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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Natural Ways to Decrease Estrogen

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Estrogen dominance has become common amongst many woman today. We are constantly exposed to toxins and pesticides that can disrupt on hormone balance, namely by increasing estrogens (or “xenoestrogens”) in our bodies. Read below to find out ways to naturally decrease estrogen/

 

 

  1. Increase Fiber Intake

A low-fiber diet causes estrogen levels to be higher, while a diet high in fiber results in decreased estrogen levels in the bloodstream. This is because excess estrogen is excreted in the bowel. When stool remains in the bowel for a longer time, as in constipation, the estrogen is reabsorbed. Studies have shown that women on a high-fiber diet have lower levels of circulating estrogen. High fiber foods: fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, chia seeds and flax seeds.

 

  1. Avoid Toxins (Xenoestrogens)

Xenoestrogens, such as PCBs, phthalates, pesticides and DDT, cause estrogenic effects. Although banned in 1972, DDT, like its breakdown product DDE, is a xenoestrogen, which is still present in the environment. Chlorine and hormone residues in meats and dairy products also can have estrogenic effects. In women, it may lead to an epidemic of female diseases, all traceable to excess estrogen/deficient progesterone. It is critical to incorporate a pure, clean diet consisting of organic foods whenever possible in an effort to decrease exposure to harmful xenoestrogens. Additionally, it is important to avoid these harmful chemicals in beauty care products, detergents, perfumes and deordorants. Do not use plastic containers to store food in.

 

  1. Increase Indole 3 Carbinol

Many studies have demonstrated that specific compounds isolated from these cruciferous vegetables—including diindolylmethane (DIM) and its precursor, indole-3-carbinol (I3C)—have unique cancer-fighting benefits and help to lower xenogenous estrogens. I3C appears to be effective in shifting the metabolism of estradiol from the dangerous 16-alpha-hydroxylase pathway to the 2-hydroxylase pathway.43-46 As a result, consumption of I3C boosts the ratio of 2-OHE1:16a-OHE1, which correlates with reduced risk of breast and other cancers, including cervical, prostate, and even head and neck cancers. Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale. Supplementing with 13C may also be beneficial.

 

  1. Decrease Alcohol Consumption

Drinking too much alcohol can impair liver function. Since estrogen is metabolized by the liver, failure of the liver due to excess alcohol consumption may lead to increased estrogen levels. It is best to limit one’s alcohol consumption to one glass per day or even less.

 

  1. Perform Aerobic Exercise.

Research shows that physical activity curtails overproduction of estrogen. Walking and swimming are great forms of aerobic exercise.

 

 

 

 

Melatonin

MELATONIN is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain.  During sleep the amount of melatonin increases, and during the day the amount of melatonin falls.  This is because melatonin is influenced by the light/dark cycle and regulates our biological clock(1). Research has shown an inverse relationship between breast cancer size and nighttime levels of melatonin (Front Horn Res 1997; 23:132-36).  And another study found that women who worked 3 or more night shifts for 3 years or less were 40% more likely to have breast cancer than women who did not work night shifts (Health facts, Nov 2001, 26 (11):3-4).  Around the mid- forties the reduction in pineal gland becomes noticeable, and sleep patterns change.  Supplementing with melatonin can increase your night sleep time, help treat jet-lag, and may help reverse the signs of aging (2).  To naturally increase your melatonin you can:
1.Eat foods high in tryptophan
2.Supplement with vitamins B3 and B6
3.Sleep in a dark room
4.Expose yourself to 20 minutes of natural sunlight in the morning
5.Do not turn on bright lights when waking at night- this stops the melatonin production.  Instead, use a night light in the bathroom/ hallway.

(1)Kaur, Sat Dharam, ND 2010
(2)Pettle, A., MD 2003

Breast Massage

Lymph Drainage is an important element to keep breasts healthy.  To help drain the lymph tissue of the breasts try this self massage at least once a month:

1. Stroke neck, moving skin back and down towards the collarbone (15 times, each side).
2. Gently pump armpit with palm underarm (15 times each side)
3. Using 4 fingers, make small circles around the outside of each breast, working inwardly to the nipple
4. Lean forward and cup each breast in your hands and grently pull the breast away from the chest wall while moving the breast around in a circular movement

If you find a lump do not put pressure on it or massage it but please consult with your health care professional.

Adapted from Sat Dharam Kaur, ND, 2010

Healthy Breast Tips

BREAST
noun
(1) a baby at her breast mammary gland, mamma; (breasts) bosom(s), bust, chest; informal boobs, knockers, bazooms, hooters.
(2) feelings of frustration were rising up in his breast heart, bosom, soul, core.

Today, in Canada, 1/9 woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in her life (1). As the incidence of this disease is rising every year we must increase our awareness and use preventative strategies to help protect ourselves, daughters, mothers and sisters.

10 Lifestyles Tips to help decrease the risk of acquiring breast cancer:

1. Exercise at least 40 minutes a day
2. Switch to using non-toxic cleaning products, like vinegar, lemon and baking soda
3. Use glass instead of plastics to store your food and liquids (included your water bottle!)
4. Avoid tight bras and consider a looser cotton bra instead of an under wire bra.
5. Check your cosmetics on http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ before purchasing to make sure it is free of toxic dyes and chemicals.
6. Meditate everyday
7. Use a sauna as often as possible to eliminate chemicals and toxins stored in your fat cells.
8. Eat organic whenever possible
9. Eat at least 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day
10. Consume 45 grams of fiber each day (you should be having AT LEAST 2 bowel movements a day!) for proper elimination.

1. Kaur, Sat Dharam. 2011. The Healthy Breast Program