GET A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CONSULTATION

Our New Patient and Membership Manager will help you discover if Functional Medicine is right for you.

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Immune Support Consult

Our team at Blum Center has created an accessible way for you to see us, so that we can support your needs during this time.

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Healing Arthritis

Your 3-Step Guide to Conquering Arthritis Naturally

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The Immune System Recovery Plan

A Doctor’s 4-Step Program to Treat Autoimmune Disease

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WHY YOU SHOULD RECEIVE IV THERAPY IN A MEDICAL SETTING

The popularity of IV therapy has skyrocketed in recent years.  Everyone from celebrities and influencers, to moms and CEO’s, have turned to intravenous injections (IV) as a way to boost their vitamin intake.  No doubt, having adequate levels of vitamins and minerals is necessary for our bodies to function properly. 

Why has it become so popular?  When we take vitamins orally, the dose you take is greatly reduced as each nutrient travels from your mouth to your cells.  This is because these nutrients first have to be absorbed in the gut (a process compromised in many people with digestive issues), and then they get processed in the liver, which can further reduce their availability.  When these vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants are given intravenously, they bypass these metabolic processes, making  them 100% available in the bloodstream for maximum benefit. 

Another big reason that Infusions are so popular, is the development of Medical IV’s.  Medical IV’s supplement the treatment plan for people who are struggling with health issues. We have developed excellent medical treatments for conditions that require high doses of specific nutrients that are not as effective when given orally.  For example, high dose Vitamin C for Epstein Barr Virus or Cancer treatments.  Another example is Glutathione for detoxification, and yet another is a custom cocktail for people suffering with Long Covid.  These Medical IV’s take simple vitamin infusions to a whole next level.

While the benefit from intravenous infusions is clear, what is not as well known is what to look for when choosing a place to receive your IV Therapy.  

4 Reasons to receive your IV in a Medical Setting: 

Personalized Screening and Drips: There is no one-size-fits all Vitamin IV. At Blum Center, our principle to  provide personalized medical care in a safe, unhurried environment is reflected in our Infusion Program.

If you are already a patient here, your provider will determine the best IV prescription for you to meet your health goals and support your treatment plan.  If you are a new client to Blum Center, our Infusion Director will meet with you for a simple but powerful screening consultation, so that she can prescribe exactly what you need, too.  

We are very strict and buttoned-up about safety in our medically supervised setting.  Before you start  we ensure your well-being with this basic screening and labs.  This extra step can give you the comfort that you will receive maximum benefit and the safest possible visit. Any business that does not screen you or take labs is potentially putting you at risk, especially if you have ongoing health issues that need that next level of attention and care.

Quality:  We pack in more vitamins and at higher doses than  walk-in drip centers. We have  done extensive research on each vitamin cocktail and how to safely give high doses to help you get the most positive effect from our infusions. You can feel confident you are getting the most out of each treatment.  

Expert Care:  Michelle Levins, NP, our Infusion Director is on the National Infusion Center Association Standards Development Team that implements nationwide protocols to all infusion centers across the country. These standards are already being used at Blum Center. You will have a master prepared Nurse Practitioner with years of extra education and training administering your infusions.  

Patient Safety: We are dedicated to providing the safest and highest quality of infusion care and have strict protocols in place to decrease potential risk as much as possible. 

IV THERAPY IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY

We take Covid precautions seriously and have various protocols in place to minimize exposure risk.  First, we now have multiple rooms in use for IV’s, which allows us to infuse high risk or unvaccinated patients by themselves in a separate room.  We are using HEPA air filters in the infusion room, requiring masks to be worn, and limiting the number of patients seen at the same time.  

Our Infusion Program sets itself apart from other centers through our individualized care, high quality infusions, and utmost cleanliness with strict protocols in a comfortable, calming environment. Come in and see for yourself! 

Click here more information on our Infusion Center and to view our current menu of IV drips. We are open to patients and the public alike!  To book an appointment or schedule a consult with our Infusion Director, please call 914.652.7800

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10 Ways To Help Your Body Detox Right Now

Spring is in full bloom, summer is on the horizon and it’s time to give your body the boost it needs to once again feel vibrant, enthusiastic and energized! 

Living through more than a year of a global pandemic has taken a toll — whether you’ve suffered with being sick from COVID, the chronic elevated stress and anxiety of living through the pandemic and how it’s affected your family, or poor food choices from the altered reality that you’ve been living — you are left in need of a serious reboot.

This is the perfect time to give your body the nourishment it needs to support its innate ability to regenerate and thrive. To help you feel like you again.

If you’re like me, you might be feeling any of the following symptoms: sluggish, lack of clarity, chronic headaches, poor sleep, constipation, undesired weight gain.  If you do, your body is yelling out to you…it’s time to detox!

