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IBS – But What CAN I Eat? May 12, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Diet, Healing, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine, naturpathic medicine, stress.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

Suffering from abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, and gas? You’ve likely been told it could be IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome is the diagnosis often given to people who suffer from uncomfortable symptoms regarding the gut and bowels, and is distinct from Irritable Bowel Disease as the cause of irritation is unknown. IBS as you can imagine is extremely uncomfortable for those who suffer from it. Symptoms can be chronic or sporadic but are typically triggered by certain foods or during periods of stress. Some individuals are more prone to constipation while others may experience diarrhea. Whether you are chronically dealing with gut pain or have anxiety about being out in public during a flare up, IBS can be very crippling for many of its sufferers.

Since the cause of irritation is unknown and is likely different for everyone, the remedies to help provide some relief will be different too. The only sure way to know what may help you is through trial and error. Food is meant to be therapeutic and nourishing but for IBS sufferers it can be a nightmare trying to figure out what you can tolerate and what brings you agony. Right now there are three diets recognized to help with IBS: SCD, FODMAP or GAPS.

Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is a whole foods diet that avoids processed foods, sugars, starches and grains. The belief here is that complex carbohydrates are slow to digest and the pathogens bad little critters in our gut feed off of them. Only monosaccharides (simple sugars) are permitted on this diet as they are easier on the digestive tract. When food is properly digested and absorbed, there is nothing left in the gut for the bad little critters to feed on.

FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides and Polyols and aims to starve the bad bacteria by limiting foods that are poorly absorbed in the small intestine. FODMAPS has been further researched since SCD was introduced and therefore limits more foods (including monosaccharides) that are now known to be troublesome for an irritated gut. Foods are rated as low, medium or high FODMAP and the goal is to limit as much as possible high FODMAP foods because when eaten in excess these foods feed pathogens in the gut.

Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) is more restrictive than the previously mentioned diets, especially in the introductory phase. GAPS has more of a therapeutic approach to heal the gut versus just eliminating foods that are causing damage. The introductory phase, which lasts three to six weeks, consists entirely of homemade meat stock and vegetables with added probiotic rich foods such as sauerkraut – so hopefully you love soup!

Tired of suffering with your IBS? A holistic nutritionist can provide guidance on how to successfully eliminate trigger foods and incorporate foods and supplements that will help repair and nourish your gut. No more gut pain = a healthier and happier you. Book an appointment with Breanne today for assistance on how to implement one of the above diets into your lifestyle.

Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic. Telephone: 604-235-8068. Email: info@yaletownnaturopathic.com

The Benefits of Registered Massage Therapy During Pregnancy May 9, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Healing, massage therapist, vancouver, vancouver rmt.
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Written By: Tessa Ridley, RMT

Becoming pregnant is a unique time in a woman’s life where she is being initiated into the powerful realm of creating, protecting and delivering another human being into the world. To witness the many physiological changes that the female body experiences over the course of approximately 42 weeks is astounding. It can also be confusing to some mothers that may not know what to expect of their body, especially if this is the first time being pregnant. In our society today, body consciousness is not a social norm. Most humans are unaware of how their body works, how to respond to their pain perception & how to nurture themselves.

Every body is different and every pregnancy progresses in vastly different ways, so it is important to know a few of the most common changes that new mothers experience and how Registered Massage Therapy can benefit both parents during this exciting time.

Linda Ludwig, a Canadian RMT & educator notes that: “Pregnancy is a state of WELLNESS associated with many interrelated changes that occur throughout the woman’s body as the fetus develops”.

This is an important statement, as pregnancy is often described as “difficult, tiring, stressful, scary”… but becoming informed and interested in the changes that are happening can eliminate so many of your fears as a new parent. I say parent, because the father of the pregnancy also undergoes a lot of changes during this time. (And massage can help him too!)

Arguably, the number one benefit of receiving massage therapy, is that it encourages the recipient to be introduced to their mind/body connection, sometimes for the first time ever.

Feeling many parts of the whole body and noticing different types of pains and emotions can assist in a more present pregnancy, while learning to relax and breathe and allow the body to welcome the new nervous system sensations is an integral part of the laboring and birthing part of pregnancy. It is very important for a new mother to learn to connect to herself, her baby and her body, in quiet, comforting moments, which is the genuine intent of the practitioner when providing Pregnancy Massage.

It is perfectly safe to be massaged during your entire pregnancy, but it is important to note that during the first trimester the mother’s body is very sensitive and is creating the optimal environment for the fetus to grow in, and it is suggested to avoid any deep, direct work to the abdomen or low back until this trimester has ended.

Some of the potential benefits of prenatal massage include:

  • Reduced muscle tension and cramping by increasing tissue oxygenation and realigning tissue fibers
  • Reduced headache occurrence and pain medication requirement
  • Reduced back pain caused by increased abdomen and breast size
  • Reduced joint pain caused by changes in pelvic and spinal alignments
  • Improved circulation and reduced swelling (edema) caused by an increase in the mother’s blood volume and compression of blood vessels by surrounding structures
  • Hormone regulation leading to improvement of sleep and reduced stress, anxiety and fatigue

Tessa Ridley, RMT has extensive experience with prenatal & postpartum massage and uses a side lying pillowing system to ensure you and your baby are safe, comfortable and fully supported during your treatment.

During the 4th trimester, or the postpartum stage of pregnancy, the body will be undergoing another series of changes, just as it did when the baby was in utero..

Hormones are surging through the system to support the mother’s energy requirements, milk production is underway, healing from delivery or surgery can be a fatiguing back ground conversation, all the while the mother, father/partner & child begin a new chapter, still together, but now as separate individuals.

It is often said that this is the most important time that a mother can reach out to her support system to help carry the body through the rapid changes of the postpartum season.

New fathers/partners are also encouraged to receive therapeutic massage postpartum to help them with the mental, emotional & physical changes they will experience during this incredible change in life.

It is rarely discussed, but approximately 1 in 10 new fathers experience postpartum depression, which is often overlooked/brushed off. New body tensions arise from carrying baby, the romantic relationship between bodies as lovers shifts & deep surges of emotions can arise. Having therapeutic massage in your life as a new father/HUMYN PARTNER can really help you feel connected and comforted within yourself as new life evolves.

THOUGHT QUESTIONS:

  • Do you need postpartum body rehab assistance?
  • Does your body feel weak?
  • Does your pelvis feel tight and uneven?
  • Are your neck & shoulder locked from breast feeding & baby wearing?
  • Do your abdominal muscles feel twisted and stuck?
  • Have you been diagnosed with Diastasis Recti?
  • Do you have troubles with incontinence & vaginal pain?

Massage & therapeutic exercise can help!

Tessa is a proud VIP member of Bellies, Inc. and has been certified as a Core Confidence Trainer and works with other allied women’s health care providers in Vancouver to help you feel confident in your body at any stage of your pregnancy.

