I’m excited to announce I’ve added a new section to this website called “Programs” which highlights some of the conditions I treat often and my approach. While each program has a structure, treatment is customized depending on your unique health concerns and goals.
So far I’ve developed programs for:
I hope to add a few more to this list over the next year or so. Check them out!
Guest post by Jacob Schor, ND, FABNO
The recent publication of Riso et al’s results in the June issue of the European Journal of Nutrition has left me ruminating on the impact geography plays into our choice of “medicinal foods.”
This study measured the impact of blueberries on a series of biomarkers of oxidative stress. It was a textbook perfect randomized placebo controlled trial with crossover. Eighteen middleaged males (mean age 48 years) drank a smoothie made from freeze-dried wild blueberry powder twice a day for 6 weeks. The drink contained 375 mg of blueberry anthocyanins, equal to about a cup of blueberries. While a long list of biomarkers were evaluated in the participants blood, most did not change significantly. There were two significant changes. Drinking wild blueberry smoothies significantly reduced the levels of endogenously oxidized DNA bases (from 12.5 to 9.6 p ≤ 0.01) and the levels of H(2)O(2)-induced DNA damage (from 45.8 to 37.2 p ≤ 0.01). No effect was found after the placebo drink.
This is interesting to some people. It adds additional weight to the evidence that blueberries are exceptionally healthy foods to eat. We knew this already.
What I’m finding interesting is where this research was done. The lead author, Patrizia Riso and colleagues are from the Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, Università degli Studi di Milano, in Milan, Italy. 
Pardon me if I sound politically incorrect, but what are Italians doing studying wild blueberries?
Blueberries are native to North America. Italy has a grand total of only 680 acres of blueberries planted as of 2010.
So what’s going on? It appears that blueberries are suddenly a desirable commodity worldwide. From 2005 to 2010, blueberry the acreage planted in blueberries has increased by 83%. Acreage in North America has increased by 53% and in South America has more than doubled. The western hemisphere, North and South America account for 81% of blueberry acreage. During this period North American acreage has increased by an estimated +53% and South American acreage has more than doubled. As of 2010, North and South America account for 86% of the world’s blueberry acreage producing 491 million and 153 million pounds respectively. The entire Mediterranean and African regions produce a total of only five million pounds. 
Perhaps this explains why Riso et al gave their study participants blueberry powder. Fresh blueberries may have been too hard to find. Certainly it would be hard to find real wild blueberries of the sort one collects in mountain meadows in direct competition with hungry bears.
Wondering about these Italian blueberries prompts me to look at the other randomized clinical trials using blueberries.
There is the Wilms’ study published back in August 2007. In that study, 168 volunteers drank a daily glass of blueberry/apple juice for a month. The researchers found that plasma quercetin, ascorbic acid and trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) were all significantly increased. The researchers also reported a 20% protection (P < 0.01) against ex vivo hydrogen peroxide-provoked oxidative DNA damage.
Where was this research done? Maastricht University, The Netherlands. 
In 2010 there were just 1,180 acres of blueberries growing in the Netherlands.
An October 2010 paper written by Stull et al and published in Nutrition Journal reported that chemicals in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women. In this double-blinded randomized controlled trial, fifteen obese volunteers drank smoothies twice a day, each of which contained 22.5 grams of blueberry “bioactives,” while a control group consumed similar smoothies but without the blueberries. Insulin sensitivity improved more in the blueberry group than in the placebo group. The daily dose of “bioactives” consumed by these study participants contained 668 mg of anthocyanins, and was equivalent to approximately ~2 cups of fresh whole blueberries. These researchers were from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 
The entire state of Louisiana has 466 acres of land planted with commercial blueberries. 
An April 2010 study done by researchers from the University of Cincinnati reported that nine older adults who drank a daily serving of wild blueberry juice had significant improvements in cognitive function including paired associate learning and word list recall. They also tended toward a reduction in depressive symptoms.  Ohio grows even fewer blueberries than Louisiana, only 378 acres. 
A December 2011 published study reported that regular consumption of a blueberry drink improved intestinal flora. After six weeks Bifidobacterium spp. significantly increased.  This study was also conducted by Italians. Remember just 680 acres.
A December 2011 paper was written McAnulty et al from Appalachian State University.
This is the research group that specializes in measuring the oxidative impact of strenuous exercise. We’ve written about them in the past. They did the quercetin and bicycle racing studies. In this study they examined the impact of eating 250 gram of blueberries per day for 6 week and then eating a larger dose, 375 grams, an hour before a long hard run (2.5 hours at 72% maximal oxygen consumption). Twenty-five well-trained athletes took part in the study. Compared to a control group who went through the run, the blueberry group had increased natural killer NK counts. Even a single dose of blueberries eaten just before the run, reduces oxidative stress and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines. 
North Carolina, finally a state that produces blueberries. They produce almost 12% of the US annual blueberry crop and average about 6,000 acres planted in blueberries each year.  Notice that this study used real blueberries.
Given the number and variety of benefits seen in these studies, not to mention the numerous studies done in animals, there seems to be little doubt that blueberries are good for us.
What I find confusing is why the research on blueberries isn’t coming from the state universities in regions known for their blueberries, in particular Maine, Michigan, New Jersey?
This year’s wild blueberry crop in Maine is predicted to be the largest in history. Maine has over 60,000 acres of wild blueberries that are managed for picking. [11,12]
I can’t help but think that scientists fall prey to the same sort of attraction to novelty as the rest of us. Americans now purchase anything that claims to contain Acai berry. Marketers find a willing audience when they sell exotic fruit juices from Hawaii or Thailand, juices that taste horrible but are still consumed for their health benefits. Is it any wonder that the Italians and Dutch are fascinated with blueberries?
- Riso P, Klimis-Zacas D, Del Bo' C, Martini D, Campolo J, Vendrame S, Møller P, Loft S, De Maria R, Porrini M. Effect of a wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) drink intervention on markers of oxidative stress, inflammation and endothelial function in humans with cardiovascular risk factors. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Jun 26.
- Wilms LC, Boots AW, de Boer VC, Maas LM, Pachen DM, Gottschalk RW, et al. Impact of multiple genetic polymorphisms on effects of a 4-week blueberry juice intervention on ex vivo induced lymphocytic DNA damage in human volunteers. Carcinogenesis. 2007 Aug;28(8):1800-6.
