Study Shows Opioids Fail to Prove They Help Chronic Pain + Innovative New Solutions to Pain


Opioids have been a dark side of medicine for me. Being from Huntington, West Virginia, the overdose capitol of the country, I have lost multiple friends to narcotics. Many more of my acquaintances have had to attend rehab due to faulty and greedy doctors who inappropriately dispensed oxycontin like candy. I became one of the bad guys when I succombed to a system that said narcotics were the ultimate answer to chronic or acute pain. I wrote many a prescription for Vicodin, believing that they were the correct answer. Most of us would do better, if we knew better. Its hard for me to believe, however, that the pharmaceutical companies didn’t know how addictive and life threatening these drugs were. Unfortunately, medical doctors are influenced by pharmaceutical companies, both directly and indirectly through direct contact or studies and textbooks, respectively.

In the United States in 2016, overdoses accounted for 48,000 deaths. This number is on the rise. From 2010 to 2014, overdose deaths rose 23%. The midwest saw a jump of nearly 30% in overdoses over the summer. What happens to many people? Once their source of opioid is removed, many don’t just quit. They become heroin addicts, which is cheaper on the streets. This is exactly what happened in my hometown of Huntington.


With the numbers becoming ever increasingly alarming, a new year long study was published in the Journal of American Medical Association (March 2018 shows that narcotics may not even be that effective. REALLY?

The study was a double blind, placebo controlled study and sought to answer this question: For patients with moderate to severe chronic back pain or hip or knee osteoarthritis pain despite analgesic use, does opioid medication compared with nonopioid medication result in better pain-related function?

What they found was quite surprising and I think most doctors will find it disheartening. I know I did. The study sampled 234 VA patients who were randomly assigned to receive a narcotic vs a non narcotic for their low back, hip, or knee pain. It showed with statistical significance that opioids worked SLIGHTLY WORSE than nonopioids or over the counter pain relievers at relieving pain related to sleeping or walking! Opioids include drugs like Norco, Morphine, Fentanyl, Vicodin, or Oxycontin. Nonopioids are referring to medications like Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or muscle relaxers.

Patients reported changes in function or pain on questionnaires. Function scores improved in each group by about two points on an 11-point scale, where higher scores meant worse function. Both groups started out with average pain and function scores of about 5.5 points.

Pain intensity dropped about two points in the nonopioid group and slightly less in the opioid patients.

I’m really surprised by this study since we, as medical doctors, are taught that the most effacacious treatment for any sort of pain are narcotics or prescription pills. Considering their laundry list of unwanted consequences, which are listed below, I believe doctors most urgently move away from prescribing these DRUGS.



So if you or a loved one suffers from chronic pain, this study may persuade you to look elsewhere for treating your pain. Here are some approaches I use which are widly successful, especially when combined, for reducing pain issues without horrendous or life threatening side effects.

  1. Medical Marijuana: A new study by the World Health Organization shows that CBD, or cannabinoid oil, shows no abuse potential. Meanwhile, opioids are a top killer. This plant has been unfairly criminalized and honestly I can’t sing its praises enough. It has helped me with children with seizures, people with insomnia or anxiety, and especially, chronic pain. Some patients do find that they need higher THC to help remove the pain, while others can use high CBD and low THC for adequate pain control. My hope is that in the near future, the government will be cracking down on pharmaceutical companies who promote unsafe drugs and less on natural plants that grow on the earth and can treat pain perfectly well when used responsibly.
  2. Herbs: Natural plant medicine works in different ways and can often be paired to work synergistically in the body. Herbs like frankinscence, pine bark, shiitake mushroom, resveratrol, alpha lipoic acid, curcumin or turmeric, and grape seed extract all work to decrease inflammation, which leads to chronic pain. HINT: I put all of these in my Inflammation Master and it helps wean people off of anti-inflammatories and even narcotics like Vicodin. Even a couple of these supplements along with lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Some of these compounds, like alpha lipoic acid or curcumin, you can find at integrative medical clinics in intravenous form. This is a big plus for those patients who have leaky gut or malabsorption problems leading to pain.
  3. Stem Cells: Stem cells are basically the pain treatment epitome. I inject them myself at Create Wellness in La Jolla, California and follow along with the patients. Their recovery is nothing short of a miracle, but the science behind stem cells is there. Think of how a baby forms in the womb. Stem cells are the orchestrators of forming tissues and organs; they oversee the development. When injected from umbilical cord and amniotic waste products donated by screened women undergoing C-sections, stem cells differentiate into any cell in the body that is needed. They respond to beacons of inflammation and work over a 9 month period to heal the body where it needs it. There has never been one rejection! We have patients walking miles that could hardly get around the house previosuly. This is the ultimate pain relief treatment. The only downside is the cost. Running upwards of 7-10k, stem cells are not covered by insurance.
  4. Diet/Exercise: Diet always has the potential to create gut inflammation and later, brain inflammation. The two are intimately connected and leaky gut equals leaky brain. Moreover, if proteins cross the gut membrane into the bloodstream, the body will attack them, leading to possible autoimmune conditions if this continues chronically. Inflammation then increases which can trigger symptoms like pain in the joints. Cut all chemicals from the diet including breads, processed carbs, boxed or convenience foods, junk foods, fried or fast foods. Ensure that any meats that you are purchasing are organic and free of antibiotics and hormones. Eat a diet full of a variety of daily organic fruits and vegetables. Consciously avoid any pesticides and genetically modified ingredients.
  5. Emotional Wounds or Uncontrolled Stress: I speak a lot about adrenal fatigue, self care, and repressed emotions leading to physical wounds. Science is now showing that traumatic events can kick off stress responses that scar our immune systems. Nearly 8 out of 10 of my autoimmune patients have had a traumatic life event that set off the beginning of their symptoms. Repressed emotions can be stored deep in our bodies. Emotional pain is connected to physical pain. Addicts are usually addicted to a pill because of a traumatic event. Many use it to suppress even emotional pain. Our pain receptors are intimately connected to our mood, sleep hormones and immune systems. But the good news is that your mind and body can change when you do the hard, brave self work it takes to be honest about why you are hurt or what you have not dealt with. This can include counseling, therapy, journaling, closure, meditation, or forgiveness. Sometimes it means being accountable for ourselves. Everyone’s work is different and emotional detoxes are very real. This is some of the scariest, but most rewarding work that you can do for your overall health.
  6. Low Dose Naltrexone: This is one of the only prescriptions I consistenly write. It works on the concept that are opioid receptors are connected to neurotransmitters, mood, immunity and more. When given in very low doses at 4.5mg, it pulses doses the opioid receptors and can not only improve pain, but mood, immunity and sleep for many chronic pain, cancer, and autoimmune patients. I have seen it improve many patient’s pain. If only doctors knew!

Much love

Dr Jess

Why You Can’t Lose the Last 10 lbs: Three Best Minerals For Blasting Stubborn Belly Fat

One of the main complaints that I hear from my dear patients is….”I cannot lose this last 10lbs, no matter what I do!”


Not surprisingly, most of us are always struggling to maintain our weights and diets. It seems to be gettting more and more difficult to attain the look we so desperately want. I’m going to be the first to tell you that a lot of this is not always an easy answer. Not only does the responsiblity of eating clean fall into our laps, but the toxic environment we live in makes it even more challenging. I’m going to discuss diet a bit here, but this blog is mostly for those who are eating healthfully, but are baffled as to why the scale hasn’t budged a bit. If this is YOU, then we need to address your stress, sleep, and hormone levels as well as digestion to ensure that your body is working WITH YOU and not against you! Your body has the ability to heal you but if it is constantly fighting to keep you well, then the luxurious idea of losing weight is put on the back burner while your body just tries to keep you afloat.

Here are just a few examples of the pro-inflammatory chemicals that we come into contact with daily that prevent our systems from functioning at full capacity:

  1. Triclosen in Dial soap is an endocrine, or hormone disrupter. This means that repeated contact with it could have potential consquences for your system, as hormone disrupters interrupt the natural flow of hormone signals in the body, confusing the body’s pathways. Endocrine disrupters are also linked to haywire immunity, or what occurs in autoimmune conditions.
  2. Antibiotics in factory farmed meat (which is most meat these days unless they brag about it being grass fed and organic) not only disrupts the delicate microbiome of different bacterial strains in the animal’s gut, but when we eat them, the antibiotics inside the bloodstream also affect our own human gut bacteria. This is imperative since studies have shown that a high ratio of beneficial to pathogenic bacteria is what keeps us fit and trim, thinking clearly, happy and healthy. Cravings are actually induced by pathogenic bacteria. If they can get you to eat their substrate of choice, that can continue making your gut their home and causing problems for your digestive tract. Pair that with constipation, and you have a double whammy when your body can’t get rid of toxins that predispose you to obesity.
  3. Heavy metals in vaccines, food preparations, geoengineering and amalgam fillings equal more inflammation inside our bodies. Inflammation in general can act like a shield, protecting many pathogens from being detected by the immune system in the body. This makes sense. If your body is confused, due to a blanket of irritation, anger, and inflammation, then it can’t figure out what to attack. Therefore, it acts itself or the signals become so confused that it is near impossible to fight the inciting factor.

I hope you can see how delicate our systems are. Our bodies want to heal, but if they are bombarded in an unhealthy environment daily, then sometimes this becomes a much bigger task than nature intended it be.

So first and foremost, please detox your life from chemicals! This means household cleaning products, makeup, skin care routines, shampoo, soaps, air freshners, water filters and food choices. Once that is done, we can address the other factors that predispose you to stubborn fat, especially around the abodmen.



Guys I cannot stress this stress topic enough (ok enough of my corny jokes). We have severely underplayed the importance of stress in western culture and sometimes, even applaud it. How many times have you been rewarded for wiping yourself out for a deadline at work? Or complimented on your unwavering dedication to a company? Being burnt out, unfortunately, is a badge of honor in our culture. This badge of honor is disguised as SUCCESS, however, whos success are you counting on? Your bosses? Or your own health and soul success? Many of us need a prespective change in order to heal. It is ok to unplug, to need a moment to recenter, or to have a life outside of your work. Let me explain the physiological basis behind stress and what you need to do to lighten the load.

We contain an autonomic nervous system that houses the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Ideally, these two systems work in tandem in a physiologic manner. However, most of us run around like chickens with our heads cut off while we try to please everyone else. Jobs, long hours, less sleep, hard exercise, overthinking, skipping meals and keeping up with the Jones’ has left us frazzled and unable to recognize when we need a self loving break. This sets off our sympathetic nervous systems and keeps us in fight or flight mode. It does not matter if the situation or circumstance is ACTUALLY a fight or flight situation, if the mind perceives it that way, then the body follows suit.


