Natural Medicine Research

natural medicine research

Is There Research on Naturopathic Medicine?

You bet there is.  Here’s an overview of some interesting natural medicine research:

  1. Alcohol extract of sage enhances memory (Psychopharmacology 2008; 198(1): 127-139)
  2. Standardised willow bark extract continues to show benefit for painful osteoarthritis, with similar effectiveness and better tolerance than conventional therapy. (Phytomedicine 2008 15(11):907-913)
  3. Garlic standardised for allicin content and administered in a slow-release tablet had a cholesterol-lowering effect in mild hypercholesterolaemia. (J Atheroscler Thromb 15(6):334-338)
  4. Several case reports describe where repletion of vitamin D resolved back pain or significantly improved patients’ quality of life, even after failed back surgery. (Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, February 2009)
  5. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation reduces risk of pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, helps fibromyalgia patients, could improve recovery from cardiac surgery, and may even minimize tumors in breast cancer. International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, January 2009, Clinical Biochemistry, December 2008, Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia, December 2008, & The British Journal of Nutrition, December 2008, respectively.

Please do not self-medicate based on this information, consult a naturopathic doctor to determine whether these are appropriate for you and also to source out the most effective products.

 

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X-Rated

the word lust

Best New Year’s Resolution Ever!

I’ll stop at nothing in my quest to find ways for you to stay healthier.

So here’s what should be your New Year’s Resolution – Have More Sex.  It’s a natural mood elevator, sleep inducer, stress reliever, immune booster and pain reliever. Studies have shown intercourse helps reduce prostate cancer risk in men and helps prevent breast cancer and endometriosis in women.

So have more (safe) sex!

Can Money Buy Happiness?

money buy happiness

Proof that Money Can Buy Happiness!

Research suggests that money can make us happy if we spend it on the
right things. It seems that buying life experiences, such as dinner out or theatre tickets, rather than material possessions like the latest designer handbag, leads to greater happiness for both the buyer and those around them.

Why? Because purchasing experiences, as opposed to things, boosts feelings of well-being and vitality as well as social connectedness. The results also showed that purchasing experiences produced happier people regardless of the amount spent or the income of the purchaser.

Experiences also lead to longer-term satisfaction. “Purchased experiences provide memory capital,” noted Ryan Howell, an assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University. “We don’t tend to get bored
of happy memories like we do with a material object.”

So replace the happy memories of your favourite handbag with happy memories of experiences with your loved ones.

As an interesting aside, one of my colleagues at Thorpe Benefits Health & Wellness, Louisa Jewell, says that studies show that having a short commute makes us happier longer than purchasing material possessions like a new TV.

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

Wrinkles: Nature or Nurture?

dog with wrinkles

Are Wrinkles “Just Genetic”?

A study involving identical twins suggests that wrinkles aren’t entirely dictated by genetic make-up; certain environmental factors can add years to a person’s perceived age.

Factors that can affect your face:

– divorce
– use of antidepressants
– major weight gain/loss
– stress

Our solutions, reduce your stress levels, support your adrenals so that you deal with stress more easily, avoid dramatic fluctuations in weight, eat a healthy diet, address depression naturally and maintain healthy relationships.  It’s a tall order, but our naturopathic doctors can help support all of these.

Source: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Health Benefits of Ginger

ginger tea

Ginger and Me

Every year about this time, I think I should get ambitious and make a gingerbread house from scratch – it still hasn’t happened.  I thought a little information about the health benefits of ginger might motivate you and me to include more in our diets through other means like stir-fries and curry.
Here’s the scoop, ginger helps:

  • Soothe ulcers
  • Morning sickness and motion sickness
  • Lower cholesterol and platelet clumping
  • Reduce inflammation

Time to go make a nice cup of ginger tea. Go overboard with ginger!

HIgh Fructose Corn Syrup, Obesity & Heart Disease

word cloud showing junk food and high fructose corn syrup

Weight Gain & Heart Disease Courtesy of Big Food

Most processed food, like cereal, is sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). When HFCS was first introduced about 30 years ago, we consumed about 1 pound per person per year. Today we take in almost 60 times that amount in drinks, hamburgers and chicken, cookies and cakes, breads and crackers, yogurt and granola bars, pizza and fast foods.

When we digest glucose, our body increases a hormone controlling appetite and fat storage called leptin, and decreases the hormone causing hunger pangs known as ghrelin. But with HFCS the opposite happens so we are left feeling not quite satisfied and hungry soon after eating. The University of Minnesota also found a diet high in fructose elevates triglyceride levels, long associated with obesity and heart disease.

If you recall the movie Supersize Me, the actor consumed nothing but fast food for 1 month and was tested medically before and after. Afterward he’d gained considerable weight, his triglycerides were high and there were signs of liver damage. The movie speculated that it was the grease from the fast food causing these, but it turns out it was the high fructose corn syrup in all the Supersized soft drinks that was the culprit.

Just say no to Supersizeing, or any size serving when it comes to high fructose corn syrup. Here’s one other word of caution, manufacturers are aware that consumers are trying to avoid HFCS and as a result, are now just labeling it as “fructose” in the ingredients, even going so far as to claim that the product contains NO high fructose corn syrup, when in fact it does.  Keeping processed foods to a minimum, or having none at all, is your best bet.

