Articles

Follow us on Facebook for more updates.

Getting to Know The “Good Fats”

If you believe that fats and oils are off the table as a dinner choice, you might be in for a surprise. Fat is actually a vital component to a balanced diet and is a requirement in order for the body to function properly. The problem is when your body takes in TOO much or the WRONG kinds of fat. With all the information out there on how to eat, it’s important to understand not just fads, diets, and tips but the actual needs of your body.

Every diet and lifestyle eating regime out there seems to extravagantly promote its own benefits while dismissing the science of others. It can be tricky to figure out which combinations of foods are really best for our own, unique bodies! In fact, it can feel like there’s a new discovery about the best way to eat every week making us question if we’re ever “doing it right”!

Lately it’s the popularity of the Paleo and Keto diets that has turned prevailing knowledge on its head, largely because of the emphasis these protocols place on eating significant quantities of healthy fats.

No matter what eating lifestyle you follow, newer science is showing us that there are more benefits to eating higher quantities of healthy fats than we previously thought. In fact, research is showing that the body is built to use fats as a major source of energy – some evidence even suggests that fat is a better energy source than carbohydrates! Fat is also important to a wide variety of healthy bodily functions.

Good fats…

  • Help build strong cell membranes for individual cells as well as the sheaths surrounding nerves
  • Assist in blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation control
  • Are essential for absorbing certain vitamins A, D, E, and K, and calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc among other vitamins and minerals.
  • Can promote weight-loss
  • Help encourage blood sugar stability
  • Are a key factor in achieving hormonal balance
  • Play a critical role in brain function, memory, and attention span
  • Have a direct impact on the quality of hair, skin, and nail growth

These reasons should be enough for all of us to realize how important it is to include, rather than cut out, fats in our nutrition plans!

“But I thought fats were bad?”

For a long time that was a common way of thinking. The reality is that the reason fats have been stigmatized was because our understanding of how different fats work was still developing – and because we’d been eating too much of the wrong ones!

We understand now that not all fat sources are created equal – just like not all vegetables are equal (just compare iceberg lettuce with it’s dark, leafy counterparts, romaine and spinach). There are a lot of different kinds of fats; to understand them more easily, think of fats as being on a continuum. On one end of the continuum are “good fats” like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and on the other end are “bad fats” like industrial-made trans fats in processed foods. Saturated fats fall somewhere in the middle.

“So which fats should I be eating?”

Choosing mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, followed by a moderate amount of naturally present saturated fats in foods, is your best strategy. Obviously you’ll want to avoid bad fats – this will actually probably be easier than you think because they’re mostly present in treats and junk foods that shouldn’t be the foundation of your diet anyway!

Recent studies on Coconut Oil have found it to be useful in the reduction of body fat in the belly as well as helping to reduce Body Mass index (BMI). Just like any other nutrient, consuming a variety of fat sources is key to finding balance in your nutrition. Not only because variety is important in any diet, but because different foods are more than just a kind of fat, they offer different beneficial vitamins, minerals, and fibre too!

10 Source of Healthy Dietary Fat

  1. Avocado
  2. Cheese
  3. Dark Chocolate
  4. Whole Eggs
  5. Fatty Fish
  6. Nuts
  7. Chia Seeds
  8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  9. Coconut & Coconut Oil
  10. Full Fat Yogurt

We recommend adding fats into your diet slowly, especially if you’ve been avoiding them until now. Your body needs to have developed healthy gut flora and enzyme production, among other things, in order to digest fats (or really anything) well. We’ve talked about gut flora at length, but enzymes (like lipase, the enzyme that helps break down and digest fats) are also a vital part of healthy digestion – but that’s a whole other conversation (stay tuned!).

Are you eating right for your mind, hormone production, metabolism? Get out of the “fat free” cycle and into a healthier diet that includes good fats. We have tools to analyze your body’s nutrient needs and can help experience optimal health every day through nutrition that’s ideal for you. Call our clinic for more personalized advice and support!

  • The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

 

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19437058

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25636220

 

What, Why, and How to Manage It. 

Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.  The small intestine – despite its name, it’s actually a whopping 20 feet of very important business! Working alongside your stomach and large intestine, the small intestine has the critical job of digesting food and absorbing nutrients to keep us in good health. As if that wasn’t significant enough, our little intestinal friend is also a key contributor to maintaining a healthy immune system.

The small intestine is the home of specific beneficial microorganisms that help protect our bodies against bad (pathogenic) bacteria and yeast. These good bacteria also do their part to produce valuable vitamins and nutrients like vitamin K and folate. They are the keepers of the small intestine, ensuring that it continues to do its thing, muscling waves of food through your gut.

But what is SIBO and why does it happen?

SIBO stands for “small intestinal bacterial overgrowth,” an issue that occurs when there is an increase of bacteria and/or a change in the type of bacteria present. Most often SIBO is caused when bacteria that should stay in the colon (also known as the large intestine), finds its way into the small intestine…in large quantities.

