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10/May/2024

In today’s whirlwind of supplements and health trends, Ashwagandha stands out—not as a newfound secret, but as an ancient remedy reasserting its relevance. This powerful herb, rooted in over 3,000 years of Ayurvedic tradition, is making waves among health enthusiasts, wellness seekers, and the fitness community. But what exactly is Ashwagandha, and who stands to benefit from its inclusion in their wellness regimen? This blog dives deep into the world of Ashwagandha, illustrating its history, health benefits, and key considerations for use.

Introduction to Ashwagandha: Origin, History, and Traditional Uses

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is a small, shrubby plant native to India and North Africa. Its roots and orange-red fruit have been used for millennia to concoct remedies for a vast array of ailments. Historically revered in Ayurvedic medicine as a Rasayana (tonic), it was prescribed to help people strengthen their immune system after an illness and to enhance longevity.

The Science Behind Ashwagandha: Key Research Findings and Health Benefits

Far from folklore, the benefits of Ashwagandha are now being corroborated by science. Studies suggest that it can reduce cortisol levels, combat stress, improve sleep quality, and boost brain function.

  • Stress and Anxiety: Ashwagandha’s most praised benefit is its ability to lower stress. This is credited to its classification as an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body manage stress.
  • Cognitive Function: Research indicates that Ashwagandha supports memory, cognitive speed, and overall brain health.
  • Physical Performance: Fitness enthusiasts might find Ashwagandha particularly appealing. Some studies show it can enhance strength, muscle size, and recovery.

Who Could Benefit from Ashwagandha?

Given its broad range of benefits, a wide array of individuals can reap rewards from this ancient herb:

  • The Overwhelmed: Anyone battling the stresses and strains of modern life may find a natural ally in Ashwagandha.
  • Fitness Aficionados: Athletes and regular gym-goers could experience improved strength and better recovery times.
  • Sleep Seekers: Those chasing a good night’s sleep might find solace in Ashwagandha’s ability to improve sleep quality.
  • The Intellectually Engaged: Individuals needing a cognitive boost—whether for studies, work, or personal projects—may benefit from Ashwagandha’s brain function support.

Different Forms of Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha comes in various forms—each with its unique benefits:

  • Pills: Convenient for those on the go.
  • Powders: Offers flexibility in how you consume it—mixable in shakes, foods, etc.
  • Tinctures: Liquid form can be more quickly absorbed by the body.

General Dosage Recommendations Based on Research

  1. For Stress and Anxiety Reduction:
  • Studies have used dosages ranging from 300 mg to 500 mg of ashwagandha root extract taken twice daily. This dosage range has been shown to effectively reduce stress and anxiety levels in adults.
  1. For Enhancing Sleep:
  • A dosage of around 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract, taken twice daily, including once just before bedtime, has been observed to improve sleep quality and help manage insomnia.
  1. For Improved Cognitive Function:
  • Research suggests that 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily can support cognitive function, memory, and reaction times.
  1. For Athletic Performance:
  • Doses ranging from 500 mg to 1250 mg of ashwagandha root extract per day have been studied for their effects on muscle strength and recovery in athletes, showing positive outcomes.
  1. General Wellbeing:
  • For overall health and vitality, a daily dose of 300-500 mg of ashwagandha extract is commonly recommended, though some benefits have been seen with doses up to 6000 mg per day of the powder form, divided into several doses.

Considerations and Safety

  • Form Matters: The concentration of withanolides, the active compounds in ashwagandha, can differ significantly between products, affecting the dosage. Extracts are more concentrated than powders, requiring smaller doses to achieve similar effects.
  • Individual Differences: Age, health status, and the presence of specific health conditions can influence the appropriate dosage. What works for one person might not work for another.
  • Start Small: When beginning ashwagandha, it’s often recommended to start with a lower dose to assess tolerance before gradually increasing to the desired therapeutic dose.
  • Consult a Professional: Before adding ashwagandha to your regimen, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are taking medication, consult a healthcare provider.

Conclusion

Ashwagandha’s resurgence in the health and wellness domain is no surprise. With its rich Ayurvedic legacy and the backing of modern science, it offers a holistic approach to combatting stress, improving health, and enhancing quality of life. Whether you’re navigating the challenges of modern living, seeking to optimize your physical performance, or in pursuit of mental clarity, Ashwagandha may just be the supplement to explore. We encourage you to consider its potential and, as always, advocate for a conversation with your healthcare provider to ensure it’s the right fit for your health profile and wellness goals.

For more articles on performance enhancing supplements Click Here
For more information on Ashwagandha as well as links to some of the recent research Click Here

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25/Mar/2024

Understanding Estrogen Dominance and Corrective Measures

In the grand symphony of human health, hormones are the conductors, directing every system, cell, and function. Amidst these crucial messengers, estrogen stands as a prime influencer, dictating the orchestration of the female body’s development and maintenance. But when this estrogen takes centre stage excessively, a condition known as ‘estrogen dominance’ can throw the health harmony into disarray.

This comprehensive guide dives into the intricacies of estrogen dominance, its impact, and the corrective measures that can reset the hormonal balance for a healthier, harmonious life.

Defining Estrogen Dominance

Estrogen dominance is a term used to describe a hormonal imbalance where the levels of estrogen in the body exceed the optimal ratio to progesterone levels, leading to an imbalance between these two primary female sex hormones. While estrogen is crucial for the reproductive system’s growth and maintenance, an overload of this hormone relative to progesterone can lead to various health problems, particularly affecting women of reproductive age.

