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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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11/Dec/2023

When it comes to taking care of our health, there are many factors to consider, including diet, exercise, and stress management. One often overlooked aspect is heart rate variability, which is a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat. While it may sound complicated, understanding heart rate variability is essential for improving your overall health and well-being. In this blog post, we will explore what heart rate variability is, how it affects our bodies, and what you can do to improve it.

What is Heart Rate Variability?

Heart rate variability refers to the changes in time duration between successive heartbeats. It is an important indicator of the functioning of the autonomic nervous system that controls many of our body’s automatic functions, including heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. To measure heart rate variability, it is necessary to use specialized technology, such as electrocardiogram (ECG) or photoplethysmography (PPG) devices.

There are several popular wearable devices in the market that can measure heart rate variability (HRV). The Whoop Strap and Apple Watch are among the most recognized ones, with the former being lauded for their high accuracy in measuring heart rate and HRV. Garmin devices, particularly the Fenix 7 & Epix models, also offer this feature, as does the Oura Ring. Fitbit’s Charge model is another notable mention. Polar H10 is known as the most accurate heart rate sensor in Polar’s history, and other devices like Suunto Smart Belt, Garmin HRM-Pro, 4iiii VIIIIVA, Zephyr HxM Smart HR Monitor, and COOSPO H6 also offer HRV monitoring capabilities. These devices not only provide critical health metrics but also help manage health trends.

How Does Heart Rate Variability Affect Our Bodies?

Research has shown that heart rate variability is closely related to our health and well-being. A high heart rate variability indicates a healthy balance between the sympathetic nervous system (which activates the “fight or flight” response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (which activates the “rest and digest” response). On the other hand, a low heart rate variability is associated with stress, anxiety, and other health problems. Furthermore, low heart rate variability can also be a risk factor for several serious medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and depression.

How to Improve Heart Rate Variability?

Improving your heart rate variability requires a combination of lifestyle changes and medical interventions. Here are some strategies you can try:

  1. Mind-body exercises: Activities such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and tai chi can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which in turn can improve heart rate variability.
  2. Exercise regularly: Exercise has numerous benefits for our health, including improving heart rate variability. Aim to engage in regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is essential for our physical and mental well-being. Make sure to prioritize getting enough quality sleep to ensure better heart rate variability. For more Naturopathic solutions for better sleep click HERE
  4. A healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods and low in processed sugar and saturated fats can help promote healthy heart rate variability. For more articles on healthy lifestyle interventions click HERE
  5. Medical intervention: In some cases, medical interventions may be required to improve heart rate variability. These might include medications, such as beta-blockers, or treating any underlying conditions that might be contributing to low heart rate variability.

Conclusion:

Heart rate variability is a crucial aspect of our overall health and well-being, which can be improved through lifestyle changes and medical interventions. By taking steps to reduce stress, stay active, get enough sleep, and eat a healthy and balanced diet, you can help promote a healthy heart rate variability. Additionally, if you suspect that you have an underlying medical condition, consult with your doctor to develop a personalized treatment plan. Remember, making small but consistent changes to your lifestyle can go a long way in improving your heart rate variability and overall health.

Lear more about HRV HERE

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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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14/Apr/2023

FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome) is a type of food allergy that affects the gastrointestinal system. It typically affects infants and young children and is characterized by severe vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
The exact cause of FPIES (Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome) is not fully understood, but there are several theories behind its etiology. Here are some examples:

1. Immune system response:

FPIES is thought to be caused by an abnormal immune system response to certain food proteins. Specifically, it is believed that the immune system in children with FPIES overreacts to certain food proteins, leading to inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract.

2. Genetics:

There may be a genetic component to FPIES. Studies have shown that children with a family history of food allergies, eczema, or asthma may be at increased risk for developing FPIES.

3. Delayed immune response:

Unlike other food allergies, FPIES does not involve an immediate allergic response. Instead, FPIES is characterized by a delayed immune response, which can make it difficult to diagnose.

4. Gut microbiome:

The gut microbiome, which is the collection of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract, may play a role in the development of FPIES. Some studies have suggested that an imbalance in the gut microbiome may contribute to the development of food allergies, including FPIES.

5. Environmental factors:

Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as pollution or toxins, may increase the risk of developing FPIES. However, more research is needed to fully understand the role of environmental factors in the development of FPIES.
It’s important to note that while these theories provide some insight into the development of FPIES, more research is needed to fully understand the underlying causes of this condition.

