When’s the last time you saw a commercial on TV promoting a medication that would lower your A1C, ease your arthritic pain, enhance your sex life, or minimize your allergies?  No sooner have they identified the name and purpose of the drug, when the speed of the narration increases exponentially for the final fifty-five seconds of a sixty-second ad while all the potential side-effects are listed.  Including finally, potential death.

You have to wonder how one result of taking that drug is extoled as its reason for being, while all the others are brushed off into the trash can labeled ‘side-effects.’  

In truth, there is no such thing as a side-effect, only effects of a drug.  Every symptom mentioned in that ad, or listed on the receipt from the drugstore for that prescription, is a full-fledged effect of that drug.   They all deserve equal attention.  So what is the distinction?  One is the desired effect, and all the others are undesirable effects, or unintended consequences.  One is the symptom that the compound was tested to treat, and all the rest were either unnoticed or ignored during the testing process.

There can be arguments made that sometimes the benefits of a medication outweigh the risks, and it is worth taking it to control dangerous health threats.  But it is also important to question if benefits ALWAYS outweigh the risks, and when it might be important to consider other options besides pharmaceutical preparations in our approach to health and healing.

At Naturopathic Athlete, just as all symptoms and issues presented by a patient are carefully evaluated, any and all treatments are considered for their efficacy in addressing his/her complaints in a whole-istic way.  Supplements, protocols and exercises are chosen for the total impact they may have on the improvement and sustained well-being of each patient.  And as health returns, these methods are constantly assessed to determine if they need to be altered, substituted or discontinued.  Our intended consequences of treatments guide our process, and side-effects are not accepted as irrelevant annoyances to be disregarded.





Wes is celebrating his 63rd birthday this week, and he complains to his friend that his joints feel achy every morning when he gets out of bed.  “Oh, that’s normal,” he is reassured.   “You’ll get used to it.”  Suzanne is vexed by constant sneezing which occurs every year when she begins working in her garden, but she reminds herself that it’s just a normal reaction to the onset of spring.  3rd grader Joey has another cold, and his mother attributes it to the normal phenomenon of elementary schoolers spreading colds around the classroom three to four times a year.  Malcolm is plagued with fatigue and agitation throughout the day and insomnia at night, but figures it’s normal to experience this because of the stress he faces at work.

There are hundreds more assumptions people make about what is normal.  And millions of people downplay their symptoms every day, assuming they just have to live with the consequences of ageing, seasons, childhood, stress, or other compromising influences.  But they are setting the bar for their state of health way too low.  Achy joints are not normal for a 63-year-old man.  But they are common.  Allergies in the spring are not a normal reaction to pollen in the air, but they are very common.  Frequent colds, in children or adults, are not normal at all.  But they are certainly common.  And while fatigue, agitation and insomnia can be common responses to stress, those manifestations are not normal.

There are underlying causes to each of these maladies which can be resolved in safe, effective, lasting ways.  When you think about Wes, Suzanne, Joey and Malcolm in the fictitious examples above, consider that there are Naturopathic means to approach their ailments which don’t include taking an anti-inflammatory, or anti-histamine, or anti-biotic or anti-depressant.  Those medications might alleviate their symptoms, but if they stopped taking them, those symptoms would return.  

From a Naturopathic perspective, Wes’s achy joints are likely a result of inflammation, and there are many efficient ways to reduce inflammation throughout the body.  Suzanne’s allergies reflect a hyper-reactive immune system, and there are ways to calm it down.  Joey’s frequent colds can indicate an increased susceptibility, and it is possible for him to develop a stronger vitality that can resist the microbes surrounding us all, everywhere we go.  And the havoc wreaked on Malcolm’s systems by prolonged stress can be eliminated by his addressing an adrenal dysfunction and engaging in practices that help him change how he perceives and manages that stress. 

A Naturopathic approach to these common troubles can also promote improved health overall.  Enlisting in a program which removes the problem by eliminating the cause means that instead of combatting the symptoms, you can fortify the underlying systems that need to heal.  If you address your health concerns this way, you will find the added benefit of restoring your overall health to its optimal state.

