In case you have not noticed, it is about the time of year for allergies to start acting up. In the last couple of weeks my patients have been coming to see me with itchy, watery eyes, nasal congestion and runny nose, coughing and dry throats.

For this reason, I have compiled a few precautions to both prevent allergies from starting, and to help mitigate them once they have already taken hold of your system. There are actually a lot of little things you can do to safeguard against bothersome symptoms, like shutting your windows to keep the pollen out, stay indoors on windy days or reducing your intake of allergenic foods. Foods that contain dairy products, simple sugars and yeast, or drinking alcohol for example, can exacerbate allergy symptoms, so it is best to steer clear of them during this time of year.

I also recommend taking plenty of Vitamin C for modulating the immune system and quercetin, which is a bioflavanoid derived from fruits and vegetables that can act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine. If you have sinus trouble, a neti-pot is a great device to use for nasal irrigation. If you have not heard of it, it is a small pot that helps pour saline water into one nostril while your head is tilted to the side and will flush out pollen and particulates from the nasal passages and the liquid will come out of the other nostril! It is a much safer solution than using nasal sprays, and actually works!






Many people turn to antibiotics and prescription medications when it comes to conquering something as common as the cold or flu. Nature, however, can offer us something just as beneficial without side effects when it comes to tackling these stubborn viruses. For these, symptoms of chronic fatigue, sore throat, ear and eye infections, and a host of other bacterial or viral infections, my number one recommendation is olive leaf extract.

The most fundamental part of the olive leaf is oleuropein, a phytochemical that has powerful anti-microbial effects. Olive leaf extract has the ability to interfere with critical amino acid production for viruses, to reduce viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses in preventing virus shredding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane, and the ability to directly penetrate infected cells and stop viral replication.

Other benefits of olive leaf include increased energy, healthy blood pressure and stronger immune system. Research and clinical experience indicate that supplemental olive leaf may be beneficial in the treatment for conditions caused by, or associated with, a virus, fungus, bacterium or protozoan including: influenza, the common cold, sinusitis, Candida infections, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), Herpes I and II, HHV6, shingles (Herpes zoster), chronic fatigue, acne, diarrhea and much more.

There are many olive leaf products out there, I have tried six different brands in the past 15 years and in my opinion Seagate Olive Leaf Extract is number one. Seagate has the best olive leaf extract because of its broad spectrum antimicrobial properties, they hand select their olive leaves from local trees right after the olives are harvested, and their manufacturing is done without any chemicals, solvents, or alcohol. They also have several olive leaf products that are not in capsule form like olive leaf nasal spray, throat spray and olive leaf earache remedy. Take your pick!


Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are the opinions of Dr. Susanne Bennett unless otherwise noted. The information on this blog is not intended as personalized medical advice and is not intended to replace the relationship that you have with your primary care provider. Any decisions you make with regard to your daily choices and medical treatments should be made with the help of a qualified health care provider.



Are you tired all the time? Feel like you have a hang over every morning even if you did not have any alcohol? Bloated, overweight, constipated and itchy? Have you been to your doctor for these issues and only to receive a blanket diagnosis such as stress induced, psychosomatic or irritable bowel syndrome? You leave the doctor’s office without a definitive answer and back to the same place you started from- tired and miserable. This is a common scenario that is presented to me during some of my new patient’s medical history intake. I can honestly say that at least 30-40% of my patients who have these chronic symptoms have some form of fungal infection, whether it is in their sinuses, lungs, or digestive system. It may not be their primary diagnosis, but definitely a contributing factor to their illness.

Within the Fungi Kingdom, there are yeasts and molds. The most common fungus that can cause a yeast infection in humans is from the Candida species. There are many strains including Candida albicans, C. pseudotropicalis, C. tropicalis, C. monilia, C. rugosa etc. Candida albicans is a very common type of yeast that naturally occurs in the human intestinal tract, but proliferates when there is bacterial imbalance. This can happen when you take antibiotics, which usually wipe out both good and bad bacteria, allowing yeast to multiply freely. A  high carbohydrate, sugar and alcohol diet can create an overgrowth of Candida.  Excess estrogen or birth control pills, steroids, anti-acids can also promote Candida overgrowth.

Often times the symptoms behind Candida infections are diagnosed as more popular diseases like Hyperthyroidism, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Lupus, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If you take a look at the symptoms below, it is easy to see why this happens—these more popular diseases have very similar symptoms to Candida.