Treatment Approaches

There are several non-pharmacological treatments that have been suggested for managing FPIES symptoms. Here are some evidence-based examples:

1. Elimination Diet:

The most effective non-pharmacological treatment for FPIES is an elimination diet. This involves identifying and eliminating the specific food(s) that trigger FPIES symptoms. Foods that are commonly associated with FPIES include cow’s milk, soy, and grains such as rice and oats.

2. Hydrolyzed Formula:

For infants who are unable to tolerate breast milk or traditional formula, a hydrolyzed formula may be recommended. This type of formula is easier to digest and less likely to trigger FPIES symptoms.

3. Probiotics:

Some studies suggest that probiotics may be beneficial for managing FPIES symptoms. Probiotics can help promote healthy gut bacteria and reduce inflammation in the gut.

4. Hypoallergenic Diet:

In some cases, a hypoallergenic diet may be recommended. This involves eliminating all potential food allergens from the diet and gradually reintroducing them one at a time to identify the specific trigger(s) of FPIES symptoms.

5. Nutritional Support:

Infants and young children with FPIES may experience nutritional deficiencies due to vomiting and diarrhea. Nutritional support may include the use of oral rehydration solutions, intravenous fluids and vitamin/mineral supplementation. These help to manage dehydration, maintain electrolyte balance and nutrient deficiencies.

6. Food Sensitivity Testing:

Food sensitivity testing can be useful in identifying potential trigger foods that may be causing symptoms. While there is no specific test for FPIES, food sensitivity testing can help identify foods that your child may be reacting to. The two most common types of food sensitivity tests are IgE and IgG tests. IgE tests measure the body’s immediate immune response to specific foods, while IgG tests measure the body’s delayed immune response to specific foods. While food sensitivity testing is not a definitive diagnostic tool for FPIES, it can help guide an elimination diet and identify potential trigger foods. However, it’s important to note that food sensitivity testing should be interpreted in the context of a complete medical history and physical examination. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to interpret the results and develop an appropriate treatment plan. Click here for more information on food sensitivity testing.

Conclusion:

It’s important to note that these non-pharmacological treatments should be implemented under the guidance of a healthcare professional. If you suspect that your child has FPIES, it’s important to seek medical attention and receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Click here to book an appointment.

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25/Mar/2023

As parents, we all want the best for our children, and that includes making sure they’re getting the nutrition they need to grow up healthy and strong. Proper nutrition is crucial to a child’s physical and cognitive development, and it can be challenging to navigate the world of childhood nutrition. But don’t worry; I’ve got you covered. In this brief guide, I will discuss the essential nutritional requirements for kids.

1. Carbohydrates

One of the most critical components of a child’s diet is carbohydrates. They give kids energy, so it’s essential to choose the right carbs – complex carbohydrates are the way to go. These are found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and they provide kids with long-lasting energy throughout the day. Avoid processed or refined carbohydrates, like white bread or sugary cereals, as these can cause an energy crash later in the day.
The amount of carbohydrates that kids need for optimal health depends on their age, gender, and physical activity level. However, as a general guideline, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between the ages of 4 and 18 should get 45-65% of their daily calories from carbohydrates. For most children, this translates to about 130-200 grams of carbohydrates per day. Once again it is important to note that not all carbohydrates are created equal, and kids should focus on getting carbohydrates from nutritious sources such as: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes rather than from processed or sugary foods.

2. Protein

Growing children need plenty of protein, as it is essential for building and repairing tissues. Protein can be found in a variety of foods, such as meats, beans, eggs, and dairy products. You should aim to include a source of protein in each meal, but be mindful of focusing on lean sources, like skinless chicken, fish, legumes and soy to keep saturated fats to a minimum.
The amount of protein that kids need for optimal health varies depending on their age, gender, and physical activity level. However, as a general guideline, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between the ages of 4 and 13 should get about 0.95 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, while children between the ages of 14 and 18 should get about 0.85 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
Good sources of protein for kids include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products, beans, legumes, and soy products. It’s important to encourage kids to eat a variety of protein-rich foods to ensure that they are getting all of the essential amino acids that their bodies need for growth and development. In general, it’s best to focus on getting protein from whole foods rather than from powders or supplements.