The Emerson Extra

Natural Personal Care: The Importance of Going Clean!

By Tina Beaudoin, ND

While many of us avoid pesticides in our produce, scrutinize food labels and drink out of glass or steel containers, how would you rate what sits on the shelves in your bathroom and in your shower? There are over 10,000 unique chemical ingredients that go into personal care products! The government does not require health studies, pre-market safety testing or FDA approval before these products end up in our shopping carts.

While many of our patients don’t readily think of personal care products as a source of toxin exposure, we know that the skin readily absorbs whatever we rub, rinse, lather or spritz onto it in our daily routines. For this reason, below are a few highlights to keep in mind or turn into a quick reference for your patients when discussing personal care products:

Parabens: endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity, intact parabens can accumulate in human breast tissue at levels sufficient to increase the growth of breast cancer cells1

Forms: ethyl, methyl, butyl or propyl parabens

Frequently found in: cosmetics, moisturizers, hair care       products, shaving products

Phthalates: endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity, decreased male fertility2, elevated levels found in autism spectrum disorder3, endometriosis4, pro-atherogenic and pro-senescence effects via severe lipoprotein modification5

Forms or common names: diethyl (DEP), diisobutyl, and bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalates, MEHP, DEHP, note that ‘fragrance’ on an ingredient label likely contains phthalates

Frequently found in: personal care products as softeners and flexible plastics (recent study found phthalates can be absorbed from plastic milk containers with phthalates bound to milk proteins6 ), perfume, nail polish, adhesives, caulk, paint pigments and flooring

Bisphenol-A: endocrine disruptor with estrogenic activity that has been linked to higher risk of developing diabetes, infertility, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers (breast, prostate and testicular), found to neutralize the effects of tamoxifen and stimulate prostate cancer cell migration7, and influence resistance to cell death8

Forms or common names:  BPA

Frequently found in: nearly all beverage and food cans as epoxy lining, plastics with #7 recycling code, water bottles, composite fillings, various medical and dental devices, water supply pipes

The take home message is that while parabens, phthalates and BPA’s are ubiquitous in our environment and pose significant health hazards, it is possible to reduce your exposure by reading labels, minimizing plastics and staying informed. You can purchase products with natural ingredients, and a couple of great resources are Dr. Walter Crinnion’s book Clean, Lean and Green and the Environmental Working Group’s online database ( Be sure to stayed tuned for ‘Part 2’ as there is definitely more to come!

Tina Beaudoin
Tina Beaudoin, ND


Charles, AK, Darbre, PD. Combinations of parabens at concentrations measured in human breast tissue can increase proliferation of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. J Appl Toxicol. 2013; 33(5): 390-8.

 Dodge LE, Williams PL, Williams, Missmer SA, Souter I, Calafat AM, Hauser R.  Associations between paternal urinary phthalate metabolite concentrations and reproductive outcomes among couples seeking fertility treatment.  Reprod Toxicol. 2015; Oct 6. [Epub ahead of print].

 Kardas F, Bayram AK, Demirci E, Akin L, et al. Increased Serum Phthalates (MEHP, DEHP) and Bisphenol A Concentrations in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: The Role of Endocrine Disruptors in Autism Etiopathogenesis. J Child Neurol. 2015; Oct 8. [Epub ahead of print].

 Kim SH, Cho S, Ihm HJ, et al.  Possible role of phthalate in the pathogenesis of endometriosis: in vitro, animal, and human data.  BMJ Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015; Oct 6. [Epub ahead of print].

Kim SM, Yoo JA, Baek JM, Cho KH.  Diethyl phthalate exposure is associated with embryonic toxicity, fatty liver changes, and hypolipidemia via impairment of lipoprotein functions.  Toxicol In Vitro. 2015; Sep 28.   [Epub ahead of print].

Lin J, Chen W, Zhu H, Wang C. Determination of free and total phthalates in commercial whole milk products in different packaging materials by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Dairy Sci. 2015; Oct 7.  [Epub ahead of print]

 Dairkee SH, Seok J, Champion S, Sayeed A, Mindrinos M, Xiao W, Davis RW, Goodson WH.  Bisphenol A induces a profile of tumor aggressiveness in high-risk cells from breast cancer patients.Cancer Res. 2008; 68: 2076–2080.

