Dr. Laura – The Sunshine Vitamin

What you don’t know about vitamin D

If you live in Canada and don’t supplement, you are likely deficient in vitamin D.  How much to supplement and for how long is very individual. It is based on things like the  natural colour of the skin, immune status, food intake and time spent outdoors in the summer.

The body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunshine or ultraviolet light. About 20 min of unprotected exposure mid day in the summer months in Ontario will produce about 1000IU of vitamin D.

Small amounts of vitamin D may be found in food sources such as fish, egg yolk, beef liver, however, when sunlight is inadequate (no exposure or seasonal variance), supplementation is essential.

Vitamin D helps:

  • the body absorb calcium and phosphorous
  • build bone mineral matrix
  • the nerves and muscles function
  • boost the immune system
  • modulate autoimmune diseases

Vitamin D deficiency can be suspect in multiple sclerosis, cancer, pancreatic deficiency, Crohn’s, Colitis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, chronic low back pain, or severe muscle weakness.

Check your Vitamin D Status

Vitamin D levels have an optimum range, with increased risks for health disease when deficient or in excess.

OHIP no longer pays for vitamin D testing mostly because they found everyone to be deficient and suggest we all should supplement, at least through October to March. How much to supplement depends on the individual.

Recent research shows that people supplementing may have overdone it and now there are risks showing up for people who are taking vitamin D in excess. Protect from overdose by getting enough vitamin A (liver, organ meats, cod liver oil) and K2 (brie cheese!) in the diet.  Sometimes if levels are high enough, it means lowering the dose or stopping supplementation for a while.

Levels are best monitored by a blood test, then with the advice of your doctor you can be sure you are taking the amount that is right for you.

You may pay (about $45) for a basic vitamin D blood test with your Naturopathic Doctor. You may book your appointment (fees in addition to the blood test) today to investigate further.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: PSA Rising? Read This.

Recent research and clinical evidence shows we can slow the doubling time of PSA and reduce the risks of prostate cancer.

What’s so Important About PSA?

The role of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the prostate gland is not clear. In addition to a digital rectal exam, the level of PSA is used to screen and monitor risk of prostate cancer.

Overall the PSA specific activity within the prostate gland is relatively low. However, when the amount of this enzyme starts to rise, the activity is significant.

PSA can break apart the Galactin 3 molecule. So, the more the PSA, the more Gal -3 cleaved, the more tumour activity of Gal-3 that occurs.

Experimental data available today demonstrate an association between galectin-3 (Gal-3) levels and numerous pathological conditions such as heart failure, infection with microorganisms, diabetes, and tumour progression- including that of prostate cancer.

  • The cancer-free control patients have lower levels of galectin-3 in the serum.
  • Serum galectin-3 concentrations were uniformly higher in patients with metastatic prostate cancer.

A large and fast-growing body of clinical research shows that controlling Gal-3 is an essential strategy for long-term health. Gal-3 is an active biomarker that impacts organ function, normal cell replication, immunity, joint mobility and more.

According to the research, Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) is the only available solution that can successfully block the effects of elevated Gal-3 throughout the body. By providing a safe and effective Gal-3 blockade, MCP is shown to safeguard and support the health of numerous organs and systems. This is the reason independent researchers and health professionals are increasingly interested in this nutritional supplement.

MCP appears to pretend it is Galactin -3 for the Galectin-3 receptor sites, keeping the real Galactin -3 from activating the receptor. In effect it keeps the tumour cells from building up and growing. This is reflected in the slow rate of rise of the PSA marker, and a reduced risk of tumour development.

References available upon request.

From the research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Is it aging or low B12?

B12 deficiency has been estimated to affect about 40% of people over 60 years of age, and about 40% of the general population are on the lower end of normal.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can look like the signs and symptoms of diseases that are commonly associated with aging such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive disorders, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other neurological problems; depression and anxiety; cardiovascular disease; cancer; and low libido. If someone you love has these symptoms, best to get there B12 levels checked and supplement if help reduce the symptoms.

Supplementing with an active form of B12 can help reduce inflammation, which has improved symptoms of arthritis and eczema.

Vitamin B12 works with folate to make DNA, red blood cells and the insulating sheath around the nerves to help with nerve signalling. This is why when I inject B12, I always include folate with it.

