Get my FREE training on How Stop Overwhelm and Exhaustion Value $150


Click to Schedule an Appointment




Best Naturopath in San Diego
Top Naturopaths in San Diego, CA
Dr. Emily Chan ND has been awarded as a top Naturopathy practice with some of San Diego's best Naturopaths. Verified by

What’s the COMT Gene and how is it related to your Hormones?

COMT is a gene that codes for an enzyme in your body that does a very important job of detoxifying certain stress hormones and sex hormones like estrogen. It is called Catechol O-Methyltransferase. COMT helps to detoxify dopamine, catecholamines, and estrogen by transferring a Methyl group to them. Everyone has the COMT gene, but some have forms that work normally, and some have gene variants where the COMT enzyme works not as efficiently. Patients who have the slower COMT gene may have more difficulties dealing with stress or have a higher tendency to suffer from anxiety because their bodies do not clear catecholamines (stress hormones) as quickly.

-Do you tend to have issues with feeling overwhelmed easily?

-Do you wake up feeling “heavy” sometimes?

-Is it hard to get motivated to start certain tasks?

-Do you push through your life and work with strong will power, but feel depleted inside?

-Is it hard to control your thoughts?

-Do you tend to have chronic inflammation?

-Do you have a feeling that maybe your hormones are out of balance?

Many patients with these symptoms may be prescribed anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants, birth control pills, or ADHD medications. Those may not be options you want to use long term. Those going more of a natural route may be familiar with 5-HTP, or St John’s Wort to try to increase serotonin. But serotonin is not the only player, and one must consider dopamine, catecholamines and estrogens levels. COMT genetic mutations, or lack of nutrients that support COMT can make a huge difference in finally getting answers to some mood, inflammatory, or hormonal imbalance issues. 

What are the COMT Gene Types?

Naming the Genes: Most genetic reports may show you have either (-/-), (-/+), or (+/+); one gene from mom and one from dad. 

Normal Type (-/-) or also referred to as GG or Val/Val. Most of the world’s population has this genotype and it is associated with better adaptation to stress. 

Slow Type (+/+) or also referred to as AA or Met/Met. 20-30% of the population has this genotype. It is associated with slower detoxification of stress hormones and slower detoxification of estrogen. Since it also detoxifies dopamine slower, there may be an advantage in more dopamine activity and lower risk of memory issues or Parkinson’s disease. 

Combination Type (-/+) have one normal gene and one slower gene. 

COMT and Estrogen

Did you know that most hormone tests you get through your gynecologist only tests total hormones, not what your body does with them. Your liver and intestinal tract is very important for detoxifying and processing your hormones. In a Genova Diagnostics hormone test I run for my patients, we can tell what molecules your liver converts your hormones to. This is important because some of those breakdown products are good (help you stay young, mentally sharp, have a good sex drive, have vibrant skin), but some of the breakdown products are bad (inflammatory, increase cancer risk, contribute to moodiness). 

Case Study:

In the Complete Hormones Test diagram shown, you see COMT is needed to convert to the GOOD estrogen types. The “MeO” stands for methylated estrogens and these are the good guys. As you can see, this particular patient has very low levels of the MeO forms, and not doing a good job converting from the “OH” forms. This may indicate a COMT mutation.

This patient consulted me for fatigue, hair loss, body aches and pains, and PMS. She said she fluctuates between sleeping a lot and having nights of insomnia, but felt that even if she was able to sleep well for a couple weeks, she would still feel tired. She had body aches and pains all over her body and was only 38 years old. She was also concerned with thinning hair, weight gain and some hormone related symptoms. Something just did not feel right to her, but she did not have any particular diagnosis. 

As you can see from her hormone test results, her body is not methylating well and she has more toxic forms of estrogens. With this type of pattern, we may suspect a slower genotype for COMT, it is always important to confirm with a genetic test. After working with her for 3 months, she said she is feeling a lot better overall, her hair is no longer falling out, she has no cramping with her periods, and she no longer feels tired. 

It is important to tell the difference between the need to work around a COMT mutation, or nutrient and hormone imbalances. Even thought COMT detoxifies estrogen, high estrogen levels actually slow down COMT. So a patient may present as if they have slow form of the COMT gene, when their hormone imbalances have slowed ability of COMT to do its job. Another thing to take into consideration is that some nutrient deficiencies can also slow COMT down. This information may be a bit more complicated than you want to know, but finding a doctor who understands and specializes in this can take the guesswork and confusion out for you. Feel free to contact Dr. Emily Chan ND if you need some specialized opinion for your situation.



