Sunday, October 29, 2017

Understanding and Supporting the ADD Brain

ADD /ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is defined as a developmental disorder marked by persistent symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity not caused by any serious underlying physical or mental disorder. The core signs and symptoms of ADD include:
  • Short attention span for regular, everyday tasks 
  • Distractibility, forgetfulness 
  • Disorganization 
  • Fidgeting, restlesness 
  • Problems with follow-through 
  • Poor impulse control 
  • Easily bored or frustrated with routine tasks 
ADD is associated with a dysregulation within the brain’s prefrontal cortex- the part of the brain involved in complex behaviours such as working memory, executive functions such as decision-making, planning for the future, judgment, attention span, and inhibition.

Causes of ADD
While the exact cause of ADD is not known, several factors such as genetics, maternal alcohol or drug use, birth trauma, jaundice, brain infections and head trauma are all considered to play a causative role in ADD symptoms. Other contributing factors include daily life influences such as:
  • Limited physical education in school
  • Excessive use of video games
  • Diets filled with processed foods
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
Types of ADD
American psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist, Dr. Daniel Amen, has categorized ADD into 7 Types, each with its own set of characteristic symptoms and neurotransmitter imbalance:

1. Classic 2. Inattentive 3. Over-Focused 4. Temporal 5. Limbic 6. Ring of Fire 7. Anxious

ADD Brain - Gift or Burden?
While many who's lives has been touched in some way by ADD would agree, having or parenting or teaching or living with someone with ADD can be challenging. It can be difficult for the non-ADD brain to understand or relate to the non-linear ways of thinking and behaving of the ADD brain.

The downsides of unsupported ADD are many, including:
  • Academic problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Job failure
  • High risk behaviours
  • Obesity
  • Divorce
A supported and cared for ADD brain, on the other hand, can help one develop into:
  • Explorer
  • Leader
  • Risk taker
  • Creative artist
  • Entrepreneur
  • Inventor
Supporting the ADD Brain - A Holistic Approach
There are many treatment options when it comes to supporting the ADD brain. And as Dr. Amen states, "ADD is not just a single and simple disorder; therefore, treatment is not a one-size-fits-all solution." A holistic and foundational approach is therefore very important.

Nervous System Support Basics:
  • Sleep: 10 hours for school-aged children, 9 hours for teens, 7.5 hours for adults
  • Omega 3: high EPA fish oil
  • Anti-anxiety remedies
Dietary / Gut-Brain Basics:
  • Probiotics
  • Low allergenic and inflammatory foods (avoiding gluten, dairy, sugar)
  • Nutrient-dense foods
  • Protein-rich foods
Lifestyle Basics:
  • Time in Nature
  • Exercise - daily
  • Hydration
Vitamins & Minerals Basics:
  • B Complex
  • Vitamin D
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
Our exploration of the ADD brain continues as we strive to better understand how it functions and how we can best support it. With the right support, those with ADD can develop and flourish into the multi-sensory, multi-dimensional and norm challengers and changers they are here to be.

Dr. Nadine Cyr N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and a mother of a child with ADD. She has a special interest in working with children, adolescents and adults with ADD and those who love and care for them.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Is Your Joint Pain Linked to Your Emotions?

Have you ever taken a moment to tune in to how your joints really feel? If you suffer from arthritis you may not be able to ignore the pain or stiffness in your joints. Most joint diseases develop gradually, with initial signs of discomfort, stiffness, reduced mobility that might come and go with weather changes, activity, stressful events and life changes. 

Conventional medicine generally identifies the structural and functional aspects of joint diseases such as misalignment, cartilage damage, reduced fluid in the joint cavity and inflammation. Common treatments include medications such as anti-inflammatories and pain-killers. However, if you look deeper into the subtler anatomy of joints, you can't dismiss the psychological fabric of mental and emotional factors in joint damage. For many individuals, the amount of pain experienced doesn't always correlate to the amount of deterioration in the joint. It is how you experience the pain and what you make of it - not just what injury is there. 

