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18/Jun/2024

Introduction

Imagine a serene hike through the woods, the fresh scent of pine mingling with the earthy aroma of soil. The sun filters through the canopy, casting dappled shadows on the forest floor. But amidst this natural beauty lurks an unseen danger—Lyme disease. For outdoor enthusiasts, health-conscious individuals, and medical professionals alike, understanding Lyme disease is crucial. This blog post will guide you through the essentials of preventing and treating Lyme disease, ensuring that your adventures in nature remain safe and enjoyable.

Understanding Lyme Disease

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks. While Lyme disease is most prevalent in certain regions, it has been reported in many parts of the world.

Symptoms and Early Signs

Recognizing the symptoms of Lyme disease early on is vital for effective treatment. The most common initial sign is a rash called erythema migrans, which often resembles a bull’s-eye. Other early symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, leading to more severe complications.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early detection of Lyme disease can significantly improve treatment outcomes. If you suspect you have been bitten by a tick or experience any symptoms after spending time outdoors, seek medical attention promptly. Medical professionals can diagnose Lyme disease through a combination of physical examination, patient history, and laboratory tests.

Preventing Lyme Disease

Dress for Protection

One of the simplest ways to prevent Lyme disease is by dressing appropriately when spending time outdoors. Opt for long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks to minimize skin exposure. Tuck your pants into your socks to create a barrier against ticks. Wearing light-colored clothing can also help you spot ticks more easily.

Use Insect Repellent

Applying insect repellent is another effective measure to keep ticks at bay. Look for repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or permethrin. Apply the repellent to exposed skin and clothing, paying special attention to areas such as ankles, wrists, and neck. Reapply as directed on the product label, especially if you are sweating or swimming.

Perform Tick Checks

After spending time outdoors, conduct thorough tick checks on yourself, your children, and your pets. Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed, so be diligent in examining your entire body. Pay close attention to hidden areas like the scalp, behind the ears, under the arms, and around the waist. Promptly remove any attached ticks using fine-tipped tweezers.

Treating Lyme Disease

Seeking Medical Attention

If you suspect you have Lyme disease or have been bitten by a tick, it is essential to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional can evaluate your symptoms, conduct necessary tests, and initiate appropriate treatment. Early diagnosis and intervention can prevent the progression of the disease and reduce the risk of complications.

Antibiotic Treatment

The primary treatment for Lyme disease is a course of antibiotics. The choice of antibiotic and duration of treatment may vary depending on the stage of the disease and individual factors. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime. It is crucial to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed to ensure the infection is eradicated. Naturopathic treatments like intravenous vitamin C can be added to the protocol to mitigate adverse effects and improve outcomes.

Managing Symptoms

In addition to antibiotic treatment, managing symptoms is an important aspect of Lyme disease care. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help alleviate discomfort. Rest, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet can also support the body’s recovery process. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for symptom management.

Lyme Disease in Outdoor Activities

Safe Hiking Practices

Hiking is a popular outdoor activity among enthusiasts, but it comes with the risk of encountering ticks. To reduce this risk, stick to well-maintained trails and avoid tall grass, bushes, and leaf litter where ticks are commonly found. Stay in the centre of the trail and avoid brushing against vegetation. Consider using tick-repellent clothing for added protection.

Camping Precautions

Camping trips provide an opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, but they also expose you to tick habitats. Choose a campsite in a clear area away from dense vegetation. Keep your tent zipped and avoid bringing ticks inside. Before settling in for the night, perform a thorough tick check to ensure you are tick-free.

Gardening Tips

For health-conscious individuals who enjoy gardening, taking precautions against ticks is essential. Wear protective clothing, including gloves, long sleeves, and pants, to minimize skin exposure. Create a tick-safe zone around your garden by keeping grass short, removing leaf litter, and creating a barrier of wood chips or gravel between wooded areas and your garden.

Debunking Myths About Lyme Disease

Myth 1 Lyme Disease is Rare

Contrary to popular belief, Lyme disease is not rare. It is the most common tick-borne illness in many regions, including North America and Europe. Awareness and preventive measures are crucial for reducing the risk of infection.

Myth 2 Only Certain Ticks Carry Lyme Disease

While some ticks are more likely to carry Lyme disease, it is essential to understand that various tick species can transmit the bacteria. This highlights the importance of practicing tick prevention regardless of the specific tick species in your area.