SIBO is like a bad tenant. It invites all its rowdy friends in for a party and leaves behind all sorts of damage to the cell lining of the small intestine. This can lead to a condition we wrote about a couple months ago called leaky gut, which allows large protein molecules to move through the intestinal barrier and escape into the bloodstream. As you can imagine, this causes a number of problems, including general inflammation, immune reactions that cause food allergies, and the onset of autoimmune diseases.  

These havoc-wreaking bad bacteria are also responsible for uncomfortable conditions like poor digestion, diarrhea, and malabsorption. Patients with SIBO may suffer from nutritional deficiencies, as well – particularly iron, vitamin B12, and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as unintended weight loss, and even osteoporosis.Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

So how do I know if I have SIBO?

SIBO is considered an underdiagnosed condition as many people do not seek medical care for their symptoms. Be alert! Watch out for these common SIBO symptoms:

  •       Bloating and abdominal swelling
  •       Abdominal pain/discomfort
  •       Diarrhea
  •       Constipation
  •       Gas/belching
  •       Weakness and fatigue

In the most severe cases, patients will also experience weight loss and vitamin deficiency-related symptoms.

Are you at risk for SIBO?

While elderly people are the most vulnerable to developing SIBO, there are multiple other risk factors that can increase your chances, no matter what your age is. These include:

  • Medication, especially antibiotics
  • Gastric acid suppression or Low Stomach Acid (due to stress, medications, lifestyle factors)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Prior bowel surgery
  • Diabetes Types I & II
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Organ system dysfunction

Studies also indicate that moderate alcohol consumption — that’s one drink a day for women and two for men — not only promotes the overgrowth of certain types of bacteria, but it can also impair vital functions. In other words, too much alcohol can result in small bowel injury and decreased muscle contractions!

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above or think you might be at risk, we encourage you to make an appointment to assess your symptoms and get tested. Specialized testing can be accomplished through a breath test. This breath test measures your hydrogen and methane gas levels produced by the bacterial metabolism and can be a very helpful indicator in determining whether or not you’re suffering from SIBO.

How can you treat SIBO?

Even though prolonged use of antibiotics is a top risk factor in getting SIBO, antibiotics are still the most popular way to treat SIBO. However, studies show that SIBO returns in nearly half of all patients in less than a year!

Successful treatment of SIBO must be handled just like any other health condition – not with a temporary Band-aid solution, but by dealing with the underlying cause! Intestinal bacteria can be influenced by numerous factors beyond what we eat and how much. Environmental effects, drugs, alcohol, and lifestyle factors such as stress can all be contributing factors to poor gut health. Therefore, the treatment must be unique to the individual.

Once you have identified the cause, SIBO symptoms should be treated with a healthy diet, nutritional supplements, and positive lifestyle changes that help return the body to balance. Keep reading for a few specific tips on how to manage this condition.

Tips for dealing with SIBO

  1. Eat three meals a day four-to-five hours apart. Resist the urge to snack! We need to give our body time in between meals to improve our intestinal motility. More often than not, motility becomes an issue with people suffering from SIBO.
  2. With guidance from your holistic practitioner try an elimination diet for two weeks to get your body back on track by reducing inflammation and bacteria overgrowth.
  3. Enjoy foods that assist digestive health. For example, fresh pineapple which is rich in bromelain can help lower inflammation, and bananas are an excellent source of potassium and manganese that your stomach lining needs for healing.

Do any of the above symptoms or risk factors sound familiar? Do you think you might be suffering from SIBO? We can help! Please contact us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com, and we’ll get to the bottom of what’s going on and create a plan of action to bring your body back to good health.

To your best health!

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099351/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22109896

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2890937/

 

How to Spot a Toxin Overload: The body is a miraculous thing. For all the body’s parts and abilities, there are corresponding systems designed to keep track of what they’re experiencing and determine whether it is helpful or dangerous so it can respond appropriately and work fluidly, as a whole.

These bodily systems – circulatory, digestive, endocrine, immune, integumentary (hair, skin, nails), lymphatic, muscular, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, skeletal, and urinary – are topics that come up frequently. In particular, when someone asks how we’re feeling, we usually point to something, a symptom, that’s affecting one or more of these systems. It makes sense – they are always there to help us check in on and “read” our bodies, giving us a sense of how well we are at any given time…and when we’re NOT okay.

What’s Happening When We’re Not Feeling Well?

When we’re under the weather, understanding systemic symptoms can help us to determine where to look for the underlying issues. Think of the last time you experienced a skin breakout, hair thinning or falling out, or nail splitting (certainly signs of ill health). Or, maybe you’ve complained of feeling sluggish, heavy, uncomfortable, or constipated. Signs like these show us there’s something deeper going on in the body…something that needs remedying. It becomes important to then explore these – to look to the organs that support our systems and keep them functioning effectively,  and to take care of them when they’re showing us signs that something is “off.”

