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Articles & Workshops

Intravenous Therapy: Is it Right for You?

Thursday March 10th, 7pm
Hosted by Kingston Integrated Healthcare
Cost: free

Please join Dr. Jennifer Wheeler, ND, for an informative session about intravenous (IV) therapy. In IV therapy, nutrients are directly injected with a needle into veins of the lower arm. Individualized treatments are tailored to each patient’s condition. Treatments may last 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the volume of solution. IV therapy may be used to treat cancer, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, Lyme disease, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, high blood pressure, asthma, macular degeneration, and poor tissue healing. Dr. Wheeler is extensively trained to provide primary health care to patients of all ages and conditions, and devotes some of her practice to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In the News: Homeopathy or Naturopathy?

~ Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

You may have noticed the sudden increase in recent negative media attention to homeopathy. This urged a few of my patients to ask about the differences between homeopathy and naturopathy. Though both naturopathic medicine and homeopathy are unique and separate medical systems, the question is common and I’d like to clarify some misperceptions.

Homeopathy is a 200 year old medical system from Germany. It works on the principle of “like cures like”, which is the antithesis to the conventional medical philosophy founded on opposites. For example, eczema and psoriasis are common health conditions characterized by inflammation on the skin. What is it about the state of the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems, that allow scaling and redness to occur here? Older medical philosophies often view this inflammation as a manifestation of the body’s attempt to heal. If the body is an intelligent, self-healing unit, then the inflammation represents unsuccessful healing. If we support the body’s healing process so that it completes the job correctly, the eczema or psoriasis disappears. In other words, if we stimulate the body in a way similar to how it’s attempting to behave and heal, then the body will have the capacity to heal itself. “Like cure s like.”

The Western medical system frequently treats eczema and psoriasis with anti-inflammatories that block, rather than support, the inflammatory process. This is an approach of “opposites”. It effectively treats the symptom of skin inflammation, but frequent application of medication is required because the underlying cause is not addressed.

Naturopathic Doctors often apply this supportive, rather than inhibitory philosophy in their treatments. In their 7 plus years of post-secondary education, Naturopathic Doctors learn about multiple medical systems including homeopathy. We receive extensive training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture, botanical medicine, nutrition and diet, physical medicine, lifestyle counseling, and mainstream medicine. We are generalists like a family physician, who look at the whole picture, attempt to understand how all symptoms are connected, and support the underlying deficiency with our many tools so that the body can heal. Conversely, Homeopaths might be perceived as specialists in the field of homeopathy.

The media attention appears to be an outcry against recent government legislation regulating homeopaths for the first time. These regulations are expected to come into effect over the coming 2 years. By contrast, Naturopathic Medicine has been regulated for 85 years and Naturopathic Doctors share many of the same legally controlled acts as Medical Doctors.

Homeopathy is a wonderful medicine full of potential if used properly. Contrary to the opinion expressed on CBC Marketplace, homeopathy has a signficant body of clinical and laboratory scientific research supporting its efficacy that can be accessed by simply typing “homeopathy” into a standard PUB Med search. Homeopathy requires a significant amount of skill to be effective, which is why seeking support from a knowledgeable health practitioner is advised. It is generally a gentle and safe medicine ideal for children, adults who are sensitive to pharmaceuticals, people with mental health concerns, pre- and post-surgery states, and faster recovery from injury.

What you Haven’t Heard about Healthy Bones

~ Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

You have over 200 bones in your body. They live inside of you, and might be the last physical part of you remaining a few hundred years from now. For many of us, as we age, our relationship with our bones grows from relative indifference to insecurity. Menopause marks the turning point for many women in this relationship, as medical authorities warn that declining estrogen levels also means declining bone health. The change in bone health for men is less appreciated, though many experts agree that the risk for spinal fracture is the same for men and women. Can you have drug-free healthy bones in your later years? Absolutely! Following are some answers to common myths that reveal opportunity for attaining optimal bone health.

Myth 1: Calcium supplementation ensures good bone health.
In fact, bone metabolism requires at least 16 dietary nutrients, and multiple studies suggest that calcium alone offers only a small protective benefit against fracture risk. Though calcium makes up the majority of bone density, our bone quality is produced by our bone cells which require much more nourishment to do their job of removing old bone and creating new bone. Additional nutrients are required for optimal bone health. These include magnesium, vitamin K and D, boron, manganese, zinc, and copper.

