The Integrative Therapeutics blog is your destination for staying current on topics within the integrative medicine community.
// Lise Alschuler, ND
I find myself thinking and talking about cortisol a lot these days. It’s actually a nice back to the future kind of thing as I remember getting very excited about cortisol when I was in school in the mid-90’s. One of my very first lectures was on the topic of stress, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, and cortisol. After hacking my way through the jungles of clinical practice for the next 20 years, I find that I have made my way right back to cortisol.
// Tori Hudson, ND
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis interacts with sleep in a multiplicity of ways and a growing body of research suggests reciprocal associations between sleep and activity of the HPA axis. Normal sleep architecture is characterized by cycles of light sleep, deeper slow-wave sleep and REM sleep. Light sleep includes stage 1 and stage 2 sleep. Stage 1 sleep has mixed frequency theta, slow rolling eye movements and slightly reduced eye movement and chin electromyography (EMG). Stage 2 has mixed frequency electroencephalogram (EEG). Deeper slow-wave sleep includes stages 3 and 4. Stage 3 sleep is characterized by 20-50% delta EEG and stage 4 has greater than 50% delta EEG.
// Christopher Oswald, DC, CNS, CFMP
Botanicals and herbs are consistently used with the goal of supporting a wide variety of health processes. The use of botanical supplements is broadly reported throughout history in the application of numerous folk and natural remedies, with the oldest evidence pointing to use approximately 5,000 years ago. Review a recommendation of what type of evidence to focus on when looking to use or recommend a botanical or herb.
// Lauren Martin, MS, CNS and Corey Schuler, RN, MS, CNS, DC
Let’s set the record straight: turmeric, curcuminoids, and curcumin are not interchangeable terms. Curcumin is a small, potent, and important part of turmeric. This distinction has implications when looking to select a nutritional supplement, when educating patients, as well as for clinical dosing.
// Anne Thiel, ND
Mitochondria are the last stop for extracting energy from food and oxygen. There are a multitude of reasons mitochondria may fail to perform efficiently, ranging from nutrient deficiencies to genetic mutations. Lab tests, including the organic acid test, combined with a thorough history and exam, are important in helping understand how mitochondrial function might be compromised and how to best direct potential treatment plans.
// Anne Thiel, ND
One particular component of the mitochondria that may be especially sensitive to oxidative damage is cardiolipin, a phospholipid located in the inner mitochondrial membrane that appears to stabilize respiratory chain complexes and increase the efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation, among other essential functions.1 Follow the role cardiolipin plays in supporting energy.*
// Sarah Cook, ND
CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is an endogenously produced, lipid-soluble compound that is concentrated in mitochondrial membranes, plasma membranes, and circulating lipoproteins. CoQ10’s roles as a mitochondrial nutrient and a systemic compound justify its use to replenish known drug-nutrient depletions and to support cardiovascular, neurological, and muscular health.* Further explore the dosing and lesser known benefits of CoQ10.
// Sarah Cook, ND
It should come as no surprise that mitochondrial function plays a central role in the liver, kidneys, and heart. Effective mitochondrial function relies on a variety of cofactors, including l-carnitine, α-lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).* CoQ10 is of particular interest because it not only supports the mitochondrial respiratory chain but also acts as a powerful antioxidant in mitochondrial membranes.*7 Read further about the role of CoQ10 in mitochondrial function.
// Christy Williamson, MS
Alpha Lipoic Acid, or ALA, is not classified as a vitamin, yet is synthesized by the body and is conditionally essential. It is perhaps best known to support glucose metabolism.* 1,2,3. As a chiral molecule, it can be found in both isomeric forms (S and R) while the majority of non-specified supplemental forms are a racemic mixture of both. Explore the dosing and benefits of alpha lipoic acid.
// Lauren Martin, MS and Corey Schuler, MS, DC, CNS
N-acetyl L-cysteine (NAC) helps to replenish intracellular glutathione, a vital cellular antioxidant.* More recently, clinical studies have reported on the use of NAC as a free radical scavenger, most notably where there appears to be a need for glutathione repletion.*1,2 As with scientific inquiry, evidence develops on both sides of a hypothesis. NAC is no different. Mounting evidence supports its role in healthy glutathione levels, but not all investigators have come to the same conclusion.