The organs help the body maintain overall health, and of course organs like the heart, brain, and lungs are responsible for some of the most fundamental functions of life. Without them, well – we wouldn’t be here! But, organs have other important responsibilities, too, like neutralizing and eliminating toxins and irritants. The organs that help most with these functions are the lungs, the skin, the digestive tract, and most importantly: the liver and kidneys. When you start tracing back the symptoms of sickness to the organs that help keep the body functioning optimally, you can start to see connections to what may be underlying weaknesses and issues.     Toxins

How Does the Body Manage When Faced with Toxins and Irritants?

The simple answer? Detoxification. One of the things the body is especially good at is getting rid of any toxic elements and chemicals that can compromise overall health. That’s a big part of what our organs are designed to do – and most of the time they’re really good at it!

But not all toxins are equal and of course, there are many factors that can affect how the body responds to them. Also, toxins don’t come from only one source. In fact, the definition of a ‘toxin’ is surprisingly broad: anything that the body doesn’t find useful or that harms its integrity. The fact is, we’re combatting toxins all the time, both internally and externally.

The most common types of toxins we all encounter regularly come from: poor diets and poor digestion, undigested food that ferments in the digestive tract and creates an acidic environment in the body, medications, drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, environmental toxins like air and water pollution, smoke, pesticides, animal and insect bites, and – more and more – electromagnetic frequency and radiation (primarily from appliances and gadgets such as microwaves, cell phones, computers, wireless internet, and TVs). Did you know even negative thoughts and emotions have been shown to be toxic to our bodies if they persist long enough? They can develop into significant sources of stress which is the number one root cause of illnesses. This toxic burden is an inescapable part of modern life – and we know that can be pretty scary! But being aware of toxins in our own bodies can give us all an opportunity to fight and reduce them proactively.

When subjected to all of these forms of toxins at once – as most of us are – it’s easy to see how our bodies can become inundated with chemicals from which we need to protect ourselves. It’s also easy to understand why, even though we might be doing everything we can to sustain a healthy lifestyle and keep our toxin-fighting organs in prime condition, our bodies sometimes need help in the battle.

How Do I Know if I’m in Toxic Overload?

As we said before: the body is constantly detoxifying. Literally all the time! Our organs are designed to do just that to keep us healthy. But, we all experience toxic overload at one time or another. Who hasn’t been super stressed out and fell to a poor diet or more frequent glasses of wine? Who hasn’t experienced an illness that just seems to hang on endlessly? These are just some instances when toxic overload makes our organs’ daily battle much harder to win. Sometimes toxins that we experience daily seem to compound in an overwhelming way. Ongoing situations like this can lead to chronic toxin overexposure. Learning to identify and properly respond to toxin overload can make a huge difference in our ability to heal from it.

So, are you experiencing toxin overload? Ask yourself these questions:   

  1. Do you have persistent brain-fog, lack of focus, mental clarity, or migraines?
  2. Do you frequently struggle with fatigue, muscle aches or pains, general lack of motivation, or feelings of depression that just won’t go away?
  3. Have you noticed an increase in body odour, foul faecal odour, pungent or bad breath?  
  4. Are you experiencing skin reactions or acne in ways you haven’t before?
  5. Have you recently become newly sensitive to chemicals, fragrances, or scents?
  6. Have you developed new allergies of any kind?

These are just some of the common changes you might notice and they’re some of the ways your body is trying to tell you: “Help! I’ve had enough!”

When you experience symptoms like these, come to visit us – our clinic is here for you! We want to help you reactivate your body’s natural defense mechanisms so that you can experience optimal health every day. Sometimes, our organs just need a little extra help to combat the toxins facing them. We have lots of ways to help you ensure that toxins are kept at bay and that your organs are happy, healthy, and strong. Call or email us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com and we’ll be happy to have a detailed consultation with you to find the right pathway to your optimal health.   

The Team at Health Source Integrative Medical Centre

With summer in full swing now, we’re guessing you’re ready for some fun in the sun! While the fresh air, sun, and, if we’re lucky, refreshing beach breezes keep us feeling refreshed and relaxed, some aspects of travel to those sunny shores can cause a pause in the fun. New environments hold a variety of unexpected flora and fauna, and experimenting with local cuisines can play roulette with our digestive systems.

But, hey – we love to travel, too! That’s why we’ve developed a list of the most important precautions to take prior to taking off for your next exotic destination so you can get the most out of your upcoming vacations!

Pre-Travel Vitamins

Taking a daily multivitamin to ensure you’re getting the nutrients you need is always a good idea, but it’s even more important when you’re getting ready for a trip that includes flying and staying in various accommodations. Key vitamins and minerals to not miss: Zinc, B-complex, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3.

