15 min Discovery Calls
Hey Hey, I am back after holidays! •
Now, I have had a lot of inquires, (when I opened up my email to 97😳 new emails) about booking in as a new patient and what to expect.
Here's the thing, as Naturopathic Doctors, we practice differently, some focus on certain modalities (like only using acupuncture or homeopathy), others use a blend of our modalities and some just focus in one area, like gut health or autoimmune issues.
And I know that some people have not had the greatest experiences with naturopaths, and it's likely that there was a disconnect in what the patient was expecting and what the doctor could offer. •
So, that is why I am offering 15 min Meet and Greet Calls, see if I am the correct match for you and where YOU are at in your current health goals
Podcast - Check it out!
What is floating?
💦My first float!💦
I was intrigued about "floating" and was excited there was a place in my city that offer it! For those of you that are not familiar with it, you basically float in warm water filled with epsom salt (about 1100lbs of it to be exact) in a pod or chamber that can be pitch black and in complete silence (but you have the option to have lights on and music on if you wish).
Having no sound, no light and weightlessness; it benefits your nervous system because you cut out the constant sensory information that requires and you go from your sympathetic nervous system predominating (think: fight or flight, stress and anxiety) to your parasympathethic nervous system predominating (think; rest and digest & calm and conceive)
And of course the benefits for the salt water on your detoxification systems.
During the float @flowspaon, I felt uber relaxed, I thought I would be claustrophobic, but wasn't and I also thought I may be cold being in the water for a hour, but was quite warm and comfortable. I opted to have lights off and no music after the first 10 mins. I got into a deep meditative state and felt how it can really rejuvenate the entire system and help with decreasing STRESS! Thus helping your adrenals, burn out, digestive concerns and fatigue.🙌🏼
It was a great experience towards the last few days of vacay.. I truly got to let go and unplug🙏🏼
Ignite your life!
I am still on a high from being at @jennpike's event Ignite Your Life this past Saturday.
I have been to many events before and none quite like this one. There was vibe, a really awesome palpable positive energy with over 250 women ready to learn and integrate wellness into their life.
The speakers were amazing and empowering and I was so happy to have met @joyoushealh, @slvietetrauly and @meghanwalker!
@ashafrost and @joshgitalis- sorry I didn't get a chance to come say hi; next year;)
Thank you to those that came to chat with me, my patients that came by and those interested in adding a ND to their tribe of health and wellness.
It was such a full day, I didn't even get a chance to meet all of the vendors, again, next year ;)
But it was lovely to chat with @laurafoster @nadyaedwards, @mayyouknowjoy @herplace.co @ handtoheart
And this lovely Abundance sign, was a gift from the ever so amazing @jenn and had a nice new home in my office. #sogratefultoyou
If you missed out - save the date for Next year - June 6/7 weekend.. can't wait.
Bell Let's Talk Day
Mindset, thoughts, feelings, mood, dreams, the soul, the spirit; these are all things I talk about with my patients because they are an integral part of health. The mind is powerful - you can have powerful thoughts and images that create body pain (eg. psychosomatic pain) and you can also have bacteria and viral infections that can affect the mental state (such as anxiety).
All the symptoms you feel are valid, nothing in health happens in isolation from other systems in your body.
I have patients apolgize for crying in my office; and I'm like Girl stop apologizing!! Let it out! Better out than in! lol. But seriously, release of emotion can be therapeutic, having some listen to your story is therapeutic, it can help you figure out your symptoms and lead you to the cause of those symptoms and no matter what it is, it all matters. Because you matter and your unique story matters. #bellletstalk
The Hormone Project
Last fall, I joined The Hormone Project because I wanted some accontability for taking a lot better care of myself. What I loved most about this program is that is encompasses a holistic perspective on ALL aspects of your life.
It is importatant to take the good quality supplements, healthful food and move your body, but you also have to get better sleep, declutter your schedule to make time for self care and also assess your mindset around your health. Those last 3, you can't just go and take a supplement for it, you gotta work on that.
So the program by the amazing jennpike, does just that.. assesses all of these components in teh 10 week course.
I am happy to be offering Naturopathic support for this program - because it gets my seal of approval for women wanting to figure out their health.
There is a webinar coming up for this if you want to learn more, or you can dm me or jennpike your questions.
If you want to find out if this course is for you, join jennpike for a FREE in-depth Masterclass on Jan 16th @ 7:30 pm EST where I will take you behind the scenes of this jam-packed health course. Register over at jennpike
Here are 5 tips to help you get back on track after a long weekend or holidays.
