Dr. Laura: Drugs that affect the microbiome

Drugs are one of the major factors that affect the microbiome. The impacts vary depending on the drug and duration of treatment.

The environmentfoodstress and drugs  all contribute to changes in the microbiome. This is why it is important to recognize and address any contributors that cause troubles.

Clinical intake and tests flushes out root causes and provide clarity. 

Why should I care?

Unique patterns in the microbiome link to different diseases. An unhealthy microbiome links to depression, anxiety, autistic disordersvitamin and mineral status (nutrient absorption)hormone production,  eczemadiabetes, obesity, arthritis and inflammatory bowel psoriasis and other autoimmune, conditions, heart healthcholesterolnon-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), diseases.  Research continues to expand this list.  

What is the microbiome?

The human microbiome exists in the gastrointestinal/urogenital tract and the skin. The trillions of cells that make up our microbiome actually out number the human cells that we have in our body by tenfold. Are we microbes having a human experience?

Healthy microbiome?

A healthy regular stool is not always indicative of a healthy microbiome. History of autoimmune conditions, food sensitivity, sugar cravings, gas, pain, bloating, bad breath, candidiasis, brain fog, mood changes, weight issues, skin issues, joint pain, trauma, stress, headaches, use of birth control or other hormones, frequent use of antibiotics and certain drugs can all be factors or indicators of microbiome disruption. 

What drugs affect the microbiome?

Your microbiome may be out of balance if you are currently, or have history of taking, any of the following drugs:

  • Antibiotics
  • Cancer Therapies
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidiabetic drugs
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • GI disorder drugs
  • Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-psychotic drugs
  • Anti-coagulants
  • Hormones: estrogen, birth control, thyroid hormone

Find out more…tests available

One helpful test to look at the key players of the microbiome is the comprehensive stool and parasitic analysis. Knowledge of the landscape certainly helps streamline the treatment. 

Food sensitivities often rise when the microbiome is off balance. It is important to recognize the foods that are bothersome. Then remove them for a while and do the work to remove unwanted microbes and replace with healthy ones while repairing the gastrointestinal tract lining. Protocols are patient specific based on the microbiome the lining of gastrointestinal tract and the overall health of the patient. 

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 a graduate of Adapt Level 1 at Kresser Institute of Functional Medicine. Essentially, Dr. Brown helps people better digest their food and the word around them. More at www.naturalaura.ca and  www.forwardhealth.ca

Dr. Kyle: Why You Should Use The Sauna

Everyone enjoys a day at the spa for some much-needed relaxation, but did you know that time spent in the sauna may actually increase muscle gains?

Originating in Finland, this traditional passive heat therapy is becoming increasing popular world-wide. Saunas are often used for the treatment of musculoskeletal pain as well as headaches. Recent evidence has suggested benefits for high-blood pressure, neurocognitive diseases and pulmonary conditions.

Emerging studies have found a protective effect for cardiovascular disease with regular sauna use for both men and women. It turns out, the more you use the sauna the better. More time spent sweating it out, the more health benefits!

Need any more reasons to hop in the sauna?

Sauna use has also been associated with increased net protein synthesis. This is why amenities such as saunas and steam rooms have become more common place in gym and fitness facilities. After your workout may be the best time to jump in the sauna and here’s why:

1. Intense short-term heat exposure stimulates the production of heat shock proteins that reduce muscle degeneration cause by oxidative stress.
2. Produce Growth hormone for increased lean muscle mass.
3. Increased NO (nitric oxide) availability to promote blood flow and circulation.
4. Decrease inflammatory pathway activity and free radical production.
5. Improve insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to utilize glucose more efficiently.
6. Enhance the production of BDNF (brain derived neurotropic factor) which synthesizes new brain cells.

Essentially, saunas stimulate the bodies autonomic nervous system in order to maintain a constant core body temperature in extreme heat. Short durations of heat stress induces adaptive mechanisms similar to exercise and have profound physiological effects.

