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The Health Benefits Of Chocolate (No, Really!) | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

The Health Benefits Of Chocolate (No, Really!)

By Blog

The Health Benefits Of Chocolate (No, Really!) | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

Chocolate is a product made from cacao tree seeds that is loved and eaten all around the world.

It is a rich and delicious product, but is it healthy?

The answer might surprise you, since often chocolate can be sugary and blamed for health conditions like diabetes or obesity.

Current research actually indicates that chocolate, or rather the right kind of chocolate, can actually have many benefits for your health.

There are many minerals and antioxidants to be had from chocolate, which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

If this is something you’re worried about, consider getting in touch with me, Dr. Maria Cavallazzi, ND.

I’m a naturopathic doctor who will listen to your concerns and create a custom treatment plan designed to address your symptoms and help you reach your health goals.

Now, let’s find out more about the other benefits of chocolate.

Why Is Dark Chocolate A Superfood?

Dark chocolate is considered to be a superfood because of the many health benefits it can offer.

There are five main ones that are worth reading about.

1. It’s Nutritionally Dense

Dark chocolate is nutritionally dense.

This means that it has a lot to offer when you eat it, as long as it is good quality dark chocolate with a high amount of cocoa.

Anything over 70% is considered a high amount of cocoa, but only consider the ones over 85% because of sugar content.

One hundred grams of a quality dark chocolate bar has:

You can also get a good dose of potassium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.

2. It’s Good For Your Heart

Dark chocolate is great for your heart.

This is because it has flavonoids, which help to stimulate the lining of your arteries to produce nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide helps your arteries relax, which reduces your blood pressure and improves your blood flow.

While these effects are often mild, every bit helps when working to support your heart health.

The flavonoids in dark chocolate may also reduce insulin resistance, which lowers your risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

RELATED: Hormone Balancing Naturopathic Doctor

Dark chocolate and the added supplement of the flavonoid lycopene may also help to reduce your cholesterol, especially your LDL cholesterol, which is the one that is often called ‘bad cholesterol’.

You can also thank the abundant antioxidants of dark chocolate that protect your arteries from oxidative damage, which is how LDL cholesterol damages your artery linings.

But, don’t get too carried away with these health benefits.

Moderation is important.

Current research indicates that 45 grams of chocolate per week is the magic number that offers the most health benefits and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Having 100 or more grams of dark chocolate is too much and does not facilitate any health benefits.

3. It’s Good For Your Cognitive Health

Dark chocolate is good for your brain and your cognitive health.

Once again, the flavonoids in good quality dark chocolate have been shown to improve blood flow to your brain.

It may even reduce the chance of progressing to dementia in older adults.

In fact, eating a little bit of dark chocolate each day can improve your verbal learning, memory, and ability to focus.

This is because dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, two stimulates that provide short term enhancement of brain function.

4. It’s Good For Your Skin

Dark chocolate is good for you, both inside and out.

The flavonoids may protect your skin against sun damage.

They also increase your skin’s density and hydration by improving blood flow to your skin.

Recent studies have shown that eating good quality dark chocolate over a 12 week period dramatically increased participant’s minimal erythemal dose.

This is the minimum amount of UVB rays that cause redness in your skin after sun exposure.

This improvement meant that participants had better protection from the sun, naturally.

But remember, eating dark chocolate isn’t a replacement for sunscreen, it’s a supplement to be used with sun protection.

5. It Can Help Improve Your Workouts

Dark chocolate can improve your workouts by boosting your oxygen availability.

A recent study from the UK found that cyclists were able to use less oxygen and cover more distance after eating dark chocolate.

This is once again attributed to the presence of flavonoids and their effect on enhancing the release of nitric oxide.

Why Is Dark Chocolate A Superfood? | Mindful Healing Clinic Dr. Maria Cavallazzi Naturopathic Doctor In Mississauga Streetsville Clinic

What Is The Healthiest Chocolate?

That’s not to say eating chocolate bars every day is good for you, of course.

Like we mentioned before, not all chocolate is the same.

Avoid chocolates with a lot of added sugar.

This can lead to weight gain, tooth decay, and the other dangers of added sugar we’ve discussed before.

RELATED: Naturopathic Weight Management Solutions

As well, make sure to choose chocolate that’s 85% cacao or above, which means fewer additives and more of the actual chocolate.

Certain brands of dark chocolate were found to have high levels of heavy metals like cadmium and lead though, which can be very harmful to your health.

Consumer Reports tested a variety of different brands to find which were safest.

Make sure to check the list before you buy any chocolate.

What Is The Unhealthiest Chocolate?

There are some products on the market that don’t actually count as chocolate.

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which is the defining factor.

But white chocolate is made with cocoa butter mixed with sugar, milk solids, and maybe some vanilla.

That means most of the elements that give chocolate its distinct flavour, as well as its relaxing effects, are not present.

It also tends to be very high in sugar, making it the least beneficial of all chocolates.

Risk Factors For Eating Chocolate

We spent a lot of time talking about the health benefits of chocolate, so now let’s touch on some risk factors.

Chocolate can increase your risk for getting migraines.

It’s possible to get more migraines when eating chocolate regularly, even if it’s high quality dark chocolate.

This is due to the presence of tyramine, histamine, and phenylalanine.

RELATED: How To Prevent Tension Headaches

The high sugar content in low quality chocolate can increase your risk for diabetes, tooth decay, and obesity.

Chocolate is also often high in fat too.

This is why it’s important to buy high quality dark chocolate instead of other options like white or milk chocolate for regular enjoyment.

There is also some evidence to indicate that chocolate can impact your bone health, increasing risk of osteoporosis in older women who ate chocolate every day, along with poor bone structure.

Finally, you’ll want to avoid chocolate with high levels of cadmium and lead, like we mentioned earlier, because they are toxic to your kidneys and bones.

RELATED: Naturopathic Detox Treatments

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

There are many benefits to incorporating high quality dark chocolate into your diet.

But keep moderation in mind.

And don’t stop there.

If you’re trying to improve your heart health, lower your LDL cholesterol, or improve your general health, book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Naturopathic Clinic today.

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

Naturopathic Treatments For Psoriasis

By Blog

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

Your skin is an incredibly complex organ with many associated ailments and conditions.

Have you noticed that you have scaly, dry, or itchy skin?

This may be an indication that you have psoriasis.

According to the Canadian Dermatology Association, 1 million Canadians are currently living with this condition.

That accounts to roughly 2.5% of Canada’s population.

If you or a loved one are dealing with pesky psoriasis symptoms, you may want to consider consulting with a naturopathic practitioner.

That’s where we come in.

Mindful Healing Naturopathic Clinic is a naturopathic clinic offering virtual naturopathic consultations for a wide range of different health concerns.

Naturopathic treatments for skin conditions like psoriasis can help you manage your condition.

In this article, we’ll discuss what psoriasis is, its symptoms, as well as how natural remedies can help.

What Is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition.

It’s classified as an autoimmune disorder due to an imbalance in your immune system.

Typically, skin cells have a lifespan of approximately one month before they get replaced.

This process begins with the production of cells deep beneath your skin’s surface.

Over time, new skin cells rise to the surface and replace the older ones as they shed.

In people with psoriasis, this process is drastically accelerated.

Psoriasis triggers an overactive immune response where skin cells reproduce much more rapidly than usual.

Rather than a month, the production of skin cells occurs over the span of just a few days.

Ultimately, new skin cells emerge before the older ones shed.

This can result in a multitude of symptoms, including:

  • Itching
  • Skin scaling
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Skin redness

RELATED: How To Deal With Chronic Pain Naturally

There is currently no known cure for psoriasis.

However, its symptoms are manageable through lifestyle changes and avoiding certain triggers.

Next, we’ll discuss some of the specific types of psoriasis and their associated symptoms.

Plaque Psoriasis

Plaque psoriasis is the most common form of psoriasis, accounting for approximately 80% to 90% of cases.

It typically causes inflamed patches of skin, which appear red on lighter skin tones or purplish gray on darker ones.

People with darker skin tones often experience more severe symptoms, such as scale (plaque) clusters on the skin’s surface.

Plaque psoriasis most commonly affects the skin on your elbows, knees, and scalp.

Pustular Psoriasis

Pustular psoriasis is more common amongst adults.

It causes white, pus filled blisters across your skin’s surface.

It’s typically found in smaller sections of your body, such as your hands and feet.

However, some people experience symptoms of pustular psoriasis in broader sections of their body.

Guttate Psoriasis

Unlike pustular psoriasis, which mostly occurs in adulthood, guttate psoriasis is typically diagnosed amongst children.

It causes small pink or violet coloured spots that are most commonly found on the torso, arms, and legs.

However, these spots aren’t typically thick and raised like those seen in plaque psoriasis.

Erythrodermic Psoriasis

Erythrodermic psoriasis is the most severe form of psoriasis.

Thankfully, it’s also the rarest.

Erythrodermic psoriasis affects very large sections of the body, resulting in inflamed skin which often resembles a particularly bad sunburn.

These inflamed scales also tend to fall off in large sections, leaving your body vulnerable to infection and fever.

Therefore, this form of psoriasis is potentially life threatening.

Inverse Psoriasis

Inverse psoriasis causes red, shiny, and inflamed patches of skin.

It most commonly occurs in the folds of your skin, such as under your armpits, breasts, groins, or around the genitals.

How To Tell If You Have Psoriasis

Now that you know a little bit more about the specific types of psoriasis, you might be wondering about how to recognize its symptoms.

As we previously discussed, the most obvious symptom of psoriasis is scaly, dry, or itchy skin.

The presence of psoriatic scales is another indicator.

Depending on your skin tone, these scales might appear whitish silver to bright red, or somewhere in between.

Psoriatic scales occur in many spots, including:

  • Hands and feet
  • Neck
  • Scalp
  • Face
  • Nails
  • Mouth
  • Genitals

Psoriasis symptoms may vary from person to person.

Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Raised, inflamed sections of skin
  • Scales or plaques that vary in colour
  • Dry, cracked skin with possible bleeding
  • Pain on and around affected areas
  • Itching or burning around affected areas
  • Thick nails
  • Tender, swollen joints that may resemble arthritis symptoms

RELATED: Naturopathic Treatments For Osteoarthritis

The symptoms of psoriasis commonly occur in cycles with periods of active symptoms followed by remission.

Severe symptoms typically occur anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before fading.

Afterwards, most people experience a period of remission where symptoms are nonexistent or unnoticeable.

However, symptoms return within a few weeks or when triggered by an environmental factor, such as stress or certain foods, and the cycle restarts.

Causes And Risk Factors For Psoriasis

Psoriasis isn’t contagious; therefore, you can’t catch it from touching someone with the condition.

However, certain risk factors may increase your likelihood of developing the condition.

Genetics play a particularly important role in the development of psoriasis.

You have an increased likelihood of experiencing psoriasis if you have an immediate family member, such as a parent or sibling, with the condition.

Additional risk factors for the development of psoriasis include:

Symptoms of psoriasis are also associated with certain triggers.

In other words, people with psoriasis often experience periods of active symptoms due to a specific environmental factor.

But these triggers aren’t universal.

What triggers symptoms in one person may not do the same to another.

Nonetheless, certain triggers appear more frequently than others.

Common triggers can include:

This list is by no means exhaustive.

Your naturopathic doctor at The Mindful Healing Clinic can help you pinpoint your personal triggers and manage them.

RELATED: These 5 Vitamins May Strengthen Your Immune System

RELATED: 5 Ways To Manage Stress

Naturopathic Solutions For Psoriasis

Naturopathic doctors have plenty of experience with the management of psoriasis symptoms.

The naturopathic approach can help you identify your triggers and prevent future outbreaks.

Your naturopathic doctor will first assess your nutritional and environmental factors.

Next, they’ll help you understand the ways in which your lifestyle factors affect your symptoms.

Here at The Mindful Healing Clinic, we recommend a variety of methods aimed at symptom management.

The following section will discuss some of these methods.

Make sure to speak to your naturopathic doctor before trying any of these, however.

1. Eat A Psoriasis Friendly Diet

An anti-inflammatory diet is crucial for psoriasis symptom management.

Psoriasis is commonly triggered by inflammation in your body.

Therefore, sticking to a diet which centers anti-inflammatory foods can do wonders for your symptoms.

An anti-inflammatory diet promotes the reduction of certain foods, such as:

Instead, increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods, such as:

  • Fruits and leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Olive oil

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Incorporating plenty of omega-3 fatty acids into your diet is equally important.

Omega-3 fatty acids combat inflammation within your body, which may lead to a reduction of psoriasis symptoms.

Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Shrimp
  • Nuts, such as walnuts
  • Seeds, such as flax seeds
  • Soybeans
  • Leafy greens, such as spinach
  • Fish oil supplements

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

3. Use A Humidifier

Psoriasis symptoms are often worse during the winter months.

This is because dry air dehydrates your skin, leading to cracked and irritated patches of skin.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to forgo central heating during the cold months to prevent such symptoms.

A humidifier can help restore some moisture to the air and soothe psoriasis symptoms.

4. Take An Oat Bath

Believe it or not, oatmeal isn’t just a hearty meal.

In fact, it can also help moisturize your skin.

Many people with psoriasis report a reduction of symptoms following an oat bath soak.

Pour one cup of dry oats into your bathwater, sit back, and relax.

However, avoid making your bathwater too warm as hot water can worsen dry skin.

5. Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is a succulent plant which originates from the Arabian Peninsula.

The gel found inside aloe vera plants has plenty of health benefits.

For instance, it does wonders for soothing irritated skin.

You can purchase aloe vera gel at most drugstores and apply it directly to irritated skin.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

At The Mindful Healing Clinic, we have a passion for natural remedies.

If you’re looking for natural remedies for psoriasis symptoms, you’ve come to the right place.

Our expert staff can help you with both the identification of psoriasis symptoms, as well as management of the condition.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today and find out how natural remedies can transform your skin.

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

Nutrient Profile: Iron

By Blog

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

Iron is a vital mineral that our bodies require to function.

It supports healthy growth and development in children, along with continued hormone support for adults.

But its most important function is transporting oxygen to all cells and tissues in the body.

You can find iron in a wide variety of dietary sources.

However, certain types of dietary iron are easier for your body to absorb than others.

Specially, iron found in animal proteins is the most bioavailable for your body.

This is why vegetarians and vegans are more vulnerable to being iron deficient.

But, don’t worry.

There are ways that you can help your body make the most of its iron intake from non-animal sources.

You just need to be mindful of what you eat with it.

If this sounds a little overwhelming, Mindful Healing can help.

A naturopathic doctor can provide you with information and help create meal plans that ensure you get enough iron in your diet.

It’s a great option to consider, whether or not you eat animal protein.

Keep reading to learn more about what iron does for your body.

What Is Iron?

Iron is a vital mineral that you need to live.

In case you’re wondering, it’s not the same as the metal that you can find in the ground.

There are two forms of dietary iron: heme iron and non-heme iron.

The main difference between the two, is that heme iron is found in animal protein, whereas non-heme iron comes from both plant-based foods and animal protein.

What Does Iron Do For The Body?

Your body needs iron to function properly as it transports oxygen in your blood to take it to your cells.

It supports healthy brain development and child development, along with regular cell and hormone function.

Your body stores iron as ferritin in your spleen, liver, muscle tissue, and bone marrow.

Iron is a core part of hemoglobin, making it responsible for your body’s ability to circulate oxygen from your lungs throughout your body.

Hemoglobin is a type of protein found in your red blood cells that requires iron to transport oxygen.

Not enough oxygen in your body can lead to a number of issues, like fatigue, which is a common symptom if you don’t have enough iron.

Iron is also found in myoglobin, which is a protein in your body that carries and stores oxygen in your muscle tissues.

Dietary Sources Of Iron

Like we said before, there are two main types of iron in food sources: heme iron and non-heme iron.

Heme iron, found in animal protein, is more easily absorbed by your body than non-heme iron.

This is why it is common for vegans or vegetarians to be iron deficient.

Non-heme iron requires help from vitamin C to improve your body’s absorption of it.

You will also want to avoid bran fiber, large amounts of calcium, and certain plant substances like phytates and tannins found in black tea, all of which can reduce your body’s absorption of non-heme iron.

You can find heme iron in meats, poultry, and seafood.

You can find non-heme iron in:

  • Nuts and seeds
  • Legumes
  • Leafy greens
  • Potato with skin
  • 85% Dark chocolate

RELATED: Is A Raw Food Diet A Good Idea?

Symptoms Of Iron Deficiency

Iron deficiency is very common, but most commonly affects children, those who are pregnant or menstruating, or people who don’t eat enough animal protein.

RELATED: Top 5 Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies In North American Women

There are three stages of iron deficiency.

The first stage is a decrease in your body’s stored iron.

This can be caused by a low iron diet, or too much bleeding.

If left to progress, your body’s stored iron will be depleted and your hemoglobin will drop.

This will continue until your red blood cells are very low in iron and you have little to no iron stores left.

It’s at this point that you can be diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia – more on that later.

During this process, you could experience:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Increased cold sensitivity
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Pale skin

You may also experience pica, which is cravings for non-food items like dirt, clay, or ice.

RELATED: Making Sense Of Your Blood Pressure

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

Why Is Iron Deficiency So Common?

Iron deficiency affects roughly one third of the global population.

This is largely a result of food insecurity.

There are many parts of the world where it’s difficult to find a balanced, nutritious diet.

As a result, the most common cause is a poor diet.

Children are sometimes born with a low red blood cell count, which makes it more difficult to absorb iron from breast milk as they get older.

If you’re pregnant, you’ll need more dietary iron than usual to feed your growing baby.

As a result, you’re at greater risk of iron deficiency as well.

This is also true if you have a heavy menstrual flow.

Over a longer term, heavy menstruation can lead to blood loss, which can deplete your body’s stores of iron.

How Is Iron Deficiency Diagnosed?

The main tool iron deficiency is diagnosed through is a blood test.

If you’re experiencing symptoms that could be the result of iron deficiency, your naturopathic doctor will screen for it by ordering a complete blood count and an iron panel.

This includes getting readings of your hemoglobin, hematocrit, and other factors that measure red blood cell size and volume, as well as iron and ferritin levels.

If this comes back below normal, then you have iron deficiency.

What Is Iron Deficiency Anemia?

Iron deficiency anemia is a condition characterized by a low hemoglobin due to iron deficiency.

Iron deficiency anemia results in your organs and tissues not getting as much oxygen as they need, which can cause many of the symptoms we mentioned above, like fatigue and lightheadedness.

There are, however, other forms of anemia.

Vitamin B12 and folate deficiency can also cause anemia.

Other forms of anemia include:

  • Sickle cell anemia – a genetic condition that causes misshapen red blood cells
  • Thalassemia – a genetic condition that causes low levels of hemoglobin
  • Aplastic anemia – a rare condition that causes your body to stop producing enough blood cells

These forms of anemia are generally not related to iron deficiency.

However, if you do have one of these forms of anemia, iron deficiency may make your symptoms worse.

RELATED: Naturopathic Solutions For Anemia

Is It Possible To Overdose On Iron?

While it is possible to overdose on iron, it’s very rare because your body regulates iron absorption.

This means that if your iron stores are well maintained, your body will absorb less dietary iron.

It’s more common to overdose if you’re taking iron supplements that are too high dosage for your body, or you have a genetic condition that stores too much iron.

According to a recent study, extreme overdose on iron tablets can be fatal, but this is very rare and usually happens because young children eat a bunch without knowing better.

In healthy people, a high dose iron supplement on an empty stomach can cause an upset stomach, constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Large amounts of iron might also cause more serious effects, including inflammation of the stomach lining and ulcers.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

You can see how important iron is for your body.

It’s a powerhouse mineral that helps our bodies stay oxygenated so that we can function optimally and accomplish all of our daily tasks.

If you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate an iron deficiency, or you’re just not sure if you’re getting enough, book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

We take the time to understand your concerns and can create a custom treatment plan to help you start to feel better.

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

Hormone Profile: Thyroid Hormones

By Blog

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

Hormones are chemical messengers within your body.

They control your bodily functions, including your energy levels, mood, development, metabolism, and reproduction.

Hormones are released from various glands throughout your body, and are important in maintaining your health.

If these glands are not functioning properly, it could impact your hormone levels and cause health issues.

Today we’ll be focusing on the thyroid.

The thyroid is important for making hormones that regulate your metabolism.

In fact, these hormones affect every single cell in your body.

Issues with your thyroid can cause fatigue, hair loss, and anxiety, among other health issues.

If you’re dealing with hormone imbalances and other associated issues, Mindful Healing Naturopathic Clinic is here to help.

Contact our Streetsville naturopathic clinic and let’s work together to uncover the root of your health issues and create a personalized treatment plan.

Keep reading to discover what your thyroid is, diseases that can arise when your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, and how a naturopathic doctor can provide treatment.

What Is Your Thyroid?

Glands are bodily organs that produce substances, such as hormones, for specific functions.

Your thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland that’s located at the front of your neck, along your trachea, and below your Adam’s apple.

There are two halves, or lobes, that make up your thyroid, which are joined by thyroid tissue.

It’s a part of your endocrine system, which is responsible for releasing and regulating hormones necessary for vital bodily functions.

The thyroid gland’s main job is to release hormones to regulate your body’s metabolism, or the rate at which your body creates energy from the food you consume (metabolic rate).

RELATED: Getting To Know Your Body: Your Thyroid

Which Hormones Does Your Thyroid Produce?

As a part of your endocrine system, the thyroid produces hormones that are released into your bloodstream and travel to your body’s cells.

These hormones are produced from iodine contained in the food you eat.

The primary hormones produced by your thyroid are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which are both involved in regulating how your body uses energy.

They can be either inactive (does not impact your body’s cells) or active (impacts your body’s cells).

The thyroid also produces calcitonin, which regulates the calcium levels in your blood.

Any imbalance in these hormones can lead to health issues.

Let’s take a closer look at Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4).

Triiodothyronine (T3)

The majority of T3 is produced by your thyroid.

But it’s also produced in tissues of various organs that convert T4 into T3.

These organs can include your liver, muscles, kidneys, and other tissues.

The main source of T3, responsible for about 80% of T3 in your body, is through the conversion of T4 into T3 in these bodily tissues.

T3 is an active thyroid hormone, meaning that it directly affects the cells in your body.

This hormone controls numerous bodily functions, including:

  • Metabolism
  • Alertness
  • Digestion
  • Muscle development
  • Bone maintenance
  • Body temperature
  • Heart rate

Thyroxine (T4)

T4 is the main hormone that is produced and released by your thyroid gland into your bloodstream.

T4, unlike T3, does not affect your body’s cells because it’s inactive.

However, once released into your bloodstream, T4 can convert to T3.

This process is known as deiodination.

When instructed by the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in the brain, your liver and kidneys convert the majority of released T4 into T3.

What Do Thyroid Hormones Do?

T3 and T4 thyroid hormones are responsible for regulating numerous bodily functions.

They coordinate functions by carrying chemical messages to your organs, tissues, and muscles through your bloodstream.

They control the rate at which your body converts iodine in the food you consume into energy that your body can use, which is also known as your metabolism.

These hormones are also critical for brain development, especially in infants.

Furthermore, they’re involved in a feedback loop with your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and other hormones.

Your hypothalamus releases thyroid releasing hormone, TRH, when it senses that T3 and T4 levels are low.

This signals your pituitary gland to release thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH.

Then TSH stimulates your thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3.

Any drop in T3 and T4 will cause the loop to start again, allowing for thyroid hormone levels to be controlled and maintained.

Some of the key functions of thyroid hormones consist of regulating:

RELATED: Frequently Asked Questions About Hormones

Health Issues Associated With Your Thyroid

Issues with your thyroid, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus, which control T4 and T3 production, can all cause abnormal thyroid hormone levels.

Having too little or too much of either T3 or T4 in your bloodstream can cause a number of health issues.

Too low of T3 or T4 can cause slow heart rate and weight gain, as a result of slowed metabolism.

With high T3 or T4 levels, you may have a rapid heart rate or weight loss.

Thyroid issues tend to have an increased risk in women rather than men.

RELATED: Naturopathic Solutions For Women’s Health

1. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is the result of a thyroid that is overactive.

This means that your body is producing too much T3 and T4.

You may develop hyperthyroidism from an autoimmune disorder, lumps on your thyroid, an inflamed thyroid, or too much thyroid hormone medication or iodine.

You’re also at a higher risk if you are older (over 60), have a family history of hyperthyroidism, are pregnant or were previously pregnant, or are a woman.

The processes in your body work overtime to try to counteract the overactive thyroid, which can lead to health issues.

You may experience a number of symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble sleeping

The onset of symptoms may be gradual or occur suddenly.

2. Graves’ Disease

Hyperthyroidism can also occur due to Graves’ disease, which is an autoimmune disease that can cause an overactive thyroid.

Graves’ disease can occur when your body’s immune system makes antibodies that target areas they shouldn’t.

Your immune system attacks your body rather than protecting it and fighting diseases.

