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Cancer prevention & cancer treatment – important naturopathic tips

Posted By on November 21, 2016

10 Naturopathic tips on cancer prevention and cancer treatment

When faced with a cancer, it’s a shock and also a wake-up call to take action.  Obviously, something or several things are out of balance to allow a cancer to grow in your body.  It is a vast topic and there are several nuances to cancer care and it’s best to consult a health professional for your unique situation; however, I’ve noted some important naturopathic medical tips below from the perspective of cancer prevention and cancer treatment.

5 Naturopathic Cancer Prevention Tips:

1) Eat well, not too much.  Most know what it is to eat a healthy diet – “eat your vegetables!”  Of course, there’s more to a healthy diet but vegetables are a top priority.  Lets take one particular example, edible mushrooms have been shown to be associated with a reduced risk of developing cancer.  Several studies have tracked the cancer risk based on mushroom intake.  A study looking at breast cancer risk found that women who ate more mushrooms had a lower risk of developing cancer (based on the summary of 10 independent studies).  Another important dietary factor to keep in mind is to avoid over-eating.  When you eat, after the food is digested, absorbed and integrated into your body, there is inevitably some waste that is also created as a part of simply metabolizing the food components.  Part of this metabolic waste is what are called ‘free radicals’ or ‘oxidative stress’ byproducts.  When you eat reasonable amounts, your body can break these byproducts down without a problem; however, when you overeat, it creates more work, more metabolic byproducts to deal with, such that excessive free radical damage can occur.  Free radical damage can cause genetic (DNA) damage which is associated with cancer initiation.  So, keep your food intake regular, healthy, though not excessive.

2) Sleep well, in the dark.  Those with good sleeping habits end up having better internal biochemical and hormonal rhythms; if you ensure that night time light exposure is kept to a minimum, then there may be cancer-prevention benefits.  Good sleep is generally getting 7-8 hours of sleep without having to wake up more than once and feeling refreshed upon waking.  If you’re doing that you’re on the right track.

3) Drink your tea, green or white is best.  Remember above I mentioned that free radicals can promote cancer initiation, well, natural substances that inhibit that are called ‘antioxidants.’  Tea contains several antioxidants but there are more in green tea and in white tea (note, green and white tea are from the same plant used for black tea, they are just less processed/oxidized than black tea leaves).  Japanese researchers published a 2015 study in the Journal of Cancer Prevention; they tracked the onset of cancer for 10 years in people who drank green tea and found that women showed delays in cancer development by 7 years on average and 3 years for men.  Followup studies found that when green tea extract is additionally supplemented, the rate of recurring colorectal cancer reduced by 50%.  This is quite amazing for one dietary beverage and a supplement.  Drinking 3-4 mugs of green tea daily may provide some protection against cancer.

4) Use turmeric spice.  This yellowish-orange spice is commonly used in East and South Asian cuisine and it is interesting that India has a lower cancer rate than Western countries overall.  One of the proposed reasons is the likely anti-cancer related benefits of turmeric.  Some tips to incorporate turmeric is to use it in your cooking (mixing with existing spices), add it to your smoothies, or mix with hot milk, coconut oil or even when preparing desserts – try for 1-2 teaspoons daily.

5) Avoid chemical exposures.  Several cancer types have been found to be associated with environmental chemical exposures, the most common environmentally-sensitive ones are breast cancer and prostate cancer.  One type of chemical which has been examined is ‘bisphenol A’ or ‘BPA.’  Laboratory research has correlated exposure to such hormone-disrupting chemicals and the risk for several cancers.  Chemicals such as BPA (in plastics), pthalates (in cosmetic products and plastics), brominated fire retardants (in mattresses and furniture), chlorinated pesticides, perfluorinated compounds (found in non-stick products), triclosan (in hand sanitizers, toothpaste) and PCBs have hormone-mimicking effects and can disturb normal hormonal regulation.  Try to avoid/reduce exposure to these products and find alternatives.  Unfortunately, we cannot rid all of the potentially damaging chemicals from our world so it is vital to do regular cleansing/detoxification routines to reduce the buildup of such chemicals in the body.