Myth 3 Lyme Disease is Always Easy to Diagnose

Diagnosing Lyme disease can be challenging, especially in its early stages when symptoms may be nonspecific. Relying solely on symptoms can lead to misdiagnosis or delayed treatment. Laboratory tests and clinical evaluation by a healthcare professional are essential for accurate diagnosis.

The Role of Medical Professionals

Educating Patients

Medical professionals play a vital role in educating patients about Lyme disease. Providing accurate information about prevention, early detection, and treatment options empowers individuals to take proactive measures. Regularly updating patients on tick-borne disease prevalence in their region is also important.

Conducting Thorough Assessments

When patients present with symptoms suggestive of Lyme disease, healthcare providers should conduct thorough assessments. This includes obtaining a detailed patient history, performing physical examinations, and ordering appropriate laboratory tests. Early intervention can prevent complications and improve patient outcomes.

Collaborating with Specialists

In complex cases or instances where Lyme disease has progressed, collaborating with specialists such as infectious disease experts or rheumatologists may be necessary. Multidisciplinary care ensures comprehensive evaluation and management of the disease, addressing both immediate symptoms and potential long-term effects.

Lyme Disease and Public Awareness

Raising Awareness

Public awareness campaigns are essential for educating communities about Lyme disease prevention and early detection. Schools, community centres, and healthcare facilities can host informational sessions, distribute pamphlets, and utilize social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Increased awareness contributes to a more informed and proactive population.

Promoting Research and Advocacy

Supporting research initiatives focused on Lyme disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment is crucial for advancing medical knowledge. Advocacy for increased funding and legislative support can drive advancements in tick-borne disease research, ultimately leading to improved public health outcomes.

Conclusion

Lyme disease is a significant concern for outdoor enthusiasts, health-conscious individuals, and medical professionals. By understanding the disease, taking preventive measures, and seeking prompt medical attention, we can reduce the impact of Lyme disease on our lives. Remember to dress appropriately, use insect repellent, and perform regular tick checks to stay protected. If you suspect Lyme disease, seek medical attention early for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Together, we can enjoy the great outdoors while safeguarding our health. For more information, resources, and personalized advice, consider reaching out to healthcare providers and organizations specializing in tick-borne diseases.

Stay safe, stay informed, and keep exploring the beauty of nature with confidence!


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30/Apr/2024

Anxiety is a condition that touches more lives than we often realize. In today’s fast-paced, modern world, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. For many, managing anxiety has become as routine as managing physical health. There is a growing interest in natural approaches to maintaining mental well-being, and the field of naturopathy offers an array of strategies that can complement or sometimes substitute traditional pharmaceutical routes.

For anxiety sufferers who are eager to explore gentle, holistic ways to regain balance, this comprehensive guide offers insights into naturopathic techniques that can pave the way to a calmer, more fulfilling life. Whether you’re someone who has just begun to feel the twinge of worry or an individual entrenched in the daily battle with severe anxiety, the information here will serve you well on your quest for peace of mind.

Understanding Anxiety

Before we can tackle the problem, it’s essential to understand what anxiety is. It’s a complex emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worry, or apprehension about future uncertainties, either based on real or potential threats. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause distress and can impact various aspects of life, from work to relationships.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety isn’t a one-size-fits-all condition. There are several kinds of anxiety disorders, each with unique symptoms and triggers. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. Panic Disorder involves sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear that can lead to physical symptoms like a racing heartbeat and sweating. Social Anxiety Disorder involves an intense fear of being judged or rejected in social or performance situations.

Common Symptoms and Triggers

Anxiety can manifest in numerous ways, from psychological symptoms like restlessness and irritability to physical ones such as sweating, trembling, and fatigue. Triggers can be specific to an individual and their experiences; however, some common triggers include stress from work or school, major life changes, or traumatic experiences.

The Naturopathic Approach

Naturopathy is a form of alternative medicine that employs an array of natural treatments, including herbal medicine, diet, lifestyle counselling, and various types of therapies to prevent and treat diseases. This holistic approach is particularly well-suited to addressing anxiety, as it considers the interplay of physical, mental, and emotional aspects of health.

Diet, Exercise, and Sleep: The Three Pillars of Wellness

A naturopathic approach to anxiety starts with the basics. A well-rounded diet that’s rich in nutrients, regular physical activity, and sufficient high-quality sleep form the foundation of mental wellness. Foods like leafy greens, nuts, and fish are known for their mood-boosting properties due to the high levels of vitamins and minerals they contain. Exercise is a potent anti-anxiety strategy, as it releases endorphins — the body’s natural mood lifters. Additionally, establishing good sleep hygiene is crucial for managing anxiety, as a well-rested mind is better equipped to handle stress.