 Narayanan KB, Ali M, Barclay BJ, et al.  Disruptive environmental chemicals and cellular mechanisms that confer resistance to cell death. Carcinogenesis. 2015; 36: S89-110.


By Julie Beck, DC, MS, CSCS

In my first article in this two-part series on pain,  I outlined conventional medicine’s central dogma’s about pain—how pain is perceived, categorized, identified and treated.

 A summary of these conventional dogmas included:

  1. Pain has patho-anatomical origins. Or more simply put, pain is an “issue with your tissues” and the degree of pain is correlated with the degree of tissue irregularity or “damage”.
  2. Since pain is generated by damaged tissues, imaging (x-ray, CT, MRI) can identify the pain generating tissue(s).
  3. If the pain generators can be identified with imaging surgical measures are utilized to excise damaged tissue and pharmaceuticals can be used to manage or interrupt the experience of pain until (hopefully) appropriate healing occurs.
  4. If damaged tissues cannot be identified (as Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or if post-surgically pain is unchanged —continued use of opioids, anti-depressants and anti-inflammatories are utilized and additional or repeated surgical options may be explored.

(Note: It is important to remember that the above scenario is primarily referring to non-acute, non-traumatic pain events.)

So where did this approach come from?

Enter the Cartesian Model of Pain (Rene Descartes 1596-1650). This model is likely to blame for many of our current misconceptions about pain, and  is still a driving force in how medicine is delivered today.1

If you’ve investigated neurology, you’ve likely seen the classic picture Descartes drew to describe what he believed to be the events that occurred for the experience of pain to be felt.

Briefly, the picture depicts a man with his foot perilously close to a fire; Descartes proposed that this event triggered a message (some type of “spirit”) that traveled up a hollow tube within the body to the brain and rang a bell that produced pain.

Not bad for his time, but we definitely should be able to do better than this now. Let’s start unpacking this by remembering one of neurosciences most progressive definitions of pain:

 “Pain is a multiple system output activated by the brain based on perceived threat.2

Ankle sprains are a common injury. And I don’t think anyone would argue that they are painful, but what if you sprained your ankle while crossing a street and out of the corner of your eye see a car heading straight for you.

 In that moment, does your ankle hurt?  Likely not.

When you get to the safety of the sidewalk does your ankle hurt?  Likely so.

What just happened? 

The only message the ankle can send the brain is a “danger message”. The car heading toward you in the above example  is unarguably much more dangerous to your survival than your ankle sprain. Once safely on the sidewalk, the brain is now cleared to receive the messages from various ankle nociceptors (A-delta and C-fibers), activated by inflammatory chemicals and mechanical tissue inputs, passed to the spinal cord and ultimately the brain. OUCH.

Two important concepts here:

1) Pain is a construct of the brain or a brain output, and

2) Nociceptors are not pain fibers—the human body arguably does not have pain fibers. A-delta and C-fibers are listed in neurology texts as “pain” or “pain-conducting” fibers, but if this were true, you would have felt the unmodulated pain of your ankle in the middle of the street.

Note: Some have argued that a central nervous system sympathetic overdrive is at play and accounts fully for the above phenomena.  This has been refuted.2,3 

Recap thus far: Pain intensity does not strongly correlate with tissue damage, we have nociceptor not pain-fibers, and pain is a brain construct and it therefore decides when you will experience pain.

Next big concept: Since we have established that pain is produced by the brain, then altering the information that the brain receives can potentially alter “threat” perceptions and thus the experience of pain.

This is one of the reasons massage or bodywork can work so well for reducing pain, it is really reducing the brains overall assessment of threat.

There are representational body maps within the brain that are dynamically maintained and negatively influenced by neglect (decreased quantity and variety of movement) and pain. This means that increasing the amount and variety of movement can greatly reduce the brain’s threat perception. (Each case should of course be individually assessed by an appropriately trained professional for the most appropriate quantity, quality, type and duration of movement intervention).

