Lavender: Reduced Anxiety with No Side-Effects

Lavender has long history of use for its calming effect. Anxiety, insomnia, restlessness—they’re all challenges that can often be helped with lavender.

In 2014, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at the impact of the orally administered lavender oil preparation Silexan.

The study divided 539 adults into four groups.

  • A placebo group
  • A paroxetine group (a prescription anti-depressant, commonly known as Paxil)
  • An 80mg dose lavender group
  • A 160mg dose lavender group

The study measured results using the Hamilton Anxiety Scale before and after.

Great Results, No Side-Effects

After ten weeks of treatment, there was a reduction in anxiety in all groups, but lavender was the clear winner:

  • 63.3% in the lavender 160mg group
  • 51.9% in the lavender 80mg group
  • 43.2% in the paroxetine group
  • 37.8% in the placebo group

The best part? Unlike Paxil, which has many demonstrated side-effects, the lavender had none.

Another study comparing lavender to lorazepam showed similar results, and at the end of the trial, the remission rates were higher for the lavender group (40% for lavender, versus 27% for lorazepam).

A great, research-backed win for lavender!

If you’d like more information on the safe and effective use of lavender, contact the clinic.

Functional Hypothyroidism: When Normal Isn’t Normal

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that’s responsible for secreting a critical hormone called triiodothyronine or “T3”.

T3 is the active form of the thyroid hormone. It’s the body’s “accelerator,” regulating body temperature, heart rate, body weight, and glucose/cholesterol management. T3 is essentially responsible for controlling cell metabolism in every cell in your body, promoting optimal growth, function, and maintenance of all body tissues.

Needless to say, it’s a pretty important hormone.

Enter rT3, the Evil Twin

Your body also has reverse T3 (rT3), T3’s evil twin. This pesky hormone is a mirror image of T3. It can attach itself to T3 receptors, but because it’s shape is different, it doesn’t fit properly and fails to activate them. In doing so, it blocks T3 from plugging-in, thus inactivating the accelerator.

Under normal circumstances, your body produces about 60% T3 and 40% rT3. That means the rT3 is “outgunned” and things work as they’re supposed to.

Here’s the catch: Reverse T3 production increases in direct response to stress of any kind. Cortisol, the stress hormone, effectively inhibits our ability to produce T3 AND promotes the production of rT3– a double whammy. Under high, prolonged stress, so much rT3 is produced that it blocks almost all of the T3 receptors and normal T3 is completely, or almost completely, inactivated.

What happens now? You get all the symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function):

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Thinning hair
  • Slower heart rate
  • Depressed mood
  • Impaired memory

Here’s the critical part. Conventional medical approaches typically don’t measure T3 and rT3 levels, so your lab tests for related hormones like TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and T4 (the “raw material” from which T3 and rT3 are made) can look normal.

The Solution

Most medical doctors do not recognize rT3 dominance theory or functional hypothyroidism, and will not prescribe T3. Conventional medicine only recognizes thyroid gland deficiency.

This isn’t a thyroid gland deficiency. It’s an imbalance of T3 to rT3, most often caused by prolonged stress. This is easily treated with stress management and a prescription for T3.

Questions about your thyroid or any of the symptoms above? You can have your rT3 and T3 levels measured by contacting the clinic.

Dr. Kendra is Back November 5th!

Dr. Kendra is back in the house on November 5th. She is already booking up fast!

Her hours this fall/winter are:

  • Monday 2-6
  • Tuesdays 9-5
  • Thursdays 10-1

A big welcome to baby Rowan! We are all so excited to have another baby in the StoneTree Clinic family.:)

You can book an appointment with Dr. Kendra here, or by calling 705-444-5331.

Food as Medicine: Moonshine Mama’s Turmeric Elixir

Turmeric has received a lot of coverage in health media of late, and for good reason. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown in studies to be useful for a wide variety of health concerns, from inflammation, arthritis, and mood to heart disease and even cancer.

The trick is getting enough in you in the right form to make a difference.

To get the benefit of the active ingredient in turmeric, the supplement companies extract the curcumin out of the root using ethanol. They then package the curcumin in fats to increase absorption.

