Adrenal Gland

Adrenal Gland

Adrenal Gland. Do they Need a Little TLC?

In this article we are going to cover…

  • What is a adrenal gland?
  • What is adrenal gland fatigue?
  • The top symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
  • What you can do to improve your adrenal health.

if at anytime you want to talk to one of our Naturopathic Doctors about your adrenal health, you can book a free consultation by clicking here.

We’ve all heard people say these things before, “I wake up tired, and go to bed tired”, or “I feel exhausted, but as soon as my head hits the pillow my mind starts to buzz”.  Our bodies were built to handle stressful events, for example our ancestors needed their stress activated nervous system to be able to run away from predators.

In these acute situations stress is a good thing, it helps us to survive, to fight. Once these acute situations are over, our body is designed to return to harmony in its normal hormonal balance.

However, when we are exposed to ongoing stress, this response doesn’t get shut off as it should be. Our bodies think it is constantly in danger, and hormones shift to respond to these constant perceived stressors. This is what can burn our adrenal glands out.

What is Adrenal Fatigue?

Our adrenal gland are tis a tiny gland that sit on each of our kidneys. They are responsible for producing our stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol. Cortisol is secreted in a very specific manner, lined up with our circadian rhythm. It spikes in the morning to act as our “get up and go” hormone to help with waking, and slowly decreases throughout the day to eventually prepare for sleep.

It has an inverse relationship with melatonin, our “sleep” hormone. This means that in the morning when we wake up, cortisol should be high and melatonin should be low. The opposite is true of in the evening when we go to sleep, cortisol should be low, and melatonin at its highest. The term adrenal fatigue is often used to describe the pattern we see when there is an imbalance in this cortisol rhythm.

For example, we may see cortisol spiking at night leaving individuals with this “tired but wired” feeling, or we may see it low in the morning making it difficult to get out of bed.

The term adrenal fatigue can be confusing, since the problem isn’t isolated to the adrenal glands. The issue is actually along the communication line with something called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

In our brains, the hypothalamus releases a hormone called corticotropin-releasing hormone, which then signals to the anterior pituitary gland to secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone, which then signals to our adrenal glands to release cortisol. Our adrenal glands themselves do not alter the production of cortisol because they become “fatigued”, they alter the production of cortisol due to a dysfunction within this communication pathway.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the most common symptoms of HPA axis dysfunction include:

  • Difficulty getting up in the morning, or waking feeling unrested
  • Cravings for salty or sugary foods
  • An afternoon slump or fatigue
  • A second wind in the evening when you should be preparing for sleep
  • Afternoon headaches
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Lowered libido
  • Changes to mood
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Other hormonal imbalances

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? You may be experiencing stress-induced HPA axis dysfunction.

How do you get it?

Often times when we talk about stress, people think solely about mental/emotional stress. However, there are all sorts of stress our bodies are continuously processing, handling, and responding to. This includes perceived stress from our environment, blood sugar dysregulation, inflammatory signaling, sleep disturbances, chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, toxin exposure and feedback inhibition problems along that communication pathway.

When our bodies are constantly exposed to these stressors, it can affect how our brain communicates to our adrenal glands.

What can you do about it?

First and foremost we recommend talking to your naturopathic doctor about diagnostic labs that can assess your cortisol levels, at the appropriate times of the day. This can include either a 4-point salivary test, or through dried urine using the DUTCH test.  In addition to this, your doctor may look at additional lab testing to see if other factors are at play, for example inflammation, chronic infections, or food intolerances. It is essential to pinpoint and identify which stressors may be playing a role in your symptoms, so that a treatment plan can be individualized to you.

Nutrition:

  • A focus on real whole foods should be recommended to ensure your body is getting the nutrients it needs to function properly, while minimizing processed and refined foods. Encouraging the consumption of healthy fats from sources such as olive oil, salmon and avocados, dark leafy green vegetables that are rich in magnesium and b-vitamins, and quality protein sources like grass fed meats are recommended. Your Naturopathic Doctor can further make individualized dietary recommendations for you.

Supplements:

  • Adaptogenic herbs such as: Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, and Schisandra can help our bodies adapt to stress, regulating our cortisol rhythm. Always discuss supplementation with your Naturopathic Doctor before starting these.
  • Magnesium: Magnesium is a mineral that often gets used up and depleted while exposed to chronic stress. It is important for helping to calm our brain, relax our muscles, and to promote a restful sleep.
  • B-vitamins: B vitamins often become depleted in times of chronic stress, and as a result can often affect our energy, mood, and sleep. In addition, B-vitamins are important for supporting our methylation pathways which play a role in the melatonin-cortisol rhythm.
  • Vitamin D: Optimizing Vitamin D levels helps to support a healthy immune system, balance hormones, support energy, and regulate mood. Most Canadians are deficient so it’s important to test, then target supplementation accordingly.

IV therapy:

  • IV Drip Therapy has targeted nutrients including but not limited to magnesium, B-vitamins, glutathione, NAC, carnitine, zinc and Vitamin C delivered directly into the blood stream, bypassing digestion so that it can directly impact cells can help replenish depleted nutrients, and regulate cortisol imbalances.

Mind-Body therapies:

  • Breathing exercises that help us become aware of our breath, and shifting our nervous system from a sympathetic “fight or flight” to a parasympathetic “rest and digest” can be very powerful for helping to regulate our stress response. Mindful meditation is also a great tool to help activate our parasympathetic nervous system.

Lifestyle:

  • Prioritizing sleep to allow your body to recuperate and recover overnight. Turning off electronics, including your phone a few hours before bed, sleeping in a dark cool room, and trying to sleep and wake at the same time each day are excellent sleep hygiene practices.
  • Exposing ourselves to natural light in the morning helping to regulate that cortisol/melatonin relationship, and spending more time in nature to help stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system and de-stress.
  • Learning to say “no” to things when our plates are already full, practice healthy boundaries, and doing things that are going to fill your cup and not empty it.

These small but mighty glands are involved in so many body functions, that supporting our adrenals and our HPA axis is critical for higher health.

Do you feel pressure to always be striving?

Achieving and taking on more?

Do you find it difficult to relax during down time?

It may be time to look at alternative ways to change your lifestyle, support your stress pathways, and provide your body with the support and rest it needs. If you need some help with that, you can always book a free consultation and speak to one of our naturopathic doctors.

References:

https://dutchtest.com/2016/07/05/adrenal-fatigue-is-all-in-your-head-sort-of/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21835188/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25462913/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30079756/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31517876/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32393092/

Fountain of youth sign

Anti-Aging Tips

We all know that we age – but have you ever wondered what you can do to slow down the process, and to live both well and longer?  What if there were therapies and tools that existed that could drastically slow down the aging process, perhaps even reverse it. Reversing aging by removing wrinkles, helping blood vessels and skin become elastic again, and recharging our mitochondria. Intrigued?

Many people believe that we age because our bodies wear out. The theory goes that because our bodies operate 24/7, day in and day out, that eventually this causes wear and tear, degeneration of our cells throughout many organs and body parts, and inevitably death. 

The problem with this theory however, is that it is way too simple. Here is a Toronto Naturopathic Doctor’s perspective on aging and what you can do about it. 

So…What causes aging?

Aging is a natural part of being a living species, but we have come to understand that there are a lot of factors that accelerate and contribute to the aging process. The effects of aging are what most do not look forward to – frailty, immobility, wrinkles, skin damage, and the cascade of chronic and degenerative illnesses. 