It has also been found to help with anxiety, depression and improve parasympathetic function! Who doesn’t want a little extra mental clarity in their life.

For any questions or comments please email me at drkyle@forwardhealth.ca and be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook page @drkylearam.

References:

Hussain, J., & Cohen, M. (2018). Clinical Effects of Regular Dry Sauna Bathing: A Systematic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 1857413. doi:10.1155/2018/1857413

Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S. K., Khan, H., Willeit, P., Zaccardi, F., & Laukkanen, J. A. (2018). Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study. BMC medicine, 16(1), 219. doi:10.1186/s12916-018-1198-0

Dr. Laura: Acupuncture- More than pain relief

Acupuncture releases natural painkillers, 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 fascia. 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.

Acupuncture:

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

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

 

Gluten: More danger than we thought

Gluten is more than a digestive disrupter

A review of research from the past 50 years revels a link of gluten to chronic disease. It is now accepted that gluten sensitivity can affect body wide functions.

Intake of gluten may impact body function and lead to chronic diseases.

Gluten may:

  • impair nutrient absorption
    • lead to a cascade of neurological, bone, brain, and thyroid problems
  • increase inflammation in the brain
    • contribute to brain fog, dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • impair blood glucose control
    • aggravate mood, appetite, diabetes
  • stop your feeling of being full
    • lead to eating more than you need, weight gain
  • stimulate an immune attack on
    • fibrous sheath on the muscle
    • myelin sheath of the nerves
    • & much, much more

Not even a tummy ache

Most patients who present with neurological or other organ manifestations of gluten sensitivity have no gastrointestinal symptoms.

Gluten could affect you or someone you love.

Empower your health with Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.

Complimentary education talk at Goodness Me!

Wednesday January 18th 6:30-8pm.

Dr. Laura on Cold & Flu

The immune system works over time in the Christmas season.

Sugary treats and poor sleeping habits stress the immune system.

 People share more than good spirits. The furnace keeps us warm, but dries the air and our respiratory passages out, making us more susceptible to incoming invaders.  Cold and flu viruses can live on objects around the house like door knobs, computer keyboards, remote controls and sink handles.

Best prevention is to wash your hands well and often. That means lathering up for at least a few lines of  your favourite Christmas carol. Use your wrist to push down the tap or use the paper towel to turn the knobs off. Keep your hands and fingers away from your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. These are openings of our respiratory tract very susceptible to infection.

More remedies for cold and flu.

Think you might have something coming on? Here is a table that helps you understand if you have the cold or the flu.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes Usually. Higher in children
Headache Sometimes Usually
Runny Nose Usually Sometimes
Cough Hacking Severe
Sore Throat Early, Often Sometimes
Sneezing Usually Sometimes
Vomiting Never Children
Chest discomfort Mild Usually
Weakness & Fatigue Sometimes Can last up to 2-3 weeks
Muscle Aches and Pains Mild Usually severe
Extreme Exhaustion Never Early and often
Cause One of hundreds of viruses Influenza A, B, (several subtypes and strains) H1N1 (Swine), Enterovirus D68,
Contagious Day 1-3 Day 1-9
Duration 7-10 days 21-28 days
Complications Sinus congestion, Middle Ear Infection Sinusitus, Bronchitis, Ear Infection, Pneumonia
Prevention Wash hands often, avoid close contact with those affected Wash hands often, avoid close contact with those affected

Dr. Laura on the Migraine-Constipation Link

Serotonin, constipation and migraine headaches may be linked.

What is going on?

It seems that there is a reduced output of serotonin. There are serotonin receptors in the gastrointestinal tract and the brain.

It appears to be due to a genetic change in serotonin production 5-HT2A – 1438 AA genotype (p=0.0005).

How will I know if this could be me?

Patient with this genetic susceptibility tend to have:

  • frequent bouts of constipation,
  • experience headaches only on one side of their head
  • suffer more frequently from extreme light sensitivity.

So what can be done ?

