Dr. Laura: Wheat & Gluten Sensitivity Testing


There are over 100 proteins in wheat, which includes gluten, but is not limited to gluten.

Every time any of us eats gluten, some damage is done to the small intestinal lining. For most, it recovers and repairs in about twenty minutes . For those who are genetically susceptible it may take up to five hours. Then the next meal comes. Over time, repeated meals containing gluten repeat the damage, with little time of repair and recovery and eventually the body cannot keep up. Some trigger point of stress or illness may make it more difficult for the recovery. Then the signs and symptoms may show up. Not everyone has traditional symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, bowel issues, pain, gas, or bloating. Some have apparently no symptoms at all.

Gluten sensitivity plays a role in things like:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • autism
  • schizophrenia
  • cerebellar ataxia
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • fertility
  • autoimmunity
  • celiac disease
  • dermatitis herpatiformis
  • polymyalgia


A lot of gastroenterologists know how to screen for celiac disease, they’ll typically test for antibodies to alpha-gliadin, transglutaminase-2, maybe if they’re current with the scientific literature they’ll also screen for antibodies to deamidated gliadin and endomysium.

If some of these tests are positive, then they might do a biopsy to determine if there is damage in the small intestine. If the tests are negative, the patient’s generally told that they don’t have celiac or gluten intolerance and that’s as far at it goes.

However, research shows that people can and do react to several other components in wheat above and beyond alpha-gliadin, the fraction of wheat that is involved in the pathogenesis of celiac disease, and these include other epitopes of gliadin like beta-gliadin, gamma-gliadin and omegagliadin; glutenin, which is the other major half of the wheat protein; wheat germ agglutinin, which is a lectin in wheat; gluteomorphin; and deamidated gliadin. What’s more, people can react to other types of tissue transglutaminase, aside from tGT-2, including type 3, which is primarily found in the skin, and type 6, which is primarily found in the brain and nervous system tissue.

If this is you, the gluten you eat may affect your brain or your skin, or maybe your muscle, but you will be completely missed by conventional testing. I emphasize – just because the two markers your conventional doc tests your for come back negative, it does not mean you are not free from wheat related damage. Also, just because you do not have symptoms you think are related to wheat, doesn’t mean you are free from its (potential) body-wide damage.

How do I find out?

Enter Cyrex Array 3 testing. It is the most comprehensive form of wheat sensitivity testing available today. It involves a simple blood test and will test for the two markers your conventional doctor sends for plus 22 other markers.  You’ll have to confirm this at time of testing as pricing can vary. You will need an appointment with Dr. Laura M Brown, ND, Certified Gluten Practitioner, before and after your test. Dr. Laura will help interpret the test and proved direction for next steps. Dr. Laura has extended training in diagnosing and treating gluten related disorders.

Now it is important to note that Cyrex Array 3 will not diagnose Celiac, only the gold standard of positive intestinal biopsy will prove that, but it can tell you how strong the markers related to Celiac or other forms of non-celiac gluten sensitive (NCGS).


Here’s what the test results look like:


Test Prep:


This is a blood test that measures antibodies. As such, in order to improve the accuracy of

your test results, you must ensure adequate exposure to wheat beginning 25 to 30 days

before you schedule your blood draw.

Exposure to wheat allows your body to form antibodies if you do have sensitivity. Avoiding wheat before this test could cause a false negative result, meaning that the test states you are not sensitive to wheat when you actually are intolerant.



For more information visit www.cyrexlabs.com or book an appointment with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND at Forward Health.


Dr. Laura: A Valentine’s KISS Recipe

Valentine’s Day Dessert- a KISS Recipe!

Keep It Simple Sweetie!

Don’t you just love simple desserts? This won’t take long to make. There is no baking. It is free of gluten, dairy, egg, corn & soy! haha – It’s just fruit. So it’s vegan too.

How easy to please  any squeeze.

All you need is a heart shape cookie cutter, a knife and some fruit. Any melon will do. To cut the kiwi fruit, just peel it, then carve out a little notch along the oblong. Then sliver off a little along either side to make it shaped like a heart. Then cut across to make slices.


Spread a little love!  It keeps you young & vibrant.

Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND

Dr. Laura: Acupuncture- More than pain relief

Acupuncture releases natural pain killers, promotes blood flow, stimulates hormonal balance, relaxes tight muscles, calms anxiety, lifts depression, and promotes digestion.

This ancient Chinese therapy effects every major system of the body, including the cardiac, gastrointestinal, circulatory, cerebral, genitourinary, endocrine and immune systems.

Traditional Chinese medicine

Get to the point…

Some people explain acupuncture in terms of energy and meridians. While this is not wrong, it would be equally right to explain that the energy is based on nerve conduction and proper firing of the nervous system.

Each acupuncture point is a small area about 1cm in diameter. They are where groups of nerves meet below a small opening in the facia. Needling these points, electronically stimulating or even applying vibrational therapy or direct pressure activates the points. This will help dissipate energy that has built up or, alternatively, stimulate the flow of energy to the area.

Did you catch that? Needles are only one way to stimulate the point. If you don’t like needles and wish to try a needle free way of stimulating the points, there are alternatives.


1. Relieves pain.

2. Reduces inflammation.

3. Brings balance in the body.


What’s in it for me?

Acupuncture is a drug free way to address:

  • TMJ/ jaw clenching
  • sciatica
  • blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • inflammation
  • joint pain
  • acute injuries
  • frozen shoulder
  • PMS
  • bursitis
  • arthritis
  • fatigue
  • common cold
  • headache
  • sinusitis
  • insomnia
  • muscle tension
  • PCOS
  • tinnitus
  • ulcerative colitis
  • vertigo
  • weak immune system
  • fertility

Usually relief is found after the first 30 minute treatment. It typically takes 4-8 treatments to restore balance and heal the body. Sessions can be daily, biweekly, weekly. For maintenance, once a month.

Under Ontario regulation, Naturopathic Doctors are able to perform acupuncture. If claiming under your benefit plan, it will be considered as “naturopathic services”.

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

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.


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: Surprising Number of Conditions Linked to Celiac Disease

I just received this post… hot off the press from the World Congress of Gastroenterology. We learn about all the conditions that are linked to Celiac disease. This means if you have migraines or anxiety attacks, more people with Celiac have them than not. Or, if you have a specific type of rash called dermatitis herpatiformis, you are pretty well guaranteed to have celiac. Have a look at the chart below and see if you have any of the following conditions and then look at the odds ratio that you may have Celiac Disease.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition related to the ingestion of gluten, or wheat. Wheat has over 100 proteins in it and gluten and gliadin are just two of these proteins. Your body can launch an immune attack to any of these proteins, then these could cross react with tissues in your body including your brain, liver, pancreas, skin muscles, or as in Celiac, your small intestinal villi. If your villi are damaged, then you are not absorbing vitamins, minerals and nutrients. So this can additionally lead to things like B12 deficiency (depression, brain fog, neuropathy) iron deficiency (dizzy, weak, pale), or osteoporosis.

Conventional medical testing will look at 2 markers for these proteins immune reactions. Functional Medical tests that I run will cover 24 markers, including these 2 from conventional means. You have to pay for both tests out of pocket, so I figure you may as well run the more complete test to get the bigger picture of what’s going on in your body. The broader testing means we can catch wheat related diseases – non-celiac gluten related disorders like cerebellar ataxia (problems with balance and walking) or wheat addiction (it’s like opioid addiction!) or tell it if is reacting with you muscles (polymyalgia?) or skin.

Table 1. Prevalence of Diagnoses in People With and Without Celiac Disease (P < .0001 for All)

Diagnosis With Celiac Disease, % Without Celiac Disease, % Odds Ratio
Migraine 18.6 4.1 5.5
Anxiety disorder 25.9 8.7 4.0
Arthritis 28.9 8.4 4.9
Dermatitis herpetiformis 1.3 0.0 4563.5
Liver disease 23.2 4.2 7.1
Gastroesophageal reflux disease 36.8 13.0 4.5
Eosinophilic esophagitis 0.6 0.1 8.8
Atrophic gastritis 3.9 0.1 8.0
Glossitis 0.4 0.1 4.4
Pancreatitis 15.8 0.7 25.0
Disorder of the pancreas 17.2 1.1 19.0
Cerebellar ataxia 0.1 0.0 4.1
Autism 4.0 0.2 19.9
Colitis 25.9 4.2 8.4
Turner syndrome 0.1 0 17.8
Down syndrome 0.6 0.1 8.1
Common variable immunodeficiency 0.2 0.0 10.2