Myth 2: A good bone density test score indicates healthy bones and little chance of fracture.
According to some experts, bone density scans predict less than half of those who experience a fracture related to osteoporosis. Furthermore, most women older than 65 years who experience a hip fracture do not have osteoporosis! So, while a bone density test is a good screening measure for poor bone density, it is a poor indicator of bone quality, and is not a stand-alone determinant of fracture risk. Many factors should be considered when evaluating your fracture risk.

Myth 3: Milk is the most important dietary choice for bone health.
Milk is certainly high in calcium, and organic dairy is an important part of some people’s diet. However, green leafy vegetables are also high in calcium, and are at least as important as dairy for healthy bones. The first reason for this is because unlike milk, many vegetables contain the trace minerals required to fuel enzymes for healthy bone production. The second reason is based on the theory of how the body balances pH, sometimes described as the “Acid-Alkaline Diet”. Dairy can stimulate a biochemical cascade in the body that results in bones releasing their calcium into the bloodstream to bring an acidic pH closer to neutral. Vegetables generally do not stimulate this cascade and indirectly encourage calcium retention by the bones. Though the exact mechanism for how foods stimulate this buffering process rema ins unclear, much evidence exists in favour of a diet high in foods designated as “alkaline-forming” such as vegetables, and low in “acid-forming” foods such as animal proteins and caffeine, for optimal bone health. It is possible to obtain all nutrients for optimal bone health in a carefully planned diet devoid of dairy products.

Myth 4: Tums is a good and inexpensive source of calcium.
Calcium, like many minerals, requires a significant amount of stomach acid for optimal absorption. Tums is used to neutralize stomach acid to treat heartburn, so that the calcium in tums is not very absorbable. The same logic applies to anyone with low stomach acid levels, which is common in people older than 65 years, and those taking an acid blocking drug such as Zantac and Ranitidine. It is important to choose the kind of calcium that is most absorbable in a low acid environment, such as calcium citrate rather than calcium carbonate.

Many of these myths represent the dichotomy between mainstream medical philosophy and the philosophy of more holistic medical systems. Optimal bone health requires far more than treatment of bones. It requires attention to full body health, including the digestive tract for balanced nutrient absorption, kidney and thyroid balance for proper calcium regulation, and muscle, to stimulate proper bone growth. Supporting your body where it is most susceptible is your key to achieving optimal bone health.

For more information about bone health, please download our pdf version newsletter Healthy Bones Newsletter.

New Naturopathic Video!

Dr. Sonya Nobbe is very pleased to announce the launch of her new video about her passion for naturopathic medicine! You may recognize a few friendly faces on the screen. The video was graciously made for us by Jayce Broda, at howtobecome.tv. Please view the video here.

The Perfect Diet

~ Dr. Sonya Nobbe, ND

Eating to lose weight can seem complicated; no sugar, low fat, good fat, and even… maple syrup and lemon juice. And if choosing your food wasn’t confusing enough, multiple studies suggest that starting a diet is one of the best predictors of weight gain. Is the problem our inability to stick to a diet, or is it the failure of the diet industry to understand us? Is there such a thing as a perfect diet for you?

The science of “let food be your medicine” is more complex than the philosophy conceived by Hippocrates circa 400 B.C. The food we eat impacts our health well beyond the calories, fats, and vitamins we spend most of our time focusing on. We now know that certain foods flip our genes on and off, which can be the difference between experiencing the heritable disease your mother had and bypassing the poor health outcomes experienced by your father. Your food creates your health from the level of your DNA and up.

Though older cultural medicines lacked an understanding of unique genetic makeup, they offer an extraordinary appreciation for the qualities of different foods, and how foods complement particular disease patterns expressed by a person. For example, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, foods and people are categorized by their amount of heat, cold, dampness, and dryness. Accordingly, warm foods can be used to treat conditions characterized by a lack of heat or by excess cold. Meals might incorporate a balanced amount of yin and yang, so as not to cause a health problem.

More contemporary approaches to dieting may include specialized laboratory testing that evaluates your metabolism, hormone status, and food allergens. The corresponding food plan includes foods that support, and excludes foods that hinder, your particular metabolic state. For example, raw cruciferous vegetables such as kale and broccoli, can improve liver and estrogen metabolism which makes a healthy weight more attainable. However, these vegetables can also interfere with the thyroid gland which slows down metabolism! Whether these vegetables help or hurt your ability to attain a healthy weight depends on your particular metabolic balance.

Beyond the biochemical, organ-specific, and genetic impact of certain foods, lies the more complicated aspect of our emotional and spiritual response to food. For many people, food is a social connection, a comforting activity, a method of control, or an escape. (In fact, “comfort foods” may actually make us feel better by supporting serotonin production in our brains.) How each of us relates to food can quite surprisingly reveal how we relate to life in general.

