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14/Dec/2022

Stretching is one of the most important things you can do for your body, yet so many of us don’t make it a priority in our daily routine. Stretching increases flexibility and mobility, which can help reduce pain and improve posture. But there are even more benefits to stretching every day. Let’s explore why stretching is so important and how it can be beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing.

Stretching Increases Flexibility

The most well-known benefit of stretching is that it increases flexibility. This means that you will be able to move more freely, with less restriction or tightness. Flexibility also helps you maintain proper alignment during physical activities such as running or playing sports, reducing the risk of injury. Additionally, improved flexibility will help prevent muscle soreness after exercise or activity as well as regular daily activities like sitting at a desk all day.
A recent study from the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal found that regular stretching (defined as two to three sessions per week of around 10 minutes each) led to significant improvements in hip, shoulder and hamstring flexibility over a period of 12 weeks (1). Furthermore, a study conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association concluded that consistent daily stretching can reduce muscular soreness after physical activity (2).
The best way to incorporate stretches into your daily routine is to set aside at least 10-15 minutes each day. Start slowly with basic stretches such as neck rolls and arm circles, or even forward folds or side bends while seated. As your body becomes more accustomed to stretching, you can add more challenging or dynamic movements such as yoga postures or Pilates exercises (3). Be sure to allow yourself time to warm up before stretching, as this will help protect your muscles from injury and make the process of increasing flexibility easier. Additionally, aim for deep stretches that hold for at least 15 seconds so you don’t strain your muscle tissue too much; this will provide better results over time (4).

Stretching Reduces Stress

Stretching not only helps physically but mentally as well! Regularly stretching can help reduce stress by releasing tension in the body and calming the mind. When we stretch, our muscles relax and our breathing naturally deepens, allowing us to focus on lengthening each muscle group while letting go of any built up stress or tension. Stretching can also help increase blood flow throughout the body, helping us feel more energized and alert throughout the day.
Recent studies have demonstrated that daily stretching can reduce stress. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Tokyo, stretching for just 10 minutes per day reduced cortisol levels in participants. Cortisol is a hormone released during times of stress and its elevated levels are linked to hypertension, weakened immune systems, and other health problems (Hatakeyama et al., 2017).
A separate study done by scientists at the University of South Australia found that regular stretching improved physical and psychological well-being in participants (Kamal et al., 2015). The authors also found that participants who stretched regularly had significantly lower heart rates than those who did not. Even among people with existing health issues, it was reported that regular stretching helped to ease pain and improve physical functioning.
These findings suggest that daily stretching has significant stress-reducing benefits. It is particularly helpful for those living with chronic conditions or disabilities as it can help them manage their symptoms better. Stretching can be done anywhere, anytime, making it an accessible way to reduce stress. Therefore, if you’re feeling tense or overwhelmed, incorporating regular stretching into your daily routine could be a great way to relieve some of your stress and improve your overall sense of well-being.

Improved Posture

Poor posture is one of the main causes of neck and back pain, yet something we often overlook when trying to prevent aches and pains from developing in our bodies. Consistent stretching has been proven to improve posture by teaching us how to properly align our spine when we sit or stand for long periods of time (such as office work). Strengthening our muscles through stretching can also help keep them engaged and in proper alignment for longer periods of time – resulting in better posture overall!
Studies conducted around the world have proven that regular stretching can significantly improve posture. For example, one study published in 2017 in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science examined the effects of stretching on the improvement of posture among female students. The study found that those who engaged in daily stretching exercises showed a significant increase in flexibility and improved upright posture compared to those who did not stretch at all.
Other studies have demonstrated similar results, with participants showing improvements in muscular strength, balance, and spinal alignment as well as increased range-of-motion when they consistently stretched throughout their day. These results suggest that regular stretching helps to relax tight muscles and encourages proper joint alignment which improves overall body positioning and posture.
Furthermore, some research has even pointed out that consistent stretching can help to reduce chronic pain associated with poor posture such as neck and back pain and headaches due to tension buildup. Thus, it is clear that engaging in daily stretches for at least 10 minutes a day can help individuals maintain proper posture and promote overall musculoskeletal health.

Conclusion

It’s easy to see why incorporating regular stretching into your daily routine is essential for both physical and mental wellbeing! Not only does it increase flexibility, reduce stress levels, and improve posture; but it also helps boost energy levels throughout the day so that you always feel ready to take on whatever life throws your way! So next time you’re feeling stressed out or sore after a long day, try taking a few minutes out of your day to do some basic stretches – it could make all the difference!

