Author: KandisND

Have you met the people that tell you, quite proudly, they never, ever, ever get sick? Do you find yourself feeling just a wee bit jealous? Well, feel jealous no more! Exercising our immune system with a good fever may feel yucky, but it is great for all kinds of reasons.

Not getting sick or spiking a fever is a red flag. From a naturopathic perspective, this means your immune system has taken a very long vacation. Which leave these “never sick” people ripe for big disease down the road. This is not a complete cause and effect, but there is a correlation.

Getting sick and having a response to it is a very good thing. The signs you have a cold, sneezing, runny nose etc. are ways your body rids itself of a virus. FEVER is also part of the process. And it’s an important part of the process. Read on to learn why!

Fever and Immunity:

Fever is a key evolutionary response. It is part of our immune response that has been around since there were vertebrate animals that walked the earth. It is a cardinal response to infection that has been conserved in animals and humans for more than 600 million years of evolution. The fever response is achieved by intricate physiological and neuronal pathways and confers a survival benefit during infection. (1)

The increase of 1 to 4°C in core body temperature that occurs during fever is associated with improved survival and resolution of many infections. The research has shown that use of anti-fever medications to diminish fever correlates with a 5% increase in mortality in human populations infected with influenza virus and negatively affects patient outcomes in the intensive care unit. (1)

The fact that fever has been retained throughout our evolution strongly argues that febrile temperatures allow for a survival advantage. There are many ways in which fever offers a protective advantage. One mechanism involves direct effects of febrile temperatures on the infectious potential of pathogens. For example, temperatures in the febrile range (40–41°C) cause a greater than 200-fold reduction in the replication rate of poliovirus in cells. Fever also increases the susceptibility of certain types of bacteria to lyse, where the bacterial cells burst and die. (1)

Fever plays an essential role in your immune system. A fever activates your white blood cells (lymphocytes) and antibody production (the good guys that fight bacteria and viruses). Not only does it stimulate more immune cells it also helps direct them where to go (2). Fever helps stimulate something called a lymphocyte homing receptor which helps direct them to the proper tissue sites, so that they only attack the areas of the body that need help. (3) If we dampen down our fever response we are also dampening the body’s innate ability to rev up its immune system and fight off the offending bug.

Another mechanism in which fever helps us fend off foreign invaders is that it initiates iron storage in the Liver so bacteria can’t use it to survive. This is a key element to stopping bacterial infections. The combination both of fever AND an iron poor environment does not slows the process of bacterial replication, allowing the immune system to do the rest. (4) Our body is so well designed, if we give it the chance to do what it is designed to do, we will be better off in the long term.

Thermal (heat) therapy at treatment for disease:

Fever is in fact so important, we are now seeing fever therapy as an emergent trend in health care. Although thermal therapy can be traced back hundreds of years, we are seeing it used in new and novel ways. Hyperthermia (high temperatures to induce a local or total body fever-like response) is used as part of innovate treatments for certain health conditions. Thermal therapy is seen now being used in cancer treatments either on its own (with temperatures over 45C) or as an adjunct to chemotherapy (at more moderate temps of 38-41C). Increased blood flow and vascular permeability caused by hyperthermia improves the delivery of various therapeutic agents such as chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapeutic agents and genetic constructs for gene therapy to tumor cells. (5)

Increasing body temperature, through simple mechanisms like sauna for example, is used in lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiac health. Sauna helps with blood vessel dilation and tends to improve vessel health overall. This has been shown in studies with patients who have congestive heart failure (CHF). 60°C sauna therapy for 15 min improved blood circulation parameters in patients with CHF, including cardiac index, mean pulmonary wedge pressure, systemic and pulmonary vascular resistance, and cardiac function (7) We also see improved weight loss with sauna therapy, which helpful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes. (8) The use of heat therapy in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus revealed a striking reduction of 1% unit in the glycated hemoglobin, which is a marker of blood sugar regulation over time. (8). Stepping in a sauna for 15 minutes 3x a week is relatively easy to achieve, and confers so many health benefits, it’s definitely worth a try!