Identifying Estrogen Dominance

The body provides distinct cues when hormonal equilibrium is disrupted. Signs of estrogen dominance can range from irregular menstrual cycles to more pronounced symptoms like:

  • Increased PMS symptoms
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Weight gain, particularly around the hips and thighs
  • Menstrual problems like heavy bleeding or missed periods
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Insomnia (especially premenstrually)

Lifestyle Factors and Causes

Understanding what leads to estrogen dominance is as vital as recognizing its symptoms. Several factors can tip the hormonal scales, including:

Diet

Consuming a diet high in refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and low in fibre can contribute to high estrogen levels. Processed foods with added hormones and antibiotics can further exacerbate the issue.

Stress

Chronic stress triggers the production of cortisol, throwing off the delicate balance of the endocrine system, which manages hormone levels.

Environmental Influences

Common household products may contain xenoestrogens, synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of natural estrogen, thereby increasing the body’s estrogen load.

Impact on Health

Estrogen dominance doesn’t merely affect reproductive health; it can also have far-reaching impacts, influencing:

Fertility

The fine-tuned balance between estrogen and progesterone is critical for reproductive health, influencing the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.

Mental Health

Studies link estrogen dominance to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and in severe cases, cognitive decline and disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Cardiovascular Health

High levels of estrogen are associated with an elevated risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke.

Corrective Measures

The good news is that estrogen dominance is often manageable, and in some cases, reversible. These corrective measures can help restore hormonal balance:

Dietary Changes

Adjusting your diet to include more cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts can support the liver in metabolizing estrogen effectively.

Exercise

Regular physical activity can decrease the levels of circulating estrogen by influencing how estrogen is metabolized in the body.

Stress Management

Incorporating stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or spending time in nature can help lower cortisol levels and restore hormonal equilibrium.

Supplements

Certain supplements such as DIM (Diindolylmethane) and Calcium-D-Glucarate can aid in the detoxification and elimination of excess estrogen from the body.

Natural Remedies

Nature has provided an array of tools to address hormonal imbalances. Natural remedies include:

Herbs

Herbs like chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus) have been used for centuries to support reproductive health and hormone balance.

Essential Oils

Some essential oils, such as clary sage and thyme, are believed to have hormone-regulating effects when used aromatically or topically (diluted with a carrier oil).

Lifestyle Adjustments

Simple lifestyle tweaks like using natural personal care products, drinking from glass or stainless steel containers to avoid chemicals, and regularly practicing stress-reducing activities can make a significant difference.

Professional Interventions

When natural remedies and lifestyle changes are insufficient, professional interventions may be necessary:

Medical Treatments

Certain medications, such as bio-identical hormone replacement therapies (BHRT), can help regulate menstrual cycles and manage symptoms associated with estrogen dominance. There are various forms of hormone replacement therapy, some safer than others. A hormone replacement program needs to be tailored to the needs of each individual patient and therefore should be discussed with your healthcare professional.

Hormone Testing

Comprehensive hormone testing can provide invaluable insights into your estrogen-progesterone balance, guiding physicians in developing an appropriate treatment plan.

Conclusion

Hormonal balance, particularly that of estrogen and progesterone, is foundational to female health. Estrogen dominance is a common but often under-recognized disruptor of this harmony. By understanding the signs, causes, and corrective measures detailed in this post, women can take proactive steps towards reclaiming their hormonal equilibrium.

Be proactive about your hormonal health. Conduct routine self-assessments, seek professional guidance when needed, and be mindful of the factors that can influence your estrogen levels. Establishing and maintaining hormonal harmony is a pathway to a life where every element of your being, from fertility to mental and cardiovascular health, operates in tune with your natural rhythm.


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15/Jan/2024

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common condition that affects men of all ages, causing significant emotional distress and damaging their relationships with their partners. The causes of ED range from physical to psychological, and conventional treatments like medications and surgery may come with unwanted side effects. However, many men are turning to natural, non-invasive, and effective naturopathic solutions that address the root causes of ED and restore their sexual function. In this blog post, we’ll explore the causes and cures of ED from a naturopathic perspective and provide you with practical tips that can improve your sexual health and overall wellness.

Understanding the Causes of ED: Naturopathic Approach

One of the primary causes of ED is poor blood flow to the penis, which may result from cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, or atherosclerosis. Therefore, a naturopathic approach to ED involves improving blood flow through lifestyle changes, such as exercising, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and following a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Additionally, naturopathic practitioners may recommend supplements like ginkgo biloba, L-arginine, and niacin, which are known to boost blood flow, decrease inflammation, and improve endothelial function.

Another potential cause of ED is hormonal imbalances, especially low levels of testosterone, which is responsible for male sexual drive and performance. Naturopathic solutions for hormonal imbalances may include lifestyle changes, such as increasing physical activity, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress levels, as well as supplements like Tribulus terrestris and Tongkat Ali, which are natural testosterone boosters. Moreover, certain foods like oysters, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate are rich in zinc, which supports healthy testosterone levels.

For more articles on hormonal health Click Here

Addressing Psychological Causes of ED: Naturopathic Methods

ED may also have psychological causes, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or relationship problems. Naturopathic practitioners view mental health as an essential aspect of overall wellness, and they may suggest various approaches to address psychological factors that contribute to ED. Some of these methods include:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps patients identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviours that interfere with sexual function,
  2. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which teaches patients how to manage stress and anxiety through meditation and breathing techniques
  3. Couples therapy, which aims to improve communication and intimacy between partners.
Check out 4 CBT based steps for overcoming ED Here

Herbal Remedies for ED: Naturopathic Alternatives

Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat various sexual dysfunctions, and many of them have been shown to be effective for ED. Some of the most commonly used herbs for ED include Panax ginseng, Maca root, horny goat weed, and ashwagandha. These herbs have different mechanisms of action, such as improving blood flow, increasing libido, and reducing stress. However, it’s important to note that herbal remedies may interact with medications or have unwanted side effects if not used correctly, so it’s essential to consult with a licensed naturopathic practitioner before trying them.