While we cannot stop aging process altogether, we most certainly can seek health and vibrancy well beyond the years of what we anticipate. The idea of glowing skin, shiny hair, and a flexible strong body that is capable of what we still want to do.

Here are the top 9 common and leading causes of aging:

  • Shortening of telomeres: Telomeres are protective protein structures found at the ends of chromosomes to help prevent degradation. Shortening of telomeres is associated with aging, but we have research to suggest we can modify how quickly the telomeres actually shorten.
  • Loss of energy production from the mitochondria: One of the main roles of the mitochondria is to produce energy for our cells all throughout our body. As we age, our mitochondria becomes less efficient in producing energy for a variety of reasons. There are a lot of modifiable risk factors we can control to help keep our mitochondria healthy longer!
  • Loss of stem cells: Stem cells are extremely important to help replace lost cells due to turnover, injury and disease. However, as we age their function declines and this factor contributes to degeneration and dysfunction. It’s a fascinating area of up and coming research!
  • Accumulation of senescent cells: Think of senescent cells like “zombie-cells”. They are non-functioning cells that linger in the skin and other tissues. Although they can be protective in some instances, the accumulation of these cells has been linked to aging and preventing healthy cell turnover and repair.
  • Aggregation of proteins: This is the process of misfolded proteins, and causes the proteins to cluster affecting their ability to properly function. This is involved in aging, but also a number of neurodegenerative diseases as well. We have clean-up crews that would help clean up these misfolded proteins, but the older we become the less efficient these clean-up crews work, perhaps our environment is accelerating the amount of misfolded proteins we have, and all of a sudden our body can no longer do its job properly leading to an accumulation of these proteins.

    They have been linked to Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease when accumulated in the brain, slower reflexes in the nerves, heart failure in the heart, strokes when accumulated in the vessels, and decreased elasticity in the lungs.
  • Collagen Breakdown: Both the quality and quantity of collagen plays a major role in the skin’s appearance, the health of your hair and nails, as well as your joints. As we age, the body starts to produce less collagen. This can appear as the skin becoming thinner, drier, and less elastic. Targeting treatment to slow down the breakdown of collagen, and support its quality can help make you look younger again!
  • Glycation: Glycation occurs as a result of too much sugar intake, and these excess glucose (sugar) molecules link to structures like collagen and elastin in the skin. Glycation causes the skins proteins (collagen, elastin) to lose their ability to function normally. The fibers become rigid, and have a reduced ability to regenerative contributing to cracking and thinning skin.
  • Inflammation: Acute inflammation is needed to help fight against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. However, chronic inflammation has become a hot topic amongst many chronic conditions we see in clinic, including accelerated aging. Chronic inflammation impairs the cells ability to heal and regenerate, it promotes inflammatory pathways and can lead to redness, irritation, sensitivity, and damage to the tissue all which affect the process of aging.
  • Oxidative Stress: Oxidative stress occurs when the amount of free radicals exceeds what are body is able to neutralize via antioxidant pathways. Free radicals are very reactive small molecules, and can damage virtually any molecule or cell in the body. Our bodies have been designed with internal antioxidants, but often due to our environment, and lifestyle it is not enough to protect our skin, mitochondria, and organs from damage. We have the ability to reduce our oxidative stress by making conscious lifestyle decisions, and also supplementing with extra antioxidants to help our body’s defense.

As you can probably guess, although a lot of these processes are a natural part of aging, what we do and what we expose ourselves to can affect the rate at which they happen. 

This is where Naturopathic medicine shines, and can address your internal physiology, lifestyle and environment, to give you the tools to help your anti-aging process.

IV Therapy and Anti-Aging

IV Therapy can be a big help with your anti-aging through two main processes:

  • By Providing a high dose of antioxidants which can have a direct anti-aging benefit

  • IV Therapy Contains several key ingredients which can act as a nutritive for cellular health, slowing down aging and promoting cellular repair. 

Let’s take a look at some of the specific anti-aging ingredients more closely.

Vitamin C : Vitamin C slows down age related telomere shortening in human skin cells. It is a cofactor for elastin and collagen production in blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, and skin. Vitamin C helps reduce oxidative damage in the body, which plays an important role in aging. Applying it topically has shown to improve skin elasticity and hydration. 

Magnesium : A deficiency in magnesium has been correlated with accelerated aging of human endothelial cells and fibroblasts (cells that help make collagen and repair the skin). Magnesium helps with cell regeneration and repair, an important component of anti-aging. 

B Vitamins : B vitamins have shown some benefit with skin aging, specifically with age spots and hyperpigmentation. Deficiencies in B vitamins can cause dry skin, acne, and wrinkles. 

NAC : N-acetyl-cysteine is a go-to nutrient for anti-aging, as it helps replenish glutathione levels in the body. Glutathione is considered the master antioxidant. By supporting the antioxidant pathway, it can help reduce aging at the cellular level.

Glutathione : Glutathione helps reduce oxidative damage to brain cells associated with aging. Its detoxification action improves the health of cells helping to slow the process of cell aging. Glutathione helps protect the skin from damage that can cause wrinkles and has shown to improve skin elasticity. 

MSM : MSM helps reduce inflammation which is associated with cellular damage and can cause premature aging. It has shown to reduce visual signs of aging such as wrinkles. MSM plays a role in collagen production and works well when taken alongside vitamin C.

Carnitine : Acetyl-l-carnitine has shown to protect cells in the body from age-related degeneration. Research demonstrates its effects on the brain, where it improves memory, cognition, and mood. Carnitine supports the function of our mitochondria which often declines throughout the aging process.

Lifestyle Modifications and Anti-Aging
Here is a list of things you can start doing today to help with your new anti-aging regiment. 

#1. Don’t smoke, or quit smoking. The chemicals used in making both cigarettes and smoking alternatives such as vaping  damages our cellular DNA, and accelerates the aging process.

#2. Intermittent fasting can help turn on longevity genes. This doesn’t mean skipping meals, or under-eating, but it does include time restricted eating (typically a 8-10 hour eating window) which gives our body time to repair and regenerate instead of using its energy to consistently digest and breakdown food. Make sure to talk with your Naturopathic Doctor first before starting intermittent fasting.

#3. The food we eat and use to fuel our bodies is crucial. A diet rich in healthy fats, anti-oxidants, can help activate our longevity genes, battled oxidative stress and inflammation, and slow down the aging process. This also goes to say that minimizing/avoiding processed foods and refined sugar can also help us achieve the extended vibrant health we seek.

#4. Prioritize a good night’s sleep. Sleep is the time for which our body takes to restore and repair itself. Lacking quantity and quality sleep can severely impact the rate at which we age. If sleep is something you’re struggling with, our team of Naturopathic Doctors can help figure out the root cause, so that you can wake feeling rested and refreshed.

Although we can’t prevent aging altogether, there are lots of tools we have to slow down the aging process. Have you considered adding in IV therapy as part of your anti-aging tool box? We encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors at Higher Health to how IV therapy may be beneficial for you.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370421/
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnagi.2017.00138/full
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29104718/ 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20388094/ 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26467067/ 

Gut health

Gut

Improve Your GI  Health with IV Vitamin Therapy

Gut health is a critical part of whole body health. As we know, the state of our gut and our body’s microbiome is imperative for overall wellness amongst many systems in the body. It’s fair to say that a healthy gut is a driving factor for a healthy you. Your gut isn’t just your stomach, it’s actually a catch all term referring to your gastrointestinal tract as a whole.

