The Emerson Extra

Close Encounters of a Therapeutic Kind – Pain Neuroscience Introduction

By Dr. Julie Beck,  DC, MS, CSCS

Dogma is a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself.  -wikipedia

The central dogma of orthodox biology was the belief that DNA controlled life, period.

The anti-climax of the Human Genome Project, the costly effort to sequence our genetic code, taught us that there is more to the story of our individual uniqueness than can be found in our 25,000 protein coding genes.  This awakening gave birth to the field of epigenetics (i.e., how environmental, nutritional, lifestyle, stress, sleep and other variables effect how are genes are expressed), leaving the DNA-emperor looking a tad chilly.

Pain similarly has its central dogma(s), and although they may not be as explicitly expressed as its biological-DNA counterpart, they are implicitly entrenched in the education, language, management, perceptions and societal understandings of pain.  Here are several pain dogma’s:

  1. Pain has patho-anatomical origins and patho-anatomical perpetuators [meaning that the origin of pain is in tissue(s), and the primary perpetuator of pain is “damaged” tissue(s).)
  2. Pain generators can be elucidated via imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI) by identifying imperfections in tissue(s) (i.e., bone, joint, muscle, tendon, etc.) This behavior is strongly entrenched even though there are many evidence-based clinical guidelines that would strongly suggest that MRI and x-rays should not be the first line approach in the assessment of musculoskeletal pain.
  3. Pain should be treated by surgical means and if surgery is unsuccessful should be managed with pharmaceuticals (primarily opioids, anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants.)
  4. And potentially the most damaging of all – if no peripheral pain generator (i.e. damaged tissue, inflammatory mediator) can be found, the pain (and patient that has it) is dismissed as a malingerer (fabricating for secondary gain), or the pain is summarily dismissed as “less real” or somehow imagined (“all in your head”). Which is medical scape-goating at its unsavory worst.


The scientific research clearly indicates a disconnect in the medical world – a disconnect between commonly-held beliefs about pain and the treatment of pain, and the evidence that refutes them.1,2,3

A large component of managing chronic pain is clarifying our patients understanding of what pain is and what it isn’t; and by doing so positively influence the direction of their pain trajectory.4,5

I’ll close for now with neurosciences current definition of pain (Moseley, 2003):

Pain is a multiple system output activated by the brain based on perceived threat.

In Emerson’s 4th Quarter Element magazine, I will cover how to reframe your discussions about pain with your patients or clients and in doing so positively facilitate the modulation of their pain perceptions.

1.Thorlund, et, al. Arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knee: systematic review and meta-analysis of benefits and harms. BMJ. 2015 Jun 16;350:h2747. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h2747.

2. Deyo RA and Weinstein JN. Low back pain. N Engl J Med 2001 344:363-370.

3. Nachemson AL. Newest knowledge of low back pain. A critical look. Clin Orthop Relat Res 1992 Jun;(279):8-20.

4.Butler, Moseley. Explain Pain. 2003.

5. Louw, Puentedura. Therapeutic Neuroscience Education – Teaching Patients about Pain. 2013

Special Feature – “Veterans, military lead the way in future of pain management”

Today, we honor all of those who have served our nation. Each of us in our own way, will reach for the words and gestures to thank our veterans for their commitment and service. In their honor, we are sharing an article by Paula Wolfson, that highlights how the military is advancing pain management care. We will continue our discussion on Pain Management, but today we start with this unique perspective “Veterans, military lead the way in the future of pain management” .

Full Article at

By Paula Wolfson – 

Working Together to Transform Healthcare Through Education


This week, the Emerson Ecologics team was at the 2015 Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM) Conference learning from experts and supporting our friends at the fellowship program. Wednesda night, AIHM fellowship director (and keynote speaker at IGNITE), Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. gave an inspiring session to a packed room of over 800 integrative health practitioners. After the session, the conversation continued about the many things being done to move integrative medicine forward — including a continued focus on education.