See her Bellies, Inc. TRAINER profile here: http://www.belliesinc.com/directory/tessa-ridley-rmt/
Through Bellies, Inc. she has the continued education to help you reconnect to your whole body, including your Deep Core & Pelvic Floor muscles during your pregnancy & after baby arrives.

Tessa incorporates breath coaching, effective massage techniques, therapeutic exercise & self care education during customized treatments for the pregnant body. She also provides therapeutic breast massage for the changing, working breast & offers post surgical cesarean section scar mobilization & self care education to reduce scarring at home.

Some potential benefits of postpartum massage include:

  • Reduced breast discomfort caused by pectoral tension, milk engorgement, mastitis, weight gain, breast-feeding
  • Increased circulation and nervous system conduction post epidural
  • Increased mobility of tissues and faster healing times with post cesarean scar tissue care that can be introduced during the 4th week post-partum
  • Hormone regulation & the promotion of a healthy emotional connection with the postpartum body which can reduce postpartum depression

There are many more benefits that massage can have on a woman’s body and Tessa encourages every mother/father/HUMYN PARENT to be open to learning more about creating a pre and post natal support team with the practitioners at Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic.

PREGNANCY IS ABOUT ACTIVELY CREATING A HEALTHY CONTAINER FOR NEW HUMAN LIFE! May we thrive in your pregnancy together!

What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist? May 2, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Diet, Food, Healing, Health, nutrition, Nutritionist, vancouver, Vancouver Nutritionist.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN 

What is a R.H.N.?

R.H.N. stands for Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is the designation given to nutrition students who have graduated from Canadian School of Natural Nutrition with a diploma in natural nutrition.

What does it mean to be ‘holistic’?

Practicing from a holistic perspective allows one to look at the body as whole, understanding how everything is intertwined and how a deficiency or lack of harmony can disrupt our equilibrium and the body’s delicate balance. People may think the term ‘holistic’ sounds hokey but it really just takes into account the intimate relationship between physical symptoms and how it affects us on a mental and deeper, spiritual level.

When should I see a R.H.N.?

A R.H.N. is a great addition to your team of healthcare practitioners. Nutritionists primarily focus on the diet but also offer areas of support in other avenues such as lifestyle changes and supplementation. Whether you are trying to build, repair, strengthen or restore nutrient status, there are many factors that take part in finding the right foods for your body. What you felt good eating a year ago may be different from what your body needs for fuel today. Depending on what stage you are in your life and your health goals and concerns, your dietary needs are constantly changing throughout your life.

Want more spring in your step in the mornings? Wondering why by bedtime your belly is bloated to five times the size it was that morning? What about those pesky food sensitivities that seemed to appear overnight. Not feeling as good as you once did on that vegan diet? Maybe you’re curious if you are meeting your nutrient needs. Maybe you’re simply looking for ways to incorporate more fresh vegetables into your diet; or wondering how to make better choices when dining out at restaurants. Whatever your needs or concerns, a nutritionist can help!

Many people often assume that the typical client who sees a nutritionist is one that is struggling to lose weight. While this is a common health concern for many people, nutritionists can help a variety of conditions and concerns beyond weight struggles. And if losing weight is what is most important to you and you’ve tried everything in your means, perhaps uncovering the root cause of why you are struggling with weight loss is how a nutritionist can help you. This can simply be finding foods to help balance metabolism and other hormonal functions, or even tips to help promote better sleep patterns (an essential ingredient for weight loss).

How often will I need to see a nutritionist?

Change does not happen overnight but is a daily process. Most people will choose to see a nutritionist and follow up when they feel they have questions, but again, everyone is unique and will require different degrees of support. Some people may even just have some questions they want to verify or minor dietary tweaks and that’s it!

Are R.H.N.’s covered under extended health care plans?

The importance of a healthy diet on your overall health is now something that is being widely recognized. Most extended benefit providers offer coverage to visit a holistic nutritionist.

What can I expect from a consultation with a R.H.N.?

At the initial intake, your health history and current health concerns will be reviewed in detail. This gives the client ample opportunity to express their beliefs and concerns and ask any questions they may have. A holistic nutritionist will use all of this information to develop a protocol for the client, as well provide further support and guidance with meal options or a menu plan. The protocol usually focuses primarily on dietary changes but often includes lifestyle changes and supplementation.

Prior to the first meeting you will be asked to fill out a week long diet diary and health questionnaire. This is very helpful in determining what is and isn’t working for you. And if you’re nervous about being honest about what you ate or drank, put your worries at rest. I am a firm believer in the 80/20 rule and remind clients not to feel any guilt or shame if they feel they’ve slipped up on their health protocol. Putting yourself through the stress of feeling guilty is more harmful than the indulgence itself!

To book an appointment with Breanne today contact us at 604-235-8068 or send an email to info@yaletownnaturopathic.com! Talk to you soon. Get well, stay well.

Weight Loss and Cancer April 28, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Cancer, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, Healing, immunity, integrative cancer care, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine, Naturopathy, nutrition.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

Everyone has seen a cancer patient who has lost a significant amount of weight as the disease progressed. It is a scary experience to see someone that you love waste away as the cancer deprives their body of the nutrients that they so desperately need. In the chaos of going from one appointment to the next, patients often do not realize how malnourished they have become.

The significant wasting that late stage cancer patients experience is known as cachexia. To understand why this happens it is helpful to look at the molecular pathways relevant to cachexia. The exact mechanism is not well defined but inflammatory cytokines are thought to play a major role. Cancer is a condition that creates significant systemic inflammation and this dramatically increases the concentration of inflammatory cytokines through out the body. The most prominent inflammatory cytokines during cachexia are often TNF-a and IL6 5.

The good news is that there are a number of natural tools which can help to significantly reduce these inflammatory cytokines. Of course there are cases where the disease has progressed to the point where it is not possible to reverse the effects of cachexia. However, in my clinical practice I have seen many patients reverse the effects of cachexia rather quickly when the correct natural supports are used. When we take the time to look at how these natural supports work it is immediately obvious why they can be so effective.

Omega-3’s are potent natural anti-inflammatories and specifically they reduce TNF-a and IL6 levels in the body1,2,3. In order to have the desired therapeutic effect from supplementation with omega-3’s it is critical that the proper dose is used. Many supplements (especially pill forms) containing omega-3’s do not have the appropriate dose of eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA) and this will not have any impact on an extreme case such as cachexia. When the appropriate dosing is used sometimes patients can see significant improvements in cachexia from supplementing with omega-3’s 4.