Your antibodies attack your thyroid gland in Graves’ disease, causing it to secrete excess thyroid hormones.

These same antibodies that attack the thyroid gland also attack tissues around your eyes and on your skin.

It can cause premature birth, inflammation of the skin, eye pain and eye bulging, along with an enlarged thyroid.

RELATED: Naturopathic Treatments For Skin Conditions

3. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism.

It occurs when your thyroid isn’t as active as it should be.

Either your thyroid isn’t producing enough T3 and T4 or these hormones are not affecting targeted tissues effectively.

As a result of decreased thyroid hormone levels, all of the organs in your body slow down.

This can be caused by:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Removal of your thyroid
  • Inflammation of the thyroid
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Radiation treatment
  • Being born with hypothyroidism
  • Other causes

Just like with hyperthyroidism, your risk for hypothyroidism increases as you age, if you’re a woman, or if you were recently pregnant.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include:

4. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hypothyroidism may also be caused by Hashimoto Disease, which is an autoimmune disease.

Similar to other thyroid issues, this disease is more common in seniors, women, and those with a family history of it.

Like with Graves’ Disease, in Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis your immune system makes antibodies and targets areas it shouldn’t.

The thyroid peroxidase antibodies in Hashimoto disease target your thyroid gland and make it inflamed.

The inflammation causes your thyroid to make fewer thyroid hormones than it should and causes hypothyroidism.

Symptoms can include:

  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Fertility issues
  • Decreased libido
  • Fatigue

Left untreated, it can lead to more serious health issues.

5. Thyroid Cancer

This is the most common disease involving your endocrine system.

This involves cancer of your thyroid gland where a tumor grows in your thyroid gland.

Cells grow at a rate that’s too fast for your body’s immune system to fight and control them.

Thyroid cancer is most common in women and those aged between 25 and 65, although it can occur in anyone.

There are usually no symptoms of thyroid cancer.

It’s usually found by your doctor when examining your thyroid and discovering a lump.

If you do show symptoms, the most common one is swelling in the neck.

It may also cause problems swallowing, discomfort when moving the head, hoarseness, or a persistent cough.

RELATED: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Role In Cancer Treatment

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

How To Balance Your Thyroid Hormones Naturally

We’ve discussed what thyroid hormones are, what they do, and some of the health issues that can affect your thyroid.

I’m sure by this point you’re wondering what you could do to help balance your thyroid hormones naturally and reduce your risk of thyroid related diseases.

Luckily, there are many ways in which you can help to balance your thyroid hormone levels.

RELATED: Naturopathic Treatments For Thyroid Problems

1. Get Iodine In Your Diet

The primary function of the thyroid hormones is to regulate the rate of your metabolism using iodine from the food you consume.

In order to make thyroid hormones, your thyroid needs iodine in your diet.

You can get additional iodine in your diet through:

  • Seaweed snacks
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products
  • Saltwater fish
  • Soy milk
  • Soy sauce

Just like with any other food, it’s important to maintain a balance.

Eating too much iodine can also cause health issues.

A naturopathic doctor can help you to discover what level of iodine in your diet is right for you.

2. Anti-inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle

Thyroid issues may also arise from inflammation in your body.

There are foods that can lower your risk of inflammation, which include fresh fruits and vegetables, proteins, garlic, onion, turmeric, green tea, etc.

You may also want to avoid processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats, which can increase your risk of inflammation.

Managing your stress levels can also play a part in reducing inflammation and other thyroid associated issues.

High stress levels can cause issues with your thyroid hormones, and can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other issues.

There are many naturopathic stress solutions that can help you out here, and keep your mind and body healthy.

3. Get Exercise

Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of thyroid issues.

Exercising can improve your health by improving circulation and promoting weight management.

Workout at your own pace and try to do at least an hour of mild to moderate exercise daily.

By regularly exercising you can maintain a healthy lifestyle and maintain optimal thyroid function.

Book Your Appointment With The Mindful Healing Clinic Today

Are you someone with a family history of thyroid issues?

Have you been diagnosed with a thyroid related condition or believe that you may have issues with your thyroid?

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 uncover natural solutions for your thyroid issues and help you optimize your health.

Book your appointment with The Mindful Healing Clinic today.

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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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

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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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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

By Blog

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

By Blog

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.