Category Archives: CanPrev

Nutrient Deficiencies: Why Nearly Everyone Has Them

Health Canada advises, along with many nutrition professionals, “that a healthy and balanced diet can provide most people with the nutrients essential for good health.” [1]

Does that mean that if we eat a “healthy and balanced diet”, that we’ll be meeting all the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and we’ll be safe from nutritional deficiency?

Or do some of us follow this recommendation and still have a nutrient deficiency – and not even know it?

According to the latest Health Canada Community Survey (June 2017), Canadians as a population are not as well nourished as we may think.

Fruit and vegetables contain a range of beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and other phytochemicals. Consumption of at least 5 servings per day is linked with a reduced risk of various diseases, including cancers and heart disease. [2]

Therefore, fruit and vegetable consumption is considered a healthy behaviour, and a good indication of the overall diet and nutritional quality of a population.

However, in data from the 2017 survey, less than a third (30.0%) of Canadians aged 12 and older reported that they ate the recommended number of servings.

Given the rather significant shortfall in Canadians reaching their “5-a-day”, it’s not surprising that there are a number of nutrients reported to be lacking in our diets.

With the overall lack of adequate fruit and vegetable servings, along with soil depletion, over-processing of food, and treated water…well, it’s no wonder that many of us are lacking in a number of key nutrients that we once attained easily and ought to supplement.

For example, today you would have to eat 4 carrots to get the full amount of Magnesium available that was in just one carrot 80 years ago. Unfortunately, you’re not eating your grandmother’s carrots anymore!

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps maintain normal vision and keeps your immune system, skin, and eyes functioning at their best.

More than 35% of Canadians age 19 and over consumed vitamin A in quantities below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR). [3]

Carotenoids, such a beta carotene, are converted into vitamin A in the body, and it gives fruits and vegetables their orange, red and yellow colour (such as pumpkin, carrots and bell peppers).

It is also found in dark green leafy vegetables; with liver, dairy, eggs, and fatty fish also being good sources of Vitamin A.


A nutrient that is commonly found in plant foods, but also commonly lacking in our diets, is Magnesium.

This multi-tasking mineral is involved as a cofactor for a range of biochemical reactions in the body including nerve and muscle function, protein synthesis and blood glucose control.

It is also involved in the structural development of bone and plays a role in nerve impulse conduction, maintaining a normal heart rhythm and muscle contraction.

Evidence suggests that 34% of Canadians over the age of 19 consumed magnesium in quantities below the EAR. [3]

Magnesium is found mostly in whole grains, legumes, nuts, and dark green leafy vegetables. Milk and yogurt contain some magnesium as well.


Calcium, the most abundant mineral in the body, provides the structure and rigidity of bones and teeth. It is also important for proper muscle function, hormone secretion, and nerve transmission. [4]

It was reported that there’s an increasing prevalence of calcium inadequacy with older age.

Calcium is found in dairy products, dark green leafy vegetables, fish with soft bones and fortified products.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of Calcium from the gut, and for supporting optimal bone health. It is also thought to play a role in immune function, healthy skin, and muscle strength.

While our bodies can make vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, during the fall and winter months, and in northern climates, where sunlight hours are limited, it can be hard to get enough of this critical nutrient, and vitamin D deficiency can become (and is becoming) more prominent.

While about 80% of the adult Canadian population are not getting the vitamin D they need from dietary sources [3], available clinical measures do not suggest widespread Vitamin D deficiency in the Canadian population. [5] [6]

The major food sources of Vitamin D are foods that have been fortified or through supplementation.

So, how do we get all the nutrients we need?

We’ve always recommended, first and foremost, that people strive to meet their nutritional requirements through eating a varied diet with a foundation of whole and unprocessed foods.

But, as we’ve established, for various reasons it’s apparent that many of us may not be getting all the nutrients we need for optimal health.

Lack of nutrient bioavailability, poor dietary choices, restricted diets, food sensitivities, various health conditions (such as gastrointestinal disorders and poor absorption), some medications and age can all play a part in an individual’s ability to meet their recommended dietary intakes.

To determine whether or not you are at risk of a nutritional deficiency, it is important to discuss your concerns with a naturopathic doctor, a qualified nutrition professional or another healthcare provider.

In many situations, as we’ve discussed here, where diet alone is unable to meet your recommended nutrient requirements, therapeutic supplementation may be a good option.


