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30/May/2023

Berberine and Ozempic are two medicines that have gained popularity in recently. Berberine is a natural supplement, while Ozempic is a prescription drug. Both have been shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity, making them popular among people with diabetes and weight loss. In this blog post, we will explore the similarities and differences between these two medicines.

1. What is Berberine?

Berberine is a remarkable natural compound, has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of ailments. Extracted from the roots, rhizomes, and stem bark of plants like goldenseal, Oregon grape, and barberry, berberine’s vibrant yellow color and impressive therapeutic properties have made it a prized ingredient in ancient healing practices.
The mechanism of action for berberine is quite fascinating. It functions by activating an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which plays a critical role in regulating metabolism and maintaining cellular energy homeostasis. This activation leads to numerous health benefits, including improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and enhanced lipid metabolism.
Recent scientific studies have confirmed berberine’s effectiveness in managing several conditions. One of its most notable applications is in treating type 2 diabetes, where it has exhibited remarkable potential in lowering blood sugar levels, comparable to the widely prescribed drug metformin. Additionally, berberine has demonstrated promising results in improving cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It has also displayed antimicrobial properties against various bacteria, fungi, and parasites, making it a valuable ally in combating infections.

2. What is Ozempic?

Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, is a groundbreaking medication that has taken the world of diabetes management by storm. Developed by Novo Nordisk, Ozempic was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults (FDA, 2017). This innovative drug belongs to a class of medications called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which are designed to mimic the action of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone involved in regulating blood sugar levels.
The mechanism of action for Ozempic is truly fascinating. As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, it works by stimulating insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells when blood sugar levels are high, thus helping to lower glucose levels in the bloodstream. Moreover, it suppresses the release of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels, and slows down gastric emptying, resulting in a decrease in appetite and caloric intake.
Clinical trials have demonstrated Ozempic’s effectiveness in managing type 2 diabetes, showing significant reductions in HbA1c levels (a measure of long-term blood sugar control) and body weight. Additionally, it has been proven to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients with type 2 diabetes and established cardiovascular disease. With its promising results and innovative mechanism of action, Ozempic has emerged as a powerful tool in the ongoing battle against diabetes and its complications.

3. How does Berberine compare to Ozempic?

In terms of blood sugar regulation, berberine has been shown to lower blood glucose levels by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which helps improve insulin sensitivity and decrease insulin resistance. On the other hand, Ozempic mimics the action of GLP-1, stimulating insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells when blood sugar levels are high, suppressing glucagon release, and slowing gastric emptying . Both compounds have demonstrated significant reductions in HbA1c levels, a measure of long-term blood sugar control, in patients with type 2 diabetes).
When it comes to weight loss, both berberine and Ozempic have shown promising results. Berberine’s activation of AMPK leads to enhanced lipid metabolism, contributing to weight loss (Turner et al., 2008). Ozempic’s effect on weight loss can be attributed to its ability to slow gastric emptying, resulting in reduced appetite and caloric intake. Clinical trials have demonstrated significant weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes treated with either compound.
While both berberine and Ozempic have proven effective in managing blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss, their mechanisms of action differ, and they belong to different classes of compounds. Berberine is a natural compound with a broader range of applications, including antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Ozempic, as a synthetic GLP-1 receptor agonist, has been specifically developed for type 2 diabetes treatment and has demonstrated additional cardiovascular benefits in patients with established cardiovascular disease.

4. Can Berberine and Ozempic be taken together?

It is not advisable to take Berberine and Ozempic together without consulting a doctor. Both medicines can lower blood sugar levels, and taking them together can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you are already taking Ozempic, it is crucial to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and follow your doctor’s advice on adjusting your medication.

5. Which one should you choose?

Generally, Berberine is a safer and more affordable option compared to Ozempic, especially for people with mild to moderate blood sugar problems. However, for people with severe diabetes or other health complications, Ozempic may be the better choice, as it is a more potent and targeted medication. Ultimately, the decision to use Berberine or Ozempic should be made in consultation with a physician or naturopathic doctor, who can assess your particular health needs and goals.
References:

Imanshahidi, M., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2016). Pharmacological and therapeutic effects of Berberis vulgaris and its active constituent, berberine. Phytotherapy Research, 22(8), 999-1012.