There is not a simple one-size-fits-all solution to every health issue that might present itself.  Each individual has his/her own unique history, vulnerabilities, habits and beliefs, and the confluence of all of these factors serves as a guide to the most appropriate and effective means to cure.  So the next time you think your suffering is normal, something to be accepted or even expected, think again.  Don’t settle for ‘common.’   The danger in accepting what’s ‘common,’ is that you forego your commitment to take responsibility for your own well-being and subscribe to practices that ignore the root cause of your complaint, sometimes doing more overall harm than good. 

Just remember that ‘common’ does not mean ‘normal,’ and attaining and maintaining a healthy normal means you can not only overcome those symptoms plaguing you, but also realize your highest achievable state of health.

No matter what your chief complaint is, at Naturopathic Athlete your treatment will be based on the specifics of your history, your lifestyle, your experience of your symptoms -- in other words, your unique and total case.  You will not be prescribed a common medication for a common condition.  Usually, a set of random symptoms are not random at all, and can be traced back to simple or complex sources.  At Naturopathic Athlete, Dr. Zorensky will partner with you to discover the triggering causes for your presenting complaints and work with you to address them as they relate to you specifically.  By tending to these fundamental issues, you can mitigate the problems which stem from them with more enduring results. 





These days, many people define an illness by the symptoms that present themselves.  But this assumption gets confused when you consider there are many symptoms that show up in multiple illnesses.  A patient’s chronic headaches might be associated with a structural misalignment in the upper spine, a viral infection such as influenza, a tumor growing in the brain, a disruption in the vascular system, or after an emotional trauma.  Long term stomach distress could be the result of an unbalanced biome, food allergy, emotional upheaval or deficiencies of digestive enzymes.  These, of course, are only a few examples of conditions that may cause headache or upset stomach or some other chronic symptom.  The list is endless, and for each individual, knowing more about the source is essential to curing it.

The notion that ‘symptoms are not equal to the disease’ doesn’t make an evaluation of our health needs more complicated, but it does make it more accurate.  Consider a woman who has had a bone scan which reveals she has osteopenia (a condition of low bone density but not severe enough to be called osteoporosis).  This can result in fragile bones more prone to fracture easily.  A common prescription for this diagnosis is to increase the amount of calcium in her diet and supplementation.  This can help, but only if that woman’s low bone density is the result of her not getting sufficient calcium in her daily regimen.  There are other potential reasons she might have low bone density.  She may be getting adequate calcium, but for some reason is not assimilating it properly.  If this is the case, taking all the calcium in the world will not address her problem, it will only support the calcium supplement industry.  Or she may be low in Vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones and the absorption of calcium.  Weight bearing exercise, a nutritious diet, and a healthy biome are also very important factors in creating optimal bone density.  All of these considerations lead us to understand that the symptom (low bone density) is not the disease, rather, it is the result of the disease.  In order to cure this woman’s problem, we must make sure what is causing it.  That’s where it all begins.  Then we can apply the proper protocols and remedies to heal it.

To be clear, symptoms are the expression of the body’s attempt to overcome trauma or disease, or to heal itself.  So, this disease state actually precedes the symptoms.  A shift takes place in the basic well-being of a person, whether on a physical, mental and/or emotional level, and this triggers the manifestation of particular symptoms.  Simply eliminating these symptoms doesn’t eradicate the disease state, but it does silence the message the body is sending to reveal what it needs to do to heal itself.  The symptoms help direct us to the deeper disturbance which must be addressed in order to restore that person to a healthy state.

Consider the common symptom of pain, which is an important way the body lets us know something is wrong.  It usually is an early warning sign that something needs our attention.  It can help us locate the site of a problem, or it can hinder us from doing things that would only exacerbate our condition.  So, while a pain reliever may bring a welcomed reprieve for someone suffering a headache or inflamed joints or the onset of a throat infection, the pain will simply return unless further steps are taken to identify and resolve the underlying issue that produces that pain.  Again, the elimination of symptoms does not necessarily mean that a person has been cured.  But it does cut off the channels of communication that assist in treating what ails them.

This is a fundamental principal that guides the focus and process you will experience at Naturopathic Athlete.  The ‘toolbox’ Dr. Ben Zorensky, ND has to work with is varied and effective.  Every person who walks in the door brings their own unique story and set of concerns.  Dr. Zorensky, ND will draw on these details to frame the individualized program to improve his/her well-being.  Together he and his patients follow their progress as symptoms subside - not because they were superficially removed, but because their underlying cause has been addressed.   Why is this important?  Because this accomplishes not only an end to the plaguing symptomatic complaints, but the restoration of health and the reinforcement of one’s vitality - which lessens susceptibility to other health problems in the future.