Referenced Studies & Content

[1] Statistics Canada: Canadian Community Health Survey, June 2017 – Nutrition: Nutrient intakes from food and nutritional supplements
[2] Statistics Canada: Health Fact Sheets. Fruit and Vegetable consumption
[3] Health Canada: Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone?
[4] Health Canada: Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes
[5] Health Reports, March 2010: Vitamin D status of Canadians as measured in the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey
[6] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011: The vitamin D status of Canadians relative to the 2011 Dietary Reference Intakes: An examination in children and adults with and without supplement use

Don’t go through spring without these 5 wonder herbs

The perfect herbal remedies for your healthiest spring yet

Spring is just around the corner, and for most of us, it couldn’t come soon enough. Though winter has its charms, namely the cozy evenings by the fireplace and hikes in the snow-covered forest, the short days and blizzards can sure get to us after a while. When spring finally comes, we start to feel alive again. But here’s the thing: as much as we love spring, it’s also a season that can spark its own set of health issues. Read on to find out which health concerns are most common in the spring, and which herbal remedies you can turn to for your healthiest, happiest spring yet.

Spring detox

There’s no better time than spring to kick-start a gentle body cleanse. After the long winter months spent inside, usually exercising less (hello, Netflix!), and indulging in yummy comfort foods like casseroles and roasts, common spring concerns include feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Other symptoms like sneaky weight gain and brain fog also signal you might benefit from a healthy spring detox.

Start your cleanse by kicking your daily coffee habit and cutting back on sweets, alcohol, and junk foods. Swap your usual beverages for fresh juices, superfood smoothies, and warm tonics like golden milk or matcha. Food-wise, up your intake of fiber and colorful plant foods like antioxidant-rich berries and dark leafy greens.

For herbal support, try dandelion. The whole plant supports a healthy spring detox. Use the leaves as a salad green or steeped as tea to stimulate the gallbladder, support digestion, and for better liver and kidney health. Use dandelion root to clear liver toxins and banish bloat.

Seasonal allergies

Flower buds and blooming greenery are a sight most of us look forward to—but if you’re one of those who suffers from seasonal allergies, spring equals weeks of constant sneezing and sniffling. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, brings unpleasant cold-like symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes, and coughing.

Tree pollen is a usual culprit when it comes to seasonal allergies, and common advice to kick hay fever symptoms includes staying indoors with windows closed (sounds like fun?). That’s where herbal remedies come to the rescue. To relieve seasonal allergy symptoms, try nettle. Use it as a tea, tincture, in capsules, or even fresh and whipped up in a tasty batch of wild nettle pesto.

Nettle acts as a general tonic to naturally increase the body’s resistance to allergy, while also lowering inflammation and curbing the release of histamine.

Spring blues

Yes, even though we tend to associate seasonal affective disorder with the cold, dark winter months, spring too can trigger a set of difficult emotions for those of us who have depression and anxiety. Experts blame a few factors when it comes to the spring blues: hormonal shifts, melatonin imbalance, and even inflammation-causing seasonal allergies might be involved in bringing you down.

To kick mild spring blues symptoms, your self-care action plan includes upping physical exercise to trigger a flow of feel-good endorphins. Herb-wise, you can turn to St John’s Wort. Herbal remedies made from the sunny, bright yellow flower can alleviate symptoms of mild depression, especially when combined with light therapy.

Skin woes

Taking off the winter layers and stepping out into the world post-winter lull means your skin is more exposed to the elements during the spring. Common skin ailments at that time of year include sunburn, mosquito bites, brushes with poison ivy, and the occasional nettle sting. What’s more, since your skin hasn’t seen the sun in a while, you can be more prone to a sun rash on your arms and face. Cue the red, inflamed, and itchy skin that makes you wish for just one more snowstorm.

But, as with most things, there’s a herb for that: plantain. The common weed that pokes its head in the springtime also happens to be the ultimate skin savior. Use it as a salve and apply it over the skin whenever needed for instant relief from inflammation and itch.

Lyme time

The return of warm weather can bring anxiety for those of us concerned about Lyme Disease. After all, fun outdoor activities like camping and hiking can up your risk of tick bites. Though there is no guaranteed way to guard against Lyme Disease (besides, maybe, avoiding the woods at all cost!), anyone who wants to curb their risk of getting sick can focus on boosting their immune system.

This spring, try reishi mushroom as an adaptogen to support immune function. Use it as a herbal tea, tincture, in capsules, or even in powder form added to smoothies and hot chocolate for a tasty, immune-boosting treat.

CanPrev acquires Cyto-Matrix

The principals and employees of CanPrev and Cyto-Matrix are thrilled to announce the creation of a genuine, homegrown, all-Canadian natural health products champion that professionals can confidently trust. The combined expertise of these two leading companies will serve to enhance the product range and value-added services to professionals.