Turner, N., Li, J. Y., Gosby, A., To, S. W. C., Cheng, Z., Miyoshi, H., … & Xu, A. (2008). Berberine and its more biologically available derivative, dihydroberberine, inhibit mitochondrial respiratory complex I: a mechanism for the action of berberine to activate AMP-activated protein kinase and improve insulin action. Diabetes, 57(5), 1414-1418.

Yin, J., Xing, H., & Ye, J. (2008). Efficacy of berberine in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Metabolism, 57(5), 712-717.

Zhang, Y., Li, X., Zou, D., Liu, W., Yang, J., Zhu, N., … & Gong, H. (2008). Treatment of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia with the natural plant alkaloid berberine. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 93(7), 2559-2565.

Imanshahidi, M., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2010). Berberis Vulgaris and Berberine: An Update Review. Phytotherapy Research, 22(11), 1485-1494.

FDA. (2017). FDA approves new drug to treat type 2 diabetes. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-new-drug-treat-type-2-diabetes

Aroda, V. R., Bain, S. C., Cariou, B., Piletic, M., Rose, L., Axelsen, M., … & Marre, M. (2017). Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide versus once-daily sitagliptin as an add-on to metformin, thiazolidinediones, or both, in patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 2): a 56-week, double-blind, phase 3a, randomised trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 5(5), 341-354.

Nauck, M. A., Petrie, J. R., Sesti, G., Mannucci, E., Courrèges, J. P., Lindegaard, M. L., … & Madsbad, S. (2016). A phase 2, randomized, dose-finding study of the novel once-weekly human GLP-1 analog, semaglutide, compared with placebo and open-label liraglutide in patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, 39(2), 231-241.

Pratley, R. E., Amod, A., Hoff, S. T., Kadowaki, T., Lingvay, I., Nauck, M., … & Soska, V. (2018). Oral semaglutide versus subcutaneous liraglutide and placebo in type 2 diabetes (PIONEER 4): a randomised, double-blind, phase 3a trial. The Lancet, 394(10192), 39-50.

Marso, S. P., Bain, S. C., Consoli, A., Eliaschewitz, F. G., Jódar, E., Leiter, L. A., … & Seufert, J. (2016). Semaglutide and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(19), 1834-1844.

Zhang, Y., Li, X., Zou, D., Liu, W., Yang, J., Zhu, N., … & Gong, H. (2008). Treatment of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia with the natural plant alkaloid berberine. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 93(7), 2559-2565.

Sorli, C., Harashima, S. I., Tsoukas, G. M., Unger, J., Karsbøl, J. D., Hansen, T., & Bain, S. C. (2017). Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide monotherapy versus placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 1): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multinational, multicentre phase 3a trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 5(4), 251-260.


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19/May/2023

Vitamin injections have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, especially among celebrities and influencers. From improving skin clarity to boosting energy levels, the promised benefits of vitamin infusions are endless. However, are these claims backed by science, or is it just clever marketing? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the ingredients in these celebrity vitamin infusions, the actual benefits they provide, and separate hype from fact.

The Ingredients:

A typical celebrity vitamin infusion usually contains a mixture of vitamins, minerals, and sometimes amino acids. Popular ingredients include vitamin C, B-vitamins, calcium, selenium, zinc and magnesium. These vitamins and minerals play an important role in almost all biological processes but do they really need to be injected rather than obtained through diet?

The Benefits:

Many celebrities claim that vitamin injections help with everything from weight loss to anti-aging. Still, most of these alleged benefits are based on anecdotal evidence rather than any scientific findings.
Let’s take a look at some of the actual research behind intravenous vitamins and minerals in order to separate fact from fiction.

