark Health

If you are interested in learning more about how naturopathic medicine can support your cancer treatment, please reach out and give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals! 

The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. 

Thank you,

Dr. Aliza Cicerone

Medical Director at Spark Health

Here are the Differences Between B12 Shots and Vitamin IVs.

two people receiving IV therapy treatments


B12 Shots and Vitamin IVs

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

Patients often ask about the difference between getting a B12 Shot and getting a Vitamin IV. These two services are both valuable in their own ways, depending on what your health goals are!

When and why should I come in for a B12 shot? 

We generally recommend coming in for a B12 shot weekly for health maintenance, or as needed for specific health concerns.

The great thing about the B12 shots at Spark Health is that we put much more than B12 in our shots. We have 16 proprietary nutrient blends for all types of health goals, from increased energy to immune health to detox.

Our shots have been formulated by world class experts in injectable nutrients.

Rather than giving 1mL of vitamin B12 and sending you on your way, we jam pack our shots with up to 3mL of nutrients!

These injections go directly into the muscle and slowly absorb into the bloodstream through tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Our B12 shots are also helpful when you need a quick boost and don’t have the time to get a vitamin IV. 

Does the B12 shot hurt? 

The B12 shot is given into the top of the gluteal muscle with a very small needle, and we add anesthetic to make it a very comfortable experience for our patients. Most patients describe it as feeling like a little pinch.

What are the benefits of B12?

Vitamin B12 aids in the conversion of food (fat, protein and carbohydrates) into energy. 

Vitamin B12 may be depleted due to various factors, including:

  • irritable bowel disease
  • celiac disease
  • bariatric surgery
  • certain infections (such as H. Pylori)
  • certain diets (vegetarian and vegan)
  • certain medications (such as oral contraceptives, PPIs, Metformin, antibiotics and corticosteroids) (3, 4, 5) 

Vitamin B12 is also necessary for immune health. Deficiency of this vitamin in humans has been shown in research to decrease lymphocytes and suppress natural killer (NK) cell activity.

NK cells are a type of white blood cell that attack cells infected by viruses. Supplementation of Vitamin B12 reverses these effects, providing us with the defenders necessary to keep us healthy. (1, 2)

What type of B12 do you use?

Here at Spark Health, we love B12 and use a specific form known as methylcobalamin. 

Methylcobalamin is the form of vitamin B12 that can be used immediately without modification or conversion in the body.

This is especially important for people with genetic mutations that make it difficult to activate compounds in the body by methylation.

When and why should I come in for a vitamin IV?

Vitamin IVs are valuable in their ability to deliver plenty of nutrients at once, with 100% bioavailability.

A vitamin IV has more room for nutrients than a vitamin shot, so it is helpful when you need a lot of support fast!

We recommend coming in for a vitamin IV at the first sign of a cold, or whenever you’re feeling fatigued or lacking energy.

The nutrients in a vitamin IV go directly into the bloodstream and are delivered to the tissues that need them most.

Here at Spark Health, our “fast bag” vitamin IVs take about 15-20 minutes to drip, are only $85, and contain all the B vitamins, vitamin C, and essential minerals you need to stay in tip-top condition.

We offer custom formulas that address a variety of health goals, from weight loss to energy to stress reduction. 

So, can you break down the main differences between the B12 shots and the Vitamin IVs?

B12 Shot:

  • Treatment Duration: Less than 5 minutes
  • Delivery method: Gluteal muscle
  • Volume of nutrients/fluid: Approx. 3 mL
  • Average Cost: $40

Vitamin IV (“Fast Bag”):

  • Treatment Duration: 15-20 min.
  • Delivery method: Vein accessed through the inside of the arm
  • Volume of nutrients/fluid: Approx. 120 mL
  • Average Cost: $85

Vitamin IV Therapy and Vitamin Shots at Spark Health

If you are interested in learning more about the vitamin shots or vitamin IVs we offer at Spark Health, give us a call at 858-228-4188 or send us an email at We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals! 

The Spark Health Clinic is conveniently located so we can serve patients in San Diego, and all of North County such as Del Mar, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Escondido, San Marcos, and Poway. 

Thank you,

` The Spark Team



  1. Maggini, et al. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. British Journal of Nutrition (2007), 98
  2. Tamura J, Kubota K, Murakami H, Sawamura M, Matsushima T, Tamura T, Saitoh T, Kurabayashi H & Naruse T (1999) Immunomodulation by vitamin B12: augmentation of CD8þT lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cell activity in vitamin B12-deficient patients by methyl-B12 treatment. Clin Exp Immunol;16,28-32.
  3. Berenson, et al. Effect of hormonal contraceptives on vitamin B12 level and the association of the latter with bone mineral density. Contraception. 2012 November ; 86(5): 481-487
  4. Zhao-Wei Ting, et al. Risk Factors of Vitamin B12 Deficiency in Patients Receiving Metformin. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:1975-1979
  5. Herrmann et al. Causes and early diagnosis of vitamin B12 deficiency. Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105:680-5.

