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19/Jan/2023

Have you ever heard of Shilajit? If not, don’t worry you’re not alone. For centuries, this rock-like substance has been used for its purported health benefits in the Indian subcontinent and surrounding regions. But what exactly is this mysterious stuff? In this blog post, we’ll answer that question and discuss some of the potential health benefits of Shilajit.

What is Shilajit?

Shilajit is a tar-like substance found in the mountains of the Himalayas and other mountainous regions. It is made up of organic plant matter that has been compressed over many years by layers of rock and ice. This dark brown or blackish material can be scraped off rocks in its raw form or purchased as a powder, liquid extract, or capsule supplement.
Shilajit has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine for its purported health benefits, including increased energy levels and enhanced physical performance. The active ingredients are believed to include minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium, and copper; humic substances like fulvic acid; antioxidants; amino acids; vitamins; enzymes; and other phytonutrients.

Potential Health Benefits of Shilajit

Shilajit has traditionally been used to treat a wide range of ailments including diabetes, fatigue, weak bones, low libido, digestive issues, high cholesterol levels, and even depression. While more research needs to be done to confirm these potential health benefits, preliminary findings have suggested that it may indeed be beneficial for certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). In addition to providing energy-boosting effects due to its high mineral content, shilajit may also help reduce inflammation and increase immunity due to its antioxidant content. Let’s take a closer look at some of the clinical research.
Recent clinical studies have shown that shilajit may be useful in treating a variety of health conditions. For instance, in a study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine in 2018, researchers found that daily ingestion of shilajit for 12 weeks reduced levels of fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1C, and urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Similarly, another investigation reported in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism revealed that supplementing with shilajit for 8 weeks improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control among CFS patients.
Furthermore, research published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications suggests that shilajit has anti-inflammatory properties due to its antioxidant content. Specifically, one study found that it reduced oxidative stress markers such as malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). These findings are consistent with other reports indicating that shilajit may help reduce inflammation by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.
The mineral content of shilajit may also contribute to its beneficial effects on health. For example, a study published in Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine showed that supplementation with this substance increased total cholesterol levels while decreasing triglycerides and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) concentrations among healthy adults. Other investigations have revealed that it may promote better bone health by increasing calcium absorption from food or supplements. Finally, some experts claim that regular consumption of this substance can help boost energy levels by improving mitochondrial function and cellular respiration processes.

Potential Risks

Shilajit can be a great supplement due to its potential benefits, however, there are certain risks and cautions that should be taken into consideration.
For starters, it is important to note that shilajit is not regulated by the FDA and could contain heavy metals such as lead and arsenic if not properly sourced. This is especially true for shilajit products coming from outside of the United States. It is also important to consult with a doctor before using shilajit, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Additionally, people with existing medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure should use caution when taking shilajit due to possible interactions with medications they may already be taking.
As with any supplement or herb, it is important to take the recommended dosage in order to avoid any side effects such as nausea, headaches, heartburn and stomach upset. Lastly, because of its detoxifying properties and effect on metabolism, people who are sensitive to change in their diet might want to start slow when first taking shilajit in order to give their bodies time to adjust. Taking all of these factors into account can help ensure the safe use of shilajit and maximize its potential health benefits.

Conclusion

In short, Shilajit is an enigmatic rock-like substance found in mountain regions around the world with a long history of being used in traditional medicine for its purported health benefits. While more research needs to be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn about its effectiveness as a treatment option for various ailments—including diabetes and CFS—preliminary findings suggest that shilajit may indeed provide useful energy-boosting effects due to its high mineral content as well as anti-inflammatory properties due to its antioxidant content. Ultimately though it’s always important to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements! With that being said—we hope you learned something new about shilajit today!

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11/Jan/2023

Let’s face it, kids love snacks. From chips and candy to popcorn and ice cream, snack time can easily become the most popular meal of the day for many children. But fear not! Eating snacks all day doesn’t have to mean your child’s diet is missing out on important vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Here are some tips on how you can make sure your kids get what they need even when snacking takes center stage.

Be Smart About Snacks

It goes without saying that snacks shouldn’t be replacing meals, but if they do, there are a few things you can do to make sure they’re still providing your child with the necessary nutrition.
Whenever possible, try to opt for more nutrient-dense snacks like fruits and vegetables or whole grain crackers with cheese. Instead of chips or cookies, offer something like trail mix with nuts and dried fruit or yogurt with fresh fruit slices. This ensures that your child gets a variety of nutrients instead of just filling up on empty calories from processed foods.
Check out these 28 healthy snack ideas for kids

Portion Control Is Key

Snacks are meant to tide us over until our next meal—not replace them! As tempting as it might be for your kid to scarf down an entire bag of chips in one sitting, it’s important to keep portions reasonable so that their stomach isn’t too full when mealtime rolls around later on. If you’re worried about them going back for second helpings throughout the day, try making smaller individual servings beforehand so that there aren’t any leftovers sitting around tempting them later on.

