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How many times have you heard your bloodwork looks “fine,” when you feel anything BUT fine? The naturopaths here at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre are experts at identifying whether someone is functioning at an optimal level, not just an “ok” level. The difference between the two is significant. Time and time again we see patients bring in bloodwork results and we find things in it that other people or doctors have missed. Our findings could be the difference that allows the patient to start feel better. Or we can determine what other tests are needed and appropriate for a patient’s health concerns. Those tests can then lead us to the underlying cause of the health issue if we haven’t identified it already.

The key here is that we need to test, not guess.

Tests can explain what the actual cause is. They can also explain why someone may not be getting better.

The body has many ways of showing us what is wrong.

Let’s take fatigue as an example. Fatigue can point to one of many underlying causes: low iron or B12, thyroid issues, low estrogen/progesterone/testosterone, allergies or sensitivities, sleep issues, adrenal fatigue, and digestive issues.

If someone with eczema is also fatigued, their bloodwork will explain why by showing us nutrient deficiencies. The same could be for someone experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism–like fatigue–but is not feeling better even when they are on Synthroid (the standard treatment). Their bloodwork would show us the cause as possibly being nutrient deficiencies, which commonly go unnoticed.

A perfect example of how nutrient deficiencies causing fatigue can go unnoticed is the cutoff for a “normal” B12 level. At one lab the cutoff could be greater than 133, at another lab it is greater than 198 and yet at another lab it is greater than 220. So, if the health concern is fatigue, the cause could be a deficiency in B12. But, depending on the lab the person went to a B12 deficiency would go undiagnosed because the levels appears normal when the levels are actually low. In addition, most people need serum levels of B12 to be greater than 400 to feel well (remember at HealthSource we strive for OPTIMAL levels – not just within the normal range). Yet even some people can have normal serum levels but have deficient levels in the neurological tissue, which would indicate the need for B12.

As your naturopathic doctors, we identify this gap between labs cutoff differences and serum levels by looking at what the bloodwork shows and compare it to how you really feel – and we find ways to correct it.

Investigating bloodwork is like having a mechanic look under the hood and run various diagnostics, instead of trying to guess what is wrong based on sounds your car is making. You will have long lasting results when the cause is identified. Our end goal is that you feel better, faster.

What does your naturopath know about prescription drugs?   Did you know that your HealthSource NDs have the level of education needed to be able to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs and medication? Naturopathic doctors in Ontario recently came under advanced new regulations, which are fantastic – we now have prescribing rights for thyroid medication, estrogen, and progesterone (we can now prescribe it directly; instead of through a prescribing physician). These prescription drugs among others are allowed after the successful completion of a pharmaceutical prescribing course taught and administered by leading pharmacist-researchers. It means that your HealthSource NDs studied for and wrote an exam about the safety and efficacy of about 600 medications! This course and exam were optional, and Drs Reid, Thammasouk, and Krause all opted in to continue to be able to provide the best care possible to their patients. In British Columbia, naturopathic doctors write the same exam and have extensive prescribing rights for antibiotics, antidepressants, hypertension medication, and most other prescription drugs. Here in Ontario we go through the same training, and even though we are not able to prescribe medication to the same degree in the jurisdiction of Ontario, we have a profound ability to evaluate your prescriptions. Are your medications necessary? Are they the correct ones? Are they working? Are they working with the additional supplements you are taking? Are you on Atenolol? Did you know that it has the poorest performance in clinical trials of efficacy, and has the highest rates of side effects? And that over the age of 60 actually shows an increased risk of stroke (1)? Studies show there are better beta-blockers on the market. Are you on a statin? With its long list of side effects, it is useful to understand the cost-benefit analysis of taking it. The most quoted statistic will say that it decreases coronary heart disease by 30%. Sounds great, but did you know that the average overall risk in a person is around 5%? (Known as absolute risk.) Wouldn’t you feel like you could make an informed decision about your medical care if your doctor presented the information as: “Your overall risk of having a cardiovascular event like stroke or heart attack over the next 10 years is 13.3%. A statin may decrease that risk by up to 30%, which ends up bringing your absolute risk down to 9.3%. (Also, note the calculation is about an event, not death.) Note that bringing your blood pressure down 10 points (very doable through non-pharmaceutical means) would also lower your risk to 11.2%.” These are the numbers that would allow for a meaningful choice about your care (2). Are you on an antidepressant? Wouldn’t you want to know that in 2013 a top drug manufacturer was required to publish all trials on a popular antidepressant, not only the positive trials, which finally allowed for a meta-analysis that wasn’t skewed in its results? This meta-analysis showed that out of 39 trials done, this antidepressant (SSRI) called paroxetine was no better than placebo? Even at 12 weeks duration? Paroxetine is perhaps not the best drug to be taking in a situation where serious treatment must be considered. This training also emphasized some drugs that have fantastic efficacy and safety profiles, which means that they make sense to use instead of alternative treatments. Furthermore, when it comes to combining herbs or supplements with pharmaceuticals, interactions are not to be feared and avoided: they just need to be understood and the correct precautions taken. Naturopathic doctors are uniquely positioned with training in both modalities to understand and mitigate any risks. The pharmacological drug training that we at HealthSource recently completed had to do with the safety, efficacy, and administration of drugs. We are now as well as ever equipped to mediate between medications, herb and supplement interactions, and continue to practice medicine in a safe and effective way. If you have any questions not only about the efficacy and side effects of the medications you are on, but also about herb-drug interactions, we are here to answer them. (1) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24750981 (2) http://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/risk-functions/coronary-heart-disease/hard-10-year-risk.php (3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4146610/

