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You are conscious about what you eat and do your best to eat well, but you still don’t feel your best. You feel gassy and bloated, you’re getting acne, your skin isn’t glowing anymore, you may be ready for a nap after a meal and you wish you can get rid of your brain fog.

These issues frustrating and sometimes embarrassing. They’re also very common. Many patients come to see us with healthy lifestyles, but are still experiencing ongoing fatigue, digestive symptoms and skin issues. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to take a good look at your diet. Even a “healthy” food can make you sick if your body is sensitive to it. For many, the food mystery becomes both frustrating and overwhelming when trying to understand what foods are nourishing you and not making you feel terrible.

The good news is that you may not have to look very far to make changes that relieve your symptoms. With a bit of detective work, and a bit of help, you can map out a dietary plan that helps you feel your best.

Food Sensitivity symptoms

Food sensitivity can be tricky to diagnose. One reason is that there’s no one-size-fits-all description of the way our bodies react. Symptoms vary from person to person and can even be different depending on what else is happening in your body. For example, you might respond differently at different stages of your menstrual cycle.

Food sensitivities can cause:

  • Gas and bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation and/or Diarrhea
  • Asthma
  • Ear infections and sinus infections
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Headaches & migraines
  • Dark circles under your eyes
  • Brain fog – that annoying forgetfulness and lack of clarity
  • Sore joints
  • Chronic illness
  • And many other conditions!

Another reason why a food sensitivity is often a missed diagnosis is that these symptoms can be delayed 24-72 hours after a meal, so many people don’t make the connection between what they ate and how they feel.

Similarly, it’s difficult to measure how many people suffer from food sensitivities because a lot of us don’t seek medical help, figuring that it’s “normal” or it’s “just part of aging” to feel tired and bloated all of the time. In fact, conventional medical practitioners can be skeptical about food sensitivity symptoms, which can lead to frustration for patients. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

 

Causes of Food Sensitivities

 Understanding the difference between food allergies, food intolerances, and food sensitivities is important:

  • Food allergies are immune reactions. After eating a certain food, your body’s immune system launches an attack by making its own protein, called immunoglobulin E (IgE). The next time you consume that food, your body is ready to attack again. The IgE causes your body to release a chemical called histamine, which triggers the physical symptoms of an allergic reaction. This is the type of allergy reaction one has to pollens and dander. With food, it can cause frightening anaphylaxis reactions.
  • A food intolerance occurs when the body loses the ability to produce a certain digestive enzyme. Lactose intolerance occurs when the body cannot produce the lactase enzyme, and fructose intolerance occurs when a body cannot produce the fructase enzyme. Eating foods with lactose or fructose will then cause gas/bloating and diarrhea to occur.
  • A food sensitivity reaction occurs when you eat a food and it forms an antigen/antibody reaction. That is, a different part of your immune system binds to the food, the IgG reaction. Those immune complexes can cause intestinal and systemic problems in the body and mind. There are specialty labs that can detect this reaction. Dr. Morstein uses Alletess Labs and one blood draw can uncover up to 184 food sensitivity reactions.

If we continue to eat that food sensitivity, the lining of the gut can become inflamed and damaged. Eventually, it can become permeable, so the undigested material “leaks” into the bloodstream. Not surprisingly, this is called “leaky gut” syndrome.

What is the root cause of food sensitivities?

There are many medical reasons contributing to why they are becoming increasingly common:

  1. Eating the same food over and over: the gut is healthiest when a variety of foods are eaten regularly. Simply eating cheese, wheat and eggs all the time increases the risk that you might develop a sensitivity to one of them.
  2. Poor diet: A diet high in processed foods, sugar, chemicals, GMO’s (genetically modified organisms), excess alcohol or coffee—all these things can over time increase the inflammation of the gut lining and the risk of developing a food sensitivity.
  3. Lack of protective nutrients: Ingesting foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals help protect all cells in your body, including your intestinal lining.
  4. Long term use of antibiotics and other drugs that harm the gut: many medications can harm the gut, the ability to digest, and the beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in our intestines. Proton Pump Inhibitors and common anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be damaging to the gut when used for long periods of time.
  5. Eating too fast, eating too much: Poor eating habits can stress the gastrointestinal tract.
  6. Dysbiosis: When you have low beneficial bacteria or an overgrowth of problematic fungal or bacteria species, this can cause leaky gut and food sensitivities.

 

Which Foods Can Cause Food Sensitivities?