When we are stressed, the hormone, cortisol is released from the outer layer of the adrenal glands, called the adrenal cortex. The adrenal glands sit atop the kidneys. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight or a flight and oversees the sympathetic nervous system. This means if our mind perceives a threat, then cortisol is released to prepare the body to ACT; our blood sugar increases as our muscles plan to engage in order to run away from the threat. Blood pressure rises in preparation for the body to run or to fight. All necessary back ups are employed in order to give the body energy it believes it will need to survive. Our bodies are so intelligent, so you can see this is an ingenius system when the environment is one that keeps us calm and in a balanced state. Unfortunately, in our hurried lifestyles, we have tipped the system into imbalance, where most of us are now constantly in sympathetic mode.

Activation of the stress system

There is one exception however. Cortisol should be elevated in the mornings when we first wake up and then slowly decreases as the day goes on so it is lower at night, preparing us for a good night’s sleep.


Blood Sugar Imbalance and Risk for Diabetes

In the short term, under stressful conditions, cortisol taps into glucose stores in the liver by breaking down protein. This helps us have enough energy to fight or flee. If this continues unchecked, glucose stores are constantly being produced and released into the blood stream where they cause blood sugar regulation issues and possibly even diabetes. A prinicipal function of cortisol is to thwart the effects of insulin, which leaves the cells in an insulin resistant state, unable to bring blood sugar into the cells to nourish them.

Weight Gain and Obesity: Why I Can’t Lose the Last 10 Pounds

When I was in medical school, I ate like a rabbit because I had so much anxiety. The pressure from 8 hour long tests, 80 hour work weeks and grueling overnight calls left me with pretty severe adrenal dysfunction and that “wired but tired” feeling. I remember getting “hangry” in between meals because it stressed my body out to be in starvation mode as I was already running on fumes most days. I also could never seem to keep the last 10 lbs off either. I was young, in my mid 20’s but I had to literally work my ass off to look like I wanted. Why? I bet you guys know by now…yep…cortisol.

10 Symptoms of Overatigue & Exhaustion

Chronic stress or adrenal fatigue or dysfunction can lead to weight gain or the inability to lose the weight you want. So many female patients come to me stating they are eating a bird’s diet and the scale has not budged. The more questions I ask them, the more I see that chronic overstimulation of cortisol has caused blood sugar issues and hormonal imbalances that make it impossible to burn fat stores! Instead, cortisol can mobilize triglycerides from storage and relocate them to visceral fat cells. Unfortunately, visceral fat cells have more cortisol receptors than subcutaneous fat, exacerbating the issue.

Another way cortisol may cause weight gain is the blood sugar cycle that I mentioned earlier. High blood sugar levels, caused by chronic cortisol, cause the insulin receptors to become “intolerant” to glucose and this staves the cells of glucose. When these cells are starved, they send signals to the brain that they are HUNGRY. This is one reason why diabetics have so much trouble losing weight.

Don’t forget that cortisol also raises inflammation levels in the body and inflammation alone can cause puffiness and swelling leading to weight gain.

One other thing. Have you ever noticed when you’re really stressed that you crave salty snacks or sugary guilty pleasures? There’s a reason for this! It seems cortisol might directly influence cravings by binding to receptors in an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Cortisol also speaks a chemical language with our other hormones and stress factors. All of this together can and does influence appetite and cravings.


Although this is not all of cortisol’s effects on the body, these are the most relevant ones concerning weight loss. It is so imperative to check in internally to ensure that we are treating our minds and bodies with self love and respect. This is a necessary ingredient when healing adrenal fatigue.

I first want to say that without healing the root cause of the problem, which is HPA hypothalamus pituitary axis dysfunction, often called adrenal fatigue, (overthinking, overstressing, physical exertion, etc) then it will be nearly impossible to lose weight. Once your habits and self care routine have been addressed, then these herbs/minerals will be very useful in your journey to get the last few pounds off.

  1. L-carnitine: this compound made from  has been used for years to enhance weight loss. It works by mobilzing free fatty acid stores from visceral tissue and moving them into the mitochondria where they can be broken down and used for energy. It is synthesized in the body from combining the amino acids methionine and lysine. You can get L-carnitine anywhere, but here is my favorite:
  2. B vitamins: These vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, vitamins B-6, B-12 and biotin. They are water-soluble vitamins, which means that your body is unable to store them and urinates them out. This means you must get them from your food. Their association with weight loss may be related to their ability to help your body metabolize carbs, protein and fat. All of the B vitamins are extremely important, especially methylB12 which is used in methylation activities all over the body! Vitamin B5 is necessary for stress relief and hormone balance which can lead to weight loss if askew. If you have absorption issues, then try out B12 injections which can last for up to a week.
  3. Magnesium: Some studies show magnesium may help obese patients lose weight by helping to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Magnesium is also a very calming mineral that can help calm anxiety or stress. It can also help you sleep! Both insomnia and stress have been shown to affect hormone levels which can predispose us to weight gain or the inability to lose weight. Moreover, according to research published in the February 2009 edition of “Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis,” increased intake of magnesium can promote enhanced levels of free testosterone in your body.  As most guys know, testosterone can reduce your levels of body fat and can increase your lean muscle mass. (Hint: women need some testosterone too!) Pick up some Magnesium glycinate for the best absorption!
  4. Zinc: Zinc is pretty awesome at a number of things in our body, but one amazing thing it can do is help to break down and absorb our nutrients. It does this by helping fo form hydrochloric acid in the gut, which is integral for absorbing our food. When the body is receiving the proper ratios of minerals and vitamins, it does not have extensive cravings. This alone can prevent overeating. Another study published in 2013 in “Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin” found that obese study subjects who consumed zinc supplements containing 30 milligrams of zinc gluconate daily had improved body mass indices, lost weight and showed improvements in triglyceride levels. Be sure to not go above 50mg chronically as zinc toxicity can occur. 

Close runner ups include vitamin D, caffeine, hawthorn berry, ginseng, cinnamon, and turmeric.

You guys can totally lose that last 10lbs with self love! Eat correct, sleep well, correct hormones, try a gut cleanse with my Microbiome Master and upcoming probiotic!

Much love

Dr Jess


The New Breakthrough for Endometriosis: Cannabis?

I’ll never forget my 24 year old patient that came to me desperate to get pregnant. She was tearful in the office as she described everything she and her husband have been through trying to conceive. She had endometriosis, a disease which causes abnormal endometrial growths outside the uterine wall. If severe, it can lead to infertility. Endometriosis affects one in ten women today in the United States. It causes excruciating pain that is diffuse and hard to characterize. Most women with endometriosis describe painful periods, uncomfortable intercourse, chronic abdominal pain, and even infertility. Conventional medical treatments include synthetic hormones, like birth control pills (which lead to other problems, such as depression) or ablation/surgery, which often does not fix the problem. Efficient medical interventions are pretty dire for many women.

Enter: Cannabis.

As a medical marijuana expert, I have witnessed many female patients come to the office to secure a medical card for their exruciating pelvic pain due to endometriosis. They have always told me this medicine takes the edge off for them. Its my nature to always trust the patient, but now science is proving why cannabis is so good at alleviating this particular pain.


Let  me explain a little about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system so that you can understand the science behind this misunderstood plant.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was never something we were taught about in medical school. It happens to run from your brain to your bowels…and the receptors, known as CB1 and CB2 receptors, are in the highest concentration in the uterus. These receptors wear many hats, including but not limited to modulating pain sensation, mood, memory, appetite, sleep, and immune response.

Many components of the ECS—a group of cannabinoid receptors found in the human body—are found in endometrial tissue. Rodent models of the disease have revealed ECS levels are regulated by the menstrual cycle. These include:

  • Cannabinoid receptors type 1 and type 2 (also known as CB1 and CB2)
  • N-acyl phosphatidylethanolamine phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD), an enzyme that synthesizes natural endocannabinoids
  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), an enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids

What’s more, the reproductive system makes a natural endocannabionoid that is potentiated by cannabis use. It is known as anadamide. Moreover, the highest concentration of this endocannabinoid anandamide, is found in the uterus. It has been demonstrated in female reproductive tract fluid and even in ovaries.


Most pain comes from unchecked inflammation or neuropathic pain (nerve pain). Endometriosis is no exception. As cannabinoids are known to decrease inflammation and work well on neuropathic pain, it makes sense that this would be an attractive option. Now that research studies are publishing the mechanism of action, science can no longer deny such a viable choice for women and pain.

Research has shown that in rodents at least, the CB1 receptior protein is found in the uterus and in something called a blastocyst. A blastocyst is a human embryo that was fertilized 5-6 days ago. What this infers is that the CB1 receptor likely contributes to normal fetal implantation vs implantation failure. Yes, it is possible that endocannabinoids play a role in fertilization and growth of the human embryo early on. They even look like they may be involved in reproductive dysfunction. It is well established that the ECS plays a key role in pain receptors and feedback loops and in fact, cannabinoids have been used for centuries to alleviate dysmenorrhea, or pelvic pain.

Some studies described endometriosis as an “endocannabinoid deficiency” condition, thereby partially explaining its implication with pain. Indeed, women with endometriosis have lower levels of CB1 receptors in endometrial tissue. Reduced ECS function has been suggested to lead to growth of endometriosis tissue and a more severe pain experience. The ECS seems to be important for the establishment of pain associated with endometriosis. It is interesting to note that CB1 receptor EXPRESSION is greater in unhealthy endometrial cysts than in healthy uterine tissue from the rats in the study (this why the receptors are shown with greater expression in the endometrium of rats with endometriosis-their bodies are trying to increase expression in an attempt to increase CB1 production since they have a deficiency). This suggests that medications or treatments to activate CB1 receptors (CB1 receptor agonists) could provide substantial pain relief for women suffering from pelvic pain syndromes, such as endometriosis, without many side effects. The study, headed by Jerome Bouaziz at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Israel, showed that cannabinoid receptor agonists, including the phytocannabinoids found in regular cannabis, are effective at regulating the inflammatory response, reducing the growth of endometriotic lesions, and improving neuropathic pain.

Of note,  CB2 receptors are preferentially expressed abundantly in the immune system and intestines and in other tissues such as the lungs, uterus, pancreas, and skin, but do not seem to play a major role in the uterus and with endometriosis. But thats a whole other post.

In this particular study, rather than use natural cannabis, researchers chose a synthetic cannabinoid known as WIN 55,212-2 (WIN). WIN has been found to be a potent agonist and to have high therapeutic potential. Human endometriosis cells divided and grew LESS (too much tissue growth is the problem in endometriosis) when stimulated with WIN 55212-2. Rodent studies of endometriosis found the animals had more pain when treated with AM251, a drug that inhibits the cannabinoid receptors, and less pain when treated with WIN 55212-2. Interesting, no?


