Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Toxic Threat Your Hormones Can't Ignore

        By Dr. Pearl Arjomand, ND

            Alarming statistics demonstrate the extent of hormonal imbalance that is prevalent today, unprecedented in previous years.  With 1 in 6 women experiencing fertility issues, 7 out of 10 women experiencing one or multiple fibroids at some point in their life, and 1 out of 9 women being diagnosed with breast cancer, we cannot stand back and pretend like these conditions are of no concern.  Without question diet, genetic predisposition and lifestyle play key roles in determining our risk for these chronic conditions.  However, a growing body of evidence suggests that numerous chemicals in our environment are also altering our hormones and predisposing us to these conditions.

What are endocrine disruptors?

According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, "Endocrine disruptors are naturally occurring compounds or man-made substances that may mimic or interfere with the function of hormones in the body.  Endocrine disruptors may turn on, shut off, or modify signals that hormones carry, which may affect the normal function of tissues and organs."

In 2015 The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, an organization that focuses on collecting scientific studies and research about the effects of environmental chemicals on our endocrine system reported a list of nearly 1000 chemicals that have a negative impact on our hormonal system.  Many of these chemicals are ubiquitous in our environment, and have been termed "Persistent Organic Pollutants" other wise known as "POPs". These POPs are known to accumulate in our environment because of their inability to degrade naturally.  This accumulation occurs in our soil, within the food chain and in our tissues. POPs also have low water solubility and tend to accumulate and store in fatty tissue which makes it difficult for the body to eliminate them easily. Harmful effects of these substances are linked to chronic low grade exposure over time.  Some of the more significant health effects also occur if the exposure is earlier in life, including in utero.  It is well documented in the literature that these compounds not only affect the functioning of the hormones at the receptor level, but also higher levels of hormone functioning at the brain.

So, what are these substances and what exactly are they doing to the body?  Here is a list of the most studied endocrine disruptors, where they are found and their potential impact on the hormonal system:

Dioxin/Dioxin-like Compounds (eg. PCBs)
Common sources: 
  •  By-products of many manufacturing processes, herbicides and pesticides.
  • Commonly found in meat including poultry, fish and dairy products - more than 90% of human exposure is thought to be through food.  
  • Vinyl flooring, adhesives, detergents, lubricating oils, automotive plastics, medical tubing
  • Daily-use products: shower curtains, tablecloths, children's toys, rain coats, plastic wrap
  • Personal care products: shampoo, insect repellents, hair spray, nail polish, cosmetics and fragrance
Potential effects on hormones:
  • Fetal and early life exposure can permanently affect sperm count and sperm qualityb in men during reproductive years.
  • Lowers level of testosterone
  • Shorter menstrual cycles in females
  • Dioxins can increase or decrease estrogen levels depending on amount and timing of exposure
  • Premature sexual development in females, especially early breast development
Pthalates, BPA
Common sources:  
  • Used in plastics - frequently in the food industry for packaging and liners of canned foods
  • Used in thermal paper of receipts and carbonless copy paper
Potential effects on hormones:  
  • Closely mimics the structure and function of estrogen
Common sources:
  • Non-stick cookware, stain repellants and coating for fabrics and carpeting
  • Absorbed  by ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact
Potential effects on hormones:
  • Lowers sperm count
  • Causes low birth weight in newborns
  • Impacts the function of the thyroid gland
(List adopted by NDNR. Fertility and Toxicity: The Powerful Effects of Endocrine Disruptors. Schulz, Alison, ND. Litchy, Andrew, ND. Jan 30, 2015.)

Although research has looked at these single chemicals and their potential influence on our health, no research has been done to the assess the cumulative effect that multiple chemicals have over time. Whether you are struggling with fertility, have been diagnosed with PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis or starting to notice more PMS symptoms, the influence these substances have on our hormonal system need to be addressed.  To ignore the role of endocrine disruptors on our health would lead to inadequate comprehensive treatment of the potential cause of many hormonal imbalances.  

Naturopathic doctors have the ability and knowledge to adequately support the natural detoxification pathways of the body and to assess the toxic burden through various means of assessment.