Your gastrointestinal system actually begins in the mouth, and includes your esophagus, stomach, and intestines. All food is ultimately broken down in the gut, making it very important to take care of and ensure it is operating a peak efficiency. In addition, your gut is a driving factor for immune health, metabolic health, mental health and hormones.

Why should you care?

As we continue to learn and as research continues, we are just beginning to understand just how complex gut health and the gut microbiome is, and its relation to systemic health. When we think about gut health we can start with the basics.

All food that we eat is broken down in the gut into molecules that our stomach can absorb, allowing them to enter into the blood stream and be delivered as nutrients throughout or bodies and to cells. In order for this process to work smoothly, a healthy digestive system is necessary.

A healthy gut is one that contains an appropriate proportion of “good” bacteria, immune cells that can protect against infectious agents, one whose protective barrier is preserved so that the tight junctions in the mucosal gut wall can effectively and selectively control what passes through its layers – keeping pathogens and toxins out, while allowing nutrients in.

When healthy, this also allows proper communication with the brain through nerves and hormones which helps support our mood, general health and overall well-being.

What are some signs and symptoms of gut health issues?

Gastrointestinal disorders can wreak havoc on one’s quality of life, especially during flare-ups for disorders such as Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

An unhealthy gut may cause local symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Acid reflux

other systemic symptoms include:

  • Headaches/ migraines
  • Joint pain
  • Skin conditions
  • Brain fog
  • and Mood disorders

Long term consequences of poor health can include the inability to digest your food properly, food sensitivities, problems sleeping, regulating your mood, altered energy levels, and issues regulating hunger and satiety.

Poor gut health has also been found to be implicated in autoimmune, cardiovascular, and neurodegenerative diseases.

You can see why taking care of this is so important.

How does IV therapy help?

IV therapy offers a way to improve your gut health by bypassing oral supplementation. The absorption of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can be impacted when we suffer from digestive disorders.

When trying to supplement by mouth, we are depending on our digestive system to properly absorb it so that it can enter the blood stream and target cells at an appropriate dose to have an effect.

As you can imagine, there are a lot of possible limitations with oral supplementation when things are not working optimally.

In addition, certain nutrients have a maximum dose at which they can be absorbed by the digestive tract when supplemented orally (for example Vitamin C). IV Vitamin therapy bypasses the GI tract altogether, and therefore the challenges that may come with intestinal absorption.

IV Vitamin therapy delivers optimal and carefully selected therapeutic doses of nutrients directly to the bloodstream, and therefore acting as a direct highway to deliver these nutrients where we need them; our cells.

In addition, there are specific vitamins and minerals that can be added to your IV Vitamin bag to enhance nutrient absorption, provide high doses of anti-inflammatory nutrients notably for inflammatory bowel conditions, nutrient specific for gut healing and repair, and nutrients to help reduce pain and cramping. 

Specific IV Nutrients for Gut health

Some key nutrients for digestive health that may be included in your IV bag are:

Glutamine – Glutamine strengthens the barrier that is present in our intestinal tract, and reduces inflammation, both of which helps to prevent leaky gut. It improves the immune function of our GI system which is important for overall health. Glutamine is beneficial for food sensitivities (by addressing inflammation) and is a key ingredient for chronic GI conditions, including IBS, Crohn’s, and ulcerative colitis.

Taurine : Taurine plays a large role in digestion and metabolism. It supports the liver in producing bile salts which break down fatty acids, primarily cholesterol, in the intestine. It improves the digestion and absorption of fats.

Selenium : Selenium can help improve digestion and reduce malabsorption in the GI tract. It strengthens the gut’s response to inflammation, preventing damage to the gut lining. Deficiencies in selenium are correlated to higher oxidative damage in the GI tract, which can lead to different various GI disorders.

Zinc: Zinc is a critical mineral for a healthy gut. It has shown to be beneficial in treating conditions such as diarrhea and leaky gut. It helps to stabilize the gut lining and promote repair of gut tissue.

Bicarbonate : Bicarbonate helps to neutralize acidic environments in our GI tract, which has a protective effect on our gut lining. It is also a key anti-inflammatory nutrient used in your IV treatment.

Amino Acids : Amino acids are fuel for the lining of the small intestine and are the building blocks of our intestinal proteins. There is research to support several amino acids for gut-related diseases, as they support gut lining integrity and overall function. 

While some clients will do an IV Drip as a stand alone treatment, we usually recommend IV Drip Therapy as part of a treatment plan that also includes making the most out of your preferred diet, supplements, and lifestyle choices.

If you’re interested in finding out how our Naturopathic Doctors can help you, click here for a free consultation.

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32302292/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26848182/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29494512/ 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11840007/ 
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18670730

Crohn’s disease symptoms

Crohn’s Disease

Understanding Crohn’s disease from a Naturopathic Doctor’s perspective. What are the symptoms and treatments that can actually help.

In this article we will cover the following for Crohn’s Disease:

  • What is Crohn’s Disease
  • What Causes Crohn’s Disease
  • Top Symptoms Of Crohn’s Disease
  • How to Test For Crohn’s Disease
  • What a Naturopathic Doctor Can Do To Help
  • How IV Drip Therapy Can Help Crohn’s Disease

 Before you get into this great article, if at anytime you want to talk to one of our Naturopathic Doctors about how they help with Crohn’s disease, or how IV Drip Therapy can help you can book a free consultation by clicking here.

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong illness and can severely impact one’s quality of life. It can be tricky to manage, and can often leave individuals feeling discouraged and hopeless affecting not only their physical health but also their mental, emotional, and social health.

If you are suffering from Crohn’s disease, please know that you are not alone and that your feelings and emotions are very real. A Naturopathic Doctor approach to medicine is to assess the whole person, and look at how a disease may be affecting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of an individual.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic, relapsing disease which belongs to the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) family. Inflammatory bowel disease includes a group of conditions that inflame and attack the lining of your gastrointestinal tract.

When the gastrointestinal tract in inflamed, it makes it difficult to perform its job of breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste.  Crohn’s disease can affect the gastrointestinal tract anywhere starting from the mouth, all the way to the rectum; however, it most commonly affects the terminal ileum (the end of your small intestine that intersects with the large intestine) and portions of your large intestine.

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s is a very complicated disease, and unfortunately there is no single cause that we know of yet.

What we do know is that the immune system plays a significant role, and that when your immune system is not working the way it should be, this can make your symptoms and flare ups happen more often, and be more severe.

Many inflammatory markers have been identified in Crohn’s disease, indicating a state of “chronic inflammation” within the GI tract.  Patient’s with Crohn’s disease commonly have an onset of symptoms between the ages of 20-30 years of age, or around the age of 50 years.

Although these are the most common ages we see people being diagnosed, it can occur at any age. There are no significant differences between the occurrence of Crohn’s in males and females; however, there is a strong genetic risk with the strongest risk factor being having a parent or sibling that was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

We also see a higher prevalence in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, in those who smoke cigarettes, use NSAIDs frequently, and in those who eat a low fibre/vegetable diet or a westernized diet high in animal meats, dairy, and refined sugar.

What are some of the signs and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?

 Taking a very detailed clinical history is important in diagnosing Crohn’s disease as the presentation varies from individual to individual, and the symptoms can mimic other illnesses or diseases.  Below are some of the signs and symptoms that someone with Crohn’s disease may experience:

  • Abdominal pain, typically in the right lower quadrant. Can be dull or crampy, and mild to severe
  • Urgent Diarrhea
  • Incontinence
  • Nocturnal awakening to use the bathroom
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Extra-intestinal manifestations including but not limited to:
    • Eyes: Painful vision, blurry vision, redness
    • Oral ulcers, mouth or tongue pain
    • Joint aches / arthralgia
    • Skin manifestations including painful and/or purple bumps

 

What Are Some Of The Tests For Crohn’s Disease?

 There are many different tests a doctor may perform to determine whether you may be suffering from Crohn’s disease, and the extent of the disease.

These include:

Blood Tests:

  • CBC with differential
    • White blood cells may be elevated with inflammation or infection
    • Red blood cells/ Hemoglobin may be decreased in anemia
  • Nutritional status:
    • Iron, ferritin, vitamin B12, folate, iron-binding capacity
      • Decreased absorption or increase iron loss to assess for iron deficiency anemia
    • Albumin and prealbumin level
      • Decreased with poor nutritional status and with protein-losing enteropathy
    • Vitamin D status
      • May be decreased secondary to malabsorption, or if your doctor started you on corticosteroid treatments for your Crohn’s to monitor for impaired metabolism
    • Elevated inflammatory markers : erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP)

Stool Test:

  • Markers of inflammation
    • Fecal lactoferrin and calprotectin levels
      • Helpful in determining inflammation within the bowels and gut

Endoscopy/ colonoscopy:

  • Procedure to visually assess the intestines and any presence of disease

Imaging (CT or MRI):

  • May be used as additional tests to rule in/out disease or if bowel complications are suspected

 

How can Naturopathic Medicine help?

As mentioned earlier, naturopathic medicine focuses on a whole body and individualized approach. Both the signs and symptoms and how it impacts one’s quality of life can vary dramatically from person to person, despite having the same disease.

A Naturopathic approach aims to reduce both the severity and frequency of episodes, to reduce the complications of the disease and minimize the need for surgery, to assess and correct any nutritional deficiencies, and support the individual’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health in healing.

Naturopathic treatment can be integrated with your conventional treatments to help optimize outcomes and minimize adverse effects.

Your Naturopathic Doctor will assess any obstacles to cure, and what may be aggravating your immune system for it to be attacking your gastrointestinal tract.

This could include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Eliminating food sensitivities
  • Minimizing environmental toxin exposures
  • Reducing oxidative stress

One notable sensitivity in Crohn’s disease is that to baker’s yeast, and eliminating any sources of this in one’s diet can have profound affects for an individual. Food sensitivity testing may be indicated, and part of a larger discussion within your treatment plan.

Your Naturopathic Doctor will also have a discussion around strategies and tools to reduce inflammation and promote the healing of your gut.

Low dose probiotics may be helpful to lessen symptoms of relapses and lengthen remission times in those with Crohn’s disease. Apoptogenic herbs may be an excellent addition as well to help your body cope with stress, and to buffer the systems that may be depleted by both the disease process and pharmaceuticals.

Mind-body therapies may also be discussed to help support your mental and emotional health, the gut-brain axis, and to encourage empowerment, resiliency, and improve quality of life.

To correct any nutritional deficiencies, your doctor may recommend certain vitamins and minerals or the addition of IV Drip vitamin therapy.

Oral absorption of vitamins and minerals can often be impaired in individuals with Crohn’s disease due to the inflammation of the tissue; IV vitamin therapy is absorbed directly into the blood stream bypassing the gut and any absorption issues there. In addition, several conventional treatments and pharmaceuticals further deplete key nutrients. Important ingredients for the IV vitamin bag may include zinc, selenium, magnesium, trace minerals, B12, and Vitamin C to replenish any deficiencies, reduce inflammation, and to support optimal immune functioning.

An IV drip set up to help digestion would have the goal of:

  • Enhance nutrient absorption (bypass digestive limitations)
  • Provide high does of Anti-inflammatory nutrients
  • Give you nutrients specific for GI healing
  • Help reduce pain and cramping
  • Replenish electrolytes

This IV Drip would include:

Glutamine – Glutamine strengthens the barrier that is present in our intestinal tract, which helps to prevent leaky gut. It improves the immune function of our GI system which is important for overall health. Glutamine is beneficial for food allergies and chronic gut conditions, including IBS, Crohn’s, and colitis.

Taurine – Taurine plays a large role in digestion and metabolism. It supports the liver in producing bile salts which break down fatty acids, primarily cholesterol, in the intestine. It improves the digestion and absorption of fats.

Selenium – Selenium can help improve digestion and reduce malabsorption in the GI tract. It strengthens the gut’s response to inflammation, preventing damage to the gut lining. Deficiencies in selenium are correlated to higher oxidative damage in the GI tract, which can lead to different GI disorders.

Zinc – Zinc is a critical mineral for a healthy gut. It has shown to be beneficial in treating conditions such as diarrhea and leaky gut. It helps to stabilize the gut lining and promote repair of gut tissue.

Bicarbonate – Bicarbonate helps to neutralize acidic environments in our GI tract, which has a protective effect on our gut lining.

Amino Acids – Amino acids are fuel for the lining of the small intestine and are the building blocks of our intestinal proteins. There is research to support several amino acids for gut-related diseases, as they support gut lining integrity and overall function.

Find out how naturopathic medicine can help you with your Crohn’s disease. You can book a free consultation and speak to one of our Naturopathic Doctors by clicking here.

References:

https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11840007/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29494512/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18670730/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29688466/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28573652/
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32872272/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353304
https://www.sfadvancedhealth.com/blog/integrative-treatment-crohns-disease-symptoms

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia Symptoms and Treatments

Fibromyalgia Symptoms, Treatments And What You Can Do About It Starting Today!

In this article we’re going to cover:

  • Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
  • What causes Fibromyalgia
  • What Nutrients You Can Take To Help Fibromyalgia
  • How IV Therapy Can Help

Fibromyalgia affects 2% of Canadians, with about 80-90% of those being female…that’s close to 600 000 women in Canada!  Even with these numbers some Doctors still dismiss Fibromyalgia as being ‘all in your head’.  This is definitely NOT the case!

If you have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, you are not alone.

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors about Fibromyalgia we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one.

Before we get into Treatments, let’s take a look at the Fibromyalgia Symptoms.

What Are The Top 10 Symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

  • Pain
    • Can be felt in one area or many areas throughout the body
    • Can be made worse when firm pressure is applied to soft tissues, or sometimes with gentle pressure such as a hug
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Mood changes (irritability, anxiety, depression)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Brain fog and Memory issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues (constipation, diarrhea, IBS)
  • Sensitivity to bright light, loud sounds, and smells
  • Headaches

What causes Fibromyalgia Symptoms?

Fibromyalgia symptoms may develop after an illness, trauma, or a stressful or emotional experience; although, this is not always the case often leaving the cause unknown.

Research suggests that for people with fibromyalgia, the body’s pain messages are delivered in an abnormal way; the volume gets amplified and turned up putting the nervous system into overdrive.

The brain has difficulty processing this amplified message, which has been linked to the chronic and widespread pain experienced by people.

In addition, dysfunction (when things don’t work as well as they should)  within a few key systems seem to be a recurring theme for those with fibromyalgia.

These include dysfunction within the mitochondria- the energy powerhouses of the cells, the master switchboard – the hypothalamus, and dysfunction within the immune system.

Mitochondrial dysfunction, or impaired energy production can help explain the lack of energy, fatigue, and muscle shortening seen with people who suffer from fibromyalgia.

Dysfunction within the hypothalamus can cause abnormal controls signals leading to disrupted sleep, which then affects hormones, rest, and tissue repair.

In addition, abnormal control signals also affects the way the brain perceives the pain messages.

Furthermore, immune dysfunction leads to altered balance within the immune pathways resulting in excess inflammation.

The big question that remains is, why does this dysfunction occur?

Unfortunately, we do not have all the answers to this question and research continues to develop.

What we do know is that a combination of factors can lead to these systems being damaged including genetic defects in metabolic and detoxification pathways, external stressors from things like infections, toxins, heavy metals, and mental or emotional trauma.

Using IV therapy As A Treatment For Fibromyalgia

IV therapy can be an amazing treatment as part of a client’s treatment plan, alongside lifestyle and nutritional changes.

It can help to fortify and restore dysfunctional systems, and to aid the body’s detoxification pathways. IV therapy bypasses the gut, delivering nutrients directly to cells to increase cellular nutrient concentrations, supporting healthy metabolism, and waste removal.

IV Therapy can also help provide immediate support as dietary and lifestyle changes may take time for individuals to implement and see results from.

The overall treatment goal with fibromyalgia is to eliminate, strengthen, and restore. It is important to help the body eliminate and minimize triggers that could be affecting the key systems identified earlier.

This includes triggers such as stress, infections, toxin / heavy metal exposure, allergies and intolerances. Strengthening systems such as the immune system, adrenals and gut become an important next step.

The immune system’s primary role is to defend the body from invaders; however, an increased production of some of its soldiers, cytokines, can lead to an imbalance and the chronic inflammation seen in fibromyalgia.

Removing both physical and psychological triggers can help lower cytokine levels, alongside additional supports to help reduce inflammation.

Common hormonal imbalances include cortisol dysregulation, sex hormone imbalances, and thyroid disorders – identifying these issues, removing triggers and restoring homeostasis to these pathways can have profound effects.

Healing the gut is another key part of treatment, as a leaky gut has been implicated for many patients with fibromyalgia. Targeted nutrients can help heal and tune up the energy powerhouses, the mitochondria, to restore cellular energy.

Given the complexities of this condition and how unique it is to each individual, the IV Therapy treatment plan will look different for every person.

Important Nutrients Targeted in IV Therapy For Fibromyalgia:

Here is a list of potential nutrients that would be included in your IV Therapy treatment and how they help with fibromyalgia relief.

Copper: Copper deficiencies can affect how pain is perceived in the body, heightening the response. In addition, a copper deficiency has been associated with increased incidence of infections, and immune dysregulation.

Magnesium: One of the most common mineral deficiencies in those with fibromyalgia. It is a cofactor in hundreds of enzymes, including those involved with energy production in the mitochondria.

A deficiency also can cause excessive muscle tension, muscle spasms, and restlessness.

Additionally, it plays a role in nerve conduction and function, and the regulation of emotional reactions. It has been found that IV supplementation with magnesium can dramatically increase serum levels compared to oral supplementation, and increase the amount that is able to enter into cells.

Selenium: A deficiency with selenium has been associated with muscle pain, playing a role in modifying free radical damage to cells.

Zinc: An important mineral for proper immune function, and the development of white blood cells (the soldiers in our immune system army).

Vitamin C: IV Vitamin C has been shown to improve pain, improve fatigue, and help improve detox pathways. With oral supplementation, the amount of Vitamin C that can be absorbed is limited. IV Vitamin C allows for much larger doses to be administered, allowing for a greater amount to enter into circulation and reach our cells which is where we see benefit.

Glutathione: Glutathione is our master antioxidant in the body. It has anti-viral properties, and is also key in helping to make sure our bodies can eliminate toxins effectively. Glutathione levels can become depleted after accumulated exposure to toxins, heavy metals, and infections and thus become even more critical to replenish in these situations. In addition, it also plays a role in the overall function of muscle tissue.

Taurine: Taurine is an amino acid that helps to control the concentration of certain minerals in our cells (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and chlorine). Taurine supplementation, alongside magnesium can have an additive muscle relaxation effects.

Carnitine: L-Carnitine is an amino acid that plays an essential role in energy production and optimal mitochondrial function.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: A key antioxidant in helping to regulate glutathione levels in the liver and other tissues, assisting in our body’s detox pathways. Alpha Lipoic acid has also been found experimentally to help regulate cytokine levels, and thus reduce inflammation.

Vitamin B5: Required for energy production.

Vitamin B6: Helps to normalize thiamine levels, and can be helpful for muscle spasms. It is also required for the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, our feel good neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter has been found to be low in those with fibromyalgia.

Vitamin B12: Has been shown to help reduce muscle cramping and muscle pain. In addition, it also plays an important role in ensuring optimal function of the brain and nervous system.

B-complex (thiamine, niacinamide, riboflavin, B5, B6): Has been shown to decrease pain at the level of the pain receptors.

Folate: A deficiency in folate has been linked to peripheral neuropathy. Malabsorption of folate has also been found in those with GI disturbances (leaky gut, IBS).

NAC: A glutathione precursor that can help assist the body’s detox pathways, and reduce inflammation.

Overall hydration provided by the IV Drip formula can also be beneficial for patients with fibromyalgia. Dehydration has been found to aggravate many of the symptoms experienced by those with fibro. Our Naturopathic Doctors have been trained on how to adjust the osmolarity of the IV solution, to allow water entry into the cells for proper rehydration and optimal benefits.

Additional Nutrients that are Important in Fibromyalgia:

Vitamin D: Research has found that the majority of fibromyalgia patients are deficient in Vitamin D. Achieving optimal levels of Vitamin D can help reduce musculoskeletal pain, assist in hormone balance, and in optimal immune functioning.

CoQ10:  CoQ10 plays a crucial role in how cells produce energy. Some research has indicated that supplementation with CoQ10 can help restore mitochondrial function, optimize energy production, and reduce the symptoms experienced with fibromyalgia.

Iron: Research has shown a possible association between fibromyalgia and decreased ferritin levels. Iron is a cofactor for both serotonin and dopamine production, involved in the etiology of fibromyalgia. Repletion of iron stores (ferritin levels over 40, optimally between 50-75) either by oral supplementation, or injectable when warranted, can help replete both mitochondrial and hematologic iron stores.

Our Naturopathic Clinic in Toronto has care providers and Naturopathic Doctors that have experience in helping people with fibromyalgia reduce their pain, and improve their energy.

You are not alone in this fight, and there are treatment options for you! Speak to a member of our team today to see how IV therapy and naturopathic medicine can help you feel in control again.

You can book a Free Consultation and speak to a Naturopathic Doctor by clicking here.

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17515022/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2894814/

https://www.carepath.ca/living-with-fibromyalgia/

https://rheum.ca/resources/publications/canadian-fibromyalgia-guidelines/

https://cwhn.ca/node/40784

https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/57006

https://ndnr.com/pain-medicine/benefits-of-iv-micro-nutrient-therapy-for-fibromyalgia-and-chronic-fatigue-syndrome/

Energized Woman

IV Drip for Energy

IV Drip for Energy

An IV Drip for energy is one of the more requested IVs that we do in our Toronto IV Lounge.

This article will share:

  • How an IV Drip for Energy works for you
  • What goes into your IV Drip and why it can help you
  • We’re going to talk about the causes and symptoms of chronic low energy
  • We’re going to get a little technical on how are cells make energy and the mighty mitochondria

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors about an IV Drip, we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one..

Is “I’m so tired” consistently a part of your daily vocabulary? Fatigue and low energy are one of the most common complaints we hear at our Naturopathic clinic. Our busy lifestyles and constant on the go schedules, running from one place to another often leaving our gas tanks empty.