They include:

  • abdominal gas and bloating
  • headaches
  • migraines
  • excessive fatigue
  • cravings for alcohol
  • anxiety
  • inability to think clearly or concentrate
  • hyperactivity
  • mood swings
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • hyperactivity
  • itching
  • acne
  • eczema
  • depression
  • sinus inflammation
  • pre-menstrual syndrome
  • dizziness
  • poor memory
  • persistent cough
  • earaches
  • low sex drive
  • muscle weakness
  • irritability
  • learning difficulties
  • sensitivity to fragrances and/or other chemicals
  • cognitive impairment
  • thrush
  • athlete’s foot

There are also many more Candida symptoms not listed here. If you are unsure whether or not you could be suffering from Candida, there is a helpful questionnaire online at Dr. William Crook’s website that is easy to fill out. Dr. Crook was one of the first to write a book on Candida called The Yeast Connection and it contains detailed information related to fungal infections. I highly suggest filling out his questionnaire if you feel any of the symptoms above pertain to you.


Resveratrol first turned the heads of scientists back in 1992 after learning that the French had a lower risk of heart disease despite their high-fat diets. Because it was discovered that the French drank red wine liberally, they turned to the ingredients in red wine, of which resveratrol was a major part. By and large scientists learned that resveratrol had wonderful anti-aging and anti-cancer properties. It efficiently inhibited the proliferation of cancer cells as well as activated a gene called sirtuin, also known as the “longevity” gene that inhibits many of the degenerative processes involved in aging.

To date many studies have been performed that have yielded knowledge on how resveratrol promotes longevity. For instance, resveratrol has extended the life of yeast, worms, fish, and mice. In addition to these anti-aging properties, resveratrol contains a group of powerful compounds called polyphenols, natural chemicals found in red grapes that have been known to exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols protect the nerves, brain tissue, and act as preventative medicine against viral infections and cancer.

The most important thing to remember about resveratrol though is that it must have the active ingredient trans-resveratrol. Nowadays there are so many resveratrol products out there it is hard to determine which one is right for you. The resveratrol supplement I take is by Designs for Health and contains 200 mg of trans-resveratrol, which is a biologically active form of resveratrol that allows optimal absorption and assimilation into the body. I recommend one capsule per day as a maintenance dose and go up to twice a day with specific inflammatory or chronic conditions. Do not be fooled by cheap knock offs. Ultimately we all want to do the best for our bodies—take the time to find the supplement that’s right for you!


Photo Courtesy of Dove Health Products Get yours here:

Many different cultures around the world use sauna therapy but the origin of saunas goes to the Finnish. The Finnish made the first saunas in large pits with heated rocks that were doused with water to produce steam, creating an atmosphere of both relaxation and worship. Nowadays we frequent saunas mainly in gyms or at spas, but because they can also be very therapeutic, you can also purchase small ones that fit right into your own home.

If you are looking to buy an at-home sauna, I recommend SaunaRay, which which sells medical-grade infrared saunas. Each one of their saunas is handmade with allergy-free Basswood, in a toxin-free environment in Ontario, Canada. Their heat emitters are made using medical grade ceramic plates and finished with a toxin-free ceramic coating. Typical saunas are usually made with fire retardants and formaldehyde glued plywood, which may cause reactions to people who are sensitive to certain chemicals. As always, I recommend going the chemical-free route!

SaunaRay’s unique assemblage alone differentiates them from standard saunas, but their infrared heat is radiated directly into the body rather than just warming the air around the body via steam or convection heat. This allows for deep penetration of the infrared heat into the tissues within the body, which promotes healthy blood circulation and eliminates toxins in the body through natural sweating.

I personally have an infrared sauna in my home and use it regularly to help cleanse my body of impurities and increase my metabolism. If you are a beginner, the temperature range needs to be from 110 degrees to 120 degrees for not longer than 10- 15 minutes. Once you get acclimated, you can increase the duration and temperature. If you use a sauna regularly, then the temperature can be raised to 130 degrees. For infrared benefits, it is not necessary to go higher than that. Maximum time in the sauna should be one hour, and only once or twice a week. Too much time in the sauna can weaken your adrenal glands and is not advised if you have high blood pressure or specific cardiovascular or neurological conditions. As always, please ask your health care practitioner if you are ready to use the sauna!



How many glasses of water have you had today? One? Five? Or worse-none? Probably the most over-looked supplement in our diets today is the one that covers not only a significant portion of the body, but the planet we live on as well: water. It makes up almost 70% of our body and is essential for survival. We could go days without food, but take away the water, and three days later we would be history!

