Seasonal Allergies and IV Vitamin C

A new piece of research is telling us what we have seen for years clinically: IV vitamin C works for seasonal allergies.  

This wasn’t a random, clinically controlled trial, but as the authors suggest, it will hopefully encourage just that.

As with most studies, this one isn’t exactly a page-turner. In a nutshell, after getting vitamin C intravenously 2-3 times a week, symptoms improved in over 90% of participants.

Better yet, the treatment was very well tolerated. Only 1 of the 71 patients had an adverse reaction (twice), and the reactions weren’t terribly serious–“repeated unpleasant sensation of cold a few hours after infusion” and “tiredness the next morning.”

This is similar to what we see clinically, and more research on this would be great–in particular, a double-blind, placebo-controlled study.  

There are, of course, many over-the-counter meds out there that can work for seasonal allergies. But when those don’t work, or if you experience side-effects, IV vitamin C may be a treatment worth trying.  

Allergy-related posts from the StoneTree archives:

Spring Cleaning–Inside and Out

It’s time for SPRING CLEANING!

The sun is shining, the snow is melting, it’s still daylight at 7:30 PM. HURRAY! It turns out we actually aren’t living in Game of Thrones after all. Winter is over (mostly) and spring has sprung.

As we emerge from our caves, thoughts turn to cleaning our spaces both internal and external.

Spring Cleaning the Outside

Spring cleaning has a long tradition in many cultures.  

In northern climes, before we had such things as vacuums and steam cleaners, March was the best time to open windows and doors, get the dust out of the house, and clean the soot from a winter of burning coal or wood.

Many cultural and religious traditions involve a deep cleaning of our spaces as part of spring.

  • The Catholic tradition is to thoroughly clean everything before Good Friday. 
  • Chinese New Year involves a thorough cleaning of your house to get rid of the bad luck of the past year, and makes room for the good luck of the new year. 
  • In the Middle East and Central Asia, Nowruz celebrations in the spring begin with the spring cleaning ritual known as Khaneh-Tekani, which literally means “shaking house.”
  • In Thailand, Songkran, the new years day, is mid-April and involves a festival of cleansing with water.   
  • Jewish tradition at Passover is to clean the entire house to get rid of all grains.

From whatever tradition your spring cleaning comes from, cleaning out your spaces feels great.

(Marie Kondo is the spring cleaning guru. Check out her Series on Netflix, “Tidying UP”. )

Spring Cleaning the Inside

We’ve written about this before.  Doing a “spring cleanse” is always a good idea.

There are many ways to do it and many products to use. Connect with your ND to determine the one that’s best for you.

In the meantime, here is a yummy detox salad to get you started!

Increasing Your Healthspan

With advancements in medicine and public health, the average lifespan has continued to climb over the last century. Now, it’s projected to hit 95 by 2040.  

But just because we are living longer doesn’t necessarily mean we are living well-er. In fact, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, we are living longer, but the number of years we spend in disability is also increasing.

At this year’s Integrative Health Symposium in New York City, Dr. Tara heard Dr. Robert Rountree, MD talk about “Pathways to Longevity.” In his lecture, there were three “hacks” that came up over and over again.  These are activities that help slow one or more of the basic mechanisms of aging–things like shortened telomere length, increased oxidative stress and decreased mitochondrial capacity.

1. Regular exercise. No need to run a marathon, the real magic is in HIIT (high-intensity interval training)–small bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by rest periods. There are many different programs available online. Start low and go slow if you are new to exercise, or work with an experienced trainer. And if you don’t feel up to HIIT? Remember there’s plenty of magic in any exercise.

2. Calorie restriction. Calorie restriction is NOT dieting. It’s about eating fewer calories (up to 30%), while at the same time getting sufficient vitamins and minerals. This means avoiding high calorie “empty” foods like simple carbs and increasing low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods like fruits and veggies.

3. Social supports. Humans are pack animals. We are happiest and healthiest when we are together. Turn off the screen and connect to someone.