Causes/Risks of B12 deficiency

  • Vegan/vegetarianism
  • Intestinal malabsorption due to low stomach acid
  • Celiac disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Pernicious anemia (an autoimmune condition affecting our ability to absorb B12)
  •  Atrophic gastritis (usually H. pylori infection in the elderly)
  • Long term use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s)
  • People on Metformin therapy

If someone you know or love fall into any of these categories, best they get tested even if they don’t have symptoms, as deficiency can start before the symptoms show up.

Symptoms of B12 Deficiency

  • not much if  it’s mild
  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • strange sensations
  • numbness, or tingling in hands, legs, or feet
  • difficulty walking such as staggering or balance problems
  • anemia
  • a swollen, inflamed tongue
  • yellow skin
  • jaundice
  • difficulty thinking and reasoning
  • memory loss
  • paranoia or hallucinations

Testing for B12

It is easy to run a B12 test, however there are other blood and urine markers that can provide a more complete picture, such as methylmalonic acid (MMA) and homocysteine. Homocysteine may be more sensitive and accurate for detecting the early stages of B12 deficiency. When I run tests, I look at things from a functional medicine perspective and this may involve the more complete profile.

If there is an absorption issue suspected, we need to identify and correct that, if possible. Further testing and treatment may be required to do that.

The results of the tests are also interpreted differently when you come to see me. I look at things from a functional range – your optimum level of performance- not the point at which you have disease. The conventional medical system in North America regard a low B12 to be below 200 pg/mL. This is the point where irreversible neurological damage can happen. I prefer to go at the guidelines set out by Europe and Japan – somewhere over 550 pg/mL.

Supplementing

Best to get B12 from animal based sources – strongest providers are the organ meats (liver, kidney) and seafood like oysters and clams. To get ahead quickly or to supplement a vegan or vegetarian diet, you will need activated B12, so hydroxy or methyl based cobalamin are the best. If there is intestinal absorption issues, then you’ll need a pill to dissolve under the tongue or an injection to provide the boost. What I carry in the clinic is an activated form of B12/B complex so it absorbs easily and we see good results on the before and after blood work, or we can go for the injection – usually weekly for a month and then once a month for a few months. Then we re-test.

 

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with a Functional Medicine approach. She is a Certified Gluten Practitioner, A HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in ongoing education with the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.

Dr. Laura: Nutrition for the New Year!

Kick the New Year off right – reset your diet, your health and invigorate your life!

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND offers Naturopathic Medicine with a Functional Medicine approach. She helps people better digest their food and the world around them. She is a Naturopathic Doctor, a Certified Gluten Practitioner, HeartMath Certified Practitioner and is engaged in a year long training module at the Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine.

Achieve Optimum Health

Why wait until disease sets in? A visit to Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can help you identify nutritional deficiencies before disease sets in. With a physical exam and intake that looks at your hair, skin, nails, sleep, stress and diet, Dr. Laura may identify nutritional deficiencies that, if left alone may lead to a number of common problems:

  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • dry skin
  • acne
  • depression
  • insomnia
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • leg cramps
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • poor workout recovery
  • poor memory and concentration
  • brittle, cracked or peeling nails

Food Sensitivity Testing

Sometimes we can be sensitive to foods and not even know it. Testing helps identify what foods may be bothering your system. Using blood or electro dermal screening test will help identify foods that need to be rotated, avoided or eaten occasionally. Knowing your personal food fingerprint may help reduce or even eliminate skin conditions, depression, anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, joint pain and more.

  • Electro Dermal Screening Tests
  • Blood Tests

Nutritional Analysis

Naturopathic Medicine is a comprehensive framework for medicine that looks at the body as a whole and integrated biological web of physiological function. Dietary analysis helps see if you get the ratio of fats, carbs and protein that best suits your individual requirements.

Clinical and laboratory testing is used to evaluate optimum levels for your best health. Most conventional interpretation use metrics that diagnose disease… but why wait until then? Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can evaluate:

  • Physical evaluation of the health of the hair, skin, nails
  • Dietary analysis helps identify meal timing and preference, macronutrient balance
  • Blood tests are available to evaluate status of nutrients like iron, B12, folic acid, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, Vitamin D.
  • Electrodermal screening will help identify an imbalance of a given nutrient.

Kick off the new year with an overview of your nutritional status and find your optimum health. Call 519.826.7973 to book your appointment today.

Dr. Laura: Is your thyroid to blame?

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease in her lifetime and 15 Million women have a dysfunction, but don’t even know it. Men can have issues too, although at a less rate than women.