Mind-Body Techniques

Mind-body approaches encompass various practices that aim to harmonize the connection between mental and physical health. This includes mindfulness meditation, yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong, all of which are shown to reduce anxiety by promoting relaxation and mental clarity. Studies have highlighted their effectiveness in lowering stress hormones and improving emotional resilience.

Natural Remedies for Anxiety

While not a one-size-fits-all answer, naturopathic treatments offer a wide range of options for those looking to ease their anxiety naturally.

Herbal Medicine

Herbs have been used for centuries to soothe the mind and body. Here are some well-known herbs for anxiety:

  • Chamomile: A well-regarded herb for calming the nerves and promoting sleep. It has mild sedative effects and is often consumed as a tea.
  • Lavender: Another popular herb known for its calming properties. Lavender oil, when inhaled, can help reduce anxiety levels.
  • Passionflower: Acts as a sedative and can help with sleep and other symptoms related to anxiety.
  • Valerian: Especially helpful for insomnia that’s related to anxiety. It may also reduce anxiety without causing drowsiness during the day.

It’s important to consult with a knowledgeable practitioner before using any new herbs, especially if you are taking other medications or have underlying health conditions.

Dried herbal medicines

Supplements

Certain supplements can also play a supportive role in managing anxiety:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Research suggests that Omega-3 supplements might be helpful in the treatment of clinical symptoms in anxiety disorders.
  • L-Theanine: Found in green tea, L-Theanine has a calming effect. When taken as a supplement, it can help with relaxation without causing drowsiness.
  • B-Vitamins: Deficiencies in B-vitamins, particularly B12 and folate, have been associated with an increased risk of mood disorders.

While these supplements are generally safe, dosages should be tailored to individual needs, and advice from a healthcare professional is highly recommended.

Aromatherapy

The sense of smell can evoke powerful emotional responses. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to promote feelings of calm and relaxation. Some of the best essential oils for anxiety include lavender, rose, bergamot, and chamomile.

Acupuncture

An ancient Chinese therapy that involves the insertion of thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body, acupuncture is believed to rebalance the body’s energy. Many individuals find relief from anxiety through regular acupuncture sessions, which can be customized to address individual patterns and needs.

For more articles on acupuncture Click Here

Traditional Chinese Medicine Moxabustion

Lifestyle Changes for Long-term Relief

Making significant changes to your lifestyle can yield long-lasting benefits for anxiety management.

Stress Management Techniques

Stress is one of the biggest contributors to anxiety. Learning to manage stress can significantly reduce its impact. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery can provide immediate relief during stressful episodes.

For more articles on stress Click Here

Regular Practice

The key to the effectiveness of these techniques is practice. Just as you wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without training, you can’t expect to master stress management without regular practice. Incorporating these activities into a daily routine ensures their availability when stressors arise.

Creating a Supportive Environment

The people and environment you surround yourself with can have a huge impact on your anxiety levels. Supportive relationships can act as a buffer against stress, and a calm, uncluttered home can provide a necessary retreat from the demands of the day.

Professional Advice and When to Seek Help

While self-care and natural remedies can be powerful, it’s important to recognize when professional help is necessary.

Working with a Naturopath

A knowledgeable naturopath can provide individualized care, tailoring a treatment plan that takes into account your specific needs, health history, and goals. Naturopaths treat the whole person, not just the symptoms, and often work to address the root causes of anxiety.

Seeking Traditional Healthcare

In some cases, especially with severe or disabling anxiety, medication or therapy may be essential. A healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, can help determine the best course of action. Combining traditional methods with naturopathic approaches can provide a comprehensive treatment plan.

Signs That You Might Need More Intensive Treatment

If anxiety is significantly impacting your daily life, affecting your job, relationships, or personal safety, it is imperative that you seek help from a healthcare professional. Signs that may indicate the need for more intensive treatment include:

  • Panic attacks that occur more frequently.
  • Avoidance of situations or places that cause anxiety.
  • Self-medication with alcohol or drugs.
  • Consistent, unrelenting worry.
  • Gradual isolation from social activities.