Acupuncture and Other Naturopathic Therapies for ED

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points of the body to balance energy flow and promote healing. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for various sexual dysfunctions, including ED, by improving blood flow, reducing stress, and balancing hormones. Other naturopathic therapies that may benefit ED include chiropractic care, massage therapy, and hydrotherapy, which may enhance blood flow and relaxation.

For more articles on optimizing virility Click Here

Naturopathic Acupuncture for Anxiety, Stress and Depression

Conclusion:

Erectile dysfunction is a prevalent and treatable condition that affects men of all ages. Naturopathic solutions for ED involve a holistic approach that addresses the underlying causes of ED, such as poor blood flow, hormonal imbalances, and psychological factors, through lifestyle changes, supplements, herbal remedies, and various therapies. Naturopathic treatments for ED are non-invasive, safe, and effective, and they may provide long-lasting results that improve overall sexual health and wellbeing. If you’re struggling with ED, consider consulting with a licensed naturopathic practitioner to create a personalized treatment plan that works for you.


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03/Jan/2024

Men today face many challenges when it comes to their health. From stress and pollution to poor diets and sedentary lifestyles, many factors can contribute to a decline in overall health and well-being. One area where men can be proactive is in optimizing virility and longevity. Naturopathic medicine offers many solutions that can help men achieve optimal health in these areas. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to optimize virility and longevity using naturopathic medicine.

The Power of Diet and Exercise

Regular exercise and a balanced diet can play an imperative role in maintaining men’s health and well-being. The current health statistics for men reveal some alarming figures, highlighting the urgent need for a healthier lifestyle.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 13.8% of men aged 18 and over were in fair or poor health as of 2022. Moreover, 350,000 men lose their lives to cardiovascular disease each year, and men are 1.5 times more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, and respiratory disease.

The Impact of Diet

A healthy diet is a cornerstone of good health. In particular, the Mediterranean diet and intermittent fasting have shown promising results in improving men’s health.

The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins, has been linked to lower levels of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Intermittent fasting, a pattern of eating that includes periods of eating and fasting, has been associated with weight loss, improved markers of health, and longevity.

Implementing these diets in everyday life might seem challenging at first, but with careful planning and commitment, it can become second nature. Start small, make gradual changes, and be consistent.

The Power of Exercise

Physical activity is equally important for men’s health. Regular exercise helps control weight, reduces the risk of heart diseases, manages blood sugar and insulin levels, improves mental health, and strengthens bones and muscles.

Men should aim for at least 180 minutes of moderate-intensity (Zone 2) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity (Zone 3-4) aerobic activity per week, along with strength training exercises on two or more days a week. Incorporating cardiovascular workouts, strength training, and flexibility exercises can provide comprehensive fitness benefits.

What is Zone 2 Cardio?

Learn more about the benefits of daily stretching

The Synergy of Diet and Exercise

Diet and exercise are not mutually exclusive; they work best when combined. Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for overall health. At the same time, a balanced diet provides the nutrients your body needs to perform physical activity.

The importance of diet and exercise cannot be overstated for improving men’s overall health and well-being. By adopting healthier eating habits and incorporating regular physical activity into daily routines, men can significantly improve their health statistics. It’s never too late to start making healthier choices!

Testosterone

The Role of Hormones

As a naturopathic doctor, I’ve observed that maintaining hormonal balance is a cornerstone of men’s health, vitality, and longevity. Hormones like testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, and many others play a pivotal role in regulating various aspects of male health, including sexual function, energy levels, muscle mass, and bone density. However, imbalances in these hormones can lead to a plethora of health issues. Let’s delve deeper into understanding these imbalances and how we can naturally enhance virility and longevity.

Common Hormonal Imbalances in Men

Hormonal imbalances are not uncommon in men and can result in symptoms such as fatigue, erectile dysfunction, loss of muscle mass, and decreased bone density.

Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, is vital for libido, muscle mass, and bone density. A decline in testosterone levels can lead to fatigue, reduced sexual desire, and erectile dysfunction.

Estrogen, although known as a female hormone, also plays a crucial role in men’s health. Excessive levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain, mood swings, and even contribute to erectile dysfunction.

DHEA is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands and acts as a precursor to sex hormones, including testosterone. A decrease in DHEA levels can lead to fatigue, depression, and a gradual loss of endurance and muscular strength.

Check out this article on hormone testing

Enhancing Hormonal Health Naturally

To maintain optimal hormonal health, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and smart lifestyle choices are key. Here are some tips to help you on this journey:

Nutrition: Incorporating nutrient-dense foods into your daily regimen can significantly impact your hormonal health. Zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and Omega-3 fatty acids are particularly beneficial. They support testosterone production, improve sleep (which in turn aids hormone regulation), enhance mood, and boost overall health.

Exercise: Regular physical activity, particularly resistance and high-intensity interval training, can stimulate hormone production and help maintain muscle mass and bone density.

Avoid Harmful Habits: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can adversely affect your hormonal balance. It’s best to limit these habits to promote better hormonal health.

Stress Management: Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance. Practices such as meditation, yoga, and deep-breathing exercises can help manage stress levels.

Vitamin D

Supplementation

Many natural supplements can help men optimize their health and increase their longevity. Some of the most effective supplements for men include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, creatine, and adaptogens. These supplements can help to support healthy immune function, improve heart health, boost energy levels, and promote healthy hormone balance.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that have been shown to have numerous health benefits. They are particularly beneficial for heart health, reducing inflammation, and even supporting cognitive function. A systematic review published in the British Medical Journal revealed that omega-3 fatty acids could lower mortality rates and risks associated with cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin D: Often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D is crucial for bone health and immune function. It aids in the absorption of calcium, which can help prevent the onset of osteoporosis, a common concern as men age.

