Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Fact or Fiction

sunset pic with the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity or EHS

Can Your WiFi Really Make You Sick?

Understanding the effects of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) and Radiofrequency Radiation (RF) on Your Health

Our health is directly affected by a variety of things we cannot see but we know to exist. We don’t see the air, but oxygen is essential to human life. We cannot see UV rays, but we can certainly feel their effects when we get a sunburn. While we cannot see electromagnetic radiation (EMR) or electromagnetic fields (EMF), a growing number of people are reporting symptoms that appear to be caused by electrical hypersensitivity (EHS). Much like how pollen doesn’t cause everyone to have allergy symptoms, EMR doesn’t cause everyone to have EHS. And like how some individuals will have intense seasonal allergies while others won’t, some will have severe EHS symptoms, while others won’t. Data suggests that about 3% of the population are sensitive to EMR. What makes these people more sensitive to EMR? That’s a good question.

Over the last 20 years, physicians with the American Academy of Environmental Medicine have been seeing patients whose symptoms appeared to be triggered by “dirty electricity”. The term dirty electricity refers to the electromagnetic energy flowing along a conductor that deviates from a pure 50/60 Hertz sine wave and has both harmonic and transient properties. It is more correctly termed high-frequency voltage transients (HFVT). Electromagnetic radiation may come from power lines, televisions, computers, and other electrical devices. The health impact of dirty electricity was first discovered in the 1950’s. In rural areas, the behaviour and feeding patterns of animals were negatively affected by stray voltage caused by poor grounding and lack of utility infrastructure.

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Symptoms

Humans suffering from EHS might experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, chronic fatigue, depression, memory loss and confusion.
Now, more than ever, we are living in a world of luxuries that depend heavily on electricity and have the potential to generate electrical pollutants. We have phones in our pockets, microwaves in our kitchens, and satellite systems in our cars. As science attempts to keep up with the exponential increase in the use of technology, we are only beginning to comprehend the effects that RF waves may have on our health.

What is Radiofrequency Radiation?

The electromagnetic wave spectrum is comprised of two parts: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation includes X-rays and ultraviolet rays, whereas non-ionizing radiation includes radiofrequency (RF), visible light and microwaves. Radiofrequency radiation is the transfer of energy by radio waves. RF EMR is non-ionising radiation, meaning that it has insufficient energy to break chemical bonds or remove electrons (ionisation). RF EMR lies in the frequency range between 3 kilohertz (kHz) to 300 gigahertz (Ghz). For years we have focused on the negative impact of ionizing radiation, but now we are starting to understand that there may be a negative impact from non-ionizing radiation or radiofrequency.

Radiofrequency waves are what allow you to borrow your neighbour’s WiFi while you’re waiting for the service guy to come. Without the need for wires, RF has the power to pass through walls and go just about anywhere, that includes inside our body. In this digital age, many items that we rely upon can be a source of radiofrequency radiation. Our cell phones might seem obvious, but what about our Smart Meters, our children’s gaming systems, the baby monitor and cordless phones? They all use wireless communication, surrounding us in a constant invisible fog of electrosmog.

What is Electrosmog?

According to NASA: “As you sit watching TV, not only are there visible light waves from the TV striking your eyes, but also radio waves, transmitting from a nearby station, and microwaves carrying cellphone calls and text messages, and waves from your neighbor’s WiFi, and GPS units in the cars driving by. There is a chaos of waves from all across the spectrum passing through your room right now.”

As a society, we are pressured to keep up or fall behind. Have you ever passed the Apple store the day a new iPhone hits the market? So many of us are willing to stand in lengthy lines, just to be early adopters of the latest technology. Our priorities are placed on technology as a way to make our lives better. And no doubt, it does in some ways. However, most of us don’t consider how our attachment to technology also impacts our health by inundating our bodies with a constant barrage of radio frequencies.

Is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Real?

While EMR and RF radiation is considered biologically safe according to safety data provided by Health Canada and other organizations, the reality is that the level of our constant low-grade exposure is not reflected in their guidelines.

Some scientists have been researching the impacts of electrosmog on our bodies long before our world became so highly digitized. In 1987, one study proved that exposure to electrosmog (at levels considerably lower than those observed in urban areas today) created changes in human brain waves and behaviour. Further to that, EMR may also affect our mitochondria. These are our cellular energy factories. They are fundamental to every energy-dependent process in our body, including the function of our nervous system. As a result, EMR-induced disruption of our mitochondria may effectively bolster neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. As well EMR may be playing a part in other diseases and health issues where mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated. These include psychiatric disorders, autoimmune diseases, headaches and migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, reproductive disorders… the list goes on and on!

