Expect to pee in a cup. An in-office urinalysis is a quick and inexpensive way to get a lot of information beyond urinary tract infection. For example it can rule-out overt diabetes or point to liver problems. Frothy urine can suggest congestive heart issues. Ketosis can suggest severe carbohydrate restriction. The pH should be slightly acidic — otherwise there may be something wrong with your stomach’s ability to produce stomach acid. Often when my patients have alkaline urine I ask them if they eat TUMS (or other acid blockers). Often they admit they do and we can have a conversation about how important stomach acid is for digestion. Sometimes I have the patient undress and get into a gown right away. If they are shy or new to me, we’ll talk first. I ask about their sleep and food habits. I’ll ask about exercise. If it’s a new patient I ask about their grandparents’ and parent’s health to get a sense of their genetic risk factors. I’ll ask about their current job and living situation to determine whether any...

First published in December 2012 issue of Better Nutrition Q: Hi Doctor Em!  Have you heard of earthing? A: Yes,”earthing” is a relatively new medical idea, with some impressive research from various disciplines behind it — but it’s as old as the hills.  “Earthing” means connecting with the earth — literally.  Humans have done this for thousands of years by walking barefoot on the ground.  The relatively new convention of walking with shoes, particularly rubber or plastic-soled shoes, has disconnected us from the benefits of the Earth’s electromagnetic field.  The planet herself gives out a frequency of about 10 hertz, which was discerned at the Max Planck Institute in the 1960s. 

five basic ideas (see also previous post featuring Dr. Burkitt): 1) more fiber (good quality bread, celery, apples, hot oatmeal, all leafy vegetables, berries) 2) less fat in particular less (or zero) animal fat 3) less (or zero) sugar 4) less salt 5) no processed foods   It’s not just about weight or looking good in jeans.  It’s about the whole enchillada from macro (planetary health) to micro (the bugs that co-exist with you your whole life in your tube).  Check out this brief excerpt from an upcoming book about the human biome and how drastically it has changed (due to poor diet) in the past 100 years: Forthcoming book by the folks at Human Food Project. Click Here if you would like to receive a notice when this book becomes available. So what should you eat to improve the diversity and possible resilience of your gut microbiome to reduce the risk to invading pathogens, unnecessary inflammation, leaky gut and so forth?  Nobody really knows for sure and the answer is likely different for different age groups and populations.  But at...

Homo sapiens evolved in Africa as a hairless ape. That creature spent LOTS of time outside, with a prodigious amount of skin exposure in a nice sunny environment. Today homo sapiens is largely an indoor mammal, and typically covers up a good deal of skin when venturing outside. Even when in a relaxed stance, say on a beach vacation, gobs of sunscreen is applied. This all adds up to much less Vitamin D synthesis happening in the skin cells.

Even though muscle is heavier than fat, and exercise greatly stimulates appetite, no health improvement or weight loss program will ultimately succeed without focused toning. This is because muscle is hugely metabolically active tissue and uses up close to 80% of our glucose requirements. In general, I favor low carb (and no refined carb) diets,

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you are not alone. Twenty percent of the US population (about 50 million people) make over 10 million visits to doctors every year for this common concern. Multiple factors conspire to create the dreaded days of runny noses, itchy and watery eyes, relentless sneezing, scratchy throats and just generally not feeling up to snuff. Unfortunately many of the over-the-counter medicines can create annoying side effects such as drowsiness, insomnia, headache, dizziness and upset stomach.

Anxiety is a very real and unpleasant physiologic condition, created by over-stimulation of the adrenal glands.  These tiny organs which sit above the kidneys (“ad” above, “renal” kidney) secrete potent hormones including cortisol and adrenaline.  Adrenaline, as you know, is the “fight or flight” hormone, which can cause intense core vaso-constriction as blood is shunted to the major running muscles and to the brain.  This temporary but extreme shift in blood flow dynamics creates many very real symptoms,

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  If you are in a profession that demands repetitive wrist movement (such as being a carpenter or pianist or typist) there are a number of ways to reduce your wrist of creating inflammation between the delicate structures that form the wrist.  One reason the wrist is so flexible (the most versatile joint in the body) is because it is comprised of a series of 14 carpal bones that fit together like a loose jigsaw puzzle, snuggly bound by a series of sheaths and tendons. 

If I had been asked this question 20 years ago, I would have gently explained that kids are clean — they haven’t had time to accumulate toxins or sully their health with the usual culprits associated with smoking, drinking and partying.  However, sadly, we have all heard the news stories about noxious chemicals — many never properly tested by the FDA — found in breast milk.  States all over the country are mounting legislative actions to ban BPA and phthalates and flame retardant chemicals

Auto-immune (AI) diseases are characterized by an inappropriate destruction of “self” tissue by the immune system.  In Lupus, for example, your own immune system would attack the nucleus of a variety of cells, and “anti-nuclear antibodies” (ANA) are found in the blood when tested.  This is a common screen for auto-immune disease, although having a positive ANA doesn’t always mean you have an auto-immune disease.