 Possible trials of supervised supplementation of serotonin botanical medicines or supplements that are safely prescribed may be helpful. Ask Dr. Laura M.Brown ND if this treatment is right for you.

 

Reference:

Uluduz D, Cakmak S, Ozge A, Ucbilek E, Sezgin O, Soylemez F, Temel G, Kanik A. A Link between Migraine, Tension Type Headache and Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Clinical and Genetic Indicators (P4.120). Neurology April 5, 2016 vol. 86 no. 16 Supplement P4.120

 

Fatigued? Could your Iron be low?

Fatigued?

Low iron could be part of the root cause of your fatigue. It could be a matter of absorption, health of the red blood cell, or compounding factors like thyroid, poor sleep, and related heart issues. ™There is preliminary evidence that iron supplementation might improve unexplained fatigue in non-anemic women. Low iron is one of the top reasons for fatigue, but it is not the only reason. Dr. Laura M. Brown ND can help you dig into the root cause of your fatigue.

Get help now.

Who is at Risk?

  • menstruating women
  • vegan and vegetarians
  • high performance athletes
  • those with Celiac, gluten sensitivity, Crohn’s or colitis
  • long term use of proton pump inhibitors
  • H.Pylori infection
  • internal bleeding of any kind

Food Sources of Iron

™Food Sources: meats of all kinds, liver and organ meats (animal sources best absorbed), kelp, legumes, tofu, whole grains, molasses, nuts and seeds, wheat, millet, dark leafy greens, sardines, prune juice and oysters.

Iron Absorption

Iron absorption depends on proper stomach acid and the ability for the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to absorb. The body will only absorb what iron it needs, and pass the rest along in the stool. Animal based heme (iron) is best absorbed. Vegetable based iron sources are absorbed at a fraction of animal based sources. If there are stomach acid issues, like an H.Pylori infection or prolonged use of Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPI’s), or issues with the GI lining like in Celiac, Crohn’s or Colitis, then absorption of iron and other vital nutrients may be impaired.

Your iron could be low if you have these symptoms:

™Fatigue, weakness

™Dizziness, especially on rising quickly

™Shortness of breath on exertion, chest pain

™Headache

™Coldness in your hands and feet

™Pale skin, tongue, conjunctiva

™Brittle nails

™Swelling or sore tongue, cracks at side mouth

™Enlarged spleen, frequent infections

Why do I feel this way?

™Iron is also a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This is why low iron has the potential to contribute to low mood.

Iron deficiency may affect selenium absorption, which could then affect thyroid hormone production. Low thyroid function can can contribute to a state of fatigue.

™Iron deficiency can also cause restless legs, contributing to poor sleep, which means less healing in sleep, more hormonal imbalance and compounded issues of fatigue.

If you don’t have enough hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. This can lead to arrhythmias, murmur, enlarged heart, or even heart failure.

Iron is used to make the hemoglobin complex on the red blood cells.

™If your red blood cells are breaking down or not enough are made, you will not have the ability to use the iron to make the hemoglobin.

™There are four “parking spots” for Oxygen and carbon dioxide on your red blood cells – this is the iron binding capacity or “TIBC” you see on your blood work.

™When the TIBC is high you iron might be low.

Sometimes serum iron is fine but the ferritin is high. The body squirrels away iron when there is an infection. This is because virus and bacteria use iron to help replicate. What a smart body we have!  Inflammatory factors of infection and low iron contributes to fatigue.

 

Diagnosing Low Iron

Clinical presentation (your signs and symptoms) are the first clue to low iron. A simple blood test including a CBC and Iron Panel will help dig into the root cause of your fatigue. Further exploration and tests may be required to diagnose other contributing factors of health as mentioned above. A naturopathic doctor is always on the look out for the true root cause of your health concerns.