Cyto-Matrix Inc. is a leading Canadian professional brand trusted and preferred by naturopathic doctors.  “After 15 years of understanding the unique needs of natural health professionals while building our company, Randall and I could not be more proud to team-up with CanPrev.  Their capabilities will enable us to vastly improve upon our value proposition to our doctors.” says Loretta Masaro, CEO of Cyto-Matrix Inc.  

“This is the beginning of the next phase for Cyto-Matrix! Our foundation has always been to serve the needs of naturopathic doctors across Canada through integrity, purity and innovation. Loretta and I are so excited to continue this mission of building the most loved and trusted Canadian professional brand,” adds Randall DeMone, President of Cyto-Matrix.

“CanPrev has always been about making Canadians healthier through the development of premium quality natural health products. Coming together with Cyto-Matrix was a simple decision.” says Tanya Salituro, CanPrev Founder and Vice-President.  “We’re all about quality, safety, efficacy and serving our customers attentively. The values and mission of our two companies could not be better aligned.”

“Cyto-Matrix is a professional-only brand. Availability through the current small group of specialty retailers – whereby the products are behind-the-counter and require a prescription – will be further restricted. Clearly, our mission is to massively serve the needs of the naturopathic community. In the face of ever-increasing foreign-owned brands, this move will strengthen the combined Cyto-Matrix, CanPrev and Orange Naturals group to better serve Canadians. Not only will there be no loss of Canadian jobs, we will be adding more employment opportunities.” says Franco Salituro, President & CEO of CanPrev.

Professionals may continue placing orders through the same 1-866-783-7504 dial-in number and the same email.  The fax line will change in the coming weeks.

Founded in 2005, CanPrev Natural Health Products Ltd. is an all-Canadian premium natural health products company located at 70 North Wind Place, Toronto, Ontario.  

For questions or inquiries please call 1-888-226-7733 or email

Magnesium, Anxiety, Depression and The Brain

The statistics are shocking: mental illness affects one in five Canadians and costs our healthcare system about fifty billion dollars a year. The cost of treating mental illness and addiction is 1.5 times that of all cancers and seven times the cost of all infectious diseases.

When conventional therapies end up being ineffective or result in a long list of undesirable side effects and dependencies, it’s no wonder individuals suffering from mental illnesses can feel defeated and turn to alternative therapies.

Anxiety and depression are two of the most common mood disorders with anxiety holding the number one spot in Canada. One in four Canadians experiences at least one anxiety disorder in their lifetime. It is not unlikely to find anxiety coexist with depression and the two often occur together. Feeling anxious and sad are natural emotions and it can be difficult to diagnose the severity.


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work and relationships. Mental illness is the leading cause of disability and accounts for approximately 30 percent of all short and long-term disability claims. In fact, it is reported to be one of the top three claims made by 80 percent of Canadian employers. Depression and anxiety can be extremely debilitating.


Anxiety has a remarkably high comorbidity with depression and vice versa. The reasons may in part be due to a strong genetic correlation, and possibly partially due to the strong overlap in diagnostic criteria. Similar neuropeptides and pathways are shared in the pathophysiology of these disorders and therefore they commonly occur together and can be thought of as the fraternal twins of mood disorders.

According to The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), some GAD and MDD symptoms that overlap includes difficulty sleeping, concentrating, being easily fatigued, and exhibiting psychomotor agitation. It is important to make sure an anxiety diagnosis does not mask that of depression and vice versa because the two often co-exist and the clinical implications can be severe.

Increased risk of suicide, psychiatric hospitalization, disability and decreased compliance with treatment are all hazards of misdiagnosis.

Magnesium and GABA Receptors In The Brain

Magnesium plays an important role in a multitude of biochemical reactions in the body, including the brain. Neurological functions of magnesium include cellular energy production, regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA), regulating ion gradients, and neuronal excitability.

Dysregulation of these systems plays an important role in the etiology of both depression and anxiety.

GABA Receptors

Magnesium has been shown to modulate GABA activity in the brain. Magnesium ions can occupy GABA receptors acting as GABA receptor agonists to help facilitate GABA neurotransmission. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain that plays a role in motor control, vision, and anxiety.

GABA and magnesium bind to benzodiazepine receptors resulting in an anxiolytic effect. These are the same receptors that are targeted with anxiolytic prescription medications like Lorazepam (Ativan) or Diazepam (Valium).

NMDA Receptor Inhibition + Glutamate

Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter that plays an important role in the development of the brain and is a key player in neuroplasticity, learning, memory, and locomotion. The amount of glutamate released in the brain is tightly regulated by the central nervous system.

When this equilibrium is disrupted through some form of trauma, glutamate concentrations in the brain can increase. Contrary to its primitive function, in excess, this neuropeptide is toxic and destructive in the brain, leading to neurotoxicity and cell death. Increased levels are found in the brains of patients suffering from major depressive disorder, which may play a role in its pathophysiology.