- Stull AJ, Cash KC, Johnson WD, Champagne CM, Cefalu WT. Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women. J Nutr. 2010 Oct;140(10):1764-8.
- Krikorian R, Shidler MD, Nash TA, Kalt W, Vinqvist-Tymchuk MR, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA. Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):3996-4000.
- Vendrame S, Guglielmetti S, Riso P, Arioli S, Klimis-Zacas D, Porrini M. Six-week consumption of a wild blueberry powder drink increases bifidobacteria in the human gut. J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Dec 28;59(24):12815-20.
- McAnulty LS, Nieman DC, Dumke CL, Shooter LA, Henson DA, Utter AC, et al. Effect of blueberry ingestion on natural killer cell counts, oxidative stress, and inflammation prior to and after 2.5 h of running. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2011 Dec;36(6):976-84.
- North Carolina, finally a state that produces blueberries. They produce almost 12 % of the US annual blueberry crop.
Guest post originally published by Negin Misaghi, ND
I had a supervisor during my clinical rotation who challenged my recommendations of eating 5 meals a day to a patient. This was and still is such a deeply held belief in medicine that I seriously thought he was either just challenging me for the fun of it and for lack of anything else to pick on or he really didn’t know what he was talking about! I thank him now as that seed he planted in my mind is now taking root as more and more evidence emerges supporting this notion of eating one meal a day (termed intermittent fasting) as opposed to the conventional recommendation of regular eating.
As this is a slightly vague term, followers of this regimen may choose to skip a certain meal in the day, fully fast every other day or every other week, and/or … a myriad variations in eating may be considered “intermittent fasting.”
But isn’t fasting bad for you? And which plan should you follow?
For some of us, the first step might be to try to
experience what hunger feels like again…
Let’s look at the science: Note that there are cases that may prohibit long-term fasting, such as with young children, type I diabetics (on insulin medication), or in cases of clinical myopathy (muscle wasting).
So, how can fasting benefit you?
Scientists acknowledged three major mechanisms by which fasting benefits your body, as it extends lifespan and protects against disease:
- Reduced oxidative stress – Fasting decreases the accumulation of oxidative radicals in the cell, and thereby prevents oxidative damage to cellular proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids associated with aging and disease.
- Increased insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial energy efficiency – Fasting increases insulin sensitivity along with mitochondrial energy efficiency, and thereby retards aging and disease, which are typically associated with loss of insulin sensitivity and declined mitochondrial energy.
- Increased capacity to resist stress, disease and aging – Fasting induces a cellular stress response (similar to that induced by exercise) in which cells up-regulate the expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with stress and resist disease and aging.
Operating around your system’s circadian clock:
All your activities, including your feeding, are controlled by your autonomic nervous system which operates around the circadian clock. During the day, your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) puts your body in an energy spending active mode, whereas during the night your parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) puts your body in an energy replenishing relaxed and sleepy mode.
These two parts of your autonomic nervous system complement each other like yin and yang. Your SNS, which is stimulated by fasting and exercise, keeps you alert and active with an increased capacity to resist stress and hunger throughout the day. And your PSNS, which is stimulated by your nightly feeding, makes you relaxed and sleepy, with a better capacity to digest and replenish nutrients throughout the night. This is how your autonomic nervous system operates under normal conditions.
With the circadian rhythm in mind, through simple deductive reasoning then, it is clear that the best time to eat is at night!
What about breakfast, you say?
The meal commonly believed to be “the most important meal of the day”! But what does breakfast mean exactly? To most, it’s the first foods we stuff ourselves with. Be it a fast food purchased on our way to work or a nice hearty meal of toast, dairy, jams, and cereals. But let’s approach “breakfast” from a historical and scientific perspective.
Breakfast literally is understood to be a breaking of a fast. Now, a fast is generally understood to be a minimum of 12 hours of no food consumption while it typically takes your body between 6-8 hours to fully digest a hearty evening meal (depending on your meal density – content of protein and fat, etc). If, for example you start your evening meal at 7pm and finish eating at 8-9pm, your body will shift into a fasting state by the early morning hours (about 4-5am). Hence, your body will not be in a fasting state for most of the night and breaking your fast at about 7-9 am only gives your body about 3-5 hours of “fasting”.
Scientifically, there is growing evidence that the typical breakfast can be harmful. A study by the Human Nutrition Research France indicated that the typical high energy breakfast caused major adverse effects including a strong inhibition of fat burning throughout the day, increase in serum triglycerides and a decrease in HDL (good cholesterol). The researchers concluded that high-energy breakfast does not appear to be favourable to health; they also indicated that the study’s results do not support the current advice to consume more energy at breakfast. Moreover, reports coming from epidemiological surveys have been indicating that the consumption of a high energy breakfast leads to a significant higher energy consumption for the whole day. Furthermore, a big breakfast has shown to yield only a limited satiety effect which lasts merely 2 hours after breakfast.
Therefore, if we are to break fast in the morning, it is wise to ensure that we are indeed breaking a fast and to do so with nothing more than a light snack and only if we are truly hungry!
So what could one eat while fasting?
This is not meant to be a harsh starvation diet and although most foods negate the effects of fasting, there are foods that can be safely eaten without compromising your fast. These include fast assimilating nutrient-dense foods such as quality vegetable proteins, green vegetables, and berries. It is also just as important to know how much to consume and how often.
Small servings (~100Kcal) of vegetable proteins (nuts, seeds & legumes), green vegetables and berries can be eaten very 3-6 hours depending on your level of physical activity when hungry. According to one advocate of such a diet Ori Hofmekler (the author of The Warrior Diet), one to two servings of whey protein should also be supplemented in the diet during the fast. I’d highly recommend this to those who have a difficulty in incorporating a fast assimilating (non-meat) complete protein throughout the day.
Note, although this diet is beneficial to the majority of us, there are those who may require alterations depending on their current state of health and their nutritional needs due to their occupation, hobby, or stage of life (i.e. athletes with high nutritional needs, pregnancy/breastfeeding, etc.). As always, please consult your health care provider before embarking on this therapeutic health program if you’ve got any health concerns.
