Healthy Concepts

One of our goals when seeing a patient for physical therapy is to complete their course of treatment in a judicious number of visits. This has become more important over the past few years with increasing co-pays and higher deductibles.

Most patients are presented with home exercises to maintain the corrective treatments rendered by the therapist. In addition, I do my best to advocate for a healthy exercise alternative that will have long-lasting impact once they leave my care for their most recent diagnosis. My recommendation is they look to partake in yoga.

As we get older, research demonstrates that if we do not address, we lose strength and flexibility, which combined and over time can impact our ability to balance. Endeavors such as Pilates, the martial arts and other activities are options that can help to counteract these negative occurrences. I have yet to experience each one of these. However, I can give a firsthand account of yoga.

A year and a half ago, a friend who also happened to be a patient at the time, strongly suggested I come to a yoga class that she attended. I had yet to experience a yoga class on a consistent basis. After a few classes, I was able to identify in my own body asymmetries, areas of tightness, weakness and balance deficits that I possessed on one side of my body that were not present on the other. While I was vaguely aware of these issues before yoga participation, I became quite aware of them quickly after. And this is a goal that we strive to achieve with all our patients, a symmetrical body with range of motion, strength and balance that are the same on the right as on the left.

A year and a half in, I still have some deficits, but they are greatly reduced. If I spent more than once or twice a week at this practice, these deficiencies may be gone. My ability to run, bike, ski and play golf are greatly enhanced due to my improved range of motion, strength and balance. An added benefit to practicing yoga for me is that I do not have the post event soreness that used to be present. My morning steps are comfortable. Most importantly, as my years continue to progress, I feel that yoga can delay many common “aging factors.”

Before you start with excuses, let me tell you I have practiced next to people who have had both knees replaced, those who have had a hip replaced and those who have had back surgery, toe surgeries, and probably other medical issues that I am not privy to. There are many types of yoga, and while it is beyond my scope, almost everyone can be placed in a specific yoga class. The key is to talk with a yoga teacher, informing them of your specific condition, and ask if they have a class that they can recommend that would be best for you. While they offer many types of yoga classes, the studio I attend also offers chair yoga, a class for those with osteoporosis, as well as a class that emphasizes stretching within yoga positions.

Not long ago I listened to a radio show in which the commentator took me by surprise when he mentioned that the key to successful golden years is mobility. When one loses their mobility, social life and independence are reduced. While there may be other forms of bodywork that deserve time in future articles, yoga is a great option.

It is incumbent upon us all to recognize that health care practitioners can take us only so far, and there are options in our communities that we can participate in to create a better life for ourselves. 

Lauren* was in her mid-thirties when she shed nearly 100 pounds on a very regimented weight loss program based on exercise and dietary changes. She felt good in her newer, lighter body; but she also knew on some level that she could look and feel even better. Not finding help or suitable guidance available within the conventional medical route, she instead sought out the holistic system of bodywork and movement education known as Rolfing Structural Integration (Rolfing SI).

When Lauren began her mid-winter Rolfing SI sessions, she was just starting to become used to moving, standing and being in her new body. Since she could more clearly see her frame, she noticed that she was in dire need of help with her posture. The accumulation of hours and hours spent sitting in front of a work computer manifested as a forward head/neck position with rounded shoulders. Walking with so much extra weight for years may have contributed to the external rotation of her femurs (upper legs) and how her hips functioned. She also had a bit of lower torsion that did not help to activate the arches in her relatively flat feet, which she noted, “turned out like a duck” when she walked. Conversely, with nearly 100 less pounds to insulate and weigh her down, she found that her center of gravity had dramatically shifted. The combination of all of these challenges affected Lauren’s ability to find grounding and secure footing — especially on unstable, slippery surfaces.

After Lauren completed her first Rolfing SI session, she was amazed at how differently she experienced her body. Her weight seemed to shift more toward the center of her feet and she felt more awareness in her feet and knees. She also noticed how easy it felt to hold her head high while still relaxing her shoulders down. All of these new ways of being inspired Lauren to pursue more sessions.