How to Stop Negative Thoughts from Racing in your Mind - Overcoming Depression

According to the National Institute of Health, 17.3 million adults, 7.1% have experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. 5% of adults experience seasonal depression. 1 out of 6 adults have taken an anti-depressant in the past month. In the past 15 years, there has been a 65% increase in antidepressant use. Is our society getting more depressed and unable to deal with the pressures, stresses, and people in their lives? I’ve seen in my practice that a sense of being stuck or too fatigued to deal with life’s challenges can results in depression. It is reported that over 50% of patients who are diagnosed with depression also have anxiety.

What Causes Depression?

-Low levels of serotonin or dopamine

-Elevated or depleted stress hormones such as cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine

-High carbohydrate and high sugar diet

-Lack of physical activity

-Chronic inflammation

-Imbalance in sex hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone

-Life stress, Type A personality, perfectionism

-Subconscious negative belief systems

-Depleted energy levels in the body, adrenal fatigue.

-Low Qi levels, Liver qi stagnation

-Depleted basic, navel, solar plexus and spleen chakras

-Inability to assimilate and store energy in body

-Weak boundaries, and energetically melding with other people’s problems

Thoughts in Getting to the Bottom of Depression

Taking an anti-depressant is only as good as the placebo effect according to studies. This is approximately 33% improvement. The only problem is that the anti-depressants initially will dull the sensations of sadness or negative feelings that are present making the patient temporarily feeling better. However these medications also decrease happiness, motivation, creativity and other positive emotions. So patients taking these drugs often feel flat. They don’t feel as sad, and they don’t feel happy. This is why some psychotropic drugs are linked to increased suicidal ideation.

To get to the bottom of depression, we do need to correct some chemical imbalances in the body such as hormones, neurotransmitters and dietary nutrients so that the body can make the brain chemicals that contribute to positive emotions and balanced emotional regulation. We also need to work on the thoughts that seem to automatically swirl around the brain. These thoughts include imagination of the worst-case scenarios, sense of impending doom, and those of self-doubt.

Counseling and psychotherapy are helpful in bringing awareness to one’s thought life. But many patients are unable to implement the affirmations, and positive thoughts they are taught to think in their counseling sessions. This can lead to discouragement because negative thoughts just seem to automatically appear and it feels almost impossible to stop the anxious and depressing thoughts. Photo Credit Gareth Williams

What Works Better?

I’ve been blessed to come across some highly effective therapies over the years that have been life changing in so many patients’ moods. I utilized a couple techniques best done when the patient and I are on the phone or video conferencing called Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) and Pranic Healing. Distance does not matter when dealing with these types of healing frequencies. In short these techniques help remove the negative (depressive) information stored in the body and mind. It is like an extraction technique. After giving the body a clean slate, it easier to insert new positive thought patterns.  I also work to energize the patient’s electrical field, because most depressed individuals have a very low energy frequency, and this energizing is very helpful in lifting the frequency of moods. They have measured frequencies of emotions. For example Apathy/Hopelessness logs in at 70. Fear/Anxiety logs in at 100. Optimism/Hope logs in at 310. Love logs in at 500. Higher and healthier emotions have higher vibrational frequencies which is the reason for the effectiveness with energizing techniques.

A study published in the Australasian Psychiatry Journal in 2018 Amelioration of mild and moderate depression through Pranic Healing as adjuvant therapy: randomized double-blind controlled trial, shows amazing results using Pranic Healing, a technique I use with my patients. In the study, one group of patients were given Pranic Healing for 20 minutes once per week for 4 weeks, the other group was given a mock/fake treatment for the same duration of time. Using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale HAM-D as assessment tool, 69% of the mock group improved, and 100% of the Pranic Healing group improved.

I do believe that utilizing physics methods of therapy such as Pranic Healing increases the effectiveness in treating depression dramatically because we are both biological and electric beings. When we influence the electric memory and signally systems, the burden on the patient to “try” so hard to change their thoughts is significantly minimized. They feel lighter, see the world more hopefully, feel more ease associated with daily tasks because proper electric wiring is restored and takes a lot less burden for the system to operate.






Secrets to Getting Rid of Migraines and Headaches 

About 18% of the American women suffer from migraine headaches. According to the World Health Organization 1 in 20 adults have a headache daily. Many people will take painkillers to try to ward off the headache, but that does not prevent them from coming back another time. Patients with severe migraines are prescribed stronger medications such as Imitrex or other triptan drugs but I have patients who come to me at loss because these medications are no longer able to stop a migraine attack. Their life revolves around the uncontrollable of when the migraines occur. 