Joint symptoms can be looked at from another perspective. Joints are the hinges for movement and indicate how you move through space. Your ability to move through your joints can reflect your ability to move through life. Do you feel stuck? Do you move with ease? Tune into your emotions – they may be playing a bigger role in your joint pain

Psychological State is Reflected in the Body

The way you perceive and process experiences in day-to-day life can imprint itself on the body. For example, do you notice that when you are anxious or worried about the future your neck tightens up and your shoulders round forward? Even if you may not realize how worried you are, your body mimics what is going on in your life. As you age these features become more accentuated, and can be interpreted by your naturopathic doctor. 

Why do some people experience pain in their fingers and others in their knees or elsewhere? Where you experience discomfort may be connected to the way you are experiencing your life. Unless there is specific trauma due to an injury, arthritis may manifest in different areas of the body. For example if pain is predominant on the right side of your body, according to TCM, yang may be out of balance. You may be in a stage of life where you are pushing yourself to do many things and not making enough time for receiving things. Or maybe your left sided-joints tend to be weak and give way easily indicating yin deficiency. Your naturopathic doctor can help you understand why specific joints are more affected and can help you connect the dots.

The 5 Elements & Joint Health

According to Ayurveda, the 3 doshas (vata, pitta, kapha) manifest in the joints. They play a role in maintaining healthy joints, but when out of balance, can cause symptoms that can hold you back. For example, someone with a vata imbalance tends to be more fearful and may struggle with joints that are dry, crackly and painful. Someone with a pitta imbalance who tends to be angry and irritable may suffer from joints that are hot, swollen and inflammed. Someone with a kapha imbalance who tends to be sluggish and depressed may struggle with joints that are puffy and stiff. According to Ayurveda, these 3 doshas are made up of the building blocks of the 5 elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth. These 5 elements are dominant in different areas of the body and represent different qualities:

Earth element reflects in the structure, stability and support of joints. Excess earth element may manifest as stiffness or reduced ability to move. Lack of strength in the joint indicates lack of earth element. Emotions related to imbalanced earth element are resentment, lack of safety and support, poor boundaries and depression.

Water element reflects in the fluidity of movement. Excess water may manifest as swollen joints full of fluid. Lack of water element results in joints that are dry or movement that isn't smooth. Emotions related to imbalanced water are attachment, fear of letting go, being guarded, feeling lack of nurturing, and relationships that are not flowing.

Fire element reflects in the strength of the joint and surrounding muscles. It is the impulse behind movement. Excess fire may manifest as redness and heat in the joint, indicative of inflammation, and deficient fire results in cold, weak joints with poor muscle tone. Emotions related to imbalanced fire are anger, irritability, frustration, lack of motivation and drive.

Air element reflects in the movement of the joint and muscles and is related to the nervous system. Excess air may manifest as twitching and crackling joints or pins and needles. Deficient air may cause slow moving joints. Emotions related to imbalanced air element are anxiety, worry, feeling erratic and unsettled with constant flow of thoughts.

Ether reflects as the overall space in the joint cavities and the overall ease of body movement. Emotions related to imbalanced ether are feeling "spaced out" and disconnected where the body does not flow as one unit.

Health is a complex fabric of structural, functional and psychological factors that weave together. How your joints move and feel can be a reflection of how you are experiencing your life. The naturopathic approach combined with Ayurvedic wisdom identifies factors that may be reducing your joint health and aims at identifying what is causing your stiffness, pain or reduced motion. If you have worked on joint health or chronic pain but haven’t found significant improvement, it is time to look at the underlying emotional fabric of your life. When this comes into your awareness and released through therapies, you can find relief from suffering. Speak to your naturopathic doctor to learn more how emotional factors of joint health and chronic disease can be released through naturopathic treatments and lead to a healthy, pain-free life.

Dr. Leena Athparia is a naturopathic doctor & Ayurvedic practitioner at Naturopathic Foundations with a focus in joint health and chronic disease. If you are experiencing joint pain, please call the clinic at 905-940-2727 to book an appointment with Dr. Athparia.  If you are interested in learning more in a free seminar she will be giving on Joint Health on Nov. 14, RSVP at 905-940-2727.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Beating the Cold and Flu Season with IV Vitamin Therapy

It is that time of year again when Canadians say goodbye to summer and hello to the fall season.  While this can be one of the most beautiful times of the year, it also means cold and flu season is upon us.  A healthy, robust immune system is our greatest ally in fighting off what everyone around us seems to be struggling with.