“The graph above shows cell proliferation/growth (vertical column) plotted against WIN concentration added to the cells (horizontal row). Cs, Ds, and Es stand for the type of cell used, with Cs corresponding to inter-uterine “healthy cells”, Ds referring to cells taken from surface level growths, and Es referring to cells taken from deep cysts. Regardless of the cell type, readers can see that as the micromolar concentration of WIN (horizontal axis) increased past 5, cell proliferation plummeted! By 40, cell proliferation had all but stopped in all cell types, with between 96% and 99% reduction in all cases. Readers will notice the horizontal dotted line located at 1,00 on the vertical axis. This line represents the expected level of cell proliferation had no WIN been added, and in fact, this line matches the data at low concentrations of WIN. Breaking this all down, essentially what we’re seeing is a dose-dependent reaction to WIN, which means that effects increase with increased addition of WIN.”


If you are interested in using cannabis for PMS, pelvic pain, or endometriosis, then there are options for you. Unfortunately you cannot legally obtain any products containing more than 0.3% THC if marijuana has not been medically approved in your state. You can, however, obtain full spectrum CBD products which is sufficient for most people. There are many options, but here are my favorites:

  1. CBD suppositories or “tampons:” These look like tampons but are actually glycein vaginal suppositories that are inserted locally, right where the pain occurs. These are relatively new, but work amazingly well for any sort of pelvic pain and most women are pleasantly surprised. Pairing this with Hormone Master is a sure fire bet to alleviate cramping, PMS and any pain.
  2. CBD oil: CBD oil is taken sublingually and then swallowed. It depends on your dosage per drop, but attempt 15mg twice a day to begin. There is a fairly large therapeutic window so titrating up is safe. When purchasing, look for organic, full spectrum and at least 500mg of CBD per bottle. You can email for CBD.
  3. CBD salves and patches: Salves are nice because you can also apply them topically and locally, right where the pain occurs. Patches are applied every 2-3 days. They are convenient since you dont have to think about taking your medicine daily.



Cannabis and any CB1 agonist seem very promising in the treatment of endometriosis. My personal experience as a cannabis doctor has proved this to me time and time again.  This puts the medicine, or CBD, directly in the localized area of pain and inflammation, and thus provides a rapid delivery system for pelvic pain.

I am excited to oversee clinical research studies using cannabis as a treatment for endometriosis in the near future. And don’t worry-I’ll keep all of you posted!

Remember-you do NOT have to live in pain or take addictive narcotics. There are so many options, including cannabis. Please be sure to do your reseach so that you can be your own best doctor!

Much love

Dr Jess




Why Don’t My Antidepressants Work?

Mood Disorders Are Common… but whats the Root Cause?

Anxiety and depression are crippling problems for the American healthcare system because of the sheer number of people who suffer from these conditions. 30 million combined people have been diagnosed with some sort of variant of anxiety or depression. This is staggering considering the inefficiency of the mental health system, which is not prepared to handle that many diagnoses. So perhaps rather than focus on how to temporarily treat these mental disorders with medications, we should focus on why these diagnoses are sky rocketing? Why are so many of us anxious for no reason at all? Why do many of us feel as though we have lost the joy of life? Moreover, why do so many of us complain that the prescription medications don’t work or bring us back to feeling like ourselves?

Anxiety and depression are usually multifactorial,  meaning they have many causes. What baffles many is that their prescription medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fail to bring them back to baseline and leave them feeling numb. The secret is that the problem is often not a neurotransmitter imbalance, but an INFLAMMATION PROBLEM. That being said, gut inflammation leads to brain inflammation. Nutritional imbalances can lead to brain inflammation. In fact, any systemic inflammation can lead to brain inflammation. Adults with bipolar disorder are commonly seen swinging from one emotional extreme to the next. This is due to transient inflammation within neuroendocrine immune cells in the brain rather than severely fluctuating neurotransmitters as previously thought. (1)

A study published last year showed that microglial cells, your nervous system’s immune cells) have rampant inflammation in disorders like schizophrenia and depression. No wonder drugs like Prozac or Lexapro, used in depression, only partially work for so many patients.

Its often hard to pinpoint without a personalized consult, but here are my top tips for getting to the root cause of your mood disorder. I want to stress that you do not have to live like this! Please never stop your medication without consulting your doctor first

A diet poor in fruits, veggies, healthy fats and clean protein-if this is you, be prepared to change your diet!

There was a time not too long ago where I did not value the benefit of a holistic lifestyle. I ate convenience food, which included diet soft drinks, microwavable dinners and boxed foods. I took birth control pills that affected the action of my natural hormones. I drank tap water, which often contains endocrine disrupting chemicals. I stayed up late when I had to get up early and drank wine. Then felt exhausted in the mornings but kept pushing my adrenals with a few cups of coffee. I was REALLY stressed out and pretty unhappy with my tedious career choice. Everything in my life was promoting inflammation. What ended up happening was that all of this compounded and lead to severe free-floating anxiety. It made me irritable and reactive. However, during that time, I was unaware of the fact that the cheese I loved may be contributing to my brain fog. And I’m sure there are many of us that have not made this connection. Mood disorders don’t affect everyone-some people chronically living the preformentioned lifestyle may end up with an autoimmune condition or cancer, but my genes predisposed me to mood disorders.

Our guts are connected to our brains via the housekeeping and calming nerve in our body, known as the vagus nerve. Indulging in a bag of chips that contain preservatives and fillers feed pathogenic bacteria in the gut that then send signals up this nerve to the brain. These bacteria have been proven to shape our moods, cravings and overall immunity. If we are helping to promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria in the gut, then our thoughts and focus will be affected as well.(1)

The majority of our serotonin, melatonin and immune cells are housed in the gut. This means that if we are not feeding harmonious bacteria, then our happiness, sleep and ability to fight infections will all be impaired. Inflammation of the gut leads to irritation of the microglial, or immune cells of the brain and disruption in neuro immune signaling is indicated in recent studies to play a large role in many mood conditions.

Aim to eat organic fruits, vegetables, whole grains like quinoa or brown rice and clean meats (if you eat them). This means free range, grass fed, no antibiotics or hormones. I can’t express how many of my patients resolve their lingering mood disorders by changing their diet alone.

Exercising-whatever calls to you-this is a great stress reliever and can release “happy” neurotransmitters

We all know exercise is good for us, but sometimes I don’t think everyone realizes just how good. When we build up a sweat, your body recognizes this as a moment of stress. As your blood pressure increases and your respirations uptick, your brain releases a protein called BDNF, or brain derived neurotropic factor, to protect you from the stress. This protein is protective and can even repair neurons and act as a reset switch. Not only that, but your brain also releases endorphins, or feel-good hormones, when exercising. The purpose of this is to lessen the discomfort associated with exercise. It can acutally become addictive, but the good news is that for the most part, it is a healthy addiction. This is why we feel so calm and focused after exercise. Daily exercise can prove to be REAL medicine for a mood disorder.

Herbs and Minerals That Help the Happiness Factor 

Due to diet and lifestyle, many of us are drained, nutritionally deprived and stressed to the max. Throughout my career, I’ve witnessed the power of herbs and minerals on one’s mental state. Many conventional medicines, especially for anxiety, are habit forming and have risks like withdrawal seizures if not weaned off properly. Thats why I always try to supplement naturally before trying other avenues (I’m partial to my own Stress Master that contains many of the herbs listed below).


Fave herbs/Minerals/Compounds for Anxiety:


Holy basil or Tulsi

Rhodiola Rosea



CBD, cannabinoids, the non-psychoactive part of the marijuana plant


Magnesium (magnesium glycinate is the most absorbable)


Gotu Kola

Beta Glucans


Fave herbs/Minerals/Compounds for Depression: 


St Johns Wort



Vitamin D


Omega 3 Fatty Acids


Low dose naltrexone is also useful for depression and autoimmune disorders. Please be sure to consult your trusted healthcare professional before trying to self diagnose or cure.

Genetic Testing

This is an avenue that I encourage many patients to follow. Rather than simply offer herbs or medications by trial and error, genetic testing for mutations can provide the missing links or keys in mental health.

One of my favorite genetic tests is the SNP test by Great Plains lab (it however requires a prescription). If you’re looking for something you can order easily, then 23 and me is a good choice. It tests multiple genes and scans for mutatations throughout the genome. It can tell you if youre at risk for Alzheimers or prone to panic attacks. The OAT (organic acid test), also by Great Plains lab, is excellent as it measures neurotransmitter by-products in the urine. This tells us what neurotransmitters have too much or too little activity and can target specific therapy for the patient. If you have tried everything else, then this is definitely something you don’t want to exclude.

Heres the skinny on the best SNPs/mutations to look out for on tests.

  1. Stat4-normally codes for proteins that activate TH1 immunity but a mutation here codes for an aggressive inflammation response instead
  2. TNF (tumor necrosis factor)-cytokine or cell communicator that codes for T and B cell activation. A mutation means T cell overactivation that leads to mood disorders through brain inflammation.
  3. CTLA4-cytotoxic T lymphocyte associated protein-4-downregulates the immune system when needed. A mutation means that you have chronic inflammation as the immune system is too overactive.
  4. MTHFR-40% of the population has a mutation in one or both of these genes. These patients cannot methylate or activate B vitamins and methylation is used in thousands of processes in our bodies. This causes a propensity towards depression and anxiety.
  5. COMT or MAO mutations-this means that the enzyme that breaks down certain neurotransmitters is slow, so there are higher levels of adrenaline throughout the body that these patients are not able to rid themselves of. This can lead to severe anxiety and behavioral issues.

Lifestyle Changes and Lab Checks

Tempering your exposure to EMF from computers and cell phones can help moods as well. Have you ever looked at the informational insert that comes with cell phones? They directly warn about the dangers of continuous EMF and low level radiation. On May 21, 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a committee of 27 scientists from 14 different countries working on behalf of the World Health Organization (WHO), concluded that exposure to cell phone radiation is a “possible carcinogen” and classified it into the 2B category. This is the same category as the pesticide DDT, burning coal and dry cleaning chemicals, just to name a few. Be sure to put blue screens from computers and phones away at night. Practice good sleep hygiene.

If you still cannot sleep and are suffering from racing thoughts and mood swings, ask your healthcare provider to check your sex hormones (refer to my blog on hormones), your salivary cortisol levels to screen for adrenal fatigue and your vitamin D levels. These are crucial labs when dealing with mood disorders.

On top of diet and exercise changes, incorporating these lifestyle changes and checking on lab values can help to treat chronic depression and anxiety.

Addressing Emotional and Spiritual Wounds

Stress and trauma are inherently tied into our wellbeing. If you were abused or mistreated as a child and have not thoroughly processed the truama, it can reveal itself through disease or mood disorders. Autoimmune disorders nearly always have a traumatic event that proceeded the onset of the symptoms. Heart attacks can even occur due to a severe heartbreak, like the death of a loved one. Many mood disorders have root in trauma, emotional wounds, childhood abuse and unprocessed emotions. Be sure to let yourself grieve, mourn and cry over these events if this sounds like you. Even journaling can help with releasing suppressed emotions and pains.

Final Word

Treating mood disorders takes a multilevel approach. Don’t give up just because one thing didnt work for you. You can take control of your life by taking action in areas that need TLC, but be honest and ask for help when you need it. You are becoming your own best doctor!

