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.

Carb Cravings? 5 easy tips

Craving carbohydrates and don’t know how to get them under control?

Here are 5 easy steps to help put you back in control.

  1. Test your Candida levels.
  2. Eat a meal with protein and healthy fats
  3. Eat within your 30 min glycemic window after exercise
  4. Eliminate processed foods
  5. Deal with your stress.

Candida?

If your Candida abicans levels are out of balance, you will find you have an insatiable sweet tooth, always need something sweet after a meal and suffer from a mix of possible symptoms like brain fog, headaches, sinusitis, join pain, skin rashes, bloating, gas and diarrhea. These crazy critters can actually yank on your nervous system chain, send messages to your brain saying “I want sugar”!! So, don’t blame your self wholly, however it is you who has to take responsibility. Just like saying to a child “no, you can’t have a cookie right now” you have to put your foot down and say the same to yourself. Or those terrible little Candida critters who are running your world right now. How do you know if it’s you or them? How do you get rid of them?

A simple 15 minute test in our clinic will help you get a sense for your levels of Candida. Email drlaura@forwardhealth.ca. Getting your micro biome back in balance will also reduce inflammation and restore nutrient absorption. With scientifically proven therapies, my patients are able to reduce Candida albicans levels and re-set many micro biomes within 1-3 months of therapy.

Boost Nutrient Density

Sometimes when we crave sweets we actually need to eat something with protein and healthy fat to increase nutrient density and satiation. For example, try eating a handful of almonds and an apple or a slice of chicken or turkey with some avocado – then wait 5-10 minutes and see if you still crave the sweets.

30 Minute Glycemic Index

After an intense workout, you have depleted the glycogen stores in the muscles. To optimize energy for your next workout and balance your carb intake later, eat something with carbohydrates in it within thirty minutes of working out. For some this means a quick protein drink with some carbs in it, an orange or a banana or a healthy homemade nutball. Eating a full balanced meal with in two hours of your workout will also help balance your blood sugar and keep you from craving carbohydrates.

Ditch the Processed Foods

Processed foods often have little fibre and a lot of sugar. This means the sugar from the food gets quick access to your blood stream. what results are spikes in your blood sugar levels, triggering an influx of insulin to quickly get the levels under control. Consequently,   your blood sugar quickly drops and you feel like you need to have more to eat. On it goes, the sugar craving roller coaster. Instead, try to eat foods high in fibre, with some proteins and healthy fats so your blood sugar levels are more regulated.

Get Stress Under Control

Serotonin and dopamine are feel good neurotransmitter which get depleted in stress. Eating carbohydrates helps boost these neurotransmitters. This is why, when we feel stressed, we crave comfort foods, which are carbohydrate based. Secondly, elevated cortisol will increased the demand for carbohydrate consumption because it blunts the desire for proteins and vegetables. Learn how to emotionally regulate and manage your stress and you will find it easier to naturally make healthier food choices.

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

 

Free Meal!

Well, free of gluten and perhaps more…

When Gluten Free Is Not Enough

Are you or someone you know sensitive to gluten and have cut it out and still have issues with pain, headaches, bran fog, joint pain, diarrhea, constipation, or general fatigue?

Not so nice…

Gluten is known to cross react with cow’s milk, milk chocolate, milk butyrophilin, whey protein, casein, yeast, oats, corn, millet, instant coffee and rice. That means if you eat any of these foods, even if you are gluten free, your body could be reacting to those foods as well.

Gut Permeability

If you have a gluten related disorder or Celiac disease and you have cut out gluten but not worked on healing the gastrointestinal lining, then you may have what is called “Leaky Gut”. There are steps to take to heal the lining and restore the natural mucosa. Sometimes once you heal the leaky gut, you are able to tolerate some of the foods to which you grew sensitive. If you are Celiac or gluten sensitive, gluten free will always be a part of your lifestyle.

Food Sensitivity Testing

Food Sensitivity testing is a great way to find out the resistance your body has to different foods. It provides the means for a guided elimination diet. Or you can simply cut out the potential offenders and re-introduce them one at a time and see how you feel.

 

Move forward with your health.

Dr. Laura M. Brown ND is trained and certified to help those with gluten related disorders, Celiac disease and the related testing, diagnosis, lifestyle design, education and nutritional support.