Conclusion

Anxiety doesn’t have to control your life. Adopting a naturopathic approach can offer you a toolbox brimming with techniques to help manage and overcome your anxiety. Whether it’s through adjusting your diet, finding solace in herbal remedies, or engaging in regular practices, the path to a calmer mind is within your reach. Remember, the road to wellness is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Take small, sustainable steps, and be patient with your progress.

My hope is that you find this guide to be a beacon of light in your battle against anxiety, guiding you toward a more balanced and stress-free life. Take the knowledge you’ve gained here and turn it into action. By doing so, you’ll not only find relief but also empower yourself with the tools and wisdom to guard your mental health for years to come. Should anxiety rear its head, respond with the confidence that comes from knowing you have the power to overcome it, one natural step at a time.


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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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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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22/Jun/2023

Almost every outdoor enthusiast has faced a tick bite once in their lifetime. These tiny creatures might seem insignificant, but they can cause provoking health issues. Lyme disease is one among them that are caused by tick bites. Therefore, it’s essential to know what to do if you find a tick on your skin.
Here’s your ultimate guide on tick removal and prevention of Lyme disease.

Step 1: Remove The Tick

Tick removal is the first step towards your prevention of Lyme disease. To remove the tick safely, you need to have essential tools, such as fine-tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool.
Now, use these tools to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull the tick upward with steady, even, and controlled pressure. Try not to twist the tick or jerk it, as this can cause mouth parts to remain in the skin. If the mouth part remains, use tweezers to remove it.
After removing the tick, clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

Step 2: Save The Tick

It might sound strange, but saving the tick can help you to test for diseases and know better about the treatment. So, always save the tick in a clean plastic bag or a small container with a lid. Write the date when you were bitten and where the tick most likely bit you on the container so you don’t forget later.

Step 3: Monitor Your Symptoms

After tick removal, it’s important to monitor symptoms and seek medical attention if necessary. Lyme disease can present with nonspecific symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and a circular, reddish skin rash. Symptoms of some other tick-borne diseases may not show up for weeks or months.
If symptoms appear, seek medical attention immediately. Remember to tell your healthcare provider that you have been bitten by a tick and when and where the bite occurred. The more details you can provide, the easier it is for your doctor to determine if you need further testing or treatment.

Step 4: Prevention Of Lyme Disease

The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid being bitten by ticks. Wear light-colored clothing, so it’s easier to spot a tick on you. Tuck your pants into socks and your shirt into your pants, so ticks can’t easily access your skin. Use insect repellent when outdoors in areas where ticks are more likely to reside (wooded areas and tall grass).
DEET is an effective insect repellent however there are some potential hazards with excessive use such as: Skin irritation, allergic reaction, eye irritation, and neurological effects. Here is a list of DEET free insect repellents that work against ticks:
  1. Lemon Eucalyptus Oil: A natural repellent derived from the lemon eucalyptus tree, it is effective against mosquitoes and ticks.
  2. Picaridin: A synthetic repellent that resembles the natural compound piperine found in black pepper plants, it is effective against various insects and ticks.
  3. Geraniol: A natural alcohol found in many essential oils like geranium, citronella, and lemongrass, it repels mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects.
  4. Neem Oil: Extracted from the neem tree, it provides protection against various insects, including mosquitoes, but may be less effective against ticks.
  5. Cedarwood Oil: An essential oil derived from cedar trees, it is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects.
After coming inside from areas where ticks may be present (like grassy fields or wooded areas), take a shower to wash off any unattached ticks or use a lint roller on your clothing.

Step 5: Check Yourself And Your Pets For Ticks

Always check yourself, your kids, and your pets after being outside, especially in grassy and wooded areas. Pay special attention to hard-to-see spots like scalp, armpits, groin, and behind knees. Use a mirror for those hard-to-see areas, or ask a loved one to help.

Conclusion:

Tick bites can seem like a minor concern, but they can cause major health issues, such as Lyme disease. Knowing the right steps to take when bitten is essential to prevent long-term consequences. Remember to remove the tick correctly with tweezers, seek medical attention if necessary, and prevent tick bites by using insect repellent, checking for ticks, and practicing caution in tick-infested areas. Stay safe and enjoy the great outdoors!

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09/Dec/2022

Mistletoe therapy is a type of alternative cancer treatment that can be administered through intravenous infusion, subcutaneous injection or injected directly into a tumor with special equipment.
Its use in cancer is based on the belief that mistletoe extracts can fight cancer cells and boost the immune system. These beliefs have since been supported by clinical trials documenting the immunomodulatory effects of mistletoe extracts. In this article, we will explore the history and benefits of mistletoe therapy and discuss whether or not it is an effective way to treat cancer.

