Sunday, December 29, 2013

Keeping the Resolution of Health

Becoming healthier is one of the most common New Year's Resolutions. It is important to remember that health is a life-long process, not a project that can be accomplished and  then set aside again for a number of months or years. Health is a way of life and a cumulative reflection of your life.

1st Step - Determine Your Areas of Concern
The first thing you want to do if you are on the path to becoming healthier is to take an honest look at your health -- all aspects of your health. Most people have a tendency to focus on the one or two things that are currently bothering them, but in my experience as a naturopathic doctor, many people end up ignoring the aspects of health that are either "feeding" the other areas or those that pose the greatest health risk.

For most people over the age of 30, or for those with a suspected or known health issue, the first step generally involves getting up-to-date blood work and a physical exam. One of the advantages of naturopathic medicine is that laboratory testing it is not controlled by OHIP or other provincial health-care guidelines and can offer patients a much more thorough blood work-up and physical exam. For example, our access to testing for environmental toxins and chemicals and food reactions is very extensive. There are also a range of laboratory tests that can help clarify the best treatment plans for conditions such as high cholesterol, hypertension or diabetes.

2nd Step - Follow the Logic of Healing
Yes, there is a logic to healing and re-establishing health. A lot of frustration, time and money can be spent with very little results if this logic is not followed.  Generally speaking the guidelines are as follows:
  •  Acute Takes Priority -- Acute illness generally takes priority.  If you are dealing with an acute situation the "healing energy" of the body will be focused on the acute problem.  This is one reason it is important to allow your body the time it requires to heal acute illnesses, like colds and flus.
  • Reverse Order - The last symptom will often heal first.  If you have had eczema for years and recently ended up with a cough, it is most likely that the cough will resolve before the eczema improves.  As deeper symptoms are healing, it is common for them to get a little worse before they resolve.
  • Top-Down - Symptoms that appear above the waist generally resolve before symptoms that are lower in the body.  
  • Inside-Out - The vital organs are located deep within the body. As the body is healing, it will generally heal the deeper organs prior to the joints, skin and other more superficial organs.

3rd Step - Open the Routes of Elimination
Being able to eliminate what the body doesn't require is essential to health.  In traditional systems of medicine, such as Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, opening the routes of elimination is the most important single step to achieving and establishing health.

For example, having proper bowel movements and breathing effectively need to be part of every health-building plan. Many people find that once they are able to eliminate toxins from their body, many other symptoms resolve.

4th Step - Regular Movement
Movement is essential to health. Most people are much too sedentary in their jobs and at home.  Regular movement is required not only for proper functioning of muscles and joints, but movement is an integral part of cardiovascular health, blood sugar control, mood regulation and other aspects of health.

5th Step - Eat For Health
What you eat will strongly impact your ability to heal. Knowing how to choose what food is best for you is the single most important factor that a person has to ensuring health, next to positive thinking.

There is no magical healthy diet. It generally boils down to ensuring that you eat more vegetables, adequate protein, complex carbohydrates, good fats and 1 or 2 pieces of fruit a day. Some additional general guidelines are as follows:
  • Identify and address your personal food allergies and sensitivities.  Identifying the foods that your body reacts to and then avoiding or limiting those foods is a great first dietary step to achieving health.
  • Address your personal weakness and indulgences. Most people are aware of their specific weaknesses and the "bad" habits that they have that affect their health. One of the best ways to achieve your health goals is to be honest with yourself and commit to addressing your "bad" habits and making more healthy choices.
  • Avoid the "feast then famine" phenomenon. The solution to eating too much is not to spend the next couple of weeks or months eating too little.  Keep in mind that January and February are often the coldest months of the year. Dramatically changing the amount that you eat will often increase the chance that you will come down with a cold or flu. Major fluctuations in dietary intake often worsen underlying conditions such as thyroid conditions, diabetes and other metabolic conditions.
  • Get rid of the sugar and the "white processed food". Those chocolates, sugary sweets, morning danishes, muffins or bagels are packed with calories, but offer very little nutrients.  The increase in sugar and empty carbohydrates is one of the main reasons for those added pounds that creep on over time.  If you are serious about getting back on track with your diet, it is time to get rid of the sugar and the calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient foods.  To learn more about the health impact of sugar, click here. 
  • Drink water -- lots of water.  Sweets, alcohol and many other "treats" are dehydrating.  Ensuring that you are drinking sufficient water is a safe and effective way of helping the body re-balance and rid itself of the excesses that it has accumulated.  Click here for tips on how much water is ideal for you. 
  • 4 to 6 cups of vegetables a day.  Increasing your consumption of cooked vegetables, especially those dark green vegetables like swiss chard and kale, is a great way to help the body detox. Vegetables are also the primary source of minerals and nutrients.
  • Cut out the snacking.  Only children and those with low blood sugar need to snack between meals.  Unless advised otherwise by your naturopathic doctor, stick to three meals a day.
6th Step - Adequate Sleep
The body heals while you sleep. Ensuring adequate restful sleep is essential to establishing and retaining health.  There are many reasons why sleep can be a concern.  It is important to identify the reason before engaging in any treatments.