Relax, your brain has got this!

A fever cannot cause brain damage unless it reaches 42 C for a long period of time. Your brain has a great way of keeping this in check during an infection. Usually you will not see temperatures rise about 41C.

As for seizures, the vast majority (96 percent) of children do not have seizures with a fever. About 4 percent of children can have a seizure with a fever – this is called a febrile seizure. Febrile seizures are scary to watch, but they usually stop within five minutes. They do not cause brain damage or have long-term side effects. Children who have had febrile seizures are not at greater risk for developmental delays or learning disabilities. (6) Even the management of febrile seizures in the pediatric population has moved away from antipyretic use as prophylaxis since fever reducing drugs do not reduce seizure recurrence (6)

What to do during a fever? Does the old adage starve a fever feed a cold apply?

  • With a fever, you are likely to sweat more, make sure you stay hydrated. Often fever is also associated with nausea or vomiting so water, tea and even juice can be helpful to give you strength and energy to heal.
  • Make sure you rest and take the time you need to let your body recover.
  • In terms of eating, you do in fact, need energy and nutrients to help your immune system stay strong. Small meals of easily digested foods are most helpful. Smoothies and soups are relatively easy on the system and will give you plenty of nutrients to fight off your infection.

When to be concerned and when to refer to your doctor or head to the ER

  • If the fever continues to rise past 41C- 42C – this can indicate a more serious condition (meningitis can trigger higher fever accompanied by stiff neck, aversion to light)
  • Fever that lasts more than 5 days
  • If your child is un responsive, very lethargic, or will not stop crying for extended periods of time
  • When you are unsure… play it safe and call your doc!

To sum up, in general, “If fever is by your side, let it ride”. It’s uncomfortable, but necessary. It will help you maintain a healthy immune system, and fight off the bug that’s ailing you. Adding saunas, thermal therapy to your weekly routine has extra health benefits as well. Don’t be afraid of the heat!

 

References:

  1. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015 Jun;15(6):335-49. doi: 10.1038/nri3843. Epub 2015 May 15. Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat.Evans SS1, Repasky EA1, Fisher DT1.
  1. J Immunol. 1998 Jan 15;160(2):961-9. Fever-range hyperthermia enhances L-selectin-dependent adhesion of lymphocytes to vascular endothelium. Wang WC1, Goldman LM, Schleider DM, Appenheimer MM, Subjeck JR, Repasky EA, Evans SS.
  1. J Immunol. 1998 Jan 15;160(2):961-9. Fever-range hyperthermia enhances L-selectin-dependent adhesion of lymphocytes to vascular endothelium. Wang WC1, Goldman LM, Schleider DM, Appenheimer MM, Subjeck JR, Repasky EA, Evans SS.
  1. 1979 Jan 26;203(4378):374-6. Fever and reduced iron: their interaction as a host defense response to bacterial infection. Kluger MJ, Rothenburg BA.
  1. Int J Hyperthermia. 2005 Dec;21(8):761-7. Implications of increased tumor blood flow and oxygenation caused by mild temperature hyperthermia in tumor treatment. Song CW1, Park HJ, Lee CK, Griffin R.
  1. Patel N, Ram D, Swiderska N, et al. Febrile seizures.BMJ 2015;351:h4240
  1. Circulation 91:2582–2590, 1995. Acute hemodynamic improvement by thermal vasodilation in congestive heart failure. Tei C, Horikiri Y, Park JC, Jeong JW, Chang KS, Toyama Y, Tanaka N.
  1. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 Jul;18(4):374-80. Heat shock proteins and heat therapy for type 2 diabetes: pros and cons. Krause M1, Ludwig MS, Heck TG, Takahashi HK.

All of us have moment of fatigue. Parents, athletes, students. We are all pushing ourselves too hard at times. But what happens when the fatigue isn’t momentary, and lasts past the point of logical?