Even without COVID, most people encounter many toxins every day and these toxins are undermining their health and they don’t realize it!  Where do toxins come from?  Here are some examples:   

  • chemicals in the air
  • mercury in fish
  • medications and bacteria in the water supply
  • pesticides and herbicides in food
  • Hormones, antibiotics and herbicides in the animals we eat
  • even plastics from water bottles
  • And now let’s add hand sanitizers and antiviral cleaning chemicals to the list

Normally, your liver is in charge of helping rid the body of most toxins.  Here’s what happens when your body becomes overburdened with too many toxins for your liver to handle: 

  • Your immune system becomes compromised and your liver uses up your glutathione supply, not to mention many other nutrients, to process these toxins out. (FYI Glutathione is the mother of all detoxifying antioxidants, and helps prevent damage to your cells).  
  • Next, you get run down and become susceptible to infections and are at risk for developing disease, including viruses, like COVID. 
  • And if that’s not enough, your fat cells do a great job of storing toxins (ewww!) which results in excess weight.  

Supporting your liver with targeted nutrients so that it can do an amazing job lowering your toxin load is what detox is all about!  And then you feel better!  And the best way to begin is to focus on eating lots of liver loving food.

Detoxing is also about lifestyle — from what you eat (and don’t eat) to chemicals found in your home, hydration, sleep and self-care. It is synergistic, working together to reduce your toxin load. And, spring  is the perfect time to detox! 

10 Ways to Help Your Body Detox Right Now:

Eat only whole foods, avoiding food that is highly processed, void of essential nutrients and generally full of unwanted additives and chemicals. The Spring is here! Look for fresh produce at local farmers markets where food was recently harvested. It contains more nutrients and tastes delicious!  Liver loving food is rich in antioxidants, colorful whole foods, lots of fiber, dark leafy greens and cruciferous veggies!

Remove sugar from your diet. One of the most important things you can do for your health is to stop eating sugar. Sugar suppresses your immune system! And, sugar in all forms can be toxic for the body, putting you at risk for fatty liver, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Stick with natural sugars found in fresh fruits or other whole foods, such as raw honey or pure maple syrup added in small quantities to a recipe.

Pay attention to your body and how it feels after eating certain foods. Consider a 3-week elimination diet from common allergens and/or inflammatory foods such as dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, alcohol. Each person responds differently to foods and not all foods that are considered “healthy” are right YOUR body. 

Eat an abundance of seasonal vegetables in your diet each day including a variety of colors.  Best picks for the Spring include cabbage, bok choy, broccoli, asparagus, collard greens, garlic, onions, and Swiss chard. Also, vegetables and fibrous fruits, such as berries, provide beneficial fiber, an important part of the elimination of excess waste in your body.

Hydrate! Drinking adequate water ensures good filtration of the kidneys, digestion, and bowel regularity. Eliminating waste in your body is vital to preventing toxic overload in your body. As a general rule, drink half your body weight (in pounds) as ounces. When exercising and in the warmer months, add more! Add fresh lemon and receive even more benefits for your liver. Consider a good water filtration system that uses a carbon filter.

Purge your home from harmful chemicals and environmental pollutants. Dump the harsh chemical cleaners and opt for a simple but effective solution of equal parts of water and vinegar. Be aware of harmful substances in your cosmetics and toiletries such as oxybenzone, parabens, and phthalates. Add an air purifier and/or a green plant.

Make time to unwind. Making time to rest in today’s fast paced world we often need to be reminded to do. Incorporate stress reduction each day, such as mindfulness, taking a 10-minute walk, reading, writing, listening to music — anything that slows you down and brings you into the here and now.  

Consider intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is generally considered a time period of caloric restriction such as 14-16 hours a day. When you “fast” it gives your body time to digest and ultimately deplete our glycogen stores (stored liver glucose). When this happens, your body looks for another source of energy to function. It turns to using your fat stores. This state, known as ketosis, results in the generation of new mitochondria, reduced insulin resistance and weight loss.

Sleep! Sleep! Sleep! Studies confirm that a lack of sleep correlates with a lack of concentration, weight gain, poor eating habits, as well as puts stress on your immune system. The best way to make sure you include adequate sleep each day is to plan it. Set a bedtime each day by shutting your electronics off at a certain hour while setting up a bedtime routine to help you unwind at the end of the day. Shoot for a minimum of 7-9 hours a night.

Be positive! Ever spend time around someone who’s energy is addictive? Being pessimistic is nonproductive, and bad for your health. Just be kind … to yourself, and others.

If you’re ready to jump into summer full of energy and optimism, if you want to recover from COVID — whether you had the virus, It’s time to detox! Consider joining me for our 14-Day Whole Life Detox. Two LIVE workshops, a private Facebook Group, all the materials and supplements you need plus me at your side every step of the way. We begin soon! Learn More

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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9 Telltale Signs Your Gut Needs Attention

“The whole world is suffering from this COVID-19 pandemic,” microbiologist Heenam Stanley Kim said, “but what people do not realize is that the pandemic of damaged gut microbiomes is far more serious now.” 

We are now learning that there is a strong connection between your gut microbiome and your vulnerability to develop the disease known as COVID-19, and the severity of symptoms you experience. And perhaps, most importantly, we are learning that after you have COVID, your prior gut issues can increase your risk for developing autoimmunity, or for having a flare of your existing autoimmune condition. 