Hydration

Hydration is critical preparation for trips as dehydration is a major risk when travelling. Since travel generally includes conditions such as humid airplanes, hot or arid climates, exaggerated energy usage (yes, even on vacation); it’s vital to ensure your hydration levels are optimized to support changes in bodily functions. When the airline attendant asks for your beverage order take it as a signal to have a glass of water and avoid those cups of coffee or glasses of wine. Don’t be shy about refills, either – if anyone understands the challenges of in-flight dehydration, it’s the cabin crew!

Travel Supplements

Travel is exciting – so exciting, in fact, that it can send your body into high gear! Think for a moment about your last vacation. How many new situations, thrilling moments, and unexpected events did you experience? During each one, your body’s coping mechanisms were in full effect, helping you experience joy, exhilaration, and stress – all heightened by brand new circumstances and surroundings. When you think about it, everything from your digestive system, to your immunity, circadian rhythm, and even your adrenal glands were on active duty the whole time you were travelling! Help your body to manage these ups and downs with natural supplements:

Adaptogens like reishi, ashwagandha, and holy basil can help fight stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Start taking your preferred adaptogen at least a week before you travel. Remember, natural supplements take time to build up in order to reach peak efficacy.

Antimicrobials are proven pathogen killers that can assist your digestive and immune systems in warding off new strains of bacteria to which your body might not be accustomed. Sometimes our best efforts to avoid foods like washed salads and raw vegetables (that may carry bacterial infections) still don’t keep us safe. In that case it’s good to know you can start early and ward off traveller’s tummy and diarrhea with antimicrobials like oil of oregano, grapefruit seed extract and colloidal silver.

Melatonin helps your body rebalance its circadian rhythm, or find homeostasis in its wake and sleep cycle. This is your best choice in the struggle against jet lag! Most melatonin supplements suggest taking a dose before going to bed in your new destination, and to continue taking it at the same time for a couple of days until you feel you’ve adapted.

Probiotics – the good bacteria! Keeping your gut flora nice and strong is of extra importance when travelling since there are many instances when you could encounter unique and novel foods and beverages. Even a seemingly innocent salad could harbour a surprise when eaten in a foreign land, since bacteria in water differ greatly around the world, as do food care standards! Help your gut to be as healthy as possible prior to and during your trip by supplementing with a great probiotic.

Ginger is world-renowned for easing nausea, stomach upset, indigestion, and even motion sickness. You may not even need over-the-counter medications to handle these illnesses when a natural supplement can be equally effective. Keep some natural ginger chews with you at all times for when those unforeseen moments strike.   

First Aid Kit

A classic first aid kit is always a wise idea to pack when going away. You can purchase a travel sized one at any pharmacy or make your own. We always include:

  • Adhesive bandages (multiple sizes)
  • Adhesive tape
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Antiseptic wound cleanser (like alcohol or iodine pads)
  • Blister pads or moleskin
  • Gauze
  • Safety pins and scissors

Suncare

Contrary to widespread belief, this isn’t just a tip for hot days and barren landscapes – whether your vacation involves riding the waves or the slopes, your skin needs protection from imminent sun exposure. The reflective glare from sea and snow can make your skin more prone to burns which not only make your trip less enjoyable but it can also be dangerous in the long run. Look for natural ingredients such as zinc oxide which is a mineral used to create a physical block from the sun. Additional ingredients such as vitamin E or C are also nice ways of giving your skin a nice boost of topical antioxidants.  

Prescriptions

If you’re taking any prescription medication, please be sure to have enough for the duration of your trip, plus a couple of extra doses, in case of unanticipated travel changes. Always make sure that your prescriptions are in labelled bottles and that you also have a doctor’s note if necessary, as some medications might not be universally understood or accepted in different countries. You might also consider bringing a valid prescription for a refill of your medication, just in case – you never know!  

Travel is exciting and has so many benefits from providing a well-deserved break from routine to exploring history and learning about different cultures to taking on new challenges and building new skills. We want you to get the very most out of your adventures, no matter how relaxed or extreme they might be.

If you’re travelling soon and want to review how to best prepare you and your family before heading away, please call or email us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com and book an appointment. We’re here to help you make sure you’re ready to stay healthy for all the excitement that lies ahead!

Here’s to your next adventure!

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

Indigestible Lectins – Good Protein Right? ..or Not!

We’re guessing you’ve heard that old schoolyard rhyme: “beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you…eat beans for every meal” As adults we roll our eyes, but have you ever wondered where the rest of that rhyme came from, or why foods like legumes are so tough to digest?

Turns out that most of our foods contain certain compounds that, by nature, are difficult on our digestive systems – because they’re not really meant for our digestive systems at all! That’s not to say they are foods we can’t process, but research is continuing to teach us why some foods can be tough on our systems, and what the implications are of consuming them. In the case of beans and legumes, the main source of the issue is lectins.

Lectins are a kind of protein that’s found in a variety of plant- and animal-based foods…almost every plant and animal substance contains them (in small amounts)!

We know proteins are the building blocks of muscles and are critical to our health so the question for most of us is: if lectins are just proteins, how could they be bad for us?