7th Step - Work with Your Naturopathic Doctor
If you are serious about becoming healthier, then book an appointment with your Naturopathic Doctor. They will be able to help you determine what steps are best for you and will help you stay on track.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

High-dose Vitamin D Supplementation: Is it safe and effective?

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

There has been a lot in the media over the last couple of years encouraging people to take high doses of vitamin D. The potential benefits of supplementation include:
Not that long ago the recommended dosage for vitamin D supplementation was 400 IU / day.  Currently it is not unusual for individuals to be dosing at 10 to 20 times that amount. Lately it has been questioned whether or not the benefits of vitamin supplementation are still achieved at high dosages. The concerns include:
There are some conditions, such as Celiac disease, Crohn's, multiple sclerosis and some cancers where dosing high with vitamin D may be advantageous.  The new research indicates that 800 to 1200 IUs / day is generally effective for most people. Ideally, the best way to ensure adequate vitamin D status is to enjoy 5-15 minutes of sunlight exposure 2 to 3 times a week between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.  For the majority of people living in Canada vitamin D supplementation is advisable between October and March when the amount of sunlight is limited.

If you have any questions about the optimal amount of vitamin D supplementation for yourself, talk to your naturopathic doctor.

Reference:
Gaby, Alan 2011 Controveries in Nutrition. Presented at the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors annual Conference.

Prevention and Management of Colds and Flus

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

The change of season from summer-to-winter is a common time for people to come down with a cold or flu. The following steps will decrease your susceptibility and speed your recovery:

  • Stay warm. Getting a chill will decrease your defenses and increase the likelihood of catching a cold or flu. It is best to dress for the coolest temperature of the day and layer your clothing as the temperature changes. If you do come down with a cold or flu try and bring on a fever to help the body naturally fight off the infection.
  • Eat warm food. As the temperatures drop below 10° C it is better to consume primarily warm food and drinks. Warm food is easier to digest and will aid in the body in staying warm.
  • Increase spices. Onions, garlic, ginger, thyme, oregano, sage and other warming spices typically contain anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that will help prevent and fight-off infections.
  • Limit or avoid offending foods. Foods such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol and "white" products, as well as fried and processed food have minimal nutrients and typically suppress the immune system. Viruses and bacteria will feed on sugar, so if you are sick you are best to maintain a clean diet.
  • Avoid dairy. If you are prone to sinus infections or if you have an infection that is accompanied with a lot of mucous avoid dairy, bananas and yeast as they are all mucous forming.
  • Drink adequate water. Your body requires water for all bodily functions and to assist with the elimination of toxins. In the fall and winter it is best to choose warm or room temperature water versus cold.
  • Ensure adequate sleep. Avoid getting run down and exhausted. An exhausted system is more susceptible to colds and flu. Also, keep in mind that the body heals primarily when you sleep.  If you want to fight off an infection plan to get more sleep.
  • Reduce your stress.  Often easier said than done, but chronic stress is one of the main factors for susceptibility to infection. Find outlets for stress such as exercise, meditation, journaling, reading or listening to music.
  • Exercise weekly.  Regular, moderate exercise decreases stress and boost the immune system. If you are dealing with an infection avoid heavy or exhaustive exercise.  If you are exercising outside, stay warm. You are better to sweat because you are dressed warm than you are to have too much skin exposed and get cold. If you are playing / exercising outside and you do sweat, change into dry warm clothes as soon as you finish.
At the first sign of an infection:
Naturopathic First Aid Kit for Colds and Flu
The following supplements are typically beneficial to have handy over the holiday season:
If you do catch a cold or flu, visit our walk-in-clinic and talk to one of our naturopathic doctors.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Key to a Strong Mind

A strong healthy mind is something that everyone seems to desire. For many it is taken for granted until there are signs of decline. Memory loss and cognitive decline is not inevitable. It is not a natural part of aging. Achieving and maintaining a strong mind requires work and constant attention.

