Saturday, February 3, 2018

Dealing with the Winter Blues

by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

Winter blues, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), refers to bouts of depression and desire to sleep longer during specific periods of the year. SAD is most common in the winter months and is most prevalent in areas with decreased sunlight.  

Who is prone to Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  • Those individuals who spend more time indoors when it is cold and decrease their outside activities in the winter.
  • Those individuals who decrease their social activities and interaction with others in the winter months.
  • There tends to be an association between low thyroid function and increased risk of SAD.
  • High stress levels during the winter can increase the likelihood of SAD or can make it more extreme.
  • Conditions such as insomnia, depression, mood disorders or pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are associated with increased risk.
  • Getting a cold or flu in the winter can often trigger SAD, especially if it lingers. Some blogs that you may find helpful include:

What Happens in the Mind

  • The shortening of daylight hours in the winter causes a shift in normal circadian rhythms which leads to increased production of melatonin and cortisol.
  • Melatonin is the hormone associated with sleep.  When melatonin increases a person's desire and ability to sleep longer is enhanced.
  • Cortisol is considered the stress hormone. When it rises people tend to feel more edgy. For some people the rise in cortisol results in feelings of sadness, for others it results in feelings of agitation or frustration.
  • Together an increase in melatonin and cortisol can result in a decrease in serotonin which is a mood-elevating neurotransmitter.

Symptoms of SAD

The two main symptoms that are always present include depression and increased desire to sleep. Other symptoms that may also be present include:
  • lethargy
  • daytime fatigue
  • melancholy
  • craving for carbohydrates
  • overeating with increased appetite
  • weight gain
  • loss of sexual interest
  • irritability

Natural Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Staying active and social is an essential part of limiting the risk or severity the SAD has on you. Other strategies or natural treatments include:
  • When at home: Keep your drapes and blinds open. Sit near windows when relaxing or reading. On cloudy days, turn on bright lights - ideally full-spectrum lighting - in the room that you spend the most time.
  • Stay active - Get outside as much as possible, especially in the early morning light. Aim for 1 hour in the sun each day.
  • Dietary recommendations - there are a number of ways that diet can assist including:
    • Decrease alcohol and caffeine - or at a minimum, ensure that you don't increase them in the winter.
    • Eat by season. When it is cold outside, avoid cold, raw and dry food. Winter is a great time for soups, stews and casserole. Leave the smoothies and the salads for the summer.
  • Exercise - Stay active. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week, preferably outside. 
  • Sleep - As much as possible stick to the same sleep regimen that you have in the summer, especially as it relates to the number of hours that you sleep.
  • Vitamin D - Most people do better if they take Vitamin D in the winter months. To learn more about Vitamin D, read our blog titled, High Dose Vitamin D, is it safe and effective?
  • Natural health products (NHPs) - There are a number of NHPs that are used to address SAD including: Melatonin, Tryptophan, Fish Oil, and others. 
  • Herbs - St. John's Wort, Kava-kava and other herbs are often beneficial in the treatment of SAD.
  • Light therapy - There are a number of ways increasing your exposure to natural light. There are light visors that you can wear for 15 - 20 minutes a day, specific light bulbs that you can use in your home, light units that you sit in front of and other instruments.  Light therapy can be very effective on its own or as an adjunct to other therapies.
If you think that you have a case of the "winter blues" and would like advice on how to deal with it naturally, speak to one of our naturopathic doctors by calling the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Sick & Can't Shake It? Prevention & Treatment With Intravenous Therapy

By Dr. Beata Skorka, ND

Are you feeling run down or battling this years pesky flu? Whether you took precautionary measures or not, this years cold and flu season has made an impact on the health of Ontarians.   

Every year Health Canada advises the general public to have their flu shot as a prevention against the years most prevalent strain. Unfortunately, this is not a full proof way to protect oneself, especially with this years vaccine being said to only be about 10% effective.

There are other ways to help your body fight infection, and better yet prevent its onset. Alongside daily lifestyle habits such as: maintaining a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and proteins, drinking 2L of water a day, keeping active and managing your stress levels, intravenous (IV) therapy is a quick and effective way to prevent and treat the cold and flu.

What Is IV Therapy?


Intravenous therapy is a potent way to get antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly to your cells without the interference of any gastrointestinal problems you may have. It’s a way to help replete your body with larger quantities of nutrients then you would be able to take by mouth. This is important for many people, especially those who battle with daily stress on a daily, as they require more nutrients then those not exposed to daily stresses. By providing nutrients directly into the blood stream, we are able to change the bodies ability to prevent and more efficiently fight off infections that are taking place.

Why Is IV Therapy Beneficial For Colds And Flus?