Uncovering food sensitivities is a fantastic reason why seeing a Naturopathic Doctor is a good idea if you suspect your food may be making you sick. In addition, medical supervision can ensure your approach to food remains healthy and balanced. Research suggests that food sensitivities can be a trigger for disordered eating in some people. After all, if food is causing you pain, but you’re not sure which foods are to blame, it’s easy to associate your diet with negative experiences.

Treating Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are easily identified and treated by the doctors at our centre using these methods:

  1. Test through a reputable laboratory to uncover food sensitivity reactions
  2. Remove all positive foods and tidy up your diet in a healthier way
  3. Heal the gut lining using supplements specific to what your body needs
  4. Our patients will return after one month to check in with their Naturopathic Doctor — they usually have to avoid all the foods on the list for only 1-2 months.       Once symptoms/signs of the chief complaint(s) are gone, then foods will be methodically added back in one by one to uncover which one(s) really cause the problem, and must continue to be avoided, and all the others are good to be eaten regularly again

 

Uncovering food sensitivities is a truly valuable medical journey for many patients.

If you feel like you’re having trouble pinpointing the issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com and we will work to identify your food sensitivities together.

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28936357

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5603184/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277953608002773

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7460264

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41575-018-0064-z

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306453018303950

https://journals.lww.com/co-gastroenterology/Abstract/2016/03000/A_gut__microbiome__feeling_about_the_brain.7.aspx

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10009-food-problems-is-it-an-allergy-or-sensitivity

 

Alcohol: Is it healthy in small doses?

A glass of wine with dinner. A beer after a hard day at work. It’s not hard to integrate an occasional drink with a healthy lifestyle…is it?

In recent years, we’ve read that red wine is rich with antioxidants, and that an occasional beer can raise “good” cholesterol. But results from a new study suggest that even moderate alcohol consumption – the kind we tell ourselves is healthy – may actually be detrimental. In other words, all those health benefits you’ve been hearing about still don’t outweigh the risks of alcohol consumption. Which means there really is no safe level.

A recently published report looks at data gathered from almost 700 studies, spanning 195 countries and territories. Some of the findings are shocking:

●     Alcohol is the leading risk factor for death in those aged 15 through 49.

●     Alcohol use was responsible for 2.8 million deaths worldwide in 2016.

●     For women in particular, the health risks of drinking increase with age. Alcohol was responsible for over 27 percent of cancer deaths in women over 50.

The authors of the study are firm in their conclusion: “By evaluating all associated relative risks for alcohol use, we found that consuming zero standard drinks daily minimizes the overall risk to health.”

In other words, the only safe amount of drinks is none at all. This finding differs from many earlier studies, which often concluded that moderate drinking was the best approach.

Why did this study reach a more decisive conclusion than previous examinations of alcohol’s effect on health? Several factors are at play. This study was careful to consider the ways they measured consumption. For example, researchers looked at regional variations in alcohol consumption that could be attributed to things like tourism. In addition, the study looked at alcohol’s impact on 23 different health-related problems. For some of those problems (such as heart disease), mild alcohol consumption had a positive effect. But that positive effect was balanced by a greater negative impact on other health issues (cancer is a strong example).

So what does this mean? If you drink, should you stop? Alcohol consumption is a very personal decision. This study looked at the picture, worldwide. It was not studying individuals, but rather analyzing vast amounts of data previously collected, specifically looking at the risks for the 23 health issues. That data was conclusive. But how you apply it to your own life is up to you. This latest study can’t, for example, tell you what impact a glass of wine at New Year’s will have on you with your own unique genetics and lifestyle.

One thing is certain: If you’ve told yourself that drinking is healthy, you may want to reconsider that rationale. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stop right this moment. However in deciding whether or not alcohol is something you want in your life, it’s best to be realistic about the health risks.

Alcohol

If you’re wondering about alcohol, talk to a healthcare practitioner. And be upfront about your drinking during the visit. Many people underreport how much they drink, but it’s best to be honest. You want to have an open and fruitful discussion about all of your health concerns. Remember that healthcare providers aren’t looking to judge you: they want to work with you to create your best life.

You also want to look at your own medical history and perhaps check out more specific studies. For example, another recently published study concluded that alcohol is the biggest controllable risk factor for dementia. If you have other dementia risk factors that are out of your control, such as a genetic history, you may want take action on the things you are under your control.

Similarly, if you have a history of depression, consider alcohol’s impact on mental health. If you are trying to control your weight, the extra calories of alcohol aren’t going to help. Alcohol can also lower your judgment and keep you from making your best decisions.

Some patients express frustration at the different results they see in various health studies: One minute something is good for you, the next, it’s something we’re told to avoid altogther! Studies on alcohol use can be proof that when we read an eye-catching health-related headline, we need to look beyond the numbers.