Get Creative & Have Fun!

Snacking doesn’t always have to be boring—it can actually be a fun way for kids (and adults) to get creative in the kitchen! Try setting aside some time each week for you and your family members to brainstorm healthy snack ideas together using ingredients from local grocery stores or farmers markets. Get creative by playing around with different food combinations and presentation techniques like cutting fruits into shapes or creating fun faces out of veggies! Not only is this a great way to bond as a family, but it also teaches kids valuable skills while helping them develop their own unique tastes in food!

Making sure the diet is balanced

To ensure your child is eating a balanced diet, it is important to take into consideration the five food groups. This includes fruits and vegetables, which should make up about one-third of the food that your child eats; proteins like lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, peas and nuts; whole grains such as oats, brown rice and quinoa; low-fat dairy products like milk and yogurt; and healthy fats such as olive oil.

Healthy packaged snacks

Healthy packaged snacks for kids can provide a great alternative to the common unhealthy snacks that are often found in the snack aisle. They can be packed with nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential for the growing body of young children. Many companies such as Annie’s Homegrown provide organic, gluten-free and all-natural snacks that feature a delicious combination of grains, fruits and veggies. Not only do these snacks provide balanced nutrition, but they are also yummy enough to make even the pickiest eater happy! Plus, they come in fun shapes like stars, animals and even smiley faces that kids can enjoy.
In addition to attractive packaging and tasty flavors, many healthy packaged snacks also contain wholesome ingredients such as quinoa, oats or whole grains. These ingredients have been proven to help maintain blood sugar levels in children who have diabetes or other metabolic conditions. Furthermore, some products may be fortified with extra vitamins A & D which helps support healthy bones and teeth development in kids. With more antioxidants than most other snack foods, you can feel good about providing your child with quality nutrition from these tasty treats!
Moreover, certain companies are committed to sustainability by using recyclable packaging materials and renewable energy sources to produce their goods. For instance Nature’s Bakery is one of the leading brands that strives to protect the environment while providing convenient snacks for families on-the-go. All this makes healthy packaged snacks an excellent choice for parents who want their children to eat nutritious meals with no hassle involved.

Here’s a list of 15 healthy packaged snacks for kids available on amazon:

1. Kind Bars Kids Variety Pack
2. Annie’s Organic Bunny Snacks
3. Nature’s Bakery Fruit & Grain Fig Bars
4. GoGo Squeeze Applesauce on the Go
5. Blue Diamond Nut Thins Crackers
6. KIND Kids Chewy Protein Bars
7. Stretch Island Fruit Snacks
8. Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar Puffs
9. Popcorners Popped Corn Chips in Fun Flavors
10. Genuine Fruit Bites from Bare Snacks
11. Happy Kid Organics™ Strawberry Yogurt and Oats Comfort Square Bars
12. MadeGood Granola Minis Maple Quinoa Clusters
13. Terra Real Vegetable Chips in Sea Salt flavor
14. CLIF Kid ZBar Organic Oatmeal Raisin Bar
15. Gerber® Organic Yogurt Melts Mixed Berry Flavor

Conclusion

Snack time doesn’t have to mean unhealthy habits; when done right, snacking can be an enjoyable part of any healthy diet plan! By being smart about what snacks you give your kids and controlling portions accordingly, you can ensure that their diet is well balanced even when they don’t feel like eating full meals. Plus, getting creative in the kitchen is a great way to teach kids valuable skills while also having fun! So don’t be afraid to let snacks take center stage every now and again—your child’s health will thank you for it!

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04/Jan/2023

Have you ever woken up in the morning feeling groggy and exhausted? That’s because our bodies naturally respond to light. In fact, bright light upon waking is essential for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle—not just for one day, but for days, weeks, and even months. In this blog post, we’ll explore why bright light upon waking is so important and how it can help improve your health and well-being.

What Is a Sleep Cycle?

A sleep cycle is the process by which our bodies move through different stages of wakefulness and sleep throughout the night. It’s made up of two main phases: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During NREM sleep, our bodies are getting ready for REM sleep, which is when we dream. Each night, we usually go through 4–5 cycles of REM and NREM sleep that last about 90 minutes each.