Being just weeks away from Emerson’s own IGNITE Conference, it confirmed for me how transformative education can be. Clinical knowledge is essential for practicing medicine, but understanding the business application of that knowledge is POWERFUL.

At Emerson Ecologics, we want to support practitioners in all aspects and are so excited to support your practice success through business education. We look forward to meeting you at IGNITE, and continuing to support you as you make integrative medicine foundational medicine.

In health,

Lindsey Smart
Emerson Ecologics

lindsey smart

A Journey With Vitamin Angels – Part 1

Emerson Ecologics & Vitamin Angels 1Our Emerson Ecologics’ team members live and breathe our mission to enable patient health and wellness.  Each day they show an intense commitment to our products and services, our integrative health practitioners, and most of all to our communities.   This week we profile Dr.  Jaclyn Chasse, ND Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs, and her journey to Ethiopia with Vitamin Angels, as she helps bring lifesaving vitamins to women and children in need.  Follow her journey here and via #BeanEEAngel.

By Jaclyn Chasse, ND, Vice President of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs

This has been an incredible trip so far.  There are so many stories about how multivitamins have helped children and each makes me realize just how much malnutrition exists.  The food sources are so non-nutritive that for most children, their body senses famine and their appetite goes away.  These young children refuse food and nursing, but the mothers report, that once the children start the multivitamin, they finally have an appetiteand begin to eat.

We saw children who were both on multivitamins and those who were not – there was a visible difference. Those without the supplemented nutrition were sallow and had no energy, while those on the multivitamins were typical, playful kids. Incredible!

The Vitamin Angels nonprofit partner in Africa operates five clinics on an annual budget of $650,000 to cover staff, supplies, and transportation of clients to and from the clinic from surrounding towns.  They serve over 100,000 people per year providing medical care, nutrition support (food), shoes, education, and training on how to breed and fatten sheep for income. An amazing use of resources!  Proud to know that our support is going a long way here in Ethiopia!

The DARK Act

By Tina Beaudoin, ND

The “Denying Americans the Right-to-Know” (DARK) Act is the moniker given to House of Representative Bill 1599, sponsored by Republican Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas. The bill passed the House of Representatives on July 23, 2015 by a vote of 275 to 150. Here are the key points of H.R. 1599:

  • Nullifies all current GMO-labeling laws
  • Prevents states from creating safety policies around production of GMO crops (not just labeling) to protect public health and the environment
  • Authorizes the USDA to develop non-GMO certifications, which don’t require testing or segregation of crops
  • Allows foods labeled as “natural” to contain genetically engineered ingredients and prevents states from regulating potentially misinformative “natural” claims

In 2014, Vermont was the first state to successfully pass a standalone bill (Act 120) that requires mandatory GMO-labeling; the bill is set to go into effect on July 1, 2016.  Shortly thereafter, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) filed a lawsuit against the State of Vermont alleging that the law violates the First Amendment, along with other issues. In April 2015, the first round of litigation came to an end when the District Court for the District of Vermont issued an opinion in favor of upholding Act 120.  However, additional appeals are expected, as those who oppose GMO-labeling legislation have very deep pockets.

The DARK Act would nullify the Vermont law along with the GMO-labeling laws passed by Connecticut and Maine.  The Connecticut and Maine laws both have some strings attached that require four neighboring states to pass similar legislation before their laws take effect. There are also numerous bills throughout the country pursuing similar legislation.  The DARK Act still needs to pass through the US Senate and be signed by the President before becoming law.

Whereas most of the developed world has taken a definitive stance on GMO-labeling, the debate continues in the US. The European Union, Russia and China are just a few of the 64 nations that require mandatory labeling of GMOs. If you want to take action, be sure to stay abreast of the DARK Act and contact your U.S. Senator or Representative to weigh in.


By Lisa Murray, RDN, LD

Every patient we see is like an interesting puzzle just waiting for us to help put all the pieces together. Some patients, just like puzzles, are more complex than others. How often do you find yourself with questions like, “How much beta carotene is safe for my patient with cirrhosis?” or “Are there are any interactions between Hawthorn and this new cardiac drug?”

