It sure has cooled off and with the decline of the 4th wave coinciding with the onset of cold and flu season, we thought we’d give you a primer on what symptoms are more common with each illness.
Many of you may not have been sick for a long time, but it’s normal to have 1-2 colds a year. It’s actually a good thing to get sick once in a while, it means that our body is interacting with the world around us and we’re forming antibodies against some of these common viruses and bacteria. So, when you do get sick, you want to be able to recover from your illness quickly; this is also a sign of great immune system.
Supporting your immune system throughout the winter is a good habit to get into. Our immune function typically dips in the winter months, due to more time indoors with not as good ventilation, along with the stress of temperature fluctuations on our bodies, less vitamin D from the sun, and a decrease in the amount of fresh fruits and veggies in our diets.
At the clinic, we encourage all of patients to participate in our immune booster programs, see below and ask your ND which supports will be best for you.
We also hope to have everyone taking an adequate amount of vitamin D and C through the winter months.
If you do get sick, we’ve got you covered! Here are some tips and tricks you can do at home to get yourself back up and at ’em.
Is it a Cold or the Flu or Covid?
Why is this happening in your body?
Colds and flu are the body’s way of eliminating mucous. These illnesses are usually preceded by excessive eating or poor eating habits, lack of rest, overwork, worry or temperature changes during the fall and spring.
What to Do for Colds and Flu?
Take extra Vitamin C up to 4,000mg a day in divided doses.
Take Vitamin D up to 5, 000 IU daily for an adult and 2, 000 IU for a child.
Increase your Zinc (30-50mg a day).
Get plenty of sleep every night.
Drink lots of fluids: water, hot water with lemon, tea, vegetable juice and bone broth.
Eat lots of garlic, onions, ginger and cayenne for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Consider preventive measures such as homeopathic immune boosters, and herbals such as Echinacea, Astragalus, and mushroom extracts.
Take probiotics—the good bacteria, naturally found in your digestive tract.
Avoid all sugar, dairy and wheat to decrease mucous and reduce the consumption of heavy foods like red meat, your body needs to focus on healing not digesting.
Take time off to rest and heal.
Take Epsom salt baths (2 cups per bath) to open pores and reduce body aches.
Wear lots of clothing layers to encourage sweating, wear a scarf and a hat.
Use a vaporizer/humidifier; mucous can collect at night if the air is too dry.
This tea below can be a great addition to fighting a cold or flu.
Magic Antibiotic Tea
3 cups water
2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
1 lemon, squeezed fresh juice
2 cloves crushed garlic or as much as you can tolerate
2 teaspoons honey or to taste
Add all ingredients to a pot, cover and allow to simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Drink throughout the day, make more as needed. Garlic will turn bluish when mixed with lemon but it is still safe to eat.
Wet Warming Sock Treatment
Indications: Sore throat or any inflammation or infection of the throat, neck pain, ear infections, headaches, migraines, nasal congestion, upper respiratory infections, coughs, bronchitis, and sinus infections. The wet sock treatment is best if repeated for three nights in a row, or as instructed by your physician.
Contraindications: Use with caution in diabetes, Raynaud’s phenomenon or syndrome, arterial insufficiency or advanced intermittent claudication. The warming phase is especially important for these patients. Please consult your physician.
1 pair cotton socks
1 pair thick wool socks
Warm bath or warm foot bath
Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip.
Warm your feet first. This is very important as the treatment will not be as effective and could be harmful if your feet are not warmed up. Soaking your feet in warm water for at least 5-10 minutes or taking a warm bath, or using a hot water bottle on your feet can accomplish warming.
Dry off feet and body with a towel.
Place cold wet socks on feet. Cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled. You may use the hot water bottle near your feet at night to start.
Keep the socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be dry in the morning.
Effects of the Wet Sock Treatment
This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.
We hope you find these helpful as needed to treat colds and flus as they come up and get back to feeling like yourself faster and with stronger immune system.
We’re super excited to offer you something a bit different this month. The prolonged physical and mental stress of the last 19 months (seems like years) has shown us a prominent pattern of how the body copes.
Many of us have slid into some bad habits, our diet not as focused as it once was (it’s easy to snack when you’re home all day), we move less because we don’t have to go out as much, we also seem to drink more often or have a treat to help soothe the chaos of the day, eventually, every one of us has started to feel the effects of this.