You see, your gut microbiome — which includes all the bacteria and yeast that normally live in your digestive tract — keeps your immune system healthy and your intestinal lining strong.  But if you develop a condition called dysbiosis — an overgrowth of bad bacteria, yeast, parasites or other microbes like viruses — you then have an increased risk of damage to your intestinal lining, something called Leaky Gut Syndrome. If the integrity of your gut lining is “leaky,” pathogens, such as COVID-19, can cross over from the gut and gain access to your body and your immune system. Because your gut health is so important, and to support you especially right now, we are running a 10-Day HealMyGut Group Coaching Program beginning April 5th –> More Info

Remember, your gut (which includes your stomach, and your small and large intestines) is your first line of defense, and research shows us more and more every day that your gut microbiome communicates with every system and organ in your body — your cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, nervous, urinary and reproductive systems. Your gut is connected to your brain and mood. It’s even connected to your skin, hair and nails. 

I hope by now you can see why all of us at Blum Center for Health, and in the world of Functional Medicine, believe that The Number One thing you can do this spring for your health….is….take care of your gut microbiome!

Here are 9 Telltale Signs Your Gut Needs Attention

  • You have had COVID-19, or you are afraid to get very sick from COVID-19 
  • Have heartburn, reflux, IBS, diarrhea or constipation
  • Are frequently getting sick
  • Have fatigue or brain fog
  • Are feeling puffy or inflamed
  • Have inflammatory conditions like arthritis, autoimmune, heart disease, obesity or diabetes
  • Have food sensitivities or reactions to food
  • Have mood issues, such as depression and anxiety
  • Have difficulty losing weight

Let’s talk about the many different types of gut issues.  If you have gas or bloating after you eat, or if you experience constipation and/or loose stools, or any type of intestinal discomfort, this means that you have a problem with how your gut is functioning. If you go to a conventional doctor they will commonly diagnose you with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. But, this diagnosis doesn’t tell you why you’re having this problem, and they’ll likely prescribe medication to control the symptoms, which by the way only makes the imbalance worse in the long run. 

Here are three tips to heal your gut, which will not only treat your symptoms, but address the underlying problem.  And keep your immune system happy, too.

  • For your digestive symptoms, find out whether or not you’ve got food sensitivities, which could be causing the problem. Problematic foods are typically gluten, dairy and corn. The food you eat is the number one influencer on your gut bacteria.  One way to figure it out is to follow a functional medicine elimination food plan. In fact, this will be the basis of our 10-Day HealMyGut Group Coaching Program beginning April 5th –> More Info
  • Help balance your gut microbiome with supplements: 1) We use herbal antimicrobials to help remove or “prune” the undesirables living in your gut 2) l-glutamine to help shore up the lining of your small and large intestines and treat leaky gut and 3) probiotics (good gut bacteria as a supplement) to help influence the gut ecosystem and immune system.  Depending on the severity of your gut symptoms, you may also need digestive enzymes.
  • Reduce stress by learning resiliency techniques. Stress is the 2nd biggest influencer on the microbiome – in a bad way.  We suggest learning strategies for relaxation that work for you, as this will help heal and protect you from developing dysbiosis and leaky gut. 

If this sounds like just the plan you need, consider joining me for our 10-Day HealMyGut Group Coaching Program. We’ll do this together, as a group, and I will be with you every step of the way! >>> Check it out<<<

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6 Time Sensitive Reasons to Detox in January

Phew! Welcome 2021! Never in my life has the notion of “New Year, New You” been more relevant. This time last year the word COVID wasn’t in our lexicon and politics just felt like another day. Enter the realities of COVID-19, the eruption of social justice movements all over the world, and the divisiveness of the 2020 United States election and one thing is clear: We need to detox. 

First let’s answer the question: What is detox? 

On a day-to-day basis we encounter overload from unhealthy exposures such as chemicals in the air, mercury in fish, medications and bacteria in the water supply, pesticides in your food, chemicals in your toothpaste and other personal care products, and even plastics from your water bottles.

And beyond that, and this is important, you also add to that toxin load with negative people, social isolation, hypervigilance regarding COVID, obsessively scrolling social media, listening to the news, and having to duck and cover from the onslaught of awfulness that has permeated the year 2020. 

It is Time to Detox.

6 Time Sensitive Reasons to Detox in January

Improve immune system function — When your body is overburdened with toxins, your immune system becomes compromised, setting you up for catching viral and bacterial infections, like COVID, influenza and pneumonia during the winter months. Your immune system, which mainly lives in your digestive tract, also protects you from toxin-triggered autoimmune conditions. If you want to improve your immune system, a sound whole foods detox is a must-do.

Bolster your health —  Toxins are stored throughout your body — in your fat, bones, tissues, cells and even your brain. Long-term exposure can affect your immune system (autoimmune disease, anyone?), metabolism (trouble losing weight, anyone?), behavior and mood (depression and anxiety, anyone?) and can lead to disease (hello, cancer).  Depression, anxiety, joint pain, sluggishness, sleep disorders, brain fog and the inability to lose weight can bring you down. You must reduce your toxic load to help your body function at its best. 