One thing to keep in mind is that the media will typically seize the most dramatic sound bite, although it’s impossible to always convey the nuances of a well-run scientific study in a short headline. For example, a news story doesn’t always mention who funded the study. For the record, the Lancet study on alcohol safety was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, while some others that emphasized alcohol’s benefits were funded by companies who sell alcohol. That doesn’t necessarily mean the studies are false, but we should all remember the funders have a vested interest in how the results are positioned and presented.

As well, correlation doesn’t always equal causation. That’s sometimes hard to capture in reporting large studies. In fact there are studies that show that Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in red wine, is beneficial to your health however if you have other health issues like, poor gut function, low energy, or sleep issues, alcohol will likely have negative impacts and could make your health issues worse.

Whenever you’re confused about a health issue, the best approach is to consider it from a sample study of one: yourself. That means talking to a healthcare provider about your own personal history and choices and your current health concerns. We can help you sort through all of the information and competing arguments out there and figure out what’s best for your unique body – in fact, we do just that! Give our office a call, we are here to help 519-954-7950.

Sources:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(18)30022-7/fulltext
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2874911/
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext

Top 10 Tips for Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

Are you loving these last few weeks of 2018? It’s a fabulous and festive time of the year. Unfortunately, it’s also a difficult time for maintaining healthy habits. Check out our list of the top 10 ways to stay healthy and happy over the holiday season.

1. Rethink your holiday expectations. Think about it – if you position the holidays as an exhausting test of your endurance, and holiday treats as evil temptations to be resisted with all available willpower, how will your body react? Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but many patients do come into the office at this time of the year showing signs of anxiety and tension. In fact, one study found that 90 percent of adults feel stressed over the holidays…which does line up with how joyous the holidays are supposed to feel!

These high stress levels certainly may come in part as a result of all that is going on at this time of year, and all the unique responsibilities we take on. Because we have more tasks to keep track of (even if those tasks are fun things like going to parties and buying gifts), our prefrontal cortex (in our brain) is overtaxed. This can affect our memory and overall ability to cope. Add in the extra pressure of attempting to maintain a perfect diet and workout schedule, and you have a recipe for sleep problems, digestive difficulties, and tense muscles – all of which can add to our stress. And when we’re stressed, we tend to overeat. It may be becoming clear why holiday stress often creates a vicious cycle of guilt…

Reframing our expectations of a “perfect” holiday while staying disciplined can end the frustration. So don’t beat yourself up if not everything goes according to plan. In the long run, our happiest memories are sometimes the ones when things didn’t go as we’d pictured them, or the times we slowed down to take in the moment. Letting go of visions of perfection (whether impressed on us by ourselves or others) will ultimately help our health.

2. Play games. If you get together with family or friends in the next weeks, why not introduce a low-tech way to have fun by playing board games? Board games also tend to offer cognitive benefits – not that you need an excuse to start rolling the dice.

3. Stay mindful. A mindfulness practice has obvious benefits when we’re extremely busy. Even if you’re not a regular meditator, just five minutes a day of meditation can help you cope with holiday stress. And why not share the love? Suggest a short meditation you can share with family before holiday meals, to help set the tone for a peaceful celebration. Studies show that meditation in groups can have powerful results.

4. Get moving. Fitting in some exercise can be easier when you mix it up by engaging in physical social activities with loved ones. Snowshoeing, making snowmen, skating…or if you’re not a cold-weather person, try bowling or a trip to the pool. You may not end up with six-pack abs, but it could be the start of a great, new holiday tradition. Suggesting fun activities for social gatherings also helps take the focus off food.

5. Cook up some love. Looking for a unique gift idea? Want to stay away from the mall and its atmosphere of seemingly relentless consumerism? Try baking some healthy holiday gifts. For example, put some homemade sweet and spicy holiday almonds into a fancy jar (you can find a  good recipe here: https://mywholefoodlife.com/2012/11/28/sweet-and-spicy-holiday-almonds/). Or wrap up a box of vegan hazelnut cups. (This recipe is amazing! https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16557/like-nutella-try-these-vegan-hazelnut-cups.html) or even start making some natural soaps as gifts, it’s easy, natural and fun!

6. Go green. When you’re thinking about ways to keep your body healthy over the holidays, don’t forget that the planet deserves some love, too. It’s easy to have a green holiday season (even if it’s snowing). Use recycled wrapping paper, serve food on real plates (not paper/plastic), and consider turning the heat down a degree or two for large gatherings (who knows – maybe then you’ll see some amazingly ugly Christmas sweaters!). To conserve electricity, use LED lights only, and defrost your freezer before you load it up with holiday baking.