The History of Mistletoe Therapy

The use of mistletoe as a medicinal plant dates back thousands of years, with its first documented use as a healing agent in ancient Greece. Throughout time, it has been used to treat various ailments from headaches to epilepsy. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that mistletoe was studied for its potential anti-cancer properties in part thanks to the work of Rudolf Steiner. Since then, research has continued to explore the possible benefits of using mistletoe extract as an adjuvant therapy for cancer patients.

Rudolf Steiner

Rudolf Steiner was a key figure in the development of mistletoe therapy. He was an Austrian philosopher, scientist, and educationalist, who developed a holistic approach to medicine called Anthroposophic Medicine, where the inner spirit of the patient is taken into account as well as their physical body. He believed that some illnesses were caused by spiritual imbalance which could be balanced by using natural therapies such as mistletoe. Mistletoe therapy has been used since ancient times, but Steiner’s modernized version of it focused on use of preparations made from specific types of mistletoe found in Europe. These preparations contain different levels of active ingredients such as alkaloids, polysaccharides and flavonoids which are thought to have more effective therapeutic properties than regular mistletoe extract. The main aim of this therapy is to balance the immune system so that it can fight off infection and other diseases more effectively. Rudolf Steiner’s ideas about mistletoe therapy have been backed up by studies which show that its use may help reduce inflammation and improve the overall health of patients with various conditions including cancer.

Benefits of Mistletoe Therapy

Mistletoe extract contains compounds such as polysaccharides and lectins that are believed to have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. This means they can help reduce inflammation in the body and enhance the activity of certain immune cells so they are better able to fight off infection or disease. Additionally, these compounds may also stimulate apoptosis (cell death) in certain types of cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Animal studies have shown that mistletoe can decrease tumor size in lab models and improve survival rates when combined with traditional treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Is Mistletoe Therapy Effective?

Although there is promising evidence suggesting that mistletoe extracts may have anti-cancer properties, more research is needed to solidify its role in conventional oncology. In the meantime, due to its excellent safety record and documented benefits, holistic practitioners, naturopathic doctors and functional medicine practitioners continue to offer it as a complimentary therapy in a range of diseases including cancer. It is important to note that many health professionals caution against relying solely on alternative therapies like mistletoe since they are best used in conjunction with traditional treatments like chemotherapy or radiation. Ultimately, if you are considering using mistletoe therapy for yourself or someone you know who has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to consult with an experienced practitioner to make sure it’s safe and appropriate for your individual situation.
For more information on complimentary and alternative treatments for cancer click here

Conclusion

In summary, there is evidence that suggests mistletoe extract holds promise as a supportive treatment for certain types of cancers. If you are considering trying mistletoe therapy either on its own or alongside traditional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it’s important to talk with a doctor experienced in using mistletoe therapy first so you can make sure it’s safe and appropriate for you or your loved one’s individual situation.

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11/Sep/2022

Intro

According to the National Sleep Foundation, “insomnia is defined as repeated difficulty with sleep initiation, maintenance, consolidation, or quality that occurs despite adequate opportunity and circumstances for rest,” and it affects approximately 30-35% of adults. If you’re one of the millions of people struggling to get a good night’s sleep, know that you’re not alone—and there are naturopathic treatments that can help!

Sleep Hygiene

One of the best things you can do to improve your sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene. This includes habits like avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and evening, avoiding alcohol before bed, Establishing a regular sleep schedule, and avoiding screens in the bedroom. Creating a relaxing bedtime routine can also be helpful; consider taking a bath or reading a book before climbing into bed.

Nutraceuticals

There are also a number of nutraceuticals—or nutrients that have medicinal properties—that can help improve sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, and supplements can be effective in treating insomnia. 5-HTP is another nutrient that can be helpful in treating sleeplessness; it works by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating sleep. Other nutrients that have been shown to be effective in treating insomnia include gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), valerian root, and passionflower.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Moxabustion
Moxabustion

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers another treatment option for those struggling with insomnia. Acupuncture is one of the most well-known TCM treatments; research has shown that it can be effective in treating insomnia by promoting relaxation and improving sleep quality. Herbal medicine is another TCM modality that can be helpful in treating sleeplessness. Traditional Chinese herbs that have been used to treat insomnia include jujube seed, ziziphus seed, longan fruit, tianma root, ginseng root, and magnolia bark.

