Conditions

At Vitality Health & Wellness, we treat patients who present with a wide array of conditions; and our philosophy and treatment approach is effective for almost all of them. This partial list represents some of those more commonly presented with,  but doesn’t include many specific psychiatric or neurological diseases or complaints that we specialize in. If you don’t feel you fall into one of these categories, contact us anyway. If we aren’t confident that we can help you, we will tell you. Dr. Levinson is committed to moving you toward recovery whether it is here with us or elsewhere.

Attention Deficit Disorder

Inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity are the key behaviors seen in those who suffer with ADD/ADHD. Amazingly the lifetime incidence for teenagers in the United States is approximately 1 in 10 and approximately 30 percent of those have other learning disabilities. Clearly this is a drastic change in the classroom demographic that their parents experienced. The causes and treatment choices are an area of contention within the medical community and among educators and parents. The impact on the child and the child’s relationships and the behavior seen can be dramatic; and though simple solutions are sought that might be available in a capsule with a prescription; at Vitality Health & Wellness we exhaust non-pharma options before we begin prescribing medications. Our pursuit of these kinds of options is not counter-culture; we would be happy if there was a simple and safe treatment to help children lead better lives with no side effects. Unfortunately, many children experience significant and serious side effects from psychotropic medications and psychostimulants and this is part of our motivation to pursue safer interventions.

New studies are published all the time confirming the practices that we advocate. Recent evidence confirms that food sensitivities affect the behavior of children with ADHD and dietary changes result in clear clinical improvements. Additionally, toxins play a serious adverse effect on cognitive function and a study in the journal, Pediatrics, showed strong correlation between pesticide exposure from organophosphates commonly found in non-organic foods and the incidence of Attention Deficit Disorder and there continue to be studies implicating heavy metals as a cause of these symptoms as well.

At Vitality Health & Wellness, we specialize in naturopathic, dietary intervention and detoxification and our patients’ parents attest to the dramatic change in their child’s ADHD symptoms from our treatment approach. Our protocols allow us to get our patients off these medications, on the lowest possible dose or prevent the need for psychotropic medications from the beginning.

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Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians to determine how we can help you or your child.

Auto-immunity

The immune system protects from foreign agents. Whether by toxins introduced into the body or dysregulation due to chronic infections, immune cells can mistake our own tissue as an invading organism. This can become a vicious circle as our bodies ratchet up  these defenses until the healthy tissue and organs degenerate and fail.

This auto-immune response prompts conditions such as:

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Guillain Barre Syndrome
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Grave’s disease
  • Lupus
  • PANDAS – Pediatric Autoimmune Neurological Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infection

While simultaneously managing symptoms, we have found that the key to treating this type of condition is by addressing the root causes. We turn off the switch that started the immune abreaction through detoxification while calming the inflammatory reaction from the immune cascade with nutritional interventions, diet, and functional medicine.

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Endocrine Imbalance

Levels of female hormones are in a continual and dynamic state of change throughout the menstrual cycle. These changes are responsible for many of the emotional and physical symptoms women experience throughout a monthly cycle. Women with hormone-related conditions such as PMS (premenstrual syndrome), irregular menstrual cycles, and PCO (polycystic ovarian syndrome) should have hormone testing throughout an entire month as one isolated hormone test does not show the entire picture of the monthly cycle. There are many lifestyle, vitamin, herbal, and nutritional interventions that effectively reduce symptoms and correct the imbalances in female hormones.

Andropause or ‘male menopause’ – Men in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s that exhibit symptoms of decreased sex drive, low energy, mental fatigue, depression, irritability, loss of morning erections, difficulty losing weight and decreased muscle mass may have a hormonal imbalance related to either testosterone deficiency or estrogen dominance. The comprehensive hormone testing, lifestyle interventions, and herbal and nutritional support that Vitality offers can help to address these imbalances.

Adrenal fatigue – The adrenal glands are integral in helping the body manage and adapt to stress. They give us energy when we need it, help regulate blood sugar and metabolism and are responsible for our “fight or flight” response. Commons symptoms include: sugar or carbohydrate cravings, caffeine, irritability with missed meals, tiredness and difficulty getting out of bed in the morning, low energy during the day, and difficulty falling or staying asleep throughout the night. Chronic stress and poor diet depletes the adrenal gland and may contribute to adrenal fatigue and eventually exhaustion.