So, the question needs asking: If EMR and RF are already having an impact on our health, what are the long-term effects for our children raised in a world choked by electrosmog? Only time will tell.

How to Minimize Your EMR & RF Exposure

While more data is required, the science that’s already in, warrants taking precautionary measures in minimizing EMR exposure, particularly if you are suffering from EHS symptoms.

5 Steps to Protect Yourself from EMF:

  1. Get rid of your cordless phones.
  2. Turn off your WiFi – Internet can be hard wired into your home to prevent WiFi exposure, as can your television “box” and any other things that are wireless and transmitting and receiving signals.
  3. Switch your cell phone to airplane mode or turn it off at night.
  4. EMR-reducing sleep sanctuary or canopies may help block EMR according to renowned doctor Dietrich Klinghardt.
  5. Finally, there is one other thing you can do for EMF protection, and that is to GET OUTSIDE! By simply spending time in nature and grounding yourself so you have direct contact with the earth, you are opening the gateway for an influx of electrons to be absorbed and distributed throughout your body. This transfer of electrons can help to neutralize oxidative stress and minimize any derangements in the electrical activities of your body. So put down your phone and spend time in nature, walking in bare feet. Ever wonder why you come back from vacation feeling so recharged?

If you believe you have symptoms that could be related to electrical hypersensitivity or any other health issues, please book an appointment to visit us at Forces of Nature. We want to help you take control of your health! Call or email us at 416-481-0222 or email Maria@ForcesofNature.ca

To your best health!
The Team at Forces of Nature Wellness Clinic
Chiropractic, Naturopathic, Osteopathic, Massage Therapy, Psychotherapy, Acupuncture/TCM/Craniosacral Therapy, Registered Dietitian

References:

https://www.aaemonline.org/EMR_rf_position.php

Leitgeb N, Schröttner J. Electrosensibility and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Bioelectromagnetics. 2003 Sep;24(6):387-94.

Trevor G. Marshall and Trudy J. Rumann Heil Electrosmog and autoimmune disease. Immunol Res. 2017; 65(1): 129–135. Published online 2016 Jul 13. doi: 10.1007/s12026-016-8825-7 PMCID: PMC5406447 PMID: 27412293

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities

woman suffering from multiple chemical sensitivities

What is Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS)?

MCS is defined as “an acquired disorder characterized by recurrent symptoms, referable to multiple organ systems, occurring in response to demonstrable exposure to many chemically unrelated compounds at doses far below those established in the general population to cause harmful effects”.

What are the symptoms of MCS?

The symptoms may include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, itching, sneezing, sore throat, chest pain, heart palpitations, breathing problems, muscle weakness, pain or stiffness, skin rash, diarrhea, bloating, gas, confusion, brain fog, memory problems, and mood changes.

What Causes MCS? How can a Naturopath Treat MCS?

That’s a good question and one for which there isn’t a clear cut answer since so many systems are involved. From a naturopathic perspective, here’s what I would consider:

An overwhelmed liver

Since the liver is responsible for clearing toxins and chemicals from our system, if chemicals aggravate the person, perhaps their liver isn’t doing an efficient job of removing them. There are many ingredients that the liver needs to have to do this effectively: B6, B12, magnesium, 5MTHF, N-acetyl cysteine, glutathione, vitamins A, C, E, zinc, selenium, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, glutamine, glycine, taurine, indole-3-carbinol and calcium-d-glucarate. Some people have genetic mutations that will impair the function of the liver, like an MTHFR mutation.

Overworked adrenal glands

The adrenals are our stress glands, they help us cope with stress and perform a number of other functions. One of which is to produce your body’s internal anti-inflammatories that suppress the immune system. Corticosteroids produced by the adrenals are powerful immune suppressors, so if the immune system is out of hand and producing excessive inflammation in the respiratory tract, the nervous system or even the brain, supporting normal function of the adrenals can sometimes help. The adrenal glands and the network that connects them to the brain, require B5, B6, C, magnesium and zinc to function well.

Food sensitivities

Consuming food sensitivities creates mild to severe inflammation in the respiratory tract. If you are sensitive to the smell of fumes, chemicals or perfumes, it may be because the tissue of the respiratory tract is irritated and inflammed already and the additional irritation from these chemicals makes the issue worse. Blood testing or an elimination diet can help determine which foods you may be sensitive to.