1. British Journal of Nutrition 2000 Sep;84(3):337-44
This blog is all about “why.” As in, why (and how) do we become gluten sensitive and why does it matter?
This is part 4 of a 4-part series of blogs on this topic, so check out What is gluten sensitivity?, Gluten sensitivity diagnosis, and How to live gluten-free for more information.
Why are so many people gluten sensitive?
I am often asked: why so many people are gluten sensitive? It seems like just a few years ago this was a relatively rare diagnosis. Also, why might someone who has tolerated gluten his or her entire life suddenly become gluten sensitive? The short answer is that right now we cannot be sure of the exact causes. Really, gluten sensitivity, like most modern health issues, is due to many causes that come together to cause illness. Here are a few of my own thoughts on why more and more people are gluten sensitive:
The most obvious answer is that we are getting better and better at recognizing and diagnosing gluten sensitivity. Awareness has skyrocketed, so more people are getting tested and the tests are getting better. For more on diagnosis, see my blog Gluten sensitivity part 2: diagnosis
Higher gluten content in foods:?
I’ve heard some talk that foods we eat today contain higher gluten content than those same foods would have 10, 20, 30 years ago. Also, I’ve heard that the gluten content of grains in Europe is much lower (possibly due to greater restrictions on genetic modification) than in North America. I’ve not been able to find any real evidence to support this.
Immune system imbalance:
In people with gluten sensitivity, the immune system is no longer tolerating gluten (which is a non-harmful substance) and makes an response that causes damage to tissues. But why? This is really part of a larger problem of immune system dysfunction that may lie at the root of many chronic diseases (allergies, asthma, cancer, autoimmune disease, etc). Our immune systems simple do not develop the same way that they used to. Possible causes?
- Suppression of normal immune responses like fevers prevents the normal learning and development of the immune system. For more on this subject, see my blog Give me fever.
- Changes in management of minor illnesses (including the overuse of antibiotics) also impacts the normal development of the immune system. For more on this subject, see my blog Sick kids.
- Vaccinations at a young age supercede or alter the natural immune response to many common illnesses that we used to get during childhood. The subject of vaccines is large and is beyond the scope of this blog. However, I think is it clear that vaccines do not replicate the experience of actually having the same illness. Research in this area is constantly evolving, so there is still much debate about the long-term effects of vaccines.
- Finally, we simply do not get sick with the same things anymore! Our food and environment are highly sanitary, so we are exposed to many fewer pathogens and in North America, we are also far less likely than in the past to have parasitic infections. Again, this will effect the education of our immune systems.
Digestive problems can be caused by poor diet, stress, toxins in the environment, poor elimination function, medications/drugs, chronic inflammation, food sensitivities, and many more factors. Specifically, intestinal permeability (also known as “leaky gut”) could explain why we begin reacting to gluten and also the reaction to gluten can cause leaky gut, so this is a vicious cycle.
A simplified explanation of “leaky gut”:
- Junctions between cells lining the small intestine become permeable (due to factors listed above)
- This allows undigested food particles to enter bloodstream
- The immune system views these as “foreign” and creates immune response, causing inflammation and further damage
My simple answer to this question is that in the search for the root cause behind digestive issues, gluten sensitivity can be a valuable piece of the puzzle to help patients heal. In the long-term and with a view to disease prevention, gluten sensitivity can help understand other chronic illnesses. Research is still developing in this area, but thus far there is already lots of evidence to link gluten sensitivity with many other serious illnesses.
Diseases associated with gluten sensitivity:
- Autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid autoimmunity, and likely many more)
- Bone disease (Osteoporosis, osteopenia, kyphoscoliosis, fractures)
- Infertility or repeated miscarriages
- Addison’s disease
- Down syndrome
- Intestinal cancer or lymphoma
- Lactose intolerance
- Thyroid disease
- Diabetes type I
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Liver disease
I will be giving a free talk on Gluten Sensitivity on Wednesday, July 25th, 7pm at the Main Street Library (137 Main Street, Toronto). Call the library at 416-393-7700 to RSVP!
What is gluten? What is gluten sensitivity and celiac disease? Unlock the mystery of this common food sensitivity and how it can make a major impact on your health.
Topics will include:
- Celiac disease vs. gluten sensitivity
- Prevalence, signs, and symptoms
See my Events page for more upcoming dates and topics!
Wondering how you can live gluten-free?
This is part 3 of a 4-part series of blogs on this topic, so check out What is gluten sensitivity?, Gluten sensitivity diagnosis, and The whys of gluten sensitivity for more information.
Many people think that living gluten-free is impossible. While it can be difficult during the initial transition and to avoid gluten 100% (because it can be hidden in foods you don’t suspect - see below), for most people living nearly completely gluten-free is totally doable!
I’ve been avoiding gluten most of the time for many years, gradually getting closer and close to 100%. In my own life, I avoid gluten 100% in my own home and I make sure to avoid obvious gluten sources the majority of the time when I eat out. Because I am not celiac, this works for me, and I find this way of life quite easy, actually, as there are many other foods to eat.
In my practice, I have found that most patients that avoid gluten soon feel better, look better, lose weight more easily, and get into the habit of eating a wider variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, and other whole foods rather than bread, pasta, etc.
The most important key to success living gluten-free is NOT to just find substitutes for the gluten you used to eat (ie: replacing bread, pasta, cookies, cake, etc with gluten-free alternatives) but rather to rebalance your diet away from grains in favour of other food groups.
For those with celiac disease, it is very important to follow a strict 100% gluten-free diet for the rest of their lives in order to regain the health of their digestive tract and avoid further damage and associated diseases. There are some celiac disease patients who will react to even the smallest amount of gluten and must therefore use completely separate cooking tools and utensils to prepare food and who cannot even tolerate gluten in the environment (ie: in the air, in personal care products such as toothpaste and shampoo, etc).
However, if you are gluten sensitive (which is still a much more fluid and less defined diagnosis), I believe it may be possible to reduce your sensitivity such that the reaction to gluten is less severe or possibly even eliminated. I recommend strict adherence to a gluten-free diet for at least 1 year while continuing with other naturopathic treatments to see major improvement and continuing almost completely gluten-free for 3-5 years, after which patients may be able to eat gluten again (as long as they are not celiac). However, keep in mind that this depends on the severity of gluten sensitivity and symptoms and it is important to test at the beginning of treatment and do follow-up testing to compare.