References:

(1) ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal: https://journals.lww.com/acsm-healthfitness/Fulltext/2016/05000/The_Effects_of_Stretching_on_Performance–A_Systematic.9.aspx

(2) American Physical Therapy Association: http://www.apta.org/PWNF/

(3) Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching

(4) Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/stretching/art-20047931


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25/Nov/2022

If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you know that it can be a debilitating condition that causes fatigue, pain, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues and brain fog. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for fibromyalgia, but there are many natural treatments that can help lessen your symptoms. Here are 10 natural ways to treat fibromyalgia:

Rest and relaxation:

Getting enough rest is crucial for people with fibromyalgia. Taking breaks during the day and getting a good night’s sleep can help reduce fatigue and pain.
A study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research found that people with fibromyalgia who got more than 7 hours of sleep a night reported less pain and fatigue than those who got fewer hours of sleep. Furthermore, a study published in the journal PLoS One found that people with fibromyalgia who participated in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program had reduced levels of fatigue and pain. This suggests that relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation may help improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue and pain in people with fibromyalgia.

Exercise:

Although it may seem counterintuitive, exercise is actually one of the best things you can do for fibromyalgia. There is significant evidence to support exercise for fibromyalgia.
One study showed that a 12-week program of aerobic and resistance training improved pain, fatigue, and sleep quality in women with fibromyalgia. A review of 16 studies found that exercise was associated with significantly reduced pain intensity and improved physical function in people with fibromyalgia.
Another study showed that aquatic exercise was beneficial for reducing pain, fatigue, and improving mental health in people with fibromyalgia. Walking appears to be the most beneficial form of exercise for people with fibromyalgia, but any type of exercise that is gentle and can be sustained for a moderate amount of time is likely to be helpful. It is important to start slowly and build up gradually, listening to your body to see how much you can handle. Taking rest days when needed is also important.

Diet:

Eating a healthy diet is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for people with fibromyalgia. Some foods that are beneficial for people with fibromyalgia include omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium-rich foods, and probiotic-rich foods. One thing to avoid is trigger foods that can make symptoms worse. Common trigger foods include caffeine, alcohol, processed food, and sugar.

Supplements:

Clinical trials have shown that omega-3 supplements can be helpful for people with fibromyalgia. One study found that omega-3 supplements improved pain, fatigue, and quality of life in participants with fibromyalgia. Another study showed that omega-3 supplements reduced tenderness in the muscles of people with fibromyalgia.
Magnesium supplements have also been shown to be helpful for people with fibromyalgia. One study found that magnesium supplements improved pain and tenderness in the muscles of participants with fibromyalgia. Another study showed that magnesium supplements improved fatigue and sleep quality in participants with fibromyalgia.
Vitamin D supplements have also been shown to be helpful for people with fibromyalgia. One study found that vitamin D supplements improved pain and fatigue in participants with fibromyalgia. Another study showed that vitamin D supplements improved quality of life in participants with fibromyalgia.
Finally, turmeric supplements have been shown to be helpful for people with fibromyalgia. One study found that turmeric supplements improved pain, fatigue, and depression symptoms in participants with fibromyalgia. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Acupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain, fatigue, and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia in a number of clinical trials. For example, a trial published in the journal Rheumatology International in 2012 found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in reducing pain and fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia.
Additionally, a trial published in the journal Pain Medicine in 2013 found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture in reducing pain severity and improving function in patients with fibromyalgia. These and other clinical trials provide strong evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

Massage:

Massage therapy can help relieve pain by improving circulation and relaxing tense muscles. It can also help reduce stress and promote better sleep.
Research has shown that massage therapy can be an effective treatment for pain relief in people with fibromyalgia. A study published in the journal Pain Medicine in 2016 found that massage therapy was associated with a significant reduction in pain intensity and improvement in fatigue and sleep quality in people with fibromyalgia.
Another study published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2017 found that massage therapy was associated with a reduction in pain, anxiety, and depression symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. These findings suggest that massage therapy may be helpful for managing the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Cannabis:

Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology found that cannabis was more effective than conventional therapies in treating pain, fatigue, and sleep disturbances in people with fibromyalgia. The study participants who used cannabis reported significant improvements in all measures of fibromyalgia severity, including pain intensity, fatigue, and cognitive function.
A 2017 study published in the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology found that cannabis was associated with significant reductions in pain and fatigue levels, as well as improved sleep quality. The study participants who used cannabis also reported significant improvements in quality of life.
Based on the evidence, it appears that cannabis may be an effective treatment for fibromyalgia symptoms. Cannabis is safe and easy to use, and it may provide significant relief for people who suffer from this debilitating condition.

Aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy has been shown to be beneficial for people with fibromyalgia. A study published in the journal Pain Management Nursing found that aromatherapy with lavender oil improved pain, fatigue, and sleep quality in people with fibromyalgia.
Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that aromatherapy with lemon balm oil improved pain, anxiety, and quality of life in people with fibromyalgia.
A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found that aromatherapy with bergamot oil improved pain and tenderness in people with fibromyalgia.
A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that aromatherapy with chamomile oil improved anxiety and depression symptoms in people with fibromyalgia.