Dr Jess






The Common Link Between Fibroids, Ovarian Cysts, Endometriosis and Breast Cancer

Estrogen Dominance: The Missing Link? My Story

For probably 15 years of my life I took birth control pills. When I finally decided to get the Mirena IUD in my 30’s, my body was done with the synthetic hormones. After about 5 months of having it in place, I began to have night sweats that were so profuse, they woke me up from sound sleep. I noticed that my skin and hair began to look more dull and dry. My sex drive was basically nonexistent. Don’t even get me started on the RIDICULOUS amount of brain fog in the mornings back then. I was on edge ALL THE TIME. And I couldn’t seem to get rid of the mini intertube that was magically appearing around my midsection. It finally dawned on me (because you know its always more difficult to see truth in yourself) that my hormones were the cause of most of my symptoms.

Unfortunately medical doctors aren’t taught much about how to read hormones or even properly treat them outside of more prescription pills. So I did my own research on the IUD and how it works in the body. The Mirena works by producing synthetic progesterone in the uterus locally so the body is told to stop producing its own. The problem with this is that their are progesterone receptors all over the body, not just in the uterus. So these receptors, which also need progesterone, are neglected when the Mirena is in place as it only affects the local area. This is essentially a progesterone deficiency, which the body also views as an estrogen dominance. My crazy symptoms were due to unopposed estrogen!

Estrogen vs Progesterone’s Effects on the Body

Estrogen’s job is to increase cellular growth, especially in the uterus during the first part of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen also stimulates the maturation of the egg-containing follicle in the ovary. It is responsible for keeping the cervix the right consistency for possible implanation via the sperm. When it is in the correct ratio to progesterone, it also can lift our moods. If unchecked, cellular growth continues unabated and can lead to cancer.

There are three types of estrogens made in the body-estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), and estriol (E3). It is postulated that E1 is the more dangerous estrogen while E3 is protective. E2 is likely neutral. It is E1  that causes a problem when it builds up in a woman’s body. The word “estrogens” is also used collectively to descibe synthetic and naturally occurring compounds that have estrogenic like effects within the body. Think xenoestrogens from pesticides or plastics, natural phytoestrogens like soy and even some fungi have mycoestrogens. These compounds have the abiltiy to bind to estrogen receptors in our bodies and potentially cause problems depending on our genetics.

What balances estrogen out? Progesterone, or pro-gestation hormone! Progesteone’s main concern is that the environment is correct to carry a baby in case fertilization occurs. Progesterone also balances out estrogen and counters its cellular proliferation effects. If fertilization does not take place, the secretion of progesterone decreases and menstruation occurs 12 to 14 days later under normal conditions. If fertilization does occur, progesterone is secreted during pregnancy by the placenta and acts to prevent the loss of the pregnancy. Of note, progesterone is made from pregnenolone, which is made from cholesterol. I can’t tell you how many people have derangements in their cholesterol profiles and subsequent hormonal issues because of it.

In normal cycles, estrogen is the dominant hormone in the first half of the menstrual cycle until ovulation. After ovulation, progesterone raises while estrogen falls. Progesterone then decreases and menstruation occurs. The ratio of these two hormones is therefore of utmost importance. And that is what I am referring to when I say “estrogen dominance;” that is, having too much estrogen relative to the level of progesterone throughout the cycle. It could also mean having normal estrogen, but too little progesterone. Either way, the body views this problem the same.

It is estimated that approximately 50% of women over 30 have an estrogen dominance. Let me assure you-this condition is pretty miserable. Endometriosis affects 10% of women, PMS disrupts the lives of nearly 30% of women, uterine fibroids affect 25% of women and breast cancer is now striking one in three women in their lifetimes. We’ve come to believe that PMS and hormonal headaches are fairly normal, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, in my professional opinion and according to research, an estrogen dominance may be the hidden link behind all of these female issues.


Estrogen Dominance Symptoms:

  • Aging skin
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Fibrocystic breast tissue/painful, swollen breasts
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Anxiety/waking up at 3-4am ruminating about your to-do list for the next day
  • Depression
  • Copper Excess
  • Endometriosis
  • Breast Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Abdominal Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Brain Fog
  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Thinning, Dry Hair
  • Hormonal Migraines
  • Cystic acne on jawline or chin
  • Blood clotting
  • Irregular Periods
  • Reactivity and Irritability
  • Magnesium Deficiency
  • Mood Swings
  • Painful Periods
  • PMS
  • Bloating and water retention
  • Night Sweats
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Frustration, Bossiness, Impatience, Fatigue


Many of you may be thinking-“Hey thats me!” I’m here to tell you that you do not have to fight those symptoms anymore. Many of these trying hormones can be fixed or at the very least, improved. But to improve ourselves, we first need to know how we got here.

So Where Does An Estrogen Dominance Come From?

  • Pesticides-Pesticides and herbicides are a huge problem and many of them are similar in structure to estrogen, therefore, they are able to trick the body. Fruits and veggies with the most pesticide residues are strawberries (contain vinclozolin, a known endocrine disruptor), bell peppers, peaches, apples, apricots, and spinach. Be sure to google “the dirty dozen” and make a mental note to never buy the produce listed unless it is organic. Boxed and preprepared foods also contain various preservatives which can disrupt hormones.
  • Exposure to xenoestrogens in the enviroment-most of the personal care products such as lotions, soaps, shampoos, perfumes, and room refreshers are petrochemical compounds that mimic our estrogen. Factory farmed meats, soaps, furniture, bedding, carpet and food preservatives also are xenoestrogens. This is the definition of an endocrine disrupter. Don’t forget about solvents and TPHP found in nail polish, and xenoestrogens in household cleaning products, glues, paint and all plastics. Even BPA free is not safe. One huge problem is flushing of birth control pills into the water supply via urine of women who take them. Since they are fat soluble, they are not very biodegradable. Hormonal IUDs also wreak havoc on hormones because they skew natural production by confusing the body with synthetic, exogenous hormones.
  • Emotional stress or trauma via the progesterone steal-cholesterol makes pregnenolone, which then converts to progesterone. If needed, progesterone can be converted to cortisol in the body when we are stressed. If stress is chronic or prolonged, then the body will “steal” from the progesterone to support the stress by making cortisol. This leaves a relative estrogen dominance in the body. (Cortisol, the stress hormone, steals from progesterone and throws off the hormonal cascade). Excessive estrogen in turn causes insomnia and anxiety, which further taxes the adrenal glands. After a few years in this type of vicious cycle, the adrenal glands become exhausted. This dysfunction leads to blood sugar imbalance, hormonal imbalances, and chronic fatigue.
  • A lack of Ovulation– which occurs in higher proportions as women age. This usually becomes more frequent after age 35.
  • Smoking-which contains not only carcinogens but endocrine disrupters as well as excessive drinking, which can add extra sugar to the diet and stress the adrenal glands.
  • A sluggish liver- Poor liver function can also cause big problems as its job is to conjugate estrogen to make it water soluble so the body can excrete it in the urine. It uses glucaronic acid to do this but if the liver is not performing properly, then estrogen will be recycled over and over throughout the body.
  • Obesity can also cause a problem as fat contains an enzyme that converts steroids to estrogen. So the more overweight you are, the higher the chances of having too much estrogen.
  • I wanted to stress this one again-Factory farmed meats! Nearly 80% of all antibiotics go towards farming-not even for humans. Feeds used contain a myriad of hormone-disrupting toxins including pesticides, antibiotics, and drugs to combat disease when so many animals are packed closely together. Recombinant growth hormone is also commonplace and can disrupt your hormone levels. If you eat meat, please be sure it is grass fed, free range and even visit the farm if you can.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies such as Zinc, B vitamins and Magnesium-nearly 80% of people are deficient in magnesium, which is a very calming mineral. Zinc stores are depleted as we age and B vitamins are often on a shortage due to a gene mutation called MTHFR, that affects nearly 50% of the population. People with MTHFR cannot activate or methylate B vitamins and therefore have low stores unless they are taking methylB12 or methylcobalamin rather than cyanocobalamin. Keep in mind that a poor diet consisting of processed carbs or fast food also helps deplete magnesium stores. All of these deficiencies can effect hormone levels.
  • A low-fiber diet-Low fiber in the diet can cause estrogen levels to be higher, while a diet high in fiber results in decreased estrogen levels in the bloodstream. This is because excess estrogen is removed from the body through the bowels. When stool remains in the bowel for a longer time, as in constipation, the estrogen is reabsorbed. Studies have shown that women on a high-fiber diet have lower levels of circulating estrogen. Lower levels of estrogen mean less growth and stimulation of breast tissue, for example, which reduces the risk of breast cancer. This also happens in the uterus too!

How Do I Know If I Have An Estrogen Dominance?

My favorite test to check for sex hormones like estradiol and progesterone is the DUTCH test or dried urine test. It looks at a number of different byproducts and metabolites. In my opinion, it is one of the more accurate tests out there. However if the Dutch test isn’t available to you, saliva or serum is ok as well. I recommend going to have your blood drawn one week after ovulation for women, which is usually the 21-25 days.

I won’t go into the exact calculations as of now, but essentially in both saliva and blood tests, you are aiming for a ratio of 100-500. The basic calculation is progesterone (x 1000 if it is in ng/ml rather than pg/ml) divided by estrogen which then provides this number. I aim for a ratio of around 200 P/E2. Anything much lower indicates an estrogen dominance and is SO COMMON.

You can also have a pretty good idea if you have the symptoms listed previously in this blog. Remember, PMS is not normal just because its common.

Balancing Hormones Naturally: Where Do I Start?

Many of you know I created my Hormone Master for myself due to my estrogen dominance and perimenopausal state after the Mirena IUD. It literally saved my hormones, skin, mood and body. Because of this, I knew I had to share it with the world. It has helped so many people because it contains herbs proven to decrease PMS, hormonal acne and headaches, night sweats, brain fog, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low libido for MEN and women, and fibrocystic breast tissue. All of these conditions are due to a relative estrogen dominance compared to progesterone.

Also, these symptoms appear to worsen in perimenopause and menopause (from age 35 to 50) because progesterone decreases about 75% compared to estrogen which decreases only around 35% at the time of the change, leaving a relative estrogen dominance.

Balanced hormones are the key to health. They have an intimate chemical communication with immunity, sleep hormones like melatonin, and pain receptors. We don’t fully understand it. We do know that hormones are anti aging when kept in the right proportions. So how do you do that? Besides my Hormone Master, what else can you do to reverse the effects of declining hormones? Lucky for you guys, the Dr Jess store has organic herbal blends to help the liver, stress, sleep and pain.

