Hormone imbalance

Hormone Imbalance

Hormone Imbalance, Why Does It Happen And What Can You Do?

A hormone imbalance can turn your life upside down. Some people think certain things happen just because we get older and excuse them away. That is not always the case. If you have a hormone imbalance, chances are there is A LOT you can do about it!

In this article we’re going to look at:

  1. What are hormones.
  2. The top 5 things that cause a hormone imbalance.
  3. The symptoms to look for in a hormone imbalance.
  4. How to check your hormones.
  5. What can you do to balance again?

Hormones are critical chemical messengers that control our body’s communication pathways, affecting many aspects of our health. Every part of our body has a job it needs to get done, and our hormones help ensure that job gets completed.

Hormones are secreted by exocrine glands such as the pituitary gland, the adrenal glands, the thyroid, the ovaries/testes, pancreas, etc. They work together to form one large communication center within our body, called the endocrine system.

Without hormones, our body would be unable to grow, to use energy from the food we eat, to regulate our mood or reproductive processes. Even a minor hormone imbalance can lead to widespread symptoms, similar to when we drop a stone into a body of water and watch the ripple effect.

Let’s Look At The Top 5 Causes Of A Hormonal Imbalance


Our bodies are designed to respond to stress acutely by activating our “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system. One of the main hormones in this reaction is cortisol, one of our steroid hormones. Unfortunately, we tend to see people who are under constant sources of stress, putting this nervous system into overdrive. 

In our for our bodies to meet the demands of this chronic stress, it preferentially uses cholesterol to make cortisol instead of some of our other stress hormones like progesterone. This may lead to symptoms like changes in mood, weight gain, and PMS like symptoms. 

Women are more sensitive to a hormonal imbalance than most men, and chronic stress can negatively impact fertility since our body does not feel reproduction is a priority in times of stress. Our adrenal glands, which secrete cortisol, have a distinction relationship with the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary gland as well, called the HPA axis. When we see this relationship altered, we also see other hormones affected as well like thyroid hormones, melatonin, and insulin.

Irregular Sleep Habits

Most of our bodily functions are synched with our sleep-wake cycle, our hormones included. This means that the release of certain hormones naturally fluctuate throughout the day. Hormones that are under clear circadian control include melatonin, cortisol, our sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and epinephrine. 

Unfortunately, it’s all too common to see people get caught up with day to day tasks, and put sleep on the back burner. This can not only cause a hormone imbalance, but also affect almost every physiological process in our body! Quality sleep needs to be a priority for happy, healthy hormones. We cannot reiterate this enough!


In regards to nutrition, one of the major things that can affect hormone imbalances in blood sugar levels. When we eat a meal high in sugar of refined carbohydrates, we see both a spike in insulin, and a decrease in sex-hormone binding globulin. Sex-hormone binding globulin’s main role is to bind excess hormones in the blood; therefore, when this goes down, free hormones go up. One of the major ones in this case is testosterone (hello androgen excess). 

Androgen excess is something that we see often in individuals who have PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you feel that you rely on processed carbohydrates or sugary foods to provide energy throughout the day, you may have dysregulated blood sugar.

Chronic Inflammation

When we think about inflammation, we most often think about what happens to our tissue post-injury. This kind of inflammation; however, is very different. Chronic inflammation is a systemic level of inflammation that occurs throughout the body in response to prolonged periods of stress, alcohol, toxin exposure, and food sensitivities to name a few. 

Acutely, inflammation is a good thing to help initiate healing and protect the body; chronically however it can lead to many problems. There is an area in our brains that regulates our hormones, and these receptors respond to inflammatory mediators that are being released in inflammatory states. 

For example, in response to this, our brain sends signals to the adrenal glands to pump out more hormones, like cortisol. Our body typically likes to be a tightly regulated system, with everyone in balance to operate at its best. When we get an overproduction of one hormone, we often see other hormones suffering as a response leading to a hormonal imbalance. 

Environmental Toxins

Our environment is a major source of chemicals that have been found to have endocrine disrupting properties. One of the most common endocrine disrupting chemicals are xenoestrogens. Xenoestrogens mean that they have the ability to modulate estrogen’s activity throughout the body by binding to estrogen receptors. 

