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20/Feb/2024

I recently had a female patient come in with some concerns related to her menstrual cycle and fibroids. I decided to run a full panel of blood tests and discovered a low vitamin D level but a high calcium level. This is an unusual finding as calcium tends to be normal or low with a low vitamin D level. I immediately sent the patient for a serum Parathyroid Hormone test and it turned out to be elevated. That is what inspired me to write todays blog article.

In the intricate orchestra of human physiology, the parathyroid gland is a minuscule yet fundamental player. Despite its small size, this tiny gland, nestled within the larger thyroid, wields significant influence over a critical aspect of human health: calcium regulation. This comprehensive guide aims to cast a bright, educational spotlight on the parathyroid, offering insights into its anatomy, functions, associated disorders, diagnostic methods, and essential roles in maintaining overall health.

Chapter 1: The Parathyroid Gland Unveiled

Understanding Its Anatomy

The parathyroid gland is typically made up of four small, pea-sized nodules located behind the thyroid gland in the neck. These glands, rich in vascular tissue, are integral in the body’s calcium homeostasis, ensuring that levels of this crucial mineral are maintained within the narrow range necessary for normal cell function.

The Vital Role in Calcium Regulation

Calcium is a multi-functional mineral; it’s ubiquitous in the body, integral for nerve conduction, muscle function, blood coagulation, and bone health. The parathyroid hormone (PTH) is the orchestra conductor that maintains the body’s calcium levels, doing so through interactions with the bones, kidneys, and intestines.

Chapter 2: Parathyroid Disorders

Hyperparathyroidism: When Too Much of a Good Thing Goes Awry

Occurring when the parathyroid glands produce too much PTH, hyperparathyroidism can lead to hypercalcemia, a high level of calcium in the blood. This condition can result from a benign tumour on the gland or be a consequence of kidney failure, which impairs calcium excretion.

Hypoparathyroidism: The Paradox of Calcium Insufficiency

Conversely, hypoparathyroidism entails underproduction of PTH, which results in hypocalcemia, or low calcium levels. Autoimmune diseases, injury to the glands during surgery, or genetic disorders can be underlying causes of hypoparathyroidism, leading to symptoms like muscle spasms and mood changes.

Chapter 3: Diagnosis and Treatment

Identifying Parathyroid Disorders

The intricate balance of calcium regulation means that symptoms can be as varied as the diseases themselves. Blood tests to measure PTH and calcium levels, along with imaging studies such as neck ultrasounds, and CT scans, are standard diagnostic tools to elucidate parathyroid issues.

Restoring Balance: Treatment of Parathyroid Disorders

Treatment for parathyroid disorders can range from watchful waiting to managing symptoms with medications. In severe cases, surgical removal of the affected gland, known as a parathyroidectomy, may be the necessary recourse to restore optimal calcium balance.

Chapter 4: The Parathyroid’s Influence on Overall Health

The Bone of Contention: Parathyroid and Skeletal Health

Parathyroid disorders not only discompose the orchestra of calcium balance but have specific ramifications for bone health. Hyperparathyroidism, in particular, can cause weakened bones, a condition known as osteoporosis, affecting an individual’s mobility and overall quality of life.

Building the Big Picture: The Parathyroid’s Interaction with Other Organs

The parathyroid isn’t an island. Its intricate interplay with other organs, particularly the kidneys and the thyroid, further underscores its crucial role in maintaining the complex health harmony within the body. Understanding these interactions sheds light on the far-reaching effects of parathyroid disorders.

Chapter 5: The Future of Parathyroid Research and Health

Advances in Understanding and Treating Parathyroid Disorders

Research and advancements in parathyroid health are crucial as they pave the way for better diagnostic tools and more nuanced treatment options. Genetic studies and the development of targeted therapies are high on the agenda, promising a brighter outlook for those battling parathyroid disorders.

The Power of Prevention and Awareness

Empowerment through knowledge and awareness is the key to preventing and managing parathyroid disorders. Efforts to promote healthy lifestyle choices, regular health screenings, and the dissemination of information on early warning signs can significantly impact the management of parathyroid disorders.

Chapter 6: External Resources and Further Reading

For those interested in further exploration, a wealth of resources is available, including academic journals, medical databases, and reputable health organizations. The complexity and importance of parathyroid health demand continual learning and a collaborative approach among healthcare professionals, patients, and researchers.