In both cases, treatment beyond diet is key to healing the digestive system. This is best accomplished via:
- Avoidance of other food sensitivities that may be a problem (which will differ by patient)
- Supportive nutrition to reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, rebalance gut flora, and support healing of the absorptive surface of the intestines
- Concurrent treatment of any other health concerns
- Whole body detox and improvement of elimination organ functioning
Here are some more detailed lists of gluten grains, places you may find hidden gluten (read labels and ask questions if you are not sure!), and gluten-free grains/starches:
- Durum flour
- Graham flour
- Matzo flour/meal
- Ales, beers, lagers
- Bouillon cubes, soup base
- Breading/coating mix
- Brown rice syrup
- Communion wafers
- Chips/potato chips
- Luncheon meats, hot dogs, salami, sausage
- French fries
- Marinades, sauces
- Rice mixes
- Seasoned tortilla chips
- Self-basting poultry
- Soy sauce (soy sauce is made of wheat, tamari sauce is made of soy!0
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications (check out www.glutenfreedrugs.com)
- Vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements
- Lipstick, lip gloss, balm
- Play Dough
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Oats (if gluten-free, such as Bob’s Red Mill)
- Flours made from nuts, beans, seeds
Wondering if you are sensitive to gluten?
This blog is all about how to most accurately diagnose gluten sensitivity. This is part 2 of a 4-part series of blogs on this topic, so check out What is gluten sensitivity?, How to live gluten-free, and The why of gluten sensitivity for more information.
- Celiac disease is a condition in which eating gluten causes damage to the small intestine which impacts the ability to absorb nutrients from food
- Gluten sensitivity is less specific - it includes medical conditions which are caused by and made worse by exposure to gluten and covers patients who feel better while gluten-free but may not fit the definition of celiac disease
- Borborygmus (fun word for rumbling or gurgling in the abdomen)
- Abdominal pain
- Weight loss
- Abdominal distention/bloating
- Irritability, mood swings (especially children)
- Short stature
- Osteopenia/osteoporosis (especially premature)
- Abnormal liver function
- Nausea, vomiting
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Neurological dysfunction
Diagnosis seems to be constantly changing and evolving, so I’ll share what my current knowledge is on the subject from my own experience being tested and what I use with my patients.
Diagnosis of Celiac Disease:
To unequivocally diagnose celiac disease, a patient must complete 3 steps:
1. Blood tests: must be eating gluten regularly (I recommend at least 1 serving daily for at least 3-4 weeks) before testing
- Serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) must be normal (rule-out IgA deficiency)
- Endomysial antibodies (IgA)
- Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) IgA antibodies
3. Positive results from a gluten-free diet
Diagnosis of Gluten Sensitivity:
Gluten sensitivity is often a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that you have to rule-out celiac disease while still demonstrating a reaction to gluten and improvement in symptoms when the patient avoids gluten.
1. Blood tests: must be eating gluten regularly (I recommend at least 1 serving daily for at least 3-4 weeks) before testing
- Serum immunoglobulin A (IgA) must be normal (rule-out IgA deficiency)
- Deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG are considered more sensitive and specific than gliadin antibodies (1) especially if other tests are normal
- Endomysial antibodies (IgA) and/or tissue transglutaminase (tTG) IgA antibodies may be negative
What do I use in my practice?
I’ve used 3 different tests in my practice so far, but I haven’t settled on just one because they each have advantages and disadvantages.
1. Gamma Dynacare Celiac Profile Panel
This is how I tested myself because it includes the combination of 4 tests that is currently considered to be the most comprehensive: total IgA, transglutaminase IgA, deamidated gliadin IgA, deamidated gliadin IgG.
The advantage is that it is most complete and highly accurate as long as the patient is eating gluten daily for 3-4 weeks before testing. None of these tests cover endomysial antibodies, but this test can be added onto the Gamma Dynacare testing at additional cost. The disadvantage is that this test is more expensive, involves a blood draw rather than finger-prick, and I have to send patients to a Gamma Dynacare lab location for the blood draw, which also involves a collection fee.
This is currently my test of choice because it minimizes the need for future testing, although the test below is also a great option.
2. Rocky Mountain Analytical Celiac Profile
I’ve recently ordered some of these test kits for in-office finger-prick blood collection that then needs to be sent away for results. This kit tests tissue transglutaminase, gliadin IgA, and gliadin IgG.
The advantage is an easier in-office finger-prick collection that covers 3 key tests at a lower price than the Gamma Dynacare testing. For most people this testing is sufficient and at a lower price without having to do a full blood draw at a lab. The disadvantage is that testing gliadin rather than deamidated gliadin is less sensitive and specific and this test does not include total IgA (which is helpful to rule-out IgA deficiency).
This is an in-office test for tissue transglutaminase (tTG) only and can be completed with quick results in-office at a reasonable price.
The advantage is quick diagnosis using only a finger-prick while the patient is still eating gluten. The disadvantage is that tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies may be negative while other antibodies (such as deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP)) are positive, so even with a negative result, further testing is indicated to really rule-out gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
I will be giving a free talk on Gluten Sensitivity on Wednesday, July 18th, 7pm at the Deer Park Library (40 St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto). Call the library at 416-393-7657 to RSVP!
What is gluten? What is gluten sensitivity and celiac disease? Unlock the mystery of this common food sensitivity and how it can make a major impact on your health.
Topics will include:
- Celiac disease vs. gluten sensitivity
- Prevalence, signs, and symptoms
See my Events page for more upcoming dates and topics!
This is the second part of a two-part blog about blood type and the Blood Type Diet. In part one, I covered the basics of blood type and what it has to do with food. Now that you’ve got the foundation, let’s learn a bit about each blood type and how you can use this valuable information to improve your health!
Blood type profiles
A full description of each type is beyond the scope of this blog, but here is a quick summary of each type. For more info, dig into the vast resources listed below, read about Blood Groups and the History of Peoples, and check out Wikipedia for an interesting breakdown of ABO and Rh blood type distribution by nation.