Maybe you’ve noticed that there’s an extra few pounds that has made a permanent home on your waistline, your joints hurt a little more, you feel sluggish and tired each morning, you feel bloated or have indigestion, sleep is meh, you exercise, but don’t feel the benefits like you used to, you have more moments of anxiety or feeling blue,and hormones seem to be up and down.
You may have had some recent blood tests and the results are less than stellar (cholesterol and triglycerides are up, white blood cell count is down, blood sugar levels are rising and maybe there’s other signs of inflammation as well).
If this is you, or if you can even relate to one or two of these things, you are not alone, and hopefully this is the sign you’ve been waiting for to help get you going in the right direction. Let’s get out of this funk together!
The 7-Day Reset Detox
We have been running our 7-Day Detox program for awhile now, but we are super excited to share that we now have our very own specially formulated detox powder, Cleanse and Restore, to help you along the way. This rice-based protein powder has enough protein in one serving to act as a meal, but also includes all the nutrients of a high-potency multivitamin, augmented with specific nutrients to promote liver function, decrease inflammation and boost antioxidants. Basically, you will be supersaturating your body with all the things that it needs to function at a higher level. We have both tried the powder and it tastes good, a light vanilla flavour and it’s not gritty like typical rice protein. Our stock is limited, so be sure to sign up soon if you are thinking about doing this cleanse.
The program is super simple to follow, the whole program will start with a grocery list of allowable foods and recipes to get you started, we will coach you along the way with daily emails and inspiration recipes as you go. The plan is to take a scoop of the protein powder three times a day and consume only green vegetables that grow above the ground. This may be modified to accommodate meat protein in addition to the protein powder.
Want to track your progress and have measurable results? Book in for 15 min pre and post program visits where we will do your measurements, body composition, and recommend any extra supports you may need.
Using the powder or not, the 7-Day Detox program is fantastic way to rapidly jumpstart you back into healthier habits, get you off the sugar train and boost your mood, energy and digestion, plus most people report losing 5- 10lbs in the process too!
If you’ve been contemplating a food elimination diet, this a great way to get going and we’ll even explain how to re-introduce food afterwards to help you discover some of your food sensitivities. These changes will help to keep the momentum going this winter. Happy Fall!
Stay Healthy, Dr. Rebecca Sagan, ND and Dr. Hajnalka Pinter, ND
Oh my goodness it’s that time of year again, how did that sneak up so quickly? And yet, it’s as if we were counting down the days until life would return to a more normal routine. This year, like the last, we’re focused on kid’s immune systems as they head back to school. How do we keep our kids healthy while this pandemic rages on? Masking in schools and hand sanitizing is continuing, these can help manage exposure to the virus, but in the end, for all of us, it’s what’s happening on the inside that counts. Robust healthy immune systems and bodies that are not inflamed are the key to getting through this year well. “I spent the last school year plying my kids with vitamins, antioxidants and probiotics and guess what? They had their healthiest year ever, (improved hygiene helped too). But, full disclosure, my youngest daughter had covid in the spring and I didn’t even know she had it. Her only symptom was a headache that lasted less than a day and I had attributed it to a strained neck from gymnastics. She bounced back and had no other symptoms. FYI, I never caught it.”– Dr. Sagan
What we want you to know, is that building up your kids with; antioxidants, vitamins, probiotics, good sleep routines and healthy diets is your best defense. Here are some of our favourite nutrients for the immune system.
Nutrients For Immune Support
Zinc is used in over 250 different enzymatic processes in the body, it stimulates our white blood cells, helps with hormonal function and plays into our sense of taste and smell. Vitamin D is important in immune health and mood. Hopefully, you got lots of sunlight this summer to build up your natural vitamin D stores. We are now heading into shorter days and this leads to less vitamin D production as well. Supplementing with Vitamin D is a must when you live in Canada. If you’ve never had your vitamin levels tested, we would recommend it this year. Alberta Health Services will no longer cover vitamin D testing, so this is a paid for blood test, getting tested now can let you know whether you have good levels going into the winter. Testing later in the winter will let you know if you’ve been taking enough to keep your levels up. When it comes to covid-19, there have been some promising studies showing a positivecorrelation to vitamin D levels and better health outcomes. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and is well known for it’s immune boosting properties. We can work on increasing our vitamin C containing foods with things like; berries, citrus, and peppers, but mega dosing with vitamin C is our favourite way to get rid of that tickle in your throat or little sniffle before it becomes a full blown cold. Pascoleucynimmune booster—is a homeopathic combination remedy that we have used in practice for over 15 years for the prevention of colds and flu. It works to boost immune functionagainst bacteria and viruses. It’s an easy to take, oral treatment that we recommend using once a month or at least twice during the cold and flu season. The best part is that it is safe for the whole family. Probiotics— help our immune system by building up our gut health, 70-80% of our immune tissue is in our digestive tract! Good guts equals good immunity. Vitamin A or beta carotene–is a nutrient that has also been shown to support immune function, skin, vision and has anti-oxidant properties. There are many good food sources of this vitamin that include: spinach, carrots,sweet potatoes, turnips and red peppers. Please see a tasty recipe below to help include some of these in your diet. Cod liver oil is another traditional way to get vitamin A and some vitamin D, in the ratios that are good for absorption and is great for kids. Did you Know? We now have chewable gummies for Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Chewable tablet probiotics for Kids. We’ve tried them all and think they taste great! These are effective for adults too.