Cannabis

Cannabis is another treatment option that is gaining popularity for its ability to effectively treat insomnia. THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, has been shown to increase slow-wave sleep—the deepest stage of sleep—while CBD has been shown to reduce REM sleep density, which may lead to more restful sleep. For those who are interested in trying cannabis for their insomnia but are worried about the potential for addiction or abuse, CBD-only products may be a good option as they do not have any psychoactive effects.

Conclusion

If you’re one of the millions of people affected by insomnia, know that you’re not alone—and there are treatments out there that can help! Sleep hygiene practices like avoiding caffeine and screens before bed can make a big difference, and nutraceuticals like melatonin and 5-HTP can also be effective in treating sleeplessness. Traditional Chinese Medicine modalities like acupuncture and herbal medicine can also offer relief from insomnia; cannabis is another treatment option gaining popularity for its ability to improve sleep quality. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about which treatment option may be right for you!

Book an appointment today!


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15/Aug/2022

Do you feel like you’re always getting sick? Are you constantly battling colds and the flu? If so, you may need to boost your immunity. Luckily, there are a number of natural treatments that can help. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best ways to improve your immune system naturally.

Vitamin D for immunity

Vitamin D is essential for a strong immune system. It helps the body to produce antibodies, which fight infection. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk. You can also get Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.

Trouble keeping up with vitamin D supplements and worried about sun exposure? Not to worry, at my clinic we offer the option of a vitamin D injection. Under professional supervision, this is a safe and effective way to boost vitamin D levels quickly.

Vitamin C for immunity

Another important nutrient for immunity is Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps the body to create white blood cells, which fight infection. Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruits, tomatoes, bell peppers, and broccoli.

Intravenous vitamin C is a great way to get a high dose of Vitamin C. By bypassing digestion, IV vitamin C can boost levels quickly. Intravenous vitamin C can also increase blood concentrations at levels that directly kill pathogens and inhibit cancer growth.

Zinc for immunity

Zinc is another important mineral for immunity. It helps the body to create new cells and enzymes that fight infection. Zinc can be found in oysters, beef, pork, chicken, and beans.

Zinc can also be added to intravenous infusions for an added immune system boost.

Elderberry Syrup

If you’re looking for a kid friendly and great tasting way to boost your immunity, elderberry syrup is a great option. Elderberries are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and antioxidants. They have been shown to reduce inflammation and fight infection. You can find elderberry syrup at most health food stores.

Ginger for immunity

Ginger is another great option for boosting your immunity. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce congestion. It can also help to soothe a sore throat. You can find ginger in the form of capsules, tea, or syrup.

Garlic for immunity

Garlic is another excellent food for boosting your immunity. Garlic is rich in Vitamin C, sulfur, and antioxidants. It has been shown to fight infection and reduce inflammation. You can add garlic to your food or take it in supplement form.

Selenium for immunity

Selenium is a trace mineral that is important for immunity. Selenium helps the body to produce antibodies, which fight infection. It can be found in Brazil nuts, tuna, shrimp, and eggs.

Selenium can also be added to an intravenous infusion for an added immune boost.

Vitamin A for immunity

Vitamin A is an important nutrient for immunity. Vitamin A helps the body to produce white blood cells, which fight infection. Vitamin A can be found in sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, and squash.

Probiotics for immunity

Probiotics are live bacteria that are good for your gut health. Probiotics help to keep the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. This can help to improve digestion and boost immunity. You can find probiotics in yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha.Probiotic supplements are also available.

There you have it! These are just a few of the best ways to boost your immunity naturally. By including these foods and supplements in your diet, you can help to keep yourself healthy and avoid getting sick. In individuals requiring an extra boost, injection and intravenous treatments are available and effective. Do you have any other favourite natural immunity boosters? Share them with us in the comments


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13/Aug/2022

Cannabinoid therapy for sleep

I have noticed consistently good results using cannabinoids for sleep disorders. I am often asked what are the top indications for cannabis therapy in my practice and insomnia would always be in the top three.

I first started to gain an interest in cannabis and cannabinoids back in 2015. One of the most common reasons that my patients were using cannabis was for various types of insomnia. Most of these patients were having very good results. That really peaked my interest because I too suffered from insomnia for a large part of my life.