Anxiety and GUT connection
So I was recently feature in a publication where I discussed how the brain and gut are connected and that mental and emoational health is very much affected by gut health and vice versa. Take a look at the article below or click here for the prettier online version here
OAND: The Pulse: The Anxiety and Gut Connection: What You Need to Know
There is a biological reason that people can share in the human experience of: “butterflies in the stomach”, “nervous diarrhea” before a special event, feeling nauseous or vomiting upon seeing or hearing traumatic news or even having your saliva and digestive secretions released just by thinking of food. This is because the brain and gut are physiologically connected. Emotions can cause physiological changes in the gut and digestive disturbances can cause an array of mental health issues.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in humans are two conditions that exemplify the consequences of a faulty gut–brain communication.1,2
The involvement of the gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of IBS has been shown repeatedly, as symptoms of IBS develop after the disruption of the gut bacteria or ‘microbiome’ due to acute bouts of gastroenteritis 3,4 or following the use of antibiotics.5
In addition, gastrointestinal dysfunction such as bowel diseases are frequently accompanied by comorbid psychiatric conditions.6,7
How the gut and brain are connected:
There is no denying that the gut and the brain have a very complex and multidirectional network of communication.8 It has been repeatedly shown in studies that bidirectional communication exists between the brain and the gut and involves neural, hormonal, immunological pathways 9 and microbiota influences.10,11,12
In embryological development the cells that form the gastrointestinal nervous system, the Enteric nervous system (ENS), originate from the neural crest cells.2 The same grouping of neural crest cells will give rise to much of the cells that predominate the peripheral nervous system.13 The ENS, is often called the second brain, because of its neuronal connection that is connected with the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) to communicate with the central nervous system (CNS).2
These neural crest cells will migrate to the vagal level 13, which will give rise to the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve, or cranial nerve X, is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system which will increase digestive secretions and peristalsis when food is tasted.14
Stressful events will affect the sympathetic nervous system to decrease digestive secretions and peristalsis and stimulate vasoconstriction in the mucosa, which would decrease overall digestion and chronically lead to pathologies.14,15
Different neurotransmitters or molecules produced by intestinal microbes such as nitrous oxide (NO), GABA will act upon the ENS. This in turn causes a cascade of second messengers such as serotonin and acetylcholine to be released causing the brain to be signalled and leading to different behaviours in food intake, stress and anxiety.16
With approximately 70% of the body’s immune system residing in the gut, it is no wonder that the quality and quantity of the microorganisms that reside there influence the immune system and communication with the brain.10 The microbiota communicate with the CNS through neural, endocrine and immune pathways.10
Much of the current research in the gut-brain axis focuses on the crucial role that the microbiota in the human body have to play on the proper development and maturation of a normal functioning brain and stress response.9
In studies of germ free mice it was observed that brain development was abnormal when the gut microbiome was missing.14,19,20 It seems to influence the inflammatory reactions within the brain by modulating the activation of microglial cells, affecting myelination and neurogenesis in adult brains.14,8 And would affect the regulation of of the stress response (e.g.,hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, HPA).10
When mice were given probiotics strains, neuronal development changes and psychotropic effects occurred signalling that microorganisms can alter brain chemistry.21 Which sheds light on possible treatments for patients with anxiety, depression and stress related symptoms.9,17,18
Even transplanting microorganism through fecal microorganisms transplantation (FMT) showed a changed level in anxiety between mice subjects.9,12,22,23
The following lab tests are important to consider when working with patients experiencing anxiety, depression, stress and/or digestive concerns in order to get a clearer picture of the presenting concerns as well as to have objective references as to which monitor treatment:
High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP)
C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by the liver. It increases in the presence of inflammation in the body, and a high level of CRP in the blood is a marker of systemic inflammation that can be associated with anxiety and depression as well as digestive concerns.14
Vitamin D - 25(OH) is an easy blood test that can assess your baseline level. In many cases, low levels of vitamin D are found in patients with depression, schizophrenia 27 and also can modulate the gut bacteria.24 The level can be tested at anytime for patients whether supplementing with vitamin D or not. But to keep in mind that testing levels in patients residing in Canada, March and April will represent lower levels and testing in August or September will reflect higher levels. Once a change in dose is made it best to test 4 to 6 weeks after to see bodily response.