Magnesium is a very potent inhibitor of NMDA receptors (N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor), which are a subtype of glutamate receptors. Magnesium is a natural antagonist to calcium and exerts its inhibitory effect in the nervous system by blocking the flow of calcium through the voltage-dependent NMDA receptors, preventing an excitatory response in the brain.

A magnesium deficiency coupled with high levels of calcium and glutamate is a recipe for disaster in the brain. This combination can depolarize neuronal membranes and lead to altered synaptic function and the development of anxiety and depression. The NMDA/glutamate pathway is one-way magnesium exerts its anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in the brain.

Up to 80% of the brain uses GABA and glutamate for inhibitory and excitatory responses, respectively.


Magnesium exhibits anti-depressive effects through its interaction with serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine receptors. The mechanism of how this works is not fully understood, but several studies indicate that a relationship does exist. This pharmacokinetic relationship has been illustrated in studies that show an increase in erythrocyte magnesium concentration with the administration of psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Furthermore, magnesium supplementation has been shown to enhance the activity of antidepressants, demonstrating a synergistic action with these drugs.

This last point is important to consider if you are supplementing with magnesium and also taking an antidepressant drug — such as a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI) like Wellbutrin, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) such as Pristiq, Cymbalta or Effexor; or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) such as Celexa, Prozac or Zoloft.

HPA Axis

Chronic stress leads to excess cortisol levels which can negatively affect other neuropeptides like serotonin and be a contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Magnesium has been shown to play a positive role in the stress response through its influence in the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical axis.

Magnesium can reduce the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and affect adrenocortical sensitivity to ACTH, which helps to modulate the amount of circulating cortisol in the body. High cortisol levels can also deplete magnesium levels, which further supports the benefits of supplementation.

Choosing the best magnesium for anxiety and depression

Several forms of magnesium exist so it is important to recognize the therapeutic applications of each. Magnesium bis-glycinate is an excellent choice for treating anxiety and depression for the following reasons:

  • it is the optimal form for correcting a deficiency due to its superior bioavailability to other forms
  • glycine enhances its anxiolytic properties
  • it is the optimal form to achieve therapeutic doses without a laxation effect

Why Magnesium Bis-Glycinate?

Glycine, like GABA, is a significant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Glycine helps to regulate NMDA receptors and glutamate transmission, thereby creating a sense of calm in the nervous system. Taurine, another amino acid, plays a very similar calming role in the brain.

Very interesting case studies presented by Eby and Eby (2006) demonstrated that 125-300 mg of magnesium glycinate and taurinate per day alleviated symptoms of major depression within seven days.

In addition to its profound antidepressant effects, it also provided relief from a headache, suicidal ideation, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, and short-term memory loss. What a collection of multi-beneficial side effects!

Meet Joseph Cheung – Your Health Is Your Wealth

Here at CanPrev, we are all about our community. Because without a platform to connect with individuals – we cannot learn, grow, educate, motivate or inspire. That’s where our ambassadors come in. These individuals are dedicated to living life to the fullest! They are continually learning and growing, sharing their knowledge and experience, in hopes to motivate another and let inspiration, by default, move more and more individuals forward.

For anyone who has thought about giving up on achieving better health – look to these individuals for inspiration in order to improve the quality of your life. Their collective goal is always to offer inspiration and to be a catalyst in spreading CanPrev’s healthy lifestyle vibe across the nation!

Meet Joseph Cheung Registered Massage Therapist and Structural Integrator

At age 30, his father passed away from cancer. At the time he had been working as a corporate accountant for 6 years. He realized that life is too short to not do what you love — so he decided to take a leap of faith and pursue his passion for manual therapy and movement. He had studied many movement disciplines throughout his life such as martial arts, traditional strength training, and tai chi. But when he left the corporate world he traveled abroad to study structural integration (of anatomy) under the legendary Tom Myers, the originator of the Anatomy Trains Myofascial Meridians. This training coupled with his background in different movement modalities ensures his practice as a therapist today, is uniquely tailored to the individual.

Words From The Therapist

I am grateful to work with a fantastic team of fitness professionals and therapists at Myodetox and am grateful for the amazing clients I get to interact with and help daily. I feel blessed every morning I wake up – I truly love what I do and to add to that – I get to help others feel better!

Everyone has control over their lives and should take their health into their own hands. Without your health, nothing else matters. Living a preventative lifestyle is necessary for finding your best health — that is what CanPrev life is all about!

Why He Chooses to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

I love to move and practice Martial Arts. Watching my dad fall ill, and seeing my clients come in with different health concerns reminds me to take care of myself so I can be the best that I can be, and live a long, healthy life.