Cancer loves L-glutamine and it uses it in high amounts to support its metabolic needs. Some patients upon hearing this falsely assume that removing glutamine from the diet would then starve cancer cells. This is the wrong approach to take. Cancer cells will get glutamine whether you have it in your diet or not. If it is not in your diet then the cancer cells will cause the muscles to break down so that the glutamine can be extracted from the muscles. This will rapidly worsen the cachexia. The simplistic view that if cancer uses a substance then it should be avoided is not always correct in these complex clinical cases. When patients are supported with adequate amounts of glutamine this can help to slow down muscle breakdown and give healthy cells the glutamine that they also need to function6. The glutamine is also necessary for your immune system to function properly and this need far outweighs any concerns of “feeding” cancer cells glutamine in cases of cachexia.

In my experience the combination of L-glutamine and omega-3’s can help to heal the gut and this allows cancer patients to absorb nutrients more effectively from their food. A major challenge for advanced cancer patients is that even if they eat enough food, they struggle to adequately absorb nutrients from their food. By supporting gut health with adequate amounts of these simple remedies, this can help to enhance the absorption of nutrients at a time when patients are extremely malnourished.

There are many other natural therapies which can also be applied in cachexia to help improve the patients quality of life. For example, cannabinoids can be used to help stimulate appetite while reducing the sensation of nausea that many of these patients have. In other cases, the use of a Myers IV is indicated to bypass any concerns with absorption and get nutrients directly into the blood. Patients generally feel better when the inflammation is reduced following the application of these various naturopathic supports. It is critical that patients have professional guidance from a qualified naturopathic physician when utilizing these supports. Cachexia is a unique metabolic circumstance that requires the appropriate doses if you expect to see any benefit.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative oncology. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1) Kang, Jing X., and Karsten H. Weylandt. “Modulation of inflammatory cytokines by omega-3 fatty acids.” Lipids in Health and Disease. Springer Netherlands, 2008. 133-143.

2) De Caterina, Raffaele, et al. “The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoate reduces cytokine-induced expression of proatherogenic and proinflammatory proteins in human endothelial cells.” Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology 14.11 (1994): 1829-1836.

3) Nelson, Tracy L., and Matthew S. Hickey. “Acute changes in dietary omega-3 fatty acid intake lowers soluble interleukin-6 receptor in healthy adult normal weight and overweight males.” Cytokine 26.5 (2004): 195-201.

4) Radbruch, L., F. Elsner, and P. Trottenberg. “Clinical practice guidelines on cancer cachexia in advanced cancer patients. European Palliative Care Research Collaborative.” (2011).

5) Yeh, Shing-Shing, Kimathi Blackwood, and Michael W. Schuster. “The cytokine basis of cachexia and its treatment: are they ready for prime time?.”Journal of the American Medical Directors Association 9.4 (2008): 219-236.

6) May, Patricia Eubanks, et al. “Reversal of cancer-related wasting using oral supplementation with a combination of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate, arginine, and glutamine.” The American journal of surgery 183.4 (2002): 471-479.

Spring Cleaning Starts with the Liver April 25, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, Healing, Health, organic, stress, stress reduction.
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Written by: Dr. Natalie Rahr

Spring has sprung. As you clear through old clothing and items in the attic or garage, shaking off the general heaviness of winter, it’s also the perfect time to move any stagnation of energy in the liver. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is liver time and it’s the perfect time to support its many complex functions.

What to expect if we support the liver well?

  • Allergies improve
  • Sleep better and through the night
  • Clearer skin
  • Smooth digestion
  • Energy and mood improves
  • Hormones are in better balance

Here are some of my favourite ways to support liver function:

Avoid over-consumption of alcohol

The liver is a detoxing organ. Alcohol increases the demand on the liver and can slow its function, especially in large amounts. If you’ve avoided that hangover, your liver is free to do other things for you!

Castor oil

This is Grandma’s oldest remedy! And I’m not talking about taking it internally. Castor oil is a fantastic way to improve circulation when used topically over joints, muscles AND over the liver. An easy way to do this is rub a thick layer of castor oil over the lower ribs on the right side (where the liver is), cover with an old towel and apply a hot water bottle for about 20-30 minutes a few times per week. This draws circulation to the area and flushes the liver, improving digestion and detoxing the body of anything that is in excess.

Lemon water

Generally this is a great way to start the day, particularly hot water and lemon because this allows priming of the digestive tract for the day. I love it also before EVERY meal because this sends a signal to the gut and the brain that digestion is needed and liver function is best when the gut is not backed up, but flowing freely.

Organic fresh fruits and veggies, particularly cruciferous

Eat your broccoli, eat your cabbage, eat your kale, eat your cauliflower, eat your brussel sprouts, eat your bok choy, etc. Cruciferous vegetables provide the liver detox pathways with essential phytochemicals to help clear waste from the body. Organic is important because, like alcohol and some medications, pesticides and herbicides wreak havoc on the gut and burden the kidneys and the liver, because they need these organs to show them the way out.

Stress reduction

This is always a good idea. According to TCM, stress, anger and frustration cause and are a sign of Liver Qi (energy) stagnation, which in turn contributes to irritability, muscle tension, hormone imbalances and other health concerns. Think of a traffic jam in the city. We want the energy flowing freely through the whole body and not stuck unhappily in one place.

Get the blood flowing

Getting the blood flowing through the whole body gets it moving through the liver. Get a good sweat going everyday to prevent stagnation of energy and help things flow. Things like yoga, tai chi and Qigong can help move the Liver Qi gently and powerfully.

Liver supportive herbs such as turmeric, milk thistle and dandelion root

Talk to your naturopathic or herbal healthcare practitioner about some of my favourite herbs, and others that may be right for you. Herbs such as these support the liver detox pathways in regulating inflammation and clearing toxins from the body.

TLC

Always my favourite prescription!

Particularly for supporting the liver, here are a few ideas to give your liver some tender loving care:

  • Abdominal massage can be very powerful because it can help move waste out of the body more effectively and help bring essential circulation to the organs
  • Acupuncture is very effective for moving Liver Qi
  • Meditation (remember in “Eat, Pray Love”, when she’s told by the guru to meditate and smile to her liver:). Do that.
  • Laughter and joyful activities

A joyful spring to you and your families, and lots of smiles to your liver!

Dr. Natalie Rahr practices at the Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic in Vancouver, BC and has a strong focus on complex pediatric conditions such as Autism, Women’s Health, Autoimmunity and Gut-Brain Health, as well as Integrative Mental Health. To book an appointment contact 604-235-8068or appointments@yaletownnaturopathic.com

Positive Period. April 21, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Emotion, exercise, Healing, Health.
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“Women complain about premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself.”
Roseanne Barr

The Monthlies, Aunt Flo, TOM, The Crimson Curse, Shark Week! We all have our own euphemism for our “monthly visitor”. I won’t bore you or insult your intelligence by explaining what happens in your body to bring about your monthly friend (though if you are interested here is a link to short informative video http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-menstruation-works-emma-bryce). Instead, my intention is to maybe tell you some interesting and hopefully useful facts that you may not already know and hopefully open up a dialogue about this topic that takes up so much of our lives but that we are still a little shy about. For instance did you know that humans, monkeys, apes and bats are almost the only species known to go through a menstrual cycle like ours? Or that during the three to seven days you have your period, you lose about 30-40mLs of blood? This is only about 2-3 tablespoons, although up to 80mLs (5.4 tablespoons) is still considered normal. A lot less then you thought right? Well, we actually loose four to six tablespoons of menstrual fluid but only some of this is blood. The rest is made up of cervical mucus, vaginal secretions and flora and endometrial tissue and uterine lining- sorry if you find that gross but that’s the human body for you!