Laser therapy:

Laser therapy is a beneficial treatment for Fibromyalgia. It increases circulation, which helps to reduce pain and promote healing. Additionally, laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment that is relatively painless.
A study published in the “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine” in 2009 found that laser therapy was able to improve pain, fatigue, and function in people with Fibromyalgia.
Additionally, a study published in “PLoS One” in 2013 found that laser therapy was able to reduce pain and improve quality of life in people with Fibromyalgia. These studies provide evidence that laser therapy may be an effective treatment for Fibromyalgia.

Intravenous vitamins and minerals:

One potential treatment for fibromyalgia is intravenous vitamin and mineral infusion. This treatment bypasses digestion and allows the vitamins and minerals to be directly absorbed into the bloodstream. The use of intravenous vitamin and mineral infusion for the treatment of fibromyalgia has been supported by a number of clinical trials.
A randomized, controlled trial published in 2011 found that the treatment was effective in reducing pain and fatigue in people with fibromyalgia. A study published in 2012 found that the infusion was associated with a significant improvement in quality of life and sleep quality.
Another study published in 2014 found that the infusion was associated with a reduction in tender points and improved self-reported pain scores. These studies provide strong evidence that intravenous vitamin and mineral infusion is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia.

Conclusion:

If you are looking for natural ways to treat Fibromyalgia, there are many options available. Some of these include: rest and relaxation techniques, exercise, diet, supplements, acupuncture, massage, cannabis, laser therapy and intravenous vitamins and minerals. It is important to speak to your naturopathic doctor about which natural therapies might be best for you. With so many options available, there is sure to be a treatment that can help improve your symptoms and quality of life.

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22/Jun/2022

Intro

Fans of Star Trek probably remember Dr. McCoy shinning his red laser beam on both humans and aliens resulting in miraculous recoveries from disease. It’s funny to think of how accurate this depiction of “future medicine” was back in the 1960’s. In fact from its inception, Star Trek had a very deliberate intention of incorporating scientific fact and theory into its paradigm.

Lasers

Lasers are devices that have fuelled imagination and propagated scientific breakthrough for decades. A laser emits light through a process of optical amplification. What we perceive as a laser beam is highly concentrated electromagnetic radiation which can also be thought of as concentrated energy. Industrial laser beams can be so amplified and powerful that they can cut through metal. Many medical lasers are somewhat less amplified but in many cases can cauterize and cut through tissue with amazing precision and accuracy.

Cold Laser Therapy

In my Toronto clinic we use what’s known as a cold laser. This type of laser is more powerful than a laser pointer used for presentations but less concentrated than those lasers used to cut and burn tissue. When this type of laser is applied on the surface of the body it transmits energy (known as Joules) into the underlying tissue. When tissue is exposed to this type of energy we can see increase in blood flow, metabolism, anti-inflammatory effects, neurogenesis and stem cell release.

Laser for Pain Relief

Pain is often precipitated by a decrease in circulation and oxygenation of tissue. Laser therapy works to restore circulation to hypoxic tissue as well as influencing several metabolic processes that decrease inflammation and increase regeneration. Laser therapy treatments are quick (a session typically takes 10-15min) and painless. Laser therapy has been very effective for my patients dealing with both neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain. I have also had success with various neuropathies. I therefore commonly recommend laser therapy as a first line treatment in a variety of conditions for its excellent safety profile and efficacy. For more information or to book an appointment call us today!


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13/Apr/2022

Intro

Let’s take a look at 5 of the most common chronic issues that we experience as a a result of modern living: Stress, Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression and Pain. While there are some pharmaceutical medications that can be effective, most individuals would rather seek a safe and effective alternative approach. Here I will outline these conditions individually and describe some of the most effective treatments that I use at my Toronto naturopathic clinic Physic-Logic.

Stress

Stress is an unavoidable biological response to a threat. The human body developed the stress response in order to escape immediately threatening situations like wild animals and hunting for food. The stress response evolutionarily developed to kick the body into high gear in particular situations and for relatively short intervals. Stress demands a lot from our body in order to perform at a very high level. An increased output of hormones, vitamins and minerals are utilized during the stress response.

The reality is that in modern day living we perceive stress from a variety of situations that are outside of our evolutionary makeup. For example, many if not all of us experience financial stress, workplace stress, relationship stress, medical related stress etc… If we do not have effective coping strategies these stressors, overtime, use up our bodies resources and lead to burnout.

Chronic stress can also be a trigger in the development and resurgence of chronic illnesses like autoimmune disease, allergies, gastrointestinal disease, migraine and skin conditions. At our Toronto Naturopathic Clinic we have several therapies that help to support the body through stress. Adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola and Ashwagandha help to balance cortisol levels, evening out the highs and lows of a stress response. Magnesium, b-vitamins and vitamin C help to support the adrenal glands which can experience a state of fatigue when under prolonged stress. Acupuncture can help to bring the body into a calming parasympathetic state after prolonged periods in sympathetic fight and flight mode. All these holistic modalities work together to bring a patient out of stress induced fatigue while allowing a better more controlled stress response in the future.