As part of an annual reunion, a group of eight college buddies meet at a trailhead to enjoy an overnight in the wilderness.  They each lace up their boots, hoist up their packs, and take off on a beautiful hike, winding through meadows of wildflowers, aspen copses, and rocky outcrops.  Buoyed by the spectacular vistas and the long-held friendships, they trek several miles before locating their campsite and setting up for the night.  All is going perfectly until a storm brews suddenly, cold winds swirl around their tents and dinner preparations, dark clouds pour heavy rains soaking every one of them, and a brief but intense conversation between lightning and thunder dominates their concerns.  

Once the storm passes, they decide with reluctant unanimity to stay put for the night, and make do with what they are able to salvage from their dinner rations.  They build up the fire and gradually warm up and dry out as they huddle close and fill the starry night with laughter and reminiscences from their college days together.  The next morning, everyone packs up their still-soaking tents and sleeping bags, and hikes back to the parking lot.

Within the next day or so, three of the men come down with colds severe enough to keep them bedridden for four or five days.  One has low back pain that prevents him from joining his weekly basketball game.  Another is still shaken by the lightning which danced dangerously close to where they camped, keeping him fitfully awake the entire night in his tent.  One suffers a terrible migraine headache, which requires a doctor visit and injection of a potent pain-killer for relief.  The remaining two suffer no ill effects from the episode, and actually make plans to return to the site the following weekend for another sojourn in the wilderness.

Why did this experience affect each of these people in different ways?  And why didn’t it affect every one of them?  The answer is the same as the answer to these questions:  Why doesn’t a flu epidemic affect 100% of the population?  Why does a stomach flu topple only a few family members, while others living in the same house escape its grip?  Why does strep throat hit a second-grade class but only seven out of the 23 students get sick?  And why, after two hikers encounter a mother bear and three of her cubs on a mountain trail, does one swear never to hike in the mountains again, while the other books a trip to Alaska to go bear watching in Grizzly territory?

The answer is a simple, yet profoundly important concept:  SUSCEPTIBILITY.  Each of us has a unique make-up, and part of that can be a predisposition which means we might be vulnerable when exposed to external microbes, toxins or events.  Our susceptibility might have a genetic component, but it is often governed by our history, our habits, and our attitudes.  The ‘point of susceptibility’ would vary from one individual to another.  You might describe it as a ‘weak link’ or a ‘soft spot’ but it is that system which is compromised and has lost its ability to defend itself against an external assault.  

One factor affecting one’s susceptibility is the strength of the external threat.  No matter what the ‘soft spot’ is, the susceptibility of any individual is challenged by the strength of the incoming assault; so the virulence of a microbe, the corrosiveness of a toxin, or the traumatic nature of an emotional experience all qualify its degree of impact.

There probably is no such thing as perfect health, but if we were to characterize what would lead to it, we could say that it is a state of zero susceptibility.  This means that microbes would be unable to take hold, toxins would be neutralized or excreted before they could do any damage, and our emotions and attitudes concerning events in our lives would remain receptive and flexible.  

There is good news here.  Our susceptibility is not fixed, and there is a lot we can do to optimize our health by fortifying our vitality and minimizing our susceptibility.  There are simple ways we can nurture ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that have a profound influence on our level of susceptibility.  The way we eat, the way we carry ourselves, the way we engage with other people and the attitudes we adopt about life and the world around us all go a long way to influence the level of health we enjoy.  The life habits we establish and the belief systems we draw on are the resources we have to improve our state of health, and maintain it at peak levels.

This is the foundation of what Naturopathic Athlete offers to anyone interested in optimizing his/her health, and enjoying greater vitality, strength, clarity and wellness.   At Naturopathic Athlete we will evaluate your unique vulnerabilities, and work with you on specific ways you can fortify your own resources to resist compromising external influences.   By minimizing your susceptibility, you reduce the ‘sick days,’ the general malaise, the vulnerability to infectious ailments or attitudes that pervade the public domain, and instead live the healthiest, most robust and positive life you can.