Thyroid Disease The thyroid is one of the most misunderstood and improperly addressed glands in the body. The key to thyroid care begins with comprehensive history which often elucidates signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism (e.g. fatigue, depression, cold intolerance, dry and brittle skin, hair, and nails, elevated cholesterol levels and constipation). Many patients have mixed presentation of hypo and hyperthyroidism (often an early sign of autoimmune thyroid disease). Modern medicine has largely relegated interpretation of thyroid health to the single value of one test, Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which has a vast “normal range”. In order to fully evaluate thyroid function, a simple TSH level will not suffice. A full hormone panel including several infrequently ordered tests and often basal body temperatures are required to assess the true health of the thyroid and even then many have normal testing and have subclinical thyroid disease and will continue to suffer without appropriate treatment.

Hormones are utilized by virtually every organ and tissue in the body. When one hormone is out of balance, it can easily affect other hormones in different parts of the body. The endocrine system maintains chemical feedback loops to keep hormone levels from getting too high or too low. Glandular tissue is easily destabilized and exquisitely sensitive to toxins. A variety of chemicals found in plastics, flame retardants, rocket fuel, plant, animal and other sources can alter this natural balance. Additionally, autoimmune disease and the resultant auto-antibodies can interfere with a gland’s under- or over-function.

At Vitality we effectively target glandular disease without:

  • Destroying overactive thyroid glands with radiation (seen in hyperthyroidism)
  • Pharmacologically treating with lifelong synthetic hormones unless no other option is possible.
  • Ignoring the symptoms (common in adrenal dysregulation)
  • Failing to address the underlying causes

Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians to determine if testing and treatment is warranted.

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Gastrointestinal Illness

The GUT accounts for approximately two thirds of your immune cells. We have found that by addressing symptoms in the gut, it often results in dramatic improvement elsewhere as well. Probiotics can treat atopic dermatitis (skin allergy) and asthma and simple dietary modifications improves outcomes and quality of life. Many patients show significant improvement in a host of body-wide symptoms with avoidance of certain foods. Though there are a variety of “food allergy” tests which can point to a particular “culprit”, often the best intervention involves a temporary dietary change to see if symptoms get better. There are many therapeutic diets that can serve to relieve GI symptoms: Casein & Gluten Free Diet (avoidance of dairy and most grains), Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), the Body Ecology Diet and the Allergy Elimination Diet. Choosing the correct diet is difficult and knowing if more than diet is necessary will prevent significant frustration and wasted energy. Diet can be critical but it is rarely all that is needed. This is where having the right doctor can make all the difference.

For patients with gastrointestinal problems we try to identify any underlying digestive disturbances that has gone untreated or hasn’t been treated correctly. We do this with specialized digestive testing based upon a comprehensive history and a comprehensive treatment plan that involve managing the causes of the problem, symptom management and lifestyle considerations. Whether it is infection, inflammation or the damage to the intestinal lining that these two problems cause (i.e. “leaky gut”), we will come up with a treatment plan that gets to the root. At Vitality Health & Wellness, we know when and what to test, and how to resolve the problem after we have identified it.

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Immune Disease

At Vitality Health & Wellness, we take immunity seriously. Your immune system is designed to protect you from pathogens or foreign bodies. Immune deficiencies result in recurrent infections while an over active immune system can result in allergies, asthma and autoimmune disease. Our integrative approach to clinical conditions involves a comprehensive assessment of your immune function. Toxins can pervert the immune system to be hyperactive and put your brain and organs at risk, while chronic infections are debilitative and undermine growth, development and quality of life.

We take the time to identify these immune abnormalities through simple blood tests and treat them using specific natural and pharmacological interventions.

Insomnia

The answer to insomnia lies in discovering its true cause. Sleep difficulties feel devastating and can be caused by a metabolic or glandular problem, a primary psychiatric disorder, by stress and lifestyle or something unexpected (e.g. intestinal parasites, certain mineral deficiencies). While sedatives play a role in short term treatment they are not the key to successfully treating sleeplessness and will lead to the destruction of healthy sleep architecture.

