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As a woman, are you committed to living a heart-healthy lifestyle? While we might think of older men when we hear “heart problems”, research tells us it’s time for women to look after their hearts, too.
According to the Heart Research Institute, heart disease is the number one cause of death in Canada for women over 55. What’s more, Canadian women are 16% more likely than men to die from the result of a heart attack. One of our current problems when it comes to women’s heart health is that, according to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, 2/3 of heart disease clinical research focuses on men.
So what does that mean for you?
It means that, until more women-centered clinical research is completed, it’s essential that you educate yourself on natural, safe ways to care for your cardiovascular system and live heart-healthy every day. This includes keeping track of your cholesterol levels. Read on for what you need to know, plus our tips and recommendations to get you started.
Women, cholesterol, and heart disease
Heart disease is a women’s issue. Some research estimates that heart attacks are more deadly for women in part because our hearts are affected by the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause. Physiological differences also exist. For instance, women’s hearts and coronary arteries are smaller than men’s, with faster resting heart rate.
While there are many risk factors involved in heart disease in women, like high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and obesity, cholesterol is a factor you need to monitor for heart health – especially once you reach menopause. That’s because, according to the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, high blood cholesterol levels raise the risk for heart disease, and menopausal women are at increased risk of high cholesterol due to the drop in estrogen production that happens at menopause.
Higher estrogen levels are associated with a rise in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which offers protection against heart disease, along with a decline in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, and triglycerides. (Confused about cholesterol types and what they really mean? We’re got you covered below, so read on!). To nurture heart health before, during, and after menopause, you want to keep your cholesterol levels within a healthy range.
Your cholesterol primer
Let’s dig into what cholesterol is, and more importantly, how it might affect women’s health. So what is cholesterol, anyway?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in every cell in the body. It’s both made by the body and absorbed from food. Cholesterol is essential because your body needs it to make important steroid hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and vitamin D. What’s more, the brain needs cholesterol and without enough of it, you might be at increased risk for depression, which is an independent risk factor for heart disease. Cholesterol is also used to make bile acids in the liver. In other words, cholesterol isn’t inherently bad.
But here’s the thing: excess cholesterol in the bloodstream can clog the arteries. These deposits (known as plaques) can result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries – which is a major cause of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which is divided in two major cholesterol types along with triglycerides:
LDL cholesterol: LDL or low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the “bad” cholesterol, which contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries as it undergoes free-radical damage. LDL rises after menopause in many women.
HDL cholesterol: HDL or high-density lipoprotein. It has been called “good” cholesterol because research suggests it helps the body dispose of LDL cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol might be a more important heart disease risk factor for women than for men. What’s more, low HDL in women is one of the first measure of insulin resistance (another risk factor for heart disease).
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are the most common form of fat in the body. High levels of triglycerides could be a greater risk factor for heart disease in women compared with men. High triglycerides might be caused by conditions like hypothyroidism and PCOS and are associated with excess abdominal fat and high blood sugar, because the liver stores excess glucose as triglycerides.
Women-specific tips for healthy cholesterol levels and heart health
A heart-healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward keeping cholesterol levels in check and preventing heart disease in women. Work with an integrative doctor to track your cholesterol levels and make appropriate changes to your diet and lifestyle if your total cholesterol levels are high, if HDL levels are low, or LDL levels are elevated. Diet-wise, choose healthy fats and lower cholesterol intake from foods by opting for plant-based swaps whenever possible. If you’re overweight, do your best to shed the extra pounds.
Try nutritional supplements like Healthy Heart. Talk with other women and let your emotions flow freely – all of these are pathways to a healthy heart.
What Is It?
Selenium is a trace mineral naturally occurring in the soil, in certain foods, and very small amounts can be found in natural water sources.
Selenium’s main role is acting as an antioxidant and has many benefits to the body. Selenium is also a chief component of the molecules which are necessary for your body to be able to create and use thyroid hormones, called ‘selenoproteins’.
The top health benefits of Selenium include:
- regulating the thyroid
- boosting immunity
- reducing asthma symptoms
- supporting fertility for both men & women
- defending against heart disease, cancer, and oxidative stress
- increasing longevity
Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, and minerals like Zinc, Manganese, and Selenium are key in facilitating the phase I and phase II detoxification processes in the liver.
Selenium also plays an important role in prostate health, helping to maintain healthy levels of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) which is the marker for prostate cancer.