Zinc: This mineral is vital for men as it plays a significant role in testosterone production. Adequate zinc levels can help maintain optimal testosterone levels, thereby promoting virility.

Magnesium: Known for its multiple health benefits, magnesium can support healthy sleep patterns, muscle function, and mood – all of which contribute to overall vitality and longevity.

Creatine: Creatine is a well-researched supplement known for its ability to improve strength and lean muscle mass. It can be particularly beneficial for aging men looking to preserve muscle mass.

Adaptogens: Adaptogens are a unique class of healing plants that have been used for centuries to help balance, restore, and protect the body. They can help the body resist physical, chemical, or biological stresses, thereby boosting overall health and well-being.

Stress Management

Stress is a major contributor to poor health, and it can have a negative impact on everything from sleep quality and immune function to hormonal balance and cardiovascular health. Naturopathic medicine offers many solutions for managing stress, including:

Relaxation Techniques: Methods such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.

Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese technique, involving the insertion of very thin needles through the skin at specific points on your body, has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Infusion Therapy: Infusion therapy, which involves delivering substances directly into the bloodstream, can be used to administer nutrients and vitamins that support the body’s stress response.

Natural Supplements: Certain natural supplements, like ashwagandha and magnesium, have been shown to help manage stress. Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, can help the body resist stressors and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Magnesium plays a role in regulating the body’s stress-response system and is often used as a natural remedy for anxiety.

When it comes to optimizing virility and longevity, men have many options available to them. Naturopathic medicine offers a holistic approach to wellness that can help men achieve optimal health in these areas. By focusing on key areas like diet and exercise, hormone health, supplementation and stress management, men can take control of their health and achieve optimal virility and longevity for years to come. Consult with a trained naturopathic doctor to learn more about the best ways to optimize your health naturally.


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30/Oct/2023

Hormones play a crucial role in the overall function of the body and can impact everything from mood and energy levels to sex drive and weight management. In men, testosterone levels tend to decline with age, while women experience fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle and menopause. It’s important for both men and women to have their hormone levels checked before the age of 50, and here’s why.

Detect and Prevent Hormone Imbalances

Hormone imbalances can occur at any age, but they are more likely to occur as people enter their 40s and 50s. By having hormone levels checked regularly, potential imbalances can be detected early on and appropriate interventions can be taken, such as hormone replacement therapy or lifestyle changes. Hormone imbalances can cause a range of health issues, including weight gain, infertility, low libido, fatigue, and more. One common hormonal imbalance is estrogen dominance, which can be treated effectively without pharmaceutical intervention.

For more on hormone balance click HERE

Encourage Preventive Care

Having hormone levels checked before the age of 50 can encourage individuals to prioritize preventive care. This means that they can work closely with healthcare providers to establish a wellness plan that includes everything from regular screenings and check-ups to diet and exercise. By prioritizing preventive care, people can ensure their body’s hormone levels are balanced, promoting overall health and well-being.

Address Age-Related Symptoms

As people approach their 50s, they may experience age-related symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, or erectile dysfunction. In some cases, these symptoms may be related to hormone imbalances, and so it’s important to have hormone levels checked regularly. If hormone imbalances are identified, treatment can be prescribed to help alleviate symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

Improve Bone Density

In women, estrogen levels decline during menopause, which can lead to a decrease in bone density and increase the risk of osteoporosis. Men also experience a decline in bone density as they age due to lower testosterone levels. By having hormone levels checked regularly, individuals can become aware of decreased bone density early on, and can take steps to prevent bone loss and reduce their risk of osteoporosis, such as getting regular exercise, consuming calcium and vitamin D, and taking hormone replacement therapy if needed.

Promote Emotional Well-Being

Hormone imbalances can impact not only physical health but emotional health as well. In women, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone can cause mood swings, irritability, and anxiety. Low testosterone levels in men can cause depression or irritability. Having hormone levels checked regularly can help to identify potential hormone imbalances that may be contributing to emotional concerns. Appropriate treatment can then be prescribed to help improve emotional well-being.

Conclusion

Having hormone levels checked before the age of 50 is an important component of overall health and wellness for both men and women. It can help to detect and prevent hormone imbalances, encourage preventive care, address age-related symptoms, improve bone density, and promote emotional well-being. By prioritizing regular hormone level checks, individuals can better address potential health issues and work toward a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Interested in having your hormones checked? Give as a call or book a consultation HERE


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23/Oct/2023

Our thyroid gland plays a vital role in our body’s functioning and metabolism. If we experience an abnormality in this gland, it can result in various disorders, including hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce an adequate amount of thyroid hormone. However, subclinical hypothyroidism is an early-stage of hypothyroidism that often goes unnoticed. In this blog post, we will shed light on what subclinical hypothyroidism is, its symptoms, and treatment strategies.

What is Subclinical Hypothyroidism?

In subclinical hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland produces less thyroid hormone than usual, resulting in a slightly elevated TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level. TSH is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland in response to the thyroid gland’s hormone levels. It helps in regulating the thyroid hormone production. In subclinical hypothyroidism, the thyroid hormone levels are still within the normal range, although at the lower end. Subclinical hypothyroidism often goes unnoticed as it does not cause any identifiable symptoms.

Symptoms of Subclinical Hypothyroidism

In most cases, subclinical hypothyroidism does not cause any specific symptoms. However, some people may experience subtle signs such as fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, dry skin, constipation, and irregular menstrual cycles. These symptoms may not necessarily be related to the thyroid gland, hence making it challenging to diagnose subclinical hypothyroidism.