If you’re ready to put a prevention plan in place, contact my clinic to arrange your first consultation.  You can also learn more by signing-up for my newsletter and research updates (usually sent quarterly) or keep an eye out for an upcoming talk on this and other topics.

5 Naturopathic Cancer Treatment Tips:

1) Consider collaborative naturopathic support treatment.  In addition to the advice of your oncology physicians, seek the help of a registered naturopathic doctor to provide a holistic approach to your treatment (more detailed tips below).  Naturopathic support may involve solutions to cope with the mental-emotional load that comes with a severe/chronic illness, provide options to improve energy and sleep quality, or to deal with chemotherapy side effects such as nausea or hair loss, or to optimize your diet while facing this illness.

2) Consider mistletoe herbal treatment.  If you haven’t heard of it yet, you will soon.  Thousands of research studies have been conducted (mostly in Europe) on the value of injectable mistletoe herb extract.  It’s mostly recommended as a naturopathic ‘adjuvant’ to regular oncology treatment.  Several studies have shown it to be beneficial at improving not only the quality of life factors during regular cancer treatments, but also improving the chances of increased survival.  It is typically administered just under the skin as a subcutaneous injection, or intravenously for more aggressive support (see image).

3) Consider intravenous vitamin C treatment.  More and more clinical studies are now detailing the role of intravenous vitamin C (IVC) in cancer support.  For instance, some studies have demonstrated improved quality of life in those with breast cancer with IVC.  Another study looked at patients with cancer that had spread to the bones which didn’t improve with radiation, the researchers found not only reduced bone pain when given IVC, but also significantly improved survival and overall performance status.  Another study found benefits with IVC when combined with chemotherapy for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.  Finally, IVC was also found to be helpful in cases with kidney, bladder and B-cell lymphoma.  It remains to be seen where IVC is best suited in cancer support, but it is an adjunctive treatment that I have found useful for several patients I have had the pleasure to work with over the past 10 years.

4) Read more about my Six Step Naturopathic Cancer Support Program here.  Step one is basic naturopathic support; Step two is Psychotherapy; Step three is immune therapy; Step four is optimizing conventional oncology treatment; Step five is targeted supplemental strategies (such as attempting to reduce cancer spread); Step six is monitoring and maintenance care.  Detailed references and breakdown of each step is provided on my website as a good overview of how naturopathic care can support those with cancer.

5) Read about published cancer treatment case studies for those who had a positive outcome using naturopathic treatments. Learn more about my Cancer Support Program at future upcoming public talks.

Cancer treatment can be complicated, though more research is finding the role and benefits of naturopathic co-management.  For a naturopathic perspective, contact us to arrange an assessment visit – 905-597-7201.

Fatty liver disease – kids & adults

Posted By on October 21, 2016

You or your child may have ‘fatty liver disease’

According to the Canadian Liver Foundation, 25-33% of Canadian adults have this disease.  That’s a lot of people in a population to have a disease – however, most likely don’t even know it.  It has become a quiet epidemic of liver dysfunction.  Not so surprisingly, another newer epidemic is in how often it is now present in children.  Epidemiologic research shows it is in 3-10% of children.  In this post, I’ll inform you of what factors cause it and what can help.

What is fatty liver disease?

Also known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), it essentially means there is excess fat tissue in the liver, which has replaced the normal liver tissue, which reduces the livers normal capacity to function.  It sounds benign, but that fat can lead to inflammation, fibrosis and necrosis in the more advanced type of NAFLD, called steatohepatitis, or even cirrhosis.

