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Orthomolecular Medicine

Orthomolecular Medicine, as developed by double-Nobel Prize laureate Linus Pauling, aims to correct imbalances or deficiencies in individual biochemistry and restore the body and mind to their optimum states. Because Orthomolecular Medicine utilizes substances natural to the body, including diet, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, trace elements and herbal medicinals, it is a powerful complement to any detoxification protocol. Diagnosis can be performed via functional medical testing, Traditional Chinese Medicine practices and patient assessments.

Orthomolecular Medicine includes the following four components:

Dietary Medicine
The importance of diet in the maintenance of optimal health has been understood throughout recorded history. In fact more than 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates regarded food as a primary form of medicine. At Health for Heroes, rather than prescribe a particular dietary style, we identify those foods that should be eliminated or added to support the healing of our patient’s concerns and conditions.

Herbal Medicine
For over 5000 years, Chinese medicine has prescribed appropriate herbal formulas for the individual patient’s specific Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis. A formula is a combination of individual herbs (mostly plant based) that have been traditionally found to be effective for a given pattern or condition. In California, Licensed Acupuncturists (L.Ac.) are also Herbalists who, as part of TCM education, have studied an extensive pharmacopoeia of herbs categorized by their actions on the body.
 Herbal formulas may be prescribed in two forms: raw herbs to be cooked into teas or herbal formulas made into powders or pills by western manufacturers, which can be more practical and palatable.
While herbal medicinals can often function as a primary medicine for many conditions, we can also utilize them to enhance a pharmaceutical allowing a smaller dosage, or mitigate its undesirable side effects as might be found in HTN medications.

Amino Acids
Amino acids are fragments of protein. There are 22 amino acids in food, but, for the treatment of addictive or mental health disorders, we are most interested in supplementing five to eight of them. Each of these amino acids influences the activity of a particular neurotransmitter (brain chemistry) that directly affects cravings for a specific drug or that balances a mental/emotional state. We utilize patient guided symptom assessments instead of laboratory testing in most cases. NOTE that specific assessment is required to target the individual’s need and to avoid contraindications for certain medical conditions or prescription medications.

The five major amino acid groups that we assess and utilize are:
L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP are used to manufacture serotonin, the brain’s natural antidepressant. Serotonin deficiency symptoms: depression, self-deprecation, irritability, panic, anxiety, compulsive thoughts and behaviors, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, cravings worse in the afternoon or evening, sensitivity to heat, minimal sense of humor.
GABA is used to augment the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), the anti-stress chemical.
 
GABA deficiency symptoms: anxiety, tension—emotional and physical—and feeling overwhelmed by stress.
DL-Phenylalanine extends the life of pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. Endorphin deficiency symptoms: crying easily even over commercials on television, chronic pain, emotional fragility, particularly sensitive to pain.
L-Tyrosine is used to manufacture catecholamines like dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These neurotransmitters cause us to wake up in the morning alert and refreshed with a clear mind, able to concentrate and focus on our goals.
 Catecholamine deficiency symptoms: fatigue, unfocused, lack of motivation, depression, apathy, feeling of boredom but no energy to do anything more interesting, possibly diagnosed as “attention deficit disorder” (ADD).
L-Glutamine is a perfect fuel for the whole brain, balancing blood sugar levels to maintain energy and clear thinking.
Blood sugar deficiency symptoms: irritability, shakiness, weakness, dizziness, especially if too many hours have passed since the previous meal.
Amino Acid therapy is powerful medicine for the treatment of substance addiction or dependence as individuals will often the substances chosen are also specific to the release of neurotransmitters. For example, nicotine is a catecholamine so that tobacco is often utilized by individuals that are dopamine deficient. Yet, the nicotine and other components of tobacco smoke are highly toxic and threatening to one’s health.

Nutritional Supplements
A nutritional supplement, is a natural product intended to supplement the diet and provide nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, fatty acids, or amino acids, that may be missing or may not be consumed in sufficient quantities in a person’s diet. Utilizing specialized diagnostic techniques, we identify those nutritional supplements that will be most beneficial to helping our patients heal certain conditions and optimize their health.

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