One of the challenges we face as healthcare practitioners is that our field is exploding with NEW information and products every day. Our patients hear or read about the latest in natural health and supplement trends and come to us with their questions: Is it safe? Is it effective? Will it work for me? Sometimes we have to admit…..we just aren’t sure of the answer!

Emerson has a quick solution to this problem…..the Practitioner Resource Center (PRC). Before clicking on your favorite web search engine and entering a fascinating world of potential misinformation, visit our home page for access to a vast evidence-based suite of clinical tools, including Aisle 7. For over 15 years, Aisle 7 has specialized in offering professionals and patients healthcare information they can trust. Aisle 7’s team of researchers and health experts examine and validate the latest medical literature and provide objective and credible scientifically based recommendations.

One click into the PRC brings you to a variety of options: To access the Aisle 7 databases, choose “Clinical Support” and then “Clinical Essentials.” Here you’ll find up-to-date research and information, including:

  • Dietary & lifestyle recommendations for specific health conditions
  • Active compounds, suggested dosage & potential interactions for botanical supplements
  • Suggested dosage & potential interactions for vitamins and other nutritional supplements
  • Drug depletions and interactions

Aside from Aisle 7, our “Clinical Support” section also offers access to:

  • HerbMedProTM—providing comprehensive access to research articles and data supporting the medicinal usage     of most herbs
  • PubMed—featuring more than 24 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE
  • Research reviews and articles from leaders and experts in the field, including Alan Gaby, MD; Paul Anderson, ND; and Tori Hudson, ND.

The PRC also offers an array of practice tools, from pediatric dosing guidelines and enzyme activity charts to a variety of  patient education handouts from Aisle 7. In the “Practice Management” section, we offer a collection of product-specific literature and research articles, over 95 supplier presentations and an archive of Emerson’s newsletters and publications.

Last but certainly not least, our very popular “Ask Dr. Emerson” service provides personalized answers to your questions from Emerson’s own team of Medical Educators.

We offer advice online or through free phone consultations, and many FAQs are housed in an online database for easy searching. Our interdisciplinary team can help with product and brand comparisons, consultations on complex cases, product recommendations, quality questions and more.

Whether you need quick herb-drug interaction information or the latest in lipid management protocols, Emerson’s PRC is available 24/7 to help you put all the pieces together!

Visit the PRC at or call our Customer support team at 1-800-654-4432 to schedule your free peer-to-peer consultation with our Medical Education Team.

The Business of Better Medicine

Just yesterday, I was telling you IGNITE Conference 2015: The Business of Better Medicine was coming soon. Now that we are less than two months away, my excitement continues to grow.

It’s no secret that business education doesn’t get enough attention in medical school. We joined this field because we have a passion to treat patients, but now I encourage you to embrace being a small business owner.

Through achieving business success, you can reach more patients than ever. This is why we are bringing experts together, who understand the business of integrative medicine. By setting aside one weekend (in a beautiful location like the Omni La Costa), you will receive cutting-edge information on how to run an integrative practice and start getting the work done on-site.

We will have inspiring keynote presentations from Jeffrey S. Bland, PhD and  Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., with the heart of the conference centering around the hands-on workshops, created to solve specific business pain points and provide actionable takeaways. Whether you want to find new patients, streamline office operations or improve your work/life balance, you can review the full program here to choose the sessions that will help you accomplish your goals.

The conference seats are limited and filling up fast and with the announcement that NDs are able to receive 11.5 CE credits, I know they will fill up even faster! I hope you will registerbook your room today, and join me in November for an event experience unlike any other!

Best in health,

Jaclyn Chasse, ND

Jaclyn Chasse, ND

VP of Scientific & Regulatory Affairs

Emerson Ecologics

Into the Mouths of Babes

In an ideal world, your child would get all the vitamins and nutrients he needs from a wholesome, varied diet, loaded with a spectrum of vegetables, protein, unprocessed grains, fish, nuts, and legumes. Unfortunately, most kids don’t have such an accepting palette, and many kids prefer their familiar, albeit limited standbys.