The Role of Light in Our Sleep Cycles

Light plays an essential role in regulating our circadian rhythm—our body’s natural internal clock that tells us when to be awake or asleep. When it gets dark outside, a hormone called melatonin is released into our systems to help us fall asleep. When it gets light out again, another hormone called cortisol signals to us that it’s time to wake up and get going. Without adequate exposure to bright light upon waking, our circadian rhythms can become disrupted—which could lead to poor quality of sleep over time as well as other negative health effects such as fatigue, irritability, depression or anxiety.

Benefits of Bright Light Upon Waking

Exposing ourselves to bright light first thing in the morning helps reset our internal clocks so that we can stay awake during the day and fall asleep at night more easily. This means we can get better quality rest overall! Additionally, exposing ourselves to bright light in the morning may also provide cognitive benefits like increased alertness and improved concentration throughout the day.

How much light is optimal?

A recent study published in Sleep Science and Practice found that exposing participants to bright light of at least 2500 lux for 30 minutes after waking triggered the highest cortisol response. This study also revealed that dim lighting of less than 500 lux did not produce a significant change in cortisol levels, meaning that it was not sufficient for resetting the circadian rhythm.
Another study conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon determined that conflicting with the body’s natural expectations can have serious consequences; exposure to bright light of more than 5000 lux after waking up in the morning disrupted cortisol rhythms, leading to an increase in stress hormones and a decrease in alertness and productivity. The optimal level of light exposure after waking appears to be between 2000-3000 lux, as this amount is both beneficial for circadian rhythm health and does not induce a stress response.
An experiment performed at Northwestern University found that exposure to bright light between 2000-2500 lux resulted in greater alertness and improved performance on cognitive tests as compared to regular office lighting levels. Thus, we can conclude that exposing oneself to bright light between 2000-3000 lux within thirty minutes of waking is likely most beneficial for resetting our circadian rhythms, improving alertness and productivity, reducing stress, and promoting overall wellbeing.

What is the best light source?

The optimal light source to be exposed to upon waking is one that mimics natural sunlight. By exposing yourself to a full-spectrum light therapy, ideally within the first hour of waking, your body will be more likely to respond positively. This type of light therapy helps regulate the body’s production of melatonin and cortisol.
The most effective type of full-spectrum light therapy involves artificial lights that mimic natural daylight and provide a bright white light similar in color temperature to the midday sun. For example, LED bulbs that have a high Color Rendering Index (CRI) are ideal for providing a balanced spectrum of light. Additionally, adjustable lamps can provide an even greater degree of control over brightness levels by allowing users to adjust the intensity according to their own preferences.

Conclusion

Bright light upon waking has been shown to improve both physical health (by helping regulate our circadian rhythm) as well as mental health (by boosting alertness). So if you want to feel more energized during the day and get better quality rest at night, make sure you give yourself some extra exposure to bright light first thing in the morning! Even if it’s only for a few minutes each day—it could make all the difference in terms of improving your overall health and well-being!

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11/Jul/2022

Fasting for six years

I thought it was a good time for me to personally reflect on the last six years of intermittent fasting. Yes, for the last six years I have been following a relatively strict program of fasting for 16-20 hours of the day. Usually this means having my last meal of the day around 6pm and my first meal the following day at 11am.

I remember first hearing about the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF) at a medical conference organized by the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine back in 2016. After Dr. Denis Wilson M.D. spoke about all the clinically supported benefits of IF as well as his own personal journey with IF, I was sold!

Fasting and Climbing

That was around the same time I started to take rock climbing seriously. A was training 2-3 days per week and for around 2 hours each session. I decided it would be an interesting experiment to combine IF with my morning training. I was hitting the gym while in a fasted state (usually around 16 hours at that point) and would train as hard as I could.

When the body is in a post 14 hour fast it starts to convert fat into an energy source called ketones. This is because all the sugar stored in the body has been used up. Exercising while fasting speeds up this process. I was amazed to see how quickly this combination of fasting and exercise transformed my body and my health. Over the course of a year I lost 15lb and went up several grades in my climbing. My climbing partners couldn’t believe I was able to climb hard on an empty stomach, but I actually felt lighter and clearer. I would try to have my first meal of the day within an hour after workouts for optimal protein metabolism to build muscle. I would regularly get comments from familiar faces at the gym asking if I’m doing anything special outside of the gym. I simply told them that I’m fasting and climbing. Pretty simple but very effective.

Finding the right program

Over the following 5 years I had short 2-3 week periods where I would take a break from IF but would soon return as I felt my best, looked my best and climbed my best while on a pretty strict IF program. I have since recommended IF to dozens of patients, the majority of whom see results within a few months. One of my biggest supporters and now followers of IF is my dad. He saw such dramatic results that IF is now a regular lifestyle habit for him as well.

