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

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.

 

 

 

 

Why Heat Can Help Ease Menstrual Pains

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I have countless patients that come to me to help them have more tolerable periods. A great deal of woman suffer from monthly menstruation pain and many are looking for alternatives to conventional oral pain killers.

Applying heat to the tummy to ease menstrual pain is advice women have passed down through the generations.

Now scientists have proved your grandmother really was on to something when she told you to use a hot water bottle.

Scientists say that placing a warm water bottle on the abdomen can not only alleviate menstrual cramping but can also relieve pain caused by cystitis. They say placing something warm on the skin above where the pain is felt can alleviate abdominal pain in a similar way to painkillers for up to an hour.

The scientists, from University College London, found that heat treatment works by blocking pain messages to the brain.

According to Dr. Brian King, when presenting his findings to the Physiological Society’s annual conference, ‘The heat doesn’t just provide comfort and have a placebo effect – it actually deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work. We have discovered how this molecular process works.’

The scientists found that if a warm temperature over 40 degrees Celsius is applied to the skin near to where internal pain is felt, it switches on heat receptors at the site of injury. These heat receptors in turn block the effect of chemical messengers that cause pain to be detected by the body”

Unfortunately, the relief from heat is only temporary, and many woman may need other solutions (like our many tips on periodmakeover.com or completing our Period Makeover Detox, that will be available on the Period Makeover  site soon!).

Lying down and using a hot water bottle can be very helpful, but sometimes our busy schedules do not allow for this! Luckily there are many over the counter, convenient, “on the go” heating pads available at drug stores that can easily be used under your clothes at work or throughout the day.

I would love to hear from you- have you found heat an effective way to decrease period pains?

In Health,

Dr. Emily

7 Reasons to Decrease Coffee Consumption

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There is honestly nothing more tempting then that beautiful aroma of freshly brewed coffee in the morning. Or, after finishing a delicious dinner sipping on the perfect little cappuccino. Coffee makes us feel happy, warm and energized, and some people swear that it has health benefits. However, coffee is not for everyone nor should it be consumed in excess. Additionally, many people add lots of dairy products and sugar to their daily cup of coffee. This adds calories and is difficult for the digestion. I have seen many patients that are drinking way too much caffeine and experience enormous health benefits once they cut out or slow down on the java.

Please read on for 7 reasons why I believe coffee should be enjoyed in moderation (or not at all for some)

  1. Coffee increases catecholamines, hormones released in response to STRESS.  The stress response increases cortisol and insulin.  This response can increase inflammation thereby making you feel tired.
  2. Coffee consumption has been associated with increased PMS!! Many woman also crave coffee close to their menses, but try and hold off- it may improve cramps, breast tenderness and irritability.
  3. It may impact your CHOLESTEROL levels. Some research has linked drinking unfiltered coffee to an increase in LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Unfiltered coffee has high amount of diterpenes. These diterpenes have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides, LDL and VLDL levels. All things you do not want to be high in your body!
  4. Coffee is not great for DIGESTION. The acidity of coffee is associated with indigestion, heart burn, GERD and changes in beneficial gut flora.
  5. Due to the impact coffee has on the digestive system, coffee may also inhibit the absorption of key nutrients such as magnesium, calcium and potassium.
  6. Drinking caffeine throughout the day may impact your SLEEP. This sounds pretty basic, but if you are having trouble sleeping at night cut out the caffeine (and switch to green tea) or limit yourself to ONE CUP BEFORE 11am. Do this for at least one month.
  7. Coffee can interfere with normal DRUG METABOLISM. Constituents in coffee can interfere with metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver.  Additionally coffee can interfere with absorption of certain medications such as thyroid and tricyclic antidepressant medications.

 

Many people have withdrawal from coffee, and this can last for up to a month. Try replacing coffee with green tea, herbal teas or coffee substitutes containing roasted grains (found at whole foods or other health food stores). I find that steeping a cup of Rooibos tea and adding in some almond milk or rice milk can give me some of the satisfaction coffee does. Again, some people tolerate caffeine better than others, however I would recommend making coffee more of a treat than a necessity.

In Health,

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND

How Naturopathic Medicine Can Help Manage Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be caused by a blocked upper airway (called obstructive apnea), by your brain not signaling your lungs to breathe (central apnea), or by a combination of these two problems.

 

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Many physical conditions, such as being overweight, or having large tonsils and adenoids, can cause sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is also linked to medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.  Additionally, some individuals may have low thyroid function, causing them to gain weight and feel tired. The typical person with sleep apnea is an overweight, middle-aged man with allergies. However not everyone with apnea is overweight!  Apnea can happen at any age, regardless of weight and is found in women as well. Sometimes drugs, such as alcohol, sleeping pills, or heart medications, can trigger apnea. It can also be inherited.

Not getting enough sleep can lead to more problems such as anxiety, depression, brain fog and more weight gain.

The treatment of sleep apnea often requires breathing devices, dental devices or surgery. However, Naturopathic medicine can be a great adjunct therapy to increase your overall well being.

Dr. Emily Lipinski, ND uses a combination of evidence based therapies, including dietary and lifestyle changes, supplements, botanicals and acupuncture to treat the underlying cause of the disease.

Conditions treated include:

Weight loss

Allergies

Hypertension (high blood pressure)

Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)

Insomnia                                                                                            

Diabetes

Hypothyroid

Depression/Anxiety

Stress

Working on proper sleep hygiene (i.e. no watching TV or looking at computers right before bedtime!) can also greatly benefit the ability to fall asleep and the quality of sleep.

Take care of yourself! Find a Naturopathic Doctor that can help you have a more restful sleep so you can lead a happier life!

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.