 

References:

A. Vojdani and I. Tarash, “Cross-Reaction between Gliadin and Different Food and Tissue Antigens,” Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 4 No. 1, 2013, pp. 20-32. doi: 10.4236/fns.2013.41005.

Vitamins: Could you be deficient?

Habitual eating habits that lack variety, medications or certain medical conditions  put us at risk for nutrient deficiency. A medical expert review of your current health condition, medications and diet diary is key to screening and finding potential changes that could be a substantial difference in your health and well being. This short review may provide some reminders and insight. Daily requirements for any vitamin vary on age, gender and current system demands. Some supplementation of one vitamin can mask a deficiency of another.

This and more will be covered in Dr. Laura M. Brown’s next complimentary talk entitled Food or Mood at Goodness Me! in Guelph on January 13th, 6:30pm. Register here.

Part 1 of 2:

Part 1: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 and Folic Acid

Vitamin A: Conditions that may be associated with Vitamin A deficiency include hypothyroidism (thyroid plays a role in converting beta carotene from our diet to vitamin A), liver disease, alcoholism, gastric or intestinal surgery, intestinal parasites, other gastrointestinal disturbances that cause malabsorption like Celiac, Crohn’s or food sensitivities. Increased levels of inflammation in the body will also decrease your vitamin A status.

Often you can tell if you are deficient if you have mild follicular hyperkeratosis – often felt at the back of the upper arms as you run your hands along, skin has multiple little bumps or feels rough to the touch. Night blindness can also be from Vitamin A deficiency but this can also be from a Zinc deficiency. Vitamin A is best absorbed from your diet and is found in foods like liver, fish liver oils, dairy, eggs. Foods that are high in beta carotene that your body converts to vitamin A are carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe and other fruits and vegetables. Women who are pregnant or are capable of becoming pregnant and smokers should never supplement with vitamin A. Vitamin A can put the baby at risk for birth defects and has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine Conditions associated with psychiatric conditions, aging or insomnia can often be helped with supplementation. A diet low in thiamine can lead to deficiency is as little as 4-5 days. Other triggers can include pregnant women with severe morning sickness including multiple bouts of vomiting, alcoholism, thyrotoxicosis, and major surgery.

Thiamine deficiency is known as “beriberi”. Signs of mild deficiency include fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, vague headaches, pain, and difficulty with mental concentration and memory. Some people also experience weakness, weight loss, peripheral neuropathy, edema, tachycardia. Deficiency can also contribute to congestive heart failure. Severe deficiency is known as Wernicke’s encephalopathy in the early stages and Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome in the later stages. Early signs include psychiatric disturbances, ataxia, ocular palsy, nystigmus. Later stages progress to a chronic neuropathic/psychiatric condition.

Good food sources of B1 include whole grains, legumes, nuts, meat, and enriched flour products.

B2: Riboflavin. B2 is important for helping convert B6 to its active form and is active in homocysteine metabolism, something that is important to cardiovascular /cholesterol health. B2 is also used to help prevent or treat migraines, Parkinson’s disease, psoriasis and some myopathies (muscle pain).

Indications that you may be deficient in vitamin B2 include cracks at the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, changes in personality, anemia, weakness, depression, seborrheic dermatitis (moist, oily flaky skin condition – cradle cap in newborns and psoriasis/eczema mocking skin reaction in adults aged 30-60), excessive tears, inflammation of the clear membrane that lines your eye (results in vision distortion). Good food sources include meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, fish, poultry, green leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Vitamin B3: Niacin B3 is critical in supporting health as it relates to cardiovascular, dermatological, hearing, taste, balance, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, ADHD, dementia, schizophrenia, sleep, osteoarthritis, trigeminal neuralgia, diabetes and alcohol addiction.

Classic deficiency is known as pellagra – the “three d’s”: diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis and sometimes the fourth D…. death.

Early signs that you may be deficient include nervousness, headaches, forgetfulness, apprehension and/or gastrointestinal disturbances.

Food sources include meat, chicken, fish, whole grains, legumes and dairy products.

Folic Acid: Known as folate in foods, folic acid in supplements. Folic acid is key to the intrauterine development of the spinal cord. It is also involved in cardiovascular health, dermatological and neurological conditions, psychiatric many other conditions within the body as it is a key methylator to many biochemical transactions.