Myers Cocktail:

The Myers’ Cocktail is an intravenous (IV) treatment that consists of a combination of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, and various B vitamins. It was developed by Dr. John Myers in the 1960s and has been used to address various health conditions such as fatigue, migraines, fibromyalgia, and others. While there is limited research on the Myers’ Cocktail, some studies have explored its potential benefits:
  1. A study by Gaby (2002) published in “Alternative Medicine Review” provided a review of the clinical experience with the Myers’ Cocktail. The author reported that the IV treatment had shown positive effects on various conditions, including acute asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and chronic sinusitis. However, it’s important to note that this review is based on clinical observations rather than randomized controlled trials.
  2. A randomized controlled trial by Ali et al. (2009) published in “Medical Science Monitor” investigated the effects of the Myers’ Cocktail on fibromyalgia patients. The study found that the participants who received the IV treatment experienced significant improvements in pain, tender points, and depression compared to the control group.
  3. In a pilot study by Zhang et al. (2012) published in “Global Advances in Health and Medicine,” the researchers studied the effects of the Myers’ Cocktail on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. They reported improvements in fatigue levels, but the small sample size and lack of a control group limit the study’s conclusions.

High dose Vitamin C for Cancer?

Yes, there has been research exploring the potential benefits of high-dose intravenous vitamin C in cancer treatment. However, the results are mixed, and more research is needed to establish its effectiveness conclusively. Here are a few notable studies:
  1. A study by Ma et al. (2014) published in “Science Translational Medicine” found that high-dose intravenous vitamin C selectively killed colorectal cancer cells with specific genetic mutations. The authors suggested that vitamin C might be used as a targeted therapy in some cases.
  2. A study by Welsh et al. (2013) published in “Cancer Cell” reported that high-dose intravenous vitamin C enhanced the effects of chemotherapy in mouse models of pancreatic cancer. The authors concluded that vitamin C could be a potential adjuvant in pancreatic cancer treatment.
  3. A systematic review by Fritz et al. (2014) published in “Canadian Medical Association Journal” analyzed several clinical trials on the use of intravenous vitamin C in cancer patients. They found that intravenous vitamin C was safe and well-tolerated, but its effectiveness in improving survival and quality of life was inconclusive.
  4. A phase II clinical trial by Hoffer et al. (2015) published in “PLOS ONE” investigated the effects of intravenous vitamin C combined with chemotherapy and radiation therapy in patients with stage 3 or 4 non-small cell lung cancer. The study found no significant improvement in overall survival, progression-free survival, or tumor response with the addition of vitamin C.

Magnesium:

Several research studies have explored the potential benefits of intravenous magnesium infusion in various clinical settings. Here are a few notable articles:
  1. James et al. (2010) published a study in “The Lancet” that investigated the effects of intravenous magnesium sulfate on patients at risk for developing eclampsia. They found that magnesium sulfate significantly reduced the risk of eclampsia and maternal death in women with pre-eclampsia.
  2. Shiga et al. (2012) conducted a study published in the “Journal of the American College of Cardiology” that demonstrated the benefits of intravenous magnesium sulfate in reducing the incidence of postoperative atrial fibrillation in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting.
  3. In a meta-analysis by Fawcett et al. (1999) published in the “British Medical Journal,” the researchers found that intravenous magnesium infusion reduced the risk of death in patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction.
  4. A study by Cinar et al. (2011) published in “Anesthesiology” examined the effects of intravenous magnesium sulfate on postoperative pain management in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty. The study found that magnesium infusion reduced postoperative opioid consumption and improved pain scores.
  5. Miller et al. (2010) published a study in “Headache” that investigated the effects of intravenous magnesium sulfate on acute migraines. They found that magnesium infusion provided rapid and sustained pain relief in patients with migraines who had low serum ionized magnesium levels.

Glutathione:

