Naturopathic Medicine in Ontario has been a regulated health profession in Ontario since 1925. Moving Naturopathic Doctors under the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) that regulates 25 health professions in Ontario, including MD's and nurses is long overdue.
All major parties support the proclamation of the Naturopathy Act, however, the June election may affect timing.
What you can do to make a difference:
Let your local candidates or their canvassers know – at a local event, when they come to your door or through a call to the campaign office - that their support for timely proclamation of the Naturopathy Act is an important factor in your personal voting decision. Then ask if you have their support. If they are not sure, provide them with the background information and request that they get back to you within 24 hours with a position. Names and contact information for candidates in all ridings, accessible via postal code, will be available at the Elections Ontario website at http://www.elections.on.ca/en-ca
Big Breakfast for Weight LossRead Now
"Breakfast is the most important meal of the day." We've all heard that a thousand times. Well, some new research is supporting the idea that breakfast should also be your largest meal of the day. It appears that by having more of your calories up front and fewer for lunch and dinner helps to improve insulin response and blood sugar levels. Why is this important? Let's look at two recent studies.
The first study put overweight and obese women on a 1400 calorie diet. The 'breakfast' group ate 700 kcal at breakfast, 500 kcal at lunch, and a 200 kcal dinner. The 'dinner' group ate the same number of calories but ate 200 kcal at breakfast, 500 kcal at lunch, and a 700 kcal dinner. They did this for 12 weeks. The results showed that the breakfast group lost more weight, more inches, decreased their triglycerides, glucose and insulin, and were less hungry than the dinner group.
In the second study the women weren't trying to lose weight but had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a condition that is associated with insulin resistance, higher than normal testosterone, and reduced ovulation. In a similar fashion to the study above, one group ate more calories at breakfast (980 kcal), had a sensible lunch (640 kcal), and a low calorie dinner (190 kcal). The dinner group had equal daily calories but less calories at breakfast (190 kcal), same lunch (640 kcal) and a large dinner (980 kcal). Again, eating more at breakfast lead to lowered glucose and insulin. It also helped these women decrease their testosterone and increase their ovulation rate.
So, to recap, eating more at breakfast and less at dinner helps to improve insulin sensitivity and decrease blood glucose. This works better than just restricting calories overall for weight loss, improving triglycerides, and helping women with PCOS ovulate.
References: Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 March. PMID 23512957.
Clin Sci (Lond). 2013 Nov. PMID 23688334
Seasonal AllergiesRead Now
Allergy season is well under way for millions of Canadians. People sensitive to tree pollen can suffer from March through to July. Grass pollen is released from April to July and then ragweed hits from August all the way until November.
What are seasonal allergies?
Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, like all allergies, are an immune response to a protein. In this case, the protein is coming from plant pollen being inhaled. The body creates antibodies whenever it perceives a threat has invaded the body and in the case of allergies the immune system mistakenly creates antibodies to the harmless pollen proteins.
The antibodies associated with allergic reactions are called immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies. These antibodies are controlled by type 2 helper T cells, or Th2 cells. Th2 cells activate and recruit IgE antibodies which then attach to mast cells. Mast cells, which are abundant in the eyes, nose and lungs, are the cells that release histamine and the other chemicals responsible for creating the symptoms associated with hay fever.
How to Prevent Allergies and Reduce Symptoms
As described above, allergies are associated with a Th2 mediated response from the immune system. In order to prevent allergies it would be important to create a shift away from this pre-allergic Th2 response. This is done by creating a more even Th1/Th2 balance in the immune system.
It is believed that part of why more and more people are reaching for the Claritin is reduced microbial exposure at an early age. That is, we are too clean and our immune system is not taught how to properly respond to actual threats and instead starts creating reactions to harmless proteins such as pollen. Several studies show that infants exposed to pets in their first year of life grow up to have a lower risk of developing allergies and asthma. Sharing the floor with a cat or dog helps introduce babies' immune systems to more microbes and creates a more balances immune system.
If you are no longer an infant, there is much research showing the benefits of probiotics in preventing and reducing the symptoms associated with allergies. Probiotics help by down-regulating the immune system's Th2 response which in turn reduces the number of IgE antibodies that will be recruited to activate mast cell histamine production. Studies also show that lower diversity of healthy intestinal bacteria is associated with higher levels of circulating IgE. Therefore, it is likely beneficial to get probiotics from a variety of sources such as a daily supplement, yogourt, and other fermented foods and beverages.
If you already have allergies probiotics are still helpful at reducing symptoms and may help to prevent allergies from developing in the future.
Medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga have been found to have similar immune modulating effects. Reishi has demonstrated the ability to down-regulate the Th2 response and reduce allergy symptoms to inhaled pollens. Chaga has also shown the ability to reduce the Th2 response and suppress IgE production.
Finally, research has shown that having higher blood concentrations of various carotenoids, reflecting a diet high in fruits and vegetables, is associated with lower incidence of hay fever.
Vitamin K2Read Now
Research published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Calcified Tissue International found that postmenopausal women fed dairy products enriched with 400 IU of vitamin D and 100 mcg of vitamin K2 had improved bone mineral density (BMD) beyond those fed dairy enriched with vitamin D alone. The vitamin K also significantly lowered undercarboxylated osteocalcin and urine deoxypyridinoline, both markers of bone breakdown.