More on the Benefits of Selenium
→ ANTIOXIDANT POWER, IMMUNE-BOOSTING & CANCER PREVENTION
Selenium acts as a powerful antioxidant and defends against oxidative stress. There is also a strong correlation between serum levels of Selenium and a reduced risk of several types of cancer.
Studies show that foods high in Selenium may prevent cancer by helping with DNA repair, preventing cancer cells from replicating and by reducing free radicals in the body .
This mineral is such an important factor in supporting the immune system that it’s a key ingredient in our Immuno Multi formula.
→ HEART HEALTH & REDUCED INFLAMMATION
Selenium-rich foods (and the selenoproteins that they help form) can also prevent platelets from aggregating (which improves blood flow), prevent oxidative damage to cells (e.g. prevent the oxidative modification of lipids) thereby reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease .
People with low levels of serum Selenium have been shown to be at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. For these reasons, experts have suggested that Selenium supplements could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or deaths associated with cardiovascular disease.
→ REGULATES THYROID FUNCTION
Selenium is probably most well-known for its role in maintaining thyroid health since it works together closely with Iodine – another important trace mineral.
Concentrations of Selenium are higher in the thyroid gland than anywhere else in the body. It helps to regulate and recycle our Iodine stores and is needed to produce the critical thyroid hormone T3, which regulates metabolism.
‘Selenoproteins’ protect the thyroid gland when we are under stress. They help flush out oxidative and chemical stress, and even social stress – which, as most of us have experienced, can cause many negative reactions in our body.
Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Selenium Deficiency
A selenium deficiency is generally observed in areas where the soil does not contain much of it and the mineral content in soil can differ dramatically depending on location.
Even in food sources, the amount of Selenium is largely dependent on soil conditions that the food grew in. Therefore, even within the same food, levels of selenium can vary widely, and the mineral’s benefits may be more prominent in crops grown in certain locations more so than others.
Health Experts are becoming increasingly concerned as evidence suggests that a decline in blood Selenium levels is occurring in parts of the U.K. and other European Union countries. The worry is with several potential health implications that can result due to a deficiency in this mineral.
Selenium deficiency signs & symptoms include:
- Muscle pain or weakness
- Discolouration of hair or skin
- Whitening of the fingernail beds
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Weakened immune system
- Infertility in men and women
- Cognitive decline
While Selenium deficiency is very rare in Canada and the United States (unlike other nutrient deficiencies that are more common) it is certainly wise to ensure you’re getting enough.
There are some people who do, in fact, have a Selenium deficiency due to a poor diet and conditions like Crohn’s disease that impair absorption of the nutrients your body needs to heal and thrive.
Additionally, many studies tell us that having Selenium levels above the RDI (recommended daily intake) is when it starts to have therapeutic effects, like lowering PSA for example.
Best food sources of Selenium
- Brazil nuts (just 1-2 per day provides you with enough Selenium!)
- Yellowfin tuna
- Grass-fed beef
- Beef liver
- Sunflower seeds
- Chia seeds
While it’s important to try to acquire Selenium through quality food sources, you may not be getting enough (except if you’re eating a Brazil nut a day!) – and supplementation may be a wise choice.
Sources & Referenced Content:
 National Institutes of Health “Selenium: Fact Sheet for Professionals”
 The Lancet Journal 2012 “Selenium and Human Health”
Optimizing nutrition when you’re an athlete (or even if you workout regularly) can make a significant difference in your health and performance on the court, field or at the gym.
Just like exercising your muscles through cardiovascular workouts or strength training is important, so is fueling your body properly through your diet. Unfortunately, when this doesn’t happen it can negatively affect performance, and in some cases, impair immune function.  
Increased Energy and Nutrient Needs
Focusing on some key nutrients can not only increase endurance in the athlete but also improve overall health by bolstering the immune system, improving bone health and minimizing oxidative stress.
Eating adequate amounts of micronutrients and vitamins is vital to muscle building and recovery from the physiological stress of intense activity or playing sports. Nutrient needs are increased when metabolic and biochemical pathways are taxed via exercise which is used to repair lean tissue.
Supplements can help but the idea is to make food your primary source of nutrients because your body utilizes food differently than supplements. 
Food also includes fibre, other vitamins and essential nutrients that work together to create energy and fuel cells. These important components in the diet are more depleted in athletes that don’t consume adequate calories and/or restrict or eliminate food groups.