What if your patient is afraid of movement, because some unknowing health care practitioner told them it was “bad” for them to move a certain way (ex. lumbar spine extension or flexion), or load a joint too much (stay off your feet), or that they have a really low pain-threshold?

(And pain-thresholds per se don’t exist, sensitized movements, positions or activities do exist).

This is where education fits in. Experts agree that the experience of pain is influenced by a large number of biological, psychological and social variables. The biological variables are familiar: our dietary, exercise and sleep habits, our inflammatory state, and how well our HPA-Axis is regulated (remember the hypothalamus and pituitary are brain structures) all affect our perception of pain. Rarely considered are the psychological and social variables: quantity and quality of our community social structures, belief about pain in general or associated with previous or familial experiences of pain.

Psychologically, I encourage you to examine the language you use, or more often incorrectly repeat, regarding pain especially in front of someone in pain. A few common examples: “bone-on-bone”, “fragile-spine”, and any version of “bulging or herniated-disc”. Think how these terms might inadvertently be negatively supporting someone’s pain state.

To close, remember pain is not a reliable indicator of anatomical damage. Chronic pain is a mix of multiple variables, with layers of brain-generated perceptual complexity. And patient education about what pain is, and is not, can be a top-down therapeutic intervention for your patients in pain.

juliehs5.1 (1).jpg
Julie Beck, DC, MS, CSCS



Goldberg, LS. “Revisiting the Cartesian model of Pain”. Medical Hypothesis, (2008) 70(5):1029-1033.

Moseley, GL. “A Pain Neuromatrix Approach to Patients with Chronic Pain”. Man Ther, (2003) 8(3):130-140.

Melzack, R. “Pain and the Neuromatrix in the Brain”. Journal of Dental Edu,   (2001)65:1378-1382




By Lisa Murray, RDN, LD

Traveling around the globe has exposed me to a wide variety of cultural cuisines. As a “bonafide foodie”, I can find something wonderful about each and every one. I am truly happy to live in America where we have so many advantages, and such a high quality of life in comparison to many other parts of the world. But as integrative practitioners, we know that one of our own cultural disadvantages is the Standard American Diet, which is truly “SAD” indeed. What makes it so sad, is that our cultural cuisine does not support healthy aging, and in fact, as most of us are aware, it has created a wide variety of health problems instead. It’s interesting to note that in one source for “World Ranking of Life Expectancy for 2015″1, the US ranks 53rd! Being one of the wealthiest nations in the world, how can that be?

Most of the countries ranking in that top 10, have something interesting in common…..and that something is the ocean, coastal proximity and….you guessed it…..FISH! Is this the secret to healthy longevity? Japan, Singapore, Macau (China), Hong Kong, Monaco, Guernsey, San Marino and Italy are coastal or island countries, with fish featuring prominently in their diets. We have all come to understand the importance of Omega-3’s to our health……but are we really giving it the importance it deserves?

Fish is truly one of the most powerful therapeutic and antiaging foods. I have witnessed the transformational healing power of a therapeutic diet including fish and cooked greens on a daily basis.  A diet rich in fish, vegetables and berries is powerfully anti-inflammatory, immune enhancing, lipid balancing and supports healthy aging in a wide variety of ways that we know about, and probably many more we don’t know yet.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 20072, concluded that in the elderly, a diet high in fish and fish products is associated with better cognitive performance in a dose-dependent manner. Maximum effect was observed at an average intake of ≈75 g/d (or 2.5 oz/day). And guess what? Nothing has changed! The OmegAD Study, published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Diseases3, shows a positive dose-response relationship between plasma levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and preservation of cognition. Advancements in our studies of antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols, anthocyanidins and all the other beneficial phytochemicals still doesn’t change the basic fact that fish is one of nature’s premier anti-aging foods.