Consequently, your perfect diet incorporates 1) a thorough appreciation for food, and 2) a deeper understanding of your unique biochemical and emotional makeup. With these 2 principles in mind, most any traditional diet plan can be improved. Attaining a healthy weight is a lifestyle, and a philosophy. Support from a knowledgeable health professional will take you further in your search for optimal eating, but the majority of the work occurs in challenging yourself to broaden your understanding of your relationship to food, and of food’s genuine capacity to change your life. You are what you eat

Welcome Joel!

We’d like to welcome Joel Ackerman, Registered Massage Therapist, to the team! Joel is currently accepting new clients.

Joel is a graduate of the Sutherland Chan School of Massage Therapy in Toronto. In addition to offering relaxation massage, Joel is skilled with treating a variety of conditions, including sports injuries, chronic pain syndromes, neurological disease, and pre- and post-surgical states. He has additional training in Shiatsu technique, pregnancy massage, and Positional and Dynamic Release. Joel enjoys working with clients of all ages and stages of health, including seniors.

Joel believes strongly in the effectiveness of massage therapy when applied as part of an integrative approach to health. When appropriate, Joel will conduct functional testing and suggest home care stretching and strengthening exercises. He enjoys educating clients about their bodies and will work with you to support your health goals.

Cold and Flu Prevention

In response to your many inquiries, many of our practitioners are offering immune-focused appointments for the months of November and December. Your health practitioner can help you identify where your body needs support to obtain optimal immune health this winter season.

Cold and flu prevention appointments may additionally include:

Laboratory testing for vitamin D status
Flu vaccine alternatives
Nutrient status assessments with individualized dietary recommendations for boosting the immune system
Flu treatments to keep on hand, “just in case”
Cold and flu recovery strategies

Heart Disease is Reversible

From Integrated Roots e-newsletter, November 2010

I recently worked with a 60 year old gentleman to decrease his high diabetic-state blood sugar and cholesterol levels to normal, without drugs, in 3 months. His triglycerides fell by over 60%, his total cholesterol and long-term measures of blood sugar decreased to normal limits, and he lost more than 20lbs. He reviewed these test results with his Nurse Practitioner and Medical Doctor and was confused by their response: “Great job. Keep up what you’re doing. Start this statin drug Crestor, because your good cholesterol should be a bit higher.” It’s true that his good cholesterol should be higher – it was only 0.73. However, if a few more weeks of effort could demonstrate similarly drastic improvements in good cholesterol levels, isn’t this preferable to using a statin drug?

Though research studies vary considerably in their results, a common finding is that some statin-type cholesterol medications will lower risk of death by 12%. Compare this to studies that evaluate the risk for survivors of a heart attack who made only modest dietary changes: 56% reduced risk of death. And they weren’t even required to exercise! If we additionally consider the possible side-effects of cholesterol-lowering medication, the financial cost of using a pharmaceutical daily for years, the intangible health benefits acquired for other family members eating an improved diet, and the environmental benefit of eating more local produce, the comparison hardly seems fair.

Heart disease is reversible for many people. The lifestyle changes required can be challenging, but they’re simple, and rewarding. We have a whole team of health professionals at KIHC who can support you in your effort to achieve these desired changes.

For those interested in some more technical information, please review these referenced websites here, and here. I’ve included a summary of some very interesting recent research pertaining to heart health, below.

Thanks for reading!

Dr. Sonya Nobbe, BScH, ND
Naturopathic Doctor, KIHC Clinic Director

Winter Workshop Series

Unless otherwise noted, all workshops are held free of charge at Kingston Integrated Healthcare, located at 541 Palace Road, near the Kingston Centre.

Kindly call to register early! We request 24 hours notice if you must cancel.

Please contact us for detailed information about our workshops. We welcome your suggestions for workshop ideas and improvements.

Managing Holiday Stress

Facilitated by Dr. Christina Vlahopoulos, ND
Kingston Integrated Healthcare
Wednesday, November 24th, 7 to 8pm

We all know we should take the time to relax during the holidays… But few of us actually do. Please join Dr. Christina for some helpful, realistic, tips.

Healthy Heart

Facilitated by Dr. Jennifer Wheeler, ND
Kingston Integrated Healthcare
Tuesday, November 30th, 7 to 8:30pm

Know your risk of developing cardiovascular disease! Create a unique plan that addresses your particular risk factors. Dr. Jennifer will lead a discussion of various risk factors and advanced laboratory testing that can help to put your heart health potential into perspective.