Let’s get serious for a second now though. Worldwide up to 90% of women use a homemade device in the place of a sanitary pad or tampon because they are too expensive to buy every month. In parts of the world girls miss 20% of school days (4.5 days per month) due to their periods. This is not simply crying off school due to PMS, but because schools lack the basic hygiene facilities for a girl to keep herself clean during her period. Another reason is the stigma and taboo that surround menstruation. In different cultures around the globe women are segregated from their own society during this time. In some cultures they are not allowed to even drink from the same water source as the rest of their village. Apart from being oppressive this practice of isolating women from society during their period (which incidentally makes up about 7% of your life) is damaging to women psychologically and to society as a whole. When women are isolated like this they cannot contribute to society in the ways they normally would through work etc. “Well that’s a shame but it doesn’t effect me” you might be saying to yourself. Well actually, it does. The stigma surrounding menstruation is not confined to developing countries. Naturally those of us lucky enough to live in the Western world enjoy a whole lot more privilege than our counterparts in different parts of the globe, but how many times have you lowered your voice when talking about your cycle? Or hidden your sanitary pad or tampon in your pocket when going out  to the washroom? We are taught from a young age that periods are shameful and we share a learned embarrassment about periods with women everywhere. So what can we do to counteract this? Of course education is key. Educating both boys and girls about menstruation from an early age is the first step in removing the misconceptions and stigma surrounding the topic. We can also contribute in our attitude towards the issue. Try to change your thinking and do not shy away from talking openly about your period. Perhaps use less of the hushed tones and circumlocution around the subject- although I will admit, some of those euphemisms are pretty funny.

The menstrual cycle which gives rise to your period is 28-35 days for most women. It begins for most women around 12-14 years of age and ends somewhere between the ages of 48-55. The average woman has about 450 periods in her lifetime and there are about 300 million women having theirs right now. One key thing to note about your period is that it does not just affect you the week you are menstruating. It’s not even just the week before when your suffering from the dreaded PMS. Your menstrual cycle, or rather the organs and hormones that control it, are at work constantly throughout the month to create the correct conditions within the body for follicular development, ovulation, implantation or menstruation. That is not to say that between the ages of 12 and 55 all women are on a hormonal rollercoaster that they have no control of. Looking at it in a different way we can see the positives associated with each phase of our cycle. At different times throughout the month our body is doing everything it can to get us in the perfect state for pregnancy- and this affects our brain too. Rather than surrendering to the unstoppable force that is nature/evolution/your own body there is no reason why we can’t ride the wave (so to speak) and harness all this power.

Follicular Phase- This is when the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) are secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain. Neurochemically this is the time of the month that women have the most access to creative energy. It’s the perfect time to begin new projects. So as your body begins it’s new phase, so can you!

Ovulatory Phase- This is when when we have the most energy and highest communication skills. Try channeling this by having important talks with loved ones or professional colleagues during this time.

Leutial Phase- This is when the lining of your uterus is thickening. This is the time when our minds become most detail orientated. Use this time to organize! Your desk, your house, your mind, your life.

Menstruation- This is when there is the most communication between the right and left side of your brain. It’s a time to evaluate. Rather than harbour negative feeling about this time I like to use my period as my time to hibernate and give myself some TLC. This can be different for everyone. To some it might be slobbing it on the couch in PJs, to others its the time when they allow themselves those treats that they avoid the rest of the month. I like to think of it as my body physically reminding me that it’s there and it needs to be taken care of. It’s a good time to check in with yourself, in every sense. Here are some ways that I found helpful to “check in” with myself during my period (or anytime).

Step 1. Exercise!

Don’t get me wrong I’m the least motivated person in the world when it comes to getting myself to the gym. But if you can muster the willpower you know it will feel great. It doesn’t have to be a 10k run or a power turbo max blast crossfit workout (that’s not a real thing but you get my drift). Do a relaxed restorative yoga class -or youtube video if you don’t feel like leaving the house.  Take an evening stroll in the park. When have you ever exercised and thought afterwards “Well I would have been so much better off sitting at home eating a cookie”?. That’s right, never. And you can still have the cookie after if you really want it. You are on your period after all.

Step 2. Alone time

There is so much to be said for, closing your door and just being with your own thoughts and feelings. Hibernate. For some people this can be meditation or prayer. Some people like to go for a walk. Some like to light some candles and have a bath. Personally I like to listen to my favourite music and clean the house, because cleaning the house helps me to clear my mind too (but that’s just me). Whatever it is you like to do when you are totally by yourself- make some time and do that. And yes, you do have to switch your phone off for this one.

Step 3. Eating

You betcha! Every girl’s all time favourite thing to do when the reds are playing downtown. In keeping with the theme of self care during my period it’s a good time to try out some new healthy recipes that are also gonna be delicious. Taking the time to cook something yummy for yourself is a great way to be kind to you. If you’re not into that- get someone else to do it for you. Remember, red letter days are our excuse to make the rest of the world pick up the slack! Just try to give your body some wholesome, nutritious fuel during this time. No one is saying you can’t have chocolate AND kale.

Step 4. Think positive!

If you dread your period it’s going to be dreadful. Try and change any negative feelings you have around your period and think of it as your body’s automatic reset. Out with the old and in with the new! Consider this your time to reconnect, reevaluate and reassess. Of course not everyone has the best time during their period and there are physical and emotional hurdles to be overcome. You might feel like your body is your enemy during this time but it’s not, it’s the closest friend you’ll ever have – awh! So if you’re not feeling the best during this time find something that always cheers you up and make some time for that. Maybe catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a while or seeing that movie you wanted to watch. If you really can’t face being social then at least make plans to do something nice next week so you can feel happy about that.

References

https://www.ted.com/talks/robyn_stein_deluca_the_good_news_about_pms?language=en#t-120387

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vKRj9yV8pI

To learn more on how to balance hormone or treat yourself with natural remedies contact us today at 604-235-8068 or by email at info@yaletownnaturopathic.com.

How Can Integrative Oncology Prevent Cancer? April 14, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, Cancer, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, Healing.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

It seems that every week there is another headline talking about the importance of preventative medicine. These articles often focus on how much money governments could save if people were adequately screened to treat disease before it manifests into a complex clinical pathology. Clearly improved screening is important in the context of preventative medicine but this approach only allows us to detect disease at an earlier stage. What is frequently neglected is the fact that much can be done to modify your risks so that the disease will not develop in the first place. This is particularly relevant in the context of cancer.