Type O is the oldest blood type. This type dominated during the time of hunters, when meat (protein) was the primary food source for humans. Type O at its best is strong, active, with a feisty immune system and hardy digestive tract. However, Type O does not adapt well to change and when out of balance, suffers from an overactive immune system, inflammatory conditions, and thyroid disorders.
Type O thrives on a paleolithic-type diet of green vegetables and animal protein, while wheat, corn, potatoes, and dairy impair the Type O metabolism and encourage weight gain.
Type A emerged as humans developed agriculture and the lifestyle that came with it. Cultivated grains became a primary food source and humans settled into larger communities, necessitating adaptations in digestion and immunity. Type A enjoys an adaptable and efficient physiology that thrives on routine. However, Type A can be at risk for heart disease, due to chronic stress and difficulty digesting animal protein, and cancer, due to a vulnerable immune system.
Type A thrives on an agrarian-type diet of vegetables, vegetarian proteins, and whole grains. Red meat and dairy products impair digestion and lead to long-term illness.
Type B developed where humans lived a more nomadic existence and is more concentrated in Asia. Type B benefits from a strong immune system, balanced nervous system, and superior adaptability. However, Type B is susceptible to losing this important balance as it is highly sensitive, resulting in autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue.
Type B thrives on a balanced diet integrating some animal proteins, such as eggs, red meat, and dairy, along with lots of green vegetables. Lectins in certain foods, such as chicken, corn, wheat, and tomatoes are problematic to sensitive Type B.
Type AB is the most modern and rarest type, developing from intermingling of Type A and Type B. The strength of Type AB is a tolerant immune system designed for modern conditions. Type AB can draw on strengths from both the systematic Type A side and more creative and balanced Type B side. However, due to the rare combination of both A and B antigens, Type AB faces greater susceptibility to microbial infections and some cancers as well as the challenge of being a physiological anomaly in a Type O and Type A dominated world.
Type AB thrives on a diverse diet including seafood and sea vegetables as well as some dairy and vegetable proteins. Animal proteins, such as red meat and chicken, as well as wheat and corn are red flag foods for the Type AB metabolism.
What is secretor status?
Most people (about 85%) secrete their blood type antigens (markers) into bodily secretions such as saliva and are therefore dubbed “secretors.” The minority of those who do not are called “nonsecretors.” Secretor status is also a genetic marker, also determined by two alleles. Secretor is dominant, nonsecretor is recessive. Live Right For Your Type is the book to find out more about secretor status and its relevance to diet.
Why does secretor status matter?
The short explanation is that secretors have a lot more free blood type antigens because they secrete them in places like the intestinal tract, respiratory tract, and even the uterine cervix. These antigens interact with the environment to influence digestion, immunity, and metabolism. Knowing your secretor status gives you an additional tool to help you understand your unique needs and therefore treat and prevent disease.
There are so many great resources to learn more about the Blood Type Diet! I would suggest you start by exploring the official website, which includes tutorials, message boards, research writing, and a lot more.
Dr. D’Adamo has written many books about blood type and its influence on health. The best place to start is with the classic Eat Right For Your Type and then the more in-depth Live Right For Your Type (my personal favourite). Also check out Eat Right For Your Baby, Cook Right For Your Type, and the Complete Blood Type Encyclopedia. Dr. D’Adamo has also written a series of books on specific conditions, covering Aging, Allergies, Arthritis, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Fatigue, Menopause.
His most recent book, The GenoType Diet, builds on his work with blood types by looking at how our genes and environment interact to influence health.
Finally, for the medical professionals out there, another great resource is the Textbook of Natural Medicine by Joseph Pizzorno and Michael Murray. Chapter 43 is titled “Nontransfusion Significance of ABO and ABO-associated Polymorphisms” and was written by Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo.
There are people around the world who have become experts on Dr. D’Adamo’s work and been certified by the Institute for Human Individuality. You can search for practitioners in your area here. To my knowledge, I am the only IfHI-certified naturopathic doctor in Ontario and one of only a few in Canada. I use the Blood Type Diet, GenoType Diet, and SWAMI GenoType software in my practice. You can find out more about my practice locations and how to make an appointment here.
Supplements and testing
Dr. D’Adamo has formulated a line of products that started out in his own naturopathic clinic and are now available for purchase by the public. He also sells home testing kits for blood type and secretor status. In Canada, you can find them at Right For Your Type Canada.
Anyone who spends any time around me will see me drinking my signature, favourite tea, kukicha!
Kukicha is very low in caffeine and is particularly associated with the macrobiotic diet. It is alkalinizing and is very easy on digestion, which makes it a great choice for people who are sensitive to caffeine or with digestive troubles. Check out this page about home remedies from kukicha.
“One man’s food is another man’s poison.” This saying has never been more true! This is the first part of a two-part blog all about blood type and the Blood Type Diet - stay tuned for part two coming soon!
The Blood Type Diet was the major catalyst for me to become a naturopathic doctor, so I can say that it literally changed my life, both health-wise, but also career-wise. I first became aware of naturopathic medicine after reading Eat Right For Your Type, the best-known book by best-selling author Peter J. D’Adamo, ND. This was a major turning point for my health as the information in this book transformed me from a tired and cranky university student well on my way to being overweight (with chronic disease down the road) to an energetic and vibrant naturopathic doctor.
How it all began...
Have you ever wondered why the Atkins diet works for some people, while vegetarianism works for others? Dr. James D’Adamo noticed that some patients did well on vegetarian and low-fat diets while others did poorly. He began blood-typing his patients and a pattern began to emerge. Then, his son Dr. Peter D’Adamo researched his father’s theory while still a study at naturopathic college. He soon discovered a scientific basis for his father’s observations.
What is blood type?
There are four basic blood types: A, B, AB, and O. Each individual carries two alleles (one from each parent) that together determine blood type. Types A and B are dominant, while type O is recessive. Therefore, type O people carry two identical O alleles, while type A and B people can either carry two identical alleles (either both A or both B) or one dominant allele (A or B) and one recessive allele (O). Type AB people carry two dominant alleles (one of each of A and B), creating the fourth blood type.
There is also another commonly used blood typing system based on Rhesus factor. In this system an individual is either Rhesus positive or negative. Rhesus positive is dominant and Rhesus negative is recessive.