Treatment Strategies for Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Subclinical hypothyroidism does not always require treatment. However, treatment may be recommended in certain cases, such as when the patient experiences symptoms or if TSH levels are very high. The following are some treatment strategies that are commonly used:

Thyroid Hormone

Both T3 and T4 thyroid hormone can be used to increase the low thyroid hormone levels. It’s essential to follow the doctor’s prescribed dosage as taking more than required can lead to unpleasant side effects.

Lifestyle changes

A healthy lifestyle can have a significant impact on thyroid hormones. Quitting smoking, sticking to a balanced diet, and maintaining a healthy weight can help in managing subclinical hypothyroidism.

Iodine

As a Naturopathic Doctor, it’s important to highlight the vital role iodine plays in managing subclinical hypothyroidism. Iodine is a key component of thyroid hormones, which regulate metabolism, growth, and development. In the case of subclinical hypothyroidism, an individual’s thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones, leading to symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and depression.

The daily recommended intake of iodine for adults is 150 micrograms (mcg). Consuming adequate iodine can help stimulate the production of thyroid hormones, potentially alleviating symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism. Foods rich in iodine include seaweed, fish, dairy products, and iodized salt. Supplements are also available for those struggling to meet their iodine requirements through diet alone.

Incorporating these iodine-rich foods into one’s diet could be as simple as eating a piece of seaweed as a snack, incorporating fish into meals a couple of times a week, or using iodized salt when cooking. If considering supplements, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider first to ensure safe and beneficial usage.

Iodine improves subclinical hypothyroidism by providing the necessary raw material for the synthesis of thyroid hormones. When the thyroid gland has sufficient iodine, it can produce the right amount of hormones to maintain normal metabolism, thus preventing the progression of subclinical hypothyroidism to overt hypothyroidism and other complications.

However, too much iodine intake can pose health risks, such as iodine-induced hyperthyroidism or goiter. It is therefore important to stick to the recommended daily intake and to consult a healthcare provider before starting any supplement regimen. Balancing iodine intake can optimize thyroid function and improve overall health, but it needs to be done safely and under professional guidance.

For more on iodine rich foods Click Here

Regular monitoring

Since subclinical hypothyroidism may not cause any symptoms, regularly monitoring TSH levels can help in detecting any changes and taking necessary action.

For more information on when to check your blood Click Here

In conclusion, subclinical hypothyroidism is an early stage of hypothyroidism that often goes unnoticed due to a lack of any symptoms. It is important to have regular health check-ups and blood tests to detect any abnormalities in thyroid hormone levels. If diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism, following a healthy lifestyle and keeping an eye on TSH levels can aid in managing the condition. However, if symptoms arise, it is essential to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.


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17/Oct/2023

Blood tests are a vital tool that doctors use to detect and diagnose a wide range of conditions. From evaluating organ function to monitoring cholesterol levels, these tests give doctors valuable information about a patient’s health. However, the question remains, how often should you have your blood checked? In this post, we will explore the benefits of regular blood testing for prevention versus disease-tracking.

Prevention versus Disease Management

Prevention is the key to good health. Some blood tests can detect early warning signs of diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, allowing for immediate treatment. For instance, a fasting blood sugar test can detect early stages of diabetes, allowing for lifestyle modification, and dietary change. Likewise, a lipid panel test can detect high cholesterol levels, and routine screenings could help reduce risks related to cardiovascular disease.

CEA

Preventative blood tests are especially important for individuals with a family history of certain conditions. For example, if your family has a history of colon cancer carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) can be a useful screening tool for colorectal cancer. CEA is a protein that is often found in higher quantities in those with this type of cancer. Regular CEA testing can help detect the disease at an early stage, making treatment more effective and increasing the chances of survival.

PSA

Similarly, some experts recommend regular prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood tests starting at age 40, especially for men who have a family history of prostate cancer. Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening in men as early as 40 years of age could potentially help identify those at risk of developing prostate cancer. Men aged 40-49 years with a baseline PSA level above 1.0 ng/mL have been found to have a significant risk of prostate cancer diagnosis, suggesting the need for more regular monitoring.

Hormones

Hormone screening, particularly of sex hormones such as testosterone in men, and estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone in women, is a critical aspect of healthcare that can provide valuable insights into an individual’s overall health. Starting these screenings as early as in your 20s can help detect hormonal imbalances that could potentially lead to conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in women or low testosterone levels in men. Early detection can enable timely intervention, possibly preventing future health issues such as infertility, osteoporosis, heart disease, or certain types of cancer. Regular hormone screenings can help maintain hormonal balance, which is vital for physical wellbeing, mental health, and sexual health. Consequently, it can dramatically improve the quality of life by ensuring optimal hormonal health throughout one’s lifetime.

Routine Blood Work

Routine blood tests are a vital tool in maintaining optimum health, as they can detect deficiencies or imbalances that could potentially lead to health problems. Key markers such as Vitamin D and B12 levels are essential for bone health and nerve function respectively. Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is crucial for regulating your body’s metabolism while C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is an indicator of inflammation in the body. Liver enzymes, ferritin, and creatinine levels help monitor liver function, iron storage, and kidney function respectively.

Abnormalities in these markers can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, digestive issues, mood changes, and more. Lifestyle factors including diet, physical activity, stress, and substance use can significantly affect these markers. Yearly blood tests can help identify these abnormalities early, allowing for timely intervention.

On the other hand, some diseases require more frequent monitoring and blood testing. For example, individuals with diabetes may need regular blood tests to monitor their glucose levels. Cancer patients, too, may require regular blood tests to monitor disease progression, or to check if cancer has returned even after treatment.