Each Rolfing SI session is like a class for the body, and with each session the changes became more apparent. Lauren’s body continued to transform as she progressed through the sessions. One day while walking in the snow, she was feeling much more confident with her footing. She looked back at the crisp trail of her footprints and noticed that her feet “weren’t so turned out” and her one leg was not dragging. She was walking with better functioning of her legs and feet, and her arches were becoming more activated. She felt stability. Lauren now understood what her Rolfer™ really meant when talking about the need for more grounding in her feet.

Near the end of her ten sessions, Lauren also began to experience a shift in her relationship with her current weight. Having been a larger size for much of her life, she had become accustomed to taking up a lot of space or needing a lot of space to move. Now much thinner, she needed to embody and “feel” her actual size. The detailing, differentiation as well as integration provided by the Rolfing SI process helped Lauren to feel more aware of the physical boundaries of her body and that of the space around her. With more awareness, Lauren could now connect with and consciously inhabit more room to elicit subtle movements that enlivened and brightened her demeanor. Through this process she also shed some weight-related emotional baggage. This allowed her to feel safer and more comfortable in clothing that no longer just hung or draped on her body but that gave her well-defined shape and form.

Rolfing SI helped Lauren along on her 120-pound weight loss journey by anchoring the weight loss transformation more deeply and permanently in her mind, body and spirit. Because of better alignment and grounding through her structure and by creating a new relationship with her personal space, Lauren felt that she could now more efficiently inhabit and live fully in her new body. Lauren credited Rolfing Structural Integration for helping her to feel more comfortable in her own skin so that she could finally come back home to herself. 

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Our eyebrows are a very important feature of our face. When our brows are sparse from over tweezing, illness or just not the best genetics, our face loses its focus and balance. The proper brow shape and color can add youthfulness and expression back to our face. Women (and now some men) are constantly looking for a solution from the daily grind of trying to draw on the perfect brow only to be frustrated and have their efforts smudged away as the day progresses. So what can be done to give you the long lasting yet natural looking brows you dream about? The answer may be the latest trend: microblading.

Microblading is a form of cosmetic tattooing (yes, it is still considered a tattoo), which uses a hand tool method of implanting pigment into the skin to mimic natural eyebrow hairs. The result is so realistic that it’s hard to tell which hairs are real and which are microbladed. This method looks much more natural compared to the older machine permanent makeup technique. Microblading does not implant as much color into the skin as with the older machine technique so the color will fade faster and need maintenance every year or so to keep it looking fresh. This can actually be a good thing as our faces change with age, styles and trends change, and most clients don’t want a brow that lasts for many years.

The term microblading can be a bit confusing because an actual “blade” is not used in the process. Microblading is performed by using a hand tool that incorporates tiny individual needle grouping, which is dipped into pigment and then implanted into the skin in the form of fine lines which mimic the look of hairs.

With the instant popularity of microblading also comes many people jumping on the bandwagon to offer this treatment. Because microblading is considered a tattoo, the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals recommends that the technician has a minimum of 100 hours of training in permanent cosmetics. This is important for your safety and a pleasant outcome. Many areas of proper training are needed, such as proper placement, color theory, sanitation practices to prevent cross contamination, artistry and practice. It is important that your technician is in compliance with all local and state health and safety laws and licensing. A tattoo license is required.

A properly trained technician will perform a complete consultation with you. You will discuss certain medical conditions or medications that may prevent you from being a candidate for microblading. The utmost of care should be taken with the accurate measuring and designing of your new brows before the treatment begins. A numbing cream will be applied for your comfort. The treatment itself will only take about an hour. It is very important to follow all of your aftercare instructions to get the best results. A second follow-up session should be offered and is scheduled 4-8 weeks after your initial treatment.

Sure, microblading is exciting and you may be tempted to get it done today but make sure to do your homework when choosing your technician. Ask about their training, experience, if they carry liability insurance and review pictures of their actual work. You should not be looking for a bargain when it comes to a tattoo on your face. Removal can be very expensive and time consuming if you don’t choose the right technician.

The results can be a game changer for many clients. They enjoy the freedom of getting out of bed and getting on with their day without the worry of their brows. Enjoying activities such as swimming, working out and not having their brow makeup rubbing off during the day is priceless and offers time saving advantages too. The average cost of the treatment is $400-$600.

