What is in your supplements?

Every few months we hear reports in the media of supplements that either don’t contain what they say they do or are contaminated by toxins.  We do sell supplements in our office and use them regularly with patients.  We choose the companies we work with because of their quality.  The companies we use test each batch of raw material for purity and each batch of finished product to make sure that it contains what it’s supposed to and nothing else.  Our fish oils, for example, are tested to make sure that they do not contain dangerous levels of mercury.  We avoid products that contain unnecessary dyes and chemical preservatives whenever possible.

Because the supplements that we recommend are of high quality and there is a lot of testing that goes into the manufacturing process, they are often more costly than other brands.  Often my patients want to save money and buy a different brand or buy something they can find more easily.  While I understand this desire, I always try and steer them back to the companies I trust.  The latest article on this issue from The New York Times ( refers to some testing on products from some of those cheaper brands.  It turns out that many of the products contained absolutely none of what was supposed to be the main ingredient.  What I try to explain to my patients is that buying these other brands may mean throwing your money away.  You won’t get the results that you’re looking for and it could impact your health in ways that you don’t want.

If my patients prefer not to buy their supplements directly from the office, I have no problem with that.  Many high quality brands can be purchased at places like Pharmaca, which sell physician quality supplements.  What I do care about is that my patients get what they think they are buying and take supplements that are safe.  Often my patients have researched on the internet and found a supplement that is supposedly useful in their condition.  I will always look at the supplement with them and sometimes the ingredients in the product do seem to make sense for that patient.  Even so, I’m not familiar with the quality of every brand out there.  In those cases I usually tell them that the product could potentially be helpful, but I can’t speak to the quality or purity of ingredients.  I will continue to recommend brands that I’m familiar with, brands that I know do regular quality and purity assessments of their products, brands where I have seen good results with my patients.

By Dr. Erin Westaway, ND 

No Amount Of Alcohol Is Safe

A recent report by Medscape reads:

“Responsible drinking” has become a 21st-century mantra for how most people view alcohol consumption. But when it comes to cancer, no amount of alcohol is safe.[1] That is the conclusion of the 2014 World Cancer Report (WCR), issued by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Declared a carcinogen by the IARC in 1988,[2] alcohol is causally related to several cancers. “We have known for a long time that alcohol causes esophageal cancer, says Jürgen Rehm, PhD, WCR contributor on alcohol consumption, and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, “but the relationship with other tumors, such as breast cancer, has come to our attention only in the past 10-15 years.

The Grocery Dilemma: Some tips from Dr. Erin Westaway on how to shop healthy!


  1. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store.  This is where you’ll find whole foods that are less processed and contain fewer chemical additives.
  2. If an ingredient was never alive you might not want to eat it as it’s not actually a food.  A general rule here is that if you don’t know what it is or what living thing it came from, don’t eat it.  This includes food dyes, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, etc.
  3. If you can’t pronounce it, you might not want to eat it either (quinoa is the exception here J).
  4. If you’ve never read ingredient labels regularly, you will be shocked at how many foods have sugar added.  Assume there is added sugar unless you’ve checked.
  5. When buying animal products, buy grass fed or organic whenever possible.  This is probably generally more important than organic produce if you have to choose.
  6. When possible buy organic produce, but if you can’t, pay attention to the Dirty Dozen list to see which produce is most important to buy organic.
  7. If you can, buying local seasonal food is also a really great way to increase the nutritional value of your diet, support your local economy, and decrease your negative impact on the environment.
  8. Keep in mind that your food is your first medicine and that the quality of what you put in your body will be directly reflected in the health and quality of each of your cells.

Free Herbal Training Webinar

The American Herbalist Guild is offering free herbal training webinars, which are taught by a variety of well known herbalists. The majority of the talks are open to the public and would be a great opportunity for patients to expand their herbal knowledge and prospective on health and wellness. Many of the talks are also available for viewing after the scheduled webinar time online.

Check out the AHG website at:

– Dr. Chad Borys

Probiotics on the Daily

Taking your probiotics daily is a great preventative immune support during the cold and flu season. There is evidence to suggest that in healthy individuals regular consumption of probiotics may help lower the incidence of respiratory tract infections. Probiotics help to alter the gut flora in our digestive tracts and may play a role in enhancing our immune function when we are exposed to viruses and bacteria. Talk with your Emerald City Naturopathic physician if you have any questions or concerns about the use of probiotics for yourself or your family.

— Dr. Chad Borys

Alternative Treatments in Cervical Dysplasia and HPV by Dr. Rachel Erickson

Many women are getting scared by their abnormal PAP results and their doctors’ nonchalant responses of, “let’s retest in 3-6 months”. Another group of you are panicking because your doctor immediately wants you to get a colposcopy and a LEEP to solve the problem.
In the medical community at large, “cutting it out” is a common practice when it comes to abnormal tissue. In my practice we have a lot more options. (This is true in general of most conditions)
A standard routine of care for a healthy female with cervical changes is a 3 pronged approach:
1.       Dietary changes to help rid viruses
2.       Supplements designed to help your body heal
3.       Suppositories to treat right at the source
Oftentimes there is nothing more that is needed and by their 3 month retest their PAP is clean!
And most importantly, education is key. So even if you are uncertain of what the right treatment option is for you, you can always get your questions answered in a safe environment by knowledgeable physicians. We look forward to your call!