Non-Pharmaceutical Options for Symptoms of ADHD

Alternative Treatments for ADHD Symptoms

By Dr. Samantha Larkin, ND- Associate Doctor and Manager of the Spark Health IV Program

ADHD, also known as Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, is a behavioral condition characterized by persistent inattention and/or impulsive, hyperactive behaviors.

These symptoms show up in childhood and interfere with social, academic or occupational activities. ADHD is understood to be a result of multifactorial causes including genetics.

Genes specifically affecting the regulation of dopamine and glutamate are associated with ADHD. Neurologically, there are differences in brain structure in the frontal cortex, cerebellum and parietal lobes as well as reduced activity in the prefrontal cortex in patients affected by ADHD compared to those without ADHD.

Other biological elements associated with ADHD include:

  • Prematurity and low birth weight
  • Exposure to toxins or infections during pregnancy
  • Socioeconomic stressors during early childhood (2)

Although symptoms of ADHD tend to improve in late adolescence, many adults still suffer from this condition. The standard treatments for ADHD are stimulant drugs such as amphetamine salts (Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin), but these drugs are associated with a high level of abuse and side effects. 

If you answer yes to any of the below questions, we are ready to lead you toward your highest expression of health through a personalized, individual approach. 

  • Do you or a loved one suffer from ADHD?
  • Are you interested in taking a different approach from the standard pharmaceutical treatments?
  • Do you want to learn more about specialized testing that can help address some of the imbalances underlying ADHD? 
  • Do you want to explore the non-pharmaceutical options that are on the cutting edge of addressing this condition? 

Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments for ADHD Treatments

There are many angles we are able to take as Naturopathic Doctors to help address conditions like ADHD.

The first consideration is the importance of the gut-brain axis (GBA). There is a direct connection between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the enteric nervous system (the neurons responsible for intestinal functions).

Did you know that the majority of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the body is actually produced in the gut itself? The enteric nervous system surprisingly uses more than 30 neurotransmitters.

The activities going on in the gut are often indicative of processes going on in the brain, and vice versa. It is well understood that gastrointestinal inflammation and dysbiosis can contribute to alterations in mood and behavior.

Specifically, research shows a connection between altered GI flora and ADHD. Therefore, if we are able to address intestinal functioning properly, we are able to change the activities of the central nervous system. 

We do this by using stool testing and other personalized functional lab testing. From the results of a stool analysis, we may make specific recommendations on supplements, probiotics, or dietary changes that can enhance gastrointestinal functioning and therefore help address ADHD symptoms. (1,2)

There is also evidence that persons with ADHD exhibit more susceptibility to food allergies than persons without ADHD. (2) Improvements in behavior can be seen often on certain types of elimination diets. (3)

Here at Spark Health, we can test for antibodies to 96 or 184 foods, depending on individual needs.

Food sensitivities are different from food allergies in the reaction that they create in the body. Many doctors test only immediate allergies to foods, such as peanuts, which can lead to immediate anaphylactic reactions.

But this doesn’t give us information about how repeated exposure to certain foods over a long term can impact health. By testing for food sensitivities, we take the guesswork out of the equation, so you have a clear sense of which foods to avoid and which foods to include in the diet. 

Other tests that we may utilize include neurotransmitter testing (measured by a urine sample), which allows us to assess levels of amino acids and amines that turn into the chemical messengers that make up our brain chemistry.

Although we are unable to directly measure the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system, we can use urinary levels to see certain patterns that may be associated with disorders such as ADHD. From these results, we can create a personalized plan that can help to balance out neurotransmitters and alleviate symptoms. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Spark Health approach to personalized natural medicine, give us a call at 858-228-4188 or you can email us at

We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals!

~The Spark Team


1. Carabotti M, et al. The Gut-Brain axis: Interactions Between Enteric Microbiota, Central and Enteric Nervous Systems. Annals of Gastroenterology (2015); 28,203-209

2. Petra AI, et al. Gut-microbiota-brain Axis and Its Effect on Neuropsychiatric Disorders With Suspected Immune Dysregulation. Clinical Therapeutics (2015); 37

3. De Theije CG, et al. Food Allergy and Food-Based Therapies in Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Pediatric Allergy Immunol. 2014;25:218-226