Reference: “Microblading Fact Sheet.” Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals.

Brothers and sisters can be great friends, and those friendships often grow stronger with age. However, when kids are young, those fun and friendly relationships are not always so easy to come by. Arguments and fights may occur as sibling rivalry rears its ugly head, and parents may be unsure how to resolve the conflicts. Keeping peace in the family may require some of these strategies.

Encourage positive remarks. Encourage siblings to say a nice thing about each other around the dinner table. Acknowledging what they like about a sibling can help kids focus on the positives of being a brother or sister.

Eliminate “mini-parents.” It is the adults’ job, not kids’, to reprimand or show direction to children. When one child starts parenting another, parents must nip that in the bud as quickly as possible.

Employ reverse psychology. Force the children to spend no time together one day. Actually ban interaction among siblings if they are prone to constant fights. Going without that company can illustrate just how much they miss being together.

Reward bickering and fussing with chores. Reward arguments with chores. If children have time to argue, they are probably not engaged in productive work. Knowing extra chores will be the result of arguing can help limit the number of fights.

Fair doesn’t mean identical. Children sometimes pick fights if they think a sibling is getting more attention from their mother and/or father than they are. Kids need different things in a relationship and parents can recognize that carbon-copy activities will not help quell that feeling of unfairness. 

Many people have a carb (sugar) addiction. The addiction to sugar causes weight gain and raises triglycerides to unhealthy levels, which clogs arteries. Clogged arteries lead to cardiovascular disease and can cause strokes.

We become addicted to carbohydrates because the fast digesting ones — including sugars, anything made from flour, potatoes and rice — digest quickly. Fruit and vegetables are also carbohydrates, but they are not the problem as they have a lot of fiber and digest more slowly. Most processed foods have fast digesting carbohydrates added to them. They need to be avoided as well.

When carbohydrates digest quickly they turn to glucose (sugar). Blood sugar spikes and then drops quickly. This drop makes us hungry, tired and craving more carbohydrates. When the blood sugar spikes, it creates a lot of energy — more than we can use. The excess energy turns into triglycerides, fat that settles around our middle and clogs our arteries.

Breaking a carbohydrate addiction is important for maintaining our health. There are ways to break a carb addiction in addition to giving up the foods mentioned above. Replace carbs with fiber and good fat. They will keep you full and won’t spike your blood sugar. For a sweet treat now and then that won’t spike blood sugar, use Palatinose sweetener (which is 42 percent as sweet as sugar) with a little pure sucralose with no added maltodextrin. I have created chocolates, chocolate truffles and a cookie that can satisfy your desire for something sweet without spiking blood sugar. They are high in fiber from flax seed and Hi-maize 260 resistant starch fiber. The Palatinose sweetener does not spike blood sugar but keeps you satisfied for a long time.

Grandma Rose has the products listed that you need to break that carbohydrate addiction for good.

Certain vaccinations for companion animals are recommended or required depending on where the pet will be living. Just like immunizations administered to humans, pet vaccinations are designed to help pets develop immunities to certain diseases.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation notes that vaccinations are often accompanied by mild side effects. But some pets might experience more serious reactions to certain vaccinations. This can be particularly disconcerting to pet owners who are vaccinating new pets for the first time.

Vaccines remain one of the most important weapons in the fight against infectious diseases in companion animals. But if the vaccine reactions prove to be worse than the disease itself, the ASPCA notes that pet owners will need to work with their veterinarians about the best course of action.

Minor reactions to vaccinations may include local swelling at the vaccination site and some discomfort. Sneezing, mild coughing and low-grade fever also can be common.

More serious side effects generally involve allergic reactions. Such reactions can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Some indicators of vaccine allergies include facial swelling, itching, weakness, difficulty breathing and even shock. According to the medical team at, allergic reactions are often treated with antihistamines, epinephrine and supportive care.