Hyperparathyroidism

Parathyroid Research

In conclusion, the parathyroid gland may be petite, but its position as a regulator of calcium and a pivotal player in human health underscores its colossal importance. Its impact extends beyond its modest physical frame, making it an organ worth acknowledging and understanding in the broader tapestry of the human body.


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22/Jan/2024

Iron is a fundamental nutrient that our bodies can’t live without. It plays an instrumental role in the formation of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports life-sustaining oxygen to every corner of our body. However, a deficiency of this vital mineral can lead to anemia, a condition marked by a lack of healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin in the body. This can result in a host of health problems, including fatigue, weakness, and even severe health complications.

Fortunately, iron supplements are a readily available solution that can help prevent and treat iron-deficiency anemia. With countless iron supplements on the market, it can be difficult to discern which one is best for you. In this article, we delve into the different types of iron supplements, their chemical compositions, and the specific studies that have used them to treat iron-deficiency anemia.

Ferrous Sulfate:

As the most common and cost-effective type of iron supplement, ferrous sulfate is a go-to solution for many. Available in both tablet and liquid form, it is easily accessible over the counter. Its chemical composition allows for optimal absorption when taken on an empty stomach. However, its usage can lead to side effects like constipation, nausea, and stomach upset. Despite these potential drawbacks, ferrous sulfate is often the first line of defense against iron-deficiency anemia and is a suitable supplement for those with low iron levels. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that ferrous sulfate was effective in improving iron status in anemic women.

Ferrous Fumarate:

Ferrous fumarate distinguishes itself with its superior absorption compared to ferrous sulfate. This means it can deliver significant results in a shorter timeframe. Although available over the counter, it’s typically prescribed to patients with severe iron-deficiency anemia. Side effects such as constipation and stomach upset can still occur but are usually well-tolerated. A 2014 study published in PLOS ONE concluded that ferrous fumarate had a similar efficacy and tolerability to other iron preparations.

Iron Glycinate:

Known for its high bioavailability, iron glycinate is a type of iron supplement that is absorbed more easily by the body when compared to other types. This makes it an attractive option for individuals with low iron levels seeking an effective supplement with minimal side effects. Its chemical composition also makes it gentler on the stomach, making it a preferred choice for many. A 2017 study in the Journal of International Medical Research found iron glycinate to be a safe and effective treatment option for iron-deficiency anemia.

Iron Bisglycinate:

Iron bisglycinate is a gentle-on-the-stomach supplement that can be taken on an empty stomach. It is readily absorbed by the body, providing rapid results for those with low iron levels. However, it’s typically more expensive than other iron supplements. It’s an excellent choice for individuals who have experienced stomach-related side effects from other iron supplements. A study published in Nutrition Research found that iron bisglycinate was as effective as ferrous sulfate in treating iron-deficiency anemia, with fewer gastrointestinal side effects.

Heme Polypeptide Iron:

Heme polypeptide iron is a unique supplement derived from animal sources. Chemically similar to the iron found in hemoglobin, it is easily absorbed by the body and can be especially effective for individuals with iron-deficiency anemia or conditions that hinder iron absorption. Its primary advantage over other iron supplements is its reduced likelihood of causing gastrointestinal side effects like constipation, nausea, and stomach upset. Unlike many other iron supplements, heme polypeptide iron can be taken with or without food. However, due to its animal origin, it may not be suitable for vegetarians or vegans, and it’s generally more expensive. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that heme iron polypeptide provided a well-tolerated and effective option for the treatment of iron-deficiency anemia.

For more about iron deficiency anemia Click Here

Conclusion:

In conclusion, iron is a crucial element for our body’s overall health and wellbeing. Its deficiency can lead to anemia, posing serious health risks. Thankfully, there are various iron supplements available to prevent and treat this condition. Whether it’s the commonly used ferrous sulfate, the easily absorbed ferrous fumarate, the gentle-on-the-stomach iron glycinate, the quick-acting iron bisglycinate, or the animal-based heme polypeptide iron, each has its unique benefits and potential drawbacks. The choice of supplement largely depends on individual needs, tolerance, and lifestyle. It’s essential to remember that while supplements can help restore iron levels, they should not replace a balanced diet rich in iron. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. Your health is your wealth, so take the necessary steps to ensure it’s well-managed.

Find all these types of iron supplements and more at our online store Click Here

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19/Dec/2023

Hello, fellow health enthusiasts! Today, let’s hit a high note and delve into something that combines our love for rhythm and wellness – Music Therapy.

