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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!

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  

Is this your barrier to achieving a healthy body?

While weight loss plans routinely tout “scientific evidence” to back their claims, the fact is, any diet that results in a calorie deficit will produce weight loss. The problem is this: Depending solely on limiting your caloric intake while not including a healthy exercise routine will certainly help you lose weight, however, it will also slow down your metabolism – something counter-productive to healthy weight loss since a slower metabolism means you will burn less calories at a resting rate (the amount of calories being burnt when you are not exercising). As a result, with the proper exercise regimen you burn more calories even when you are not exercising. That being said, some people appear to be exercising and eating the proper caloric intake, but still can’t get their weight down. There are a number of things you need to consider if you have difficulty losing weight and I am going to give you some insight into this common problem:

The one thing I absolutely insist on with my patients: Stop measuring your health by the number on the scale!

If I were to ask you how you measure your weight loss progress, most people would say that they use their bathroom scale or the scale at their gym. You must not rely solely on the number on a scale to assess your progress! Why? Body weight alone (the number on a scale) is not an accurate measure of body composition, and therefore, is not an accurate measure of overall health. Your scale does not differentiate the amount of weight you lost from fat versus muscle nor does it tell you how much weight you lost from water and your hydration levels. In other words, you may not see the number on the scale change, but you could still be losing fat while retaining muscle. Imagine what happens on a yo-yo diet. Even after losing weight, you might still be considered over-fat if your weight loss occurred predominantly in muscle and not from fat. Having excess fat on the inside while looking normal on the outside may result in disease risks that are similar to those who appear to be overweight. What you want to do is this: preserve your lean muscle in order to increase your body’s metabolic rate. This allows your body to burn calories more effectively each day.

Here is what you need look at instead:

I always ask my patients to look at their body composition in order to measure their healthy body. I use a Bioimpediance Analysis to measure your body composition. It is one of the most accurate in-clinic tools you will find. Having an unhealthy body composition, in other words, carrying too much fat in comparison to lean muscle, increases your risks for developing chronic disease such as heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. Even if your weight is within a normal range, you can still have unhealthy or altered body composition. What does body composition analysis look at? It measures the amount of body fat in comparison to lean muscle tissue and the distribution of water inside vs. outside your cells (your hydration status). This helps indicate whether or not you’re in need of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals supplementation or other forms of nutritional support. This tool can be used to identify your baseline measurements, and then assess your progress as you start a healthy weight loss program. After I measure your body composition, we also begin to look beyond diet and exercise – I have to understand why a person is overweight. I go through the steps of addressing: thyroid disorders, elevated stress hormones (cortisol), low b-vitamins, low protein intake with high carbohydrate intake, inflammation, appetite control, and so on. When we begin to look at your health as being more than the number on the scale, I find that my patients begin to benefit in many ways, for example, healthy fat loss of 1-2 lbs / week, improved strength, more energy, better sleep and fewer aches and pains. Contact Dr. Reid or Dr. Thammasouk to find out more about how we can help you achieve measurable results.

Did you know that foods that you eat have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions affecting virtually every part of the body—from mildly uncomfortable symptoms such as indigestion, mild eczema and acne to severe illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic infection and chronic headaches. However, people most commonly are used to hearing about food allergies – peanut or shellfish for example – which cause unpleasant symptoms of hives, swelling of lips, skin reactions around the mouth or, in worse cases, anaphylaxis. If you have been to an allergist, you may have experienced a pin-prick test for a number of environmental allergens, and sometimes food allergens. This test measures your immediate immune response to allergies – mediated by IgE – which could occur within minutes to a few hours. There is another type of immune response: a delayed reaction which can take up to 3 days to occur. For this reason it is hard to identify the problem foods. These foods do cause an immune response but since they are not your typical allergy you know of we refer to them as food sensitivities or intolerances. Some food intolerances are caused by an immune response related to food-specific antibodies called IgG antibodies, while others are associated with an enzyme deficiency or chemical sensitivity. These IgG antibodies recognise and bind to specific food proteins to form immune complexes in the body, which can accumulate in joints and other organs where they cause inflammation and many of the symptoms associated with food intolerances. Food Sensitivities/Intolerances can present in many forms. Take a look at the chart below:

