Your heart is a muscle and needs to be worked, just like your other muscles, to make it stronger. When it comes to heart health, prevention is key. 8 out of 10 cases of premature heart disease can be prevented through lifestyle behaviours. Exercise is one of the key factors of heart health, and as a physiotherapist this discussion comes up daily in my practice. We all know that exercise is good for us, but did you know that it can:
Have you heard about the love hormone? It’s called oxytocin, and research correlates high levels with being in-love, mother-infant bonding, trust, and empathy. Most research focuses on your brain as the production site of this hormone, but your heart actually produces and stores a significant amount of it. Your heart also produces other critical hormones, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and Atrial Naturietic Peptide. The old idea that the heart is just a “pump”, has not served us well in medicine.
The heart has a direct connection to the brain via the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which some people refer to as the “Rest and Digest” state of the body. In fact, there are more nerves carrying heart signals to the brain than vice versa. What kinds of signals do you think it’s sending, and how much are these affecting your health? Your behavior? Your thoughts?
When it comes to bone health, calcium and vitamin D3 are considered “must have” vitamins but it appears there is a new kid in town that could be just as essential. Vitamin K2 has been in the spotlight for osteoporosis (i.e. degeneration of bones) research for the last two decades and there is a lot to say about it. Not to be mistaken for its very close relative Vitamin K1, which plays a significant role in blood clotting, vitamin K2 seems to make our bones stronger.
A report from the Nurses Health Study showed that women supplementing with at least 110 mcg of K2 are 30 % LESS likely to break a hip than women who aren’t supplementing.
Bio-identical hormones offer treatment options for menopausal symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety. They also play a role in men’s health, and fertility. Dr. Angela Hunt, Naturopathic Doctor at KIHC, is pleased to announce the addition of bio-identical hormone prescriptions to her practice. For more information, please attend her complimentary information session next month, or visit our facebook page. Call or email to reserve your spot – registration is required for this event.
Tuesday September 27th, 7:00pm
Workshop Space at KIHC
View our entire May e-newsletter, Reversing Heart Disease, here.
An exciting new study just released in April 2013 in Canada’s top medical journal, the CMAJ, demonstrated how naturopathic medicine can help prevent cardiovascular disease. It was a milestone achievement for the naturopathic community, as the study was conducted by the naturopathic doctors from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, and was one of the first to compare naturopathic medicine as a system of medicine to that of our standard medical system.
The study followed 207 Canada Post workers, aged 25-65, over the course of one year. Each participant was evaluated for cardiovascular risk before and after the study, including body weight, waist circumference, cholesterol levels, fasting blood sugar and blood pressure. All participants received standard conventional care from their family physician throughout the study period. The control group only received conventional care while the naturopathic intervention group included 7 visits over the course of the year. Naturopathic interventions were limited to individualized dietary and lifestyle counseling, stress management, exercise and a select list of dietary supplements with proven cardiovascular benefit. These included fish oil, plant sterols, cinnamon, ALA and CoQ10.
The results showed that the naturopathic intervention group had a 17% decreased rate of metabolic syndrome over the control group! Metabolic syndrome is a condition that is a precursor to many diseases,
Please see our entire May e-newsletter, Reversing Heart Disease, here.
Our heart can be both the strongest and the most tender organ in our body.
On the strong side of things, according to standard calculations the entire volume of blood within the circulatory system is pumped by the heart each minute (at rest). During vigorous exercise, the cardiac output can increase up to 7 fold (35 liters/minute). That means a healthy heart pumps about 4-5L of blood through approx. 97km of blood vessels in our body in about 1min. The heart is responsible for keeping activity happening in a crucial way and needs to be kept functional and tuned-up. The brain uses approximately twenty percent of the body’s blood and needs twenty-five percent of the body’s oxygen supply to function optimally. Rejuvenating activity helps keep blood oxygen levels up.
On the tender side of things, our heart is exposed to every strong to nuanced emotion that passes through our body, that changes our hormone levels, nervous system signals, influences how our organs are functioning, how tense our muscles are etc., and how our heart is responding to it all. The heart, and more accurately, the heart-mind, is the epicentre of us. It’s just that we give more of our attention to our minds, mistakenly believing that it alone is ‘running the show’.
Please see our entire May e-newsletter, Reversing Heart Disease, here.
As most of my patients know I am currently knee deep in my research to complete my thesis for the Canadian College of Osteopathy, the last step in my osteopathic education. I am working with researchers from Queens University, the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Hotel Dieu Hospital and Cardiologist Dr. Stephen LaHaye, to determine if osteopathy can improve the ability to exercise for people diagnosed with heart disease.
Osteopathy has been shown to benefit patients with a wide variety of cardiovascular diseases.
Most patients associate having high cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugars with their risk of having a heart attack, stroke or developing type 2 diabetes. A fascinating new look at some old data from the famous Framingham study has found that these risk factors also accurately predict the 10 year risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia. Some symptoms of cognitive decline could include forgetfulness, difficulty following instructions, trouble making decisions or irrational thoughts and emotions.
Another 2013 study in Sweden took these findings further by following approximately 500 women at high risk of a heart attack or stroke, as determined by the Framingham risk assessment. This assessment takes into account blood pressure, cholesterol levels, age and smoking. Some of the women in the study were treated with 81mg aspirin per day.
By Kathy Boyd
The KIHC book club celebrated its first anniversary by reading and discussing My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. We agree that it is an extremely hopeful, comforting and inspiring book.
Bolte Taylor, a brain scientist, suffered a stroke in her mid thirties. Her book examines her pre and post stroke life, her astounding step by step description of the stroke itself, her chronicle of the arduous path to recovery, and a discussion of the workings of our brain. The book is simply written and a rather quick read, yet it is chock full of amazing information.
We appreciated her description of how the brain works. She made clear the differences in left and right brain hemispheres and the completely different ways that the two process information. She demonstrates that the brain’s different ways of processing give us a “complete” picture of the sensations that our bodies experience. She reminds us that we are energy beings, processing energy input, with our miraculous brains making “sense” of it all.