Hot Topic: Detoxing

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Last week I participated in an online health education initiative, “The Great Detox Debate” offered by tujawellness.  I’ve posted the video at the end of the post in case you missed it or want to catch an encore of our discussion.

From our discussion, you will gather that I feel that detoxing can be helpful for some people but it’s not a true solution.  I am wary about this trend because I have met with countless patients who have tried doing a  “detox” and yet find themselves still battling health concerns.

For those who feel great during a detox, my question always is… What happened when the detox protocol ended?   Did you go back to your usual meal and lifestyle choices after the detox or did you continue eating clean? Have your health concerns resolved or did they come back a few weeks after ending the detox?  Do you feel like your body learned to sustain this efficiency after the detox?

I often find that it’s a matter of time before the results of the detox fade.  This is why I think detoxing is misleading.  Yes, it can be a helpful tool.  It can be the jumpstart that some people need to boost their physiology.  However, we need to learn from these experiences and extrapolate them into everyday life.  Eating nutritiously 365 days a year facilities detoxification everyday and helps to prevent the development of chronic health concerns and illnesses.

It’s just like anything… if we use a detox as a “crash course” to quickly get our bodies feeling good or looking good the results will not last, especially when we revert back to old habits.

And… just like in school, it’s tough to learn something really well when we pull an all-nighter before the test. We may remember it for the test, but that information is quickly forgotten.  The same goes for doing a detox to teach the body how to detox.  A short intense period of “healthy eating” and supplementing to optimize detoxification pathways will do very little to actually TEACH the body how to MAINTAIN it’s own efficiency for most people.

Maintaining optimal detoxification is the key for good health and feeling vibrant no matter what our age.  In this case, slow and steady wins the race.  The little things we do everyday to take care of our bodies is the best detox strategy.

For more real solutions to optimize your body’s ability to detoxify and prevent health concerns and illnesses, feel free to email me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

*Contact WIN Health Solutions at 905.354.0267 to inquire about our NEW Accessible Path Fees.  We are focused on making Naturopathic Medicine accessible for everyone.

Dr. Imola Joins tujawellness’ Great Detox Debate

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Join the conversation I’ll be having with Nicole Boileau of tujawellness and Lynsey Walker of lynseylovesfood.com this Sunday March 22nd at 6:00pm EST as we discuss detoxing and cleansing during the tujawellness webinar The Great Detox Debate.

This FREE 30 minute webinar will be packed full of expert information on this hot health topic.  Listen in as we answer the most popular questions, debunk detoxing myths and share simple and practical strategies that everyone can benefit from.

Register to attend here: The Great Detox Debate

“Are Detoxes Really Necessary?”…Find out the answer to this and other hot detox questions during our debate this Sunday!

 

An Aspirin A Day… May Do More Harm Than Good

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As I prepare to take a little break from my blog for the holidays, I am devoting my last hot health topic post of the year to some recent news involving Aspirin.  This is such an important health topic to me because I have always been weary of  “Aspirin A Day” recommendation.  I just could never fully reconcile the daily long term use of something that had such well established toxic effects.

This week Dr. Mercola publicized the recent change of tune by the US Food & Drug Administration (aka the FDA) about the usefulness of taking a daily low dose Aspirin.  After decades of promoting the daily use of Aspirin to help folks prevent heart attacks, their stance now is:

“FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called ‘primary prevention.’ In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks — such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach — are still present.

…Pause… It took this long for the FDA to acknowledge the inevitable toxicity associated with the regular use of this medication?  And …strangely… why is this important information not being broadcast by mainstream media.

For decades, tens of millions of well meaning people have been following the guidelines put out by federal agencies to uphold “healthy” practices.  However, it is well known that Aspirin breaks down the lining of the digestive tract and causes bleeding, ulcers and liver toxicity.  Despite this, the FDA has not countered the everyday use of Aspirin until now.

Since the onset of my practice I have been informing patients who subscribe to taking a daily Aspirin that the risks outweighed the benefit.  Health is so central to strong and healthy digestion and detoxificaiton.  In addition, its well documented that heart health is most influenced by diet and lifestyle.  Finally, there are very effective natural remedies that manage chronic inflammation and prevent cardiovascular degeneration, such as fish oil, CoQ10, taurine and magnesium.

You can read Dr. Mercola’s article here:  FDA Reverses Its Position on Daily Aspirin.  He concisely reviews all the information and also offers excellent suggestions for heart health.

If you or someone you know is taking a daily dose of Aspirin a day, share this information with them.  For professional advice regarding a safe and effective approach to the prevention of heart disease feel free to contact me at drlaura@winhealth.ca.

Green Tea & Cancer Prevention

Green tea has long been known to have a number of health benefits.  There are phytonutrients in green tea that supports the detoxification pathways in the liver.  In addition, the tea is full of antioxidants.  A health liver and a good dose of antioxidants can be very potent factors for disease prevention, especially when it’s integrated into daily life.  Just a cup a day can be helpful.

Recently, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that showed a link between regular green tea consumption and a decreased risk of cancer.  The Huffington Post posted a great little article summarizing the results of the study and the benefits of green tea.  The article can be viewed here: Green Tea May Lower Risk of Some Cancers In Women.

WIN-ning Wednesday: An Aspirin A Day?

For years, health care providers have recommended one low dose (or baby) Aspirin a day to ward off heart disease.  Since Aspirin has an anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce platelet aggregation, it’s believed that a little Aspirin everyday can benefit the cardiovascular system.  The heart and blood vessels can be severely injured by chronic inflammation or by the formation of blood clots.  This seemed like an easy little preventative measure that everyone, especially those with a predisposition to heart issues, could do.

Hold on a second!

In today’s world of modern natural medicine there are so many simple, easy and non-pharmaceutical options that reduce inflammation and support heart health.  Aspirin is a pharmaceutical compound that has side effects.  The long term use of Aspirin might reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system and thin the blood, but remember that the liver and digestive tract have to manage the breakdown of this drug day in and day out.  Over time, there is an increased risk of developing a major side effect such as: gastrointestinal bleeding, ulcers and kidney issues.  Moreover, other adverse effects to long term Aspirin use include risk of breast cancer development in women, tinnitus, cataracts and iron deficiency anemia.

So… what are some simple and easy things we can all do to protect our cardiovascular system and keep inflammation down?

Keep added sugar to a minimum: refined sugar, added to food or in prepared food or beverages, can trigger inflammation in the body.

Keep synthetic food ingredients to a minimum: processed food, preservatives, additives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavours, etc., also trigger inflammation in the body.  This is why heart health is directly supported by a diet that consists of real fresh food with plenty of vegetables, fruit and pure water.

Include Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).  Especially a good quality, high potency Cod Liver Oil.  Fish oil is high in Omega 3 EFAs which helps to reduce inflammation and supports the integrity of blood vessels and the heart tissue.

Exercise: Get moving and pump up circulation.  Exercise helps to oxygenate the blood, which supports healthier heart tissue and blood vessels.  Exercise also moves blood more actively through the vessels, which can prevent blood stagnation and plaque formation.

– Optimize Sleep: getting a solid 8 hours every night, and having a bedtime before midnight, helps to control cortisol levels, which also helps to decrease inflammation in the body.

Keep Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels within healthy ranges

Licensed Naturopathic doctors believe in preventative medicine and proactive health care that supports the body as a whole.  If you are looking for strategies to manage inflammation and improve cardiovascular health, visit with a Naturopathic Doctor.

WIN-ning Wednesday: The New Year Detox

As another new year starts, as does many a detox for those looking to get healthy or lose weight.  Those of you who know me, know I’m not a fan of the store bought “detox in a box.”  Here’s why… I KNOW, from years of helping others looking to “detox,” and by taking care of my own body, that the body is very capable of going through a significant amount of detoxification by just eating a clean diet and drinking enough water.

The major organs in our bodies… our liver, intestinal tract, kidneys, lungs and skin… are all organs of detoxification.  Their very role is to constantly filter, clear out and, in exchange, nourish our body with the good stuff.  These organs quietly detoxify the body 24/7.  When we give our body fresh natural food and pure water, these organs are given the means to effectively and efficiently detoxify the body of all the stuff that can clog us up and bog us down.