In addition, based on the research, two supplements kept coming up as winners for supporting your biochemical pathways: green tea and curcumin

Whether you decide to incorporate these two substances into your diet or decided to take them in a supplement form, the evidence would suggest they are worth considering!

Here’s to a longer and healthier life!

Bonus: this chart summarizing the impact of different factors on aging is a great visual!


Collagen for Skin, Joints, and Cellulite

Collagen is a supplement that is getting a lot of hype at the moment. It’s being touted as a miracle solution for joint pain, digestive health, fat burning, cellulite reduction and decreased skin aging.   

As one of the most abundant proteins in the body, collagen is responsible for the elasticity of your skin. It also holds your bones and muscles together, protects your organs, and strengthens connective tissue–including that in your guts. It could be that all the hype is warranted.  

Your body produces collagen on a regular basis because it is so important in all your tissues. As you age, however, that natural production slows down, resulting in those tell-tale signs of aging: sagging skin, wrinkles, weak and sore joints, and cellulite. 

There are some promising preliminary studies linking collagen peptide intake to cellulite reduction, and increased health for skin, muscle, and joints.

This might be a nutrient worth considering for daily intake. So how do you get it in you? 

1. Take it. Supplement types abound for this nutriceutical. At StoneTree Clinic we carry two forms: 

  • Collagen Peptide Liquid 
  • Pure PaleoProtein protein powder.  

2. Eat it. Bone broth, which is different then “stock,” is a great source of collagen. When bones are cooked for 24-48 hours, the gelatin (a broken down form of collagen) and minerals come out of the bones, making a daily dose of bone broth a nutrient-packed way of getting more collagen into your system.  

You can find a great bone broth recipe for your stovetop, Instant Pot, or slow cooker here.

Interested in trying a supplement? Both forms we carry are delicious and deliver a therapeutic dose of collagen. Come into the clinic for a taste!

How to Stay Well During Air Travel

Getting away to the sun and warmth is such a pleasure when it is so cold and bleak in a deep February freeze. But how do you make sure you don’t pick up a nasty bug on the plane surrounded by all the other coughing and sneezing Canucks trying to get the sunshine?

Below is what the StoneTree team recommends. We’ve used this plan on ourselves and our patients for many, many winter trips. It’s simple and it works great!

The day before you get on the plane:

  • Book in for an immune-boosting IV.  This infusion of vitamins and minerals is high in vitamin C, and super-charges your immune system

The day of the flight:

  • Upon waking drink at least 500ml of water
  • Take 2 capsules of Echinacea (a double dose of a liquid preparation)
  • (For those who cannot take Echinacea you can use oregano oil)

When you get to the airport:

  • Once through security buy two 500ml bottles of water
  • Put a packet of Emergen-C into each of them.  (If you do not have Emergen-C, you can use any other vitamin C at a dose of 1000mg)
  • While waiting to board drink one of the bottles

During your flight:

  • Take 2 more Echinacea upon boarding
  • Drink the 2nd bottle of vitamin C water during the flight.
  • Drink as much water as you can throughout the flight. Doing your best to keep your mucous membranes hydrated keeps them strong. 
  • Avoid sugar, which suppresses the immune system. 

Once you arrive at your destination:

  • Take your last dose of 2 capsules of Echinacea
  • ENJOY your trip!

On the flight home:

  • Repeat the same routine as the flight down. 

Upon arrival home:

  • If you were seating next to a “typhoid Mary” on the plane, you partied more then you rested on your vacation, or you just have that feeling you are fighting something, book in for an immune-boosting IV as soon as you can. 

Enjoy your happy, healthy and safe travels!

Our Favourite Health Tips

I often get comments about how healthy everyone looks here at the clinic. And considering we work with sick people all day, it’s amazing that we rarely if ever get sick.

Part of our job is certainly to walk the talk. We take our own advice and our own medicine, and we work hard to stay healthy. I thought it might be interesting to dive into that, so recently I asked the StoneTree team for their favourite health tips. I hope you find a few here that resonate with you!