Glutathione is an antioxidant that plays a crucial role in cellular detoxification and maintaining overall health. Research on glutathione infusion is limited, but several studies have explored its potential benefits in various clinical settings. Here are a few notable articles:
  1. A study by Hauser et al. (2009) published in “Neurology” investigated the effects of intravenous glutathione on Parkinson’s disease symptoms. They found that glutathione infusion improved symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, but the study had a small sample size and lacked a control group.
  2. A pilot study by Kern et al. (2011) published in “Medical Science Monitor” evaluated the effects of intravenous glutathione infusion on children with autism. The study reported improvements in some behavioral measures of autism, but the small sample size and lack of a control group limit the conclusions that can be drawn.
  3. A study by Pizzorno et al. (2014) published in “Integrative Medicine” assessed the impact of intravenous glutathione on quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. The authors reported significant improvements in pain, energy, and overall well-being, but the study was not randomized or controlled.
  4. In a study by Allen et al. (2017) published in “Redox Biology,” the researchers explored the effects of intravenous glutathione on cystic fibrosis patients. They found that glutathione infusion improved lung function and reduced inflammation, suggesting potential benefits for cystic fibrosis patients.
  5. A study by Naito et al. (2016) published in “Nutrients” investigated the effects of oral and intravenous glutathione on oxidative stress in healthy adults. They found that both oral and intravenous glutathione administration increased blood glutathione levels and reduced biomarkers of oxidative stress.

The Risks:

While vitamin infusions are generally considered safe, they’re not entirely risk-free. Overdosing on certain vitamins, such as vitamin A or D, can lead to serious health consequences. Furthermore, injecting vitamins can put a strain on your liver and kidneys, which is particularly concerning for people with pre-existing liver or kidney conditions.

The Alternatives:

Most of the time we can obtain the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants our body requires thorough a healthy diet. In many situations a focused supplement plan provided by a naturopathic doctor or clinical nutritionist can help fill in dietary gaps. Occasionally intravenous vitamins and minerals can be beneficial for specific health concerns. In addition to the above mentioned situations where we have clinical evidence in support of intravenous therapy; I have seen excellent results in patients with chronic stress, bowel disease, slow healing injuries and allergies.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, while celebrity vitamin infusions may seem like a quick and easy fix, the truth is that there are only a handful of specific concerns that benefit from IV therapy.
When it comes to your health, it’s always best to rely on science-backed information rather than hype and marketing claims. A Naturopathic Doctor with experience in IV therapy can be an invaluable resource in sifting through the heaps of misinformation on complimentary and alternative treatments such as IV therapy. Interested in making an appointment? Book a free 15min introductory consult with me today!

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07/May/2023

Childhood asthma is a condition that affects millions of children around the world. When your child is diagnosed with asthma, it can be overwhelming and scary. But the good news is that there are natural ways to manage asthma in children without the use of harsh medications. By making some lifestyle changes and natural remedies, you can help to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. In this post, we will discuss some of the best natural ways to manage asthma in children.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is one of the best natural remedies for managing asthma in children. Studies have shown that a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help reduce the incidence of asthma in children.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Asthma and Allergy Educators, a balanced, diverse diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables may decrease the risk for asthma among children and adolescents. A separate study published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity found that children who consumed more fruits and vegetables had fewer asthma symptoms.
In particular, nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids appear to be especially beneficial for children with asthma. One review of several studies, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that higher intakes of vitamin C, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids were associated with better lung function and fewer asthma symptoms in children.
On the other hand, a diet that’s high in processed foods and unhealthy fats has been linked to an increased risk of asthma and more severe symptoms. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet high in saturated fats, trans fats, and refined sugars was associated with an increased risk of asthma in children.

2. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is very important for a healthy immune system and body. Lack of sleep can trigger asthma symptoms and increase the risk of asthma attacks. Make sure your child gets enough sleep every night by creating a bedtime routine that allows for 8-10 hours of sleep.
Research has shown that poor quality of sleep, inadequate duration of sleep, and disrupted sleep patterns can all contribute to the development of asthma, as well as exacerbate asthma symptoms in children who are already diagnosed with the condition. According to one study, children with asthma who had poor sleep quality were more likely to report asthma-related symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath, compared to children who had good sleep quality. Another study found that children with chronic sleep deprivation had an increased risk of developing asthma.
Certain lifestyle modifications and good sleep habits can help enhance sleep quality and maintain healthy sleep patterns in children with asthma. For example, establishing regular bedtime routines and ensuring that the child’s bedroom environment is conducive to sleep can help improve sleep quality. Additionally, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants before bedtime and reducing screen time before sleeping can also help improve sleep quality.