  1. Liver cleanse-As discussed above, a sluggish liver will recycle estrogen over and over in the body. Herbs like milk thistle, NAC, bilberry, dandelion, fennel and barberry are excellent for liver health. Foods that help ciculate bile and keep the liver running efficiently are mostly vegetables or roots that grow underground and include ginger, carrots, beets and burdock root.
  2. Destress- I cant say it enough. Stress is a killer! It can cause heart attacks and wreck hormone levels. Meditation, deep belly breathing, yoga, and mindfulness can all help lower stress…and even blood pressure!
  3. Sleep-if you aren’t sleeping, or your days and nights are confused, then mark my words…this is affecting your hormone production. Lack of sleep can alter hormones and skewed hormones can also affect quality of sleep. It can become a vicious cycle. Please focus on good sleep and plenty of it. No blue lights from the computer, tv or phone once its nighttime, practice only sleeping or having sex in the bedroom, treat hormones that may be causing you nighttime anxiety, treat pain that keeps you awake with Inflammation Master +/- CBD oil, which is a very powerful combo.
  4. Diet- If you are eating processed carbs or tons of sugar daily, you really need a good bacterial or parasite cleanse. These cravings are not coming from you, but from pathogens that feed off these sources in your gut. They send powerful signals up the vagus nerve to tell your brain that you want SUGAR, but it is not really YOUR craving! You can eradicate these unhealthy eating habits by changing the bad bacteria colonies in your gut to healthy bacteria that live in harmony with your immunity and hormones. It will be nearly impossible to keep hormone levels appropriately ratioed without dietary and lifestyle changes. Cut out dairy, factory farmed meats, processed carbs or snack foods from bags or boxes, bread, white pasta, and refined sugar. Eat only whole foods that grow organically from the earth and that your ancestors would recognize as real food.
  5. Personal care products-Switch out all products like lotions, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, body washes, tampons, hair products and deoderants to organic, all natural ingredients. Many of the preservatives and stabilizers contained in these products contain known endocrine disrupters. For example, the FDA has known since the 1970’s that Triclosan in soaps like Dial, disrupts hormones. They have just recently removed it from personal care products. This is why you need to be your own best doctor!
  6. Lose weight-It is imperative to keep a healthy and loving weight. As fat converts estrogen, the more overweight you are, the higher the risk of an estrogen dominance.
  7. Avoid soy products-Soy is estrogenic meaning it can contribute to an unwanted estrogen dominance if you are already leaning in that direction.
  8. Regular Bowel Movements-again if you are on narcotics or even antibiotics, this can decrease the realease of toxins by constipating you or disrupting your delicate gut balance. Both of these can increase the levels of estrogen.
  9. Ditch the birth control pills and IUD-The World Health Organization has classified the pill as carcinogenic. Synthetic hormones also disrupt the natural and innate production of your body’s hormones. Why produce them if you’re taking them?
  10. Inflammation-two words: Inflammation Master! Yes, its true, systemic or body wide inflamamtion from a poor diet or sedentary lifestyle leads to pain and can distort proper hormone levels.
  11. Add in Omega 3 Fatty Acids-

Other Ways to Balance Hormonal Imbalances Besides the Ones in Hormone Master: 

Evening primrose oil, DIM, Vitex or Chasteberry, probiotics, and black cohosh. Hormones are synthesized from cholesterol and vitamin D is also intimately involved. Often I see that these two will be abnormal when our hormones are skewed. So it is useful to have these labs checked with a hormonal panel including estradiol, progesterone, DHEA and free testosterone.

FINALLY….if none of these achieve the desired results with hormones, my last and final step is to consider bioidentical hormone replacement with progesterone pills or cream. The pills seem to improve the quality of sleep more efficiently. I try to avoid this as much as possible. I always think its best to be as natural with the body as possible. I do believe bioidentical hormones are safe and an excellent last choice for those women and men who’s hormones aren’t easily balanced otherwise.

Now you are empowered with knowledge that you can use to BE YOUR OWN BEST DOCTOR!

Much love

Dr Jess


Eastern and Western Approaches to Psoriasis & A Detailed Treatment Plan Guaranteed to Work

I’ll never forget John, a 43 year old man who came to see me at my integrative clinic in Southern California. He didn’t walk into my office, he was rolled into to me in a wheelchair. He looked like he was visibly in pain. He has enormous patches of dry, scaly skin that covered the shoulders of his shirt. His wife had to help him to the chair in my exam room, as his feet were so red and swollen that his shoes did not fit onto his feet. His skin, all over his body, looked like he had sustained the worst sunburn of his life. For 2 weeks, he had been suffering from the monster of all psoriasis attacks. And he had had it. The intense itchiness, persistent flaking, and painful sores had pushed him to explore the root cause of the disorder, rather than continue with mainstream medicine that only treated the symptoms.


Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition where the skin cells build up in the dermis and don’t slough off properly, creating thickened, silvery plaques over the skin. It is quite inflammatory, itchy and painful. It is usually present on the knees, elbows, scalp and fingers. Often, it can be systemic and there are different types, including inverse, plaque, guttate, pustular and erythrodermic. This condition affects 7.5 million people.

Erythrodermic psoriasis

I’m happy to say that we healed John up nicely before he went home a week later. But his main concern was–how do I prevent this so the flares don’t completely interrupt my life anymore? If you suffer from psoriasis, you may be wondering the same thing. So lets explore the root cause of this autoimmune condition from a conventional, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurvedic standpoint. We can even explore a bit of nutrigenomics and how supplementing with certain trace minerals, while avoiding others, many drastically improve the skin.

Traditional Chinese Medicine and Psoriasis

Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, uses a combination of acupuncture and herbs to alleviate this autoimmune condition. This ancient healing system teaches that the skin belongs to the lung yang; both are interconnected. This is quite apparent if you consider the different lung disorders that relate to skin conditions. Examples include aspirin induced asthma and eczema and respiratory ailments in children. In fact, eczema is often called skin asthma. Think of how quickly our skin ages if we smoke!

The cause of psoriasis in TCM is damp heat in the body. Heat is a sympathetic dominant condition linked to:

  • stress
  • adrenal fatigue
  • jealousy, anger, frustration
  • imbalanced hormones.
  • constipation

As the parasympathetic system is our housekeeping system that controls digestion and elimination, people with sympathetic driven systems often suffer from constipation and difficulty eliminating toxins properly. They feel swollen and edematous. In fact, some people diagnosed with erythrodermic psoriasis actually have a fever!

TCM teaches that if you really want to heal psoriasis you will pursue acupuncture, quit smoking, and follow a clean diet low in meat. Meat slows down digestion further and can worsen psoriasis. Eat plenty of root veggies which will encourage the liver to detox. Think burdock, yellow dock, beets, ginger, and brussels sprouts. Work on integrating healing herbs into your daily routine like:

  • astragalus-found in Hormone Master
  • Scutellaria root
  • dang gui
  • flax seeds
  • fish oil
  • indigo naturalis
  • cinnamon to improve blood stasis

Studies in the British Journal of Dermatology show that TCM has proven to be extremely effective in the treatment of cases of eczema and psoriasis.

Ayurveda and Psoriasis

Ayurveda originated in India over 500o years ago and has a unique way of understanding skin conditions. Ayurveda states that we all have three doshas (or mind-body types) that are influenced by the seasons, our thinking, diet and constitution/body type. Psoriasis is a imbalanced combination of kapha and vata. It is also caused by the accumulation of toxins, or ama, inside the body. Vata represents wind while kapha represents earth and fluid balance in our body, which becomes problematic with psoriasis. Remember John, who couldn’t even put his shoes on? If the psoriasis is erythrodermic, there is also a derangement of pitta, which rules over the skin as well.

So what does this ancient science of life recommend? Yoga which can detox the skin through sweat, meditation, oils, topical treatments, stress reduction and dietary changes. Avoid foods like dairy which is very inflammatory, acidic foods, whey, flour, gluten, no tobacco, no alcohol, chile peppers, chile powder, and fried foods. Ayurveda believes skin conditions are associated with impure blood so purification of the blood is of utmost importance. Here are some recommended treatments and herbs:

  • Sesame or calendula oil massages on the skin as dry skin is a culprit in psoriasis
  • Remove synthetic soaps and lotions like those at Bath and Body Works or in retail stores. These contain parabens and dyes that can irritate the immune system
  • Tusli, rose hip, peppermint and nettles tea
  • avoid harsh hair dyes and treatments
  • lose weight if obesity is an issue
  • use a humidifier every night
  • neem oil
  • boweillia, or frankincense, to reduce inflammation-this is in Inflammation Master for a reason!
  • Navkarshk Churna
  • Psorolin ointment, which helps to control out of control cell division

Conventional Wisdom (Plus a Side of my own Experience)

I was trained in western medicine and what we are taught is that psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that is a combination of predisposing genes and environmental triggers. However, there is no KNOWN cause. Western medicine teaches that the immune system is overreactive and is attacking itself due to faulty signaling in the body. Currently, the main treatments for psoriasis in Western medicine include steroid creams and immune modulators, which do not get to the root of the problem. The skin is screaming that something is triggering this reaction called psoriasis. Putting steroid creams on the rash may help the symptoms, but will never fully improve the condition. However, lifestyle changes including diet, herbs, sleep and stress reduction have shown promise in permanently treating and even curing this autoimmune condition.

A big piece of the puzzle, in my humble opinion, is COPPER! Some of the below information is taught in western medical textbooks while others are from my experience and research. Some acknowledged triggers and links include:

  • Vitamin D Deficiency-Much research has recently linked vitamin D deficiency to plaque psoriasis. It is postulated that although low vitamin D does not necessarily cause psoriasis, it does impair the body’s ability to repair the skin. HELLO vitamin D is activated in the skin with sunlight which is why tanning often helps psoriasis!
  • Copper Toxicity or anything that exposes one to excess copper-multiple recent studies have linked high copper and low zinc levels to psoriasis and its flares. This is important since many pesticides contain high levels of copper, such as DDT which was previously used as a widespread pesticide. Careful with copper IUD, cookware, pesticides. Elevated copper is also seen as a measure of inflammation.
  • Zinc Deficiency-zinc protects the skin, encourages wound healing, decreases rampant inflammation during infection, and helps to produce hydrochloric acid during digestion which is paramount for nutrient absorption. If zinc is low, then copper is high as they have an inverse relationship.
  • Estrogen Dominance/Low Progesterone-copper and estrogen are intimately tied together and rise in comparison to each other. It is thought that an estrogen increases the absorption of copper so therefore an estrogen dominance would also have worsening effects on psoriasis. If you have symptoms of painful periods, awful mood swings where you almost kill your significant other, migraines or endometriosis, then you may be suffering from an estrogen dominance. If you have these symptoms AND psoriasis, its time to work on your copper levels.
  • Scratches or cuts-any sort of inflammation can trigger the skin if one is predisposed
  • Extreme Stress, Adrenal Fatigue, Sympathetic Dominant-zinc is quickly used up in stressful situations and this increases the levels of serum copper. Low cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is also associated with low zinc levels. Sympathetic dominant people are usually type A, have poor digestion, anger and constipation. If toxins cannot properly be moved through the bowels, they will come out of the skin. Stress is absolutely acknowledged as a trigger for psoriasis
  • Emotional Stress or Traumatic Experience-nearly all of my autoimmune patients can pinpoint a stressful or traumatic life experience that occurred, and then-BAM-their immune system’s took a hit. Shortly thereafter, they were diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder. Psoriasis is no different.
  • cold weather
  • dry skin-try sesame or aloe oils and creams
  • processed foods, carbs and preservatives
  • smoking and excessive alcohol-This can lower the immune system. Remember the lung and skin qi are connected so smoking anything will affect the skin integrity over time
  • birth control pills and copper IUDs-BC pills contain copper as an inert ingredient. Copper IUDs can cause toxicity and lead to imbalanced hormones
  • harsh soaps, cleaners and detergents
  • strep infections-strep throat or urinary tract infections can can leave behind proteins which cross react with our own antibodies causing confusion within the body.
  • drugs like Lithium or some malaria drugs-these drugs can lower the threshold to predispose one to psoriasis.
  • eat regularly scheduled meals to avoid taxing an already overburdened liver- the liver not only handles the processing and making of sex hormones, but also stores and metabolizes copper levels. If the liver is overburdened with processed foods and manmade fillers, it will have a hard time metabolizing and ridding the body of pesticides, copper and preservatives. Eating regular meals aids the liver in breakdown and storage of glucose and it does not have to tax the adrenals this way either.