Environmental toxins are largely to blame for the rising rates of thyroid disease. Years ago, it was mostly iodine deficiency and this is why iodine was added to salt. Now we point the finger more often at the rising rates of hormone mimickers in our environment like BPA’s and their alternatives in plastics, cadmium, circadian light disrupters, pesticides, herbicides and more.

Untreated thyroid dysfunction can lead to feelings of:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Brain fog, difficulty focusing thoughts
  • Unexpected weight gain, and with it increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
  • High LDL cholesterol – the thyroid plays an important role in fat metabolism
  • Depression – as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the root cause of their depression –but their problem hasn’t been fully investigated. When I check thyroid I check more than the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).  I look sub functioning gland by checkin TSH, T3, T4, thyroid antibodies and look for how well cortisol is clearing on the DUTCH hormone test.
  • Anxiety – often because cortisol is not clearing
  • Increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of this hormone has on heart rate and rhythm.

Troubles in the digestive track and liver can lead to poor activation of the T4 to T3 hormones. When I work with patients I am always looking for clues in the skin, stress, and sleep and how well the micro biome functions. A good clue to micro biome function is the Comprehensive Stool Analysis by Doctors Data.

If you suspect you may have a thyroid issue, get it tested!  I’ll look at results from a functional medicine perspective, which mean optimal performance, not disease levels of lab markers.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Laura: 6 Causes of Hip Pain

Slow to move, can’t get up out of the chair, or have pain or stiffness in the hip when walking?  You may have one of these six hip concerns.

What causes pain in the hip?

  1. ™Bursitis
  2. Tendinitis
  3. ™Osteoarthritis
  4. ™Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  5. ™Ankylosing Spondylitis
  6. ™Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
athritisresearchuk.org

What can be done about hip pain?

Bursitis: Bursae are jelly-like sacs that provide cushion between tissues such as bone, muscles, and tendons. Sometimes bursae get irritated with repetitive activities that overwork the joint.  Inflamed bursae are very painful. Classic symptoms are pain when rising from a chair and pain down the front of the thigh. Homeopathy, acupuncture topical ligaments and anti-inflammatories may all be helpful.

Tendinitis may be in just one side of the body, or both. Tendons are thick bands of tissue that attach muscles to bones. Exercising too hard without a proper warm up, or overuse of the joint can lead to pain and immobility. It is important to have the concern addressed as soon as possible to prevent long term mobility issues from the scar tissue from build up. Tissue work, natural anti-inflammatories and acupuncture can be very helpful.

Osteoarthritis (OA) doesn’t have to be a right of passage of aging. There are things that can be done to slow the wear and tear on the joint and actually help restore the proper function of the cartilage that cushions your hip bones. OA can happen on just one side of the body in one joint. Treatment is longer term and can involve diet and lifestyle adjustments and possibly some supplementation.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune condition. This means that the body is attacking its own tissues. Classic symptoms are worse in morning on rising and better with movement. RA usually happens equally on both sides of the body.  One way it can be diagnosed is with blood work to see if there is a rise in the RF (Rheumatoid Factor). Anti-inflammatories will be helpful, but it is important to address the root cause of the autoimmune condition, and this often begins in the gastrointestinal tract. Naturopathic medicine is fantastic for getting to the root cause of an issue.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is another autoimmune condition. Ankylosing means fusing and spondylitis means inflammation of the spine. Symptoms include  a stiff, inflexible and painful spine and/ or hip area. In AS, ligaments and tendons as well as the bones are damaged. New bone is often formed in response which is thin and fragile and may grow together. Diagnostics include ANA blood factor and HLA_B27 genetic testing. Acupuncture and botanical medicines can be very helpful to reduce the immune system response in tissue, reduce inflammation and maintain strength and mobility.

Systemic Lupus Erythematous (SLE). The classic presentation is a triad of fever, joint pain, and facial butterfly type rash in a woman of childbearing age should prompt investigation into the diagnosis of SLE. Since SLE is an autoimmune disease affecting  many different tissues, something the symptoms can be body wide and unique for the individual, but one of the most common reasons at first is joint pain, including the hip. Diagnostics for SLE involve multiple factors; more information may be found here.  As many factors in SLE present, the naturopathic doctor can piece together the picture and begin the process based on clinical presentation and blood work. Many factors in natural medicine can reduce symptoms of SLE.

