Could I Have Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Vitamin B12 deficiency is also called pernicious anemia.  Your body needs vitamin B12 to make red blood cells.  This vitamin is found in foods such as meat, eggs, shellfish, poultry and dairy products.  Your intestines have a special protein called intrinsic factor that helps you absorb vitamin B12.  This protein is made by cells in the stomach.  When there is not enough intrinsic factor produced, the intestines do not properly absorb vitamin B12.  This may lead to vitamin B12 deficiency (pernicious anemia).  Symptoms of B12 deficiency include:  fatigue, lack of energy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, shortness of breath and bleeding gums.  Long term deficiency can cause neurological symptoms such as:  confusion, depression, loss of balance and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

Your physician will order blood to determine your vitamin B12 levels.  If you are found to be deficient, treatment involves either B12 injections or vitamin supplementation by mouth.  Your physician will also recommend eating a well- balanced diet.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers vitamin B12 testing and treatment management to her patients.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Do I Have Hypothyroidism?

If you have hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone.  Hypothyroidism is more common in women, especially over the age of 60.  Left untreated, underactive thyroid may result in obesity, heart disease and joint pain.   When the thyroid is not functioning properly, the hormonal reactions in your body may be affected.  Symptoms of underactive thyroid include:  fatigue, constipation, cold sensitivity, dry skin, weight gain, menstrual irregularities, muscle aches, joint pain and depression.

The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck.  Thyroid hormones are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4).  These hormones affect all aspects of metabolism in your body.  Your doctor will order blood tests to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly.  If you are found to have hypothyroidism, the hormones can be replaced with daily synthetic or natural replacement medication.  Treatment is usually lifelong; your physician will order periodic thyroid hormone levels to assess for any needed dosage changes.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers comprehensive thyroid testing and treatment management to her patients.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Could My Weight Gain Be From Food Sensitivites?

Studies have linked being overweight with an inappropriate response to food.  Often, food is used as a coping mechanism when we feel stressed, bored, or depressed.  This phenomenon has been correlated with serotonin  (a neuro-transmitter in the brain)  excretion when we eat high carbohydrate foods such as ice cream, bread and pasta.  Serotonin is our “feel good” hormone that helps us feel better emotionally.  However, processed foods that are high in refined sugar may also cause an increase in other hormones – ultimately leading to obesity.

If an individual with food sensitivities consumes foods to which they are sensitive, this may actually stress the body and decrease the level of serotonin in the brain.  In turn the immune system is activated, and other areas of the body – such as the skin, intestines, joints and sinuses may be affected as well.  Food sensitivities may also lead to malnutrition by interfering with the metabolism of fat for energy.  This is due to poor intestinal absorption of nutrients.   Once the offending foods are eliminated, most patients experience immediate improvement in their symptoms.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers comprehensive food sensitivity testing at her St. Petersburg weight loss clinic. Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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What Is The Mediterranean Diet?

High cholesterol or hyperlipidemia, is defined as elevated circulating lipids in the blood.  High concentrations of cholesterol or triglycerides, which mainly occur due to saturated fat consumption,  can lead to increased risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.   Hyperlipidemia is typically asymptomatic, and is discovered during routine screening blood work.  Foods high in saturated fats often come from animal sources – whole milk, butter, cheese and meat.  Additionally, tropical oils such as palm and coconut are also high in saturated fats.  These oils are commonly used in processed foods.

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended diets for cardiovascular health.  It is the traditional diet consumed in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Southern Italy.  It is traditionally high in the consumption of:  fruits and vegetables, legumes and plant proteins, whole grains, fresh fish, nuts and olive oil.  It has been proven beneficial in the reduction of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, some cancers, blood sugar levels and cognitive decline.

Dr. Anne Hermann is double-board certified in internal medicine and nutrition.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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What Is Insulin Resistance?

Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body produces insulin, but does not use it effectively. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas; it plays a major role in metabolism. Insulin helps cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy. Many individuals who have insulin resistance do not know until they develop type 2 diabetes. It is believed that the major contributors to insulin resistance are excess weight and physical inactivity. Sleep apnea, family history of diabetes, being of a certain ethnicity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, having polycystic ovarian syndrome, being diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and tobacco use have also been found to increase the risk of developing insulin resistance.

To determine if you have insulin resistance, your physician will order blood work. If you are found to be insulin resistant, your physician will recommend lifestyle changes including losing 5 to 7 percent body weight. Weight loss for most people can be achieved through increased exercise and decreased caloric intake. Physical activity and weight loss help the body utilize insulin more efficiently.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers a variety of weight loss programs to her patients. Dr. Hermann is also board certified in nutrition. Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Should I Be Gluten Free?

Many individuals feel better when they become gluten free and eliminate wheat from their diet.  Should you become gluten free as well?    A gluten free diet is necessary if you suffer from celiac disease; it is also beneficial if you have a wheat allergy or sensitivity.  However, physicians caution against using the diet for weight loss.  In fact, many gluten free foods actually contain more calories from fat and sugars to enhance taste.