Leaky gut

Since 70-80% of your immune system resides around your gut, if there is inflammation that is causing symptoms like headaches, brain fog, weakness, food sensitivities, etc, it may be that your gut isn’t healthy. Resolving a leaky gut entails removing irritants like food sensitivities, yeast or unhealthy bacteria, restoring beneficial bacteria and healing the wall of the digestive tract. Digestive aids like enzymes and cholegogue herbs like dandelion and artichoke may also help.

For help with MCS or any other health concern, book a consultation with one of our naturopathic doctors.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

References

Araki S, Sakai T, Sato H, Kaneko T, Sakai R, Yokoyama K. Multiple chemical sensitivities: case definition, etiology and relations to allergy, poisoning, psychogenic illness etc. Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 1999 Sep;46(9):769-78.

Stomach Cancer Prevention

broccoli sprouts that can help fight h pylori and used for stomach cancer prevention

Sulforaphane and Stomach Cancer Prevention

Eating broccoli sprouts (specifically the sprouts) can help keep stomach cancer-causing bacteria at bay, research from Japan shows. This study supports the emerging evidence that broccoli sprouts may be able to prevent cancer in humans.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain glucoraphanin, a substance the body metabolizes into the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant sulforaphane, Dr. Akinori Yanaka of Tokyo University of Science and his colleagues note in their report.

Sulforaphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium strongly associated with stomach cancer.

The researchers had 48 people infected with H. pylori eat 70 grams a day of broccoli sprouts or alfalfa sprouts, which don’t contain sulforaphane, for eight weeks. In the men and women eating broccoli sprouts, markers of gastric inflammation were significantly reduced. Markers indicating the amount of H. pylori in gastric tissue also fell, but neither changed in the people eating alfalfa sprouts.

Once the study participants stopped eating the sprouts, their markers of inflammation and H. pylori levels returned to pre-study levels. Researchers conclude: “The findings in this study strongly suggest that sulforaphane has promise both as an antibacterial agent directed against H. pylori and as a dietary preventive agent against the development of human gastric cancer.”

Dietary phytochemicals, like sulforaphane, have been demonstrated to reduce metastasis and proliferation and safely and effectively target cellular molecules and pathways implicated in malignancy. They particularly have a knack for interfering with cancer stem cell’s self-renewal process.

Our naturopathic doctors are the experts on diet, eradicating H pylori, stomach cancer prevention (and any other cancer prevention) and taking sulforaphane as a supplement.  Book an appointment to discuss your health concerns today.

Source: Akinori Yanaka, Jed W. Fahey, Atsushi Fukumoto, Mari Nakayama, Souta Inoue, Songhua Zhang, Masafumi Tauchi, Hideo Suzuki, Ichinosuke Hyodo, and Masayuki Yamamoto Dietary Sulforaphane-Rich Broccoli Sprouts Reduce Colonization and Attenuate Gastritis in Helicobacter pylori–Infected Mice and Humans Cancer Prev Res April 2009 2; 353 doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-08-0192

Singh AK, Sharma N, Ghosh M, Park YH, Jeong DK. Emerging Importance of Dietary Phytochemicals in Fight against Cancer: Role in Targeting Cancer Stem Cells. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2016 Feb 6:0. [Epub ahead of print]

The Benefits of Fermenting Food

jars of fermenting sauerkraut

Culturing, Fermenting, Pickling – What are the health benefits?

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Almost every culture cultures food – kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, kimchi, kvass, cheese and even wine. Why? Practically speaking it was a way of preserving food, but it turns out that fermenting foods makes nutrients in the foods more accessible and has positive effects on our digestive tracts due to their probiotic properties.

Kefir consistently shows increased levels of folic acid, B vitamins and biotin depending on the strains of bacteria used.

Vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains subjected to fermentation also see increases in their nutrient profiles. For example the bioavailability of amino acids like lysine and methionine increases with fermentation.

For grains, sprouting prior to souring can also increase the availability of protein. Fermented vegetables as in the case of sauerkraut and kimchi, often see an increase in the activity of vitamin C and vitamin A.

Sauerkraut is considered particularly healing to the gut due to the presence of l-glutamine and the probiotics used in the fermentation process.  Provided your sauerkraut isn’t pasteurized.  Here’s a recipe to make your own, healthy homemade sauerkraut: http://wellnessmama.com/663/homemade-sauerkraut/

Fermentation decreases the activity of phytates (or phytic acid) naturally present in grains. Phytates are anti-nutrients that bind to minerals preventing their proper absorption in the gut. People suffering from iron deficiency often do better if they decrease their intake of grains and therefore phytates. Since souring grains reduces the phytic acid content, fermentation enables your body to absorb more minerals than you would be able to otherwise. Research has also shown that fermentation reduces the gluten content of grains like wheat and the people with a gluten intolerance can sometimes tolerate sourdough bread.