Now, you might be thinking, “Music Therapy? Is that just listening to Mozart while sipping chamomile tea?” Well, not quite! The American Music Therapy Association defines it as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.” In simpler words, it’s using music strategically to improve your health and well-being.

Before you start frantically searching for your old recorder or tambourine, let’s tune into some of the incredible ways music therapy can strike a chord with your mental health.

1. Stress Relief: Researchers at Stanford University found that rhythmic music has a profound effect on brain function, acting like a natural stress-buster. So, the next time you’re pulling your hair out over your boss’s impossible deadline, maybe try drumming on your desk. Just tell your annoyed colleagues it’s for science!

2. Improved Mood: A study from the Journal of Positive Psychology suggests that people who actively engage with music through dancing or attending concerts report higher levels of subjective well-being. If you’ve ever belted out your favorite song in the shower or busted a move at a concert, you’ll know exactly what they’re talking about!

3. Better Sleep: Struggling with insomnia? A review of 10 different studies found that listening to relaxing classical music before bed significantly improves sleep quality. So, Beethoven might just be the sleep guru you’ve been looking for.

4. Enhanced Focus: A study published in the Journal of Neuroscience discovered that background music helps people focus on tasks, especially those that require constant attention. So, if you’re finding it hard to concentrate on this blog (I’ll try not to take it personally), maybe put on some Bach.

Working with a music therapist

Music therapy treatment sessions can be an enlightening and transformative experience. Under the guidance of a certified music therapist, these sessions generally begin with an initial assessment to understand the client’s needs and establish therapeutic goals. Following this, the therapist uses various music-based activities, which may include listening to music, creating music using instruments, singing, or moving to music.

The cost of music therapy can vary greatly depending on the therapist, location, and duration of the session, but generally, it ranges from $70 to $120 per session. Some health insurance providers may cover part or all of the cost, so it’s worth checking with your provider.

The course of music therapy is highly individualized and depends on the client’s specific needs. However, most people typically begin to see the benefits after 6 to 12 weekly sessions. It’s important to remember that the journey of healing and growth is different for everyone, and some may require more sessions to experience significant improvements.

Music therapy is a versatile therapeutic tool that can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, addiction, and even physical ailments like chronic pain. By providing an outlet for self-expression and a means to explore and regulate emotions, music therapy can enhance relaxation, promote emotional well-being, and facilitate personal growth.

Overall, music therapy is not just about the music—it’s about using music as a channel to open doors, heal wounds, and create connections. It’s a symphony where each note, each pause, and each crescendo is a step toward wellness.

Looking for a music therapist? Here is a link to the Ontario Association of Music Therapists

Incorporating music into daily living

Now, you might be thinking, “This all sounds great, but how do I incorporate this into my daily routine?” Well, here’s the beauty of music therapy – it can fit into every nook and cranny of your day. Listen to uplifting tunes while brushing your teeth, hum a calming melody during your commute, or even conduct a mini symphony while waiting for your coffee to brew!

The science is clear: music therapy hits all the right notes when it comes to boosting mental health. It’s like having your own personal health DJ, spinning tracks to help you handle stress, improve your mood, get better sleep, and enhance focus. So, why not give it a try? After all, in the wise words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Alright, health-conscious maestros, it’s time to wrap up this symphony. Stay tuned for more exciting health revelations, and remember, always keep your mind sharp and your playlists sharper!

Click Here for more articles by Dr. Shawn Meirovici N.D.

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27/Jun/2023

Summer is always a great time to enjoy the great outdoors and soak up some vitamin D. However, it is all too easy to get too much sun exposure which leads to the painful effects of sunburn. Sunburn is not only painful but it can lead to skin damage and, in the long run, increase your risk of skin cancer.
if you’re one of the many who’ve been lounging outside without sunscreen, or maybe you were negligent with reapplication, you’re probably feeling the burn! Luckily, there are natural ways to moisturize and nourish the skin after sunburn. But before we get to those natural remedies it is important to know what the first steps should be after a sunburn.