Stay Healthy, Dr. Rebecca Sagan, ND and Dr. Hajnalka Pinter, ND
It seems a new season has been thrust upon us, forest fire season. With that, we’re all feeling a little tighter in the chest and a lot drier in the nose, sinuses and throat. To better cope with the smoke in the air we thought we would share some tips on lung detoxification.
● Consider an indoor air filter, a good HEPA filter will help to remove the small particles that are in the air, these are what will irritate the nasal passages and lungs making it harder to breath. If we can prevent them from going in, we will feel better. Keeping windows closed at night and running an air filter in the bedroom will help you have clean air while you sleep. Bonus points if you can move it to your office while you work.
● Stay hydrated. In fact, because your body is trying to clear more out, you will need to increase your water consumption to help out. If you’re not getting 8, 250ml glasses a day, then start there, if you’ve got that down, aim for 12-14 glasses a day, especially if it’s hot outside.
● Try a saline nasal spray, this will help to instantly remove irritating particles from your nose.
● Use a Neti pot or Sinurinse. These types of nasal rinses go a lot deeper and can flush our trapped particles from the sinuses. We have some free samples at the office if you’re ready to give this a try.
● Consider supporting your body with extra antioxidants, eating foods with a high vitamin C content such as berries, pomegranate, oranges, and grapefruit. Pears are especially good for the lungs in Chinese medicine.
● If you struggle with asthma, sinusitis, or have cardiovascular issues, you may want to think about supplementing with NAC, glutathione, curcumin and other antioxidant supports.
● Try a diffuser with essential oils that help open the bronchials; eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint and lavender are all helpful to open the airways and remove congestion, plus they smell great too!.
● Try drinking some marshmallow root tea which has been found to moisten the lungs.
Breathing deeply is important
Be mindful of your breathing. In a non-smoky environment take slow, deep regular breaths throughout the day. Do sets of 10 breaths, 3 times a day, or whenever you feel some tightness in the chest. It plays an important role in clearing your lungs and reducing stress.
The Benefits of Getting Proper Deep Breaths:
● lowers blood pressure, improves digestion, increases blood circulation and balances the nervous system.
● improves oxygen exchange in the cells.
● purifies the blood and expels toxins.
● strengthens the lungs, diaphragm and abdomen.
● lifts the spirits and improves the mood.
Now that is a huge list of benefits! Try one of these techniques below.
● Place your left hand on your upper chest and your right hand on your abdomen.
● Inhale deeply through the nose, while pushing outward on the stomach so the right hand
can feel the abdomen rise.
● Do not move the left hand while inhaling (breathe with your abdominal muscles not with your chest!)
● Purse your lips and exhale slowly pushing the abdomen inward and upward towards the ribs feeling your right hand move down.
● Exhale as long as you can before inhaling again, inhale slowly.
● May be done many times throughout the day.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
● To begin, exhale through both nostrils.
● Then inhale through the left nostril, block the right nostril with your finger, then exhale through the right nostril, while blocking the left nostril with your finger.
● Follow with an inhale through the right nostril, and an exhale through the left nostril.
● Then begin again, inhaling through the left nostril.
● Practice 10 to 15 rounds at one time.
● It helps to clear the sinuses first with either a Neti pot or sinus rinse.
If you are having trouble with nasal congestion or chest tightness or would like more care, come see us and we can help. We have lung and sinus specific formulas in our office that are either herbal or homeopathic remedies. Smoke can present like an allergy for some people and we can treat your body’s reaction to this by supporting various detox pathways. You may also book in for a tune-up with our osteopath, Joshua to ensure that your ribs, diaphragm and abdomen are moving well.