Fermented extracts from both wheat bran and soy milk have been found to possess anti-cancer activity.

References

Anti-cancer effects of fermented wheat germ extract: Zhang JY, Xiao X, Dong Y, Wu J, Yao F, Zhou XH. Effect of fermented wheat germ extract with lactobacillus plantarum dy-1 on HT-29 cell proliferation and apoptosis. J Agric Food Chem. 2015 Mar 11;63(9):2449-57. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.5b00041. Epub 2015 Mar 2.

Anti-cancer effects of lactic acid fermented soy milk: Lai LR, Hsieh SC, Huang HY, Chou CC. Effect of lactic fermentation on the total phenolic, saponin and phytic acid contents as well as anti-colon cancer cell proliferation activity of soymilk. J Biosci Bioeng. 2013 May;115(5):552-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2012.11.022. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

 

Benefits of Bone Broth

cup of delicious, nutritious bone broth

Good Bone Broth Helps Joints, Bones and Skin

“Good broth will resurrect the dead,” says a South American proverb.

Bone broth contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down building materials for cartilage and tendons like chondroitin sulphate and glucosamine, which are sold as supplements for arthritis and joint pain. Broth and soup made with fish heads and carcasses provide iodine and thyroid-strengthening substances.

When broth is cooled, it congeals due to the presence of gelatin. Gelatin (or hydrolysed collagen) was found to be useful in the treatment of a long list of diseases including peptic ulcers, anti-aging, diabetes, muscle diseases, infectious diseases, jaundice, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Gelatin is a hydrophilic colloid, which means that it attracts and holds liquids, so it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut.

It’s also used as a plug to stop bleeding and leakage of cerebrospinal fluid after surgery.

Here’s an Immune Boosting Chicken Broth on our website: Immune Boosting Chicken Broth Recipe

References for Use of Gelatin in Healing:

Gelatin for diabetic foot ulcer: Teles Pinto NM. Case study in treatment of diabetic foot ulcer with alimentary gelatin. Br J Nurs. 2011 Mar 24-Apr 14;20(6):S4, S6, S8.

Use of hydrolysed gelatin for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis: Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2000 Oct;30(2):87-99.

Hydrolysed collagen and astaxanthin improve skin elasticity: Yoon HS, Cho HH, Cho S, Lee SR, Shin MH, Chung JH. Supplementating with dietary astaxanthin combined with collagen hydrolysate improves facial elasticity and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -12 expression: a comparative study with placebo. J Med Food. 2014 Jul;17(7):810-6. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2013.3060. Epub 2014 Jun 23.

Ma LT, Liu H, Gong Q, Li Tao, Ang Bei Y, Feng GJ. Prevention of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage with absorbable hemostatic fluid gelatin. Zhongguo Gu Shang. 2015 Aug;28(8):717-21.

 

 

 

Food Addiction: Eatertainment

Woman overeating because of a food addiction

Food Addiction, it’s a Thing

Patients often tell me that they eat when they are either bored or lonely. They can be very structured and disciplined with their diet otherwise, but this emotional eating is their dietary undoing. It doesn’t help that food manufacturers strive to make foods as addictive as possible. There was an excellent book review on eating as entertainment and food addiction in the New Yorker several years ago. I’ve borrowed this excerpt from it because I couldn’t have written it better:

“David A. Kessler, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, says that it’s not that sweet and oily foods have become less expensive; it’s that they’ve been re-engineered while we weren’t looking.  Kessler spends a lot of time meeting with (often anonymous) consultants who describe how they are trying to fashion products that offer what has become known in the food industry as “eatertainment.” Fat, sugar, and salt turn out to be the crucial elements in this quest: different“eatertaining” items mix these ingredients in different but invariably highly caloric combinations. A food scientist for Frito-Lay relates how the company is seeking to create “a lot of fun in your mouth” with products like Nacho Cheese Doritos, which meld “three different cheese notes” with lots of salt and oil. Another product-development expert talks about how she is trying to “unlock the code of craveability,” and a third about the effort to “cram as much hedonism as you can in one dish.”

Kessler invents his own term—“conditioned hypereating”—to describe how people respond to these laboratory-designed concoctions. Foods like Cinnabons and Starbucks’ Strawberries & Crème Frappuccinos are, he maintains, like drugs: “Conditioned hypereating works the same way as other ‘stimulus response’ disorders in which reward is involved, such as compulsive gambling and substance abuse.” For Kessler, the analogy is not merely rhetorical: research on rats, he maintains, proves that the animals’ brains react to sweet, fatty foods the same way that addicts’ respond to cocaine.”