In combined vaccines, which are those that administer two or more vaccines in a single shot, it may be difficult to determine which vaccination triggered the allergic reaction, or if the reaction was caused by a preservative or other foreign matter in the vaccine. It may be adviseable to have new pets receive only one vaccination at a time to best monitor reactions. If an allergy is noted, and the allergy arises again with revaccination or a booster shot, then steps must be taken to reduce the propensity for the reaction moving forward. This may include administering antihistamines prior to the vaccine if it is a mandatory immunization. Pet owners should speak with their veterinarians about the risks of skipping required vaccines.

Animals can experience mild to serious side effects after receiving routine vaccinations. Pet owners should weigh the benefits of the vaccines with their veterinarians to develop the best health plan for their pets.

In the ‘80s it was aerobics and racquetball. The ‘90s brought about step class and the ubiquitous celebrity workout video. With the 2000s we were introduced to Pilates and kickboxing. In 2010, Paleo fitness came into the picture and in some form or another, continues to be a growing approach.

The concept is based on the principle that we should focus our diet and activities on that of our ancient ancestors. Thousands of years ago we were not sitting at computers or driving to the grocery store. Instead, our lives consisted largely of gathering the foods we would need to live, which involved engaging our bodies in movements like walking, bending, lifting and climbing — and of course, staying away from the things that would want to gather us as food.

Spring into action

Fast forward to today and we don’t really have to engage our bodies much at all in order to live. But to live well, movement is a requirement. Sedentary lifestyles are a known risk factor for developing high blood pressure, anxiety, obesity and depression. The challenge for many is getting started and staying motivated.

You can spring into action toward your fitness goals by going for a walk. As you are walking and thinking about the positive steps you are quite literally already taking, know that walking remains one of the most beneficial and accessible forms of exercise. By walking for just 30 minutes a day every day you’ll find immense benefits including increased bone health, improved blood flow and weight loss.

After two weeks of this walking routine, add strength training into your week. This is where most people fall short. They start one routine, like daily walking, but after a couple of weeks grow tired of the same routine and fall back into their old habits. Counter this by introducing an update to your workout every two weeks. Strength training is a great first addition. According to WebMD, “physically inactive people can lose as much as 3 percent to 5 percent of their muscle mass each decade after age 30.” Metabolism is largely connected to muscle mass. Adding two or three days of strength training into a solid walking regimen is a great way to reduce muscle loss and boost your metabolism.

For do-it-yourself folks, a book or a series of YouTube videos may do the trick. Others may want to consider joining a class twice a week that focuses on strength training.

To ensure proper technique and achieve the results you are looking for it’s a good idea to seek out the guidance from an educated coach.

Strong to the core

We’ve all seen the photoshopped ads featuring perfectly toned bodies in cropped tops with six pack abs. For most of us, that vision is simply not reality, nor does it need to be. Regardless, strong core muscles are what help you in your daily life tasks. You know the ones — a toddler on one hip with a gallon of milk in your hand, reaching to open the door all while man-handling two bags of groceries into the house. Admit it, you’ve done this. We all have. Do yourself a favor and get your core muscles up to par so they can protect your spine and keep you from getting injured because back pain will definitely take the spring out of your step.

Renew and refresh

To stay motivated, think about ways you could renew your approach and develop fresh habits to stay on track. Some people recommend an “accountability partner” who will send you early morning text messages to get you out of bed. Others find that joining a group who is also working on a particular fitness goal helps them maintain their motivation. Remember to incorporate small treats to reward yourself for the work you’re doing. After completing two weeks of daily walking, get yourself a new workout top or buy a subscription to a magazine that will help keep you motivated. Of course, our ancient ancestors didn’t need this sort of motivation, but then again being chased by a saber-toothed tiger was probably motivation enough. 

Forefront Dermatology

Why gluten-free is imperative for thyroid sufferers

By Randi Mann, NP

Hypothyroidism is one of the most common thyroid disorders. The American Thyroid Association estimates 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease and women are 5 to 8 times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems. Hypothyroidism is characterized as a deficiency of thyroid hormone. And since nearly every cell in our body has receptors for the thyroid and requires sufficient thyroid to function properly, there is a myriad of symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.

