Dr. Maria provides an array of services for women’s health issues including:
- Pre/Post Menopausal Support
- Functional Nutrition
- Hormone Health and Balancing
- Herbal Medicine
- And more…
Functional nutrition is a patient-centered, individualized approach to wellness using many different tools to create a patient’s care plan and seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.
Things you need to know about evidence based functional nutrition:
- Lifestyle education plays an essential role in an individualized plan
- Nutrition – dietary and botanicals, homeopathics, vitamins and minerals can positively impact the health of the individual
- Exercise – aerobics, stretching and flexibility, yoga
- Mind/Body/Spirit techniques – meditation, prayer, biofeedback
So how does functional medicine evaluate what may be the causative factor(s) when the body is imbalanced?
- Serum testing – genetic/cardiovascular markers, digestive issues, heavy metal/toxic chemical /mold exposure, food allergies, sensitivities
- Urine testing – hormone/adrenal and neurotransmitter testing
- Stool testing – Leaky Gut, Celiac, SIBO, IBS, Chron’s, Colitis
Organic Acid Testing-Through urine we can measure mitochondrial function, fatty acid metabolism, neurotransmitter imbalances, metabolites from gut bacteria, yeast overgrowth, nutrient needs, detoxification, and oxidative stress
Genetic Testing– using either 23andMe or Ancestry.com, we can delve further into genetic variances(SNP’S) to guide you through the maze of nutrients that are needed and those to avoid
Antibody Testing– A serum test where we can test for hundreds of antibodies to food, neurological tissue, heavy metals, environmental toxins, and more…
These are some of the most common tools used to evaluate through functional medicine. There are many dynamic tools to employ when treating each individual.
Evidence based functional nutrition does not use cookbook techniques to treat. We look at all the possible causes and formulate a treatment with the agreement of each patient to be involved and active in their healing process.
At Lotus Path, we develop individual treatment plans for our clients.
Safe and Effective Hormone Balancing
Do you have these symptoms?
- Hot Flashes
- Night Sweats
- Memory loss
- Mood Swings
- Low sex drive
- Irregular periods
- Breast tenderness
- Increased skin wrinkling
- Weight gain
What is the best way to check your hormone levels?
A DUTCH test is a way to measure cortisol and much more. The DUTCH test is a urine steroid hormone profile that measures hormones and hormone metabolites (called conjugates) in a dried urine sample, and is performed from the comfort of your home.
What are the advantages of a DUTCH test?
- Ease of collecting
- Comprehensive reporting
- Provides free cortisol patterns
- gives a total picture of DHEA production
Which hormones should I test?
Your hormones all work together to create an environment of balance and harmony. An imbalance of one can affect them all.
Balancing Your Hormones
Are you estrogen dominant?
The increasingly popular phrase “estrogen dominance” doesn’t mean you have too much estrogen, rather that you may have too little progesterone (Pg) relative to your estradiol (E2) level.
There is an ideal ratio between the tho hormones known as the Pg/E2 ratio. You can have normal, even low levels of estradiol, but when you also have diminished progesterone levels, estrogen dominance results.
Because estrogen is a proliferative (cell-growing) hormone, too much estrogen relative to progesterone can cause problems such as:
- Fibrocystic breats
- Foggy thinking
- Bone/mineral loss
- Ovarian cysts
- Water retention
- Low thyroid symptoms
- Heavy/irregular menses
- Belly weight gain
This ratio is very valuable because it allows your practitioner to treat any estrogen dominance and help your body return to optimal health.
The solution is here:
- The DUTCH Test
- Bio-identical hormones and nutritional supplements tailored to fit your lifestyle needs
- Lifestyle considerations including a whole foods diet, exercise, relaxation and enjoyment
Natural Hormone Therapy:
At Lotus Path Wellness Center we closely monitor all aspects of the endocrine system. Because of the delicate balance of the many players in the endocrine system, it is important to monitor and adjust the hormone levels of the adrenals, thyroid, pancreas, pituitary, ovaries and testes. For example, if you are experiencing low energy, hair loss, dry skin and depression, we would look at how well both adrenal and thyroid are functioning. Since these symptoms can occur from a dysfunction in both glands, the investigation could include a complete blood test for thyroid function and a saliva test to evaluate cortisol and DHEA levels. Through data collected we can then formulate a treatment plan to nourish and support the endocrine glands.
Treatment can come from a myriad of paradigms. Dr. Belluccio can choose from several different protocols depending a patients particular needs or desires. If a patient desires only herbal therapy, she can incorporate both Chinese and western herbal therapy into a treatment plan to correct for imbalances. Some patients request treatment especially for peri-menopausal and menopausal symptoms using Natural Hormone Replacement. This treatment will only be prescribed after collecting data on hormone levels for both men and women. Due to the delicate balancing act of hormone therapy it’s imperative to monitor either saliva or urine for hormone levels never to exceed physiological ranges. A third option for treatment is using homeopathic preparations. Many patients do very well on sublingual remedies that work on an energetic level to increase vitality and youthfulness.
With the advent of “anti-aging” medicine, we now have the knowledge and tools to stay healthier longer and delay the ravages of aging for years. Of course, no single therapy takes the place of a healthy lifestyle including exercise, wise food choices and stress reduction.