How we can help

Knowledge is power.  Your naturopathic doctor will work with you to identify sources of exposure in your everyday life and what you can do to reduce your exposure. This may include education about what foods to buy organic, changing your skin care regime, makeup, cleaning supplies and advising about proper water filtration.

Digestive Support
If there are not enough good bacteria in the intestines it may cause toxins to recirculate in the body. Your naturopathic doctor will assess the function of your gut by addressing food sensitivities and possible gut flora imbalances. Providing the body with adequate fiber also helps to bind toxins and help with proper elimination.  Your naturopathic doctor will assess your individual requirements and make appropriate recommendations based on your history and current presentation.

Weight loss
Many endocrine disruptors are stored in fat tissue.  If you are overweight, one area of focus would be to put you on a program to aid with slow weight loss with concurrent support for the liver to help with the breakdown of toxins as they are being released into the system. Since many POPs share common pathways with dietary fat absorption, your naturopathic doctor may prescribe supplements to help with the binding of toxins through the liver pathways such as EGCG.

Liver Support
There are different pathways in which the liver detoxifies.  Different minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants are required for each pathway to take place.  Providing the body with these co-factors are an important aspect of any detoxification program.  Further certain supplements and herbs many also be prescribed to support the liver, and also in some cases stimulate bile production to help with elimination of toxins.

The body has many routes if elimination including our skin, lungs, bowels, urine and mucous membranes.  Adequate elimination is essential and often the primary area where your naturopath may focus on.  If there is a tendency towards constipation or a health history where constipation is prevalent many toxins can be recirculating in your system. Ensuring regular bowel movements in combination with advise about deep breathing, dry skin brushing, hydration and going for regular infra-red sauna's would be part of a comprehensive plan individualized for you.

Endocrine disruptors are part of our modern day reality. Although the knowledge we have about the effect that these chemicals have on our reproductive health is still in its' infancy, there is adequate science to confirm their implicated role in many hormonal diseases and unexplained cases of infertility.  The treatment of any hormonal condition has to include the influence of endocrine disruptors  on our health not only to improve symptoms but to prevent further disease and improve longterm quality of life.

Dr. Arjomand, ND is a Naturopathic Doctor at Naturopathic Foundations that focuses on Women's Health concerns and hormonal balance.  Please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Arjomand. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Healthy Fall and Winter Eating

by Iva Lloyd, ND

Transitioning from summer to fall/winter eating can be challenging for many people. Cold and raw foods are best replaced with soups, stews, casseroles and "winter salads", especially when you live in a region where temperatures drop quite low.

Local seasonal fruits, vegetables and spices are mother nature's way of providing what we need to stay healthy. Foods that are available in the fall assist in strengthening the immune system, sustaining energy levels during the cold weather and preventing that winter weight gain that so many people experience. Local seasonal food is not only healthier for you, but also for the environment. They have more flavor, higher nutrient levels and require less resources spent on transportation and storage.

Value of Eating Warm / Seasonal Food

Those people that tend to have increased dryness, skin rashes, sensitivity to the cold, cold hands and feet, increased frequency of colds and flus, decreased energy levels in the winter and increased fatigue or malaise will often notice the greatest difference by adding more fall and winter foods into their diet.

On a physiological level, the reason for changing your diet based on seasons is that the body needs to warm food up to body temperature in order to aid proper digestion.  When your diet is cold in a cold season, it takes a lot more energy which can result in depleting the energy reserves for other metabolic functions.

Examples of Fall and Winter Foods

Vegetables: there are a number of vegetables ideal for fall/winter eating, including:
  • squash are excellent baked in the oven or made into soups
  • cauliflower and broccoli are great steamed or added to stir-frys
  • carrots and potatoes can be used to make some great winter salads, in soups or stews or by themselves - parsnips are from the carrot family and add a nice earthy flavour to stews
  • rutabega or turnips last great throughout the winter and can be baked or added to stews
  • beets are a deep rich purple colour and are great on their own or as a winter salad
  • sweet potatoes or yams can be used like white potatoes, either boiled or baked
  • pumpkin is often associated with soup or with pies
  • swiss chard and kale are calcium-rich dark leafy greens that are great on their own or added to soups and stir-frys
Fruit : the primary seasonal fruits in Canada are apples, pears and grapes

Herbs: most of the herbs common in the fall and winter have immune enhancing, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties including thyme, oregano, ginger and garlic.  Herbs such as peppermint, cilantro and parsley are more cooling and are best consumed in the summer.