Conclusion:

Keeping track of your health status through blood tests is important for catching early warning signs of disease, but it also involves analyzing disease progress, response to treatment, and overall health. Ultimately, the frequency of blood tests depends on a patient’s risk profile, family history, age, and overall health status. I generally recommend yearly healthy living assessment panels for prevention and more specific testing on a more frequent basis for disease management. It is important to discuss with your doctor to determine a testing plan specific to your needs. In that way, you can ensure optimal health and well-being for a long time.

We use the two top labs in Canada: LifeLabs and Dynacare 
For a list of some tests that we offer as well as pricing CLICK HERE (Many tests are covered by a health insurance plan)

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02/Oct/2023

Aging is an inevitable part of life, but modern science is continually uncovering ways to potentially slow down this process. This blog aims to provide an overview of the aging process and highlight some scientifically-backed strategies for slowing it down.

Understanding the Aging Process

The aging process is complex and influenced by a variety of factors. As we age, our bodies undergo numerous changes at the molecular, cellular, and organ levels that can lead to increased vulnerability to disease and death. Oxidative stress, inflammation, and cellular damage are key contributors to this process.

For instance, oxidative stress caused by free radicals contributes to the aging process and is associated with several age-related diseases. Inflammation, both chronic and acute, has been linked to aging and age-related diseases. Moreover, cellular damage and the inability of cells to repair this damage is another significant factor in aging.

Anti-Aging Strategies: Supplements, Diets, and Treatments

Vitamin D

Supplements

Here, we will explore some of the most potent anti-aging mechanisms and how they work.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and slowing down the aging process. A recent study indicates that antioxidant supplementation can improve skin health and slow the progression of age-related diseases.

  1. Vitamin C: This potent antioxidant boosts the immune system and aids in collagen production. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, as well as strawberries, bell peppers, and broccoli, are excellent sources of Vitamin C. Try a refreshing citrus salad or squeeze some lemon juice into your water for a Vitamin C boost.
  2. Vitamin E: Vitamin E protects cell membranes and enhances skin health. You can find it in foods like almonds, spinach, sweet potatoes, and avocados. Enjoy a handful of almonds as a snack or whip up a creamy avocado smoothie.
  3. Beta-Carotene: This antioxidant converts into vitamin A in the body, promoting eye health and supporting the immune system. Carrots, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in beta-carotene. Toss these veggies into a colourful salad or blend them into a nutrient-packed green smoothie.
  4. Selenium: Selenium is essential for reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, and DNA synthesis. It’s found in Brazil nuts, seafood, and whole grains. Try a selenium-rich snack like a handful of Brazil nuts or a whole grain toast.
  5. Flavonoids: These are powerful antioxidants found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as tea and chocolate. Berries, apples, onions, and dark chocolate are all high in flavonoids. Whip up a berry smoothie bowl for breakfast or indulge in a piece of dark chocolate for dessert.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that plays a critical role in energy production within our cells. As we age, our natural levels of CoQ10 diminish, making supplementation beneficial. Recent research suggests that CoQ10 can improve heart health and cognitive function in older adults.

Resveratrol

Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine and dark chocolate, activates certain genes called sirtuins, which have been linked to longevity. A recent study showed that resveratrol supplementation could improve health and lifespan in mice.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, found abundantly in fish oil, have potent anti-inflammatory effects and can help protect against age-related cognitive decline. A recent study suggested that omega-3 supplements might slow biological aging by prolonging telomere length.

NMN

NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) is a precursor to NAD+, a compound that plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and maintaining proper cell function. Recent research suggests that NMN supplementation can enhance longevity and improve various aspects of health.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

HRT can help balance hormone levels that naturally decline with age, such as estrogen and testosterone. This can lead to improved energy, mood, and overall well-being. However, HRT should be used under professional supervision due to potential side effects and risks.

For more on hormone replacement Click Here

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and promote balance. They include herbs like ashwagandha, rhodiola, and ginseng. Some studies suggest that adaptogens can improve mental performance, reduce fatigue, and boost immune health.

Diets

Dietary habits play a significant role in the aging process. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains have been associated with longer lifespans and reduced risk of chronic diseases.

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, has been associated with longer lifespans and reduced risk of chronic diseases. This diet is high in antioxidants which neutralize harmful free radicals, reducing oxidative stress and slowing down aging.

Evidence from the Predimed study, a large, long-term nutritional intervention study, showed that adherence to the Mediterranean diet improved heart health and cognitive function and reduced the risk of cancer and mortality.

The Okinawa Diet

The Okinawa diet, based on the traditional dietary habits of Okinawa islanders in Japan, is another diet linked to longevity. This diet is low in calories but high in nutrients, consisting mainly of sweet potatoes, soy products, and a plethora of fruits and vegetables.

The Okinawa diet is high in antioxidants and flavonoids, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. A study on Okinawa islanders found that this diet contributed to their long lifespan and low rates of age-related diseases.

The Blue Zones Diet

The Blue Zones diet is inspired by the dietary habits of people living in the Blue Zones, five regions worldwide known for their high concentration of centenarians. This diet emphasizes plant-based foods, whole grains, and legumes, with meat and processed foods consumed sparingly.

Research shows that the Blue Zones diet can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and promote longevity. This is largely attributed to its high content of antioxidants, fibre, and healthy fats.

Caloric Restriction

Caloric restriction (CR) is a dietary regimen that involves reducing daily calorie intake without malnutrition or deprivation of essential nutrients.

A wealth of research has shown that CR can effectively slow down the aging process and confer a host of other health benefits. At the cellular level, CR works by reducing metabolic rate and oxidative stress, both of which are key contributors to aging. In addition, CR enhances insulin sensitivity, which can help prevent age-related diseases like diabetes. However, it’s important to note that CR should be undertaken with caution and under the guidance of a health professional, as drastic calorie reduction can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health issues.