Sufferers can experience:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Thinning of the outer eyebrow
  • Mental slowness
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Hoarse voice
  • Muscle stiffness and pain
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Dementia
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Infertility
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Loss of balance
  • Peeling, splitting fingernails
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent muscle cramps
  • Low sex drive
  • Puffy hands and face
  • Unsteady gait and bumping into things

Thyroid hormones play a role in the most basic aspects of body function. They directly impact the brain, metabolism, the cardiovascular system, gall bladder and liver function, and body temperature regulation.

There are different reasons a thyroid gland will stop producing the desired level of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). It is now believed that approximately 90 percent (possibly up to 97 percent) of hypothyroidism cases are caused by an autoimmune response. This means the body has mistakenly identified the thyroid as “foreign” and starts attacking it. Hashimoto’s and Graves’ (also thyroid diseases) are autoimmune diseases. At the heart of autoimmune diseases is inflammation, which leads to thyroid tissue destruction and continued autoimmune responses from the body.

So, what does all of this have to do with gluten? The protein portion of gluten, called gliadin, is problematic. No human can digest the gluten proteins found in barley, wheat, rye and triticale. “Our human digestive system is perfectly able to digest every protein we eat except gluten. Gluten is a ‘weird’ protein and we don’t have the enzymes to dismantle it completely, leaving undigested peptides that can be harmful. The immune system may perceive them as the enemy and mount an immune response,” states Alessio Fasano, MD, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Director of the Center for Celiac Research. In other words, gluten proteins survive the harsh environment of the stomach and make their way into the intestine where they permeate the intestinal walls into the blood stream. In fact, celiac disease is the autoimmune destruction of the villi in the gut. (Villi is the finger-like projections of tissue in the small intestine, which increase the surface area and help with nutrient absorption into the bloodstream.)

Once in the bloodstream, the gliadin protein is flagged for destruction by the immune system.

Unfortunately, gliadin has a molecular structure similar to that of thyroid tissue, which means the antibodies to gliadin also cause the immune system to attack the thyroid. This is called molecular mimicry. Immune responses to gliadin can last up to 6 months each time you eat gluten, even a little bit. If you have a thyroid problem and you are sensitive to gluten, each time you eat foods containing gluten you are initiating an autoimmune response that goes after your thyroid. Even if you don’t currently have a known sensitivity to gluten, gluten makes you vulnerable to developing autoimmune diseases. A person suffering from one autoimmune disease is more prone to develop additional autoimmune diseases. It is estimated that 4 to 6 percent of people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis also suffer from celiac disease. This number is much higher when you consider hypothyroidism and non-celiac gluten sensitivities. The autoimmune inflammation wreaks havoc in the body.

So how do you determine if you are sensitive to gluten? There are blood tests available for gluten and other food sensitivities, such as ALCAT and other blood tests for antibodies to gluten and its many proteins. Many experts recommend the elimination diet as a reliable test for gluten intolerance. This involves completely removing gluten from your diet for a period of at least 30 days and up to 3 months. If your symptoms improve during the elimination time and return after reintroducing gluten into your diet, you are gluten intolerant and should avoid gluten indefinitely.

Understanding how gluten acts in the body, we can see how dangerous this protein can be for the human body. An argument can be made that everyone would benefit from a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a destructive protein that cannot be fully digested by humans and there are no nutrients found in gluten-containing food that you cannot get from non-gluten foods. If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease such as hypothyroidism, it is imperative to your health to lead a gluten-free lifestyle.

Did you know that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime? Over the past three decades more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined. May is Melanoma Awareness Month and summer is right around the corner — it is a great time to become more informed about skin cancer.

There are two categories of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer that, if not detected and treated immediately, can spread to other areas in the body. Early diagnosis can be the difference between life and death. According to American Cancer Society research, if melanoma is caught in stage one, the five-year survival rate is 97 percent. Late detection survival rates can be as low at 15 percent.

Know the signs

Skin cancer does not discriminate by age, gender or ethnicity. It is important to know the signs of skin cancer and perform a monthly self-skin check to spot potential malignancies early. While skin cancer can occur anywhere on your body, approximately 85 percent of cases are located on the head and neck, the most sun exposed area of your body year-round. Dermatologists commonly refer to the “ABCDEs” when examining your skin. The accompanying diagram is an excellent tool to help guide you through a skin check, putting this acronym into practice. While examining your skin, look for any spots that show Asymmetry, have an irregular Border, vary in Color and have a Diameter that is wider than a pencil Eraser. It is also important to monitor skin lesions over time to determine if they have Evolved or changed.