Recenter — It’s been a tough year. A really tough year. Starting 2021 with a Whole Life Detox, like ours, will help you regroup and find your center. Mind-body medicine promotes looking at all the areas of life that are throwing you off balance. Daily habits, such as watching/listening to too much negative news, scrolling through social media feeds, engaging with overly activating or over depleting television before bed and not having self-care time-outs that promote wellness, are areas that often need detoxing. 

Weed out energy zappers — Who or what depletes your energy? Are there people who you experience as emotional vampires? Has working remotely left your work life and personal life so intertwined that you’re overburdened, not knowing where one begins and one ends? Sheltering at home has created new challenges (and new opportunities). A well-rounded detox helps you evaluate what needs to change.

Increase energy and promote mental clarity — Who isn’t ready for a boost of positive energy?  You will experience, both from a medical standpoint and a psychological standpoint, an increase in energy, and an uplift in mental clarity. Many people report clearer thinking and the ability to deal with stressors more easily. Ready to say “yes, please”? 

Jumpstart weight loss resistance — Yes, the “COVID 15” is a real thing — stress eating, more sedentary, boredom, isolation — has led to an average of 15 pounds per person. Detoxing helps rid the body of toxins stored in fat cells, and revs your metabolism to jumpstart weight loss.

What else you need to know: We live in a world filled with toxins. With over 8,000 chemicals in circulation in the environment, you need a program that will help your liver clear them out and reduce your toxin load.  Using targeted supplements and eating a detox diet is what we mean by detox. Otherwise your liver pathways get jammed, become overburdened, and toxins can accumulate in tissues and fat cells. You may not realize that this accumulation is making you feel crappy. Let’s detox! 

Click Here to learn more about our medically-sound, safe detoxification program I am hosting this January.  We’ll do this together, as a group, and I will be with you every step of the way! 

 

 

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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Procrastination – How To Get Unstuck and Get Moving!

Do you feel overwhelmed by tasks or activities that you are struggling to complete? When you try to get started, does the task feel too daunting or overwhelming? Everyone has struggled with procrastination at one time or another.

Why do some people procrastinate and avoid while others seem to simply tackle whatever is thrown their way? I have spent years studying procrastination and helping those who struggle with it make the leap to becoming “doers.” The good news is that it’s actually much easier than most people realize. Here are six simple steps to help you achieve your goals and beat procrastination:

1. Pick your goal. The goal could be anything – organizing your finances, decluttering your closet, updating your resume, training for a marathon, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Once you have a goal in mind, the next step is to write it down. Putting your goal down on paper will help it feel real and you will hold yourself more accountable.

2. Develop a plan. To quote The Little Prince, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” It is critical to make your plan as specific as possible by breaking it down into its smallest parts. For example, if you want to update your resume, some steps could include buying resume paper, writing out your educational and professional history, researching jobs to which you’ll tailor your resume, writing a draft, revising it, and sending it to a friend for feedback. Remember, the more detailed and specific, the better!

3. Make a date with yourself. Mark off a specific date and time on your calendar to work on your plan. Keep your appointment with yourself! You are your own boss. Most people would not cancel an appointment with their boss so don’t cancel your appointment with yourself. Treat yourself with the same respect and consideration you would someone else with whom you made an appointment.

4. Make a list of everything that could get in the way of your plan. Will you be distracted by emails, social media, or the latest episode of your favorite Netflix series? Will you have to take care of the kids or run errands? Think about what could get in the way and, once you have your list, develop a plan to address those obstacles. If you’re someone who finds themselves scrolling through social media instead of focusing on the task at hand, plan to turn your phone off or leave it in another room during your appointment. If you are caring for children, plan to schedule your appointment when they are in school (Zoom or in person) or after they go to sleep. By being proactive and planning around known distractions you will set yourself up for success.

5. Start working on your plan. Remember, action usually comes before motivation. Most people do not suddenly feel motivated to do the things they’ve been putting off. Combat this inertia by planning to work on the task for only a short period of time. For your first appointment, and for all your appointments, you should schedule no more than 10 minutes. After you have completed 10 minutes – stop. Congratulations! You have accomplished your goal. You may find that the task has become much less daunting once you’ve gotten over the initial hurdle of starting. If that’s the case and you’d like to continue working, go ahead! Otherwise, you can stop knowing that you have completed what you set out to do. You are now a doer!

6. Continue to revisit your goal and plan. As you go through the steps above, you will begin to notice what works for you and what doesn’t. If a distraction you hadn’t planned for gets in the way, that’s okay! Incorporate it into your plan for next time. It’s important to revise your plan and your goal based on your experience. As you are learning to become a doer this will become second nature to you.

It’s important to think about these experiences as learning opportunities. If you haven’t completed your task or gotten the results you were hoping for after your first, second, or third attempts – don’t despair! With each effort you’re learning what works for you, what doesn’t, and adapting for next time. What’s most important is that you continue trying and developing good habits to tackle any task or goal you choose.

Now go get unstuck and get moving! Pick a goal, spend 10 minutes, and become a doer!