Every day I see patients who were treated by the cancer agency before being declared cancer free. Upon being declared cancer free they are quickly discharged from the cancer agency and they are given no tools or information about how to prevent the recurrence of cancer. In fact, when patients inquire about what they can do to prevent future cancers they are directly told “nothing”. This could not be further from the truth and [the scientific literature does not support] this bizarre statement. Any doctor who claims to be practicing evidence based medicine must stop telling patients that there is nothing that they can do because this is not what the scientific literature says on the subject. There are many things that can be done to prevent the recurrence of cancer and often the proper application of only a few simple natural therapies can substantially reduce the risk of recurrence.

In this article I will break down a few simple lifestyle modifications and natural therapies which when used appropriately can help to prevent the recurrence of cancer. There are of course additional strategies that can be used to reduce the risk of recurrence and this article only discusses a couple of approaches. You must have professional guidance when implementing these therapies as they must be used in the proper clinical context. Not all cancers are the same and completely different strategies are used with different forms of cancer.

Reducing your intake of simple sugars

Study after study has demonstrated a direct connection between sugar intake and cancer risk14,15,16,17,18. Cancer cells often have significantly more insulin receptors than normal cells. Therefore they respond rapidly to insulin and they will always be more effective at grabbing sugar from the blood stream and utilizing it as an energy source.

Patients often get confused about what this information means and how it can be integrated appropriately into their diet. There is a big difference in the metabolism of a food rich in simple sugars compared to a food that contains complex carbohydrates. When you eat a food rich in simple sugars such as candy, the body rapidly absorbs the sugar. This causes a rapid and significant elevation of the sugar concentration in your blood. In response to this sugar spike, the pancreas secretes insulin, which circulates through the entire body in an effort to bring the sugar levels back to normal.

Insulin interacts with the receptors on the surface of both normal and cancerous cells. Upon interacting with the cells, it triggers them to pull sugar in from the blood until the blood sugar level drops back to a normal level. Cancer cells have more insulin receptors, so they will always take advantage of this insulin spike more effectively than normal cells. It is this spike in insulin and insulin-like growth factors that stimulate the growth of cancerous cells15. In other words, it is not the sugar content that is stimulating growth; it is the response to sudden increases in sugar levels.

Complex carbohydrates are metabolized very differently in the body. They do not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. The sugar in complex carbohydrates is slowly released as the food passes through the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, it is not necessary for the pancreas to secrete as much insulin because there is no spike in blood sugar that needs to be controlled. Often by making just a few simple dietary changes it is possible to dramatically reduce these sugar spikes and eliminate hidden sources of these simple sugars.

The correlation between high glycemic diets and cancer risk is well established. It is essential that patients looking to prevent recurrence of cancer adhere to a low glycemic diet. In one study researchers looked for a connection between fasting blood glucose levels and risk of cancer recurrence. There was a strong correlation between high fasting blood glucose levels and cancer recurrence20. In other words, the women who consistently had high levels of sugar in their blood had a higher risk of developing cancer. This is not surprising given what we know about the relationship between sugar and cancer.

Supporting the Immune System

After removing cancer it is critical that your immune system remains strong to patrol the body and attack any residual cells prior to them manifesting into a clinical disease. There are many naturopathic therapies which can be used to effectively support the immune system. The first year following the removal of cancer is the most important time to stimulate the immune system.

It is absolutely essential that you have professional guidance when developing a treatment plan to support the immune system. Every cancer is different and in some cancers this is completely contraindicated. You do not have to be on many different supplements to stimulate the immune system. In fact, less is more when it comes to natural immune supports.

I always recommend that patients keep their treatment plan dynamic and simple when trying to stimulate the immune system. The reason I say this is due to the biochemistry behind these natural immune supports. Essentially we are throwing a molecule at the immune system which it does not recognize and as a result the immune system gets excited. In the process of getting excited in response to these new supplements, it also gets excited against any cancer cells that remain. The problem is that if you keep using the same supplement repeatedly for a long period of time (ie. years) then your immune system simply stops reacting to it. If you throw everything at your immune system right away then your immune system will eventually stop reacting to everything.

Natural therapies such as astragalus, coriolus versicolor and mistletoe have a long history of safe and effective use for immune stimulation. They work very well to stimulate the immune system and when used appropriately it can give your body the tools that it needs to fight of any residual remains of the disease.

Exercise and Cancer

Everyone has heard that exercise is good for your well-being. Exercise has been shown to elevate your mood and increase energy levels. Patients who regularly exercise are statistically less likely to develop a number of serious health conditions. The effectiveness of exercise is not questioned in the medical community; yet when it comes to cancer care, patients often forget about the benefits of exercise. Instead, they focus their attention on more exotic treatment plans. Exercise is an important part of any integrative cancer program.

There are several reasons why exercise has such a positive impact on cancer patients3. The immune system becomes more active during exercise as the monocytes increase the concentration of specific receptors on their surface1. Exercise also significantly helps patients with their sleep and it is well known that the majority of healing takes place during sleep. When you get better quality sleep, your cells will be less stressed and this will significantly boost the strength of your immune system.

Not only is exercise important during cancer therapies, it is also effective at preventing cancer recurrence7. Although some researchers dispute the significance of recurrence prevention, no one disputes that regular exercise decreases overall mortality in cancer survivors5,6. Women with estrogen positive breast cancer after a successful surgery will be put on tamoxifen for a minimum of five years to reduce the risk of recurrence by only a few percentage points in some cases8. In one large study of women with a history of breast cancer, it showed that women who walked three to five hours per week were 43% less likely to develop recurrent breast cancer and 50% less likely to die from breast cancer. This exercise group was compared to women who engaged in less than one hour of physical activity per week9. This study clearly demonstrates the importance of exercise in the context of cancer prevention. I find it amazing that some patients will readily comply with taking a drug for five to ten years, yet are resistant to regular exercise.

The exercise program does not need to be an extreme and rigorous routine, nor does it have to be a specific activity to prevent recurrence. All that matters is that your cardiovascular system gets a good workout from regular aerobic activity. Even a moderate cardio workout for less than 30 minutes, five days per week, can be very helpful. Make the time for this activity because it can make a significant difference in your response to treatment.

At every phase in cancer treatment, regular exercise is a powerful adjunctive therapy. Regular exercise helps to prevent the development of cancer and it also helps patients to get through the aggressive cancer therapies necessary to kill cancer. More cancer patients need to be aware of the simple fact that regular exercise makes a significant difference when fighting cancer. This is a simple yet effective adjunctive therapy that should be actively encouraged in every patient capable of regular exercise.