200At Lotus Path Wellness Center, an important goal is to teach and inspire our patients the building blocks of excellent health. The essential step to starting the process is good nutrition. We believe that most disorders start from indiscriminate eating habits and poor food quality. We start by having every new client keep a seven day food log. This includes fluid as well as food intake. It’s very important that the person be totally honest in what they record so that we can better evaluate what may need to be changed in the diet. Recommendations are then made based on not only the clients food intake but also based on their metabolic type.
There are other tests that may be recommended for evaluating blood chemistry, essential fatty acid metabolism, amino acid analysis, endocrine imbalances (sex hormone, adrenal, thyroid, pancreatic), digestive functioning through stool analysis and neuroendocrine levels. All the tests can give us an idea of where the main problems are and how we can start correcting for nutritional deficiencies and excesses.
Stress can affect you both immediately (acute) and over time (chronic stress). Tension is often the first signal of acute stress. Tense muscles are tight and feel “hard” to the touch. A tense mind makes you fell jumpy, irritable, and unable to concentrate. This could be your signal to do something about stress, both for your immediate comfort and to prevent the long-term effects of stress.
Stress affects every system of your body. We hear a lot about the role of the adrenal glands in response to stress in our lives. They do not exist alone in the body but play a part in helping the body maintain homeostasis sometimes at the expense of other endocrine glands. The adrenals are responsible for secreting cortisol and DHEA as well as male and female hormones. When stressed, the adrenals secrete cortisol to help us with the so called “fight or flight“ syndrome. After a while if the demands outweigh the reserves of these precious hormones, we fall into a state of chronic stress that can lead to familiar disorders.
Chronic stress that can lead to familiar disorders like:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic allergies
- Syndrome X or metabolic syndrome
- and many more.
So what can we do to prevent the sequel of stress? A lot! Through regular acupuncture, eating a better diet, exercising (aerobic, yoga, qi gong), meditation, enjoying quiet time either alone or with our loved ones- we can start to heal our bodies. This is not new information – the Chinese have known about this for centuries. So we start with small steps to bring us back into balance and live a healthier life. Dr. Belluccio can help guide you through this journey.
A very common complaint I hear from my patients is they can’t lose the weight they’ve gained over the last few years no matter what they do. The weight gain happens to coincide with the cessation of their menstrual cycle (aka menopause) or surgically induced menopause. It seems to manifest as the spare tire (belly fat) or mid body weight gain or an increase in bra size. It’s often reported that their dietary intake has not changed and there was no change in activity level. So, what is the problem?!
With the decline in both estrogen and progesterone, our ability to burn fat is less efficient. Though these two hormones are not as powerful as the effects of thyroid, insulin, and cortisol in the fat burning hierarchy; nevertheless, they play an important role.
Estrogen is an insulin sensitizing hormone that controls the negative impact of cortisol. Progesterone opposes the action of estrogen on insulin, but works together with estrogen in controlling the cortisol. The combination of insulin and cortisol spells disaster for burning fat. The longer they are partnered up, the harder it is to burn fat.
So what do we do to fix the problem?
I know I sound like a broken record, but it’s imperative to cut down on the carbs, especially those carbs that are processed. In menopause, we are far more carb reactive and stress sensitive. What we once were able to eat without the threat of even an ounce of weight gain has now lead us to wearing only stretch leggings and oversized blouses. So, reducing sugar in fruit and starchy vegetables will help reduce insulin surges. Beware of the “healthy snacks” that only fool us into thinking we can have all we want with any consequence. Organic is not synonymous with “all you can eat”.
Another important factor leading to extra pounds is the disrupted sleep patterns many of us experience in menopause. Lack of sleep raises cortisol and insulin levels. Stressful thinking, or what the Buddhist call “monkey mind”, can keep us reeling in the middle of the night with non- productive thought patterns. Taking special nutrients such as L-theanine, valerian, hops, and passionflower can resolve that problem. Last but not least is how we exercise. Leisure walking in nature can lower cortisol. Weight training several times a week and HITT cardio workouts 3-4 times a week can stabilize blood sugars and insulin.
Monitoring hormones and adrenal functioning through the state-of-the-art DUTCH urine testing can give us valuable information about ways to correct for menopausal issues.
Don’t forget, laughter, prayer, meditation, socialization and napping. They all work to fine tune the body in this transition time for women.
Call Dr. Maria at 813-964-0847 for a consultation.
Herbal Medicine is itself a powerful method of healing. It has been used in China for centuries to treat conditions quite successfully. The Chinese doctor would know the properties of hundreds of plants, flowers, minerals and animal products and construct a formula for each individual according to their TCM pattern. It goes beyond just symptom control, it helps treat the cause of the dis-ease. Medicinals can treat the branch (signs & symptoms) and the root (causation). The formulas can begin rebalancing the qi, blood, yin and yang.
Herbs are nutrients and therefore generally need to be taken 2-3 times per day. Herbs can fortify our constitution as well as prevent or remedy ailments. The formula will need to be altered or totally changed, as the patient gets better. Herbal formulas are not meant to be taken indefinitely as with some pharmaceuticals. The goal is to rebalance the internal environment to optimize health.
As with any formula the patient is prescribed, they will be monitored for changes that will tell the practitioner the person is improving. There are very few side effects when taking these medicinals; it is important to consult with a trained herbalist when taking any formula or single herb.
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