3. Stay Active

Regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on childhood asthma. Research studies indicate that engaging in regular exercise can help improve lung function and reduce the severity and frequency of asthma symptoms in children. Studies have also revealed that children who participate in team sports activities tend to have better respiratory health compared to children who are less active.
Physical activity can help strengthen the muscles used for breathing and improve overall endurance and cardiovascular fitness. A study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology found that children with asthma who participated in a six-week physical activity program saw significant improvement in lung function and reduced the need for medication compared to those who did not participate in the program.

4. Supplementation

Certain natural supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of childhood asthma. Naturopathic doctors can help create personalized, holistic treatment plans for children with asthma that include natural supplements such as probiotics, vitamin D, and magnesium.
Probiotics may help reduce the risk of asthma by modulating the immune system, while vitamin D and magnesium have been shown to improve lung function and reduce inflammation in children with asthma. A review published in the World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics found that probiotics could be a promising intervention for asthma prevention and management, and a study published in the Journal of Respiratory Research found that vitamin D supplementation improved lung function in children with asthma.
Magnesium has also been found to have a positive impact on asthma symptoms, as a study published in the European Respiratory Journal found that magnesium supplementation improved asthma control in children.

5. Keep The Air Clean

Poor air quality can trigger asthma symptoms in children. You can improve air quality in your home by keeping surfaces clean and free from dust, mold, and other allergens. Keep windows and doors open to allow fresh air in. Consider investing in an air purifier that filters out allergens and toxins in the air.

Conclusion:

Asthma in children can be manageable by making some lifestyle changes and using natural remedies. It is important to work closely with your child’s doctor or naturopath to develop a treatment plan that works best for them. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep, clean air, and supplementation are just some of the natural ways to manage asthma in children. With proper management, your child can live an active and healthy life.

References:

  1. Varraso R, Garcia-Aymerich J, Monier F, et al. Assessment of dietary intake in subjects with asthma and atopic dermatitis: validation of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003;57(6): 814-20. https://www.nature.com/articles/1601621
  2. Almqvist C, Garden F, Xuan W, et al. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid exposure from early life does not affect atopy and asthma at age 12. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007;119(6):1438-1444. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17544305
  3. Wright RJ, Cohen S, Carey V, Weiss ST, Gold DR. Parental stress as a predictor of wheezing in infancy: a prospective birth-cohort study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002;165(3):358-365. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11850319
  4. Romieu I, Sienra-Monge JJ, Ramírez-Aguilar M, et al. Antioxidant supplementation and lung functions among children with asthma exposed to high levels of air pollutants. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2002;166 (5):703-709. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12204881
  5. Sutherland ER, Goleva E, Jackson LP, et al. Vitamin D levels, lung function, and steroid response in adult asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010;181(7):699-704. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115833/
  6. Maslova E, Hansen S, Jensen CB, Olsen SF. Dietary intake and development of atopic eczema in childhood. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2012;23(3):206-213. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01225.x
  7. Butland BK, Fehily AM, Elwood PC. Diet, lung function, and lung function decline in a cohort of 2512 middle aged men. Thorax. 2000;55(2):102-108. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10639558
  8. Wood LG, Garg ML, Gibson PG. A high-fat challenge increases airway inflammation and impairs bronchodilator recovery in asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011;127(5):1133-1140. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21281860
  9. Nutrition recommendations and interventions for diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2007;30 (Suppl 1):S48-S65. https://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/Supplement_1/S48
  10. Szentpetery SE, Kim HJ, Kleinhenz ME, et al. Sleep quality and asthma control and quality of life in non-severe and severe asthma. Sleep Breath. 2012; 16(4):1129-1137. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11325-011-0636-1
  11. Guo YF, Liu FS, Lu M, et al. Short sleep duration is associated with increased risk of childhood asthma. J Asthma. 2019;56(7):759-767. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02770903.2018.1492065
  12. Lu KD, Loh A, Petersen C, et al. Sleep and asthma. Sleep Med Rev. 2019;45:31-40. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1087079218300708
  13. Chee CG, Kim S, Lee KJ, et al. Association of caffeine intake and sleep quality in children with asthma. J Asthma Allergy Educ. 2011;2(5):205-210. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577184/
  14. Calamaro CJ, Mason TB, Ratcliffe SJ. Adolescents living with asthma report improved sleep and asthma outcomes after sleep and asthma educations intervention. J Pediatr Health Care. 2011;25(2):103-109. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0891524510003075
  15. Lang JE, Hossain MJ, Lima JJ. Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction: pathophysiology and management. Expert Rev Respir Med. 2011;5(1):91-101. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3021425/
  16. Orenstein DM. Effect of exercise on airway function in cystic fibrosis and asthma. Clin Chest Med. 2000;21(1):147-161. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10763022
  17. Hull JH, Skinner S, Phillips D, et al. Asthma and exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in amateur athletes. Br J Gen Pract. 2003;53(489):638-641. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1314468/
  18. Yammine S, Marzuillo P, Israel E. Update on exercise-induced bronchoconstriction in athletes: pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management. Expert Rev Respir Med. 2020;14(1):75-83. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17476348.2020.1687293
  19. Freitas Jr LRd, Ribeiro MA. Non pharmacological treatment for children and adolescents with asthma. J Pediatr. 2014;90(5 Suppl 1):S40-7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021755714001111
  20. Cabana MD, McKean M, Caughey AB, et al. Early probiotic supplementation for eczema and asthma prevention: a randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics. 2017;140(3):e20163000. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28765378/
  21. Litonjua AA, Carey VJ, Laranjo N, et al. Effect of prenatal supplementation with vitamin D on asthma or recurrent wheezing in offspring by age 3 years: the VDAART randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2016;315(4):362-370. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26813209/
  22. Hill J, Micklewright A, Lewis S, Britton J. Investigation of the effect of short-term change in dietary magnesium intake in asthma. Eur Respir J. 1997;10(10):2225-2229. https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/10/10/2225