The 6 Most Essential Nutrients For Athletic People:
Individuals who are athletic are especially susceptible to being low in zinc mainly because they aren’t eating enough rich food sources of this mineral.
Zinc plays a part in immunity, protein utilization, and metabolic efficiency as well as thyroid function, and all of these affect athletic performance in some way.
Foods that are high in zinc include meat and poultry, whole grains, oysters, milk and dairy, legumes and fortified breakfast cereals.
Those that are most at risk for a deficiency are vegetarians who don’t eat enough whole grains or meat. It must be noted that overdoing zinc supplementation can result in a copper deficiency. Be sure to consult your healthcare practitioner to discuss supplementation.
Iron is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, protein, and fat as well as its capacity to carry oxygen. A deficiency may inhibit endurance as well as immune and cognitive functions.
Foods that are high in iron include red meat, fortified cereals eaten along with fruit or vegetables that are high in vitamin C. This vitamin will enhance iron absorption and improve iron status in an individual.
Calcium aids in muscle contraction and nerve impulses, as well as bone growth and increasing bone mass. Poor calcium intake can lead bone-related issues such as stress fractures.
Foods high in calcium include cheese, milk, yogurt, spinach, collard greens, almonds, sardines (with the bones!), fortified cereals and juices.
This vitamin is needed for adequate calcium absorption in the gut, to control serum calcium and phosphorus and to build strong bones. It also contributes to a well functioning nervous and skeletal system.
If a person lives in an area with little sunlight and they spend most of their time indoors, and because there aren’t many foods that contain vitamin D without fortification, they’re at a greater risk of having low Vitamin D – in this case, supplementation may be prudent.
The best sources are fatty fish like salmon, tuna or mackerel, and eggs. Fortified milk offers most of the vitamin D in the average diet with fortified orange juice beverages and certain cereals contributing a small amount. Again, supplementation is a wise choice!
Magnesium aids in more than 300 biochemical processes in the body that include:
- helps produce ATP, essential to the metabolic activities of every cell
- protein synthesis for muscle building
- relaxes muscles and nerves
- calms the mind
- aids in calcium absorption
- regulation of blood pressure & heart rhythm
All of which are concerns to an athlete!
Sources of Magnesium include green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, meat and dairy. Some breakfast cereals are also fortified with Magnesium.
However, as we explained in “Nutrient Deficiencies: Why Nearly Everyone Has Them!”, the composition of what we eat and the quality of our foods has drastically changed over the past hundred years, and this has made it difficult to get enough of many key minerals, especially magnesium.
B vitamins all play a rather large role in energy metabolism and blood health along with building and repair of muscle tissue.
A deficiency can lead to fatigue, muscle soreness and apathy along with poor cognitive function. Meat, fish and poultry, as well as enriched grains, are good sources of B vitamins.
The bottom line on essential nutrients for everyday athletes:
Regular exercise and sports participation increases the turnover and loss of nutrients from the body, so greater calories, vitamins, and minerals are needed to cover these losses through the diet and in some cases supplementation.
Eating a wide enough variety of foods from all the major food groups is what is needed for proper functioning of muscles, a strong immune system, and optimal performance during athletic endeavours.
 Science Direct. Vitamin and Mineral Status: Effects on physical performance, Elsevier Volume 20, Issues 7–8 (July–August 2004)
 Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology. Nutritional Strategies to Minimise Exercise-Induced Immunosuppression in Athletes (2001)
 JAMA Network. Essential Nutrients: Food or supplements? Where should emphasis be? (July 2005)
Thomas Edison once said: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest patients in the maintenance of the human frame, in diet, and in the prevention of disease.”
Connecting with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) as part of your health-care team is a great way to incorporate a more holistic approach.
ND’s can educate, empower and motivate their patients to take personal responsibility for their health by guiding them in how to adopt a healthier lifestyle, diet, and attitude.
Taking charge of one’s health means learning how to prevent disease rather than just popping a pill for any given ailment.
But, the truth is out. As a dedicated Health Practitioner, running a busy clinic or practice can sink your own health – and your sanity by times!
It’s great that you feel called to help so many other people to re-prioritize, get healthier, and practice self-care, and it’s incredibly rewarding work – that’s why you do it!
Take your own advice, take care of yourself
You may genuinely feel that all of your efforts have propelled you ahead in your business, but all of that “busyness” can sometimes come with lots of added stress.