However, if you want to do it the old-fashioned way, you can add turmeric to coconut oil with some black pepper, and heat it up. This releases the curcumin and increases the absorption of it.

The maker of Moonshine Mama has a personal reason for its development–she was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer.  During exhaustive research, she kept finding four foods that were consistently connected with good outcomes for cancer patients: ginger, lemon, honey, and turmeric.

She wanted an easy and delicious way to get this into her diet every day, and voila, the Moonshine Mama’s Elixirs & Tonics brand was born. They are available in many locations around the Collingwood – Press Market, Wild Stand, Farm to Table Market and, of course, here at StoneTree.

Wanna try one? Come into the clinic and sample one of the 4 delicious flavours we have in the fridge!

5 Ways to Support Breast Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 26,300 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. This represents 25% of all new cancer cases in women in 2017. The same year, 5,000 women died from breast cancer. This represents 13% of all cancer deaths in women in 2017.

The number of women and families impacted is enormous.

In that spirit of prevention, we wanted to focus on the most important things you are can do to prevent breast cancer before it begins.

1. Make time for regular exercise

Adopt an active lifestyle. Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate aerobic activity at least five days per week. The average risk reduction when comparing the highest versus lowest levels of physical activity is 25%. <source>

2. Minimize or avoid alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most well-established dietary risk factors for breast cancer. Women who consume more than two glasses of alcohol a day are at higher risk. <source>

3. Eat more veggies

Consume more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower), dark leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, and cherries. Cruciferous veggies help the body detoxify excess estrogens and chemicals that are associated with increased breast cancer risk. <source>

4. Maintain a healthy body weight

If you can consistently connecting to the three lifestyle factors above, then you’ll have a much better chance of maintaining a healthy body weight. Plenty of moderate exercise, a plant-based diet, and avoidance of alcohol is usually a slam-dunk in this area.

Maintain a BMI less than 23 throughout your life. Weight gain and obesity may increase your risk of breast cancer. <source>

What does a BMI of 23 mean? Here’s how to calculate yours. This way of evaluating weight isn’t perfect–it doesn’t take into account body composition or structure–but it is a place to begin evaluating if weight loss is an area you need to focus on.

5. Quit smoking

The risk of breast cancer (and many others) increases if you smoke. Smoking is associated with a modest but significant increased risk of breast cancer, particularly among women who started smoking at adolescent or peri-menarcheal ages. The relative risk of breast cancer associated with smoking was greater for women with a family history of the disease. <source>

Is Your Teen Struggling With Mental Health Issues?

StoneTree welcomes a guest writer today. Eve Clements is a grade 12 student at CCI, and the daughter of Dr. Tara. Here she is with her perspective on teen mental health. Thanks, Eve!

 – The StoneTree Team

Rates of depression and anxiety in teens have risen 70% in the last 25 years.We’re in the grips of a mental health crisis, and as hard as it is to hear, in many cases, parents are doing the wrong things. Here are six signs to watch for in your teen.

1. Isolation

It is common for teens to become more withdrawn as they step into a teenage lifestyle. However, if your child avoids things they used to love like sports and social events, or cuts off friends so they can stay home in their room, you may want to check in.

2. Changes in Eating Habits

Be aware of both binge eating and reduced eating. Social media has got a grip of much, if not all, of teenage brains, and can cause serious disordered thoughts around food. Small changes can be nothing, but catch them before they get out of hand, as these thoughts can be very hard to reverse.

3. Preoccupation with Appearance

Social media comparison is common with teenagers, and a preoccupation with appearance can be consuming. This can lead to social anxiety, and can go hand-in-hand with changes in eating habits.

4. Self-Harm

This can be hard to catch, but is very important and very serious. It needs immediate professional attention, as it goes hand in hand with suicidal thoughts and can lead to attempted suicide.

5. Drastic Changes in Grades

For sufferers, depression is like a dark hole that can consume everything in life, including motivation. School can be hard enough on its own, without the burden of mental illness. Slipping grades can be a sign of deeper troubles. Watch for changes and try and create a solution… together!