Do you ever wonder why we tend to get sick around this time of year? 

Traditional Chinese Medicine refers to fall as “Change of Season”.  It is thought that a person’s immune system (defensive qi) can be lowered due to the change in temperature.  Also, I would be remiss not to mention that, for most of us, the fall means “GO TIME”!  Summer vacation is over.  Stress levels at work and at home seem to hit high a note and that takes a toll on our immune systems.  We soon start to feel the ill effects of our immune system struggling to keep bacteria and viruses from terrorizing our respiratory systems with hacking coughs and runny noses. 

IV Vitamin Therapy Supports Your Immune System and Your Adrenal Glands

IV Vitamin Therapy can be an invaluable therapy that can work quickly and effectively to boost your immune system by directly giving your body a cocktail of vitamins and minerals that it needs to fight off infections. Your adrenal system can also be a huge benefactor of this treatment.  Sometimes fatigue that we experience can be due to deficiencies in our vitamin mineral status which our adrenals also need to keep us going. 

What is in a IV Vitamin Bag?

The base for an IV Vitamin Bag is referred to as a Myers Cocktail which was developed over 30 years ago by Dr. John Myers, MD. 

This bag typically contains various amounts of the following substances and is put into a base of saline solution which is great for hydration.  Each bag is completely customizable and based on the individual 's needs.

  • Vitamin C - Major antioxidant properties 
  • Zinc - Shown to boost white blood cells and also shown to be antiviral
  • Selenium - Stimulates white blood cells and the Thymus gland
  • B complex - Adrenal support and helps with energy
  • B5 - Adrenal support and helps with energy
  • B6 - Helps to increase mood. Low B6 has been linked to low immune function.
  • B12 - Helps in the health formation of red blood cells and supports the adrenals
  • Magnesium - Muscle relaxant and can be helpful in treatment of pain and stiffness
  • Calcium - Promotes proper electrolyte balance and proper muscle function 
*HCL (Hydrochloric Acid) is added because of it's ability to increase WBC (White Blood Cells) which are the cells in our body that fight off infection

How IV Vitamin Therapy works

IV Vitamin Therapy offers a route of administration that bypasses the digestive system and goes straight into the blood stream allowing for direct absorption by your cells. Higher therapeutic dose of vitamins and minerals can be delivered without causing stomach upset. IV nutrients can correct deficiencies much faster than oral supplementation. 

If you constantly feel like your energy levels have been dragging or you have just not been able to kick a cold that has been lingering for too long, IV Vitamin Therapy can be a fast solution.  Treatments take place in our IV suite and a treatment typically takes about 30-45 minutes.  During this time patients are encourage to use this time to relax and let the body heal. 

You can think of using IV Therapy as prevention from getting sick in the first place.  If you know you are going into a stressful time or have an important event or trip coming up that you just can't be sick for, boosting your immune system and taking care of your adrenal glands is KEY.

If you would like to book an IV Therapy session with Dr. Kimberley Ramberan, ND, please call Naturopathic Foundations Health Clinic at 905.940.2727.  If you would like to learn more about IV Therapy, email or book a free 15 minute meet and greet.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bloating - Why Is It So Rampant?

by Dr. Iva Lloyd, ND

The rate of bloating is on the rise.  When I was first in practice over 15 years ago, very few people complained about bloating, and those that did were often in their late forties or fifties. Nowadays it is one of the most common symptoms and what is even more concerning, is that it is common even in people in their 20's and 30's.

Bloating is a buildup of gas, fluids or food in the digestive system. In order to end up with bloating you need to have two things, a susceptibility to bloating and exposure to something that triggers it.

What Makes You Susceptible?