I had used various natural sleep aids but needed a change as my current medication was producing some inconvenient side effects. After receiving my medical cannabis prescription I started using a balanced THC:CBD oil which improved my sleep latency and nighttime wakeup’s within a few days. Cannabinoid therapy is now one of my most recommended treatments for various types of insomnia as it is safe, inexpensive, fast acting and effective.

Cannabis can have calming or stimulating effects depending on the preparation, dose and mode of administration. I really wanted to find out what made cannabis effective for sleep and what would be the optimal way to use it for sleep. My research pointed towards a few mechanisms through which cannabinoids likely have sleep promoting effects: GABA, Serotonin and Endocannabinoid modulation.

GABA

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that generally promotes a relaxation response in the central and peripheral nervous system. It is well established that activation of GABA receptors favours sleep and many pharmaceutical drug classes, including benzodiazepines, act on GABA receptors.

Both animal and human studies have demonstrated that cannabidiol (CBD) has a modulatory effect on GABA activity. CBD can both increase and decrease GABA activity depending on neurotransmitter activity levels (if there’s too little it increases, if there is too much it decreases). This makes CBD useful for sleep disorders resulting from too little GABA activity (think of the overactive brain) without the addictive potential of GABA stimulating pharmaceutical preparations.

Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is involved in mood and sleep/wake responses. Many antidepressant medications specifically target serotonin activity. Research from the early 2000’s by Bambico et al demonstrated that cannabinoid receptor agonists (things that stimulate cannabinoid receptors) have the ability to modulate serotonin activity. Low doses seemingly to raise serotonin activity while high doses have little effect.

Both endogenous cannabinoids (cannabinoids we make ourselves) and phytocannabinoids (THC, CBD etc..) seem to have the ability to modulate serotonin activity via stimulation of our cannabinoid receptors. This may explain some of the physiology involved in the sleep promotion and anti-anxiety effects of cannabis preparations. CBD seems to be particularly useful through its interplay with our endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System

All species, with the exception of insects, have an endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is our bodies harm reduction system, keeping chemical and electrical singling in balance. Overall, stimulation of the endocannabinoid system has a calming effect and a known modulator of our sleep/wake cycle.

Many chronic diseases that have been linked to disruption in the endocannabinoid system (Fibromyalgia, Migraine, Inflammatory Bowel Disorder) have a sleep disruption comorbidity. This sleep disruption can usually be helped with a prescription of cannabinoids such as CBD. It is certainly plausible and empirical evidence supports the theory that patients with sleep disorders have endocannabinoid disruption. Therefore, phystocannabinoids like CBD can be helpful to restore endocannabinoid tone and subsequently better sleep.

Dosing Considerations

Cannabis is a unique medicine as it cannot be prescribed based on age and weight. Everyone has an individual response to cannabinoids due to the fact that everyone has unique  endocannabinoid tone and metabolism.

Cannabinoids like CBD and THC can interact with particular medications and preexisting conditions. Some preparations of cannabis are very different in their effect and duration. Smoked cannabis has a very fast acting effect but a short duration. Edible cannabis can have a slow onset of effect but last for a long time.

Therefore it is highly recommended to have a healthcare professional knowledgeable in cannabinoid therapy work with you for the initial stages of treatment. This will ensure a safe and effective dosing strategy with minimal chance for adverse effects. With that being said cannabis is a very safe medication and when prescribed correctly can make a significant difference in those suffering from sleep disorders. Check out the Cannabis Therapy page for more information.

References

Pretzsch CM, Freyberg J, Voinescu B, Lythgoe D, Horder J, Mendez MA, Wichers R, Ajram L, Ivin G, Heasman M, Edden RAE, Williams S, Murphy DGM, Daly E, McAlonan GM. Effects of cannabidiol on brain excitation and inhibition systems; a randomised placebo-controlled single dose trial during magnetic resonance spectroscopy in adults with and without autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Jul;44(8):1398-1405. doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0333-8. Epub 2019 Feb 6. PMID: 30758329; PMCID: PMC6784992.

Gottesmann C. GABA mechanisms and sleep. Neuroscience. 2002;111(2):231-9. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(02)00034-9. PMID: 11983310.

Moreira FA. Serotonin, the prefrontal cortex, and the antidepressant-like effect of cannabinoids. J Neurosci. 2007 Dec 5;27(49):13369-70. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4867-07.2007. PMID: 18057193; PMCID: PMC6673093.

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26/Jul/2022

What is PCOS?