6. Substance Abuse

Experimenting with alcohol or drugs isn’t unusual for teens, but when it reaches the point that it is no longer an experiment or fun, but an abusive relationship, things have gone too far. This abusive relationship can be seen in changes in mood or personality, unexplained injuries or weight loss, or extreme fatigue or other unusual behaviours. If this is the case, confront, talk calmly and openly, and create boundaries and a solution.

Remember that raising healthy and happy teens is about a healthy balance of teaching the child to make choices on their own, while passing on your own experience and wisdom. Both sides of the relationship need to be equally validated and understood.

Hormone Replacement 101

A hormone is a molecule that is produced by a gland. Hormones are chemical messengers; they’re carried in your blood to other organs, where they control how those organs behave.

Like all delivery systems, hormones aren’t perfect. Messages can be disrupted by all kinds of things, including your lifestyle, your age, and your genetics, to name a few things. When that happens, you can get any number of crazy symptoms, some of which can be pretty troublesome. Menopause is just one example of the changes brought on by shifting hormones.

To deal with these hormonal changes, doctors sometimes prescribe hormone replacement therapy. Conventionally, that means using synthetic hormones. The drawback of those is that they can be very powerful and carry more risk and side-effects.

Here at StoneTree, we use bio-identical hormone therapy (BHRT) to help optimize your hormonal balance using hormones that are compounded to be identical or very close to the ones in your body.

You have some 50 or so hormones carrying messages in your body. Here are the most common ones prescribed in BHRT:

  • DHEA, or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone produced by your body’s adrenal glands. It functions as a precursor to male and female sex hormones, including testosterone and estrogen. It is sometimes called the “anti-aging” hormone.
  • Progesterone is most known for its role in fertility and pregnancy, but in BHRT it has important applications to cognition, sleep patterns and mood.
  • Estrogen is an important hormone for healthy function of the reproductive system in adult humans.  It is most often used in BHRT to manage symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, and libido issues in women.
  • Testosterone, the “body-building” hormone, is a sex hormone that regulates sex drive (libido), bone mass, fat distribution, muscle mass and strength in men. Because of its pesky tendency to convert itself into estrogen, it’s uncommonly prescribed in BHRT.
  • Thyroid hormone is the body’s “accelerator. The thyroid hormones make everything GO!  If your thyroid hormone isn’t working, you feel tired, fat and cold.
  • Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland in the brain and is an important hormone for regulating circadian rhythms. In BHRT, it is most commonly prescribed alongside progesterone to support restful sleep.

If you’re curious about your hormones and would like to learn more, you can book a 15-minute “meet the doctor visit” with our resident BHRT expert, Dr. Gervais Harry, MD. Just click here, or call 705-444-5331.

What’s Your Mindset for Aging?

As I head into my late 40’s, I am struck by how much of the conversation in my peer group is about getting older:

  • My joints are sooooooooo achy.
  • I can’t remember anything. I must be starting to lose it.
  • My fortune to be able to sleep like a teenager again.
  • What the heck happened to the skin on my neck?!!!

All these symptoms are chalked up to “getting older,” and then the conversation moves on to investments, aging parents, or troublesome teenagers.

I think we’re missing something in the conversation.

As an ND, I spend a lot of time thinking about disease prevention and optimum health. In my many years of practicing in the Georgian Triangle I’ve met many people who are shining examples of healthy aging.

I know 50-year-olds who look like they are in their 30’s. I’ve worked with 60-year-olds who are starting up wildly successful businesses. We have 70-year-olds in the clinic who are shredding up the ski hills, and 80-year-olds who are biking with the local cycling clubs and setting the pace.

These people inspire me and mirror that healthy aging is indeed possible and it’s not magic.

The Three Mindsets of Aging

But what’s different about those people? One of the consistent qualities in all these healthy people is their mindset. Over the years of working with thousands of patients, I have found three predominant mindsets as people age. Two that do not serve them, and one that serves very well.

The first is the “ignore it and it will go away” mindset. These are the patients who continue to believe that they have the biochemistry of the 20-year-old. They eat junk, drink too much, don’t get enough sleep and play the odd hockey game in the belief that it’s enough to support good health. Their body is SCREAMING at them with various symptoms, and they simply ignore it all and carry on. The end game? A heart attack, stroke or worse.