Causes of fatty liver disease

  • being overweight
  • poor sleep quality or quantity
  • poor diet quality
  • inadequate activity/exercise
  • diabetes
  • In children:
    • malnutrition during pregnancy
    • hormonal imbalance in pregnancy (see larger graphic)

      NAFLD factors in Pregnancy (Fowden, 2006, Physiology)

      NAFLD factors in Pregnancy (Fowden, 2006, Physiology)

    • epigenetic influences
    • high fructose drinks
    • factors for adults (above)

The build up of fats in the liver is often seen as part of the process of a disturbed overall metabolism (‘metabolic syndrome’).  This may also include overly oxidized fats and cholesterol, insulin resistance, mitochondrial and immune system dysfunction, intestinal microbial imbalance as well as inflammation.

Naturopathic treatments for those with fatty liver disease

  • lifestyle changes such as improved sleep, regular exercise
  • dietary changes such as increased vegetables and fibre; reduced poor quality fats, high starch foods, fructose/sugars
  • herbal treatments such as berberine, milk thistle, turmeric, quercetin
  • omega-3 polyunsaturated fats
  • melatonin
  • probiotics
  • address toxin burdens which can disrupt normal liver functions

To arrange a comprehensive naturopathic assessment, contact our office – 905-597-7201.

Signs of Prediabetes in Children

Posted By on January 19, 2016

Does your child or grandchild have prediabetes?
Most may wonder about this question for adults but diabetes and it’s precursor, prediabetes, is getting more common in childhood and adolescence.  I’ve outlined some signs of childhood prediabetes to watch out for below…if you notice these signs, get your child tested.  I’m also giving a talk on Preventing and Treating Diabetes and Prediabetes this Thursday the 21st at 6:30pm, please join me to get much more informed on the topic.  Help me attain my fundraising goal in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association and make a donation through this link or at my upcoming talk.
Signs of prediabetes in children:
  1. Dark patches of skin (called acanthosis nigricans) – usually appearing on the neck, upper back, knees, knuckles or armpits.
  2. Fatigue is very common in kids with pre/diabetes.  If there’s no obvious reason for it, it may be a sign of pre/diabetes.
  3. Increased hunger.  Since the body is not responding well to the extra insulin, the urge to eat remains.  If you notice increased hunger it may be a sign of prediabetes.
  4. Increased thirst & frequent urination.  These are telltale signs of prediabetes.  The body is trying to get rid of the extra glucose through more urination…which makes you more thirsty.
  5. Other signs in children: yeast infections, delayed skin healing of cuts or wounds
2016 Naturopathic Seminar Schedule - click to see my upcoming talks
My upcoming seminars:
  1. Jan 21st, 6:30pm - Prediabetes and diabetes - Naturopathic treatment and prevention.  Donations accepted for Canadian Diabetes Association.
  2. Jan 28th, 6:30pm - Alzheimer’s & other dementia’s - Naturopathic treatment and prevention.  Donations accepted for Alzheimer Society.
  3. Feb 4th, 6:30pm – Cholesterol and optimizing heart health
  4. Feb 11th, 6:30pm - Depression and anxiety, Naturopathic Treatment
  5. Feb 18th, 6:30pm - Crohn’s and Colitis, Naturopathic Treatment
  6. Feb 25th, 6:30pm - ADHD & learning disorders, Naturopathic Program for Success
Seminar Location:
Four Seasons Naturopathic Wellness (rear entrance)
305 Carrville Rd, Richmond Hill, Ontario
Cost - FREE.  Food donations for the Richmond Hill Food Bank will be accepted (click to see which foods are in greatest need).  Monetary donations will also be accepted for topic-related charities.
RSVP at 905-597-7201 or online

Alternatives to benzodiazepines

Posted By on September 12, 2014

Alternatives to benzodiazepines

“Doctor, I just can’t breathe and I feel so overwhelmed and I can’t stop crying, I don’t even know why…it’s hard to function, I need help right now.”  This is the alarm-call that leads to a prescription for one of the fastest acting and effective (yet addictive) types of medications, benzodiazepines.  This medication has become the mainstay of medicine to alleviate mental-emotional distress (eg: anxiety, panic attacks) and insomnia.  However, it is only meant to be used short term: a few doses, a few days, maybe a week.  If taken longer than this short period of time, then the risk of dependency arises as well as other known and documented risks such as: 50% increased risk of dementia, dizziness and impaired coordination (with increased risk of falling), feelings of depression, drowsiness, trembling, headache, etc.