Each ounce of salmon contains roughly 500 mg of Omega-3. Most of us would consume a 4oz portion yielding about 2000mg of Omega-3. Unfortunately the issue of mercury contamination cannot be ignored, and the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” published in 2011 underscores this by recommending consuming only up to 12 oz. of seafood per week. The Environmental Working Group website4  is a good source for up to date information on fish safety. Salmon, mussels, rainbow trout, mackerel and sardines top the list for being the highest in Omega-3s and lowest in mercury, so don’t be afraid to recommend consuming 4oz of wild caught Salmon, three times a week!  When that may be impractical, we can still get the Omega-3s we need every single day from supplements.  So whether or not you like fish, live in Alaska or Iowa, are Paleo or Vegan, we all have the opportunity to reap most of the benefits of Omega-3s, even if we don’t buy fresh fish and cook it at home!

Lisa E Murray, RDN, LD

Lisa Murray, RDN, LD



Geoba.SE, Top 100 Rankings, The World: Life Expectancy 2015, Web. October 6, 2015;

Nurk E, Drevon CA, Refsum H, et al. Cognitive performance among the elderly and dietary fish intake: the Hordaland Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 86: 1470–8.

Eriksdotter M, Vedin I, Falahati F “Plasma fatty acid profiles in relation to cognition and gender in Alzheimer’s Disease patients during oral Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation: The OmegAD Study”  J Alz Dis, Oct 2015; Vol.48: p805-12

“EWG’s Consumer Guide to Seafood”; The Environmental Working Group, Consumer Guides, Web. October 6, 2015;, Accessed October 6, 2015

Emerson Ecologics Celebrates VAWD Certification

As we look to a new year, it is  a time of reflection, transition, and if you are in a climate like ours, preparedness for the cold. Here at Emerson, we continue to hold our focus on two areas we know are vital to your practice: delivering the best quality products to you and your patients and expanding our service offerings that help you run a better business and focus on what you really love to do—work with patients!

One huge accomplishment of our team which I’m thrilled to share is receiving our accreditation as a “Verified Accredited Wholesale Distributor” (VAWD). This is the top accreditation for a facility that holds and distributes drugs, including controlled substances, and the application and audit process takes months to achieve. While Emerson Ecologics has only a very small offering of prescription drugs, we feel the investment to achieve VAWD status is right in line with our mission to ensure that only the best products available are offered to you (

VAWD certification is one more way we can provide you with the assurance that your products will get the “white glove treatment” from us. So, as you transition into a new year, I hope that you continue to rest assured that we’ve got your back!

Healthy regards,

Jaclyn Chasse, ND

Jaclyn Chasse, ND


No matter a practitioners credentials, specialty or practice size, it is unanimously agreed upon that there is not enough business education provided in traditional medical educational programs. This lack of attention on something that is so foundational for any small business owner makes it no surprise that having discussions around things like achieving financial success still go mostly unspoken.

In 2014, the team at Emerson Ecologics began shedding light on the topic through the launch of a series of one-day workshops and webinars, but we knew there was more work to be done to bring these important business discussions to the forefront. Recognizing this gap in the education, led the team to make the bold decision to create a different kind of integrative event — one solely focused on providing business education.

Now that we are a few weeks post-conference, the buzz of positivity and excitement only continues to build. Seeing people working together on-site to solve their challenges and hearing them say that they no longer feel alone in the struggles they face when trying to build and optimize their practice, makes daring to be different feel very much worthwhile.

The conference featured inspirational keynotes from Jeffrey Bland, PhD and Lise Alschuler, ND, who stepped in for Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. who couldn’t attend do to an injury. Additionally, there were hands-on workshops taught by experts in the field of integrative medicine and plenty of time for fun and networking, both with peers and some of Emerson’s most loved brands. While there was a lot to love about the event, the most valuable takeaway for many was the message that is necessary for all practitioners to hold their time and knowledge as precious. Setting boundaries, holding space for personal fulfilment and focusing on the areas you are passionate about, is not just okay, it is necessary for true success.

This shift in mindset is the perfect foundation for how practitioners will help integrative medicine emerge as the primary form of healthcare in our country. To be even a small part of the change that puts integrative medicine over that tipping point is exciting and will surely bring about “the dawn of a new age” that Dr. Bland spoke about in his keynote presentation even faster. We at Emerson can’t wait to continue to support this change and look forward to announcing 2016 conference details in the next few weeks! We hope you will join us.

To learn more about IGNITE, visit us at 

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.


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