Simply put, lectins bind cells together, and their preference tends to be sugars. Lectins, thanks to their ability to lessen the body’s ability to properly absorb nutrients, are actually known as ‘antinutrients’. Because we can’t digest lectins, they tend to pass through our systems unnoticed which, for most people, means antinutrients like lectins don’t pose much of a problem! In fact, in small amounts, lectins can produce some great health benefits relating to immune function, cell growth, and possibly even cancer therapy.

However, lectins can wreak havoc for people who consume a diet with lots of high lectin foods and for those who suffer from GI disorders or immune deficiencies. In more severe instances where GI disorders and immunity dysfunction are at play, lectins can really play a toll on the gut lining and tight junctions that keep the intestines functioning well. (If you missed our post about “Leaky Gut” last month, you can check it out here)

If they’re not meant to be digested, what purpose do lectins serve?
Lectins have a distinct and important purpose in nature – it’s just that the purpose is for the organism’s survival, and not for human consumption! Lectins act as a natural insecticide. When predatory insects come in contact with them, the lectins completely disrupt insect metabolism, preventing invasions and attacks on the plants.

Basically, the more lectins you consume the more discomfort, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, flatulence, and importantly, malabsorption of nutrients you may end up subjecting yourself to (unintentionally).

If these symptoms are familiar to you, you’re not alone – 30% of the foods that have high levels of lectins are ones we commonly eat, including dairy products, nightshades (like tomatoes and peppers), whole grains, seeds, GMO foods, and yes – beans and legumes!  

Some experts have suggested that removing all lectins from your diet can help the gut to recover from antinutrient-caused distress and that this could be critical to treating GI and immunity disorders. Still, others have pointed to the various preparation techniques that people have used around the globe to help weaken and eliminate lectin proteins – so you can enjoy your meal with a lot less…inconvenience…
Indigestible Lectins

We caution against removing whole categories of foods unless truly necessary, especially because foods high in lectins also have other essential benefits such as fibre and minerals, that our bodies need. Instead, we want to provide you with a variety of methods you can use to prepare high lectins foods that are centuries old, and globally trusted to make these foods easier to digest.

These are our favourite four ways of preparing legumes, grains, and seeds so you can keep them in your diet without worrying about the negative effects of lectin protein. Be thoughtful as you prepare them, and don’t forget these 4 key methods:

1. Soak
Beans, whether canned or dried, benefit a lot from soaking, as do many harder grains and pseudograins like oats, rye, barley, wheat, and quinoa. Soaking and rinsing legumes and grains help to shake free starches, acids, and proteins, making minerals more bioavailable as well as make them easier to digest. Put yours in a larger bowl and cover with water by about 2 inches. Allow them to soak for a few hours up to overnight. Drain fully and rinse again until the water runs clear. Pro tip: add a 1” piece of kombu or dulse seaweed to the water when soaking beans to really break down those lectins!

2. Sprout
For most beans and seeds sprouting deactivates lectins completely (with the exception of alfalfa – lectins actually increase when sprouted!). Why? Because you’re no longer eating them in their contained form. Since they’ve begun the initial stages of germination, they’ve evolved from that seed state. An added positive is that this actually makes the nutrients more accessible (and playing a part in growing your own food is really rewarding!).

3. Boil or Pressure Cook
It may be intuitive for you to boil or pressure cook your legumes or grains before eating – but these techniques will actually also reduce lectins! Studies show that boiling soybeans, red beans, and many others at 212°F/ 100°C for a minimum of 10 minutes reduces lectins to negligible amounts.

4. Ferment

Fermenting foods is the act of allowing good bacteria to grow in the food. The new good bacteria break down and convert would-be harmful proteins including lectins. This is an ancient and common approach across many cultures dealing with hard-to-digest foods.The good bacteria are also known as probiotics – one of the most important factors in overall gut health. Examples of fermented foods include tofu, tempeh, miso, kefir, and natto – these health foods actually contain high levels of lectins prior to fermentation!

At HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre we want to see you and your family on a path towards your optimal health, and we have the tools to help make that journey clearer and easier. If you’re curious to learn more about how reducing or removing lectins from your diet could be beneficial to you, please call at (519) 954-7950, or email us at info@HealthSourceIMC.com and we would love to set-up an in-person consultation with you.   

Yours in good health,

 

Dr. Som Thammasouk, ND at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

 

References:

 

What Is A Leaky Gut?  How Your Intestinal Health Affects You.

It’s easy to feel discouraged if you’ve been dealing with on-going health issues that just won’t go away and doctor after doctor has tried everything only to come up with prescriptions that ease symptoms but don’t solve the underlying problem.

But have you considered that the root cause of the “mysterious illnesses” you or your loved ones have been suffering with could actually be right in your gut?

From hormone regulation to immunity to enzyme production that keeps the rest of our body in tip top shape, we continue to be amazed by how critical gut health is to maintaining overall vitality. One condition we are starting to learn more about, and see a lot of, is Leaky Gut Syndrome.

