4 Reasons Why Selenium may help the Thyroid

Selenium is a mineral found in the soil, and is naturally occurring in very small amounts in some foods and water. Although our bodies require very small amounts of selenium, certain parts of the world have now been found to have selenium deficient soil, and thus lead to more selenium deficient foods. Recent research shows that selenium may be helpful in treating Hypothyroidism. Here’s why.

1. In areas where the soil is low in selenium, it has been shown that people are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease, one of the most common forms of Hypothyroidism in North America.

2. In one study, when patients suffering from various forms of thyroid disease were tested for selenium levels, all were found to be lower than normal healthy people without thyroid disease.

3. The thyroid contains more selenium by weight than any other organ. Selenium is a key part of the enzymes that remove iodine molecules from the thyroid hormoneT4 converting it into the active thyroid hormone T3. Therefore without selenium there would be no activation of thyroid hormone. Additionally, selenium plays a important role in protecting the thyroid gland against oxidative damage.

4. Do you take iodine? Without adequate selenium, high iodine levels can lead to destruction of the thyroid gland cells.

In a placebo controlled study published in 2002, German researchers reported on an experiment in which they gave 200 mcg of selenium daily to patients with Hashimoto’s disease and high levels of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (Read more about thyroid testing and antibodies here). After three months, the thyroid peroxidase antibody levels of the patients taking selenium were decreased by 66.4% compared to their pre-treatment values, and antibody levels returned to normal in nine of the selenium treated patients. However, in 2008 researchers in Austria reported that they were not able to duplicate the results of the earlier study. They suggested that selenium supplementation might be of greater benefit to patients with higher disease activity, or higher levels of antibodies prior to starting the selenium therapy.

Foods high in selenium include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Yellowfin Tuna
  • Halibut
  • Sardines
  • Mushrooms
  • Grass Fed Meat

However, as mentioned above, selenium levels in our food sources may have decreased, or may vary greatly. If you are struggling with thyroid disease, talk to your health care provider to see if selenium may be helpful for you!

Yours in Health,

Dr. Emily

Works Cited

  1. Gärtner R, Gasnier BC, Dietrich JW, Krebs B, Angstwurm MW. Selenium supplementation in patients with autoimmune thyroiditis decreases thyroid peroxidase antibodies concentrations. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Apr;87(4):1687-91.
  2. Karanikas G, Schuetz M, Kontur S, et al. No immunological benefit of selenium in consecutive patients with autoimmune thyroiditis. Thyroid. 2008 Jan;18(1):7-12.
  3. Kohrle J. The trace element selenium and the thyroid gland. Biochimie. 1999 May;81(5):527-33.
  4. Kucharzewski M, Braziewicz J, Majewska U, Góźdź S. Concentration of selenium in the whole blood and the thyroid tissue of patients with various thyroid diseases. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2002 Jul;88(1):https://emilylipinski.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php25-30.
  5. Köhrle J. The trace element selenium and the thyroid gland. Biochimie. 1999 May;81(5):527-33.
  6. Lifeextension, “Thyroid Regulation” accessed November 2017.
  7. Mazokopakis EE, Chatzipavlidou V. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the role of selenium. Current concepts. Hell J Nucl Med. 2007 Jan-Apr;10(1):6-8.
  8. Zimmermann MB, Köhrle J. The impact of iron and selenium deficiencies on iodine and thyroid metabolism: biochemistry and relevance to public health. Thyroid. 2002 Oct;12(10):867-78.

 

 

 

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Superfood Spotlight: Turmeric

Turmeric is no longer a simple spice added to curries. You can find this amazing herb at every health food and supplement store. It is now sold in various packages, by different brands all over the world. Why are so many people getting excited about turmeric?

Studies show many Canadians are suffering from pain, inflammation and stiffness throughout their workday. Adding some turmeric to the daily routine may be helpful in alleviating pain and improving the inflammatory response in the body. This is important to note- inflammation reduction is not only important in managing pain but can also be key to addressing autoimmune conditions (like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) and other skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

Turmeric, also known as curcuma longa, is a member of the ginger family and is native to India and China. It grows to a height of about 3 feet and it cultivated for the medical value of its roots, which can also be used to flavour and colour food. Curries get their bright yellow/orange hue from turmeric. You will also notice when handling turmeric it can quickly stain or hands or clothes if you are not careful!

Turmeric can be found as:

  • Powder
  • Capsules
  • Fresh Root

 

What it Does 

Turmeric has been used for centuries in India and has been traditionally prescribed for the treatment of bad eyesight, rheumatism, arthritis and liver problems. To date, many studies have now been performed with turmeric via test tubes, animals and humans. These studies have shown that turmeric may be effective for the following conditions:

 

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Indigestion
  • Acid Re-flux
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Heart Disease
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Bacterial and Viral Infections

 

How is Turmeric Used?