Choosing the Right Supplements for Your Kids

Vitamins For My Child

Due to the nutritional limitations of picky eating, many children miss out on an array of nutrients essential to their changing needs. In these cases, supplementing makes sense. Here’s our roundup of the most important supplements for your growing child.

  1. Probiotics
    Probiotic supplements have taken off in the last decade. In the gut, probiotics are the “good” bacteria that may help improve digestion, immune defense, and even metabolism. Children are especially responsive to probiotics. Some research shows that giving kids probiotics may reduce respiratory and gastrointestinal infections—and if diarrhea strikes, probiotics may clear it up a day or two faster. Typical dosages vary based on the product, but common dosages range from 5 to 10 billion colony-forming units per day for children.
  2. Multivitamin
    A multivitamin covers a large nutritional spectrum to fill in the gaps of any picky eater. According to the USDA, fewer than half of children consume the recommended number of servings in any given food pyramid group. And while most children would benefit from a multivitamin, the kids who need supplements the most tend to be underweight (meaning their body mass index is in the lowest 5% for their age and sex.) A good multivitamin will include at least 600 IU of vitamin D, which promotes bone and tooth formation and helps the body absorb calcium.Still on the fence on whether your child needs to pop a multi? A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that children 8 to 14 who used daily multivitamin and mineral supplements for 4 to 12 weeks showed improved accuracy in attention-based tasks, along with improved cognition and mood. Another study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that out of the 2,423 children who participated, those who supplemented with multivitamins at or before four years of age reduced their risk of food and seasonal allergies by 39%.
  3. Omega-3s
    Essential fatty acids from fish keep your child’s brain running like a well-oiled machine by providing the good omega-3 fats that support cognitive function. Most recently, a 2013 study out of Oxford University examined possible links between low omega-3s in children and poor learning and behavior. The study’s co-author, Paul Montomery, Ph.D, reported, “we found that levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood significantly predicted a child’s behavior and ability to learn.” Kids with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may have lower levels of omega-3s in their bodies than normal, and preliminary research suggests that the supplements might improve behavior, reduce hyperactivity, and boost attention in kids under 12. The recommended daily dose of omega-3 depends on the age and medical condition of the child. For children over four, the recommended dose is at least 600 mg per day. For best results, consult with the child’s doctor or other healthcare provider.

British Journal of Nutrition, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, WebMD,

A Guy’s Guide to Men’s Health

Learn about natural options for the most common male sexual health concerns, including what to look out for and your best bets for all-natural treatments.

Erectile dysfunctionGuy’s Guide to Sexual Health: Main Image

Erectile dysfunction (ED), or impotence, is the inability to obtain or maintain an erection for sexual activity.

Depression, anxiety, and stress can all play a role in ED, but for most men, ED is from physical causes, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, spinal cord injuries, neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, kidney disease, and overweight or obesity. Alcohol, some drugs, and treatment for prostate or bladder problems may also lead to ED.

Be sure to speak with your doctor about ED. Your doctor may discover an underlying condition that needs to be treated. In many cases, treatment can return you to normal sexual activity.

Lifestyle recommendations for ED

  • Lose some weight. Excess weight means less testosterone is available for getting and keeping an erection. Penile blood flow is also impeded in overweight men. ED can often be corrected by shedding some extra pounds.
  • Quit smoking. Blood vessels, including those that supply the penis, are especially susceptible to damage from cigarette smoke. Quitting smoking may completely restore normal sexual function in men with ED.
  • Drink less. Even though having a drink might help you relax, alcohol can interfere with maintaining an erection that allows sex. Alcohol abuse can decrease testosterone production and damage the nerves involved with getting an erection.
  • Move more. As little as 30 minutes of walking three times per week can reduce the risk of ED by improving blood flow throughout the body.