If you would like to read the whole article, which is excellent, here’s the
link:

XXXL: Why are we so fat? By

If you are struggling with food addiction, get healthy eating advice from our naturopathic doctors. Book now.

The Importance of Play

kid playing, play outside

Play Time is for Grown-ups

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

After an afternoon on the skating rink, I thought it might be worthwhile emphasizing the importance of playing. Playing teaches kids coordination, adult roles, social interaction, and basic problem-solving skills. But it’s not just for kids. Play is important no matter what
your age.

Play is good for your health. Outdoor play often involves exercise, relieves stress and releases a whole range of feel-good chemicals in your brain.  A few weeks back, my son and I had some spare time, so we headed out to the playground at his school.  He wanted to play hide and seek. I was all “I don’t want to, it’s for kids, I’m too big, I’m too old, blah, blah, blah…”  I had all the excuses not to, but he was persistent and so I acquiesced.  You know what?  I had a blast, we had fun, we laughed, we played and we bonded because of a game of hide and seek.  Best of all it involved NO electronic devices, no special equipment, no expensive membership or admission fees.

Playing is good for your brain, too. It creates a state of hyper-creativity that literally changes the way you see the world.

It unites your mind and body. In play, the gap between physical sensation and mental sensation is bridged.

Playing creates social bonds. It is a rock-solid foundation for social behaviour. Hence the adage, the family that plays together stays together!

Fortunately, there’s an easy, natural and proven effective remedy for play deprivation: go out and do it!

In this day and age, it’s easy to get caught up in being all adult, serious, busy, goal oriented, getting stuff done, work, work, work, emails etc.  It’s equally important to take some time off to play, have fun, be social and bond with those you are closest to.

The Health Benefits of Avocados

 

how to choose ripe avocados, avocado benefitsAvocado Health Benefits: Guacamole Anyone?

Definitely right up there with the best superfoods, avocados are bursting with health benefits, here are the top nine:

1. Prostate Cancer Inhibition

2. Oral Cancer Defense

Certain compounds in avocados seek out and destroy pre-cancerous and cancerous oral cells.

3. Breast Cancer Protection

Avocado is high in oleic acid, which has been shown to prevent breast cancer in numerous studies.

4. Eye Health

Avocados have more of the carotenoid lutein than any other commonly consumed fruit. Lutein protects against macular degeneration and cataracts, two disabling age-related eye diseases.

5. Lower Cholesterol

Avocados are high in beta-sitosterol, a compound that has been shown to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, 45 volunteers experienced an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after eating avocados for only one week.

6. Heart Health & Stroke Prevention

One cup of avocado has 23% of the recommended daily value of folate. Studies show that people who eat diets rich in folate have a much lower incidence of heart disease than those who don’t. The vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione in avocado are also great for your heart.

7. Better Nutrient Absorption

Research has found that certain nutrients like carotenoids are absorbed better when eaten with avocado.

8. Glutathione Source

Avocados are an excellent source of glutathione, an important antioxidant that researchers say is important in preventing aging, cancer, and heart disease.

9. Vitamin E Powerhouse

Avocados are the best fruit source of vitamin E, an essential vitamin that protects against many diseases and helps maintains overall health.

How to choose a ripe avocado:

You don’t want it to be too mushy, but on the other hand you don’t want it too hard.  It should be brownish all over rather than green, slightly soft to pressure but not mushy.

To help you get all these fantastic benefits deliciously there are recipes on our website for Asparagus and Avocado Salad and Spinach, Avocado and Mango Salad.

Tips for Your Best Year Ever!

health tips 2016

5 Tips for a Healthy & Happy 2016

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

  1. Find a new passion. Take yourself out of your comfort zone to try something you’ve always wanted to or something you’ve admired from afar.  Take up knitting, golfing, belly dancing, cricket, extreme frisbie, wake boarding, skateboarding, badminton, karate, learn circus feats or Mandarin the list goes on and on. Variety is the spice of life and keeps it interesting and fun.
  2. Challenge yourself.  Along the lines of #1, you never know whether you might be the world’s best juggler or rock climber if you never try. Setting new goals and accomplishing them provides you with a sense of self-satisfaction and confidence.
  3. Never overindulge two days in a row.  Everybody has a binge now and then, but the key is to regroup right after and get back on track with healthy eating habits. The gross feeling the next day helps reinforce the benefits of taking good care of yourself the rest of the time.
  4. Exercise your mind and body every day.  Physical activity reduces stress, and improves every aspect of your health.  Even 5 minutes per day of exercise is better than none, although a good goal is 6 hours per week of exercise.
  5. Plan adventures. Life can get mundane without something exciting to look forward to.  Planning a trip and finding interesting out of the way things to do while you are there adds to the anticipation and the end experience.  Happy memories are one of life’s greatest riches.

