Category Archives: Vitamin and Herbal Therapy

Articles, research, tips on using herbal medicine and vitamin supplementation for supporting optimal health.

Probiotics in the Spotlight

By Dr Nina Lange

Why probiotics? There are so many reasons we prescribe probiotics to populate the digestive system with good bacteria. Here is a list of just some of what they can do for you. Make sure you use good quality probiotics both in supplement and food sources.

*Improves the integrity of the intestines which in turn improves absorption of nutrients from food you eat.

*Outcompetes yeast and harmful bacteria so it naturally helps to get rid of problematic overgrowth of these organisms that can cause yeast infections, gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation.

*adequate levels of beneficial bacteria in the colon prevent the reabsorption of harmful estrogens and toxins

* a healthy gut can produce proper levels of certain antibodies that are required for better immune system function

* Help control appetite by increasing hormones leptin and grehlin that make us feel satiated.

*Decrease cortisol (adrenal stress hormone) and inflammatory cytokines(inflammation) in the body

*new research shows that various strains of probiotics have an effect on different neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium can secrete GABA.  A deficiency in GABA is linked to depression, insomnia and anxiety.

Bifidobacterium infantis releases serotonin, the feel-good hormone

Lactobacillus reuteri increase oxytocin, which improves overall mood, appearance and feeling good.

Lactobacillus acidophilus increases canabinoid receptors in the spinal cord which help to regulate pain

* Probiotics populate the vaginal canal and assist in innoculating the baby’s gut as it descends during the birth process.

 

5Rs to Healthy Digestion

By Dr Julie Durnan

Your digestive tract, or as we lovingly like to refer to it at the clinic – your GUT, is the foundation for great health.

So it makes sense that in order to connect with health, we must first heal the gut.

There have been numerous articles written on the subject of the 4Rs of digestion – but in my practice, I’ve added an extra R. To find out what the 5th R is, please make sure to read through to the end of this article.

Here is my simple 5 step process to healing your gut and finding great health:

  1. REMOVESimply put – the first step involves removing the triggers that are aggravating your digestive tract so your gut can heal.This is done in one of two ways – by following an Elimination Diet for 3 weeks or by having a food sensitivity test (IgG ELISA blood test) done and eliminating only those foods that you are sensitive to.If you are following an Elimination Diet, this involves avoiding all common food allergens including:
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Corn
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Shellfish
  • Citrus
  • All processed foods containing artificial ingredients or preservativesThese foods much be strictly avoided for 3 weeks to ensure that all the allergens have cleared from your system.

It takes some effort, but it’s healthy eating and most of our patients who have done an elimination diet report feeling better than ever. It’s well worth it!

If you choose to have the blood test done, this is a quick and easy test done in our clinic. The test starts at $275, and the cost depends on number of foods tested. If you go this route, then your removal phase will involve only avoidance of those foods found to be a problem for you on the test.

Your digestive system is your barrier between your internal body and the external world.

Your gut can be easily damaged by toxins, chemicals, and any foods that cause your immune system to overreact.

But the good news is that once you avoid the overall load of triggers, your gut can heal

2.REPLACE

Once you have removed all the aggravating food culprits from your diet, it’s time to boost your gut’s natural digestive abilities, by replacing enzymes and acid.

Start taking a good quality digestive enzyme with each meal.

Enzymes help you to digest food, they reduce inflammation in the gut, they neutralize bacteria and viruses, and they ensure that what you eat, you actually absorb.

Depending on your gut health, you might also require some added hydrochloric acid (HCl). Speak to your naturopathic physician to see if you are a candidate for this.

3. REINOCULATE

After you have removed trigger foods for 3 weeks and replaced with enzymes for one week, you are now ready for reinoculation of healthy bacteria.

What this means is that you are now ready to take a good quality probiotic supplement to optimize your healthy gut microbial balance.

 Healthy gut bacteria is one of the most essential components to a health digestive tract so this step is not to be missed.

Did you know that our natural gut bacteria becomes damaged when we eat food allergens, consume pesticides and food additives, and are stressed?

Gut bacteria is crucial not only to good digestive function but also to whole body health including fertility, prenatal health, cardiovascular health (heart health), mood balance, hormone balance, and immune system function. It is one of the most underestimated components of the human body and something we talk about at length in visits with our patients.

As a side note: a good probiotic supplement is something that you can take ongoing for great health.