I dabbled a few times with doing pretty long fasts (20-23 hours) and eating only one meal per day but I found that this was a bit hard on my body. I was getting irritable and was not performing very well at the gym. I now have a pretty good understanding of how many hours my body likes to fast for and how many meals per day is best.

Everyone is going to find a sweet spot for themselves. I don’t recommend forcing the body into a particular program but to try fasting for different lengths of time and see what feels and works best. It does take a little getting used to at first but it is important to remember that this is a very natural state for the human body.

It’s only natural

Through most of human evolution humanity had to go for extended periods of time without food. In fact, an abundance of food at our beck and call is likely contributing to a lot of chronic disease in our modern way of living. Many religious traditions still practice fasting in order to clear the mind, body and spirit. Centuries of cultural practice as well as hundreds of recent studies are in support of fasting in one form or another. It is one of the cheapest, simplest and most effective medical programs I can recommend for a patient.

What lies ahead

Looking ahead to the next decade, I don’t see myself giving up IF anytime soon. There are a few other lifestyle changes I would like to implement but IF will continue to be the backbone of my personal health and wellness program. There are some individuals including in pregnancy where IF is not recommended. I encourage those of you curious about IF or trying it out, to at least have a consultation with a health professional like myself. The benefit of being supervised by a Naturopathic Doctor is the peace of mind that your are practicing something that is safe for your body, you have someone to answer questions as they arise and even to run blood tests if necessary. If I have inspired at least a few people to give IF a try then I have passed along a valuable lifestyle tool as it was passed to me six years ago. Happy fasting everyone!


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21/Nov/2019

It was my hope to find an effective alternative to Cannabidiol (CBD) that wouldn’t land me in jail when I travel; so is PEA the new CBD?

PEA stands for Palmitoylethanolamide. It is a fatty acid that is found in Eggs, Cheese, Meats and Peanuts.  We also make PEA during stress, infections, inflammation, trauma, allergies, pain, cardiac disease, kidney disease and obesity. Much like our endocannabinoids, PEA is responsible for maintaining cellular homeostasis.

Naturopathic Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis

How does it work?

While PEA does not have a direct effect on Cannabinoid receptor (CB1 and CB2) it does have similar mechanisms of action to our endocannabinoids and cannabidiol (CBD). PEA looks very similar to our body’s own endocannabinoids (AEA and 2-AG). These similarities allow PEA to exert effects similar to our AEA and 2-AG.

PEA down regulates mast cells, which are responsible for the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. PEA can therefore be a powerful molecule for immune heath, inflammation, pain, neuro-protection and allergies. PEA has direct action on receptors GPCR55 and GPR119, which produce effects similar to activation of CB1 and CB2 by endocannabinoids, THC and CBD.  PEA also acts similarly to CBD by affecting the breakdown of endocannabinoids via inhibition of the enzymes FAAH and MAGL. 

Pain Management
Micronutrient Infusion

The Research

Several studies have shown that when PEA is used with opioid type drugs for low back pain, the dose of the opioids could be reduced significantly. PEA was found to exert pain relief animal models of inflammation and neuropathic pain. These analgesic effects are thought to be due to increasing endocannabinoid levels similarly to how CBD works. All in all many studies have revealed that PEA exerts similar effects to CBD.  So I thought I would give this supplement a whirl, as a alternative to CBD (especially for travel) would be an important option for patients using CBD. 

My 5-day Trial with PEA

I took the supplement P.E.A. Activate from AOR , which contains 600mg PEA per lozenge.  My daily dose was two lozenges per day and I did that for 5 days. I noticed a strange light-headed feeling about 5 minutes after chewing my first lozenge. The feeling lasted for a bout 30min. I was excited that I actually felt a bit different after that fist dose by unfortunately each dose produced a similar effect (a light relaxing feeling) that only lasted between 30-60min. There didn’t seem to be much carry over from one dose to another. The effects were always pretty fast acting but short-lived. Furthermore I had a return of some muscle soreness that was absent for most of the time that I was taking my CBD supplement.  So, it seemed like, for me, the PEA was not having the same effect that I had experienced while on CBD.

In summary, the effects that I experienced during my PEA trial were fast acting but short-lived. PEA may therefore be a useful tool for acute episodes of anxiety, pain etc… but it did not have the same accumulative and long term effects that I experienced with CBD. The research on PEA is compelling and it is possible that this supplement warrants a more long-term trial. According to the research PEA seems to be a potential alternative to CBD but from my experience it falls a bit short.  Check out my video review of PEA here. 

https://youtu.be/Yfr-Ma19gGk