The challenge of course is how to help these patients ‘in the moment’ when they need something to help them get through the next few minutes, hours or days.  From the perspective of a naturopathic doctor, I have found a few treatment options to be effective and can serve as real options once the person has been assessed, I’ve listed a few below.

Naturopathic options to Benzodiazepines

  1. Custom homeopathic medicine selection.  Based on the patients symptoms, a specifically matched homeopathic remedy can work wonders.  Some examples include the remedies, Aconite, Argentum-nitricum and Gelsemium.
  2. GABA.  This is a neurotransmitter that helps calm the mind to reduce excess nervous stimulation.  It can be taken as a specific supplement, or indirectly supported by herbs that improve GABA functions such as extracts of the herb passionflower.
  3. Bach remedies.  These are plant-based diluted extracts that can be selected to match the symptoms and situation the patient is experiencing.  These can also bring about quick changes.
  4. Myers cocktail.  This is a nutritional injection that helps reduce acute anxiety.

Of course, once the acute situation has been calmed, it is fundamental to figure out the background of why these sudden attacks are happening and warrants a full naturopathic assessment to understand and address the underlying cause(s).

5 new uses for vitamin C

Posted By on May 5, 2014

5 New uses for Vitamin C

I often think of vitamin C as the easiest nutrient to consume through food, but likewise it is easy to be deficient and lose since it is water soluble and is eliminated easily from the body.   Many fruits and vegetables are good sources, even organ meats such as liver are a good source of vitamin C.  Most have heard of vitamin C as being beneficial for resolving colds quicker and for immune system support overall, but there are many more research-verified uses for vitamin C for both prevention and treatment, five are below.

1. Childhood depression.  A study comparing the benefit of childhood antidepressant medication on its own, or combined with vitamin C found a much more significant decrease in depressive symptoms in children in the vitamin C group.  The study appeared in the March 2013 edition of Nutrition Journal.  This makes a lot of sense since many previous studies have found that antioxidant balance has an impact on neurologic and psychiatric disorders, and vitamin C alone impacts particular neurotransmitter levels in the brain.  Note that vitamin C is the brains most abundant antioxidant.  Theories also propose that antioxidants like vitamin C may reduce the likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviours that are linked to antidepressant medication in children and adolescents.  Many other naturopathic treatment options exist for childhood depression, but this study provides hope for families of how to optimize childhood mental health.

2. High blood pressure (hypertension).  A 2012 review study conducted by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine researchers looked at many other research studies on the role of vitamin C in blood pressure.  The authors concluded that vitamin C reduced both the systolic (upper number) and diastolic (lower number) blood pressure.  As little as 500mg a day can make a difference, but people may need more depending on their unique needs.  Get your vitamin C tested so you know where you stand.

3. Hemorrhagic stroke.  Besides immune support, it is known that the body also requires vitamin C for the production of collagen – a structural supportive protein – found in many tissues of the body, including within arteries and veins.  It is no wonder then that a recent French study found that those with hemorrhagic stroke were deficient in vitamin C, and that those with normal levels of vitamin C were released in half the time from neurology care units compared to those with vitamin C deficiency.  Vitamin C also has a blood pressure reducing effect which may be another reason why stroke risk is reduced.

4. Cancer.  Many studies are now showing the benefits of high dose (intravenous) vitamin C in cancer care.  Researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center published a 2014 study which found that intravenous vitamin C with concurrent chemotherapy reduced chemotherapy-induced toxicity in patients with ovarian cancer.  Another study published in 2012 in the journal Anticancer Drugs looked at the effect of high dose vitamin C in prostate cancer tissues and found that 5 out of 6 types of prostate cancer cells responded well from vitamin C, particularly against hormone-refractory prostate cancer.  Other studies have shown potential benefits of high dose vitamin C in a variety of tumour types such as breast, stomach, brain, colon, pancreas, bladder, kidney, lung, thyroid, skin cancer, B-cell lymphoma, etc.