A complete thyroid panel should measure Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Free Triiodothyroine (fT3), Free Serum Thyroxine (fT4), Reverse T3 (rT3), and Thyroid Antibodies. This will ensure a clear idea of the functioning of the thyroid as hyperthyroid or hypothyroid can exert anxiety and depressive states and will direct treatment in addition to addressing potential digestive concerns.
An adrenal panel will reflect how the body is handling stress currently. High levels of stress can change the release patterns of cortisol, that allow very high levels of cortisol to circulate for longer periods of time, and it’s subsequent decrease in production so patient’s may feel tired and wired, experiencing anxiety, sleep disturbances and feeling like they cannot cope with the stressors.
Hair cortisol is an objective measure of how the body is handling chronic stress (over 1 month) rather than an acute measure of cortisol.25,26
Recent data on the importance of gut bacteria show that specific strains can affect the development and functioning of different neuronal populations. For example, Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 affects the functioning of CNS neurons in the hippocampus and amygdala, Lactococcus lactis subspecies cremoris H61 modulates the activity of the auditory brain stem neurons and Lactobacillus reuteri (DSM 17938) is implicated in the function of visceral nociceptive neurons of the gut.14 This diverse specificity of microorganisms that interact with specific neuronal connections suggests great potential for probiotics to help target certain health issues and more research is needed in this area.
In the meantime in clinical practice, adding probiotics should be a mainstay in any naturopathic protocol. With the research on the proper development and management of a healthy nervous system, digestive system and positive psychotropic effects to manage mood and anxiety. It is likely that at one point or another in a patient’ lifetime, probiotics would be a relatively safe and cost effective treatment to undergo and an excellent preventative health measure.
It would even be suggested that during pregnancy and infancy, probiotics would improve the mother’s microbiota, likely decrease the use for antibiotics during pregnancy, allowing healthful colonization to the infant if vaginally delivered. And supplementing with probiotics during childhood would allow the proper development of the gut and brain health to prevent mood disorders and help create successful stress management regulation throughout childhood and adolescence.
It is hard to say which strains of probiotics should be used more than other strains, as more research needs to be done in this area. But with many choices on the market, it is recommended to choose a high quality human sourced bacteria, as they have high survival rates when travelling through the stomach to the intestines. Periodically, switching to different combinations of probiotics would be beneficial to receive those various strains in various amounts over a patient’s lifetime.
Largely known to help with depression and mood regulation but vitamin D also is important for the modulation of gut bacteria.27 and something that many patients are familiar with taking and another relatively cost effective supplement with wide ranging health benefits.
The following aspect of dietary changes can be added in to the treatment plan:
It it widely known that moving the body in any form is beneficial for many health conditions, but regular exercise can also have a positive impact on gut health and microorganisms.28 and should be included in the treatment protocol for anxiety and other mental health concerns.
In naturopathic practice, most of my patients are experiencing stress, anxiety and/or depression. I find that a multi-faceted approach works best to include various dimensions of the naturopathic modalities depending on where the patient is at, what they are willing to do and what makes the most sense to start with. I also take time to educate about the stress response, adrenal system and the gut-brain connection and how it could be contributing to the symptomatology. I also like to address that is is a normal part of the human experience that have some periods of anxiety, nervousness and even low mood. This is not necessarily a problem to be fixed until it becomes pervasive and affects daily functioning.
Case Study #1:
A 50 year old female, with main concerns of stress, mood issues and weight gain came to me wanting to focus on the mainly on the stress and mood, with weight loss being an ‘added bonus’. We began with regular acupuncture appointments to help with stress reduction and then added in a homeopathic to help with symptomatic relief of her mood issues, namely low mood which worked very well. In the meantime, discussing the patient’s gut health revealed the following issues: Acid reflux, bloating and irregular bowel movements. We have added in a probiotic, removed dairy and wheat and lowered sugar from the diet. The patient started an exercise regime at a local gym as she realized that her acid reflux was stressed induced and exercise improved her stress response and mood. After 3 months of treatment on this regime, the patient reported a marked improvement in her anxiety. Her acid reflux would still occur, but the bloating was gone, her bowel movements were regular and she lost about 10lbs. She was overall happier and felt better suited to handle stressful situations than before treatment.
Case Study #2
A 3 year old female whose mother noticed an increase in anxiety and nervousness. We added in a probiotic due to complaints of ‘tummy aches’ and gave omega 3’s, and castor oil belly rubs. After two weeks, the patient’s anxiety was slightly improved. Upon further questioning the mother reported that the patient was having regular nightmares that occured at the same time every night which included her waking up and screaming. I prescribed a homeopathic that matched her symptoms and the mother said the nightmares stopped that same night the remedy was introduced. The mother also reported that the child was less anxious about 2 weeks after the remedy and no reports of tummy aches.