Mental health and cognitive function is strongly determined by the strength of the blood-brain barrier (BBB). The BBB is a tight barrier that surrounds the brain and ensures that only the nutrients, water and other elements that are meant to get into the brain, do. When the BBB becomes damaged or weakened, signs of mental decline, decreased sensory and cognitive function start to appear. The factors that impact the integrity of the blood brain barrier include:
Other factors that are associated with decreased integrity of the BBB include:
The key to a strong mind is to:

Address the factors that impact the integrity of the BBB, such as:
  • Ensure that you continue to drink adequate water on a daily basis. Generally speaking you want to drink half your body weight in ounces a day.
  • Your diet is one of the key contributing factors to your ongoing cognitive function. It is also the one that you have the most direct control of. Ensuring that food sensitivities are addressed is a great place to start. It is also important to ensure that your diet is balanced with adequate lean protein, vegetables and healthy fats.
  • Ensure that you take the steps necessary to ensure that your blood sugar and cholesterol concerns are addressed with natural solutions. Simply taking medications, without addressing the underlying causes may actually increase your risk of cognitive decline.
  • Ensure head injuries are adequately addressed. The main threat to the BBB is unresolved head trauma and chronic inflammation. There are a number of natural therapies that can effectively decrease chronic inflammation and that can minimize the impact of sport injuries.
  • Work with your naturopathic doctor to determine if heavy metals are a factor. Heavy metals disrupt the normal functioning of the brain, they decrease the body's ability to absorb nutrients and they cause a more dramatic decline than other lifestyle factors.

Other factors that are essential to a strong mind include:
  1. Use it or lose it. The mind, in many ways, is like a muscle. If you want a strong mind you have to work every aspect of it.  To the mind, memory, speed, problem solving, attention, flexibility (multi-tasking) are all different aspects. Numbers, words and names are all processed in different aspects of the mind. Working the mind on an ongoing basis is key to health. Some options include:
    • Ensure that you continue to read, preferably not on a computer or e-book (too much computer time can actually contribute to weakening the BBB.
    • Work whatever aspect of the mind is a concern.  If you have problems finding words then do word searches and cross word puzzles. If you have problems remembering names then practice by going through old pictures and saying the names of people out loud when you meet them.
    • Check out www.lumosity.com  It is a website geared to working all aspects of the mind.
  2. Decrease anxiety. Chronic anxiety is exhausting. It is also dehydrating. There is a strong link between chronic anxiety and decreased overall cognitive function.
  3. Be positive. A positive mind is associated with increased cognitive function and decreased memory loss. 
  4. Take care of your senses. There is a strong link between hearing, seeing and cognitive function, as well as mental health.
Most importantly, don't wait until you have a problem. Like most health issue, your best chance of being healthy is to prevent disease. It is about being proactive and recognizing that most health issues, especially as you get older are simply an accumulation of your life. It is like a life-long balance sheet that weighs the impact of the positive and negative factors.

If you would like to learn more about what you can specifically do to achieve a strong mind book an appointment with Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND.  To learn more about how the breakdown of filters in the body contributes to disease check out the presentation that Dr. Lloyd, ND gave at Health Fusion in June 2013.

Monday, August 5, 2013

10 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Getting Cancer


By Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND

It is almost impossible these days to meet someone whose life has not been touched by cancer and the big question is always “What can I be doing to prevent it?”  What is known about cancer prevention is still evolving. However, what we do know as an accepted fact is that your chances of developing cancer are affected by the lifestyle choices you make every day.  So if you're concerned about cancer prevention, take comfort in the fact that some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference.

Consider These 10 Cancer Prevention Tips


Making the decision to smoke cigarettes puts you on a collision course with cancer. Smoking has been undeniably linked to various types of cancer — including lung, bladder, cervix and kidney. And chewing tobacco has been linked to cancer of the oral cavity and pancreas.  Exposure to secondhand smoke also increase your risk of lung cancer.

Deciding to stop using cigarettes and tobacco is one of the most important health decisions you can make with respect to cancer prevention. If you need help quitting tobacco, ask your naturopathic doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting.

