Alzheimer's and Dementias: Risk Reduction and Supportive Care

Photo from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dotbenjamin/2560935556

Photo from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dotbenjamin/2560935556

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, “The number of Canadians with dementia is rising sharply. As of today, there are over half a million Canadians living with dementia - plus about 25,000 new cases diagnosed every year.” There are four types of conventional dementia: lewy body, vascular, frontotemporal, and Alzheimer’s, with Alzheimer’s being the most prevalent. Dementias involve a decline in one or more cognitive domains:

·      Learning and memory

·      Language

·      Executive function

·      Complex attention

·      Perceptual-motor

·      Social cognition

 

The accumulation of protein plaques, tangles and aggregates in the brain is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Recently new research3,5,6 has indicated that such pathologies can potentially be reversed, or that their progression can possibly be slowed at the very least. Much has also been learned about the many factors that are associated with an increased risk of developing these pathologies, such as:

·      Genetics (such as the APOEe4 and APOEe3 single nucleotide polymorphisms, among others)

·      Elevated blood sugar (Alzheimer’s is sometimes dubbed “Diabetes Type 3” of the brain)

·      Sedentary lifestyle

·      Certain medications (such as proton pump inhibitors, statins, Ambien, and others)

·      Toxin and heavy metal exposure (e.g. pesticides, pollution, smoking, fungal toxins)

·      Nutrient deficiencies (most notably B12, zinc and vitamin D)

·      Certain foods (e.g. oxidized oils, refined sugars, gluten and other undetected food sensitivities)

·      Hearing loss (leads to decreased neural stimulation)

·      Stress

·      Insomnia and poor sleep quality

·      Immune and inflammation imbalances

·      Gut flora imbalances (e.g. excess or insufficient quantities of certain bacteria)

 

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are well equipped to help patients address each of the above risk factors. Your ND will start with a thorough history taking to identify individual contributing factors and areas of concern, then she/he will discuss with you whether any further investigations may be indicated in your case, such as lab testing pertaining to any of the following: blood sugar regulation, inflammation, thyroid, adrenals, sex hormones, neurotransmitters, nutrient status, food sensitivities, or digestive health. Naturopathic doctors can also analyze your genetic data from external genetic testing. Your ND may also advise you with regards to diet, exercise, toxin exposure reduction, detoxification, medications, and optimization of sleep, digestion and stress management. Sometimes even small changes can be of significant benefit when it comes to reducing the risk of dementia.

 

Some of the factors that are believed to be protective against dementia include1,6:

·      Regularly engaging in moderate aerobic exercise suited to your ability

·      A diet rich in healthy fats and low in refined carbohydrates, including the Mediterranean diet, and rich in vegetables (especially those of the cruciferous aka brassica family, such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage etc.) and low-glycemic fruits (e.g. pears, apples, berries)

·      Addressing hearing loss

·      Maintaining social connections and activities throughout the aging process

·      Maintaining a healthy weight and blood sugar regulation, which may include intermittent fasting

·      Stress reduction in general, and e.g. meditation, music, journaling, gardening, time in nature, emotional counselling etc.

·      Supplements and medications that address elevated blood sugar (e.g. berberine, possibly Metformin), cholesterol imbalances (e.g. berberine, plant sterols), and inflammation (e.g. curcumin – an extract of turmeric)

 

It’s important that you consult your healthcare practitioner before making changes in your diet, lifestyle, medications, or intake of supplements. If you’re interested in dementia risk-reduction or supportive care, make an appointment with me by calling Sage Clinic: 250-590-7809.

 

References

1.     Burčul, F et al. Isothiocyanates: cholinesterase inhibiting, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activity. J Enzyme Inhib Med Chem. 2018 Dec;33(1):577-582.
<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29513045> Accessed January 18, 2019.

2.     Campbell, JM et al. Metformin use associated with reduced risk of dementia in patients with diabetes: A systemic review and meta-analysis. J Alzheimers Dis. 2018;65(4):1225-1236 <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30149446> Accessed January 18, 2019.