Additional Information on Staying Healthy in the Fall / Winter

Check out the following information to assist you in staying healthy in the fall and winter months:
At Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic we offer a number of services to assist you in staying healthy during the fall & winter months including same-day walk-in appointments, IV Meyers treatment, specialized Ayurvedic massages, as well as a number of natural treatment options for acute infections. If you have any questions, please talk to one of our naturopathic doctors.

Are Environmental Toxins Causing your Joint Pain?

If you are suffering with joint pain, you are not alone - many Canadians are struggling with osteoarthritis, knee pain, rheumatoidarthritis, back pain, sports injuries and more.  However, just because joint pain is common, it doesn’t mean you have to live with it. Pain is your body’s way of indicating that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Getting to the root of your joint pain is the first step towards finding relief. 

What’s causing joint pain?

There are a number of causes of joint pain. There is a natural wear and tear of the joints that happens as you age, but there are also a number of other factors that can affect a person of any age including: postural issues, nutritional factors, chronic dehydration, infections, trauma that has not properly healed, etc. One of the causes of joint pain that is often overlooked is the impact of the ever-increasing toxins in our environment.

Environmental toxins are often associated with chemicals in the outside environment, such as in industrial or polluted areas. However, your home is one of the most common sources of toxin exposure. Whether it is fabric softeners, pesticide-ridden produce or personal care products, you are constantly exposed to toxins. When toxins such as lead, mercury, cadmium, radon, formaldehyde, benzene, parabens, xenoestrogens, and pesticides enter your body at a faster rate than they can be detoxified and eliminated, they can deposit in tissues and initiate inflammation. It can take many years for toxins to accumulate before you start noticing symptoms of chronic joint pain

Some common sources of environmental toxins include:

If you are experiencing on-going symptoms such as joint and muscle pain, stiffness, swelling and fatigue, toxic elements may be contributing factors. For example, heavy metals can deposit into the joints leading to inflammation in the joint space, or heavy metals can replace essential minerals needed for bone and joint strength.  Understanding your constitution (body/mind type) plays a role in understanding weaknesses in the body and why certain parts of the body are affected more than others.

Autoimmune conditions can also be a major cause of joint issues, and identifying food sensitivities triggering an immune response can be very beneficial in reducing joint pain.  However, additional factors in food such as pesticides, heavy metals and other chemicals are often overlooked and can be playing a larger role in joint health than previously thought.

What you can do to relieve joint pain:

You can reduce joint pain by eliminating chemicals in your surroundings, improving detoxification and supporting elimination. Decreasing your level of toxicity under the guidance of a naturopathic doctor in addition to self-care can not only reduce joint pain, but improve overall musculoskeletal health and improve general vitality.
  • Identifying potential sources of toxins
  • Heavy metal or environmental toxin testing can be done through your naturopathic doctor.
  • Relevant blood work to determine the impact of environmental toxins, such as the GGT test.
  • Reducing toxins at home (switching to natural cleaners, detergents, personal care products). For the average person, environmental toxins enter primarily through food and water, and through household products. The harmful impact of household cleaners and skin-care products is largely underestimated. If you are struggling with joint pain, going chemical free at home is crucial to improving your health.
  • Switching to organic, non-GMO meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, especially the ones with consistent high pesticide residues such as: apples, strawberries, celery, peaches, green peppers and spinach can help you experience significant improvement in joint pain.
  • Adequate liquids: as joints are made up of fluid, drinking enough clean water helps keep them lubricated. Joints also need healthy fats such as fish oil which not only help reduce inflammation but keep the joints mobile. Speak to your ND on which oils and how much are best for you. 
  • Exercise suited to your age, fitness and health condition
  • Individualized detoxification program (which may involve diet, supplements, herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy and Ayurvedic therapies).