2. Eat a Healthy Diet

Although making healthy selections at the grocery store and at mealtime can't guarantee cancer prevention, it might help reduce your risk. Consider these guidelines:

  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Make the foundation of your diet fruits, vegetables and other whole foods. A great tip to ensure you are including enough variety is to include 9 different colors of fruits and veggies a day.
  • Include good sources of fats like omega-3's and cook with fats that have a high heating temperature like coconut oil and grape seed oil.
  • Last but most importantly, decrease sugar intake.  When our blood sugar is high your body release insulin and insulin growth factor into the blood.  This mechanism in excess has been shown to increase the chances of inappropriate cell growth. 

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy weight lowers the risk of various types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, prostate, lung, colon and kidney. Fat cells are a great place for our body to store toxins so maintaining a healthy BMI is key in order to keep our toxic body burden to a minimal. “

In 2008, at least 124,000 new cancers in Europe may have been related to excess body weight. There is a 1% increase in relative risk for every kilogram of excess weight.”(15th Congress of the ECCO 15th and the 34th ESMO Medical Congress: Abstract 327).

Physical activity counts, too. In addition to helping you control your weight, physical activity on its own might lower the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.  For substantial health benefits, strive to get at least 6 hours of physical activity per week. You can do a combination of mild, moderate and vigorous activity, just move! As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine — and if you can do more, even better!

5. Get your Sunshine

Vitamin D stores in the body have been shown to be protective against many types of cancer.  The best way to ensure adequate vitamin D status is to simply get a healthy amount of sun.  Just remember, everything in moderation.  

While sunshine is cancer protective, having had one or more blistering sunburns as a child or teenager increases your risk of developing skin cancer as an adult. Sunburns in adulthood also are a risk factor. Even a single severe sunburn increases your risk of developing melanoma which is the deadliest form of skin cancer; frequent severe sunburns doubles your lifetime risk.  To learn more about the link between Vitamin D and cancer read this blog by Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND.

6. Avoid Environmental Toxins

Environmental Toxins are everywhere. In our food and water, personal care products, household products, gardening supplies etc. Although it is not possible to avoid them completely, it is best to avoid those that are most commonly linked with cancer, such as:

7.  Acknowledge and Address Areas of Stress in Your Life

Extreme emotional stress can contribute to the development and progression of cancer. The primary type of stress that is associated with cancer risk includes emotions that are suppressed over a long period of time and prolonged situations where a person feels trapped or "sitting on the fence".

Taking steps to express emotions in a healthy way and to learn how to deal with extreme emotional situations is an important step in prevention many diseases, including cancer.

8. Structure Your Sleeping Cycles

Our bodies have their own internal clocks otherwise known as our circadian rhythm.  This rhythm is established by our sleep and wake cycles, and governs all of our hormone production, thus being very important for the body’s overall functioning.  Ensuring that you provide your body each night with proper sleep hygiene techniques is very important.

9. Know Your Family History

Knowing your family history is very important for your Naturopathic Doctor. Specific prevention strategies are available in order to change a potential cancer-causing gene expression.


10. Get Yearly Physical Exams 

Regular physical exams and blood chemistry screenings for various types of cancers — such as cancer of the skin, colon, prostate, cervix and breast — can increase your chances of discovering cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful.

Naturopathic Prevention Primary Strategies:

 Naturopathic Doctors are specialists at prevention and solving a problem before it starts.  The body gives us many signs and symptoms before cancer is able to manifest, therefore identifying and treating these signs as soon as possible is key for cancer prevention.  Creating a healthy environment inside the body and decreasing personal cancer risk is different for everyone based on many factors but, 10 tips can go a long way to support you throughout the different stages of life.   

Take cancer prevention into your own hands, starting today. The rewards will last a lifetime.

  Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sugar and Salt -- Foods or Poisons? - Part 2: Sodium-Potassium Balance

In a previous blog we discussed the health impact of sugar.  The other "drug" or "poison" that is associated with many chronic diseases is salt. Salt is both essential to health and toxic. What determines its impact is the amount that is consumed and the balance between sodium and potassium in the body.