The second is the “I’m getting older and I must accept it” mindset. These patients believe that there is nothing to be done about the symptoms of aging. They are doomed to painful movement, increasingly chubby bodies, and lapsing memories. They will retire, golf and slowly lose the function of their bodies and their minds, and there is simply nothing that came be done about it. Aging is an inexorable tide, so why bother swimming?

The patients who inspire me that healthy aging is possible, however, share neither of these two internal stories. Their mindset is different.

Theirs is the “I’m going to live my best life as the years pass” mindset. Do they think they are 20 still? No way. They know their body and biochemistry does not work the same as it did in those younger years. But they also know that there is much that can be done, and that maintaining and even improving their health as they age requires something different than it did decades before.

They know they need:

  • Consistent exercise. No more weekend warrior stuff will do. Daily movement is mandatory.
  • Consistent healthy eating. 80/20 is key here. You used to get away with 80% junk. Now it’s time to flip the ratio to 80% or more real, whole food.
  • Consistent rest. Rest is when we repair, and this takes a little more time as we age. We have to make more time for it.
  • Consistent reality checks. How much are you really doing the things above? How much are you really drinking? What’s your language around aging? How much are you challenging your mind and your body as time passes?

Changing your mindset about aging doesn’t mean you ignore your changing parts, but it also doesn’t mean you accept infirmity as the only end game.

Do your genetics matter? Of course. But they’re only part of the story, and probably a smaller part than you think.

Besides, what sounds more appealing: believing you can’t do anything, or believing that you can consciously engage with your body, listen to its signals, and support it to give you the vibrant health it wants to in your 70’s, 80’s and beyond?

Upcoming Workshops: Cancer Care, Sleep Habits

Cancer Care: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Approaches

Tuesday, September 25, 2018
6:00PM-7:00PM
FREE
Call or email the clinic to register

Join Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Ehab Mohammed ND to learn about the best evidence to support the use of complementary intervention in the care of those with cancer. Whether you are engaging in conventional cancer care or not this open session will be of value to you.

Dr. Ehab spent over 20 years practicing and researching oncology at the University of Cairo as a medical doctor. He is now training and licensed as a Naturopathic Doctor and is passionate about the integration of complementary and conventional care.

Learn more about Dr. Ehab here.

Healthy Sleep Habits For Kids: A Workshop for Parents

Wed, 3 October 2018
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM EDT
FREE
Register here

Join Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Bronwyn Hill ND and Jessica White, a Certified Integrative Sleep Consultant, to learn how to create lasting changes in your house that will positively affect your family’s sleep.

Enjoy and informative session to learn the latest on sleep science, nutrition, and take home strategies to help children ages 3-10 get their recommended sleep hours for optimal health.

Learn more and register for your spot here.

 

Food as Medicine: Sauerkraut

Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years. Fermentation made our food last longer and made it easier to digest, which in turn helped us stay healthier. Along the way, however, we also ended up creating foods that taste great and have excellent health benefits!

Sauerkraut is one of those great fermented wonders. It’s a superfood that’s full of vitamins, probiotics, enzymes, and other nutritional components, and has been connected to many health benefits including increased immune function, decreased heart disease, weight loss, and even cancer prevention.

Here at the clinic, we recommend it regularly for our patients with gut issues, and for those who just want to eat foods that are naturally high in probiotics. According to one study, sauerkraut was shown to contain up to 28 distinct bacterial strains. (When it comes to our digestive tracts, the more strains the better.)

Not all sauerkrauts are created equal. Many supermarket brands have been pasteurized and have added preservatives, which has the unfortunate side effect of killing all the beneficial bacteria–make sure you read the labels. You want a sauerkraut with 2 basic ingredients: cabbage and salt. Some will have added spices or other veggies added, like carrot, but make sure to avoid the brands with added sugars. The natural sugars in the cabbage itself are more than enough food for the little critters to do their magic.

We recommend Bubbies Sauerkraut all the time and it is delicious–you can find it here at the Pantry.

Want to make it yourself? It’s easy! All you really need is cabbage, salt and some time. Let Brad from Bon Appetite show you how.

Bubbies Sauerkraut available in the Pantry at StoneTree Clinic. Drop by anytime!