 – Dr. Tara

 

“I keep a gratitude journal and try to make entries in it regularly. It helps me stay positive and appreciate the little things in life. My goal is to write down 3 things that happened in the day that I am grateful for. I can’t say I remember to do it every single day, but the more I do it the better I feel. I think I started this after reading Brené Brown’s work showing that the most joyful people are those who actively practice gratitude.”

–Dr. Candice


“The most important thing I do for optimal health is moving my body every day–exercise always improves my mood, attention and overall health. Throughout the week I will change up my physical activity so it doesn’t get boring or repetitive. This is something I have done for a while as I would find myself unmotivated and bored after going to the gym every day and almost dreading it. One night will be a high-intensity workout at the gym, one night a yoga class at a studio in town, another night a spin class, another night a Zumba video at home or an at-home circuit, one day I might swim and the next I might go for a walk or hike. This way of exercise keeps me motivated and excited, there is so much you can do with your body to keep you engaged!”

–Bridget


“To anyone who knows me this is going to be repetitive, but GREEN SMOOTHIE EVERY SINGLE MORNING.

I have been religious about this for the better part of a decade. It covers at least 3 to 4 servings of vegetables and fruit right out of the gate, gives me an energy boost, and all the fibre keeps my digestive tract happy and regular.

Without my smoothie, I would have a hard time reaching my vegetable servings for the day (my goal is 6 servings of veg). Each morning we blend up a big batch in our Vitamix and everyone gets one, including our toddler, he loves it!

Here’s the key: at least HALF of the blender should be greens ex. Spinach/kale/zucchini etc.”

–Dr. Kendra


“I take my T3 pills every morning which is the most important thing for my health!”

–Dr. Harry


“Being balanced is important for me. This means having some quiet time to balance stress, getting things done but having time to enjoy family and friends, eating right but also enjoying “splurge’ foods. Balance in all aspects of my life is key for me to be happy and healthy.”

–Lisa


We saw a facebook message once that stated, “children need 8 snuggles throughout the day”. My morning routine is big squeezes/hugs/kisses with my boys when they wake up. As they get older this is somewhat of a challenge–some days we are doing tons of extra hugs at the end of the day to even get that. So making sure my morning always starts with physical snuggles helps.”

-Angela


“I prioritize good quality sleep. I know this can be a challenge with babies, children, and life in general, but optimizing whatever amount of sleep you do get is so foundational for health. I turn off the screens at least an hour before bedtime, take my magnesium, have an Epsom salt bath, and then it’s off to dream-land. Having a routine is very helpful!”

–Dr. Bronwyn


“Since I changed my career from the medical and radiation oncology profession to Naturopathic Medicine, I changed my whole life. I keep my clear water intake to 3 litres every day, eating a lot of cabbage and broccoli, giving up the bread and pasta (most of the time). I feel much better, with high energy and focus. Even my sleep gets better.”

–Dr. Ehab


“Starting my day out with a green smoothie gets me going. I’ve been doing it every day for 8 years.”

–Julie


“I start my day with a 30 min walk up a hill with my husband. This gets me outside for fresh air and sunshine, it gets me my cardiovascular exercise AND weight-bearing because I am lugging my body uphill, and it gets me connected to my best guy every day.”

–Dr. Tara.


“I am not a very good water drinker, so to stay on top of my hydration I have 3 strategies that I do daily:

1) I bring a water bottle with me every time I leave the house

2) I keep a jug of water and a glass on my desk at work with a sign that says ‘drink me’

3) I bring a glass of water to bed with me every night. Whatever I don’t drink before bed/throughout the night I make sure I drink in the morning when I get up.

By sticking to these strategies every day I am guaranteed to drink more water than my body would ‘naturally’. It’s amazing what staying on top of my hydration has done for my energy, my mood, my concentration and my ability to distinguish hunger from thirst.”