 

 

Kim Reichig MS, LMFT  is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in Scarsdale, NY. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helping her clients use tools to manage their stress, reduce their anxiety, and improve their emotional, personal, and professional lives. Her approach is goal oriented, and involves a collaborative, warm, and supportive relationship. Kim works with individuals, parents, and couples. She also sits on the International Advisory Board for the Columbia University – World Health Organization for Global Mental Health. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, skiing, and hiking.

To learn more about Kim click here www.cbtofwestchester.com

 

 

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Fall Update on Supplement Usage During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As of 10.1.2020

By the team at Blum Center for Health:  Susan S. Blum, MD, MPH; Pamela Yee, MD; Elizabeth Greig MSN, FNP 

As the pandemic wears on and the seasons change, we find ourselves preparing for winter, a time when we will be back inside with less opportunity to see people, connect and socialize, as we might have been doing in warmer weather.  I can say that for me, I am not looking forward to this and am trying to stay focused on and appreciate this moment, when we have beautiful fall weather in the Northeast.  I encourage you all to spend as much time outdoors as possible while you still can!  Of course I am also making a commitment to myself to bundle up and still make myself go outside this winter…we will see!  

Since the pandemic began, I have been updating my recommendations for using supplements to support your immune system.  As time keeps marching on, and we prepare for month #8, and the likelihood of a surge in COVID during the winter months, I thought I would go back and update my supplement recommendations.  It’s really important that we step up our game and renew our vigilance for protecting ourselves from getting sick, and if we do get COVID, to have a mild course of illness and recover quickly.  From a Functional/Integrative medicine perspective, we continue to focus on nutrients and herbs that have been well studied, for their ability to support, modify or boost the immune system, or to fight viruses.  

**Please note that these recommendations are NOT medical advice.  Most are not safe for pregnant women, and if you are taking medication or have any serious health condition, please check with your doctor.

Immune Boosting Supplements 

These are generally safe for those with Autoimmune Conditions. For pregnancy check dosing with your doctor.  We recommend that you take Vitamins D and C now at a minimum, and add Vitamin A and NAC if you are exposed or get sick. 

  • Vitamin D: 5000 IU daily in absence of serum levels from blood test   
  • Vitamin C: 1-3 grams daily
  • N-Acetylcysteine (NAC): 600 – 900 mg twice/day (precursor for Glutathione (GSH), or can take GSH
  • Vitamin A: up to 10,000 – 25,000 IU/day (not safe for pregnancy)

We do not recommend the following supplements for those with Autoimmune Conditions or pregnancy.We recommend that you take 1 of the following at the recommended dose, or a blend that includes several of these, in which a lower dose of each are typically used:

  • Elderberry: 500 mg daily (of USP standard of 17% anthocyanosides)
  • Beta Glucans: 250 – 500 mg daily
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake, Lion’s mane, Maitake, Reishi. D Mushrooms: Shiitake, Lion’s mane, Maitake, Reishi. Dose depends on preparation
  • Astragalus: Dose depends on preparation
  • Echinacea: Dose depends on preparation
  • Andrographis: 200 mg/day

To make this easy for you, we added our favorite herbal blend to our store, called Immune Support. You can read more about it HERE.

Anti-Viral Supplements

These are generally safe for those with Autoimmune Conditions. For pregnancy, check dosing with your doctor.
We recommend that you take Zinc and add Quercetin if you are exposed or get sick:

  • Zinc: 30 – 60 mg daily in divided doses
  • Quercetin: 1 gram twice/day. Phytosome: 500 mg twice/day

At BlumHealthMD.com we offer our signature Antiviral Bundle, with all the supplements you need to keep your immune system strong, plus a Mediterranean Food Plan to follow! Check it out here.

Reduce Cytokine Storm

The illness caused by coronavirus, COVID-19, can cause a “runaway train” of inflammation in some people, causing terrible tissue and organ damage that can lead to the worst outcomes. This group of herbs and supplements appear effective in turning off this overactive immune response and helping bring the immune system back into balance. 

These are generally safe to use for those with Autoimmune Conditions. For pregnancy check dosing with your doctor.

We recommend that you choose a minimum of 1 of the following and add more if you get sick:

  • Curcumin: 500 – 1000 mg twice/day. Choose absorption enhanced.  
  • EGCG: 4 cups daily or 225 mg daily.
  • Resveratrol: 100 – 150 mg/day
  • Melatonin: 5-20 mg/day

Remember, you should also be focused on improving the functioning of your immune foundations.  Here are the things you should continue to do for risk reduction:

  • Good gut health: which means lots of beneficial bacteria. Take a probiotic every day with at least 20 billion cfu of mixed strains lactobacillus and bifidus species and join our 10-Day Spring HealMyGut Coaching Program
  • Balanced stress hormones: Get a good night’s sleep and don’t overwork yourself during flu season. Stress harms your ability to fight viruses.  Practice some form of mediation daily.  Melissa, Blum Center’s Health Coachwrote a great blog with tips for managing stress during this time. 
  • Eat foods that are good for your immune system: Avoid processed foods and focus on fruits and veggies that are rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Support the removal of toxins by eating lots of cruciferous veggies, which boost the detox system in your liver.

