Category Archives: News

Introducing: Essential Weight Loss

From the Desk of Dr. Stevens

We are in the midst of one of the great epidemics in history – obesity. This condition alone is attributable to almost every disease we know. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, arthritis, depression even cancer, to name a few, are associated with our fat mass. And it is indiscriminate in our country, now affecting more children than any previous generation. So what are we to do? Well, we have decided to attack this challenge head on and so Essential Weight Loss is our newest program and business here at Essential Health & Wellness. I am particularly proud of the time and effort our entire staff has dedicated to building a premier medical weight loss program. It is our hope that we can make this not only an effective experience for each patient we treat but also make it a functional weight loss that encompasses an entire lifestyle focused on maintaining weight loss through a sustainable and balanced multi-system approach. Our goal is that through medical supervision our patients will experience optimal success and improved health and wellness. It’s time to make a decision for many of us, and the data on the ravages of excessive weight is a stark call to action. We want to help and I hope each and every patient that entrusts us with their personal challenge will reach their goal and sustain their goal.

Jennie’s Corner 

It’s almost here and we are so excited to be offering this new service to our patients! Next month we’ll be rolling out with Essential Weight Loss, our medically assisted weight loss program! Our program is not just your average pop up weight loss clinic. We incorporate the whole body wellness approach you’ve all come to love from our Essential Health & Wellness side. We have multiple programs to choose from. We

know that everyone does not fit a simple diet. Essential Weight Loss offers customizable programs in order to find a weight loss plan that caters to your body and lifestyle. Our focus is on diet and exercise recommendations to get the weight off fast, as well as specific protocols in order to maintain the weight loss. If needed, we can also offer prescription medication and weekly injections to assist you in your weight loss goals.

In honor of our new weight loss service, here are a few general health tips everyone should be aware of:

  • Limit, or even better, eliminate all processed foods! Processed foods often contain loads of sugar, sodium and toxins. As a general guideline, stick to shopping the perimeter of the grocery store, stay away from the aisles. The perimeter of the store is where fresh foods are found (fruits, vegetables, meats). The aisles are where all the processed foods hang out.
  • Sugar has an addictive nature to it, which is why many processed foods contain it. For instance, the peanut butter you grew up with as a child probably had added sugar. Make sure you read the ingredients and stay away from any foods that have unnecessary addition of sugar.
  • At some point in your weight loss journey you will eventually plateau and hit the proverbial wall. Steps will have to be taken to further increase your metabolism so that your weight loss can continue. For instance, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Being properly hydrated ensures your body is eliminating any extra sodium (which retains fluid) and also keeps hunger at bay.

If you’re interested in kicking your weight loss in gear, call our office today to schedule your initial consultation. For more information, go to our website,

Featured Supplement

To kick off our new service, we’ve added a supplement to our shelves that supports any weight loss program and the fight against those addicting carbs. CarbCrave Complex is a formula designed to help curb excessive carbohydrate intake and may help lessen appetite. It contains 5-HTP, a precursor to melatonin, which is the same neurotransmitter that is released in your brain after eating carbs. The end result being that it may help you avoid the big bowl of pasta for dinner or the cake for dessert. Stress plays a big role in unhealthy diet choices too, so it also includes rhodiola and ashwagandha, which are herbals that may increase your body’s resistance to stress. It also contains Relora, which in one study helped reduce stress-related snacking of sweets by 76%. Eating carbs gives you that instant gratification and can be a temporary mood enhancer. This proprietary blend contains ingredients that help support the neurotransmitters involved with feeling satisfied and boosting mood, meaning after a hard day at work you may be able to avoid that tub of ice cream in the freezer!

Manage Your Stress With a Daily Stress Formula

Finding a moment in your day to de-stress can be difficult at times. Having dedicated exercise time or just 15 minutes of meditation is relatively non-existent for some. Your body is still being effected by daily stress, so what can you do if you don’t have time to close your eyes and say, “ohm.” Daily Stress Formula is a well-rounded blend of herbals, amino acids and vitamins to help counteract the daily effects of occasional stress. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced society, we don’t always have the time to stop and relax or take care of ourselves how we’d like. Physical and emotional stressors wear on our bodies. Over time, stress causes an imbalance in our cortisol/adrenal function. If this continues without the appropriate measures to help balance this, it can effect optimal functioning of your entire body, especially sexual hormones.