Many people believe that there is not much they can do about their joint pain and they have to just live it. However, joint pain is not something that you have to live with, at any age. If you have addressed issues such as wear and tear by lifestyle, diet and joint supplements, and you are still struggling with join pain, then you need to look into other contributing factors such as environmental toxins. Speak to your naturopathic doctor if you have joint pain and would like to discuss how to address it naturally.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in musculoskeletal conditions related to aging, metabolic issues and chronic disease. If you are experiencing joint pain, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Athparia. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Power of the Mind - Top Five Things to Remember

by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

The mind is a powerful thing.  It can stimulate healing or block it. It can manifest physical symptoms due to mental thoughts or it can make those symptoms seem much less or even make them disappear. The physical body mirrors what a person is thinking.  The mind and body are one.  In many ways the mind can actually control the body.

Learning to control your mind - your thoughts, anxieties, worries, judgements, etc - can be one of the best ways of improving overall health. Achieving a healthy mind starts with ensuring that your subconscious thoughts equal your conscious thoughts and they match your spoken words.  Many people focus on saying the right thing, on being positive.  It is not so much what you say that determines health, it is what you think and what you believe and whether all aspects of the mind are consistent.

The other common mistake that people make is to draw a connection between being healthy and being happy. Achieving mental and physical health starts with being honest, not about being positive or happy.  If you feel sadness, anger, frustration or disappointment, it is important to find a way to express those emotions safely. It doesn't mean that you have to stay in that emotional state for a long time, but you need to find time when you can truly express how you feel.  Many physical symptoms arise because emotions are suppressed or held-in, not because they are present.

Learning to embrace the power of the mind and to support the mind's ability to support healing starts with the following five steps:

#1: Dissipate Before You Distract

Thoughts and emotions that are held in have the greatest impact on health. I have found that learning to dissipate or release negative or unwanted thoughts and emotions is the most important step to achieving a healthy mind.

When I ask people what they do with their frustration, anger and negativity, many people answer that they read, meditate, do yoga, play on the computer or watch television. All of those activities are forms of distraction. They may serve the purpose in making you feel better in the moment, but they don't assist a person in releasing unwanted thoughts and emotions.

Some people dissipate their thoughts and emotions through exercise, others journal and shred, others yell and scream or just need to talk to someone.  There is no one ideal way.  It is about what works for you.  Here are some ways to dissipate thoughts and emotions:

  • Writing and shredding. You want to "yell" on paper.  Your aim is free-form writing where you say whatever you feel as quickly as possible. The idea is to write uninterrupted for as long as it takes to get things out.  If you are upset or angry and you are not sure why, it is often beneficial to write for at least 2 hours without stopping.  When you are done you shred (or burn safely) what you wrote.  Do not hang on to these writings.  This is not journaling.  Your don't send it to anyone.  It is not for others to read.  This is about putting your true, unedited thoughts on paper and then getting rid of them.
  • Short burst of physical activity. Hitting a tennis ball against a wall, kicking leaves or stones, throwing darts on a dart-board, hitting a bunching bag and other short bursts of activity can be beneficial.  The aim, like writing, is to release what you are feeling,  It is not about getting exhausted. Find something that you can do that allows you to release emotions.
  • Cleansing breath.  A deep exhalation helps to relax the nervous system and releases that feeling of holding your breath (which goes along with "holding your tongue" or not speaking your truth). I find cleansing breaths  are a good way of releasing pent up emotions.  They can be done while you're driving (preferably stopped at a stop sign or red light), outside or anywhere where you feel it is okay to make a loud noise.
  • Talking out loud, to yourself.  The mind doesn't really recognize or care if the person you are upset with is in front on you. It can be very therapeutic to speak your truth without any witnesses.  Keep in mind, it is all about you releasing the pent up emotions that you are carrying.  It is not about another person changing. Try it. You will be surprised how effective it is.
  • Talking to someone.  Having someone to talk to who is a good listener and who allows you to get out your feelings is always beneficial. Some people have a family member or a friend that can do that. If you find that you spin in your emotions and that they are driving you versus the other way around, I encourage you to work with someone who can provide you with specific guidance and who can assist you in recapturing the power of the mind.