Whether it’s a summer activity or an upcoming fall or spring sport (football, field hockey, and rugby, anyone?) the risk of a head injury or concussion is never far away.Concussion treatment: protect, prevent, and heal Whether it’s a summer activity or an upcoming fall or spring sport (football, field hockey, and rugby, anyone?) the risk of a head injury or concussion is never far away. It happens, right? I’ve certainly knocked my head too hard, and with my medical training knew exactly what to call the daze it put me in: a concussion. Compelling evidence is showing just how damaging even a seemingly small knock can be. Where once losing consciousness was a marker of seriousness, we now know that the impact alone (and symptoms aside) is enough for action to be taken and an assessment made. Luckily coaches are taking note and more care is being taken at the bench, with stricter rules on returning to play after an incident occurs. This is a huge and fantastic step forward – however it is only one part of the solution, and there are more powerful things that can be done to get brain function back, prevent the severity of a traumatic head injury, and also minimize long-term repercussions. Read on to see how your family can be protected. First and foremost, recognize the incident! The medical word for a concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It can occur from any amount of impact of the brain against the skull, even if it didn’t seem like a hard knock or even a fall. It can be any jolt to the head or a hit to the body that causes the head (and brain) to move rapidly back and forth. The symptoms are then caused by the impact, which results in stretching and damage to the brain cells, which actually creates chemical changes in the brain. These changes have been shown to contribute to brain cell and neuron death, edema, and glucose metabolism disruptions. Concussion Signs to watch for:

  • Can’t recall events prior to or after a hit or fall.
  • Appears dazed or stunned.
  • Forgets an instruction, is confused about an assignment or position, or is
  • unsure of the game, score, or opponent.
  • Moves clumsily.
  • Answers questions slowly.
  • Loses consciousness (even briefly).
  • Shows mood, behavior, or personality changes.

Concussion Symptoms to ask about:

  • Headache or “pressure” in head.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
  • Bothered by light or noise.
  • Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
  • Confusion, or concentration or memory problems.
  • Just not “feeling right,” or “feeling down”.

(from the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_symptoms.html) Should an impact occur or any of these symptoms noted, please get evaluated by a medical professional! This list is not diagnostic. Post-Concussion Care: First of all, REST! The duration depends on the severity of the TBI and the symptoms, so work together with your health care provider on that one and respect the diagnosis. Rest usually means a break from certain activities (especially physical ones), but also screens, reading, math problems, etc. Even though symptoms may diminish within days or weeks, the brain takes longer to heal and can still benefit from some degree of rest after the fact. Allowing for proper healing at the time of the incident is your greatest ally in avoiding post-concussion syndrome – symptoms that return or linger more than 3 months after the incident. It occurs in 10-20% of people, and I’d like to see that number lower. Additional Support: Powerful naturopathic allies include anti-inflammatories and nutrients to counteract the hormonal cascade response to injury by the brain cells. These approaches are the most beneficial treatments (after rest): IV Nutrients and IV Glutathione deliver key nutrients to the brain in the fastest way possible. In a brain injury, neuron function is disrupted and the nutrients being used and required for repair increase. The key nutrients at stake are glutathione, zinc, magnesium, and a few others. Getting them intravenously are the most highly effective treatments for a TBI at any point in time, and I have seen healing occur faster than with oral supplementation. Omega 3 fatty acids are a critical component of brain cell structure and the function of neurons. Omega 3 supplementation for several weeks post TBI has been shown to improve short and long term cognitive deficits, and improved cognitive function. It can also improve blood flow, which is generally a good thing but you must rule out internal hemorrhaging before using this blood thinner. (The same caution applies for aspirin and other NSAIDs.) Curcumin is an incredibly effective and well-studied anti-inflammatory agent. It decreases inflammation caused by impact, but it also has a special role in the brain protecting the hippocampus against learning impairments. Curcumin also has a special role in recuperating the edema that occurs as mentioned. Acupuncture is probably my favourite treatment tool for a wide variety of concerns and continually gets results. In the context of a TBI, it works to normalize hormones and blood flow, and decrease pain, headaches, and muscle tightness symptoms. GPC injections have been well studied to normalize cerebral blood flow, improve brain bioelectrical activity, and improve cognitive function – in fact a lot of research is also being done on stroke recovery and dementia (both vascular and Alzheimer’s types) with positive results. GPC stands for glycerophosphocholine, and is another component of neurons. Usually we do them once a week for the first 4-6 weeks and then re-assess. The Second (Third, Fourth…) Impact is Worse: Disrupted neuron function from an initial concussion make the brain much more susceptible to a second impact. This makes initial recovery so much more important. All of the above treatments and nutrients are important in their various mechanisms of action. Preventing and Minimizing Severity: Creatine has a role in minimizing the severity of brain injury before it even occurs. It is a compound made of amino acids that helps distribute energy to various cells in the body, especially muscles. In the brain, adequate energy in the cells is needed to maintain neuron structure and function, both of which are at stake in a TBI. Creatine has an effect on hormone cascades in the brain (via neurotransmitters). It furthermore has neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS. Using neuroprotective compounds during a sports season, ahead of an injury (whether initial or subsequent,) can also work to minimize effects from further impacts. Polyphenols also have neuroprotective effects. They are nature’s antioxidants – think berries and colourful foods. As with each of these recommendations, the ways that they should be taken are not one-size-fits all. Differences in quantity, frequency, duration, and quality are all things that should be addressed for each individual. Furthermore, testing for various markers of body and brain function can ensure that we are targeting the right areas that will help you make a full and healthy recovery. Make your actions count with informed health decisions – ask for help! Sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205506/ http://ndnr.com/neurology/traumatic-brain-injury-impact-assessment-management-of-concussion-mtbi/ http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/basics/concussion_symptoms.html  

