Are You Getting Enough Omega 3 Fatty Acids? A key factor in Mood & Inflammation.

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acidsOmega 3 fatty acids are commonly found in fish, seafood and some seeds.  These fatty acids have been associated with improving mood, benefiting the skin (decreasing eczema and acne) and improving inflammatory conditions such as joint pain.  New research is also finding that these substances may improve your IQ!

One interesting study found that aging humans who consumed higher levels omega-3s had increased gray matter brain volume and that most new tissue development was observed in the part of the brain associated with happiness.

Similar findings appeared in the journal Lancet. In a very large human study, scientists analyzed the diets of 12,000 pregnant women. The study found that children of those mothers who consumed the least omega-3 were 48% more likely to score in the lowest quartile on IQ tests.

Another study revealed when male teenagers ate fish more than once a week their combined intelligence scores were on average 12 per cent higher than those who ate fish less than once a week!!

Take the Quiz below (Adapted by Mark Hyman, MD) to find out if you are deficient in this important nutrient:

FATTY ACIDS QUIZ

  1. I have soft, cracked or brittle nails.  yes/no
  2. I have dry, itchy, scaling, or flaking skin.     yes/no     
  3. I have hard ear wax.     yes/no
  4. I have chicken skin (tiny bumps on back of arms or on the trunk) yes/no  
  5. I have dandruff.         yes/no
  6. I feel aching or stiffness in my joints.      yes/no
  7. I am thirsty most of the time.           yes/no   
  8. I am constipated (have less than two bowel movements a day).        yes/no     
  9. I have light-coloured, hard, or foul-smelling stools.       yes/no   
  10. I have depression, ADHD, and/or memory loss.      yes/no
  11. I have high blood pressure.     yes/no
  12. I have fibrocystic breasts.      yes/no
  13. I have premenstrual syndrome.       yes/no  
  14. I have high LDL cholesterol, low HDL levels, and high triglycerides.  yes/no   
  15. I am of North Atlantic genetic background: Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Scandinavian, or coastal Native American.                yes/no

 

Scoring Key-Fatty Acids

Score (number of yes answers)
Severity
0-4 Mild
5-7 Moderate
8 and above Severe

 

If you suspect you are low in omega 3 Fatty Acids talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about how to increase dietary consumption and what supplements may be best for you!  It is important to use a high quality fish oil supplement to avoid contaminants such as mercury.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

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What Exactly is Naturopathic Medicine?

As Naturopathic Doctors, we understand that many people are slightly confused as to how we practice. We are not homeopathic doctors (a common misconception) nor are we herbalists or nutritionists.  However, as Naturopathic Docotors we can offer you a tremendous benefit in improving your health by using Nutrition, herbs, diet & lifestyleDSC_0638.

What is Naturopathic Medicine?

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine.Naturopathic medicine is the art and science of disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention using natural therapies including: botanical medicine, clinical nutrition, acupuncture, and prevention and lifestyle counselling. Naturopathic Medicine is covered by many medical insurance and benefit programs.

 What is the Education required to become a Naturopathic Doctor?

Becoming a licensed Naturopathic Doctor (ND) requires at least seven years of academic study. Licensed NDs will have completed a relevant undergraduate degree, followed by four years of rigorous training and practicum at an accredited North American institution for naturopathic medicine.. Once they become registered professionals, NDs are then required to maintain their competency with ongoing continuing education courses that must be approved by the regulator.

What can Naturopathic Medicine do for you?

In Ontario, Naturopathic Doctors offer alternative avenues for access to primary health care and health promotion. Naturopathic Doctors can provide early diagnosis of and treatment for many health-related conditions. Naturopathic Doctors can:

  • Requisition blood tests
  • Perform physical examinations
  • Create a personalized health plan for you
  • Order additional lab testing such as allergy, hormone (saliva) and urine testing
  • Vitamin B12 injections (upon completion of the prescribing examination)
  • Treating the patient with natural substances such as supplements, botanical medicines and nutritional foods
  • Acupuncture

How are Naturopathic Doctors Regulated?

Naturopathic doctors are regulated in Ontario under the Regulated Health Practitioners Act 1991, and Naturopathy Act 2007. As of 2015, The College of Naturopaths of Ontario is the regulating body for Naturopathic Doctors in this province.

Are you interested in exploring Naturoapthic Medicine? Or having an informative & fun wellness lecture at your place of work? Contact Infusion Health at info@infusionhealth.ca

Why Melatonin in Important and 4 Ways to Naturally Boost this Anti-Aging Hormone

sleeping woman

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is released from a small gland within the brain known as the pineal gland. Melatonin is known to be responsible for the regulation of our internal body clock, referred to as the circadian rhythm and regulates female’s reproductive hormones. However, science is now discovering that this is only one of the many benefits adequate Melatonin levels have in the body.