You Can Prevent

I love using Mens CORE a plant-based protein with a multivitamin and mineral component to it for extra support. I also love using Adrenal-Pro™. I see dozens of clients every week and I need to be able to interact with them, give them an amazing experience, but also let myself rest and recover. These products help me do just that.

My wife Jessie and I plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2018, and we will definitely be packing some CORE travel packs with us and Adrenal-Pro! We will probably take along some Joint-Pro as well, to save our knees!

Connect and learn more about Joseph online for key health and movement information that he shares regularly with his 90,000 plus followers @joerehab

Meet other CanPrev ambassadors: 

Meet Mike Levine – Do What You Love 

Meet Krista Goncalves – aka Making Lemonade

Meet Jill Bunny – Finding My Best Health 

Meet Jessie Lam – Corporate Junkie Turns Fitness Guru

Magnesium, Enzymes and Cellular Energy

There is a host of scientific studies linking magnesium to many different health conditions, but reviewing these effects one by one is overwhelming and confusing. Instead, it’s more helpful to look at magnesium’s underlying physiological mechanisms. Understanding what magnesium does fundamentally will let us better understand how insufficient magnesium levels might affect our bodies and our daily lives.

Magnesium’s hundreds of roles can be roughly categorized into four basic functions. One of those functions is activating enzymes and another is creating cellular energy. Let’s break down how these processes actually happen and take a closer look at the relationship between magnesium enzymes and energy.


We are kept alive by trillions of chemical reactions that occur in the body. Carbohydrates are broken up and harvested for energy. New tissue is created. Cellular waste products are removed. New strands of DNA are synthesized. This collection of chemical processes is called metabolism.

The speed a reaction occurs will depend on factors like temperature, pressure, solubility and concentration of molecules. We use these factors every day. You might notice that sugar dissolves in hot water faster, or putting food in the refrigerator will slow the rate of decay. When you make a campfire, a hotter flame will burn wood faster.

Our metabolism needs to occur at a certain speed to stay alive. But we don’t have the liberty of turning the body into a raging furnace to speed up these reactions (not without damaging many things). That’s where enzymes come in.


Enzymes are bits of protein that catalyze and regulate almost all metabolic reactions. As catalysts, they reduce the energy needed to spark a chemical reaction and speed up reactions. Without enzymes, reactions that would normally take milliseconds might take hours or days.

Some enzymes require an additional ions or molecules called cofactors to function. Without a cofactor bound to its structure, an enzyme may float dormant, unable to catalyze any reactions.

Cofactor for Enzymatic Pathways

Magnesium is a cofactor for several important enzymes in the body, like DNA/RNA polymerases, used to transcribe new DNA/RNA strands, and guanylate cyclase used to regulate the movement of minerals across cell membranes.

A 1968 estimate suggested that magnesium was a required cofactor for 300 enzymatic reactions. This figure is found in many medical texts and quoted by many scientific papers. Since then, many more enzymes that rely on magnesium have been identified. A search of today’s enzymatic databases reveals over 600 enzymes that magnesium is a cofactor for and another 200 enzymes that need magnesium to be activated.

Magnesium, Enzymes and Cellular Energy

Arguably the most important enzymes that magnesium is a cofactor for are the ones that produce cellular energy. These enzymes form a series of pathways (glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, phosphorylation) that convert organic compounds like glucose sugars into smaller molecules called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP acts as our main unit of cellular energy.

Every one of our hundred trillion cells manufactures ATP to store and shuttle intracellular energy. ATP stores a tremendous amount of potential energy in the bonds of the second and third phosphate groups. When the cell wants to carry out a function like cellular division or transport molecules across the cell membrane, it breaks this bond and releases the energy.

We use a tremendous amount of ATP all the time. The typical adult only stores about 50g of ATP in the body so each ATP molecule is recycled over a thousand times a day.


To get an idea of just how much we use, let’s look at some back-of-the-napkin calculations. (If you’d like to avoid the math, feel free to skip ahead!)
Assume a typical adult needs to eat approximately 2500 calories of food every day. That’s equivalent to consuming 10,460kJ of energy from our food. Let’s also assume all the metabolic pathways that convert food into ATP energy are about 50% efficient. So of the 10,460kJ of food energy we consume, 5230kJ ends up as ATP. One mole of ATP releases around 50kJ of energy in our cells, meaning the body goes through 5230/50 = 104.6 moles of ATP every day. How much is that by weight? One mole of ATP is 507 grams. 104.6 moles x 507 grams/mole = 53,032 grams or 53kg of ATP processed every day.