As adults, folic acids needs stomach acid to help absorb, so if H.pylori present or on a proton pump inhibitor you may be at risk for deficiency. However people with low stomach acid are also at risk for overgrowth of bacteria in small intestine, and these bacteria can make folic acid – so deficiency is not eminent. If you are supplementing with high doses of B12, you may not be able to tell if you have a folic acid deficiency as they present as one in the same – megaloblastic anemia. Other symptoms can be vague or similar to other B vitamin deficiencies: depression, anxiety, headache, fatigue, apathy, confusion, dementia, polyneuropathy, cracks at the corners of your mouth, swollen tongue, brownish pigmented skin, low muscle tone in babies, poor immune response. This is just one of many reasons why it is always advised to seek a medical expert opinion on your supplement regime.

 

From the heart and mind of your local naturopathic doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND. www.naturalaura.ca www.forwardhealth.ca

 

Source:

Gaby, A. (2011) Nutritional Medicine. Fritz Perlberg Publishing. Concord, NH.

Comprehensive Food Sensitivity Testing in Guelph

Food Sensitivities

Electro Dermal Screening (EDS) Food Sensitivity Testing is done in-house at Forward Health, typically the last Wednesday of every month. Please call reception to book your appointment for testing and follow-up today. If you are a new patient, Dr. Laura will need to see you first to evaluate the specifics of your individualized testing profile.

NEXT Testing DATE: SEPT 30, 2015

Food sensitivities are real. It is the immune IgG that responds. Often sensitivities go undiagnosed because the reaction is gradual and will happen 24hours- 3 days. This makes it more difficult to pinpoint which food is the trigger. Being sensitive to a food may mean the person needs to avoid it completely, or be able to have a small amount occasionally. Sometimes after months of abstinence, a food may be reintroduced without an issue. Symptoms of food sensitivity can be variable and may involve:

SKIN: eczema, skin rashes, dark circles under the eyes, puffiness

JOINTS: pain, inflammation

BRAIN: difficulty concentrating, fatigue, depression, hyperactivity

foodsensitivtyGI: damage to the mucosal lining, perforation & “leaky gut”. This can make it difficult for nutrients and vitamins to absorb into the body and the person over time can become deficient in things like iron, zinc, and B12. It can also rear itself as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.

WEIGHT GAIN: always good to rule out food sensitivities when there is unexplained weight gain.

Who is at risk?

  • Often affiliated with autoimmune disease (SLE/lupus, thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), toxic exposure to heavy metals, molds & family history.
  • Aggravated by alcohol, strenuous exercise and NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen)

What foods typically cause IgG reactions?

  • Dairy, Wheat, Egg, Corn & Soy
  • Some with RA find the nightshade family harmful: (potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant)

Ask your Dr. about the safety and dosing for your individual need to moderate the reaction with:

  • Quercetin & Bromelain – away from food
  • Vitamin C (antihistamine)
  • Curcumin (anti-inflammatory)

How do I learn if I have an Sensitivity?

IgG testing can be accessed through your health care practitioner via electrodermal screening or blood spot test. In house testing done monthly at Forward Health. Call for availability. Lab requisition for full blood analysis also available through Dr. Laura.

 

What’s the difference between Food Sensitivity and Food Allergies?

Food Allergies are real. Typically we refer to an immediate or IgE immune response as being a food allergy. Often this can involve a response to the ingested food within 5-30 minutes. Symptoms of food allergy can be variable and may involve:

MOOD: feeling of doom or very unwell.

SKIN: hives, urticaria (pale red raised itchy bumps), swelling or flaring of atopic dermatitis (skin irritation)

RESPIRATORY: wheezing, asthma symptoms, allergic rhinitis symptoms, throat tightness, and trouble breathing.

GI: nausea, vomit, pain, difficulty swallowing

Combined together in a very fast response, the person may experience ANAPHYLAXIS, a serious and potentially life threatening allergic reaction. Note that aside from food, insect bites, stings, and medications can also be a trigger.

What foods typically cause IgE reactions?

