Wednesday, August 21, 2019

AANP 2019 Convention

I attended the AANP 2019 conference in Portland this past weekend and I learned lots of great info including:

From Carrie Jones' lecture on estrogen detox, Phase 1 liver detox (via cytochrome P450) is dependent on healthy iron levels, so  those of us with low iron have compromised liver detox - another reason to ensure our iron levels are well balanced (for women a balanced ferritin is between 100 - 150).  Also indole 3 carbinol supplements depend on healthy stomach acid to be broken down into their more active counterpart, DIM.  Because low stomach acid, proton pump inhibitor/gerd medication dosing, and tums usage is quite pervasive, taking DIM rather than indole 3 carbinol is a better choice.

From Michael Traub's lecture on SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), SiBO can present without any digestive symptoms, this is especially seen with rosacea.  Also within hours of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion, there is disruption of the normal vagal innervation of the small intestine and a significant increase in intestinal permeability.  Because of this, TBI is a major risk factor for SIBO.

From Nirala Jacobi's lecture on SIBO, methane based SIBO is less commonly associated with a previous episode(s) of food poisoning.  Also integrating 2 Kiwi fruit per day can increase digestive motility and is also a low FODMAP food (so easier on the digestive system in general and during/post SIBO treatment).  People with elevated methane at baseline and then no significant increase on their SIBO breath test fit into the category of methane positive constipation (IBS-C) and respond better to a more vegetarian based SIBO/bi phasic diet.  Tofu, tempeh, and miso are all generally low FODMAP veggie foods and can be part of this protocol.

From John Neustadt's lecture on sleep, the average optimal length to sleep is now considered to be 8.2 hours per night, but the average is actually 6.9 hours per night.  As well, the use of blue screen e readers before bed is associated with having a harder time to fall asleep, taking hours to feel refreshed in the morning, and it also reduces/delays melatonin production.  If we are waking at the same time every night, it is often related to low blood sugar and eating 8 -10 g of protein before bed can be helpful. 

From Decker Weiss' lecture on cardiology, hot flashes are related to not only lower estrogen but also lower serotonin (via causing inflammation in the lining of the vessels which makes us more prone to hot flashes/vascular instability).

From Eric Yarnell's lecture on herbal medicine, both eleutherococcus and boswelia are over harvested herbs that aren’t currently being grown/worked with sustainably and it is best to move away from working with these herbs.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Nutrition For Stress Relief

I had a wonderful time presenting at Yoga at the Lake's ( A Self Care Day Retreat: Yoga and Nutrition for Stress Relief this past weekend!  Studio owner, Janelle Ford, has created such a warm and therapeutic space and there was such good energy and flow with the group of people who attended.  Thank you to Janelle for inviting me and for organizing this great event and thank you to everyone who attended for sharing their energy and time and wisdom.  
Here is some of the info we covered during our Nutrition for Stress Management Session:
Our HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis manages our stress response in our body,  It activates a cascade of hormones that ends with the production of cortisol.  Cortisol is our primary stress hormone, it is produced by the adrenals, and it drives our fight or flight response.  When our HPA axis is over engaged due to high levels of stress of any type, our cortisol levels become imbalanced, causing us to function in a chronically stressed state.  From a nutritional perspective, there are a number of choices we can make to help manage our levels of stress and support balanced cortisol levels.

Balanced blood sugar - imbalanced blood sugar is a significant stressor for our body and contributes to disrupted cortisol levels, so it is important to maintain healthy blood sugar balance throughout our day.  Protein is critical in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and it is important to ensure we have protein with each meal.   Protein sources in our diet include meat, dairy, eggs, legumes, nuts, and seeds.  Protein powders can also be helpful as an additional option - yellow pea, hemp, pumpkin, rice, egg white are all good bases to look for.

Minimizing sugar intakerefined sugar is also a significant stressor for our body and it also contributes to imbalanced blood sugar which again contributes to disrupted cortisol levels.   It is important to minimize refined sugar (which includes white and brown sugar and artificial sweeteners) consumption and instead focus on unrefined sweeteners (which includes pure maple syrup, agave, brown rice syrup, cane sugar etc).  It is also important to have sweets as a treat (1 - 2 times per week) rather than every day or as a regular part of our diet. 

Minimizing inflammatory foods - chronic inflammation is also a significant stressor for our body and it also contributes to disrupted cortisol levels.  Foods high in saturated fats (which includes red meat, dairy products, and eggs), processed foods, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol all can contribute to inflammation in our system.  Citrus fruits (especially oranges and grapefruit) and nightshades (which includes all colors of tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant) can also contribute to inflammation.   It is especially important to limit our intake of these foods if we have any chronic inflammatory condition, like asthma, allergies, eczema, joint pain/arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease.

Minimizing coffee/caffeine - coffee is an adrenal stimulant and a significant stressor for our body and also contributes to disrupted cortisol levels.  It is important to either remove coffee or to drink no more than 1 cup of coffee per day.  Green tea places less stress on the body and can be a good replacement for some or all of the coffee we drink.

Focusing on a whole foods diet - additionally a diet rich in saturated fats and low in fruits and vegetables has been found to contribute to disrupted cortisol levels.  In general, focusing on a whole foods diet will support balanced cortisol levels.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

EPL Great Stuff Guest: Top EPL Picks for a New You!

The Edmonton Public Library has reposted the Top EPL Picks for a New You Book List I created a few years ago!  Here is an excerpt from the post:

Working on building and strengthening our overall health is a great goal to have at any time of the year! Making long term improvements in our health is most often done by making small and simple changes in our daily routines. Slowly and steadily working with the foods we eat, the amount of exercise we get, the way we think, and how we manage stress will generally help to improve our overall health. The following resources offer practical and easy to integrate suggestions to help us work with these areas of our lives. And remember making even one change on one level makes a difference to our bodies and will help us become healthier than we were before we made that change!
Check out to see the list of books I suggested!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Happy 2019!

 Happy 2019!  I am excited to share that I will be presenting a Nutrition for Stress Release Session at Yoga at the Lake's ( upcoming A Self Care Day Retreat:  Yoga and Nutrition for Stress Relief!  The Retreat is taking place on Saturday, January 26 and is at the Yoga at the Lake studio in Westerose.  The day starts at 9:30 AM with 2 yoga classes and my session runs from 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM.  The session will focus on foods that may be contributing to our body’s stress levels as well as different foods and supplements that can build and strengthen our ability to manage and navigate through stress.Tickets are available for the entire day at and you can email Janelle at if you would like to sign up for my session only.  It will be a fantastic day!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

EWG'S 2017 Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen Lists

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released their always helpful Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists for 2017.  
The Dirty Dozen list is made up of the twelve fruits and vegetables that were found to have the most pesticide residue contamination.  And the Clean Fifteen list is made up of the fifteen fruits and vegetables that were found to have the least pesticide residue contamination.  
These lists are excellent resources for us when we are grocery shopping.  We can be less concerned about buying certified organic fruits and vegetables that are on the Clean Fifteen list, and if we aim to stick to certified organic fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list, we will reduce our pesticide exposure and support our overall health.  
The fruits and vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list include (with the most contaminated food on the Dirty Dozen list at the top):
Sweet Bell Peppers

The fruits and vegetables on the Clean Fifteen list include (with the least contaminated food on the Clean Fifteen list at the top):
Sweet Corn
Sweet peas (frozen)
Honeydew Melon

Visit to learn more about the EWG's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Berberine and IBS

An article by Jacob Schor ND in the August 2016 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal looked at the impact of berberine on Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diarrhea Predominant (IBS-D).  The article focused on a study led by Chen, Tao, and Liu that was published in the November 2015 issue of Phytotherapy Research.  There were 132 participants (ages 18 - 65 years) in the study and they were split into a berberine dosing group (200 mg of berberine hydrochloride 2 times per day for 8 weeks) and a placebo dosing group (200 mg of vitamin C 2 times per day for 8 weeks).  All participants self-assessed their IBS symptoms with daily questionnaires during the study and were also scored for IBS symptoms, anxiety, depression, and quality of life both before and after the 8 weeks of berberine/placebo dosing.  Both groups saw a reduction in symptoms during the 8 week study, but by week 8, frequency of diarrhea was significantly lower in the berberine dosing group compared to the placebo dosing group.  The berberine dosing group also noted less urgency and frequency during weeks 4 through 8 while this was not noted by the placebo dosing group.  By week 8, the placebo dosing group had seen a 29.4% reduction in abdominal pain while the berberine dosing group had seen a 64.6% reduction.  The berberine dosing group also saw significant reductions in their IBS score, anxiety score, and depression score and an increased quality of life score.  There were no changes in these scores for the placebo dosing group.   The information gathered from this study indicates that berberine (which is extracted from goldenseal, Oregon grape root, barberry) is an excellent support to consider for managing IBS-D.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Multivitamin Use and Cardiovascular Disease Risk

In the September 2016 issue of the Natural Medicine Journal, an article by Douglas MacKay ND looks at the impact of multivitamins on the development of cardiovascular disease.  The article focused on a prospective cohort study by Rautiainen et al that was published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.  The study included over 18,000 male physicians aged 40 years and above.  All of the participants were cancer and cardiovascular disease free at the beginning of the study (which was 1982).  The study did not find an association between short term multivitamin use and reduced risk of major cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke, death), but there was a 14% lower risk of cardiac bypass surgery and angioplasty and an 11% lower risk of coronary artery disease (narrowing of arteries/plaque build up) noted with multi vitamin use.  As well, in participants who took a daily multivitamin for more than 20 years, there was a 44% lower risk of major cardiovascular events noted.  The information from this study confirms that a daily multivitamin is supportive for our long term health.  A good quality multivitamin should be in a capsule or liquid (rather than a tablet) form and should be iron free (except for pregnant/breastfeeding women).  It is best to aim for a multivitamin that contains the active/utilizable forms of vitamins/minerals to ensure the most efficient absorption and utilization of the nutrients within the multivitamin.  It is best to take a multivitamin with our morning or noon meal to ensure that we have all/most of our day to be able to use the nutrients in the multivitamin.