5. Anxiety in Diabetes (type 2).  Those with diabetes are prone to anxiety, depression and stress.  It is known that those with diabetes have a higher level of free radical (oxidative) stress, and may benefit from antioxidants. A 2013 study conducted in Iran tracked  45 people with type 2 diabetes and found that those taking vitamin C supplements experienced a significantly reduced level of anxiety.

Thyroid help

Posted By on June 19, 2013

Is it my thyroid?
Over my 13 years in practice, I’ve either heard this question from my concerned patients, or thought of this gland as a cause of the symptoms many of my patients face.  It is a confusing area of hormonal health and I will give some of my experience and understanding to help clarify the health effects of thyroid imbalance and what to do about it.
The thyroid is a small gland that produces vital hormones for the entire body.  When there are low levels of activated thyroid hormone (called ‘T3′), the body’s reactions and functions slow down – like a thirsty and hungry construction worker, you just can’t work well without the food and drink, that is, without T3 – this is the hypothyroid state.  Similarly, when the T3 level is elevated, your awareness, heart rate, thoughts and mood are heightened – like a person who has had much too much coffee, this is like the hyperthyroid state.  Eighty percent of thyroid problems relate to a low functioning thyroid, and this is what I will mostly write about.
Symptoms & Signs of Low Functioning Thyroid (Hypothyroidism):
  • low energy, quick to exhaustion
  • sensitivity to the cold
  • weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • weak muscles
  • mentally foggy and forgetful
  • depressed mood and possibly nervousness
  • hair loss or thinning hair
  • rough, thin, itchy, cold, acne-prone skin
  • puffy appearance
  • enlarged neck, hoarse voice
  • numbness or tingling hands and feet
  • menstrual problems
  • low libido
  • infertility
  • constipation
  • anemia
  • elevated cholesterol

If you have 3 or more symptoms/signs from the above list, it’s worth getting your thyroid more comprehensively tested.

Illnesses Related to Thyoid Imbalance:
  • Auto-immune diseases (eg: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Grave’s disease)
  • Celiac disease (strong senstivity to gluten-containing grains like wheat)
  • PMS
  • Clinical depression
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Chronic fatigue immuneodeficiency syndrome (CFIDS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Low stomach acid production (known as hypochlorhydria)
Causes of Hypothyroidism:
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Excess iodine
  • Selenium deficiency
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Mercury toxicity
  • Lead toxicity
  • Excessive radiation exposure
  • Medication induced
  • Excess consumption of soybean isoflavones
  • Many other toxins (click for a more comprehensive list)
  • Impact of excessive or chronic stress

Naturopathic Perspectives

Make sure to get comprehensively tested.  You may have an auto-immune thyroid condition so it is important to first test the thyroid antibodies.  Those with auto-immune thyroid problems tend to be low in nutrients including iodine, selenium and zinc.  Other nutrients may also have an impact such as vitamin B12.