Sprouts and Stomach Cancer Bugs

broccoli sprouts that can help fight h pylori and stomach cancer

Broccoli Sprouts and H. Pylori

Eating broccoli sprouts can help keep stomach cancer-causing bacteria at bay, research from Japan shows.  This study supports the emerging evidence that they may be able to prevent cancer in humans.

Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain glucoraphanin, a substance the body metabolises into the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant sulforaphane, Dr. Akinori Yanaka of Tokyo University of Science and his colleagues note in their report.

Sulforaphane can kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium strongly associated with stomach cancer. The researchers had 48 people who were already infected with H. pylori eat 70 grams per day of broccoli or alfalfa sprouts (which don’t contain sulforaphane) for eight weeks. In the men and women eating broccoli sprouts, markers of gastric inflammation were significantly reduced. Markers indicating the amount of H. pylori in gastric tissue also fell, but neither changed in the people eating the alfalfa ones. Once the study participants stopped eating them, their markers of inflammation and H. pylori levels returned to pre-study levels.

Researchers conclude: “The findings in this study strongly suggest that sulforaphane has promise both as an antibacterial agent directed against H. pylori and as a dietary preventive agent against the development of human gastric cancer.”

SOURCE: Cancer Prevention Research, April 2009.

Probiotics for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

woman with chronic fatigue

Can Probiotics Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

Probiotic (good bacteria) supplements can help some people with chronic fatigue syndrome feel better report Swedish researchers who conducted a small study. Evidence is increasingly pointing toward the need for individualized treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome. The cause of this condition, characterized by debilitating fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest and may be worsened by physical or mental activity, remains unclear, although there is evidence that dysfunction in the neuro-hormonal system or the immune system could be involved.

Why Would Probiotics Help CFS?

Given that there is a close connection between the gut and the immune system, as well as the central nervous system it’s not surprising that probiotics can help relieve chronic fatigue syndrome.  I would particularly expect this type of treatment to be helpful in patients who have required antibiotic treatment, who have digestive issues as well and/or who suffer from recurring yeast infections.

3 Ways to Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

  1. Reduce your stress level.  Stress negatively influences the immune system, and depletes the adrenal glands.
  2. Restore healthy levels of vitamin C, B5, B6, Magnesium and Zinc. These vitamins and minerals are in high demand under stress, become depleted, negatively affecting the function of the adrenals, the production of neurotransmitters and muscle function.
  3. Support healthy gut bacteria with the right probiotics. The benefits in CFS were seen with a specific strain known as Bifidobacter infantis.  Good quality probiotics will guarantee the bacteria count until the time of expiry (not the time of manufacture).  FOS in probiotics will often cause an aggravation and I would recommend avoiding supplements that contain FOS.

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Probiotics and Chronic Fatigue References:

Galland L. The gut microbiome and the brain. J Med Food. 2014 Dec;17(12):1261-72. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2014.7000.

Groeger D, O’Mahony L, Murphy EF, Bourke JF, Dinan TG, Kiely B, Shanahan F, Quigley EM. Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 modulates host inflammatory processes beyond the gut. Gut Microbes. 2013 Jul-Aug;4(4):325-39. doi: 10.4161/gmic.25487.

 

How To Survive a Hectic Lifestyle

how to survive a hectic lifestyle

6 Ways to Survive a Hectic Lifestyle

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Schedule “Me” Time

Take a certain amount of time every day just for you. Read a book, enjoy a cup of tea, take a walk, have a bath, get a pedi, have a massage, or do a craft (colouring for adults is hot right now!).

Exercise Every Day

Exercise is an investment in your short and long term health. It is the best stress reducer and it helps prevent every chronic illness. Walk, jog, bike, run, swim, dance, do a class, take karate, do some yoga,, whatever, just make it a priority like you would brushing your teeth or having a shower.

Take Vacations

Don’t be a martyr and forgo vacations in favour of work. Vacations will help you recharge and you’ll come back more productive afterwards.

Re-evaluate Priorities

Should work really be the most important thing in your life? Why?