Dr Krause truly believes that when you are feeling your best, you are giving the best possible chance to every one of your relationships. Your wedding is coming up, and you are so excited to say “I Do” to your love and start your marriage off with a great celebration. …but we know what happens when you don’t feel great; Dr Krause hears it all the time. Nagging physical symptoms or concerns that lead to irritability or upset. PMS that takes a toll on the person and everyone around them. Fatigue that makes it impossible to get things done and stressful when deadlines come up. Speaking of stress, that pesky thing that makes your skin break out and crave sweets and hijacks your sleep… You can’t afford to deal with these problems! If you had your health, you could do anything: instead you’re stuck bargaining with both your body and your caterer. Dr Krause wants to get brides through this stressful, crazy, wonderful time of their lives in the most energized, calm, radiant way. She got married in 2015 and is passionate about helping other brides be their best selves. A healthy bride will lead to a healthy marriage. So she has put together some top issues that might need troubleshooting, and are going to make a world of difference in how you start your wedding and your marriage.

  1. Energy: often the issue isn’t just that you need to “muscle through” or drink more coffee (which will backfire on you when you crash). Lab testing makes a stunning difference, as it allows us to target sub-optimal levels of B12, iron, thyroid hormone, cortisol, and others – all of which are crucial in energy. These markers, along with your energy, will also impact any weight-loss efforts.
  2. Digestion: we’ve all felt it – a stomachache can make you grumpy, or having bowel movement issues can affect how you feel. Making sure your gut is working as well as it could removes its ability to ruin your day.
  3. Allergies: dreaming of an outdoor wedding in the summer, but not sure Benadryl will hold up? Allergies come back to immune health, gut health, and nutrients, all of which can be worked on.
  4. Breakouts: you want to glow on your wedding day! Unfortunately some of the things that come with a wedding also cause breakouts: stress (lack of sleep, timelines), eating differently (hello showers and bachelorettes etc) and so on. Those can seem unavoidable but there’s a reason you break out when things get rocky, so supporting the body is key here.
  5. Communication: ever tried to have a calm rational decision-making conversation with someone when you’re grumpy for one of 50 reasons? (stomachache, hanger, stress, anxiety, being sick, not feeling well, and so on)… Let’s deal with each of those and then try to decide on a colour palette.

Dr Krause would love to work with you on each and every one of those things and more: She is offering a package to do just that! Starting March 1, 2016 (and at least 3 months prior to your wedding date), we will cover: Visit 1: Health Profile and Body Composition Analysis, Hormone check-up, Weight goals, Habit Making/Breaking Visit 2: Energy Boost Visit 3: Hair, Skin, Nails and Nutrients Visit 4: Stress resiliency, grounding, nerves Visit 5: Best gut health, digestion Visit 6: After your wedding – maintaining health goals, setting new ones (honeymoon first aid, pre-conception care) Expected Outcomes:

  • Energy, vitality
  • Calm
  • Skin radiance
  • Balanced mood
  • Healthy habits leading into marriage

Please contact reception in order to book all 6 visits.