Many may not realize that low thyroid levels during pregnancy can lead to developmental and learning problems in the newborn baby.  Studies have also found that Autism may be higher in children born from mothers who have low functioning thyroid.  Be sure to be tested before conception and at every trimester.
The Diagnostic Dilemma
Millions of North Americans have an undiagnosed low functioning thyroid, however, they are not being treated.  They may have many of the symptoms, but their blood tests often are showing in the ‘normal’ range.  Unfortunately, the commonly accepted normal range may be inaccurate, since in the determination of the range itself includes people with hypothyroid symptoms!  The indicator test for thyroid function is the TSH test.  The standard normal range is from 0.4 to 5.0.  However, other studies using confirmed healthy people (who did not actually have a thyroid problem) found a more optimal range for TSH: between 0.3 to 2.0.  This is an enormous difference and explains why so many people have multiple symptoms of low thyroid function, however, because their TSH test results are interpreted with a large normal range, they are cleared of the low thyroid diagnosis, and unfortunately they continue to suffer with their symptoms.  In 2002, even the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology recommended that the TSH range change to 03.-3.0.  Hopefully more unanimous acceptance will happen with time.
Naturopathic Treatments
There are a number of naturopathic treatment options for low thyroid function:
  • Correct nutritional deficiencies
  • Change the diet (eg: remove/reduce soy and possibly other problematic foods)
  • Detoxify the body of thyroid-toxic chemicals
  • Specific acupuncture points can help support thyroid function and reduce symptoms
  • Adrenal gland support can assist thyroid hormone activation (eg: converting the inactive T4 hormone into the active T3 hormone)
  • Thyroid gland extracts
  • Herbal extracts
  • Referral may be necessary for thyroid medications
To find out more or to get tested, call our office for an appointment – 905-597-7201.

Medical Benefits of the Far-infrared Sauna

Posted By on February 13, 2013

5 Effective Uses of the Far-infrared Sauna
Many have experienced a sauna: at the gym, or at the condo.  Often as a way to relax tight muscles after exercise, or to generally cleanse and revitalize the body, as the Scandinavians have learned over hundreds of years.  However, many may not have heard of the ‘far-infrared’ sauna and its (amazing) benefits. 
What is far-infrared energy and how is it different from a regular sauna?
Far-infrared makes up about 50% of the sun’s energy that is responsible for warming the body when you are outside.  It is not ultra-violet, so it won’t give you a burn or cancer, like the UV-A rays would cause from excess sun exposure.  Far-infrared (FIR) is a form of safe natural energy that penetrates the body very efficiently and is no wonder that it is used in pre-mature baby incubators to keep them warm and safe.  FIR energy used in a sauna is very different from a regular sauna in that it penetrates the body deeper (heating the body more than it heats the air inself in the chamber), helps you sweat quicker and at a lower more tolerable temperature (45-60 degrees Celsius).  Regular saunas are much higher in temperature (70-100 degrees), and create hotter and more humid air inside the sauna, which can make breathing difficult and hard to stand for more than about 5-10 minutes.  A FIR sauna session typically lasts 15-60 minutes depending on the goal and your state of health.
Five Amazing Medically Proven Benefits of Far-infrared Saunas (FIRS)
1.  Blocked arteries.  It is heart health month and it’s appropriate to talk of the cardiovascular benefits of far-infrared saunas.  A ground-breaking 2012 Japanese study published in the International Journal of Cardiology found that patients who had proven full blockage of a coronary artery, and also had peripheral artery disease, benefitted significantly from far-infrared sauna therapy.  Treatment included 15 minutes of daily far-infrared sauna treatment at 60 degrees Celsius, then 30 minutes of rest.  After only three weeks the blockage improved, the blood vessels were more able to open, and the studied patients could walk longer on the treadmill without symptoms.  Other studies have shown benefits of supervised FIR sauna treatment in people with mild-moderate congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular and pulmonary illnesses.
2. Depression.  In another study using the far-infrared sauna, patients had depression as well as fatigue and reduced appetite.  Over the course of four weeks of FIR sauna treatment, there was a significant improvement in their ability to relax, better appetite, and reduced overall body complaints.
3. Pain and auto-immunity.  People with rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, and Sjogrens syndrome, all auto-immune illnesses, have shown benefit after undergoing far-infrared sauna therapy.  Improvements have included reduced pain and stiffness, improved energy, and less antibodies in their follow-up blood tests.
4. Skin health: cellulite, acne, psoriasis, eczema.  Many of my patients have experienced improvements in the level of inflammation on their skin.  Even hard to treat cases of psoriasis have improved dramatically after use of the far-infrared sauna, often over the course of only one or two months of treatment.
5. Chemical intoxication and sensitivity.  For about ten years, I have been using FIR sauna therapy for those with toxic exposures or chemical sensitivities to reduce associated symptoms.  Click to learn more.
February & March 2013 Special Offer
If you or a loved one would like to take advantage of a supervised program including far-infrared sauna treatment, we are offering a special for February and March: 10% off all sauna programs.  Call or email the office to book your assessment and treatment package.