Bolster Your Adrenal Glands

The fast pace depletes the necessary ingredients for your adrenal glands to perform their job, then you can’t deal with the hectic pace as easiliy. Take B5, B6, C, Magnesium and Zinc along with adaptogens like ashwagandha, rhodiola, schisandra and eleuthrococcus.

Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night

It doesn’t have to be 8 hours per night, but it should be at least 7 to allow your body to recover and recharge. Staying up to work on a project will hinder your performance the next day.

Book an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors now for more advice about how to lead your healthiest, happiest life possible.

Comfort Food

 comfort food baked apples low carb dessert

Reaching for Comfort Food? How not to Gain Weight over the Holidays

As the weather is getting colder everyone starts reaching for the comfort food. Unfortunately most of us don’t reach for “skinny” comfort food. Usually we reach for the starchy, sweet and creamy and in doing so we gain some extra weight. A little extra weight over the winter is a perfectly natural thing, provides a little more insulation against the elements. But if you had enough padding already and don’t need to add some, then it’s time to rethink comfort foods or at least do some behavior modification:

  • Have just one bite – Remember how awesome the taste is of that first delicious bite of pumpkin pie? Do the rest of the bites have the same impact?  Probably not.  The biggest kick is in that first bite.  So savor the first bite (or two or three), but once you’ve lost that initial oomph, put the rest aside.
  • Move more – You can buy yourself some wiggle room by adding some extra exercise to your day.  Know you’re going out for a big meal?  Throw in an extra bout of cardio or weights to burn off some extra ahead of time.  It may also put you in a more healthy mindset that you don’t really want to undo by binging on junk.
  • Pick your Poison – Love, love, love pumpkin pie but only so-so about the whip cream?  Have it plain then.  Not a fan of stuffing but love yams?  Take one and not the other.   Be selective and be moderate.
  • Healthy alternatives – No one wants to feel deprived, especially over the holidays. Here are some healthier swaps for some of your favourites:

Healthier comfort food recipes:
Replace high fat cream soups with our Cream of Squash Soup
Replace regular pumpkin pie with our Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Replace apple pie with a Baked Apple
Replace milkshakes with Fresh Fruit Smoothies

Time for Cranberries!

cranberries are heart healthy

The Health Benefits of Cranberries

It’s the time of year that you can find cranberries easily in the grocery store. It’s a good time to pick up a few bags and throw them in the freezer for future use. Here are some of the health benefits of cranberries:

  • Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections – The proanthocyanidins found in cranberry appear to block E. coli bacteria from sticking to the cell walls of the uterus and bladder.
  • Reduction of Dental Plaque – It is believed that cranberry juice can inhibit the aggregation of bacteria that cause dental plaque.
  • Anti-Cancer Activity – The proanthocyanidin compounds found in cranberry may exhibit some anti-carcinogenic activity.
  • Heart Disease – Cranberry extract has been shown to inhibit low density lipoprotein oxidation reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Kidney stones – Quinic acid,abundant in cranberries, may help to prevent the development of kidney stones.

There’s a brand recipe on our website for Mulled Cranberry Apple Cider, click here to enjoy.

Sleep: Too Much of a Good Thing?

Woman can't sleep due to insomnia

Can You Sleep Too Much?

A good night’s sleep is essential for health. But oversleeping has been linked to a host of medical problems, including:

Diabetes:People who sleep less than 5 hours per night or more than nine hours each night have a 50 percent greater risk of diabetes than people who sleep seven hours per night.

Obesity:One recent study showed that people who slept for 9 or 10 hours every night were 21 percent more likely to become obese over a six-year period.

Headaches:Sleeping longer than usual can cause head pain. Researchers believe this is due to the effect oversleeping has on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin.

Back pain: No more lying in bed if your back hurts and make sure your mattress is in good shape.

Depression:Roughly 15 percent of people with depression sleep too much. This may in turn make their depression worse, because regular sleep habits are important to the recovery process.

Heart disease:The Nurses’ Health Study, which involved nearly 72,000 women, showed that women who slept nine to 11hours per night were 38 percent more likely to have coronary heart disease.

Death: Multiple studies have found that people who sleep nine or more hours per night have significantly higher death rates. No specific reason for this correlation has been determined.

So be sure to get your zzzzzz’s, but not too much!

Raw Honey vs Antibiotics

bee on a calendula flower collecting pollen to make raw honey

Raw Honey Beats Antibiotics – Yes Please!

by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Ottawa University researchers found that certain types of honey kill bacteria that cause sinus infections, in most cases better than antibiotics.