Vitamin K2 is one of my favourite vitamins. Different than the vitamin K1 found in dark leafy greens and vegetables, vitamin K2 is derived from natto, a fermented soy product, and is responsible for activating osteocalcin (vitamin K1 does this to a lesser extent). Osteocalcin is the hormone that promotes calcium deposition in the bones. It also removes calcium from soft tissues such as muscle and arteries. Basically, the main function of vitamin K2 is to tell the calcium where to go. Vitamin D is well known for increasing the absorption of calcium into the blood. However, when someone takes a calcium + D they are simply increasing their blood levels of calcium and hoping that some will get into their bones. The reality is that some will get into the bones and some will get into other less desirable locations in the body such as our arteries as a component of plaque deposits. This is where vitamin K2 comes in. It directs calcium. First it directs it into the bone and promotes bone building. Second it directs calcium out of soft tissues where it is then excreted in the urine.
As mentioned above vitamin K2 is derived from a fermented soy product called natto. Other natural sources are soft cheeses and grass fed animal products, including egg yolk. Unfortunately not much of the meat out there is grass fed, which is why a supplement may be necessary.
When looking to supplement with K2 it is important to realize that there are two forms MK-4 and MK-7. Both work but at different doses. The average dose used in much of the research showing benefit is 45mg (milligrams) of MK-4 and 120mcg (micrograms) of MK-7. This is especially important to note if you live in Canada because Health Canada limits the dose of any vitamin K (K1, K2 MK-4, K2 MK-7) to 120mcg per capsule. What that means is that to get proper dosing of the MK-4 form in Canada one would have to consume 375 capsules a day. Fortunately most companies use the MK-7 form which works well at the lower dose of one capsule per day.
DHA for ADHDRead Now
It’s back to school time and children’s brains need proper nutrition for growth and development. The brain is made up of around 60% fat and half of that is the omega-3 fatty acid DHA. It stands to reason that a diet low in DHA could lead to less than optimal brain function, including the symptoms associated with ADHD. That's exactly what some recent research is showing.Research published in the April 2012 issue of the journal Nutrition suggests that DHA supplementation is associated with improved literacy and behavior in children with ADHD, in particular those who also have learning difficulties. Similar research in the July 2012 issue of the journal Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders showed a strong correlation between increased omega-3 levels and a more than 25% reduction in ADHD symptoms.
The easiest way to increase DHA levels is supplementing with a good quality fish oil, as well as consuming more fish, flax, hemp, walnuts, and dark leafy greens. Alternatives to fish oil include flax seed oil and an oil from an algae (Schizochytrium sp.) that is a particularly high vegan/vegetarian source of DHA.
Ever wondered about those ionic foot baths you see at some spas and holistic practices?
The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) and the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto has shown a lack of evidence pertaining to the use of ionic footbaths and their ability to remove potentially toxic elements (PTEs), such as arsenic, lead, etc. from the body.
Click here to read more...
The holidays can make it difficult to maintain that healthy diet you're following. But don't worry! There are some delicious holiday-inspired recipes out there that won't crush your healthy efforts. Here are some recipes compiled by the Canadian Naturopathic Foundation:
Turkey Barley Soup
Red Quinoa with Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans
Easy Cider Roasted Vegetables
Dark Chocolate Almond Biscotti
Gluten-free Pumpkin Chai Bread with Cranberries
Cocoa Almond Balls
Eat delicious food AND enjoy the holiday!!!!
Celebrate Organic Week! Oct 15-22Read Now
This week is Organic Week in Canada. Celebrate organic food, farming & products in Canada. Go to organicweek.ca for more details.
Naturopathic Medicine can help reduce prescription drug use and Medical Doctor visits.Read Now
A new survey commissioned by the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine reveals that almost half of Ontarians treated by naturopathic doctors report naturopathic medicine has helped reduce their use of prescription drugs. Further, approximately 4 in 10 of those individuals report fewer visits to their family doctors and 3 in 10 to hospitals as a result of the care they receive from naturopathic doctors.
“These results show more Ontario residents are not only increasingly using complementary therapies, but also indicating that naturopathic medicine is an effective alternative to help relieve the cost pressures on the publicly-funded provincial health system,” says Nick DeGroot, a naturopathic doctor and dean of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Recipe: Avocado "fries"Read Now
Avocados are delicious and an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including the fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats (the good guys). Here is an interesting recipe to help spice up some sliced avocado. It even includes flax, another healthy fat food and good source of fibre.
Recipe by: Chef Douglas McNish of Raw Aura Organic Cuisine
1 cup golden flax, whole
2 tablespoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon fresh ground cumin
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 large avocado
1. Using either a spice grinder or a coffee mill, grind the flax seeds until they have become a powder.
2. Mix in all other spice/seasonings and taste for salt.
3. Cut the avocado lengthwise into 8 equal portions and toss with the flax breading until all sides are evenly coated. (For a slightly crispy texture, and if you have a dehydrator, dehydrate at 105 degrees for 5–6 hours or until desired texture has been achieved.)
Scott Figueroa and Holly Letourneau are naturopathic doctors and co-founders of Hart & Sol Integrative Healthcare.