Tips for Your Best Year Ever!

health tips 2016

5 Tips for a Healthy & Happy 2016

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

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

Foot Pain

woman with foot pain in her foot ankle or heel

How to Reverse Foot Pain for Happy, Healthy Feet

The human body is like a house, it needs a stable foundation. Our feet are our foundation and problems in them may result in foot pain as well as problems throughout the rest of the body.

Your feet are supported by three arches of fascia, muscles or ligaments – the transverse arch, which runs across the ball of your foot and two longitudinal arches, from the toes to the heel.

We spend a great deal of time standing, walking and running on hard surfaces in ill-fitted shoes. Therefore up to 80% of us may at some point have troubles with our feet. One of the most common problems is the collapsing of the arch. The result is “overpronation” or inward rolling of the ankles and feet when we walk. Daily activities such as walking, standing, jumping and running pull on the plantar fascia causing microscopic tears, inflammation and pain known as plantar fasciitis. There may be sharp pain in the heel or along the arch of the foot and it is often worse first thing in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Over-pronation can also result in increased strain along the inside of the knee, internal rotation of the hip, and/or un-leveling of the pelvis all of which may affect the back. Improper alignment can lead to early wear and tear and cause conditions such as arthritis, bunions or hammer toes.

Helpful Hints for foot pain:

  • Soft tissue techniques and joint alignment by your chiropractor will help
    with correction and healing of the problem.
  • Proper arch support is also very important. For mild problems, shoes with built in arch support or a good pair of over the counter inserts should be enough. In moderate to severe cases, custom fitted orthotics will offer greater benefit.
  • Be consistent with orthotic use. You will benefit most by wearing them in all of your shoes. In the summer, wear custom orthotic sandals whose foot bed is comprised of your own custom made orthotic.
  • Run on proper surfaces. Grassy surfaces or running tracks are ideal. Dirt paths tend to get packed hard, so try running along side of them. Pavement and cement are very hard on our feet; surfaces such as these should be avoided.
  • Proper hydration – your whole body benefits

Strengthening exercises and preventative measures for foot pain:

  • In bare feet place a hand towel on a smooth floor.Use your toes to scrunch and pull the towel toward you. This strengthens the muscles that naturally support your arches.
  • Stand with feet hip distance apart. Press big toes into the floor while lifting the other eight toes, then press those eight toes into the floor while lifting big toes.
  • While sitting, roll your entire foot over a tennis ball, or in very acute cases you can use a frozen water bottle.

By Dr. Kim Macanuel, BSc, DC.

For help with foot pain, musculoskeletal problems or orthotics contact Dr. Macanuel at 416.481.0222 or by email at KMacanuelDC@ForcesofNature.ca

Vitamin B12

vitamin B12 rich foods

Vitamin B12

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

Vitamin B12 is necessary for energy production, blood formation, DNA synthesis and myelin formation.

Symptoms of deficiency include:

  • Mental fogginess or difficulty concentrating
  • Problems with your memory
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of apathy
  • Fatigue and a lack energy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling in your extremities

You are at greater risk of B12 deficiency if you:

  • Are a vegan or vegetarian
  • Are over 50
  • Take antacids or anti-ulcer medication
  • Take Metformin for diabetes
  • Take antibiotics, anti-cancer medication, anticonvulsants, anti-gout
    medication, blood pressure medication, antipsychotics, birth control pills,
    cholesterol lowering drugs, potassium replacement medication
  • Drink four or more cups a coffee a day
  • Have or had an H. pylori bacterial infection
  • Had weight loss surgery
  • Have been exposed to laughing gas
  • You suffer from indigestion, heartburn or GERD

What foods contain vitamin B12?

B12 is found mainly in animal foods.  Eggs, dairy products, beef, chicken and pork all supply ample amounts of B12.

How can I test to see if I’m B12 deficient?

There is a simple blood test your doctor can do for B12, although this test is not the most accurate means of detecting B12 deficiency.  A better test is a urine methyl malonic acid test.

How can I fix a B12 deficiency?

Vitamin B12 levels can be replenished through sublingual supplements or through intramuscular B12 injections.

Our naturopathic doctors can help you determine if you have a B12 deficiency and how best to treat it.  It’s important that B12 deficiency is detected and treated early as long term deficiency can cause permanent nerve damage.

Sprouts and Stomach Cancer Bugs

broccoli sprouts that can help fight h pylori and stomach cancer

Broccoli Sprouts and H. Pylori

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

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

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

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

SOURCE: Cancer Prevention Research, April 2009.