The “detox in a box” sometimes can involve taking natural cleansing agents while participants eat a highly calorie restrictive diet.  Some “cleanses” advise a day, or a few days, of not eating at all, while just taking the cleansing supplements and drinking fluids.  In addition to being really stringent, this type of plan is very “one size fits all” and this doesn’t take into consideration that everyone is different.  I’ve seen people have adverse experiences when following these types of plans because it didn’t suit them.

Also, I’ve seen many people do the restrictive plans and feel great, lose weight… then, when it ends, go back to their usual diet and gradually see their health problems, or extra weight, return.

It’s always been my philosophy that a detox should be food based (i.e. this involves EATING!!) and individualized.  Moreover, following the basics of good food (lots of vegetables, fruit, and rich sources of fiber), plenty of water, eating regular meals and avoiding certain problem causing foods (like wheat/gluten, dairy, red meat) can be a great place to start.  Doing a plan like this can help people feel great, but it’s also is a great way learn how to use food to support health.

Finally, a plan like this just might stick.  Whether it’s a few basics, or clean eating all together, it may inspire healthier eating over the long run.  Healthier eating over the long run will better support the body’s natural detoxification on a more regular and consistent basis, and will foster a more optimal state of health and well being.

There are many great articles online about using food to detoxify, but I found this concise little article that I thought I’d share with you on this topic.  You can view it here: Detox the natural way for extreme results by Melissa Dahl for Health on Today which summarizes Kerri Glassman’s segment on the Today Show.  Funny… I just saw this article and video today… but the video attached shows Kerri reviewing her top healthy strategies for detoxing, which mirrors the post I did on Monday (Hello!  2 Vegetables at Dinner!!)  🙂

In some instances, I know people who have tried using nutrition to help support detoxification and better health, yet didn’t feel much improvement.  In these cases, it’s all the more important to get guidance from someone experienced in individualized health care.

If you are looking for an individualized plan to get healthy for the new year, detoxify your body, lose weight or address a specific concern, visit a licensed Naturopathic Doctor.  Licensed Naturopathic Doctors are specially trained to offer people health care solutions and work with them to achieve their goals.

WIN-ning Wednesday: Environmental Medicine

Space Pollution! Seriously?!

There is a cutting edge field of medicine emerging known as Environmental Medicine.  This is the study of how our modern day environment is impacting our physical health.

Licensed Naturopathic Doctors have long been aware of the way the environment can create a “body burden.”  Due to modern industry, environmental disasters (like oceanic oil leaks and Nuclear Plant Meltdowns) and waste disposal (water, land, air and space) we have expelled contaminants into our environment that do not break down.  The most well known contaminants include heavy metals, chemical compounds, plastics and pharmaceutical agents.

Contaminants that do not break down easily once disposed of are known as “pervasive chemicals.”  These contaminants hang around in the soil, water and air.

Researchers in Environmental Medicine investigate how pervasive chemicals influence the physiology and anatomy of the living species exposed to them.

One of the best evidence based journals publishing articles related to Environmental Medicine is “Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP).”  EHP has a website that posts articles for free.  Under the “Featured News” heading (or tab) journalistic style articles can be accessed.  Under the “Featured Research” heading articles in scientific journal format can be reviewed.

There is also a “Search” feature that will pull up articles related to a topic of interest.  For example, I typed in “Thyroid” and interesting articles that came up included:

Mother’s Thyroid, Baby’s Health by M. Nathaniel Mead

Disrupting A Delicate Balance: Environmental Effects on the Thyroid by Valerie J. Brown

Lithium in Drinking Water and Thyroid Function by Karin Broberg et. al.

You can visit the EHP website here: Environmental Health Perspectives

Some of the most recently posted articles include:

Climate Change and Infectious Disease: Is the Future Here?   by Catherine M. Cooney

Does the Smoke Ever Really Clear?  Thirdhand smoke exposure raises concern.  by Adrian Burton

Most Plastic Products Release Estrogenic Chemicals: A Potential Health Problem That Can Be Solved.  by Chun Z. Yang, et. al.