3.     Hu, X et al. BACE1 deletion in the adult mouse reverses preformed amyloid deposition and improves cognitive functions. J Exp Med. 2018 Mar 5;215(3):927-940. <http://jem.rupress.org/content/215/3/927> Accessed January 18, 2019.

4.     Latest Information and Statistics. Alzheimer Society of Canada.

https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/Get-involved/Advocacy/Latest-info-stats

Published June 29, 2018. Accessed January 18, 2019.

5.     Martini, F et al. A multifunctional compound ebselen reverses memory impairment, apoptosis and oxidative stress in a mouse model of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Feb;109:107-117. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30521994> Accessed January 18, 2019.

6.     Wilson, Doni. Intensive on reversing Alzheimer disease and cognitive decline. Presentation at the 2018 British Columbia Naturopathic Association Conference in Vancouver, BC.

 (c) 2019 Dr. Jocelyn Taitt, ND. All rights reserved.

High-Dose Fish Oils Rescue Brain Cells after Traumatic Brain Injury

From https://www.flickr.com/photos/healthblog/8384110298

From https://www.flickr.com/photos/healthblog/8384110298

High-Dose Fish Oils Rescue Brain Cells after Traumatic Brain Injury
(c) 2018 Dr. Jocelyn Taitt, ND

About 30% of the brain is composed of omega-3 fatty acids. When injured (such as in a concussion) the brain tends to swell, and connections between nerve cells (neurons) are often damaged, while other nerve cells die.  But research1,2 out of the National Institute of Health in the United States found that supplementing with high doses of DHA-rich omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in quality fish oils) very soon after a traumatic brain injury may inhibit cell death and support the reconnection of nerve cells.

Another study3 found that DHA omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil helps to turn on certain genes that lead to the production of special proteins that help to contain the inflammation and subsequent further damage of brain cells after brain injury (as well as in Alzheimer’s disease).

The doses of DHA-rich fish oils that are prescribed after a traumatic brain injury are sometimes 10x greater than a person would normally consume on a daily basis. Fish oils have a mild but dose-dependent blood thinning effect, so it is important that hemorrhagic brain injury (brain injury due to bleeding) or bleeding disorders are ruled out before extremely high doses of fish oils are prescribed. Blood-thinning medications may be a contraindication for the consumption of fish oils.  

In addition to being of potential benefit after traumatic brain injury, fish oils provide a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that are otherwise often severely deficient in the diet of modern humans, and are an important supplement in the treatment of many inflammatory and neurological conditions, from arthritis and endometriosis to depression and multiple sclerosis. But the quality of fish oils on the market varies considerably, and it is important to ensure that your supplement contains a sufficient amount of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Naturopathic Doctors carry fish oils that are produced with extremely stringent manufacturing procedures for the highest quality and purity, and which contain therapeutic doses of EPA and DHA fatty acids. Some fish or other seafood-based omega-3 oils are sourced from unsustainable fishing practices, so it is also important to ensure that your omega-3 oil supplement is a sustainable product.

As always, it is best to talk to your health provider about whether fish oils are a potentially safe and helpful supplement for you, and which kinds may be of most benefit for your individual health. 

References
1.     Kim, HY et al. (2010). Phosphatidylserine-dependent neuroprotective signaling promoted by docosahexaenoic acid. Accessed Sept. 28, 2018. Available at <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3383770/> doi 10.1016/j.plefa.2010.02.025 

2.     Kim, HY et al. (2011). N-docosahexaenoylethanolamide promotes development of hippocampal neurons. Accessed Sept. 28, 2018. Available at <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3169088/> doi 10.1042/BJ20102118

3.     Lukiw, W. et al. (2005). A role for docosahexaenoic acid-derived neuroprotectin D1 in neural cell survival and Alzheimer disease. Accessed Sept. 28, 2018. Available at  < https://www.jci.org/articles/view/25420>  doi 10.1172/JCI25420

4.     Smith, Stephanie (CNN, 2017). Fish oil helped save our son. Accessed Sept. 28, 2018. Available at <https://www.cnn.com/2012/10/19/health/fish-oil-brain-injuries/index.html>

Back to Life...Back on Track!