From the heart and research of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Laura: Get the Full Hormone Picture

Do you suffer from fatigue, depression, anxiety, hot flashes, decreased libido, stress, acne, insomnia, weight gain, infertility, hair loss or unwanted hair?

Get the full hormone

picture with the Dried Urine Total Comprehensive Hormone (DUTCH) test.

Seminar Saturday, Nov 4, 2017

10-11am

Forward Health

951 Gordon St. Unit 8B

Register Today: info@forwardhealth.ca

We look forward to seeing you here!

Although information gathered in a face-to face appointment is critical to getting to the root cause of an issue, testing is also a key to see the full picture.

Signs and symptoms of different hormone imbalance can look similar, so it is extremely helpful to know exactly what needs to be tweaked.

Through personal experience and advanced practitioner training with Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine, I am more prepared than ever to take you on a deep dive into your own personal hormone picture.

This test allows me as a practitioner to make a more informed decision on a treatment plan. For you, the patient it means more answers of what is really going on in your body and getting better sooner.

The test is easy to do, home-based 24 hour urine collection. Book your appointment today to get a comprehensive clinical intake and prescription for a full stress and hormone analysis. Learn more about the test at dutchtest.com

Did you know?

Botanical medicines are very good to balance all kinds of hormones. They come along side the body and bring what’s down up, and what’s up, down. They modulate. Knowing what plants, at what dose for what duration is key to getting you back to feeling great. Naturopathic doctors have extensive training in blending and prescribing natural plant medicine. In my cabinet I have over 60 different tinctures (individual plant based derivatives) so I can formulate individualized medicine that is just right for you.

Lifestyle measure to modulate stress are key to getting your hormones in balance. Dr. Laura has many different resources available for you to consider.

Acupuncture is also fantastic for balancing hormones and has been effective in reducing stress, fertility, insomnia, anxiety and depression.

So whether you prefer active therapy, a take along tincture, or a little of both, there is a treatment plan waiting right here for you.

 

From the heart and mind of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

 

Dr. Phil Shares: Are You Fit to Drive?

Have you ever considered how fitness training could be beneficial to your skills as a driver? According to a new study, simple exercises

woman drivingcan enhance your ability to drive, keep you safe on the road, and extend the years that you are able to drive.

The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and the MIT AgeLab found some fascinating results in their research on the connection between daily exercise and driving. Drivers in the study reported benefiting from some of the most challenging physical aspects of driving:

  • Greater ease in turning their heads to see blind spots when changing lanes or backing up;
  • More rotation in their torsos to scan the driving environment when making right hand turns;
  • Increased ability to get into their cars more rapidly.

The participants ranged in age from 60-74. They followed an exercise program for 15-20 minutes a day over eight-to 10 weeks which focused on four areas:

If you include these types of exercises in your training program, you will surely have new confidence next time you need to parallel park!

Shared by Dr. Phil McAllister @ Forward Health

Thanks For Sharing Joan Pagano

Dr. Laura: Probiotics to Treat Depression

Research strengthens the GUT-Brain axis connection; McMaster University find benefits of probiotics in cases of depression.

Probiotics may relieve symptoms of depression, suggests a new study.
Credit: © WrightStudio / Fotolia

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170523124119.htm

Specific Strains Identified

A number of patients come to me with a history of depression. Some may or may not be medicated at the time. Probiotics are a safe addition to current regimes and there are specific strains which have been researched for helping depression. One of my clinical favourite multi-strain probiotics happens to carry these four strains, in addition to seven others. This together with other forms of supplementation like B-12 injections, fish oil in the proper format and doses can make a big difference in over all mood and productivity.

Are you a candidate?

After a full intake and physical screening, a review of your latest blood work and any imaging, Dr. Laura M. Brown ND can help you build a plan for a happier healthier you.

Book now

Dr. Laura: Micro biome linked to fatigue, insomnia and hormone regulation

Did you know? You can fix your fatigue, insomnia, and hormones by focussing on your flora. Find out how and why your gut affects your biorhythms in the next complimentary seminar with Dr. Laura M. Brown.

The GUT-Circadian Rhythm Connection

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND, is a licensed naturopathic doctor, Certified HeartMath Practitioner, Ceritified Gluten Practitioner and has a Functional Medicine approach in her practice. What she really does is help people better digest their food and the world around them.

Wednesday, July 12th 6:30-8:00pm @ Goodness Me

Register Now!