Researchers hypothesize that most individuals who do not have a gluten dependent disorder but choose a gluten free diet feel better because they not only stop eating wheat –  they also avoid fast food, junk food, processed foods and fried foods.  Instead a healthier diet of increased fruits, vegetables and lean meats is consumed.   Additionally, gluten-free products can be expensive; on average costing 200% more than products that contain gluten.  Testing for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is done with blood work.  For accurate diagnosis, testing must be done while consuming gluten to avoid false negative results.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers celiac and food sensitivity testing to her patients.  Dr. Hermann is also board certified in nutrition.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

This post was written by Anne Hermann. Follow Anne Hermann on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

How Can B Vitamins Improve My Health?

The B vitamins are a group of vitamins which include B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B7 (biotin), B9 (folic acid), and B12.   All of the B vitamins assist with vital health functions including cognitive stabilization, mood optimization, energy production and cardiovascular health.  To determine your vitamin levels, your doctor will order blood work.  If deficiencies are identified, a B complex vitamin or single B vitamins may be prescribed.

Folic acid and vitamins B12 and B6 have been shown to reduce homocysteine levels.  Homocysteine is a toxic amino acid linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  Elevated homocysteine levels have also been identified as a risk factor for hip fractures in postmenopausal women, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.  Vitamin B 12 is well known for its ability to boost energy.  It is a key nutrient in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates for energy, red blood cell formation and nerve protection.  Research has also shown that folic acid, and vitamins B12 and B6 improve mood, decrease the risks of wheezing, allergies and asthma and are beneficial in migraine treatment and prevention.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers comprehensive vitamin testing to her patients.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Vitamin D Deficiency

Vitamin D deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide in adults and children. Vitamin D can be consumed as a nutrient through food or supplements, and is synthesized through the skin from sunlight exposure.  Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.  There are also many foods that are fortified with vitamin D.  However, the majority of an individual’s circulating vitamin D is synthesized in the skin from UV light exposure.

Vitamin D deficiency in severe cases can result in rickets (skeletal abnormalities) and osteomalacia (bone pain and tenderness).  Deficiency may also increase the risk of chronic diseases including certain cancers, autoimmune diseases, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and upper respiratory tract infections.

Your vitamin D level can be determined by a blood test.  Based on the results your doctor may recommend vitamin D supplementation, either over-the counter or prescription strength.  Individuals who may be vulnerable to develop vitamin D insufficiency include the elderly, people with increased skin pigmentation, and individuals who use certain medications or have inadequate sun exposure.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, is pleased to offer vitamin D testing to her patients.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Pete Beach, Florida.  Please contact the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

This post was written by Anne Hermann. Follow Anne Hermann on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.

How Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?

How Can I Prevent Osteoporosis?

May is national osteoporosis prevention month; osteoporosis, which affects over 10 million Americans, is a disease that weakens the bones.  This can lead to bone fractures from minor falls.  It is estimated that half of all women over age 50 and one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis.  The fractures are more common in the hips, spine and wrists.  This disease may also affect your height and posture.

Risk factors for osteoporosis development include: being over the age of 50, female gender, post-menopausal status, positive family history, low body weight/small body frame, tobacco use, inactive life-style, excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption, and low dietary consumption of calcium and vitamin D.

Your physician may order a DXA scan test to screen for osteoporosis and determine your bone density.  This is a type of X-Ray that measures bone mass in your spine and hip.  To prevent osteoporosis, it is recommended to consume 1200-1500mg of calcium with 800mg of vitamin D daily.  Your physician may also recommend vitamin K and magnesium supplementation.   Daily weight bearing exercise also helps strengthen bone mass.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, maintains offices in Tampa and St. Pete Beach, Florida.  Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

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Why Am I So Fatigued?

 

Fatigue is a commonly mentioned symptom of many diseases and illnesses.  Persistent fatigue can be debilitating,  and has a negative effect on one’s quality of life.  Fatigue may be an early warning sign of food intolerance or sensitivity.  Usually, the fatigue is worse in the early morning, and will occur with other symptoms such as migraines, eczema or irritable bowel syndrome.

Researchers have theorized that sensitivities to foods may produce fatigue as part of a generalized immune reaction.   The chronic inflammatory response or immune reaction overburdens our bodies.  This leads to oxidative stress, which in turn affects the mitochondria or energy –producing parts of our cells.  Thus, excessive fatigue ensues.  Once the offending foods are eliminated, most patients experience immediate improvement in their energy level.

Dr. Anne Hermann, a holistic internal medicine physician, offers food sensitivity testing to her patients.  Dr. Hermann maintains offices in Tampa and St. Pete Beach, Florida.  Please call the office at 813-902-9559 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

This post was written by Anne Hermann. Follow Anne Hermann on Google, Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin.