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Hormone Profile: Melatonin | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Hormone Profile: Melatonin

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Hormone Profile: Melatonin | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Hormones are chemical messengers which help control all manner of bodily functions.

This includes mood, growth, reproduction, metabolism, and even sleep patterns.

As a hormone naturopathic doctor I can help you find natural solutions for issues caused by hormone imbalances.

This includes sleep disturbances due to disruptions in melatonin, the hormone responsible for helping you sleep.

Issues can range from problems falling and staying asleep to low quality sleep in general.

These may lead you to feel tired and groggy during the day and may indicate you an issue with your melatonin levels.

I’m Dr. Maria, a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga and I want to help you balance your hormones so you can live your life more fully.

Keep reading to find out more about the hormone melatonin, and ways to naturally manage it.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone which plays a number of roles in your body.

Its most well known effect is helping you fall asleep.

It does this by signaling to your body it’s night time, and helps you to relax so you can fall asleep easier, and stay asleep longer.

Although it’s made naturally by your body, many people also use melatonin supplements to help them fall asleep easier.

They can also be used to help with jet lag and adjusting to new time zones.

Where Is Melatonin Made In The Body?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your pineal gland.

Your pineal gland is a small, pea shaped gland which is located in your brain.

It’s part of your endocrine system, which also includes your thyroid and parathyroid, your pancreas, your adrenal glands, your ovaries or testes, your hypothalamus, and others.

Although it’s made in the pineal gland, melatonin can also be found in other parts of your body.

These include in bone marrow, in your gut, and even in your eyes.

What Does Melatonin Do?

So, melatonin is generally thought of as the “sleep hormone”, however, there’s more to it than just that.

Let’s have a look at how melatonin helps you sleep, as well as some of the other things it does in your body.

1. Melatonin Helps You Fall Asleep

Melatonin supplements are probably best known as a sleep aid.

They both lower the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, and also increase the total amount of sleep you get.

In people with sleep related disorders, melatonin also helped to reduce disturbances and improve sleep quality and length.

2. Melatonin Manages Your Body Temperature

Melatonin plays a role in helping your body regulate its temperature.

A study in the Journal of Pineal Research looked at its effect on body temperature.

Study participants who were given higher doses of melatonin experienced greater drops in core temperature, and for a longer duration, than those who received a placebo.

3. Melatonin Manages Your Dopamine Levels

By binding to receptors in your brain, melatonin can help regulate dopamine levels.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which helps you to feel alert, motivated, and focused.

Although these are good things to have, they can also be counterproductive when you’re trying to fall asleep.

4. Melatonin Lowers Your Blood Pressure

For some people with hypertension, melatonin may help lower blood pressure.

In one 2004 study, men with untreated hypertension were given melatonin one hour before they went to sleep.

Melatonin was found to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 6 and 4 mm Hg (millimetres of mercury) respectively.

It should be noted however, if you are already on medication to control your blood pressure, melatonin could actually cause it to rise more.

If you are thinking of using it to help with sleep, be sure to consult with your medical team first if you are on other medications.

5. Melatonin Can Help With Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal affective disorder, appropriately shortened to “SAD”, is also known as seasonal depression.

It’s commonly thought of as the “winter blues” which happen due to colder temperatures and lack of sunlight during winter months.

What’s less known is some people experience seasonal affective disorder during the summer months.

If you have summer SAD, it can mean trouble sleeping and being tired during the day.

In these cases, using melatonin can help synchronize your circadian rhythm, and improve sleep.

What Does Melatonin Do? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

6. Believe It Or Not, Melatonin Is An Antioxidant

You may have heard the term “antioxidant” before, but you might not be sure exactly what it means.

Antioxidants are molecules which act to counter the effects of free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules which are made by your body in reaction to the environment.

Left unchecked, free radicals can cause oxidative stress.

This is linked to conditions such as cancer, osteoarthritis, stroke, heart disease, respiratory distress, and other inflammatory conditions.

Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress and limit the damage caused by free radicals.

Usually, antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other plant based substances.

Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, iron, zinc, polyphenols, and curcumin are a few great examples.

But there are only two hormones that are also antioxidants.

Melatonin is one of them.

The other is actually estrogen.

Health Disorders Associated With Melatonin

There are a number of disorders and health conditions associated with melatonin.

If you have low levels of melatonin, you could experience the following:

Excess melatonin levels are associated with:

  • Lowered thyroid function
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Low adrenal function
  • Low blood pressure

Can You Get Melatonin From Food?

If you want to get the benefits of melatonin, without reaching for a pill or capsule, you can do so by adding the following foods to your diet:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Tart cherries
  • Nuts, especially almonds and pistachios
  • Goji berries
  • Oily fish, such as sardines and salmon

How To Balance Your Melatonin Levels Naturally

There are ways to keep your melatonin levels in balance, without taking a supplement.

Let’s review a few of them now.

1. Turn Off the Light Well Before Bedtime

Your pineal gland begins to release melatonin when it starts to get dark, because it’s light sensitive.

Because of this, when there is too much light in your environment, it can affect the natural production of melatonin.

Turning off the lights and avoiding screens before bedtime will help your brain to produce the melatonin you need to fall asleep.

2. Make Sure You Get Enough Light During The Day

Just as avoiding lights close to bedtime is important for helping your body produce enough melatonin, the reverse is also true.

That is to say, getting light during the day also impacts how much melatonin you have.

Sunlight can help regulate hormones and affect your circadian rhythm.

3. If You Smoke, Quit

Simply put, if you smoke, your body may have trouble producing enough melatonin to help you fall asleep.

Smokers may have lower sleep quality, and sleep for shorter amounts of time than those who don’t smoke.

Additionally, nicotine may cause the secretion of melatonin to be delayed.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Do you have trouble falling and staying asleep at night?

Or maybe you work an irregular schedule and have trouble sleeping during the day when you are on night shifts.

Maybe you’ve been taking melatonin supplements and are looking for a more natural way to manage your sleep cycles.

Whatever the reason, I can help.

I’m Dr. Maria, a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, Ontario and I run the Mindful Healing Clinic.

I’ll work with you to find natural solutions to your sleep issues, to help ensure you’re getting the restful sleep you need.

Book your appointment with the Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Alt Text 1: Getting To Know Your Body: Your Pancreas | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Getting To Know Your Body: Your Pancreas

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Alt Text 1: Getting To Know Your Body: Your Pancreas | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Have you ever stopped to think about the unsung hero in your body, diligently working day and night to regulate your blood sugar levels and help with digestion?

Meet your pancreas, the remarkable organ tucked away in your abdomen.

It quietly carries out its essential functions without much recognition.

While your heart, brain, and lungs steal the spotlight, it’s time we shed some light on your pancreas.

In my online naturopathic doctor consultations, I often work with patients who have issues with their pancreas.

But while pancreatic concerns are fairly common, naturopathic medicine is a great solution to address them.

Today, we’ll embark on a journey to discover the inner workings of this organ and understand why it deserves your attention and appreciation.

So, let’s dive in.

What Is Your Pancreas?

Your pancreas is a remarkable organ.

It plays a pivotal role in your body’s daily functions.

This glandular organ is about six inches long and is long and thin, like a tadpole.

With functions in both your exocrine and your endocrine system, your pancreas carries out a variety of tasks to keep your body in balance.

What Does Your Pancreas Do?

Firstly, as an endocrine gland, it secretes hormones like insulin and glucagon into your bloodstream.

These hormones are essential in regulating your blood sugar levels.

Secondly, as an exocrine gland, your pancreas produces digestive enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of food in your small intestine.

Without these enzymes, your body would have a hard time absorbing nutrients from your diet.

What Are The Symptoms Of Pancreatic Conditions?

Detecting pancreatic conditions early on is important for timely treatment.

However, understanding their symptoms is the first step.

Pay close attention to signs such as persistent abdominal pain that may radiate to your back, unexplained weight loss, and jaundice.

Additionally, be wary of changes in your stool, like pale or greasy appearances, as well as digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Diabetes, which is a pancreas disorder (more on that in a moment), can lead to excessive thirst, frequent urination, and chronic fatigue.