Top-rated supplements for ED

  • Asian ginseng. This traditional herb may be used to improve libido and the ability to maintain an erection. Suggested dose: 900 mg of concentrated extract 2 to 3 times per day.
  • Yohimbe. Yohimbe and a derivative drug, yohimbine, appear to improve blood flow to the penis and help with ED related to any cause. Suggested dose: A tincture of yohimbe bark is often used in the amount of 5 to 10 drops three times per day. It is best to use yohimbe and yohimbine under a doctor’s supervision.
  • Arginine. This amino acid may help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow especially in men whose ED is related to abnormal nitric oxide metabolism in the body. Suggested dose: 1,670 to 2,800 mg per day.

“Arginine has earned the nickname, herbal Viagra, as it has the ability to “pump up” the vascular system, including blood vessels in the penis,” says Dr. James Mullane of Natural Family Medicine in Danbury, CT. It is not an “on-demand” treatment like true Viagra, but rather takes ongoing use for effects to be seen. According to Mullane, time-release arginine seems to have the dual effect of lowering blood pressure and improving ED symptoms.


A couple is considered infertile if they’ve had unprotected sex for more than one year without achieving pregnancy. Male and female causes are equally likely to contribute to infertility.

Sperm factors—including abnormal sperm movement (motility), quality, and quantity—account for most cases of male infertility. Environmental toxins, drug or alcohol abuse, chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer, cigarette smoking, and overheating of the testicles can all affect male fertility.

Struggling with infertility?

Before trying different options to treat infertility, it’s important to visit your doctor to get to the root of the issue.

Lifestyle recommendations for male infertility

  • Keep cool. Wearing tight-fitting underwear or soaking in a hot tub for extended periods can decrease sperm function.
  • Get clean. Limit alcohol consumption and avoid recreational drugs, smoking, and environmental toxins when you’re trying to get pregnant. If your house has lead paint, you might want to consider having a lead abatement company do work for you so that you, your partner, and your future baby stay lead-free.

Top-rated products for male infertility

  • Zinc. Taking a zinc supplement may improve sperm count, motility, and quality in infertile men. Suggested dose: 30 mg of zinc two times per day, plus 2 mg of copper per day to prevent zinc-induced copper deficiency.
  • Ginseng. Preliminary studies suggest that Asian ginseng may improve sperm count and motility. American ginseng may help protect against the toxic effects of some chemotherapy drugs on sperm quality. Suggested dose: 900 mg of concentrated extract 2 to 3 times per day.



Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a non-malignant enlargement of the prostate.

When the prostate enlarges, it puts pressure on the surrounding structures, causing symptoms like frequent urination (especially at night), dribbling stream, and inability to completely empty the bladder. Urinary obstruction may lead to bladder and kidney infections.

About one half of all 50-year-old men have BPH, and the number rises with the passing years.

Think you have BPH?

Other conditions may cause similar symptoms to BPH. See your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Lifestyle recommendations for BPH

  • Take up exercise. Studies have shown that men who are physically active are less likely to develop BPH. Just two-to-three hours of walking each week may lower BPH risk by 25%.

Top rated products for BPH

  • Beta-sitosterol: Taking this plant-derived compound may improve urinary flow and other symptoms in men with BPH. Suggested dose: 60-130 mg per day.
  • Nettles: Men with early-stage BPH may increase their urinary volume and flow rate by taking nettles. Suggested dose: 120 mg of root extract (capsules or tablets) twice per day
  • Saw palmetto: This herb may limit the amount of testosterone that can bind in the prostate, thereby lessening BPH symptoms. Saw palmetto seems to be especially helpful for reducing nighttime urination and improving urinary flow rates. In some studies, but not all, saw palmetto was as effective in relieving BPH symptoms as the prescription drug, finasteride, without the negative side effects. Suggested dose: 160 mg of saw palmetto extract standardized to contain 80 to 95% fatty acids, twice daily.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, but most men who are diagnosed with it will not die from the disease.

