Ancient Energy & Modern Balance – By Marissa Fatica

Tis the season of holy spiked eggnog, I have a hundred and eleven things to do! Sitting down and planning, creating and mapping out my upcoming obligations is an exhausting task and it only requires my brain, a piece of paper and a writing utensil…. How am I going to accomplish it all in my current state of confusion with a hint of heavy eyelids. The mere lines of needs and expectations are starting to blur together. If only I can divide and conquer, but as a woman with multiple hats I just can not!

So as I sit and ponder my life choices, and ask myself why did I take on all these tasks, I looked for a solution to my lag and I want to share my eureka moment!

Fatigue  and stamina the one thing I loath and the one think I crave, what can I due to address both issues I am facing. So to the innerweb I went, because lets face it, it has become the source of all self-relied knowledge. After getting lost in ads, blogs, self helps, I came across the holy grail! Two words will change your life and I hope you are sitting down and yes, feel free to send me copious amounts of love mail!!MACA ROOT!!

What is Maca Root you ask, well let me blow your mind and expectations with a simple supplement. No, I am not selling anything, this is not a pyramid scheme this is a root that is a treasure grown for us from mother earth herself. Maca root is known to help with chronic fatigue syndrome it promotes energy/stamina/endurance. It helps with stress relief and supports endocrine health. For us ladies it help with hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, and it has been know to dabble in helping our come hither here moments. It also helps boost a much need gland that we don’t think of or don’t know could use a helping hand. That gland is known as your thyroid gland, it is supports  a lot of things in your body.

Don’t take my word just take my challenge, it’s a week long and involves water and the simple task of swallowing a few pills. So lets reconvene and talk about how awesome and knowledgeable I am in aiding you in checking off all your assignments and goals, all while feeling like your younger self, you remember the one with no responsibilities.  

This is Marissa signing off with your irrefutable life hacks!!

Addressing ADD Naturally?

A mother recently asked me how I would naturally address inattentiveness (ADD) in a 14-year-old.
Like her, many of you know and love someone with this common condition and would like to try a natural approach before resorting to medications.
Symptoms of inattention, as listed in the DSM-IV, are:
  • often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities;
  • often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities;
  • often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly;
  • often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions);
  • often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities;
  • often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework);
  • often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools);
  • is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli;
  • is often forgetful in daily activities.
Begin with diet.
Lots of ADD/ADHD children have GI issues that may include: abnormal carbohydrate digestion, esophagitis, and pancreatic dysfunction.  The GI tract produces most of the brain’s serotonin and serotonin helps to stop “loop thinking.”
Since the gut is the main entrance for nutrients and the main exit point for toxins then GI issues are the first point of correction. Supplements alone are only half the story.
Proper digestion and absorption are essential to give your brain what it needs to stay on track. Furthermore, if your child’s GI tract has a problem than their brain may be receiving inflammatory markers and this increases the chance of excitability and inattention.
Make sure carb intake is controlled to avoid sugar highs and crashes, to ensure a yeast problem does not exist, and to check that all sugars are digested (especially the FODMAP ones.)
Further, the stool has to be checked to see if the consumed foods are being digested. If not then the stomach acid may need to be boosted and/or pancreatic enzymes needed.
Once this is done then focus on energy and anti-inflammation via food and supplements.
Supplements would include mitochondrial support, multivitamin, probiotics, fish oil and vitamin D3.
We have these in the office. The world of supplements is huge and overwhelming so I have done the homework for my patients. I am happy to share them with people who seek wellness.

Zn (Zinc) The Paul Giamatti of Supplements

Zinc is the Paul Giamatti of supplements – A star in a supporting role.

People are focused on the macro side of nutrition by looking at fats, carbs and proteins that this mineral is easy to overlook. We are quite good at incorporating entire food groups and doing our best to avoid others. Reading nutritional labels to review serving size, calories, fats, sugars, is also a popular health focus. But we aren’t quite so vigilant about vitamins and minerals. As a matter of fact, the FDA notes almost 50% of the US population has a nutritional deficiency. Just like Mary, there is something about zinc. You may look more at closely at this mineral after reading this.


There are 24 essential vitamins and minerals, 12 of each. Essential means our body cannot make these so they must be consumed. Intake is absolutely crucial to healthy physiologic functioning. You may become chronically sick and at the least do not feel well, if you are deficient.

Zinc is found in our muscles, bones, kidneys, pancreas, retina, teeth, hair, skin, liver, blood cells, prostate, and testes. You begin to imagine what can go wrong if adequate amounts of zinc are not available to us in our diet.


Zinc is better absorbed from animal than from plant sources. Many plant-based foods contain phytic acid. This substance binds to minerals like iron and zinc and inhibits the body’s ability to absorb them. Vegetarians and vegans are more likely to have zinc deficiencies.