Facts on Salt:

  • Generally speaking, an adult requires about 1500 to 2000 mg of sodium a day.  Unfortunately the amount in a typical North American diet is between 4000 and 9000 mg. 
  • Roughly 80% of salt comes from processed food; 5% is found naturally in food and only about 10 to 15% is added at the table.  It is the salt from processed food that is the major problem! 
  • When it comes to the impact of salt on health the type of salt has little impact. Sea salt, kitchen salt, commercial cooking salt, Himalayan, Fleur de Sel or kosher salt is all the same.
  • Infants who have been introduced to starchy foods early in life tend to have a greater preference for salty foods and as a result develop a taste for sugar.
Sodium-Potassium Balance
Salt is made up of sodium chloride (NaCl). Sodium (Na) is the primary extracellular electrolyte. The concentration of sodium on the outside of the cell is about 10X greater than inside. The amount of sodium in the body has to balanced with potassium (K). Potassium is the primary intracellular electrolyte. The concentration of potassium inside the cell is about 30X more than it is outside the cell. This delicate balance between sodium and potassium is required to maintain health and to sustain life. It also determines the electrochemical gradient which is critical for nerve impulse transmission, muscle contractions, heart health and for the movement of other essential electrolytes across the cellular membrane.

The main reason for a sodium-potassium imbalance is diet. Other reasons may include vomiting and diarrhea or prescription medications. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about your prescription medications to determine what impact they may be having on your sodium/potassium balance. Medications such as diuretics, corticosteroids, laxatives and many slow-release medications can cause decreased potassium levels.

Symptoms and diseases associated with sodium/potassium imbalance include:
Maintaining a healthy sodium / potassium balance:
  • A diet high in whole foods, primarily fruits and vegetables, is the best way to maintain a healthy balance of sodium to potassium. Trust mother nature. Eating food in its natural state is the easiest way to maintain health.
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce processed food as that is the primary source of sodium (salt). Most restaurant food is very high in salt.
  • If buying any canned, frozen or processed food read the labels and ensure that the sodium level is minimal.
  • Increase your consumption of potassium-rich foods such as: 
    • dark leafy vegetables such as beet greens, spinach, kale
    • vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms and squash
    • legumes such as white beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lentils
    • fish such as salmon, halibut, haddock and sardines
    • fruits such as prune juice, papaya, bananas, avocados, plums and oranges
The most accurate way to measure your Na/K balance is a 24-hour urine collection test. To learn more about this talk to your naturopathic or medical doctor.

To read more details on the impact of high sodium - low potassium on health, check out the research article "Salt in Health and Disease - A Delicate Balance" by TA Kotchen, AW Cowley and ED Frohlich.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sugar and Salt -- Foods or Poisons? - Part 1 (Sugar)


Increasingly research points to the fact that most chronic diseases are correlated with increased sugar and salt consumption. Both of these readily available "foods" are being designated in the research and medical community as drugs or poisons due to their extreme impact on health.

Sugar
There are three main concerns about sugar:

  1. Fructose and fructose-based products, such as corn syrup, is that high levels of fructose do not directly stimulate insulin directly, which is why drinking a large soft drink actually increases appetite, versus making you feel satisfied. Insulin is the hormone in the body that indicates that you are full. If you are consuming high amounts of fructose, your body doesn't realize that it has reached a point of satiety and therefore you keep eating or drinking. Insulin levels eventually increase, but the increase is later, after you have over-eaten. Other forms of sugar spike insulin more quickly and result in feeling full faster. 
  2. What also happens is that high-fructose consumption results in leptin-resistance. Leptin is considered the "starvation hormone". With leptin-resistance the body feels that it is in starvation mode resulting in it storing food versus burning it off.  Leptin-resistance is directly associated with obesity. When individuals are in a state of leptin-resistance, instead of sugar consumption causing hyperactivity or a "sugar-high" as the body attempts to burn off the sugar, the trigger to "burn" off excess insulin is turned off and instead they are constantly hunger and content with being sedentary.
  3. High sugar consumption contributes to dehydration and nutrient deficiencies which are associated with most chronic diseases. In order to prevent chronic diseases sugar and fructose need to be greatly reduced in the diet.


Diseases associated with increased sugar consumption include:
To avoid high-fructose foods and drinks you want to eliminate or greatly reduce the following from your diet: 
  • soft drinks - especially pop - both diet and regular and fruit drinks
  • high-fructose corn starch - which is a common additive in many processed foods such as baked goods, breads, cereals, snack bars, yogurt, soups, condiments, soft drinks and ice cream.
  • limit your fruit to 1 or 2 a day and eat it in its natural state versus as a juice.
For most people a paleo-based diet is best way to achieve and maintain health.  For information on what diet regimen is best for you, work with your naturopathic doctor.