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’s Gingerbread Protein Balls

Love gingerbread? Pack a nutritional punch into this high protein, healthy fat holiday snack!
Having holiday treats doesn’t always have to mean eating poorly. One-two of these gingerbread balls will pack a punch of protein, iron, calcium, fibre, healthy fats and anti-inflammatory spices.


1/2c Designs for Health Vanilla Pea Protein (available at the clinic)
1Tbsp ground cinnamon
1Tbsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground Himalayan Pink sea salt
1/3c coconut butter
1/3c molasses
1/2c shredded unsweetened coconut + 1/4 cup for rolling balls in later
Mix thoroughly. If need more ginger or cinnamon – add to your taste
Roll into little balls
Roll into the extra coconut
Store in fridge. (they will firm up when cold)
Front the heart and kitchen of Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Dr. Laura’s Nut Cheese Recipe

Have you tried this? Dairy free, gluten free dreamy nut cheese. Made from raw cashews and nutritional yeast, herbs and spices, this is sure to be a holiday favourite.

A few of my patients came in to me and asked if I had tried nut cheese. I hadn’t. Until this past weekend. It’s much like the cashew basil pesto I made in the summer with lots of basil from the garden, garlic and cashews, but this is more like cheese. It’s the nutritional yeast that seems to give it that tangy cheese like flavour. You can buy it already made and I have found it at Stone Store in Guelph and Goodness Me!

Making nut cheese takes a little forward thinking, but it is not difficult. You can customize the flavour when you make it yourself. So you could do a cinnamon and cranberry, or a garlic and herb, or use crazy amount of basil.

Start with some raw unsalted cashews available at places like Costco, Bulk Barn or Goodness Me! The later two have nutritional yeast (Bob’s Red Mill brand) as well. You can get herbs and garlic, or other ingredients just about anywhere.

Some blogs on line suggest a food processor works better than a blender. I think if you have a high speed Vitamin or Blentec you might get a way with the blender and not have to make it too runny.

  • 2 cups (240 g) raw cashews
  • 1-2Tbsp minced garlic (depends on how strong your garlic is and how you like it)
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 lemons, juiced (1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
  • 2 Tbsp (6 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil
  • press on dried parsley, dill or other dried garden herbs, as you like.
  1. Place cashews in a bowl and cover with cool water. I use a pyrex glass one with a fitted lid. Do it in the morning and leave on the counter for the day (12 hours).  If you can’t get to them right away, drain, place back in bowl, and store in refrigerator for up to 24-36 hours.
  2. Once soaked, drain cashews thoroughly and add to blender/food processor. Add minced garlic,  lemon zest, lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast, salt and olive oil.
  3. Process until very creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. It should look like the consistency of hummus. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon zest for tartness, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, garlic for zing, or salt for flavour/balance.
  4. If it is a bit wet, scoop out the contents and drain a fine mesh strainer over a large mixing bowl. Discard any liquid.
  5. Otherwise you can directly lay down two layers of cheesecloth (or a clean, fine, absorbent towel) and place nut mix into the centre. Gather the corners and twist the top gently so you may form the cheese into a what looks like a gouda cheese round.  A twist tie or elastic might help hold it.
  6. Place the drained cheese round into a sealed glass container in refrigerator to set for at least 6 hours, preferably 12, or until excess moisture has been wicked away. It is ready if it holds its form when unwrapped from the cheesecloth.
  7. To serve, unwrap from cheesecloth and place onto a serving board. Gently pat a coat of chopped herbs on to the round.
  8. Enjoy chilled with crackers or vegetables. Cheese will hold its form for 1-2 hours out of the refrigerator, but best when chilled. I’ve also seen it whipped up with the herbs and placed in a dollop on the serving tray.
  9. Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days,  if covered in the refrigerator.

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