There are many reasons we can feel chronically fatigued. Chronic sleep deprivation (I get it, I am a mom, I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night for one reason or another), late night study sessions, or working long hours at a job; can lead to major fatigue. Chronic stress is a big factor, pumping out our stress hormones for long periods of time will deplete us eventually. Chronic infection, most definitely will create fatigue- when the body has to fight off an infection, it is using it’s resources towards that, not towards your “get up and go”. All of these factors can deplete to body’s resources and slow the repair process which can lead to a more chronic state of fatigue.

What’s happening in the body at a cellular level when we feel an intractable, unrelenting fatigue? One theory is mitochondrial damage.  Mitochondria is the key organelle responsible for cellular energy production. A dysfunction in it can result in the excess fatigue and other symptoms that are common complaints in almost every chronic disease. At the very basic level, our mitochondria are responsible for the production production of adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP). This is our body’s energy source. If our mitochondria can’t produce ATP, our energy levels drop.

Oh crap, how do I fix it?! First of all figuring out the root of how it started is helpful, but if it’s murky, starting with general lifestyle factors is important. Sleep hygiene (good bedtime routine for example), reducing stress (via meditation, exercise, talking to a friend or therapist, etc.), and of course, supporting the body with nutrients via diet and supplementation.

What to mitochondria require to function well? Vitamins, Minerals and Amino acids! Having a varied diet with plenty of colour and adequate protein will meet basic needs for the body to start to rebuild. However, when the mitochondria are in disrepair, adding in supplements are key. There are a few favourites that I use that are helpful. CoQ10, Glutathione, and Carnitine. This trifecta is helpful in providing the body and the mitochondria with some of the nutrients required to do it’s job. There is certainly more to it than just supplementation, but it’s a great place to start. I find it almost certainly increases energy in most patients.

Talking to your Naturopathic doctor to figure out specific requirements is helpful. There is a list of about 20 nutrients that one could use (but taking ALL of them is likely not necessary) so having a guide through the process is essential. What every one person needs will be different, so make sure you work with a practitioner that can help you figure out your own unique requirements.

With the latest craze in Vitamin Drip Therapy, there is some skepticism that comes with anything that appears to be in vogue. Does it work? Why would I consider it? Who does it benefit? What is the cost?

I have been practicing Naturopathic Medicine for over a decade and Intravenous therapy for almost as long; and have seen my share of supplement phases come and go. I do think however, that IV Vitamin Drips are here to stay. Why? Because they work!

The biggest reason I use IV Vitamin Therapy is for cancer care. This involves fairly high doses of Vitamin C injected into the vein. Dr. Google definitely has some mixed review to say the least but there is evidence out there my friends! Evidence indeed! A group of researchers in Japan studied High Dose Vitamin C in patients newly diagnosed with cancer. Quality of Life (QOL) was assessed prior to IVC, during the 2nd week and during the 4th week of IVC therapy. It was found that overall, IVC tended to significantly improve scores in: global health, physical, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning at 4 weeks after IVC. IVC therapy also improved scores for the following symptoms: fatigue, pain, insomnia,  and constipation. (You can access the study here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2186495012000132?via%3Dihub)

The other most common reason I use Vitamin therapy (typically a complex formula with B vitamins and mineral) is for fatigue and immune support. This is what most ND’s call a “Myers Cocktail”. (you can read about it here: http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/7/5/389.pdf). I notice an increase in energy with patients, a general sense of wellbeing, AND less colds and flus typically throughout the year.

There are many other indications for IV therapy as well- fertility, skin therapy, detoxification and more.

Each treatment is designed by me, the practitioner, specifically to you. How many would you need? That’s up for discussion, but typically it ranges from 1-6 treatments, or for some, ongoing weekly or monthly.

Cost ranges from $120-$250 depending on the formula.

The most important thing you can do if seeking an IV Vitamin Drip is to find a qualified practitioner. Make sure they are licensed by the College of Naturopaths to do so, and that they take the time to ensure any safety measures are met (such as lab testing, intake visit to ensure it’s right for you, etc.)