These chemicals can be found in your personal care products, make-up, plastics, receipts, and other products that touch our food and skin. These include known xenoestrogens such as parabens, BPA, phthalates and triclosan. It’s hard to avoid these chemicals completely in today’s day and age but there are some things that we can do to lessen our exposure, and chemical burden. 

This includes looking for products that are made without these ingredients, ditching plastic for glass, and avoiding the handling of paper receipts. In addition, using apps such as “Think Dirty” and “EWG” can help to identify products without these endocrine disruptors.

What Exactly Does A Hormonal Imbalance Feel Like?

You might have a combination of some of these symptoms…

  • You feel wired but tired at night
  • You feel anxious, have difficulty focusing, or feel like you have brain fog
  • You feel your mood is all over the map
  • You are losing your hair more than normal, or you start to notice clumps falling out
  • You may get food cravings for chocolate, chips, or sweets that feel difficult to manage
  • Acne along the jawline and lower cheeks
  • Rashes or hives for no reason
  • You feel constantly drained, fatigue, or that your ability to bounce back is not what it once was
  • Your back, joints, and muscles ache or joints are inflamed without an apparent cause
  • Your menstrual cycles are irregular, painful, heavy, or you’re no longer ovulating at all
  • You may be premenopausal or post-menopausal and may be suffering from hot flashes, night sweats or mood swings
  • You may wake each night, typically between 1-4am, with racing thoughts and difficulty falling back asleep
  • You feel your sex drive is non-existent, and have no desire for intercourse
  • You have been gaining weight or have difficulty losing weight even though your routine has not changed
  • Your digestive system has been out of whack, ranging from difficulty passing bowel movements to very loose stools

Did you find yourself doing a mental checklist of one, or more of these things? Then you’re in the right place. 

Have you been told that these things are “normal”, part of aging, part of being a woman, etc. but want more for your health? We want you to feel better than fine, to challenge the status quo. We want you to aim for higher health, and to feel fantastic doing it.

Some of these symptoms can be linked to other health conditions as well, we recommend speaking with your naturopathic doctor to identify the root cause of your issues.

How Can I Check For A Hormone Imbalance?

There are 3 types of hormone tests available.

  • Saliva-This hormone test kit can be delivered and done at home.
  • Blood-Requires a lab visit or we can send a lab tech to your home.
  • Urine-This hormone test kit can be delivered and done at home.


The DUTCH test is one of our favorites and stands for the Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones. It measures several different hormones, their metabolites, and certain neurotransmitters, by collecting a small amount of urine on a piece of filtered paper four times a day. 

This package is then mailed to the lab, and the results will be received by your Naturopathic Doctor in approximately 4-6 weeks. A comprehensive assessment, and tailored treatment plan will then be made by your Naturopathic Doctor to get your hormones back in synch. An individualized treatment plan may include dietary + lifestyle recommendations, supplementation, and herbs.

The main hormones measured in the test include:

  • Cortisol
  • Cortisone
  • Estradiol
  • Estrone
  • Estriol
  • Progesterone
  • Testosterone
  • DHEA
  • Melatonin

Blood test:
Many hormones including but not limited to estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, fasting insulin, and thyroid hormones can be tested through blood tests. Some of these hormones are taken on certain days of your cycle for the most accurate results, while others can be taken at any time.

Salivary testing:
Some hormones such as cortisol can be tested via salivary testing, at different points throughout the day to assess the rate and rhythm at which your body is secreting them.

Hormone imbalances can change your life! That’s why it is important to pay attention when you start feeling different. There are many things that could be causing these hormonal changes, so don’t just assume its part of getting older.

The right diagnosis will help put everything into perspective for YOU.

From there you need a plan to addresses where your hormones are too high or too low that will include:

  • Lifestyle recommendations and expert education to help you balance your hormones as fast as possible.
  • Check in and coaching calls. We’re there as you need support and guidance. You will not be doing this alone!
  • A supplement plan focused on your hormonal health balance.
  • Possible Red Light and IV Therapy as well.
  • A custom meal plan that focuses on balancing your hormones while tasting great.

