Health News

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 

Free Health Clinic at Key Arena this week!

Seattle/King County will be offering a giant free health clinic in Key Arena at Seattle Center from October 23rd through the 26th. This is a four-day volunteer driven clinic that provides a full range of dental, vision and medical care to unserved populations in the region. This is not only an opportunity to address acute issues such as dental infections and the need for eye glasses, but also to provide medical screening exams. The free clinic plans to service over a thousand patients daily. If you or your loved ones have been delaying medical care for financial reasons this is a great opportunity. Please check out their website at

Dr. Chad Borys

Rethinking Receipts

By Jessica Bernardy, ECN Intern

Receipts seem harmless enough. A little piece of paper telling you what you bought, how much you spent, etc. However, recent pilot study at Harvard showed evidence that handling receipts can increase your blood levels of harmful chemicals. Some types of receipts, thermal receipts, contain high amounts of bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is part of a class of pollutants we refer to as POP’s, or persistent organic pollutants. They are persistent in our bodies and in our environment. BPA in the body has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, reproductive and brain abnormalities. In the study, while the levels did increase by 300%, the increase in BPA while handling receipts was not at dangerous levels, being 1/7th what you would get from eating soup from a can.  However, all of our exposures to POP’s are additive, in our bodies and in the environment. It makes us at ECC think how we can avoid excess BPA when possible.

How do you tell if your receipt is printed on thermal paper? It has a sheen to it and when scratched on a hard surface will leave a black mark.

Here at Emerald City Clinic we are looking into ways to get away from handling these thermal receipts. If you don’t need your receipts to balance accounts, say no when asked if you want your receipt. Thermal paper is also found in airline boarding passes, tickets for movies, sporting events, and amusement parks tickets. Many smart phones have the ability to store these tickets in digital form, allowing us to avoid touching the thermal paper copy. We recommend that if you will be handling receipts for extended amounts of time, like when balancing bank accounts or if you work as a check out clerk, that you wear nitrile gloves.

There are things that the Doctors at ECN can recommend to help your body process and excrete BPA. Make an appointment to find out more.


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.

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

Omega 3 Myths: Are you increasing your prostate cancer risk?

Many of you may have read about the new research associating high omega three blood levels with an increase in prostate cancer. Let me tell you there is by no means a direct link to an increased risk of prostatic cancer if you take fish oil supplements.  The most plausible explanation is that many of the individuals tested do not properly digest, use, or metabolize their omega 3 oils. OR it could be that the quality of fish or oils they are consuming have high mercury or heavy metal contents– a clean product is essential. Also, without proper whole nutrition and a good balance of anti oxidants and minerals to properly utilize the fish oils consumed, further damage can occur if there are heavy metals present in the oils– we all need balance to digest properly. This study does make me pause as a physician to make sure that we maintain BEST practices as Naturopaths; always looking at the whole picture and not individual components. If you have any concerns please bring it up with your Emerald City Clinic physician as we encourage each of you to be stewards of your own health.  Respectfully submitted, Dr.  Molly Niedermeyer

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!


Hello Clients of ECN,

We are discovering that throughout the country the thyroid medication, Synthroid, is in high demand and short supply. It may take up to two weeks for the pharmacy to have this medication available for you, so please don’t wait until the last minute to fill your prescription. Please let us know if you have any questions about this!

Thank you,

The ECN Team