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Integrative Psychiatry

Advanced Nutraceuticals: Botanicals and Special Patient Populations by Lawrence Cormier, MD

As integrative healthcare providers we seek to identify root causes, and treat each person individually and holistically. Come watch our short video as Dr. Lawrence Cormier talks about Advanced Nutraceuticals: Botanicals and Special Patient Populations


To make the point that as integrative healthcare providers we seek to identify root causes, and treat each person individually and holistically. But there’s nothing cheap about identifying symptom patterns and phenomena and allowing the treatment to flow from there, especially early on in your treatment relationship. While you’re pursuing identification of the root causes with some of the more time-consuming diagnostic tests, it’s often strategic to get on first base with a helpful nutraceutical intervention that takes place during the first month or two of treatment.

Botanical Nutraceuticals: Most have centuries of use yet in different contexts and preparations

More than most classes of nutraceuticals you will have or can have cytochromes P450 and other biokinetic effects. Also, in my experience, and it’s something in the literature, perhaps greater than the use of SAM-e and some of the amino acid products, antioxidant products, you’ll have allergic reactions and asymptomatic mild elevations of LFTs.

You really need to know the benchmark constituent, or constituents for each of the botanical products you’re using. Since it can be quite mind boggling with the multitude of preparations that are available, patients will change the product from time to time if there’s something on sale. If you can, US made products with certifications and organic are generally more reliable, but not always available.

Nutraceuticals during pregnancy and breastfeeding

I approached this matter with trepidation a decade or more ago when I began more substantial integrative psychiatric practice. Everyone has an opinion about what is safe and not safe for a fetus and women during pregnancy. Caution is in order. But you know, the same doctors who would dismiss the use of SAM-e, perhaps for a woman who is seriously depressed during pregnancy, would say nothing about saying to take a full dose of an SSRI, which can also be effective for depression during pregnancy.

Keep in mind, you’re dealing with a precious person at a special stage of her life and the fetus as well. Before you even consider any biotherapy issue you want to, you know, be the one if no one else is doing it to look at nutrition, psychosocial, both the strengths and the stressors, and the psychological.

Depression: For the elderly and the medically ill

Depression is highly prevalent in those who have chronic illness. There’s a high bidirectionality involved, where having these illnesses increases the risk of developing depression and vice versa.

Many conventional medical treatments, although they themselves can be lifesaving; chemotherapy for cancer, they also themselves carry an increased likelihood of other CNS sequela, including depression. There is a paucity of evidence based in interventional studies, unfortunately, for both these special patient populations.

Sara Reed, MS, LMFT

Sara Reed is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and CEO of Mind’s iHealth Solutions, a digital health company that provides evidence based and culturally responsible mental health services for underserved groups. As a mental health futurist and clinical researcher, Sara examines the ways culture informs the way we diagnose and treat mental illness. Sara’s prior research work includes participation as a study therapist in psychedelic therapy research at Yale University and the University of Connecticut’s Health Center. Sara was the first Black therapist to provide MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in a clinical trial and continues to engage in ongoing advocacy work around health equity in psychedelic medicine.

Will Van Derveer, MD is co-founder of Integrative Psychiatry Institute (IPI), along with friend and colleague Keith Kurlander, MA. He co-created IPI as an expression of what he stands for. First, that anyone can heal, and second that we medical providers must embrace our own healing journeys in order to fully command our potency as healers.

Dr. Van Derveer spent the last 20 years innovating and testing a comprehensive approach to addressing psychiatric challenges which transcends the conventional model he learned in medical school at Vanderbilt University and residency at University of Colorado, while deeply engaging his own healing path.

He founded the Integrative Psychiatric Healing Center in in 2001 in Boulder, CO, where he currently practices. Dr. Van Derveer regards unresolved emotional trauma as the most significant root cause of psychiatric symptoms in integrative psychiatry practice, along with gut issues, hormone imbalances, inflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and other functional medicine challenges. He is trained in Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, Internal Family Systems, and other psychotherapy techniques. His current clinical passion is psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, which he mentors interested doctors in providing. An avid meditator, he has been a meditation instructor since 2004.

For the past several years Dr. Van Derveer has taught psychiatrists and other psychiatric providers integrative psychiatry in a number of settings, including course directing the CU psychiatry residents’ course as well as with Scott Shannon and Janet Settle at the Psychiatry MasterClass. In addition to his clinical work and teaching, he was co-investigator in 2016 a Phase II randomized clinical trial, sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He continues to support this protocol, now in a Phase III clinical trial under break-through designation by FDA.

Dr. Van Derveer is a diplomate of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine (ABoIHM) since 2013, and he was board certified in the first wave of diplomates of the new American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABIM) in 2016.