How to not lose sight of your own health needs while building your practice
Think of it this way – if you’re not feeling your best (body & mind), your work will suffer. As a busy Health Practitioner, this means that your business will also eventually suffer. It’s as simple as that. So, let’s try to change our own health-diluting practices with a few simple tips:
Make self-care a top priority
Self-care is not selfish or an indulgence, nor is it even an option anymore in our daily lives. It is paramount to our well-being as well as to our success in a health-focused business.
It’s those activities that negate the impact of both emotional AND physical stressors. Things like fueling our bodies with health-optimizing foods, moving our bodies regularly (breaking a sweat!), restorative sleep, and “decompression-type” practices like yoga, meditation & breathing exercises.
Basically, all the things that you’ve been guiding your patients in!
Be sure to schedule these practices into your own day and show yourself that you are just as worthy (as the patients you dedicate so much of your energy to) of time and space that is all yours.
Stay as active as you can
There’s no doubt that you’ve started to feel the negative effects of sitting at your desk in front of your computer for longer and longer periods of time. Things like eye strain, headaches, low back pain, neck pain, and poor circulation.
Sitting goes hand-in-hand with being sedentary, and this deadly combo is associated with serious health concerns like obesity, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome.
The most serious damage to your body is when it is chronically in the same position with little or no movement for 60-90 minutes or more at a time.
Some practices to offset all of this prolonged sitting:
- Exercise daily – ever heard of Dead Butt Syndrome – or Gluteal Amnesia? It’s a thing! Focus on strengthening the posterior (back side) of your body – back, glutes, hamstrings and stretching the anterior (front side) – chest, pelvis and hip flexors.
- Take frequent and regular breaks – aim for once an hour or several throughout the workday.
- Invest in a stand-up desk – this will help you to become more aware of your posture and engage your core muscles.
- Consistent movement, whether sitting or standing – yep, you have permission to fidget while you work.
Get in the blue-free zone
In our highly digitized world, the amount of “screen time” we accrue is astonishing. In fact, children in North America are exposed to devices (phones, tablets and tv’s) for an average of 7.5 hours daily. WOW!
Adults aren’t that much better off as 91% of us rely on our smartphones for our everyday tasks from staying connected with people to online shopping to watching how-to videos on every subject imaginable.
While our screens are extremely helpful in daily life, they can also have a significant impact on our health. Of course, there are the ones we mentioned already, like eye strain, neck pain, and headaches. But, excessive screen time can alter our body’s natural circadian rhythm. Yikes!
For these reasons, you must cut down on the blue light exposure accrued from all devices.
A few ideas for “device detoxing”:
- Use the screen dimming function or night screen masking apps for your phone & tablet
- Blue light blocking (anti-glare) glasses to wear while using a computer or device
- A blue light blocker coating on your next pair of eyeglasses
- Set a defined limit of no screen work at least ONE hour before bed to allow your eyes and your brain to decompress and “detox” the blue light pollution – 2-3 hours is even better!
More ideas HERE in “The Day & Nighttime Blues” article over on the Orange Naturals blog.
Then, once you’ve finally got yourself into bed, there’s the sleep factor: good quality, restorative sleep is not only vital to functioning and performing effectively in our jobs but to our very survival.
Running a busy health & wellness business can be one of the hardest gigs out there because you’re trying to be the best possible health role model and key support person to so many others while trying to maintain your own health.
It’s imperative that you respect and honour your own health if you’re going to put your best body and mind forward in your practice – and in your business. Just like you would tell your patients – stay positive and be kind to yourself!
The development of allergies is becoming more and more common. The same goes for sensitivities to foods, chemicals and environmental factors.
Our immune system and cellular tissue can become compromised due to inflammatory responses from the mechanisms of each reaction – especially through responses from sensitivities.
Here’s a little more information on the what and why of allergy and sensitivity testing – from an ND’s perspective.
A type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is an immediate release of histamine by IgE antibodies when exposed to an allergen. This type of allergy shows up quickly and sometimes with life-threatening symptoms such as swelling of lips or face, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. The cause of the reaction is usually quite clear such as peanuts and shellfish.
