Category Archives: Naturopathic Medicine

Articles, research, tips on naturopathic medicine topics including gaining energy, supporting adrenal function, detox, liver cleansing, and hormone balancing.

Kitchen Kombucha

Kombucha Recipe

7 Days to Natural, Organic, Homemade Kombucha Tea

Kombucha is a refreshing, effervescent tea drink rich in antioxidants and good healthy bacteria. And the best part – you can easily make your own at home!

It takes some preparation to get your supplies organized, but once you get a taste of this fizzy delicious drink, you’ll be making it on the regular.

Here is my first-timer’s recipe for 7 Day Kombucha. Enjoy!!

Yields: 4 litres

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup coconut or cane sugar
  • 4-6 tea bags or (4-6 tsp of loose leaf tea)
  • SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) Kombucha Starter Culture – you can grow your own SCOBY if you are keen, or for first timers, it’s easiest to buy a Tea Starter kit online (http://www.culturesforhealth.com/kombucha-tea-starter-culture.html)
  • 1 cup starter liquid – use 1 cup of fluid off the top of previous batch of Kombucha OR if this is your first time – use 4 Tbsp of white distilled vinegar plus 1 cup water
  • Purified or spring water
  • Kettle
  • 4 litre glass jar
  • Cloth cover
  • Large rubber band

How to Make Kombucha:

  1. Boil 1 litre water
  2. Add water and tea bags/leaves to glass jar
  3. Steep 5 minutes and remove tea bags or leaves
  4. Add sugar and stir until dissolved
  5. Add SCOBY and starter liquid
  6. Cover glass jar with cloth and secure around with rubber band
  7. Set pot aside in a dry, warm location away from direct sun
  8. Leave still for 7 days

After 7 days – add flavour if you wish.  You can add mint, raspberry, honey, ginger, or anything you like.

DRINK and ENJOY!!

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.

 

Raising Progesterone Naturally

By Dr Nina Lange

Progesterone is one of the key hormones in a woman’s body. In proper balance with Estrogen and Testosterone, it functions to regulate menstrual cycles, improve fertility, ease menopausal transition and PMS, promote sleep and feeling calm, speed up metabolism and generates a general sense of wellbeing.

Without adequate levels, we see signs such as insomnia, bloating and water retention, PMS, irregular cycles, menstrual cramping, fibroids/PCOS, infertility, and anxiety.

As Naturopathic physicians we often test the levels of these hormones through a salivary hormone panel and make a plan for optimizing your levels of all of these hormones. Because we live in a society where Estrogen tends to dominate due to the use of pesticides, plastics and chemical hormones we more often see low Progesterone.

So what do we do to raise this incredibly important hormone?

1.Treat the adrenal glands:  This is another way of saying “help your body adapt better to stress”.  Because Progesterone is produced in both the ovaries and adrenal glands (that also regulate your stress responses) these important glands need to be strong. Reducing chronic stress by taking even small steps to support the adrenals through lifestyle changes (sleep, diet and moderate exercise) and supportive herbs and nutritional supplements will help to optimize their ability to produce adequate levels of Progesterone.

2.Detoxify the liver: the liver metabolizes hormones so in order to ensure proper ratios of Estrogen to Progesterone, support the liver on an ongoing basis. We also suggest talking to your ND about whether doing a detox/cleanse is right for you.

Along with some herb/supplements, consider a simple step such as a glass of warm water with lemon every morning to start stimulating the liver’s detoxification processes.

3. Herbs and Nutrition: Along with food sources, use supportive herbs and nutritional supplements in doses that are prescribed specifically for your needs.  Although there are many herbs and nutrients that can assist in bringing up Progesterone, some of our favourite ones include

I3C: broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts

These help to reduce the load of harmful Estrogen in the body, which in turn increases the ratio of Progesterone to Estrogen

Vitamin B6: walnuts, beans, bananas, spinach, potatoes, lean red meat

Helps liver detoxify Estrogen

Zinc: shellfish, beef, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, wheatgerm

Stimulates Progesterone production

 Magnesium: beans, pumpkin, whole grains, nuts, spinach

Supports adrenal glands in is useful in every enzyme reaction in the body which in turn helps produce hormones

Chaste tree: a herb that has a potent effect on the pituitary gland and is useful in directly stimulating the body’s production of Progesterone

Licorice Root, Rhodiola, Ashwaghanda, Shisandra: these herbs help to strengthen the adrenals allowing them to help produce and release sex hormones.

Evening Primrose Oil/Borage Oil: high in the fatty acid, GLA, these oils help to provide compounds for the body to make more Progesterone. Always balance these with fish oils or flax (omega 3s).

4.Regular sleep and meals: Make sure you get adequate sleep and at regular times. Ideally, going to bed between 9-11pm and waking between 6-8am, ensuring 7-9 hours sleep nightly, will assist the adrenals and pituitary gland in the brain in regulating the production of Progesterone

Eat meals that include protein at regular intervals to keep blood sugars stable. Eating erratically or having blood sugar spikes and lows will further stress the adrenals.