Melanoma can occur in a variety of colors including brown, black, red, blue or purple. These spots can be flat or raised and can bleed easily. Non-melanoma skin cancer, also known as basal and squamous cell carcinoma, typically appear as small, pearly, or pale bumps or as dark red patches that can be raised, flat or scaly in texture. It is extremely important to see your local dermatologist and have any worrisome areas professionally examined. Remember, early detection saves lives and a simple office appointment with your dermatologist can truly mean the difference between life and death.

Preventative steps

While there is no foolproof way to prevent skin cancer, there are three key preventative steps. First, try to minimize sun exposure when the sun’s UV rays are at their strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, while outside seek shady areas and make it a priority to wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, SPF lip balm and cover your head with a hat. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after water exposure.

Second, tanning bed avoidance is crucial in reducing your skin cancer risk. Research has shown that yearly more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the United States are linked to the use of indoor tanning beds. Tanners under the age of 35 increase their risk of melanoma by 75 percent. The temporary tan is simply not worth the risk.

Lastly, it is important to have an annual skin screening by a board-certified dermatologist. Skin checks are easy and quick. The doctor will examine each part of your skin, and may use a special magnifying glass with a light — called a dermatoscope — to examine certain suspicious spots. If a suspicious lesion is identified, you may need a biopsy, which is a quick, simple procedure. A local anesthetic is applied and a small tissue sample is taken from the suspicious area and sent for evaluation. The purpose is to diagnose the condition, not treat it. If the biopsy reveals skin cancer, the remainder of the growth will be removed at a later date.

At a time of the year where many long for sunny weather and the tan that can come with sun, take a moment to remember your skin and your future. Are a few months of bronzed skin worth the potential diagnosis of skin cancer later on? It’s your life, what will you choose?

It’s by no stretch of the imagination that with a PhD in biomolecular chemistry, an MD from the University of Wisconsin-Medical School, training at the Mayo Clinic and residency and fellowships in pulmonary and critical care — not to mention nine years of experience practicing in these fields — Dr. Steven Bittorf is an accomplished member of the medical community.

“I feel fulfilled… but one of the things I recognized is that we expend a lot of resources at the end of life in our medical system,” he explains. “We don’t devote nearly enough attention to preventing a lot of preventable disease. It’s really a tragedy.”

Dr. Bittorf also struggled with the notion that the medical system is programmed for, and focuses on, the diseased patient in a disease model, making it difficult to take into consideration individual differences in the population. It’s in that sentiment that he began considering a more alternative side to care via integrative medicine, also known as functional medicine.

But what is it?

“It’s a very common question,” Dr. Bittorf explains. “Integrative medicine is one-on-one care with the emphasis on the relationship between the physician and the patient. It aims to incorporate both traditional care and alternative care... it’s an emerging subspecialty of medicine. In the mid-2000s it was kind of a whisper in the woods. But I was listening to that whisper.”

Listening but also initiating a business model in which he could spend quality time with patients offering care that wasn’t readily available in traditional areas of medicine was Dr. Bittorf’s mission.

“Lifestyle change is the best medicine your practitioner is not offering you right now… it’s the big elephant in the room. It’s not easy to do on your own, you have to have structured help,” he says.

Dr. Bittorf founded Green Bay Integrative Health (GBIH), a clinic devoted to “sharing extensive knowledge of integrative medicine for patients seeking an alternative approach to a variety of ailments, providing aesthetic and healthy aging services, and promoting health and wellness” in 2014 so he can be the person alongside you on your health journey.

An infusion of individualized, customized care

GBIH focuses on all facets of an individual’s health and implements a full array of alternative treatment options, including supplement care, food sensitivity and allergen testing, aesthetics (like Botox and Juvederm), general medicine, hormone replacement therapy and vitamin infusions to treat a variety of ailments and to prevent further medical intervention.