Meditation

You can help your body fight cancer by reducing stress and focusing your intentions on healing. One of the most comprehensive intervention studies in cancer research evaluated the effects of stress management techniques, such as relaxation on cancer recurrence following removal of malignant melanoma11. Not only did the relaxed group experience reduced psychological distress, they also had more active immune systems than the control group not practicing relaxation. A six-year follow up of these patients showed a trend toward greater recurrence and higher mortality rates in the control group, compared to the relaxed group. The bottom line is that patients who focus on reducing stress and focus their minds on healing not only have a better prognosis, they also have lower rates of developing cancer in the first place10. Given what we know about the connection between immune function and stress, this conclusion is not surprising.

If there was a drug which had a similar effect on reducing cancer recurrence, you can bet that every patient who had a melanoma surgically removed would be on that medication. The great thing about this is that you don’t even need a pill, you can make a measurable difference by reducing stress and focusing your intentions. When fighting cancer it is essential that the patient use every tool at their disposal to increase the chances of a successful recovery. The immune system must be strong to fight off any serious disease. Our minds can dramatically influence how our cells respond to stress and this is intimately connected to the function of the immune system13. We all need to take control of our health and use this mind-body connection to our advantage. By reducing stress and focusing our minds on healing we will live longer and happier lives12. This is a powerful tool that we can all use to our advantage.

Dr. Adam McLeod is a Naturopathic Doctor (ND), BSc. (Hon) Molecular biology, Motivational Speaker and International Best Selling Author. He currently practices at his clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia where he focuses on integrative oncology. http://www.yaletownnaturopathic.com

References:

1) Peters, C., et al. “Exercise, cancer and the immune response of monocytes.” Anticancer research 15.1 (1994): 175-179.

2) Mock, Victoria, et al. “Effects of exercise on fatigue, physical functioning, and emotional distress during radiation therapy for breast cancer.” Oncology nursing forum. Vol. 24. No. 6. 1997.

3) Burnham, Timothy R., and Anthony Wilcox. “Effects of exercise on physiological and psychological variables in cancer survivors.” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2002).

4) Courneya, KERRY S. “Exercise in cancer survivors: an overview of research.” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 35.11 (2003): 1846-1852.

5) Irwin, Melinda L., et al. “Randomized controlled trial of aerobic exercise on insulin and insulin-like growth factors in breast cancer survivors: the Yale Exercise and Survivorship study.” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 18.1 (2009): 306-313.

6) Irwin, Melinda L., et al. “Influence of pre-and postdiagnosis physical activity on mortality in breast cancer survivors: the health, eating, activity, and lifestyle study.” Journal of clinical oncology 26.24 (2008): 3958-3964.

7) Loprinzi, Paul D., et al. “Physical activity and the risk of breast cancer recurrence: a literature review.” Oncology nursing forum. Vol. 39. No. 3. Oncology Nursing Society, 2012.

8) Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group. “Relevance of breast cancer hormone receptors and other factors to the efficacy of adjuvant tamoxifen: patient-level meta-analysis of randomised trials.” The lancet 378.9793 (2011): 771-784.

9) Holmes, Michelle D., et al. “Physical activity and survival after breast cancer diagnosis.” Jama 293.20 (2005): 2479-2486.

10) Bovbjerg, Dana H. “Psychoneuroimmunology. Implications for oncology?.” Cancer 67.S3 (1991): 828-832.

11) Fawzy, Fawzy I., et al. “Malignant melanoma: effects of an early structured psychiatric intervention, coping, and affective state on recurrence and survival 6 years later.” Archives of General Psychiatry 50.9 (1993): 681-689.

12) Fawzy, Fawzy I., et al. “A structured psychiatric intervention for cancer patients: I. Changes over time in methods of coping and affective disturbance.” Archives of General Psychiatry 47.8 (1990): 720-725.

13) Veenhoven, Ruut. “Healthy happiness: Effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care.” Journal of happiness studies 9.3 (2008): 449-469.

14) Augustin, L. S. A., et al. “Dietary glycemic index and glycemic load, and breast cancer risk: a case-control study.”Annals of Oncology 12.11 (2001): 1533-1538.

15) Franceschi, S., et al. “Dietary glycemic load and colorectal cancer risk.” Annals of Oncology 12.2 (2001): 173-178.

16) Michaud, Dominique S., et al. “Dietary sugar, glycemic load, and pancreatic cancer risk in a prospective study.” Journal of the National Cancer Institute 94.17 (2002): 1293-1300.

17) Gnagnarella, Patrizia, et al. “Glycemic index, glycemic load, and cancer risk: a meta-analysis.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 87.6 (2008): 1793-1801.

18) Qi, Lu, and Frank B. Hu. “Dietary glycemic load, whole grains, and systemic inflammation in diabetes: the epidemiological evidence.” Current opinion in lipidology 18.1 (2007): 3-8.

19) Turina, Matthias, Donald E. Fry, and Hiram C. Polk Jr. “Acute hyperglycemia and the innate immune system: clinical, cellular, and molecular aspects.” Critical care medicine 33.7 (2005): 1624-1633.

20) Belle, Fabiën N., et al. “Dietary fiber, carbohydrates, glycemic index, and glycemic load in relation to breast cancer prognosis in the HEAL cohort.” Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 20.5 (2011): 890-899.

21) Kroenke, Candyce H., et al. “Dietary patterns and survival after breast cancer diagnosis.” Journal of clinical oncology23.36 (2005): 9295-9303.

22) Contiero, Paolo, et al. “Fasting blood glucose and long-term prognosis of non-metastatic breast cancer: a cohort study.”Breast cancer research and treatment 138.3 (2013): 951-959.

5 Foods You Should Eat More of in 2016 April 7, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in best vancouver naturopath, best vancouver nutritionist, Healing, nutrition, Nutritionist.
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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

Looking to improve your health through diet? Here are five foods you should eat more of in 2016:

  1. Free-Range Organic Eggs

One of the most wholesome foods you can eat is an egg in its whole form. Eggs are a great way to start the day, providing the body with a nice balance of protein and fat to fuel you until lunchtime. As a complete protein, eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that we must obtain through our diet as our bodies can not make them. Eggs are extremely easy to incorporate into your diet as they are easy and quick to make in the morning scrambled into an omelet or simply poached on toast – hard boiled eggs also make a good protein rich snack for on the go. If you don’t have much time in the mornings, try making up ahead of time a frittata or egg cups for a grab and go breakfast you can enjoy throughout the week.

For those of you on the egg white bandwagon.. stop throwing out those yolks!  The yolk is the tastiest part when enjoyed over-easy or poached and is the nutrition powerhouse of the egg. Separating the egg yolk from the egg white disrupts the synergy of the egg and removes all of the healthy fat (which is satiating and curbs your appetite) and lots of other nutrients.

Many people avoid egg yolks and other sources of fat due to the former belief that fat = high cholesterol; we now know this isn’t true.  Though dietary cholesterol shouldn’t be ignored, it is important to note that much of our cholesterol is produced by the liver which is why those on plant-based diets may still have issues with managing their cholesterol.  Unless you are eating copious amount of eggs every day, enjoying the yolk is not something to stress over. Bottom line – don’t mess with nature and eat your yolk! 