Now that you guys understand the multifactorial factors that influence the severity and progression of psoriasis, lets formulate a plan for you! If you have psoriasis, you may not need two weeks of intensive inpatient therapy like John, but we can still incorporate some of the treatments we used on him too, because they work. Heres my recommendations for those suffering from psoriasis, eczema, hives or any other chronic skin condition.

  1. Cut out ALL gluten. I know I know, its so hard. But it really does help. No cheating. Gluten has been around for thousands of years, but now the modification of it has set many people off. In my opinion, it is actually the Round Up that is sprayed on wheat prior to harvest, that is affecting so many people in  modern times.
  2. Cut out dairy, processed foods and limit/stop meat intake. EAT ORGANIC. Dairy is so very inflammatory on top of an inflammatory condition. Processed foods often contain pesticide residues. Meat slows down digestion and elimination, slowing the rate at which toxins can be disposed of. Pesticides contain metals, such as copper, and are strong immune system irritants. It behooves anyone with psoriasis to fully eat organic, whole foods.
  3. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers and ozone treatments provide excess oxygenation for the skin and help to repair the integrity of the membrane. Ozone produces hydrogen peroxide and a reactive oxygen species in the body, which eradicates pesky viruses and increases superoxide dismutase enzyme which sweeps out excess free radicals. Hyperbaric oxygen and my ozonated olive oil drastically improved John’s severe psoriasis.
  4. Liver Cleansing herbs and Castor Oil packs-My Liver Master contains all necessary liver cleansing herbs! Think psyllium husk, rhubarb root, burdock root, beets, carrots, fenugreek, and milk thistle. Cut down on alcohol and harsh medications which can damage the liver. Castor oil packs are beneficial as castor oil has the unique ability to pull toxins from the skin and organs. Soak a flannel in castor oil and place it on the right upper quadrant of the abdomen where the liver is located. Put a hot water bottle or electric blanket over the flannel so that the heat helps the absorption. Hold for 3o minutes.
  5. Zinc 50mg daily 
  6. Get tested for copper, vitamin D and have your sex hormones measured if you suffer from any estrogen dominance symptoms. Hormone Master if you do have an estrogen dominance!
  7. Stop smoking and using excessive alcohol.
  8. Probiotics, calming teas like chamomile, Tulsi or Nettles
  9. 4-5 well balanced, plant based meals a day
  10. Yoga and meditation for stress relief. If you have had a traumatic experience which triggered your immune system, then begin journaling every night about the experience and let the emotions flow. Tears are healing.
  11. Daily oil massages after the shower with sesame or aloe oil and cream
  12. Incorporate aloe juice, kefir or coconut water into your daily routine
  13. Pull the copper IUD or stop birth control pills and opt for a safer option like the Daysy fertility monitor which is 99.3% effective.
  14. Coffee enemas or colon hydrotherapy may also be considered as this can stimulate S-glutathione in the liver for proper detoxification. They can also improve bowel movements which decrease toxin load.
  15. MSM, alpha lipoic acid and curcumin IVs or oral pills-If all else fails, these anti inflammatory compounds can drastically improve the pain and swelling of psoriasis. They are also available in oral forms, but IV goes straight into the bloodstream where you will see quicker results. Inflammation Master is also your best friend when it comes to swelling and pain!

Congrats! You are becoming your own best doctor!

Much love

Dr Jess





Sleeping in This One Position Can Improve Digestion, Drain Lymph and Improve Overall Health

When it comes to full health, getting enough sleep is paramount. We all know this on an intuitive level, but it doesn’t mean that life doesn’t barge in and get in the way of our precious rest. Friends keep us out late, alcohol interrupts REM sleep, and many of us have undiagnosed conditions like sleep apnea which affect our quality of sleep and can even damage the heart. Even if we have the best of intentions, there can be hidden reasons for our aches, pains, and chronic conditions that are linked to our sleeping behavior.

For example, here are some common reasons that patients have undiagnosed pain or tight muscles that can be traced back to sloppy sleeping positions:

  1. Sleeping on your Stomach-I’m guilty of this one! It took me a long time to train myself to not roll over in the  middle of the night. We humans have an innate tendency to protect our underbelly, or stomachs during periods of vulnerability, like during sleep. What happens, however, when we enjoy prolonged belly time, is that our shoulders collapse inward, rounding towards the heart. This pulls the neck forward and causes tight cervical and upper back muscles. This is similar to text-neck syndrome and can cause cervical and thoracic problems. I have a sneaky suspicion that my bad habit lead to closed shoulders over time. If you have this poor sleeping habit too, look into a body pillow which can rest between your legs and still gives the feeling that your abdominal area is protected.
  2. Sleeping on the Back is Ok unless.…patients with sleep apnea may experience a choking or gasping sensation when sleeping on their backs unless they are completely compliant with their CPAP usage. (A CPAP is a machine that uses positive pressure to keep the throat open during sleep which prevents oxygenation levels from dangerously falling). If this is the case, then opt for an orthopedic pillow and an inclined sleeping position.
  3. Sleeping on the Right Side-This position has been associated with increased heartburn, poorer circulation and digestion. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology showed that patients who laid on their right side suffered from significantly worse heartburn after a fatty meal.

So whats the best position to sleep in?


And believe it or not, this has been verified by science and taught by Ayurveda, the ancient eastern medicine that originated in India over 500o years ago. Ayurveda believes that each side of the body is distinctly different and carries energies and issues all on their own. Heres some of the ways you can improve your health by incorporating this one sleeping trick.

  • Facilitate lymphatic drainage-In the body, the lymphatic system is the sewer system. It transport waste products that the body no longer needs to the thoracic duct. In medical school in my gross anatomy class, I remember finding it so odd that the thoracic duct was only on the left side and NOT on the right! The remaining lymph fluid is filtered and purified and then dumped into the left side by way of the heart. In Ayurveda, edema caused by chronic lymphatic congestion or heart failure will more than likely occur on the left side in the early stages. Alternatively, early stage edema caused by liver failure will usually occur on the right side as this is where the liver is found.
  • Better digestion and bowel movements-This all makes so much sense when you understand the anatomy of our digestive system. During digestion, food moves past the ileocecal valve where it enters the colon. Food is then propelled across the right side of the abdomen and down the left side of the body into the descending colon before it hits the rectum. Sleeping on the left side throughout the night encourages easy transit of waste products due to gravity. One of the first questions I ask my patients about are bowel movements! They are so important for proper elimination of toxins and overall health. Not only should everyone be having 1-2 bowel movements a day, but all of us should be headed straight to drop the kids off at the pool first thing in the morning. If you are not going first thing in the morning, this is constipation! Try incorporating more fiber, water, my Colon Master and sleeping on your left side!
  • The Heart is on the Left Side-Sleeping on the left side encourages blood flow through the aorta down to the descending aorta on the left. It is actually medically advised to sleep on the left if pregnant as this encourages return blood flow to the heart. This allows the intestines to hang away from the inferior vena cava which brings blood back to the heart. When there is no pressure from the intestines, the vena cava can fully fill with blood. The intestines is free to hang without any pressure from other organs so that it can fully appreciate adequate blood supply as well.
  • Decreased Acid Reflux-As mentioned above, The Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that after lying on either side for four hours after indulging in a fatty meal, participants experienced more heartburn when lying on the right, rather than left sides. This is not fully understood, but is thought to be due to the gastric secretions lying below the level of the esophageal sphincter when sleeping on the left. This means it is more difficult for them to reflux back up into the esophagus where we feel it! Since the pancreas is on the left, it is also postulated that perhaps digestive enzymes are more effectively produced when lying on the left and this helps to digest and breakdown nutrients better, leading to less GERD symptoms.
  • The Spleen Is Also on the Left! The spleen is an almond shaped organ on the left side of our bodies right above the kidney. It loves high blood flow as its job is to filter the blood and remove debris or signal immune cells if there is a problem. When sleeping on the left, we are again increasing blood flow to this organ passively through gravity. This can improve lymph flow and immunity, or our ability to fight infections.




The Risk of Birth Control Pills and The All Natural, Alternative Way to Prevent Pregnancy Without Hormones

I took birth control for nearly 20 years before I realized the toll it was having on my body. At age 34, I got the Mirena IUD which works by releasing synthetic progesterone into the local area of the uterus. But there are progesterone receptors all over the body that are neglected when the IUD is in place, since it acts only locally. It seemed like it aged me overnight, made me anxious, interfered with my sleep and caused cystic acne. I had it removed after only one year, but the damage was done–at least temporarily. It took me nearly 2 years to get back to feeling like “me.” Once the IUD is pulled, the body has not been accustomed to making its own natural progesterone so progesterone bottoms out, however estrogen is still present. This leads to a relative estrogen dominance which can be pretty miserable. I was one of those girls that was always moodier on birth control too. But underneath the irritability was a slight chronic sadness that I could not put my finger on. I almost felt like the world was not as bright when my hormones were synthetically supplemented. Trees looked less green and the sun didn’t make me smile quite as much. I also realize that, statistically birth control pills are not supposed to cause THAT many girls to gain weight, but I was one of those girls. And it seemed that the more women I spoke to, the more I realized I was not the only one who had these symptoms.