Tests that can help determine if fructose or leptin-resistance is affecting your health include the following: Hb1aC, ALT, Triglycerides, Uric Acid and leptin levels.

To learn more about the impact of sugar and fructose on health, check out the U-Tube Video "Sugar - The Bitter Truth".

Watch for Part 2 next week which will discuss the impact of salt on health.  To learn more about this, please talk to one of our naturopathic doctors. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Heartburn Heartache

By Dr. Iva Lloyd, BScH, BCPP, ND

Heartburn, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is common after the holidays.  The most common symptom of heartburn is burning pain in the upper abdomen or chest that is worse with bending or stooping, lying down or eating. It can also manifest as gas and bloating, belching, nausea or vomiting, bitter taste in the mouth, coughing, difficulty swallowing, hiccups, hoarseness or sore throat.

For some the symptoms of heartburn mimic the symptoms of a heart attack, if you are unsure at all, seek medical care.

There are many factors that contribute to heartburn including:

  • certain foods lower esophageal sphincter tone and can irritate the esophagus including: alcohol, spicy and fatty foods, chocolate, citrus foods and juices, coffee and carbonated drinks.
  • food allergies and food sensitivities can trigger or aggravate the symptoms.
  • eating large meals or eating too close to going to bed increases the chance of heartburn.
  • dehydration and heartburn tend to go hand-in-hand.
  • improper breathing and chest breathing is associated with an increased risk of GERD.
  • for many people heartburn is triggered due to increased levels of stress or specific types of stress.
  • H. pylori infection can cause heartburn.
  • smoking cigarettes reduces lower esophageal sphincter tone, prolongs acid clearance and has been related to increased numbers of reflux events.
  • medications can initiate or exacerbate GERD symptoms: Anticholinergics, Beta-blockers, Bronchodilators, Calcium channel blockers, Dopamine-active drugs, Progestin, Sedatives, Tricyclic antidepressants.
  • Obesity, pregnancy, asthma, ulcers and other conditions are associated with heartburn.


If you suffer from heartburn it is important to first identify the factor(s) that are contributing. If your heartburn is severe or chronic it is important to work with a naturopathic doctor to determine the best therapeutic approach.

General guidelines for acute heartburn include:

  1. Address the dietary factors that are triggering or aggravating the symptoms.
  2. Relax while consuming food: always sit down, eat meals slowly and deliberately, avoid doing other activities simultaneously.
  3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals with low fat content.
  4. Increase dietary fiber intake.
  5. Ensure you drink adequate water, but not while eating.
  6. Engage in regular exercise or movement
  7. Address any postural issues. Standing and sitting up straight provides from more room in the abdomen.
  8. Learn how to breath into the abdomen and back versus into the chest.


Naturopathic medicines are effective in the management and treatment of heartburn. 

  • Liquid calcium magnesium can be used in place of antacids. It coats the esophagus which decreases the acute symptoms of heartburn.
  • Some supplements work by neutralizing the stomach acid with a base such as sodium bicarbonate, others, such as glutamine, work by soothing the mucous membranes and healing the damage caused by the stomach acid.
  • Herbs are effective in healing the lining of the esophagus, addressing inflammation and treating conditions such as h. pylori. Common herbs used in the treatment of heartburn include: Marshmallow root (''Althea officinalis''), Slippery Elm (''Ulmus rubra''), Chamomile (''Matricaria recutita''), Ginger (''Zingiber officinale'')
  • Herbs are also used to manage stress and to decrease the occurrence of heartburn due to stress.
  • Homeopathics can be helpful in the treatment of both acute and chronic heartburn.
  • From a Chinese perspective heartburn is due to stagnation in the body. Acupuncture is effective in clearing stagnation.
For most people heartburn can effectively be treated by addressing the causal factors and using natural therapies. Prescription medication for heartburn may be needed in severe cases, but  one concern of most prescription medications for heartburn is that they often result in a condition referred to as hypochlorhydria (Low Stomach Acid).  Many people associate heartburn with high stomach acid, yet it is commonly caused by low stomach acid, especially as people getting older. Low stomach acid impairs digestion and is associated with a range of other health concerns.

For more information on heartburn and other common conditions check out www.ndhealthfacts.org. To learn more about how naturopathic medicine can assist you talk to one of our naturopathic doctors or contact us to book an appointment.