Increasingly mental health ( i.e. stress, anxiety and depression) and digestive concerns are some of the most frequently presented health issues in medical professional offices. Many times, these conditions are looked at and treated as independent entities. In light of much research, it is becoming apparent that medical professionals must address both mental and digestive health concerns together in order to bring about long lasting wellness and successful treatment outcomes.
One easy addition to health and wellness treatment protocols are various probiotics strains, that allow for proper physiology functioning of digestive and nervous system. More research needs to be done in the area of certain probiotic strains and the subsequent neuronal area it affects, to help direct treatment of specific digestive and mental health concerns.
In addition, assessing and treating by relative lab tests results, vitamin D, anti-inflammatory diets and exercise all have roles to play in allowing the modulation of the gut bacteria, and providing the gut and brain with the nutrients it requires to function optimally.
Also published on the CanPrev Blog
With spring finally here, you may feel inspired to clean out and organize the inside of your house! By incorporating detox methods into your everyday routine — you can also cleanse your insides.
Your body is continually undergoing natural detoxification methods as part of general maintenance – and especially when a season change is upon us. But many times, the detox organs (ie. skin, lungs, liver, kidneys and intestines), need extra nutritional and herbal support to ensure that they are working effectively and efficiently.
An overloaded and unsupported system can respond in the following ways: digestive complaints, fatigue, hives, skin conditions, low-grade infections, achy joints, brain fog, and frequent headaches.
Check out these detox tips to optimize your ‘internal cleanse’ this spring!
First – the liverThe liver is one of the main organs of elimination that cleanses the blood. Blood detoxification, being one of the most important functions of the liver, needs a good supply of nutrients in order to do its job effectively. Think of the best working vacuum cleaner, if its filter is dirty it surely won’t do a good job – the liver works quite the same! Without a supply of the right nutrients, it will dysfunction just like the vacuum.
There are 2 phases to this very important job (liver detox) and both require certain nutrients to complement each complex phase.
The first phase of liver detoxification (Phase 1) breaks down toxins into less toxic versions of their original chemical structure. From there a second step of detoxification should occur (Phase 2). This is where the liver will chemically alter the toxic by-product making it water soluble and easier to excrete via the intestines.
This all happens if liver function is optimal, which means the right kinds of nutrients need to be available to keep our hardest working organ-fueled!
Key factors and what to look for in a detox formula?CanPrev’s Detox Pro is a 15 day cleanse that is jammed packed with a healthful blend of antioxidants, herbs and other nutrients that provide the liver with specific nutrients to support phase 1 and 2 of detoxification and to ultimately help rid toxins out of the body.
Powerful antioxidants such as n-acetylcysteine (NAC), which is a precursor to an endogenous antioxidant called glutathione as well as vitamins A, C and E, all help to neutralize the free radicals (damaging substances) from phase 1 waiting to enter phase 2.
The vitamin B family such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate and B12, provide energy and act as co-factors in the metabolic reactions that happen in phase 2 detoxification. Choline helps to metabolize fat, copper and zinc help make an antioxidant called superoxide dismutase work (an enzyme that helps break down potentially harmful oxygen molecules) and also supports a healthy metabolism.
Trace minerals such as molybdenum, manganese and selenium enable other vitamins or enzymes in the detoxification process to function.
Herbs for detoxArtichoke extract, also found in this formula, has strong antioxidant property, protects the liver and prevents depletion of glutathione.
Turmeric, an ancient spice that has hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties contains beneficial polyphenols and offers powerful antioxidant support. Tumeric works in both fat and water soluble tissues to protect the liver.
Dandelion extract can help stimulate digestive glands and the liver. Green tea extract contains compounds called polyphenols that help to support Phase 1 and 2. Milk thistle extract’s active ingredient is silymarin, which has the amazing capacity to regenerate liver tissue. Rosemary extract is an antioxidant and inhibits some cancer-causing effects from carcinogens. Lastly, slippery elm forms a gel-like substance when mixed with water to protect the mucous membranes.
Additional factors to support healthy detoxFiber and probiotics are important additions to any detox.
CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B has five strains that ensure proper colonization of bacteria occurs in the correct places. Three different lactobacillus strains colonize the small intestine and vaginal tissue and two strains of Bifidobacterium bacteria colonize the large intestine to help prevent and control constipation and diarrhea.
CanPrev’s Fiber Flow is a combination of 3 herbal components that provide soluble fiber to keep bowels moving well – so that all those toxins can be eliminated before re-entering the bloodstream!
Unique to this formula is the glucomannan that helps both constipation and diarrhea. As well as a form of fiber extracted from New Zealand kiwifruit. Kiwifruit has been found to enhance gut health by easing constipation and modulating colonic microbiota. It also provides enzymes, prebiotics and antioxidants and promotes laxation!
Lastly, the pectin from apples is another soluble source of fiber the can help with satiation, binds cholesterol and helps maintain healthy glucose levels.
The fiber allows binding of certain metabolic by-products and directs it to the bowels to be eliminated and the probiotics help to ensure the elimination occurs.
Be sure to drink plenty of water if you choose to use this product and as always consult with a qualified health professional before adding a natural health product to your regime.
The 5 Organs of Elimination
This blog is also featured here, on the CanPrev Blog site....
The 5 main organs that are responsible for elimination and keeping our bodies healthy are the kidneys, liver, lungs, skin and intestines. Here is a summary of what they do and how to keep them functioning optimally!
The liver is one of the main organs of elimination that cleanses the blood from the chemicals we ingest from food, drugs and excess hormones. There are 2 phases of detoxification, Phase 1 and Phase 2. The first phase of detoxification is to convert toxins into less toxic molecules while they wait to enter into phase 2, where they are altered into a water soluble compound making it easier to excrete by the intestines and kidneys. In order to do this, there are many nutrients that are required for these metabolic reactions to occur, such as antioxidants and amino acids and B vitamins which can be found in CanPrev’s Detox Pro.
Small and Large Intestines:
Food leaving the stomach enters into the small intestine where absorption occurs. But all too often toxins and nutrients leak out of a very inflamed and permeable gut into the bloodstream to cause unwanted symptoms like joint pain, skin conditions and digestive concerns.
This can occur for a variety of reasons, but food quality and quantity, eating too fast, stress, antibiotics, anti-acid medication and many other factors can all decrease optimal digestion.
This leaves the intestines working extremely hard at jobs they are not really capable of doing thus, inflammation is created and the gut loses it integrity, releasing food and nutrients back into the bloodstream.
Constipation whether it be from lack of fiber, medications or improper microflora can allow toxins to be re- absorbed by the bloodstream to cause more health issues. So using a good fiber supplement like Fiber Flow by CanPrev and improving bacterial cultures with CanPrev’s Probiotik 15B is a great start to help support the bowels.
The kidneys are responsible for removing waste products, drugs and excess fluid from the body. Blood enters the kidney and goes into millions of a functional units to filter the blood. These units are called nephrons. A nephron consists of a glomerulus and tubule. Blood is filtered in the glomerulus and the remaining fluid goes into the tubule and has water or chemicals either added or removed depending on requirement.
It requires about 500ml to 1000 ml of water a day as a minimum to support these elimination processes. You can jazz up your water with Electro Mag by CanPrev which is a powdered form of electrolytes and vitamin C which is a great addition to aid kidney health for hydration and nutrients the body and kidney require.
Skin: It is easy to forget that what we put on our skin or what comes into contact with our skin is literally being absorbed into our bodies. And our body has to process all of those toxins.
Many chemicals from perfumes, lotions, soaps, detergents, deodorants and other personal care products can wreak havoc on the endocrine system. So take a look at what you are using in your environment and try to stop or reduce what you are using, or switch to a natural less toxic version.
Also, if the other organs of elimination are not functioning well, then the skin is the organ that takes on the elimination burden. This can be seen as acne, eczema, psoriasis, hives and other skin afflictions.
Keep the skin healthy by drinking lots of water, use a humidifier for dryer/colder temperatures, switch to natural lotions with less chemical ingredients, dry brush the skin to help get rid of excess skin, provide the skin with antioxidants to support and protect healthy skin such as vitamins E, selenium and zinc which can be found in CanPrev’s Antioxidant Network
Probably the lesser known organ of elimination, the lungs help rid the body of chemicals that have been metabolized by the liver into a gaseous form. A great example of this is with alcohol ingestion and having the smell of alcohol on the breath, the next day. Toxins can also be expelled through phlegm.
Hi I am Dr. Laura: mum of 2, Naturopathic Doctor, Health and Wellness Expert, Educator, Speaker, & Entreprenuer