Lactobacillus ramnosus is one of the most well-studied probiotic strains around. Look for this bacteria on your probiotic’s ingredients label. Aim to get between 50 to 100 billion colony forming units (cfu) per day when healing your gut. Maintenance doses can be less.

I also recommend reinoculating your gut bacteria by using food-based medicine. Fermented foods are a wonderful way to restore healthy bacteria in the gut and to maintain optimal bacterial balance. Foods such as kefir, saurkraut, miso, kombucha, and kimchi are all superfoods that can restore healthy levels of beneficial bacteria.

4.REPAIR

You have removed irritants, replaced with digestive enzymes, and reinoculated with nourishing healthy bacteria – it’s now time to repair that gut lining to truly heal your whole digestive system.

A few of our favourite gut healing remedies are:

 Turmeric: an anti-inflammatory herb that has been well researched and shown to quickly and safely reduce overall inflammation and heal the gut lining. Can be taken in powder form with a bit of pepper and olive oil, or in a supplement form. Aim for 1500 to 3000mg daily.

 Fish Oil or Algae Oil (vegan): this anti-inflammatory food powerfully reduces inflammation but also benefits heart health, brain function (memory + mood), skin, and more.

 L-glutamine powder: 5-10 grams of powder daily will help to feed those enterocytes (cells that line your entire digestive tract) to keep them strong and the lining healthy.

Soothing (demulcent) herbs:

  • Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis)
  • Slippery Elm bark powder (Ulmus rubra)
  • DGL (deglycyrrizinated licorice)

5. RELAX

The last step of the 5Rs is crucial in maintaining a health digestive system. Relax.

If you are stressed or anxious, your gut health suffers. Period.

Blood is literally shunted away from your gut when you are under stress. In order to heal, it’s necessary that you relax, so that blood flow may return to the digestive system, bringing with it a healthy dose of nutrients and minerals for healing.

Take the time to rest, restore, to sleep, and to breathe. Your healthy gut will repay you a thousand times over.

Bee Propolis: All the Buzz – By Dr Nina Lange, ND

  • Natural product that bees make to hold their hives together. This strength makes it a very powerful natural remedy!
  • Antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral
  • Contains flavonoids, phenolic acids, terpenes, benzoic acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals that aid in wound healing, decrease inflammation and increase immune system activity
  • Stimulates white and red blood cell production increasing immune system function and energy
  • Can be used internally and topically on minor wounds, burns, infections, sore throats, strep throat, herpes outbreaks, shingles, gingivitis (tooth/gum infections), canker sores
  • Helps with asthma, coughs, sinusitis, urinary tract infections, flu, food poisoning, preventatively before/during a plane flight
  • Study showed antibacterial activity against antibiotic resistant strains of potentially fatal E.coli and MRSA bacteria
  • Several studies have shown its anti prostate, breast and colon cancer activity by interrupting blood supply to cancer cells
  • Available in tinctures, sprays, lozenges, powders
  • (Caution use in people with a honey or bee sting allergy)

With so many good actions, use a good quality bee propolis if you have any infection or just to strengthen your immune system and BEE HEALTHY !

Vitamin Injections: A Boost for Your Immune System – By Dr Nina Lange ND

We are often asked about these Vitamin injections (Meyer’s Cocktail) and suggest you ask your ND if this may be a good option for you!

*Intravenous injection allows for vitamins, minerals and specific amino acids, homeopathics or trace minerals to be infused straight into the bloodstream so they get right to the cells and organs where they are needed. Prevents the need for absorption from the digestive tract.

*Higher doses of anti inflammatory, antioxidant, immune boosting supplements can be given this route than through the GI tract

*Can be taken at regular intervals as determined by your ND or as needed if you are exposed to more viruses (think of your kids bringing germs home from daycare!), will be traveling on a flight, are feeling run down or stressed, or have any digestive issues that may decrease vitamin and mineral absorption

*Advised for all athletes who are training or racing as the body’s vitamin and mineral requirements will be higher

*In pregnancy, aids in mother’s immune system health

*Highly recommended before and after plane or cruise ship travel

*Can be tailored to suit your body’s needs

Detoxing: Spring Cleaning for Your Body By Dr Nina Lange ND

Want to feel revitalized, energized, clear headed, calm and balanced??

No matter how healthy you are, taking the time to “cleanse” is essential to maintaining optimal vitality.