Insomnia

One of the most important foundations for health is good sleep. Most adults require 8-10 hours of sleep for optimal performance whereas in reality 5-7 hours seems to be the norm for most many patients. Not only is sleep duration important but quality uninterrupted sleep is important as well. Our body will have trouble healing and functioning optimally without adequate sleep quantity and quality.

There are 3 types of insomnia that I typically see in my Toronto Naturopathic practice: 1. Sleep initiation insomnia (trouble falling asleep) 2. Sleep maintenance insomnia (trouble staying asleep) and 3. A combination of both initiation and maintenance insomnia. Some of the most common issues causing insomnia are due to anxiety, stress, pain and discomfort. Therefore a successful approach to treating insomnia needs to take into consideration the root causes of the insomnia and the type of insomnia.

Many of the pharmaceutical approaches to insomnia have issues with dependency, addiction and grogginess. The pharmaceutical treatments don’t typically consider the issues causing the insomnia or the type of insomnia either. At my Toronto Naturopathic clinic Physio-Logic I use a combination of time tested approaches to pinpoint the specific areas of sleep that have been disrupted. For instance melatonin can be a very effective treatment for insomnia but many patients don’t realize that there is more than one type of melatonin and that dosage is very important. A fast acting sublingual melatonin may be very helpful to initiate sleep but not effective at maintaining sleep throughout the night; whereas a prolonged release melatonin is often much more effective for sleep maintenance issues. Similarly Cannabis and cannabinoids can be used for insomnia but fast acting inhaled forms are better suited for sleep initiation whereas longer acting oral forms are more useful for sleep maintenance. At our Toronto Naturopathic clinic we take into consideration all the nuances in the diagnosis of insomnia to come up with the most effective and safest course of treatment.

Anxiety

Most of us have experienced anxiety at one point or another and like stress, anxiety in specific circumstances and in relatively short durations is perfectly normal. When anxiety becomes a daily or long lasting biological response we simply cannot function optimally and start placing our body at risk of chronic disease.

Stress and anxiety are closely related with anxiety being more of the mental emotional response and stress being more of the physical response to a perceived threat. A big issue with chronic anxiety is that it becomes a vicious cycle perpetuating itself; the experience of anxiety creates more anxiety and the fear of its return creates more anxiety. The brain, much like muscle has a memory and the more times specific pathways are engaged the harder it becomes to break those physiological habits.

Anti-anxiety medications often fail at producing long lasting results without side effects because they where often designed for treating other conditions; as is the case with anti-depressant medications. A recent breakthrough in anxiety medicine has revealed that our endocannabinoid system has a significant role in the maintenance of balanced mental emotional health. Therefore compounds like cannabidiol (CBD) which act to support the endocannabinoid system have been shown to be effective and safe in the treatment of anxiety with minimal side effects.

Promotion of a healthy lifestyle including daily exercise and a healthy diet can further support the endocannabinoid system and are therefore extremely effective strategies in their own rite. At my Toronto Naturopathic Clinic Physio-Logic we combine several strategies including cannabinoid education to formulate an effective strategy to break the anxiety cycle once and for all.

Depression

Depression is a spectrum ranging from mild symptoms to severe symptoms. While pharmaceutical medication is often necessary for more severe forms of depression, functional medicine can be very effective in treating mild to moderate depression.

Most anti-depressant medications work by keeping higher levels of serotonin in the brain and nervous system. There are many natural compounds that can achieve similar results with a less specific but more holistic mode of action. The net effect is something that is gentler than a pharmaceutical drug but with less potential for dependency and side effects. One example is the flower St. Johns Wort which s backed by several studies confirming its efficacy in treating mild to moderate forms of depression.

Nutrition and exercise are also fundamental in treating all forms of depression and unfortunately as symptoms get worse so do the potential for lassitude and malnourishment. Intervention at the early stages of depression can often allow the patient to utilize holistic therapies effectively and prevent the need for a more aggressive pharmaceutical approach. At my Toronto Naturopathic Clinic, we use functional and holistic medicines from both eastern western medical traditions to treat mild to moderate depression safely and effectively. Some of these treatments include: herbal therapy, acupuncture, intravenous therapy and lifestyle counselling.

Pain

One of the biggest obstacles to cure is pain. Chronic pain interfere with the activities of daily living, disrupting sleep and making exercise impossible. Chronic pain also places physical stress on the body, over time leading to physical burnout and deficiency. Unfortunately many of the most effective pharmaceutical strategies for pain management are linked to addiction and long term side effects. Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) is a common condition I see in practice linked to long term use of Non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Advil and Naproxen. Fortunately there are many safe and effective treatment options within naturopathic and functional medicine.

Pain is often linked to a few common phenomena: lack of circulation, inflammation, tight muscles and neurological injury. Many holistic treatments such as acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, laser therapy and massage work to improve circulation and loosen tight muscles. Many vitamin, mineral and herbal therapies are excellent for controlling inflammation. Curcumin is a compound derived from the spice turmeric and has years of scientific research demonstrating its strong anti-inflammatory properties without side effects. Using electric current in conjunction with acupuncture can be a safe and very effective treatment for neurological injury. At the my Toronto Naturopathic clinic we utilize many different tools and strategies to provide a safe, effective and individualize treatment for both acute and chronic pain.