The summer has heated up and we all need ways to cool down. Whether it’s hot outside or not, the summer months tend to cause more dehydration. Now is the time to monitor your water intake and make sure that you’re getting enough. How much water you need will differ form person to person, and also depends on activity level, how long you’re in the heat, and what else you’re consuming. How do you know if you are getting enough water? Check your urine, if it is pale yellow, you’re doing well. If it is dark yellow, you need to drink up!
But, what if you’re drinking enough water, but you still feel thirsty? You may need to add electrolytes to help balance the minerals in your body. These include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, phosphate and chloride.
Why Are Electrolytes Important?
They conduct electrical charges in your body. Every message sent through your nervous system (including to your brain) involves nerve impulses between cells.
They also help you:
● produce cellular energy
● regulate fluid balance (blood flow)
● regulate blood pressure
● strengthen bones
● contribute to DNA synthesis
● regulate blood sugar levels
● help muscles contract (including your heart)
● increases the absorption of certain nutrients through the gut.
Phew, they are super important!
Store-bought, electrolytes drinks are great if you’re in a pinch, but we prefer more natural ones like those found at the health food store or from a professional supplement brand like the one we carry in-office. The most basic way to create an electrolyte blend is to combine 1 L of water, 1Tbsp of sugar and 1tsp of salt. Check out the easy recipes below to make your own electrolytes at home. If you’ve been pushing hard all year, summer is a great time to check-in with us and tune-up your body. Be sure to enjoy the sunny weather and relax.
How can a tiny little, bile secreting organ be related to your hormones? It’s funny to think that even when I was in school, the only role that the gallbladder was known to have was to help breakdown fats. But, now we know so much more, I think it’s amazing that we’re really still in the beginning of understanding all the science about how the body actually works.
Bile Acids are stored in the gallbladder and when we eat fatty foods, they are excreted into the small intestine. But, did you know that bile acids can be used as hormone signaling compounds? Yes, that’s right, the amount of bile you have can affect how your hormones can function.
When there are high amounts of bile acids in circulation we see the development of specific hormonal disorders. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Type 2 Diabetes are conditions where we see higher levels of bile acids and an excess of hormone function.
PCOS is often associated with high estrogen, Type 2 Diabetes is associated with a high amount of circulating insulin and NAFLD is associated with a lack of the liver to process all hormones, leading to insulin resistance and fatigue. Sometimes we see all three of these conditions together in one individual.
High amounts of circulating bile acids, or a bile acid back up, can cause fatigue, poor thyroid function and it can lower cortisol as it influences the Hypothalamic Pituitary (HPA) axis. Your bile can impact the thyroid, adrenals and ovaries, amazing right?
How to Support Your Gallbladder?
Although this research is just coming to light now, as naturopathic doctors, we find this actually just supports the knowledge that we already had when it comes to hormonal imbalance; treat the gut and the liver first. So often when we address the liver, it will clear up an estrogen issue and when we work on the gut, we can see similar improvement in thyroid hormones, more regular cycles, better energy and blood sugar control, lower insulin levels and less weight loss resistance.
Ready to Start Regulating Your Hormones and Your Gallbladder?
Try a castor oil pack— this traditional home remedy helps to improve circulation to the liver and digestive tract, it improves lymphatic flow, engages the parasympathetic nervous system and is very healing to all the internal organs. Never tried one—check out this instruction sheet.
Eat organic berries—consuming the polyphenols found in berries will help to support your gut microbiome and help to regulate insulin. These include: blueberry, black currant, blackberry, strawberry, Saskatoon berry, raspberry, and red currant. There are other important foods that contain polyphenols, but we know that those found in berries will support the most beneficial species of gut bacteria and promote proper bile signaling. Aim to eat 2/3 – 1cup of berries a day.
Stop Snacking—this is a big one, and I know this could be a triggering statement for many people, but when you give your digestive tract time to rest between meals, we get better at producing and using bile. Similarly, if you can handle intermittent fasting, this is also very helpful at regulating bile and hormones.
If you’ve had gallbladder issues for a long time, you may also need more ongoing support, we are able to work with you on supporting bile and your hormones with numerous herbal formulas, nutrients and fiber supplements. If you no longer have your gallbladder, it is even more important to take a either a digestive enzyme that contains ox-bile or take ox-bile on it’s own, it may be good for your hormones.