Leaky Gut is a condition that is linked to literally dozens of illnesses. But, because western medicine hasn’t yet learned enough about the gut to fully understand the influence it has on overall health, there are no broadly understood methods of diagnosing and treating Leaky Gut syndrome. This means that, most times, doctors resort to trying to resolve the symptoms without actually addressing Leaky Gut itself!

Time and again this leads to cyclical treatments as the symptoms are treated but the root cause continues to develop and worsen. If you’re feeling stuck in this kind of cycle, don’t worry – it’s not just you! And there are treatments…

Leaky Gut is often called a “phenomenon” that stems from issues like immunity, gut function, and the effect of diet and lifestyle.

In fact, in Canada alone, more than 20 million people suffer from digestive disorders – and that doesn’t even consider half of the symptoms often associated with Leaky Gut! It’s vital to understand the broad-reaching effects that the Standard American Diet, chronically high stress levels, toxin overload, and even bacterial imbalances can have on gut function – and that healing your gut is founded on managing these four elements.

Leaky Gut

Do you have any of these symptoms?

• Consistent bloating, gas, cramps
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• New food sensitivities
• Autoimmune diseases
• Thyroid conditions
• Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis

You might be suffering from a leaky gut! So what causes leaky gut?

All the systems mentioned above stem from an actual malfunction of tight junctions (TJs) in your small intestine. TJs have one, very important job: they act as a barrier that selectively allows some particles – like vital nutrients – to pass through the intestines to the bloodstream, while making sure that disease-causing particles stay out.

When TJs malfunction, they create what’s known as “intestinal hyperpermeability,” which basically means your body becomes inflamed because of extra holes in your intestines. Well, we all know acute inflammation, if left untreated, scales into chronic inflammation – and that is the root cause of most diseases.

So here’s your takeaway: Sometimes health issues seem minor, but if left untreated, they can compound into much larger issues and even disease! You have to pay attention to your body as a whole and consider the way each function interacts with the others – this is called Natural Medicine and it’s what we specialize in.

Leaky Gut symptoms can often be misdiagnosed (or undiagnosed) for years! That’s why working with an integrative health team (that can partner with your other doctors to get a good sense of the bigger picture of your body’s health) can be incredibly valuable to you.

Whether it’s you who suffers from Leaky Gut, or you’re looking to proactively protect your family, here are ways you can manage the four most important factors that contribute to Leaky Gut:

1. Remove inflammatory foods and gut-damaging toxins
Common culprits of inflammation and toxins include grains, gluten, sugar, antibiotics, conventional cow dairy, GMOs, pesticides, and processed foods. Start by eliminating these from your diet and just wait to see how quickly you feel relief and freedom!
2. Add gut-healing foods
Prebiotitcs and probiotics are critical. Also consider adding other nourishing foods like bone broth, simply steamed vegetables, fermented foods, raw cultured dairy, hormone-free and antibiotic-free animal products, and healthy fats to your regular diet.
3. Reduce stress
We can’t stress this enough! Our culture constantly deals with competing priorities and we often can’t even tell how stressed we are (until we suffer the consequences). Make an intentional effort to reduce stress in your life. Take time to turn off your brain; enjoy quiet time, sunny vitamin-D filled walks, meditation, or yoga.
4. Add gut-supporting supplements
Your integrative health practitioner is the best person to consult on the type and amount of supplements that would be best for you. Ask them about L-glutamine, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and plant-derived mineral supplements, all of which can contribute to supporting and improving a healthy gut!

If you think you might be struggling with symptoms of Leaky Gut Syndrome, we want to help!
We use Live Blood Analysis to examine a pin-prick sample of your blood through a special microscope to help identify leaky gut.

Contact us so we can help you identify the underlying causes, and determine your best course to a healthy life!

Think about it – skin is our largest organ but its health is constantly in danger! Whether we’re talking about exposure to sun/wind/cold, stress, pollution, poor nutrition, or even just the simple reality of aging, our skin is in a constant battle for health and radiance. We all want radiant skin.

So, how does it stand a chance? How can we help our skin remain healthy, even with all these odds stacked against us?

The answer is simple – care about your skin! It deserves your attention, your respect, your consideration. Whether it needs more help in the way of healing acne, limiting the effects of aging, rejuvenating dry areas, limiting oiliness, or managing any of the host of other skin conditions we see everyday, remember – you deserve to take care of your skin!

If you’ve always wanted your skin to be healthy, balanced, and radiant, check out our top 5 tips on how to protect and pamper your fragile, beautiful self!

  1. DIET – Think anti-inflammatory

You may already know that inflammation is the root of many BIG diseases, but did you know it is also at the root of many challenging skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis? So reducing your intake of inflammatory foods means increased health all over – inside, as well as on the surface of your skin! Give your body at least 4-8 weeks to adjust and respond to an anti-inflammatory diet; then you should begin to see an improvement in your skin’s health.