From https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Autumn!.jpg

From https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Autumn!.jpg

September tends to bring about changes in our daily routine as things gear up a notch at work or school. This is often accompanied by an increase in stress, which needs to be managed proactively in order to ensure that we have the energy and immune strength to endure the challenges that the fall months may bring. The transition from summer to fall is an important time to re-establish healthy habits and ensure that we have supports in place to help us keep up with the many demands of daily living. Here are the TOP 5 things you can do to keep yourself thriving inside and out in September:

1: Prioritize healthy sleep hygiene

·      This includes going to bed and rising at the same times each day, even on the weekends. Your adrenals, immune system, hormones and mood will all thank you for it!

·      If you’re getting less than at least 7 hours of sleep per night, or if you’re having difficulty falling or staying asleep, it’s crucial that this is addressed. Naturopathic doctors have a wide range of tools to help you get better Zzz’s!

2: Let food be thy medicine

·      Take a look at your diet – is it mostly full of whole foods that give you strength, resilience and energy, or are you stressing your immune, digestive and endocrine systems by consuming a few too many processed foods or foods to which you are sensitive? If you need guidance on optimizing your diet and determining what your food sensitivities may be, your ND can help.

·      As the weather gets cooler, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) tells us that in order to vitalize our Wei Qi (protective/immune energy) we ought to think about transitioning from an emphasis on cooling, raw foods to incorporating more foods that are warming. This means eating more things that are at least lightly cooked and warming in nature, including spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. All the more reason to enjoy pumpkin-spice everything!

3. Let go of what is weighing you down. At this time of year even the trees are showing us how beautiful it can be to let go as they shed their colourful foliage! For us creatures this may look like:

·      Cleaning up your mind: are there limiting or concerning thoughts or beliefs that are holding you back and draining your vitality? What’s keeping you from seeking assistance from trusted advisors to help you shift into an easier, more joyful state of being?

·      Cleaning up your home, your sanctuary, your castle! Is it time to de-clutter your space by packing up a few things in a donation box? Are there toxins or irritants in your home that are affecting your wellbeing, such as mould, excess dust, or harsh cleaning products?

·      Cleaning up your body: TCM shows us that changes of seasons are an ideal time to cleanse and detoxify. This helps to re-optimize the important functions of our detox organs (e.g. skin, liver, kidneys and bowels), which is vital to maintaining a strong immune system, balanced hormones and mood, and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions. Naturopathic doctors can provide individualized guidance on cleansing. This may involve dietary modifications that feel doable for you, herbs, intermittent fasting, or various methods of sweating, among other things.

4. Nurture closeness with others

·      A feeling of closeness with others is one of the uttermost immune-boosting and stress-relieving needs that must be filled in our lives. Are you making a point of making time to foster close, meaningful relationships with your family, partner and friends? Even the odd quick little note to a loved one can go a long way. Let someone know you’re thinking of them and sending them a hug for their day. Or if you need a hug, ask for one – ‘cause unfortunately even our dearest ones can’t always predict our feelings and needs. And if you’re lonely, take some initiative and invite a friend for a walk or a meal.  

5. Laugh at life and at yourself!

·      You don’t need to be told that this is the “best medicine.” But it’s a well-established fact that being able to find the humour in everyday ups and downs energizes and protects our vitality. When you spill a glass of water, do you swear about your “bad luck”? Or do you picture the incident in your mind and realize what slap-stick comedy gold that was, and love yourself in all your silly clumsiness? I once slipped on a wet Skytrain platform in Vancouver, causing me to slide onto the train on my knees. What an entrance I made- like the grand finale of a musical. Sure – my knees hurt, but I laughed all the way to my destination!

 

If you’re ready to get back on track this fall, I’m ready to help! Why wait to live your best life? Call to book your appointment: 250-590-7809.

 

References

Harvard Health Publishing (2018). How to boost your immune system. Accessed August 28, 2018. Available at

Suttie, Emma (no date provided). Autumn / fall. Accessed August 28, 2018. Available at

Wang, Yuxiang (2006). A TCM change of season diet. Accessed August 28, 2018. Available at

 

Lucious Zoodles Supreme

Zoodles Supreme Jocelyn's 1.jpg

My mom hates zucchini and squash, but even she adored this bright, fresh and savoury zoodle dish! With this much flavour, you won't miss the carbs!


#paleo #lowcarb #zoodles #butternutsquashnoodles #basil #mushrooms #whitewine #vegan #vegetarian #oliveoil

INGREDIENTS
- 1/3 cup onion, sliced
- 1 cup brown button / cremini mushrooms, each quartered and sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 can water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, squeezed of excess water, chopped
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (rehydrate in boiling hot water, rinse and chop)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 2-3 cups each: zucchini noodles and butternut squash noodles (Costco sells them as a package duo)
- 1 jar favourite tomato pasta sauce (I used a spicy red pepper tomato sauce)
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and dried (reserve a few pretty leaves for garnish)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (OR parmesan cheese)
- Herbamare or sea salt, to taste
- olive oil for cooking and garnish
- handful of multi-coloured cherry tomatoes, each sliced in half (optional)

METHOD
1) In a large frying pan over medium heat: sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil until tender, around 4 mins with lid on, stirring occasionally. 
2) Add crushed garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring well to avoid burning.
3) Add zoodles and butternut squash noodles. Toss well to mix with oil in pan.
4) Add white wine, sundried tomatoes and artichokes. Cover pan to simmer for 2 mins.
5) Remove lid of pan. Add jar of tomato sauce. Toss noodles well to coat. Cover and simmer 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
6) Remove lid. Allow sauce to simmer to reduce. Mix in basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, oregano, nutritional yeast and salt. Continue to simmer until noodles are of desired consistency (ideally slightly al dente - mushy zoodles are no fun).
7) Remove from heat. Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil over entire dish, and toss to coat. Garnish with reserved fresh basil leaves. Serve with your favourite protein - try turkey meatballs, or add some chickpeas and include them in the cooking process (cook for about 10 mins).

Serves ~5 people. Pairs well with white wine. 

Other serving suggestiongs: Try tossing in spinach while sautéing. If you have some pitted kalamata olives on hand, they would make a great addition as well. 

 

Zoodles Supreme Jocelyn's 2.jpg

Thai curry squash 'n hidden treasures soup

Thai soup Joc's.JPG

In Chinese medicine, keeping the spleen meridian (sometimes now referred to as the spleen-pancreas meridian) warm is essential to good digestion, especially in the colder months. Too much cold food (including drinking cold smoothies in the morning, which is spleen time in the TCM clock) and too much stress can lead to spleen qi deficiency, manifesting with symptoms such as bloating, gas, loose stools, and fatigue. The spleen loves warming foods, and the colour orange nourishes the spleen, so warm and spicy squash soup is an excellent choice to keep the spleen happy (especially during the chillier months)! This recipe also includes some extra hidden veggies that will provide a vitamin boost, without offending the kiddos! 

Makes approximately 2L soup. 

INGREDIENTS:
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil (olive oil may be substituted)
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 and 1/2 cups carrots, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp. fresh ginger, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste (yellow OR red - yellow is more turmeric-y, red is spicier; red was used in pic above)
- 1/8 tsp. ground coriander
- 1 medium-sized kabocha squash, peeled*, pulp removed, cubed (butternut squash may be substituted)
- 1 and 1/2 cups cauliflower, sliced thinly
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
- 1 L hot water
- 1/2 to 1 tsp. Herbamare, or sea salt (start with 1/2 tsp... add more to taste, if needed)
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk (don't worry, it's healthy fat! plus the light stuff is way less satisfying)
   --> reserve about 1 Tbsp. coconut milk for garnish!
- juice of half a lime

*For the squash: cutting and peeling raw squash is challenging and precarious - one could easily lose a finger! I make it easier on myself by poking the squash a few times, then baking it in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 C. This allows the skin of the squash to soften, making peeling and cutting the squash much easier. 

METHOD:
1) Add coconut oil to a large pot on medium heat. Add onions and allow them to soften for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Add carrots and celery, and allow them to soften for 3 minutes (again, stirring as needed). Add crushed garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute. Add red curry paste and coriander, stirring well to incorporate, and allow the spices to be heated for 30 seconds with constant stirring. 
2) Add the diced squash, water, salt, pepper and lime leaves (if using). Bring to a boil, then simmer until the veggies are soft (about 20 minutes).
3) Remove from heat. Remove lime leaves (if using). 
4) Blend soup in blender on high speed until creamy (do this in batches). 
5) Return soup to pot. Add coconut milk and lime juice. Re-heat until just boiling, stirring well to incorporate the coconut milk. 
6) Taste the soup - adjust the salt and pepper as needed. If it is not spicy/curry-ish enough, add more curry paste to taste, whisking it in and bringing it back to the boil. If it is too spicy, add more coconut milk. The soup may also be thinned with a little hot water, if desired. 
7) Serve - ladle the soup into your favourite bowl. Garnish with a drizzle of the reserved coconut milk, and swirl it with a few lights strokes of a spoon to make an attractive pattern. 
8) Optional: take your soup to the next level of presentation with a drizzle of basil-infused olive oil, a few drops of sriracha, and garnish with any of the following: fresh bean sprouts, cilantro, basil or watercress. 

ENJOY! 

Like this recipe? Let me know by clicking the "like" button, and share with your hungry friends! 
Did you vary the recipe, with delicious results? Let me know in the comments below. 

Addictive Kale-Basil Hummus

Kale hummus Jocelyn's.JPG

I was torn as to whether I was going to call this recipe a "hummus" or a pâté, as it could arguably be either, depending on how much of the optional pumpkin seeds are added. Either way, chances are this stuff will keep you coming back for more!

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 x 540mL (19 flOz) chickpeas*, drained and rinsed well
  • 2-3 cups baby kale
  • 1 bunch basil leaves (~1/2 cup, but more doesn't hurt!) OR: 1/8 cup basil-infused olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sunflower butter (OR tahini...I use sunflower)
  • 1 and 1/4 tsp Herbamare (OR other herb-infused salt, or sea salt)
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (if using using 1/8 cup basil-infused olive oil above, you will just need 1/8 cup plain extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 3 Tbps. raw pumpkin seeds (optional, but recommended! Add even more if you want it to be a thicker pâté, or consider adding hemp seeds, or other seeds or nuts - you really can't go wrong)
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended - provides a  subtle tangy, cheesy taste and an extra dose of B-vitamins)
  • Optional: a dash or two of sriracha or hot sauce

    Yield: ~2 cups hummus/pâté

METHOD

Rub the rinsed chickpeas between your hands or a dishtowel to loosen the skins. Pick out the skins and discard them (they're hard to digest). Set aside the olive oil(s) and lemon juice. Place everything else in a food processor. Once you turn on the food processor, slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, then the olive oil(s), and process until smooth. Enjoy! 

Serving suggestions: Serve with raw veggies, on your favourite crackers, or use as a pâtê in veggie wraps or sandwiches.  

*Chickpeas: if using chickpeas that you soaked and cooked beforehand, even better! You'll need about 2 cups for this recipe. 

Calcium, Magnesium and Iron: Understanding Mineral Supplements

Calcium, magnesium and iron come in many different forms in supplements. Here is some information to help you understand how the forms of these minerals vary, and how to determine whether your supplements are of good quality. As always, consult your naturopathic doctor or healthcare provider to determine which forms of minerals and supplements are best for your unique, individual needs.

Calcium

Types of Calcium: The most absorbable and bioavailable kinds of calcium are calcium citrate and calcium citrate-malate (even better). You won't often see calcium citrate-malate in supplements found in most stores, but calcium citrate is the next best option. When bone deposition is a concern (e.g. in osteopenia or osteoporosis), hydroxyapatite is the preferred type of calcium (sometimes called MCHC). 

Calcium carbonate is a cheaper form of calcium that is found in many brands. It contains the most elemental calcium, but it is in a form that is not easily absorbed and is not highly bioavailable. 

Avoid calcium supplements that only contain calcium - these are not balanced with other important, synergistic nutrients (such as magnesium, vitamin D3 and K2). Ingesting calcium by itself increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and does not improve bone mineralization. Calcium taken by itself may be deposited in the arteries and soft tissues, rather than in the bones. Vitamin K (especially K2) “guides” the calcium to be deposited into bone preferentially rather than soft tissues and arteries. But note that vitamin K may not be appropriate for people with certain conditions. Check with your ND, MD or pharmacist to make sure vitamin K is safe for you.

Magnesium

There are many different forms of magnesium. Each kind differs as to absorbability and function in the body. Some supplements have a mixture of several different types of magnesium, which provides the widest spectrum of benefits. Here's a list of the most common types of magnesium found in supplements, and what they do:

  • magnesium oxide: most poorly absorbed and therefore has a strong laxative effect; inferior choice for treating deficiency or maintaining adequate levels; best choice if laxative effect is desired (short-term use only, and not be used in case of bowel obstruction).
  • magnesium citrate: rapidly absorbed but still has some laxative effect (although not as much as oxide); common and inexpensive form found in supplements. An OK choice as long as loose stools don’t become an issue.
  • magnesium glycinate / bisglycinate: absorbed even better than citrate; common form found in higher quality supplements; has a calming effect and relaxes muscles.

Iron

Iron exists as heme iron (which comes from animals) and non-heme iron (which comes from plants, so suitable for vegans). Heme iron is absorbed far better than non-heme iron (50 mg of non-heme iron = 3 mg heme iron absorbed). Most over-the-counter supplements contain non-heme iron, either as ferrous or ferric iron. Ferrous iron is much more absorbable than ferric, and comes in several different forms: ferrous-gluconate, citrate, sulfate, fumarate,  or succinate. Ferrous fumarate and ferrous succinate are absorbed the best and are the least likely to cause digestive disturbances (such as constipation). Of these, ferrous succinate is superior.

 

Disclaimer: Information can be empowering, but we all have unique health profiles and needs. Health-related information contained in this post is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a Naturopathic Doctor. The advice is intended to offer only a general basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider. Always consult your licensed Naturopathic Doctor or health care provider.

COCONUT OIL: Healthy or Unhealthy? What You Need To Know

COCONUT OIL: You may have heard the American Heart Association recently declare that - despite being touted as a health food in recent years - it was never actually a healthy oil because it is high in saturated fat. But there is no study linking saturated fat to heart attacks, and not all saturated fats are created equally, for some very important reasons.

Here are some important notes to consider:

- SUGAR and simple carbs, rather than fat, have been proven time and time again to be a significant contributor to the development of cardiovascular disease.

- Not all saturated fat is created equal - consider this: if you put a slab of bacon fat on the counter in 37 C degree weather (body temperature), it remains in a solid state. But coconut oil becomes liquid at just 24 C. This is because each type of saturated fat has different chemical properties, and therefore has a different effect in the body. The source of the saturated fat matters - studies have found that it's healthiest when it's from fish, dairy (arguably) or plants (like coconut oil).

- The healthiest components of coconut oil are lauric acid (antimicrobial), and MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), which when combined with the fatty acids found in grass-fed butter create an excellent source of fuel for the mitochondria (the organelles in our cells that create energy for our body, and which are especially important for cardiovascular disease and which tend to slow down in the aging process). This has become known as the "bulletproof" combination. And what may be even better is pure (100%) MCT oil, which is a special preparation of coconut oil (regular coconut oil only contains 12-13% MCTs).

- Although coconut oil can indeed be healthy, it can also become inflammatory (unhealthy) if it is combined with sugar or simple carbs (like bread and pasta), and the amount of coconut oil intake that is healthy varies from one person to the next.

- If you decide to make changes to your diet, have your licensed health practitioner monitor you to help ensure that you're on the right track

Check out the following links for further reading: 

https://www.thedrswolfson.com/coconut-oil-deadly/
      Note: the author of this article recommends a Paleo diet for everyone, but I do not agree that any one diet is right for every individual. Ask your ND to help you explore what dietary changes might be right for you.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/is-coconut-oil-unhealthy-american-heart-association-study

http://drhyman.com/blog/2016/04/06/is-coconut-oil-bad-for-your-cholesterol/

What's in Your Vitamins?

How do you choose a vitamin supplement?

When you go shopping for vitamins there's a staggering variety of brands to choose from, and unfortunately when it comes to quality, many fall short. Many brands source their vitamins from suppliers with poor standards of quality and purity, or include forms of vitamins that are either non-beneficial or potentially even harmful. Below are some of the key things to keep in mind when selecting vitamin supplements. Take a look and see how the supplements you have at home compare.

B Vitamins: Folate and B12 are the ones to watch

Of greatest importance is to ensure that folate and B12 are in the methylated form"Methyl” refers to a chemical group that our bodies use for a multitude of important physiological processes, such as: DNA repair, the metabolism of homocysteine (a harmful metabolic byproduct that causes inflammation and damages blood vessels), detoxification and mood regulation. Un-methylated forms of folate and B12 can impair the methylation reactions in our body and increase the risk of many diseases. 

Folate: look for L5-methyltetrahydrofolate. If it just says "folic acid" or "folate," it may not be in the most desirable form.

B12: look for methylcobalamin. Watch out for an un-methylated form of B12 called cyanocobalamin.

Vitamin C

GMO: 90% of the vitamin C produced for supplements is made in China and derived from GMO crops – especially GMO corn, which is sprayed with herbicides such as glyphosphate (a Monsanto product that has been declared carcinogenic by the World Health Organization). Unfortunately, most brands don't indicate on their labels whether or not they use vitamin C derived from GMO crops, so you may have to contact the brand you're interested in to find out. Your Naturopathic Doctor can also help you to select a supplement that uses good quality vitamin C.

Vitamin E

GMO: Most vitamin E in supplements is derived from soybean oil. Like the GMO corn from which vitamin C is derived, over 90% of the soy produced in the world is GMO and contaminated with herbicides like glyphosphate.Trace amounts of glyphosphate have been found in soybean oil, so it may be best to look for supplements that use organic, non-GMO sources vitamin E. These are usually derived from sunflower or other vegetable oils.

Types of Vitamin E: Vitamin E exists as “tocopherols” or “tocotrienols”. There are four versions of each: alpha, beta, delta, and gamma. Most research has focused on tocopherols, although we’re just starting to learn about the specific therapeutic applications of tocotrienols. Internally, tocopherols are better absorbed than tocotrienols. For general anti-oxidant benefit, alpha or gamma tocopherols are far more potent that beta and delta tocopherols. What is even better is a mixture of both alpha and gamma tocopherols, with a higher proportion of gamma (this is cardio-protective).

Synthetic vs. Natural Vitamin E: Synthetic vitamin E interferes with the activity of natural, bioavailable vitamin E, and increases the risk of prostate cancer (and perhaps other illnesses). Synthetic forms of vitamin E have "dl" in their name, e.g. "dl-alpha-tocopherol." Natural forms of vitamin E just have "d" in front of their names, e.g. "d-alpha-tocopherol." Watch out for that extra letter!

Vitamin D

Vitamin D3 is the active form of vitamin D. Some supplements contain vitamin D2, which is synthetic and is an inactive form that is much less potent than vitamin D3.

Dr. Jocelyn can be your guide.

Dr. Jocelyn can advise you as to which brands of vitamin and mineral supplements are of good quality, and what doses and forms of nutrients are best for your unique, individual needs. Why waste time and money on supplements that aren't right for you? 
Book your appointment with Dr. Jocelyn today.

 

Disclaimer: Information can be empowering, but we all have unique health profiles and needs. Health-related information contained in this post is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for a visit with a Naturopathic Doctor. The advice is intended to offer only a general basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider. Always consult your licensed Naturopathic Doctor or health care provider.