Turmeric can be incorporated into daily cooking, but is best absorbed into the body when combined with a fat (like olive oil or coconut oil) and a little bit of pepper. As mentioned above turmeric can also be found in higher doses contained capsules, which may be a more effective way to manage pain or other chronic inflammatory issues.  Speak to your medical or naturopathic doctor if you are interested in using turmeric.

 

Precautions

Turmeric in food is generally considered safe.

Taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of time may cause stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should be cautious when taking turmeric.

Additionally, because turmeric may increase the metabolism of liver enzymes, taking turmeric while taking other medications metabolized by the liver may change the concentration of these medications in the body. As always, it is best to speak with a professional before using new herbs or supplements.

Have you had benefit by using turmeric in  your diet? I would love to hear from you. Let me know your comments below!

Dr. Emily

 

Simple Solutions for Lowering Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is due a number of factors that can disrupt arterial pressure and fluid volume (i.e. vascular, blood vessels, hormonal, renal or neurologic).

The table below shows the American Heart Association’s blood pressure categorization thresholds:

blood-pressure-chart

Essentially hypertension exists because of narrowing of the arteries, resulting in an increased blood pressured.  High blood pressure is no laughing matter!!

According to the Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk doubles for each increment of 20 mm Hg systolic and 10 mm Hg diastolic above 115/75 mm Hg!!!  These findings are even more concerning when almost 50% of adults worldwide have higher than normal blood pressure (prehypertension).  That is a large portion of the population under risk of heart attack or stroke.

Although genetic factors have a role to play, DIET and LIFESTYLE are often the major underlying causes of high blood pressure!  This is good news!

80% of patients with hypertension can be brought under control with diet and lifestyle modifications!!

Listed below are ways that you can help control and lower your blood pressure to keep your heart healthy!

Lifestyle/Relaxation Techniques

Stress can be a major factor in high blood pressure. Stress causes stimulation of the nervous system, releasing hormones can cause blood pressure to tighten, and in turn, raising blood pressure.  Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation have been shown to have value in blood pressure lowering.

 

Exercise

Clinical trials in hypertensive patients that do regular exercise has been shown to be an effective treatment! Even Mild to Moderate aerobic exercise such as power walking, moderate biking or jogging, three times a week for 20 minutes or more produces an anti-hypotensive effect.  

Diet

When addressing both diet and lifestyle it is so important to achieve and maintain normal body weight! OBESITY IS A MAJOR CAUSE OF HYPERTENSION. The New Year is always a good time to re-set and create a new health plan. Maintaining a healthy body weight not only reduces blood pressure, but also reduces the chance of other diseases such as cancer.

Interestingly enough, vegetarians generally have much lower blood pressure, a lower incidence of hypertension AND a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases compared to non-vegetarians. This is not to say that I am suggesting everyone adopt a vegetarian diet. But, it is important to look at WHY vegetarians have such healthy hearts….they do not consume conventional fatty animal products! AND, they may have higher consumption of vegetables (containing antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients) compared to the rest of the population.  Food for thought… J

3 vegetables in particular have been shown to benefit blood pressure:

  1. Celery
  2. Garlic
  3. Onions.

Celery contains 3-n-butyl phthalide, a compound that has been shown to lower blood pressure. In one study, 4 stalks of celery a day was shown to reduce blood pressure. Garlic and Onions have also shown to be of benefit due to their allicin content.

The DASH Diet:  Is a well-known diet to help lower blood pressure.  The diet is most effective when combined with sodium (salt) restriction and an increased potassium intake. For more information about the DASH Diet, please visit: http://www.dashforhealth.com/

Supplementation

There are numerous evidence based herbs and supplements that have been shown to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and may also decrease CVD risk. It is important to work with a health care professional when using supplements as some may interact with your medications.

Do you need help with planning a healthy diet or making positive healthy lifestyle changes? Visiting a Naturopathic Doctor is a great place to start! Naturopathic Doctors are specialists in nutrition, diet, supplementation and lifestyle!

 

Sources

1.Pizzorno J., and Murray M. Textbook of Natural Medicine: 3rded, vol 2, Elsevier, 2006 Missouri.

  1. American Heart Association. Understanding Blood Pressure Readings. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/AboutHighBloodPressure/Understanding-Blood-Pressure-Readings_UCM_301764_Article.jsp Accessed 11/18/2015.

3.Chobanian AV, Bakris GL, Black HR, et al. Seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure. Hypertension. Dec 2003;42(6):1206-1252

4..Prousky, Jonathan, ND. “Hypercholesteremia” In: Principles & Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition.