Decreasing the stress of inadequate sleep and blood sugar imbalances will unburden the adrenals, allowing them to release adequate levels of the hormones necessary for proper hormone balance.

Take charge of balancing your Hormones today! You can find out if your Progesterone is low and treat it! Proper hormone levels make a world of difference as they affect all aspects of your sense of wellbeing.

 

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.

Sleep: It’s the Best Kept Secret – By Dr Nina Lange ND

Sleepy WomanSleep is a basic necessity! If you already think that you aren’t getting enough of it, chances are that you are sleep deprived. Sleep allows essential hormones to be released and recovery to happen

So, what is “adequate” when it comes to sleep?  Most people require 7-9 hours/night, but if you are doing athletic training at higher volumes, going through a “stressful” emotional time or fighting an infection you may need up to 10 hours.

“Sleep debt” is a term that is used to refer to the cumulative effect of sleep deprivation over time. Think of it as a snowball effect…if you continuously get an hour less sleep than you need, the negative effects will increase exponentially. So, a sleepless night here and there, you can probably handle…but do this night after night and you will notice an effect on your health in terms of mood, strength, energy and productivity.

Not only the number of hours, but the timing and the quality are also important.

For better sleep try getting to bed at around the same time and getting up at the same time every day. The best times would be going to sleep between 9-11pm and getting up between 6-8am. You should feel refreshed and ready to start your day (without hitting the “snooze button” over and over or begging for “just 5 more minutes”).   Make sure your room is completely dark, get rid of all electronics in your bedroom and keep the temperature of the room a bit cooler for better quality sleep. If other things are interrupting your sleep, it may be good to figure out the root cause and get it sorted out….because you NEED your sleep!  If you have trouble falling asleep try a bath with calming lavender essential oil, meditation every evening, deep breathing exercises, Try lemonbalm, skullcap or rose tea (small cup around 30-60 minutes before bed). It is also beneficial to stop using any electronic devices an hour before bed.

If you are waking in the night, it may be due to hormonal imbalances or anxiety. If you do get up, try not to turn on too many lights as this decreases melatonin (sleep cycle hormone).  If you have tried breathing exercises, tapes, teas or getting up for a bit and doing something and you still are feeling sleep deprived then it is definitely time to get to the bottom of this. Resolving imbalances through acupuncture, homeopathic remedies and supplements have been shown to help with insomnia of all kinds as the root cause is treated.

What happens when you sleep? Sleep stimulates the release of Growth Hormone, without which muscle repair and building cannot occur properly. It also stimulates bone building and fat burning.  Your adrenal glands also build and release hormones with adequate sleep(these are responsible for estrogen, progesterone, testosterone production as well as adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones). Our nervous systems also also process our experiences, emotions, thoughts and energies during sleep.  Sounds pretty important, doesn’t it!?

Try committing to getting more sleep than you think you need or than you have been getting for 3 weeks and see how you feel.  If you need help with it, talk to your naturopathic physician about it.

Just imagine waking feeling refreshed and ready for the new day after a good night’s sleep….plus, it gives you more hours to dream !

 

 

 

 

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

Spring into Spring!

This is a time of transition and transformation. It is when we move from the slower, darker, quieter days of Winter into Spring, a time of fertility, renewal and fresh growth. Of course, we get some rains but that only helps Nature grow and it definitely makes us appreciate the sunny days so much more.  In the same way, as we each move forward on our journey through life, there will always be the bumps in the road. It is the knowing that with perseverance and commitment that we will continue to grow.  That being said, perhaps this is a good time of year to reflect on what your commitments to your self are in terms of your health. No matter how great the health challenge you may be facing, there is always something you can do for yourself and we are committed to helping you along the way.

Ask us about our PNC Signature Detoxification Program as Spring is an ideal time to do a Cleanse. This can stimulate your body to break down and eliminate stored toxins, jumpstart your metabolism and get you going with some new healthy habits.

It is with great pleasure that we would like to announce the addition of Ashley Giordano, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, to our team at Pacifica. Ashley joins us with a wealth of knowledge and a passion for helping you and your families with individualized meal plans, recipes and extensive nutritional support and information based on your dietary needs.

We are also excited to announce a few of our special clinics and seminar including our Fertility Workshop and a PAP Women’s Health Day.  For more information, please ask us.

Commit to yourself and take an active part in your transformation this Spring.

As always, we look forward to continuing our work together with you.

Happy Spring!
Dr Julie Durnan and Dr Nina Lange

 

 

 

 

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!

Naturopathic Medicine for the Soul By Dr Nina Lange ND

The Heart is like a garden. It can grow fear, resentment, or love. What seeds will you plant there?
-Buddha

Faith is the daring of the soul to go farther than it can see.
Anonymous

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.
-Unknown

And remember:
The grass is always greener where you water it.
So, plant your seeds, have faith that you can do it and acknowledge how far you have come with your commitment to reaching your goals in every aspect of your life.