  1. WATER – Drink up!

Water has an amazing impact on our body – in fact, our bodies wouldn’t function at all without water! But even being a little deprived can impact the way our bodies work – a good, consistent flow of water helps flush our system and effectively distribute nutrients to all our organs and sub-systems. Particularly if you’re struggling with chronic skin conditions, it’s vital you invest in helping your body stay healthy and rid of toxic residues.

Remember – staying hydrated doesn’t have to mean sipping on a water bottle every moment of the day; there is water in everything you eat and drink! (Juices, and fruits and vegetables are the best if you’re looking for healthy, hydrating menu options.) Make it a habit to appropriately fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods and never making yourself wait when you feel thirsty – listen to your body, respond to your body, support your body.

Now, right about now you may be getting ready to run to the store and pick up a mega-sized water jug (or perhaps pull out that one left in the back of the cupboard from your high school football days?). Before you jump to that extreme, consider this – there is no special quantity of water that is right for everyone to stay hydrated everyday in every circumstance. If you’re looking for a general rule to follow though, the latest research suggests that women can safely consume 2.7 liters (91 ounces) of water in a day (across all foods and drinks), and mean can safely consume 3.7 liters (125 ounces) daily. So say good-bye to the age-old “you should drink 8, 8-ounce glasses of water every day” and learn to respond to your individual body’s needs for water and hydration.

  1. GLUTATHIONE IV – It’s Time to Detox

Glutathione is a super antioxidant that is made by your own body! Consuming amino acids, in combination with special treatments provided by medical professionals, can help boost your Glutathione levels, in turn boosting your body’s ability to flush toxins, and encourage clearer, brighter, more vibrant skin (with no unpleasant side effects!). While topical brighteners may get the job done, they are notorious for inflaming, discolouring, and irritating skin, sometimes even leading to hyperpigmentation and long-lasting damage. Give us a call to discuss how we can work together to heighten your Glutathione levels and give your skin a natural brightening.

  1. ACUPUNCTURE – Your Face Will Thank You

Acupuncture is just for the body, right? Wrong! Contrary to popular understanding, acupuncture is a fabulous treatment for your face (when administered by a medical professional). Facial acupuncture has been proven to relieve facial skin of congestion, and stimulate improved circulation and collagen production.

In addition, facial acupuncture relaxes and smoothes wrinkles in key areas like around the eyes and across the forehead. Saggy skin? A thing of the past. Acupuncture can even help balance out pale or red-ish skin. So pause before you invest in those colour correctors or injectables – try this natural anti-aging, cosmetic treatment first. You won’t be disappointed!

  1. HYALURONIC ACID – Water Loving

A lot of the ways we’ve encouraged you to take care of your skin starts inside – with the things you eat, the beverages you drink, and the ways you flush your system. But there are also important ways you can care for your skin from the outside! Treating your largest organ well, inside and out, is the best way to foster a healthy lifestyle and see real results.

Hyaluronic Acid is a hydrophilic (water-loving) chemical that is built right into our bodies (primarily right in our eyes and joints). It’s like a natural moisturizer – it’s hydrating properties have been used to treat everything from cataracts and arthritis, to dry eyes. So it should be no surprise that we want to encourage you to use Hyaluronic Acid right on your skin, too!

As we age, our skin’s ability to preserve moisture slows down – that’s why we start to notice sagging, wobbling, and limpness in so many areas. Hyaluronic Acid, however, has the ability to hydrate and nourish skin to help it not only look but truly feel softer, smoother, and more radiant. (Already using topical skin-care products or anti-aging creams? Check the labels – we bet you’ll find Hyaluronic Acid on the list!) Combine using Hyaluronic Acid with wearing an appropriate SPF-level sunscreen, and you’ll see some fabulous results as your skin is gradually healed and replenished.

With these 5 tips in mind, let us leave you with just 1 more – enjoy the process! Skin care doesn’t always have immediate results, but it doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, taking care of your skin should feel rewarding and rejuvenating!  Treat yourself to a little pampering now and your skin will thank you. Ask how we can help you achieve glowing skin from the inside out.

Tips for Losing Weight

Our weight has a vital role in our health. It can cause illnesses to develop, but more importantly it can keep us from functioning at our optimal level. However, there are a few things you can do to help ensure you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. Follow these tips to get you started on your weightloss journey.

1)  Dig deeper!  Visit your doctor to rule out and address medical conditions which can impede your weight loss progress, such as hypothyroidism, Estrogen/Progesterone imbalance & food sensitivities. These can impede weight loss even if you’re doing everything else right.

2) Add more protein to your diet.  One study showed that eating 25% of calories from protein cut the desire for late night snacking and reduced constant thinking about food.  (reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847729).  Adding more protein will boost your metabolism and you’ll feel fuller longer.  

3) Avoid eating 3 hours before bed. Eating before you sleep can add on the pounds. Instead, drink fluids and brush your teeth right after dinner so you’re less tempted to have late night snacks.