Pp68-74, 2008 CCNM Press: Toronto

  1. Blumenthal JA, Sherwood A, Schein MH, et al. Breathing control lowers blood pressure. J Consult ClinPsychol 2002;70:569-589.
  2. Arakawa K. Exercise, a measure to lower blood pressure and reduce other risks ClinExpHypertens 1999;21:797-803
  3. Lesniak KT, Dubbert PM. Exercise and Hypertension. CurrOpinCardiol 2001;16:356-359.
  4. Moreira WD, Fuchs FD, Ribeiro JP, Appel LJ. The effects of two aerobic training intensities on ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive patients: results of a randomized trial. J ClinEpidemiol 1999;52:637-642.
  5. Rouse IL, Beilin LJ, Mahoney DP et al. Vegetarian Diet and blood pressure. Lancet 1983;2:742-743

10.Tsi D, Tan BKH. Cardiovascular pharmacology of 3-n-butylphthalide in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Phytother Res 1997;11:576-582.

  1. Silagy, CA, Neil HA. A meta-analysis of the effect of garlic on blood pressure. J Hypertens 1994;12:463-468
  2. Jee SH, Miller ER III, Guallar E, et al. The effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Am J Hypertens 1989;13:227-232.

 

Why Am I so Tired? Key Points to Boost your Iron Levels

Frustrated Woman at Computer With Stack of Paper

Fatigue is a very common complaint I receive from my patients. There are various reasons why one may be tired and ruling out low iron stores is an important step in helping my patients feel more energized!

Iron is a key player in the body, leading the way for several imperative physiological functions, including carrying oxygen to your red blood cells and producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is vital for cellular energy. Low levels of iron are associated with fatigue, decreased athletic performance, concentration, mood and even increased hair loss.

Before supplementing with iron it is best to have your blood levels checked via blood. This can be done by having your health care provider request a ferritin blood test.

Why Boost Iron Levels?

Aside from fatigue, low iron has other implications in the body:

  1. Depression: A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an association between depression and decreased ferritin levels!

 

  1. Thyroid: Adequate iron levels are also necessary for proper thyroid production (a major component to your metabolism).

 

  1. Weight gain: According to recent research low iron levels can also have an impact on your waistline. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, looked at adolescents between 9 and 13 years of age for body fat and visceral fat (otherwise known as fat around the organs in the abdominal area), along with measurements of iron status. The subjects with the highest percentage of body fat and visceral fat mass were over two times more likely to have low iron stores.

 

  1. Determining your risk factor: Ferritin is considered an iron-storage protein that keeps the iron in a dissolvable and usable state, which also makes the iron non-toxic to cells around it. A blood test for ferritin measures the iron that is readily available for use. Although ferritin levels above 12 are often considered “fine”, optimal levels in women should be close to 70 and 100 for women. Women with heavy menstrual bleeding are more susceptible to low iron levels, which makes it one of the top must-have blood tests.

How to Increase Iron Absorption

Taking iron away from meals (20 minutes before or 2 hours after) can enhance the absorption of iron. Additionally, taking 1000mg of vitamin C at the same time iron is taken, significantly improves the absorption of iron.

If you are taking calcium supplementation, take your iron at lunchtime and your calcium before bed. This schedule works even if you are on thyroid medication and take it in the morning, since both iron and calcium will reduce the effectiveness of your medication if they are taken to close together. It may take months to get your ferritin levels up, so diligence is key.

Did you Know?… There are many other ways to get your iron aside from red meat! Take a look at the chart below for other great sources of iron.

 

Vegetarian Sources of Iron

Source Serving Size Amount of Iron per serving
Spirulina 1 tsp. 5 mg
Cooked Soybeans ½ cup 4.4 mg
Pumpkin seeds 1 ounce 4.2 mg
Quinoa 4 ounces 4 mg
Cooked Spinach ½ cup 3.2 mg
Lentils 4 ounces 3 mg
White beans ½ cup 3.9 mg
Blackstrap molasses 1 tbsp 4 mg
Swiss Chard 1 cup 4mg
Kidney Beans 1 cup 3.9 mg
Tempeh 1 cup 4.5mg

 

 Want to know more? Book an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor!

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

Infusion Health Corporate Wellness Launch Toronto

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to share in my excitement with you all that we have officially launched Infusion Health (www.infusionhealth.ca), our corporate wellness business!

Infusion Health was born out of our passion to help others to feel vibrant and achieve optimal health and wellness. We recognize the crucial link between employee health and business performance. Healthier individuals work harder, are happier, help others and are more efficient.  Unhealthy workers are often overtired and unhappy, as the work is a reflection of their way of life.

Infusion Health offers interactive wellness workshops and on site, in office, Naturopathic care.  Naturopathic Doctors can:

  • Provide physical examinations
  • Order blood work (include hormone panels and food intolerance panels)
  • Provide B12 injections
  • Use natural substances (supplements, vitamins etc) to treat the patient
  • Provide acupuncture
  • Create comprehensive treatment plans for improving health; taking diet, lifestyle and stress into consideration

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For more information, please visit http://www.infusionhealth.ca or email us at info@infusionhealth.ca.

Yours in health,

Dr. Emily

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.

07greentea630

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