These blood types determine antigens (substances that serve as identifiers and stimulate production of antibodies) on your cells. Blood typing is used in transfusion medicine to determine which blood is safe to give each individual. Blood type O negative, being recessive, is the “universal donor,” meaning this type can be given to anyone without causing an immune reaction (antibody production). Blood type AB positive, being dominant, is the “universal receiver,” meaning this type can be given any type of blood without experiencing an immune reaction.
What does blood type have to do with food?
Blood type goes far beyond your blood to impact disease and nutrition. Your blood type antigens are not just in your blood, they are everywhere in your body, particularly the surfaces that interact with your environment. These include your digestive tract all the way from your mouth to your large intestine as well as your nasal passages and lungs. Because these blood type antigens are everywhere, they influence on how your body interacts with the food you eat via several mechanisms:
- Protective barriers in your body, including lining of your gut
- Bacterial environment, including relevance to choice of probiotics
- Stomach acid production
- Intestinal alkaline phosphatase and processing of fats in your diet
- Secretion of digestive enzymes and other substances
Blood type also influences other processes in your body and how you get sick:
- Stress and response to exercise
- Blood clotting
- Disease risk (cancer, inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid, reproductive disorders, etc)
- Susceptibility to infection by bacteria, viruses, yeast, etc
Why should I eat right for my type?
“Your blood type is the key that unlocks the door to the mysteries of health, disease, longevity, physical vitality, and emotional strength. Your blood type determines your susceptibility to illness, which foods you should eat, and how you should exercise. It is a factor in your energy levels, in the efficiency with which you ‘burn’ calories, in your emotional response to stress, and perhaps even your personality.” (from the introduction to Eat Right For Your Type)
You literally “are what you eat” since all your cells, proteins, hormones, and neurotransmitters are constructed from what you put into your body. Therefore, what you eat is also your most powerful tool for preventing and healing illness. Eating right for your blood type is designed to optimize your digestive and immune health now to alleviate health issues as well as prevent future disease by protecting you against your unique susceptibilities. When you know your blood type, you are empowered to create an environment that is optimal for your type, including diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
A few of the major benefits to the Blood Type Diet:
- Improve immune function, avoiding common infections
- Lose weight by improving metabolism, increasing nutrient intake, and reducing toxic burden on your body
- Prevent chronic disease, such as cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, diabetes, etc
- Slow down the aging process by improving overall health
The majority of people come to the Blood Type Diet hoping to lose weight. While this is indeed a major focus of this system, the greater goal is improved physiological function when an individual eats the foods that are the best fuel for his or her system. The natural result of this improved function is weight loss, but also improvement in other health concerns (such as digestive disturbance, allergies, hormonal imbalance, pain and inflammation, mood regulation) and prevention of chronic illness (such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes).
Do you ever feel confused about the difference between food sensitivity, food allergy and food intolerance? The differences are actually pretty simple to understand and will help you understand how food affects you. First, some basic definitions:
Antibody: A large Y-shaped protein produced by the immune system. Its job is to recognize foreign proteins and neutralize them. It’s what happens when you get a cold, the bacteria or virus is recognized and then neutralized by antibodies.
Enzyme: In simple terms enzymes help breakdown things. Enzymes are very specific for what they break down. Therefore, your body has thousands of different enzymes to break down very specific compounds. Without enzymes the process may not occur at all or at a very reduced rate. In the digestive system, enzymes help break down food into smaller units for absorption.
Both food allergy and food sensitivity are antibody-mediated reactions to food. The antibody recognizes a food protein as harmful and tries to neutralize it. If this is similar then what is different? We have different types of antibodies in our body. Different types of antibodies react differently and cause different symptoms.
Food allergy is mediated by an antibody called IgE. When this type of antibody reacts with a foreign protein it immediately elicits typical reactions ranging from uncomfortable to life threatening. Skin irritation, redness, and swelling are common. Difficulty breathing is more disturbing as it represents tightening of the airway. Other symptoms such as hoarseness of voice, stuffy and runny nose, itchy and red eyes as well as nausea and vomiting can are also seen with food allergies.
With food allergy, as soon as the offending food is ingested, IgE levels rise and react quickly. The allergic symptom threshold is always reached. Avoidance of this offending food is necessary as it can be life threatening. The levels of IgE will also drop relatively quickly and within 5-7 days you typically no longer have symptoms.
Food sensitivity is mediated by an antibody called IgG. IgG antibodies react very differently from IgE. When IgG antibodies react with foreign proteins, they elicit a milder, slower, and non-typical reaction. Symptoms can vary from migraines, to increased behavioural difficulties in children with ADHD, to chronic digestive concerns (constipation, diarrhea, IBS, IBD), decreases in energy, skin issues (acne, eczema), and other vague symptoms. Here’s the problem - unlike food allergies, food sensitivities are very hard to diagnose. This is because their impacts can be seen 24 to 48 hours after the ingestion of the offending food. There are two ways that can help identify food sensitivities: the first is a strategic elimination/hypoallergenic diet, which works as both a diagnostic tool (to identify offending foods) and treatment (avoidance of offending foods as a first step towards long-term healing). The other is an IgG food sensitivity blood test - I offer this testing via either Immunolabs or Rocky Mountain Analytical. This tests how reactive your IgG antibodies are against various foods. The higher the reactivity the higher likelihood a food sensitivity might be present. This test can be a good starting point in assessing potential food sensitivity.
With food sensitivity, the offending food is ingested and the IgG antibody levels rise slowly and linger for up to 3 weeks. This is what makes a food sensitivity so hard to diagnose. You first ingest the offending food sensitivity and you are symptom-free. This is because you are still far from your symptomatic threshold. In a few days you ingest this same food item and again no symptoms. What you don’t know is that your IgG antibody levels have accumulated with those of your last exposure. Third time is a charm, you ingest the food and this time you get symptoms, such as migraine, constipation, weight gain, water retention, skin breakouts, fatigue, etc. Please note in this example I used 3 days but this is for illustrative purposes and is not literal. It can be confusing! Symptoms don’t appear immediately, so it is hard to link exposure to symptoms and you are left guessing at which foods is causing symptoms. Unlike an IgE food allergy were every single exposure is followed by symptoms, IgG food sensitivities depends on frequency and dose of the exposure.