  • Peanut, Pollen (could be on fresh fruit), shellfish, fish, sesame seeds, tree nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, and wheat.
  • Made worse with alcohol, exercise, NSAIDs (Advil, ibuprofen)

What if someone is experiencing these symptoms and has a known food allergy?epipen

  1. Ask if they have an EPI pen and where they keep it. It will administer epinephrine which will increase their heart rate and open their airways.
  2. Ask if you can get it for them
  3. Allow the person to administer the EPI pen themselves. It should be placed at the thigh and pressed into the muscle.
  4. If no EPI, consider a dose of Benadryl
  5. In either case, get the person to the hospital immediately.

How do I learn if I have an allergy?

IgE testing can be done by your health care practitioner via skin prick or blood spot test. Feel free to call Forward Health and book an appointment to discuss your concerns and needs and to obtain the appropriate requisition via Dr. Laura.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Before Guelph Walks for Memories on Sept. 19th, consider these 5 steps to improve your memory and brain health.

Before Guelph Walks for Memories on Sept. 19th, consider these 5 steps to improve your memory and brain health.

Having a senior’s moment? Forgot where you put the keys? Muddling through the better part of the morning and coffee just doesn’t seem to kick start the engine anymore? Brain fog happens to those of all ages and sometimes there is something definitive we could do to provide clarity on the situation.

5 ways that could improve your memory now.

  1. Diet & Digestion
  2. Detoxify
  3. Boost Cell Power
  4. Control Stress
  5. Exercise

 brain

  1. Diet and Digestion

Did you know good digestion is key to brain function? A diet high in vegetables (6-8 cups daily) with a few fruits (1-3 a day) will provide phytonutrients and antioxidants to reduce inflammation, add fibre to keep your bowels moving & toxins excreted. Natural source of probiotics like kefir, natural sauerkraut, Kimchi, natural yogurt, raw cheese to boost not only digestion so you can better extract the nutrients from your food, but also mood and immune boosting properties. Adequate protein (0.8- 1.0g/kg) serves as the building block for many neurotransmitters-particles that send information across your brain and throughout your body. Healthy fats (fish oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, coconut, avocado), line the nerve sheaths and cell membranes helping information pass more expediently. Nerve transmission is helped with B vitamins found in whole grains and lean meat. Maintaining steady blood glucose helps stream a steady supply of glucose to the brain, its one source of energy.

  1. Detoxify

Heavy metals, pesticides, cosmetic chemicals and environmental pollutants build up in our bodies over time. A gentle detox program with hydrotherapy, botanical medicines, natural cleansing supplements and an anti-inflammatory diet will help the body rid itself of toxic burden.

  1. Boost Cell Power

The cellular powerhouse is the mitochondria. There are more mitochondria in brain cells than any other part of the body. Mitochondria use oxygen so it is important to keep a steady supply of oxygen flowing to the brain. Red blood cells carry the oxygen from our lungs through our body and brain. Great circulation is key (see exercise) and medicinal mushrooms are superb for boosting red blood cell health. Mitochondria are well served with many nutrients, however key ones are B-vitamins, Co-Q10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and magnesium malate. Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about what may be right for you.

  1. Control Stress

Ongoing stress leads to prolonged release of cortisol, which lends itself to insulin dysregulation (poor blood sugar control), chronic inflammation, memory lapses, fatigue and depression. Consider a lifestyle counseling, a soothing massage, a series of acupuncture treatments to reduce stress, or a lovely botanical adaptogen to help regulate the adrenal glands – the producer of cortisol.

  1. Exercise

Regular exercise will help regulate cortisol, improve your capacity to sweat and release toxins through your skin and lungs. It will mobilize and regulate your bowels to excrete the solid toxins.  It will also help you sleep better, a critical function to healing and rejuvenation. Moving your body improves lymphatic circulation so helps your immune function. Another key factor for exercise is the increased transport of oxygen to your brain. A great reason to get out and Walk for Memories in Guelph on September 19th.

If brain fog persists, see your doctor. In serious cases, it can signal an underlying neurological or inflammatory condition, such as Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, food sensitivity or diabetes. Above all, don’t accept brain fog as a simple factor of aging. With the right support, you can stay sharp and protect brain health — at any age.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Please note that the above is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute individual medical advice. Please book an appointment for your individualized medical treatment plan.