2.  Leafy Greens

Many people believe that we need to eat meat to get iron and drink milk for calcium but we should be paying more attention to our leafy greens which are great sources of both these important minerals. Green veggies are also great for detoxification as they are rich in fibre which not only helps to rid your body of toxins but also aids in weight management by keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Even if you aren’t one for having a raw salad every day (which actually isn’t beneficial in Vancouver’s winter season), leafy greens are still very easy to incorporate into your diet.  Add your favourite greens to your morning smoothie in the summertime or roast up some seasonal squash, root veggies and top with sautéed greens for a hearty winter salad.  You can play it safe by sticking to common greens like lettuce, romaine, spinach or kale or get adventurous with mustard greens, endive and radicchio. I strongly recommend to buy your greens organic as most conventional alternatives are heavily sprayed with pesticides.

Right now my favourite way to enjoy greens is sautéing black kale in my cast iron pan (added benefit for those who need a boost in iron) along with fresh crushed garlic and lemon juice and topped with fresh avocado and sea salt.

3.  Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are another source of complete protein but are vegan friendly. Though small in size, chia seeds pack a punch and are high in healthy fat and fibre. Chia seeds have 10 grams of fibre per two tablespoons, with most of it being soluble fibre.  When mixed with water it forms a gel-like substance, similar to ‘flax eggs’, and this is why it is very important to drink lots of water when eating foods high in soluble fibre.

Chia seeds are highly concentrated with the omega-3 Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) which is important to combat the high amounts of omega 6 we see in westernized diets.  While both types of omega fats are essential in our diet, it is the ratio (and quality) of our omegas that we need to pay attention to. Omega-6 is found in high amounts in processed seed and vegetable oils and so it is best to avoid these whenever possible. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory while omega-3 is anti-inflammatory.  Sources vary but most agree that having a ratio of 4:1 omega 6: omega 3. Those eating a westernized diet are having much more omega 6 with a ratio as high as 25:1 or even 40:1.  When you understand the health implications of chronic inflammation, it is no surprise that we are seeing exponentially more cases of inflammatory conditions from GI disturbances, such as IBD, Crohn’s Disease to asthma, arthritis and even cancer.

Again, rather than relying on dairy products that are often heavily processed and hard for many of us to properly digest, look to chia seeds to help you meet your calcium requirement – a two tablespoon serving offers 15% of your daily need.  This along with chia’s high phosphorous content contribute to optimal bone and oral health.

Due to their size and neutral flavour, chia seeds can be easily incorporated to any meal. Sprinkle them on your salad, in with your homemade granola or smoothie, as a binding agent replacement for eggs in baked goods, or make a chia seed pudding by blending with almond milk, honey and top with berries for a grab and go breakfast.

4.  Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is all the rage these days and it is no surprise why when you look at all the benefits this superfood has to offer.  Coconut oil is a healthy saturated fat that is both practical and flavourful. Coconut oil is primarily made up of medium-chain triglycerides which makes it an easy fat to digest and gives it many of its favourable properties. Coconut oil is a thermogenic food which means it helps to boost and support our metabolism while acting as an instant energy source by helping to burn fat for energy. For these reasons, coconut oil is big in the fitness world. With high amounts of lauric acid, coconut oil has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and when ingested can help support our immune systems by fighting off the bad bacteria and keeping our gut health in line.  It’s high smoke point makes coconut oil ideal for cooking in comparison to olive oil which has a low smoke point and is better suited for salad dressings as it easily turns rancid when exposed to heat.

On top of it’s internal benefits coconut oil has many external uses. Enjoy it as a natural body moisturizer or as hair serum to tame dry ends. If you really want to get creative and take control of your personal care products, coconut oil can be used to make homemade products like toothpaste and deodorant. Some sources say that to reap all the benefits of coconut oil it is best to consume about three tablespoons per day of organic cold-pressed oil. 

Whether you get on board with the trend of bulletproofing your coffee or simply stir a tablespoon of coconut oil into your morning bowl of oats, make sure you’re taking advantage of this tasty superfood that’s at our fingertips.

5.  Avocado

If you’re like me, avocados added to just about anything can add insta-enjoyment to just about any dish.  Enjoy it on the side of your morning omelette, for lunch sliced into your sandwich or soup, for dinner on top of your salad or even for dessert made into a decadent avocado chocolate mousse (trust me on this one). Not only is avocado rich in healthy fat, it is high in fibre and water – both critical in keeping our digestive systems moving, Vitamin B5 which is important for energy production, and Vitamin K which supports bone health and blood clotting.

*Wild Fish

While I enjoy fish and choose to have them as a regular part of my diet, this recommendation may be seen as controversial due to the problems that can arise from fish farming and overfishing. The choices we make can have a big impact on marine life. For guidance on healthier options, look for the Ocean Wise symbol or click here for a list of sustainable choices.

Breanne Dunlop is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.) practicing out of Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic. To learn more about other foods that support your health and wellbeing or new ways on how to incorporate these foods into your diet, contact Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic to book your appointment today at 604-235-8068 or by email at info@yaletownnaturopathic.com.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome March 31, 2016

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Written by: Breanne Dunlop, RHN

An issue that is beginning to affect more and more women and their reproductive cycle is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is an endocrine disorder that disrupts the natural course of a woman’s reproductive cycle. Often this is experienced when a woman’s level of sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are out of balance and the ovaries produce irregular amounts of androgens (male hormones). The imbalance of hormones seen in PCOS can result in the presence of irregular (but benign) ovarian cysts. Due to the nature of this disorder having PCOS can greatly impact a woman’s fertility.

Health conditions classified as a ‘syndrome’ means that experts cannot identify what is causing this disorder. Since the exact cause of PCOS is unknown it is considered a challenging disorder to treat by some or even deemed as incurable by others.

Some symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Weight gain, often in the abdomen
  • Increased body and facial hair
  • Mood imbalances, such as anxiety and depression
  • Hormonal acne
  • Changes to reproductive cycle: irregular periods, absence of periods altogether
  • Abnormal numbers of cysts on the ovaries
  • Painful periods, heavy bleeding and immense discomfort and cramping
  • Irregular blood sugar

PCOS and other female hormonal imbalances are so frequent that is a common stereotype that all women are, ‘crazy, hormonal, emotional wrecks’ at their time of the month. We are lead to believe that pre-menstrual stress is a normal part of the female reproductive cycle and it’s something we must learn to live with on a monthly basis. Ladies, did you know that you actually don’t need to suffer from PMS? (say what?) That’s right. The reason that not every woman suffers from it and that there are a multitude of symptoms is that PMS symptoms to that extreme are not ‘normal’ and is a cry from your hormones for help!