So let’s review sunburn first aid:

  1. Move Out of the Sun: As soon as you notice signs of sunburn, such as redness or pain, move to a shaded area or indoors immediately to prevent further skin damage.
  2. Cool Down Your Skin: Apply cold compresses to the sunburned area or take a cool (not cold) bath or shower to help soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
  3. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, which can occur after excessive sun exposure and can worsen your sunburn symptoms.
  4. Moisturize: Apply a moisturizing lotion or aloe vera gel to the affected area. This can help soothe the skin and prevent it from drying out and peeling.
  5. Avoid Further Sun Exposure: Stay out of the sun until your sunburn heals to prevent further damage. If you have to be outdoors, wear protective clothing and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Now let’s review some natural moisturizers and topical treatments to help protect and repair the skin after sunburn:

1. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is one of the most effective natural treatments for sunburn. Aloe vera has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant because it contains powerful compounds that work to reduce inflammation, stimulate skin growth, and has a cooling effect on the skin. Slice open an aloe vera leaf and apply the gel directly to your sunburned skin. Do this several times per day, and you should see a reduction in redness and pain in no time.

2. Oatmeal Bath: An oatmeal bath is another effective way to soothe sunburn. The anti-inflammatory properties of oatmeal combined with cool water can help to reduce redness and inflammation, which will make you feel better fast. Simply grind up some oats in a blender or food processor to create a fine powder. Add the oatmeal powder to a cool bath and soak in it for at least 20 minutes.
3. Green Tea: Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can help to repair sun-damaged skin. When you apply chilled green tea bags to your sunburned skin, the catechins found in the tea work to reduce skin inflammation and soothe the pain. Soak several green tea bags in cool water, and then apply them directly to the affected areas of your skin.
4. Shea Butter: The moisturizing qualities of shea butter can replenish the hydration lost in your skin due to sun exposure and help prevent peeling that often accompanies sunburn healing. Furthermore, shea butter contains fatty acids and plant sterols, such as oleic, palmitic, stearic, and linolenic acids. These oils are absorbed by the skin and used to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin. Shea butter is also rich in Vitamins A and E, which are known for their ability to repair damaged skin and improve skin conditions. In particular, Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help neutralize free radical damage caused by sun exposure. Additionally, shea butter has reported healing properties that can be beneficial for repairing skin damage caused by sunburn
5. Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is a natural remedy for sunburn that can be used to moisturize the skin after it has been exposed to the sun. Coconut oil is full of natural antioxidants that help to protect the skin and prevent damage from UV rays. Apply it liberally after a shower to moisturize and soothe sunburnt skin.
Sunburn is painful but luckily, there are natural remedies that can help alleviate the pain. Aloe vera, oatmeal, green tea, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil are all great natural ways to ease the symptoms of sunburn. But remember, prevention is better than cure. Avoid sunburn by using sunscreen, seeking shade during peak hours of sun, and covering up with hats and clothing. Keep safe this summer and enjoy the outdoors!

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24/May/2023

Spring is upon us, and with it comes the sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes that many people experience due to seasonal allergies. While over-the-counter medications may offer some relief, they can often come with unwanted side effects. Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies that can be effective in treating seasonal allergies. Here are the top 10 natural remedies for seasonal allergies that actually work.

Local honey

Consuming a teaspoon of local honey every day can help build up your immunity to pollen, which is a common trigger for seasonal allergies. This technique is also known as allergen-specific immunotherapy. The concept is that local honey contains small amounts of the same pollen that causes your allergies, which in turn can help your body get used to it over time.

Neti pot

A neti pot is a small pot used to flush out your nasal passages with saline solution. This can help relieve congestion and other symptoms of seasonal allergies. Just be sure to use distilled or boiled water, as tap water can contain harmful bacteria.
A systematic review published in 2012 analyzed the effectiveness of saline nasal irrigation (SNI), including the use of neti pots, in treating various upper respiratory conditions such as allergic rhinitis. The review concluded that SNI could be effective in alleviating symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.

Probiotics

Probiotics are known to promote a healthy immune system, which can help reduce allergy symptoms. You can consume probiotics in supplement form or by eating foods like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi.
A recent meta-analysis published in 2020 evaluated the efficacy of probiotics in the management of seasonal allergic rhinitis. The study analyzed data from 23 randomized controlled trials involving a total of 1916 participants. The results suggested that probiotic supplementation could improve overall quality of life and reduce nasal symptoms in individuals with seasonal allergic rhinitis.
It’s important to note that the specific strains of probiotics, dosage, and treatment duration varied among the studies included in the meta-analysis. Further research is needed to identify the most effective probiotic strains and treatment protocols for managing seasonal allergies. As always, it’s recommended to consult with your naturopathic doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