Some people seem to be a lot more susceptible to bloating than others. The following factors have contributed to the rise in the frequency of bloating:
  • EMF Radiation:  One ubiquitous factor that is often overlooked is the impact of EMF Radiation on health. The concern is that the onslaught of EMF radiation - wireless networks and cell towers - is disrupting health in a number of ways, including weakening the integrity of the mucous membranes and tight junctions in the digestive tract thus contributing to the significant increase in bloating. 
    • Your naturopathic doctor can give you advice on how to mitigate the impact of EMF radiation on your body, including the use of tissue salts and mineral supplementation.
  • Environmental Factors: There are a number of environmental factors that can contribute to bloating including digestive pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, mold), heavy metals and environmental chemicals.
  • Food additives: There are over 14,000 different food additives.  Some that are known to contribute to bloating in some people include: aspartame, MSG, sulfites and starches such as potato starch and tapico starch.
  • Overuse of Antibiotics: The overuse of antibiotics is a global problem that is recognized by most medical practitioners and by the World Health Organization (WHO). One of the side-effects of antibiotics is that they destroy the good bacteria in the digestive system. The use, and especially the overuse or constant use, of antibiotics can - in and of itself - cause chronic or persistent bloating.  If you have a history of frequent antibiotic use, it is generally advisable to stay on an antibiotic and to work with your naturopathic doctor to determine what other steps are required to strengthen your digestive and immune systems.
  • Chronic Stress: Yes, once again, your symptoms can be contributed to stress. Chronic or intense stress disturbs digestion, increases the release of cortisol and weakens the immune system.  The result is an increase frequency of bloating.

Foods That Trigger Bloating

Food can be a common factor that triggers bloating.  If you suffer from bloating, following the FODMAP diet can often help. I recommend the following:
  • Identify your food intolerances and avoid any foods that are moderate to extreme.
  • Dairy and yeast-based foods often make bloating worse, even if you are not intolerant to those foods. Foods high in yeast include wine, beer, bread and baked goods.
  • Foods high in fructose, such as apples, pears and watermelon, and artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol.
  • Legumes or beans such as baked beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and soy beans.
  • Vegetables high in fructans, such as asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, fennel, garlic and onions.
  • Fast foods and processed foods often aggravate bloating.
  • Sodas and bubbly water are best avoided whenever you are bloated. The swallowing of gas makes bloating worse.

Conditions Associated with Bloating

There are a number of digestive conditions and hormonal conditions associated with bloating. If you have chronic bloating, it is important to talk to your naturopathic doctor to determine what the best treatment strategy is for you.

Digestive Conditions:
Hormonal Conditions:
If you have any of the above digestive or hormonal conditions, it is advisable to stay on a good probiotic and follow the recommendation of your Naturopathic Doctor for your specific condition.

When Is Bloating a Concern?

If your bloating symptoms are accompanied by the following symptoms, it is advisable to seek medical care:
  • Significant abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in bowel movements not associated with a change in diet
  • Blood in the stool

Next Steps

Like all annoying symptoms, the key to proper treatment is determining the causal factors and your specific susceptibilities. The reason why many deal with bloating for a long-time is that there are a number of causal factors and once your digestive system becomes susceptible, it can take awhile for it to settle down. If you struggle with bloating, I recommend that you see your naturopathic doctor. Below are some general recommendations:

  • Even if food was not your original trigger for the bloating, it is often necessary to change your diet and to avoid any foods that trigger the bloating.
  • Eat more slowly as swallowing air will increase bloating.
  • A good probiotic is often helpful.
  • Your naturopathic doctor will recommend herbs or supplements that will help to strengthen your digestive tract and decrease your susceptibility to bloating.
  • Taking the appropriate steps to reduce stress is always helpful.
Bottom line, if you have chronic bloating that doesn't respond well to diet modification, talk to you naturopathic doctor for advice that is specific to you.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Is Pre-Conception Health Important?

By Dr. Beata Skorka, ND

Preconception health (PCH) encompasses your health throughout your whole life. It includes dietary, physical, social and emotional behaviours that you have learned and incorporate into your daily life. It is these decisions that play a part in your learned habits and current health status. For some, preconception health is a standard of health they want to achieve months or years prior to becoming pregnant.

However, making changes sooner than later is important for the following reasons:

1.     Epigenetics: The health of both male and female is important, as genes from each parent are utilized in the genetic makeup of their offspring. Studies show that dietary habits of parents play a role in the development of chronic diseases in their offspring. Obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimers disease are just some of the long term consequences that can be promoted during an offsprings life due to the health of their parents. 

2.     Behavioural Changes: Behaviours and behavioural outcomes such as cigarette smoking and high body mass index, are difficult to change. Creating healthy habits early on can benefit the future offspring in two ways. Prior to conception, the quality of sperm and egg can be optimized.  Post conception, macro- and micronutrient availability can be greater to the fetus.