The researchers have tested raw Manuka honey from New Zealand, and raw Sidr honey from Yemen. The two killed all floating bacteria in liquid, and 63-91 percent of biofilms — microorganisms that sometimes form a protective layer in sinus cavities, urinary tracts, catheters and heart valves, protecting bacteria from normal drug treatments and often leading to chronic infections. I have often recommended raw honey to help kill off Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers.

The most effective antibiotic, rifampin, killed just 18 percent of the biofilm samples in the tests.

NOTE: Raw honey should never be given to children under the age of 1 due to their increased risk of contracting botulism.

You may want to check here to make sure your honey is good quality, there have been issues with honey imported from China and with overly processed honey:

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.VkT0U3arS70

If you’re looking for other alternatives to antibiotics, we have many natural treatment options to fight infection and prevent recurrence.  See one of our naturopathic doctors.

B is for Bone Health

picture of B vitamins that are important for bone health

B Vitamins and Bone Density

Older adults who are low in B vitamins or who have elevated levels of a blood protein called homocysteine are at increased risk of suffering a hip fracture. Elevated homocysteine levels are also linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Homocysteine levels go up when B vitamin levels go down. In this study, researchers found that homocysteine and certain B vitamins were each independently linked to hip fracture risk.

Men and women with vitamin B6 or B12 deficiencies were 60 percent more likely than those with normal levels to sustain a hip fracture.

High homocysteine levels lead to a 50 percent to 70 percent increased risk of a hip fracture — regardless of their B vitamin levels.

Lab research suggests that B vitamins play a role in maintaining bone density, and studies have linked low blood levels of the vitamins with low bone mass. As B6 declines, bone loss accelerates. Although homocysteine was related to hip fracture risk, it is not due to bone loss.  Diet changes and vitamin supplements are easy and effective methods for controlling B vitamin and homocysteine levels.

Vitamin B6 is found in foods like potatoes, bananas, beans and fortified cereals; vitamin B12 is found mainly in meat, eggs, fish and poultry.

Relevant blood work: vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, fasting homocysteine

Yours in health,
Pamela

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, June 2008.

5 Things I Love About My Patients

by Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND

Having practiced naturopathic medicine for 18+ years, I’ve noticed a certain common ground among the people who seek my care.  Here they are:

Intelligence

intelligent people
They’re intelligent people.  I can condense 18 years of knowledge into 45 minutes and they’ll grasp and embrace the concepts, often complicated ones, that I’m trying to explain.

Open-minded and Inquisitive

Inquisitive
They’re open-minded and inquisitive.  Inquiring minds want to know how their body works, why certain issues have become a problem, and how to address the root of the problem to fix it on a more permanent basis.

Researchers

Research
They do their research.  Most of my patients have already done some online research before coming to see me and will again after they’ve been to see me. They’re educated and informed and want to know more about how best to help themselves.

Take Responsibility

responsibility for health
They are willing to take responsibility for their own health.  They’re not expecting me to produce magic.  They’re ok with getting their hands dirty to change some things, take a couple of supplements, address their lifestyle and be proactive about being healthy.

Appreciative

thankful appreciative boy
Appreciative. After being bounced around the medical system, they’re appreciative of the time, kindness, caring and respect that they receive.

Other characteristics of Naturopathic Doctor patients:

  1. They have been through the conventional medicine system and haven’t had satisfactory treatment.  They have usually already been to medical doctors, specialists, or fertility clinics and are still suffering.  They often feel let down by the conventional system.  Their symptoms have been passed off as “just stress”, “normal” or “unexplained”.
  2. They don’t want to take drugs to mask their concerns.
  3. They prefer a more natural approach through diet, exercise, vitamins, minerals, herbs, acupuncture, massage therapy or chiropractic treatment.
  4. They may be looking for more thorough testing than has been done already.

What is it like to be a Naturopathic Doctor patient?

It’s not at all unlike going to see your family doctor.  You’ll be welcomed when you arrive in our waiting area.  If there are forms to complete, you can fill them in online prior to your visit or in person when you arrive.  For your initial visit, we’ll spend 90 minutes discussing your health history in detail, your current concerns, we’ll do a screening physical exam (nothing internal or invasive), and we’ll discuss in detail what the plan should be and how to implement it.  Naturopathic treatment would include diet & lifestyle recommendations, vitamins, minerals, herbs and/or acupuncture.  After the initial visit, follow ups can be scheduled anywhere from 1-12 weeks apart depending on your concerns and your treatment.

If you share these traits and you’re looking for solutions to your health issues, I would love to work with you too.

In health,

Pamela