I work with many patients to address food sensitivities. The goal is not to eliminate a food for the rest of your life although avoidance for a period of time is sometimes necessary while we improve the integrity of the gut lining so that you can once again tolerate the offending food. When you figure out which foods you are sensitive to and understand the symptoms, you are empowered to take charge of your health!
Guest post by Christine Matheson, ND
This is an actual question that a senior patient of mine asked me several years ago. We all know Snuffaluffagus as a character on the famous children’s television show Sesame Street. It took me a second to grasp what my patient meant but as I reviewed her file I quickly realized she was referring to the probiotic supplement I had prescribed for her containing the “friendly” bacteria called Acidophilus and Bifidus! We both had a good laugh but I have never forgotten it because upon deeper thought it became a useful way to teach my patients (especially pediatric) about the benefits of these “friendly” bacteria.
Like Snuffaluffagus, who used to be a secret but special friend of Big Bird’s (although in modern Sesame Street series is no longer a secret), the “friendly” bacteria in our bodies could be considered an invisible superfriend that plays an extremely valuable role in keeping us well. Our bodies naturally produce strains of bacteria that are “friendly” because they help us absorb nutrients, inhibit allergies and inflammation and protect us from infections. This “friendly” bacteria coats the internal lining of the mucous membranes of our bodies, particularly the digestive system, and are critical for our digestive and immune systems to function optimally.
Infants form a type of “friendly” bacteria that is different than adults. As a child grows and their digestive system develops this “friendly” bacteria eventually consists of the adult type of “friendly” bacteria. Since a child’s immune and digestive systems take years to develop fully, children’s digestive systems are more fragile and can therefore benefit greatly from natural strategies to improve their levels of “friendly” bacteria. In addition, “friendly” bacteria levels are adversely affected by antibiotics and many other medications as well as poor dietary habits.
Though it is usually unnecessary to consider prescribing many natural supplements for young children, the one exception that many naturopathic doctors advise parents to consider is a probiotic supplement because it is a source of “friendly” bacteria. Since our bodies produce a variety of strains of “friendly” bacteria each in specific areas of the mucosal lining, higher quality probiotic supplements usually provide a variety of strains for greater benefit. For instance, acidophilus largely populates the upper digestive system while Bifidus populates the lower digestive tract.
A naturopathic doctor can advise you on age-specific formulas and accurate dosage based on your child’s needs, in addition to helping you navigate the range of brands available. For example, some probiotics contain dairy but dairy-free sources are also widely available. It is particularly important to consider rebalancing “friendly” bacteria levels with a probiotic supplement post antibiotic use. The good news for parents is most probiotic supplements taste pretty yummy therefore most kids are happy to take it and powder forms are easy to mix into foods.
While kids can certainly benefit from taking probiotic supplements, there is no doubt that most adults can benefit too. Every parent of young children certainly needs that extra layer of protection to give their immune systems support while they are exposed to the many coughs, colds and stomach flus their children come home with from school. It is also important to note that a range of medications beyond antibiotics, including for instance oral contraceptives, can disrupt the fine balance of “friendly” bacteria.
So the secret may now be out that Snuffaluffagus is Big Bird’s friend but there is certainly no secret that befriending probiotics in combination with a healthy diet could be an essential strategy to keep your family well!
What do osteoporosis, anemia, hypothyroidism, irritability, diarrhea, and constipation have in common? They are all signs and symptoms of gluten sensitivity. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal called “Clues to Gluten Sensitivity” has helped me get in gear to cover this enormous topic.
This is part 1 of a 4-part series of blogs on this topic, so check out Gluten sensitivity diagnosis, How to live gluten-free, and The why of gluten sensitivity for more information.
What is gluten sensitivity?
As mentioned in the article linked above, it is important to understand the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. “Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.(1)” “Gluten sensitivity (GS) encompasses a collection of medical conditions in which gluten has an adverse effect.(2)” These medical conditions can be related to damage to the small intestine or may present in other ways.
Which foods contain gluten?
- Wheat (all forms, including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, couscous, bulgar, etc)
Oats should technically be safe to eat on a gluten-free diet but most commercial oats are contaminated with gluten as they are farmed, transported, and packaged. You can buy gluten-free oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats. A small number of gluten sensitive people may also be sensitive to oats, so it is important to assess this for each patient individually.
This information is specific to celiac disease (see definition above), but still gives a good idea of the prevalence and importance of diagnosis.
Prevalence of celiac disease (3):
- In average healthy people: 1 in 133
- In people with related symptoms: 1 in 56
- In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac: 1 in 22
- In people with second-degree relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin) who are celiac: 1 in 39
- 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study were asymptomatic (without any symptoms).
Those diagnosed with celiac disease between 2-4 years of age had a 10.5% chance of developing an autoimmune disorder. Additional findings show that the later one is diagnosed, the more likely her or she is to develop and autoimmune condition (5):
Age at diagnosis and chance of developing an autoimmune condition:
4-12 yrs: 16.7%
12-20 yrs: 27%
Over 20 yrs: 34%
As is now becoming clear, patients may have “silent” or atypical form that presents with no gastrointestinal symptoms. (6)
Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of celiac disease (1):
- Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, or indigestion
- Decreased appetite (may also be increased or unchanged)
- Diarrhea, either constant or off and on
- Lactose intolerance (common when the person is diagnosed, usually goes away after treatment)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stools that float, are foul smelling, bloody, or “fatty”
- Unexplained weight loss (although people can be overweight or of normal weight)
Signs and symptoms of “silent” celiac disease (8):
- Short stature
- Neurologic symptoms
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
- Reduced bone density (osteopenia/osteoporosis)
- Apthous stomatitis, dental enamel defects
- Infertility, recurrent miscarriage
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Esophageal reflux
- Neurologic symptoms
- Autoimmune diseases
- Fasano A, Berti I, Gerarduzzi T, Not T, Colletti RB, Drago S, Elitsur Y, Green PH, Guandalini S, Hill ID, Pietzak M, Ventura A, Thorpe M, Kryszak D, Fornaroli F, Wasserman SS, Murray JA, Horvath K. Prevalence of celiac disease in at-risk and not-at-risk groups in the United States: a large multicenter study. Arch Intern Med. 2003 Feb 10;163(3):286-92.