Conclusion

Many of the health concerns that we experience in modern society can be safely and effectively treated with a Naturopathic approach. I would encourage anyone experiencing stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression or pain to have a consultation with a Naturopath or other functional medicine doctor. Unfortunately it is all too common for patients to first step into my office after years of trying to manage symptoms using only a pharmaceutical approach. It is never too late to try a more holistic approach. You will be surprised at how effective these treatments can be.


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03/Mar/2022

For the past 6-months I have been supplementing with collagen peptides in my morning coffee. I take relatively few daily supplements; Lions Mane mushroom for my brain, Vitamin D for my immune system and Collagen Peptides for my joints. I became focused on protecting my joints (especially my fingers, toes, knees and shoulders) a few years ago as I started training harder in rock climbing. I began to feel stiffness, soreness and occasionally pain after hard training sessions. I decided I needed to do something soon or I would lose the ability to climb at a relatively young age.

Instead of suppressing inflammation with compounds like curcumin, glucosamine and chondroitin I wondered if it would be possible to actually strengthen my tendons and ligaments. I had been aware of collagen supplementation through a number of patients taking it for hair and skin health. I had largely dismissed collagen as a beauty supplement and it was therefore not on my radar as a potential athletic enhancement.

Just over 6-months ago I had received a newsletter about of tendon health for climbers. The physiotherapist/climbing expert outlined specific exercises for warming up fingers and also mentioned the benefits of collagen supplementation for tendon health. At that moment I decided to re-visit the research on collagen, and I am glad I did!

Collagen peptides are small amino acid chains derived from collagen, which is the primary structural protein in ligaments, tendons, bones and skin. The research behind supplementing with collagen peptides seems to support three key areas.

Skin

A few studies, including randomized placebo controlled trials, have shown an improvement in skin moisture, elasticity and wrinkles with daily supplementation of Collagen Peptides. The daily dose ranged from 4-10 grams daily.

Osteoarthritis

Several studies have demonstrated a modest benefit in pain and function with daily supplementation of Collagen Peptides. Most studies focused on osteoarthritis (OA) in the knees but a couple also mention hip and hand. In general the improvement was modest (a little better than chondroitin) and took approximately 3-5 months to appear. Some studies used collagen peptides in combination with other compounds like chondroitin and hyaluronic acid. Most studies used a 10 gram daily dose.

Performance Enhancement

A great systematic review came out in 2021 that looked at the effects of collagen peptide supplementation on body composition, collagen synthesis and recovery from joint injury.

Five studies demonstrated a positive effect on reducing joint discomfort, knee pain , ankle and knee function and recovery from achilles tendinopathy. Those studies used 40 mg-10 grams per day over a 4-6 month period.

Four studies looked at the effects of collagen supplementation on body composition and muscle strength. The studies combined collagen supplementation (15 grams per day for 3-months) with resistance training.The studies, which were conducted on elderly men, active men and untrained pre-menopausal women, found an increase in fat free mass, a decrease in body fat percentage and an increase in hand grip strength.

Two studies assessed the effect of collagen supplementation on exercise performance and recovery from muscle soreness. The studies included recreationally active men, one used 3 grams per day for 6 weeks and the other used 20 grams per day for 7 days prior to intense exercise. There was a strong positive effect on pain with movement and muscle soreness.

Two studies assessed the effects of Collagen peptide supplementation on collagen synthesis. When taken 60min prior to exercise there was a significant increase in collagen synthesis markers following ingestion of 15 grams collagen enriched with vitamin C.

Conclusions

When it comes to preserving joint, ligament and tendon health for myself and my patients, collagen peptide supplementation is now a staple. The evidence in favour of collagen, along with a strong safety profile makes collagen peptides a valuable nutritional supplement in both sports medicine and anti-aging medicine. The recommended dose seems to be between 10-20 grams per day for 3-6 months.

References

Inoue N, Sugihara F, Wang X. Ingestion of bioactive collagen hydrolysates enhance facial skin moisture and elasticity and reduce facial ageing signs in a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled clinical study. J Sci Food Agric. 2016;96(12):4077-81.

Czajka A, Kania EM, Genovese L, et al. Daily oral supplementation with collagen peptides combined with vitamins and other bioactive compounds improves skin elasticity and has a beneficial effect on joint and general wellbeing. Nutr Res 2018;57:97-108.

Asserin J, Lati E, Shioya T, Prawitt J. The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from an ex vivo model and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;14(4):291-301

Sangsuwan W, Asawanonda P. Four-weeks daily intake of oral collagen hydrolysate results in improved skin elasticity, especially in sun-exposed areas: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Dermatolog Treat. 2020:1-6.