#IVTherapy #VitaminDrip #OttawaNaturopath

 

Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) is a wonderful alternative to traditional Hormone Replacement therapy (HRT).  BHRT hormones are derived from plants in nature and are identical in cellular structure to human hormones. They are then compounded by a pharmacist to target your specific symptoms caused by hormonal imbalance. Due to the low dose requirements and the identical nature to natural human hormones, most women tolerate Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy quite well.

Naturopaths in Ontario are currently able to prescribe the following: 

  • Topical Bi-estrogen: This hormone is a combination of estriol and estradiol. Up to 80 percent of bi-estrogen contains estriol, which helps to decrease hot flashes and night sweats, improve sexual function, and decrease urinary tract infections. Estradiol also helps improve hot flashes, and night sweats in addition to helping to elevate mood and energy level, improve cognitive functioning and memory, eliminate insomnia, reduce blood pressure, decrease risk of bone loss, and decrease the risk of developing Type II diabetes.
  • Topical Estriol: This is the weakest form of estrogen, and often considered to be the most protective in the body. Some women prefer this form of estrogen alone if they do not tolerate Bi-estrogen. 
  • Topical Progesterone: Often progesterone is used to help with estrogen dominance. By minimizing the stimulating effects of estrogen, progesterone helps to improve sleep, increase bone density, improve sexual libido, and helps to maintain blood glucose control. This is especially important in preventing adult-onset diabetes.

Conditions that may require BHRT:

  • Menopause!
  • PCOS
  • Infertility
  • Insomnia
  • PMS
  • And much, much more.

Please contact Dr. Lock, ND for more info to see if BHRT is right for you!

 

So, we know WHY sleep is important for both adults and kids alike. Now the question is how?

My sleep coach has set me up with a day by day plan for the next 3 weeks (yes 3- it takes 21 days to break a habit!) to help by girls get more restful sleep, and by proxy, me too!

Here is the general gist: we created books of the girls doing their sleep tasks, with a reward in the morning if they follow through with their tasks AND stay in bed and lay quietly. Rewards at the beginning were focused on night time routine, doing it well without complaint, then moving on to the night time and morning wakings. We have a sunrise clock in our room so the girls know when it turns orange they can get up and call for me.

Together my coach and I have a shared excel spreadsheet documenting each bed time, night wakings and morning rising. The breakdown for me, so far, is as such:

Night 1: Surprisingly it went relatively well. The girls were excited that they were doing something new.

Night 2-4: TERRIBLE. More wakings in the night, less sleep for all, I felt hungover, the girls were cranky. My thoughts, just get through it, there is a plan. We are not unique in this situation, and it’s normal for the girls to have an adjustment period. But it still sucked.

Nights 5-7: Better. A few call outs in the night but girls asleep in minutes. Didn’t have to go in to settle them. Mornings have been early (waking between 5 and 6) but I am told this part is the last piece to come.

Nights 7-10: Better still. One bad night- a test I think to see if the new routine was legit- the next night though, a full sleep through.

The process is still ongoing for the next few weeks but the plan is the same. Bed time is set, a 30 minute routine of brushing teeth, potty, stories, tuck-ins and a quick snuggle. Morning time they can call for me when the light says to (this is still a work in progress). Overall the kids are getting more solid sleep and I am too. I will take a full sleep from 10-5am than broken sleep any day. The sleep coach also says this will start to lengthen but generally at the 3 or 4 week mark. So far she has been right, so I have faith this will be the case for us too.

So far this decision to follow through with changing our sleep habits has been amazing. I am so happy to have embarked upon this journey- AND can’t believe I waited so long!

Or even just to sleep a little…

I had a recent realization that I am in a vicious sleep pattern with my wee babes. What started out as infant needs has now turned into toddler habits. Continual night waking’s with a constant need for mamma as led to sleep deprivation for us all. When I saw a post on Facebook about lack of sleep from a year ago (thanks Facebook memories!) I realized that the sleep issues in our house were not just a phase that would pass, and I needed to take action. So. I hired a sleep coach.