7. Learn to say no. This is a tough one for many people; but sometimes refusing a social invitation or a request to do work is the healthiest choice for everyone involved. If you find it hard to turn down an invitation or request, remember that you don’t need to apologize. Decline right away and resist the urge to make up an elaborate excuse. Suggest an alternative activity or a later date – but only if you really want to.

8. Keep your gut healthy. Sugar laden holiday treats, cocktails and parties galore can really put a damper on your gut health. Rightfully so an imbalance of extra sugar lowers both your immune system and can lead to an imbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut. Take some high quality probiotics and some digestive enzymes prior to meals to give your gut a healthy boost and some likely much needed assistance!

Healthy holidays

9. Start some healthy food traditions. The internet is bursting with healthy holiday recipes. Think about your loved ones’ food preferences and find some yummy dishes to bring to gatherings. For example, here are some outstanding vegan dishes: https://minimalistbaker.com/christmas-recipe-roundup/. Other guests might thank you for providing an alternative to Aunt Edna’s special salad! Try replacing carb heavy side dishes with healthy ones like Rutabaga and carrot mash or creamy butternut squash and thyme! Remember it’s OK to say no!

10. Be grateful. The holidays don’t always go the way we expect or hope. Sometimes we have to go to work instead of eating great meals. Sometimes we miss people we’ve lost over the years. It’s normal to experience sadness at this time of the year. Acknowledge your feelings and be gentle with yourself. Take some time to remember and be grateful for the good things (even if they’re not always picture-perfect). Grateful people experience better sleep, more optimism, and improved relationships. And we could all use a bit of that at this time of the year.

Happy New Year from all of us! We look forward to working with you to create a fulfilling and healthy start to 2019!

Sources

https://www.healio.com/psychiatry/journals/jpn/2017-12-55-12/%7Ba2fc3f63-4c18-455c-a761-5efae89bb9fb%7D/three-simple-mindfulness-practices-to-manage-holiday-stress#x02793695-20171117-01-bibr26
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/254796
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075238
https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping/page/0/1

Say Goodbye to Headaches! What gives you a headache? I’m sure any number of factors come to mind. Stress is the most common answer and leads to “tension headaches.” And what about the familiar stuffy sting of sinus pain? Then there are those awful migraines, the angriest of the headaches, accompanied by a whole host of symptoms including nausea or vomiting, stomach pain, and/or sensitivity to bright lights, loud noise and strong odours. Sometimes smells can even trigger a migraine!

Did you know there are 150 different types of headaches?

Getting a headache is always a good sign that something is off in your body. They can be triggered by a wide variety of factors that are usually fairly easy to identify once you tune into your body and familiarize yourself with what it needs.

Top Headache Triggers

Dehydration

Research shows that water-deprivation headaches are among the most common types of headaches people experience. Just think, how often do you fall short of the daily recommended eight glasses of water? Staying hydrated not only help limit headaches, but it also improves concentration and significantly decreases irritability.

Stress

Chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve experienced a headache in response to stress or tension. You’re barely treading water, with too much to do and not enough hours in the day. Your baby just won’t stop screaming, but you need to get the grocery shopping done. Your boss is in a foul mood — again. Your head begins to pound. Stress is a fact of life. It can be hard to avoid a tension headache, but taking a mindful approach to life and prioritizing peace and wholeness, whether through yoga, meditation or gratitude journaling, can help us to manage stress better when those tense moments do show up.  

Headaches

Food Intolerances

We all know how alcohol can trigger a headache – especially when combined with dehydration, resulting in the ever-dreaded hangover.  But have you ever been drinking diet pop and suddenly felt headache-y afterward? You’re not the only one, and it’s not a coincidence. Aspartame and caffeine can act as dietary triggers that lead to headaches. Other food intolerances known for influencing headaches include Monosodium glutamate a.k.a. MSG, nitrates found in processed meats, tyramine — a natural chemical that’s also found in processed meats, as well as aged cheese; pickles and olives; snow peas, fava and broad beans; and nuts.  

Bread and pastries, cultured dairy products and yes, even chocolate, have also been known to cause headaches at times. As usual, moderation is the key, as well as taking note of what you were eating before a headache occurred so you can identify your own unique sensitivities.

Hormones

Oh, those hormones sure have a way of impacting all areas of our bodies, don’t they? So, is it any wonder that they could be to blame for headaches, too? Truth is, elevated estrogen levels can have an impact on the frequency and severity of headaches in both women and men. Because of naturally heightened estrogen levels, women are 3X more likely to experience a migraine than men! If you experience headaches or migraines on a regular basis, it is worth speaking to your healthcare practitioner about getting your hormone levels tested. Getting back into balance won’t only help your headaches, it can also change your life in a lot of other positive ways.

Natural Ways to Treat Your Headaches

Essential oils – A wide variety of essential oils can have a calming effect on headaches and also help to soothe migraines. Some good options include lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus oils.

Herbs – Butterbur and feverfew are two herbal remedies that have long been used to help treat headache pain; however, like with most herbal supplements, it is important to consult the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure you are taking them safely and effectively.

Yoga – Yoga is proven to be one of the most effective forms of self-care to help reduce headaches. In fact, one study actually demonstrated a significant reduction in migraine headache frequency when yoga was practiced regularly over a period of just three months.

Visit your Chiropractor – Sometimes the root of your issue starts with getting your body re-aligned – literally. Headaches can be caused by misalignment in your spine and overall musculo-skeletal structure, and enlisting the help of a professional can be life changing. Encouraging results have been seen in a variety of studies, suggesting that a visit to your Chiropractor can help to reduce migraines. Participants in these studies have rated the results between good to excellent (compared to the results when using no treatment, mobilization, and ice).

Acupuncture – If you suffer from frequent headaches and want to avoid popping pills on a regular basis, you might wish to consider acupuncture. One study showed that after 3 to 4 months of treatment, patients receiving acupuncture had higher response rates and fewer headaches, with results that were possibly more effective than prophylactic drug treatment – and with fewer adverse side effects.

Headaches are unfortunately common, but they don’t have to be. If you feel like you’re dealing with more than your fair share and are having trouble pinpointing the issue, please do not hesitate to contact us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com and we will work to identify your triggers and solutions together.

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23832131
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14979888 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2708042
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22517298
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23196150
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23030536
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15623680
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11276299
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17501846
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8775024
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3099267/

 

 

Sitting Can Cause Death

On average, how many hours a day do you spend sitting…with no breaks? One hour? Two hours? Three…or more?

Long ago, our ancestors spent much of their time on the move, hunting and gathering to serve their basic needs. Obviously, the balance between movement and fuel has shifted dramatically over time. Technology is incredible, but it has revolutionized our lives…sometimes in ways not so helpful to our health…

Unlike our ancestors, we no longer search for food. Instead, we search for time, spending hours each day hunched over a keyboard. On an average day, many of us are likely sitting more than we are moving and consuming more calories than we are burning. Many of us regularly put in eight-hour workdays seated at a desk – sometimes even more! We then go home and unwind on the couch, binge-watching our favourite shows, mentally exhausted but physically not much different than we started our day. The hours begin to add up.

Maybe we make a little time to fit in some exercise each day; however, with more conveniences at our fingertips, it’s simply reality that we can do a lot more while moving a lot less. The longer we sit, the more our bodies begin to feel tight, tired, and sore. It’s clear that too much sitting isn’t good for us. But did you know that it can even lead to earlier mortality?

Sitting and Premature Death

That’s right…too much sitting can kill you! In fact, some are saying that “sitting is the new smoking” because its impact is so significant. According to recent research from the Journal of the American Heart Association, prolonged sitting presents health risks similar to those of smoking – heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes. It also increases premature death by a whopping 50 percent! Even more surprising, too much sitting increases your risk for an early death regardless of your fitness level or other lifestyle habits.Sittting

But sitting isn’t just bad for your heart or metabolism; it is also bad for your brain! Researchers at the University of California have discovered a connection between sedentary behaviour and thinning regions in the brain that is critical to new memory formation.

So, what if your job requires you to be at a desk, all day, every day? Are you supposed to quit? Well, of course, that’s not practical. But here are a few simple things you can do to ensure that you keep your body moving regularly…towards a longer, healthier life.

Tips to Sit Less & Live Longer

  • Fit in Exercise Whenever Possible

Bottom line, the more frequently you work out, the more you reduce your risk of premature death. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. While exercising 10 minutes or more at a time is ideal, shorter but frequent bursts of exercise, like taking the stairs, can also be an excellent way to keep active.

  • Move Every 30 Minutes

Research shows that people who sit for less than 30 minutes at a time have the lowest risk of early death. Meetings and deadlines don’t always offer the freedom to move, but ideally, you don’t want to be sitting for any longer than three hours at a time. Setting a timer on your phone can be a helpful reminder to pause regularly for “movement breaks.”

  • Use a Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers are an effective way to ensure you’re getting enough activity in your day. As health and fitness wearables grow in popularity, there is an increasing number of options available for every budget and lifestyle. There are also a wide variety of exercise apps out there to track your progress and monitor your success with motivational milestones to keep you moving.

  • Try a Standing Desk

As awareness grows about the health concerns associated with chronic and prolonged sitting, more companies have already begun re-examining ways they can improve employee wellness. In some environments, adjustable desks are offered to provide workers with opportunities to stand instead of sitting if they so choose. If a standing desk is not an option for you, try moving your laptop to a tall counter or table as a means to squeeze in more standing.  

  • Opt for Less Convenience

We live in a world of many technological conveniences, and yet, we take so many of them for granted — and in some cases to our detriment. Instead, opt for “less convenient” choices in your day. Walk over and have a conversation with your colleague instead of sending an email. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Bike to work instead of drive. Small activities can make a significant impact!

Do you know you spend excessive amounts of time sitting? Do you experience any health problems that you think could be related to a sedentary lifestyle? Let’s chat and get to the root of your health issues. Book an appointment with our clinic, and together we will find ways to improve your overall health and well-being so that you can live your life to its fullest.

Call or email us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com.

To your best health!

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

References

http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/7/6/e007678

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180412141014.htm

http://annals.org/aim/article-abstract/2653704/patterns-sedentary-behavior-mortality-u-s-middle-aged-older-adults

Treating Depression: Have you ever suffered from depression? If so, you’re not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression – it is also a leading cause of disability. Fifteen percent of adults will experience depression at some point in their lifetime.

Depression doesn’t respect boundaries. It can impact anyone at any point in their life, regardless of age, gender, medical history, or socioeconomic status. While depression may seem like an invisible condition, there are warning signs to watch out for – stay alert!

Signs of Depression

A major depressive episode is defined as a depressed mood lasting at least two weeks or more. Life seems filled with darkness or heaviness, and there is a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Depression also comes with the baggage of other symptoms that can interfere with your work, school, or social life. These symptoms include:

  • Abnormal sleep rhythms — either sleeping too much or having difficulty falling asleep
  • Low energy or daily fatigue for seemingly no reason
  • Inability to focus, make decisions or think clearly
  • Slower movement than usual or unintentional motion that is noticeable by others
  • Changes in weight and appetite, with an increase or decrease of more than five percent in body weight per month
  • Recurring thoughts about death or suicide, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan in place for suicide

If you are or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to start a conversation right away, get professional help to identify the cause, and find some appropriate solutions.

What Causes Depression?

What makes depression so elusive is that there is no one single cause. Hormones, brain chemistry, family genetics, life experiences, and physical health are all possible factors that can trigger a depressive episode. While some types of depression can be attributed to conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or postpartum depression, for many the source might not be so easily identifiable.

Unfortunately, in many situations, doctors prefer to medicate rather than investigate, prescribing antidepressants instead of exploring the cause of the condition. Antidepressants have their time and place, but with a myriad of possible side-effects, they are not the best option at all times for all people. Also, a lifetime prescription to antidepressants is only a Band-Aid solution that fails to address the underlying problem.

Research shows that high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammatory disease, have been documented in subjects with depression. In fact, results from a national health and nutrition examination survey showed that subjects with depressive symptoms had CRP levels that were 46 percent higher than those of non-depressed subjects. Studies also suggest that subjects with a depressed mood have low levels of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), which is an indication of airway inflammation.

Over time, depression can also lead to significantly more inflammation in the brain. Inflammation is our body’s response to injury or illness, and when left untreated, it can cause chronic illnesses like heart disease and potentially even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So not only is identifying the cause of depression early on important for your mental health; it’s also for your physical health!

Depression

This is why visiting an integrative health clinic can be so crucial. Depression is a serious condition not to be taken lightly. There are a lot of possible influences and a 360-degree assessment is often required to effectively determine the cause. The first thing you need to ask yourself is “Why am I feeling depressed?” Then take it from there.

Ways to Treat Depression

For those with mild to moderate depression, there are a variety of natural options that can help fight the blues effectively, without pharmaceuticals.

 

  • Sunshine & Exercise

It may sound trite to suggest a little fresh air and exercise; however, you can never underestimate the value of a brisk walk in the sunshine. Activity pumps up serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins, which are our “feel-good” chemicals. Go for a run to experience a truly natural “high.”

And don’t forget, the sun can lighten up your mood with feel-good rays of vitamin D. Invest in a therapeutic light box to brighten up those cloudy days and winter months.

 

  • Create a Regular Bedtime Routine

Depression and sleep issues are intimately connected. For those who have trouble falling asleep, a nighttime routine can help ease you into a more restful slumber.

Set a regular bedtime and unplug from all devices at least two hours beforehand. Use that digital downtime time to take a bath, read a book, listen to music, meditate, or unwind in whatever low key way you prefer. By eliminating sources of constant stimulation and slowing down your evening habits, you will set your brain and body up for a better sleep. If you’ve been dealing with insomnia for a while, melatonin is also a helpful natural supplement to reset your internal clock.

Keep yourself on a consistent schedule by setting your alarm to go off after 8 hours. If you need a nap later in the day, then, by all means, take one, but try to resist the urge to sleep your life away.  

 

  • Natural Supplements

Serotonin is a vital chemical and neurotransmitter. It regulates our moods, behaviour, libido, sleep, and memory. Keep your serotonin levels elevated by getting your fill of healthy omega-3 fatty acids ─ the kind you find in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and more.
L-theanine, an amino acid that has a relaxing effect. L-Theanine boosts neurotransmitters and helps to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Rhodiola rosea and St. John’s wort are other natural supplements that many individuals have had success with for treating depression. That said, St. John’s wort may interfere with birth control or other medications. This is why it is always important to get professional guidance on which supplements and what dose is likely to work best for you.

 

  • Get Your Hormones Balanced

Our hormones have an impact on our entire bodies. They can be the reason behind depression, chronic fatigue, weight gain, and more. Think of your adrenal, sex and thyroid hormones as Jenga blocks. When certain blocks become imbalanced, it can send our whole life tumbling out of control. The longer you take to correct the imbalance, the more difficult it will be to heal. Getting your hormones tested is an easy and effective way to assess the issues so that you can effectively identify what your options are to get back into balance.

 

  • Talk to someone

While you may feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at first, opening up to friends and family may be the relief you need to get through dark times without feeling so alone. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your burdens with the people you know, then seek professional counselling, in the form of a therapist, life coach, or trusted doctor. They are there to help and can offer you a new perspective on things.  

If you think you might be dealing with depression, I invite you to reach out to our clinic. Please feel free to book an appointment with us by calling (519) 954-7950 or emailing info@HealthSourceIMC.com. You don’t have to battle depression alone. We can help you get your life back on track!

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

References:

https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lanpsy/PIIS2215-0366(18)30087-7.pdf

http://www.psychiatrist.com/JCP/article/Pages/2016/v77n12/v77n1221.aspx

http://ndnr.com/mindbody/case-study-herbal-treatment-of-depression/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005791617300629#sec4

 

Fix Your Thyroid Issues now! Did you know that a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland nestled in your throat is responsible for producing and regulating some of the most important hormones in your body? This significant part of your body is called the thyroid, and while it’s small, it plays a big role in your endocrine (hormone) system.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that interact with other hormones (like insulin, cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone). There’s still a lot we have to learn about how the endocrine system works,  but knowing how intimately all hormones communicate with each other, it’s no wonder so many symptoms and diseases are tied to a poorly performing thyroid!

How does the thyroid gland work?

Almost all of the hormones the thyroid produces are in an inactive form called thyroxine, or T4. Most of the active thyroid hormone, triiodothyronine (or T3), comes from the conversion of T4 to T3 in various parts of your body, including liver, gut, brain, and muscles.

The “active” T3 is then able to regulate many functions in the body including energy production and regulation of metabolism. When all the systems in your body are working well, the right amounts of T4 and T3 are produced. But if something is having a negative impact on your thyroid or other organs, it can cause a disruption in your hormone system and may cause a number of different symptoms.

Some of the factors that can start to damage a previously healthy, functioning thyroid are: nutritional imbalances, toxins, allergens, infections, and stress. All of these can be problematic and can lead to glandular dysfunctions, and potentially wider spread systemic disease.

What happens when the thyroid can’t function normally?

When the thyroid is compromised, the body is unable to produce or convert the right amounts of thyroid hormones. Consequently, we experience disorders such as hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid cancer. In fact, thyroid diseases are highly prevalent in North America with an estimated 20 million Americans and 1 in every 10 Canadians having some form of thyroid disease. Because thyroid conditions are tied to so many different symptoms, up to 60% of people living with thyroid disease may be totally unaware of their condition, with women being 5-8x more likely to be affected than men.  It is estimated that 1 in every 8 women will suffer from a thyroid disorder at some point during her life.

A poorly functioning thyroid can also be the cause of many less obvious disorders including  acne, autoimmune diseases, eczema, fibromyalgia, gum disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and infertility. Because the thyroid is linked to almost every bodily function, symptoms are wide and varied, making it more difficult to identify the thyroid as the root cause of the issue(s). As a result, many people are misdiagnosed and treated for other conditions before the thyroid is every considered or explored.

Thyroid isssue Women

Hypothyroidism

A number of symptoms often point to an underactive thyroid, or what is called “hypothyroidism.”

Lethargy or fatigue, foggy thinking, depression, weight gain even if you’ve been exercising and eating well consistently, persistently rough/scaly skin and/or dry/tangled hair that are unresponsive to treatments, hair loss (particularly in women), sensitivity to cold, an inability to warm up in a sauna or to sweat during exercise, and a consistently low basal body temperature.

Hyperthyroidism

Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism include feeling restless, nervous, or emotional, poor sleep quality, fatigue, muscle weakness, difficulty concentrating, frequent bowel movements, disappearance of or irregular menstruation, weight loss, rapid, forceful, or irregular heartbeat, eye problems (associated with Graves’ disease) or swollen thyroid/goiter.

Knowing how important the thyroid is to overall health, it’s imperative to understand how it works (regardless of whether or not you currently have a thyroid disorder) so that you can keep your endocrine system and your body functioning optimally.

Thankfully, you can help maintain your thyroid health naturally!

When it comes to managing the optimal function of your hormones, the building blocks are almost always found first and foremost in nutrition.

To maintain a healthy thyroid, first make sure you’re maximizing your nutrition by:

  1. Try a Gluten-free, Dairy-free Diet: Most people go gluten and dairy free only when there is an obvious sensitivity to either type of food. Sensitivity to gluten and dairy is much more subtle when it comes to the thyroid and often goes unnoticed. The inflammation caused by these foods can lead to leaky gut syndrome which can cause the body to accidentally attack the thyroid instead of the food particles it’s trying to destroy. Removing these foods can be critical to maintaining good thyroid health, especially if there is an autoimmune issue at play.   
  2. Leave Behind the Unfermented Soy: The proteins in soy can be potent anti-thyroid agents that can heavily affect the way the thyroid functions. Be extra careful with baby formula, too. The consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease in infants. This doesn’t mean that all soy is off the table. You can keep enjoying fermented soy foods like natto, miso, and tempeh. It’s the unfermented soy products like soy milk, and soy cheese that should be avoided.  
  3. Keep an Eye on Your Iodine: Iodine is present in almost every organ and tissue and has a direct effect on the thyroid. But iodine is not good for all thyroid cases!  It is not recommended if you have thyroid antibodies (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) – so be sure to get a full thyroid panel run!  We do the the blood work for this! Chemical agents in commercial food ingredients unfortunately tend to lessen iodine.  Daily exposure to chemicals found in water such as bromine, fluorine, chlorine all negatively impact iodine levels by attaching themselves to iodine receptors in the body. You can see why focusing on consuming enough of this nutrient is so important.

You can increase your iodine levels by:

    1. Choosing to eat organic to minimize exposure to chemical pesticides
    2. Avoiding eating, drinking, or storing food and drinks in plastic containers
    3. Looking for “no bromine” or “bromine-free” labels on organic whole-grain breads and flours if you eat grains
    4. Increasing your dietary intake of wild-caught seafood and ocean fish
    5. Using natural personal care products to minimize absorbing toxic chemicals through the skin
  1. Look for Foods Containing Zinc and Selenium: Zinc and selenium are two micronutrients that play critical roles in thyroid health. Because they can be toxic in very high doses, it’s best to achieve healthy levels through a carefully balanced diet. Zinc-rich foods include oysters, beef, pork, and chicken, while selenium rich foods include brazil nuts, fish, and liver.
  2. Practice Effective Stress Management: Stress and hormone health are inextricably linked. Make sure you’re taking time to meditate, relieve stress, and get your mindset on track so you can enjoy the benefits of overall health.

Thyroid Supplementation

Often a traditional thyroid prescription would be thyroxine for example that would affect one’s TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). There is also dessicated thyroid which affects free T3 and T4 instead of TSH. We would consult with you about the pros/cons of these options. ..And we can prescribe dessicated thyroid at our clinic.

You can gain control over your health by learning how to manage and maintain your hormones through nutrition, lifestyle, and medical support. If you think you may be suffering from a thyroid disorder, please take time to book an appointment to visit our clinic.

We want to help you stay on top of your health! Testing and comprehensive hormonal assessments are available.

Call or email us at (519) 954-7950 or info@HealthSourceIMC.com.

To your best health!

The Team at HealthSource Integrative Medical Centre

 

References:

https://articles.mercola.com/thyroid.aspx

https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/about-hypothyroidism/

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Aug 25:jc20152222. Epub 2015 Aug 25. PMID: 26305620

 

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