Daily Stress Formula contains research proven nutraceuticals to help deal with the emotional and physical stressors we come into contact with on a daily basis. It contains herbals, like rhodiola, which has been shown in studies to help fatigue under stressful conditions and support short-term memory/concentration. It also has adaptogenic herbs, such as eleuthro and ashwagandha. Adaptogenic herbs help promote optimal adrenal function, decrease stress, increase energy and help support immune system function. The amino acid, l-tyrosine has been shown to help cognitive function during stressful situations. Chamomile and lemon balm help provide support for calmness and relaxation. So, if you find it difficult to find some time to relax during your busy schedule, consider Daily Stress Formula.

From the Desk of Dr. Stevens: It’s Time to Assess Your Stress

It seems a lot of attention is being given to the role of stress in our lives. When we hear the word stress we tend to simplify if to a concept of mental tension. Although this is certainly a significant component of what is entailed it is important to realize it is much more. Stress is the sum total of all the daily requirements of living and can be positive, neutral or negative in many facets. What I am hoping to help my patients understand is what are the key elements of stress and what are some steps to take to balance the effects of stress.

The list of things that stress impacts negatively is long but one worth reviewing daily. If anyone is looking for a bit of an eye opener or inspiration they can post these on their refrigerator. Stress is inextricably involved in:

  • Heart attack
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Premature aging

That’s an intimidating list and there are many people that will have many of these at one time. So the focus of today’s letter is entertaining how can one reduce stress to avoid these consequences or to improve ones that are present. The answer can be broken down into several pathways. Putting as much together in each of them will lead to the most significant improvements. Here is a list to post on your refrigerator right beside the list of diseases:

  • Eat a low-carbohydrate high fat diet
  • Exercise daily – mix moderate activity days with more intense activity days
  • Exercise outdoors in nature when possible and exercise 150 minutes per week minimum
  • Avoid excess caffeine
  • Hydrate with purified water – 80 ounces a day or more
  • Sleep effectively – 7 hours per night minimum
  • Learn breathing exercises
  • Learn meditation, prayer, guided imagery
  • Practice appreciation throughout the day
  • Practice effective communication and conflict resolution
  • Engage in loving and supportive social relationships
  • Change your perception – remember the axiom “perception is reality”

So this is the beginning of a new year for all of us. I encourage you to assess your stress and make the changes that you can. Cheers to your success this year!

Reminder – This Saturday: Join Us in the 2016 Light the Night Walk!

This year’s Light the Night Walk, held by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise money for blood cancer research, is right around the corner! We invite you to join the Essential Health team this coming Saturday, October 22nd, as we walk in remembrance of Danielle’s father, who passed away due to Leukemia.

See our September blog post for more information, and feel free to visit our team page, here. We look forward to seeing you Saturday at Cary’s Booth Amphitheater for the Light the Night Walk!

Jennie’s Corner: Customizing Your BHRT Treatment

There is not one way to take hormones. You have a few choices to pick from, and we can help you choose the right method to incorporate into your lifestyle easily. Our most popular method of bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) is pellet therapy. Estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone are all available in pellet form. Pellets are simply small implants. Pellet sizes can vary from the tip of a pencil eraser to a little larger than a grain of rice. During a quick office visit, a provider will locally anesthetize the area, so no pain is felt. Once the area is numb, a very small incision is made, and the pellets are inserted just beneath the skin. The pellets are slow timed-release implants that will last 3 to 4 months. By the end of the 4 months, the pellets have been completely absorbed by our body, and it is time for new pellets to be inserted. Many of our patients prefer this method, simply because they come in for a 15-minute procedure just 4 times a year and then don’t have to worry about remembering to take something on a daily basis.

For men, there are two other options when it comes to testosterone replacement therapy. They can choose either creams or injectables. Creams are made by a compounding pharmacy, and dosing is customized specifically to what the patient needs. Creams must be applied every single day. As for injections, testosterone is injected into the thigh muscle, and patients are taught how to self-administer. Administration for injection happens once or twice weekly.