System Symptoms and Diseases associated with FOOD ALLERGIES
Gastrointestinal Irritable Bowen Syndrome (IBS), Celiac Disease, Ulcerative colitis, Constipation, Chronic diarrhea, Canker sores (recurrent mouth ulcers), Stomach ulcers, Duodenal ulcer, Gastritis, Irritable colon, Mal-absorption, Vomiting, Indigestion, Colic (in babies)
Genitourinary Bed-wetting, Chronic bladder infections, Kidney infections, Frequent urination
Immune Frequent colds or flu, Chronic infections, Frequent ear infections
Mental/Emotional Anxiety, Depression, Hyperactivity, Inability to concentrate, Insomnia, Irritability, Mental confusion, Personality change, Seizures, Fatigue & lethargy
Musculoskeletal Fibromyalgia, Joint pain (arthritis), Back pain, Bursitis
Respiratory Asthma, Sinus infections, Chronic bronchitis, Wheezing, Chronic runny or congested nose, Post nasal drip
Skin Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Hives, Itching eyes, Rash
Head Migraines, Headaches
Miscellaneous Fatigue, Headache, Hypoglycemia

Our clinic offers food sensitivity testing – through a blood sample (not a pin-prick test!) – which detect specific IgG antibodies in a wide range of foods.Some examples of food items include fruits, vegetables, animal protein, nuts/seeds, seafood, dairy, spices, yeast, coffee & tea. If you suspect you have an intolerance to some foods, an IgG food test is something to consider.

So you have identified your food allergies – now what?

Food sensitivity testing is the first part of the jigsaw puzzle to piece together exactly what is causing your illness or symptoms. Knowing what you are sensitive or intolerant to can be helpful in the management of your lifestyle through the design of diets based on food test results. In addition, the condition and function of your gastrointestinal (GI) system strongly impacts vitality and overall health. Our gastrointestinal tract is the largest part of our immune system and this is where we absorb the vital nutrients from our food. If the proper steps are taken to heal the gut many health conditions can improve or even be eliminated. Our treatment program ensures the health of your GI system is optimized through individualized strategies that have been tested and work effectively with our clients. Inquire about our food allergy testing and our approach to individualized treatment programs for your health condition so you can experience the benefits of what it is truly like to experience optimal health.

“Why do so many people who feel chronically fatigued or burnt out are told there is nothing wrong with them?”

Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the blood, enter tissues and regulate cell function. There are dozens of hormones in the body and many of these hormones work interdependently. The adrenal gland sits just above the kidney and it releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol as well as the androgen precursor DHEA-s. DHEA-s is eventually converted into either estrogen or testosterone. If the hormones from the adrenal glands are not produced or are not working efficiently, there can be a downstream negative impact on many systems in the body. Stress is becoming more and more of a factor in many peoples lives. Careers, family, finances are some of the most common stressors. However, diet or poor eating habits can also be stressors on the body. When we feel stressed, our body naturally adapts by increasing certain stress hormones so we can maintain our level of functioning on a mental and physical level. However, ask yourself what happens when we are faced with low grade chronic stress over a long period of time. Your body typically begins to develop a number of symptoms:

  • cravings for sugar and salt
  • feeling stressed and irritable
  • exhausted/fatigue or feel tired but wired
  • frequent infections (catching cold easily)
  • putting on weight around the mid section
  • foggy thinking
  • difficulty concentrating
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • hypoglycemia
  • low blood pressure
  • need to start the day with caffeine
  • non-restorative sleep
  • sleep problems – difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep
  • water retention
  • decreased libido or excessive libido
  • changes in menstrual cycle

This tells me that the adrenal gland hormones are being produced in an insufficient amount or in an excessive amount. This has been termed adrenal fatigue. In more serious cases, where a person is completely burnt out, adrenal fatigue can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Right now the concept of adrenal fatigue or exhaustion is not recognized in conventional medicine. With the thyroid gland, conventional medicine says it can be working within a normal range, overworking or underworking, or not working at all. With the adrenal gland, conventional medicine says it either works or it does not work. When it does not work, it is termed Addison’s disease. Yet I see many clients commonly with low DHEA-s levels, low or high cortisol levels in my practice. Dr. Thammasouk and I can often tell if someone is having adrenal issues just by doing a thorough intake during the first visit. However, we also like to confirm our suspicions by running blood hormone tests or saliva hormone tests. It is amazing to see how quickly clients respond to treatment when they are properly assessed and are determined to get adrenal support. Treating the adrenals usually includes a multi-factorial approach with specific herbal support based on the symptom picture (low DHEA-s, high cortisol or low cortisol), and vitamin, mineral and dietary support. If we do not get an appropriate response we may add low dose bioidentical hormone replacement for a short period of time which allows adrenal glands a rest to help them restore their proper functioning. If you feel you may be suffering from adrenal issues, please contact myself, Dr. Reid, or Dr. Thammasouk for further information on assessments and treatments for this common disorder.