4) Reduce your intake of added sugar. Sugar can be found in many foods – even healthy foods can have a high sugar content! But if you cut down on things like soft drinks, coffee, tea, desserts, and snacks you’ll have a better chance at losing weight.

5) Exercise regularly. You’ve heard this before, and that’s because exercise does wonders for your health. Do a combination of aerobic exercise and weight bearing exercises to retain your muscle and keep your metabolism high. Start out easy and gradually increase the intensity and weights to avoid overworking your body and injuries. And make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program if you have health concerns or pain.

If you start implementing these few tips you’ll be on your way to a better and healthier you!

 

We are proud to announce that HealthSource is part of a North American observational study (CUSIOS Trials) looking at how integrative medical care impacts patients with advanced cancer. Read more about the study here:

HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre is proud to share that we are a part of a North America-wide observational study to explore the impact of advanced integrative care delivered by Naturopathic Doctors for patients with advanced cancer.

Integrative oncology aims to combine the best of conventional and whole-person naturopathic care seamlessly and safely to: improve survival, enhance quality of life, reduce side effects from conventional treatments and help prevent recurrence. The goals of the Canadian/US Integrative Oncology Study (CUSIOS) are to observe and measure the overall survival of late stage cancer patients who receive advanced integrative oncology treatments, and to describe integrative therapies provided by naturopathic doctors.

A total of 400 people with advanced breast, colorectal, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer will be studied in ten clinics across North America over three years. Each participating advanced integrative oncology clinic provides comprehensive whole-person care in naturopathic oncology, applying advanced science-based treatment for people with late-stage cancer.

CUSIOS study objectives

Bastyr University (BU) and the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) are dedicated to supporting cancer research and studying overall outcomes in patients receiving Advanced Integrative Oncology (AIO) care. We want to investigate the impact of AIO care in advanced stage cancer patients, specifically stage 4 breast and colorectal cancer and stage 3 and 4 ovarian and pancreatic cancer. Therefore, we are conducting an observational study where we collect data on patients receiving AIO care at one of the participating AIO clinics in Canada and the United States (US).

What is Advanced Integrative Oncology (AIO) care?

AIO care is defined as comprehensive support for each stage of a cancer patient’s standard oncology experience (from diagnosis and treatment decisions to restoration of immune function and health after completion of standard treatments). Patients included in this study receive care from licensed naturopathic physicians who have AIO training.

Treatments

Treatment options may include dietary supplements, mind/body medicine, botanical medicine, hydrotherapy, hyperthermia, nutritional support, acupuncture, and advanced intravenous therapies. Naturopathic doctors providing AIO care communicate with each participant’s medical and radiation oncologists to ensure truly integrated care. The goal is to improve not just the quality of life for people living with cancer, but also to improve overall survival. AIO care is conducted according to community standards of care and is individualized and typically paid for by the patients themselves or by patients’ medical insurance.

Study Specific: Cancer Types

The CUSIOS will focus on the following cancer types and specific stages:

Stage 4 breast cancer

Females with primary breast cancer; and Metastatic breast cancer in one or more distant site (s) including bones, liver, lungs, brain or any other site in the body outside of breast or regional lymph nodes.

Stage 4 colorectal cancer

Primary colon or rectal cancer; and Metastatic colorectal cancer in one or more distant site(s) including liver, lungs, bone, brain or any other site in the body outside of the colon or rectum.

Stage 3 or 4 ovarian cancer

Primary ovarian cancer; and Metastatic ovarian cancer in one or more distant site(s) including peritoneum, uterus, diaphragm, liver, lungs, bone, brain or any other site in the body outside of the ovary.

Stage 3 or 4 pancreatic cancer

Primary pancreatic cancer; and Metastatic pancreatic cancer in one or more distant site(s) including liver, lung, diaphragm, bone, brain or any other site in the body outside of the pancreas.

 

How does someone become part of the study?

Dr Reid at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre will screen each and every oncology patient to determine whether or not they are eligible candidates for the study.  This occurs during the initial assessment as a new patient. If a patient both meets the eligibility criteria and accepts the opportunity to participate, they will be guided through an informed consent process and entered into the study.

What does it mean for the patient?

The design of this study is observational, meaning that the treatments and care a patient receives is no different whether a patient is in the study or not. The results are reviewed in retrospect, after they have occurred, and are not changed or modified during the course of the study. The study is focused on the collection of information only, in order to advance the field of advanced integrative oncology.

A huge and sincere THANK YOU for your votes and awarding HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre your Favourite Alternative Medicine Clinic – Diamond Winner!! That is #1!! Results from the Record Reader Awards are in!Favourite Alternative Health Clinic

What Does It Mean To Us To Be #1?
It measn we were voted as the favourite alternative medical clinic because we are liked by our clients and we are trusted by those who are under our care. Our clients have seen great results both in terms of increased health as well as being treated well as a patient.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with you and for your support and trust in our centre!