From our bones to our brain, water plays a huge role in our daily function. It carries oxygen and essential nutrients to cells, regulates body temperature, and flushes out toxins from vital organs. Water is the basis for our blood, sweat, and tears. In recent years, there have been a great many books written about the benefits of water, including several by an Iranian doctor named Fereydoon Batmanghelidj who used water to cure prisoners during the Iranian Revolution. His most famous book entitled Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, among many others, discusses how important incorporating water is into your daily diet, and its role in disease prevention.

So how much water do we really need? My suggestion is to take half your body weight in pounds, and use the remaining number to determine how many ounces of water you should consume per day at a minimum. If you weigh 150 lbs, then you need to drink at least 75 oz. of water per day.  It is so important to replenish your water supply because we are constantly losing water daily through breathing, perspiration, urination and bowel movements. When we do not replenish, we deplete!

If you are undecided on which type of water to consume, (bottled, purified…etc) my highest recommendation is spring water from a clean water source that has been tested free of heavy metals, including arsenic, lead and uranium. My second water choice is purified water, but I do not recommend purifiers like Brita or carbon filter because it does not cleanse out the heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, and uranium. Your best bet is to find water from the cleanest source possible, and to stay away from tap water if you can, as it contains many harmful contaminants. Bottoms up!


A staggering ten million Americans have some form of thyroid deficiency. Most of the time, the symptoms present themselves as relatively minor, so many people walk around for years without realizing they have it. One of the most popular conditions affecting at least 10% of women today is hypothyroidism. In my practice, I find more than 30 % of my female patients have symptoms of hypothyroidism. One reason may be because the butterfly-looking gland surrounding the trachea does not produce enough hormones to properly regulate cellular metabolism of all tissues and organs.

Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, low body temperature, loss of hair or course hair, dry skin, cold hands and feet, depression, constipation, rapid weight gain, memory loss, irritability, and even a partial thinning of the eyebrows. Symptoms may present themselves as completely innocuous at first, but may gradually worsen over time if not taken seriously.

In order to diagnose hypothyroidism, your health care provider first needs to conduct a battery of tests to determine if your thyroid is functioning properly. The Thyroid Panel includes usually three tests- TSH, T3 and T4. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland and this test determines whether or not your thyroid is getting stimulated enough to produce healthy hormone levels. Free T3 and Free T4 levels indicate the two hormones made by the thyroid gland. T3 stands for Triiodothyronine (active hormone) and T4 is for Thyronine (inactive hormone). Our thyroid gland naturally produces higher levels of T4 than T3. Once T4 circulates in the blood, it needs to convert into the active form T3 in the liver and other tissues. T3 is the active hormone that is capable of binding to the thyroid receptors to stimulating cellular function and metabolism. Everything in our body works better with optimal metabolism and temperature.

Most doctors stop here with their lab requisitions, but I ask for additional tests because I am finding more and more people with an undiagnosed autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  To the typical Thyroid Panel, I add two extra tests, which checks for levels of antibodies to thyroglobulin and thyroperoxidase. If these tests indicate high levels, your practitioner should be evaluating you further, specifically for autoimmune conditions of the thyroid gland as well as to evaluate conditions regarding thyroid cancer.

The problem is, many people with an underactive thyroid go undiagnosed because there are so many subclinical cases. The blood levels of thyroid hormone levels may look normal even though the patient clearly has many of the symptoms indicating low thyroid function. I often find that some cases of hypothyroidism are due to inactivation of the thyroid receptor sites, contributed by heavy metals, mycotoxins, xenobiotics and other hormones such as estrogens. I find that cleansing the body of these toxins can “reboot” and resensitize these receptors to increase the affinity of T3 and restore your metabolism necessary for optimal health. BTW- adrenal function also needs to be evaluated concurrently with the thyroid!


Disclaimer: The contents of this blog are the opinions of Dr. Susanne Bennett unless otherwise noted. The information on this blog is not intended as personalized medical advice and is not intended to replace the relationship that you have with your primary care provider. Any decisions you make with regard to your daily choices and medical treatments should be made with the help of a qualified health care provider.

Belly fat is something we would all like to rid ourselves of, and despite the number of sit-ups or crunches we do, that stubborn belly fat always seems to stick. Not only is it uncomfortable, but belly fat, specifically visceral belly fat, is also hazardous to your body.

Visceral belly fat differs from subcutaneous fat (which is the fat you can actually grab when you do the pinch test). Visceral fat lies deep in the abdominal cavity, surrounding abdominal organs and secreting hormones that can promote insulin resistance, which can cause diabetes. It can also greatly increase your risk for metabolic syndrome, breast cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

I recommend supplementing a healthy diet and exercise program with a few nutrients that are designed to target both superficial and visceral belly fat specifically. They are a more natural approach to banishing that muffin top for good!