Sending prayers and good wishes for you and all of us to stay safe and well during this challenging time!

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It’s Flu Season – Is the Flu Shot Right for You

Every year, this is a common question I get asked from our patients and also submitted by the public on social media and online. This year it’s even more confusing and the answers aren’t easy for many with chronic illness or autoimmune conditions.  It doesn’t help that public health officials and the media are promoting the flu shot as a critical part of the fight against COVID-19.  The main concern is that people could get both illnesses at the same time, which would increase the risks of severe complications or death if this happened.  

However, let me just add a few words of calm into this storm.  First, if you are a high risk person and quarantining this winter, or at least being extremely cautious and wearing a mask and maintaining social distance guidelines when outside your home or your “quarantine bubble”, then you are unlikely to get either the flu or Covid.  The same measures you are doing not to get coronavirus will drastically reduce your likelihood of getting the flu.  

I think we need to continue to discuss the flu shot in the same context that I have talked about it for years.  In my opinion, all medical decisions should be based on comparing the risks vs. benefits of any medication or treatment for each individual person. This approach is called Personalized Medicine, and how we approach all treatment decisions through the lens of Functional Medicine at Blum Center for Health.  What is good for your friend might not be good for you.

IS THE FLU SHOT RIGHT FOR YOU?

In general I do recommend the flu shot, especially this year, for people who could likely become hospitalized or die from getting the flu: children, anyone over 65; those with pulmonary or respiratory diseases like asthma and emphysema; and people with any chronic illnesses like cancer or severe/life threatening illnesses.  And for those at high risk of becoming hospitalized or dying from COVID:  people with obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease.  Also important to note, if you are a caretaker for the elderly or anyone at home who fits the criteria above, or if you are a parent to children living at home, these would be additional situations you need to keep in mind as accepted indications for receiving the influenza vaccination.  And this holds true for this winter, during the COVID pandemic.

However, on the flip side, some people with autoimmune conditions, or who take immune suppressing medications, should talk to their doctor before getting the shot.  The aluminum used as adjuvants, and the mercury used as preservatives, can cause side effects or flares for those with autoimmunity, and those on certain immune suppressing medication might not even become immune after getting the vaccine.  For you, it is a personalized decision and I cannot give you medical advice about that here.  But it might be that during this pandemic, your decision might be different than it usually is.

In either case, my approach is to help you build a strong immune foundation so that you don’t get sick from any virus. A strong immune system is the basis for staying healthy in general, and should be a year round strategy…not just during flu season. This is, by far, the best prevention and protection! 

Click here for more on supplement recommendations to strengthen your immune system.

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5 Ways to Protect Yourself From the Flu and COVID-19 This Fall and Winter

As we move into fall, many people are asking, “What is going to happen when COVID-19 meets influenza and the common cold? What can I do to protect myself?”  Beginning this fall we will have to deal with a flu season wrapped in a global pandemic. Many experts are expecting it to be the “perfect storm.” 

One thing we know for sure is that COVID-19 is deadly, and it does not seem to be seasonal. Remember in March when many people believed it would “die off” in the summer when actually it surged?

We can only expect that COVID-19 will complicate our upcoming flu season.

But, there are very tangible steps you can take to protect yourself.  We’ve got you covered!

This is exactly why Dr. Blum created Immune System Strong — an 8-week LIVE online course designed to fortify your immune system to fight viruses, like COVID-19, influenza and the common cold as we move into flu season Learn more here

5 Ways to Protect Yourself From the Flu and COVID-19 This Fall and Winter

The basics: As we move indoors it will be important to wear a mask in public places at all times, and wash your hands throughout the day. COVID, influenza and the common cold are all spread person to person through respiratory droplets — talking, coughing, sneezing — from contaminated surfaces and by direct touch. So come winter, you will be protecting yourself, and others, from not only COVID, but also influenza, pneumonia and the common cold. 

Make sure your immune system is functioning at its absolute best. Since over 75% of your immune system lives in your digestive tract, your gut plays a key role in your body’s ability to defend itself against infection. It is imperative that your gut is in top working order. Signs your gut needs attention: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, food intolerances, undigested food in your stool, feeling tired or lethargic. If you get sick a lot, this is an absolute must-do. 

Eat an immune-boosting diet. Food is medicine, or food can be poison. Minimize immune-suppressing foods, such as sugar, processed foods, refined carbs, fried foods, vegetable oils, artificial anything and alcohol. 

Maximize vegetables, fruit, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fermented foods and healthy fats, like avocado and wild caught salmon.

Detoxify your body and your environment. We live in a world filled with toxins that can harm the immune system (and even trigger autoimmune disease). These include pesticides/herbicides, hormones and plastics in food and water, solvents and mold in our homes and heavy metals in the fish we eat and water we drink. Others can come from cosmetics and products we use at home. 