ADHD – Four Important Points….Plus ADHD Seminar Feb 28th, 2013

Posted By on February 4, 2013

4 Factors involved in A.D.H.D.   
Kids and adults diagnosed with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) show some level of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, to the point that it is affecting their personal, social and academic and work-related lives.  Four important points to consider to understand the causes and how to treat the child/adult patient follow:
1. Consider the chemical impacts on development.  Much research has proven the connection of early and ongoing exposure to toxins on the brain and behaviour.  Second-hand smoke exposure, alcohol. PCBs, lead and mercury exposure in or after pregnancy have correlated with increased liklihood of ADHD diagnosis.  A proper assessment of these patients and their chemical exposures can direct better treatments.  Hair, blood, and urine tests are important ways to screen for these and other neurotoxins.
2. Genetics.  There can be a strong family history of behavioural challenges including for ADHD.  Several genes have been shown to relate to ADHD in research studies, including those that affect the brain’s neurotransmitters and those that allow for development of the nervous system itself.  What many may not realize, however, is that there are ways to influence the genetic expression so as to optimize our health.  This may involve changes in diet and nutrition, also known as ‘nutrigenomics.’  That is, we can do a test that will show us the genes that can relate to ADHD, and we can correlate what scientists have shown of what nutrients and what foods help to shift the best genetic expression for that gene.  Learn more about genomic testing.
3. Nutrition.  When there is inadequate nutrition, the body can function erratically.  This includes the symptoms of ADHD.  A 2011 study published in the Italian Journal of Pediatrics found that children with ADHD had significantly lower levels of magnesium, zinc, and an indicator of iron status.  These are nutrients that are fundamental for not only neurological function, but also ones known to influence mood, behaviour, genetics, energy, and immunity.
4. Medications and alternatives.  There are inadequate long-term safety studies of medications for ADHD, however, they can be effective in controlling the symptoms.  Other ways to help these patients do exist, and should be explored with a naturopathic doctor and other health professionals.  For example, creating a plan that addresses the cause(s) of the ADHD makes sense, and can include dietary and herbal interventions, targeted detoxification of toxins, as well as homeopathy, essential oils, acupuncture/acupressure, etc.

5 Kids Cough and Cold Tips

Posted By on January 29, 2013

5 Naturopathic Treatment Tips for Kids’ Cough & Cold Symptoms 
Are you a parent that cringes everytime your child gets another cold or sore throat?  Many children get 5-10 or more colds each year.  There is much that natural medicine has to offer, see my five tips below.
1. Honey – using honey often works better for coughs than over the counter medications.  It is safe to use in children over one year of age: 1/2 teaspoon for those 1-5 years of age, and 1 teaspoon for those six and above.  Stir the honey in a bit of warm water, adding a squeeze of lemon can help break up mucus.
2. Fever help.  A cold cloth to the forehead and a neutral temperature sponge bath are standard naturopathic suggestions.  Herbs such as Boneset herb can be given as a tea to reduce the fever, body aches, and indigestion.  Many parents use and are recommended to give acetaminophen to their children, however, studies have shown that parents tend to overmedicate; if you are unsure, speak to your child’s pediatrician or pharmacist.  Consult with your naturopath for more options to help with fever.
3. Captain zinc to the rescue!  The mineral zinc has been shown to help resolve cough and cold symptoms quickly.  It can even help prevent middle ear infections.  Besides frequent colds and infections, other signs of zinc deficiency include poor appetite, and poor growth and development.  It’s a good idea to get your child tested for their level of zinc if they are showing these signs of deficiency.
4. Homeopathy.  During the 2009-2010 flu season, French doctors were surveyed to see what treatment patients were more
satisfied with.  The patients treated with homeopathy were most satisfied, compared to those who were given standard allopathic medications.  In homeopathy, for those unfamiliar with it, a unique homeopathic medicine is prescribed to match the specific and unique symptoms presented by each patient, whether it be for a persistent cough, lingering sore throat, or many other ailments.  It is a very effective way to treat children and is one of the treatments we offer at the office and through Skype consultation.
5. Cold sock treatment.  An old yet effective naturopathic method to draw away congestion and to reduce coughs is to place cold water strained cotton socks on your child’s feet, and then a dry wool pair of socks over the cold cotton socks.  Immediately put them under covers in bed.  In most cases the night goes much more smoothly, and there is an improvement in the morning.