Approximately 98% of sexually active women have taken birth control at some point in their lives and 62% of women are currently on birth control. Hormonal contraceptives, better known as birth control pills, are synthetically-made hormones that aim to mimic the effects of our body’s own natural hormones. They can do this a number of ways including:

  • Preventing ovulation by blocking the release of the egg through the use synthetic hormones
  • If ovulation does occur: stopping uterine wall implantation by disrupting sperm cilia, affecting the buildup of the uterine wall or stimulating cervical mucus which prevents implantation


So lets be real. How good or bad are synthetic hormones? Well they aren’t as bad as Premarin, the hormonal replacement therapy made from pregnant horse urine, but they still are not healthy. More than 20 studies have shown the connection between birth control pills and breast cancer. Other studies have linked birth control pills to altered gut bacteria, immunity, increased risk of heart attack and strokes.  The World Health Organization conducted a study that found that women who have taken the pill for 5-9 years are 3 times more likely to develop cervical cancers (as compared to non pill takers). Hows that for decreasing immunity since cervical cancer is mainly caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)? The World Health Organization also categorizes oral contraceptives as a Type 1 carcinogen. Women who take low dose birth control are nearly twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack. Birth control pills have been linked to insulin resistance and a higher risk of diabetes. They also increase your risk for clotting and pose a real problem to young women who choose to take the pill and smoke, which together cause a pro-clotting state. In fact, one  of my best friend’s suffered a blood clot in the leg, that then broke off and went to her lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism and can sometimes be life threatening! And thats not all…a recent study showed a convincing link between the pill and depression…which I think most of us gals can agree on! Its easy to feel down when your hormones are askew.

The IUD comes with its own risks as well. Not only does the Mirena mess with the natural hormone ratio and cycles, but additional risks of ALL IUDs include uterine perforation, infections like PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) or an ectopic pregnancy, which is when an embryo implants in the Fallopian tubes rather than the uterus. More rare consequences are cramping, painful periods or sex and even fertility. Even the copper IUD can lead to copper toxicity, which is especially prominent in those with adrenal dysfunction. Copper overload can also cause Phase 2 liver detoxification problems.


  • mood swings
  • weight gain around the abdomen
  • painful, heavy or scant periods
  • fibrocystic or “lumpy” breast tissue
  • endometriosis
  • insomnia, waking up in the early morning ruminating about things you have to do the next day
  • anxiety, flightiness
  • brain fog
  • hives
  • aging skin
  • adult acne, especially around the jawline and chin
  • low libido
  • night sweats, hot flashes
  • migraines
  • ovarian cysts and fibroids

I’m sure many of us, even men included, have some of these symptoms. Conventional medicine and OB/gyns often prescribe birth control pills to “control” acne, mood swings, irregular periods, and to balance hormones. This works for some women, but at what long term cost? Could there be a better way to naturally balance hormones and get to the root of the problem? Trading out personal care products, food, and plastics for healthier, organic, or glass substitutes can help hormones as many of these contain endocrine disrupters. For hormone balancing herbs, check out my blog post here.


  • Pranayama breathing from yoga. Think the Darth Vader breath that everyone in yoga uses! This breath stimulates the vagus nerve that controls our relaxation system and helps to calm the nervous and hormonal systems.
  • Yoga, meditation, and mindfulness all help to foster a sense of gratitude. Gratitude stimulates serotonin and oxytocin production, two hormones responsible for happiness and love.
  • Forgiveness and quelling reactivity can help replace negative feedback patterns that control thinking and behaviors
  • Heal any adrenal fatigue since the stress hormone cortisol can steal progesterone, throwing off the whole hormonal cascade
  • Omega 3 fatty acids, like fish, krill or flaxseed oil can help to balance cholesterol which makes the sex hormones
  • Hormone Master, Vitex, licorice, DIM, and Maca can all help to balance hormones
  • Liver cleanses and liver cleansing herbs/foods help to balance hormones by preventing recirculating estrogen and include milk thistle, burdock root, beets, carrots and NAC.
  • Check Vitamin D levels and cholesterol levels as both are tied intimately into the balance of hormones.
  • Cut out dairy, processed sugar and carbs


Some people are surprised to learn there is a extensively researched computer that can track your cycle down to pinpoint accuracy using core body temperature. This is the basis for some old rhythm methods but has come a loooong way!

  1. My number one choice (and the one I’ve used for years now) is the Daysy Fertility Monitor which uses the fertility awareness method (FAM) by learning your own unique cycle. It is 99.3% accurate! It is a German computer built inside a thermometer that measures temperature down to 1/100 of a degree precision. Each morning, before getting out of bed, take your temperature. It takes the Daysy about a month to learn your own cycle. Once it does, it flashes a green light if it is safe to have sex or a red light if you are fertile. If yellow, this means Daysy is still learning about your cycle. It costs anywhere from $350-450 and has been a Godsend.
  2. OvaCue Fertility monitor is a close second at 98.3% accuracy. It uses the Electrolyte Method to predict ovulation and has been tested by the National Institute of Health. Throughout a woman’s cycle, different electrolytes increase or decrease and are quite measurable. HELLO-think sodium retention right before you start your period? I haven’t personally used this one but do know it is a safely and accurate alternative method.
  3. Queen Annes Lace has been used for centuries by ancient cultures to prevent pregnancy. PLEASE NOTE THAT QUEEN ANNES LACE, OR WILD CARROT SEEDS, CAN BE USED AS THE MORNING AFTER PILL AND THEREFORE IS KNOWN AS AN ABORTIFACTANT. Not a lot of human studies exist on Queen Annes Lace as birth control but there are some small animal studies which show the seeds disrupt the implantation process or can cause the fertilized egg to be released from the wall. Take one teaspoon immediately after sex and continue for seven days.
  4. Neem Oil has also been paired with Queen Annes Lace to help prevent unwanted pregnancy. Neem is a spermicidal and the gel can be used as such.
  5. Smartweed infusions can be used after intercourse to also prevent implantation. It contains elements of gallic acid, quercetin and rutin. The period should begin shortly after consuming.

Trust me one of the best ways to prevent aging and prolong your health is to take care of your hormones!

You are becoming your own best doctor

Dr Jess



Food (+Herbs) That Can Destroy H. Pylori, the Bacterium Responsible for Stomach Cancer and Acid Reflux

If you guys read my blog, you know I’m currently obsessed with broccoli sprouts and try to use them in my salads or smoothies frequently. Not only do broccoli sprouts turn on the NRF-2 gene pathway which can turn off genes that lead to cancer, but they have shown promising benefit in being able to eradicate Helicobacter Pylori, better known as H. Pylori.


H. Pylori is a corkscrew shaped bacterium that affects 50% of the American population and about 1/3-2/3 of the rest of the world. This little bug is classified as a carcinogen, or cancer-causing, by the World Health Organization as well as the International Agency for Research. It is strongly linked to the development of stomach issues like gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and stomach cancer. Sadly, due to antibiotic resistance, the proton pump inhibitors and antibiotic combo given by allopathic medicine is not as effective as it once was and many patients are now failing the standard treatment. Since everyone is different, the efficacy of a particular therapy may vary with each patient, environment, genes, age, food and hygiene.


As mentioned above, the standard treatment for H pylori eradication is to administer a proton pump inhibitor, like Nexium or Prilosec. Unfortunately these medications have risks associated with them-like the new study that just showed a 25% increased risk of death after a year of use. These acid blocking agents are paired with a several antibiotics for two to three weeks.


My very favorite, and probably the MOST natural alternative to wiping out this pesky bacteria is BROCCOLI SPROUTS! When you chew or cut the sprouts, they release a stress chemical that eventually forms sulfurophane, the potent anti tumor agent and natural antioxidant, that fights H pylori. Studies show that this biochemical appears to trigger cells in the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, to produce enzymes that protect against free radical damage and inflammation.

In a small pilot study published in 2009 in Cancer Prevention Research, the researchers found that eating 2.5 ounces of broccoli sprouts every day for two months may protect against H pylori. They did note that the levels of a very specific byproduct called HpSA released by H pylori, had decreased by 40% in the stool of these patients but reappeared after they stopped the broccoli sprouts two months later. This indicates that broccoli sprouts prevent full colonization but by themselves, don’t eradicate the bacterium. I don’t know about you, I would choose broccoli sprouts over a proton pump inhibitor. Nexium also does not often eradicate H pylori and comes with a host of other side effects.

In earlier animal studies performed at Johns Hopkins University, mice infected with H pylori ate broccoli sprout smoothies for eight weeks daily. The H pylori in their stomachs decreased by 100 fold while there was a concomitant four fold increase in enzymes like sulforophane that protect against oxidative damage!

In another study published in 2004, consumption of oral broccoli sprouts was temporarily associated with eradication of H pylori infection in only three out of nine patients.

It looks like it may be more ideal to prevent rather than ridding yourself of the bug, so what else can you do?


My best advice is to pair some of these options with daily broccoli sprouts

  1. Pau D’Arco: This South American leaf also revs up the NRF-2 pathway just like broccoli sprouts! The results of a 2014 study published in the Journal of Toxicological Sciences found that the activation of NRF-2 could mediate the beneficial effects of Pau D’Arco in the intestine and with inflammation. It is also antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal. It is known to fight candida and cancer. That is one of the main reasons I chose to put it in Microbiome Master, which has been successful at eradicating antibiotic resistant H Pylori in a handful of patients.
  2. Cranberries: This fruit is native to North America and has been shown to keep H pylon at bay. They work by preventing bacteria from adhering to cell walls-like in the bladder or stomach, hence why they are known for treating urinary tract infections. This is also why they are beneficial in preventing H pylori from taking hold in the stomach mucosa. In one study, a 90 day trial of cranberry juice compared to placebo in 189 patients, exhibited an increase in eradication rates of H pylori.
  3. Garlic: Garlic and its active ingredient, Allicin, produce organosulfphur compounds that deter oxidative damage by scavenging free radicals. Allicin is also revered for its potent antibacterial activity. Again this is another reason garlic was chosen for my gut cleanse, Microbiome Master.
  4. Curcumin: Although In-vivo tests in humans are lacking, one study did show benefit for long term cucurmin, the active ingredient in turmeric, in aiding in healing peptic ulcers and possibly, H pylori. Ulcers measuring up to 1.5cm were found in the duodenum of the stomach were treated with 300mg, five times a day of turmeric. 4 weeks of treatment revealed no ulcers in 48%. After 12 weeks, 76% had no ulcers!
  5. Ginger: Ginger has been used for centuries for ailments like nausea and dyspepsia due to its anti inflammatory and anti ulcer properties. Ginger has been shown in one study to restrict the growth of H pylori by inhibiting hydrogen and potassium released for gastric acid secretion. Gingerols and extracts, present in ginger, inhibit the development of H pylori in vitro in 19 clinical strains.
  6. Pistachia or Mastic Gum: This gum is produced by the Pistachio lentiscus plant in the Greek isles. It has been studied since the 1980s for its positive effects on the ulcers and stomach ailments. Mastic gum seems to work by inducing protrusions, or poking holes, in the cells of H pylori! A 2011 study proved that mastic gum prevents H pylori inflammation by inhibiting our white blood cells’ reaction in vivo. However, other animal and human studies have not replicated these findings.
  7. Artemisinin: This antimalarial drug has shown remarkably strong activity against H pylori infections. It was proven to have activity in vivo in a study published in 2012
  8. Zinc/Probiotics/Digestive Enzymes: Since H pylori is able to take hold of us due to lowered immunity, anything that helps us reset the bacterial balance and digestive properties in our guts will aid in an immune boost and also help fight this bacteria. Probiotics help to tip the bacterial balance in a favorable manner so that the improper bacteria can be recognized and disposed of. Digestive enzymes should not be supplemented forever but do help the body breakdown nutrients especially if the pH or digestion is off. Zinc works in tandem because it is necessary to help produce hydrochloric acid, which triggers our own natural digestive enzymes. Zinc also works to protect the stomach lining. It helps in wound healing and is anti inflammatory.