Benito-Ruiz P, Camacho-Zambrano MM, Carrillo-Arcentales JN, et al. A randomized controlled trial on the efficacy and safety of a food ingredient, collagen hydrolysate, for improving joint comfort. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 2:99-113.

Kumar S, Sugihara F, Suzuki K, Inoue N, Venkateswarathirukumara S. A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, clinical study on the effectiveness of collagen peptide on osteoarthritis. J Sci Food Agric. 2015;95(4):702-7.

Trc T, Bohmová J. Efficacy and tolerance of enzymatic hydrolysed collagen (EHC) vs. glucosamine sulphate (GS) in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Int Orthop. 2011;35(3):341-8

Moskowitz RW. Role of collagen hydrolysate in bone and joint disease.Semin Arthritis Rheum 2000;30:87-99

Kalman DS, Schwartz HI, Pachon J, Sheldon E, Almada AL. A randomized double blind clinical pilot trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of hydrolyzed collagen type II in adults with osteoarthritis. FASEB Experimental Biology 2004 Abstracts, Washington DC, April 17-21, 2004; A90.

Amino Acids. 2021; 53(10): 1493–1506.Published online 2021 Sep 7. doi: 10.1007/s00726-021-03072-xPMCID: PMC8521576PMID: 34491424The effects of collagen peptide supplementation on body composition, collagen synthesis, and recovery from joint injury and exercise: a systematic review Mishti Khatri,1 Robert J. Naughton,1 Tom Clifford,2 Liam D. Harper, 1 and Liam Corr1


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31/Aug/2018

Multiple Sclerosis is a complex disease; those living with it need a simple approach. A treatment approach should appreciate the physiology of the disease process without neglecting the human body as a holistic system, and the patient as a person.

Naturopathy is an ideal philosophy of medicine for the treatment of M.S. as it aims to address disease processes and symptoms without loosing sight of the patient as an individual.

I chose to focus in neurological disease early into my professional career and as a result I have come across many complex chronic diseases of the nervous system including all subtypes of M.S. When patients come for their initial visit it is not uncommon to be privy to a long list of life events that have impacted the disease, symptoms that have evolved over years and medications that have been tried, stopped and tried again.

It’s easy to see why the practitioner on the other end of the patient with M.S. can become overwhelmed and confused, loosing sight of the big picture, dismissing the patients needs and goals. Unfortunately, this medical tunnel vision re-aimed at addressing each and every concern translates into complex and confusing treatment plans that most patients cannot comply with. I sympathize with these patients who have to remember to take dozens of pills while also dealing with a life altering condition.

To make matters worse, these confusing treatment plans hardly ever work because they tend to forget that the human body is not a series of islands, rather it’s a society striving to work in harmony and balance. The key to developing a simple, understandable and effective treatment plan is to figure out what is out of balance and how do we bring it back.

A typical treatment plan for M.S. has three parts: Foundations, The Immune System and Specific Symptoms. Since we are working toward bringing the body back into balance it is important to take the time to hear the full story and timeline of how the condition started and progressed. Often during the initial consultation it will become clear as to what type of events precluded the first attack and how these events triggered a physiological imbalance.

Diet therapy in multiple sclerosis

Foundations

It’s a futile effort to try and treat symptoms while the very basics of health and wellness are not fortified. The foundations of health can be summed up into three parts: Sleep, Diet and Exercise.

Sleep is the healing chamber for the body. Recently studies have shown that the brain undergoes a type of detoxification process while we sleep. Many neurodegenerative diseases have been correlated to poor sleeping habits. It is common to see sleeping issues in patients with M.S. In fact I have had a few cases where years of terrible sleep may have contributed to the patient experiencing their first symptoms related to M.S. This makes sense in the light of the new research demonstrating how important sleep is in clearing neurotoxic compounds from the brain.

One of the most important protocols I put together for my M.S. patients is aimed at improving sleep. This is achieved through sleep hygiene education and supplements that have been carefully vetted over my years in practices for their effectiveness in improving sleep initiation and maintenance.

Diet is important for a number of reasons, some are general and some are specific to M.S. The food we eat and its relation to our digestive tract determines our nutritional robustness.

M.S. is a chronic neuro-inflammatory state and therefore patients with M.S. will be using up vitamins and minerals involved in inflammatory processes at a greater rate than in a healthy control group. Therefor it’s important to determine what the nutritional status is of the M.S. patient (through consultation and specific lab tests), bring it back into balance and correct deficiencies. Otherwise the body will be unable to cope with the inflammatory process and the disease will progress.

It is also important to identify any food allergens, intolerances and sensitivities in the M.S. patient for these will perpetuate the inflammation. Chronic inflammation has a detrimental effect on the immune system, which I will discuss further in the next part of the treatment plan.

Another aspect related to diet is the health of the gastrointestinal tract and more specifically the micro-biome (the bacteria of the gut). A healthy micro-biome is important for detoxification, nutrient absorption and immune system regulation. A protocol addressing diet will focus on testing for nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, specific dietary guidelines for M.S. and supportive supplements where necessary.