Immune complex disease
A type 3 hypersensitivity is mediated by IgG antibodies. This type of process antibodies bind to antigens and there is a gradual formation of antibody-mediated complexes (immune complexes) that can deposit in tissues and joints. Over time, this can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to an array of varying delayed onset of symptoms, like headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, joint pain, eczema, fatigue and many other health concerns.
type 1 hypersensitivity
Skin prick testing determines type 1 hypersensitivity, usually done through your medical doctor, where a purified allergen is injected just below the skin to produce a controlled reaction. This process usually tests for allergies like pollen, dander, dust mites, pet dander or certain foods.
If there is a known IgE reaction, foods that are causing an anaphylactic reaction must be avoided indefinitely.
type 3 hypersensitivity
Food Sensitivity testing exists to determine type 3 hypersensitivity reactions. It is a blood test done in a lab and usually requisitioned by a naturopathic doctor. This type of test can detect sensitivity for over 200 specific foods as well as yeast overgrowth (Candida albicans). It measures the food-specific IgG antibodies found in the blood.
The test may also reveal high levels of IgG antibodies to food that you never or rarely eat, but the same proteins can exist in multiple foods and this is explained by the test results. ‘Treating the root cause’ is one of the foundational naturopathic principles. From an ND’s perspective, testing is beneficial in knowing what the culprit is that is causing the IgG reaction.
Environmental allergens, however, are not so easily avoided. Developing preventative lifestyle methods such as introducing a high-quality air purifier in the house, cleaning dust & pollen laden surfaces, and closing windows, especially during the night, when pollen release is at its highest, can be helpful.
However, when it comes to foods that are causing a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction, a more preventative approach can be taken. First, removing the offending food(s) for a lengthy period of time is a must. Using substances to heal the gut and support the body’s digestive system while promoting proper elimination is the next step (see list below).
An intensive healing protocol, known as the Four R’s (remove, replace, repair and reinoculate is often used if the intestinal wall has been compromised due to ongoing inflammation from sensitivities).
Depending on the severity of the sensitivity and the tissue damage it may have caused, integration of the original foods that were eliminated may be slowly reintroduced while monitoring symptoms.
Key therapies in practice
L-glutamine is an amino acid that repairs cells when damage has occurred from food sensitivities, like inflammation. This inflammation can create spaces between the cells in the gut which allow for bacteria, food and toxic by-products to enter the bloodstream and cause subsequent ailments.
Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine in high doses and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing white blood cells, improves the linings of mucous membranes to reduce pollen and other airborne allergens. Vitamin C can be easily be taken just before bowel tolerance (at the point it causes diarrhea) to make sure maximum absorption and benefit have occurred.
Probiotics like CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B, help strengthen the immune system by reducing inflammation and keep toxins moving through the system and out through the bowels efficiently.
Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selenium, and CoQ10 and N-Acetyl-cysteine are key at providing phase 1 and phase 2 in the liver with the nutrients it needs to process allergens efficiently so they can be eliminated through the colon.
Omega 3 fatty acids have an amazing anti-inflammatory effect, thus calming down the symptoms associated with allergies but also improving the immune system at the same time.
Detoxification is very important for chronic allergies, such as seasonal, asthma and hives, and is an area I usually begin with when developing a patient’s treatment plan that will properly address their allergies. This approach not only helps with treating the current symptoms but also addresses the root cause of improving the functioning of the elimination organs to reduce overall allergenic potential.
This, in turn, allows food and toxins to be processed properly, reducing toxic buildup from waste particles from inflammatory reactions.
Using supplements to support liver health, such as CanPrev’s Detox Pro, can ensure the liver has the nutrients it requires to neutralize toxins and get them out of the body. Along with eating a healthful anti-inflammatory diet, lots of water and fiber are all essential to enhance these detoxification systems, improve one’s immune response and decrease food sensitivities and allergy symptoms.
Visit Dr. Laura Anderson ND online: http://www.lauraandersonnd.com/
Find a naturopathic doctor by visiting this link: http://www.findanaturopath.com/
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.” 
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. 
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 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). 
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. 
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. 
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 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 , available clinical measures do not suggest widespread Vitamin D deficiency in the Canadian population.  
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
 Statistics Canada: Canadian Community Health Survey, June 2017 – Nutrition: Nutrient intakes from food and nutritional supplements
 Statistics Canada: Health Fact Sheets. Fruit and Vegetable consumption
 Health Canada: Do Canadian Adults Meet Their Nutrient Requirements Through Food Intake Alone?
 Health Canada: Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes
 Health Reports, March 2010: Vitamin D status of Canadians as measured in the 2007 to 2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey
 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Meet other CanPrev ambassadors: