Why Vitamin D Matters

If you lived in the northern latitudes of Europe during the industrial revolution, you’d have seen a common but unnerving sight: children with bowed legs and knock-knees, who looked almost “twisted”. That crooked appearance led to a label derived from an old English word for twist: rickets.

Back then, rickets was running rampant across parts of Europe, especially England and Scotland. Scientists were working on the problem—along the way they discovered solutions like cod liver oil—but it would take until the 1930’s before a deficiency of a newly discovered substance called Vitamin D would be clearly identified as the cause.

The Sunshine Vitamin
What scientists chasing a cure for rickets in the 1700’s and beyond didn’t realize was that the substance they were chasing, Vitamin D, was unique.

Cities in Europe during the industrial revolution had become large and heavily polluted. The combination of smog, and increasing amounts of time spent inside, had reduced people’s exposure to sunlight. And Vitamin D, we would eventually discover, is made from sunlight.

Unlike other vitamins, like vitamin C, which we get exclusively from our diet, vitamin D doesn’t occur in food in very high levels. We get the bulk of our vitamin D through exposure to sunlight—our bodies make it. It’s why you might have seen news articles touting the “return of rickets” because of our reduced sun exposure.

What Vitamin D Means for You
So why does vitamin D matter today? Vitamin D has many actions in the body. In fact there are receptors for it on every cell in your body. And while you’re not likely to suffer from rickets, low levels of Vitamin D are linked to a host of conditions ranging from psoriasis to thyroid conditions and osteoporosis.

For this darkening time of year, what might be most relevant is that researchers have linked low vitamin D with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

In our deficient patients at the clinic, an increased oral dose through the winter (or a trip to the sunny south) can make their symptoms a lot better. Vitamin D with the use of light therapy helps even more. You can read about our favourite light therapy tool in our January newsletter.

If you have concerns about SAD, or want to learn more about vitamin D testing and supplementation, you can contact the clinic at 705-444-5331.

It’s Immune Boosting Time!

Winter is almost here, and that means less light, less outdoor time and more time inside in recirculated air breathing each other’s germs. Add to that the Thanksgiving pie, Halloween candies and Christmas cookies and your immune system may not always get what it needs to fight the good fight and keep you healthy.

The team at StoneTree spends a lot of time taking care of our own immune systems to make sure we don’t miss of a day of caring for our patients. (And we rarely do!)

Here is what we do here at the clinic to keep our immune systems strong.

Eat right

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: eat foods that nature makes, not too much, and mostly plants.  The StoneTree team eats lots of big salads, green smoothies and fresh fruits. No time to make it yourself?  Check out the StoneTree juice at Press Juice Co!

Get lots of rest

The holiday season lends itself to burning the candle at both ends. Late nights partying, shopping, wrapping. Anxiety about gifts and family events. Eating too much and too late. It all interrupts sleep, or reduces it’s effectiveness. Do your best to get to bed as early as possible and give yourself lots of rest – especially if you feel a cold coming on.

Exercise (especially outside)

Moving your body means moving your blood. This is turn moves your immune system around making it strong and more able to respond to invaders.

Use Tools to Boost Your Immune System and Fight Infection

As naturopathic doctors, we’re exposed to sick people all the time. When we feel a tickle in the back of the throat we use our own tools to nip it in bud right away.

Herbs like echinacea, oregano, andrographis and vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc, work to boost the immune system and kick out colds and flus. Intravenous Vitamin C for viral infections or once a month as a preventative and inhaled glutathione for coughs are also great tools.

Getting a good check up from your ND can help determine the best individual plan of attack to strengthen your immune system. Doing it before you get sick can help us help you stay that way!


In January 2002, in the shared office of a local chiropractor, I saw my very first patient as a Naturopathic Doctor. At the time, it seemed like every person I spoke to asked, “What’s a naturopathic doctor?”

A lot has changed since that cold January. One patient led to another. And then another. In 2003 we moved to the Erie Street Medical Building where we spent five years, and Dr. Shelby Worts joined the team. We also started offering intravenous vitamins and minerals, a treatment that was far less common then, but now has found mainstream exposure.

We grew again and moved to our present location, were we added hydrotherapy and two new team members at the front desk. Dr. Kendra Reid joined us three years ago and we recently welcomed our newest naturopathic doctor, Dr. Candice Soldaat.

It’s been a slow, steady, but more than anything rewarding process. Every time we grow, it means we’re helping more people feel better, and every year I think we get better at it. I’m thrilled to share that this week we celebrated the 5,000th patient at StoneTree Naturopathic Clinic.

Those 5,000 unique souls have brought more than their health challenges to us–they’ve brought us an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to do what we all became doctors to do in the first place: to care.

As we make plans for our next transition to our new clinic home, I want to thank you all for trusting us with your health, and that of your family, friends, and colleagues. It’s an honour. Thank you, too, to my amazing colleagues and team here at StoneTree—I don’t know how, or what, I’d do without you.

I often tell patients that health is a journey. It turns out that health care is, too. Thank you for being part of mine.

Yours in good health,

Tara Gignac, ND

Collaborating with Your MD Just Got Easier

For many years we’ve been ordering lab tests for patients. It’s a great way for you to have input into what tests you want, and how often—after all, when you pay for your own lab tests, you’re in charge. It also lets you request tests that simply aren’t available through OHIP, like serum levels of vitamin D, for example.

Some patients, however, still like to have some or all of their lab work done through their MD. In the past, we’d have to requisition those results from the MD—a process that was cumbersome for patients and doctors on both sides.

CC’s for Everyone!

Naturopathic Doctors are now regulated under the Regulated Health Care Practitioners Act. It’s the same act that regulates all health professionals in the province, from medical doctors and nurses, to physiotherapists, chiropractors, and more. And that means one more barrier to working together has been removed.

When you get a requisition for lab tests from your medical doctor, there is a section that says “copy to”. When your naturopathic doctor’s name is put in this section the lab results will automatically be copied to that ND. No more signing of “Release or Records” and waiting for results to arrive. The reverse is also true—when we add your MD’s name to the “copy to” field, your medical doctor receives a copy, too.

This is great for us because we get your labs faster, and great for your MD because they don’t have to deal with cumbersome release of record requests. Mostly, though, it’s great for you, the patient, beacuse you have more control over your health care information.

When ND’s were regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act if was more difficult for the professions to work together and share information. Collaborating just got easier!