Prostate cancer risk increases with advancing age and is greater in African American men, obese men, and those with a strong family history of the disease.

Early-stage prostate cancer is rarely accompanied by noticeable symptoms. In later stages of the disease, symptoms can be similar to those of BPH, including increased urinary frequency, dribbling, and inability to empty the bladder.

Concerned about prostate cancer?

To screen for prostate cancer, your doctor will perform a physical examination of your prostate and may order lab work.

Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is a protein produced by cells in the prostate. Higher PSA levels may be associated with the presence of prostate cancer, but they can also be caused by other factors. The PSA test has fallen out of favor in recent years due to lack of sufficient evidence to support its widespread use.

Lifestyle recommendations for prostate cancer

  • Be trim. Help lower your risk of developing prostate cancer by maintaining an ideal weight.
  • Go red. Tomatoes are high in the antioxidant nutrient, lycopene, which may reduce prostate cancer risk. Cooking tomatoes with some oil increases lycopene’s absorption.
  • Get crunchy. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts may help prevent prostate cancer.
  • Be sunny. Men with low vitamin D levels may be at higher risk of developing prostate cancer. Expose your face, arms, hands, and legs to the sun for about 15 minutes several times each week to help ensure adequate vitamin D levels.
  • Go green. Drinking green tea may help prevent prostate cancer, especially in those at risk for the disease.


by Kimberly Beauchamp, ND,

Bolstering Skin’s Defenses with Green Tea


Bolstering Skin’s Defenses with Green Tea: Main ImageGreen tea nutrients can make their way into our skin, and may protect against sun damage. For the fairest among us, sunburns are more than a painful nuisance; they cause skin damage, promoting premature aging and increasing skin cancer risk. The most common steps to reduce those risks include regular use of sunscreen and staying in the shade when the sun is strongest. Now we may be able to add tea time—specifically green tea time—to our sun-care routine.

Quell the flames with green tea

Researchers invited 16 people into a study examining whether green tea nutrients—called catechins—are absorbed by the body and into the skin, and if these nutrients protect against sun damage. The study participants had type I or II skin on the Fitzpatrick phototyping scale. A person with type I skin is characterized as burning easily and never tanning, while type II skin burns easily and tans minimally, with difficulty.

Fourteen participants completed the study, during which they took a daily supplement providing 540 mg of green tea catechins and 50 mg of vitamin C for 12 weeks. A portion of each person’s skin was exposed to UV radiation sufficient to cause a sunburn at the beginning of the study, before supplementation, and again, after 12 weeks. Tissue samples of both UV-exposed skin and unexposed skin were collected.

Compared with the skin samples collected before supplementation, the samples collected after had measurable levels of green tea catechins, and showed significantly lower levels of inflammation after UV radiation exposure.


A couple of cups per day

This study suggests that green tea nutrients can make their way into our skin, and may protect against sun damage. The study was small, it did not assess sunburn directly, and it only tells us that inflammation, which is one marker of damage, can be lessened by green tea catechins. Still, these findings agree with other research on the sun protective effects of green tea, and there are few downsides to and other potential health benefits from drinking green tea.

According to John Weisburger, PhD, a tea researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, New York, green tea has up to ten times the polyphenols—the family of nutrients to which catechins belong—compared with many vegetables and fruit. Our tips will have you brewing in no time:

  • Count to three. A cup of green tea has around 200 mg of catechins. Three cups daily will supply about the same amount of catechins as the study supplement.
  • Go low. If green tea tastes bitter to you, try brewing it at a temperature slightly less than boiling.
  • Time it. Steep your tea for between two and four minutes. Longer times make for a stronger, sometimes more bitter brew.
  • Squeeze it. After brewing, dip your teabag up and down in the cup, then squeeze the liquid out of the bag as you remove it, to maximize catechins in your cup.
  • Add citrus, avoid milk. Sip green tea with a squeeze of lemon to help your body best use the healthy nutrients, and don’t add milk to your tea, because it may decrease the benefit by blocking catechin absorption.

by Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD


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