#2: Stay "off the Fence"

One of the most stressful things for the mind is "being on the fence", being "in limbo" or "not making a decision".  Being "on the fence" makes the the head spin, keeps the mind incessantly active in a very unproductive way.

The mind is very good at guiding a person about a decision in the present and in evaluating the past. Only the gut can really tell you whether or not something is "right" when it comes to the future. Learning to trust your gut can be very valuable. The analogy that I use for life is like driving on a road. When you're on the right path it is like being on a paved road where the ride is smooth.  Being on the wrong path is like riding on the shoulder. It is bumpy, uncomfortable and you often run into barriers. Some people live a life in the fast lane, others choose a leisurely country road.  Either way, you want to enjoy as much of your life as possible in the center lanes, avoiding the shoulder and the barriers.

What is important is to make a decision, any decision.  Anxiety, panic and worry are often due to or worsened by "being on the fence" - that is, being faced with a challenging situation or decision and spending hours, days or even months running through the various possible options and outcomes without actually making a decision and moving forward.

Not only does "being on the fence" keep the mind unsettled, it also consumes a huge amount of energy. Fatigue, sadness, depression and anxiety will often result if you spend too much time on the fence.

It is difficult for the universe to give you any feedback when you're "on the fence".  But, when you make a decision, you will quickly know if it is the right one for you or the wrong one.  When you make the right decision you will generally find that things flow quite easily and you feel that you are back to the paved road.  Making the wrong decision often feels like everything is a struggle and you find that you run into barriers consistently.

#3: Recognize your Patterns and Triggers

Each person's mind is unique. You are born with specific qualities - called your constitution - and then you go through life with your unique experiences and exposures.  Together this will determine your patterns and your triggers. Everyone reacts to situations differently. The same situation may excite one person and cause fear or anger in another. Controlling your mind or understanding your mind is largely about recognizing your specific patterns and triggers.

Mental patterns and triggers include things such as not feeling supported, not being heard, constantly requiring confirmation or approval, always seeing the glass as half-empty, expecting the worst in everyone, not trusting, etc. When individuals don't recognize their patterns or triggers, they often end up repeating the same behaviour, getting into the same types of relationships, having the same challenges at work or home.

The value of recognizing what triggers you is that it narrows down the work that you have to do. For example, having good self-esteem is beneficial. Only those that lack self-esteem, or that choose to improve their self-esteem need to work on this trait. Similarly for anger or time management. Recognizing your patterns and triggers is like taking stock of your strengths and your weaknesses so you know what to work on.

I often meet people that want to improve their mind and they start by following the agenda in a book they bought. That may work for some people, but it is not the most efficient way. You are best to start with you. Just like you would if you were working on your physical health. The key to physical health is to know where you stand and to address your areas of susceptibility or weakness. It is too time consuming and costly to address every physiological system equally. The mind is no different. Figure out your areas of weakness, or work with a naturopathic doctor, counselor or other professional to more fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of your mind.

If you want to break patterns, you need to train the mind to respond and react differently.

#4: Practice Mindfulness or Mental Stillness

Being able to still the mind is essential for mental health. The mind, like all aspects of the body, needs time to recoup and recover. An active, non-stop mind is exhausting - both mentally and physically. An active mind is dehydrating and consumes nutrients that may be needed for other aspects of health and healing.

Mental stillness allows us to sense the inner wisdom of the mind. It allows us the opportunity to make better decisions and to see the bigger picture for things. Having a calm and content mind is associated with better and longer sleep. Mindfulness exercises and mental stillness have repeatedly been proven to be related to improved mental and physical health across a variety of disorders.

There are a number of authors that write about mindfulness.  One of my favorite authors is Jon Kabat-Zinn. I encourage you to check out his website and books.