Quercetin

Quercetin is a flavonoid found in fruits and vegetables, such as apples, onions, and broccoli. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce allergy symptoms. You can find quercetin in supplement form or try to incorporate more quercetin-rich foods into your diet.
A study published in 2016 investigated the effects of quercetin combined with vitamin C and bromelain on upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), which can share some symptoms with seasonal allergies.
The double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial involved 45 participants who were given the quercetin-vitamin C-bromelain combination or a placebo. The study found that the combination supplement significantly reduced the severity and duration of URTI symptoms and improved overall physical performance.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can also reduce inflammation in the body, making it a great natural remedy for seasonal allergies. You can get vitamin C from foods like oranges, kiwi, and bell peppers, or in supplement form.
Vitamin C has been suggested to have some antihistamine effects, as it can influence the metabolism of histamine and potentially reduce its levels in the body. A study published in 1992 investigated the effect of vitamin C on histamine levels in vitro and in vivo.
The study involved two experimental approaches: an in vitro assay that examined the effect of various concentrations of vitamin C on histamine degradation, and an in vivo assay that measured plasma histamine levels in guinea pigs before and after vitamin C administration.
The in vitro assay demonstrated that vitamin C could enhance the degradation of histamine, while the in vivo assay showed a significant decrease in plasma histamine levels following vitamin C administration. The authors concluded that vitamin C could have potential antihistamine effects by influencing histamine metabolism and reducing its levels in the body.

Butterbur

Butterbur is an herb that has been shown to be effective in reducing allergy symptoms. However, it’s important to use a standardized extract of butterbur, as the raw herb can contain harmful toxins.
There is research suggesting that Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) can help reduce allergy symptoms, particularly in individuals with allergic rhinitis. One notable study published in 2002 compared the efficacy of Butterbur extract (ZE 339) to the antihistamine cetirizine in patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
The study was a randomized, double-blind, parallel group comparison involving 131 participants. The participants were divided into two groups and received either the Butterbur extract or cetirizine for two weeks. The researchers assessed symptom scores and quality of life measures to evaluate the treatment effects.
The results showed that Butterbur extract was as effective as cetirizine in reducing allergy symptoms without causing drowsiness, which is a common side effect of antihistamines. The authors concluded that Butterbur extract could be an effective treatment option for patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Eucalyptus oil

Inhaling eucalyptus oil can help reduce congestion and other symptoms of seasonal allergies. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a warm bath or to a diffuser to inhale the vapor.
A study published in 2019 investigated the effects of essential oils, including eucalyptus oil, on symptoms related to upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs). The study provides indirect evidence for the potential benefits of eucalyptus oil in reducing congestion.
The study is a review of the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties of various essential oils and their potential use in managing URTI symptoms. Eucalyptus oil, in particular, has been noted for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and expectorant properties, which can help alleviate congestion and other respiratory symptoms.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture involves inserting small needles into specific points on the body to promote healing. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for allergies, as it can help reduce inflammation and stimulate the immune system.
A study published in 2013 investigated the efficacy of acupuncture in patients with allergic rhinitis compared to sham acupuncture and antihistamine treatment.
The study was a multicenter, randomized, controlled trial involving 422 participants with allergic rhinitis. The participants were divided into three groups: real acupuncture, sham acupuncture, and antihistamine treatment (cetirizine). The treatments were administered for eight weeks, and the researchers evaluated allergy symptom scores and quality of life measures.
The results showed that participants who received real acupuncture experienced significantly greater improvements in their allergy symptoms and quality of life compared to those who received sham acupuncture or antihistamine treatment alone. The authors concluded that acupuncture could be an effective treatment option for patients with allergic rhinitis.

Stinging nettle

Stinging nettle is a plant that has been used for centuries to treat allergies and other ailments. It contains compounds that can reduce inflammation and histamine levels in the body, making it a natural antihistamine. You can consume stinging nettle in tea or supplement form.
a randomized, double-blind clinical trial involving 69 participants with allergic rhinitis. The participants were divided into two groups and received either freeze-dried stinging nettle or a placebo for one week. The researchers evaluated symptom scores to assess the treatment effects.
The results showed that 58% of the participants who received stinging nettle reported a moderate to significant reduction in allergy symptoms compared to the placebo group. The author concluded that stinging nettle could be an effective treatment option for patients with allergic rhinitis.