Finding an effective treatment for Polycycstic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is important to me for two distinct reasons. 5-10% of woman are impacted by PCOS in their lifetime making PCOS a common and treatable condition in my Naturopathic practice. The second reason is that it is a condition that my wife has struggled with for many years therefore making it a syndrome that hits close to home.

PCOS is a bit of a misnomer as it is a continuum of symptoms and doesn’t necessarily have to include ovarian cysts. It is however characterized by several common objective findings including irregular periods, infertility, shifts in hormone balance (DHEA, Testosterone, LH, FSH), hirsutism (hair growth on the lip, chin and abdomen), Hair loss (Male pattern head hair loss), acne (typically on the lower jaw), high levels of insulin due to insulin resistance, and unexplained weight gain (especially around the abdomen).

Although we still do not know all the mechanisms involved as to why some women develop PCOS, there does seem to be a genetic component. Environmental toxins such as BPA seem to play a role, and gastrointestinal dysbiosis (unfriendly bacteria in the gut) plays a role as well.

Conventional Treatment for PCOS

Some of the more common conventional treatments of PCOS include birth control pill (to regulate irregular periods and hormone levels), metformin (a insulin sensitizing drug that helps to control blood sugar levels commonly used in diabetes), and spironolactone (a diuretic that also has the ability to block a type of testosterone formation called DHT). While these treatments can be helpful in the short-term they do not always address the root cause of PCOS and therefore ultimately fail in the long term. Some of these causes include hormone disrupters in the environment and diet, and gastrointestinal dysbiosis (leading to the production of inflammatory compounds that compromise insulin function).

Holistic Treatment for PCOS

Luckily there are relatively easy and low cost solutions to many of the fundamental causes of PCOS. As a Naturopathic Doctor I have the privilege and ability to take a detailed medical history. Doing so can point me in the direction(s) as to where these foundational imbalances are occurring. For instance if the patient has a history of gastrointestinal concerns, (constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, colitis) that informs me to focus investigation on the gastrointestinal tract. If a patients main concern is infertility and irregular periods I will shift focus into hormone balance. It may also be the case that a patient has several concern at the same time, which is not uncommon in PCOS. Once I know where to focus we can run specialized tests such as comprehensive stool analysis, female hormone panels, nutrient level panels, food sensitivity testing and environmental toxins. This aids in narrowing down where to implement the bulk of the treatment protocol. There are some general recommendations that are sure to aid all women with PCOS such as exercise, reduced carbohydrate diets and lowering exposure to petrochemicals. However, the medical history and specialized testing can be a guide for more specific recommendations.

Functional Testing for PCOS

A nutrients panel test can help determine if there are specific nutritional deficiencies such as low levels of vitamin D, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids, which tend to be common in PCOS. A female hormone panel can determine if there are specific imbalances with sex hormones. These imbalances can potentially be corrected with dietary recommendations, bio-identical  hormone replacement, and nutraceutical supplements. Evidence of dysbiosis in gut from a stool analysis can be reversed with dietary recommendations that promote colonization of helpful butyrate producing bacteria. Nutraceuticals containing antibiotic herbs can preferentially kill harmful bacteria while protecting good bacteria. Probiotic supplements containing specific strains of bacteria and prebiotic fibre can be very effective. Food sensitivity testing can help confirm if there are specific foods in the diet that are activating an immune response, causing further inflammation in the gut. Environmental toxin analysis would shed light on high levels of exposure to particular toxins, most of which are known hormone disruptors. Even the simple testing of insulin levels and blood sugar can lead to recommendations for easily accessible compounds like inositol, L-carnitine and chromium which can effectively increase insulin sensitivity.

Conclusions

The take home message is that PCOS is an extremely common and often disruptive condition for a significant amount of women worldwide. The conventional treatment of PCOS often does not provide long term solutions and can have significant side effects. Simple and inexpensive solutions through dietary, supplement and lifestyle recommendations can address the root causes of PCOS and bring about significant symptom relief with long-term sustainability. I therefore encourage anyone suffering from PCOS who hasn’t found an effective solution to contact a local Naturopathic Doctor or Functional Medicine Doctor for an assessment. If you would like to contact me, you can do so through the appointment page by clicking the link in the menu bar. The sooner you start to address the root causes the easier and quicker long lasting symptom relief can be achieved. That being said, implementation of a functional medicine approach to PCOS will undoubtably be helpful at any stage and at any age.


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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Clinic: 416-490-8243

Fax: 416-490-9961

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