Check out my Microbiome Master in the Dr Jess which has eradicated H pylori in antibiotic resistant patients before!

You are becoming your own best doctor!

Dr Jess



  1. Zhang L, Ma J. Pan K, Go VL, Chen J., You WC Efficacy of cranberry juice on Helicobacter pylori infection: a double blind, randomized placebo controlled trial. 2005; 10:139-145
  2. Shmuel, H. Domniz, N. Yahav J Non-Pharmacological treatment of Helicobacter pylori: World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  3. Prucksunand C, Indrasukhsri B, Leethochawalit M, Hungspreugs K, Phase II clinical trial on effect of the long term turmeric on healing of peptic ulcer. Southeast Asian J Tropical Medical Public Health 2001: 208-215
  4. Malady GB Pendland SL, Yun GS, Lu ZZ, Soia A, Ginger and the ginger’s inhibit the growth of Cag A+strains of Helicobacter pylori. Anticancer Research. 2003: 23: 3699-3702
  5. Goswami S, Bhakuni RS, Chinniah A, Pal A, Kar SK, Das PK Anti-Helicobacter pylori potential of artemisinin and its derivatives. Antimicrobial Agents in Chemotherapy 2012

Why Trying to Lose Weight Rarely Works Until This is Addressed: The Real Issues Behind Obesity and Addictions

Have you ever noticed that some people are on an endless diet plan, but never seem to lose the weight that they so desperately want to lose? Anyone know the girl who is mentally preoccupied with exercise and calorie counting but never seems to follow through with the plan? How about the guy who always talks about quitting cigarettes, but the next month he’s puffing away again?

I think every one of us can think of a loved one, whether it be a friend or family member, who suffers from a food, tobacco, alcohol or other drug addiction. We all have our downfalls or vices. We learn at different paces. This blog is not written in judgment, but instead to shed light on a sensitive subject that many of us may not have considered in our own battles against unsavory habits. What is the disconnect between yearning to change our lives, but not being able to carry out our wishes? Do we not know what we REALLY want? What blocks longterm success against these temptations?

Characteristics of Smokers 

In college, I had a girlfriend who smoked like a freight train. Not only was she up to a pack a day because working at a bar made it so easy, but she began to have recurrent bronchitis, requiring loads of antibiotics. Finally she had had enough. But it soon became clear that she was unable to quit. No matter what was said, we all knew she being buying a pack the next week. And she’s not alone, smokers on average require 5 to 7 attempts at quitting before they are successful. The thing about my friend was that she had pretty severe, untreated anxiety. Cigarettes always “calmed her down.” After taking so many history and physicals in residency and as a hospitalist for 7 years, I began to notice this same trend. Patients who had untreated anxiety or panic attacks are more likely to get hooked and have trouble quitting.

A 2010 Australian study confirmed this when it published its findings in the Australian Journal of Psychiatry. It showed that people with anxiety disorders are more likely to be smokers, are less likely to cease daily smoking, and on average, smoke for longer exposing them to greater risk of tobacco related harm. In fact, other literature has shown that all mental disorders have a higher risk of smoking and other harmful behaviors like alcohol dependence. So ok, that makes sense. You can maybe see why its been so hard for your friend to kick that tobacco or drug habit? They are self medicating for a deeper issue. This is why it is never wise to just try those nicotine patches or gums, methadone, subaxone, or even Chantix, without first addressing a deep rooted issue inside.

Quitting smoking -whats it take?

What are you treating? Is it depression, anxiety or something else? I urge anyone suffering from these issues to dig deep inside. Just recognizing the feelings won’t be enough. You must decipher where they are stemming from, and in most cases, these deeply rooted feelings arise from our upbringings and childhoods. I’m not trying to knock anyone’s parents or childhood, but the truth is that no one is perfect. Most young parents bring their own set of unresolved issues-pain, hurt, neglect, shame, self loathing, anger, or fear right into the family dynamic. And although we are all doing the best we can, we usually can’t see ourselves. We are all molded by the opinions and guidance of the people who shaped our world when we were impressionable. And sometimes those emotions are mirrored in our own lives because thats how we were taught.

This also does not mean you have to be stuck in old feedback loops or unhealthy patterns forever. You hold the power of every decision you make. If you truly want to quit smoking, address the underlying cause as most are not successful at breaking the habit until this is achieved. If you are suffering from a mental disorder, take the steps you have been avoiding to heal. If you have self deprecating behavior because you lacked a loving home environment or parent, then seek self help books, be open to change, and start giving yourself the love you need. We all have aspects of ourselves that could be cleaned up. I liken it to cleaning out the closets of your mind. Self work is never pretty.

In the book The Tobacco Epidemic: the Psychology of a Smoker, the author notes that studies reveal that smokers tend to be more extroverted, anxious, tense, angry, and impulsive, and show more traits of neuroticism and psychoticism than do ex-smokers or nonsmokers. Again here, the literature also reveals a strong association between smoking and mental disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression. Of course not all smokers fit this bill, but it is important to bring the statistics to light. Be sure you are honest with yourself when trying to toss out the cigs-your success rate will improve. Are you constantly worried? Are you numbing something else? The interesting part here is that although anxiety, for example, can make quitting smoking more difficult, studies confirm that anxiety and depressive symptoms IMPROVE after the patient does stop smoking. So we anxious and can’t quit smoking, but are happier once we do.

Numerous studies have confirmed the validity of spirituality and self assessment, accountability, forgiveness, and self love in the healing journey. The same goes for alcohol and any other substance abuse problem.

But what about obesity? 

A food addiction affects so many people today. Nearly 70% of Americans are overweight with the numbers climbing. If you know me, you know I definitely feel as though chemicals, not calories, are mostly to blame. But we are responsible for our portion size and the choices we make concerning each meal. Many people plan to begin to eat healthy, only to fall off the wagon the following day when their friend orders cheese covered nachos out at the local restaurant. What makes some people be able to resist dietary temptations while the rest of us fall victim?

The emotional cause of obesity and overreacting is protection. Extra weight is a cushion for the body physically and emotionally. We can kind of “hide” in our own skin. Think about it-thats why its called comfort food! The extra pounds can serve as an armor from a very harsh world. Of course, sometimes mental conditions like depression or sadness are to blame, but this does not apply to everyone. Top that off with dysregulated gut bacteria and dysbiosis that help to continue fueling cravings for the wrong types of food, and you have a real addiction. If you always are looking to lose weight, but can’t quit eating too much of all the wrong foods, then look into self love and check yourself. Are you afraid to be seen? Are you afraid for the world to notice who you truly are? Do you feel safe when you can hide? Do you feel happy or sad when overindulging? Have you dug deep into why this is?

I was a chunky kid and teen. I can remember feeling super insecure about it. I would cuss my thighs while looking in a full length mirror. I would wear baggy clothes so no one saw my cellulite. As much as I wanted to be skinny, I couldn’t quit indulging in hot cheetos and pasta. And my mother was a dietician! As I got older, I realized that my weight was shielding me from the fear I had of speaking up. I grew up in a very oppressive and religious household where I was taught what to think and feel. Once I became semi independent, I really didn’t know how to think for myself. I was terrified of saying or doing the wrong thing in the eyes of God and the world. Food had become my comfort and worst enemy. Only when I began to come to terms with the unresolved emotions I had from childhood, was I successful at ridding myself of the weight. Once I began actually telling my body I loved it, rather than hating it silently, things slowly changed. I forgave my parents. I forgave myself. Over time, I began to not want cheetos anymore.

One of my friends growing up I had an issue with obesity. She confided in me that her parents had shamed her every time she did not clean her plate at dinner. This had carried over as subconscious thoughts that she was a selfish and bad person if she wasted food—so she always ate all of it. Another friend had been molested as a teen and used weight as a way to deter men from finding her sexually desirable. There are many ways that we may use weight to protect us, but we can overcome these deeply rooted thoughts and be successful at kicking any habit.

Research has found a link between obesity and physical or sexual abuse in middle aged women. Even when taking variables into account like education, stress, and inactivity-this large California study of over 11,000 women found a connection between childhood abuse and obesity. It is estimated that up to 40% of significantly obese patients have experienced sexual abuse. This is not to say every overweight person has been abused, stress and genetics also play a prominent role. This is a multifactorial problem that is NOT just connected to the physical.

Resistance Can Be From a Deep Rooted Issue

Many of us fail at CHANGE due to resistance. And resistance may come in many forms-friends, procrastination, parents, distractions, extra sleep or a fun night out. It seems many of us–myself included–succeed at short term goals that give instant gratification, but wrestle with longterm beneficial goals. If we don’t get rewarded right away, we have trouble dedicating to the challenge. For me, I can always enjoy a good meal or have a great night out drinking, but it is much harder for me to set a daily meditation, workout or longterm diet plan…AND STICK TO IT. However, it is self loving, albeit challenging, to continue healthy patterns and kick the ones that no longer serve us.

Trust me when I say that you will be more successful if you decide to lovingly work on yourself and focus your energy on clearing negative thought patterns and trauma from childhood (we all have something). Once those negative emotions and thoughts have been acknowledged and you begin your self work journey, you will notice that it is much easier to be accountable to your dreams. Some find that they can overcome the various forms of resistance once they are mindful of it and have done the necessary self work.

Plant medicine like ayahuascua, ibogaine, DMT and Santo Daime are often successful in breaking food, alcohol, or drug addictions. It is postulated that this is because you come face to face with your true self and are guided by a higher power into self revelation. This often propels us in self love and makes us accountable for our decisions rather than seeing things from a victim perspective. Once we truly love ourselves, we will try our very best not to engage in activities or with people that harm us.

I think its very important to dig deep into your ego, or “shadow self” to truly improve your life over the long term. Your shadow self is the murky, “sinful,” or hidden parts of you that you deny, or hide away from the world. Until you can be accountable and embrace your imperfect self, you will continue to put unloving substances in your body. Understanding the psychological factors associated with tobacco, drugs, alcohol or food and dependence can further the development and improvement of therapeutic strategies to be used in cessation programs, as well as of programs aimed at prevention and education.

Much Love

Dr Jess