Get your fructose from a piece of actual fruit.

Want more diet advice? Our naturopaths are diet experts.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

DIY Sports Drink

man on bike drinking a sports drink like gatorade

Do You Even Need a Sports Drink?

For the majority of people, sports drinks are not really necessary and do add to salt and sugar intake. The conditions in which proper rehydration is important include:

  • Exercising in very hot weather
  • When working out intensely for more than one hour, particularly if sweating profusely
  • In cases of vomiting or diarrhea, particularly if lasting greater than half a day or in infants
  • Professional athletes

It’s important in these instances to get the body rehydrated as quickly as possible. Salt and glucose solutions facilitate the uptake of water in the gastrointestinal tract. Sports drinks and pediatric electrolyte replacements are good for that, but often contain large amounts of sugar, artificial colours and flavours. You can make your own somewhat healthier and less expensive oral rehydration therapy mix.

Homemade Sports Drink Recipe

  • 1L of pure spring water
  • 4 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt

The advantages to this concoction are:

  • Lower sugar
  • No artificial flavours or colours
  • Broader spectrum mineral replacement than just sodium and chloride

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND.  For sports nutrition advice, see one of our licensed naturopaths.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Health food or health fake?

sugary chocolate coated energy bar

Junk Food in Disguise

These 4 foods masquerade as health food.  Yummy they might be, healthy they are not, here’s why:

Energy Bars and Energy Drinks

The “energy” in these products usually takes the form of lots of sugar and/or caffeine. They may even provide a temporary surge in energy due to blood sugar spikes, but watch out for the crash after that will leave you feeling tired and drive cravings for more sugar and/or caffeine.

Granola

Most granola cereal is high in fat and sugar, and other than grain-free granola (there’s a recipe on our website here) all are high carbs.

Yogourt

Most commercial yogourts are not prepared properly to confer the health benefits of yogourt and instead are full of thickeners like gelatin and sugar.  A serving of yogourt may contain 1 billion beneficial bacteria for your gut.  One capsule of a good probiotic will contain the equivalent of 100 servings of yogourt.

Fruit smoothies

Juice bars offer these to health conscious consumers, but most are loaded with sugar. At one outlet, the smallest size has 340 calories and 69 grams of sugar (I recommend no more than 25 grams per serving of sugar/carbs in anything).

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc(Hons), ND.  For real advice about what would be healthy to eat and how to prepare healthier versions of these for yourself, contact one of our naturopathic doctors.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.

Bye Bye Blood Pressure Medications

Man with high blood pressure or hypertension

Healing Hypertension at the Source

High blood pressure is typically a symptom free condition that is only picked up on physical examination and is a common (but not normal) problem with age. There are many possible causes of high blood pressure:

  • Blockage or hardening of the arteries
  • Magnesium or potassium imbalances
  • Poor adrenal gland function
  • High cholesterol
  • Poor kidney function
  • Over stimulation of the nervous system/stress

High blood pressure won’t go away without some intervention. Often borderline high blood pressure people are sent home until their next check up and without making some changes, the only place to go is up. If you neglect your blood pressure, you can expect a lifetime of multiple prescription drugs, and heart disease such as strokes or heart attacks.

To correct high blood pressure we:

  • Clean out the arteries with proteolytic enzymes and herbs
  • Correct magnesium and potassium imbalances
  • Nourish, balance and support the adrenal glands
  • Reduce cholesterol through dietary changes and exercise
  • Heal and support the kidneys
  • Reduce stress and nervous system stimulation through exercise, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises, psychotherapy, massage therapy, herbs and other nutrients

By Dr. Pamela Frank, BSc (Hons), ND.  Our licensed naturopaths can help treat your high blood pressure to reduce or avoid medications.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now. 

Tired all the time?

woman tired all the time with chronic fatigue
Could You Have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is characterized by severe, unexplained, disabling fatigue that is not relieved by rest. CFS has an identifiable onset, usually after an acute viral infection such as mononucleosis. It can be persistent or relapsing and lasts for at least 6 consecutive months.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients usually exhibit four or more of the following symptoms:

  • Impaired memory or concentration problems
  • Tender cervical or axillary lymph nodes
  • Sore throat (but may not show signs of infection)
  • Muscle/multi-joint pain (but not arthritis)
  • New onset headaches (tension-type or migraine)
  • Not refreshed after adequate sleep
  • Fatigue, pain and flu-like symptoms after exertion

These symptoms can be further aggravated by physical or mental stress, poor sleep or trauma.

Naturopathically there are many avenues I explore and treat with CFS:

  • Toxin and heavy metal accumulation
  • Imbalanced brain chemistry/low serotonin
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), or with the fungus Candida albicans
  • Food allergy (dairy products, eggs, wheat/gluten, nuts and beans are most common)
  • Emotional stress
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Chronic mercury poisoning from dental fillings
  • Hypoglycemia

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

Need help with chronic fatigue?  That’s what our naturopathic doctors are here for.  Call us at 416-481-0222 or book online now.