This weekend I am about to embark upon changing my habits and my children’s to allow for a chance to develop more consistent sleep for us all. This is not going to be easy, or even fun. But the end goal- sleep- is necessary.

Here is what sleep gives us (taken straight from Harvard Health- these people are smart cookies!) (https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch)

  1. Learning and memory: Sleep helps the brain commit new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation. In studies, people who’d slept after learning a task did better on tests later.
  2. Metabolism and weight: Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.
  3. Safety: Sleep debt contributes to a greater tendency to fall asleep during the daytime. These lapses may cause falls and mistakes such as medical errors, air traffic mishaps, and road accidents.
  4. Mood: Sleep loss may result in irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and moodiness. Too little sleep can also leave you too tired to do the things you like to do.
  5. Cardiovascular health: Serious sleep disorders have been linked to hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat.
  6. Disease: Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

What about for kids? Here’s the deal:

  1. Sleep promotes growth: Growth hormone is secreted overnight- so for a healthy strong growing child, sleep is key
  2. Sleep helps the heart as it does with adults: If children are not sleeping well, both blood sugar and cortisol (stress hormone) remain high. These can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
  3. Sleep = healthy immunity: Sleep allows the immune system to fight infection. Typically you see less bouts of colds and flus with a child who has a healthy sleep pattern (this doesn’t mean, NONE, but less, which is good.)
  4. Less accidents: kids who sleep less are clumsier and pay attention less to their surroundings
  5. Sleep promotes learning and brain development! Memory improves with sleep!

I will be keeping the above health benefits in mind as I embark upon changing our habits. Stay tuned for the suggestions that my sleep coach makes for me and how it went!

Glutathione is a power tool in naturopathic medicine. Here are 5 main reasons why I love to use it:

  1. Detoxification: Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier. This is a great adjunct to a bi-annual seasonal detox. It gets your liver in to great shape!
  2. Powerful antioxidant: Glutathione is the only intracellular antioxidant found, which means it acts inside the cells. It helps the cells resist disease by neutralizing free radicals and keeping other antioxidants, including Vitamin C and E, in their active form. This protects cells from all kinds of toxins and disease states.
  3. Aids in fertility: Glutathione aids in improving sperm quality, including DNA fragmentation.
  4. Aids in post radiation recovery in cancer treatment: Not only does it help in post radiation fatigue, but it has been shown to aid in DNA repair of healthy cells after radiation treatment has ended.
  5. Skin health: Glutathione as an IV form helps in evening skin tone and lessening age spots, allowing your healthy glow to shine through.

Naturopathic care in the treatment of patients with cancer has many benefits. It’s something I feel very passionate about.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer can be one of the most life changing and scary experiences a patient can go through. The good news is that there are many things a patient can do to help themselves in the journey to recovery.

The naturopathic approach in treating cancer is related to improving the whole person by addressing inflammation, the immune system and looking at what things can impact the cancer directly. This is done through supplements and IVs that can have a positive effect on chemo agents and radiation protocols. Many things can be used in conjunction and have been shown by documented and clinical evidence to be supportive to improve pain parameters, nausea, appetite, etc.

One can expect to make diet changes, take supplements and often do Intravenous Therapy or other injection therapies as part of their naturopathic care. It is a lot of work but it is worth it.

Dietary changes vary depending on the cancer and also on the patient. This can be anything from a higher fat ketogenic diet to a vegan diet depending on what is required. It is not a one size fits all approach.

Supplements are also tailored to the individual and the type of cancer as well. There is a plethora of things on the internet and advice from others that can make your head spin. What is used here at the clinic are supportive supplements with best evidence that match the individual and the type of cancer.