Consider supplementation. There are targeted supplements that will support your immune system and make your body less hospitable to viruses. These include Vitamins A, C, and D3, Zinc, N-Acetylcysteine, mushroom extracts, and herbs, such as elderberry, astragalus, and echinacea. Not all of these are appropriate for everyone. If you have an autoimmune disease, the mushrooms and herbs may not be right for you. 

If you’re as concerned as I am about shoring up your immune system to protect yourself from infections like COVID-19, influenza and the common cold as we begin to move indoors, consider joining Dr. Blum and me for our new course — Immune System Strong. Four LIVE classes with Dr. Blum, 8 coaching calls with me, you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to fortify your immune system. We begin soon! Learn More

 

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

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Your Autoimmune Disease and COVID-19

It’s September!  I don’t know about you, but this is usually this time of year I am preparing to buckle back down to work after a summer spent outdoors, with some of it on vacation. If you are raising school age or college kids, and this is usually back-to-school time.  

But, as we are in the midst of an infectious disease pandemic, these are not usual times. In fact, as we are preparing to move into fall, you might be struggling through and muddling along, coping with coronavirus and hoping not to get COVID-19, the illness that is caused by this virus.

But some of us worry more than others about what would happen if we get this virus.  I am thinking about all of my autoimmune patients, who have been writing and asking me very specific questions about how their autoimmunity might change their risk, and what to do about the supplements they should take to prevent the virus from making them very sick were they to be exposed.  I decided to write this blog to answer these questions all in one place.  For all of my autoimmune patients, clients, friends and family, this is dedicated to you!

Does my Autoimmune condition put me at a higher risk for getting very sick if I get COVID-19?

The most important thing to understand is that there are over 100 different autoimmune conditions and they are all different.  Thus, it is hard to answer this with a quick answer.  But there are some guidelines that you can follow:

FIRST: There is no evidence that your Autoimmune disease itself puts you at a higher risk for getting very sick with COVID-19.  The underlying imbalance in Autoimmunity, where the immune system is mis-directed and attacks your own body, hasn’t been identified as a risk factor. 

However, in studying the underlying mechanisms of autoimmunity in people with systemic rheumatological diseases like Lupus (SLE), Sjogren’s Syndrome, Scleroderma, Polymyositis among others, researchers have found that while part of the immune system is overactive, the lymphocytes that fight viruses might be underactive.  

Therefore, if you have one of these conditions, you might be at a higher risk of getting COVID if you are exposed.  But there are supplements you can take to boost this part of your immune system, and I will share that below. 

SECOND: If you have an Autoimmune condition, is that you might have secondary issues like weight gain, high blood pressure, or disease-specific issues, like increased risk for making blood clots, and other possible problems that would influence your risk.  To determine if your specific Autoimmune issue could be putting you at risk, you need to check with your doctor.

THIRD: If you are taking immunosuppressant medications to treat your condition, you are definitely at increased risk for getting sick because these medications can reduce your ability to fight the virus, and you should follow the strictest social distancing and mask wearing guidelines.  

That being said, never stop your medication on your own.  But it’s good to set out a goal for being able to stop.  First, meet with your doctor and see if you have any other options.  Second, from my perspective, using a Functional Medicine approach and treating the underlying issues like repairing the gut microbiome and reducing toxic load, it is possible to taper off medication as you feel better and your condition improves.  

If I get COVID-19, will my Autoimmune Disease get worse?

There is no information that I have read about people with Autoimmunity and what happens to their illness when they have COVID-19.  But based on medical logic and experience, my guess is that your current health issues are likely to flare and get worse if you were to get sick.  This might be triggered by the virus itself, but more likely from the widespread immune and inflammatory reaction the body mounts against the virus. If your Autoimmune disease is very active and you still have symptoms and are still struggling, consider yourself at high risk and practice stricter social distancing and mask wearing.

Which immune-boosting supplements are good for me and which one’s should I avoid?

I have a great Blog on supplements for boosting immunity to fight coronavirus.  You can read it HERE.  For this discussion, I want to zero in on the concerns of my patients with Autoimmunity.

GOOD FOR EVERYONE: First, here are the categories of supplements that are all completely safe for all of you, and my previous blog reviews the dosing:

  1. Antioxidants:  Vitamins A, C, Glutathione, NAC, Quercetin, EGCG
  2. Antiviral and Immunomodulators:  Zinc, Vitamin D
  3. Anti-inflammatory:  Fish oil, Curcumin.

See dosing  HERE.

IF YOU HAVE AN AUTOIMMUNE CONDITION: You need to choose supplements carefully.  The concern is that these are immune boosting, which means they stimulate an increase in your natural killer cells.  On one hand, this is a great thing for fighting viruses.  However, for some people with autoimmunity, this could conceivably make your condition worse, although this is a theoretical concern because there haven’t been any studies on this.  Therefore, I recommend you check with your health practitioner before taking these.

Immune Boosting Supplements:  take with caution

  1. Mushrooms:  maitake, reishi, shitake, beta glucan
  2. Astragalus and echinacea
  3. Elderberry and Andrographis

If you’d like to learn more about how to use supplements to protect yourself from viruses, like COVID-19, consider joining my new LIVE course, Immune System Strong, led personally by me! Learn More 

What can I do to reduce my risk of getting very sick with COVID-19?  