–Dr. Maggie


“Packing a good lunch for work. Whether it’s leftovers from dinner, or a medley of what I find in the fridge (today it was layers of napa cabbage, tahini sauce, adzuki beans, spicy salad mix, roasted beets, kimchi, avocado, chipotle flakes), or simply running out the door with an avocado (knowing I have a can of quinoa & black bean chili in my locker for emergencies)… I am prepared. Eating a good lunch leads to making better choices when it comes time for dinner.”

–Dr. Shelby


“My favourite advice or health hack would have to be to ‘Sweat More’! Even though “you are what you eat”, the times I have felt the greatest in my life are those when I have been working out and SWEATING regularly.

Strength training has been shown to improve muscle strength, bone density, metabolic rate, cognitive function and reduce the potential for functional decline. In combination with cardiovascular workout activity, it can improve muscle tone, lung capacity, and cardiovascular health. All of this resulting in less risk of metabolic syndrome, inflammatory processes, peri-menopausal symptoms, and improved insulin sensitivity. The SWEAT that comes along with activity is a wonderful pathway of detoxification for the body – after all our skin is our largest organ. So to all our clients … I say “SWEAT MORE” and try to welcome every drop of it.”

–Lori Prest, RN

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.

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!

Back to School Advice from the StoneTree Naturopaths

It’s that time again! We asked each of our ND’s for their best tips for a successful school year. Here’s what they had to say.

From Dr. Bronwyn:

My tip is to be thoughtful about how much sleep your kids need (depending on age anywhere from 8-11 hours per night), and get to an earlier, consistent bedtime by working back in increments of 15-20 minutes per day/every few days.

Include a consistent pre-bedtime routine that does not include screens, rather quiet activities like reading/stories/coloring.

From Dr. Kendra:

No sugar cereal or juice for breakfast (replace with eggs or oatmeal and a green smoothie) and get back on your vitamin D supplement!

From Dr. Candice:

Ditch the plastic! Plastic containers can leach toxic chemicals into our food especially when heated. Use glass or stainless steel to pack lunches, snacks, and water for the day. Additionally, BPA (a known hormone-disrupting chemical) is found in the lining of many canned food items; when buying lunch supplies look for cans that say BPA free, cook your own legumes at home, and/or buy foods packaged in glass jars.

From Dr. Shelby:

Mornings are busy enough… pack lunch boxes/bags after dinner! Always include 2 colours of veggies (Eg cherry tomatoes, green beans, carrot sticks, sliced cucumber &/or red pepper, etc.)

From Dr. Maggie:

As tempting as it can be, don’t over-schedule your kids. Keep at least a few days/week free from scheduled activities to let them engage in creative play, activities of their choosing, or simply rest. And remember that September is overwhelming for everyone, especially school-aged children, so keep activities and extra-curriculars to a minimum at the beginning of the school year as they adjust to their new routines.

Have a great and healthy September!

Air Quality: How to Protect Yourself

This summer’s high heat and humidity have been great for those vacationing by the lakes, but it has created the perfect storm for poor air quality. Forest fires and the hot, heavy air that traps pollution from industry and cars have made air quality a real health risk.

What to do?

1. Prevention – limit your overall exposure

  • Avoid the outdoors when pollution is highest, especially heavy outdoor exercise
  • Get out of urban environments and into nature
  • Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke

2. Improve your indoor air quality

We have written lots about this before:

3, Support your body’s ability to detoxify

Many pollutants are “fat soluble” toxins, which means they are detoxified through the liver, where they become water soluble so the kidneys can dispose of them, or they are emulsified in the bile of the liver and removed through the bowel. Either way, supporting the kidney and liver to get rid of those nasty chemicals is worth doing. Here are a few strategies:

  • Drink LOTS of water. This is important in the heat, but also in helping the kidneys flush out toxins.
  • Eat lots of FIBER. Fiber will bind the bile and its toxic components to ensure you don’t recycle this garbage out to your liver.
  • Eat LOTS of broccoli. Broccoli is a member of the brassica family, which also includes kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. This family of plants supports your liver’s detox systems, especially those pathways associated with environmental pollutants.
  • Work with your ND to develop a more aggressive detoxification plan. The first day of fall is around the corner and the change of season is a great time to support your body!