#5: Protect Your Mind

You get to determine, for the most, what you are exposed to and what your mind is asked to process. You determine what you watch on television, what you listen to on the radio, what sites you search on the web, what conversations you have with others, the amount of time you are exposed to "noise" and how much time your mind gets to rest. Having a strong healthy mind requires you to protect the mind. To limit its exposure to irrelevant, negative, destructive information.

Psychological resiliency is defined as a person's ability to cope with stress and adversity. It is reflected in a person's ability to resist, adapt and strengthen itself when faced with "stress".  It is determined by and reflected in a person's ability to process events, especially "stressful" events in a timely, healthy fashion. I look at psychological resiliency as a person's constitution plus the impact of protective or positive experiences minus the impact of threatening or negative experiences.

A person's psychological resiliency can be affected by a range of factors including:

  • stressful or traumatic events that are not processed effectively
  • unrelenting thoughts and emotions such as fear, uncertainty, lack of self-esteem, anxiety, worry or helplessness
  • Secrets, feeling "on the fence" or "trapped" by your life, or not feeling supported
  • Exposure (whether real or watched) to violence and aggression
  • Abuse of the senses, especially too much noise and light
  • E-mailing, texting, and constant "unbuffered" communication
  • Environmental factors such as environmental toxins, cell phones and EMF radiation
  • Nutritional factors such as dietary imbalances, deficiencies, dehydration and excess consumption of salt, sugar or food that you react to
  • Sedentary, indoor lifestyles
If you find that your tolerance is low, that you react too quickly, too easily and too aggressively, you may want to look at ways to improve your psychological resiliency.  I will be writing more on that topic soon!

One of the purposes of the mind is to guide you, to warn you when things need to change, to protect you.  A strong healthy mind will do just that.  If there is too much anxiety, worry or mental chatter; or if your psychological resiliency is too low, you can end up with a mind that mentally paralyzes you, that intensifies physical symptoms and that actually creates symptoms.

Check out my website for a number of articles that I have written on the mind:
  • Perception of Time: How Its Assessment Can Create Meaningful Change – NDNR: July 2015
  • Psychological States Associated with Cancer – Vital Link: Summer 2014
  • Psychological Aspects of Pain – NDNR: July 2013
  • Sensors and Filters Aid in Establishing Consciousness – NDNR: June 2013
  • Overcoming Frustration Requires Tolerance – NDNR: June 2011
  • The Root Cause of Disease is Never Another Symptom – Vital Link: Fall 2008
  • Addressing Language Disorders – NDNR: June 2008
  • Is the Body Listening – NDNR: June 2007
  • Logic of Health and Disease – NDNR: June 2006
  • Energetics of Disease – Energy Currents (APTA): Spring 2006

Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND puts a strong focus on the psychological aspects of health as part of her naturopathic assessment. For more information on her approach visit her website. If you would like to learn more about what you can do to address common mental-health conditions checkout this website:

2015 Guide to Health Series

Check out the other topics on our Guide to Health Series. Each month we will he highlighting the top five things you need to know about each topic. The topics covered include:

January - Water
February - Breathing
March - Movement
April - Sleep
September - The Power of the Mind
October - Time Spent Outdoors
November - Addressing Environmental Factors
December - Healthy Relationships

As part of our Guide to Health Series, we will be offering in-house seminars on each topic. If you are unable to attend our seminars, we will be providing video highlights of some of the seminars on our website.

If you have any questions about the power of the mind that you would like us to address, please contact us at 

Let us know if you are joining us on the Guide to Health Series by sending us an email or by hitting the "like" logo on our blog. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Why increasing rates of early puberty and the associated risks can’t be ignored

Dr. Arjomand, ND

Signs of puberty over the past decade have been steadily presenting in earlier ages more than ever before.  Breast development, which is the initial sign of puberty, has been reported in girls as young as 7 years old.  Precocious puberty is defined as puberty before the age of 7 and is associated with increased risk for many chronic diseases later in life, such as depression, hormonal cancers, obesity and diabetes.  These same children also experience issues with hormonal acne during their adolescence as well as heavier and more painful menses. Naturopathic treatments focused on hormonal balance at a young age as well as maternal preconception and prenatal care can significantly improve many of these conditions later in life.