Stress, poor diet, food sensitivities, environmental pollutants, medications, lack of exercise, alcohol, caffeine and poor water quality all contribute to toxin accumulation in our bodies. Even if we try to do everything right we are bombarded with toxins on a daily basis.

Signs and Symptoms of Toxicity
Stress, anxiety
Bloating
Recurrent infections
Fatigue
Gas
Rashes
Headaches
Diarrhea, Constipation
Sinus congestion
Joint pains
Allergies
Nausea
Depression
Acne
PMS

Although the body is continually “detoxifying” (essentially a word to describe the breakdown of substances that are harmful to our bodies), Spring and Fall are transition times in the year when it is optimal to give your body a “Cleanse” or “Detoxification”. This is a time to make an intentional effort to support the body’s detoxification process. It is important to understand the value of undertaking these cleanses under supervision, especially if you are doing a more intensive detoxification. When you start to detoxify the system the main eliminatory organs of the body are burdened if they are not properly supported. These main organs are the skin, the bowels, the liver, the lungs, the lymphatics and the kidneys.

The liver, your main detoxification organ requires certain supportive vitamins and minerals in order for the 2 phases of the detoxification to function properly. Let’s take a moment to understand that process. In Phase 1 of the liver’s detoxification process toxic substances are broken down into intermediate metabolites. In Phase 2, these are further broken down and then eliminated. You can imagine now that if the liver is not functioning optimally, and Phase 1 does not efficiently break down the toxins, they will back up in the bloodstream. There are also a variety of substances that can slow Phase 1, again leading to toxin buildup in the blood and eventually the tissues. If Phase 1 is accelerated due to certain substances, the bottleneck of toxic intermediates between Phase 1 and 2 again leads to toxin accumulation. It is important that the Phase 1 and 2 are in proper balance to achieve optimum results. This means avoiding certain foods, adding certain supplements and foods and involving other supportive therapies.
Not only the liver, but also the kidneys, lymphatics, bowels, respiratory system, and skin need to be supported in order to achieve the full effect of a Cleanse. Of course, supporting these organs all the time with a healthy lifestyle is optimal, but when you are undertaking a Cleanse it is imperative that you support them so that you will safely experience the benefits. These benefits include increased energy, improved digestion, clearer mind, decreased anxiety and tension, decreased pain and improved sleep. Now who wouldn’t want that?!

The key is to know which supportive therapies, foods, and supplements are required to make these systems most effective and functioning optimally. Acupuncture, saunas, hydrotherapy, supplementation with key support minerals and vitamins, dietary modifications and stress reduction can all benefit the process. Talk to your Naturopathic physician at PNC to set up a Detoxification Program that is designed for you personally!

Vitamin C: The Super Vitamin – By Dr. Rick Santimaw ND

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is possibly the most safe and useful
nutraceutical around. It is a water-soluble vitamin (your body
doesn’t store it), which makes it very safe to use, even in high
doses. We can get what we need from our diet, including papaya,
bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, pineapple, brussel sprouts,
kiwifruit, oranges, cantaloupe, and kale. However, when preventing
or treating certain conditions we supplement higher doses of
vitamin C (either orally or intravenously) to attain therapeutiresults.

Vitamin C plays many important roles in your body. A few of the
major ones are:
●Essential in wound healing and scar formation.
●Repairs and maintains healthy bones and teeth.
●Helps make collagen, an important protein used to make
skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels.
●Very powerful anti-oxidant (protects your cells from free
radical damage caused by, radiation, tobacco smoke, or
simply aging).
●Strengthens and supports your immune system.
Because of its versatility, vitamin C is used to prevent and treat a
variety of medical conditions. Listed below are just a few:
●Heart Disease
●Hypertension
●Colds & Flus
●Cancer
●Osteoarthritis
●Asthma
●Age related macular degeneration
●Diabetes

Herb in Profile: Schisandra chinensis

Schisandra chinensis is one of the most wonderful herbs for tonifying the liver, supporting the nervous system and mood, giving support to the adrenal glands, and boosting the immune system. Schisandra’s berries are most therapeutic. At PNC, we use the berries as part of a blend with other botanicals to encourage liver detoxification in certain patients. We also prescribe Schisandra berries as a tea to give moods and adrenals a boost. The tea tastes wonderful and is chock full of antioxidants!

At PNC, we believe that herbs are best incorporated into your daily routine in the form of foods and teas. So try drinking a cup of Schisandra berry tea each day and let us know how you like it.

We think you will thank us!