Nutrients

Nutrients

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

1. B Complex contains Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (dexpanthenol), and B6 (pyridoxine). B1 (Thiamine) is an important coenzyme for the metabolism of neurotransmitters, carbohydrates and branched chain amino acids. Thiamine is also important for the health of our red blood cells and is traditionally known as being extremely depleted by alcohol consumption. B2 (Riboflavin) helps support the function of other B vitamins and helps to support the antioxidant function of glutathione. B3 (Niacin) is crucial for cardiovascular health and for protecting our DNA. Niacin is especially helpful in patients with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). Niacin has been shown in research to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol), lowers LDL (“bad cholesterol”, and decreases plaque buildup in the arteries, especially the carotid artery. B5 (Dexpanthenol) is a component of the coenzyme that helps our body process nutrients (fats, carbs and protein). It also protects our nerves and has been shown to aid in lowering cholesterol and improving wound healing. B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep. 

1. B Complex contains Vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (dexpanthenol), and B6 (pyridoxine). B1 (Thiamine) is an important coenzyme for the metabolism of neurotransmitters, carbohydrates and branched chain amino acids. Thiamine is also important for the health of our red blood cells and is traditionally known as being extremely depleted by alcohol consumption. B2 (Riboflavin) helps support the function of other B vitamins and helps to support the antioxidant function of glutathione. B3 (Niacin) is crucial for cardiovascular health and for protecting our DNA. Niacin is especially helpful in patients with hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol). Niacin has been shown in research to increase HDL (“good” cholesterol), lowers LDL (“bad cholesterol”, and decreases plaque buildup in the arteries, especially the carotid artery. B5 (Dexpanthenol) is a component of the coenzyme that helps our body process nutrients (fats, carbs and protein). It also protects our nerves and has been shown to aid in lowering cholesterol and improving wound healing. B6 (Pyridoxine) is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep. 

2. B5- (Dexpanthenol)  Found naturally in avocado, yogurt, tuna, and chicken, dexpanthenol is a vitamin that is actually synthesized by our own gut bacteria! It is a component of the coenzyme that helps our body process nutrients (fats, carbs and protein) and protects our nerves. Deficiencies of dexpanthenol can manifest as numbness, tingling, burning, or fatigue. Dexpanthenol has also been shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol and reducing high triglycerides, and has been shown in research to significantly improve wound healing.

3. B6 (Pyridoxine)  Found naturally in bananas, carrots, spinach, peas, potatoes, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, legumes, and sunflower seeds, Vitamin B6 is essential in producing norepinephrine and serotonin, important neurotransmitters in regulating mood and sleep. 

4. B12 (Methylcobalamin)  Found naturally in meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, and other animal sources, and therefore tends to be deficient in our vegetarian and vegan patients. Symptoms of low B12 can manifest in numbness and tingling in the feet or hands, difficulty with mental tasks, fatigue, or memory loss. Vit. B12 is critical for the manufacture of red blood cells, the health of our nerves, and the protection of our DNA.  B12 is also helpful for patients with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or a history of gastric bypass surgery who don’t absorb Vitamin B12 as well as others in the gastrointestinal tract. B12 has been shown to effectively reduce high homocystine, which has been associated with cardiovascular disease risk. 

5. 5-MTHF(L-methylfolate) is the biologically active form of B9 (folate). The folic acid we ingest from food must be converted into Dihydrofolate (DHF), then to Tetrahydrofolate (THF), and then finally into L-methylfolate (5-MTHF) to be used in the body. It is estimated that more than half of the U.S. population has a genetic enzyme defect making it difficult to convert folic acid into its active form. 5-MTHF is also a key player in the production of neurotransmitters.

6. Taurine – Taurine is an essential nutrient for cardiovascular function and has been associated with reduced risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Taurine is a known antioxidant and has been shown in research to prevent the pro-oxidant effects of exercise, making it great for athletes. It has been shown in research to aid in weight loss and decrease cholesterol levels.

7. L-carnitine – Naturally found in red meat, fish, poultry, milk, this compound has been shown to increase the function of mitochondria, our body’s tiny energy-producing machines located in all of our cells. L-carnitine is also known to support our nerves, brain, and heart.

8. Glycine – is an amino acid that is a building block for many proteins in the body. It acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord, and is well known to help improve sleep quality.

9. Magnesium  – Found in spinach, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, magnesium is a crucial nutrient. There is overwhelming evidence to support magnesium’s use for lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiac death.

10. MIC (Methionine Inositol Choline ) – known as the ‘weight loss’ nutrient combination, helping with fat burning and speeding up metabolism. Methionine, an essential amino acid, helps the liver break down fat. Inositol is critical for fat metabolism aid in fat-burning liver function, while choline regulates cholesterol and fat transport around the body, preventing it from depositing in one place.

11. L-Arginine – L-Arginine is one of the “star” nutrients responsible for cardiovascular health. It is a precursor to nitric oxide, the molecule responsible for vasodilation (opening our blood vessels wider to allow for better circulation, better delivery of oxygen and other nutrients). L-Arginine is a popular nutrient supplemented by athletes before a workout to increase. It is also known to increase libido and enhance sexual performance. L-Arginine has been shown to enhance blood flow to the genital area. For men, it is known to enhance quality of erections, and for women, it increases tissue sensitivity enhancing sexual stimulation.

12. Glutathione  is nature’s antioxidant. Synthesized in the body from the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine, glutathione is an amazing detoxification nutrient. An easy way to understand the function of Glutathione is as a “mop” that goes around the body and sweeps up toxins. The body naturally produces it, but we are almost always depleted of it because of the amount of toxicity we are exposed to on a daily basis. From pesticides and chemicals hidden in our food to car exhaust on the road, toxins are a part of our life, whether we like it or not.  Glutathione is our favorite antioxidant compound because the liver uses it for phase two detoxification (the breakdown of water soluble toxins). After glutathione does its work, we are able to eliminate the toxins as safe byproducts. Other than supplementation, there are many additional ways to get your daily dose of glutathione. Moderate exercise is associated with higher natural levels of glutathione, especially a combination of aerobic and weight training. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables (such as brussels sprouts and broccoli) are associated with increased glutathione levels. All of our full size IVs here at Spark come with glutathione, delivered separately for maximum efficacy. If you’re coming to Spark for one of our awesome “Fast Bags”, consider adding a Glutathione push!

For more information about micronutrient testing, Vitamin IV’s or Vitamin Shots, please call Spark Health today at (858) 228-4188 or send us an email at Spark@MySparkHealth.com . Spark Health 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. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals!

Thank you,

` The Spark Team

Functional Medicine Takes Your Body’s Resilience and Wellness to the Next Level

IV therapy in San Diego

Wellness is a constant battle in a world full of health detriments. We read food labels. We avoid fumes from cars and cleaning products. We seek time to exercise and ways to make our jobs less sedentary. We manage stress.

The world wasn’t always like this. For all the solutions of modern medicine and technology, we have lost a purity of our environment, adding new challenges. Life in a city, even one of moderate population density like San Diego, makes these factors more prevalent.

Health Challenges We All Face

Chronic stress, sedentary routines, processed foods, and air pollution are all challenges that have arisen with modern times.

Stress, for example, evolved in nature to trigger survival instincts, not to deal with deadlines, finances, or traffic jams. These days, stress can make toxins harder to eliminate and quality sleep harder to achieve, depleting our body function, brain function, and overall wellbeing.

Our body’s detox system was also developed in a less polluted world. Fortunately, it is possible to eliminate build up toxins from our bodies and diet.

Air pollution; however, is something that it is impossible to avoid and its effects can be as damaging as smoking. San Diego ranks 6th in the United States for cities with the most ozone pollution.

Since we can’t avoid certain health factors, we need a leg up to beat them. That is why Spark Health strives to be a leader in integrative medicine in San Diego.

Solutions We Can All Employ

Diet and exercise are an important foundation for a sound mind and body. For most people, an ideal exercise routine is daily cardio and/or aerobic with intermittent weight training. A balanced diet is crucial with the right variety of vitamins and nutrients to boost your system and keep it at optimal level. Antioxidants are our best weapon to fight toxicity.

Free Radicals are unstable molecules that cause heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses. They can come from air pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and more. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals.

Solution – Integrative Medicine and IV Therapy

Functional medicine takes your body’s resilience and wellness to the next level. Spark Health is a leading Naturopathic practice providing nutrition counseling, vitamin injections and IV therapy in San Diego to name a few.  Each IV therapy session includes a shot of glutathione, your body’s most important anti-oxidant. Glutathione optimizes the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients in each treatment, which are tailored to promote a range of benefits, from general health and restoration, to weight loss, athleticism, and mood.

Integrative and functional medicine allow your cells and organs to better process the nutrients consumed and in return provide a vitality that enables you to be more active, aware and productive.

With integrative medicine, we can definitively win the fight against health hazards that are all around us and become our best selves. To learn more or to book a visit please visit www.MySparkHealth.com or contact Spark Health at 858.228.4188 with any questions.

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 Spark@MySparkHealth.com. 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 Spark@MySparkHealth.com. 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

 

REFERENCES:

  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 Spark@MySparkHealth.com.

We look forward to helping you achieve your health goals!

~The Spark Team

REFERENCES 

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