People will often say that they need that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon just to make it through the day. Some people identify feelings of physical exhaustion, stating that they just want to lie down on the couch after work, and feel like they can’t get up the remainder of the night.

Others identify feelings of mental exhaustion, that feeling of “blah”, a lack of motivation, brain fog, and feel like they are going through life on auto-pilot.

It’s Not Normal To Feel Tired All The Time

Sometimes fatigue can be temporary, because maybe you lost some sleep with a sick child, or trying to finish a project at work, or maybe were battling a cold and just feel a little sluggish.

However, constantly feeling like you’re running on empty can be a sign that a deeper root cause is at play.

IV drip therapy can help provide you with the vitamins, minerals, and targeted nutrients you need to replenish your energy stores. IV therapy bypasses the digestive system, and is delivered directly to your blood stream so that cells can get the boost of energy they need quickly.

How an IV Drip can help boost energy

IV therapy formulas can specifically be made to replenish nutrients, and the helpers that mitochondria need to function properly. This may include B vitamins, Vitamin C, carefully selected amino acids, minerals, and antioxidants. Not only can this provide all the helpers our mitochondria need to produce energy, but it can also correct for any overall underlying deficiencies so our cells are healthy and happy.

In addition, glutathione, the master antioxidant, can neutralize harmful free radicals to help prevent further damage to our cells, while also assisting detoxification pathways in the liver.

At Higher Health, our Naturopathic Doctors have specialized training to customize an IV formula specific to your needs, and to help boost energy, taking action against low energy.  You don’t have to continue relying on coffee to just make it through the day.

What Would Go Into Your IV Therapy Drip for Energy?

We start with a Higher Health base bag which includes:

Vitamin C
Magnesium
B Vitamins
Amino Acids (which promote cellular repair and optimal function)

From there we add on the nutrients to target more energy! The amazing thing about IV Drip therapy, is that when we’re targeting more energy, you’re also getting nutrients that help with your immune health, sleep, brain fog, digestion, pain relief and quite a few other conditions!

Here are the add ons to your IV Drip for Energy.

Additional Vitamin C – Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and prevents our DNA from damage. By supporting detoxification in the body, it ensures the health of our cells where we can utilize energy more efficiently.

B5 – Vitamin B5 is essential for producing energy from food in the form of ATP. It plays a role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, which provide us with energy.

B6 – Vitamin B6 is a cofactor in several pathways in our bodies, meaning we use it for a variety of functions. It plays a role in energy production by supporting the production of ATP.

Carnitine – Carnitine works as a shuttle where it transports fatty acids into the mitochondria (the part of the cell where we house our energy) for cellular respiration. It helps metabolize ketones and convert amino acids into energy for our bodies.

Amino Acids – Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients that our muscles break down to supply our bodies with energy. We require adequate levels of amino acids to provide our tissues with energy.

NAC – By replenishing glutathione levels in the body, N-acetyl-cysteine supports the antioxidant pathway which helps clear oxidants from the body. When oxidants are built up, they can cause fatigue as a symptom.

Glutathione – Glutathione is our master antioxidant that helps clear free radicals (oxidants) from the body. Similar to the function of NAC, glutathione neutralizes oxidants which results in more energy available to our cells.

What Are The Root Causes of Low Energy Anyways?:

There are several reasons why you may be feeling fatigued, and/or that have less get up and go compared to your usual self.

Some of these include:

  • Poor diet and exercise habits
  • Medications
  • Anemia (Iron, B12, folate deficiency)
  • Illness or weakened immune system
  • Chronic pain (ie fibromyalgia)
  • Mental health concerns (anxiety, depression)
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Stress
  • Sleep disorders
  • Thyroid disorders

Your Toronto Naturopathic Doctor will complete a full assessment, and detailed history to identify what may be cause of your fatigue. They can customize your IV drip therapy treatment with carefully selected nutrients to replenish and supplement according to your health concerns.

Symptoms of Low Energy and Fatigue:

When someone has low energy the first thing that comes to mind are exhaustion, and the desire to sleep. However, there are a plethora of symptoms one can experience.

These can include:

  • Lack of concentration or focus
  • Brain fog
  • A tendency to drift off during the day
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness including irritability
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Muscle weakness
  • Unrefreshed sleep upon waking
  • Impaired decision making and judgement
  • Chronic tiredness or sleepiness

How Our Cells Make Energy

Our bodies make energy in form of something called ATP. ATP is the molecule that the body uses as energy currency in every cell, like spending money to buy food, gas, clothes, etc. This molecule is made by what is known as the powerhouse of the cell, the mitochondria.

Think of mitochondria as tiny energy producing organelles, that live in each and every one of our cells, with their own DNA and protective cell membrane. Some cells that use a lot of energy, like muscle cells, have thousands of mitochondria, where other cells have only hundreds such as the skin.

We need our mitochondria to be working optimally, in order for ours bodies to function properly and to have the energy it needs to work at its best. Mitochondrial dysfunction is often at the root of low energy and fatigue. Even a slight decrease in the production of energy from our mitochondria can produce symptoms like physical weakness, fatigue, and brain fog.

Mitochondria take macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, proteins) from the food we eat, and convert it into the energy currency, ATP, through what’s known as the Krebs Cycle, and the Electron Transport Chain.

These two processes are complex biochemical reactions that occur in our cells, involving many steps, enzymes and co-factors. Co-factors are like helpers, and they help the enzymes at each step of the way to be able to do their job and continue through the cycle. Without these cofactors, all comes to a halt and adequate energy cannot be made.

Which Helpers are Needed for the Mitochondria to Make Energy?

  • B vitamins, but especially B1, B2 and B3
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Manganese
  • Glutathione (the master antioxidant)
  • NAD
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Carnitine

What can impair mitochondrial function?

Medications, Pesticides, Plastics and Toxins:

Certain medications and things like pesticides, plastics, and toxins need to be modified by the liver in order to be eliminated in the body. This process is called “Phase 1” detoxification, involves a family of enzymes called Cytochrome P450 and takes place in the mitochondrial membrane and endoplasmic reticulum. Some of these substances inhibit the family of P450 enzymes, while others promote it.

When there is an imbalance in this system, it uses a lot of energy and can cause excessive oxidation. Oxidation damages mitochondria, affecting their primary responsibility of producing energy for the cells.

Heavy Metal Exposure:

Heavy metals are things like mercury, lead, aluminum, cadmium, and arsenic. These specific metals inhibit the Kreb’s cycle in the mitochondria. Recall, Kreb’s cycle is one of the most important biochemical processes the mitochondria uses to help produce energy. In addition to that, heavy metals also increase reactive oxygen species which can further damage the mitochondrial membrane, and subsequently energy production.

Free Radical Damage:

When cells need more energy, the mitochondria step up to the plate, working in overdrive and in turn can become overworked. Think about this in times of stress, your body in a constant fight or flight, requiring excess energy to keep it going. When you’re younger, mitochondria can divide and replicate quickly, in an attempt to increase energy demands. However, over prolonged periods of stress, or as we grow older, the mitochondria can’t keep up. They become burnt out.

They start to break down. They can begin to “leak” electrons across their membranes as they become damaged, leading to the formation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species. As mentioned earlier, reactive oxygen species can further damage the mitochondria, ultimately leading mitochondria that are ineffective energy producers. In addition, we know that reactive oxygen species can also wreak havoc elsewhere in the body.

References:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197458015004728

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12891154/

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-13668-3

https://www.health.harvard.edu/topics/energy-and-fatigue

https://www.health.harvard.edu/promotions/harvard-health-publications/boosting-your-energy

https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/energy-boosting-supplements

Glutathione scienc eimage

Glutathione IV Drip for Glowing Skin and Radiant Health

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors about Glutathione for health or a Glutathione IV Drip, we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one.