Our calculations estimate that 53kg of ATP is used every day. That’s a lot of ATP, about three-quarters the body weight of your average adult human! Luckily, humans are really good at recycling and recharging spent ATP (adenosine diphosphate or ADP) through those previously mentioned metabolic pathways. The typical adult only stores about 50g of ATP in the body so each ATP molecule is recycled over a thousand times daily! Since these pathways are magnesium dependent, we need quite a bit of magnesium on hand to fuel a continuous production of ATP.

Magnesium =  ATP

Since these pathways (glycolysis, Kreb’s cycle, phosphorylation) are magnesium dependent, we need quite a bit of magnesium on hand to fuel a continuous production of ATP.

Magnesium and Cardiovascular Conditions

Blood clotting (intravascular thrombosis, heart attacks and strokes)

Clotting is a normal response to blood vessel damage. When a blood vessel wall is damaged, tiny blood cells called platelets activate. These platelets adhere to a damaged surface and release sealing agents like fibrin. Magnesium regulates the activation of these platelets by controlling calcium levels and maintaining cell receptors. That’s why magnesium is sometimes called an anticoagulant.

Magnesium deficiencies increase the risk of unnecessary platelet activation, forming more clots in blood vessels. These clots may block blood flow to the brain or heart, increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks. 

High Blood Pressure

Besides preventing blood clots, magnesium also acts as a natural vasodilator. Magnesium, as a calcium antagonist, allows the heart muscles and the smooth muscles of the arteries to rest and relax, reducing blood pressure. If there is insufficient magnesium, these blood vessels constrict, raising blood pressure.

Magnesium’s role in maintaining healthy blood pressure has a lot to do with its ability to activate the sodium-potassium pump. Even if a magnesium deficiency occurred and a sufficient supply of potassium was available, it would likely not make it into the cell to allow for proper sodium regulation.


Like elsewhere in the body, magnesium regulates concentrations of potassium and calcium in the heart as well. These concentrations control and coordinate the rhythm of electrical signal and muscle contractions.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends that hospitals administer magnesium intravenously in order to reduce the risks of atrial fibrillation.

Meet Jill Bunny – Finding My Best Health

“When you’re the strongest and fittest you’ve ever been, the last thing you think you are is unhealthy and the last words you expect to hear are, you have cancer” — Jill Bunny

The “C” word

Being told you have cancer is something you don’t ever expect to hear at a routine check-up, especially when you’re young and dedicate your life to staying fit. Fitness model Jill Bunny didn’t expect to hear it either. This Toronto native was one of the highest ranked IFBB bikini competitors in the world. To her peers, she was the picture of health physically and professionally. But Jill’s inner strength would soon be tested. Unusual symptoms Jill was experiencing told her that something wasn’t quite right. A double diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and thyroid cancer catapulted Jill into the competition of her life.

To many different degrees, we have all faced health challenges individually. This is the story of a top fitness competitor who fought the biggest battle of her life and came out with a new approach to finding her best health.

Her Story

Functional nutritionist, elite trainer, life coach and bikini model competitor, these are only a few titles Jill Bunny goes by. Jill has always been fascinated by what the human body is capable of. When she was diagnosed with MS and thyroid cancer at age 30, her passion for health and fitness took a different turn. She retired from competition as the physical toll training took on her body would likely advance the progression of MS and slow recovery from a thyroidectomy to come.

Instead, she found other ways to challenge herself physically and mentally. She continued to train and mentor others through her company, Fit Bunnies Fitness, as she recovered from cancer. It was during this time that Jill found the motivation to learn more about healing from the inside out. Through a team of functional medicine practitioners and her Naturopathic Doctor (ND), she found more preventative ways to manage her MS symptoms. Along the way, her own interest in how the body works expanded and she began to study functional medicine in her quest to find healing and to make her body stronger than ever before.

Case Study

Jill approached Dr. Nadia Lamanna ND, in April 2017 for a natural approach to managing her symptoms. Since having a thyroidectomy in November 2016, Jill struggled with fluctuating thyroid hormone levels, extreme fatigue and brain fog. The fatigue and muscle pain associated with MS was becoming a major obstacle in managing her business and training for an upcoming ironwoman race. She chose not to take prescription medication but instead managed the disease through diet, exercise and naturopathic medicine. Her chief concerns were low energy, neck pain and long recovery periods after work outs.

Dr. Lamanna ND, began treating Jill the next month with 200mg of CanPrev Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 Gentle before bed, one sachet of CanPrev ElectroMag to mix with water and to consume while training, two capsules of CanPrev Adrenal-Pro twice daily, one capsule of CanPrev Pro-Biotik 15B daily, and one capsule of CanPrev Thyroid-Pro twice daily. After two weeks the Magnesium Bis-Glycinate 200 Gentle was increased to 400 mg per day and ElectroMag to two pouches per day because Jill added a cycle class to her evening fitness routine. Jill reported she was taking Synthroid 88 mcg per day when she first met with Dr. Lamanna, this was later increased to 100 mcg per day in early May as directed by her endocrinologist.