Our approach involves comprehensive testing, functional medicine and often, out of the box thinking. By diagnosing the true cause of your problems, we can often resolve the insomnia permanently. No matter the cause our treatment will involve a comprehensive plan encompassing lifestyle considerations, diet and nutrition.

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Learning Disabilities, Developmental Delay and Autism

ADHD | Asperger’s | Developmental Delay | Learning Disabilities

Autism represents itself both diagnostically and functionally as a spectrum of disorders.

On one end of that spectrum one could place classic Autism and place Attention-deficit Disorder on the other end of the spectrum. PDD (pervasive developmental disorders) and Asperger’s Syndrome fall in between.

In addition to Autistic symptoms or behaviors, each child has their own medical issues. Some children have chronic gastrointestinal problems (e.g. reflux, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, maldigestion, malabsorption), others have immune dysregulation (e.g. allergies, recurrent infections, autoimmune phenomenon), still others present with metabolic abnormalities (e.g. methylation abnormalities, transulfuration problems, mitochondrial dysregulation, detoxification problems). Some children face all of these challenges in addition to other physiologic symptoms.

The dramatic rise in the rate of Autism and related disorders, without any concordant change in diagnostic criteria, led us to investigate environmental factors that could affect genetically susceptible children. We believe that underlying biochemical abnormalities and problems may cause or significantly contribute to these disorders. By addressing abnormalities at the source reversal of Autism can become a reality.

Spectrum children show consistent abnormal trends in the biochemical make-up of amino acids; glutathione; and plasma sulfur, zinc, & selenium . We see elevated:

  • markers associated with Mitochondrial Dysfunction
  • ratios of copper to zinc in the serum,
  • microbial metabolites in the urine indicative of yeast or bacterial overgrowth
  • brain & thyroid auto-antibodies in serum indicative of autoimmune disease
  • unusually elevated immune markers associated with vaccine components implying unusually strong reactions to their vaccinations
  • abnormally high elemental toxins on provocative challenge (e.g. mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and aluminum) indicative of toxic metal body burden

We tailor treatments to address these abnormalities including:

  • orthomolecular supplementation for amino acids
  • vitamins, minerals and macronutrients to support metabolic abnormalities
  • immune therapy for autoimmune disease and immune dysregulation
  • detoxification for abnormal metabolites and heavy metals
  • naturopathic and allopathic interventions to address the physiologic symptoms and disease processes.

Our holistic approach addresses the whole patient from biochemistry to physiology to psychology to spirituality. Autistic Spectrum Disorders are cataclysmic of body systems and biochemical pathways failing. Biomedical interventions endeavor to synergistically restore, rebuild and support the damage and the inherent weaknesses. This normalizes the body’s function and allows the body’s innate healing capacity to take over.

If you have an affected child, please let us help you to move toward recovery. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians.

These same treatment principles have proven extremely effective for children with learning disabilities (e.g. dyslexia, auditory or visual processing disorder, dyspraxia).

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Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disorders

Mitochondria

One of the most fascinating areas of research and treatment is in the area of Mitochondrial disease. Mitochondria are the powerhouse of our cells, critical for creating the fuel that runs our body’s energy dependent functions.

These crucial functions are fragile and very sensitive to:

  • oxidative stress
  • poisons
  • metabolic defect

We safely support the mitochondria with nutritional supplementation and antioxidants; in addition to metabolism improving therapies like hyperbaric oxygen.

Another area of great interest is methylation therapy. Methylation, which is a critical biochemical pathway, involves the addition of methyl groups (single carbon atoms with 3 hydrogens attached) to a variety of bioactive compounds.

As carbon based organism, these simple units are the main currency in our carbon economy. They are transferred between molecules activating neurotransmitter receptors like the Dopamine-4 receptor, detoxifying hormones which can play a role in cancer and brain function, support energy metabolism and detoxification. Methyl donors can improve language, cognition, sleep, mood, aging, and heart and glandular function as well. Testing can be performed to look for gene mutations to the enzymes critical for methylation and treatments involving the vitamins and co-factors to support these enzymes can result in dramatic improvements.