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01/May/2023

More and more families are choosing to adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet. According to a recent study published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, plant-based diets can meet all nutritional needs for infants and children. However, parents must be mindful about the potential nutritional deficiencies that may arise with these diets. In this blog post, I will discuss the most common nutrient deficiencies that vegan and vegetarian kids might experience and provide tips on how to ensure they get enough nutrients.

1. Vitamin B12

Vegan and vegetarian diets are often low in Vitamin B12 since it is most commonly found in animal products. This nutrient is necessary for healthy brain function, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis. Fortunately, several vegan sources of B12 are available, including fortified foods such as plant-based milks, cereals, and nutritional yeast. Parents can also give their kids a B12 supplement or buy a vegan B12 supplement spray.
Some common symptoms of B12 deficiency in kids include:
  • Delayed development
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Pale skin
  • Poor appetite
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet
  • Difficulty walking and balancing
  • Behavioral changes
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Mouth ulcers or sores
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)

Recommendation: Active Chewable B12 from Genestra provides 1mg of Methyl-B12 in a cherry flavored chewable tablet. It is vegan, gluten, dairy and soy free.

2. Iron

Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. Iron deficiency is common in vegan and vegetarian kids because plant-based sources of iron (such as beans, lentils, and leafy greens) are not as easily absorbed as animal-derived iron. To increase iron absorption, parents should pair iron-rich foods with vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits. When iron deficiency is present it can be difficult to raise levels sufficiently with diet alone. Iron supplementation can be useful, however, it is important to do so under the care of a family physician or naturopathic doctor. Too much iron can be as problematic as too little.
Some common symptoms of iron deficiency in kids include:
  • Pale skin or lips
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Irritability or fussiness
  • Poor appetite
  • Decreased growth and development
  • Increased infections
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Brittle nails
  • Headaches

Recommendation: Floradix Liquid Iron is a great tasting vegetarian friendly iron supplement with synergistic B-vitamins.

3. Protein

Many people wonder whether a vegan diet can provide adequate protein for growing kids. The answer is undoubtedly yes! Plants like beans, lentils, tofu, and quinoa pack significant protein. However, it is essential to combine these protein sources with whole grains to create complete protein. It is also okay to offer plant-based protein sources throughout the day and not all at once. Edamame, nut butter, and vegan protein shakes are excellent options. Check out my article on Nutritional Requirements for kids to gain an idea of how much protein your child requires. If a protein deficiency in suspected, using a protein supplement can be an easy way to boost your child’s daily protein consumption.
Some signs and symptoms of protein deficiency in kids include:
  • Edema or swelling in the feet, hands, or belly
  • Slow growth or failure to thrive
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Weak or brittle hair and nails
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating
  • Irritability or mood changes
  • Lowered immunity, leading to increased infections

Recommendations: Progressive Nutritionals Harmonized Fermented Vegan Protein is a vegan option high in protein and easy to digest. It is available in vanilla and chocolate.