Baseline scores were reported on April 10 and after only a few weeks of therapy, Jill reported improved symptoms like reduced neck pain, improved ability to recover post workout and a significant improvement in energy levels. She reported having bursts of energy and diminished grogginess during the times of day that she typically felt her worst. Her TSH in April was 4.79 and dropped to 0.59 in June, after just seven weeks of therapy. Jill’s endocrinologist was ecstatic with the results and asked what she had been doing differently. Her TSH levelled out at 1.15 in July. Jill was optimistic and motivated throughout the duration of the study and overjoyed about the progress she made along the way.

Words from Jill

“The last thing that I felt was missing in my quest to heal, was the implementation of natural, quality supplements. Working with my Naturopath on an individual basis, with weekly check-ins was exactly what I needed to get the supplementation correct. Today, I can honestly say that I have not felt this much energy in at least a decade. Go with your gut and listen to your body. Take an individualized approach to your health and do what you feel is right and works best for.”

Connect with Jill 

If you happen to be an Instagram lover (like Jill is) you can follow her profile @fitbunnyjill. To find out more about her health story and to train with her, visit

Dietary Magnesium – What you need to know

Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) developed by the Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies, recommend that males and females ages 19-30 take in 400 mg and 310 mg of magnesium a day respectively. Males 31 and older should up their intake to 420 mg a day, and females 31 and older should increase their daily amounts to 320 mg.

The DRI also encourages pregnant or lactating women to boost their magnesium intake even higher and to consult their doctors for suggested amounts.

Sea vegetables (kelp), nuts and seeds, beans, soybeans and some seafood (crab, clams) generally contain higher levels of magnesium compared to other foods. Grains and pseudocereals like quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice will offer you a relatively high amount of magnesium as well. But the real winners when it comes to the most nutrient dense, magnesium-rich foods are fresh vegetables and dark leafy greens like chard, collards, and spinach. Nuts and seeds pack a big punch for their size when it comes to magnesium density too!

True or False: Organic Foods Contain More Magnesium

It is no surprise that choosing to buy organic dark leafy greens and vegetables, can cost you. But if you choose to not purchase organic produce will you pay in a different way? Does buying organic make a difference in terms of mineral (magnesium) content compared to conventionally grown crops?

According to the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown spinach ranks second when it comes to produce containing pesticide residue.

While some studies conclude that organic food may or may not be more nutritious than conventionally grown, it is safe to say that buying organic can protect you from detrimental pesticides and herbicides that generally act as antagonists when it comes to magnesium absorption and can eventually block mineral absorption and lead to mineral deficiency.

Is Dietary Intake Enough?

Swiss chard contains a whopping 150 mg of magnesium per cup. But does that mean you are covered when it comes to adequate magnesium intake? Not necessarily. Lifestyle, physiological, and agricultural factors all play roles in how dietary magnesium is absorbed. A disappointing reality, but a reality nonetheless!

Let’s Explore Why

Mineral-rich foods are becoming an anomaly these days. High rates of soil erosion account for less magnesium in the soil which results in low mineral content in plant foods including magnesium.

Many fruits and vegetables have lost large amounts of minerals and nutrients in the past 50 years. For example, McCance and Widdowson’s epic compilation, the Composition of Foods, has tracked the nutrient composition of foods since 1940. Between 1940 and 1991, there was an average magnesium decrease of 24% in vegetables and 16% in fruits.

Some foods have seen more drastic declines than others. Carrots have lost 75% of their magnesium content. You would have to eat 4 carrots today to get the same magnesium in 1 carrot from 1940!

And that’s only one reason. The health of our digestive system is also a factor in whether or not we can adequately break down food to get the good stuff. Optimum absorption is key in making sure magnesium actually enters our cells!

Absorption of dietary magnesium isn’t guaranteed, though. Enzymatic function, stomach, and bowel health are key factors in the absorption process. From the beginning of the digestive system (oral cavity) to the very end (the anus), all parts need to be working efficiently (especially the small intestine) for optimum breakdown. Even if our digestive process is working perfectly, mineral content in food likely won’t be high enough to offer our cells optimum protection.

Cooking methods and refined foods can also account for magnesium loss. If we choose to fry that one cup of swiss chard instead of bake or lightly sauté it, we can cheat ourselves out of getting the magnesium we need.