A wide range of conditions such as fibromyalgia, Lyme’s disease, ovarian and breast cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome have been studied and shown to benefit from vitamin C. However, it’s not as simple as taking a pill each morning. The level of vitamin C absorbable by the body is 500 milligrams per day. GBIH provides infusions of up to 50,000 grams in one intravenous session.

“If you take (vitamin C) by mouth, you can only absorb so much into your bloodstream,” Dr. Bittorf explains. “Super high doses of it by vein transiently flow in the bloodstream. It does not cause illness to normal cells or to the individual, and for cancer cells, it induces something called hydrogen peroxide that kills those cells by taking advantage of their sensitivity to vitamin C.”

General vitamin deficiency, Dr. Bittorf says, is also a more common issue to contemplate than we might realize. Per the Center for Disease Control, 90 million Americans are deficient in vitamin D alone. This can contribute to symptoms of depression, seasonal affective disorder, obesity, cardiovascular disease, strokes, insulin metabolism being poor, and Alzheimer’s disease worsening.

Being mindful of our gut is also vital to our health.

“The bacteria in our gut secretes more serotonin that reaches our bloodstream than our whole brain makes in a single day,” Dr. Bittorf says. “If you have an unhealthy biome, you’re not getting that serotonin in your blood and could have sleep disturbance, mental health issues, skin rashes and joint inflammation.”

Education on vitamin deficiency and supplements is a large part of Green Bay Integrative Health’s care, and one Dr. Bittorf takes seriously. While he explains that the supplemental field is an unregulated industry often affecting the purity and concentration of ingredients, he’s found a medical-grade supplement company called XYMOGEN Nutriceuticals to ensure he and his patients know what they’re receiving in the form of vitamins.

“A lot of times people aren’t getting what they think they’re getting or in the right concentration... as your XYMOGEN Nutriceutical Practitioner, you will receive the highest quality formulas on the market and the best customer service in the industry... we care that you want safe, effective formulas on which you can rely. I am proud to be affiliated with a team helping to bring patients what they are searching for — better health and wellness.”

A healthy aging technology for men and women

Typical signs of aging include insomnia, hot flashes, muscle weakness, aches and pains in the joints, irritability, mood swings, mental fog, memory loss, and mild depression — for both men and women. They’re also clear signs of a decline in hormone levels. The replacement of hormones like testosterone, progesterone and estrogen can easily assuage such symptoms.

“Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is very popular now, and it’s also very safe,” Dr. Bittorf says. “It’s effective in alleviating symptoms of menopause in women and andropause for men affecting people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and older. I have patients in their 80s.”

GBIH utilizes three hormone replacement therapy methods: body creams, lozenges for under the tongue and unique to Dr. Bittorf is pellet therapy in which hormone release from pellets is cardio-activated and delivers consistent, healthy levels of hormones for three to five months in women, and four to six months in men. Pellets avoid the fluctuations, or ups and downs, of hormone levels seen with other forms of delivery.

“It’s the cheapest most effective way to get hormone replacement therapy,” Dr. Bittorf says. The key to the pellet form is that it’s bioidentical, not synthetic. After a while it dissolves and disappears completely. (They) are compounded by an FDA-approved pharmacy into concentrated pellets the size of a grain of rice. The pellets are custom prescribed for each patient and implanted under the skin.

“It’s a healthy aging technology. People who have hormone replacement therapy have better cardiovascular health, better muscle strength and bone mass. When I’m 90 I’d like to do 50 pushups and a crossword puzzle and remember that I did both!

“Patients have told me I’ve saved their lives, and it gives me a really warm feeling. I get really attached to my patients because we see each other frequently and I know it’s making a difference. It’s about forming relationships, and it’s rewarding for me.” 

"My approach to medicine is based upon a model of health and wellness, as opposed to a model of disease. Whenever possible, integrative medicine favors the use of low-tech, low-cost interventions. I incorporate these techniques in every visit.” —Dr. Steven Bittorf

Green Bay Integrative Health

926 Willard Drive, Suite 236, Green Bay

920-489-8349 •

Subscribe Today
Community Partners Directory
Find a Newsstand
Community Calendar

Barlow Planetarium