So what causes headaches or migraines? How do we get to the root of it? Can a patient ever be cured of migraines? Many patients who have worked with me all over the world have been able to become migraine free in a few months. Some causes of migraines include, increased inflammation, stress, hormonal imbalances, food/environmental sensitivities, impaired detoxification, sinus problems, vascular disorders and more. But even before any of the above issues start, an imbalance in the energetic field disrupts the body making it susceptible to migraines. These are the electrical impulses in and around your body. When the vibrational frequency of your brain, chakras, and meridians are disrupted your body can’t work properly, the same as when your biology is out of balance. Through distance healing methods that can be done in the comfort of your home, we can apply physics concepts to medicine. Often in a couple sessions patients feel a significant reduction in severity of headaches and frequency and often over a few months can become headache or migraine free.

Migraines or persistent headaches are often caused by stress whether a patient is aware of it or not. I see lots of headache patients who often are high performing in their work, and tend to hold in their emotions, keep it together, so they can try to be on top of their “to do list”. Sometimes they say they feel stressed, sometimes some people are unaware of all the external pressures but the toll is still put on their body. The emotions have to go somewhere and are often stored in the upper belly area or solar plexus. When that area is congested (think of the smog pollution in China), the electrical, energetic congestion often moves up the spine and causes the vasculature in the head to dilate, leading to headaches. 

A patient of mine had hormonal triggered migraines that often occur around ovulation and over a week prior to her period. Almost half her month is a struggle because of these hormonal migraines. We put her on natural supplements that helped with hormones as well as deceasing inflammation and that helped 20-30%. Then the miracle occurred when we did distance healing sessions, where she was lying down in her home while I worked with her over the phone. We cleared up the areas of her body that were congested or filled with “deposits” of diseased energy. This is like clearing up a highway that is filled with rocks and debris, so the road can be used. You can imagine instead of a traffic jam, that the flow of traffic moves. When we create flow in the body by releasing energetic restrictions, blood flow, nervous system electric flow, lymphatic flow etc., can all start to work properly so that the pressure that is built up in the head can release. After a couple distance-healing sessions, this patient has been migraine free for a couple months and is so grateful for getting back almost 2 weeks out of her month. 

So what are healing sessions and how do they work virtually? It’s all about physics. Think about cell phones. You cannot see the cell phone wave field but it goes over a long distance to allow you to talk to people even all the way across the world. Cell phone waves are close to the microwave frequencies of the electromagnetic field and are not generally healthy. Infared rays are healthy to the human body, EMFs are not but all of these are electromagnetic frequencies. When doing distance healing we are using health promoting electromagnetic and light frequencies that are not limited by time and space. 

You may have read records in Biblical text that Jesus healed a Nobleman’s son, and told the Nobleman his son is healed and will live when Jesus was 1 day’s travel away from the sick. When the Nobleman got back home a day later and asked when his son’s fever broke, it was the exact time Jesus said he will live 1 day ago. We may think these are miracles, but as now scientific studies have shown, distance healing and prayer have statistically significant positive effects. 

A study by the Indian Journal of Psychology 2009 Prayer and Healing: A Medical and Scientific Perspective on Randomized Controlled Trials showed validity for distance healing to be 75% in clinical setting and 81% in laboratory setting. The bio-electrical field of a patient before and after a distance healing session has also been able to be documented through Kirlian photography. For those who like science, hopefully this is helpful for you to understand how distance healing is possible. And for those who are seeking answers and a way to get well, it is not a mistake you have come by this article. Please feel free to contact me to discuss if this would be the right fit for your situation.


How is Your Sex Drive?

Was sex fun and important to you, but now it does not happen much? Do you or your spouse feel tired, or frequently not in the mood? Do you want to have that youthful spark back? We will talk about some veryPhoto Credit Foto Miki common reasons I see in my practice, but often overlooked issues that contribute to erectile dysfunction or low libido. You'll learn about some natural ways to balance hormones without taking synthetic hormones. Certain hormone therapies may increase cancer risk and have other side effects. Good news is that there are many other ways to successfully increase libido and sexual function. 