Common Pancreatic Conditions

Pancreatic conditions, while sometimes overlooked, can significantly impact your health and quality of life.

Understanding these conditions is essential, so let’s take a look into some of the most common ones.

1. Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance occurs when your body’s cells become less responsive to the hormone insulin, which plays a key role in regulating blood sugar levels.

In response to this resistance, your pancreas produces more insulin to compensate, creating a dangerous cycle that can lead to various health problems.

Common signs of insulin resistance include persistent fatigue, increased hunger, and difficulty losing weight.

Also, it often precedes the development of type 2 diabetes.

2. Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, often referred to as juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that affects people of all ages.

Your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells in your pancreas, leaving your body unable to regulate your blood sugar levels naturally.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, and extreme fatigue.

While the exact cause remains elusive, genetic and environmental factors are believed to contribute to its development.

Living with type 1 diabetes requires vigilant self management, including regular blood sugar monitoring, careful meal planning, and insulin administration.

People with type 1 diabetes rely on external insulin sources, such as injections or insulin pumps.

The discovery of using external insulin is due in large part to the research of Dr. Frederick Banting right here in Ontario.

Thanks to Dr. Banting’s work, people with type 1 diabetes can now live full, healthy lives.

3. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is a metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood sugar levels.

Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 develops later in life.

This condition primarily results from insulin resistance.

Lifestyle factors, such as an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity, contribute significantly to its development.

Symptoms may include excessive thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, and slow wound healing.

Managing type 2 diabetes typically involves dietary changes, exercise, and sometimes medication.

4. Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is known for its silent progression and challenging treatment landscape.

This aggressive cancer originates in the tissues of your pancreas.

Often, symptoms don’t surface until it’s reached advanced stages, making early detection a challenge.

Common signs include abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, and digestive issues.

Pancreatic cancer has a reputation for being hard to treat, mainly due to its late diagnosis and limited effective treatment options.

However, advancements in research and treatment options are continually emerging, offering hope to those facing this diagnosis.

RELATED: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Role In Cancer Treatment

5. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a distressing condition that causes inflammation and severe discomfort.

It can manifest in two forms: acute and chronic.

Acute pancreatitis often arises suddenly, leading to intense abdominal pain, nausea, and digestion problems.

It’s frequently linked to gallstones or excessive alcohol consumption.

On the other hand, chronic pancreatitis is a long term illness that gradually damages your pancreas over time.

This results in persistent abdominal pain and complications like malabsorption and diabetes.

6. Other Conditions

Above are the most common pancreatic disorders, but there are others as well.

Pancreatic cysts, for example, are fluid filled sacs that can develop in your pancreas.

These cysts can be benign or potentially cancerous.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are another category of pancreatic conditions, which originate in the hormone producing cells of your pancreas.

Similarly, these tumors can be benign or cancerous, and their symptoms may vary depending on their size and location.

Additionally, autoimmune pancreatitis is a rare condition in which your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your pancreas.

This leads to inflammation and other complications.

How To Support Your Pancreas Naturally

Although pancreatic conditions can significantly impact your health, fortunately, there are natural ways to support your pancreas.

What Is Your Pancreas? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

1. Eat a Pancreas Friendly Diet

Your diet plays an important part in the health of your pancreas, and making wise food choices can go a long way.

Focus on incorporating whole, nutrient rich foods into your meals.

Opt for a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote pancreatic health.

Fibre rich foods like whole grains, beans, and legumes help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the strain on your pancreas.

Additionally, lean sources of protein can be beneficial.

Be mindful of your fat intake as well.

Choose healthy fats, and do your best to avoid unhealthy fats like monounsaturated and trans fats that can contribute to inflammation.

Lastly, avoid excessive consumption of sugary snacks and drinks.

These foods have a lot of added sugar, which can overload your pancreas with insulin demands.

RELATED: 5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid
RELATED: 5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid

2. Eat More Turmeric

Turmeric, a vibrant yellow spice native to South Asia, has been celebrated for its potent health benefits for centuries.

One of its remarkable attributes is its potential to support pancreatic health.

Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, boasts powerful anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

This can help reduce pancreatic inflammation and oxidative stress.

Incorporating turmeric into your diet may help improve insulin sensitivity, making it useful in managing your blood sugar levels.

Turmeric can also enhance digestion by stimulating bile production, easing the burden on your pancreas.

Whether it’s added to curries or taken as a supplement, turmeric offers a flavourful and accessible way to boost your pancreas’ well being.

3. Stay Hydrated

Drinking enough water is essential for overall well being, and it holds particular significance in supporting your pancreas.

Water helps regulate blood sugar levels by helping in the transport of glucose to your cells, where it’s used for energy.

Dehydration can lead to concentrated blood, which puts extra strain on your pancreas as it works to produce and release insulin.

Proper hydration also supports your pancreas in producing digestive enzymes needed for breaking down food.

Drinking water can even help you lose weight.

4. Drink Dandelion Root Tea

Dandelion tea, derived from dandelion roots, is surprisingly helpful in promoting pancreatic health.

Rich in antioxidants and anti inflammatory compounds, dandelion tea can help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation within your pancreas.

Additionally, it may help in digestion by stimulating the production of digestive enzymes.

Some research suggests that dandelion root tea may also help regulate blood sugar levels, making it a valuable addition to your diet if you have diabetes.

So, the next time you see those yellow blooms in your yard, consider harvesting the roots to brew a cup of dandelion tea.

And yes, you can make it from the ones that grow in your yard, so long as you aren’t spraying your lawn with pesticides.

In fact, dandelion roots, and leaves as well, can be a great part of building a nutritious, environmentally friendly diet.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

From the complexities of pancreatic conditions to the power of a pancreas friendly diet, we’ve explored various aspects of this often underappreciated organ.

Do you have concerns about your pancreas?

Does diabetes run in your family?

Or are you just looking for ways to stay healthier?

If so, I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, ND, and I’m here to help.

Book your appointment with me, Dr. Maria, at The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Getting To Know Your Body: Your Adrenal Glands | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Getting To Know Your Body: Your Adrenal Glands

By Blog

Getting To Know Your Body: Your Adrenal Glands | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Despite their importance to your health, many people don’t know how to take proper care of their adrenal glands.

Sure, it’s easy to think about taking care of your health when it comes to sleep, diet, and exercise.

But you might be stumped when it comes to thinking of strategies to take care of your adrenal health.

You might even be unsure of what exactly your adrenal glands are to begin with.

Perhaps you’ve been looking for a clear definition.

Well, look no further.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, naturopathic doctor and owner of the Mindful Healing Clinic in Mississauga.

In this article, we’ll talk all about your adrenal glands: what they are, what they do, and how they can affect your health.

What Are Your Adrenal Glands?

Your adrenal glands are a pair of triangular shaped glands that sit on top of each of your kidneys.

They’re part of your endocrine system, a collection of organs and glands that produce hormones.

This includes your thyroid, pituitary gland, and pancreas, among others.

Speaking of your pituitary gland, it plays a major role in your adrenal gland function.

It’s a tiny little gland, about the size of a pea, that sits at the base of your brain.

Its job is to send messages down to your adrenal glands in order to regulate their functions.

While small, your adrenal glands are mighty.

They’re responsible for several hormone related functions, such as your immune system and stress response.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

What Do Your Adrenal Glands Do?

Your adrenal glands are each made up of two distinct parts, which are in turn responsible for producing distinct hormones.

The outer layer is referred to as the outer adrenal cortex and is responsible for producing certain steroid hormones, such as aldosterone and cortisol.

The inner part is referred to as the inner adrenal medulla and produces multiple hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline.

These hormones play a role in numerous different bodily processes.

For instance, the production of aldosterone helps to control your blood pressure whereas cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline play a major role in your stress responses.

Additionally, cortisol plays an essential role in the regulation of several bodily functions, including your immune system, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and metabolism.

As you can see, your adrenal glands are kind of a jack of all trades.

Common Adrenal Gland Diseases

Adrenal gland diseases may develop for a variety of reasons, such as when:

  • Your pituitary glands stop properly controlling your hormone production
  • Benign, or non cancerous, tumors grow in your adrenal glands
  • Malignant, or cancerous, tumors grow in your adrenal glands
  • Infections develop in your adrenal glands
  • You have an inherited condition

RELATED: Naturopathic Cancer Support Treatments

Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common adrenal gland diseases.

1. Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that causes your adrenal glands to produce too much cortisol.

It typically produces similar symptoms to long term steroid use.

Symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain
  • A round face
  • Increased fat around the base of your neck
  • A fatty lump between your shoulders
  • Easy bruising
  • Wide purple stretch marks, typically on the abdomen, breasts, hips, and underarms
  • Muscle weakness

Naturopathic treatments for Cushing’s syndrome include yoga, nutritional counseling, and using adaptogenic herbs

2. Addison’s Disease

Addison’s disease is a rare autoimmune disease that develops when your adrenal glands fail to produce enough cortisol or aldosterone.

It’s referred to as a “self destructive” disease because it causes your immune system to mistakenly begin attacking adrenal tissue.

Symptoms may include:

Botanical medicine and nutritional counseling can both be effective naturopathic treatments for Addison’s disease.

3. Pheochromocytoma

Pheochromocytoma is a medical term used to describe a tumour that develops in the medulla of your adrenal glands.

Fortunately, these types of tumors are rarely cancerous.

Symptoms may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Frequent headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tremors
  • Shortness of breath
  • A pale complexion (pallor)

In extreme cases, it may be required to have an adrenalectomy – a surgical procedure to remove your adrenal glands.

4. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia is a condition inherited through genetics.

It causes your adrenal gland to struggle to produce hormones.

Symptoms may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Very low blood sodium levels
  • Low blood glucose
  • Excessive acid in the blood (metabolic acidosis)
  • Weight loss
  • Impaired penis development

5. Adrenal Cancer

Adrenal cancer is a serious disease caused by the formation of malignant tumors in your adrenal glands.

Symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Deepening voice and increased hair growth, typically on the face
  • Pain in the abdomen or lower back
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

What Are Your Adrenal Glands? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

How Do I Know If I Have Adrenal Gland Issues?

Typically, symptoms of adrenal gland issues appear subtle at first before gradually worsening and becoming more frequent.

Book an appointment here at the Mindful Healing Clinic if you’re experiencing symptoms of adrenal gland issues, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased salt cravings
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Dark patches on your skin
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Unexpected weight gain or loss

Can You Live Without Your Adrenal Glands?

You might be surprised to learn that it actually is possible to live without your adrenal glands.

There may be certain limited situations where it’s required to remove them, like in more serious cases of adrenal cancer.

But while you can live without your adrenal glands, you can’t live without the hormones they produce.

So if you do lose your adrenal glands, you’ll have to supplement with adrenal hormones for the rest of your life.

How To Keep Your Adrenal Glands Healthy

When you don’t take care of your adrenal glands, you can really start to feel cruddy.

Luckily, there are many steps you can take to keep your adrenal glands in tip top shape.

1. Get Enough Sleep

Making sure to get enough sleep is one of the most important factors for your adrenal health.

It is through rest that your adrenal glands have the opportunity to rejuvenate.

Ideally, you should aim to get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

If you’re dealing with insomnia, naturopathic medicine can help.

RELATED: Why Do We Need Sleep, Anyway?

2. Eat A Balanced Diet

Making sure your diet contains the right foods is also important for your adrenal health.

This means eliminating or seriously reducing foods loaded with sugar or deep fried in vegetable oil, and instead opting for a nutritious plant based diet.

RELATED: 5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid
RELATED: How To Bounce Back After Bingeing On Junk Food

3. Take Natural Adrenal Boosting Supplements

It’s always best to get the bulk of your nutrients through the foods that you eat.

However, adrenal boosting supplements can help to support your adrenal health.

Vitamins and minerals crucial to your adrenal health include:

Of course, it’s always a good idea to book an appointment to chat with me before you add a new supplement to your routine.

4. Reduce Your Stress Levels

Managing your stress levels is an important factor in maintaining good adrenal health.

After all, your adrenal gland health is inherently tied to your stress levels.

Therefore, it’s important to do everything you can to reduce yours.

Here are some examples of natural ways to reduce your stress levels:

  • Resting when you’re tired and making sure to get a good night’s sleep
  • Regulating your sleep schedule
  • Getting enough exercise
  • Doing yoga or meditation
  • Relaxing when possible
  • Reducing your work load to avoid overworking yourself

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Are you wondering how to keep your adrenals healthy?

Do you live a high stress lifestyle and worry about burning out?

If so, we’re here to help.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Alt Text 1: Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoarthritis | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoarthritis

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Alt Text 1: Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoarthritis | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Arthritis is a widespread disability that affects many people.

Arthritis is an umbrella term that encompasses many different conditions that have similar general symptoms.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that affects your joints and can cause you to feel joint pain and stiffness.

This degenerative joint disease can limit your work or recreational activities due to the pain that it causes.

If you have osteoarthritis and are looking for natural solutions to help treat and manage your condition, I’m here to help.

As a Mississauga naturopathic doctor who offers acupuncture services and other holistic treatments, I want to help you learn about naturopathic treatments for osteoarthritis.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at what osteoarthritis is, and what naturopathic treatments are available for you.

What Is Osteoarthritis?

Also known as wear and tear arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common chronic condition that affects your joints.

Your joints are the meeting place where two bones have contact.

The ends of your bones are covered by a protective tissue called cartilage.

When this cartilage breaks down, it causes the joints to rub against each other and can cause pain and stiffness.

It can also narrow the space in the joint as well as cause cysts and changes to the various biological components underneath the cartilage.

This results in the development of osteoarthritis.

This condition can happen in any joint in your body.

The most commonly affected body parts are your hands, shoulders, fingers, knees, hips, and spine.

While osteoarthritis is more prevalent in elderly people, it can affect adults at any age.

It is a leading cause of disability and can significantly impact your daily activities.

Osteoarthritis Symptoms

One of the primary symptoms of osteoarthritis is pain and stiffness in the afflicted joint.

You may also experience reduced flexibility and limited range of motion.

The affected areas can feel tender and cause discomfort if you press on them with your fingers.

Another common symptom is inflammation, which can develop around the affected joint.

You may also experience crepitus, which are the crackling, clicking or popping sounds that occur when you move your joint.

Osteoarthritis may also cause deformations or bone spurs, which are additional lumps of bone, but these are normally painless.

You may also experience loss of mobility depending on the seriousness of the condition.

Pain may become more intense as the condition advances and may also cause swelling in the joint and the area around it.

What Is The Main Cause Of Osteoarthritis?

The main cause of osteoarthritis is joint damage.

This can build up over time and lead to stiffness and pain in joints.

Age is one of the primary causes of osteoarthritis as there is cumulative joint damage from repetitive stress on the joints.

Aside from age, there are several other causes of joint damage.

Having a past injury that included dislocated joints, ligament injuries, or torn cartilage can lead to osteoarthritis.

Other causes include poor posture, obesity, or a joint deformity, whether naturally occurring or following an injury.

There are risk factors that may also increase your likelihood of developing this condition.

These include:

  • Being fifty years old or older
  • Having had menopause
  • Having a family history of osteoarthritis
  • Having a history of injuries
  • Obesity
  • Poor posture
  • Physically demanding occupation
  • Other medical conditions that affect joint health
  • Gender; women tend to have higher rates of osteoarthritis

If you develop osteoarthritis in one part of your body, there’s an increased risk of it developing in other parts.

Osteoarthritis Vs. Rheumatoid Arthritis

While osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis both have the same symptoms, they are very different and unique conditions.

Osteoarthritis is degenerative and develops in its severity over time.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that’s characterized by synovitis, or inflammation of the joint lining.

With rheumatoid arthritis your body’s immune system sees the soft lining around the joints as a threat and attacks it.

When your immune system attacks this soft lining, synovium, it builds up fluid in the joints.

The symptoms that occur are similar to osteoarthritis and include pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation.

Rheumatoid arthritis most commonly affects small joints in your feet and hands.

However, it can sometimes affect your organs, such as the skin, lungs, and eyes.

Continuous inflammation can lead to permanent joint damage and deformity.

Talk to your doctor to determine which type of arthritis you have to treat it accordingly.

What Is Osteoarthritis? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoarthritis

There are numerous natural treatments and supplements that can help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Aside from the naturopathic treatments we’ll discuss today, physical therapy and massage therapy may also be beneficial.

Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the naturopathic treatments available for you.

1. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical treatments on the planet, dating back to ancient China.

Acupuncture treatment uses fine needles that are placed in specific points on your body.

The way in which they are organized forms a meridian.

This stimulates energy flow, which can help promote your body’s healing ability.

Acupuncture can be used to treat a wide array of conditions, particularly those where pain is involved, like osteoarthritis.

Acupuncture can also help reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important part of many of our body’s functions.

It can also promote bone health, cell growth, and immune function.

Consuming vitamin D may help provide relief from symptoms of osteoarthritis by lowering inflammation and swelling.

Having an adequate level of vitamin D, whether through sun exposure or supplementation, may also help protect against the development of osteoarthritis.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that may provide numerous health benefits.

Omega 3 fatty acids that come from fish oil have been well established for having anti-inflammatory properties.

Taking omega 3s can help fight against inflammation caused by osteoarthritis.

This can further relieve pain and reduce the need for over the counter pain medications.

4. Polyphenols

Dietary treatment is a natural approach that provides your body with antioxidants and can help manage arthritis.

Certain fruits have higher concentrations of polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds, and may be beneficial for osteoarthritis.

Berries and their extracts have certain protective qualities that can help maintain joint structure and manage inflammation.

It’s possible that fruit polyphenols, like quercetin and citrus flavonoids, can help alleviate arthritis associated symptoms.

5. Calcium

Calcium is an important mineral for bone formation and overall healthy bones and teeth.

Having enough calcium in your diet can help maintain your bone health and as a result could aid in the prevention of developing osteoarthritis.

However, calcium isn’t a treatment for osteoarthritis and doesn’t help in the conditions’ progression or symptoms.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Are you experiencing symptoms associated with osteoarthritis?

If you suffer from joint pain and stiffness, I can work with you and offer naturopathic solutions to help manage your condition.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a Mississauga based naturopathic doctor.

I can help you by offering a natural treatment plan to help you get your osteoarthritis under control.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Naturopathic Treatments for Hypothyroidism | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Naturopathic Treatments for Hypothyroidism

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Naturopathic Treatments for Hypothyroidism | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

The human body is an intricate system of interdependent organs, glands, and tissues.

Each of them plays an integral role in maintaining your overall health.

As a naturopathic thyroid doctor in Mississauga, your thyroid is one of my particular interests.

There are a number of different issues that can arise with it, but today we’re going to look at hypothyroidism.

What is hypothyroidism?

What are the causes and warning signs of hypothyroidism?

And what can be done to manage it through naturopathic methods?

Let’s take a look.

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland located in the front of your neck.

It’s part of your endocrine system, a system of hormone producing organs and glands.

Thyroid hormones, in particular, control your metabolism and growth, and play a role in the function of your heart, muscles, and digestive system.

If you have hypothyroidism, you have an underactive thyroid.

This means it doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones to maintain optimal health.

This hormonal imbalance can cause a number of symptoms.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism tend to develop slowly, often over a few years.

Some may be subtle and easily overlooked.

But knowing the warning signs of hypothyroidism could help detect and take appropriate actions in time.

Let’s take a look at a few key warning signs of hypothyroidism.

1. Fatigue

Despite getting enough rest, hypothyroidism often manifests as persistently exhausted feeling.

People with an underactive thyroid often feel tired and find it challenging to complete everyday tasks.

RELATED: Chronic Fatigue Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga

2. Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism.

You may experience unexpected weight gain even without any change in diet or physical activities and find it harder to lose it.

RELATED: Naturopathic Doctor For How To Lose Weight And Keep It Off

3. Sensitivity To Cold

Your body’s ability to regulate temperature can be affected by hypothyroidism.

This can make you more susceptible to cold temperatures and less tolerant of chilly environments.

4. Constipation

Constipation and sluggish digestion are common in people with hypothyroidism.

The movement of food through the digestive tract can be slowed down due to decreased activity of the thyroid gland.

RELATED: Naturopathic Doctor For Digestive Problems In Missisauga

5. Brain Fog And Mood Swings

People with hypothyroidism report having trouble with concentration and memory, often referred to as brain fog.

In addition, underactive thyroid can be associated with mood swings.

This may present as depression, anxiety, irritability, and a reduced ability to manage stress.

6. Dry Skin And Brittle Hair

Your thyroid plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin and hair.

Skin tends to be dry, rough, and sometimes even scaly in hypothyroidism.

Hair may become thin, brittle, and prone to excessive hair loss.

7. Hoarse Voice

Thyroid gland may affect your vocal cords.

If you don’t produce enough hormones, your vocal cords can become swollen or inflamed.

8. Puffy Face

When your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, it can disrupt your body’s fluid regulation.

This can result in puffiness in your face, in particular around your eyes, cheeks and jawline.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Hypothyroidism?

While there can be various factors contributing to this condition, some causes are more common than others.

The most common causes of hypothyroidism are:

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Having had thyroid surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Having had radiation therapy, such as for some cancers
  • Certain hyperthyroidism treatments
  • Certain medications
  • Congenital thyroid conditions
  • Lack of iodine

RELATED: Streetsville Adjunctive Cancer Care Naturopathic Doctor

Regularly having your thyroid hormones checked can help keep track of your thyroid health.

How Common Is Hypothyroidism?

Thyroid issues pose a significant health concern worldwide, with different degrees of severity.

In Canada, it’s estimated that approximately 10% of Canadians 45 years or older are affected by some form of thyroid dysfunction.

Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder.

Women are more likely to develop this condition.

The risk increases noticeably after the age of 60.

The development of hypothyroidism can also be influenced by hormonal changes during pregnancy and postpartum period.

Can Hypothyroidism Cause Anemia?

Hypothyroidism is a common cause of anemia.

Hypothyroidism can disrupt how your blood cells are produced and how long they live.

This can lead to decreased hemoglobin concentrations, which is associated with anemia.

Thyroid hormone, which regulates red blood cell formation in bone marrow, plays an important role.

When your thyroid hormone levels are low, they may not be able to stimulate your bone marrow to produce enough red blood cells, which can lead to anemia.

Moreover, hypothyroidism may have an impact on iron metabolism, a key component in the production of red blood cells.

As a result, absorption of dietary iron from the gastrointestinal tract can be compromised.

This may lead to iron deficiency anemia, which is one of the top 5 most common nutrient deficiencies in North American women.

RELATED: Naturopathic Solutions For Anemia

Naturopathic Remedies For Hypothyroidism

Thyroid hormone replacement therapy is standard medical treatment for hypothyroidism, but this doesn’t necessarily address the root cause of the issue.

On the other hand, there are several naturopathic remedies that can help manage your hypothyroidism, and in some cases even reverse it.

Let’s take a look at them below.

What Is Hypothyroidism? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

1. Eat A Hypothyroid Diet

Eating a hypothyroid diet can help your thyroid do its job and alleviate hypothyroidism symptoms.

A hypothyroidism diet includes whole and unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.

However, it’s a good idea to avoid goitrogenic foods.

These are foods high in goitrogens, which are organic substances that can interfere with your thyroid function.

These include:

  • Soy based foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame, or soy milk
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Pine nuts
  • Strawberries
  • Corn
  • Pears
  • Peanuts
  • Lima beans
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Spinach
  • kale
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Horseradish
  • Turnips

You might notice these are otherwise considered healthy foods.

This is one of the reasons why naturopathic nutritional counselling, and naturopathic medicine in general, can be so complex.

2. Iodine

Iodine is essential for thyroid hormone synthesis.

So, including more iodine in your diet can help manage hypothyroidism.

The most abundant source of iodine in North American diets is iodized salt.

However, regular table salt is heavily processed containing undesirable additives and voided of trace minerals, so it is better to avoided it.

Also, too much salt is bad news, so instead, consider these foods:

  • Seaweed
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Beef liver
  • Dairy products

3. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Hypothyroidism is often associated with inflammation.

Since omega 3 fatty acids are known for their anti inflammatory properties, they can help.

Good sources of these essential fatty acids include fish, nuts and seeds.

Furthermore, omega 3 fatty acids are found to be helpful for cardiovascular health.

This is important, since if you have hypothyroidism you’re at a higher risk of heart disease.

4. Selenium

Like iodine, your thyroid uses selenium to synthesize thyroid hormones.

So, if you have a selenium deficiency, it can aggravate your hypothyroidism.

Research indicates that selenium supplementation may help reduce thyroid antibodies in your blood, decrease inflammation in the thyroid gland, and enhance thyroid hormone production.

Selenium rich foods include:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Seafood
  • Whole grains
  • Organ meats

5. Zinc

Your thyroid needs zinc to produce thyroid hormone as well.

Zinc regulates thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH.

This signals your thyroid gland to produce hormones.

It also plays a role in the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to its active form T3.

Be careful with zinc supplements, though – too much can be harmful.

Instead, try getting more zinc from your diet, including:

    • Oysters
    • Beef
    • Poultry
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Legumes
    • Cashews
    • Chickpeas
    • Dark chocolate

Can Hypothyroidism Be Fatal?

Hypothyroidism can cause serious issues, but it’s not usually considered fatal.

However, in very rare cases, severe and chronic hypothyroidism can lead to a life threatening condition called myxedema coma.

This is a critical medical condition where your thyroid hormone levels become extremely low.

Symptoms occur such as decreased mental function, hypothermia, low blood pressure, drowsiness, and respiratory distress.

If you suspect somebody is experiencing a myxedema coma, get them to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

When it comes to managing hypothyroidism, exploring naturopathic treatments can be an excellent complement to conventional medical approaches.

If you’re considering naturopathic treatments for hypothyroidism, I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, ND, here at the Mindful Healing Clinic, we’re here to help.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoporosis | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoporosis

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Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoporosis | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

As you age, your bones naturally tend to lose their strength and density.

Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that can speed up this process and exacerbate your symptoms.

If you’ve been recently diagnosed with osteoporosis, you’re not alone.

More than 2.3 million Canadians have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, most of them women.

And it’s one of the more common conditions seen by naturopathic practitioners across the country.

If you or someone you love is living with osteoporosis, I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a women’s health naturopathic doctor at The Mindful Healing Clinic, and I can help.

But first things first: what exactly is osteoporosis and how can naturopathic treatments help?

Let’s find out.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a Latin term meaning “porous bones”.

So, you might be unsurprised to hear that it’s a condition that affects your bones.

Your bones are naturally porous – particularly in your bone marrow – but these pores are quite small.

They’re shaped like honeycombs, which allows your bones to be nice and strong, but also lightweight.

With osteoporosis, however, these holes increase in size and cause your bones to lose both strength and density.

As a result, your bones become more fragile and prone to fractures.

RELATED: Naturopathic Support For Broken Bones

These breaks may occur with small traumas like simple falls, or even while doing routine activities, such as standing, walking, or running.

Osteoporosis can occur in any bones.

However, it most commonly affects your ribs, hips, and the bones in your wrists and spine.

While it more commonly affects people 50 and older, osteoporosis can happen at any age.

So, it’s important to work to reduce your risk factors and increase your overall health.

Osteoporosis is sometimes confused with osteopenia, the state of having low bone density.

But while osteopenia may lead to osteoporosis, they’re not the same thing.

What Are The Main Symptoms Of Osteoporosis?

In the early stages of osteoporosis, most people experience little to no symptoms.

In fact, you might not even realize that you have osteoporosis until the disease worsens and you break a bone, or when you get a bone mineral density test.

That’s why it’s so important to seek health support from a Mississauga naturopathic doctor if you’re considered to be higher risk.

As your bones weaken, you may notice the following symptoms:

  • Receding gums
  • Weakened grip strength
  • Weak and brittle nails (also a sign of deficiency in vitamin B7 and protein

Without treatment, the symptoms of osteoporosis will continue to progress.

In severe cases, your bones may become so weak and brittle that even a strong cough or sneeze could potentially cause a fracture.

Additionally, you may experience:

  • Chronic pain particularly in your back and neck
  • Loss of height

Severe osteoporosis also increases your risk of experiencing a compression fracture.

This is when the vertebrae in your back and neck become too weak to support the pressure of your spine.

What Does Osteoporosis Pain Feel Like?

Most people describe osteoporosis as severe back pain with a sudden onset.

The pain often worsens when walking or even standing and often decreases while resting.

What Is The Main Cause Of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis may be caused by several factors.

Advanced age is one of the biggest risk factors for developing the disease.

This is due to your body’s natural wear and tear.

In fact, one subset of osteoporosis is referred to as “senile osteoporosis.”

This is diagnosed in seniors with osteoporosis when all other possible causes are ruled out.

Nonetheless, younger people can, and do, develop osteoporosis.

This is particularly true for younger populations with multiple risk factors.

Risk factors for osteoporosis include:

What Is Osteoporosis? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Naturopathic Solutions For Osteoporosis

Unfortunately, a cure for osteoporosis has yet to be discovered.

However, there are plenty of natural lifestyle changes that you can make to help minimize your symptoms and keep you feeling your best.

Below are some of the top naturopathic approved tips for osteoporosis treatment.

1. Strength Training

Staying active is always good advice, regardless of who you are.

But it’s even more important for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

In particular, weight bearing exercises can cause your muscles to pull on your bones a little.

Research has shown that this can be useful in slowing down the loss of bone density from osteoporosis.

A 2018 study found that resistance training can slow the loss of bone density, and in some cases can even restore bone density in people with osteoporosis.

If you’re used to only doing aerobics or cardio and feel intimidated by using weights, it’s understandable.

But there’s more to weight bearing exercises than powerlifting or bench pressing.

Things like weighted lunges, hip abduction & adductions, knee extensions and flexions, back extensions, and squats can all help.

Even certain yoga poses can help, like planks or the different warrior poses.

Strength training at least three times a week can go a long way toward managing – and in some cases even reversing – your osteoporosis.

If you have a more serious case of osteoporosis, be sure to work with a physiotherapist or personal trainer.

They can help you reduce your risk of fractures while exercising.

2. Get More Vitamin D

Vitamin D plays an important role in the development and treatment of osteoporosis.

It helps your body absorb calcium, which is an essential component of strong, healthy bones.

If you develop a vitamin D deficiency, your body becomes less able to absorb calcium in bones.

This leads to a host of issues, not least of which being depression, aching joints, and digestive problems.

Subsequently, your bones become more prone to fractures and developing osteoporosis.

Vitamin D deficiencies are more frequent in places with limited supply of sunny weather – like here in Canada.

In these instances, it’s a good idea to supplement, especially during the winter.

Otherwise, fatty fish, vitamin D enriched eggs, and other vitamin D fortified foods can help boost your vitamin D levels.

3. Get More Calcium

Calcium helps to keep your bones healthy and strong.

Subsequently, it plays an important role in osteoporosis treatment.

Incorporating plenty of calcium into your diet can help slow bone mass loss and subsequently maintain your bone strength for as long as possible.

Foods containing high levels of calcium include dairy products, leafy greens, beans, and nuts.

4. Get More Magnesium

Like Vitamin D, magnesium helps your body absorb calcium.

It also helps by turning vitamin D into its most active form.

Therefore, magnesium deficiency can play a big role in osteoporosis.

Eating plenty of whole grain foods, nuts, and dried fruits can help prevent a magnesium deficiency.

5. Try Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine treatment.

It involves placing very thin needles into certain points on your body to stimulate organ function and promote healing.

And it can provide relief from osteoporosis pain.

Scientific evidence supports the use of acupuncture to promote bone density and manage osteoporosis pain.

Acupuncture has plenty of other uses as well.

Acupuncture can strengthen your immune system, for example, and is a great natural allergy management solution as well.

6. Improve Your Digestive Health

Believe it or not, keeping your gut health can do wonders for your bone health.

This is largely due to two factors: low stomach acid and stress.

Stomach acid helps your body process calcium, which, as we’ve already discussed, is important for bone health.

Therefore, low levels of stomach acid can worsen osteoporosis symptoms.

Low stomach acid can occur for multiple reasons, such as poor diet, nutrient deficiencies, and infection.

Additionally, low stomach acid is often caused by stress.

Stress doesn’t just affect your mind; it can also wreak havoc on your digestive system.

Prolonged high levels of stress may lead to reduced digestive ability, as well as poor sleep quality and unhealthy blood sugar levels.

All these factors can affect your bone density.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Osteoporosis is a serious diagnosis.

But you don’t have to go through it alone.

At The Mindful Healing Clinic, we’re here to help.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today to get started on improving your bone health.

Frequently Asked Questions About Your Metabolism | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Frequently Asked Questions About Your Metabolism

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Frequently Asked Questions About Your Metabolism | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

You probably know that your metabolism has something to do with how your body uses the food you eat.

It might have something to do with energy and body mass, right?

But what is your metabolism, really?

And if you aren’t satisfied with the one you have, can you change it?

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, and if you’re confused about metabolism, you’re not alone.

There’s a lot of information out there about it, and it can be difficult to parse through it all.

So let’s cut through the fluff and answer some of the most frequently asked questions about your metabolism.

What Is Metabolism?

Many people think that metabolism is the rate at which your body uses up calories, but this is a misconception.

Metabolism refers to all the complex chemical processes that happen inside your cells to convert food into energy.

Your metabolism produces energy to fuel all your essential bodily functions.

So where does that misconception about burning calories come in?

Every person has something called a basal metabolic rate, or BMR.

Your BMR refers to the number of calories you use to keep yourself alive when your body is at rest.

So, your metabolism is the chemical reactions that create energy in your body, and your BMR is the amount of that energy your body uses to keep you alive.

What Is The Purpose of Metabolism?

Your metabolism is responsible for the energy used for your basic bodily functions, including:

RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Hormones

Your BMR accounts for about 60 to 70% of the energy produced by your metabolism.

10% of the energy that’s left goes back into your metabolic processes to create more energy.

Whatever is left is used to fuel your movement and other activities.

What Does It Mean To Have A Fast Or Slow Metabolism?

Having a fast metabolism or fast BMR means that you use a higher number of calories even when at rest.

If you have a slow metabolism or BMR, you use energy more slowly and need fewer calories to survive.

Having a fast or slow metabolism does not translate directly to being large or small.

Muscle, fat, bone, and other bodily tissues require different amounts of calories to grow, heal, and maintain.

Your metabolism is impacted by your body composition and several other factors.

Can Illness Change Your Metabolism?

You might notice that you lose a little weight during a cold or flu.

This might happen because you are unable to keep food down or absorb nutrients, or because your body is using more energy to fight the illness.

Like crash dieting, these kinds of changes in your metabolism are usually temporary.

However, there are some health conditions that have a more lasting impact on your metabolism.

Cushing’s Syndrome and thyroid disorders are endocrine disorders that can affect your metabolism.

In particular, hypothyroidism can slow it down, and hyperthyroidism can speed it up.

In addition, genetic metabolic disorders can impact how your body metabolizes certain nutrients and enzymes.

These inherited metabolic disorders include:

  • Wilson disease
  • Tay-Sachs disease
  • Gaucher disease
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Maple syrup urine disease
  • Mitochondrial diseases

What Other Factors Affect Metabolism?

Your BMR can change over time and is impacted by several factors.

Your body composition has a major role in how quickly or slowly your metabolism works.

Your muscles use more energy for maintenance and repair than other tissue in your body.

Regardless of your overall size, the more muscle mass you have, the more energy you will use to maintain your body.

Body composition can also be impacted by age, genes, and sex.

As you age you lose muscle mass, slowing down your metabolism.

Your genes influence your body composition, including muscle size and ability to build muscle.

Sex and hormones can impact your body composition, including bone, muscle, and fat tissue.

People with higher testosterone tend to have heavier bones and more muscle, and on average use more calories.

Lifestyle factors also impact your metabolism.

After your essential bodily functions, movement uses up the greatest percentage of your calories.

Even if it’s not a high impact fitness routine, physical activity burns more calories than being still.

Whether it’s a Saturday sports league, a lot of running around in your daily life, or a hobby like gardening, birdwatching, or yoga, anything that keeps you moving will boost your metabolism.

RELATED: Naturopathic Weight Management Solutions

Quitting smoking may lead to a slow down in your metabolism as well – this is because nicotine speeds up your metabolism.

Despite this, the long term health benefits of quitting smoking far outweigh the impact on your metabolism.

How Do You Improve Your Metabolism? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

How Do You Improve Your Metabolism?

Your metabolism is always at work inside your body.

Strategies to improve your metabolism need to be slow and steady to have long term effects.

Short term approaches like restrictive diets and aggressive exercise routines can shock your metabolism.

Instead, try making small, consistent changes.

Here are some healthy, sustainable, and natural ways to boost your metabolism.

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is essential to balancing the chemical processes in your body.

Drinking water is also a great way to regulate some of the things that impact your metabolism.

Drinking 500 ml of water 30 minutes before a meal can help you control your appetite and manage your caloric intake.

Replacing sugary beverages with water is also a natural way to limit your intake of extra calories and harmful refined sugars.

RELATED: How To Lose Weight With Water

2. Drink Green Tea

Another alternative to sugar sweetened beverages, green tea offers a few benefits when it comes to improving your metabolism.

The chemical compounds in green tea help convert stored fat into free fatty acids.

This may make it easier for your body to use and eliminate stored fat.

Caffeine, which is found in green tea, can also offer a temporary metabolism boost that increases your calorie use during exercise.

3. Exercise

Any physical activity will use more calories than sitting.

If you work at a desk, try switching to a standing desk, going for a walk at lunch, or getting up for a few stretches once every 45 minutes.

Certain types of exercise also offer specific benefits when it comes to boosting your metabolism.

Weight training is a great way to improve your metabolism because it builds muscle mass, which will naturally increase your resting metabolism.

High intensity interval training (HIIT) involves short bursts of very intense physical activity.

If this type of exercise is safe for you, it can help you boost your metabolic rate during and after your workout.

4. Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can really disrupt your body’s natural processes, including your metabolism.

Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and variations in the hormones ghrelin and leptin.

High blood sugar and insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Ghrelin and leptin help your body to feel hungry and full.

When your body’s natural systems for delivering energy and recognizing that you need to eat are disrupted, it can be more difficult to regulate your hunger and energy use.

If you have a hard time falling asleep, here are some natural solutions to combat insomnia.

RELATED: Why Do We Need Sleep, Anyway?

5. Eat Plenty Of Protein

If you’re trying to manage your caloric intake more efficiently, eating protein is your secret weapon.

Your body uses more energy to digest protein than it uses for carbohydrates or fats.

You also digest protein more slowly, so you will feel full longer.

If you are changing your diet or exercising more, lean protein will also help to preserve and build muscle mass as you lose body fat.

All these factors can help you to manage your caloric intake and use calories more efficiently.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Whether it is fast or slow, your metabolism is always there, always working to deliver what your body needs.

With time, sensible physical activity, and some minor adjustments to what you eat and drink, you can make your metabolism your friend.

To learn more about natural, balanced, sustainable approaches to improving your metabolism, book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

Nutrient Profile: Selenium | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Nutrient Profile: Selenium

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Nutrient Profile: Selenium | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

If you’re looking to help support the healthy functioning of your body, then consider adding selenium to your diet.

Haven’t heard of selenium before?

It’s an amazing nutrient that can provide many health benefits vital to your health.

You only need a small amount of it and can help with a variety of processes in your body.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a hormonal support naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, and today I’d like to help you understand what selenium is and what it can do for you.

This includes things like your metabolism, immune system, and thyroid function.

So let’s take a look at selenium and its benefits for your diet.

What is Selenium?

Selenium is a mineral that’s found in soil.

It’s an essential mineral and as such, it must be obtained through your diet.

Selenium is naturally found in a variety of foods as well as water.

Adding selenium rich foods into your nutrition can play a key role to your overall health.

What Does Selenium Do For Your Body?

Selenium has been found to help with a variety of body functions.

Not only does it help your body but there have been studies of its potential benefits to numerous conditions.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways selenium could benefit your health.

It Supports Your Thyroid

Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped endocrine gland in your neck.

Did you know your thyroid tissue has a higher amount of selenium than any other organ in your body?

Selenium can help protect your thyroid against oxidative damage.

It can also play an essential role in your ability to produce thyroid hormones.

A healthy thyroid gland regulates your metabolism as well as controls growth and development.

Studies have shown that selenium could benefit people with certain thyroid disorders, like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

One study found that selenium supplements lowered thyroid antibodies, but more research is required.

It Keeps Your Heart Healthy

Selenium may play a role in keeping your heart healthy.

Low levels of selenium have been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

A review of several studies showed that people with heart disease who took selenium supplements had lower levels of inflammatory markers.

Adequate selenium levels can also reduce your risk of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Adding foods with higher quantities of selenium can help keep inflammation and oxidative stress low, and your heart healthy.

It’s A Potent Antioxidant

Antioxidants are important because they prevent cell damage.

Most of this cell damage is caused by free radicals, byproducts from the processes of your metabolism.

A diet rich in processed foods, stress, smoking, and alcohol use can cause an excess of free radicals, leading to oxidative stress and damage to your cells.

Selenium works as an antioxidant by helping reduce oxidative stress, which can help protect your body from other conditions.

There are many other antioxidants you can get in your diet as well, including:

It Keeps Your Mind Sharp

It is believed that oxidative stress is involved in the onset and progression of numerous neurological diseases.

This includes things like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis.

Studies show that Alzheimer’s patients have lower levels of selenium in their blood.

Furthermore, antioxidants, like selenium, may improve memory in patients with Alzheimer’s.

Mediterranean diets, consisting of rich selenium foods like nuts and seafood, are associated with lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

Selenium may also improve verbal fluency and various other mental functions in those with mild cognitive impairment.

It Supports Your Immune System

You need a healthy immune system to keep your body strong and able to fight off threats like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

Through its reduction of oxidative stress, selenium reduces inflammation and boosts your immunity.

Having adequate selenium levels in your body can help improve your immune response.

In this case, selenium supplements could strengthen the immune system in those with tuberculosis, hepatitis C, and influenza.

Studies have also shown a link with selenium deficiency and increased risk in the disease progression of people with HIV.

In particular, a 2019 review by Muzembo et al found that selenium supplementation can slow the progression of HIV into AIDS.

However, more research is needed.

What Does Selenium Do For Your Body? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Dietary Sources of Selenium

The amount of selenium in food sources depends on the content of soil that the foods were farmed in.

Do your best to get selenium from whole foods, otherwise the mineral might lose its nutrient value from processing.

These are some natural food sources that contain selenium:

  • Brazil Nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Poultry, such as chicken breast
  • Beef
  • Sardines
  • Halibut
  • Yellowfin tuna
  • Cod
  • Herring
  • Red snapper
  • Oysters
  • Shiitake mushrooms

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

Selenium deficiency can be more or less common depending on your diet and availability of food sources based on your location.

Some of the common symptoms of selenium deficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Infertility
  • Weakened immune system
  • Hair loss

Conditions such as HIV, digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, and kidney dialysis can limit your body’s ability to absorb selenium, leading to a deficiency.

Is It Possible To Overdose On Selenium?

While selenium is an essential mineral that can contribute to good health, taking too much can be toxic.

It’s good to keep in mind that toxicity is more likely to happen from taking supplements rather than eating selenium rich foods.

In severe cases, excess amounts of selenium can lead to acute selenium toxicity.

This can cause serious intestinal and neurological symptoms, kidney failure, heart attack, and in extreme cases, death.

Some signs of selenium toxicity you should watch out for:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Bad breath
  • Vomiting
  • Liver, kidney, and heart issues
  • Muscle soreness
  • Tremors
  • Facial flushing

It’s possible for selenium to interact with other supplements and medicines.

This includes antacids, chemotherapy drugs, birth control, niacin, cholesterol lowering statin drugs, and corticosteroids.

There may also be a potential association between selenium supplements and skin cancer, so avoid them if you are at risk.

Don’t let this scare you from adding selenium into your diet for its benefits, though.

If you’re considering adding selenium supplements to your routine, though, it’s a good idea to…

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Are you wondering if you’re getting the right amount of selenium in your diet to benefit your body?

Whether you have existing conditions or want to increase the overall health of your body, I am here to help.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga Ontario.

I can address your nutritional concerns and offer you counseling services to get you on the right track.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today and let’s work together towards getting your body functioning at its peak.

Naturopathic Solutions For Hyperthyroidism |Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Naturopathic Solutions For Hyperthyroidism

By Blog

Naturopathic Solutions For Hyperthyroidism |Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Hormones are responsible for just about every function performed by your body.

From blood sugar to blood pressure, sex drive, sleep, and metabolism, maintaining the right balance of hormones is critical to good health.

The thyroid is the control centre for the majority of the hormones your body uses, which means having too much or too little thyroid hormone can have major impacts on your health.

If you’re worried about the health of your thyroid, you might be looking for a thyroid naturopathic doctor to help sort things out.

As a naturopathic doctor in Mississauga, I want to help you learn about how thyroid hormones affect your body.

In the past, we’ve explored the thyroid quite a bit.

Today we’re going to look closer at what happens when your thyroid overproduces thyroid hormones, a condition known as hyperthyroidism.

Keep reading to find out more.

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly shaped gland located at the front of your neck.

It’s a part of your endocrine system, a collection of hormone producing glands.

This includes your:

  • Pituitary gland
  • Parathyroid gland
  • Pancreas
  • Ovaries or testes
  • Adrenal glands
  • Thymus
  • Hypothalamus

Your kidneys also have endocrine functions, but they’re not strictly considered endocrine glands.

RELATED: Naturopathic Treatments For Your Endocrine System

Each of these glands produces hormones.

These include:

  • Estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, produced by your gonads and adrenal glands
  • Insulin, produced by your pancreas
  • Cortisol, produced by your adrenal glands
  • And many more

Your thyroid is responsible for the production of thyroid hormones.

These control a number of your body’s important functions, including metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, and mood.

With hyperthyroidism, your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone.

What Are The Major Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism?

If your body is overproducing thyroid hormone, you may experience the following symptoms:

What Can Trigger Hyperthyroidism?

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune condition called Graves’ disease.

Graves’ disease causes your immune system to attack your thyroid gland.

This causes it to kick into over drive, and as a result it releases too much thyroid hormone.

Other things which can trigger the release of excess thyroid hormone include:

  • Thyroid inflammation or swelling
  • Nodules on the thyroid (either benign or malignant)
  • High levels of the hormone T4 in the blood
  • Too much iodine in your diet
  • Tumours on the testes or ovaries

Is Hyperthyroidism Very Serious?

Left untreated, hyperthyroidism can result in a number of serious health problems.

These include:

  • Irregular heartbeat which can lead to blood clots
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Other heart issues
  • Osteoporosis
  • Graves’ ophthalmopathy, an eye disease which can cause double vision, light sensitivity, and eye pain

Hyperthyroidism can also lead to a far more serious condition called thyroid storm, which, when untreated, can be deadly.

If you get treatment early, however, hyperthyroidism is manageable in the majority of cases.

Can Hyperthyroidism Be Cancerous?

Having a hyperactive thyroid gland does not lead to an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer.

Nor does having an underactive thyroid gland.

Naturopathic Solutions For Hyperthyroidism

If you are worried about hyperthyroidism, there are a number of natural ways you can get things under control.

Let’s take a closer look.

1. Eat Thyroid Friendly Foods

Your diet influences your body, including your thyroid gland, functions.

If you’re concerned about thyroid health, add more of these things to your diet:

2. Avoid These Foods

People with overactive thyroid glands should avoid the foods high in iodine, including:

  • Iodized salt
  • Kelp
  • Seaweed
  • Seafood
  • Lima bean
  • Cod
  • Prunes

Additionally, some other foods to avoid include:

  • Excess sugar
  • Artificial dyes
  • Artificial flavours
  • Processed and packaged foods
  • Foods containing gluten

RELATED: 5 Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid
RELATED: 5 More Amazingly Unhealthy Foods To Avoid

What Can Trigger Hyperthyroidism?| Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

3. Get Enough B Vitamins

If you have a hyperactive thyroid, then it’s likely you’re also lacking in B complex vitamins, and specifically vitamin B12.

Low levels of vitamin B12 can result in feelings of weakness, dizziness, and tiredness.

Ensuring you get enough B vitamins can help alleviate and manage these symptoms.

Some foods high in B vitamins, and vitamin B12 in particular include:

  • Beef
  • Oysters
  • Organ meats such as liver
  • Salmon
  • Nutritional yeast

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, you might notice there aren’t a lot of options for you to get enough vitamin B12.

That’s one of the reasons why vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies.

In that case, it might be ideal to supplement.

But before you add a new supplement to your routine, be sure to book an appointment here at the Mindful Healing Clinic first.

Adding a new supplement may cause issues with any other supplements, as well as medications or other health conditions.

4. Get Enough Selenium

There is evidence to suggest that selenium can be used to help provide treatment for both Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism symptoms.

It’s a mineral which can be found in soil and water, as well foods including:

  • Brazil nuts
  • Beef
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Mushrooms
  • Cashews

If you are worried about getting enough selenium from food, you may consider a supplement.

But as mentioned above, be sure to book an appointment here at the Mindful Healing Clinic first.

5. Supplement With L Carnitine

L Carnitine is an amino acid which occurs naturally in your body.

It blocks thyroid hormones from entering some cells and can be used to help prevent and reverse symptoms related to hyperthyroidism.

Foods which contain L Carnitine include avocado, beef, chicken, and pork.

Book Your Appointment With Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, ND, Today

Are you experiencing symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism?

Have you been losing weight, despite not making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine?

Are you tired all the time, yet have trouble falling asleep at night?

Has your menstrual cycle become irregular?

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a Mississauga based naturopathic doctor who can help by assessing your symptoms and offering a treatment plan designed to help you get your thyroid hormones under control.

Contact my office today to book your consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hormones | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Frequently Asked Questions About Hormones

By Blog

Frequently Asked Questions About Hormones | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Everyone talks about hormones, but doesn’t it sometimes feel like no one really knows what they are?

We hear all the time that someone is acting hormonal, or that a hormonal imbalance could be the cause of our chronic fatigue, but no one seems to know what to do about it.

Hormones are part of an incredibly complex system in your body called the endocrine system.

If you’ve been feeling off and have a hunch that a hormone imbalance may be at play, you could be onto something.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is find someone who will help you take a look at your holistic health and offer guidance.

I’m Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, a naturopathic doctor for hormone balancing near me, and today, let’s take a look at hormones.

In particular, let’s answer some frequently asked questions about hormones.

What Are Hormones?

Hormones are the chemicals that travel through your bloodstream to deliver messages to other parts of your body.

Most of your bodily functions require hormones to work properly.

Your glands send messages via your hormones to various body parts, telling them what to do and how to do it.

Some of the hormones you may have heard of include:

However, there are over 50 hormones in the human body that have so far been identified.

Your glands, hormones, and the rest of the tissues involved in their production make up your endocrine system.

What Do Hormones Do?

There are many bodily processes that hormones play a role in, including your metabolism, moods, sexual function, and sleep cycle.

They are a pivotal part of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is your body’s way of maintaining internal balance.

This includes blood pressure and blood sugar regulation, fluid retention, body temperature, and electrolyte balance.

Bodily processes often involve more than one hormone, sometimes called a chain reaction.

Hunger is controlled by hormones, as well as your emotions.

Some hormones even function as neurotransmitters, which relay messages from the brain to your muscles, for example.

Where Are Hormones Made?

When we’re talking about something as complex as your hormonal system, there’s no one answer to where your hormones are made.

They’re made by glands that are specialized to secrete certain hormones.

These are the organs that make up your endocrine system.

From your hypothalamus to your liver, your body is always hard at work creating the hormones you need.

Let’s talk about some of the most pivotal parts of your body hard at work making your hormones.

1. Your Thyroid

Under your skin at the front of your neck lives your thyroid.

Thyroxine and triiodothyronine (together often referred to as “thyroid hormones”), as well as reverse triiodothyronine and calcitonin, are the hormones produced by your thyroid.

Your body’s process for making the food you eat into energy, called its metabolism, is most controlled by your thyroid.

RELATED: Naturopathic Solutions For Thyroid Issues

2. Your Pancreas

Your pancreas, which is both part of your endocrine system and digestive system, lives in the back of your abdomen.

There are endocrine cells in your pancreas that produce both insulin and glucagon.

That means it plays a role in your body’s blood sugar regulation.

You may have heard of insulin in relation to diabetes.

That’s because with both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, the pancreas has difficulty producing insulin.

That’s why diabetics need to supplement their insulin.

RELATED: Naturopathic Digestive Health Solutions

3. Your Ovaries Or Testes

If you have ovaries, they’ll be on either side of your uterus below your fallopian tubes.

Your ovaries are responsible for producing the hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.

If you have testes, they will hang outside of your body below your penis and produce the hormone testosterone.

Ovaries and testes and the hormones they individually produce are all part of your reproductive system.

4. Your Adrenal Glands

Your adrenal glands are at the top of your two kidneys.

They’re responsible for many different hormones including cortisol, aldosterone, androgens, adrenaline, and noradrenaline.

Your adrenal glands play a role in blood pressure regulation and also help you regulate your stress levels and stress reactions.

5. Your Pituitary Gland

Your pituitary gland is at the base of your brain below your hypothalamus.

The pituitary gland produces hormones that assist other glands in their functioning as well, so it’s playing a vital role in your endocrine system.

Your pituitary gland is responsible for eight hormones between its two lobes:

  • Oxytocin
  • Antidiuretic hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Growth hormone
  • Luteinizing hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Folliclestimulating hormone
  • Thyroidstimulating hormone

6. Other Sources Of Hormones

Other sources of hormones include your pineal gland, which is responsible for producing melatonin, a key player in your sleep wake cycle.

Your hypothalamus, working closely with your pituitary gland, makes many hormones including the well known dopamine and oxytocin.

It’s not just your glands that are working on hormone production – your fat tissue, kidneys, gut, liver, and placenta (if you temporarily have had one) are also sources of your body’s hormones.

What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?

As you can tell by how many parts of your body are involved in your endocrine system, it’s an incredibly complex part of your body’s function.

This can obviously be difficult to keep in balance.

There are many things that can cause hormonal imbalance, including tumors and other growths.

Autoimmune conditions are known to cause hormonal imbalances, as well as genetic disorders and hereditary mutations.

You may also have been exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Damage or injury to a gland that produces your hormones can also cause imbalance.

What Are Hormones? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

What Illnesses Are Related To Hormones?

If your body’s hormones are out of balance, you could feel pretty sick.

Chronic fatigue, insomnia, and low blood sugar could all result from conditions causing hormonal imbalances.

Some of the illnesses and conditions related to hormones include:

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

If you suspect your hormones may be imbalanced and causing you some issues, you’re not alone.

At the Mindful Healing Clinic, we’re here to help you navigate your health and wellbeing.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.