Intravenous therapy is a big part of the program too. IV Vitamin C is often recommended along with mistletoe therapy during chemo to aid in side effects, quality of life and both also enhance the immune system. Glutathione IV might be recommended post chemo to help in DNA repair and energy recovery. There are also many options in this arena depending on what is going on with the individual patient.

All in all naturopathic care can be very helpful in managing the cancer process and the cancer journey.

 

 

Fertility: Food Considerations

Fertility issues can be complicated and can make one feel out of control, working on diet is one way to feel like you have some control and some say in how you are proceeding forward in managing your fertility issues.

There are 3 main things you can think about in regards to foods that can help your chances at conception:

  1. Going gluten free: Undiagnosed celiac disease may be the reason for “all cause” infertility in 3.5% of women, and unexplained infertility in 5.9% of women. I see clinically, a higher rate of success with women AND men who remove gluten from their diet. Celiac disease is often under diagnosed, as is gluten sensitivity. This makes a huge impact of chances of conception.
  1. Avoid food sensitivities: As with gluten, undiagnosed food sensitivities can be problematic. The reason that both gluten and food sensitivities can harm your chances is two fold. Both cause significant inflammation in the body, which tells the body that it’s in danger. When the body is under stress, it’s not thinking about conception, it’s thinking about repair. Food sensitivities also can create malabsorption, which leads to nutrient deficiencies. An inflamed gut is not going to lead to proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, which makes you less likely to conceive, or maintain a pregnancy.
  1. Get rid of the bad bugs! (manage gut dysbiosis- Candida and SIBO): Both Candida (yeast) and SIBO (Bacterial overgrowth) can affect the methylation pathway in the body. This in turn will affect ability to conceive. Folic acid is not converted properly which is needed for proper cell division in females. In males this often manifests as sperm DNA fragmentation. This means the genetic information that is given to the egg is not intact, often leading to a non-viable embryo.

All the above may sound doom and gloom, but the good news is, with a little effort on changing dietary habits, eliminating any bad bugs in the gut, your success rates will likely go up!

 

 

As the sun starts to shine in full force, we need to remember sunscreen! Our skies are not like they used to be and more rays are getting through than ever before.

Think about this: You put sunscreen almost all over the body! In summer we wear shorts, tank tops, bathing suits, etc. What you put ON your body is also somewhat what you put IN your body.

Here are some considerations when choosing a sunscreen:

Misleading SPF. Most people choose high spf, which doesn’t necessarily provide that much more protection. The trick is applying sunscreen more often and apply a thick layer.

Consider choosing a clean product free of:

  • oxybenzone, a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormone system.
  • vitamin A (retinyl palmitate): test data shows more skin tumors and lesions on animals treated with this ingredient and exposed to sunlight.

Look for labels that include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is Environmental Working Groups (EWG’s) first choice for sun protection. It is stable in sunlight and can provide greater protection from UVA rays than titanium oxide or any other sunscreen chemical approved. The mineral compounds are stable in sunlight, offer a good balance between protection from the two types of ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) and don’t often contain potentially harmful additives.

Problems with the naturals: Yes, typically there is a white residue left on the skin, unless rubbed in really well. Tricks that many companies are coming up with are tinted sunscreen.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Pure Anada Tinted Moisturizer (contains both Zinc and Titanium): http://www.thepureboutique.com/tinted-moisturizers/

Green Beaver (I LOVE their information on harmful ingredients, of which they, of course, avoid) http://greenbeaver.com/ingredients/harmful-ingredients/. I love the sunscreen as well, especially for my kids (they have a cream and spray): http://greenbeaver.com/tag/sunscreen/

Badger (I also like this one for my kids as well): https://www.badgerbalm.com/p-372-spf-30-lavender-sunscreen-cream.aspx

A Special Note about Vitamin D:

Here is another important note related to sun (but not sunscreens!) MANY people stop their Vitamin D supplementation in the summer months because they feel they will get it from the sun. If you are wearing sunscreen, which you should be, you will not be getting Vitamin D. Your safest choice is to lather up, and supplement up!

#sunscreen #VitaminD #Naturopath