™CBC – complete blood count

–Number, size of red blood cells (RBC) (iron def. anemia red blood cells are smaller than normal)

–Number, size of white blood cells

–Number of platelets

–Reticulocyte count – immature RBC – tells if bone marrow production rate of RBCs is normal

–Hemoglobin- iron rich protein on your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your tissues and carbon dioxide away

–Hematocrit – measures how much space your red blood cells take up in your blood

™Serum iron – amount of iron in your blood. Not always indicative of the total amount of iron in your body.

™Serum ferritin – think tin is something you store things in– this is your iron storage.

™Transferrin – trans for transfer – this protein carries iron in your blood

™TIBC – measures how much of the transferrin is around and not carrying any iron

Dr.  Laura M. Brown, ND 

5 things you might not know about levels of toxins in your body.

 You will know if toxins are overflowing in your body if you experience things like frequent headaches, joint aches, bloating, digestive discomfort, diarrhea or constipation, multiple chemical of food sensitivities, rashes, irritability, fatigue, repeated injury, brain fog, or troubles concentrating.

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5 things you might not know

about levels of toxins in your body.

 

  1. Your body is constantly in a detox mode.  Your skin, lungs, kidneys, bowels, liver, and ability to self regulate emotions all contribute to detoxification.
  2. A baby born today has over 50-200 recognized toxins in their blood stream? Reports from Scientific American and University of Toronto.
  3. Drinking Alcohol adds to your toxic load. So could the pesticides on your food, the cosmetics you might use, renovations in home or office, cooking and freezing food in plastics, your daily commute, and the emotional stressors in your life.
  4. You can measure your levels of toxins with hair, urine and blood analysis.
  5. A naturopathic doctor can help you prioritize your actions and boost your body’s ability to naturally detoxify.

Download your Toxic Questionnaire here.

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

 

Food Sensitivity Testing

What are the Signs of Food Sensitivities?

People with long-term complaints who have tried many treatments and dietary interventions, with limited or no success may find it beneficial to investigate their individual food intolerance.

Do you experience any of the following?

WEIGHT: difficulties losing or gaining weight.

SKIN: eczema, skin rashes, psoriasis, dermatitis.

JOINTS: pain, inflammation, difficulties moving.

BRAIN: difficulty concentrating, fatigue.

Gastro Intestinal: “IBS”, pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, 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.

How it works

Here’s how it works. Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND will see you for a brief 15min appointment to setup your profile, and collect your medical history prior to your food sensitivity testing. If you prefer, a regular 1 hour upfront full Naturopathic intake, is highly recommended.  In a separate (or following) 45min appointment, The Electro Dermal Screening (EDS) KORU testing will be done. No needles are involved. The testing is based on physics, rather than blood chemistry. Sometime in the following week, you will meet again for about 30 min with Dr. Laura M. Brown to receive your personalized guidance and food sensitivity report. This testing is open to any age. Unfortunately we cannot test people who have pacemakers. Call the clinic at (519) 826-7973 to arrange your KORU package and appointments. You are welcome to see Dr. Laura beyond the KORU package for further guidance on diet, lifestyle, B12 injections, acupuncture, medications and supplements however you are under no obligation to do so.

If you prefer blood chemistry analysis, Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND can line you up with this as well. In this case, please setup a regular initial assessment with Dr. Laura and she will provide you with the lab requisition that best suits your needs.

Are Food Sensitivities Real?

Food sensitivities are real. Often sensitivities go undiagnosed because the reaction is gradual and will happen 24hours- 3 days of consuming the food irritant; this makes it more difficult to pinpoint which food is the trigger. The body’s immune system can respond to food like an enemy. This stimulates inflammation, pain, bowel changes, headaches, and sometimes skin reactions. 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.

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, extended periods of stress, strenuous exercise and NSAIDs (Advil, Ibuprofen)

What foods typically cause IgG reactions?

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

How do I learn if I have an allergy or sensitivity?

IgG testing can be accessed through Dr. Laura M. Brown, ND.  Options for food sensitivity testing include electrodermal screening or blood spot or full blood draw.

 

From the heart and mind of your local Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Laura M. Brown ND.