A good dietary resource specific to M.S. is The Wahls Protocol.

physiotherapy for Multiple SclerosisExercise is a powerful health modulator and is under-appreciated for its importance in chronic disease and specifically M.S. Often exercise comes in the form of physiotherapy in progressive M.S. and the first thing I will do with a patient is set them up with one of the physiotherapists in my clinic (if they don’t already have a physiotherapy program). Often patients newly diagnosed with M.S. are neglected by the medical system in terms of exercise. In-patient rehab programs are inadequate, scooters and wheelchairs are promoted over therapy. Exercise and physiotherapy are instrumental in promoting neuroplasticity, decreasing inflammation, improving energy metabolism, maintaining and improving upon range of motion.

My clinic specializes in neurological rehabilitation using the Bobath Physiotherapy approach. Physio-Logic

The Immune System

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune condition and therefore one cannot overlook the role of the immune system. Autoimmunity basically translates to a confused immune system that has targeted healthy cells and tissues rather than disease. The philosophy behind this part of the treatment plan addresses two questions: how the immune system became confused and how to bring it back into harmony.

There are many theories as to the cause of M.S., to name a few: Genetics, Vitamin D deficiency, Environmental Toxin Exposure, Candida Overgrowth, Dairy Protein Antigen Confusion and Leaky Gut Syndrome. There are truths to be told within many of these theories but in reality we just don’t know exactly what causes M.S. Some things we do know are the triggers for symptom activation, and things that reduce the risk of developing M.S. We know that stress (physical and/or emotional) often precipitate symptom relapse and progression. We also know that having adequate vitamin D levels are protective toward the development of M.S.

Vitamin D from SunlightVitamin D is not longer thought of as merely a bone-building vitamin. In reality it is more of a hormone and has a very important role in maintaining the health of the immune system. Step one of addressing the immune system is making sure the patient has optimal levels of vitamin D and if not, to adjust those levels using specific supplemental doses of vitamin D along with calcium and regular follow-up blood work.

Stress, whether it physical or emotional, causes a burden on the body. Most of the time we are able to cope with short durations of stress; however, when the stressful event is severe enough or lasts long enough it can impact the immune system in a negative way. Chronic stress can affect the immune system in two ways: Creating chronic inflammation that harms tissues and suppressing immune cells needed to fight infection.

When the immune system is under prolonged stress it becomes tired and makes mistakes, much like how we feel when under stress. One of these possible mistakes is mounting an autoimmune attack, harming normal healthy tissue rather than disease. Prolonged stress also depletes natural anti-inflammatory compounds like cortisol, allowing inflammation to run amuck. Therefore the protocol built around the immune system is aimed at decreasing stress on the immune system and bringing the immune system back into balance.

Anything that can be causing unnecessary inflammation needs to be dealt with and therefore chronic infections and food sensitivities must be addressed. Specific lab testing is used to investigate infections and sensitivities. Common food sensitivities in M.S. patients include: Dairy, Gluten, Yeast and Egg.

Once the major obstacles to a healthy immune system are removed we can work toward assisting the immune system back into a balanced state. The most important cells involved in bringing the immune system back into balance are “regulatory T cells” also known as “T suppressor cells”. These cells maintain tolerance in the immune system preventing autoimmunity. Part of the protocol is therefore aimed at supporting these cells. Some compounds that influence regulatory T cells are: probiotics, vitamin D, vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids and food sensitivities.

Sleep

Specific Symptoms

Treating foundations and immune system irregularities take time, therefore it is almost equally important to address the specific symptoms of the patient. Fatigue, weakness and pain are often obstacles to important foundational concerns like sleep and exercise.

Fortunately, there are many great strategies within Naturopathic medicine to help address the most common symptoms in M.S. namely: Weakness, Spasticity, Fatigue, Pain, Bowel and Bladder issues. There are dozens of supplements that have shown promise in treating the common symptoms of M.S. The art of the practitioner is in choosing the right compounds for the right patient. As an example, medical marijuana can be very effective for spasticity, pain, bladder dysfunction and sleep but can exacerbate weakness. A good practitioner with experience in treating M.S. will know how to choose the appropriate medications for the patients needs.

Multiple Sclerosis is a complex condition with many subtypes and many different ways it affects the individual patient. Naturopathic medicine aims to treat the root cause of disease while also addressing the individual concerns of the patient. The treatment plan can be summed up into three areas: Foundations, Immune System and Specific Symptoms. This helps direct the practitioner toward the right approach and simplifies the philosophy behind the treatment, improving upon compliance and therefore patient outcomes.

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18/Apr/2018

A Naturopathic Doctor can play an important role in managing CMT through dietary counseling, specialized testing and by offering relevant integrative therapies.

CMT is a hereditary disorder affecting the motor and sensory nerves.  It’s characterized by progressive loss of muscle tissue and sensation in various parts of the body. Currently CMT is incurable and is the most common inherited neurological disorder and affects approximately 1 in 2,500 people.