A quick taste test at home can reveal if you are zinc deficient. Pour about 2 tablespoons of water-based zinc solution into a cup and drink the solution. If it tastes like water then you are deficient. If it tastes metallic or bitter than you likely have adequate zinc stores. You can purchase this zinc solution at most health food stores and we carry it here at our office.



Zinc kicks the common cold’s butt. The duration and severity of symptoms may be reduced by up to 40%.


Even mild to moderate zinc deficiency can impair our immune defenses, affecting macrophage and neutrophil functions. These two types of white blood cells help engulf and digest cellular debris, foreign substances, infectious bacteria, and cancer cells. Studies in the elderly show a 66% decrease in infections when supplemented with zinc.


Zinc plays a crucial role in skin integrity and structure. Studies show that patients experiencing chronic wounds or ulcers had deficient zinc metabolism and lower serum zinc levels.


Studies reveal that zinc plays a crucial role in regulating neuron communication, affecting how we learn and memory formation.


Zinc deficient children and adolescents have positive behavioral and cognitive outcomes following zinc supplementation. Also, zinc facilitates the effectiveness of ADHD drugs allowing for lower dosing to achieve beneficial results.


Zinc helps control diarrhea and prevent future bouts of the condition.


Zinc and antioxidants delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) possibly by preventing cellular damage in the retina.


Zinc plays a part in regulating vital fertility hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.


Most people with hypothyroidism are zinc deficient. Zinc is required to produce thyroid hormone and any inadequacy can lead to hypothyroidism. Zinc increases Free T3, lowers RT3, lowers TSH.


Zinc treatment prevents dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramping) and helps regulate ovulation.


Zinc blocks excess androgens (testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen) and helps kills bacteria by improving white cell function. Pores open and acne is decreased.


Zinc is a powerful antioxidant. Deficiency of zinc leads to a buildup of free radicals thus exposing DNA to damage and age-related diseases. Zinc supplementation decreases oxidative stress biomarkers and decreases inflammatory cytokines.













Age and sex help determine your dietary needs, but other considerations should be made. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers have higher requirements. Athletes may be eliminating zinc in their sweat and will require replacement. Consult your physician before supplementing.

Zinc is widely available as a nutritional supplement.

0-6 Months 2 mg/day
7-12 Months 3 mg/day
1-3 Years 3   mg/day
4-8 Years 5 mg/day
9-13 Years 8 mg/day
Males 14 and over 11 mg/day
Females 14 to 18 9 mg/day
Females 19 and over 8 mg/day




Zinc may start with the last letter of the alphabet but this important essential mineral supports the entire alphabet soup of vitamins and minerals that come before ‘z.’  Think of it as the Zeus of your health!


Gluta-What?!? Mother of Antioxidants, Five Fast Facts

In preparation for the onslaught of free radical damage coming our way courtesy of the BBQ extravagance made possible by memorial day weekend, we thought it important to introduce you to Glutathione. Glutathione meet people, people meet Glutathione.

Maybe you’ve already met or heard the name passed around town. Glutathione has more nicks than Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen. She is called “Mother of all Antioxidants, Master of Antioxidants, and Your Preeminent Free Radical Scavenger.” She is one of the most talked about supplements in the natural health and medical circles. Rightfully, so too! 131,985 peer reviewed journal articles mention Glutathione.

What exactly is Glutathione? It is a peptide used and made by every cell in your body essential to maintaining a healthy immune system, and fundamental to achieving wellness. Glutathione helps prevent damage to cells by neutralizing harmful molecules generated during energy production while playing a role in processing medications and cancer-causing compounds, and building DNA, proteins, and other important cellular components.

Five things you don’t know about Glutathione:

Glutathione Deficiency Causes

Glutathione deficiency is caused by hard living (think excesses), recurrent infections, chronic physical/mental/emotional stress, injuries, toxic environments including heavy metals, GMOs, Splenda and its artificially sweetening cronies, overuse of antibiotics, and hot dogs (think processed foods).

Glutathione & Anti-aging

Researchers observed mean and maximum life longevity increases of 42% and 44% respectively when blood levels of glutathione were increased in animals. This is a very promising anti-aging treatment.

Glutathione Detoxification

Glutathione binds to heavy metals, toxins, and free radicals caused by our diet and environment and shows them the door. This includes helping rid the body of pernicious mercury.  Additionally, Glutathione helps protect our lungs through an enzymatic metabolic pathway that protects cellular proteins and DNA from oxidation caused by airborne pollutants like cigarette smoke and smog.

Glutathione & Cognitive Function & Cancer

Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s Disease, and cancer have been linked to a deficiency in Glutathione due to the effects of oxidative damage in its absence.