Chinese Medicine & Food

how to eat healthy according to chinese medicine

Eating Well According to Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, food is heavily relied upon as medicine. What and how you eat affects the function of your digestive organs which in turn influences the qi (energy) and function of all of the organs.

Here are the key rules for eating according to Chinese medicine principles:

  1. Timing – it is best to eat at the same time every day.  7-9 a.m. is considered to be the “stomach” time, while 9-11 a.m. is the “spleen” time.  Both organs are essential to digestion in Chinese medicine.  Eating a hearty breakfast between 7-9 a.m. works with the timing of the internal organs.
  2. Weather temperature – External cold temperatures dictate the consumption of warmer foods like soups and stews, external heat calls for colder foods like salads
  3. What you are doing while eating – You should be focused on eating, not watching TV, talking on the phone, surfing the internet, driving, walking etc.
  4. Quantity – You should eat to the point of 2/3 satiety, to allow some reserves in the digestive tract for the process of digestion.
  5. Cooked vs Raw – in Chinese medicine, consumption of too  many raw foods (lots of salads and raw fruit) is damaging to the spleen (considered one of the organs of digestion in Chinese medicine).  This is why salads aren’t on the menu much in Chinese restaurants.  It’s better to eat foods lightly cooked like steamed or stir-fried to avoid damaging digestion.

Probiotics for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

woman with chronic fatigue

Can Probiotics Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)?

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

Why Would Probiotics Help CFS?

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

3 Ways to Help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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

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

Probiotics and Chronic Fatigue References:

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

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

 

CoQ10

structure of CoQ10
What is CoQ10?

CoQ10, also known as coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, is a naturally-occurring compound found in every cell in the body and is vital for healthy heart and muscle function, among other things.

Why is Coenzyme Q10 Important?

CoQ10 plays a key role in producing energy in the form of ATP in the mitochondria – the energy powerhouse of the cell. Every cell in your body needs adequate levels of this coenzyme to have sufficient energy to work properly. Low levels of CoQ10 have been found in patients with heart failure, cardiomyopathy, Parkinson’s disease and those on cholesterol lowering medications called statin drugs.  CoQ10 supplementation has been proven to improve these conditions as well as helping diabetics improve their blood sugar control and blood pressure and topical application can help with periodontal (gum) disease.

Statin medications can reduce levels of ubiquinone, and cause fatigue, muscle pain, muscle tenderness, muscle weakness, night time cramping, and tendon pain.  We always recommend supplementation if you are taking statin drugs.

Recent research has also suggested a role for CoQ10 in infertility.

Best Food Sources of CoQ10 (mg per serving)

Pork heart (24 mg)

Beef heart (4.8 mg)

Chicken leg (2.0 mg)

Herring (0.7 mg)

Trout (1.1 mg)

What are the Best CoQ10 Supplements?

Not crazy about those food options? Quality supplements are available through excellent manufacturers like Metagenics, Douglas Labs and Xymogen.  Metagenics has formulated a nanomicelle CoQ10 that delivers 1,000 times smaller molecules than other formulas, which places the active ingredient closer to cell membranes. It has been demonstrated in a study to be more bioavailable, increasing plasma levels by 25-50%, so less supplementation is required.  Douglas Labs offers a lozenge that may help gum disease.  Xymogen’s CoQMax has been shown in clinical trials to be over eight times more absorbable than powdered CoQ10 and more than twice as bioavailable as other oil-based or so-called “nano”-dispersed formulas on the market.

CoQ10 References:

Skarlovnik A, Janić M, Lunder M, Turk M, Šabovič M. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation decreases statin-related mild-to-moderate muscle symptoms: a randomized clinical study. Med Sci Monit. 2014 Nov 6;20:2183-8. doi: 10.12659/MSM.890777.

Wang LW, Jabbour A, Hayward CS, Furlong TJ, Girgis L, Macdonald PS, Keogh AM. Potential role of coenzyme Q10 in facilitating recovery from statin-induced rhabdomyolysis. Intern Med J. 2015 Apr;45(4):451-3. doi: 10.1111/imj.12712.

Ben-Meir A, Burstein E, Borrego-Alvarez A, Chong J, Wong E, Yavorska T, Naranian T, Chi M, Wang Y, Bentov Y, Alexis J, Meriano J, Sung HK, Gasser DL, Moley KH, Hekimi S, Casper RF, Jurisicova A. Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging Cell. 2015 Oct;14(5):887-95. doi: 10.1111/acel.12368. Epub 2015 Jun 26.

Stressed?

tips for man feeling stressed

Feeling Stressed?