  • Insomnia: Boosting melatonin levels appears to reduce the time it takes for individuals to fall asleep, increase the number of sleeping hours and boost daytime alertness.
  • Menopause: Increasing melatonin may also benefit woman suffering from disordered sleep during the time of menopause.
  • Breast Health: Melatonin appears to be protective against breast cancer. Several studies suggest that low melatonin levels may be associated with breast cancer. Further, several preliminary studies suggest that melatonin may strengthen the effect of chemotherapy drugs.
  • Prostate Heath: Studies show that men with prostate cancer have lower melatonin levels than men without the disease.

Melatonin levels appear to naturally decline as we age. Read on to find out how you can naturally boost the levels of this important hormone in your body.

 

1. Avoid Exposure to Bright Lights at Night
Nighttime light exposure disrupts melatonin production and interferes with sleep. We recommend dimming the lights, avoiding looking at TV, computer and smart phone screens 1 hour before going to bed. This also applies for if you wake during the middle of the night, use dim light and avoid putting on bright overhead lights.
2. Expose Yourself to Sunlight During Your Waking Hours.
Nighttime night interferes with melatonin production, however inadequate exposure to light in the daytime also disrupts the body’s natural melatonin cycles. Make time to get outside in the sunshine during the day, or sit in a sunny window when you can.

3. Melatonin-Boosting Foods in Your Daily Diet.
By increasing the substrates necessary to produce melatonin through food, you can naturally increase the production of our this important hormone in our bodies. Make sure that you are consuming adequate protein (especially in the morning) and foods with calcium and magnesium. Good choices include seeds and dark leafy green vegetables.
4. Consider Supplementing with Melatonin
The dose of melatonin required will vary from for each individual and it is best to consult your Naturopathic doctor before taking melatonin. Melatonin should always be taken 30 minutes  to one hour before bedtime, preferably on an empty stomach. Melatonin should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or nursing or before driving a vehicle.

If you are interested in having a Naturopathic Doctor come into your place of work for a interactive wellness seminar or for Naturopathic treatment in the comfort of your own office, please check out http://www.infusionhealth.ca or contact info@infusionhealth.ca.

In Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

Linoleic acids and Gamma Linolenic Acids (GLAs)

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Studies have found that consumption of linoleic acids (an essential fatty acid) and vitamin C decrease drying and wrinkling of the skin.  Linoleic acid plays a key role here because once ingested, linoleic acid turns into gamma linolenic acid also known as GLA. Through a series of steps, GLA is eventually converted to prostaglandin 1, which has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin and is also effective in regulating water loss and protecting the skin from damage. You can also supplement with evening primrose oil or borage oil, both contain high amounts of GLA.  Watch my video with the wonderful Kristen Ma to learn more about evening primrose oil here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-ClA89C-K0.

Walnuts contain both linoleic acid and omega 3 fatty acids.  This is excellent because in our western diets we tend to have a higher amount of omega 6 fatty acids compared to omega 3 and this can cause an imbalance.  Additionally, some of the major sources of omega 6 fatty acids in the western diet come from corn, wheat and soy bean oil.  These have been heavily modified and now cause digestive and health problems for many individuals.

A handful of walnuts make a great snack, or can be added on top of a salad or are great additions when baking healthy treats.

Hormone Balance and PMS

Hormones naturally change and decrease in a womans life around menopause.  However many younger woman can also have imbalanced hormones.  Stress, oral contraceptives and exposure to xenoestrogens can all effect our hormones.

Some woman that experience PMS may have a hormonal imbalance.  Your Naturopathic Doctor can order a hormone panel in order to measure your hormone levels in your blood or saliva.   Once levels are known natural remedies can be used to help re-establish hormonal homeostasis.

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Some common hormone imbalances that can influence PMS:

Progesterone Deficiency

Progesterone is typically seen in high amounts during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.  In some woman prolonged periods of stress may decrease progesterone levels (Truestar Health, 2013). Deficient progesterone can cause water retention, breast tenderness, anxiety, sleep disruption, heavy menstrual bleeding, prolonged cycles and headaches (Dharam Kaur, S 2005).