Let’s end this blog on a high note!  There is plenty you can do to improve your immune function and reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID.  These same steps will also help repair your immune system and reverse your Autoimmune condition.  My main focus as a Functional Medicine physician is on the foundations of a healthy immune system:  food, stress, gut health, toxin load, oxidative stress and inflammation. 

The popularity of these questions is exactly why I designed a new just-in-time, 8-week program called Immune System Strong to teach you in real time with verified, no-nonsense information on how to fortify your immune system to fight viruses, like COVID-19, as we move into winter flu season!  We begin soon! Learn More

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The #1 Thing You Can Do For Your Immune System Starting Today

So, let’s be real … with COVID still sweeping through communities, you might be wondering what you can do to protect yourself as we move into the flu and cold season. Yes, very soon, we will be moving indoors with closed windows and that begs the question, “How will I keep myself safe?”

With over 70% of your immune system living in your digestive tract (yes, that’s true!), it makes sense that the food you eat is the first stop in empowering your immune system to fight infections and keep you healthy. 

There are foods that are particularly good at boosting immunity, but the reality is the first order of business is to use “food as medicine” to reduce inflammation. Often when I talk with people about “reducing inflammation” their eyes glass over. It’s not easy to grasp.

Inflammation. When it’s on the outside, like arthritis, we can see it.  When it’s on the inside we can’t see it. And often we can’t even feel it. (Although I’ve heard so many times, “I didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to feel that way.”) But if you get sick often, if you’ve taken lots of antibiotics in your life, if you’ve had stress or trauma, or if you eat inflammatory foods (like sugar) or the Modern American Diet, you’ve likely experienced inflammation. In fact, you’re likely inflamed right now.

Inflammation is when your immune system or other cells in your body release irritating chemicals that cause irritation on the inside.  Remember this is a normal process because this is how your body fights infections or an injury, and the inflammation resolves once the infection or injury is over.  

However, if high levels of these inflammatory chemicals are released continuously (which can happen if you are eating a lot of SUGAR), the normal functioning of your cells can be interrupted, and healthy tissue gets damaged, including your immune system. This is not so good-especially since more and more studies link inflammation in the body to many serious illnesses and conditions.

To make sure your immune system is in tip top shape, which will protect you from foreign invaders like COVID-19, influenza and the common cold, it’s important to avoid processed foods and eat an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich diet, full of vegetables, fruits, cultured foods, healthy fats, planted-based proteins and minimal animal protein.  

If there’s only one diet change you choose to make it’s this: 

GET RID OF SUGAR TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION!

Sugar is inflammatory and suppresses your immune system. Sugar stimulates your immune cells to actively release inflammatory molecules that travel throughout your body causing damage and irritation. 

Avoid high glycemic foods like soda, white flour and processed sugar. When it comes to sugar, you always want to choose low-glycemic vs. high-glycemic foods. The glycemic index determines how quickly a particular food raises your blood sugar level. High blood sugar causes inflammation and damages your immune system, and puts you at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Any food processed with white sugar or white flour is high-glycemic and should be eliminated. That means bagels, breads, breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies, crackers, candy, and soda.

Avoid an over-focus on carbohydrates as the main source of calories for the day. Make your plate for lunch and dinner half vegetables — that’s a great start. Natural, unprocessed foods, like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains provide health-promoting vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals — all good for your immune system. Use rice and other grains like condiments.

Read the labels of everything that comes in a package. Food manufacturers are sneaky. They often add sugar (and a lot of sugar) to foods that need very little sugar. Yeah, I know our panels are in grams. Definitely annoying, but here’s what you need to know: We recommend keeping your added sugars at about 24 grams. And, 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. So, if that granola bar you love has 24 grams of sugar — that’s six teaspoons (and your allotment for the day).

Here are some substitution suggestions for common high glycemic foods: 

Do you like soda, fruit juice, sweetened drinks? Drink filtered water, herbal teas, mineral water, fruit-infused water.

Do you consume products with corn syrup, cane sugar, or any other added sugar (check your condiments!)? Try paleo ketchup, mustard, fancy vinegars, and herbs and spices, such as basil, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric.

Do you eat dried fruit, frozen yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, cookies, candy or other sweets? Try coconut milk yogurt with your own fruit, dark chocolate covered almonds and carob.

Do you typically eat pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, cookies and crackers made from white flour, muffins, waffles, pancakes, popcorn or bagels? Switch to gluten-free whole grain cookies, gluten-free almond meal crackers with hummus or guacamole, nuts, seeds, fresh fruit. 

P.S. If you’re as concerned as I am about shoring up your immune system to protect yourself from infections like COVID-19, influenza and the common cold as we begin to move indoors, consider joining Dr. Blum and I for our new course — Immune System Strong. Four LIVE classes with Dr. Blum, 8 coaching calls with me, you’ll learn exactly what you need to do to fortify your immune system. We begin soon!

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.