For women, another option you can choose for hormone replacement is creams. Depending on whether or not you still have a menstrual cycle, creams can be applied continuously or following your menstrual cycle. When initially starting on creams, you can expect to apply up to three different creams on a daily basis, one for each hormone. This is so the provider can easily adjust your dosing as needed, depending on your lab results and how you feel. Once your dosing becomes consistent, it may be possible to compound your hormones together to limit the amount you have to apply on a daily basis. Some women prefer this method because it is less “invasive” than pellet therapy. Another benefit is that dosing can easily be adjusted at any time during therapy, depending on how the patient feels.

October’s Featured Labs: Blood Tests vs. Saliva Tests vs. Urine Tests – Which is Best?

Steroid hormone levels found in the blood are mostly bound to carrier proteins. as much as 95% of the time. As long as they are attached to these proteins, they are considered inactive and unable to absorb into target tissues. Only steroid hormones that are unbound or disconnected from these proteins are able to absorb into target tissues and have their natural effect on our bodies. Essentially, what is displayed in blood is not a direct correlation to your level of tissue hormone absorption. Especially for topically applied hormones, monitoring levels via blood oftent leads to overdosing. For this reason, we only use salivary or urine hormone levels for management of your BHRT.

Unlike blood testing, salivary hormone testing calculates the bioavailable or “free” levels of steroid hormones. Going further, urine testing of hormones can even check hormone metabolites and give the patient a closer look at how their steroid hormones are metabolizing. These two specialized tests give us a more accurate level of your tissue absorption of hormones, which then we are able to customize your care to your needs through your ongoing bio-identical hormone replacement therapy treatments.

October’s Featured Service: Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

Everyone is familiar with the benefits of hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to help relieve menopausal and andropause symptoms, such as hot flashes, low libido, poor sleep, irritability, and others. However, not too many people know or understand the long-term benefits bio-identical hormone replacement therapy can have.

Conventional, also known as synthetic, hormone replacement has been shown in research to increase risk of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, dementia, and stroke. On the other hand, physiologic or bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) may have a more positive outcome. In one 3-year study, BHRT, used transdermally, assisted in reducing inflammatory markers, such as CRP, decreased blood clotting factors, and improved quality of life.

Low testosterone has been correlated with coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, increased risk of developing type II diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Studies have shown that testosterone replacement can decrease inflammation, lower total cholesterol, and improve insulin resistance.

Similar to testosterone, appropriate estradiol replacement can also improve HDL and help decrease total cholesterol. In addition to this, estradiol also helps maintain bone structure, helps maintain memory, and assists in the absorption of essential nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Progesterone replacement is often not recommended conventionally after a hysterectomy. The line of thought is that its sole function is to help maintain a pregnancy, which is no longer needed at a certain point in a woman’s lifespan, and since there is no longer a uterus, estrogen alone is not a risk. On the contrary, natural progesterone replacement is needed to help balance estrogen. Its other beneficial effects include reducing rates of high blood pressure, acting as a natural antidepressant, stimulating the production of new bone, and enhancing the action of thyroid hormones.

Because of the many potential benefits of BHRT listed above, you can see why it is also known as anti-aging medicine. BHRT is not just used solely to minimize the symptoms of menopause, but when it is used long-term, it can extend your life and optimize vitality.

From the Desk of Dr. Stevens: Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT)

This month, we look at a familiar yet still somewhat controversial topic: bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). The good news is that the benefits and safety of BHRT are becoming more and more mainstream. The general public is steadily becoming more aware that there are treatments for symptoms and conditions often times neglected or minimized by the healthcare provider. There’s an impressive body of knowledge that supports the use of BHRT as a healthy adjunct to an austere diet and daily exercise for improving our health and longevity. I hope you enjoy the brief overview here and that it may answer more questions than create. Please give us a call if you have any questions and we will be pleased to answer them.