Phosphatidylserine: A natural substance from cabbage or soy, phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that serves as a building block for cellular membranes of all cells especially our brain cells. Recent studies show that it can aid in the reduction of cortisol levels, the hormore in high levels plays a large role in the production of belly fat. To reduce excess cortisol as well as to help with sleep, phosphatidylserine should be taken at night.

L-Carnitine: L-Carnitine is a supplement that plays a critical role in fat metabolic processes. It is produced by the body in the liver and kidneys and stored in the skeletal muscles, heart, brain, and sperm. It assists in mobilization of fat to be used for ATP (energy) production rather than fat storage.

Acetyl L-Carnitine: Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC) acts as an antioxidant and as a natural anti-inflammatory which strengthens other antioxidant systems within the body. ALC will protect the cell membrane of all cells and prevent activation of inflammatory chemicals such as arachidonic acid. It also resensitizes the receptors in the pituitary gland so that it reduces stimulation to the adrenal glands and indirectly reduces excess cortisol output.

VFM Flavinoid: A supplement made by Complimentary Prescriptions, VFM-100 contains a dietary ingredient called glabridin, a powerful antioxidant. It is a safe approach to preventing the accumulation of excess body fat because it specifically targets the tissue around the viscera, which has been proven in many of its clinical trials.


Many diets have swamped our culture over the years. The “low-fat diet” of the nineties took the world by storm, and since then we have evolved to understand that some fats are good for us, and have steered ourselves away from more detrimental ingredients like refined carbohydrates and sugars. Nowadays diets like the Paleolithic Diet, the presumed diet of our ancestors in the Paleolithic period, are emerging. While this somewhat “old school” regimen proposes some useful concepts, I feel it can be modified to cater to the urban lifestyle today.

The Paleolithic period lasted 2.5 million years and ended about 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture. A strict Paleo Diet consists of foods like meat, eggs, fish, berries, fruit, some nuts, roots, and vegetables. It completely excludes grains, dairy, legumes, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. The theory explains that the human body has not changed much at all genetically from the times of the caveman and that the same diet is ideal for optimum health in modern man. However, some critics argue that the Paleo Diet isn’t suitable for everyone, and in certain respects I have to agree. I feel that some of the foods excluded in the Paleo Diet are essential to stabilize blood sugar level and prevent adrenal fatigue and exhaustion.

What I propose is a “Modified Paleo Diet”-same diet but adding complex carbohydrates that help stabilize and maintain healthy levels of blood glucose. Small servings (1/2 Cup per Paleo meal) of foods such as beans, sweet potato, ancient grains such as quinoa and amaranth, gluten-free oatmeal and brown rice will help with energy production for the brain, muscles, major organs and glands. After all, the circumstances of our lives are much different now than they were back in the Paleolithic era. We are not always in a fight or flight situation! Most of us have day-to-day chronic stresses that burden our adrenal glands and there is not a lot of time to rest. To support the adrenal glands, our bodies need a healthy source of low glycemic index foods, which stabilizes the blood sugar level to maintain constant energy production. It is still possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle without having to go all the way back to our roots!


Green tea has been used for centuries, cultivated first in India and China for its many antioxidant and metabolism boosting properties. It has been as been shown to induce thermogenesis (to produce heat) and stimulate fat oxidation (burning), boosting the metabolic rate 4% without increasing the heart rate. Americans have just recently started to drink the ancient Japanese Ceremonial tea Matcha, because it is rich in antioxidants and chlorophyll, contains catechins (nutrients only found in green tea) and natural relaxant L-theanine and zero on the glycemic index (will not raise insulin levels).

My favorite Matcha tea is Beeline’s organic matcha tea. Matcha is different from loose tea leaves or tea bags, in that you are actually drinking the entire leaf of the Camellia sinensis plant that has been pulverized to a fine powder. You are getting the benefits from the entire leaf rather than just brewed water. All other green teas are made from dried whole leaves and steeping them in water makes the tea. I have tried more than twenty different Matcha teas, mostly from Japan and Korea. Hands down, Beeline beats all of the others due to its delicious sweet taste and aroma. I recommend it to my patients because it contains catechins, powerful anti-oxidants that strengthen the immune system and include Vitamins B, C and E, which are all efficiently absorbed into the body. Beeline Matcha dissolvesinstantly in cold or hot water. I prefer my tea in hot purified water, and remember that the hot water is never to be boiling water. Great in warming up your body during this cold weather!