Between mineral-depleted plant foods, compromised digestive systems, and popular denaturing cooking methods, optimizing our magnesium intake via food can become quite a challenge.

The Kicker

Ironically, magnesium needs magnesium to facilitate the absorption process. It’s imperative for helping to synthesize enzymes, repair tissue in our intestinal lining, and contribute to our parasympathetic nervous system health, for starters. In order for these processes to function properly in the first place, we need to have enough magnesium in our bodies to provide energy to get these physiological jobs done and done well.

Meet Mike Levine – Do What You Love

Here at CanPrev, we are all about our community. Because without a platform to connect with individuals – we cannot learn, grow, educate, motivate or inspire. That’s where our ambassadors come in. These individuals are dedicated to living life to the fullest! They are continually learning and growing, sharing their knowledge and experience, in hopes to motivate another and let inspiration, by default, move more and more individuals forward.

For anyone who has thought about giving up on achieving better health – look to these individuals for inspiration in order to improve the quality of your life. Their collective goal is always to offer inspiration and to be a catalyst in spreading CanPrev’s healthy lifestyle vibe across the nation!

Today on the blog we are introducing Mike Levine – from the six!

Entrepreneur, post TBI – Fitness and Health Advocate, Traveler, Mentor, Menswear Stylist and full time Finance Coach – This Toronto based CanPrev Ambassador, continues to inspire us mentally, physically and emotionally. Learning about him and his lifestyle approach, will explain why!

Mike is working on becoming the best version of himself. Just over 4 years ago he suffered a traumatic brain injury, he has since worked to enhance every aspect of his life! Being diligent with nutrition and balancing activities with training routines, helps him stay focused on adding value to his life. Serious stuff! But the kind of stuff, that is truly inspiring and takes courage.

From The Minimalists

We asked Mike how he decides now, post injury, “what makes it to the top of your priority list?”  “If I cannot say, Hell Yes! (taken from the Minimalists) to something on my calendar, then there is no time or energy for it”! Pretty gutsy words to live by. We like it!

Today, Mike fully embraces a healthy active lifestyle, both physically and emotionally, implementing mindful daily habits, whether he is at work or play. The emotional work is a necessity given his injury and the symptoms it came with. Rather than be discouraged, his outlook remains positive. He quotes George Mumford regarding his need to transform his lifestyle post accident – “my ass was on fire” and I had no choice. He mentions that his transformation has not moved forward without the support of CanPrev. We are thrilled for him!

When Mike isn’t training, reading or mentoring, he works as a financial coach. He enjoys assisting business owners and high net worth families preserve, grow and live a lifestyle that they worked so hard to attain. He equally enjoys helping others achieve both their financial and personal goals. Mike is grateful that his work is rewarding in this way; his entrepreneurial spirit grows and thrives with this group.

Words From Levine

As an ambassador, I love sharing my knowledge of the various CanPrev products! I have learned so much about the health and wellness industry and am becoming more informed and in tune when someone asks me to relate my experiences. I continue to feel the benefits from supplementing with natural health care products.

Electromag is definitely my number one! I find a positive effect with my sleep patterns. With the added magnesium – it’s great for muscle recovery! I use it during and after workouts for enhanced recovery, hydration and relaxation.

I regularly use a core group of CanPrev products which include: Synergy B, Electromag, Antioxidant Network, Adrenal support, Mind Pro, Omega 3’s, all of which enhance my performance at work and in fitness.

Hideouts in The Six 

I really crave and have a fiery passion for health and fitness. You will find me training at the Academy of Lions in a Crossfit class or cycling with my Garrison Bespoke clients and friends; then resetting in a hot yoga class at Moksha Uptown. I recently discovered bouldering (rock climbing) at Joe Rockhead’s – what a blast! A super fun intense workout with friends.

In addition, I run weekly with the Lululemon run crew on Ossington. To accompany my mindfulness practice, I have also incorporated the Muse headband into my daily life (@choosemuse); I have committed to reading a book every 2 weeks for the next year and I love traveling to new exciting cities – all to stimulate my mind. And to add balance, I enjoy spending time at the family cottage in Haliburton; I am really excited to become a part of BIST, The Brain Injury Society of Toronto, where I will be writing for their blog and mentoring someone recovering from a brain injury.

My transformation and transition is improving and I hope – will continue! I remember to take some time be grateful everyday.


We are thrilled to have Mike be apart of our ambassador team! A truly dedicated soul to finding personal wellbeing, by choosing daily, no matter the obstacles – to live life to the fullest and have a blast doing it! Levine reminds us to listen to that voice in our heads. The one that is telling us to work at becoming our best self, on all levels! He reminds us that there is no time like the present to find positivity and to make doing what you love, a priority.

Find Mike @thescenelevine