If you are thinking about righting the wrongs from this weekend…

We, at Thornburg Pediatrics, call her GlutaGut.  We carry it as a supplement in a more absorbent form called S-Acetyl Glutathione carefully manufactured by cGMP certification for purity and efficacy in 200 mg acid-resistant vegetarian capsules. If you would like to give Glutathione a try give us a jingle, slide through, drop a tweet, find us on Facebook, or send us a postie.  

16 reasonable and natural ways to save your skin and self-esteem from acne

When we have blemishes

One of my older teenage male patients complained of his acne and asked his mom to take him to the dermatologist. He wanted to go on EpiDuo for acne. I am all for treating acne but in this young man’s case his acne was mild and Accutane/Isotretinoin requires repeated blood tests to check liver function. The medicine can have very serious complications. Well, two issues became apparent. The vanity of teens and the need to write about natural acne treatments.

Try these 16 reasonable and natural ways to save your skin and self-esteem from acne.


Sebaceous glands reside in the dermis, the mid-level of your skin, and produce a fatty waxy oil called sebum. There are on average 5,000,000 of these glands covering your whole body, except for the palms of your hands and bottoms of your feet. One gland exists for each hair follicle if you wish to see it that way. The sebum produced by the sebaceous gland inside the mid level of the skin travels up the follicle and out of your pores to lubricate and waterproof your hair and skin. Also, dead skin cells exit the body by traveling up the follicle with the assistance of the sebum and make their way out of a pore. Sometimes these canals get jammed up by excessive sebum (thanks, hormones! and other inflammatory agents!) The body then seals off the area and bacteria like P. acnes begin to feed on the sebum and spew out inflammatory by-products. Voila! That’s when a pimple grows. Bacteria can spill over to nearby areas and acne spreads.


The essence of acne is inflammation rearing its ugly head. To manage acne we need to look at common causes of inflammation.

Dairy: Non-organic milk and dairy products contain growth hormones like IGF-1 and inflammatory substances that clog your pores and cause acne. Milk and dairy cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to even more acne. Dairy also causes excess sebum which inhibits dead skin cells from exiting the pores causing further clogging. Cow milk is good for cows and good for acne.

HACK IT: Expand your culinary limits! Try nutritional yeast sprinkled onto foods instead of Parmesan. With its rich nutty cheesy savory flavor it is a dairy substitute that could easily be in the starting lineup. Explore and experiment with it. Also, try tofu with your crackers next time, or smoked tofu like a provolone on sandwiches. If you cannot give up dairy and cheese look to goat milk based products- much easier on the digestive system.

Sugar: Beware or be damned. Sugar contributes to and causes acne in two ways. Sugar in the soda we drink (who are we kidding, sugar is in everything) creates a spike in your GH-1 production and bioavailability. In short, sugar causes excess sebum and skin cells to multiply setting off a chain reaction to acne. At the same time, sugar was observed in studies to increase C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, which is regarded as one of the best measures of inflammation. Finally, sugar causes Candida to grow beyond the normal range. On the face excessive Candida growth causes inflammation, and excessive Candida growth can cause havoc in the gut which indirectly contributes to acne.

HACK IT: Opt for honey, coconut-based sweetener, or stevia-based sweeteners. If you touch the Splenda, or high fructose corn syrup, I’ll have to remove you from our Newsletter and Facebook Page.

Wheat and gluten: You probably already know that gluten is a protein found in wheat, that if you are gluten intolerant the body does not recognize gluten as food, and this causes the body to treat gluten as a foreign body like a bad bacteria or virus. Basically, your immune system fires up causing inflammation which indirectly affects acne.

HACK IT: Quinoa is a great alternative grain. Look for an ALDI grocery store for a growing selection of affordable gluten-free products.

Omega-6 fatty acids: Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are needed for many functions related to growth and repair in the body. Our bodies can’t produce them, we must get them from food (or supplements). Omega-6s mostly come from plant oils like corn oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil and the standard American diet (SAD) provides plenty of omega-6s. So when the ratio of these becomes unbalanced and heavy on the omega-6 side, which is easy for Americans, then we get inflammatory immune system responses, thus causing acne to flare up.

HACK IT: As this is about ratio and not about whole values you can look at increasing your omega-3 intake. We recommend a potent liquid fish oil, or potent soft gels if you prefer not drink your omega-3s. It’s that simple.

Alcohol: It is part of our work hard culture and here is how it affects our acne. Alcohol causes a spike in insulin, if you are drinking it with a sweet mixer then you can account for a greater spike. Alcohol also affects our hormones and can reduce our quality of sleep. If we are drinking to take the edge off, then we are also probably dealing with some stress which further aggravates acne. Finally, alcohol can lead to dehydration which inhibits our ability to flush toxins from our body.

HACK IT: Drink in moderation. Stick to red wine or clean spirits, if needed.