For more on caloric restriction Click Here

Stretching

Lifestyle/Therapies

Exercise

Regular exercise is a powerful tool for maintaining vitality; it boosts cardiovascular health, improves muscle tone, and enhances cognitive function.

Exercise, often hailed as the fountain of youth, plays a pivotal role in slowing down the natural aging process. Regular physical activity, regardless of the type, boosts overall well-being, preventing age-related diseases and promoting cellular regeneration. For instance, endurance exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling can significantly improve cardiovascular health and enhance longevity. Strength training, on the other hand, helps in maintaining muscle mass, which naturally tends to decline with age.

Furthermore, exercise has a profound effect on our tendons, which adapt to aging and physical activity. Exercise promotes their strength and flexibility, contributing to improved mobility and a reduced risk of injury. Besides, dance-based training, which is both fun and effective, can significantly improve balance in adults and older individuals.

Including a regular exercise routine doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It could be as simple as a 30-minute brisk walk daily, practicing yoga, or even dancing to your favourite tunes. The key is consistency and making exercise an enjoyable part of your lifestyle. Remember, staying physically active is not just about adding years to life, but life to years.

For more on exercise Click Here

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine, offers a natural, holistic approach to slow down the aging process. This ancient therapy involves the careful insertion of fine needles into specific pressure points on the body by a qualified acupuncturist. It’s more than just a simple needle play; it’s a well-coordinated symphony that stimulates blood flow and promotes circulation throughout the body.

One of acupuncture’s most significant anti-aging benefits lies in its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation, acupuncture helps lower the risk of chronic diseases that speed up the aging process. It’s like an internal cleanup, where acupuncture helps your body fight against the invisible enemies of aging.

But the magic of acupuncture doesn’t stop there. This age-old therapy also serves as a stress-buster, managing stress levels effectively. High-stress levels can wreak havoc on our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and unchecked fear, worry, and anxiety can lead to premature aging. Acupuncture helps to regulate the body’s stress response, promoting a sense of calm and well-being.

In essence, acupuncture is a gentle yet potent ally in our quest for graceful aging. It works on multiple fronts – enhancing circulation, reducing inflammation, and managing stress, contributing to a healthier, more youthful you.

Meditation

Scientific research reveals that meditation encourages healthy cell regeneration, reduces oxidative stress, and curtails inflammation in the body. It’s like giving your cells a rejuvenating spa treatment, helping them stay vibrant and youthful. Furthermore, meditation techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, and visualization have been found to reduce stress and anxiety, boost mood, and promote cognitive function. These techniques act as a mental workout for your brain, keeping it sharp and agile.

Meditation is not just about closing your eyes and sitting still; it’s a journey towards self-awareness and inner peace that brings about a sense of overall well-being. By incorporating meditation into your daily routine, you can tap into its powerful anti-aging benefits, fostering a healthier, more youthful you.

For more on how to start to meditate, Click Here

Stretching

Stretching, often overlooked in the quest for fitness, offers a wealth of benefits that can help slow down the aging process. The gentle pull and release of a good stretch can do wonders for your body, improving flexibility, increasing blood circulation, enhancing posture, promoting relaxation, and releasing muscle tension.

Flexibility is the first line of defense against the stiffness that often accompanies aging. Regular stretching exercises can help maintain or even improve your range of motion, making daily activities easier and more enjoyable. Moreover, stretching stimulates blood circulation, ensuring that your muscles, tissues, and organs receive adequate oxygen and nutrients. This improved circulation can speed up recovery from muscle soreness and enhance overall health.

Good posture isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s crucial for reducing strain on your muscles and joints. Stretching can help correct posture by lengthening tight muscles that pull parts of the body away from their intended position. Furthermore, stretching exercises have a calming effect on the mind, promoting relaxation and helping to release muscle tension.

Incorporating stretching into your daily routine doesn’t require a lot of time or special equipment. Try simple moves like the forward bend to stretch your hamstrings, the chest stretch to open up your chest and shoulders, or the cat-camel stretch for a gentle spine massage. Remember to breathe deeply and relax into each stretch for maximum benefit.

For more on stretching Click Here

Potential Side Effects

While these strategies may have potential benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. For instance, while some supplements are generally safe for most people, others can interact with medications or have side effects. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Conclusion

Aging is a complex process influenced by numerous factors. While we can’t stop aging entirely, research suggests that certain strategies may help slow down the process. By understanding the science behind aging, we can make informed decisions about our health and lifestyle.

Remember, a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management are all crucial elements of a comprehensive anti-aging strategy. And always consult with a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement regimen or treatment.


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15/Mar/2023

Fluoride is a mineral that has been added to many public water supplies since 1945 to help prevent tooth decay. It is important to maintain a balanced amount of fluoride in our water, as too little can lead to dental problems and too much can cause more serious health issues. But what about the effects of fluoride on our hormones? Can the amount of fluoride in tap water be causing hormone disruption? Let’s look at the facts.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is an essential mineral found naturally in soil, water, and food. It helps protect teeth from decay and can even help reverse early signs of cavities. In some cities, fluoride is added to the public drinking water supply, either through the addition of hydrofluorosilicic acid or sodium silicofluoride. This process has been used since 1945 and has been shown to reduce cavities by 15-40%. However, there have been some studies linking high levels of fluoride consumption to potential health risks.

Does it Affect Hormones?