In terms of managing CMT, by far the most important goal is to maintain movement, muscle strength and flexibility. Often overlooked is the role diet, pain management and antispasmodics can play in CMT. Having a naturopathic doctor familiar with neurological conditions can be a valuable part of a healthcare team.

 

Sugar

Although sugar is sweet and delicious, at high concentrations it can become a poison for the nervous system. Uncontrolled blood sugar, including diabetes, will exacerbate nerve damage and peripheral neuropathy in CMT. A naturopathic doctor can test blood sugar in order to determine if it poses a risk. Dietary counseling, such as education around glycemic index and glycemic load, can help balance blood sugar levels. There are also effective strategies that can boost insulin sensitivity thus lowering blood sugar. These include; low impact exercise and supplements like chromium, berberine, agaricus mushroom, american ginseng, and vitamin B3.

 

Diet

A diet rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can greatly improve neuromotor and locomotor performance. Curcumin and vitamin C are two natural compounds that have been and are currently being investigated as potential therapeutic agents for CMT. One study demonstrated a decrease in neuron death and an increase in size and number of nerve sheath cells after administration of curcumin. Intermittent fasting is a diet strategy that promotes a 16 hour fasting period each day and has been shown to improve locomotor functioning in CMT patients after 5-months.

 

Nerve Pain

Nerve pain and neuropathy can be addressed through a few different approaches. Application of topical counterirritants such as capsaicin and menthol can work by overriding pain signals. Peripheral pain blockers work by re-routing pain signals locally at the source of the pain. Effective peripheral pain blockers include: acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, moxabustion and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).  Central pain blockers block or override pain signals where they are interpreted, in the brain. Central pain blockers include cannabis, wild lettuce and california poppy.

 

Cramps and Spasms

There are many effective integrative therapies for cramps and muscle spasms. These therapies work by balancing electrical conduction at the muscle and stimulating inhibitory neurotransmitters. Some of the most effective therapies are: magnesium, acupuncture, GABA, valerian, cramp bark, skullcap, passionflower and cannabis.

 

Nerve-Protection

One of the largest areas a naturopathic doctor can serve as a crucial part of the integrative healthcare team is in offering strategies to prevent further nerve damage, and in some cases reversing existing nerve damage. Neuroprotectants generally belong to two main categories: antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Neuroprotectant antioxidants include: alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, resveratrol, EGCG, flavonoids, Co-Q10, CBD and THC. Anti-inflammatory strategies include testing for food sensitivities, hormone levels and environmental toxins.  Anti-inflammatory supplements include Omega 3 fatty acids, curcumin, boswelia, and CBD.


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16/Mar/2018

Why get a license?

I want to tell you how to obtain a license for Medical Marijuana. Every month I see a handful of patients who are trying to medicate with unregulated cannabis obtained either through “a guy” or a local illegal dispensary. The problem with this approach is that you are buying an unregulated product, meaning you cannot guarantee its purity, quality, potency, and cannabinoid profile.

There are some decent products out there but largely its hit and miss and perhaps the most frequent complaint is a lack of consistency from batch to batch. Its funny how patients will be shy about discussing use of medical marijuana with me and yet will go to a complete stranger for their medication. A growing part of my practice is convincing patients to transition from their “street weed” to a proper regulated medical marijuana product.

Although, as a Naturopathic Doctor, I am not able to directly prescribe medical marijuana in Ontario, I am fortunate to have a good professional relationship with a licensing clinic and am writing an average of 3-5 patient referrals per week. Most licensing clinics will require a referral from a healthcare professional.

How to get a license

The process is quite simple: a patient will come in either having experience with cannabis or will be curious as to whether cannabis can help them. I will then preform an assessment, including a health history and short physical exam, in order to determine if they would benefit from cannabis. A referral is then made to the licensing clinic. The licensing clinic then calls the patient to setup an appointment to get a license for access to medical marijuana. Once setup with an account the patient then does all their ordering online through a regulated distributor such as Tweed, Aphria, Tilray or MedRelief.

These regulated grower/distributors have an excellent selection of strains and oils with varying cannabinoid concentrations and terpene profiles. Most importantly, the purity and potency are guaranteed and there is very high consistency from batch to batch. Therefore, if you find a strain or oil that works for you, you can pretty much guarantee it will work the same way every time you order it.

Common conditions for referral

The most common conditions I write referrals for are: Insomnia, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Pain, Migraine, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, PTSD, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Cancer, Fibromyalgia and Neurological Conditions with painful spasms.

The environment in Canada with regard to cannabis is going to change as we approach legalization, but until that happens I would advise you that it is usually better to consume regulated medicines, this medication just happens to be marijuana.

 

For more great articles and information on cannabis and CBD check out the link below:CBD Oil Room


dr_shawn

Patient focused integrative health care. Utilizing effective natural approaches designed to be used alone or to compliment conventional medical care.


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