In good health,

Dr. Stevens

Upcoming Community Involvement: Light The Night Walk

The Light The Night Walk is an event held by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help raise money towards blood cancer research. This is an event that we as a team enjoy participating in every year. This year, the event is on Saturday, October 22, and instead of the usual downtown Raleigh location, it will be at the Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary.

Light The Night Walk

Essential Health & Wellness walks every year in remembrance of Danielle’s father, who passed away from Leukemia. If you would like to join our team, please give us a call or send us an email, and ask to speak with Danielle. As the sun sets, lanterns will be lit to help shine a light on the importance of finding cures and providing access to treatment for blood cancer patients. Whether you’re interested in joining our team, organizing a team of your own, or walking as an individual, we encourage you our patients to participate. Click here for more information, and to sign up!

Travel & Wellness Tips To Keep You Healthy

From The Desk of Dr. Stevens

Traveling abroad is usually filled with great anticipation and excitement. Many rewarding experiences abound all around the globe, and nothing is worse than falling ill somewhere very far from home. World travel has become commonplace in recent years and so are the spread of highly infectious diseases. Airports, planes, and fatigue are risk factors for many respiratory diseases and protecting yourself from these may make the difference between a miserable vacation and a pleasant and memorable one. Not all diseases are present uniformly around the world. Traveler’s diarrhea is typical in certain countries such as Mexico, Central America, and South America. Japanese Encephalitis is found in the Far East and Pacific Rim. Malaria, a mosquito-borne infection, is a risk in most of the equatorial countries. Certain diseases have vaccines and certain require medications. Protecting or diminishing the impact of one of these diseases is the focus of our travel medicine clinic – to offer the proper advice for immunizations and medications tailored to your destination. We wish you safe travels and hope you will travel smartly with the right precautions and medications. Bon voyage!

Featured Service: Travel Immunizations
Summer is almost coming to an end and with that vacation as well. For those of you who planned your getaways last minute, or to even plan for next year, there are a few services we offer here that you may be unaware of. If travelling abroad, at times there are certain vaccinations that are needed prior to entering the country. Essential Health & Wellness offers all required travel immunizations, as well as routine immunizations. Travel vaccinations include Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. You do not have to be a current patient to receive these vaccinations. If interested, please call our front desk for current pricing. We recommend you refer to the CDC website in order to find your vaccination recommendations.

Featured Supplement: Viracid


When going on vacation you certainly do not want an illness slowing you down. There is always one supplement you should have on hand in case the sniffles creep up on you: Viracid. Viracid helps boost your immune system with a blend of nutrients and botanical herbs. These herbs, such as black elderberry and Echinacea, have been used traditionally for years due to their immune-modulating properties. Results are best seen when taken at the first sign of illness, so keeping it ready in your travel bag is a must. In addition to boosting immune function, it may also help soothe throat irritations and nasal secretions. For illness, it is recommended to take 1-2 capsules per hour. For maintenance, 2 capsules daily. Viracid is available for purchase at our office, so don’t forget to stock up on your way to the airport.

Jennie’s Corner: Protecting Your Immune System
If you are jet-setting soon, whether it’s for work or on our way to a relaxing getaway, being stuck on an airplane can wreak havoc on your immune system. Due to the recycled air flow in the cabin, if a single person on the plane is sick, it could potentially leave you more susceptible to acquiring the illness as well. As mentioned before, Viracid is a wonderful supplement to have on hand, but you may want to consider something a little more intensive to boost your immune system. IV nutrient therapy, but more specifically, a Myer’s Cocktail contains most essential nutrients to help strengthen your defenses against any illness. It is packed with a high dose of Vitamin C to help strengthen your immune system and help fight viruses, as well as other nutrients to help drive your energy. Intravenous nutrients act differently than taking a simple multivitamin by mouth. Since the nutrients are going straight into the bloodstream it packs a more powerful punch against illnesses and keeps you at peak health. Typically infusions take only 30-45 minutes and are recommended right before your trip and possibly consider adding another infusion when you return. With this added to your pre-travel plans, you’re ensuring a productive work trip or a successful getaway.

Have questions? Ready to make your next appointment? Don’t hesitate to contact us! Give us a call, or conveniently send us a message through the Contact page of our website. We’re always here to help you with all of your wellness needs!