Glutathione IV Drip for Glowing Skin and Radiant Health

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a magic potion you could take that would help your skin glow, slow down the aging process, improve your immune health, energy, sleep and more?

You’re probably laughing and saying yea right, something like that is too good to be true.

What if we told you that even better, it is a natural, safe, and an indispensable molecule?

Something like this exists right now in your body, actually it is found in every cell in the body.

Although not a magic potion, this molecule deserves a lot of attention when it comes to health and wellness. Drum roll please… this molecule is called glutathione!

Glutathione is a very small protein called a tripeptide. This means it is composed of three amino acids: cysteine, glycine, and glutamic acid (aka glutamate).

You may have heard this molecule being referred to as the master antioxidant in our body, and this is because it boosts the utilization and recycling of other antioxidants including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10.

How Does Glutathione IV Drip Impact Skin And Cosmetic Health?

Excessive exposure to sun, wind, stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and hormonal changes can wreak havoc on our skin ranging from increased wrinkles, age spots, to dry skin and acne.

Glutathione has the ability to help cells heal and regenerate internally. Glutathione has been found to decrease melanin production (age spots and pigmentation), decrease the appearance of wrinkles and increase elasticity of your skin.

Glutathione works on the skin pigment production primarily by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is involved in the process of making melanin.

Additional studies have attributed its master antioxidant properties for improving skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out.

Targeted Glutathione Supplementation:

Many things can deplete glutathione stores including but not limited to medications, alcohol, stress, poor nutrition, heavy metals, and pollution.

Our bodies have the ability to synthesize glutathione when provided with the right building blocks, and in addition it can recycle it back into its active form.

However, we know for a variety of reasons that many times demand exceeds production.

Glutathione is a picky molecule in terms of how it likes to be absorbed.  When supplemented orally, our digestive enzymes can break it down and it does not always make its way into our circulation.

Glutathione is most readily absorbed either by inhalation in the form of a nebulizer, or by intravenous therapy. A Glutathione IV Drip. 

Our Naturopathic Doctors at Higher Health offer both options, and can discuss Glutathione IV Drip treatments with you as part of your Naturopathic health plan. We have 2 IV drip lounges  as well as private rooms available.

The benefit of a Glutathione IV Drip is that it can be the most efficient way to deliver glutathione, while also providing targeted nutrients to support skin health, energy, and radiance.  Reach out to one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors today to discuss which option may be best for you!

You can book a free consultation info call with one of our Naturopathic Doctors by clicking here.

In this section we re going to get a little more technical on what exactly Glutathione is and how its working in your body

There are two main forms of glutathione: the active form which is reduced glutathione (GSH), and the inactive form, which is oxidized glutathione (GSSG). In its reduced form, it is on full patrol circulating the cellular environment to clean up free radicals, once this clean up occurs it becomes its oxidized and inactive form, GSSG.

In order to be recycled back into its active GSH form, an enzyme called glutathione reductase is needed. The issue is that when we are exposed to high toxic and inflammatory loads, meaning glutathione is working overtime to help clean up the damage, this enzyme becomes overwhelmed, and levels of oxidized, inactive GSSG accumulate.

This leaves our cells with insufficient amounts of the active glutathione molecule, and our protection against toxins, infections, and oxidative damage impaired.

What does Glutathione do in the body?

Glutathione has several key roles throughout the body that contribute to your health. Let’s dive into some of these in more depth.

Glutathione helps with Antioxidant protection:

We throw the word antioxidants around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Think of antioxidants like the anti-agers in your body. They work really hard to help protect your body from free radical and oxidative damage.

When our body produces energy, it also releases by-products known as free radicals. Free radicals can also accumulate due to external toxins, inflammation, and infection that our bodies have a hard time neutralizing leading to oxidative damage.

Free radicals are highly reactive forms of oxygen with one less electron. This means that when they come into contact with stable molecules (like healthy cells), they want to steal an electron, which can damage both the healthy cell and its DNA. Antioxidants are really important to fight and counteract the damage caused by free radicals by binding its oxidative compounds and neutralizing them.

Let’s think about this in a different analogy. When apples, pears, or avocados are cut and left open to the air, they oxidize and you see browning of the fruit.

In order to prevent this, we often sprinkle lemon juice or store them in water. We can think about antioxidants in the same way, they prevent browning of our cells and body.

Glutathione IV Drip helps with Detoxification:

Our bodies have a very organized process for waste collection, recycling, and elimination. This detoxification system is mainly controlled by our liver, but glutathione is essential in each phase.

Detoxification Has 3 Main Phases

Phase 1: Toxins such as car exhaust, smoke, alcohol, drugs, caffeine, heavy metals, drugs, and others are partially processed by these special proteins inside our mitochondria called cytochromes.  These fat soluble toxins are transformed into intermediate, slightly water soluble substances. These intermediates can sometimes be more reactive than the original molecules. In an unhealthy liver partially processed toxins can become dangerous free radicals leading to damage throughout the body, depleting glutathione levels which is essential for protection. Phase 1 enzymes also naturally produce free radicals that need to be transformed by antioxidants into a harmless molecule; you can see why adequate levels of antioxidants are so important.

Phase 2: Phase 2 detoxification is where the toxic slightly water soluble intermediates will be neutralized. The reactive intermediates formed in phase 1, will be converted into non-toxic water soluble molecules by various enzymes. Phase II reactions attach the toxins to other water soluble substances to further increase their solubility and prepare for excretion. Glutathione is an essential part of this binding in a process called “conjugation”. Without glutathione, this process cannot work efficiently.  Once conjugation is complete, toxins are ready to be eliminated from the body.

Phase 3: Excretion of toxins by the kidneys and urine, or by the liver in bile, and subsequently eliminated in our bowel movements. Fibre becomes important in this step as it helps to bind biliary and intestinal toxins to excrete in our bowel movements.  Glutathione also appears to play a role in the phase 3 detoxification for its anti-porter activity, which are proteins involved in this phase.

Glutathione IV Drip helps with Mitochondrial support and energy production:

Almost every cell in the body has mitochondria, which is where our energy is produced, and how the mitochondria received the nickname “energy powerhouse of the cell”. Glutathione plays a huge role in protecting our mitochondria from free radical and oxidative damage. If the mitochondria are attacked and damaged by free radicals they slow down and start to make less ATP, our energy molecule. Less ATP = sluggish cells.

In addition to this, when mitochondria become damaged they don’t work as well. They become sloppy and more error prone, which means they create more free radicals in their process of trying to produce energy. You can see how this turns into a vicious cycle of both less energy and more damage.

Stress also plays into this equation. When our bodies are under a state of stress whether that be physical, or mental stress, our energy production and needs are higher. This means we ask our mitochondria to work harder, and as a result they produce more free radicals.

As mentioned several times throughout this article, glutathione is needed to help bind the free radicals, and reduce oxidative stress not only to our mitochondria but also to the rest of the cell.  When we ask our cells and mitochondria to work harder, this means we also are asking glutathione to work more and harder.

This can deplete active glutathione levels, as the enzyme needed to recycle inactive glutathione to active glutathione becomes overwhelmed.  Therefore, maintaining adequate levels of active glutathione is essential to our health, and for energy production.

Symptoms associated with low levels of active glutathione may appear as fatigue, lack of mental focus, and brain fog. Any of these sound familiar?