4. Calcium

Calcium is critical for strong bones, muscles, and teeth. While dairy products are the most common source of calcium, vegan kids can get enough calcium from plant-based sources like fortified non-dairy milk, broccoli, bok choy, and kale. Parents can also offer vegan calcium supplements.
Some common signs and symptoms of calcium deficiency in kids include:
  • Delayed development and growth
  • Weak bones that are prone to fractures
  • Muscle cramps and spasms
  • Numbness and tingling in the fingers, toes, or face
  • Weak and brittle nails
  • Tooth decay and other dental problems
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability or mood changes
  • Loss of appetite

Recommendation: Calcium Kids Chewable tablets from Progressive Nutritional’s provides calcium and other micronutrients in a great tasting sugar free and vegetarian format.

5. Zinc

Zinc is essential for growth and development, immune system function, and wound healing. Zinc can be found in nuts, seeds, and legumes, and fortified cereals. Parents could also offer vegan supplements to ensure adequate zinc intake. it is important to note that long term zinc supplementation can cause copper deficiency. Therefore, it is important to supplement under the supervision of a physician, nutritionist or naturopathic doctor.
Some common signs and symptoms of zinc deficiency in kids include:
  • Delayed growth and development
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Diarrhea and other digestive issues
  • Increased infections
  • Skin rash or dry skin
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Difficulty concentrating or memory problems
  • Mood changes, such as irritability or depression

Recommendation: Kids Liquid Zinc with Vitamin C from Organika is a product I have used with many patients. It provides 3.5mg of zinc with 200mg of vitamin C in a great tasting easy to use liquid format.

Conclusion:

If done right, a vegan or vegetarian diet can provide all the nutrients necessary for growing kids. However, it is essential to be mindful of potential nutrient deficiencies and incorporate nutrient-rich, plant-based foods into meals. If parents choose to offer supplements, it is best to talk to a healthcare professional first. With the right approach, vegan and vegetarian diets can be healthy and satisfying for kids.

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09/Apr/2023

As parents, our first priority is always to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of our children. However, with the fast-paced and demanding world that we live in, children, too, are often faced with stress and anxiety. Childhood anxiety can present itself in various ways, including excessive worrying, fear of separation, social anxiety, and panic attacks, among others. While medication is often prescribed for children diagnosed with anxiety disorders, more and more parents are seeking natural and holistic ways to manage their child’s anxiety. In this blog post, I will discuss natural solutions for childhood anxiety that parents can consider to ensure that their children thrive, grow, and develop into well-adjusted adults.

1. Exercise

Regular exercise promotes both mental and physical health and is one of the most effective natural solutions for childhood anxiety. Physical activity releases endorphins, also known as “feel-good” hormones, that naturally reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise can also help children distract themselves from stressful situations, providing them with a sense of control and self-esteem. You can encourage your child to participate in activities such as dancing, running, cycling, or team sports. As a parent, lead by example, and make physical exercise a daily family routine.
The American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children and adolescents get at least an hour of physical activity per day. Here are some weekly guidelines for exercise for kids and children:
  • Children ages 6-17 should aim for at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
  • The 60 minutes of activity can be broken up into shorter bouts throughout the day, such as three 20-minute sessions.
  • Activities that strengthen bones, such as running and jumping, should be done at least three days per week.
  • Activities that strengthen muscles, such as push-ups and climbing, should be done at least three days per week.
  • Encourage children to participate in a variety of physical activities, such as team sports, swimming, bike riding, jumping rope, and dancing.
  • Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours per day.
  • Encourage children to be active with friends and family, such as taking walks or playing in the park.
It is important to match the physical activity level to a child’s age and abilities, and to choose activities that the child enjoys. If a child has a medical condition, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting an exercise program.