During times of illness, our bodies fight to combat the microbes that are attacking it. How well equipped our bodies are prior to and during will help determine how long the illness lasts and how symptomatic we become. IV therapy becomes an important tool for optimizing our fighting capabilities. Immune boosting antioxidants and minerals such as vitamin C and hydrochloric acid become important in this process. They provide antioxidant support during times of increased oxidative stress such as a cold or flu and increase important white blood cells that work to fight infection. This allows you to quickly and effectively fight an infection. The following are just some of the important nutrients that can be found in an IV bag during treatment:

Antioxidants
  • Glutathione: important antioxidant for the body; anti-viral; protective for the liver and nervous system
  • Vitamin C: anti-viral and anti-bacterial; supports the adrenal glands; deficiency of this nutrient leads to decreased immunity

Minerals

  • Hydrochloric Acid (HCl): causes cytokine release leading to white blood cell stimulation. This  up-regulates the immune system
  • Zinc: required for proper functioning of the immune system, enhances immunity
  • Selenium: required for proper immune function

Vitamins

  • Electrolyte replacements: Calcium & Magnesium
  • Vitamin B5:  indicated for fatigue, stress, low immunity
  • Vitamin B6: indicated for fatigue, low white blood cell count
  • Vitamin B12: indicated for fatigue, herpes zoster, the nervous system

Who Would Benefit From IV Therapy?


  • Cold/Influenza
  • Flu
  • Fatigue
  • Shingles
  • Viral and bacterial infections
  • Headaches
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Chronic conditions such as chronic fatigue, chronic nutrient deficiency, EBV
  • Specific conditions such as Fibromyalgia, Cancer and others.
  • Detoxification support

     What To Expect?


      Expect to have more energy, see a decrease in cold and flu symptoms,  recover quicker, and boost your immune system to help prevent future attacks.  

Fight this years cold and flu quickly and effectively with IV vitamin therapy.

If you have any further questions, email Dr. Beata Skorka, ND at beatacskorka@gmail.com To learn more or book an appointment, please call NFHC at (905) 940-2727.  


In Ontario, Naturopathic doctors must do additional training and examination prior to administering any IVs.  Dr. Beata Skorka, ND provides IV therapy at NFHC.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Realistic and Achievable Personal and Family Health Goals for the New Year.


New Year’s resolutions are always set with good intentions but some are harder to implement and sustain than others. Here are some ideas and tips for setting reasonable, achievable and sustainable health goals for 2018 and beyond.

Reasonable, Achievable, Sustainable Health Goals:
Healthy Weight & Exercise
Clean Eating
Sleep


Healthy Weight & Exercise
Perhaps the two areas where most set unreasonable and hence unattainable goals. The dream and desire to get back to that pre-pregnancy or pre-wedding weight or going to the gym at 5am, 4 days per week is admirable but is it doable or even healthy for you? Begin by taking a close look at your personal and your family’s schedule.
Exercise: Based on your schedule, does exercise fit best on Mon/Wed/Fri or Tues/Thur/Sat? Is morning, mid-day or early evening the best time for you (and your schedule)? Aim for 3 days per week at a realistic time of day, keeping in mind that a 5am or “bootcamp” workout may not be the ideal for those suffering from adrenal fatigue.
Healthy Weight: When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady is key and weight loss goals should be realistic and achievable. One or a few of the following strategies may be realistic and achievable for you: Monday to Friday menu planning, not eating past 8pm, avoiding sugar, fasting overnight for 12hrs, Intermittent Fasting.

Monday to Friday Clean Eating
Another achievable and sustainable health resolution is to eat clean, homemade, whole, “non-stressful” foods during the week. Choosing to avoid gluten grains, sugar (including juice and pop), and highly processed and fried foods Monday through Friday can have a tremendously beneficial impact on weight, energy levels, sleep quality, productivity and mood.
Sleep

Adults who are not sleeping at least 7.5 hrs per night are sleep-deprived. Without adequate, restful sleep, optimal health (and weight) is simply not achievable. In order for our brain, nervous system, immune system and detoxification organs to work optimally, the human body requires 5 consecutive 90 min. sleep cycles. This means that for those who need to get up at 6am, bedtime (lights out) should be no later than 10:30pm. While this minimum of 7.5hrs of sleep is required on a daily basis, it may not be achievable or sustainable for everyone based on work or family schedules. If this is the case, consider practicing an earlier bedtime at least 3 days per week (Sun/Tues/Thur) or every other day.

Talk to your ND about which New Year's health resolutions would be best for you for 2018!


Dr. Nadine Cyr N.D. has been working with children, moms and dads for nearly 20 years, helping them set and achieve realistic health goals for optimal health. She believes in setting her patients up for success by creating individualized treatment plans based on moderation and achievability. 
To book an appointment with Dr. Cyr, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727