Estrogen Dominance

Too much estrogen can arise from taking the birth control pill or other forms of medications containing estrogen.  Additionally, we are now exposed to many xenoestrogens such as BPAs found in plastics, pesticides and hormones in foods that can act like estrogens in our bodies.  Excess estrogen can cause irritability, aggression, weight gain and is also linked to uterine fibroid and ovarian cysts.  Other symptoms of excess estrogens can include blood clots and impaired blood sugar regulation.

Excess Prolactin

This hormone, typically produced when a woman breast feeds is also produced when she is under a great deal of stress.  Too much prolactin can cause infertility, breast tenderness and swelling and irritability.  Excess levels of this hormone can also cause increased cell division in breast cells causing increased breast density.

Cortisol Imbalance

Too much or too little cortisol can cause PMS.  Symptoms of too much cortisol can include: muscle weakness, thinning skin, elevated glucose, insulin resistance, tendency towards easy weight gain and lowered immune function.  Too little cortisol can decrease the ability to handle stress, increase cravings for stimulants such as coffee, caffeine and chocolate, joint pain, increased inflammation, hypoglycemia, rapid heartbeat and an increase in White blood cells.

Decreased Thyroid Hormones

Hypothyroidism, the under activity of the thyroid gland can cause symptoms of PMS, heavy periods or amenorrhea. Other Symptoms can include low energy, poor memory, dry skin, decreased perspiration, easy weight gain, intolerance to cold and constipation.

Works Cited

Turestar Health “Four Keys to Kick PMS” by Natasha Turner accessed May 27 2013 via http://www.truestarhealth.com/members/archives.asp?content=14ml3p1a97y

Dharam Kayr, Sat. The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Woman’s Health 2005 Robert Rose Publishing Toronto.

Why green tea (camellia sinensis) is Great

green-tea-leaves

 

I’m sure most people have heard that green tea is good for you.  It’s well known that green tea MAY encourage weight loss (there is conflicting evidence on this) and that it is high in antioxidants. However you may not be aware of how GREAT green tea is for health. Camellia sinensis contains a group of flavonoids called “catechins”.  One particular catechin called epigallocatechin 3 gallate (EGCG) is thought to play a critical role in many of green teas benefits.  Here are 3 more reasons why this tea is so great:

  1. CANCER PREVENTION: drinking green tea is associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic, esophageal bladder cancer and ovarian cancer.  In fact, one study showed that woman who drink 2 or more cups of green tea a day have a 46% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer compared to those who do not regularly drink green tea.  Research continues on various other anti-cancer properties and applications of green tea.
  2. CERVICAL DYSPLASIA: Green tea applied topically or taken orally appears to reduce cervical dysplasia caused by the HPV virus
  3. Protection against harmful UV RAYS: oral and topical applications of EGCG from green tea may help protect photo-aging from the suns harmful uv rays

It is best to use water no higher than 80 degrees Celsius to brew your green tea, as higher temperatures can make the tea taste bitterer and also may decrease some of its healthy properties.

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Works Cited:

Ohno Y, Aoki K, Obata K, et al. Case-control study of urinary bladder cancer in metropolitan Nagoya. Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 1985;69:229-34.

Wakai K, Ohno Y, Obata K. Prognostic significance of selected lifestyle factors in urinary bladder cancer. Jpn J Cancer Res 1993;84:1223-9.

Bushman JL. Green tea and cancer in humans: a review of the literature. Nutr Cancer 1998;31:151-9.

Nemecz G. Green tea. US Pharm 2000;May:67-70.

Mitscher LA, Mitscher LA, Jung M, Shankel D, et al. Chemoprotection: a review of the potential therapeutic antioxidant properties of green tea (Camellia sinensis) and certain of its constituents. Med Res Rev 1997;17:327-65.

Larsson SC, Wolk A. Tea consumption and ovarian cancer risk in a population-based cohort. Arch Intern Med 2005;165:2683-6.

Ahn WS, Yoo J, Huh SW, et al. Protective effects of green tea extracts (polyphenon E and EGCG) on human cervical lesions. Eur J Cancer Prev 2003;12:383-90.

Elmets C, Singh D., Tubesing K. et al, Photoprotection from ultraviolet injury by green tea polyphenols. J Am Acad. Dermatol 2001;44:425-432

Healthy Heart: Tips for Healthy Cholesterol

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Cardiovascular Disease is a class of diseases that involves the heart or blood vessels.  Two of the most common causes of cardiovascular diseases are atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and hypertension (high blood pressure).  In this article I will focus primarily on ways to prevent atherosclerosis, however many of these diet and lifestyle tips will also encourage healthy blood pressure levels.

Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, is most commonly due to fatty materials such as CHOLESTEROL. Cholesterol, a fat like substance, is important in many bodily functions, however having too much cholesterol can lead to many adverse effects.  There are two main types of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein (LDL) and high density lipoprotein (HDL).  LDL cholesterol is known as “bad cholesterol” as too much of it can build up in your arteries, narrowing blood flow to the brain and heart, and therefore INCREASING your risk of a heart attack or stroke.  HDL is known as “good cholesterol” as it may aid in preventing LDL from sticking to your artery walls, helping to DECREASE your risk of heart attack and stroke.  The ratio between LDL and HDL cholesterol is very important, and it is best to aim for low LDL and high HDL.  Total Cholesterol (TC) is your LDL + HDL + triglycerides (fat).  Total cholesterol levels should be under 200mg/dl.

There are many factors that affect high cholesterol, including genetics.  We cannot change our genes but we can modify diet and lifestyle to encourage a positive cholesterol ratio, lower total cholesterol levels and decrease our risk of heart attack or stroke.

Listed below is some dietary advice that can significantly benefit your lipid profile!

What to Avoid

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Saturated Fats and Trans Fats: High total cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol is linked with a diet of saturated fats and trans fatty acids.  Saturated Fats come from animal fats, fatty cuts of red meats, high fat dairy such as cheese, ice cream and 2% or higher milk. Trans Fats are found in margarines, fried foods and commercially baked goods such as donuts, cookies and cakes.  Also, packed freezer foods such as microwave dinners, pop tarts and frozen pizza products often contain high amounts of trans fats. As a general rule, it is best to avoid processed and packaged foods.

What to Eat

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1. Fish: Consumption of fish has been shown to produce favorable effects on the lipid profile. It is best if fish is consumed twice a week, and is most beneficial if eaten baked or broiled. Frying fish decreases the amounts of healthy oils found in fish that are so very advantageous to your health.

2. Raw Almonds and Walnuts:  Eating 84g/day of almonds or 68g/day of walnuts has been shown to reduce total and LDL cholesterol. Interestingly enough, eating nuts frequently is shown to reduce heart disease by 30-50%.

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3. Olive Oil: Can reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, encouraging a desirable lipid profile.  It is advised to eat olive oil uncooked, by adding on top of salads, soups or breads as frying olive oil changes the chemical structure and reduces its healthy properties.

4. Coconut Oil: This oil is high in saturated fats, HOWEVER, new research is emerging showing that coconut oil may in fact decrease LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. Of added benefit, some research is beginning to show that a diet high in coconut may improve cognitive function.

5. DO NOT OVER EAT! Having more weight on your body significantly increases your chances of heart disease.

Sources

1. JF, Anand SX, Valdiviezo C, et al. Update in atherothrombotic disease. Mt Sinai J Med 2004;71:197-208

2. Bucher HC, Hengstler P, Schindler C, et al. N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in coronary artery disease: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Med 2002;112:298-304.

3. . Abby M, Noakes M, Belling GB, Nestel PJ. Partial replacement of saturated fats with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Am J Clin Nutr 1994;59:995-99.

4. . Fraser GE. Nut Consumption, lipids and risk of a coronary event. Clin Cardiol 1999;22 (7Suppl):III 1-III15.

5.  Cullinen K. Olive oil in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia. Med Health R I 2006;89:113.

6. Freeman LR, Haley-Zitlin V, Stevens Granholm AC. Diet-induced effects on uronal and glial elements in the middle-aged rat hippocampus. Nutr Neurosc,vol.14, no.1, pp.32-44, 2011.

7. Granholm AC, Bimonte-Nelson HA, Moore, AB, Nelson ME, Freeman LR, Sambamurti K. Effects of a saturated fat and high cholesterol diet on memory and hippocampal morphology in the middle-aged rat. J Alzheimers Dis, vol.14, no.2, pp.133–45, 2008

8.Nevin, K, and Rajamohan T. Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation. Clinical Biochemistry, Volume 37, Issue 9, September 2004, Pages 830–835. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2004.04.010

9. L, Villareal DT, Weiss EP, et al. Calorie restriction or exercise: effects on coronary heart disease risk factors. A randomized controlled trial. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2007;293:E197-202.

10.. Prousky, Jonathan, ND. “Hypercholesteremia” In: Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition. Pp68-74, 2008 CCNM Press: Toronto

Photos Courtesy of:

FreedigitalPhotos.net: Human Heart with stethoscope by dream designs

FeedDigitalPhotos.net:Carp Background by Vlado

FreedDigitalPhotos.net:Selection of Cakes by Grant Cochrane

FreedDigitalPhotos.net:Bottle of Olive Oil with Olives by m_bartosch