Some studies suggest that fluoride may act as an endocrine disruptor, meaning it could interfere with the body’s natural hormones. The hormones affected most by fluoride are those related to thyroid function and reproductive health. Research suggests that exposure to high levels of fluoride could lead to decreased levels of these hormones in both humans and animals. Additionally, studies have shown that increased exposure to these hormones can cause changes in behavior and impaired cognitive development in children.
The World Health Organization recommends that water fluoride concentrations should not exceed 1.5 milligrams per liter in order to minimize potential health risks associated with chronic exposure. More specifically, the WHO suggests an optimal concentration of fluoride in drinking water of 0.5-1.0 mg/L as it is associated with lower rates of dental caries and minimal risk of fluorosis. Furthermore, a 2020 study found that fluoride intakes lower than 1.1 milligrams per day are safe for adults and 0.7 milligrams per day is safe for children up to age 8.
However, more research needs to be done before we can definitively say that consuming fluoridated tap water affects hormone production negatively. Currently, the US Department of Health & Human Services recommends a range for optimal amounts of fluoride for public drinking water supplies (0.7-1.2 mg/L). Most municipal systems fall within this range; however, if you live outside this range you may want to consider having your local water tested for contaminants like lead and arsenic as well as excessive levels of fluoride before drinking it regularly or using it for other household activities such as cooking or bathing.

Water Testing

With the potential risks of consuming high levels of Fluoride, it is essential to know the concentrations of Fluoride, as well as other minerals, in your tap water. Fortunately, there are several options that enable people to test their water for Fluoride and other minerals. The most common methods are testing strips and drops or sending a sample off to a laboratory and requesting a Fluoride test. Here is a link to one such company that will send you a home testing kit MyTapScore

Fluoride Filtration

There are several common ways you can filter out fluoride from your water. The most straightforward approach is through a reverse osmosis system which will filter out any particles larger than 0.0001 microns; this includes Fluoride and other contaminants like heavy metals or bacteria. Another popular filtering technique involves an activated alumina filter media. When the Fluoride molecules are exposed to this filter media, they become trapped permanently, ensuring the purity of your drinking water.
Finally, distillation systems can also be used for Fluoride filtration – allowing only vaporized water through the system while trapping Fluoride ions in its solid form before returning it as pure liquid. Here is a link to a helpful article on the best rated filter systems of 2021. It includes low cost table top options as well as full house systems. Personally, I purchased the Clearly Filtered System with three filters. This will last for approximately one year.

Conclusion

There is still a lot we don’t know about how fluoride affects our bodies—including how it might affect hormone production. While some studies suggest that high levels of fluoride consumption could disrupt our natural hormone balance, more research needs to be done before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. In the meantime, it is important for consumers to understand their local water quality so they can make informed decisions about their health and safety when using tap water for drinking or other purposes like cooking or bathing.
With knowledge comes power! Knowing your local tap water quality will help keep you safe from excessive levels of contaminants like lead and arsenic as well as potential hormone disruptors like excess amounts of fluoride present in your tap water supply system.

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01/Dec/2022

When it comes to testosterone, more isn’t always better. In fact, having too much testosterone can actually be just as problematic as having too little. That’s because there are different types of testosterone, each with its own unique function in the body. Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of testosterone you may see on a blood test and what they mean.

Total Testosterone:

This is the most commonly measured type of testosterone. It includes both “free” testosterone (the active form that binds to receptors and produces effects in the body) and “bound” testosterone (which is bound to sex hormone binding globulin [SHBG] and is inactive). The total testosterone test can be helpful in diagnosing conditions like low testosterone or androgen deficiency, and can also help monitor the effectiveness of treatment.

Free Testosterone:

As its name suggests, free testosterone is the “unbound” or active form of the hormone. This is one of the forms that’s available to bind to receptors and produce effects in the body. Because it’s unbound, it’s also the form that’s most easily measured in blood tests.
The percentage of free testosterone that’s considered optimal varies depending on the source. Some say that levels below 2% are indicative of low testosterone, while others recommend levels closer to 5%. Still, others claim that there’s no such thing as an “optimal” percentage. What is more important is understanding the symptoms of low testosterone in the context of blood test results.
Common symptoms of low testosterone include fatigue, low sex drive, and erectile dysfunction. It can also lead to weight gain, muscle loss, and a decrease in bone density.

Bioavailable Testosterone:

Bioavailable testosterone includes both free testosterone and “weakly bound” testosterone, which is bound to albumin (a protein in the blood). This form of testosterone is considered more biologically active than total or free testosterone because it represents the amount of hormone available to bind to receptors and produce effects in the body.
Bioavailable Testosterone = Free Testosterone + Albumin-Bound Testosterone

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG):

SHBG is a protein that binds to testosterone and other hormones, including estrogens, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and thyroid hormones. By binding to these hormones, SHBG regulates their activity and ensures they remain at optimal levels. Because SHBG bound hormones are inactive, increases in SHBG can lead to decreases in total bioactive hormone levels. Therefore if your percentage of free testosterone is low (Less than 2%) but total testosterone is adequate, it could be an issue of too much SHBG.

How to increase bioactive testosterone:

There are many ways to increase bioactive testosterone, some more natural than others. One way is through exercise. Exercise releases hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which can help to improve muscle mass and bone density. Diet is also important, eating foods that are high in protein and healthy fats can help to increase testosterone levels.
Additionally, reducing stress levels can be beneficial, as stress can release cortisol which can inhibit testosterone production. Herbal therapies such as Tongkat Ali and Tribulus Terrestris are also thought to be effective at boosting testosterone levels. And finally, hormone replacement therapy can be an effective way to increase bioactive testosterone levels in men who have low levels.

Conclusion:

Therefore, when assessing your level of testosterone, it’s important to look at more than just your total or free levels. In addition to those measures, your bioavailable and SHBG-bound levels are important indicators of your overall hormone health. With all four measures taken into account, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of your hormone status and take steps to ensure that your levels are where they need to be for optimal health.

dr_shawn

Patient focused integrative health care. Utilizing effective natural approaches designed to be used alone or to compliment conventional medical care.


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