Naturopathic Flu Treatment

Posted By on January 14, 2013

Naturopathic treatments for flu 
With all the recent news of the spike in influenza cases, you must be wondering what you can do to fight the flu virus.  Since the flu shot is about 60% effective, you must do more to help yourself and your loved ones.  Do your part by following my basic tips below, including newer information of the benefits of herbal naturopathic flu prevention and treatment options.
1. A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that St. John’s Wort has significant effects against influenza A virus.  Care must be taken if you are also on medications while taking this and other herbs. Studies on elderberry extract has also shown significant effects against human influenza A virus, stimulating the immune system to fight the virus, preventing viral infection, and suppressing virus replication.  Herbal extracts can also help against one of the most common causes of virus-based pediatric diarrhea.  A recent 2012 study in the Netherlands found particular plants to help against rotovirus – nettle, licorice, and olive leaf extracts.
2. Consider essential oils.  Excellent as an oil-bath that we offer in the clinic: a unique oil is selected to match your symptoms, which is then dispersed in our hydro-tub – this way you not only inhale the beneficial oil, but also absorb it through your largest organ, your skin.  Simple ways to use such oils at home is with an essential oil diffuser.  Many plant oils have medicinal effects that are important with the flu: anti-viral, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and immune-stimulating.  Plant oils can help clear your congestion and the air, examples include tea tree oil, frankincense and eucalyptus.

3. Vitamin C – intravenous vitamin C can be helpful at ridding viruses and other troublesome infections such as shingles.  Taking oral vitamin C every hour may also help reduce the duration of viral symptoms.  Excess oral vitamin C can lead to diarrhea, if that happens, reduce the amount you are taking to normalize your bowel movements until your symptoms subside.  Injectible Echinacea can also help support your immune system against viruses.   Contact our office to find out more about our injectible treatments.

4. Get a naturopathic immune system checkup: a one-on-one targeted approach to getting customized advice to support your immunity.  Call 905-597-7201 to book you and your family.

Other important basics:

  • Get your rest – seven to eight hours for adults, and more for children based on their age.  If you have the flu, you need more rest – if you don’t take the rest you need, your flu may be more prolonged.
  • Include immune supporting foods more regularly.  For example, thyme, oregano, garlic, mushrooms, and ginger all have immune-balancing effects.  Eating sufficient vegetables and fruits provide important vitamins and minerals that support your immune functions (eg: nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin A, etc.).  Drink enough fluids, primarily herbal teas (eg: ginger, echinacea, elderberry, licorice), broths, and yes, chicken soup.  Reduce sugar consumption as it can suppress your immune system.
  • Take your vitamin D.  It has a role in the treatment of viral and bacterial infections.  Consult your naturopath to know the right dose for you.   In our office, we also offer UV-B light therapy to help your body make it’s own vitamin D  (and it also helps against many photo-responsive skin problems as well, such as psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo).
  • Reduce your stressors, and regularly wash your hands with soap and water.  Note, that some hand sanitizers contain thyroid-disrupting chemicals, learn more.