- Green PHR, Stavropoulos SN, Panagi SG, Goldstein SL, Mcmahon DJ, Absan H, Neugut AI. Characteristics of adult celiac disease in the USA: results of a national survey. Am J Gastroenterol. 2001 Jan;96(1):126-31.
- Ventura A, Magazzù G, Greco L. Duration of exposure to gluten and risk for autoimmune disorders in patients with celiac disease. SIGEP Study Group for Autoimmune Disorders in Celiac Disease. Gastroenterology. 1999 Aug;117(2):297-303.
- Sanders DS, Hurlstone DP, McAlindon ME, Hadjivassiliou M, Cross SS, Wild G, Atkins CJ. Antibody negative coeliac disease presenting in elderly people--an easily missed diagnosis. BMJ. 2005 Apr 2;330(7494):775-6.
- Feighery C. Fortnightly review: coeliac disease. BMJ. 1999 Jul 24;319(7204):236-9.
- Green PH, Alaedini A, Sander HW, Brannagan TH 3rd, Latov N, Chin RL. Mechanisms underlying celiac disease and its neurologic manifestations. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2005 Apr;62(7-8):791-9.
Guest post originally published by Chris Habib, ND
The first line therapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is diet modification. Most IBS patients have specific food triggers and their symptoms can improve significantly by identifying and removing the offending foods from their diet. A hypo-allergenic diet is recommended with gradual re-introduction of foods to identify any specific triggers.
Probiotic supplementation has been shown to be helpful in IBS. Intestinal bacterial overgrowth and an alteration in normal intestinal flora may be one contributing cause or mediator of IBS. Lactobacillus and bifidobacteria are two species that have been identified as being particularly helpful to combat this. Aside from renormalizing the flora, probiotics have also been shown to significantly improve global IBS symptoms and decrease abdominal pain. Peppermint oil has also been shown to be effective in treating IBS symptoms. Peppermint oil relaxes the tone of the gastrointestinal tract and thus may help address dysfunction in smooth muscle contraction, which may be particularly helpful in regulating bowel function. Finally, several studies have shown a link between IBS and an impairment of serotonin receptors. 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor whose supplementation increases serotonin in the body may be helpful in managing this impairment. A combination of these recommendations generally results in safe and effective management of IBS.
In October (breast cancer month) JD Kato and I did a presentation at a local library about breast health and cancer prevention. Here is a summary of some of the more interesting information we shared. Naturopathic medicine has an important role to play in cancer prevention and treatment. One of the most often used naturopathic treatments is dietary change because diet is the most powerful factor in health. You literally are what you eat! So here is an overview of WHY diet is so important to cancer and some examples of dietary choices that will help treat and prevent cancer.
Your immune system is your best defence against cancer. Every day, all day, your body is making potentially cancerous cells and it is your immune system that stands between this potential and uncontrollable cancer growth. A healthy diet provides nutrients that support immune function, while poor dietary choices impair immune function.
Antioxidant-rich foods support the immune system in killing abnormal cells, preventing and treating cancer. Sugar, on the other hand, impairs the activity of your white blood cells, which target and kill cancer cells and coordinate the functioning of your overall immune response.
As discussed in part 1, chronic inflammation in the body leads to increased cell division, which increases the likelihood of the creation of cancer cells and accelerates cancer growth. Chronic inflammation also increases the body’s production of cortisol, which is an immune suppressing hormone.
What type of fat you consume is often more important than the amount because the fats in your diet directly impact many bodily functions. The compounds EPA and DHA derived from or found in omega 3 fatty acids, particularly fish oil, are powerful anti-inflammatory agents in the body. But saturated fats increase inflammation and trans fats alter cell membranes to encourage inflammation.
The endocrine system, which produces and controls hormones throughout the body has a huge impact on physiological function. Hormones can encourage cancer growth as well as influence immune function and regulate inflammation. With regard to breast cancer, we know that some types of breast cancer are estrogen dependent, but many other hormones throughout the body also relate to breast cancer, such as thyroid hormones, insulin, and cortisol.
Green leafy vegetables contain nutrients that support endocrine organs. A minimum of 5-6 servings per day is recommended. Cruciferous vegetables in particular contain compounds called calcium-D-glucarate and indole-3-carbinol which aid in metabolism and detoxification of hormones. Pesticides used on non-organic produce can contain compounds that mimic estrogen in the body and can increase the risk of many types of cancer as well as overwhelm your detoxification system.
You can download the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides, which specifies which produce is best to buy organic, at this web address: www.foodnews.org
Insulin is a hormone that allows sugar to enter cells. Over time, high sugar intake leads to excess insulin production and eventually cells become insensitive to insulin. Cancer cells use sugar as fuel and have more insulin receptors than normal cells, so while other cells are insulin resistant, cancer cells can gain more access to sugar.
Complex carbs include vegetables and whole grains and can help balance blood sugar levels and control weight, both of which prevent and reduce insulin resistance. Complex carbs are high in fibre, which binds to and eliminates toxins and hormones from your body. Try to eat foods as close to their natural state as possible rather than processed foods, which contain more simple carbs, which are easily reduced to sugar and therefore promote insulin resistance.
Digestion and elimination:
Digestion influences all other bodily functions as it is key to absorbing essential nutrients and eliminating waste products and toxins from the body.
Alcohol is an example of a substance that places an additional load on the liver, which can lead to increased toxic load in the body. Over time, this can damage cells and encourage cancer formation. Adequate water intake is necessary for optimal digestion and elimination as your body uses water to carry out many processes essential for life. A simple guideline for water intake is at least 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight. So a 128-pound woman should drink about 64 ounces of water daily, which is about 2 litres. Caffeine and alcohol do not count toward this intake and in fact dehydrate the body!
So far we’ve covered a lot with regard to diet, but there is so much more! As a naturopathic doctor, I work with patients to address their unique nutritional needs with a plan tailored to them. Beyond diet, I also work to create a personalized plan that may include supplements, herbs, lifestyle counselling, stress reduction, and mental/emotional work to address each patient’s unique needs and the root causes behind their health specific concerns.
With regards to cancer, naturopathic medicine is a powerful tool to both prevent and treat cancer, either alone or in conjunction with conventional cancer treatment.