So what's causing earlier puberty?

Environmental toxins

Scientists believe a major contributor is the amount of chemicals and toxins in our environment that are disrupting our very delicate hormonal balance and rhythm.  These chemicals, also known as endocrine disruptors, mimic hormones in our body by binding to their receptor sites  and cause hormonal shifts.  The following are some major endocrine disruptors that have been associated with hormonal imbalances:

  • Pthalates: Found in plastics, pthalates make products more flexible and pliable. They get into our system through food and products that we put on our skin. Decrease your exposure to pthalates by storing your food in glass and buying foods that are not stored in plastic.
  • Parabens: Found in beauty and self-care products, parabens are a common additive and preservative in many cosmetics. Decrease your exposure to parabens by reading ingredient labels on your beauty products and avoid buying products that contain parabens.
  • Bisphenol A (BPA): Found in plastics, adhesives and paints. Decrease your exposure by storing your food in glass, BPA-free containers and stainless steel.
  • Heavy Metals: Exposure to heavy metals comes from your environment. Metals such as lead, cadmium and aluminum can alter thyroid function and sex hormones.


Childhood obesity, now an epidemic, is another significant contributor to precocious puberty. Adipose tissue, also known as fat tissue, functions as a gland in the body.  Estrogen is produced and secreted by fat tissue, so higher levels of fat tissue at a younger age propel the transition into puberty.  Increased birth-weight together with lack of breast milk throughout the first 6 months of life are other factors that contribute to obesity in early childhood.  Lack of physical activity due to more time in front of the computer and technology screens further add to the sedentary lifestyle and obesity epidemic.


A diet high in animal products - primarily those with added hormones, such as meat and dairy - increases testosterone and estrogen in the body.  Further, high fructose corn syrup, grains and processed food and sugar increase insulin levels in the body which propagate weight gain, fat storage and fuels estrogen production through fat.


Younger children are reporting experiencing stress more now than any generation gone by.  Domestic violence, arguing at home,  neighbourhood violence, cyber bullying and pressure to live up to societal standards are common unfortunate stressors.  The hormones released in response to stress can cause fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone and other sex hormones.

Maternal Health

Studies have demonstrated that mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to have girls who report earlier puberty.  Further, maternal exposure to environmental toxins that cause hormonal disruptions can predispose the developing fetus to hormonal problems later in life.

What can be done?

A holistic naturopathic approach looks at these various components that are contributing to hormonal disruptions and strives to support the body to deal appropriately with their influences.  Early detection and prevention strategies are key.  Naturopathic Doctors can identify, through the use of specialized testing, specific environmental toxins such as heavy metals that can be causing stress to the body. These tests are often non-invasive and can be run on children by simple hair and urine samples.

Preconception and Prenatal Support 

Creating a healthy environment in the womb is a foundational step towards a healthy child. Naturopathic support throughout this time helps sure hormonal balance before and during pregnancy.


Specialized dietary recommendations unique to each child are recommended to ensure that nutrition needs are being met but that they are supporting healthy function of the hormonal system. Therapeutic advice may be given to help increase estrogen metabolism in the body through increasing cooked vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, and kale.  Since the gut plays a major role in the elimination of estrogen, regular bowel movements and adequate fibre are important aspects of any hormone balance regimen.  Discussions around how to incorporate the right types of fibre, fats, protein and carbs are the foundation of any treatment plan.  If the goal is to decrease estrogen in the body, plant-based diets may be recommended.

Detoxification support

Due to the toxic reality of the environment in which we live, key nutrients that support the breakdown and elimination of hormones can be extremely useful in young children.  A Naturopathic Doctor can identify which supplement and dose would be appropriate for each child depending on their presentation.

Hormone Regulation

If early puberty has occurred, and symptoms of hormone excess are present, various herbs can be extremely helpful.  Hormone balancing herbs may be used to regulate hormones depending on the presentation of the patient.

Dr. Arjomand is a Naturopathic Doctor at Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic who focuses on hormonal balance.  To book an appointment with her, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727.