Are you ready to take control of your hormones? Book a free consultation with one of the Naturopathic Doctors at Higher Health today.



Naturopathic Doctor or a Medical Doctor?

When it comes to your health, it’s important to make sure you’re seeing the right kind of doctor. So should you try naturopathic medicine  instead of a medical doctor? Here’s what you need to know.

When people are first introduced to me, I am often asked if seeing me will replace their medical doctor.

A medical doctor’s job is primarily to fix. The medical doctor works within a system designed, above all, to triage and treat symptoms and sicknesses.

Medical doctors trained in a specialty will treat a symptom or sickness depending on their specialty’s training. That means the treatment occurs in isolation—your treatment for the most part, begins and ends with the symptom or sickness treatment.

Once a year you have your annual medical doctor appointment and you discover your cholesterol is high. Most people will leave that appointment with a prescription to help lower their cholesterol with a pharmaceutical medication.

And this is better than not addressing it at all. In an ideal situation, the time would be taken to understand the root cause of the issue and try to fix it from there.

This is a huge challenge for medical doctors working within the government health care system. They do not have the time and are doing what they can within the constraints they are working in.

Meanwhile, a naturopathic doctor’s job is primarily to care, support and optimize your health. The naturopathic doctor addresses your overall wellness. The benefit is that we look at your health through a wellness lens, helping you answer: How can I feel my best?

If someone is getting sick a lot. Naturopathically, we are interested in understanding all contributing factors to catching the cold. We ask: How often does the person get sick in a year? If frequently, we would want to build up their immune resistance. We would also address any digestive health concerns, which often correspond with a cold or flu, as well as adrenal health, which correspond to stress, sleep, hormone balance, and more.

Nutrition (including micronutrient status) and lifestyle are likewise key in any naturopathic consultation, even if you “just have a cold.”  At our clinic we would also discuss how IV drip therapy could help as well.

The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians notes, “Naturopathic doctors are educated and trained in accredited naturopathic medical colleges. They diagnose, prevent, and treat acute and chronic illness to restore and establish optimal health by supporting the person’s inherent self-healing process. Rather than just suppressing symptoms, naturopathic doctors work to identify underlying causes of illness, and develop personalized treatment plans to address them.”

The good news is we don’t have to pick one or the other!

Naturopathic medicine and conventional medicine are complementary, not mutually exclusive. They are both primary care providers. They both rely on the same science, research, and evidence-based foundation to medicine. The advantage comes from not choosing one or the other, but from having both options to support our wellness.

One of the draw backs that keep more people from seeing a naturopathic doctor is that it’s not covered by government health plans like OHIP in Ontario.

People going to a naturopathic clinic are often paying out of pocket. Fortunately, more and more insurance companies have naturopathic medicine as part of their coverage. Depending on your plan that amount can range from $500 to $2500 a year.

You would also want to check with your accountant as in some cases you can deduct health related expenses from your income tax.

What I like best about being a naturopathic doctor is that I get to really connect with my patients, spending the time needed to understand all aspects of their wellness—their main health concerns, past experiences, and overall life goals, as applied to their health.

An initial consultation lasts approximately 90 minutes, and forms the foundation of our work together. It is a health discovery session where we fully investigate all aspects of his or her health, lifestyle, and medical and family history. It’s important to investigate and understand all health concerns rather than look at them in isolation.

If you’re looking for a doctor that can help you fix an immediate issue, a medical doctor is probably your best bet. However, if you’re interested in working with someone who can care for and support your overall health, naturopathic medicine may be the right choice for you.

If you want to work with a Naturopathic doctor and cannot pay of pocket,  be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if they are accepted.

You can also book a free call with one of our team to find out more about how we can help you achieve optimal health.



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.



Gut health


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.



Healthy Nails, Skin and hair

Healthy Nails, Skin, and Hair!

How Can IV Therapy support healthier nails, skin, and hair?

Beauty starts from within, and healthy looking hair, skin, and nails is often a reflection of how things are working inside your body. There’s only so much you can do topically or externally to revitalize your appearance; the real magic happens when your cells are happy and your organs are in harmony.

Looking for healthier, more radiant hair, skin and nails? Let our Toronto Naturopathic Doctors introduce you to IV Vitamin Therapy the ultimate source of food for beautiful skin, hair, and nails.

How Does IV Vitamin Therapy work?

IV Vitamin Therapy also known as an IV Drip,  delivers optimal levels of individualized vitamins and minerals directly into your bloodstream, so that your body and cells can use it immediately.

This bypasses the absorption step needed in the digestive tract, and means you can get higher therapeutic levels of nutrients, faster and more efficiently.

How can IV Therapy support healthier nails, skin, and hair?

There are many ways an IV Drip can help your have heathier hair skin and nails. We’re going to list them out, and if they get a little technical, you can always contact us and we’ll answer all your questions.

You can book a free consultation by clicking here.

Hydration is a key factor!

Your hair and skin cells need a steady supply of water and hydration to keep the cells happy and healthy, so that they can grow and shine.

Without proper hydration, your hair can start to become thin and brittle, it can shed and break.

Your skin can become dry, flaky, and cracked, and it can make wrinkles more pronounced or cause your skin to sag in areas you do not want it to.

IV Vitamin therapy not only delivers important vitamins and minerals, but it also can help rehydrate your body simultaneously, talk about a win-win scenario!

Targeted Vitamins and Minerals that help nails, skin, and hair.

Your nails, skin, and hair, have very particular nutrient needs to keep them looking their best.


We know that collagen is an instrumental protein involved in the maintenance of healthy hair, skin and nails by providing strength and structure.

So How Do You Make Enough Collagen to Shine?

In order for your body to produce collagen it needs cofactors including Vitamin C, zinc and copper. Vitamin C is the cofactor for two important enzymes called prolyl hydroxylase, and lysyl hydroxylase which help to stabilize the collagen molecule and give structural strength to the cross-linking of collagen.

Basically, when you’re not getting enough Vitamin C, your collagen will suffer.

In addition to supporting collagen production, Vitamin C has some other major roles in terms of skin health. Vitamin C is a major constituent of both the epidermis and dermis layers in the skin.

Unfortunately, aging as well as sun damage and pollutants can deplete and cause a decline in Vitamin C within these layers of skin.

But that’s not all….you’re going to need a few more nutrients to get the Collagen you need.

Copper.  This activates an enzyme called lysyl oxidase which links collagen fibers with other supporting fibers, an important process involved in collagen maturation.

Zinc also plays a role in activating proteins essential for collagen synthesis, including the activation of collagenase which allows the cells to remodel collagen during wound healing.

Elastin is also another type of protein found in the body that plays an important role in skin health. Elastin has the unique characteristic of snapping back into place to maintain its original shape.

Collagen and elastin go hand in hand to help maintain our skin’s texture and shape.

In addition to our skin being stronger, adequate levels of these proteins also help it look more youthful. Similar to collagen, elastic requires the co-factors Vitamin C, zinc, and copper in its production.

IV Vitamin Therapy can help promote collagen and elastin production by delivering the nutrients needed to support these processes, in a fully customized super powered blend tailored for your individual needs.

We’re not done yet. Another important vitamin for healthy hair, skin and nails is Biotin.

Biotin, also known as Vitamin B7, and part of the B vitamin family, works to improve the infrastructure of our hair skin and nails.

Biotin has been found to be help support hair growth in women who have thinning hair.  A biotin deficiency can also result in a number of skin issues including dry, cracked, and irritated skin.

If your Nails feeling a little fragile? Biotin can help in growing healthy, strong nails when supplemented appropriately to prevent fingernail splitting and brittle nails.

Biotin is a vitamin that can be added to your customized IV Drip formula to promote the health of your skin hair and nails from the inside to out!

Our nails, skin, and hair are vulnerable to free radical damage.

Free radicals are unstable molecules, contributing to cellular damage in a variety of ways. When free radicals accumulate, they can cause cell damage leading to wrinkles, inflammation, and hyperpigmentation.

Anti-oxidants are important because they help reduce and stabilize these chain reactions, so that they do not cause damage to our cells.

Let me introduce you to the team captain of anti-oxidants; glutathione.

Glutathione is known as the “master” antioxidant in our bodies, and is a critical component to achieving the glowing, radiant skin that is sought after.

Glutathione is made up of three different amino acids: glutamine, glycine, and cysteine and is a heavy hitter in terms of preventing cell damage and death. It keeps our mitochondria strong so they can produce energy, helps our liver in naturally detoxifying toxins and waste from the body, and also protects our DNA against damage.  Glutathione repletion is a keynote of our healthy skin, hair, and nail IV Drip!

When you re stressed out, your hair can thin and fall out.

In addition, stress can contribute to the development of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles. Being in a constant state of fight or flight can deplete your energy and nutrients, making you feel drained and worn out.

These are signs that your adrenals need some tender loving care, and your micronutrients need to be replenished!

As every individual is unique, we can tailor the nutrients in your IV vitamin bag to help mitigate the toll stress is taking on your body and cells.

At Higher Health, our Naturopathic Doctors are trained to individualize your IV Drip therapy directly to your individual needs. Looking for healthy skin, hair and nails? We have an IV Drip for that.

Book your free consultation today to discuss how IV therapy can help you glow from the inside out! Click here now and book.









GERD image


What is GERD?

Belching? Bloating? Indigestion? Are you suffering from any of these symptoms?

Shortly after eating, do you notice a burning sensation in your chest? If so, you are likely experiencing HEARTBURN, the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)!

In this article we’re going to cover:

  • What Causes GERD
  • Why GERD is a problem that cannot be ignored
  • The Symptoms of GERD
  • What you can do to treat GERD

Before you get into this article, if at anytime you want to book a free consultation to speak with a Naturopathic Doctor about GERD, click here.

GERD is one of the most prevalent digestive disorders that occurs when stomach contents flow back into the esophagus. The reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus irritates the esophageal lining and results in the symptom classically known as heartburn. Occasionally, GERD can be asymptomatic or present with atypical symptoms such as a chronic cough or post-nasal drip.

 Why is it a problem – what causes GERD?

 Most individuals will experience the sensation of heartburn at some point in their life and when it becomes a more frequent problem, it is diagnosed as GERD. The majority of research suggests that GERD is caused by a failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which is a muscular ring that connects the stomach to the esophagus.

An optimally functioning LES acts like a door and is closed at rest to prevent the acidic stomach contents from refluxing into the esophagus and opens when swallowing to allow food to get into the stomach. Inappropriate relaxation or poor tone of the LES causes stomach contents to re-enter the esophagus, resulting in the symptoms of GERD.

Spontaneous relaxation of the LES is usually triggered by gastric distention after eating, and that is why most people tend to experience acid reflux after eating a large meal. GERD may also be caused by gastric outlet obstruction, a hiatal hernia, decreased esophageal motility, medications, alcohol, tobacco, obesity, pregnancy and food sensitivities.

 What are some of the symptoms of GERD?

  • Burning sensation in the chest
  • Acid regurgitation
  • Sour/bitter taste in mouth
  • Indigestion
  • Bloating
  • Belching
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth decay
  • Coughing
  • Sore throat

Symptoms of GERD usually occur shortly after eating and for some people, reflux can be worse at night.

Untreated GERD can lead to serious complications such as Barrett’s esophagus, esophagitis, esophageal strictures, and esophageal adenocarcinoma, so it is crucial to seek the care of a qualified health care practitioner especially if you are experiencing any accompanying red flag symptoms (ex. unintentional weight loss, severe chest pain, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding).

What are some of the diseases associated with GERD?

  • Asthma
  • Cardiovascular diseases: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia
  • Sleep disorders: obstructive sleep apnea, insomnia
  • Psychological disorders: major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: decreased esophageal motility, gastric outlet obstruction, hiatal hernia
  • Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes

How can Naturopathic Medicine help?

 GERD can usually be diagnosed based on symptoms and history alone, however your doctor will decide if it is necessary to send you for any further diagnostic testing.

The typical naturopathic treatment protocol for GERD consists of a combination of 5 key steps: lifestyle modifications, avoiding triggers, soothing the gastrointestinal tract, strengthening the lower esophageal sphincter and supporting digestion.

  1. Lifestyle Modifications:
  • Adjust your eating habits– Individuals experiencing symptoms of acid reflux should eat smaller, more frequent meals to avoid overeating. Eating large quantities of food can cause distention of the stomach and cause spontaneous relaxation of the LES, resulting in acid reflux. You should also eat meals at the same times every day to establish routine and avoid eating too quickly as this is proven to aggravate symptoms of GERD.
  • Avoid eating before bed– If you are someone who experiences symptoms of acid reflux at night, avoid eating 3-4 hours before bed. When lying down, our bodies are not in an optimal position for digestion due to gravity, and therefore can result in acid refluxing into the esophagus. Therefore, it is also beneficial to go for a walk after consuming a meal.
  • Elevate the head of the bed– Raising the head of the bed by 20cm with a block or using a wedge pillow is an effective way of reducing symptoms of nighttime reflux. Sleeping with your head and chest elevated can prevent the acid from refluxing into the esophagus.
  • Weight management– Being overweight can cause or exacerbate symptoms of GERD due to the increased intra-abdominal pressure. There is an association between increased BMI and severity of acid reflux symptoms thus weight management is key in overweight patients experiencing symptoms of GERD. Speak to a Naturopathic Doctor to discuss healthy long-term weight loss strategies and a plan that is right for you.
  1. Avoid triggers:
  • Identify triggers and remove them– With the help of a Naturopathic Doctor and a diet diary you can identify potential triggers of your acid reflux. This can be accomplished by tracking what you eat, monitoring when your symptoms of reflux occur, and eliminating potential triggers from your diet.
  • Research has identified certain triggers that are more commonly associated with GERD. The list below is a good starting point to try removing from your diet. However, this list may not apply to everyone and that is why it is important to identify your own triggers.
  • Common Triggers of GERD
    • Coffee
    • Chocolate
    • Spicy foods
    • Sugar
    • Dairy products (milk, eggs)
    • Tomatoes
    • Lettuce
    • Peppermint
    • Carbonated beverages
    • Citrus fruits
    • Fried foods and high-fat meals
    • Alcohol
    • Tobacco
    • Pork
    • Gluten, brewer’s yeast
  1. Protect and soothe the gastrointestinal tract:
  • As GERD can be very irritating to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, it is important to protect the gastrointestinal tract from any further damage and soothe any irritation.
  • Naturopathic doctors often use demulcent herbs such as marshmallow and slippery elm as they contain mucilage that coats the gastrointestinal tract to prevent any further acidic damage to the esophagus and also soothes any symptoms of heartburn the patient is experiencing. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) is another great demulcent that can be used to protect and soothe the gastrointestinal tract, and can be consumed before or after meals.
  1. Strengthen the lower esophageal sphincter:
  • As mentioned above, a weakened or dysfunctional LES can result in esophageal reflux. Interestingly, melatonin has a functionally important role in the gut and therefore melatonin supplementation has been studied as a treatment for GERD. Melatonin has many different mechanisms of action and can be an effective treatment for GERD by decreasing stomach acid, increasing mucous production and stimulating the contractility of the lower esophageal sphincter.
  1. Digestive support:
  • Individuals suffering from GERD tend to have trouble digesting their food. Many factors can contribute to decreased digestive function such as stress, food sensitivities, and poor eating habits. In order to properly digest our food, our bodies need to be in a parasympathetic rest and digest state. Therefore, it is crucial to manage stress, enjoy your food, and chew slowly while eating to experience optimal digestion.
  • If you need more digestive support, bitter herbs such as gentian are consumed before meals to prepare the body by stimulating digestion. Some patients with more pronounced gastrointestinal symptoms may also benefit from digestive enzymes to further break down foods so they are more easily absorbed.

Before starting any supplements or a treatment plan, it is important to get assessed by a Toronto Naturopathic Doctor to see if GERD is the cause of your symptoms and what the best treatment plan is for YOU!

You can book a free consultation by clicking here.











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.