Wondering why your hormones are so out of whack?

Of course we naturally produce estrogen in our bodies – primarily in the ovaries. The issue occurs when external sources come in and manipulate our body’s level of estrogen; these include environmental disruptors, diet and lifestyle choices.

Environmental estrogens come from chemicals that occur in the environment that mimic estrogen in the body. Our body cannot tell the difference from these chemicals or the estrogen produced internally and these chemicals bind to the estrogen receptors manipulating estrogen levels. Environmental estrogens can be found in personal care products, in makeup and especially in plastics containing BPA such as food containers, baby bottles where the chemicals leak into the products we consume.

Estrogen levels can also be manipulated by particular foods we eat, as well as herbs we ingest in our supplements – these are known as phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogens block receptor sites against estrogen causing either an estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effect.

What’s the solution?

The current ‘solution’ is to put women with PCOS on the birth control pill as a means to regulate their menstrual cycle and help lower elevated hormones. One of the issues with this is that it does not address the root cause, meaning the hormones will likely become imbalanced again once the pill is stopped. Along with this comes the many side effects that the birth control pill can have on women – mood imbalances, irritability, elevated levels of copper, weight gain, blood clots and again, issues with fertility when coming off of the pill. Instead of looking for a ‘quick fix bandage solution’ there are natural remedies that can be used in the form of diet and herbal supplements that can help regulate women’s hormones and menstrual cycle.

Eat the right foods for happy hormones!

The foods we consume can play a big part on our endocrine system. Hormones are responsible for every reaction in our body. They control the way we feel, how we sleep, our energy levels, our mood, our libido, our weight and our overall metabolism. Hormones are made from amino acids, the building blocks of protein, and so it makes sense that diet plays a very critical role on keeping our hormones in check. What we eat, when we eat it, quality and how much we have of it can make a huge difference on how our hormones respond in our bodies.

Breanne Dunlop is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.) practicing out of Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic. To learn how to support hormone balancing through diet, contact Yaletown Naturopathic Clinic at 604-235-8068 or by email at info@yaletownnaturopathic.com to book an appointment today!

Turning up the Heat on Colorectal Cancer March 17, 2016

Posted by Dreamhealer in Alternative medicine, best vancouver naturopath, cancer therapy, Cancer Treatment, Healing, Health, integrative cancer care, Naturopathic Doctor, Naturopathic Medicine.
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Written By: Dr. Adam McLeod, ND, BSc (Hons)

Loco-regional hyperthermia is an advanced adjunctive cancer therapy which involves heating the tumour immediately after chemotherapy or radiation. Hyperthermia is characterized as the fourth pillar in treating cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. This therapy is commonly used in hospitals and clinics across Europe and Asia but it is oddly not used regularly in North America. There are only a few advanced devices which actually have the capacity to significantly heat a tumour located deep within the body1,2. Recently there has been exciting research on a device called Celsius TCS and its use in colorectal cancer.

A recent clinical study in Greece investigated hyperthermia in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer when used in combination with chemotherapy1. In this clinical trial 32 patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer were divided into a control group who just received chemotherapy and the treatment group who received hyperthermia immediately following their chemotherapy infusion. When compared to the control group, the hyperthermia group showed a shrinkage of metastatic spots derived from colon cancer. This is in contrast to the control group which on average showed an increase of size during this time interval. The conclusion of the study was “the beneficial effects of hyperthermia are undeniable. The consolidation of the application of hyperthermia cancer treatment, is now a matter of time.”

I have personally observed the positive benefits of loco-regional hyperthermia many times in my practice with colorectal cancer. In some of these cases the cancer was progressing everywhere except for the specific masses that were being targeted by the hyperthermia. Upon shifting the treatment focus to a different metastasis, these new masses then started to also respond to the therapy as well. The heat that is applied to the tumour adds additional stress to the tumour cells when they are being treated with chemotherapy or radiation.

There are several naturopathic therapies which can be used to potentially help enhance the effectiveness of hyperthermia. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid that is safe to use in conjunction with some chemotherapies. This commonly used remedy is not safe with all chemotherapies and you must have professional guidance before using it. Quercetin has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of heat shock proteins. In other words, it inhibits the proteins that cancer cells use to resist the effects of the heat and thus makes colon cancer cells more vulnerable to hyperthermia3. There is also research to suggest that the diabetes medication metformin may be helpful to enhance the effects of hyperthermia by killing cancer stem cells4. These are just a few of many natural therapies which as starting to show promise as useful adjuncts to hyperthermia.

It is important to point out that hyperthermia is very different from an infrared sauna or the application of a heat pack. A loco-regional hyperthermia device is an advanced medical device that significantly heats the tissues surrounding a tumour2. You will not heat any tumour effectively without these advanced devices, especially if it is a deeper tumour. These are state of the art devices where the patient must be medically monitored during the procedure.

When looking at the evidence there is a clear and consistent trend. Localized hyperthermia has significant potential as an adjunctive cancer therapy. The application of heat using these advanced medical devices increases the effectiveness or chemotherapy and radiation. Hyperthermia reduces the risk of the cancer developing resistance to chemotherapy or radiation5,6,7. At the end of the day the goal is to use every tool at our disposal to increase the effectiveness of conventional therapies and destroy the cancerous cells. Hyperthermia is a potent adjunctive therapy that can help to accomplish that goal.

References:

1) Mandraveli, E., et al. “The action of hyperthermia in metastatic colorectal cancer in combination with chemotherapy.” Progress in Health Sciences 5.1 (2015): 69.

2) Noh, Jae Myoung, et al. “In vivo verification of regional hyperthermia in the liver.” Radiation oncology journal 32.4 (2014): 256-261.

3) Koishi, Mototsugu, et al. “Quercetin, an inhibitor of heat shock protein synthesis, inhibits the acquisition of thermotolerance in a human colon carcinoma cell line.” Japanese journal of cancer research83.11 (1992): 1216-1222.

4) Lee, Hyemi, et al. “Response of breast cancer cells and cancer stem cells to metformin and hyperthermia alone or combined.” PLoS One9.2 (2014): e87979.

5) Group, International Collaborative Hyperthermia, et al. “Radiotherapy with or without hyperthermia in the treatment of superficial localized breast cancer: Results from five randomized controlled trials.” International Journal of Radiation Oncology* Biology* Physics35.4 (1996): 731-744.

6) Uckun, Fatih M., et al. “Radiation and heat sensitivity of human T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloblastic leukemia (AML) clones displaying multiple drug resistance (MDR).”International Journal of Radiation Oncology* Biology* Physics23.1 (1992): 115-125.

7) Souslova, Tatiana, and Diana A. Averill-Bates. “Multidrug-resistant hela cells overexpressing MRP1 exhibit sensitivity to cell killing by hyperthermia: interactions with etoposide.”International Journal of Radiation Oncology* Biology* Physics 60.5 (2004): 1538-1551.

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