We also know that low levels of active glutathione are found in many chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme disease, diabetes, and Crohn’s disease to name a few.

To sum it up, higher levels of glutathione in your body, are associated with healthier cells and mitochondria. Lower levels of glutathione are associated with cellular breakdown, increased risk of illness, and cell death.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1709148
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15878691
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0006295289902335
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0024320582907433
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16421014
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10880854
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16771835
  8. https://integrative.ca/blog/glutathione-key-player
Image of Vitamin C Deficiency list

Vitamin C Deficiency. What It’s Doing To You And How You Can Fix It.

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to speak to one of our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors about Vitamin C deficiency or Vitamin C IV Drip, we have a free consultation call available. Click here to book one.

What are some of the symptoms of Vitamin C deficiency?

Unfortunately, Vitamin C deficiency is quite common. On the flip side, severe forms of Vitamin C deficiency, like Scurvy, is quite rare.

Risk factors that can lead to vitamin C deficiency are a lack of fresh fruits & vegetables in your diet, excessive alcohol intake, smoking, individuals with eating disorders, restrictive diets, food allergies, type I diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and patients on hemodialysis.

You can see why it’s so common with the typical North American lifestyle!

Vitamin C deficiency is usually diagnosed based on clinical signs and symptoms as well as assessing any contributing risk factors.

If you are concerned about your vitamin C levels, make sure to book an appointment with a Toronto Naturopathic Doctor for a thorough assessment.

Here Are Your Top 5 Initial Signs Of Vitamin C Deficiency

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain

When you don’t address a Vitamin C Deficiency, you can start having some serious problems that can result in:

  • Poor wound healing
  • Problems fighting infections
  • Easy bruising
  • Dry splitting hair
  • Dry/rough skin
  • Bleeding gums and/or tooth loss

Why is Vitamin C so crucial for our bodies?

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for optimal health and wellness. Humans are unable to synthesize vitamin C endogenously, meaning we have to get our vitamin C through diet and supplementation.

Since vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, very little can be stored in the body, therefore daily intake is very important to avoid deficiency. Vitamin C also tends to be depleted in instances of intense stress, trauma, burns, surgery, fever, inflammation, diarrhea, iron deficiency, and chronic infections so the need is even further increased during these times.

Our body also needs vitamin C to form and maintain blood vessels, cartilage, collagen, and bones.

Vitamin C acts as a highly effective antioxidant, plays an essential role in maintaining proper immune function, and facilitates the absorption of iron.

It’s probably one of the most important vitamins you need to keep on top of for overall health and wellbeing.

You can do this through diet, supplementation and when you’re really depleted or want to experience the benefits of high dose Vitamin C, you can try a Vitamin C Intravenous Vitamin Therapy, or IV drip.

What is IV Drip Therapy for Vitamin C Deficiency?

Intravenous (IV) therapy also know as an IV Drip, is the practice of infusing fluids directly into the bloodstream. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other natural substances are administered directly into the veins allowing them to bypass the digestive system and go directly into the bloodstream where they are immediately available to the cells, muscles, and tissues that require them.

Since IV therapy skips the digestive process, it allows us to use much higher doses of natural substances than we can ingest orally. For instance, high dose IV Therapy for Vitamin C can be delivered in significantly greater amounts intravenously than can be taken orally and has a stronger therapeutic effect. IV vitamin C is only about 15 percent bioavailable (actively used by the body) when taken orally in high doses, but it is 100 percent bioavailable when administered intravenously, providing significantly higher peak plasma concentrations.

As IV vitamin C is one of the most popular and effective nutrients used in intravenous therapy, this next part is going to specifically focus on the many therapeutic uses of IV vitamin C and how it can potentially benefit you!

What are the benefits of IV Drip Vitamin C Therapy?

Intravenous vitamin therapy , or IV Drip , is an efficient and bioavailable way to replenish your body when you’re vitamin C deficient.

Vitamin C acts as a strong antioxidant, accelerates collagen production, aids in the development of a robust, healthy immune system, can provide patients with more energy, and guards against chronic diseases.

Since oral high doses of vitamin C are not well absorbed and can also result in gastrointestinal discomfort, the best way to administer high doses of vitamin C is through IV therapy.

 IV vitamin C is commonly used to treat many conditions including:

  • Chronic infections
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Joint pain
  • Mononucleosis
  • Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Shingles
  • Side effects of chemotherapy and radiation
  • Hypertension
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Common cold and flu
  • Sinusitis
  • Migraines
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

IV vitamin C Antioxidant properties

Stress, alcohol consumption, and smoking can all cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress results in the formation of damaging molecules called free radicals that can build up and harm our bodies.

Many diseases are caused by, or at least linked to, oxidative damage. Vitamin C is a physiological antioxidant that protects the body against oxidative stress and has been demonstrated to replenish other antioxidants in the body.

According to population studies, those who consume high doses of vitamin C have a lower risk of developing a variety of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, eye diseases, and neurodegenerative conditions.

Due to poor intestinal absorption and ready excretion from the body, high doses of vitamin C are needed to effectively act as an antioxidant, and IV vitamin C is the most optimal route for administration.

IV vitamin C for Collagen production

Collagen is the primary structural protein found in connective tissue and vitamin C is essential for collagen formation. Collagen is vital for healthy skin, teeth, bones, tendons, cartilage, blood vessels, and cardiovascular health. A lack of collagen can result in weakened blood vessels, ligaments, tendons, and bones and therefore, IV vitamin C is an excellent way to support our bodies’ need for collagen formation.

IV vitamin C for Immune Support

Infections have a major impact on decreasing vitamin C levels due to the increased inflammation and metabolic demands. A deficiency in vitamin C also lowers immunity and makes us more susceptible to infections. Vitamin C supplementation has been used in both the prevention and treatment of respiratory and systemic infections. High doses of IV vitamin C have been shown in research to be effective in managing difficult infections, such as Epstein Bar Virus, by reducing disease duration and amount of viral antibody levels. If you tend to get sick often or start to feel under the weather, an IV vitamin C treatment may be the boost your immune system needs.

 IV vitamin C  to help with Antihistamine effects

Histamine is known to play an important role in the development of atopic diseases, such as allergies and asthma. Vitamin C acts as a natural antihistamine and can decrease inflammation and swelling related to allergic conditions. Research has shown that IV vitamin C can reduce histamine levels in patients and reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchiness. Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? IV vitamin C may be a great option for you.

IV vitamin C  for Energy

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms individuals experience in day-to-day life. A lack of vitamin C can result in feelings of fatigue or depression as vitamin C is one of the many important nutrients required for proper energy production. Research has shown that high doses of IV vitamin C can reduce symptoms of fatigue so it may be just what you need for that energy boost!

How can a Toronto Naturopathic Clinic help?

Our Toronto Naturopaths at Higher Health are certified for IV drips that include IV vitamin C.  Your naturopathic doctor will run all the required blood work to ensure proper screening takes place before beginning any IV therapy treatments. In Ontario, Naturopathic Doctors receive additional training to become licensed in intravenous therapy.

IV vitamin C can also be combined with a variety of other vitamins and nutrients tailored to meet your specific health concerns. A naturopathic doctor will individualize each IV treatment with the nutrients you require, the proper dosages, and number of IV sessions necessary to reach your health goals.

If you are interested in discussing how IV Therapy for Vitamin C can help you, book a free consultation with on of our Naturopathic Doctors.

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29864039

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17884994/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493187/

https://dermnetnz.org/topics/scurvy/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898816/

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/#en1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4015650/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29099763/https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1475-2891-11-7

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12134712/