3.      Delayed Confirmation of Pregnancy:  Whether a pregnancy is or is not planned, it isn’t uncommon to be pregnant and not know.  By making changes earlier, the risk of potentially harmful behaviors can be avoided.

4.     Improved fertility: About 1 in 6 couples in Canada are experiencing the challenges of infertility. By making the right behavioural changes in your day to day life, both men and woman are able to increase their likelihood of conception.

The following are general recommendations to optimize your preconception health and increase your likelihood of becoming pregnant. 


What you eat, how much and how often affects your weight, mood, nutritional status, overall health, and your likelihood to conceive. An opportune time to encourage good nutritional habits aimed at preventing future medical problems such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity, is prior to pregnancy.  The focus when it comes to making dietary choices should be on real whole foods. Choosing fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats in order to provide the necessary building blocks for proper functioning. A fetus utilizes nutrients from the mother’s body and the food she consumes to develop and thrive until birth.     


Protein is required for building materials in the body, immune function, and enzymatic activity. Protein recommendations range from 0.8-1.0 g/kg/day depending on one’s activity level. During pregnancy there is a maternal expansion of blood volume, the uterus and breast tissue. This is on top of the protein required for fetal placental development.
A general idea of how much protein is in foods:
-       Medium sized egg: 7g
-       100g of chicken: 25-30g
-       100g of lean ground beef: 25-30g
-       100g (1/2C) chickpeas: 20g
-       10 almonds: 3g


Carbohydrates (CHO) are more than pasta, rice, potatoes and bread. Vegetables are often forgotten as falling under this category. Vegetables come in a wide variety of shapes and colours, each having a different CHO and fiber content to them.  
Some general rules:
-       Eat at least 7 servings of vegetables a day
-       Choose different colours
-       Try to incorporate new vegetables into your meals
-       Fill half your plate with vegetables, ¼ plate with protein and ¼ with more of a starchy carbohydrate

Healthy Fats:

In the diet, healthy fats contribute to that feeling of satiety, make food more palatable, are a concentrated source of energy, carry fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins A, D, E & L) and are a source of essential fatty acids. In the body they function as an energy reserve, are a primary component of cell membranes, pad internal organs, keep us warm and are essential for the production of hormones (including sex hormones).
Some general rules for fat consumption:
-       Recommendation of 20-35% of your daily calories
-       Increase your intake of unsaturated fatty acids: the fats of plants and fish
o   Fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados
o   Essential fatty acids (EFA) are a type of unsaturated fatty acid.
-  Omega 3 is a type of EFA that most people are not getting enough of in their diets
-  Fish & seafood fall into this category.
-  The highest sources of omega-3’s include:
·      Salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout, Atlantic mackerel.
-  Good sources of omega-3 include:
-       Eliminate trans fats from your diet: a type of saturated fatty acid
o   Margarine, processed foods (check label), typically fried fast food, shortening
-       Choose leaner foods to decrease saturated fatty acid intake: typically, animal fats
o   Dairy products, fatty meats, lard


High exposure levels to mercury cause changes in the central nervous system. Make it a habit to exclude these foods from your diet to help prevent some of the following: fatigue, irritability, tremors, headaches and problems with hearing.  In pregnancy, high levels of mercury can negatively effect the developing fetal nervous system. 

Foods high in mercury include the following fish:
-       Swordfish, shark, king mackerel, orange roughy and tile fish
-       To a lesser degree: shrimp and canned tuna

For a complete guide to good seafood

How Can a Naturopathic Doctor Help

Optimizing you and your partners’ health through dietary changes is a great start to preparing for a healthy pregnancy and offspring. Knowing how to best meet the individualized needs of you and your partner for fertility can be challenging.   A naturopathic doctor can help you feel educated and empowered about your body, health and future pregnancy. Through evaluation they are able to assess you and provide an individualized treatment plan based on your health, needs and goals, including guidance with preconception, pregnancy and post natal care. 

To learn more about how to optimize your preconception health and other associated concerns, please contact Naturopathic Foundations at 905-940-2727 or email to book an appointment with Dr. Beata Skorka, ND