Causes of Low Libido in Men

Most men think of low testosterone as a reason for ED or decreased libido. But taking testosterone does not fix the reason why it is low in the first place and is not without side effects. One reason testosterone is low in men is due to estrogen dominance. Too many toxic estrogens are linked to low testosterone. The normal range of testosterone in men is 270-1070mg/dl but if you are on the lower side of this range, you may feel it. I have seen my patients raise their testosterone by 200-300 points by correcting the estrogen dominance problem without taking any testosterone. These are a few things that contribute to estrogen dominance:

-pesticides: in fruits and vegetables

-dryer sheets: contain zenoestrogens (foreign/toxic estrogens)

-parabens in skin care products, soaps, shampoo

-phthalates: found in syrofoam, plastics wrap, water bottles

-hormone injected meats

-stress, insulin resistance, being overweight, can all increase levels of unhealthy estrogen. 

Not being able to perform like one used to can be embarrassing or discourage a man from engaging in sexual activity. This can create a downward spiral of anxiety related to sex, which further creates a vicious cycle. This is something relatively easy to fix once I see what the imbalance is and address it from a few angles to get the best results. 

Causes of Low Libido in Both Genders

Hormone Imbalance

As mentioned above toxic estrogens can interfere with libido. Another source of toxic estrogens are certain tampon products women use, birth control pills, HRT, faulty liver detoxification, the conversion of testosterone to estrogen via aromatase in fat cells to name a few.

We can run a detailed hormones lab test to get a better picture of specific hormonal imbalances and what herbs or supplements to use to correct them. It is important to know what your situation is. For example, Chasteberry or Vitex is a very popular herb marketed for hormone health. It raises progesterone levels, so if a patient already has too high progesterone, this herb will make it worse. So it is important to be educated to know exactly what your situation is to take the guesswork out. 

Remember that most conditions, even if they seem hopeless can turn around when given the right treatment. That is true even if you were told to just live with it. So do not settle for less. Feel free to reach out if you want some natural therapies to enhance this aspect of your health and life.



How to Energize Yourself

Need more Energy?

Most everyone could use more energy. Are you pushing yourself but feel like you are running on empty? Do you experience an afternoon lull? Do you wish you had more energy to be with loved ones after work?

I had a patient with fatigue but didn't want more supplements. For them supplements didn't quite cut it. In my years of practice I have found that quality of supplements do matter, but it's true that supplements alone may not fix an issue satisfactorily. 

I've been blessed to see patients all over the world. With this patient we had 2 virtual healing sessions over the phone and there was a huge shift and increase in energy and positive mood. I was even surprised! It was as if  something lifted and the increase in energy stayed!

On a tangent, I'm just too excited about these healing sessions. A patient came to me yesterday with blood pressure 145/100 for weeks. We did 1 virtual healing session and the blood pressure dropped 40 points. Patients with fatigue, stomach issues, anxiety, depression, vertigo, headaches, back pain, infections, and many strange conditions have improved so quickly. 

You see, infections, illnesses, negative thoughts, traumas, toxic people around you are all seen as information to the body and they are often stored as "imprints" in parts of our body's that are weaker and more susceptible. These negative information clouds the purity and functionality of our cells like "dust on glass". Some people are naturally better at letting go of these than others. 

Anyone can learn a few simple techniques to help. Here's an Excercise you can practice to help increase your energy levels. Just like you eat and absorb nutrients from food, did you know you can also take in energy from the environment and let it recharge you? We all do this automatically to some extent, but you can train yourself to utilize it better. 

Studies show there is more energy or (prana) in fruits and vegetables compared to processed foods. Scientifically prana or life force energy is described as a displaced electron. A negative ion. They have measured higher numbers of negative ions in nature, such as the beach water or the woods, and less number of negative ions in polluted cities. "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Gen 2:7. The breath of life is sometimes also refered to as prana, which gives us life energy. This life energy is not just the opposite of feeling fatigued, but also supports feeling alive as a human being!

Here's what you can do to increase your energy. 

1. Sit down and imagine white light shining down to the crown of your head (top of head). This white light is energizing, healing and cleansing.

2. As you breathe deeply, receive the white light into your body and let it fill you from head to toe.The white light contains energy to revitalize and energize you. It also cleanses out any negative energy.

3. Once you feel the white light filling every cell of your body, EXHALE deeply to push out and extend the light rays to surround your entire body 2-3 feet around you. This protective light shield around your body can protect you from external negativity coming at you and repel it so you don't get drained by it. 

Do this exercise at least once per day or more. I encourage you to practice this for 5-10 minutes every day, perhaps after work to clear yourself. If you do this for even 7 days straight, it is very likely you will feel a good change. 

If you need some help beyond this exercise and would like a healing session, please contact our office.