We all experience stress in our lives from time to time. Stress is a normal physical response to events that threaten us, or upset our balance in some way. In these situations, our body kicks into high gear with the “fight or flight” response, the feeling of being stressed. This response can actually be helpful in certain stressful situations where you need to defend yourself, or stay focused (like in an emergency situation).

However, because the body doesn’t distinguish between physical and emotional threats, some of us can become stuck in a “stressed-out” state . Long-term exposure to stress can lead to serious health problems.

Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, as well as increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

There are many ways in which we can relieve tension, stress, and anxiety. Massage therapy is an excellent way to help manage stress. Massage can help to get rid of muscle tension (often a direct physical symptom of stress), reduce stress and anxiety, and it’s thought to even boost your body’s immune system. More research is needed into the subject of stress and massage, but studies have shown that patients being treated for cancer who received regular massage reported less anxiety, pain, and fatigue than those who did not receive regular massage.  Six out of nine studies on children and adolescents found that they were less stressed and fatigued with the addition of complementary treatments like massage therapy to conventional cancer treatment.

Talk to your RMT about massage therapy for stress management.

Here are 5 tips for relaxation between your massage treatments:

  1. Schedule downtime.  Relaxation time every day is as important as eating well and exercising.
  2. Yoga or meditation.  Research on both shows reductions in stress hormones with regular practice.
  3. Socialize.  Social interaction can help relieve stressful situations and provide much needed support.
  4. Reduce your caffeine intake.  Caffeine is a stimulant and while it may give you a boost, at the same time it taxes your adrenal (stress) glands.
  5. Sleep.  Make sleep a priority.  Research shows that at least 7-7.5 hours per night is ideal.

Massage and Stress References:

Garner B, Phillips LJ, Schmidt HM, Markulev C, O’Connor J, Wood SJ, Berger GE, Burnett P, McGorry PD. Pilot study evaluating the effect of massage therapy on stress, anxiety and aggression in a young adult psychiatric inpatient unit. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2008 May;42(5):414-22. doi: 10.1080/00048670801961131.

Lopes-Júnior LC, Bomfim EO, Nascimento LC, Nunes MD, Pereira-da-Silva G, Lima RA. Non-pharmacological interventions to manage fatigue and psychological stress in children and adolescents with cancer: an integrative review. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2015 Sep 16. doi: 10.1111/ecc.12381.

 

How To Survive a Hectic Lifestyle

how to survive a hectic lifestyle

6 Ways to Survive a Hectic Lifestyle

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

Schedule “Me” Time

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

Exercise Every Day

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

Take Vacations

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

Re-evaluate Priorities

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

Bolster Your Adrenal Glands

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

Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night

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

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

Antibiotics are Not For Colds

woman with a cold sneezing wondering about antibiotics

Should You Take Antibiotics for Colds?

Every time they come down with something, some people beg their doctor for antibiotics that:

  1. Can cause diarrhea and destroy healthy bacteria in the digestive tract
  2. Land more than 140,000 people in the emergency room every year
  3. Only help about one in 4,000 patients avoid a serious complication
  4. And do nothing to relieve their symptoms (because they only work for bacteria, not the viruses that are causing their cold symptoms)

Antibiotics are well known to be useless for colds, influenza, most sore throats and the vast majority of bronchitis cases, because those illnesses are caused by viruses. Antibiotics kill only bacteria. Every time people take unneeded antibiotics, they encourage the growth of bacterial strains that resist antibiotics, creating hard-to-control “superbugs” like MRSA.

Nonetheless, half of antibiotic prescriptions still go to people with viral illnesses.

There is a time and place for antibiotics and they save many lives, but they need to be used sparingly and judiciously.

Here are better options than taking antibiotics when you have a cold or the flu:

  1. Do all the things you know you should do to keep your immune system healthy – get good sleep, reduce your stress, drink lots of water, avoid sugar and processed foods, cut out alcohol.
  2. Boost your immune system’s efforts to fight off the virus with herbs like echinacea and reishi mushroom extract.
  3. Whip up some Gingerbread Cookie tea to help ease your cold symptoms:Gingerbread Cookie Tea for Colds

    5-6 cups of water

    Fresh ginger root sliced (~ 2 tbsps)

    A couple of cinnamon sticks

    ½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest

    Bring to a boil briefly; reduce to a simmer in a pot with a tight fitting lid for 20-40 minutes (10 minutes for kids).

    In a mug put:

    Juice of ½ lemon

    1 teaspoon raw honey

    Add the simmered ginger, cinnamon, citrus peel decoction and enjoy. Reheat on stove throughout the day. This formula tastes good, is antimicrobial, anti nauseant, clears mucous, and helps enhance or clear a fever.