Stress: Picture someone feeling tired, anxious and stressed out. How is their complexion? Science tells us that stress doesn’t necessarily create acne, but it does make an existing case worse. Stress throws us into an inflammatory response that causes walls of pores to break therefore enabling the spread of acne-causing bacteria. Stress throws the adrenal gland into overdrive. Androgens (male hormones) increase. Higher levels of androgens lead to more acne, and this is especially true for women because they produce a larger percentage of their androgens in the adrenal gland.

HACK IT: It starts with an appreciative and positive mindset. Surround yourself with other positive and appreciative people. Take time to yourself so that you are in prime health and wellness. Finally, breathe, be in the moment, let feelings wash over you and let them go.

Exercise: This may sound contrarian but exercise can be quite good for your skin. Exercise increases circulation and promotes sweat which helps the body rids itself of toxins and pushes impurities out of pores. We can also mediate our stress levels in a healthy manner through exercise. Exercise also helps us produce endorphins which create a sense of happiness, calm, and well-being. This may have an anti-inflammatory effect which is really what we should all be after.

HACK IT: Leave the lycra at home in favor of natural materials to prevent body acne. Leave the makeup off to permit your body to sweat cleanly. Gently wash your face with cool water after exercise.

Hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with gentle soap. Avoid touching your face, or anyone else’s for that matter. Wash your face twice a day. Washing it more will dry out your skin and promote sebum production. You can use water based face moisturizer. Tea tree oil and aloe are good products for the face. Tea tree oil has antiseptic qualities, and aloe has a soothing moisturizing effect. Avoid toners with alcohol. Wash right after exercising to prevent heat and moisture buildup, which become bacterial breeding grounds. And wash your pillow, and pillow cases frequently.


If you have had acne then you have probably tried one or all of the following; medicating it, meditating it out, hoping it goes away, praying it goes away, harsh soaps, gentle soaps, alcohol, oils, clays, masks, changing your diet, and maybe some voodoo. What really works?

Here are some natural approaches to attenuate acne and cultivate a healthy glowing radiant skin.

Exfoliation: Do it the right way and with the right frequency. Exfoliation helps the body with the natural process of desquamation, showing our older skin cells to the door. As we age our body does this less efficiently. Exfoliation can give your skin a youthful glow, but if done too stringently it can leave you red blotchy and more susceptible to infection. Ever think about using natural baking soda? Use about a tablespoon and gently rub in circles. You can make a paste with sea salt lavender essential oil, or another of your favorite essential oils. Finely ground oatmeal is ideal for sensitive skin. You can buy or make your own Kefir for use as a face wash. Kefir is loaded with good bacteria and pH balancing properties. Honey can be used alone or with any of the other treatments mentioned. Honey is antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It reduces inflammation and hydrates. Gentle is key, we aren’t sanding a reclaimed wooden desk.

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: Tried and true apple cider vinegar is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent.
Dabbing blemishes with a cotton swab twice a day will keep bacteria in check and soothe skin. Also, taking 1 tablespoon with purified water can work internally to alkalize and detox the body. This will help to ease inflammatory processes.

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca Oil): This oil is a traditional topical antiseptic, antifungal remedy, and it is an extremely effective acne treatment. This remedy is particularly good for those with oily skin. You can add it to your favorite moisturizer, too.

Colloidal Silver: A suspension of submicroscopic metallic silver particles in a colloidal base. Colloidal silver can be used topically for its antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. We recommend talking with a healthcare professional before ingesting colloidal silver because it can have adverse events.

Bentonite Clay: This is a favorite holistic acne/skin treatment of many natural moms and health/beauty practitioners. Perhaps a gift of Pele the Hawaiian Fire Goddess and Goddess of volcanoes and lightning. Bentonite clay is derived from volcanic ash and produces an electrical charge when hydrated. It is a healing clay used across many ancient cultures. Bentonite Clay pulls excess hydrogen from the skin and allows oxygen to take its place. The clay absorbs toxins and releases healthy minerals for the body to use. Bentonite can be used topically and internally. Baths, masks, washes, and powders are all possible with Bentonite Clay.

Omega-3s: Studies have shown that using fish oil supplements for the intake of omega-3s heal acne faster. The positive effects of omega-3s are difficult to overstate. This is one of the supplements we recommend for everyone along with, Vitamin D3, and a quality probiotic.

Zinc: Zinc plays an important role in cell division and regrowth. Few foods are rich and zinc, therefore, many of us are zinc deficient. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory effects which can also help with acne. Take a zinc taste test to learn if you are deficient.

Probiotic: The contrarian approach to the typical dermatologist that prescribes an antibiotic. By maintaining a healthy gut with good bacteria you will better absorb nutrients from food and reduce immune system inflammatory responses. This is a force multiplier for great health and wellness.